Statins such as simvastatin are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors and standard therapy for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in mammals. Here we show that simvastatin significantly increased the mean and maximum lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster (Drosophila) and enhanced cardiac function in aging flies by significantly reducing heart arrhythmias and increasing the contraction proportion of the contraction/relaxation cycle. These results appeared independent of internal changes in ubiquinone or juvenile hormone levels. Rather, they appeared to involve decreased protein prenylation. Simvastatin decreased the membrane association (prenylation) of specific small Ras GTPases in mice. Both farnesyl (L744832) and type 1 geranylgeranyl transferase (GGTI-298) inhibitors increased Drosophila lifespan. These data are the most direct evidence to date that decreased protein prenylation can increase cardiac health and lifespan in any metazoan species, and may explain the pleiotropic (non-cholesterol related) health effects of statins.
Statins are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors that exert anti-inflammatory effects. IFN-γ induction of class II MHC expression, which requires the class II transactivator (CIITA), is inhibited by statins, however, the molecular basis for suppression is undetermined. We describe that statins inhibit IFN-γ-induced class II MHC expression by suppressing CIITA gene expression, which is dependent on the HMG-CoA reductase pathway. In addition, CIITA expression is inhibited by GGTI-298 or Clostridium difficile Toxin A, specific inhibitors of Rho family protein prenylation, indicating the involvement of small GTPases. Rac1 is involved in IFN-γ inducible expression of CIITA, and statins inhibit IFN-γ-induced Rac1 activation, contributing to the inhibitory effect of statins. IFN-γ induction of the CIITA gene is regulated by the transcription factors STAT-1α, IRF-1 and USF-1. We previously reported that statins inhibit constitutive STAT-1α expression. IRF-1, a STAT-1 dependent gene, is also inhibited by statins. Therefore, statin treatment results in decreased recruitment of STAT-1α and IRF-1 to the endogenous CIITA pIV promoter. The recruitment of USF-1 to CIITA pIV is also reduced by statins, as is the recruitment of RNA Polymerase II, p300 and Brg-1. These data indicate that statins inhibit the transcriptional program of the CIITA gene.
Statins; CIITA gene expression; Macrophages; Small G-proteins
Inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase commonly known as statins are widely used for treating hypercholesterolemia. However, there is much evidence to suggest that statins may have other properties in addition to their cholesterol-lowering effect. In particular, statins may neutralize post-translational prenylation of vitally important regulatory small GTPases, which are involved in several processes such as tissue fibrosis, cell maturation, apoptosis, immune cell maturation, and immune response. The beneficial effect of statins has been reported in animal and in vitro models as well as in some clinical studies. As they have an acceptable safety profile, statins may be considered, in selected cases, as a valuable concomitant therapy in the treatment of rheumatic and autoimmune disorders.
statins; connective tissue diseases; rheumatology; pleiotropic effect
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infectivity requires actin-dependent clustering of host lipid raft–associated receptors, a process that might be linked to Rho guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) activation. Rho GTPase activity can be negatively regulated by statins, a family of drugs used to treat hypercholesterolemia in man. Statins mediate inhibition of Rho GTPases by impeding prenylation of small G proteins through blockade of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase. We show that statins decreased viral load and increased CD4+ cell counts in acute infection models and in chronically HIV-1–infected patients. Viral entry and exit was reduced in statin-treated cells, and inhibition was blocked by the addition of l-mevalonate or of geranylgeranylpyrophosphate, but not by cholesterol. Cell treatment with a geranylgeranyl transferase inhibitor, but not a farnesyl transferase inhibitor, specifically inhibited entry of HIV-1–pseudotyped viruses. Statins blocked Rho-A activation induced by HIV-1 binding to target cells, and expression of the dominant negative mutant RhoN19 inhibited HIV-1 envelope fusion with target cell membranes, reducing cell infection rates. We suggest that statins have direct anti–HIV-1 effects by targeting Rho.
