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Free access

Kyounghyun Kim, Robert Burghardt, Rola Barhoumi, Syng-ook Lee, Xinyi Liu and Stephen Safe

Murine double minute clone 2 (MDM2) is a multifunctional protein, which modulates nuclear receptor-mediated transactivation. In this study, we show that MDM2 significantly enhanced estrogen receptor α (ERα) and ERα/specificity protein-mediated transactivation in MCF-7 and ZR-75 breast cancer cells. This was demonstrated by both MDM2 overexpression and knockdown experiments by RNA interference. ERα interacted with wild-type MDM2 and deletion mutants of MDM2 containing amino acids 1–342 (C-terminal deletion) and 134–490 (N-terminal deletion), but not 134–342. In contrast, only wild-type but not mutant MDM2 enhanced ERα-mediated transactivation. Protein–protein interactions in vitro were 17β-estradiol (E2) independent, whereas fluorescent resonance energy transfer experiments in living cells showed that E2 enhanced ERα–MDM2 interactions. Subsequent RNA interference and mammalian two-hybrid experiments suggested that MDM2 did not directly interact with endogenous coactivators such as the steroid receptor coactivators but played a role in enhancing ERα-mediating gene expression and estrogen responsiveness through interactions with ERα.

Free access

William J Stanley, Prerak M Trivedi, Andrew P Sutherland, Helen E Thomas and Esteban N Gurzov

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by the destruction of insulin-producing β-cells by immune cells in the pancreas. Pro-inflammatory including TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-1β are released in the islet during the autoimmune assault and signal in β-cells through phosphorylation cascades, resulting in pro-apoptotic gene expression and eventually β-cell death. Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) are a family of enzymes that regulate phosphorylative signalling and are associated with the development of T1D. Here, we observed expression of PTPN6 and PTPN1 in human islets and islets from non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. To clarify the role of these PTPs in β-cells/islets, we took advantage of CRISPR/Cas9 technology and pharmacological approaches to inactivate both proteins. We identify PTPN6 as a negative regulator of TNF-α-induced β-cell death, through JNK-dependent BCL-2 protein degradation. In contrast, PTPN1 acts as a positive regulator of IFN-γ-induced STAT1-dependent gene expression, which enhanced autoimmune destruction of β-cells. Importantly, PTPN1 inactivation by pharmacological modulation protects β-cells and primary mouse islets from cytokine-mediated cell death. Thus, our data point to a non-redundant effect of PTP regulation of cytokine signalling in β-cells in autoimmune diabetes.

Free access

Agua Sobrino, Pilar J Oviedo, Susana Novella, Andrés Laguna-Fernandez, Carlos Bueno, Miguel Angel García-Pérez, Juan J Tarín, Antonio Cano and Carlos Hermenegildo

Estradiol (E2) acts on the endothelium to promote vasodilatation through the release of several compounds, including prostanoids, which are products of arachidonic acid metabolism. Among these, prostacyclin (PGI2) and thromboxane A2 (TXA2) exert opposite effects on vascular tone. The role of different estrogen receptors (ERs) in the PGI2/TXA2 balance, however, has not been fully elucidated. Our study sought to uncover whether E2 enhances basal production of PGI2 or TXA2 in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), to analyze the enzymatic mechanisms involved, and to evaluate the different roles of both types of ERs (ERα and ERβ). HUVECs were exposed to E2, selective ERα (1,3,5-tris(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-propyl-1h-pyrazole, PPT) or ERβ (diarylpropionitrile, DPN) agonists and antagonists (unspecific: ICI 182 780; specific for ERα: methyl-piperidino-pyrazole, MPP). PGI2 and TXA2 production was measured by ELISA. Expression of phospholipases, cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2), PGI2 synthase (PGIS), and thromboxane synthase (TXAS) was analyzed by western blot and quantitative RT-PCR. E2 (1–100 nM) dose dependently increased PGI2 production (up to 50%), without affecting TXA2 production. COX-1 and PGIS protein and gene expressions were increased, whereas COX-2, phospholipases, and TXAS expression remained unaltered. All these effects were mediated through ERα, since they were produced not only in the presence of E2, but also in that of PPT, while they were abolished in the presence of MPP. In conclusion, E2, acting through ERα, up-regulates COX-1 and PGIS expression, thus directing prostanoid balance toward increased PGI2 production.

