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    Pranavi Koppula, Li Zhuang, Boyi Gan
    Protein & Cell, 2021, 12(8): 599-620.

    The cystine/glutamate antiporter SLC7A11 (also commonly known as xCT) functions to import cystine for glutathione biosynthesis and antioxidant defense and is overexpressed in multiple human cancers. Recent studies revealed that SLC7A11 overexpression promotes tumor growth partly through suppressing ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death induced by excessive lipid peroxidation. However, cancer cells with high expression of SLC7A11 (SLC7A11high) also have to endure the significant cost associated with SLC7A11-mediated metabolic reprogramming, leading to glucoseand glutamine-dependency in SLC7A11high cancer cells, which presents potential metabolic vulnerabilities for therapeutic targeting in SLC7A11high cancer. In this review, we summarize diverse regulatory mechanisms of SLC7A11 in cancer, discuss ferroptosis-dependent and-independent functions of SLC7A11 in promoting tumor development, explore the mechanistic basis of SLC7A11-induced nutrient dependency in cancer cells, and conceptualize therapeutic strategies to target SLC7A11 in cancer treatment. This review will provide the foundation for further understanding SLC7A11 in ferroptosis, nutrient dependency, and tumor biology and for developing novel effective cancer therapies.

    Puping Liang,Yanwen Xu,Xiya Zhang,Chenhui Ding,Rui Huang,Zhen Zhang,Jie Lv,Xiaowei Xie,Yuxi Chen,Yujing Li,Ying Sun,Yaofu Bai,Zhou Songyang,Wenbin Ma,Canquan Zhou,Junjiu Huang
    Protein & Cell, 2015, 6(5): 363-372.

    Genome editing tools such as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-associated system (Cas) have been widely used to modify genes in model systems including animal zygotes and human cells, and hold tremendous promise for both basic research and clinical applications. To date, a serious knowledge gap remains in our understanding of DNA repair mechanisms in human early embryos, and in the efficiency and potential off-target effects of using technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 in human pre-implantation embryos. In this report, we used tripronuclear (3PN) zygotes to further investigate CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human cells. We found that CRISPR/Cas9 could effectively cleave the endogenous β-globin gene (HBB). However, the efficiency of homologous recombination directed repair (HDR) of HBB was low and the edited embryos were mosaic. Off-target cleavage was also apparent in these 3PN zygotes as revealed by the T7E1 assay and whole-exome sequencing. Furthermore, the endogenous delta-globin gene (HBD), which is homologous to HBB, competed with exogenous donor oligos to act as the repair template, leading to untoward mutations. Our data also indicated that repair of the HBB locus in these embryos occurred preferentially through the non-crossover HDR pathway. Taken together, our work highlights the pressing need to further improve the fidelity and specificity of the CRISPR/Cas9 platform, a prerequisite for any clinical applications of CRSIPR/Cas9-mediated editing.

    Jasmine Lee,Lianhui Zhang
    Protein & Cell, 2015, 6(1): 26-41.

    Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes severe and persistent infections in immune compromised individuals and cystic fibrosis sufferers. The infection is hard to eradicate as P. aeruginosa has developed strong resistance to most conventional antibiotics. The problem is further compounded by the ability of the pathogen to form biofilm matrix, which provides bacterial cells a protected environment withstanding various stresses including antibiotics. Quorum sensing (QS), a cell density-based intercellular communication system, which plays a key role in regulation of the bacterial virulence and biofilm formation, could be a promising target for developing new strategies against P. aeruginosa infection. The QS network of P. aeruginosa is organized in a multi-layered hierarchy consisting of at least four interconnected signaling mechanisms. Evidence is accumulating that the QS regulatory network not only responds to bacterial population changes but also could react to environmental stress cues. This plasticity should be taken into consideration during exploration and development of anti-QS therapeutics.

    Kyoji Tsuchikama, Zhiqiang An
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(1): 33-46.

