Insulin stimulates glucose uptake by recruiting glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) from an intracellular compartment to the cell surface; this phenomenon is defective in type 2 diabetes. Here we examine the involvement of actin filaments in GLUT4 translocation and their possible defects in insulin resistance, using L6 myotubes expressing myc-tagged GLUT4. Insulin caused membrane ruffling, a dynamic distortion of the myotube dorsal surface. Fluorescence microscopy and immunogold staining of surface GLUT4myc coupled to backscatter electron microscopy revealed a high density of this protein in membrane ruffles. The t-SNAREs syntaxin4 and SNAP-23 were also abundant in these regions. Below the membrane, GLUT4 and the vesicular protein VAMP2, but not VAMP3, colocalized with the actin structures supporting the membrane ruffles. GLUT4myc externalization and membrane ruffles were reduced by jasplakinolide and by swinholide-A, drugs that affect actin filament stability and prevent actin branching, respectively. Insulin resistance generated by prolonged (24 hours) exposure of myotubes to high glucose and insulin diminished the acute insulin-dependent remodeling of cortical actin and GLUT4myc translocation, reminiscent of the effect of swinholide-A. We propose that GLUT4 vesicle incorporation into the plasma membrane involves insulin-dependent cortical actin remodeling and that defective actin remodeling contributes to insulin resistance.
p27Kip1 is an important regulator of cyclin-dependent kinases. Studies with p27 knockout mice have revealed abnormalities in proliferation and differentiation of multiple cell types. Here we show that primary hepatocytes isolated from livers of adult p27 knockout mice exhibit higher levels of DNA synthesis activity in culture than do wild-type cells. Interestingly, we found that, compared with control hepatocytes, p27 knockout hepatocytes proliferate better after transplantation into diseased livers to reverse liver failure. These results reveal an aspect of p27 that could be used to benefit cell-based therapy.
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) have been developed as lipid-lowering drugs and are well established to reduce morbidity and mortality from coronary artery disease. Here we demonstrate that statins potently augment endothelial progenitor cell differentiation in mononuclear cells and CD34-positive hematopoietic stem cells isolated from peripheral blood. Moreover, treatment of mice with statins increased c-kit+/Sca-1+–positive hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow and further elevated the number of differentiated endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). Statins induce EPC differentiation via the PI 3-kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt) pathway as demonstrated by the inhibitory effect of pharmacological PI3K blockers or overexpression of a dominant negative Akt construct. Similarly, the potent angiogenic growth factor VEGF requires Akt to augment EPC numbers, suggesting an essential role for Akt in regulating hematopoietic progenitor cell differentiation. Given that statins are at least as potent as VEGF in increasing EPC differentiation, augmentation of circulating EPC might importantly contribute to the well-established beneficial effects of statins in patients with coronary artery disease.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been isolated from circulating mononuclear cells in peripheral blood and shown to incorporate into foci of neovascularization, consistent with postnatal vasculogenesis. These circulating EPCs are derived from bone marrow and are mobilized endogenously in response to tissue ischemia or exogenously by cytokine stimulation. We show here, using a chemotaxis assay of bone marrow mononuclear cells in vitro and EPC culture assay of peripheral blood from simvastatin-treated animals in vivo, that the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, simvastatin, augments the circulating population of EPCs. Direct evidence that this increased pool of circulating EPCs originates from bone marrow and may enhance neovascularization was demonstrated in simvastatin-treated mice transplanted with bone marrow from transgenic donors expressing β-galactosidase transcriptionally regulated by the endothelial cell-specific Tie-2 promoter. The role of Akt signaling in mediating effects of statin on EPCs is suggested by the observation that simvastatin rapidly activates Akt protein kinase in EPCs, enhancing proliferative and migratory activities and cell survival. Furthermore, dominant negative Akt overexpression leads to functional blocking of EPC bioactivity. These findings establish that augmented mobilization of bone marrow–derived EPCs through stimulation of the Akt signaling pathway constitutes a novel function for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.
The study of human cardiac tissue development is hampered by the lack of a suitable in vitro model. We describe the phenotypic properties of cardiomyocytes derived from human embryonic stem (ES) cells. Human ES cells were cultivated in suspension and plated to form aggregates termed embryoid bodies (EBs). Spontaneously contracting areas appeared in 8.1% of the EBs. Cells from the spontaneously contracting areas within EBs were stained positively with anti–cardiac myosin heavy chain, anti–α-actinin, anti-desmin, anti–cardiac troponin I (anti-cTnI), and anti-ANP antibodies. Electron microscopy revealed varying degrees of myofibrillar organization, consistent with early-stage cardiomyocytes. RT-PCR studies demonstrated the expression of several cardiac-specific genes and transcription factors. Extracellular electrograms were characterized by a sharp component lasting 30 ± 25 milliseconds, followed by a slow component of 347 ± 120 milliseconds. Intracellular Ca2+ transients displayed a sharp rise lasting 130 ± 27 milliseconds and a relaxation component lasting 200–300 milliseconds. Positive and negative chronotropic effects were induced by application of isoproterenol and carbamylcholine, respectively. In conclusion, the human ES cell–derived cardiomyocytes displayed structural and functional properties of early-stage cardiomyocytes. Establishment of this unique differentiation system may have significant impact on the study of early human cardiac differentiation, functional genomics, pharmacological testing, cell therapy, and tissue engineering.