cholesterol; actin cytoskeleton; small GTPases; lipid rafts; prenylation
3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase (EC188.8.131.52) inhibitors (statins) reduce cholesterol synthesis and prevent cardiovascular disease; they can also inhibit prenylation of Ras and Rho proteins, and have anti-neoplastic effects. Rho proteins cycle between an active, GTP-bound, and an inactive, GDP-bound form, and Rho prenylation is important for Rho’s interaction with upstream regulators and downstream effectors, but the effects of statins on Rho signaling are incompletely understood. We found that the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor lovastatin markedly induced the expression of RhoA, B, and C in human erythroleukemia (HEL) cells. The drug increased RhoA and C only in their unprenylated forms, but it increased both prenylated and unprenylated RhoB and did not significantly affect N- and K-Ras prenylation, suggesting that it inhibited geranyl-geranylation more efficiently than farnesylation. Quantitative analysis of nucleotides bound to Rho demonstrated a 3.7-fold increase in Rho·GTP and a similar increase in Rho·GDP in lovastatin-treated cells, leaving the fraction of Rho in the active, GTP-bound form constant at 5.8%. Lovastatin reduced Rho association with Rho guanine dissociation inhibitor (RhoGDI)- α and -β, and prenylation-deficient Rho mutants did not associate with RhoGDI. siRNA inhibition of RhoGDIα expression increased Rho·GTP, suggesting that decreased Rho/RhoGDIα association explained an increase in unprenylated Rho·GTP in lovastatin-treated cells. Unprenylated Rho A, B, and C were partly functional in activating serum response element-dependent transcription. In conclusion, we quantified effects of lovastatin on RhoA, B, and C isoforms, and provide a molecular mechanism whereby statins cause accumulation of unprenylated Rho·GTP.
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor; Prenylation; Rho isoforms; Rho activity; Rho guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor; Leukemia cells
3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) inhibitors, commonly known as statins, may possess cancer preventive and therapeutic properties. Statins are effective suppressors of cholesterol synthesis with a well-established risk-benefit ratio in cardiovascular disease prevention. Mechanistically, targeting HMGCR activity primarily influences cholesterol biosynthesis and prenylation of signaling proteins. Pravastatin is a hydrophilic statin that is selectively taken up by a sodium-independent organic anion transporter protein-1B1 (OATP1B1) exclusively expressed in liver. Simvastatin is a hydrophobic statin that enters cells by other mechanisms. Poorly-differentiated and well-differentiated cancer cell lines were selected from various tissues and examined for their response to these two statins. Simvastatin inhibited the growth of most tumor cell lines more effectively than pravastatin in a dose dependent manner. Poorly-differentiated cancer cells were generally more responsive to simvastatin than well-differentiated cancer cells, and the levels of HMGCR expression did not consistently correlate with response to statin treatment. Pravastatin had a significant effect on normal hepatocytes due to facilitated uptake and a lesser effect on prostate PC3 and colon Caco-2 cancer cells since the OATP1B1 mRNA and protein were only found in the normal liver and hepatocytes. The inhibition of cell growth was accompanied by distinct alterations in mitochondrial networks and dramatic changes in cellular morphology related to cofilin regulation and loss of p-caveolin. Both statins, hydrophilic pravastatin and hypdrophobic simvastatin caused redistribution of OATP1B1 and HMGCR to perinuclear sites. In conclusion, the specific chemical properties of different classes of statins dictate mechanistic properties which may be relevant when evaluating biological responses to statins.
