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by Keyword: expression

Palma-Florez, S, Lagunas, A, Mir, M, (2024). Neurovascular unit on a chip: the relevance and maturity as an advanced in vitro model Neural Regeneration Research 19, 1165-1166

Brewer, MK, Torres, P, Ayala, V, Portero-Otin, M, Pamplona, R, Andrés-Benito, P, Ferrer, I, Guinovart, JJ, Duran, J, (2024). Glycogen accumulation modulates life span in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Journal Of Neurochemistry 168, 744-759

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord. Glial cells, including astrocytes and microglia, have been shown to contribute to neurodegeneration in ALS, and metabolic dysfunction plays an important role in the progression of the disease. Glycogen is a soluble polymer of glucose found at low levels in the central nervous system that plays an important role in memory formation, synaptic plasticity, and the prevention of seizures. However, its accumulation in astrocytes and/or neurons is associated with pathological conditions and aging. Importantly, glycogen accumulation has been reported in the spinal cord of human ALS patients and mouse models. In the present work, using the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS, we show that glycogen accumulates in the spinal cord and brainstem during symptomatic and end stages of the disease and that the accumulated glycogen is associated with reactive astrocytes. To study the contribution of glycogen to ALS progression, we generated SOD1G93A mice with reduced glycogen synthesis (SOD1G93A GShet mice). SOD1G93A GShet mice had a significantly longer life span than SOD1G93A mice and showed lower levels of the astrocytic pro-inflammatory cytokine Cxcl10, suggesting that the accumulation of glycogen is associated with an inflammatory response. Supporting this, inducing an increase in glycogen synthesis reduced life span in SOD1G93A mice. Altogether, these results suggest that glycogen in reactive astrocytes contributes to neurotoxicity and disease progression in ALS.© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society for Neurochemistry.

JTD Keywords: activation, astrocytes, brain, contributes, expression, glycogen, impairment, mice, motor neurons, neurodegeneration, reactive astrocytes, spinal cord, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Astrocytes, Glycogen, Motor neurons, Motor-neuron degeneration, Neurodegeneration, Spinal cord


Duch, P, Díaz-Valdivia, N, Gabasa, M, Ikemori, R, Arshakyan, M, Fernández-Nogueira, P, Llorente, A, Teixido, C, Ramírez, J, Pereda, J, Chuliá-Peris, L, Galbis, JM, Hilberg, F, Reguart, N, Radisky, DC, Alcaraz, J, (2024). Aberrant TIMP-1 production in tumor-associated fibroblasts drives the selective benefits of nintedanib in lung adenocarcinoma Cancer Science 115, 1505-1519

The fibrotic tumor microenvironment is a pivotal therapeutic target. Nintedanib, a clinically approved multikinase antifibrotic inhibitor, is effective against lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) but not squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Previous studies have implicated the secretome of tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) in the selective effects of nintedanib in ADC, but the driving factor(s) remained unidentified. Here we examined the role of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), a tumor-promoting cytokine overproduced in ADC-TAFs. To this aim, we combined genetic approaches with in vitro and in vivo preclinical models based on patient-derived TAFs. Nintedanib reduced TIMP-1 production more efficiently in ADC-TAFs than SCC-TAFs through a SMAD3-dependent mechanism. Cell culture experiments indicated that silencing TIMP1 in ADC-TAFs abolished the therapeutic effects of nintedanib on cancer cell growth and invasion, which were otherwise enhanced by the TAF secretome. Consistently, co-injecting ADC cells with TIMP1-knockdown ADC-TAFs into immunocompromised mice elicited a less effective reduction of tumor growth and invasion under nintedanib treatment compared to tumors bearing unmodified fibroblasts. Our results unveil a key mechanism underlying the selective mode of action of nintedanib in ADC based on the excessive production of TIMP-1 in ADC-TAFs. We further pinpoint reduced SMAD3 expression and consequent limited TIMP-1 production in SCC-TAFs as key for the resistance of SCC to nintedanib. These observations strongly support the emerging role of TIMP-1 as a critical regulator of therapy response in solid tumors.

JTD Keywords: Cancer-associated fibroblast,fibrosis,nintedanib,non-small-cell lung cancer,smad3,therapy resistance,timp-, Cell carcinoma,breast-cancer,expression,progression,inhibitor,blockade,efficac


Liu, M, Zhang, C, Gong, XM, Zhang, T, Lian, MM, Chew, EGY, Cardilla, A, Suzuki, K, Wang, HM, Yuan, Y, Li, Y, Naik, MY, Wang, YX, Zhou, BR, Soon, WZ, Aizawa, E, Li, P, Low, JH, Tandiono, M, Montagud, E, Moya-Rull, D, Esteban, CR, Luque, Y, Fang, ML, Khor, CC, Montserrat, N, Campistol, JM, Belmonte, JCI, Foo, JN, Xia, Y, (2024). Kidney organoid models reveal cilium-autophagy metabolic axis as a therapeutic target for PKD both in vitro and in vivo Cell Stem Cell 31, 52-70.e8

Human pluripotent stem cell -derived kidney organoids offer unprecedented opportunities for studying polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which still has no effective cure. Here, we developed both in vitro and in vivo organoid models of PKD that manifested tubular injury and aberrant upregulation of renin-angiotensin aldosterone system. Single -cell analysis revealed that a myriad of metabolic changes occurred during cystogenesis, including defective autophagy. Experimental activation of autophagy via ATG5 overexpression or primary cilia ablation significantly inhibited cystogenesis in PKD kidney organoids. Employing the organoid xenograft model of PKD, which spontaneously developed tubular cysts, we demonstrate that minoxidil, a potent autophagy activator and an FDA -approved drug, effectively attenuated cyst formation in vivo. This in vivo organoid model of PKD will enhance our capability to discover novel disease mechanisms and validate candidate drugs for clinical translation.

JTD Keywords: Adenylate kinase, Adult, Animal cell, Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal tissue, Article, Autophagosome, Autophagy, Autophagy (cellular), Autosomal-dominant, Calcium homeostasis, Cilia, Cilium, Cohort analysis, Controlled study, Cyclic amp, Disease, Dominant polycystic kidney, Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, Epithelium, Exon, Expression, Female, Food and drug administration, Framework, Generation, Growth, Hepatitis a virus cellular receptor 1, Human, Human cell, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, In vitro study, In vivo study, Kidney, Kidney organoid, Kidney polycystic disease, Male, Minoxidil, Mouse, Mutations, Nonhuman, Organoid, Organoids, Platelet derived growth factor beta receptor, Pluripotent stem-cells, Polycystic kidney diseases, Protein kinase lkb1, Renin, Sequestosome 1, Single cell analysis, Single cell rna seq, Small nuclear rna, Tunel assay, Upregulation, Western blotting, Whole exome sequencing


Pereira, Ines, Lopez-Martinez, Maria J, Samitier, Josep, (2023). Advances in current in vitro models on neurodegenerative diseases Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 11, 1260397

Many neurodegenerative diseases are identified but their causes and cure are far from being well-known. The problem resides in the complexity of the neural tissue and its location which hinders its easy evaluation. Although necessary in the drug discovery process, in vivo animal models need to be reduced and show relevant differences with the human tissues that guide scientists to inquire about other possible options which lead to in vitro models being explored. From organoids to organ-on-a-chips, 3D models are considered the cutting-edge technology in cell culture. Cell choice is a big parameter to take into consideration when planning an in vitro model and cells capable of mimicking both healthy and diseased tissue, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), are recognized as good candidates. Hence, we present a critical review of the latest models used to study neurodegenerative disease, how these models have evolved introducing microfluidics platforms, 3D cell cultures, and the use of induced pluripotent cells to better mimic the neural tissue environment in pathological conditions.

JTD Keywords: 3d in vitro models, bioprinting, ipsc cell culture, microfluidic device, 3d in vitro models, Bioprinting, Blood-brain-barrier, Cerebral organoids, Culture model, Endothelial-cells, Expression profile, Extracellular-matrix, Ipsc cell culture, Microfluidic device, Neurodegenerative diseases, On-a-chip, Pluripotent stem-cells, Shear-stress, Substrate stiffness


Pedraz, L, Torrents, E, (2023). An easy method for quantification of anaerobic and microaerobic gene expression with fluorescent reporter proteins Biotechniques 75, 250-255

Fluorescent proteins, such as green fluorescent proteins, are invaluable tools for detecting and quantifying gene expression in high-throughput reporter gene assays. However, they introduce significant inaccuracies in studies involving microaerobiosis or anaerobiosis, as oxygen is required for the maturation of these proteins' chromophores. In this study, the authors highlight the errors incurred by using fluorescent proteins under limited oxygenation by comparing standard fluorescence-based reporter gene assays to quantitative real-time PCR data in the study of a complex oxygen-regulated gene network. Furthermore, a solution to perform quantification of anaerobic and microaerobic gene expression with fluorescent reporter proteins using a microplate reader with an oxygen control system and applying pulses of full oxygenation before fluorescence measurements is provided.

JTD Keywords: fluorescent proteins, gene expression, gfp, microaerobiosis, promoters, reporter gene assay, transcriptional fusion, Anaerobiosis, Fluorescent proteins, Gene expression, Gfp, Microaerobiosis, Pseudomonas-aeruginosa, Reporter gene assay, Transcriptional fusion


Macedo, MH, Torras, N, García-Díaz, M, Barrias, C, Sarmento, B, Martínez, E, (2023). The shape of our gut: Dissecting its impact on drug absorption in a 3D bioprinted intestinal model Biomaterials Advances 153, 213564

The small intestine is a complex organ with a characteristic architecture and a major site for drug and nutrient absorption. The three-dimensional (3D) topography organized in finger-like protrusions called villi increases surface area remarkably, granting a more efficient absorption process. The intestinal mucosa, where this process occurs, is a multilayered and multicell-type tissue barrier. In vitro intestinal models are routinely used to study different physiological and pathological processes in the gut, including compound absorption. Still, standard models are typically two-dimensional (2D) and represent only the epithelial barrier, lacking the cues offered by the 3D architecture and the stromal components present in vivo, often leading to inaccurate results. In this work, we studied the impact of the 3D architecture of the gut on drug transport using a bioprinted 3D model of the intestinal mucosa containing both the epithelial and the stromal compartments. Human intestinal fibroblasts were embedded in a previously optimized hydrogel bioink, and enterocytes and goblet cells were seeded on top to mimic the intestinal mucosa. The embedded fibroblasts thrived inside the hydrogel, remodeling the surrounding extracellular matrix. The epithelial cells fully covered the hydrogel scaffolds and formed a uniform cell layer with barrier properties close to in vivo. In particular, the villus-like model revealed overall increased permeability compared to a flat counterpart composed by the same hydrogel and cells. In addition, the efflux activity of the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) transporter was significantly reduced in the villus-like scaffold compared to a flat model, and the genetic expression of other drugs transporters was, in general, more relevant in the villus-like model. Globally, this study corroborates that the presence of the 3D architecture promotes a more physiological differentiation of the epithelial barrier, providing more accurate data on drug absorbance measurements.Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: 3d architecture, alkaline-phosphatase, caco-2 cells, culture, drug development, efflux proteins, gene-expression, human-colon, intestinal absorption, intestinal models, microenvironment, paracellular transport, permeability, photopolymerization, villi, 3d architecture, 3d bioprinting, Drug development, In-vitro, Intestinal absorption, Intestinal models, Photopolymerization, Villi


Rubio-Canalejas, A, Pedraz, L, Torrents, E, (2023). ReViTA: A novel in vitro transcription system to study gene regulation New Biotechnology 76, 41-48

ReViTA (Reverse in VitroTranscription Assay) is a novel in vitro transcription-based method to study gene expression under the regulation of specific transcription factors. The ReViTA system uses a plasmid with a control sequence, the promoter region of the studied gene, the transcription factor of interest, and an RNA polymerase saturated with σ70. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the method; thus, as a proof of concept, two different transcription factors were used, a transcriptional inducer, AlgR, and a repressor, LexA, from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. After the promoters were incubated with the transcription factors, the plasmid was transcribed into RNA and reverse transcribed to cDNA. Gene expression was measured using qRTPCR. Using the ReViTA plasmid, transcription induction of 55% was observed when AlgR protein was added and a 27% transcription reduction with the repressor LexA, compared with the samples without transcription factors. The results demonstrated the correct functioning of ReViTA as a novel method to study transcription factors and gene expression. Thus, ReViTA could be a rapid and accessible in vitro method to evaluate genes and regulators of various species.Crown Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: binding, dna-polymerase-iv, gene expression, in vitro transcription, lexa, rpos, transcription factor, transcriptional regulation, Gene expression, Response sigma-factor, Transcriptional regulation


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


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; https://loci.wisc.edu/software/ctfire) 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 ns.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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


Pietroforte, S, Monasterio, MB, Ferrer-Vaquer, A, Irimia, M, Ibáñez, E, Popovic, M, Vassena, R, Zambelli, F, (2023). Specific processing of meiosis-related transcript is linked to final maturation in human oocytes Molecular Human Reproduction 29, gaad021

Human meiosis in oocytes entails an intricate regulation of the transcriptome to support late oocyte growth and early embryo development, both crucial to reproductive success. Currently, little is known about the co- and post-transcriptional mRNA processing mechanisms regulating the last meiotic phases, which contribute to transcriptome complexity and influence translation rates. We analyzed gene expression changes, splicing and pre-mRNA processing in an RNA sequencing set of 40 human oocytes at different meiotic maturation stages, matured both in vivo and in vitro. We found abundant untranslated region (UTR) processing, mostly at the 3' end, of meiosis-related genes between the germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase II (MII) stages, supported by the differential expression of spliceosome and pre-mRNA processing related genes. Importantly, we found very few differences among GV oocytes across several durations of IVM, as long as they did not reach MII, suggesting an association of RNA processing and successful meiosis transit. Changes in protein isoforms are minor, although specific and consistent for genes involved in chromosome organization and spindle assembly. In conclusion, we reveal a dynamic transcript remodeling during human female meiosis, and show how pre-mRNA processing, specifically 3'UTR shortening, drives a selective translational regulation of transcripts necessary to reach final meiotic maturation.© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

JTD Keywords: 3 & prime, alternative splicing, gene expression, meiosis, oocyte competence, program, rna, splicing, untranslated region processing, untranslated regions, 3′ untranslated region processing, 3′ untranslated regions, Alternative splicing, Expression, Gene expression, Human oocytes, Meiosis, Oocyte competence, Splicing


Abenza, JF, Rossetti, L, Mouelhi, M, Burgués, J, Andreu, I, Kennedy, K, Roca-Cusachs, P, Marco, S, García-Ojalvo, J, Trepat, X, (2023). Mechanical control of the mammalian circadian clock via YAP/TAZ and TEAD Journal Of Cell Biology 222, e202209120

Autonomous circadian clocks exist in nearly every mammalian cell type. These cellular clocks are subjected to a multilayered regulation sensitive to the mechanochemical cell microenvironment. Whereas the biochemical signaling that controls the cellular circadian clock is increasingly well understood, mechanisms underlying regulation by mechanical cues are largely unknown. Here we show that the fibroblast circadian clock is mechanically regulated through YAP/TAZ nuclear levels. We use high-throughput analysis of single-cell circadian rhythms and apply controlled mechanical, biochemical, and genetic perturbations to study the expression of the clock gene Rev-erbα. We observe that Rev-erbα circadian oscillations are disrupted with YAP/TAZ nuclear translocation. By targeted mutations and overexpression of YAP/TAZ, we show that this mechanobiological regulation, which also impacts core components of the clock such as Bmal1 and Cry1, depends on the binding of YAP/TAZ to the transcriptional effector TEAD. This mechanism could explain the impairment of circadian rhythms observed when YAP/TAZ activity is upregulated, as in cancer and aging.© 2023 Abenza et al.

