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1.  Expression and function of Neuregulin 1 and its signaling system ERBB2/3 in the enteric nervous system 
Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is suggested to promote the survival and maintenance of the enteric nervous system (ENS). As deficiency in its corresponding receptor signaling complex ERBB2/ERBB3 leads to postnatal colonic hypo/aganglionosis we assessed the distributional and expressional pattern of the NRG1-ERBB2/ERBB3 system in the human colon and explored the neurotrophic capacity of NRG1 on cultured enteric neurons. Site-specific mRNA expression of the NRG1-ERBB2/3 system was determined in microdissected samples harvested from enteric musculature and ganglia. Localization of NRG1, ERBB2 and ERBB3 was determined by dual-label-immunohistochemistry using pan-neuronal and pan-glial markers. Morphometric analysis was performed on NRG1-stimulated rat enteric nerve cultures to evaluate neurotrophic effects. mRNA expression of the NRG1-ERBB2/3 system was determined by qPCR. Co-localization of NRG1 with neuronal or synaptic markers was analyzed in enteric nerve cultures stimulated with glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). The NRG1 system was expressed in both neurons and glial cells of enteric ganglia and in nerve fibers. NRG1 significantly enhanced growth parameters in enteric nerve cell cultures and ErB3 mRNA expression was down-regulated upon NRG1 stimulation. GDNF negatively regulates ErbB2 and ErbB3 mRNA expression. The NRG1-ERBB2/3 system is physiologically present in the human ENS and NRG1 acts as a neurotrophic factor for the ENS. The down-regulation of ErbB3/ErbB2 in GDNF stimulated nerve cell cultures points to an interaction of both neurotrophic factors. Thus, the data may provide a basis to assess disturbed signaling components of the NRG1 system in enteric neuropathies.
PMCID: PMC4585281  PMID: 26441531
NRG1; HRG 1 beta; enteric nervous system; ERBB2; ERBB3
2.  PGC-1α Determines Light Damage Susceptibility of the Murine Retina 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31272.
The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1 (PGC-1) proteins are key regulators of cellular bioenergetics and are accordingly expressed in tissues with a high energetic demand. For example, PGC-1α and PGC-1β control organ function of brown adipose tissue, heart, brain, liver and skeletal muscle. Surprisingly, despite their prominent role in the control of mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative metabolism, expression and function of the PGC-1 coactivators in the retina, an organ with one of the highest energy demands per tissue weight, are completely unknown. Moreover, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate energy production with repair processes in the damaged retina remain enigmatic. In the present study, we thus investigated the expression and function of the PGC-1 coactivators in the healthy and the damaged retina. We show that PGC-1α and PGC-1β are found at high levels in different structures of the mouse retina, most prominently in the photoreceptors. Furthermore, PGC-1α knockout mice suffer from a striking deterioration in retinal morphology and function upon detrimental light exposure. Gene expression studies revealed dysregulation of all major pathways involved in retinal damage and apoptosis, repair and renewal in the PGC-1α knockouts. The light-induced increase in apoptosis in vivo in the absence of PGC-1α was substantiated in vitro, where overexpression of PGC-1α evoked strong anti-apoptotic effects. Finally, we found that retinal levels of PGC-1 expression are reduced in different mouse models for retinitis pigmentosa. We demonstrate that PGC-1α is a central coordinator of energy production and, importantly, all of the major processes involved in retinal damage and subsequent repair. Together with the observed dysregulation of PGC-1α and PGC-1β in retinitis pigmentosa mouse models, these findings thus imply that PGC-1α might be an attractive target for therapeutic approaches aimed at retinal degeneration diseases.
PMCID: PMC3278422  PMID: 22348062
3.  Proteins Encoded by the cag Pathogenicity Island of Helicobacter pylori Are Required for NF-κB Activation 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(5):2346-2348.
Helicobacter pylori is the etiological agent in the development of chronic gastritis, duodenal ulceration, and gastric adenocarcinoma. The difference in virulence between individual strains is reflected in their ability to induce interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion from gastric epithelial cells. It has been shown that virulence is associated with the presence of a bacterial gene cluster (a pathogenicity island). We have recently demonstrated that H. pylori-mediated IL-8 secretion requires activation of the transcription factor NF-κB. Here, we show that NF-κB induction requires six membrane proteins encoded within the pathogenicity island.
PMCID: PMC108202  PMID: 9573128

Results 1-3 (3)