[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α1-Antitrypsin is primarily synthesised in the liver, circulates to the lung and protects pulmonary tissues from proteolytic damage. The Z mutant (Glu342Lys) undergoes inactivating conformational change and polymerises. Polymers are retained within the hepatocyte endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in homozygous (PiZZ) individuals, predisposing the individuals to hepatic cirrhosis and emphysema. Latency is an analogous process of inactivating, intra-molecular conformational change and may co-occur with polymerisation. However, the relationship between latency and polymerisation remained unexplored in the absence of a suitable probe. We have developed a novel monoclonal antibody specific for latent α1-antitrypsin and used it in combination with a polymer-specific antibody, to assess the association of both conformers in vitro, in disease and during augmentation therapy. In vitro kinetics analysis showed polymerisation dominated the pathway but latency could be promoted by stabilising monomeric α1-antitrypsin. Polymers were extensively produced in hepatocytes and a cell line expressing Z α1-antitrypsin but the latent protein was not detected despite manipulation of the secretory pathway. However, α1-antitrypsin augmentation therapy contains latent α1-antitrypsin, as did the plasma of 63/274 PiZZ individuals treated with augmentation therapy but 0/264 who were not receiving this medication (p < 10−14). We conclude that latent α1-antitrypsin is a by-product of the polymerisation pathway, that the intracellular folding environment is resistant to formation of the latent conformer but that augmentation therapy introduces latent α1-antitrypsin into the circulation. A suite of monoclonal antibodies and methodologies developed in this study can characterise α1-antitrypsin folding and conformational transitions, and screen methods to improve augmentation therapy. (247/250).
The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. 11/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To the Editor:Most individuals carry two wild-type M alleles of the SERPINA1 gene which encodes α1-antitrypsin. 95% of severe deficiency of α1-antitrypsin is associated with the Z allele (Glu342Lys; denoted PiZZ in the homozygote), and with the retention and polymerisation of α1-antitrypsin within hepatocytes (1). These polymers are contained within periodic acid-Schiff-positive, diastase-resistant inclusions that are associated with neonatal hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The concomitant lack of circulating α1-antitrypsin predisposes the Z α1-antitrypsin homozygote to early-onset emphysema. Polymers of α1-antitrypsin form within the lung as a result of local inflammation and exposure to cigarette smoke (2). They have also been identified in the skin of an individual with α1-antitrypsin deficiency and panniculitis (3) and in a renal biopsy from an individual with α1-antitrypsin deficiency and vasculitis (4). It is unknown whether these polymers form locally or are deposited in these tissues from a circulating source, and whether extrahepatic polymers are associated with any disease phenotypes. We have assessed whether polymers of α1-antitrypsin are present within serum, from where they originate, and whether they are associated with clinical features in individuals with PiZZ α1-antitrypsin deficiency. In this investigation we used ELISA with the anti-α1-antitrypsin polymer monoclonal antibody (2C1) (5) to assess.
European Respiratory Journal 03/2014; · 6.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of Z α1-antitrypsin is known to induce polymer formation, prime the cells for ER stress and initiate NF-κB signalling. However, whether endogenous expression in primary bronchial epithelial cells has similar consequences remains unclear. Moreover, the mechanism of NF-κB activation has not yet been elucidated. Here we report excessive NF-κB signalling in resting primary bronchial epithelial cells from ZZ patients compared to wild-type (MM) controls, and this appears to be mediated by MEK, EGFR and ADAM17 activity. Moreover, we show that rather than being a response to protein polymers, NF-κB signalling in airway-derived cells represents a loss of anti-inflammatory signalling by M α1-antitrypsin. Treatment of ZZ primary bronchial epithelial cells with purified plasma M α1-antitrypsin attenuates this inflammatory response, opening up new therapeutic options to modulate airway inflammation in the lung.
