Oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling through the Ras-Raf-Mek-Erk (Ras-MAPK) pathway is implicated in a wide array of carcinomas, including those of the breast. The cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are implicated in regulating proliferative and survival signaling downstream of this pathway. Here, we show that CDK inhibitors exhibit an order of magnitude greater cytotoxic potency than a suite of inhibitors targeting RTK and Ras-MAPK signaling in cell lines representative of clinically recognized breast cancer (BC) subtypes. Drug combination studies show that the pan-CDK inhibitor, flavopiridol (FPD), synergistically potentiated cytotoxicity induced by the Raf inhibitor, sorafenib (SFN). This synergy was most pronounced at sub-EC50 SFN concentrations in MDA-MB-231 (KRAS-G13D and BRAF-G464V mutations), MDA-MB-468 [epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression], and SKBR3 [ErbB2/EGFR2 (HER-2) overexpression] cells but not in hormone-dependent MCF-7 and T47D cells. Potentiation of SFN cytotoxicity by FPD correlated with enhanced apoptosis, suppression of retinoblastoma (Rb) signaling, and reduced Mcl-1 expression. SFN and FPD were also tested in an MDA-MB-231 mammary fat pad engraftment model of tumorigenesis. Mice treated with both drugs exhibited reduced primary tumor growth rates and metastatic tumor load in the lungs compared to treatment with either drug alone, and this correlated with greater reductions in Rb signaling and Mcl-1 expression in resected tumors. These findings support the development of CDK and Raf co-targeting strategies in EGFR/HER-2-overexpressing or RAS/RAF mutant BCs.
Neutrophil recruitment and directional movement toward chemotactic stimuli are important processes in innate immune responses. This study examines the role of Fer kinase in neutrophil recruitment and chemotaxis to various chemoattractants in vitro and in vivo. Mice targeted with a kinase-inactivating mutation (FerDR/DR) or wild type (WT) were studied using time-lapse intravital microscopy to examine leukocyte recruitment and chemotaxis in vivo. In response to keratinocyte-derived cytokine, no difference in leukocyte chemotaxis was observed between WT and FerDR/DR mice. However, in response to the chemotactic peptide WKYMVm, a selective agonist of the formyl peptide receptor, a 2-fold increase in leukocyte emigration was noted in FerDR/DR mice (p < 0.05). To determine whether these defects were due to Fer signaling in the endothelium or other nonhematopoietic cells, bone marrow chimeras were generated. WKYMVm-induced leukocyte recruitment in chimeric mice (WT bone marrow to FerDR/DR recipients or vice versa) was similar to WT mice, suggesting that Fer kinase signaling in both leukocytes and endothelial cells serves to limit chemotaxis. Purified FerDR/DR neutrophils demonstrated enhanced chemotaxis toward end target chemoattractants (WKYMVm and C5a) compared with WT using an under-agarose gel chemotaxis assay. These defects were not observed in response to intermediate chemoattractants (keratinocyte-derived cytokine, MIP-2, or LTB4). Increased WKYMVm-induced chemotaxis of FerDR/DR neutrophils correlated with sustained PI3K activity and reduced reliance on the p38 MAPK pathway compared with WT neutrophils. Together, these data identify Fer as a novel inhibitory kinase for neutrophil chemotaxis toward end target chemoattractants through modulation of PI3K activity.
Recently we have shown that calpain-1 activation contributes to cardiomyocyte apoptosis induced by hyperglycemia. This study was undertaken to investigate whether targeted disruption of calpain would reduce myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis in mouse models of type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Diabetes in mice was induced by injection of streptozotocin (STZ), and OVE26 mice were also used as a type 1 diabetic model. The function of calpain was genetically manipulated by cardiomyocyte-specific knockout Capn4 in mice and the use of calpastatin transgenic mice. Myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis were investigated 2 and 5 months after STZ injection or in OVE26 diabetic mice at the age of 5 months. Cultured isolated adult mouse cardiac fibroblast cells were also investigated under high glucose conditions.
