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Vitamin A, via retinoic acid (RA), is a critical micronutrient. Normally, plasma concentrations are tightly regulated. Concentrations of vitamin A metabolites (13cis-RA, atRA) and relationships between RBP4 and retinoids have never been fully evaluated in adult patients with CKD. We measured retinoid and RBP4 concentrations in plasma and urine from 55 adult patients with CKD and 21 matched healthy subjects. RBP4 and retinol levels were increased approximately twofold in patients with CKD, with a negative correlation between plasma retinol and eGFR (p = 0.006) and plasma RBP4 and eGFR (p = 0.0007). RBP4 renal clearance was higher in patients with CKD than healthy subjects but not associated with eGFR. Circulating concentrations of atRA increased and concentrations of 13cis-RA decreased in subjects with CKD with no change in RA-to-retinol ratio. Increases in circulating retinol, RBP4, and atRA may be due to increased hepatic RBP4 synthesis, retinyl ester hydrolysis, and/or hepatic secretion of RBP4-retinol.
© 2016 The Authors. Clinical and Translational Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
OBJECTIVE - Several transcription factors are essential to pancreatic islet β-cell development, proliferation, and activity, including MafA and MafB. However, MafA and MafB are distinct from others in regard to temporal and islet cell expression pattern, with β-cells affected by MafB only during development and exclusively by MafA in the adult. Our aim was to define the functional relationship between these closely related activators to the β-cell.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - The distribution of MafA and MafB in the β-cell population was determined immunohistochemically at various developmental and perinatal stages in mice. To identify genes regulated by MafB, microarray profiling was performed on wild-type and MafB(-/-) pancreata at embryonic day 18.5, with candidates evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. The potential role of MafA in the expression of verified targets was next analyzed in adult islets of a pancreas-wide MafA mutant (termed MafA(ΔPanc)).
RESULTS - MafB was produced in a larger fraction of β-cells than MafA during development and found to regulate potential effectors of glucose sensing, hormone processing, vesicle formation, and insulin secretion. Notably, expression from many of these genes was compromised in MafA(ΔPanc) islets, suggesting that MafA is required to sustain expression in adults.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results provide insight into the sequential manner by which MafA and MafB regulate islet β-cell formation and maturation.
BACKGROUND - Chronic ethanol consumption disrupts glucose homeostasis and is associated with the development of insulin resistance. While adipose tissue and skeletal muscle are the two major organs utilizing glucose in response to insulin, the relative contribution of these two tissues to impaired glucose homeostasis during chronic ethanol feeding is not known. As other models of insulin resistance, such as obesity, are characterized by an infiltration of macrophages into adipose tissue, as well as changes in the expression of adipocytokines that play a central role in the regulation of insulin sensitivity, we hypothesized that chronic ethanol-induced insulin resistance would be associated with increased macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue and changes in the expression of adipocytokines by adipose tissue.
METHODS - Male Wistar rats were fed a liquid diet containing ethanol as 36% of calories or pair-fed a control diet for 4 weeks. The effects of chronic ethanol feeding on insulin-stimulated glucose utilization were studied using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique, coupled with the use of isotopic tracers. Further, macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue and expression of adipocytokines were also assessed after chronic ethanol feeding.
RESULTS - Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies revealed that chronic ethanol feeding to rats decreased whole-body glucose utilization and decreased insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic glucose production. Chronic ethanol feeding decreased glucose uptake in epididymal, subcutaneous, and omental adipose tissue during the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, but had no effect on glucose disposal in skeletal muscle. Chronic ethanol feeding increased the infiltration of macrophages into epididymal adipose tissue and changed the expression of mRNA for adipocytokines: expression of mRNA for monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-6 were increased, while expression of mRNA for retinol binding protein 4 and adiponectin were decreased in epididymal adipose tissue.
CONCLUSIONS - These data demonstrate that chronic ethanol feeding results in the development of insulin resistance, associated with impaired insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic glucose production and decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake into adipose tissue. Chronic ethanol-induced insulin resistance was associated with increased macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue, as well as changes in the expression of adipocytokines by adipose tissue.
