Epigenetic mechanisms mediating expression of the Runt-related transcription factor Runx2 are critical for controlling its osteogenic activity during skeletal development. Here, we characterized bona fide regulatory elements within 120 kbp of the endogenous bone-related Runx2 promoter (P1) in osteoblasts by genomic DNase I footprinting and chromatin immunoprecipitations (ChIPs). We identified a ~10 kbp genomic domain spanning the P1 promoter that interacts with acetylated histones H3 and H4 reflecting an open chromatin conformation in MC3T3 osteoblasts. This large chromatin domain contains a single major DNaseI hypersensitive (DHS) region that defines a 0.4 kbp “basal core” promoter. This region encompasses two endogenous genomic protein/DNA interaction sites (i.e., footprints at Activating Protein 1 [AP1], E-box and Runx motifs). Helix-Loop-Helix (HLH)/E-box occupancy and presence of the DHS region persists in several mesenchymal cell types, but AP1 site occupancy occurs only during S phase when Runx2 expression is minimal. Point-mutation of the HLH/E box dramatically reduces basal promoter activity. Our results indicate that the Runx2 P1 promoter utilizes two stable principal protein/DNA interaction domains associated with AP1 and HLH factors. These sites function together with dynamic and developmentally responsive sites in a major DHS region to support epigenetic control of bone-specific transcription when osteoblasts transition into a quiescent or differentiated state.
The clinical literature strongly suggests that bone healing in cigarette smokers is impaired. Since cigarette smoke (CS) contains numerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and since dioxins impair bone formation in vivo via the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR), we investigated the impact of PAH/AHR signaling on chondrogenesis and on healing in a mouse tibial fracture model. We established that CS activates AHR signaling in fractures by up-regulating the AHR target gene cytochrome p4501A1 (Cyp1A1). For in vitro studies, we employed the mouse limb bud micromass chondrogenesis model. After confirming that chondrocytes express AHR during differentiation, we treated cells with a prototypical PAH found in CS, benzo(α)pyrene (BaP), or cigarette smoke extract (CSE). Both BaP and CSE both strongly inhibited chondrogenesis in mesenchymal cells generated from E11 limb buds, with BaP also accelerating chondrocyte hypertrophy in cultures generated from E12 limb buds. Detection of DNA adducts in the BaP-treated cultures suggests that the distinct phenotypic effects of BaP may be due to the formation of reactive metabolites. Blockade of AHR signaling with the AHR antagonist MNF reverses the effects of BaP, but not CSE, suggesting that CSE inhibition of chondrogenesis is AHR-independent. Correlating with these results, tibial fracture calluses from BaP-treated mice were smaller and contained less mineralized tissue than vehicle controls. Overall, BaP is identified as a potent inhibitor of chondrogenesis in vitro with correlated effects on fracture healing similar to those of CS itself, suggesting a basis for PAHs as key compounds in the influence of CS on fracture repair.
Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor; Cigarette smoking; Chondrogenesis; Fracture healing
Tau is a microtubule associated protein that fulfills several functions critical for neuronal formation and health. Tau discharges its functions by producing multiple isoforms via regulated alternative splicing. These isoforms modulate tau function in normal brain by altering the domains of the protein, thereby influencing its localization, conformation and post-translational modifications and hence its availability and affinity for microtubules and other ligands.
Disturbances in tau expression result in disruption of the neuronal cytoskeleton and formation of tau structures (neurofibrillary tangles) found in brains of dementia sufferers. More specifically, aberrations in tau splicing regulation directly cause several neurodegenerative diseases which lead to dementia. In this review, I present our cumulative knowledge of tau splicing regulation in connection with neurodegeneration and also briefly go over the still-extensive list of questions that are connected to tau (dys)function.
