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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death in young adults in the United States, but there is still no effective agent for treatment. N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA) is a major endocannabinoid in the brain. Its increase after brain injury is believed to be protective. However, the compensatory role of AEA is transient due to its rapid hydrolysis by the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Thus, inhibition of FAAH can boost the endogenous levels of AEA and prolong its protective effect. Using a TBI mouse model, we found that post-injury chronic treatment with PF3845, a selective and potent FAAH inhibitor, reversed TBI-induced impairments in fine motor movement, hippocampus dependent working memory and anxiety-like behavior. Treatment with PF3845 inactivated FAAH activity and enhanced the AEA levels in the brain. It reduced neurodegeneration in the dentate gyrus, and up-regulated the expression of Bcl-2 and Hsp70/72 in both cortex and hippocampus. PF3845 also suppressed the increased production of amyloid precursor protein, prevented dendritic loss and restored the levels of synaptophysin in the ipsilateral dentate gyrus. Furthermore, PF3845 suppressed the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 and enhanced the expression of arginase-1 post-TBI, suggesting a shift of microglia/macrophages from M1 to M2 phenotype. The effects of PF3845 on TBI-induced behavioral deficits and neurodegeneration were mediated by activation of cannabinoid type 1 and 2 receptors and might be attributable to the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and AKT. These results suggest that selective inhibition of FAAH is likely to be beneficial for TBI treatment.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Serine/threonine protein phosphatase 5 (PP5, PPP5C) is known to interact with the chaperonin heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and is involved in the regulation of multiple cellular signaling cascades that control diverse cellular processes, such as cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, motility, and apoptosis. Here, we identify PP5 in stable complexes with extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs). Studies using mutant proteins reveal that the formation of PP5·ERK1 and PP5·ERK2 complexes partially depends on HSP90 binding to PP5 but does not require PP5 or ERK1/2 activity. However, PP5 and ERK activity regulates the phosphorylation state of Raf1 kinase, an upstream activator of ERK signaling. Whereas expression of constitutively active Rac1 promotes the assembly of PP5·ERK1/2 complexes, acute activation of ERK1/2 fails to influence the phosphatase-kinase interaction. Introduction of oncogenic HRas (HRas(V12)) has no effect on PP5-ERK1 binding but selectively decreases the interaction of PP5 with ERK2, in a manner that is independent of PP5 and MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK) activity, yet paradoxically requires ERK2 activity. Additional studies conducted with oncogenic variants of KRas4B reveal that KRas(L61), but not KRas(V12), also decreases the PP5-ERK2 interaction. The expression of wild type HRas or KRas proteins fails to reduce PP5-ERK2 binding, indicating that the effect is specific to HRas(V12) and KRas(L61) gain-of-function mutations. These findings reveal a novel, differential responsiveness of PP5-ERK1 and PP5-ERK2 interactions to select oncogenic Ras variants and also support a role for PP5·ERK complexes in regulating the feedback phosphorylation of PP5-associated Raf1.
UNLABELLED - Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a potentially curative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, incomplete RFA can induce accelerated invasive growth at the periphery. The mechanisms underlying the RFA-induced tumor promotion remain largely unexplored. Three human HCC cell lines were exposed to 45°C-55°C for 10 minutes, simulating the marginal zone of RFA treatment. At 5-12 days post-treatment cell proliferation, parameters of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases were analyzed. Livers from patients with viral hepatitis without and with HCC (n = 114) were examined to confirm the relevance of altered kinase patterns. In vivo tumorigenic potential of heat-treated versus untreated HCC cells was studied in nude mice. Heating to 55°C killed all HCC cells, whereas 65%-85% of cells survived 48°C-50°C, developing spindle-like morphology and expressing CD133, cytokeratin (CK)7, CK19, procollagen-α1(I), and Snail at day 5 after heat exposure, which returned to baseline at day 12. Heat-exposed HCC cells showed enhanced proliferation and prominent activation of p46-Shc (Src homology and collagen) and downstream extracellular signal-related kinase (Erk)1/2. In patients, Shc expression correlated with malignant potential and overall survival. Blocking Erk1/2 reduced proliferation and EMT-like changes of heat-treated HCC cells. Implantation of heat-exposed HEPG2 cells into nude mice induced significantly larger, more aggressive tumors than untreated cells.
CONCLUSIONS - Sublethal heat treatment skews HCC cells toward EMT and transforms them to a progenitor-like, highly proliferative cellular phenotype in vitro and in vivo, which is driven significantly by p46Shc-Erk1/2. Suboptimal RFA accelerates HCC growth and spread by transiently inducing an EMT-like, more aggressive cellular phenotype.
