Many factors are implicated in age-related CNS disorders making it unlikely that modulating only a single factor will provide effective treatment. Perhaps a better approach is to identify small molecules that have multiple biological activities relevant to the maintenance of brain function. Recently, we identified an orally active, neuroprotective and cognition-enhancing molecule, the flavonoid fisetin, that is effective in several animal models of CNS disorders. Fisetin has direct antioxidant activity and can also increase the intracellular levels of glutathione (GSH), the major endogenous antioxidant. In addition, fisetin has both neurotrophic and anti-inflammatory activity. However, its relatively high EC50 in cell based assays, low lipophilicity, high tPSA and poor bioavailability suggest that there is room for medicinal chemical improvement. Here we describe a multi-tiered approach to screening that has allowed us to identify fisetin derivatives with significantly enhanced activity in an in vitro neuroprotection model while at the same time maintaining other key activities.
Compared with influenza-specific T cells, self-reactive T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes fail to slow down and do not form normal immunological synapses upon encounter with cognate self-peptide presented by MHC.
Recognition of self–peptide-MHC (pMHC) complexes by CD4 T cells plays an important role in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. We analyzed formation of immunological synapses (IS) in self-reactive T cell clones from patients with multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. All self-reactive T cells contained a large number of phosphorylated T cell receptor (TCR) microclusters, indicative of active TCR signaling. However, they showed little or no visible pMHC accumulation or transport of TCR–pMHC complexes into a central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC). In contrast, influenza-specific T cells accumulated large quantities of pMHC complexes in microclusters and a cSMAC, even when presented with 100-fold lower pMHC densities. The self-reactive T cells also maintained a high degree of motility, again in sharp contrast to virus-specific T cells. 2D affinity measurements of three of these self-reactive T cell clones demonstrated a normal off-rate but a slow on-rate of TCR binding to pMHC. These unusual IS features may facilitate escape from negative selection by self-reactive T cells encountering very small amounts of self-antigen in the thymus. However, these same features may enable acquisition of effector functions by self-reactive T cells encountering large amounts of self-antigen in the target organ of the autoimmune disease.
Suppression of macroautophagy, due to mutations or through processes linked to aging, results in the accumulation of cytoplasmic substrates that are normally eliminated by the pathway. This is a significant problem in long-lived cells like neurons, where pathway defects can result in the accumulation of aggregates containing ubiquitinated proteins. The p62/Ref(2)P family of proteins is involved in the autophagic clearance of cytoplasmic protein bodies or sequestosomes. These unique structures are closely associated with protein inclusions containing ubiquitin as well as key components of the autophagy pathway. In this study we show that detergent fractionation followed by western blot analysis of insoluble ubiquitinated proteins (IUP), mammalian p62 and its Drosophila homologue, Ref(2)P can be used to quantitatively assess the activity level of aggregate clearance (aggrephagy) in complex tissues. Using this technique we show that genetic or age-dependent changes that modify the long-term enhancement or suppression of aggrephagy can be identified. Moreover, using the Drosophila model system this method can be used to establish autophagy-dependent protein clearance profiles that are occurring under a wide range of physiological conditions including developmental, fasting and altered metabolic pathways. This technique can also be used to examine proteopathies that are associated with human disorders such as frontotemporal dementia, Huntington and Alzheimer disease. Our findings indicate that measuring IUP profiles together with an assessment of p62/Ref(2)P proteins can be used as a screening or diagnostic tool to characterize genetic and age-dependent factors that alter the long-term function of autophagy and the clearance of protein aggregates occurring within complex tissues and cells.
