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1.  Endocrine Control of Mucosal Immunity in the Female Reproductive Tract: Impact of Environmental Disruptors 
The complexity of the human female reproductive tract (FRT) with its multiple levels of hormonally controlled immune protection has only begun to be understood. Dissecting the functions and roles of the immune system in the FRT is complicated by the differential hormonal regulation of its distinct anatomical structures that vary throughout the menstrual cycle. Although many fundamental mechanisms of steroid regulation of reproductive tract immune function have been determined, the effects of exogenous synthetic steroids or endocrine disruptors on immune function and disease susceptibility in the FRT have yet to be evaluated in detail. There is increasing evidence that environmental or synthetic molecules can alter normal immune function. This review provides an overview of the innate and adaptive immune systems, the current status of immune function in the FRT and the potential risks of environmental or pharmacological molecules that may perturb this system.
PMCID: PMC4332593  PMID: 22289638
Reproduction; Immunology; Toxicology; Environment; Fertility; Hormone
2.  Hypo-glycosylated Human Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (hFSH21/18) is much more active in vitro than Fully-glycosylated hFSH (hFSH24) 
Hypo-glycosylated hFSH21/18 (possesses FSHβ21 and FSH18 bands) was isolated from hLH preparations by immunoaffinity chromatography followed by gel filtration. Fully-glycosylated hFSH24 was prepared by combining the fully-glycosylated FSHβ24 variant with hCGα and isolating the heterodimer. The hFSH21/18 glycoform preparation was significantly smaller than the hFSH24 preparation and possessed 60% oligomannose glycans, which is unusual for hFSH. Hypo-glycosylated hFSH21/18 was 9- to 26-fold more active than fully-glycosylated hFSH24 in FSH radioligand assays. Significantly greater binding of 125I-hFSH21/18 tracer than hFSH24 tracer was observed in all competitive binding assays. In addition, higher binding of hFSH21/18 was noted in association and saturation binding assays, in which twice as much hFSH21/18 was bound as hFSH24. This suggests that more ligand binding sites are available to hFSH21/18 in FSHR than to hFSH24. Hypo-glycosylated hFSH21/18 also bound rat FSHRs more rapidly, exhibiting almost no lag in binding, whereas hFSH24 specific binding proceeded very slowly for almost the first hour of incubation.
PMCID: PMC3908837  PMID: 24291635
3.  Association of osteoprotegerin and bone loss after adjuvant chemotherapy in early-stage breast cancer 
Chemotherapy induced ovarian failure (CIOF) results in rapid bone loss. Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor Kappa-B (RANK)-RANK ligand (RANK-L) signaling balances bone resorption and formation. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) acts as a decoy receptor for RANK, interrupting osteoclast activation and bone resorption. This study examined the relationship between OPG and bone loss in women with CIOF.
Premenopausal women with stage I/II breast cancers receiving adjuvant chemotherapy were evaluated at chemotherapy initiation, 6 and 12 months. Bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), ionized calcium, osteocalcin, and OPG were serially measured. CIOF was defined as a negative pregnancy test, FSH levels >30 MIU/mL, and ≥3 months of amenorrhea.
Forty women were enrolled; 31 (77.5%) met CIOF criteria. BMD significantly decreased (p < 0.001) in the CIOF group at both time points: LS BMD decreased from a median of 0.993 g/cm2 to 0.976 g/cm2 and 0.937 g/cm2 at 6 and 12 months, respectively. OPG was significantly elevated at 6 months (median increase 0.30 pmol/L, p = 0.015) and then decreased at 12 months to levels still above baseline (median difference 0.2 pmol/L, p = 0.70).
In what was likely a compensatory response to rapid bone loss, CIOF patients’ OPG levels increased at 6 months and then decreased at 12 months to values greater than baseline assessments. This phenomenon is described in other diseases, but never before in CIOF.