© 2013 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
The severe defects in growth plate development caused by chondrocyte extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) gain or loss-of-function suggest that tight spatial and temporal regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling is necessary to achieve harmonious growth plate elongation and structure. We provide here evidence that neurofibromin, via its Ras guanosine triphosphatase -activating activity, controls ERK1/2-dependent fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling in chondrocytes. We show first that neurofibromin is expressed in FGFR-positive prehypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes during growth plate endochondral ossification. Using mice lacking neurofibromin 1 (Nf1) in type II collagen-expressing cells, (Nf1col2(-/-) mutant mice), we then show that lack of neurofibromin in post-mitotic chondrocytes triggers a number of phenotypes reminiscent of the ones observed in mice characterized by FGFR gain-of-function mutations. Those include dwarfism, constitutive ERK1/2 activation, strongly reduced Ihh expression and decreased chondrocyte proliferation and maturation, increased chondrocytic expression of Rankl, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (Mmp9) and Mmp13 and enhanced growth plate osteoclastogenesis, as well as increased sensitivity to caspase-9 mediated apoptosis. Using wildtype (WT) and Nf1(-/-) chondrocyte cultures in vitro, we show that FGF2 pulse-stimulation triggers rapid ERK1/2 phosphorylation in both genotypes, but that return to the basal level is delayed in Nf1(-/-) chondrocytes. Importantly, in vivo ERK1/2 inhibition by daily injection of a recombinant form of C-type natriuretic peptide to post-natal pups for 18 days was able to correct the short stature of Nf1col2(-/-) mice. Together, these results underscore the requirement of neurofibromin and ERK1/2 for normal endochondral bone formation and support the notion that neurofibromin, by restraining RAS-ERK1/2 signaling, is a negative regulator of FGFR signaling in differentiating chondrocytes.
Renal insufficiency is a common and severe complication of sepsis, and the development of kidney dysfunction increases morbidity and mortality in septic patients. Sepsis is associated with a variety of defects in renal tubule function, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. We used a cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) model to examine mechanisms by which sepsis influences the transport function of the medullary thick ascending limb (MTAL). MTALs from sham and CLP mice were studied in vitro 18 h after surgery. The results show that sepsis impairs the ability of the MTAL to absorb HCO(3)(-) through two distinct mechanisms. First, sepsis induces an adaptive decrease in the intrinsic capacity of the tubules to absorb HCO(3)(-). This effect is associated with an increase in ERK phosphorylation in MTAL cells and is prevented by pretreatment of CLP mice with a MEK/ERK inhibitor. The CLP-induced reduction in intrinsic HCO(3)(-) absorption rate appears to involve loss of function of basolateral Na(+)/H(+) exchange. Second, sepsis enhances the ability of LPS to inhibit HCO(3)(-) absorption, mediated through upregulation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-ERK signaling in the basolateral membrane. The two inhibitory mechanisms are additive and thus can function in a two-hit capacity to impair renal tubule function in sepsis. Both effects depend on ERK and are eliminated by interventions that prevent ERK activation. Thus the TLR4 and ERK signaling pathways represent potential therapeutic targets to treat or prevent sepsis-induced renal tubule dysfunction.
The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) participates in the regulation of plasma sodium and volume, and gain of function mutations in the human channel cause salt-sensitive hypertension. Roles for the arachidonic acid epoxygenase metabolites, the epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), in ENaC activity have been identified; however, their mechanisms of action remain unknown. In polarized M1 cells, 14,15-EET inhibited amiloride-sensitive apical to basolateral sodium transport as effectively as epidermal growth factor (EGF). The EET effects were associated with increased threonine phosphorylation of the ENaC β and γ subunits and abolished by inhibitors of (a) mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase/extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 and 2 (MEK/ERK1/2) and (b) EGF receptor signaling. CYP2C44 epoxygenase knockdown blunted the sodium transport effects of EGF, and its 14,15-EET metabolite rescued the knockdown phenotype. The relevance of these findings is indicated by (a) the hypertension that results in mice administered cetuximab, an inhibitor of EGF receptor binding, and (b) immunological data showing an association between the pressure effects of cetuximab and reductions in ENaCγ phosphorylation. These studies (a) identify an ERK1/2-dependent mechanism for ENaC inhibition by 14,15-EET, (b) point to ENaC as a proximal target for EET-activated ERK1/2 mitogenic kinases, (c) characterize a mechanistic commonality between EGF and epoxygenase metabolites as ENaC inhibitors, and (d) suggest a CYP2C epoxygenase-mediated pathway for the regulation of distal sodium transport.
BACKGROUND - Knowledge about signaling pathways in malignant cells may provide prognostic and diagnostic information in addition to identify potential molecular targets for therapy. B-cell receptor (BCR) and co-receptor CD40 signaling is essential for normal B cells, and there is increasing evidence that signaling via BCR and CD40 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphoma. The aim of this study was to investigate basal and induced signaling in lymphoma B cells and infiltrating T cells in single-cell suspensions of biopsies from small cell lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia (SLL/CLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) patients.
