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Arrestins specifically bind active and phosphorylated forms of their cognate G protein-coupled receptors, blocking G protein coupling and often redirecting the signaling to alternative pathways. High-affinity receptor binding is accompanied by two major structural changes in arrestin: release of the C-tail and rotation of the two domains relative to each other. The first requires detachment of the arrestin C-tail from the body of the molecule, whereas the second requires disruption of the network of charge-charge interactions at the interdomain interface, termed the polar core. These events can be facilitated by mutations destabilizing the polar core or the anchoring of the C-tail that yield "preactivated" arrestins that bind phosphorylated and unphosphorylated receptors with high affinity. Here we explored the functional role in arrestin activation of the three native cysteines in the N domain, which are conserved in all arrestin subtypes. Using visual arrestin-1 and rhodopsin as a model, we found that substitution of these cysteines with serine, alanine, or valine virtually eliminates the effects of the activating polar core mutations on the binding to unphosphorylated rhodopsin while only slightly reducing the effects of the C-tail mutations. Thus, these three conserved cysteines play a role in the domain rotation but not in the C-tail release.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Purpose - Prominin-1 (Prom1) is a transmembrane glycoprotein, which is expressed in stem cell lineages, and has recently been implicated in cancer stem cell survival. Mutations in the Prom1 gene have been shown to disrupt photoreceptor disk morphogenesis and cause an autosomal dominant form of Stargardt-like macular dystrophy (STGD4). Despite the apparent structural role of Prom1 in photoreceptors, its role in other cells of the retina is unknown. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of Prom1 in the highly metabolically active cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).
Methods - Lentiviral siRNA and the genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 system were used to knockout Prom1 in primary RPE and ARPE-19 cells, respectively. Western blotting, confocal microscopy, and flow sight imaging cytometry assays were used to quantify autophagy flux. Immunoprecipitation was used to detect Prom1 interacting proteins.
Results - Our studies demonstrate that Prom1 is primarily a cytosolic protein in the RPE. Stress signals and physiological aging robustly increase autophagy with concomitant upregulation of Prom1 expression. Knockout of Prom1 increased mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling, decreased autophagosome trafficking to the lysosome, increased p62 accumulation, and inhibited autophagic puncta induced by activators of autophagy. Conversely, ectopic overexpression of Prom1 inhibited mTORC1 and mTORC2 activities, and potentiated autophagy flux. Through interactions with p62 and HDAC6, Prom1 regulates autophagosome maturation and trafficking, suggesting a new cytoplasmic role of Prom1 in RPE function.
Conclusions - Our results demonstrate that Prom1 plays a key role in the regulation of autophagy via upstream suppression of mTOR signaling and also acting as a component of a macromolecular scaffold involving p62 and HDAC6.
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.
BACKGROUND - Intimal hyperplasia remains the primary cause of vein graft failure for the 1 million yearly bypass procedures performed using human saphenous vein (HSV) grafts. This response to injury is caused in part by the harvest and preparation of the conduit. The use of Brilliant Blue FCF (FCF) restores injury-induced loss of function in vascular tissues possibly via inhibition of purinergic receptor signaling. This study investigated whether pretreatment of the vein graft with FCF prevents intimal hyperplasia.
METHODS - Cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells (A7r5) were used to determine the effect of FCF on platelet-derived growth factor-mediated migration and proliferation, cellular processes that contribute to intimal hyperplasia. The effectiveness of FCF treatment during the time of explantation on preventing intimal hyperplasia was evaluated in a rabbit jugular-carotid interposition model and in an organ culture model using HSV.
RESULTS - FCF inhibited platelet-derived growth factor-induced migration and proliferation of A7r5 cells. Treatment with FCF at the time of vein graft explantation inhibited the subsequent development of intimal thickening in the rabbit model. Pretreatment with FCF also prevented intimal thickening of HSV in organ culture.