JTD Keywords: activation, dynamics, forces, growth, hippo pathway, liver, platform, time, transcription, Gene-expression


Martinez-Torres, S, Mesquida-Veny, F, Del Rio, JA, Hervera, A, (2023). Injury-induced activation of the endocannabinoid system promotes axon regeneration Iscience 26, 106814

Regeneration after a peripheral nerve injury still remains a challenge, due to the limited regenerative potential of axons after injury. While the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been widely studied for its neuroprotective and analgesic effects, its role in axonal regeneration and during the conditioning lesion remains unexplored. In this study, we observed that a peripheral nerve injury induces axonal regeneration through an increase in the endocannabinoid tone. We also enhanced the regenerative capacity of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons through the inhibition of endocannabinoid degradative enzyme MAGL or a CB1R agonist. Our results suggest that the ECS, via CB1R and PI3K-pAkt pathway activation, plays an important role in promoting the intrinsic regenerative capacity of sensory neurons after injury.© 2023 The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: brain, gene-expression, lesion, nerve, receptors, targets, Clinical neuroscience, Drugs, Endogenous cannabinoid system, Molecular medicine


Pesce, M, Duda, GN, Forte, G, Girao, H, Raya, A, Roca-Cusachs, P, Sluijter, JPG, Tschöpe, C, Van Linthout, S, (2023). Cardiac fibroblasts and mechanosensation in heart development, health and disease Nature Reviews Cardiology 20, 309-324

The term 'mechanosensation' describes the capacity of cells to translate mechanical stimuli into the coordinated regulation of intracellular signals, cellular function, gene expression and epigenetic programming. This capacity is related not only to the sensitivity of the cells to tissue motion, but also to the decryption of tissue geometric arrangement and mechanical properties. The cardiac stroma, composed of fibroblasts, has been historically considered a mechanically passive component of the heart. However, the latest research suggests that the mechanical functions of these cells are an active and necessary component of the developmental biology programme of the heart that is involved in myocardial growth and homeostasis, and a crucial determinant of cardiac repair and disease. In this Review, we discuss the general concept of cell mechanosensation and force generation as potent regulators in heart development and pathology, and describe the integration of mechanical and biohumoral pathways predisposing the heart to fibrosis and failure. Next, we address the use of 3D culture systems to integrate tissue mechanics to mimic cardiac remodelling. Finally, we highlight the potential of mechanotherapeutic strategies, including pharmacological treatment and device-mediated left ventricular unloading, to reverse remodelling in the failing heart.© 2022. Springer Nature Limited.

JTD Keywords: cardiomyocyte proliferation, cross-linking, extracellular-matrix, focal adhesions, gene-expression, mechanical regulation, myocardial-infarction, substrate stiffness affects, t-cells, Ventricular assist device


Rubio-Canalejas, A, Admella, J, Pedraz, L, Torrents, E, (2023). Pseudomonas aeruginosa Nonphosphorylated AlgR Induces Ribonucleotide Reductase Expression under Oxidative Stress Infectious Conditions Msystems 8,

The emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria is a serious problem worldwide. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a pathogen that causes severe infections because it can form a biofilm that protects it from immune system mechanisms such as the production of oxidative stress. Ribonucleotide reductases are essential enzymes which synthesize deoxyribonucleotides used in the replication of DNA.

JTD Keywords: algr, biofilm, galleria mellonella, nrdj, oxidative stress, Gene-expression, Ribonucleotide reductase


Narciso, M, Martínez, A, Júnior, C, Díaz-Valdivia, N, Ulldemolins, A, Berardi, M, Neal, K, Navajas, D, Farré, R, Alcaraz, J, Almendros, I, Gavara, N, (2023). Lung Micrometastases Display ECM Depletion and Softening While Macrometastases Are 30-Fold Stiffer and Enriched in Fibronectin Cancers 15, 2404

Mechanical changes in tumors have long been linked to increased malignancy and therapy resistance and attributed to mechanical changes in the tumor extracellular matrix (ECM). However, to the best of our knowledge, there have been no mechanical studies on decellularized tumors. Here, we studied the biochemical and mechanical progression of the tumor ECM in two models of lung metastases: lung carcinoma (CAR) and melanoma (MEL). We decellularized the metastatic lung sections, measured the micromechanics of the tumor ECM, and stained the sections for ECM proteins, proliferation, and cell death markers. The same methodology was applied to MEL mice treated with the clinically approved anti-fibrotic drug nintedanib. When compared to healthy ECM (~0.40 kPa), CAR and MEL lung macrometastases produced a highly dense and stiff ECM (1.79 ± 1.32 kPa, CAR and 6.39 ± 3.37 kPa, MEL). Fibronectin was overexpressed from the early stages (~118%) to developed macrometastases (~260%) in both models. Surprisingly, nintedanib caused a 4-fold increase in ECM-occupied tumor area (5.1 ± 1.6% to 18.6 ± 8.9%) and a 2-fold in-crease in ECM stiffness (6.39 ± 3.37 kPa to 12.35 ± 5.74 kPa). This increase in stiffness strongly correlated with an increase in necrosis, which reveals a potential link between tumor hypoxia and ECM deposition and stiffness. Our findings highlight fibronectin and tumor ECM mechanics as attractive targets in cancer therapy and support the need to identify new anti-fibrotic drugs to abrogate aberrant ECM mechanics in metastases.

JTD Keywords: atomic force microscopy, basement membrane, breast-cancer, decellularization, expression, extracellular matrix, extracellular-matrix, fibronectin, intermittent hypoxia, lung carcinoma, lung metastases, melanoma, metastatic niche formation, micromechanical properties, nintedanib, signature, stiffness, tumor-growth, Colorectal-cancer progression, Lung metastases, Stiffness


Selt, F, Sigaud, R, Valinciute, G, Sievers, P, Zaman, J, Alco, C, Schmid, S, Peterziel, H, Tsai, JW, Guiho, R, Martínez-Barbera, JP, Pusch, S, Deng, J, Zhai, YF, van Tilburg, CM, Schuhman, MU, Damaty, AEL, Bandopadhayay, P, Herold-Mende, C, von Deimling, A, Pfister, SM, Montero, J, Capper, D, Oehme, I, Sahm, F, Jones, DTW, Witt, O, Milde, T, (2023). BH3 mimetics targeting BCL-XL impact the senescent compartment of pilocytic astrocytoma Neuro-Oncology 25, 735-747

Background Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) is the most common pediatric brain tumor and a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-driven disease. Oncogenic MAPK-signaling drives the majority of cells into oncogene-induced senescence (OIS). While OIS induces resistance to antiproliferative therapies, it represents a potential vulnerability exploitable by senolytic agents. Methods We established new patient-derived PA cell lines that preserve molecular features of the primary tumors and can be studied in OIS and proliferation depending on expression or repression of the SV40 large T antigen. We determined expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 members in these models and primary PA. Dependence of senescent PA cells on anti-apoptotic BCL-2 members was investigated using a comprehensive set of BH3 mimetics. Results Senescent PA cells upregulate BCL-XL upon senescence induction and show dependency on BCL-XL for survival. BH3 mimetics with high affinity for BCL-XL (BCL-XLi) reduce metabolic activity and induce mitochondrial apoptosis in senescent PA cells at nano-molar concentrations. In contrast, BH3 mimetics without BCL-XLi activity, conventional chemotherapy, and MEK inhibitors show no effect. Conclusions Our data demonstrate that BCL-XL is critical for survival of senescent PA tumor cells and provides proof-of-principle for the use of clinically available BCL-XL-dependent senolytics.

JTD Keywords: bcl-xl, bh3 mimetics, oncogene-induced senescence, Bcl-xl, Bh3 mimetics, Expression, Family, Inhibitor, Low-grade glioma, Navitoclax, Oncogene-induced senescence, Pilocytic astrocytoma, Stem-cells


Overby, SJ, Cerro-Herreros, E, Espinosa-Espinosa, J, González-Martínez, I, Moreno, N, Fernández-Costa, JM, Balaguer-Trias, J, Ramón-Azcón, J, Pérez-Alonso, M, Moller, T, Llamusí, B, Artero, R, (2023). BlockmiR AONs as Site-Specific Therapeutic MBNL Modulation in Myotonic Dystrophy 2D and 3D Muscle Cells and HSALR Mice Pharmaceutics 15, 1118

The symptoms of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1) are multi-systemic and life-threatening. The neuromuscular disorder is rooted in a non-coding CTG microsatellite expansion in the DM1 protein kinase (DMPK) gene that, upon transcription, physically sequesters the Muscleblind-like (MBNL) family of splicing regulator proteins. The high-affinity binding occurring between the proteins and the repetitions disallow MBNL proteins from performing their post-transcriptional splicing regulation leading to downstream molecular effects directly related to disease symptoms such as myotonia and muscle weakness. In this study, we build on previously demonstrated evidence showing that the silencing of miRNA-23b and miRNA-218 can increase MBNL1 protein in DM1 cells and mice. Here, we use blockmiR antisense technology in DM1 muscle cells, 3D mouse-derived muscle tissue, and in vivo mice to block the binding sites of these microRNAs in order to increase MBNL translation into protein without binding to microRNAs. The blockmiRs show therapeutic effects with the rescue of mis-splicing, MBNL subcellular localization, and highly specific transcriptomic expression. The blockmiRs are well tolerated in 3D mouse skeletal tissue inducing no immune response. In vivo, a candidate blockmiR also increases Mbnl1/2 protein and rescues grip strength, splicing, and histological phenotypes.

JTD Keywords: antisense oligonucleotides, aon, blockmir, brain, expression, genes, mbnl, mir-218, mir-23b, mirna, muscleblind, myotonic dystrophy 1, phenotypes, proteins, type-1, Messenger-rna, Muscleblind, Myotonic dystrophy 1


Andres-Benito, P, Flores, A, Busquet-Areny, S, Carmona, M, Ausin, K, Cartas-Cejudo, P, Lachen-Montes, M, Del Rio, JA, Fernandez-Irigoyen, J, Santamaria, E, Ferrer, I, (2023). Deregulated Transcription and Proteostasis in Adult mapt Knockout Mouse International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 24, 6559

Transcriptomics and phosphoproteomics were carried out in the cerebral cortex of B6.Cg-Mapttm1(EGFP)Klt (tau knockout: tau-KO) and wild-type (WT) 12 month-old mice to learn about the effects of tau ablation. Compared with WT mice, tau-KO mice displayed reduced anxiety-like behavior and lower fear expression induced by aversive conditioning, whereas recognition memory remained unaltered. Cortical transcriptomic analysis revealed 69 downregulated and 105 upregulated genes in tau-KO mice, corresponding to synaptic structures, neuron cytoskeleton and transport, and extracellular matrix components. RT-qPCR validated increased mRNA levels of col6a4, gabrq, gad1, grm5, grip2, map2, rab8a, tubb3, wnt16, and an absence of map1a in tau-KO mice compared with WT mice. A few proteins were assessed with Western blotting to compare mRNA expression with corresponding protein levels. Map1a mRNA and protein levels decreased. However, β-tubulin III and GAD1 protein levels were reduced in tau-KO mice. Cortical phosphoproteomics revealed 121 hypophosphorylated and 98 hyperphosphorylated proteins in tau-KO mice. Deregulated phosphoproteins were categorized into cytoskeletal (n = 45) and membrane proteins, including proteins of the synapses and vesicles, myelin proteins, and proteins linked to membrane transport and ion channels (n = 84), proteins related to DNA and RNA metabolism (n = 36), proteins connected to the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) (n = 7), proteins with kinase or phosphatase activity (n = 21), and 22 other proteins related to variegated pathways such as metabolic pathways, growth factors, or mitochondrial function or structure. The present observations reveal a complex altered brain transcriptome and phosphoproteome in tau-KO mice with only mild behavioral alterations.

JTD Keywords: computational platform, conformational-changes, cytoskeleton, disease, expression, isoforms, mechanisms, mice, phosphoproteomics, phosphorylation, synapse, tau-ko, tauopathies, transcriptomics, Tau-ko, Tau-protein, Transcriptomics


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


López-Soldado, I, Guinovart, JJ, Duran, J, (2023). Active Glycogen Synthase in the Liver Prevents High-Fat Diet-Induced Glucose Intolerance, Decreases Food Intake, and Lowers Body Weight International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 24, 2574

Many lines of evidence demonstrate a correlation between liver glycogen content and food intake. We previously demonstrated that mice overexpressing protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) specifically in the liver—which have increased glycogen content in this organ—are protected from high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity by reduced food intake. However, the use of PTG to increase liver glycogen implies certain limitations. PTG stimulates glycogen synthesis but also inhibits the enzyme responsible for glycogen degradation. Furthermore, as PTG is a regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), which regulates many cellular functions, its overexpression could have side effects beyond the regulation of glycogen metabolism. Therefore, it is necessary to determine whether the direct activation of glycogen synthesis, without affecting its degradation or other cellular functions, has the same effects. To this end, we generated mice overexpressing a non-inactivatable form of glycogen synthase (GS) specifically in the liver (9A-MGSAlb mice). Control and 9a-MGSAlb mice were fed a standard diet (SD) or HFD for 16 weeks. Glucose tolerance and feeding behavior were analyzed. 9A-MGSAlb mice showed an increase in hepatic glycogen in fed and fasting conditions. When fed an HFD, these animals preserved their hepatic energy state, had a reduced food intake, and presented a lower body weight and fat mass than control animals, without changes in energy expenditure. Furthermore, 9A-MGSAlb animals showed improved glucose tolerance when fed an SD or HFD. Moreover, liver triacylglycerol levels that were increased after HFD feeding were lower in these mice. These results confirm that increased liver glycogen stores contribute to decreased appetite and improve glucose tolerance in mice fed an HFD. On the basis of our findings, strategies to preserve hepatic glycogen stores emerge as potential treatments for obesity and hyperglycemia.

JTD Keywords: accumulation, atp, attenuates obesity, expression, food intake, glucose, glycogen, glycogen synthase, high-fat diet, homeostasis, hyperglycemia, liver, mgat1, muscle, protein, ptg, Glycogen, Hepatic overexpression, Liver


Riera, R, Archontakis, E, Cremers, G, de Greef, T, Zijlstra, P, Albertazzi, L, (2023). Precision and Accuracy of Receptor Quantification on Synthetic and Biological Surfaces Using DNA-PAINT Acs Sensors 8, 80-93

Characterization of the number and distribution of biological molecules on 2D surfaces is of foremost importance in biology and biomedicine. Synthetic surfaces bearing recognition motifs are a cornerstone of biosensors, while receptors on the cell surface are critical/vital targets for the treatment of diseases. However, the techniques used to quantify their abundance are qualitative or semi-quantitative and usually lack sensitivity, accuracy, or precision. Detailed herein a simple and versatile workflow based on super-resolution microscopy (DNA-PAINT) was standardized to improve the quantification of the density and distribution of molecules on synthetic substrates and cell membranes. A detailed analysis of accuracy and precision of receptor quantification is presented, based on simulated and experimental data. We demonstrate enhanced accuracy and sensitivity by filtering out non-specific interactions and artifacts. While optimizing the workflow to provide faithful counting over a broad range of receptor densities. We validated the workflow by specifically quantifying the density of docking strands on a synthetic sensor surface and the densities of PD1 and EGF receptors (EGFR) on two cellular models.

