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Neurodegeneration: From Genetics to Molecules

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450206 Year: Pages: 264 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-020-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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Chronic degenerative diseases are one of the major public health problems, particularly those affecting the nervous system. They are characterized by the degeneration of specific cell populations that include several pathologies which contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. Therefore, in recent years, the study of neuroscience has gained significant importance. Most of these neurodegenerative disorders are the result of a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors that generate progression and can even determine its severity. The presence of mutations in genes as LRRK2, SNCA, PARK7, PARK2 or PINK1 is associated with Parkinson's disease. Mutations in genes such as APP, PS1 and PS2 are associated with familial Alzheimer's disease; while HTT gene mutations are the cause of Huntington's disease. In most cases, this condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. It is known that these mutations can also alter the proteins function; however, it has not yet been possible to fully understand how some genetic changes cause the disease or influence the risk of developing these disorders. Most symptoms seen in these conditions occurs when specific nerve cells are damaged or die generating a loss in brain communication. Also many of these mutations generate aggregation of intracellular or extracellular proteins affecting cell function and eventually causing neuronal death. It is unclear whether the presence of these aggregates play an important role in nerve cell death during the development of neurodegenerative diseases, or if they are simply part of the response of cells to the disease. Other mutations affect the mitochondrial function generating alterations in energy production and promoting the formation of unstable molecules such as free radicals. Under normal conditions, the harmful effects caused by free radicals, are offset within the cell. However, in pathological conditions, the presence of mutations can alter this process by allowing the accumulation of radicals and damaging or killing cells. On the other hand, we also know that these diseases may not have a direct genetic component, thus, the study of sporadic type neurodegenerative diseases is much more complex. Histopathological lesions as well as the cellular and molecular alterations are generally indistinguishable from familial cases. For this reason, it is important to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms associated with this type of pathologies. In this sense, this issue aims to understand the molecular processes that occur in the brain, and how these are influenced by the environment, genetics and behavior.

Cancer Metabolism: Molecular Targeting and Implications for Therapy

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453221 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-322-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Oncology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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Development of an effective anticancer therapeutic necessitates the selection of cancer-related or cancer-specific pathways or molecules that are sensitive to intervention. Several such critical yet sensitive molecular targets have been recognized, and their specific antagonists or inhibitors validated as potential therapeutics in preclinical models. Yet, majority of anticancer principles or therapeutics show limited success in the clinical translation. Thus, the need for the development of an effective therapeutic strategy persists. “Altered energy metabolism” in cancer is one of the earliest known biochemical phenotypes which dates back to the early 20th century. The German scientist, Otto Warburg and his team (Warburg, Wind, Negelein 1926; Warburg, Wind, Negelein 1927) provided the first evidence that the glucose metabolism of cancer cells diverge from normal cells. This phenomenal discovery on deregulated glucose metabolism or cellular bioenergetics is frequently witnessed in majority of solid malignancies. Currently, the altered glucose metabolism is used in the clinical diagnosis of cancer through positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Thus, the “deregulated bioenergetics” is a clinically relevant metabolic signature of cancer cells, hence recognized as one of the hallmarks of cancer (Hanahan and Weinberg 2011). Accumulating data unequivocally demonstrate that, besides cellular bioenergetics, cancer metabolism facilitates several cancer-related processes including metastasis, therapeutic resistance and so on. Recent reports also demonstrate the oncogenic regulation of glucose metabolism (e.g. glycolysis) indicating a functional link between neoplastic growth and cancer metabolism. Thus, cancer metabolism, which is already exploited in cancer diagnosis, remains an attractive target for therapeutic intervention as well. The Frontiers in Oncology Research Topic “Cancer Metabolism: Molecular Targeting and Implications for Therapy” emphases on recent advances in our understanding of metabolic reprogramming in cancer, and the recognition of key molecules for therapeutic targeting. Besides, the topic also deliberates the implications of metabolic targeting beyond the energy metabolism of cancer. The research topic integrates a series of reviews, mini-reviews and original research articles to share current perspectives on cancer metabolism, and to stimulate an open forum to discuss potential challenges and future directions of research necessary to develop effective anticancer strategies.

Targeting thyroid cancer microenvironment and epigenetic signalling: new frontiers in cancer endocrinology basic and clinical research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192403 Year: Pages: 131 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-240-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Internal medicine --- Oncology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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This Research Topic is devoted to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of Human Thyroid Cancers. Original research describing functional studies of genetic mutations that shed novel insights into the aetiology and pathogenesis of these cancers, as well as angiogenesis and tumor microenvironment, mouse models studies that describe mechanisms or novel potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers for these endocrine cancers are presented. Scopes: The scope of this Research Topic was to cover the entire field of thyroid cancers: the main focus of this topic is translational, with an emphasis on bench to bedside research. Experimental, pre-clinical and clinical research addressing the following aspects is included in this Research Topic: 1) Investigation of specific molecular patterns of thyroid tumorigenesis, which could allow the development of new directions in the field of pharmacotherapy research; 2) Emphasis on animal studies (preclinical models of human anaplastic thyroid cancers) for the validation of biomarkers with the potential to lead to clinical trials, and studies of targetable mechanisms of oncogenesis, progression of these malignancies, tumor microenvironment and extracellular matrix, and metastatic disease; 3) Assessment of biomarkers to predict the potential response or resistance to drug treatment (targeted cancer therapies) or to guide the follow-up of treated patients; 4) Investigation of new laboratory molecular tests (e.g. molecular techniques and applications of thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy) to translate in the clinical practice; In summary, specific areas of interest include: thyroid cancer genetics; genome-wide analysis; clinical and translational research; orthotopic mouse models of metastatic thyroid carcinoma; tumor microenvironment; epigenetic; biological insights of personalized medicine; novel applications of bioinformatics; large scale molecular characterization of tumors; diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers; endocrine pathology studies; thyroid fine-needle aspiration.

Genetics and epigenetics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195732 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-573-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Biology --- Science (General) --- Genetics
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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Women drinking during pregnancy can result in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which may feature variable neurodevelopmental deficits, facial dysmorphology, growth retardation, and learning disabilities. Research suggests the human brain is precisely formed through an intrinsic, genetic-cellular expression that is carefully orchestrated by an epigenetic program. This program can be influenced by environmental inputs such as alcohol. Current research suggests the genetic and epigenetic elements of FASD are heavily intertwined and highly dependent on one another. As such, now is the time for investigators to combine genetic, genomic and epigenetic components of alcohol research into a centralized, accessible platform for discussion. Genetic analyses inform gene sets which may be vulnerable to alcohol exposure during early neurulation. Prenatal alcohol exposure indeed alters expression of gene subsets, including genes involved in neural specification, hematopoiesis, methylation, chromatin remodeling, histone variants, eye and heart development. Recently, quantitative genomic mapping has revealed loci (QTLs) that mediate alcohol-induced phenotypes identified between two alcohol-drinking mouse strains. One question to consider is (besides the role of dose and stage of alcohol exposure) why only 5% of drinking women deliver newborns diagnosed with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)? Studies are ongoing to answer this question by characterizing genome-wide expression, allele-specific expression (ASE), gene polymorphisms (SNPs) and maternal genetic factors that influence alcohol vulnerability. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy, which can lead to FASD, has been used as a model to resolve the epigenetic pathway between environment and phenotype. Epigenetic mechanisms modify genetic outputs through alteration of 3D chromatin structure and accessibility of transcriptional machinery. Several laboratories have reported altered epigenetics, including DNA methylation and histone modification, in multiple models of FASD. During development DNA methylation is dynamic yet orchestrated in a precise spatiotemporal manner during neurulation and coincidental with neural differentiation. Alcohol can directly influence epigenetics through alterations of the methionine pathway and subsequent DNA or histone methylation/acetylation. Alcohol also alters noncoding RNA including miRNA and transposable elements (TEs). Evidence suggests that miRNA expression may mediate ethanol teratology, and TEs may be affected by alcohol through the alteration of DNA methylation at its regulatory region. In this manner, the epigenetic and genetic components of FASD are revealing themselves to be mechanistically intertwined. Can alcohol-induced epigenomic alterations be passed across generations? Early epidemiological studies have revealed infants with FASD-like features in the absence of maternal alcohol, where the fathers were alcoholics. Novel mechanisms for alcohol-induced phenotypes include altered sperm DNA methylation, hypomethylated paternal allele and heritable epimutations. These studies predict the heritability of alcohol-induced epigenetic abnormalities and gene functionality across generations. We opened a forum to researchers and investigators the field of FASD to discuss their insights, hypotheses, fresh data, past research, and future research themes embedded in this rising field of the genetics and epigenetics of FASD. This eBook is a product of the collective sharing and debate among researchers who have contributed or reviewed each subject.

