We recently showed that human skin fibroblasts internalize fluorescent analogues of the glycosphingolipids lactosylceramide and globoside almost exclusively by a clathrin-independent mechanism involving caveolae. In contrast, a sphingomyelin analogue is internalized approximately equally via clathrin-dependent and caveolar routes. Here, we further characterized the caveolar pathway for glycosphingolipids, showing that Golgi targeting of sphingolipids internalized via caveolae required microtubules and phosphoinositol 3-kinases and was inhibited in cells expressing dominant-negative Rab7 and Rab9 constructs. In addition, overexpression of wild-type Rab7 or Rab9 (but not Rab11) in Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) lipid storage disease fibroblasts resulted in correction of lipid trafficking defects, including restoration of Golgi targeting of fluorescent lactosylceramide and endogenous GM1 ganglioside, and a dramatic reduction in intracellular cholesterol stores. Our results demonstrate a role for Rab7 and Rab9 in the Golgi targeting of glycosphingolipids and suggest a new therapeutic approach for restoring normal lipid trafficking in NP-C cells.
Amit Choudhury, Michel Dominguez, Vishwajeet Puri, Deepak K. Sharma, Keishi Narita, Christine L. Wheatley, David L. Marks, Richard E. Pagano
Tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) is a highly specific serine proteinase expressed in the CNS during events that require neuronal plasticity. In this study we demonstrate that endogenous tPA mediates the progression of kainic acid–induced (KA-induced) seizures by promoting the synchronization of neuronal activity required for seizure spreading, and that, unlike KA-induced cell death, this activity is plasminogen-independent. Specifically, seizure induction by KA injection into the amygdala induces tPA activity and cell death in both hippocampi, and unilateral treatment of rats with neuroserpin, a natural inhibitor of tPA in the brain, enhances neuronal survival in both hippocampi. Inhibition of tPA within the hippocampus by neuroserpin treatment does not prevent seizure onset but instead markedly delays the progression of seizure activity in both rats and wild-type mice. In tPA-deficient mice, seizure progression is significantly delayed, and neuroserpin treatment does not further delay seizure spreading. In contrast, plasminogen-deficient mice show a pattern of seizure spreading and a response to neuroserpin that is similar to that of wild-type animals. These findings indicate that tPA acts on a substrate other than plasminogen and that the effects of neuroserpin on seizure progression and neuronal cell survival are mediated through the inhibition of tPA.
Manuel Yepes, Maria Sandkvist, Timothy A. Coleman, Elizabeth Moore, Jiang-Young Wu, David Mitola, Thomas H. Bugge, Daniel A. Lawrence
We describe a 3-year-old boy with biotin dependency not caused by biotinidase, holocarboxylase synthetase, or nutritional biotin deficiency. We sought to define the mechanism of his biotin dependency. The child became acutely encephalopathic at age 18 months. Urinary organic acids indicated deficiency of several biotin-dependent carboxylases. Symptoms improved rapidly following biotin supplementation. Serum biotinidase activity and Biotinidase gene sequence were normal. Activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases in PBMCs and cultured skin fibroblasts were normal, excluding biotin holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency. Despite extracellular biotin sufficiency, biotin withdrawal caused recurrent abnormal organic aciduria, indicating intracellular biotin deficiency. Biotin uptake rates into fresh PBMCs from the child and into his PBMCs transformed with Epstein Barr virus were about 10% of normal fresh and transformed control cells, respectively. For fresh and transformed PBMCs from his parents, biotin uptake rates were consistent with heterozygosity for an autosomal recessive genetic defect. Increased biotin breakdown was ruled out, as were artifacts of biotin supplementation and generalized defects in membrane permeability for biotin. These results provide evidence for a novel genetic defect in biotin transport. This child is the first known with this defect, which should now be included in the identified causes of biotin dependency.
