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1.  Genome-wide association study for serum urate concentrations and gout among African Americans identifies genomic risk loci and a novel URAT1 loss-of-function allele 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4056-4068.
Serum urate concentrations are highly heritable and elevated serum urate is a key risk factor for gout. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of serum urate in African American (AA) populations are lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS of serum urate levels and gout among 5820 AA and a large candidate gene study among 6890 AA and 21 708 participants of European ancestry (EA) within the Candidate Gene Association Resource Consortium. Findings were tested for replication among 1996 independent AA individuals, and evaluated for their association among 28 283 EA participants of the CHARGE Consortium. Functional studies were conducted using 14C-urate transport assays in mammalian Chinese hamster ovary cells. In the discovery GWAS of serum urate, three loci achieved genome-wide significance (P< 5.0 × 10−8): a novel locus near SGK1/SLC2A12 on chromosome 6 (rs9321453, P= 1.0 × 10−9), and two loci previously identified in EA participants, SLC2A9 (P= 3.8 × 10−32) and SLC22A12 (P= 2.1 × 10−10). A novel rare non-synonymous variant of large effect size in SLC22A12, rs12800450 (minor allele frequency 0.01, G65W), was identified and replicated (beta −1.19 mg/dl, P= 2.7 × 10−16). 14C-urate transport assays showed reduced urate transport for the G65W URAT1 mutant. Finally, in analyses of 11 loci previously associated with serum urate in EA individuals, 10 of 11 lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed direction-consistent association with urate among AA. In summary, we identified and replicated one novel locus in association with serum urate levels and experimentally characterize the novel G65W variant in URAT1 as a functional allele. Our data support the importance of multi-ethnic GWAS in the identification of novel risk loci as well as functional variants.
PMCID: PMC3177647  PMID: 21768215
2.  Drosophila TRPA1 channel is required to avoid the naturally occurring insect repellent citronellal 
Current biology : CB  2010;20(18):1672-1678.
Plants produce naturally occurring insect repellents, such as citronellal, which is the main component of citronellal oil and is among the most widely-used-naturally-occurring insect repellents. However, the molecular pathways through which insects sense botanical repellents are unknown. Here, we showed that Drosophila used two pathways for direct avoidance of citronellal. The olfactory co-receptor, Or83b, which is required for the response to the synthetic repellent DEET, contributed to citronellal repulsion, and was essential for citronellal-evoked action potentials. Mutations affecting the Ca2+-permeable cation channel, TRPA1 resulted in a comparable defect in avoiding citronellal vapor. The TRPA1-dependent aversion to citronellal relied on a G protein/phospholipase C (PLC) signaling cascade, rather than direct detection of citronellal by TRPA1. Loss of TRPA1, Gq or PLC caused an increase in the frequency of citronellal-evoked action potentials in olfactory receptor neurons. Absence of the Ca2+-activated K+ channel, Slowpoke, resulted in a similar impairment in citronellal avoidance, and an increase in the frequency of action potentials. These results suggest that TRPA1 is required for activation of a BK channel to modulate citronellal-evoked action potentials, and for aversion to citronellal. In contrast to Drosophila TRPA1, Anopheles gambiae TRPA1 was directly and potently activated by citronellal, thereby raising the possibility that mosquito TRPA1 may be a target for developing improved repellents to reduce insect-borne diseases such as malaria.
PMCID: PMC2946437  PMID: 20797863
3.  Identification of a Polycystin-1 Cleavage Product, P100, That Regulates Store Operated Ca2+ Entry through Interactions with STIM1 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12305.
Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) is a genetic disorder resulting in large kidney cysts and eventual kidney failure. Mutations in either the PKD1 or PKD2/TRPP2 genes and their respective protein products, polycystin-1 (PC1) and polycystin-2 (PC2) result in ADPKD. PC2 is known to function as a non-selective cation channel, but PC1's function and the function of PC1 cleavage products are not well understood. Here we identify an endogenous PC1 cleavage product, P100, a 100 kDa fragment found in both wild type and epitope tagged PKD1 knock-in mice. Expression of full length human PC1 (FL PC1) and the resulting P100 and C-Terminal Fragment (CTF) cleavage products in both MDCK and CHO cells significantly reduces the store operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) resulting from thapsigargin induced store depletion. Exploration into the roles of P100 and CTF in SOCE inhibition reveal that P100, when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, directly inhibits the SOCE currents but CTF does not, nor does P100 when containing the disease causing R4227X mutation. Interestingly, we also found that in PC1 expressing MDCK cells, translocation of the ER Ca2+ sensor protein STIM1 to the cell periphery was significantly altered. In addition, P100 Co-immunoprecipitates with STIM1 but CTF does not. The expression of P100 in CHO cells recapitulates the STIM1 translocation inhibition seen with FL PC1. These data describe a novel polycystin-1 cleavage product, P100, which functions to reduce SOCE via direct inhibition of STIM1 translocation; a function with consequences for ADPKD.
