The reduced protein expression of SIRT6 tumor suppressor is involved in tumorigenesis. The molecular mechanisms underlying SIRT6 protein downregulation in human cancers remain unknown. Using a proteomic approach, we have identified the ubiquitin-specific peptidase USP10, another tumor suppressor, as one of the SIRT6-interacting proteins. USP10 suppresses SIRT6 ubiquitination to protect SIRT6 from proteasomal degradation. USP10 antagonizes the transcriptional activity of the c-Myc oncogene through SIRT6, as well as p53, to inhibit cell cycle progression, cancer cell growth, and tumor formation. To support this conclusion, we detected significant reductions in both USP10 and SIRT6 protein expression in human colon cancers. Our study discovered crosstalk between two tumor-suppressive genes in regulating cell cycle progression and proliferation and showed that dysregulated USP10 function promotes tumorigenesis through SIRT6 degradation.
Tumor suppressor p53 maintains genome stability by differentially activating target genes that control diverse cellular responses, such as the antioxidant response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Despite the fact that many p53 downstream genes have been well characterized, novel p53 target genes are continuously being identified. Here, we report that Tpt1 is a direct target gene of p53. We found that p53 upregulates the transcription of Tpt1 and identified a p53-responsive element in the promoter of the mouse Tpt1 gene. Furthermore, p53-dependent induction of Tpt1 was able to reduce oxidative stress, minimize apoptosis, and promote cell survival in response to H2O2 challenge. In addition, a positive correlation between the expression of p53 and Tpt1 only existed in normal lung tissues, not in lung tumors. Such positive correlation was also found in lung cell lines that contain wild-type p53, but not mutated p53. Based on the important role of Tpt1 in cancer development, chemoresistance, and cancer reversion, identification of Tpt1 as a direct target gene of p53 not only adds to the complexity of the p53 network, but may also open up a new avenue for cancer prevention and intervention.
p53; Tpt1; TCTP; cancer
Nrf2 is a master regulator of the antioxidant response. Under basal conditions Nrf2 is polyubiquitinated by the Keap1-Cul3-E3 ligase and degraded by the 26S-proteasome. In response to Nrf2 inducers there is a switch in polyubiquitination from Nrf2 to Keap1. Currently, regulation of the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway by ubiquitination is largely understood. However, the mechanism responsible for removal of ubiquitin conjugated to Nrf2 or Keap1 remains unknown. Here we report that the deubiquitinating enzyme, USP15, specifically deubiquitinates Keap1, which suppresses the Nrf2 pathway. We demonstrated that deubiquitinated-Keap1 incorporates into the Keap1-Cul3-E3 ligase complex more efficiently, enhancing the complex stability and enzymatic activity. Consequently, there is an increase in Nrf2 protein degradation and a reduction in Nrf2 target gene expression. Furthermore, USP15-siRNA enhances chemoresistance of cells through upregulation of Nrf2. These findings further our understanding of how the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway is regulated, which is imperative in targeting this pathway for chemoprevention or chemotherapy.
Nrf2; Keap1; USP15; Cul3; ubiquitination; deubiquitination; antioxidant response; chemoresistance
Survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis family molecule, has been proposed as a crucial intermediate in the signaling pathways leading to T-cell development, proliferation, and expansion. However, the importance of survivin to T-cell-driven inflammatory responses has not been demonstrated. Here, we show that survivin transgenic mice exhibit an increased antigen-driven Th2 lung inflammation and that constitutive expression of survivin reversed the defective lung inflammation even in the absence of OX40 costimulation. We found that OX40-deficient mice were compromised in generating Th2 cells, airway eosinophilia, and IgE responses. In contrast, OX40-deficient/survivin transgenic mice generated normal Th2 responses and exhibited strong lung inflammation. These results suggested that OX40 costimulation crucially engaged survivin during antigen-mediated Th2 responses. These findings also promote the notion that OX40 costimulation regulated allergic responses or lung inflammation by targeting survivin thereby enhancing T-cell proliferation and resulting in more differentiated Th2 cells in the allergic inflammatory response.
