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1.  The C-terminal domain of CblD interacts with CblC and influences intracellular cobalamin partitioning☆ 
Biochimie  2013;95(5):1023-1032.
Mutations in cobalamin or B12 trafficking genes needed for cofactor assimilation and targeting lead to inborn errors of cobalamin metabolism. The gene corresponding to one of these loci, cblD, affects both the mitochondrial and cytoplasmic pathways for B12 processing. We have demonstrated that fibroblast cell lines from patients with mutations in CblD, can dealkylate exogenously supplied methylcobalamin (MeCbl), an activity catalyzed by the CblC protein, but show imbalanced intracellular partitioning of the cofactor into the MeCbl and 5′-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl) pools. These results confirm that CblD functions downstream of CblC in the cofactor assimilation pathway and that it plays an important role in controlling the traffic of the cofactor between the competing cytoplasmic and mitochondrial routes for MeCbl and AdoCbl synthesis, respectively. In this study, we report the interaction of CblC with four CblD protein variants with variable N-terminal start sites. We demonstrate that a complex between CblC and CblD can be isolated particularly under conditions that permit dealkylation of alkylcobalamin by CblC or in the presence of the corresponding dealkylated and oxidized product, hydroxocobalamin (HOCbl). A weak CblC·CblD complex is also seen in the presence of cyanocobalamin. Formation of the CblC·CblD complex is observed with all four CblD variants tested suggesting that the N-terminal 115 residues missing in the shortest variant are not essential for this interaction. Furthermore, limited proteolysis of the CblD variants indicates the presence of a stable C-terminal domain spanning residues ~116–296. Our results are consistent with an adapter function for CblD, which in complex with CblC·HOCbl, or possibly the less oxidized CblC·cob(II)alamin, partitions the cofactor between AdoCbl and MeCbl assimilation pathways.
PMCID: PMC3657558  PMID: 23415655
Cobalamin; Traffic; Homocystinuria; B12
2.  Both Selenium Deficiency and Modest Selenium Supplementation Lead to Myocardial Fibrosis in Mice via Effects on Redox-Methylation Balance 
Molecular nutrition & food research  2012;56(12):1812-1824.
Selenium has complex effects in vivo on multiple homeostatic mechanisms such as redox balance, methylation balance, and epigenesis, via its interaction with the methionine-homocysteine cycle. In this study, we examined the hypothesis that selenium status would modulate both redox and methylation balance and thereby modulate myocardial structure and function.
Methods and Results
We examined the effects of selenium deficient (<0.025 mg/kg), control (0.15 mg/kg), and selenium supplemented (0.5 mg/kg) diets on myocardial histology, biochemistry and function in adult C57/BL6 mice. Selenium deficiency led to reactive myocardial fibrosis and systolic dysfunction accompanied by increased myocardial oxidant stress. Selenium supplementation significantly reduced methylation potential, DNA methyltransferase activity and DNA methylation. In mice fed the supplemented diet, inspite of lower oxidant stress, myocardial matrix gene expression was significantly altered resulting in reactive myocardial fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction in the absence of myocardial hypertrophy.
Our results indicate that both selenium deficiency and modest selenium supplementation leads to a similar phenotype of abnormal myocardial matrix remodeling and dysfunction in the normal heart. The crucial role selenium plays in maintaining the balance between redox and methylation pathways needs to be taken into account while optimizing selenium status for prevention and treatment of heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3546539  PMID: 23097236
Selenium; Collagen; Oxidant Stress; Homocysteine; Methylation
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2011;103(3):226-239.
Cobalamin (Cbl, B12) is an essential micronutrient required to fulfill the enzymatic reactions of cytosolic methylcobalamin-dependent methionine synthase and mitochondrial adenosylcobalamin-dependent methylmalonyl-CoA mutase. Mutations in the MMACHC gene (cblC complementation group) disrupt processing of the upper-axial ligand of newly internalized cobalamins, leading to functional deficiency of the vitamin. Patients with cblC disease present with both hyperhomocysteinemia and methylmalonic acidemia, cognitive dysfunction, and megaloblastic anemia. In the present study we show that cultured skin fibroblasts from cblC patients export increased levels of both homocysteine and methylmalonic acid compared to control skin fibroblasts, and that they also have decreased levels of total intracellular folates. This is consistent with the clinical phenotype of functional cobalamin deficiency in vivo. The protein changes that accompany human functional Cbl deficiency are unknown. The proteome of control and cblC fibroblasts was quantitatively examined by two dimensional in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/MS). Major changes were observed in the expression levels of proteins involved in cytoskeleton organization and assembly, the neurological system and cell signaling. Pathway analysis of the differentially expressed proteins demonstrated strong associations with neurological disorders, muscular and skeletal disorders, and cardiovascular diseases in the cblC mutant cell lines. Supplementation of the cell cultures with hydroxocobalamin did not restore the cblC proteome to the patterns of expression observed in control cells. These results concur with the observed phenotype of patients with the cblC disorder and their sometimes poor response to treatment with hydroxocobalamin. Our findings could be valuable for designing alternative therapies to alleviate the clinical manifestation of the cblC disorder, as some of the protein changes detected in our study are common hallmarks of known pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's diseases as well as muscular dystrophies.
