Summary The mutagenic activity of transposable elements (TEs) is suppressed by epigenetic silencing and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), especially in gametes that would transmit transposed elements to the next generation. In pollen from the model plant Arabidopsis, we show that TEs are unexpectedly reactivated and transpose, but only in the pollen vegetative nucleus, which accompanies the sperm cells but does not provide DNA to the fertilized zygote. TE expression coincides with down-regulation of the heterochromatin remodeler DECREASE IN DNA METHYLATION 1 and of most TE siRNAs. However, 21 nucleotide siRNA from Athila retrotransposons is generated in pollen and accumulates in sperm, indicating that siRNA from TEs activated in the vegetative nucleus can target silencing in gametes. We propose a conserved role for reprogramming in germline companion cells, such as nurse cells in insects and vegetative nuclei in plants, to reveal intact TEs in the genome and regulate their activity in gametes.
Coumarins, also known as benzopyrones, are present in remarkable amounts in plants, although their presence has also been detected in microorganisms and animal sources. The structural diversity found in this family of compounds led to the division into different categories, from simple coumarins to many other kinds of policyclic coumarins, such as furocoumarins and pyranocoumarins. Simple coumarins and analogues are a large class of compounds that have attracted their interest for a long time due to their biological activities: they have shown to be useful as antitumoural, anti-HIV agents and as CNS-active compounds. Furthermore, they have been reported to have multiple biological activities (anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory), although all these properties have not been evaluated systematically. In addition, their enzyme inhibition properties, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities are other foremost topics of this field of research. The present work is to survey the information published or abstracted from 1990 till 2003, which is mainly related to the occurrence, synthesis and biological importance of simple coumarins and some analogues, such as biscoumarins and triscoumarins. Data are also highlighted, concerning the development of new synthetic strategies that could help in drug design and in the work on SAR or QSAR.
The last few decades have provided stunning progresses in the understanding of physiopathology of several diseases. The remarkable progress in research fields, like genetics, immunology, neurobiology, among others, as well as the advent of more powerful tools, have made it possible to characterize, monitor, and understand far more of the basis of physiology and disease. However, for some diseases the treatment remains a problematic issue as the efforts performed so far were not translated into therapeutic solutions. Notwithstanding the steady increase in the total amount of FCUP
Hypoxia is associated with tissue injury and fibrosis but its functional role in fibroblast activation and tissue repair/regeneration is unknown. Using kidney injury as a model system, we demonstrate that injured epithelial cells produce an increased number of exosomes with defined genetic information to activate fibroblasts. Exosomes released by injured epithelial cells promote proliferation, a-smooth muscle actin expression, F-actin expression, and type I collagen production in fibroblasts. Fibroblast activation is dependent on exosomes delivering TGF-b1 mRNA among other yet to be identified moieties. This study suggests that TGF-b1 mRNA transported by exosomes constitutes a rapid response to initiate tissue repair/regenerative responses and activation of fibroblasts when resident parenchyma is injured. The results also inform potential utility of exosome-targeted therapies to control tissue fibrosis.
