Microglial neuroinflammation is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The purpose of this study was to provide a histopathological evaluation of the microglial neuroinflammatory response in a rodent model of ALS, the SOD1G93A transgenic rat.
Multiple levels of the CNS from spinal cord to cerebral cortex were studied in SOD1G93A transgenic rats during three stages of natural disease progression, including presymptomatic, early symptomatic (onset), and late symptomatic (end stage), using immuno- and lectin histochemical markers for microglia, such as OX-42, OX-6, and Griffonia simplicifolia isolectin B4.
Our studies revealed abnormal aggregates of microglia forming in the spinal cord as early as the presymptomatic stage. During the symptomatic stages there was prominent formation of multinucleated giant cells through fusion of microglial cells in the spinal cord, brainstem, and red nucleus of the midbrain. Other brain regions, including substantia nigra, cranial nerve nuclei, hippocampus and cortex showed normal appearing microglia. In animals during end stage disease at 4–5 months of age virtually all microglia in the spinal cord gray matter showed extensive fragmentation of their cytoplasm (cytorrhexis), indicative of widespread microglial degeneration. Few microglia exhibiting nuclear fragmentation (karyorrhexis) indicative of apoptosis were identified at any stage.
The current findings demonstrate the occurrence of severe abnormalities in microglia, such as cell fusions and cytorrhexis, which may be the result of expression of mutant SOD1 in these cells. The microglial changes observed are different from those that accompany normal microglial activation, and they demonstrate that aberrant activation and degeneration of microglia is part of the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease.
Keratinocytes undergo apoptosis in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. Galectin-3 is a member of a family of β-galactoside-binding animal lectins expressed abundantly in keratinocytes and other epithelial cells. Here we have studied the regulatory role of galectin-3 in keratinocyte apoptosis by using cells from gene-targeted galectin-3 null (gal3−/−) mice. We showed that galectin-3 mRNA was transiently upregulated in ultraviolet-B (UVB)-irradiated wild-type keratinocytes. We found that gal3−/− keratinocytes were significantly more sensitive to apoptosis induced by UVB as well as various other stimuli, both in vitro and in vivo, than wild-type cells. Moreover, we demonstrated that increased apoptosis in gal3−/− keratinocytes was attributable to higher extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation and lower AKT activation after UVB irradiation. We conclude that endogenous galectin-3 is an anti-apoptotic molecule in keratinocytes functioning by suppressing ERK activation and enhancing AKT activation and may play a role in the development of apoptosis-related skin diseases.
Galectins are a family of β-galactoside-binding lectins that exert diverse extracellular and intracellular effects. Galectin-7 and galectin-1 show opposing effects on proliferation and survival in different cell types. Galectin-7 is a p53-induced gene and an enhancer of apoptosis, whereas galectin-1 induces tumorigenicity and resistance to apoptosis in several types of cancers. We show here that in cells derived from neurofibromin-deficient (Nf1−/−) malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), Ras inhibition by S-trans,trans-farnesylthiosalicylic-acid (FTS; Salirasib) shifts the pattern of galectin expression. Whereas FTS decreased levels of both active Ras and galectin-1 expression, it dramatically increased both the mRNA and protein expression levels of galectin-7. Galectin-7 accumulation was mediated through JNK inhibition presumably resulting from the observed induction of p53, and was negatively regulated by the AP-1 inhibitor JDP2. Expression of galectin-7 by itself decreased Ras activation in ST88-14 cells and rendered them sensitive to apoptosis. This observed shift in galectin expression pattern together with the accompanying shift from cell proliferation to apoptosis represents a novel pattern of Ras inhibition by FTS. This seems likely to be an important phenomenon in view of the fact that both enhanced cell proliferation and defects of apoptosis constitute major hallmarks of human cancers and play a central role in the resistance of MPNSTs to anti-cancer treatments. These findings suggest that FTS, alone or in combination with chemotherapy agents, may be worth developing as a possible treatment for MPNSTs.
