Review

Abstract

Our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of childhood cancers has advanced substantially, but their fundamental causes remain poorly understood. Recently, multiple mechanisms of DNA damage and repair have been associated with mutations observed in human cancers. Here, we review the physiologic functions and oncogenic activities of transposable genetic elements. In particular, we focus on the recent studies implicating DNA transposases RAG1/2 and PGBD5 as oncogenic mutators that promote genomic rearrangements in childhood leukemias and solid tumors. We outline future studies that will be needed to define the contributions of transposons to mutational processes that become dysregulated in cancer cells. In addition, we discuss translational approaches, including synthetic lethal strategies, for identifying and developing improved clinical therapies to target oncogenic transposons and transposases.

Authors

Anton G. Henssen, Alex Kentsis

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Abstract

At the simplest level, obesity is the manifestation of an imbalance between caloric intake and expenditure; however, the pathophysiological mechanisms that govern the development of obesity and associated complications are enormously complex. Fibrosis within the adipose tissue compartment is one such factor that may influence the development of obesity and/or obesity-related comorbidities. Furthermore, the functional consequences of adipose tissue fibrosis are a matter of considerable debate, with evidence that fibrosis serves both adaptive and maladaptive roles. Tissue fibrosis itself is incompletely understood, and multiple cellular and molecular pathways are involved in the development, maintenance, and resolution of the fibrotic state. Within the context of obesity, fibrosis influences molecular and cellular events that relate to adipocytes, inflammatory cells, inflammatory mediators, and supporting adipose stromal tissue. In this Review, we explore what is known about the interplay between the development of adipose tissue fibrosis and obesity, with a view toward future investigative and therapeutic avenues.

Authors

Ritwik Datta, Michael J. Podolsky, Kamran Atabai

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Abstract

The stroma in solid tumors contains a variety of cellular phenotypes and signaling pathways associated with wound healing, leading to the concept that a tumor behaves as a wound that does not heal. Similarities between tumors and healing wounds include fibroblast recruitment and activation, extracellular matrix (ECM) component deposition, infiltration of immune cells, neovascularization, and cellular lineage plasticity. However, unlike a wound that heals, the edges of a tumor are constantly expanding. Cell migration occurs both inward and outward as the tumor proliferates and invades adjacent tissues, often disregarding organ boundaries. The focus of our review is cancer associated fibroblast (CAF) cellular heterogeneity and plasticity and the acellular matrix components that accompany these cells. We explore how similarities and differences between healing wounds and tumor stroma continue to evolve as research progresses, shedding light on possible therapeutic targets that can result in innovative stromal-based treatments for cancer.

Authors

Deshka S. Foster, R. Ellen Jones, Ryan C. Ransom, Michael T. Longaker, Jeffrey A. Norton

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Abstract

The disabling degenerative disease osteoarthritis (OA) is prevalent among the global population. Articular cartilage degeneration is a central feature of OA; therefore, a better understanding of the mechanisms that maintain cartilage homeostasis is vital for developing effective therapeutic interventions. MicroRNAs (miRs) modulate cell signaling pathways and various processes in articular cartilage via posttranscriptional repression of target genes. As dysregulated miRs frequently alter the homeostasis of articular cartilage, modulating select miRs presents a potential therapeutic opportunity for OA. Here, we review key miRs that have been shown to modulate cartilage-protective or -destructive mechanisms and signaling pathways. Additionally, we use an integrative computational biology approach to provide insight into predicted miR gene targets that may contribute to OA pathogenesis, and highlight the complexity of miR signaling in OA by generating both unique and overlapping gene targets of miRs that mediate protective or destructive effects. Early OA detection would enable effective prevention; thus, miRs are being explored as diagnostic biomarkers. We discuss these ongoing efforts and the applicability of miR mimics and antisense inhibitors as potential OA therapeutics.

Authors

Helal Endisha, Jason Rockel, Igor Jurisica, Mohit Kapoor

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Abstract

The ability to image tissue morphogenesis in real-time and in 3-dimensions (3-D) remains an optical challenge. The advent of light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) has advanced developmental biology and tissue regeneration research. In this review, we introduce a LSFM system in which the illumination lens reshapes a thin light-sheet to rapidly scan across a sample of interest while the detection lens orthogonally collects the imaging data. This multiscale strategy provides deep-tissue penetration, high-spatiotemporal resolution, and minimal photobleaching and phototoxicity, allowing in vivo visualization of a variety of tissues and processes, ranging from developing hearts in live zebrafish embryos to ex vivo interrogation of the microarchitecture of optically cleared neonatal hearts. Here, we highlight multiple applications of LSFM and discuss several studies that have allowed better characterization of developmental and pathological processes in multiple models and tissues. These findings demonstrate the capacity of multiscale light-sheet imaging to uncover cardiovascular developmental and regenerative phenomena.

