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Presynaptic serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) transporters (SERT) regulate 5-HT signaling via antidepressant-sensitive clearance of released neurotransmitter. Polymorphisms in the human SERT gene (SLC6A4) have been linked to risk for multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism. Using BXD recombinant inbred mice, a genetic reference population that can support the discovery of novel determinants of complex traits, merging collective trait assessments with bioinformatics approaches, we examine phenotypic and molecular networks associated with SERT gene and protein expression. Correlational analyses revealed a network of genes that significantly associated with SERT mRNA levels. We quantified SERT protein expression levels and identified region- and gender-specific quantitative trait loci (QTLs), one of which associated with male midbrain SERT protein expression, centered on the protocadherin-15 gene (Pcdh15), overlapped with a QTL for midbrain 5-HT levels. Pcdh15 was also the only QTL-associated gene whose midbrain mRNA expression significantly associated with both SERT protein and 5-HT traits, suggesting an unrecognized role of the cell adhesion protein in the development or function of 5-HT neurons. To test this hypothesis, we assessed SERT protein and 5-HT traits in the Pcdh15 functional null line (Pcdh15(av-) (3J) ), studies that revealed a strong, negative influence of Pcdh15 on these phenotypes. Together, our findings illustrate the power of multidimensional profiling of recombinant inbred lines in the analysis of molecular networks that support synaptic signaling, and that, as in the case of Pcdh15, can reveal novel relationships that may underlie risk for mental illness.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.
OBJECTIVES - To compare the immunohistochemical expression of diagnostic markers in primary clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) and their matched metastases.
METHODS - Tissue microarrays were constructed from 15 pairs of primary and metastatic clear cell RCCs and then evaluated for the immunohistochemical expression of renal cell carcinoma antigen (RCCA), kidney-specific cadherin, carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), and paired box genes 2 (PAX2) and 8 (PAX8).
RESULTS - There was significantly higher overall marker expression in metastatic tumors compared to their matched primaries (P < .001). Individually, there was greater CAIX, PAX2, and PAX8 expression and lower RCCA expression in metastatic tumors. Most importantly, a significant proportion of originally RCCA-positive tumors lost such expression in metastases.
CONCLUSIONS - Metastatic RCCs have significantly higher expression of PAX2 and PAX8 compared to primary RCCs. RCCA is not very reliable in this diagnostic setting, both because of its lower overall sensitivity and loss of expression in metastatic RCCs.
BACKGROUND - Epithelial morphogenesis is a dynamic process that involves coordination of signaling and actin cytoskeletal rearrangements.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS - We analyzed the contribution of the branched actin regulator WAVE2 in the development of 3-dimensional (3D) epithelial structures. WAVE2-knockdown (WAVE2-KD) cells formed large multi-lobular acini that continued to proliferate at an abnormally late stage compared to control acini. Immunostaining of the cell-cell junctions of WAVE2-KD acini revealed weak and heterogeneous E-cadherin staining despite little change in actin filament localization to the same junctions. Analysis of cadherin expression demonstrated a decrease in E-cadherin and an increase in N-cadherin protein and mRNA abundance in total cell lysates. In addition, WAVE2-KD cells exhibited an increase in the mRNA levels of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-associated transcription factor Twist1. KD of Twist1 expression in WAVE2-KD cells reversed the cadherin switching and completely rescued the aberrant 3D morphological phenotype. Activity of the WAVE2 complex binding partner Abl kinase was also increased in WAVE2-KD cells, as assessed by tyrosine phosphorylation of the Abl substrate CrkL. Inhibition of Abl with STI571 rescued the multi-lobular WAVE2-KD 3D phenotype whereas overexpression of Abl kinase phenocopied the WAVE2-KD phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS - The WAVE2 complex regulates breast epithelial morphology by a complex mechanism involving repression of Twist1 expression and Abl kinase activity. These data reveal a critical role for WAVE2 complex in regulation of cellular signaling and epithelial morphogenesis.
