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    ABSTRACT: In the myometrium SR Ca(2+) depletion promotes an increase in force but unlike several other smooth muscles, there is no Ca(2+) sparks-STOCs coupling mechanism to explain this. Given the importance of the control of contractility for successful parturition, we have examined, in pregnant rat myometrium, the effects of SR Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) inhibition on the temporal relationship between action potentials, Ca(2+) transients and force. Simultaneous recording of electrical activity, calcium and force showed that SERCA inhibition, by cyclopiazonic acid (CPA 20μM), caused time-dependent changes in excitability, most noticeably depolarization and elevations of baseline [Ca(2+)]i and force. At the onset of these changes there was a prolongation of the bursts of action potentials and a corresponding series of Ca(2+) spikes, which increased the amplitude and duration of contractions. As the rise of baseline Ca(2+) and depolarization continued a point was reached when electrical and Ca(2+) spikes and phasic contractions ceased, and a maintained, tonic force and Ca(2+) was produced. Lanthanum, a non-selective blocker of store-operated Ca(2+) entry, but not the L-type Ca(2+) channel blocker nifedipine (1-10μM), could abolish the maintained force and calcium. Application of the agonist, carbachol, produced similar effects to CPA, i.e. depolarization, elevation of force and calcium. A brief, high concentration of carbachol, to cause SR Ca(2+) depletion without eliciting receptor-operated channel opening, also produced these results. The data obtained suggest that in pregnant rats SR Ca(2+) release is coupled to marked Ca(2+) entry, via store operated Ca(2+) channels, leading to depolarization and enhanced electrical and mechanical activity.
    Cell Calcium 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitin, a 76 amino-acid polypeptide, presents a compact three-dimensional structure, utilising a fold that recurs within larger polypeptides and in other protein modifiers, such as NEDD8 and SUMO. Ubiquitylation was initially recognised as a signal for proteasome-mediated degradation. We shall consider here how this view has evolved to appreciate that the dynamic appendage of different types of ubiquitin chains represents a versatile, three-dimensional code, fundamental to the control of many cellular processes.
    Current biology: CB 03/2014; 24(6):R215-20.
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about how hypercholesterolemia affects Ca2+ signalling in the vasculature of ApoE−/− mice, a model of atherosclerosis. Our objectives were therefore to determine (i) if hypercholesterolemia alters Ca2+ signalling in aortic endothelial cells before overt atherosclerotic lesions occur, (ii) how Ca2+ signals are affected in older plaque-containing mice, and (iii) whether Ca2+ signalling changes were translated into contractility differences. Using confocal microscopy we found agonist-specific Ca2+ changes in endothelial cells. ATP responses were unchanged in ApoE−/− cells and methyl-β-cyclodextrin, which lowers cholesterol, was without effect. In contrast, Ca2+ signals to carbachol were significantly increased in ApoE−/− cells, an effect methyl-β-cyclodextrin reversed. Ca2+ signals were more oscillatory and store-operated Ca2+ entry decreased as mice aged and plaques formed. Despite clearly increased Ca2+ signals, aortic rings pre-contracted with phenylephrine had impaired relaxation to carbachol. This functional deficit increased with age, was not related to ROS generation, and could be partially rescued by methyl-β-cyclodextrin. In conclusion, carbachol-induced calcium signalling and handling are significantly altered in endothelial cells of ApoE−/− mice before plaque development. We speculate that reduction in store-operated Ca2+ entry may result in less efficient activation of eNOS and thus explain the reduced relaxatory response to CCh, despite the enhanced Ca2+ response.
    Cell calcium 03/2014; 55(3).
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: This brief review discusses recent advances in studies of mitochondrial Ca(2+) signaling and considers how the relationships between mitochondria and Ca(2+) responses are shaped in secretory epithelial cells. Perhaps the more precise title of this review could have been "How to win ATP and influence Ca(2+) signaling in secretory epithelium with emphasis on exocrine secretory cells and specific focus on pancreatic acinar cells". But "brevity is a virtue" and the authors hope that many of the mechanisms discussed are general and applicable to other tissues and cell types. Among these mechanisms are mitochondrial regulation of Ca(2+) entry and the role of mitochondria in the formation of localized Ca(2+) responses. The roles of Ca(2+) signaling in the physiological adjustment of bioenergetics and in mitochondrial damage are also briefly discussed.
    Cell calcium 02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this short review we discuss how recent insights into myometrial physiology may be taken forward and translated into much needed novel therapies for problems associated with labour. We consider excitation-contraction coupling in the myometrium and how this relates to our understanding of the changes that occur to produce myometrial contractions and successful labour. We then discuss how this information has already been used in the development of drugs to either stimulate or relax the myometrium, to address the needs of women with either slow (dystocic) labours or threatened preterm labours, respectively. We next present the data showing how basic physiological findings pertaining to hypoxia and lactate production, have been taken and translated into a tool for predicting and hence better managing difficult labours. We then highlight examples of where physiological research has started to provide mechanistic insight into clinical problems associated with labour and parturition (obesity, diabetes, advanced maternal age, postdate and twin pregnancies) and suggest how these findings could be translated into new therapies for difficult labours.
    Experimental physiology 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is commonly hyperactivated in cancer. One mechanism by which this occurs is by silencing of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), a tumor suppressor and major antagonist of the pathway, through genetic, epigenetic or posttranscriptional mechanisms. Here, we used an unbiased siRNA screen in non-small-cell lung cancer cells to identify deubiquitylases (DUBs) that have an impact on PI3K signaling by regulating the abundance of PTEN. We found that PTEN expression was induced by depleting any of three members of the Josephin family DUBs: ataxin 3 (ATXN3), ataxin 3-like (ATXN3L) and Josephin domain containing 1 (JOSD1). However, this effect is not mediated through altered PTEN protein stability. Instead, depletion of each DUB increases expression of both the PTEN transcript and its competing endogenous RNA, PTENP1. In ATXN3-depleted cells, under conditions of transcriptional inhibition, PTEN and PTENP1 mRNAs rapidly decay, suggesting that ATXN3 acts primarily by repressing their transcription. Importantly, the PTEN induction observed in response to ATXN3 siRNA is sufficient to downregulate Akt phosphorylation and hence PI3K signaling. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have been suggested as potential mediators of PTEN transcriptional reactivation in non-small-cell lung cancer. Although PTEN exhibits a very limited response to the broad-spectrum HDACi Vorinostat (SAHA) in A549 cells, we find that combination with ATXN3 depletion enhances PTEN induction in an additive manner. Similarly, these interventions additively decrease cell viability. Thus, ATXN3 provides an autonomous, complementary therapeutic target in cancers with epigenetic downregulation of PTEN.Oncogene advance online publication, 2 December 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.512.
    Oncogene 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms underlying sensitivity to alcohol are incompletely understood. Recent research has highlighted the involvement of two presynaptic proteins, Munc18 and Rab3. We have previously characterised biochemically a number of specific Munc18 point mutations including an E466K mutation that augments a direct Rab3 interaction. Here the phenotypes of this and other Munc18 mutations were assessed in alcohol sensitivity and exocytosis using Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that expressing the orthologous E466K mutation (unc-18 E465K) enhanced alcohol sensitivity. This enhancement in sensitivity was surprisingly independent of rab-3. In contrast unc-18 R39C, which decreases syntaxin binding, enhanced sensitivity to alcohol in a manner requiring rab-3. Finally, overexpression of R39C could suppress partially the reduction in neurotransmitter release in rab-3 mutant worms, whereas wild-type or E465K mutants showed no rescue. These data indicate that the epistatic interactions between unc-18 and rab-3 in modulating sensitivity to alcohol are distinct from interactions affecting neurotransmitter release.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e81117.
