Rui D Silva

University of Minho, Braga, Distrito de Braga, Portugal

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Publications (8)35.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The yeast vacuole is functionally analogous to the mammalian lysosome. Both play important roles in fundamental cellular processes such as protein degradation, detoxification, osmoregulation, autophagy and apoptosis which, when deregulated in humans, can lead to several diseases. Some of these vacuolar roles are difficult to study in a cellular context, and therefore the use of a cell-free system is an important approach to gain further insight into the different molecular mechanisms required for vacuolar function. In the present study, the potentialities of flow cytometry for the structural and functional characterization of isolated yeast vacuoles were explored. The isolation protocol resulted in a yeast vacuolar fraction with a degree of purity suitable for cytometric analysis. Moreover, isolated vacuoles were structurally and functionally intact, and able to generate and maintain electrochemical gradients of ions across the vacuolar membrane, as assessed by flow cytometry. Proton and calcium gradients were dissipated by NH4Cl and calcimycin, respectively. These results established flow cytometry as a powerful technique for the characterization of isolated vacuoles. The protocols developed in this study can also be used to enhance our understanding of several molecular mechanisms underlying the development of lysosomal-related diseases, as well as provide tools to screen for new drugs that can modulate these processes, which have promising clinical relevance.
    Microbiology 02/2013; · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein kinase C (PKC) is a family of serine/threonine kinases involved in the transduction of signals that control different cellular processes, such as cell death and proliferation. This family comprises at least 10 isoforms that regulate apoptosis in an isoformspecific manner. However, controversial data about the role of individual PKC isoforms in apoptosis regulation are frequently reported. The co-existence of several PKC isoforms in a same mammalian cell, the distinct expression profile of PKC isoforms in different cell types, and the different stimulus applied may explain such contradicting results. Therefore major advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of PKC isoforms in apoptosis are still required. Yeast has proved to be a valuable research tool to investigate molecular aspects of apoptosis regulation. Additionally, the conservation in yeast of major functional and molecular properties of mammalian PKC isoforms favours the use of this simpler cell model to uncover relevant aspects of apoptosis regulation by this kinase family. In this review, we cover the current knowledge about the role of different PKC isoforms in apoptosis. Moreover, we discuss the contribution of yeast to unravel several controversial issues about apoptosis regulation by PKC isoforms. The exploitation of yeast cells expressing individual PKC isoforms towards the identification of isoform-specific PKC modulators is also discussed. The studies here summarised highlight that the yeast cell model system can provide valuable insights in the PKC research field.
    Current pharmaceutical design 04/2012; 18(17):2492-500. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein kinase Cα (PKCα) is a classical PKC isoform whose involvement in cell death is not completely understood. Bax, a major member of the Bcl-2 family, is required for apoptotic cell death and regulation of Bax translocation and insertion into the outer mitochondrial membrane is crucial for regulation of the apoptotic process. Here we show that PKCα increases the translocation and insertion of Bax c-myc (an active form of Bax) into the outer membrane of yeast mitochondria. This is associated with an increase in cytochrome c (cyt c) release, reactive oxygen species production (ROS), mitochondrial network fragmentation and cell death. This cell death process is regulated, since it correlates with an increase in autophagy but not with plasma membrane permeabilization. The observed increase in Bax c-myc translocation and insertion by PKCα is not due to Bax c-myc phosphorylation, and the higher cell death observed is independent of the PKCα kinase activity. PKCα may therefore have functions other than its kinase activity that aid in Bax c-myc translocation and insertion into mitochondria. Together, these results give a mechanistic insight on apoptosis regulation by PKCα through regulation of Bax insertion into mitochondria.
    Experimental Cell Research 04/2011; 317(6):781-90. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Bcl-2 protein family plays a central role in mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. This event and the ensuing release of cytochrome c are decisive in the apoptotic cascade. Therefore, a better knowledge of these processes and their regulation will probably lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treatment of apoptosis-related diseases. However, the mode of action of Bcl-2 protein family and its regulation are not completely understood. Yeast has proved to be a powerful tool to investigate the molecular aspects of several biological processes, including the steps of the apoptotic cascade involving mitochondria. The fact that yeast does not have obvious homologues of the mammalian Bcl-2 family proteins and that these proteins conserve some of their molecular and biochemical functions when expressed in yeast favour the use of this simpler model system to unravel some of the functions of this family. In this review we attempt to encompass the current knowledge regarding Bcl-2 family mode of action and regulation obtained using the yeast model system. Moreover, we discuss how this model system can be used in the future to gain new understanding about the intricate mechanisms of Bcl-2 family protein regulation, and highlight novel therapeutic targets revealed by this system. We believe that the studies summarized here also provide a proof of principle of yeast as an important tool to elucidate some of the complex mechanisms of apoptotic cell death in higher eukaryotes.