Apomine, a 1,1-bisphosphonate-ester with antitumor activity, has previously been reported to strongly down-regulate 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), the rate-limiting enzyme in the mevalonate pathway responsible for the prenylation of proteins. Here, we show that although apomine down-regulated HMG-CoA reductase protein levels in myeloma cells, it did not inhibit protein prenylation, and apomine-induced apoptosis could not be prevented by mevalonate, indicating that apomine cytotoxicity is independent from its effects on HMG-CoA reductase. Instead, apomine cytotoxicity was prevented by the addition of phosphatidylcholine, which is similar to the previously reported ability of phosphatidylcholine to overcome the cytotoxicity of farnesol, whereas phosphatidylcholine had no effect on down-regulation of HMG-CoA reductase by apomine. These findings raised the possibility that apomine, independent from its own cytotoxic effects, could enhance the antitumor effects of the competitive HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor lovastatin via down-regulating HMG-CoA reductase. Indeed, treatment with apomine in combination with lovastatin resulted in synergistic decreases in viable cell number and induction of apoptosis. At the concentrations used, apomine down-regulated HMG-CoA reductase protein levels without being cytotoxic. Accumulation of unprenylated Rap1A by lovastatin was enhanced in the presence of apomine. Furthermore, synergy was completely prevented by mevalonate, and apomine did not synergize with desoxolovastatin, which does not inhibit HMG-CoA reductase. We conclude that the synergistic drug interaction results from an enhancement by apomine of the effects of lovastatin, mediated by down-regulation of HMG-CoA reductase by apomine. Thus, these findings demonstrate a novel strategy for enhancing the antitumor effects of lovastatin.
HMGCR is subject to Insig-dependent, sterol-accelerated ERAD. gp78 was reported to target HMGCR and Insig-1 for ubiquitination and degradation. Here gp78-mediated Insig-1 degradation is confirmed, but no role for gp78 is found in regulated ERAD of HMGCR. The identity of the HMGCR E3(s) and mechanistic details of HMGCR degradation await further study.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–resident enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in sterol production and is the therapeutic target of statins. Understanding HMG-CoA reductase regulation has tremendous implications for atherosclerosis. HMG-CoA reductase levels are regulated in response to sterols both transcriptionally, through a complex regulatory loop involving the ER Insig proteins, and posttranslationally, by Insig-dependent protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The ubiquitin ligase (E3) gp78 has been implicated in the sterol-regulated degradation of HMG-CoA reductase and Insig-1 through ER-associated degradation (ERAD). More recently, a second ERAD E3, TRC8, has also been reported to play a role in the sterol-accelerated degradation of HMG-CoA reductase. We interrogated this network in gp78−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts and also assessed two fibroblast cell lines using RNA interference. Although we consistently observe involvement of gp78 in Insig-1 degradation, we find no substantive evidence to support roles for either gp78 or TRC8 in the robust sterol-accelerated degradation of HMG-CoA reductase. We discuss factors that might lead to such discrepant findings. Our results suggest a need for additional studies before definitive mechanistic conclusions are drawn that might set the stage for development of drugs to manipulate gp78 function in metabolic disorders.
Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting 3‐hydroxy‐3‐methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG‐CoA) reductase and have an established role in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease. Recent research has identified anti‐inflammatory properties of statins. Statins appear to reduce the stability of lipid raft formation with subsequent effects on immune activation and regulation, and also prevent the prenylation of signalling molecules with subsequent downregulation of gene expression. Both these effects result in reduced cytokine, chemokine, and adhesion molecule expression, with effects on cell apoptosis or proliferation. This review considers the evidence for the anti‐inflammatory properties of statins in the lung, and how these effects are being applied to research into the role of statins as a novel treatment of respiratory diseases.
asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; statins
The Ras/MAPK pathway regulates synaptic plasticity and cell survival in neurons of the central nervous system. Here, we show that KRas, but not HRas, acutely translocates from the plasma membrane (PM) to the Golgi complex and early/recycling endosomes in response to neuronal activity. Translocation is reversible and mediated by the polybasic-prenyl membrane targeting motif of KRas. We provide evidence that KRas translocation occurs through sequestration of the polybasic-prenyl motif by Ca2+/calmodulin (Ca2+/CaM) and subsequent release of KRas from the PM, in a process reminiscent of GDP dissociation inhibitor–mediated membrane recycling of Rab and Rho GTPases. KRas translocation was accompanied by partial intracellular redistribution of its activity. We conclude that the polybasic-prenyl motif acts as a Ca2+/CaM-regulated molecular switch that controls PM concentration of KRas and redistributes its activity to internal sites. Our data thus define a novel signaling mechanism that differentially regulates KRas and HRas localization and activity in neurons.