JTD Keywords: binding, biosensors, cancer, expression, kinetics, localization microscopy, quantification, receptors, single-molecule, super-resolution microscopy, Biosensors, Dna-paint, Quantification, Receptors, Single-molecule, Super-resolution microscopy, Superresolution microscopy


Mesquida-Veny, F, Martínez-Torres, S, Del Río, JA, Hervera, A, (2022). Genetic control of neuronal activity enhances axonal growth only on permissive substrates Molecular Medicine 28, 97

Abstract Background Neural tissue has limited regenerative ability. To cope with that, in recent years a diverse set of novel tools has been used to tailor neurostimulation therapies and promote functional regeneration after axonal injuries. Method In this report, we explore cell-specific methods to modulate neuronal activity, including opto- and chemogenetics to assess the effect of specific neuronal stimulation in the promotion of axonal regeneration after injury. Results Opto- and chemogenetic stimulations of neuronal activity elicited increased in vitro neurite outgrowth in both sensory and cortical neurons, as well as in vivo regeneration in the sciatic nerve, but not after spinal cord injury. Mechanistically, inhibitory substrates such as chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans block the activity induced increase in axonal growth. Conclusions We found that genetic modulations of neuronal activity on both dorsal root ganglia and corticospinal motor neurons increase their axonal growth capacity but only on permissive environments.

JTD Keywords: activation, chemogenetics, electrical-stimulation, expression, functional recovery, increases, injury, motor cortex, neuronal activity, optogenetics, permissive substrate, promotes recovery, regeneration, Optogenetics, Regeneration, Spinal-cord


Casanellas, Ignasi, Jiang, Hongkai, David, Carolyn M, Vida, Yolanda, Perez-Inestrosa, Ezequiel, Samitier, Josep, Lagunas, Anna, (2022). Substrate adhesion determines migration during mesenchymal cell condensation in chondrogenesis Journal Of Cell Science 135, 260241

Mesenchymal condensation is a prevalent morphogenetic transition that is essential in chondrogenesis. However, the current understanding of condensation mechanisms is limited. In vivo, progenitor cells directionally migrate from the surrounding loose mesenchyme towards regions of increasing matrix adherence (the condensation centers), which is accompanied by the upregulation of fibronectin. Here, we focused on the mechanisms of cell migration during mesenchymal cell condensation and the effects of matrix adherence. Dendrimer-based nanopatterns of the cell-adhesive peptide arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD), which is present in fibronectin, were used to regulate substrate adhesion. We recorded collective and single-cell migration of mesenchymal stem cells, under chondrogenic induction, using live-cell imaging. Our results show that the cell migration mode of single cells depends on substrate adhesiveness, and that cell directionality controls cell condensation and the fusion of condensates. Inhibition experiments revealed that cell-cell interactions mediated by N-cadherin (also known as CDH2) are also pivotal for directional migration of cell condensates by maintaining cell-cell cohesion, thus suggesting a fine interplay between cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesions. Our results shed light on the role of cell interactions with a fibronectin-depositing matrix during chondrogenesis in vitro, with possible applications in regenerative medicine. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.© 2022. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

JTD Keywords: alpha-v-beta-3, arginine-glycine-aspartic acid, chondrogenesis, dynamics, expression, fibronectin, gastrulation, involvement, mechanisms, mesenchymal condensation, model, nanopatterned substrates, rgd, Arginine-glycine-aspartic acid, Cell migration, Chondrogenesis, Mesenchymal condensation, N-cadherin, Nanopatterned substrates, Rgd


Cañellas-Socias, A, Cortina, C, Hernando-Momblona, X, Palomo-Ponce, S, Mulholland, EJ, Turon, G, Mateo, L, Conti, S, Roman, O, Sevillano, M, Slebe, F, Stork, D, Caballé-Mestres, A, Berenguer-Llergo, A, Alvarez-Varela, A, Fenderico, N, Novellasdemunt, L, Jiménez-Gracia, L, Sipka, T, Bardia, L, Lorden, P, Colombelli, J, Heyn, H, Trepat, X, Tejpar, S, Sancho, E, Tauriello, DVF, Leedham, S, Attolini, CSO, Batlle, E, (2022). Metastatic recurrence in colorectal cancer arises from residual EMP1+ cells Nature 611, 603-613

Around 30-40% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) undergoing curative resection of the primary tumour will develop metastases in the subsequent years1. Therapies to prevent disease relapse remain an unmet medical need. Here we uncover the identity and features of the residual tumour cells responsible for CRC relapse. An analysis of single-cell transcriptomes of samples from patients with CRC revealed that the majority of genes associated with a poor prognosis are expressed by a unique tumour cell population that we named high-relapse cells (HRCs). We established a human-like mouse model of microsatellite-stable CRC that undergoes metastatic relapse after surgical resection of the primary tumour. Residual HRCs occult in mouse livers after primary CRC surgery gave rise to multiple cell types over time, including LGR5+ stem-like tumour cells2-4, and caused overt metastatic disease. Using Emp1 (encoding epithelial membrane protein 1) as a marker gene for HRCs, we tracked and selectively eliminated this cell population. Genetic ablation of EMP1high cells prevented metastatic recurrence and mice remained disease-free after surgery. We also found that HRC-rich micrometastases were infiltrated with T cells, yet became progressively immune-excluded during outgrowth. Treatment with neoadjuvant immunotherapy eliminated residual metastatic cells and prevented mice from relapsing after surgery. Together, our findings reveal the cell-state dynamics of residual disease in CRC and anticipate that therapies targeting HRCs may help to avoid metastatic relapse.© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

JTD Keywords: colonization, defines, human colon, mutations, plasticity, retrieval, stem-cells, subtypes, underlie, Animal, Animal cell, Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal tissue, Animals, Article, Cancer, Cancer growth, Cancer immunotherapy, Cancer inhibition, Cancer recurrence, Cancer staging, Cell, Cell adhesion, Cell migration, Cell population, Cell surface receptor, Cohort analysis, Colorectal cancer, Colorectal neoplasms, Colorectal tumor, Comprehensive molecular characterization, Controlled study, Crispr-cas9 system, Cytoskeleton, Disease exacerbation, Disease progression, Dynamics, Emp1 gene, Epithelial membrane protein-1, Extracellular matrix, Flow cytometry, Fluorescence intensity, Gene expression, Genetics, Human, Human cell, Humans, Immune response, Immunofluorescence, In situ hybridization, Marker gene, Metastasis potential, Mice, Minimal residual disease, Mouse, Neoplasm proteins, Neoplasm recurrence, local, Neoplasm, residual, Nonhuman, Pathology, Phenotype, Prevention and control, Protein, Receptors, cell surface, Single cell rna seq, Tumor, Tumor protein, Tumor recurrence


Bonany, M, Pérez-Berná, AJ, Ducic, T, Pereiro, E, Martin-Gómez, H, Mas-Moruno, C, van Rijt, S, Zhao, ZT, Espanol, M, Ginebra, MP, (2022). Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles-cell interaction: New approaches to disclose the fate of membrane-bound and internalised nanoparticles Biomaterials Advances 142, 213148

Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles are popular tools in bone regeneration, but they have also been used for gene delivery and as anticancer drugs. Understanding their mechanism of action, particularly for the latter application, is crucial to predict their toxicity. To this end, we aimed to elucidate the importance of nanoparticle membrane interactions in the cytotoxicity of MG-63 cells using two different types of nanoparticles. In addition, conventional techniques for studying nanoparticle internalisation were evaluated and compared with newer and less exploited approaches. Hydroxyapatite and magnesium-doped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles were used as suspensions or compacted as specular discs. Comparison between cells seeded on the discs and those supplemented with the nanoparticles allowed direct interaction of the cell membrane with the material to be ruled out as the main mechanism of toxicity. In addition, standard techniques such as flow cytometry were inconclusive when used to assess nanoparticles toxicity. Interestingly, the use of intracellular calcium fluorescent probes revealed the presence of a high number of calcium-rich vesicles after nanoparticle supplementation in cell culture. These structures could not be detected by transmission electron microscopy due to their liquid content. However, by using cryo-soft X-ray imaging, which was used to visualise the cellular ultrastructure without further treatment other than vitrification and to quantify the linear absorption coefficient of each organelle, it was possible to identify them as multivesicular bodies, potentially acting as calcium stores. In the study, an advanced state of degradation of the hydroxyapatite and magnesium-doped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles within MG-63 cells was observed. Overall, we demonstrate that the combination of fluorescent calcium probes together with cryo-SXT is an excellent approach to investigate intracellular calcium, especially when found in its soluble form.Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: adsorption, cryo-soft x-ray tomography, cytotoxicity, expression, flow cytometry, internalisation, intracellular calcium, magnesium, nano, nanomaterials, nanoparticles, proliferation, protein corona, ultrastructure, Calcium-phosphate nanoparticles, Cryo-soft x-ray tomography, Flow cytometry, Hydroxyapatite, Internalisation, Intracellular calcium, Nanoparticles


Rivas, EI, Linares, J, Zwick, M, Gómez-Llonin, A, Guiu, M, Labernadie, A, Badia-Ramentol, J, Lladó, A, Bardia, L, Pérez-Núñez, I, Martínez-Ciarpaglini, C, Tarazona, N, Sallent-Aragay, A, Garrido, M, Celià-Terrassa, T, Burgués, O, Gomis, RR, Albanell, J, Calon, A, (2022). Targeted immunotherapy against distinct cancer-associated fibroblasts overcomes treatment resistance in refractory HER2+ breast tumors Nature Communications 13, 5310

About 50% of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)+ breast cancer patients do not benefit from HER2-targeted therapy and almost 20% of them relapse after treatment. Here, we conduct a detailed analysis of two independent cohorts of HER2+ breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab to elucidate the mechanisms of resistance to anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies. In addition, we develop a fully humanized immunocompetent model of HER2+ breast cancer recapitulating ex vivo the biological processes that associate with patients’ response to treatment. Thanks to these two approaches, we uncover a population of TGF-beta-activated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) specific from tumors resistant to therapy. The presence of this cellular subset related to previously described myofibroblastic (CAF-S1) and podoplanin+ CAF subtypes in breast cancer associates with low IL2 activity. Correspondingly, we find that stroma-targeted stimulation of IL2 pathway in unresponsive tumors restores trastuzumab anti-cancer efficiency. Overall, our study underscores the therapeutic potential of exploiting the tumor microenvironment to identify and overcome mechanisms of resistance to anti-cancer treatment.

JTD Keywords: activation, cells, efficacy, enrichment analysis, expression, infiltrating lymphocytes, survival, therapy, trastuzumab, Her2-positive breast-cancer


Safi, W, Marco, A, Moya, D, Prado, P, Garreta, E, Montserrat, N, (2022). Assessing kidney development and disease using kidney organoids and CRISPR engineering Frontiers In Cell And Developmental Biology 10, 948395

The differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) towards organoids is one of the biggest scientific advances in regenerative medicine. Kidney organoids have not only laid the groundwork for various organ-like tissue systems but also provided insights into kidney embryonic development. Thus, several protocols for the differentiation of renal progenitors or mature cell types have been established. Insights into the interplay of developmental pathways in nephrogenesis and determination of different cell fates have enabled the in vitro recapitulation of nephrogenesis. Here we first provide an overview of kidney morphogenesis and patterning in the mouse model in order to dissect signalling pathways that are key to define culture conditions sustaining renal differentiation from hPSCs. Secondly, we also highlight how genome editing approaches have provided insights on the specific role of different genes and molecular pathways during renal differentiation from hPSCs. Based on this knowledge we further review how CRISPR/Cas9 technology has enabled the recapitulation and correction of cellular phenotypes associated with human renal disease. Last, we also revise how the field has positively benefited from emerging technologies as single cell RNA sequencing and discuss current limitations on kidney organoid technology that will take advantage from bioengineering solutions to help standardizing the use of this model systems to study kidney development and disease.Copyright © 2022 Safi, Marco, Moya, Prado, Garreta and Montserrat.

JTD Keywords: crispr, directed differentiation, epithelial-cells, expression, kidney engineering, kidney organoids, model, mouse, nephrogenesis, nephron number, podocytes, progenitor, Crispr, Kidney engineering, Kidney organoids, Nephrogenesis, Pluripotent stem cells, Pluripotent stem-cells


Duch, P, Diaz-Valdivia, N, Ikemori, R, Gabasa, M, Radisky, ES, Arshakyan, M, Gea-Sorli, S, Mateu-Bosch, A, Bragado, P, Carrasco, JL, Mori, H, Ramirez, J, Teixido, C, Reguart, N, Fillat, C, Radisky, DC, Alcaraz, J, (2022). Aberrant TIMP-1 overexpression in tumor-associated fibroblasts drives tumor progression through CD63 in lung adenocarcinoma Matrix Biology 111, 207-225

Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) is an important regulator of extracellular matrix turnover that has been traditionally regarded as a potential tumor suppressor owing to its inhibitory effects of matrix metal-loproteinases. Intriguingly, this interpretation has been challenged by the consistent observation that increased expression of TIMP-1 is associated with poor prognosis in virtually all cancer types including lung cancer, supporting a tumor-promoting function. However, how TIMP-1 is dysregulated within the tumor micro-environment and how it drives tumor progression in lung cancer is poorly understood. We analyzed the expression of TIMP-1 and its cell surface receptor CD63 in two major lung cancer subtypes: lung adenocarci-noma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and defined the tumor-promoting effects of their interac-tion. We found that TIMP-1 is aberrantly overexpressed in tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) in ADC compared to SCC. Mechanistically, TIMP-1 overexpression was mediated by the selective hyperactivity of the pro-fibrotic TGF-61/SMAD3 pathway in ADC-TAFs. Likewise, CD63 was upregulated in ADC compared to SCC cells. Genetic analyses revealed that TIMP-1 secreted by TGF-61-activated ADC-TAFs is both nec-essary and sufficient to enhance growth and invasion of ADC cancer cells in culture, and that tumor cell expression of CD63 was required for these effects. Consistently, in vivo analyses revealed that ADC cells co-injected with fibroblasts with reduced SMAD3 or TIMP-1 expression into immunocompromised mice attenu-ated tumor aggressiveness compared to tumors bearing parental fibroblasts. We also found that high TIMP1 and CD63 mRNA levels combined define a stronger prognostic biomarker than TIMP1 alone. Our results identify an excessive stromal TIMP-1 within the tumor microenvironment selectively in lung ADC, and implicate it in a novel tumor-promoting TAF-carcinoma crosstalk, thereby pointing to TIMP-1/CD63 interaction as a novel therapeutic target in lung cancer. (c) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

JTD Keywords: cancer-associated fibroblast, cd63, fibrosis, smad3, tgf-β1, timp-1, Angiogenesis, Cancer cells, Cancer-associated fibroblast, Cd63, Expression, Fibrosis, Hepatocellular-carcinoma, Metalloproteinases, Nintedanib, Prognostic-significance, Protein, Smad3, Squamous-cell carcinoma, Tgf-? 1, Tgf-β1, Timp-1, Tissue inhibitor, Tumor microenvironment


Chulia-Peris, L, Carreres-Rey, C, Gabasa, M, Alcaraz, J, Carretero, J, Pereda, J, (2022). Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Inhibitors in Pulmonary Fibrosis: EMMPRIN/CD147 Comes into Play International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 6894

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is characterized by aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, activation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts and parenchymal disorganization, which have an impact on the biomechanical traits of the lung. In this context, the balance between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) is lost. Interestingly, several MMPs are overexpressed during PF and exhibit a clear profibrotic role (MMP-2, -3, -8, -11, -12 and -28), but a few are antifibrotic (MMP-19), have both profibrotic and antifibrotic capacity (MMP7), or execute an unclear (MMP-1, -9, -10, -13, -14) or unknown function. TIMPs are also overexpressed in PF; hence, the modulation and function of MMPs and TIMP are more complex than expected. EMMPRIN/CD147 (also known as basigin) is a transmembrane glycoprotein from the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) that was first described to induce MMP activity in fibroblasts. It also interacts with other molecules to execute non-related MMP aactions well-described in cancer progression, migration, and invasion. Emerging evidence strongly suggests that CD147 plays a key role in PF not only by MMP induction but also by stimulating fibroblast myofibroblast transition. In this review, we study the structure and function of MMPs, TIMPs and CD147 in PF and their complex crosstalk between them.

