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In order to understand the functions of laminins in the renal collecting system, the Lamc1 gene was inactivated in the developing mouse ureteric bud (UB). Embryos bearing null alleles exhibited laminin deficiency prior to mesenchymal tubular induction and either failed to develop a UB with involution of the mesenchyme, or developed small kidneys with decreased proliferation and branching, delayed renal vesicle formation and postnatal emergence of a water transport deficit. Embryonic day 12.5 kidneys revealed an almost complete absence of basement membrane proteins and reduced levels of α6 integrin and FGF2. mRNA levels for fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and mediators of the GDNF/RET and WNT11 signaling pathway were also decreased. Furthermore, collecting duct cells derived from laminin-deficient kidneys and grown in collagen gels were found to proliferate and branch slowly. The laminin-deficient cells exhibited decreased activation of growth factor- and integrin-dependent pathways, whereas heparin lyase-treated and β1 integrin-null cells exhibited more selective decreases. Collectively, these data support a requirement of γ1 laminins for assembly of the collecting duct system basement membrane, in which immobilized ligands act as solid-phase agonists to promote branching morphogenesis, growth and water transport functions.
The kidney collecting system develops from branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud (UB). This process requires signaling by growth factors such as glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) as well as cell extracellular matrix interactions mediated by integrins. The importance of integrin signaling in UB development was investigated by deleting integrin beta1 at initiation (E10.5) and late (E18.5) stages of development. Deletion at E10.5 resulted in a severe branching morphogenesis phenotype. Deletion at E18.5 did not alter renal development but predisposed the collecting system to severe injury following ureteric obstruction. beta1 integrin was required for renal tubular epithelial cells to mediate GDNF- and FGF-dependent signaling despite normal receptor localization and activation in vitro. Aberrations in the same signaling molecules were present in the beta1-null UBs in vivo. Thus beta1 integrins can regulate organ branching morphogenesis during development by mediating growth-factor-dependent signaling in addition to their well-defined role as adhesion receptors.
In various human diseases, altered gene expression patterns are often the result of deregulated gene-specific transcription factor activity. To further understand disease on a molecular basis, the comprehensive analysis of transcription factor signaling networks is required. We developed an experimental approach, combining chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) with a yeast-based assay, to screen the genome for transcription factor binding sites that link to transcriptionally regulated target genes. We used the tumor suppressor p53 to demonstrate the effectiveness of the method. Using primary and immortalized, nontransformed cultures of human mammary epithelial cells, we isolated over 100 genomic DNA fragments that contain novel p53 binding sites. This approach led to the identification and validation of novel p53 target genes involved in diverse signaling pathways, including growth factor signaling, protein kinase/phosphatase signaling, and RNA binding. Our results yield a more complete understanding of p53-regulated signaling pathways, and this approach could be applied to any number of transcription factors to further elucidate complex transcriptional networks.
A quantitative in vivo angiogenesis model employing collagen onplants placed on the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) has been used in this study to assess the spatial and temporal associations between neutrophil-like inflammatory cells, namely chicken heterophils, and the development of new blood vessels. Previously we have demonstrated that monocytes/macrophages infiltrating the onplants were associated with extracellular matrix remodeling and angiogenesis, in particular by delivering MMP-13 collagenase. By introducing chicken gelatinase B (chMMP-9) as a specific marker for heterophils, we now show that the onset and extent of angiogenesis induced by purified growth factors or by human HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells correlated with the initial influx of chMMP-9-positive heterophils. This early heterophil arrival was followed by the infiltration of monocytes/macrophages and appeared to sustain further blood vessel formation. The disruption of inflammatory cell influx by 2 mechanistically distinct anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone and ibuprofen, significantly inhibited angiogenesis, indicating a functional involvement of these inflammatory cells in new blood vessel development. A direct addition of isolated heterophils or purified chMMP-9 into the HT-1080 onplants engrafted into cortisone- or ibuprofen-treated embryos reversed the antiangiogenic effects of the drugs. The exogenously added heterophils induced in vivo a further infiltration of endogenous heterophils and monocytes and dramatically rescued the impaired angiogenesis, highlighting the importance of early inflammatory leukocytes in tumor-induced angiogenesis. Moreover, purified heterophils incorporated into onplants lacking growth factors or tumor cells induced angiogenesis in nontreated embryos, further indicating a direct proangiogenic role for neutrophil-like leukocytes.
