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Porto, Portugal

The University of Porto is a Portuguese public university located in Porto, and founded on 22 March 1911. It is the largest Portuguese university by number of enrolled students and has one of the most noted research outputs in Portugal. Wikipedia.


Areal H.,University of Porto
BMC evolutionary biology | Year: 2011

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a major class of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) expressed in the cell surface or membrane compartments of immune and non-immune cells. TLRs are encoded by a multigene family and represent the first line of defense against pathogens by detecting foreigner microbial molecular motifs, the pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). TLRs are also important by triggering the adaptive immunity in vertebrates. They are characterized by the presence of leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) in the ectodomain, which are associated with the PAMPs recognition. The direct recognition of different pathogens by TLRs might result in different evolutionary adaptations important to understand the dynamics of the host-pathogen interplay. Ten mammal TLR genes, viral (TLR3, 7, 8, 9) and non-viral (TLR1-6, 10), were selected to identify signatures of positive selection that might have been imposed by interacting pathogens and to clarify if viral and non-viral TLRs might display different patterns of molecular evolution. By using Maximum Likelihood approaches, evidence of positive selection was found in all the TLRs studied. The number of positively selected codons (PSC) ranged between 2-26 codons (0.25%-2.65%) with the non-viral TLR4 as the receptor with higher percentage of positively selected codons (2.65%), followed by the viral TLR8 (2.50%). The results indicated that viral and non-viral TLRs are similarly under positive selection. Almost all TLRs have at least one PSC located in the LRR ectodomain which underlies the importance of the pathogen recognition by this region. Our results are not in line with previous studies on primates and birds that identified more codons under positive selection in non-viral TLRs. This might be explained by the fact that both primates and birds are homogeneous groups probably being affected by only a restricted number of related viruses with equivalent motifs to be recognized. The analyses performed in this work encompassed a large number of species covering some of the most representative mammalian groups - Artiodactyla, Rodents, Carnivores, Lagomorphs and Primates - that are affected by different families of viruses. This might explain the role of adaptive evolution in shaping viral TLR genes. Source


Oliveira J.M.A.,University of Porto
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2010

Polyglutamine expansion mutation in huntingtin causes Huntington's disease (HD). How mutant huntingtin (mHtt) preferentially kills striatal neurons remains unknown. The link between mitochondrial dysfunction and HD pathogenesis stemmed from postmortem brain data and mitochondrial toxin models. Current evidence from genetic models, containing mHtt, supports mitochondrial dysfunction with yet uncertain nature and cause. Because mitochondria composition and function varies across tissues and cell-types, mitochondrial dysfunction in HD vulnerable striatal neurons may have distinctive features. This review focuses on mHtt and the striatum, integrating experimental evidence from patients, mice, primary cultures and striatal cell-lines. I address the nature (specific deficits) and cause (mechanisms linked to mHtt) of HD mitochondrial dysfunction, considering limitations of isolated vs. in situ mitochondria approaches, and the complications introduced by glia and glycolysis in brain and cell-culture studies. Current evidence relegates respiratory chain impairment to a late secondary event. Upstream events include defective mitochondrial calcium handling, ATP production and trafficking. Also, transcription abnormalities affecting mitochondria composition, reduced mitochondria trafficking to synapses, and direct interference with mitochondrial structures enriched in striatal neurons, are possible mechanisms by which mHtt amplifies striatal vulnerability. Insights from common neurodegenerative disorders with selective vulnerability and mitochondrial dysfunction (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases) are also addressed. © 2010 International Society for Neurochemistry. Source


Silva M.T.,University of Porto
FEBS Letters | Year: 2010

The predominant definition of apoptosis considers that the elimination of the apoptosing cell is by heterolytic degradation following phagocytosis by an assisting scavenger (efferocytosis). However, an alternative and largely underestimated outcome of apoptosis is secondary necrosis, an autolytic process of cell disintegration with release of cell components that occurs when there is no intervention of scavengers and the full apoptotic program is completed. Secondary necrosis is the typical outcome of apoptosis in unicellular eukaryotes but, importantly, it may also occur in multicellular animals and has been implicated in the genesis of important human pathologies. Secondary necrosis is a mode of cell elimination with specific molecular and morphological features and should be considered the natural outcome of the complete apoptotic program. © 2010 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Source


E-cadherin is a central molecule in the process of gastric carcinogenesis and its posttranslational modifications by N-glycosylation have been described to induce a deleterious effect on cell adhesion associated with tumor cell invasion. However, the role that site-specific glycosylation of E-cadherin has in its defective function in gastric cancer cells needs to be determined. Using transgenic mice models and human clinical samples, we demonstrated that N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V)-mediated glycosylation causes an abnormal pattern of E-cadherin expression in the gastric mucosa. In vitro models further indicated that, among the four potential N-glycosylation sites of E-cadherin, Asn-554 is the key site that is selectively modified with β1,6 GlcNAc-branched N-glycans catalyzed by GnT-V. This aberrant glycan modification on this specific asparagine site of E-cadherin was demonstrated to affect its critical functions in gastric cancer cells by affecting E-cadherin cellular localization, cis-dimer formation, molecular assembly and stability of the adherens junctions and cell–cell aggregation, which was further observed in human gastric carcinomas. Interestingly, manipulating this site-specific glycosylation, by preventing Asn-554 from receiving the deleterious branched structures, either by a mutation or by silencing GnT-V, resulted in a protective effect on E-cadherin, precluding its functional dysregulation and contributing to tumor suppression.Oncogene advance online publication, 20 July 2015; doi:10.1038/onc.2015.225. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited Source


Figueiredo J.L.,University of Porto
Journal of Materials Chemistry A | Year: 2013

Porous carbon materials can be used in catalysis either as catalysts or supports. The most relevant literature on this topic is reviewed, emphasizing the methods used for tuning the surface chemistry and textural properties of the carbon materials, in order to design improved catalysts. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

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