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Biomolecular Concepts

Virginie Armand-Labit, Anne Pradines
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNAs that are master regulators of genic expression and consequently of many cellular processes. But their expression is often deregulated in human tumors leading to cancer development. Recently miRNAs were discovered in body fluids (serum, plasma and others) and their levels have often been reported to be altered in patients. Circulating miRNAs became one of the most promising biomarkers in oncology for early diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic response prediction. Here we describe the origins and roles of miRNAs, and summarize the most recent studies focusing on their usefulness as cancer biomarkers in lung, breast, colon, prostate, ovary cancers and melanoma...
April 27, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Stelina Alkagiet, Konstantinos Tziomalos
Vascular calcification represents the deposition of calcium phosphate salts in the tunica media of the vascular wall. It occurs during aging but is accelerated and pronounced in patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and established cardiovascular disease. Due to the loss of elasticity of the vessel wall, vascular calcification might result in left ventricular hypertrophy and compromise coronary perfusion. Accordingly, several studies showed that vascular calcification is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality...
April 20, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Uzma Naseeb, Shamshad Zarina, Theres Jägerbrink, Jawed Shafqat, Hans Jörnvall, Jonas Axelsson
This report evaluates plasma protein patterns, dialysates and protein analysis of used dialysis membranes from the same patient under hemodialysis in three separate modalities, using high-flux membranes in concentration-driven transport (HD), convection-driven hemofiltration (HF) and combined hemodialfiltration (HDF). The plasma protein changes induced by each of the three dialysis modalities showed small differences in proteins identified towards our previous plasma analyses of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients...
April 19, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Andrea Pichler, Chronis Fatouros, Heekyoung Lee, Nathalie Eisenhardt
The regulation of protein fate by modification with the small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) plays an essential and crucial role in most cellular pathways. Sumoylation is highly dynamic due to the opposing activities of SUMO conjugation and SUMO deconjugation. SUMO conjugation is performed by the hierarchical action of E1, E2 and E3 enzymes, while its deconjugation involves SUMO-specific proteases. In this review, we summarize and compare the mechanistic principles of how SUMO gets conjugated to its substrate...
March 1, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Marta Bolós, Juan Ramón Perea, Jesús Avila
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by the formation of amyloid-β plaques, aggregated and hyperphosphorylated tau protein, activated microglia and neuronal cell death, ultimately leading to progressive dementia. In this short review, we focus on neuroinflammation in AD. Specifically, we describe the participation of microglia, as well as other factors that may contribute to inflammation, in neurodegeneration.
March 1, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
Ana Lisica, Stephan W Grill
Transcription is the first step in the expression of genetic information and it is carried out by large macromolecular enzymes called RNA polymerases. Transcription has been studied for many years and with a myriad of experimental techniques, ranging from bulk studies to high-resolution transcript sequencing. In this review, we emphasise the advantages of using single-molecule techniques, particularly optical tweezers, to study transcription dynamics. We give an overview of the latest results in the single-molecule transcription field, focusing on transcription by eukaryotic RNA polymerases...
March 1, 2017: Biomolecular Concepts
G Bhanuprakash Reddy, P Yadagiri Reddy, Avadhesha Surolia
Familial Danish dementias (FDDs) are autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorders that are associated with visual defects. In some aspects, FDD is similar to Alzheimer's disease (AD)- the amyloid deposits in FDD and AD are made of short peptides: amyloid β (Aβ) in AD and ADan in FDD. Previously, we demonstrated an interaction between the dementia peptides and α-crystallin leading to lens opacification in organ culture due to impaired chaperone activity of α-crystallin. Herein, we report the in vivo effects of ADan and Aβ on the eye...
March 1, 2017: 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)...
March 1, 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
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