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Cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) is a gluconeogenic enzyme that is highly expressed in the liver and kidney but is also expressed at lower levels in a variety of other tissues where it may play adjunct roles in fatty acid esterification, amino acid metabolism, and/or TCA cycle function. PEPCK is expressed in the enterocytes of the small intestine, but it is unclear whether it supports a gluconeogenic rate sufficient to affect glucose homeostasis. To examine potential roles of intestinal PEPCK, we generated an intestinal PEPCK knockout mouse. Deletion of intestinal PEPCK ablated ex vivo gluconeogenesis but did not significantly affect glycemia in chow, high-fat diet, or streptozotocin-treated mice. In contrast, postprandial triglyceride secretion from the intestine was attenuated in vivo, consistent with a role in fatty acid esterification. Intestinal amino acid profiles and C tracer appearance into these pools were significantly altered, indicating abnormal amino acid trafficking through the enterocyte. The data suggest that the predominant role of PEPCK in the small intestine of mice is not gluconeogenesis but rather to support nutrient processing, particularly with regard to lipids and amino acids. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The small intestine expresses gluconeogenic enzymes for unknown reasons. In addition to glucose synthesis, the nascent steps of this pathway can be used to support amino acid and lipid metabolisms. When phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, an essential gluconeogenic enzyme, is knocked out of the small intestine of mice, glycemia is unaffected, but mice inefficiently absorb dietary lipid, have abnormal amino acid profiles, and inefficiently catabolize glutamine. Therefore, the initial steps of intestinal gluconeogenesis are used for processing dietary triglycerides and metabolizing amino acids but are not essential for maintaining blood glucose levels.
infection is the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea and is mediated by the actions of two toxins, TcdA and TcdB. The toxins perturb host cell function through a multistep process of receptor binding, endocytosis, low pH-induced pore formation, and the translocation and delivery of an N-terminal glucosyltransferase domain that inactivates host GTPases. Infection studies with isogenic strains having defined toxin deletions have established TcdB as an important target for therapeutic development. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize TcdB function have been shown to protect against infection in animal models and reduce recurrence in humans. Here, we report the mechanism of TcdB neutralization by PA41, a humanized monoclonal antibody capable of neutralizing TcdB from a diverse array of strains. Through a combination of structural, biochemical, and cell functional studies, involving X-ray crystallography and EM, we show that PA41 recognizes a single, highly conserved epitope on the TcdB glucosyltransferase domain and blocks productive translocation and delivery of the enzymatic cargo into the host cell. Our study reveals a unique mechanism of toxin neutralization by a monoclonal antibody, which involves targeting a process that is conserved across the large clostridial glucosylating toxins. The PA41 antibody described here provides a valuable tool for dissecting the mechanism of toxin pore formation and translocation across the endosomal membrane.
Epithelial wound healing is an evolutionarily conserved process that requires coordination across a field of cells. Studies in many organisms have shown that cytosolic calcium levels rise within a field of cells around the wound and spread to neighboring cells, within seconds of wounding. Although calcium is a known potent second messenger and master regulator of wound-healing programs, it is unknown what initiates the rise of cytosolic calcium across the wound field. Here we use laser ablation, a commonly used technique for the precision removal of cells or subcellular components, as a tool to investigate mechanisms of calcium entry upon wounding. Despite its precise ablation capabilities, we find that this technique damages cells outside the primary wound via a laser-induced cavitation bubble, which forms and collapses within microseconds of ablation. This cavitation bubble damages the plasma membranes of cells it contacts, tens of microns away from the wound, allowing direct calcium entry from extracellular fluid into damaged cells. Approximately 45 s after this rapid influx of calcium, we observe a second influx of calcium that spreads to neighboring cells beyond the footprint of cavitation. The occurrence of this second, delayed calcium expansion event is predicted by wound size, indicating that a separate mechanism of calcium entry exists, corresponding to cell loss at the primary wound. Our research demonstrates that the damage profile of laser ablation is more similar to a crush injury than the precision removal of individual cells. The generation of membrane microtears upon ablation is consistent with studies in the field of optoporation, which investigate ablation-induced cellular permeability. We conclude that multiple types of damage, including microtears and cell loss, result in multiple mechanisms of calcium influx around epithelial wounds.
