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1.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Pumps and Cancer Cell Differentiation 
Biomolecules  2012;2(1):165-186.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a major intracellular calcium storage pool and a multifunctional organelle that accomplishes several calcium-dependent functions involved in many homeostatic and signaling mechanisms. Calcium is accumulated in the ER by Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium ATPase (SERCA)-type calcium pumps. SERCA activity can determine ER calcium content available for intra-ER functions and for calcium release into the cytosol, and can shape the spatiotemporal characteristics of calcium signals. SERCA function therefore constitutes an important nodal point in the regulation of cellular calcium homeostasis and signaling, and can exert important effects on cell growth, differentiation and survival. In several cell types such as cells of hematopoietic origin, mammary, gastric and colonic epithelium, SERCA2 and SERCA3-type calcium pumps are simultaneously expressed, and SERCA3 expression levels undergo significant changes during cell differentiation, activation or immortalization. In addition, SERCA3 expression is decreased or lost in several tumor types when compared to the corresponding normal tissue. These observations indicate that ER calcium homeostasis is remodeled during cell differentiation, and may present defects due to decreased SERCA3 expression in tumors. Modulation of the state of differentiation of the ER reflected by SERCA3 expression constitutes an interesting new aspect of cell differentiation and tumor biology.
PMCID: PMC4030869  PMID: 24970132
calcium signalling; endoplasmic reticulum; SERCA; cancer; cell differentiation
2.  Modulation of B-cell endoplasmic reticulum calcium homeostasis by Epstein-Barr virus Latent Membrane Protein-1 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:59.
Calcium signaling plays an important role in B lymphocyte survival and activation, and is critically dependent on the inositol-1,4,5-tris-phosphate-induced release of calcium stored in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Calcium is accumulated in the ER by Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium ATPases (SERCA enzymes), and therefore these enzymes play an important role in ER calcium homeostasis and in the control of B of cell activation. Because Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can immortalize B cells and contributes to lymphomagenesis, in this work the effects of the virus on SERCA-type calcium pump expression and calcium accumulation in the endoplasmic reticulum of B cells was investigated.
Two Sarco-Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium transport ATPase isoforms, the low Ca2+-affinity SERCA3, and the high Ca2+-affinity SERCA2 enzymes are simultaneously expressed in B cells. Latency type III infection of Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines with immortalization-competent virus expressing the full set of latency genes selectively decreased the expression of SERCA3 protein, whereas infection with immortalization-deficient virus that does not express the EBNA2 or LMP-1 viral genes was without effect. Down-modulation of SERCA3 expression could be observed upon LMP-1, but not EBNA2 expression in cells carrying inducible transgenes, and LMP-1 expression was associated with enhanced resting cytosolic calcium levels and increased calcium storage in the endoplasmic reticulum. Similarly to virus-induced B cell immortalisation, SERCA3 expression was also decreased in normal B cells undergoing activation and blastic transformation in germinal centers of lymph node follicles.
The data presented in this work indicate that EBV-induced immortalization leads to the remodelling of ER calcium homeostasis of B cells by LMP-1 that copies a previously unknown normal phenomenon taking place during antigen driven B cell activation. The functional remodelling of ER calcium homeostasis by down-regulation of SERCA3 expression constitutes a previously unknown mechanism involved in EBV-induced B cell immortalisation.
PMCID: PMC3098015  PMID: 19650915
3.  Bcl-2 Suppresses Sarcoplasmic/Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+-ATPase Expression in Cystic Fibrosis Airways 
Rationale: Modulation of the activity of sarcoendoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) can profoundly affect Ca2+ homeostasis. Although altered calcium homeostasis is a characteristic of cystic fibrosis (CF), the role of SERCA is unknown.
Objectives: This study provides a comprehensive investigation of expression and activity of SERCA in CF airway epithelium. A detailed study of the mechanisms underlying SERCA changes and its consequences was also undertaken.
Methods: Lung tissue samples (bronchus and bronchiole) from subjects with and without CF were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Protein and mRNA expression in primary non-CF and CF cells was determined by Western and Northern blots.
Measurements and Main Results: SERCA2 expression was decreased in bronchial and bronchiolar epithelia of subjects with CF. SERCA2 expression in lysates of polarized tracheobronchial epithelial cells from subjects with CF was decreased by 67% as compared with those from subjects without CF. Several non-CF and CF airway epithelial cell lines were also probed. SERCA2 expression and activity were consistently decreased in CF cell lines. Adenoviral expression of mutant F508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator gene (CFTR), inhibition of CFTR function pharmacologically (CFTRinh172), or stable expression of antisense oligonucleotides to inhibit CFTR expression caused decreased SERCA2 expression. In CF cells, SERCA2 interacted with Bcl-2, leading to its displacement from caveolae-related domains of endoplasmic reticulum membranes, as demonstrated in sucrose density gradient centrifugation and immunoprecipitation studies. Knockdown of SERCA2 using siRNA enhanced epithelial cell death due to ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and TNF-α.
Conclusions: Reduced SERCA2 expression may alter calcium signaling and apoptosis in CF. These findings decrease the likelihood of therapeutic benefit of SERCA inhibition in CF.
PMCID: PMC2675566  PMID: 19201925
cystic fibrosis; SERCA2; pulmonary epithelium; ER
4.  Reduction of AMP-activated Protein Kinase Alpha 2 Increases Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Atherosclerosis In Vivo 
Circulation  2010;121(6):792-803.
Aberrant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is associated with several cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis. The mechanism by which aberrant ER stress develops is poorly understood. This study investigated whether dysfunction of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) causes aberrant ER stress and atherosclerosis in vivo.
