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Genetic suppression occurs when the phenotypic defects caused by a mutation in a particular gene are rescued by a mutation in a second gene. To explore the principles of genetic suppression, we examined both literature-curated and unbiased experimental data, involving systematic genetic mapping and whole-genome sequencing, to generate a large-scale suppression network among yeast genes. Most suppression pairs identified novel relationships among functionally related genes, providing new insights into the functional wiring diagram of the cell. In addition to suppressor mutations, we identified frequent secondary mutations,in a subset of genes, that likely cause a delay in the onset of stationary phase, which appears to promote their enrichment within a propagating population. These findings allow us to formulate and quantify general mechanisms of genetic suppression.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Systems-wide molecular phenomics is rapidly expanding through technological advances in instrumentation and bioinformatics. Strategies such as structural mass spectrometry, which utilizes size and shape measurements with molecular weight, serve to characterize the sum of molecular expression in biological contexts, where broad-scale measurements are made that are interpreted through big data statistical techniques to reveal underlying patterns corresponding to phenotype. The data density, data dimensionality, data projection, and data interrogation are all critical aspects of these approaches to turn data into salient information. Untargeted molecular phenomics is already having a dramatic impact in discovery science from drug discovery to synthetic biology. It is evident that these emerging techniques will integrate closely in broad efforts aimed at precision medicine.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that overexpress secreted frizzled-related protein 2 (sFRP2) exhibit an enhanced reparative phenotype. The secretomes of sFRP2-overexpressing MSCs and vector control-MSCs were compared through liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Proteomic profiling revealed that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF; CCN2) was overrepresented in the conditioned media of sFRP2-overexpressing MSCs and MSC-derived CTGF could thus be an important paracrine effector. Subcutaneously implanted, MSC-loaded polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sponges and stented excisional wounds were used as wound models to study the dynamics of CTGF expression. Granulation tissue generated within the sponges and full-thickness skin wounds showed transient upregulation of CTGF expression by MSCs and fibroblasts, implying a role for this molecule in early tissue repair. Although collagen and COL1A2 mRNA were not increased when recombinant CTGF was administered to sponges during the early phase (day 1-6) of tissue repair, prolonged administration (>15 days) of exogenous CTGF into PVA sponges resulted in fibroblast proliferation and increased deposition of collagen within the experimental granulation tissue. In support of its physiological role, CTGF immunoinhibition during early repair (days 0-7) reduced the quantity, organizational quality and vascularity of experimental granulation tissue in the sponge model. However, CTGF haploinsufficiency was not enough to reduce collagen deposition in excisional wounds. Similar to acute murine wound models, CTGF was transiently present in the early phase of human acute burn wound healing. Together, these results further support a physiological role for CTGF in wound repair and demonstrate that when CTGF expression is confined to early tissue repair, it serves a pro-reparative role. These data also further illustrate the potential of MSC-derived paracrine modulators to enhance tissue repair.
The endocannabinoid system consists of an array of endogenously produced bioactive lipids that activate cannabinoid receptors. Although the primary focus of endocannabinoid biology has been on neurological and psychiatric effects, recent work has revealed several important interactions between the endocannabinoid system and cancer. Several different types of cancer have abnormal regulation of the endocannabinoid system that contributes to cancer progression and correlates to clinical outcomes. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by pharmacological agents in various cancer types reveals that it can mediate antiproliferative and apoptotic effects by both cannabinoid receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. Selective agonists and antagonists of the cannabinoid receptors, inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and cannabinoid analogs have been utilized to probe the pathways involved in the effects of the endocannabinoid system on cancer cell apoptosis, proliferation, migration, adhesion, and invasion. The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects produced by some of these pharmacological probes reveal that the endocannabinoid system is a promising new target for the development of novel chemotherapeutics to treat cancer.
Control is intrinsic to biological organisms, whose cells are in a constant state of sensing and response to numerous external and self-generated stimuli. Diverse means are used to study the complexity through control-based approaches in these cellular systems, including through chemical and genetic manipulations, input-output methodologies, feedback approaches, and feed-forward approaches. We first discuss what happens in control-based approaches when we are not actively examining or manipulating cells. We then present potential methods to determine what the cell is doing during these times and to reverse-engineer the cellular system. Finally, we discuss how we can control the cell's extracellular and intracellular environments, both to probe the response of the cells using defined experimental engineering-based technologies and to anticipate what might be achieved by applying control-based approaches to affect cellular processes. Much work remains to apply simplified control models and develop new technologies to aid researchers in studying and utilizing cellular and molecular processes.
The combination of microfluidic cell trapping devices with ion mobility-mass spectrometry offers the potential for elucidating in real time the dynamic responses of small populations of cells to paracrine signals, changes in metabolite levels and delivery of drugs and toxins. Preliminary experiments examining peptides in methanol and recording the interactions of yeast and Jurkat cells with their superfusate have identified instrumental set-up and control parameters and online desalting procedures. Numerous initial experiments demonstrate and validate this new instrumental platform. Future outlooks and potential applications are addressed, specifically how this instrumentation may be used for fully automated systems biology studies of the significantly interdependent, dynamic internal workings of cellular metabolic and signalling pathways.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) provide critical signals for determining cell fate, specifying gastrulation, embryonic patterning, organogenesis, and the remodeling of diverse tissues. Recent work has suggested that in addition to coordinating pivotal events in development, BMPs may also regulate certain homeostatic physiological processes independently of effects on cell growth or differentiation. We recently described the identification of dorsomorphin, a small molecule inhibitor of BMP type I receptors which inhibits BMP signaling in preference to TGF-beta, Activin, and other ligands of the TGF-beta family. We describe a number of strategies using dorsomorphin and its derivatives as probes to assess the physiologic roles of BMP signaling. We also discuss several potential applications for small molecule BMP inhibitors, including stem cell manipulation, and the therapeutic modification of bone remodeling, heterotopic ossification, and iron homeostasis.