Docosahexenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) plays an important role in development of proper brain function in mammals. We have previously reported that DHA promotes synaptogenesis and synaptic function in hippocampal neurons while DHA-depletion in the brain due to n-3 fatty acid deficiency produces opposite effects. To gain insight into underlying molecular mechanisms, we investigated whether the brain DHA status affects the synaptic plasma membrane (SPM) proteome by using nanoLC/ESI-MS/MS and 16O/18O labeling. The DHA level in mouse brains was lowered by dietary depletion of n-3 fatty acids, and SPM was prepared by differential centrifugation followed by osmotic shock. SPM proteins from DHA-adequate and depleted brains were analyzed by nanoLC/ESI-MS/MS after SDS-PAGE, in-gel digestion and differential O18/O16 labeling. This strategy allowed comparative quantitation of more than 200 distinct membrane or membrane-associated proteins from DHA-adequate or depleted brains. We found that 18 pre- and postsynaptic proteins that are relevant to synaptic physiology were significantly down-regulated in DHA-depleted mouse brains. The protein network analysis suggests involvement of CREB and caspase-3 pathways in the DHA-dependent modulation of synaptic proteome. Reduction of specific synaptic proteins due to brain DHA-depletion may be an important mechanism for the suboptimal brain function associated with n-3 fatty acid deficiency.
Synaptic plasma membrane (SPM); synaptic proteins; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); 18O labeling; nano-LC/ESI-MS/MS; brain
Association of Akt with phosphatidylserine enhances binding to PIP3, inducing conformational changes in Akt that promote its phosphorylation-mediated activation.
Akt activation relies on the binding of Akt to phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3) in the membrane. Here, we demonstrate that Akt activation requires not only PIP3 but also membrane phosphatidylserine (PS). The extent of insulin-like growth factor–induced Akt activation and downstream signaling as well as cell survival under serum starvation conditions positively correlates with plasma membrane PS levels in living cells. PS promotes Akt-PIP3 binding, participates in PIP3-induced Akt interdomain conformational changes for T308 phosphorylation, and causes an open conformation that allows for S473 phosphorylation by mTORC2. PS interacts with specific residues in the pleckstrin homology (PH) and regulatory (RD) domains of Akt. Disruption of PS–Akt interaction by mutation impairs Akt signaling and increases susceptibility to cell death. These data identify a critical function of PS for Akt activation and cell survival, particularly in conditions with limited PIP3 availability. The novel molecular interaction mechanism for Akt activation suggests potential new targets for controlling Akt-dependent cell survival and proliferation.
Previous studies with postmortem brain tissues showed abnormalities not only in n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) but also in phospholipid metabolism in the cortex of individuals with schizophrenia and mood disorder. In this study we investigated whether there is similar abnormality in n-3 long-chain PUFAs and/or in phospholipid profile in the hippocampus of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients compared to unaffected controls. Using high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (LC/MS), the phospholipid contents in the postmortem hippocampus from 35 individuals with schizophrenia, 34 individuals with bipolar disorder and 35 controls were evaluated. Unlike the previous findings form orbitofrontal cortex, we found no significant differences in either n-3 long-chain PUFA or total phosphatidylserine (PS), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylcholine (PC). However, docosapentaenoic acid (n-6, 22:5n-6)-PS and 22:5n-6-PC were significantly lower in individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder than the controls. When fatty acid contents were estimated from PS, PE and PC, 22:5 n-6 was significantly lower in both patient groups compared to the controls. From these results we concluded that DHA loss associated with these psychiatric disorders may be specific to certain regions of the brain. The selective decrease in 22:5n-6 without affecting DHA contents suggests altered lipid metabolism, particularly n-6 PUFA rather than n-3 PUFA, in the hippocampus of individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), the major polyunsaturated fatty acid accumulated in the brain during development, has been implicated in learning and memory, but underlying cellular mechanisms are not clearly understood. Here, we demonstrate that DHA significantly affects hippocampal neuronal development and synaptic function in developing hippocampi. In embryonic neuronal cultures, DHA supplementation uniquely promoted neurite growth, synapsin puncta formation and synaptic protein expression, particularly synapsins and glutamate receptors. In DHA-supplemented neurons, spontaneous synaptic activity was significantly increased, mostly because of enhanced glutamatergic synaptic activity. Conversely, hippocampal neurons from DHA-depleted fetuses showed inhibited neurite growth and synaptogenesis. Furthermore, n-3 fatty acid deprivation during development resulted in marked decreases of synapsins and glutamate receptor subunits in the hippocampi of 18-day-old pups with concomitant impairment of long-term potentiation, a cellular mechanism underlying learning and memory. While levels of synapsins and NMDA receptor subunit NR2A were decreased in most hippocampal regions, NR2A expression was particularly reduced in CA3, suggesting possible role of DHA in CA3-NMDA receptor-dependent learning and memory processes. The DHA-induced neurite growth, synaptogenesis, synapsin, and glutamate receptor expression, and glutamatergic synaptic function may represent important cellular aspects supporting the hippocampus-related cognitive function improved by DHA.
