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Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
BACKGROUND - Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide, yet its incidence and clinical behavior vary according to race and access to adequate healthcare resources. To guide and streamline therapy in the war-torn and resource-constrained city of Baghdad, Iraq, we conducted a first-ever molecular analysis of 20 WT specimens to characterize the biological features of this lethal disease within this challenged population.
METHODS - Next-generation sequencing of ten target genes associated with WT development and treatment resistance (WT1, CTNNB1, WTX, IGF2, CITED1, SIX2, p53, N-MYC, CRABP2, and TOP2A) was completed. Immunohistochemistry was performed for 6 marker proteins of WT (WT1, CTNNB1, NCAM, CITED1, SIX2, and p53). Patient outcomes were compiled.
RESULTS - Mutations were detected in previously described WT "hot spots" (e.g., WT1 and CTNNB1) as well as novel loci that may be unique to the Iraqi population. Immunohistochemistry showed expression domains most typical of blastemal-predominant WT. Remarkably, despite the challenges facing families and care providers, only one child, with combined WT1 and CTNNB1 mutations, was confirmed dead from disease. Median clinical follow-up was 40.5 months (range 6-78 months).
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that WT biology within a population of Iraqi children manifests features both similar to and unique from disease variants in other regions of the world. These observations will help to risk stratify WT patients living in this difficult environment to more or less intensive therapies and to focus treatment on cell-specific targets.
The objective of this study was to isolate the impact of hydrodynamics on selectin-mediated cell rolling in branched microvessels. Significant advancements have been made in furthering the understanding of complex interactions between biochemical and physical factors in the inflammatory cascade in simplified planar geometries. However, few studies have sought to quantify the effects of branched configurations and to isolate the effects of associated fluid forces. Experimental techniques were developed to perform in vitro adhesion experiments in Y-shaped micro-slides. The micro-slides were coated with P-selectin and microspheres coated with Sialyl-Lewis were observed as they rolled in the chambers at different wall shear stresses. Study results revealed that microsphere rolling velocities and rolling flux were lowest in regions closest to the apex of a junctional region and were dependent on both branch angle and wall shear stress. The regions closest to the junctional region were shown to have low bulk flow velocities and shear stresses using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. Collectively, the study demonstrates that despite the presence of a uniform coating of P-selectin, hydrodynamic factors associated with the chamber geometry yield non-uniform effects on particle behavior. These findings could explain why cells have been observed to preferentially adhere or transmigrate near junctional regions. Future characterization of inflammatory processes in microvascular network configurations is therefore crucial for furthering our fundamental understanding of inflammation.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Deletion of mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1)-an anti-inflammatory target alternative to COX (cyclooxygenase)-2-attenuates injury-induced neointima formation in mice. This is attributable to the augmented levels of PGI (prostacyclin)-a known restraint of the vascular response to injury, acting via IP (I prostanoid receptor). To examine the role of mPGES-1-derived PGE (prostaglandin E) in vascular remodeling without the IP.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Mice deficient in both IP and mPGES-1 (DKO [double knockout] and littermate controls [IP KO (knockout)]) were subjected to angioplasty wire injury. Compared with the deletion of IP alone, coincident deletion of IP and mPGES-1 increased neointima formation, without affecting media area. Early pathological changes include impaired reendothelialization and increased leukocyte invasion in neointima. Endothelial cells (ECs), but not vascular smooth muscle cells, isolated from DKOs exhibited impaired cell proliferation. Activation of EP (E prostanoid receptor) 4 (and EP2, to a lesser extent), but not of EP1 or EP3, promoted EC proliferation. EP4 antagonism inhibited proliferation of mPGES-1-competent ECs, but not of mPGES-1-deficient ECs, which showed suppressed PGE production. EP4 activation inhibited leukocyte adhesion to ECs in vitro, promoted reendothelialization, and limited neointima formation post-injury in the mouse. Endothelium-restricted deletion of EP4 in mice suppressed reendothelialization, increased neointimal leukocytes, and exacerbated neointimal formation.
CONCLUSIONS - Removal of the IP receptors unmasks a protective role of mPGES-1-derived PGE in limiting injury-induced vascular hyperplasia. EP4, in the endothelial compartment, is essential to promote reendothelialization and restrain neointimal formation after injury. Activating EP4 bears therapeutic potential to prevent restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
Arrestins recruit a variety of signaling proteins to active phosphorylated G protein-coupled receptors in the plasma membrane and to the cytoskeleton. Loss of arrestins leads to decreased cell migration, altered cell shape, and an increase in focal adhesions. Small GTPases of the Rho family are molecular switches that regulate actin cytoskeleton and affect a variety of dynamic cellular functions including cell migration and cell morphology. Here we show that non-visual arrestins differentially regulate RhoA and Rac1 activity to promote cell spreading via actin reorganization, and focal adhesion formation via two distinct mechanisms. Arrestins regulate these small GTPases independently of G-protein-coupled receptor activation.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) envelope protein D8 is one of three glycosaminoglycan adhesion molecules and binds to the linear polysaccharide chondroitin sulfate (CS). D8 is also a target for neutralizing antibody responses that are elicited by the smallpox vaccine, which has enabled the first eradication of a human viral pathogen and is a useful model for studying antibody responses. However, to date, VACV epitopes targeted by human antibodies have not been characterized at atomic resolution. Here, we characterized the binding properties of several human anti-D8 antibodies and determined the crystal structures of three VACV-mAb variants, VACV-66, VACV-138, and VACV-304, separately bound to D8. Although all these antibodies bound D8 with high affinity and were moderately neutralizing in the presence of complement, VACV-138 and VACV-304 also fully blocked D8 binding to CS-A, the low affinity ligand for D8. VACV-138 also abrogated D8 binding to the high-affinity ligand CS-E, but we observed residual CS-E binding was observed in the presence of VACV-304. Analysis of the VACV-138- and VACV-304-binding sites along the CS-binding crevice of D8, combined with different efficiencies of blocking D8 adhesion to CS-A and CS-E allowed us to propose that D8 has a high- and low-affinity CS-binding region within its central crevice. The crevice is amenable to protein engineering to further enhance both specificity and affinity of binding to CS-E. Finally, a wild-type D8 tetramer specifically bound to structures within the developing glomeruli of the kidney, which express CS-E. We propose that through structure-based protein engineering, an improved D8 tetramer could be used as a potential diagnostic tool to detect expression of CS-E, which is a possible biomarker for ovarian cancer.
