Publications

2020
Schlesinger Y, Yosefov-Levi O, Kolodkin-Gal D, Granit RZ, Peters L, Kalifa R, Xia L, Nasereddin A, Shiff I, Amran O, Nevo Y, Elgavish S, Atlan K, Zamir G, Parnas O. Single-cell transcriptomes of pancreatic preinvasive lesions and cancer reveal acinar metaplastic cells' heterogeneity. Nat Commun 2020;11(1):4516.Abstract
Acinar metaplasia is an initial step in a series of events that can lead to pancreatic cancer. Here we perform single-cell RNA-sequencing of mouse pancreas during the progression from preinvasive stages to tumor formation. Using a reporter gene, we identify metaplastic cells that originated from acinar cells and express two transcription factors, Onecut2 and Foxq1. Further analyses of metaplastic acinar cell heterogeneity define six acinar metaplastic cell types and states, including stomach-specific cell types. Localization of metaplastic cell types and mixture of different metaplastic cell types in the same pre-malignant lesion is shown. Finally, single-cell transcriptome analyses of tumor-associated stromal, immune, endothelial and fibroblast cells identify signals that may support tumor development, as well as the recruitment and education of immune cells. Our findings are consistent with the early, premalignant formation of an immunosuppressive environment mediated by interactions between acinar metaplastic cells and other cells in the microenvironment.
Forno F, Maatuf Y, Boukeileh S, Dipta P, Mahameed M, Darawshi O, Ferreira V, Rada P, García-Martinez I, Gross E, Priel A, Valverde ÁM, Tirosh B. Aripiprazole Cytotoxicity Coincides with Activation of the Unfolded Protein Response in Human Hepatic Cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2020;374(3):452-461.Abstract
Schizophrenia is a mental disease that results in decreased life expectancy and well-being by promoting obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Schizophrenia is treated by antipsychotic drugs. Although the second-generation antipsychotics (SGA), Olanzapine and Aripiprazole, are more effective in treating schizophrenia, they display a higher risk of metabolic side effects, mostly by development of diabetes and insulin resistance, weight gain, and dyslipidemia. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is induced when ER homeostasis of lipid biosynthesis and protein folding is impaired. This leads to the activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a signaling cascade that aims to restore ER homeostasis or initiate cell death. Chronic conditions of ER stress in the liver are associated with diabetes and perturbed lipid metabolism. These metabolic dysfunctions resemble the pharmacological side effects of SGAs. We therefore investigated whether SGAs promote the UPR in human and mouse hepatocytes. We observed full-fledged activation of ER stress by Aripiprazole not by Olanzapine. This occurred at low micromolar concentrations and to variable intensities in different cell types, such as hepatocellular carcinoma, melanoma, and glioblastoma. Mechanistically, Aripiprazole caused depletion of ER calcium, leading to activation of inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1)and protein kinase R (PKR)-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), two major transducers of the UPR. Cells underwent apoptosis with Aripiprazole treatment, which coincided with UPR induction, and this effect was reduced by adding glutathione without affecting UPR itself. Deletion of IRE1 from HepG2, a human liver cancer cell line, protected cells from Aripiprazole toxicity. Our study reveals for the first time a cytotoxic effect of Aripiprazole that involves the induction of ER stress. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The antischizophrenic drug Aripiprazole exerts cytotoxic properties at high concentrations. This study shows that this cytotoxicity is associated with the induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and IRE1 activation, mechanisms involved in diet-induced obesity. Aripiprazole induced ER stress and calcium mobilization from the ER in human and mouse hepatocytes. Our study highlights a new mechanism of Aripiprazole that is not related to its effect on dopamine signaling.
