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Molecular Medicine 2013

Articles from this Volume

Natasha C Brooks, Alexandra H Marshall, Nour Qa’aty, Yaeko Hiyama, Darren Boehning, and Marc G Jeschke

The first 24 h following burn injury is known as the ebb phase and is characterized by a depressed metabolic rate. While the postburn ebb phase has been well described, the molecular mechanisms underlying this response are poorly understood. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) regulates metabolic rate by maintaining glucose homeostasis through the hepatic ER stress response. We have shown that burn injury leads to ER stress in the liver during the first 24 h following thermal injury. However, whether ER stress is linked to the metabolic responses during the ebb phase of burn injury is poorly understood. Here, we show in an animal model that burn induces activation of activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and inositol requiring enzyme-1 (IRE-1) and this leads to increased expression of spliced X-box binding protein-1 (XBP-1s) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) during the ebb phase. This is associated with increased expression of XBP-1 target genes and downregulation of the key gluconeogenic enzyme glucose-6- phosphatase (G6Pase). We conclude that upregulation of the ER stress response after burn injury is linked to attenuated gluconeogenesis and sustained glucose tolerance in the postburn ebb phase. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 10, 2013 11:05 AM CDT

Siyoung Lee, Youngmin Lee, Kwangwon Hong, Jaewoo Hong, Suyoung Bae, Jida Choi, Hyunjhung Jhun, Areum Kwak, Eunsom Kim, Seunghyun Jo, Charles A Dinarello, and Soohyun Kim

α1-Antitrypsin (AAT) is a member of the serine proteinase inhibitor family that impedes the enzymatic activity of serine proteinases, including human neutrophil elastase, cathepsin G and neutrophil proteinase 3. Here, we expressed recombinant AAT by fusing the intact AAT gene to the constant region of IgG1 to generate soluble recombinant AAT-Fc protein. The recombinant AATFc protein was produced in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and purified using mini-protein A affinity chromatography. Recombinant AAT-Fc protein was tested for antiinflammatory function and AAT-Fc sufficiently suppressed tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α–induced interleukin (IL)-6 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and inhibited cytokine-induced TNFα by different cytokines in mouse macrophage Raw 264.7 cells. However, AAT-Fc failed to suppress lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine production in both PBMCs and macrophages. In addition, our data showed that AAT-Fc blocks the development of hyperglycemia in a streptozotocin-induced mouse model of diabetes. Interestingly, we also found that plasma-derived AAT specifically inhibited the enzymatic activity of elastase but that AAT-Fc had no inhibitory effect on elastase activity. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 10, 2013 10:42 AM CDT

Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, Carme Perez-Quilis, and Giuseppe Lippi

The erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) was discovered and described in red blood cells (RBCs), stimulating its proliferation and survival. The target in humans for EpoR agonists drugs appears clear—to treat anemia. However, there is evidence of the pleitropic actions of erythropoietin (Epo). For that reason, rhEpo therapy was suggested as a reliable approach for treating a broad range of pathologies, including heart and cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease), spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetic retinopathy and rare diseases (Friedreich ataxia). Unfortunately, the side effects of rhEpo are also evident. A new generation of nonhematopoietic EpoR agonists drugs (asialoEpo, Cepo and ARA 290) have been investigated and further developed. These EpoR agonists, without the erythropoietic activity of Epo, while preserving its tissue-protective properties, will provide better outcomes in ongoing clinical trials. Nonhematopoietic EpoR agonists represent safer and more effective surrogates for the treatment of several diseases such as brain and peripheral nerve injury, diabetic complications, renal ischemia, rare diseases, myocardial infarction, chronic heart disease and others. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 3, 2013 10:18 AM CDT

Nina Eissler, Josef Mysliwietz, Nina Deppisch, Peter Ruf,2 Horst Lindhofer, and Ralph Mocikat

Trifunctional bispecific antibodies (trAbs) used in tumor immunotherapy have the unique ability to recruit T cells toward antigens on the tumor cell surface and, moreover, to activate accessory cells through their immunoglobulin Fc region interacting with activating Fcγ receptors. This scenario gives rise to additional costimulatory signals required for T cell–mediated tumor cell destruction and induction of an immunologic memory. Here we show in an in vitro system that most effective trAb-dependent T-cell activation and tumor cell elimination are achieved in the presence of dendritic cells (DCs). On the basis of these findings, we devise a novel approach of cancer immunotherapy that combines the specific advantages of trAbs with those of DC-based vaccination. Simultaneous delivery of trAbs and in vitro differentiated DCs resulted in a markedly improved tumor rejection in a murine melanoma model compared with monotherapy. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 3, 2013 10:09 AM CDT

Mihai Moldovan, Volodymyr PinchenkoOksana Dmytriyeva, Stanislava Pankratova, Kåre Fugleholm, Jorg Klingelhofer, Elisabeth Bock, Vladimir Berezin, Christian Krarup, and Darya Kiryushko

