Matthew P. Vincenti, Constance E. Brinckerhoff
M. Eric Gershwin, Judy Van de Water
A DNA nonbinding mutant of the NK2 class homeoprotein Nkx2.5 dominantly inhibits cardiogenesis in Xenopus embryos, causing a small heart to develop or blocking heart formation entirely. Recently, ten heterozygous CSX/NKX2.5 homeoprotein mutations were identified in patients with congenital atrioventricular (AV) conduction defects. All four missense mutations identified in the human homeodomain led to markedly reduced DNA binding. To examine the effect of a DNA binding–impaired mutant of mouse Csx/Nkx2.5 in the embryonic heart, we generated transgenic mice expressing one such allele, I183P, under the β-myosin heavy chain promoter. Unexpectedly, transgenic mice were born apparently normal, but the accumulation of Csx/Nkx2.5(I183P) mutant protein in the embryo, neonate, and adult myocardium resulted in progressive and profound cardiac conduction defects and heart failure. P-R prolongation observed at 2 weeks of age rapidly progressed into complete AV block as early as 4 weeks of age. Expression of connexins 40 and 43 was dramatically decreased in the transgenic heart, which may contribute to the conduction defects in the transgenic mice. This transgenic mouse model may be useful in the study of the pathogenesis of cardiac dysfunction associated with CSX/NKX2.5 mutations in humans.
Hideko Kasahara, Hiroko Wakimoto, Margaret Liu, Colin T. Maguire, Kimber L. Converso, Tetsuo Shioi, Weei-Yuarn Huang, Warren J. Manning, David Paul, Joel Lawitts, Charles I. Berul, Seigo Izumo
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) remains the leading cause of death in developed countries. Although reperfusion of coronary arteries reduces mortality, it is associated with tissue injury. Endothelial P-selectin–mediated infiltration of neutrophils plays a key role in reperfusion injury. However, the mechanism of the P-selectin induction is not known. Here we show that infarct size after ischemia/reperfusion was significantly smaller in mice lacking guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A), a natriuretic peptide receptor. The decrease was accompanied by decreases in neutrophil infiltration in coronary endothelial P-selectin expression. Pretreatment with HS-142-1, a GC-A antagonist, also decreased infarct size and P-selectin induction in wild-type mice. In cultured endothelial cells, activation of GC-A augmented H2O2-induced P-selectin expression. Furthermore, ischemia/reperfusion–induced activation of NF-κB, a transcription factor that is known to promote P-selectin expression, is suppressed in GC-A–deficient mice. These results suggest that inhibition of GC-A alleviates ischemia/reperfusion injury through suppression of NF-κB–mediated P-selectin induction. This novel, GC-A–mediated mechanism of ischemia/reperfusion injury may provide the basis for applying GC-A blockade in the clinical treatment of reperfusion injury.
Takehiko Izumi, Yoshihiko Saito, Ichiro Kishimoto, Masaki Harada, Koichiro Kuwahara, Ichiro Hamanaka, Nobuki Takahashi, Rika Kawakami, Yuhao Li, Genzo Takemura, Hisayoshi Fujiwara, David L. Garbers, Seibu Mochizuki, Kazuwa Nakao
The kidneys “escape” from the Na-retaining effects of aldosterone when circulating levels of aldosterone are inappropriately elevated in the setting of normal or expanded extracellular fluid volume, e.g., in primary aldosteronism. Using a targeted proteomics approach, we screened renal protein extracts with rabbit polyclonal antibodies directed to each of the major Na transporters expressed along the nephron to determine whether escape from aldosterone-mediated Na retention is associated with decreased abundance of one or more of renal Na transporters. The analysis revealed that the renal abundance of the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter (NCC) was profoundly and selectively decreased. None of the other apical solute-coupled Na transporters displayed decreases in abundance, nor were the total abundances of the three ENaC subunits significantly altered. Immunocytochemistry showed a strong decrease in NCC labeling in distal convoluted tubules of aldosterone-escape rats with no change in the cellular distribution of NCC. Ribonuclease protection assays (RPAs) revealed that the decrease in NCC protein abundance was not associated with altered NCC mRNA abundance. Thus, the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter of the distal convoluted tubule appears to be the chief molecular target for regulatory processes responsible for mineralocorticoid escape, decreasing in abundance via a posttranscriptional mechanism.
