GPRC6A is a widely expressed orphan G protein–coupled receptor that senses extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin, and divalent cations in vitro. GPRC6A null (GPRC6A−/−) mice exhibit multiple metabolic abnormalities including osteopenia. To investigate whether the osseous abnormalities are a direct function of GPRC6A in osteoblasts, we examined the function of primary osteoblasts and bone marrow stromal cell cultures (BMSCs) in GPRC6A−/− mice. We confirmed that GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) associated with reduced expression of osteocalcin, ALP, osteoprotegerin, and Runx2-II transcripts in bone. Osteoblasts and BMSCs derived from GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited an attenuated response to extracellular calcium-stimulated extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) activation, diminished alkaline phosphatase (ALP) expression, and impaired mineralization ex vivo. In addition, siRNA-mediated knockdown of GPRC6A in MC3T3 osteoblasts also resulted in a reduction in extracellular calcium-stimulated ERK activity. To explore the potential relevance of GPRC6A function in humans, we looked for an association between GPRC6A gene polymorphisms and BMD in a sample of 1000 unrelated American Caucasians. We found that GPRC6A gene polymorphisms were significantly associated with human spine BMD. These data indicate that GRPC6A directly participates in the regulation of osteoblast-mediated bone mineralization and may mediate the anabolic effects of extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin, and divalent cations in bone. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
GPRC6A; G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR); osteoblast; bone mineral density; gene polymorphisms
GPRC6A is a nutrient sensing GPCR that is activated in vitro by a variety of ligands, including amino acids, calcium, zinc, osteocalcin (OC) and testosterone. The association between nutritional factors and risk of prostate cancer, the finding of increased expression of OC in prostate cancer cells and the association between GPRC6A and risk of prostate cancer in Japanese men implicates a role of GPRC6A in prostate cancer.
We examined if GPRC6A is expressed in human prostate cancer cell lines and used siRNA-mediated knockdown GPRC6A expression in prostate cancer cells to explore the function of GPRC6A in vitro. To assess the role GPRC6A in prostate cancer progression in vivo we intercrossed Gprc6a−/− mice onto the TRAMP mouse prostate cancer model.
GPRC6A transcripts were markedly increased in prostate cancer cell lines 22Rv1, PC-3 and LNCaP, compared to the normal prostate RWPE-1 cell line. In addition, a panel of GPRC6A ligands, including calcium, OC, and arginine, exhibited in prostate cancer cell lines a dose-dependent stimulation of ERK activity, cell proliferation, chemotaxis, and prostate specific antigen and Runx 2 gene expression. These responses were inhibited by siRNA-mediated knockdown of GPRC6A. Finally, transfer of Gprc6a deficiency onto a TRAMP mouse model of prostate cancer significantly retarded prostate cancer progression and improved survival of compound Gprc6a−/−/TRAMP mice.
GPRC6A is a novel molecular target for regulating prostate growth and cancer progression. Increments in GPRC6A may augment the ability of prostate cancer cells to proliferate in response to dietary and bone derived ligands.
GPRC6A; GPCR; calcium; osteocalcin; siRNA; prostate cancer; cell proliferation; metastases
The C family G-protein-coupled receptors contain members that sense amino acid and extracellular cations, of which calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) is the prototypic extracellular calcium-sensing receptor. Some cells, such as osteoblasts in bone, retain responsiveness to extracellular calcium in CASR-deficient mice, consistent with the existence of another calcium-sensing receptor. We examined the calcium-sensing properties of GPRC6A, a newly identified member of this family. Alignment of GPRC6A with CASR revealed conservation of both calcium and calcimimetic binding sites. In addition, calcium, magnesium, strontium, aluminum, gadolinium, and the calcimimetic NPS 568 resulted in a dose-dependent stimulation of GPRC6A overexpressed in human embryonic kidney cells 293 cells. Also, osteocalcin, a calcium-binding protein highly expressed in bone, dose-dependently stimulated GPRC6A activity in the presence of calcium but inhibited the calcium-dependent activation of CASR. Coexpression of β-arrestins 1 and 2, regulators of G-protein signaling RGS2 or RGS4, the RhoA inhibitor C3 toxin, the dominant negative Gαq-(305–359) minigene, and pretreatment with pertussis toxin inhibited activation of GPRC6A by extracellular cations. Reverse transcription-PCR analyses showed that mouse GPRC6A is widely expressed in mouse tissues, including bone, calvaria, and the osteoblastic cell line MC3T3-E1. These data suggest that in addition to sensing amino acids, GPRC6A is a cation-, calcimimetic-, and osteocalcin-sensing receptor and a candidate for mediating extracellular calcium-sensing responses in osteoblasts and possibly other tissues.
