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PL Bardet, B Horard, M Robinson-Rechavi, V Laudet and JM Vanacker

We cloned the cDNAs corresponding to three oestrogen receptors (ERs) in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Sequence analysis and phylogenetic studies demonstrated that two of these genes, ER beta.1 and ER beta.2, arose from duplication of the original ER beta in many species of the fish phylum, whereas ER alpha is unique. Zebrafish ERs behaved as oestrogen-dependent transcription factors in transactivation assays. However, their reactivity to various oestrogen modulators was different compared with that of mouse ERs. ER mRNA expression during zebrafish development is restricted to distinct time periods, as observed by RNase protection assays. ER beta.2 is initially expressed as maternally transmitted RNA, until 6 h after fertilization, when expression disappears. Between 6 and 48 h after fertilization, no ER expression could be observed. After 48 h after fertilization, all ERs, but predominantly ER alpha, began to be expressed. We conclude that oestrogen signal transduction can operate during zebrafish development only within discrete time windows.

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M Fernandez, F Sanchez-Franco, N Palacios, I Sanchez, C Fernandez and L Cacicedo

In previous studies we demonstrated that IGF-I induces proliferation of pituitary lactotrophs. In addition to its mitotrophic actions, IGF-I is known to prevent apoptosis induced by diverse stimuli in several cell types. In this study, we investigated the action of IGF-I on pituitary cell survival and the intracellular signaling transduction pathway implicated in this effect. Treatment of cultured male rat pituitary cells with IGF-I (10(-7) M) for 24 h prevented pituitary cell death induced by serum deprivation. The protective effect of IGF-I was blocked by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) inhibitor, LY294002, but was unaffected by PD98059, which inhibits MAP/ERK kinase (MEK1). IGF-I activation of PI3-kinase induced the phosphorylation and activation of the serine/threonine kinase Akt. Moreover, IGF-I increased the phosphorylation of the pro-apoptotic factor Bad and the levels of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 through the PI3-kinase pathway in primary pituitary cells.

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S Najib and V Sanchez-Margalet

Hyperhomocysteinemia and insulin resistance are independent factors for cardiovascular disease. Most of the angiotoxic effects of homocysteine are related to the formation of homocysteine thiolactone and the consequent increase in oxidative stress. The oxidative stress has also been shown to impair insulin action, therefore leading to insulin resistance. In order to study a putative direct effect of homocysteine on insulin signaling, we have characterized the molecular counter-regulation of the early events in the signal transduction of the insulin receptor, and the metabolic end-point of glycogen synthesis. We employed HTC rat hepatoma cells transfected with the human insulin receptor. A 10 min exposure to homocysteine thiolactone (50 microM) resulted in a significant inhibition of insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor beta-subunit and its substrates IRS-1 and p60-70, as well as their association with the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. These effects led to impairment of the insulin-stimulated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, which plays a central role in regulating insulin action. Thus, insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis was also inhibited by homocysteine thiolactone. To investigate whether oxidative stress was mediating the counter-regulatory effect of homocysteine thiolactone on insulin signaling, we preincubated the cells (5 min) with 250 microM glutathione prior to the incubation with homocysteine (10 min) and subsequent insulin challenge. Glutathione completely abolished the effects of homocysteine thiolactone on insulin-receptor signaling and restored the insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis. In conclusion, these data suggest that homocysteine thiolactone impairs insulin signaling by a mechanism involving oxidative stress, leading to a defect in insulin action.

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M. C. Slootweg, S. T. van Genesen, A. P. Otte, S. A. Duursma and W. Kruijer

ABSTRACT

Addition of human GH (hGH) to primary mouse osteoblasts resulted in rapid and transient induction of the c-fos and c-myc proto-oncogenes and preceded hGH-induced mitogenesis. Human GH-induced c-fos expression was maximal after 30 min, resulting in a 10- to 15-fold increase over unstimulated cells, and returned to prestimulation levels within 60 min of the addition of hGH. Induction of the c-fos gene by hGH was dose dependent and also occurred in the absence of protein synthesis, resulting in superinduction of the c-fos gene. The induction of the c-fos gene by hGH was mediated by a somatotrophic (GH) rather than a lactogenic (prolactin) receptor on primary mouse osteoblasts, as indicated by a 10- to 100-fold greater potency of hGH compared with ovine prolactin in stimulating the expression of the c-fos gene. Primary mouse osteoblasts also induced the c-fos gene in response to epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-I and several agents, including phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (TPA), forskolin and A23187, that are known to activate signal transduction pathways involved in the action of growth factors.

Addition of hGH to primary mouse osteoblasts did not result in increased phosphoinositide breakdown, while selective deactivation of the diacylglycerol—protein kinase C and inositol 1,4,5—trisphosphate—Ca2+ pathways by long-term TPA pretreatment or depleting intracellular Ca2+ stores had no effect on hGH-induced c-fos expression. Human GH did not alter basal cyclic AMP levels in mouse osteoblasts. The immediate consequences of GH—receptor interaction as well as the mechanism of signal transduction leading to induction of the c-fos gene remain, therefore, unresolved.

