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Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Chien-Der Lee, Benjamin P Tu
Protein translation is one of the most energetically demanding processes for a cell to undertake. Changes in the nutrient environment may result in conditions that cannot support the rates of translation required for cell proliferation. As such, a cell must monitor its metabolic state to determine which mRNAs to translate into protein. How the various RNA species that participate in translation might relay information about metabolic state to regulate this process is not well understood. In this review, we discuss emerging examples of the influence of metabolism on aspects of RNA biology...
February 2, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Tito T Jesus, Pedro F Oliveira, Mário Sousa, C Yan Cheng, Marco G Alves
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of cellular metabolic phenotype and is involved in virtually all aspects of cellular function. It integrates not only nutrient and energy-sensing pathways but also actin cytoskeleton organization, in response to environmental cues including growth factors and cellular energy levels. These events are pivotal for spermatogenesis and determine the reproductive potential of males. Yet, the molecular mechanisms by which mTOR signaling acts in male reproductive system remain a matter of debate...
January 26, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
P R V Satyaki, Mary Gehring
Imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon in which genes are expressed selectively from either the maternal or paternal alleles. In plants, imprinted gene expression is found in a tissue called the endosperm. Imprinting is often set by a unique epigenomic configuration in which the maternal chromosomes are less DNA methylated than their paternal counterparts. In this review, we synthesize studies that paint a detailed molecular portrait of the distinctive endosperm methylome. We will also discuss the molecular machinery that shapes and modifies this methylome, and the role of DNA methylation in imprinting...
January 25, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Joseph W Fischer, Anthony K L Leung
Circular RNAs (CircRNAs) were first identified as a viroid and later found to also be an endogenous RNA splicing product in eukaryotes. In recent years, a series of RNA-sequencing analyses from a diverse range of eukaryotes have shed new light on these eukaryotic circRNAs, revealing dynamic expression patterns in various developmental stages and physiological conditions. In this review, we focus on circRNAs implicated in stress response pathways and explore potential mechanisms underlying their regulation. To date, circRNAs have been shown to act as scaffolds in the assembly of protein complexes, sequester proteins from native subcellular localization, activate transcription of parental genes, inhibit RNA-protein interactions, and function as regulators of microRNA activity...
January 17, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Matthew W Parker, Michael R Botchan, James M Berger
Cellular DNA replication is initiated through the action of multiprotein complexes that recognize replication start sites in the chromosome (termed origins) and facilitate duplex DNA melting within these regions. In a typical cell cycle, initiation occurs only once per origin and each round of replication is tightly coupled to cell division. To avoid aberrant origin firing and re-replication, eukaryotes tightly regulate two events in the initiation process: loading of the replicative helicase, MCM2-7, onto chromatin by the origin recognition complex (ORC), and subsequent activation of the helicase by its incorporation into a complex known as the CMG...
January 17, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Michael H Schwartz, Tao Pan
Mistranslation describes errors during protein synthesis that prevent the amino acid sequences specified in the genetic code from being reflected within proteins. For a long time, mistranslation has largely been considered an aberrant cellular process that cells actively avoid at all times. However, recent evidence has demonstrated that cells from all three domains of life not only tolerate certain levels and forms of mistranslation, but actively induce mistranslation under certain circumstances. To this end, dedicated biological mechanisms have recently been found to reduce translational fidelity, which indicates that mistranslation is not exclusively an erroneous process and can even benefit cells in particular cellular contexts...
January 11, 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Ding Jun Jin, Carmen Mata Martin, Zhe Sun, Cedric Cagliero, Yan Ning Zhou
We have learned a great deal about RNA polymerase (RNA Pol), transcription factors, and the transcriptional regulation mechanisms in prokaryotes for specific genes, operons, or transcriptomes. However, we have only begun to understand how the transcription machinery is three-dimensionally (3D) organized into bacterial chromosome territories to orchestrate the transcription process and to maintain harmony with the replication machinery in the cell. Much progress has been made recently in our understanding of the spatial organization of the transcription machinery in fast-growing Escherichia coli cells using state-of-the-art superresolution imaging techniques...
December 23, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Rutger A F Gjaltema, Ruud A Bank
Collagen is a macromolecule that has versatile roles in physiology, ranging from structural support to mediating cell signaling. Formation of mature collagen fibrils out of procollagen α-chains requires a variety of enzymes and chaperones in a complex process spanning both intracellular and extracellular post-translational modifications. These processes include modifications of amino acids, folding of procollagen α-chains into a triple-helical configuration and subsequent stabilization, facilitation of transportation out of the cell, cleavage of propeptides, aggregation, cross-link formation, and finally the formation of mature fibrils...
December 23, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Manasi S Apte, Julia Promisel Cooper
While most cancer cells rely on telomerase expression/re-activation for linear chromosome maintenance and sustained proliferation, a significant population of cancers (10-15%) employs telomerase-independent strategies, collectively dubbed Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT). Most ALT cells relax the usual role of telomeres as inhibitors of local homologous recombination while maintaining the ability of telomeres to prohibit local non-homologous end joining reactions. Here we review current concepts surrounding how ALT telomeres achieve this new balance via alterations in chromatin landscape, DNA damage repair processes and handling of telomeric transcription...
November 28, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Phoom Chairatana, Elizabeth M Nolan
In the intestine, the mucosal immune system plays essential roles in maintaining homeostasis between the host and microorganisms, and protecting the host from pathogenic invaders. Epithelial cells produce and release a variety of biomolecules into the mucosa and lumen that contribute to immunity. In this review, we focus on a subset of these remarkable host-defense factors - enteric α-defensins, select lectins, mucins, and secretory immunoglobulin A - that have the capacity to bind microbes and thereby contribute to barrier function in the human gut...