PMCID: PMC3110603  PMID: 21497120
4.  Processing of alkylcobalamins in mammalian cells: a role for the MMACHC (cblC) gene product 
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2009;97(4):260-266.
The MMACHC gene product of the cblC complementation group, referred to as the cblC protein, catalyzes the in vitro and in vivo decyanation of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12). We hypothesized that the cblC protein would also catalyze the dealkylation of newly internalized methylcobalamin (MeCbl) and 5′-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl), the naturally occurring alkylcobalamins that are present in the diet. The hypothesis was tested in cultured endothelial cells using [57Co]-AdoCbl and MeCbl analogs consisting of [57Co]-labeled straight-chain alkylcobalamins ranging from C2 (ethylcobalamin) to C6 (hexylcobalamin). [57Co]-AdoCbl was converted to [57Co]-MeCbl by cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells, suggesting that a dealkylation process likely involving the cblC protein removed the 5′-deoxyadenosyl alkyl group. Surprisingly, all of the straight-chain alkylcobalamins served as substrates for the biosynthesis of both AdoCbl and MeCbl. Dealkylation was then assessed in normal skin fibroblasts and fibroblasts derived from 3 patients with mutations in the MMACHC gene. While normal skin fibroblasts readily converted [57Co]-propylcobalamin to [57Co]-AdoCbl and [57Co]-MeCbl, there was little or no conversion in cblC mutant fibroblasts. These studies suggest that the CblC protein is responsible for early processing of both CNCbl (decyanation) and alkylcobalamins (dealkylation) in mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC2709701  PMID: 19447654
MMACHC gene product; cblC protein; vitamin B12; adenosylcobalamin; alkylcobalamin; dealkylation; cobalamin; endothelial cells; skin fibroblasts; cblC complementation group
5.  Molecular Targeting of Proteins by l-Homocysteine: Mechanistic Implications for Vascular Disease 
Antioxidants & redox signaling  2007;9(11):1883-1898.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, complications of pregnancy, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis. That elevated homocysteine leads to vascular dysfunction may be the linking factor between these apparently unrelated pathologies. Although a growing body of evidence suggests that homocysteine plays a causal role in atherogenesis, specific mechanisms to explain the underlying pathogenesis have remained elusive. This review focuses on chemistry unique to the homocysteine molecule to explain its inherent cytotoxicity. Thus, the high pKa of the sulfhydryl group (pKa, 10.0) of homocysteine underlies its ability to form stable disulfide bonds with protein cysteine residues, and in the process, alters or impairs the function of the protein. Studies in this laboratory have identified albumin, fibronectin, transthyretin, and metallothionein as targets for homocysteinylation. In the case of albumin, the mechanism of targeting has been elucidated. Homocysteinylation of the cysteine residues of fibronectin impairs its ability to bind to fibrin. Homocysteinylation of the cysteine residues of metallothionein disrupts zinc binding by the protein and abrogates inherent superoxide dismutase activity. Thus, S-homocysteinylation of protein cysteine residues may explain mechanistically the cytotoxicity of elevated l-homocysteine.
PMCID: PMC2855132  PMID: 17760510
6.  Targeting of Metallothionein by L-Homocysteine 
L-homocysteine and/or L-homocystine interact in vivo with albumin and other extracellular proteins by forming mixed-disulfide conjugates. Because of its extremely rich cysteine content, we hypothesized that metallothionein, a ubiquitous intracellular zinc-chaperone and superoxide anion radical scavenger, reacts with L-homocysteine and that homocysteinylated-metallothionein suffers loss of function.
