by Keyword: Biology

del-Mazo-Barbara L, Johansson L, Tampieri F, Ginebra M-P, (2024). Toughening 3D printed biomimetic hydroxyapatite scaffolds: Polycaprolactone-based self-hardening inks Acta Biomaterialia 177, 506-524

The application of 3D printing to calcium phosphates has opened unprecedented possibilities for the fabrication of personalized bone grafts. However, their biocompatibility and bioactivity are counterbalanced by their high brittleness. In this work we aim at overcoming this problem by developing a self-hardening ink containing reactive ceramic particles in a polycaprolactone solution instead of the traditional approach that use hydrogels as binders. The presence of polycaprolactone preserved the printability of the ink and was compatible with the hydrolysis-based hardening process, despite the absence of water in the ink and its hydrophobicity. The microstructure evolved from a continuous polymeric phase with loose ceramic particles to a continuous network of hydroxyapatite nanocrystals intertwined with the polymer, in a configuration radically different from the polymer/ceramic composites obtained by fused deposition modelling. This resulted in the evolution from a ductile behavior, dominated by the polymer, to a stiffer behavior as the ceramic phase reacted. The polycaprolactone binder provides two highly relevant benefits compared to hydrogel-based inks. First, the handleability and elasticity of the as-printed scaffolds, together with the proven possibility of eliminating the solvent, opens the door to implanting the scaffolds freshly printed once lyophilized, while in a ductile state, and the hardening process to take place inside the body, as in the case of calcium phosphate cements. Second, even with a hydroxyapatite content of more than 92 wt.%, the flexural strength and toughness of the scaffolds after hardening are twice and five times those of the all-ceramic scaffolds obtained with the hydrogel-based inks, respectively. Statement of significance: Overcoming the brittleness of ceramic scaffolds would extend the applicability of synthetic bone grafts to high load-bearing situations. In this work we developed a 3D printing ink by replacing the conventional hydrogel binder with a water-free polycaprolactone solution. The presence of polycaprolactone not only enhanced significantly the strength and toughness of the scaffolds while keeping the proportion of bioactive ceramic phase larger than 90 wt.%, but it also conferred flexibility and manipulability to the as-printed scaffolds. Since they are able to harden upon contact with water under physiological conditions, this opens up the possibility of implanting them immediately after printing, while they are still in a ductile state, with clear advantages for fixation and press-fit in the bone defect. © 2024 The Authors

JTD Keywords: 3-d printing, 3d printing, 3d-printing, Binders, Biocompatibility, Biomimetic hydroxyapatites, Biomimetics, Bone cement, Bone scaffolds, Brittleness, Calcium phosphate, Ceramic phase, Ceramic scaffolds, Ceramics particles, Fracture mechanics, Hardening, Hardening process, Hydrogels, Hydroxyapatite, Mechanical properties, Plasticity, Polycaprolactone, Scaffolds, Scaffolds (biology), Self hardening, Strength and toughness

Hafa, L, Breideband, L, Posada, LR, Torras, N, Martinez, E, Stelzer, EHK, Pampaloni, F, (2024). Light Sheet-Based Laser Patterning Bioprinting Produces Long-Term Viable Full-Thickness Skin Constructs Advanced Materials 36, e2306258

Tissue engineering holds great promise for biomedical research and healthcare, offering alternatives to animal models and enabling tissue regeneration and organ transplantation. Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting stands out for its design flexibility and reproducibility. Here, we present an integrated fluorescent light sheet bioprinting and imaging system that combines high printing speed (0.66 mm3 /s) and resolution (9 μm) with light sheet-based imaging. This approach employs direct laser patterning and a static light sheet for confined voxel crosslinking in photocrosslinkable materials. The developed bioprinter enables real-time monitoring of hydrogel crosslinking using fluorescent recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and brightfield imaging as well as in situ light sheet imaging of cells. Human fibroblasts encapsulated in a thiol-ene click chemistry-based hydrogel exhibited high viability (83% ± 4.34%) and functionality. Furthermore, full-thickness skin constructs displayed characteristics of both epidermal and dermal layers and remained viable for 41 days. The integrated approach demonstrates the capabilities of light sheet bioprinting, offering high speed, resolution, and real-time characterization. Future enhancements involving solid-state laser scanning devices such as acousto-optic deflectors and modulators will further enhance resolution and speed, opening new opportunities in light-based bioprinting and advancing tissue engineering. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: cadherin, collagen, culture, differentiation, fluorescence microscopy, full-thickness skin model, hydrogels, light sheet bioprinter, light sheet fluorescence microscopy, proliferation, survival, tissue engineering, Animal, Animals, Biofabrication, Bioprinting, Cell culture, Crosslinking, Fluorescence, Fluorescence microscopy, Full-thickness skin model, Hair follicle, Human, Humans, Hydrogel, Hydrogels, Image resolution, Laser patterning, Light sheet, Light sheet bioprinter, Light sheet fluorescence microscopy, Molecular biology, Photobleaching, Printing, three-dimensional, Procedures, Reproducibility, Reproducibility of results, Skin model, Three dimensional printing, Tissue, Tissue engineering, Tissue regeneration, Tissue scaffolds, Tissues engineerings

Cassani, M, Fernandes, S, Cruz, JOD, Durikova, H, Vrbsky, J, Patocka, M, Hegrova, V, Klimovic, S, Pribyl, J, Debellis, D, Skladal, P, Cavalieri, F, Caruso, F, Forte, G, (2024). YAP Signaling Regulates the Cellular Uptake and Therapeutic Effect of Nanoparticles Advanced Science 11, e2302965

Interactions between living cells and nanoparticles are extensively studied to enhance the delivery of therapeutics. Nanoparticles size, shape, stiffness, and surface charge are regarded as the main features able to control the fate of cell-nanoparticle interactions. However, the clinical translation of nanotherapies has so far been limited, and there is a need to better understand the biology of cell-nanoparticle interactions. This study investigates the role of cellular mechanosensitive components in cell-nanoparticle interactions. It is demonstrated that the genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of yes-associated protein (YAP), a key component of cancer cell mechanosensing apparatus and Hippo pathway effector, improves nanoparticle internalization in triple-negative breast cancer cells regardless of nanoparticle properties or substrate characteristics. This process occurs through YAP-dependent regulation of endocytic pathways, cell mechanics, and membrane organization. Hence, the study proposes targeting YAP may sensitize triple-negative breast cancer cells to chemotherapy and increase the selectivity of nanotherapy.© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: cancer treatment, cells, differentiation, hippo pathway, mechanics, mechanobiology, mechanotransduction, nanoparticles, progression, protein, resistance, yap-signaling, yap/taz, Adaptor proteins, signal transducing, Bio-nano interaction, Bio-nano interactions, Breast cancer cells, Cancer cells, Cancer treatment, Cells, Cellular therapeutics, Cellular uptake, Chemotherapy, Cytology, Diseases, Extracellular-matrix, Human, Humans, Mechano-biology, Mechanobiology, Metabolism, Nanoparticle, Nanoparticle interaction, Nanoparticles, Physiology, Protein serine threonine kinase, Protein serine-threonine kinases, Protein signaling, Signal transducing adaptor protein, Signal transduction, Therapeutic effects, Triple negative breast cancer, Triple negative breast neoplasms, Triple-negative breast cancers, Yap-signaling, Yes-associated protein-signaling

Piñera-Avellaneda, D, Buxadera-Palomero, J, Ginebra, MP, Rupérez, E, Manero, JM, (2023). Gallium-doped thermochemically treated titanium reduces osteoclastogenesis and improves osteodifferentiation Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 11, 1303313

Excessive bone resorption is one of the main causes of bone homeostasis alterations, resulting in an imbalance in the natural remodeling cycle. This imbalance can cause diseases such as osteoporosis, or it can be exacerbated in bone cancer processes. In such cases, there is an increased risk of fractures requiring a prosthesis. In the present study, a titanium implant subjected to gallium (Ga)-doped thermochemical treatment was evaluated as a strategy to reduce bone resorption and improve osteodifferentiation. The suitability of the material to reduce bone resorption was proven by inducing macrophages (RAW 264.7) to differentiate to osteoclasts on Ga-containing surfaces. In addition, the behavior of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) was studied in terms of cell adhesion, morphology, proliferation, and differentiation. The results proved that the Ga-containing calcium titanate layer is capable of inhibiting osteoclastogenesis, hypothetically by inducing ferroptosis. Furthermore, Ga-containing surfaces promote the differentiation of hMSCs into osteoblasts. Therefore, Ga-containing calcium titanate may be a promising strategy for patients with fractures resulting from an excessive bone resorption disease.Copyright © 2023 Piñera-Avellaneda, Buxadera-Palomero, Ginebra, Rupérez and Manero.

JTD Keywords: biology, bone metastasis, differentiation, ferroptosis, gallium, iron, mouse, osteoclast, osteoporosis, Bone metastasis, Ferroptosis, Gallium, Osteoclast, Osteoporosis, Ti metal, Titanium implant

Nauryzgaliyeva, Z, Corredera, IG, Garreta, E, Montserrat, N, (2023). Harnessing mechanobiology for kidney organoid research Frontiers In Cell And Developmental Biology 11, 1273923

Recently, organoids have emerged as revolutionizing tools with the unprecedented potential to recreate organ-specific microanatomy in vitro. Upon their derivation from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), organoids reveal the blueprints of human organogenesis, further allowing the faithful recapitulation of their physiology. Nevertheless, along with the evolution of this field, advanced research exposed the organoids' shortcomings, particularly regarding poor reproducibility rates and overall immatureness. To resolve these challenges, many studies have started to underscore the relevance of mechanical cues as a relevant source to induce and externally control hPSCs differentiation. Indeed, established organoid generation protocols from hPSCs have mainly relyed on the biochemical induction of fundamental signalling pathways present during kidney formation in mammals, whereas mechanical cues have largely been unexplored. This review aims to discuss the pertinence of (bio) physical cues within hPSCs-derived organoid cultures, while deciphering their effect on morphogenesis. Moreover, we will explore state-of-the-art mechanobiology techniques as revolutionizing means for understanding the underlying role of mechanical forces in biological processes in organoid model systems.