apoptosis; c-jun; farnesylthiosalicylic acid; FTS; galectin-1; galectin -7; JDP2; NF1; p53; Ras; Salirasib
Mutations in SOD1 cause hereditary variants of the fatal motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Pathophysiology of the disease is non-cell-autonomous, with toxicity deriving also from glia. In particular, microglia contribute to disease progression. Methylene blue (MB) inhibits the effect of nitric oxide, which mediates microglial responses to injury. In vivo 2P-LSM imaging was performed in ALS-linked transgenic SOD1G93A mice to investigate the effect of MB on microglia-mediated inflammation in the spinal cord. Local superfusion of the lateral spinal cord with MB inhibited the microglial reaction directed at a laser-induced axon transection in control and SOD1G93A mice. In vitro, MB at high concentrations inhibited cytokine and chemokine release from microglia of control and advanced clinical SOD1G93A mice. Systemic MB-treatment of SOD1G93A mice at early preclinical stages significantly delayed disease onset and motor dysfunction. However, an increase of MB dose had no additional effect on disease progression; this was unexpected in view of the local anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, in vivo imaging of systemically MB-treated mice also showed no alterations of microglia activity in response to local lesions. Thus although systemic MB treatment had no effect on microgliosis, instead, its use revealed an important influence on motor neuron survival as indicated by an increased number of lumbar anterior horn neurons present at the time of disease onset. Thus, potentially beneficial effects of locally applied MB on inflammatory events contributing to disease progression could not be reproduced in SOD1G93A mice via systemic administration, whereas systemic MB application delayed disease onset via neuroprotection.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by progressive degeneration of motoneurons. One potential mechanism is excitotoxicity. We studied the behaviors of spinal neurons using an in vitro preparation of the sacral cord from the G93A SOD1 mouse model of ALS. Measurements were conducted at presymptomatic [approximately postnatal day 50 (~P50)], early (~P90), and late (>P120) stages of the disease. Short-latency reflexes (SRs) in ventral roots, presumably monosynaptic, were evoked by electrical stimulation of a dorsal root. The fraction of motoneurons capable of responding to this activation was evaluated by measuring the compound action potential [total motor activity (TMA)] evoked by antidromic stimulation of the distal ventral root. In mutant SOD1 (mSOD1) mice, both the SR and the TMA decreased with age compared with nontransgenic littermates, ruling out the SR as a source of increasing excitotoxicity. Spinal interneuron activity was assessed using the synchronized ventral root bursts generated by both bath application of blockers of inhibitory neurotransmitters (glycine, GABAA ) and agonists of glutamate receptors (especially NMDA receptors). After symptom onset, a higher percentage of preparations from mSOD1 mice exhibited bursting, and these bursts exhibited more sub-bursts and a more disorganized pattern. In mSOD1 mice with clear muscle tremor, the ventral roots exhibited spontaneous synchronized bursts, which were highly sensitive to the blockade of NMDA receptors. These data suggest that although short-latency sensory input does not increase as symptoms develop, interneuron activity does increase and may contribute to excitotoxicity.
Galectins control critical pathophysiological processes, including the progression and resolution of central nervous system (CNS) inflammation. In spite of considerable progress in dissecting their role within lymphoid organs, their functions within the inflamed CNS remain elusive. Here, we investigated the role of galectin–glycan interactions in the control of oligodendrocyte (OLG) differentiation, myelin integrity and function. Both galectin-1 and -3 were abundant in astrocytes and microglia. Although galectin-1 was abundant in immature but not in differentiated OLGs, galectin-3 was upregulated during OLG differentiation. Biochemical analysis revealed increased activity of metalloproteinases responsible for cleaving galectin-3 during OLG differentiation and modulating its biological activity. Exposure to galectin-3 promoted OLG differentiation in a dose- and carbohydrate-dependent fashion consistent with the ‘glycosylation signature' of immature versus differentiated OLG. Accordingly, conditioned media from galectin-3-expressing, but not galectin-3-deficient (Lgals3−/−) microglia, successfully promoted OLG differentiation. Supporting these findings, morphometric analysis showed a significant decrease in the frequency of myelinated axons, myelin turns (lamellae) and g-ratio in the corpus callosum and striatum of Lgals3−/− compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Moreover, the myelin structure was loosely wrapped around the axons and less smooth in Lgals3−/− mice versus WT mice. Behavior analysis revealed decreased anxiety in Lgals3−/− mice similar to that observed during early demyelination induced by cuprizone intoxication. Finally, commitment toward the oligodendroglial fate was favored in neurospheres isolated from WT but not Lgals3−/− mice. Hence, glial-derived galectin-3, but not galectin-1, promotes OLG differentiation, thus contributing to myelin integrity and function with critical implications in the recovery of inflammatory demyelinating disorders.