p120-catenin is a multidomain intracellular protein, which mediates a number of cellular functions, including stabilization of cell-cell transmembrane cadherin complexes as well as regulation of actin dynamics associated with barrier function, lamellipodia formation, and cell migration via modulation of the activities of small GTPAses. One mechanism involves p120 catenin interaction with Rho GTPase activating protein (p190RhoGAP), leading to p190RhoGAP recruitment to cell periphery and local inhibition of Rho activity. In this study, we have identified a stretch of 23 amino acids within the C-terminal domain of p120 catenin as the minimal sequence responsible for the recruitment of p190RhoGAP (herein referred to as CRAD; catenin-RhoGAP association domain). Expression of the p120-catenin truncated mutant lacking the CRAD in endothelial cells attenuated effects of barrier protective oxidized phospholipid, OxPAPC. This effect was accompanied by inhibition of membrane translocation of p190RhoGAP, increased Rho signaling, as well as suppressed activation of Rac1 and its cytoskeletal effectors PAK1 (p21-activated kinase 1) and cortactin. Expression of p120 catenin-truncated mutant lacking CRAD also delayed the recovery process after thrombin-induced endothelial barrier disruption. Concomitantly, RhoA activation and downstream signaling were sustained for a longer period of time, whereas Rac signaling was inhibited. These data demonstrate a critical role for p120-catenin (amino acids 820-843) domain in the p120-catenin·p190RhoGAP signaling complex assembly, membrane targeting, and stimulation of p190RhoGAP activity toward inhibition of the Rho pathway and reciprocal up-regulation of Rac signaling critical for endothelial barrier regulation.
Increased stromal collagen deposition in human breast tumours correlates with metastases. We show that activation of the collagen I receptor DDR2 (discoidin domain receptor 2) regulates SNAIL1 stability by stimulating ERK2 activity, in a Src-dependent manner. Activated ERK2 directly phosphorylates SNAIL1, leading to SNAIL1 nuclear accumulation, reduced ubiquitylation and increased protein half-life. DDR2-mediated stabilization of SNAIL1 promotes breast cancer cell invasion and migration in vitro, and metastasis in vivo. DDR2 expression was observed in most human invasive ductal breast carcinomas studied, and was associated with nuclear SNAIL1 and absence of E-cadherin expression. We propose that DDR2 maintains SNAIL1 level and activity in tumour cells that have undergone epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), thereby facilitating continued tumour cell invasion through collagen-I-rich extracellular matrices by sustaining the EMT phenotype. As such, DDR2 could be an RTK (receptor tyrosine kinase) target for the treatment of breast cancer metastasis.
The spatial distribution of molecular signals within cells is crucial for cellular functions. Here, as a model to study the polarized spatial distribution of molecular activities, we used cells on micropatterned strips of fibronectin with one end free and the other end contacting a neighbouring cell. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase and the small GTPase Rac display greater activity at the free end, whereas myosin II light chain and actin filaments are enriched near the intercellular junction. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Rac polarization depend specifically on the N-cadherin-p120 catenin complex, whereas myosin II light chain and actin filament polarization depend on the N-cadherin-β-catenin complex. Integrins promote high phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Rac activities at the free end, and the N-cadherin-p120 catenin complex excludes integrin α5 at the junctions to suppress local phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Rac activity. We hence conclude that N-cadherin couples with distinct effectors to polarize phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Rac and myosin II light chain/actin filaments in migrating cells.
Several polarity proteins, including Scribble (Scrb) have been implicated in control of vesicle traffic, and in particular the endocytosis of E-cadherin, but through unknown mechanisms. We now show that depletion of Scrb enhances endocytosis of E-cadherin by weakening the E-cadherin-p120catenin interaction. Unexpectedly, however, the internalized E-cadherin is not degraded but accumulates in the Golgi apparatus. Silencing p120-catenin causes degradation of E-cadherin in lysosomes, but degradation is blocked by the co-depletion of Scrb, which diverts the internalized E-cadherin to the Golgi. Loss of Scrb also enhances E-cadherin binding to retromer components, and retromer is required for Golgi accumulation of Scrb, and E-cadherin stability. These data identify a novel and unanticipated function for Scrb in blocking retromer-mediated diversion of E-cadherin to the Golgi. They provide evidence that polarity proteins can modify the intracellular itinerary for endocytosed membrane proteins.