JTD Keywords: development, hpscs, mechanobiology, nephrogenesis, Activated ion-channel, Development, Extracellular-matrix viscoelasticity, Forces, Hpscs, Ips cells, Mechanical regulation, Mechanobiology, Nephrogenesis, Nephron progenitors, Organoids, Pluripotent stem-cells, Self-renewal, Substrate mechanics, Tissue

Prischich, D, Camarero, N, del Dedo, JE, Cambra-Pellejà, M, Prat, J, Nevola, L, Martín-Quirós, A, Rebollo, E, Pastor, L, Giralt, E, Geli, MI, Gorostiza, P, (2023). Light-dependent inhibition of clathrin-mediated endocytosis in yeast unveils conserved functions of the AP2 complex Iscience 26, 107899

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is an essential cellular process, conserved among eukaryotes. Yeast constitutes a powerful genetic model to dissect the complex endocytic machinery, yet there is a lack of specific pharmacological agents to interfere with CME in these organisms. TL2 is a light-regulated peptide inhibitor targeting the AP2-β-adaptin/β-arrestin interaction and that can photocontrol CME with high spatiotemporal precision in mammalian cells. Here, we study endocytic protein dynamics by live-cell imaging of the fluorescently tagged coat-associated protein Sla1-GFP, demonstrating that TL2 retains its inhibitory activity in S. cerevisiae spheroplasts. This is despite the β-adaptin/β-arrestin interaction not being conserved in yeast. Our data indicate that the AP2 α-adaptin is the functional target of activated TL2. We identified as interacting partners for the α-appendage, the Eps15 and epsin homologues Ede1 and Ent1. This demonstrates that endocytic cargo loading and sensing can be executed by conserved molecular interfaces, regardless of the proteins involved.© 2023 The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: adapters, alpha-appendage, azobenzene, cross-linker, mechanism, peptides, proteins, receptor, trafficking, Actin polymerization, Biochemistry, Biological sciences, Cell biology, Molecular biology, Natural sciences

Quiroga, X, Walani, N, Disanza, A, Chavero, A, Mittens, A, Tebar, F, Trepat, X, Parton, RG, Geli, MI, Scita, G, Arroyo, M, Le Roux, AL, Roca-Cusachs, P, (2023). A mechanosensing mechanism controls plasma membrane shape homeostasis at the nanoscale Elife 12, e72316

As cells migrate and experience forces from their surroundings, they constantly undergo mechanical deformations which reshape their plasma membrane (PM). To maintain homeostasis, cells need to detect and restore such changes, not only in terms of overall PM area and tension as previously described, but also in terms of local, nanoscale topography. Here, we describe a novel phenomenon, by which cells sense and restore mechanically induced PM nanoscale deformations. We show that cell stretch and subsequent compression reshape the PM in a way that generates local membrane evaginations in the 100 nm scale. These evaginations are recognized by I-BAR proteins, which triggers a burst of actin polymerization mediated by Rac1 and Arp2/3. The actin polymerization burst subsequently re-flattens the evagination, completing the mechanochemical feedback loop. Our results demonstrate a new mechanosensing mechanism for PM shape homeostasis, with potential applicability in different physiological scenarios.© 2023, Quiroga et al.

JTD Keywords: arp2/3 complex, bar, bar proteins, cdc42, cells, domain, human, irsp53, membrane biophysics, mouse, proteins, rac, tension, Actin polymerization, Bar proteins, Cell biology, Human, Mechanobiology, Membrane biophysics, Mouse, Physics of living systems

Sanz-Fraile, H, Herranz-Diez, C, Ulldemolins, A, Falcones, B, Almendros, I, Gavara, N, Sunyer, R, Farré, R, Otero, J, (2023). Characterization of Bioinks Prepared via Gelifying Extracellular Matrix from Decellularized Porcine Myocardia Gels 9, 745

Since the emergence of 3D bioprinting technology, both synthetic and natural materials have been used to develop bioinks for producing cell-laden cardiac grafts. To this end, extracellular-matrix (ECM)-derived hydrogels can be used to develop scaffolds that closely mimic the complex 3D environments for cell culture. This study presents a novel cardiac bioink based on hydrogels exclusively derived from decellularized porcine myocardium loaded with human-bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. Hence, the hydrogel can be used to develop cell-laden cardiac patches without the need to add other biomaterials or use additional crosslinkers. The scaffold ultrastructure and mechanical properties of the bioink were characterized to optimize its production, specifically focusing on the matrix enzymatic digestion time. The cells were cultured in 3D within the developed hydrogels to assess their response. The results indicate that the hydrogels fostered inter-cell and cell-matrix crosstalk after 1 week of culture. In conclusion, the bioink developed and presented in this study holds great potential for developing cell-laden customized patches for cardiac repair.

JTD Keywords: biology, biomaterials, collagen, decellularized cardiac tissue, extracellular matrix, hydrogels, mesenchymal stromal cells, 3d bioprinting, Biomaterials, Decellularized cardiac tissue, Extracellular matrix, Hydrogels, Mesenchymal stem-cells, Mesenchymal stromal cells

Qi, C, Gutierrez, SS, Lavriha, P, Othman, A, Lopez-Pigozzi, D, Bayraktar, E, Schuster, D, Picotti, P, Zamboni, N, Bortolozzi, M, Gervasio, FL, Korkhov, VM, (2023). Structure of the connexin-43 gap junction channel in a putative closed state Elife 12, RP87616

Gap junction channels (GJCs) mediate intercellular communication by connecting two neighbouring cells and enabling direct exchange of ions and small molecules. Cell coupling via connexin-43 (Cx43) GJCs is important in a wide range of cellular processes in health and disease (Churko and Laird, 2013; Liang et al., 2020; Poelzing and Rosenbaum, 2004), yet the structural basis of Cx43 function and regulation has not been determined until now. Here, we describe the structure of a human Cx43 GJC solved by cryo-EM and single particle analysis at 2.26 Å resolution. The pore region of Cx43 GJC features several lipid-like densities per Cx43 monomer, located close to a putative lateral access site at the monomer boundary. We found a previously undescribed conformation on the cytosolic side of the pore, formed by the N-terminal domain and the transmembrane helix 2 of Cx43 and stabilized by a small molecule. Structures of the Cx43 GJC and hemichannels (HCs) in nanodiscs reveal a similar gate arrangement. The features of the Cx43 GJC and HC cryo-EM maps and the channel properties revealed by molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the captured states of Cx43 are consistent with a closed state.© 2023, Qi, Acosta Gutierrez et al.

JTD Keywords: cryo-em, dehydroepiandrosterone dhea, expression, gap junction channel, gene, gja1 mutations, hemichannel, membrane protein, phenotype, protein, structure, system, visualization, Biochemistry, Chemical biology, Connexin-43, Cryo-em, Gap junction channel, Hemichannel, Human, Membrane protein, Molecular biophysics, Oculodentodigital dysplasia, Structural biology, Structure

Almadhi, S, Forth, J, Rodriguez-Arco, L, Duro-Castano, A, Williams, I, Ruiz-Pérez, L, Battaglia, G, (2023). Bottom-Up Preparation of Phase-Separated Polymersomes Macromolecular Bioscience 23, 2300068

A bottom-up approach to fabricating monodisperse, two-component polymersomes that possess phase-separated ("patchy") chemical topology is presented. This approach is compared with already-existing top-down preparation methods for patchy polymer vesicles, such as film rehydration. These findings demonstrate a bottom-up, solvent-switch self-assembly approach that produces a high yield of nanoparticles of the target size, morphology, and surface topology for drug delivery applications, in this case patchy polymersomes of a diameter of ≈50 nm. In addition, an image processing algorithm to automatically calculate polymersome size distributions from transmission electron microscope images based on a series of pre-processing steps, image segmentation, and round object identification is presented.© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: assemblies, copolymers, evolution, membranes, micelles, ph, phase separation, polymersomes, rafts, self-assembly, size, vesicles, Cell biology, Drug delivery, Phase separation, Polymersomes, Self-assembly, Vesicles

Almici, E, Arshakyan, M, Carrasco, JL, Martinez, A, Ramirez, J, Enguita, AB, Monso, E, Montero, J, Samitier, J, Alcaraz, J, (2023). Quantitative Image Analysis of Fibrillar Collagens Reveals Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers and Histotype-Dependent Aberrant Mechanobiology in Lung Cancer Modern Pathology 36, 100155

Fibrillar collagens are the most abundant extracellular matrix components in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the potential of collagen fiber descriptors as a source of clinically relevant biomarkers in NSCLC is largely unknown. Similarly, our understanding of the aberrant collagen organization and associated tumor-promoting effects is very scarce. To address these limitations, we identified a digital pathology approach that can be easily implemented in pa-thology units based on CT-FIRE software (version 2; analysis of Picrosirius red (PSR) stains of fibrillar collagens imaged with polarized light (PL). CT-FIRE set-tings were pre-optimized to assess a panel of collagen fiber descriptors in PSR-PL images of tissue microarrays from surgical NSCLC patients (106 adenocarcinomas [ADC] and 89 squamous cell carcinomas [SCC]). Using this approach, we identified straightness as the single high-accuracy diagnostic collagen fiber descriptor (average area under the curve 1/4 0.92) and fiber density as the single descriptor consistently associated with a poor prognosis in both ADC and SCC inde-pendently of the gold standard based on the TNM staging (hazard ratio, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.55-4.66; P < .001). Moreover, we found that collagen fibers were markedly straighter, longer, and more aligned in tumor samples compared to paired samples from uninvolved pulmonary tissue, particularly in ADC, which is indicative of increased tumor stiffening. Consistently, we observed an increase in a panel of stiffness-associated processes in the high collagen fiber density patient group selectively in ADC, including venous/lymphatic invasion, fibroblast activation (a-smooth muscle actin), and immune evasion (programmed death-ligand 1). Similarly, a transcriptional correlation analysis supported the potential involvement of the major YAP/TAZ pathway in ADC. Our results provide a proof-of-principle to use CT-FIRE analysis of PSR-PL images to assess new collagen fiber-based diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in pathology units, which may improve the clinical management of patients with surgical NSCLC. Our findings also unveil an aberrant stiff micro -environment in lung ADC that may foster immune evasion and dissemination, encouraging future work to identify therapeutic opportunities. (c) 2023 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommo

JTD Keywords: biomarkers, collagen, ct-fire, lung cancer, mechanobiology, Adenocarcinoma, Association, Biomarkers, Collagen, Ct-fire, Differentiation, Expression, Extracellular-matrix, I collagen, Invasion, Lung cancer, Mechanobiology, Microenvironment, Signature, Survival, Tumor microenvironment

Ortiz, C, Klein, S, Reul, WH, Magdaleno, F, Gröschl, S, Dietrich, P, Schierwagen, R, Uschner, FE, Torres, S, Hieber, C, Meier, C, Kraus, N, Tyc, O, Brol, M, Zeuzem, S, Welsch, C, Poglitsch, M, Hellerbrand, C, Alfonso-Prieto, M, Mira, F, Keller, UAD, Tetzner, A, Moore, A, Walther, T, Trebicka, J, (2023). Neprilysin-dependent neuropeptide Y cleavage in the liver promotes fibrosis by blocking NPY-receptor 1 Cell Reports 42, 112059

Development of liver fibrosis is paralleled by contraction of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), the main profibrotic hepatic cells. Yet, little is known about the interplay of neprilysin (NEP) and its substrate neuropeptide Y (NPY), a potent enhancer of contraction, in liver fibrosis. We demonstrate that HSCs are the source of NEP. Importantly, NPY originates majorly from the splanchnic region and is cleaved by NEP in order to terminate contraction. Interestingly, NEP deficiency (Nep-/-) showed less fibrosis but portal hypertension upon liver injury in two different fibrosis models in mice. We demonstrate the incremental benefit of Nep-/- in addition to AT1R blocker (ARB) or ACE inhibitors for fibrosis and portal hypertension. Finally, oral administration of Entresto, a combination of ARB and NEP inhibitor, decreased hepatic fibrosis and portal pressure in mice. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for translation of NEP-AT1R-blockade in human liver fibrosis and portal hypertension.Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: activation, cirrhosis, cirrhotic rats, cp: cell biology, expression, hepatic stellate cell, identification, inhibition, mechanisms, modulation, neprilysin, neuropeptide y, neuropeptide y receptor 1, portal hypertension, portal-hypertension, web server, Renin-angiotensin system