p62; Ref(2)P; insoluble ubiquitinated proteins; aggregates; neural degeneration; Alzheimer disease; aging; macroautophagy
In the present study, we used a comprehensive panel of in vitro assays to evaluate the efficacy and safety of stilbazulenyl nitrone (STAZN) as a lead compound to treat acute ischemic stroke. First, we measured neuroprotection in vitro using two different HT22 hippocampal nerve cell assays. Secondly, to de-risk drug development, we used CeeTox analysis with the H4IIE rat hepatoma cell line to determine the acute toxicity profile of STAZN. Third, STAZN was tested in microsomes from four species for measures of metabolic stability. Last, we determined the Ames test genotoxicity profile of STAZN using Salmonella typhimurium TA989 and TA100. In vitro, STAZN was neuroprotective against toxicity induced by iodoacetic acid, and oxytosis-induced glutathione depletion was initiated by glutamate, with an EC50 value of 1–5 μM. Secondly, using CeeTox analysis, the estimated CTox value (i.e., sustained concentration expected to produce toxicity in a rat 14-day repeat dose study) for STAZN was calculated to be 260 μM. Third, the half-life of STAZN in humans, dogs, and rats was 60–78 min. Last, the genotoxicity profile showed that STAZN did not induce bacterial colony growth under any conditions tested, indicating the lack of mutagenicity with this compound. STAZN appears to be a multi-target neuroprotective compound that has an excellent safety profile in both the CeeTox and Ames mutagenicity assays. STAZN may have significant potential as a novel neuroprotective agent to treat stroke and should be pursued in clinically relevant embolic stroke models.
Antioxidant; Nitrone; Safety; Efficacy; Genotoxicity; CeeTox
In addition to cognitive dysfunction, locomotor deficits are prevalent in traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients; however, it is unclear how a concussive injury can affect spinal cord centers. Moreover, there are no current efficient treatments that can counteract the broad pathology associated with TBI.
The authors have investigated potential molecular basis for the disruptive effects of TBI on spinal cord and hippocampus and the neuroprotection of a curcumin derivative to reduce the effects of experimental TBI.
The authors performed fluid percussion injury (FPI) and then rats were exposed to dietary supplementation of the curcumin derivative (CNB-001; 500 ppm). The curry spice curcumin has protective capacity in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, and the curcumin derivative has enhanced brain absorption and biological activity.
The results show that FPI in rats, in addition to reducing learning ability, reduced locomotor performance. Behavioral deficits were accompanied by reductions in molecular systems important for synaptic plasticity underlying behavioral plasticity in the brain and spinal cord. The post-TBI dietary supplementation of the curcumin derivative normalized levels of BDNF, and its downstream effectors on synaptic plasticity (CREB, synapsin I) and neuronal signaling (CaMKII), as well as levels of oxidative stress–related molecules (SOD, Sir2).
These studies define a mechanism by which TBI can compromise centers related to cognitive processing and locomotion. The findings also show the influence of the curcumin derivative on synaptic plasticity events in the brain and spinal cord and emphasize the therapeutic potential of this noninvasive dietary intervention for TBI.
traumatic brain injury; hippocampus; learning; BDNF; curcumin derivative
Acute ischemic stroke is a major risk for morbidity and mortality in our aging population. Currently only one drug, the thrombolytic tissue plasminogen activator, is approved by the FDA to treat stroke. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel drugs that promote neuronal survival following stroke. We have synthesized a novel neuroprotective molecule called CNB-001 that has neurotrophic activity, enhances memory, and blocks cell death in multiple toxicity assays related to ischemic stroke. In this study, we tested the efficacy of CNB-001 in a rigorous rabbit ischemic stroke model and determined the molecular basis of its in vivo activity. CNB-001 has substantial beneficial properties in an in vitro ischemia assay and improves the behavioral outcome of rabbit ischemic stroke even when administered 1 h after the insult, a therapeutic window in this model comparable to tissue plasminogen activator. In addition, we elucidated the protein kinase pathways involved in neuroprotection. CNB-001 maintains the calcium-calmodulin-dependent kinase signaling pathways associated with neurotrophic growth factors that are critical for the maintenance of neuronal function. On the basis of its in vivo efficacy and novel mode of action, we conclude that CNB-001 has a great potential for the treatment of ischemic stroke as well as other CNS pathologies.
