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1.  2-Phenyl-APB-144-Induced Retinal Pigment Epithelium Degeneration and Its Underlying Mechanisms 
Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of 2-phenyl-APB-144 (APB)-induced retinopathy in a rat model and its underlying mechanisms, with a particular focus on retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) degeneration.
Methods: Electroretinograms (ERGs) were evaluated in APB-administered rats. In ARPE-19 cells, cathepsin, and autophagy marker LC3 were analyzed by western blotting or immunohistochemistry. Organelle pH alterations were detected by Acridine Orange Staining. Endoplasmic reticulum stress-dependent or -independent cell death signaling was analyzed by reporter gene assays of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), immunoglobulin heavy-chain binding protein (BiP), inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α), quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of CHOP mRNA, and the effects of pharmacological eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) dephosphorylation inhibitor, Salubrinal. The pharmacological effects of Salubrinal were examined by fluorophotometry, electrophysiology, and histopathology.
Results: APB-induced ERG amplitude reduction and fluorescein permeability enhancement into the vitreous body of rats were determined. In ARPE-19 cells, APB-induced organelle pH alterations, imbalances of procathepsin and cathepsin expression, the time-dependent accumulation of LC3-II, and the translational activation of ATF4 were determined. Salubrinal protected against APB-induced cell death and inhibited ATF4 downstream factor CHOP mRNA induction. In APB-induced rat retinopathy, systemic Salubrinal alleviated the enhanced fluorescein permeability into the vitreous body from the RPE, the reductions in ERG amplitudes, and RPE degeneration.
Conclusions: Organelle pH alterations and autophagy impairments are involved in APB-induced RPE cell death. Inhibition of eIF2α dephosphorylation protected the RPE in vivo and in vitro. These findings suggested that APB-induced retinopathy is a valuable animal model for exploring the mechanism of RPE-driven retinopathy.
PMCID: PMC4642833  PMID: 26313169
2.  Tight regulation of the unfolded protein sensor Ire1 by its intramolecularly antagonizing subdomain 
Journal of Cell Science  2015;128(9):1762-1772.
Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) accompanies ER stress and causes the type-I transmembrane protein Ire1 (also known as ERN1) to trigger the unfolded protein response (UPR). When dimerized, the core stress-sensing region (CSSR) of Ire1 directly captures unfolded proteins and forms a high-order oligomer, leading to clustering and activation of Ire1. The CSSR is N-terminally flanked by an intrinsically disordered subdomain, which we previously named Subregion I, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ire1. In this study, we describe tight repression of Ire1 activity by Subregion I under conditions of no or weak stress. Weak hyperactivation of an Ire1 mutant lacking Subregion I slightly retarded growth of yeast cells cultured under unstressed conditions. Fungal Ire1 orthologs and the animal Ire1 family protein PERK (also known as EIF2AK3) carry N-terminal intrinsically disordered subdomains with a similar structure and function to that of Subregion I. Our observations presented here cumulatively indicate that Subregion I is captured by the CSSR as an unfolded protein substrate. This intramolecular subdomain interaction is likely to compromise self-association of the CSSR, explaining why Subregion I can suppress Ire1 activity when ER-accumulated unfolded proteins are not abundant.
PMCID: PMC4432228  PMID: 25770101
Unfolded protein response; Stress response; Endoplasmic reticulum; Intrinsically disordered region; Molecular chaperone; Misfolded protein
3.  Novel mechanism of enhancing IRE1α-XBP1 signalling via the PERK-ATF4 pathway 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:24217.
Mammalian inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) is the most conserved of all endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensors, which includes activating transcription factor (ATF) 6 and double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK). IRE1α has been known to splice X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) mRNA, which is induced by ATF6 under ER stress. This spliced XBP1 mRNA is translated into the active transcription factor that promotes the expression of specific genes to alleviate ER stress. Herein, we report that in addition to the induction of XBP1 expression by ATF6, IRE1α expression is induced by ATF4, which is downstream of PERK, under ER stress. Increased IRE1α expression results in a higher splicing ratio of XBP1 mRNA. This effect was not transient and affected not only the intensity but also the duration of the activated state of this pathway. These multiple regulatory mechanisms may modulate the response to various levels or types of ER stress.