Levite M, Zelig D, Friedman A, Ilouz N, Eilam R, Bromberg Z, Ramadhan Lasu AA, Arbel-Alon S, Edvardson S, Tarshish M, Riek LP, Lako RL, Reubinoff B, Lebendiker M, Yaish D, Stavsky A, Galun E. Dual-Targeted Autoimmune Sword in Fatal Epilepsy: Patient's glutamate receptor AMPA GluR3B peptide autoimmune antibodies bind, induce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in, and kill both human neural cells and T cells. J Autoimmun 2020;112:102462.Abstract
Nodding Syndrome (NS) is a fatal pediatric epilepsy of unknown etiology, accompanied by multiple neurological impairments, and associated with Onchocerca volvulus (Ov), malnutrition, war-induced trauma, and other insults. NS patients have neuroinflammation, and ~50% have cross-reactive Ov/Leiomodin-1 neurotoxic autoimmune antibodies. RESULTS: Studying 30 South Sudanese NS patients and a similar number of healthy subjects from the same geographical region, revealed autoimmune antibodies to 3 extracellular peptides of ionotropic glutamate receptors in NS patients: AMPA-GluR3B peptide antibodies (86%), NMDA-NR1 peptide antibodies (77%) and NMDA-NR2 peptide antibodies (87%) (in either 1:10, 1:100 or 1:1000 serum dilution). In contrast, NS patients did not have 26 other well-known autoantibodies that target the nervous system in several autoimmune-mediated neurological diseases. We demonstrated high expression of both AMPA-GluR3 and NMDA-NR1 in human neural cells, and also in normal human CD3 T cells of both helper CD4 and cytotoxic CD8 types. Patient's GluR3B peptide antibodies were affinity-purified, and by themselves precipitated short 70 kDa neuronal GluR3. NS patient's affinity-purified GluR3B peptide antibodies also bound to, induced Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in, and killed both human neural cells and T cells within 1-2 hours only. NS patient's purified IgGs, or serum (1:10 or 1:30), induced similar effects. In vivo video EEG experiments in normal mice, revealed that when NS patient's purified IgGs were released continuously (24/7 for 1 week) in normal mouse brain, they induced all the following: 1.Seizures, 2. Cerebellar Purkinje cell loss, 3. Degeneration in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, and 4. Elevation of CD3 T cells, and of activated Mac-2microglia and GFAPastrocytes in both the gray and white matter of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, corpus calossum and cerebellum of mice. NS patient's serum cytokines: IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, IFNγ, are reduced by 85-99% compared to healthy subjects, suggesting severe immunodeficiency in NS patients. This suspected immunodeficiency could be caused by combined effects of the: 1. Chronic Ov infection, 2. Malnutrition, 3. Killing of NS patient's T cells by patient's own GluR3B peptide autoimmune antibodies (alike the killing of normal human T cells by the NS patient's GluR3B peptide antibodies found herein in vitro). CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of NS etiology, NS patients suffer from 'Dual-targeted Autoimmune Sword': autoimmune AMPA GluR3B peptide antibodies that bind, induce ROS in, and kill both neural cells and T cells. These neurotoxic and immunotoxic GluR3B peptide autoimmune antibodies, and also NS patient's NMDA-NR1/NR2A and Ov/Leiomodin-1 autoimmune antibodies, must be silenced or removed. Moreover, the findings of this study are relevant not only to NS, but also to many more patients with other types of epilepsy, which have GluR3B peptide antibodies in serum and/or CSF. This claim is based on the following facts: 1. The GluR3 subunit is expressed in neural cells in crucial brains regions, in motor neurons in the spinal cord, and also in other cells in the body, among them T cells of the immune system, 2. The GluR3 subunit has diverse neurophysiological role, and its deletion or abnormal function can: disrupt oscillatory networks of both sleep and breathing, impair motor coordination and exploratory activity, and increase the susceptibility to generate seizures, 3. GluR3B peptide antibodies were found so far in ~27% of >300 epilepsy patients worldwide, which suffer from various other types of severe, intractable and enigmatic epilepsy, and which turned out to be 'Autoimmune Epilepsy'. Furthermore, the findings of this study could be relevant to different neurological diseases besides epilepsy, since other neurotransmitter-receptors autoantibodies are present in other neurological and psychiatric diseases, e.g. autoimmune antibodies against other GluRs, Dopamine receptors, GABA receptors, Acetylcholine receptors and others. These neurotransmitter-receptors autoimmune autoantibodies might also act as 'Dual-targeted Autoimmune Sword' and damage both neural cells and T cells (as the AMPA-GluR3B peptide antibodies induced in the present study), since T cells, alike neural cells, express most if not all these neurotransmitter receptors, and respond functionally to the respective neurotransmitters - a scientific and clinical topic we coined 'Nerve-Driven Immunity'.
