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1.  Acidification of the Golgi apparatus is indispensable for maturation but not for cell surface delivery of Ret 
Journal of neurochemistry  2010;115(3):606-613.
We examined the effect of concanamycin A and bafilomycin A1, inhibitors of the vacuolar proton-ATPase, on maturation and expression of Ret, a tyrosine kinase receptor for glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor. Ret appeared as 150- and 170-kDa bands on sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels and both forms were sensitive to peptide-N-glycosidase F. Western and immunocytochemical analyses revealed that the 150-kDa immature form of Ret accumulated in the Golgi apparatus upon treatment with vacuolar proton-ATPase inhibitors, whereas, the 170-kDa mature form of Ret was dramatically decreased. The result suggests that glycosylation of Ret during the conversion from immature forms to mature forms is pH sensitive, and is likely initiated in the acidic trans-Golgi apparatus. In contrast, glycosylation of nascent receptors to become immature receptors appeared to be pH insensitive, and are likely to take place in the endoplasmic reticulum. The immature form of Ret was present in the plasma membrane when the cells were treated with the vacuolar proton-ATPase inhibitors. In conclusion, the acidification of the Golgi apparatus is crucial for maturation of Ret but not indispensable for trafficking of receptors to the membrane.
PMCID: PMC3415695  PMID: 20796177
bafilomycin A1; concanamycin A; EGFR; PC12 cells; Ret
2.  Characterization of 3'-untranslated region of the mouse GDNF gene 
Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent survival factor for many cell types, and its expression is widespread both within and outside of the nervous system. The regulation of GDNF expression has been extensively investigated but is not fully understood.
Using a luciferase reporter assay, we identified the role of the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of the mouse GDNF gene in the regulation of gene expression. We focused on a well-conserved A- and T-rich region (approximately 200 bp in length), which is located approximately 1000 bp downstream of the stop codon in exon 4 of the gene and contains three typical AU-rich elements (AREs), AUUUA. Interestingly, these AREs are well conserved in several GDNF genes. By testing reporter constructs containing various regions and lengths of the 3'-UTR fused to the end of the luciferase gene, we demonstrated that the ARE-induced decrease in luciferase activity correlates with the attenuation of the mRNA stability. Furthermore, we found that several regions around the AREs in the 3'-UTR suppressed the luciferase activity. Moreover, the expression level of the GDNF protein was negligible in C6 glioma cells transfected with the ARE-containing GDNF expression vector.
Our study is the first characterization of the possible role of AREs and other suppressive regions in the 3'-UTR in regulating the amounts of GDNF mRNA in C6 cells.
PMCID: PMC3314560  PMID: 22248285
3.  Expression of neutral endopeptidase activity during clinical and experimental acute lung injury 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):164.
Neutral endopeptidase (NEP), an enzyme that cleaves inflammatory bioactive peptides, may play a protective role in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, its low extracellular activity hinders the precise measurement of changes that take place during ALI/ARDS. The main objective of this study was to clarify the regulation of NEP activity and its expression during ALI/ARDS.
In a clinical study, we measured plasma NEP activity in patients who developed postoperative ALI/ARDS, using a HPLC fluorometric system. In an experimental study, we induced ALI by intratracheal instillation of hydrochloric acid (HCl) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in mice, and similarly measured NEP activity in plasma, lung tissue, and broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF). We also studied the distribution and measured the amounts of NEP protein, using immuno-histochemical and immunoblot analyses, and measured the levels of NEP mRNA, using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, in the lungs of mice with ALI.
The plasma NEP activity was significantly lower in patients presenting with ALI/ARDS than in controls. Similarly, the NEP activity in plasma and lung tissue was markedly lower, and lung injuries more severe in LPS- than in HCl-treated mice. In contrast, the activity of NEP in the BALF of LPS-treated mice was increased. The intratracheal instillation of LPS decreased the gene expression of NEP in the lung. Immuno-histochemical and Western immunoblot studies in mice confirmed a) the presence of NEP in the alveolar wall, a critical target in ALI/ARDS, and b) a decrease in its expression in HCl- and LPS-induced ALI.
In this experimental and clinical study of ALI/ARDS, the activity of NEP was significantly decreased in plasma and increased in the alveolar air space.
PMCID: PMC3009633  PMID: 21114838
4.  Role of an ER stress response element in regulating the bidirectional promoter of the mouse CRELD2 - ALG12 gene pair 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:664.
Recently, we identified cysteine-rich with EGF-like domains 2 (CRELD2) as a novel endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-inducible gene and characterized its transcriptional regulation by ATF6 under ER stress conditions. Interestingly, the CRELD2 and asparagine-linked glycosylation 12 homolog (ALG12) genes are arranged as a bidirectional (head-to-head) gene pair and are separated by less than 400 bp. In this study, we characterized the transcriptional regulation of the mouse CRELD2 and ALG12 genes that is mediated by a common bidirectional promoter.
This short intergenic region contains an ER stress response element (ERSE) sequence and is well conserved among the human, rat and mouse genomes. Microarray analysis revealed that CRELD2 and ALG12 mRNAs were induced in Neuro2a cells by treatment with thapsigargin (Tg), an ER stress inducer, in a time-dependent manner. Other ER stress inducers, tunicamycin and brefeldin A, also increased the expression of these two mRNAs in Neuro2a cells. We then tested for the possible involvement of the ERSE motif and other regulatory sites of the intergenic region in the transcriptional regulation of the mouse CRELD2 and ALG12 genes by using variants of the bidirectional reporter construct. With regards to the promoter activities of the CRELD2-ALG12 gene pair, the entire intergenic region hardly responded to Tg, whereas the CRELD2 promoter constructs of the proximal region containing the ERSE motif showed a marked responsiveness to Tg. The same ERSE motif of ALG12 gene in the opposite direction was less responsive to Tg. The direction and the distance of this motif from each transcriptional start site, however, has no impact on the responsiveness of either gene to Tg treatment. Additionally, we found three putative sequences in the intergenic region that antagonize the ERSE-mediated transcriptional activation.
These results show that the mouse CRELD2 and ALG12 genes are arranged as a unique bidirectional gene pair and that they may be regulated by the combined interactions between ATF6 and multiple other transcriptional factors. Our studies provide new insights into the complex transcriptional regulation of bidirectional gene pairs under pathophysiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC3091781  PMID: 21106106

Results 1-4 (4)