CONCLUSIONS - Incorporation of FCF as a component of vein graft preparation at the time of explantation represents a potential therapeutic approach to mitigate intimal hyperplasia, reduce vein graft failure, and improve outcome of the autologous transplantation of HSV.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI IMS) allows for the visualization of molecular distributions within tissue sections. While providing excellent molecular specificity and spatial information, absolute quantification by MALDI IMS remains challenging. Especially in the low molecular weight region of the spectrum, analysis is complicated by matrix interferences and ionization suppression. Though tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) can be used to ensure chemical specificity and improve sensitivity by eliminating chemical noise, typical MALDI MS/MS modalities only scan for a single MS/MS event per laser shot. Herein, we describe TOF/TOF instrumentation that enables multiple fragmentation events to be performed in a single laser shot, allowing the intensity of the analyte to be referenced to the intensity of the internal standard in each laser shot while maintaining the benefits of MS/MS. This approach is illustrated by the quantitative analyses of rifampicin (RIF), an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, in pooled human plasma using rifapentine (RPT) as an internal standard. The results show greater than 4-fold improvements in relative standard deviation as well as improved coefficients of determination (R) and accuracy (>93% quality controls, <9% relative errors). This technology is used as an imaging modality to measure absolute RIF concentrations in liver tissue from an animal dosed in vivo. Each microspot in the quantitative image measures the local RIF concentration in the tissue section, providing absolute pixel-to-pixel quantification from different tissue microenvironments. The average concentration determined by IMS is in agreement with the concentration determined by HPLC-MS/MS, showing a percent difference of 10.6%. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.
Pathogens that induce acute and chronic infections, as well as certain cancers, employ numerous strategies to thwart host cellular and humoral immune defenses. One proposed evasion mechanism against humoral immunity is a localized expression of extracellular proteases that cleave the IgG hinge and disable host IgG functions. Host immunity appears to be prepared to counter such a proteolytic tactic by providing a group of autoantibodies, denoted anti-hinge antibodies that specifically bind to cleaved IgGs and provide compensating functional restoration in vitro. These respective counter-measures highlight the complex interrelationships among pathogens and host immunity and suggested to us a possible means for therapeutic intervention. In this study, we combined an investigation of pathogen-mediated proteolysis of host IgGs with an immunization strategy to boost host anti-hinge antibodies. In a Staphylococcus aureus infection model using an artificial tissue cage (wiffle ball) implanted into rabbits, cleaved rabbit IgGs were detected in abundance in the abscesses of untreated animals early after infection. However, in animals previously immunized with peptide analogs of the cleaved IgG hinge to generate substantial anti-hinge antibody titers, S. aureus colony formation was markedly reduced compared to control animals or those similarly immunized with a scrambled peptide sequence. The results of this study demonstrate that extensive local proteolysis of IgGs occurs in a test abscess setting and that immunization to increase host anti-hinge antibodies provided substantial acute protection against bacterial growth.
Copyright © 2016 European Federation of Immunological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) is essential for the assembly of triglyceride-rich apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins. Previous studies in our laboratory identified a novel splice variant of MTP in mice that we named MTP-B. MTP-B has a unique first exon (1B) located 2.7 kB upstream of the first exon (1A) for canonical MTP (MTP-A). The two mature isoforms, though nearly identical in sequence and function, have different tissue expression patterns. In this study we report the identification of a second MTP splice variant (MTP-C), which contains both exons 1B and 1A. MTP-C is expressed in all the tissues we tested. In cells transfected with MTP-C, protein expression was less than 15% of that found when the cells were transfected with MTP-A or MTP-B. In silico analysis of the 5'-UTR of MTP-C revealed seven ATGs upstream of the start site for MTP-A, which is the only viable start site in frame with the main coding sequence. One of those ATGs was located in the 5'-UTR for MTP-A. We generated reporter constructs in which the 5'-UTRs of MTP-A or MTP-C were inserted between an SV40 promoter and the coding sequence of the luciferase gene and transfected these constructs into HEK 293 cells. Luciferase activity was significantly reduced by the MTP-C 5'-UTR, but not by the MTP-A 5'-UTR. We conclude that alternative splicing plays a key role in regulating MTP expression by introducing unique 5'-UTRs, which contain elements that alter translation efficiency, enabling the cell to optimize MTP levels and activity.