costimulation; lung inflammation; murine model; survivin; Th2 cells
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic debilitating disease of the joints. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses participate in the development and progression of RA. While several therapeutic reagents, such as TNF-α agonists, have been successfully developed for the clinical use in the treatment of RA, more than half of the patients do not respond to anti-TNF therapy. Therefore, new therapeutic reagents are needed. Recent studies have shown that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent histone deacetylase, is a critical negative regulator of both the innate and adaptive immune response in mice, and its altered functions are likely to be involved in autoimmune diseases. Small molecules that modulate Sirt1 functions are potential therapeutic reagents for autoimmune inflammatory diseases. This review highlights the role of Sirt1 in immune regulation and RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Sirt1; Epigenetic
In response to oxidative stress, the transcription factor Nrf2 is upregulated and controls activation of many genes that work in concert to defend cells from damages and to maintain cellular redox homeostasis. p53 has been regarded as the guardian of the genome through its pro-oxidant and antioxidant functions. Under low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), “normal” amounts of p53 upregulates expression of antioxidant genes, protecting macromolecules from ROS-induced damage. However, at high levels or extended exposure of ROS, p53 expression is enhanced, activating pro-oxidant genes and resulting in p53-dependent apoptosis. We observed a two-phase Nrf2 expression controlled by p53. (i) The induction phase: when p53 expression is relatively low, p53 enhances the protein level of Nrf2 and its target genes to promote cell survival in a p21-dependent manner. (ii) The repression phase: when p53 expression is high, the Nrf2-mediated survival response is inhibited by p53. Our observation leads to the hypothesis that the p53-mediated biphasic regulation of Nrf2 may be key for the tumor-suppressor function of p53 by coordinating cell survival and death pathways. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 17, 1670–1675.
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol compound, has broad effects on critical events, including inflammation, oxidation, cancer and aging. However, the function and molecular mechanisms of resveratrol on T cell activation are controversial. In the present study, we found that resveratrol significantly inhibits the activation and cytokine production of T cells in vitro and in vivo. Sirt1 expression was up-regulated in resveratrol-treated T cells. Once Sirt1 was down-regulated in the T cells, the resveratrol-induced inhibition of T cell activation noticeably diminished. The acetylation of c-Jun decreased and its translocation was impeded in the resveratrol-treated T cells. The incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in the resveratrol-treated mice were considerably reduced.
The TNFR family member OX40 (CD134) is critical for optimal clonal expansion and survival of T cells. However, the intracellular targets of OX40 in CD8 T cells are not fully understood. Here we show that A1, a Bcl-2 family protein, is regulated by OX40 in effector CD8 T cells. In contrast to wild-type T cells, OX40-deficient CD8 T cells failed to maintain A1 expression driven by antigen. Conversely, enforced OX40 stimulation promoted A1 expression. In both situations, the expression of A1 directly correlated with CD8 T cell survival. In addition, exogenous expression of A1 in OX40-deficient CD8 T cells reversed their survival defect in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, forced expression of A1 in CD8 T cells from OX40-deficient mice restored the ability of these T cells to suppress tumor growth in a murine model. These results indicate that OX40 signals regulate CD8 T cell survival at least in part through maintaining expression of the anti-apoptotic molecule A1, and provide new insight into the mechanism by which OX40 may impact anti-tumor immunity.
Exposure to arsenic is associated with an increased risk of lung disease. Novel strategies are needed to reduce the adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposure in the lung. Nrf2, a transcription factor that mediates an adaptive cellular defense response, is effective in detoxifying environmental insults and prevents a broad spectrum of diseases induced by environmental exposure to harmful substances. In this report, we tested whether Nrf2 activation protects mice from arsenic-induced toxicity. We used an in vivo arsenic inhalation model that is highly relevant to low environmental human exposure to arsenic-containing dusts. Two-week exposure to arsenic-containing dust resulted in pathological alterations, oxidative DNA damage, and mild apoptotic cell death in the lung; all of which were blocked by sulforaphane (SF) in an Nrf2-dependent manner. Mechanistically, SF-mediated activation of Nrf2 alleviated inflammatory responses by modulating cytokine production. This study provides strong evidence that dietary intervention targeting Nrf2 activation is a feasible approach to reduce adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposure.