The osteoblast-derived hormone osteocalcin promotes testosterone biosynthesis in the mouse testis by binding to GPRC6A in Leydig cells. Interestingly, Osteocalcin-deficient mice exhibit increased levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), a pituitary hormone that regulates sex steroid synthesis in the testes. These observations raise the question of whether LH regulates osteocalcin’s reproductive effects. Additionally, there is growing evidence that osteocalcin levels are a reliable marker of insulin secretion and sensitivity and circulating levels of testosterone in humans, but the endocrine function of osteocalcin is unclear. Using mouse models, we found that osteocalcin and LH act in 2 parallel pathways and that osteocalcin-stimulated testosterone synthesis is positively regulated by bone resorption and insulin signaling in osteoblasts. To determine the importance of osteocalcin in humans, we analyzed a cohort of patients with primary testicular failure and identified 2 individuals harboring the same heterozygous missense variant in one of the transmembrane domains of GPRC6A, which prevented the receptor from localizing to the cell membrane. This study uncovers the existence of a second endocrine axis that is necessary for optimal male fertility in the mouse and suggests that osteocalcin modulates reproductive function in humans.
Gprc5b, a retinoic acid-inducible orphan G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR), is a member of the group C metabotropic glutamate receptor family proteins possibly involved in non-canonical Wnt signaling. Many GPCR transcripts are alternatively spliced, which diversifies this class of proteins in their cell- and tissue-specific signaling, regulatory and/or pharmacological properties. We previously generated p97FE65 isoform-specific knockout mice that showed learning/memory deficits. In this study, we further characterized the 97FE65 null mice using cDNA microarray and RT-PCR analyses.
We discovered a novel brain-specific C-terminal splice variant of Gprc5b, Gprc5b_v2, which was differentially expressed in p97FE65 wild type and null mouse brains. The null mice were generated in 129/Sv ES cells, and backcrossed to C57Bl/6J for ten generations. We found that expression of Gprc5b_v2 mRNA in the brains of p97FE65 null mice was dramatically down-regulated (more than 20 fold) compared to their wild type littermates. However, expression profiles of Gprc5b variants and SNP analysis surrounding the FE65 locus suggest that the down-regulation is unlikely due to the altered FE65 function, but rather is caused by gene retention from the 129/Sv ES cells. Consistently, in contrast to ubiquitously expressed Gprc5b_v1, Gprc5b_v2 was predominantly expressed in the brain tissues of C57Bl/6J mice. The alternative splicing of the 3′ terminal exon also altered the protein coding sequences, giving rise to the characteristic C-termini. Levels of Gprc5b_v2 mRNA were increased during neuronal maturation, paralleling the expression of synaptic proteins. Overexpression of both Gprc5b variants stimulated neurite-like outgrowth in a neuroblastoma cell line.
Our results suggest that Gprc5b-v2 may play a role during brain maturation and in matured brain, possibly through the regulation of neuronal morphology and protein-protein interaction. This study also highlights the fact that unexpected gene retention following repeated backcrosses can lead to important biological consequences.
Understanding oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes expression patterns is essential for characterizing lung cancer pathogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that mGprc5a/hGPRC5A is a lung-specific tumor suppressor evidenced by inflammation-mediated tumorigenesis in Gprc5a-knockout mice. The implication of GPRC5A in human lung cancer pathogenesis, including that associated with inflammatory chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a risk factor for the malignancy, remains elusive.
We sought to examine GPRC5A immunohistochemical expression in histologically normal bronchial epithelia (NBE) from lung disease-free never- and ever-smokers (n = 13 and n = 18, respectively), from COPD patients with (n = 26) and without cancer (n = 24) and in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) (n = 474). Quantitative assessment of GPRC5A transcript expression in airways (n = 6), adjacent NBEs (n = 29) and corresponding tumors (n = 6) from 6 NSCLC patients was also performed.
