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1.  Regulation of matrix metallo-proteinase expression by extracellular matrix components in cultured hepatic stellate cells 
Comparative Hepatology  2004;3(Suppl 1):S20.
Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) changed their morphology and function including production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in response to extracellular matrix (ECM) component used as a substratum in culture. We examined in this study the regulatory role of ECM component on expression of MMPs and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) in rat HSCs cultured on polystyrene, type I collagen-coated surface, type I collagen gel, or Matrigel, respectively. When cultured on type I collagen gel, HSCs showed the asteroid cell shape and MMP-1 activity, as detected by in situ zymography. Expression of MMP-1 protein and mRNA were examined by using immunofluorescence staining and RT-PCR analysis in HSCs cultured on type I collagen gel. Active form of MMP-2 was detected by gelatin zymography in the conditioned medium of HSCs cultured on type I collagen gel, whereas it was not detected when HSCs were cultured on polystyrene, type I collagen-coated surface, or Matrigel. Increased MMP-2 mRNA was detected by RT-PCR in HSCs cultured on type I collagen gel. Increased MT1-MMP proteins were shown to localize on the cell membrane by using immunofluorescence staining in HSCs cultured on type I collagen gel. Elevated expression of membrane-type matrix metallproteinase-1 (MT1-MMP) mRNA and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) mRNA was detected by RT-PCR in HSCs cultured on type I collagen-coated surface or type I collagen gel. These results indicate that expression of MMPs and TIMP-2 is regulated by ECM components in cultured HSCs, suggesting an important role of HSCs in the remodeling of liver tissue.
PMCID: PMC2410240  PMID: 14960172
2.  MT1-MMP-mediated basement membrane remodeling modulates renal development 
Experimental cell research  2010;316(17):2993-3005.
Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling regulates multiple cellular functions required for normal development and tissue repair. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are key mediators of this process and membrane targeted MMPs (MT-MMPs) in particular have been shown to be important in normal development of specific organs. In this study we investigated the role of MT1-MMP in kidney development. We demonstrate that loss of MT1-MMP leads to a renal phenotype characterized by a moderate decrease in ureteric bud branching morphogenesis and a severe proliferation defect. The kidneys of MT1-MMP-null mice have increased deposition of collagen IV, laminins, perlecan, and nidogen and the phenotype is independent of the MT-1MMP target, MMP-2. Utilizing in vitro systems we demonstrated that MTI-MMP proteolytic activity is required for renal tubule cells to proliferate in three dimensional matrices and to migrate on collagen IV and laminins. Together these data suggest an important role for MT1-MMP in kidney development, which is mediated by its ability to regulate cell proliferation and migration by proteolytically cleaving kidney basement membrane components.
PMCID: PMC2945451  PMID: 20727881
branching morphogenesis; basement membrane; matrix metalloproteinases; kidney
3.  Polycystins, focal adhesions and extracellular matrix interactions 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2011;1812(10):1322-1326.
Polycystic Kidney disease is the most common heritable disease in humans. In addition to epithelial cysts in the kidney, liver and pancreas, patients with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) also suffer from abdominal hernia, intracranial aneurysm, gastrointestinal cysts, and cardiac valvular defects; conditions often associated with altered extracellular matrix production or integrity. Despite more than a decade of work on the principal ADPKD genes, PKD1 and PKD2, questions remain about the basis of cystic disease and the role of extracellular matrix in ADPKD pathology. This review explores the links between Polycystins, focal adhesions, and extracellular matrix gene expression. These relationships suggest roles for Polycystins in cell-matrix mechanosensory signaling that control matrix production and morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3132319  PMID: 21396443
4.  Human desmoid fibroblasts: matrix metalloproteinases, their inhibitors and modulation by Toremifene 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:22.
Desmoid tumour is a benign, non metastasising neoplasm characterised by an elevated deposition of organic macromolecules in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent proteinases involved in the degradation of ECM macromolecules. The MMPs and their natural inhibitors (TIMPs) have been implicated in tumour growth, invasion and metastasis. In this study we provide evidence that the in vitro cultured cell line from desmoid tumour accumulates more collagen fibres in the ECM than healthy fibroblasts.
We investigated collagen accumulation by 3H-thymidine incorporation, MMP expression by substrate gel zymography and TIMP expression by Western blot analysis.
Desmoid fibroblasts showed a reduction in MMP activity and an increase of type I and III collagen and TIMPs compared to normal fibroblasts.