ischemia; trophic factor; neuroprotection; models; drugs; protein kinases
Currently, the major drug discovery paradigm for neurodegenerative diseases is based upon high affinity ligands for single disease-specific targets. For Alzheimer's disease (AD), the focus is the amyloid beta peptide (Aß) that mediates familial Alzheimer's disease pathology. However, given that age is the greatest risk factor for AD, we explored an alternative drug discovery scheme that is based upon efficacy in multiple cell culture models of age-associated pathologies rather than exclusively amyloid metabolism. Using this approach, we identified an exceptionally potent, orally active, neurotrophic molecule that facilitates memory in normal rodents, and prevents the loss of synaptic proteins and cognitive decline in a transgenic AD mouse model.
A TCR derived from a patient with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis engages the self-peptide myelin basic protein in the context of HLA-DQ1 in a very unusual way.
Self-reactive T cells that escape elimination in the thymus can cause autoimmune pathology, and it is therefore important to understand the structural mechanisms of self-antigen recognition. We report the crystal structure of a T cell receptor (TCR) from a patient with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis that engages its self-peptide–major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) ligand in an unusual manner. The TCR is bound in a highly tilted orientation that prevents interaction of the TCR-α chain with the MHC class II β chain helix. In this structure, only a single germline-encoded TCR loop engages the MHC protein, whereas in most other TCR-pMHC structures all four germline-encoded TCR loops bind to the MHC helices. The tilted binding mode also prevents peptide contacts by the short complementarity-determining region (CDR) 3β loop, and interactions that contribute to peptide side chain specificity are focused on the CDR3α loop. This structure is the first example in which only a single germline-encoded TCR loop contacts the MHC helices. Furthermore, the reduced interaction surface with the peptide may facilitate TCR cross-reactivity. The structural alterations in the trimolecular complex are distinct from previously characterized self-reactive TCRs, indicating that there are multiple unusual ways for self-reactive TCRs to bind their pMHC ligand.
The mechanisms of HLA-DM catalyzed peptide exchange remain uncertain. We found that all stages of the interaction of DM with HLA-DR were dependent on the occupancy state of the peptide binding groove. High-affinity peptides were protected from removal by DM through two mechanisms: peptide binding induced dissociation of a long-lived complex of empty DR and DM, and high-affinity DR-peptide complexes bound DM only very slowly. Non-binding covalent DR-peptide complexes were converted to efficient DM binders upon truncation of an N-terminal peptide segment that emptied the P1 pocket and disrupted conserved hydrogen bonds to MHC. DM thus only binds to DR conformers in which a critical part of the binding site is vacant, due to spontaneous peptide motion.
The elevated glycation of macromolecules by the reactive dicarbonyl and α-oxoaldehyde methylglyoxal (MG) has been associated with diabetes and its complications. We have identified a rare flavone, fisetin, which increases the level and activity of glyoxalase 1, the enzyme required for the removal of MG, as well as the synthesis of its essential co-factor, glutathione. It is shown that fisetin reduces two major complications of diabetes in Akita mice, a model of type 1 diabetes. Although fisetin had no effect on the elevation of blood sugar, it reduced kidney hypertrophy and albuminuria and maintained normal levels of locomotion in the open field test. This correlated with a reduction in proteins glycated by MG in the blood, kidney and brain of fisetin-treated animals along with an increase in glyoxalase 1 enzyme activity and an elevation in the expression of the rate-limiting enzyme for the synthesis of glutathione, a co-factor for glyoxalase 1. The expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), serum amyloid A and serum C-reactive protein, markers of protein oxidation, glycation and inflammation, were also increased in diabetic Akita mice and reduced by fisetin. It is concluded that fisetin lowers the elevation of MG-protein glycation that is associated with diabetes and ameliorates multiple complications of the disease. Therefore, fisetin or a synthetic derivative may have potential therapeutic use for the treatment of diabetic complications.
Amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide accumulation in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is closely associated with increased nerve cell death. However, many cells survive and it is important to understand the mechanisms involved in this survival response. Recent studies have shown that an anti-apoptotic mechanism in cancer cells is mediated by aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect. One of the major regulators of aerobic glycolysis is pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), an enzyme which represses mitochondrial respiration and forces the cell to rely heavily on glycolysis, even in the presence of oxygen. Recent neuroimaging studies have shown that the spatial distribution of aerobic glycolysis in the brains of AD patients strongly correlates with Aβ deposition. Interestingly, clonal nerve cell lines selected for resistance to Aβ exhibit increased glycolysis as a result of activation of the transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor 1. Here we show that Aβ resistant nerve cell lines upregulate Warburg effect enzymes in a manner reminiscent of cancer cells. In particular, Aβ resistant nerve cell lines showed elevated PDK1 expression in addition to an increase in lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) activity and lactate production when compared to control cells. In addition, mitochondrial derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) were markedly diminished in resistant but not sensitive cells. Chemically or genetically inhibiting LDHA or PDK1 re-sensitized resistant cells to Aβ toxicity. These findings suggest that the Warburg effect may contribute to apoptotic-resistance mechanisms in the surviving neurons of the AD brain. Loss of the adaptive advantage afforded by aerobic glycolysis may exacerbate the pathophysiological processes associated with AD.
Protein aggregates are both associated with disease and function. Because a variety of factors induce protein aggregation, a given protein can aggregate into different states. Here, we compare the structures and activities of five distinct protein aggregates of a single protein. Despite the diverse chemical, physical and biological treatments used to induce aggregation, all aggregate types contain the cross-β-sheet motif. However, they are structurally distinct, having different segments of the protein sequence involved in secondary structure formation. Because of these structural differences each aggregate has a unique set of properties. These include affinity to ATP, Thioflavin T, DNA, and membrane mimics, and interference with cell viability. The key to their multiple properties may be that the repetitive nature of the cross-β-sheet motif guarantees for many potent activities through cooperativity. The observed multidimensional structure-activity relationship of protein aggregates may be important for amyloid diseases but may also be advantageous in nanotechnology.
Protein Aggregation; Amyloid Fibrils; Inclusion Bodies; Cross-β-Sheet; EM; X-ray Diffraction; FT-IR; NMR; Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange; Structure-Activity
Amyloids are highly organized cross β-sheet-rich protein or peptide aggregates that are associated with pathological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes. However, amyloids may also have a normal biological function as demonstrated by fungal prions, which are involved in prion replication, and the amyloid protein Pmel17, which is involved in mammalian skin pigmentation. Here, we show that peptide and protein hormones in secretory granules of the endocrine system are stored in an amyloid-like cross β-sheet-rich conformation. Thus, in contrast to the original association of amyloids with diseases, functional amyloids in the pituitary and other organs can contribute to normal cell and tissue physiology.
There is increasing interest in gliogenesis as the relevance of glia to both brain development and pathology becomes better understood. However, little is known about this process. The use of multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) to identify changes in phosphoprotein levels in rat neural precursor cells treated with cytokines or retinoic acid showed that phosphorylation of the catalytic subunit of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (PI3K p110α) and dephosphorylation of the inositol phosphatase synaptojanin-1 were common to the gliogenic stimuli. While PI3K was found to be involved in both neuro- and astrogliogenesis, synaptojanin-1 was specifically involved in astrogliogenesis of neural precursor cells. The role of synaptojanin-1 in astrogliogenesis was further confirmed by analysis of neuron- and glia-specific markers in synaptojanin-1 knockout mouse brain. Additional experiments showed that the Sac1-like phosphatase domain of synaptojanin-1 is the responsible for the observed astrogliogenic effect. Our results strongly indicate that phosphatidylinositol metabolism plays a key role in astrogliogenesis. The relevance of our findings for Down’s syndrome pathology is discussed.