GPRC5A immunohistochemical expression was significantly lower in tumors compared to uninvolved NBE (p < 0.0001) and was positively associated with adenocarcinoma histology (p < 0.001). GPRC5A airway expression was highest in lung disease-free NBE, decreased and intermediate in NBE of cancer-free COPD patients (p = 0.004) and further attenuated and lowest in epithelia of COPD patients with adenocarcinoma and SCC (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, GPRC5A mRNA was significantly decreased in NSCLCs and corresponding NBE compared to uninvolved normal lung (p = 0.03).
Our findings highlight decreased GPRC5A expression in the field cancerization of NSCLC, including that associated with lung inflammation. Assessment of the use of GPRC5A expression as a risk factor for NSCLC development in COPD patients is warranted.
Field cancerization; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Non–small-cell lung cancer; g-protein coupled receptor family C; group 5; member A; gene expression
Signal transduction and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is activated by cytokines and growth factors in lung cancers and regulates expression of genes implicated in cell growth, survival, and transformation. Previously, we found that mice with a deletion of the G protein-coupled receptor, family C, group 5, member a (Gprc5a) gene develop lung tumors indicating that Gprc5a is a tumor suppressor. Herein, we show that epithelial cells from Gprc5a knockout mouse lung (Gprc5a−/− cells) survive better in vitro in medium deprived of exogenous growth factors and form more colonies in semi-solid medium than their counterparts from wildtype mice (Gprc5a+/+ cells). Stat3 Tyrosine 705 phosphorylation and expression of several Stat3-regulated anti-apoptotic genes were higher in Gprc5a−/− than in Gprc5a+/+ cells. Both cell types secreted Leukemia inhibitory factor (Lif), however, whereas Stat3 activation was persistent in Gprc5a−/− cells it was transient in Gprc5a+/+ cells. Lung adenocarcinoma cells isolated from Gprc5a−/− mice also exhibited autocrine Lif-mediated Stat3 activation. The level of Socs3, the endogenous Stat3 inhibitory protein, was higher in Gprc5a+/+ than in Gprc5a−/− cells and expression of the tumor suppressor stabilized Socs3. Inhibition of Stat3 signaling in Gprc5a−/− normal and cancer cells by the Jak2 inhibitor AG490 or by a dominant negative Stat3(Y705F) increased starvation-induced apoptosis and inhibited colony formation. These results demonstrate that persistent Stat3 activation is important for the survival and transformation of Gprc5a−/− lung cells and suggest that the tumor suppressive effects of Gprc5a are mediated, at least in part, by inhibition of Stat3 signaling via Socs3 stabilization.
Stat3; Gprc5a; lung cancer; Lif; apoptosis
Increasing the understanding of the impact of changes in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes is essential for improving the management of lung cancer. Recently, we identified a new mouse lung-specific tumor suppressor—the G protein-coupled receptor 5A (Gprc5a). Microarray analysis of the transcriptomes of lung epithelial cells cultured from normal tracheas of Gprc5a knockout and wild-type mice defined a loss-of-Gprc5a gene signature, which revealed many aberrations in cancer-associated pathways. To assess the relevance of this mouse tumor suppressor to human lung cancer, the loss-of-Gprc5a signature was cross species compared with and integrated with publicly available gene expression data of human normal lung tissue and non-small cell lung cancers. The loss-of-Gprc5a signature was prevalent in human lung adenocarcinomas compared with squamous cell carcinomas or normal lung. Furthermore, it identified subsets of lung adenocarcinomas with poor outcome. These results demonstrate that gene expression patterns of Gprc5a loss in nontumorigenic mouse lung epithelial cells are evolutionarily conserved and important in human lung adenocarcinomas.
The uncarboxylated form (ucOC), but not the γ-carboxylated form (GlaOC), of the bone-derived protein osteocalcin stimulates insulin secretion and regulates energy metabolism in insulin target tissues. Glucagon-like peptide–1 (GLP-1) is an insulin secretagogue that is released from the gut in response to food intake. We have now found that Gprc6a, a putative ucOC receptor, is expressed in epithelial cells of the mouse small intestine as well as in STC-1 enteroendocrine cells. Secretion of GLP-1 by STC-1 cells was stimulated by ucOC but not by GlaOC. The serum GLP-1 concentration in mice was increased by intraperitoneal or oral administration of ucOC, whereas GlaOC was effective in this regard only after oral application. Serum insulin levels were also increased by ucOC, and this effect was potentiated by an inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase IV and blocked by a GLP-1 receptor antagonist. Intravenous injection of ucOC in mice increased the serum GLP-1 concentration, and also increased the serum level of insulin. Our results suggest that ucOC acts via Gprc6a to induce GLP-1 release from the gut, and that the stimulatory effect of ucOC on insulin secretion is largely mediated by GLP-1.