docosahexaenoic acid; hippocampal development; long-term potentiation; neurite growth; synaptic function; synaptogenesis
The serine/threonine kinase Akt is a critical enzyme that regulates cell survival. As high Akt activity has been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of various human malignancies, inhibition of Akt activation is a promising therapeutic strategy for cancers. We have previously demonstrated that changes in Akt interdomain arrangements from a closed to open conformation occur upon Akt-membrane interaction, which in turn allows Akt phosphorylation/activation. In the present study, we demonstrate a novel strategy to discern mechanisms for Akt inhibition based on Akt conformational changes using chemical cross-linking and 18O labeling mass spectrometry. By quantitative comparison of two interdomain cross-linked peptides which represent the proximity of the domains involved, we found that the binding of Akt to an inhibitor (PI analog) caused the open interdomain conformation where the PH and regulatory domains moved away from the kinase domain, even before interacting with membranes, subsequently preventing translocation of Akt to the plasma membrane. In contrast, the interdomain conformation remained unchanged after incubating with another type of inhibitor (peptide TLC1). Subsequent interaction with unilamellar vesicles suggested that TCL1 impaired particularly the opening of the PH domain for exposing T308 for phosphorylation at the plasma membrane. This novel approach based on the conformation-based molecular interaction mechanism should be potentially useful for drug discovery efforts for specific Akt inhibitors or anti-tumor agents.
Akt(PKB); conformation; mass spectrometry; inhibitor; chemical cross-linking
Akt is a critical protein for cell survival and known to interact with various proteins. However, Akt binding partners that modulate or regulate Akt activation have not been fully elucidated. Identification of Akt-interacting proteins has been customarily achieved by co-immunoprecipitation combined with western blot and/or MS analysis. An intrinsic problem of the method is loss of interacting proteins during procedures to remove non-specific proteins. Moreover, antibody contamination often interferes with the detection of less abundant proteins. Here, we developed a novel two-step chemical crosslinking strategy to overcome these problems which resulted in a dramatic improvement in identifying Akt interacting partners. Akt antibody was first immobilized on protein A/G beads using disuccinimidyl suberate and allowed to bind to cellular Akt along with its interacting proteins. Subsequently, dithiobis[succinimidylpropionate], a cleavable crosslinker, was introduced to produce stable complexes between Akt and binding partners prior to the SDS-PAGE and nanoLC-MS/MS analysis. This approach enabled identification of ten Akt partners from cell lysates containing as low as 1.5 mg proteins, including two new potential Akt interacting partners. None of these but one protein was detectable without crosslinking procedures. The present method provides a sensitive and effective tool to probe Akt-interacting proteins. This strategy should also prove useful for other protein interactions, particularly those involving less abundant or weakly associating partners.
