[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Axonal myelination is essential for rapid saltatory impulse conduction in the nervous system, and malformation or destruction of myelin sheaths leads to motor and sensory disabilities. DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic modification during mammalian development, yet its role in myelination remains obscure. Here, using high-resolution methylome maps, we show that DNA methylation could play a key gene regulatory role in peripheral nerve myelination and that S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), the principal methyl donor in cytosine methylation, regulates the methylome dynamics during this process. Our studies also point to a possible role of SAMe in establishing the aberrant DNA methylation patterns in a mouse model of diabetic neuropathy, implicating SAMe in the pathogenesis of this disease. These critical observations establish a link between SAMe and DNA methylation status in a defined biological system, providing a mechanism that could direct methylation changes during cellular differentiation and in diverse pathological situations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a family illustrating the diagnostic difficulties occurring when pyridoxine-responsive cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency presents with thrombotic disease without associated ocular, skeletal, or CNS abnormalities, a situation increasingly recognized. This family had several thromboembolic episodes in two generations with apparently inconstant elevations of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy). When taking (sometimes even low amounts) of pyridoxine, the affected family members had low-normal tHcy and normal values for cystathionine, methionine, and cysteine. Withdrawal of vitamin therapy was necessary before lower cystathionine, elevated methionine, and decreased cysteine became apparent, a pattern suggestive of CBS deficiency, leading to the finding that the affected members were each compound heterozygotes for CBS p.G307S and p.P49L. To assist more accurate diagnosis of adults presenting with thrombophilia found to have elevated tHcy, the patterns of methionine-related metabolites in CBS-deficient patients are compared in this article to those in patients with homocysteine remethylation defects, including inborn errors of folate or cobalamin metabolism, and untreated severe cobalamin or folate deficiency. Usually serum cystathionine is low in subjects with CBS deficiency and elevated in those with remethylation defects. S-Adenosylmethionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine are often markedly elevated in CBS deficiency when tHcy is above 100 umol/L. We conclude that there are likely other undiagnosed, highly B6-responsive adult patients with CBS deficiency, and that additional testing of cystathionine, total cysteine, methionine, and S-adenosylmethionine will be helpful in diagnosing them correctly and distinguishing CBS deficiency from remethylation defects.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methionine adenosyltransferase 1A (MAT1A) and glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) are the primary genes involved in hepatic S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) synthesis and degradation, respectively. Mat1a ablation in mice induces a decrease in hepatic SAMe, activation of lipogenesis, inhibition of triglyceride (TG) release, and steatosis. Gnmt deficient mice, despite showing a large increase in hepatic SAMe, also develop steatosis. We hypothesized that as an adaptive response to hepatic SAMe accumulation, phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis via the phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) N-methyltransferase (PEMT) pathway is stimulated in Gnmt(-/-) mice. We also propose that the excess PC thus generated is catabolized leading to TG synthesis and steatosis via diglyceride (DG) generation. We observed that Gnmt(-/-) mice present with normal hepatic lipogenesis and increased TG release. We also observed that the flux from PE to PC is stimulated in the liver of Gnmt(-/-) mice and that this results in a reduction in PE content and a marked increase in DG and TG. Conversely, reduction of hepatic SAMe following the administration of a methionine deficient diet reverted the flux from PE to PC of Gnmt(-/-) mice to that of wild type animals and normalized DG and TG content preventing the development of steatosis. Gnmt(-/-) mice with an additional deletion of perilipin2, the predominant lipid droplet protein, maintain high SAMe levels, with a concurrent increased flux from PE to PC, but do not develop liver steatosis. Conclusion: These findings indicate that excess SAMe reroutes PE towards PC and TG synthesis, and lipid sequestration. (HEPATOLOGY 2013.).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with cirrhosis are at high risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and their liver tissues have abnormal levels of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) catabolizes SAMe, but its expression is down-regulated in HCC cells. Mice that lack GNMT develop fibrosis and hepatomas and have alterations in signaling pathways involved in carcinogenesis. We investigated the role of GNMT in human HCC cell lines and in liver carcinogenesis in mice.
We studied hepatoma cells from GNMT knockout mice and analyzed the roles of liver kinase B1 (LKB1, STK11) signaling via 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and Ras in regulating proliferation and transformation.
