• MinireviewMay 31, 2022

    0 1206 229

    Abstract : During meiosis, homologous chromosomes (homologs) pair and undergo genetic recombination via assembly and disassembly of the synaptonemal complex. Meiotic recombination is initiated by excess formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), among which a subset are repaired by reciprocal genetic exchange, called crossovers (COs). COs generate genetic variations across generations, profoundly affecting genetic diversity and breeding. At least one CO between homologs is essential for the first meiotic chromosome segregation, but generally only one and fewer than three inter-homolog COs occur in plants. CO frequency and distribution are biased along chromosomes, suppressed in centromeres, and controlled by pro-CO, anti-CO, and epigenetic factors. Accurate and high-throughput detection of COs is important for our understanding of CO formation and chromosome behavior. Here, we review advanced approaches that enable precise measurement of the location, frequency, and genomic landscapes of COs in plants, with a focus on Arabidopsis thaliana.

  • MinireviewMay 31, 2022

    0 1794 430

    Manufacturing Therapeutic Exosomes: from Bench to Industry

    So-Hee Ahn , Seung-Wook Ryu , Hojun Choi , Sangmin You , Jun Park , and Chulhee Choi

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(5): 284-290

    Abstract : Process of manufacturing therapeutics exosome development for commercialization. The development of exosome treatment starts at the bench, and in order to be commercialized, it goes through the manufacturing, characterization, and formulation stages, production under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) conditions for clinical use, and close consultation with regulatory authorities. Exosome, a type of nanoparticles also known as small extracellular vesicles are gaining attention as novel therapeutics for various diseases because of their ability to deliver genetic or bioactive molecules to recipient cells. Although many pharmaceutical companies are gradually developing exosome therapeutics, numerous hurdles remain regarding manufacture of clinical-grade exosomes for therapeutic use. In this mini-review, we will discuss the manufacturing challenges of therapeutic exosomes, including cell line development, upstream cell culture, and downstream purification process. In addition, developing proper formulations for exosome storage and, establishing good manufacturing practice facility for producing therapeutic exosomes remains as challenges for developing clinicalgrade exosomes. However, owing to the lack of consensus regarding the guidelines for manufacturing therapeutic exosomes, close communication between regulators and companies is required for the successful development of exosome therapeutics. This review shares the challenges and perspectives regarding the manufacture and quality control of clinical grade exosomes.

  • MinireviewApril 30, 2022

    0 1249 339

    Mechanisms of Weight Control by Primary Cilia

    Chan Hee Lee , Gil Myoung Kang , and Min-Seon Kim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(4): 169-176

    Abstract : A primary cilium, a hair-like protrusion of the plasma membrane, is a pivotal organelle for sensing external environmental signals and transducing intracellular signaling. An interesting linkage between cilia and obesity has been revealed by studies of the human genetic ciliopathies Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Alström syndrome, in which obesity is a principal manifestation. Mouse models of cell type-specific cilia dysgenesis have subsequently demonstrated that ciliary defects restricted to specific hypothalamic neurons are sufficient to induce obesity and hyperphagia. A potential mechanism underlying hypothalamic neuron cilia-related obesity is impaired ciliary localization of G protein-coupled receptors involved in the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism. A well-studied example of this is melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R), mutations in which are the most common cause of human monogenic obesity. In the paraventricular hypothalamus neurons, a blockade of ciliary trafficking of MC4R as well as its downstream ciliary signaling leads to hyperphagia and weight gain. Another potential mechanism is reduced leptin signaling in hypothalamic neurons with defective cilia. Leptin receptors traffic to the periciliary area upon leptin stimulation. Moreover, defects in cilia formation hamper leptin signaling and actions in both developing and differentiated hypothalamic neurons. The list of obesity-linked ciliary proteins is expending and this supports a tight association between cilia and obesity. This article provides a brief review on the mechanism of how ciliary defects in hypothalamic neurons facilitate obesity.

