Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common form of pancreatic cancer, with early diagnosis and treatment challenges. When any of the genes KRAS, SMAD4, TP53, and BRCA2 are heavily mutated, they correlate with PDAC progression. Cellular stress, partly regulated by the gene SERPINA6, also correlates with PDAC progression. When SERPINA6 is highly expressed, corticosteroid-binding globulin inhibits the effect of the stress hormone cortisol. In this study, the authors explored whether there is an inverse correlation between the expression of SERPINA6 and PDAC-linked genes.
In South Asian countries, the major cause of oral cancer is reported to be chewing paan, which is comprised of betel leaf daubed with slaked lime paste and areca nut. To investigate how paan may contribute to the onset of cancer, the authors treated two immortalized cell lines with extracts of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime and evaluated how these treatments affected cell proliferation and cell death. Initial results indicate that while betel leaf alone may inhibit cell growth, areca nut promoted cancer cell survival and proliferation, even when co-treated with betel leaf. These data suggest that areca nut could exacerbate the progression of oral cancer in humans.
Anticholinergics are used in treating asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways. These drugs block human M1 and M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, inhibiting bronchoconstriction. However, studies have reported complications of anticholinergic usage, such as exacerbated eosinophil production and worsened urinary retention. Modification of known anticholinergics using bioisosteric replacements to increase efficacy could potentially minimize these complications. The present study focuses on identifying viable analogs of anticholinergics to improve binding energy to the receptors compared to current treatment options. Glycopyrrolate (G), ipratropium (IB), and tiotropium bromide (TB) were chosen as parent drugs of interest, due to the presence of common functional groups within the molecules, specifically esters and alcohols. Docking score analysis via AutoDock Vina was used to evaluate the binding energy between drug analogs and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. The final results suggest that G-A3, IB-A3, and TB-A1 are the most viable analogs, as binding energy was improved when compared to the parent drug. G-A4, IB-A4, IB-A5, TB-A3, and TB-A4 are also potential candidates, although there were slight regressions in binding energy to both muscarinic receptors for these analogs. By researching the effects of bioisosteric replacements of current anticholinergics, it is evident that there is a potential to provide asthmatics with more effective treatment options.
The consumption of sugar substitute non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) has dramatically increased in recent years. Despite being advertised as a healthy alternative, NNS have been linked to adverse effects on the body, such as neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). In NDs, neural stem cell function is impaired, which inhibits neuron regeneration. The purpose of this study was to determine if the NNS acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and neotame affect planaria neuron regeneration rates. Since human neurons may regenerate, planaria, organisms with extensive regenerative capabilities due to stem cells called neoblasts, were used as the model organism. The heads of planaria exposed to either a control or non-toxic concentrations of NNS were amputated. The posterior regions of the planaria were observed every 24 hours to see the following regeneration stages: (1) wound healing, (2) blastema development, (3) growth, and (4) differentiation. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the NNS would slow planaria regeneration rates. The time it took for the planaria in the Ace-K group and the neotame group to reach the second, third, and fourth regeneration stage was significantly greater than that of the control. The results of this study indicated that exposure to the NNS significantly slowed regeneration rates in planaria. This suggests that the NNS may adversely impact neoblast proliferation rates in planaria, implying that it could impair neural stem cell proliferation in humans, which plays a role in NDs. This study may provide insight into the connection between NNS, human neuron regeneration, and NDs.
Cellular senescence plays a key role in aging cells and is attributed to a number of disease and pathology. These authors find that genetic editing of both RPS6KB1 and PPARGC1A revitalizes a human skin fibroblast cell line.
Chronic alcohol consumption can cause cardiac myopathy, which afflicts about 500,000 Americans annually. Gunturi et al. wanted to understand the effects of alcohol on heart rate and confirm the role of nitric oxide (NO) signaling in heart rate regulation. Using the model organism Daphnia magna, a water crustacean with a large, transparent heart, they found that the heart rate of Daphnia magna was reduced after treatment with alcohol. This depression could be reversed after treatment with inhibitors of NO synthesis and signaling. Their work has important implications for how we understand alcohol-induced effects on heart rate and potential treatments to reverse heart rate depression as a result of alcohol consumption.
Glioblastoma is a brain cancer caused by the presence of a fast-growing, malignant tumor in the brain. As of now, this cancer is universally lethal due to lack of efficacious treatment options. C-C chemokine receptor 1 (CCR1) is a G-protein coupled receptor that controls chemotaxis, the movement of cells in response to chemical stimuli. This research aims to synthesize potential CCR1 antagonists by coupling carboxylic acids with a triazole core. We synthesized these compounds using a simple carboxylic acid coupling and confirmed the identity of the final compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
Antibiotics are used to treat dangerous diseases. Over time, however, bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics - which poses a threat to humans and animals alike. In this paper, the authors examine how E. coli gains resistance to the antibiotic amoxicillin.
Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a master regulator of mitosis, initiating key steps of cell cycle regulation, and its overexpression is associated with certain types of cancer. In this study, the authors carefully designed peptides that were able to bind to Plk1 at a location that is important for its proper localization and function. Future studies could further develop these peptides to selectively target Plk1 in cancer cells and induce mitotic arrest.