Copyright © 2017 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lipid droplets are intracellular energy storage organelles composed of a hydrophobic core of neutral lipid, surrounded by a monolayer of phospholipid and a diverse array of proteins. The function of the vast majority of these proteins with regard to the formation and/or turnover of lipid droplets is unknown. Our laboratory was the first to report that microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP), a lipid transfer protein essential for the assembly of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, was expressed in adipose tissue of humans and mice. In addition, our studies suggested that MTP was associated with lipid droplets in both brown and white fat. Our observations led us to hypothesize that MTP plays a key role in lipid droplet formation and/or turnover. The objective of these studies was to gain insight into the function of MTP in adipocytes. Using molecular, biochemical, and morphologic approaches we have shown: 1) MTP protein levels increase nearly five-fold as 3T3-L1 cells differentiate into adipocytes. 2) As 3T3-L1 cells undergo differentiation, MTP moves from the juxtanuclear region of the cell to the surface of lipid droplets. MTP and perilipin 2, a major lipid droplet surface protein, are found on the same droplets; however, MTP does not co-localize with perilipin 2. 3) Inhibition of MTP activity has no effect on the movement of triglyceride out of the cell either as a lipid complex or via lipolysis. 4) MTP is found associated with lipid droplets within hepatocytes from human fatty livers, suggesting that association of MTP with lipid droplets is not restricted to adipocytes. In summary, our data demonstrate that MTP is a lipid droplet-associated protein. Its location on the surface of the droplet in adipocytes and hepatocytes, coupled with its known function as a lipid transfer protein and its increased expression during adipocyte differentiation suggest a role in lipid droplet biology.
A platform technology has been developed and tested for delivery of intracellular-acting peptides through electrostatically complexed nanoparticles, or nano-polyplexes, formulated from an anionic endosomolytic polymer and cationic therapeutic peptides. This delivery platform has been initially tested and optimized for delivery of two unique vasoactive peptides, a phosphomimetic of heat shock protein 20 and an inhibitor of MAPKAP kinase II, to prevent pathological vasoconstriction (i.e., vasospasm) in human vascular tissue. These peptides inhibit vasoconstriction and promote vasorelaxation by modulating actin dynamics in vascular smooth muscle cells. Formulating these peptides into nano-polyplexes significantly enhances peptide uptake and retention, facilitates cytosolic delivery through a pH-dependent endosomal escape mechanism, and enhances peptide bioactivity in vitro as measured by inhibition of F-actin stress fiber formation. In comparison to treatment with the free peptides, which were endowed with cell-penetrating sequences, the nano-polyplexes significantly increased vasorelaxation, inhibited vasoconstriction, and decreased F-actin formation in the human saphenous vein ex vivo. These results suggest that these formulations have significant potential for treatment of conditions such as cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage. Furthermore, because many therapeutic peptides include cationic cell-penetrating segments, this simple and modular platform technology may have broad applicability as a cost-effective approach for enhancing the efficacy of cytosolically active peptides.
Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIα (CaMKIIα) autophosphorylation at Thr286 and Thr305/Thr306 regulates kinase activity and modulates subcellular targeting and is critical for normal synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. Here, a mass spectrometry-based approach was used to identify Ca(2+)-dependent and -independent in vitro autophosphorylation sites in recombinant CaMKIIα and CaMKIIβ. CaMKII holoenzymes were then immunoprecipitated from subcellular fractions of forebrains isolated from either wild-type (WT) mice or mice with a Thr286 to Ala knock-in mutation of CaMKIIα (T286A-KI mice) and analyzed using the same approach in order to characterize in vivo phosphorylation sites in both CaMKII isoforms and identify CaMKII-associated proteins (CaMKAPs). A total of six and seven autophosphorylation sites in CaMKIIα and CaMKIIβ, respectively, were detected in WT mice. Thr286-phosphorylated CaMKIIα and Thr287-phosphorylated CaMKIIβ were selectively enriched in WT Triton-insoluble (synaptic) fractions compared to Triton-soluble (membrane) and cytosolic fractions. In contrast, Thr306-phosphorylated CaMKIIα and Ser315- and Thr320/Thr321-phosphorylated CaMKIIβ were selectively enriched in WT cytosolic fractions. The T286A-KI mutation significantly reduced levels of phosphorylation of CaMKIIα at Ser275 across all subcellular fractions and of cytosolic CaMKIIβ at Ser315 and Thr320/Thr321. Significantly more CaMKAPs coprecipitated with WT CaMKII holoenzymes in the synaptic fraction compared to that in the membrane fraction, with functions including scaffolding, microtubule organization, actin organization, ribosomal function, vesicle trafficking, and others. The T286A-KI mutation altered the interactions of multiple CaMKAPs with CaMKII, including several proteins linked to autism spectrum disorders. These data identify CaMKII isoform phosphorylation sites and a network of synaptic protein interactions that are sensitive to the abrogation of Thr286 autophosphorylation of CaMKIIα, likely contributing to the diverse synaptic and behavioral deficits of T286A-KI mice.