The increase in collagen in desmoid fibroblasts was due to inhibited collagen degradation (reduction of MMP activity) rather than to increased collagen synthesis. Adding toremifene, an anti-estrogen triphenylethylene derivate, to desmoid fibroblasts reduced collagen accumulation by decreasing mRNA expression and increasing collagen degradation.
PMCID: PMC555538  PMID: 15740610
5.  Pioglitazone Attenuates Cystic Burden in the PCK Rodent Model of Polycystic Kidney Disease 
PPAR Research  2010;2010:274376.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by growth of fluid-filled cysts predominately in kidney tubules and liver bile ducts. Currently, the clinical management of PKD is limited to cyst aspiration, surgical resection or organ transplantation. Based on an observation that PPARγ agonists such as pioglitazone and rosiglitazone decrease mRNA levels of a Cl− transport protein, CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator), and the Cl− secretory response to vasopressin in cultured renal cells, it is hypothesized that PPARγ agonists will inhibit cyst growth. The current studies show that a 7- or 14-week pioglitazone feeding regimen inhibits renal and hepatic bile duct cyst growth in the PCK rat, a rodent model orthologous to human PKD. These studies provide proof of concept for the mechanism of action of the PPARγ agonists and suggest that this class of drugs may be effective in controlling both renal and hepatic cyst growth and fibrosis in PKD.
PMCID: PMC2968120  PMID: 21052534
6.  Bioadhesive Hydrogel Microenvironments to Modulate Epithelial Morphogenesis 
Biomaterials  2008;29(17):2637-2645.
Epithelial cells polarize and differentiate into organotypic cell aggregates in response to cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. For example, Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells form spherical cell aggregates (cysts) with distinct apical and basolateral polarity when cultured 3-dimensionally (embedded) in type I collagen gels. To investigate the effects of individual extracellular factors on epithelial morphogenesis, we engineered fast degrading protease-responsive polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels functionalized with controlled densities of various bioligands (RGD peptide, laminin-1 (LN)) to allow 3-D culturing of MDCK cells, cyst expansion, and morphogenesis/polarization. Cysts formed after 15 days culture in these hydrogels were analyzed with multiphoton fluorescence microscopy for markers of apical and basolateral membrane domains. Epithelial cysts formed in bioadhesive ligand-functionalized PEG gels exhibited a higher frequency of central lumen and interior apical pole formation as well as basolateral polarization compared to unmodified PEG hydrogels. These results demonstrate that incorporation of specific bioadhesive motifs into synthetic hydrogels provides 3-dimensional culture environments that support epithelial morphogenesis. These microenvironments provide a flexible and controlled system for systematic investigations into normal and pathologic morphogenic behaviors as well as synthetic environments for promoting tissue morphogenesis for regenerative medicine applications.
PMCID: PMC2408686  PMID: 18377982
cell adhesion; extracellular matrix; differentiation; laminin; RGD
7.  Cyst formation and activation of the extracellular regulated kinase pathway after kidney specific inactivation of Pkd1 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(11):1505-1516.
Polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) results from failure of the kidney to properly maintain three-dimensional structure after loss of either polycystin-1 or -2. Mice with kidney selective inactivation of Pkd1 during embryogenesis develop profound renal cystic disease and die from renal failure within 3 weeks of birth. In this model, cysts form exclusively from cells in which Cre recombinase is active, but the apparent pace of cyst expansion varies by segment and cell type. Intercalated cells do not participate in cyst expansion despite the presence of cilia up to at least postnatal day 21. Cystic segments show a persistent increase in proliferation as determined by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation; however, the absolute proliferative index is dependent on the underlying proliferative potential of kidney tubule cells. Components of the extracellular regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) pathway from Ras through MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 to the effector P90RSK are activated in both perinatal Pkd1 and adult Pkd2 ortholgous gene disease models. The pattern of MAPK/ERK activation is focal and does not correlate with the pattern of active proliferation identified by BrdU uptake. The possibility of a causal relationship between ERK1/2 activation and cyst cell proliferation was assessed in vivo in the acute perinatal Pkd1 model of ADPKD using MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126. U0126 treatment had no effect on progression of cyst formation in this model at doses sufficient to reduce phospho-ERK1/2 in cystic kidneys. Cysts in ADPKD exhibit both increased proliferation and activation of MAPK/ERK, but cyst growth is not prevented by inhibition of ERK1/2 activation.
