Infection by human rhinovirus (HRV) is a major cause of upper and lower respiratory tract disease worldwide and displays considerable phenotypic variation. We examined diversity by completing the genome sequences for all known serotypes (n = 99). Superimposition of capsid crystal structure and optimal-energy RNA configurations established alignments and phylogeny. These revealed conserved motifs; clade-specific diversity, including a potential newly identified species (HRV-D); mutations in field isolates; and recombination. In analogy with poliovirus, a hypervariable 5′ untranslated region tract may affect virulence. A configuration consistent with nonscanning internal ribosome entry was found in all HRVs and may account for rapid translation. The data density from complete sequences of the reference HRVs provided high resolution for this degree of modeling and serves as a platform for full genome-based epidemiologic studies and antiviral or vaccine development.
G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) are important regulatory proteins for many G protein-coupled receptors, but little is known about GRK4 pharmacogenetics. We hypothesized three nonsynonymous GRK4 SNPs, R65L (rs2960306), A142V (rs1024323) and A486V (rs1801058) would be associated with blood pressure response to atenolol, but not hydrochlorothiazide, and would be associated with long term cardiovascular outcomes (all cause, death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke) in participants treated with an atenolol-based versus verapamil-SR-based antihypertensive strategy. GRK4 SNPs were genotyped in 768 hypertensive participants from the Pharmacogenomic Evaluation of Antihypertensive Responses (PEAR) trial. In Caucasians and African Americans, increasing copies of the variant 65L-142V haplotype were associated with significantly reduced atenolol-induced diastolic blood pressure lowering (−9.1 ± 6.8 vs −6.8 ± 7.1 vs −5.3 ± 6.4 mmHg in participants with 0, 1 and 2 copies of 65L-142V respectively; p=0.0088). 1460 participants with hypertension and coronary artery disease from the INternational VErapamil SR / Trandolapril STudy (INVEST) were genotyped and variant alleles of all three GRK4 SNPs were associated with increased risk for adverse cardiovascular outcomes in an additive fashion, with 486V homozygotes reaching statistical significance (Odds ratio 2.29 [1.48–3.55], p=0.0002). These effects on adverse cardiovascular outcomes were independent of antihypertensive treatment. These results suggest the presence of GRK4 variant alleles may be important determinants of blood pressure response to atenolol and risk for adverse cardiovascular events. The associations with GRK4 variant alleles were stronger in patients who were also ADRB1 389R-homozygotes, suggesting a potential interaction between these two genes.
hypertension; GRK4; atenolol; beta-blocker; outcomes; ADRB1; pharmacogenetics
Bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) were shown to be expressed in human airway smooth muscle (ASM). They couple to specialized [Ca2+]i release, leading to membrane hyperpolarization, the relaxation of ASM, and marked bronchodilation. TAS2Rs are G-protein–coupled receptors, known to undergo rapid agonist-promoted desensitization that can limit therapeutic efficacy. Because TAS2Rs represent a new drug target for treating obstructive lung disease, we investigated their capacity for rapid desensitization, and assessed their potential mechanisms. The pretreatment of human ASM cells with the prototypic TAS2R agonist quinine resulted in a 31% ± 5.1% desensitization of the [Ca2+]i response from a subsequent exposure to quinine. No significant change in the endothelin-stimulated [Ca2+]i response was attributed to the short-term use of quinine, indicating a homologous form of desensitization. The TAS2R agonist saccharin also evoked desensitization, and cross-compound desensitization with quinine was evident. Desensitization of the [Ca2+]i response was attenuated by a dynamin inhibitor, suggesting that receptor internalization (a G-protein coupled receptor kinase [GRK]-mediated, β-arrestin–mediated process) plays an integral role in the desensitization of TAS2R. Desensitization was insensitive to antagonists of the second messenger kinases protein kinase A and protein kinase C. Using intact airways, short-term, agonist-promoted TAS2R desensitization of the relaxation response was also observed. Thus these receptors, which represent a potential novel target for direct bronchodilators, undergo a modest degree of agonist-promoted desensitization that may affect clinical efficacy. Collectively, the results of these mechanistic studies, along with the multiple serines and threonines in intracellular loop 3 and the cytoplasmic tail of TAS2Rs, suggest a GRK-mediated mode of desensitization.
