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Free access

Yunguang Tong and Tamar Eigler

Pituitary tumor-transforming gene-1 (PTTG1) is a transforming gene first discovered in rat pituitary tumor cells. It possesses transcriptional activity and also has securin functions. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-on-chip study reveals that PTTG1 is a global transcription factor, which exerts its transcriptional activity either by directly binding to DNA or by interacting with proteins including PTTG1 binding factor, p53, Sp1, and upstream stimulatory factor 1. PTTG1 has several validated transcriptional targets that are involved in different cellular processes. PTTG1 activates c-Myc in NIH 3T3 cells, suggesting a role in cell transformation. PTTG1 induces fibroblast growth factor 2 expression and promotes tumor angiogenesis.It binds to and inhibits p53 transcriptional activity. PTTG1 activates cyclin D3 and represses p21 expression, indicating a role in cell cycle regulation and cell senescence. Here, we review PTTG1 transcriptional targets and their functions.

Free access

Haruo Nogami, Yoshiki Hiraoka, Kiyomoto Ogasawara, Sadakazu Aiso and Setsuji Hisano

Glucocorticoids are involved in the regulation of the rat growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) receptor gene expression, but they act only in the presence of the pituitary specific transcription factor, pit-1. In this study, the role of pit-1 in the glucocorticoid stimulation of the GHRH-receptor gene transcription was examined. The results suggest the presence of a silencer element in the promoter and it is postulated that pit-1 permits glucocorticoid action through suppressing the inhibitory effect of an as yet unknown factor that binds to this element. The present results also suggest that the synergistic activation of the rat GHRH-receptor gene transcription depends on the proper distance between the proximal glucocorticoid response element and the pit-1 binding site.

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M. Wallis


A new member of the growth hormone (GH)/prolactin family was characterized in 1984 (Linzer & Nathans, 1984), and named proliferin in recognition of its production by proliferating mouse fibroblasts. Since then there has been a remarkable proliferation of new GH- and prolactin-like proteins in what had seemed to be an old and stable family. Many of these proteins are produced in the placenta, which is now also recognized as a major source of proliferin itself, but a new pituitary hormone has been identified in fish, and possible homology of GH and prolactin with other cytokines is also now apparent. The purpose of this communication is to summarize current knowledge of the new proteins in this family and to assess their relationships to GH and prolactin.

The GH gene family in humans

In humans, the gene for GH (hGH-N) occurs as a member of a cluster of five related genes

Free access

Giampaolo Trivellin, Ivana Bjelobaba, Adrian F Daly, Darwin O Larco, Leonor Palmeira, Fabio R Faucz, Albert Thiry, Letícia F Leal, Liliya Rostomyan, Martha Quezado, Marie Helene Schernthaner-Reiter, Marija M Janjic, Chiara Villa, T John Wu, Stanko S Stojilkovic, Albert Beckers, Benjamin Feldman and Constantine A Stratakis

We recently showed that Xq26.3 microduplications cause X-linked acrogigantism (X-LAG). X-LAG patients mainly present with growth hormone and prolactin-secreting adenomas and share a minimal duplicated region containing at least four genes. GPR101 was the only gene highly expressed in their pituitary lesions, but little is known about its expression patterns. In this work, GPR101 transcripts were characterized in human tissues by 5′-Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE) and RNAseq, while the putative promoter was bioinformatically predicted. We investigated GPR101 mRNA and protein expression by RT-quantitative PCR (qPCR), whole-mount in situ hybridization, and immunostaining, in human, rhesus monkey, rat and zebrafish. We identified four GPR101 isoforms characterized by different 5′-untranslated regions (UTRs) and a common 6.1kb long 3′UTR. GPR101 expression was very low or absent in almost all adult human tissues examined, except for specific brain regions. Strong GPR101 staining was observed in human fetal pituitary and during adolescence, whereas very weak/absent expression was detected during childhood and adult life. In contrast to humans, adult monkey and rat pituitaries expressed GPR101, but in different cell types. Gpr101 is expressed in the brain and pituitary during rat and zebrafish development; in rat pituitary, Gpr101 is expressed only after birth and shows sexual dimorphism. This study shows that different GPR101 transcripts exist and that the brain is the major site of GPR101 expression across different species, although divergent species- and temporal-specific expression patterns are evident. These findings suggest an important role for GPR101 in brain and pituitary development and likely reflect the very different growth, development and maturation patterns among species.