A key regulator of many kinase cascades, heterotrimeric protein serine/threonine phosphatase 2A (PP2A), is composed of catalytic (C), scaffold (A), and variable regulatory subunits (B, B', B'' gene families). In neuronal PC12 cells, PP2A acts predominantly as a gatekeeper of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity, as shown by inducible RNA interference of the Aalpha scaffolding subunit and PP2A inhibition by okadaic acid. Although okadaic acid potentiates Akt/protein kinase B and ERK phosphorylation in response to epidermal, basic fibroblast, or nerve growth factor, silencing of Aalpha paradoxically has the opposite effect. Epidermal growth factor receptor Tyr phosphorylation was unchanged following Aalpha knockdown, suggesting that chronic Akt and ERK hyperphosphorylation leads to compensatory down-regulation of signaling molecules upstream of Ras and blunted growth factor responses. Inducible exchange of wild-type Aalpha with a mutant with selective B' subunit binding deficiency implicated PP2A/B' heterotrimers as Akt modulators. Conversely, silencing of the B-family regulatory subunits Balpha and Bdelta led to hyperactivation of ERK stimulated by constitutively active MEK1. In vitro dephosphorylation assays further support a role for Balpha and Bdelta in targeting the PP2A heterotrimer to dephosphorylate and inactivate ERKs. Thus, receptor tyrosine kinase signaling cascades leading to Akt and ERK activation are modulated by PP2A holoenzymes with distinct regulatory properties.
The epithelial brush border (BB) Na+/H+ exchanger, NHE3, plays a major role in transcellular Na+ absorption in the renal proximal tubule. NHE3 activity is rapidly regulated by neurohumoral substances and growth factors via changes in its amount on the BB by a process partially involving vesicle trafficking. The PDZ domain-containing proteins, NHERF1/2, are scaffold proteins that link NHE3 to the actin cytoskeleton via their binding to both ezrin and NHE3. NHERF1/2 interact with both an internal C-terminal domain of NHE3 and the N-terminus of ezrin. We used fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to study the effect of NHERF1/2 on NHE3 mobility in the brush border of opossum kidney (OK) proximal tubule cells. A confocal microscope was used to allow the selective study of apical membrane versus intracellular NHE3. A chimera of NHE3-EGFP was transiently expressed in OK cells and its lateral diffusion in the apical membrane was measured with FRAP and confocal microscopy at 37 degrees C. The contribution of intracellular NHE3-EGFP to recovery on the OK surface not directly over the juxtanuclear area (non-JN) was negligible as exposure to the water soluble crosslinker BS3 (10 mM) at 4 degrees C resulted in no recovery of this component of surface NHE3-EGFP after photobleaching. The mobile fraction (Mf) of apical NHE3-EGFP was 47.5+/-2.2%; the effective diffusion coefficient (Deff) was (2.2+/-0.3) x10(-10) cm2/second. Overexpression of NHERF2 in OK cells decreased the Mf to 29.1+/-3.1% without changing Deff. In the truncation mutant, NHE3585-EGFP (aa 1-585), which lacks the NHERF1/2 binding domain, Mf increased to 66.4+/-2.2%, with no change in Deff, whereas NHE3660-EGFP, which binds NHERF1/2, had Mf (48.3+/-3.0%) and Deff both similar to full-length NHE3. These results are consistent with the PDZ domain proteins NHERF1 and NHERF2 scaffolding NHE3 in macromolecular complexes in the apical membrane of OK cells under basal conditions, which limits the lateral mobility of NHE3. It is probable that this is one of the mechanisms by which NHERF1/2 affects rapid regulation of NHE3 by growth factors and neurohumoral mediators. By contrast, disrupting the actin cytoskeleton by latrunculin B treatment (0.05 microM, 30 minutes) reduced the NHE3 Mf (21.9+/-4.5%) without altering the Deff. Therefore the actin cytoskeleton, independently of NHERF1/2 binding, is necessary for apical membrane mobility of NHE3.
Successful implantation is the result of reciprocal interactions between the implantation-competent blastocyst and receptive uterus. Although various cellular aspects and molecular pathways of this dialogue have been identified, a comprehensive understanding of the implantation process is still missing. The receptive state of the uterus, which lasts for a limited period, is defined as the time when the uterine environment is conducive to blastocyst acceptance and implantation. A better understanding of the molecular signals that regulate uterine receptivity and implantation competency of the blastocyst is of clinical relevance because unraveling the nature of these signals may lead to strategies to correct implantation failure and improve pregnancy rates. Gene expression studies and genetically engineered mouse models have provided valuable clues to the implantation process with respect to specific growth factors, cytokines, lipid mediators, adhesion molecules, and transcription factors. However, a staggering amount of information from microarray experiments is also being generated at a rapid pace. If properly annotated and explored, this information will expand our knowledge regarding yet-to-be-identified unique, complementary, and/or redundant molecular pathways in implantation. It is hoped that the forthcoming information will generate new ideas and concepts for a process that is essential for maintaining procreation and solving major reproductive health issues in women.
Cells that display chemokine receptors are capable of responding to a gradient of chemokine with a motility response that can translate into a chemotactic response. This continuous response to the chemokine sometimes requires that the chemokine receptor be internalized and recycled back to the membrane. We have shown that ligand activation of the CXC chemokine receptor, CXCR2, results in movement of the receptor into clathrin coated pits, followed by movement into the early endosome, the sorting endosome, then on to the recycling endosome prior to trafficking back into the plasma membrane compartment. Prolonged exposure to saturating concentrations of the ligand results in movement of a large percentage of the receptor into the late endosome and on to the lysosome for degradation. Mutation of the receptor in a manner which impairs receptor internalization by altering the binding of adaptor proteins AP-2 or beta arrestin to CXCR2, results in a marked reduction in the chemotactic response. Chemokine receptors also activate multiple intracellular signals that lead to the activation of the transcription factor, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kappaB). Transformation is often associated with a constitutive activation of NF-kappaB, leading to endogenous expression of chemokines and their receptors. This creates an autocrine loop with NF-kappaB in the activated state, and altered cxpression of factors that promote tumour angiogenesis and escape from apoptosis. We have shown that the constitutive activation of NF-kappaB in human melanoma tumours is accompanied by constitutive activation of the NF-kappaB inducing kinase (NIK) as well as the constitutive activation of AKT. As these factors that modulate the expression of anti-apoptotic factors work together, the tumour cells exhibit enhanced survival and growth. This never ending cycle of activation of NF-kappaB, leading to enhanced production of chemokines, enhanced activation of AKT and NF-kappaB, and enhanced transcription of inhibitors of apoptosis and chemokines, is one that has been used to foster the growth of the tumour to the disadvantage of the host. Thus we propose that blocking CXCR2 and/or NF-kappaB offers potential therapeutic promise for a number of chronic inflammatory conditions and cancers, including malignant melanoma.
The proper formation and function of the vertebrate heart requires a multitude of specific cell and tissue interactions. These interactions drive the early specification and assembly of components of the cardiovascular system that lead to a functioning system before the attainment of the definitive cardiac and vascular structures seen in the adult. Many of these adult structures are hypothesized to require both proper molecular and physical cues to form correctly. Unlike any other organ system in the embryo, the cardiovascular system requires concurrent function and formation for the embryo to survive. An example of this complex interaction between molecular and physical cues is the formation of the valves of the heart. Both molecular cues that regulate cell transformation, migration, and extracellular matrix deposition, and physical cues emanating from the beating heart, as well as hemodynamic forces, are required for valvulogenesis. This review will focus on molecules and emerging pathways that guide early events in valvulogenesis.