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Internalization of activated receptors to a compartment enriched with NAPDH oxidase and associated signaling molecules is expected to facilitate regulation of redox-mediated signal transduction. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that endocytosis is necessary for generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by Nox1 and for redox-dependent signaling in smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Within minutes of treatment with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha or thrombin, SMCs increased cellular levels of ROS that was inhibited by shRNA to Nox1. Treatment of SMC with TNF-alpha induced a dynamin-dependent endosomal generation of ROS, whereas thrombin-mediated ROS production did not occur within endosomes and was not prevented by dominant-negative dynamin (dn-dynamin), but instead required transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-activating transcription factor-1 (ATF-1) pathway by TNF-alpha and thrombin were both Nox1- and dynamin-dependent. In conclusion, we show that formation of specific ligand-receptor complexes results in spatially distinct mechanisms of Nox1 activation and generation of ROS. These findings provide novel insights into the role of compartmentalization for integrating redox-dependent cell signaling.
t-Darpp is a cancer-related truncated isoform of Darpp-32 (dopamine and cyclic-AMP-regulated phosphoprotein of M(r) 32,000). We detected overexpression of t-Darpp mRNA in two thirds of gastric cancers compared with normal samples (P = 0.004). Using 20 micromol/L ceramide treatment as a model for induction of apoptosis in AGS cancer cells, we found that expression of t-Darpp led to an increase in Bcl2 protein levels and blocked the activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9. The MitoCapture mitochondrial apoptosis and cytochrome c release assays indicated that t-Darpp expression enforces the mitochondrial transmembrane potential and protects against ceramide-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, the expression of t-Darpp in AGS cells led to >or=2-fold increase in Akt kinase activity with an increase in protein levels of p-Ser(473) Akt and p-Ser(9) GSK3 beta. These findings were further confirmed using tetracycline-inducible AGS cells stably expressing t-Darpp. We also showed transcriptional up-regulation of Bcl2 using the luciferase assay with Bcl2 reporter containing P1 full promoter, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, and t-Darpp small interfering RNA. The Bcl2 promoter contains binding sites for cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein CREB/ATF1 transcription factors and using the electrophoretic mobility shift assay with a CREB response element, we detected a stronger binding in t-Darpp-expressing cells. The t-Darpp expression led to an increase in expression and phosphorylation of CREB and ATF-1 transcription factors that were required for up-regulating Bcl2 levels. Indeed, knockdown of Akt, CREB, or ATF1 in t-Darpp-expressing cells reduced Bcl2 protein levels. In conclusion, the t-Darpp/Akt axis underscores a novel oncogenic potential of t-Darpp in gastric carcinogenesis and resistance to drug-induced apoptosis.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been identified as a regulator of gene transcription, increasing mitochondrial proteins of oxidative metabolism as well as hexokinase expression in skeletal muscle. In mice, muscle-specific knockout of LKB1, a component of the upstream kinase of AMPK, prevents contraction- and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR)-induced activation of AMPK in skeletal muscle, and the increase in hexokinase II protein that is normally observed with chronic AICAR activation of AMPK. Since previous reports show a cAMP response element in the promoter region of the hexokinase II gene, we hypothesized that the cAMP-response element (CRE) binding protein (CREB) family of transcription factors could be targets of AMPK. Using radioisotopic kinase assays, we found that recombinant and rat liver and muscle AMPK phosphorylated CREB1 at the same site as cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). AMPK was also found to phosphorylate activating transcription factor 1 (ATF1), CRE modulator (CREM), and CREB-like 2 (CREBL2), but not ATF2. Treatment of HEK-293 cells stably transfected with a CREB-driven luciferase reporter with AICAR increased luciferase activity approximately threefold over a 24-h time course. This increase was blocked with compound C, an AMPK inhibitor. In addition, AICAR-induced activation of AMPK in incubated rat epitrochlearis muscles resulted in an increase in both phospho-acetyl-CoA carboxylase and phospho-CREB. We conclude that CREB and related proteins are direct downstream targets for AMPK and are therefore likely involved in mediating some effects of AMPK on expression of genes having a CRE in their promoters.
The differentiation of preadipocytes to adipocytes is orchestrated by the expression of the "master adipogenic regulators," CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) beta, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), and C/EBP alpha. In addition, activation of the cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) is necessary and sufficient to promote adipogenic conversion and prevent apoptosis of mature adipocytes. In this report we used small interfering RNA to deplete CREB and the closely related factor ATF1 to explore the ability of the master adipogenic regulators to promote adipogenesis in the absence of CREB and probe the function of CREB in late stages of adipogenesis. Loss of CREB/ATF1 blocked adipogenic conversion of 3T3-L1 cells in culture or 3T3-F442A cells implanted into athymic mice. Loss of CREB/ATF1 prevented the expression of PPARgamma, C/EBP alpha, and adiponectin and inhibited the loss of Pref-1. Loss of CREB/ATF1 inhibited adipogenic conversion even in cells ectopically expressing C/EBP alpha, C/EBP beta, or PPARgamma2 individually. CREB/ATF1 depletion did not attenuate lipid accumulation in cells expressing both PPARgamma2 and C/EBP alpha, but adiponectin expression was severely diminished. Conversely ectopic expression of constitutively active CREB overcame the blockade of adipogenesis due to depletion of C/EBP beta but not due to loss of PPARgamma2 or C/EBP alpha. Depletion of CREB/ATF1 did not suppress the expression of C/EBP beta as we had previously observed using dominant negative forms of CREB. Finally results are presented showing that CREB promotes PPARgamma2 gene transcription. The results indicate that CREB and ATF1 play a central role in adipogenesis because expression of individual master adipogenic regulators is unable to compensate for their loss. The data also indicate that CREB not only functions during the initiation of adipogenic conversion but also at later stages.