Protein homeostasis (proteostasis) networks are dynamic throughout the lifespan of an organism. During Caenorhabditis elegans adulthood, the maintenance of metastable proteins and the activation of stress responses are inversely associated with germline stem cell proliferation. Here, we employed the thymidylate synthase inhibitor 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridine (FUdR) to chemically inhibit reproduction, thus allowing for examination of the interplay between reproduction and somatic proteostasis. We found that treatment with FUdR modulates proteostasis decline both before and after reproduction onset, such that effective induction of the heat shock response was maintained during adulthood and that metastable temperature-sensitive mutant phenotypes were rescued under restrictive conditions. However, FUdR treatment also improved the folding capacity of germline- and gonadogenesis-defective mutants, suggesting that proteostasis modulation by FUdR is independent of germline stem cell proliferation or inhibition of reproduction. Our data, therefore, indicate that FUdR converges on alternative regulatory signals that modulate C. elegans proteostasis capacity during development and adulthood.
Eukaryotic cells control their proteome by regulating protein production and protein clearance. Protein production is determined to a large extent by mRNA levels, whereas protein degradation depends mostly upon the proteasome. Dysfunction of the proteasome leads to the accumulation of non-functional proteins that can aggregate, be toxic for the cell, and, in extreme cases, lead to cell death. mRNA levels are controlled by their rates of synthesis and degradation. Recent evidence indicates that these rates have oppositely co-evolved to ensure appropriate mRNA levels. This opposite co-evolution has been correlated with the mutations in the Ccr4-Not complex. Consistently, the deadenylation enzymes responsible for the rate-limiting step in eukaryotic mRNA degradation, Caf1 and Ccr4, are subunits of the Ccr4-Not complex. Another subunit of this complex is a RING E3 ligase, Not4. It is essential for cellular protein solubility and has been proposed to be involved in co-translational quality control. An open question has been whether this role of Not4 resides strictly in the regulation of the deadenylation module of the Ccr4-Not complex. However, Not4 is important for proper assembly of the proteasome, and the Ccr4-Not complex may have multiple functional modules that participate in protein quality control in different ways. In this work we studied how the functions of the Caf1/Ccr4 and Not4 modules are connected. We concluded that Not4 plays a role in protein quality control independently of the Ccr4 deadenylase, and that it is involved in clearance of aberrant proteins at least in part via the proteasome.
Current models of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) propose intraluminal microbes destroy intestinal mucosa and activate an inflammatory cascade that ends in necrosis. We suggest an alternate hypothesis wherein NEC is caused by injury to Paneth cells (PCs) in the intestinal crypts. PCs are specialized epithelia that protect intestinal stem cells from pathogens, stimulate stem cell differentiation, shape the intestinal microbiota, and assist in repairing the gut. Our novel model of NEC uses neonatal mice and ablates Paneth cells followed by enteral infection. We contrast this model with other animal examples of NEC and the clinical disease. Selective destruction of PCs using dithizone likely releases TNF-alpha and other inflammatory mediators. We propose this event produces inflammation in the submucosa, generates platelet activating factor, and induces a coagulopathy. The role of PCs in NEC is consistent with the onset of disease in preterm infants after a period of PC-related maturation, the central role of PCs in crypt-related homeostasis, the anatomic location of pneumatosis intestinalis close to the crypts, and the proximity of Paneth cells to occluded blood vessels that cause coagulation necrosis of the intestinal villi. We offer this hypothesis to promote new thought about how NEC occurs and its potential prevention.
dithizone; alpha-defensins; enteric infection; ileal necrosis; intestinal crypts; Paneth cell ablation; Paneth cell-related gut injury and repair; tumor necrosis factor-alpha
Nuclear inclusions of aggregated proteins have primarily been characterized for molecules with aberrant poly-glutamine repeats and for mutated or structurally altered proteins. They were termed “nuclear aggresomes” and misfolding was shown to promote association with molecular chaperones and proteasomes. Here, we report that two components of a transcriptional repressor complex (BCL-6 and BCoR) of wildtype amino acid sequence can independently or jointly induce the formation of nuclear aggregates when overexpressed. The observation that the majority of cells rapidly downregulate BCL-6/BCoR levels, supports the notion that expression of these proteins is under tight control. The inclusions occur when BCL-6/BCoR expression exceeds 150-fold of endogenous levels. They preferentially develop in the nucleus by a gradual increase in aggregate size to form large, spheroid structures which are not associated with heat shock proteins or marked by ubiquitin. In contrast, we find the close association of BCL-6/BCoR inclusions with PML bodies and a reduction in aggregation upon the concomitant overexpression of histone deacetylases or heat shock protein 70. In summary, our data offer a perspective on nuclear aggregates distinct from classical “nuclear aggresomes”: Large complexes of spheroid structure can evolve in the nucleus without being marked by the cellular machinery for protein refolding and degradation. However, nuclear proteostasis can be restored by balancing the levels of chaperones.
Cellular senescence is an irreversible state of proliferation arrest evoked by a myriad of stresses including oncogene activation, telomere shortening/dysfunction and genotoxic insults. It has been associated with tumor activation, immune suppression and aging, owing to the secretion of proinflammatory mediators. The bacterial genotoxin colibactin, encoded by the pks genomic island is frequently harboured by Escherichia coli strains of the B2 phylogenetic group. Mammalian cells exposed to live pks+ bacteria exhibit DNA-double strand breaks (DSB) and undergo cell-cycle arrest and death. Here we show that cells that survive the acute bacterial infection with pks+ E. coli display hallmarks of cellular senescence: chronic DSB, prolonged cell-cycle arrest, enhanced senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) activity, expansion of promyelocytic leukemia nuclear foci and senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. This was accompanied by reactive oxygen species production and pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and proteases secretion. These mediators were able to trigger DSB and enhanced SA-β-Gal activity in bystander recipient cells treated with conditioned medium from senescent cells. Furthermore, these senescent cells promoted the growth of human tumor cells. In conclusion, the present data demonstrated that the E. coli genotoxin colibactin induces cellular senescence and subsequently propel bystander genotoxic and oncogenic effects.
Autophagy plays an important role in neoplastic transformation of cells and in resistance of cancer cells to radio- and chemotherapy. p62 (SQSTM1) is a key component of autophagic machinery which is also involved in signal transduction. Although recent empirical observations demonstrated that p62 is overexpressed in variety of human tumors, a mechanism of p62 overexpression is not known. Here we report that the transformation of normal human mammary epithelial cells with diverse oncogenes (RAS, PIK3CA and Her2) causes marked accumulation of p62. Based on this result, we hypothesized that p62 may be a feasible candidate to be an anti-cancer DNA vaccine. Here we performed a preclinical study of a novel DNA vaccine encoding p62. Intramuscularly administered p62-encoding plasmid induced anti-p62 antibodies and exhibited strong antitumor activity in four models of allogeneic mouse tumors – B16 melanoma, Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC), S37 sarcoma, and Ca755 breast carcinoma. In mice challenged with Ca755 cells, p62 treatment had dual effect: inhibited tumor growth in some mice and prolonged life in those mice which developed tumor size similar to control. P62-encoding plasmid has demonstrated its potency both as a preventive and therapeutic vaccine. Importantly, p62 vaccination drastically suppressed metastasis formation: in B16 melanoma where tumor cells where injected intravenously, and in LLC and S37 sarcoma with spontaneous metastasis. Overall, we conclude that a p62-encoding vector(s) constitute(s) a novel, effective broad-spectrum antitumor and anti-metastatic vaccine feasible for further development and clinical trials.
Heat shock response (HSR) that protects cells from proteotoxic stresses is downregulated in aging, as well as upon replicative senescence of cells in culture. Here we demonstrate that HSR is suppressed in fibroblasts from the patients with segmental progerioid Werner Syndrome, which undergo premature senescence. Similar suppression of HSR was seen in normal fibroblasts, which underwent senescence in response to DNA damaging treatments. The major DNA-damage-induced signaling (DDS) pathways p53–p21 and p38-NF-kB-SASP contributed to the HSR suppression. The HSR suppression was associated with inhibition of both activity and transcription of the heat shock transcription factor Hsf1. This inhibition in large part resulted from the downregulation of SIRT1, which in turn was because of decrease in the expression of the translation regulator HuR. Importantly, we uncovered a positive feedback regulation, where suppression of Hsf1 further activates the p38–NF-κB-SASP pathway, which in turn promotes senescence. Overexpression of Hsf1 inhibited the p38–NFκB-SASP pathway and partially relieved senescence. Therefore, downregulation of Hsf1 plays an important role in the development or in the maintenance of DNA damage signaling-induced cell senescence.
heat shock response; Hsp70; HuR; inflammation; p38; p53; SIRT1
Compound A possesses glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-dependent anti-inflammatory properties. Just like classical GR ligands, Compound A can repress NF-κB-mediated gene expression. However, the monomeric Compound A-activated GR is unable to trigger glucocorticoid response element-regulated gene expression. The heat shock response potently activates heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), upregulates Hsp70, a known GR chaperone, and also modulates various aspects of inflammation. We found that the selective GR modulator Compound A and heat shock trigger similar cellular effects in A549 lung epithelial cells. With regard to their anti-inflammatory mechanism, heat shock and Compound A are both able to reduce TNF-stimulated IκBα degradation and NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation. We established an interaction between Compound A-activated GR and Hsp70, but remarkably, although the presence of the Hsp70 chaperone as such appears pivotal for the Compound A-mediated inflammatory gene repression, subsequent novel Hsp70 protein synthesis is uncoupled from an observed CpdA-induced Hsp70 mRNA upregulation and hence obsolete in mediating CpdA’s anti-inflammatory effect. The lack of a Compound A-induced increase in Hsp70 protein levels in A549 cells is not mediated by a rapid proteasomal degradation of Hsp70 or by a Compound A-induced general block on translation. Similar to heat shock, Compound A can upregulate transcription of Hsp70 genes in various cell lines and BALB/c mice. Interestingly, whereas Compound A-dependent Hsp70 promoter activation is GR-dependent but HSF1-independent, heat shock-induced Hsp70 expression alternatively occurs in a GR-independent and HSF1-dependent manner in A549 lung epithelial cells.
Neurodegenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been well investigated. However, significant methods for the treatment of the progression of AD are unavailable currently. Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) plays important roles in neural protection from stress by assisting cellular protein folding. In this study, we investigated the effect and the molecular mechanism of YC-1, an activator of guanylyl cyclase (GC), on Aβ25–35-induced cytotoxicity in differentiated PC12 cells. The results of this study showed that Aβ25–35 (10 µM) significantly increased p25 protein production in a pattern that was consistent with the increase in μ-calpain expression. Moreover, Aβ25–35 significantly increased tau hyperphosphorylation and induced differentiated PC12 cell death. YC-1 (0.5–10 µM) prevented the cell death induced by Aβ25–35. In addition, YC-1 (1, 10 µM) significantly blocked Aβ25–35-induced μ-calpain expression and decreased the formation of p25 and tau hyperphosphorylation. Moreover, YC-1 (5–20 µM) alone or combined with Aβ25–35 (10 µM) significantly increased the expression of Hsp70 in differentiated PC12 cells. The neuroprotective effect of YC-1 was significantly attenuated by an Hsp70 inhibitor (quercetin, 50 µM) or in PC12 cells transfected with an Hsp70 small interfering RNA. However, pretreatment of cells with the GC inhibitor ODQ (10 µM) did not affect the neuroprotective effect of YC-1 against Aβ25–35 in differentiated PC12 cells. These results suggest that the neuroprotective effect of YC-1 against Aβ25–35-induced toxicity is mainly mediated by the induction of Hsp70. Thus, YC-1 is a potential agent against AD.
Protein quality control is essential for cellular survival. Failure to eliminate pathogenic proteins leads to their intracellular accumulation in the form of protein aggregates. Autophagy can recognize protein aggregates and degrade them in lysosomes. However, some aggregates escape the autophagic surveillance. Here we analyze the autophagic degradation of different types of aggregates of synphilin-1 (Sph1), a protein often found in pathogenic protein inclusions. We show that small Sph1 aggregates and large aggresomes are differentially targeted by constitutive and inducible autophagy. Furthermore, we identify a region in Sph1 necessary for its own basal and inducible aggrephagy, and sufficient for the degradation of other pro-aggregating proteins. Although the presence of this peptide is sufficient for basal aggrephagy, inducible aggrephagy requires its ubiquitination, which diminishes protein mobility on the surface of the aggregate and favors the recruitment and assembly of the protein complexes required for autophagosome formation. Our study reveals different mechanisms for cells to cope with aggregate proteins via autophagy and supports the idea that autophagic susceptibility of prone-to-aggregate proteins may not depend on the nature of the aggregating proteins per se but on their dynamic properties in the aggregate.
autophagy; protein aggregates; aggresomes; synphilin-1; protein mobility; ubiquitination
Spatial modeling is typically composed of a specification of a mean function and a model for the correlation structure. A common assumption on the spatial correlation is that it is isotropic. This means that the correlation between any two observations depends only on the distance between those sites and not on their relative orientation. The assumption of isotropy is often made due to a simpler interpretation of correlation behavior and to an easier estimation problem under an assumed isotropy. The assumption of isotropy, however, can have serious deleterious effects when not appropriate. In this paper we formulate a test of isotropy for spatial observations located according to a general class of stochastic designs. Distribution theory of our test statistic is derived and we carry out extensive simulations which verify the efficacy of our approach. We apply our methodology to a data set on longleaf pine trees from an oldgrowth forest in the southern United States.
Anisotropy; Covariogram; Isotropy; Spatial bootstrap; Spatial statistics
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease of premature infants. Probiotics decrease the risk of NEC in clinical and experimental studies. Antimicrobial peptides protect the gut against noxious microbes and shape the commensal microbiota, but their role in NEC remains unclear. We report that like in human ontogeny, the rat pup has low expression of Paneth cell antimicrobials, which increases rapidly during normal development. To investigate the expression of antimicrobial peptides in experimental NEC and the impact of probiotics on their expression, premature rats were divided into three groups: dam fed (DF), hand fed with formula (FF), or hand fed with formula containing Bifidobacterium bifidum (FF+BIF). All groups were exposed to asphyxia and cold stress. The expression of lysozyme, secretory phospholipase A2, pancreatic-associated proteins 1 and 3 mRNA was elevated in the FF (NEC) group, compared to the DF and FF+BIF groups where disease was attenuated. We conclude that induction of antimicrobial peptides occurs in experimental NEC similar to that reported in human disease and is attenuated when disease is averted by probiotic B. bifidum. The induction of antimicrobial peptides is likely an adaptive mucosal response that is often not sufficient to prevent disease in the premature gut.
The inhibition of DNA damage response pathway seems to be an attractive strategy for cancer therapy. It was previously reported that in rodent cells exposed to heat stress, cell growth was promoted by the activity of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), an enzyme involved in DNA non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) required for double-strand break repair. The absence of a functioning DNA-PK was associated with down regulation of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70). The objective of this study is thus to investigate the role of DNA-PK inhibition in heat-induced apoptosis in human cell lines. The inhibitors of phosphorylation of the DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) at Ser2056, such as NU7026 and NU7441, were utilized. Furthermore, knock down of DNA-PKcs was carried out using small interfering RNA (siDNA-PKcs). For heat exposure, cells were placed in water bath at 44°C for 60 min. Apoptosis was evaluated after 24 h incubation flow cytometrically. Proteins were extracted after 24 h and analyzed for HSP70 and HSP40 expression by Western blotting. Total RNA was extracted 6 h after treatment and analyzed using a GeneChip® microarray system to identify and select the up-regulated genes (≥1.5 fold). The results showed an enhancement in heat-induced apoptosis in absence of functioning DNA-PKcs. Interestingly, the expression levels of HSP70 and HSP40 were elevated in the absence of DNA-PKcs under heat stress. The results of genetic network analysis showed that HSPs and JUN genes were up-regulated independently of DNA-PKcs in exposed parent and knock out cells. In the presence of functioning DNA-PKcs, there was an observed up-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes, such as NR1D1, whereas in the absence of DNA-PKcs the pro-apoptotic genes, such as EGR2, were preferentially up-regulated. From these findings, we concluded that in human cells, the inactivation of DNA-PKcs can promote heat-induced apoptosis independently of heat-shock proteins.
Physics-based simulation provides a powerful framework for understanding biological form and function. Simulations can be used by biologists to study macromolecular assemblies and by clinicians to design treatments for diseases. Simulations help biomedical researchers understand the physical constraints on biological systems as they engineer novel drugs, synthetic tissues, medical devices, and surgical interventions. Although individual biomedical investigators make outstanding contributions to physics-based simulation, the field has been fragmented. Applications are typically limited to a single physical scale, and individual investigators usually must create their own software. These conditions created a major barrier to advancing simulation capabilities. In 2004, we established a National Center for Physics-Based Simulation of Biological Structures (Simbios) to help integrate the field and accelerate biomedical research. In 6 years, Simbios has become a vibrant national center, with collaborators in 16 states and eight countries. Simbios focuses on problems at both the molecular scale and the organismal level, with a long-term goal of uniting these in accurate multiscale simulations.
Simulation; dynamics; biomedical computation; physics-based; neuromuscular biomechanics; molecular dynamics; multibody dynamics; domain-specific languages; DSLs; neuroprosthetic dynamics; drug target dynamics; physics-based simulation
H-Ras oncogene requires deregulation of additional oncogenes or inactivation of tumor suppressor proteins to increase cell proliferation rate and transform cells. In fact, the expression of the constitutively activated H-RasV12 induces cell growth arrest and premature senescence, which act like barriers in pre-neoplastic lesions. In our experimental model, human fibroblasts transfected with H-RasV12 show a dramatic modification of morphology. H-RasV12 expressing cells also show premature senescence followed by cell death, induced by autophagy and apoptosis. In this context, we provide evidence that in H-RasV12 expressing cells, the premature senescence is associated with cellular redox imbalance as well as with altered post-translation protein modification. In particular, redox imbalance is due to a strong reduction of total antioxidant capacity, and significant decrease of glutathione level. As the reversible addition of glutathione to cysteinyl residues of proteins is an important post-translational regulative modification, we investigated S-glutathionylation in cells expressing active H-Ras. In this contest we observed different S-glutathionylation patterns in control and H-RasV12 expressing cells. Particularly, the GAPDH enzyme showed S-glutathionylation increase and significant enzyme activity depletion in H-Ras V12 cells. In conclusion, we proposed that antioxidant defense reduction, glutathione depletion and subsequent modification of S-glutathionylation of target proteins contribute to arrest cell growth, leading to death of fibroblasts expressing constitutively active H-Ras oncogene, thus acting as oncogenic barriers that obstacle the progression of cell transformation.
Heat induces Hsp70.1 (HSPA1) and Hsc70 (HSPA8) to form complex detergent insoluble cytoplasmic and nuclear structures that are distinct from the cytoskeleton and internal cell membranes. These novel structures have not been observed by earlier immunofluorescence studies as they are obscured by the abundance of soluble Hsp70.1/Hsc70 present in cells. While resistant to detergents, these Hsp70 structures display complex intracellular dynamics and are efficiently disaggregated by ATP, indicating that this pool of Hsp70.1/Hsc70 retains native function and regulation. Hsp70.1 promotes the repair of proteotoxic damage and cell survival after stress. In heated fibroblasts expressing Hsp70.1, Hsp70.1 and Hsc70 complexes are efficiently disaggregated before the cells undergo-heat induced apoptosis. In the absence of Hsp70.1, fibroblasts have increased rates of heat-induced apoptosis and maintain stable insoluble Hsc70 structures. The differences in the intracellular distribution of Hsp70.1 and Hsc70, combined with the ability of Hsp70.1, but not Hsc70, to promote the disaggregation of insoluble Hsp70.1/Hsc70 complexes, indicate that these two closely related proteins perform distinctly different cellular functions in heated cells.
Senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) is characterized by abundant secretion of various proteins in senescent cells and implicated in tumor progression and inflammatory responses. However, the profile of secreted proteins in SASP is different from cell type to cell type, and currently, universal markers for SASP have not been reported. In the present investigation, we show that SASP-responsive alkaline phosphatase (SASP-RAP) serves as a sensitive, general and convenient marker for SASP. Etoposide-treated cells exhibited a senescent phenotype characterized by senile morphology, positive staining for senescence-associated β-galactosidase, growth arrest and induction of p53 and p21WAF1/CIP1. In SASP-RAP-transfected cells, exposure to etoposide increased secretion of SASP-RAP time-dependently. The kinetics of secretion was closely correlated with that of activation of the p21WAF1/CIP1 promoter and the p16INK4a promoter. The enhanced secretion of SASP-RAP by senescence was also observed in cells treated with other senescence inducers such as trichostatin A, doxorubicin and 4-phenylbutylic acid. The induction of SASP-RAP by senescence was similarly observed in natural replicative senescence. To confirm selectivity of the SASP-RAP response, cells were treated with senescence-related and -unrelated stimuli (IL-1β, LPS, TNF-α and TGF-β), and induction of senescence markers and activity of SASP-RAP were evaluated in parallel. Unlike etoposide, senescence-unrelated stimuli did not induce p53 and p21WAF1/CIP1, and it was correlated with lack of induction of SASP-RAP. In contrast, senescence-unrelated stimuli up-regulated conventional indicators for SASP, e.g., MMP-3, IL-6 and TIMP, without induction of senescence. SASP-RAP thus serves as a selective, convenient and general marker for detection and monitoring of SASP during cellular senescence.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the mosquito-borne alphavirus that is the etiologic agent of massive outbreaks of arthralgic febrile illness that recently affected millions of people in Africa and Asia. The only CHIKV vaccine that has been tested in humans, strain 181/clone 25, is a live-attenuated derivative of Southeast Asian human isolate strain AF15561. The vaccine was immunogenic in phase I and II clinical trials; however, it induced transient arthralgia in 8% of the vaccinees. There are five amino acid differences between the vaccine and its parent, as well as five synonymous mutations, none of which involves cis-acting genome regions known to be responsible for replication or packaging. To identify the determinants of attenuation, we therefore tested the five nonsynonymous mutations by cloning them individually or in different combinations into infectious clones derived from two wild-type (WT) CHIKV strains, La Reunion and AF15561. Levels of virulence were compared with those of the WT strains and the vaccine strain in two different murine models: infant CD1 and adult A129 mice. An attenuated phenotype indistinguishable from that of the 181/clone 25 vaccine strain was obtained by the simultaneous expression of two E2 glycoprotein substitutions, with intermediate levels of attenuation obtained with the single E2 mutations. The other three amino acid mutations, in nsP1, 6K, and E1, did not have a detectable effect on CHIKV virulence. These results indicate that the attenuation of strain 181/clone 25 is mediated by two point mutations, explaining the phenotypic instability observed in human vaccinees and also in our studies.
The structure of the bacteriophage SPP1 capsid was determined at subnanometer resolution by cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle analysis. The icosahedral capsid is composed of the major capsid protein gp13 and the auxiliary protein gp12, which are organized in a T=7 lattice. DNA is arranged in layers with a distance of ∼24.5 Å. gp12 forms spikes that are anchored at the center of gp13 hexamers. In a gp12-deficient mutant, the centers of hexamers are closed by loops of gp13 coming together to protect the SPP1 genome from the outside environment. The HK97-like fold was used to build a pseudoatomic model of gp13. Its structural organization remains unchanged upon tail binding and following DNA release. gp13 exhibits enhanced thermostability in the DNA-filled capsid. A remarkable convergence between the thermostability of the capsid and those of the other virion components was found, revealing that the overall architecture of the SPP1 infectious particle coevolved toward high robustness.
Bufalin is the primary component of the traditional Chinese herb “Chan Su”. Evidence suggests that this compound possesses potent anti-tumor activities, although the exact molecular mechanism(s) is unknown. Our previous study showed that bufalin inhibited growth of human osteosarcoma cell lines U2OS and U2OS/MTX300 in culture. Therefore, this study aims to further clarify the in vitro and in vivo anti-osteosarcoma effects of bufalin and its molecular mechanism of action. We found bufalin inhibited both methotrexate (MTX) sensitive and resistant human osteosarcoma cell growth and induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis. Using a comparative proteomics approach, 24 differentially expressed proteins following bufalin treatment were identified. In particular, the level of an anti-apoptotic protein, heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27), decreased remarkably. The down-regulation of Hsp27 and alterations of its partner signaling molecules (the decrease in p-Akt, nuclear NF-κB p65, and co-immunoprecipitated cytochrome c/Hsp27) were validated. Hsp27 over-expression protected against bufalin-induced apoptosis, reversed the dephosphorylation of Akt and preserved the level of nuclear NF-κB p65 and co-immunoprecipitated Hsp27/cytochrome c. Moreover, bufalin inhibited MTX-resistant osteosarcoma xenograft growth, and a down-regulation of Hsp27 in vivo was observed. Taken together, bufalin exerted potent anti-osteosarcoma effects in vitro and in vivo, even in MTX resistant osteosarcoma cells. The down-regulation of Hsp27 played a critical role in bufalin-induced apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells. Bufalin may have merit to be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for osteosarcoma, particularly in MTX-resistant groups.