Methods and Results
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and mouse aortic endothelial cells (MAEC) from AMPK-deficient mice were used to assess the level of ER stress using western blotting. Reduction of AMPKα2 expression significantly increased the level of ER stress in HUVEC. In addition, MAEC from AMPKα2 knockout mice (AMPKα2−/−) had higher expression of markers of ER stress and increased levels of intracellular Ca2+. These phenotypes were abolished by adenovirally overexpressing constitutively active AMPK mutants (Ad-AMPK-CA) or by transfecting sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA). Inhibition of SERCA induced ER stress in endothelial cells. Furthermore, reduction of AMPKα expression suppressed SERCA activity. In addition, SERCA activity was significantly reduced concomitantly with increased oxidation of SERCA in MAEC from AMPKα2−/− mice. Both of these phenotypes were abolished by adenovirally overexpressing Ad-AMPK-CA. Furthermore, tempol, which restored SERCA activity and decreased oxidized SERCA levels, markedly reduced the level of ER stress in MAEC from AMPKα2−/− mice. Finally, oral administration of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a chemical chaperone that inhibits ER stress, significantly reduced both ER stress and aortic lesion development in LDL receptor and AMPKα2 deficient mice.
These results suggest that AMPK functions as a physiological suppressor of ER stress by maintaining SERCA activity and intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2825900  PMID: 20124121
AMPK; SERCA; oxidation; ER stress; atherosclerosis
5.  Immunosuppression Decreases Inflammation and Increases AAV6-hSERCA2a-Mediated SERCA2a Expression 
Human Gene Therapy  2012;23(7):722-732.
The calcium pump SERCA2a (sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase 2a), which plays a central role in cardiac contraction, shows decreased expression in heart failure (HF). Increasing SERCA2a expression in HF models improves cardiac function. We used direct cardiac delivery of adeno-associated virus encoding human SERCA2a (AAV6-hSERCA2a) in HF and normal canine models to study safety, efficacy, and the effects of immunosuppression. Tachycardic-paced dogs received left ventricle (LV) wall injection of AAV6-hSERCA2a or solvent. Pacing continued postinjection for 2 or 6 weeks, until euthanasia. Tissue/serum samples were analyzed for hSERCA2a expression (Western blot) and immune responses (histology and AAV6-neutralizing antibodies). Nonpaced dogs received AAV6-hSERCA2a and were analyzed at 12 weeks; a parallel cohort received AAV-hSERCA2a and immunosuppression. AAV-mediated cardiac expression of hSERCA2a peaked at 2 weeks and then declined (to ∼50%; p<0.03, 6 vs. 2 weeks). LV end diastolic and end systolic diameters decreased in 6-week dogs treated with AAV6-hSERCA2a (p<0.05) whereas LV diameters increased in control dogs. Dogs receiving AAV6-hSERCA2a developed neutralizing antibodies (titer ≥1:120) and cardiac cellular infiltration. Immunosuppression dramatically reduced immune responses (reduced inflammation and neutralizing antibody titers <1:20), and maintained hSERCA2a expression. Thus cardiac injection of AAV6-hSERCA2a promotes local hSERCA2a expression and improves cardiac function. However, the hSERCA2a protein level is reduced by host immune responses. Immunosuppression alleviates immune responses and sustains transgene expression, and may be an important adjuvant for clinical gene therapy trials.
Zhu and colleagues employ direct cardiac delivery of adeno-associated virus encoding the human calcium pump SERCA2a (AAV6-hSERCA2a) in heart failure and normal canine models in order to study the safety and efficacy of the approach as well as the effects of concomitant immunosuppressant treatment. Tachycardic-paced dogs injected with AAV6-hSERCA2a via the left ventricle wall displayed hSERCA2a expression and improved cardiac function, although hSERCA2a protein levels were reduced by host immune responses. Immunosuppression dramatically reduced inflammation and neutralizing antibody titers while maintaining hSERCA2a expression.
PMCID: PMC3404422  PMID: 22482463
6.  Glucose-6-phosphate reduces calcium accumulation in rat brain endoplasmic reticulum 
Brain cells expend large amounts of energy sequestering calcium (Ca2+), while loss of Ca2+ compartmentalization leads to cell damage or death. Upon cell entry, glucose is converted to glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), a parent substrate to several metabolic major pathways, including glycolysis. In several tissues, G6P alters the ability of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to sequester Ca2+. This led to the hypothesis that G6P regulates Ca2+ accumulation by acting as an endogenous ligand for sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA). Whole brain ER microsomes were pooled from adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Using radio-isotopic assays, 45Ca2+ accumulation was quantified following incubation with increasing amounts of G6P, in the presence or absence of thapsigargin, a potent SERCA inhibitor. To qualitatively assess SERCA activity, the simultaneous release of inorganic phosphate (Pi) coupled with Ca2+ accumulation was quantified. Addition of G6P significantly and decreased Ca2+ accumulation in a dose-dependent fashion (1–10 mM). The reduction in Ca2+ accumulation was not significantly different that seen with addition of thapsigargin. Addition of glucose-1-phosphate or fructose-6-phosphate, or other glucose metabolic pathway intermediates, had no effect on Ca2+ accumulation. Further, the release of Pi was markedly decreased, indicating G6P-mediated SERCA inhibition as the responsible mechanism for reduced Ca2+ uptake. Simultaneous addition of thapsigargin and G6P did decrease inorganic phosphate in comparison to either treatment alone, which suggests that the two treatments have different mechanisms of action. Therefore, G6P may be a novel, endogenous regulator of SERCA activity. Additionally, pathological conditions observed during disease states that disrupt glucose homeostasis, may be attributable to Ca2+ dystasis caused by altered G6P regulation of SERCA activity.