galectins; galectin-3; oligodendrocyte; differentiation; myelination
Sporadic and familiar amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases presented lower cholinergic activity than in healthy individuals in their still preserved spinal motoneurons (MNs) suggesting that cholinergic reduction might occur before MN death. To unravel how and when cholinergic function is compromised, we have analyzed the spatiotemporal expression of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) from early presymptomatic stages of the SOD1G93A ALS mouse model by confocal immunohistochemistry. The analysis showed an early reduction in ChAT content in soma and presynaptic boutons apposed onto MNs (to 76%) as well as in cholinergic interneurons in the lumbar spinal cord of the 30-day-old SOD1G93A mice. Cholinergic synaptic stripping occurred simultaneously to the presence of abundant surrounding major histocompatibility complex II (MHC-II)-positive microglia and the accumulation of nuclear Tdp-43 and the appearance of mild oxidative stress within MNs. Besides, there was a loss of neuronal MHC-I expression, which is necessary for balanced synaptic stripping after axotomy. These events occurred before the selective raise of markers of denervation such as ATF3. By the same time, alterations in postsynaptic cholinergic-related structures were also revealed with a loss of the presence of sigma-1 receptor, a Ca2+ buffering chaperone in the postsynaptic cisternae. By 2 months of age, ChAT seemed to accumulate in the soma of MNs, and thus efferences toward Renshaw interneurons were drastically diminished. In conclusion, cholinergic dysfunction in the local circuitry of the spinal cord may be one of the earliest events in ALS etiopathogenesis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ChAT; MHC-I; motoneuron; presynaptic boutons; Tdp-43
Mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are causative for inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A proportion of SOD1 mutant protein is misfolded onto the cytoplasmic face of mitochondria in one or more spinal cord cell types. By construction of mice in which mitochondrially targeted enhanced green fluorescent protein is selectively expressed in motor neurons, we demonstrate that axonal mitochondria of motor neurons are primary in vivo targets for misfolded SOD1. Mutant SOD1 alters axonal mitochondrial morphology and distribution, with dismutase active SOD1 causing mitochondrial clustering at the proximal side of Schmidt-Lanterman incisures within motor axons and dismutase inactive SOD1 producing aberrantly elongated axonal mitochondria beginning pre-symptomatically and increasing in severity as disease progresses. Somal mitochondria are altered by mutant SOD1, with loss of the characteristic cylindrical, networked morphology and its replacement by a less elongated, more spherical shape. These data indicate that mutant SOD1 binding to mitochondria disrupts normal mitochondrial distribution and size homeostasis as early pathogenic features of SOD1 mutant-mediated ALS.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly recognized as a condition in which excess fat accumulates in hepatocytes. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of NAFLD in which inflammation and fibrosis in the liver are noted, may eventually progress to end-stage liver disease. Galectin-3, a β-galactoside-binding animal lectin, is a multifunctional protein. This protein is involved in inflammatory responses and carcinogenesis. We investigated whether galectin-3 is involved in the development of NASH by comparing galectin-3 knockout (gal3−/−) mice and wild-type (gal3+/+) mice with choline-deficient L-amino-acid-defined (CDAA) diet-induced NAFLD/NASH. Hepatic injury was significantly more severe in the gal3−/− male mice, as compared to the gal3+/+ mice. Data generated by microarray analysis of gene expression suggested that galectin-3 deficiency causes alterations in the expression of various genes associated with carcinogenesis and lipid metabolism. Through canonical pathway analysis, involvement of PDGF and IL-6 signaling pathways was suggested in galectin-3 deficiency. Significant increase of CD14, Fos, and Jun, those that were related to lipopolysaccharide-mediated signaling, was candidate to promote hepatocellular damages in galectin-3 deficiency. In conclusion, galectin-3 deficiency in CDAA diet promotes NAFLD features. It may be caused by alterations in the expression profiles of various hepatic genes including lipopolysaccharide-mediated inflammation.
Proliferation of glia and immune cells is a common pathological feature of many neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, to investigate the role of proliferating cells in motor neuron disease, SOD1G93A transgenic mice were treated intracerebroventicularly (ICV) with the anti-mitotic drug cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C). ICV delivery of Ara-C accelerated disease progression in SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS. Ara-C treatment caused substantial decreases in the number of microglia, NG2+ progenitors, Olig2+ cells and CD3+ T cells in the lumbar spinal cord of symptomatic SOD1G93A transgenic mice. Exacerbation of disease was also associated with significant alterations in the expression inflammatory molecules IL-1β, IL-6, TGF-β and the growth factor IGF-1.
Granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) is protective in animal models of various neurodegenerative diseases. We investigated whether pegfilgrastim, GCSF with sustained action, is protective in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with manifestations of upper and lower motoneuron death and muscle atrophy accompanied by inflammation in the CNS and periphery.
Human mutant G93A superoxide dismutase (SOD1) ALS mice were treated with pegfilgrastim starting at the presymptomatic stage and continued until the end stage. After long-term pegfilgrastim treatment, the inflammation status was defined in the spinal cord and peripheral tissues including hematopoietic organs and muscle. The effect of GCSF on spinal cord neuron survival and microglia, bone marrow and spleen monocyte activation was assessed in vitro.
Long-term pegfilgrastim treatment prolonged mutant SOD1 mice survival and attenuated both astro- and microgliosis in the spinal cord. Pegfilgrastim in SOD1 mice modulated the inflammatory cell populations in the bone marrow and spleen and reduced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine in monocytes and microglia. The mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells into the circulation was restored back to basal level after long-term pegfilgrastim treatment in SOD1 mice while the storage of Ly6C expressing monocytes in the bone marrow and spleen remained elevated. After pegfilgrastim treatment, an increased proportion of these cells in the degenerative muscle was detected at the end stage of ALS.
GCSF attenuated inflammation in the CNS and the periphery in a mouse model of ALS and thereby delayed the progression of the disease. This mechanism of action targeting inflammation provides a new perspective of the usage of GCSF in the treatment of ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; GCSF; pegfilgrastim; inflammation; monocytes; cytokines
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by upper and lower motoneuron death. Mutations in the gene for superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) cause a familial form of ALS and have been used to develop transgenic mice which overexpress human mutant SOD1 (mSOD) and these mice exhibit a motoneuron disease which is pathologically and phenotypically similar to ALS. Neuroinflammation is a pathological hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases including ALS and is typified by the activation and proliferation of microglia and the infiltration of T cells into the brain and spinal cord. Although the neuroinflammatory response has been considered a consequence of neuronal dysfunction and death, evidence indicates that manipulation of this response can alter disease progression. Previously viewed as deleterious to neuronal survival, recent reports suggest a trophic role for activated microglia in the mSOD mouse during the early stages of disease that is dependent on instructive signals from infiltrating T cells. However, at advanced stages of disease, activated microglia acquire increased neurotoxic potential, warranting further investigation into factors capable of skewing microglial activation towards a neurotrophic phenotype as a means of therapeutic intervention in ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons. Despite substantial research, the causes of ALS remain unclear. Glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) was identified as an ALS-related factor using DNA microarray analysis with mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1G93A) mice. GPNMB was greatly induced in the spinal cords of ALS patients and a mouse model as the disease progressed. It was especially expressed in motor neurons and astrocytes. In an NSC34 cell line, glycosylation of GPNMB was inhibited by interaction with SOD1G93A, increasing motor neuron vulnerability, whereas extracellular fragments of GPNMB secreted from activated astrocytes attenuated the neurotoxicity of SOD1G93A in neural cells. Furthermore, GPNMB expression was substantial in the sera of sporadic ALS patients than that of other diseased patients. This study suggests that GPNMB can be a target for therapeutic intervention for suppressing motor neuron degeneration in ALS.
