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1.  Identification of New SRF Binding Sites in Genes Modulated by SRF Over-Expression in Mouse Hearts 
To identify in vivo new cardiac binding sites of serum response factor (SRF) in genes and to study the response of these genes to mild over-expression of SRF, we employed a cardiac-specific, transgenic mouse model, with mild over-expression of SRF (Mild-O SRF Tg).
Microarray experiments were performed on hearts of Mild-O-SRF Tg at 6 months of age. We identified 207 genes that are important for cardiac function that were differentially expressed in vivo. Among them the promoter region of 192 genes had SRF binding motifs, the classic CArG or CArG-like (CArG-L) elements. Fifty-one of the 56 genes with classic SRF binding sites had not been previously reported. These SRF-modulated genes were grouped into 12 categories based on their function. It was observed that genes associated with cardiac energy metabolism shifted toward that of carbohydrate metabolism and away from that of fatty acid metabolism. The expression of genes that are involved in transcription and ion regulation were decreased, but expression of cytoskeletal genes was significantly increased. Using public databases of mouse models of hemodynamic stress (GEO database), we also found that similar altered expression of the SRF-modulated genes occurred in these hearts with cardiac ischemia or aortic constriction as well.
Conclusion and significance:
SRF-modulated genes are actively regulated under various physiological and pathological conditions. We have discovered that a large number of cardiac genes have classic SRF binding sites and were significantly modulated in the Mild-O-SRF Tg mouse hearts. Hence, the mild elevation of SRF protein in the heart that is observed during typical adult aging may have a major impact on many SRF-modulated genes, thereby affecting cardiac structure and performance. The results from our study could help to enhance our understanding of SRF regulation of cellular processes in the aged heart.
PMCID: PMC3140411  PMID: 21792293
SRF modulated genes; SRF binding sites; mouse heart; mild-SRF over-expression; gene expression; striated muscle
2.  Expression and activation of the oxytocin receptor in airway smooth muscle cells: Regulation by TNFα and IL-13 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):104.
During pregnancy asthma may remain stable, improve or worsen. The factors underlying the deleterious effect of pregnancy on asthma remain unknown. Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal protein that regulates a number of central and peripheral responses such as uterine contractions and milk ejection. Additional evidence suggests that oxytocin regulates inflammatory processes in other tissues given the ubiquitous expression of the oxytocin receptor. The purpose of this study was to define the role of oxytocin in modulating human airway smooth muscle (HASMCs) function in the presence and absence of IL-13 and TNFα, cytokines known to be important in asthma.
Expression of oxytocin receptor in cultured HASMCs was performed by real time PCR and flow cytomery assays. Responses to oxytocin was assessed by fluorimetry to detect calcium signals while isolated tracheal rings and precision cut lung slices (PCLS) were used to measure contractile responses. Finally, ELISA was used to compare oxytocin levels in the bronchoalveloar lavage (BAL) samples from healthy subjects and those with asthma.
PCR analysis demonstrates that OXTR is expressed in HASMCs under basal conditions and that both interleukin (IL)-13 and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) stimulate a time-dependent increase in OXTR expression at 6 and 18 hr. Additionally, oxytocin increases cytosolic calcium levels in fura-2-loaded HASMCs that were enhanced in cells treated for 24 hr with IL-13. Interestingly, TNFα had little effect on oxytocin-induced calcium response despite increasing receptor expression. Using isolated murine tracheal rings and PCLS, oxytocin also promoted force generation and airway narrowing. Further, oxytocin levels are detectable in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid derived from healthy subjects as well as from those with asthma.
Taken together, we show that cytokines modulate the expression of functional oxytocin receptors in HASMCs suggesting a potential role for inflammation-induced changes in oxytocin receptor signaling in the regulation of airway hyper-responsiveness in asthma.
PMCID: PMC2922094  PMID: 20670427
3.  The effect of IL-13 and IL-13R130Q, a naturally occurring IL-13 polymorphism, on the gene expression of human airway smooth muscle cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):9.
Growing evidence shows that interleukin 13 (IL-13) may play an essential role in the development of airway inflammation and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), two defining features of asthma. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown, a number of reports have shown that IL-13 may exert its deleterious effects in asthma by directly acting on airway resident cells, including epithelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells. In this report, we hypothesize that IL-13 may participate in the pathogenesis of asthma by activating a set of "pro-asthmatic" genes in airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells.
Microarray technology was used to study the modulation of gene expression of airway smooth muscle by IL-13 and IL-13R130Q. TaqMan™ Real Time PCR and flow cytometry was used to validate the gene array data.
IL-13 and the IL-13 polymorphism IL-13R130Q (Arg130Gln), recently associated with allergic asthma, seem to modulate the same set of genes, which encode many potentially interesting proteins including vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, IL-13Rα2, Tenascin C and Histamine Receptor H1, that may be relevant for the pathogenesis of asthma.
The data supports the hypothesis that gene modulation by IL-13 in ASM may be essential for the events leading to the development of allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC548512  PMID: 15661077

Results 1-3 (3)