Methods and Results
35S-homocysteinylated-metallothionein was resolved in lysates of cultured human aortic endothelial cells in the absence and presence of reduced glutathione by SDS-PAGE and identified by Western blotting and phosphorimaging. Using zinc-Sepharose chromatography, L-homocysteine was shown to impair the zinc-binding capacity of metallothionein even in the presence of reduced glutathione. L-Homocysteine induced a dose-dependent increase in intracellular free zinc in zinquin-loaded human aortic endothelial cells within 30 minutes, followed by the appearance of early growth response protein-1 within 60 minutes. In addition, intracellular reactive oxygen species dramatically increased 6 hours after L-homocysteine treatment. In vitro studies demonstrated that L-homocysteine is a potent inhibitor of the superoxide anion radical scavenging ability of metallothionein.
These studies provide the first evidence that L-homocysteine targets intracellular metallothionein by forming a mixed-disulfide conjugate and that loss of function occurs after homocysteinylation. The data support a novel mechanism for disruption of zinc and redox homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2849140  PMID: 17082481
early growth response protein-1; endothelial dysfunction; hyperhomocysteinemia; metallothionein; superoxide anion radical scavenging; zinc homeostasis
7.  Ethanol-induced oxidative stress via the CYP2E1 pathway disrupts adiponectin secretion from adipocytes 
Adipose tissue is an important target for ethanol action. One important effect of ethanol is to reduce the secretion of adiponectin from adipocytes; this decrease is associated with lowered circulating adiponectin in rodent models of chronic ethanol feeding. Adiponectin is an insulin-sensitizing, anti-inflammatory adipokine; decreased adiponectin activity may contribute to tissue injury in response to chronic ethanol. Here we investigated the role of cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) and oxidative stress in the mechanism for impaired adiponectin secretion from adipocytes in response to ethanol.
Male Wistar rats were fed a liquid diet containing ethanol as 36% of calories or pair-fed a control diet for 4 weeks. 3T3-L1 adipocyte cultures, expressing CYP2E1 or not, were exposed to ethanol or 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE).
Chronic ethanol feeding to rats suppressed the secretion of adiponectin from isolated epididymal adipocytes. Ethanol feeding induced the expression of CYP2E1 in adipocytes and increased markers of oxidative stress, including 4-HNE and protein carbonyls. Because adiponectin is post-translationally processed in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi, we investigated the impact of ethanol on the redox status of high density microsomes. Chronic ethanol decreased the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione (4.6:1, pair-fed; 2.9:1, ethanol-fed) in high density microsomes isolated from rat epididymal adipose tissue. We next utilized the 3T3-L1 adipocyte-like cell model to interrogate the mechanisms for impaired adiponectin secretion. Culture of 3T3-L1 adipocytes overexpressing exogenous CYP2E1, but not those overexpressing anti-sense CYP2E1, with ethanol increased oxidative stress and impaired adiponectin secretion from intracellular pools. Consistent with a role of oxidative stress in impaired adiponectin secretion, challenge of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with 4-HNE also reduced adiponectin mRNA expression and secretion, without affecting intracellular adiponectin concentration.
These data demonstrate that CYP2E1-dependent reactive oxygen species production in response to ethanol disrupts adiponectin secretion from adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC3235233  PMID: 21895711
alcohol; adipocytes; adipokines; glutathione; protein trafficking
8.  Accurate assessment and identification of naturally occurring cellular cobalamins 
Accurate assessment of cobalamin profiles in human serum, cells, and tissues may have clinical diagnostic value. However, non-alkyl forms of cobalamin undergo β-axial ligand exchange reactions during extraction, which leads to inaccurate profiles having little or no diagnostic value.
Experiments were designed to: 1) assess β-axial ligand exchange chemistry during the extraction and isolation of cobalamins from cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells, human foreskin fibroblasts, and human hepatoma HepG2 cells, and 2) to establish extraction conditions that would provide a more accurate assessment of endogenous forms containing both exchangeable and non-exchangeable β-axial ligands.
The cobalamin profile of cells grown in the presence of [57Co]-cyanocobalamin as a source of vitamin B12 shows that the following derivatives are present: [57Co]-aquacobalamin, [57Co]-glutathionylcobalamin, [57Co]-sulfitocobalamin, [57Co]-cyanocobalamin, [57Co]-adenosylcobalamin, [57Co]-methylcobalamin, as well as other yet unidentified corrinoids. When the extraction is performed in the presence of excess cold aquacobalamin acting as a scavenger cobalamin (i.e., “cold trapping”), the recovery of both [57Co]-glutathionylcobalamin and [57Co]-sulfitocobalamin decreases to low but consistent levels. In contrast, the [57Co]-nitrocobalamin observed in extracts prepared without excess aquacobalamin is undetectable in extracts prepared with cold trapping.
