Protein & Cell

Description

  • Impact factor
    3.22
  • 5-year impact
    0.00
  • Cited half-life
    0.00
  • Immediacy index
    0.00
  • Eigenfactor
    0.00
  • Article influence
    0.00
  • ISSN
    1674-8018

Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) exerts apoptotic effects on various types of malignant cells, including liver cancer cells. However, the precise mechanisms by which TGF-β induces apoptosis remain poorly known. In the present study, we have showed that threonine 32 (Thr32) residue of FoxO3 is critical for TGF-β to induce apoptosis via Bim in hepatocarcinoma Hep3B cells. Our data demonstrated that TGF-β induced FoxO3 activation through specific de-phosphorylation at Thr32. TGF-β-activated FoxO3 cooperated with Smad2/3 to mediate Bim up-regulation and apoptosis. FoxO3 (de)phosphorylation at Thr32 was regulated by casein kinase I-ε (CKI-ε). CKI inhibition by small molecule D4476 could abrogate TGF-β-induced FoxO/Smad activation, reverse Bim up-regulation, and block the sequential apoptosis. More importantly, the deregulated levels of CKI-ε and p32FoxO3 were found in human malignant liver tissues. Taken together, our findings suggest that there might be a CKI-FoxO/Smad-Bim engine in which Thr32 of FoxO3 is pivotal for TGF-β-induced apoptosis, making it a potential therapeutic target for liver cancer treatment.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The loss of or decreased functional pancreatic β-cell is a major cause of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have shown that adult β-cells can maintain their ability for a low level of turnover through replication and neogenesis. Thus, a strategy to prevent and treat diabetes would be to enhance the ability of β-cells to increase the mass of functional β-cells. Consequently, much effort has been devoted to identify factors that can effectively induce β-cell expansion. This review focuses on recent reports on small molecules and protein factors that have been shown to promote β-cell expansion.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, human cancer genome projects provide unprecedented opportunities for the discovery of cancer genes and signaling pathways that contribute to tumor development. While numerous gene mutations can be identified from each cancer genome, what these mutations mean for cancer is a challenging question to address, especially for those from less understood putative new cancer genes. As a powerful approach, in silico bioinformatics analysis could efficiently sort out mutations that are predicted to damage gene function. Such an analysis of human large tumor suppressor genes, LATS1 and LATS2, has been carried out and the results support a role of hLATS1//2 as negative growth regulators and tumor suppressors.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The fatty alk(a/e)ne biosynthesis pathway found in cyanobacteria gained tremendous attention in recent years as a promising alternative approach for biofuel production. Cyanobacterial aldehyde-deformylating oxygenase (cADO), which catalyzes the conversion of Cn fatty aldehyde to its corresponding Cn-1 alk(a/e)ne, is a key enzyme in that pathway. Due to its low activity, alk(a/e)ne production by cADO is an inefficient process. Previous biochemical and structural investigations of cADO have provided some information on its catalytic reaction. However, the details of its catalytic processes remain unclear. Here we report five crystal structures of cADO from the Synechococcus elongates strain PCC7942 in both its iron-free and iron-bound forms, representing different states during its catalytic process. Structural comparisons and functional enzyme assays indicate that Glu144, one of the iron-coordinating residues, plays a vital role in the catalytic reaction of cADO. Moreover, the helix where Glu144 resides exhibits two distinct conformations that correlates with the different binding states of the di-iron center in cADO structures. Therefore, our results provide a structural explanation for the highly labile feature of cADO di-iron center, which we proposed to be related to its low enzymatic activity. On the basis of our structural and biochemical data, a possible catalytic process of cADO was proposed, which could aid the design of cADO with improved activity.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Excess iron is tightly associated with tumorigenesis in multiple human cancer types through a variety of mechanisms including catalyzing the formation of mutagenic hydroxyl radicals, regulating DNA replication, repair and cell cycle progression, affecting signal transduction in cancer cells, and acting as an essential nutrient for proliferating tumor cells. Thus, multiple therapeutic strategies based on iron deprivation have been developed in cancer therapy. During the past few years, our understanding of genetic association and molecular mechanisms between iron and tumorigenesis has expanded enormously. In this review, we briefly summarize iron homeostasis in mammals, and discuss recent progresses in understanding the aberrant iron metabolism in numerous cancer types, with a focus on studies revealing altered signal transduction in cancer cells.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 11/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Gliomas are extremely aggressive brain tumors with a very poor prognosis. One of the more promising strategies for the treatment of human gliomas is targeted immunotherapy where antigens that are unique to the tumors are exploited to generate vaccines. The approach, however, is complicated by the fact that human gliomas escape immune surveillance by creating an immune suppressed microenvironment. In order to oppose the glioma imposed immune suppression, molecules and pathways involved in immune cell maturation, expansion, and migration are under intensive clinical investigation as adjuvant therapy. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate many of these functions in immune cell types, and TLR agonists, thus, are currently primary candidate molecules to be used as important adjuvants in a variety of cancers. In animal models for glioma, TLR agonists have exhibited antitumor properties by facilitating antigen presentation and stimulating innate and adaptive immunity. In clinical trials, several TLR agonists have achieved survival benefit, and many more trials are recruiting or ongoing. However, a second complicating factor is that TLRs are also expressed on cancer cells where they can participate instead in a variety of tumor promoting activities including cell growth, proliferation, invasion, migration, and even stem cell maintenance. TLR agonists can, therefore, possibly play dual roles in tumor biology. Here, how TLRs and TLR agonists function in glioma biology and in anti-glioma therapies is summarized in an effort to provide a current picture of the sophisticated relationship of glioma with the immune system and the implications for immunotherapy.
    Protein & Cell 11/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Formation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network requires homotypic membrane fusion, which involves a class of atlastin (ATL) GTPases. Purified Drosophila ATL is capable of mediating vesicle fusion in vitro, but such activity has not been reported for any other ATLs. Here, we determined the preliminary crystal structure of the cytosolic segment of Drosophila ATL in a GDP-bound state. The structure reveals a GTPase domain dimer with the subsequent three-helix bundles associating with their own GTPase domains and pointing in opposite directions. This conformation is similar to that of human ATL1, to which GDP and high concentrations of inorganic phosphate, but not GDP only, were included. Drosophila ATL restored ER morphology defects in mammalian cells lacking ATLs, and measurements of nucleotide-dependent dimerization and GTPase activity were comparable for Drosophila ATL and human ATL1. However, purified and reconstituted human ATL1 exhibited no in vitro fusion activity. When the cytosolic segment of human ATL1 was connected to the transmembrane (TM) region and C-terminal tail (CT) of Drosophila ATL, the chimera still exhibited no fusion activity, though its GTPase activity was normal. These results suggest that GDP-bound ATLs may adopt multiple conformations and the in vitro fusion activity of ATL cannot be achieved by a simple collection of functional domains.
    Protein & Cell 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The recent human infection with avian influenza virus revealed that H9N2 influenza virus is the gene donor for H7N9 and H10N8 viruses infecting humans. The crucial role of H9N2 viruses at the animal-human interface might be due to the wide host range, adaptation in both poultry and mammalian, and extensive gene reassortment. As the most prevalent subtype of influenza viruses in chickens in China, H9N2 also causes a great economic loss for the poultry industry, even under the long-term vaccination programs. The history, epidemiology, biological characteristics, and molecular determinants of H9N2 influenza virus are reviewed in this paper. The contribution of H9N2 genes, especially RNP genes, to the infection of humans needs to be investigated in the future.
    Protein & Cell 11/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 11/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 10/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) play essential roles in signal transduction from the environment into the cell. While many structural features have been elucidated in great detail, a common functional mechanism on how the ligand-binding signal is converted into a conformational change on the cytoplasmic face resulting in subsequent activation of downstream effectors remain to be established. Based on available structural and functional data of the activation process in class-A GPCRs, we propose here that a change in protonation status, together with proton transfer via conserved structural elements located in the transmembrane region, are the key elements essential for signal transduction across the membrane.
    Protein & Cell 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli (E. coli) FadR regulator plays dual roles in fatty acid metabolism, which not only represses the fatty acid degradation (fad) system, but also activates the unsaturated fatty acid synthesis pathway. Earlier structural and biochemical studies of FadR protein have provided insights into interplay between FadR protein with its DNA target and/or ligand, while the missing knowledge gap (esp. residues with indirect roles in DNA binding) remains unclear. Here we report this case through deep mapping of old E. coli fadR mutants accumulated. Molecular dissection of E. coli K113 strain, a fadR mutant that can grow on decanoic acid (C10) as sole carbon sources unexpectedly revealed a single point mutation of T178G in fadR locus (W60G in FadRk113). We also observed that a single genetically-recessive mutation of W60G in FadR regulatory protein can lead to loss of its DNA-binding activity, and thereby impair all the regulatory roles in fatty acid metabolisms. Structural analyses of FadR protein indicated that the hydrophobic interaction amongst the three amino acids (W60, F74 and W75) is critical for its DNA-binding ability by maintaining the configuration of its neighboring two β-sheets. Further site-directed mutagenesis analyses demonstrated that the FadR mutants (F74G and/or W75G) do not exhibit the detected DNA-binding activity, validating above structural reasoning.
    Protein & Cell 10/2014;