PMCID: PMC4823713  PMID: 27052593
4.  Utility of Exercise-Induced Zero TBI Sign in Patients on Maintenance Hemodialysis 
Annals of Vascular Diseases  2016;9(3):149-153.
It is uncertain whether exercise-induced zero toe brachial index sign (e-ZETS) is beneficial to prevent advanced perfusion disturbance in maintenance hemodialysis (HD) patients. In HD patients, we compared the clinical findings and prognoses among 22 toes in a resting zero toe brachial index sign (r-ZETS) group, 22 toes in an e-ZETS group, and 63 toes in a non-e-ZETS group. The hemodynamics of the lower extremities in the e-ZETS group is intermediate between the r-ZETS and non-e-ZETS groups. As the result of a 36-month follow- up observation, the r-ZETS avoidance rate was significantly lower in the e-ZETS group (63.6%; P <0.001) than the non-e-ZETS group (98.4%), showing that it was difficult to avoid advanced perfusion disturbance. The e-ZETS in HD patients may appear before r-ZETS, being beneficial as a predictor for advanced perfusion disturbance. (This is a translation of J Jpn Coll Angiol 2015; 55: 125–129.)
PMCID: PMC5027249  PMID: 27738454
peripheral arterial disease; critical limb ischemia; hemodialysis; toe brachial pressure index; exercise
5.  Comparison of Diagnostic Accuracy between Pulse Volume Recording Parameters and Exercise-Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index in Patients with Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index above 0.9 
Annals of Vascular Diseases  2016;9(4):317-321.
Objective: The objective of this study was to clarify whether or not pulse volume recoding (PVR) parameters have screening capability equivalent to ankle-brachial pressure index after walking (Ex-ABI) for patients with 0.91 or higher ABI.
Patients and Methods: The subjects were 87 patients (147 limbs) with symptoms of lower extremities with 0.91 or higher ABI. In all patients, upstroke time (UT), percentage of mean artery pressure (%MAP) of PVR and Ex-ABI were measured, and computed tomographic angiography (CTA) was concomitantly performed.
Results: Area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves of Ex-ABI, %MAP, and UT were 0.90, 0.70, and 0.81, respectively. A significant difference was noted in AUC between Ex-ABI and %MAP (p <0.001). When the cut-off values were set at %MAP ≥45% and UT ≥180 msec, the accuracies of %MAP and UT were markedly lower than that of Ex-ABI. When the cut-off values were corrected to the values determined from the ROC curves (%MAP ≥41, UT ≥164 msec), the diagnostic accuracy of UT increased markedly.
Conclusion: In patients with 0.91 or higher ABI, screening capability of PVR parameters was markedly lower than that of Ex-ABI, but UT has screening capability close to that of Ex-ABI when the cut-off value is corrected downward.
PMCID: PMC5174993  PMID: 28018505
peripheral arterial disease; ankle-brachial pressure index; pulse volume recording
6.  Hes7 3′UTR is required for somite segmentation function 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6462.
A set of genes in the posterior end of developing mouse embryos shows oscillatory expression, thereby regulating periodic somite segmentation. Although the mechanism for generating oscillation has extensively been clarified, what regulates the oscillation period is still unclear. We attempted to elongate the oscillation period by increasing the time to transcribe Hes7 in this research. We generated knock-in mice, in which a large intron was inserted into Hes7 3′UTR. The exogenous intron was unexpectedly not properly spliced out and the transcripts were prematurely terminated. Consequently, Hes7 mRNA lost its 3′UTR, thereby reducing the amount of Hes7 protein. Oscillation was damped in the knock-in embryos and periodic somite segmentation does not occur properly. Thus, we demonstrated that Hes7 3′UTR is essential to accumulate adequate amounts of Hes7 protein for the somite segmentation clock that orchestrates periodic somite formation.