Pilot-scale libraries of eight-membered medium ring lactams (MRLs) and related tricyclic compounds (either seven-membered lactams, thiolactams or amines) were screened for their ability to inhibit the catalytic activity of human recombinant 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase in vitro. A dozen of the synthetic compounds mimic the inhibition of purified HMG-CoA reductase activity caused by pravastatin, fluvastatin and sodium salts of lovastatin, mevastatin and simvastatin in this cell-free assay, suggesting direct interaction with the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol biosynthesis. Moreover, several MRLs inhibit the metabolic activity of L1210 tumor cells in vitro to a greater degree than fluvastatin, lovastatin, mevastatin and simvastatin, whereas pravastatin is inactive. Although the correlation between the concentration-dependent inhibitions of HMG-CoA reductase activity over 10 min in the cell-free assay and L1210 tumor cell proliferation over 4 days in culture is unclear, some bioactive MRLs elicit interesting combinations of statin-like (IC50: 7.4–8.0 μM) and anti-tumor (IC50: 1.4–2.3 μM) activities. The HMG-CoA reductase-inhibiting activities of pravastatin and an MRL persist in the presence of increasing concentrations of NADPH. But increasing concentrations of HMG-CoA block the HMG-CoA reductase-inhibiting activity of pravastatin without altering that of an MRL, suggesting that MRLs and existing statins may have different mechanisms of enzyme interaction and inhibition. When tested together, suboptimal concentrations of synthetic MRLs and existing statins have additive inhibitory effects on HMG-CoA reductase activity. Preliminary molecular docking studies with MRL-based inhibitors indicate that these ligands fit sterically well into the HMG-CoA reductase statin-binding receptor model and, in contrast to mevastatin, may occupy a narrow channel housing the pyridinium moiety on NADP+.
synthetic medium ring lactams; HMG-CoA reductase activity; statin drugs; tumor cell proliferation
Statins inhibit 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate limiting step in cholesterol synthesis. They are, therefore, used clinically to lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis. Statins have beneficial effects on multiple organ systems. Some of these effects are found in the absence of significant changes in cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fatty acids also inhibit HMG-CoA reductase and have many of the same beneficial effects of statins. Four statins (mevastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin and atorvastatin) have been tested in rat liver cells for their effect on arachidonic acid (AA) release and prostaglandin I2 production induced in the presence of lactacystin and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. Each statin stimulated release of AA and induced prostaglandin I2 production. Mevalonate, the product of HMG-CoA reductase, did not reduce the stimulation observed in the presence of simvastatin indicating that HMG-CoA reductase activity is not involved. In view of the multiple biologic properties of AA, the AA released as a result of the action of the statins may play a role in some of the pharmacological effects attributed to these drugs.
The antimalarial agent fosmidomycin is a validated inhibitor of the nonmevalonate isoprenoid biosynthesis (methylerythritol 4-phosphate [MEP]) pathway in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Since multiple classes of prenyltransferase inhibitors kill P. falciparum, we hypothesized that protein prenylation was one of the essential functions of this pathway. We found that MEP pathway inhibition with fosmidomycin reduces protein prenylation, confirming that de novo isoprenoid biosynthesis produces the isoprenyl substrates for protein prenylation. One important group of prenylated proteins is small GTPases, such as Rab family members, which mediate cellular vesicular trafficking. We have found that Rab5 proteins dramatically mislocalize upon fosmidomycin treatment, consistent with a loss of protein prenylation. Fosmidomycin treatment caused marked defects in food vacuolar morphology and integrity, consistent with a defect in Rab-mediated vesicular trafficking. These results provide insights to the biological functions of isoprenoids in malaria parasites and may assist the rational selection of secondary agents that will be useful in combination therapy with new isoprenoid biosynthesis inhibitors.
