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RATIONALE - The rapid induction and orchestration of new blood vessels are critical for tissue repair in response to injury, such as myocardial infarction, and for physiological angiogenic responses, such as embryonic development and exercise.
OBJECTIVE - We aimed to identify and characterize microRNAs (miR) that regulate pathological and physiological angiogenesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We show that miR-26a regulates pathological and physiological angiogenesis by targeting endothelial cell (EC) bone morphogenic protein/SMAD1 signaling in vitro and in vivo. MiR-26a expression is increased in a model of acute myocardial infarction in mice and in human subjects with acute coronary syndromes. Ectopic expression of miR-26a markedly induced EC cycle arrest and inhibited EC migration, sprouting angiogenesis, and network tube formation in matrigel, whereas blockade of miR-26a had the opposite effects. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that miR-26a inhibits the bone morphogenic protein/SMAD1 signaling pathway in ECs by binding to the SMAD1 3'-untranslated region, an effect that decreased expression of Id1 and increased p21(WAF/CIP) and p27. In zebrafish, miR-26a overexpression inhibited formation of the caudal vein plexus, a bone morphogenic protein-responsive process, an effect rescued by ectopic SMAD1 expression. In mice, miR-26a overexpression inhibited EC SMAD1 expression and exercise-induced angiogenesis. Furthermore, systemic intravenous administration of an miR-26a inhibitor, locked nucleic acid-anti-miR-26a, increased SMAD1 expression and rapidly induced robust angiogenesis within 2 days, an effect associated with reduced myocardial infarct size and improved heart function.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings establish miR-26a as a regulator of bone morphogenic protein/SMAD1-mediated EC angiogenic responses, and that manipulating miR-26a expression could provide a new target for rapid angiogenic therapy in ischemic disease states.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are secreted cytokines that are part of the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) superfamily. BMPs have been shown to be highly expressed in human breast cancers, and loss of BMP signaling in mammary carcinomas has been shown to accelerate metastases. Interestingly, other work has indicated that stimulation of dermal fibroblasts with BMP can enhance secretion of pro-tumorigenic factors. Furthermore, treatment of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) derived from a mouse prostate carcinoma with BMP4 was shown to stimulate angiogenesis. We sought to determine the effect of BMP treatment on mammary fibroblasts. A large number of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix-metallo proteases (MMPs) were found to be upregulated in response to BMP4 treatment. Fibroblasts that were stimulated with BMP4 were found to enhance mammary carcinoma cell invasion, and these effects were inhibited by a BMP receptor kinase antagonist. Treatment with BMP in turn elevated pro-tumorigenic secreted factors such as IL-6 and MMP-3. These experiments demonstrate that BMP may stimulate tumor progression within the tumor microenvironment.
In mouse and human neural progenitor and glioblastoma "stem-like" cells, we identified key targets of the Polycomb-group protein BMI1 by combining ChIP-seq with in vivo RNAi screening. We discovered that Bmi1 is important in the cellular response to the transforming growth factor-β/bone morphogenetic protein (TGF-β/BMP) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathways, in part converging on the Atf3 transcriptional repressor. We show that Atf3 is a tumor-suppressor gene inactivated in human glioblastoma multiforme together with Cbx7 and a few other candidates. Acting downstream of the ER stress and BMP pathways, ATF3 binds to cell-type-specific accessible chromatin preloaded with AP1 and participates in the inhibition of critical oncogenic networks. Our data support the feasibility of combining ChIP-seq and RNAi screens in solid tumors and highlight multiple p16(INK4a)/p19(ARF)-independent functions for Bmi1 in development and cancer.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Anemia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD) that negatively impacts the quality of life and is associated with numerous adverse outcomes. Excess levels of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin are thought to contribute to anemia in CKD patients by decreasing iron availability from the diet and from body stores. Adenine treatment in rats has been proposed as an animal model of anemia of CKD with high hepcidin levels that mirrors the condition in human patients.
METHODS - We developed a modified adenine-induced kidney disease model with a higher survival rate than previously reported models, while maintaining persistent kidney disease and anemia. We then tested whether the small molecule bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) inhibitor LDN-193189, which was previously shown to lower hepcidin levels in rodents, mobilized iron into the plasma and improved iron-restricted erythropoiesis in this model.