PMCID: PMC2902289  PMID: 18263604
8.  Requirement of focal adhesion kinase in branching tubulogenesis 
We previously demonstrated that α3β1 integrins are essential to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-independent branching tubulogenesis in Mardin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells. However, the involvement of integrin downstream signaling molecules remains unclear. In the present study, we successfully isolated cell lines possessing different tubulogenic potentials from the MDCK cells; cyst clones (CA4, CA6) forming cystic structures when cultured in 0.3% type I collagen gel and mass clones (M610, M611, M612) forming aggregated masses. Cyst clones maintained cystic structure in 0.1% collagen gel, whereas mass clones spontaneously developed into tubules. Both clones exhibited various morphologies when cultured on a dish: cyst clones formed aggregated islands, while mass clones were more scattered and exhibited higher migration capacity. Among several focal adhesion machinery proteins examined, only the expression and phosphorylation level of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in mass clones was higher than in cyst clones, while other proteins showed no obvious differences. However, overexpression of wild type FAK in CA6 cells did not facilitate branching tubule formation in 0.1% collagen gel. Targeted decrease in the expression level of FAK in M610 cells with the application of antisense cDNA resulted in a marked reduction of branching tubule formation in 0.1% collagen gel and showed a down-regulation of fibronectin assembly, which is known to promote tubulogenesis. In contrast, overexpression of wild type FAK in CA6 cells had no effect on fibronectin assembly. Taken together, our data demonstrates that FAK is required, but not sufficient for HGF-independent branching tubulogenesis in MDCK cells.
PMCID: PMC2644975  PMID: 19272169
9.  Thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β Synergistically Induce Fibroblast-Mediated Collagen Gel Degradation 
Degradation of preexisting and newly synthesized extracellular matrix is thought to play an important role in tissue remodeling. The current study evaluated whether thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β could collaboratively induce collagen degradation by human fetal lung fibroblasts (HFL-1) and adult bronchial fibroblasts cultured in three-dimensional collagen gels. TNF-α/IL-1β alone induced production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)-1, -3, and -9, which were released in latent form. With the addition of thrombin, the latent MMPs were converted into active forms and this resulted in collagen gel degradation. Part of the activation of MMPs by thrombin resulted from direct activation of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-9 in the absence of cells. In addition, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 production was inhibited by the combination of thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β. These results suggest that thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β synergize to induce degradation of three-dimensional collagen gels through increasing the production and activation of MMPs, and that this effect is mediated through both direct activation of MMPs by thrombin and indirectly by thrombin activation of fibroblasts. Through such mechanisms, thrombin could contribute to many chronic lung disorders characterized by tissue remodeling.
PMCID: PMC2643297  PMID: 16858010
thrombin; matrix metalloproteinase; collagen degradation
10.  Tissue-Engineered Three-Dimensional In Vitro Models for Normal and Diseased Kidney 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(9):2821-2831.
Morphogenesis of epithelial cells involves processes by which kidney shape and function are regulated. The lack of in vitro models that are sustainable for longer time periods and emulating complex intercellular interactions of the kidney have limited understanding about epithelial tissue morphogenesis and its aberrations in diseases such as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). A sustainable three-dimensional (3D) coculture system for normal and diseased kidney tissues is reported here. Tubule- and ADPKD cyst-derived cells were cultured in extracellular matrix molecules infused into 3D porous silk scaffolds, and these cultures were subsequently extended into a perfusion bioreactor. The results indicated collagen–matrigel-mediated morphogenesis for both (normal and disease) cell types and also supported coculturing with fibroblasts. The structural and functional features of the kidney-like tissue structures were validated based on the distribution of E-cadherin, N-cadherin, Na+ K+ ATPase pump, and cellular uptake of the organic anion (6-carboxy fluorescein). Further, the structures were sustained for longer time periods using a perfusion bioreactor to demonstrate the potential utility of this 3D in vitro coculture system for ADPKD research, other epithelial tissue systems, and for in vitro drug screening.
