The 18 kDa translocator protein TSPO localizes on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). Systematically overexpressed at sites of neuroinflammation it is adopted as a biomarker of brain conditions. TSPO inhibits the autophagic removal of mitochondria by limiting PARK2-mediated mitochondrial ubiquitination via a peri-organelle accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here we describe that TSPO deregulates mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling leading to a parallel increase in the cytosolic Ca2+ pools that activate the Ca2+-dependent NADPH oxidase (NOX) thereby increasing ROS. The inhibition of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake by TSPO is a consequence of the phosphorylation of the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC1) by the protein kinase A (PKA), which is recruited to the mitochondria, in complex with the Acyl-CoA binding domain containing 3 (ACBD3). Notably, the neurotransmitter glutamate, which contributes neuronal toxicity in age-dependent conditions, triggers this TSPO-dependent mechanism of cell signaling leading to cellular demise. TSPO is therefore proposed as a novel OMM-based pathway to control intracellular Ca2+ dynamics and redox transients in neuronal cytotoxicity.
Diet and nutrition are important factors in the promotion and maintenance of good health throughout the entire life course. A plant-based diet may be able to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, obesity, chronic inflammation and cancer. Phytonutrient rich foods are found in traditional African diet which is mostly vegetarian, and most of these food plants are often used for medicinal purposes. This review focuses on a peculiar plant Moringa oleifera, called the “Miracle Tree”, considered to be one of nature’s healthiest and most nutritious foods. Countless studies describe the benefits of Moringa leaves, pods, seeds and flowers. Its well-documented role in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases is hypothesized here as a result of possible of cross-kingdom regulation by exogenous vegetal microRNAs and synergistic action of plant bioactive components on endogenous human microRNA regulation. The potential health impact of phytocomplexes from African dietary plants within the context of cross-kingdom and endogenous microRNA regulation on health improvement and the overall economic well-being of the continent is estimated to be enormous.
DCs play an essential role in the endotoxic shock, and their profound depletion occurs in septic patients and septic mice. TG2(-/-) mice are more resistant to the endotoxic shock induced by LPS. Here, we studied the cellular and molecular basis of this effect, analyzing the role of the enzyme in DC maturation and function. We show that TG2 is up-regulated drastically during the final, functional maturation of DCs consequent to LPS treatment. In keeping with this finding, the inhibition of the enzyme cross-linking activity determines the impairment of DC function highlighted by wide phenotypic changes associated with a reduced production of cytokines (IL-10, IL-12) after LPS treatment and a lower ability to induce IFN-gamma production by naïve T cells. The in vivo analysis of DCs obtained from TG2(-/-) mice confirmed that the enzyme ablation leads to an impairment of DC maturation and their reduced responsiveness to LPS treatment. In fact, a marked decrease in DC death, TLR4 down-regulation, and impaired up-regulation of MHCII and CD86 were observed in TG2(-/-) mice. Taken together, these data suggest that TG2 plays an important role in regulating the response of DCs to LPS and could be a candidate target for treating endotoxin-induced sepsis.
Cellular senescence is a stable cell cycle arrest that is the causative process of aging. The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is implicated in the control of cellular senescence and inhibitors of this pathway have been successfully used for life span prolongation experiments in mammals. PTEN is the major regulator of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and loss of PTEN promotes a senescence response termed PICS. Here we report a novel-screening assay, for the identification of compounds that block different types of senescence response. By testing a library of more than 3000 natural and chemical compounds in PTEN deficient cells we have found that an extract from Salvia haenkei (SH), a native plant of Bolivia is a potent inhibitor of PICS. SH also decreases replicative and UV-mediated senescence in human primary fibroblasts and in a model of in vitro reconstructed human epidermis. Mechanistically, SH treatment affects senescence driven by UV by interfering with IL1-ɑ signalling. Pre-clinical and clinical testing of this extract by performing toxicity and irritability evaluation in vitro also demonstrate the safety of SH extract for clinical use as anti-aging skin treatment.
MicroRNAs, a class of small, non-coding RNAs, play important roles in plant growth, development and stress response by negatively regulating gene expression. Moringa oleifera Lam. plant has many medical and nutritional uses; however, little attention has been dedicated to its potential for the bio production of active compounds. In this study, 431 conserved and 392 novel microRNA families were identified and 9 novel small RNA libraries constructed from leaf, and cold stress treated callus, using high-throughput sequencing technology. Based on the M. oleifera genome, the microRNA repertoire of the seed was re-evaluated. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the expression pattern of 11 conserved microRNAs in all groups. MicroRNA159 was found to be the most abundant conserved microRNA in leaf and callus, while microRNA393 was most abundantly expressed in the seed. The majority of predicted microRNA target genes were transcriptional factors involved in plant reproduction, growth/development and abiotic/biotic stress response. In conclusion, this is the first comprehensive analysis of microRNAs in M. oleifera leaf and callus which represents an important addition to the existing M. oleifera seed microRNA database and allows for possible exploitation of plant microRNAs induced with abiotic stress, as a tool for bio-enrichment with pharmacologically important phytochemicals.
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