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A. R. Solano, L. Dada and E. J. Podesta

ABSTRACT

Aldosterone secretion from adrenal glomerulosa cells can be stimulated by angiotensin II (AII), extracellular potassium and ACTH. Mitochondria from these cells respond to intracellular factors generated by AII (cyclic AMP (cAMP)-independent steroidogenesis) and ACTH (cAMP-dependent steroidogenesis), suggesting that the two signal-transduction mechanisms are linked by a common intermediate. We have evaluated this hypothesis by stimulating mitochondria from the unstimulated zona glomerulosa with a subcellular post-mitochondrial fraction (PMF) obtained from the zona glomerulosa after stimulation with AII or from the fasciculata gland after stimulation with ACTH; the subcellular fractions were also tested on mitochondria from fasciculata cells. PMFs obtained after incubation of adrenal zona glomerulosa with or without AII (0·1 μm) or ACTH (0·1 nm) were able to increase net progesterone synthesis 4·5-fold in mitochondria isolated from unstimulated rat zona glomerulosa. AII-pre-treated PMFs from the zona glomerulosa also stimulated steroidogenesis by mitochondria from zona fasciculata cells.

Separate experiments showed that inhibitors of arachidonic acid release and metabolism (bromophenacyl bromide, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, caffeic acid or esculetin) blocked corticosterone production in fasciculata cells stimulated with ACTH, suggesting that arachidonic acid could be the common intermediate in the actions of AII and ACTH on steroid synthesis. Evidence to support this concept was obtained from experiments in which the formation of an activated PMF by treatment of zona fasciculata with ACTH was blocked by the presence of the same inhibitors. Moreover, the inhibitory effects of these substances on PMF activation by ACTH were overcome by exogenous arachidonic acid and, in addition, arachidonic acid release was stimulated by ACTH.

We suggest that the mechanisms of action of ACTH and AII involve an increase in the release of arachidonic acid and conversion of arachidonic acid into lipoxygenase products. Both ACTH and AII may have a common intermediate, in spite of different membrane receptors and different signal-transduction mechanisms.

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P. N. Monk and P. Banks

ABSTRACT

The signal transduction mechanisms involved in complement fragment C5a-induced recruitment of actin to the cytoskeleton have been investigated using U-937 cells differentiated by exposure to dibutyryl cyclic AMP. Two parameters of cytoskeletal activation were compared: F-actin formation and nucleation of polymerization of pyrenyl-actin in whole cell lysates. The dose dependency of these responses to C5a was clearly different to that observed for [3H]inositol phosphate formation and also markedly different from that observed for the production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). Further evidence to dissociate inositol lipid hydrolysis from these cytoskeletal responses was obtained by treating cells with neomycin, phorbol myristate acetate and pertussis toxin and by modulating the levels of intracellular Ca2+ using quin 2. Inhibition of [3H]inositol phosphate and ROI production was not correlated with effects on actin recruitment or nucleation. In addition, these agents had differing effects on F-actin formation and nucleation activity. The results show that the production of inositol phosphates is not required for stimulating either F-actin formation or nucleation activity and also that ligand-induced polymerization of actin depends primarily upon an increase in the availability of G-actin rather than nucleation sites. These cytoskeletal responses are apparently controlled by different signalling pathways which diverge at an early stage.

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CE Wrede, LM Dickson, MK Lingohr, I Briaud and CJ Rhodes

It is possible that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms by free fatty acids (FFA) plays a role in the failure of pancreatic beta-cell mass expansion to compensate for peripheral insulin resistance in the pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes. The effect of lipid moieties on activation of conventional (PKC-alpha and -beta1), novel (PKC-delta) and atypical (PKC-zeta) PKC isoforms was evaluated in an in vitro assay, using biotinylated neurogranin as a substrate. Oleoyl-Coenzyme A (CoA) and palmitoyl-CoA, but not unesterified FFA, significantly increased the activity of all PKC isoforms (P< or =0.05), particularly that for PKC-delta. It was found that FFA (0.4 mM oleate/complexed to 0.5% bovine serum albumin) inhibited IGF-I-induced activation of protein kinase B (PKB) in the pancreatic beta-cell line (INS-1), but this was alleviated in the presence of the general PKC inhibitor (Go6850; 1 microM). To further investigate whether conventional or novel PKC isoforms adversely affect beta-cell proliferation, the effect of phorbol ester (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate; PMA)-mediated activation of these PKC isoforms on glucose/IGF-I-induced INS-1 cell mitogenesis, and insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-mediated signal transduction was investigated. PMA-mediated activation of PKC (100 nM; 4 h) reduced glucose/IGF-I mediated beta-cell mitogenesis (>50%; P< or =0.05), which was reversible by the general PKC inhibitor Go6850 (1 microM), indicating an effect of PKC and not due to a non-specific PMA toxicity. PMA inhibited IGF-I-induced activation of PKB, correlating with inhibition of IGF-I-induced association of IRS-2 with the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. However, in contrast, PMA activated the mitogen-activated protein kinases, Erk1/2. Titration inhibition analysis using PKC isoform inhibitors indicated that these PMA-induced effects were via novel PKC isoforms. Thus, FFA/PMA-induced activation of novel PKC isoforms can inhibit glucose/IGF-I-mediated beta-cell mitogenesis, in part by decreasing PKB activation, despite an upregulation of Erk1/2. Thus, activation of novel PKC isoforms by long-chain acyl-CoA may well contribute to decreasing beta-cell mass in the pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes, similar to their inhibition of insulin signal transduction which causes insulin resistance.