Human Molecular Genetics 10/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The common severe Z mutation (E342K) of α1-antitrypsin forms intracellular polymers that are associated with liver cirrhosis. The native fold of this protein is well-established and models have been proposed from crystallographic and biophysical data for the stable inter-molecular configuration that terminates the polymerisation pathway. Despite these molecular 'snapshots', the details of the transition between monomer and polymer remain only partially understood. We surveyed the reactive centre loop of α1-antitrypsin to identify sites important for progression, through intermediate states, to polymer. Mutations at P14P12 and P4, but not P10P8 or P2P1', resulted in a decrease in detectable polymer in a cell model that recapitulates the intracellular polymerisation of the Z variant, consistent with polymerisation from a near-native conformation. We have developed a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based assay to monitor polymerisation in small sample volumes. An in vitro assessment revealed position-specific effects on the unimolecular and multimolecular phases of polymerisation: the P14P12 region self-inserts early during activation, while the interaction between P6P4 and β-sheet A presents a kinetic barrier late in the polymerisation pathway. Correspondingly, mutations at P6P4, but not P14P12, yield an increase in the overall apparent activation energy of association from ~360 kJ mol-1 to ~550 kJ mol-1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell cycle checkpoints ensure that proliferation occurs only under permissive conditions, but their role in linking nutrient availability to cell division is incompletely understood. Protein folding within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is exquisitely sensitive to energy supply and amino acid sources, since deficiencies impair luminal protein folding and consequently trigger ER stress signaling. Following ER stress many cell types arrest within the G1 phase, although recent studies have identified a novel ER stress G2 checkpoint. Here, we report that ER stress affects cell cycle progression via two classes of signal: an early inhibition of protein synthesis leading to G2 delay involving CHK1, and a later induction of G1 arrest associated both with the induction of p53 target genes and loss of cyclin D1. We show that substitution of p53/47 for p53 impairs the ER stress G1 checkpoint, attenuates the recovery of protein translation and impairs induction of NOXA, a mediator of cell death. We propose that cell cycle regulation in response to ER stress comprises redundant pathways invoked sequentially first to impair G2 progression prior to ultimate G1 arrest.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Point mutants of α(1) -antitrypsin form ordered polymers that are retained as inclusions within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of hepatocytes in association with neonatal hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. These inclusions cause cell damage and predispose to ER stress in the absence of the classical unfolded protein response (UPR). The pathophysiology underlying this ER stress was explored by generating cell models that conditionally express wildtype α(1) -antitrypsin, two mutants that cause polymer-mediated inclusions and liver disease (E342K [the Z allele] and H334D) and a truncated mutant (Null Hong Kong, NHK) that induces classical ER stress and is removed by ER associated degradation. Expression of the polymeric mutants resulted in gross changes in the ER luminal environment that recapitulated the changes seen in liver sections from individuals with PI*ZZ α(1) -antitrypsin deficiency. In contrast expression of NHK α(1) -antitrypsin caused electron lucent dilatation and expansion of the ER throughout the cell. Photobleaching microscopy in live cells demonstrated a decrease in the mobility of soluble luminal proteins in cells that express E342K and H334D α(1) -antitrypsin when compared to those that express wildtype and NHK α(1) -antitrypsin (0.34±0.05, 0.22±0.03, 2.83±0.30 and 2.84±0.55 µm(2) /s respectively). There was no effect on protein mobility within ER membranes indicating that cisternal connectivity was not disrupted. Polymer expression alone was insufficient to induce the UPR but the resulting protein overload rendered cells hypersensitive to ER stress induced by either tunicamycin or glucose depletion. Conclusion. Changes in protein diffusion provide an explanation for the cellular consequences of ER protein overload in mutants that cause inclusion body formation and α(1) -antitrypsin deficiency. (HEPATOLOGY 2012.).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metastable native conformation of serpins is required for their protease inhibition mechanism, but also renders them vulnerable to missense mutations that promote protein misfolding with pathological consequences.
To characterize the first antithrombin deficiency caused by a large in-frame insertion.
Functional, biochemical and molecular analysis of the proband and relatives was performed. Recombinant antithrombin was expressed in HEK-EBNA cells. Plasma and recombinant antithrombins were purified and sequenced by Edman degradation. The stability was evaluated by calorimetry. Reactive centre loop (RCL) exposure was determined by thrombin cleavage. Mutant antithrombin was crystallized as a dimer with latent plasma antithrombin.