OBJECTIVE - Dystrophic calcific nodule formation in vitro involves differentiation of aortic valve interstitial cells (AVICs) into a myofibroblast phenotype. Interestingly, inhibition of the kinase MAPK Erk kinase (MEK)1/2 prevents calcific nodule formation despite leading to myofibroblast activation of AVICs, indicating the presence of an additional mechanotransductive component required for calcific nodule morphogenesis. In this study, we assess the role of transforming growth factor β1-induced cadherin-11 expression in calcific nodule formation.
METHODS AND RESULTS - As shown previously, porcine AVICs treated with transforming growth factor β1 before cyclic strain exhibit increased myofibroblast activation and significant calcific nodule formation. In addition to an increase in contractile myofibroblast markers, transforming growth factor β1-treated AVICs exhibit significantly increased expression of cadherin-11. This expression is inhibited by the addition of U0126, a specific MEK1/2 inhibitor. The role of increased cadherin-11 is revealed through a wound assay, which demonstrates increased intercellular tension in transforming growth factor β1-treated AVICs possessing cadherin-11. Furthermore, when small interfering RNA is used to knockdown cadherin-11, calcific nodule formation is abrogated, indicating that robust cell-cell connections are necessary in generating tension for calcific nodule morphogenesis. Finally, we demonstrate enrichment of cadherin-11 in human calcified leaflets.
CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate the necessity of cadherin-11 for dystrophic calcific nodule formation, which proceeds through an Erk1/2-dependent pathway.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Adiponectin is an adipose-secreted protein that has been linked to changes in insulin sensitivity, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and inflammatory patterns. Although fenofibrate therapy can raise adiponectin levels, treatment response is heterogeneous and heritable, suggesting a role for genetic mediators. This is the first genome-wide association study of fenofibrate effects on circulating adiponectin.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Plasma adiponectin was measured in participants of the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (n = 793) before and after a 3-week daily treatment with 160 mg of fenofibrate. Associations between variants on the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 and adiponectin were assessed using mixed linear models, adjusted for age, sex, site, and family. We observed a statistically significant (P = 5 × 10⁻⁸) association between rs2384207 in 12q24, a region previously linked to several metabolic traits, and the fenofibrate-induced change in circulating adiponectin. Additionally, our genome-wide analysis of baseline adiponectin levels replicated the previously reported association with CDH13 and suggested novel associations with markers near the PCK1, ZBP1, TMEM18, and SCUBE1 genes. The findings from the single marker tests were corroborated in gene-based analyses. Biological pathway analyses suggested a borderline significant association between the EGF receptor signaling pathway and baseline adiponectin levels.
CONCLUSIONS - We present preliminary evidence linking several biologically relevant genetic variants to adiponectin levels at baseline and in response to fenofibrate therapy. Our findings provide support for fine-mapping of the 12q24 region to investigate the shared biological mechanisms underlying levels of circulating adiponectin and susceptibility to metabolic disease.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Epidemiological studies have shown that most cases of lung cancers (85%-90%) are directly attributable to tobacco smoking. Although association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer is well documented, surprisingly little is known about the molecular mechanisms of how smoking is involved in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through epigenetic changes. Here, we show that lung cancer patients with a smoking history have low E-cadherin levels and loss of E-cadherin is a poor prognostic factor in smokers. Moreover, the downregulation of E-cadherin correlates with the number of pack years. In an attempt to determine the role of long-term cigarette smoking on EMT, we observed that treatment of lung cell lines with cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) induces EMT through downregulation of epithelial markers, including E-cadherin and upregulation of mesenchymal markers. CSC decreases E-cadherin expression at the transcriptional level through upregulation of LEF1 and Slug, and knockdown of these two proteins increases E-cadherin expression. Importantly, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggest that LEF-1 and Slug binding to E-cadherin promoter is important for CSC-mediated downregulation of E-cadherin. The histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor MS-275 reverses CSC-induced EMT, migration, and invasion through the restoration of E-cadherin expression. These results suggest that recruitment of HDACs by transcriptional repressors LEF-1 and Slug is responsible for E-cadherin suppression and EMT in cigarette smokers and provide a potential drug target toward the treatment of lung cancer.