CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript) peptides (CART 55-102 and CART 62-102) are peptidergic neurotransmitters that are widely but specifically distributed throughout the brain, gut and other parts of the body. They are found in many brain regions associated with drug addiction including the nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area and ventral pallidum. Injections of CART 55-102 into the nucleus accumbens have no effect on basal locomotor activity. However, an injection of CART just before an i.p. injection of cocaine reduces the locomotor activating effects of cocaine. These and other data suggest that CART in the accumbens blunts the effects of cocaine. A hypothesis is that CART is homeostatic in the accumbens and tends to oppose large increases in dopamine signaling. These actions would therefore be able to regulate the effects of some abused drugs such as the psychostimulants.
Copper transporter 1 (CTR1) is the major copper (Cu) influx transporter in mammalian cells. We report here that CTR1 is required for the activation of signaling to the MAPK pathway by the ligands of three major receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) including FGF, PDGF and EGF. Induction of Erk1/2 phosphorylation was compared in isogenic wild type CTR1+/+ and CTR1−/− cells. Whereas all three ligands increased pErk1/2 in the CTR1+/+ cells, they failed to do this in CTR1−/− cells. While FGF did not enhance the phosphorylation of AKT in the CTR1+/+ cells, both PDGF and EGF increased pAKT in the CTR1+/+ but not CTR1−/− cells. The deficit in Erk1/2 phosphorylation in the CTR1−/− cells was rescued by adding Cu to the medium, and it was induced in CTR1+/+ cells by treatment with a Cu chelator. Intracellular Cu availability was reduced in the CTR1−/− cells as reflected by increased expression of the Cu chaperone CCS. The failure of RTK-induced signaling to both Erk1/2 and AKT suggested the presence of a Cu-dependent step upstream of Ras. The Cu-dependent enzyme SOD1 is responsible for generating the hydrogen peroxide in response to RTK activation that serves to inhibit phosphatases that normally limit RTK signaling. SOD1 activity was reduced by a factor of 17-fold in the CTR1−/− cells, and addition of hydrogen peroxide restored signaling. We conclude that Cu acquired from CTR1 is required for signaling in pathways regulated by RTKs that play major roles in development and cancer.
CTR1; SOD1; copper; receptor tyrosine kinase
Sildenafil is a cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor that augments cGMP accumulation following the activation of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). In this study, we investigated whether sildenafil promotes the production of the sGC-stimulatory gases, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide, by stimulating the expression of the inducible isoforms of heme oxygenase (HO-1) and nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Sildenafil increased HO-1 expression and potentiated cytokine-mediated expression of iNOS and NO synthesis by SMCs. The induction of HO-1 was unaffected by the sGC inhibitor 1H-(1,2,4)oxadiazolo[4,3-α]quinozalin-1-one (ODQ) or the (9S,10R,12R)-2,3,9,10,11,12-hexahydro-10-methoxy-2,9-dimethyl-1-oxo-9,12-epoxy-1H-diindol91,2,3-fg:3′,2′,1′-kl)pyrrolo(3,4-i)benzodiazocine-10-carboxylic acid, methyl ester (KT 5823). However, the sildenafil-mediated increase in HO-1 promoter activity was abolished by mutating the antioxidant responsive elements in the promoter or by overexpressing a dominant-negative mutant of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2). Furthermore, the induction of HO-1 by sildenafil was accompanied by an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and blocked by N-acetyl-L-cysteine and rotenone. In contrast, the enhancement of cytokine-stimulated NO synthesis by sildenafil was prevented by ODQ and the protein kinase A inhibitor (9S,10S,12R)-2,3,9,10,11,12-hexahydro-10-hydroxy-9-methyl-1-oxo-9,12-epoxy-1H-diindolo(1,2,3-fg:3′,2′,1′-kl)pyrrolo(3,4-i)(1,6)benzodiazocine-10-carboxylic acid hexyl ester (KT 5720) and duplicated by lipophilic analogues of cGMP. In conclusion, these studies demonstrate that sildenafil stimulates the expression of HO-1 and iNOS via the ROS-Nrf2 and sGC-cGMP pathway, respectively. The ability of sildenafil to block the catabolism of cGMP while stimulating the synthesis of sGC-stimulatory gaseous monoxides through the induction of HO-1 and iNOS provides a potent mechanism by which cGMP-dependent vascular actions of this drug are amplified.
