ResearchPad - signaling-cascades https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Genome-wide identification of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and expression profiling of <i>CmMAPKs</i> in melon (<i>Cucumis melo</i> L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14577 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a form of serine/threonine protein kinase that activated by extracellular stimulation acting through the MAPK cascade (MAPKKK-MAPKK-MAPK). The MAPK cascade gene family, an important family of protein kinases, plays a vital role in responding to various stresses and hormone signal transduction processes in plants. In this study, we identified 14 CmMAPKs, 6 CmMAPKKs and 64 CmMAPKKKs in melon genome. Based on structural characteristics and a comparison of phylogenetic relationships of MAPK gene families from Arabidopsis, cucumber and watermelon, CmMAPKs and CmMAPKKs were categorized into 4 groups, and CmMAPKKKs were categorized into 3 groups. Furthermore, chromosome location revealed an unevenly distribution on chromosomes of MAPK cascade genes in melon, respectively. Eventually, qRT-PCR analysis showed that all 14 CmMAPKs had different expression patterns under drought, salt, salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), red light (RL), and Podosphaera xanthii (P. xanthii) treatments. Overall, the expression levels of CmMAPK3 and CmMAPK7 under different treatments were higher than those in control. Our study provides an important basis for future functional verification of MAPK genes in regulating responses to stress and signal substance in melon.

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<![CDATA[Decyl caffeic acid inhibits the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells in an autophagy-dependent manner <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13874 The treatment of human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells through suppressing the abnormal survival signaling pathways has recently become a significant area of focus. In this study, our results demonstrated that decyl caffeic acid (DC), one of the novel caffeic acid derivatives, remarkedly suppressed the growth of CRC cells both in vitro and in vivo. The inhibitory effects of DC on CRC cells were investigated in an in vitro cell model and in vivo using a xenograft mouse model. CRC cells were treated with DC at various dosages (0, 10, 20 and 40 μM), and cell survival, the apoptotic index and the autophagy level were measured using an MTT assay and flow cytometry analysis, respectively. The signaling cascades in CRC were examined by Western blot assay. The anti-cancer effects of DC on tumor growth were examined by using CRC HCT-116 cells implanted in an animal model. Our results indicated that DC differentially suppressed the growth of CRC HT-29 and HCT-116 cells through an enhancement of cell-cycle arrest at the S phase. DC inhibited the expression of cell-cycle regulators, which include cyclin E and cyclin A proteins. The molecular mechanisms of action were correlated to the blockade of the STAT3 and Akt signaling cascades. Strikingly, a high dosage of DC prompted a self-protection action through inducing cell-dependent autophagy in HCT-116 cells. Suppression of autophagy induced cell death in the treatment of DC in HCT-116 cells. DC seemed to inhibit cell proliferation of CRC differentially, and the therapeutic advantage appeared to be autophagy dependent. Moreover, consumption of DC blocked the tumor growth of colorectal adenocarcinoma in an experimental animal model. In conclusion, our results suggested that DC could act as a therapeutic agent through the significant suppression of tumor growth of human CRC cells.

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<![CDATA[Aspirin-triggered resolvin D1 attenuates PDGF-induced vascular smooth muscle cell migration via the cyclic adenosine monophosphate/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc0e7

Background and objectives

Resolvin D1 (RvD1) is a specialized pro-resolving lipid mediator that has been previously shown to attenuate vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration, a key process in the development of intimal hyperplasia. We sought to investigate the role of the cAMP/PKA pathway in mediating the effects of the aspirin-triggered epimer 17R-RvD1 (AT-RvD1) on VSMC migration.

Methods

VSMCs were harvested from human saphenous veins. VSMCs were analyzed for intracellular cAMP levels and PKA activity after exposure to AT-RvD1. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced migration and cytoskeletal changes in VSMCs were observed through scratch, Transwell, and cell shape assays in the presence or absence of a PKA inhibitor (Rp-8-Br-cAMP). Further investigation of the pathways involved in AT-RvD1 signaling was performed by measuring Rac1 activity, vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) phosphorylation and paxillin translocation. Finally, we examined the role of RvD1 receptors (GPR32 and ALX/FPR2) in AT-RvD1 induced effects on VSMC migration and PKA activity.

