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The development of biomaterials has significantly increased the potential for targeted drug delivery to a variety of cell and tissue types, including the pancreatic β-cells. In addition, biomaterial particles, hydrogels, and scaffolds also provide a unique opportunity to administer sustained, controllable drug delivery to β-cells in culture and in transplanted tissue models. These technologies allow the study of candidate β-cell proliferation factors using intact islets and a translationally relevant system. Moreover, determining the effectiveness and feasibility of candidate factors for stimulating β-cell proliferation in a culture system is critical before moving forward to in vivo models. Herein, we describe a method to co-culture intact mouse islets with biodegradable compound of interest (COI)-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres for the purpose of assessing the effects of sustained in situ release of mitogenic factors on β-cell proliferation. This technique describes in detail how to generate PLGA microspheres containing a desired cargo using commercially available reagents. While the described technique uses recombinant human Connective tissue growth factor (rhCTGF) as an example, a wide variety of COI could readily be used. Additionally, this method utilizes 96-well plates to minimize the amount of reagents necessary to assess β-cell proliferation. This protocol can be readily adapted to use alternative biomaterials and other endocrine cell characteristics such as cell survival and differentiation status.
UNLABELLED - Glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) catabolizes S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), the main methyl donor of the body. Patients with cirrhosis show attenuated GNMT expression, which is absent in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples. GNMT(-/-) mice develop spontaneous steatosis that progresses to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and HCC. The liver is highly enriched with innate immune cells and plays a key role in the body's host defense and in the regulation of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the major hallmark of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) progression. The aim of our study was to uncover the molecular mechanisms leading to liver chronic inflammation in the absence of GNMT, focusing on the implication of natural killer (NK) / natural killer T (NKT) cells. We found increased expression of T helper (Th)1- over Th2-related cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-R2/DR5, and several ligands of NK cells in GNMT(-/-) livers. Interestingly, NK cells from GNMT(-/-) mice were spontaneously activated, expressed more TRAIL, and had strong cytotoxic activity, suggesting their contribution to the proinflammatory environment in the liver. Accordingly, NK cells mediated hypersensitivity to concanavalin A (ConA)-mediated hepatitis in GNMT(-/-) mice. Moreover, GNMT(-/-) mice were hypersensitive to endotoxin-mediated liver injury. NK cell depletion and adoptive transfer of TRAIL(-/-) liver-NK cells protected the liver against lipopolysaccharide (LPS) liver damage.
CONCLUSION - Our data allow us to conclude that TRAIL-producing NK cells actively contribute to promote a proinflammatory environment at early stages of fatty liver disease, suggesting that this cell compartment may contribute to the progression of NASH.
Copyright © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Fundamental knowledge about how G protein-coupled receptors and their ligands interact is important for understanding receptor-ligand binding and the development of new drug discovery strategies. We have used cross-linking and tandem mass spectrometry analyses to investigate the interaction of the N terminus of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae tridecapeptide pheromone, α-factor (WHWLQLKPGQPMY), and Ste2p, its cognate G protein-coupled receptor. The Trp(1) residue of α-factor was replaced by 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) for periodate-mediated chemical cross-linking, and biotin was conjugated to Lys(7) for detection purposes to create the peptide [DOPA(1),Lys(7)(BioACA),Nle(12)]α-factor, called Bio-DOPA(1)-α-factor. This ligand analog was a potent agonist and bound to Ste2p with ∼65 nanomolar affinity. Immunoblot analysis of purified Ste2p samples that were treated with Bio-DOPA(1)-α-factor showed that the peptide analog cross-linked efficiently to Ste2p. The cross-linking was inhibited by the presence of either native α-factor or an α-factor antagonist. MALDI-TOF and immunoblot analyses revealed that Bio-DOPA(1)-α-factor cross-linked to a fragment of Ste2p encompassing residues Ser(251)-Met(294). Fragmentation of the cross-linked fragment and Ste2p using tandem mass spectrometry pinpointed the cross-link point of the DOPA(1) of the α-factor analog to the Ste2p Lys(269) side chain near the extracellular surface of the TM6-TM7 bundle. This conclusion was confirmed by a greatly diminished cross-linking of Bio-DOPA(1)-α-factor into a Ste2p(K269A) mutant. Based on these and previously obtained binding contact data, a mechanism of α-factor binding to Ste2p is proposed. The model for bound α-factor shows how ligand binding leads to conformational changes resulting in receptor activation of the signal transduction pathway.