MAP tau; Splicing regulation; Dementia
Mutations in DLX3 in humans lead to defects in craniofacial and appendicular bones, yet the in vivo activity related to Dlx3 function during normal skeletal development have not been fully elucidated. Here we used a conditional knockout approach to analyze the effects of neural crest deletion of Dlx3 on craniofacial bones development. At birth, mutant mice exhibit a normal overall positioning of the skull bones, but a change in the shape of the calvaria was observed. Molecular analysis of the genes affected in the frontal bones and mandibles from these mice identified several bone markers known to affect bone development, with a strong prediction for increased bone formation and mineralization in vivo. Interestingly, while a subset of these genes were similarly affected in frontal bones and mandibles (Sost, Mepe, Bglap, Alp, Ibsp, Agt), several genes, including Lect1 and Calca, were specifically affected in frontal bones. Consistent with these molecular alterations, cells isolated from the frontal bone of mutant mice exhibited increased differentiation and mineralization capacities ex vivo, supporting cell autonomous defects in neural crest cells. However, adult mutant animals exhibited decreased bone mineral density in both mandibles and calvaria, as well as a significant increase in bone porosity. Together, these observations suggest that mature osteoblasts in the adult respond to signals that regulate adult bone mass and remodeling. This study provides new downstream targets for Dlx3 in craniofacial bone, and gives additional evidence of the complex regulation of bone formation and homeostasis in the adult skeleton.
Dlx3; Neural crest; Craniofacial; development bone
Dicer, an enzyme involved in microRNA maturation, is required for proper embryo gastrulation and tissue morphogenesis during mammalian development. Using primary cultures of fibroblasts and pre-adipocytes, we have previously shown that Dicer is essential for early stages of adipogenic cell differentiation. In this present study, we have utilized Dicer-conditional mice to explore a role for Dicer and microRNA biogenesis in the terminal differentiation of adipocytes in vivo and in the formation of white and brown adipose tissue. Deletion of Dicer in differentiated adipocytes in Dicer-conditional, aP2-Cre transgenic mice reduced the level of various adipogenic-associated transcripts and inhibited lipogenesis in white adipocytes, resulting in a severe depletion of white adipose tissue in mice. In contrast, Dicer was not required in vivo for lipogenesis in brown adipose or for brown fat formation. However, Dicer deletion in brown adipose did decrease the expression of genes involved in thermoregulation. The results of our study provide genetic evidence of a role for microRNA molecules in regulating adipogenesis and reveal distinct requirements for Dicer in the formation of white and brown adipose tissue.
Dicer; microRNA; adipocyte; white adipose; brown adipose
Positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), the complex of Cyclin T1 and CDK9, activates the transcription of many viral and eukaryotic genes at the point of mRNA elongation. The activity of P-TEFb has been implicated in the differentiation of a number of cell types, including skeletal muscle. In order to promote transcription, P-TEFb hyperphosphorylates RNA Pol II, thereby increasing its processivity. Our previous work identified histone H1 as a P-TEFb substrate during HIV-1 and immediate-early transcription. Here, we examine the role of P-TEFb phosphorylation of histone H1 during differentiation, using the myoblast cell line C2C12 as a model for skeletal muscle differentiation. We found that H1 phosphorylation is elevated in differentiating C2C12, and this phosphorylation is sensitive to P-TEFb inhibition. H1 phosphorylation was also necessary for the induction of three muscle marker genes that require P-TEFb for expression. Additionally, ChIP experiments demonstrate that H1 dissociates from muscle differentiation marker genes in C2C12 cells under active P-TEFb conditions. We determine that both P-TEFb activity and H1 phosphorylation are necessary for the full differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes.
At the time of fertilization, an increase in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) underlies egg activation and initiation of development in all species studied to date. The inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R1), which is mostly located in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) mediates the majority of this Ca2+ release. The sensitivity of IP3R1, i.e. its Ca2+ releasing capability, is increased during oocyte maturation so that the optimum [Ca2+]i response concurs with fertilization, which in mammals occurs at metaphase of second meiosis. Multiple IP3R1 modifications affect its sensitivity, including phosphorylation, sub-cellular localization and ER Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]ER). Here we evaluated using mouse oocytes how each of these factors affected IP3R1 sensitivity. The capacity for IP3-induced Ca2+ release markedly increased at the germinal vesicle breakdown stage, although oocytes only acquire the ability to initiate fertilization-like oscillations at later stages of maturation. The increase in IP3R1 sensitivity was underpinned by an increase in [Ca2+]ER and receptor phosphorylation(s) but not by changes in IP3R1 cellular distribution, as inhibition of the former factors reduced Ca2+ release, whereas inhibition of the latter had no impact. Therefore, the results suggest that the regulation of [Ca2+]ER and IP3R1 phosphorylation during maturation enhance IP3R1 sensitivity rendering oocytes competent to initiate oscillations at the expected time of fertilization. The temporal discrepancy between the initiation of changes in IP3R1 sensitivity and acquisition of mature oscillatory capacity suggest that other mechanisms that regulate Ca2+ homeostasis also shape the pattern of oscillations in mammalian eggs.
Oocyte maturation; mammalian eggs; Ca2+; IP3 receptor
Eukaryotic RNA polymerase II transcriptional elongation is a tightly regulated process and is dependent upon positive transcription elongation factor-b (P-TEFb). The core P-TEFb complex is composed of Cdk9 and Cyclin T and is essential for the expression of most protein coding genes. Cdk9 kinase function is dependent upon phosphorylation of Thr186 in its T-loop. In this study, we examined kinases and signaling pathways that influence Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation. Using an RNAi screen in HeLa cells, we found that Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation is regulated by Calcium/Calmodulin- dependent kinase 1D (CaMK1D). Using small molecules inhibitors in HeLa cells and primary CD4+ T lymphocytes, we found that the Ca2+ signaling pathway is required for Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation. Inhibition of Ca2+ signaling led to dephosphorylation of Thr186 on Cdk9. In reporter plasmid assays, inhibition of the Ca2+ signaling pathway repressed the PCNA promoter and HIV-1 Tat transactivation of the HIV-1 LTR, but not HTLV-1 Tax transactivation of the HTLV-1 LTR, suggesting that perturbation of the Ca2+ pathway and reduction of Cdk9 T-loop phosphorylation inhibits transcription units that have a rigorous requirement for P-TEFb function.
Cdk9; T-loop phosphorylation; Ca2+ signaling
Polyploidy has been linked to tumorigenicity mainly due to the chromosomal aberrations. Elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, on the other hand, has also been associated with oncogenic transformation in most cancer cells. However, a possible link between ploidy and ROS is largely unexplored. Here we have exemined the role of ROS in the tumorigenicity of polyploid cells. We show that polyploid prostate and mammary epithelial cells contain higher levels of ROS due to their higher mitochondrial contents. ROS levels and mitochondrial mass are also higher in dihydrocytochalasin B (DCB)-induced polyploid cells, suggesting that higher levels of ROS observed in polyploid cell can occur due to cytokinesis failure. Interestingly, polyploid cells were more sensitive to the inhibitory effect of the antioxidant, N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), than control diploid cells. Treatment of polyploid/diploid cells with NAC led to the selective elimination of polyploid cells over time and abrogated the tumorigenicity of polyploid cells. This effect was partially mediated via the Akt signaling pathway. We next explored a possible role for ROS in promoting chromosomal instability by analyzing the effects of ROS on the mitotic stage of the cell cycle. Enhancing ROS levels by treating cells with hydrogen peroxide delayed not only entry into and but also exit from mitosis. Furthermore, increasing ROS levels significantly increased taxol resistance. Our results indicated that increased ROS in polyploid cells can contribute to tumorigenicity and highlight the therapeutic potential of antioxidants by selectively targeting the tumorigenic polyploid cells and by reversing taxol resistance.
ROS; polyploidy; antioxidant; tumorigenicity; cell cycle
Despite significant improvements in therapeutic protocols, Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a major health problem worldwide. The 5-year post therapeutic survival rate is among the lowest of the major cancers with loco-regional relapse being the main cause of death. Moreover, in most instances, the quality of life of the afflicted patient is severely compromised. The poor prognosis for HNSCC is primarily due to disease detection at advanced stages. Accordingly, development of early detection and preventive strategies are essential. Recent advances in our understanding of the molecular biology and etiology of HNSCC should facilitate development of improved intervention and therapeutic approaches. The present review discusses the potential role of such factors for developing preventive and early diagnostic strategies for HNSCC management.