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: Non-oxidative metabolism of ethanol (NOME) produces fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) via carboxylester lipase (CEL) and other enzyme action implicated in mitochondrial injury and acute pancreatitis (AP). This study investigated the relative importance of oxidative and non-oxidative pathways in mitochondrial dysfunction, pancreatic damage and development of alcoholic AP, and whether deleterious effects of NOME are preventable. Intracellular calcium ([Ca(2+)]C), NAD(P)H, mitochondrial membrane potential and activation of apoptotic and necrotic cell death pathways were examined in isolated pancreatic acinar cells in response to ethanol and/or palmitoleic acid (POA) in the presence or absence of 4-methylpyrazole (4-MP) to inhibit oxidative metabolism. A novel in vivo model of alcoholic AP induced by intraperitoneal administration of ethanol and POA was developed to assess the effects of manipulating alcohol metabolism. Inhibition of OME with 4-MP converted predominantly transient [Ca(2+)]C rises induced by low ethanol/POA combination to sustained elevations, with concurrent mitochondrial depolarisation, fall of NAD(P)H and cellular necrosis in vitro. All effects were prevented by 3-benzyl-6-chloro-2-pyrone (3-BCP), a CEL inhibitor. 3-BCP also significantly inhibited rises of pancreatic FAEE in vivo and ameliorated acute pancreatic damage and inflammation induced by administration of ethanol and POA to mice. A combination of low ethanol and fatty acid that did not exert deleterious effects per se became toxic when oxidative metabolism was inhibited. The in vitro and in vivo damage was markedly inhibited by blockade of CEL, indicating the potential for development of specific therapy for treatment of alcoholic AP via inhibition of FAEE generation.
    Gut 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Adiponectin is an adipokine secreted by white adipocytes involved in regulating insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues. Secretion of adiponectin in adipocytes relies on the endosomal system, however, the intracellular machinery involved in mediating adiponectin release is unknown. We have previously reported that intracellular adiponectin partially compartmentalizes with rab 5 and rab11, markers for the early/sorting and recycling compartments respectively. Here we have examined the role of several rab11 downstream effector proteins (rab11 FIPs) in regulating adiponectin trafficking and secretion. Overexpression of wild type rab11 FIP1, FIP3 and FIP5 decreased the amount of secreted adiponectin expressed in HEK293 cells, whereas overexpression of rab11 FIP2 or FIP4 had no effect. Furthermore shRNA-mediated depletion of FIP1 enhanced adiponectin release whereas knock down of FIP5 decreased adiponectin secretion. Knock down of FIP3 had no effect. In 3T3L1 adipocytes, endogenous FIP1 co-distributed intracellularly with endogenous adiponectin and FIP1 depletion enhanced adiponectin release without altering insulin-mediated trafficking of the glucose transporter Glut4. While adiponectin receptors internalized with transferrin receptors, there were no differences in transferrin receptor recycling between wild type and FIP1 depleted adipocytes. Consistent with its inhibitory role, FIP1 expression was decreased during adipocyte differentiation, by treatment with thiazolidinediones, and with increased BMI in humans. In contrast, FIP1 expression increased upon exposure of adipocytes to TNFα. In all, our findings identify FIP1 as a novel protein involved in the regulation of adiponectin trafficking and release.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74687.
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    ABSTRACT: Acomplex of transforming acidic coiled-coil protein 3 (TACC3), colonic and hepatic tumor overexpressed gene (ch-TOG), and clathrin has been implicated in mitotic spindle assembly and in the stabilization of kinetochore fibers by cross-linking microtubules. It is unclear how this complex binds microtubules and how the proteins in the complex interact with one another. TACC3 and clathrin have each been proposed to be the spindle recruitment factor. We have mapped the interactions within the complex and show that TACC3 and clathrin were interdependent for spindle recruitment, having to interact in order for either to be recruited to the spindle. The N-terminal domain of clathrin and the TACC domain of TACC3 in tandem made a microtubule interaction surface, coordinated by TACC3-clathrin binding. A dileucine motif and Aurora A-phosphorylated serine 558 on TACC3 bound to the "ankle" of clathrin. The other interaction within the complex involved a stutter in the TACC3 coiled-coil and a proposed novel sixth TOG domain in ch-TOG, which was required for microtubule localization of ch-TOG but not TACC3-clathrin.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 08/2013; 202(3):463-78.
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