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The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is usually defined as the frontal cortical area receiving a mediodorsal thalamic (MD) innervation. Certain areas in the medial wall of the rat frontal area receive a MD innervation. A second frontal area that is the target of MD projections is located dorsal to the rhinal sulcus and often referred to as the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Both the medial PFC and OFC are comprised of a large number of cytoarchitectonic regions. We assessed the afferent innervation of the different areas of the OFC, with a focus on projections arising from the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus, the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala, and the midbrain dopamine neurons. Although there are specific inputs to various OFC areas, a simplified organizational scheme could be defined, with the medial areas of the OFC receiving thalamic inputs, the lateral areas of the OFC being the recipient of amygdala afferents, and a central zone that was the target of midbrain dopamine neurons. Anterograde tracer data were consistent with this organization of afferents, and revealed that the OFC inputs from these three subcortical sites were largely spatially segregated. This spatial segregation suggests that the central portion of the OFC (pregenual agranular insular cortex) is the only OFC region that is a prefrontal cortical area, analogous to the prelimbic cortex in the medial prefrontal cortex. These findings highlight the heterogeneity of the OFC, and suggest possible functional attributes of the three different OFC areas.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Hydrodynamic injection creates a local, high-pressure environment to transfect various tissues with plasmid DNA and other substances. Hydrodynamic tail vein injection, for example, is a well-established method by which the liver can be transfected. This manuscript describes an application of hydrodynamic principles by injection of the mouse kidney directly with plasmid DNA for kidney-specific gene expression. Mice are anesthetized and the kidney is exposed by a flank incision followed by a fast injection of a plasmid DNA-containing solution directly into the renal pelvis. The needle is kept in place for ten seconds and the incision site is sutured. The following day, live animal imaging, Western blot, or immunohistochemistry may be used to assay gene expression, or other assays suited to the transgene of choice are used for detection of the protein of interest. Published methods to prolong gene expression include transposon-mediated transgene integration and cyclophosphamide treatment to inhibit the immune response to the transgene.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are major components of the carcinoma microenvironment that promote tumor progression. However, the mechanisms by which CAFs regulate cancer cell migration are poorly understood. In this study, we show that fibronectin (Fn) assembled by CAFs mediates CAF-cancer cell association and directional migration. Compared with normal fibroblasts, CAFs produce an Fn-rich extracellular matrix with anisotropic fiber orientation, which guides the cancer cells to migrate directionally. CAFs align the Fn matrix by increasing nonmuscle myosin II- and platelet-derived growth factor receptor α-mediated contractility and traction forces, which are transduced to Fn through α5β1 integrin. We further show that prostate cancer cells use αv integrin to migrate efficiently and directionally on CAF-derived matrices. We demonstrate that aligned Fn is a prominent feature of invasion sites in human prostatic and pancreatic carcinoma samples. Collectively, we present a new mechanism by which CAFs organize the Fn matrix and promote directional cancer cell migration.
© 2017 Erdogan et al.
RAD51 promotes homology-directed repair (HDR), replication fork reversal, and stalled fork protection. Defects in these functions cause genomic instability and tumorigenesis but also generate hypersensitivity to cancer therapeutics. Here we describe the identification of RADX as an RPA-like, single-strand DNA binding protein. RADX is recruited to replication forks, where it prevents fork collapse by regulating RAD51. When RADX is inactivated, excessive RAD51 activity slows replication elongation and causes double-strand breaks. In cancer cells lacking BRCA2, RADX deletion restores fork protection without restoring HDR. Furthermore, RADX inactivation confers chemotherapy and PARP inhibitor resistance to cancer cells with reduced BRCA2/RAD51 pathway function. By antagonizing RAD51 at forks, RADX allows cells to maintain a high capacity for HDR while ensuring that replication functions of RAD51 are properly regulated. Thus, RADX is essential to achieve the proper balance of RAD51 activity to maintain genome stability.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The SMOOTHENED inhibitor vismodegib is FDA approved for advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and shows promise in clinical trials for SONIC HEDGEHOG (SHH)-subgroup medulloblastoma (MB) patients. Clinical experience with BCC patients shows that continuous exposure to vismodegib is necessary to prevent tumor recurrence, suggesting the existence of a vismodegib-resistant reservoir of tumor-propagating cells. We isolated such tumor-propagating cells from a mouse model of SHH-subgroup MB and grew them as sphere cultures. These cultures were enriched for the MB progenitor marker SOX2 and formed tumors in vivo. Moreover, while their ability to self-renew was resistant to SHH inhibitors, as has been previously suggested, this self-renewal was instead WNT-dependent. We show here that loss of Trp53 activates canonical WNT signaling in these SOX2-enriched cultures. Importantly, a small molecule WNT inhibitor was able to reduce the propagation and growth of SHH-subgroup MB in vivo, in an on-target manner, leading to increased survival. Our results imply that the tumor-propagating cells driving the growth of bulk SHH-dependent MB are themselves WNT dependent. Further, our data suggest combination therapy with WNT and SHH inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy in patients with SHH-subgroup MB, in order to decrease the tumor recurrence commonly observed in patients treated with vismodegib.
The IL-17/IL-17R axis has controversial roles in cancer, which may be explained by tumor-specific results. Here, we describe a novel molecular mechanism underlying IL-17RC-controlled tumor-specific proliferation. Triggered by IL-17RC knockdown (KD), B16 melanoma and 4T1 carcinoma cells inversely altered homeostatic tumor proliferation and tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. In contrast to the existing dogma that IL-17RC-dependent signaling activates the JNK pathway, IL-17RC KD in both tumor cell lines caused aberrant expression and activation of different JNK isoforms along with markedly diminished levels of the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20. We demonstrated that differential up-regulation of JNK1 and JNK2 in the two tumor cell lines was responsible for the reciprocal regulation of c-Jun activity and tumor-specific proliferation. Furthermore, we showed that A20 reconstitution of IL-17RCKD clones with expression of full-length A20, but not a truncation-mutant, reversed aberrant JNK1/JNK2 activities and tumor-specific proliferation. Collectively, our study reveals a critical role of IL-17RC in maintaining baseline A20 production and a novel role of the IL-17RC-A20 axis in controlling JNK isoform-dependent tumor-specific homeostatic proliferation.
OBJECTIVE - Endoglin, a transforming growth factor-β superfamily coreceptor, is predominantly expressed in endothelial cells and has essential roles in vascular development. However, whether endoglin is also expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), especially in vivo, remains controversial. Furthermore, the roles of endoglin in VSMC biology remain largely unknown. Our objective was to examine the expression and determine the function of endoglin in VSMCs during angiogenesis.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Here, we determine that endoglin is robustly expressed in VSMCs. Using CRISPR/CAS9 knockout and short hairpin RNA knockdown in the VSMC/endothelial coculture model system, we determine that endoglin in VSMCs, but not in endothelial cells, promotes VSMCs recruitment by the endothelial cells both in vitro and in vivo. Using an unbiased bioinformatics analysis of RNA sequencing data and further study, we determine that, mechanistically, endoglin mediates VSMC recruitment by promoting VSMC migration and spreading on endothelial cells via increasing integrin/FAK pathway signaling, whereas endoglin has minimal effects on VSMC adhesion to endothelial cells. In addition, we further determine that loss of endoglin in VSMCs inhibits VSMC recruitment in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies demonstrate that endoglin has an important role in VSMC recruitment and blood vessel maturation during angiogenesis and also provide novel insights into how discordant endoglin function in endothelial and VSMCs may regulate vascular maturation and angiogenesis.
© 2017 The Authors.