  • MinireviewMarch 31, 2022

    0 1080 264

    Intrinsic and Extrinsic Regulation of Hematopoiesis in Drosophila

    Ferdinand Koranteng , Bumsik Cho , and Jiwon Shim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(3): 101-108

    Abstract : Drosophila melanogaster lymph gland, the primary site of hematopoiesis, contains myeloid-like progenitor cells that differentiate into functional hemocytes in the circulation of pupae and adults. Fly hemocytes are dynamic and plastic, and they play diverse roles in the innate immune response and wound healing. Various hematopoietic regulators in the lymph gland ensure the developmental and functional balance between progenitors and mature blood cells. In addition, systemic factors, such as nutrient availability and sensory inputs, integrate environmental variabilities to synchronize the blood development in the lymph gland with larval growth, physiology, and immunity. This review examines the intrinsic and extrinsic factors determining the progenitor states during hemocyte development in the lymph gland and provides new insights for further studies that may extend the frontier of our collective knowledge on hematopoiesis and innate immunity.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 1121 318

    Abstract : Three-dimensional cultures of human neural tissue/organlike structures in vitro can be achieved by mimicking the developmental processes occurring in vivo. Rapid progress in the field of neural organoids has fueled the hope (and hype) for improved understanding of brain development and functions, modeling of neural diseases, discovery of new drugs, and supply of surrogate sources of transplantation. In this short review, we summarize the state-of-the-art applications of this fascinating tool in various research fields and discuss the reality of the technique hoping that the current limitations will soon be overcome by the efforts of ingenious researchers.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 997 287

    Role of Hypothalamic Reactive Astrocytes in Diet-Induced Obesity

    Moonsun Sa , Mingu Gordon Park , and C. Justin Lee

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(2): 65-75

    Abstract : Hypothalamus is a brain region that controls food intake and energy expenditure while sensing signals that convey information about energy status. Within the hypothalamus, molecularly and functionally distinct neurons work in concert under physiological conditions. However, under pathological conditions such as in diet-induced obesity (DIO) model, these neurons show dysfunctional firing patterns and distorted regulation by neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Concurrently, resident glial cells including astrocytes dramatically transform into reactive states. In particular, it has been reported that reactive astrogliosis is observed in the hypothalamus, along with various neuroinflammatory signals. However, how the reactive astrocytes control and modulate DIO by influencing neighboring neurons is not well understood. Recently, new lines of evidence have emerged indicating that these reactive astrocytes directly contribute to the pathology of obesity by synthesizing and tonically releasing the major inhibitory transmitter GABA. The released GABA strongly inhibits the neighboring neurons that control energy expenditure. These surprising findings shed light on the interplay between reactive astrocytes and neighboring neurons in the hypothalamus. This review summarizes recent discoveries related to the functions of hypothalamic reactive astrocytes in obesity and raises new potential therapeutic targets against obesity.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 885 322

    Neurons-on-a-Chip: In Vitro NeuroTools

    Nari Hong and Yoonkey Nam

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(2): 76-83

    Abstract : Neurons-on-a-Chip technology has been developed to provide diverse in vitro neuro-tools to study neuritogenesis, synaptogensis, axon guidance, and network dynamics. The two core enabling technologies are soft-lithography and microelectrode array technology. Soft lithography technology made it possible to fabricate microstamps and microfluidic channel devices with a simple replica molding method in a biological laboratory and innovatively reduced the turn-around time from assay design to chip fabrication, facilitating various experimental designs. To control nerve cell behaviors at the single cell level via chemical cues, surface biofunctionalization methods and micropatterning techniques were developed. Microelectrode chip technology, which provides a functional readout by measuring the electrophysiological signals from individual neurons, has become a popular platform to investigate neural information processing in networks. Due to these key advances, it is possible to study the relationship between the network structure and functions, and they have opened a new era of neurobiology and will become standard tools in the near future.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 679 174

    Abstract : To understand the microcircuitry of the brain, the anatomical and functional connectivity among neurons must be resolved. One of the technical hurdles to achieving this goal is that the anatomical connections, or synapses, are often smaller than the diffraction limit of light and thus are difficult to resolve by conventional microscopy, while the microcircuitry of the brain is on the scale of 1 mm or larger. To date, the gold standard method for microcircuit reconstruction has been electron microscopy (EM). However, despite its rapid development, EM has clear shortcomings as a method for microcircuit reconstruction. The greatest weakness of this method is arguably its incompatibility with functional and molecular analysis. Fluorescence microscopy, on the other hand, is readily compatible with numerous physiological and molecular analyses. We believe that recent advances in various fluorescence microscopy techniques offer a new possibility for reliable synapse detection in large volumes of neural circuits. In this minireview, we summarize recent advances in fluorescence-based microcircuit reconstruction. In the same vein as these studies, we introduce our recent efforts to analyze the long-range connectivity among brain areas and the subcellular distribution of synapses of interest in relatively large volumes of cortical tissue with array tomography and superresolution microscopy.

