Cholera toxin (CT) causes the massive secretory diarrhea associated with epidemic cholera. To induce disease, CT enters the cytosol of host cells by co-opting a lipid-based sorting pathway from the plasma membrane, through the trans-Golgi network (TGN), and into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In the ER, a portion of the toxin is unfolded and retro-translocated to the cytosol. Here, we established zebrafish as a genetic model of intoxication and examined the Derlin and flotillin proteins, which are thought to be usurped by CT for retro-translocation and lipid sorting, respectively. Using antisense morpholino oligomers and siRNA, we found that depletion of Derlin-1, a component of the Hrd-1 retro-translocation complex, was dispensable for CT-induced toxicity. In contrast, the lipid raft–associated proteins flotillin-1 and -2 were required. We found that in mammalian cells, CT intoxication was dependent on the flotillins for trafficking between plasma membrane/endosomes and two pathways into the ER, only one of which appears to intersect the TGN. These results revise current models for CT intoxication and implicate protein scaffolding of lipid rafts in the endosomal sorting of the toxin-GM1 complex.
David E. Saslowsky, Jin Ah Cho, Himani Chinnapen, Ramiro H. Massol, Daniel J.-F. Chinnapen, Jessica S. Wagner, Heidi E. De Luca, Wendy Kam, Barry H. Paw, Wayne I. Lencer
Fibroblasts are ubiquitous cells that demonstrate remarkable diversity. However, their origin and pathways of differentiation remain poorly defined. Here, we show that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF; also known as CCN2) is sufficient to induce human bone marrow mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) to differentiate into fibroblasts. CTGF-stimulated MSCs lost their surface mesenchymal epitopes, expressed broad fibroblastic hallmarks, and increasingly synthesized collagen type I and tenacin-C. After fibroblastic commitment, the ability of MSCs to differentiate into nonfibroblastic lineages — including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes — was diminished. To address inherent heterogeneity in MSC culture, we established 18 single MSC–derived clones by limiting dilution. CTGF-treated MSCs were α-SMA–, differentiating into α-SMA+ myofibroblasts only when stimulated subsequently with TGF-β1, suggestive of stepwise processes of fibroblast commitment, fibrogenesis, and pathological fibrosis. In rats, in vivo microencapsulated delivery of CTGF prompted postnatal connective tissue to undergo fibrogenesis rather than ectopic mineralization. The knowledge that fibroblasts have a mesenchymal origin may enrich our understanding of organ fibrosis, cancer stroma, ectopic mineralization, scarring, and regeneration.
Chang H. Lee, Bhranti Shah, Eduardo K. Moioli, Jeremy J. Mao
Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs; SPG1–45) are inherited neurological disorders characterized by lower extremity spastic weakness. More than half of HSP cases result from autosomal dominant mutations in atlastin-1 (also known as SPG3A), receptor expression enhancing protein 1 (REEP1; SPG31), or spastin (SPG4). The atlastin-1 GTPase interacts with spastin, a microtubule-severing ATPase, as well as with the DP1/Yop1p and reticulon families of ER-shaping proteins, and SPG3A caused by atlastin-1 mutations has been linked pathogenically to abnormal ER morphology. Here we investigated SPG31 by analyzing the distribution, interactions, and functions of REEP1. We determined that REEP1 is structurally related to the DP1/Yop1p family of ER-shaping proteins and localizes to the ER in cultured rat cerebral cortical neurons, where it colocalizes with spastin and atlastin-1. Upon overexpression in COS7 cells, REEP1 formed protein complexes with atlastin-1 and spastin within the tubular ER, and these interactions required hydrophobic hairpin domains in each of these proteins. REEP proteins were required for ER network formation in vitro, and REEP1 also bound microtubules and promoted ER alignment along the microtubule cytoskeleton in COS7 cells. A SPG31 mutant REEP1 lacking the C-terminal cytoplasmic region did not interact with microtubules and disrupted the ER network. These data indicate that the HSP proteins atlastin-1, spastin, and REEP1 interact within the tubular ER membrane in corticospinal neurons to coordinate ER shaping and microtubule dynamics. Thus, defects in tubular ER shaping and network interactions with the microtubule cytoskeleton seem to be the predominant pathogenic mechanism of HSP.