Our goal is to decipher which DNA sequences are required for tissue-specific expression of epididymal genes. At least 6 epididymis-specific lipocalin genes are known. These are differently regulated and regionalized in the epididymis. Lipocalin 5 (Lcn5 or mE-RABP) and Lipocalin 8 (Lcn8 or mEP17) are homologous genes belonging to the epididymis-specific lipocalin gene cluster. Both the 5 kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene and the 5.3 kb promoter fragment of the Lcn8 gene can direct transgene expression in the epididymis (Lcn5 to the distal caput and Lcn8 to the initial segment), indicating that these promoter fragments contain important cis-regulatory element(s) for epididymis-specific gene expression. To define further the fragments regulating gene expression, the Lcn5 promoter was examined in transgenic mice and immortalized epididymal cell lines. After serial deletion, the 1.8 kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene was sufficient for tissue-specific and region-specific gene expression in transgenic mice. Transient transfection analysis revealed that a transcription factor forkhead box A2 (Foxa2) interacts with androgen receptor and binds to the 100 bp fragment of the Lcn5 promoter between 1.2 kb and 1.3 kb and that Foxa2 expression inhibits androgen-dependent induction of the Lcn5 promoter activity. Immunohistochemistry indicated a restricted expression of Foxa2 in the epididymis where endogenous Lcn5 gene expression is suppressed and that the Foxa2 inhibition of the Lcn5 promoter is consistent with the lack of expression of Lcn5 in the corpus and cauda. Our approach provides a basic strategy for further analysis of the epididymal lipocalin gene regulation and flexible control of epididymal function.
Murine epididymal retinoic acid-binding protein [or lipocalin 5 (Lcn5)] is synthesized and secreted by the principal cells of the mouse middle/distal caput epididymidis. A 5-kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene can dictate androgen-dependent and epididymis region-specific gene expression in transgenic mice. Here, we reported that the 1.8-kb Lcn5 promoter confers epididymis region-specific gene expression in transgenic mice. To decipher the mechanism that directs transcription, 14 chimeric constructs that sequentially removed 100 bp of 1.8-kb Lcn5 promoter were generated and transfected into epididymal cells and nonepididymal cells. Transient transfection analysis revealed that 1.3 kb promoter fragment gave the strongest response to androgens. Between the 1.2-kb to 1.3-kb region, two androgen receptor (AR) binding sites were identified. Adjacent to AR binding sites, a Foxa2 [Fox (Forkhead box) subclass A] binding site was confirmed by gel shift assay. Similar Foxa binding sites were also found on the promoters of human and rat Lcn5, indicating the Foxa binding site is conserved among species. We previously reported that among the three members of Foxa family, Foxa1 and Foxa3 were absent in the epididymis whereas Foxa2 was detected in epididymal principal cells. Here, we report that Foxa2 displays a region-specific expression pattern along the epididymis: no staining observed in initial segment, light staining in proximal caput, gradiently heavier staining in middle and distal caput, and strongest staining in corpus and cauda, regions with little or no expression of Lcn5. In transient transfection experiments, Foxa2 expression inhibits AR induction of the Lcn5 promoter, which is consistent with the lack of expression of Lcn5 in the corpus and cauda. We conclude that Foxa2 functions as a repressor that restricts AR regulation of Lcn5 to a segment-specific pattern in the epididymis.
Previous studies from our group have shown that Foxa1 is expressed in the prostate and interacts with the androgen receptor (AR) to regulate prostate-specific genes such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and probasin (PB). We report here that Foxa2 but not Foxa1 is expressed in the epididymis. Further, Foxa2 interacts with the AR to regulate the mouse epididymal retinoic acid binding protein (mE-RABP) gene, an epididymis-specific gene. Binding of Foxa2 to the mE-RABP promoter was confirmed by gel-shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays. Overexpression of Foxa2 suppresses androgen activation of the mE-RABP promoter while overexpression of Foxa2 with prostate-specific promoters activates gene expression in an androgen-independent manner. GST pull-down assays determined that both Foxa1 and Foxa2 physically interact with the DNA binding domain of the AR. The interaction between Foxa proteins and AR was further confirmed by gel-shift assays where Foxa protein was recruited to AR binding oligomers even when Foxa binding sites were not present, and AR was recruited to Foxa binding oligomers even in the absence of an AR binding site. Given that Foxa1 and Foxa2 proteins are expressed differentially in the prostate and epididymis, these data suggest that the Foxa proteins have distinct effects on AR-regulated genes in different male reproductive accessory organs.