Microtubule-disturbing drugs inhibit lysosomal trafficking and induce lysosomal membrane permeabilization followed by cathepsin-dependent cell death. To identify specific trafficking-related proteins that control cell survival and lysosomal stability, we screened a molecular motor siRNA library in human MCF7 breast cancer cells. SiRNAs targeting four kinesins (KIF11/Eg5, KIF20A, KIF21A, KIF25), myosin 1G (MYO1G), myosin heavy chain 1 (MYH1) and tropomyosin 2 (TPM2) were identified as effective inducers of non-apoptotic cell death. The cell death induced by KIF11, KIF21A, KIF25, MYH1 or TPM2 siRNAs was preceded by lysosomal membrane permeabilization, and all identified siRNAs induced several changes in the endo-lysosomal compartment, i.e. increased lysosomal volume (KIF11, KIF20A, KIF25, MYO1G, MYH1), increased cysteine cathepsin activity (KIF20A, KIF25), altered lysosomal localization (KIF25, MYH1, TPM2), increased dextran accumulation (KIF20A), or reduced autophagic flux (MYO1G, MYH1). Importantly, all seven siRNAs also killed human cervix cancer (HeLa) and osteosarcoma (U-2-OS) cells and sensitized cancer cells to other lysosome-destabilizing treatments, i.e. photo-oxidation, siramesine, etoposide or cisplatin. Similarly to KIF11 siRNA, the KIF11 inhibitor monastrol induced lysosomal membrane permeabilization and sensitized several cancer cell lines to siramesine. While KIF11 inhibitors are under clinical development as mitotic blockers, our data reveal a new function for KIF11 in controlling lysosomal stability and introduce six other molecular motors as putative cancer drug targets.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes a severe and often persistent arthralgic disease that is occasionally fatal. A mosquito-borne virus, CHIKV exists in enzootic, non-human primate cycles in Africa, but occasionally emerges into urban, human cycles to cause major epidemics. Between 1920 and 1950, and again in 2005, CHIKV emerged into India and Southeast Asia, where major urban epidemics ensued. Unlike the early introduction, the 2005 emergence was accompanied by an adaptive mutation that allowed CHIKV to exploit a new epidemic vector, Aedes albopictus, via an A226V substitution in the E1 envelope glycoprotein. However, recent reverse genetic studies indicate that lineage-specific epistatic restrictions can prevent this from exerting its phenotype on mosquito infectivity. Thus, the A. albopictus-adaptive A226V substitution that is facilitating the dramatic geographic spread CHIKV epidemics, was prevented for decades or longer from being selected in most African enzootic strains as well as in the older endemic Asian lineage.
Glycogen synthase kinase 3β(GSK3β) is a ubiquitous serine-threonine protein kinase that participates in numerous cellular processes and disease pathophysiology. We aimed to determine therapeutic potential of GSK3β inhibition and its mechanism in a well-characterized model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced model of acute liver failure (ALF).
In a murine ALF model induced by D-GalN(700 mg/kg)/LPS(10 µg/kg), we analyzed GSK3β mechanisms using a specific chemical inhibitor, SB216763, and detected the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Mice were administered SB216763 at 2 h before or after D-GalN/LPS injection, respectively, and then sacrificed 6 h after D-GalN/LPS treatment to evaluate its prophylactic and therapeutic function. The lethality rate, liver damage, ERS, cytokine expression, MAP kinase, hepatocyte apoptosis and expression of TLR 4 were evaluated, respectively. Whether the inhibition of GSK3β activation protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced apoptosis was investigated in vitro.
GSK3β became quickly activated (dephosphorylated) upon D-GalN/LPS exposure. Administration of SB216763 not only ameliorated liver injury, as evidenced by reduced transaminase levels, and well-preserved liver architecture, but also decreased lethality. Moreover, GSK3β inhibition resulted in down-regulation of pro-apoptotic proteins C/EBP–homologous protein(CHOP) and caspase-12, which are related to ERS. To further demonstrate the role of ERS, we found that GSK3β inhibition protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced cell death. GSK3β inhibition down-regulated the MAPK pathways, reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and decreased expression of TLR4.
Our findings demonstrate the key function of GSK3β signaling in the pathophysiology of ALF, especially in regulating the ERS, and provide a rationale for targeting GSK3β as a potential therapeutic strategy to ameliorate ALF.