Seong H. Park, Peng-Peng Zhu, Rell L. Parker, Craig Blackstone
The RNA-binding protein HuR (also known as ELAV1) binds to the 3′-untranslated region of mRNAs and regulates transcript stability and translation. However, the in vivo functions of HuR are not well understood. Here, we report that murine HuR is essential for life; postnatal global deletion of Elavl1 induced atrophy of hematopoietic organs, extensive loss of intestinal villi, obstructive enterocolitis, and lethality within 10 days. Upon Elavl1 deletion, progenitor cells in the BM, thymus, and intestine underwent apoptosis, whereas quiescent stem cells and differentiated cells were unaffected. The survival defect of hematopoietic progenitor cells was cell intrinsic, as transplant of Elavl1–/– BM led to compromised hematopoietic reconstitution but did not cause lethality. Expression of p53 and its downstream effectors critical for cell death were induced in progenitor cells as HuR levels declined. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts, HuR bound to and stabilized the mRNA for Mdm2, a critical negative regulator of p53. Furthermore, cell survival was restored by expression of Mdm2 in Elavl1–/– cells, suggesting that HuR keeps p53 levels in check in progenitor cells and thereby promotes cell survival. This regulation of cell stress response by HuR in progenitor cells, which we believe to be novel, could potentially be exploited in cytotoxic anticancer therapies as well as stem cell transplant therapy.
Mallika Ghosh, Hector Leonardo Aguila, Jason Michaud, Youxi Ai, Ming-Tao Wu, Annabrita Hemmes, Ari Ristimaki, Caiying Guo, Henry Furneaux, Timothy Hla
ER stress–induced apoptosis is implicated in various pathological conditions, but the mechanisms linking ER stress–mediated signaling to downstream apoptotic pathways remain unclear. Using human and mouse cell culture and in vivo mouse models of ER stress–induced apoptosis, we have shown that cytosolic calcium resulting from ER stress induces expression of the Fas death receptor through a pathway involving calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIγ (CaMKIIγ) and JNK. Remarkably, CaMKIIγ was also responsible for processes involved in mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis, including release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. CaMKII-dependent apoptosis was also observed in a number of cultured human and mouse cells relevant to ER stress–induced pathology, including cultured macrophages, endothelial cells, and neuronal cells subjected to proapoptotic ER stress. Moreover, WT mice subjected to systemic ER stress showed evidence of macrophage mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis, renal epithelial cell apoptosis, and renal dysfunction, and these effects were markedly reduced in CaMKIIγ-deficient mice. These data support an integrated model in which CaMKII serves as a unifying link between ER stress and the Fas and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways. Our study also revealed what we believe to be a novel proapoptotic function for CaMKII, namely, promotion of mitochondrial calcium uptake. These findings raise the possibility that CaMKII inhibitors could be useful in preventing apoptosis in pathological settings involving ER stress–induced apoptosis.
Jenelle M. Timmins, Lale Ozcan, Tracie A. Seimon, Gang Li, Cristina Malagelada, Johannes Backs, Thea Backs, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Eric N. Olson, Mark E. Anderson, Ira Tabas
Huntingtin interacting protein 1 related (Hip1r) is an F-actin– and clathrin-binding protein involved in vesicular trafficking. In this study, we demonstrate that Hip1r is abundantly expressed in the gastric parietal cell, predominantly localizing with F-actin to canalicular membranes. Hip1r may provide a critical function in vivo, as demonstrated by extensive changes to parietal cells and the gastric epithelium in Hip1r-deficient mice. Electron microscopy revealed abnormal apical canalicular membranes and loss of tubulovesicles in mutant parietal cells, suggesting that Hip1r is necessary for the normal trafficking of these secretory membranes. Accordingly, acid secretory dynamics were altered in mutant parietal cells, with enhanced activation and acid trapping, as measured in isolated gastric glands. At the whole-organ level, gastric acidity was reduced in Hip1r-deficient mice, and the gastric mucosa was grossly transformed, with fewer parietal cells due to enhanced apoptotic cell death and glandular hypertrophy associated with cellular transformation. Hip1r-deficient mice had increased expression of the gastric growth factor gastrin, and mice mutant for both gastrin and Hip1r exhibited normalization of both proliferation and gland height. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that Hip1r plays a significant role in gastric physiology, mucosal architecture, and secretory membrane dynamics in parietal cells.
Renu N. Jain, Asma A. Al-Menhali, Theresa M. Keeley, Jianhua Ren, Mohammed El-Zaatari, Xunsheng Chen, Juanita L. Merchant, Theodora S. Ross, Catherine S. Chew, Linda C. Samuelson
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is the principal risk factor for glaucoma and results from excessive impedance of the fluid outflow from the eye. This abnormality likely originates from outflow pathway tissues such as the trabecular meshwork (TM), but the associated molecular etiology is poorly understood. We discovered what we believe to be a novel role for secreted frizzled-related protein-1 (sFRP-1), an antagonist of Wnt signaling, in regulating IOP. sFRP1 was overexpressed in human glaucomatous TM cells. Genes involved in the Wnt signaling pathway were expressed in cultured TM cells and human TM tissues. Addition of recombinant sFRP-1 to ex vivo perfusion-cultured human eyes decreased outflow facility, concomitant with reduced levels of β-catenin, the Wnt signaling mediator, in the TM. Intravitreal injection of an adenoviral vector encoding sFRP1 in mice produced a titer-dependent increase in IOP. Five days after vector injection, IOP increased 2 fold, which was significantly reduced by topical ocular administration of an inhibitor of a downstream suppressor of Wnt signaling. Thus, these data indicate that increased expression of sFRP1 in the TM appears to be responsible for elevated IOP in glaucoma and restoring Wnt signaling in the TM may be a novel disease intervention strategy for treating glaucoma.
