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Trends in Molecular Medicine

Yuan-Yuan Xu, Song-Cun Wang, Da-Jin Li, Mei-Rong Du
Physiologically, a successful pregnancy requires the maternal immune system to recognize and tolerate the semiallogeneic fetus, and allow for normal invasion of trophoblasts. Thus, pregnancy complications are considered to be associated with dysfunctional maternal-fetal crosstalk. Co-signaling molecules are a group of cell surface molecules that positively or negatively modulate the immune response. Well studied in the fields of oncology and transplantation, they are also suggested to be involved in maternal-fetal crosstalk...
November 30, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Michael Sze Yuan Low, David Tarlinton
Currently there is no effective vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Four recently published studies in Cell and Immunity now show that using planned sequential boosting with antigens to guide the humoral response towards broadly neutralizing antibodies could provide a solution to achieving vaccination against HIV-1.
November 23, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Bronwyn M Gunn, Galit Alter
Induction of pathogen-specific binding antibodies has long been considered a signature of protective immunity following vaccination and infection. The humoral immune response is a complex network of antibodies that target different specificities and drive different functions, collectively acting to limit and clear infection either directly, via pathogen neutralization, or indirectly, via pathogen clearance by the innate immune system. Emerging data suggest that not all antibody responses are equal, and qualitative features of antibodies may be key to defining protective immune profiles...
October 15, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Brian H Shirts, Colin C Pritchard, Tom Walsh
Every single-nucleotide change compatible with life is present in the human population today. Understanding these rare human variants defines an extraordinary challenge for genetics and medicine. The new clinical practice of sequencing many genes for hereditary cancer risk has illustrated the utility of clinical next-generation sequencing in adults, identifying more medically actionable variants than single-gene testing. However, it has also revealed a linear relationship between the length of DNA evaluated and the number of rare 'variants of uncertain significance' reported...
October 11, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Li Liu, Kang Li, Xin Fu, Christopher Chung, Kang Zhang
Genomic abnormalities are a leading cause of birth defects and pregnancy complications, including in utero growth retardation and risk of miscarriage. Traditional invasive methods detecting such genomic abnormalities pose a relative risk to mother and unborn fetus. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a method that determines the genomic status of a fetus in utero by analyzing circulating fetal DNA in maternal plasma or serum. This review comes at a time when more and more physicians and hospitals might be using NIPT; there is great potential in extending this technology to other diagnostic applications...
October 7, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Saak V Ovsepian, Valerie B O'Leary, Vasilis Ntziachristos, J Oliver Dolly
In addition to safeguarding the central nervous system (CNS) from the vast majority of pathogens and toxins, transvascular barriers impose immense challenges to the delivery of beneficial cargo. A few toxins and neurotropic viruses capable of penetrating the brain have proved to be potentially valuable for neuron targeting and enhanced transfer of restorative medicine and therapeutic genes. Here we review molecular concepts and implications of the highly neurotropic tetanus toxin (TeTx) and botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) and their ability to infiltrate and migrate throughout neurons...
October 5, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Shaun P Steele, Stephanie J Melchor, William A Petri
A recent surge of interest in tuft cells, which are chemosensory intestinal epithelial cells, has uncovered new functional roles for these cells in colorectal cancer, metabolic signaling, and type 2 immunity. Here, we explore emerging evidence suggesting that tuft cells are critical for protection during enteric infections and inflammatory responses.
October 4, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Amy Chang, Ynuk Bossé
Asthma is a lung disorder triggered by various airborne factors in susceptible individuals. Although generally controlled, asthma can be severe and difficult to treat. Presently, increasing numbers of pharmaceuticals capable of blocking or mimicking specific endogenous molecules are undergoing clinical trials in asthmatic individuals whose symptoms are poorly controlled despite adherence to guideline therapies. Unfortunately, only a few, meticulously selected patients have been found to minimally benefit. These findings not only confirm that the molecular pathogenesis of severe asthma is variable between patients but also suggest that each molecular defect is likely to contribute little on its own in each patient...
September 28, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Lisa K McLellan, David A Hunstad
The clinical syndromes comprising urinary tract infection (UTI) continue to exert significant impact on millions of patients worldwide, most of whom are otherwise healthy women. Antibiotic therapy for acute cystitis does not prevent recurrences, which plague up to one fourth of women after an initial UTI. Rising antimicrobial resistance among uropathogenic bacteria further complicates therapeutic decisions, necessitating new approaches based on fundamental biological investigation. In this review, we highlight contemporary advances in the field of UTI pathogenesis and how these might inform both our clinical perspective and future scientific priorities...
September 27, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Feixiong Cheng, James L Murray, Donald H Rubin
To date, no antiviral agents have been approved for treating Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. Two recent drug-repurposing studies published in Cell Host & Microbe and Nature Medicine demonstrated that screening FDA-approved drugs for antiviral activity is a promising strategy for identifying therapeutics with novel activity against ZIKV infection.
