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The transcription factors pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (Pdx1) and onecut1 (Oc1) are coexpressed in multipotent pancreatic progenitors (MPCs), but their expression patterns diverge in hormone-expressing cells, with Oc1 expression being extinguished in the endocrine lineage and Pdx1 being maintained at high levels in β-cells. We previously demonstrated that cooperative function of these two factors in MPCs is necessary for proper specification and differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells. In those studies, we observed a persistent decrease in expression of the β-cell maturity factor MafA. We therefore hypothesized that Pdx1 and Oc1 cooperativity in MPCs impacts postnatal β-cell maturation and function. Here our model of Pdx1-Oc1 double heterozygosity was used to investigate the impact of haploinsufficiency for both of these factors on postnatal β-cell maturation, function, and adaptability. Examining mice at postnatal day (P) 14, we observed alterations in pancreatic insulin content in both Pdx1 heterozygotes and double heterozygotes. Gene expression analysis at this age revealed significantly decreased expression of many genes important for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (e.g., Glut2, Pcsk1/2, Abcc8) exclusively in double heterozygotes. Analysis of P14 islets revealed an increase in the number of mixed islets in double heterozygotes. We predicted that double-heterozygous β-cells would have an impaired ability to respond to stress. Indeed, we observed that β-cell proliferation fails to increase in double heterozygotes in response to either high-fat diet or placental lactogen. We thus report here the importance of cooperation between regulatory factors early in development for postnatal islet maturation and adaptability.
Skeletal muscle possesses a remarkable ability to adapt to various physiologic conditions. AMPK is a sensor of intracellular energy status that maintains energy stores by fine-tuning anabolic and catabolic pathways. AMPK's role as an energy sensor is particularly critical in tissues displaying highly changeable energy turnover. Due to the drastic changes in energy demand that occur between the resting and exercising state, skeletal muscle is one such tissue. Here, we review the complex regulation of AMPK in skeletal muscle and its consequences on metabolism ( e.g., substrate uptake, oxidation, and storage as well as mitochondrial function of skeletal muscle fibers). We focus on the role of AMPK in skeletal muscle during exercise and in exercise recovery. We also address adaptations to exercise training, including skeletal muscle plasticity, highlighting novel concepts and future perspectives that need to be investigated. Furthermore, we discuss the possible role of AMPK as a therapeutic target as well as different AMPK activators and their potential for future drug development.-Kjøbsted, R., Hingst, J. R., Fentz, J., Foretz, M., Sanz, M.-N., Pehmøller, C., Shum, M., Marette, A., Mounier, R., Treebak, J. T., Wojtaszewski, J. F. P., Viollet, B., Lantier, L. AMPK in skeletal muscle function and metabolism.
A cell's phenotype is the observable actualization of complex interactions between its genome, epigenome, and local environment. While traditional views in cancer have held that cellular and tumor phenotypes are largely functions of genomic instability, increasing attention has recently been given to epigenetic and microenvironmental influences. Such non-genetic factors allow cancer cells to experience intrinsic diversity and plasticity, and at the tumor level can result in phenotypic heterogeneity and treatment evasion. In 2006, Takahashi and Yamanaka exploited the epigenome's plasticity by "reprogramming" differentiated cells into a pluripotent state by inducing expression of a cocktail of four transcription factors. Recent advances in cancer biology have shown not only that cellular reprogramming is possible for malignant cells, but it may provide a foundation for future therapies. Nevertheless, cell reprogramming experiments are frequently plagued by low efficiency, activation of aberrant transcriptional programs, instability, and often rely on expertise gathered from systems which may not translate directly to cancer. Here, we review a theoretical framework tracing back to Waddington's epigenetic landscape which may be used to derive quantitative and qualitative understanding of cellular reprogramming. Implications for tumor heterogeneity, evolution and adaptation are discussed in the context of designing new treatments to re-sensitize recalcitrant tumors. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Evolutionary principles - heterogeneity in cancer?, edited by Dr. Robert A. Gatenby.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Dysregulation of iron metabolism in cancer is well documented and it has been suggested that there is interdependence between excess iron and increased cancer incidence and progression. In an effort to better understand the linkages between iron metabolism and breast cancer, a predictive mathematical model of an expanded iron homeostasis pathway was constructed that includes species involved in iron utilization, oxidative stress response and oncogenic pathways. The model leads to three predictions. The first is that overexpression of iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) recapitulates many aspects of the alterations in free iron and iron-related proteins in cancer cells without affecting the oxidative stress response or the oncogenic pathways included in the model. This prediction was validated by experimentation. The second prediction is that iron-related proteins are dramatically affected by mitochondrial ferritin overexpression. This prediction was validated by results in the pertinent literature not used for model construction. The third prediction is that oncogenic Ras pathways contribute to altered iron homeostasis in cancer cells. This prediction was validated by a combination of simulation experiments of Ras overexpression and catalase knockout in conjunction with the literature. The model successfully captures key aspects of iron metabolism in breast cancer cells and provides a framework upon which more detailed models can be built.