JTD Keywords: basigin, cd147, emmprin, mmps, timps, Basigin, Cd147, Cell-surface, Emmprin, Extracellular-matrix, Gelatinase-b, Gene-expression profiles, Growth-factor-beta, Immunoglobulin superfamily, Induced lung injury, Inducer emmprin, Mmps, Pulmonary fibrosis, Timps, Tissue inhibitor, Transforming growth-factor-beta-1


Rätze, MAK, Koorman, T, Sijnesael, T, Bassey-Archibong, B, van de Ven, R, Enserink, L, Visser, D, Jaksani, S, Viciano, I, Bakker, ERM, Richard, F, Tutt, A, O'Leary, L, Fitzpatrick, A, Roca-Cusachs, P, van Diest, PJ, Desmedt, C, Daniel, JM, Isacke, CM, Derksen, PWB, (2022). Loss of E-cadherin leads to Id2-dependent inhibition of cell cycle progression in metastatic lobular breast cancer Oncogene 41, 2932-2944

Invasive lobular breast carcinoma (ILC) is characterized by proliferative indolence and long-term latency relapses. This study aimed to identify how disseminating ILC cells control the balance between quiescence and cell cycle re-entry. In the absence of anchorage, ILC cells undergo a sustained cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 while maintaining viability. From the genes that are upregulated in anchorage independent ILC cells, we selected Inhibitor of DNA binding 2 (Id2), a mediator of cell cycle progression. Using loss-of-function experiments, we demonstrate that Id2 is essential for anchorage independent survival (anoikis resistance) in vitro and lung colonization in mice. Importantly, we find that under anchorage independent conditions, E-cadherin loss promotes expression of Id2 in multiple mouse and (organotypic) human models of ILC, an event that is caused by a direct p120-catenin/Kaiso-dependent transcriptional de-repression of the canonical Kaiso binding sequence TCCTGCNA. Conversely, stable inducible restoration of E-cadherin expression in the ILC cell line SUM44PE inhibits Id2 expression and anoikis resistance. We show evidence that Id2 accumulates in the cytosol, where it induces a sustained and CDK4/6-dependent G0/G1 cell cycle arrest through interaction with hypo-phosphorylated Rb. Finally, we find that Id2 is indeed enriched in ILC when compared to other breast cancers, and confirm cytosolic Id2 protein expression in primary ILC samples. In sum, we have linked mutational inactivation of E-cadherin to direct inhibition of cell cycle progression. Our work indicates that loss of E-cadherin and subsequent expression of Id2 drive indolence and dissemination of ILC. As such, E-cadherin and Id2 are promising candidates to stratify low and intermediate grade invasive breast cancers for the use of clinical cell cycle intervention drugs.

JTD Keywords: anoikis resistance, carcinoma, d1, differentiation, gene-expression, growth, id2, proliferation, repression, Mammary epithelial-cells


Lopez-Mengual, A, Segura-Feliu, M, Sunyer, R, Sanz-Fraile, H, Otero, J, Mesquida-Veny, F, Gil, V, Hervera, A, Ferrer, I, Soriano, J, Trepat, X, Farre, R, Navajas, D, del Rio, JA, (2022). Involvement of Mechanical Cues in the Migration of Cajal-Retzius Cells in the Marginal Zone During Neocortical Development Frontiers In Cell And Developmental Biology 10, 886110

Emerging evidence points to coordinated action of chemical and mechanical cues during brain development. At early stages of neocortical development, angiogenic factors and chemokines such as CXCL12, ephrins, and semaphorins assume crucial roles in orchestrating neuronal migration and axon elongation of postmitotic neurons. Here we explore the intrinsic mechanical properties of the developing marginal zone of the pallium in the migratory pathways and brain distribution of the pioneer Cajal-Retzius cells. These neurons are generated in several proliferative regions in the developing brain (e.g., the cortical hem and the pallial subpallial boundary) and migrate tangentially in the preplate/marginal zone covering the upper portion of the developing cortex. These cells play crucial roles in correct neocortical layer formation by secreting several molecules such as Reelin. Our results indicate that the motogenic properties of Cajal-Retzius cells and their perinatal distribution in the marginal zone are modulated by both chemical and mechanical factors, by the specific mechanical properties of Cajal-Retzius cells, and by the differential stiffness of the migratory routes. Indeed, cells originating in the cortical hem display higher migratory capacities than those generated in the pallial subpallial boundary which may be involved in the differential distribution of these cells in the dorsal-lateral axis in the developing marginal zone.

JTD Keywords: atomic force microscopy, cajal-retzius cells, cortical development, marginal zone, mechanical cues, Atomic force microscopy, Cajal-retzius cells, Central-nervous-system, Cortical development, Cortical hem, Developing cerebral-cortex, Expression, Growth, Marginal zone, Mechanical cues, Mouse, Neuronal migration, Nogo receptor, Olfactory ensheathing cells, Tangential migration, Traction force microscopy


De Chiara, F, Ferret-Miñana, A, Fernández-Costa, JM, Senni, A, Jalan, R, Ramón-Azcón, J, (2022). Fatty Hepatocytes Induce Skeletal Muscle Atrophy In Vitro: A New 3D Platform to Study the Protective Effect of Albumin in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Biomedicines 10, 958

The liver neutralizes endogenous and exogenous toxins and metabolites, being metabolically interconnected with many organs. Numerous clinical and experimental studies show a strong association between Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and loss of skeletal muscle mass known as sarcopenia. Liver transplantation solves the hepatic-related insufficiencies, but it is unable to revert sarcopenia. Knowing the mechanism(s) by which different organs communicate with each other is crucial to improve the drug development that still relies on the two-dimensional models. However, those models fail to mimic the pathological features of the disease. Here, both liver and skeletal muscle cells were encapsulated in gelatin methacryloyl and carboxymethylcellulose to recreate the disease’s phenotype in vitro. The 3D hepatocytes were challenged with non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) inducing features of Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) such as lipid accumulation, metabolic activity impairment and apoptosis. The 3D skeletal muscle tissues incubated with supernatant from fatty hepatocytes displayed loss of maturation and atrophy. This study demonstrates the connection between the liver and the skeletal muscle in NAFL, narrowing down the players for potential treatments. The tool herein presented was employed as a customizable 3D in vitro platform to assess the protective effect of albumin on both hepatocytes and myotubes.

JTD Keywords: 3r, ammonia, cirrhosis, crosstalk, disease, expression, myostatin, nefas, sarcopenia, tissue engineering, Crosstalk, Nuclear factor 4-alpha, Tissue engineering


Ferrer, I, Andrés-Benito, P, Garcia-Esparcia, P, López-Gonzalez, I, Valiente, D, Jordán-Pirla, M, Carmona, M, Sala-Jarque, J, Gil, V, del Rio, JA, (2022). Differences in Tau Seeding in Newborn and Adult Wild-Type Mice International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 4789

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other tauopathies are common neurodegenerative diseases in older adults; in contrast, abnormal tau deposition in neurons and glial cells occurs only exceptionally in children. Sarkosyl-insoluble fractions from sporadic AD (sAD) containing paired helical filaments (PHFs) were inoculated unilaterally into the thalamus in newborn and three-month-old wild-type C57BL/6 mice, which were killed at different intervals from 24 h to six months after inoculation. Tau-positive cells were scanty and practically disappeared at three months in mice inoculated at the age of a newborn. In contrast, large numbers of tau-positive cells, including neurons and oligodendrocytes, were found in the thalamus of mice inoculated at three months and killed at the ages of six months and nine months. Mice inoculated at the age of newborn and re-inoculated at the age of three months showed similar numbers and distribution of positive cells in the thalamus at six months and nine months. This study shows that (a) differences in tau seeding between newborn and young adults may be related to the ratios between 3Rtau and 4Rtau, and the shift to 4Rtau predominance in adults, together with the immaturity of connections in newborn mice, and (b) intracerebral inoculation of sAD PHFs in newborn mice does not protect from tau seeding following intracerebral inoculation of sAD PHFs in young/adult mice.

JTD Keywords: alzheimer's disease, alzheimer-disease, alzheimer’s disease, expression, mouse tau, neurofibrillary tangles, newborn, pathological tau, propagation, protein-tau, spread, tau seeding and spreading, thalamus, transgenic mice, Paired helical filaments, Tau seeding and spreading, Thalamus


Marhuenda, E, Villarino, A, Narciso, ML, Camprubí-Rimblas, M, Farré, R, Gavara, N, Artigas, A, Almendros, I, Otero, J, (2022). Lung Extracellular Matrix Hydrogels Enhance Preservation of Type II Phenotype in Primary Alveolar Epithelial Cells International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 4888

One of the main limitations of in vitro studies on lung diseases is the difficulty of maintaining the type II phenotype of alveolar epithelial cells in culture. This fact has previously been related to the translocation of the mechanosensing Yes-associated protein (YAP) to the nuclei and Rho signaling pathway. In this work, we aimed to culture and subculture primary alveolar type II cells on extracellular matrix lung-derived hydrogels to assess their suitability for phenotype maintenance. Cells cultured on lung hydrogels formed monolayers and maintained type II phenotype for a longer time as compared with those conventionally cultured. Interestingly, cells successfully grew when they were subsequently cultured on a dish. Moreover, cells cultured on a plate showed the active form of the YAP protein and the formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions. The results of chemically inhibiting the Rho pathway strongly suggest that this is one of the mechanisms by which the hydrogel promotes type II phenotype maintenance. These results regarding protein expression strongly suggest that the chemical and biophysical properties of the hydrogel have a considerable impact on the transition from ATII to ATI phenotypes. In conclusion, culturing primary alveolar epithelial cells on lung ECM-derived hydrogels may facilitate the prolonged culturing of these cells, and thus help in the research on lung diseases.

JTD Keywords: adhesion, alveolar cells, expression, extracellular matrix, hydrogels, pathway, surfactant, type ii phenotype, yap, Extracellular matrix, Transplantation, Type ii phenotype


Montero, J, Haq, R, (2022). Adapted to Survive: Targeting Cancer Cells with BH3 Mimetics Cancer Discovery 12, 1217-1232

A hallmark of cancer is cell death evasion, underlying suboptimal responses to chemotherapy, targeted agents, and immunotherapies. The approval of the anti apoptotic BCL2 antagonist venetoclax has fi nally validated the potential of targeting apoptotic pathways in patients with cancer. Nevertheless, pharmacologic modulators of cell death have shown markedly varied responses in preclinical and clinical studies. Here, we review emerging concepts in the use of this class of therapies. Building on these observations, we propose that treatment-induced changes in apoptotic dependency, rather than pretreatment dependencies, will need to be recognized and targeted to realize the precise deployment of these new pharmacologic agents. Signifi cance: Targeting antiapoptotic family members has proven effi cacious and tolerable in some cancers, but responses are infrequent, particularly for patients with solid tumors. Biomarkers to aid patient selection have been lacking. Precision functional approaches that overcome adaptive resistance to these compounds could drive durable responses to chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapies.

JTD Keywords: Anti-apoptotic mcl-1, Bcl-x-l, Bim expression, Chemotherapy sensitivity, Combination strategies, Family proteins, Multiple-myeloma, Oblimersen sodium, Phase-i, Venetoclax resistance


Almici, Enrico, Chiappini, Vanessa, Lopez-Marquez, Aristides, Badosa, Carmen, Blazquez, Blanca, Caballero, David, Montero, Joan, Natera-de Benito, Daniel, Nascimento, Andres, Roldan, Monica, Lagunas, Anna, Jimenez-Mallebrera, Cecilia, Samitier, Josep, (2022). Personalized in vitro Extracellular Matrix Models of Collagen VI-Related Muscular Dystrophies Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 10, 851825

Collagen VI-related dystrophies (COL6-RDs) are a group of rare congenital neuromuscular dystrophies that represent a continuum of overlapping clinical phenotypes that go from the milder Bethlem myopathy (BM) to the severe Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, for which there is no effective treatment. Mutations in one of the three Collagen VI genes alter the incorporation of this protein into the extracellular matrix (ECM), affecting the assembly and the structural integrity of the whole fibrillar network. Clinical hallmarks of COL6-RDs are secondary to the ECM disruption and include muscle weakness, proximal joint contractures, and distal hyperlaxity. Although some traits have been identified in patients’ ECMs, a correlation between the ECM features and the clinical phenotype has not been established, mainly due to the lack of predictive and reliable models of the pathology. Herein, we engineered a new personalized pre-clinical model of COL6-RDs using cell-derived matrices (CDMs) technology to better recapitulate the complexity of the native scenario. We found that CDMs from COL6-RD patients presented alterations in ECM structure and composition, showing a significantly decreased Collagen VI secretion, especially in the more severe phenotypes, and a decrease in Fibrillin-1 inclusion. Next, we examined the Collagen VI-mediated deposition of Fibronectin in the ECM, finding a higher alignment, length, width, and straightness than in patients with COL6-RDs. Overall, these results indicate that CDMs models are promising tools to explore the alterations that arise in the composition and fibrillar architecture due to mutations in Collagen VI genes, especially in early stages of matrix organization. Ultimately, CDMs derived from COL6-RD patients may become relevant pre-clinical models, which may help identifying novel biomarkers to be employed in the clinics and to investigate novel therapeutic targets and treatments. Copyright © 2022 Almici, Chiappini, López-Márquez, Badosa, Blázquez, Caballero, Montero, Natera-de Benito, Nascimento, Roldán, Lagunas, Jiménez-Mallebrera and Samitier.

JTD Keywords: alpha-3 chain, binding, collagen vi related muscular dystrophy, decellularisation, decellularized matrices, deficiency, expression, extracellular matrix, fibroblasts, fibronectin, in vitro model, patient-derived ecms, skeletal-muscle, ullrich, Cell-derived matrices, Collagen, Collagen vi related muscular dystrophy, Decellularisation, Decellularization, Extracellular matrices, Extracellular matrix, Genes, In vitro model, In-vitro, In-vitro models, Matrix, Matrix model, Muscular dystrophy, Pathology, Patient-derived ecm, Patient-derived ecms, Pre-clinical


Alcon, C, Martín, F, Prada, E, Mora, J, Soriano, A, Guillén, G, Gallego, S, Roma, J, Samitier, J, Villanueva, A, Montero, J, (2022). MEK and MCL-1 sequential inhibition synergize to enhance rhabdomyosarcoma treatment Cell Death Discov 8, 172

Targeted agents have emerged as promising molecules for cancer treatment, but most of them fail to achieve complete tumor regression or attain durable remissions due to tumor adaptations. We used dynamic BH3 profiling to identify targeted agents effectiveness and anti-apoptotic adaptations upon targeted treatment in rhabdomyosarcoma. We focused on studying the use of BH3 mimetics to specifically inhibit pro-survival BCL-2 family proteins, overwhelm resistance to therapy and prevent relapse. We observed that the MEK1/2 inhibitor trametinib rapidly depleted the pro-apoptotic protein NOXA, thus increasing MCL-1 availability. Indeed, we found that the MCL-1 inhibitor S63845 synergistically enhanced trametinib cytotoxicity in rhabdomyosarcoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, our findings indicate that the combination of a BH3 mimetic targeting MCL-1 with trametinib improves efficiency on rhabdomyosarcoma by blocking tumor adaptation to treatment.