    The antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), a humanized or human monoclonal antibody conjugated with highly cytotoxic small molecules (payloads) through chemical linkers, is a novel therapeutic format and has great potential to make a paradigm shift in cancer chemotherapy. Thisnewantibody-based molecular platform enables selective delivery of a potent cytotoxic payload to target cancer cells, resulting in improved efficacy, reduced systemic toxicity, and preferable pharmacokinetics (PK)/ pharmacodynamics (PD) and biodistribution compared to traditional chemotherapy. Boosted by the successes of FDA-approved Adcetris® and Kadcyla®, this drug class has been rapidly growing along with about 60 ADCs currently in clinical trials. In this article, we briefly review molecular aspects of each component (the antibody, payload, and linker) of ADCs, and then mainly discuss traditional and new technologies of the conjugation and linker chemistries for successful construction of clinically effective ADCs. Current efforts in the conjugation and linker chemistries will provide greater insights into molecular design and strategies for clinically effective ADCs from medicinal chemistry and pharmacology standpoints. The development of site-specific conjugation methodologies for constructing homogeneousADCs is an especially promising path to improving ADC design, which will open the way for novel cancer therapeutics.

    Lu Gao, Tiansong Xu, Gang Huang, Song Jiang, Yan Gu, Feng Chen
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(5): 488-500.

    Microbes appear in every corner of human life, and microbes affect every aspect of human life. The human oral cavity contains a number of different habitats. Synergy and interaction of variable oral microorganisms help human body against invasion of undesirable stimulation outside. However, imbalance of microbial flora contributes to oral diseases and systemic diseases. Oral microbiomes play an important role in the human microbial community and human health. The use of recently developed molecular methods has greatly expanded our knowledge of the composition and function of the oral microbiome in health and disease. Studies in oral microbiomes and their interactions with microbiomes in variable body sites and variable health condition are critical in our cognition of our body and how to make effect on human health improvement.

    Chao Xu, Jinrong Min
    Protein & Cell, 2011, 2(3): 202-214.

    The WD40 domain exhibits a β-propeller architecture, often comprising seven blades. The WD40 domain is one of the most abundant domains and also among the top interacting domains in eukaryotic genomes. In this review, we will discuss the identification, definition and architecture of the WD40 domains. WD40 domain proteins are involved in a large variety of cellular processes, in which WD40 domains function as a protein-protein or protein-DNA interaction platform. WD40 domain mediates molecular recognition events mainly through the smaller top surface, but also through the bottom surface and sides. So far, no WD40 domain has been found to display enzymatic activity. We will also discuss the different binding modes exhibited by the large versatile family of WD40 domain proteins. In the last part of this review, we will discuss how post-translational modifications are recognized by WD40 domain proteins.

    Yong-Xin Liu, Yuan Qin, Tong Chen, Meiping Lu, Xubo Qian, Xiaoxuan Guo, Yang Bai
    Protein & Cell, 2021, 12(5): 315-330.

    Advances in high-throughput sequencing (HTS) have fostered rapid developments in the field of microbiome research, and massive microbiome datasets are now being generated. However, the diversity of software tools and the complexity of analysis pipelines make it difficult to access this field. Here, we systematically summarize the advantages and limitations of microbiome methods. Then, we recommend specific pipelines for amplicon and metagenomic analyses, and describe commonly-used software and databases, to help researchers select the appropriate tools. Furthermore, we introduce statistical and visualization methods suitable for microbiome analysis, including alpha- and betadiversity, taxonomic composition, difference comparisons, correlation, networks, machine learning, evolution, source tracing, and common visualization styles to help researchers make informed choices. Finally, a stepby-step reproducible analysis guide is introduced. We hope this review will allow researchers to carry out data analysis more effectively and to quickly select the appropriate tools in order to efficiently mine the biological significance behind the data.

    John M. Dean, Irfan J. Lodhi
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(2): 196-206.