Sionov RV, Feldman M, Reem Smoum, Raphael Mechoulam, Steinberg D. Anandamide prevents the adhesion of filamentous Candida albicans to cervical epithelial cells. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):13728.Abstract
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by Candida species that have formed a biofilm on epithelial linings of the body. The most frequently affected areas include the vagina, oral cavity and the intestine. In severe cases, the fungi penetrate the epithelium and cause systemic infections. One approach to combat candidiasis is to prevent the adhesion of the fungal hyphae to the epithelium. Here we demonstrate that the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) and the endocannabinoid-like N-arachidonoyl serine (AraS) strongly prevent the adherence of C. albicans hyphae to cervical epithelial cells, while the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) has only a minor inhibitory effect. In addition, we observed that both AEA and AraS prevent the yeast-hypha transition and perturb hyphal growth. Real-time PCR analysis showed that AEA represses the expression of the HWP1 and ALS3 adhesins involved in Candida adhesion to epithelial cells and the HGC1, RAS1, EFG1 and ZAP1 regulators of hyphal morphogenesis and cell adherence. On the other hand, AEA increased the expression of NRG1, a transcriptional repressor of filamentous growth. Altogether, our data show that AEA and AraS have potential anti-fungal activities by inhibiting hyphal growth and preventing hyphal adherence to epithelial cells.
Douiev L, Sheffer R, Horvath G, Saada A. Bezafibrate Improves Mitochondrial Fission and Function in DNM1L-Deficient Patient Cells. Cells 2020;9(2)Abstract
Mitochondria are involved in many cellular processes and their main role is cellular energy production. They constantly undergo fission and fusion, and these counteracting processes are under strict balance. The cytosolic dynamin-related protein 1, Drp1, or dynamin-1-like protein (DNM1L) mediates mitochondrial and peroxisomal division. Defects in the gene result in a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with heterogeneous symptoms affecting multiple organ systems. Currently there is no curative treatment available for this condition. We have previously described a patient with a de novo heterozygous c.1084G>A (p.G362S) mutation and studied the effects of a small molecule, bezafibrate, on mitochondrial functions in this patient's fibroblasts compared to controls. Bezafibrate normalized growth on glucose-free medium, as well as ATP production and oxygen consumption. It improved mitochondrial morphology in the patient's fibroblasts, although causing a mild increase in ROS production at the same time. A human foreskin fibroblast cell line overexpressing the p.G362S mutation showed aberrant mitochondrial morphology, which normalized in the presence of bezafibrate. Further studies would be needed to show the consistency of the response to bezafibrate, possibly using fibroblasts from patients with different mutations in , and this treatment should be confirmed in clinical trials. However, taking into account the favorable effects in our study, we suggest that bezafibrate could be offered as a treatment option for patients with certain mutations.
2019
Gingichashvili S, Duanis-Assaf D, Shemesh M, Featherstone JDB, Feuerstein O, Steinberg D. The Adaptive Morphology of Biofilms: A Defense Mechanism against Bacterial Starvation. Microorganisms 2019;8(1)Abstract
Biofilms are commonly defined as accumulations of microbes, embedded in a self-secreted, polysaccharide-rich extra-cellular matrix. This study aimed to characterize specific morphological changes that occur in biofilms under nutrient-limiting growth conditions. Under varying levels of nutrient depletion, colony-type biofilms were found to exhibit different rates of spatial expansion and green fluorescent protein production. Specifically, colony-type biofilms grown on media with decreased lysogeny broth content exhibited increased spatial expansion and more stable GFP production over the entire growth period. By modeling the surface morphology of colony-type biofilms using confocal and multiphoton microscopy, we analyzed the appearance of distinctive folds or "wrinkles" that form as a result of lysogeny broth content reduction in the solid agar growth media. When subjected to varying nutritional conditions, the channel-like folds were shown to alter their morphology; growth on nutrient-depleted media was found to trigger the formation of large and straight wrinkles connecting the colony core to its periphery. To test a possible functional role of the formed channels, a fluorescent analogue of glucose was used to demonstrate preferential native uptake of the molecules into the channels' interiors which supports their possible role in the transport of molecules throughout biofilm structures.