PMCID: PMC4173035  PMID: 25248974
7.  Paneth cells as a site of origin for intestinal inflammation 
Nature  2013;503(7475):272-276.
Autophagy related 16-like 1 (ATG16L1) as a genetic risk factor has exposed the critical role of autophagy in Crohn’s disease (CD)1. Homozygosity for the highly prevalent ATG16L1 risk allele, or murine hypomorphic (HM) activity causes Paneth cell dysfunction2,3. As Atg16l1HM mice do not develop spontaneous intestinal inflammation, the mechanism(s) by which ATG16L1 contributes to disease remains obscure. Deletion of the unfolded protein response (UPR) transcription factor X-box binding protein-1 (Xbp1) in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), whose human orthologue harbors rare inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) risk variants, results in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, Paneth cell impairment and spontaneous enteritis4. Unresolved ER stress is a common feature of IBD epithelium4,5, and several genetic risk factors of CD affect Paneth cells2,4,6-9. Here we show that impairment in either UPR (Xbp1ΔIEC) or autophagy function (Atg16l1ΔIEC or Atg7ΔIEC) in IECs results in each other’s compensatory engagement, and severe spontaneous CD-like transmural ileitis if both mechanisms are compromised. Xbp1ΔIEC mice exhibit autophagosome formation in hypomorphic Paneth cells, which is linked to ER stress via protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), elongation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4). Ileitis is dependent on commensal microbiota and derives from increased IEC death, inositol requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α)-regulated NFκB activation and tumor necrosis factor signaling which are synergistically increased when autophagy is deficient. ATG16L1 restrains IRE1α activity and augmentation of autophagy in IECs ameliorates ER stress-induced intestinal inflammation and eases NFκB overactivation and IEC death. ER stress, autophagy induction and spontaneous ileitis emerge from Paneth cell-specific deletion of Xbp1. Genetically and environmentally controlled UPR function within Paneth cells may therefore set the threshold for the development of intestinal inflammation upon hypomorphic ATG16L1 function and implicate ileal CD as a specific disorder of Paneth cells.
PMCID: PMC3862182  PMID: 24089213
8.  ER stress transcription factor Xbp1 suppresses intestinal tumorigenesis and directs intestinal stem cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(10):2041-2056.
X-box–binding protein 1 suppresses tumor formation in the gut by regulating Ire1α and Stat3-mediated regenerative responses in the epithelium as a consequence of ER stress.
Unresolved endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the epithelium can provoke intestinal inflammation. Hypomorphic variants of ER stress response mediators, such as X-box–binding protein 1 (XBP1), confer genetic risk for inflammatory bowel disease. We report here that hypomorphic Xbp1 function instructs a multilayered regenerative response in the intestinal epithelium. This is characterized by intestinal stem cell (ISC) expansion as shown by an inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (Ire1α)–mediated increase in Lgr5+ and Olfm4+ ISCs and a Stat3-dependent increase in the proliferative output of transit-amplifying cells. These consequences of hypomorphic Xbp1 function are associated with an increased propensity to develop colitis-associated and spontaneous adenomatous polyposis coli (APC)–related tumors of the intestinal epithelium, which in the latter case is shown to be dependent on Ire1α. This study reveals an unexpected role for Xbp1 in suppressing tumor formation through restraint of a pathway that involves an Ire1α- and Stat3-mediated regenerative response of the epithelium as a consequence of ER stress. As such, Xbp1 in the intestinal epithelium not only regulates local inflammation but at the same time also determines the propensity of the epithelium to develop tumors.
PMCID: PMC3782039  PMID: 24043762
9.  Hilar Mossy Cell Degeneration Causes Transient Dentate Granule Cell Hyperexcitability and Impaired Pattern Separation 
Neuron  2012;76(6):1189-1200.
