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1.  Heme Oxygenase-1 Is Required for Angiogenic Function of Bone Marrow-Derived Progenitor Cells: Role in Therapeutic Revascularization 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;20(11):1677-1692.
Aims: Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a cytoprotective enzyme that can be down-regulated in diabetes. Its importance for mature endothelium has been described, but its role in proangiogenic progenitors is not well known. We investigated the effect of HO-1 on the angiogenic potential of bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) and on blood flow recovery in ischemic muscle of diabetic mice. Results: Lack of HO-1 decreased the number of endothelial progenitor cells (Lin−CD45−cKit-Sca-1+VEGFR-2+) in murine bone marrow, and inhibited the angiogenic potential of cultured BMDCs, affecting their survival under oxidative stress, proliferation, migration, formation of capillaries, and paracrine proangiogenic potential. Transcriptome analysis of HO-1−/− BMDCs revealed the attenuated up-regulation of proangiogenic genes in response to hypoxia. Heterozygous HO-1+/− diabetic mice subjected to hind limb ischemia exhibited reduced local expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), placental growth factor (PlGF), stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and CXCR-4. This was accompanied by impaired revascularization of ischemic muscle, despite a strong mobilization of bone marrow-derived proangiogenic progenitors (Sca-1+CXCR-4+) into peripheral blood. Blood flow recovery could be rescued by local injections of conditioned media harvested from BMDCs, but not by an injection of cultured BMDCs. Innovation: This is the first report showing that HO-1 haploinsufficiency impairs tissue revascularization in diabetes and that proangiogenic in situ response, not progenitor cell mobilization, is important for blood flow recovery. Conclusions: HO-1 is necessary for a proper proangiogenic function of BMDCs. A low level of HO-1 in hyperglycemic mice decreases restoration of perfusion in ischemic muscle, which can be rescued by a local injection of conditioned media from cultured BMDCs. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 1677–1692.
PMCID: PMC3961799  PMID: 24206054
2.  Small and Long Regulatory RNAs in the Immune System and Immune Diseases 
Cellular differentiation is regulated on the level of gene expression, and it is known that dysregulation of gene expression can lead to deficiencies in differentiation that contribute to a variety of diseases, particularly of the immune system. Until recently, it was thought that the dysregulation was governed by changes in the binding or activity of a class of proteins called transcription factors. However, the discovery of micro-RNAs and recent descriptions of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have given enormous momentum to a whole new field of biology: the regulatory RNAs. In this review, we describe these two classes of regulatory RNAs and summarize what is known about how they regulate aspects of the adaptive and innate immune systems. Finally, we describe what is known about the involvement of micro-RNAs and lncRNAs in three different autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis).
PMCID: PMC4202709  PMID: 25368617
regulatory RNAs; miRNAs; long non-coding RNAs; immune system; autoimmune diseases
4.  Opposite effects of HIF-1α and HIF-2α on the regulation of IL-8 expression in endothelial cells 
Free Radical Biology & Medicine  2011;51(10):1882-1892.
Recently we have shown that hypoxia as well as overexpression of the stable form of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) diminished the expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8) by inhibition of the Nrf2 transcription factor in HMEC-1 cells. Because HIF isoforms may exert different effects, we aimed to examine the influence of HIF-2α on IL-8 expression in endothelial cells. In contrast to HIF-1α, overexpression of HIF-2α obtained by adenoviral transduction resulted in increased expression of IL-8 in an Nrf2-independent way. Importantly, HIF-2α augmented the activity of SP-1, a transcription factor involved in IL-8 regulation and known coactivator of c-Myc. Additionally, HIF-1 decreased, whereas HIF-2 increased, c-Myc expression, and silencing of Mxi-1, a c-Myc antagonist, restored IL-8 expression downregulated by HIF-1α or hypoxia. Accordingly, binding of c-Myc to the IL-8 promoter was abolished in hypoxia. Importantly, both severe (0.5% O2) and mild (5% O2) hypoxia diminished IL-8 expression despite the stabilization of both HIF-1 and HIF-2. This study reveals the opposite roles of HIF-1α and HIF-2α in the regulation of IL-8 expression in endothelial cells. However, despite stabilization of both isoforms in hypoxia the effect of HIF-1 is predominant, and downregulation of IL-8 expression in hypoxia is caused by attenuation of Nrf2 and c-Myc.
Graphical abstract
► HIF-1 decreases whereas HIF-2 increases the expression of IL-8 in endothelial cells. ► SP-1 and c-Myc are involved in the HIF-2α-dependent IL-8 upregulation. ► Mxi-1, a c-Myc antagonist, mediates IL-8 diminishment by hypoxia/HIF-1α. ► Inhibition of Nrf2 activity by hypoxia/HIF-1α adds to the downregulation of IL-8. ► Both HIF isoforms are stabilized in hypoxia but the effect of HIF-1α is predominant.
PMCID: PMC3202637  PMID: 21925595
AdHIF-1α/AdHIF-2α, adenoviral vectors containing HIF-1α or HIF-2α cDNA, respectively; ARE, antioxidant-response element; ARNT, aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator; GFP, green fluorescent protein; HIF, hypoxia-inducible factor; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1; IL-8, interleukin-8; NQO1, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase; SEAP, secreted alkaline phosphatase; siRNA, small interfering RNA; TP, thymidine phosphorylase; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiogenesis; SP-1; c-Myc; Transcription factor; Free radicals
5.  Aristolochic acid I and ochratoxin A differentially regulate VEGF expression in porcine kidney epithelial cells—The involvement of SP-1 and HIFs transcription factors 
Toxicology Letters  2011;204(2-3):118-126.