heme oxygenase; inducible nitric oxide synthase; vascular smooth muscle cells
Auroras (A and B) are oncogenic serine/threonine kinases that play key roles in the mitotic phase of the eukaryotic cell cycle. Analysis of the Leukemia Lymphoma Molecular Profiling Project (LLMPP) database indicates Aurora over-expression correlates with poor prognosis. A tissue microarray (TMA) composed of 20 paired mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) patients demonstrated >75% of patients had high levels Aurora expression. Aurora A and B were also found elevated in 13 aggressive B-NHL cell lines. MLN8237, an Aurora inhibitor induced G2/M arrest with polyploidy and abrogated Aurora A and histone-H3 phosphorylation. MLN8237 inhibited aggressive B-NHL cell proliferation at an IC50 of 10-50 nM and induced apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Low dose combinations of MLN8237 + docetaxel enhanced apoptosis by ∼3-4-fold in cell culture compared to single agents respectively. A mouse xenograft model of MCL demonstrated that MLN8237 (10 or 30 mg/kg) or docetaxel (10 mg/kg) alone had modest anti-tumor activity. However, MLN8237 plus docetaxel demonstrated a statistically significant tumor growth inhibition and enhanced survival compared to single agent therapy. Together, our results suggest that MLN8237 plus docetaxel may represent a novel therapeutic strategy that could be evaluated in early phase trials in relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell NHL.
non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL); Aurora A and B; Aurora Inhibitor; MLN8237; Docetaxel
There is increased interest in the Bn-receptor family because they are frequently over/ectopically-expressed by tumors and thus useful as targets for imaging or receptor-targeted-cytotoxicity. The synthetic Bn-analog,[D-Tyr6,β-Ala11,Phe13,Nle14]Bn(6-14)[Univ.Lig] has the unique property of having high affinity for all three human BNRs(GRPR,NMBR,BRS-3), and thus could be especially useful for this approach. However, the molecular basis of this property is unclear and is the subject of this study. To accomplish this, site-directed mutagenesis was used after identifying potentially important amino acids using sequence homology analysis of all BnRs with high affinity for Univ.Lig compared to the Cholecystokinin-receptor(CCKAR), which has low affinity. Using various criteria 74 amino acids were identified and 101 mutations made in GRPR by changing each to those of CCKAR or to alanine. 22 GRPR mutations showed a significant decrease in affinity for Univ.Lig(>2-fold) with 2 in EC2[ D97N,G112V], 1 in UTM6[Y284A], 2 in EC4[R287N,H300S] showing >10-fold decrease in Univ.Lig affinity. Additional mutations were made to explore the molecular basis for these changes. Our results show that high affinity for Univ.Lig by human Bn-receptors requires positively charged amino acids in extracellular (EC)-domain 4 and to a lesser extent EC2 and EC3 suggesting charge-charge interactions may be particularly important for determining the general high affinity of this ligand. Furthermore, transmembrane amino acids particularly in UTM6 are important contributing both charge-charge interactions as well as interaction with a tyrosine residue in close proximity suggesting possible receptor-peptide cation-pi or H–bonding interactions are also important for determining its high affinity.
gastrin-releasing peptide; neuromedin B; bombesin; BRS-3; receptor-mutagenesis
The novel nicotinic receptor (nAChR) antagonist, N,N’-dodecane-1,12-diyl-bis-3-picolinium dibromide (bPiDDB), and its chemically-reduced analog, r-bPiDDB, potently inhibit nicotine-evoked dopamine (DA) release from rat striatal slices. Since tobacco smokers self-administer nicotine repeatedly, animal models incorporating repeated nicotine treatment allow for mechanistic evaluation of therapeutic candidates following neuroadaptive changes. The current study determined the ability of bPiDDB, r-bPiDDB and α-conotoxin MII (α-CtxMII), a peptide antagonist selective for α6β2-containing nAChRs, to inhibit nicotine-evoked [3H]DA release from striatal slices from rats repeatedly administered nicotine (0.4 mg/kg for 10 days) or saline (control). Concomitant exposure to maximally effective concentrations of r-bPiDDB (1 nM) and α-CtxMII (1 nM) resulted in inhibition of nicotine-evoked [3H]DA release no greater than that produced by either antagonist alone, suggesting that r-bPiDDB inhibits α6β2-containing nAChRs. Repeated nicotine treatment increased locomotor activity, demonstrating behavioral sensitization. Concentration-response curves for nicotine-evoked [3H]DA release were not different between nicotine-treated and control groups. Maximal inhibition for α-CtxMII was greater following repeated nicotine compared to control (Imax=90% vs. 62%), with no change in potency. bPiDDB was 3-orders of magnitude more potent in inhibiting nicotine-evoked [3H]DA release in nicotine-treated rats compared to control rats (IC50=5 pM vs 6 nM), with no change in maximal inhibition. Neither a shift to left in the concentration response nor a change in maximal inhibition was observed for r-bPiDDB following repeated nicotine. Thus, repeated nicotine treatment may differentially regulate the stoichiometry, conformation and/or composition of α6β2-containing nAChRs mediating nicotine-evoked striatal DA release. Therefore, bPiDDB and r-bPiDDB appear to target different α6β2-containing nAChR subtypes.