JTD Keywords: apoptosis, bcl-2, combination, expression, pathway, resistance, survival, therapy, tumors, Histone deacetylase inhibitor


Bonilla-Pons, SA, Nakagawa, S, Bahima, EG, Fernández-Blanco, A, Pesaresi, M, D'Antin, JC, Sebastian-Perez, R, Greco, D, Domínguez-Sala, E, Gómez-Riera, R, Compte, RIB, Dierssen, M, Pulido, NM, Cosma, MP, (2022). Müller glia fused with adult stem cells undergo neural differentiation in human retinal models Ebiomedicine 77, 103914

Visual impairments are a critical medical hurdle to be addressed in modern society. Müller glia (MG) have regenerative potential in the retina in lower vertebrates, but not in mammals. However, in mice, in vivo cell fusion between MG and adult stem cells forms hybrids that can partially regenerate ablated neurons.We used organotypic cultures of human retina and preparations of dissociated cells to test the hypothesis that cell fusion between human MG and adult stem cells can induce neuronal regeneration in human systems. Moreover, we established a microinjection system for transplanting human retinal organoids to demonstrate hybrid differentiation.We first found that cell fusion occurs between MG and adult stem cells, in organotypic cultures of human retina as well as in cell cultures. Next, we showed that the resulting hybrids can differentiate and acquire a proto-neural electrophysiology profile when the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is activated in the adult stem cells prior fusion. Finally, we demonstrated the engraftment and differentiation of these hybrids into human retinal organoids.We show fusion between human MG and adult stem cells, and demonstrate that the resulting hybrid cells can differentiate towards neural fate in human model systems. Our results suggest that cell fusion-mediated therapy is a potential regenerative approach for treating human retinal dystrophies.This work was supported by La Caixa Health (HR17-00231), Velux Stiftung (976a) and the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, (BFU2017-86760-P) (AEI/FEDER, UE), AGAUR (2017 SGR 689, 2017 SGR 926).Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: cell fusion, expression, fusion, ganglion-cells, in-vitro, mouse, müller glia, neural differentiation, organoids, regeneration, retina regeneration, stem cells, stromal cells, transplantation, 4',6 diamidino 2 phenylindole, 5' nucleotidase, Agarose, Alcohol, Arpe-19 cell line, Article, Beta catenin, Beta tubulin, Bone-marrow-cells, Bromophenol blue, Buffer, Calcium cell level, Calcium phosphate, Calretinin, Canonical wnt signaling, Cd34 antigen, Cell culture, Cell fusion, Cell viability, Coculture, Complementary dna, Confocal microscopy, Cornea transplantation, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotection, Crystal structure, Current clamp technique, Dimethyl sulfoxide, Dodecyl sulfate sodium, Edetic acid, Electrophysiology, Endoglin, Fetal bovine serum, Fibroblast growth factor 2, Flow cytometry, Fluorescence activated cell sorting, Fluorescence intensity, Glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate dehydrogenase, Glycerol, Glycine, Hoe 33342, Immunofluorescence, Immunohistochemistry, Incubation time, Interleukin 1beta, Lentivirus vector, Matrigel, Mercaptoethanol, Microinjection, Mueller cell, Müller glia, N methyl dextro aspartic acid, Nerve cell differentiation, Neural differentiation, Nitrogen, Nonhuman, Organoids, Paraffin, Paraffin embedding, Paraformaldehyde, Patch clamp technique, Penicillin derivative, Phenolsulfonphthalein, Phenotype, Phosphate buffered saline, Phosphoprotein phosphatase inhibitor, Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Potassium chloride, Povidone iodine, Promoter region, Proteinase inhibitor, Real time polymerase chain reaction, Receptor type tyrosine protein phosphatase c, Restriction endonuclease, Retina, Retina dystrophy, Retina regeneration, Retinol, Rhodopsin, Rna extraction, Stem cell, Stem cells, Subcutaneous fat, Tunel assay, Visual impairment, Western blotting


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


Bravo, J, Ribeiro, I, Terceiro, AF, Andrade, EB, Portugal, CC, Lopes, IM, Azevedo, MM, Sousa, M, Lopes, CDF, Lobo, AC, Canedo, T, Relvas, JB, Summavielle, T, (2022). Neuron-Microglia Contact-Dependent Mechanisms Attenuate Methamphetamine-Induced Microglia Reactivity and Enhance Neuronal Plasticity Cells 11, 355

Exposure to methamphetamine (Meth) has been classically associated with damage to neuronal terminals. However, it is now becoming clear that addiction may also result from the interplay between glial cells and neurons. Recently, we demonstrated that binge Meth administration promotes microgliosis and microglia pro-inflammation via astrocytic glutamate release in a TNF/IP(3)R2-Ca2+-dependent manner. Here, we investigated the contribution of neuronal cells to this process. As the crosstalk between microglia and neurons may occur by contact-dependent and/or contact-independent mechanisms, we developed co-cultures of primary neurons and microglia in microfluidic devices to investigate how their interaction affects Meth-induced microglia activation. Our results show that neurons exposed to Meth do not activate microglia in a cell-autonomous way but require astrocyte mediation. Importantly, we found that neurons can partially prevent Meth-induced microglia activation via astrocytes, which seems to be achieved by increasing arginase 1 expression and strengthening the CD200/CD200r pathway. We also observed an increase in synaptic individual area, as determined by co-localization of pre- and post-synaptic markers. The present study provides evidence that contact-dependent mechanisms between neurons and microglia can attenuate pro-inflammatory events such as Meth-induced microglia activation.

JTD Keywords: cd200, contact-dependent, methamphetamine, neuron-to-microglia, psd95, Activation, Cd200, Contact-dependent, Expression, Glutamate, Methamphetamine, Neuron-to-microglia, Neuroprotection, Platform, Psd95


Matamoros-Angles, A, Hervera, A, Soriano, J, Marti, E, Carulla, P, Llorens, F, Nuvolone, M, Aguzzi, A, Ferrer, I, Gruart, A, Delgado-Garcia, JM, Del Rio, JA, (2022). Analysis of co-isogenic prion protein deficient mice reveals behavioral deficits, learning impairment, and enhanced hippocampal excitability Bmc Biology 20, 17

Background Cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is a cell surface GPI-anchored protein, usually known for its role in the pathogenesis of human and animal prionopathies. However, increasing knowledge about the participation of PrP(C) in prion pathogenesis contrasts with puzzling data regarding its natural physiological role. PrP(C) is expressed in a number of tissues, including at high levels in the nervous system, especially in neurons and glial cells, and while previous studies have established a neuroprotective role, conflicting evidence for a synaptic function has revealed both reduced and enhanced long-term potentiation, and variable observations on memory, learning, and behavior. Such evidence has been confounded by the absence of an appropriate knock-out mouse model to dissect the biological relevance of PrP(C), with some functions recently shown to be misattributed to PrP(C) due to the presence of genetic artifacts in mouse models. Here we elucidate the role of PrP(C) in the hippocampal circuitry and its related functions, such as learning and memory, using a recently available strictly co-isogenic Prnp(0/0) mouse model (Prnp(ZH3/ZH3)). Results We performed behavioral and operant conditioning tests to evaluate memory and learning capabilities, with results showing decreased motility, impaired operant conditioning learning, and anxiety-related behavior in Prnp(ZH3/ZH3) animals. We also carried in vivo electrophysiological recordings on CA3-CA1 synapses in living behaving mice and monitored spontaneous neuronal firing and network formation in primary neuronal cultures of Prnp(ZH3/ZH3) vs wildtype mice. PrP(C) absence enhanced susceptibility to high-intensity stimulations and kainate-induced seizures. However, long-term potentiation (LTP) was not enhanced in the Prnp(ZH3/ZH3) hippocampus. In addition, we observed a delay in neuronal maturation and network formation in Prnp(ZH3/ZH3) cultures. Conclusion Our results demonstrate that PrP(C) promotes neuronal network formation and connectivity. PrP(C) mediates synaptic function and protects the synapse from excitotoxic insults. Its deletion may underlie an epileptogenic-susceptible brain that fails to perform highly cognitive-demanding tasks such as associative learning and anxiety-like behaviors.

JTD Keywords: anxiety, behavior, cellular prion protein, epilepsy, hippocampus, Anxiety, Behavior, Cellular prion protein, Developmental expression, Epilepsy, Gene-expression, Hippocampus, Kainate-induced seizures, Lacking, Ltp, Memory, Messenger-rna, Motor behavior, Mouse, Prp


Gawish, R, Starkl, P, Pimenov, L, Hladik, A, Lakovits, K, Oberndorfer, F, Cronin, SJF, Ohradanova-Repic, A, Wirnsberger, G, Agerer, B, Endler, L, Capraz, T, Perthold, JW, Cikes, D, Koglgruber, R, Hagelkruys, A, Montserrat, N, Mirazimi, A, Boon, L, Stockinger, H, Bergthaler, A, Oostenbrink, C, Penninger, JM, Knapp, S, (2022). ACE2 is the critical in vivo receptor for SARS-CoV-2 in a novel COVID-19 mouse model with TNF-and IFNy-driven immunopathology Elife 11, e74623

Despite tremendous progress in the understanding of COVID-19, mechanistic insight into immunological, disease-driving factors remains limited. We generated maVie16, a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2, by serial passaging of a human isolate. In silico modeling revealed how only three Spike mutations of maVie16 enhanced interaction with murine ACE2. maVie16 induced profound pathology in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice, and the resulting mouse COVID-19 (mCOVID-19) replicated critical aspects of human disease, including early lymphopenia, pulmonary immune cell infiltration, pneumonia, and specific adaptive immunity. Inhibition of the proinflammatory cyto-kines IFN? and TNF substantially reduced immunopathology. Importantly, genetic ACE2-deficiency completely prevented mCOVID-19 development. Finally, inhalation therapy with recombinant ACE2 fully protected mice from mCOVID-19, revealing a novel and efficient treatment. Thus, we here present maVie16 as a new tool to model COVID-19 for the discovery of new therapies and show that disease severity is determined by cytokine-driven immunopathology and critically dependent on ACE2 in vivo. © Gawish et al.

JTD Keywords: covid-19 mouse model, covid-19 therapy, cytokine storm, immunology, inflammation, mavie16, mouse, mouse-adapted sars-cov-2, program, recombinant soluble ace2, tmprss2, Adaptive immunity, Angiotensin converting enzyme 2, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, Animal, Animal cell, Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal tissue, Animals, Apoptosis, Article, Bagg albino mouse, Breathing rate, Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, C57bl mouse, Cell composition, Cell infiltration, Controlled study, Coronavirus disease 2019, Coronavirus spike glycoprotein, Covid-19, Cytokeratin 18, Cytokine production, Dipeptidyl carboxypeptidase, Disease model, Disease models, animal, Disease severity, Drosophila-melanogaster, Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, Expression vector, Flow cytometry, Gamma interferon, Gene editing, Gene expression, Gene mutation, Genetic engineering, Genetics, Glycosylation, High mobility group b1 protein, Histology, Histopathology, Immune response, Immunocompetent cell, Immunology, Immunopathology, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin 2, Metabolism, Mice, inbred balb c, Mice, inbred c57bl, Mouse-adapted sars-cov-2, Myeloperoxidase, Neuropilin 1, Nonhuman, Nucleocapsid protein, Pathogenicity, Peptidyl-dipeptidase a, Pyroptosis, Recombinant soluble ace2, Renin angiotensin aldosterone system, Rna extraction, Rna isolation, Sars-cov-2, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Spike glycoprotein, coronavirus, T lymphocyte activation, Trabecular meshwork, Tumor necrosis factor, Virology, Virus load, Virus replication, Virus transmission, Virus virulence


Leite, DM, Seifi, M, Ruiz-Perez, L, Nguemo, F, Plomann, M, Swinny, JD, Battaglia, G, (2022). Syndapin-2 mediated transcytosis of amyloid-beta across the blood brain barrier Brain Commun 4, fcac093

A deficient transport of amyloid-beta across the blood-brain barrier, and its diminished clearance from the brain, contribute to neurodegenerative and vascular pathologies, such as Alzheimer's disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, respectively. At the blood-brain barrier, amyloid-beta efflux transport is associated with the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1. However, the precise mechanisms governing amyloid-beta transport across the blood-brain barrier, in health and disease, remain to be fully understood. Recent evidence indicates that the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 transcytosis occurs through a tuhulation-mediated mechanism stabilized by syndapin-2. Here, we show that syndapin-2 is associated with amyloid-beta clearance via low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 across the blood-brain barrier. We further demonstrate that risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, amyloid-beta expression and ageing, are associated with a decline in the native expression of syndapin-2 within the brain endothelium. Our data reveals that syndapin-2-mediated pathway, and its balance with the endosomal sorting, are important for amyloid-beta clearance proposing a measure to evaluate Alzheimer's disease and ageing, as well as a target for counteracting amyloid-beta build-up. Moreover, we provide evidence for the impact of the avidity of amyloid-beta assemblies in their trafficking across the brain endothelium and in low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 expression levels, which may affect the overall clearance of amyloid-beta across the blood-brain barrier.

JTD Keywords: alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-β, blood–brain barrier, syndapin-2, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimers-disease, Amyloid-beta, Apolipoprotein-j, Blood-brain barrier, Clearance, Expression, Membrane invagination, Peptide, Protein, Rab gtpases, Receptor, Syndapin-2, Transport, Tubular transcytosis


Guallar-Garrido, S, Almiñana-Rapún, F, Campo-Pérez, V, Torrents, E, Luquin, M, Julián, E, (2022). BCG Substrains Change Their Outermost Surface as a Function of Growth Media Vaccines 10, 40

Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) efficacy as an immunotherapy tool can be influenced by the genetic background or immune status of the treated population and by the BCG substrain used. BCG comprises several substrains with genetic differences that elicit diverse phenotypic characteristics. Moreover, modifications of phenotypic characteristics can be influenced by culture conditions. However, several culture media formulations are used worldwide to produce BCG. To elucidate the influence of growth conditions on BCG characteristics, five different substrains were grown on two culture media, and the lipidic profile and physico-chemical properties were evaluated. Our results show that each BCG substrain displays a variety of lipidic profiles on the outermost surface depending on the growth conditions. These modifications lead to a breadth of hydrophobicity patterns and a different ability to reduce neutral red dye within the same BCG substrain, suggesting the influence of BCG growth conditions on the interaction between BCG cells and host cells.