Avalos-Padilla, Y, Georgiev, VN, Ewins, E, Robinson, T, Orozco, E, Lipowsky, R, Dimova, R, (2023). Stepwise remodeling and subcompartment formation in individual vesicles by three ESCRT-III proteins Iscience 26, 105765

The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) is a multi-protein machinery involved in several membrane remodeling processes. Different approaches have been used to resolve how ESCRT proteins scission membranes. However, the underlying mechanisms generating membrane deformations are still a matter of debate. Here, giant unilamellar vesicles, microfluidic technology, and micropipette aspiration are combined to continuously follow the ESCRT-III-mediated membrane remodeling on the single-vesicle level for the first time. With this approach, we identify different mechanisms by which a minimal set of three ESCRT-III proteins from Entamoeba histolytica reshape the membrane. These proteins modulate the membrane stiffness and spontaneous curvature to regulate bud size and generate intraluminal vesicles even in the absence of ATP. We demonstrate that the bud stability depends on the protein concentration and membrane tension. The approaches introduced here should open the road to diverse applications in synthetic biology for establishing artificial cells with several membrane compartments.© 2022 The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: bilayer, curvature, diffusion-coefficients, identification, membrane-scission, phase-diagram, reveals, sorting complex, structural basis, Biophysics, Biotechnology, Cell biology, Giant vesicles, Membranes

Garreta, E, Moya-Rull, D, Stanifer, ML, Monteil, V, Prado, P, Marco, A, Tarantino, C, Gallo, M, Jonsson, G, Hagelkruys, A, Mirazimi, A, Boulant, S, Penninger, JM, Montserrat, N, (2022). Protocol for SARS-CoV-2 infection of kidney organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells Star Protocols 3, 101872

This protocol presents the use of SARS-CoV-2 isolates to infect human kidney organoids, enabling exploration of the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a human multicellular in vitro system. We detail steps to generate kidney organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and emulate a diabetic milieu via organoids exposure to diabetogenic-like cell culture conditions. We further describe preparation and titration steps of SARS-CoV-2 virus stocks, their subsequent use to infect the kidney organoids, and assessment of the infection via immunofluorescence.

JTD Keywords: cell culture, cell differentiation, microbiology, microscopy, organoids, Cell culture, Microbiología, Microscopy, Stem cells

Joseph, A, Wagner, AM, Garay-Sarmiento, M, Aleksanyan, M, Haraszti, T, Söder, D, Georgiev, VN, Dimova, R, Percec, V, Rodriguez-Emmenegger, C, (2022). Zwitterionic Dendrimersomes: A Closer Xenobiotic Mimic of Cell Membranes Advanced Materials 34, e2206288

Building functional mimics of cell membranes is an important task toward the development of synthetic cells. So far, lipid and amphiphilic block copolymers are the most widely used amphiphiles with the bilayers by the former lacking stability while membranes by the latter are typically characterized by very slow dynamics. Herein, we introduce a new type of Janus dendrimer containing a zwitterionic phosphocholine hydrophilic headgroup (JDPC ) and a 3,5-substituted dihydrobenzoate-based hydrophobic dendron. JDPC self-assembles in water into zwitterionic dendrimersomes (z-DSs) that faithfully recapitulate the cell membrane in thickness, flexibility, and fluidity, while being resilient to harsh conditions and displaying faster pore closing dynamics in the event of membrane rupture. This enables the fabrication of hybrid DSs with components of natural membranes, including pore-forming peptides, structure-directing lipids, and glycans to create raft-like domains or onion vesicles. Moreover, z-DSs can be used to create active synthetic cells with life-like features that mimic vesicle fusion and motility as well as environmental sensing. Despite their fully synthetic nature, z-DSs are minimal cell mimics that can integrate and interact with living matter with the programmability to imitate life-like features and beyond. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: biological-membranes, bottom-up synthetic biology, chain, hybrid vesicles, hydroethidine, organization, polymersome, proteins, stability, synthetic cells, thickness, vesicle fusion, vesicle motility, vesicles, zwitterionic dendrimersomes, Biosensor, Biosensors, Bottom-up synthetic biology, Hybrid vesicles, Lipid-bilayers, Synthetic cells, Vesicle fusion, Vesicle motility, Zwitterionic dendrimersomes

Narciso, M, Ulldemolins, A, Júnior, C, Otero, J, Navajas, D, Farré, R, Gavara, N, Almendros, I, (2022). A Fast and Efficient Decellularization Method for Tissue Slices Bio Protoc 12, e4550

The study and use of decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and pathophysiology have become more prevalent in recent years. To obtain dECM, numerous decellularization procedures have been developed for the entire organ or tissue blocks, employing either perfusion of decellularizing agents through the tissue's vessels or submersion of large sections in decellularizing solutions. However, none of these protocols are suitable for thin tissue slices (less than 100 µm) or allow side-by-side analysis of native and dECM consecutive tissue slices. Here, we present a detailed protocol to decellularize tissue sections while maintaining the sample attached to a glass slide. This protocol consists of consecutive washes and incubations of simple decellularizing agents: ultrapure water, sodium deoxycholate (SD) 2%, and deoxyribonuclease I solution 0.3 mg/mL (DNase I). This novel method has been optimized for a faster decellularization time (2-3 h) and a better correlation between dECM properties and native tissue-specific biomarkers, and has been tested in different types of tissues and species, obtaining similar results. Furthermore, this method can be used for scarce and valuable samples such as clinical biopsies. This protocol was validated in: Front Bioeng Biotechnol (2022), DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.832178.Copyright © 2022 The Authors; exclusive licensee Bio-protocol LLC.

JTD Keywords: decellularization, extracellular matrix, glass slide, mechanobiology, sodium deoxycholate, tissue slices, Decellularization, Extracellular-matrix, Tissue slices

Lolo, FN, Pavón, DM, Grande, A, Artola, AE, Segatori, VI, Sánchez, S, Trepat, X, Roca-Cusachs, P, del Pozo, MA, (2022). Caveolae couple mechanical stress to integrin recycling and activation Elife 11, e82348

Cells are subjected to multiple mechanical inputs throughout their lives. Their ability to detect these environmental cues is called mechanosensing, a process in which integrins play an important role. During cellular mechanosensing, plasma membrane (PM) tension is adjusted to mechanical stress through the buffering action of caveolae; however, little is known about the role of caveolae in early integrin mechanosensing regulation. Here, we show that Cav1KO fibroblasts increase adhesion to FN-coated beads when pulled with magnetic tweezers, as compared to wild type fibroblasts. This phenotype is Rho-independent and mainly derived from increased active b1-integrin content on the surface of Cav1KO fibroblasts. FRAP analysis and endocytosis/recycling assays revealed that active b1-integrin is mostly endocytosed through the CLIC/GEEC pathway and is more rapidly recycled to the PM in Cav1KO fibroblasts, in a Rab4 and PM tension-dependent manner. Moreover, the threshold for PM tension-driven b1-integrin activation is lower in Cav1KO MEFs than in wild type MEFs, through a mechanism dependent on talin activity. Our findings suggest that caveolae couple mechanical stress to integrin cycling and activation, thereby regulating the early steps of the cellular mechanosensing response.© 2022, Lolo et al.

JTD Keywords: adhesion, alpha-v-beta-3, cell, integrin activation, internalization, kinase, mechanosensing, mediated endocytosis, mouse, stiffness, talin, trafficking, Cell biology, Integrin activation, Integrin recycling, Mechanosensing, Membrane tension, Mouse

Donker, L, Houtekamer, R, Vliem, M, Sipieter, F, Canever, H, Gómez-González, M, Bosch-Padrós, M, Pannekoek, WJ, Trepat, X, Borghi, N, Gloerich, M, (2022). A mechanical G2 checkpoint controls epithelial cell division through E-cadherin-mediated regulation of Wee1-Cdk1 Cell Reports 41, 111475

Epithelial cell divisions are coordinated with cell loss to preserve epithelial integrity. However, how epithelia adapt their rate of cell division to changes in cell number, for instance during homeostatic turnover or wounding, is not well understood. Here, we show that epithelial cells sense local cell density through mechanosensitive E-cadherin adhesions to control G2/M cell-cycle progression. As local cell density increases, tensile forces on E-cadherin adhesions are reduced, which prompts the accumulation of the G2 checkpoint kinase Wee1 and downstream inhibitory phosphorylation of Cdk1. Consequently, dense epithelia contain a pool of cells that are temporarily halted in G2 phase. These cells are readily triggered to divide following epithelial wounding due to the consequent increase in intercellular forces and resulting degradation of Wee1. Our data collectively show that epithelial cell division is controlled by a mechanical G2 checkpoint, which is regulated by cell-density-dependent intercellular forces sensed and transduced by E-cadherin adhesions.Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: Adherens junction, Cell cycle, Cell division, Cp: cell biology, E-cadherin, Epithelial homeostasis, G2 checkpoint, Mechanical forces, Mechanotransduction, Mitosis, Proliferation

Barbacena, P, Dominguez-Cejudo, M, Fonseca, CG, Gómez-González, M, Faure, LM, Zarkada, G, Pena, A, Pezzarossa, A, Ramalho, D, Giarratano, Y, Ouarné, M, Barata, D, Fortunato, IC, Misikova, LH, Mauldin, I, Carvalho, Y, Trepat, X, Roca-Cusachs, P, Eichmann, A, Bernabeu, MO, Franco, CA, (2022). Competition for endothelial cell polarity drives vascular morphogenesis in the mouse retina Developmental Cell 57, 2321-+

Blood-vessel formation generates unique vascular patterns in each individual. The principles governing the apparent stochasticity of this process remain to be elucidated. Using mathematical methods, we find that the transition between two fundamental vascular morphogenetic programs-sprouting angiogenesis and vascular remodeling-is established by a shift of collective front-to-rear polarity of endothelial cells in the mouse retina. We demonstrate that the competition between biochemical (VEGFA) and mechanical (blood-flow-induced shear stress) cues controls this collective polarity shift. Shear stress increases tension at focal adhesions overriding VEGFA-driven collective polarization, which relies on tension at adherens junctions. We propose that vascular morphogenetic cues compete to regulate individual cell polarity and migration through tension shifts that translates into tissue-level emergent behaviors, ultimately leading to uniquely organized vascular patterns.Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: activation, angiogenesis, dynamics, flow, forces, image, mechanisms, vinculin, Angiogenesis, Cell polarity, Fluid shear, Mechanobiology, Morphogenesis, Shear stress

Phuyal, S, Djaerff, E, Le Roux, AL, Baker, MJ, Fankhauser, D, Mahdizadeh, SJ, Reiterer, V, Parizadeh, A, Felder, E, Kahlhofer, JC, Teis, D, Kazanietz, MG, Geley, S, Eriksson, L, Roca-Cusachs, P, Farhan, H, (2022). Mechanical strain stimulates COPII-dependent secretory trafficking via Rac1 Embo Journal 41, e110596

Cells are constantly exposed to various chemical and physical stimuli. While much has been learned about the biochemical factors that regulate secretory trafficking from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), much less is known about whether and how this trafficking is subject to regulation by mechanical signals. Here, we show that subjecting cells to mechanical strain both induces the formation of ER exit sites (ERES) and accelerates ER-to-Golgi trafficking. We found that cells with impaired ERES function were less capable of expanding their surface area when placed under mechanical stress and were more prone to develop plasma membrane defects when subjected to stretching. Thus, coupling of ERES function to mechanotransduction appears to confer resistance of cells to mechanical stress. Furthermore, we show that the coupling of mechanotransduction to ERES formation was mediated via a previously unappreciated ER-localized pool of the small GTPase Rac1. Mechanistically, we show that Rac1 interacts with the small GTPase Sar1 to drive budding of COPII carriers and stimulates ER-to-Golgi transport. This interaction therefore represents an unprecedented link between mechanical strain and export from the ER.© 2022 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.