Hepatoma cells from GNMT mice had defects in LKB1 signaling to AMPK, making them resistant to induction of apoptosis by adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate activation of protein kinase A and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2. Ras-mediated hyperactivation of LKB1 promoted proliferation of GNMT-deficient hepatoma cells and required mitogen-activated protein kinase 2 (ERK) and ribosomal protein S6 kinase polypeptide 2 (p90RSK). Ras activation of LKB1 required expression of RAS guanyl releasing protein 3 (RASGRP3). Reduced levels of GNMT and phosphorylation of AMPKα at Thr172 and increased levels of Ras, LKB1, and RASGRP3 in HCC samples from patients were associated with shorter survival times.
Reduced expression of GNMT in mouse hepatoma cells and human HCC cells appears to increase activity of LKB1 and RAS; activation of RAS signaling to LKB1 and RASGRP3, via ERK and p90RSK, might be involved in liver carcinogenesis and be used as a prognostic marker. Reagents that disrupt this pathway might be developed to treat patients with HCC.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) catabolizes S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), the main methyl donor of the body. Patients with cirrhosis show attenuated GNMT expression, which is absent in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples. GNMT(-/-) mice develop spontaneous steatosis that progresses to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and HCC. The liver is highly enriched with innate immune cells and plays a key role in the body's host defense and in the regulation of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the major hallmark of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) progression. The aim of our study was to uncover the molecular mechanisms leading to liver chronic inflammation in the absence of GNMT, focusing on the implication of natural killer (NK) / natural killer T (NKT) cells. We found increased expression of T helper (Th)1- over Th2-related cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-R2/DR5, and several ligands of NK cells in GNMT(-/-) livers. Interestingly, NK cells from GNMT(-/-) mice were spontaneously activated, expressed more TRAIL, and had strong cytotoxic activity, suggesting their contribution to the proinflammatory environment in the liver. Accordingly, NK cells mediated hypersensitivity to concanavalin A (ConA)-mediated hepatitis in GNMT(-/-) mice. Moreover, GNMT(-/-) mice were hypersensitive to endotoxin-mediated liver injury. NK cell depletion and adoptive transfer of TRAIL(-/-) liver-NK cells protected the liver against lipopolysaccharide (LPS) liver damage. CONCLUSION: Our data allow us to conclude that TRAIL-producing NK cells actively contribute to promote a proinflammatory environment at early stages of fatty liver disease, suggesting that this cell compartment may contribute to the progression of NASH.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) is a key regulatory enzyme in methyl group metabolism. In mammalian liver it reduces S-adenosylmethionine levels by using it to methylate glycine, producing N-methylglycine (sarcosine) and S-adenosylhomocysteine. GNMT is inhibited by binding two molecules of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (mono- or polyglutamate forms) per tetramer of the active enzyme. Inhibition is sensitive to the status of the N-terminal valine of GNMT and to polyglutamation of the folate inhibitor. It is inhibited by pentaglutamate form more efficiently compared to monoglutamate form. The native rat liver GNMT contains an acetylated N-terminal valine and is inhibited much more efficiently compared to the recombinant protein expressed in E. coli where the N-terminus is not acetylated. In this work we used a protein crystallography approach to evaluate the structural basis for these differences. We show that in the folate-GNMT complexes with the native enzyme, two folate molecules establish three and four hydrogen bonds with the protein. In the folate-recombinant GNMT complex only one hydrogen bond is established. This difference results in more effective inhibition by folate of the native liver GNMT activity compared to the recombinant enzyme.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 02/2012; 1824(2):286-91. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports studies of two patients proven by a variety of studies to have mitochondrial depletion syndromes due to mutations in either their MPV17 or DGUOK genes. Each was initially investigated metabolically because of plasma methionine concentrations as high as 15-21-fold above the upper limit of the reference range, then found also to have plasma levels of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) 4.4-8.6-fold above the upper limit of the reference range. Assays of S-adenosylhomocysteine, total homocysteine, cystathionine, sarcosine, and other relevant metabolites and studies of their gene encoding glycine N-methyltransferase produced evidence suggesting they had none of the known causes of elevated methionine with or without elevated AdoMet. Patient 1 grew slowly and intermittently, but was cognitively normal. At age 7 years he was found to have hepatocellular carcinoma, underwent a liver transplant and died of progressive liver and renal failure at age almost 9 years. Patient 2 had a clinical course typical of DGUOK deficiency and died at age 8 ½ months. Although each patient had liver abnormalities, evidence is presented that such abnormalities are very unlikely to explain their elevations of AdoMet or the extent of their hypermethioninemias. A working hypothesis is presented suggesting that with mitochondrial depletion the normal usage of AdoMet by mitochondria is impaired, AdoMet accumulates in the cytoplasm of affected cells poor in glycine N-methyltransferase activity, the accumulated AdoMet causes methionine to accumulate by inhibiting activity of methionine adenosyltransferase II, and that both AdoMet and methionine consequently leak abnormally into the plasma.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 11/2011; 105(2):228-36. · 2.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of hepatic damage in developed countries. For this reason, mouse models of NAFLD have been developed to show progression of the disease because it perfectly resembles the human pathology. Here we show that diagnostic high-frequency ultrasound imaging (US) may be used as an effective method for monitoring the progression of liver disease, from steatosis to hepatocellular carcinoma in the methionine adenosyl transferase and glycine N-methyltransferase-deficient mice models. US reliably detected murine liver lesions associated with NAFLD in the two mice strains tested, with excellent agreement among US images, gross pathology and histological sections. Our results suggest US as a relevant approach for the study of NAFLD in mice, with interesting technical and therapeutic implications.