Improved understanding of lung cancer development and progression, including insights from studies of animal models, are needed to combat this fatal disease. Previously, we found that mice with a knockout (KO) of G-protein coupled receptor 5A (Gprc5a) develop lung tumors after a long latent period (12 to 24 months).
To determine whether a tobacco carcinogen will enhance tumorigenesis in this model, we administered 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) i.p. to 2-months old Gprc5a-KO mice and sacrificed groups (n = 5) of mice at 6, 9, 12, and 18 months later. Compared to control Gprc5a-KO mice, NNK-treated mice developed lung tumors at least 6 months earlier, exhibited 2- to 4-fold increased tumor incidence and multiplicity, and showed a dramatic increase in lesion size. A gene expression signature, NNK-ADC, of differentially expressed genes derived by transcriptome analysis of epithelial cell lines from normal lungs of Gprc5a-KO mice and from NNK-induced adenocarcinoma was highly similar to differential expression patterns observed between normal and tumorigenic human lung cells. The NNK-ADC expression signature also separated both mouse and human adenocarcinomas from adjacent normal lung tissues based on publicly available microarray datasets. A key feature of the signature, up-regulation of Ube2c, Mcm2, and Fen1, was validated in mouse normal lung and adenocarcinoma tissues and cells by immunohistochemistry and western blotting, respectively.
Our findings demonstrate that lung tumorigenesis in the Gprc5a-KO mouse model is augmented by NNK and that gene expression changes induced by tobacco carcinogen(s) may be conserved between mouse and human lung epithelial cells. Further experimentation to prove the reliability of the Gprc5a knockout mouse model for the study of tobacco-induced lung carcinogenesis is warranted.
Monitoring the luminal content in the stomach is of vital importance for adjusting the gastric activities, including the release of gastric hormones such as gastrin. Our previous studies have shown that in mice the gastrin-secreting G-cells express receptor types which are responsive to amino acids. Since the pig is considered as more suitable model for studying gastro-physiological aspects relevant for men, in this study we have analyzed the distribution of G-cells and D-cells in the gastric antrum of men, swine, and mouse and the expression of receptor types which may render these cells responsiveness to protein breakdown products. The results indicate that the number of G-cells per antral invagination was significantly higher in swine and human compared to mice and also the distribution pattern of G-cells differed between the species. The molecular phenotyping revealed that the receptors GPRC6A and CaSR were also expressed in G-cells and in a subpopulation of D-cells from swine and men. As an additional receptor type, the peptone-receptor GPR92, was found to be expressed in G-cells and a subpopulation of D-cells; this receptor type may be particular suitable for sensing protein breakdown products and thus be a key element to adjust the activity of G-cells and D-cells according to the progress of the digestive processes in the stomach. In search for elements of an intracellular signaling cascade it was found that G-cells express the G-protein subunit Gαq as well as the phospholipase C subtype PLCβ3; in contrast, D-cells expressed the subtype PLCβ2 and neither Gαq. These results indicate that there are significant species differences concerning the number and distribution pattern, but not concerning the molecular phenotype of the gastric endocrine cells. However, G-cells and D-cells significantly differ from each other regarding the repertoire of receptors and signaling elements.
receptors; GPR92; GPRC6A; CaSR; G- and D-cells; mouse; swine; human
The acyclic retinoid, peretinoin, has been shown to be effective for suppressing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after definitive treatment in a small-scale randomized clinical trial. However, little has been documented about the mechanism by which peretinoin exerts its inhibitory effects against recurrent HCC in humans in vivo.
Twelve hepatitis C virus-positive patients whose HCC had been eradicated through curative resection or ablation underwent liver biopsy at baseline and week 8 of treatment with either a daily dose of 300 or 600 mg peretinoin. RNA isolated from biopsy samples was subjected to gene expression profile analysis.