smoking cessation; nicotine; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; dopamine release; nicotinic receptor antagonist
In addition to insulin sensitization, the thiazolidenedione drug pioglitazone exhibits favorable circulatory effects. Here, we hypothesized that pioglitazone protects against the hypertension and related vascular derangements caused by the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (CSA). Compared with vehicle (olive oil)-treated rats, chronic treatment with CSA (20 mg/kg/day s.c., for 14 days) increased blood pressure (BP), reduced the aortic protein expression of phosphorylated eNOS (p-eNOS), and impaired responsiveness of isolated aortas to endothelium-dependent vasorelaxations induced by carbachol. The effects of CSA on BP, aortic p-eNOS, and carbachol relaxations were abolished upon concurrent administration of pioglitazone (2.5 mg/kg/day). Serum levels of adiponectin, an adipose tissue-derived adipokine, were not altered by CSA but showed significant elevations in rats treated with pioglitazone or pioglitazone plus CSA. The possibility that alterations in the antioxidant and/or lipid profile contributed to the CSA-pioglitazone BP interaction was investigated. Pioglitazone abrogated the oxidative (aortic superoxide dismutase), lipid peroxidation (aortic malondialdyde), and dyslipidemic (serum LDL levels and LDL/HDL ratio) effects of CSA. Histologically, CSA caused focal disruption in the endothelial lining of the aorta and this effect disappeared in rats co-treated with pioglitazone. Collectively, pioglitazone abrogates the hypertensive effect of CSA via ameliorating detrimental changes in vascular endothelial NOS/NO pathway and oxidative and lipid profiles caused by CSA.
Cyclosporine; pioglitazone; blood pressure; endothelium-dependent relaxations; oxidative stress
Vitamin D, whose levels vary seasonally with sunlight, is activated to 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 that binds the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and transcriptionally regulates intestinal CYP3A4 expression. We genotyped VDR polymorphisms and determined their associations with intestinal CYP3A4 and with midazolam pharmacokinetics, and whether intestinal CYP3A4 levels/activity varied seasonally. The VDR BsmIG>A (rs1544410) polymorphism was significantly associated with CYP3A4 jejunal expression/activity, withCYP3A4 duodenal mRNA, and with midazolam area under the curve (AUC). Intestinal CYP3A4 expression/activity was significantly higher in biopsies with the VDR promoter polymorphisms Cdx2-3731G>A and GATA-1012A>G that increase VDR activation of target genes. Duodenal CYP3A4 mRNA was significantly higher between April and September than between October and March. Midazolam p.o. AUC and oral bioavailability trended higher October through March compared to April through September. These data suggest VDR polymorphisms are predictors of intestinal CYP3A4, and that CYP3A4 intestinal expression varies seasonally - likely related to annual changes in UV sunlight and vitamin D levels.
CYP3A4; vitamin D; VDR; polymorphism; seasonal variation
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-sensitive transcription factor which is responsible for most 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin toxicities. Without ligand, the AhR complex is cytoplasmic and contains p23. Our objective was to investigate whether the wild type p23 levels are important for the AhR function. We generated eight p23-specific knockdown stable cell lines via either electroporation or lentiviral infection. Five of these stable cell lines were generated from a mouse hepatoma cell line (Hepa1c1c7) and three were from human hepatoma and cervical cell lines (Hep3B and HeLa). All of them expressed lower AhR protein levels, leading to reduced ligand-induced, DRE-driven downstream activity. The AhR protein levels in p23-specific knockdown stable cells were reversed back to wild type levels after exogenous p23 was introduced. Reduction of the AhR protein levels in these stable cells was caused by a decrease in the AhR message levels and an increase of the AhR protein degradation in the absence of ligand. This ligand-independent degradation of AhR was insensitive to MG132, suggesting that the 26S proteasome was not responsible for the degradation. In addition, MG132 could not protect AhR from the ligand-induced degradation in both mouse and human p23-knockdown stable cells.
p23 co-chaperone; aryl hydrocarbon receptor; AhR; protein degradation; dioxin
OSI-930, a dual c-Kit and KDR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is reported to have undergone a Phase I dose escalation study in patients with advanced solid tumors. A series of fifteen pyridyl and phenyl analogues of OSI-930 were designed and synthesized. Extensive screening of these compounds led to the discovery that nitropyridyl and ortho-nitrophenyl analogues, VKJP1 and VKJP3, were effective in reversing ABC subfamily G member 2 (ABCG2) transporter-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR). VKJP1 and VKJP3 significantly sensitized ABCG2-expressing cells to established substrates of ABCG2 including mitoxantrone, SN-38, and doxorubicin in a concentration-dependent manner, but not to the non-ABCG2 substrate cisplatin. However, they were unable to reverse ABCB1- or ABCC1-mediated MDR indicating their selectivity for ABCG2. Western blotting analysis was performed to evaluate ABCG2 expression and it was found that neither VKJP1 nor VKJP3 significantly altered ABCG2 protein expression for up to 72 h. [3H]-mitoxantrone accumulation study demonstrated that VKJP1 and VKJP3 increased the intracellular accumulation of [3H]-mitoxantrone, a substrate of ABCG2. VKJP1 and VKJP3 also remarkably inhibited the transport of [3H]-methotrexate by ABCG2 membrane vesicles. Importantly, both VKJP1 and VKJP3 were efficacious in stimulating the activity of ATPase of ABCG2 and inhibited the photoaffinity labeling of this transporter by its substrate [125I]-iodoarylazidoprazosin. The results suggested that VKJP1 and VKJP3, specifically inhibit the function of ABCG2 through direct interaction with its substrate binding site(s). Thus VKJP1 and VKJP3 represent a new class of drugs for reducing MDR in ABCG2 over-expressing tumors.