Rapid activation causes remodeling of atrial myocytes resembling that which occurs in experimental and human atrial fibrillation (AF). Using this cellular model, we previously observed transcriptional upregulation of proteins implicated in protein misfolding and amyloidosis. For organ-specific amyloidoses such as Alzheimer's disease, preamyloid oligomers (PAOs) are now recognized to be the primary cytotoxic species. In the setting of oxidative stress, highly-reactive lipid-derived mediators known as γ-ketoaldehydes (γ-KAs) have been identified that rapidly adduct proteins and cause PAO formation for amyloid β1-42 implicated in Alzheimer's. We hypothesized that rapid activation of atrial cells triggers oxidative stress with lipid peroxidation and formation of γ-KAs, which then rapidly crosslink proteins to generate PAOs. To investigate this hypothesis, rapidly-paced and control, spontaneously-beating atrial HL-1 cells were probed with a conformation-specific antibody recognizing PAOs. Rapid stimulation of atrial cells caused the generation of cytosolic PAOs along with a myocyte stress response (e.g., transcriptional upregulation of Nppa and Hspa1a), both of which were absent in control, unpaced cells. Rapid activation also caused the formation of superoxide and γ-KA adducts in atriomyocytes, while direct exposure of cells to γ-KAs resulted in PAO production. Increased cytosolic atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), and the generation of ANP oligomers with exposure to γ-KAs and rapid atrial HL-1 cell stimulation, strongly suggest a role for ANP in PAO formation. Salicylamine (SA) is a small molecule scavenger of γ-KAs that can protect proteins from modification by these reactive compounds. PAO formation and transcriptional remodeling were inhibited when cells were stimulated in the presence of SA, but not with the antioxidant curcumin, which is incapable of scavenging γ-KAs. These results demonstrate that γ-KAs promote protein misfolding and PAO formation as a component of the atrial cell stress response to rapid activation, and they provide a potential mechanistic link between oxidative stress and atrial cell injury.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) has evolved mechanisms to evade its destruction in phagolysosomes, where it successfully survives and replicates within phagocytes. Recent studies have shown that virulent strains of M.tb can translocate from the phagosome into the cytosol of dendritic cells (DC). The molecular mechanisms by which virulent M.tb strains can escape the phagosome remain unknown. Here we show that the virulent M.tb strain H37Rv, but not the vaccine strain Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), escapes from the phagolysosome and enters the cytosol by interfering with the TLR-2-MyD88 signaling pathway. Using H37Rv mutants, we further demonstrate that the region of difference-1 (RD-1) locus and ESAT-6, a gene within the RD-1 locus, play an important role in the capacity of M.tb to migrate from the phagosome to the cytosol of macrophages. H37Rv, BCG, H37RvΔRD1, and H37RvΔESAT6 were able to translocate to the cytosol in macrophages derived from TLR-2- and MyD88-deficient animals, whereas only virulent H37Rv was able to enter the cytosol in macrophages from wild type mice. Therefore, signaling through the TLR-2-MyD88 pathway in macrophages plays an important role in confining M.tb within phagolysomes. Virulent strains of M.tb have evolved mechanisms to subvert this pathway, thus facilitating their translocation to the cytosol and to escape the toxic microenvironment of the phagosome or phagolysosome.
Phospholipid bilayers that constitute endo-lysosomal vesicles can pose a barrier to delivery of biologic drugs to intracellular targets. To overcome this barrier, a number of synthetic drug carriers have been engineered to actively disrupt the endosomal membrane and deliver cargo into the cytoplasm. Here, we describe the hemolysis assay, which can be used as rapid, high-throughput screen for the cytocompatibility and endosomolytic activity of intracellular drug delivery systems. In the hemolysis assay, human red blood cells and test materials are co-incubated in buffers at defined pHs that mimic extracellular, early endosomal, and late endo-lysosomal environments. Following a centrifugation step to pellet intact red blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin released into the medium is spectrophotometrically measured (405 nm for best dynamic range). The percent red blood cell disruption is then quantified relative to positive control samples lysed with a detergent. In this model system the erythrocyte membrane serves as a surrogate for the lipid bilayer membrane that enclose endo-lysosomal vesicles. The desired result is negligible hemolysis at physiologic pH (7.4) and robust hemolysis in the endo-lysosomal pH range from approximately pH 5-6.8.
We report the development of a genetically encodable and ratiometic pH probe named "pHlash" that utilizes Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) rather than fluorescence excitation. The pHlash sensor-composed of a donor luciferase that is genetically fused to a Venus fluorophore-exhibits pH dependence of its spectral emission in vitro. When expressed in either yeast or mammalian cells, pHlash reports basal pH and cytosolic acidification in vivo. Its spectral ratio response is H(+) specific; neither Ca(++), Mg(++), Na(+), nor K(+) changes the spectral form of its luminescence emission. Moreover, it can be used to image pH in single cells. This is the first BRET-based sensor of H(+) ions, and it should allow the approximation of pH in cytosolic and organellar compartments in applications where current pH probes are inadequate.