Xiao-Yan Wang, Shyama Masilamani, Jakob Nielsen, Tae-Hwan Kwon, Heddwen L. Brooks, Søren Nielsen, Mark A. Knepper
The close association between autoantibodies against pyruvate dehydrogenase-E2 (PDC-E2), a ubiquitous mitochondrial protein, and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is unexplained. Many autoantigens are selectively modified during apoptosis, which has focused attention on apoptotic cells as a potential source of “neo-antigens” responsible for activating autoreactive lymphocytes. Since increased apoptosis of bile duct epithelial cells (cholangiocytes) is evident in patients with PBC, we evaluated the effect of apoptosis on PDC-E2. Autoantibody recognition of PDC-E2 by immunofluorescence persisted in apoptotic cholangiocytes and appeared unchanged by immunoblot analysis. PDC-E2 was neither cleaved by caspases nor concentrated into surface blebs in apoptotic cells. In other cell types, autoantibody recognition of PDC-E2, as assessed by immunofluorescence, was abrogated after apoptosis, although expression levels of PDC-E2 appeared unchanged when examined by immunoblot analysis. Both overexpression of Bcl-2 and depletion of glutathione before inducing apoptosis prevented this loss of autoantibody recognition, suggesting that glutathiolation, rather than degradation or loss, of PDC-E2 was responsible for the loss of immunofluorescence signal. We postulate that apoptotic cholangiocytes, unlike other apoptotic cell types, are a potential source of immunogenic PDC-E2 in patients with PBC.
Joseph A. Odin, Robert C. Huebert, Livia Casciola-Rosen, Nicholas F. LaRusso, Antony Rosen
A complement factor D deficiency was found in a young woman who had experienced a serious Neisseria meningitidis infection, in a deceased family member with a history of meningitis, and in three relatives without a history of serious infections. The patient and these three relatives showed a normal activity of the classical complement pathway, but a very low activity of the alternative complement pathway and a very low capacity to opsonize Escherichia coli and N. meningitidis (isolated from the patient) for phagocytosis by normal human neutrophils. The alternative pathway-dependent hemolytic activity and the opsonizing capacity of these sera were restored by addition of purified factor D. The family had a high degree of consanguinity, and several other family members exhibited decreased levels of factor D. The gene encoding factor D was found to contain a point mutation that changed the TCG codon for serine 42 into a TAG stop codon. This mutation was found in both alleles of the five completely factor D–deficient family members and in one allele of 21 other members of the same family who had decreased or low-normal factor D levels in their serum. The gene sequence of the signal peptide of human factor D was also identified. Our report is the first, to our knowledge, to document a Factor D gene mutation. The mode of inheritance of factor D deficiency is autosomal recessive, in accordance with the localization of the Factor D gene on chromosome 19. Increased susceptibility for infections in individuals with a partial factor D deficiency is unlikely.
Douwe H. Biesma, André J. Hannema, Heleen van Velzen-Blad, Leontine Mulder, Rob van Zwieten, Irma Kluijt, Dirk Roos
Patients with scleroderma receiving Iloprost as a treatment for severe Raynaud’s phenomenon report a reduction in skin tightness, suggesting that this drug inhibits skin fibrosis. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a recently described profibrotic cytokine, acts downstream and in concert with TGF-β to stimulate the fibrotic process and is involved in the fibrosis seen in scleroderma. Here we show that Iloprost, acting by elevation of cAMP, blocks the induction of CTGF and the increase in collagen synthesis in fibroblasts exposed to TGF-β. The potency of Iloprost with respect to suppression of CTGF far exceeds that of other prostanoid receptor agonists, suggesting that its effect is mediated by the prostacyclin receptor IP. By sampling dermal interstitial fluid using a suction blister device, we show that CTGF levels are greatly elevated in the dermis of scleroderma patients compared with healthy controls and that Iloprost infusion causes a marked decrease in dermal CTGF levels. These studies suggest that Iloprost could be reducing the level of a key profibrotic cytokine in scleroderma patients and that endogenous production of eicosanoids may limit the fibrotic response to TGF-β.