Posttranslational modification of Rab proteins by geranylgeranyltransferase type II requires that they first bind to Rab escort protein (REP). Following prenylation, REP is postulated to accompany the modified GTPase to its specific target membrane. REP binds preferentially to Rab proteins that are in the GDP state, but the specific structural domains involved in this interaction have not been defined. In p21 Ras, the α2 helix of the Switch 2 domain undergoes a major conformational change upon GTP hydrolysis. Therefore, we hypothesized that the corresponding region in Rab1B might play a key role in the interaction with REP. Introduction of amino acid substitutions (I73N, Y78D, and A81D) into the putative α2 helix of Myc-tagged Rab1B prevented prenylation of the recombinant protein in cell-free assays, whereas mutations in the α3 and α4 helices did not. Additionally, upon transient expression in transfected HEK-293 cells, the Myc-Rab1B α2 helix mutants were not efficiently prenylated as determined by incorporation of [3H]mevalonate. Metabolic labeling studies using [32P]orthophosphate indicated that the poor prenylation of the Rab1B α2 helix mutants was not directly correlated with major disruptions in guanine nucleotide binding or intrinsic GTPase activity. Finally, gel filtration analysis of cytosolic fractions from 293 cells that were coexpressing T7 epitope-tagged REP with various Myc-Rab1B constructs revealed that mutations in the α2 helix of Rab1B prevented the association of nascent (i.e., nonprenylated) Rab1B with REP. These data indicate that the Switch 2 domain of Rab1B is a key structural determinant for REP interaction and that nucleotide-dependent conformational changes in this region are largely responsible for the selective interaction of REP with the GDP-bound form of the Rab substrate.
Ras and Rho small GTPases possessing a C-terminal polybasic region (PBR) are vital signaling proteins whose misregulation can lead to cancer. Signaling by these proteins depends on their ability to bind guanine nucleotides and their prenylation with a geranylgeranyl or farnesyl isoprenoid moiety and subsequent trafficking to cellular membranes. There is little previous evidence that cellular signals can restrain nonprenylated GTPases from entering the prenylation pathway, leading to the general belief that PBR-possessing GTPases are prenylated as soon as they are synthesized. Here, we present evidence that challenges this belief. We demonstrate that insertion of the dominant negative mutation to inhibit GDP/GTP exchange diminishes prenylation of Rap1A and RhoA, enhances prenylation of Rac1, and does not detectably alter prenylation of K-Ras. Our results indicate that the entrance and passage of these small GTPases through the prenylation pathway is regulated by two splice variants of SmgGDS, a protein that has been reported to promote GDP/GTP exchange by PBR-possessing GTPases and to be up-regulated in several forms of cancer. We show that the previously characterized 558-residue SmgGDS splice variant (SmgGDS-558) selectively associates with prenylated small GTPases and facilitates trafficking of Rap1A to the plasma membrane, whereas the less well characterized 607-residue SmgGDS splice variant (SmgGDS-607) associates with nonprenylated GTPases and regulates the entry of Rap1A, RhoA, and Rac1 into the prenylation pathway. These results indicate that guanine nucleotide exchange and interactions with SmgGDS splice variants can regulate the entrance and passage of PBR-possessing small GTPases through the prenylation pathway.
Low Molecular Weight G Proteins; Protein Isoprenylation; Ras; Rho; Trafficking; Rac; Rap; Rap1GDS1; SmgGDS; Polybasic
The enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase catalyzes the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate and is a target for anti-hypercholesterolemic drugs (statins).
The enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase catalyzes the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate, a four-electron oxidoreduction that is the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of cholesterol and other isoprenoids. The enzyme is found in eukaryotes and prokaryotes; and phylogenetic analysis has revealed two classes of HMG-CoA reductase, the Class I enzymes of eukaryotes and some archaea and the Class II enzymes of eubacteria and certain other archaea. Three-dimensional structures of the catalytic domain of HMG-CoA reductases from humans and from the bacterium Pseudomonas mevalonii, in conjunction with site-directed mutagenesis studies, have revealed details of the mechanism of catalysis. The reaction catalyzed by human HMG-CoA reductase is a target for anti-hypercholesterolemic drugs (statins), which are intended to lower cholesterol levels in serum. Eukaryotic forms of the enzyme are anchored to the endoplasmic reticulum, whereas the prokaryotic enzymes are soluble. Probably because of its critical role in cellular cholesterol homeostasis, mammalian HMG-CoA reductase is extensively regulated at the transcriptional, translational, and post-translational levels.