OSI-930; ABC transporters; ABCG2; multidrug resistance
A primary response to inflammation is an increased survival of the target cell. Several pathways have been identified that promote maintenance of the cell. The principal mechanism for the extended survival is through induction of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. Bcl-2 was the founding member of this family with five additional members, Bcl-XL, Bcl-W, Bcl-B, Bfl-1, and Mcl-1, discovered mostly in hematological malignancies. Another mechanism that could add to cell survival is the Pim kinase pathway. This family of enzymes is associated with Myc-driven transcription, cell cycle regulation, degradation of pro-apoptotic proteins, and protein translation. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia serves as an optimal model to understand the mechanism by which these two protein families provide survival advantage to cells. In addition, since this malignancy is known to be maintained by microenvironment milieu, this further adds advantage to investigate mechanisms by which these pro-survival proteins are induced in presence of stromal support. Multiple mechanisms exists that result in increase in transcript and protein level of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members. Following these inductions, post-translational modifications occur resulting in increased stability of pro-survival proteins, while Pim-mediated phosphorylation inhibits pro-apoptotic protein activity. Furthermore, there is a cross talk between these two (Bcl-2 family proteins and Pim family proteins) pathways that co-operate with each other for CLL cell survival and maintenance. Vigorous efforts are being made to create small molecules that affect these proteins directly or indirectly. Several of these pharmacological inhibitors are in early clinical trials for patients with hematological malignancies.
CLL; microenvironment; Bcl-2 family proteins; Pim kinases; survival pathways
Oxidative stress is the main etiological factor behind the pathogenesis of various diseases including inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Due to the spin trapping abilities and various pharmacological properties of nitrones, their application as therapeutic agent has been gaining attention. Though the antioxidant properties of the nitrones are well known, the mechanisms by which they modulate the cellular defense machinery against oxidative stress is not well investigated and requires further elucidation. Here, we have investigated the mechanisms of cytoprotection of the nitrone spin traps against oxidative stress in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). Cytoprotective properties of both the cyclic nitrone 5,5-dimethyl-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO) and linear nitrone alpha-phenyl N-tert-butyl nitrone (PBN) against H2O2-induced cytoxicity were investigated. Preincubation of BAEC with PBN or DMPO resulted in the inhibition of H2O2–mediated cytotoxicity and apoptosis. Nitrone-treatment resulted in the induction and restoration of phase II antioxidant enzymes via nuclear translocation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf-2) in oxidatively-challenged cells. Furthermore, the nitrones were found to inhibit the mitochondrial depolarization and subsequent activation of caspase-3 induced by H2O2. Significant down-regulation of the pro-apoptotic proteins p53 and Bax, and up-regulation of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and p-Bad were observed when the cells were preincubated with the nitrones prior to H2O2–treatment. It was also observed that Nrf-2 silencing completely abolished the protective effects of nitrones. Hence, these findings suggest that nitrones confer protection to the endothelial cells against oxidative stress by modulating phase II antioxidant enzymes and subsequently inhibiting mitochondria-dependent apoptotic cascade.
nitrones; spin traps; oxidative stress; endothelial dysfunction; Nrf-2
We purified pseudolaric acid B (PAB) from the root and stem bark of Pseudolarix kaempferi (Lindl.) Gorden. Confirming previous findings, we found that the compound had high nanomolar IC50 antiproliferative effects in several cultured cell lines, causing mitotic arrest and the disappearance of intracellular microtubules. PAB strongly inhibited tubulin assembly (IC50, 1.1 μM) but weakly inhibited the binding of colchicine to tubulin, as demonstrated by fluorescence and with [3H]colchicine. Kinetic analysis demonstrated that the mechanism of inhibition was competitive, with an apparent Ki of 12-15 μM. Indirect studies demonstrated that PAB bound rapidly to tubulin and dissociated more rapidly from tubulin than the colchicine analog 2-methoxy-5-(2′,3′,4′-trimethoxyphenyl)tropone, whose complex with tubulin is known to have a half-life of 17 s at 37 °C. We modeled PAB into the colchicine site of tubulin, using the crystal structure 1SA0 that contains two αβ-tubulin heterodimers, both bound to a colchicinoid and to a stathmin fragment. The binding model of PAB revealed common pharmacophoric features between PAB and colchicinoids, not readily apparent from their chemical structures.