PMCID: PMC2928330  PMID: 20486787
11.  Intracellular Signaling via ERK/MAPK Completes the Pathway for Tubulogenic Fibronectin in MDCK Cells 
A classic in vitro model of branching morphogenesis utilizes the Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell line. MDCK Strain II cells form hollow monoclonal cysts in a three-dimensional collagen matrix over the course of ten days and tubulate in response to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We and our colleagues previously showed that activation of the extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK, aka MAPK) pathway is necessary and sufficient to induce tubulogenesis in MDCK cells. We also showed in a microarray study that one of the genes upregulated by HGF was the known tubulogene fibronectin. Given that HGF activates a multitude of signaling pathways, including ERK/MAPK, to test the intracellular regulatory pathway, we used two distinct inhibitors of ERK activation (U0126 and PD098059). Following induction of MDCK Type II cells with HGF, tubulogenic fibronectin mRNA was upregulated 4-fold by real time PCR, and minimal or no change in fibronectin expression was seen when HGF was added with either U0126 or PD098059. We confirmed these results using an MDCK cell line inducible for Raf, which is upstream of ERK. Following activation of Raf, fibronectin mRNA and protein expression were increased to a similar degree as was seen following HGF induction. Furthermore, MDCK Strain I cells, which originate from collecting ducts and have constitutively active ERK, spontaneously initiate tubulogenesis. We show here that MDCK Strain I cells have high levels of fibronectin mRNA and protein compared to MDCK Strain II cells. When U0126 and PD098059 were added to MDCK Strain I cells, fibronectin mRNA and protein levels were decreased to levels seen in MDCK Strain II cells. These data allow us to complete what we believe is the first description of a tubulogenic pathway from receptor/ligand (HGF/CMET), through an intracellular signaling pathway (ERK/MAPK), to transcription and, finally, secretion of a critical tubuloprotein (fibronectin).
PMCID: PMC1839983  PMID: 17196167
ERK; MDCK; Tubulogenesis; Fibronectin
12.  Pivotal Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase 13 in Extracellular Matrix Turnover in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73279.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM).
We investigated the regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs) in lung fibrosis.
MMP and TIMP expression, collagenolytic activity and collagen content was assessed in IPF (n=16) versus donor (n=6) lung homogenates and accomplished by in-situ-zymography for gelatinolytic and collagenolytic activities, combined with MMP antigen detection. Role of MMP13 was assessed employing the bleomycin model of lung fibrosis in MMP-13-/- versus wild-type mice.
Measurements and Main Results
In IPF, MMPs-1, 2, 7, 9 and 13, but not MMP-8, were significantly upregulated, whereas none of the TIMPs (1–4) were significantly altered. Collagen content was slightly increased and collagenolytic activity was most prominent in the airways and co-localized with MMP-13. We observed an exaggerated early inflammatory response and an augmented lung fibrosis in bleomycin-challenged MMP-13-/- versus wild-type mice, with elevated lung collagen content 28d after bleomycin challenge in the MMP-13-/- mice.
Our data suggest that i) collagen deposition in IPF lungs is not primarily due to excessive TIMP production, but rather due to overwhelming ECM production in face of an overall increased, but spatially imbalanced collagenolytic activity, ii) preferential distribution of collagenolytic activity, largely MMP-13, in the airways offers an explanation for the development of honeycomb cysts and iii) despite an overall increase in inflammatory cell content the presence of MMP-13 seems to limit the overall extent of ECM deposition in lung fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3759404  PMID: 24023851
13.  Essential Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Interleukin-1-induced Myofibroblastic Activation of Hepatic Stellate Cell in Collagen* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2003;279(6):4820-4828.
Located within the perisinusoidal space and surrounded by extracellular matrix, hepatic stellate cells (HSC) undergo phenotypic trans-differentiation called “myofibroblastic activation” in liver fibrogenesis. This study investigated the regulation of interleukin-1 (IL-1α) on expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) by HSC grown in three-dimensional extracellular matrix and the role of MMPs in HSC activation. To recapitulate the in vivo “quiescent” state of HSC, the isolated rat HSC were grown in three-dimensional Matrigel or type I collagen. Stimulation with IL-1αcaused robust induction of pro-MMP-9 (the precursor of matrix metalloproteinase-9) when HSC were cultured in these matrices. IL-1α induced a conversion of the pro-MMP-9 to the active form only when the cells were in type I collagen. In collagen lattices, IL-1α provoked activation of HSC with induction of MMP-13, MMP-3, and breakdown of the matrix. The HSC activation was completely prevented by a treatment of the cells with tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 or deprivation of MMP-9. Once fully activated, HSC failed to express MMP-9 and showed attenuated induction of MMP-13 and MMP-3. Further, we demonstrated colocalization of α-smooth muscle actin and MMP-9 in a subpopulation of HSC in human fibrotic liver tissues. Thus, this study provides a novel model to enlighten the role of MMPs, particularly that of MMP-9, in HSC activation regulated by a specific cytokine in liver fibrogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2430939  PMID: 14617627
14.  Filamin A–β1 Integrin Complex Tunes Epithelial Cell Response to Matrix Tension 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(14):3224-3238.