Authors

Yichen Ding, Jianguo Ma, Adam D. Langenbacher, Kyung In Baek, Juhyun Lee, Chih-Chiang Chang, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Rajan P. Kulkarni, John Belperio, Wei Shi, Sara Ranjbarvaziri, Reza Ardehali, Yin Tintut, Linda L. Demer, Jau-Nian Chen, Peng Fei, René R. Sevag Packard, Tzung K. Hsiai

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Abstract

Molecular targeted therapy heralded a new era for the treatment of patients with oncogene-driven advanced-stage non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Molecular testing at the time of diagnosis guides therapy selection, and targeted therapies in patients with activating mutations in EGFR, BRAF, and rearrangements in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and ROS1 have become part of routine care. These therapies have extended the median survival from a mere few months to greater than 3 years for patients with stage 4 disease. However, despite the initial success, these treatments are eventually met with molecular resistance. Selective pressure leads to cellular adaption to maintain cancer growth, making resistance complex and the treatment challenging. This review focuses on recent advances in targeted therapy, mechanisms of resistance, and therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance in patients with lung cancer.

Authors

Suchita Pakkala, Suresh S. Ramalingam

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Abstract

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal fibrotic lung disease that is associated with aberrant activation of TGF-β, myofibroblast differentiation, and abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM) production. Proper regulation of protein stability is important for maintenance of intracellular protein homeostasis and signaling. Ubiquitin E3 ligases mediate protein ubiquitination, and deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) reverse the process. The role of ubiquitin E3 ligases and DUBs in the pathogenesis of IPF is relatively unexplored. In this review, we provide an overview of how ubiquitin E3 ligases and DUBs modulate pulmonary fibrosis through regulation of both TGF-β–dependent and –independent pathways. We also summarize currently available small-molecule inhibitors of ubiquitin E3 ligases and DUBs as potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of IPF.

Authors

Shuang Li, Jing Zhao, Dong Shang, Daniel J. Kass, Yutong Zhao

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Abstract

Extracellular RNA (exRNA) has emerged as an important transducer of intercellular communication. Advancing exRNA research promises to revolutionize biology and transform clinical practice. Recent efforts have led to cutting-edge research and expanded knowledge of this new paradigm in cell-to-cell crosstalk; however, gaps in our understanding of EV heterogeneity and exRNA diversity pose significant challenges for continued development of exRNA diagnostics and therapeutics. To unravel this complexity, the NIH convened expert teams to discuss the current state of the science, define the significant bottlenecks, and brainstorm potential solutions across the entire exRNA research field. The NIH Strategic Workshop on Extracellular RNA Transport helped identify mechanistic and clinical research opportunities for exRNA biology and provided recommendations on high priority areas of research that will advance the exRNA field.

Authors

Kang Li, Rodosthenis S. Rodosthenous, Fatah Kashanchi, Thomas Gingeras, Stephen J. Gould, Lillian S. Kuo, Peter Kurre, Hakho Lee, Joshua N. Leonard, Huiping Liu, Tania B. Lombo, Stefan Momma, John P. Nolan, Margaret J. Ochocinska, D. Michiel Pegtel, Yoel Sadovsky, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid, Kayla M. Valdes, Kasey C. Vickers, Alissa M. Weaver, Kenneth W. Witwer, Yong Zeng, Saumya Das, Robert L. Raffai, T. Kevin Howcroft

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Abstract

The emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus during the past decade along with an impending shortage of effective antistaphylococcal antibiotics have fueled impressive advances in our understanding of how S. aureus overcomes the host environment to establish infection. Backed by recent technologic advances, studies have uncovered elaborate metabolic, nutritional, and virulence strategies deployed by S. aureus to survive the restrictive and hostile environment imposed by the host, leading to a plethora of promising antimicrobial approaches that have potential to remedy the antibiotic resistance crisis. In this Review, we highlight some of the critical and recently elucidated bacterial strategies that are potentially amenable to intervention, discuss their relevance to human diseases, and address the translational challenges posed by current animal models.

Authors

Isaac P. Thomsen, George Y. Liu

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Abstract

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a common occurrence, with over 3 million cases reported every year in the United States. While research into the underlying pathophysiology is ongoing, there is an urgent need for better clinical guidelines that allow more consistent diagnosis of mTBI and ensure safe return-to-play timelines for athletes, nonathletes, and military personnel. The development of a suite of biomarkers that indicate the pathogenicity of mTBI could lead to clinically useful tools for establishing both diagnosis and prognosis. Here, we review the current evidence for mTBI biomarkers derived from investigations of the multifactorial pathology of mTBI. While the current literature lacks the scope and size for clarification of these biomarkers’ clinical utility, early studies have identified some promising candidates.

Authors

Han Jun Kim, Jack W. Tsao, Ansley Grimes Stanfill

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