Over-expression of ABCG2 is linked to multidrug resistance in cancer chemotherapy. We have previously shown that functionalized aurones effectively reduced the efflux of pheophorbide A (an ABCG2 substrate) from ABCG2 over-expressing MDA-MB-231/R (“R”) cells. In the present report, we investigated the functional relevance of this observation and the mechanisms by which it occurs. Aurones and related analogs were investigated for re-sensitization of R cells to mitoxantrone (MX, a chemotherapeutic substrate of ABCG2) in cell-based assays, accumulation of intracellular MX by cell cytometry, interaction with ABCG2 by biochemical assays and in vivo efficacy in MX resistant nude mice xenografts. We found that methoxylated aurones interacted directly with ABCG2 to inhibit efflux activity, possibly by competing for occupancy of one of the substrate binding sites on ABCG2. The present evidence suggests that they are not transported by ABCG2 although they stimulate ABCG2-ATPase activity. Alteration of ABCG2 protein expression was also discounted. One member was found to re-sensitize R cells to MX in both in vitro and in vivo settings. Our study identified methoxylated aurones as promising compounds associated with low toxicities and potent modulatory effects on the ABCG2 efflux protein. Thus, they warrant further scrutiny as lead templates for development as reversal agents of multidrug resistance.
ABCG2; ABC transporter; multidrug resistance; functionalized aurones; reversing agents
Plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) is a polyspecific organic cation transporter belonging to the equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT) family. Despite its distinct substrate specificity from the classic nucleoside transporters ENT1 and 2, PMAT appears to share similar protein architecture with ENT1/2 and retains low affinity binding to classic ENT inhibitors such as nitrobenzylmercaptopurine riboside (NBMPR) and the coronary vasodilators dilazep and dipyridamole. Here we investigated the role of residue Ile89, a position known to be important for ENT interaction with dilazep, dipyridamole, and nucleoside substrates, in PMAT transport function and its interaction with classic ENT inhibitors using Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells stably expressing human PMAT. Substitution of Ile89 in PMAT with Met, the counterpart residue in ENT1, resulted in normal plasma membrane localization and protein expression. Transport kinetic analysis revealed that I89M mutant had a 2.7-fold reduction in maximal transport velocity (Vmax) with no significant change in apparent binding affinity (Km) towards the prototype PMAT substrate 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), suggesting that I89 is an important determinant for the catalytic activity of PMAT. Dose-dependent inhibition studies further showed that the I89M mutation significantly increased PMAT’s sensitivity to dilazep by 2.5 fold without affecting its sensitivity to dipyridamole and NBMPR. Located at the extracellular end of transmembrane domain 1 of PMAT, I89 may occupy an important position close to the substrate permeation pathway and may be involved in direct interaction with the vasodilator dilazep.
PMAT; SLC29 family; ENT4; Dilazep; Dipyridamole
Oxidative catabolism of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3] is mediated by either CYP24A1 or CYP3A4. In this paper, we tested whether induction of CYP3A4 in the LS180 intestinal cell model enhances clearance of 1α,25(OH)2D3 and blunts its hormonal effect on expression of the apical membrane calcium transport protein, TRPV6. Treatment with the hPXR agonist rifampin significantly increased CYP3A4 mRNA content and catalytic activity, but had no effect on CYP24A1 or TRPV6 mRNA content. Pre-treating cells with rifampin for 48 hrs, prior to a 24 hr 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment phase, was associated with a subsequent 48% increase in the elimination of 1α,25(OH)2D3 and a 35% reduction of peak TRPV6 mRNA. Introduction of the CYP3A4 inhibitor, 6′,7′-dihydroxybergamottin, an active inhibitor in grapefruit juice, reversed the effects of rifampin on 1α,25(OH)2D3 clearance and TRPV6 expression. Over-expression of hPXR in LS180 cells greatly enhanced the CYP3A4 responsiveness to rifampin pretreatment, and elicited a greater relative suppression of TRPV6 expression and an increase in 1α,25(OH)2D3 disappearance rate, compared to vector expressed cells, following hormone administration. Together, these results suggest that induction of CYP3A4 in the intestinal epithelium by hPXR agonists can result in a greater metabolic clearance of 1α,25(OH)2D3 and reduced effects of the hormone on the intestinal calcium absorption, which may contribute to an increased risk of drug-induced osteomalacia/osteoporosis in patients receiving chronic therapy with potent hPXR agonists. Moreover, ingestion of grapefruit juice in the at-risk patients could potentially prevent this adverse drug effect.