Peretinoin treatment elevated the expression levels of IGFBP6, RBP1, PRB4, CEBPA, G0S2, TGM2, GPRC5A, CYP26B1, and many other retinoid target genes. Elevated expression was also observed for interferon-, Wnt-, and tumor suppressor-related genes. By contrast, decreased expression levels were found for mTOR- and tumor progression-related genes. Interestingly, gene expression profiles for week 8 of peretinoin treatment could be classified into two groups of recurrence and non-recurrence with a prediction accuracy rate of 79.6% (P<0.05). In the liver of patients with non-recurrence, expression of PDGFC and other angiogenesis genes, cancer stem cell marker genes, and genes related to tumor progression was down-regulated, while expression of genes related to hepatocyte differentiation, tumor suppression genes, and other genes related to apoptosis induction was up-regulated.
Gene expression profiling at week 8 of peretinoin treatment could successfully predict HCC recurrence within 2 years. This study is the first to show the effect of peretinoin in suppressing HCC recurrence in vivo based on gene expression profiles and provides a molecular basis for understanding the efficacy of peretinoin.
Acyclic retinoid; Gene expression; Hepatocellular carcinoma
Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome enables monocytes and macrophages to release high levels of interleukin-1β during inflammatory responses. Concentrations of extracellular calcium can increase at sites of infection, inflammation or cell activation. Here we show that increased extracellular calcium activates the NLRP3 inflammasome via stimulation of G protein-coupled calcium sensing receptors. Activation is mediated by signalling through the calcium-sensing receptor and GPRC6A via the phosphatidyl inositol/Ca2+ pathway. The resulting increase in the intracellular calcium concentration triggers inflammasome assembly and Caspase-1 activation. We identified necrotic cells as one source for excess extracellular calcium triggering this activation. In vivo, increased calcium concentrations can amplify the inflammatory response in the mouse model of carrageenan-induced footpad swelling, and this effect was inhibited in GPRC6A−/− mice. Our results demonstrate that G-protein-coupled receptors can activate the inflammasome, and indicate that increased extracellular calcium has a role as a danger signal and amplifier of inflammation.
Levels of extracellular calcium can increase at sites of infection and inflammation; however, the physiological significance of this has been unclear. This work shows that extracellular calcium acts as a danger signal, triggering the NLRP3 inflammasome via two G protein-coupled receptors.
Oxylipins regulate Aspergillus development and mycotoxin production and are also involved in Aspergillus quorum sensing mechanisms. Despite extensive knowledge of how these oxylipins are synthesized and what processes they regulate, nothing is known about how these signals are detected and transmitted by the fungus. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) have been speculated to be involved as they are known oxylipin receptors in mammals, and many putative GPCRs have been identified in the Aspergilli. Here, we present evidence that oxylipins stimulate a burst in cAMP in A. nidulans, and that loss of an A. nidulans GPCR, gprD, prevents this cAMP accumulation. A. flavus undergoes an oxylipin-mediated developmental shift when grown at different densities, and this regulates spore, sclerotial and aflatoxin production. A. flavus encodes two putative GprD homologs, GprC and GprD, and we demonstrate here that they are required to transition to a high-density development state, as well as to respond to spent medium of a high-density culture. The finding of GPCRs that regulate production of survival structures (sclerotia), inoculum (spores) and aflatoxin holds promise for future development of anti-fungal therapeutics.
aflatoxin; Aspergillus; oxylipin; G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); quorum sensing; sclerotia
Inherent cancer phenotypes that are independent of fluctuating cross talk with the surrounding tissue matrix are highly desirable candidates for targeting tumor cells. Our novel study design employs epithelial cell lines derived from low vs. high histologic grade primary breast cancer to effectively diminish the breadth of transient variability generated within the tumor microenvironment of the host, revealing a “paracrine-independent expression of grade-associated” gene signature (PEGA). PEGA members extended beyond ‘proliferation-driven’ signatures commonly associated with aggressive, high grade breast cancer. The calcium-binding protein, S100P, was prominent among PEGA genes overexpressed in high grade tumors. A three-member fingerprint of S100P correlated genes, consisting of GPRC5A, FXYD3, and PYCARD, conferred poor outcome in multiple breast cancer datasets, irrespective of estrogen receptor status but dependent on tumor size (P <0.01). S100P silencing markedly diminished coregulated gene transcripts, and reversed aggressive tumor behavior. Exposure to pathway implicated agents including the calmodulin inhibitor, N- (6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulphonamide, and the phenothiazine, chlorpromazine, resulted in rapid apoptotic cell death in high grade tumor cells resistant to the chemotherapeutic drug, cisplatin. This is the first comprehensive study describing molecular phenotypes intimately associated with histologic grade whose expression remains relatively fixed despite an unavoidably changing environment to which tumor cells are invariably exposed.