February 2017: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bartholomew P Roland, Todd R Graham
Cellular membranes display a diversity of functions that are conferred by the unique composition and organization of their proteins and lipids. One important aspect of lipid organization is the asymmetric distribution of phospholipids (PLs) across the plasma membrane. The unequal distribution of key PLs between the cytofacial and exofacial leaflets of the bilayer creates physical surface tension that can be used to bend the membrane; and like Ca(2+), a chemical gradient that can be used to transduce biochemical signals...
November 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Marni S Crow, Krystal K Lum, Xinlei Sheng, Bokai Song, Ileana M Cristea
In mammalian cells, early defenses against infection by pathogens are mounted through a complex network of signaling pathways shepherded by immune-modulatory pattern-recognition receptors. As obligate parasites, the survival of viruses is dependent on the evolutionary acquisition of mechanisms that tactfully dismantle and subvert the cellular intrinsic and innate immune responses. Here, we review the diverse mechanisms by which viruses that accommodate DNA genomes are able to circumvent activation of cellular immunity...
November 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Julia E Gerson, Amrit Mudher, Rakez Kayed
The culmination of many years of increasing research into the toxicity of tau aggregation in neurodegenerative disease has led to the consensus that soluble, oligomeric forms of tau are likely the most toxic entities in disease. While tauopathies overlap in the presence of tau pathology, each disease has a unique combination of symptoms and pathological features; however, most study into tau has grouped tau oligomers and studied them as a homogenous population. Established evidence from the prion field combined with the most recent tau and amyloidogenic protein research suggests that tau is a prion-like protein, capable of seeding the spread of pathology throughout the brain...
November 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Suneel A Narayanavari, Shreevathsa S Chilkunda, Zoltán Ivics, Zsuzsanna Izsvák
Sleeping Beauty (SB) is the first synthetic DNA transposon that was shown to be active in a wide variety of species. Here, we review studies from the last two decades addressing both basic biology and applications of this transposon. We discuss how host-transposon interaction modulates transposition at different steps of the transposition reaction. We also discuss how the transposon was translated for gene delivery and gene discovery purposes. We critically review the system in clinical, pre-clinical and non-clinical settings as a non-viral gene delivery tool in comparison with viral technologies...
October 4, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Ravikiran S Yedidi, Amatullah K Fatehi, Cordula Enenkel
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) plays a critical role in cellular protein homeostasis and is required for the turnover of short-lived and unwanted proteins, which are targeted by poly-ubiquitination for degradation. Proteasome is the key protease of UPS and consists of multiple subunits, which are organized into a catalytic core particle (CP) and a regulatory particle (RP). In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, proteasome holo-enzymes are engaged in degrading poly-ubiquitinated substrates and are mostly localized in the nucleus during cell proliferation...
September 28, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Noélia Custódio, Maria Carmo-Fonseca
Transcription and splicing are fundamental steps in gene expression. These processes have been studied intensively over the past four decades, and very recent findings are challenging some of the formerly established ideas. In particular, splicing was shown to occur much faster than previously thought, with the first spliced products observed as soon as splice junctions emerge from RNA polymerase II (Pol II). Splicing was also found coupled to a specific phosphorylation pattern of Pol II carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD), suggesting a new layer of complexity in the CTD code...
September 13, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
James A Shapiro
The read-write genome idea predicts that mobile DNA elements will act in evolution to generate adaptive changes in organismal DNA. This prediction was examined in the context of mammalian adaptations involving regulatory non-coding RNAs, viviparous reproduction, early embryonic and stem cell development, the nervous system, and innate immunity. The evidence shows that mobile elements have played specific and sometimes major roles in mammalian adaptive evolution by generating regulatory sites in the DNA and providing interaction motifs in non-coding RNA...
September 7, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Julia Jellusova, Robert C Rickert
B cell growth and proliferation is tightly regulated by signaling through the B cell receptor and by other membrane bound receptors responding to different cytokines. The PI3K signaling pathway has been shown to play a crucial role in B cell activation, differentiation and survival. Activated B cells undergo metabolic reprograming in response to changing energetic and biosynthetic demands. B cells also need to be able to coordinate metabolic activity and proliferation with nutrient availability. The PI3K signaling network has been implicated in regulating nutrient acquisition, utilization and biosynthesis, thus integrating receptor-mediated signaling with cell metabolism...
September 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bhargavi Jayaraman, Amber M Smith, Jason D Fernandes, Alan D Frankel
Viruses are obligate parasites that rely heavily on host cellular processes for replication. The small number of proteins typically encoded by a virus is faced with selection pressures that lead to the evolution of distinctive structural properties, allowing each protein to maintain its function under constraints such as small genome size, high mutation rate, and rapidly changing fitness conditions. One common strategy for this evolution is to utilize small building blocks to generate protein oligomers that assemble in multiple ways, thereby diversifying protein function and regulation...
August 14, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Guido Keijzers, Dekang Liu, Lene Juel Rasmussen
Exonuclease 1 (EXO1) is a multifunctional 5' → 3' exonuclease and a DNA structure-specific DNA endonuclease. EXO1 plays roles in DNA replication, DNA mismatch repair (MMR) and DNA double-stranded break repair (DSBR) in lower and higher eukaryotes and contributes to meiosis, immunoglobulin maturation, and micro-mediated end-joining in higher eukaryotes. In human cells, EXO1 is also thought to play a role in telomere maintenance. Mutations in the human EXO1 gene correlate with increased susceptibility to some cancers...
August 5, 2016: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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