    Ether lipids, such as plasmalogens, are peroxisomederived glycerophospholipids in which the hydrocarbon chain at the sn-1 position of the glycerol backbone is attached by an ether bond, as opposed to an ester bond in the more common diacyl phospholipids. This seemingly simple biochemical change has profound structural and functional implications. Notably, the tendency of ether lipids to form non-lamellar inverted hexagonal structures in model membranes suggests that they have a role in facilitating membrane fusion processes. Ether lipids are also important for the organization and stability of lipid raft microdomains, cholesterol-rich membrane regions involved in cellular signaling. In addition to their structural roles, a subset of ether lipids are thought to function as endogenous antioxidants, and emerging studies suggest that they are involved in cell differentiation and signaling pathways. Here, we review the biology of ether lipids and their potential significance in human disorders, including neurological diseases, cancer, and metabolic disorders.

    Yihui Fan, Renfang Mao, Jianhua Yang
    Protein & Cell, 2013, 4(3): 176-185.

    Although links between cancer and inflammation were firstly proposed in the nineteenth century, the molecular mechanism has not yet been clearly understood. Epidemiological studies have identified chronic infections and infl ammation as major risk factors for various types of cancer. NF-κB transcription factors and the signaling pathways are central coordinators in innate and adaptive immune responses. STAT3 regulates the expression of a variety of genes in response to cellular stimuli, and thus plays a key role in cell growth and apoptosis. Recently, roles of NF-κB and STAT3 in colon, gastric and liver cancers have been extensively investigated. The activation and interaction between STAT3 and NF-κB play vital roles in control of the communication between cancer cells and infl ammatory cells. NF-κB and STAT3 are two major factors controlling the ability of pre-neoplastic and malignant cells to resist apoptosis-based tumor-surveillance and regulating tumor angiogenesis and invasiveness. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of NF-κB and STAT3 cooperation in cancer will offer opportunities for the design of new chemo-preventive and chemotherapeutic approaches.

  • Research articles
    Yibing Huang, Jinfeng Huang, Yuxin Chen,
    Protein & Cell, 2010, 1(2): 143-152.
    Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), with their extraordinary properties, such as broad-spectrum activity, rapid action and difficult development of resistance, have become promising molecules as new antibiotics. Despite their various mechanisms of action, the interaction of AMPs with the bacterial cell membrane is the key step for their mode of action. Moreover, it is generally accepted that the membrane is the primary target of most AMPs, and the interaction between AMPs and eukaryotic cell membranes (causing toxicity to host cells) limits their clinical application. Therefore, researchers are engaged in reforming or de novo designing AMPs as a ‘single-edged sword’ that contains high antimicrobial activity yet low cytotoxicity against eukaryotic cells. To improve the antimicrobial activity of AMPs, the relationship between the structure and function of AMPs has been rigorously pursued. In this review, we focus on the current knowledge of α-helical cationic antimicrobial peptides, one of the most common types of AMPs in nature.
    Nicole M. Anderson, Patrick Mucka, Joseph G. Kern, Hui Feng
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(2): 216-237.

    The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is a central route for oxidative phosphorylation in cells, and fulfills their bioenergetic, biosynthetic, and redox balance requirements. Despite early dogma that cancer cells bypass the TCA cycle and primarily utilize aerobic glycolysis, emerging evidence demonstrates that certain cancer cells, especially those with deregulated oncogene and tumor suppressor expression, rely heavily on the TCA cycle for energy production and macromolecule synthesis. As the field progresses, the importance of aberrant TCA cycle function in tumorigenesis and the potentials of applying small molecule inhibitors to perturb the enhanced cycle function for cancer treatment start to evolve. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about the fuels feeding the cycle, effects of oncogenes and tumor suppressors on fuel and cycle usage, common genetic alterations and deregulation of cycle enzymes, and potential therapeutic opportunities for targeting the TCA cycle in cancer cells. With the application of advanced technology and in vivo model organism studies, it is our hope that studies of this previously overlooked biochemical hub will provide fresh insights into cancer metabolism and tumorigenesis, subsequently revealing vulnerabilities for therapeutic interventions in various cancer types.

