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See detailNon-Coding RNAs in the Brain-Heart Axis: The Case of Parkinson’s Disease
Acharya, Shubhra; Salgado-Somoza, Antonio; Stefanizzi, Francesca Maria et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020), 21(18), 6513

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic motor stage of the disease have been identified, there are still no reliable biomarkers available for the early pre-motor phase of PD and for predicting disease progression. High-throughput RNA-based biomarker profiling and modeling may provide a means to exploit the joint information content from a multitude of markers to derive diagnostic and prognostic signatures. In the field of PD biomarker research, currently, no clinically validated RNA-based biomarker models are available, but previous studies reported several significantly disease-associated changes in RNA abundances and activities in multiple human tissues and body fluids. Here, we review the current knowledge of the regulation and function of non-coding RNAs in PD, focusing on microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs. Since there is growing evidence for functional interactions between the heart and the brain, we discuss the benefits of studying the role of non-coding RNAs in organ interactions when deciphering the complex regulatory networks involved in PD progression. We finally review important concepts of harmonization and curation of high throughput datasets, and we discuss the potential of systems biomedicine to derive and evaluate RNA biomarker signatures from high-throughput expression data. [less ▲]

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See detailDistinct Cargos of Small Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Hypoxic Cells and Their Effect on Cancer Cells
Walbrecq, Geoffroy; Margue, Christiane UL; Behrmann, Iris UL et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020)

Hypoxia is a common hallmark of solid tumors and is associated with aggressiveness, metastasis and poor outcome. Cancer cells under hypoxia undergo changes in metabolism and there is an intense crosstalk ... [more ▼]

Hypoxia is a common hallmark of solid tumors and is associated with aggressiveness, metastasis and poor outcome. Cancer cells under hypoxia undergo changes in metabolism and there is an intense crosstalk between cancer cells and cells from the tumor microenvironment. This cross talk is facilitated by small extracellular vesicles (sEVs; diameter between 30 and 200 nm), including exosomes and microvesicles, which carry a cargo of proteins, mRNA, ncRNA and other biological molecules. Hypoxia is known to increase secretion of sEVs and has an impact on the composition of the cargo. This sEV-mediated crosstalk ultimately leads to various biological effects in the proximal tumor microenvironment but also at distant, future metastatic sites. In this review, we discuss the changes induced by hypoxia on sEV secretion and their cargo as well as their effects on the behaviour and metabolism of cancer cells, the tumor microenvironment and metastatic events. [less ▲]

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See detailTwin Research in the Post-Genomic Era: Dissecting the Pathophysiological Effects of Adversity and the Social Environment
Turner, Jonathan UL; D'Ambrosio, Conchita UL; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020), 21

The role of twins in research is evolving as we move further into the post-genomic era. With the re-definition of what a gene is, it is becoming clear that biological family members who share a specific ... [more ▼]

The role of twins in research is evolving as we move further into the post-genomic era. With the re-definition of what a gene is, it is becoming clear that biological family members who share a specific genetic variant may well not have a similar risk for future disease. This has somewhat invalidated the prior rationale for twin studies. Case co-twin study designs, however, are slowly emerging as the ideal tool to identify both environmentally induced epigenetic marks and epigenetic disease-associated processes. Here, we propose that twin lives are not as identical as commonly assumed and that the case co-twin study design can be used to investigate the effects of the adult social environment. We present the elements in the (social) environment that are likely to affect the epigenome and measures in which twins may diverge. Using data from the German TwinLife registry, we confirm divergence in both the events that occur and the salience for the individual start as early as age 11. Case co-twin studies allow for the exploitation of these divergences, permitting the investigation of the role of not only the adult social environment, but also the salience of an event or environment for the individual, in determining lifelong health trajectories. In cases like social adversity where it is clearly not possible to perform a randomised-controlled trial, we propose that the case cotwin study design is the most rigorous manner with which to investigate epigenetic mechanisms encoding environmental exposure. The role of the case co-twin design will continue to evolve, as we argue that it will permit causal inference from observational data. [less ▲]

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See detailmiRNAs Regulate Cytokine Secretion Induced by Phosphorylated S100A8/A9 in Neutrophils.
Jung, Nicolas; Schenten, Veronique; Bueb, Jean-Luc UL et al

in International journal of molecular sciences (2019), 20(22),

The release of cytokines by neutrophils constitutes an essential process in the development of inflammation by recruiting and activating additional cells. Neutrophils are also able to secrete a complex of ... [more ▼]

The release of cytokines by neutrophils constitutes an essential process in the development of inflammation by recruiting and activating additional cells. Neutrophils are also able to secrete a complex of S100A8 and S100A9 proteins (S100A8/A9), which can amplify the general inflammatory state of the host and is involved in the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). S100A8/A9 have received renewed attention due to their susceptibility to several function-altering post-translational modifications. In that context, it has been recently demonstrated that only the phosphorylated form of S100A8/A9 (S100A8/A9-P) is able to induce the secretion of several cytokines in neutrophils. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which this post-translational modification of S100A8/A9 can regulate the extracellular activity of the protein complex and its impact on the inflammatory functions of neutrophils. We found that S100A8/A9-P are present in large amounts in the synovial fluids from RA patients, highlighting the importance of this form of S100A8/A9 complex in the inflammation process. Using miRNA-sequencing on S100A8/A9-P-stimulated differentiated HL-60 cells, we identified a dysregulation of miR-146a-5p and miR-155-5p expression through TRL4 signaling pathways. Our data reveal that overexpression of these miRNAs in neutrophil-like cells reduces S100A8/A9-P-mediated secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [less ▲]