High avidity and long-lasting autoantibodies to a self-polypeptide (TNF-α) were generated after parenteral vaccination of mice with low doses of virus-like particle–based (VLP-based) vaccines that were constructed by linking mouse TNF-α peptides to the surface of papillomavirus VLPs. High-titer autoantibodies were induced with or without coadministration of potent conventional adjuvants, but were enhanced by coadministration of CFA. Compared with immunization with the fusion protein alone, attachment to VLPs increased autoantibody titers 1,000-fold. A comparison of Ab responses against the self (TNF-α) and foreign components of the fusion protein showed that VLP conjugation abrogated the ability of the humoral immune system to distinguish between self and foreign. Similar levels of IgM were detected to self and foreign epitopes regardless of the assembly state of the antigen, suggesting that conjugation of self-peptides to VLPs promotes survival or expansion of mature autoreactive B cells. In a mouse model, vaccination with conjugated particles inhibited development of type II collagen-induced arthritis. Together, these results suggest a potentially flexible method to efficiently generate autoantibodies against specific self-proteins that mediate arthritis and other diseases.
Stromal-derived cell factor-1α (SDF-1α; CXCL12) and its receptor, CXCR4, are constitutively expressed on neuroepithelial cells and are believed to be involved in both development and pathological processes, such as AIDS-associated neurologic disorders. Here, we demonstrate that SDF-1α activates NF-κB, stimulates production of chemokines and cytokines, and induces cell death in primary astrocytes, effects that depend on ongoing secretion of TNF-α. SDF-1α upregulated TNF-α mRNA and protein secretion, as well as TNF receptor 2 expression. TNF-α treatment mimicked SDF-1α induction of NF-κB, IL-1α/β, and RANTES, as well as cell death; neutralizing antibodies against TNF-α opposed these responses. We also found that SDF-1α activated Erk1 and Erk2 (Erk1/2) MAPK in a biphasic fashion. Early Erk1/2 activation was stimulated directly by SDF-1α and late activation was mediated by TNF-α. PD98059 suppression of early Erk1/2 activation correlated with reduction of SDF-1α–induced TNF-α expression. Late Erk1/2 activation was involved in TNF-α–stimulated NF-κB activation and cytokine induction. SDF-1α was induced in reactive CXCR4-positive astrocytes near axotomized spinal cord motor neurons, consistent with autocrine SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling in these cells. We propose that these novel effects of SDF-1α are relevant to the pathogenic and developmental roles of SDF-1α in the CNS.
Insulin resistance is a major factor in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and may involve fat-induced activation of a serine kinase cascade involving IKK-β. To test this hypothesis, we first examined insulin action and signaling in awake rats during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps after a lipid infusion with or without pretreatment with salicylate, a known inhibitor of IKK-β. Whole-body glucose uptake and metabolism were estimated using [3-3H]glucose infusion, and glucose uptake in individual tissues was estimated using [1-14C]2-deoxyglucose injection during the clamp. Here we show that lipid infusion decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and activation of IRS-1–associated PI 3-kinase in skeletal muscle but that salicylate pretreatment prevented these lipid-induced effects. To examine the mechanism of salicylate action, we studied the effects of lipid infusion on insulin action and signaling during the clamp in awake mice lacking IKK-β. Unlike the response in wild-type mice, IKK-β knockout mice did not exhibit altered skeletal muscle insulin signaling and action following lipid infusion. In summary, high-dose salicylate and inactivation of IKK-β prevent fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle by blocking fat-induced defects in insulin signaling and action and represent a potentially novel class of therapeutic agents for type 2 diabetes.
Recent reports suggest that cells in active cell cycle have an engraftment defect compared with quiescent cells. We used nonhuman primates to investigate this finding, which has direct implications for clinical transplantation and gene therapy applications. Transfer of rhesus CD34+ cells to culture in stem cell factor (SCF) on the CH-296 fibronectin fragment (FN) after 4 days of culture in stimulatory cytokines maintained cell viability but decreased cycling. Using retroviral marking with two different gene transfer vectors, we compared the engraftment potential of cytokine-stimulated cells versus those transferred to nonstimulatory conditions (SCF on FN alone) before reinfusion. In vivo competitive repopulation studies showed that the level of marking originating from the cells continued in culture for 2 days with SCF on FN following a 4-day stimulatory transduction was significantly higher than the level of marking coming from cells transduced for 4 days and reinfused without the 2-day culture under nonstimulatory conditions. We observed stable in vivo overall gene marking levels of up to 29%. This approach may allow more efficient engraftment of transduced or ex vivo expanded cells by avoiding active cell cycling at the time of reinfusion.