airway smooth muscle relaxation; taste receptors; tachyphylaxis; phosphorylation; G-protein–coupled receptor kinases
Human Rhinovirus (HRV) infection is the cause of about one-half of asthma and COPD exacerbations. With >100 serotypes in the HRV reference set an effort was undertaken to sequence their complete genomes so as to understand diversity, structural variation, and evolution of the virus. Analysis revealed conserved motifs, hypervariable regions, a potential fourth HRV species, within-serotype variation in field isolates, a non-scanning internal ribosome entry site, and evidence for HRV recombination. Techniques have now been developed using next generation sequencing to generate complete genomes from patient isolates with high throughput, deep coverage, and low costs. Thus relationships can now be sought between obstructive lung phenotypes and variation in HRV genomes in infected patients, and, potential novel therapeutic strategies developed based on HRV sequence.
Asthma; COPD; inflammation; virus
The major pathologic β-adrenergic (βAR) subtype in heart failure is the β1AR. Our laboratory has thus pursued genetic variation of the β1AR gene at the molecular, cellular, physiologic and clinical levels as the potential basis for interindividual variability in the response to β-blocker treatment in heart failure. This chapter will review these findings, with an emphasis on mechanism of action and future directions.
adrenergic; adenylyl cyclase; myocardium; β-blocker; transgenic
Perioperative myocardial infarction is a common and potentially fatal complication after noncardiac surgery, particular among patients with cardiovascular risk factors. β-blockers have been considered a mainstay in prevention and treatment of perioperative myocardial infarction, yet recent evidence suggests that β-blockers may have an unfavorable risk profile in this setting and the use has become controversial. What seems conspicuously absent from the current discussion is the appreciation of how much interindividual genetic variation influences the clinical response to β-blocker therapy. Genetic variation in the adrenergic signaling pathway is common, and has a major impact on adrenergic receptor function and β-blocker efficacy in other cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and hypertension. Genetic variation in the cytochrome P450 2D6 enzyme, which is responsible for the metabolism of most β-blockers, is also important and can lead to poor metabolizing of β-blockers (potential toxicity) or their ultra-rapid degradation (decreased efficacy). Here, we review the molecular, cellular and physiologic consequences of polymorphisms in the adrenergic signaling pathway and CYP2D6 gene, and show that these are likely relevant factors influencing efficacy, safety and toxicity of β-blocker therapy in prevention and treatment of perioperative myocardial infarction.
Like other intronless G protein–coupled receptor genes, the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) has minimal genetic space for population variability, and has attained such via multiple coding and noncoding polymorphisms. Yet most clinical studies use the two nonsynonymous polymorphisms of the coding region for association analysis despite low levels of linkage disequilibrium with some promoter and 5′UTR polymorphisms. To assess the potential for allele-specific transcription factor binding to β2AR 5′-flanking sequence, 3′-biotin–labeled oligonucleotide duplexes were synthesized. Each was centered on variable sites representing major or minor alleles found in the human population with frequencies of 5% or greater (20 polymorphic sites). Electrophoretic mobility shift assays were performed using human airway smooth muscle or airway epithelial cell nuclear extracts. Many of these polymorphisms resulted in an alteration in binding, and both major allele and minor allele dominance were observed. For example, in airway smooth muscle nuclear extracts, 10 polymorphisms decreased and 2 increased binding, whereas 5 showed no differences. Concordance between airway smooth muscle and epithelial cell nuclear extract binding to polymorphic alleles was found in only ∼ 50% of cases. There was no tendency for the rare variants to be more likely to have altered nuclear extract binding compared to the more common variants. Taken together, these results provide potential mechanisms by which β2AR 5′-flanking polymorphisms affect obstructive lung phenotypes.