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See detailStable Isotope-Assisted Evaluation of Different Extraction Solvents for Untargeted Metabolomics of Plants
Doppler, Maria; Kluger, Bernhard; Bueschl, Christoph et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2016)

The evaluation of extraction protocols for untargeted metabolomics approaches is still difficult. We have applied a novel stable isotope-assisted workflow for untargeted LC-HRMS-based plant metabolomics ... [more ▼]

The evaluation of extraction protocols for untargeted metabolomics approaches is still difficult. We have applied a novel stable isotope-assisted workflow for untargeted LC-HRMS-based plant metabolomics , which allows for the first time every detected feature to be considered for method evaluation. The efficiency and complementarity of commonly used extraction solvents, namely 1 + 3 (v/v) mixtures of water and selected organic solvents (methanol, acetonitrile or methanol/acetonitrile 1 + 1 (v/v)), with and without the addition of 0.1% (v/v) formic acid were compared. Four different wheat organs were sampled, extracted and analysed by LC-HRMS. Data evaluation was performed with the in-house-developed MetExtract II software and R. With all tested solvents a total of 871 metabolites were extracted in ear, 785 in stem, 733 in leaf and 517 in root samples, respectively. Between 48% (stem) and 57% (ear) of the metabolites detected in a particular organ were found with all extraction mixtures, and 127 of 996 metabolites were consistently shared between all extraction agent/organ combinations. In aqueous methanol, acidification with formic acid led to pronounced pH dependency regarding the precision of metabolite abundance and the number of detectable metabolites, whereas extracts of acetonitrile-containing mixtures were less affected. Moreover, methanol and acetonitrile have been found to be complementary with respect to extraction efficiency. Interestingly, the beneficial properties of both solvents can be combined by the use of a water-methanol-acetonitrile mixture for global metabolite extraction instead of aqueous methanol or aqueous acetonitrile alone. [less ▲]

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See detailBioinformatics Mining and Modeling Methods for the Identification of Disease Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Hofmann-Apitius, Matin; Ball, Gordon; Gebel, Stephan UL et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2015), 16(12), 29179-29206

Since the decoding of the Human Genome, techniques from bioinformatics, statistics, and machine learning have been instrumental in uncovering patterns in increasing amounts and types of different data ... [more ▼]

Since the decoding of the Human Genome, techniques from bioinformatics, statistics, and machine learning have been instrumental in uncovering patterns in increasing amounts and types of different data produced by technical profiling technologies applied to clinical samples, animal models, and cellular systems. Yet, progress on unravelling biological mechanisms, causally driving diseases, has been limited, in part due to the inherent complexity of biological systems. Whereas we have witnessed progress in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the area of neurodegenerative diseases has proved to be very challenging. This is in part because the aetiology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer´s disease or Parkinson´s disease is unknown, rendering it very difficult to discern early causal events. Here we describe a panel of bioinformatics and modeling approaches that have recently been developed to identify candidate mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases based on publicly available data and knowledge. We identify two complementary strategies-data mining techniques using genetic data as a starting point to be further enriched using other data-types, or alternatively to encode prior knowledge about disease mechanisms in a model based framework supporting reasoning and enrichment analysis. Our review illustrates the challenges entailed in integrating heterogeneous, multiscale and multimodal information in the area of neurology in general and neurodegeneration in particular. We conclude, that progress would be accelerated by increasing efforts on performing systematic collection of multiple data-types over time from each individual suffering from neurodegenerative disease. The work presented here has been driven by project AETIONOMY; a project funded in the course of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI); which is a public-private partnership of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) and the European Commission (EC). [less ▲]

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See detailIntermediates in the protein folding process: a computational model
Roterman, Irena; Konieczny, Leszek; Banach, Mateusz et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2011), 12(8), 4850-60

The paper presents a model for simulating the protein folding process in silico. The two-step model (which consists of the early stage-ES and the late stage-LS) is verified using two proteins, one of ... [more ▼]

The paper presents a model for simulating the protein folding process in silico. The two-step model (which consists of the early stage-ES and the late stage-LS) is verified using two proteins, one of which is treated (according to experimental observations) as the early stage and the second as an example of the LS step. The early stage is based solely on backbone structural preferences, while the LS model takes into account the water environment, treated as an external hydrophobic force field and represented by a 3D Gauss function. The characteristics of 1ZTR (the ES intermediate, as compared with 1ENH, which is the LS intermediate) confirm the link between the gradual disappearance of ES characteristics in LS structural forms and the simultaneous emergence of LS properties in the 1ENH protein. Positive verification of ES and LS characteristics in these two proteins (1ZTR and 1ENH respectively) suggest potential applicability of the presented model to in silico protein folding simulations. [less ▲]

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