Arachidonic acid is an essential constituent of cell membranes that is esterified to the sn-2 position of glycerophospholipids and is released from selected phospholipid pools by tightly regulated phospholipase cleavage. Metabolism of the released arachidonic acid by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (cP450) generates biologically active compounds, including epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids. Here we report that 2-(14,15-epoxyeicosatrienoyl)glycerol (2-14,15-EG), a novel cP450 arachidonate metabolite produced in the kidney, is a potent mitogen for renal proximal tubule cells. This effect is mediated by activation of tumor necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme (ADAM17), which cleaves membrane-bound transforming growth factor alpha (proTGF-alpha) and releases soluble TGF-alpha as a ligand that binds and activates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The present studies additionally demonstrate that the structurally related 14,15-EET stimulates release of soluble heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor as an EGFR ligand by activation of ADAM9, another member of the ADAM family. Thus, in addition to the characterization of 2-14,15-EG's mitogenic activity and signaling mechanism, our study provides the first example that two structurally related biologically active lipid mediators can activate different metalloproteinases and release different EGFR ligands in the same cell type to activate EGFR and stimulate cell proliferation.
Widely coexpressed Src family kinase (SFK) members Src, Fyn and Yes are involved in various cellular events, often acting downstream of receptor tyrosine kinases, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors. They are well known for their functional redundancy; any unique features remain largely undefined. Utilizing RNA interference, we have selectively knocked down Src, Fyn and Yes in human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs). Cells with single SFK knockdown showed that all three kinases were required for VEGF mitogenic signaling. VEGF-induced cell migration was significantly increased in Fyn-deficient cells and decreased in Yes-deficient cells. Selective interference of Fyn, but not Src or Yes, impaired VEGF-induced tube formation in HRMECs. Cells in which all three SFKs were targeted showed significant inhibition of all three cellular events. In addition, interference of Src, Fyn and Yes did not affect the anti-apoptotic effect of VEGF in HRMECs, as determined by DNA fragmentation analysis. These results provide direct evidence that Src, Fyn and Yes maintain distinct properties in the regulation of VEGF-mediated endothelial cell events.
Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) is a polypeptide found in high concentrations in bone and is produced by and acts on primary adult human derived osteoblast-enriched cultures (PHO cells). Receptors for TGF-beta are present on PHO cells and TGF-beta is mitogenic for these cells. Results of these studies in conjunction with those of others suggest that TGF-beta may have an important therapeutic role in orthopaedic surgery; however, with respect to its mitogenic actions, further studies were needed to establish whether TGF-beta was acting directly to stimulate the growth of PHO cells. TGF-beta has been found in other systems to act as an indirect mitogen, stimulating growth via secretion of another growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). In an effort to determine whether the TGF-beta growth stimulation was mediated directly or indirectly, we have examined the growth stimulation of PHO cells by PDGF alone and in combination with TGF-beta. These studies revealed that TGF-beta in combination with either PDGF-AA or BB led to stimulation greater than that observed with either growth factor alone. TGF-beta in combination with PDGF-BB led to a synergistic stimulatory response while that observed with the AA isoform was more nearly additive. Further studies demonstrated that TGF-beta was capable of up-regulating the protein levels of the PDGF alpha (alpha) receptor within thirty minutes of TGF-beta pretreatment. Thus, TGF-beta appears to have both direct and indirect mechanisms of action as a mitogen in the PHO system. Finally, we showed that both the positive and negative alkaline phosphatase staining PHO cells were responsive to the mitogenic effects of both growth factor singly and in combination.
BACKGROUND - Tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis are pathologic hallmarks of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Here we have used DNA microarray technology to monitor the transcriptomic responses to murine unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) with a view to identifying molecular modulators of tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
METHODS - Using Affymetrix Mu74Av2 microarrays, gene expression 4 and 10 days postobstruction was investigated relative to control contralateral kidneys. Candidate profibrogenic genes were further investigated in epithelial cells undergoing epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro.
RESULTS - mRNA levels for 1091 gene/EST sequences, of a total of 12,488 displayed on the microarray, were altered twofold or greater by days 4 and 10 postobstruction compared to contralateral control kidneys. Genes were categorised into functional groups, including modulators of cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix metabolism, cell growth, signalling, and transcription/translational events. Among the potentially profibrogenic genes, whose mRNA levels were increased after UUO, were fibroblast-inducible secreted protein (fisp-12), the murine homologue of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), collagen XVIIIalpha1, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), and src-suppressed C-kinase substrate (SSeCKS). A sustained increase in fisp-12 mRNA level was observed during EMT induced by transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and epidermal growth factor (EGF).
