Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 51 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<em>CCAT2</em> is an oncogenic long non-coding RNA in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma]]> Abstract Background Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is highly aggressive with poor prognosis. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), a group of non-coding RNAs, play important roles in the progression of PDAC. This study aimed to investigate the potential involvement of lncRNA CCAT2 in PDAC tumorigenesis. Methods Expression of CCAT2 was detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in 80 human PDAC tissues and three PDAC cell lines. The effects of CCAT2 silencing in PANC-1 cells on cell proliferation and invasion were studied using MTT assay and transwell assay, respectively. The effect of CCAT2 silencing on tumorigenesis was assessed by PANC-1 xenograft in vivo. Using si-KRAS, the role of KRAS to regulate CCAT2 was evaluated by qRT-PCR and luciferase reporter assay. The involvement of MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling in CCAT2 regulation was investigated by pathway inhibitors PD98059 and LY294002, respectively. Results CCAT2 was significantly elevated in high-grade PDAC tissues and higher CCAT2 expression was correlated with lower survival rate in PDAC patients. CCAT2 was up-regulated in PDAC cell lines, as compared with normal pancreatic cells. Silencing of CCAT2 inhibited cell proliferation and invasion in PANC-1 cells in vitro, and attenuated tumorigenesis of PANC-1 xenograft in vivo. Furthermore, CCAT2 was regulated by KRAS through MEK/ERK signaling pathway. Conclusions CCAT2 is an oncogenic lncRNA in PDAC likely regulated by the KRAS-MEK/ERK pathway. It could be a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for PDAC. <![CDATA[Inducible T-cell co-stimulators regulate the proliferation and invasion of human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells]]> Abstract Background This study determined the regulatory effects of inducible T-cell co-stimulators (ICOS) in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells using a RNA interference (RNAi) technique. Methods A RNAi technique was used to knockdown the expression of ICOS. ICOS expression after knockdown was detected as mRNA and protein levels by RT-PCR and Western blot, respectively. A MTT colorimetric assay was used to detect cell proliferation, and the Transwell assay was used to detect cell invasion. Western blot was carried out to detect the level of Bcl-2, AKT, and PI3K protein expression in different groups. Results The proliferation of HepG2 cells were significantly decreased after ICOS siRNA transfection (EG group). Similarly, the results of the Transwell experiment showed that invasion of HepG2 cells in the EG group was clearly reduced compared to the negative control (NC) and blank control groups (CON). Western blot analysis showed that knockdown of ICOS expression reduced the levels of Bcl-2 and AKT, and also significantly up-regulated the level of PI3K phosphorylation (P &lt; 0.01). Conclusion Down-regulating ICOS expression in HepG2 cells suppressed cell proliferation and invasion. The underlying mechanism may be related to the expression of the downstream factor, PI3K/AKT. <![CDATA[The tankyrase inhibitor G007-LK inhibits small intestine LGR5<sup>+</sup> stem cell proliferation without altering tissue morphology]]> Abstract Background The WNT pathway regulates intestinal stem cells and is frequently disrupted in intestinal adenomas. The pathway contains several potential biotargets for interference, including the poly-ADP ribosyltransferase enzymes tankyrase1 and 2. LGR5 is a known WNT pathway target gene and marker of intestinal stem cells. The LGR5+ stem cells are located in the crypt base and capable of regenerating all intestinal epithelial cell lineages. Results We treated Lgr5-EGFP-Ires-CreERT2;R26R-Confetti mice with the tankyrase inhibitor G007-LK for up to 3 weeks to assess the effect on duodenal stem cell homeostasis and on the integrity of intestinal epithelium. At the administered doses, G007-LK treatment inhibited WNT signalling in LGR5+ stem cells and reduced the number and distribution of cells traced from duodenal LGR5+ stem cells. However, the gross morphology of the duodenum remained unaltered and G007-LK-treated mice showed no signs of weight loss or any other visible morphological changes. The inhibitory effect on LGR5+ stem cell proliferation was reversible. Conclusion We show that the tankyrase inhibitor G007-LK is well tolerated by the mice, although proliferation of the LGR5+ intestinal stem cells was inhibited. Our observations suggest the presence of a tankyrase inhibitor-resistant cell population in the duodenum, able to rescue tissue integrity in the presence of G007-LK-mediated inhibition of the WNT signalling dependent LGR5+ intestinal epithelial stem cells. <![CDATA[Impaired T cell-mediated hepatitis in peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARα)-deficient mice]]> Abstract Background Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARα), a regulator of enzymes involved in β oxidation, has been reported to influence lymphocyte activation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether PPARα plays a role in T cell-mediated hepatitis induced by Concanavalin A (ConA). Methods Wild type (wt) or PPARα-deficient (PPARα−/−) mice were treated with ConA (15 mg/kg) by intravenous injection 0, 10 or 24 h prior to sacrifice and serum and tissue collection for analysis of tissue injury, cytokine response, T cell activation and characterization. Results Ten and 24 h following ConA administration, wt mice had significant liver injury as demonstrated by serum transaminase levels, inflammatory cell infiltrate, hepatocyte apoptosis, and expression of several cytokines including interleukin 4 (IL4) and interferon gamma (IFNγ). In contrast, PPARα−/− mice were protected from ConA-induced liver injury with significant reductions in serum enzyme release, greatly reduced inflammatory cell infiltrate, hepatocellular apoptosis, and IFNγ expression, despite having similar levels of hepatic T cell activation and IL4 expression. This resistance to liver injury was correlated with reduced numbers of hepatic natural killer T (NKT) cells and their in vivo responsiveness to alpha-galactosylceramide. Interestingly, adoptive transfer of either wt or PPARα−/− splenocytes reconstituted ConA liver injury and cytokine production in lymphocyte-deficient, severe combined immunodeficient mice implicating PPARα within the liver, possibly through support of IL15 expression and/or suppression of IL12 production and not the lymphocyte as the key regulator of T cell activity and ConA-induced liver injury. Conclusion Taken together, these data suggest that PPARα within the liver plays an important role in ConA-mediated liver injury through regulation of NKT cell recruitment and/or survival. <![CDATA[Study on the relationship between expression patterns of cocaine-and amphetamine regulated transcript and hormones secretion in porcine ovarian follicles]]> Abstract Background Cocaine-and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART) is an endogenous neuropeptide, which is widespread in animals, plays a key role in regulation of follicular atresia in cattle and sheep. Among animal ovaries, CART mRNA was firstly found in the cattle ovaries. CART was localized in the antral follicles oocytes, granulosa and cumulus cells by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Further research found that secretion of E2 was inhibited in granulosa cells with a certain dose of CART, the effect depends on the stage of cell differentiation, suggesting that CART could play a crucial role in regulating follicle atresia. The objective of this study was to characterize the CART expression model and hormones secretion in vivo and vitro in pig follicle granulosa cells, preliminarily studied whether CART have an effect on granulosa cells proliferation and hormones secretion in multiparous animals such as pigs. Methods The expression levels of CART mRNA in granulosa cells of different follicles were analyzed using qRT-PCR technology. Immunohistochemistry technology was used to localize CART peptide. Granulosa cells were cultured in medium supplemented with different concentrations of CART and FSH for 168 h using Long-term culture system, and observed using a microscope. The concentration of Estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) in follicular fluids of different test groups were detected by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results Results showed that expression level of CART mRNA was highest in medium follicles, and significantly higher than that in large and small follicles (P &lt; 0.05). Immunohistochemical results showed that CART were expressed both in granulosa cells and theca cells of large follicles, while CART were detected only in theca cells of medium and small follicles. After the granulosa cells were cultured for 168 h, and found that concentrations of E2 increase with concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increase when the CART concentration was 0 μM. And the concentration of FSH reached 25 ng/mL, the concentration of E2 is greatest. It shows that the production of E2 needs induction of FSH in granulosa cells of pig ovarian follicles. With the increasing of CART concentrations (0.01, 0.1, 1 μM), E2 concentration has a declining trend, when the FSH concentrations were 25 and 50 ng/mL in the medium, respectively. Conclusions These results suggested that CART plays a role to inhibit granulosa cells proliferation and E2 production, which induced by FSH in porcine ovarian follicular granulosa cells in vitro, but the inhibition effect is not significant. So we hypothesis CART maybe not a main local negative regulatory factor during porcine follicular development, which is different from the single fetal animals. <![CDATA[Transcriptome analysis of phosphorus stress responsiveness in the seedlings of Dongxiang wild rice (<em>Oryza rufipogon</em> Griff.)]]