The patient, with a spontaneous pulmonary embolism, belongs to a family with significant thrombotic history. We identified a complex heterozygous in-frame insertion of 24 bp in SERPINC1, affecting strand 3 of β-sheet A, a region highly conserved in serpins. Surprisingly, the insertion resulted in a type II antithrombin deficiency with heparin binding defect. The mutant antithrombin, with a molecular weight of 59 kDa, had a proteolytic cleavage at W49 but maintained the N-terminal disulphide bonds, and was conformationally sensitive. The variant was non-inhibitory. Analysis of the crystal structure of the hyperstable recombinant protein showed that the inserted sequence annealed into β-sheet A as the fourth strand, and maintained a native RCL.
This is the first case of a large in frame-insertion that allows correct folding, glycosylation, and secretion of a serpin, resulting in a conformationally sensitive non-inhibitory variant, which acquires a hyperstable conformation with a native RCL.
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 07/2012; 10(9):1859-66. · 6.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations affecting mobile domains of antithrombin induce conformational instability resulting in protein polymerization that associates with a severe clinical phenotype, probably by an unknown gain of function. By homology with other conformational diseases, we speculated that these variants might infect wild-type (WT) monomers reducing the anticoagulant capacity. Infective polymerization of WT polymers and different P1 mutants (p.R425del, p.R425C and p.R425H) were evaluated by using native gels and radiolabeled WT monomers and functional assays. Human embryonic kidney cells expressing the Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (HEK-EBNA) cells expressing inducible (p.R425del) or two novel constitutive (p.F271S and p.M370T) conformational variants were used to evaluate intracellular and secreted antithrombin under mild stress (pH 6.5 and 39°C for 5 h). We demonstrated the conformational sensitivity of antithrombin London (p.R425del) to form polymers under mild heating. Under these conditions purified antithrombin London recruited WT monomers into growing polymers, reducing the anticoagulant activity. This process was also observed in the plasma of patients with p.R425del, p.R425C and p.R425H mutations. Under moderate stress, coexpression of WT and conformational variants in HEK-EBNA cells increased the intracellular retention of antithrombin and the formation of disulfide-linked polymers, which correlated with impaired secretion and reduction of anticoagulant activity in the medium. Therefore, mutations inducing conformational instability in antithrombin allow its polymerization with the subsequent loss of function, which under stress could sequestrate WT monomers, resulting in a new prothrombotic gain of function, particularly relevant for intracellular antithrombin. The in vitro results suggest a temporal and severe plasma antithrombin deficiency that may contribute to the development of the thrombotic event and to the clinical severity of these mutations.
Molecular Medicine 03/2012; 18(1):762-70. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) represent a unique opportunity for regenerative medicine because they offer the prospect of generating unlimited quantities of cells for autologous transplantation, with potential application in treatments for a broad range of disorders. However, the use of human iPSCs in the context of genetically inherited human disease will require the correction of disease-causing mutations in a manner that is fully compatible with clinical applications. The methods currently available, such as homologous recombination, lack the necessary efficiency and also leave residual sequences in the targeted genome. Therefore, the development of new approaches to edit the mammalian genome is a prerequisite to delivering the clinical promise of human iPSCs. Here we show that a combination of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and piggyBac technology in human iPSCs can achieve biallelic correction of a point mutation (Glu342Lys) in the α(1)-antitrypsin (A1AT, also known as SERPINA1) gene that is responsible for α(1)-antitrypsin deficiency. Genetic correction of human iPSCs restored the structure and function of A1AT in subsequently derived liver cells in vitro and in vivo. This approach is significantly more efficient than any other gene-targeting technology that is currently available and crucially prevents contamination of the host genome with residual non-human sequences. Our results provide the first proof of principle, to our knowledge, for the potential of combining human iPSCs with genetic correction to generate clinically relevant cells for autologous cell-based therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the serine protease inhibitor (serpin) superfamily are found in all branches of life and play an important role in the regulation of enzymes involved in proteolytic cascades. Mutants of the serpins result in a delay in folding, with unstable intermediates being cleared by endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation. The remaining protein is either fully folded and secreted or retained as ordered polymers within the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell of synthesis. This results in a group of diseases termed the serpinopathies, which are typified by mutations of α(1)-antitrypsin and neuroserpin in association with cirrhosis and the dementia familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies, respectively. Current evidence strongly suggests that polymers of mutants of α(1)-antitrypsin and neuroserpin are linked by the sequential insertion of the reactive loop of one molecule into β-sheet A of another. The ordered structure of the polymers within the endoplasmic reticulum stimulates nuclear factor-kappa B by a pathway that is independent of the unfolded protein response. This chronic activation of nuclear factor-kappa B may contribute to the cell toxicity associated with mutations of the serpins. We review the pathobiology of the serpinopathies and the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating the inclusions that cause disease. These include the use of small molecules to block polymerization, stimulation of autophagy to clear inclusions and stem cell technology to correct the underlying molecular defect.