A female infant of nonconsanguineous Indian parents presented at 4 months with a hypoglycemic convulsion. Further episodes of hypoketotic hypoglycemia were associated with inappropriately elevated plasma insulin concentrations. However, unlike other children with hyperinsulinism, this patient had a persistently elevated blood spot hydroxybutyrylcarnitine concentration when fed, as well as when fasted. Measurement of the activity of L-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase in cultured skin fibroblasts with acetoacetyl-CoA substrate showed reduced activity. In fibroblast mitochondria, the activity was less than 5% that of controls. Sequencing of the short-chain L-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCHAD) genomic DNA from the fibroblasts showed a homozygous mutation (C773T) changing proline to leucine at amino acid 258. Analysis of blood from the parents showed they were heterozygous for this mutation. Western blot studies showed undetectable levels of immunoreactive SCHAD protein in the child’s fibroblasts. Expression studies showed that the P258L enzyme had no catalytic activity. We conclude that C773T is a disease-causing SCHAD mutation. This is the first defect in fatty acid β-oxidation that has been associated with hyperinsulinism and raises interesting questions about the ways in which changes in fatty acid and ketone body metabolism modulate insulin secretion by the β cell. The patient’s hyperinsulinism was easily controlled with diazoxide and chlorothiazide.
Chronic renal failure (CRF) is associated with resistance to the growth-promoting and anabolic actions of growth hormone (GH). In rats with CRF induced by partial renal ablation, 7 days of GH treatment had a diminished effect on weight gain and hepatic IGF-1 and IGFBP-1 mRNA levels, compared with sham-operated pair-fed controls. To assess whether GH resistance might be due to altered signal transduction, activation of the JAK-STAT pathway was studied 10 or 15 minutes after intravenous injection of 5 mg/kg GH or vehicle. Hepatic GH receptor (GHR) mRNA levels were significantly decreased in CRF, but GHR protein abundance and GH binding to microsomal and plasma membranes was unaltered. JAK2, STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5 protein abundance was also unchanged. However, GH-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of JAK2, STAT5, and STAT3 was 75% lower in the CRF animals. Phosphorylated STAT5 and STAT3 were also diminished in nuclear extracts. The expression of the suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (SOCS-2) was increased twofold in GH-treated CRF animals, and SOCS-3 mRNA levels were elevated by 60% in CRF, independent of GH treatment. In conclusion, CRF causes a postreceptor defect in GH signal transduction characterized by impaired phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of GH-activated STAT proteins, which is possibly mediated, at least in part, by overexpression of SOCS proteins.
The intracellular signaling pathways by which G protein–coupled receptors on the platelet surface initiate aggregation, a critical process for hemostasis and thrombosis, are not well understood. In particular, the contribution of the Gi pathway has not been directly addressed. We have investigated the activation of platelets from mice in which the gene for the predominant platelet Gαi subtype, Gαi2, has been disrupted. In intact platelets from Gαi2-deficient mice, the inhibition of adenylyl cyclase by ADP was found to be partially impaired compared with wild-type platelets. Moreover, both ADP-dependent platelet aggregation and the activation of the integrin αIIbβ3 (GPIIb-IIIa) were strongly reduced in platelets from Gαi2-deficient mice. In addition, Gαi2-deficient platelets displayed impaired activation at low thrombin concentrations. This defect was mimicked by blocking the adenylyl cyclase–coupled platelet ADP receptor (P2Y12) on wild-type platelets with a selective antagonist. These observations suggest that Gαi2 is involved in the inhibition of platelet adenylyl cyclase in vivo and is a critical component of the signaling pathway for integrin activation by ADP, resulting in platelet aggregation. In addition, thrombin-dependent activation of mouse platelets is mediated, at least in part, by secreted ADP acting on the Gαi2–linked ADP receptor.
CD14, a myeloid cell-surface receptor and soluble plasma protein, binds LPS and other microbial molecules and initiates the innate immune response to bacterial invasion. The blood concentration of soluble CD14 (sCD14) increases during the systemic response to infection. Although high sCD14 blood levels have correlated with increased risk of dying from severe sepsis, sCD14 can diminish cell responses to LPS. We show here that in human serum, sCD14 increases the rate at which cell-bound LPS is released from the monocyte surface and binds to plasma lipoproteins. This enhanced rate of LPS efflux is associated with a significant reduction in the ability of monocytes to produce cytokines in response to LPS. Serum from septic patients reduced the LPS-monocyte interaction by as much as tenfold, and depletion of sCD14 from the serum restored LPS-monocyte binding and release kinetics to near normal levels. In serum from septic patients, monocyte-bound LPS also moved more rapidly into lipoproteins, which completely neutralized the biologic activity of the LPS that bound to them. In human plasma, sCD14 thus diminishes monocyte responses to LPS by transferring cell-bound LPS to lipoproteins. Stress-related increases in plasma sCD14 levels may help prevent inflammatory responses within the blood.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation