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Herein, excipients are investigated to ameliorate the deleterious effects of lyophilization on peptide-polymer nano-polyplex (NP) morphology, cellular uptake, and bioactivity. The NPs are a previously-described platform technology for intracellular peptide delivery and are formulated from a cationic therapeutic peptide and the anionic, pH-responsive, endosomolytic polymer poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA). These NPs are effective when formulated and immediately used for delivery into cells and tissue, but they are not amenable to reconstitution following storage as a lyophilized powder due to aggregation. To develop a lyophilized NP format that facilitates longer-term storage and ease of use, MAPKAP kinase 2 inhibitory peptide-based NPs (MK2i-NPs) were prepared in the presence of a range of concentrations of the excipients sucrose, trehalose, and lactosucrose prior to lyophilization and storage. All excipients improved particle morphology post-lyophilization and significantly improved MK2i-NP uptake in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells relative to lyophilized NPs without excipient. In particular, MK2i-NPs lyophilized with 300 mM lactosucrose as an excipient demonstrated a 5.23 fold increase in cellular uptake (p < 0.001), a 2.52 fold increase in endosomal disruption (p < 0.05), and a 2.39 fold increase in ex vivo bioactivity (p < 0.01) compared to MK2i-NPs lyophilized without excipients. In sum, these data suggest that addition of excipients, particularly lactosucrose, maintains and even improves the uptake and therapeutic efficacy of peptide-polymer NPs post-lyophilization relative to freshly-made formulations. Thus, the use of excipients as lyoprotectants is a promising approach for the long-term storage of biotherapeutic NPs and poises this NP platform for clinical translation.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Malignant tumors reprogram cellular metabolism to support cancer cell proliferation and survival. Although most cancers depend on a high rate of aerobic glycolysis, many cancer cells also display addiction to glutamine. Glutamine transporters and glutaminase activity are critical for glutamine metabolism in tumor cells. We found that the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA2 activated the TEAD family transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ (YAP/TAZ), likely in a ligand-independent manner, to promote glutamine metabolism in cells and mouse models of HER2-positive breast cancer. Overexpression of EphA2 induced the nuclear accumulation of YAP and TAZ and increased the expression of YAP/TAZ target genes. Inhibition of the GTPase Rho or the kinase ROCK abolished EphA2-dependent YAP/TAZ nuclear localization. Silencing or substantially reduced the amount of intracellular glutamate through decreased expression of and , respectively, genes that encode proteins that promote glutamine uptake and metabolism. The regulatory DNA elements of both and contain TEAD binding sites and were bound by TEAD4 in an EphA2-dependent manner. In patient breast cancer tissues, expression positively correlated with that of and , as well as that of and Although high expression of predicted enhanced metastatic potential and poor patient survival, it also rendered HER2-positive breast cancer cells more sensitive to glutaminase inhibition. The findings define a previously unknown mechanism of EphA2-mediated glutaminolysis through YAP/TAZ activation in HER2-positive breast cancer and identify potential therapeutic targets in patients.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
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.
Microtubules in animal cells assemble (nucleate) from both the centrosome and the cis-Golgi cisternae. A-kinase anchor protein 350 kDa (AKAP350A, also called AKAP450/CG-NAP/AKAP9) is a large scaffolding protein located at both the centrosome and Golgi apparatus. Previous findings have suggested that AKAP350 is important for microtubule dynamics at both locations, but how this scaffolding protein assembles microtubule nucleation machinery is unclear. Here, we found that overexpression of the C-terminal third of AKAP350A, enhanced GFP-AKAP350A(2691-3907), induces the formation of multiple microtubule-nucleation centers (MTNCs). Nevertheless, these induced MTNCs lacked "true" centriole proteins, such as Cep135. Mapping analysis with AKAP350A truncations demonstrated that AKAP350A contains discrete regions responsible for promoting or inhibiting the formation of multiple MTNCs. Moreover, GFP-AKAP350A(2691-3907) recruited several pericentriolar proteins to MTNCs, including γ-tubulin, pericentrin, Cep68, Cep170, and Cdk5RAP2. Proteomic analysis indicated that Cdk5RAP2 and Cep170 both interact with the microtubule nucleation-promoting region of AKAP350A, whereas Cep68 interacts with the distal C-terminal AKAP350A region. Yeast two-hybrid assays established a direct interaction of Cep170 with AKAP350A. Super-resolution and deconvolution microscopy analyses were performed to define the association of AKAP350A with centrosomes, and these studies disclosed that AKAP350A spans the bridge between centrioles, co-localizing with rootletin and Cep68 in the linker region. siRNA-mediated depletion of AKAP350A caused displacement of both Cep68 and Cep170 from the centrosome. These results suggest that AKAP350A acts as a scaffold for factors involved in microtubule nucleation at the centrosome and coordinates the assembly of protein complexes associating with the intercentriolar bridge.