Ultrasound in medicine & biology 07/2011; 37(7):1161-9. · 2.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methylation of lysine residues in histones has been known to serve a regulatory role in gene expression. Although enzymatic removal of the methyl groups was discovered as early as 1973, the enzymes responsible for their removal were isolated and their mechanism of action was described only recently. The first enzyme to show such activity was LSD1, a flavin-containing enzyme that removes the methyl groups from lysines 4 and 9 of histone 3 with the generation of formaldehyde from the methyl group. This reaction is similar to the previously described demethylation reactions conducted by the enzymes dimethylglycine dehydrogenase and sarcosine dehydrogenase, in which protein-bound tetrahydrofolate serves as an accepter of the formaldehyde that is generated. We now show that nuclear extracts of HeLa cells contain LSD1 that is associated with folate. Using the method of back-scattering interferometry, we have measured the binding of various forms of folate to both full-length LSD1 and a truncated form of LSD1 in free solution. The 6R,S form of the natural pentaglutamate form of tetrahydrofolate bound with the highest affinity (K(d) = 2.8 μM) to full-length LSD1. The fact that folate participates in the enzymatic demethylation of histones provides an opportunity for this micronutrient to play a role in the epigenetic control of gene expression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical decision for primary treatment for prostate cancer is dictated by variables with insufficient specificity. Early detection of prostate cancer likely to develop rapid recurrence could support neo-adjuvant therapeutics and adjuvant options prior to frank biochemical recurrence. This study compared markers in serum and urine of patients with rapidly recurrent prostate cancer to recurrence-free patients after radical prostatectomy. Based on previous identification of urinary sarcosine as a metastatic marker, we tested whether methionine metabolites in urine and serum could serve as pre-surgical markers for aggressive disease.
Urine and serum samples (n = 54 and 58, respectively), collected at the time of prostatectomy were divided into subjects who developed biochemical recurrence within 2 years and those who remained recurrence-free after 5 years. Multiple methionine metabolites were measured in urine and serum by GC-MS. The role of serum metabolites and clinical variables (biopsy Gleason grade, clinical stage, serum prostate specific antigen [PSA]) on biochemical recurrence prediction were evaluated. Urinary sarcosine and cysteine levels were significantly higher (p = 0.03 and p = 0.007 respectively) in the recurrent group. However, in serum, concentrations of homocysteine (p = 0.003), cystathionine (p = 0.007) and cysteine (p<0.001) were more abundant in the recurrent population. The inclusion of serum cysteine to a model with PSA and biopsy Gleason grade improved prediction over the clinical variables alone (p<0.001).
