IUBMB Journal Highlights | February 2023

We are excited to highlight new research from the IUBMB Journals: IUBMB Life, BioFactors, Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.

Please also consider submitting your own research to the IUBMB Journals. You can expect to work with distinguished Editorial Board members and benefit from worldwide circulation and readership through our publishing partnership with Wiley. For more information about the journal and submissions, feel free to peruse the IUBMB journals website.

For now, please enjoy highlights of our recent content. Happy reading!



New Issue: Volume 75, Issue 2IUBMB Vol 75 No 2

Issue Highlights

Neonatal exposure to low-dose X-ray causes behavioral defects and abnormal hippocampal development in mice

Yuanduo Liu, Hongying Ma, Yangyang Wang, Boxu Ren, Lian Liu, Anbang Sun, Fengru Tang

First published: 11 January 2023

Development of the hippocampus is critical for its normal maturation. However, there is no systematic study on the effects of low-dose (≤2 Gy) neonatal X-ray exposure on different cells at different developmental stages of the mouse hippocampus. The present study demonstrated that irradiation with 2 Gy at postnatal day (PD) 3 in mice induced anxiety and impairment of spatial learning and memory in adult mice. Neuroinflammatory cells were observed in the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA3 areas of the hippocampus at PD3 + 1. X-ray irradiation impaired neuronal complexity and neurogenesis. However, the number of astrocytes and microglia in the hippocampus was increased the first day after irradiation, and then decreased 21 days later. The protein expression levels of NF-κB, C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), and γH2A histone family member X (γH2AX) increased from 7 to 21 days after irradiation, or till 90 days after irradiation for IL-1β, whereas those of hippocampal sirtuin1 (SIRT1) decreased after 21 days of irradiation at PD3. These results suggest that neonatal X-ray irradiation-induced neuroinflammation impaired neuroplasticity and neurogenesis in the hippocampus, leading to the anxiety and spatial memory disorder during adulthood. The mechanisms involved in the induction of developmental neurotoxicity following low-dose irradiation may involve the inflammation-mediated signaling pathway IL-1β/ SIRT1/CHOP.



The roles of proteases in prostate cancer

Hannu Koistinen, Ruusu-Maaria Kovanen, Morley D. Hollenberg, Antoine Dufour, Evette S. Radisky, Ulf-Håkan Stenman, Jyotsna Batra, Judith Clements, John D. Hooper, Eleftherios Diamandis, Oliver Schilling, Antti Rannikko, Tuomas Mirtti

First published: 4 January 2023

Since the proposition of the pro-invasive activity of proteolytic enzymes over 70 years ago, several roles for proteases in cancer progression have been established. About half of the 473 active human proteases are expressed in the prostate and many of the most well-characterized members of this enzyme family are regulated by androgens, hormones essential for development of prostate cancer. Most notably, several kallikrein-related peptidases, including KLK3 (prostate-specific antigen, PSA), the most well-known prostate cancer marker, and type II transmembrane serine proteases, such as TMPRSS2 and matriptase, have been extensively studied and found to promote prostate cancer progression. Recent findings also suggest a critical role for proteases in the development of advanced and aggressive castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Perhaps the most intriguing evidence for this role comes from studies showing that the protease-activated transmembrane proteins, Notch and CDCP1, are associated with the development of CRPC. Here, we review the roles of proteases in prostate cancer, with a special focus on their regulation by androgens.




New Issue: Volume 48, Issue 6BioFactors cover

Issue Highlights

Tau, tau kinases, and tauopathies: An updated overview

Giulia Montalto, Roberta Ricciarelli

First published: 23 January 2023

Tau is a macrotubule-associated protein primarily involved in the stabilization of the cytoskeleton. Under normal conditions, phosphorylation reduces the affinity of tau for tubulin, allowing the protein to detach from microtubules and ensuring the system dynamics in neuronal cells. However, hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates into paired helical filaments, the main constituents of neurofibrillary tangles found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies. In this review, we provide an overview of the structure of tau and the pathophysiological roles of tau phosphorylation. We also evaluate the major protein kinases involved and discuss the progress made in the development of drug therapies aimed at inhibiting tau kinases./p>



The neuropeptide substance P/neurokinin-1 receptor system and diabetes: From mechanism to therapy

Fariba Kokabi, Safieh Ebrahimi, Farshad Mirzavi, Nazanin Ghiasi Nooghabi, Seyedeh Fatemeh Hashemi, Seyed Isaac Hashemy

First published: 18 January 2023

Diabetes is a significant public health issue known as the world’s fastest-growing disease condition. It is characterized by persistent hyperglycemia and subsequent chronic complications leading to organ dysfunction and, ultimately, the failure of target organs. Substance P (SP) is an undecapeptide that belongs to the family of tachykinin (TK) peptides. The SP-mediated activation of the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) regulates many pathophysiological processes in the body. There is also a relation between the SP/NK1R system and diabetic processes. Importantly, deregulated expression of SP has been reported in diabetes and diabetes-associated chronic complications. SP can induce both diabetogenic and antidiabetogenic effects and thus affect the pathology of diabetes destructively or protectively. Here, we review the current knowledge of the functional relevance of the SP/NK1R system in diabetes pathogenesis and its exploitation for diabetes therapy. A comprehensive understanding of the role of the SP/NK1R system in diabetes is expected to shed further light on developing new therapeutic possibilities for diabetes and its associated chronic conditions.




Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry

New Issue: Volume 69, Issue 6BAB cover

Issue Highlights

Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to efficiently produce monophosphoryl lipid A

Zhen Wang, Aizhen Zhao, Chenhui Wang, Danyang Huang, Jing Yu, Letong Yu, Yuanming Wu, Xiaoyuan Wang

First published: 19 January 2023

Monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), mainly isolated from Salmonella minnesota R595, has been used as adjuvant in several vaccines. In this study, an Escherichia coli strain that can efficiently produce the MPL has been constructed. The gene clusters related to the biosynthesis of O-antigen, core oligosaccharide, enterobacterial common antigen, and colanic acid were sequentially removed to save the carbon source and to increase the activity of PagP in E. coli MG1655. Then, the genes pldA, mlaA, and mlaC related to the phospholipid transport system were further deleted, resulting in the strain MW012. Finally, the genes lpxE from Francisella novicida and pagP and pagL from Salmonella were overexpressed in MW012 to modify the structure of lipid A, resulting in the strain MW012/pWEPL. Lipid A species were isolated from MW012/pWEPL and analyzed by thin-layer chromatography and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. The results showed that mainly two MPL species were produced in E. coli MW012/pWEPL, one is hexa-acylated, and the other is penta-acylated. More importantly, the proportion of the hexa-acylated MPL, which is the most effective component of lipid A vaccine adjuvant, reached 75%. E. coli MW012/pWEPL constructed in this study provided a good alternative for the production of lipid A vaccine adjuvant MPL.




Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

New Virtual Issue on Teaching in the Time of COVID-19Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

New Issue: Volume 51, Issue 1

Issue Highlights

An integrated microbiome project for charactering microbial diversity in classroom based on virtual simulation experiments

Hao Sun, Pinmei Wang, Yudong Li

First published: 19 January 2023

Microbiome study requires both molecular techniques and bioinformatics skills, which are challenging for biologists to participate in this growing field. To introduce microbiome concepts and skills to students, a 6-week wet-lab and bioinformatics course for undergraduates was implemented through the project-based learning (PBL) approach. In the saliva microbiome project, students collected their saliva samples, performed DNA extraction and PCR amplification, followed by metagenomic analysis to compare the diversity and abundances of microbes among samples. First, students are required to practice molecular techniques and bioinformatics analysis skills in a virtual simulation lab. To our knowledge, our study is the first one to incorporate a virtual lab into microbiome experience. Then, students applied their recently acquired skills to produce and analyze their own 16S amplicon sequencing data and reported their results via a scientific report. The student learning outcomes show that the Virtual lab can improve students’ laboratory techniques and research capabilities. Moreover, a simple pipeline to analyze 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing data is introduced in a step-by-step manner that helps students to develop analysis skills. This project can be modified as either a virtual course or a module within another course such as microbiology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. Our study provides evidence on the positive impact of virtual labs on learning outcomes in undergraduate science education.



Did you know? Wiley and Jisc just signed an agreement that allows UK authors to publish Open Access in the IUBMB Journals at no cost to them.

Thanks to a partnership our publisher Wiley has signed with Jisc, certain UK institutions now have full access to journals published by Wiley, including the IUBMB Journals. Further, the partnership enables authors at participating UK institutions to publish open access at no cost to them in the IUBMB Journals. Payment of the associated Article Publication Charges (APC) would be covered via the partnership, and authors will not need to cover the APCs from their own pockets.

Wiley has also signed similar agreements with universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, and with the US-based OhioLink And VIVA.

Submit your research to the IUBMB Journals today.


Molecular Aspects of Medicine

Molecular Aspects of Medicine cover

Volume 91 (June 2023) 101115
Systems to model the personalized aspects of microbiome health and gut dysbiosis

by Cristina Matthewman, Alexandra Narin, Hannah Huston, Christopher Edward Hopkins

Should you have a proposal or an idea for a thematic issue for Molecular Aspects of Medicine, please complete the thematic issue proposal form and send it to Dr. Angelo Azzi (angelo.azzi@tufts.edu)


Aspects of Molecular Medicine

Aspects of Medicine cover

Volume 1 (2023) 100001
Unusual Monkeypox virus outbreak in 2022: Phenotypic and molecular characteristics

by Alberta Azzi
New open access journal announcement

Make Aspects of Molecular Medicine the home for your next open access research article or short review on the molecular and cellular basis of disease. The Article Publishing Charge (APC) will be waived for any submissions received by September 30, 2023.