JTD Keywords: cells, copii, docking, endoplasmic reticulum, endoplasmic-reticulum, er, gtpase, mechanobiology, proliferation, protein, reticulum exit sites, web server, Copii, Fast interaction refinement, Mechanobiology

Martínez-Ara, G, Taberner, N, Takayama, M, Sandaltzopoulou, E, Villava, CE, Bosch-Padrós, M, Takata, N, Trepat, X, Eiraku, M, Ebisuya, M, (2022). Optogenetic control of apical constriction induces synthetic morphogenesis in mammalian tissues Nature Communications 13, 5400

The emerging field of synthetic developmental biology proposes bottom-up approaches to examine the contribution of each cellular process to complex morphogenesis. However, the shortage of tools to manipulate three-dimensional (3D) shapes of mammalian tissues hinders the progress of the field. Here we report the development of OptoShroom3, an optogenetic tool that achieves fast spatiotemporal control of apical constriction in mammalian epithelia. Activation of OptoShroom3 through illumination in an epithelial Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell sheet reduces the apical surface of the stimulated cells and causes displacements in the adjacent regions. Light-induced apical constriction provokes the folding of epithelial cell colonies on soft gels. Its application to murine and human neural organoids leads to thickening of neuroepithelia, apical lumen reduction in optic vesicles, and flattening in neuroectodermal tissues. These results show that spatiotemporal control of apical constriction can trigger several types of 3D deformation depending on the initial tissue context.© 2022. The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: build, developmental biology, disease, light, localization, multicellular structures, organization, plate, shroom, Epithelial-cell shape

Astro, V, Ramirez-Calderon, G, Pennucci, R, Caroli, J, Saera-Vila, A, Cardona-Londono, K, Forastieri, C, Fiacco, E, Maksoud, F, Alowaysi, M, Sogne, E, Falqui, A, Gonzalez, F, Montserrat, N, Battaglioli, E, Mattevi, A, Adamo, A, (2022). Fine-tuned KDM1A alternative splicing regulates human cardiomyogenesis through an enzymatic-independent mechanism Iscience 25, 104665

The histone demethylase KDM1A is a multi- faceted regulator of vital developmental processes, including mesodermal and cardiac tube formation during gastrulation. However, it is unknown whether the fine-tuning of KDM1A splicing isoforms, already shown to regulate neuronal maturation, is crucial for the specification and maintenance of cell identity during cardiogenesis. Here, we discovered a temporal modulation of ubKDM1A and KDM1A+2a during human and mice fetal cardiac development and evaluated their impact on the regulation of cardiac differentiation. We revealed a severely impaired cardiac differentiation in KDM1A(-/-) hESCs that can be rescued by re-expressing ubKDM1A or catalytically impaired ubKDM1A-K661A, but not by KDM1A+2a or KDM1A+2a-K661A. Conversely, KDM1A+2a(-/-) hESCs give rise to functional cardiac cells, displaying increased beating amplitude and frequency and enhanced expression of critical cardiogenic markers. Our findings prove the existence of a divergent scaffolding role of KDM1A splice variants, independent of their enzymatic activity, during hESC differentiation into cardiac cells.

JTD Keywords: cell biology, molecular mechanism of gene regulation, omics, Bhlh transcription factor, Corest, Differentiation, Dna, Embryonic stem-cells, Heart, Lsd1, Phosphorylation, Proteins, Stem cells research, Swirm domain

Bonardd, S, Maiti, B, Grijalvo, S, Rodriguez, J, Enshaei, H, Kortaberria, G, Aleman, C, Diaz, DD, (2022). Biomass-derived isosorbide-based thermoresponsive hydrogel for drug delivery Soft Matter 18, 4963-4972

Herein, we describe the design and synthesis of a new variety of bio-based hydrogel films using a Cu(i)-catalyzed photo-click reaction. These films exhibited thermal-triggered swelling-deswelling and were constructed by crosslinking a triazide derivative of glycerol ethoxylate and dialkyne structures derived from isosorbide, a well-known plant-based platform molecule. The success of the click reaction was corroborated through infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and the smooth surface of the obtained films was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The thermal characterization was carried out in terms of thermogravimetry (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), from which the decomposition onset and glass transition temperatures were determined, respectively. Additionally, mechanical properties of the samples were estimated by stress-strain experiments. Then, their swelling and deswelling properties were systematically examined in PBS buffer, revealing a thermoresponsive behavior that was successfully tested in the release of the anticancer drug doxorubicin. We also confirmed the non-cytotoxicity of these materials, which is a fundamental aspect for their potential use as drug carriers or tissue engineering matrices.

JTD Keywords: Biology, Click chemistry, Growth, Release

Wagner, AM, Eto, H, Joseph, A, Kohyama, S, Haraszti, T, Zamora, RA, Vorobii, M, Giannotti, MI, Schwille, P, Rodriguez-Emmenegger, C, (2022). Dendrimersome Synthetic Cells Harbor Cell Division Machinery of Bacteria Advanced Materials 34, 2202364

The integration of active cell machinery with synthetic building blocks is the bridge toward developing synthetic cells with biological functions and beyond. Self-replication is one of the most important tasks of living systems, and various complex machineries exist to execute it. In Escherichia coli, a contractile division ring is positioned to mid-cell by concentration oscillations of self-organizing proteins (MinCDE), where it severs membrane and cell wall. So far, the reconstitution of any cell division machinery has exclusively been tied to liposomes. Here, the reconstitution of a rudimentary bacterial divisome in fully synthetic bicomponent dendrimersomes is shown. By tuning the membrane composition, the interaction of biological machinery with synthetic membranes can be tailored to reproduce its dynamic behavior. This constitutes an important breakthrough in the assembly of synthetic cells with biological elements, as tuning of membrane-divisome interactions is the key to engineering emergent biological behavior from the bottom-up.

JTD Keywords: bacterial cell division, bottom-up synthetic biology, dendrimersomes, dynamic min patterns, ftsz assembly, Bacterial cell division, Bottom-up synthetic biology, Dendrimersomes, Dynamic min patterns, Dynamics, Ftsz assembly, Ftsz filaments, Mind, Organization, Pole oscillation, Polymersome membranes, Proteins, Rapid pole, Synthetic cells, Vesicles

Ebisuya, M, Trepat, X, (2022). Tension hones body segmentation around the clock Nature 605, 432-433

Wagner, Anna M., Quandt, Jonas, Söder, Dominik, Garay-Sarmiento, Manuela, Joseph, Anton, Petrovskii, Vladislav S., Witzdam, Lena, Hammoor, Thomas, Steitz, Philipp, Haraszti, Tamás, Potemkin, Igor I., Kostina, Nina Yu., Herrmann, Andreas, Rodriguez-Emmenegger, Cesar, (2022). Ionic Combisomes: A New Class of Biomimetic Vesicles to Fuse with Life Advanced Science 9, e2200617-2200617

The construction of biomembranes that faithfully capture the properties and dynamic functions of cell membranes remains a challenge in the development of synthetic cells and their application. Here a new concept for synthetic cell membranes based on the self-assembly of amphiphilic comb polymers into vesicles, termed ionic combisomes (i-combisomes) is introduced. These combs consist of a polyzwitterionic backbone to which hydrophobic tails are linked by electrostatic interactions. Using a range of microscopies and molecular simulations, the self-assembly of a library of combs in water is screened. It is discovered that the hydrophobic tails form the membrane's core and force the backbone into a rod conformation with nematic-like ordering confined to the interface with water. This particular organization resulted in membranes that combine the stability of classic polymersomes with the biomimetic thickness, flexibility, and lateral mobility of liposomes. Such unparalleled matching of biophysical properties and the ability to locally reconfigure the molecular topology of its constituents enable the harboring of functional components of natural membranes and fusion with living bacteria to “hijack” their periphery. This provides an almost inexhaustible palette to design the chemical and biological makeup of the i-combisomes membrane resulting in a powerful platform for fundamental studies and technological applications.

JTD Keywords: amphiphilic comb polymers, bottom-up synthetic biology, hybrid vesicles, polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes, polymersomes, synthetic biomembranes, Vesicle fusion

Narciso, M, Ulldemolins, A, Junior, C, Otero, J, Navajas, D, Farré, R, Gavara, N, Almendros, I, (2022). Novel Decellularization Method for Tissue Slices Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 10, 832178

Decellularization procedures have been developed and optimized for the entire organ or tissue blocks, by either perfusion of decellularizing agents through the tissue’s vasculature or submerging large sections in decellularizing solutions. However, some research aims require the analysis of native as well as decellularized tissue slices side by side, but an optimal protocol has not yet been established to address this need. Thus, the main goal of this work was to develop a fast and efficient decellularization method for tissue slices—with an emphasis on lung—while attached to a glass slide. To this end, different decellularizing agents were compared for their effectiveness in cellular removal while preserving the extracellular matrix. The intensity of DNA staining was taken as an indicator of remaining cells and compared to untreated sections. The presence of collagen, elastin and laminin were quantified using immunostaining and signal quantification. Scaffolds resulting from the optimized protocol were mechanically characterized using atomic force microscopy. Lung scaffolds were recellularized with mesenchymal stromal cells to assess their biocompatibility. Some decellularization agents (CHAPS, triton, and ammonia hydroxide) did not achieve sufficient cell removal. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) was effective in cell removal (1% remaining DNA signal), but its sharp reduction of elastin signal (only 6% remained) plus lower attachment ratio (32%) singled out sodium deoxycholate (SD) as the optimal treatment for this application (6.5% remaining DNA signal), due to its higher elastin retention (34%) and higher attachment ratio (60%). Laminin and collagen were fully preserved in all treatments. The SD decellularization protocol was also successful for porcine and murine (mice and rat) lungs as well as for other tissues such as the heart, kidney, and bladder. No significant mechanical differences were found before and after sample decellularization. The resulting acellular lung scaffolds were shown to be biocompatible (98% cell survival after 72 h of culture). This novel method to decellularize tissue slices opens up new methodological possibilities to better understand the role of the extracellular matrix in the context of several diseases as well as tissue engineering research and can be easily adapted for scarce samples like clinical biopsies. Copyright © 2022 Narciso, Ulldemolins, Júnior, Otero, Navajas, Farré, Gavara and Almendros.

