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1.  Protein kinase C, an elusive therapeutic target? 
Nature reviews. Drug discovery  2012;11(12):937-957.
Preface
Protein kinase C (PKC) has been a tantalizing target for drug discovery ever since it was first identified as the receptor for the tumor promoter phorbol ester in 19821. Although initial therapeutic efforts focused on cancer, additional diseases, including diabetic complications, heart failure, myocardial infarction, pain and bipolar disease were targeted as researchers developed a better understanding of the roles that PKC’s eight conventional and novel isozymes play in health and disease. Unfortunately, both academic and pharmaceutical efforts have yet to result in the approval of a single new drug that specifically targets PKC. Why does PKC remain an elusive drug target? This review will provide a short account of some of the efforts, challenges and opportunities in developing PKC modulators to address unmet clinical needs.
doi:10.1038/nrd3871
PMCID: PMC3760692  PMID: 23197040
2.  Mitigation of Radiation-Induced Dermatitis by Activation of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2 Using Topical Alda-1 in Mice1 
Radiation research  2012;178(1):69-74.
Ning, S., Budas, G. R., Churchill, E. N., Chen, C., Knox, S. J. and Mochly-Rosen, D. Mitigation of Radiation-Induced Dermatitis by Activation of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2 Using Topical Alda-1 in Mice.
Radiation-induced dermatitis is a debilitating clinical problem in cancer patients undergoing cancer radiation therapy. It is also a possible outcome of exposure to high levels of radiation due to accident or hostile activity. We report that activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) enzymatic activity using the allosteric agonist, Alda-1, significantly reduced 4-hydroxynonenal adducts accumulation, delayed the onset of radiation dermatitis and substantially reduced symptoms in a clinically-relevant model of radiation-induced dermatitis. Importantly, Alda-1 did not radioprotect tumors in mice. Rather, it increased the sensitivity of the tumors to radiation therapy. This is the first report of reactive aldehydes playing a role in the intrinsic radiosensitivity of normal and tumor tissues. Our findings suggest that ALDH2 represents a novel target for the treatment of radiation dermatitis without reducing the benefit of radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3417825  PMID: 22404739
3.  Exercise Training Restores Cardiac Protein Quality Control in Heart Failure 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52764.
Exercise training is a well-known coadjuvant in heart failure treatment; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying its beneficial effects remain elusive. Despite the primary cause, heart failure is often preceded by two distinct phenomena: mitochondria dysfunction and cytosolic protein quality control disruption. The objective of the study was to determine the contribution of exercise training in regulating cardiac mitochondria metabolism and cytosolic protein quality control in a post-myocardial infarction-induced heart failure (MI-HF) animal model. Our data demonstrated that isolated cardiac mitochondria from MI-HF rats displayed decreased oxygen consumption, reduced maximum calcium uptake and elevated H2O2 release. These changes were accompanied by exacerbated cardiac oxidative stress and proteasomal insufficiency. Declined proteasomal activity contributes to cardiac protein quality control disruption in our MI-HF model. Using cultured neonatal cardiomyocytes, we showed that either antimycin A or H2O2 resulted in inactivation of proteasomal peptidase activity, accumulation of oxidized proteins and cell death, recapitulating our in vivo model. Of interest, eight weeks of exercise training improved cardiac function, peak oxygen uptake and exercise tolerance in MI-HF rats. Moreover, exercise training restored mitochondrial oxygen consumption, increased Ca2+-induced permeability transition and reduced H2O2 release in MI-HF rats. These changes were followed by reduced oxidative stress and better cardiac protein quality control. Taken together, our findings uncover the potential contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and cytosolic protein quality control disruption to heart failure and highlight the positive effects of exercise training in re-establishing cardiac mitochondrial physiology and protein quality control, reinforcing the importance of this intervention as a non-pharmacological tool for heart failure therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052764
PMCID: PMC3531365  PMID: 23300764
4.  Regulation of Cardiac Excitability Protein Kinase C Isozymes 
Cardiac excitability and electrical activity are determined by the sum of individual ion channels, gap junctions and exchanger activities. Electrophysiological remodeling during heart disease involves changes in membrane properties of cardiomyocytes and is related to higher prevalence of arrhythmia-associated morbidity and mortality. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of cardiac cells as well as animal models of cardiovascular diseases are used to identity changes in electrophysiological properties and the molecular mechanisms associated with the disease. Protein kinase C (PKC) and several other kinases play a pivotal role in cardiac electrophysiological remodeling. Therefore, identifying specific therapies that regulate these kinases is the main focus of current research. PKC, a family of serine/threonine kinases, has been implicated as potential signaling nodes associated with biochemical and biophysical stress in cardiovascular diseases. Thus, the role of PKC isozymes in regulating cardiac excitability has been a subject of great attention. In this review, we describe the role of PKC isozymes that are involved in cardiac excitability and discuss both genetic and pharmacological tools that were used, their attributes and limitations. Selective and effective pharmacological interventions to normalize cardiac electrical activities and correct cardiac arrhythmias will be of great clinical benefit.