Although PI3K/Akt signaling that regulates neuronal survival has been implicated in the deleterious effects of ethanol on the central nervous system, underlying molecular mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Akt–membrane interaction is a prerequisite step for Akt activation since it induces interdomain conformational changes to an open conformer that allows Akt phosphorylation by upstream kinases. In this study, we investigated the effect of ethanol on Akt activation by quantitatively probing Akt conformation using chemical cross-linking, 18O labeling. and mass spectrometry. We found that ethanol at pharmacologically relevant concentrations (20 or 170 mM) directly interacts with Akt and alters the local pleckstrin homology domain configuration near the PIP3-binding site. We also found that ethanol significantly impairs subsequent membrane-induced interdomain conformational changes needed for Akt activation. The observed alteration of Akt conformation caused by ethanol during the activation sequence provides a new molecular basis for the effects of ethanol on Akt signaling. The in vitro conformation-based approach employed in this study should also be useful in probing the molecular mechanisms for the action of ethanol or drugs on other signaling proteins, particularly for those undergoing dramatic conformational change during activation processes such as members of AGC kinase super family.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the n-3 essential fatty acid that is highly enriched in the brain, increases neurite growth and synaptogenesis in cultured mouse fetal hippocampal neurons. These cellular effects may underlie the DHA-induced enhancement of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory functions. We found that N-docsahexaenoylethanolamide (DEA), an ethanolamide derivative of DHA, is a potent mediator for these actions. This is supported by the observation that DHA is converted to DEA by fetal mouse hippocampal neuron cultures and a hippocampal homogenate, and DEA is present endogenously in the mouse hippocampus. Furthermore, DEA stimulates neurite growth and synaptogenesis at substantially lower concentrations than DHA, and it enhances glutamatergic synaptic activities with concomitant increases in synapsin and glutamate receptor subunit expression in the hippocampal neurons. These findings suggest that DEA, an ethanolamide derivative of DHA, is a synaptogenic factor, and therefore we suggest utilizing the term ‘synaptamide’. This brief review summarizes the neuronal production and actions of synaptamide and describes other N-docosahexaenoyl amides that are present in the brain.
N-Docosahexaenoylethanolamide; Synaptamide; DHA; Hippocampus; Neuron; Anandamide; N-Docosahexaenoyl-amino acylamide
Enrichment of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n–3), in the brain is known to be critical for optimal brain development and function. Mechanisms for DHA’s beneficial effects in the nervous system are not clearly understood at present. DHA is incorporated into the phospholipids in neuronal membranes, which in turn can influence not only the membrane chemical and physical properties but also the cell signaling involved in neuronal survival, proliferation and differentiation. Our studies have indicated that DHA supplementation promotes phosphatidylserine (PS) accumulation and inhibits neuronal cell death under challenged conditions, supporting a notion that DHA is an important neuroprotective agent. This article summarizes our findings on the DHA-mediated membrane-related signaling mechanisms that might explain some of the beneficial effects of DHA, particularly on neuronal survival.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, C22:6,n−3) has been shown to promote neurite growth and synaptogenesis in embryonic hippocampal neurons, supporting the importance of DHA known for hippocampus-related learning and memory function. In the present study, we demonstrate that DHA metabolism to DEA (N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide) is a significant mechanism for hippocampal neuronal development, contributing to synaptic function. We found that a fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB597 potentiates DHA-induced neurite growth, synaptogenesis and synaptic protein expression. Active metabolism of DHA to DEA was observed in embryonic day 18 hippocampal neuronal cultures, which was increased further by URB597. Synthetic DEA promoted hippocampal neurite growth and synaptogenesis at substantially lower concentrations in comparison with DHA. DEA-treated neurons increased the expression of synapsins and glutamate receptor subunits and exhibited enhanced glutamatergic synaptic activity, as was the case for DHA. The DEA level in mouse fetal hippocampi was altered according to the maternal dietary supply of n−3 fatty acids, suggesting that DEA formation is a relevant in vivo process responding to the DHA status. In conclusion, DHA metabolism to DEA is a significant biochemical mechanism for neurite growth, synaptogenesis and synaptic protein expression, leading to enhanced glutamatergic synaptic function. The novel DEA-dependent mechanism offers a new molecular insight into hippocampal neurodevelopment and function.
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide (DEA); hippocampus; neurite growth; neuron; synaptogenesis
There is no effective treatment for cocaine addiction despite extensive knowledge of the neurobiology of drug addiction1–4. Here we show that a selective aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH-2) inhibitor, ALDH2i, suppresses cocaine self-administration in rats and prevents cocaine- or cue-induced reinstatement in a rat model of cocaine relapse-like behavior. We also identify a molecular mechanism by which ALDH-2 inhibition reduces cocaine-seeking behavior: increases in tetrahydropapaveroline (THP) formation due to inhibition of ALDH-2 decrease cocaine-stimulated dopamine production and release in vitro and in vivo. Cocaine increases extracellular dopamine concentration, which activates dopamine D2 autoreceptors to stimulate cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) in primary ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. PKA and PKC phosphorylate and activate tyrosine hydroxylase, further increasing dopamine synthesis in a positive-feedback loop. Monoamine oxidase converts dopamine to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), a substrate for ALDH-2. Inhibition of ALDH-2 enables DOPAL to condense with dopamine to form THP in VTA neurons. THP selectively inhibits phosphorylated (activated) tyrosine hydroxylase to reduce dopamine production via negative-feedback signaling. Reducing cocaine- and craving-associated increases in dopamine release seems to account for the effectiveness of ALDH2i in suppressing cocaine-seeking behavior. Selective inhibition of ALDH-2 may have therapeutic potential for treating human cocaine addiction and preventing relapse.