© 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Contractile actomyosin bundles, stress fibers, are crucial for adhesion, morphogenesis, and mechanosensing in nonmuscle cells. However, the mechanisms by which nonmuscle myosin II (NM-II) is recruited to those structures and assembled into functional bipolar filaments have remained elusive. We report that UNC-45a is a dynamic component of actin stress fibers and functions as a myosin chaperone in vivo. UNC-45a knockout cells display severe defects in stress fiber assembly and consequent abnormalities in cell morphogenesis, polarity, and migration. Experiments combining structured-illumination microscopy, gradient centrifugation, and proteasome inhibition approaches revealed that a large fraction of NM-II and myosin-1c molecules fail to fold in the absence of UNC-45a. The remaining properly folded NM-II molecules display defects in forming functional bipolar filaments. The C-terminal UNC-45/Cro1/She4p domain of UNC-45a is critical for NM-II folding, whereas the N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat domain contributes to the assembly of functional stress fibers. Thus, UNC-45a promotes generation of contractile actomyosin bundles through synchronized NM-II folding and filament-assembly activities.
© 2017 Lehtimäki et al.
Selectin-mediated adhesion of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to the endothelium is a critical step in cancer metastasis, a major factor contributing to the mortality of cancer. The formation of tethers between tumor cells and endothelial selectins initiates cell rolling, which can lead to firm adhesion, extravasation and the formation of secondary metastases. Tumor cells travel through the bloodstream as single cells, or as aggregates known as circulating tumor microemboli (CTM). CTM have increased survivability and metastatic potential relative to CTCs, and the presence of CTM is associated with worse patient prognosis. The motion of cells and cellular aggregates in flow is a function of their size and shape, and these differences influence the frequency and strength of their contact with the endothelium. In this study, a computational model consisting of the hydrodynamic component of the Multiparticle Adhesive Dynamics simulation analyzed the effects of model aggregate conformation and orientation on adhesive binding potential. Model aggregates of the Colo205 colorectal cancer cell line were created, consisting of two, three, and four cells in simple geometrical conformations. Contact time, contact area, and time integral of contact area were measured as a function of fluid shear rate, initial centroid height, and initial orientation for model aggregates that experienced hydrodynamic collisions with the plane wall. It was found that larger CTM conformations with intermediate nonsphericities had the highest adhesion potential. The results of this study shed light on the correlation between environmental conditions and extravasation efficiency, which could inform the development of new anti-metastatic drugs.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kidney collecting system development requires integrin-dependent cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Integrins are heterodimeric transmembrane receptors consisting of α and β subunits; crucial integrins in the kidney collecting system express the β1 subunit. The β1 cytoplasmic tail has two NPxY motifs that mediate functions by binding to cytoplasmic signaling and scaffolding molecules. Talins, scaffolding proteins that bind to the membrane proximal NPxY motif, are proposed to activate integrins and to link them to the actin cytoskeleton. We have defined the role of talin binding to the β1 proximal NPxY motif in the developing kidney collecting system in mice that selectively express a Y-to-A mutation in this motif. The mice developed a hypoplastic dysplastic collecting system. Collecting duct cells expressing this mutation had moderate abnormalities in cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and growth factor-dependent signaling. In contrast, mice lacking talins in the developing ureteric bud developed kidney agenesis and collecting duct cells had severe cytoskeletal, adhesion and polarity defects. Thus, talins are essential for kidney collecting duct development through mechanisms that extend beyond those requiring binding to the β1 integrin subunit NPxY motif.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
A critical event during kidney organogenesis is the differentiation of podocytes, specialized epithelial cells that filter blood plasma to form urine. Podocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-podocytes) have recently been generated in nephron-like kidney organoids, but the developmental stage of these cells and their capacity to reveal disease mechanisms remains unclear. Here, we show that hPSC-podocytes phenocopy mammalian podocytes at the capillary loop stage (CLS), recapitulating key features of ultrastructure, gene expression, and mutant phenotype. hPSC-podocytes in vitro progressively establish junction-rich basal membranes (nephrin podocin ZO-1 ) and microvillus-rich apical membranes (podocalyxin ), similar to CLS podocytes in vivo. Ultrastructural, biophysical, and transcriptomic analysis of podocalyxin-knockout hPSCs and derived podocytes, generated using CRISPR/Cas9, reveals defects in the assembly of microvilli and lateral spaces between developing podocytes, resulting in failed junctional migration. These defects are phenocopied in CLS glomeruli of podocalyxin-deficient mice, which cannot produce urine, thereby demonstrating that podocalyxin has a conserved and essential role in mammalian podocyte maturation. Defining the maturity of hPSC-podocytes and their capacity to reveal and recapitulate pathophysiological mechanisms establishes a powerful framework for studying human kidney disease and regeneration. Stem Cells 2017;35:2366-2378.
© 2017 AlphaMed Press.