Epigenetic Modifications and Viral Infections

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195879 Year: Pages: 111 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-587-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Genetics --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Epigenetics is defined as the study of modifications of the genome, heritable during cell division that does not involve changes in DNA sequences. Up to date, epigenetic modifications involve at least three general mechanisms regulating gene expression: histone modifications, DNA methylation, and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). For the past two decades, an explosion in our interest and understanding of epigenetic mechanisms has been seen. This mainly based on the influence that epigenetic alterations have on an amazing number of biological processes, such as gene expression, imprinting, programmed DNA rearrangements, germ line silencing, developmentally cued stem cell division, and overall chromosomal stability and identity. It has become also evident that the constant exposure of living organisms to environment factors affects their genomes through epigenetic mechanisms. Viruses infecting animal cells are thought to play central roles in shaping the epigenetic scenario of infected cells. In this context it has become obvious that knowing the impact that viral infections have on the epigenetic control of their host cells will certainly lead to a better understanding of the interplay viruses have with animal cells. In fact, DNA viruses use host transcription factors as well as epigenetic regulators in such a way that they affect epigenetic control of gene expression that extends to host gene expression. At the same time, animal cells employ mechanisms controlling transcription factors and epigenetic processes, in order to eliminate viral infections. In summary, epigenetic mechanisms are involved in most virus-cell interactions. We now know that some viruses exhibit epigenetic immune evasion mechanisms to survive and propagate in their host; however, there is still much ambiguity over these epigenetic mechanisms of viral immune evasion, and most of the discovered mechanisms are still incomplete. Other animal viruses associated to cancer often deregulate cellular epigenetic mechanisms, silencing cellular tumor-suppressor genes and/or activating either viral or host cell oncogenes. In addition, in several cancers the down-regulation of tumor suppressor protein-coding genes and ncRNAs with growth inhibitory functions, such as miRNAs, have been closely linked to the presence of cell CpG island promoter hypermethylation. The goal of the aforementioned Research Topic is to bring together the key experimental and theoretical research, linking state-of-the-art knowledge about the epigenetic mechanisms involved in animal virus-cell interactions.

The changing faces of glutathione, a cellular protagonist

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195954 Year: Pages: 142 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-595-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Therapeutics --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Glutathione (GSH) has been described for a long time just as a defensive reagent against the action of toxic xenobiotics (drugs, pollutants, carcinogens), both directly and as a cofactor for GSH transferases. As a prototype antioxidant, it has been involved in cell protection from the noxious effect of excess oxidant stress, both directly and as a cofactor of glutathione peroxidases. In addition, it has long been known that GSH is capable of forming disulfide bonds with cysteine residues of proteins, and the relevance of this mechanism ("S-glutathionylation") in regulation of protein function has been well documented in a number of research fields. Rather paradoxically, it has also been highlighted that GSH—and notably its catabolites, as originated by metabolism by gamma-glutamyltransferase—can promote oxidative processes, by participating in metal ion-mediated reactions eventually leading to formation of reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Also, a fundamental role of GSH has been recognized in the storage and transport of nitric oxide (NO), in the form of S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). The significance of GSH as a major factor in regulation of cell life, proliferation, and death, can be regarded as the integrated result of all these roles, as well as of more which are emerging in diverse fields of biology and pathophysiology. Against this background, modulation of GSH levels and GSH-related enzyme activities represents a fertile field for experimental pharmacology in numerous and diverse perspectives of animal, plant and microbiologic research. This research topic includes 14 articles, i.e. 4 Opinion Articles, 6 Reviews, and 4 Original Research Articles. The contributions by several distinguished research groups, each from his own standpoint of competence and expertise, provide a comprehensive and updated view over the diverse roles, the changing faces of GSH and GSH-related enzymes in cell’s health, disease and death.

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