PMCID: PMC4316829  PMID: 25575458
Breast cancer; Osteoprotegerin; Ovarian failure; Chemotherapy; Bone loss
4.  Differential expression of estrogen receptor beta isoforms in prostate cancer through interplay between transcriptional and translational regulation 
Estrogen receptor β (ERβ) and its isoforms have different putative functions and expression patterns in prostate cancer. Current studies on 5′-most exons, 0K and 0N, show that their respective promoters are actively involved in transcription. These data, however, do not explain why ERβ isoforms are differentially expressed in normal and cancerous tissues, since 0K and 0N transcripts are detectable in clinical specimens. Various combinations of 5′ untranslated exons, termed exon 0Xs, associate with promoter 0K only and exon 0Xs accommodate upstream open reading frames (uORFs) reducing protein expression. Moreover, ERβ1, 2, and 5 are transcriptionally linked to promoter 0K; exon 0Xs are spliced only into ERβ2 and ERβ5 transcripts, suggesting that their expressions are regulated post-transcriptionally by exon 0Xs. This study reveals that expression of ERβ1 is regulated primarily at the transcriptional level, whereas that of ERβ2 and ERβ5 is controlled by the interplay between transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation.
PMCID: PMC4319372  PMID: 23806560
ERbeta2; ERbeta5; upstream open reading frame; promoter; 5′ untranslated region; post-transcriptional
5.  Distinct roles of STAT3 and STAT5 in the pathogenesis and targeted therapy of breast cancer 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.010.
The transcription factors STAT3 and STAT5 play important roles in the regulation of mammary gland function during pregnancy, lactation, and involution. Given that STAT3 and STAT5 regulate genes involved in proliferation and survival, it is not surprising that inappropriate activation of STAT3 and STAT5 occurs commonly in breast cancer. Although these proteins are structurally similar, they have divergent and opposing effects on gene expression and cellular phenotype. Notably, when STAT5 and STAT3 are activated simultaneously, STAT5 has a dominant effect, and leads to decreased proliferation and increased sensitivity to cell death. Similarly, in breast cancer, activation of both STAT5 and STAT3 is associated with longer patient survival than activation of STAT3 alone. Pharmacological inhibitors of STAT3 and STAT5 are being developed for cancer therapy, though understanding the activation state and functional interaction of STAT3 and STAT5 in a patient's tumor may be critical for the optimal use of this strategy.
PMCID: PMC3732813  PMID: 23531638
Signal transduction; transcription factors; gene expression; oncology
6.  D-type Cyclins are important downstream effectors of cytokine signaling that regulate the proliferation of normal and neoplastic mammary epithelial cells 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.016.
In response to the ligand-mediated activation of cytokine receptors, cells decide whether to proliferate or to undergo differentiation. D-type Cyclins (Cyclin D1, D2, or D3) and their associated Cyclin-dependent Kinases (CDK4, CDK6) connect signals from cytokines to the cell cycle machinery, and they propel cells through the G1 restriction point and into the S phase, after which growth factor stimulation is no longer essential to complete cell division. D-type Cyclins are upregulated in many human malignancies including breast cancer to promote an uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells. After summarizing important aspects of the cytokine-mediated transcriptional regulation and the posttranslational modification of D-type Cyclins, this review will highlight the physiological significance of these cell cycle regulators during normal mammary gland development as well as the initiation and promotion of breast cancer. Although the vast majority of published reports focus almost exclusively on the role of Cyclin D1 in breast cancer, we summarize here previous and recent findings that demonstrate an important contribution of the remaining two members of this Cyclin family, in particular Cyclin D3, for the growth of ErbB2-associated breast cancer cells in humans and in mouse models. New data from genetically engineered models as well as the pharmacological inhibition of CDK4/6 suggest that targeting the combined functions of D-type Cyclins could be a suitable strategy for the treatment of ErbB2-positive and potentially other types of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3740091  PMID: 23562856
Cyclin D; Gene Targeting; Tetracycline Transactivator; ErbB2; Mammary Gland Development; Breast Cancer
7.  STAT Signaling in Different Breast Cancer Sub-types 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.023.
This review summarizes information on expression of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT)s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5a/b and 6 in cancer cells from different human breast cancer sub-types. STAT proteins, especially STATs 1,3 and 5a/b are expressed in some but not all cancers from all of the different major breast cancer sub-types. However, well-designed studies comparing expression patterns at the protein level in cancer and surrounding stromal cells are still needed to fully examine links with prognosis and therapeutic response. Moreover, it is not yet known if distinct expression patterns of STAT proteins could have dissimilar impacts in different sub-types, especially between the luminal A and B ER+ sub-types and the different TNBC sub-types. Recent data indicating that STAT5 can be activated secondary to a therapeutic intervention and mediate resistance suggests that expression patterns should not only be examined in pre-treatment but also post-treatment samples from different sub-types.
PMCID: PMC3740183  PMID: 23562422
Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT); breast cancer sub-types; ER+ breast cancer; HER2 amplified breast cancer; triple negative breast cancer
8.  STAT signaling in mammary gland differentiation, cell survival and tumorigenesis 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.014.
The mammary gland is a unique organ that undergoes extensive and profound changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and involution. The changes that take place during puberty involve large-scale proliferation and invasion of the fat-pad. During pregnancy and lactation, the mammary cells are exposed to signaling pathways that inhibit apoptosis, induce proliferation and invoke terminal differentiation. Finally, during involution the mammary gland is exposed to milk stasis, programed cell death and stromal reorganization to clear the differentiated milk-producing cells. Not surprisingly, the signaling pathways responsible for bringing about these changes in breast cells are often subverted during the process of tumorigenesis. The STAT family of proteins is involved in every stage of mammary gland development, and is also frequently implicated in breast tumorigenesis. While the roles of STAT3 and STAT5 during mammary gland development and tumorigenesis are well studied, others members, e.g. STAT1 and STAT6, have only recently been observed to play a role in mammary gland biology. Continued investigation into the STAT protein network in the mammary gland will likely yield new biomarkers and risk factors for breast cancer, and may also lead to novel prophylactic or therapeutic strategies against breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3748257  PMID: 23541951
STATs; mammary gland development; breast cancer; pregnancy; lactation; involution
9.  Hormone-Regulated Transcriptomes: Lessons Learned from Estrogen Signaling Pathways in Breast Cancer Cells 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.06.021.
Recent rapid advances in next generation sequencing technologies have expanded our understanding of steroid hormone signaling to a genome-wide level. In this review, we discuss the use of a novel genomic approach, global nuclear run-on coupled with massively parallel sequencing (GRO-seq), to explore new facets of the steroid hormone-regulated transcriptome, especially estrogen responses in breast cancer cells. GRO-seq is a high throughput sequencing method adapted from conventional nuclear run-on methodologies, which is used to obtain a map of the position and orientation of all transcriptionally engaged RNA polymerases across the genome with extremely high spatial resolution. GRO-seq, which is an excellent tool for examining transcriptional responses to extracellular stimuli, has been used to comprehensively assay the effects of estrogen signaling on the transcriptome of ERα-positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. These studies have revealed new details about estrogen-dependent transcriptional regulation, including effects on transcription by all three RNA polymerases, complex transcriptional dynamics in response to estrogen signaling, and identification novel, unannotated non-coding RNAs. Collectively, these studies have been useful in discerning the molecular logic of the estrogen-regulated mitogenic response.
PMCID: PMC3844033  PMID: 23810978
Antisense RNA; Breast Cancer Cells. Divergent RNA; Enhancer RNA; Estrogen; Estrogen receptor; Estrogen receptor α binding site; GRO-seq; Long non-coding RNA; MicroRNA; Mitogenic Growth; RNA polymerase
10.  Mutations in G protein-coupled receptors that impact receptor trafficking and reproductive function 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.06.024.
G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large superfamily of integral cell surface plasma membrane proteins that play key roles in transducing extracellular signals, including sensory stimuli, hormones, neurotransmitters, or paracrine factors into the intracellular environment through the activation of one or more heterotrimeric G proteins. Structural alterations provoked by mutations or variations in the genes coding for GPCRs may lead to misfolding, altered plasma membrane expression of the receptor protein and frequently to disease. A number of GPCRs regulate reproductive function at different levels; these receptors include the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) and the gonadotropin receptors (follicle-stimulating hormone receptor and luteinizing hormone receptor), which regulate the function of the pituitary-gonadal axis. Loss-of-function mutations in these receptors may lead to hypogonadotropic or hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, which encompass a broad spectrum of clinical phenotypes. In this review we describe mutations that provoke misfolding and failure of these receptors to traffick from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane. We also discuss some aspects related to the therapeutic potential of some target-specific drugs that selectively bind to and rescue function of misfolded mutant GnRHR and gonadotropin receptors, and that represent potentially valuable strategies to treat diseases caused by inactivating mutations of these receptors.