> Abstract Background: Low phosphorus availability is a major factor restricting rice growth. Dongxiang wild rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) has many useful genes lacking in cultivated rice, including stress resistance to phosphorus deficiency, cold, salt and drought, which is considered to be a precious germplasm resource for rice breeding. However, the molecular mechanism of regulation of phosphorus deficiency tolerance is not clear. Results: In this study, cDNA libraries were constructed from the leaf and root tissues of phosphorus stressed and untreated Dongxiang wild rice seedlings, and transcriptome sequencing was performed with the goal of elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in phosphorus stress response. The results indicated that 1184 transcripts were differentially expressed in the leaves (323 up-regulated and 861 down-regulated) and 986 transcripts were differentially expressed in the roots (756 up-regulated and 230 down-regulated). 43 genes were up-regulated both in leaves and roots, 38 genes were up-regulated in roots but down-regulated in leaves, and only 2 genes were down-regulated in roots but up-regulated in leaves. Among these differentially expressed genes, the detection of many transcription factors and functional genes demonstrated that multiple regulatory pathways were involved in phosphorus deficiency tolerance. Meanwhile, the differentially expressed genes were also annotated with gene ontology terms and key pathways via functional classification and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Gene and Genomes pathway mapping, respectively. A set of the most important candidate genes was then identified by combining the differentially expressed genes found in the present study with previously identified phosphorus deficiency tolerance quantitative trait loci. Conclusion: The present work provides abundant genomic information for functional dissection of the phosphorus deficiency resistance of Dongxiang wild rice, which will be help to understand the biological regulatory mechanisms of phosphorus deficiency tolerance in Dongxiang wild rice. <![CDATA[HSP70 from the Antarctic sea urchin <em>Sterechinus neumayeri:</em> molecular characterization and expression in response to heat stress]]> Abstract Background: Heat stress proteins are implicated in stabilizing and refolding denatured proteins in vertebrates and invertebrates. Members of the Hsp70 gene family comprise the cognate heat shock protein (Hsc70) and inducible heat shock protein (Hsp70). However, the cDNA sequence and the expression of Hsp70 in the Antarctic sea urchin are unknown. Methods: We amplified and cloned a transcript sequence of 1991 bp from the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, experimentally exposed to heat stress (5 and 10 °C for 1, 24 and 48 h). RACE-PCR and qPCR were employed to determine Hsp70 gene expression, while western blot and ELISA methods were used to determine protein expression. Results: The sequence obtained from S. neumayeri showed high identity with Hsp70 members. Several Hsp70 family features were identified in the deduced amino acid sequence and they indicate that the isolated Hsp70 is related to the cognate heat shock protein type. The corresponding 70 kDa protein, called Sn-Hsp70, was immune detected in the coelomocytes and the digestive tract of S. neumayeri using a monospecific polyclonal antibody. We showed that S. neumayeri do not respond to acute heat stress by up-regulation of Sn-Hsp70 at transcript and protein level. Furthermore, the Sn-Hsp70 protein expression was not induced in the digestive tract. Conclusions: Our results provide the first molecular evidence that Sn-Hsp70 is expressed constitutively and is noninduced by heat stress in S. neumayeri. <![CDATA[Berberine ameliorates diabetic nephropathy by inhibiting TLR4/NF-κB pathway]]> Abstract Background Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure, contributing to severe morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Berberine (BBR) has been well characterized to exert renoprotective effects in DN progression. However, the action mechanism of BBR in DN remains to be fully understood. Methods The DN rat model was generated by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ, 65 mg/kg body weight) while 30 mM high glucose (HG)-treated podocytes were used as an in vitro DN model. The fasting blood glucose level and ratio of kidney weight to body weight were measured after BBR treatment (50, 100, or 200 mg/kg) in STZ-induced DN rats. The renal injury parameters including 24-h urinary protein, blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine were assessed. qRT-PCR was performed to detect the transcript amounts of inflammatory factors. The concentrations of inflammatory factors were evaluated by ELISA kits. Western blot analysis was conducted to measure the amounts of TLR4/NF-κB-related proteins. The apoptotic rate of podocytes was analyzed by flow cytometry using Annexin V/propidium iodide. Results Berberine reduced renal injury in STZ-induced DN rat model, as evidenced by the decrease in fasting blood glucose, ratio of kidney weight to body weight, 24-h urinary protein, serum creatinine, and blood urine nitrogen. BBR attenuated the systemic and renal cortex inflammatory response and inhibited TLR4/NF-κB pathway in STZ-induced DN rats and HG-induced podocytes. Also, HG-induced apoptosis of podocytes was lowered by BBR administration. Furthermore, blockade of TLR4/NF-κB pathway by resatorvid (TAK-242) or pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate aggravated the inhibitory effect of BBR on HG-induced inflammatory response and apoptosis in podocytes. Conclusions Berberine ameliorated DN through relieving STZ-induced renal injury, inflammatory response, and podocyte HG-induced apoptosis via inactivating TLR4/NF-κB pathway. <![CDATA[Independent prognostic genes and mechanism investigation for colon cancer]]> Abstract Propose We aimed to explore the potential molecular mechanism and independent prognostic genes for colon cancer (CC). Methods Microarray datasets GSE17536 and GSE39582 were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus. Meanwhile, the whole CC-related dataset were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Differentially expressed mRNA (DEMs) were identified between cancer tissue samples and para-carcinoma tissue samples in TCGA dataset, followed by the KEGG pathway and GO function analyses. Furthermore, the clinical prognostic analysis including overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were performed in all three datasets. Results A total of 633 up- and 321 down-regulated mRNAs were revealed in TCGA dataset. The up-regulated mRNAs were mainly assembled in functions including extracellular matrix and pathways including Wnt signaling. The down-regulated mRNAs were mainly assembled in functions like Digestion and pathways like Drug metabolism. Furthermore, up-regulation of UL16-binding protein 2 (ULBP2) was associated with OS in CC patients. A total of 12 DEMs including Surfactant Associated 2 (SFTA2) were potential DFS prognostic genes in CC patients. Meanwhile, the GRP and Transmembrane Protein 37 (TMEM37) were two outstanding independent DFS prognostic genes in CC. Conclusions ULBP2 might be a potential novel OS prognostic biomarker in CC, while GRP and TMEM37 could be served as the independent DFS prognostic genes in CC. Furthermore, functions including extracellular matrix and digestion, as well as pathways including Wnt signaling and drug metabolism might play important roles in the process of CC. <![CDATA[CMPD1 inhibited human gastric cancer cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis and G2/M cell cycle arrest]]> Abstract Background Gastric cancer occupies the fourth highest morbidity rate of cancers worldwide. Clinical therapies of gastric cancer remain limited because of uncertainty of mechanisms and shortness of effective medicine. Thus, new drug candidates for gastric cancer treatment is urgently needed. Results In this study, CMPD1 as a wildly used MK2 phosphorylation inhibitor was employed to find its impact on gastric cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle using colony formation assay and flow cytometry analysis. Along with its anti-proliferation effect on gastric cancer cell line MKN-45 and SGC7901, CMPD1 also induced massive apoptosis and significant G2/M phase arrest in a time-dependent and dose-dependent manner in MKN-45 cells respectively. Furthermore, Western blot confirmed that the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 was decreased while BAX, cytochrome c release and cleaved PARP were increased. In addition, oncogene c-Myc was downregulated in response to CMPD1 treatment. Conclusions Our results demonstrated that CMPD1 has anti-tumor effect on human gastric cancer cell line MKN- 45 possibly via downregulating oncogene c-Myc expression and CMPD1 could be applied as a potential candidate for treating gastric malignancy. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first report of anti-tumor effect of CMPD-1 on human gastric cancer cells. <![CDATA[In vitro chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 6-dependent non-inflammatory chemotaxis during spermatogenesis]]> Abstract Background Chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 6 (CCR6) is present in sperm and plays a significant role in sperm motility and chemotaxis acting in the reproductive tracts. However, the expression and functional significance of CCR6 in testis are still poorly understood, especially in the process of spermatogenesis. Methods and results CCR6 was expressed in spermatogenic cell lines and its expression was shown in an age-dependent upregulation manner from puberty to adulthood in mouse testis. Immunostaining results confirmed the localization of CCR 6 in testis. Further chemotaxis assays demonstrated that spermatogenic cells GC-1 and −2 exhibited a directional movement toward CCR6-specific ligand such as CCL20 or Sertoli cells in vitro. Conclusions The present findings indicate that CCR6 is involved in the chemotaxis of spermatogenic cells in vitro and promotes chemotaxis under non-inflammatory conditions during normal spermatogenesis. <![CDATA[MicroRNA-1247 inhibits cell proliferation by directly targeting ZNF346 in childhood neuroblastoma]]> Abstract Background Neuroblastoma (NB) represents the most common extracranial solid tumor in children. Accumulating evidence shows that microRNAs (miRs) play an important role in the carcinogenesis of NB. Here, we investigated the biological function of miR-1247 in NB in vitro. Methods/results We found miR-1247 was downregulated in NB tissues and cells using quantitative PCR analysis. Gain- and loss-of-function studies demonstrated that miR-1247 significantly suppressed cell proliferation and induced cell cycle G0/G1 phase arrest and cell apoptosis of NB cells in vitro by using MTT, colony formation assay and Flow cytometry analysis. Luciferase assay suggested ZNF346 was the target of miR-1247 and its expression could be down-regulated by miR-1247 overexpression using Western blotting. Furthermore, downregulation of ZNF346 by siRNA performed similar effects with overexpression of miR-1247 in NB cells. Conclusions Our findings suggested miR-1247 directly targeted to repress ZNF346 expression, thus suppressing the progression of NB, which might be a novel therapeutic target against NB. <![CDATA[The NK1 receptor antagonist NKP608 inhibits proliferation of human colorectal cancer cells via Wnt signaling pathway]]> Abstract Background Neurokinin1 (NK1) receptor has played a vital role in the development of tumor. However, NKP608 as a NK1 receptor antagonist whether has the effect of the resistance of colorectal cancer is still unclear. Thereby, in this study, we investigated the role of NKP608 on human colorectal cancer and explored the underlying mechanism. Methods The cell proliferation of colorectal cancer cells was detected by cell counting kit-8 (CCK8) assay, cell migration and invasion were assessed by transwell assay, the apoptotic ratio of cells was assessed by Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate/propidium iodide stained and flow cytometry. The involvement of molecular mechanisms was examined by western blot. Results In this study, we found that NKP608 inhibited the proliferation, migration/invasion of HCT116 cells. In addition, NKP608 reduced expressions of Wnt-3a, β-catenin, Cyclin D1, and (vascular endothelial growth factor) VEGF while induced expression of E-Cadherin. Furthermore, flow cytometry analyzed that NKP608 induced apoptosis of HCT116 cells, consistently, western blotting detecting of apoptosis-related proteins revealed that NKP608 downregulated Bcl-2 while upregulated Bax and Active-Caspase-3. Conclusions Taken together, our results demonstrated that NKP608 inhibited colorectal cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion via suppressing the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Therefore, NKP608 might represent a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of colorectal cancer. <![CDATA[Extracellular matrix and fibroblast injection produces pterygium-like lesion in rabbits]]> Abstract Background Translational research to develop pharmaceutical and surgical treatments for pterygium requires a reliable and easy to produce animal model. Extracellular matrix and fibroblast are important components of pterygium. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of the subconjunctival injection of fibroblast cells (NIH3T3 cell line) and exogenous extracellular matrix in rabbits in producing a pterygium-like lesion. Methods Six 3-month-old white New Zealand rabbits were injected with 20,000 NIH3T3 cells and 5 μL of Matrigel in the right conjunctiva, and with only 5 μL of Matrigel in the left conjunctiva. The eyes were photographed under a magnification of 16× using a 12-megapixel digital camera attached to the microscope on day 1,3 and 7. Conjunctival vascularization was measured by analyzing images to measure red pixel saturation. Area of corneal and conjunctival fibrovascular tissue formation on the site of injection was assessed by analyzing the images on day 3 and 7 using area measurement software. Histopathologic characteristics were determined in the rabbit tissues and compared with a human primary pterygium. Results The two treatments promoted growth of conjunctival fibrovascular tissue at day 7. The red pixel saturation and area of fibrovascular tissue developed was significantly higher in right eyes (p &lt; 0.05). Tissues from both treatments showed neovascularization in lesser extent to that observed in human pterygium. Acanthosis, stromal inflammation, and edema were found in tissues of both treatments. No elastosis was found in either treatment. Conclusions Matrigel alone or in combination with NIH3T3 cells injected into the rabbits’ conjunctiva can promote tissue growth with characteristics of human pterygium, including neovascularization, acanthosis, stromal inflammation, and edema. The combination of Matrigel with NIH3T3 cells seems to have an additive effect on the size and redness of the pterygium-like tissue developed. <![CDATA[The effect of downregulation of Stathmin gene on biological behaviors of U373 and U87-MG glioblastoma cells]]> Abstract Background Stathmin as a critical protein involved in microtubule polymerization, is necessary for survival of cancer cells. However, extremely little is known about Stathmin in glioblastoma. So, this study was designed to elucidate the function of Stathmin gene in the tumorigenesis and progression of glioblastoma cells. Method The lentiviral interference vector pLV3-si-Stathmin targeting Stathmin gene and the control vector pLV3-NC were established for the co-transfection of 293T cells together with the helper plasmids. Viral titer was determined via limiting dilution assay. Then pLV3-si-Stathmin and pLV3-NC were stably co-transfected into U373 and U87-MG glioblastoma cells. Expression levels of Stathmin protein in each group were determined by using Western Blot, and the proliferation and migration ability of the cells with downregulated Stathmin were evaluated through CCK8 assay and transwell invasion assay, respectively. Cell cycles and cell apoptosis were detected with flow cytometry. Finally, the effect of Stathmin in tumor formation was determined in nude mice. Result DNA sequencing and viral titer assay indicated that the lentiviral interference vector was successfully established with a viral titer of 4 × 108 TU/ml. According to the results from Western Blotting, Stathmin protein expression level decreased significantly in the U373 and U87-MG cells after transfected with pLV3-si-Stathmin, respectively, compared with those transfected with pLV3-NC. In glioblastoma cells, the cell proliferation and migration were greatly inhibited after the downregulation of Stathmin protein. Flow cytometry showed that much more cells were arrested in G2/M phasein Stathmin downregulated group, compared with the non-transfection group and NC group. But Stathmin downregulation did not induce significant cell apoptosis. Tumor formation assay in nude mice showed that tumor formation was delayed after Stathmin downregulation, with a reduction in both tumor formation rate and tumor growth velocity. Conclusion Stathmin downregulation affected the biological behaviors of U373 and U87-MG glioblastoma cells, inhibiting the proliferation and migration of tumor cells. Stathmin gene may serve as a potential target in gene therapy for glioblastoma. <![CDATA[Melatonin ameliorates H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub>-induced oxidative stress through modulation of Erk/Akt/NFkB pathway]]> Abstract Background Improper control on reactive oxygen species (ROS) elimination process and formation of free radicals causes tissue dysfunction. Pineal hormone melatonin is considered a potent regulator of such oxidative damage in different vertebrates. Aim of the current communication is to evaluate the levels of oxidative stress and ROS induced damage, and amelioration of oxidative status through melatonin induced activation of signaling pathways. Hepatocytes were isolated from adult Labeo rohita and exposed to H2O2 at three different doses (12.5, 25 and 50 µM) to observe peroxide induced damage in fish hepatocytes. Melatonin (25, 50 and 100 μg/ml) was administered against the highest dose of H2O2. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants such as malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione (GSH) was measured spectrophotometrically. Expression level of heat shock proteins (HSP70 and HSP90), HSPs-associated signaling molecules (Akt, ERK, cytosolic and nuclear NFkB), and melatonin receptor was also measured by western blotting analysis. Results H2O2 induced oxidative stress significantly altered (P &lt; 0.05) MDA and GSH level, SOD and CAT activity, and up regulated HSP70 and HSP90 expression in carp hepatocytes. Signaling proteins exhibited differential modulation as revealed from their expression patterns in H2O2-exposed fish hepatocytes, in comparison with control hepatocytes. Melatonin treatment of H2O2-stressed fish hepatocytes restored basal cellular oxidative status in a dose dependent manner. Melatonin was observed to be inducer of signaling process by modulation of signaling molecules and melatonin receptor. Conclusions The results suggest that exogenous melatonin at the concentration of 100 µg/ml is required to improve oxidative status of the H2O2-stressed fish hepatocytes. In H2O2 exposed hepatocytes, melatonin modulates expression of HSP70 and HSP90 that enable the hepatocytes to become stress tolerant and survive by altering the actions of ERK, Akt, cytosolic and nuclear NFkB in the signal transduction pathways. Study also confirms that melatonin could act through melatonin receptor coupled to ERK/Akt signaling pathways. This understanding of the mechanism by which melatonin regulates oxidative status in the stressed hepatocytes may initiate the development of novel strategies for hepatic disease therapy in future. <![CDATA[Arsenic trioxide induces cell cycle arrest and affects Trk receptor expression in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells]]> Abstract Background Arsenic trioxide (As2O3), a drug that has been used in China for approximately two thousand years, induces cell death in a variety of cancer cell types, including neuroblastoma (NB). The tyrosine kinase receptor (Trk) family comprises three members, namely TrkA, TrkB and