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1.  Hepatocyte Toll-like Receptor 4 Regulates Obesity-Induced Inflammation and Insulin Resistance 
Nature communications  2014;5:3878.
Chronic low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of obesity and thought to contribute to the development of obesity-related insulin resistance. Toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4) is a key mediator of pro-inflammatory responses. Mice lacking Tlr4s are protected from diet-induced insulin resistance and inflammation; however which Tlr4 expressing cells mediate this effect is unknown. Here we show that mice deficient in hepatocyte Tlr4 (Tlr4LKO) exhibit improved glucose tolerance, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and ameliorated hepatic steatosis despite the development of obesity after a high fat diet (HFD) challenge. Furthermore, Tlr4LKO mice have reduced macrophage content in white adipose tissue, as well as decreased tissue and circulating inflammatory markers. In contrast, the loss of Tlr4 activity in myeloid cells has little effect on insulin sensitivity. Collectively, these data indicate that the activation of Tlr4 on hepatocytes contributes to obesity-associated inflammation and insulin resistance, and suggest that targeting hepatocyte Tlr4 might be a useful therapeutic strategy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4080408  PMID: 24815961
2.  Role of the Immunoreceptor Tyrosine-Based Activation Motif of Latent Membrane Protein 2A (LMP2A) in Epstein-Barr Virus LMP2A-Induced Cell Transformation 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):5189-5194.
Latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is widely expressed in EBV-associated malignancies. We demonstrate that LMP2A has a transformation ability. This study shows that LMP2A-induced transformation in several human nonhematopoietic cell lines was blocked in those cells expressing an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) LMP2A mutant. The Syk inhibitor or Syk-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited LMP2A-induced transformation. These results indicate that the interaction of the LMP2A ITAM with Syk is a key step for LMP2A-mediated transformation.
PMCID: PMC3993816  PMID: 24554661
3.  Central GLP-2 enhances hepatic insulin sensitivity via activating PI3K signaling in POMC neurons 
Cell metabolism  2013;18(1):86-98.
Glucagon-like peptides (GLP-1/2) are co-produced and highlighted as key modulators to improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity after bariatric surgery. However, it is unknown if CNS GLP-2 plays any physiological role in the control of glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. We show that mice lacking GLP-2 receptor (GLP-2R) in POMC neurons display glucose intolerance and hepatic insulin resistance. GLP-2R activation in POMC neurons is required for GLP-2 to enhance insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic glucose production (HGP) and gluconeogenesis. GLP-2 directly modulates excitability of POMC neurons in GLP-2R- and PI3K-dependent manners. GLP-2 initiates GLP-2R-p85α interaction and facilitates PI3K-Akt-dependent FoxO1 nuclear exclusion in POMC neurons. Central GLP-2 suppresses basal HGP and enhances insulin sensitivity, which are abolished in POMC-p110α KO mice. Thus, CNS GLP-2 plays a key physiological role in the control of hepatic glucose production through activating PI3K-dependent modulation of membrane excitability and nuclear transcription of POMC neurons in the brain.
PMCID: PMC3752162  PMID: 23823479
Glucagon-like peptides and receptors; Glucose homeostasis; Hypothalamus; Insulin sensitivity
4.  A Comparison of the Long-Term Effects of Lanthanum Carbonate and Calcium Carbonate on the Course of Chronic Renal Failure in Rats with Adriamycin-Induced Nephropathy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97859.
Lanthanum carbonate (LA) is an effective phosphate binder. Previous study showed the phosphate-binding potency of LA was twice that of calcium carbonate (CA). No study in which LA and CA were given at an equivalent phosphate-binding potency to rats or humans with chronic renal failure for a long period has been reported to date. The objective of this study was to compare the phosphate level in serum and urine and suppression of renal deterioration during long-term LA and CA treatment when they were given at an equivalent phosphate-binding potency in rats with adriamycin (ADR)-induced nephropathy. Rats were divided into three groups: an untreated group (ADR group), a CA-treated (ADR-CA) group and a LA-treated (ADR-LA) group. The daily oral dose of LA was 1.0 g/kg/day and CA was 2.0 g/kg/day for 24 weeks. The serum phosphate was lower in the ADR-CA or ADR-LA group than in the ADR group and significantly lower in the ADR-CA group than in the ADR group at each point, but there were no significant differences between the ADR and ADR-LA groups. The serum phosphate was also lower in the ADR-CA group than in the ADR-LA group, and there was significant difference at week 8. The urinary phosphate was significantly lower in the ADR-CA group than in the ADR or ADR-LA group at each point. The urinary phosphate was also lower in the ADR-LA group than in the ADR group at each point, and significant difference at week 8. There were no significant differences in the serum creatinine or blood urea nitrogen among the three groups. In conclusion, this study indicated the phosphate-binding potency of LA isn’t twice as strong as CA, and neither LA nor CA suppressed the progression of chronic renal failure in the serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen, compared to the untreated group.
