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Purpose - The purpose of this study was to characterize the palmitoyl-proteome in lens fiber cells. S-palmitoylation is the most common form of protein S-acylation and the reversible nature of this modification functions as a molecular switch to regulate many biological processes. This modification could play important roles in regulating protein functions and protein-protein interactions in the lens.
Methods - The palmitoyl-proteome of bovine lens fiber cells was investigated by combining acyl-biotin exchange (ABE) chemistry and mass-spectrometry analysis. Due to the possibility of false-positive results from ABE experiment, a method was also developed for direct detection of palmitoylated peptides by mass spectrometry for validating palmitoylation of lens proteins MP20 and AQP5. Palmitoylation levels on AQP5 in different regions of the lens were quantified after iodoacetamide (IAA)-palmitate exchange.
Results - The ABE experiment identified 174 potential palmitoylated proteins. These proteins include 39 well-characterized palmitoylated proteins, 92 previously reported palmitoylated proteins in other tissues, and 43 newly identified potential palmitoylated proteins including two important transmembrane proteins in the lens, AQP5 and MP20. Further analysis by direct detection of palmitoylated peptides confirmed palmitoylation of AQP5 on C6 and palmitoylation of MP20 on C159. Palmitoylation of AQP5 was found to only occur in a narrow region of the inner lens cortex and does not occur in the lens epithelium, in the lens outer cortex, or in the lens nucleus.
Conclusions - AQP5 and MP20 are among 174 palmitoylated proteins found in bovine lens fiber cells. This modification to AQP5 and MP20 may play a role in their translocation from the cytoplasm to cell membranes during fiber cell differentiation.
Aquaporins (AQPs), by playing essential roles in the maintenance of ocular lens homeostasis, contribute to the establishment and maintenance of the overall optical properties of the lens over many decades of life. Three aquaporins, AQP0, AQP1 and AQP5, each with distinctly different functional properties, are abundantly and differentially expressed in the different regions of the ocular lens. Furthermore, the diversity of AQP functionality is increased in the absence of protein turnover by age-related modifications to lens AQPs that are proposed to alter AQP function in the different regions of the lens. These regional differences in AQP functionality are proposed to contribute to the generation and directionality of the lens internal microcirculation; a system of circulating ionic and fluid fluxes that delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from the lens faster than could be achieved by passive diffusion alone. In this review, we present how regional differences in lens AQP isoforms potentially contribute to this microcirculation system by highlighting current areas of investigation and emphasizing areas where future work is required.
Although the functionality of the lens water channels aquaporin 1 (AQP1; epithelium) and AQP0 (fiber cells) is well established, less is known about the role of AQP5 in the lens. Since in other tissues AQP5 functions as a regulated water channel with a water permeability (P) some 20 times higher than AQP0, AQP5 could function to modulate P in lens fiber cells. To test this possibility, a fluorescence dye dilution assay was used to calculate the relative P of epithelial cells and fiber membrane vesicles isolated from either the mouse or rat lens, in the absence and presence of HgCl, an inhibitor of AQP1 and AQP5. Immunolabeling of lens sections and fiber membrane vesicles from mouse and rat lenses revealed differences in the subcellular distributions of AQP5 in the outer cortex between species, with AQP5 being predominantly membranous in the mouse but predominantly cytoplasmic in the rat. In contrast, AQP0 labeling was always membranous in both species. This species-specific heterogeneity in AQP5 membrane localization was mirrored in measurements of P, with only fiber membrane vesicles isolated from the mouse lens, exhibiting a significant Hg-sensitive contribution to P. When rat lenses were first organ cultured, immunolabeling revealed an insertion of AQP5 into cortical fiber cells, and a significant increase in Hg-sensitive P was detected in membrane vesicles. Our results show that AQP5 forms functional water channels in the rodent lens, and they suggest that dynamic membrane insertion of AQP5 may regulate water fluxes in the lens by modulating P in the outer cortex.