TrkC. Various studies have confirmed that TrkA and TrkC expression is associated with a good prognosis in NB, while TrkB overexpression can lead to tumor cell growth and invasive metastasis. Previous studies have shown that As2O3 can inhibit the growth and proliferation of a human NB cell line and can also affect the N-Myc mRNA expression. It remains unclear whether As2O3 regulates Trks for the purposes of treating NB. Methods The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of As2O3 on Trk expression in NB cell lines and its potential therapeutic efficacy. SK-N-SH cells were grown with increasing doses of As2O3 at different time points. We cultured SK-N-SH cells, which were treated with increasing doses of As2O3 at different time points. Trk expression in the NB samples was quantified by immunohistochemistry, and the cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry. TrkA, TrkB and TrkC mRNA expression was evaluated by real-time PCR analysis. Results Immunohistochemical and real-time PCR analyses indicated that TrkA and TrkC were over-expressed in NB, and specifically during stages 1, 2 and 4S of the disease progression. TrkB expression was increased in stage 3 and 4 NB. As2O3significantly arrested SK-N-SH cells in the G2/M phase. In addition, TrkA, TrkB and TrkC expression levels were significantly upregulated by higher concentrations of As2O3 treatment, notably in the 48-h treatment period. Our findings suggested that to achieve the maximum effect and appropriate regulation of Trk expression in NB stages 1, 2 and 4S, As2O3 treatment should be at relatively higher concentrations for longer delivery times;however, for NB stages 3 and 4, an appropriate concentration and infusion time for As2O3 must be carefully determined. Conclusion The present findings suggested that As2O3 induced Trk expression in SK-N-SH cells to varying degrees and may be a promising adjuvant to current treatments for NB due to its apoptotic effects. <![CDATA[Electroacupuncture ameliorate learning and memory by improving <em>N</em> -acetylaspartate and glutamate metabolism in APP/PS1 mice]]> Abstract Objective To explore the precise mechanism of electroacupuncture (EA) to delay cognitive impairment in Alzheimer disease. Methods N -Acetylaspartate (NAA), glutamate (Glu) and myoinositol (mI) metabolism were measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy, learning and memory of APP/PS1 mouse was evaluated by the Morris water maze test and the step-down avoidance test, neuron survival number and neuronal structure in the hippocampus were observed by Nissl staining, and BDNF and phosphorylated TrkB detected by Western blot. Results EA at DU20 acupuncture significantly improve learning and memory in behavioral tests, up-regulate NAA, Glu and mI metabolism, increase the surviving neurons in hippocampus, and promote the expression of BDNF and TrkB in the APP/PS1 transgenic mice. Conclusion These findings suggested that EA is a potential therapeutic for ameliorate cognitive dysfunction, and it might be due to EA could improve NAA and Glu metabolism by upregulation of BDNF in APP/PS1 mice. <![CDATA[Protective roles of autophagy in retinal pigment epithelium under high glucose condition via regulating PINK1/Parkin pathway and BNIP3L]]> Abstract Background Our study aimed to investigate the roles of autophagy against high glucose induced response in retinal pigment epithelium (ARPE-19 cells). Methods The morphological changes and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in ARPE-19 cells under high glucose treatment were respectively detected using the transmission electron microscopy and flow cytometry. The expression levels of Parkin, PINK1, BNIP3L, LC3-I and LC3-II in ARPE-19 cells received high glucose treatment were measured by western blot after pretreatment of carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), 3-methyladenine (3-MA), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or cyclosporin A (CsA) followed by high glucose treatment. Results ARPE-19 cells subjected to high glucose stress showed an obvious reduction in the LC3-I expression and significant increase in the number of autophagosomes, in the intracellular ROS level, and in the expression levels of Parkin, PINK1, BNIP3L and LC3-II (p &lt; 0.05). Pretreatment with CCCP significantly reduced the LC3-I expression and increased the expression levels of Parkin, PINK1, BNIP3L and LC3-II (p &lt; 0.05). ARPE-19 cells pretreated with CsA under high glucose stress showed markedly down-regulated expressions of Parkin, PINK1 and BNIP3L compared with the cells treated with high glucose (p &lt; 0.05). Pretreatment of ARPE-19 cells with NAC or 3-MA under high glucose stress resulted in a marked reduction in the expression levels of PINK1, BNIP3L and LC3-II (p &lt; 0.05). Meanwhile, the expression level of Parkin in the ARPE-19 cells pretreated with NAC under high glucose stress was comparable with that in the control cells. Conclusion Autophagy might have protective roles against high glucose induced injury in ARPE19 cells via regulating PINK1/Parkin pathway and BNIP3L. <![CDATA[Knockdown of PAICS inhibits malignant proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines]]> Abstract Background: Phosphoribosylaminoimidazole carboxylase, phosphoribosylaminoimidazole succinocarboxamide synthetase (PAICS), an enzyme required for de novo purine biosynthesis, is associated with and involved in tumorigenesis. This study aimed to evaluate the role of PAICS in human breast cancer, which remains the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in less developed countries. Results: Lentivirus-based short hairpin RNA targeting PAICS specifically depleted its endogenous expression in ZR-75-30 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Depletion of PAICS led to a significant decrease in cell viability and proliferation. To ascertain the mechanisms through which PAICS modulates cell proliferation, flow cytometry was performed, and it was confirmed that G1-S transition was blocked in ZR-75-30 cells through PAICS knockdown. This might have occurred partly through the suppression of Cyclin E and the upregulation of Cyclin D1, P21, and CDK4. Moreover, PAICS knockdown obviously promoted cell apoptosis in ZR-75-30 cells through the activation of PARP and caspase 3 and downregulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl expression in ZR-75-30 cells. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that PAICS plays an essential role in breast cancer proliferation in vitro, which provides a new opportunity for discovering and identifying novel effective treatment strategies. <![CDATA[Identification of key genes and pathways involved in response to pain in goat and sheep by transcriptome sequencing]]> Abstract Purpose: This aim of this study was to investigate the key genes and pathways involved in the response to pain in goat and sheep by transcriptome sequencing. Methods: Chronic pain was induced with the injection of the complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) in sheep and goats. The animals were divided into four groups: CFA-treated sheep, control sheep, CFA-treated goat, and control goat groups (n = 3 in each group). The dorsal root ganglions of these animals were isolated and used for the construction of a cDNA library and transcriptome sequencing. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in CFA-induced sheep and goats and gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis was performed. Results: In total, 1748 and 2441 DEGs were identified in CFA-treated goat and sheep, respectively. The DEGs identified in CFA-treated goats, such as C-C motif chemokine ligand 27 (CCL27), glutamate receptor 2 (GRIA2), and sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 3 (SCN3A), were mainly enriched in GO functions associated with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, inflammatory response, and immune response. The DEGs identified in CFA-treated sheep, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-related DEGs (gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor gamma 3 subunit [GABRG3], GABRB2, and GABRB1), SCN9A, and transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), were mainly enriched in GO functions related to neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, NMDA receptor, and defense response. Conclusions: Our data indicate that NMDA receptor, inflammatory response, and immune response as well as key DEGs such as CCL27, GRIA2, and SCN3A may regulate the process of pain response during chronic pain in goats. Neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction and NMDA receptor as well as GABA-related DEGs, SCN9A, and TRPV1 may modulate the process of response to pain in sheep. These DEGs may serve as drug targets for preventing chronic pain. <![CDATA[Bioinformatics analysis of microarray data to reveal the pathogenesis of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma]]> Abstract Background: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the main cause of pediatric brain tumor death. This study was designed to identify key genes associated with DIPG. Methods: The gene expression profile GSE50021, which consisted of 35 pediatric DIPG samples and 10 normal brain samples, was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified by limma package. Functional and pathway enrichment analyses were performed by the DAVID tool. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, and transcription factor (TF)-microRNA (miRNA)-target gene network were constructed using Cytoscape. Moreover, the expression levels of several genes were validated in human glioma cell line U251 and normal glia HEB cells through real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: A total of 378 DEGs were screened (74 up-regulated and 304 down-regulated genes). In the PPI network, GRM1, HTR2A, GRM7 and GRM2 had higher degrees. Besides, GRM1 and HTR2A were significantly enriched in the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway, and calcium signaling pathway. In addition, TFAP2C was a significant down-regulated functional gene and hsa-miR-26b-5p had a higher degree in the TF-miRNA-target gene network. PCR analysis revealed that GRM7 and HTR2A were significantly downregulated while TFAP2C was upregulated in U251 cells compared with that in HEB cells (p &lt; 0.001). GRM2 was not detected in cells. Conclusions: GRM1 and HTR2A might function in DIPG through the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway and the calcium signaling pathway. Furthermore, the TFAP2C and hsa-miR-26b-5p might play important roles in the development and progression mechanisms of DIPG. <![CDATA[Missing and overexpressing proteins in domestic cat oocytes following vitrification and in vitro maturation as revealed by proteomic analysis]]> Abstract Background: The domestic cat serves as an animal model for assisted reproductive studies of endangered felid species. To date, there are no data on the protein alterations following cryopreservation of oocytes in felid family. Methods: Immature (germinal vesicle) domestic cat oocytes were vitrified in the vitrification solution containing 35% ethylene glycol, 20% DMSO and 0.5 mM sucrose. The vitrified-warmed oocytes were matured (metaphase II) in vitro and subjected to proteomic analysis using 1DE SDS-PAGE prefractionation combined with LC-MS/MS. Results: A total of 1712 proteins were identified in in vitro matured oocytes. Of the 1712 proteins, 1454 proteins were found in both groups, whereas, 258 proteins were differentially expressed between control and vitrified-warmed groups. In vitrified-warmed oocytes, the missing proteins were membrane and nuclear proteins; whereas, apoptosis and DNA repair proteins were overrepresented. Conclusions: The identified missing and overexpressed proteins in vitrified-warmed oocytes represent potential markers of cryoinjuries and the developmental pathways of oocytes. The findings of differential expressed proteins may contribute to effective ways of proteome analysis of oocyte/embryo quality in order to assess safety of cryopreservation in felid species. <![CDATA[Cold-active pectinolytic activity produced by filamentous fungi associated with Antarctic marine sponges]]> Abstract Background: Pectinase enzymes catalyze the breakdown of pectin, a key component of the plant cell wall. At industrial level, pectinases are used in diverse applications, especially in food-processing industry. Currently, most of the industrial pectinases have optimal activity at mesophilic temperatures. On the contrary, very little is known about the pectinolytic activities from organisms from cold climates such as Antarctica. In this work, 27 filamentous fungi isolated from marine sponges collected in King George Island, Antarctica, were screened as new source of cold-active pectinases. Results: In semi-quantitative plate assays, 8 out 27 of these isolates showed pectinolytic activities at 15 °C and one of them, Geomyces sp. strain F09-T3-2, showed the highest production of pectinases in liquid medium containing pectin as sole carbon source. More interesting, Geomyces sp. F09-T3-2 showed optimal pectinolytic activity at 30 °C, 10 °C under the temperature of currently available commercial mesophilic pectinases. Conclusion: Filamentous fungi associated with Antarctic marine sponges are a promising source of pectinolytic activity. In particular, pectinases from Geomyces sp. F09-T3-2 may be potentially suitable for biotechnological applications needing cold-active pectinases. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the production of pectinolytic activity from filamentous fungi from any environment in Antarctica. <![CDATA[Contributions to the bryological knowledge of ASPA 125, Fildes Peninsula, King George Island]]> Abstract Background: With 29 Km2, the Fildes Peninsula is the largest ice free area in King George Island and probably in Antarctica. The region is house of six permanent bases including the only airport in the South Shetlands, which led to impacts on its original landscape and vegetation. In recognition for the need to protect natural values, an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA 125) was established in the region. Focused mostly on protecting the fossils, the ASPA also plays a role in protecting the vegetation but so far, the management plan for the area does not contain a list of moss species present there. Results: We provided an updated study and checklist of mosses present in ASPA 125. A key to species identification and photographs of main morphological features are also available in this paper. Also, six new occurrences are reported for Fildes Peninsula. Conclusion: Considering the scarce knowledge about specific local floras in Antarctica associated with highly impacted area, of which only a fraction is protected, it is suggested the necessity to invest in detailed sampling studies, as well as in a better understanding of the local floras interactions in Antarctica. <![CDATA[Knockdown of lncRNA MIR31HG inhibits cell proliferation in human HaCaT keratinocytes]]> Abstract Background: Psoriasis is a complex, chronic inflammatory skin disease with substantial negative effects on patient quality of life. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are able to be involved in multitudes of cellular processes in diverse human diseases. This study aimed to investigate the potential involvement of lncRNA MIR31HG in HaCaT keratinocytes proliferation. Results: The study showed that MIR31HG was significantly elevated in the lesional psoriatic skin compared with normal individuals’ skin. Knockdown of MIR31HG inhibited HaCaT keratinocytes proliferation. Flow cytometry analysis showed that siRNA-mediated MIR31HG depletion induced cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase. In addition, MIR31HG expression was found to be dependent on NF-κB activation. Conclusions: NF-κB activation mediated MIR31HG upregulation plays an important role in the regulation of HaCaT keratinocytes proliferation. It could be a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for psoriasis. <![CDATA[miR-214 ameliorates acute kidney injury via targeting DKK3 and activating of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway]]> Abstract Background: miR-214 was demonstrated to be upregulated in models of renal disease and promoted fibrosis in renal injury independent of TGF-β signaling in vivo. However, the detailed role of miR-214 in acute kidney injury (AKI) and its underlying mechanism are still largely unknown. Methods: In this study, an I/R-induced rat AKI model and a hypoxia-induced NRK-52E cell model were used to study AKI. The concentrations of kidney injury markers serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and kidney injury molecule-1 were measured. The expressions of miR-214, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (Ε)-1β, IL-6, were detected by RT-qPCR. The protein levels of Bcl-2, Bax, Dickkopf-related protein 3, β-catenin, c-myc, and cyclinD1 were determined by western blot. Cell apoptosis and caspase 3 activity were evaluated by flow cytometry analysis and caspase 3 activity assay, respectively. Luciferase reporter assay was used to confirm the interaction between miR-214 and Dkk3. Results: miR-214 expression was induced in ischemia-reperfusion (I/R)-induced AKI rat and hypoxic incubation of NRK-52E cells. Overexpression of miR-214 alleviated hypoxia-induced NRK-52E cell apoptosis while inhibition of miR-214 expression exerted the opposite effect. Dkk3 was identified as a target of miR-214. Anti-miR-214 abolished the inhibitory effects of DKK3 knockdown on hypoxia-induced NRK-52E cell apoptosis by inactivation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Moreover, miR-214 ameliorated AKI in vivo by inhibiting apoptosis and fibrosis through targeting Dkk3 and activating Wnt/β -catenin pathway. Conclusion: miR-214 ameliorates AKI by inhibiting apoptosis through targeting Dkk3 and activating Wnt/β -catenin signaling pathway, offering the possibility of miR-214 in the therapy of ischemic AKI. <![CDATA[Increased ROS production and DNA damage in monocytes are biomarkers of aging and atherosclerosis]]> Abstract Background: New evidence demonstrates that aging and dyslipidemia are closely associated with oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis in some cells and extravascular tissues. However, in monocytes, which are naturally involved in progression and/or resolution of plaque in atherosclerosis, this concurrence has not yet been fully investigated. In this study, we evaluated the influence of aging and hypercholesterolemia on serum pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis in monocytes from apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE-/-) mice compared with age-matched wild-type C57BL/6 (WT) mice. Experiments were performed in young (2-months) and in old (18-months) male wild-type (WT) and apoE-/- mice. Results: Besides the expected differences in serum lipid profile and plaque formation, we observed that atherosclerotic mice exhibited a significant increase in monocytosis and in serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines compared to WT mice. Moreover, it was observed that the overproduction of ROS, led to an increased DNA fragmentation and, consequently, apoptosis in monocytes from normocholesterolemic old mice, which was aggravated in age-matched atherosclerotic mice. Conclusions: In this study, we demonstrate that a pro-inflammatory systemic status is associated with an impairment of functionality of monocytes during aging and that these parameters are fundamental extra-arterial contributors to the aggravation of atherosclerosis. The present data open new avenues for the development of future strategies with the purpose of treating atherosclerosis. <![CDATA[Attenuation of atherogenic apo B-48-dependent hyperlipidemia and high density lipoprotein remodeling induced by vitamin C and E combination and their beneficial effect on lethal ischemic heart disease in mice]]> Abstract Background and aims: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is highly prevalent and its underlying pathogenesis involves dyslipidemia including pro-atherogenic high density lipoprotein (HDL) remodeling. Vitamins C and E have been proposed as atheroprotective agents for cardiovascular disease management. However, their effects and benefits on high density lipoprotein function and remodeling are unknown. In