PMCID: PMC4028261  PMID: 24846276
5.  Neuroanatomy and transgenic technologies 
PMCID: PMC4301003  PMID: 25653595
mouse models; transgenic; tracing; morphology; neurochemistry
6.  Induction of Leptin Resistance by Activation of cAMP-Epac Signaling 
Cell metabolism  2011;13(3):331-339.
Leptin regulates energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Shortly after leptin was identified, it was established that obesity is commonly associated with leptin resistance, though the molecular mechanisms remain to be identified. To explore potential mechanisms of leptin resistance, we employed organotypic brain slices to identify candidate signaling pathways that negatively regulate leptin sensitivity. We found that elevation of adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate (cAMP) levels impairs multiple signaling cascades activated by leptin within the hypothalamus. Notably, this effect is independent of protein kinase A activation. In contrast, activation of Epac, a cAMP-regulated guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small G protein Rap1, was sufficient to impair leptin signaling with concomitant induction of SOCS-3 expression. Epac activation also blunted leptin-induced depolarization of hypothalamic POMC neurons. Finally, central infusion of an Epac activator blunted the anorexigenic actions of leptin. Thus, activation of hypothalamic cAMP-Epac pathway is sufficient to induce multiple indices of leptin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3747952  PMID: 21356522
7.  Central nervous control of energy and glucose balance: focus on the central melanocortin system 
Studies have suggested that manipulations of the central melanocortin circuitry by pharmacological agents produce robust effects on the regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings from genetic mouse models that have further established the physiological relevance of this circuitry in the context of glucose and energy balance. In addition, we will discuss distinct neuronal populations that respond to central melanocortins to regulate food intake, energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion, respectively. Finally, multiple hormonal and neural cues (e.g., leptin, estrogen, and serotonin) that use the melanocortin systems to regulate energy and glucose homeostasis will be reviewed. These findings suggest that targeting the specific branches of melanocortin circuits may be potential avenues to combat the current obesity and diabetes epidemics.
PMCID: PMC3467098  PMID: 22211889
melanocortins; leptin; estrogen; serotonin; body weight
8.  SIRT1 deacetylase in POMC neurons is required for homeostatic defenses against diet-induced obesity 
Cell metabolism  2010;12(1):78-87.
Feeding on high-calorie (HC) diets induces serious metabolic imbalances, including obesity. Understanding the mechanisms against excessive body weight gain is critical for developing effective anti-obesity strategies. Here, we show that lack of nicotinamide adenosine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons causes hypersensitivity to diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. The ability of leptin to properly engage the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in POMC neurons and elicit remodeling of perigonadal white adipose tissue (WAT) is severely compromised in mutant mice. Also, electrophysiological and histomorphomolecular analyses indicate a selective reduction in sympathetic nerve activity and brown-fat-like characteristics in perigonadal WAT of mutant mice; suggesting a physiologically important role for POMC neurons in controlling this visceral fat depot. In summary, our results provide direct genetic evidence that SIRT1 in POMC neurons is required for normal autonomic adaptations against diet-induced obesity.
PMCID: PMC2904327  PMID: 20620997
9.  PI3K signalling in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus is required for normal energy homeostasis 
Cell metabolism  2010;12(1):88-95.
Phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling in the hypothalamus has been implicated in the regulation of energy homeostasis, but the critical brain sites where this intracellular signal integrates various metabolic cues to regulate food intake and energy expenditure are unknown. Here we show that mice with reduced PI3K activity in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) are more sensitive to high fat diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. In addition, inhibition of PI3K in the VMH impaired the ability to alter energy expenditure in response to acute high fat diet feeding and food deprivation. Furthermore, the acute anorexigenic effects induced by exogenous leptin were blunted in the mutant mice. Collectively, our results indicate that PI3K activity in VMH neurons plays a physiologically relevant role in the regulation of energy expenditure.
PMCID: PMC2919367  PMID: 20620998
10.  5-HT2CRs Expressed by Pro-opiomelanocortin Neurons Regulate Insulin Sensitivity in Liver 
Nature neuroscience  2010;13(12):1457-1459.
Mice lacking 5-HT 2C receptors (5-HT2CRs) displayed insulin resistance in the liver, a phenotype normalized by re-expression of 5-HT2CRs only in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. 5-HT2CR deficiency also abolished anti-diabetic effects of mCPP (a 5-HT2CR agonist) while such effects were restored in mice with 5-HT2CRs re-expressed in POMC neurons. Our findings demonstrated that 5-HT2CRs expressed by POMC neurons are physiologically relevant regulators of insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis in the liver.
PMCID: PMC3059249  PMID: 21037584
11.  Direct Insulin and Leptin Action in Pro-opiomelanocortin Neurons is Required for Normal Glucose Homeostasis and Fertility 
Cell metabolism  2010;11(4):286-297.
Circulating leptin and insulin convey information regarding energy stores to the central nervous system, particularly the hypothalamus. Hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons regulate energy balance and glucose homeostasis and express leptin and insulin receptors. However, the physiological significance of concomitant leptin and insulin action on POMC neurons remains to be established. Here we show that mice lacking both insulin and LepRs in POMC neurons (Pomc-Cre, Leprflox/flox IRflox/flox mice) display systemic insulin resistance, which is distinct from the single deletion of either receptor. In addition, Pomc-Cre, Leprflox/flox IRflox/flox female mice display elevated serum testosterone levels and ovarian abnormalities resulting in reduced fertility. We conclude that direct action of insulin and leptin on POMC neurons is required to maintain normal glucose homeostasis and reproductive function.
PMCID: PMC2854520  PMID: 20374961
12.  Pyrroloquinoline quinone inhibits the fibrillation of amyloid proteins 
Prion  2010;4(1):26-31.
Several neurodegenerative diseases involve the selective damage of neuron cells resulting from the accumulation of amyloid fibril formation. Considering that the formation of amyloid fibrils as well as their precursor oligomers is cytotoxic, the agents that prevent the formation of oligomers and/or fibrils might allow the development of a novel therapeutic approach to neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we show pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) inhibits the amyloid fibril formation of the amyloid proteins, amyloid β (1–42) and mouse prion protein. The fibril formation of mouse prion protein in the presence of PQQ was dramatically prevented. Similarly, the fibril formation of amyloid β (1–42) also decreased. With further advanced pharmacological approaches, PQQ may become a leading anti-neurodegenerative compound in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC2850417  PMID: 20083898
amyloid β; amyloid fibril; cytotoxicity; fibril formation; inhibitor; prion; pyrroloquinoline quinone
13.  Monitoring FoxO1 localization in Chemically Identified Neurons 
The PI3K-Akt-FoxO1 pathway contributes to the actions of insulin and leptin in several cell types, including neurons in the central nervous system. However, identifying these actions in chemically identified neurons has proven difficult. To address this problem, we have developed a reporter mouse for monitoring PI3K-Akt signaling in specific populations of neurons, based on FoxO1 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. The reporter, FoxO1 fused to GFP (FoxO1GFP), is expressed under the control of a ubiquitous promoter that is silenced by a loxP flanked transcriptional blocker. Thus, the expression of the reporter in selected cells is dependent on the action Cre-recombinase. Using this model, we found that insulin treatment resulted in the nuclear exclusion of FoxO1GFP within POMC and AgRP neurons in a dose- and time-dependent manner. FoxO1GFP nuclear exclusion was also observed in POMC neurons following in vivo administration of insulin. In addition, leptin induced transient nuclear export of FoxO1GFP in POMC neurons in a dose dependent fashion. Finally, insulin-induced nuclear export was impaired in POMC neurons by pretreatment with free fatty acids, a paradigm known to induce insulin resistance in peripheral insulin target tissues. Thus, our FoxO1GFP mouse provides a tool for monitoring the status of PI3K-Akt signaling in a cell-specific manner under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC2615536  PMID: 19074037
FoxO1; POMC neurons; AgRP neurons; insulin; Free fatty acids; insulin resistance
14.  Epstein-Barr Virus Latent Membrane Protein 2A Mediates Transformation through Constitutive Activation of the Ras/PI3-K/Akt Pathway▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(17):9299-9306.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) is widely expressed in EBV-infected cells within the infected human host and EBV-associated malignancies, suggesting that LMP2A is important for EBV latency, persistence, and EBV-associated tumorigenesis. Previously, we demonstrated that LMP2A provides an antiapoptotic signal through the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathway in vitro. However, the exact function of LMP2A in tumor progression is not well understood. In this study, we found that LMP2A did not induce anchorage-independent cell growth in a human keratinocyte cell line, HaCaT, but did in a human gastric carcinoma cell line, HSC-39. In addition, LMP2A activated the PI3-K/Akt pathway in both HaCaT and HSC-39 cells; however, LMP2A did not activate Ras in HaCaT cells but did in HSC-39 cells. Furthermore, the Ras inhibitors manumycin A and a dominant-negative form of Ras (RasN17) and the PI3-K inhibitor LY294002 blocked LMP2A-mediated Akt phosphorylation and anchorage-independent cell growth in HSC-39 cells. These results suggest that constitutive activation of the Ras/PI3-K/Akt pathway by LMP2A is a key factor for LMP2A-mediated transformation.
