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Tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2), or tuberin, is a pivotal regulator of the mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling pathway that controls cell survival, proliferation, growth, and migration. Loss of function manifests in organ-specific consequences, the mechanisms of which remain incompletely understood. Recent single cell analysis of the kidney has identified ATP-binding cassette G2 (Abcg2) expression in renal proximal tubules of adult mice as well as a in a novel cell population. The impact in adult kidney of knockdown in the Abcg2-expressing lineage has not been evaluated. We engineered an inducible system in which expression of truncated , lacking exons 36-37 with an intact 3' region and polycystin 1, is driven by Here, we demonstrate that selective expression of in the Abcg2 lineage drives recombination in proximal tubule epithelial and rare perivascular mesenchymal cells, which results in progressive proximal tubule injury, impaired kidney function, formation of cystic lesions, and fibrosis in adult mice. These data illustrate the critical importance of function in the Abcg2-expressing proximal tubule epithelium and mesenchyme during the development of cystic lesions and remodeling of kidney parenchyma.
Cadherin-11 (CDH11) is upregulated in a variety of fibrotic diseases, including arthritis and calcific aortic valve disease. Our recent work has identified CDH11 as a potential therapeutic target and shown that treatment with a CDH11 functional blocking antibody can prevent hallmarks of calcific aortic valve disease in mice. The present study investigated the role of CDH11 in regulating the mechanobiological behavior of valvular interstitial cells believed to cause calcification. Aortic valve interstitial cells were harvested from Cdh11, Cdh11, and Cdh11 immortomice. Cells were subjected to inflammatory cytokines transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and IL-6 to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which CDH11 regulates their mechanobiological changes. Histology was performed on aortic valves from Cdh11, Cdh11, and Cdh11 mice to identify key responses to CDH11 deletion in vivo. We showed that CDH11 influences cell behavior through its regulation of contractility and its ability to bind substrates via focal adhesions. We also show that transforming growth factor-β overrides the normal relationship between CDH11 and smooth muscle α-actin to exacerbate the myofibroblast disease phenotype. This phenotypic switch is potentiated through the IL-6 signaling axis and could act as a paracrine mechanism of myofibroblast activation in neighboring aortic valve interstitial cells in a positive feedback loop. These data suggest CDH11 is an important mediator of the myofibroblast phenotype and identify several mechanisms by which it modulates cell behavior. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cadherin-11 influences valvular interstitial cell contractility by regulating focal adhesions and inflammatory cytokine secretion. Transforming growth factor-β overrides the normal balance between cadherin-11 and smooth muscle α-actin expression to promote a myofibroblast phenotype. Cadherin-11 is necessary for IL-6 and chitinase-3-like protein 1 secretion, and IL-6 promotes contractility. Targeting cadherin-11 could therapeutically influence valvular interstitial cell phenotypes in a multifaceted manner.
During the dermal wound healing process, the mechanical rigidity of the newly deposited extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1 promote the transition of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Myofibroblasts generate large cellular forces that contract and remodel the extracellular matrix leading to scar formation. In contrast, myofibroblasts are not detected in fetal dermal wounds which are more compliant and contain less transforming growth factor-β1 than adult wounds. Instead, fetal fibroblasts orchestrate scarless healing of dermal wounds resulting in healed tissues that resemble uninjured dermis. While these biomechanical differences suggest that the fetal wound environment promotes smaller cellular forces which enable regeneration, previous studies indicate that fetal fibroblasts have unique contractile properties that may facilitate scarless dermal repair. Therefore, we tested whether physiologic wound rigidities and transforming growth factor-β1 induce contractile forces and myofibroblast differentiation of fetal dermal fibroblasts. In comparison to their adult dermal counterparts, we found that fetal fibroblasts exhibit a deficient contractile response to rigid extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1. Our data suggest that the contractile phenotype of fetal dermal fibroblasts limits their cellular force production and prevents their ability to differentiate into myofibroblasts.
© 2018 The Authors. Wound Repair and Regeneration published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of by the Wound Healing Society.