    Juan Zhang,Qiang Liu
    Protein & Cell, 2015, 6(4): 254-264.

    Cholesterol is an essential component for neuronal physiology not only during development stage but also in the adult life. Cholesterol metabolism in brain is independent from that in peripheral tissues due to bloodbrain barrier. The content of cholesterol in brain must be accurately maintained in order to keep brain function well. Defects in brain cholesterol metabolism has been shown to be implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and some cognitive deficits typical of the old age. The brain contains large amount of cholesterol, but the cholesterol metabolism and its complex homeostasis regulation are currently poorly understood. This review will seek to integrate current knowledge about the brain cholesterol metabolism with molecular mechanisms.

    Zeneng Wang, Yongzhong Zhao
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(5): 416-431.

    Trillions of microbes inhabit the human gut, not only providing nutrients and energy to the host from the ingested food, but also producing metabolic bioactive signaling molecules to maintain health and elicit disease, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. In this review, we presented gut microbiota derived metabolites involved in cardiovascular health and disease, including trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), uremic toxins, short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), phytoestrogens, anthocyanins, bile acids and lipopolysaccharide. These gut microbiota derived metabolites play critical roles in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular function, and if dysregulated, potentially causally linked to CVD. A better understanding of the function and dynamics of gut microbiota derived metabolites holds great promise toward mechanistic predicative CVD biomarker discoveries and precise interventions.

    Olivier Gouin, Killian L’Herondelle, Nicolas Lebonvallet, Christelle Le Gall-Ianotto, Mehdi Sakka, Virginie Buhé, Emmanuelle Plée-Gautier, Jean-Luc Carré, Luc Lefeuvre, Laurent Misery, Raphaele Le Garrec
    Protein & Cell, 2017, 8(9): 644-661.

    Cutaneous neurogenic inflammation (CNI) is inflammation that is induced (or enhanced) in the skin by the release of neuropeptides from sensory nerve endings. Clinical manifestations are mainly sensory and vascular disorders such as pruritus and erythema. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 and ankyrin 1 (TRPV1 and TRPA1, respectively) are non-selective cation channels known to specifically participate in pain and CNI. Both TRPV1 and TRPA1 are co-expressed in a large subset of sensory nerves, where they integrate numerous noxious stimuli. It is now clear that the expression of both channels also extends far beyond the sensory nerves in the skin, occuring also in keratinocytes, mast cells, dendritic cells, and endothelial cells. In these non-neuronal cells, TRPV1 and TRPA1 also act as nociceptive sensors and potentiate the inflammatory process. This review discusses the role of TRPV1 and TRPA1 in the modulation of inflammatory genes that leads to or maintains CNI in sensory neurons and non-neuronal skin cells. In addition, this review provides a summary of current research on the intracellular sensitization pathways of both TRP channels by other endogenous inflammatory mediators that promote the self-maintenance of CNI.

    Peng Jiang,Wenjing Du,Mian Wu
    Protein & Cell, 2014, 5(8): 592-602.

    Energy metabolism is significantly reprogrammed in many human cancers, and these alterations confer many advantages to cancer cells, including the promotion of biosynthesis, ATP generation, detoxification and support of rapid proliferation. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) is a major pathway for glucose catabolism. The PPP directs glucose flux to its oxidative branch and produces a reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), an essential reductant in anabolic processes. It has become clear that the PPP plays a critical role in regulating cancer cell growth by supplying cells with not only ribose-5-phosphate but also NADPH for detoxification of intracellular reactive oxygen species, reductive biosynthesis and ribose biogenesis. Thus, alteration of the PPP contributes directly to cell proliferation, survival and senescence. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that the PPP is regulated oncogenically and/or metabolically by numerous factors, including tumor suppressors, oncoproteins and intracellular metabolites. Dysregulation of PPP flux dramatically impacts cancer growth and survival. Therefore, a better understanding of how the PPP is reprogrammed and the mechanism underlying the balance between glycolysis and PPP flux in cancer will be valuable in developing therapeutic strategies targeting this pathway.

