2013 Vol. 4, No. 3

Regulation of HMGB1 release by inflammasomes
Ben Lu, Haichao Wang, Ulf Andersson, Kevin J. Tracey
2013, 4(3): 163-167. doi: 10.1007/s13238-012-2118-2
High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is an evolutionarily conserved non-histone chromatin-binding protein. During infection or injury, activated immune cells and damaged cells release HMGB1 into the extracellular space, where HMGB1 functions as a proinflammatory mediator and contributes importantly to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. Recent studies reveal that inflammasomes, intracellular protein complexes, critically regulate HMGB1 release from activated immune cells in response to a variety of exogenous and endogenous danger signals. Double stranded RNA dependent kinase (PKR), an intracellular danger-sensing molecule, physically interacts with inflammasome components and is important for inflammasome activation and HMGB1 release. Together, these studies not only unravel novel mechanisms of HMGB1 release during inflammation, but also provide potential therapeutic targets to treat HMGB1-related inflammatory diseases.
Expression regulation and function of NLRC5
Yikun Yao, Youcun Qian
2013, 4(3): 168-175. doi: 10.1007/s13238-012-2109-3
The NOD like receptors (NLRs), a class of intracellular receptors that respond to pathogen attack or cellular stress, have gained increasing attention. NLRC5, the largest member of the NLR protein family, has recently been identified as a critical regulator of immune responses. While NLRC5 is constitutively and widely expressed, it can be dramatically induced by interferons during pathogen infections. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that NLRC5 is a specific and master regulator of major mistocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes as well as related genes involved in MHC class I antigen presentation. The expression of MHC class I genes is regulated by NLRC5 in coordination with the RFX components through an enhanceosome-dependent manner. And the involvement of NLRC5 in MHC class I mediated CD8+ T cell activation, proliferation and cytotoxicity is proved to be critical for host defense against intracellular bacterial infections. Nevertheless, the role of NLRC5 in innate immunity remains to be further explored. Here, we review the research advances on the structure, expression regulation and function of NLRC5.
NF-κB and STAT3 signaling pathways collaboratively link inflammation to cancer
Yihui Fan, Renfang Mao, Jianhua Yang
2013, 4(3): 176-185. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2084-3
Although links between cancer and inflammation were firstly proposed in the nineteenth century, the molecular mechanism has not yet been clearly understood. Epidemiological studies have identified chronic infections and inflammation as major risk factors for various types of cancer. NF-κB transcription factors and the signaling pathways are central coordinators in innate and adaptive immune responses. STAT3 regulates the expression of a variety of genes in response to cellular stimuli, and thus plays a key role in cell growth and apoptosis. Recently, roles of NF-κB and STAT3 in colon, gastric and liver cancers have been extensively investigated. The activation and interaction between STAT3 and NF-κB play vital roles in control of the communication between cancer cells and inflammatory cells. NF-κB and STAT3 are two major factors controlling the ability of pre-neoplastic and malignant cells to resist apoptosis-based tumor-surveillance and regulating tumor angiogenesis and invasiveness. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of NF-κB and STAT3 cooperation in cancer will offer opportunities for the design of new chemo-preventive and chemotherapeutic approaches.
Molecular mechanisms for survival regulation of chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells
Haojian Zhang, Shaoguang Li
2013, 4(3): 186-196. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2115-0
Studies on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have served as a paradigm for cancer research and therapy. These studies involve the identification of the first cancer-associated chromosomal abnormality and the subsequent development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that inhibit BCR-ABL kinase activity in CML. It becomes clear that leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in CML which are resistant to TKIs, and eradication of LSCs appears to be extremely difficult. Therefore, one of the major issues in current CML biology is to understand the biology of LSCs and to investigate why LSCs are insensitive to TKI monotherapy for developing curative therapeutic strategies. Studies from our group and others have revealed that CML LSCs form a hierarchy similar to that seen in normal hematopoiesis, in which a rare stem cell population with limitless selfrenewal potential gives rise to progenies that lack such potential. LSCs also possess biological features that are different from those of normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and are critical for their malignant characteristics. In this review, we summarize the latest progress in CML field, and attempt to understand the molecular mechanisms of survival regulation of LSCs.
Research article
Immune modulatory function of abundant immune-related microRNAs in microvesicles from bovine colostrum
Qi Sun, Xi Chen, Jianxiong Yu, Ke Zen, Chen-Yu Zhang, Liang Li
2013, 4(3): 197-210. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2119-9
Colostrum provides essential nutrients and immunologically active factors that are beneficial to newborns. Our previous work demonstrated that milk contains large amounts of miRNA that is largely stored in milk-derived microvesicles (MVs). In the present study, we found that the MVs from colostrum contain significantly higher levels of several immune-related miRNAs. We hypothesized that the colostrum MVs may transfer the immune-related miRNAs into cells, which contribute to its immune modulatory feature. We isolated colostrum MVs by ultracentrifugation and demonstrated several immune modulation features associated with miRNAs. We also provide evidence that the physical structure of milk-derived MVs is essential for transfer miRNAs and following immune modulation effect. Moreover, we found that colostrum powder-derived MVs also contains higher levels of immune-related miRNAs that display similar immune modulation effects. Taken together, these results show that MV-containing immunerelated miRNAs may be a novel mechanism by which colostrum modulates body immune response.