The skeleton has recently been shown to regulate glucose metabolism through an osteoblast-specific hormone, osteocalcin, which favors β-cell proliferation, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and energy expenditure. An implication of this finding is that a decrease in osteoblast numbers would compromise glucose metabolism in an osteocalcin-dependent manner. To test this hypothesis osteoblasts were inducibly ablated by cross-breeding transgenic mice expressing a tamoxifen-regulated Cre under the control of the osteocalcin promoter with mice in which an inactive form of the diphtheria toxin A chain is introduced into a ubiquitously expressed locus. Ablation of osteoblasts in adult mice profoundly affected glucose metabolism. In a manner similar to what is seen in the case of osteocalcin deficiency, a partial ablation of this cell population resulted in hypoinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and decreased insulin sensitivity. However, and unlike what is seen in osteocalcin-deficient mice, osteoblast ablation also decreased gonadal fat, increased energy expenditure and the expression of resistin, an adipokine proposed to mediate insulin resistance. While, administration of osteocalcin reversed, fully, the glucose intolerance and reinstated normal blood glucose and insulin levels, it only partially restored insulin sensitivity and did not affect the improved gonadal fat weight and energy expenditure in osteoblast-depleted mice. These observations not only strengthen the notion that osteoblasts are necessary for glucose homeostasis and energy expenditure, but they also suggest that in addition to osteocalcin, other osteoblast-derived hormones may contribute to the emerging function of the skeleton as a regulator of energy metabolism.
Osteoblasts; osteocalcin; glucose; energy metabolism
Chordate evolution is a history of innovations that is marked by physical and behavioral specializations, which led to the development of a variety of forms from a single ancestral group. Among other important characteristics, vertebrates obtained a well developed brain, anterior sensory structures, a closed circulatory system and gills or lungs as blood oxygenation systems. The duplication of pre-existing genes had profound evolutionary implications for the developmental complexity in vertebrates, since mutations modifying the function of a duplicated protein can lead to novel functions, improving the evolutionary success.
We analyzed here the evolution of the GPRC5 family of G protein-coupled receptors by comprehensive similarity searches and found that the receptors are only present in chordates and that the size of the receptor family expanded, likely due to genome duplication events in the early history of vertebrate evolution. We propose that a single GPRC5 receptor coding gene originated in a stem chordate ancestor and gave rise by duplication events to a gene family comprising three receptor types (GPRC5A-C) in vertebrates, and a fourth homologue present only in mammals (GPRC5D). Additional duplications of GPRC5B and GPRC5C sequences occurred in teleost fishes. The finding that the expression patterns of the receptors are evolutionarily conserved indicates an important biological function of these receptors. Moreover, we found that expression of GPRC5B is regulated by vitamin A in vivo, confirming previous findings that linked receptor expression to retinoic acid levels in tumor cell lines and strengthening the link between the receptor expression and the development of a complex nervous system in chordates, known to be dependent on retinoic acid signaling.
GPRC5 receptors, a class of G protein-coupled receptors with unique sequence characteristics, may represent a molecular novelty that helped non-chordates to become chordates.
GPRC5; chordate development; retinoic acid; phylogeny; GPCR
Global energy balance in mammals is controlled by the actions of circulating hormones that coordinate fuel production and utilization in metabolically active tissues. Bone-derived osteocalcin, in its undercarboxylated, hormonal form, regulates fat deposition and is a potent insulin secretagogue. Here, we show that insulin receptor (IR) signaling in osteoblasts controls osteoblast development and osteocalcin expression by suppressing the Runx2 inhibitor Twist2. Mice lacking IR in osteoblasts have low circulating undercarboxylated osteocalcin and reduced bone acquisition due to decreased bone formation and deficient numbers of osteoblasts. With age, these mice develop marked peripheral adiposity and hyperglycemia accompanied by severe glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. The metabolic abnormalities in these mice are improved by infusion of exogenous undercarboxylated osteocalcin. These results indicate the existence of a bone-pancreas endocrine loop through which insulin signaling in the osteoblast ensures osteoblast differentiation and stimulates osteocalcin production, which in turn regulates insulin sensitivity and pancreatic insulin secretion to control glucose homeostasis.