JTD Keywords: biocompatibility, bioscaffold recellularization, decellularization, extracellular matrix, flow, impact, lung, scaffolds, tissue slices, Ammonia, Bio-scaffolds, Biocompatibility, Biological organs, Bioscaffold recellularization, Cell removal, Cells, Collagen, Cytology, Decellularization, Dna, Dna signals, Elastin, Extracellular matrices, Extracellular matrix, Extracellular-matrix, Glycoproteins, Laminin, Lung, Mammals, Recellularization, Scaffolds (biology), Sodium deoxycholate, Sulfur compounds, Tissue, Tissue slice, Tissue slices

Aydin, O, Passaro, AP, Raman, R, Spellicy, SE, Weinberg, RP, Kamm, RD, Sample, M, Truskey, GA, Zartman, J, Dar, RD, Palacios, S, Wang, J, Tordoff, J, Montserrat, N, Bashir, R, Saif, MTA, Weiss, R, (2022). Principles for the design of multicellular engineered living systems Apl Bioengineering 6, 10903

Remarkable progress in bioengineering over the past two decades has enabled the formulation of fundamental design principles for a variety of medical and non-medical applications. These advancements have laid the foundation for building multicellular engineered living systems (M-CELS) from biological parts, forming functional modules integrated into living machines. These cognizant design principles for living systems encompass novel genetic circuit manipulation, self-assembly, cell–cell/matrix communication, and artificial tissues/organs enabled through systems biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, genetic engineering, and microfluidics. Here, we introduce design principles and a blueprint for forward production of robust and standardized M-CELS, which may undergo variable reiterations through the classic design-build-test-debug cycle. This Review provides practical and theoretical frameworks to forward-design, control, and optimize novel M-CELS. Potential applications include biopharmaceuticals, bioreactor factories, biofuels, environmental bioremediation, cellular computing, biohybrid digital technology, and experimental investigations into mechanisms of multicellular organisms normally hidden inside the “black box” of living cells.

JTD Keywords: cell-fate specification, endothelial-cells, escherichia-coli, extracellular-matrix, gene-expression noise, nuclear hormone-receptors, pluripotent stem-cells, primitive endoderm, transcription factors, Artificial tissues, Assembly cells, Biological parts, Biological systems, Bioremediation, Blood-brain-barrier, Cell engineering, Cell/matrix communication, Design principles, Environmental technology, Functional modules, Fundamental design, Genetic circuits, Genetic engineering, Living machines, Living systems, Medical applications, Molecular biology, Synthetic biology

Duro-Castano, A, Rodríguez-Arco, L, Ruiz-Pérez, L, De Pace, C, Marchello, G, Noble-Jesus, C, Battaglia, G, (2021). One-Pot Synthesis of Oxidation-Sensitive Supramolecular Gels and Vesicles Biomacromolecules 22, 5052-5064

Polypeptide-based nanoparticles offer unique advantages from a nanomedicine perspective such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, and stimuli-responsive properties to (patho)physiological conditions. Conventionally, self-assembled polypeptide nanostructures are prepared by first synthesizing their constituent amphiphilic polypeptides followed by postpolymerization self-assembly. Herein, we describe the one-pot synthesis of oxidation-sensitive supramolecular micelles and vesicles. This was achieved by polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) of the N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) precursor of methionine using poly(ethylene oxide) as a stabilizing and hydrophilic block in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). By adjusting the hydrophobic block length and concentration, we obtained a range of morphologies from spherical to wormlike micelles, to vesicles. Remarkably, the secondary structure of polypeptides greatly influenced the final morphology of the assemblies. Surprisingly, wormlike micellar morphologies were obtained for a wide range of methionine block lengths and solid contents, with spherical micelles restricted to very short hydrophobic lengths. Wormlike micelles further assembled into oxidation-sensitive, self-standing gels in the reaction pot. Both vesicles and wormlike micelles obtained using this method demonstrated to degrade under controlled oxidant conditions, which would expand their biomedical applications such as in sustained drug release or as cellular scaffolds in tissue engineering.

JTD Keywords: alpha-amino-acid, hydrogels, leuchs anhydrides, platform, polypeptides, transformation, triggered cargo release, Amino acids, Amphiphilics, Biocompatibility, Biodegradability, Block lengths, Controlled drug delivery, Dimethyl sulfoxide, Ethylene, Gels, Hydrophobicity, Medical nanotechnology, Methionine, Micelles, Morphology, One-pot synthesis, Organic solvents, Oxidation, Physiological condition, Polyethylene oxides, Post-polymerization, Ring-opening polymerization, Scaffolds (biology), Self assembly, Stimuli-responsive properties, Supramolecular chemistry, Supramolecular gels, Supramolecular micelles, Wormlike micelle

Chausse, V, Schieber, R, Raymond, Y, Ségry, B, Sabaté, R, Kolandaivelu, K, Ginebra, MP, Pegueroles, M, (2021). Solvent-cast direct-writing as a fabrication strategy for radiopaque stents Additive Manufacturing 48, 102392

Elosegui-Artola, A, (2021). The extracellular matrix viscoelasticity as a regulator of cell and tissue dynamics Current Opinion In Cell Biology 72, 10-18

The extracellular matrix mechanical properties regulate processes in development, cancer, and fibrosis. Among the distinct mechanical properties, the vast majority of research has focused on the extracellular matrix's elasticity as the primary determinant of cell and tissue behavior. However, both cells and the extracellular matrix are not only elastic but also viscous. Despite viscoelasticity being a universal feature of living tissues, our knowledge of the influence of the extracellular matrix's viscoelasticity in cell behavior is limited. This mini-review describes some of the recent findings that have highlighted the role of the extracellular matrix's viscoelasticity in cell and tissue dynamics.

JTD Keywords: behavior, cell adhesion, cell mechanics, cell migration, deformability, extracellular matrix, extracellular matrix mechanics, fluidity, forces, hydrogels, mechanobiology, mechanotransduction, tissue mechanics, viscoelasticity, viscosity, Cell adhesion, Cell mechanics, Cell migration, Extracellular matrix, Extracellular matrix mechanics, Fluidity, Mechanobiology, Mechanotransduction, Migration, Tissue mechanics, Viscoelasticity, Viscosity

Konka, J, Espanol, M, Bosch, BM, de Oliveira, E, Ginebra, MP, (2021). Maturation of biomimetic hydroxyapatite in physiological fluids: a physicochemical and proteomic study Materials Today Bio 12, 100137

Biomimetic calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (CDHA) as a bioactive material exhibits exceptional intrinsic osteoinductive and osteogenic properties because of its nanostructure and composition, which promote a favorable microenvironment. Its high reactivity has been hypothesized to play a relevant role in the in vivo performance, mediated by the interaction with the biological fluids, which is amplified by its high specific surface area. Paradoxically, this high reactivity is also behind the in vitro cytotoxicity of this material, especially pro-nounced in static conditions. The present work explores the structural and physicochemical changes that CDHA undergoes in contact with physiological fluids and to investigate its interaction with proteins. Calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite discs with different micro/nanostructures, coarse (C) and fine (F), were exposed to cell-free complete culture medium over extended periods of time: 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 50 days. Precipitate formation was not observed in any of the materials in contact with the physiological fluid, which would indicate that the ionic exchanges were linked to incorporation into the crystal structure of CDHA or in the hydrated layer. In fact, CDHA experienced a maturation process, with a progressive increase in crystallinity and the Ca/P ratio, accompanied by an uptake of Mg and a B-type carbonation process, with a gradual propagation into the core of the samples. However, the reactivity of biomimetic hydroxyapatite was highly dependent on the specific surface area and was amplified in nanosized needle-like crystal structures (F), whereas in coarse specimens the ionic exchanges were restricted to the surface, with low penetration in the material bulk. In addition to showing a higher protein adsorption on F substrates, the proteomics study revealed the existence of protein selectivity to-ward F or C microstructures, as well as the capability of CDHA, and more remarkably of F-CDHA, to concentrate specific proteins from the culture medium. Finally, a substantial improvement in the material's ability to support cell proliferation was observed after the CDHA maturation process.

JTD Keywords: calcium phosphates, ion exchange, nanostructure, protein adsorption, Biological-systems, Biomaterials, Biomimetic hydroxyapatites, Biomimetics, Bone-formation, Calcium deficient hydroxyapatite, Calcium phosphate, Calcium phosphates, Cell proliferation, Crystal structure, Crystallinity, Crystals structures, Culture medium, Growth, High reactivity, Hydroxyapatite, In-vitro, Ion exchange, Ionic exchange, Molecular biology, Nanocrystalline apatites, Nanostructure, Nanostructures, Octacalcium phosphate, Physicochemical studies, Physiological fluids, Physiology, Protein adsorption, Proteins, Proteomic studies, Raman spectroscopy, Serum-albumin, Specific surface area

De Matteis, V, Cascione, M, Rizzello, L, Manno, DE, Di Guglielmo, C, Rinaldi, R, (2021). Synergistic effect induced by gold nanoparticles with polyphenols shell during thermal therapy: Macrophage inflammatory response and cancer cell death assessment Cancers 13, 3610

Background: In recent decades, gold nanoparticle (Au NP)-based cancer therapy has been heavily debated. The physico-chemical properties of AuNPs can be exploited in photothermal therapy, making them a powerful tool for selectively killing cancer cells. However, the synthetic side products and capping agents often induce a strong activation of the inflammatory pathways of macrophages, thus limiting their further applications in vivo. Methods: Here, we described a green method to obtain stable polyphenol-capped AuNPs (Au NPs@polyphenols), as polyphenols are known for their anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. These NPs were used in human macrophages to test key inflammation-related markers, such as NF-κB, TNF-α, and interleukins-6 and 8. The results were compared with similar NPs obtained by a traditional chemical route (without the polyphenol coating), proving the potential of Au NPs@polyphenols to strongly promote the shutdown of inflammation. This was useful in developing them for use as heat-synergized tools in the thermal treatment of two types of cancer cells, namely, breast cancer (MCF-7) and neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells. The cell viability, calcium release, oxidative stress, HSP-70 expression, mitochondrial, and DNA damage, as well as cytoskeleton alteration, were evaluated. Results: Our results clearly demonstrate that the combined strategy markedly exerts anticancer effects against the tested cancer cell, while neither of the single treatments (only heat or only NPs) induced significant changes. Conclusions: Au NP@polyphenols may be powerful agents in cancer treatment.