    Shunbin Xiong,Tianyang Mu,Guowen Wang,Xuejun Jiang
    Protein & Cell, 2014, 5(10): 737-749.

    The mitochondria-mediated caspase activation pathway is a major apoptotic pathway characterized by mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) and subsequent release of cytochrome c into the cytoplasm to activate caspases. MOMP is regulated by the Bcl-2 family of proteins. This pathway plays important roles not only in normal development, maintenance of tissue homeostasis and the regulation of immune system, but also in human diseases such as immune disorders, neurodegeneration and cancer. In the past decades the molecular basis of this pathway and the regulatory mechanism have been comprehensively studied, yet a great deal of new evidence indicates that cytochrome c release from mitochondria does not always lead to irreversible cell death, and that caspase activation can also have non-death functions. Thus, many unsolved questions and new challenges are still remaining. Furthermore, the dysfunction of this pathway involved in cancer development is obvious, and targeting the pathway as a therapeutic strategy has been extensively explored, but the efficacy of the targeted therapies is still under development. In this review we will discuss the mitochondria-mediated apoptosis pathway and its physiological roles and therapeutic implications.

    Xinhua Wang, Mary Mathieu, Randall J. Brezski
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(1): 63-73.

    Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies are among the most effective biotherapeutics to date. An important aspect of antibodies is their ability to bind antigen while at the same time recruit immune effector functions. The majority of approved recombinant monoclonal antibody therapies are of the human IgG1 subclass, which can engage both humoral and cellular components of the immune system. The wealth of information generated about antibodies has afforded investigators the ability to molecularly engineer antibodies to modulate effector functions. Here, we review various antibody engineering efforts intended to improve efficacy and safety relative to the human IgG isotype. Further, we will discuss proposed mechanisms by which engineering approaches led to modified interactions with immune components and provide examples of clinical studies using next generation antibodies.

    Claire Gordy, You-Wen He
    Protein & Cell, 2012, 3(1): 17-27.

    Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular processes contributing to autophagy have provided insight into the relationship between autophagy and apoptosis. In contrast to the concept of “autophagic cell death,” accumulating evidence suggests that autophagy serves a largely cytoprotective role in physiologically relevant conditions. The cytoprotective function of autophagy is mediated in many circumstances by negative modulation of apoptosis. Apoptotic signaling, in turn, serves to inhibit autophagy. While the mechanisms mediating the complex counter-regulation of apoptosis and autophagy are not yet fully understood, important points of crosstalk include the interactions between Beclin-1 and Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and between FADD and Atg5, caspase- and calpain-mediated cleavage of autophagy-related proteins, and autophagic degradation of caspases. Continued investigation of these and other means of crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy is necessary to elucidate the mechanisms controlling the balance between survival and death both under normal conditions and in diseases including cancer.

    William R. Strohl
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(1): 86-120.

    As of May 1, 2017, 74 antibody-based molecules have been approved by a regulatory authority in a major market. Additionally, there are 70 and 575 antibodybased molecules in phase III and phase I/II clinical trials, respectively. These total 719 antibody-based clinical stage molecules include 493 naked IgGs, 87 antibodydrug conjugates, 61 bispecific antibodies, 37 total Fc fusion proteins, 17 radioimmunoglobulins, 13 antibody fragments, and 11 immunocytokines. New uses for these antibodies are being discovered each year. For oncology, many of the exciting new approaches involve antibody modulation of T-cells. There are over 80 antibodies in clinical trials targeting T cell checkpoints, 26 T-cellredirected bispecific antibodies, and 145 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) cell-based candidates (all currently in phase I or II clinical trials), totaling more than 250 T cell interacting clinical stage antibody-based candidates. Finally, significant progress has been made recently on routes of delivery, including delivery of proteins across the blood-brain barrier, oral delivery to the gut, delivery to the cellular cytosol, and gene- and viral-based delivery of antibodies. Thus, there are currently at least 864 antibody-based clinical stage molecules or cells, with incredible diversity in how they are constructed and what activities they impart. These are followed by a next wave of novel molecules, approaches, and new methods and routes of delivery, demonstrating that the field of antibody-based biologics is very innovative and diverse in its approaches to fulfill their promise to treat unmet medical needs.