Although excitatory mossy cells of the hippocampal hilar region are known to project both to dentate granule cells and to interneurons, it is as yet unclear whether mossy cell activity’s net effect on granule cells is excitatory or inhibitory. To explore their influence on dentate excitability and hippocampal function, we generated a conditional transgenic mouse line, using the Cre/loxP system, in which diphtheria toxin receptor was selectively expressed in mossy cells. One week after injecting toxin into this line, mossy cells throughout the longitudinal axis were degenerated extensively, theta wave power of dentate local field potentials increased during exploration, and deficits occurred in contextual discrimination. By contrast, we detected no epileptiform activity, spontaneous behavioral seizures, or mossy-fiber sprouting 5–6 weeks after mossy cell degeneration. These results indicate that the net effect of mossy cell excitation is to inhibit granule cell activity and enable dentate pattern separation.
PMCID: PMC3530172  PMID: 23259953
Cre recombinase; dentate excitability; diphtheria toxin; genetic cell ablation; inducible transgenic mice; mossy fiber sprouting; pattern separation; temporal lobe epilepsy
10.  Novel Basophil- or Eosinophil-Depleted Mouse Models for Functional Analyses of Allergic Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60958.
Basophils and eosinophils play important roles in various host defense mechanisms but also act as harmful effectors in allergic disorders. We generated novel basophil- and eosinophil-depletion mouse models by introducing the human diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor gene under the control of the mouse CD203c and the eosinophil peroxidase promoter, respectively, to study the critical roles of these cells in the immunological response. These mice exhibited selective depletion of the target cells upon DT administration. In the basophil-depletion model, DT administration attenuated a drop in body temperature in IgG-mediated systemic anaphylaxis in a dose-dependent manner and almost completely abolished the development of ear swelling in IgE-mediated chronic allergic inflammation (IgE-CAI), a typical skin swelling reaction with massive eosinophil infiltration. In contrast, in the eosinophil-depletion model, DT administration ameliorated the ear swelling in IgE-CAI whether DT was administered before, simultaneously, or after, antigen challenge, with significantly lower numbers of eosinophils infiltrating into the swelling site. These results confirm that basophils and eosinophils act as the initiator and the effector, respectively, in IgE-CAI. In addition, antibody array analysis suggested that eotaxin-2 is a principal chemokine that attracts proinflammatory cells, leading to chronic allergic inflammation. Thus, the two mouse models established in this study are potentially useful and powerful tools for studying the in vivo roles of basophils and eosinophils. The combination of basophil- and eosinophil-depletion mouse models provides a new approach to understanding the complicated mechanism of allergic inflammation in conditions such as atopic dermatitis and asthma.
PMCID: PMC3620047  PMID: 23577180
11.  Exercise-Ankle Brachial Pressure Index with One-Minute Treadmill Walking in Patients on Maintenance Hemodialysis 
Annals of Vascular Diseases  2012;6(1):52-56.
Background: The ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI) is widely used as a standard screening method for arterial occlusive lesion above the knee. However, the sensitivity of ABI is low in hemodialysis (HD) patients. Exercise stress (Ex-ABI) may reduce the false negative results.
Patients and Methods: After measuring resting ABI and toe-brachial pressure index (TBI), ankle pressure and ABI immediately after walking (Post-AP, Post-ABI) were measured using one-minute treadmill walking in 52 lower limbs of 26 HD patients. The definition of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD) required an ABI value of less than 0.90, TBI value of less than 0.60, and decrease of more than 15% of the Post-ABI value and 20 mmHg of Post-AP in Ex-ABI. Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) was performed in 32 lower limbs of 16 HD patients. PAD is defined as presence of stenosis of more than 75% in the case of lesions from an iliac artery to knee on CTA.
Results: The accuracy of Ex-ABI (Sensitivity, 85.7%; Specificity, 77.7%) was higher than those of ABI (Sensitivity, 42.9%; Specificity, 83.3%) or TBI (Sensitivity, 78.6%; Specificity, 61.1%).
Conclusion: Ex-ABI with one-minute treadmill walking is the most useful tool for the screening of arterial occlusive lesions above the knee in maintenance HD patients.