asthma; β; -agonist; polymorphism
β-Agonists used for treatment of obstructive lung disease have a variety of different structures but are typically classified by their intrinsic activities for stimulation of cAMP, and predictions are made concerning other downstream signals based on such a classification. We generated modified β2-adrenergic receptors with insertions of energy donor and acceptor moieties to monitor agonist-promoted conformational changes of the receptor using intramolecular bioluminescence resonance energy transfer in live cells. These studies suggested unique conformations stabilized by various agonists that were not based on their classic intrinsic activities. To address the cellular consequences of these differences, Gs-coupling, Gi-coupling (p44/p42 activation), G protein–coupled receptor kinase–mediated receptor phosphorylation, internalization, and down-regulation were assessed in response to isoproterenol, albuterol, terbutaline, metaproterenol, salmeterol, formoterol, and fenoterol. In virtually every case, agonists did not maintain the classic rank order, indicating that distinct signaling is evoked by β-agonists of different structures, which is unrelated to intrinsic activity. The extensive pleiotropy of agonist responses shown here suggests that classification of agonists by cAMP-based intrinsic activity is inadequate as it pertains to other intracellular events and that it may be possible to engineer a β-agonist that stabilizes conformations that evoke an ideal portfolio of signals for therapeutic purposes.
β-agonist; β-adrenergic receptor; adenylyl cyclase; G-protein; asthma
It is now clear that the β2-adrenergic receptor continuously oscillates between various conformations in the basal state, and that agonists act to stabilize one or more conformations. It is conceivable that synthetic agonists might be engineered to preferentially confine the receptor to certain conformations deemed clinically important while having a less stabilizing effect on unwanted conformations. In addition, studies of genetically engineered mice have revealed previously unrecognized cross-talk between the β2-receptor and phospholipase C, such that removal of the primary dilating pathway results in downregulation of constrictive pathways and overactivity of the dilating pathway increases the contractile response. These results indicate a dynamic interaction between β2-receptor activity and Gq-coupled receptors that constrict the airway. Potentially, then, during chronic β-agonist therapy, expression of phospholipase C is increased, the functions of Gq-coupled constrictive receptors are enhanced, and there may be an increased tendency for clinical decompensation due to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease triggers. Antagonists to these receptors might be able to act synergistically with chronic β-agonists to block the effect of phospholipase C. Alternatively, perhaps novel phospholipase C antagonists would provide the most efficacious approach to blocking the physiologic sequelae of cross-talk between the β2-receptor and phospholipase C.
asthma; β-agonist; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; G protein–coupled receptor; phospholipase C
Multiple and paradoxical effects of airway smooth muscle (ASM) 7-transmembrane–spanning receptors activated during asthma, or by treatment with bronchodilators such as β2–adrenergic receptor (β2AR) agonists, indicate extensive receptor crosstalk. We examined the signaling of the prostanoid-EP1 receptor, since its endogenous agonist prostaglandin E2 is abundant in the airway, but its functional implications are poorly defined. Activation of EP1 failed to elicit ASM contraction in mouse trachea via this Gαq-coupled receptor. However, EP1 activation markedly reduced the bronchodilatory function of β2AR agonist, but not forskolin, indicating an early pathway interaction. Activation of EP1 reduced β2AR-stimulated cAMP in ASM but did not promote or augment β2AR phosphorylation or alter β2AR trafficking. Bioluminescence resonant energy transfer showed EP1 and β2AR formed heterodimers, which were further modified by EP1 agonist. In cell membrane [35S]GTPγS binding studies, the presence of the EP1 component of the dimer uncoupled β2AR from Gαs, an effect accentuated by EP1 agonist activation. Thus alone, EP1 does not appear to have a significant direct effect on airway tone but acts as a modulator of the β2AR, altering Gαs coupling via steric interactions imposed by the EP1:β2AR heterodimeric signaling complex and ultimately affecting β2AR-mediated bronchial relaxation. This mechanism may contribute to β-agonist resistance found in asthma.
Enhanced signaling in myocytes by the G protein Gq has been implicated in cardiac hypertrophy and the transition to heart failure. α1-Adrenergic receptors (α1-ARs) are members of the 7-transmembrane-spanning domain (7-TM) receptor family and signal via interaction with Gq in the heart. The specific effects of a loss of α1-AR signaling in the heart are explored by O’Connell et al. in this issue of the JCI (see the related article beginning on page 1005). Paradoxically, gene ablation of the α1A and α1B subtypes in mice results in a maladaptive form of reactive cardiac hypertrophy from pressure overload, with a predisposition to heart failure. Thus signaling to the α1-AR (compared with signaling from other receptors such as angiotensin receptors, which also couple to Gq) appears to be specifically required for a normal hypertrophic response. This represents another example of how receptors that share common G proteins have diversified, developing unique signaling programs. These findings may have particular clinical relevance because of the widespread use of α1-AR antagonists in the treatment of hypertension and symptomatic prostate enlargement.