    Fan Yang,Jie Zheng
    Protein & Cell, 2017, 8(3): 169-177.

    Capsaicin in chili peppers bestows the sensation of spiciness. Since the discovery of its receptor, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) ion channel, how capsaicin activates this channel has been under extensive investigation using a variety of experimental techniques including mutagenesis, patch-clamp recording, crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, computational docking and molecular dynamic simulation. A framework of how capsaicin binds and activates TRPV1 has started to merge: capsaicin binds to a pocket formed by the channel’s transmembrane segments, where it takes a “tail-up, head-down” configuration. Binding is mediated by both hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions. Upon binding, capsaicin stabilizes the open state of TRPV1 by “pull-andcontact” with the S4-S5 linker. Understanding the ligand-host interaction will greatly facilitate pharmaceutical efforts to develop novel analgesics targeting TRPV1.

    Liming Liu
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(1): 15-32.

    There are many factors that can influence the pharmacokinetics (PK) of a mAb or Fc-fusion molecule with the primary determinant being FcRn-mediated recycling. Through Fab or Fc engineering, IgG-FcRn interaction can be used to generate a variety of therapeutic antibodies with significantly enhanced half-life or ability to remove unwanted antigen from circulation. Glycosylation of a mAb or Fc-fusion protein can have a significant impact on the PK of these molecules. mAb charge can be important and variants with pI values of 1–2 unit difference are likely to impact PK with lower pI values being favorable for a longer half-life. Most mAbs display target mediated drug disposition (TMDD), which can have significant consequences on the study designs of preclinical and clinical studies. The PK of mAb can also be influenced by anti-drug antibody (ADA) response and off-target binding, which require careful consideration during the discovery stage. mAbs are primarily absorbed through the lymphatics via convection and can be conveniently administered by the subcutaneous (sc) route in large doses/volumes with co-formulation of hyaluronidase. The human PK of a mAb can be reasonably estimated using cynomolgus monkey data and allometric scaling methods.

    Christopher L. Brooks, Wei Gu
    Protein & Cell, 2011, 2(6): 456-462.

    The p53 tumor suppressor is a sequence-specific transcription factor that undergoes an abundance of post-translational modifications for its regulation and activation. Acetylation of p53 is an important reversible enzymatic process that occurs in response to DNA damage and genotoxic stress and is indispensible for p53 transcriptional activity. p53 was the first non-histone protein shown to be acetylated by histone acetyl transferases, and a number of more recent in vivo models have underscored the importance of this type of modification for p53 activity. Here, we review the current knowledge and recent findings of p53 acetylation and deacetylation and discuss the implications of these processes for the p53 pathway.

    Jia Yang, Jun Yu
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(5): 474-487.

    Despite the success of colonoscopy screening and recent advances in cancer treatment, colorectal cancer (CRC) still remains one of the most commonly diagnosed and deadly cancers, with a significantly increased incidence in developing countries where people are adapting to Western lifestyle. Diet has an important impact on risk of CRC. Multiple epidemiological studies have suggested that excessive animal protein and fat intake, especially red meat and processed meat, could increase the risk of developing CRC while fiber could protect against colorectal tumorigenesis. Mechanisms have been investigated by animal studies.Diet could re-shape the community structure of gut microbiota and influence its function by modulating the production of metabolites. Butyrate, one of the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which act as a favorable source for colonocytes, could protect colonic epithelial cells from tumorigenesis via anti-inflammatory and antineoplastic properties through cell metabolism, microbiota homeostasis, antiproliferative, immunomodulatory and genetic/epigenetic regulation ways. In contrast, protein fermentation and bile acid deconjugation, which cause damage to colonic cells through proinflammatory and proneoplastic ways, lead to increasedriskofdevelopingCRC.In conclusion, abalanced diet with an increased abundance of fiber should be adopted to reduce the risk and prevent CRC.