Rebecca Mardach, Janos Zempleni, Barry Wolf, Martin J. Cannon, Michael L. Jennings, Sally Cress, Jane Boylan, Susan Roth, Stephen Cederbaum, Donald M. Mock
The tight-skin (TSK/+) mouse, a genetic model for human systemic sclerosis (SSc), develops cutaneous fibrosis and autoantibodies against SSc-specific target autoantigens. Although molecular mechanisms explaining the development of fibrosis and autoimmunity in SSc patients or TSK/+ mice remain unknown, we recently demonstrated that SSc patients overexpress CD19, an important regulatory molecule expressed by B lymphocytes. B cells from CD19-deficient mice are hyporesponsive to transmembrane signals, while B cells overexpressing CD19 are hyperresponsive and generate autoantibodies. In this study, TSK/+ B cells also exhibited a hyperresponsive phenotype with decreased surface IgM expression, enhanced serum Ig production, and spontaneous autoantibody production. Moreover, CD19 tyrosine phosphorylation was constitutively augmented in TSK/+ B cells. CD19-mediated [Ca2+]i responses, Vav phosphorylation, and Lyn kinase activity were similarly enhanced. Studies of TSK/+ mice deficient in CD19 expression demonstrated that CD19 deficiency significantly decreased skin fibrosis in TSK/+ mice. Additionally, CD19 loss in TSK/+ mice upregulated surface IgM expression and completely abrogated hyper-γ-globulinemia and autoantibody production. CD19 deficiency also inhibited IL-6 production by TSK/+ B cells. Thus, chronic B cell activation resulting from augmented CD19 signaling in TSK/+ mice leads to skin sclerosis possibly through IL-6 overproduction as well as autoimmunity.
Eriko Saito, Manabu Fujimoto, Minoru Hasegawa, Kazuhiro Komura, Yasuhito Hamaguchi, Yuko Kaburagi, Tetsuya Nagaoka, Kazuhiko Takehara, Thomas F. Tedder, Shinichi Sato
NF-κB essential modifier (NEMO), also known as IKK-γ, is a member of the I-κB kinase complex responsible for phosphorylating I-κB, allowing the release and activation of NF-κB. Boys with an expressed NEMO mutation have an X-linked syndrome characterized by hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia with immune deficiency (HED-ID). The immunophenotype resulting from NEMO mutation is highly variable, with deficits in both T and B cell responses. We evaluated three patients with NEMO mutations (L153R, Q403X, and C417R) and HED-ID who had evidence of defective CD40 signaling. All three patients had normal percentages of peripheral blood NK cells, but impaired NK cell cytotoxic activity. This was not due to a generalized defect in cytotoxicity because antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity was intact. This abnormality was partially reversed by in vitro addition of IL-2, which was also able to induce NF-κB activation. In one patient with recurrent cytomegalovirus infections, administration of IL-2 partially corrected the NK cell killing deficit. These data suggest that NEMO participates in signaling pathways leading to NK cell cytotoxicity and that IL-2 can activate NF-κB and partially overcome the NK cell defect in patients with NEMO mutations.
Jordan S. Orange, Scott R. Brodeur, Ashish Jain, Francisco A. Bonilla, Lynda C. Schneider, Roberto Kretschmer, Samuel Nurko, Wendy L. Rasmussen, Julia R. Köhler, Stephen E. Gellis, Betsy M. Ferguson, Jack L. Strominger, Jonathan Zonana, Narayanaswamy Ramesh, Zuhair K. Ballas, Raif S. Geha
Becker syndrome, a recessive nondystrophic myotonia caused by mutations in the chloride channel 1 gene (CLCN1), is characterized by delayed muscle relaxation after contraction. The ADR (arrested development of righting response) mouse is an animal model for Becker syndrome. Skeletal muscles from ADR myotonic animals show an increased number of oxidative fibers with a lack of glycolytic fibers as well as signs of muscle hypertrophy. Through breeding ADR myotonic mice with mice harboring a MEF2-dependent reporter gene, we found that the transcriptional activity of MEF2 was dramatically enhanced in myotonic muscles. Post-translational induction of MEF2 transcriptional activity correlated with the activation of p38 MAPK and did not affect MEF2 DNA-binding affinity. Expression of class II histone deacetylases (HDACs), which repress MEF2-dependent gene expression, was significantly reduced in skeletal muscles from myotonic mice. These findings suggest that the combined effects of class II HDAC deficiency and p38 MAPK activation lead to potent upregulation of MEF2 transcriptional activity, which contributes to the long-term changes in gene expression and fiber-type transformation observed in myotonic skeletal muscles. These findings provide new molecular targets for potential treatment of congenital myotonia.