Results

Treatment with AT-RvD1 induced a significant increase in cAMP levels and PKA activity in VSMCs at 5 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively. AT-RvD1 attenuated PDGF-induced VSMC migration and cytoskeletal rearrangements. These effects were attenuated by the PKA inhibitor Rp-8-Br-cAMP, suggesting cAMP/PKA involvement. Treatment of VSMC with AT-RvD1 inhibited PDGF-stimulated Rac1 activity, increased VASP phosphorylation, and attenuated paxillin localization to focal adhesions; these effects were negated by the addition of Rp-8-Br-cAMP. The effects of AT-RvD1 on VSMC migration and PKA activity were attenuated by blocking ALX/FPR2, suggesting an important role of this G-protein coupled receptor.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that AT-RvD1 attenuates PDGF-induced VSMC migration via ALX/FPR2 and cAMP/PKA. Interference with Rac1, VASP and paxillin function appear to mediate the downstream effects of AT-RvD1 on VSMC migration.

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<![CDATA[Role of MPK4 in pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered alternative splicing in Arabidopsis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4009e20f-330a-49f1-8a3f-309ba227a41c

Alternative splicing (AS) of pre-mRNAs in plants is an important mechanism of gene regulation in environmental stress tolerance but plant signals involved are essentially unknown. Pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) is mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinases and the majority of PTI defense genes are regulated by MPK3, MPK4 and MPK6. These responses have been mainly analyzed at the transcriptional level, however many splicing factors are direct targets of MAPKs. Here, we studied alternative splicing induced by the PAMP flagellin in Arabidopsis. We identified 506 PAMP-induced differentially alternatively spliced (DAS) genes. Importantly, of the 506 PAMP-induced DAS genes, only 89 overlap with the set of 1950 PAMP-induced differentially expressed genes (DEG), indicating that transcriptome analysis does not identify most DAS events. Global DAS analysis of mpk3, mpk4, and mpk6 mutants in the absence of PAMP treatment showed no major splicing changes. However, in contrast to MPK3 and MPK6, MPK4 was found to be a key regulator of PAMP-induced DAS events as the AS of a number of splicing factors and immunity-related protein kinases is affected, such as the calcium-dependent protein kinase CPK28, the cysteine-rich receptor like kinases CRK13 and CRK29 or the FLS2 co-receptor SERK4/BKK1. Although MPK4 is guarded by SUMM2 and consequently, the mpk4 dwarf and DEG phenotypes are suppressed in mpk4 summ2 mutants, MPK4-dependent DAS is not suppressed by SUMM2, supporting the notion that PAMP-triggered MPK4 activation mediates regulation of alternative splicing.

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<![CDATA[Podocyte RNA sequencing reveals Wnt- and ECM-associated genes as central in FSGS]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nff231b2e-f2d8-47eb-acf2-c510faf35a1a

Loss of podocyte differentiation can cause nephrotic-range proteinuria and Focal and Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). As specific therapy is still lacking, FSGS frequently progresses to end-stage renal disease. The exact molecular mechanisms of FSGS and gene expression changes in podocytes are complex and widely unknown as marker changes have mostly been assessed on the glomerular level. To gain a better insight, we isolated podocytes of miR-193a overexpressing mice, which suffer from FSGS due to suppression of the podocyte master regulator Wt1. We characterised the podocytic gene expression changes by RNAseq and identified many novel candidate genes not linked to FSGS so far. This included strong upregulation of the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA6 and a massive dysregulation of circadian genes including the loss of the transcriptional activator Arntl. By comparison with podocyte-specific changes in other FSGS models we found a shared dysregulation of genes associated with the Wnt signaling cascade, while classical podocyte-specific genes appeared widely unaltered. An overlap with gene expression screens from human FSGS patients revealed a strong enrichment in genes associated with extra-cellular matrix (ECM) and metabolism. Our data suggest that FSGS progression might frequently depend on pathways that are often overlooked when considering podocyte homeostasis.

