Abstract : Aging is associated with functional and structural declines in organisms over time. Organisms as diverse as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and mammals share signaling pathways that regulate aging and lifespan. In this review, we discuss recent combinatorial approach to aging research employing C. elegans and mammalian systems that have contributed to our understanding of evolutionarily conserved aging-regulating pathways. The topics covered here include insulin/IGF-1, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), and sirtuin signaling pathways; dietary restriction; autophagy; mitochondria; and the nervous system. A combinatorial approach employing high-throughput, rapid C. elegans systems, and human model mammalian systems is likely to continue providing mechanistic insights into aging biology and will help develop therapeutics against age-associated disorders.
Abstract : Multi-omics approaches are novel frameworks that integrate multiple omics datasets generated from the same patients to better understand the molecular and clinical features of cancers. A wide range of emerging omics and multi-view clustering algorithms now provide unprecedented opportunities to further classify cancers into subtypes, improve the survival prediction and therapeutic outcome of these subtypes, and understand key pathophysiological processes through different molecular layers. In this review, we overview the concept and rationale of multi-omics approaches in cancer research. We also introduce recent advances in the development of multi-omics algorithms and integration methods for multiple-layered datasets from cancer patients. Finally, we summarize the latest findings from large-scale multi-omics studies of various cancers and their implications for patient subtyping and drug development.
Abstract : Although the mechanism of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) initiation through BCR/ABL oncogene has been well characterized, CML cell differentiation into erythroid lineage cells remains poorly understood. Using CRISPR-Cas9 screening, we identify Chromobox 8 (CBX8) as a negative regulator of K562 cell differentiation into erythrocytes. CBX8 is degraded via proteasomal pathway during K562 cell differentiation, which activates the expression of erythroid differentiation-related genes that are repressed by CBX8 in the complex of PRC1. During the differentiation process, the serine/threonine-protein kinase PIM1 phosphorylates serine 196 on CBX8, which contributes to CBX8 reduction. When CD235A expression levels are analyzed, the result reveals that the knockdown of PIM1 inhibits K562 cell differentiation. We also identify TRIM28 as another interaction partner of CBX8 by proteomic analysis. Intriguingly, TRIM28 maintains protein stability of CBX8 and TRIM28 loss significantly induces proteasomal degradation of CBX8, resulting in an acceleration of erythroid differentiation. Here, we demonstrate the involvement of the CBX8-TRIM28 axis during CML cell differentiation, suggesting that CBX8 and TRIM28 are promising novel targets for CML research.
Abstract : GPR43 (also known as FFAR2 or FFA2) is a G-protein-coupled receptor primarily expressed in immune cells, enteroendocrine cells and adipocytes that recognizes short-chain fatty acids, such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, likely to be implicated in innate immunity and host energy homeostasis. Activated GPR43 suppresses the cAMP level and induces Ca2+ flux via coupling to Gαi and Gαq families, respectively. Additionally, GPR43 is reported to facilitate phosphorylation of ERK through G-protein-dependent pathways and interacts with β-arrestin 2 to inhibit NF-κB signaling. However, other G-protein-dependent and independent signaling pathways involving GPR43 remain to be established. Here, we have demonstrated that GPR43 augments Rho GTPase signaling. Acetate and a synthetic agonist effectively activated RhoA and stabilized YAP/TAZ transcriptional coactivators through interactions of GPR43 with Gαq/11 and Gα12/13. Acetate-induced nuclear accumulation of YAP was blocked by a GPR43-specific inverse agonist. The target genes induced by YAP/TAZ were further regulated by GPR43. Moreover, in THP-1–derived M1-like macrophage cells, the Rho-YAP/TAZ pathway was activated by acetate and a synthetic agonist. Our collective findings suggest that GPR43 acts as a mediator of the Rho-YAP/TAZ pathway.
Abstract : Ubiquitin D (UBD) is highly upregulated in many cancers, and plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiological processes of cancers. However, its roles and underlying mechanisms in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) are still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the role of UBD in patients with OSCC. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot were used to measure the expression of UBD in OSCC tissues. Immunohistochemistry assay was used to detect the differential expressions of UBD in 244 OSCC patients and 32 cases of normal oral mucosae. In addition, CCK-8, colony formation, wound healing and Transwell assays were performed to evaluate the effect of UBD on the cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in OSCC. Furthermore, a xenograft tumor model was established to verify the role of UBD on tumor formation in vivo. We found that UBD was upregulated in human OSCC tissues and cell lines and was associated with clinical and pathological features of patients. Moreover, the overexpression of UBD promoted the proliferation, migration and invasion of OSCC cells; however, the knockdown of UBD exerted the opposite effects. In this study, our results also suggested that UBD promoted OSCC progression through NF-κB signaling. Our findings indicated that UBD played a critical role in OSCC and may serve as a prognostic biomarker and potential therapeutic target for OSCC treatment.
