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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 27, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Aphids represent a major threat to crops. Hundreds of different viruses are aphid-borne. Upon aphid attack, plants release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as airborne alarm signals to turn on the airborne defense (AD) of neighboring plants, thereby repelling aphids as well as reducing aphid fitness and virus transmission. This phenomenon provides a critical community-wide plant protection to fend off aphids, but the underlying molecular basis remains undetermined for a long time. In a recent article, Gong et al. established theNAC2-SAMT1module as the core component regulating the emission of methyl-salicylate (MeSA), a major component of VOCs in aphid-attacked plants. Furthermore, they showed that SABP2 protein is critical for the perception of volatile MeSA signal by converting MeSA to Salicylic Acid (SA), which is the cue to elicit AD against aphids at the community level. Moreover, they showed that multiple viruses use a conserved glycine residue in the ATP-dependent helicase domain in viral proteins to shuttle NAC2 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for degradation, leading to the attenuation of MeSA emission and AD. These findings illuminate the functional roles of key regulators in the complex MeSA-mediated airborne defense process and a counter-defense mechanism used by viruses, which has profound significance in advancing the knowledge of plant-pathogen interactions as well as providing potential targets for gene editing-based crop breeding.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  5. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are commonly defined as transcripts that lack protein-coding capacity and are longer than 200 nucleotides. Since the emergence of next-generation sequencing technologies in this century, thousands of lncRNAs have been identified from nearly all living organisms. Notably, various pathogens also express their own lncRNAs in host cells during infection. In plants, many lncRNAs exhibit dynamic expression patterns in response to environmental stimuli, including pathogen attacks. In contrast to well-established methods in identifying such lncRNAs, the current understanding of lncRNAs’ functional mechanisms is in its infancy. Some lncRNAs serve as precursors for generating small RNAs or serve as target mimics to sequester functional small RNAs, which have been extensively reviewed in the literature. This review focuses on the emerging evidence supporting that certain lncRNAs function as negative or positive regulators of plant immunity. A common theme is that those regulations rely on specific interactions between lncRNAs and key regulatory proteins. Viroids as single-stranded circular noncoding RNAs provide a handle to investigate how RNA local motifs render interaction specificity between lncRNAs and regulatory proteins.

    [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  6. Abstract

    Oncogene-induced replication stress generates endogenous DNA damage that activates cGAS–STING-mediated signalling and tumour suppression1–3. However, the precise mechanism of cGAS activation by endogenous DNA damage remains enigmatic, particularly given that high-affinity histone acidic patch (AP) binding constitutively inhibits cGAS by sterically hindering its activation by double-stranded DNA (dsDNA)4–10. Here we report that the DNA double-strand break sensor MRE11 suppresses mammary tumorigenesis through a pivotal role in regulating cGAS activation. We demonstrate that binding of the MRE11–RAD50–NBN complex to nucleosome fragments is necessary to displace cGAS from acidic-patch-mediated sequestration, which enables its mobilization and activation by dsDNA. MRE11 is therefore essential for cGAS activation in response to oncogenic stress, cytosolic dsDNA and ionizing radiation. Furthermore, MRE11-dependent cGAS activation promotes ZBP1–RIPK3–MLKL-mediated necroptosis, which is essential to suppress oncogenic proliferation and breast tumorigenesis. Notably, downregulation ofZBP1in human triple-negative breast cancer is associated with increased genome instability, immune suppression and poor patient prognosis. These findings establish MRE11 as a crucial mediator that links DNA damage and cGAS activation, resulting in tumour suppression through ZBP1-dependent necroptosis.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 18, 2025
  7. Current commercial batteries are mainly metal based, with metal elements in charge carriers and/or electrode materials, which poses potential economic and environmental concerns due to the heavy use of nonrenewable metals. Thus, metal-free batteries present a unique opportunity as sustainable energy storage devices, though the relevant research is still in its infancy. Herein, we present an all-organic metal-free NH 4 + ion full battery that can operate at a low temperature of 0 °C, by using polypyrrole (PPy) as the cathode, polyaniline (PANI) as the anode, and 19 m ammonium acetate aqueous solution as electrolyte. For the first time, PPy is demonstrated as a high-capacity host material for both NH 4 + and K + storage, when cycled in water in salt electrolytes (WiSEs). When tested in a three-electrode cell containing 25 m NH 4 CH 3 COO electrolyte, PPy exhibits an impressive capacity of 125 mA h g −1 at a specific current of 1 A g −1 and retains 43.61 mA h g −1 at 25 A g −1 . Additionally, a full battery is assembled using the PPy cathode and PANI anode coupled with 19 m NH 4 CH 3 COO WiSE. This battery is found to deliver a capacity of 78.405 mA h g −1 at 25 °C and 49.083 mA h g −1 at 0 °C with a capacity retention of 71.83% after 200 cycles, demonstrating its potential for operations at low temperatures. Additionally, the physiochemical properties of NH 4 + -based WiSEs are examined by Raman and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopies, to explore their electrochemical behaviors and the fundamental effect of salt concentration on the electrolyte characteristics. This study presents the first non-metal battery with potential for low-temperature applications and opens the door to future metal-free electronics that would generate long-term benefits to the environment. 
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  8. Abstract

    Unlike PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) in other species that mostly target transposable elements (TEs), >80% of piRNAs in adult mammalian testes lack obvious targets. However, mammalian piRNA sequences and piRNA-producing loci evolve more rapidly than the rest of the genome for unknown reasons. Here, through comparative studies of chickens, ducks, mice, and humans, as well as long-read nanopore sequencing on diverse chicken breeds, we find that piRNA loci across amniotes experience: (1) a high local mutation rate of structural variations (SVs, mutations ≥ 50 bp in size); (2) positive selection to suppress young and actively mobilizing TEs commencing at the pachytene stage of meiosis during germ cell development; and (3) negative selection to purge deleterious SV hotspots. Our results indicate that genetic instability at pachytene piRNA loci, while producing certain pathogenic SVs, also protects genome integrity against TE mobilization by driving the formation of rapid-evolving piRNA sequences.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  9. Inhibition of overexpressed enzymes is among the most promising approaches for targeted cancer treatment. However, many cancer-expressed enzymes are “nonlethal,” in that the inhibition of the enzymes’ activity is insufficient to kill cancer cells. Conventional antibody-based therapeutics can mediate efficient treatment by targeting extracellular nonlethal targets but can hardly target intracellular enzymes. Herein, we report a cancer targeting and treatment strategy to utilize intracellular nonlethal enzymes through a combination of selective cancer stem-like cell (CSC) labeling and Click chemistry-mediated drug delivery. A de novo designed compound, AAMCHO [N-(3,4,6-triacetyl- N-azidoacetylmannosamine)-cis-2-ethyl-3-formylacrylamideglycoside], selectively labeled cancer CSCs in vitro and in vivo through enzymatic oxidation by intracellular aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1. Notably, azide labeling is more efficient in identifying tumorigenic cell populations than endogenous markers such as CD44. A dibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO)-toxin conjugate, DBCO-MMAE (Monomethylauristatin E), could next target the labeled CSCs in vivo via bioorthogonal Click reaction to achieve excellent anticancer efficacy against a series of tumor models, including orthotopic xenograft, drug-resistant tumor, and lung metastasis with low toxicity. A 5/7 complete remission was observed after single-cycle treatment of an advanced triple-negative breast cancer xenograft (~500 mm3).

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 5, 2024