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COX (cyclooxygenase)-derived prostaglandins regulate renal hemodynamics and salt and water homeostasis. Inhibition of COX activity causes blood pressure elevation. In addition, chronic analgesic abuse can induce renal injury, including papillary necrosis. COX-2 is highly expressed in the kidney papilla in renal medullary interstitial cells (RMICs). However, its role in blood pressure and papillary integrity in vivo has not been definitively studied. In mice with selective, inducible RMIC COX-2 deletion, a high-salt diet led to an increase in blood pressure that peaked at 4 to 5 weeks and was associated with increased papillary expression of AQP2 (aquaporin 2) and ENac (epithelial sodium channel) and decreased expression of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. With continued high-salt feeding, the mice with RMIC COX-2 deletion had progressive decreases in blood pressure from its peak. After return to a normal-salt diet for 3 weeks, blood pressure remained low and was associated with a persistent urinary concentrating defect. Within 2 weeks of institution of a high-salt diet, increased apoptotic RMICs and collecting duct cells could be detected in papillae with RMIC deletion of COX-2, and by 9 weeks of high salt, there was a striking loss of the papillae. Therefore, RMIC COX-2 expression plays a crucial role in renal handling water and sodium homeostasis, preventing salt-sensitive hypertension and maintaining structural integrity of papilla.
Bcl-2 family proteins reorganize mitochondrial membranes during apoptosis, to form pores and rearrange cristae. In vitro and in vivo analysis integrated with human genetics reveals a novel homeostatic mitochondrial function for Bcl-2 family protein Bid. Loss of full-length Bid results in apoptosis-independent, irregular cristae with decreased respiration. mice display stress-induced myocardial dysfunction and damage. A gene-based approach applied to a biobank, validated in two independent GWAS studies, reveals that decreased genetically determined BID expression associates with myocardial infarction (MI) susceptibility. Patients in the bottom 5% of the expression distribution exhibit >4 fold increased MI risk. Carrier status with nonsynonymous variation in Bid's membrane binding domain, Bid, associates with MI predisposition. Furthermore, Bid but not Bid associates with Mcl-1, previously implicated in cristae stability; decreased MCL-1 expression associates with MI. Our results identify a role for Bid in homeostatic mitochondrial cristae reorganization, that we link to human cardiac disease.
© 2018, Salisbury-Ruf et al.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop local and systemic recurrence. Many patients do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life. Here we report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC. This combinatory therapy targets two proteins upregulated in TNBC: the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CBR, a G-protein coupled receptor) and translocator protein (TSPO, a mitochondria membrane receptor). We found that the combined CBR agonist and TSPO-PDT treatment resulted in synergistic inhibition in TNBC cell and tumor growth. This combinatory therapy approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study provides new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CBR agonists for cancer.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Within the course of a single minute, millions of cells in the human body will undergo programmed cell death in response to physiological or pathological cues. The diminished energetic capacity of an apoptotic cell renders the cell incapable of sustaining plasma membrane integrity. Under these circumstances, intracellular contents that might leak into the surrounding tissue microenvironment, a process referred to as secondary necrosis, could induce inflammation and tissue damage. Remarkably, in most cases of physiologically rendered apoptotic cell death, inflammation is avoided because a mechanism to swiftly remove apoptotic cells from the tissue prior to their secondary necrosis becomes activated. This mechanism, referred to as efferocytosis, uses phagocytes to precisely identify and engulf neighboring apoptotic cells. In doing so, efferocytosis mantains tissue homeostasis that would otherwise be disrupted by normal cellular turnover and exacerbated further when the burden of apoptotic cells becomes elevated due to disease or insult. Efferocytosis also supports the resolution of inflammation, restoring tissue homesostasis. The importance of efferocytosis in health and disease underlies the increasing research efforts to understand the mechanisms by which efferocytosis occurs, and how a failure in the efferocytic machinery contributes to diseases, or conversely, how cancers effectively use the existing efferocytic machinery to generate a tumor-tolerant, immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. We discuss herein the molecular mechanisms of efferocytosis, how the process of efferocytosis might support a tumor 'wound healing' phenotype, and efforts to target efferocytosis as an adjunct to existing tumor treatments.