Helicobacter pylori exhibits a high level of intraspecies genetic diversity. In this study, we investigated whether the diversification of H. pylori is influenced by the composition of the diet. Specifically, we investigated the effect of a high-salt diet (a known risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma) on H. pylori diversification within a host. We analyzed H. pylori strains isolated from Mongolian gerbils fed either a high-salt diet or a regular diet for 4 months by proteomic and whole-genome sequencing methods. Compared to the input strain and output strains from animals fed a regular diet, the output strains from animals fed a high-salt diet produced higher levels of proteins involved in iron acquisition and oxidative-stress resistance. Several of these changes were attributable to a nonsynonymous mutation in fur (fur-R88H). Further experiments indicated that this mutation conferred increased resistance to high-salt conditions and oxidative stress. We propose a model in which a high-salt diet leads to high levels of gastric inflammation and associated oxidative stress in H. pylori-infected animals and that these conditions, along with the high intraluminal concentrations of sodium chloride, lead to selection of H. pylori strains that are most fit for growth in this environment.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Improving plant productivity is an important aim for metabolic engineering. There are few comprehensive methods that quantitatively describe leaf metabolism, although such information would be valuable for increasing photosynthetic capacity, enhancing biomass production, and rerouting carbon flux toward desirable end products. Isotopically nonstationary metabolic flux analysis (INST-MFA) has been previously applied to map carbon fluxes in photoautotrophic bacteria, which involves model-based regression of transient (13)C-labeling patterns of intracellular metabolites. However, experimental and computational difficulties have hindered its application to terrestrial plant systems. We performed in vivo isotopic labeling of Arabidopsis thaliana rosettes with (13)CO2 and estimated fluxes throughout leaf photosynthetic metabolism by INST-MFA. Plants grown at 200 µmol m(-2)s(-1) light were compared with plants acclimated for 9 d at an irradiance of 500 µmol⋅m(-2)⋅s(-1). Approximately 1,400 independent mass isotopomer measurements obtained from analysis of 37 metabolite fragment ions were regressed to estimate 136 total fluxes (54 free fluxes) under each condition. The results provide a comprehensive description of changes in carbon partitioning and overall photosynthetic flux after long-term developmental acclimation of leaves to high light. Despite a doubling in the carboxylation rate, the photorespiratory flux increased from 17 to 28% of net CO2 assimilation with high-light acclimation (Vc/Vo: 3.5:1 vs. 2.3:1, respectively). This study highlights the potential of (13)C INST-MFA to describe emergent flux phenotypes that respond to environmental conditions or plant physiology and cannot be obtained by other complementary approaches.
OBJECTIVE - Atherosclerosis is the primary driver of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Identification of naturally occurring atheroprotective genes has become a major goal for the development of interventions that will limit atheroma progression and associated adverse events. To this end, we have identified small proline-rich repeat protein (SPRR3) as selectively upregulated in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) of atheroma-bearing arterial tissue versus healthy arterial tissue. In this study, we sought to determine the role of SPRR3 in atheroma pathophysiology.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - We found that atheroprone apolipoprotein E-null mice lacking SPRR3 developed significantly greater atheroma burden. To determine the cellular driver(s) of this increase, we evaluated SPRR3-dependent changes in bone marrow-derived cells, endothelial cells, and VSMCs. Bone marrow transplant of SPRR3-expressing cells into SPRR3(-/-)apolipoprotein E-deficient recipients failed to rescue atheroma burden. Similarly, endothelial cells did not exhibit a response to SPRR3 loss. However, atheromas from SPRR3-deficient mice exhibited increased TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling)-positive VSMCs compared with control. Cell death in SPRR3-deficient VSMCs was significantly increased in vitro. Conversely, SPRR3-overexpressing VSMCs exhibited reduced apoptosis compared with control. We also observed a PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)/Akt-dependent positive association between SPRR3 expression and levels of active Akt in VSMCs. The survival advantage seen in SPRR3-overexpressing VSMCs was abrogated after the addition of a PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor.
CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate that SPRR3 protects the lesion from VSMC loss by promoting survival signaling in plaque VSMCs, thereby significantly decreasing atherosclerosis progression. As the first identified atheroma-specific VSMC prosurvival factor, SPRR3 represents a potential target for lesion-specific modulation of VSMC survival.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
Genomic analyses have proliferated without being tied to tangible phenotypes. For example, although coordination of both gene expression and genetic linkage have been offered as genetic mechanisms for the frequently observed clustering of genes participating in fungal metabolic pathways, elucidation of the phenotype(s) favored by selection, resulting in cluster formation and maintenance, has not been forthcoming. We noted that the cause of certain well-studied human metabolic disorders is the accumulation of toxic intermediate compounds (ICs), which occurs when the product of an enzyme is not used as a substrate by a downstream neighbor in the metabolic network. This raises the hypothesis that the phenotype favored by selection to drive gene clustering is the mitigation of IC toxicity. To test this, we examined 100 diverse fungal genomes for the simplest type of cluster, gene pairs that are both metabolic neighbors and chromosomal neighbors immediately adjacent to each other, which we refer to as "double neighbor gene pairs" (DNGPs). Examination of the toxicity of their corresponding ICs shows that, compared with chromosomally nonadjacent metabolic neighbors, DNGPs are enriched for ICs that have acutely toxic LD50 doses or reactive functional groups. Furthermore, DNGPs are significantly more likely to be divergently oriented on the chromosome; remarkably, ∼40% of these DNGPs have ICs known to be toxic. We submit that the structure of synteny in metabolic pathways of fungi is a signature of selection for protection against the accumulation of toxic metabolic intermediates.
While Helicobacter pylori infects over 50% of the world's population, the mechanisms involved in the development of gastric disease are not fully understood. Bacterial, host, and environmental factors play a role in disease outcome. To investigate the role of bacterial factors in H. pylori pathogenesis, global gene expression of six H. pylori isolates was analyzed during coculture with gastric epithelial cells. Clustering analysis of six Colombian clinical isolates from a region with low gastric cancer risk and a region with high gastric cancer risk segregated strains based on their phylogeographic origin. One hundred forty-six genes had increased expression in European strains, while 350 genes had increased expression in African strains. Differential expression was observed in genes associated with motility, pathogenicity, and other adaptations to the host environment. European strains had greater expression of the virulence factors cagA, vacA, and babB and were associated with increased gastric histologic lesions in patients. In AGS cells, European strains promoted significantly higher interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression than did African strains. African strains significantly induced apoptosis, whereas only one European strain significantly induced apoptosis. Our data suggest that gene expression profiles of clinical isolates can discriminate strains by phylogeographic origin and that these profiles are associated with changes in expression of the proinflammatory and protumorigenic cytokine IL-8 and levels of apoptosis in host epithelial cells. These findings support the hypothesis that bacterial factors determined by the phylogeographic origin of H. pylori strains may promote increased gastric disease.
Pancreatic islets adapt to insulin resistance through a complex set of changes, including β-cell hyperplasia and hypertrophy. To determine if islet vascularization changes in response to insulin resistance, we investigated three independent models of insulin resistance: ob/ob, GLUT4(+/-), and mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity. Intravital blood vessel labeling and immunocytochemistry revealed a vascular plasticity in which islet vessel area was significantly increased, but intraislet vessel density was decreased as the result of insulin resistance. These vascular changes were independent of islet size and were only observed within the β-cell core but not in the islet periphery. Intraislet endothelial cell fenestration, proliferation, and islet angiogenic factor/receptor expression were unchanged in insulin-resistant compared with control mice, indicating that islet capillary expansion is mediated by dilation of preexisting vessels and not by angiogenesis. We propose that the islet capillary dilation is modulated by endothelial nitric oxide synthase via complementary signals derived from β-cells, parasympathetic nerves, and increased islet blood flow. These compensatory changes in islet vascularization may influence whether β-cells can adequately respond to insulin resistance and prevent the development of diabetes.