Rationale: β2-agonists, the most common treatment for asthma, have a wide interindividual variability in response, which is partially attributed to genetic factors. We previously identified single nucleotide polymorphisms in the arginase 1 (ARG1) gene, which are associated with β2-agonist bronchodilator response (BDR).
Objectives: To identify cis-acting haplotypes in the ARG1 locus that are associated with BDR in patients with asthma and regulate gene expression in vitro.
Methods: We resequenced ARG1 in 96 individuals and identified three common, 5′ haplotypes (denoted 1, 2, and 3). A haplotype-based association analysis of BDR was performed in three independent, adult asthma drug trial populations. Next, each haplotype was cloned into vectors containing a luciferase reporter gene and transfected into human airway epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to ascertain its effect on gene expression.
Measurements and Main Results: BDR varied by haplotype in each of the three populations with asthma. Individuals with haplotype 1 were more likely to have higher BDR, compared to those with haplotypes 2 and 3, which is supported by odds ratios of 1.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.71) and 2.18 (95% confidence interval, 1.34–2.52), respectively. Luciferase expression was 50% greater in cells transfected with haplotype 1 compared to haplotypes 2 and 3.
Conclusions: The identified ARG1 haplotypes seem to alter BDR and differentially regulate gene expression with a concordance of decreased BDR and reporter activity from haplotypes 2 and 3. These findings may facilitate pharmacogenetic tests to predict individuals who may benefit from other therapeutic agents in addition to β2-agonists for optimal asthma management.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00156819, NCT00046644, and NCT00073840).
pharmacogenetics; asthma; β2-agonist
A recently recognized human rhinovirus species C (HRV-C) is associated with up to half of HRV infections in young children. We for the first time propagated two HRV-C isolates ex vivo in organ culture of nasal epithelial cells, sequenced a new C15 isolate, and developed the first reverse genetics system for HRV-C. Using contact points for the known HRV receptors, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), inter- and intraspecies footprint analysis predicted a unique cell attachment site for HRV-Cs. Antibodies directed to binding sites for HRV-A and -B failed to inhibit HRV-C attachment, consistent with the alternative receptor footprint. HRV-A and -B infected HeLa and WisL cells, but HRV-C did not. However, HRV-C RNA synthesized in vitro and transfected into both cell types resulted in cytopathic effect and recovery of functional virus, indicating that the viral attachment mechanism is a primary distinguishing feature of HRV-C.
Bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) of the tongue likely evolved to evoke signals for avoiding ingestion of plant toxins. We found expression of TAS2Rs on human airway smooth muscle (ASM) and considered these to be avoidance receptors for inhalants, leading to ASM contraction and bronchospasm. TAS2R agonists such as saccharin, chloroquine and denatonium evoked increased ASM [Ca2+]i in a Gβγ, PLCβ and IP3-receptor dependent manner which would be expected (like acetylcholine) to evoke contraction. Paradoxically, bitter tastants caused relaxation of isolated ASM, and dilation of airways that was 3-fold greater than β-agonists. Relaxation by TAS2Rs is from a localized [Ca2+]i response at the cell membrane which opens BKCa channels leading to ASM membrane hyperpolarization. Inhaled bitter tastants decreased airway obstruction in an asthma mouse model. Given the need for efficacious bronchodilators for treating obstructive lung diseases, this pathway can be exploited for therapy with the thousands of known synthetic and naturally occurring bitter tastants.
The β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) is expressed on numerous cell-types including airway smooth muscle cells and cardiomyocytes. Drugs (agonists or antagonists) acting at these receptors for treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart failure show substantial interindividual variability in response. The ADRB2 gene is polymorphic in noncoding and coding regions, but virtually all ADRB2 association studies have utilized the two common nonsynonymous coding SNPs, often reaching discrepant conclusions.