Tubulointerstitial fibrosis (TIF) is the hallmark of chronic kidney disease and best predictor of renal survival. Many different cell types contribute to TIF progression including tubular epithelial cells, myofibroblasts, endothelia, and inflammatory cells. Previously, most of the attention has centered on myofibroblasts given their central importance in extracellular matrix production. However, emerging data focuses on how the response of the proximal tubule, a specialized epithelial segment vulnerable to injury, plays a central role in TIF progression. Several proximal tubular responses such as de-differentiation, cell cycle changes, autophagy, and metabolic changes may be adaptive initially, but can lead to maladaptive responses that promote TIF both through autocrine and paracrine effects. This review discusses the current paradigm of TIF progression and the increasingly important role of the proximal tubule in promoting TIF both in tubulointerstitial and glomerular injuries. A better understanding and appreciation of the role of the proximal tubule in TIF has important implications for therapeutic strategies to halt chronic kidney disease progression.
Copyright © 2018 International Society of Matrix Biology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Tissues stiffen during aging and during the pathological progression of cancer, fibrosis, and cardiovascular disease. Extracellular matrix stiffness is emerging as a prominent mechanical cue that precedes disease and drives its progression by altering cellular behaviors. Targeting extracellular matrix mechanics, by preventing or reversing tissue stiffening or interrupting the cellular response, is a therapeutic approach with clinical potential. Major drivers of changes to the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix include phenotypically converted myofibroblasts, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), and matrix cross-linking. Potential pharmacological interventions to overcome extracellular matrix stiffening are emerging clinically. Aside from targeting stiffening directly, alternative approaches to mitigate the effects of increased matrix stiffness aim to identify and inhibit the downstream cellular response to matrix stiffness. Therapeutic interventions that target tissue stiffening are discussed in the context of their limitations, preclinical drug development efforts, and clinical trials.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Eukaryotic cells contain an elegant protein quality control system that is crucial in maintaining cellular homeostasis; however, dysfunction of this system results in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Severe or prolonged ER stress is associated with the development of degenerative and fibrotic disorders in multiple organs, as evidenced by the identification of disease-causing mutations in epithelial-restricted genes that lead to protein misfolding or mistrafficking in familial fibrotic diseases. Emerging evidence implicates ER stress and UPR signaling in a variety of profibrotic mechanisms in individual cell types. In epithelial cells, ER stress can induce apoptosis, inflammatory signaling, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In other cell types, ER stress is linked to myofibroblast activation, macrophage polarization, and T cell differentiation. ER stress-targeted therapies have begun to emerge using approaches that range from global enhancement of chaperone function to selective targeting of activated ER stress sensors and other downstream mediators. As the complex regulatory mechanisms of this system are further clarified, there are opportunities to develop new disease-modifying therapeutic strategies in a wide range of chronic fibrotic diseases.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and renal fibrosis; however, the causative role of sustained EGFR activation is unclear. Here, we generated a novel kidney fibrotic mouse model of persistent EGFR activation by selectively expressing the EGFR ligand, human heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (hHB-EGF), in renal proximal tubule epithelium. hHB-EGF expression increased tyrosine kinase phosphorylation of EGFR and the subsequent activation of downstream signaling pathways, including ERK and AKT, as well as the profibrotic TGF-β1/SMAD pathway. Epithelial-specific activation of EGFR was sufficient to promote spontaneous and progressive renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis, as characterized by increased collagen deposition, immune cell infiltration, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive myofibroblasts. Tubule-specific EGFR activation promoted epithelial dedifferentiation and cell-cycle arrest. Furthermore, EGFR activation in epithelial cells promoted the proliferation of α-SMA myofibroblasts in a paracrine manner. Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of EGFR tyrosine kinase activity or downstream MEK activity attenuated the fibrotic phenotype. This study provides definitive evidence that sustained activation of EGFR in proximal epithelia is sufficient to cause spontaneous, progressive renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis, evident by epithelial dedifferentiation, increased myofibroblasts, immune cell infiltration, and increased matrix deposition.-Overstreet, J. M., Wang, Y., Wang, X., Niu, A., Gewin, L. S., Yao, B., Harris, R. C., Zhang, M.-Z. Selective activation of epidermal growth factor receptor in renal proximal tubule induces tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