    Current pharmaceutical design 02/2011; 17(3):246-55. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acetic acid is the main component of the volatile acidity of grape musts and wines. It can be formed as a by-product of alcoholic fermentation or as a product of the metabolism of acetic and lactic acid bacteria, which can metabolize residual sugars to increase volatile acidity. Acetic acid has a negative impact on yeast fermentative performance and affects the quality of certain types of wine when present above a given concentration. In this mini-review, we present an overview of fermentation conditions and grape-must composition favoring acetic acid formation, as well the metabolic pathways leading to its formation and degradation by yeast. The negative effect of acetic acid on the fermentative performance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae will also be covered, including its role as a physiological inducer of apoptosis. Finally, currently available wine deacidification processes and new proposed solutions based on zymological deacidification by select S. cerevisiae strains will be discussed.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 10/2010; 89(2):271-80. · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The inositolphosphosphingolipid phospholipase C (Isc1p) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae belongs to the family of neutral sphingomyelinases that generates the bioactive sphingolipid ceramide. In this work the role of Isc1p in oxidative stress resistance and chronological lifespan was investigated. Loss of Isc1p resulted in a higher sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide that was associated with an increase in oxidative stress markers, namely intracellular oxidation, protein carbonylation, and lipid peroxidation. Microarray analysis showed that Isc1p deficiency up-regulated the iron regulon leading to increased levels of iron, which is known to catalyze the production of the highly reactive hydroxyl radicals via the Fenton reaction. In agreement, iron chelation suppressed hydrogen peroxide sensitivity of isc1Delta mutants. Cells lacking Isc1p also displayed a shortened chronological lifespan associated with oxidative stress markers and aging of parental cells was correlated with a decrease in Isc1p activity. The analysis of DNA fragmentation and caspase-like activity showed that Isc1p deficiency increased apoptotic cell death associated with oxidative stress and aging. Furthermore, deletion of Yca1p metacaspase suppressed the oxidative stress sensitivity and premature aging phenotypes of isc1Delta mutants. These results indicate that Isc1p plays an important role in the regulation of cellular redox homeostasis, through modulation of iron levels, and of apoptosis.
    Molecular biology of the cell 04/2008; 19(3):865-76. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms have been subject of particular attention because of their ability to modulate apoptotic proteins. However, the roles played by each PKC isoform in apoptosis are still unclear. Here, expression of individual mammalian PKC isoforms in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used as a new approach to study the role of each isoform in apoptosis. The four isoforms tested, excepting PKC-delta, stimulate S. cerevisiae acetic-acid-induced apoptosis essentially through a mitochondrial ROS-dependent pathway. However, their co-expression with Bcl-xL reveals a PKC-isoform-dependent modulation of Bcl-xL anti-apoptotic activity. A yeast pathway homologue to the mammalian SAPK/JNK is responsible for acetic-acid-induced Bcl-xL phosphorylation that is differently modulated by PKC isoforms. The data obtained suggest conservation of an ancient mechanism of apoptosis regulation in yeast and mammals and offer new insights into mammalian apoptosis modulation by PKC isoforms.
    Journal of Cell Science 09/2006; 119(Pt 15):3171-81. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During the last years, several reports described an apoptosis-like programmed cell death process in yeast in response to different environmental aggressions. Here, evidence is presented that hyperosmotic stress caused by high glucose or sorbitol concentrations in culture medium induces in Saccharomyces cerevisiae a cell death process accompanied by morphological and biochemical indicators of apoptotic programmed cell death, namely chromatin condensation along the nuclear envelope, mitochondrial swelling and reduction of cristae number, production of reactive oxygen species and DNA strand breaks, with maintenance of plasma membrane integrity. Disruption of AIF1 had no effect on cell survival, but lack of Yca1p drastically reduced metacaspase activation and decreased cell death indicating that this death process was associated to activation of this protease. Supporting the involvement of mitochondria and cytochrome c in caspase activation, the mutant strains cyc1Deltacyc7Delta and cyc3Delta, both lacking mature cytochrome c, displayed a decrease in caspase activation associated to increased cell survival when exposed to hyperosmotic stress. These findings indicate that hyperosmotic stress triggers S. cerevisiae into an apoptosis-like programmed cell death that is mediated by a caspase-dependent mitochondrial pathway partially dependent on cytochrome c.
    Molecular Microbiology 12/2005; 58(3):824-34. · 4.96 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

195 Citations
35.95 Total Impact Points


  • 2005–2013
    • University of Minho
      • Department of Biology
      Braga, Distrito de Braga, Portugal
  • 2010
    • Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
      Vila Real, Vila Real, Portugal
  • 2006
    • University of Porto
      • Faculdade de Farmácia
      Porto, Distrito do Porto, Portugal