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BACKGROUND : Neurodegenerative and cognitive disorders are multifactorial diseases (i.e., involving neurodevelopmental, genetic, age or environmental factors) characterized by an abnormal development that affects neuronal function and integrity. Recently, an increasing number of studies revealed that the dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) may be involved in the etiology of cognitive disorders as Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington’s diseases, Schizophrenia and Autism spectrum disorders. METHODS : From an extensive search in bibliographic databases of peer-reviewed research literature, we identified relevant published studies related to specific key words such as memory, cognition, neurodegenerative disorders, neurogenesis and miRNA. We then analysed, evaluated and summerized scientific evidences derived from these studies. RESULTS : We first briefly summarize the basic molecular events involved in memory, a process inherent to cognitive disease, and then describe the role of miRNAs in neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity and memory. Secondly, we provide an overview of the impact of miRNA dysregulation in the pathogenesis of different neurocognitive disorders, and lastly discuss the feasibility of miRNA-based therapeutics in the treatment of these disorders. CONCLUSION : This review highlights the molecular basis of neurodegenerative and cognitive disorders by focusing on the impact of miRNAs dysregulation in these pathological phenotypes. Altogether, the published reports suggest that miRNAs-based therapy could be a viable therapeutic alternative to current treatment options in the future.
Given the importance of microRNAs (miRNAs) in modulating brain functions and their implications in neurocognitive disorders there are currently significant efforts devoted in the field of miRNA-based therapeutics to correct and/or to treat these brain diseases. The observation that miRNA 29a/b-1 cluster, miRNA 10b and miRNA 7, for instance, are frequently deregulated in the brains of patients with neurocognitive diseases and in animal models of Alzheimer, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, suggest that correction of miRNA expression using agonist or antagonist miRNA oligonucleotides might be a promising approach to correct or even to cure such diseases. The encouraging results from recent clinical trials allow envisioning that pharmacological approaches based on miRNAs might, in a near future, reach the requirements for successful therapeutic outcomes and will improve the healthcare of patients with brain injuries or disorders. This review will focus on the current strategies used to modulate pharmacological function of miRNA using chemically modified oligonucleotides. We will then review the recent literature on strategies to improve nucleic acid delivery across the blood-brain barrier which remains a severe obstacle to the widespread application of miRNA therapeutics to treat brain diseases. Finally, we provide a state-of-art of current preclinical research performed in animal models for the treatment of neurocognitive disorders using miRNA as therapeutic agents and discuss future developments of miRNA therapeutics.
Double-stranded DNA minicircles of less than 1000 bp in length have great interest in both fundamental research and therapeutic applications. Although minicircles have shown promising activity in gene therapy thanks to their good biostability and better intracellular trafficking, minicircles down to 250 bp in size have not yet been investigated from the test tube to the cell for lack of an efficient production method. Herein, we report a novel versatile plasmid-free method for the production of DNA minicircles comprising fewer than 250 bp. We designed a linear nicked DNA double-stranded oligonucleotide blunt-ended substrate for efficient minicircle production in a ligase-mediated and bending protein-assisted circularization reaction at high DNA concentration of 2 muM. This one pot multi-step reaction based-method yields hundreds of micrograms of minicircle with sequences of any base composition and position and containing or not a variety of site-specifically chemical modifications or physiological supercoiling. Biochemical and cellular studies were then conducted to design a 95 bp minicircle capable of binding in vitro two NF-kappaB transcription factors per minicircle and to efficiently inhibiting NF-kappaB-dependent transcriptional activity in human cells. Therefore, our production method could pave the way for the design of minicircles as new decoy nucleic acids.
Unlike other digestive-cancer entities, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies have, so far, largely failed to improve patient survival in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which remains the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in Europe and the United States. In this context, gene therapy may offer a new avenue for PDAC patients. In this review, we explore the research currently ongoing in French laboratories aimed at defeating PDAC using non-viral therapeutic gene delivery, targeted transgene expression or oncolytic virotherapy that recently or will soon bridge the gap between experimental models of cancer and clinical trials. These studies are likely to change clinical practice or thinking about PDAC management, as they represent a major advance not only for PDAC and may also largely influence the field of gene-based molecular treatment of cancer.