PMCID: PMC3330244  PMID: 22529775
glucose-6-phosphate; G6P; calcium; SERCA; microsome; endoplasmic reticulum; thapsigargin; brain
7.  HIV Protease Inhibitors Modulate Ca2+ Homeostasis and Potentiate Alcoholic Stress and Injury in Mice and Primary Mouse and Human Hepatocytes 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(2):594-604.
A portion of HIV-infected patients under therapy with protease inhibitors (HIV PIs) concomitantly consume or abuse alcohol leading to hepatic injury. The underling mechanisms are not known. We hypothesize that HIV PI aggravates alcohol-induced liver injury through an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress mechanism. To address this, we treated mice and primary mouse and human hepatocytes (PMH and PHH respectively) with alcohol and the two HIV PIs: ritonavir and lopinavir. In mice, ritonavir and lopinavir (15 mg/kg body weight each) induced mild ER stress and inhibition of Sarco/ER Calcium-ATPase (SERCA) without significant increase in serum ALT levels. However, a single dose of alcohol by gavage (5g/kg body weight) plus the two HIV PIs caused a greater than 5-fold increase in serum ALT, a synergistic increase in alcohol-induced liver lipid accumulation and ER stress response, and a decrease of SERCA. Mice treated with chronic HIV PIs and alcohol developed moderate liver fibrosis. In PMH, the HIV drugs plus alcohol also inhibited SERCA expression and increased expression of GRP78, CHOP, SREBP1c and phosphorylated JNK2, which were accompanied by a synergistic increase in cell death compared to alcohol or the HIV drugs alone. In PHH, ritonavir and lopinavir or alcohol alone treatment increased mRNA of spliced Xbp1 and decreased SERCA, which were accompanied by reduced levels of intracellular calcium. Alcohol combined with the HIV drugs significantly reduced intracellular calcium levels and potentiated cell death, which was comparable to the cell death caused by the SERCA inhibitor-thapsigargin. Our findings suggest the possibility that HIV PIs potentiate alcohol-induced ER stress and injury through modulation of SERCA and maintaining calcium homeostasis should be a therapeutic aim for a better care of HIV patients.
PMCID: PMC3406240  PMID: 22407670
8.  High Glucose Oxidizes SERCA Cysteine-674 and Prevents Inhibition by Nitric Oxide of Smooth Muscle Cell Migration 
Nitric oxide (NO) causes S-glutathiolation of the reactive cysteine-674 in the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), thus increasing SERCA activity, and inhibiting Ca2+ influx and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Because increased VSMC migration contributes to accelerated neointimal growth and atherosclerosis in diabetes, the effect of culture of VSMC in high glucose (HG) was determined. Rat aortic VSMC were exposed to normal (5.5 mmol/L) or high (25 mmol/L) glucose for 3d, and serum-induced cell migration during 6 h into a wounded cell monolayer was measured 5 min after adding the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) or 24 h after interleukin-1 β (IL-1β) to express inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In normal glucose, SNAP or IL-1β significantly inhibited migration in cells infected with adenovirus to express GFP or SERCA wild type (WT), but not with a C674S SERCA mutant. After HG, NO failed to inhibit migration, nor did it decrease calcium-dependent association of calmodulin with calcineurin, indicating that NO failed to decrease intracellular calcium levels via SERCA. In contrast, overexpression of SERCA WT, but not the SERCA C674S mutant, preserved the ability for NO to inhibit migration despite exposing the cells to HG. The antioxidant, Tempol, or overexpression of superoxide dismutase also prevented the effects of HG. Further studies showed that both biotinylated-iodoacetamide and NO-induced biotinylated glutathione labeling of SERCA C674 were decreased by HG, and a sequence-specific sulfonic acid antibody detected oxidation of the C674 SERCA thiol. These results indicate that failure of NO to inhibit migration in VSMC exposed to HG is due to oxidation of the SERCA reactive cysteine-674.
PMCID: PMC2394666  PMID: 18164028
Nitric oxide; High glucose; Migration; Sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase
9.  Assessment of gene expression of intracellular calcium channels, pumps and exchangers with epidermal growth factor-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in a breast cancer cell line 
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process implicated in cancer metastasis that involves the conversion of epithelial cells to a more mesenchymal and invasive cell phenotype. In breast cancer cells EMT is associated with altered store-operated calcium influx and changes in calcium signalling mediated by activation of cell surface purinergic receptors. In this study, we investigated whether MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells induced to undergo EMT exhibit changes in mRNA levels of calcium channels, pumps and exchangers located on intracellular calcium storing organelles, including the Golgi, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER).
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) was used to induce EMT in MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells. Serum-deprived cells were treated with EGF (50 ng/mL) for 12 h and gene expression was assessed using quantitative RT-PCR.
Results and conclusions
These data reveal no significant alterations in mRNA levels of the Golgi calcium pump secretory pathway calcium ATPases (SPCA1 and SPCA2), or the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) or Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCLX). However, EGF-induced EMT was associated with significant alterations in mRNA levels of specific ER calcium channels and pumps, including (sarco)-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPases (SERCAs), and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) and ryanodine receptor (RYR) calcium channel isoforms. The most prominent change in gene expression between the epithelial and mesenchymal-like states was RYR2, which was enriched 45-fold in EGF-treated MDA-MB-468 cells. These findings indicate that EGF-induced EMT in breast cancer cells may be associated with major alterations in ER calcium homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3733826  PMID: 23890218
Breast cancer calcium; EMT; IP3R; RYR; SERCA; SPCA; MCU; NCLX
10.  Serca1 Truncated Proteins Unable to Pump Calcium Reduce the Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Concentration and Induce Apoptosis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;153(6):1301-1314.