We recently found that S100A4, a member of the multifunctional S100 protein family, protects neurons in the injured brain and identified two sequence motifs in S100A4 mediating its neurotrophic effect. Synthetic peptides encompassing these motifs stimulated neuritogenesis and survival in vitro and mimicked the S100A4-induced neuroprotection in brain trauma. Here, we investigated a possible function of S100A4 and its mimetics in the pathologies of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). We found that S100A4 was expressed in the injured PNS and that its peptide mimetic (H3) affected the regeneration and survival of myelinated axons. H3 accelerated electrophysiological, behavioral and morphological recovery after sciatic nerve crush while transiently delaying regeneration after sciatic nerve transection and repair. On the basis of the finding that both S100A4 and H3 increased neurite branching in vitro, these effects were attributed to the modulatory effect of H3 on initial axonal sprouting. In contrast to the modest effect of H3 on the time course of regeneration, H3 had a long-term neuroprotective effect in the myelin protein P0 null mice, a model of dysmyelinating neuropathy (Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 disease), where the peptide attenuated the deterioration of nerve conduction, demyelination and axonal loss. From these results, S100A4 mimetics emerge as a possible means to enhance axonal sprouting and survival, especially in the context of demyelinating neuropathies with secondary axonal loss, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 disease. Moreover, our data suggest that S100A4 is a neuroprotectant in PNS and that other S100 proteins, sharing high homology in the H3 motif, may have important functions in PNS pathologies. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 2, 2013 3:20 PM CDT

Nina-Emily Hengartner, Jörg Fiedler, Anita Ignatius, and Rolf E Brenner

Bone has a high capacity for self-renewal and repair. Prolonged local secretion of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), however, is known to be associated with severe bone loss and delayed fracture healing. Since induction of bone resorption by IL-1β may not sufficiently explain these pathologic processes, we investigated, in vitro, if and how IL-1β affects migration of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) or osteoblasts. We found that homogenous exposure to IL-1β significantly diminished both nondirectional migration and site-directed migration toward the chemotactic factors platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in osteoblasts. Exposure to a concentration gradient of IL-1β induced an even stronger inhibition of migration and completely abolished the migratory response of osteoblasts toward PDGF-BB, IGF-1, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and the complement factor C5a. IL-1β induced extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) activation and inhibition of these signaling pathways suggested an involvement in the IL-1β effects on osteoblast migration. In contrast, basal migration of MSC and their migratory activity toward PDGF-BB was found to be unaffected by IL-1β. These results indicate that the presence of IL-1β leads to impaired recruitment of osteoblasts which might influence early stages of fracture healing and could have pathological relevance for bone remodeling in inflammatory bone disease.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Apr 12, 2013 10:38 AM CDT

Manisha Balwani, Dana Doheny, David F Bishop, Irina Nazarenko, Makiko Yasuda, Harry A Dailey,

Karl E Anderson, D Montgomery Bissell, Joseph Bloomer, Herbert L Bonkovsky,6 John D Phillips,

Lawrence Liu,8 and Robert J Desnick,on behalf of the Porphyrias Consortium of the National Institutes of

Health Rare Diseases Clinical Research Networ

Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) and X-linked protoporphyria (XLP) are inborn errors of heme biosynthesis with the same phenotype but resulting from autosomal recessive loss-of-function mutations in the ferrochelatase (FECH ) gene and gain-of-function mutations in the X-linked erythroid-specific 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS2) gene, respectively. The EPP phenotype is characterized by acute, painful, cutaneous photosensitivity and elevated erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels. We report the FECH and ALAS2 mutations in 155 unrelated North American patients with the EPP phenotype. FECH sequencing and dosage analyses identified 140 patients with EPP: 134 with one loss-of-function allele and the common IVS3-48T>C low expression allele, three with two loss-of-function mutations and three with one loss-of-function mutation and two low expression alleles. There were 48 previously reported and 23 novel FECH mutations. The remaining 15 probands had ALAS2 gain-of-function mutations causing XLP: 13 with the previously reported deletion, c.1706_1709delAGTG, and two with novel mutations, c.1734delG and c.1642C>T(p.Q548X). Notably,

XLP represented ~10% of EPP phenotype patients in North America, two to five times more than in Western Europe. XLP males had twofold higher erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels than EPP patients, predisposing to more severe photosensitivity and liver disease. Identification of XLP patients permits accurate diagnosis and counseling of at-risk relatives and asymptomatic heterozygotes.