JTD Keywords: cell wall, efficacy, glycerol, hydrophobicity, lipid, neutral red, pdim, pgl, protein, strains, viability, virulence, Acylglycerol, Albumin, Article, Asparagine, Bacterial cell wall, Bacterial gene, Bacterium culture, Bcg vaccine, Catalase, Cell wall, Chloroform, Controlled study, Escherichia coli, Gene expression, Genomic dna, Glycerol, Glycerol monomycolate, Hexadecane, Housekeeping gene, Hydrophobicity, Immune response, Immunogenicity, Immunotherapy, Lipid, Lipid fingerprinting, Magnesium sulfate, Mercaptoethanol, Methanol, Methylglyoxal, Molybdatophosphoric acid, Mycobacterium bovis bcg, Neutral red, Nonhuman, Pdim, Petroleum ether, Pgl, Phenotype, Physical chemistry, Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Rna 16s, Rna extraction, Rv0577, Staining, Thin layer chromatography, Unclassified drug


Chacon, DS, Torres, TM, da Silva, IB, de Araújo, TF, Roque, AD, Pinheiro, FASD, Selegato, D, Pilon, A, Reginaldo, FPS, da Costa, CT, Vilasboa, J, Freire, RT, Voigt, EL, Zuanazzi, JAS, Libonati, R, Rodrigues, JA, Santos, FLM, Scortecci, KC, Lopes, NP, Ferreira, LD, dos Santos, LV, Cavalheiro, AJ, Fett-Neto, AG, Giordani, RB, (2021). Erythrina velutina Willd. alkaloids: Piecing biosynthesis together from transcriptome analysis and metabolite profiling of seeds and leaves Journal Of Advanced Research 34, 123-136

© 2021 Introduction: Natural products of pharmaceutical interest often do not reach the drug market due to the associated low yields and difficult extraction. Knowledge of biosynthetic pathways is a key element in the development of biotechnological strategies for plant specialized metabolite production. The scarce studies regarding non-model plants impair advances in this field. Erythrina spp. are mainly used as central nervous system depressants in folk medicine and are important sources of bioactive tetracyclic benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, which can act on several pathology-related biological targets. Objective: Herein the purpose is to employ combined transcriptome and metabolome analyses (seeds and leaves) of a non-model medicinal Fabaceae species grown in its unique arid natural habitat. The study tries to propose a putative biosynthetic pathway for the bioactive alkaloids by using an omic integrated approach. Methods: The Next Generation Sequencing-based transcriptome (de novo RNA sequencing) was carried out in a Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. Regarding the targeted metabolite profiling, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to a micrOTOF-QII, High Resolution Mass Spectrometer, were used. Results: This detailed macro and micromolecular approach applied to seeds and leaves of E. velutina revealed 42 alkaloids by metabolome tools. Based on the combined evidence, 24 gene candidates were put together in a putative pathway leading to the singular alkaloid diversity of this species. Conclusion: These results contribute by indicating potential biotechnological targets Erythrina alkaloids biosynthesis as well as to improve molecular databases with omic data from a non-model medicinal plant. Furthermore, they reveal an interesting chemical diversity in Erythrina velutina harvested in Caatinga. Last, but not least, this data may also contribute to tap Brazilian biodiversity in a rational and sustainable fashion, promoting adequate public policies for preservation and protection of sensitive areas within the Caatinga.

JTD Keywords: benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, caatinga, codeinone reductase, erythrina velutina, expression, mass-spectrometry, molecular-cloning, morphine biosynthesis, natural-products, opium poppy, papaver-somniferum, plant-metabolism, targeted metabolite profile, transcriptome, Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, Berberine bridge enzyme, Caatinga, Erythrina velutina, Targeted metabolite profile, Transcriptome


Pepe, G, Sfogliarini, C, Rizzello, L, Battaglia, G, Pinna, C, Rovati, G, Ciana, P, Brunialti, E, Mornata, F, Maggi, A, Locati, M, Vegeto, E, (2021). ER alpha-independent NRF2-mediated immunoregulatory activity of tamoxifen Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 144, 112274

Sex differences in immune-mediated diseases are linked to the activity of estrogens on innate immunity cells, including macrophages. Tamoxifen (TAM) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) used in estrogen receptor-alpha (ER alpha)-dependent breast cancers and off-target indications such as infections, although the immune activity of TAM and its active metabolite, 4-OH tamoxifen (4HT), is poorly characterized. Here, we aimed at investigating the endocrine and immune activity of these SERMs in macrophages. Using primary cultures of female mouse macrophages, we analyzed the expression of immune mediators and activation of effector functions in competition experiments with SERMs and 17 beta-estradiol (E2) or the bacterial endotoxin LPS. We observed that 4HT and TAM induce estrogen antagonist effects when used at nanomolar concentrations, while pharmacological concentrations that are reached by TAM in clinical settings regulate the expression of VEGF alpha and other immune activation genes by ER alpha- and G protein-coupled receptor 1 (GPER1)-independent mechanisms that involve NRF2 through PI3K/Akt-dependent mechanisms. Importantly, we observed that SERMs potentiate cell phagocytosis and modify the effects of LPS on the expression of inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF alpha and IL1 beta, with an overall increase in cell inflammatory phenotype, further sustained by potentiation of IL1 beta secretion through caspase-1 activation.

JTD Keywords: drug repurposing, inflammation, macrophage, nrf2, Apoptosis, Breast-cancer, Drug repurposing, Expression, Inflammation, Macrophage, Nrf2, Resistance, Sex-differences, Tamoxifen, Tumor-associated macrophages


Prieto, A, Bernabeu, M, Sánchez-Herrero, JF, Pérez-Bosque, A, Mir, L, Bäuer, C, Colladcy, C, Hüttener, M, Juárez, A, (2021). Modulation of AggR levels reveals features of virulence regulation in enteroaggregative E. coli Commun Biol 4, 1295

Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) strains are one of the diarrheagenic pathotypes. EAEC strains harbor a virulence plasmid (pAA2) that encodes, among other virulence determinants, the aggR gene. The expression of the AggR protein leads to the expression of several virulence determinants in both plasmids and chromosomes. In this work, we describe a novel mechanism that influences AggR expression. Because of the absence of a Rho-independent terminator in the 3?UTR, aggR transcripts extend far beyond the aggR ORF. These transcripts are prone to PNPase-mediated degradation. Structural alterations in the 3?UTR result in increased aggR transcript stability, leading to increased AggR levels. We therefore investigated the effect of increased AggR levels on EAEC virulence. Upon finding the previously described AggR-dependent virulence factors, we detected novel AggR-regulated genes that may play relevant roles in EAEC virulence. Mutants exhibiting high AggR levels because of structural alterations in the aggR 3?UTR show increased mobility and increased pAA2 conjugation frequency. Furthermore, among the genes exhibiting increased fold change values, we could identify those of metabolic pathways that promote increased degradation of arginine, fatty acids and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), respectively. In this paper, we discuss how the AggR-dependent increase in specific metabolic pathways activity may contribute to EAEC virulence.

JTD Keywords: aggregative adherence, arginine metabolism, biofilm formation, escherichia-coli, gene-expression, messenger-rna, operon, persistent diarrhea, untranslated region, Fimbria-i expression


Tura-Ceide, O, Smolders, VFED, Aventin, N, Morén, C, Guitart-Mampel, M, Blanco, I, Piccari, L, Osorio, J, Rodríguez, C, Rigol, M, Solanes, N, Malandrino, A, Kurakula, K, Goumans, MJ, Quax, PHA, Peinado, VI, Castellà, M, Barberà, JA, (2021). Derivation and characterisation of endothelial cells from patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension Scientific Reports 11, 18797

Pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) resected material offers a unique opportunity to develop an in vitro endothelial cell model of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). We aimed to comprehensively analyze the endothelial function, molecular signature, and mitochondrial profile of CTEPH-derived endothelial cells to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction behind CTEPH, and to identify potential novel targets for the prevention and treatment of the disease. Isolated cells from specimens obtained at PEA (CTEPH-EC), were characterized based on morphology, phenotype, and functional analyses (in vitro and in vivo tubule formation, proliferation, apoptosis, and migration). Mitochondrial content, morphology, and dynamics, as well as high-resolution respirometry and oxidative stress, were also studied. CTEPH-EC displayed a hyperproliferative phenotype with an increase expression of adhesion molecules and a decreased apoptosis, eNOS activity, migration capacity and reduced angiogenic capacity in vitro and in vivo compared to healthy endothelial cells. CTEPH-EC presented altered mitochondrial dynamics, increased mitochondrial respiration and an unbalanced production of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants. Our study is the foremost comprehensive investigation of CTEPH-EC. Modulation of redox, mitochondrial homeostasis and adhesion molecule overexpression arise as novel targets and biomarkers in CTEPH.

JTD Keywords: angiogenesis, cd31, dysfunction, expression, pathogenesis, thrombus, C-reactive protein


Soblechero-Martín, P, Albiasu-Arteta, E, Anton-Martinez, A, de la Puente-ovejero, L, Garcia-Jimenez, I, González-Iglesias, G, Larrañaga-Aiestaran, I, López-Martínez, A, Poyatos-García, J, Ruiz-Del-Yerro, E, Gonzalez, F, Arechavala-Gomeza, V, (2021). Duchenne muscular dystrophy cell culture models created by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and their application in drug screening Scientific Reports 11, 18188

Gene editing methods are an attractive therapeutic option for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and they have an immediate application in the generation of research models. To generate myoblast cultures that could be useful in in vitro drug screening, we have optimised a CRISPR/Cas9 gene edition protocol. We have successfully used it in wild type immortalised myoblasts to delete exon 52 of the dystrophin gene, modelling a common Duchenne muscular dystrophy mutation; and in patient’s immortalised cultures we have deleted an inhibitory microRNA target region of the utrophin UTR, leading to utrophin upregulation. We have characterised these cultures by demonstrating, respectively, inhibition of dystrophin expression and overexpression of utrophin, and evaluating the expression of myogenic factors (Myf5 and MyH3) and components of the dystrophin associated glycoprotein complex (α-sarcoglycan and β-dystroglycan). To demonstrate their use in the assessment of DMD treatments, we have performed exon skipping on the DMDΔ52-Model and have used the unedited DMD cultures/ DMD-UTRN-Model combo to assess utrophin overexpression after drug treatment. While the practical use of DMDΔ52-Model is limited to the validation to our gene editing protocol, DMD-UTRN-Model presents a possible therapeutic gene edition target as well as a useful positive control in the screening of utrophin overexpression drugs.

JTD Keywords: expression, in-vitro, mouse model, muscle, mutations, phenotype, quantification, sarcolemma, therapy, Utrophin up-regulation


Pilat, N, Lefsihane, K, Brouard, S, Kotsch, K, Falk, C, Steiner, R, Thaunat, O, Fusil, F, Montserrat, N, Amarelli, C, Casiraghi, F, (2021). T- and B-cell therapy in solid organ transplantation: current evidence and future expectations Transplant International 34, 1594-1606

Cell therapy has emerged as an attractive therapeutic option in organ transplantation. During the last decade, the therapeutic potency of Treg immunotherapy has been shown in various preclinical animal models and safety was demonstrated in first clinical trials. However, there are still critical open questions regarding specificity, survival, and migration to the target tissue so the best Treg population for infusion into patients is still under debate. Recent advances in CAR technology hold the promise for Treg-functional superiority. Another exciting strategy is the generation of B-cell antibody receptor (BAR) Treg/cytotoxic T cells to specifically regulate or deplete alloreactive memory B cells. Finally, B cells are also capable of immune regulation, making them promising candidates for immunomodulatory therapeutic strategies. This article summarizes available literature on cell-based innovative therapeutic approaches aiming at modulating alloimmune response for transplantation. Crucial areas of investigation that need a joined effort of the transplant community for moving the field toward successful achievement of tolerance are highlighted.

JTD Keywords: allograft, autoimmune, b-cell antibody receptor t cells, chimeric antigen receptor tregs, expansion, expression, identification, infectious tolerance, mouse, prevention, regulatory b cells, regulatory t cells, signature, B-cell antibody receptor t cells, Chimeric antigen receptor tregs, Kidney-transplantation, Regulatory b cells, Regulatory t cells


Hamouda, I, Labay, C, Cvelbar, U, Ginebra, MP, Canal, C, (2021). Selectivity of direct plasma treatment and plasma-conditioned media in bone cancer cell lines Scientific Reports 11, 17521

Atmospheric pressure plasma jets have been shown to impact several cancer cell lines, both in vitro and in vivo. These effects are based on the biochemistry of the reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generated by plasmas in physiological liquids, referred to as plasma-conditioned liquids. Plasma-conditioned media are efficient in the generation of reactive species, inducing selective cancer cell death. However, the concentration of reactive species generated by plasma in the cell culture media of different cell types can be highly variable, complicating the ability to draw precise conclusions due to the differential sensitivity of different cells to reactive species. Here, we compared the effects of direct and indirect plasma treatment on non-malignant bone cells (hOBs and hMSCs) and bone cancer cells (SaOs-2s and MG63s) by treating the cells directly or exposing them to previously treated cell culture medium. Biological effects were correlated with the concentrations of reactive species generated in the liquid. A linear increase in reactive species in the cell culture medium was observed with increased plasma treatment time independent of the volume treated. Values up to 700 µM for H2O2 and 140 µM of NO2− were attained in 2 mL after 15 min of plasma treatment in AdvDMEM cell culture media. Selectivity towards bone cancer cells was observed after both direct and indirect plasma treatments, leading to a decrease in bone cancer cell viability at 72 h to 30% for the longest plasma treatment times while maintaining the survival of non-malignant cells. Therefore, plasma-conditioned media may represent the basis for a potentially novel non-invasive technique for bone cancer therapy.

JTD Keywords: expression, in-vitro, jet, mechanisms, nitrate, nitrite, osteosarcoma cells, reactive oxygen, Cold atmospheric plasma


Alcaraz, J, Ikemori, R, Llorente, A, Díaz-Valdivia, N, Reguart, N, Vizoso, M, (2021). Epigenetic reprogramming of tumor-associated fibroblasts in lung cancer: Therapeutic opportunities Cancers 13, 3782

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The desmoplastic stroma of lung cancer and other solid tumors is rich in tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) exhibiting an activated/myofibroblast-like phenotype. There is growing awareness that TAFs support key steps of tumor progression and are epigenetically reprogrammed compared to healthy fibroblasts. Although the mechanisms underlying such epigenetic reprogramming are incompletely understood, there is increasing evidence that they involve interactions with either cancer cells, pro-fibrotic cytokines such as TGF-β, the stiffening of the surrounding extracellular matrix, smoking cigarette particles and other environmental cues. These aberrant interactions elicit a global DNA hypomethylation and a selective transcriptional repression through hypermethylation of the TGF-β transcription factor SMAD3 in lung TAFs. Likewise, similar DNA methylation changes have been reported in TAFs from other cancer types, as well as histone core modifications and altered microRNA expression. In this review we summarize the evidence of the epigenetic reprogramming of TAFs, how this reprogramming contributes to the acquisition and maintenance of a tumor-promoting phenotype, and how it provides novel venues for therapeutic intervention, with a special focus on lung TAFs.

JTD Keywords: cancer-associated fibroblasts, desmoplasia, dna methylation, epigenetics, expression, genomic dna, lung cancer, mechanical memory, myofibroblast differentiation, pulmonary fibroblasts, smoking, stromal fibroblasts, tgf-?, tgf-beta, tgf-β, transforming growth-factor-beta-1, tumor stroma, Cancer-associated fibroblasts, Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts, Desmoplasia, Epigenetics, Lung cancer, Smoking, Tgf-β, Tumor stroma


Calistri, A, Luganini, A, Mognetti, B, Elder, E, Sibille, G, Conciatori, V, Del Vecchio, C, Sainas, S, Boschi, D, Montserrat, N, Mirazimi, A, Lolli, ML, Gribaudo, G, Parolin, C, (2021). The new generation hdhodh inhibitor meds433 hinders the in vitro replication of sars-cov-2 and other human coronaviruses Microorganisms 9, 1731

Although coronaviruses (CoVs) have long been predicted to cause zoonotic diseases and pandemics with high probability, the lack of effective anti-pan-CoVs drugs rapidly usable against the emerging SARS-CoV-2 actually prevented a promptly therapeutic intervention for COVID-19. Development of host-targeting antivirals could be an alternative strategy for the control of emerging CoVs infections, as they could be quickly repositioned from one pandemic event to another. To contribute to these pandemic preparedness efforts, here we report on the broad-spectrum CoVs antiviral activity of MEDS433, a new inhibitor of the human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (hDHODH), a key cellular enzyme of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. MEDS433 in-hibited the in vitro replication of hCoV-OC43 and hCoV-229E, as well as of SARS-CoV-2, at low nanomolar range. Notably, the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of MEDS433 against SARS-CoV-2 was also observed in kidney organoids generated from human embryonic stem cells. Then, the antiviral activity of MEDS433 was reversed by the addition of exogenous uridine or the product of hDHODH, the orotate, thus confirming hDHODH as the specific target of MEDS433 in hCoVs-infected cells. Taken together, these findings suggest MEDS433 as a potential candidate to develop novel drugs for COVID-19, as well as broad-spectrum antiviral agents exploitable for future CoVs threats.

JTD Keywords: antiviral activity, biosynthesis, broad-spectrum antiviral, combination treatment, coronavirus, dipyridamole, hdhodh inhibitor, organoids, pyrimidine, pyrimidine biosynthesis, sars-cov-2, target, virus-infection, Antiviral activ-ity, Broad-spectrum antiviral, Combination treatment, Coronavirus, Gene-expression, Hdhodh inhibitor, Organoids, Pyrimidine biosynthesis, Sars-cov-2


Mendoza, MB, Gutierrez, S, Ortiz, R, Moreno, DF, Dermit, M, Dodel, M, Rebollo, E, Bosch, M, Mardakheh, FK, Gallego, C, (2021). The elongation factor eEF1A2 controls translation and actin dynamics in dendritic spines Science Signaling 14, eabf5594

Synaptic plasticity involves structural modifications in dendritic spines that are modulated by local protein synthesis and actin remodeling. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms that connect synaptic stimulation to these processes. We found that the phosphorylation of isoform-specific sites in eEF1A2-an essential translation elongation factor in neurons-is a key modulator of structural plasticity in dendritic spines. Expression of a nonphosphorylatable eEF1A2 mutant stimulated mRNA translation but reduced actin dynamics and spine density. By contrast, a phosphomimetic eEF1A2 mutant exhibited decreased association with F-actin and was inactive as a translation elongation factor. Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling triggered transient dissociation of eEF1A2 from its regulatory guanine exchange factor (GEF) protein in dendritic spines in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. We propose that eEF1A2 establishes a cross-talk mechanism that coordinates translation and actin dynamics during spine remodeling.

JTD Keywords: cytoskeleton, expression, f-actin, factor 1-alpha, factor 1a, messenger-rna, nucleotide exchange, protein-synthesis, synaptic plasticity, Aminoacyl-transfer-rna


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


Perez-Amodio, S, Rubio, N, Vila, OF, Navarro-Requena, C, Castaño, O, Sanchez-Ferrero, A, Marti-Munoz, J, Alsina-Giber, M, Blanco, J, Engel, E, (2021). Polymeric Composite Dressings Containing Calcium-Releasing Nanoparticles Accelerate Wound Healing in Diabetic Mice Advances In Wound Care 10, 301-316

Objective: Wound healing is a complex process that involves the interaction between different cell types and bioactive factors. Impaired wound healing is characterized by a loss in synchronization of these interactions, resulting in nonhealing chronic wounds. Chronic wounds are a socioeconomic burden, one of the most prominent clinical manifestations of diabetes, however, they lack satisfactory treatment options. The objective of this study was to develop polymeric composites that deliver ions having wound healing properties and evaluate its performance using a pressure ulcer model in diabetic mice. Approach: To develop a polymeric composite wound dressing containing ion-releasing nanoparticles for chronic wound healing. This composite was chemically and physically characterized and evaluated using a pressure ulcer wound model in diabetic (db/db) mice to explore their potential as novel wound dressing. Results: This dressing exhibits a controlled ion release and a goodin vitrobioactivity. The polymeric composite dressing treatment stimulates angiogenesis, collagen synthesis, granulation tissue formation, and accelerates wound closure of ischemic wounds created in diabetic mice. In addition, the performance of the newly designed composite is remarkably better than a commercially available dressing frequently used for the treatment of low-exuding chronic wounds. Innovation: The developed nanoplatforms are cell- and growth factor free and control the host microenvironment resulting in enhanced wound healing. These nanoplatforms are available by cost-effective synthesis with a defined composition, offering an additional advantage in potential clinical application. Conclusion: Based on the obtained results, these polymeric composites offer an optimum approach for chronic wound healing without adding cells or external biological factors.

JTD Keywords: angiogenesis, bioactive dressings, chronic wounds, Angiogenesis, Bioactive dressings, Bioactive glass, Bioglass, Cells, Chronic wounds, Diabetes, Endothelial growth-factor, Expression, Hydrogel, Induction


Ojosnegros, S, Seriola, A, Godeau, AL, Veiga, A, (2021). Embryo implantation in the laboratory: an update on current techniques Human Reproduction Update 27, 501-530

BACKGROUND: The embryo implantation process is crucial for the correct establishment and progress of pregnancy. During implantation, the blastocyst trophectoderm cells attach to the epithelium of the endometrium, triggering intense cell-to-cell crosstalk that leads to trophoblast outgrowth, invasion of the endometrial tissue, and formation of the placenta. However, this process, which is vital for embryo and foetal development in utero, is still elusive to experimentation because of its inaccessibility. Experimental implantation is cumbersome and impractical in adult animal models and is inconceivable in humans. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: A number of custom experimental solutions have been proposed to recreate different stages of the implantation process in vitro, by combining a human embryo (or a human embryo surrogate) and endometrial cells (or a surrogate for the endometrial tissue). In vitro models allow rapid high-throughput interrogation of embryos and cells, and efficient screening of molecules, such as cytokines, drugs, or transcription factors, that control embryo implantation and the receptivity of the endometrium. However, the broad selection of available in vitro systems makes it complicated to decide which system best fits the needs of a specific experiment or scientific question. To orient the reader, this review will explore the experimental options proposed in the literature, and classify them into amenable categories based on the embryo/cell pairs employed. The goal is to give an overview of the tools available to study the complex process of human embryo implantation, and explain the differences between them, including the advantages and disadvantages of each system. SEARCH METHODS: We performed a comprehensive review of the literature to come up with different categories that mimic the different stages of embryo implantation in vitro, ranging from initial blastocyst apposition to later stages of trophoblast invasion or gastrulation. We will also review recent breakthrough advances on stem cells and organoids, assembling embryo-like structures and endometrial tissues. OUTCOMES: We highlight the most relevant systems and describe the most significant experiments. We focus on in vitro systems that have contributed to the study of human reproduction by discovering molecules that control implantation, including hormones, signalling molecules, transcription factors and cytokines. WIDER IMPLICATIONS: The momentum of this field is growing thanks to the use of stem cells to build embryo-like structures and endometrial tissues, and the use of bioengineering to extend the life of embryos in culture. We propose to merge bioengineering methods derived from the fields of stem cells and reproduction to develop new systems covering a wider window of the implantation process.

JTD Keywords: in vitro models, blastocyst, blastocyst-like structures, early-pregnancy, endometrial cells, epidermal-growth-factor, gene-expression, implantation, in vitro models, in-vitro model, indian hedgehog, organoids, receptivity, self-organization, spheroids, trophoblast, trophoblast invasion, uterine receptivity, Blastocyst, Blastocyst-like structures, Early-pregnancy, Endometrial cells, Endometrial stromal cells, Epidermal-growth-factor, Gene-expression, Implantation, In vitro models, In-vitro model, Indian hedgehog, Organoids, Receptivity, Self-organization, Spheroids, Trophoblast, Trophoblast invasion, Uterine receptivity


De Matteis, V, Rizzello, L, Ingrosso, C, Rinaldi, R, (2021). Purification of olive mill wastewater through noble metal nanoparticle synthesis: waste safe disposal and nanomaterial impact on healthy hepatic cell mitochondria Environmental Science And Pollution Research 28, 26154-26171

The exponential increase of waste derived from different human activities points out the importance of their reuse in order to create materials with specific properties that can be used for different applications. In this work, it was showed how the typical Mediterranean organic liquid waste, namely olive mill wastewater (OMWW), obtained during olive oil production, can be turned into an efficient reactive agent for the production of noble metals gold (Au) and silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) with very well-defined physico-chemical properties. More than that, it was demonstrated that this synthetic procedure also leads to a drastic decrease of the organic pollution load of the OMWW, making it safer for environmental disposal and plants irrigation. Then, using healthy hepatic cell line mitochondria, the biological effects induced by these green metal NPs surrounded by a polyphenols shell, with the same NPs synthetized through a standard chemical colloidal reduction process, were compared, finding out that the green NPs are much safer.

JTD Keywords: antioxidants perturbation, green synthesis, gtpase dynamin-related protein 1 expression, mitochondria assessment, physico-chemical properties, Antioxidants perturbation, Green synthesis, Gtpase dynamin-related protein 1 expression, Mitochondria assessment, Physico-chemical properties, Reusability of waste


Blaya, D, Pose, E, Coll, M, Lozano, JJ, Graupera, I, Schierwagen, R, Jansen, C, Castro, P, Fernandez, S, Sidorova, J, Vasa-Nicotera, M, Sola, E, Caballeria, J, Trebicka, J, Gines, P, Sancho-Bru, P, (2021). Profiling circulating microRNAs in patients with cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure Jhep Rep 3, 100233

Background & Aims: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) circulate in several body fluids and can be useful biomarkers. The aim of this study was to identify blood-circulating miRNAs associated with cirrhosis progression and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). Methods: Using high-throughput screening of 754 miRNAs, serum samples from 45 patients with compensated cirrhosis, decompensated cirrhosis, or ACLF were compared with those from healthy individuals (n = 15). miRNA levels were correlated with clinical parameters, organ failure, and disease progression and outcome. Dysregulated miRNAs were evaluated in portal and hepatic vein samples (n = 33), liver tissues (n = 17), and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (n = 16). Results: miRNA screening analysis revealed that circulating miRNAs are dysregulated in cirrhosis progression, with 51 miRNAs being differentially expressed among all groups of patients. Unsupervised clustering and principal component analysis indicated that the main differences in miRNA expression occurred at decompensation, showing similar levels in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and those with ACLF. Of 43 selected miRNAs examined for differences among groups, 10 were differentially expressed according to disease progression. Moreover, 20 circulating miRNAs were correlated with model for end-stage liver disease and Child-Pugh scores. Notably, 11 dysregulated miRNAs were associated with kidney or liver failure, encephalopathy, bacterial infection, and poor outcomes. The most severely dysregulated miRNAs (i.e. miR-146a5p, miR-26a-5p, and miR-191-5p) were further evaluated in portal and hepatic vein blood and liver tissue, but showed no differences. However, PBMCs from patients with cirrhosis showed significant downregulation of miR-26 and miR-146a, suggesting a extrahepatic origin of some circulating miRNAs. Conclusions: This study is a repository of circulating miRNA data following cirrhosis progression and ACLF. Circulating miRNAs were profoundly dysregulated during the progression of chronic liver disease, were associated with failure of several organs and could have prognostic utility. Lay summary: Circulating miRNAs are small molecules in the blood that can be used to identify or predict a clinical condition. Our study aimed to identify miRNAs for use as biomarkers in patients with cirrhosis or acute-on-chronic liver failure. Several miRNAs were found to be dysregulated during the progression of disease, and some were also related to organ failure and disease-related outcomes. (C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).

JTD Keywords: aclf, acute-on-chronic liver failure, alt, alanine aminotransferase, ast, aspartate aminotransferase, biomarkers, chronic liver disease, cxcl10, c-x-c motif chemokine ligand 10, ef clif, european foundation for the study of chronic liver failure, foxo, forkhead box o, inr, international normalised ratio, ldh, lactate dehydrogenase, liver decompensation, mapk, mitogen-activated protein kinase, meld, model for end-stage liver disease, nash, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, non-coding rnas, pbmcs, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, pca, principal component analysis, tgf, transforming growth factor, tips, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, Biomarkers, Chronic liver disease, Expression, Liver decompensation, Markers, Mir-146a, Non-coding rnas, Qpcr, quantitative pcr


Watt, AC, Cejas, P, DeCristo, MJ, Metzger, O, Lam, EYN, Qiu, XT, BrinJones, H, Kesten, N, Coulson, R, Font-Tello, A, Lim, K, Vadhi, R, Daniels, VW, Montero, J, Taing, L, Meyer, CA, Gilan, O, Bell, CC, Korthauer, KD, Giambartolomei, C, Pasaniuc, B, Seo, JH, Freedman, ML, Ma, CT, Ellis, MJ, Krop, I, Winer, E, Letai, A, Brown, M, Dawson, MA, Long, HW, Zhao, JJ, Goel, S, (2021). CDK4/6 inhibition reprograms the breast cancer enhancer landscape by stimulating AP-1 transcriptional activity Nature Cancer 2, 34-+

Goel and colleagues show that CDK4/6 inhibition induces global chromatin changes mediated by AP-1 factors, which mediate key biological and clinical effects in breast cancer. Pharmacologic inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) were designed to induce cancer cell cycle arrest. Recent studies have suggested that these agents also exert other effects, influencing cancer cell immunogenicity, apoptotic responses and differentiation. Using cell-based and mouse models of breast cancer together with clinical specimens, we show that CDK4/6 inhibitors induce remodeling of cancer cell chromatin characterized by widespread enhancer activation, and that this explains many of these effects. The newly activated enhancers include classical super-enhancers that drive luminal differentiation and apoptotic evasion, as well as a set of enhancers overlying endogenous retroviral elements that are enriched for proximity to interferon-driven genes. Mechanistically, CDK4/6 inhibition increases the level of several activator protein-1 transcription factor proteins, which are in turn implicated in the activity of many of the new enhancers. Our findings offer insights into CDK4/6 pathway biology and should inform the future development of CDK4/6 inhibitors.

JTD Keywords: Abemaciclib, Androgen receptor, Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal tissue, Apoptosis, Article, Breast cancer, C-jun, Cancer cell, Carcinoembryonic antigen related cell adhesion molecule 1, Caspase 3, Cell cycle arrest, Cells, Chromatin, Chromatin immunoprecipitation, Controlled study, Cyclin dependent kinase 4, Cyclin dependent kinase 6, Dna damage, Epidermal growth factor receptor 2, Estrogen receptor, Female, Flow cytometry, Fulvestrant, Hla drb1 antigen, Human, Human cell, Immunoblotting, Immunogenicity, Immunoprecipitation, Interferon, Luciferase assay, Mcf-7 cell line, Mda-mb-231 cell line, Microarray analysis, Morphogenesis, Mouse, Nonhuman, Palbociclib, Protein, Protein expression, Rb, Resistance, Rna polymerase ii, Rna sequence, Selective-inhibition, Senescence, Short tandem repeat, Signal transduction, Tamoxifen, Transcription elongation, Transcription factor, Transcription factor ap 1, Transcriptome, Tumor biopsy, Tumor differentiation, Tumor spheroid, Tumor xenograft, Vinculin, Whole exome sequencing


Vouloutsi, V., Grechuta, K., Verschure, P., (2019). Evaluation of the facial expressions of a humanoid robot Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems 8th International Conference, Living Machines 2019 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) , Springer International Publishing (Nara, Japan) 11556, 365-368

Facial expressions are salient social features that crucial in communication, and humans are capable of reading the messages faces convey and the emotions they display. Robots that interact with humans will need to employ similar communication channels for successful interactions. Here, we focus on the readability of the facial expressions of a humanoid robot. We conducted an online survey where participants evaluated emotional stimuli and assessed the robot’s expressions. Results suggest that the robot’s facial expressions are correctly recognised and the appraisal of the robots expressive elements are consistent with the literature.