Oat (Avena sativa L.) seed extracts exhibited a high degree of catalytic activity including amylase activities. Proteins in the oat seed extracts were optimized for their amylolytic activities. Oat extract with amylolytic activity was separated by SDS-PAGE and a major protein band with an apparent molecular mass of 53 kDa was subjected to tryptic digestion. The generated amino acid sequences were analyzed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/MS/MS) and database searches. These sequences were used to identify a partial cDNA from expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of A. sativa L. Based upon EST sequences, a predicted full-length gene was identified, with an open reading frame of 1464 bp encoding a protein of 488 amino acid residues (AsBAMY), with a theoretical molecular mass of 55 kDa identified as a β-amylase belonging to the plant β-amylase family. Primary structure of oat β-amylase (AsBAMY) protein indicated high similarity with other β-amylase from other cereals such as wheat (Triticum aestivum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), and rye (Secale cereale) with two conserved Glu residues (E184 and E378) assigned as the “putative” catalytic residues which would act as an acid and base pair in the catalytic process. In addition, a 3D-model of AsBAMY was built from known X-ray structures and sequence alignments. A similar core (β/α)8-barrel architecture was found in AsBAMY like the other cereal β-amylases with a specific location of the active site in a pocket-like cavity structure made at one end of this core (β/α)8-barrel domain suggesting an accessibility of the non-reducing end of the substrate and thus confirming the results of AsBAMY exo-acting hydrolase.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, noncoding RNAs which regulate gene expression by directing their target mRNA for degradation or translational repression. Since their discovery in the early 1990s, miRNAs have emerged as key components in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene networks, shaping many biological processes from development, morphogenesis, differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. Although understanding of the molecular basis of miRNA biology is improving, methods to monitor the dynamic and the spatiotemporal aspects of miRNA expression under physiopathological conditions are required. However, monitoring of miRNAs is difficult due to their small size, low abundance, high degree of sequence similarity, and their dynamic expression pattern which is subjected to tight transcriptional and post-transcriptional controls. Recently, we developed a miRNA monitoring system called RILES, standing for RNAi-inducible expression system, which relies on an engineered regulatable expression system, to switch on the expression of the luciferase gene when the targeted miRNA is expressed in cells. We demonstrated that RILES is a specific, sensitive, and robust method to determine the fine-tuning of miRNA expression during the development of an experimental pathological process in mice. Because RILES offers the possibility for longitudinal studies on individual subjects, sharper insights into miRNA regulation can be generated, with applications in physiology, pathophysiology and development of RNAi-based therapies. This chapter describes methods and protocols to monitor the expression of myomiR-206, -1, and -133 in the tibialis anterior muscle of mice. These protocols can be used and adapted to monitor the expression of other miRNAs in other biological processes.
The co-delivery of minicircle DNA (mcDNA) and small anti-cancer drugs via stimuli-sensitive nanocarriers is a promising approach for combinatorial cancer therapy. However, the simultaneous loading of drugs and DNA in nanosized delivery systems is remarkably challenging. In this study we describe the synthesis of triblock copolymer micelles based on poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)-poly(L-lactide) grafted with bioreducible polyethylenimine (PEOz-PLA-g-PEI-SS) for co-delivery of supercoiled (sc) mcDNA vectors and Doxorubicin (Dox). These amphiphilic carriers take advantage of non-fouling oxazolines to confer biological stability, of PLA to provide a hydrophobic core for drug encapsulation and of bioreducible PEI-SS to provide mcDNA complexation and an on-demand stimuli-responsive release. The obtained results show that mcDNA-loaded micelleplexes penetrate into in vitro tumor spheroid models with specific kinetics and exhibit a higher gene expression when compared to non-bioreducible nanocarriers. Moreover, in vivo bioluminescence imaging showed that gene expression is detected up to 8days following mcDNA-micelles intratumoral administration. Furthermore, drug-gene co-delivery in PEOz-PLA-g-PEI-SS carriers was verified by successful encapsulation of both Dox and mcDNA with high efficacy. Moreover, dual-loaded micelleplexes presented significant uptake and a cytotoxic effect in 2D cultures of cancer cells. The co-delivery of mcDNA-Dox to B16F10-Luciferase tumor bearing mice resulted in a reduction in tumor volume and cancer cells viability. Overall, such findings indicate that bioreducible triblock micelles are efficient for focal delivery in vivo and have potential for future application in combinatorial DNA-drug therapy.
Tendon injury is a major musculoskeletal disorder with a high public health impact. We propose a non-viral based strategy of gene therapy for the treatment of tendon injuries using histidylated vectors. Gene delivery of fibromodulin, a proteoglycan involved in collagen assembly was found to promote rat Achilles tendon repair in vivo and in vitro. In vivo liposome-based transfection of fibromodulin led to a better healing after surgical injury, biomechanical properties were better restored compared to untransfected control. These measures were confirmed by histological observations and scoring. To get better understandings of the mechanisms underlying fibromodulin transfection, an in vitro tendon healing model was developed. In vitro, polymer-based transfection of fibromodulin led to the best wound enclosure speed and a pronounced migration of tenocytes primary cultures was observed. These results suggest that fibromodulin non-viral gene therapy could be proposed as a new therapeutic strategy to accelerate tendon healing. FROM THE CLINICAL EDITOR : Tendon injury is relatively common and healing remains unsatisfactory. In this study, the effects of liposomal-based delivery of fibromodulin gene were investigated in a rat Achilles tendon injury model. The positive results observed would provide a new therapeutic strategy in clinical setting in the future.