We constructed the 8 common ADRB2 haplotypes derived from 26 polymorphisms in the promoter, 5′UTR, coding, and 3′UTR of the intronless ADRB2 gene. These were cloned into an expression construct lacking a vector-based promoter, so that β2AR expression was driven by its promoter, and steady state expression could be modified by polymorphisms throughout ADRB2 within a haplotype. “Whole-gene” transfections were performed with COS-7 cells and revealed 4 haplotypes with increased cell surface β2AR protein expression compared to the others. Agonist-promoted downregulation of β2AR protein expression was also haplotype-dependent, and was found to be increased for 2 haplotypes. A phylogenetic tree of the haplotypes was derived and annotated by cellular phenotypes, revealing a pattern potentially driven by expression.
Thus for obstructive lung disease, the initial bronchodilator response from intermittent administration of β-agonist may be influenced by certain β2AR haplotypes (expression phenotypes), while other haplotypes may influence tachyphylaxis during the response to chronic therapy (downregulation phenotypes). An ideal clinical outcome of high expression and less downregulation was found for two haplotypes. Haplotypes may also affect heart failure antagonist therapy, where β2AR increase inotropy and are anti-apoptotic. The haplotype-specific expression and regulation phenotypes found in this transfection-based system suggest that the density of genetic information in the form of these haplotypes, or haplotype-clusters with similar phenotypes can potentially provide greater discrimination of phenotype in human disease and pharmacogenomic association studies.
Rationale: Inhaled β-agonists are one of the most widely used classes of drugs for the treatment of asthma. However, a substantial proportion of patients with asthma do not have a favorable response to these drugs, and identifying genetic determinants of drug response may aid in tailoring treatment for individual patients.
Objectives: To screen variants in candidate genes in the steroid and β-adrenergic pathways for association with response to inhaled β-agonists.
Methods: We genotyped 844 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 111 candidate genes in 209 children and their parents participating in the Childhood Asthma Management Program. We screened the association of these SNPs with acute response to inhaled β-agonists (bronchodilator response [BDR]) using a novel algorithm implemented in a family-based association test that ranked SNPs in order of statistical power. Genes that had SNPs with median power in the highest quartile were then taken for replication analyses in three other asthma cohorts.
Measurements and Main Results: We identified 17 genes from the screening algorithm and genotyped 99 SNPs from these genes in a second population of patients with asthma. We then genotyped 63 SNPs from four genes with significant associations with BDR, for replication in a third and fourth population of patients with asthma. Evidence for association from the four asthma cohorts was combined, and SNPs from ARG1 were significantly associated with BDR. SNP rs2781659 survived Bonferroni correction for multiple testing (combined P value = 0.00048, adjusted P value = 0.047).
Conclusions: These findings identify ARG1 as a novel gene for acute BDR in both children and adults with asthma.
pharmacogenetics; asthma; bronchodilator agents
β-agonist treatment of asthma displays substantial interindividual variation, which has prompted polymorphism discovery and characterization of β2-adrenergic (β2AR) signaling genes. β2AR function undergoes desensitization during persistent agonist exposure due to receptor phosphorylation by G-protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). GRK5 was found to be highly expressed in airway smooth muscle, the tissue target for β-agonists. The coding region is polymorphic at codon 41, where Gln can be substituted by Leu (minor allele), but almost exclusively in those of African descent. In transfected cells, GRK5-Leu41 evoked a greater degree of agonist-promoted desensitization of adenylyl cyclase compared to GRK5-Gln41. Consistent with this functional effect, agonist-promoted β2AR phosphorylation was greater in cells expressing GRK5-Leu41, as was the rate of agonist-promoted receptor internalization. In studies with mutated β2AR lacking PKA-phosphorylation sites, this phenotype was confirmed as being GRK-specific. So, GRK5-Leu41 represents a gain-of-function polymorphism that evokes enhanced loss-of-function of β2AR during persistent agonist exposure, and thus may contribute to β-agonist variability in asthma treatment of African-Americans.
