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Endocannabinoids, including anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) have been implicated in the regulation of a growing number of physiological and pathological processes. Anandamide can be generated from its membrane phospholipid precursor N-arachidonoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) through hydrolysis by a phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD). Recent evidence indicates, however, the existence of two additional, parallel pathways. One involves the sequential deacylation of NAPE by alpha,beta-hydrolase 4 (Abhd4) and the subsequent cleavage of glycerophosphate to yield anandamide, and the other one proceeds through phospholipase C-mediated hydrolysis of NAPE to yield phosphoanandamide, which is then dephosphorylated by phosphatases, including the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 and the inositol 5' phosphatase SHIP1. Conversion of synthetic NAPE to AEA by brain homogenates from wild-type and NAPE-PLD(-/-) mice can proceed through both the PLC/phosphatase and Abdh4 pathways, with the former being dominant at shorter (<10 min) and the latter at longer (60 min) incubations. In macrophages, the endotoxin-induced synthesis of anandamide proceeds uniquely through the phospholipase C/phosphatase pathway.
BACKGROUND - Tagged sequence mutagenesis is a process for constructing libraries of sequenced insertion mutations in embryonic stem cells that can be transmitted into the mouse germline. To better predict the functional consequences of gene entrapment on cellular gene expression, the present study characterized the effects of a U3Neo gene trap retrovirus inserted into an intron of the hnRNP A2/B1 gene. The mutation was selected for analysis because it occurred in a highly expressed gene and yet did not produce obvious phenotypes following germline transmission.
RESULTS - Sequences flanking the integrated gene trap vector in 1B4 cells were used to isolate a full-length cDNA whose predicted amino acid sequence is identical to the human A2 protein at all but one of 341 amino acid residues. hnRNP A2/B1 transcripts extending into the provirus utilize a cryptic 3' splice site located 28 nucleotides downstream of the neomycin phosphotransferase start codon. The inserted Neo sequence and proviral poly(A) site function as an 3' terminal exon that is utilized to produce hnRNP A2/B1-Neo fusion transcripts, or skipped to produce wild-type hnRNP A2/B1 transcripts. This results in only a modest disruption of hnRNPA2/B1 gene expression.
CONCLUSIONS - Expression of the occupied hnRNP A2/B1 gene and utilization of the viral poly(A) site are consistent with an exon definition model of pre-mRNA splicing. These results reveal a mechanism by which U3 gene trap vectors can be expressed without disrupting cellular gene expression, thus suggesting ways to improve these vectors for gene trap mutagenesis.
Epididymal epithelium is well known as a site of secretion of various proteins present in epididymal luminal fluid. Although there have been many reports of primary cultures of epididymal epithelial cells, their growth is limited over time. We have established immortalized epididymal epithelial cell lines from primary cultures of epididymal cells from transgenic mice harboring temperature-sensitive simian virus 40 large T-antigen gene in order to study the regulatory mechanisms of epididymal function, including specific factor secretion. These cell lines (PC1 from proximal caput; and DC1, DC2, and DC3 from distal caput) have been maintained for more than 1 year and show temperature-dependent growth and expression of cytokeratin, a marker of epithelial cells. These cells express the androgen receptor as well as markers of the murine epididymal epithelium, PEB-like protein (ie, phosphatidye ethanolamine binding protein), E-RABP (ie, epididymal retinoic acid-binding protein), and EP17 (ie, epididymal protein of 17 kd). The androgen-regulated 5-kilobase mE-RABP promoter DNA fragment ligated to the neomycin-resistant gene was used for stable transfection of DC1 cells. Because the mE-RABP gene is specifically expressed in the distal caput, neomycin selection provides a pure population of epithelial cells from that segment. This neomycin-resistant immortalized cell line from the distal caput was cultured for more than 6 months. Such immortalized cell lines should be valuable tools for studying the regulation of tissue-specific gene expression, and may be used to identify one or more epididymal specific transcription factors involved in the expression of epididymal specific proteins.
Roles for glycerophospholipids in exocytosis have been proposed, but remain controversial. Phospholipases are stimulated following the activation of the high-affinity receptor for immunoglobulin E (IgE) in mast cells. To study the biochemical sequelae that lead to degranulation, broken cell systems were employed. We demonstrate that the addition of three distinct types of exogenous phospholipases (i.e., bcPLC, scPLD, and tfPLA(2)), all of which hydrolyze phosphatidylcholine (PC), trigger degranulation in permeabilized RBL-2H3 cells, a mucosal mast cell line. Production of bioactive lipids by these phospholipases promotes release of granule contents through the plasma membrane and acts downstream of PKC, PIP(2), and Rho subfamily GTPases in regulated secretion. These exogenous phospholipase-induced degranulation pathways circumvent specific factors activated following stimulation of the IgE receptor as well as in ATP- and GTP-dependent intracellular pathways. Taken together, these results suggest that regulated secretion may be achieved in vitro in the absence of cytosolic factors via phospholipase activation and that products of PC hydrolysis can promote exocytosis in mast cells.