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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Mar 8, 2013 10:41 AM CST

David F Bishop, Vassili Tchaikovskii, Irina Nazarenko, and Robert J Desnick 

X-linked protoporphyria (XLP) (MIM 300752) is a recently recognized erythropoietic porphyria due to gain-of-function mutations in the erythroid-specific aminolevulinate synthase gene (ALAS2). Previously, two exon 11 small deletions, c.1699_1670ΔAT (ΔAT) and c.1706_1709ΔAGTG (ΔAGTG), that prematurely truncated or elongated the ALAS2 polypeptide, were reported to increase enzy- matic activity 20- to 40-fold, causing the erythroid accumulation of protoporphyrins, cutaneous photosensitivity and liver disease. The mutant ΔAT and ΔAGTG ALAS2 enzymes, two novel mutations, c.1734ΔG (ΔG) and c.1642C>T (p.Q548X), and an engineered deletion c.1670-1671TC>GA p.F557X were expressed, and their purified enzymes were characterized. Wild-type and ΔAGTG en- zymes exhibited similar amounts of 54- and 52-kDa polypeptides on sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), whereas the ΔAT and p.F557X had only 52-kDa polypeptides. Compared to the purified wild-type enzyme, ΔAT, ΔAGTG and Q548X enzymes had increased specific activities that were only 1.8-, 3.1- and 1.6-fold, respectively. Interestingly, binding stud- ies demonstrated that the increased activity Q548X enzyme did not bind to succinyl-CoA synthetase. The elongated ΔG enzyme had wild-type specific activity, kinetics and thermostability; twice the wild-type purification yield (56 versus 25%); and was prima- rily a 54-kDa form, suggesting greater stability in vivo. On the basis of studies of mutant enzymes, the maximal gain-of function re- gion spanned 57 amino acids between 533 and 580. Thus, these ALAS2 gain-of-function mutations increased the specific activity (ΔAT, ΔAGTG and p.Q548X) or stability (ΔG) of the enzyme, thereby leading to the increased erythroid protoporphyrin accumula- tion causing XLP.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Mar 5, 2013 9:33 AM CST

Yaeko Hiyama, Alexandra H Marshall, Robert Kraft,3* Nour Qa’aty, Anna Arno, David N Herndon, and Marc G Jeschke

Severe burn injury causes hepatic dysfunction that results in major metabolic derangements including insulin resistance and hyperglycemia and is associated with hepatic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We have recently shown that insulin reduces ER stress and improves liver function and morphology; however, it is not clear whether these changes are directly insulin mediated or are due to glucose alterations. Metformin is an antidiabetic agent that decreases hyperglycemia by different pathways than insulin; therefore, we asked whether metformin affects postburn ER stress and hepatic metabolism. The aim of the present study is to determine the effects of metformin on postburn hepatic ER stress and metabolic markers. Male rats were randomized to sham, burn injury and burn injury plus metformin and were sacrificed at various time points. Outcomes measured were hepatic damage, function, metabolism and ER stress. Burn-induced decrease in albumin mRNA and increase in alanine transaminase (p < 0.01 versus sham) were not normalized by metformin treatment. In addition, ER stress markers were similarly increased in burn injury with or without metformin compared with sham (p < 0.05). We also found that gluconeogenesis and fatty acid metabolism gene expressions were upregulated with or without metformin compared with sham (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that, whereas thermal injury results in hepatic ER stress, metformin does not ameliorate postburn stress responses by correcting hepatic ER stress.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Mar 5, 2013 9:19 AM CST


Veronica Gonzalez-Nunez, Ada Jimenez González, Katherine Barreto-Valer and Raquel E Rodríguez

It is well known that genotypic differences can account for the subject-specific responses to opiate administration. In this regard, the basal activity of the endogenous system (either at the receptor or ligand level) can modulate the effects of exogenous agonists as morphine and vice versa. The μ opioid receptor from zebrafish, dre-oprm1, binds endogenous peptides and morphine with similar affinities. Morphine administration during development altered the expression of the endogenous opioid propeptides proenkephalins and proopiomelanocortin. Treatment with opioid peptides (Met-enkephalin [Met-ENK], Met-enkephalin-Gly-Tyr [MEGY] and β-endorphin [β-END]) modulated dre-oprm1 expression during development. Knocking down the dre-oprm1 gene significantly modified the mRNA expression of the penk and pomc genes, thus indicating that oprm1 is involved in shaping penk and pomc expression. In addition, the absence of a functional oprm1 clearly disrupted the embryonic development, since proliferation was disorganized in the central nervous system of oprm1-morphant embryos: mitotic cells were found widespread through the optic tectum and were not restricted to the proliferative areas of the mid- and hindbrain. Transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining revealed that the number of apoptotic cells in the central nervous system (CNS) of morphants was clearly increased at 24-h postfertilization. These findings clarify the role of the endogenous opioid system in CNS development. Our results will also help unravel the complex feedback loops that modulate opioid activity and that may be involved in establishing a coordinated expression of both receptors and endogenous ligands. Further knowledge of the complex interactions between the opioid system and analgesic drugs will provide insights that may be relevant for analgesic therapy.
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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Mar 5, 2013 9:12 AM CST
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