Recent studies have highlighted a myriad of ways in which the activity and composition of the gut microbiota can affect the host organism. A primary way in which the gut microbiota affect host physiology is by the production of metabolites, such as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream of the host. Although recent studies have begun to unravel the ways in which gut microbial SCFAs affect host physiology, less is understood regarding the underlying cell biological mechanisms. In this review, we will outline the known receptors and transporters for SCFAs, and review what is known about the cell biological effects of microbial SCFAs.
The incidence of perinatal stroke is high, similar to that in the elderly, and produces a significant morbidity and severe long-term neurologic and cognitive deficits, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neuropsychological impairments, and behavioral disorders. Emerging clinical data and data from experimental models of cerebral ischemia in neonatal rodents have shown that the pathophysiology of perinatal brain damage is multifactorial. These studies have revealed that, far from just being a smaller version of the adult brain, the neonatal brain is unique with a very particular and age-dependent responsiveness to hypoxia-ischemia and focal arterial stroke. In this review, we discuss fundamental clinical aspects of perinatal stroke as well as some of the most recent and relevant findings regarding the susceptibility of specific brain cell populations to injury, the dynamics and the mechanisms of neuronal cell death in injured neonates, the responses of neonatal blood-brain barrier to stroke in relation to systemic and local inflammation, and the long-term effects of stroke on angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Finally, we address translational strategies currently being considered for neonatal stroke as well as treatments that might effectively enhance repair later after injury.
Narcolepsy-cataplexy is an uncommon sleep disorder which may present in childhood. We report a case of an 8-year-old presenting with narcolepsy-cataplexy following a streptococcal infection. Autoimmune etiology for narcolepsy has been suggested. In our patient increased anti-streptolysin O and anti-DNAse B titers were noted. As suggested by recent cases, the streptococcal infection was likely a trigger for narcolepsy onset in this genetically predisposed child. The patient was initially diagnosed as having Sydenham chorea due to motor movements. However, these transient movements may be due to the narcolepsy onset. Narcolepsy in childhood may present with atypical symptoms; it might be difficult to obtain accurate history and can be misdiagnosed as in the reported case. A high index of clinical suspicion is needed to diagnose these patients.
C1q/TNF-related proteins (CTRPs) are a family of secreted regulators of glucose and lipid metabolism. Here, we describe CTRP11, a novel and phylogenetically conserved member of the C1q family. Our studies revealed that white and brown adipose are major tissues that express CTRP11, and its expression is acutely regulated by changes in metabolic state. Within white adipose tissue, CTRP11 is primarily expressed by stromal vascular cells. As a secreted multimeric protein, CTRP11 forms disulfide-linked oligomers. Although the conserved N-terminal Cys-28 and Cys-32 are dispensable for the assembly of higher-order oligomeric structures, they are unexpectedly involved in modulating protein secretion. When co-expressed, CTRP11 forms heteromeric complexes with closely related CTRP10, CTRP13, and CRF (CTRP14) via the C-terminal globular domains, combinatorial associations that potentially generate functionally distinct complexes. Functional studies revealed a role for CTRP11 in regulating adipogenesis. Ectopic expression of CTRP11 or exposure to recombinant protein inhibited differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? and CAAT/enhancer binding protein-?, which drive the adipogenic gene program, was markedly suppressed by CTRP11. Impaired adipogenesis was caused by a CTRP11-mediated decrease in p42/44-MAPK signaling and inhibition of mitotic clonal expansion, a process essential for adipocyte differentiation in culture. These results implicate CTRP11 as a novel secreted regulator of adipogenesis and highlight the potential paracrine cross-talk between adipocytes and cells of the stromal vascular compartment in maintaining adipose tissue homeostasis.
Olfactory receptors (ORs) are G protein-coupled receptors that detect odorants in the olfactory epithelium, and comprise the largest gene family in the genome. Identification of OR ligands typically requires OR surface expression in heterologous cells; however, ORs rarely traffic to the cell surface when exogenously expressed. Therefore, most ORs are orphan receptors with no known ligands. To date, studies have utilized non-cleavable rhodopsin (Rho) tags and/or chaperones (i.e. Receptor Transporting Protein, RTP1S, Ric8b and G(?olf)) to improve surface expression. However, even with these tools, many ORs still fail to reach the cell surface. We used a test set of fifteen ORs to examine the effect of a cleavable leucine-rich signal peptide sequence (Lucy tag) on OR surface expression in HEK293T cells. We report here that the addition of the Lucy tag to the N-terminus increases the number of ORs reaching the cell surface to 7 of the 15 ORs (as compared to 3/15 without Rho or Lucy tags). Moreover, when ORs tagged with both Lucy and Rho were co-expressed with previously reported chaperones (RTP1S, Ric8b and G(?olf)), we observed surface expression for all 15 receptors examined. In fact, two-thirds of Lucy-tagged ORs are able to reach the cell surface synergistically with chaperones even when the Rho tag is removed (10/15 ORs), allowing for the potential assessment of OR function with only an 8-amino acid Flag tag on the mature protein. As expected for a signal peptide, the Lucy tag was cleaved from the mature protein and did not alter OR-ligand binding and signaling. Our studies demonstrate that widespread surface expression of ORs can be achieved in HEK293T cells, providing promise for future large-scale deorphanization studies.
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