PMCID: PMC3527095  PMID: 22202075
5.  Identification of εPKC targets during cardiac ischemic injury 
Background
Activation of ε protein kinase C (εPKC) protects hearts from ischemic injury. However, some of the mechanism(s) of εPKC mediated cardioprotection are still unclear. Identification of εPKC targets may aid to elucidate εPKC–mediated cardioprotective mechanisms. Previous studies, using a combination of εPKC transgenic mice and difference in gel electrophoresis (DIGE), identified a number of proteins involved in glucose metabolism, whose expression was modified by εPKC. These studies, were accompanied by metabolomic analysis, and suggested that increased glucose oxidation may be responsible for the cardioprotective effect of εPKC. However, whether these εPKC-mediated alterations were due to differences in protein expression or phosphorylation was not determined.
Methods and Results
Here, we used an εPKC-specific activator peptide, ψεRACK, in combination with phosphoproteomics to identify εPKC targets, and identified proteins whose phosphorylation was altered by selective activation of εPKC most of the identified proteins were mitochondrial proteins and analysis of the mitochondrial phosphoproteome, led to the identification of 55 spots, corresponding to 37 individual proteins, which were exclusively phosphorylated, in the presence of ψεRACK. The majority of the proteins identified were proteins involved in glucose and lipid metabolism, components of the respiratory chain as well as mitochondrial heat shock proteins.
Conclusion
In summary the protective effect of εPKC during ischemia involves phosphorylation of several mitochondrial proteins involved in glucose, lipid metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation. Regulation of these metabolic pathways by εPKC phosphorylation may lead to εPKC-mediated cardioprotection induced by ψεRACK.
PMCID: PMC3527096  PMID: 22453000
εPKC; ischemia; phosphorylation; mitochondria
6.  Common ALDH2 genetic variants predict development of hypertension in the SAPPHIRe prospective cohort: Gene-environmental interaction with alcohol consumption 
Background
Genetic variants near/within the ALDH2 gene encoding the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 have been associated with blood pressure and hypertension in several case–control association studies in East Asian populations.
Methods
Three common tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNP) in the ALDH2 gene were genotyped in 1,134 subjects of Chinese origin from the Stanford Asia-Pacific Program for Hypertension and Insulin Resistance (SAPPHIRe) family cohort. We examined whether the ALDH2 SNP genotypes predicted the development of hypertension in the prospective SAPPHIRe cohort.
Results
Over an average follow-up period of 5.7 years, carriers homozygous for the rs2238152 T allele in the ALDH2 gene were more likely to progress to hypertension than were non-carriers (hazard ratio [HR], 2.88, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-7.84, P = 0.03), corresponding to a population attributable risk of ~7.1%. The risk associated with the rs2238152 T allele were strongest in heavy/moderate alcohol drinkers and was reduced in non-drinkers, indicating an interaction between ALDH2 genetic variants and alcohol intake on the risk of hypertension (P for interaction = 0.04). The risk allele was associated with significantly lower ALDH2 gene expression levels in human adipose tissue.
Conclusion
ALDH2 genetic variants were associated with progression to hypertension in a prospective Chinese cohort. The association was modified by alcohol consumption.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-58
PMCID: PMC3476438  PMID: 22839215
ALDH2; Hypertension; SNP; Chinese
7.  Protein Quality Control Disruption by PKCβII in Heart Failure; Rescue by the Selective PKCβII Inhibitor, βIIV5-3 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33175.
Myocardial remodeling and heart failure (HF) are common sequelae of many forms of cardiovascular disease and a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Accumulation of damaged cardiac proteins in heart failure has been described. However, how protein quality control (PQC) is regulated and its contribution to HF development are not known. Here, we describe a novel role for activated protein kinase C isoform βII (PKCβII) in disrupting PQC. We show that active PKCβII directly phosphorylated the proteasome and inhibited proteasomal activity in vitro and in cultured neonatal cardiomyocytes. Importantly, inhibition of PKCβII, using a selective PKCβII peptide inhibitor (βIIV5-3), improved proteasomal activity and conferred protection in cultured neonatal cardiomyocytes. We also show that sustained inhibition of PKCβII increased proteasomal activity, decreased accumulation of damaged and misfolded proteins and increased animal survival in two rat models of HF. Interestingly, βIIV5-3-mediated protection was blunted by sustained proteasomal inhibition in HF. Finally, increased cardiac PKCβII activity and accumulation of misfolded proteins associated with decreased proteasomal function were found also in remodeled and failing human hearts, indicating a potential clinical relevance of our findings. Together, our data highlights PKCβII as a novel inhibitor of proteasomal function. PQC disruption by increased PKCβII activity in vivo appears to contribute to the pathophysiology of heart failure, suggesting that PKCβII inhibition may benefit patients with heart failure. (218 words)
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033175
PMCID: PMC3316563  PMID: 22479367

Results 1-7 (7)