this study, we evaluated the role of vitamin C and E on non HDL lipoproteins as well as HDL function and remodeling, along with their effects on inflammation/ oxidation biomarkers and atherosclerosis in atherogenic diet-fed SR-B1 KO/ApoER61h/h mice. Methods and results: Mice were pre-treated for 5 weeks before and during atherogenic diet feeding with vitamin C and E added to water and diet, respectively. Compared to a control group, combined vitamin C and E administration reduced serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by decreasing apo B-48-containing lipoproteins, remodeled HDL particles by reducing phospholipid as well as increasing PON1 and apo D content, and diminished PLTP activity and levels. Vitamin supplementation improved HDL antioxidant function and lowered serum TNF-α levels. Vitamin C and E combination attenuated atherogenesis and increased lifespan in atherogenic diet-fed SR-B1 KO/ApoER61h/h mice. Conclusions: Vitamin C and E administration showed significant lipid metabolism regulating effects, including HDL remodeling and decreased levels of apoB-containing lipoproteins, in mice. In addition, this vitamin supplementation generated a cardioprotective effect in a murine model of severe and lethal atherosclerotic ischemic heart disease. <![CDATA[Thiamine deficiency contributes to synapse and neural circuit defects]]> Abstract Background: The previous studies have demonstrated the reduction of thiamine diphosphate is specific to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and causal factor of brain glucose hypometabolism, which is considered as a neurodegenerative index of AD and closely correlates with the degree of cognitive impairment. The reduction of thiamine diphosphate may contribute to the dysfunction of synapses and neural circuits, finally leading to cognitive decline. Results: To demonstrate this hypothesis, we established abnormalities in the glucose metabolism utilizing thiamine deficiency in vitro and in vivo, and we found dramatically reduced dendrite spine density. We further detected lowered excitatory neurotransmission and impaired hippocampal long-term potentiation, which are induced by TPK RNAi in vitro. Importantly, via treatment with benfotiamine, Aβ induced spines density decrease was considerably ameliorated. Conclusions: These results revealed that thiamine deficiency contributed to synaptic dysfunction which strongly related to AD pathogenesis. Our results provide new insights into pathogenesis of synaptic and neuronal dysfunction in AD. <![CDATA[ADAR1-mediated RNA-editing of 3′UTRs in breast cancer]]> Abstract Background: Whole transcriptome RNA variant analyses have shown that adenosine deaminases acting on RNA ( ADAR ) enzymes modify a large proportion of cellular RNAs, contributing to transcriptome diversity and cancer evolution. Despite the advances in the understanding of ADAR function in breast cancer, ADAR RNA editing functional consequences are not fully addressed. Results: We characterized A to G(I) mRNA editing in 81 breast cell lines, showing increased editing at 3′UTR and exonic regions in breast cancer cells compared to immortalized non-malignant cell lines. In addition, tumors from the BRCA TCGA cohort show a 24% increase in editing over normal breast samples when looking at 571 well-characterized UTRs targeted by ADAR1. Basal-like subtype breast cancer patients with high level of ADAR1 mRNA expression shows a worse clinical outcome and increased editing in their 3′UTRs. Interestingly, editing was particularly increased in the 3′UTRs of ATM, GINS4 and POLH transcripts in tumors, which correlated with their mRNA expression. We confirmed the role of ADAR1 in this regulation using a shRNA in a breast cancer cell line (ZR-75-1). Conclusions: Altogether, these results revealed a significant association between the mRNA editing in genes related to cancer-relevant pathways and clinical outcomes, suggesting an important role of ADAR1 expression and function in breast cancer. <![CDATA[Knockdown of SETDB1 inhibits breast cancer progression by miR-381-3p-related regulation]]> Abstract Background: SET domain bifurcated 1 (SETDB1) has been widely considered as an oncogene playing a critical role in many human cancers, including breast cancer. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism by which SETDB1 regulates breast cancer tumorigenesis is still unknown. Methods: qRT-PCR assay or western blot analysis was performed to assess the expression level of SETDB1 mRNA or protein, respectively. siSETDB1, pCMV6-XL5-SETDB1, miR-381-3p mimic, or miR-381-3p inhibitor was transfected into cells to regulate the expression of SETDB1 or miR-381-3p. MiRNA directly interacted with SETDB1 was verified by luciferase reporter assay and RNA immunoprecipitation. CCK-8 assay, colony formation assay, flow cytometric analysis, and transwell assay were used to detect the abilities of cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and migration, respectively. Animal model of xenograft tumor was used to observe the regulatory effect of SETDB1 on tumor growth in vivo. Results: We verified that SETDB1 mRNA level was upregulated in breast cancer tissues and cell lines, and SETDB1 depletion led to a suppression of cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and migration in vitro, as well as tumor growth in vivo. SETDB1 was verified to be a target of miR-381-3p. Moreover, miR-381-3p overexpression suppressed cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and migration, whereas SETDB1 abated miR-381-3p-mediated regulatory function on breast cancer cells. Conclusions: This study revealed that SETDB1 knockdown might suppress breast cancer progression at least partly by miR-381-3p-related regulation, providing a novel prospect in breast cancer therapy. <![CDATA[High-throughput micro-phenotyping measurements applied to assess stalk lodging in maize ( <em>Zea mays</em> L.)]]> Abstract Background: The biomechanical properties of maize stalks largely determine their lodging resistance, which affects crop yield per unit area. However, the quantitative and qualitative relationship between micro-phenotypes and the biomechanics of maize stalks is still under examined. In particular, the roles of the number, geometry, and distribution of vascular bundles of stalks in maize lodging resistance remain unclear. Research on these biomechanical properties will benefit from high-resolution micro-phenotypic image acquisition capabilities, which have been improved by modern X-ray imaging devices such as micro-CT and the development of micro-phenotyping analysis software. Hence, high-throughput image analysis and accurate quantification of anatomical phenotypes of stalks are necessary. Results: We have updated VesselParser version 1.0 to version 2.0 and have improved its performance, accuracy, and computation strategies. Anatomical characteristics of the second and third stalk internodes of the cultivars ‘Jingke968’ and ‘Jingdan38’ were analyzed using VesselParser 2.0. The relationships between lodging resistance and anatomical phenotypes of stalks between the two different maize varieties were investigated. The total area of vascular bundles in the peripheral layer, auxiliary axis diameter, and total area of vascular bundles were revealed to have the highest correlation with mechanical properties, and anatomical phenotypes of maize stalk were better predictors of mechanical properties than macro features observed optically from direct measurement, such as diameter and perimeter. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the utility of VesselParser 2.0 in assessing stalk mechanical properties. The combination of anatomical phenotypes and mechanical behavior research provides unique insights into the problem of stalk lodging, showing that micro phenotypes of vascular bundles are good predictors of maize stalk mechanical properties that may be important indices for the evaluation and identification of the biomechanical properties to improve lodging resistance of future maize varieties. <![CDATA[Priming stem cells with protein kinase C activator enhances early stem cell-chondrocyte interaction by increasing adhesion molecules]]> Abstract Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) can be defined as degradation of articular cartilage of the joint, and is the most common degenerative disease. To regenerate the damaged cartilage, different experimental approaches including stem cell therapy have been tried. One of the major limitations of stem cell therapy is the poor post-transplantation survival of the stem cells. Anoikis, where insufficient matrix support and adhesion to extracellular matrix causes apoptotic cell death, is one of the main causes of the low post-transplantation survival rate of stem cells. Therefore, enhancing the initial interaction of the transplanted stem cells with chondrocytes could improve the therapeutic efficacy of stem cell therapy for OA. Previously, protein kinase C activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)- induced increase of mesenchymal stem cell adhesion via activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) has been reported. In the present study, we examine the effect PMA on the adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) adhesion and spreading to culture substrates, and further on the initial interaction between ADSC and chondrocytes. Results: PMA treatment increased the initial adhesion of ADSC to culture substrate and cellular spreading with increased expression of adhesion molecules, such as FAK, vinculin, talin, and paxillin, at both RNA and protein level. Priming of ADSC with PMA increased the number of ADSCs attached to confluent layer of cultured chondrocytes compared to that of untreated ADSCs at early time point (4 h after seeding). Conclusion: Taken together, the results of this study suggest that priming ADSCs with PMA can increase the initial interaction with chondrocytes, and this proof of concept can be used to develop a non-invasive therapeutic approach for treating OA. It may also accelerate the regeneration process so that it can relieve the accompanied pain faster in OA patients. Further in vivo studies examining the therapeutic effect of PMA pretreatment of