Table of contents

Volume 1, Issue 5, pp. 140 - 162, May 2014

Issue cover
Cover: Bovine macrophages infected with the intracellular, protozoan parasite Theileria annulata migrating inside matrigel. Leading edge is rich in F-actin (green) and dynamically remodeled. Parasite in red is located behind host cell nucleus (blue) with respect to the direction of migration. Surpass image of 15 individual confocal sections is shown. Green: F-actin (phalloidin Alexa488), Red: parasite (anti-Theileria annulata surface protein TASP, Cy3), Blue: DNA (hoechst). Picture by Martin Baumgartner (University of Zürich, Switzerland). The cover is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Enlarge issue cover

In a nutshell

Live longer on MARS: a yeast paradigm of mitochondrial adaptive ROS signaling in aging

Gerald S. Shadel

page 140-144 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.143 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Adaptive responses to stress, including hormesis, have been implicated in longevity, but their mechanisms and outcomes are not fully understood. Here, I briefly summarize a longevity mechanism elucidated in the budding yeast chronological lifespan model by which Mitochondrial Adaptive ROS Signaling (MARS) promotes beneficial epigenetic and metabolic remodeling. The potential relevance of MARS to the human disease Ataxia-Telangiectasia and as a potential anti-aging target is discussed.

Hormesis: a fundamental concept in biology

Edward J. Calabrese

page 145-149 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.145 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

This paper assesses the hormesis dose response concept, including its historical foundations, frequency, generality, quantitative features, mechanistic basis and biomedical, pharmaceutical and environmental health implications. The hormetic dose response is highly generalizable, being independent of biology model (i.e. common from plants to humans), level of biological organization (i.e. cell, organ and organism), endpoint, inducing agent and mechanism, providing the first general and quantitative description of plasticity. The hormetic dose response describes the limits to which integrative endpoints (e.g. cell proliferation, cell migration, growth patterns, tissue repair, aging processes, complex behaviors such as anxiety, learning, memory, and stress, preconditioning responses, and numerous adaptive responses) can be modulated (i.e., enhanced or diminished) by pharmaceutical, chemical and physical means. Thus, the hormesis concept is a fundamental concept in biology with a wide range of biological implications and biomedical applications.


When less is more: hormesis against stress and disease

Andreas Zimmermann, Maria A. Bauer, Guido Kroemer, Frank Madeo and Didac Carmona-Gutierrez

page 150-153 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.148 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

All living organisms need to adapt to ever changing adverse conditions in order to survive. The phenomenon termed hormesis describes an evolutionarily conserved process by which a cell or an entire organism can be preconditioned, meaning that previous exposure to low doses of an insult protects against a higher, normally harmful or lethal dose of the same stressor. Growing evidence suggests that hormesis is directly linked to an organism’s (or cell’s) capability to cope with pathological conditions such as aging and age-related diseases. Here, we condense the conceptual and potentially therapeutic importance of hormesis by providing a short overview of current evidence in favor of the cytoprotective impact of hormesis, as well as of its underlying molecular mechanisms.


Morphed and moving: TNFα-driven motility promotes cell dissemination through MAP4K4-induced cytoskeleton remodeling