By pumping calcium from the cytosol to the ER, sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPases (SERCAs) play a major role in the control of calcium signaling. We describe two SERCA1 splice variants (S1Ts) characterized by exon 4 and/or exon 11 splicing, encoding COOH terminally truncated proteins, having only one of the seven calcium-binding residues, and thus unable to pump calcium. As shown by semiquantitative RT-PCR, S1T transcripts are differentially expressed in several adult and fetal human tissues, but not in skeletal muscle and heart. S1T proteins expression was detected by Western blot in nontransfected cell lines. In transiently transfected cells, S1T homodimers were revealed by Western blot using mildly denaturing conditions. S1T proteins were shown, by confocal scanning microscopy, to colocalize with endogenous SERCA2b into the ER membrane. Using ER-targeted aequorin (erAEQ), we have found that S1T proteins reduce ER calcium and reverse elevation of ER calcium loading induced by SERCA1 and SERCA2b. Our results also show that SERCA1 variants increase ER calcium leakage and are consistent with the hypothesis of a cation channel formed by S1T homodimers. Finally, when overexpressed in liver-derived cells, S1T proteins significantly induce apoptosis. These data reveal a further mechanism modulating Ca2+ accumulation into the ER of nonmuscle cells and highlight the relevance of S1T proteins to the control of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2192035  PMID: 11402072
SERCA1; endoplasmic reticulum; calcium; apoptosis; splice variants
11.  Artemisinin induces doxorubicin resistance in human colon cancer cells via calcium-dependent activation of HIF-1α and P-glycoprotein overexpression 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2009;156(7):1054-1066.
Background and purpose:
Artemisinin is an antimalarial drug exerting pleiotropic effects, such as the inhibition of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B and of the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca++-ATPase (SERCA) of P. falciparum. As the sesquiterpene lactone thapsigargin, a known inhibitor of mammalian SERCA, enhances the expression of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) by increasing the intracellular Ca++ ([Ca++]i) level, we investigated whether artemisinin and its structural homologue parthenolide could inhibit SERCA in human colon carcinoma HT29 cells and induce a resistance to doxorubicin.
Experimental approach:
HT29 cells were incubated with artemisinin or parthenolide and assessed for SERCA activity, [Ca++]i levels, Pgp expression, doxorubicin accumulation and toxicity, and translocation of the hypoxia-inducible factor, HIF-1α.
Key results:
Artemisinin and parthenolide, like the specific SERCA inhibitors thapsigargin and cyclopiazonic acid, reduced the activity of SERCA. They also increased intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca++]i) and Pgp expression and decreased doxorubicin accumulation and cytotoxicity. The intracellular Ca++ chelator, 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid, and the inhibitor of calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) KN93 prevented these effects. CaMKII is known to promote the phosphorylation and the activation of HIF-1α, which may induce Pgp. In HT29 cells, artemisinin and parthenolide induced the phosphorylation of HIF-1α, which was inhibited by KN93.
Conclusions and implications:
Our results suggest that artemisinin and parthenolide may act as SERCA inhibitors and, like other SERCA inhibitors, induce resistance to doxorubicin in human colon cancer cells, via the CaMKII-dependent activation of HIF-1α and the induction of Pgp.
PMCID: PMC2697684  PMID: 19298255
artemisinin; sesquiterpene lactones; doxorubicin; colon cancer cells; calcium; HIF-1α; P-glycoprotein; calmodulin-dependent kinase II
12.  Artemisinin Induces Calcium-Dependent Protein Secretion in the Protozoan Parasite Toxoplasma gondii▿ † 
Eukaryotic Cell  2007;6(11):2147-2156.
Intracellular calcium controls several crucial cellular events in apicomplexan parasites, including protein secretion, motility, and invasion into and egress from host cells. The plant compound thapsigargin inhibits the sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), resulting in elevated calcium and induction of protein secretion in Toxoplasma gondii. Artemisinins are natural products that show potent and selective activity against parasites, making them useful for the treatment of malaria. While the mechanism of action is uncertain, previous studies have suggested that artemisinin may inhibit SERCA, thus disrupting calcium homeostasis. We cloned the single-copy gene encoding SERCA in T. gondii (TgSERCA) and demonstrate that the protein localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum in the parasite. In extracellular parasites, TgSERCA partially relocalized to the apical pole, a highly active site for regulated secretion of micronemes. TgSERCA complemented a calcium ATPase-defective yeast mutant, and this activity was inhibited by either thapsigargin or artemisinin. Treatment of T. gondii with artemisinin triggered calcium-dependent secretion of microneme proteins, similar to the SERCA inhibitor thapsigargin. Artemisinin treatment also altered intracellular calcium in parasites by increasing the periodicity of calcium oscillations and inducing recurrent, strong calcium spikes, as imaged using Fluo-4 labeling. Collectively, these results demonstrate that artemisinin perturbs calcium homeostasis in T. gondii, supporting the idea that Ca2+-ATPases are potential drug targets in parasites.
PMCID: PMC2168421  PMID: 17766463
13.  A Novel SERCA Inhibitor Demonstrates Synergy with Classic SERCA Inhibitors and Targets Multidrug-Resistant AML 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2013;10(11):4358-4366.