Shlezinger M, Friedman M, Houri-Haddad Y, Hazan R, Beyth N. Phages in a thermoreversible sustained-release formulation targeting E. faecalis in vitro and in vivo. PLoS One 2019;14(7):e0219599.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Enterococcus faecalis is a key pathogen recovered from root canals when conventional treatment fails. Phage therapy has generated new interest in combating pathogens. A sustained-release formulation using specific phages against E. faecalis may offer an alternative approach. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of anti-E. faecalis phages formulated in a thermo- sustained-release system against E. faecalis in vitro and in vivo. METHODS: EFDG1 and EFLK1 phages were formulated with poloxamer P407. Gelation time, phage survival, activity and toxicity were evaluated. Lytic activity was evaluated in vitro against E. faecalis at various growth phases, including anti-biofilm activity. Methods included viable bacterial count (CFU/mL), biofilm biomass determination and electron microscopy (live/dead staining). Further evaluation included infected incisors in an in vivo rat model. Anti-E. faecalis phage-cocktail suspension and sustained-release phage formulation were evaluated by viable bacterial count (CFU/mL), histology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 16S genome sequencing of the microbiota of the root canal. RESULTS: Gelation time for clinical use was established. Low toxicity and a high phage survival rate were recorded. Sustained-release phages reduced E. faecalis in logarithmic (4 logs), stationary (3 logs) and biofilm (4 logs) growth phases. Prolonged anti-biofilm activity of 88% and 95% reduction in biomass and viable counts, respectively, was recorded. Reduction of intracanal viable bacterial counts was observed (99% of enterococci) also seen in SEM. Phage treatment increased Proteobacteria and decreased Firmicutes. Histology showed reduced periapical inflammation and improved healing following phage treatment. CONCLUSION: Poloxamer P407 formulated with phages has an effective and long-lasting effect in vitro and in vivo targeting E. faecalis.
Babkoff A, Cohen-Kfir E, Aharon H, Ronen D, Rosenberg M, Wiener R, Ravid S. A direct interaction between survivin and myosin II is required for cytokinesis. J Cell Sci 2019;132(14)Abstract
An acto-myosin contractile ring, which forms after anaphase onset and is highly regulated in time and space, mediates cytokinesis, the final step of mitosis. The chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), composed of Aurora-B kinase, INCENP, borealin and survivin (also known as BIRC5), regulates various processes during mitosis, including cytokinesis. It is not understood, however, how CPC regulates cytokinesis. We show that survivin binds to non-muscle myosin II (NMII), regulating its filament assembly. Survivin and NMII interact mainly in telophase, and Cdk1 regulates their interaction in a mitotic-phase-specific manner, revealing the mechanism for the specific timing of survivin-NMII interaction during mitosis. The survivin-NMII interaction is indispensable for cytokinesis, and its disruption leads to multiple mitotic defects. We further show that only the survivin homodimer binds to NMII, attesting to the biological importance for survivin homodimerization. We suggest a novel function for survivin in regulating the spatio-temporal formation of the acto-NMII contractile ring during cytokinesis and we elucidate the role of Cdk1 in regulating this process.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
Kannaiah S, Livny J, Amster-Choder O. Spatiotemporal Organization of the E. coli Transcriptome: Translation Independence and Engagement in Regulation. Mol Cell 2019;76(4):574-589.e7.Abstract
RNA localization in eukaryotes is a mechanism to regulate transcripts fate. Conversely, bacterial transcripts were not assumed to be specifically localized. We previously demonstrated that E. coli mRNAs may localize to where their products localize in a translation-independent manner, thus challenging the transcription-translation coupling extent. However, the scope of RNA localization in bacteria remained unknown. Here, we report the distribution of the E. coli transcriptome between the membrane, cytoplasm, and poles by combining cell fractionation with deep-sequencing (Rloc-seq). Our results reveal asymmetric RNA distribution on a transcriptome-wide scale, significantly correlating with proteome localization and prevalence of translation-independent RNA localization. The poles are enriched with stress-related mRNAs and small RNAs, the latter becoming further enriched upon stress in an Hfq-dependent manner. Genome organization may play a role in localizing membrane protein-encoding transcripts. Our results show an unexpected level of intricacy in bacterial transcriptome organization and highlight the poles as hubs for regulation.