Cytochrome P450 3A4; TRPV6; 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3; Human pregnane X receptor; Rifampin; Osteomalacia
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have been used to study multiple effects of nicotine, for example on cognition, locomotion, and stress responses, relying on the assumption that pharmacological tools will operate similarly upon molecular substrates in the fish and mammalian systems. We have cloned the zebrafish nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits and expressed key nAChR subtypes in Xenopus oocytes including neuronal (α4β2, α2β2, α3β4, and α7) and muscle (α1β1bεδ) nAChR. Consistent with studies of mammalian nAChR, nicotine was relatively inactive on muscle-type receptors, having both low potency and efficacy. It had high efficacy but low potency for α7 receptors, and the best potency and good efficacy for α4β2 receptors. Cytisine, a key lead compound for the development of smoking cessation agents, is a full agonist for both mammalian α7 and α3β4 receptors, but a full agonist only for the fish α7, with surprisingly low efficacy for α3β4. The efficacy of cytisine for α4β2 was somewhat greater than typically reported for mammalian α4β2. The ganglionic blocker mecamylamine was most potent for blocking α3β4 receptors, least potent for α7, and roughly equipotent for the muscle receptors and the β2-containing nAChR. However, the block of β2-containing receptors was slowly reversible, consistent with effective targeting of these CNS-type receptors in vivo. Three prototypical α7-selective agonists, choline, tropane, and 4OH-GTS-21, were tested, and these agents were observed to activate both fish α7 and α4β2 nAChR. Our data therefore indicate that while some pharmacological tools used in zebrafish may function as expected, others will not.
drug development; nicotine dependence; animal models
Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a major regulator of vascular function, acting via both endothelin receptor type A (ETAR) and type B (ETBR). Although the role of ETAR in vascular smooth muscle (VSM) contraction has been studied, little is known about ETBR. ETBR is a G-protein coupled receptor with a molecular mass of ~50 kDa and 442 amino acids arranged in seven transmembrane domains. Alternative splice variants of ETBR and heterodimerization and cross-talk with ETAR may affect the receptor function. ETBR has been identified in numerous blood vessels with substantial effects in the systemic, renal, pulmonary, coronary and cerebral circulation. ETBR in the endothelium mediates the release of relaxing factors such as nitric oxide, prostacyclin and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor, and could also play a role in ET-1 clearance. ETBR in VSM mediates increases in [Ca2+]i, protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinase and other pathways of VSM contraction and cell growth. ET-1/ETAR signaling has been associated with salt-sensitive hypertension (HTN) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and ETAR antagonists have shown some benefits in these conditions. In search for other pathogenetic factors and more effective approaches, the role of alterations in endothelial ETBR and VSM ETBR in vascular dysfunction, and the potential benefits of modulators of ETBR in treatment of HTN and PAH are being examined. Combined ETAR/ETBR antagonists could be more efficacious in the management of conditions involving upregulation of ETAR and ETBR in VSM. Combined ETAR antagonist with ETBR agonist may need to be evaluated in conditions associated with decreased endothelial ETBR expression/activity.
endothelium; smooth muscle; calcium; blood pressure; hypertension
Since isoprostanes are thought to participate in the pathogenesis of thrombosis, presumably through their interaction with thromboxane receptors (TPRs), we examined the ability of 8-iso-PGF2α to bind/signal through TPRs. Using TPR expressing HEK cells, it was found that 8-iso-PGF2α mobilized calcium and bound TPRs with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 57 nM. Interestingly, site-directed-mutagenesis revealed that 8-iso-PGF2α has a unique coordination profile with TPRs. Thus, while Phe184 and Asp193 are shared by both 8-iso-PGF2α and classical TPR ligands, Phe196 was found to be required only for 8-iso-PGF2α binding. Functional studies also revealed interesting results. Namely, that 8-iso-PGF2α signals in human platelets through both a stimulatory (TPR-dependent) and an inhibitory (cAMP-dependent) pathway. Consistent with the existence of two signaling pathways, platelets were also found to possess two separate binding sites for 8-iso-PGF2α. While the stimulatory site is represented by TPRs, the second cAMP inhibitory site is presently unidentified, but does not involve receptors for PGI2, PGD2 or PGE2. In summary, these studies provide the first documentation that: (1) 8-iso-PGF2α coordinates with Phe184, Asp193 and Phe196 on platelet TPRs; (2) Phe196 serves as a unique TPR binding site for 8-iso-PGF2α; (3) 8-iso-PGF2α signals through both stimulatory and inhibitory pathways in platelets; (4) 8-iso-PGF2α inhibits human platelet activation through a cAMP-dependent mechanism; (5) 8-iso-PGF2α interacts with platelets at two separate binding sites. Collectively, these results provide evidence for a novel isoprostane function in platelets which is mediated through a cAMP-coupled receptor.