Drug resistance exists as a major obstacle in the treatment of cancer and drug molecules that retain effectiveness against resistant cancers are a high clinical priority. Ethyl 2-amino-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-(2-ethoxy-2-oxoethyl)-4H-chromene-3-carboxylate (CXL017) was recently identified as a promising lead for the treatment of multidrug-resistant leukemia, which elicits its cytotoxic effect, in part, through inhibition of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA). Herein initial experiments with SERCA1a, CXL017 demonstrated no significant effect on calcium affinity, competed with ATP, and induced a dose-dependent decrease in ATPase activity. Among all CXLs tested, (−)-CXL017 exhibited the greatest SERCA inhibition with an IC50 = 13.5 ± 0.5 μM. Inhibitor combination studies were used to assess potential interactions between (−)-CXL017 and well-known SERCA inhibitors: thapsigargin, cyclopiazonic acid, and 2, 5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone. Surprisingly, (−)-CXL017 exhibited marked synergy with each of the known SERCA inhibitors whereas all combinations of the known inhibitors yielded additive effects, indicating that (−)-CXL017 may bind at a unique allosteric site. Treatment of parental (HL60) and multidrug-resistant (HL60/MX2) acute myeloid leukemia cells with the known SERCA inhibitors revealed that all of these inhibitors demonstrate selective cytotoxicity (7.7 to 400 fold) for the resistant cell line. Within the CXL series, a positive correlation exists between SERCA inhibition and cytotoxicity in HL60/MX2 but not HL60. (−)-CXL017 was also shown to enhance the cytotoxicity of thapsigargin in HL60/MX2 cells. Given the elevated SERCA levels and ER calcium content in HL60/MX2, SERCA likely plays a significant role in the collateral sensitivity of this multidrug-resistance cell line to CXL molecules as well as known SERCA inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3946399  PMID: 24079514
SERCA; inhibitor; synergy; cancer; drug-resistance
14.  Effect of Chaiqinchengqi decoction on sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase mRNA expression of pancreatic tissues in acute pancreatitis rats 
AIM: To investigate the effect of Chaiqinchengqi decoction (CQCQD) on sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) mRNA expression of pancreatic tissues in acute pancreatitis (AP) rats.
METHODS: Thirty Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomized into control group, AP group and CQCQD group (n = 3 × 10). The rats in the CQCQD group were intragastrically administered with CQCQD (10 mL/kg every 2 h) after induction of AP by intraperitoneal injection of caerulein (50 μg/kg.h × 5) within 4 h. At 6 h after the induction of AP model, pancreatic tissues were collected for the pathological observation, mRNA extraction for determination of SERCA1 and SERCA2 mRNA expression or pancreatic acinar cell isolation for measurement of fluorescence intensity (FI) of intracellular calcium ion concentration [Ca2+]i.
RESULTS: There was no expression of pancreatic SERCA1 mRNA in the control group and the AP group. The expression of pancreatic SERCA2 mRNA in the AP group was down-regulated (expression ratio = 0.536; P = 0.001) compared with the control group, while that in the CQCQD group was up-regulated (expression ratio = 2.00; P = 0.012) compared with AP group. The FI of intracellular [Ca2+] of pancreatic acinar cells in the AP group (138.2 ± 23.1) was higher than the C group (111.0 ± 18.4) and the CQCQD group (118.7 ± 15.2 ) (P < 0.05) and the pancreatic pathological score in the CQCQD group was lower than that in the AP group (5.7 ± 1.9 vs 9.2 ± 2.7, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: CQCQD can up-regulate the expression of SERCA2 mRNA of pancreatic tissues, reduce intracellular calcium overload and relieve pancreatic tissue lesions.
PMCID: PMC2705088  PMID: 18416460
Chaiqinchengqi decoction; Pancreatitis; Calcium overload; Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2 +-ATPase
Experimental eye research  2005;81(6):690-699.
The sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) is a key intracellular calcium transporter, which regulates cellular calcium concentration [Ca2+] by transporting Ca2+ ions from the cytosol into the endoplasmic reticulum. SERCA-mediated Ca2+ sequestration controls proper folding of newly synthesized proteins within the ER as well as the timing and spatial patterning of depolarization-evoked Ca2+ responses in the cytoplasm. We studied expression and distribution of all three SERCA isoforms in the mouse retina using isoform-specific antibodies. No immunostaining was observed with the SERCA1 antibody. SERCA2 was expressed in photoreceptor inner segments, amacrine and ganglion cells of the mouse retina. Similar SERCA2 localization was observed in adult rat, macaque and ground squirrel retinas. Analysis of distribution of SERCA2 immunofluorescence in the developing mouse retina revealed prominent SERCA2 signals throughout postnatal development. The antibody raised against the SERCA3 isoform labeled inner segments of photoreceptors and cell bodies in the inner nuclear layer of the mouse retina. The SERCA3 signal was detected in the inner plexiform layer of the early postnatal retina, but moved by P10 to the outer retina where it was concentrated in outer segments of cones. These results indicate that SERCA2 represents the dominant SERCA isoform in the mammalian retina. SERCA3 may contribute to calcium regulation in photoreceptors and bipolar cells.
PMCID: PMC2921800  PMID: 15967430
calcium store; photoreceptor; endoplasmic reticulum; mouse; squirrel; rat
16.  Altered vascular smooth muscle function in the ApoE knockout mouse during the progression of atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2014;234(1):154-161.
Relaxation of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) requires re-uptake of cytosolic Ca2+ into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) via the Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), or extrusion via the Plasma Membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA) or sodium Ca2+ exchanger (NCX). Peroxynitrite, a reactive species formed in vascular inflammatory diseases, upregulates SERCA activity to induce relaxation but, chronically, can contribute to atherogenesis and altered vascular function by escalating endoplasmic reticulum stress. Our objectives were to determine if peroxynitrite-induced relaxation and Ca2+ handling processes within vascular smooth muscle cells were altered as atherosclerosis develops.
