Images of the week

CRISPR Therapeutics

Submitted by: Karim Shalaby
Molecular Biology ; Created: 12 Oct 2020; Latest updated: 12 Oct 2020

The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) genome editing system has been the focus of intense research in the last decade due to its superior ability to desirably target and edit DNA sequences. The applicability of the CRISPR-Cas system to in vivo genome editing has acquired substantial credit for a future in vivo gene-based therapeutic. Challenges such as targeting the wrong tissue, undesirable genetic mutations, or immunogenic responses, need to be tackled before CRISPR-Cas systems can be translated for clinical use. Hence, there is an evident gap in the field for a strategy to enhance the specificity of delivery of CRISPR-Cas gene editing systems for in vivo applications. Current approaches using viral vectors do not address these main challenges and, therefore, strategies to develop non-viral delivery systems are being explored. Peptide-based systems represent an attractive approach to developing gene-based therapeutics due to their specificity of targeting, scale-up potential, lack of an immunogenic response and resistance to proteolysis. In this review, we discuss the most recent efforts towards novel non-viral delivery systems, focusing on strategies and mechanisms of peptide-based delivery systems, that can specifically deliver CRISPR components to different cell types for therapeutic and research purposes.

DPSCs in Regenerative Therapy

Submitted by: Shinichiro Yoshida
Molecular Biology ; Created: 12 Oct 2020; Latest updated: 21 Oct 2020

Recently, dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHEDs) have attracted substantial attention as promising cell sources for tissue regeneration. Here, we summarized the features of DPSCs and SHEDs such as high growth capacity, multipotency, expression of cell markers, immunomodulatory effects, and their potential to regenerate various somatic tissues. 

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation potential, and are considered a promising cell population for cell-based therapy and tissue regeneration. MSCs are isolated from various organs including dental pulp, which originates from cranial neural crest-derived ectomesenchyme. Recently, dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHEDs) have been isolated from dental pulp tissue of adult permanent teeth and deciduous teeth, respectively. Because of their MSC-like characteristics such as high growth capacity, multipotency, expression of MSC-related markers, and immunomodulatory effects, they are suggested to be an important cell source for tissue regeneration.

Glucosinolates

Biochemistry ; Created: 12 Oct 2020; Latest updated: 12 Oct 2020

Glucosinolates (GSLs) are secondary plant metabolites abundantly found in plant order Brassicales. GSLs are constituted by an S-β-d-glucopyrano unit anomerically connected to O-sulfated (Z)-thiohydroximate moiety. The side-chain of the O-sulfate thiohydroximate moiety, which is derived from a different amino acid, contributes to the diversity of natural GSL, with more than 130 structures identified and validated to this day. Both the structural diversity of GSL and their biological implication in plants have been biochemically studied. While intact GSLs are biologically inactive, various products, including isothiocyanates, nitriles, epithionitriles, and cyanides obtained through enzyme-catalyzed hydrolysis of GSLs, exhibit many different biological activities, among which several therapeutic benefits have been suggested. 

Spider Silk with Inorganic Nanomaterials

Submitted by: Elena Krivoshapkina
Nanotechnology ; Created: 28 Sep 2020; Latest updated: 29 Sep 2020

High-performance functional biomaterials are becoming increasingly requested. Numerous natural and artificial polymers have already demonstrated their ability to serve as a basis for bio-composites. Spider silk offers a unique combination of desirable aspects such as biocompatibility, extraordinary mechanical properties, and tunable biodegradability, which are superior to those of most natural and engineered materials. Modifying spider silk with various inorganic nanomaterials with specific properties has led to the development of the hybrid materials with improved functionality. The purpose of using these inorganic nanomaterials is primarily due to their chemical nature, enhanced by large surface areas and quantum size phenomena. Functional properties of nanoparticles can be implemented to macro-scale components to produce silk-based hybrid materials, while spider silk fibers can serve as a matrix to combine the benefits of the functional components. Therefore, it is not surprising that hybrid materials based on spider silk and inorganic nanomaterials are considered extremely promising for potentially attractive applications in various fields, from optics and photonics to tissue regeneration. This review summarizes and discusses evidence of the use of various kinds of inorganic compounds in spider silk modification intended for a multitude of applications. It also provides an insight into approaches for obtaining hybrid silk-based materials via 3D printing.

Epigenetic Associations between lncRNA/circRNA, miRNA

Submitted by: Hyun Seung Ban
Oncology & Oncogenics ; Created: 29 Sep 2020; Latest updated: 29 Sep 2020

The three major members of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), named microRNAs (miRNAs), long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and circular RNAs (circRNAs), play an important role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. Recently, the competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) regulation model described lncRNA/circRNA as a sponge for miRNAs to indirectly regulate miRNA downstream target genes. Accumulating evidence has indicated that ceRNA regulatory networks are associated with biological processes in HCC, including cancer cell growth, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), metastasis, and chemoresistance.

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