Hazan I, Monin J, Bouwman BAM, Crosetto N, Aqeilan RI. Activation of Oncogenic Super-Enhancers Is Coupled with DNA Repair by RAD51. Cell Rep 2019;29(3):560-572.e4.Abstract
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are deleterious and tumorigenic but could also be essential for DNA-based processes. Yet the landscape of physiological DSBs and their role and repair are still elusive. Here, we mapped DSBs at high resolution in cancer and non-tumorigenic cells and found a transcription-coupled repair mechanism at oncogenic super-enhancers. At these super-enhancers the transcription factor TEAD4, together with various transcription factors and co-factors, co-localizes with the repair factor RAD51 of the homologous recombination pathway. Depletion of TEAD4 or RAD51 increases DSBs at RAD51/TEAD4 common binding sites within super-enhancers and decreases expression of related genes, which are mostly oncogenes. Co-localization of RAD51 with transcription factors at super-enhancers occurs in various cell types, suggesting a broad phenomenon. Together, our findings uncover a coupling between transcription and repair mechanisms at oncogenic super-enhancers, to control the hyper-transcription of multiple cancer drivers.
Sionov RV, Fainsod-Levi T, Zelter T, Polyansky L, Pham CT, Granot Z. Neutrophil Cathepsin G and Tumor Cell RAGE Facilitate Neutrophil Anti-Tumor Cytotoxicity. Oncoimmunology 2019;8(9):e1624129.Abstract
Neutrophils are a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells which may either promote or hinder tumor growth and progression. Anti-tumor neutrophils have the capacity to kill tumor cells in a contact-dependent manner. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor cell recognition by neutrophils remained unexplored. Tumor cells were shown to express aberrant glycosylation patterns and neutrophils are equipped with receptors capable of recognizing such glycosylations. Accordingly, we hypothesized that the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) may facilitate neutrophil recognition of tumor cells. Indeed, RAGE decoy receptors and RAGE-specific blocking antibodies dramatically reduce tumor cell susceptibility to neutrophil cytotoxicity. Unexpectedly, we found that tumor cell RAGE rather than neutrophil RAGE is important for the killing process. We further identified neutrophil Cathepsin G as the neutrophil component interacting with tumor cell RAGE. Cathepsin G-deficient neutrophils show impaired ability to kill tumor cells, suggesting that RAGE-Cathepsin G interaction is required for neutrophil cytotoxicity. These data unravel new aspects of neutrophil anti-tumor activity and identify a novel role for RAGE and Cathepsin G in neutrophil-mediated cytotoxicity.
Nir-Paz R, Gelman D, Khouri A, Sisson BM, Fackler J, Alkalay-Oren S, Khalifa L, Rimon A, Yerushalmy O, Bader R, Amit S, Coppenhagen-Glazer S, Henry M, Quinones J, Malagon F, Biswas B, Moses AE, Merril G, Schooley RT, Brownstein MJ, Weil YA, Hazan R. Successful Treatment of Antibiotic-resistant, Poly-microbial Bone Infection With Bacteriophages and Antibiotics Combination. Clin Infect Dis 2019;69(11):2015-2018.Abstract
A patient with a trauma-related left tibial infection associated with extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae was treated with bacteriophages and antibiotics. There was rapid tissue healing and positive culture eradication. As a result, the patient's leg did not have to be amputated and he is undergoing rehabilitation.
Abbasi I, Nasereddin A, Warburg A. Development of a next generation DNA sequencing-based multi detection assay for detecting and identifying Leishmania parasites, blood sources, plant meals and intestinal microbiome in phlebotomine sand flies. Acta Trop 2019;199:105101.Abstract
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by Leishmania parasites transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Human infections with different Leishmania species cause characteristic clinical manifestations; cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis. Here we describe the development and application of a Miseq Next GenerationSequencing (NGS)-based Multi Detection Assay (MDA) designed to characterize metagenomics parameters pertinent to the sand fly vectors which may affect their vectorial capacity for Leishmania. For this purpose, we developed a MDA by which, DNA fragments were amplified through polymerase chain reactions (PCR) and then sequenced by MiSeq/NGS. PCR amplification was achieved using some published and some new primers designed specifically for identifying Leishmania spp. (ITS1), sand fly spp. (cytochrome oxidase I), vertebrate blood (Cytochrome b), plant DNA ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase large subunit gene (rbcL), and prokaryotic micobiome (16 s rRNA). This MDA/NGS analysis was performed on two species of wild-caught sand flies that transmit different Leishmania spp. in two ecologically distinct, but geographically neighboring locations. The results were analyzed to identify, quantitate and correlate the measured parameters in order to assess their putative importance in the transmission dynamics of leishmaniasis.