PMCID: PMC3635000  PMID: 23641284
peripheral arterial disease; exercise; diagnosis; screening; hemodialysis
13.  Membrane aberrancy and unfolded proteins activate the endoplasmic reticulum stress sensor Ire1 in different ways 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(18):3520-3532.
In contrast to the classical model, in which unfolded proteins accumulated in the endoplasmic reticulum trigger the unfolded-protein response (UPR), we show that membrane aberrancy also evokes this protective cellular event. This finding may explain UPR activation under various physiological conditions.
Eukaryotic cells activate the unfolded-protein response (UPR) upon endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, where the stress is assumed to be the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER. Consistent with previous in vitro studies of the ER-luminal domain of the mutant UPR initiator Ire1, our study show its association with a model unfolded protein in yeast cells. An Ire1 luminal domain mutation that compromises Ire1's unfolded-protein–associating ability weakens its ability to respond to stress stimuli, likely resulting in the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER. In contrast, this mutant was activated like wild-type Ire1 by depletion of the membrane lipid component inositol or by deletion of genes involved in lipid homeostasis. Another Ire1 mutant lacking the authentic luminal domain was up-regulated by inositol depletion as strongly as wild-type Ire1. We therefore conclude that the cytosolic (or transmembrane) domain of Ire1 senses membrane aberrancy, while, as proposed previously, unfolded proteins accumulating in the ER interact with and activate Ire1.
PMCID: PMC3172275  PMID: 21775630
14.  The period of the somite segmentation clock is sensitive to Notch activity 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(18):3541-3549.
We consider the vertebrate somite segmentation clock as an example of a rhythmic phenomenon that occurs in development. Using mouse genetics and mathematical analyses, we found that the period of the clock in each presomitic cell is sensitive to Notch activity. It may be a system for each cell to adapt to its local environment.
The number of vertebrae is defined strictly for a given species and depends on the number of somites, which are the earliest metameric structures that form in development. Somites are formed by sequential segmentation. The periodicity of somite segmentation is orchestrated by the synchronous oscillation of gene expression in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM), termed the “somite segmentation clock,” in which Notch signaling plays a crucial role. Here we show that the clock period is sensitive to Notch activity, which is fine-tuned by its feedback regulator, Notch-regulated ankyrin repeat protein (Nrarp), and that Nrarp is essential for forming the proper number and morphology of axial skeleton components. Null-mutant mice for Nrarp have fewer vertebrae and have defective morphologies. Notch activity is enhanced in the PSM of the Nrarp−/– embryo, where the ∼2-h segmentation period is extended by 5 min, thereby forming fewer somites and their resultant vertebrae. Reduced Notch activity partially rescues the Nrarp−/– phenotype in the number of somites, but not in morphology. Therefore we propose that the period of the somite segmentation clock is sensitive to Notch activity and that Nrarp plays essential roles in the morphology of vertebrae and ribs.
PMCID: PMC3172277  PMID: 21795391
15.  Selective depletion of mouse kidney proximal straight tubule cells causes acute kidney injury 
Transgenic Research  2011;21(1):51-62.
The proximal straight tubule (S3 segment) of the kidney is highly susceptible to ischemia and toxic insults but has a remarkable capacity to repair its structure and function. In response to such injuries, complex processes take place to regenerate the epithelial cells of the S3 segment; however, the precise molecular mechanisms of this regeneration are still being investigated. By applying the “toxin receptor mediated cell knockout” method under the control of the S3 segment-specific promoter/enhancer, Gsl5, which drives core 2 β-1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase gene expression, we established a transgenic mouse line expressing the human diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor only in the S3 segment. The administration of DT to these transgenic mice caused the selective ablation of S3 segment cells in a dose-dependent manner, and transgenic mice exhibited polyuria containing serum albumin and subsequently developed oliguria. An increase in the concentration of blood urea nitrogen was also observed, and the peak BUN levels occurred 3–7 days after DT administration. Histological analysis revealed that the most severe injury occurred in the S3 segments of the proximal tubule, in which tubular cells were exfoliated into the tubular lumen. In addition, aquaporin 7, which is localized exclusively to the S3 segment, was diminished. These results indicate that this transgenic mouse can suffer acute kidney injury (AKI) caused by S3 segment-specific damage after DT administration. This transgenic line offers an excellent model to uncover the mechanisms of AKI and its rapid recovery.