METHODS - Samples from untreated SLL/CLL and MZL patients were examined for basal and activation induced signaling by phospho-specific flow cytometry. A panel of 9 stimulation conditions targeting B and T cells, including crosslinking of the B cell receptor (BCR), CD40 ligand and interleukins in combination with 12 matching phospho-protein readouts was used to study signaling.
RESULTS - Malignant B cells from SLL/CLL patients had higher basal levels of phosphorylated (p)-SFKs, p-PLCγ, p-ERK, p-p38, p-p65 (NF-κB), p-STAT5 and p-STAT6, compared to healthy donor B cells. In contrast, anti-BCR induced signaling was highly impaired in SLL/CLL and MZL B cells as determined by low p-SFK, p-SYK and p-PLCγ levels. Impaired anti-BCR-induced p-PLCγ was associated with reduced surface expression of IgM and CD79b. Similarly, CD40L-induced p-ERK and p-p38 were also significantly reduced in lymphoma B cells, whereas p-p65 (NF-κB) was equal to that of normal B cells. In contrast, IL-2, IL-7 and IL-15 induced p-STAT5 in tumor-infiltrating T cells were not different from normal T cells.
CONCLUSIONS - BCR signaling and CD40L-induced p-p38 was suppressed in malignant B cells from SLL/CLL and MZL patients. Single-cell phospho-specific flow cytometry for detection of basal as well as activation-induced phosphorylation of signaling proteins in distinct cell populations can be used to identify aberrant signaling pathways.
Initiation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is definitively linked to activating mutations in the KRAS oncogene. However, PDA mouse models show that mutant Kras expression early in development gives rise to a normal pancreas, with tumors forming only after a long latency or pancreatitis induction. Here, we show that oncogenic KRAS upregulates endogenous EGFR expression and activation, the latter being dependent on the EGFR ligand sheddase, ADAM17. Genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition of EGFR or ADAM17 effectively eliminates KRAS-driven tumorigenesis in vivo. Without EGFR activity, active RAS levels are not sufficient to induce robust MEK/ERK activity, a requirement for epithelial transformation.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Integrin α1β1 binding to collagen IV, which is mediated by the α1-inserted (I) domain, down-regulates collagen synthesis. When unligated, a salt bridge between Arg(287) and Glu(317) is thought to keep this domain in a low affinity conformation. Ligand binding opens the salt bridge leading to a high-affinity conformation. How modulating integrin α1β1 affinity alters collagen homeostasis is unknown. To address this question, we utilized a thermolysin-derived product of the α1α2α1 network of collagen IV (α1α2α1(IV) truncated protomer) that selectively binds integrin α1β1. We show that an E317A substitution enhanced binding to the truncated protomer, consistent with a previous finding that this substitution eliminates the salt bridge. Surprisingly, we show that an R287A substitution did not alter binding, whereas R287E/E317R substitutions enhanced binding to the truncated protomer. NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling suggested that eliminating the Glu(317) negative charge is sufficient to induce a conformational change toward the open state. Thus, the role played by Glu(317) is largely independent of the salt bridge. We further show that cells expressing E317A or R287E/E317R substitutions have enhanced down-regulation of collagen IV synthesis, which is mediated by the ERK/MAPK pathway. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that modulating the affinity of the extracellular α1 I domain to collagen IV enhances outside-in signaling by potentiating ERK activation and enhancing the down-regulation of collagen synthesis.
CD98 heavy chain (CD98hc) is a multifunctional transmembrane spanning scaffolding protein whose extracellular domain binds with light chain amino acid transporters (Lats) to form the heterodimeric amino acid transporters (HATs). It also interacts with β1 and β3 integrins by its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. This interaction is proposed to be the mechanism whereby CD98 mediates cell survival and growth via currently undefined signaling pathways. In this study, we determined whether the critical function of CD98-dependent amino acid transport also plays a role in cell proliferation and defined the signaling pathways that mediate CD98-dependent proliferation of murine renal inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells. We demonstrate that downregulating CD98hc expression resulted in IMCD cell death. Utilizing overexpression studies of CD98hc mutants that either lacked a cytoplasmic tail or were unable to bind to Lats we showed that CD98 increases serum-dependent cell proliferation by a mechanism that requires the CD98hc cytoplasmic tail. We further demonstrated that CD98-dependent amino acid transport increased renal tubular epithelial cell proliferation by a mechanism that does not require the CD98hc cytoplasmic tail. Both these mechanisms of increased renal tubular epithelial cell proliferation are mediated by Erk and p38 MAPK signaling. Although increased amino transport markedly activated mTor signaling, this pathway did not alter cell proliferation. Thus, these studies demonstrate that in IMCD cells, the cytoplasmic and extracellular domains of CD98hc regulate cell proliferation by distinct mechanisms that are mediated by common MAPK signaling pathways.