Neuregulin-1β (NRG-1β) is critical for cardiac development and repair, and recombinant forms are currently being assessed as possible therapeutics for systolic heart failure. We previously demonstrated that recombinant NRG-1β reduces cardiac fibrosis in an animal model of cardiac remodeling and heart failure, suggesting that there may be direct effects on cardiac fibroblasts. Here we show that NRG-1β receptors (ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4) are expressed in normal human cardiac ventricular (NHCV) fibroblast cell lines. Treatment of NHCV fibroblasts with recombinant NRG-1β induced activation of the AKT pathway, which was phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent. Moreover, the NRG-1β-induced PI3K/AKT signaling in these cells required phosphorylation of both ErbB2 and ErbB3 receptors at tyrosine (Tyr)1248 and Tyr1289 respectively. RNASeq analysis of NRG-1β-treated cardiac fibroblasts obtained from three different individuals revealed a global gene expression signature consistent with cell growth and survival. We confirmed enhanced cellular proliferation and viability in NHCV fibroblasts in response to NRG-1β, which was abrogated by PI3K, ErbB2, and ErbB3 inhibitors. NRG-1β also induced production and secretion of cytokines (interleukin-1α and interferon-γ) and pro-reparative factors (angiopoietin-2, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and crypto-1), suggesting a role in cardiac repair through the activation of paracrine signaling.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
RATIONALE - Myocardial infarction causes irreversible tissue damage, leading to heart failure. We recently discovered that canonical Wnt signaling and the Wnt10b ligand are strongly induced in mouse hearts after infarction. Wnt10b regulates cell fate in various organs, but its role in the heart is unknown.
OBJECTIVE - To investigate the effect of Wnt10b gain-of-function on cardiac repair mechanisms and to assess its potential to improve ventricular function after injury.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Histological and molecular analyses showed that Wnt10b is expressed in cardiomyocytes and localized in the intercalated discs of mouse and human hearts. After coronary artery ligation or cryoinjury in mice, Wnt10b is strongly and transiently induced in peri-infarct cardiomyocytes during granulation tissue formation. To determine the effect of Wnt10b on neovascularization and fibrosis, we generated a mouse line to increase endogenous Wnt10b levels in cardiomyocytes. We found that gain of Wnt10b function orchestrated a recovery phenotype characterized by robust neovascularization of the injury zone, less myofibroblasts, reduced scar size, and improved ventricular function compared with wild-type mice. Wnt10b stimulated expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 in endothelial cells and angiopoietin-1 in vascular smooth muscle cells through nuclear factor-κB activation. These effects coordinated endothelial growth and smooth muscle cell recruitment, promoting robust formation of large, coronary-like blood vessels.
CONCLUSION - Wnt10b gain-of-function coordinates arterial formation and attenuates fibrosis in cardiac tissue after injury. Because generation of mature blood vessels is necessary for efficient perfusion, our findings could lead to novel strategies to optimize the inherent repair capacity of the heart and prevent the onset of heart failure.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Neuregulin-1β (NRG-1β) is a growth factor critical for cardiac development and repair with therapeutic potential for heart failure. We previously showed that the glial growth factor 2 (GGF2) isoform of NRG-1β improves cardiac function in rodents after myocardial infarction (MI), but its efficacy in a large animal model of cardiac injury has not been examined. We therefore sought to examine the effects of GGF2 on ventricular remodeling, cardiac function, and global transcription in post-MI swine, as well as potential mechanisms for anti-remodeling effects.
METHODS AND RESULTS - MI was induced in anesthetized swine (n=23) by intracoronary balloon occlusion. At 1 week post-MI, survivors (n=13) received GGF2 treatment (intravenous, biweekly for 4 weeks; n=8) or were untreated (n=5). At 5 weeks post-MI, fractional shortening was higher (32.8% versus 25.3%, P=0.019), and left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic dimension lower (4.5 versus 5.3 cm, P=0.003) in GGF2-treated animals. Treatment altered expression of 528 genes, as measured by microarrays, including collagens, basal lamina components, and matricellular proteins. GGF2-treated pigs exhibited improvements in LV cardiomyocyte mitochondria and intercalated disk structures and showed less fibrosis, altered matrix structure, and fewer myofibroblasts (myoFbs), based on trichrome staining, electron microscopy, and immunostaining. In vitro experiments with isolated murine and rat cardiac fibroblasts demonstrate that NRG-1β reduces myoFbs, and suppresses TGFβ-induced phospho-SMAD3 as well as αSMA expression.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that GGF2/NRG-1β prevents adverse remodeling after injury in part via anti-fibrotic effects in the heart.
© 2014 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.