ADSCs for articular cartilage damage are required. <![CDATA[Identification and characterization of circRNAs involved in the regulation of low nitrogen-promoted root growth in hexaploid wheat]]> Abstract Background: CircRNAs are widespread in plants and play important roles in response to abiotic stresses. Low nitrogen (LN) promotes the growth of plant root system, allowing it to explore more nitrogen. However, whether circRNAs involved in the response to LN stress and the regulation of LN-promoted root growth in wheat remains unclear. Methods: Two wheat varieties (LH9 and XN979) with contrasting root phenotypes to LN stress were used as materials to identify circRNAs under control and LN conditions by using high-throughput sequencing technology. Results: Six differentially expressed circRNAs (DECs) involved in the common response to LN stress and 23 DECs involved in the regulation of LN-promoted root growth were successfully identified. GO analysis of the DEC-host genes involved in the regulation of LN-promoted root growth showed that GO terms related to biological regulation, responses to stimuli and signalling were significantly enriched. Moreover, seven DECs were predicted to have miRNA binding sites and may serve as miRNA sponges to capture miRNAs from their target genes. Conclusions: LN stress altered the expression profiles of circRNAs in wheat. This is the first report of LN stress responsive circRNAs in plants. Our results provided new clues for investigating the functions of circRNAs in response to LN stress and in the regulation of LN-promoted wheat root growth. <![CDATA[Dysregulation of NCAPG, KNL1, miR-148a-3p, miR-193b-3p, and miR-1179 may contribute to the progression of gastric cancer]]> Abstract Background: Emerging evidence indicate that miRNAs play an important role on gastric cancer (GC) progression via regulating several downstream targets, but it is still partially uncovered. This study aimed to explore the molecular mechanisms of GC by comprehensive analysis of mRNAs and miRNA expression profiles. Methods: The mRNA and miRNA expression profiles of GSE79973 and GSE67354 downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus were used to analyze the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and DE-miRNAs among GC tissues and normal tissues. Then, targets genes of DE-miRNAs were predicted and the DE-miRNA-DEG regulatory network was constructed. Next, function enrichment analysis of the overlapped genes between the predicted DE-miRNAs targets and DEGs was performed and a protein-protein interactions network of overlapped genes was constructed. Finally, RT-PCR analysis was performed to detect the expression levels of several key DEGs and DE-miRNAs. Results: A set of 703 upregulated and 600 downregulated DEGs, as well as 8 upregulated DE-miRNAs and 27 downregulated DE-miRNAs were identified in GC tissue. hsa-miR-193b-3p and hsa-miR-148a-3p, which targeted most DEGs, were highlighted in the DE-miRNA-DEG regulatory network, as well as hsa-miR-1179, which targeted KNL1, was newly predicted to be associated with GC. In addition, NCAPG, which is targeted by miR-193b-3p, and KNL1, which is targeted by hsa-miR-1179, had higher degrees in the PPI network. RT-qPCR results showed that hsa-miR-148a-3p, hsa-miR-193b-3p, and hsa-miR-1179 were downregulated, and NCAPG and KNL1 were upregulated in GC tissues; this is consistent with our bioinformatics-predicted results. Conclusions: The downregulation of miR-193b-3p might contribute to GC cell proliferation by mediating the upregulation of NCAPG; as additionally, the downregulation of miR-193b-3p might contribute to the mitotic nuclear division of GC cells by mediating the upregulation of KNL1. <![CDATA[Identification of key genes and miRNAs markers of papillary thyroid cancer]]> Abstract Objective: In this study, crucial genes and microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with the progression, staging, and prognosis of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) were identified. Methods: Four PTC datasets, including our own mRNA-sequencing (mRNA-seq) dataset and three public datasets downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus and The Cancer Genome Atlas, were used to analyze differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and miRNAs (DEMs) between PTC tumor tissues and paired normal tissues (control). Gene ontology (GO) terms and pathways associated with these DEGs were identified, and protein-protein interactions (PPIs) were analyzed. Additionally, an miRNA-mRNA regulatory network was constructed and the functions of DEMs were explored. Finally, miRNAs/mRNAs associated with tumor staging and prognosis were identified. The expression levels of several key genes and miRNAs were validated by qRT-PCR. Results: Numerous DEGs and DEMs were identified between tumor and control groups in four datasets. The DEGs were significantly enriched in cell adhesion and cancer-related GO terms and pathways. In the constructed PPI network, ITGA2, FN1, ICAM1, TIMP1 and CDH2 were hub proteins. In the miRNA-mRNA negative regulatory networks, miR-204-5p regulated the largest number of target genes, such as TNFRSF12A. miR-146b, miR-204, miR-7-2, and FN1 were associated with tumor stage in PTC, and TNFRSF12A and CLDN1 were related to prognosis. Conclusions: Our results suggested the important roles of ITGA2, FN1, ICAM1, TIMP1 and CDH2 in the progression of PTC. miR-204-5p, miR-7-2, and miR-146b are potential biomarkers for PTC staging and FN1, CLDN1, and TNFRSF12A may serve as markers of prognosis in PTC. <![CDATA[Copper stress induces antioxidant responses and accumulation of sugars and phytochelatins in Antarctic <em>Colobanthus quitensis</em> (Kunth) Bartl.]]> Abstract Background: In field, C. quitensis Is subjected to many abiotic extreme environmental conditions, such as low temperatures, high UV-B, salinity and reduced water potentials, but not metal or metalloid high concentrations in soil, however, other members of Caryophyllaceae family have tolerance to high concentrations of metals, this is the case of Silene genre. In this work, we hypothesize that C. quitensis have the same mechanisms of Silene to tolerate metals, involving accumulation and induction of antioxidant systems, sugar accumulation and the induction of thiols such as phytochelatins to tolerate. Results: The results showing an effective antioxidant defensive machinery involving non-enzymatic antioxidants such as phenolics, GSH and ascorbic acid, in another hand, GSH-related oligomers (phytochelatins) and sugars was induced as a defensive mechanism. Conclusions: Colobanthus quitensis exhibits certain mechanisms to tolerate copper in vitro demonstrating its plasticity to tolerate several abiotic stress conditions. <![CDATA[Involvement of K<sup>+</sup><sub>ATP</sub> and Ca<sup>2+</sup> channels in hydrogen sulfide-suppressed ageing of porcine oocytes]]> Abstract Background: Hydrogen sulfide has been shown to improve the quality of oocytes destined for in vitro fertilization. Although hydrogen sulfide is capable of modulating ion channel activity in somatic cells, the role of hydrogen sulfide in gametes and embryos remains unknown. Our observations confirmed the hypothesis that the KATP and L-type Ca2+ ion channels play roles in porcine oocyte ageing and revealed a plausible contribution of hydrogen sulfide to the modulation of ion channel activity. Results: We confirmed the benefits of the activation and suppression of the KATP and L-type Ca2+ ion channels, respectively, for the preservation of oocyte quality. Conclusions: Our experiments identified hydrogen sulfide as promoting the desired ion channel activity, with the capacity to protect porcine oocytes against cell death. Further experiments are needed to determine the exact mechanism of hydrogen sulfide in gametes and embryos. <![CDATA[Development and characterization of microsatellite markers in <em>Gaultheria pumila</em> Lf. (Ericaceae)]]> Abstract Background: Polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed for Gaultheria pumila (Ericaceae) to evaluate genetic diversity and population structure within its native range in Chile. This is a very important Ericaceae endemic to Chile with a large commercial potential. Its resistance to different abiotic conditions makes it a valuable target for genetic improvement. Results: Ten polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci were isolated from Gaultheria pumila using new-generation 454 FLX Titanium pyrosequencing technology. The mean number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 4. Observed and expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.00 to 1.0 and 0.00 to 0.64, respectively. Conclusions: From 10 SSR markers developed for G. pumila, 9 markers are promising candidates for analyzing genetic variation within or between natural populations of G. pumila and other species from the same genus. <![CDATA[Regulation of aquaporins in plants under stress]]> Abstract Aquaporins (AQP) are channel proteins belonging to the Major Intrinsic Protein (MIP) superfamily that play an important role in plant water relations. The main role of aquaporins in plants is transport of water and other small neutral molecules across cellular biological membranes. AQPs have remarkable features to provide an efficient and often, specific water flow and enable them to transport water into and out of the cells along the water potential gradient. Plant AQPs are classified into five main subfamilies including the plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIPs), tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIPs), nodulin 26 like intrinsic proteins (NIPs), small basic intrinsic proteins (SIPs) and X intrinsic proteins (XIPs). AQPs are localized in the cell membranes and are found in all living cells. However, most of the AQPs that have been described in plants are localized to the tonoplast and plasma membranes. Regulation of AQP activity and gene expression, are also considered as a part of the adaptation mechanisms to stress conditions and rely on complex processes and signaling pathways as well as complex transcriptional, translational and posttranscriptional factors. Gating of AQPs through different mechanisms, such