Nrf2; Keap1; Arsenic; Antioxidant response
The sirtuin family has emerged as important regulators of diverse physiological and pathological events, including life-span extension, neurodegeneration, age-related disorders, obesity, heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. In mammals, there are 7 members (SIRT1-SIRT7) in the sirtuin family, with the function of SIRT1 being extensively studied in the past decade. SIRT1 can deacetylate histones and a number of nonhistone substrates, which are involved in multiple signaling pathways. Numerous studies have suggested that SIRT1 could act as either a tumor suppressor or tumor promoter depending on its targets in specific signaling pathways or in specific cancers. This review highlights the major pathways regulated by SIRT1 involved in tumorigenesis.
SIRT1; deacetylase; cancer
Currently, the sole treatment option for patients with heart failure is transplantation. The battle of prolonging graft survival and modulating innate and adaptive immune responses is still being waged in the clinic and in research labs. The transcription factor Nrf2 controls major cell survival pathways and is central to moderating inflammation and immune responses. In this study the effect of Nrf2 levels in host recipient C57BL/6 mice on Balb/c allogeneic graft survival was examined. Importantly, Nrf2−/− recipient mice could not support the graft for longer than 7.5 days on average, whereas activation of Nrf2 by sulforaphane in Nrf2+/+ hosts prolonged graft survival to 13 days. Several immune cells in the spleen of recipient mice were unchanged; however, CD11b+ macrophages were significantly increased in Nrf2−/− mice. In addition, IL-17 mRNA levels were elevated in grafts transplanted into Nrf2−/− mice. Although Nrf2 appears to play a crucial role in graft survival, the exact mechanism is yet to be fully understood.
To determine whether dietary compounds targeting NFE2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation can be used to attenuate renal damage and preserve renal function during the course of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic nephropathy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Diabetes was induced in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice by STZ injection. Sulforaphane (SF) or cinnamic aldehyde (CA) was administered 2 weeks after STZ injection and metabolic indices and renal structure and function were assessed (18 weeks). Markers of diabetes including blood glucose, insulin, polydipsia, polyuria, and weight loss were measured. Pathological alterations and oxidative damage in glomeruli were also determined. Changes in protein expression of the Nrf2 pathway, as well as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), fibronectin (FN), collagen IV, and p21/WAF1Cip1 (p21) were analyzed. The molecular mechanisms of Nrf2-mediated protection were investigated in an in vitro model using human renal mesangial cells (HRMCs).
SF or CA significantly attenuated common metabolic disorder symptoms associated with diabetes in Nrf2+/+ but not in Nrf2−/− mice, indicating SF and CA function through specific activation of the Nrf2 pathway. Furthermore, SF or CA improved renal performance and minimized pathological alterations in the glomerulus of STZ-Nrf2+/+ mice. Nrf2 activation reduced oxidative damage and suppressed the expression of TGF-β1, extracellular matrix proteins and p21 both in vivo and in HRMCs. In addition, Nrf2 activation reverted p21-mediated growth inhibition and hypertrophy of HRMCs under hyperglycemic conditions.
We provide experimental evidence indicating that dietary compounds targeting Nrf2 activation can be used therapeutically to improve metabolic disorder and relieve renal damage induced by diabetes.
The dysregulation of vascular endothelial cells by thrombin has been implicated in the development of a number of pathologic disorders such as inflammatory conditions, cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease. However, transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cells by thrombin is not completely understood. In the present study, Illumina RNA-seq was used to profile the transcriptome in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-L) treated with thrombin for 6 h to gain insight into thrombin's direct effects on the endothelial function. Out of 100 million total reads from a paired end sequencing assay, 91–94% of the reads were aligned to over 16,000 genes in the reference human genome. Thrombin upregulated 150 known genes and 480 known isoforms, and downregulated 2,190 known genes and 3,574 known isoforms by at least 2 fold. Of note, thrombin upregulated 1,775 previously unknown isoforms and downregulated 12,202 previously unknown isoforms by at least 2 fold. Many genes displayed isoform specific differential expression levels and different usage of transcriptional start sites after the thrombin treatment. The cross comparisons between our RNA-seq data and those of DNA microarray analysis of either 6 h thrombin treated HUVEC or 5 h TNFα treated HMVEC have provided a significant overlapping list of differentially expressed genes, supporting the robust utility of our dataset. Further in-depth follow-up analysis of the transcriptional regulation reported in this study may shed light on molecular pathogenic mechanisms underlying thrombin mediated endothelial dysfunction in various diseases and provide new leads of potential therapeutic targets.
