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      Neuronal Responses to Physiological Stress

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          Abstract

          Physiological stress can be defined as any external or internal condition that challenges the homeostasis of a cell or an organism. It can be divided into three different aspects: environmental stress, intrinsic developmental stress, and aging. Throughout life all living organisms are challenged by changes in the environment. Fluctuations in oxygen levels, temperature, and redox state for example, trigger molecular events that enable an organism to adapt, survive, and reproduce. In addition to external stressors, organisms experience stress associated with morphogenesis and changes in inner chemistry during normal development. For example, conditions such as intrinsic hypoxia and oxidative stress, due to an increase in tissue mass, have to be confronted by developing embryos in order to complete their development. Finally, organisms face the challenge of stochastic accumulation of molecular damage during aging that results in decline and eventual death. Studies have shown that the nervous system plays a pivotal role in responding to stress. Neurons not only receive and process information from the environment but also actively respond to various stresses to promote survival. These responses include changes in the expression of molecules such as transcription factors and microRNAs that regulate stress resistance and adaptation. Moreover, both intrinsic and extrinsic stresses have a tremendous impact on neuronal development and maintenance with implications in many diseases. Here, we review the responses of neurons to various physiological stressors at the molecular and cellular level.

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          Most cited references 277

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          Aging: a theory based on free radical and radiation chemistry.

           D. Harman (1956)
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            TOR signaling in growth and metabolism.

            The target of rapamycin (TOR) is a conserved Ser/Thr kinase that regulates cell growth and metabolism in response to environmental cues. Here, highlighting contributions from studies in model organisms, we review mammalian TOR complexes and the signaling branches they mediate. TOR is part of two distinct multiprotein complexes, TOR complex 1 (TORC1), which is sensitive to rapamycin, and TORC2, which is not. The physiological consequences of mammalian TORC1 dysregulation suggest that inhibitors of mammalian TOR may be useful in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and metabolic disorders.
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              The nuclear RNase III Drosha initiates microRNA processing.

              Hundreds of small RNAs of approximately 22 nucleotides, collectively named microRNAs (miRNAs), have been discovered recently in animals and plants. Although their functions are being unravelled, their mechanism of biogenesis remains poorly understood. miRNAs are transcribed as long primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs) whose maturation occurs through sequential processing events: the nuclear processing of the pri-miRNAs into stem-loop precursors of approximately 70 nucleotides (pre-miRNAs), and the cytoplasmic processing of pre-miRNAs into mature miRNAs. Dicer, a member of the RNase III superfamily of bidentate nucleases, mediates the latter step, whereas the processing enzyme for the former step is unknown. Here we identify another RNase III, human Drosha, as the core nuclease that executes the initiation step of miRNA processing in the nucleus. Immunopurified Drosha cleaved pri-miRNA to release pre-miRNA in vitro. Furthermore, RNA interference of Drosha resulted in the strong accumulation of pri-miRNA and the reduction of pre-miRNA and mature miRNA in vivo. Thus, the two RNase III proteins, Drosha and Dicer, may collaborate in the stepwise processing of miRNAs, and have key roles in miRNA-mediated gene regulation in processes such as development and differentiation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Genet
                Front Genet
                Front. Gene.
                Frontiers in Genetics
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-8021
                11 July 2012
                26 October 2012
                2012
                : 3
                Affiliations
                1Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark
                Author notes

                Edited by: Joy Alcedo, Wayne State University, USA

                Reviewed by: Joy Alcedo, Wayne State University, USA; Arjumand Ghazi, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA

                *Correspondence: Roger Pocock, Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. e-mail: roger.pocock@ 123456bric.ku.dk

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Genetics of Aging, a specialty of Frontiers in Genetics.

                Article
                10.3389/fgene.2012.00222
                3481051
                23112806
                Copyright © 2012 Kagias, Nehammer and Pocock.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 272, Pages: 17, Words: 17254
                Categories
                Genetics
                Review Article

                Genetics

                aging, developmental stress, stress responses, neuronal homeostasis

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