Polymorphism; tachyphylaxis; β-agonist; kinases; desensitization; asthma
β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) blockade is standard therapy for cardiac failure and ischemia. G-protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) desensitize βAR, suggesting that genetic GRK variants might modify outcomes in these syndromes. Re-sequencing of GRK2 and GRK5 revealed a non-synonymous polymorphism of GRK5, common in African Americans (AA), substituting leucine (L) for glutamine (Q) at position 41. GRK5-L41 more effectively uncoupled isoproterenol-stimulated responses than GRK5-Q41 in transfected cells and transgenic mice, and like pharmacological βAR blockade, GRK5-L41 protected against experimental catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy. Human association studies showed a pharmacogenomic interaction between GRK5-L41 and β-blocker treatment on mortality outcome in independent cohorts of AA cardiac failure (P=0.036) and ischemia (P=0.023). In 375 prospectively followed AA heart failure subjects, GRK5-L41 was protective against death/cardiac transplant (single allele: RR=0.28, 95% CI=0.12-0.66; two alleles: RR=0.08, 95% CI=0.04-0.19; P=0.004). The gain-of-function GRK5-L41 polymorphism facilitates βAR desensitization during catecholamine excess, imparting “genetic β-blockade” and improving survival in heart failure.
Rationale: The comprehensive evaluation of gene variation, haplotype structure, and linkage disequilibrium is important in understanding the function of β2-adrenergic receptor gene (ADRβ2) on disease susceptibility, pulmonary function, and therapeutic responses in different ethnic groups with asthma.
Objectives: To identify ADRβ2 polymorphisms and haplotype structure in white and African American subjects and to test for genotype and haplotype association with asthma phenotypes.
Methods: A 5.3-kb region of ADRβ2 was resequenced in 669 individuals from 429 whites and 240 African Americans. A total of 12 polymorphisms, representing an optimal haplotype tagging set, were genotyped in whites (338 patients and 326 control subjects) and African Americans (222 patients and 299 control subjects).
Results: A total of 49 polymorphisms were identified, 21 of which are novel; 31 polymorphisms (frequency > 0.03) were used to identify 24 haplotypes (frequency > 0.01) and assess linkage disequilibrium. Association with ratio (FEV1/FVC)2 for single-nucleotide polymorphism +79 (p < 0.05) was observed in African Americans. Significant haplotype association for (FEV1/FVC)2 was also observed in African Americans.
Conclusions: There are additional genetic variants besides +46 (Gly16Arg) that are important in determining asthma phenotypes. These data suggest that the length of a poly-C repeat (+1269) in the 3′ untranslated region of ADRβ2 may influence lung function, and may be important in delineating variation in β-agonist responses, especially in African Americans.
asthma; β2-adrenergic receptor; β-agonist therapy; DNA polymorphisms; pharmacogenomics
Receptor-mediated airway smooth muscle (ASM) contraction via Gαq, and relaxation via Gαs, underlie the bronchospastic features of asthma and its treatment. Asthma models show increased ASM Gαi expression, considered the basis for the proasthmatic phenotypes of enhanced bronchial hyperreactivity to contraction mediated by M3-muscarinic receptors and diminished relaxation mediated by β2-adrenergic receptors (β2ARs). A causal effect between Gi expression and phenotype has not been established, nor have mechanisms whereby Gi modulates Gq/Gs signaling. To delineate isolated effects of altered Gi, transgenic mice were generated overexpressing Gαi2 or a Gαi2 peptide inhibitor in ASM. Unexpectedly, Gαi2 overexpression decreased contractility to methacholine, while Gαi2 inhibition enhanced contraction. These opposite phenotypes resulted from different crosstalk loci within the Gq signaling network: decreased phospholipase C and increased PKCα, respectively. Gαi2 overexpression decreased β2AR-mediated airway relaxation, while Gαi2 inhibition increased this response, consistent with physiologically relevant coupling of this receptor to both Gs and Gi. IL-13 transgenic mice (a model of asthma), which developed increased ASM Gαi, displayed marked increases in airway hyperresponsiveness when Gαi function was inhibited. Increased Gαi in asthma is therefore a double-edged sword: a compensatory event mitigating against bronchial hyperreactivity, but a mechanism that evokes β-agonist resistance. By selective intervention within these multipronged signaling modules, advantageous Gs/Gq activities could provide new asthma therapies.
Tropomyosin (TM) plays a central role in calcium mediated striated muscle
contraction. There are three muscle TM isoforms: α-TM,
β-TM, and γ-TM.