RESULTS - Adenine-treated rats exhibited increased hepatic hepcidin mRNA, decreased serum iron, increased spleen iron content, low hemoglobin (Hb) and inappropriately low erythropoietin (EPO) levels relative to the degree of anemia. LDN-193189 administration to adenine-treated rats lowered hepatic hepcidin mRNA, mobilized stored iron into plasma and increased Hb content of reticulocytes.
CONCLUSIONS - Our data suggest that hepcidin lowering agents may provide a new therapeutic strategy to improve iron availability for erythropoiesis in CKD.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and carries a significant risk of stroke and heart failure. The molecular etiologies of AF are poorly understood, leaving patients with limited therapeutic options. AF has been recognized as an inherited disease in almost 30% of patient cases. However, few genetic loci have been identified and the mechanisms linking genetic variants to AF susceptibility remain unclear. By sequencing 193 probands with lone AF, we identified a Q76E variant within the coding sequence of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist gremlin-2 (GREM2) that increases its inhibitory activity. Functional modeling in zebrafish revealed that, through regulation of BMP signaling, GREM2 is required for cardiac laterality and atrial differentiation during embryonic development. GREM2 overactivity results in slower cardiac contraction rates in zebrafish, and induction of previously identified AF candidate genes encoding connexin-40, sarcolipin and atrial natriuretic peptide in differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells. By live heart imaging in zebrafish overexpressing wild-type or variant GREM2, we found abnormal contraction velocity specifically in atrial cardiomyocytes. These results implicate, for the first time, regulators of BMP signaling in human AF, providing mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of the disease and identifying potential new therapeutic targets.
Juvenile ischemic osteonecrosis of the femoral head (IOFH) is one of the most serious hip conditions causing the femoral head deformity. Little is known about BMP signaling following ischemic osteonecrosis. In this study, we found acute BMP2 upregulation in the femoral head cartilage 24h after ischemic induction using our immature pig IOFH model. Similarly, in our ischemic osteonecrosis mouse model, BMP2 expression and BMP signaling were enhanced in the articular cartilage surrounding the necrotic bone. BMP2 was increased in cartilage explants and primary chondrocytes under hypoxia (1% O(2)) compared with normoxia (21% O(2)). Addition of the hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1) activator DFO significantly increased BMP2 while HIF1 silencing (siHIF1) only partially reduced BMP2, suggesting other mechanisms of BMP2 upregulation being present. Hypoxia is known to induce the production of free oxygen radicals, which are converted to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) by superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2). As an alternative mechanism, we investigated the effect of H(2)O(2)/SOD2 production on BMP2 upregulation. Chondrocytes produced more H(2)O(2) under hypoxia than normoxia. H(2)O(2) addition to the chondrocyte culture also significantly increased BMP2 expression. SOD2 was also dramatically increased in the ischemic pig cartilage at 24h following surgery and in primary chondrocytes/cartilage explants culture under hypoxia. SOD2 protein addition to the chondrocyte culture significantly increased BMP2. Moreover, DFO significantly increased SOD2 while HIF1 silencing only partially reduced SOD2. These results suggest that the acute BMP2 response of chondrocytes to ischemic osteonecrosis is more dominantly through the H(2)O(2) production and only partly through the HIF1 pathway.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A Drosophila transgenic RNAi screen targeting the glycan genome, including all N/O/GAG-glycan biosynthesis/modification enzymes and glycan-binding lectins, was conducted to discover novel glycan functions in synaptogenesis. As proof-of-product, we characterized functionally paired heparan sulfate (HS) 6-O-sulfotransferase (hs6st) and sulfatase (sulf1), which bidirectionally control HS proteoglycan (HSPG) sulfation. RNAi knockdown of hs6st and sulf1 causes opposite effects on functional synapse development, with decreased (hs6st) and increased (sulf1) neurotransmission strength confirmed in null mutants. HSPG co-receptors for WNT and BMP intercellular signaling, Dally-like Protein and Syndecan, are differentially misregulated in the synaptomatrix of these mutants. Consistently, hs6st and sulf1 nulls differentially elevate both WNT (Wingless; Wg) and BMP (Glass Bottom Boat; Gbb) ligand abundance in the synaptomatrix. Anterograde Wg signaling via Wg receptor dFrizzled2 C-terminus nuclear import and retrograde Gbb signaling via synaptic MAD phosphorylation and nuclear import are differentially activated in hs6st and sulf1 mutants. Consequently, transcriptional control of presynaptic glutamate release machinery and postsynaptic glutamate receptors is bidirectionally altered in hs6st and sulf1 mutants, explaining the bidirectional change in synaptic functional strength. Genetic correction of the altered WNT/BMP signaling restores normal synaptic development in both mutant conditions, proving that altered trans-synaptic signaling causes functional differentiation defects.
