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Biomolecular Concepts

Fereshteh Alsahebfosoul, Ilnaz Rahimmanesh, Mansour Shajarian, Masoud Etemadifar, Nahid Sedaghat, Zahra Hejazi, Shamsi Naderi
Cytokines are implicated in the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). Interleukin (IL)-33, one of the recently discovered members of the IL-1 superfamily, is a dual functional cytokine involved in various autoimmune disorders. In a case-control study, venous blood was collected from healthy subjects categorized as control group (n=44) and MS patients (n=44). All recruited patients were clinically diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), including patients without treatment (new identified cases, n=16) and those treated with interferon beta (IFN-β) (n=28)...
January 20, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Pei Guo, Sik Lok Lam
CCTG repeat expansion in intron 1 of the cellular nucleic acid-binding protein (CNBP) gene has been identified to be the genetic cause of myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2). Yet the underlying reasons for the genetic instability in CCTG repeats remain elusive. In recent years, CCTG repeats have been found to form various types of unusual secondary structures including mini-dumbbell (MDB), hairpin and dumbbell, revealing that there is a high structural diversity in CCTG repeats intrinsically. Upon strand slippage, the formation of unusual structures in the nascent strand during DNA replication has been proposed to be the culprit of CCTG repeat expansions...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Débora M Portilho, Roger Persson, Nathalie Arhel
Viruses are entirely dependent on their ability to infect a host cell in order to replicate. To reach their site of replication as rapidly and efficiently as possible following cell entry, many have evolved elaborate mechanisms to hijack the cellular transport machinery to propel themselves across the cytoplasm. Long-range movements have been shown to involve motor proteins along microtubules (MTs) and direct interactions between viral proteins and dynein and/or kinesin motors have been well described. Although less well-characterized, it is also becoming increasingly clear that non-motile microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), including structural MAPs of the MAP1 and MAP2 families, and microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs), can also promote viral trafficking in infected cells, by mediating interaction of viruses with filaments and/or motor proteins, and modulating filament stability...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Michael A McMurray
Despite remarkable advances in synthetic biology, the fact remains that it takes a living cell to make a new living cell. The information encoded in the genome is necessary to direct assembly of all cellular components, but it may not be sufficient. Some components (e.g. mitochondria) cannot be synthesized de novo, and instead require pre-existing templates, creating a fundamental continuity of life: if the template information is ever lost, the genomic code cannot suffice to ensure proper biogenesis. One type of information only incompletely encoded in the genome is the structures of macromolecular assemblies, which emerge from the conformations of the constituent molecules coupled with the ways in which these molecules interact...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Daniel Senfter, Sibylle Madlener, Georg Krupitza, Robert M Mader
In the last decade, microRNAs (miRs or miRNAs) became of great interest in cancer research due to their multifunctional and active regulation in a variety of vital cellular processes. In this review, we discuss the miR-200 family, which is composed of five members (miR-141, miR-200a/200b/200c and miR-429). Although being among the best investigated miRNAs in the field, there are still many open issues. Here, we describe the potential role of miR-200 as prognostic and/or predictive biomarker, its influence on motility and cell migration as well as its role in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis formation in different tumour types...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Anil Kumar Pasupulati, P Swathi Chitra, G Bhanuprakash Reddy
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients and a leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Degenerative changes such as glomerular hypertrophy, hyperfiltration, widening of basement membranes, tubulointerstitial fibrosis, glomerulosclerosis and podocytopathy manifest in various degrees of proteinuria in DN. One of the key mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of DN is non-enzymatic glycation (NEG). NEG is the irreversible attachment of reducing sugars onto free amino groups of proteins by a series of events, which include the formation of Schiff's base and an Amadori product to yield advanced glycation end products (AGEs)...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Natalya Bildyug
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are implicated in many physiological and pathological processes, including contraction, migration, differentiation, and proliferation. These processes all involve cell phenotype changes, known to be accompanied by reorganization of actin cytoskeleton. Growing evidence indicates a correlation between MMP activity and the dynamics of actin system, suggesting their mutual regulation. Here, data on the influence of MMPs on the actin microfilament system, on the one hand, and the dependence of MMP expression and activation on the organization of actin structures, on the other hand, are reviewed...
December 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Océane Sorel, Benjamin G Dewals
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that regulate gene expression. They alter mRNA translation through base-pair complementarity, leading to regulation of genes during both physiological and pathological processes. Viruses have evolved mechanisms to take advantage of the host cells to multiply and/or persist over the lifetime of the host. Herpesviridae are a large family of double-stranded DNA viruses that are associated with a number of important diseases, including lymphoproliferative diseases...
August 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Svitlana V Bach, Ashok N Hegde
The proteasome is a structural complex of many proteins that degrades substrates marked by covalent linkage to ubiquitin. Many years of research has shown a role for ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated proteolysis in synaptic plasticity and memory mainly in degrading synaptic, cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins. Recent work indicates that the proteasome has wider proteolytic and non-proteolytic roles in processes such as histone modifications that affect synaptic plasticity and memory. In this review, we assess the evidence gathered from neuronal as well as non-neuronal cell types regarding the function of the proteasome in positive or negative regulation of posttranslational modifications of histones, such as acetylation, methylation and ubiquitination...