Wan-Heng Wang, Loretta G. McNatt, Iok-Hou Pang, J. Cameron Millar, Peggy E. Hellberg, Mark H. Hellberg, H. Thomas Steely, Jeffrey S. Rubin, John H. Fingert, Val C. Sheffield, Edwin M. Stone, Abbot F. Clark
ER stress can cause hepatic insulin resistance and steatosis. Increased VLDL secretion could protect the liver from ER stress–induced steatosis, but the effect of lipid-induced ER stress on the secretion of VLDL is unknown. To determine the effect of lipids on hepatic ER stress and VLDL secretion, we treated McA-RH7777 liver cells with free fatty acids. Prolonged exposure increased cell triglycerides, induced steatosis, and increased ER stress. Effects on apoB100 secretion, which is required for VLDL assembly, were parabolic, with moderate free fatty acid exposure increasing apoB100 secretion, while greater lipid loading inhibited apoB100 secretion. This decreased secretion at higher lipid levels was due to increased protein degradation through both proteasomal and nonproteasomal pathways and was dependent on the induction of ER stress. These findings were supported in vivo, where intravenous infusion of oleic acid (OA) in mice increased ER stress in a duration-dependent manner. apoB secretion was again parabolic, stimulated by moderate, but not prolonged, OA infusion. Inhibition of ER stress was able to restore OA-stimulated apoB secretion after prolonged OA infusion. These results suggest that excessive ER stress in response to increased hepatic lipids may decrease the ability of the liver to secrete triglycerides by limiting apoB secretion, potentially worsening steatosis.
Tsuguhito Ota, Constance Gayet, Henry N. Ginsberg
Progressive pulmonary disease and infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa remain an intractable problem in cystic fibrosis (CF). At the cellular level, CF is characterized by organellar hyperacidification, which results in altered protein and lipid glycosylation. Altered pH of the trans-Golgi network (TGN) may further disrupt the protein processing and packaging that occurs in this organelle. Here we measured activity of the major TGN endoprotease furin and demonstrated a marked upregulation in human CF cells. Increased furin activity was linked to elevated production in CF of the immunosuppressive and tissue remodeling cytokine TGF-β and its downstream effects, including macrophage deactivation and augmented collagen secretion by epithelial cells. As furin is responsible for the proteolytic processing of a range of endogenous and exogenous substrates including growth factors and bacterial toxins, we determined that elevated furin-dependent activation of exotoxin A caused increased cell death in CF respiratory epithelial cells compared with genetically matched CF transmembrane conductance regulator–corrected cells. Thus elevated furin levels in CF respiratory epithelial cells contributes to bacterial toxin–induced cell death, fibrosis, and local immunosuppression. These data suggest that the use of furin inhibitors may represent a strategy for pharmacotherapy in CF.
Wojciech Ornatowski, Jens F. Poschet, Elizabeth Perkett, Jennifer L. Taylor-Cousar, Vojo Deretic
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important mechanism for phenotypic conversion in normal development and disease states such as tissue fibrosis and metastasis. While this conversion of epithelia is under tight transcriptional control, few of the key transcriptional proteins are known. Fibroblasts produced by EMT express a gene encoding fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP1), which is regulated by a proximal cis-acting promoter element called fibroblast transcription site–1 (FTS-1). In mass spectrometry, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and siRNA studies, we used FTS-1 as a unique probe for mediators of EMT and identified a complex of 2 proteins, CArG box–binding factor–A (CBF-A) and KRAB-associated protein 1 (KAP-1), that bind this site. Epithelial cells engineered to conditionally express recombinant CBF-A (rCBF-A) activate the transcription of FSP1 and undergo EMT. The FTS-1 response element also exists in the promoters modulating a broader EMT transcriptome, including Twist, and Snail, as well as E-cadherin, β-catenin, ZO 1, vimentin, α1(I) collagen, and α–smooth muscle actin, and the induction of rCBF-A appropriately alters their expression as well. We believe formation of the CBF-A/KAP-1/FTS-1 complex is sufficient for the induction of FSP1 and a novel proximal activator of EMT.
Christo D. Venkov, Andrew J. Link, Jennifer L. Jennings, David Plieth, Tsutomu Inoue, Kojiro Nagai, Carol Xu, Yoana N. Dimitrova, Frank J. Rauscher III, Eric G. Neilson
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