Blood-borne nucleated cells participate not only in inflammation, but in tissue repair and regeneration. Because progenitor and stem cell populations have a low concentration in the blood, the circulation kinetics and tissue distribution of these cells is largely unknown. An important approach to tracking cell lineage is the use of fluorescent tracers and parabiotic models of cross-circulation. Here, we investigated the cross-circulation and cell distribution kinetics of C57/B6 GFP+/wild-type parabionts. Flow cytometry analysis of the peripheral blood after parabiosis demonstrated no evidence for a “parabiotic barrier” based on cell size or surface characterstics; all peripheral blood cell subpopulations in this study reached equilibrium within 14 days. Whole blood fluorescence analysis indicated that the mean exchange flow rate was 16μl/hr or 0.66% of the circulating blood volume per hour. Studies of peripheral lymphoid organs indicated differential cell distribution kinetics. Some subpopulations, such as CD8+ and CD11c+, equilibrated in both lymph nodes and spleen indicating a residence time less than 28 days; in contrast, other lymphocyte subpopulations, such as B220+ and CD4+ cells, had not yet reached equilibrium at 28 days. We conclude that parabiosis can provide important insights into defining tissue distribution, residence times, and recirculating pools using fluorochrome markers of cell lineage.
Despite the findings that β1 integrins play a vital role in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival, the mechanisms through which they operate and lead to cancer progression remain elusive. Previously, our laboratory has shown that β1A integrins support insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGFI)-mediated mitogenic and transforming activities. Here we report that β1A integrins regulate basal levels of IGF-IR, although they are not critical for maintaining cancer cell morphology. Upon transfection of β1A siRNA and consequent downregulation of IGF-IR, we show inhibition of anchorage-independent growth of prostate cancer cells, a function which is dependent on IGF-IR expression. In addition, we demonstrate that IGFI-mediated activation of androgen receptor (AR), known to occur in prostate cancer cells, requires expression of β1A integrins as evaluated by luciferase reporter assays and immunoblotting analysis. Since β1A integrin levels are increased by R1881 or dihydrotestosterone (DHT), our results imply that β1A integrins support an androgen-enhanced feedback loop that regulates the expression of IGF-IR. β1A integrins also regulate inducible levels of IGF-IR in cells stimulated by androgen or by a combination of androgen and IGFI, as evaluated by flow cytometric analysis and immunoblotting. Furthermore, upon transfection of β1A siRNA and consequent downregulation of IGF-IR, neither activation of AKT, an effector of IGF-IR, nor AR levels are affected. We conclude that β1A integrin expression is critical for maintaining the regulatory crosstalk between IGF-IR and AR.
β1A integrins; IGF-IR; AR - mediated transcriptional activation; AKT; PSA
Fibrosis is defined as a fibroproliferative or abnormal fibroblast activation–related disease., Deregulation of wound healing leads to hyperactivation of fibroblasts and excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the wound area, the pathological manifestation of fibrosis. The accumulation of excessive levels of collagen in the extracellular matrix depends on two factors: an increased rate of collagen synthesis and or decreased rate of collagen degradation by cellular proteolytic activities. The urokinase-type/tissue-type plasminogen activator (uPA/tPA) and plasmin play significant roles in the cellular proteolytic degradation of ECM proteins and the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. The activities of uPA/tPA/plasmin and plasmin-dependent MMPs rely mostly on the activity of a potent inhibitor of uPA/tPA, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Under normal physiologic conditions, PAI-1 controls the activities of uPA/tPA/plasmin/MMP proteolytic activities and thus maintains the tissue homeostasis. During wound healing, elevated levels of PAI-1 inhibit uPA/tPA/plasmin and plasmin-dependent MMP activities and thus help expedite wound healing. In contrast to this scenario, under pathologic conditions, excessive PAI-1 contributes to excessive accumulation of collagen and other ECM protein in the wound area and thus preserves scarring. While the level of PAI-1 is significantly elevated in fibrotic tissues, lack of PAI-1 protects different organs from fibrosis in response to injury-related profibrotic signals. Thus PAI-1 is implicated in the pathology of fibrosis in different organs including the heart, lung, kidney, liver and skin. Paradoxically, PAI-1 deficiency promotes spontaneous cardiac-selective fibrosis. In this review we discuss the significance of PAI-1 in the pathogenesis of fibrosis in multiple organs.