CONCLUSION - Altered gene expression in murine UUO has been demonstrated. Increased expression of fisp-12, SPARC, and SSeCKS has been shown in response to TGF-beta1 treatment and during EMT, suggesting that these genes may offer potential therapeutic targets against tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
The sodium/proton exchanger type 1 (NHE-1) plays an important role in the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). We have examined the regulation of NHE-1 by two potent mitogens, serotonin (5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine) and angiotensin II (Ang II), in cultured VSMC derived from rat aorta. 5-HT and Ang II rapidly activated NHE-1 via their G protein-coupled receptors (5-HT(2A) and AT(1)) as assessed by proton microphysiometry of quiescent cells and by measurements of intracellular pH on a FLIPR (fluorometric imaging plate reader). Activation of NHE-1 was blocked by inhibitors of phospholipase C, CaM, and Jak2 but not by pertussis toxin or inhibitors of protein kinase C. Immunoprecipitation/immunoblot studies showed that 5-HT and Ang II induce phosphorylation of Jak2 and induce the formation of signal transduction complexes that included Jak2, CaM, and NHE-1. The cell-permeable Ca(2+) chelator BAPTA-AM blocked activation of Jak2, complex formation between Jak2 and CaM, and tyrosine phosphorylation of CaM, demonstrating that elevated intracellular Ca(2+) is essential for those events. Thus, mitogen-induced activation of NHE-1 in VSMC is dependent upon elevated intracellular Ca(2+) and is mediated by the Jak2-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of CaM and subsequent increased binding of CaM to NHE-1, similar to the pathway previously described for the bradykinin B(2) receptor in inner medullary collecting duct cells of the kidney [Mukhin, Y. V., et al. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 17339-17346]. We propose that this pathway represents a fundamental mechanism for the rapid regulation of NHE-1 by G(q/11) protein-coupled receptors in multiple cell types.
Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), alone and in synergism with progesterone (P) and prolactin (PRL), is mitogenic for normal mammary epithelium (ME) in vitro. In addition, P can upregulate ME sensitivity to KGF by slowing KGF receptor (KGFR) mRNA turnover in vitro. These hormonal interactions with KGF in vitro raise the possibility that alterations in these interactions can play a role in hormone-dependent mammary tumor growth and progression. The effect of hormones on KGF mitogenesis and the regulation of KGFR expression was examined in pregnancy-dependent (PDT) and ovarian-independent (OIT) mouse mammary tumors. In serum-free, collagen gel cell culture, dose/response (2-20 ng/ml) and time course studies showed that KGF stimulated the proliferation of PDT (not OIT) cells but synergism with P or PRL was not observed. The level of KGFR mRNA in PDT cells was not significantly different from normal ME but in OIT it was reduced more than 90%. P did not affect KGFR mRNA turnover in cultured PDT cells. However, KGFR mRNA was more stable in PDT cells compared to normal ME; after 6 days culture in basal medium, KGFR mRNA levels declined 40% vs. 85% previously shown for normal ME. Determination of KGF mRNA levels in tissues showed that it was lower in PDT compared to normal mammary gland and not detectable in OIT. These data show that in PDT both KGF-stimulated mitogenesis and the regulation of KGFR expression are independent of hormones. OIT has progressed to independence from any KGF influence. Thus, a subset of hormonally regulated pathways related to epithelial/stromal cell interactions can be lost in hormone-dependent mammary tumors during tumor progression.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
IFN-gamma is a key regulatory cytokine of the immune system. Reporter transgenic mice expressing the luciferase gene under the control of separate TCR-response elements (TCR-RE) from the IFN-gamma promoter or expressing the green fluorescent protein gene under the control of an IFN-gamma "minigene" were employed to explore the basis for IL-12 regulation of IFN-gamma gene transcription. In the absence of TCR stimulation, IL-12 did not activate the TCR-REs but did induce green fluorescent protein expression. TCR plus IL-12R stimulation of effector Th cells resulted in: 1) enhanced activation of the proximal, but not the distal, TCR-RE, and 2) increased induction of cJun-proximal TCR-RE complexes and c-Jun protein expression. Overexpression of cJun, but not cFos, increased activity of the proximal TCR-RE in T cells. These results suggest that IL-12R signaling affects IFN-gamma gene transcription by at least two separate mechanisms; IL-12R signaling without TCR signaling targets promoter regions outside of the approximately 100-bp IFN-gamma TCR-RE, and IL-12R signaling also stimulates TCR-induced activity of the proximal TCR-RE.