Thromboxane A2 receptor; Isoprostanes; Platelet; Site-directed mutagenesis; Radioligand binding; Calcium mobilization
The thiosemicarbazones Dp44mT (di-2-pyridylketone-4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone) and triapine have potent antiproliferative activity and have been evaluated as anticancer agents. While these compounds strongly bind iron and copper, their mechanism(s) of action are incompletely understood. A recent report (Rao et al., Cancer Research 69:948-957, 2009) suggested that Dp44mT may, in part, exert its cytotoxicity through poisoning of DNA topoisomerase IIα. In the present report, a variety of assays were used to determine whether Dp44mT and triapine target topoisomerase IIα. Neither compound inhibited topoisomerase IIα decatenation or induced cleavage of pBR322 DNA in the presence of enzyme. In cells, Dp44mT did not stabilize topoisomerase IIα covalent binding to DNA using an immunoblot band depletion assay, an ICE (immunodetection of complexes of enzyme-to-DNA) assay, and a protein-DNA covalent complex forming assay. Dp44mT did not display cross resistance to etoposide resistant K562 cells containing reduced topoisomerase IIα levels. Synchronized Dp44mT-treated CHO cells did not display a G2/M cell cycle block expected of a topoisomerase II inhibitor. A COMPARE analysis of Dp44mT using the NCI 60-cell line data indicated that inhibition of cell growth was poorly correlated with DNA topoisomerase IIα mRNA levels. In summary, we found no support for the conclusion that Dp44mT inhibits cell growth through the targeting of topoisomerase IIα. Since clinical trials of triapine are underway, it will be important to better understand the intracellular targeting and mechanisms of action of the thiosemicarbazones to support forward development of these agents and newer analogs.
Dp44mT; triapine; topoisomerase IIα; cell cycle analysis; iron; thiosemicarbazone
Pregnancy alters the rate and extent of drug metabolism, but little is known about the underlying molecular mechanism. We have found that 17β-estradiol (E2) upregulates expression of the major drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP2B6 in primary human hepatocytes. Results from promoter reporter assays in HepG2 cells revealed that E2 activates constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and enhances promoter activity of CYP2B6, for which high concentrations of E2 reached during pregnancy were required. E2 triggered nuclear translocation of CAR in primary rat hepatocytes that were transiently transfected with human CAR as well as in primary human hepatocytes, further confirming transactivation of CAR by E2. E2-activated estrogen receptor (ER) also enhanced CYP2B6 promoter activity. The DNA-binding domain of ER was not required for the induction of CYP2B6 promoter activity by E2, suggesting involvement of a non-classical mechanism of ER action. Results from deletion and mutation assays as well as electrophorectic mobility shift and supershift assays revealed that two AP-1 binding sites (−1782/−1776 and −1664/−1658 of CYP2B6) are critical for ER-mediated activation of the CYP2B6 promoter by E2. Concurrent activation of both ER and CAR by E2 enhanced CYP2B6 expression in a synergistic manner. Our data demonstrate that at high concentrations reached during pregnancy, E2 activates both CAR and ER that synergistically induce CYP2B6 expression. These results illustrate pharmacological activity of E2 that would likely become prominent during pregnancy.
Cytochrome P450 2B6; estradiol; nuclear receptors; pregnancy
Alternative and innovative targeted strategies hold relevance in improving the current treatments for ischemic heart disease (IHD). One potential treatment modality, gene targeting, may provide a unique alternative to current IHD therapies. The principal function of gene targeting in IHD is to augment the expression of an endogenous gene through amplification of an exogenous gene, delivered by a plasmid or a viral vector to enhance myocardial perfusion, and limit the long-term sequelae. The initial clinical studies of gene targeting in IHD were focused upon induction of angiogenic factors and the outcomes were equivocal. Nevertheless, significant advancements have been made in viral vectors, mode of delivery, and potentially relevant targets for IHD. Several of these advancements, particularly with a focus on translational large animal studies, are the focus of this review. The development of novel vectors with prolonged transduction efficiency and minimal inflammation, coupled with hybrid perfusion-mapping delivery devices, and improving the safety of vector use and efficacy of gene systems are but a few of the exciting progresses that are likely to proceed to clinical studies in the near future.
gene therapy; myocardial infarction; ischemia; plasmid; adenovirus; adeno-associated virus
11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11βHSD1; EC 22.214.171.124) generates active glucocorticoids from inert 11-keto metabolites. However, it can also metabolize alternative substrates, including 7β-hydroxy- and 7-keto-cholesterol (7βOHC, 7KC). This has been demonstrated in vitro but its consequences in vivo are uncertain. We used genetically modified mice to investigate the contribution of 11βHSD1 to the balance of circulating levels of 7KC and 7βOHC in vivo, and dissected in vitro the kinetics of the interactions between oxysterols and glucocorticoids for metabolism by the mouse enzyme.
Circulating levels of 7KC and 7βOHC in mice were 91.3 ± 22.3 and 22.6 ± 5.7 nM respectively, increasing to 1240 ± 220 and 406 ± 39 nM in ApoE−/− mice receiving atherogenic western diet. Disruption of 11βHSD1 in mice increased (p < 0.05) the 7KC/7βOHC ratio in plasma (by 20%) and also in isolated microsomes (2 fold). The 7KC/7βOHC ratio was similarly increased when NADPH generation was restricted by disruption of hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Reduction and oxidation of 7-oxysterols by murine 11βHSD1 proceeded more slowly and substrate affinity was lower than for glucocorticoids. in vitro 7βOHC was a competitive inhibitor of oxidation of corticosterone (Ki = 0.9 μM), whereas 7KC only weakly inhibited reduction of 11-dehydrocorticosterone. However, supplementation of 7-oxysterols in cultured cells, secondary to cholesterol loading, preferentially slowed reduction of glucocorticoids, rather than oxidation.