PMCID: PMC3844050  PMID: 23806559
G protein-coupled receptors; intracellular trafficking; gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor; luteinizing hormone receptor; follicle-stimulating hormone receptor; pharmacological chaperon; hypogonadism; protein misfolding
11.  Leptin–cytokine crosstalk in breast cancer 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.025.
Despite accumulating evidence suggesting a positive correlation between leptin levels, obesity, post-menopause and breast cancer incidence, our current knowledge on the mechanisms involved in these relationships is still incomplete. Since the cloning of leptin in 1994 and its receptor (OB-R) 1 year later by Friedman’s laboratory (Zhang et al., 1994) and Tartaglia et al. (Tartaglia et al., 1995), respectively, more than 22,000 papers related to leptin functions in several biological systems have been published (Pubmed, 2012). The ob gene product, leptin, is an important circulating signal for the regulation of body weight. Additionally, leptin plays critical roles in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, reproduction, growth and the immune response. Supporting evidence for leptin roles in cancer has been shown in more than 1000 published papers, with almost 300 papers related to breast cancer (Pubmed, 2012). Specific leptin-induced signaling pathways are involved in the increased levels of inflammatory, mitogenic and pro-angiogenic factors in breast cancer. In obesity, a mild inflammatory condition, deregulated secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and adipokines such as IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α and leptin from adipose tissue, inflammatory and cancer cells could contribute to the onset and progression of cancer. We used an in silico software program, Pathway Studio 9, and found 4587 references citing these various interactions. Functional crosstalk between leptin, IL-1 and Notch signaling (NILCO) found in breast cancer cells could represent the integration of developmental, proinflammatory and pro-angiogenic signals critical for leptin-induced breast cancer cell proliferation/migration, tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). Remarkably, the inhibition of leptin signaling via leptin peptide receptor antagonists (LPrAs) significantly reduced the establishment and growth of syngeneic, xenograft and carcinogen-induced breast cancer and, simultaneously decreased the levels of VEGF/VEGFR2, IL-1 and Notch. Inhibition of leptin–cytokine crosstalk might serve as a preventative or adjuvant measure to target breast cancer, particularly in obese women. This review is intended to present an update analysis of leptin actions in breast cancer, highlighting its crosstalk to inflammatory cytokines and growth fact ors essential for tumor development, angiogenesis and potential role in BCSC.
PMCID: PMC3844060  PMID: 23562747
Breast cancer; Leptin; Cytokines; NILCO; Obesity; Leptin peptide receptor antagonist
12.  PELP1: A review of PELP1 interactions, signaling, and biology 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.07.031.
Proline, glutamic acid, and leucine rich protein 1 (PELP1) is a large multi-domain protein that has been shown to modulate an increasing number of pathways and biological processes. The first reports describing the cloning and characterization of PELP1 showed that it was an estrogen receptor coactivator. PELP1 has now been shown to be a coregulator for a growing number of transcription factors. Furthermore, recent reports have shown that PELP1 is a member of chromatin remodeling complexes. In addition to PELP1 nuclear functions, it has been shown to have cytoplasmic signaling functions as well. In the cytoplasm PELP1 acts as a scaffold molecule and mediates rapid signaling from growth factor and hormone receptors. PELP1 signaling ultimately plays a role in cancer biology by increasing proliferation and metastasis, among other cellular processes. Here we will review 1) the cloning and characterization of PELP1 expression, 2) interacting proteins, 3) PELP1 signaling, and 4) PELP1-mediated biology.
PMCID: PMC3844065  PMID: 23933151
PELP1; Coactivator; Estrogen signaling; Hormone Resistance; extra-nuclear signaling
13.  Regulation of male fertility by the bone-derived hormone osteocalcin 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.10.008.