Over time, the long-lived proteins that are present throughout the human body deteriorate. Typically, they become racemized, truncated, and covalently cross-linked. One reaction responsible for age-related protein cross-linking in the lens was elucidated recently and shown to involve spontaneous formation of dehydroalanine (DHA) intermediates from phosphoserine. Cys residues are another potential source of DHA, and evidence for this was found in many lens crystallins. In the human lens, some sites were more prone to forming non-disulfide covalent cross-links than others. Foremost among them was Cys5 in βA4 crystallin. The reason for this enhanced reactivity was investigated using peptides. Oxidation of Cys to cystine was a prerequisite for DHA formation, and DHA production was accelerated markedly by the presence of a Lys, one residue separated from Cys5. Modeling and direct investigation of the N-terminal sequence of βA4 crystallin, as well as a variety of homologous peptides, showed that the epsilon amino group of Lys can promote DHA production by nucleophilic attack on the alpha proton of cystine. Once a DHA residue was generated, it could form intermolecular cross-links with Lys and Cys. In the lens, the most abundant cross-link involved Cys5 of βA4 crystallin attached via a thioether bond to glutathione. These findings illustrate the potential of Cys and disulfide bonds to act as precursors for irreversible covalent cross-links and the role of nearby amino acids in creating 'hotpsots' for the spontaneous processes responsible for protein degradation in aged tissues.
© 2017 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.
An interaction between the C-terminus of aquaporin-0 (AQP0) and lens beaded filament protein filensin has been reported previously; however, the region of filensin that is involved in the interaction has not been determined. This study is designed to identify the region of filensin that interacts with AQP0. Chemical crosslinking coupled with mass spectrometry was used to identify the site of interaction. The protein complex was crosslinked with zero-length crosslinker: 1-Ethyl-3-[3-dimethylaminopropyl]carbodiimide Hydrochloride (EDC). The crosslinked membrane fraction was digested by trypsin and crosslinked peptides were identified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A crosslinked peptide between bovine filensin 450-465 (VKGPKEPEPPADLYTK) and bovine AQP0 239-259 (GSRPSESNGQPEVTGEPVELK) was detected. AQP0/filensin crosslinking was not detected in superficial young fiber cells, but increased with fiber cell age in the lens cortex. AQP0/filensin crosslinking and filensin truncation were observed in the same regions of the lens. This crosslinked peptide can be detected in 75 kDa gel band confirming that AQP0/filensin crosslinking can occur between AQP0 and the filensin C-terminal fragment. These results suggest that the AQP0 C-terminus directly interacts with the region of filensin that is adjacent to the major truncation site and the polybasic cluster of residues in the filensin C-terminal tail. This interaction occurs in a specific region of the lens and could only occur between AQP0 and filensin C-terminal fragment in vivo. This interaction supports the dual roles of filensin in the lens; roles that could be important during lens development.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In the human ocular lens it is now realized that post-translational modifications can alter protein function and/or localization in fiber cells that no longer synthesize proteins. The specific sites of post-translational modification to the abundant ocular lens membrane proteins AQP0 and MP20 have been previously identified and their functional effects are emerging. To further understand how changes in protein function and/or localization induced by these modifications alter lens homeostasis, it is necessary to determine the spatial distributions of these modifications across the lens. In this study, a quantitative LC-MS approach was used to determine the spatial distributions of phosphorylated AQP0 and MP20 peptides from manually dissected, concentric layers of fiber cells from young and aged human lenses. The absolute amounts of phosphorylation were determined for AQP0 Ser235 and Ser229 and for MP20 Ser170 in fiber cells from the lens periphery to the lens center. Phosphorylation of AQP0 Ser229 represented a minor portion of the total phosphorylated AQP0. Changes in spatial distributions of phosphorylated APQ0 Ser235 and MP20 Ser170 correlated with regions of physiological interest in aged lenses, specifically, where barriers to water transport and extracellular diffusion form.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - To spatially map human lens Aquaporin-0 (AQP0) protein modifications, including lipidation, truncation, and deamidation, from birth through middle age using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS).