This demonstrates that β-ligand exchange occurs with non-covalently bound β-ligands. The exception to this observation is cyanocobalamin with a non-covalent but non-exchangeable− CNT group. It is now possible to obtain accurate profiles of cellular cobalamins.
PMCID: PMC2756674  PMID: 18973458
β-axial ligand exchange; cobalamin; cold trapping; glutathionylcobalamin; vitamin B12
9.  The X-ray Crystal Structure of Glutathionylcobalamin Revealed 
Inorganic chemistry  2010;49(21):9921-9927.
The first evidence of a complex between glutathione and cobalamin, glutathionylcobalamin (GSCbl), was presented by Wagner and Bernhauer more than 40 years ago (Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1964, 112, 580). More recently, NMR and EXAFS solution studies by Brown et al (Biochemistry, 1993, 32, 8421) and Scheuring et al. (Biochemistry, 1994, 33, 6310), respectively, provided evidence that the glutathionyl moiety in GSCbl is bound to the cobalt center via a Co-S bond. Despite continued efforts, the structural analysis of glutathionylcobalamin in the solid state has remained elusive. Here we report the first atomic resolution crystal structure of GSCbl, refined to a crystallographic R-factor of 0.0683. The glutathione moiety is bound to the cobalt center through the sulfur atom as expected, with a Co-S bond distance of 2.295(1) A. This distance agrees with the distance obtained from the EXAFS analysis of GSCbl (2.280(5) Å). However, the bond to the axial α-5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole base (DMB), 2.074(3) Å, is significantly shorter than that determined from the EXAFS measurements (Co-N3B = 2.15(3) Å). The corrin fold angle is 24.7°, the highest ever reported for a cobalamin structure, and points in the direction of the β-face of the corrin, towards the glutathione (GS−). The GS− ligand has been modeled in two conformations, each featuring distinct hydrogen bonding interactions. In both conformations, the α-carboxylate group of the GS− ligand interacts with the generally rigid side chain a of the cobalamin molecule, resulting in two distinct conformations. A comparison with the structure of other thiolatocobalamins revealed high similarity in the positions of the atoms in the cysteinyl moiety, the fold of the corrin rings, and the Co-S bond distances.
PMCID: PMC2964671  PMID: 20863098
Glutathionylcobalamin; glutathione; thiolatocobalamin; Co-S bond; X-ray structure; synchrotron diffraction
10.  Biomarkers of folate status in NHANES: a roundtable summary123456 
A roundtable to discuss the measurement of folate status biomarkers in NHANES took place in July 2010. NHANES has measured serum folate since 1974 and red blood cell (RBC) folate since 1978 with the use of several different measurement procedures. Data on serum 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF) and folic acid (FA) concentrations in persons aged ≥60 y are available in NHANES 1999–2002. The roundtable reviewed data that showed that folate concentrations from the Bio-Rad Quantaphase II procedure (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA; used in NHANES 1991–1994 and NHANES 1999–2006) were, on average, 29% lower for serum and 45% lower for RBC than were those from the microbiological assay (MA), which was used in NHANES 2007–2010. Roundtable experts agreed that these differences required a data adjustment for time-trend analyses. The roundtable reviewed the possible use of an isotope-dilution liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) measurement procedure for future NHANES and agreed that the close agreement between the MA and LC-MS/MS results for serum folate supported conversion to the LC-MS/MS procedure. However, for RBC folate, the MA gave 25% higher concentrations than did the LC-MS/MS procedure. The roundtable agreed that the use of the LC-MS/MS procedure to measure RBC folate is premature at this time. The roundtable reviewed the reference materials available or under development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and recognized the challenges related to, and the scientific need for, these materials. They noted the need for a commutability study for the available reference materials for serum 5MTHF and FA.