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Factor VIIa (FVIIa), a trypsin-like serine protease, plays an essential role in haemostasis by initiating the coagulation in complex with its cofactor, tissue factor (TF). The TF pathway inhibitor is the main physiological inhibitor of FVIIa-TF complex, but FVIIa can also be inhibited by antithrombin, although little is known about this process. Functional analyses by second order kinetic determination and identification of FVIIa-antithrombin complex by electrophoresis, evaluating the effect of different cofactors: pentasaccharide, low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and unfractionated heparin (UFH), confirmed that any activation of antithrombin significantly enhanced the inhibition of FVIIa. The analysis of the binding of FVIIa to heparin by surface plasmon resonance identified a high affinity interaction under physiologic conditions (K(D)=3.38 μM, with 0.15M of ionic strength) strongly dependent on Ca(2+) and ionic strength. This interaction was verified in cell models, indicating that FVIIa also binds to the surface of endothelial cells with similar requirements. Structural modeling suggests the presence of a potential exosite II in FVIIa. However, the binding of heparin did not display significant changes on both the intrinsic fluorescence and the associated functional consequences of FVIIa. These results indicate that FVIIa binds to exposed glycosaminglycans of the endothelium through an exosite II, structurally similar to that reported for thrombin and suggested for FIXa. This binding may favor its inhibition by antithrombin in the absence of TF, contributing to the physiological control of this protease. This process may also play an important role in the clearance of recombinant FVIIa administered to patients.
Thrombosis Research 02/2011; 127(2):154-60. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Native, metastable serpins inherently tend to undergo stabilizing conformational transitions in mechanisms of health (e.g., enzyme inhibition) and disease (serpinopathies). This intrinsic tendency is modifiable by ligand binding, thus structure-based drug design is an attractive strategy in the serpinopathies. This can be viewed as a labor-intensive approach, and historically, its intellectual attractiveness has been tempered by relatively limited success in development of drugs reaching clinical practice. However, the increasing availability of a range of powerful experimental systems and higher-throughput techniques is causing academic and early-stage industrial pharmaceutical approaches to converge. In this review, we outline the different systems and techniques that are bridging the gap between what have traditionally been considered distinct disciplines. The individual methods are not serpin-specific. Indeed, many have only recently been applied to serpins, and thus investigators in other fields may have greater experience of their use to date. However, by presenting examples from our work and that of other investigators in the serpin field, we highlight how techniques with potential for automation and scaling can be combined to address a range of context-specific challenges in targeting the serpinopathies.
Methods in enzymology 01/2011; 501:139-75. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The serpinopathies result from point mutations in members of the serine protease inhibitor or serpin superfamily. They are characterized by the formation of ordered polymers that are retained within the cell of synthesis. This causes disease by a "toxic gain of function" from the accumulated protein and a "loss of function" as a result of the deficiency of inhibitors that control important proteolytic cascades. The serpinopathies are exemplified by the Z (Glu342Lys) mutant of α₁-antitrypsin that results in the retention of ordered polymers within the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. These polymers form the intracellular inclusions that are associated with neonatal hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. A second example results from mutations in the neurone-specific serpin-neuroserpin to form ordered polymers that are retained as inclusions within subcortical neurones as Collins' bodies. These inclusions underlie the autosomal dominant dementia familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies or FENIB. There are different pathways to polymer formation in vitro but not all form polymers that are relevant in vivo. It is therefore essential that protein-based structural studies are interpreted in the context of human samples and cell and animal models of disease. We describe here the biochemical techniques, monoclonal antibodies, cell biology, animal models, and stem cell technology that are useful to characterize the serpin polymers that form in vivo.
Methods in enzymology 01/2011; 501:421-66. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The serpinopathies result from point mutations in members of the serine protease inhibitor or serpin superfamily. They are characterized by the formation of ordered polymers that are retained within the cell of synthesis. This causes disease by a “toxic gain of function” from the accumulated protein and a “loss of function” as a result of the deficiency of inhibitors that control important proteolytic cascades. The serpinopathies are exemplified by the Z (Glu342Lys) mutant of α1-antitrypsin that results in the retention of ordered polymers within the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. These polymers form the intracellular inclusions that are associated with neonatal hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. A second example results from mutations in the neurone-specific serpin–neuroserpin to form ordered polymers that are retained as inclusions within subcortical neurones as Collins’ bodies. These inclusions underlie the autosomal dominant dementia familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies or FENIB. There are different pathways to polymer formation in vitro but not all form polymers that are relevant in vivo. It is therefore essential that protein-based structural studies are interpreted in the context of human samples and cell and animal models of disease. We describe here the biochemical techniques, monoclonal antibodies, cell biology, animal models, and stem cell technology that are useful to characterize the serpin polymers that form in vivo.
Methods in enzymology 01/2011; 501:421-466. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Citrullination is a post-translational modification that plays essential roles in both physiological processes and disease. Recent studies have found increased levels of citrullinated antithrombin in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in different malignant tumours. Antithrombin, the main haemostatic serpin, loses its anticoagulant function via citrullination, which might contribute to the pathogenesis or thrombotic side effects of these disorders. We have developed a specific monoclonal antibody against citrullinated antithrombin. We determined the levels of citrullinated antithrombin and anti-FXa activity in plasma from 66 donors, 17 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 77 patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma (42 suffering from venous thrombosis). Healthy subjects had negligible amounts of citrullinated antithrombin in plasma (7.9 ± 22.1 ng/ml), while it significantly increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or adenocarcinoma (159.7 ± 237.6 ng/ml and 36.8 ± 66.1 ng/ml), levels that, however, did not modify the plasma anticoagulant activity. Moreover, we did not find association between citrullinated antithrombin and the thrombotic risk in patients with adenocarcinoma. In conclusion, we have developed an antibody specific for citrullinated antithrombin that allows its quantification in biological samples, offering a new tool for the analysis of citrullination in different diseases. We confirm increased levels of citrullinated antithrombin in plasma of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and adenocarcinoma. This modification, probably local, could have pathological consequences in both disorders, but only affects a minor fraction of plasma antithrombin, resulting in no significant reduction of global anticoagulant activity. This result explains the absence of association of this marker with an increased risk of thrombosis in patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma.
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 12/2010; 104(6):1143-9. · 5.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of mutations in the SERPINC1 gene has revealed different mechanisms responsible for antithrombin deficiency. Deletions and nonsense mutations associate with type I deficiency. Certain missense mutations cause type II deficiency by affecting the heparin binding site or the reactive center loop, while others result in type I deficiency by intracellular retention or RNA instability.
We studied the molecular, biochemical, proteomic and glycomic characterization of a new natural mutant (K241E) that may be classified as pleiotropic.
The mutation caused a significant decrease in the anticoagulant activity mainly due to a reduced heparin affinity and a modification of the electrostatic potential that might explain the impaired ability of the mutant protein to form complexes with the target protease in the absence of heparin. Mass spectrometry and glycomic analyses confirmed an increased molecular weight of 800 Da in the mutant protein possibly due to core-fucosylation, provoking the loss of heparin affinity. Additionally, carriers of this mutation also have a minor mutant isoform that still followed normal glycosylation, retaining similar heparin affinity to wild-type alpha-antithrombin, and certain anticoagulant activity, which may explain the milder thrombotic risk of patients carrying this mutation. Similar results were observed using recombinant K241E antithrombin molecules.
Our data suggest a new mechanism involved in antithrombin type II deficiency by indirectly affecting the glycosylation of a natural variant. Additional studies are required to confirm this hypothesis.