The physical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulate the behavior of several cell types; yet, mechanisms by which cells recognize and respond to changes in these properties are not clear. For example, breast epithelial cells undergo ductal morphogenesis only when cultured in a compliant collagen matrix, but not when the tension of the matrix is increased by loading collagen gels or by increasing collagen density. We report that the actin-binding protein filamin A (FLNa) is necessary for cells to contract collagen gels, and pull on collagen fibrils, which leads to collagen remodeling and morphogenesis in compliant, low-density gels. In stiffer, high-density gels, cells are not able to contract and remodel the matrix, and morphogenesis does not occur. However, increased FLNa-β1 integrin interactions rescue gel contraction and remodeling in high-density gels, resulting in branching morphogenesis. These results suggest morphogenesis can be “tuned” by the balance between cell-generated contractility and opposing matrix stiffness. Our findings support a role for FLNa-β1 integrin as a mechanosensitive complex that bidirectionally senses the tension of the matrix and, in turn, regulates cellular contractility and response to this matrix tension.
PMCID: PMC2710838  PMID: 19458194
15.  Collagen regulation of let-7 in pancreatic cancer involves TGF-β1-mediated membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase expression 
Oncogene  2010;30(8):1002-1008.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with a pronounced collagen-rich fibrosis known as desmoplastic reaction; however the role of fibrosis in PDAC is poorly understood. In this report we show that collagen can regulate the tumor suppressive let-7 family of microRNAs in pancreatic cancer cells. PDAC cells growing in 3D collagen gels repress mature let-7 without affecting the precursor form of let-7 in part via increased expression of membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP, MMP-14) and ERK1/2 activation. PDAC cells in collagen also demonstrate increased TGF-β1 signaling, and blocking TGF-β1 signaling attenuated collagen-induced MT1-MMP expression, ERK1/2 activation, and repression of let-7 levels. Although MT1-MMP overexpression was not sufficient to inhibit let-7 on 2D tissue culture plastic, overexpression of MT1-MMP in PDAC cells embedded in 3D collagen gels or grown in vivo repressed let-7 levels. Importantly, MT1-MMP expression significantly correlated with decreased levels of let-7 in human PDAC tumor specimens. Overall, our study emphasizes the interplay between the key proteinase MT1-MMP and its substrate type I collagen in modulating microRNA expression, and identifies an additional mechanism by which fibrosis may contribute to PDAC progression.
PMCID: PMC3172057  PMID: 21057545
TGF-β1; collagen; ERK1/2; MT1-MMP; let-7; fibrosis
16.  The polycystin-1 C-terminal fragment triggers branching morphogenesis and migration of tubular kidney epithelial cells 
Mutations of either PKD1 or PKD2 cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a syndrome characterized by extensive formation of renal cysts and progressive renal failure. Homozygous deletion of Pkd1 or Pkd2, the genes encoding polycystin-1 and polycystin-2, disrupt normal renal tubular differentiation in mice but do not affect the early steps of renal development. Here, we show that expression of the C-terminal 112 amino acids of human polycystin-1 triggers branching morphogenesis and migration of inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells, and support in vitro tubule formation. The integrity of the polycystin-2–binding region is necessary but not sufficient to induce branching of IMCD cells. The C-terminal domain of polycystin-1 stimulated protein kinase C-α (PKC-α), but not the extracellular signal–regulated kinases ERK1 or ERK2. Accordingly, inhibition of PKC, but not ERK, prevented polycystin-1–mediated IMCD cell morphogenesis. In contrast, HGF-mediated morphogenesis required ERK activation but was not dependent on PKC. Our findings demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of polycystin-1, acting in a ligand-independent fashion, triggers unique signaling pathways for morphogenesis, and likely plays a central role in polycystin-1 function.
PMCID: PMC150870  PMID: 11854320
17.  Airway Epithelial Cell Migration Dynamics 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;146(2):517-529.
Cell spreading and migration associated with the expression of the 92-kD gelatinase (matrix metalloproteinase 9 or MMP-9) are important mechanisms involved in the repair of the respiratory epithelium. We investigated the location of MMP-9 and its potential role in migrating human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC). In vivo and in vitro, MMP-9 accumulated in migrating HBEC located at the leading edge of a wound and MMP-9 expression paralleled cell migration speed. MMP-9 accumulated through an actin-dependent pathway in the advancing lamellipodia of migrating cells and was subsequently found active in the extracellular matrix (ECM). Lamellipodia became anchored through primordial contacts established with type IV collagen. MMP-9 became amassed behind collagen IV where there were fewer cell–ECM contacts. Both collagen IV and MMP-9 were involved in cell migration because when cell–collagen IV interaction was blocked, cells spread slightly but did not migrate; and when MMP-9 activation was prevented, cells remained fixed on primordial contacts and did not advance at all. These observations suggest that MMP-9 controls the migration of repairing HBEC by remodeling the provisional ECM implicated in primordial contacts.