Min Ma, Martin Baumgartner

page 154-157 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.146 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Cell dissemination from an initial site of growth is a highly coordinated and controlled process that depends on cell motility. The mechanistic principles that orchestrate cell motility, namely cell shape control, traction and force generation, are highly conserved between cells of different origins. Correspondingly, the molecular mechanisms that regulate these critical aspects of migrating cells are likely functionally conserved too. Thus, cell motility deregulation of unrelated pathogenesis could be caused and maintained by similar mechanistic principles. One such motility deregulation disorder is the leukoproliferative cattle disease Tropical Theileriosis, which is caused by the intracellular, protozoan parasite Theileria annulata. T. annulata transforms its host cell and promotes the dissemination of parasite-infected cells throughout the body of the host. An analogous condition with a fundamentally different pathogenesis is metastatic cancer, where oncogenically transformed cells disseminate from the primary tumor to form distant metastases. Common to both diseases is the dissemination of motile cells from the original site. However, unlike metastatic cancer, host cell transformation by Theileria parasites can be reverted by drug treatment and cell signaling be analyzed under transformed and non-transformed conditions. We have used this reversible transformation model and investigated parasite control of host cell motile properties in the context of inflammatory signaling in Ma M. et al. [PLoS Pathog (2014) 10: e1004003]. We found that parasite infection promotes the production of the inflammatory cytokine TNFα in the host macrophage. We demonstrated that increased TNFα triggers motile and invasive properties by enhancing actin cytoskeleton remodeling and cell motility through the ser/thr kinase MAP4K4. We concluded that inflammatory conditions resulting in increased TNFα could facilitate cell dissemination by activating the actin cytoskeleton regulatory kinase MAP4K4. We discuss here the relevance of TNFα-MAP4K4 signaling for pathogen-driven cell dissemination and its potential impact on the induction of metastasis in human cancer.

Prokaryotic Argonautes – variations on the RNA interference theme

John van der Oost, Daan C. Swarts, Matthijs M. Jore

page 158-159 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.144 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

The discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) has been a major scientific breakthrough. This RNA-guided RNA interference system plays a crucial role in a wide range of regulatory and defense mechanisms in eukaryotes. The key enzyme of the RNAi system is Argonaute (Ago), an endo-ribonuclease that uses a small RNA guide molecule to specifically target a complementary RNA transcript. Two functional classes of eukaryotic Ago have been described: catalytically active Ago that cleaves RNA targets complementary to its guide, and inactive Ago that uses its guide to bind target RNA to down-regulate translation efficiency. A recent comparative genomics study has revealed that Argonaute-like proteins are also encoded by prokaryotic genomes. Interestingly, there is a lot of variation among these prokaryotic Argonaute (pAgo) proteins with respect to domain architecture: some resemble the eukaryotic Ago (long pAgo) containing a complete or disrupted catalytic site, while others are truncated versions (short pAgo) that generally contain an incomplete catalytic site. Prokaryotic Agos with an incomplete catalytic site often co-occur with (predicted) nucleases. Based on this diversity, and on the fact that homologs of other RNAi-related protein components (such as Dicer nucleases) have never been identified in prokaryotes, it has been predicted that variations on the eukaryotic RNAi theme may occur in prokaryotes.

Autophagy extends lifespan via vacuolar acidification

Christoph Ruckenstuhl, Christine Netzberger, Iryna Entfellner, Didac Carmona-Gutierrez, Thomas Kickenweiz, Slaven Stekovic, Christina Gleixner, Christian Schmid, Lisa Klug, Ivan Hajnal, Alice G. Sorgo1, Tobias Eisenberg, Sabrina Büttner, Guillermo Marin͂o, Rafal Koziel, Christoph Magnes, Frank Sinner, Thomas R. Pieber, Pidder Jansen-Dürr, Kai-Uwe Fröhlich, Guido Kroemer, Frank Madeo

page 160-162 | 10.15698/mic2014.05.147 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Methionine restriction (MetR) is one of the rare regimes that prolongs lifespan across species barriers. Using a yeast model, we recently demonstrated that this lifespan extension is promoted by autophagy, which in turn requires vacuolar acidification. Our study is the first to place autophagy as one of the major players required for MetR-mediated longevity. In addition, our work identifies vacuolar acidification as a key downstream element of autophagy induction under MetR, and possibly after rapamycin treatment. Unlike other amino acids, methionine plays pleiotropic roles in many metabolism-relevant pathways. For instance, methionine (i) is the N-terminal amino acid of every newly translated protein; (ii) acts as the central donor of methyl groups through S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) during methylation reactions of proteins, DNA or RNA; and (iii) provides the sulfhydryl groups for FeS-cluster formation and redox detoxification via transsulfuration to cysteine. Intriguingly, MetR causes lifespan extension, both in yeast and in rodents. We could show that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, chronological lifespan (CLS) is increased in two specific methionine-auxotrophic strains (namely Δmet2 and Δmet15).