PMCID: PMC2925899  PMID: 20808796
4.  Epac1 mediates protein kinase A–independent mechanism of forskolin-activated intestinal chloride secretion 
Intestinal Cl− secretion is stimulated by cyclic AMP (cAMP) and intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i). Recent studies show that protein kinase A (PKA) and the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) are downstream targets of cAMP. Therefore, we tested whether both PKA and Epac are involved in forskolin (FSK)/cAMP-stimulated Cl− secretion. Human intestinal T84 cells and mouse small intestine were used for short circuit current (Isc) measurement in response to agonist-stimulated Cl− secretion. FSK-stimulated Cl− secretion was completely inhibited by the additive effects of the PKA inhibitor, H89 (1 µM), and the [Ca2+]i chelator, 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N’,N’-tetraacetic acid, tetraacetoxymethyl ester (BAPTA-AM; 25 µM). Both FSK and the Epac activator 8-pCPT-2’-O-Me-cAMP (50 µM) elevated [Ca2+]i, activated Ras-related protein 2, and induced Cl− secretion in intact or basolateral membrane–permeabilized T84 cells and mouse ileal sheets. The effects of 8-pCPT-2’-O-Me-cAMP were completely abolished by BAPTA-AM, but not by H89. In contrast, T84 cells with silenced Epac1 had a reduced Isc response to FSK, and this response was completely inhibited by H89, but not by the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 or BAPTA-AM. The stimulatory effect of 8-pCPT-2’-O-Me-cAMP on Cl− secretion was not abolished by cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance (CFTR) inhibitor 172 or glibenclamide, suggesting that CFTR channels are not involved. This was confirmed by lack of effect of 8-pCPT-2’-O-Me-cAMP on whole cell patch clamp recordings of CFTR currents in Chinese hamster ovary cells transiently expressing the human CFTR channel. Furthermore, biophysical characterization of the Epac1-dependent Cl− conductance of T84 cells mounted in Ussing chambers suggested that this conductance was hyperpolarization activated, inwardly rectifying, and displayed a Cl−>Br−>I− permeability sequence. These results led us to conclude that the Epac-Rap-PLC-[Ca2+]i signaling pathway is involved in cAMP-stimulated Cl− secretion, which is carried by a novel, previously undescribed Cl− channel.
PMCID: PMC2806414  PMID: 20038525
5.  A Novel Role of Protein Tyrosine Kinase2 in Mediating Chloride Secretion in Human Airway Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21991.
Ca2+ activated Cl− channels (CaCC) are up-regulated in cystic fibrosis (CF) airway surface epithelia. The presence and functional properties of CaCC make it a possible therapeutic target to compensate for the deficiency of Cl− secretion in CF epithelia. CaCC is activated by an increase in cytosolic Ca2+, which not only activates epithelial CaCCs, but also inhibits epithelial Na+ hyperabsorption, which may also be beneficial in CF. Our previous study has shown that spiperone, a known antipsychotic drug, activates CaCCs and stimulates Cl− secretion in polarized human non-CF and CF airway epithelial cell monolayers in vitro, and in Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) knockout mice in vivo. Spiperone activates CaCC not by acting in its well-known role as an antagonist of either 5-HT2 or D2 receptors, but through a protein tyrosine kinase-coupled phospholipase C-dependent pathway. Moreover, spiperone independently activates CFTR through a novel mechanism. Herein, we performed a mass spectrometry analysis and identified the signaling molecule that mediates the spiperone effect in activating chloride secretion through CaCC and CFTR. Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2) is a non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase, which belongs to the focal adhesion kinase family. The inhibition of PYK2 notably reduced the ability of spiperone to increase intracellular Ca2+ and Cl− secretion. In conclusion, we have identified the tyrosine kinase, PYK2, as the modulator, which plays a crucial role in the activation of CaCC and CFTR by spiperone. The identification of this novel role of PYK2 reveals a new signaling pathway in human airway epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3135607  PMID: 21765932

Results 1-5 (5)