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Hemichannels; from the molecule to the function

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194674 Year: Pages: 122 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-467-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Physiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Coordinated cell interactions are required to accomplish several complex and dynamic tasks observed in several tissues. Cell function may be coordinated by cell-to-cell communication through gap junctions channels (GJCs). These channels are formed by the serial docking of two hemichannels, which in turn are formed by six protein subunits called connexins (Cxs). It is well known that GJCs are involved in several functions, such as intercellular propagation of calcium waves, spread of electrotonic potentialsand spatial buffering of ions and metabolites. On the other hand, undocked hemichannels, which are not forming GJCs, can also serve other functions as “free hemichannels”. Currently, it is recognized that undocked hemichannels may have functional relevance in cell physiology allowing diffusional exchange of ions and small molecules between intra- and extra-cellular compartments. Additionally, another family of proteins calls pannexins (Panx) also forms functional hemichannels at the plasma membrane. Recently, Panxhemichannels have been involved in both pathological and physiological processes. Controlled hemichannel opening allows the release of small signaling molecules including ATP, glutamate, NAD+, adenosine, cyclic nucleotides, PGE2. They also allow uptake of relevant signaling molecules (e.g., cADPR) and metabolites (e.g., glucose). Additionally, a growing body of evidence shows that hemichannels are involved in important processes, such glucose detection in tanicytes, activation of the inflammasome, memory consolidation in the basolateral amygdala, potentiation of muscle contraction and release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells, among others. However, hemichannels can also play an important role in the homeostatic imbalance observed in diverse chronic diseases. In fact, massive and/or uncontrolled hemichannel opening induces or accelerates cell death in several pathological conditions including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, ischemia, oculodentodigital dysplasia, hydrotic ectodermic dysplasia, inflammatory responses, and deafness. Hemichannel-mediated cell death is due mainly to an entry of Ca+2. The latter activates proteases, nucleases and lipases, causing irreversible cell damage. An increasing amount of evidence demonstrates that blockade of uncontrolled hemichannel opening greatly reduces the cellular damage observed in several chronic diseases models. Therefore, Cx and Panx-hemichannels appear as promising drug targets for clinical treatment of human chronic diseases. Therefore, pharmacological tools are urgently needed to further elucidate hemichannels functions and to validate them as drug targets for the development of novel therapies for connexin-based diseases. Thus, understanding the role of Cx and Panx-hemichannels under physiological conditions and recognizing the molecular mechanisms controlling them, may provide us with a better picture of the hemichannels participation in some diseases and of the signals underlying their malfunctioning.

Recent Advances of Epigenetics in Crop Biotechnology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198542 Year: Pages: 189 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-854-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Botany --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Epigenetics is a new field that explains gene expression at the chromatin structure and organization level. Three principal epigenetic mechanisms are known and hundreds of combinations among them can develop different phenotypic characteristics. DNA methylation, histone modifications and small RNAs have been identified, and their functions are being studied in order to understand the mechanisms of interaction and regulation among the different biological processes in plants. Although, fundamental epigenetic mechanisms in crop plants are beginning to be elucidated, the comprehension of the different epigenetic mechanisms, by which plant gene regulation and phenotype are modified, is a major topic to develop in the near future in order to increase crop productivity. Thus, the importance of epigenetics in improving crop productivity is undoubtedly growing. Current research on epigenetics suggest that DNA methylation, histone modifications and small RNAs are involved in almost every aspect of plant life including agronomically important traits such as flowering time, fruit development, responses to environmental factors, defense response and plant growth. The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the recent advances concerning the role of epigenetics in crop biotechnology, as well as to enhance and promote interactions among high quality researchers from different disciplines such as genetics, cell biology, pathology, microbiology, and evolutionary biology in order to join forces and decipher the epigenetic mechanisms in crop productivity.

Proteomics of Microbial Human Pathogens

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450886 Year: Pages: 152 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-088-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Microbiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012 infectious diseases and related conditions account for more than 70% of premature deaths across 22 African countries and estimated 450 000 people worldwide developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. This alarming situation, of great public health concern, calls for the urgent development of novel and efficient responding strategies. The employment of important research platforms, such as genomics and proteomics, has contributed significant insight into the mechanisms underlying microbial infection and microbe-host interaction. In this Frontiers Research Topic, we aim to produce a timely and pertinent discussion regarding the current status of “Proteomics of microbial Human pathogens” and the role of proteomics in combating the challenges posed by microbial infection and indeed acquired anti-microbial resistance. As the field of proteomics progressed from 2-DE gel based approaches to modern LC-MS/MS based workflows, remarkable advances have been reported in terms of data quantity and quality. Given the immediate and enormous advantages that high resolution and accurate mass spectrometers have brought to the field, proteomics has now evolved into a robust platform capable of generating large amounts of comprehensive data comparable to that reported previously in genomics studies. For example, detection of the complete yeast proteome has been reported and other small proteomes, such as those of bacteria, are within reach. Mass spectrometry-based proteomics has become an essential tool for biologists and biochemists, and is now considered by many as an essential component of modern structural biology. Additionally, the introduction of high-resolution mass spectrometers has driven the development of various different strategies aimed at accurate quantification of absolute and relative amount of protein(s) of interest. Emerging targeted mass spectrometry methodologies such as; Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM), Parallel Reaction Monitoring (PRM) and SWATH, are perhaps the latest breakthrough within the proteomics community. Indeed, through a label free approach, targeted mass spectrometry offers an unequalled capability to characterize and quantify a specific set of proteins reproducibility, in any biological sample. Usefully, Aebersold and colleagues have recently generated and validated a number of assays to quantify 97% of the 4,012 annotated Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) proteins by SRM. As such, the Mtb Proteome library represents a valuable experimental resource that will undoubtedly bring new insight to the complex life cycle of Mtb. Finally, as reviewed recently in Frontiers Research Topic, mass spectrometry-based proteomics has had a tremendous impact on our current understanding of post translational modification (PTM) in bacteria including the key role of PTMs during interaction of pathogenic bacteria and host interactions. We believe that our understanding of microbial Human pathogens has benefited enormously from both 2-DE gel and modern LC-MS/MS based proteomics. It is our wish to produce an integrated discussion surrounding this topic to highlight the existing synergy between these research fields. We envisage this Research Topic as a window to expert opinions and perspectives on the realistic practicalities of proteomics as an important tool to address healthcare problems caused by microbial pathogens.

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