Higher serum homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine concentrations independently predicted risk of early biochemical recurrence and aggressiveness of disease in a nested case control study. The methionine metabolites further supplemented known clinical variables to provide superior sensitivity and specificity in multivariable prediction models for rapid biochemical recurrence following prostatectomy.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(8):e22486. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports the clinical and metabolic findings in two sibling sisters born with fetal hydrops and eventually found to have deficient S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase (AHCY) activity due to compound heterozygosity for two novel mutations, c.145C>T; p.Arg49Cys and c.257A>G; p.Asp86Gly. Clinically, the major abnormalities in addition to fetal hydrops (very likely due to impaired synthetic liver function) were severe hypotonia/myopathy, feeding problems, and respiratory failure. Metabolic abnormalities included elevated plasma S-adenosylhomocysteine, S-adenosylmethionine, and methionine, with hypoalbuminemia, coagulopathies, and serum transaminase elevation. The older sister died at age 25 days, but the definitive diagnosis was made only retrospectively. The underlying genetic abnormality was diagnosed in the second sister, but treatment by means of dietary methionine restriction and supplementation with phosphatidylcholine and creatine did not prevent her death at age 122 days. These cases extend the experience with AHCY deficiency in humans, based until now on only the four patients previously identified, and suggest that the deficiency in question may be a cause of fetal hydrops and developmental abnormalities of the brain.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of chronic liver disease in most western countries. Current NAFLD diagnosis methods (e.g., liver biopsy analysis or imaging techniques) are poorly suited as tests for such a prevalent condition, from both a clinical and financial point of view. The present work aims to demonstrate the potential utility of serum metabolic profiling in defining phenotypic biomarkers that could be useful in NAFLD management. A parallel animal model/human NAFLD exploratory metabolomics approach was employed, using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) to analyze 42 serum samples collected from nondiabetic, morbidly obese, biopsy-proven NAFLD patients, and 17 animals belonging to the glycine N-methyltransferase knockout (GNMT-KO) NAFLD mouse model. Multivariate statistical analysis of the data revealed a series of common biomarkers that were significantly altered in the NAFLD (GNMT-KO) subjects in comparison to their normal liver counterparts (WT). Many of the compounds observed could be associated with biochemical perturbations associated with liver dysfunction (e.g., reduced Creatine) and inflammation (e.g., eicosanoid signaling). This differential metabolic phenotyping approach may have a future role as a supplement for clinical decision making in NAFLD and in the adaption to more individualized treatment protocols.
Journal of Proteome Research 09/2010; 9(9):4501-12. · 5.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deletion of glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), the main gene involved in liver S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) catabolism, leads to the hepatic accumulation of this molecule and the development of fatty liver and fibrosis in mice. To demonstrate that the excess of hepatic SAM is the main agent contributing to liver disease in GNMT knockout (KO) mice, we treated 1.5-month-old GNMT-KO mice for 6 weeks with nicotinamide (NAM), a substrate of the enzyme NAM N-methyltransferase. NAM administration markedly reduced hepatic SAM content, prevented DNA hypermethylation, and normalized the expression of critical genes involved in fatty acid metabolism, oxidative stress, inflammation, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. More importantly, NAM treatment prevented the development of fatty liver and fibrosis in GNMT-KO mice. Because GNMT expression is down-regulated in patients with cirrhosis, and because some subjects with GNMT mutations have spontaneous liver disease, the clinical implications of the present findings are obvious, at least with respect to these latter individuals. Because NAM has been used for many years to treat a broad spectrum of diseases (including pellagra and diabetes) without significant side effects, it should be considered in subjects with GNMT mutations. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study indicate that the anomalous accumulation of SAM in GNMT-KO mice can be corrected by NAM treatment leading to the normalization of the expression of many genes involved in fatty acid metabolism, oxidative stress, inflammation, cell proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as reversion of the appearance of the pathologic phenotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatic de-differentiation, liver development, and malignant transformation are processes in which the levels of hepatic S-adenosylmethionine are tightly regulated by 2 genes: methionine adenosyltransferase 1A (MAT1A) and methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A). MAT1A is expressed in the adult liver, whereas MAT2A expression primarily is extrahepatic and is associated strongly with liver proliferation. The mechanisms that regulate these expression patterns are not completely understood.
In silico analysis of the 3' untranslated region of MAT1A and MAT2A revealed putative binding sites for the RNA-binding proteins AU-rich RNA binding factor 1 (AUF1) and HuR, respectively. We investigated the posttranscriptional regulation of MAT1A and MAT2A by AUF1, HuR, and methyl-HuR in the aforementioned biological processes.
During hepatic de-differentiation, the switch between MAT1A and MAT2A coincided with an increase in HuR and AUF1 expression. S-adenosylmethionine treatment altered this homeostasis by shifting the balance of AUF1 and methyl-HuR/HuR, which was identified as an inhibitor of MAT2A messenger RNA (mRNA) stability. We also observed a similar temporal distribution and a functional link between HuR, methyl-HuR, AUF1, and MAT1A and MAT2A during fetal liver development. Immunofluorescent analysis revealed increased levels of HuR and AUF1, and a decrease in methyl-HuR levels in human livers with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Our data strongly support a role for AUF1 and HuR/methyl-HuR in liver de-differentiation, development, and human HCC progression through the posttranslational regulation of MAT1A and MAT2A mRNAs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a compelling clinical imperative to identify discerning molecular biomarkers of hepatic disease in order to inform the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.
