Journal of Molecular Cell Biology

Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Oxford University Press

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is known to have a key role in the development of colorectal cancer, but previous experiments showed its contrasting (i.e. tumor-promoting or tumor-suppressive) roles depending on experimental conditions. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying such contrasting roles of PGE2 in tumorigenesis, we investigated all the previous experiments and found a new signal transduction pathway mediated by retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor (ROR)α, in which PGE2/PKCα-dependent phosphorylation of RORα attenuates Wnt target gene expression in colon cancer cells. From mathematical simulations combined with biochemical experimentation, we revealed that RORα induces a biphasic response of Wnt target genes to PGE2 stimulation through a regulatory switch formed by an incoherent feedforward loop, which provides a mechanistic explanation on the contrasting roles of PGE2 observed in previous experiments. More interestingly, we found that RORα constitutes another regulatory switch formed by coupled positive and negative feedback loops, which regulates the hysteretic response of Wnt signaling and eventually converts a proliferative cellular state into an anti-proliferative state in a very delicate way. Our results indicate that RORα is the key regulator at the center of these hidden switches that critically regulate cancer cell proliferation and thereby being a promising anti-cancer therapeutic target.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG), an enzyme that initiates the repair of G/T and G/U mismatches, has been lately found crucial in embryonic development to maintain epigenetic stability and facilitate the active DNA demethylation. Here we report a novel role of TDG in Wnt signaling as a transcriptional coactivator of β-catenin/TCFs complex. Our data show that TDG binds to the transcriptional factor family LEF1/TCFs and potentiates β-catenin/TCFs transactivation, while TDG depletion suppresses Wnt3a-stimulated reporter activity or target gene transcription. Next, we show that CBP, a known coactivator, is also required for TDG function through forming a cooperative complex on target promoters. Moreover, there is an elevation of TDG levels in human colon cancer tissue, and knockdown of TDG inhibits proliferation of the colon cells. Overall, our results reveal that TDG, as a new coactivator, promotes β-catenin/TCFs transactivation and functionally cooperates with CBP in canonical Wnt signaling.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The tumor suppressor p53 pathway, whose alterations are highly associated with all types of human cancers, plays an essential role in preventing tumor development and progression mostly through its downstream target genes. Over the last decade, a growing list of p53 microRNA (miRNA) targets has been identified as additional downstream players of this pathway. Further studies of these miRNAs have revealed their more complicated regulations and functions in executing and/or regulating p53 activity. Here, we review the p53 miRNA targets identified thus far, and discuss how they fine-tune p53 stress responses, mediate the crosstalk between p53 and other signaling pathways, and expand the role of p53 in other human diseases in addition to cancers.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in functional genomics have led to discovery of a large group of previous uncharacterized long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Emerging evidence indicates that lncRNAs may serve as master gene regulators through various mechanisms. Dysregulation of lncRNAs is often associated with a variety of human diseases including cancer. Of significant interest, recent studies suggest that lncRNAs participate in the p53 tumor suppressor regulatory network. In this review, we discuss how lncRNAs serve as p53 regulators or p53 effectors. Further characterization of these p53-associated lncRNAs in cancer will provide a better understanding of lncRNA-mediated gene regulation in the p53 pathway. As a result, lncRNAs may prove to be valuable biomarkers for cancer diagnosis or potential targets for cancer therapy.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: For antiviral signaling mediated by retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I)-like receptors (RLRs), the recruitment of cytosolic RLRs and downstream molecules (such as TBK1 and IKKε) to mitochondrial platform is a central event that facilitates the establishment of host antiviral state. Here, we present an example of viral targeting for immune evasion through spatial isolation of TBK1/IKKε from mitochondrial antiviral platform, which was employed by severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), a deadly bunyavirus emerging recently. We showed that SFTSV nonstructural protein NSs functions as the interferon (IFN) antagonist, mainly via suppressing TBK1/IKKε-IRF3 signaling. NSs mediates the formation of cytoplasmic inclusion bodies (IBs), and the blockage of IB formation impairs IFN-inhibiting activity of NSs. We next demonstrate that IBs are utilized to compartmentalize TBK1/IKKε. The compartmentalization results in spatial isolation of the kinases from mitochondria, and deprived TBK1/IKKε may participate in antiviral complex assembly, leading to the blockage of IFN induction. This study proposes a new role of viral IBs as virus-built "jail" for imprisoning cellular factors and presents a novel and likely common mechanism of viral immune evasion through spatial isolation of critical signaling molecules from the mitochondrial antiviral platform.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The p53 tumor suppressor gene is the most frequently mutated gene in cancer. Significant progress has been made to discern the importance of p53 in coordinating cellular responses to DNA damage, oncogene activation, and other stresses. Noncoding RNAs are RNA molecules functioning without being translated into proteins. In this work, we discuss the dichotomy of p53 regulation by noncoding RNAs with four unconventional questions. First, is overexpression of microRNAs responsible for p53 inactivation in the absence of p53 mutation? Second, are there somatic mutations in the noncoding regions of the p53 gene? Third, is there a germline mutant in the noncoding regions of the p53 gene that predisposes carriers to cancer? Fourth, can p53 activation mediated by a noncoding RNA mutation cause cancer? This work highlights the prominence of noncoding RNAs in p53 dysregulation and tumorigenesis.