The Drosophila mutant loechrig (loe) shows age-dependent degeneration of the nervous system and is caused by the loss of a neuronal isoform of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) γ-subunit (also known as SNF4Aγ). The trimeric AMPK complex is activated by low energy levels and metabolic insults and regulates multiple important signal pathways that control cell metabolism. A well-known downstream target of AMPK is hydroxyl-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR), a key enzyme in isoprenoid synthesis, and we have previously shown that HMGR genetically interacts with loe and affects the severity of the degenerative phenotype. Prenylation of proteins like small G-proteins is an important posttranslational modification providing lipid moieties that allow the association of these proteins with membranes, thereby facilitating their subsequent activation. Rho proteins have been extensively studied in neuronal outgrowth, however, much less is known about their function in neuronal maintenance. Here we show that the loe mutation interferes with isoprenoid synthesis, leading to increased prenylation of the small GTPase Rho1, the fly orthologue of vertebrate RhoA. We also demonstrate that increased prenylation and Rho1 activity causes neurodegeneration and aggravates the behavioral and degenerative phenotypes of loe. Because we cannot detect defects in the development of the central nervous system in loe, this suggests that loe only interferes with the function of the RhoA pathway in maintaining neuronal integrity during adulthood. In addition, our results show that alterations in isoprenoids can result in progressive neurodegeneration, supporting findings in vertebrates that prenylation may play a role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease.
Rab GTPases are regulators of membrane traffic. Rabs specifically associate with target membranes via the attachment of (usually) two geranylgeranyl groups in a reaction involving Rab escort protein and Rab geranylgeranyl transferase. In contrast, related GTPases are singly prenylated by CAAX prenyl transferases. We report that di-geranylgeranyl modification is important for targeting of Rab5a and Rab27a to endosomes and melanosomes, respectively. Transient expression of EGFP-Rab5 mutants containing two prenylatable cysteines (CGC, CC, CCQNI, and CCA) in HeLa cells did not affect endosomal targeting or function, whereas mono-cysteine mutants (CSLG, CVLL, or CVIM) were mistargeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and were nonfunctional. Similarly, Rab27aCVLL mutant is also mistargeted to the ER and transgenic expression on a Rab27a null background (Rab27aash) did not rescue the coat color phenotype, suggesting that Rab27aCVLL is not functional in vivo. CAAX prenyl transferase inhibition and temperature-shift experiments further suggest that Rabs, singly or doubly modified are recruited to membranes via a Rab escort protein/Rab geranylgeranyl transferase-dependent mechanism that is distinct from the insertion of CAAX-containing GTPases. Finally, we show that both singly and doubly modified Rabs are extracted from membranes by RabGDIα and propose that the mistargeting of Rabs to the ER results from loss of targeting information.
Vesicular trafficking is crucial for bone resorption by osteoclasts, in particular for formation of the ruffled border membrane and for removal of the resultant bone degradation products by transcytosis. These processes are regulated by Rab family GTPases, whose activity is dependent on post-translational prenylation by Rab geranylgeranyl transferase (RGGT). Specific pharmacological inhibition of RGGT inhibits bone resorption in vitro and in vivo, illustrating the importance of Rab prenylation for osteoclast function. The gunmetal (gm/gm) mouse bears a mutation in the catalytic subunit of RGGT, causing a loss of 75% of the activity of this enzyme and hence hypoprenylation of several Rabs in melanocytes, platelets and cytotoxic T cells. We have now found that prenylation of several Rab proteins is also defective in gm/gm osteoclasts. Moreover, while osteoclast formation and cytoskeletal polarization occurs normally, gm/gm osteoclasts exhibit a substantial reduction in resorptive activity in vitro compared with osteoclasts from +/gm mice, which do not have a prenylation defect. Surprisingly, rather than the osteosclerosis that would be expected to result from defective osteoclast function in vivo, gm/gm mice exhibited a slightly lower bone mass than +/gm mice, indicating that defects in other cell types, such as osteoblasts, in which hypoprenylation of Rabs was also detected, may contribute to the phenotype. However, gm/gm mice were partially protected from ovariectomy-induced bone loss, suggesting that levels of Rab prenylation in gm/gm osteoclasts may be sufficient to maintain normal physiological levels of activity, but not pathological levels of bone resorption in vivo.