We have investigated the proteome of urinary vesicles present in urine samples obtained from experimental models for the study of liver injury, as an approach for identifying potential biomarkers for hepatic disease.
The biochemical and proteomic characterization of highly purified exosome-like urinary vesicles has identified 28 proteins previously unreported in these vesicles, and many that have been previously associated with diseases, such as the prion-related protein. Furthermore, in urine samples from D-galactosamine-treated rats, a well-characterized experimental model for acute liver injury, we have detected a severe reduction in some proteins that normally are clearly detected in urinary vesicles. Finally, differential protein content on urinary vesicles from a mouse model for chronic liver injury has been also identified.
Our results argue positively that urinary vesicles could be a source for identifying non-invasive biomarkers of liver injury. We proposed some proteins such as Cd26, Cd81, Slc3A1 and Cd10 that have been found to be differentially expressed in urinary vesicles from some of the analyzed models as potential biomarkers for liver injury.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methionine adenosyltransferases (MAT's) are central enzymes in living organisms that have been conserved with a high degree of homology among species. In the liver, MAT I and III, tetrameric and dimeric isoforms of the same catalytic subunit encoded by the gene MAT1A, account for the predominant portion of total body synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), a versatile sulfonium ion-containing molecule involved in a variety of vital metabolic reactions and in the control of hepatocyte proliferation and differentiation. During the past 15years 28 MAT1A mutations have been described in patients with elevated plasma methionines, total homocysteines at most only moderately elevated, and normal levels of tyrosine and other aminoacids. In this study we describe functional analyses that determine the MAT and tripolyphosphatase (PPPase) activities of 18 MAT1A variants, six of them novel, and none of them previously assayed for activity. With the exception of G69S and Y92H, all recombinant proteins showed impairment (usually severe) of MAT activity. Tripolyphosphate (PPPi) hydrolysis was decreased only in some mutant proteins but, when it was decreased MAT activity was always also impaired.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 01/2010; 101(2-3):172-7. · 2.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatic S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is maintained constant by the action of methionine adenosyltransferase I/III (MATI/III), which converts methionine into SAMe and glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), which eliminates excess SAMe to avoid aberrant methylation reactions. During liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH) MATI/III activity is inhibited leading to a decrease in SAMe. This injury-related reduction in SAMe promotes hepatocyte proliferation because SAMe inhibits hepatocyte DNA synthesis. In MATI/III-deficient mice, hepatic SAMe is reduced, resulting in uncontrolled hepatocyte growth and impaired liver regeneration. These observations suggest that a reduction in SAMe is crucial for successful liver regeneration. In support of this hypothesis we report that liver regeneration is impaired in GNMT knockout (GNMT-KO) mice. Liver SAMe is 50-fold higher in GNMT-KO mice than in control animals and is maintained constant following PH. Mortality after PH was higher in GNMT-KO mice than in control animals. In GNMT-KO mice, nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB), signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclin D1, cyclin A, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase were activated at baseline. PH in GNMT-KO mice was followed by the inactivation of STAT3 phosphorylation and iNOS expression. NFkappaB, cyclin D1 and cyclin A were not further activated after PH. The LKB1/AMP-activated protein kinase/endothelial nitric oxide synthase cascade was inhibited, and cytoplasmic HuR translocation was blocked despite preserved induction of DNA synthesis in GNMT-KO after PH. Furthermore, a previously unexpected relationship between AMPK phosphorylation and NFkappaB activation was uncovered. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that multiple signaling pathways are impaired during the liver regenerative response in GNMT-KO mice, suggesting that GNMT plays a critical role during liver regeneration, promoting hepatocyte viability and normal proliferation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methylation is a major biological process. It has been shown to be important in formation of compounds such as phosphatidylcholine, creatine, and many others and also participates in epigenetic effects through methylation of histones and DNA. The donor of methyl groups for almost all cellular methylation reactions is S-adenosylmethionine. It seems that the level of S-adenosylmethionine must be regulated in response to developmental stages and metabolic changes, and the enzyme glycine N-methyltransferase has been shown to play a major role in such regulation in mammals. This minireview will focus on the latest discoveries in the elucidation of the mechanism of that regulation.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2009; 284(34):22507-11. · 4.65 Impact Factor