Emerging evidence indicates that even subtle changes in the expression of key genes of signalling pathways can have profound effects. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are masters of subtlety and generally have only mild effects on their target genes. The microRNA miR-31 is one of the major microRNAs in many cutaneous conditions associated with activated keratinocytes, such as the hyperproliferative diseases psoriasis, non-melanoma skin cancer and hair follicle growth. miR-31 is a marker of the hair growth phase, and in our miR-31 transgenic mouse model it impairs the function of keratinocytes. This leads to aberrant proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation that results in altered hair growth, while the loss of miR-31 leads to increased hair growth. Through in vitro and in vivo studies, we have defined a set of conserved miR-31 target genes, including LATS2 and STK40, which serve as new players in the regulation of keratinocyte growth and hair follicle biology. LATS2 can regulate growth of keratinocytes and we have identified a function of STK40 that can promote the expression of key hair follicle programme regulators such as HR, DLX3 and HOXC13.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Phospholipid signaling has clear connections to a wide array of cellular processes, particularly in gene expression and in controlling the chromatin biology of cells. However, most of the work elucidating how phospholipid signaling pathways contribute to cellular physiology have studied cytoplasmic membranes, while relatively little attention has been paid to the role of phospholipid signaling in the nucleus. Recent work from several labs has shown that nuclear phospholipid signaling can have important roles that are specific to this cellular compartment. This review focuses on the nuclear phospholipid functions and the activities of phospholipid signaling enzymes that regulate metazoan chromatin and gene expression. In particular, we highlight the roles that nuclear phosphoinositides play in several nuclear-driven physiological processes, such as differentiation, proliferation, and gene expression. Taken together, the recent discovery of several specifically nuclear phospholipid functions could have dramatic impact on our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that enable tight control of cellular physiology.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Preclinical changes that precede the onset of symptoms and eventual diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are a target for potential preventive interventions. A large body of evidence suggests that inflammation is closely associated with AD pathogenesis and may be a promising target pathway for such interventions. However, little is known about the association between systemic inflammation and preclinical AD pathophysiology. We first examined whether the acute-phase protein, alpha-2 macroglobulin (A2M), a major component of the innate immune system, was associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of neuronal injury in preclinical AD and risk of incident AD in the predictors of cognitive decline among normal individuals (BIOCARD) cohort. We find that A2M concentration in blood is significantly associated with CSF concentrations of the neuronal injury markers, tau and phosphorylated tau, and that higher baseline serum A2M concentration is associated with an almost threefold greater risk of progression to clinical symptoms of AD in men. These findings were replicated in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging (ADNI) study. Then, utilizing a systems level approach combining large multi-tissue gene expression datasets with mass spectrometry-based proteomic analyses of brain tissue, we identified an A2M gene network that includes regulator of calcineurin (RCAN1), an inhibitor of calcineurin, a well-characterized tau phosphatase. A2M gene and protein expression in the brain were significantly associated with gene and protein expression levels of calcineurin. Collectively these novel findings suggest that A2M is associated with preclinical AD, reflects early neuronal injury in the disease course and may be responsive to tau phosphorylation in the brain through the RCAN1-calcineurin pathway.
Dysregulation of vascular stiffness and cellular metabolism occurs early in pulmonary hypertension (PH). However, the mechanisms by which biophysical properties of the vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) relate to metabolic processes important in PH remain undefined. In this work, we examined cultured pulmonary vascular cells and various types of PH-diseased lung tissue and determined that ECM stiffening resulted in mechanoactivation of the transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ (WWTR1). YAP/TAZ activation modulated metabolic enzymes, including glutaminase (GLS1), to coordinate glutaminolysis and glycolysis. Glutaminolysis, an anaplerotic pathway, replenished aspartate for anabolic biosynthesis, which was critical for sustaining proliferation and migration within stiff ECM. In vitro, GLS1 inhibition blocked aspartate production and reprogrammed cellular proliferation pathways, while application of aspartate restored proliferation. In the monocrotaline rat model of PH, pharmacologic modulation of pulmonary vascular stiffness and YAP-dependent mechanotransduction altered glutaminolysis, pulmonary vascular proliferation, and manifestations of PH. Additionally, pharmacologic targeting of GLS1 in this model ameliorated disease progression. Notably, evaluation of simian immunodeficiency virus-infected nonhuman primates and HIV-infected subjects revealed a correlation between YAP/TAZ-GLS activation and PH. These results indicate that ECM stiffening sustains vascular cell growth and migration through YAP/TAZ-dependent glutaminolysis and anaplerosis, and thereby link mechanical stimuli to dysregulated vascular metabolism. Furthermore, this study identifies potential metabolic drug targets for therapeutic development in PH.