JTD Keywords: Emotion recognition, Facial expressions, Human-robot interaction


Bolognesi, Benedetta, Lehner, Ben, (2018). Reaching the limit eLife 7, e39804

How many copies of a protein can be made before it becomes toxic to the cell?

JTD Keywords: Protein burden, Overexpression, Glycolysis


Venkova, Tatiana, Juárez, Antonio, Espinosa, Manuel, (2017). Editorial: Modulating prokaryotic lifestyle by DNA-binding proteins: Learning from (apparently) simple systems Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 3, Article 86

Within the research in Molecular Biology, one important field along the years has been the analyses on how prokaryotes regulate the expression of their genes and what the consequences of these activities are. Prokaryotes have attracted the interests of researchers not only because the processes taking place in their world are important to cells, but also because many of the effects often can be readily measured, both at the single cell level and in large populations. Contributing to the interest of the present topic is the fact that modulation of gene activity involves the sensing of intra- and inter-cellular conditions, DNA binding and DNA dynamics, and interaction with the replication/transcription machinery of the cell. All of these processes are fundamental to the operation of a biological entity and they condition its lifestyle. Further, the discoveries achieved in the bacterial world have been of ample use in eukaryotes. In addition to the fundamental interest of understanding modulation of prokaryotic lifestyle by DNA-binding proteins, there is an added interest from the healthcare point of view. As it is well-known the antibiotic-resistance strains of pathogenic bacteria are a major world problem, so that there is an urgent need of innovative approaches to tackle it. Human and animal infectious diseases impose staggering costs worldwide in terms of loss of human life and livestock, diminished productivity, and the heavy economic burden of disease. The global dimension of international trade, personal travel, and population migration expands at an ever-accelerating rate. This increasing mobility results in broader and quicker dissemination of bacterial pathogens and in rapid spread of antibiotic resistance. The majority of the newly acquired resistances are horizontally spread among bacteria of the same or different species by processes of lateral (horizontal) gene transfer, so that discovery of new antibiotics is not the definitive solution to fighting infectious diseases. There is an absolute need of finding novel alternatives to the “classical” approach to treat infections by bacterial pathogens, and these new ways must include the exploration and introduction of novel antibacterials, the development of alternative strategies, and the finding of novel bacterial targets. However, all these approaches will result in a stalemate if we, researchers, are not able to achieve a better understanding of the mechanistic processes underlying bacterial gene expression. It is, then, imperative to continue gaining insight into the basic mechanisms by which bacterial cells regulate the expression of their genes. That is why our Research Topic hosted by Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences was timely, and the output of it offers novel and up-to-date points of view to the “simple” bacterial world.

JTD Keywords: DNA-protein interactions, Gene regulation in Prokaryotes, Replication control, Regulation of Bacterial Gene Expression, Global Regulatory Networks


Castellanos, M. I., Guillem-Marti, J., Mas-Moruno, C., Díaz-Ricart, M., Escolar, G., Ginebra, M. P., Gil, F. J., Pegueroles, M., Manero, J. M., (2017). Cell adhesive peptides functionalized on CoCr alloy stimulate endothelialization and prevent thrombogenesis and restenosis Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A , 105, (4), 973-983

Immobilization of bioactive peptide sequences on CoCr surfaces is an effective route to improve endothelialization, which is of great interest for cardiovascular stents. In this work, we explored the effect of physical and covalent immoblization of RGDS, YIGSR and their equimolar combination peptides on endothelial cells (EC) and smooth muscle cell (SMC) adhesion and on thrombogenicity. We extensively investigated using RT-qPCR, the expression by ECs cultured on functionalised CoCr surfaces of different genes. Genes relevant for adhesion (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1), vascularization (VEGFA, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2) and anti-thrombogenicity (tPA and eNOS) were over-expressed in the ECs grown to covalently functionalized CoCr surfaces compared to physisorbed and control surfaces. Pro-thrombogenic genes expression (PAI-1 and vWF) decreased over time. Cell co-cultures of ECs/SMCs found that functionalization increased the amount of adhered ECs onto modified surfaces compared to plain CoCr, independently of the used peptide and the strategy of immobilization. SMCs adhered less compared to ECs in all surfaces. All studied peptides showed a lower platelet cell adhesion compared to TCPS. Covalent functionalization of CoCr surfaces with an equimolar combination of RGDS and YIGSR represented prevailing strategy to enhance the early stages of ECs adhesion and proliferation, while preventing SMCs and platelet adhesion.

JTD Keywords: Cell coculture, CoCr alloy, Functionalization, Gene expression, Platelet adhesion


Llorens, F., Carulla, P., Villa, A., Torres, J. M., Fortes, P., Ferrer, Isidro, Del Río, J. A., (2013). PrPC regulates epidermal growth factor receptor function and cell shape dynamics in Neuro2a cells Journal of Neurochemistry , 127, (1), 124-138

The prion protein (PrP) plays a key role in prion disease pathogenesis. Although the misfolded and pathologic variant of this protein (PrPSC) has been studied in depth, the physiological role of PrPC remains elusive and controversial. PrPC is a cell-surface glycoprotein involved in multiple cellular functions at the plasma membrane, where it interacts with a myriad of partners and regulates several intracellular signal transduction cascades. However, little is known about the gene expression changes modulated by PrPC in animals and in cellular models. In this article, we present PrPC-dependent gene expression signature in N2a cells and its implication in the most overrepresented functions: cell cycle, cell growth and proliferation, and maintenance of cell shape. PrPC over-expression enhances cell proliferation and cell cycle re-entrance after serum stimulation, while PrPC silencing slows down cell cycle progression. In addition, MAP kinase and protein kinase B (AKT) pathway activation are under the regulation of PrPC in asynchronous cells and following mitogenic stimulation. These effects are due in part to the modulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by PrPC in the plasma membrane, where the two proteins interact in a multimeric complex. We also describe how PrPC over-expression modulates filopodia formation by Rho GTPase regulation mainly in an AKT-Cdc42-N-WASP-dependent pathway.

JTD Keywords: Cell signaling, Cellular prion protein, Filopodia, Gene expression, Microarray, Proliferation


Cordeiro, T. N., Schmidt, H., Madrid, C., Juarez, A., Bernado, P., Griesinger, C., Garcia, J., Pons, M., (2011). Indirect DNA readout by an H-NS related protein: Structure of the DNA complex of the C-terminal domain of Ler PLoS Pathogens Plos Pathogens , 7, (11), 12

Ler, a member of the H-NS protein family, is the master regulator of the LEE pathogenicity island in virulent Escherichia coli strains. Here, we determined the structure of a complex between the DNA-binding domain of Ler (CT-Ler) and a 15-mer DNA duplex. CT-Ler recognizes a preexisting structural pattern in the DNA minor groove formed by two consecutive regions which are narrower and wider, respectively, compared with standard B-DNA. The compressed region, associated with an AT-tract, is sensed by the side chain of Arg90, whose mutation abolishes the capacity of Ler to bind DNA. The expanded groove allows the approach of the loop in which Arg90 is located. This is the first report of an experimental structure of a DNA complex that includes a protein belonging to the H-NS family. The indirect readout mechanism not only explains the capacity of H-NS and other H-NS family members to modulate the expression of a large number of genes but also the origin of the specificity displayed by Ler. Our results point to a general mechanism by which horizontally acquired genes may be specifically recognized by members of the H-NS family.

JTD Keywords: Enteropathogenic escherichia-coli, Nucleoid-associated protein, Nmr structure determination, Encoded regulator ler, Controls expression, Binding domain


Llorens, Franc, Hummel, Manuela, Pastor, Xavier, Ferrer, Anna, Pluvinet, Raquel, Vivancos, Ana, Castillo, Ester, Iraola, Susana, Mosquera, Ana M., Gonzalez, Eva, Lozano, Juanjo, Ingham, Matthew, Dohm, Juliane C., Noguera, Marc, Kofler, Robert, Antonio del Rio, Jose, Bayes, Monica, Himmelbauer, Heinz, Sumoy, Lauro, (2011). Multiple platform assessment of the EGF dependent transcriptome by microarray and deep tag sequencing analysis BMC Genomics 12, 326

Background: Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is a key regulatory growth factor activating many processes relevant to normal development and disease, affecting cell proliferation and survival. Here we use a combined approach to study the EGF dependent transcriptome of HeLa cells by using multiple long oligonucleotide based microarray platforms (from Agilent, Operon, and Illumina) in combination with digital gene expression profiling (DGE) with the Illumina Genome Analyzer. Results: By applying a procedure for cross-platform data meta-analysis based on RankProd and GlobalAncova tests, we establish a well validated gene set with transcript levels altered after EGF treatment. We use this robust gene list to build higher order networks of gene interaction by interconnecting associated networks, supporting and extending the important role of the EGF signaling pathway in cancer. In addition, we find an entirely new set of genes previously unrelated to the currently accepted EGF associated cellular functions. Conclusions: We propose that the use of global genomic cross-validation derived from high content technologies (microarrays or deep sequencing) can be used to generate more reliable datasets. This approach should help to improve the confidence of downstream in silico functional inference analyses based on high content data.

JTD Keywords: Gene-expression measurements, Quality-control maqc, Cancer-cell-lines, Real-time pcr, Oligonucleotide microarrays, Phosphorylation dynamics, In-vivo, Networks, Signal, Technologies


Banos, R. C., Vivero, A., Aznar, S., Garcia, J., Pons, M., Madrid, C., Juarez, A., (2009). Differential regulation of horizontally acquired and core genome genes by the bacterial modulator H-NS PLoS Genetics 5, (6), 8

Horizontal acquisition of DNA by bacteria dramatically increases genetic diversity and hence successful bacterial colonization of several niches, including the human host. A relevant issue is how this newly acquired DNA interacts and integrates in the regulatory networks of the bacterial cell. The global modulator H-NS targets both core genome and HGT genes and silences gene expression in response to external stimuli such as osmolarity and temperature. Here we provide evidence that H-NS discriminates and differentially modulates core and HGT DNA. As an example of this, plasmid R27-encoded H-NS protein has evolved to selectively silence HGT genes and does not interfere with core genome regulation. In turn, differential regulation of both gene lineages by resident chromosomal H-NS requires a helper protein: the Hha protein. Tight silencing of HGT DNA is accomplished by H-NS-Hha complexes. In contrast, core genes are modulated by H-NS homoligomers. Remarkably, the presence of Hha-like proteins is restricted to the Enterobacteriaceae. In addition, conjugative plasmids encoding H-NS variants have hitherto been isolated only from members of the family. Thus, the H-NS system in enteric bacteria presents unique evolutionary features. The capacity to selectively discriminate between core and HGT DNA may help to maintain horizontally transmitted DNA in silent form and may give these bacteria a competitive advantage in adapting to new environments, including host colonization.

JTD Keywords: 2A strain 2457T, Escherichia-Coli, Salmonella-Enterica, Protein, DNA, Expression, Binding, HHA, Shigella, Plasmid


Roca, Ignasi, Torrents, Eduard, Sahlin, Margareta, Gibert, Isidre, Sjoberg, Britt-Marie, (2008). NrdI essentiality for class Ib ribonucleotide reduction in streptococcus pyogenes Journal of Bacteriology , 190, (14), 4849-4858

The Streptococcus pyogenes genome harbors two clusters of class Ib ribonucleotide reductase genes, nrdHEF and nrdF*I*E*, and a second stand-alone nrdI gene, designated nrdI2. We show that both clusters are expressed simultaneously as two independent operons. The NrdEF enzyme is functionally active in vitro, while the NrdE*F* enzyme is not. The NrdF* protein lacks three of the six highly conserved iron-liganding side chains and cannot form a dinuclear iron site or a tyrosyl radical. In vivo, on the other hand, both operons are functional in heterologous complementation in Escherichia coli. The nrdF*I*E* operon requires the presence of the nrdI* gene, and the nrdHEF operon gained activity upon cotranscription of the heterologous nrdI gene from Streptococcus pneumoniae, while neither nrdI* nor nrdI2 from S. pyogenes rendered it active. Our results highlight the essential role of the flavodoxin NrdI protein in vivo, and we suggest that it is needed to reduce met-NrdF, thereby enabling the spontaneous reformation of the tyrosyl radical. The NrdI* flavodoxin may play a more direct role in ribonucleotide reduction by the NrdF*I*E* system. We discuss the possibility that the nrdF*I*E* operon has been horizontally transferred to S. pyogenes from Mycoplasma spp.

JTD Keywords: Group-a streptococcus, Bacillus-subtilis genes, Escherichia-coli, Corynebacterium-ammoniagenes, Mycobacterium-tuberculosis, Expression analysis, Genome sequence, Small-subunit, Salmonella-typhimurium, Iron center


Banos, R. C., Pons, J. I., Madrid, C., Juarez, A., (2008). A global modulatory role for the Yersinia enterocolitica H-NS protein Microbiology , 154, (5), 1281-1289

The H-NS protein plays a significant role in the modulation of gene expression in Gram-negative bacteria. Whereas isolation and characterization of hns mutants in Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Shigella represented critical steps to gain insight into the modulatory role of H-NS, it has hitherto not been possible to isolate hns mutants in Yersinia. The hns mutation is considered to be deleterious in this genus. To study the modulatory role of H-NS in Yersinia we circumvented hns lethality by expressing in Y. enterocolitica a truncated H-NS protein known to exhibit anti-H-NS activity in E. coli (H-NST(EPEC)). Y. enterocolitica cells expressing H-NST(EPEC) showed an altered growth rate and several differences in the protein expression pattern, including the ProV protein, which is modulated by H-NS in other enteric bacteria. To further confirm that H-NST(EPEC) expression in Yersinia can be used to demonstrate H-NS-dependent regulation in this genus, we used this approach to show that H-NS modulates expression of the YmoA protein.

JTD Keywords: Bacterial Proteins/biosynthesis/genetics/ physiology, DNA-Binding Proteins/biosynthesis/genetics/ physiology, Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Genes, Essential, Proteome/analysis, RNA, Bacterial/biosynthesis, RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sequence Deletion, Yersinia enterocolitica/chemistry/genetics/growth & development/ physiology


Castellarnau, Marc, Errachid, Abdelhamid, Madrid, Cristina, Juárez, Antonio, Samitier, Josep, (2006). Dielectrophoresis as a tool to characterize and differentiate isogenic mutants of Escherichia coli Biophysical Journal , 91, (10), 3937-3945

In this study we report on an experimental method based on dielectrophoretic analysis to identify changes in four Escherichia coli isogenic strains that differed exclusively in one mutant allele. The dielectrophoretic properties of wild-type cells were compared to those of hns, hha, and hha hns mutant derivatives. The hns and hha genes code respectively for the global regulators Hha and H-NS. The Hha and H-NS proteins modulate gene expression in Escherichia coli and other Gram negative bacteria. Mutations in either hha or hns genes result in a pleiotropic phenotype. A two-shell prolate ellipsoidal model has been used to fit the experimental data, obtained from dielectrophoresis measurements, and to study the differences in the dielectric properties of the bacterial strains. The experimental results show that the mutant genotype can be predicted from the dielectrophoretic analysis of the corresponding cultures, opening the way to the development of microdevices for specific identification. Therefore, this study shows that dielectrophoresis can be a valuable tool to study bacterial populations which, although apparently homogeneous, may present phenotypic variability.

JTD Keywords: H-NS, Dielectric behaviour, Hemolysin genes, Cells, Separation, Expression, Proteins, HHA, Electrorotation, Polarization