Richard Stratton, Xu Shiwen, Giorgia Martini, Alan Holmes, Andrew Leask, Thomas Haberberger, George R. Martin, Carol M. Black, David Abraham
Lymphocytes represent a potentially important proinflammatory cell that localizes to atherosclerotic lesions. To determine whether they contribute to lesion development, atherosclerosis-prone (LDLR–/–) mice were crossed with lymphocyte-deficient (RAG1–/–) mice to generate double knockout progeny. After 8 weeks on a Western-type diet (WTD), lesion development was reduced by 54% in double knockout mice, as compared with matched LDLR–/– controls. However, these significant differences in lesion area gradually subsided as the WTD was continued for 12 and 16 weeks. Consistent with this observation, histological studies determined that lesion initiation and early progression were delayed in RAG1/LDL-R double knockout mice. Differences in lesion area did not correlate with any significant alterations in plasma lipid levels. These studies suggest that lymphocytes play an important role early in atherogenesis.
Li Song, Cynthia Leung, Christian Schindler
Vascular complications arising from multiple environmental and genetic factors are responsible for many of the disabilities and short life expectancy associated with diabetes mellitus. Here we provide the first direct in vivo evidence that interactions between advanced glycation end products (AGEs; nonenzymatically glycosylated protein derivatives formed during prolonged hyperglycemic exposure) and their receptor, RAGE, lead to diabetic vascular derangement. We created transgenic mice that overexpress human RAGE in vascular cells and crossbred them with another transgenic line that develops insulin-dependent diabetes shortly after birth. The resultant double transgenic mice exhibited increased hemoglobin A1c and serum AGE levels, as did the diabetic controls. The double transgenic mice demonstrated enlargement of the kidney, glomerular hypertrophy, increased albuminuria, mesangial expansion, advanced glomerulosclerosis, and increased serum creatinine compared with diabetic littermates lacking the RAGE transgene. To our knowledge, the development of this double transgenic mouse provides the first animal model that exhibits the renal changes seen in humans. Furthermore, the phenotypes of advanced diabetic nephropathy were prevented by administering an AGE inhibitor, (±)-2-isopropylidenehydrazono-4-oxo-thiazolidin-5-ylacetanilide (OPB-9195), thus establishing the AGE-RAGE system as a promising target for overcoming this aspect of diabetic pathogenesis.
Yasuhiko Yamamoto, Ichiro Kato, Toshio Doi, Hideto Yonekura, Seiji Ohashi, Masayoshi Takeuchi, Takuo Watanabe, Sho-ichi Yamagishi, Shigeru Sakurai, Shin Takasawa, Hiroshi Okamoto, Hiroshi Yamamoto
The dissemination of T cell hybridomas to multiple nonhematopoietic tissues is blocked by pertussis toxin, suggesting the involvement of a chemokine. To study whether this chemokine is SDF-1, we employed a strategy proposed previously for gene therapy of AIDS, whereby the SDF-1 receptor CXCR4 (also a coreceptor for HIV) is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and fails to reach the cell surface. We transfected SDF-1, carrying an ER retention sequence, into a T cell hybridoma. This altered chemokine is retained in the ER, where it binds CXCR4 and prevents the latter protein from reaching the surface. These cells failed to migrate toward SDF-1 or to invade fibroblast monolayers, although they could still migrate toward thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) and invade TARC-treated monolayers. Furthermore, the ability of the transfected cells to disseminate to multiple organs upon intravenous injection into mice was abolished. This dissemination reflects the in vivo migration patterns of activated and memory T cells into nonhematopoietic tissues, which is thus likely to depend on CXCR4. Attempts to block CXCR4 function as a therapy for AIDS may affect this migration with consequences for T cell function. Our results also suggest a decisive role for CXCR4 in the dissemination of hematopoietic malignancies expressing this receptor.
