2016 Vol. 7, No. 9

On the ground in Western Africa: from the outbreak to the elapse of Ebola
William J. Liu
2016, 7(9): 621-623. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0305-2
Research articles
Elimination of the geomagnetic field stimulates the proliferation of mouse neural progenitor and stem cells
Jing-Peng Fu, Wei-Chuan Mo, Ying Liu, Perry F. Bartlett, Rong-Qiao He
2016, 7(9): 624-637. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0300-7
Living organisms are exposed to the geomagnetic field (GMF) throughout their lifespan. Elimination of the GMF, resulting in a hypogeomagnetic field (HMF), leads to central nervous system dysfunction and abnormal development in animals. However, the cellular mechanisms underlying these effects have not been identified so far. Here, we show that exposure to an HMF (<200 nT), produced by a magnetic field shielding chamber, promotes the proliferation of neural progenitor/stem cells (NPCs/NSCs) from C57BL/6 mice. Following seven-day HMF-exposure, the primary neurospheres (NSs) were significantly larger in size, and twice more NPCs/NSCs were harvested from neonatal NSs, when compared to the GMF controls. The self-renewal capacity and multipotency of the NSs were maintained, as HMF-exposed NSs were positive for NSC markers (Nestin and Sox2), and could differentiate into neurons and astrocyte/glial cells and be passaged continuously. In addition, adult mice exposed to the HMF for one month were observed to have a greater number of proliferative cells in the subventricular zone. These findings indicate that continuous HMF-exposure increases the proliferation of NPCs/NSCs, in vitro and in vivo. HMF-disturbed NPCs/NSCs production probably affects brain development and function, which provides a novel clue for elucidating the cellular mechanisms of the bio-HMF response.
Cellular model of neuronal atrophy induced by DYNC1I1 deficiency reveals protective roles of RAS-RAF-MEK signaling
Zhi-Dong Liu, Su Zhang, Jian-Jin Hao, Tao-Rong Xie, Jian-Sheng Kang
2016, 7(9): 638-650. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0301-6
Neuronal atrophy is a common pathological feature occurred in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. A variety of abnormalities including motor protein malfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute to the loss of neuronal architecture; however, less is known about the intracellular signaling pathways that can protect against or delay this pathogenic process. Here, we show that the DYNC1I1 deficiency, a neuron-specific dynein intermediate chain, causes neuronal atrophy in primary hippocampal neurons. With this cellular model, we are able to find that activation of RAS-RAF-MEK signaling protects against neuronal atrophy induced by DYNC1I1 deficiency, which relies on MEK-dependent autophagy in neuron. Moreover, we further reveal that BRAF also protects against neuronal atrophy induced by mitochondrial impairment. These findings demonstrate protective roles of the RAS-RAF-MEK axis against neuronal atrophy, and imply a new therapeutic target for clinical intervention.
Subcellular redistribution and sequential recruitment of macromolecular components during SGIV assembly
Yongming Yuan, Yunhan Hong
2016, 7(9): 651-661. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0292-3
Virus infection consists of entry, synthesis of macromolecular components, virus assembly and release. Understanding of the mechanisms underlying each event is necessary for the intervention of virus infection in human healthcare and agriculture. Here we report the visualization of Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) assembly in the medaka haploid embryonic stem (ES) cell line HX1. SGIV is a highly infectious DNA virus that causes a massive loss in marine aquaculture. Ectopic expression of VP88GFP, a fusion between green fluorescent protein and the envelope protein VP088, did not compromise the ES cell properties and susceptibility to SGIV infection. Although VP88GFP disperses evenly in the cytoplasm of non-infected cells, it undergoes aggregation and redistribution in SGIV-infected cells. Real-time visualization revealed multiple key stages of VP88GFP redistribution and the dynamics of viral assembly site (VAS). Specifically, VP88GFP entry into and condensation in the VAS occurred within a 6-h duration, a similar duration was observed also for the release of VP88GFP-containing SGIV out of the cell. Taken together, VP088 is an excellent marker for visualizing the SGIV infection process. Our results provide new insight into macromolecular component recruitment and SGIV assembly.
