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Dalle Pezze P.,Vitality
Science signaling | Year: 2012

The kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) exists in two multiprotein complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2) and is a central regulator of growth and metabolism. Insulin activation of mTORC1, mediated by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and the inhibitory tuberous sclerosis complex 1/2 (TSC1-TSC2), initiates a negative feedback loop that ultimately inhibits PI3K. We present a data-driven dynamic insulin-mTOR network model that integrates the entire core network and used this model to investigate the less well understood mechanisms by which insulin regulates mTORC2. By analyzing the effects of perturbations targeting several levels within the network in silico and experimentally, we found that, in contrast to current hypotheses, the TSC1-TSC2 complex was not a direct or indirect (acting through the negative feedback loop) regulator of mTORC2. Although mTORC2 activation required active PI3K, this was not affected by the negative feedback loop. Therefore, we propose an mTORC2 activation pathway through a PI3K variant that is insensitive to the negative feedback loop that regulates mTORC1. This putative pathway predicts that mTORC2 would be refractory to Akt, which inhibits TSC1-TSC2, and, indeed, we found that mTORC2 was insensitive to constitutive Akt activation in several cell types. Our results suggest that a previously unknown network structure connects mTORC2 to its upstream cues and clarifies which molecular connectors contribute to mTORC2 activation. Source

Vascular dementia (VaD) is recognised as a neurocognitive disorder, which is explained by numerous vascular causes in the general absence of other pathologies. The heterogeneity of cerebrovascular disease makes it challenging to elucidate the neuropathological substrates and mechanisms of VaD as well as vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). Consensus and accurate diagnosis of VaD relies on wide-ranging clinical, neuropsychometric and neuroimaging measures with subsequent pathological confirmation. Pathological diagnosis of suspected clinical VaD requires adequate postmortem brain sampling and rigorous assessment methods to identify important substrates. Factors that define the subtypes of VaD include the nature and extent of vascular pathologies, degree of involvement of extra and intracranial vessels and the anatomical location of tissue changes. Atherosclerotic and cardioembolic diseases appear the most common substrates of vascular brain injury or infarction. Small vessel disease characterised by arteriolosclerosis and lacunar infarcts also causes cortical and subcortical microinfarcts, which appear to be the most robust substrates of cognitive impairment. Diffuse WM changes with loss of myelin and axonal abnormalities are common to almost all subtypes of VaD. Medial temporal lobe and hippocampal atrophy accompanied by variable hippocampal sclerosis are also features of VaD as they are of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent observations suggest that there is a vascular basis for neuronal atrophy in both the temporal and frontal lobes in VaD that is entirely independent of any Alzheimer pathology. Further knowledge on specific neuronal and dendro-synaptic changes in key regions resulting in executive dysfunction and other cognitive deficits, which define VCI and VaD, needs to be gathered. Hereditary arteriopathies such as cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy or CADASIL have provided insights into the mechanisms of dementia associated with cerebral small vessel disease. Greater understanding of the neurochemical and molecular investigations is needed to better define microvascular disease and vascular substrates of dementia. The investigation of relevant animal models would be valuable in exploring the pathogenesis as well as prevention of the vascular causes of cognitive impairment. © 2016, The Author(s). Source

The integrity of the vascular system is essential for the efficient functioning of the brain. Aging-related structural and functional disturbances in the macro- or microcirculation of the brain make it vulnerable to cognitive dysfunction, leading to brain degeneration and dementing illness. Several faltering controls, including impairment in autoregulation, neurovascular coupling, blood-brain barrier leakage, decreased cerebrospinal fluid, and reduced vascular tone, appear to be responsible for varying degrees of neurodegeneration in old age. There is ample evidence to indicate vascular risk factors are also linked to neurodegenerative processes preceding cognitive decline and dementia. The strongest risk factor for brain degeneration, whether it results from vascular or neurodegenerative mechanisms or both, is age. However, several modifiable risks such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and obesity enhance the rate of cognitive decline and increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease in particular. The ultimate accumulation of brain pathological lesions may be modified by genetic influences, such as the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele and the environment. Lifestyle measures that maintain or improve cardiovascular health, including consumption of healthy diets, moderate use of alcohol, and implementation of regular physical exercise are important factors for brain protection. © 2010 International Life Sciences Institute. Source

Kirkwood T.B.L.,Vitality
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Ageing is intrinsically complex, being driven by multiple causal mechanisms. Each mechanism tends to be partially supported by data indicating that it has a role in the overall cellular and molecular pathways underlying the ageing process. However, the magnitude of this role is usually modest. The systems biology approach combines (i) data-driven modelling, often using the large volumes of data generated by functional genomics technologies, and (ii) hypothesis-driven experimental studies to investigate causal pathways and identify their parameter values in an unusually quantitative manner, which enables the contributions of individual mechanisms and their interactions to be better understood, and allows for the design of experiments explicitly to test the complex predictions arising from such models. A clear example of the success of the systems biology approach in unravelling the complexity of ageing can be seen in recent studies on cell replicative senescence, revealing interactions between mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere erosion and DNA damage. An important challenge also exists in connecting the network of (random) damage-driven proximate mechanisms of ageing with the higher level (genetically specified) signalling pathways that influence longevity. This connection is informed by actions of natural selection on the determinants of ageing and longevity. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Saretzki G.,Vitality
Current Pharmaceutical Design | Year: 2014

In addition, TERT has been detected in non-nuclear locations such as the cytoplasm and mitochondria. Within mitochondria TERT has been shown to decrease ROS generation, improve respiration, bind to mitochondrial DNA, increase mitochondrial membrane potential and interact with mitochondrial tRNAs. All these different non-telomere-related mechanisms might contribute towards the higher resistance of cancer cells against DNA damaging treatments and promote cellular survival. Understanding these different mechanisms and their complexity in cancer cells might help to design more effective cancer therapies in the future.Telomerase activity is essential for human cancer cells in order to maintain telomeres and provide unlimited proliferation potential and cellular immortality. However, additional non-telomeric roles emerge for the telomerase protein TERT that can impact tumourigenesis and cancer cell properties. This review summarises our current knowledge of non-telomeric functions of telomerase in human cells, with a special emphasis on cancer cells.Non-canonical functions of telomerase can be performed within the nucleus as well as in other cellular compartments. These telomereindependent activities of TERT influence various essential cellular processes, such as gene expression, signalling pathways, mitochondrial function as well as cell survival and stress resistance. Emerging data show the interaction of telomerase with intracellular signalling pathways such as NF-κB and WNT/β-catenin; thereby contributing to inflammation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer invasiveness. All these different functions might contribute to tumourigenesis, and have serious consequences for cancer therapies due to increased resistance against damaging agents and prevention of cell death. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers. Source

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