Free access

Sonia Ciarmatori, Daniela Kiepe, Anke Haarmann, Ulrike Huegel and Burkhard Tönshoff

Since IGF-I is an important chondrocyte growth factor, we sought to examine the intracellular mechanisms by which it exerts two of its pivotal effects, stimulation of proliferation and differentiation. We used the mesenchymal chondrogenic cell line RCJ3.1C5.18, which progresses spontaneously to differentiated growth plate chondrocytes. This differentiation process could be enhanced by exogenous IGF-I. Pharmacological inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol-3 (PI-3) kinase by LY294002, mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK)1/2 by U0126, the protein kinase (PK) A pathway by H-89 or KT5720, and the PKC pathway by bisindolylmaleimide suppressed IGF-I-stimulated cell proliferation. In contrast, IGF-I-enhanced early cell differentiation, as assessed by collagen type II and aggrecan gene expression, was not affected by MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway inhibition, but significantly diminished by inhibition of the PI-3 kinase, the PKC and the PKA pathway. Moreover, terminal differentiation of chondrocytes in response to IGF-I, as assessed by gene expression of alkaline phosphatase, Indian hedgehog, and collagen type X, were only interrupted by PI-3 kinase pathway inhibition. In conclusion, IGF-I exerts its differential effect on chondrocyte proliferation vs differentiation through the use of at least four partially interacting intracellular signaling pathways, whose activity is temporarily regulated. When chondrocytes progress from proliferating cells to early and terminal differentiating cells, they progressively inactivate IGF-I-related intracellular signaling pathways. This mechanism might be essential for the complex and cell stage-specific anabolic action of IGF-I in the growth plate.

Free access

Huan Zhang, Xiuxia Liu, Shanshan Zhou, Ye Jia, Ying Li, Yuguo Song, Junnan Wang and Hao Wu

c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). The JNK inhibitor SP600125 was reported to ameliorate DN. However, the mechanism remained unclear. We previously reported that SP600125 activated nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), a governor of the cellular antioxidant defense system, in the aortas of the diabetic mice. Given the critical role of NRF2 in preventing DN, the present study aimed to test whether or not NRF2 is required for SP600125’s protection against DN. To test the role of NRF2 in SP600125’s effect, streptozotocin-induced C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) and Nrf2-knockout (KO) diabetic mice were treated in the presence or absence of SP600125, for 24 weeks. To explore the mechanism by which SP600125 activates NRF2, mouse mesangial cells (MMCs) were treated with high glucose (HG), in the presence or absence of either SP600125 or JNK siRNA. SP600125 significantly attenuated the diabetes-induced renal oxidative stress, inflammation, fibrosis, pathological change and dysfunction in the WT, but not the Nrf2 KO mice. SP600125 inactivated JNK, inhibited kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 expression, preserved NRF2 protein and facilitated its nuclear translocation in the kidneys of the WT mice, the effects of which were similarly produced by either SP600125 or JNK siRNA in HG-treated MMCs. Further, both SP600125 and JNK siRNA alleviated HG-induced mesangial oxidative stress and expression of inflammatory and fibrotic genes. The present study demonstrates that NRF2 is required for SP600125’s protection against DN. SP600125 activates NRF2 possibly via inhibition of JNK-induced Keap1 expression.