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<![CDATA[Immune-enhancing effects of anionic macromolecules extracted from Codium fragile on cyclophosphamide-treated mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac78d5eed0c484d08831

Immune-regulation and homeostasis are critical in cancer therapy and immunomodulatory biomaterials have been used to decrease side effects of immunosuppressant drugs. Anionic macromolecules (CFAMs) were isolated from the seaweed Codium fragile, and its immune-enhancing biological activities were examined in CY-induced immunosuppressed mice. CFAMs improved the splenic lymphocyte proliferation, NK cell activity, and spleen index. The expression of immune-associated genes was highly upregulated in splenic lymphocytes, and gene expression was differently regulated according to mitogens such as T-cell (Con A) and B-cell (LPS) mitogens. Additionally, CFAMs boosted the proliferation, NO production, and phagocytosis of peritoneal macrophages. CFAMs also considerably stimulated immune-associated gene expression in peritoneal macrophages. Moreover, our results showed CFAMs mediated its immune-enhancing effects via the MAPK pathway. These suggested CFAMs can be used as a potent immunomodulatory material under immune-suppressive condition. Furthermore, CFAMs may also be used as a bio-functional and pharmaceutical material for improving human health and immunity.

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<![CDATA[Exposure of Candida albicans β (1,3)-glucan is promoted by activation of the Cek1 pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca280d5eed0c48441e4da

Candida albicans is among the most common causes of human fungal infections and is an important source of mortality. C. albicans is able to diminish its detection by innate immune cells through masking of β (1,3)-glucan in the inner cell wall with an outer layer of heavily glycosylated mannoproteins (mannan). However, mutations or drugs that disrupt the cell wall can lead to exposure of β (1,3)-glucan (unmasking) and enhanced detection by innate immune cells through receptors like Dectin-1, the C-type signaling lectin. Previously, our lab showed that the pathway for synthesizing the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) plays a role in β (1,3)-glucan masking. The homozygous PS synthase knockout mutant, cho1Δ/Δ, exhibits increased exposure of β (1,3)-glucan. Several Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways and their upstream Rho-type small GTPases are important for regulating cell wall biogenesis and remodeling. In the cho1Δ/Δ mutant, both the Cek1 and Mkc1 MAPKs are constitutively activated, and they act downstream of the small GTPases Cdc42 and Rho1, respectively. In addition, Cdc42 activity is up-regulated in cho1Δ/Δ. Thus, it was hypothesized that activation of Cdc42 or Rho1 and their downstream kinases cause unmasking. Disruption of MKC1 does not decrease unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ, and hyperactivation of Rho1 in wild-type cells increases unmasking and activation of both Cek1 and Mkc1. Moreover, independent hyperactivation of the MAP kinase kinase kinase Ste11 in wild-type cells leads to Cek1 activation and increased β (1,3)-glucan exposure. Thus, upregulation of the Cek1 MAPK pathway causes unmasking, and may be responsible for unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ.

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<![CDATA[Generation of TGFBI knockout ABCG2+/ABCB5+ double-positive limbal epithelial stem cells by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7575d5eed0c4843cfdce

Corneal dystrophy is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations of the transforming growth factor β-induced (TGFBI) gene on chromosome 5q31.8. This disease is therefore ideally suited for gene therapy using genome-editing technology. Here, we isolated human limbal epithelial stem cells (ABCG2+/ABCB5+ double-positive LESCs) and established a TGFBI knockout using RNA-guided clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 genome editing. An LESC clone generated with a single-guide RNA (sgRNA) targeting exon 4 of the TGFBI gene was sequenced in order to identify potential genomic insertions and deletions near the Cas9/sgRNA-target sites. A detailed analysis of the differences between wild type LESCs and the single LESC clone modified by the TGFBI-targeting sgRNA revealed two distinct mutations, an 8 bp deletion and a 14 bp deletion flanked by a single point mutation. These mutations each lead to a frameshift missense mutation and generate premature stop codons downstream in exon 4. To validate the TGFBI knockout LESC clone, we used single cell culture to isolate four individual sub-clones, each of which was found to possess both mutations present in the parent clone, indicating that the population is homogenous. Furthermore, we confirmed that TGFBI protein expression is abolished in the TGFBI knockout LESC clone using western blot analysis. Collectively, our results suggest that genome editing of TGFBI in LESCs by CRISPR/Cas9 may be useful strategy to treat corneal dystrophy.

