Sep 2017, Volume 8 Issue 9

Cover illustration

  • Key mitotic checkpoint kinases Aurora B and C can regulate distinct cell fate in mouse preimplantation embryos. Aurorakinase B or C was overexpressed or knocked-down in one cell of the 4-cell transgenic mouse embryo. The descendent cells of Aurora B or C overexpression cell (green) preferably developed to placenta or embryo proper of the 13.5 dpc embryo. The authors also showed that Aurora B and C differentially regulated Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) activation, pluripot [Detail] ...

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    Weizheng Yan, Baoying Huang, Li Ruan, Wenjie Tan
    Jiangtao Ren, Yangbing Zhao

    The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system, an RNA-guided DNA targeting technology, is triggering a revolution in the field of biology. CRISPR/Cas9 has demonstrated great potential for genetic manipulation. In this review, we discuss the current development of CRISPR/Cas9 technologies for therapeutic applications, especially chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell-based adoptive immunotherapy. Different methods used to facilitate efficient CRISPR delivery and gene editing in T cells are compared. The potential of genetic manipulation using CRISPR/Cas9 system to generate universal CAR T cells and potent T cells that are resistant to exhaustion and inhibition is explored. We also address the safety concerns associated with the use of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and provide potential solutions and future directions of CRISPR application in the field of CAR T cell immunotherapy. As an integration-free gene insertion method, CRISPR/Cas9 holds great promise as an efficient gene knock-in platform. Given the tremendous progress that has been made in the past few years, we believe that the CRISPR/Cas9 technology holds immense promise for advancing immunotherapy.

    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

    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.

    Wenzhi Li, Peizhe Wang, Bingjie Zhang, Jing Zhang, Jia Ming, Wei Xie, Jie Na

    Coordination of cell division and cell fate is crucial for the successful development of mammalian early embryos. Aurora kinases are evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinases and key regulators of mitosis. Aurora kinase B (AurkB) is ubiquitously expressed while Aurora kinase C (AurkC) is specifically expressed in gametes and preimplantation embryos. We found that increasing AurkC level in one blastomere of the 2-cell embryo accelerated cell division and decreasing AurkC level slowed down mitosis. Changing AurkB level had the opposite effect. The kinase domains of AurkB and AurkC were responsible for their different ability to phosphorylate Histone H3 Serine 10 (H3S10P) and regulate metaphase timing. Using an Oct4-photoactivatable GFP fusion protein (Oct4-paGFP) and fluorescence decay after photoactivation assay, we found that AurkB overexpression reduced Oct4 retention in the nucleus. Finally, we show that blastomeres with higher AurkC level elevated pluripotency gene expression, which were inclined to enter the inner cell mass lineage and subsequently contributed to the embryo proper. Collectively, our results are the first demonstration that the activity of mitotic kinases can influence cell fate decisions in mammalian preimplantation embryos and have important implications to assisted reproduction.

    Manyu Xu, Xiaopeng Zhu, Jinfang Yu, Jinpeng Yu, Sulan Luo, Xinquan Wang

    The α3* nAChRs, which are considered to be promising drug targets for problems such as pain, addiction, cardiovascular function, cognitive disorders etc., are found throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. The α-conotoxin (α-CTx) LvIA has been identified as the most selective inhibitor of α3β2 nAChRs known to date, and it can distinguish the α3β2 nAChR subtype from the α6/α3β2β3 and α3β4 nAChR subtypes. However, the mechanism of its selectivity towards α3β2, α6/α3β2β3, and α3β4 nAChRs remains elusive. Here we report the co-crystal structure of LvIA in complex with Aplysia californica acetylcholine binding protein (Ac-AChBP) at a resolution of 3.4 Å. Based on the structure of this complex, together with homology modeling based on other nAChR subtypes and binding affinity assays, we conclude that Asp-11 of LvIA plays an important role in the selectivity of LvIA towards α3β2 and α3/α6β2β3 nAChRs by making a salt bridge with Lys-155 of the rat α3 subunit. Asn-9 lies within a hydrophobic pocket that is formed by Met-36, Thr-59, and Phe-119 of the rat β2 subunit in the α3β2 nAChR model, revealing the reason for its more potent selectivity towards the α3β2 nAChR subtype. These results provide molecular insights that can be used to design ligands that selectively target α3β2 nAChRs, with significant implications for the design of new therapeutic α-CTxs.

    Xiaowen Zheng, Feng Chen, Qian Zhang, Yulan Liu, Peng You, Shan Sun, Jiuxiang Lin, Ning Chen

    Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an intestinal immune-dysfunctional disease worldwide whose prevalence increasing in Asia including China. It is a chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract with unknown cause. Exosomes are small vesicles in various body fluids. They have diameters of 40–120 nm, and one of their functions is long-distance transfer of various substances. In this study, we investigated the contents of salivary exosomes in patients with IBD and in healthy controls to explore a new biomarker in patients with IBD. In this study, whole saliva was obtained from patients with IBD (ulcerative colitis (UC), n= 37; Crohn’s disease (CD), n= 11) and apparently healthy individuals (HC, n= 10). Salivary exosomes were extracted from samples, and the proteins within the exosomes were identified by liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer (LCMS/MS). The results showed that more than 2000 proteins were detected in salivary exosomes from patients with IBD. Through gene ontology analysis, we found that proteasome subunit alpha type 7 (PSMA7) showed especially marked differences between patients with IBD and the healthy controls, in that its expression level was much higher in the CD and UC groups. This exosomal protein is related to proteasome activity and inflammatory responses. So we conclude that in this research, salivary exosomal PSMA7 was present at high levels in salivary exosomes from subjects with IBD. It can be a very promising biomarker to release the patients from the pain of colonoscopy.

    Hongli Zhao, Jue Zhao, Jiapeng Hou, Siqing Wang, Yu Ding, Boxun Lu, Jian Wang
    Lorenzo I. Finci, Jie Zhang, Xiaqin Sun, Robert G. Smock, Rob Meijers, Yan Zhang, Junyu Xiao, Jia-huai Wang