synaptojanin-1; gliogenesis; retinoic acid; cytokine; Down’s syndrome
Proteins that are released from cells consist of those in the extracellular matrix, as well as extracellular signaling and adhesion molecules. The majority of these extracellular proteins are, however, unknown. To determine their identity, we have used a proteomics approach to define proteins released from neurons, astrocytes and neural precursor cells. Using 2-dimensional gels and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry technology, it is shown that while astrocytes release a relatively small number of proteins, neurons and neuronal precursor cells release a larger number of proteins with more functional diversity. Although there is overlap between the different cell types, the exact composition of the extracellular protein pool is unique for each cell population. The various subsets of extracellular neural proteins include those involved in cellular Redox regulation and chaperones. In addition, many proteolytic enzymes are found outside of the cell. These data show that the extracellular space within the nervous system has a more diverse protein composition than previously thought.
Neuronal cells; secreted proteins; proteomics; neurons; astrocytes
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in aging and age-related diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Much of the ROS production under conditions of toxic stress is from mitochondria, and multiple antioxidants prevent ROS accumulation. The aim of this study is to examine the specificity of the interaction between the antioxidants and ROS production in stressed cells.
Using fluorescent dyes for ROS detection and mitochondrial inhibitors of known specificities, we studied ROS production under three conditions where ROS are produced by mitochondria: oxidative glutamate toxicity, state IV respiration induced by oligomycin, and tumor necrosis factor-induced cell death.
We demonstrated that there are at least four mitochondrial ROS-generating sites in cells, including the flavin mononucleotide (FMN) group of complex I and the three ubiquinone-binding sites in complexes I, II and III. ROS production from these sites is modulated in an insult-specific manner and the sites are differentially accessible to common antioxidants.
The inhibition of ROS accumulation by different antioxidants is specific to the site of ROS generation as well as the antioxidant. This information should be useful for devising new interventions to delay aging or treat ROS-related diseases.
Reduced glucose metabolism and astrocyte activation in selective areas of the brain are pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The underlying mechanisms of low energy metabolism and a molecular basis for preventing astrocyte activation are not, however, known. Here we show that amyloid beta peptide (Aβ)-dependent astrocyte activation leads to a long-term decrease in hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α expression and a reduction in the rate of glycolysis. Glial activation and the glycolytic changes are reversed by the maintenance of HIF-1α levels with conditions that prevent the proteolysis of HIF-1α. Aβ increases the long-term production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through the activation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase and reduces the amount of HIF-1α via the activation of the proteasome. ROS are not required for glial activation, but are required for the reduction in glycolysis. These data suggest a significant role for HIF-1α-mediated transcription in maintaining the metabolic integrity of the AD brain and identify the probable cause of the observed lower energy metabolism in afflicted areas. They may also explain the therapeutic success of metal chelators in animal models of AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta peptide; astrocytes; glycolysis; hypoxia-inducible factor; rodents
Axonal dysfunction is the major phenotypic change in many neurodegenerative diseases, but the processes underlying this impairment are not clear. Modifier of cell adhesion (MOCA) is a presenilin binding protein that functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rac1. The loss of MOCA in mice leads to axonal degeneration and causes sensorimotor impairments by decreasing cofilin phosphorylation and altering its upstream signaling partners LIM kinase and p21-activated kinase, an enzyme directly downstream of Rac1. The dystrophic axons found in MOCA-deficient mice are associated with abnormal aggregates of neurofilament protein, the disorganization of the axonal cytoskeleton, and the accumulation of autophagic vacuoles and polyubiquitinated proteins. Furthermore, MOCA deficiency causes an alteration in the actin cytoskeleton and the formation of cofilin-containing rod-like structures. The dystrophic axons show functional abnormalities, including impaired axonal transport. These findings demonstrate that MOCA is required for maintaining the functional integrity of axons and define a model for the steps leading to axonal degeneration.