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<![CDATA[IL-11 prevents IFN-γ-induced hepatocyte death through selective downregulation of IFN-γ/STAT1 signaling and ROS scavenging]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac63d5eed0c484d08693

Aims

Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) exhibits hepatotoxicity through signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) activation. On the contrary, interleukin-11 (IL-11) shows tissue-protective effects on various organs including the liver through STAT3 activation. Here, we found that IL-11 pretreatment protects hepatocytes from IFN-γ-induced death and investigated the molecular mechanisms, particularly focusing on signal crosstalk.

Methods and results

Primary culture mouse hepatocytes were treated with IL-11 prior to IFN-γ, and cell death was evaluated by lactate dehydrogenase release into media. As a result, IL-11 pretreatment effectively suppressed IFN-γ-induced hepatocyte death. Since IFN-γ-induced hepatocyte death requires STAT1 signaling, the activity of STAT1 was analyzed. IFN-γ robustly activated STAT1 with its peak at 1 hr after stimulation, which was significantly attenuated by IL-11 pretreatment. Consistently, IL-11 pretreatment impeded mRNA increase of STAT1-downstream molecules promoting cell death, i.e., IRF-1, caspase 1, bak, and bax. IL-11-mediated suppression of STAT1 signaling was presumably due to upregulation of the suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) genes, which are well-known negative feedback regulators of the JAK/STAT pathway. Interestingly, however, IFN-γ pretreatment failed to affect the following IL-11-induced STAT3 activation, although IFN-γ also upregulated SOCSs. Finally, we demonstrated that IL-11 pretreatment mitigated oxidative stress through increasing expression of ROS scavengers.

Conclusion

IL-11 protects hepatocytes from IFN-γ-induced death via STAT1 signal suppression and ROS scavenging. Further investigation into the mechanisms underlying selective negative feedback regulation of IFN-γ/STAT1 signaling compared to IL-11/STAT3 signaling may shed new light on the molecular biology of hepatocytes.

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<![CDATA[Lens differentiation is controlled by the balance between PDGF and FGF signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e2d5eed0c48496f303

How multiple receptor tyrosine kinases coordinate cell fate determination is yet to be elucidated. We show here that the receptor for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling recruits the p85 subunit of Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) to regulate mammalian lens development. Activation of PI3K signaling not only prevents B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2)-Associated X (Bax)- and BCL2 Antagonist/Killer (Bak)-mediated apoptosis but also promotes Notch signaling to prevent premature cell differentiation. Reducing PI3K activity destabilizes the Notch intracellular domain, while the constitutive activation of Notch reverses the PI3K deficiency phenotype. In contrast, fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) recruit Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Substrate 2 (Frs2) and Rous sarcoma oncogene (Src) Homology Phosphatase 2 (Shp2) to activate Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling, which induces the Notch ligand Jagged 1 (Jag1) and promotes cell differentiation. Inactivation of Shp2 restored the proper timing of differentiation in the p85 mutant lens, demonstrating the antagonistic interaction between FGF-induced MAPK and PDGF-induced PI3K signaling. By selective activation of PI3K and MAPK, PDGF and FGF cooperate with and oppose each other to balance progenitor cell maintenance and differentiation.

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<![CDATA[On the influence of cannabinoids on cell morphology and motility of glioblastoma cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75a3d5eed0c4843cff4f

The mechanisms behind the anti-tumoral effects of cannabinoids by impacting the migratory activity of tumor cells are only partially understood. Previous studies demonstrated that cannabinoids altered the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in various cell types. As actin is one of the main contributors to cell motility and is postulated to be linked to tumor invasion, we tested the following hypothesizes: 1) Can cannabinoids alter cell motility in a cannabinoid receptor dependent manner? 2) Are these alterations associated with reorganizations in the actin cytoskeleton? 3) If so, what are the underlying molecular mechanisms? Three different glioblastoma cell lines were treated with specific cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 agonists and antagonists. Afterwards, we measured changes in cell motility using live cell imaging and alterations of the actin structure in fixed cells. Additionally, the protein amount of phosphorylated p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), focal adhesion kinases (FAK) and phosphorylated FAK (pFAK) over time were measured. Cannabinoids induced changes in cell motility, morphology and actin organization in a receptor and cell line dependent manner. No significant changes were observed in the analyzed signaling molecules. Cannabinoids can principally induce changes in the actin cytoskeleton and motility of glioblastoma cell lines. Additionally, single cell motility of glioblastoma is independent of their morphology. Furthermore, the observed effects seem to be independent of p44/42 MAPK and pFAK pathways.