PMCID: PMC3264875  PMID: 21431867
Kidney proximal straight tubules; Transgenic mouse; Diphtheria toxin receptor; Acute kidney injury (acute renal failure)
16.  Reconstitution and characterization of the unconventional splicing of XBP1u mRNA in vitro 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(12):5245-5254.
Upon endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, mammalian cells induce the synthesis of a transcriptional activator XBP1s to alleviate the stress. Under unstressed conditions, the messenger RNA (mRNA) for XBP1s exists in the cytosol as an unspliced precursor form, XBP1u mRNA. Thus, its intron must be removed for the synthesis of XBP1s. Upon ER stress, a stress sensor IRE1α cleaves XBP1u mRNA to initiate the unconventional splicing of XBP1u mRNA on the ER membrane. The liberated two exons are ligated to form the mature XBP1s mRNA. However, the mechanism of this splicing is still obscure mainly because the enzyme that joins XBP1s mRNA halves is unknown. Here, we reconstituted the whole splicing reaction of XBP1u mRNA in vitro. Using this assay, we showed that, consistent with the in vivo studies, mammalian cytosol indeed had RNA ligase that could join XBP1s mRNA halves. Further, the cleavage of XBP1u mRNA with IRE1α generated 2′, 3′-cyclic phosphate structure at the cleavage site. Interestingly, this phosphate was incorporated into XBP1s mRNA by the enzyme in the cytosol to ligate the two exons. These studies reveal the utility of the assay system and the unique properties of the mammalian cytosolic enzyme that can promote the splicing of XBP1u mRNA.
PMCID: PMC3130286  PMID: 21398633
17.  Conversion of Adult Pancreatic α-cells to β-cells After Extreme β-cell Loss 
Nature  2010;464(7292):1149-1154.
Pancreatic insulin-producing β-cells have a long lifespan, such that in healthy conditions they replicate little during a lifetime. Nevertheless, they show increased self-duplication upon increased metabolic demand or after injury (i.e. β-cell loss). It is unknown if adult mammals can differentiate (regenerate) new β-cells after extreme, total β-cell loss, as in diabetes. This would imply differentiation from precursors or other heterologous (non β-cell) source. Here we show β-cell regeneration in a transgenic model of diphtheria toxin (DT)-induced acute selective near-total β-cell ablation. If given insulin, the mice survived and displayed β-cell mass augmentation with time. Lineage-tracing to label the glucagon-producing α-cells before β-cell ablation tracked large fractions of regenerated β-cells as deriving from α-cells, revealing a previously disregarded degree of pancreatic cell plasticity. Such inter-endocrine spontaneous adult cell conversion could be harnessed towards methods of producing β-cells for diabetes therapies, either in differentiation settings in vitro or in induced regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2877635  PMID: 20364121
transgenic; mouse; pancreas; islet; insulin; glucagon; diabetes; regeneration; transdifferentiation; reprogramming; cell plasticity; cell lineage tracing; cell ablation; diphtheria toxin; precursor cell;  β ;  α
18.  IRE1α Disruption Causes Histological Abnormality of Exocrine Tissues, Increase of Blood Glucose Level, and Decrease of Serum Immunoglobulin Level 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e13052.
Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes ER stress. As a cellular adaptive response to ER stress, unfolded protein response (UPR) activates molecules for the quality control of ER proteins. One enzyme that plays an important role in UPR is Inositol Requiring Enzyme-1 (IRE1), which is highly conserved from yeast to humans. In particular, mammalian IRE1α activates X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) by unconventional splicing of XBP1 mRNA during ER stress. From analysis of knockout mice, both IRE1α and XBP1 have been shown to be essential for development and that XBP1 is necessary for the secretory machinery of exocrine glands, plasma cell differentiation, and hepatic lipogenesis. However, the essentiality of IRE1α in specific organs and tissues remains incompletely understood. Here, we analyzed the phenotype of IRE1α conditional knockout mice and found that IRE1α-deficient mice exhibit mild hypoinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and a low-weight trend. Moreover, IRE1α disruption causes histological abnormality of the pancreatic acinar and salivary serous tissues and decrease of serum level of immunoglobulin produced in the plasma cells, but not dysfunction of liver. Comparison of this report with previous reports regarding XBP1 conditional knockout mice might provide some clues for the discovery of the novel functions of IRE1α and XBP1. (196 words)
PMCID: PMC2946364  PMID: 20885949
19.  Neurons derived from transplanted neural stem cells restore disrupted neuronal circuitry in a mouse model of spinal cord injury 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(9):3255-3266.
The body’s capacity to restore damaged neural networks in the injured CNS is severely limited. Although various treatment regimens can partially alleviate spinal cord injury (SCI), the mechanisms responsible for symptomatic improvement remain elusive. Here, using a mouse model of SCI, we have shown that transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) together with administration of valproic acid (VPA), a known antiepileptic and histone deacetylase inhibitor, dramatically enhanced the restoration of hind limb function. VPA treatment promoted the differentiation of transplanted NSCs into neurons rather than glial cells. Transsynaptic anterograde corticospinal tract tracing revealed that transplant-derived neurons reconstructed broken neuronal circuits, and electron microscopic analysis revealed that the transplant-derived neurons both received and sent synaptic connections to endogenous neurons. Ablation of the transplanted cells abolished the recovery of hind limb motor function, confirming that NSC transplantation directly contributed to restored motor function. These findings raise the possibility that epigenetic status in transplanted NSCs can be manipulated to provide effective treatment for SCI.
PMCID: PMC2929730  PMID: 20714104
20.  Sprouty4, an FGF Inhibitor, Displays Cyclic Gene Expression under the Control of the Notch Segmentation Clock in the Mouse PSM 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5603.
During vertebrate embryogenesis, somites are generated at regular intervals, the temporal and spatial periodicity of which is governed by a gradient of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and/or Wnt signaling activity in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) in conjunction with oscillations of gene expression of components of the Notch, Wnt and FGF signaling pathways.
Principal Findings
Here, we show that the expression of Sprouty4, which encodes an FGF inhibitor, oscillates in 2-h cycles in the mouse PSM in synchrony with other oscillating genes from the Notch signaling pathway, such as lunatic fringe. Sprouty4 does not oscillate in Hes7-null mutant mouse embryos, and Hes7 can inhibit FGF-induced transcriptional activity of the Sprouty4 promoter.
Thus, periodic expression of Sprouty4 is controlled by the Notch segmentation clock and may work as a mediator that links the temporal periodicity of clock gene oscillations with the spatial periodicity of boundary formation which is regulated by the gradient of FGF/Wnt activity.
PMCID: PMC2680047  PMID: 19440349
21.  Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rot1 Is an Essential Molecular Chaperone in the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(8):3514-3525.
Molecular chaperones prevent aggregation of denatured proteins in vitro and are thought to support folding of diverse proteins in vivo. Chaperones may have some selectivity for their substrate proteins, but knowledge of particular in vivo substrates is still poor. We here show that yeast Rot1, an essential, type-I ER membrane protein functions as a chaperone. Recombinant Rot1 exhibited antiaggregation activity in vitro, which was partly impaired by a temperature-sensitive rot1-2 mutation. In vivo, the rot1-2 mutation caused accelerated degradation of five proteins in the secretory pathway via ER-associated degradation, resulting in a decrease in their cellular levels. Furthermore, we demonstrate a physical and probably transient interaction of Rot1 with four of these proteins. Collectively, these results indicate that Rot1 functions as a chaperone in vivo supporting the folding of those proteins. Their folding also requires BiP, and one of these proteins was simultaneously associated with both Rot1 and BiP, suggesting that they can cooperate to facilitate protein folding. The Rot1-dependent proteins include a soluble, type I and II, and polytopic membrane proteins, and they do not share structural similarities. In addition, their dependency on Rot1 appeared different. We therefore propose that Rot1 is a general chaperone with some substrate specificity.
