Cell walls are essential for fungal survival and growth. Fungal walls are ∼ 90% carbohydrate, mostly types not found in humans, making them promising targets for anti-fungal drug development. Echinocandins, which inhibit the essential β-glucan synthase, are already clinically available. In contrast, α-glucan, another abundant fungal cell wall component has attracted relatively little research attention because it is not essential for most fungi. Aspergillus nidulans has two α-glucan synthases (AgsA and AgsB) and two α-amylases (AmyD and AmyG), all of which affect α-glucan synthesis. Gene deletion showed that AgsB was the major synthase. In addition, AmyG promoted α-glucan synthesis whereas AmyD had a repressive effect. The lack of α-glucan had no phenotypic impact on solid medium, but reduced conidial adhesion during germination in shaken liquid. Moreover, α-glucan level correlated with resistance to Calcofluor White. Intriguingly, overexpression of agsA could compensate for the loss of agsB at the α-glucan level, but not for phenotypic defects. Thus, products of AgsA and AgsB have different roles in the cell wall, consistent with agsA being mainly expressed at conidiation. These results suggest that α-glucan contributes to drug sensitivity and conidia adhesion in A. nidulans, and is differentially regulated by two synthases and two amylases.
Light is a major environmental cue affecting various physiological and metabolic processes in plants. Although plant photoreceptors are well characterized, the mechanisms by which light regulates downstream responses are less clear. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the accumulation of photoprotective anthocyanin pigments is light dependent, and the R2R3 MYB transcription factor MYB75/PAP1 regulates anthocyanin accumulation. Here, we report that MYB75 interacts with and is phosphorylated by MAP KINASE4 (MPK4). Their interaction is dependent on MPK4 kinase activity and is required for full function of MYB75. MPK4 can be activated in response to light and is involved in the light-induced accumulation of anthocyanins. We show that MPK4 phosphorylation of MYB75 increases its stability and is essential for light-induced anthocyanin accumulation. Our findings reveal an important role for a MAPK pathway in light signal transduction.
Ultra-small gold nanoclusters (Au NCs) are highly promising materials for tumor imaging and therapy because of their low toxicity, intrinsic fluorescence, and the availability of multifunctional groups for covalent linkage of diverse bioactive molecules. Au NCs stabilized by bovine serum albumin (BSA) were prepared via an improved "green" synthetic routine. To ameliorate the selective affinity of Au NCs for high folate receptor (FR) expressing tumors, folic acid (FA) was immobilized on the surface of Au NCs. Subsequently, a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye MPA was conjugated with Au-FA NCs for in vitro and in vivo fluorescence imaging. Similarly, Doxorubicin (DOX), a widely used clinical anticancer drug, was also conjugated to the folate-modified Au NCs to form a prodrug (Au-FA-DOX). Cellular and in vivo acute toxicity studies demonstrated the low toxicity of the Au-FA-MPA to normal cells and tissues. Additionally, in vitro and in vivo study of the dynamic behavior and targeting ability of Au-FA-MPA to different tumors validated the high selective affinity of Au-FA-MPA to FR positive tumors. With regard to the Au-FA-DOX, high anti-tumor activity was displayed by this pro-drug due to the FR mediated uptake. Herein, all of the results supported the potential of using ligand-modified Au NCs for tumor imaging and targeted therapy.
Adipocytes arising from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) requires MSC adipocyte commitment and differentiation of preadipocytes to mature adipocytes. Several signaling and some cytokines affect the adipogenesis of MSCs. This review focuses on the roles of TGF-β/SMAD signaling in adipocyte commitment of MSCs. BMP4 and BMP7 signaling are sufficient to induce adipocyte lineage determination of MSCs. The roles of BMP2, TGF-β, and myostatin signaling in this process are unclear. Other TGF-β/SMAD signaling such as BMP3 and BMP6 signaling have almost no effect on commitment because of limited research available, while GDF11 signaling inhibits adipocyte commitment in human MSCs. In this review, we summarize the available information on TGF-β/SMAD signaling regulation of MSCs in adipocyte commitment. Deeper study of this commitment mechanism will offer new approaches in treating obesity, diabetes mellitus, and obesity-related metabolism syndrome.
There is a double-negative feedback mechanism that controls TEAD-YAP and HNF4α expression in vitro and in vivo, thereby regulating cellular proliferation and differentiation. Given that YAP acts as a dominant oncogene in HCC and plays a crucial role in stem cell homeostasis and tissue regeneration, manipulating the interaction between YAP, TEADs, and HNF4α may provide a new approach for HCC treatment and regenerative medicine. (Hepatology 2017;65:1206-1221).
SummaryWnt-b-catenin signaling participates in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in a variety of cancers; however, its involvement in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and downstream molecular events is largely undefined. HNF4a is the most prominent and specific factor maintaining the differentiation of hepatic lineage cells and a potential EMT regulator in HCC cells. However, the molecular mechanisms by which HNF4a maintains the differentiated liver epithelium and inhibits EMT have not been completely defined. In this study, we systematically explored the relationship between Wnt-b-catenin signaling and HNF4a in the EMT process of HCC cells. Our results indicated that HNF4a expression was negatively regulated during Wnt-b-catenin signaling-induced EMT through Snail and Slug in HCC cells. In contrast, HNF4a was found to directly associate with TCF4 to compete with b-catenin but facilitate transcription corepressor activities, thus inhibiting expression of EMT-related Wnt-b-catenin targets. Moreover, HNF4a may control the switch between the transcriptional and adhesion functions of b-catenin. Overexpression of HNF4a was found to completely compromise the Wnt-b-catenin-signaling-induced EMT phenotype. Finally, we determined the regulation pattern between Wnt-b-catenin signaling and HNF4a in rat tumor models. Our studies have identified a double-negative feedback mechanism controlling Wnt-b-catenin signaling and HNF4a expression in vitro and in vivo, which sheds new light on the regulation of EMT in HCC. The modulation of these molecular processes may be a method of inhibiting HCC invasion by blocking Wnt-b-catenin signaling or restoring HNF4a expression to prevent EMT.
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