Masch A, Nasereddin A, Alder A, Bird MJ, Schweda SI, Preu L, Doerig C, Dzikowski R, Gilberger TW, Kunick C. Structure-activity relationships in a series of antiplasmodial thieno[2,3-b]pyridines. Malar J 2019;18(1):89.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Malaria is one of the most prevalent tropical infectious diseases. Since recently cases of artemisinin resistance were reported, novel anti-malarial drugs are required which differ from artemisinins in structure and biological target. The plasmodial glycogen synthase kinase-3 (PfGSK-3) was suggested as a new anti-malarial drug target. 4-Phenylthieno[2,3-b]pyridines were previously identified as selective PfGSK-3 inhibitors with antiplasmodial activity. The present study aims at identifying a molecular position on this scaffold for the attachment of side chains in order to improve solubility and antiplasmodial activity. Furthermore, the role of axial chirality in the compound class for antiplasmodial activity and PfGSK-3 inhibition was investigated. METHODS: 4-Phenylthieno[2,3-b]pyridines with substituents in 4-position of the phenyl ring were docked into the ATP binding site of PfGSK-3. The compounds were synthesized employing a Thorpe reaction as final step. The enantiomers of one congener were separated by chiral HPLC. All derivatives were tested for inhibition of asexual erythrocytic stages of transgenic NF54-luc Plasmodium falciparum. Selected compounds with promising antiplasmodial activity were further evaluated for inhibition of HEK293 cells as well as inhibition of isolated PfGSK-3 and HsGSK-3. The kinetic aqueous solubility was assessed by laser nephelometry. RESULTS: The para position at the 4-phenyl ring of the title compounds was identified as a suitable point for the attachment of side chains. While alkoxy substituents in this position led to decreased antiplasmodial activity, alkylamino groups retained antiparasitic potency. The most promising of these congeners (4h) was investigated in detail. This compound is a selective PfGSK-3 inhibitor (versus the human GSK-3 orthologue), and exhibits improved antiplasmodial activity in vitro as well as better solubility in aqueous media than its unsubstituted parent structure. The derivative 4b was separated into the atropisomers, and it was shown that the (+)-enantiomer acts as eutomer. CONCLUSIONS: The attachment of alkylamino side chains leads to the improvement of antiplasmodial activity and aqueous solubility of selective PfGSK-inhibitors belonging to the class of 4-phenylthieno[2,3-b]pyridines. These molecules show axial chirality, a feature of high impact for biological activity. The findings can be exploited for the development of improved selective PfGSK-3 inhibitors.
Massalha W, Markovits M, Pichinuk E, Feinstein-Rotkopf Y, Tarshish M, Mishra K, Llado V, Weil M, Escriba PV, Kakhlon O. Minerval (2-hydroxyoleic acid) causes cancer cell selective toxicity by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation and compromising bioenergetic compensation capacity. Biosci Rep 2019;39(1)Abstract
This work tests bioenergetic and cell-biological implications of the synthetic fatty acid Minerval (2-hydroxyoleic acid), previously demonstrated to act by activation of sphingomyelin synthase in the plasma membrane (PM) and lowering of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) and their carcinogenic signaling. We show here that Minerval also acts, selectively in cancer cell lines, as an ATP depleting uncoupler of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). As a function of its exposure time, Minerval compromised the capacity of glioblastoma U87-MG cells to compensate for aberrant respiration by up-modulation of glycolysis. This effect was not exposure time-dependent in the lung carcinoma A549 cell line, which was more sensitive to Minerval. Compared with OxPhos inhibitors FCCP (uncoupler), rotenone (electron transfer inhibitor), and oligomycin (F1F0-ATPase inhibitor), Minerval action was similar only to that of FCCP. This similarity was manifested by mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) depolarization, facilitation of oxygen consumption rate (OCR), restriction of mitochondrial and cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial fragmentation. Additionally, compared with other OxPhos inhibitors, Minerval uniquely induced ER stress in cancer cell lines. These new modes of action for Minerval, capitalizing on the high fatty acid requirements of cancer cells, can potentially enhance its cancer-selective toxicity and improve its therapeutic capacity.