BACKGROUND - The widely used macrolide antibiotic azithromycin increases risk of cardiovascular and sudden cardiac death, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Case reports, including the one we document here, demonstrate that azithromycin can cause rapid, polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the absence of QT prolongation, indicating a novel proarrhythmic syndrome. We investigated the electrophysiological effects of azithromycin in vivo and in vitro using mice, cardiomyocytes, and human ion channels heterologously expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK 293) and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In conscious telemetered mice, acute intraperitoneal and oral administration of azithromycin caused effects consistent with multi-ion channel block, with significant sinus slowing and increased PR, QRS, QT, and QTc intervals, as seen with azithromycin overdose. Similarly, in HL-1 cardiomyocytes, the drug slowed sinus automaticity, reduced phase 0 upstroke slope, and prolonged action potential duration. Acute exposure to azithromycin reduced peak SCN5A currents in HEK cells (IC=110±3 μmol/L) and Na current in mouse ventricular myocytes. However, with chronic (24 hour) exposure, azithromycin caused a ≈2-fold increase in both peak and late SCN5A currents, with findings confirmed for I in cardiomyocytes. Mild block occurred for K currents representing I (CHO cells expressing hERG; IC=219±21 μmol/L) and I (CHO cells expressing KCNQ1+KCNE1; IC=184±12 μmol/L), whereas azithromycin suppressed L-type Ca currents (rabbit ventricular myocytes, IC=66.5±4 μmol/L) and I (HEK cells expressing Kir2.1, IC=44±3 μmol/L).
CONCLUSIONS - Chronic exposure to azithromycin increases cardiac Na current to promote intracellular Na loading, providing a potential mechanistic basis for the novel form of proarrhythmia seen with this macrolide antibiotic.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
Methods enabling kidney-specific gene transfer in adult mice are needed to develop new therapies for kidney disease. We attempted kidney-specific gene transfer following hydrodynamic tail vein injection using the kidney-specific podocin and gamma-glutamyl transferase promoters, but found expression primarily in the liver. In order to achieve kidney-specific transgene expression, we tested direct hydrodynamic injection of a DNA solution into the renal pelvis and found that luciferase expression was strong in the kidney and absent from extra-renal tissues. We observed heterogeneous, low-level transfection of the collecting duct, proximal tubule, distal tubule, interstitial cells, and rarely glomerular cells following injection. To assess renal injury, we performed the renal pelvis injections on uninephrectomised mice and found that their blood urea nitrogen was elevated at two days post-transfer but resolved within two weeks. Although luciferase expression quickly decreased following renal pelvis injection, the use of the piggyBac transposon system improved long-term expression. Immunosuppression with cyclophosphamide stabilised luciferase expression, suggesting immune clearance of the transfected cells occurs in immunocompetent animals. Injection of a transposon expressing erythropoietin raised the haematocrit, indicating that the developed injection technique can elicit a biologic effect in vivo. Hydrodynamic renal pelvis injection enables transposon mediated-kidney specific gene transfer in adult mice.
Clostridium difficile infection affects a significant number of hospitalized patients in the United States. Two homologous exotoxins, TcdA and TcdB, are the major virulence factors in C. difficile pathogenesis. The toxins are glucosyltransferases that inactivate Rho family-GTPases to disrupt host cellular function and cause fluid secretion, inflammation, and cell death. Toxicity depends on receptor binding and subsequent endocytosis. TcdB has been shown to enter cells by clathrin-dependent endocytosis, but the mechanism of TcdA uptake is still unclear. Here, we utilize a combination of RNAi-based knockdown, pharmacological inhibition, and cell imaging approaches to investigate the endocytic mechanism(s) that contribute to TcdA uptake and subsequent cytopathic and cytotoxic effects. We show that TcdA uptake and cellular intoxication is dynamin-dependent but does not involve clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis. Confocal microscopy using fluorescently labeled TcdA shows significant colocalization of the toxin with PACSIN2-positive structures in cells during entry. Disruption of PACSIN2 function by RNAi-based knockdown approaches inhibits TcdA uptake and toxin-induced downstream effects in cells indicating that TcdA entry is PACSIN2-dependent. We conclude that TcdA and TcdB utilize distinct endocytic mechanisms to intoxicate host cells.