  • MinireviewFebruary 28, 2022

    1 564 117

    Neural and Genetic Basis of Evasion, Approach and Predation

    Seahyung Park , Jia Ryoo , and Daesoo Kim

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(2): 93-97

    Abstract : Evasion, approach and predation are examples of innate behaviour that are fundamental for the survival of animals. Uniting these behaviours is the assessment of threat, which is required to select between these options. Far from being comprehensive, we give a broad review over recent studies utilising optic techniques that have identified neural circuits and genetic identities underlying these behaviours.

  • MinireviewJanuary 31, 2022

    3 1362 496

    Abstract : The various DNA-protein interactions associated with the expression of genetic information involve double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bending. Due to the importance of the formation of the dsDNA bending structure, dsDNA bending properties have long been investigated in the biophysics field. Conventionally, DNA bendability is characterized by innate averaging data from bulk experiments. The advent of single-molecule methods, such as atomic force microscopy, optical and magnetic tweezers, tethered particle motion, and single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurement, has provided valuable tools to investigate not only the static structures but also the dynamic properties of bent dsDNA. Here, we reviewed the single-molecule methods that have been used for investigating dsDNA bendability and new findings related to dsDNA bending. Single-molecule approaches are promising tools for revealing the unknown properties of dsDNA related to its bending, particularly in cells.

  • MinireviewJanuary 31, 2022

    2 1032 337

    Abstract : Phase separation is a thermodynamic process leading to the formation of compositionally distinct phases. For the past few years, numerous works have shown that biomolecular phase separation serves as biogenesis mechanisms of diverse intracellular condensates, and aberrant phase transitions are associated with disease states such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. Condensates exhibit rich phase behaviors including multiphase internal structuring, noise buffering, and compositional tunability. Recent studies have begun to uncover how a network of intermolecular interactions can give rise to various biophysical features of condensates. Here, we review phase behaviors of biomolecules, particularly with regard to regular solution models of binary and ternary mixtures. We discuss how these theoretical frameworks explain many aspects of the assembly, composition, and miscibility of diverse biomolecular phases, and highlight how a model-based approach can help elucidate the detailed thermodynamic principle for multicomponent intracellular phase separation.

  • MinireviewJanuary 31, 2022

    1 880 267

    Nano-Precision Tweezers for Mechanosensitive Proteins and Beyond

    Taehyun Yang , Celine Park , Sang-Hyun Rah , and Min Ju Shon

    Mol. Cells 2022; 45(1): 16-25

    Abstract : Mechanical forces play pivotal roles in regulating cell shape, function, and fate. Key players that govern the mechanobiological interplay are the mechanosensitive proteins found on cell membranes and in cytoskeleton. Their unique nanomechanics can be interrogated using single-molecule tweezers, which can apply controlled forces to the proteins and simultaneously measure the ensuing structural changes. Breakthroughs in high-resolution tweezers have enabled the routine monitoring of nanometer-scale, millisecond dynamics as a function of force. Undoubtedly, the advancement of structural biology will be further fueled by integrating static atomic-resolution structures and their dynamic changes and interactions observed with the force application techniques. In this minireview, we will introduce the general principles of single-molecule tweezers and their recent applications to the studies of force-bearing proteins, including the synaptic proteins that need to be categorized as mechanosensitive in a broad sense. We anticipate that the impact of nano-precision approaches in mechanobiology research will continue to grow in the future.

Mol. Cells
May 31, 2022 Vol.45 No.5, pp. 273~352
Fe2+ ion depletion-induced expression of BΔGFP at the early stage of leaf development (Choi et al., pp. 294-305).

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