Aouizerat T, Gutman I, Paz Y, Maeir AM, Gadot Y, Gelman D, Szitenberg A, Drori E, Pinkus A, Schoemann M, Kaplan R, Ben-Gedalya T, Coppenhagen-Glazer S, Reich E, Saragovi A, Lipschits O, Klutstein M, Hazan R. Isolation and Characterization of Live Yeast Cells from Ancient Vessels as a Tool in Bio-Archaeology. MBio 2019;10(2)Abstract
Ancient fermented food has been studied based on recipes, residue analysis, and ancient-DNA techniques and reconstructed using modern domesticated yeast. Here, we present a novel approach based on our hypothesis that enriched yeast populations in fermented beverages could have become the dominant species in storage vessels and their descendants could be isolated and studied today. We developed a pipeline of yeast isolation from clay vessels and screened for yeast cells in beverage-related and non-beverage-related ancient vessels and sediments from several archaeological sites. We found that yeast cells could be successfully isolated specifically from clay containers of fermented beverages. The findings that genotypically the isolated yeasts are similar to those found in traditional African beverages and phenotypically they grow similar to modern beer-producing yeast strongly suggest that they are descendants of the original fermenting yeast. These results demonstrate that modern microorganisms can serve as a new tool in bio-archaeology research. So far, most of the study of ancient organisms has been based mainly on the analysis of ancient DNA. Here we show that it is possible to isolate and study microorganisms-yeast in this case-from ancient pottery vessels used for fermentation. We demonstrate that it is highly likely that these cells are descendants of the original yeast strains that participated in the fermentation process and were absorbed into the clay matrix of the pottery vessels. Moreover, we characterized the isolated yeast strains, their genomes, and the beer they produced. These results open new and exciting avenues in the study of domesticated microorganisms and contribute significantly to the fields of bio- and experimental archaeology that aim to reconstruct ancient artifacts and products.
2018
Tsvirkun D, Ben-Nun Y, Merquiol E, Zlotver I, Meir K, Weiss-Sadan T, Matok I, Popovtzer R, Blum G. CT Imaging of Enzymatic Activity in Cancer Using Covalent Probes Reveal a Size-Dependent Pattern. J Am Chem Soc 2018;140(38):12010-12020.Abstract
X-ray CT instruments are among the most available, efficient, and cost-effective imaging modalities in hospitals. The field of CT molecular imaging is emerging which relies mainly on the detection of gold nanoparticles and iodine-containing compounds directed to tagging a variety of abundant biomolecules. Here for the first time we attempted to detect enzymatic activity, while the low sensitivity of CT scanners to contrast reagents made this a challenging task. Therefore, we developed a new class of nanosized cathepsin-targeted activity-based probes (ABPs) for functional CT imaging of cancer. ABPs are small molecules designed to covalently modify enzyme targets in an activity-dependent manner. Using a CT instrument, these novel probes enable detection of the elevated cathepsin activity within cancerous tissue, thus creating a direct link between biological processes and imaging signals. We present the generation and biochemical evaluation of a library of ABPs tagged with different sized gold nanoparticles (GNPs), with various ratios of cathepsin-targeting moiety and a combination of different polyethylene glycol (PEG) protective layers. The most potent and stable GNP-ABPs were applied for noninvasive cancer imaging in mice. Surprisingly, detection of CT contrast from the tumor had reverse correlation to GNP size and the amount of targeting moiety. Interestingly, TEM images of tumor sections show intercellular lysosomal subcellular localization of the GNP-ABPs. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the covalent linkage is key for detection using low sensitive imaging modalities and the utility of GNP-ABPs as a promising tool for enzymatic-based CT imaging.