► AAI increases whereas OTA decreases production of proangiogenic VEGF. ► The upregulation of VEGF expression by AAI is caused by induction of SP-1 and HIFs. ► Hypoxia prevents OTA-diminished VEGF production ► The effect of hypoxia on OTA-reduced VEGF is mediated by HIF-2α but not HIF-1α.
Aristolochic acid I (AAI) and ochratoxin A (OTA) cause chronic kidney diseases. Recently, the contribution of hypoxic injuries and angiogenic disturbances to nephropathies has been suggested, but underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified yet.
In porcine kidney epithelial cell line, LLC-PK1 cells, treatment with non-toxic doses of AAI increased whereas with OTA decreased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the angiogenic factor with well-defined functions in kidney. Moreover, the activity of transcription factors regulating VEGF expression was differentially affected by examined compounds. Activity of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) and SP-1 was increased by AAI but diminished by OTA. Interestingly, AP-1 activity was inhibited while NFκB was not influenced by both toxins. Mithramycin A, a SP-1 inhibitor, as well as chetomin, an inhibitor of HIFs, reversed AAI-induced up-regulation of VEGF synthesis, indicating the importance of SP-1 and HIFs in this effect. Additionally, adenoviral overexpression of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α prevented OTA-diminished VEGF production suggesting the protective effect of this isoform towards the consequences exerted by OTA.
These observations provide new insight into complex impact of AAI and OTA on angiogenic gene regulation. Additionally, it adds to our understanding of hypoxia influence on nephropathies pathology.
PMCID: PMC3154282  PMID: 21554934
AA, aristolochic acid; AAI, aristolochic acid I; AAII, aristolochic acid II; AA-ATN, aristolochic acid-induced acute tubular necrosis; AAN, aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy; AdGFP, adenoviral vectors containing GFP cDNA; AdHIF-1,-2α, adenoviral vectors containing HIF-1,-2α cDNA; β-gal, β-galactosidase; BEN, Balkan endemic nephropathy; CKDs, chronic kidney diseases; EMT, epithelial to mesenchymal cell transformation; GFP, green fluorescent protein; HIF, hypoxia inducible factor; HRE, hypoxia responsive element; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; LDH, lactate dehydrogenase; LLC-PK1, porcine kidney epithelial cell line; IARC, The International Agency for Research on Cancer; OTA, ochratoxin A; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RT, room temperature; TGFβ, transforming growth factor β; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; Nephropathy; Kidney diseases; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiogenesis; Hypoxia; LLC-PK1
6.  Different Susceptibility to the Parkinson's Toxin MPTP in Mice Lacking the Redox Master Regulator Nrf2 or Its Target Gene Heme Oxygenase-1 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11838.
The transcription factor Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) and its target gene products, including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), elicit an antioxidant response that may have therapeutic value for Parkinson's disease (PD). However, HO-1 protein levels are increased in dopaminergic neurons of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, suggesting its participation in free-iron deposition, oxidative stress and neurotoxicity. Before targeting Nrf2 for PD therapy it is imperative to determine if HO-1 is neurotoxic or neuroprotective in the basal ganglia.
We addressed this question by comparing neuronal damage and gliosis in Nrf2- or HO-1-knockout mice submitted to intraperitoneal injection of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) for five consecutive days. Nrf2-knockout mice showed exacerbated gliosis and dopaminergic nigrostriatal degeneration, as determined by immunohistochemical staining of tyrosine hydroxylase in striatum (STR) and substantia nigra (SN) and by HPLC determination of striatal dopamine and 3,4- dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC). On the other hand, the severity of gliosis and dopaminergic degeneration in HO-1-null mice was neither increased nor reduced. Regarding free-iron deposition, both Nrf2- and HO-1-deficient mice exhibited similar number of deposits as determined by Perl's staining, therefore indicating that these proteins do not contribute significantly to iron accumulation or clearance in MPTP-induced Parkinsonism.
These results suggest that HO-1 does not protect or enhance the sensitivity to neuronal death in Parkinson's disease and that pharmacological or genetic intervention on Nrf2 may provide a neuroprotective benefit as add on therapy with current symptomatic protocols.
PMCID: PMC2911386  PMID: 20676377
7.  Glycosyltransferase efficiently controls phenylpropanoid pathway 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:25.
In a previous study, anthocyanin levels in potato plants were increased by manipulating genes connected with the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway. However, starch content and tuber yield were dramatically reduced in the transgenic plants, which over-expressed dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR).
Transgenic plants over-expressing dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) were subsequently transformed with the cDNA coding for the glycosyltransferase (UGT) of Solanum sogarandinum in order to obtain plants with a high anthocyanin content without reducing tuber yield and quality. Based on enzyme studies, the recombinant UGT is a 7-O-glycosyltransferase whose natural substrates include both anthocyanidins and flavonols such as kaempferol and quercetin. In the super-transformed plants, tuber production was much higher than in the original transgenic plants bearing only the transgene coding for DFR, and was almost the same as in the control plants. The anthocyanin level was lower than in the initial plants, but still higher than in the control plants. Unexpectedly, the super-transformed plants also produced large amounts of kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, isochlorogenic acid, sinapic acid and proanthocyanins.
In plants over-expressing both the transgene for DFR and the transgene for UGT, the synthesis of phenolic acids was diverted away from the anthocyanin branch. This represents a novel approach to manipulating phenolic acids synthesis in plants.
PMCID: PMC2294120  PMID: 18321380

Results 1-7 (7)