Increased levels of circulating fatty acids caused by insulin resistance and increased adipocyte lipolysis can accumulate within the liver resulting in steatosis. This steatosis sensitizes the liver to inflammation and further injury which can lead to liver dysfunction. We performed microarray analysis on normal mouse liver tissue at different ages and type 2 diabetic liver exhibiting steatosis to identify differentially expressed genes involved in lipid accumulation and liver dysfunction.
Microarray analysis identified CIDE-A as the most differentially expressed gene as a function of age. Mice fed a high fat diet developed hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia and liver steatosis, all features of the human metabolic syndrome. Increased CIDE-A expression was observed in type 2 diabetic liver and the elevated CIDE-A expression could be reversed by weight loss and normalization of plasma insulin. Also, CIDE-A expression was found to be correlated with hepatic lipid accumulation.
The corresponding increase in CIDE-A expression with hyperinsulinemia and liver steatosis suggests a novel pathway for lipid accumulation in the liver.
Non-alcoholic steatosis (fatty liver) is a major cause of liver dysfunction that is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. The cJun NH2-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) signaling pathway is implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis and drugs that target JNK1 may be useful for treatment of this disease. Indeed, mice with defects in JNK1 expression in adipose tissue are protected against hepatic steatosis. Here we report that mice with specific ablation of Jnk1 in hepatocytes exhibit glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis. JNK1 therefore serves opposing actions in liver and adipose tissue to both promote and prevent hepatic steatosis. This finding has profound implications for the design of JNK1-selective drugs for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.
Although cigarette smoking is the principal cause of lung carcinogenesis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory disease of the lung, has been identified as an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Bacterial colonization, particularly with non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), has been implicated as a cause of airway inflammation in COPD besides cigarette smoke. Accordingly, we hypothesized that lung cancer promotion may occur in a chronic inflammatory environment in the absence of concurrent carcinogen exposure.
Herein, we investigated the effects of bacterial-induced COPD-like inflammation and tobacco carcinogen-enhanced tumorigenesis/inflammation in the retinoic acid inducible G protein coupled receptor knock out mouse model (Gprc5a-/- mouse) characterized by late-onset, low multiplicity tumor formation. Three-month-old Gprc5a-/- mice received 4 intraperitoneal injections of the tobacco-specific carcinogen, NNK, followed by weekly exposure to aerosolized NTHi lysate for 6 months. The numbers of inflammatory cells in the lungs and levels of several inflammatory mediators were increased in Gprc5a-/- mice treated with NTHi alone, and even more so in mice pretreated with NNK followed by NTHi. The incidence of spontaneous lung lesions in the Gprc5a-/- mice was low, but NTHi exposure led to enhanced development of hyperplastic lesions. Gprc5a-/- mice exposed to NNK alone developed multiple lung tumors, while NTHi exposure increased the number of hyperplastic foci 6-fold and the tumor multiplicity 2-fold. This was associated with increased microvessel density and HIF-1α expression.
We conclude that chronic extrinsic lung inflammation induced by bacteria alone or in combination with NNK enhances lung tumorigenesis in Gprc5a-/- mice.
lung cancer; inflammation; COPD; Gpcr5a; NTHi
Obesity is a major health problem worldwide. We are studying the causes and effects of obesity in C57Bl/6 mice following genetic ablation of NG2, a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan widely expressed in progenitor cells and also in adipocytes. Although global NG2 ablation delays early postnatal adipogenesis in mouse skin, adult NG2 null mice are paradoxically heavier than wild-type mice, exhibiting larger white fat deposits. This adult onset obesity is not due to NG2-dependent effects on CNS function, since specific ablation of NG2 in oligodendrocyte progenitors yields the opposite phenotype; i.e. abnormally lean mice. Metabolic analysis reveals that, while activity and food intake are unchanged in global NG2 null mice, O2 consumption and CO2 production are decreased, suggesting a decrease in energy expenditure. Since brown fat plays important roles in regulating energy expenditure, we have investigated brown fat function via cold challenge and high fat diet feeding, both of which induce the adaptive thermogenesis that normally occurs in brown fat. In both tests, body temperatures in NG2 null mice are reduced compared to wild-type mice, indicating a deficit in brown fat function in the absence of NG2. In addition, adipogenesis in NG2 null brown pre-adipocytes is dramatically impaired compared to wild-type counterparts. Moreover, mRNA levels for PR domain containing 16 (PRDM16) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator (PGC)1-α, proteins important for brown adipocyte differentiation, are decreased in NG2 null brown fat deposits in vivo and NG2 null brown pre-adipocytes in vitro. Altogether, these results indicate that brown fat dysfunction in NG2 null mice results from deficits in the recruitment and/or development of brown pre-adipocytes. As a consequence, obesity in NG2 null mice may occur due to disruptions in brown fat-dependent energy homeostasis, with resulting effects on lipid storage in white adipocytes.