osteoclast; bone resorption; bone; Rab; small GTPase; prenylation; gunmetal
Post-translational modification of small GTPases by farnesyl- (FPP) and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP) has generated much attention due to their potential contribution to cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Prenylated proteins have been identified in numerous cell functions and elevated levels of FPP and GGPP have been previously proposed to occur in Alzheimer disease (AD) but have never been quantified. In the present study, we determined if the mevalonate derived compounds FPP and GGPP are increased in brain grey and white matter of male AD patients as compared with control samples. This study demonstrates for the first time that FPP and GGPP levels are significantly elevated in human AD grey and white matter but not cholesterol, indicating a potentially disease-specific targeting of isoprenoid regulation independent of HMG-CoA-reductase. Further suggesting a selective disruption of FPP and GGPP homeostasis in AD, we show that inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase in vivo significantly reduced FPP, GGPP and cholesterol abundance in mice with the largest effect on the isoprenoids. A tentative conclusion is that if indeed regulation of FPP and GGPP is altered in AD brain such changes may stimulate protein prenylation and contribute to AD neuropathophysiology.
Alzheimer disease; HMG-CoA reductase; Isoprenoids; Farnesylpyrophosphate; Geranylgeranylpyrophosphate; Prenylation; GTPases; Cholesterol; Statins
3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A [HMG-CoA] reductase gene (Hmgcr) is a susceptibility gene for essential hypertension. Sequencing of the Hmgcr locus in genetically hypertensive BPH (blood pressure high), genetically hypotensive BPL (blood pressure low) and genetically normotensive BPN (blood pressure normal) mice yielded a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). BPH/BPL/BPN Hmgcr promoter-luciferase reporter constructs were generated and transfected into liver HepG2, ovarian CHO, kidney HEK-293 and neuronal N2A cells for functional characterization of the promoter SNPs. The BPH-Hmgcr promoter showed significantly less activity than the BPL-Hmgcr promoter under basal as well as nicotine/cholesterol-treated conditions. This finding was consistent with lower endogenous Hmgcr expression in liver and lower plasma cholesterol in BPH mice. Transfection experiments using 5′-promoter deletion constructs (strategically made to assess the functional significance of each promoter SNP) and computational analysis predicted lower binding affinities of transcription factors c-Fos, n-Myc and Max with the BPH-promoter as compared to the BPL-promoter. Corroboratively, the BPH promoter-luciferase reporter construct co-transfected with expression plasmids of these transcription factors displayed less pronounced augmentation of luciferase activity than the BPL construct, particularly at lower amounts of transcription factor plasmids. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays also showed diminished interactions of the BPH promoter with HepG2 nuclear proteins. Taken together, this study provides mechanistic basis for the differential Hmgcr expression in these mouse models of human essential hypertension and have implications for better understanding the role of this gene in regulation of blood pressure.
Guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) belong to the dynamin family of large GTPases and represent the major IFN-γ-induced proteins. Here we systematically investigated the mechanisms regulating the subcellular localization of GBPs. Three GBPs (GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5) carry a C-terminal CaaX-prenylation signal, which is typical for small GTPases of the Ras family, and increases the membrane affinity of proteins. In this study, we demonstrated that GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5 are prenylated in vivo and that prenylation is required for the membrane association of GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5. Using co-immunoprecipitation, yeast-two-hybrid analysis and fluorescence complementation assays, we showed for the first time that GBPs are able to homodimerize in vivo and that the membrane association of GBPs is regulated by dimerization similarly to dynamin. Interestingly, GBPs could also heterodimerize. This resulted in hierarchical positioning effects on the intracellular localization of the proteins. Specifically, GBP-1 recruited GBP-5 and GBP-2 into its own cellular compartment and GBP-5 repositioned GBP-2. In addition, GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5 were able to redirect non-prenylated GBPs to their compartment in a prenylation-dependent manner. Overall, these findings prove in vivo the ability of GBPs to dimerize, indicate that heterodimerization regulates sub-cellular localization of GBPs and underscore putative membrane-associated functions of this family of proteins.