Interaction of transmembrane mucins with the multivalent carbohydrate-binding protein galectin-3 is critical to maintaining the integrity of the ocular surface epithelial glycocalyx. This study aimed to determine whether disruption of galectin-3 multimerization and insertion of synthetic glycopolymers in the plasma membrane could be used to modulate glycocalyx barrier function in corneal epithelial cells.
Abrogation of galectin-3 biosynthesis in multilayered cultures of human corneal epithelial cells using siRNA, and in galectin-3 null mice, resulted in significant loss of corneal barrier function, as indicated by increased permeability to the rose bengal diagnostic dye. Addition of β-lactose, a competitive carbohydrate inhibitor of galectin-3 binding activity, to the cell culture system, transiently disrupted barrier function. In these experiments, treatment with a dominant negative inhibitor of galectin-3 polymerization lacking the N-terminal domain, but not full-length galectin-3, prevented the recovery of barrier function to basal levels. As determined by fluorescence microscopy, both cellobiose- and lactose-containing glycopolymers incorporated into apical membranes of corneal epithelial cells, independently of the chain length distribution of the densely glycosylated, polymeric backbones. Membrane incorporation of cellobiose glycopolymers impaired barrier function in corneal epithelial cells, contrary to their lactose-containing counterparts, which bound to galectin-3 in pull-down assays.
These results indicate that galectin-3 multimerization and surface recognition of lactosyl residues is required to maintain glycocalyx barrier function at the ocular surface. Transient modification of galectin-3 binding could be therapeutically used to enhance the efficiency of topical drug delivery.
In mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1)-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), accumulation of misfolded mutant SOD1 in spinal cord mitochondria is thought to cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Whether mutant SOD1 is toxic per se or whether it damages the mitochondria through interactions with other mitochondrial proteins is not known. We previously identified Bcl-2 as an interacting partner of mutant SOD1 specifically in spinal cord, but not in liver, mitochondria of SOD1 mice and patients. We now show that mutant SOD1 toxicity relies on this interaction. Mutant SOD1 induces mitochondrial morphological changes and compromises mitochondrial membrane integrity leading to release of Cytochrome C only in the presence of Bcl-2. In cells, mouse and human spinal cord with SOD1 mutations, the binding to mutant SOD1 triggers a conformational change in Bcl-2 that results in the uncovering of its toxic BH3 domain and conversion of Bcl-2 into a toxic protein. Bcl-2 carrying a mutagenized, non-toxic BH3 domain fails to support mutant SOD1 mitochondrial toxicity. The identification of Bcl-2 as a specific target and active partner in mutant SOD1 mitochondrial toxicity suggests new therapeutic strategies to inhibit the formation of the toxic mutant SOD1/Bcl-2 complex and to prevent mitochondrial damage in ALS.
Mutations in the enzyme superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause hereditary variants
of the fatal motor neuronal disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Pathophysiology of the disease is non-cell-autonomous: neurotoxicity is derived
not only from mutant motor neurons but also from mutant neighbouring
non-neuronal cells. In vivo imaging by two-photon
laser-scanning microscopy was used to compare the role of
microglia/macrophage-related neuroinflammation in the CNS and PNS using
ALS-linked transgenic SOD1G93A mice. These mice contained labeled
projection neurons and labeled microglia/macrophages. In the affected lateral
spinal cord (in contrast to non-affected dorsal columns), different phases of
microglia-mediated inflammation were observed: highly reactive microglial cells
in preclinical stages (in 60-day-old mice the reaction to axonal transection was
∼180% of control) and morphologically transformed microglia that have
lost their function of tissue surveillance and injury-directed response in
clinical stages (reaction to axonal transection was lower than 50% of
control). Furthermore, unlike CNS microglia, macrophages of the PNS lack any
substantial morphological reaction while preclinical degeneration of peripheral
motor axons and neuromuscular junctions was observed. We present in
vivo evidence for a different inflammatory activity of microglia
and macrophages: an aberrant neuroinflammatory response of microglia in the CNS
and an apparently mainly neurodegenerative process in the PNS.