Traditionally, bone has been viewed as a relatively static tissue only fulfilling mechanical and scaffolding function. In the past decade however, this classical view of the bone has considerably evolved towards a more complex picture. It is now clear that the skeleton is not only a recipient for hormonal input but it is also an endocrine organ itself. Through the secretion of an osteoblast-derived molecule, osteocalcin, the skeleton regulates glucose homeostasis and male reproductive functions. When undercarboxylated, osteocalcin acts following its binding to a G-coupled receptor, GPRC6A, on pancreatic β cells to increase insulin secretion, on muscle and white adipose tissue to promote glucose homeostasis and on Leydig cells of the testis to favor testosterone biosynthesis. More recently, it was also shown that osteocalcin acts via a pancreas-bone-testis axis that regulates, independently of and in parallel to the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis, male reproductive functions by promoting testosterone biosynthesis. Lastly, in trying to expand the biological relevance of osteocalcin from mouse to human, it was shown that GPRC6A is a potential new susceptibility locus for primary testicular failure in humans. Altogether, these results shed new light on the importance of the endocrine role of the skeleton and also provide credence to the search for additional endocrine functions of this organ.
PMCID: PMC3850748  PMID: 24145129
14.  Mechanism of Androgen Receptor Corepression by CKβBP2/CRIF1, a Multifunctional Transcription Factor Coregulator Expressed in Prostate Cancer 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;382(1):10.1016/j.mce.2013.09.036.
The transcription factor coregulator Casein kinase IIβbinding protein 2 or CR6-interacting factor 1 (CKβBP2/CRIF1) binds the androgen receptor (AR) in prostate cancer cells and in response to dihydrotestosterone localizes with AR on the prostate-specific antigen gene enhancer, but does not bind DNA suggesting CKβBP2/CRIF1 localization in chromatin is determined by AR. In this study we show also that CKβBP2/CRIF1 inhibits wild-type AR and AR N-terminal transcriptional activity, binds to the AR C-terminal region, inhibits interaction of the AR N- and C-terminal domains (N/C interaction) and competes with p160 coactivator binding to the AR C-terminal domain, suggesting CKβBP2/CRIF1 interferes with AR activation functions 1 and 2. CKβBP2/CRIF1 is expressed mainly in stromal cells of benign prostatic hyperplasia and in stroma and epithelium of prostate cancer. CKβBP2/CRIF1 protein is increased in epithelium of androgen-dependent prostate cancer compared to benign prostatic hyperplasia and decreased slightly in castration recurrent epithelium compared to androgen-dependent prostate cancer. The multifunctional CKβBP2/CRIF1 is a STAT3 interacting protein and reported to be a coactivator of STAT3. CKβBP2/CRIF1 is expressed with STAT3 in prostate cancer where STAT3 may help to offset the AR repressor effect of CKβBP2/CRIF1 and allow AR regulation of prostate cancer growth.
PMCID: PMC3880566  PMID: 24103312
androgen receptor; dihydrotestosterone; benign prostatic hyperplasia; prostate cancer; transcription coactivators and corepressors; protein kinase CK2 binding protein 2; CR6 interacting factor-1; signal transducer and activator of transcription 3
15.  17β-Estradiol Alters Oxidative Stress Response Protein Expression and Oxidative Damage in the Uterus 
The steroid hormone 17β-estradiol (E2) has profound effects on the uterus. However, with the E2-induced increase in uterine cell proliferation and metabolism comes increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We examined the expression of an interactive network of oxidative stress response proteins including thioredoxin (Trx), Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1), apurinic endonuclease (Ape1), and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). We demonstrated that treatment of ovariectomized C57BL/6J female mice with E2 increased the mRNA and protein levels of Trx, but decreased SOD1 and Ape1 mRNA and protein expression. In contrast, E2 treatment increased PDI protein levels but had no effect on PDI transcript levels.Interestingly, E2 treatment also increased two markers of cellular damage, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation. Our studies suggest that the decreased expression of SOD1 and Ape1 caused by E2 treatment may in the long term result in disruption of ROS regulation and play a role in endometrial carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3900311  PMID: 24103313
Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase; apurinic endonuclease; thioredoxin; protein disulfide isomerase; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; estrogen receptor α