Free access

Zhor Bouizar, Bruno Ragazzon, Lucie Viou, Mariuccia Hortane, Jerôme Bertherat and Marthe Rizk-Rabin

Various types of protein kinase A (PKA) alterations have been observed in adrenocortical tumours and Carney complex (CNC). PKA is a heterotetramer of two regulatory and two catalytic subunits. The R1A and R2B proteins are the most abundant regulatory subunits in endocrine tissues. A decrease in R2B protein levels has been observed in adrenal adenoma, whereas tumours from patients with CNC display a decrease in R1A protein levels. Dysregulation of the balance between R1A and R2B may thus be involved in adrenal tumourigenesis. We investigated the impact of the differences in the balance of PKA subunits on cell growth using specific cAMP analogues. We assessed the effects of 8-chloroadenosine-cAMP (8Cl-cAMP), a site-selective activator of PKA R2B, in H295R adrenocortical cells. 8Cl-cAMP stimulated PKA activity, decreased R1A levels and increased R2B levels. It had no cytotoxic effects, initially stimulating DNA synthesis and then inducing apoptosis by disrupting G2/M progression. We observed an initial accumulation of cells in the S phase, translocation of cyclin A to the nucleus, CDK2 activation, sustained DNA synthesis and proliferating cell nuclear antigen accumulation. Cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase was parallel with the accumulation of cyclin B and the inactivation of CDC2 kinase. The 8CPT-cAMP, which activates the R2B subunit, had similar effects. R2B silencing reduced the apoptosis induced by tumour necrosis factor α and transforming growth factor β. Thus, R2B is a key regulator of proliferation/differentiation in H295R cell line along with the complex balance between the PKA subunits. Activation of PKA R2B and dysregulation of the R1A/R2B balance regulate cell cycle progression and apoptosis in adrenocortical cells by modulating cyclin production and cyclin-dependent kinase activities.

Free access

Sriram Gubbi, Gabriela Farias Quipildor, Nir Barzilai, Derek M Huffman and Sofiya Milman

The insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) signaling pathway has emerged as a major regulator of the aging process, from rodents to humans. However, given the pleiotropic actions of IGF1, its role in the aging brain remains complex and controversial. While IGF1 is clearly essential for normal development of the central nervous system, conflicting evidence has emerged from preclinical and human studies regarding its relationship to cognitive function, as well as cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. This review delves into the current state of the evidence examining the role of IGF1 in the aging brain, encompassing preclinical and clinical studies. A broad examination of the data indicates that IGF1 may indeed play opposing roles in the aging brain, depending on the underlying pathology and context. Some evidence suggests that in the setting of neurodegenerative diseases that manifest with abnormal protein deposition in the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, reducing IGF1 signaling may serve a protective role by slowing disease progression and augmenting clearance of pathologic proteins to maintain cellular homeostasis. In contrast, inducing IGF1 deficiency has also been implicated in dysregulated function of cognition and the neurovascular system, suggesting that some IGF1 signaling may be necessary for normal brain function. Furthermore, states of acute neuronal injury, which necessitate growth, repair and survival signals to persevere, typically demonstrate salutary effects of IGF1 in that context. Appreciating the dual, at times opposing ‘Dr Jekyll’ and ‘Mr Hyde’ characteristics of IGF1 in the aging brain, will bring us closer to understanding its impact and devising more targeted IGF1-related interventions.

Free access

Laurent Léotoing, Michèle Manin, Didier Monté, Silvère Baron, Yves Communal, Corinne Lours, Georges Veyssière, Laurent Morel and Claude Beaudoin

In the male, androgens promote growth and differentiation of sex reproductive organs through ligand activation of the androgen receptor (AR). Here, we show that androgens are not major actors of the cell cycle arrest associated with the differentiation process, and that the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated signalling interferes with AR activities to regulate androgen response when epithelial cells are differentiated. Higher AR expression and enhanced androgen responsiveness correlate with reduction of phosphorylated ERK1/2 over differentiation. These modifications are associated with recruitment of cells in phase G0/G1, up-regulation of p27kip1, down-regulation of p21Cip1 and p53 proteins, and accumulation of hypo-phosphorylated Rb. Exposure to EGF reduces AR expression levels and blocks androgen-dependent transcription in differentiated cells. It also restores p53 and p21Cip1 levels, Rb hyper-phosphorylation, ERK1/2 activation and promotes cell cycle re-entry as p27kip1 protein levels are decreased. Treatment with a MEK inhibitor reverses the EGF-mediated AR down-regulation in differentiated cells, thus suggesting the existence of an inverse correlation between EGF and androgen signalling in non-tumoural epithelia. Interestingly, when androgen signalling is set in differentiated cells, dihydrotestosterone exerts an inhibitory effect on ERK activity but paradoxically does not modify EGFR (ErbB1) phosphorylation, indicating that androgens are able to disrupt the EGFR–ERK cascade. Overall, our data demonstrate the existence of a balance between AR and mitogen-activated protein kinase activities that favours either the maintenance of differentiated conditions or the enhancement of cell proliferation capacities.