PMCID: PMC3206576  PMID: 10427102
cell migration; gelatinase; matrix metalloproteinase; bronchial epithelium; wound repair
18.  Calpain-1 Regulation of Matrix Metalloprotease 2 Activity in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Facilitates age-associated aortic wall Calcification and Fibrosis 
Hypertension  2012;60(5):1192-1199.
Age-associated central arterial wall stiffness is linked to extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, including fibrosis and vascular calcification. Angiotensin II induces both matrix metalloproteinase type 2 (MMP2) and calpain-1 expression and activity in the arterial wall. But the role of calpain-1 in MMP2 activation and ECM remodeling remains unknown. Dual histo-immunolabeling demonstrates co-localization of calpain-1 and MMP2 within old rat vascular smooth muscle cells. Over-expression of calpain-1 induces MMP2 transcripts, protein levels and activity, in part, by increasing the ratio of membrane-type 1 MMPs to tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2. These effects of calpain-1 over-expression-induced MMP2 activation are linked to increased collagen I and III production and vascular calcification. In addition, over-expression of calpain-1 also induces transforming growth factor-β1/Smad signaling, elastin degradation, alkaline phosphatase activation and total calcium content, but reduces the expression of calcification inhibitors, osteopontin and osteonectin, in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro and in carotid artery rings ex vivo. Furthermore, both calpain-1 and collagen II increase with aging within human aortic intima. Interestingly, in aged human aortic wall, both calpain-1 and collagen II are highly expressed in arteriosclerotic plaque areas compared to grossly normal areas. Cross-talk of two proteases, calpain-1 and MMP2, leads to secretion of active MMP2, which modulates ECM remodeling via enhancing collagen production and facilitating vascular calcification. These results establish calpain-1 as a novel molecular candidate to retard age-associated ECM remodeling and its attendant risk for hypertension and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3487400  PMID: 23006733
calpain-1; matrix metalloproteinase type 2; vascular calcification; fibrosis; aging
19.  Systems biology approach to identify transcriptome reprogramming and candidate microRNA targets during the progression of polycystic kidney disease 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:56.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is characterized by cyst formation throughout the kidney parenchyma. It is caused by mutations in either of two genes, PKD1 and PKD2. Mice that lack functional Pkd1 (Pkd1-/-), develop rapidly progressive cystic disease during embryogenesis, and serve as a model to study human ADPKD. Genome wide transcriptome reprogramming and the possible roles of micro-RNAs (miRNAs) that affect the initiation and progression of cyst formation in the Pkd1-/- have yet to be studied. miRNAs are small, regulatory non-coding RNAs, implicated in a wide spectrum of biological processes. Their expression levels are altered in several diseases including kidney cancer, diabetic nephropathy and PKD.
We examined the molecular pathways that modulate renal cyst formation and growth in the Pkd1-/- model by performing global gene-expression profiling in embryonic kidneys at days 14.5 and 17.5. Gene Ontology and gene set enrichment analysis were used to identify overrepresented signaling pathways in Pkd1-/- kidneys. We found dysregulation of developmental, metabolic, and signaling pathways (e.g. Wnt, calcium, TGF-β and MAPK) in Pkd1-/- kidneys. Using a comparative transcriptomics approach, we determined similarities and differences with human ADPKD: ~50% overlap at the pathway level among the mis-regulated pathways was observed. By using computational approaches (TargetScan, miRanda, microT and miRDB), we then predicted miRNAs that were suggested to target the differentially expressed mRNAs. Differential expressions of 9 candidate miRNAs, miRs-10a, -30a-5p, -96, -126-5p, -182, -200a, -204, -429 and -488, and 16 genes were confirmed by qPCR. In addition, 14 candidate miRNA:mRNA reciprocal interactions were predicted. Several of the highly regulated genes and pathways were predicted as targets of miRNAs.
We have described global transcriptional reprogramming during the progression of PKD in the Pkd1-/- model. We propose a model for the cascade of signaling events involved in cyst formation and growth. Our results suggest that several miRNAs may be involved in regulating signaling pathways in ADPKD. We further describe novel putative miRNA:mRNA signatures in ADPKD, which will provide additional insights into the pathogenesis of this common genetic disease in humans.