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<![CDATA[Sensitivity analysis for reproducible candidate values of model parameters in signaling hub model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75bbd5eed0c4843d00a1

Mathematical models for signaling pathways are helpful for understanding molecular mechanism in the pathways and predicting dynamic behavior of the signal activity. To analyze the robustness of such models, local sensitivity analysis has been implemented. However, such analysis primarily focuses on only a certain parameter set, even though diverse parameter sets that can recapitulate experiments may exist. In this study, we performed sensitivity analysis that investigates the features in a system considering the reproducible and multiple candidate values of the model parameters to experiments. The results showed that although different reproducible model parameter values have absolute differences with respect to sensitivity strengths, specific trends of some relative sensitivity strengths exist between reactions regardless of parameter values. It is suggested that (i) network structure considerably influences the relative sensitivity strength and (ii) one might be able to predict relative sensitivity strengths specified in the parameter sets employing only one of the reproducible parameter sets.

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<![CDATA[Comparative analysis reveals a role for TGF-β in shaping the residency-related transcriptional signature in tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2630d5eed0c4842894ea

Tissue-resident CD8+ memory T (TRM) cells are immune cells that permanently reside at tissue sites where they play an important role in providing rapid protection against reinfection. They are not only phenotypically and functionally distinct from their circulating memory counterparts, but also exhibit a unique transcriptional profile. To date, the local tissue signals required for their development and long-term residency are not well understood. So far, the best-characterised tissue-derived signal is transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which has been shown to promote the development of these cells within tissues. In this study, we aimed to determine to what extent the transcriptional signatures of TRM cells from multiple tissues reflects TGF-β imprinting. We activated murine CD8+ T cells, stimulated them in vitro by TGF-β, and profiled their transcriptomes using RNA-seq. Upon comparison, we identified a TGF-β-induced signature of differentially expressed genes between TGF-β-stimulated and -unstimulated cells. Next, we linked this in vitro TGF-β-induced signature to a previously identified in vivo TRM-specific gene set and found considerable (>50%) overlap between the two gene sets, thus showing that a substantial part of the TRM signature can be attributed to TGF-β signalling. Finally, gene set enrichment analysis further revealed that the altered gene signature following TGF-β exposure reflected transcriptional signatures found in TRM cells from both epithelial and non-epithelial tissues. In summary, these findings show that TGF-β has a broad footprint in establishing the residency-specific transcriptional profile of TRM cells, which is detectable in TRM cells from diverse tissues. They further suggest that constitutive TGF-β signaling might be involved for their long-term persistence at tissue sites.

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<![CDATA[Role of tumor-associated neutrophils in regulation of tumor growth in lung cancer development: A mathematical model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d634d5eed0c4840318a9

Neutrophils display rapid and potent innate immune responses in various diseases. Tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) however either induce or overcome immunosuppressive functions of the tumor microenvironment through complex tumor-stroma crosstalk. We developed a mathematical model to address the question of how phenotypic alterations between tumor suppressive N1 TANS, and tumor promoting N2 TANs affect nonlinear tumor growth in a complex tumor microenvironment. The model provides a visual display of the complex behavior of populations of TANs and tumors in response to various TGF-β and IFN-β stimuli. In addition, the effect of anti-tumor drug administration is incorporated in the model in an effort to achieve optimal anti-tumor efficacy. The simulation results from the mathematical model were in good agreement with experimental data. We found that the N2-to-N1 ratio (N21R) index is positively correlated with aggressive tumor growth, suggesting that this may be a good prognostic factor. We also found that the antitumor efficacy increases when the relative ratio (Dap) of delayed apoptotic cell death of N1 and N2 TANs is either very small or relatively large, providing a basis for therapeutically targeting prometastatic N2 TANs.