The tyrosine kinase c-Abl is required for full activation of T cells, while its role in T-cell differentiation has not been characterized. We report that c-Abl deficiency skews CD4+ T cells to type 2 helper T cell (Th2) differentiation, and c-Abl−/− mice are more susceptible to allergic lung inflammation. c-Abl interacts with and phosphorylates T-bet, a Th1 lineage transcription factor. c-Abl-mediated phosphorylation enhances the transcriptional activation of T-bet. Interestingly, three tyrosine residues within the T-bet DNA-binding domain are the predominant sites of phosphorylation by c-Abl. Mutation of these tyrosine residues inhibits the promoter DNA-binding activity of T-bet. c-Abl regulates Th cell differentiation in a T-bet-dependent manner because genetic deletion of T-bet in CD4+ T cells abolishes c-Abl-deficiency-mediated enhancement of Th2 differentiation. Reintroduction of T-bet-null CD4+ T cells with wild-type T-bet, but not its tyrosine mutant, rescues gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production and inhibits Th2 cytokine production. Therefore, c-Abl catalyzes tyrosine phosphorylation of the DNA-binding domain of T-bet to regulate CD4+ T cell differentiation.
Diabetic nephropathy is one of the major causes of renal failure, which is accompanied by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Nrf2 is the primary transcription factor that controls the antioxidant response essential for maintaining cellular redox homeostasis. Here, we report our findings demonstrating a protective role of Nrf2 against diabetic nephropathy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We explore the protective role of Nrf2 against diabetic nephropathy using human kidney biopsy tissues from diabetic nephropathy patients, a streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy model in Nrf2−/− mice, and cultured human mesangial cells.
The glomeruli of human diabetic nephropathy patients were under oxidative stress and had elevated Nrf2 levels. In the animal study, Nrf2 was demonstrated to be crucial in ameliorating streptozotocin-induced renal damage. This is evident by Nrf2−/− mice having higher ROS production and suffering from greater oxidative DNA damage and renal injury compared with Nrf2+/+ mice. Mechanistic studies in both in vivo and in vitro systems showed that the Nrf2-mediated protection against diabetic nephropathy is, at least, partially through inhibition of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and reduction of extracellular matrix production. In human renal mesangial cells, high glucose induced ROS production and activated expression of Nrf2 and its downstream genes. Furthermore, activation or overexpression of Nrf2 inhibited the promoter activity of TGF-β1 in a dose-dependent manner, whereas knockdown of Nrf2 by siRNA enhanced TGF-β1 transcription and fibronectin production.
This work clearly indicates a protective role of Nrf2 in diabetic nephropathy, suggesting that dietary or therapeutic activation of Nrf2 could be used as a strategy to prevent or slow down the progression of diabetic nephropathy.
In response to oxidative stress, Nrf2 and p21 Cip1/WAF1 are both upregulated to protect cells from oxidative damage. Nrf2 is constantly ubiquitinated by a Keap1 dimer that interacts with a weak-binding 29DLG motif and a strong-binding 79ETGE motif in Nrf2, resulting in degradation of Nrf2. Modification of the redox-sensitive cysteine residues on Keap1 disrupts the Keap1-29DLG binding, leading to diminished Nrf2 ubiquitination and activation of the antioxidant response. However, the underlying mechanism by which p21 protects cells from oxidative damage remains unclear. Here, we present molecular and genetic evidence suggesting that the antioxidant function of p21 is mediated through activation of Nrf2 by stabilizing the Nrf2 protein. The 154KRR motif in p21 directly interacts with the 29DLG and 79ETGE motifs in Nrf2, and thus, competes with Keap1 for Nrf2 binding, compromising ubiquitination of Nrf2. Furthermore, the physiological significance of our findings was demonstrated in vivo using p21-deficient mice.