Mammalian spermatozoa undergo several modification and finally acquire the ability to fertilize during epididymal transit. One of the distinct features of the epididymis is that it displays a highly regionalized pattern of gene expression. This tissue-, region-, and cell-specific pattern of gene expression is critical for the maintenance of a fully functional epididymis. One would hypothesize that disrupting this process provides an ideal approach to male contraception, since it would not interfere with testicular endocrine output or sperm production. To achieve this purpose, we studied a cluster of epididymis-specific lipocalin genes for understanding the specific mechanisms involved in the control of gene expression in the epididymis. We have identified six epididymis-specific lipocalin genes that are differently regulated and regionalized in the epididymis. Lipocalin 5 [Lcn5 or epididymal retinoic acid-binding protein (E-RABP)] is a member of this epididymis-specific lipocalin gene cluster, which binds hydrophobic molecules such as retinoic acid. We have previously shown that the 5kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene confers both androgen-dependent regulation and epididymis-specific gene expression in transgenic mice whereas 0.6 kb promoter fragment does not. To further narrow down the important cis-regulatory elements that regulate gene expression in the epididymis, we studied the Lcn5 promoter in both transgenic mice and immortalized epididymal cells. We have found that 1.8kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene was sufficient for tissue- and region-specific expression in transgenic mice, and that a transcription factor Forkhead box A2 (Foxa2) interacts with the androgen receptor and binds to the 100 bp fragment of the Lcn5 promoter between 1.2 and 1.3 kb. Our finding provides a framework for further analysis of the epididymal lipocalin gene regulation and modulated control of epididymis-specific expression.
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.
The murine epididymis synthesizes and secretes a retinoic acid-binding protein (mE-RABP) that belongs to the lipocalin superfamily. The gene encoding mE-RABP is specifically expressed in the mouse mid/distal caput epididymidis under androgen control. In transgenic mice, a 5-kilobase pair (kb) promoter fragment, but not a 0.6-kb fragment, of the mE-RABP gene driving the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene restricted high level of transgene expression to the caput epididymidis. No transgene expression was detected in any other male or female tissues. Immunolocalization of the CAT protein and in situ hybridization of the corresponding CAT mRNA indicated that transgene expression occurred in the principal cells of the mid/distal caput epididymidis, thereby mimicking the spatial endogenous mE-RABP gene expression. Transgene and mE-RABP gene expression was detected from 30 days and progressively increased until 60 days of age. Castration, efferent duct ligation, and hormone replacement studies demonstrated that transgene expression was specifically regulated by androgen but not by any other testicular factors. Altogether, our results demonstrate that the 5-kb promoter fragment of the mE-RABP gene contains all of the information required for the hormonal regulation and the spatial and temporal expression of the mE-RABP gene in the epididymis.
Whether ultimately utilized as retinoic acid, retinal, or retinol, vitamin A is transported to the target cells as all-trans-retinol bound to retinol-binding protein (RBP). Circulating in the plasma, RBP itself is bound to transthyretin (TTR, previously referred to as thyroxine-binding prealbumin). In vitro one tetramer of TTR can bind two molecules of retinol-binding protein. However, the concentration of RBP in the plasma is limiting, and the complex isolated from serum is composed of TTR and RBP in a 1 to 1 stoichiometry. We report here the crystallographic structure at 3.2 A of the protein-protein complex of human RBP and TTR. RBP binds at a 2-fold axis of symmetry in the TTR tetramer, and consequently the recognition site itself has 2-fold symmetry: Four TTR amino acids (Arg-21, Val-20, Leu-82, and Ile-84) are contributed by two monomers. Amino acids Trp-67, Phe-96, and Leu-63 and -97 from RBP are flanked by the symmetry-related side chains from TTR. In addition, the structure reveals an interaction of the carboxy terminus of RBP at the protein-protein recognition interface. This interaction, which involves Leu-182 and Leu-183 of RBP, is consistent with the observation that naturally occurring truncated forms of the protein are more readily cleared from plasma than full-length RBP. Complex formation prevents extensive loss of RBP through glomerular filtration, and the loss of Leu-182 and Leu-183 would result in a decreased affinity of RBP for TTR.