PAI-1; fibrosis; fibroblasts; EMT/EndMT; TGF-β; Type I collagen
Endothelial cell derived microparticles (MPs) are small membrane vesicles associated with various vascular pathologies. Here we investigated the role of MPs in matrix remodeling by analyzing their interactions with the extracellular matrix. MPs were shown to bind preferentially to surfaces coated with matrix molecules, and MPs bound fibronectin via integrin αV. MPs isolated from endothelial cell-conditioned medium (Sup) were significantly enriched for matrix-altering proteases, including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MPs lacked the MMP-inhibitors TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 found in the Sup and, while Sup strongly inhibited MMP activities, MPs did not. In fact, MPs were shown to bind and activate both endogenous and exogenous proMMP-2. Taken together, these results indicate that MPs interact with extracellular matrices, where they localize and activate MMP-2 to modify the surrounding matrix molecules. These findings provide insights into the cellular mechanisms of vascular matrix remodeling and identify new targets of vascular pathologies.
microparticles; extracellular matrix; endothelium; matrix metalloprotease (MMP); tissue inhibitors of metalloprotease (TIMP)
Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells and cellular debris is a critical process of maintaining tissue and immune homeostasis. Defects in the phagocytosis process cause autoimmunity and degenerative diseases. Phagocytosis ligands or “eat-me” signals control the initiation of the process by linking apoptotic cells to receptors on phagocyte surface and triggering signaling cascades for cargo engulfment. Eat-me signals are traditionally identified on a case-by-case basis with challenges, and the identification of their cognate receptors is equally daunting. Here we identified galectin-3 (Gal-3) as a new MerTK ligand by an advanced dual functional cloning strategy, in which phagocytosis-based functional cloning is combined with receptor-based affinity cloning to directly identify receptor-specific eat-me signal. Gal-3 interaction with MerTK was independently verified by co-immunoprecipitation. Functional analyses showed that Gal-3 stimulates the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells and cellular debris by macrophages and retinal pigment epithelial cells with MerTK activation and autophosphorylation. The Gal-3-mediated phagocytosis was blocked by excessive soluble MerTK extracellular domain and lactose. These results suggest that Gal-3 is a legitimate MerTK-specific eat-me signal. The strategy of dual functional cloning with applicability to other phagocytic receptors will facilitate unbiased identification of their unknown ligands and improve our capacity for therapeutic modulation of phagocytic activity and innate immune response.
Galectin-3; MerTK; Phagocytosis; Eat-me signal; Phagocytosis ligand; Retinal pigment epithelium cell; Macrophage; ORF phage display
MicroRNA 520c and 373 (miR-520c and miR-373) have been characterized as oncogenes and play critical roles in cancer cell metastasis. However, the relationship between these two microRNAs and matrix metalloproteins (MMPs), which are important in cancer cell metastasis, remains unknown. Here we report new evidence in which miR-520c and miR-373 effects in human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells are associated with MMP9 activity, and this up-regulation of MMP9 is not only at the activity and protein levels, but also at that of its mRNA. Our experimental data demonstrate that these effects occur not by direct binding to the MMP9 promoter, but by miR-520c and miR-373 directly targeting the 3′UTRs of mRNAs of mTOR and SIRT1 (negative regulators of expression of MMP9 via inactivating the Ras/Raf/MEK/Erk signaling pathway and transcription factor NF-κB activity); and thus suppressing translation levels of SIRT1 and mTOR. Moreover, inhibition of key kinases of the Ras/Raf/MEK/Erk signaling pathway and western-blots for selected proteins further identified miR-520c and miR-373 as activating this signaling pathway and NF-κB. In conclusion, miR-520c and miR-373 increased the expression of MMP9 by directly targeting the 3′UTRs of mRNAs of mTOR and SIRT1 and suppressing their translation; resulting in activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK/Erk signaling pathway and NF-κB; and finally increasing the mRNA, protein, and activity of MMP9 and enhancing cell migration and cell growth in 3-D type I collagen gels.