Nasereddin A, Ereqat S. Deep sequencing of SMPD1 gene revealed a heterozygous frameshift mutation (p.Ser192Alafs) in a Palestinian infant with Niemann-Pick disease type A: a case report. J Med Case Rep 2018;12(1):272.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Niemann-Pick disease is caused by reduced level of the lysosomal enzyme acid sphingomyelinase. Children can survive between 2 and 12 years based on the disease type. Two main types are well known: type A and B. Niemann-Pick disease type A is characterized by severe central nervous system deterioration and hepatosplenomegaly while type B is a progressive hypersplenism accompanied with gradual deterioration of pulmonary function. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe an 11-month-old Palestinian baby boy with hepatosplenomegaly, hypotonia, delayed motor development, laryngomalacia, bilateral cherry-red spots, and failure to thrive. Metabolic screening, blood count, differential tests, immunology screen, infectious disease screen, urine, biochemical tests as well as molecular diagnosis were performed. The molecular diagnosis was done by amplifying the whole sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase 1 (SMPD1) gene, followed by deep sequencing. The obtained sequences were aligned, de novo assembled and compared to human reference gene (GenBank GeneID: NG_011780.1, Ensembl version ENSG00000166311 and protein identified as UniProtKB - P17405). Two known mutations were identified in our patient: the pathogenic frameshift mutation NM_000543.4(SMPD1):c.573delT (p.Ser192Alafs) and the benign polymorphism NM_000543.4(SMPD1):c.107T>C (p.Val36Ala). The enzyme study showed a very low level of enzymatic activity of acidic sphingomyelinase (0.1 nmol/ml per hour). Correlations between clinical findings, laboratory data, and sequence analysis are presented. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, this is the first report about a heterozygote frameshift p.Ser192AlafsX65 in a Palestinian patient with Niemann-Pick disease type A, emphasizing the importance of deep sequencing in genetic diagnosis of this rare inherited disease.
Abbasi I, de Queiroz ATL, Kirstein OD, Nasereddin A, Horwitz BZ, Hailu A, Salah I, Mota TF, Fraga DBM, Veras PST, Poche D, Poche R, Yeszhanov A, Brodskyn C, Torres-Poche Z, Warburg A. Plant-feeding phlebotomine sand flies, vectors of leishmaniasis, prefer Cannabis sativa . Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018;115(46):11790-11795.Abstract
Blood-sucking phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) transmit leishmaniasis as well as arboviral diseases and bartonellosis. Sand fly females become infected with parasites and transmit them while imbibing vertebrates' blood, required as a source of protein for maturation of eggs. In addition, both females and males consume plant-derived sugar meals as a source of energy. Plant meals may comprise sugary solutions such as nectar or honeydew (secreted by plant-sucking homopteran insects), as well as phloem sap that sand flies obtain by piercing leaves and stems with their needle-like mouthparts. Hence, the structure of plant communities can influence the distribution and epidemiology of leishmaniasis. We designed a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based assay for determining the source of sand fly plant meals, based upon the chloroplast DNA gene ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase large chain (). Here, we report on the predilection of several sand fly species, vectors of leishmaniasis in different parts of the world, for feeding on We infer this preference based on the substantial percentage of sand flies that had fed on plants despite the apparent "absence" of these plants from most of the field sites. We discuss the conceivable implications of the affinity of sand flies for on their vectorial capacity for and the putative exploitation of their attraction to for the control of sand fly-borne diseases.
2017
Gingichashvili S, Duanis-Assaf D, Shemesh M, Featherstone JDB, Feuerstein O, Steinberg D. Biofilm Development - A Computerized Study of Morphology and Kinetics. Front Microbiol 2017;8:2072.Abstract
Biofilm is commonly defined as accumulation of microbes, embedded in a self-secreted extra-cellular matrix, on solid surfaces or liquid interfaces. In this study, we analyze several aspects of biofilm formation using tools from the field of image processing. Specifically, we characterize the growth kinetics and morphological features of colony type biofilm formation and compare these in colonies grown on two different types of solid media. Additionally, we propose a model for assessing biofilm complexity across different growth conditions. GFP-labeled cells were cultured on agar surfaces over a 4-day period during which microscopic images of developing colonies were taken at equal time intervals. The images were used to perform a computerized analysis of few aspects of biofilm development, based on features that characterize the different phenotypes of colonies. Specifically, the analysis focused on the segmented structure of the colonies, consisting of two different regions of sub-populations that comprise the biofilm - a central "core" region and an "expanding" region surrounding it. Our results demonstrate that complex biofilm of grown on biofilm-promoting medium [standard lysogeny broth (LB) supplemented with manganese and glycerol] is characterized by rapidly developing three-dimensional complex structure observed at its core compared to biofilm grown on standard LB. As the biofilm develops, the core size remains largely unchanged during development and colony expansion is mostly attributed to the expansion in area of outer cell sub-populations. Moreover, when comparing the bacterial growth on biofilm-promoting agar to that of colonies grown on LB, we found a significant decrease in the GFP production of colonies that formed a more complex biofilm. This suggests that complex biofilm formation has a diminishing effect on cell populations at the biofilm core, likely due to a combination of reduced metabolic rate and increased levels of cell death within this region.