JTD Keywords: antioxidant, aunps, biocompatibility, biology, calcium, cancer, green synthesis, inflammation response, inhibition, interleukin-6, mechanisms, natural polyphenols, physico-chemical properties, polyphenols, size, thermal treatment, Aunps, Cancer, Green synthesis, Inflammation response, Nobilis l. leaves, Physico-chemical properties, Polyphenols, Thermal treatment

Velasco-Mallorqui, F, Rodriguez-Comas, J, Ramon-Azcon, J, (2021). Cellulose-based scaffolds enhance pseudoislets formation and functionality Biofabrication 13, 35044

In vitro research for the study of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is frequently limited by the availability of a functional model for islets of Langerhans. To overcome the limitations of obtaining pancreatic islets from different sources, such as animal models or human donors, immortalized cell lines as the insulin-producing INS1E beta-cells have appeared as a valid alternative to model insulin-related diseases. However, immortalized cell lines are mainly used in flat surfaces or monolayer distributions, not resembling the spheroid-like architecture of the pancreatic islets. To generate islet-like structures, the use of scaffolds appeared as a valid tool to promote cell aggregations. Traditionally-used hydrogel encapsulation methods do not accomplish all the requisites for pancreatic tissue engineering, as its poor nutrient and oxygen diffusion induces cell death. Here, we use cryogelation technology to develop a more resemblance scaffold with the mechanical and physical properties needed to engineer pancreatic tissue. This study shows that carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) cryogels prompted cells to generate beta-cell clusters in comparison to gelatin-based scaffolds, that did not induce this cell organization. Moreover, the high porosity achieved with CMC cryogels allowed us to create specific range pseudoislets. Pseudoislets formed within CMC-scaffolds showed cell viability for up to 7 d and a better response to glucose over conventional monolayer cultures. Overall, our results demonstrate that CMC-scaffolds can be used to control the organization and function of insulin-producing beta-cells, representing a suitable technique to generate beta-cell clusters to study pancreatic islet function.

JTD Keywords: biomaterial, cryogel, pancreatic islets, scaffold, tissue engineering, ?-cell, Architecture, Beta-cell, Beta-cell heterogeneity, Biomaterial, Carboxymethyl cellulose, Cell culture, Cell death, Cell engineering, Cell organization, Cells, Cellulose, Cryogel, Cryogels, Cytoarchitecture, Delivery, Encapsulation methods, Gelation, Gene-expression, Immortalized cells, Insulin, Insulin secretory responses, Islets of langerhans, Mechanical and physical properties, Monolayer culture, Monolayers, Pancreatic islets, Pancreatic tissue, Pancreatic-islets, Proliferation, Scaffold, Scaffolds, Scaffolds (biology), Size, Tissue, Tissue engineering, Β-cell

Seuma, M, Faure, AJ, Badia, M, Lehner, B, Bolognesi, B, (2021). The genetic landscape for amyloid beta fibril nucleation accurately discriminates familial Alzheimer's disease mutations Elife 10, e63364

Plaques of the amyloid beta (A beta) peptide are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. Mutations in A beta also cause familial forms of AD (fAD). Here, we use deep mutational scanning to quantify the effects of >14,000 mutations on the aggregation of A beta. The resulting genetic landscape reveals mechanistic insights into fibril nucleation, including the importance of charge and gatekeeper residues in the disordered region outside of the amyloid core in preventing nucleation. Strikingly, unlike computational predictors and previous measurements, the empirical nucleation scores accurately identify all known dominant fAD mutations in A beta, genetically validating that the mechanism of nucleation in a cell-based assay is likely to be very similar to the mechanism that causes the human disease. These results provide the first comprehensive atlas of how mutations alter the formation of any amyloid fibril and a resource for the interpretation of genetic variation in A beta.

JTD Keywords: aggregation, kinetics, oligomers, onset, rates, state, Aggregation, Alzheimer's, Amyloid, Computational biology, Deep mutagenesis, Genetics, Genomics, Kinetics, Nucleation, Oligomers, Onset, Precursor protein, Rates, S. cerevisiae, State, Systems biology

Lerche, Martina, Elosegui-Artola, Alberto, Kechagia, Jenny Z., Guzmán, Camilo, Georgiadou, Maria, Andreu, Ion, Gullberg, Donald, Roca-Cusachs, Pere, Peuhu, Emilia, Ivaska, Johanna, (2020). Integrin binding dynamics modulate ligand-specific mechanosensing in mammary gland fibroblasts iScience 23, (3), 100907

The link between integrin activity regulation and cellular mechanosensing of tissue rigidity, especially on different extracellular matrix ligands, remains poorly understood. Here, we find that primary mouse mammary gland stromal fibroblasts (MSFs) are able to spread efficiently, generate high forces, and display nuclear YAP on soft collagen-coated substrates, resembling the soft mammary gland tissue. We describe that loss of the integrin inhibitor, SHARPIN, impedes MSF spreading specifically on soft type I collagen but not on fibronectin. Through quantitative experiments and computational modeling, we find that SHARPIN-deficient MSFs display faster force-induced unbinding of adhesions from collagen-coated beads. Faster unbinding, in turn, impairs force transmission in these cells, particularly, at the stiffness optimum observed for wild-type cells. Mechanistically, we link the impaired mechanotransduction of SHARPIN-deficient cells on collagen to reduced levels of collagen-binding integrin α11β1. Thus integrin activity regulation and α11β1 play a role in collagen-specific mechanosensing in MSFs.

JTD Keywords: Biological Sciences, Cell Biology, Functional Aspects of Cell Biology

Palmisano, I., Danzi, M. C., Hutson, T. H., Zhou, L., McLachlan, E., Serger, E., Shkura, K., Srivastava, P. K., Hervera, A., Neill, N. O., Liu, T., Dhrif, H., Wang, Z., Kubat, M., Wuchty, S., Merkenschlager, M., Levi, L., Elliott, E., Bixby, J. L., Lemmon, V. P., Di Giovanni, S., (2019). Epigenomic signatures underpin the axonal regenerative ability of dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons Nature Neuroscience 22, (11), 1913-1924

Axonal injury results in regenerative success or failure, depending on whether the axon lies in the peripheral or the CNS, respectively. The present study addresses whether epigenetic signatures in dorsal root ganglia discriminate between regenerative and non-regenerative axonal injury. Chromatin immunoprecipitation for the histone 3 (H3) post-translational modifications H3K9ac, H3K27ac and H3K27me3; an assay for transposase-accessible chromatin; and RNA sequencing were performed in dorsal root ganglia after sciatic nerve or dorsal column axotomy. Distinct histone acetylation and chromatin accessibility signatures correlated with gene expression after peripheral, but not central, axonal injury. DNA-footprinting analyses revealed new transcriptional regulators associated with regenerative ability. Machine-learning algorithms inferred the direction of most of the gene expression changes. Neuronal conditional deletion of the chromatin remodeler CCCTC-binding factor impaired nerve regeneration, implicating chromatin organization in the regenerative competence. Altogether, the present study offers the first epigenomic map providing insight into the transcriptional response to injury and the differential regenerative ability of sensory neurons.

JTD Keywords: Cell biology, Computational biology and bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Neuroscience

Bolognesi, Benedetta, Faure, Andre J., Seuma, Mireia, Schmiedel, Jörrn M., Tartaglia, Gian Gaetano, Lehner, Ben, (2019). The mutational landscape of a prion-like domain Nature Communications 10, (1), 4162

Insoluble protein aggregates are the hallmarks of many neurodegenerative diseases. For example, aggregates of TDP-43 occur in nearly all cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, whether aggregates cause cellular toxicity is still not clear, even in simpler cellular systems. We reasoned that deep mutagenesis might be a powerful approach to disentangle the relationship between aggregation and toxicity. We generated >50,000 mutations in the prion-like domain (PRD) of TDP-43 and quantified their toxicity in yeast cells. Surprisingly, mutations that increase hydrophobicity and aggregation strongly decrease toxicity. In contrast, toxic variants promote the formation of dynamic liquid-like condensates. Mutations have their strongest effects in a hotspot that genetic interactions reveal to be structured in vivo, illustrating how mutagenesis can probe the in vivo structures of unstructured proteins. Our results show that aggregation of TDP-43 is not harmful but protects cells, most likely by titrating the protein away from a toxic liquid-like phase.

JTD Keywords: Computational biology and bioinformatics, Genomics, Mechanisms of disease, Neurodegeneration, Systems biology

Garcia-Puig, A., Mosquera, J. L., Jiménez-Delgado, S., García-Pastor, C., Jorba, I., Navajas, D., Canals, F., Raya, A., (2019). Proteomics analysis of extracellular matrix remodeling during zebrafish heart regeneration Molecular & cellular proteomics 18, (9), 1745-1755

Adult zebrafish, in contrast to mammals, are able to regenerate their hearts in response to injury or experimental amputation. Our understanding of the cellular and molecular bases that underlie this process, although fragmentary, has increased significantly over the last years. However, the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) during zebrafish heart regeneration has been comparatively rarely explored. Here, we set out to characterize the ECM protein composition in adult zebrafish hearts, and whether it changed during the regenerative response. For this purpose, we first established a decellularization protocol of adult zebrafish ventricles that significantly enriched the yield of ECM proteins. We then performed proteomic analyses of decellularized control hearts and at different times of regeneration. Our results show a dynamic change in ECM protein composition, most evident at the earliest (7 days post-amputation) time-point analyzed. Regeneration associated with sharp increases in specific ECM proteins, and with an overall decrease in collagens and cytoskeletal proteins. We finally tested by atomic force microscopy that the changes in ECM composition translated to decreased ECM stiffness. Our cumulative results identify changes in the protein composition and mechanical properties of the zebrafish heart ECM during regeneration.

JTD Keywords: Animal models, Atomic force microscopy, Cardiovascular disease, Cardiovascular function or biology, Developmental biology, Extracellular matrix, Heart regeneration, Proteomic analysis

Malandrino, Andrea, Trepat, Xavier, Kamm, Roger D., Mak, Michael, (2019). Dynamic filopodial forces induce accumulation, damage, and plastic remodeling of 3D extracellular matrices PLoS Computational Biology 15, (4), e1006684

The mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM)–a complex, 3D, fibrillar scaffold of cells in physiological environments–modulate cell behavior and can drive tissue morphogenesis, regeneration, and disease progression. For simplicity, it is often convenient to assume these properties to be time-invariant. In living systems, however, cells dynamically remodel the ECM and create time-dependent local microenvironments. Here, we show how cell-generated contractile forces produce substantial irreversible changes to the density and architecture of physiologically relevant ECMs–collagen I and fibrin–in a matter of minutes. We measure the 3D deformation profiles of the ECM surrounding cancer and endothelial cells during stages when force generation is active or inactive. We further correlate these ECM measurements to both discrete fiber simulations that incorporate fiber crosslink unbinding kinetics and continuum-scale simulations that account for viscoplastic and damage features. Our findings further confirm that plasticity, as a mechanical law to capture remodeling in these networks, is fundamentally tied to material damage via force-driven unbinding of fiber crosslinks. These results characterize in a multiscale manner the dynamic nature of the mechanical environment of physiologically mimicking cell-in-gel systems.

JTD Keywords: Collagens, Fibrin, Extracellular matrix, Cross-linking, Cell physiology, Deformation, Fluorescence imaging, Cell biology

Cendra, Maria del Mar, Blanco-Cabra, Núria, Pedraz, Lucas, Torrents, Eduard, (2019). Optimal environmental and culture conditions allow the in vitro coexistence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus in stable biofilms Scientific Reports 9, (1), 16284

The coexistence between species that occurs in some infections remains hard to achieve in vitro since bacterial fitness differences eventually lead to a single organism dominating the mixed culture. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are major pathogens found growing together in biofilms in disease-affected lungs or wounds. Herein, we tested and analyzed different culture media, additives and environmental conditions to support P. aeruginosa and S. aureus coexistence in vitro. We have unraveled the potential of DMEM to support the growth of these two organisms in mature cocultured biofilms (three days old) in an environment that dampens the pH rise. Our conditions use equal initial inoculation ratios of both strains and allow the stable formation of separate S. aureus microcolonies that grow embedded in a P. aeruginosa biofilm, as well as S. aureus biofilm overgrowth when bovine serum albumin is added to the system. Remarkably, we also found that S. aureus survival is strictly dependent on a well-characterized phenomenon of oxygen stratification present in the coculture biofilm. An analysis of differential tolerance to gentamicin and ciprofloxacin treatment, depending on whether P. aeruginosa and S. aureus were growing in mono- or coculture biofilms, was used to validate our in vitro coculture conditions.