PMCID: PMC3127517  PMID: 21593502
11.  Biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status in NHANES: a roundtable summary123456 
A roundtable to discuss the measurement of vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) status biomarkers in NHANES took place in July 2010. NHANES stopped measuring vitamin B-12–related biomarkers after 2006. The roundtable reviewed 3 biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status used in past NHANES—serum vitamin B-12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and total homocysteine (tHcy)—and discussed the potential utility of measuring holotranscobalamin (holoTC) for future NHANES. The roundtable focused on public health considerations and the quality of the measurement procedures and reference methods and materials that past NHANES used or that are available for future NHANES. Roundtable members supported reinstating vitamin B-12 status measures in NHANES. They noted evolving concerns and uncertainties regarding whether subclinical (mild, asymptomatic) vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern. They identified the need for evidence from clinical trials to address causal relations between subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency and adverse health outcomes as well as appropriate cutoffs for interpreting vitamin B-12–related biomarkers. They agreed that problems with sensitivity and specificity of individual biomarkers underscore the need for including at least one biomarker of circulating vitamin B-12 (serum vitamin B-12 or holoTC) and one functional biomarker (MMA or tHcy) in NHANES. The inclusion of both serum vitamin B-12 and plasma MMA, which have been associated with cognitive dysfunction and anemia in NHANES and in other population-based studies, was preferable to provide continuity with past NHANES. Reliable measurement procedures are available, and National Institute of Standards and Technology reference materials are available or in development for serum vitamin B-12 and MMA.
PMCID: PMC3127527  PMID: 21593512
12.  Homocysteine is transported by the microvillous plasma membrane of human placenta 
Elevated maternal plasma concentrations of homocysteine (Hcy) are associated with pregnancy complications and adverse neonatal outcomes. The postulate that we wish to advance here is that placental transport of Hcy, by competing with endogenous amino acids for transporter activity, may account for some of the damaging impacts of Hcy on placental metabolism and function as well as fetal development. In this article, we provide an overview of some recent studies characterising the transport mechanisms for Hcy across the microvillous plasma membrane (MVM) of the syncytiotrophoblast, the transporting epithelium of human placenta. Three Hcy transport systems have been identified, systems L, A and y+L. This was accomplished using a strategy of competitive inhibition to investigate the effects of Hcy on the uptake of well-characterised radiolabelled substrates for each transport system into isolated MVM vesicles. The reverse experiments were also performed, examining the effects of model substrates on [35S]L-Hcy uptake. This article describes the evidence for systems L, A and y+L involvement in placental Hcy transport and discusses the physiological implications of these findings with respect to placental function and fetal development.
PMCID: PMC2966547  PMID: 20567909
13.  Positive Newborn Screen for Methylmalonic Aciduria Identifies the First Mutation in TCblR/CD320, the Gene for Cellular Uptake of Transcobalamin-bound Vitamin B12 
Human mutation  2010;31(8):924-929.
Elevated methylmalonic acid in five asymptomatic newborns whose fibroblasts showed decreased uptake of transcobalamin-bound cobalamin (holo-TC), suggested a defect in the cellular uptake of cobalamin. Analysis of TCblR/CD320, the gene for the receptor for cellular uptake of holo-TC, identified a homozygous single codon deletion, c.262_264GAG (p.E88del), resulting in the loss of a glutamic acid residue in the low-density lipoprotein receptor type A-like domain. Inserting the codon by site-directed mutagenesis fully restored TCblR function.
PMCID: PMC2909035  PMID: 20524213
methylmalonic acid; homocysteine; transcobalamin-receptor; cobalamin; vitamin B12; TCblR; CD320
14.  High Resolution Crystal Structure of the Methylcobalamin Analogs Ethylcobalamin and Butylcobalamin by X-ray Synchrotron Diffraction 
Inorganic chemistry  2009;48(14):6615-6622.
The X-ray crystal structures of the methylcobalamin (MeCbl) analogs ethylcobalamin (EtCbl) and butylcobalamin (BuCbl) are reported. The X-ray crystal structures of EtCbl and BuCbl were obtained with some of the lowest crystallographic residuals ever achieved for cobalamins (R = 0.0468 and 0.0438, respectively). The Co-C bond distances for EtCbl and BuCbl are 2.023(2) and 2.028(4) Å, whereas the Co-α-5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole (Co-N3B) bond distances were 2.232(1) and 2.244(1) Å, respectively. Although EtCbl and BuCbl displayed a longer Co-N3B bond than that observed in the naturally occurring methylcobalamin, the orientation of the α-5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole moiety with respect to the corrin ring did not vary substantially amongst the structures. The lengthening of both Co-C and Co-N3B bonds in EtCbl and BuCbl can be attributed to the “inverse” trans influence exerted by the σ-donating alkyl groups, typically observed in alkylcobalamins. Analysis of the molecular surface maps showed that the alkyl ligands in EtCbl and BuCbl are directed towards the hydrophobic side of the corrin ring. The corrin fold angles in EtCbl and BuCbl were determined to be 14.7° and 13.1°, respectively. A rough correlation exists between the corrin fold angle and the length of the Co-N3B bond, and both alkylcobalamins follow the same trend.
PMCID: PMC2878369  PMID: 19545130
Alkylcobalamin; methylcobalamin; ethylcobalamin; butylcobalamin; X-ray structure; synchrotron diffraction
15.  Exogenous thioredoxin prevents ethanol-induced oxidative damage and apoptosis in mouse liver 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2009;49(5):1709-1717.
Ethanol-induced liver injury is characterized by increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory cytokines, resulting in the development of hepatic steatosis, injury and cell death by necrosis and apoptosis. Thioredoxin (Trx), a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule with anti-apoptotic properties, protects animals from a number of inflammatory diseases. However, the effects of ethanol on Trx or its role in ethanol-induced liver injury are not known. Female C57BL/6 mice were allowed ad libitum access to a Lieber-deCarli ethanol diet with 5.4% of calories as ethanol for 2 days to acclimate them to the diet, followed by 2 days 32.4% of calories as ethanol or pair-fed control diet. Hepatic Trx-1 was decreased by ethanol feeding; daily supplementation with recombinant human Trx (rhTrx) prevented this ethanol-induced decrease. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that administration of rhTrx during ethanol exposure would attenuate ethanol-induced oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine production and apoptosis. Mice were treated with a daily intraperitoneal injection of either 5 g/kg of rhTrx or phosphate buffered saline (PBS).
Ethanol feeding increased accumulation of hepatic 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) protein adducts, expression of hepatic tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and resulted in hepatic steatosis and increased plasma aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). In ethanol-fed mice, treatment with rhTrx reduced 4-HNE adduct accumulation, inflammatory cytokine expression, decreased hepatic triglyceride and improved liver enzyme profiles. Ethanol feeding also increased TUNEL positive cells, caspase-3 activity, and cytokeratin-18 staining in the liver. rhTrx treatment prevented these increases. In summary, rhTrx attenuated ethanol-induced increases in markers of oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine expression, and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2895317  PMID: 19205032
alcohol; antioxidant; cytokines; TUNEL; inflammation
16.  Taurine supplementation prevents ethanol-induced decrease in serum adiponectin and reduces hepatic steatosis in rats 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2009;49(5):1554-1562.
Chronic ethanol feeding decreases expression of adiponectin by adipocytes and circulating adiponectin. Adiponectin treatment during chronic ethanol feeding prevents liver injury in mice. Chronic ethanol feeding also increases oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in adipose tissue. Here we tested the hypothesis that supplemental taurine, an amino acid that functions as a chemical chaperone/osmolyte and enhances cellular anti-oxidant activity, would prevent ethanol-induced decreases in adiponectin expression and attenuate liver injury. Serum adiponectin concentrations decreased as early as 4–7 days after feeding rats a 36% ethanol diet. This rapid decrease was associated with increased oxidative, but not ER, stress in subcutaneous adipose tissue. Taurine prevented ethanol-induced oxidative stress and increased inflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue. Ethanol feeding also rapidly decreased expression of transcription factors regulating adiponectin expression (C/EBPα, PPARγ and PPARα) in subcutaneous adipose tissue. Taurine prevented the ethanol-induced decrease in C/EBPα and PPARα normalizing adiponectin mRNA and serum adiponectin concentrations. In the liver, taurine prevented ethanol-induced oxidative stress and attenuated TNF-α expression and steatosis, at least in part, by increasing expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation.
In conclusion
In subcutaneous adipose tissue, taurine decreased ethanol-induced oxidative stress and cytokine expression, as well as normalized expression of adiponectin mRNA. Taurine prevented ethanol-induced decreases in serum adiponectin; normalized adiponectin was associated with a reduction in hepatic oxidative stress, TNF-α expression and steatosis. Taken together, these data demonstrate that taurine has important protective effects against ethanol-induced tissue injury in both adipose and liver.
PMCID: PMC2677130  PMID: 19296466
Adiponectin; Ethanol feeding; Taurine
17.  Elevated homocysteine, glutathione and cysteinylglycine concentrations in patients homozygous for the Chuvash polycythemia VHL mutation 
Haematologica  2008;93(2):279-282.