Type 1 or invariant NKT (iNKT) cell agonists, epitomized by α-galactosylceramide, protect against cancer largely by IFN-γ–dependent mechanisms. Here we describe what we believe to be a novel IFN-γ–independent mechanism induced by β-mannosylceramide, which also defines a potentially new class of iNKT cell agonist, with an unusual β-linked sugar. Like α-galactosylceramide, β-mannosylceramide directly activates iNKT cells from both mice and humans. In contrast to α-galactosylceramide, protection by β-mannosylceramide was completely dependent on NOS and TNF-α, neither of which was required to achieve protection with α-galactosylceramide. Moreover, at doses too low for either alone to protect, β-mannosylceramide synergized with α-galactosylceramide to protect mice against tumors. These results suggest that treatment with β-mannosylceramide provides a distinct mechanism of tumor protection that may allow efficacy where other agonists have failed. Furthermore, the ability of β-mannosylceramide to synergize with α-galactosylceramide suggests treatment with this class of iNKT agonist may provide protection against tumors in humans.
Amide hydrogen exchange coupled to nano-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (nano-ESI-MS) has been used to identify and characterize localized conformational changes of Akt upon activation. Active or inactive Akt was incubated in D2O buffer, digested with pepsin, and analyzed by nano-ESI-MS to determine the deuterium incorporation. The hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange profiles revealed that Akt undergoes considerable conformational changes in the core structures of all three individual domains after activation. In the PH domain, four β-strand (β1, β2 β5 and β6) regions containing membrane-binding residues displayed higher solvent accessibility in the inactive state, suggesting that the PH domain is readily available for the binding to the plasma membrane for activation. In contrast, these β-strands became less exposed or more folded in the active form, which is favored for the dissociation of Akt from the membrane. The beginning α-helix J region and the C-terminal locus (T450-470P) of the regulatory domain showed less folded structures that probably enable substrate entry. Our data also revealed detailed conformational changes of Akt in the kinase domain due to activation, some of which may be attributed to the interaction of the basic residues with phosphorylation sites. Our H/D exchange results indicating the conformational status of Akt at different activation states provided new insight for the regulation of this critical protein involved in cell survival.
(R /S)-Salsolinol (SAL), a condensation product of dopamine (DA) with acetaldehyde, has been speculated to have a role in the etiology of alcoholism. Earlier studies have shown the presence of SAL in biological fluids and postmortem brains from both alcoholics and non-alcoholics. However, the involvement of SAL in alcoholism has been controversial over several decades, since the reported SAL levels and their changes after ethanol exposure were not consistent, possibly due to inadequate analytical procedures and confounding factors such as diet and genetic predisposition. Using a newly developed mass spectrometric method to analyze SAL stereoisomers, we evaluated the contribution of ethanol, diet, and genetic background to SAL levels as well as its enantiomeric distribution.
Simultaneous measurement of SAL enantiomers and DA were achieved by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC / MS / MS). Plasma samples were collected from human subjects before and after banana (a food rich in SAL) intake, and during ethanol infusion. Rat plasma and brain samples were collected at various time points after the administration of SAL or banana by gavage. The brain parts including nucleus accumbens (NAC) and striatum (STR) were obtained from alcohol-non-preferring (NP) or alcohol-preferring (P) rats as well as P-rats which had a free access to ethanol (P-EtOH).
Plasma SAL levels were increased significantly after banana intake in humans. Consistently, administration of banana to rats also resulted in a drastic increase of plasma SAL levels, whereas brain SAL levels remained unaltered. Acute ethanol infusion did not change SAL levels or R / S ratio in plasma from healthy humans. The levels of both SAL isomers and DA were significantly lower in the NAC of P rats in comparison to NP rats. The SAL levels in NAC of P rats remained unchanged after chronic free-choice ethanol drinking. There were decreasing trends of SAL in STR and DA in both brain regions. No changes in enantiomeric ratio were observed after acute or chronic ethanol exposure.
SAL from dietary sources is the major contributor to plasma SAL levels. No significant changes of SAL plasma levels or enantiomeric distribution after acute or chronic ethanol exposure suggest that SAL may not be a biomarker for ethanol drinking. Significantly lower SAL and DA levels observed in NAC of P rats may be associated with innate alcohol preference.