Orthopaedic gene therapy has been the topic of considerable research for two decades. The preclinical data are impressive and many orthopaedic conditions are well suited to genetic therapies. But there have been few clinical trials and no FDA-approved product exists. This paper examines why this is so. The reasons are multifactorial. Clinical translation is expensive and difficult to fund by traditional academic routes. Because gene therapy is viewed as unsafe and risky, it does not attract major funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Start-up companies are burdened by the complex intellectual property environment and difficulties in dealing with the technology transfer offices of major universities. Successful translation requires close interactions between scientists, clinicians and experts in regulatory and compliance issues. It is difficult to create such a favourable translational environment. Other promising fields of biological therapy have contemplated similar frustrations approximately 20 years after their founding, so there seem to be more general constraints on translation that are difficult to define. Gene therapy has noted some major clinical successes in recent years, and a sense of optimism is returning to the field. We hope that orthopaedic applications will benefit collaterally from this upswing and move expeditiously into advanced clinical trials.
Ion channels are pivotal to many aspects of sperm physiology and function. We have used the patch clamp technique to investigate the distribution of ion channels in the plasma membrane of the head of human spermatozoa. We report that three types of activity are common in the equatorial and acrosomal regions of the sperm head. Two of these (a chloride-permeable anion channel showing long stable openings and a second channel which flickered between open and closed states and was dependent upon cyoplasmic factors for activity) were localised primarily to the equatorial segment. A third type, closely resembling the flickering actvivity but with different voltage sensitivity of Popen was more widely distributed but was not detectable over the anterior acrosome. In the anterior acrosomal area channels were present but showed very low levels of spontaneous activity. A unique feature of channel activity in the sperm equatorial region was co-localisation into mixed clusters, most patches were devoid of activity but ‘active’ patches typically contained 2 or more types of activity (in a single 200-300 nM diameter patch). We conclude that ion channels in the sperm membrane show regionalisation of type and activity and that the channels are clustered into functional groups, possibly interacting through local effects on membrane potential. (207)
sperm; patch clamp; ion channel; clustering
Particularly interesting new cysteine-histidine-rich protein (PINCH) is a LIM-domain-only adaptor protein involved in protein recruitment, subsequent assembly of multi-protein complexes, and subcellular localization of these complexes. PINCH is developmentally regulated and its expression is critical for proper cytoskeletal organization and extracellular matrix adhesion. Although PINCH has no catalytic abilities, the PIP (PINCH–ILK–parvin) complex serves as a link between integrins and components of growth factor receptor kinase and GTPase signaling pathways. Accordingly, PINCH-mediated signaling induces cell migration, spreading, and survival. Further research on the signaling cascades affected by PINCH is key to appreciating its biological significance in cell fate and systems maintenance, as the developmental functions of PINCH may extend to disease states and the cellular response to damage. PINCH is implicated in a diverse array of diseases including renal failure, cardiomyopathy, nervous system degeneration and demyelination, and tumorigenesis. This review presents evidence for PINCH's structural and functional importance in normal cellular processes and in pathogenesis. The current data for PINCH expression in nervous system disease is substantial, but due to the complex and ubiquitous nature of this protein, our understanding of its function in pathology remains unclear. In this review, an overview of studies identifying PINCH binding partners, their molecular interactions, and the potentially overlapping role(s) of PINCH in cancer and in nervous system diseases will be discussed. Many questions remain regarding PINCH's role in cells. What induces cell-specific PINCH expression? How does PINCH expression contribute to cell fate in the central nervous system? More broadly, is PINCH expression in disease a good thing? Clarifying the ambiguous functions of PINCH expression in the central nervous system and other systems is important to understand more clearly signaling events both in health and disease.
Our guiding hypothesis is that ecto-enzymatic conversion of extracellular ATP to adenosine activates A1 adenosine receptors, reducing resistance to aqueous humor outflow and intraocular pressure. The initial step in this purinergic regulation is ATP release from outflow-pathway cells by mechanisms unknown. We measured similar ATP release from human explant-derived primary trabecular meshwork (TM) cells (HTM) and a human TM cell line (TM5). Responses to 21 inhibitors indicated that pannexin-1 (PX1) and connexin (Cx) hemichannels and P2X7 receptors (P2RX7) were comparably important in modulating ATP release induced by hypotonic swelling, whereas vesicular release was insignificant. Consistent with prior studies of PX1 activity in certain other cells, ATP release was lowered by the reducing agent dithiothreitol. Overexpressing PX1 in HEK293T cells promoted, while partial knockdown (KD) in both HEK293T and TM5 cells inhibited hypotonicity-activated ATP release. Additionally, KD reduced the pharmacologically-defined contribution of PX1 and enhanced those of Cx and P2RX7. ATP release was also triggered by raising intracellular Ca2+ activity with ionomycin after a prolonged lag time and was unaffected by the PX1 blocker probenecid, but nearly abolished by P2RX7 antagonists. We conclude that swelling-stimulated ATP release from human TM cells is physiologically mediated by PX1 and Cx hemichannels and P2X7 receptors, but not by vesicular release. PX1 appears not to be stimulated by intracellular Ca2+ in TM cells, but can be modulated by oxidation-reduction state. The P2RX7-dependent component of swelling-activated release may be mediated by PX1 hemichannels or reflect apoptotic magnification of ATP release, either through itself and/or hemichannels.
Pannexin-1; Connexins; Hemichannels; P2X7 ATP receptors; Aqueous humor outflow
During the last five years there has been enormous progress in developing a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESC). Early progress resulted from studying individual transcription factors and signaling pathways. Unexpectedly, these studies demonstrated that small changes in the levels of master regulators, such as Oct4 and Sox2, promote the differentiation of ESC. More recently, impressive progress has been made using technologies that provide a global view of the signaling pathways and the gene regulatory networks that control the fate of ESC. This review provides an overview of the progress made using several different high-throughput technologies and focuses on proteomic studies, which provide the first glimpse of the protein-protein interaction networks used by ESC. The latter studies indicate that transcription factors required for the self-renewal of ESC are part of a large, highly integrated protein-protein interaction landscape, which helps explain why the levels of master regulators need to be regulated precisely in ESC.
Embryonic stem cells; iPS cells; Sox2; Oct4; Nanog; systems biology; proteomics
Covalent adduction of a NO moiety to cysteines (S-nitrosylation or SNO) is a major route for NO to directly regulate protein functions. In uterine artery endothelial cells (UAEC), estradiol-17β (E2) rapidly stimulated protein SNO that maximized within 10-30 min post-E2 exposure. E2-bovine serum albumin stimulated protein SNO similarly. Stimulation of SNO by both was blocked by ICI 182, 780, implicating mechanisms linked to specific estrogen receptors (ERs) localized on the plasma membrane. E2-induced protein SNO was attenuated by selective ERβ, but not ERα, antagonists. A specific ERβ but not ERα agonist was able to induce protein SNO. Overexpression of ERβ, but not ERα, significantly enhanced E2-induced SNO. Overexpression of both ERs increased basal SNO, but did not further enhance E2-stimulated SNO. E2-induced SNO was inhibited by N-nitro-L-arginine-methylester and specific endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) siRNA. Thus, estrogen-induced SNO is mediated by endogenous NO via eNOS and mainly ERβ in UAEC. We further analyzed the nitroso-proteomes by CyDye switch technique combined with two dimensional (2D) fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis. Numerous nitrosoprotein (spots) were visible on the 2D gel. Sixty spots were chosen and subjected to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. Among the 54 identified, 9 were novel SNO-proteins, 32 were increased, 8 were decreased, and the rest were unchanged by E2. Tandom MS identified Cys139 as a specific site for SNO in GAPDH. Pathway analysis of basal and estrogen-responsive nitroso-proteomes suggested that SNO regulates diverse protein functions, directly implicating SNO as a novel mechanism for estrogen to regulate uterine endothelial function and thus uterine vasodilatation.
Estrogen; nitric oxide; S-nitrosylation; proteomics; uterine artery endothelial cells
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression through mRNA degradation or translational repression. It is becoming increasingly recognized that miRNAs play central roles in almost all cellular processes, and especially during development. The function of miRNAs in hematopoiesis, including erythropoiesis, is beginning to be elucidated. In this review, we will focus on what is known about miRNA function in various aspects of erythropoiesis and red cell physiology.
Gremlin is an antagonist of bone morphogenetic proteins, and its overexpression causes suppressed osteoblastogenesis and osteopenia. Inactivation of Grem1 results in severe developmental defects, but the consequences of the global inactivation of Grem1 on the postnatal skeleton are not known. To study the function of gremlin, Grem1 was inactivated by homologous recombination, and mice were maintained in a C57BL/6/FVB mixed genetic background due to embryonic and neonatal lethality in the uniform C57BL/6 background. Grem1 null mice exhibited developmental skeletal abnormalities, leading to incomplete formation of metatarsal bones and of fore limbs and hind limbs. Grem1 null mice exhibited decreased weight and body fat and shortened femoral length. Bone histomorphometric and microarchitectural analyses of distal femurs revealed decreased bone volume and increased bone formation in 1 month old Grem1 null mice. Trabecular femoral bone volume was restored in older Grem1 null female mice, and to a lesser extent in male mice. Vertebral microarchitecture confirmed the osteopenia observed in 1 month old Grem1 null mice and demonstrated recovery of trabecular bone in older female, but not in older male Grem1 null mice, which exhibited persistent vertebral osteopenia. In conclusion, Grem1 is not only necessary for skeletal development, but also for postnatal skeletal homeostasis; its inactivation causes osteopenia, which is partially reversed in a spatial, temporal and sex-dependent manner due to an increase in bone formation.
bone formation; bone morphogenetic protein (BMP); BMP antagonists; noggin; gremlin
Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 is a cytoprotective molecule that is induced during the response to injury. An increase in HO-1 is an acute indicator of inflammation, and early induction of HO-1 has been suggested to correlate with severity of injury. While a great deal is known about the induction of HO-1 by inflammatory mediators and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), much less is known about the effects of anti-inflammatory mediators on HO-1 expression. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β is known to play a critical role in suppressing the immune response, and the TGF-β1 isoform is expressed in inflammatory cells. Thus, we wanted to investigate whether TGF-β1 could inhibit the expression of HO-1 during exposure to an inflammatory stimulus in macrophages. Here we demonstrate that TGF-β1 is able to downregulate LPS-induced HO-1 in mouse macrophages, and this reduction in HO-1 occurred through signaling of TGF-β1 via its type I receptor, and activation of Smad2. This TGF-β1 response is dependent on an intact Ets-binding site (EBS) located 93 base pairs upstream from the mouse HO-1 transcription start site. This EBS is known to be important for Ets-2 transactivation of HO-1 by LPS stimulation, and we show that TGF-β1 is able to suppress LPS-induced Ets-2 mRNA and protein levels in macrophages. Moreover, silencing of Smad2 is able to prevent the suppression of both HO-1 and Ets-2 by TGF-β1 during exposure to LPS. These data suggest that the return of HO-1 to basal levels during the resolution of an inflammatory response may involve its downregulation by anti-inflammatory mediators.
gene regulation; inflammatory response; cytoprotective molecule