Despite reports of sex steroid receptor and COX2 expression in desmoid-type fibromatosis, responses to single agent therapy with anti-estrogens and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are unpredictable. Perhaps combination pharmacotherapy might be more effective in desmoid tumors that co-express these targets. Clearly, further understanding of the signaling pathways deregulated in desmoid tumors is essential for the development of targeted molecular therapy. Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are important regulators of fibroblast proliferation and matrix deposition, but little is known about the TGFβ superfamily in fibromatosis. A tissue microarray representing 27 desmoid tumors was constructed; 14 samples of healing scar and six samples of normal fibrous tissue were included for comparison. Expression of selected receptors and activated downstream transcription factors of TGFβ family signaling pathways, β-catenin, sex steroid hormone receptors and COX2 were assessed using immunohistochemistry; patterns of co-expression were explored via correlational statistical analyses. In addition to β-catenin, immunoreactivity for phosphorylated SMAD2/3 (indicative of active TGFβ signaling) and COX2 was significantly increased in desmoid tumors compared with healing scar and quiescent fibrous tissue. Low levels of phosphorylated SMAD1/5/8 were detected in only a minority of cases. Transforming growth factor-β receptor type 1 and androgen receptor were expressed in both desmoid tumors and scar, but not in fibrous tissue. Estrogen receptor-β was present in all cases studied. Transforming growth factor-β signaling appears to be activated in desmoid-type fibromatosis and phosphorylated SMAD2/3 and COX2 immunoreactivity might be of diagnostic utility in these tumors. Given the frequency of androgen receptor, estrogen receptor-β and COX2 co-expression in desmoid tumors, further assessment of the efficacy of combination pharmacotherapy using hormonal agonists/antagonists together with COX2 inhibitors should be considered.
© 2012 Japanese Cancer Association.
Extracellular signals in development, physiology, homeostasis and disease often act by regulating transcription. Herein we describe a general method and specific resources for determining where and when such signaling occurs in live animals and for systematically comparing the timing and extent of different signals in different cellular contexts. We used recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) to test the effect of successively deleting conserved genomic regions of the ubiquitously active Rosa26 promoter and substituting the deleted regions for regulatory sequences that respond to diverse extracellular signals. We thereby created an allelic series of embryonic stem cells and mice, each containing a signal-responsive sentinel with different fluorescent reporters that respond with sensitivity and specificity to retinoic acids, bone morphogenic proteins, activin A, Wnts or Notch, and that can be adapted to any pathway that acts via DNA elements.
Recent successes in deriving human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) allow for the possibility of studying human neurons derived from patients with neurological diseases. Concomitant inhibition of the BMP and TGF-β1 branches of the TGF-β signaling pathways by the endogenous antagonist, Noggin, and the small molecule SB431542, respectively, induces efficient neuralization of hiPSCs, a method known as dual-SMAD inhibition. The use of small molecule inhibitors instead of their endogenous counterparts has several advantages including lower cost, consistent activity, and the maintenance of xeno-free culture conditions. We tested the efficacy of DMH1, a highly selective small molecule BMP-inhibitor for its potential to replace Noggin in the neuralization of hiPSCs. We compare Noggin and DMH1-induced neuralization of hiPSCs by measuring protein and mRNA levels of pluripotency and neural precursor markers over a period of seven days. The regulation of five of the six markers assessed was indistinguishable in the presence of concentrations of Noggin or DMH1 that have been shown to effectively inhibit BMP signaling in other systems. We observed that by varying the DMH1 or Noggin concentration, we could selectively modulate the number of SOX1 expressing cells, whereas PAX6, another neural precursor marker, remained the same. The level and timing of SOX1 expression have been shown to affect neural induction as well as neural lineage. Our observations, therefore, suggest that BMP-inhibitor concentrations need to be carefully monitored to ensure appropriate expression levels of all transcription factors necessary for the induction of a particular neuronal lineage. We further demonstrate that DMH1-induced neural progenitors can be differentiated into β3-tubulin expressing neurons, a subset of which also express tyrosine hydroxylase. Thus, the combined use of DMH1, a highly specific BMP-pathway inhibitor, and SB431542, a TGF-β1-pathway specific inhibitor, provides us with the tools to independently regulate these two pathways through the exclusive use of small molecule inhibitors.