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1.  NLRP6 inflammasome orchestrates the colonic host-microbial interface by regulating goblet cell mucus secretion 
Cell  2014;156(5):1045-1059.
Mucus production by goblet cells of the large intestine serves as a crucial anti microbial protective mechanism at the interface between the eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells of the mammalian intestinal ecosystem. However, the regulatory pathways involved in goblet cell-induced mucus secretion remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that the NLRP6 inflammasome, a recently described regulator of colonic microbiota composition and bio-geographical distribution, is a critical orchestrator of goblet cell mucin granule exocytosis. NLRP6 deficiency leads to defective autophagy in goblet cells and abrogated mucin secretion into the large intestinal lumen. Consequently, NLRP6 inflammasome-deficient mice are unable to clear enteric pathogens from the mucosal surface, rendering them highly susceptible to persistent infection. This study identifies the first innate immune regulatory pathway governing goblet cell mucus secretion, linking non-hematopoietic inflammasome signaling to autophagy and highlighting the goblet cell as a critical innate immune player in the control of intestinal host-microbial mutualism.
PMCID: PMC4017640  PMID: 24581500
NLRP6; inflammasome; goblet cell; mucin; autophagy; Citrobacter infection
2.  Interleukin-10 Prevents Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance by Attenuating Macrophage and Cytokine Response in Skeletal Muscle 
Diabetes  2009;58(11):2525-2535.
Insulin resistance is a major characteristic of type 2 diabetes and is causally associated with obesity. Inflammation plays an important role in obesity-associated insulin resistance, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Interleukin (IL)-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine with lower circulating levels in obese subjects, and acute treatment with IL-10 prevents lipid-induced insulin resistance. We examined the role of IL-10 in glucose homeostasis using transgenic mice with muscle-specific overexpression of IL-10 (MCK-IL10).
MCK-IL10 and wild-type mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 3 weeks, and insulin sensitivity was determined using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps in conscious mice. Biochemical and molecular analyses were performed in muscle to assess glucose metabolism, insulin signaling, and inflammatory responses.
MCK-IL10 mice developed with no obvious anomaly and showed increased whole-body insulin sensitivity. After 3 weeks of HFD, MCK-IL10 mice developed comparable obesity to wild-type littermates but remained insulin sensitive in skeletal muscle. This was mostly due to significant increases in glucose metabolism, insulin receptor substrate-1, and Akt activity in muscle. HFD increased macrophage-specific CD68 and F4/80 levels in wild-type muscle that was associated with marked increases in tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-6, and C-C motif chemokine receptor-2 levels. In contrast, MCK-IL10 mice were protected from diet-induced inflammatory response in muscle.
These results demonstrate that IL-10 increases insulin sensitivity and protects skeletal muscle from obesity-associated macrophage infiltration, increases in inflammatory cytokines, and their deleterious effects on insulin signaling and glucose metabolism. Our findings provide novel insights into the role of anti-inflammatory cytokine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2768157  PMID: 19690064
3.  Zfp521 antagonizes Runx2, delays osteoblast differentiation in vitro, and promotes bone formation in vivo 
Bone  2008;44(4):528-536.
Zfp521, a 30 C2H2 Kruppel-like zinc finger protein, is expressed at high levels at the periphery of early mesenchymal condensations prefiguring skeletal elements and in all developing bones in the perichondrium and periosteum, in osteoblast percursors and osteocytes, and in chondroblast percursors and growth plate prehypertrophic chondrocytes. Zfp521 expression in cultured mesenchymal cells is decreased by BMP-2 and increased by PTHrP, which promote and antagonize osteoblast differentiation, respectively. In vitro, Zfp521 overexpression reduces the expression of several downstream osteoblast marker genes and antagonizes osteoblast differentiation. Zfp521 binds Runx2 and represses its transcriptional activity, and Runx2 dose-dependently rescues Zfp521’s inhibition of osteoblast differentiation. In contrast, osteocalcin promoter-targeted overexpression of Zfp521 in osteoblasts in vivo results in increased bone formation and bone mass. We propose that Zfp521 regulates the rate of osteoblast differentiation and bone formation during development and in the mature skeleton, in part by antagonizing Runx2.
PMCID: PMC2746087  PMID: 19095088
Zfp521; Runx2; osteoblast; bone formation; differentiation
4.  ΔFosB Induces Osteosclerosis and Decreases Adipogenesis by Two Independent Cell-Autonomous Mechanisms 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(7):2820-2830.
Osteoblasts and adipocytes may develop from common bone marrow mesenchymal precursors. Transgenic mice overexpressing ΔFosB, an AP-1 transcription factor, under the control of the neuron-specific enolase (NSE) promoter show both markedly increased bone formation and decreased adipogenesis. To determine whether the two phenotypes were linked, we targeted overexpression of ΔFosB in mice to the osteoblast by using the osteocalcin (OG2) promoter. OG2-ΔFosB mice demonstrated increased osteoblast numbers and an osteosclerotic phenotype but normal adipocyte differentiation. This result firmly establishes that the skeletal phenotype is cell autonomous to the osteoblast lineage and independent of adipocyte formation. It also strongly suggests that the decreased fat phenotype of NSE-ΔFosB mice is independent of the changes in the osteoblast lineage. In vitro, overexpression of ΔFosB in the preadipocytic 3T3-L1 cell line had little effect on adipocyte differentiation, whereas it prevented the induction of adipogenic transcription factors in the multipotential stromal cell line ST2. Also, ΔFosB isoforms bound to and altered the DNA-binding capacity of C/EBPβ. Thus, the inhibitory effect of ΔFosB on adipocyte differentiation appears to occur at early stages of stem cell commitment, affecting C/EBPβ functions. It is concluded that the changes in osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation in ΔFosB transgenic mice result from independent cell-autonomous mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC371096  PMID: 15024071
5.  Bcl-2 Lies Downstream of Parathyroid Hormone–related Peptide in a Signaling Pathway That Regulates Chondrocyte Maturation during Skeletal Development 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;136(1):205-213.
Parathyroid hormone–related peptide (PTHrP) appears to play a major role in skeletal development. Targeted disruption of the PTHrP gene in mice causes skeletal dysplasia with accelerated chondrocyte maturation (Amizuka, N., H. Warshawsky, J.E. Henderson, D. Goltzman, and A.C. Karaplis. 1994. J. Cell Biol. 126:1611–1623; Karaplis, A.C., A. Luz, J. Glowacki, R.T. Bronson, V.L.J. Tybulewicz, H.M. Kronenberg, and R.C. Mulligan. 1994. Genes Dev. 8: 277–289). A constitutively active mutant PTH/PTHrP receptor has been found in Jansen-type human metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, a disease characterized by delayed skeletal maturation (Schipani, E., K. Kruse, and H. Jüppner. 1995. Science (Wash. DC). 268:98– 100). The molecular mechanisms by which PTHrP affects this developmental program remain, however, poorly understood. We report here that PTHrP increases the expression of Bcl-2, a protein that controls programmed cell death in several cell types, in growth plate chondrocytes both in vitro and in vivo, leading to delays in their maturation towards hypertrophy and apoptotic cell death. Consequently, overexpression of PTHrP under the control of the collagen II promoter in transgenic mice resulted in marked delays in skeletal development. As anticipated from these results, deletion of the gene encoding Bcl-2 leads to accelerated maturation of chondrocytes and shortening of long bones. Thus, Bcl-2 lies downstream of PTHrP in a pathway that controls chondrocyte maturation and skeletal development.
PMCID: PMC2132464  PMID: 9008714

Results 1-5 (5)