Mammalian gestation and pregnancy are fast evolving processes that involve the interaction of the fetal, maternal and paternal genomes. Version 1.0 of the GEneSTATION database (http://genestation.org) integrates diverse types of omics data across mammals to advance understanding of the genetic basis of gestation and pregnancy-associated phenotypes and to accelerate the translation of discoveries from model organisms to humans. GEneSTATION is built using tools from the Generic Model Organism Database project, including the biology-aware database CHADO, new tools for rapid data integration, and algorithms that streamline synthesis and user access. GEneSTATION contains curated life history information on pregnancy and reproduction from 23 high-quality mammalian genomes. For every human gene, GEneSTATION contains diverse evolutionary (e.g. gene age, population genetic and molecular evolutionary statistics), organismal (e.g. tissue-specific gene and protein expression, differential gene expression, disease phenotype), and molecular data types (e.g. Gene Ontology Annotation, protein interactions), as well as links to many general (e.g. Entrez, PubMed) and pregnancy disease-specific (e.g. PTBgene, dbPTB) databases. By facilitating the synthesis of diverse functional and evolutionary data in pregnancy-associated tissues and phenotypes and enabling their quick, intuitive, accurate and customized meta-analysis, GEneSTATION provides a novel platform for comprehensive investigation of the function and evolution of mammalian pregnancy.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
Flecainide blocks ryanodine receptor type 2 (RyR2) channels in the open state, suppresses arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves and prevents catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) in mice and humans. We hypothesized that differences in RyR2 activity induced by CPVT mutations determines the potency of open-state RyR2 blockers like flecainide (FLEC) and R-propafenone (RPROP) against Ca2+ waves in cardiomyocytes. Using confocal microscopy, we studied Ca2+ sparks and waves in isolated saponin-permeabilized ventricular myocytes from two CPVT mouse models (Casq2-/-, RyR2-R4496C+/-), wild-type (c57bl/6, WT) mice, and WT rabbits (New Zealand white rabbits). Consistent with increased RyR2 activity, Ca2+ spark and wave frequencies were significantly higher in CPVT compared to WT mouse myocytes. We next obtained concentration-response curves of Ca2+ wave inhibition for FLEC, RPROP (another open-state RyR2 blocker), and tetracaine (TET) (a state-independent RyR2 blocker). Both FLEC and RPROP inhibited Ca2+ waves with significantly higher potency (lower IC50) and efficacy in CPVT compared to WT. In contrast, TET had similar potency in all groups studied. Increasing RyR2 activity of permeabilized WT myocytes by exposure to caffeine (150 µM) increased the potency of FLEC and RPROP but not of TET. RPROP and FLEC were also significantly more potent in rabbit ventricular myocytes that intrinsically exhibit higher Ca2+ spark rates than WT mouse ventricular myocytes. In conclusion, RyR2 activity determines the potency of open-state blockers FLEC and RPROP for suppressing arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves in cardiomyocytes, a mechanism likely relevant to antiarrhythmic drug efficacy in CPVT.
Autologous vein grafts are commonly used for coronary and peripheral artery bypass but have a high incidence of intimal hyperplasia (IH) and failure. We present a nanopolyplex (NP) approach that efficiently delivers a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2 inhibitory peptide (MK2i) to graft tissue to improve long-term patency by inhibiting pathways that initiate IH. In vitro testing in human vascular smooth muscle cells revealed that formulation into MK2i-NPs increased cell internalization, endosomal escape, and intracellular half-life of MK2i. This efficient delivery mechanism enabled MK2i-NPs to sustain potent inhibition of inflammatory cytokine production and migration in vascular cells. In intact human saphenous vein, MK2i-NPs blocked inflammatory and migratory signaling, as confirmed by reduced phosphorylation of the posttranscriptional gene regulator heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A0, the transcription factor cAMP (adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate) element-binding protein, and the chaperone heat shock protein 27. The molecular effects of MK2i-NPs caused functional inhibition of IH in human saphenous vein cultured ex vivo. In a rabbit vein transplant model, a 30-min intraoperative graft treatment with MK2i-NPs significantly reduced in vivo IH 28 days posttransplant compared with untreated or free MK2i-treated grafts. The decrease in IH in MK2i-NP-treated grafts in the rabbit model also corresponded with decreased cellular proliferation and maintenance of the vascular wall smooth muscle cells in a more contractile phenotype. These data indicate that nanoformulated MK2 inhibitors are a promising strategy for preventing graft failure.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.