Metastasis contributes to poor prognosis in many types of cancer and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Tumor cells metastasize to distant sites via the circulatory and lymphatic systems. In this review, we discuss the potential of circulating tumor cells for diagnosis and describe the experimental therapeutics that aim to target these disseminating cancer cells. We discuss the advantages and limitations of such strategies and how they may lead to the development of the next generation of antimetastasis treatments.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a common complication of open globe injury and the most common cause of failed retinal detachment surgery. The response by retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells liberated into the vitreous includes proliferation and migration; most importantly, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of RPE plays a central role in the development and progress of PVR. For the first time, we show that knockdown of BIRC5, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, using either lentiviral vector based CRISPR/Cas9 nickase gene editing or inhibition of survivin using the small-molecule inhibitor YM155, results in the suppression of EMT in RPE cells. Knockdown of survivin or inhibition of survivin significantly reduced TGFβ-induced cell proliferation and migration. We further demonstrated that knockdown or inhibition of survivin attenuated the TGFβ signaling by showing reduced phospho-SMAD2 in BIRC5 knockdown or YM155-treated cells compared to controls. Inhibition of the TGFβ pathway using TGFβ receptor inhibitor also suppressed survivin expression in RPE cells. Our studies demonstrate that survivin contributes to EMT by cross-talking with the TGFβ pathway in RPE cells. Targeting survivin using small-molecule inhibitors may provide a novel approach to treat PVR disease.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Several viruses induce intestinal epithelial cell death during enteric infection. However, it is unclear whether proapoptotic capacity promotes or inhibits replication in this tissue. We infected mice with two reovirus strains that infect the intestine but differ in the capacity to alter immunological tolerance to new food antigen. Infection with reovirus strain T1L, which induces an inflammatory immune response to fed antigen, is prolonged in the intestine, whereas T3D-RV, which does not induce this response, is rapidly cleared from the intestine. Compared with T1L, T3D-RV infection triggered apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells and subsequent sloughing of dead cells into the intestinal lumen. We conclude that the infection advantage of T1L derives from its capacity to subvert host restriction by epithelial cell apoptosis, providing a possible mechanism by which T1L enhances inflammatory signals during antigen feeding. Using a panel of T1L × T3D-RV reassortant viruses, we identified the viral M1 and M2 gene segments as determinants of reovirus-induced apoptosis in the intestine. Expression of the T1L M1 and M2 genes in a T3D-RV background was sufficient to limit epithelial cell apoptosis and enhance viral infection to levels displayed by T1L. These findings define additional reovirus gene segments required for enteric infection of mice and illuminate the antiviral effect of intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis in limiting enteric viral infection. Viral strain-specific differences in the capacity to infect the intestine may be useful in identifying viruses capable of ameliorating tolerance to fed antigen in autoimmune conditions like celiac disease. Acute viral infections are thought to be cleared by the host with few lasting consequences. However, there may be much broader and long-lasting effects of viruses on immune homeostasis. Infection with reovirus, a common, nonpathogenic virus, triggers inflammation against innocuous food antigens, implicating this virus in the development of celiac disease, an autoimmune intestinal disorder triggered by exposure to dietary gluten. Using two reovirus strains that differ in the capacity to abrogate oral tolerance, we found that strain-specific differences in the capacity to replicate in the intestine inversely correlate with the capacity to induce apoptotic death of intestinal epithelial cells, providing a host-mediated process to restrict intestinal infection. This work contributes new knowledge about virus-host interactions in the intestine and establishes a foundation for future studies to define mechanisms by which viruses break oral tolerance in celiac disease.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) maintain a highly fragmented mitochondrial network, but the mechanisms regulating this phenotype remain unknown. Here, we describe a non-cell death function of the anti-apoptotic protein, MCL-1, in regulating mitochondrial dynamics and promoting pluripotency of stem cells. MCL-1 is induced upon reprogramming, and its inhibition or knockdown induces dramatic changes to the mitochondrial network as well as loss of the key pluripotency transcription factors, NANOG and OCT4. Aside from localizing at the outer mitochondrial membrane like other BCL-2 family members, MCL-1 is unique in that it also resides at the mitochondrial matrix in pluripotent stem cells. Mechanistically, we find MCL-1 to interact with DRP-1 and OPA1, two GTPases responsible for remodeling the mitochondrial network. Depletion of MCL-1 compromised the levels and activity of these key regulators of mitochondrial dynamics. Our findings uncover an unexpected, non-apoptotic function for MCL-1 in the maintenance of mitochondrial structure and stemness.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Estrogen receptor-α positive (ERα+) breast cancer accounts for approximately 70-80% of the nearly 25,0000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the US each year. Endocrine-targeted therapies (those that block ERα activity) serve as the first line of treatment in most cases. Despite the proven benefit of endocrine therapies, however, ERα+ breast tumors can develop resistance to endocrine therapy, causing disease progression or relapse, particularly in the metastatic setting. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins enhance breast tumor cell survival, often promoting resistance to targeted therapies, including endocrine therapies. Herein, we investigated whether blockade of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins could sensitize luminal breast cancers to anti-estrogen treatment. We used long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) of human ERα+ breast cancer cell lines, an established model of sustained treatment with and acquired resistance to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), in combination with Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition (ABT-263), finding that ABT-263 induced only limited tumor cell killing in LTED-selected cells in culture and in vivo. Interestingly, expression and activity of the Bcl-2-related factor Mcl-1 was increased in LTED cells. Genetic Mcl-1 ablation induced apoptosis in LTED-selected cells, and potently increased their sensitivity to ABT-263. Increased expression and activity of Mcl-1 was similarly seen in clinical breast tumor specimens treated with AI + the selective estrogen receptor downregulator fulvestrant. Delivery of Mcl-1 siRNA loaded into polymeric nanoparticles (MCL1 si-NPs) decreased Mcl-1 expression in LTED-selected and fulvestrant-treated cells, increasing tumor cell death and blocking tumor cell growth. These findings suggest that Mcl-1 upregulation in response to anti-estrogen treatment enhances tumor cell survival, decreasing response to therapeutic treatments. Therefore, strategies blocking Mcl-1 expression or activity used in combination with endocrine therapies would enhance tumor cell death.
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.