Free access

GL Lambert, S Barker, DM Lees and R Corder

ABSTRACT The synthesis of the vasoconstrictor peptide endothelin-2 (ET-2) is dependent on hydrolysis of the biologically inactive intermediate big ET-2 by an endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE). Here, mechanisms inducing ET-2 synthesis have been investigated using the human renal adenocarcinoma cell line (ACHN). Synthesis of ET-2 by ACHN cells was inhibited by phosphoramidon (IC(50( congruent with11 microM). To determine whether ET-2 synthesis occurs in parallel with the metallopeptidase ECE-1, a putative processing peptidase for big ET-2, changes in the levels of their mRNAs were compared by semi-quantitative RT-PCR under conditions causing the upregulation of ET-2 synthesis. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), forskolin and a cell-permeable cAMP analogue (dibutyryl cAMP) caused concentration-dependent increases in ET-2 synthesis. Combination of forskolin or dibutyryl cAMP with TNFalpha produced a significantly greater increase in ET-2 production than these agents alone, indicating that adenylate cyclase and TNFalpha induce ET-2 synthesis by separate signalling pathways. Studies using receptor selective TNFalpha mutants, (125(I-TNFalpha binding and TNF receptor mRNA showed that type-1 TNF receptors mediate the ET-2 response to TNFalpha. PreproET-2 mRNA levels were increased by TNFalpha at 1 h and 2 h, but returned to control levels at 4 h. Treatment with forskolin significantly increased preproET-2 mRNA levels after 1 h and 4 h. ACHN cells expressed ECE-1b and ECE-1c, but not the ECE-1a isoform of this peptidase. RT-PCR for the combined isoforms ECE-1b/c/d showed TNFalpha to increase mRNA levels at 2 h and 4 h. Forskolin had no effect on ECE-1b/c/d mRNA levels. Thus, expression of ET-2 and ECE-1b/c/d mRNAs in ACHN cells do not display the co-ordinated regulation observed with typical peptide prohormone processing enzymes and their substrates.

Free access

BM Jaber, R Mukopadhyay and CL Smith

The p160 coactivators, steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1), transcriptional intermediary factor-2 (TIF2) and receptor-associated coactivator-3 (RAC3), as well as the coactivator/integrator CBP, mediate estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha)-dependent gene expression. Although these coactivators are widely expressed, ERalpha transcriptional activity is cell-type dependent. In this study, we investigated ERalpha interaction with p160 coactivators and CBP in HeLa and HepG2 cell lines. Basal and estradiol (E2)-dependent interactions between the ERalpha ligand-binding domain (LBD) and SRC-1, TIF2 or RAC3 were observed in HeLa and HepG2 cells. The extents of hormone-dependent interactions were similar and interactions between each of the p160 coactivators and the ERalpha LBD were not enhanced by 4-hydroxytamoxifen in either cell type. In contrast to the situation for p160 coactivators, E2-dependent interaction of the ERalpha LBD with CBP or p300 was detected in HeLa but not HepG2 cells by mammalian two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation assays, indicating that the cellular environment modulates ERalpha-CBP/p300 interaction. Furthermore, interactions between CBP and p160 coactivators are much more robust in HeLa than HepG2 cells suggesting that poor CBP-p160 interactions are insufficient to support ERalpha-CBP-p160 ternary complexes important for nuclear receptor-CBP interactions. Alterations in p160 coactivators or CBP expression between these two cell types did not account for differences in ERalpha-p160-CBP interactions. Taken together, these data revealed the influence of cellular environment on ERalpha-CBP/p300 interactions, as well as CBP-p160 coactivator binding, and suggest that these differences may contribute to the cell specificity of ERalpha-dependent gene expression.

Free access

Qi Cheng, Violeta D Beltran, Stanley M H Chan, Jeremy R Brown, Alan Bevington and Terence P Herbert


The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine, are essential amino acids that play a critical role in cellular signalling and metabolism. They acutely stimulate insulin secretion and activate the regulatory serine/threonine kinase mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a kinase that promotes increased β-cell mass and function. The effects of BCAA on cellular function are dependent on their active transport into the mammalian cells via amino acid transporters and thus the expression and activity of these transporters likely influence β-cell signalling and function. In this report, we show that the System-L transporters are required for BCAA uptake into clonal β-cell lines and pancreatic islets, and that these are essential for signalling to mTORC1. Further investigation revealed that the System-L amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) is abundantly expressed in the islets, and that knockdown of LAT1 using siRNA inhibits mTORC1 signalling, leucine-stimulated insulin secretion and islet cell proliferation. In summary, we show that the LAT1 is required for regulating β-cell signalling and function in islets and thus may be a novel pharmacological/nutritional target for the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Restricted access