Abstract : Tribbles homolog 2 (TRIB2) is implicated in tumorigenesis and drug resistance in various types of cancers. However, the role of TRIB2 in the regulation of tumorigenesis and drug resistance of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is still elusive. In the present study, we showed increased expression of TRIB2 in spheroid-forming and aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive CSC populations of A2780 epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Short hairpin RNA-mediated silencing of TRIB2 expression attenuates the spheroid-forming, migratory, tumorigenic, and drug-resistant properties of A2780 cells, whereas overexpression of TRIB2 increases the CSC-like characteristics. TRIB2 overexpression induced GSK3β inactivation by augmenting AKT-dependent phosphorylation of GSK3β at Ser9, followed by increasing β-catenin level via reducing the GSK3β-mediated phosphorylation of β-catenin. Treatment of TRIB2-ovexpressed A2780 cells with the phosphoinositide-3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 abrogated TRIB2-stimulated proliferation, migration, drug resistance of A2780 cells. These results suggest a critical role for TRIB2 in the regulation of CSC-like properties by increasing the stability of β-catenin protein via the AKT-GSK3β-dependent pathways.
Abstract : Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by a progressive loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the midbrain, which results in decreased dopamine levels accompanied by movement symptoms. Oral administration of l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa), the precursor of dopamine, provides initial symptomatic relief, but abnormal involuntary movements develop later. A deeper understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying dopamine homeostasis is thus critically needed for the development of a successful treatment. Here, we show that p21-activated kinase 4 (PAK4) controls dopamine levels. Constitutively active PAK4 (caPAK4) stimulated transcription of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) via the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) transcription factor. Moreover, caPAK4 increased the catalytic activity of TH through its phosphorylation of S40, which is essential for TH activation. Consistent with this result, in human midbrain tissues, we observed a strong correlation between phosphorylated PAK4S474, which represents PAK4 activity, and phosphorylated THS40, which reflects their enzymatic activity. Our findings suggest that targeting the PAK4 signaling pathways to restore dopamine levels may provide a new therapeutic approach in PD.
Abstract : Cardiac hypertrophic signaling cascades resulting in heart failure diseases are mediated by protein phosphorylation. Recent developments in mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics have led to the identification of thousands of differentially phosphorylated proteins and their phosphorylation sites. However, functional studies of these differentially phosphorylated proteins have not been conducted in a large-scale or high-throughput manner due to a lack of methods capable of revealing the functional relevance of each phosphorylation site. In this study, an integrated approach combining quantitative phosphoproteomics and cell-based functional screening using phosphorylation competition peptides was developed. A pathological cardiac hypertrophy model, junctate-1 transgenic mice and control mice, were analyzed using label-free quantitative phosphoproteomics to identify differentially phosphorylated proteins and sites. A cell-based functional assay system measuring hypertrophic cell growth of neonatal rat ventricle cardiomyocytes (NRVMs) following phenylephrine treatment was applied, and changes in phosphorylation of individual differentially phosphorylated sites were induced by incorporation of phosphorylation competition peptides conjugated with cell-penetrating peptides. Cell-based functional screening against 18 selected phosphorylation sites identified three phosphorylation sites (Ser-98, Ser-179 of Ldb3, and Ser-1146 of palladin) displaying near-complete inhibition of cardiac hypertrophic growth of NRVMs. Changes in phosphorylation levels of Ser-98 and Ser-179 in Ldb3 were further confirmed in NRVMs and other pathological/physiological hypertrophy models, including transverse aortic constriction and swimming models, using site-specific phospho-antibodies. Our integrated approach can be used to identify functionally important phosphorylation sites among differentially phosphorylated sites, and unlike conventional approaches, it is easily applicable for large-scale and/or high-throughput analyses.
Abstract : A recent genetic study with Brucella abortus revealed the secretion activator gene A (SagA) as an autolysin component creating pores in the peptidoglycan (PGN) layer for the type IV secretion system (T4SS) and peptidoglycan hydrolase inhibitor A (PhiA) as an inhibitor of SagA. In this study, we determined the crystal structures of both SagA and PhiA. Notably, the SagA structure contained a PGN fragment in a space between the N- and C-terminal domains, showing the substrate-dependent hinge motion of the domains. The purified SagA fully hydrolyzed the meso-diaminopimelic acid (DAP)-type PGN, showing a higher activity than hen egg-white lysozyme. The PhiA protein exhibiting tetrameric assembly failed to inhibit SagA activity in our experiments. Our findings provide implications for the molecular basis of the SagA-PhiA system of B. abortus. The development of inhibitors of SagA would further contribute to controlling brucellosis by attenuating the function of T4SS, the major virulence factor of Brucella.
Abstract : Most animals face frequent periods of starvation throughout their entire life and thus need to appropriately adjust their behavior and metabolism during starvation for their survival. Such adaptive responses are regulated by a complex set of systemic signals, including hormones and neuropeptides. While much progress has been made in identifying pathways that regulate nutrient-excessive states, it is still incompletely understood how animals systemically signal their nutrient-deficient states. Here, we showed that the FMRFamide neuropeptide FLP-20 modulates a systemic starvation response in Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that mutation of flp-20 rescued the starvation hypersensitivity of the G protein β-subunit gpb-2 mutants by suppressing excessive autophagy. FLP-20 acted in AIB neurons, where the metabotropic glutamate receptor MGL-2 also functions to modulate a systemic starvation response. Furthermore, FLP-20 modulated starvation-induced fat degradation in a manner dependent on the receptor-type guanylate cyclase GCY-28. Collectively, our results reveal a circuit that senses and signals nutrient-deficient states to modulate a systemic starvation response in multicellular organisms.