JTD Keywords: Applied microbiology, Biofilms

Moulin-Frier, C., Fischer, T., Petit, M., Pointeau, G., Puigbo, J., Pattacini, U., Low, S. C., Camilleri, D., Nguyen, P., Hoffmann, M., Chang, H. J., Zambelli, M., Mealier, A., Damianou, A., Metta, G., Prescott, T. J., Demiris, Y., Dominey, P. F., Verschure, P. F. M. J., (2018). DAC-h3: A proactive robot cognitive architecture to acquire and express knowledge about the world and the self IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems 10, (4), 1005-1022

This paper introduces a cognitive architecture for a humanoid robot to engage in a proactive, mixed-initiative exploration and manipulation of its environment, where the initiative can originate from both the human and the robot. The framework, based on a biologically-grounded theory of the brain and mind, integrates a reactive interaction engine, a number of state-of-the art perceptual and motor learning algorithms, as well as planning abilities and an autobiographical memory. The architecture as a whole drives the robot behavior to solve the symbol grounding problem, acquire language capabilities, execute goal-oriented behavior, and express a verbal narrative of its own experience in the world. We validate our approach in human-robot interaction experiments with the iCub humanoid robot, showing that the proposed cognitive architecture can be applied in real time within a realistic scenario and that it can be used with naive users.

JTD Keywords: Autobiographical Memory., Biology, Cognition, Cognitive Robotics, Computer architecture, Distributed Adaptive Control, Grounding, Human-Robot Interaction, Humanoid robots, Robot sensing systems, Symbol Grounding

Crespo, A., Gavaldà, J., Julián, E., Torrents, E., (2017). A single point mutation in class III ribonucleotide reductase promoter renders Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 inefficient for anaerobic growth and infection Scientific Reports 7, (1), 13350

Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 has become the reference strain in many laboratories. One enzyme that is essential for its cell division is the ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) enzyme that supplies the deoxynucleotides required for DNA synthesis and repair. P. aeruginosa is one of the few microorganisms that encodes three different RNR classes (Ia, II and III) in its genome, enabling it to grow and adapt to diverse environmental conditions, including during infection. In this work, we demonstrate that a lack of RNR activity induces cell elongation in P. aeruginosa PAO1. Moreover, RNR gene expression during anaerobiosis differs among P. aeruginosa strains, with class III highly expressed in P. aeruginosa clinical isolates relative to the laboratory P. aeruginosa PAO1 strain. A single point mutation was identified in the P. aeruginosa PAO1 strain class III RNR promoter region that disrupts its anaerobic transcription by the Dnr regulator. An engineered strain that induces the class III RNR expression allows P. aeruginosa PAO1 anaerobic growth and increases its virulence to resemble that of clinical strains. Our results demonstrate that P. aeruginosa PAO1 is adapted to laboratory conditions and is not the best reference strain for anaerobic or infection studies.

JTD Keywords: Bacterial genes, Cellular microbiology, Pathogens

Marsal, Maria, Jorba, Ignasi, Rebollo, Elena, Luque, Tomas, Navajas, Daniel, Martín-Blanco, Enrique, (2017). AFM and microrheology in the zebrafish embryo yolk cell Journal of Visualized Experiments Developmental Biology, (129), e56224

Elucidating the factors that direct the spatio-temporal organization of evolving tissues is one of the primary purposes in the study of development. Various propositions claim to have been important contributions to the understanding of the mechanical properties of cells and tissues in their spatiotemporal organization in different developmental and morphogenetic processes. However, due to the lack of reliable and accessible tools to measure material properties and tensional parameters in vivo, validating these hypotheses has been difficult. Here we present methods employing atomic force microscopy (AFM) and particle tracking with the aim of quantifying the mechanical properties of the intact zebrafish embryo yolk cell during epiboly. Epiboly is an early conserved developmental process whose study is facilitated by the transparency of the embryo. These methods are simple to implement, reliable, and widely applicable since they overcome intrusive interventions that could affect tissue mechanics. A simple strategy was applied for the mounting of specimens, AFM recording, and nanoparticle injections and tracking. This approach makes these methods easily adaptable to other developmental times or organisms.

JTD Keywords: Developmental Biology, Zebrafish, Yolk, Atomic Force Microscopy, Cortical Tension, Microrheology, Nanoparticle tracking

Ladoux, B., Mège, R. M., Trepat, X., (2016). Front-rear polarization by mechanical cues: From single cells to tissues Trends in Cell Biology 26, (6), 420-433

Directed cell migration is a complex process that involves front-rear polarization, characterized by cell adhesion and cytoskeleton-based protrusion, retraction, and contraction of either a single cell or a cell collective. Single cell polarization depends on a variety of mechanochemical signals including external adhesive cues, substrate stiffness, and confinement. In cell ensembles, coordinated polarization of migrating tissues results not only from the application of traction forces on the extracellular matrix but also from the transmission of mechanical stress through intercellular junctions. We focus here on the impact of mechanical cues on the establishment and maintenance of front-rear polarization from single cell to collective cell behaviors through local or large-scale mechanisms.

JTD Keywords: Cell forces, Cell polarity, Collective cell migration, Mechanobiology, Micropatterning, Substrate stiffness

Fernández-Remolar, D. C., Santamaría, J., Amils, R., Parro, V., Gómez-Ortíz, D., Izawa, M. R. M., Banerjee, N. R., Pérez-Rodríguez', R., Rodríguez, N., López-Martínez, N., (2015). Formation of iron-rich shelled structures by microbial communities Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences , 120, (1), 147-168

In this paper, we describe the discovery and characterization of shelled structures that occur inside galleries of Pyrenees mines. The structures are formed by the mineralization of iron and zinc oxides, dominantly franklinite (ZnFe2O4) and poorly ordered goethite (α-FeO(OH)). Subsurface oxidation and hydration of polymetallic sulfide orebodies produce solutions rich in dissolved metal cations including Fe2+/3+ and Zn2+. The microbially precipitated shell-like structure grows by lateral or vertical stacking of thin laminae of iron oxide particles which are accreted mostly by fungal filaments. The resulting structures are composed of randomly oriented aggregates of needle-like, uniform-sized crystals, suggesting some biological control in the structure formation. Such structures are formed by the integration of two separated shells, following a complex process driven likely by different strategies of fungal microorganisms that produced the complex macrostructure.

JTD Keywords: Geobiology, Iron oxides, Microbial mineralization

Won, J. E., Mateos-Timoneda, M. A., Castaño, O., Planell, J. A., Seo, S. J., Lee, E. J., Han, C. M., Kim, H. W., (2015). Fibronectin immobilization on to robotic-dispensed nanobioactive glass/polycaprolactone scaffolds for bone tissue engineering Biotechnology Letters , 37, (4), 935-342

Bioactive nanocomposite scaffolds with cell-adhesive surface have excellent bone regeneration capacities. Fibronectin (FN)-immobilized nanobioactive glass (nBG)/polycaprolactone (PCL) (FN-nBG/PCL) scaffolds with an open pore architecture were generated by a robotic-dispensing technique. The surface immobilization level of FN was significantly higher on the nBG/PCL scaffolds than on the PCL scaffolds, mainly due to the incorporated nBG that provided hydrophilic chemical-linking sites. FN-nBG/PCL scaffolds significantly improved cell responses, including initial anchorage and subsequent cell proliferation. Although further in-depth studies on cell differentiation and the in vivo animal responses are required, bioactive nanocomposite scaffolds with cell-favoring surface are considered to provide promising three-dimensional substrate for bone regeneration.

JTD Keywords: Bone scaffolds, Cell response, Fibronectin, Nanobioactive glass, Nanocomposites, Polycaprolactone, Bone, Cell proliferation, Cells, Cytology, Glass, Nanocomposites, Polycaprolactone, Robotics, Bone scaffolds, Bone tissue engineering, Cell response, Fibronectin, Fibronectin immobilizations, Nano bioactive glass, Nanocomposite scaffolds, Three-dimensional substrates, Scaffolds (biology)

Malandrino, Andrea, Lacroix, Damien, Hellmich, Christian, Ito, Keita, Ferguson, Stephen J., Noailly, J., (2014). The role of endplate poromechanical properties on the nutrient availability in the intervertebral disc Osteoarthritis and Cartilage , 22, (7), 1053-1060

Objective To investigate the relevance of the human vertebral endplate poromechanics on the fluid and metabolic transport from and to the intervertebral disc (IVD) based on educated estimations of the poromechanical parameter values of the bony endplate (BEP). Methods 50 micro-models of different BEP samples were generated from μCTs of lumbar vertebrae and allowed direct determination of porosity values. Permeability values were calculated by using the micro-models, through the simulation of permeation via computational fluid dynamics. These educated ranges of porosity and permeability values were used as inputs for mechano-transport simulations to assess their effect on both the distributions of metabolites within an IVD model and the poromechanical calculations within the cartilaginous part of the endplate i.e., the cartilage endplate (CEP). Results BEP effective permeability was highly correlated to local variations of porosity (R2 ≈ 0.88). Universal patterns between bone volume fraction and permeability arose from these results and from other experimental data in the literature. These variations in BEP permeability and porosity had negligible effects on the distributions of metabolites within the disc. In the CEP, the variability of the poromechanical properties of the BEP did not affect the predicted consolidation but induced higher fluid velocities. Conclusions The present paper provides the first sets of thoroughly identified BEP parameter values that can be further used in patient-specific poromechanical studies. Representing BEP structural changes through variations in poromechanical properties did not affect the diffusion of metabolites. However, attention might be paid to alterations in fluid velocities and cell mechano-sensing within the CEP.

JTD Keywords: Bony endplate, Spine mechanobiology, Intervertebral disc metabolites, Hydraulic Permeability, Bone Porosity, Poromechanics

Rajzer, I., Menaszek, E., Kwiatkowski, R., Planell, J. A., Castaño, O., (2014). Electrospun gelatin/poly(ε-caprolactone) fibrous scaffold modified with calcium phosphate for bone tissue engineering Materials Science and Engineering: C 44, 183-190

In this study gelatin (Gel) modified with calcium phosphate nanoparticles (SG5) and polycaprolactone (PCL) were used to prepare a 3D bi-layer scaffold by collecting electrospun PCL and gelatin/SG5 fibers separately in the same collector. The objective of this study was to combine the desired properties of PCL and Gel/SG5 in the same scaffold in order to enhance mineralization, thus improving the ability of the scaffold to bond to the bone tissue. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and the wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) measurements confirmed that SG5 nanoparticles were successfully incorporated into the fibrous gelatin matrix. The composite Gel/SG5/PCL scaffold exhibited more enhanced mechanical properties than individual Gel and Gel/SG5 scaffolds. The presence of SG5 nanoparticles accelerated the nucleation and growth of apatite crystals on the surface of the composite Gel/SG5/PCL scaffold in simulated body fluid (SBF). The osteoblast response in vitro to developed electrospun scaffolds (PCL and Gel/SG5/PCL) was investigated by using normal human primary NHOst cell lines. NHOst cell culture studies showed that higher alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and better mineralization were obtained in the case of composite materials than in pure PCL scaffolds. The mechanically strong PCL scaffold served as a skeleton, while the Gel/SG5 fibers facilitated cell spreading and mineralization of the scaffold.