Accumulating evidence indicates that RNA oxidation is involved in a wide variety of neurological diseases and may be associated with neuronal deterioration during the process of neurodegeneration. However, previous studies were done in postmortem tissues or cultured neurons. Here, we used transgenic mice to demonstrate the role of RNA oxidation in the process of neurodegeneration.
We demonstrated that messenger RNA (mRNA) oxidation is a common feature in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients as well as in many different transgenic mice expressing familial ALS-linked mutant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1). In mutant SOD1 mice, increased mRNA oxidation primarily occurs in the motor neurons and oligodendrocytes of the spinal cord at an early, pre-symptomatic stage. Identification of oxidized mRNA species revealed that some species are more vulnerable to oxidative damage, and importantly, many oxidized mRNA species have been implicated in the pathogenesis of ALS. Oxidative modification of mRNA causes reduced protein expression. Reduced mRNA oxidation by vitamin E restores protein expression and partially protects motor neurons.
These findings suggest that mRNA oxidation is an early event associated with motor neuron deterioration in ALS, and may be also a common early event preceding neuron degeneration in other neurological diseases.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective death of motor neurons. While the most common form of ALS is sporadic and has no known cause, a small subset of cases is familial because of underlying genetic mutations. The best-studies example of familial ALS is that caused by mutations in the protein copper–zinc superoxide dismutase. The formation of SOD1-rich inclusions in the spinal cord is an early and prominent feature of SOD1-linked familial ALS in human patients and animal models of this disease. These inclusions have been shown to consist of SOD1-rich fibrils, suggesting that the conversion of soluble SOD1 into amyloid fibrils may play an important role in the etiology of familial ALS. SOD1 is also present in inclusions found in spinal cords of sporadic ALS patients, allowing speculations to arise regarding a possible involvement of SOD1 in the sporadic form of this disease. We here review the recent research on the significance, causes, and mechanisms of SOD1 fibril formation from a biophysical perspective. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 1603–1614.
Galectin-12, a member of the galectin family of animal lectins, is preferentially expressed in adipocytes. We recently reported that this galectin is localized on lipid droplets, specialized organelles for fat storage. Galectin-12 regulates lipid degradation (lipolysis) by modulating lipolytic protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. Mice deficient in galectin-12 exhibit enhanced adipocyte lipolysis, increased mitochondria respiration, reduced adiposity and ameliorated insulin resistance associated with weight gain. The results suggest that galectin-12 may be a useful target for treatment of obesity-related metabolic conditions, such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Most previously described galectins largely reside in the cytosol, although they can also be induced to become associated with membrane-containing structures. Along with an in-depth characterization of galectin-12, this mini-review comments on this first report of a galectin normally localized specifically in an organelle that performs an important intracellular function. Further studies will help shed light on how this protein regulates cellular homeostasis, especially energy homeostasis, and provide additional insight into the intracellular functions of galectins.
adipocyte; adipose tissue; galectin; galectin-12; insulin sensitivity; lipid metabolism; lipolysis
Background and Purpose
Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is a major component of Lewy body-like hyaline inclusion (LBHI) found in the postmortem tissue of SOD1-linked familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) patients. In our recent studies, 14-3-3 proteins have been found in the ubiquitinated inclusions inside the anterior horn cells of spinal cords with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To further investigate the role of 14-3-3 proteins in ALS, we performed immunohistochemical analysis of 14-3-3 proteins and compared their distributions with those of SOD1 in FALS patients and SOD1-overexpressing mice.