Free access

Karen Oliva, Gillian Barker, Clyde Riley, Mark J Bailey, Michael Permezel, Gregory E Rice and Martha Lappas

Our aim was to study the protein expression profiles of placenta obtained from lean and obese pregnant women with normal glucose tolerance at the time of term Caesarean section. We used two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE), utilising narrow-range immobilised pH gradient strips that encompassed the broad pH range of 4–5 and 5–6, followed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry of selected protein spots. Western blot and quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses were performed to validate representative findings from the 2D-DIGE analysis. Eight proteins were altered (six down-regulated and two up-regulated on obese placentas). Annexin A5 (ANXA5), ATP synthase subunit beta, mitochondria (ATPB), brain acid soluble protein 1 (BASP1), ferritin light chain (FTL), heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (HNRPC) and vimentin (VIME) were all lower in obese patients. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) and stress-70 protein, mitochondrial (GRP75) were higher in obese patients. Western blot analysis of ANXA5, ATPB, FTL, VIME, A1AT and GRP75 confirmed the findings from the 2D-DIGE analysis. For brain acid soluble protein 1 and HNRPC, qRT-PCR analysis also confirmed the findings from the 2D-DIGE analysis. Immunohistochemical analysis was also used to determine the localisation of the proteins in human placenta. In conclusion, proteomic analysis of placenta reveals differential expression of several proteins in patients with pre-existing obesity. These proteins are implicated in a variety of cellular functions such as regulation of growth, cytoskeletal structure, oxidative stress, inflammation, coagulation and apoptosis. These disturbances may have significant implications for fetal growth and development.

Free access

Magdalena I Suszko and Teresa K Woodruff

Members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) family control diverse cellular responses including differentiation, proliferation, controlled cell death and migration. The response of a cell to an individual ligand is highly restricted yet the signaling pathways for TGFβ, activin and bone morphogenic proteins share a limited number of receptors and activate similar intracellular cytoplasmic co-regulators, Smads. A central question in the study of this family of ligands is how cells titrate and integrate each TGFβ-like signal in order to respond in a cell- and ligand-specific manner. This study uses the pituitary gonadotrope cell line, LβT2, as a model to delineate the relative contribution of TGFβ and activin ligands to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) biosynthesis. It was found that pituitary gonadotrope cells do not express the TGFβ type II (TβRII) receptor and are therefore not responsive to the TGFβ ligand. Transfection of the receptor restores TGFβ signaling capabilities and the TGFβ-mediated stimulation of FSHβ gene transcription in LβT2 cells. Consequently, we evaluated the presence of the TβRII in the adult mouse pituitary. TβRII does not co-localize with FSH-producing cells; however it is detected on the cell surface of prolactin- and growth hormone-positive cells. Taken together, these results suggest that the bioavailability of the TGFβ-specific receptor rather than TGFβ dictates pituitary gonadotrope selectivity to activin, which is necessary to maintain normal reproductive function. It is likely that the ligand-restricted mechanisms employed by the gonadotrope are present in other cells, which could explain the distinct control of many cellular processes by members of the TGFβ superfamily.

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D.J. Hill, D. R. Clemmons, S. Wilson, V.K.M. Han, A.J. Strain and R.D.G. Milner


Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are expressed by, and are biologically active on, human fetal cells. The mitogenic actions of IGF-I are modulated by the 21–41 kDa class of IGF-binding proteins (IGF-BPs). Using a rabbit anti-human IGF-BP antibody raised against a highly pure 26 kDa IGF-BP derived from amniotic fluid, we have compared the cellular location of IGF-BP and IGF peptides in tissue sections from prostaglandin-induced human abortuses of 14–16 weeks of gestation. The monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies used were raised against human IGF-I, but did not distinguish between IGF-I and IGF-II. Positive staining for IGF-BP was seen in every tissue except brain, spleen and thyroid. With the exception of skin, the cellular distribution of IGF-BP was similar to that of IGF peptides. Strong immunostaining was found in hepatocytes, hepatic erythropoietic cells, pulmonary epithelium, the tubular epithelium of kidney, intestinal epithelia, the fetal adrenal cortex and cardiac and skeletal muscle fibres. In skin, IGF-BP was located throughout the dermis and in the germinal layer of the epidermis. IGF peptide in skin was restricted to the deeper dermal layers. In the tibial epiphyseal growth plate both IGF-BP and IGF peptide were located in chondrocytes throughout the proliferation and hypertrophic zones. The similarity in distribution of IGF-BP and IGF peptides in fetal tissues suggests that the latter may exist predominantly complexed to IGF-BP in or on the surfaces of cells in vivo. The distribution of IGF-BP may define the sites of biological action of IGF peptides.