    Rashad Alkasir,Jing Li,Xudong Li,Miao Jin,Baoli Zhu
    Protein & Cell, 2017, 8(2): 90-102.

    Dementia is a comprehensive category of brain diseases that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes most of cases. New researches indicate that gastrointestinal tract microbiota are directly linked to dementia pathogenesis through triggering metabolic diseases and low-grade inflammation progress. A novel strategy is proposed for the management of these disorders and as an adjuvant for psychiatric treatment of dementia and other related diseases through modulation of the microbiota (e.g. with the use of probiotics).

    Kaichao Feng, Yang Liu, Yelei Guo, Jingdan Qiu, Zhiqiang Wu, Hanren Dai, Qingming Yang, Yao Wang, Weidong Han
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(10): 838-847.

    This phase I clinical trial (NCT01935843) is to evaluate the safety, feasibility, and activity of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T cell (CART) immunotherapy targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in patients with advanced biliary tract cancers (BTCs) and pancreatic cancers (PCs). Eligible patients with HER2-positive (>50%) BTCs and PCs were enrolled in the trial. Well cultured CART-HER2 cells were infused following the conditioning treatment composed of nabpaclitaxel (100–200 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (15–35 mg/kg). CAR transgene copy number in the peripheral blood was serially measured to monitor the expansion and persistence of CART-HER2 cells in vivo. Eleven enrolled patients received 1 to 2-cycle CARTHER2 cell infusion (median CAR+ T cell 2.1 × 106/kg). The conditioning treatment resulted in mild-to-moderate fatigue, nausea/vomiting, myalgia/arthralgia, and lymphopenia. Except one grade-3 acute febrile syndrome and one abnormal elevation of transaminase (>9 ULN), adverse events related to the infusion of CART-HER2 cells were mild-to-moderate. Post-infusion toxicities included one case of reversible severe upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage which occurred in a patient with gastric antrum invaded by metastasis 11 days after the CART-HER2 cell infusion, and 2 cases of grade 1–2 delayed fever, accompanied by the release of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. All patients were evaluable for assessment of clinical response, among which 1 obtained a 4.5-months partial response and 5 achieved stable disease. The median progression free survival was 4.8 months (range, 1.5–8.3 months). Finally, data from this study demonstrated the safety and feasibility of CART-HER2 immunotherapy, and showed encouraging signals of clinical activity.

    Bo Peng,Hui Li,Xuan-Xian Peng
    Protein & Cell, 2015, 6(9): 628-637.

    Metabolomics is emerging as a powerful tool for studying metabolic processes, identifying crucial biomarkers responsible for metabolic characteristics and revealing metabolic mechanisms, which construct the content of discovery metabolomics. The crucial biomarkers can be used to reprogram a metabolome, leading to an aimed metabolic strategy to cope with alteration of internal and external environments, naming reprogramming metabolomics here. The striking feature on the similarity of the basic metabolic pathways and components among vastly differentspeciesmakesthe reprogrammingmetabolomics possible when the engineered metabolites play biological roles in cellular activity as a substrate of enzymes and a regulator to other molecules including proteins. The reprogramming metabolomics approach can be used to clarify metabolic mechanisms of responding to changed internal and external environmental factors and to establish a framework to develop targeted tools for dealing with the changes such as controlling and/or preventing infection with pathogens and enhancing host immunity against pathogens. This review introduces the current state and trends of discovery metabolomics and reprogramming metabolomics and highlights the importance of reprogramming metabolomics.