Aortae from control and ApoE−/− mice were studied histologically, functionally and for protein expression levels of SERCA and PMCA. Ca2+ responses were assessed in dissociated aortic smooth muscle cells in the presence and absence of extracellular Ca2+.
Relaxation to peroxynitrite was concentration-dependent and endothelium-independent. The abilities of the SERCA blocker thapsigargin and the PMCA inhibitor carboxyeosin to block this relaxation were altered during fat feeding and plaque progression. SERCA levels were progressively reduced, while PMCA expression was upregulated. In ApoE−/− VSM cells, increases in cytosolic Ca2+ [Ca2+]c in response to SERCA blockade were reduced, while SERCA-independent Ca2+ clearance was faster compared to control.
As atherosclerosis develops in the ApoE−/− mouse, expression and function of Ca2+ handling proteins are altered. Up-regulation of Ca2+ removal via PMCA may offer a potential compensatory mechanism to help normalise the dysfunctional relaxation observed during disease progression.
•Expression and function of SERCA and PMCA are temporally altered in ApoE−/− VSM.•TG-induced increases in [Ca2+]c were reduced in ApoE−/− aortic SM cells.•Ca2+ extrusion is upregulated in isolated ApoE−/− aortic SM cells.
PMCID: PMC3997800  PMID: 24657385
Atherosclerosis; Ca2+; SERCA; Peroxynitrite; PMCA
17.  Attenuation of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress–Related Myocardial Apoptosis by SERCA2a Gene Delivery in Ischemic Heart Disease 
Molecular Medicine  2010;17(3-4):201-210.
Previous studies suggested that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress–associated apoptosis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ischemic heart disease. Gene transfer of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) attenuates myocardial apoptosis in a variety of heart failure models. This study is to investigate the effects of SERCA2a gene delivery on the myocardial apoptosis and ER stress pathway in a porcine ischemic heart disease model. Eighteen pigs were either subjected to ameroid implantation in the coronary artery or sham operation. Eight wks after gene delivery, the protein level and activity of SERCA2a were measured. Myocardial apoptosis was determined using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated DNA nick-end labeling assay. Regional myocardial perfusion and function were evaluated by 99m Tc-sestamibi (99m Tc-MIBI) single photon emission computed tomography and echocardiography. The ER stress signaling was assessed by Western blot. SERCA2a protein level and activity were significantly decreased in the ischemic myocardium and restored to normal after SERCA2a gene transfer. Restoration of SERCA2a expression significantly improved the cardiac function, although no improvement of regional myocardial perfusion was detected. Restoration of SERCA2a significantly attenuated myocardial apoptosis and reversed the activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway and the ER stress–associated apoptosis pathways. These findings demonstrate a robust role of SERCA2a in attenuation of ischemic myocardial apoptosis, correlating with reverse activation of the ER stress–associated apoptosis pathways, suggesting that the beneficial effects of SERCA2a gene transfer may involve the attenuation of ER stress–associated myocardial apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3060980  PMID: 21152695
18.  Mice carrying a conditional Serca2flox allele for the generation of Ca2+ handling-deficient mouse models 
Cell calcium  2009;46(3):219-225.
Sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum calcium ATPases (SERCA) are cellular pumps that transport Ca2+ into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Serca2 is the most widely expressed gene family member. The very early embryonic lethality of Serca2null mouse embryos has precluded further evaluation of loss of Serca2 function in the context of organ physiology. We have generated mice carrying a conditional Serca2flox allele which allows disruption of the Serca2 gene in an organ-specific and/or inducible manner. The model was tested by mating Serca2flox mice with MLC-2vwt/Cre mice and with αMHC-Cre transgenic mice. In heterozygous Serca2wt/flox MLC-2vwt/Cre mice, the expression of SERCA2a and SERCA2b proteins were reduced in the heart and slow skeletal muscle, in accordance with the expression pattern of the MLC-2v gene. In Serca2flox/flox Tg(αMHC-Cre) embryos with early homozygous cardiac Serca2 disruption, normal embryonic development and yolk sac circulation was maintained up to at least embryonic stage E10.5. The Serca2flox mouse is the first murine conditional gene disruption model for the SERCA family of Ca2+ ATPases, and should be a powerful tool for investigating specific physiological roles of SERCA2 function in a range of tissues and organs in vivo both in adult and embryonic stages.