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A G Aprikian, K Han, S Chevalier, M Bazinet and J Viallet

ABSTRACT

Bombesin and gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) are potent neuropeptides expressed by prostate cancer neuroendocrine cells and are related to the progression of this malignancy. This study characterizes bombesin receptors in human prostate cancer cell lines (PC-3, DU-145, LNCaP) and assesses the in vitro effect of bombesin on signal transduction and cell proliferation. [125I]Tyr4-bombesin binding assays (37 °C) and Scatchard analyses revealed the presence of a single class of high-affinity receptors with similar K d values (1·5, 1·1 and 3·6 × 10−10 m in PC-3, DU-145 and LNCaP cells respectively) but with significant differences in the number of binding sites per cell (47·6, 1·5 and 0·1 × 103 in PC-3, DU-145 and LNCaP cells respectively). Molecular characterization of the binding sites performed in PC-3 cells by cross-linking experiments and SDS/PAGE revealed a single radioactive band of 85 kDa. To determine which of the three known bombesin receptor subtypes (GRP receptor (GRP-R), neuromedin B receptor, bombesin receptor subtype-3) were expressed in the cell lines, reverse transcription/PCR analysis of cellular RNA followed by hybridization with receptor-specific cDNA was performed. This revealed the presence of GRP-R transcript in all cell lines, while neither of the other two receptor transcripts were expressed. When intracellular calcium mobilization was measured by Fura-2/AM cell labeling and spectrofluorometric monitoring, bombesin (100 nm) induced rapid calcium mobilization in both PC-3 (>200% of baseline) and DU-145 (>100% of baseline) cells, but not in LNCaP cells. However, as measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and [3H]thymidine incorporation, no growth modulation was observed with bombesin or bombesin receptor antagonist at various concentrations (0-500 nm). Our data indicate that bombesin is a potent inducer of signal transduction via GRP-R receptors in androgen-insensitive PC-3 and DU-145 prostate cancer cells. This suggests that the bombesin/GRP family of neuropeptides may play a regulatory role in the biology of androgen-independent prostate cancer.

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M Zhang, Y Tao, B Zhou, H Xie, F Wang, L Lei, L Huo, Q Sun and G Xia

gonadotrophins on ovarian functions are believed to be mediated in large part through increased production of the second messenger adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP), and subsequent activation of specific signalling pathways involving phosphorylation of

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E Dare, O Kifor, EM Brown and G Weber

The regulation of parathyroid hormone secretion by the chief cells of the parathyroid is mediated by a 7-transmembrane (7-TM) Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaR), which signals via activation of pertussis toxin-insensitive G proteins, causing stimulation of phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC). We have identified the PI-PLC isoforms expressed in two model systems utilized for studying CaR signal transduction, i.e. dispersed bovine parathyroid cells and a human embryonic kidney cell line (HEK 293) stably transfected with the human parathyroid CaR-cDNA. All of the eight PI-PLC isozymes examined in this study were found to be expressed to varying extents in the bovine parathyroid gland and in the CaR-transfected HEK cells as assessed by immunoblotting. We localized the expression of the more abundant isozymes (beta1, beta2, beta3, gamma1, gamma2, delta2) to the chief cells of the bovine parathyroid by immunocytochemistry, while the two less abundant isozymes (delta1, beta4) were not detectable in parathyroid sections. G proteins activated by 7-TM receptors are known to activate mainly PI-PLC of the beta class. Therefore, beta1, beta2, beta3 and beta4, all expressed in the bovine parathyroid, are candidate isozymes for coupling to the CaR. A comparison of the levels of expression of PI-PLC isozymes between CaR-transfected HEK cells and non-transfected HEK cells suggested that the expression of the CaR in this human cell line does not cause a significant up-regulation of any of the PLCbeta and PLCgamma isozymes. PLCdelta2, showing predominantly nuclear localization in the parathyroid, was the sole PI-PLC isozyme with higher levels of expression in CaR-transfected HEK cells.