Cholesterol is mainly synthesised in liver and the rate-limiting step is the reduction of 3-hydroxy-3methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) to mevalonate, a reaction catalysed by HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). There is a comprehensive body of evidence documenting that anabolic-androgenic steroids are associated with deleterious alterations of lipid profile. In this study we investigated whether a single dose of testosterone enanthate affects the cholesterol biosynthesis and the expression of HMGCR.
39 healthy male volunteers were given 500 mg testosterone enanthate as single intramuscular dose of Testoviron®--Depot. The total cholesterol levels prior to and two days after testosterone administration were analysed. Protein expression of HMGCR in whole blood was investigated by Western blotting. In order to study whether testosterone regulates the mRNA expression of HMGCR, in vitro studies were performed in a human liver cell-line (HepG2).
The total cholesterol level was significantly increased 15% two days after the testosterone injection (p = 0.007). This is the first time a perturbation in the lipoprotein profile is observed after only a single dose of testosterone. Moreover, the HMGCR mRNA and protein expression was induced by testosterone in vitro and in vivo, respectively.
Here we provide a molecular explanation how anabolic androgenic steroids may impact on the cholesterol homeostasis, i.e. via an increase of the HMGCR expression. Increasing knowledge and understanding of AAS induced side-effects is important in order to find measures for treatment and care of these abusers.
Testosterone; Cholesterol; HMG CoA reductase
Hydroxmethylglutaryl (HMG)-coenzyme A (CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) lower serum cholesterol but exhibit pleiotropic biological effects that are difficult to ascribe solely to cholesterol depletion. Here, we investigated the effect of lovastatin on protein prenylation and cell signaling. We show that high concentrations (50 μM) of lovastatin inhibit Ras, Rho, and Rap prenylation but that therapeutic levels of lovastatin (50 nM to 500 nM) do not. In contrast, depletion of cellular cholesterol by therapeutic levels of lovastatin increased Ras GTP loading and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and rodent fibroblasts. Elevated Ras signaling was not seen in statin-treated cells if cholesterol levels were maintained by supplementation. Activation of Ras-MAPK signaling was a consequence of, and dependent on, activation of phospholipase D2 (PLD2). Expression of dominant interfering PLD2 or biochemical inhibition of PLD2 abrogated Ras and MAPK activation induced by lovastatin. In contrast, ectopic expression of wild-type PLD2 enhanced Ras and MAPK activation in response to therapeutic levels of lovastatin. Statin-induced cholesterol depletion also modestly activated the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), resulting in downregulation of EGFR expression. These results suggest that statins modulate key cell signaling pathways as a direct consequence of cholesterol depletion and identify the EGFR-PLD2-Ras-MAPK axis as an important statin target.
Both 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase isozymes of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are predicted to contain seven membrane-spanning domains. Previous work had established the utility of the histidinol dehydrogenase protein domain, encoded by HIS4C, as a topologically sensitive monitor that can be used to distinguish between the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and the cytoplasm. This study directly tested the structural predictions for HMG-CoA reductase by fusing the HIS4C domain to specific sites in the HMG-CoA reductase isozymes. Yeast cells containing the HMG-CoA reductase-histidinol dehydrogenase fusion proteins grew on histidinol-containing medium if the HIS4C domain was present on the cytoplasmic side of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane but not if the HIS4C domain was targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum lumen. Systematic exchanges of transmembrane domains between the isozymes confirmed that both isozymes had equivalent membrane topologies. In general, deletion of an even number of putative transmembrane domains did not interfere with the topology of the protein, but deletion or duplication of an odd number of transmembrane domains inverted the orientation of the protein. The data confirmed the earlier proposed topology for yeast HMG-CoA reductase, demonstrated that the yeast enzymes are core glycosylated, and provided in vivo evidence that the properties of transmembrane domains were, in part, dependent upon their context within the protein.