PMCID: PMC4313567  PMID: 19692123
Serca2; Calcium ATPase; Endoplasmic reticulum; Sarcoplasmic reticulum; Flox; Transgenic mouse
19.  Alteration of calcium homeostasis in primary preeclamptic syncytiotrophoblasts: effect on calcium exchange in placenta 
Preeclampsia (PE) is characterized by maternal hypertension, proteinuria, oedema and, in 30% of cases, by intrauterine growth retardation. Causes are still unknown; however, epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested alterations in maternal calcium metabolism. We suggested that in PE, calcium transport by the syncytiotrophoblast (ST) is disturbed. From total placental tissues, we studied the expression of: calcium channels (TRPV5, TRPV6 [transient receptor potential vanilloid]), calcium binding proteins (CaBP-9K, CaBP-28K), plasma membrane calcium ATPase (PMCA)1,2,3,4 pumps, ATP synthase, genes implicated in Ca2+ release [inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate receptor (IP3R)1,2,3; Ryanodine receptor (RyR)1,2,3] and replenishment (SERCA1,2,3 [sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPases]) from endoplasmic reticulum, channels implicated in mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation (VDAC1,2,3 [voltage-dependent anion channels]) and a marker of oxidative stress (hOGG1 [Human 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase 1]), as well as the influence of these variations on calcium transport in primary ST cultures. The mRNA and protein levels were thereby examined by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis, respectively, in two different groups of pregnant women with similar gestational age: a normal group (n= 16) and a PE group (n= 8), diagnosed by a clinician. Our study showed a significant decrease in calcium transport by the ST cultured from preeclamptic placentas. We found a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in mRNA levels of TRPV5, TRPV6, CaBP-9K, CaBP-28K, PMCA1, PMCA4, ATP synthase, IP3R1, IP3R2, RyR1, RyR2 and RyR3 in PE group compared to normal one. We also noted a significant decrease in protein levels of TRPV5, TRPV6, CaBP-9K, CaBP-28K and PMCA1/4 in PE group. In contrast, SERCA1, SERCA2, SERCA3, VDAC3 and hOGG1 mRNA expressions were significantly increased in PE placentas. Calcium homeostasis and transport through placenta is compromised in preeclamptic pregnancies and it appears to be affected by a lack of ATP and an excess of oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3922387  PMID: 20178461
calcium transport; calcium homeostasis; ATP; oxidative stress; placenta; preeclampsia; syncytiotrophoblast; trophoblast
20.  Targeting the Redox Regulation of SERCA in Vascular Physiology and Disease 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2010;10(2):133-138.
The sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) is essential for the control of intracellular free Ca2+ levels. Recently, SERCA has been identified as an important effector of nitric oxide (NO) action in vascular cells. NO stimulates the uptake of cytosolic Ca2+ via SERCA by adducting glutathione to the reactive cysteine-674 thiol. Mutation of this single amino acid prevents the stimulation of Ca2+ uptake by NO, as well as its ability to decrease Ca2+ and cell migration. NO function is impaired in a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes and atherosclerosis, which are associated with irreversible oxidation of SERCA cysteine-674. Targeting the sources of oxidants in vascular diseases to prevent SERCA oxidation and/or increasing the expression of SERCA may impede vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2843760  PMID: 20045379
21.  SERCaMP: a carboxy-terminal protein modification that enables monitoring of ER calcium homeostasis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(18):2828-2839.
Depletion of ER calcium can lead to cell death and is implicated in numerous diseases. Secreted ER calcium-monitoring proteins (SERCaMPs) are secreted in response to ER calcium depletion. SERCaMPs identified ER calcium depletion in primary neurons exposed to glutamate, hyperthermia, and coxibs and in rat liver after a single exposure to thapsigargin.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium homeostasis is disrupted in diverse pathologies, including neurodegeneration, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Temporally defining calcium dysregulation during disease progression, however, has been challenging. Here we describe secreted ER calcium-monitoring proteins (SERCaMPs), which allow for longitudinal monitoring of ER calcium homeostasis. We identified a carboxy-terminal modification that is sufficient to confer release of a protein specifically in response to ER calcium depletion. A Gaussia luciferase (GLuc)–based SERCaMP provides a simple and sensitive method to monitor ER calcium homeostasis in vitro or in vivo by analyzing culture medium or blood. GLuc-SERCaMPs revealed ER calcium depletion in rat primary neurons exposed to various ER stressors. In vivo, ER calcium disruption in rat liver was monitored over several days by repeated sampling of blood. Our results suggest that SERCaMPs will have broad applications for the long-term monitoring of ER calcium homeostasis and the development of therapeutic approaches to counteract ER calcium dysregulation.
PMCID: PMC4161517  PMID: 25031430
22.  Endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-homeostasis is altered in small and non-small cell lung cancer cell lines 
Knowledge of differences in the cellular physiology of malignant and non-malignant cells is a prerequisite for the development of cancer treatments that effectively kill cancer without damaging normal cells. Calcium is a ubiquitous signal molecule that is involved in the control of proliferation and apoptosis. We aimed to investigate if the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+-homeostasis is different in lung cancer and normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells.
The intracellular Ca2+-signaling was investigated using fluorescence microscopy and the expression of Ca2+-regulating proteins was assessed using Western Blot analysis.
In a Small Cell Lung Cancer (H1339) and an Adeno Carcinoma Lung Cancer (HCC) cell line but not in a Squamous Cell Lung Cancer (EPLC) and a Large Cell Lung Cancer (LCLC) cell line the ER Ca2+-content was reduced compared to NHBE. The reduced Ca2+-content correlated with a reduced expression of SERCA 2 pumping calcium into the ER, an increased expression of IP3R releasing calcium from the ER, and a reduced expression of calreticulin buffering calcium within the ER. Lowering the ER Ca2+-content with CPA led to increased proliferation NHBE and lung cancer cells.
The significant differences in Ca2+-homeostasis between lung cancer and NHBE cells could represent a new target for cancer treatments.
PMCID: PMC2653468  PMID: 19236728
23.  Myeloperoxidase-derived oxidants inhibit sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase activity, and perturb Ca2+ homeostasis in human coronary artery endothelial cells 
Free radical biology & medicine  2011;52(5):951-961.
The sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) plays a critical role in Ca2+ homeostasis via sequestration of this ion into the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum. The activity of this pump is inhibited by oxidants and impaired in ageing tissues and cardiovascular disease. We have shown previously that the myeloperoxidase- (MPO) derived oxidants HOCl and HOSCN target thiols and mediate cellular dysfunction. As SERCA contains Cys residues critical to ATPase activity, we hypothesized that HOCl and HOSCN might inhibit SERCA activity, via thiol oxidation, and increase cytosolic Ca2+ levels in human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC). Exposure of sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles to pre-formed or enzymatically-generated HOCl and HOSCN resulted in a concentration-dependent decrease in ATPase activity; this was also inhibited by the SERCA inhibitor thapsigargin. Decomposed HOSCN and incomplete MPO enzyme systems did not decrease activity. Loss of ATPase activity occurred concurrently with oxidation of SERCA Cys residues and protein modification. Exposure of HCAEC, with or without external Ca2+, to HOSCN or HOCl, resulted in a time- and concentration-dependent increase in intracellular Ca2+ under conditions that did not result in immediate loss of cell viability. Thapsigargin, but not inhibitors of plasma membrane or mitochondrial Ca2+ pumps/channels, completely attenuated the increase in intracellular Ca2+ consistent with a critical role for SERCA in maintaining endothelial cell Ca2+ homeostasis. Angiotensin II pre-treatment potentiated the effect of HOSCN at low concentrations. MPO-mediated modulation of intracellular Ca2+ levels may exacerbate endothelial dysfunction, a key early event in atherosclerosis, and be more marked in smokers due to their higher SCN− levels.
PMCID: PMC3736816  PMID: 22214747
Myeloperoxidase; calcium; oxidation; thiols; sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA); hypochlorous acid; hypothiocyanous acid
24.  Mechanisms of Control of the Free Ca2+ Concentration in the Endoplasmic Reticulum of Mouse Pancreatic β-Cells 
Diabetes  2011;60(10):2533-2545.
Sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase 2b (SERCA2b) and SERCA3 pump Ca2+ in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of pancreatic β-cells. We studied their role in the control of the free ER Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]ER) and the role of SERCA3 in the control of insulin secretion and ER stress.
β-Cell [Ca2+]ER of SERCA3+/+ and SERCA3−/− mice was monitored with an adenovirus encoding the low Ca2+-affinity sensor D4 addressed to the ER (D4ER) under the control of the insulin promoter. Free cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]c) and [Ca2+]ER were simultaneously recorded. Insulin secretion and mRNA levels of ER stress genes were studied.
Glucose elicited synchronized [Ca2+]ER and [Ca2+]c oscillations. [Ca2+]ER oscillations were smaller in SERCA3−/− than in SERCA3+/+ β-cells. Stimulating cell metabolism with various [glucose] in the presence of diazoxide induced a similar dose-dependent [Ca2+]ER rise in SERCA3+/+ and SERCA3−/− β-cells. In a Ca2+-free medium, glucose moderately raised [Ca2+]ER from a highly buffered cytosolic Ca2+ pool. Increasing [Ca2+]c with high [K] elicited a [Ca2+]ER rise that was larger but more transient in SERCA3+/+ than SERCA3−/− β-cells because of the activation of a Ca2+ release from the ER in SERCA3+/+ β-cells. Glucose-induced insulin release was larger in SERCA3−/− than SERCA3+/+ islets. SERCA3 ablation did not induce ER stress.
[Ca2+]c and [Ca2+]ER oscillate in phase in response to glucose. Upon [Ca2+]c increase, Ca2+ is taken up by SERCA2b and SERCA3. Strong Ca2+ influx triggers a Ca2+ release from the ER that depends on SERCA3. SERCA3 deficiency neither impairs Ca2+ uptake by the ER upon cell metabolism acceleration and insulin release nor induces ER stress.
PMCID: PMC3178295  PMID: 21885870
25.  Upregulation of Nox4 by TGFβ1 Oxidizes SERCA and Inhibits NO in Arterial Smooth Muscle of the Prediabetic Zucker Rat 
Circulation research  2010;107(8):975-983.
Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration is an important pathological process in several vascular occlusive diseases, including atherosclerosis and restenosis, both of which are accelerated by diabetes mellitus.
To determine the mechanisms of abnormal vascular SMC migration in type-2 diabetes, the obese Zucker rat (ZO), a model of obesity and insulin resistance, was studied.
Methods and Results
In culture, ZO aortic SMCs showed a significant increase in Nox4 mRNA and protein levels compared with the control lean Zucker rat (ZL). The sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) nitrotyrosine-294,295 and cysteine-674 (C674)-SO3H were increased in ZO SMCs, indicating oxidant stress. Unlike ZL SMC, nitric oxide (NO) failed to inhibit serum-induced SMC migration in ZO. Transfection of Nox4 small interference RNA or overexpression of SERCA2b wild type, but not C674S mutant SERCA, restored the response to NO. Knockdown of Nox4 also decreased SERCA oxidation in ZO SMCs. In addition, transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) via Smad2 was necessary and sufficient to upregulate Nox4, oxidize SERCA, and block the anti-migratory action of NO in ZO SMCs. Corresponding to the results in cultured SMCs, immunohistochemistry confirmed that Nox4 and SERCA C674-SO3H were significantly increased in ZO aorta. After common carotid artery injury, knockdown of Nox4 by adenoviral Nox4 short hairpin RNA decreased Nox4 and SERCA C674-SO3H staining and significantly decreased injury-induced neointima.
These studies indicate that the upregulation of Nox4 by TGF-β1 in ZO SMCs is responsible for the impaired response to NO by a mechanism involving the oxidation of SERCA C674. Knockdown of Nox4 inhibits oxidation of SERCA as well as neointima formation after ZO common carotid artery injury.
PMCID: PMC2955842  PMID: 20724704
Nitric oxide; cell migration; NADPH oxidase; obese Zucker rat; TGF-β1; Smad2

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