PMCID: PMC2488298  PMID: 18508919
22.  Two regulatory steps of ER-stress sensor Ire1 involving its cluster formation and interaction with unfolded proteins 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(1):75-86.
Chaperone protein BiP binds to Ire1 and dissociates in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. However, it remains unclear how the signal transducer Ire1 senses ER stress and is subsequently activated. The crystal structure of the core stress-sensing region (CSSR) of yeast Ire1 luminal domain led to the controversial suggestion that the molecule can bind to unfolded proteins. We demonstrate that, upon ER stress, Ire1 clusters and actually interacts with unfolded proteins. Ire1 mutations that affect these phenomena reveal that Ire1 is activated via two steps, both of which are ER stress regulated, albeit in different ways. In the first step, BiP dissociation from Ire1 leads to its cluster formation. In the second step, direct interaction of unfolded proteins with the CSSR orients the cytosolic effector domains of clustered Ire1 molecules.
PMCID: PMC2064738  PMID: 17923530
23.  A role for BiP as an adjustor for the endoplasmic reticulum stress-sensing protein Ire1 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;167(3):445-456.
In the unfolded protein response, the type I transmembrane protein Ire1 transmits an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signal to the cytoplasm. We previously reported that under nonstressed conditions, the ER chaperone BiP binds and represses Ire1. It is still unclear how this event contributes to the overall regulation of Ire1. The present Ire1 mutation study shows that the luminal domain possesses two subregions that seem indispensable for activity. The BiP-binding site was assigned not to these subregions, but to a region neighboring the transmembrane domain. Phenotypic comparison of several Ire1 mutants carrying deletions in the indispensable subregions suggests these subregions are responsible for multiple events that are prerequisites for activation of the overall Ire1 proteins. Unexpectedly, deletion of the BiP-binding site rendered Ire1 unaltered in ER stress inducibility, but hypersensitive to ethanol and high temperature. We conclude that in the ER stress-sensory system BiP is not the principal determinant of Ire1 activity, but an adjustor for sensitivity to various stresses.
PMCID: PMC2172501  PMID: 15520230
24.  Genetic Evidence for a Role of BiP/Kar2 That Regulates Ire1 in Response to Accumulation of Unfolded Proteins 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(6):2559-2569.
In the unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathway, accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) activates a transmembrane kinase/ribonuclease Ire1, which causes the transcriptional induction of ER-resident chaperones, including BiP/Kar2. It was previously hypothesized that BiP/Kar2 plays a direct role in the signaling mechanism. In this model, association of BiP/Kar2 with Ire1 represses the UPR pathway while under conditions of ER stress, BiP/Kar2 dissociation leads to activation. To test this model, we analyzed five temperature-sensitive alleles of the yeast KAR2 gene. When cells carrying a mutation in the Kar2 substrate-binding domain were incubated at the restrictive temperature, association of Kar2 to Ire1 was disrupted, and the UPR pathway was activated even in the absence of extrinsic ER stress. Conversely, cells carrying a mutation in the Kar2 ATPase domain, in which Kar2 poorly dissociated from Ire1 even in the presence of tunicamycin, a potent inducer of ER stress, were unable to activate the pathway. Our findings provide strong evidence in support of BiP/Kar2-dependent Ire1 regulation model and suggest that Ire1 associates with Kar2 as a chaperone substrate. We speculate that recognition of unfolded proteins is based on their competition with Ire1 for binding with BiP/Kar2.
PMCID: PMC194903  PMID: 12808051

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