Salsolinol; Diet; Ethanol; Dopamine; Alcohol-Preferring Rats; Alcohol-Non-Preferring Rats; Nucleus Accumbens; Striatum; HPLC / MS / MS
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), an n-3 fatty acid highly concentrated in the central nervous system, is essential for proper neuronal and retinal function. While a high level of DHA is generally maintained in neuronal membranes, inadequate supply of n-3 fatty acid or ethanol exposure leads to a significant loss of DHA in neuronal cells. The roles DHA in neuronal signaling have been emerging. In this review, biological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms supporting the essential function of DHA in neuronal survival and development are described in relation to n-3 fatty acid depleting conditions.
Docosahexaenoic acid; neuronal cells; survival; development; ethanol; n-3 fatty acid deficiency; phosphatidylserine; Akt; hippocampal neurons
Endocannabinoids, including anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) have been implicated in the regulation of a growing number of physiological and pathological processes. Anandamide can be generated from its membrane phospholipid precursor N-arachidonoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) through hydrolysis by a phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD). Recent evidence indicates, however, the existence of two additional, parallel pathways. One involves the sequential deacylation of NAPE by α,β-hydrolase 4 (Abhd4) and the subsequent cleavage of glycerophosphate to yield anandamide, and the other one proceeds through phospholipase C-mediated hydrolysis of NAPE to yield phosphoanandamide, which is then dephosphorylated by phosphatases, including the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 and the inositol 5′ phosphatase SHIP1. Conversion of synthetic NAPE to AEA by brain homogenates from wild-type and NAPE-PLD−/− mice can proceed through both the PLC/phosphatase and Abdh4 pathways, with the former being dominant at shorter (<10 min) and the latter at longer incubations (60 min). In macrophages, the endotoxin-induced synthesis of anandamide proceeds uniquely through the phospholipase C/phosphatase pathway.
We have previously demonstrated that DHA at low micromolar concentrations has a remarkable effect on morphological differentiation of hippocampal neurons by increasing the population of neurons with more branches and longer neurites. In this study, possible involvement of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) in the DHA-induced hippocampal neurite outgrowth was evaluated as DHA is an endogenous ligand for RXR. Immunocytochemical examination revealed that all RXR isoforms, RXR-alpha, -beta 1, -beta 2 and -gamma, are expressed exclusively in neurons with distinctive intracellular distribution. The cell-based dual luciferase reporter assay indicated that DHA activates RXRα at or above 10 μM but not at 1.5 μM where DHA induces neurite outgrowth. Arachidonic acid also activated RXRα in a similar concentration range but with lower efficacy. Our results suggest that DHA-induced neurite outgrowth may not be mediated by direct activation of RXRα, although involvement of other isoforms or DHA metabolites can not be excluded.
RXR; docosahexaenoic acid; arachidonic acid; hippocampal; neuronal cells
The ability to control the fatty acid content of the diet during early development is a crucial requirement for a one-generation model of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n3) deficiency. A hand feeding method using artificial rearing (AR) together with sterile, artificial milk was employed for feeding mice from postnatal day 2–15. The pups were fed an n-3 fatty acid adequate (3% α-linolenic acid (LNA; 18:3n3) + 1% 22:6n3) or a deficient diet (0.06% 18:3n3) with linoleic acid (LA; 18:2n6) as the only dietary source of essential fatty acids by AR along with a dam-reared control group (3.1% 18:3n3). The results indicate that restriction of n-3 fatty acid intake during postnatal development leads to markedly lower levels of brain, retinal, liver, plasma and heart 22:6n3 at 20 weeks of age with replacement by docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn6; 22:5n6), arachidonic acid (ARA; 20:4n6) and docosatetraenoic acid (DTA; 22:4n6). A detailed analysis of phospholipid classes of heart tissue indicated that phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine and cardiolipin were the major repositories of 22:6n3, reaching 40, 29 and 15%, respectively. A novel heart cardiolipin species containing four 22:6n3 moieties is described. This is the first report of the application of artificially rearing to mouse pup nutrition; this technique will facilitate dietary studies of knockout animals as well as the study of essential fatty acid (EFA) functions in the cardiovascular, neural and other organ systems.
Artificial rearing; Artificial mouse milk; Docosahexaenoic acid; Docosapentaenoic acid; Brain; Heart; Retina; Liver; Plasma; Phospholipid class