PMCID: PMC3111376  PMID: 21518438
20.  Activation of Trpv4 reduces the hyperproliferative phenotype of cystic cholangiocytes from an animal model of ARPKD 
Gastroenterology  2010;139(1):304-314.e2.
Background & Aims
In polycystic liver diseases, cyst formation involves cholangiocyte hyperproliferation. In PCK rats, an animal model of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD), decreased [Ca2+]i in cholangiocytes is associated with hyperproliferation. We recently showed Trpv4, a calcium-entry channel, is expressed in normal cholangiocytes and its activation leads to [Ca2+]i increase. Thus, we hypothesized that pharmacological activation of Trpv4 might reverse the hyperproliferative phenotype of PCK cholangiocytes.
Trpv4 expression was examined in liver of normal and PCK rats, normal humans, and patients with autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) or ARPKD. Trpv4 activation effect on cell proliferation and cyst formation was assessed in cholangiocytes derived from normal and PCK rats. The in vivo effects of Trpv4 activation on kidney and liver cysts was analyzed in PCK rats.
Trpv4 was overexpressed both at mRNA (8-fold), and protein (3-fold) levels in PCK-cholangiocytes. Confocal and immunogold electron-microscopy supported Trpv4 overexpression in the livers of PCK rats and ARPKD or ADPKD patients. Trpv4 activation in PCK cholangiocytes increased [Ca2+]i by 30% inhibiting cell proliferation by ~25-50% and cyst growth in 3-D-culture (3-fold). Trpv4-siRNA-silencing blocked effects of Trpv4 activators by 70%. Trpv4 activation was associated with Akt phosphorylation and β-Raf and Erk1/2 inhibition. In vivo, Trpv4 activation induced a significant decrease in renal cystic area and a non significant decrease in liver cysts.
Taken together, our in vitro and in vivo data, suggest that increasing intracellular calcium by Trpv4 activation may represent a potential therapeutic approach in PKD.
PMCID: PMC2902576  PMID: 20399209
calcium; PKD; cholangiocytes; Trpv4
21.  Insulin-like growth factor-1 induces hyperproliferation of PKD1 cystic cells via a Ras/Raf dependent signalling pathway 
Kidney international  2007;72(2):157-165.
Tubular cell proliferation occurs early and precedes cyst formation in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). To identify key alterations in cell signalling which regulate cell proliferation in ADPKD, we examined the potential role of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mediated signalling pathways. Conditionally immortalised tubular epithelial cells were generated from ADPKD patients with characterised germline PKD1 mutations and normal individuals. Germline and somatic PKD1 (but not PKD2) mutations were identified in PKD1 cystic cells by DHPLC. All lines showed a reduction or absence of polycystin-1 but normal polycystin-2 expression. Polycystin-1 deficiency was associated with increased sensitivity to IGF-1 as well as a permissive effect of cAMP on cell growth. The increase in cell proliferation to both agents was dependent on PI3 kinase and ERK activity. Inhibition of Ras or Raf activity also abolished stimulated cell proliferation. Ras activation assays revealed significantly higher IGF-1 stimulated levels of GTP-Ras in cystic cells compared to control cells but cAMP alone had no effect on GTP-Ras levels. These results suggest that haploinsufficiency of PC1 may lower the threshold for activation of a Ras-Raf mediated signalling cascade leading to growth-factor induced hyperproliferation. Inhibition of Ras or Raf activation could be a useful therapeutic approach to reducing tubular cell proliferation in ADPKD.
PMCID: PMC2493387  PMID: 17396115
22.  Crystal Structure of an Active Form of Human MMP-1 
Journal of Molecular Biology  2006;362(1):78-88.
The extracellular matrix is a dynamic environment that constantly undergoes remodelling and degradation during vital physiological processes such as angiogenesis, wound healing, and development. Unbalanced extracellular matrix breakdown is associated with many diseases such as arthritis, cancer and fibrosis. Interstitial collagen is degraded by matrix metalloproteinases with collagenolytic activity by MMP-1, MMP-8 and MMP-13, collectively known as the collagenases. Matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) plays a pivotal role in degradation of interstitial collagen types I, II, and III. Here, we report the crystal structure of the active form of human MMP-1 at 2.67 Å resolution. This is the first MMP-1 structure that is free of inhibitor and a water molecule essential for peptide hydrolysis is observed coordinated with the active site zinc. Comparing this structure with the human proMMP-1 shows significant structural differences, mainly in the relative orientation of the hemopexin domain, between the pro form and active form of the human enzyme.