Cancer, one of the major causes of death across the world, has shown to be a largely preventable disease, highly susceptible to modulation by dietary factors. Phenolic compounds, abundant in vegetables and fruits ubiquitous in diet, were described to play an important role as chemopreventive agents. Since conventional therapeutic and surgical approaches have not been able to control the incidence of most cancer types, the development of chemopreventive strategies is an urgent priority in public health. The current diet phenolic intake is often insufficient to protect from mutagens (either exogenous or endogenous), which leads to the need for dietary supplementation as an alternative approach. Research efforts are placing increasing emphasis on identifying the biological mechanisms and in particular the signal transduction pathways related to the chemopreventive activities of these compounds. These effects are believed to occur by the regulation of signaling pathways such as nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB), activator protein-1 (AP-1) or mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK). Dietary polyphenols can exert their effects on these pathways separately or sequentially and in addition the occurrence of crosstalk between these pathways cannot be overlooked. By modulating cell signaling pathways, polyphenols activate cell death signals and induce apoptosis in precancerous or malignant cells resulting in the inhibition of cancer development or progression. However, regulation of cell signaling pathways by dietary polyphenols can also lead to cell proliferation/survival or inflammatory responses due to increased expression of several genes. The present review summarizes the most recent advances providing new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the promising anticarcinogenic activity of dietary polyphenols. ß
Xanthine oxidase (XO) is a highly versatile flavoprotein enzyme, ubiquitous among species (from bacteria to human) and within the various tissues of mammals. The enzyme catalyses the oxidative hydroxylation of purine substrates at the molybdenum centre (the reductive half-reaction) and subsequent reduction of O(2) at the flavin centre with generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), either superoxide anion radical or hydrogen peroxide (the oxidative half-reaction). Many diseases, or at least symptoms of diseases, arise from a deficiency or excess of a specific metabolite in the body. For an example of an excess of a particular metabolite that produces a disease state is the excess of uric acid which can led to gout. Inhibition of XO decreases the uric acid levels, and results in an antihyperuricemic effect. Allopurinol, first synthesised as a potential anticancer agent, is nowadays a clinically useful xanthine oxidase inhibitor used in the treatment of gout. There is overwhelming acceptance that xanthine oxidase serum levels are significantly increased in various pathological states like hepatitis, inflammation, ischemia-reperfusion, carcinogenesis and aging and that ROS generated in the enzymatic process are involved in oxidative damage. Thus, it may be possible that the inhibition of this enzymatic pathway would be beneficial. In this review the State of the Art will be presented, which includes a summary of the progress made over the past years in the knowledge of the structure and mechanism of the enzyme, associated pathological states, and in the efforts made towards the development of new xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
The antiradical activity of caffeic acid (1), dihydrocaffeic acid (5), and their corresponding n-alkyl esters was evaluated by using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH(*)) method. Dihydrocaffeic acid (5) was the most potent compound, having an antiradical effect higher than that of (+/-)-alpha-tocopherol, whereas caffeic acid (1) was less efficient. Esterification of the carboxyl group of dihydrocaffeic acid (5) had a dramatic effect on its antiradical potency, but similar effects were not observed for caffeic acid (1) derivatives. The n-alkyl esters of both phenolic series had similar potencies, and their antiradical activities were independent of the alkyl chain length. Dose-dependent scavenger effects were found in both series. Acid-base properties of the compounds, evaluated by using potentiometry and spectrophotometry, showed that the catechol moiety had pK(a2) and pK(a3) values of 9. 24-9.02 and 11.38-10.99 in the dihydrocaffeic series and 8.48-8.24 and 11.38-11.07 in the caffeic series, respectively. Antiradical activity and pK(a) values of the compounds were not related.
This study evaluated the effects of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) or their conditioned medium (CM) on the repair and prevention of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) induced by gentamicin (G). Animals received daily injections of G up to 20 days. On the 10th day, injections of BMSCs, CM, CM+trypsin, CM+RNase or exosome-like microvesicles extracted from the CM were administered. In the prevention groups, the animals received the BMSCs 24 h before or on the 5th day of G treatment. Creatinine (Cr), urea (U), FENa and cytokines were quantified. The kidneys were evaluated using hematoxylin/eosin staining and immunohystochemistry. The levels of Cr, U and FENa increased during all the periods of G treatment. The BMSC transplantation, its CM or exosome injections inhibited the increase in Cr, U, FENa, necrosis, apoptosis and also increased cell proliferation. The pro-inflammatory cytokines decreased while the anti-inflammatory cytokines increased compared to G. When the CM or its exosomes were incubated with RNase (but not trypsin), these effects were blunted. The Y chromosome was not observed in the 24-h prevention group, but it persisted in the kidney for all of the periods analyzed, suggesting that the injury is necessary for the docking and maintenance of BMSCs in the kidney. In conclusion, the BMSCs and CM minimized the G-induced renal damage through paracrine effects, most likely through the RNA carried by the exosome-like microvesicles. The use of the CM from BMSCs can be a potential therapeutic tool for this type of nephrotoxicity, allowing for the avoidance of cell transplantations.
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