We examined the postmortem brains and the spinal cords of three FALS cases (A4V SOD1 mutant). Transgenic mice expressing the G93A mutant human SOD1 (mutant SOD1-Tg mice), transgenic mice expressing the wild-type human SOD1 (wild-type SOD1-Tg mice), and non-Tg wild-type mice were also subjected to the immunohistochemical analysis.
In all the FALS patients, LBHIs were observed in the cytoplasm of the anterior horn cells, and these inclusions were immunopositive intensely for pan 14-3-3, 14-3-3β, and 14-3-3γ. In the mutant SOD1-Tg mice, a high degree of immunoreactivity for misfolded SOD1 (C4F6) was observed in the cytoplasm, with an even greater degree of immunoreactivity present in the cytoplasmic aggregates of the anterior horn cells in the lumbar spinal cord. Furthermore, we have found increased 14-3-3β and 14-3-3γ immunoreactivities in the mutant SOD1-Tg mice. Double immunofluorescent staining showed that C4F6 and 14-3-3 proteins were partially co-localized in the spinal cord with FALS and the mutant SOD1-Tg mice. In comparison, the wild-type SOD1-Tg and non-Tg wild-type mice showed no or faint immunoreactivity for C4F6 and 14-3-3 proteins (pan 14-3-3, 14-3-3β, and 14-3-3γ) in any neuronal compartments.
These results suggest that 14-3-3 proteins may be associated with the formation of SOD1-containing inclusions, in FALS patients and the mutant SOD1-Tg mice.
Galectin-1 is a lectin recognized by galactoside-containing glycoproteins, and is involved in cancer progression and metastasis. The role of galectin-1 in radiosensitivity has not previously been investigated. Therefore, this study tests whether galectin-1 is involved in the radiosensitivity mediated by the H-Ras signaling pathway using cervical carcinoma cell lines. A knockdown of galectin-1 expression in HeLa cells decreased clonogenic survival following irradiation. The clonogenic survival increased in both HeLa and C33A cells with galectin-1 overexpression. The overexpression or knockdown of galectin-1 did not alter radiosensitivity, whereas H-Ras was silenced in both cell lines. Whereas K-Ras was knocked down, galectin-1 restored the radiosensitivity in HeLa cells and C33A cells. The knockdown of galectin-1 increased the high-dose radiation-induced cell death of HeLa cells transfected by constitutively active H-Ras. The knockdown of galectin-1 inhibited the radiation-induced phosphorylation of Raf-1 and ERK in HeLa cells. Overexpression of galectin-1 enhanced the phosphorylation of Raf-1 and ERK in C33A cells following irradiation. Galectin-1 decreased the DNA damage detected using comet assay and γ-H2AX in both cells following irradiation. These findings suggest that galectin-1 mediates radioresistance through the H-Ras-dependent pathway involved in DNA damage repair.
galectin-1; cervical cancer; radiosensitivity; radioresistance; H-Ras
Galectins are a family of beta-galactoside-binding proteins that contain characteristic amino acid sequences in the carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) of the polypeptide. The polypeptide of galectin-1 contains a single domain, the CRD. The polypeptide of galectin-3 has two domains, a carboxyl-terminal CRD fused onto a proline- and glycine-rich amino-terminal domain. In previous studies, we showed that galectin-3 is a required factor in the splicing of nuclear pre-mRNA, assayed in a cell-free system. We now document that (i) nuclear extracts derived from HeLa cells contain both galectins-1 and -3; (ii) depletion of both galectins from the nuclear extract either by lactose affinity adsorption or by double-antibody adsorption results in a concomitant loss of splicing activity; (iii) depletion of either galectin-1 or galectin-3 by specific antibody adsorption fails to remove all of the splicing activity, and the residual splicing activity is still saccharide inhibitable; (iv) either galectin-1 or galectin-3 alone is sufficient to reconstitute, at least partially, the splicing activity of nuclear extracts depleted of both galectins; and (v) although the carbohydrate recognition domain of galectin-3 (or galectin-1) is sufficient to restore splicing activity to a galectin-depleted nuclear extract, the concentration required for reconstitution is greater than that of the full-length galectin-3 polypeptide. Consistent with these functional results, double-immunofluorescence analyses show that within the nucleus, galectin-3 colocalizes with the speckled structures observed with splicing factor SC35. Similar results are also obtained with galectin-1, although in this case, there are areas of galectin-1 devoid of SC35 and vice versa. Thus, nuclear galectins exhibit functional redundancy in their splicing activity and partition, at least partially, in the nucleoplasm with another known splicing factor.