D C Batchelor, A-M Hutchins, M Klempt and S J M Skinner


The insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I and IGF-II), their receptors and binding proteins (IGFBPs) are endogenously expressed in a number of tissues including the lung during fetal and neonatal development. This endogenous autocrine/paracrine IGF 'system', together with endocrine sources, contributes to the regulation of lung cell proliferation. We investigated the expression of the mRNAs encoding IGF-I, IGF-II, the type 1 IGF receptor (IGF-T1R) and two IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4) in rat lung during the perinatum. These were compared in lung with surfactant apoprotein A (Sp-A) mRNA levels.

mRNA in extracts of fetal tissues collected between day 17 of gestation (17f) and day 9 after birth (9d) was estimated by Northern blot or RNase protection analysis. At day 20 of gestation IGF-I, IGF-T1R and IGFBP-4 mRNA levels were higher in lung than liver (all P<0·01), whereas IGF-II and IGFBP-2 mRNA levels were higher in liver than lung (each P<0·02). The expression of IGF-I, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4 in lung was high before birth (days 17–20f) but decreased to low levels at days 21f, 22f or at birth (1d) but increased in the neonatal lung. IGF-II expression in lung was high at 17f but decreased before birth and remained low after birth. The IGF-T1R was expressed at moderate levels before birth, decreased before birth but peaked at days 2–5 after birth. The decrease in expression of these growth regulators before birth was matched by an increase in Sp-A expression which was clearly seen at day 20f, peaked at 1d and then was maintained at high levels after birth. Primary cell cultures of 18f lung epithelia express IGFBP-2 while fibroblasts from the same animals express only IGFBP-4. Cells grown from 22f lung tissue express IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4 at lower levels, behaving in vitro as they do in vivo.

The contrasting levels of expression of different components of the IGF system in the fetal lung and liver indicate organ-specific regulation. IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4 expression in different cell types within lung but with similar temporal changes suggests cell-specific regulation, perhaps by a common agent. The patterns of expression of IGF-I, IGF-T1R, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4, but not IGF-II, in developing lung correspond to previously described phasic changes in lung cell proliferation rates. The nadir in expression of these four major components of the lung IGF system occurs in the saccular phase when the lung begins to differentiate, probably under the influence of certain endocrine agents.

Restricted access

K J Parker, P M Jones, C H Hunton, S J Persaud, C G Taylor and S L Howell


The liberation of arachidonic acid (AA), by phospholipase A2 (PLA2), is the rate-limiting step in a number of cell signalling pathways. In the pancreatic β-cell, AA itself is thought to participate in the regulation of insulin secretion. Recently a Ca2+-sensitive, AA-selective cytosolic PLA2 (type IV cPLA2) has been isolated from the human monocyte U937 cell line. Although the DNA sequence of this enzyme implies a molecular weight of 85 kDa, the protein migrates with a molecular weight of 100-110 kDa on SDS-PAGE. In many cell types, cPLA2s which are reactive towards antibodies raised against the type IV cPLA2 have been shown to hydrolyse AA from membrane glycerophospholipids. Using a polyclonal antibody raised against a recombinant form of type IV cPLA2, we have detected an immunoreactive protein with a molecular weight of 93·5 kDa in rat islets of Langerhans. Furthermore, we have detected similar immunoreactive proteins in insulin-secreting β-cell lines and have shown co-expression of type IV cPLA2 immunoreactivity and insulin immunoreactivity in rat pancreatic β-cells. Under non-stimulatory conditions the 93·5 kDa immunoreactive protein detected in rat islets of Langerhans was located predominantly in the cytosolic fraction. We have shown that immunoprecipitation of the rat immunoreactive protein from rat islet homogenates significantly decreases the total dithiothreitol/β-mercaptoethanol-insensitive PLA2 activity by 56·4±7% This provides further evidence that the immunoreactive rat protein is a type IV cPLA2 and is responsible for a large component of the PLA2 activity in rat islets of Langerhans. It is possible that, in the rat β-cell, type IV cPLA2 couples the increase in intracellular Ca2+, brought about by insulin secretagogues, to the liberation of AA and the subsequent release of insulin.