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<![CDATA[Comparative transcriptome analysis of mammary epithelial cells at different stages of lactation reveals wide differences in gene expression and pathways regulating milk synthesis between Jersey and Kashmiri cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633941d5eed0c484ae633a

Jersey and Kashmiri cattle are important dairy breeds that contribute significantly to the total milk production of the Indian northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmiri cattle germplasm has been extensively diluted through crossbreeding with Jersey cattle with the goal of enhancing its milk production ability. However, crossbred animals are prone to diseases resulting to unsustainable milk production. This study aimed to provide a comprehensive transcriptome profile of mammary gland epithelial cells at different stages of lactation and to find key differences in genes and pathways regulating milk traits between Jersey and Kashmiri cattle. Mammary epithelial cells (MEC) isolated from milk obtained from six lactating cows (three Jersey and three Kashmiri cattle) on day 15 (D15), D90 and D250 in milk, representing early, mid and late lactation, respectively were used. RNA isolated from MEC was subjected to next-generation RNA sequencing and bioinformatics processing. Casein and whey protein genes were found to be highly expressed throughout the lactation stages in both breeds. Largest differences in differentially expressed genes (DEG) were between D15 vs D90 (1,805 genes) in Kashmiri cattle and, D15 vs D250 (3,392 genes) in Jersey cattle. A total of 1,103, 1,356 and 1,397 genes were differentially expressed between Kashmiri and Jersey cattle on D15, D90 and D250, respectively. Antioxidant genes like RPLPO and RPS28 were highly expressed in Kashmiri cattle. Differentially expressed genes in both Kashmiri and Jersey were enriched for multicellular organismal process, receptor activity, catalytic activity, signal transducer activity, macromolecular complex and developmental process gene ontology terms. Whereas, biological regulation, endopeptidase activity and response to stimulus were enriched in Kashmiri cattle and, reproduction and immune system process were enriched in Jersey cattle. Most of the pathways responsible for regulation of milk production like JAK-STAT, p38 MAPK pathway, PI3 kinase pathway were enriched by DEG in Jersey cattle only. Although Kashmiri has poor milk production efficiency, the present study suggests possible physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Kashmiri cattle milk that needs to be further explored.

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<![CDATA[Discovery of gene regulatory elements through a new bioinformatics analysis of haploid genetic screens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fef9d5eed0c48413586a

The systematic identification of regulatory elements that control gene expression remains a challenge. Genetic screens that use untargeted mutagenesis have the potential to identify protein-coding genes, non-coding RNAs and regulatory elements, but their analysis has mainly focused on identifying the former two. To identify regulatory elements, we conducted a new bioinformatics analysis of insertional mutagenesis screens interrogating WNT signaling in haploid human cells. We searched for specific patterns of retroviral gene trap integrations (used as mutagens in haploid screens) in short genomic intervals overlapping with introns and regions upstream of genes. We uncovered atypical patterns of gene trap insertions that were not predicted to disrupt coding sequences, but caused changes in the expression of two key regulators of WNT signaling, suggesting the presence of cis-regulatory elements. Our methodology extends the scope of haploid genetic screens by enabling the identification of regulatory elements that control gene expression.

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<![CDATA[Ask1 and Akt act synergistically to promote ROS-dependent regeneration in Drosophila]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ae2d5eed0c484a47ab5

How cells communicate to initiate a regenerative response after damage has captivated scientists during the last few decades. It is known that one of the main signals emanating from injured cells is the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which propagate to the surrounding tissue to trigger the replacement of the missing cells. However, the link between ROS production and the activation of regenerative signaling pathways is not yet fully understood. We describe here the non-autonomous ROS sensing mechanism by which living cells launch their regenerative program. To this aim, we used Drosophila imaginal discs as a model system due to its well-characterized regenerative ability after injury or cell death. We genetically-induced cell death and found that the Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (Ask1) is essential for regenerative growth. Ask1 senses ROS both in dying and living cells, but its activation is selectively attenuated in living cells by Akt1, the core kinase component of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor pathway. Akt1 phosphorylates Ask1 in a secondary site outside the kinase domain, which attenuates its activity. This modulation of Ask1 activity results in moderate levels of JNK signaling in the living tissue, as well as in activation of p38 signaling, both pathways required to turn on the regenerative response. Our findings demonstrate a non-autonomous activation of a ROS sensing mechanism by Ask1 and Akt1 to replace the missing tissue after damage. Collectively, these results provide the basis for understanding the molecular mechanism of communication between dying and living cells that triggers regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Systems biology reveals how altered TGFβ signalling with age reduces protection against pro-inflammatory stimuli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536b3fd5eed0c484a4846b