Hai Wu, Eric N. Olson
Deficiency of the membrane protein FAT/CD36 causes a marked defect in fatty acid uptake by various tissues and is genetically linked to insulin resistance in rats and humans. Here, we examined insulin responsiveness of CD36–/– mice. When fed a diet high in complex carbohydrates and low (5%) in fat, these animals cleared glucose faster than the wild-type. In vivo, uptake of 2-fluorodeoxyglucose by muscle was increased severalfold, and in vitro, insulin responsiveness of glycogenesis by the soleus was enhanced. Null mice had lower glycogen levels in muscle and liver, lower muscle triglyceride levels, and increased liver triglyceride content—all findings consistent with increased insulin-sensitivity. However, when the chow diet was switched to one high in fructose, CD36–/– mice but not wild-type mice developed marked glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and decreased muscle glucose uptake. High-fat diets impaired glucose tolerance equally in both groups, although CD36 deficiency helped moderate insulin-responsive muscle glucose oxidation. In conclusion, CD36 deficiency enhances insulin responsiveness on a high-starch, low-fat diet. It predisposes to insulin resistance induced by high fructose and partially protects from that induced by high-fat diets. In humans, CD36 deficiency may be an important factor in the metabolic adaptation to diet and in susceptibility to some forms of diet-induced pathology.
Tahar Hajri, Xiao Xia Han, Arend Bonen, Nada A. Abumrad
Pseudophosphatases display extensive sequence similarities to phosphatases but harbor amino acid alterations in their active-site consensus motifs that render them catalytically inactive. A potential role in substrate trapping or docking has been proposed, but the specific requirements for pseudophosphatases during development and differentiation are unknown. We demonstrate here that Sbf1, a pseudophosphatase of the myotubularin family, is expressed at high levels in seminiferous tubules of the testis, specifically in Sertoli’s cells, spermatogonia, and pachytene spermatocytes, but not in postmeiotic round spermatids. Mice that are nullizygous for Sbf1 exhibit male infertility characterized by azoospermia. The onset of the spermatogenic defect occurs in the first wave of spermatogenesis at 17 days after birth during the synchronized progression of pachytene spermatocytes to haploid spermatids. Vacuolation of the Sertoli’s cells is the earliest observed phenotype and is followed by reduced formation of spermatids and eventual depletion of the germ cell compartment in older mice. The nullizygous phenotype in conjunction with high-level expression of Sbf1 in premeiotic germ cells and Sertoli’s cells is consistent with a crucial role for Sbf1 in transition from diploid to haploid spermatocytes. These studies demonstrate an essential role for a pseudophosphatase and implicate signaling pathways regulated by myotubularin family proteins in spermatogenesis and germ cell differentiation.
Ron Firestein, Peter L. Nagy, Megan Daly, Phil Huie, Marco Conti, Michael L. Cleary
Types A and B Niemann-Pick disease (NPD) are lysosomal storage disorders resulting from loss of acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) activity. We have used a knockout mouse model of NPD (ASMKO mice) to evaluate the effects of direct intracerebral transplantation of bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on the progression of neurological disease in this disorder. MSCs were transduced with a retroviral vector to overexpress ASM and were injected into the hippocampus and cerebellum of 3-week-old ASMKO pups. Transplanted cells migrated away from the injection sites and survived at least 6 months after transplantation. Seven of 8 treated mice, but none of the untreated controls, survived for ≥ 7 months after transplant. Survival times were greater in sex-matched than in sex-mismatched transplants. Transplantation significantly delayed the Purkinje cell loss that is characteristic of NPD, although the protective effect declined with distance from the injection site. Overall ASM activity in brain homogenates was low, but surviving Purkinje cells contained the retrovirally expressed human enzyme, and transplanted animals showed a reduction in cerebral sphingomyelin. These results reveal the potential of treating neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders by intracerebral transplantation of bone marrow–derived MSCs.
Hee Kyung Jin, Janet E. Carter, George W. Huntley, Edward H. Schuchman
Gaucher disease, the most common lysosomal storage disease, is caused by a deficiency of glucocerebrosidase resulting in the impairment of glucosylceramide degradation. The hallmark of the disease is the presence of the Gaucher cell, a macrophage containing much of the stored glucosylceramide found in tissues, which is believed to cause many of the clinical manifestations of the disease. We have developed adult mice carrying the Gaucher disease L444P point mutation in the glucocerebrosidase (Gba) gene and exhibiting a partial enzyme deficiency. The mutant mice demonstrate multisystem inflammation, including evidence of B cell hyperproliferation, an aspect of the disease found in some patients. However, the mutant mice do not accumulate large amounts of glucosylceramide or exhibit classic Gaucher cells in tissues.
Hiroki Mizukami, Yide Mi, Ryuichi Wada, Mari Kono, Tadashi Yamashita, Yujing Liu, Norbert Werth, Roger Sandhoff, Konrad Sandhoff, Richard L. Proia