PMCID: PMC1951437  PMID: 17582000
15.  Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Latent Membrane Protein 2A Regulates B-Cell Receptor-Induced Apoptosis and EBV Reactivation through Tyrosine Phosphorylation 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(13):8655-8660.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a human herpesvirus that establishes a lifelong latent infection of B cells. Within the immune system, apoptosis is a central mechanism in normal lymphocyte homeostasis both during early lymphocyte development and in response to antigenic stimuli. In this study, we found that latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) inhibited B-cell receptor (BCR)-induced apoptosis in Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines. Genistein, a specific inhibitor of tyrosine-specific protein kinases, blocked BCR-induced apoptosis and EBV reactivation in the cells. These findings indicate that LMP2A blocks BCR-induced cell apoptosis and EBV reactivation through the inhibition of activation of tyrosine kinases by BCR cross-linking.
PMCID: PMC1143726  PMID: 15956608
16.  Latent Membrane Protein 2A Inhibits Transforming Growth Factor-β1-Induced Apoptosis through the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/Akt Pathway 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(4):1697-1705.
Latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) blocks B-cell receptor signal transduction in vitro by binding the Syk and Lyn protein tyrosine kinases. As well as blocking B-cell signal transduction, LMP2A has been shown to activate the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathway, which acts as a survival signal in both B cells and epithelial cells. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is a multifunctional cytokine that plays important roles in regulating cell growth and differentiation in many biological systems. The loss of the growth-inhibitory response to the TGF-β1 signal is found in many cancers and is widely thought to promote tumor development. In this study, we found that LMP2A induced the phosphorylation of Akt (serine 473) in Burkitt's lymphoma cell line Ramos and in gastric carcinoma cell line HSC-39 and partially enhanced cell viability following TGF-β1 treatment. In addition, LMP2A partially inhibited TGF-β1-induced DNA fragmentation and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). In the presence of LY294002, an inhibitor of PI3-K, the LMP2A-mediated inhibitory effects on TGF-β1-induced DNA fragmentation and cleavage of PARP were alleviated. Furthermore, LMP2A did not alter the levels of expression of type I and type II TGF-β1 receptors. Taken together, these results suggest that LMP2A may inhibit TGF-β1-mediated apoptosis through activation of the PI3-K/Akt pathway.
PMCID: PMC369507  PMID: 14747535
17.  Nuclear Export of Map Kinase (ERK) Involves a Map Kinase Kinase (Mek-Dependent) Active Transport Mechanism 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;148(5):849-856.
In response to extracellular stimuli, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK, also known as ERK), which localizes to the cytoplasm in quiescent cells, translocates to the nucleus and then relocalizes to the cytoplasm again. The relocalization of nuclear MAPK to the cytoplasm was not inhibited by cycloheximide, confirming that the relocalization is achieved by nuclear export, but not synthesis, of MAPK. The nuclear export of MAPK was inhibited by leptomycin B (LMB), a specific inhibitor of the nuclear export signal (NES)-dependent transport. We have then shown that MAP kinase kinase (MAPKK, also known as MEK), which mostly localizes to the cytoplasm because of its having NES, is able to shuttle between the cytoplasm and the nucleus constantly. MAPK, when injected into the nucleus, was rapidly exported from the nucleus by coinjected wild-type MAPKK, but not by the NES-disrupted MAPKK. In addition, injection of the fragment corresponding to the MAPK-binding site of MAPKK into the nucleus, which would disrupt the binding of MAPK to MAPKK in the nucleus, significantly inhibited the nuclear export of endogenous MAPK. Taken together, these results suggest that the relocalization of nuclear MAPK to the cytoplasm involves a MAPKK-dependent, active transport mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2174544  PMID: 10704436
leptomycin B; MAP kinase; nuclear; export; phosphorylation; signal transduction

Results 1-17 (17)