The osteoblast-secreted molecule osteocalcin favors insulin secretion, but how this function is regulated in vivo by extracellular signals is for now unknown. In this study, we show that leptin, which instead inhibits insulin secretion, partly uses the sympathetic nervous system to fulfill this function. Remarkably, for our purpose, an osteoblast-specific ablation of sympathetic signaling results in a leptin-dependent hyperinsulinemia. In osteoblasts, sympathetic tone stimulates expression of Esp, a gene inhibiting the activity of osteocalcin, which is an insulin secretagogue. Accordingly, Esp inactivation doubles hyperinsulinemia and delays glucose intolerance in ob/ob mice, whereas Osteocalcin inactivation halves their hyperinsulinemia. By showing that leptin inhibits insulin secretion by decreasing osteocalcin bioactivity, this study illustrates the importance of the relationship existing between fat and skeleton for the regulation of glucose homeostasis.
Nur77 is an orphan nuclear receptor with pleotropic functions. Previous studies have identified Nur77 as a transcriptional regulator of glucose utilization genes in skeletal muscle and gluconeogenesis in liver. However, the net functional impact of these pathways is unknown. To examine the consequence of Nur77 signaling for glucose metabolism in vivo, we challenged Nur77 null mice with high-fat feeding.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Wild-type and Nur77 null mice were fed a high-fat diet (60% calories from fat) for 3 months. We determined glucose tolerance, tissue-specific insulin sensitivity, oxygen consumption, muscle and liver lipid content, muscle insulin signaling, and expression of glucose and lipid metabolism genes.
Mice with genetic deletion of Nur77 exhibited increased susceptibility to diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies revealed greater high-fat diet–induced insulin resistance in both skeletal muscle and liver of Nur77 null mice compared with controls. Loss of Nur77 expression in skeletal muscle impaired insulin signaling and markedly reduced GLUT4 protein expression. Muscles lacking Nur77 also exhibited increased triglyceride content and accumulation of multiple even-chained acylcarnitine species. In the liver, Nur77 deletion led to hepatic steatosis and enhanced expression of lipogenic genes, likely reflecting the lipogenic effect of hyperinsulinemia.
Collectively, these data demonstrate that loss of Nur77 influences systemic glucose metabolism and highlight the physiological contribution of muscle Nur77 to this regulatory pathway.
The serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB plays key roles in the regulation of cell growth, survival, and metabolism. It remains unclear, however, whether the functions of individual Akt/PKB isoforms are distinct. To investigate the function of Akt2/PKBβ, mice lacking this isoform were generated. Both male and female Akt2/PKBβ-null mice exhibit mild growth deficiency and an age-dependent loss of adipose tissue or lipoatrophy, with all observed adipose depots dramatically reduced by 22 weeks of age. Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice are insulin resistant with elevated plasma triglycerides. In addition, Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice exhibit fed and fasting hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, and impaired muscle glucose uptake. In males, insulin resistance progresses to a severe form of diabetes accompanied by pancreatic β cell failure. In contrast, female Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice remain mildly hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic until at least one year of age. Thus, Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice exhibit growth deficiency similar to that reported previously for mice lacking Akt1/PKBα, indicating that both Akt2/PKBβ and Akt1/PKBα participate in the regulation of growth. The marked hyperglycemia and loss of pancreatic β cells and adipose tissue in Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice suggest that Akt2/PKBβ plays critical roles in glucose metabolism and the development or maintenance of proper adipose tissue and islet mass for which other Akt/PKB isoforms are unable to fully compensate.