16.  Polyribosome and Ribonucleoprotein Complex Redistribution of mRNA Induced by GnRH Involves Both EIF2AK3 and MAPK Signaling 
The neuropeptide gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulates synthesis and secretion of the glycoprotein gonadotropic hormones and activates the unfolded protein response, which causes a transient reduction of endoplasmic reticulum-associated mRNA translation. Hormone-treated cell extracts were fractionated to resolve mRNA in active polyribosomes from mRNA in inactive complexes. Quantitative real-time PCR and expression array analysis were used to determine hormone-induced redistribution of mRNAs between fractions and individual mRNAs were found to be redistributed differentially. Among the affected mRNAs relevant to gonadotropin synthesis, the luteinizing hormone subunit genes Lhb and Cga were enriched in the ribonucleoprotein pool. The MAP kinase phosphatase Dusp1 was enriched in the polyribosome pool. Enrichment of Dusp1 mRNA in the polyribosome pool was independent of the unfolded protein response, sensitive to ERK inhibition, and dependent on the 3′ untranslated region. The results show that GnRH exerts translational control to modulate physiologically relevant gene expression through two distinct signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4042833  PMID: 24161835
Gonadotropins; Luteinizing Hormone; Dusp1; Pituitary; Translation; Unfolded Protein Response
17.  Interleukin-1β Inhibits Insulin Signaling and Prevents Insulin-Stimulated System A Amino Acid Transport in Primary Human Trophoblasts 
Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) promotes insulin resistance in tissues such as liver and skeletal muscle; however the influence of IL-1β on placental insulin signaling is unknown. We recently reported increased IL-1β protein expression in placentas of obese mothers, which could contribute to insulin resistance. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that IL-1β inhibits insulin signaling and prevents insulin-stimulated amino acid transport in cultured primary human trophoblast (PHT) cells. Cultured trophoblasts isolated from term placentas were treated with physiological concentrations of IL-1β (10 pg/ml) for 24 hours. IL-1β increased the phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) at Ser307 (inhibitory) and decreased total IRS-1 protein abundance but did not affect insulin receptor β expression. Furthermore, IL-1β inhibited insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS-1 (Tyr612, activation site) and Akt (Thr308) and prevented insulin-stimulated increase in PI3K/p85 and Grb2 protein expression. IL-1β alone stimulated cRaf (Ser338), MEK (Ser221) and Erk1/2 (Thr202/Tyr204) phosphorylation. The inflammatory pathways nuclear factor kappa B and c-Jun N-terminal kinase, which are involved in insulin resistance, were also activated by IL-1β treatment. Moreover, IL-1β inhibited insulin-stimulated System A, but not System L amino acid uptake, indicating functional impairment of insulin signaling. In conclusion, IL-1β inhibited the insulin signaling pathway by inhibiting IRS-1 signaling and prevented insulin-stimulated System A transport, thereby promoting insulin resistance in cultured PHT cells. These findings indicate that conditions which lead to increased systemic maternal or placental IL-1β levels may attenuate the effects of maternal insulin on placental function and consequently fetal growth.
PMCID: PMC3795822  PMID: 23891856
Inflammation; Insulin-Resistance; Placenta; Maternal-Fetal Exchange
18.  Tissue-specific Leptin promoter DNA methylation is associated with maternal and infant perinatal factors 
Leptin a regulator of body weight is involved in reproductive and developmental functions. Leptin promoter DNA methylation (LEP) regulates gene expression in a tissue-specific manner and has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes. In non-pathologic human pregnancies, we assessed LEP methylation, genotyped the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2167270 in placental (n=81), maternal and cord blood samples (n=60), and examined the association between methylation, genotype, and perinatal factors. Maternal blood LEP methylation was lower in pre-pregnancy obese women (P=0.01). Cord blood LEP methylation was higher in small for gestational age (SGA) (P=4.6×10−3) and A/A genotype (P=1.6×10−4), lower (−1.47, P=0.03) in infants born to pre-pregnancy obese mothers and correlated (P=0.01) with maternal blood LEP. Gender was associated with placental LEP methylation (P=0.05). These results suggest that LEP epigenetic control may be influenced by perinatal factors including: maternal obesity, infant growth, genotype and gender in a tissue-specific manner and may have multigenerational implications.