August 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Jozef Hatok, Peter Racay
The most prominent function of proteins of the Bcl-2 family is regulation of the initiation of intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathways of apoptosis. However, recent research has revealed that in addition to regulation of mitochondrial apoptosis, proteins of the Bcl-2 family play important roles in regulating other cellular pathways with a strong impact on cell survival like autophagy, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response, intracellular calcium dynamics, cell cycle progression, mitochondrial dynamics and energy metabolism...
August 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Manasa Basavaraju, Alexandre de Lencastre
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that accounts for the most cases of dementia. AD affects more than 25 million people globally and is predicted to affect nearly one in 85 people worldwide by 2050. AD is characterized by the accumulation of dense plaques of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau that cause impairment in memory, cognition, and daily activities. Although early-onset AD has been linked to several mutations, reliable genetic markers for late-onset AD are lacking...
August 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Jing Zhang, Weizhen Zhang
Irisin was initially discovered as a novel hormone-like myokine released from skeletal muscle during exercise to improve obesity and glucose dysfunction by stimulating the browning of white adipose tissue. Emerging evidence have indicated that irisin also affects brain function. FNDC5 mRNA and FNDC5/irisin immunoreactivity are present in various regions of the brain. Central irisin is involved in the regulation of neural differentiation and proliferation, neurobehavior, energy expenditure and cardiac function...
August 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Alina P S Pang, Christopher Sugai, Alika K Maunakea
Chemical modifications of DNA comprise epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of cellular activities and memory. Although the function of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) has been extensively studied, little is known about the function(s) of relatively rarer and underappreciated cytosine modifications including 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC). The discovery that ten-eleven translocation (Tet) proteins mediate conversion of 5-mC to 5-hmC, and other oxidation derivatives, sparked renewed interest to understand the biological role of 5-hmC...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Prashant Kaushik, James T Anderson
Epigenetics, defined as inheritable and reversible phenomena that affect gene expression without altering the underlying base pair sequence has been shown to play an important role in the etiopathogenesis of obesity. Obesity is associated with extensive gene expression changes in tissues throughout the body. Epigenetics is emerging as perhaps the most important mechanism through which the lifestyle-choices we make can directly influence the genome. Considerable epidemiological, experimental and clinical data have been amassed showing that the risk of developing disease in later life is dependent on early life conditions, mainly operating within the normative range of developmental exposures...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Bernd Bufe, Frank Zufall
The ability to detect specific chemical signatures released by bacteria and other microorganisms is a fundamental feature of immune defense against pathogens. There is increasing evidence that chemodetection of such microorganism-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) occurs at many places in the body including specific sets of chemosensory neurons in the mammalian nose. Formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) are a unique family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that can detect the presence of bacteria and function as chemotactic receptors...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Daichi Morimoto, Masahiro Shirakawa
The regulation of diverse cellular events by proteins that have undergone post-translational modification with ubiquitin is well documented. Ubiquitin can be polymerized and eight types of polyubiquitin chain contribute to the complexity and specificity of the ubiquitin signal. Unexpectedly, recent studies have shown that ubiquitin itself undergoes post-translational modification by acetylation and phosphorylation; moreover, amyloid-like fibrils comprised of polyubiquitin chains have been discovered. Thus, ubiquitin is not only conjugated to substrate proteins, but also modified and transformed itself...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Paola Cavaliere, Françoise Norel
The bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme is a multisubunit core enzyme associated with a σ factor that is required for promoter-specific transcription initiation. Besides a primary σ responsible for most of the gene expression during active growth, bacteria contain alternative σ factors that control adaptive responses. A recurring strategy in the control of σ factor activity is their sequestration by anti-sigma factors that occlude the RNAP binding determinants, reducing their activity. In contrast, the unconventional transcription factor Crl binds specifically to the alternative σ factor σS/RpoS, and favors its association with the core RNAP, thereby increasing its activity...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Tamás Vajda, András Perczel
The essential role of water in extra- and intracellular coiled coil structures of proteins is critically evaluated, and the different protein types incorporating coiled coil units are overviewed. The following subjects are discussed: i) influence of water on the formation and degradation of the coiled coil domain together with the stability of this conformer type; ii) the water's paradox iii) design of coiled coil motifs and iv) expert opinion and outlook is presented. The clear and dark sides refer to the positive and negative aspects of the water molecule, as it may enhance or inhibit a given folding event...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Zhaoqianqi Feng, Bing Xu
D-amino acids, the enantiomers of naturally abundant L-amino acids, bear unique stereochemistry properties that lead to the resistance towards most of the endogenous enzymes. Previous works have demonstrated applications of D-amino acids in therapeutic development with the aid of mirror-image phage display and retro-inverso peptide synthesis. In this review, we highlight the recent progress and challenges in the exploration of D-amino acids at the interface of chemistry and life science. First, we will introduce some progress made in traditional application of D-amino acids to enhance biostability of peptide therapeutics...
June 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
Katrina Viloria, Natasha J Hill
Matricellular proteins influence wide-ranging fundamental cellular processes including cell adhesion, migration, growth and differentiation. They achieve this both through interactions with cell surface receptors and regulation of the matrix environment. Many matricellular proteins are also associated with diverse clinical disorders including cancer and diabetes. Alternative splicing is a precisely regulated process that can produce multiple isoforms with variable functions from a single gene. To date, the expression of alternate transcripts for the matricellular family has been reported for only a handful of genes...
May 1, 2016: Biomolecular Concepts
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