Activated protein C (APC) is a signaling protease with anticoagulant activity. Here, we have used mice expressing a mutation in superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) that is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to show that administration of APC or APC analogs with reduced anticoagulant activity after disease onset slows disease progression and extends survival. A proteolytically inactive form of APC with reduced anticoagulant activity provided no benefit. APC crossed the blood–spinal cord barrier in mice via endothelial protein C receptor. When administered after disease onset, APC eliminated leakage of hemoglobin-derived products across the blood–spinal cord barrier and delayed microglial activation. In microvessels, motor neurons, and microglial cells from SOD1-mutant mice and in cultured neuronal cells, APC transcriptionally downregulated SOD1. Inhibition of SOD1 synthesis in neuronal cells by APC required protease-activated receptor–1 (PAR1) and PAR3, which inhibited nuclear transport of the Sp1 transcription factor. Diminished mutant SOD1 synthesis by selective gene excision within endothelial cells did not alter disease progression, which suggests that diminished mutant SOD1 synthesis in other cells, including motor neurons and microglia, caused the APC-mediated slowing of disease. The delayed disease progression in mice after APC administration suggests that this approach may be of benefit to patients with familial, and possibly sporadic, ALS.
Expression of galectin-3 is associated with sarcoma progression, invasion and metastasis. Here we determined the role of extracellular galectin-3 on migration of sarcoma cells on laminin-111. Cell lines from methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas from both wild type and galectin-3−/− mice were established. Despite the presence of similar levels of laminin-binding integrins on the cell surface, galectin-3−/− sarcoma cells were more adherent and less migratory than galectin-3+/+ sarcoma cells on laminin-111. When galectin-3 was transiently expressed in galectin-3−/− sarcoma cells, it inhibited cell adhesion and stimulated the migratory response to laminin in a carbohydrate-dependent manner. Extracellular galectin-3 led to the recruitment of SHP-2 phosphatase to focal adhesion plaques, followed by a decrease in the amount of phosphorylated FAK and phospho-paxillin in the lamellipodia of migrating cells. The promigratory activity of extracellular galectin-3 was inhibitable by wortmannin, implicating the activation of a PI-3 kinase dependent pathway in the galectin-3 triggered disruption of adhesion plaques, leading to sarcoma cell migration on laminin-111.
In familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and in rodent models of the disease, alterations in the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) may be responsible for the accumulation of potentially harmful ubiquitinated proteins, leading to motor neuron death. In the spinal cord of transgenic mice expressing the familial ALS superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene mutation G93A (SOD1G93A), we found a decrease in constitutive proteasome subunits during disease progression, as assessed by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. In parallel, an increased immunoproteasome expression was observed, which correlated with a local inflammatory response due to glial activation. These findings support the existence of proteasome modifications in ALS vulnerable tissues. To functionally investigate the UPS in ALS motor neurons in vivo, we crossed SOD1G93A mice with transgenic mice that express a fluorescently tagged reporter substrate of the UPS. In double-transgenic UbG76V-GFP /SOD1G93A mice an increase in UbG76V-GFP reporter, indicative of UPS impairment, was detectable in a few spinal motor neurons and not in reactive astrocytes or microglia, at symptomatic stage but not before symptoms onset. The levels of reporter transcript were unaltered, suggesting that the accumulation of UbG76V-GFP was due to deficient reporter degradation. In some motor neurons the increase of UbG76V-GFP was accompanied by the accumulation of ubiquitin and phosphorylated neurofilaments, both markers of ALS pathology. These data suggest that UPS impairment occurs in motor neurons of mutant SOD1-linked ALS mice and may play a role in the disease progression.