In Chuvash polycythemia, homozygous von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) 598C>T leads to increased hypoxia inducible factor-1α and 2α, thromboses and lower systemic blood pressures. Circulating homocysteine, glutathione, γ-glutamyltransferase and cysteinylglycine concentrations were higher in 34 VHL598C>T homozygotes than in 37 normal controls and cysteine was lower. Multivariate analysis showed elevated homocysteine independently associated with higher mean systemic blood pressures and elevated glutathione was associated with lower pressures to a similar degree. Among VHL598C>T homozygotes, homocysteine was elevated with low and normal folate concentrations, consistent with a possible defect in the remethylation pathway. The elevated glutathione and γ-glutamyltranserase levels correlated positively with cysteinylglycine, consistent with possible upregulation of a glutathione synthetic enzyme and γ-glutamyltransferase. Cysteinylglycine correlated inversely with cysteine, consistent with possible reduced cysteinyldipeptidase activity. We conclude that up-regulated hypoxia-sensing may influence multiple steps in thiol metabolism. The effects of the resultant elevated levels of homocysteine and glutathione on systemic blood pressure may largely balance each other out.
PMCID: PMC2852873  PMID: 18223282
VHL; polycythemia; homocysteine; folate; glutathione
18.  Hyperhomocysteinemia induced by methionine supplementation does not independently cause atherosclerosis in C57BL/6J mice 
A causal relationship between diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) and accelerated atherosclerosis has been established in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice. However, it is not known whether the proatherogenic effect of HHcy in apoE−/− mice is independent of hyperlipidemia and/or deficiency of apoE. In this study, a comprehensive dietary approach using C57BL/6J mice was used to investigate whether HHcy is an independent risk factor for accelerated atherosclerosis or dependent on additional dietary factors that increase plasma lipids and/or inflammation. C57BL/6J mice at 4 wk of age were divided into 6 dietary groups: chow diet (C), chow diet + methionine (C+M), western-type diet (W), western-type diet + methionine (W+M), atherogenic diet (A), or atherogenic diet + methionine (A+M). After 2, 10, 20, or 40 wk on the diets, mice were sacrificed, and the levels of total plasma homocysteine, cysteine, and glutathione, as well as total plasma cholesterol and triglycerides were analyzed. Aortic root sections were examined for atherosclerotic lesions. HHcy was induced in all groups supplemented with methionine, compared to diet-matched control groups. Plasma total cholesterol was significantly increased in mice fed the W or A diet. However, the W diet increased LDL/IDL and HDL levels, while the A diet significantly elevated plasma VLDL and LDL/IDL levels without increasing HDL. No differences in plasma total cholesterol levels or lipid profiles were observed between methionine-supplemented groups and the diet-matched control groups. Early atherosclerotic lesions containing macrophage foam cells were only observed in mice fed the A or A + M diet. Furthermore, lesion size was significantly larger in the A + M group compared to the A group at 10 and 20 wk; however, mature lesions were never observed even after 40 wk on these diets. The presence of lymphocytes, increased hyaluronan staining, and the expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers were also increased in atherosclerotic lesions from the A + M group. Taken together, these results suggest that HHcy does not independently cause atherosclerosis in C57BL/6J mice even in the presence of increased total plasma lipids induced by the W diet. However, HHcy can accelerate atherosclerotic lesion development under dietary conditions that increase plasma VLDL levels and/or inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2846632  PMID: 18364397
homocysteine; inflammation; VLDL; atherogenesis; dietary intervention
19.  Homocysteine transport by human aortic endothelial cells: Identification and properties of import systems☆ 
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Transport of L-homocysteine into and out of the human vascular endothelium is poorly understood. We hypothesized that cultured human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) would import L-homocysteine on one or more of the L-cysteine transport systems. Inhibitors of the transporters were used to characterize the uptake of [35S]L-homocysteine, [35S]L-homocystine, and [35S]L-cysteine. We found that L-homocysteine uptake is mediated by the sodium-dependent cysteine transport systems XAG, ASC, and A, and the sodium-independent transport system L. Thus, HAEC utilize multiple cysteine transporters (XAG ≥L > ASC > A) to import L-homocysteine. Kinetic analysis supported the uptake results. Michaelis–Menten constants (Km) for the four systems yielded values of 19.0, 27.1, 112, and 1000 μM for systems L, XAG, ASC, and A, respectively. The binding and uptake of [35S]L-homocystine, the disulfide homodimer of L-homocysteine, was mediated by systems XAG, L, and ASC but not by system A. In contrast to [35S]L-homocysteine, system xc was active for [35S]L-homocystine uptake. A similar pattern was observed for [35S]L-cysteine. Thus, L-homocysteine and L-homocystine found in hyperhomocysteinemic subjects can gain entry into the vascular endothelium by way of multiple L-cysteine transporters.