PMCID: PMC3795868  PMID: 23911897
leptin; epigenetics; DNA methylation; rs2167270; pregnancy; maternal obesity; small for gestational age
19.  Species sequence differences determine the interaction of GnRH receptor with the cellular quality control system 
Plasma membrane expression (PME) of the human GnRHR (hGnRHR) is regulated by a primate-specific Lys191 which destabilizes a Cys14-Cys200 bridge required by the cellular quality control system (QCS). A 4-amino, non-contiguous “motif” (Leu112, Gln208, Leu300, Asp302) is required for this effect. The hGnRHR sequence, with or without Lys191, decreases PME and inositol phosphate (IP) production when co-expressed with calnexin, a QCS chaperone. WT rat GnRHR, decreases PME and IP production, when co-expressed with calnexin, but to a lesser degree than hGnRH. When the human sequence contains the rat motif, IP production is closer to that of rat GnRHR. When Lys191 is deleted from hGnRHR and co-expressed with calnexin, IP production is similar to the rat sequence. When rat GnRHR containing Lys191 and the human motif is co-expressed with calnexin, IP production is similar to cells expressing the hGnRHR. The motif sequence appears to be a determinant of calnexin recognition.
PMCID: PMC3795929  PMID: 23891857
GPCR; ER protein retention; GnRH receptor; calnexin; protein trafficking
20.  Tianeptine interferes with microtubule organization and hormone secretion of pheochromocytoma cells 
Pheochromocytoma originates from chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla and sympathetic paraganglia. 36–53% of pheochromocytoma becomes malignant and, thereafter, resistant to conventional treatments. Pheochromocytoma also causes hyper-secretion of catecholamines that cause severe hypertension. We found that an antidepressant, tianeptine, interfered with normal life cycle of pheochromocytoma cells at its clinical doses. Treatment with tianeptine caused microtubule bundling and specific degradation of cytoplasmic dynein, a retrograde microtubule motor that mediates various microtubule-dependent processes during interphase and mitosis, in the rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. Tianeptine also increased the levels of pro-apoptotic proteins, slowed cell cycle progression, and increased apoptosis in PC12 cells. Importantly, tianeptine treatment decreased high K+-stimulated secretion of norepinephrine and chromogranin A in PC12 cells and of epinephrine in the mouse pheochromocytoma MPC cells. Our study demonstrates, for the first time, that tianeptine interferes with normal life cycle of pheochromocytoma cells.
PMCID: PMC3796025  PMID: 23933152
pheochromocytoma; tianeptine; microtubule bundling; cytoplasmic dynein
21.  RAB7 and TSG101 are Required for the Constitutive Recycling of Unliganded EGFRs via Distinct Mechanisms 
Molecular and cellular endocrinology  2013;381(0):10.1016/j.mce.2013.07.029.
Both constitutive and ligand-mediated membrane trafficking regulate Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signaling. The constitutive endocytosis and recycling of the unliganded EGFR is a critical determinant of cell surface EGFR expression and the cell’s sensitivity to ligands. We report that two proteins with established roles in trafficking the EGF:EGFR complex to the lysosome also regulate the recycling of the unliganded EGFR. Knock down of either Tumor suppressor gene 101 (TSG101) or RAB7 causes the endosomal accumulation of the inactive, unliganded receptor in morphologically and biochemically distinct organelles. Knock down of TSG101 causes the EGFR to accumulate in low density endosomes whereas RAB7 knock down results in EGFR accumulation in high density endosomes. Knock down of either protein caused the receptor to co-localize primarily with LAMP-1, but not EEA1. These two proteins regulate EGFR slow, perinuclear recycling, via distinct mechanism and are new molecular targets that regulate cell surface EGFR expression.