PMCID: PMC1885970  PMID: 16890240
MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; ECM, extracellular matrix; matrix metalloproteinases; fibroblast collagenase; collagen; X-ray crystallography; inhibitor-free
23.  β1-Integrin Orients Epithelial Polarity via Rac1 and LamininD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(2):433-445.
Epithelial cells polarize and orient polarity in response to cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Although there has been much recent progress in understanding the general polarizing machinery of epithelia, it is largely unclear how this machinery is controlled by the extracellular environment. To explore the signals from cell-matrix interactions that control orientation of cell polarity, we have used three-dimensional culture systems in which Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells form polarized, lumen-containing structures. We show that interaction of collagen I with apical β1-integrins after collagen overlay of a polarized MDCK monolayer induces activation of Rac1, which is required for collagen overlay-induced tubulocyst formation. Cysts, comprised of a monolayer enclosing a central lumen, form after embedding single cells in collagen. In those cultures, addition of a β1-integrin function-blocking antibody to the collagen matrix gives rise to cysts that have defects in the organization of laminin into the basement membrane and have inverted polarity. Normal polarity is restored by either expression of activated Rac1, or the inclusion of excess laminin-1 (LN-1). Together, our results suggest a signaling pathway in which the activation of β1-integrins orients the apical pole of polarized cysts via a mechanism that requires Rac1 activation and laminin organization into the basement membrane.
PMCID: PMC545874  PMID: 15574881
24.  The fate of bone marrow-derived cells carrying a polycystic kidney disease mutation in the genetically normal kidney 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:91.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a genetic condition in which dedifferentiated and highly proliferative epithelial cells form renal cysts and is frequently treated by renal transplantation. Studies have reported that bone marrow-derived cells give rise to renal epithelial cells, particularly following renal injury as often occurs during transplantation. This raises the possibility that bone marrow-derived cells from a PKD-afflicted recipient could populate a transplanted kidney and express a disease phenotype. However, for reasons that are not clear the reoccurrence of PKD has not been reported in a genetically normal renal graft. We used a mouse model to examine whether PKD mutant bone marrow-derived cells are capable of expressing a disease phenotype in the kidney.
Wild type female mice were transplanted with bone marrow from male mice homozygous for a PKD-causing mutation and subjected to renal injury. Y chromosome positive, bone marrow-derived cells in the kidney were assessed for epithelial markers.
Mutant bone marrow-derived cells were present in the kidney. Some mutant cells were within the bounds of the tubule or duct, but none demonstrated convincing evidence of an epithelial phenotype.
Bone marrow-derived cells appear incapable of giving rise to genuine epithelial cells and this is the most likely reason cysts do not reoccur in kidneys transplanted into PKD patients.
PMCID: PMC3502565  PMID: 22931547
Bone marrow-derived epithelial cells; Cyst; Hematopoietic stem cells; Polycystic kidney disease; Proliferation; Renal injury
25.  Steviol Reduces MDCK Cyst Formation and Growth by Inhibiting CFTR Channel Activity and Promoting Proteasome-Mediated CFTR Degradation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58871.
Cyst enlargement in polycystic kidney disease (PKD) involves cAMP-activated proliferation of cyst-lining epithelial cells and transepithelial fluid secretion into the cyst lumen via cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel. This study aimed to investigate an inhibitory effect and detailed mechanisms of steviol and its derivatives on cyst growth using a cyst model in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Among 4 steviol-related compounds tested, steviol was found to be the most potent at inhibiting MDCK cyst growth. Steviol inhibition of cyst growth was dose-dependent; steviol (100 microM) reversibly inhibited cyst formation and cyst growth by 72.53.6% and 38.2±8.5%, respectively. Steviol at doses up to 200 microM had no effect on MDCK cell viability, proliferation and apoptosis. However, steviol acutely inhibited forskolin-stimulated apical chloride current in MDCK epithelia, measured with the Ussing chamber technique, in a dose-dependent manner. Prolonged treatment (24 h) with steviol (100 microM) also strongly inhibited forskolin-stimulated apical chloride current, in part by reducing CFTR protein expression in MDCK cells. Interestingly, proteasome inhibitor, MG-132, abolished the effect of steviol on CFTR protein expression. Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that prolonged treatment (24 h) with steviol (100 microM) markedly reduced CFTR expression at the plasma membrane. Taken together, the data suggest that steviol retards MDCK cyst progression in two ways: first by directly inhibiting CFTR chloride channel activity and second by reducing CFTR expression, in part, by promoting proteasomal degradation of CFTR. Steviol and related compounds therefore represent drug candidates for treatment of polycystic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3594167  PMID: 23536832

Results 1-25 (981712)