Apoptotic regulation is critical to organismal homeostasis and protection against many human disease processes such as cancer. Significant research efforts over the past several decades have illuminated many signaling molecules and effecter proteins responsible for this form of programmed cell death. Recent evidence suggests that transfer RNA (tRNA) regulates apoptotic sensitivity at the level of cytochrome
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are widely found throughout the animal kingdom. By serving as cellular sensors for a wide spectrum of physical and chemical stimuli, they play crucial physiological roles ranging from sensory transduction to cell cycle modulation. TRP channels are tetrameric protein complexes. While most TRP subunits can form functional homomeric channels, heteromerization of TRP channel subunits of either the same subfamily or different subfamilies has been widely observed. Heteromeric TRP channels exhibit many novel properties compared to their homomeric counterparts, indicating that co-assembly of TRP channel subunits has an important contribution to the diversity of TRP channel functions.
The Hippo pathway plays key roles in animal development. It suppresses tumorigenesis by controlling the transcription of the target genes that are critical for cell proliferation and apoptosis. The transcriptional coactivator YAP is the major downstream effector of the Hippo signaling. Upon extracellular stimulation, a kinase cascade in the Hippo pathway phosphorylates YAP and promotes its cytoplasmic sequestration by 14-3-3 and ubiquitin-dependent degradation. When the Hippo pathway is turned off, YAP (which lacks a DNA-binding domain) is dephosphorylated and translocates to the nucleus, where it associates with the transcription factor TEAD to form a functional heterodimeric transcription factor and to promote the expression of the Hippo-responsive genes. Recently, structures of the YAP-binding domain of TEAD alone or in complex with YAP have revealed the atomic details of the TEAD-YAP interaction. Here, I review these exciting advances, propose a strategy for targeting the TEAD-YAP interaction using small molecules, and suggest potential mechanisms by which phosphorylation and 14-3-3 binding regulate the cytoplasmic retention of YAP.
In eukaryotic cells, histones are packaged into octameric core particles with DNA wrapping around to form nucleosomes, which are the basic units of chromatin (
Eumelanin is a heteropolymer that is generally composed of hydroxylated indole residues and plays diverse protective functions in various species. Melanin is derived from the amino acid tyrosine and production of melanin is a highly complex oxidative process with a number of steps that can either proceed enzymatically or non-enzymatically. Although melanin plays important protective roles in many species, during melanization, particularly in steps that can proceed non-enzymatically, many toxic intermediates are produced, including semiquinones, dopaquinone, indole-quinones and moreover, the production of many reactive oxygen species. To mitigate the production of reactive species, a number of proteins that regulate the biochemical process of melanization have evolved in various living species, which is closely related to adaptation and physiological requirements. In this communication, we discuss differences between non-enzymatic and enzymatic processes of melanization and the enzymatic regulation of melanization in difference species with an emphasis on differences between mammals and insects. Comparison between melanization and insect sclerotization is also emphasized which raises some interesting questions about the current models of these pathways.
This paper reports a novel method to detect human leukemic lymphoblasts (CCRF-CEM cells). While the aptamer of the cancer cells was employed as the recognition element to target cancer cells, peroxidase-active DNAzyme was used as the sensing element to produce catalysis-induced colorimetric signals. The elegant architecture integrating the aptamer and DNAzyme made it feasible to detect cancer cells easily and rapidly by the color change of the substrate for DNAzyme. Experimental results showed that 500 cells can well indicate the cancer, while as control, 250,000 Islet Island Beta cells only show tiny signals, suggesting that the method proposed in this paper has considerable sensitivity and selectivity. Furthermore, since it does not require expensive apparatus, or modification or label of DNA chains, the method we present here is also cost-effective and conveniently operated, implying potential applications in future cancer diagnosis.
Plant Dicer-like (DCL) and Argonaute (AGO) are the key enzymes involved in anti-virus post-transcriptional gene silencing (AV-PTGS). Here we show that AV-PTGS exhibited nucleotide preference by calculating a relative AV-PTGS efficiency on processing viral RNA substrates. In comparison with genome sequences of dicot-infecting
Dendritic-cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN; CD209) has an important role in mediating adherence of
Sequential activation of the JNK pathway components, including Rac1/Cdc42, MLKs (mixed-lineage kinases), MKK4/7 and JNKs, plays a required role in many cell death paradigms. Those components are organized by a scaffold protein, POSH (Plenty of SH3’s), to ensure the effective activation of the JNK pathway and cell death upon apoptotic stimuli. We have shown recently that the expression of POSH and MLK family proteins are regulated through protein stability. By generating a variety of mutants, we provide evidence here that the N-terminal half of POSH is accountable for its stability regulation and its over-expression-induced cell death. In addition, POSH’s ability to induce apoptosis is correlated with its stability as well as its MLK binding ability. MLK family’s stability, like that of POSH, requires activation of JNKs. However, we were surprised to find out that the widely used dominant negative (d/n) form of c-Jun could down-regulate MLK’s stability, indicating that peptide from d/n c-Jun can be potentially developed into a therapeutical drug.