PMCID: PMC2846170  PMID: 16455044
Homocysteine; Homocystine; Hyperhomocysteinemia; Homocystinuria; Homocysteine import; Cysteine transport systems; Endothelial cells; Endothelium; Cardiovascular disease
21.  Nitroxylcob(III)alamin: Synthesis and X-ray Structural Characterization** 
PMCID: PMC2764306  PMID: 17542034
cobalamins; N ligands; nitrogen oxides; structure elucidation; vitamin B12
22.  X-ray Structural Characterization of Imidazolylcobalamin and Histidinylcobalamin: Cobalamin Models for Aquacobalamin Bound to the B12 Transporter Protein Transcobalamin 
Inorganic chemistry  2007;46(9):3613-3618.
The X-ray structures of imidazolylcobalamin (ImCbl) and histidinylcobalamin (HisCbl) are reported. These structures are of interest given that the recent structures of human and bovine transcobalamin prepared in their holo forms from aquacobalamin show a histidine residue of the metalloprotein bound at the β-axial site of the cobalamin (Wuerges, J. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2006, 103, 4386–4391). The β-axial Co–N bond distances for ImCbl and HisCbl are 1.94(1) and 1.951(7) Å, respectively. The α-axial Co–N bond distances to the 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole are 2.01(1) and 1.979(8) Å for ImCbl and HisCbl, respectively, and are typical for cobalamins with weak σ-donor ligands at the β-axial site. The corrin fold angles of 11.8(3)° (ImCbl) and 12.0(3)° (HisCbl) are smaller than those typically observed for cobalamins.
PMCID: PMC2755209  PMID: 17407285
23.  NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling studies of nitrosylcobalamin: further evidence that the deprotonated, base-off form is important for nitrosylcobalamin in solution† 
The structure of nitrosylcobalamin (NOCbl) in solution has been studied by NMR spectroscopy and the 1H and 13C NMR spectra have been assigned. 13C and 31P NMR chemical shifts, the UV-vis spectrum of NOCbl and the observed pK base-off value of ~5.1 for NOCbl provide evidence that a significant fraction of NOCbl is present in the base-off, 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole (DMB) deprotonated, form in solution. NOE-restrained molecular mechanics modelling of base-on NOCbl gave annealed structures with minor conformational differences in the flexible side chains and the nucleotide loop position compared with the X-ray structure. A molecular dynamics simulation at 300 K showed that DMB remains in close proximity to the α face of the corrin in the base-off form of NOCbl. Simulated annealing calculations produced two major conformations of base-off NOCbl. In the first, the DMB is perpendicular to the corrin and its B3 nitrogen is about 3.1 Å away from and pointing directly at the metal ion; in the second the DMB is parallel to and tucked beneath the D ring of the corrin.
PMCID: PMC2754767  PMID: 19122899
24.  A simple, convenient method to synthesize cobalamins: synthesis of homocysteinylcobalamin, N -acetylcysteinylcobalamin, 2-N -acetylamino-2-carbomethoxyethanethiolatocobalamin, sulfitocobalamin and nitrocobalamin† 
Glutathionylcobalamin, nitrocobalamin and sulfitocobalamin are important cobalamin metabolites isolable from human tissues. Herein we demonstrate that a procedure used to synthesize and isolate γ-glutamylcysteinylcobalamin and glutathionylcobalamin in aqueous solution in high yield and purity can be used to synthesize other novel, biologically relevant thiolatocobalamins, including D,L-homocysteinylcobalamin, N-acetyl-L-cysteinylcobalamin (Na+ salt) and 2-N-acetylamino-2-carbomethoxy-L-ethanethiolatocobalamin, as well as other non-alkylcobalamins, such as sulfitocobalamin (Na+ salt) and nitrocobalamin. This uncomplicated, general procedure will assist researchers in identifying unknown cobalamin metabolites isolated from biological samples, and researchers interested in studying the uptake and intracellular cobalamin processing mechanisms utilizing non-alkylcobalamin derivatives that are not yet commercially available. The X-ray structure and XAS spectrum of N-acetyl-L-cysteinylcobalamin are also presented.
PMCID: PMC2754772  PMID: 17088966

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