JTD Keywords: Bilayer fibrous scaffold, Ceramic nanoparticles, Electrospinning, Gelatin, Polycaprolactone, Biomechanics, Bone, Calcium phosphate, Cell culture, Electrospinning, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Mechanical properties, Mineralogy, Nanoparticles, Phosphatases, Polycaprolactone, Scanning electron microscopy, X ray diffraction, Polycaprolactone, Alkaline phosphatase activity, Bone tissue engineering, Calcium phosphate nanoparticles, Ceramic nanoparticles, Fibrous scaffolds, Gelatin, Simulated body fluids, Wide-angle x-ray diffraction, Electrospuns, Scaffolds (biology), Electrospinning

Pérez-Amodio, Soledad, Engel, Elisabeth, (2014). Bone biology and Regeneration Bio-Ceramics with Clinical Applications (ed. Vallet-Regí, M.), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Chichester, UK) , 315-342

Each bone of the skeleton constantly undergoes modeling during life to help it to adapt to changing biomechanical forces as well as remodeling to remove old bone and replace it with new, mechanically stronger bone to help preserve bone strength. Bone remodeling involves the removal of mineralized bone by osteoclasts, followed by the formation of bone matrix through the osteoblasts that subsequently become mineralized. All these assets make bone a suitable model for regeneration. Bone tissue can be grossly divided into inorganic mineral material (mostly HA), and organic material from cells and the extracellular matrix. This chapter outlines some of the bone diseases such as osteoporosis and Paget's disease. Bone can be considered as a biphasic composite material, with two phases: one the mineral and the other collagen. This combination confers better mechanical properties on the tissue than each component itself.

JTD Keywords: Bone biology, Bone cells, Bone diseases, Bone extracellular matrix, Bone mechanics, Bone remodeling, Bone tissue regeneration, Skeleton

Noailly, J., Malandrino, A., Galbusera, F., Jin, Zhongmin, (2014). Computational modelling of spinal implants Computational Modelling of Biomechanics and Biotribology in the Musculoskeletal System (ed. Jin, Z.), Woodhead Publishing (Cambridge, UK) Biomaterials and Tissues, 447-484

This chapter focuses on the use of the finite element method in the design and exploration of spinal implants. Following an introduction to biomechanical alterations of the spine in disease and to spine finite element modelling, focus is placed on different models developed for spine treatment simulations. Despite the hindrance of working thorough representations of in vivo situations, predictions of load transfer within both the implants and the tissues simulated allow improved interpretations of known clinical outcomes, and permit the educated design of new implants. The potential of probabilistic modelling is also discussed in relation to model validation and patient-specific analyses. Finally, the latest developments in the multiphysical modelling of intervertebral discs are presented, revealing a strong potential for the study of implant-based strategies that aim to restore the functional biophysics of the spine.

JTD Keywords: Spinal implant, Finite element modelling, Spine surgery, Spine biomechanics, Tissue mechanobiology

Gil, V., Del Río, J. A., (2012). Analysis of axonal growth and cell migration in 3D hydrogel cultures of embryonic mouse CNS tissue Nature Protocols 7, (2), 268-280

This protocol uses rat tail-derived type I collagen hydrogels to analyze key processes in developmental neurobiology, such as chemorepulsion and chemoattraction. The method is based on culturing small pieces of brain tissue from embryonic or early perinatal mice inside a 3D hydrogel formed by rat tail-derived type I collagen or, alternatively, by commercial Matrigel. The neural tissue is placed in the hydrogel with other brain tissue pieces or cell aggregates genetically modified to secrete a particular molecule that can generate a gradient inside the hydrogel. The present method is uncomplicated and generally reproducible, and only a few specific details need to be considered during its preparation. Moreover, the degree and behavior of axonal growth or neural migration can be observed directly using phase-contrast, fluorescence microscopy or immunocytochemical methods. This protocol can be carried out in 4 weeks.

JTD Keywords: Cell biology, Cell culture, Developmental biology, Imaging, Model organisms, Neuroscience, Tissue culture

Serra, T., Navarro, M., Planell, J. A., (2012). Fabrication and characterization of biodegradable composite scaffolds for tissue engineering Innovative Developments in Virtual and Physical Prototyping 5th International Conference on Advanced Research and Rapid Prototyping (ed. Margarida, T., Ferreira, D.), Taylor & Francis (Leiria, Portugal) VR@P, 67-72

In this study, polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were combined with soluble CaP glass particles and processed by rapid prototyping to obtain fully biodegradable structures for Tissue Engineering applications. The obtained 3D biodegradable structures were characterized in terms of their architecture and mechanical properties. The scaffold morphology, internal micro-architecture and mechanical properties were evaluated using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and mechanical testing, respectively. Well defined structures with pore size of 350-400μm (in the axial view), struts width of approximately 70-80μm, and a porosity ranging between 60-65% were obtained. The combination RP and PLA/PEG/CaP glass turned into promising fully degradable, mechanically stable, bioactive and biocompatible composite scaffolds for TE.

JTD Keywords: Axial view, Biodegradable composites, Composite scaffolds, Glass particles, Mechanically stable, Micro architectures, Micro computed tomography (micro-CT), Poly lactic acid, Scaffold morphology, Tissue engineering applications, Well-defined structures, Bioactive glass, Mechanical properties, Mechanical testing, Polyethylene glycols, Polymer blends, Rapid prototyping, Scaffolds (biology), Scanning electron microscopy, Computerized tomography

Gorostiza, P., Isacoff, E.Y., (2011). Photoswitchable ligand-gated ion channels Photosensitive molecules for controlling biological function (ed. Chambers, J. J. , Kramer, R. H.), Springer (Saskatoon, Canada) 55, 267-285

Ligand-activated proteins can be controlled with light by means of synthetic photoisomerizable tethered ligands (PTLs). The application of PTLs to ligand-gated ion channels, including the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and ionotropic glutamate receptors, is reviewed with emphasis on rational photoswitch design and the mechanisms of optical switching. Recently reported molecular dynamic methods allow simulation with high reliability of novel PTLs for any ligand-activated protein whose structure is known.

JTD Keywords: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Kainate receptor, Glutamate receptor, Photoisomerizable tether ligand (PTL), Optical switch, Nanotoggle, Azobenzene, Neurobiology,, Nanoengineering, Nanomedicine

Prendergast, P. J., Checa, S., Lacroix, D., (2010). Computational models of tissue differentiation Computational Modeling in Biomechanics (ed. Suvranu De, Farshid Guilak, Mohammad R. K. Mofrad), Springer-Verlag Berlin (Berlin) 3, 353-372

Readers of this chapter will learn about our approach to computer simulation of tissue differentiation in response to mechanical forces. It involves defining algorithms for mechanoregulation of each of following cell activities: proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and differentiation using a stimulus based on a combination of strain and fluid flow (Prendergast et al., J. Biomech., 1997) - algorithms are based on a lattice-modelling which also facilitates building algorithms for complex processes such as angiogenesis. The algorithms are designed to be collaboratable individually. They can be combined to create a computational simulation method for tissue differentiation, using finite element analysis to compute the mechanical stimuli in even quite complex biomechanical environments. Examples are presented of the simulation method in use.

JTD Keywords: Mechanobiology, Lattice modeling, Differentiation, Tissue engineering, Finite element modeling, Scaffolds

Lundin, Daniel, Torrents, Eduard, Poole, Anthony, Sjoberg, Britt-Marie, (2009). RNRdb, a curated database of the universal enzyme family ribonucleotide reductase, reveals a high level of misannotation in sequences deposited to Genbank BMC Genomics 10, (1), 589

BACKGROUND:Ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) catalyse the only known de novo pathway for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis, and are therefore essential to DNA-based life. While ribonucleotide reduction has a single evolutionary origin, significant differences between RNRs nevertheless exist, notably in cofactor requirements, subunit composition and allosteric regulation. These differences result in distinct operational constraints (anaerobicity, iron/oxygen dependence and cobalamin dependence), and form the basis for the classification of RNRs into three classes.DESCRIPTION:In RNRdb (Ribonucleotide Reductase database), we have collated and curated all known RNR protein sequences with the aim of providing a resource for exploration of RNR diversity and distribution. By comparing expert manual annotations with annotations stored in Genbank, we find that significant inaccuracies exist in larger databases. To our surprise, only 23% of protein sequences included in RNRdb are correctly annotated across the key attributes of class, role and function, with 17% being incorrectly annotated across all three categories. This illustrates the utility of specialist databases for applications where a high degree of annotation accuracy may be important. The database houses information on annotation, distribution and diversity of RNRs, and links to solved RNR structures, and can be searched through a BLAST interface. RNRdb is accessible through a public web interface at is a specialist database that provides a reliable annotation and classification resource for RNR proteins, as well as a tool to explore distribution patterns of RNR classes. The recent expansion in available genome sequence data have provided us with a picture of RNR distribution that is more complex than believed only a few years ago; our database indicates that RNRs of all three classes are found across all three cellular domains. Moreover, we find a number of organisms that encode all three classes.

JTD Keywords: Enzymology (Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics), Computer Applications (Computational Biology)

Gutierrez, A., Marco, S., (2009). Biologically inspired signal processing for chemical sensing Studies in Computational Intelligence GOSPEL Workshop on Bio-inspired Signal Processing (ed. Gutierrez, A., Marco, S.), Springer (Barcelona, Spain) -----, (188), -----

This 167-page book is volume 188 in the series 'Studies in computational intelligence.' This volume contain 9 extensive chapters written in English. This volume presents a collection of research advances in biologically inspired signal processing for chemical sensing. The olfactory system, and the gustatory system to a minor extent, has been taken in the last decades as a source of inspiration to develop artificial sensing systems. The recognition of odors by the olfactory system entails a number of signal processing functions such as preprocessing, dimensionality reduction, contrast enhancement, and classification. Using mathematical models to mimic the architecture of the olfactory system, these processing functions can be applied to chemical sensor signals. This book provides background on the olfactory system including a review on information processing in the insect olfactory system along with a proposed signal processing architecture based on the mammalian cortex. It also provides some bio-inspired approaches to process chemical sensor signals such as an olfactory mucosa to improve odor separation and a model of olfactory receptor neuron convergence to correlated sensor responses to an odor and his organoleptic properties. This book will useful to those working or studying in the areas of sensory reception and computational biology.

JTD Keywords: Nervous System (Neural Coordination), Computer Applications (Computational Biology), Sense Organs (Sensory Reception)