Ingrid S. Zeelenberg, Lisette Ruuls-Van Stalle, Ed Roos
Nitric oxide (NO) may be stabilized by binding to hemoglobin, by nitrosating thiol-containing plasma molecules, or by conversion to nitrite, all reactions potentially preserving its bioactivity in blood. Here we examined the contribution of blood-transported NO to regional vascular tone in humans before and during NO inhalation. While breathing room air and then room air with NO at 80 parts per million, forearm blood flow was measured in 16 subjects at rest and after blockade of forearm NO synthesis with NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) followed by forearm exercise stress. L-NMMA reduced blood flow by 25% and increased resistance by 50%, an effect that was blocked by NO inhalation. With NO inhalation, resistance was significantly lower during L-NMMA infusion, both at rest and during repetitive hand-grip exercise. S-nitrosohemoglobin and plasma S-nitrosothiols did not change with NO inhalation. Arterial nitrite levels increased by 11% and arterial nitrosyl(heme)hemoglobin levels increased tenfold to the micromolar range, and both measures were consistently higher in the arterial than in venous blood. S-nitrosohemoglobin levels were in the nanomolar range, with no significant artery-to-vein gradients. These results indicate that inhaled NO during blockade of regional NO synthesis can supply intravascular NO to maintain normal vascular function. This effect may have application for the treatment of diseases characterized by endothelial dysfunction.
Richard O. Cannon III, Alan N. Schechter, Julio A. Panza, Frederick P. Ognibene, Margaret E. Pease-Fye, Myron A. Waclawiw, James H. Shelhamer, Mark T. Gladwin
Podocalyxin (PC), the major sialoprotein of glomerular epithelial cells (GECs), helps maintain the characteristic architecture of the foot processes and the patency of the filtration slits. PC associates with actin via ezrin, a member of the ERM family of cytoskeletal linker proteins. Here we show that PC is linked to ezrin and the actin cytoskeleton via Na+/H+-exchanger regulatory factor 2 (NHERF2), a scaffold protein containing two PDZ (PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1) domains and an ERM-binding region. The cytoplasmic tail of PC contains a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif (DTHL) that binds to the second PDZ domain of NHERF2 in yeast two-hybrid and in vitro pull-down assays. By immunocytochemistry NHERF2 colocalizes with PC and ezrin along the apical domain of the GEC plasma membrane. NHERF2 and ezrin form a multimeric complex with PC, as they coimmunoprecipitate with PC. The PC/NHERF2/ezrin complex interacts with the actin cytoskeleton, and this interaction is disrupted in GECs from puromycin aminonucleoside–, protamine sulfate–, or sialidase-treated rats, which show a dramatic loss of foot processes, comparable to that seen in the nephrotic syndrome. Thus NHERF2 appears to function as a scaffold protein linking PC to ezrin and the actin cytoskeleton. PC/NHERF2/ezrin/actin interactions are disrupted in pathologic conditions associated with changes in GEC foot processes, indicating their importance for maintaining the unique organization of this epithelium.
Tetsuro Takeda, Tammie McQuistan, Robert A. Orlando, Marilyn G. Farquhar
The discovery of the ABCA1 lipid transporter has generated interest in modulating human plasma HDL levels and atherogenic risk by enhancing ABCA1 gene expression. To determine if increased ABCA1 expression modulates HDL metabolism in vivo, we generated transgenic mice that overexpress human ABCA1 (hABCA1-Tg). Hepatic and macrophage expression of hABCA1 enhanced macrophage cholesterol efflux to apoA-I; increased plasma cholesterol, cholesteryl esters (CEs), free cholesterol, phospholipids, HDL cholesterol, and apoA-I and apoB levels; and led to the accumulation of apoE-rich HDL1. ABCA1 transgene expression delayed 125I-apoA-I catabolism in both liver and kidney, leading to increased plasma apoA-I levels, but had no effect on apoB secretion after infusion of Triton WR1339. Although the plasma clearance of HDL-CE was not significantly altered in hABCA1-Tg mice, the net hepatic delivery of exogenous 3H-CEt-HDL, which is dependent on the HDL pool size, was increased 1.5-fold. In addition, the cholesterol and phospholipid concentrations in hABCA1-Tg bile were increased 1.8-fold. These studies show that steady-state overexpression of ABCA1 in vivo (a) raises plasma apoB levels without altering apoB secretion and (b) raises plasma HDL-C and apoA-I levels, facilitating hepatic reverse cholesterol transport and biliary cholesterol excretion. Similar metabolic changes may modify atherogenic risk in humans.