PMCID: PMC3831653  PMID: 23933150
EGFR; endocytosis; recycling endosome; late endosome; RAB7; TSG101
22.  Juvenile hormone and insulin suppress lipolysis between periods of lactation during tsetse fly pregnancy 
Tsetse flies are viviparous insects that nurture a single intrauterine progeny per gonotrophic cycle. The developing larva is nourished by the lipid-rich, milk-like secretions from a modified female accessory gland (milk gland). An essential feature of the lactation process involves lipid mobilization for incorporation into the milk. In this study, we examined roles for juvenile hormone (JH) and insulin/IGF-like (IIS) signaling pathways during tsetse pregnancy. In particular, we examined the roles for these pathways in regulating lipid homeostasis during transitions between non-lactating (dry) and lactating periods. The dry period occurs over the course of oogenesis and embryogenesis, while the lactation period spans intrauterine larvigenesis. Genes involved in the JH and IIS pathways were upregulated during dry periods, correlating with lipid accumulation between bouts of lactation. RNAi suppression of Forkhead Box Sub Group O (FOXO) expression impaired lipolysis during tsetse lactation and reduced fecundity. Similar reduction of the JH receptor Methoprene tolerant (Met), but not its paralog germ cell expressed (gce), reduced lipid accumulation during dry periods, indicating functional divergence between Met and gce during tsetse reproduction. Reduced lipid levels following Met knockdown led to impaired fecundity due to inadequate fat reserves at the initiation of milk production. Both the application of the JH analog (JHA) methoprene and injection of insulin into lactating females increased stored lipids by suppressing lipolysis and reduced transcripts of lactation-specific genes, leading to elevated rates of larval abortion. To our knowledge, this study is the first to address the molecular physiology of JH and IIS in a viviparous insect, and specifically to provide a role for JH signaling through Met in the regulation of lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4222070  PMID: 23499946
Insulin; juvenile hormone; lipid metabolism; lactation; reproduction; tsetse; Diptera
23.  Complex Genomic Interactions in the Dynamic Regulation of Transcription by the Glucocorticoid Receptor 
The glucocorticoid receptor regulates transcriptional output through complex interactions with the genome. These events require continuous remodeling of chromatin, interactions of the glucocorticoid receptor with chaperones and other accessory factors, and recycling of the receptor by the proteasome. Therefore, the cohort of factors expressed in a particular cell type can determine the physiological outcome upon treatment with glucocorticoid hormones. In addition, circadian and ultradian cycling of hormones can also affect GR response. Here we will discuss revision of the classical static model of GR binding to response elements to incorporate recent findings from single cell and genome-wide analyses of GR regulation. We will highlight how these studies have changed our views on the dynamics of GR recruitment and its modulation of gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3724757  PMID: 23499945
Glucocorticoids; nuclear receptor; glucocorticoid receptor; transcription dynamics; assisted-loading; chromatin structure
24.  Chromatin Architecture Defines the Glucocorticoid Response 
The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) functions to regulate a wide group of physiological processes through hormone inducible interaction with genomic loci and subsequent manipulation of the transcriptional output of target genes. Despite expression in a wide variety of tissues, the GR has diverse roles that are regulated tightly in a cell type specific manner. With the advent of whole genome approaches, the details of that diversity and the mechanisms regulating them are beginning to be elucidated. This review aims describe the recent advances detailing the role chromatin structure plays in dictating GR specificity.
PMCID: PMC3762934  PMID: 23545159
25.  Nuclear receptors in inflammation control: repression by GR and beyond 
Inflammation is a protective response of organisms to pathogens, irritation or injury. Primary inflammatory sensors activate an array of signaling pathways that ultimately converge upon a few transcription factors such as AP1, NFκB and STATs that in turn stimulate expression of inflammatory genes to ultimately eradicate infection and repair the damage. A disturbed balance between activation and inhibition of inflammatory pathways can set the stage for chronic inflammation which is increasingly recognized as a key pathogenic component of autoimmune, metabolic, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Nuclear Receptors (NRs) are a large family of transcription factors many of which are known for their potent anti-inflammatory actions. Activated by small lipophilic ligands, NRs interact with a wide range of transcription factors, cofactors and chromatin-modifying enzymes, assembling numerous cell- and tissue-specific DNA-protein transcriptional regulatory complexes with diverse activities. Here we discuss established and emerging roles and mechanisms by which NRs and, in particular, the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) repress genes encoding cytokines, chemokines and other pro-inflammatory mediators.
PMCID: PMC3787948  PMID: 23623868
Inflammation; transcriptional repression; nuclear receptors; glucocorticoid receptor

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