as phosphorylation, tetramerization, pH, cations, reactive oxygen species, phytohormones and other chemical agents, may play a key role in plant responses to environmental stresses by maintaining the uptake and movement of water in the plant body. <![CDATA[A <em>Nexus</em> model of cellular transition in cancer]]> Abstract The exact cause of cancer is one of the most immutable medical questions of the century. Cancer as an evolutionary disease must have a purpose and understanding the purpose is more important than decoding the cause. The model of cancer proposed herein, provides a link between the cellular biochemistry and cellular genetics of cancer evolution. We thus call this model as the “Nexus model” of cancer. The Nexus model is an effort to identify the most apparent route to the disease. We have tried to utilize existing cancer literature to identify the most plausible causes of cellular transition in cancer, where the primary cancer-causing agents (physical, chemical or biological) act as inducing factors to produce cellular impeders. These cellular impeders are further linked to the Nexus. The Nexus then generates codes for epigenetics and genetics in cancer development. <![CDATA[Minimal residual disease in prostate cancer patients after primary treatment: theoretical considerations, evidence and possible use in clinical management]]> Abstract Minimal residual disease is that not detected by conventional imaging studies and clinically the patient remains disease free. However, with time these dormant cells will awaken and disease progression occurs, resulting in clinically and radiological detectable metastatic disease. This review addresses the concept of tumor cell dissemination from the primary tumor, the micrometastatic niche and tumor cell survival and finally the clinical utility of detecting and characterizing these tumor cells in order to guide management decisions in treating patients with prostate cancer. <![CDATA[Biotechnological applications of archaeal enzymes from extreme environments]]> Abstract To date, many industrial processes are performed using chemical compounds, which are harmful to nature. An alternative to overcome this problem is biocatalysis, which uses whole cells or enzymes to carry out chemical reactions in an environmentally friendly manner. Enzymes can be used as biocatalyst in food and feed, pharmaceutical, textile, detergent and beverage industries, among others. Since industrial processes require harsh reaction conditions to be performed, these enzymes must possess several characteristics that make them suitable for this purpose. Currently the best option is to use enzymes from extremophilic microorganisms, particularly archaea because of their special characteristics, such as stability to elevated temperatures, extremes of pH, organic solvents, and high ionic strength. Extremozymes, are being used in biotechnological industry and improved through modern technologies, such as protein engineering for best performance. Despite the wide distribution of archaea, exist only few reports about these microorganisms isolated from Antarctica and very little is known about thermophilic or hyperthermophilic archaeal enzymes particularly from Antarctica. This review summarizes current knowledge of archaeal enzymes with biotechnological applications, including two extremozymes from Antarctic archaea with potential industrial use, which are being studied in our laboratory. Both enzymes have been discovered through conventional screening and genome sequencing, respectively. <![CDATA[The physiological and molecular mechanism of brassinosteroid in response to stress: a review]]> Abstract The negative effects of environmental stresses, such as low temperature, high temperature, salinity, drought, heavy metal stress, and biotic stress significantly decrease crop productivity. Plant hormones are currently being used to induce stress tolerance in a variety of plants. Brassinosteroids (commonly known as BR) are a group of phytohormones that regulate a wide range of biological processes that lead to tolerance of various stresses in plants. BR stimulate BRASSINAZOLE RESISTANCE 1 (BZR1)/BRI1-EMS SUPPRESSOR 1 (BES1), transcription factors that activate thousands of BR-targeted genes. BR regulate antioxidant enzyme activities, chlorophyll contents, photosynthetic capacity, and carbohydrate metabolism to increase plant growth under stress. Mutants with BR defects have shortened root and shoot developments. Exogenous BR application increases the biosynthesis of endogenous hormones such as indole-3-acetic acid, abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, zeatin riboside, brassinosteroids (BR), and isopentenyl adenosine, and gibberellin (GA) and regulates signal transduction pathways to stimulate stress tolerance. This review will describe advancements in knowledge of BR and their roles in response to different stress conditions in plants. <![CDATA[Coping with drought: stress and adaptive mechanisms, and management through cultural and molecular alternatives in cotton as vital constituents for plant stress resilience and fitness]]> Abstract Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and associated climatic variability is primarily responsible for inducing heat waves, flooding and drought stress. Among these, water scarcity is a major limitation to crop productivity. Water stress can severely reduce crop yield and both the severity and duration of the stress are critical. Water availability is a key driver for sustainable cotton production and its limitations can adversely affect physiological and biochemical processes of plants, leading towards lint yield reduction. Adaptation of crop husbandry techniques suitable for cotton crop requires a sound understanding of environmental factors, influencing cotton lint yield and fiber quality. Various defense mechanisms e.g. maintenance of membrane stability, carbon fixation rate, hormone regulation, generation of antioxidants and induction of stress proteins have been found play a vital role in plant survival under moisture stress. Plant molecular breeding plays a functional role to ascertain superior genes for important traits and can offer breeder ready markers for developing ideotypes. This review highlights drought-induced damage to cotton plants at structural, physiological and molecular levels. It also discusses the opportunities for increasing drought tolerance in cotton either through modern gene editing technology like clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR/Cas9), zinc finger nuclease, molecular breeding as well as through crop management, such as use of appropriate fertilization, growth regulator application and soil amendments. <![CDATA[CORRECTION: Expression of Concern to: Lentivirus mediated silencing of Ubiquitin Specific Peptidase 39 inhibits cell proliferation of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro]]> Abstract Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and associated climatic variability is primarily responsible for inducing heat waves, flooding and drought stress. Among these, water scarcity is a major limitation to crop productivity. Water stress can severely reduce crop yield and both the severity and duration of the stress are critical. Water availability is a key driver for sustainable cotton production and its limitations can adversely affect physiological and biochemical processes of plants, leading towards lint yield reduction. Adaptation of crop husbandry techniques suitable for cotton crop requires a sound understanding of environmental factors, influencing cotton lint yield and fiber quality. Various defense mechanisms e.g. maintenance of membrane stability, carbon fixation rate, hormone regulation, generation of antioxidants and induction of stress proteins have been found play a vital role in plant survival under moisture stress. Plant molecular breeding plays a functional role to ascertain superior genes for important traits and can offer breeder ready markers for developing ideotypes. This review highlights drought-induced damage to cotton plants at structural, physiological and molecular levels. It also discusses the opportunities for increasing drought tolerance in cotton either through modern gene editing technology like clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR/Cas9), zinc finger nuclease, molecular breeding as well as through crop management, such as use of appropriate fertilization, growth regulator application and soil amendments. <![CDATA[CORRECTION: Expression of Concern to: Knockdown of ZFR suppresses cell proliferation and invasion of human pancreatic cancer]]> Abstract Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and associated climatic variability is primarily responsible for inducing heat waves, flooding and drought stress. Among these, water scarcity is a major limitation to crop productivity. Water stress can severely reduce crop yield and both the severity and duration of the stress are critical. Water availability is a key driver for sustainable cotton production and its limitations can adversely affect physiological and biochemical processes of plants, leading towards lint yield reduction. Adaptation of crop husbandry techniques suitable for cotton crop requires a sound understanding of environmental factors, influencing cotton lint yield and fiber quality. Various defense mechanisms e.g. maintenance of membrane stability, carbon fixation rate, hormone regulation, generation of antioxidants and induction of stress proteins have been found play a vital role in plant survival under moisture stress. Plant molecular breeding plays a functional role to ascertain superior genes for important traits and can offer breeder ready markers for developing ideotypes. This review highlights drought-induced damage to cotton plants at structural, physiological and molecular levels. It also discusses the opportunities for increasing drought tolerance in cotton either through modern gene editing technology like clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR/Cas9), zinc finger nuclease, molecular breeding as well as through crop management, such as use of appropriate fertilization, growth regulator application and soil amendments.