E3 ubiquitin ligases, which target specific molecules for proteolytic destruction, have emerged as key regulators of immune functions. Several E3 ubiquitin ligases, including c-Cbl, Cbl-b, GRAIL, Itch, and Nedd4, have been shown to negatively regulate T-cell activation. Here, we report that the HECT-type E3 ligase AIP2 positively regulates T-cell activation. Ectopic expression of AIP2 in mouse primary T cells enhances their proliferation and interleukin-2 production by suppressing the apoptosis of T cells. AIP2 interacts with and promotes ubiquitin-mediated degradation of EGR2, a zinc finger transcription factor that has been found to regulate Fas ligand (FasL) expression during activation-induced T-cell death. Suppression of AIP2 expression by small RNA interference upregulates EGR2, inhibits EGR2 ubiquitination and FasL expression, and enhances the apoptosis of T cells. Therefore, AIP2 regulates activation-induced T-cell death by suppressing EGR2-mediated FasL expression via the ubiquitin pathway.
Although many self-reactive T cells are eliminated by negative selection in the thymus, some of these cells escape into the periphery, where they must be controlled by additional mechanisms. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying peripheral T cell tolerance and its maintenance remain largely undefined. In this study, we report that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a type III histone deacetylase, negatively regulates T cell activation and plays a major role in clonal T cell anergy in mice. In vivo, we found that loss of Sirt1 function resulted in abnormally increased T cell activation and a breakdown of CD4+ T cell tolerance. Conversely, upregulation of Sirt1 expression led to T cell anergy, in which the activity of the transcription factor AP-1 was substantially diminished. Furthermore, Sirt1 interacted with and deacetylated c-Jun, yielding an inactive AP-1 factor. In addition, Sirt1-deficient mice were unable to maintain T cell tolerance and developed severe experimental allergic encephalomyelitis as well as spontaneous autoimmunity. These findings provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and anergy, and we suggest that activators of Sirt1 may be useful as therapeutic agents for the treatment and/or prevention of autoimmune diseases.
Previous studies in our lab have identified Pre-B-cell colony enhancing factor (PBEF) as a novel biomarker in acute lung injury (ALI). The molecular mechanism of PBEF involvement in the pathogenesis of ALI is still incompletely understood. This study examined the role of PBEF in regulating pulmonary alveolar epithelial cell IL-8 expression and permeability.
Human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells (cell line and primary cells) were transfected with human PBEF cDNA or PBEF siRNA and then cultured in the presence or absence of TNFα. PBEF and IL-8 expression were analyzed by RT-PCR and Western blotting. In addition, changes in pulmonary alveolar epithelial and artery endothelial cell barrier regulation with altered PBEF expression was evaluated by an in vitro cell permeability assay.
Our results demonstrated that, in human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells, the overexpression of PBEF significantly augmented basal and TNFα-stimulated IL-8 secretion by more than 5 to 10-fold and increased cell permeability by >30%; the knockdown of PBEF expression with siRNA significantly inhibited basal and TNFα-stimulated IL-8 secretion by 70% and IL-8 mRNA levels by 74%. Further, the knockdown of PBEF expression also significantly attenuated TNFα-induced cell permeability by 43%. Similar result was observed in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells.
These results suggest that PBEF may play a vital role in basal and TNFα-mediated pulmonary inflammation and pulmonary epithelial barrier dysfunction via its regulation of other inflammatory cytokines such as IL-8, which could in part explain the role of PBEF in the susceptibility and pathogenesis of ALI. These results lend further support to the potential of PBEF to serve as a diagnostic and therapeutic target to ALI.
The overgrowth of synovial tissues is critical in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The expression of Synoviolin (SYN), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is upregulated in arthritic synovial fibroblasts and is involved in the overgrowth of synovial cells during RA. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the elevated SYN expression are not known. Here, we found that SYN expression is elevated in the synovial fibroblasts from mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) induce SYN expression in mouse synovial fibroblasts. Cultivation of mouse synovial fibroblasts with IL-1β activates mitogen-activated protein kinases, including extra-cellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase), and p38, while only Erk-specific inhibitor blocks IL-1β-induced SYN expression. Expression of transcription factor ETS1 further enhances IL-1β-induced SYN expression. The dominant negative ETS1 mutant lacking the transcription activation domain inhibits SYN expression in a dose-dependent manner. The activation of both Erk1/2 and ETS1 is increased in the CIA synovial fibroblasts. Inhibition of Erk activation reduces ETS1 phosphorylation and SYN expression. Our data indicate that the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α induce the overgrowth of synovial cells by upregulating SYN expression via the Erk1/-ETS1 pathway. These molecules or pathways could therefore be potential targets for the treatment of RA.