Novel matrine derivative MD-1 attenuates hepatic fibrosis by inhibiting EGFR activation of hepatic stellate cells
Yi Feng, Hai-yan Ying, Ying Qu, Xiao-bo Cai, Ming-yi Xu, Lun-gen Lu
2016, 7(9): 662-672. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0285-2
Matrine (MT), the effective component of Sophora flavescens Ait, has been shown to have anti-inflammation, immune-suppressive, anti-tumor, and anti-hepatic fibrosis activities. However, the pharmacological effects of MT still need to be strengthened due to its relatively low efficacy and short half-life. In the present study, we report a more effective thio derivative of MT, MD-1, and its inhibitory effects on the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in both cell culture and animal models. Cytological experiments showed that MD-1 can inhibit the proliferation of HSC-T6 cells with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 62 μmol/L. In addition, MD-1 more strongly inhibits the migration of HSC-T6 cells compared to MT and can more effectively induce G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis. Investigating the biological mechanisms underlying anti-hepatic fibrosis in the presence of MD-1, we found that MD-1 can bind the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the surface of HSC-T6 cells, which can further inhibit the phosphorylation of EGFR and its downstream protein kinase B (Akt), resulting in decreased expression of cyclin D1 and eventual inhibition of the activation of HSC-T6 cells. Furthermore, in rats with dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced hepatic fibrosis, MD-1 slowed the development and progression of hepatic fibrosis, protecting hepatic parenchymal cells and improving hepatic functions. Therefore, MD-1 is a potential drug for anti-hepatic fibrosis.
An unusual UMP C-5 methylase in nucleoside antibiotic polyoxin biosynthesis
Wenqing Chen, Jie Li, Lian Wu, Yan Li, Renxiao Wang, Zixin Deng, Jiahai Zhou
2016, 7(9): 673-683. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0289-y
Polyoxin is a group of structurally-related peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics bearing C-5 modifications on the nucleoside skeleton. Although the structural diversity and bioactivity preference of polyoxin are, to some extent, affected by such modifications, the biosynthetic logic for their occurence remains obscure. Here we report the identification of PolB in polyoxin pathway as an unusual UMP C-5 methylase with thymidylate synthase activity which is responsible for the C-5 methylation of the nucleoside skeleton. To probe its molecular mechanism, we determined the crystal structures of PolB alone and in complexes with 5-Br UMP and 5-Br dUMP at 2.15 Å, 1.76 Å and 2.28 Å resolutions, respectively. Loop 1 (residues 117-131), Loop 2 (residues 192-201) and the substrate recognition peptide (residues 94-102) of PolB exhibit considerable conformational flexibility and adopt distinct structures upon binding to different substrate analogs. Consistent with the structural findings, a PolB homolog that harbors an identical function from Streptomyces viridochromogenes DSM 40736 was identified. The discovery of UMP C5-methylase opens the way to rational pathway engineering for polyoxin component optimization, and will also enrich the toolbox for natural nucleotide chemistry.
Obacunone activates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant responses
Shengmei Xu, Weimin Chen, Qingfeng Xie, Yang Xu
2016, 7(9): 684-688. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0297-y
An episomal CRISPR/Cas9 system to derive vector-free gene modified mammalian cells
Linlin Li, Fei Gao, Sen Wu
2016, 7(9): 689-691. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0299-9
Rab1A mediates proinsulin to insulin conversion in β-cells by maintaining Golgi stability through interactions with golgin-84
Xiaojing Liu, Zhenguo Wang, Ying Yang, Qingrun Li, Rong Zeng, Jiuhong Kang, Jiarui Wu
2016, 7(9): 692-696. doi: 10.1007/s13238-016-0298-x