Thus, in mouse, 11βHSD1 influenced the abundance and balance of circulating and tissue levels of 7βOHC and 7KC, promoting reduction of 7KC. In health, 7-oxysterols are unlikely to regulate glucocorticoid metabolism. However, in hyperlipidaemia, 7-oxysterols may inhibit glucocorticoid metabolism and modulate signaling through corticosteroid receptors.
7-Oxysterols; 7β-Hydroxycholesterol; 7-Ketocholesterol; Glucocorticoids; 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1; Corticosterone
Increasing attention has been given to the anti-cancer effects of curcumin and the ability of this natural product to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. New curcumin analogs have been developed to optimize the in vitro and in vivo activity of the parent compound yet retain the same safety profile. EF24, a fluorinated synthetic analog, surpasses curcumin in its ability to inhibit cancer cell viability and down-regulate TNFα-induced NF-κB activation. Here we report a critical role of the p38-mediated signaling pathway in the determination of lung cancer cell’s sensitivity to EF24. We have found that EF24-induced decease of lung cancer cell viability was accompanied by upregulated mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) as evidenced by increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38. Pharmacological investigation led to our suggestion that EF24 triggers a negative feedback loop through p38 activation. In support of this model, inhibition of p38, either by small molecule inhibitors or through an RNAi-mediated knockdown approach, enhanced the EF24 induced apoptotic death of A549 cells. Thus, inhibition of p38 may boost the EF24 anticancer effect. Indeed, a combination of EF24 and SB203580, a p38 inhibitor, synergistically inhibited clonogenic activity of A549 lung cancer cells and induced their apoptosis as reflected by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, the accumulation of the sub-G1 fraction of cells, and apoptotic cell staining. These studies offer a novel strategy that combines the curcumin analog EF24 with a p38 inhibitor for potentially enhanced therapy in the treatment of lung cancer.
curcumin analogs; EF24; p38; p38 inhibitors; lung cancer
We examined the influence of connexin (Cx) expression on the development of apoptosis in
HeLa parental cells (coupling deficient cell line) and HeLa cells expressing wild-type Cx43 and Cxs
fused with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). EGFP was attached to the C-terminus of Cx32
and Cx43, Cx32-EGFP and Cx43-EGFP, respectively, and to the N-terminus of Cx32, EGFP-Cx32. All
fusion proteins assembled into junctional plaques (JPs) at areas of cell–cell contact, but
only the C-terminal fusion proteins formed functional gap junction (GJ) channels as well as
hemichannels. In each cell line, apoptosis was induced by treatment with various agents including
anisomycin, camptothecin, cis-platinum, colchicine, cycloheximide, etoposide,
staurosporin and taxol. Using fluorescence microscopy, time-lapse imaging and dual whole-cell
voltage clamp techniques, we correlated the changes in functional properties of GJ channels and Cx
distribution with the progression of apoptosis based on cells’ labeling with acridine orange
and ethidium bromide (EB). The early phase of apoptosis (a viable apoptotic (VA) state) was
characterized by shrinkage of the cells and by increased internalization of JPs accompanied by
decreased cell–cell coupling. The apoptotic reagents had no direct effect on electrical
cell–cell coupling. Transformation from a VA to a nonviable apoptotic (NVA) state was faster
in HeLa cells expressing Cx43 or Cx43-EGFP than in HeLa parental cells. The potent GJ uncoupler,
octanol, slowed the transition of HelaCx43-EGFP cells into a NVA state. In the absence of apoptotic
reagents, the rate of EB uptake was higher in HeLaCx43-EGFP than in HeLa parental cells consistent
with the presence of open Cx43-EGFP hemichannels. However, in both cell lines the rate of EB uptake
decreased proportionally during the development of apoptosis suggesting that membrane permeability
ascribed to Cx hemichannels is reduced. Cells expressing Cx32-EGFP and EGFP-Cx32 demonstrate the
same apoptotic patterns as HeLaCx43-EGFP and HeLa parental cells, respectively. Intracellular levels
of ATP in HeLaCx43-EGFP cells were substantially lower than in HeLa parental cells, and ATP added to
the medium abolished the accelerated transition from a VA to a NVA state in HeLaCx43-EGFP cells. In
summary, Cx32 or Cx43 accelerates transformation of cells into a NVA state or secondary necrosis and
this depends on the ability of Cxs to form functional GJ channels and hemichannels.
Connexin; Apoptosis; Green fluorescent protein; Secondary necrosis; Intercellular communication