α-TM is the predominant cardiac and skeletal muscle
isoform. β-TM is expressed in skeletal and embryonic
cardiac muscle. γ-TM is expressed in slow-twitch
musculature, but is not found in the heart. Our previous work established that
muscle TM isoforms confer different physiological properties to the cardiac
sarcomere. To determine whether one of these isoforms is dominant in dictating
its functional properties, we generated single and double transgenic mice
expressing β-TM and/or γ-TM in
the heart, in addition to the endogenously expressed
α-TM. Results show significant TM protein expression in
the βγ-DTG hearts:
α-TM: 36%, β-TM:
32%, and γ-TM: 32%. These
βγ-DTG mice do not develop pathological
abnormalities; however, they exhibit a hyper contractile phenotype with
decreased myofilament calcium sensitivity, similar to
γ-TM transgenic hearts. Biophysical studies indicate
that γ-TM is more rigid than either
α-TM or β-TM. This is the
first report showing that with approximately equivalent levels of expression
within the same tissue, there is a functional dominance of
γ-TM over α-TM or
β-TM in regulating physiological performance of the
striated muscle sarcomere. In addition to the effect expression of
γ-TM has on Ca2+ activation of
the cardiac myofilaments, our data demonstrates an effect on cooperative
activation of the thin filament by strongly bound rigor cross-bridges. This is
significant in relation to current ideas on the control mechanism of the steep
relation between Ca2+ and tension.
Tropomyosin isoforms; Thin filament regulation; Calcium sensitivity; Muscle contraction; Transgenic mice
β-adrenergic receptors (βARs) relax airway smooth muscle and bronchodilate, but chronic β-agonist treatment in asthma causes increased sensitivity to airway constriction (hyperreactivity) and is associated with exacerbations. This paradox was explored using mice with ablated βAR genes (βAR–/–) and transgenic mice overexpressing airway smooth muscle β2AR (β2AR-OE) representing two extremes: absence and persistent activity of airway βAR. Unexpectedly, βAR–/– mice, lacking these bronchodilating receptors, had markedly decreased bronchoconstrictive responses to methacholine and other Gq-coupled receptor agonists. In contrast, β2AR-OE mice had enhanced constrictive responses. Contraction to permeabilization with β-escin was unaltered by gene ablation or overexpression. Inositol phosphate accumulation by Gq-coupled M3-muscarinic, thromboxane-A2, and 5-HT2 receptors was desensitized in airway smooth muscle cells from βAR–/– mice and sensitized in cells from β2AR-OE mice. Thus, βAR antithetically regulates constrictive signals, affecting bronchomotor tone/reactivity by additional means other than direct dilatation. Studies of signaling elements in these pathways revealed the nodal point of this cross talk as phospholipase C-β1, whose expression was altered by βAR in a direction and magnitude consistent with the physiologic and cellular responses. These results establish a mechanism of the β-agonist paradox and identify a potential asthma modifier gene (phospholipase C-β1), which may also be a therapeutic target in asthma when chronic β-agonists are required.
In human disease and experimental animal models, depressed Ca2+ handling in failing cardiomyocytes is widely attributed to impaired sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) function. In mice, disruption of the PLN gene encoding phospholamban (PLN) or expression of dominant-negative PLN mutants enhances SR and cardiac function, but effects of PLN mutations in humans are unknown. Here, a T116G point mutation, substituting a termination codon for Leu-39 (L39stop), was identified in two families with hereditary heart failure. The heterozygous individuals exhibited hypertrophy without diminished contractile performance. Strikingly, both individuals homozygous for L39stop developed dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure, requiring cardiac transplantation at ages 16 and 27. An over 50% reduction in PLN mRNA and no detectable PLN protein were noted in one explanted heart. The expression of recombinant PLN-L39stop in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells and adult rat cardiomyocytes showed no PLN inhibition of SR Ca2+-ATPase and the virtual absence of stable PLN expression; where PLN was expressed, it was misrouted to the cytosol or plasma membrane. These findings describe a naturally-occurring loss-of-function human PLN mutation (PLN null). In contrast to reported benefits of PLN ablation in mouse heart failure, humans lacking PLN develop lethal dilated cardiomyopathy.