Boris L. Vaisman, Gilles Lambert, Marcelo Amar, Charles Joyce, Toshimitsu Ito, Robert D. Shamburek, William J. Cain, Jamila Fruchart-Najib, Edward D. Neufeld, Alan T. Remaley, H. Bryan Brewer Jr., Silvia Santamarina-Fojo
Molecular mimicry is the process by which virus infection activates T cells that are cross-reactive with self antigens. Infection of SJL/J mice with the neurotropic picornavirus Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) leads to a progressive CD4+ T cell–mediated demyelinating disease similar to multiple sclerosis. To study the potential of virus-induced molecular mimicry to initiate autoimmune demyelination, a nonpathogenic TMEV variant was engineered to encode a 30-mer peptide encompassing the immunodominant encephalitogenic myelin proteolipid protein (PLP139-151) epitope. Infection with the PLP139-151–encoding TMEV led within 10–14 days to a rapid-onset paralytic demyelinating disease characterized by PLP139-151–specific CD4+ Th1 responses; insertion of a non-self ovalbumin sequence led to restoration of the normal late-onset disease. Early-onset disease was also observed in mice infected with a TMEV encoding PLP139-151 with an amino acid substitution at the secondary T cell receptor (TCR) contact residue (H147A), but not in mice infected with TMEV encoding a PLP139-151 substitution at the primary TCR contact (W144A). Most significantly, mice infected with TMEV encoding a Haemophilus influenzae mimic peptide, sharing only 6 of 13 amino acids with PLP139-151, displayed rapid-onset disease and developed cross-reactive PLP139-151–specific CD4+ Th1 responses. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing that a naturally infectious virus encoding a myelin epitope mimic can directly initiate organ-specific T cell–mediated autoimmunity.
Julie K. Olson, J. Ludovic Croxford, Miriam. A. Calenoff, Mauro C. Dal Canto, Stephen D. Miller
Monogenic forms of diabetes can result from mutations in genes encoding transcription factors. Mutations in the homeodomain transcription factor IDX-1, a critical regulator of pancreas development and insulin gene transcription, confer a strong predisposition to the development of diabetes mellitus in humans. To investigate the role of IDX-1 expression in the pathogenesis of diabetes, we developed a model for the inducible impairment of IDX-1 expression in pancreatic β cells in vivo by engineering an antisense ribozyme specific for mouse IDX-1 mRNA under control of the reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA). Doxycycline-induced impairment of IDX-1 expression reduced activation of the Insulin promoter but activated the Idx-1 promoter, suggesting that pancreatic β cells regulate IDX-1 transcription to maintain IDX-1 levels within a narrow range. In transgenic mice that express both rtTA and the antisense ribozyme construct, impaired IDX-1 expression elevated glycated hemoglobin levels, diminished glucose tolerance, and decreased insulin/glucose ratios. Metabolic phenotypes induced by IDX-1 deficiency were observed predominantly in male mice over 18 months of age, suggesting that cellular mechanisms to protect IDX-1 levels in pancreatic β cells decline with aging. We propose that even in the absence of Idx-1 gene mutations, pathophysiological processes that decrease IDX-1 levels are likely to impair glucose tolerance. Therapeutic strategies to attain normal glucose homeostasis by restoring normal IDX-1 levels may be of particular importance for older individuals with diabetes mellitus.
Melissa K. Thomas, Octavia N. Devon, Jee H. Lee, Andreas Peter, David A. Schlosser, Matthew S. Tenser, Joel F. Habener