Calpain activity, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional areas, and myocardial collagen deposition were significantly increased in both STZ-induced and OVE26 diabetic hearts, and these were accompanied by elevated expression of hypertrophic and fibrotic collagen genes. Deficiency of Capn4 or overexpression of calpastatin reduced myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis in both diabetic models, leading to the improvement of myocardial function. These effects were associated with a normalization of the nuclear factor of activated T-cell nuclear factor-κB and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activities in diabetic hearts. In cultured cardiac fibroblasts, high glucose–induced proliferation and MMP activities were prevented by calpain inhibition.
Myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis in diabetic mice are attenuated by reduction of calpain function. Thus targeted inhibition of calpain represents a potential novel therapeutic strategy for reversing diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Apicomplexan parasites, including Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii (the causative agents of malaria and toxoplasmosis, respectively), are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. These pathogenic protozoa replicate within an intracellular vacuole inside of infected host cells, from which they must escape to initiate a new lytic cycle. By integrating cell biological, pharmacological, and genetic approaches, we provide evidence that both Plasmodium and Toxoplasma hijack host cell calpain proteases to facilitate parasite egress. Immunodepletion or inhibition of calpain-1 in hypotonically lysed and resealed erythrocytes prevented the escape of P. falciparum parasites, which was restored by adding purified calpain-1. Similarly, efficient egress of T. gondii from mammalian fibroblasts was blocked by either small interfering RNA–mediated suppression or genetic deletion of calpain activity and could be restored by genetic complementation.
Fes is protein tyrosine kinase with cell autonomous oncogenic activities that are well established in cell culture and animal models, but its involvement in human cancer has been unclear. Abundant expression of Fes in vascular endothelial cells and myeloid cell lineages prompted us to explore roles for Fes in the tumor microenvironment. In an orthotopic mouse model of breast cancer, we found that loss of Fes in the host correlated with reductions in engrafted tumor growth rates, metastasis and circulating tumor cells. The tumor microenvironment in Fes-deficient mice also showed reduced vascularity and fewer macrophages. In co-culture with tumor cells, Fes-deficient macrophages also poorly promoted tumor cell invasive behavior. Taken together, our observations argue that Fes inhibition might provide therapeutic benefits in breast cancer, in part by attenuating tumor-associated angiogenesis and the metastasis-promoting functions of tumor-associated macrophages.
Tumor-associated macrophages; Fes tyrosine kinase; metastasis; circulating tumor cells; angiogenesis
Pulmonary hypertension is a severe and progressive disease, a key feature of which is pulmonary vascular remodeling. Several growth factors, including EGF, PDGF, and TGF-β1, are involved in pulmonary vascular remodeling during pulmonary hypertension. However, increased knowledge of the downstream signaling cascades is needed if effective clinical interventions are to be developed. In this context, calpain provides an interesting candidate therapeutic target, since it is activated by EGF and PDGF and has been reported to activate TGF-β1. Thus, in this study, we examined the role of calpain in pulmonary vascular remodeling in two rodent models of pulmonary hypertension. These data showed that attenuated calpain activity in calpain-knockout mice or rats treated with a calpain inhibitor resulted in prevention of increased right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, as well as collagen deposition and thickening of pulmonary arterioles in models of hypoxia- and monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, inhibition of calpain in vitro blocked intracellular activation of TGF-β1, which led to attenuated Smad2/3 phosphorylation and collagen synthesis. Finally, smooth muscle cells of pulmonary arterioles from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension showed higher levels of calpain activation and intracellular active TGF-β. Our data provide evidence that calpain mediates EGF- and PDGF-induced collagen synthesis and proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells via an intracrine TGF-β1 pathway in pulmonary hypertension.