Statistical approaches were employed for the optimisation of the extraction of amylolytic activity from oat (Avena sativa) seeds. The application of the response surface methodology allows us to determine a set of optimal conditions (ratio seed weight/buffer volume 0.1, germination days 10 days, temperature 20 degrees C and pH 5.6). Experiments carried out under these conditions led to amylase production yield of 91 U/g. Its maximal activity was in the pH 5.6 and at 55 degrees C. Study of the incorporation of the optimised oat extract into the bread formulation revealed an improvement of the sensory quality and the textural properties of fresh and stored bread. Three-dimensional elaborations of Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) images were performed on crumb of the different breads to evaluate the influence of amylase activity on microstructure. The result showed improved baking characteristics as well as overall microscopic and macroscopic appearance.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression by binding mRNA targets via sequence complementary inducing translational repression and/or mRNA degradation. A current challenge in the field of miRNA biology is to understand the functionality of miRNAs under physiopathological conditions. Recent evidence indicates that miRNA expression is more complex than simple regulation at the transcriptional level. MiRNAs undergo complex post-transcriptional regulations such miRNA processing, editing, accumulation and re-cycling within P-bodies. They are dynamically regulated and have a well-orchestrated spatiotemporal localization pattern. Real-time and spatio-temporal analyses of miRNA expression are difficult to evaluate and often underestimated. Therefore, important information connecting miRNA expression and function can be lost. Conventional miRNA profiling methods such as Northern blot, real-time PCR, microarray, in situ hybridization and deep sequencing continue to contribute to our knowledge of miRNA biology. However, these methods can seldom shed light on the spatiotemporal organization and function of miRNAs in real-time. Non-invasive molecular imaging methods have the potential to address these issues and are thus attracting increasing attention. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of methods used to detect miRNAs and discusses their contribution in the emerging field of miRNA biology and therapy.
Novel methods are required to investigate the complexity of microRNA (miRNA) biology and particularly their dynamic regulation under physiopathological conditions. Herein, a novel plasmid-based RNAi-Inducible Luciferase Expression System (RILES) was engineered to monitor the activity of endogenous RNAi machinery. When RILES is transfected in a target cell, the miRNA of interest suppresses the expression of a transcriptional repressor and consequently switch-ON the expression of the luciferase reporter gene. Hence, miRNA expression in cells is signed by the emission of bioluminescence signals that can be monitored using standard bioluminescence equipment. We validated this approach by monitoring in mice the expression of myomiRs-133, -206 and -1 in skeletal muscles and miRNA-122 in liver. Bioluminescence experiments demonstrated robust qualitative and quantitative data that correlate with the miRNA expression pattern detected by quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR). We further demonstrated that the regulation of miRNA-206 expression during the development of muscular atrophy is individual-dependent, time-regulated and more complex than the information generated by qPCR. As RILES is simple and versatile, we believe that this methodology will contribute to a better understanding of miRNA biology and could serve as a rationale for the development of a novel generation of regulatable gene expression systems with potential therapeutic applications.
Background Preclinical studies have demonstrated that, unlike oncolytic adenoviruses, oncolytic vaccinia viruses can reach implanted tumors upon systemic injection. However, the biodistribution of this oncolytic agent in in situ autochthonous tumor models remains poorly characterized. In the present study, we assessed this biodistribution in a model of mouse hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) obtained after injection of the carcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Methods Twelve months after DEN administration, histology, quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization and viral titration were used to characterize tumors, as well as to assess the viral load of the livers upon either intravenous or intraperitoineal injection. Results The results obtained showed that the architecture of the liver was lost, with a noticeable absence of sinusoids, as well as the presence of steatosis and α-fetoprotein-positive HCC tumor nodules. Bioluminescence imaging and measures of the infective virus load demonstrated that intravenous injection of 108 plaque-forming units of the recombinant vaccinia virus led to a predominant transduction of the liver, whereas intraperitoneal injection resulted in a lower level of liver transduction accompanied by an increased infection of the lungs, spleen, kidneys and bowels. Immunohistochemical analysis of liver sections of animals injected intravenously with the virus revealed a preferential localization of vaccinia-specific immunoreactivity in the tumors. Conclusions The findings of the present study emphasize the importance of the route of administration of the vector and highlight the relevance of systemic injection of oncolytic vaccinia virus in the context of hepatocellular carcinoma.
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