    Faming Zhang, Bota Cui, Xingxiang He, Yuqiang Nie, Kaichun Wu, Daiming Fan, FMT-standardization Study Group
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(5): 462-473.

    Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has become a research focus of biomedicine and clinical medicine in recent years. The clinical response from FMT for different diseases provided evidence for microbiota-host interactions associated with various disorders, including Clostridium difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, liver cirrhosis, gutbrain disease and others. To discuss the experiences of using microbes to treat human diseases from ancient China to current era should be important in moving standardized FMT forward and achieving a better future. Here, we review the changing concept of microbiota transplantation from FMT to selective microbiota transplantation, methodology development of FMT and stepup FMT strategy based on literature and state experts’ perspectives.

    Jihong Lian, Randal Nelson, Richard Lehner
    Protein & Cell, 2018, 9(2): 178-195.

    Mammalian carboxylesterases hydrolyze a wide range of xenobiotic and endogenous compounds, including lipid esters. Physiological functions of carboxylesterases in lipid metabolism and energy homeostasis in vivo have been demonstrated by genetic manipulations and chemical inhibition in mice, and in vitro through (over)expression, knockdown of expression, and chemical inhibition in a variety of cells. Recent research advances have revealed the relevance of carboxylesterases to metabolic diseases such as obesity and fatty liver disease, suggesting these enzymes might be potential targets for treatment of metabolic disorders. In order to translate pre-clinical studies in cellular and mouse models to humans, differences and similarities of carboxylesterases between mice and human need to be elucidated. This review presents and discusses the research progress in structure and function of mouse and human carboxylesterases, and the role of these enzymes in lipid metabolism and metabolic disorders.

    Qianqian Li, Zewen Gao, Ye Chen, Min-Xin Guan
    Protein & Cell, 2017, 8(6): 439-445.

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are progenitors of connective tissues, which have emerged as important tools for tissue engineering due to their differentiation potential along various cell types. In recent years, accumulating evidence has suggested that the regulation of mitochondria dynamics and function is essential for successful differentiation of MSCs. In this paper, we review and provide an integrated view on the role of mitochondria in MSC differentiation. The mitochondria are maintained at a relatively low activity level inMSCs, and upon induction,mtDNAcopy number, protein levels of respiratory enzymes, the oxygen consumption rate, mRNA levels of mitochondrial biogenesis- associated genes, and intracellular ATP content are increased. The regulated level of mitochondrial ROS is found not only to influence differentiation but also to contribute to the direction determination of differentiation. Understanding the roles ofmitochondrial dynamics during MSC differentiation will facilitate the optimization of differentiation protocols by adjusting biochemical properties, such as energy production or the redox status of stem cells, and ultimately, benefit the development of new pharmacologic strategies in regenerative medicine.

    Jiayu Wu, Kai Wang, Xuemei Wang, Yanli Pang, Changtao Jiang
    Protein & Cell, 2021, 12(5): 360-373.

    It is well known that an unhealthy lifestyle is a major risk factor for metabolic diseases, while in recent years, accumulating evidence has demonstrated that the gut microbiome and its metabolites also play a crucial role in the onset and development of many metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and so on. Numerous microorganisms dwell in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a key interface for energy acquisition and can metabolize dietary nutrients into many bioactive substances, thus acting as a link between the gut microbiome and its host. The gut microbiome is shaped by host genetics, immune responses and dietary factors. The metabolic and immune potential of the gut microbiome determines its significance in host health and diseases. Therefore, targeting the gut microbiome and relevant metabolic pathways would be effective therapeutic treatments for many metabolic diseases in the near future. This review will summarize information about the role of the gut microbiome in organism metabolism and the relationship between gut microbiome-derived metabolites and the pathogenesis of many metabolic diseases. Furthermore, recent advances in improving metabolic diseases by regulating the gut microbiome will be discussed.