METHODS - Human lens sections were water-washed to facilitate detection of membrane protein AQP0. We acquired MALDI images from eight human lenses ranging in age from 2 months to 63 years. In situ tryptic digestion was used to generate peptides of AQP0 and peptide images were acquired on a 15T Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometer. Peptide extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and database searched to identify peptides observed in MALDI imaging experiments.
RESULTS - Unmodified, truncated, and fatty acid-acylated forms of AQP0 were detected in protein imaging experiments. Full-length AQP0 was fatty acid acylated in the core and cortex of young (2- and 4-month) lenses. Acylated and unmodified AQP0 were C-terminally truncated in older lens cores. Deamidated tryptic peptides (+0.9847 Da) were mass resolved from unmodified peptides by FTICR MS. Peptide images revealed differential localization of un-, singly-, and doubly-deamidated AQP0 C-terminal peptide (239-263). Deamidation was present at 4 months and increases with age. Liquid chromatography-MS/MS results indicated N246 undergoes deamidation more rapidly than N259.
CONCLUSIONS - Results indicated AQP0 fatty acid acylation and deamidation occur during early development. Progressive age-related AQP0 processing, including deamidation and truncation, was mapped in human lenses as a function of age. The localization of these modified AQP0 forms suggests where AQP0 functions may change throughout lens development and aging.
Homozygous Mnx1 mutation causes permanent neonatal diabetes in humans, but via unknown mechanisms. Our systematic and longitudinal analysis of Mnx1 function during murine pancreas organogenesis and into the adult uncovered novel stage-specific roles for Mnx1 in endocrine lineage allocation and β-cell fate maintenance. Inactivation in the endocrine-progenitor stage shows that Mnx1 promotes β-cell while suppressing δ-cell differentiation programs, and is crucial for postnatal β-cell fate maintenance. Inactivating Mnx1 in embryonic β-cells (Mnx1(Δbeta)) caused β-to-δ-like cell transdifferentiation, which was delayed until postnatal stages. In the latter context, β-cells escaping Mnx1 inactivation unexpectedly upregulated Mnx1 expression and underwent an age-independent persistent proliferation. Escaper β-cells restored, but then eventually surpassed, the normal pancreatic β-cell mass, leading to islet hyperplasia in aged mice. In vitro analysis of islets isolated from Mnx1(Δbeta) mice showed higher insulin secretory activity and greater insulin mRNA content than in wild-type islets. Mnx1(Δbeta) mice also showed a much faster return to euglycemia after β-cell ablation, suggesting that the new β-cells derived from the escaper population are functional. Our findings identify Mnx1 as an important factor in β-cell differentiation and proliferation, with the potential for targeting to increase the number of endogenous β-cells for diabetes therapy.
© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
PURPOSE - To determine if primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients can be differentiated from controls based on metabolic characteristics.
METHODS - We used ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry with C18 liquid chromatography for metabolomic analysis on frozen plasma samples from 72 POAG patients and 72 controls. Metabolome-wide Spearman correlation was performed to select differentially expressed metabolites (DEM) correlated with POAG. We corrected P values for multiple testing using Benjamini and Hochberg false discovery rate (FDR). Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) was used to depict the relationship between participants and DEM. Differentially expressed metabolites were matched to the METLIN metabolomics database; both DEM and metabolites significantly correlating with DEM were analyzed using MetaboAnalyst to identify metabolic pathways altered in POAG.
RESULTS - Of the 2440 m/z (mass/charge) features recovered after filtering, 41 differed between POAG cases and controls at FDR = 0.05. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed these DEM to associate into eight clusters; three of these clusters contained the majority of the DEM and included palmitoylcarnitine, hydroxyergocalciferol, and high-resolution METLIN matches to sphingolipids, other vitamin D-related metabolites, and terpenes. MetaboAnalyst also indicated likely alteration in steroid biosynthesis pathways.
CONCLUSIONS - Global ultrahigh resolution metabolomics emphasized the importance of altered lipid metabolism in POAG. The results suggest specific metabolic processes, such as those involving palmitoylcarnitine, sphingolipids, vitamin D-related compounds, and steroid precursors, may contribute to POAG status and merit more detailed study with targeted methods.