Cell migration involves the dynamic formation and release of cell-substrate adhesions, where the exertion and detection of mechanical forces take place. Members of the calpain family of calcium-dependent proteases are believed to have a central role in these processes, possibly through the regulation of focal adhesion dynamics. The ubiquitous calpains, calpain 1 (μ-calpain) and calpain 2 (m-calpain), are heterodimers consisting of large catalytic subunits encoded by the Capn1 and Capn2 genes, respectively, and the small regulatory subunit encoded by Capn4. We have examined the role of the calpain regulatory small subunit in traction force production and mechanosensing during cell migration. Capn4-deficient or rescued cells were plated on flexible polyacrylamide substrates, for both the detection of traction forces and the application of mechanical stimuli. The total force output of Capn4-deficient cells was ~75% lower than that of rescued cells and the forces were more randomly distributed and less dynamic in Capn4-deficient cells than in rescued cells. Furthermore, Capn4-deficient cells were less adhesive than wild-type cells and they also failed to respond to mechanical stimulations by pushing or pulling the flexible substrate, or by engaging dorsal receptors to the extracellular matrix. Surprisingly, fibroblasts deficient in calpain 1 or calpain 2 upon siRNA-mediated knockdown of Capn1 or Capn2, respectively, did not show the same defects in force production or adhesion, although they also failed to respond to mechanical stimulation. Interestingly, stress fibers were aberrant and also contained fewer colocalised vinculin-containing adhesions in Capn4-deficient cells than Capn1- and Capn2-knockdown cells. Together, these results suggest that the calpain small subunit plays an important role in the production of mechanical forces and in mediating mechanosensing during fibroblast migration. Furthermore, the Capn4 gene product might perform functions secondary to, or independent of, its role as a regulatory subunit for calpain 1 and calpain 2.
Calpain; Migration; Focal adhesions; Mechanosensing; Traction force
Mechanically damaged plasma membrane undergoes rapid calcium-dependent resealing that appears to depend, at least in part, on calpain-mediated cortical cytoskeletal remodeling. Cells null for Capns1, the non-catalytic small subunit present in both m- and μ-calpains, do not undergo calcium-mediated resealing. However, it is not known which of these calpains is needed for repair, or whether other major cytosolic proteinases may participate. Utilizing isozyme-selective siRNAs to decrease expression of Capn1 or Capn2, catalytic subunits of μ- and m-calpains, respectively, in a mouse embryonic fibroblast cell line, we now show that substantial loss of both activities is required to compromise calcium-mediated survival after cell scrape-damage. Using skeletal myotubes derived from Capn3–null mice, we were unable to demonstrate loss of sarcolemma resealing after needle scratch or laser damage. Isolated muscle fibers from Capn3 knockout mice also efficiently repaired laser damage. Employing either a cell line expressing a temperature sensitive E1 ubiquitin ligase, or lactacystin, a specific proteasome inhibitor, it was not possible to demonstrate an effect of the proteasome on calcium-mediated survival after injury. Moreover, several cell-permeant caspase inhibitors were incapable of significantly decreasing survival or inhibiting membrane repair. Taken together with previous studies, the results show that m- or μ-calpain can facilitate repair of damaged plasma membrane. While there was no evidence for the involvement of calpain-3, the proteasome or caspases in early events of plasma membrane repair, our studies do not rule out their participation in downstream events that may link plasma membrane repair to adaptive remodeling after injury.
calpain; proteasome; caspase; membrane repair
Calpains are calcium-dependent intracellular cysteine proteases, which include ubiquitously expressed μ- and m-calpains. Both calpains are heterodimers consisting of a large catalytic subunit and a small regulatory subunit. The calpain small subunit encoded by the gene Capn4 directly binds to the intracellular C-terminal tail of the receptor for the parathyroid hormone (PTH) and PTH-related peptide and modulates cellular functions in cells of the osteoblast lineage in vitro and in vivo. To investigate a physiological role of the calpain small subunit in cells of the chondrocyte lineage, we generated chondrocyte-specific Capn4 knockout mice. Mutant embryos had reduced chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation in embryonic growth plates compared with control littermates. In vitro analysis further revealed that deletion of Capn4 in cells of the chondrocyte lineage correlated with impaired cell cycle progression at the G1/S transition, reduced cyclin D gene transcription, and accumulated cell cycle proteins known as calpain substrates. Moreover, silencing of p27Kip1 rescued an impaired cell growth phenotype in Capn4 knockdown cells, and reintroducing the calpain small subunit partially normalized cell growth and accumulated cyclin D protein levels in a dose-dependent manner. Collectively, our findings suggest that the calpain small subunit is essential for proper chondrocyte functions in embryonic growth plates.
Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) is critical for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1)-dependent cell death (parthanatos). The molecular mechanism of mitochondrial AIF release to the nucleus remains obscure, although a possible role of calpain I has been suggested. Here we show that calpain is not required for mitochondrial AIF release in parthanatos. Although calpain I cleaved recombinant AIF in a cell free system, in intact cells under conditions where endogenous calpain was activated by either NMDA or MNNG administration, AIF was not cleaved, and it was released from mitochondria to the nucleus in its 62 kDa uncleaved form. Moreover, NMDA administration under conditions that failed to activate calpain still robustly induced AIF nuclear translocation. Inhibition of calpain with calpastatin or genetic knockout of the regulatory subunit of calpain failed to prevent NMDA- or MNNG-induced AIF nuclear translocation and subsequent cell death, respectively, which was markedly prevented by the PARP-1 inhibitor DPQ. Our study clearly shows that calpain activation is not required for AIF release during parthanatos, suggesting that other mechanisms rather than calpain are involved in mitochondrial AIF release in parthanatos.
Apoptosis-inducing factor; calpain; parthanatos; poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1
T cell activation and immune synapse formation require the appropriate activation and clustering of the integrin, LFA-1. Previous work has reported that the calpain family of calcium-dependent proteases are important regulators of integrin activation and modulate T cell adhesion and migration. However, these studies have been limited by the use of calpain inhibitors, which have known off-target effects.
Here, we used a LoxP/CRE system to specifically deplete calpain 4, a small regulatory calpain subunit required for expression and activity of ubiquitously expressed calpains 1 and 2, in CD4+ T cells. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells developed normally in Capn4F/F:CD4-CRE mice and had severely diminished expression of Calpain 1 and 2, diminished talin proteolysis and impaired casein degradation. Calpain 4-deficient T cells showed no difference in adhesion or migration on the LFA-1 ligand ICAM-1 compared to control T cells. Moreover, there was no impairment in conjugation between Capn4F/F:CD4-CRE T cells and antigen presenting cells, and the conjugates were still capable of polarizing LFA-1, PKC-theta and actin to the immune synapse. Furthermore, T cells from Capn4F/F:CD4-CRE mice showed normal proliferation in response to either anti-CD3/CD28 coated beads or cognate antigen-loaded splenocytes. Finally, there were no differences in the rates of apoptosis following extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic stimuli.
Our findings demonstrate that calpain 4 is not necessary for LFA-1-mediated adhesion, conjugation or migration. These results challenge previous reports that implicate a central role for calpains in the regulation of T cell LFA-1 function.
The molecular details linking integrin engagement to downstream cortactin (Ctn) tyrosine phosphorylation are largely unknown. In this report, we show for the first time that Fer and Ctn are potently tyrosine phosphorylated in response to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in a variety of cell types. Working with catalytically inactive fer and src/yes/fyn-deficient murine embryonic fibroblasts (ferDR/DR and syf MEF, respectively), we observed that H2O2-induced Ctn tyrosine phosphorylation is primarily dependent on Fer but not Src family kinase (SFK) activity. We also demonstrated for the first time that Fer is activated by fibronectin engagement and, in concert with SFKs, mediates Ctn tyrosine phosphorylation in integrin signaling pathways. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers or the NADPH oxidase inhibitor, diphenylene iodonium, attenuated integrin-induced Fer and Ctn tyrosine phosphorylation. Taken together, these findings provide novel genetic evidence that a ROS-Fer signaling arm contributes to SFK-mediated Ctn tyrosine phosphorylation in integrin signaling. Lastly, a migration defect in ferDR/DR MEF suggests that integrin signaling through the ROS-Fer-Ctn signaling arm may be linked to mechanisms governing cell motility. These data demonstrate for the first time an oxidative link between integrin adhesion and an actin-binding protein involved in actin polymerization.
Fps/Fes and Fer are the only two members of a distinct subclass of cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinases. Fps/Fes was previously implicated in Semaphorin 3A (Sema3A)-induced growth cone collapse signaling in neurons from the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) through interaction with and phosphorylation of the Sema3A receptor component PlexinA1, and members of the collapsin response mediator protein (CRMP) family of microtubule regulators. However, the potential role of the closely related Fer kinase has not been examined.
Here we provide novel biochemical and genetic evidence that Fer plays a prominent role in microtubule regulation in DRG neurons in response to Sema3A. Although Fps/Fes and Fer were both expressed in neonatal brains and isolated DRGs, Fer was expressed at higher levels; and Fer, but not Fps/Fes kinase activity was detected in vivo. Fer also showed higher in vitro kinase activity toward tubulin, as an exogenous substrate; and this activity was higher when the kinases were isolated from perinatal relative to adult brain stages. CRMP2 was a substrate for both kinases in vitro, but both CRMP2 and PlexinA1 inhibited their autophosphorylation activities. Cultured mouse DRG neurons retracted their axons upon exposure to Sema3A, and this response was significantly diminished in Fer-deficient, but only slightly attenuated in Fps/Fes-deficient DRG neurons.
Fps/Fes and Fer are both capable of phosphorylating tubulin and the microtubule regulator CRMP2 in vitro; and their in vitro kinase activities were both inhibited by CRMP2 or PlexinA1, suggesting a possible regulatory interaction. Furthermore, Fer plays a more prominent role than Fps/Fes in regulating the axon retraction response to Sema3A in DRG neurons. Therefore, Fps/Fes and Fer may play important roles in developmental or regenerative axon pathfinding through signaling from Sema3A to the microtubule cytoskeleton.
Alkylating DNA damage induces a necrotic type of programmed cell death through the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARP) and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). Following PARP activation, AIF is released from mitochondria and translocates to the nucleus, where it causes chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. By employing a large panel of gene knockout cells, we identified and describe here two essential molecular links between PARP and AIF: calpains and Bax. Alkylating DNA damage initiated a p53-independent form of death involving PARP-1 but not PARP-2. Once activated, PARP-1 mediated mitochondrial AIF release and necrosis through a mechanism requiring calpains but not cathepsins or caspases. Importantly, single ablation of the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bax, but not Bak, prevented both AIF release and alkylating DNA damage-induced death. Thus, Bax is indispensable for this type of necrosis. Our data also revealed that Bcl-2 regulates N-methyl-N′-nitro-N′-nitrosoguanidine-induced necrosis. Finally, we established the molecular ordering of PARP-1, calpains, Bax, and AIF activation, and we showed that AIF downregulation confers resistance to alkylating DNA damage-induced necrosis. Our data shed new light on the mechanisms regulating AIF-dependent necrosis and support the notion that, like apoptosis, necrosis could be a highly regulated cell death program.
Cortactin regulates the strength of nascent N-cadherin-mediated intercellular adhesions through a tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent mechanism. Currently, the functional significance of cortactin phosphorylation and the kinases responsible for the regulation of adhesion strength are not defined. We show that the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Fer phosphorylates cadherin-associated cortactin and that this process is involved in mediating intercellular adhesion strength. In wild-type fibroblasts N-cadherin ligation-induced transient phosphorylation of Fer, indicating that junction formation activates Fer kinase. Tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin after N-cadherin ligation was strongly reduced in fibroblasts expressing only catalytically inactive Fer (D743R), compared with wild-type cells. In wild-type cells, N-cadherin-coated bead pull-off assays induced fourfold greater endogenous N-cadherin association than in D743R cells. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching showed that GFP-N-cadherin mobility at nascent contacts was 50% faster in wild-type than D743R cells. In shear wash-off assays, nascent intercellular adhesion strength was twofold higher in wild-type than D743R cells. Cortactin recruitment to adhesions was independent of Fer kinase activity, but was impacted by N-cadherin ligation-provoked Rac activation. We conclude that N-cadherin ligation induces Rac-dependent cortactin recruitment and Fer-dependent cortactin phosphorylation, which in turn promotes enhanced mobilization and interaction of surface expressed N-cadherin in contacting cells.
μ-calpain and m-calpain are ubiquitously expressed proteases implicated in cellular migration, cell cycle progression, degenerative processes and cell death. These heterodimeric enzymes are composed of distinct catalytic subunits, encoded by Capn1 (μ-calpain) or Capn2 (m-calpain), and a common regulatory subunit encoded by Capn4. Disruption of the mouse Capn4 gene abolished both μ-calpain and m-calpain activity, and resulted in embryonic lethality, thereby suggesting essential roles for one or both of these enzymes during mammalian embryogenesis. Disruption of the Capn1 gene produced viable, fertile mice implying that either m-calpain could compensate for the loss of μ-calpain, or that the loss of m-calpain was responsible for death of Capn4-/- mice.
To distinguish between the alternatives described above, we deleted an essential coding region in the mouse Capn2 gene in embryonic stems cells and transmitted this mutant allele through the mouse germline. Breeding of heterozygous animals failed to produce homozygous mutant live offspring or implanted embryos. A nested PCR genotyping protocol was established, and homozygous preimplantation mutant embryos were detected at the morula but not at the blastocyts stage.
We conclude that homozygous disruption of the Capn2 gene results in pre-implantation embryonic lethality between the morula and blastocyst stage. This establishes that μ-calpain and m-calpain have distinct functions, and that m-calpain is vital for development of the preimplantation murine embryo.
Mast cells play important roles in inflammation and immunity and express the high-affinity immunoglobulin E receptor (FcɛRI) and the receptor protein-tyrosine kinase Kit. Aggregation of FcɛRI via antigen binding elicits signals leading to the release of preformed inflammatory mediators as well as de novo-synthesized lipid mediators and cytokines and to elevated cell adhesion and migration. Here, we report that in mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells, Fer kinase is activated downstream of activated FcɛRI and activated Kit receptor, and this activation is abolished in cells homozygous for a kinase-inactivating mutation in Fer (ferDR/DR). Interestingly, the highly related Fps/Fes kinase is also activated upon FcɛRI aggregation. This report represents the first description of a common signaling pathway activating Fer and Fps/Fes. While Fer-deficient cells showed similar activation of the Erk mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, p38 MAP kinase activation was less sustained than that in wild-type cells. Although no major defects were observed in degranulation, leukotriene biosynthesis, and cytokine secretion, Fer-deficient cells displayed increased adhesion and decreased motility upon activation of FcɛRI and the Kit receptor. The restoration of Fer kinase activity in ferDR/DR mast cells resulted in prolonged p38 kinase activation and increased antigen-mediated cell migration of sensitized mast cells. Thus, Fer is required for maximal p38 kinase activation to promote the chemotaxis of activated mast cells. Further studies with mast cells derived from fps/fes-deficient mice will be required to provide insight into the role of Fps/Fes in mast cell activation.
The fps/fes proto-oncogene encodes a cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinase implicated in growth factor and cytokine receptor signaling and thought to be essential for the survival and terminal differentiation of myeloid progenitors. Fps/Fes-null mice were healthy and fertile, displayed slightly reduced numbers of bone marrow myeloid progenitors and circulating mature myeloid cells, and were more sensitive to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These phenotypes were rescued using a fps/fes transgene. This confirmed that Fps/Fes is involved in, but not required for, myelopoiesis and that it plays a role in regulating the innate immune response. Bone marrow-derived Fps/Fes-null macrophages showed no defects in granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-, interleukin 6 (IL-6)-, or IL-3-induced activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) and Stat5A or LPS-induced degradation of IκB or activation of p38, Jnk, Erk, or Akt.
A somatic mutation in the X-linked phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIGA) gene causes the loss of glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked proteins on blood cells from patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. Because all blood cell lineages may be affected it is thought that the mutation occurs in a hematopoietic stem cell. In transgenic mice, germline transmission of an inactive Piga gene is embryonic lethal. To inactivate the murine Piga gene in early hematopoiesis we therefore chose conditional gene inactivation using the Cre/loxP system. We expressed Cre recombinase under the transcription regulatory sequences of the human c-fes gene. FES-Cre inactivated PIGA in hematopoietic cells of mice carrying a floxed Piga allele (LF mice). PIGA− cells were found in all hematopoietic lineages of definitive but not primitive hematopoiesis. Their proportions were low in newborn mice but subsequently increased continuously to produce for the first time mice that have almost exclusively PIGA− blood cells. The loss of GPI-linked proteins occurred mainly in c-kit+CD34+Lin− progenitor cells before the CFU-GEMM stage. Using bone marrow reconstitution experiments with purified PIGA− cells we demonstrate that LF mice have long-term bone marrow repopulating cells that lack GPI-linked proteins, indicating that recombination of the floxed Piga allele occurs in the hematopoietic stem cell.
hematopoiesis; stem cell; c-fes; paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria; conditional gene inactivation
The ubiquitous Fer protein-tyrosine kinase has been proposed to regulate diverse processes such as cell growth, cell adhesion, and neurite outgrowth. To gain insight into the biological function of Fer, we have targeted the fer locus with a kinase-inactivating missense mutation (ferD743R). Mice homozygous for this mutation develop normally, have no overt phenotypic differences from wild-type mice, and are fertile. Since these mice lack both Fer and the testis-specific FerT kinase activities, these proteins are clearly not essential for development and survival. No differences were observed in overall cellularity of bone marrow, spleen, or thymus in the absence of Fer activity. While most platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced tyrosine phosphorylation was unchanged in ferD743R homozygous embryonic fibroblasts, cortactin phosphorylation was reduced. However, Fer kinase activity was not required for PDGF-induced Stat3, p120ctn, or epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced β-catenin phosphorylation. Also, no defects were observed in changes to the actin cytoskeleton, adherens junctions, or focal adhesions in PDGF- or EGF-stimulated ferD743R homozygous embryonic fibroblasts. Therefore, Fer likely serves a redundant role in regulating cell growth, cell adhesion, retinal development, and spermatogenesis but is required for efficient phosphorylation of cortactin.
Calpains are a family of Ca2+-dependent intracellular
cysteine proteases, including the ubiquitously expressed μ- and
m-calpains. Both μ- and m-calpains are heterodimers, consisting of a
distinct large 80-kDa catalytic subunit, encoded by the genes
Capn1 and Capn2, and a common small 28-kDa
regulatory subunit (Capn4). The physiological roles and
possible functional distinctions of μ- and m-calpains remain unclear,
but suggested functions include participation in cell division and
migration, integrin-mediated signal transduction, apoptosis, and
regulation of cellular control proteins such as cyclin D1 and p53.
Homozygous disruption of murine Capn4 eliminated both μ-
and m-calpain activities, but this did not affect survival and
proliferation of cultured embryonic stem cells or embryonic
fibroblasts, or the early stages of organogenesis. However, mutant
embryos died at midgestation and displayed defects in the
cardiovascular system, hemorrhaging, and accumulation of erythroid
The fps/fes proto-oncogene encodes a cytoplasmic protein-tyrosine kinase that is functionally implicated in the survival and terminal differentiation of myeloid progenitors and in signaling from several members of the cytokine receptor superfamily. To gain further insight into the physiological function of fps/fes, we targeted the mouse locus with a kinase-inactivating missense mutation. Mutant Fps/Fes protein was expressed at normal levels in these mice, but it lacked detectable kinase activity. Homozygous mutant animals were viable and fertile, and they showed no obvious defects. Flow cytometry analysis of bone marrow showed no statistically significant differences in the levels of myeloid, erythroid, or B-cell precursors. Subtle abnormalities observed in mutant mice included slightly elevated total leukocyte counts and splenomegaly. In bone marrow hematopoietic progenitor cell colony-forming assays, mutant mice gave slightly elevated numbers and variable sizes of CFU-granulocyte macrophage in response to interleukin-3 (IL-3) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Tyrosine phosphorylation of Stat3 and Stat5A in bone marrow-derived macrophages was dramatically reduced in response to GM-CSF but not to IL-3 or IL-6. This suggests a distinct nonredundant role for Fps/Fes in signaling from the GM-CSF receptor that does not extend to the closely related IL-3 receptor. Lipopolysaccharide-induced Erk1/2 activation was also reduced in mutant macrophages. These subtle molecular phenotypes suggest a possible nonredundant role for Fps/Fes in myelopoiesis and immune responses.