MOCA; DOCK180; guanine nucleotide exchange factor; axonal degeneration; neurodegeneration; sensorimotor defects
Peroxynitrite-mediated damage has been linked to numerous neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Studies on the toxic effects of peroxynitrite in neurons have focused primarily on adverse effects resulting from the nitration of cellular proteins as the principal mode of toxicity while the consequences of the modulation of kinase pathways by peroxynitrite have received relatively less attention. Our results show that treatment of primary rat neurons with the peroxynitrite donor, SIN-1, leads to decreases in glutathione (GSH) levels and cell viability via a novel extracellular-signal-related kinase (ERK)/c-Myc phosphorylation pathway and a reduction in the nuclear expression of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) that down-regulate the expression of glutamate cysteine ligase, the rate limiting enzyme for GSH synthesis. The flavonoid fisetin protects against the SIN-1-mediated alterations in ERK/c-Myc phosphorylation, nuclear Nrf2 levels, glutamate cysteine ligase levels, GSH concentration and cell viability. We also show that inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase or Raf kinase can increase GSH levels in unstressed primary rat neurons through the same ERK/c-Myc phosphorylation pathway. Together, these results demonstrate that distinct signaling pathways modulate GSH metabolism in unstressed and stressed cortical neurons.
Fisetin; peroxynitrite; ERK; c-Myc; Nrf2; Raf1
Amyloids are highly organized protein aggregates that are associated with both neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease and benign functions like skin pigmentation. Amyloids self-polymerize in a nucleation-dependent manner by recruiting their soluble protein/peptide counterpart and are stable against harsh physical, chemical, and biochemical conditions. These extraordinary properties make amyloids attractive for applications in nanotechnology. Here, we suggest the use of amyloids in the formulation of long-acting drugs. It is our rationale that amyloids have the properties required of a long-acting drug because they are stable depots that guarantee a controlled release of the active peptide drug from the amyloid termini. This concept is tested with a family of short- and long-acting analogs of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and it is shown that amyloids thereof can act as a source for the sustained release of biologically active peptides.
Amyloids are highly organized protein aggregates that are associated with both neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease and benign functions such as skin pigmentation. Amyloids self-polymerize by recruiting their soluble protein counterpart and remain stable against harsh physical, chemical, and biochemical conditions. These extraordinary properties make amyloids attractive for applications in nanotechnology. Here, we suggest the use of amyloids in the formulation of long-acting drugs, which are active over extended periods of days and weeks. Long-acting drugs have been designed to increase patient comfort, convenience, dosage accuracy, and assurance of patient compliance for drugs that have a low oral bioavailability. It is our rationale that amyloids have the properties required of a long-acting drug because they are stable depots that guarantee a controlled release of the active peptide drug from the amyloid termini. This concept is tested with a family of short- and long-acting analogs of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and it is shown that amyloids thereof can act as a source for the sustained release of biologically active peptides.
Amyloids have the properties required of a long-acting drug because they are stable depots that guarantee a controlled release of the active peptide drug from the amyloid termini.
Antibodies specific for glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (G6PI) from T-cell receptor transgenic K/BxN mice are known to induce arthritis in mice, and immunization of DBA/1 mice with G6PI led to acute arthritis without permanent deformation of their joints. Because rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, we set out to identify the capacity of G6PI to induce chronic arthritis in mice. Immunization with recombinant human G6PI induced a chronically active arthritis in mice with a C3H genomic background, whereas the DBA/1 background allowed only acute arthritis and the C57BL/10 background permitted no or very mild arthritis. The disease was associated with the major histocompatibility region sharing an allelic association similar to that of collagen-induced arthritis (i.e. q > p > r). All strains developed a strong antibody response to G6PI that correlated only in the C3H.NB strain with arthritis severity. Similarly, a weak response to type II collagen in a few mice was observed, which was associated with arthritis in C3H.NB mice. Mice on the C3H background also developed ankylosing spondylitis in the vertebrae of the tail. Both C3H.Q and B10.Q mice deficient for B cells were resistant to arthritis. We conclude that G6PI has the ability to induce a chronic arthritis, which is MHC associated and B-cell dependent. Thus, there are striking similarities between this and the collagen-induced arthritis model.