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The P2X3 receptor plays a vital role in sensory processing and transmission. The assembly and trafficking of the P2X3 receptor are important for its function in primary sensory neurons. As an important inflammation mediator, ATP is released from different cell types around primary sensory neurons, especially under pathological pain conditions. Here, we show that α, β-MeATP dramatically promoted membrane delivery of the P2X3 receptor both in HEK293T cells expressing recombinant P2X3 receptor and in rat primary sensory neurons. α, β-MeATP induced P2X3 receptor-mediated Ca(2+) influx, which further activated Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIα (CaMKIIα). The N terminus of the P2X3 receptor was responsible for CaMKIIα binding, whereas Thr(388) in the C terminus was phosphorylated by CaMKIIα. Thr(388) phosphorylation increased P2X3 receptor binding to caveolin-1. Caveolin-1 knockdown abrogated the α, β-MeATP-induced membrane insertion of the P2X3 receptor. Moreover, α, β-MeATP drove the CaMKIIα-mediated membrane coinsertion of the P2X2 receptor with the P2X3 receptor. The increased P2X3 receptors on the cell membrane that are due to Thr(388) phosphorylation facilitated P2X3 receptor-mediated signal transduction. Together, our data indicate that CaMKIIα and caveolin-1 cooperate to drive ligand-induced membrane delivery of the P2X3 receptor and may provide a mechanism of P2X3 receptor sensitization in pain development.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014; 6(2):140-53.
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    ABSTRACT: RIG-I is a pivotal cytoplasmic sensor that recognizes different species of viral RNAs. This recognition leads to activation of the transcription factors NF-κB and IRF3, which collaborate to induce type I interferons (IFNs) and innate antiviral response. In this study, we identified the TRIM family protein TRIM4 as a positive regulator of RIG-I-mediated IFN induction. Overexpression of TRIM4 potentiated virus-triggered activation of IRF3 and NF-κB, as well as IFN-β induction, whereas knockdown of TRIM4 had opposite effects. Mechanistically, TRIM4 associates with RIG-I and targets it for K63-linked polyubiquitination. Our findings demonstrate that TRIM4 is an important regulator of the virus-induced IFN induction pathways by mediating RIG-I for K63-linked ubiquitination.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014; 6(2):154-63.
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    ABSTRACT: Pluripotent stem cells derived from neonatal or adult testes are a useful tool to examine the mechanisms of pluripotency and a resource for cell-based therapies. However, therapies using these cells will only benefit males but not females. Recently, female germline stem cells (FGSCs) were discovered in ovaries. Whether FGSCs can be converted into pluripotent stem cells, similar to spermatogonial stem cells, is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that female embryonic stem-like cells (fESLCs) can be generated within 1 month from the stably proliferating FGSCs cultured in embryonic stem cell (ESC) medium. fESLCs exhibit properties similar to those of ESCs in terms of marker expression and differentiation potential. Thus, our findings suggest that generation of patient-specific fESLCs is feasible and provides a foundation for personalized regenerative applications.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014; 6(2):164-71.
  • Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 04/2014; 6(2):103.
  • Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The generation of toxic non-native protein conformers has emerged as a unifying thread among disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Atomic-level detail regarding dynamical changes that facilitate protein aggregation, as well as the structural features of large-scale ordered aggregates and soluble non-native oligomers, would contribute significantly to current understanding of these complex phenomena and offer potential strategies for inhibiting formation of cytotoxic species. However, experimental limitations often preclude the acquisition of high-resolution structural and mechanistic information for aggregating systems. Computational methods, particularly those combine both all-atom and coarse-grained simulations to cover a wide range of time and length scales, have thus emerged as crucial tools for investigating protein aggregation. Here we review the current state of computational methodology for the study of protein self-assembly, with a focus on the application of these methods toward understanding of protein aggregates in human neurodegenerative disorders.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 03/2014;
  • Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 03/2014;
  • Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 02/2014; 6(1):1-2.
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    ABSTRACT: Wnts comprise a large family of proteins that have shown to be part of a signaling cascade that regulates several aspects of development including organogenesis, midbrain development as well as stem cell proliferation. Wnt signaling pathway plays different roles in the development of neuronal circuits and also in the adult brain, where it regulates synaptic transmission and plasticity. It has been also implicated in various diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, reflecting its relevance in fundamental biological processes. This review summarizes the progress about Wnts function in mature nervous system with a focus on Alzheimer's disease (AD). We discuss the prospects of modulating canonical and non-canonical Wnt signaling as a strategy for neuroprotection. This will include the potential of Wnts to: (i) act as potent regulators of hippocampal synapses and impact in learning and memory; (ii) regulate adult neurogenesis; and finally (iii) control AD pathogenesis.
    Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 02/2014; 6(1):64-74.