Crystal structure of Lamellipodin implicates diverse functions in actin polymerization and Ras signaling
Yu-Chung Chang, Hao Zhang, Mark L. Brennan, Jinhua Wu
2013, 4(3): 211-219. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2082-5
The adapter protein Lamellipodin (Lpd) plays an important role in cell migration. In particular, Lpd mediates lamellipodia formation by regulating actin dynamics via interacting with Ena/VASP proteins. Its RA-PH tandem domain configuration suggests that like its paralog RIAM, Lpd may also mediate particular Ras GTPase signaling. We determined the crystal structures of the Lpd RA-PH domains alone and with an N-terminal coiled-coil region (cc-RA-PH). These structures reveal that apart from the anticipated coiled-coil interaction, Lpd may also oligomerize through a second intermolecular contact site. We then validated both oligomerization interfaces in solution by mutagenesis. A fluorescence-polarization study demonstrated that Lpd binds phosphoinositol with low affinity. Based on our crystallographic and biochemical data, we propose that Lpd and RIAM serve diverse functions:Lpd plays a predominant role in regulating actin polymerization, and its function in mediating Ras GTPase signaling is largely suppressed compared to RIAM.
Dynamic roles of angiopoietin-like proteins 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 in the survival and enhancement of ex vivo expansion of bone-marrow hematopoietic stem cells
Shahina Akhter, Md. Mashiar Rahman, Hyun Seo Lee, Hyeon-Jin Kim, Seong-Tshool Hong
2013, 4(3): 220-230. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2066-5
Recent advances in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) expansion by growth factors including angiopoietin-like proteins (Angptls) have opened up the possibility to use HSCs in regenerative medicine. However, the unavailability of true in vitro HSCs expansion by these growth factors has limited the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanism of HSCs expansion. Here, we report the functional role of mouse Angptls 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 and growth factors SCF, TPO, IGF-2 and FGF-1 on purified mouse bone-marrow (BM) Lineage-Sca-1+(Lin-Sca-1+) HSCs. The recombinant retroviral transducedCHO-S cells that secrete Angptls in serum-free medium were used alone or in combination with growth factors (SCF, TPO, IGF-2 and FGF-1). None of the Angptls stimulated HSC proliferation, enhanced or inhibited HSCs colony formation, but they did support the survival of HSCs. By contrast, any of the six Angptls together with saturating levels of growth factors dramatically stimulated a 3-to 4.5-fold net expansion of HSCs compared to stimulation with a combination of those growth factors alone. These findings lead to an understanding of the basic function of Angptls on signaling pathways for the survival as well as expansion of HSCs in the bone marrow niche.
Inactivation of Cdc42 in embryonic brain results in hydrocephalus with ependymal cell defects in mice
Xu Peng, Qiong Lin, Yang Liu, Yixin Jin, Joseph E. Druso, Marc A. Antonyak, Jun-Lin Guan, Richard A. Cerione
2013, 4(3): 231-242. doi: 10.1007/s13238-012-2098-2
The establishment of a polarized cellular morphology is essential for a variety of processes including neural tube morphogenesis and the development of the brain. Cdc42 is a Ras-related GTPase that plays an essential role in controlling cell polarity through the regulation of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton architecture. Previous studies have shown that Cdc42 plays an indispensable role in telencephalon development in earlier embryo developmental stage (before E12.5). However, the functions of Cdc42 in other parts of brain in later embryo developmental stage or in adult brain remain unclear. Thus, in order to address the role of Cdc42 in the whole brain in later embryo developmental stage or in adulthood, we used Cre/loxP technology to generate two lines of tissuespecific Cdc42-knock-out mice. Inactivation of Cdc42 was achieved in neuroepithelial cells by crossing Cdc42/flox mice with Nestin-Cre mice and resulted in hydrocephalus, causing death to occur within the postnatal stage. Histological analyses of the brains from these mice showed that ependymal cell differentiation was disrupted, resulting in aqueductal stenosis. Deletion of Cdc42 in the cerebral cortex also induced obvious defects in interkinetic nuclear migration and hypoplasia. To further explore the role of Cdc42 in adult mice brain, we examined the effects of knocking-out Cdc42 in radial glial cells by crossing Cdc42/flox mice with human glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-Cre mice. Inactivation of Cdc42 in radial glial cells resulted in hydrocephalus and ependymal cell denudation. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of Cdc42 for ependymal cell differentiation and maintaining, and suggest that these functions likely contribute to the essential roles played by Cdc42 in the development of the brain.