The antigens that trigger the pathogenic immune response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remain unknown. Until recently it was assumed that either viral or microbial antigens, or joint-specific antigens were the target of arthritogenic T and B lymphocytes in RA. Consequently, murine models of arthritis are induced by immunization with either joint-specific antigens such as type II collagen or microbial products such as streptococcal cell wall. In the K/B×N T-cell receptor transgenic mouse model arthritis is caused by a systemic autoimmune response to the ubiquitously expressed glycolytic enzyme glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (G6PI). The autoreactive transgenic T cells recognize G6PI and provide help for the production of arthritogenic IgG antibodies against G6PI. More recently it was shown that G6PI immunization induces severe symmetrical peripheral polyarthritis in genetically unaltered DBA/I mice. In that model CD4+ T cells are necessary not only for the induction but also for the effector phase of arthritis. Here we review the pathomechanisms that lead from systemic autoreactivity to arthritis in these models, consider the relevance of anti-G6PI immune reactivity for RA, and discuss the insights into the pathogenesis of RA and possibly other autoimmune conditions that can be gained from these models.
arthritis; CD4+ T lymphocytes; DBA/I mice; FCγ receptors; glucose-6-phosphate-isomerase
Modifier of cell adhesion protein (MOCA; previously called presenilin [PS] binding protein) is a DOCK180-related molecule, which interacts with PS1 and PS2, is localized to brain areas involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, and is lost from the soluble fraction of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. Because PS1 has been associated with γ-secretase activity, MOCA may be involved in the regulation of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing. Here we show that the expression of MOCA decreases both APP and amyloid β-peptide secretion and lowers the rate of cell-substratum adhesion. In contrast, MOCA does not lower the secretion of amyloid precursor-like protein (APLP) or several additional type 1 membrane proteins. The phenotypic changes caused by MOCA are due to an acceleration in the rate of intracellular APP degradation. The effect of MOCA expression on the secretion of APP and cellular adhesion is reversed by proteasome inhibitors, suggesting that MOCA directs nascent APP to proteasomes for destruction. It is concluded that MOCA plays a major role in APP metabolism and that the effect of MOCA on APP secretion and cell adhesion is a downstream consequence of MOCA-directed APP catabolism. This is a new mechanism by which the expression of APP is regulated.
amyloid precursor protein; proteasome; beta amyloid; secre-tion; MOCA
Oxidative stress and highly specific decreases in glutathione (GSH) are associated with nerve cell death in Parkinson's disease. Using an experimental nerve cell model for oxidative stress and an expression cloning strategy, a gene involved in oxidative stress–induced programmed cell death was identified which both mediates the cell death program and regulates GSH levels. Two stress-resistant clones were isolated which contain antisense gene fragments of the translation initiation factor (eIF)2α and express a low amount of eIF2α. Sensitivity is restored when the clones are transfected with full-length eIF2α; transfection of wild-type cells with the truncated eIF2α gene confers resistance. The phosphorylation of eIF2α also results in resistance to oxidative stress. In wild-type cells, oxidative stress results in rapid GSH depletion, a large increase in peroxide levels, and an influx of Ca2+. In contrast, the resistant clones maintain high GSH levels and show no elevation in peroxides or Ca2+ when stressed, and the GSH synthetic enzyme γ-glutamyl cysteine synthetase (γGCS) is elevated. The change in γGCS is regulated by a translational mechanism. Therefore, eIF2α is a critical regulatory factor in the response of nerve cells to oxidative stress and in the control of the major intracellular antioxidant, GSH, and may play a central role in the many neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress.
oxidative stress; glutathione; eIF2α; resistance; glutamate