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1.  Inhibition of mitochondrial fragmentation diminishes Huntington’s disease–associated neurodegeneration 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(12):5371-5388.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is the result of expression of a mutated Huntingtin protein (mtHtt), and is associated with a variety of cellular dysfunctions including excessive mitochondrial fission. Here, we tested whether inhibition of excessive mitochondrial fission prevents mtHtt-induced pathology. We developed a selective inhibitor (P110-TAT) of the mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1). We found that P110-TAT inhibited mtHtt-induced excessive mitochondrial fragmentation, improved mitochondrial function, and increased cell viability in HD cell culture models. P110-TAT treatment of fibroblasts from patients with HD and patients with HD with iPS cell–derived neurons reduced mitochondrial fragmentation and corrected mitochondrial dysfunction. P110-TAT treatment also reduced the extent of neurite shortening and cell death in iPS cell–derived neurons in patients with HD. Moreover, treatment of HD transgenic mice with P110-TAT reduced mitochondrial dysfunction, motor deficits, neuropathology, and mortality. We found that p53, a stress gene involved in HD pathogenesis, binds to DRP1 and mediates DRP1-induced mitochondrial and neuronal damage. Furthermore, P110-TAT treatment suppressed mtHtt-induced association of p53 with mitochondria in multiple HD models. These data indicate that inhibition of DRP1-dependent excessive mitochondrial fission with a P110-TAT–like inhibitor may prevent or slow the progression of HD.
doi:10.1172/JCI70911
PMCID: PMC3859413  PMID: 24231356
2.  Ethanol for cardiac ischemia: the role of protein kinase c 
The physiological effects of ethanol are dependent upon the amount and duration of consumption. Chronic excessive consumption can lead to diseases such as liver cirrhosis, and cardiac arrhythmias, while chronic moderate consumption can have therapeutic effects on the cardiovascular system. Recently, it has also been observed that acute administration of ethanol to animals prior to an ischemic event provides significant protection to the heart. This review focuses on the different modalities of chronic vs. acute ethanol consumption and discusses recent evidence for a protective effect of acute ethanol exposure and the possible use of ethanol as a therapeutic agent.
doi:10.1177/1753944708094735
PMCID: PMC3600863  PMID: 19124442
PKC; ethanol; ischemic preconditioning; ischemia; reperfusion; cardiac protection
3.  Pharmacological inhibition of βIIPKC is cardioprotective in late-stage hypertrophy 
We previously found that in the hearts of hypertensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats, βIIPKC levels increase during the transition from compensated cardiac hypertrophy to cardiac dysfunction. Here we showed that a six-week treatment of these hypertensive rats with a βIIPKC-specific inhibitor, βIIV5-3, prolonged their survival by at least six weeks, suppressed myocardial fibrosis and inflammation, and delayed the transition from compensated hypertrophy to cardiac dysfunction. In addition, changes in the levels of the Ca2+-handling proteins, SERCA2 and the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, as well as troponin I phosphorylation, seen in the control-treated hypertensive rats were not observed in the βIIPKC-treated rats, suggesting that βIIPKC contributes to the regulation of calcium levels in the myocardium. In contrast, treatment with the selective inhibitor of βIPKC, an alternative spliced form of βIIPKC, had no beneficial effects in these rats. We also found that βIIV5-3, but not βIV5-3, improved calcium handling in isolated rat cardiomyocytes and enhanced contractility in isolated rat hearts. In conclusion, our data using an in vivo model of cardiac dysfunction (late-phase hypertrophy), suggest that βIIPKC contributes to the pathology associated with heart failure and thus an inhibitor of βIIPKC may be a potential treatment for this disease.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.08.025
PMCID: PMC3418885  PMID: 21920368
4.  Aberrant mitochondrial fission in neurons induced by protein kinase Cδ under oxidative stress conditions in vivo 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(2):256-265.
Impaired mitochondrial fusion/fission plays a causal role in neuronal death. This study delineated a PKCδ-related signaling cascade in which excessive mitochondrial fission is induced during oxidative stress. Moreover, a selective peptide inhibitor of PKCδ inhibits impaired mitochondrial fission under these pathological conditions.
Neuronal cell death in a number of neurological disorders is associated with aberrant mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial degeneration. However, the triggers for this mitochondrial dysregulation are not known. Here we show excessive mitochondrial fission and mitochondrial structural disarray in brains of hypertensive rats with hypertension-induced brain injury (encephalopathy). We found that activation of protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) induced aberrant mitochondrial fragmentation and impaired mitochondrial function in cultured SH-SY5Y neuronal cells and in this rat model of hypertension-induced encephalopathy. Immunoprecipitation studies indicate that PKCδ binds Drp1, a major mitochondrial fission protein, and phosphorylates Drp1 at Ser 579, thus increasing mitochondrial fragmentation. Further, we found that Drp1 Ser 579 phosphorylation by PKCδ is associated with Drp1 translocation to the mitochondria under oxidative stress. Importantly, inhibition of PKCδ, using a selective PKCδ peptide inhibitor (δV1-1), reduced mitochondrial fission and fragmentation and conferred neuronal protection in vivo and in culture. Our study suggests that PKCδ activation dysregulates the mitochondrial fission machinery and induces aberrant mitochondrial fission, thus contributing to neurological pathology.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E10-06-0551
PMCID: PMC3020920  PMID: 21119009
5.  An Activator of Mutant and Wildtype Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Reduces Ischemic Damage to the Heart 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;321(5895):1493-1495.
There is substantial interest in the development of drugs that limit the extent of ischemia-induced cardiac damage caused by myocardial infarction or by certain surgical procedures. Here an unbiased proteomic search identified mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as an enzyme whose activation correlates with reduced ischemic heart damage in rodent models. A high-throughput screen yielded a small-molecule activator of ALDH2 (Alda-1) that, when administered to rats prior to an ischemic event, reduced infarct size by 60%, most likely through its inhibitory effect on the formation of cytotoxic aldehydes. In vitro, Alda-1 was a particularly effective activator of ALDH2*2, an inactive mutant form of the enzyme that is found in 40% of East Asian populations. Thus, pharmacologic enhancement of ALDH2 activity may be useful for patients with wildtype or mutant ALDH2 subjected to cardiac ischemia, such as during coronary bypass surgery. (140/140 words)
doi:10.1126/science.1158554
PMCID: PMC2741612  PMID: 18787169

Results 1-5 (5)