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition caused by dysregulation of multiple molecular signalling pathways. Such dysregulation results in damage to cartilage, a smooth and protective tissue that enables low friction articulation of synovial joints. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), especially MMP-13, are key enzymes in the cleavage of type II collagen which is a vital component for cartilage integrity. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) can protect against pro-inflammatory cytokine-mediated MMP expression. With age there is a change in the ratio of two TGFβ type I receptors (Alk1/Alk5), a shift that results in TGFβ losing its protective role in cartilage homeostasis. Instead, TGFβ promotes cartilage degradation which correlates with the spontaneous development of OA in murine models. However, the mechanism by which TGFβ protects against pro-inflammatory responses and how this changes with age has not been extensively studied. As TGFβ signalling is complex, we used systems biology to combine experimental and computational outputs to examine how the system changes with age. Experiments showed that the repressive effect of TGFβ on chondrocytes treated with a pro-inflammatory stimulus required Alk5. Computational modelling revealed two independent mechanisms were needed to explain the crosstalk between TGFβ and pro-inflammatory signalling pathways. A novel meta-analysis of microarray data from OA patient tissue was used to create a Cytoscape network representative of human OA and revealed the importance of inflammation. Combining the modelled genes with the microarray network provided a global overview into the crosstalk between the different signalling pathways involved in OA development. Our results provide further insights into the mechanisms that cause TGFβ signalling to change from a protective to a detrimental pathway in cartilage with ageing. Moreover, such a systems biology approach may enable restoration of the protective role of TGFβ as a potential therapy to prevent age-related loss of cartilage and the development of OA.

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<![CDATA[Noise-resistant developmental reproducibility in vertebrate somite formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e7d5eed0c48496f391

The reproducibility of embryonic development is remarkable, although molecular processes are intrinsically stochastic at the single-cell level. How the multicellular system resists the inevitable noise to acquire developmental reproducibility constitutes a fundamental question in developmental biology. Toward this end, we focused on vertebrate somitogenesis as a representative system, because somites are repeatedly reproduced within a single embryo whereas such reproducibility is lost in segmentation clock gene-deficient embryos. However, the effect of noise on developmental reproducibility has not been fully investigated, because of the technical difficulty in manipulating the noise intensity in experiments. In this study, we developed a computational model of ERK-mediated somitogenesis, in which bistable ERK activity is regulated by an FGF gradient, cell-cell communication, and the segmentation clock, subject to the intrinsic noise. The model simulation generated our previous in vivo observation that the ERK activity was distributed in a step-like gradient in the presomitic mesoderm, and its boundary was posteriorly shifted by the clock in a stepwise manner, leading to regular somite formation. Here, we showed that this somite regularity was robustly maintained against the noise. Removing the clock from the model predicted that the stepwise shift of the ERK activity occurs at irregular timing with irregular distance owing to the noise, resulting in somite size variation. This model prediction was recently confirmed by live imaging of ERK activity in zebrafish embryos. Through theoretical analysis, we presented a mechanism by which the clock reduces the inherent somite irregularity observed in clock-deficient embryos. Therefore, this study indicates a novel role of the segmentation clock in noise-resistant developmental reproducibility.

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<![CDATA[Characterisation and validation of Mel38; A multi-tissue microRNA signature of cutaneous melanoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633964d5eed0c484ae65d3

Background

Histopathologic examination of melanocytic neoplasms can be challenging and subjective, with no specific circulating or tissue-based biomarkers currently available. Recently, a circulating 38-microRNA profile of melanoma (Mel38) was described. In this study, Mel38 expression and its impact on downstream mRNA regulation in solid tissue is examined.

Methods

Mel38 was applied to archival, clinically-annotated, solid-tissue genomic datasets representing benign naevi, primary and metastatic melanoma. Statistical analysis of the signature in relation to disease status, patient outcome and molecular pathways was performed.

Results

Mel38 is able to stratify genomic data from solid tissue biopsies on the basis of disease status and differences in melanoma-specific survival. Experimentally-verified messenger-RNA targets of Mel38 also exhibit prognostic expression patterns and represent key molecular pathways and events in melanoma development and progression.

Conclusion

The Mel38 microRNA profile may have diagnostic and prognostic utility in solid tissue as well as being a robust circulating biomarker of melanoma.

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