September 27, 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Megan T Baldridge, Holly Turula, Christiane E Wobus
Norovirus (NoV) infection is the leading cause of epidemic gastroenteritis globally, and can lead to detrimental chronic infection in immunocompromised hosts. Despite its prevalence as a cause of diarrheal illness, the study of human NoVs (HNoVs) has historically been limited by a paucity of models. The use of murine NoV (MNoV) to interrogate mechanisms of host control of viral infection has facilitated the exploration of different genetic mouse models, revealing roles for both innate and adaptive immunity in viral regulation...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Jacqueline M Kimmey, Christina L Stallings
Research in recent years has focused significantly on the role of selective macroautophagy in targeting intracellular pathogens for lysosomal degradation, a process termed xenophagy. In this review we evaluate the proposed roles for xenophagy in controlling bacterial infection, highlighting the concept that successful pathogens have evolved ways to subvert or exploit this defense, minimizing the actual effectiveness of xenophagy in innate immunity. Instead, studies in animal models have revealed that autophagy-associated proteins often function outside of xenophagy to influence bacterial pathogenesis...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Xudong Zhang, Aaron E Cozen, Ying Liu, Qi Chen, Todd M Lowe
Small RNAs have the potential to store a secondary layer of labile biological information in the form of modified nucleotides. Emerging evidence has shown that small RNAs including microRNAs (miRNAs), PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and tRNA-derived small RNAs (tsRNAs) harbor a diversity of RNA modifications. These findings highlight the importance of RNA modifications in the modulation of basic properties such as RNA stability and other complex physiological processes involved in stress responses, metabolism, immunity, and epigenetic inheritance of environmentally acquired traits, among others...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Bert A 'tHart, Yolanda S Kap, Elena Morandi, Jon D Laman, Bruno Gran
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be initiated by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors, eliciting an autoimmune attack on the central nervous system. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the strongest infectious risk factor, but an explanation for the paradox between high infection prevalence and low MS incidence remains elusive. We discuss new data using marmosets with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) - a valid primate model of MS. The findings may help to explain how a common infection can contribute to the pathogenesis of MS...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Briana R Wilson, Alexander R Bogdan, Masaki Miyazawa, Kazunori Hashimoto, Yoshiaki Tsuji
Iron is an essential nutrient for life. During infection, a fierce battle of iron acquisition occurs between the host and bacterial pathogens. Bacteria acquire iron by secreting siderophores, small ferric iron-binding molecules. In response, host immune cells secrete lipocalin 2 (also known as siderocalin), a siderophore-binding protein, to prevent bacterial reuptake of iron-loaded siderophores. To counter this threat, some bacteria can produce lipocalin 2-resistant siderophores. This review discusses the recently described molecular mechanisms of siderophore iron trafficking between host and bacteria, highlighting the therapeutic potential of exploiting pathogen siderophore machinery for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Hazem E Ghoneim, Anthony E Zamora, Paul G Thomas, Ben A Youngblood
Prolonged exposure of CD8(+) T cells to their cognate antigen can result in exhaustion of effector functions enabling the persistence of infected or transformed cells. Recent advances in strategies to rejuvenate host effector function using Immune Checkpoint Blockade have resulted in tremendous success towards the treatment of several cancers. However, it is unclear if T cell rejuvenation results in long-lived antitumor functions. Emerging evidence suggests that T cell exhaustion may also represent a significant impediment in sustaining long-lived antitumor activity by chimeric antigen receptor T cells...
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Matteus Krappitz, Anna-Rachel Gallagher, Sorin Fedeles
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is caused by mutations in PKD1 and PKD2, encoding polycystin-1 and polycystin-2, respectively. Optimizing the folding environment for polycystin-1 missense mutations may have a critical effect on the progression of ADPKD in animal models and could potentially lead to tangible therapeutic options for subgroups of ADPKD patients.
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Timothy V Gladyshev, Vadim N Gladyshev
The debate on the relationship between aging and disease is centered on whether aging is a normal/natural/physiological process or it represents a pathology. Considering this relationship from medical, molecular, social, and historical perspectives, we argue that aging is neither a disease, nor a non-disease. Instead, it combines all age-related diseases and their preclinical forms, in addition to other pathological changes.
December 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Manuel A Fernandez-Rojo, Grant A Ramm
Caveolin-1 (CAV1), the structural protein of caveolae in the plasma membrane, has emerged as a regulator of liver function. CAV1 modulates several molecular pathways leading to the regulation of hepatic lipid accumulation, lipid and glucose metabolism, mitochondrial biology, and hepatocyte proliferation. CAV1 thus plays a crucial role in maintaining hepatic physiology during metabolic adaptation to fasting, liver steatosis, and hepatocyte proliferation associated with liver regeneration. With failure of such processes, CAV1 has been implicated in the modulation of cholestasis, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocarcinogenesis...
October 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Davide Ferrari, Nicoletta Bianchi, Holger K Eltzschig, Roberto Gambari
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules capable of silencing mRNA targets. miRNA dysregulation has been linked to cancer development, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, lipid metabolism, and impaired immunity. Therefore, miRNAs are gaining interest as putative novel disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Recent studies have shown that purinergic surface receptors activated by extracellular nucleotides (ATP, ADP, UTP, UDP), and by nucleosides such as adenosine (ADO), are subject to miRNA regulation...
October 2016: Trends in Molecular Medicine
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