Rho family GTPase inhibition reveals opposing effects of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase and Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling cascades on neuronal survival.
ABSTRACT Rho family GTPases promote the survival of certain neuronal populations. However, pro-survival and pro-death signaling pathways regulated downstream of Rho GTPases are largely unknown. Cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) exposed to Clostridium difficile toxin B (ToxB), a monoglucosyltransferase that specifically inhibits Rho GTPases, die by a mitochondrial apoptotic cascade. Using a high-throughput immunoblotting screen (BD Powerblot), we found that ToxB markedly reduced the expression of Rac1 and c-Raf, upstream components of a Rac-dependent mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. Moreover, ToxB rapidly suppressed a p21-activated kinase/MAP kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 signaling cascade that normally promotes degradation of the Bcl-2 homology-3 (BH3)-only protein Bim, a key initiator of mitochondrial apoptosis. In contrast to c-Raf down-regulation, ToxB enhanced expression of the transcription factor, signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT1). Both STAT1 up-regulation and apoptosis induced by ToxB were prevented by a pan-inhibitor of Janus kinases (JAKs), indicating that JAK/STAT signaling was pro-apoptotic in CGNs. Most significantly, direct inhibition of MEK was sufficient to trigger JAK-dependent STAT1 expression, suggesting that cross-talk between MEK/ERK and JAK/STAT pathways plays a key role in regulating neuronal survival. Finally, ERK dephosphorylation and STAT1 up-regulation induced by ToxB were mimicked by a dominant-negative (N17) mutant of Rac1. These data suggest that the MEK/ERK cascade functions downstream of Rac GTPase to actively repress pro-apoptotic JAK/STAT signaling in healthy CGNs.
Article: Toxin-induced RhoA activity mediates CCL1-triggered signal transducers and activators of transcription protein signaling.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: RhoA is reportedly involved in signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)-dependent transcription. However, the pathway connecting the GTPase and STAT signaling has not been characterized. Here, we made use of bacterial toxins, which directly activate Rho GTPases to analyze this pathway. Cytotoxic necrotizing factors (CNFs) are produced by pathogenic Escherichia coli strains and by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. They activate small GTPases of the Rho family by deamidation of a glutamine, which is crucial for GTP hydrolysis. We show that RhoA activation leads to phosphorylation and activation of STAT3 and identify signal proteins involved in this pathway. RhoA-dependent STAT3 stimulation requires ROCK and Jun kinase activation as well as AP1-induced protein synthesis. The secretion of one or more factors activates the JAK-STAT pathway in an auto/paracrine manner. We identify CCL1/I-309 as an essential cytokine, which is produced and secreted upon RhoA activation and which is able to activate STAT3-dependent signaling pathways.Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2012; 287(14):11183-94. · 4.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In adult mammals, after optic nerve injury, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) do not regenerate their axons and most of them die by apoptosis within a few days. Recently, several strategies that activate neuronal intracellular pathways were proposed to prevent such degenerative processes. The rho-related small GTPase Rac1 is part of a complex, still not fully understood, intracellular signaling network, mediating in neurons many effects, including axon growth and cell survival. However, its role in neuronal survival and regeneration in vivo has not yet been properly investigated. To address this point we intravitreally injected selective cell-penetrating Rac1 mutants after optic nerve crush and studied the effect on RGC survival and axonal regeneration. We injected two well-characterized L61 constitutively active Tat-Rac1 fusion protein mutants, in which a second F37A or Y40C mutation confers selectivity in downstream signaling pathways. Results showed that, 15 days after crush, both mutants were able to improve survival and to prevent dendrite degeneration, while the one harboring the F37A mutation also improved axonal regeneration. The treatment with F37A mutant for one month did not improve the axonal elongation respect to 15 days. Furthermore, we found an increase of Pak1 T212 phosphorylation and ERK1/2 expression in RGCs after F37A treatment, whereas ERK1/2 was more activated in glial cells after Y40C administration. Our data suggest that the selective activation of distinct Rac1-dependent pathways could represent a therapeutic strategy to counteract neuronal degenerative processes in the retina.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e64350. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Signal transducers and activators of transcription: STATs-mediated mitochondrial neuroprotection.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cerebral ischemia is defined as little or no blood flow in cerebral circulation, characterized by low tissue oxygen and glucose levels, which promotes neuronal mitochondria dysfunction leading to cell death. A strategy to counteract cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal cell death is ischemic preconditioning (IPC). IPC results in neuroprotection, which is conferred by a mild ischemic challenge prior to a normally lethal ischemic insult. Although many IPC-induced mechanisms have been described, many cellular and subcellular mechanisms remain undefined. Some reports have suggested key signal transduction pathways of IPC, such as activation of protein kinase C epsilon, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and hypoxia-inducible factors, that are likely involved in IPC-induced mitochondria mediated-neuroprotection. Moreover, recent findings suggest that signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs), a family of transcription factors involved in many cellular activities, may be intimately involved in IPC-induced ischemic tolerance. In this review, we explore current signal transduction pathways involved in IPC-induced mitochondria mediated-neuroprotection, STAT activation in the mitochondria as it relates to IPC, and functional significance of STATs in cerebral ischemia.Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 05/2011; 14(10):1853-61. · 8.20 Impact Factor