Fujiko Kitamura

The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States

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Publications (25)97.76 Total impact

  • Shoji Hata, Fujiko Kitamura, Hiroyuki Sorimachi
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    ABSTRACT: Calpains comprise a superfamily of Ca(2+) -regulated cysteine proteases that are indispensable for the regulation of various cellular functions. Of these, the mammalian μ- and m-calpains are the best characterized isoforms. They are ubiquitously expressed and form heterodimers consisting of a distinct 80-kDa catalytic subunit (CAPN1 for μ-calpain and CAPN2 for m-calpain) and a common 30-kDa regulatory subunit (CAPNS1). To date, various expression systems have been developed for producing recombinant calpains for structural and functional studies; however, no low-cost, simple and efficient bacterial expression system for μ-calpain has been available, because the protein forms aggregates. Here, we established an efficient method for producing active recombinant human μ-calpain using an Escherichia coli expression system. This was achieved by co-expressing CAPN1 and CAPNS1 lacking the N-terminal Gly-rich domain (CAPNS1ΔGR) in the SoluBL21 strain. From 1 L of E. coli culture, over 2 and 6 mg, respectively, of μ-calpain and its active-site mutant μ-calpain:C115S (CAPN1:C115S+CAPNS1ΔGR) were purified by two successive column chromatographies. Compared to the native enzyme, the purified μ-calpain showed almost identical properties, demonstrating its suitability for use in structural and functional studies. This is the first report of the bacterial expression and the simple and efficient purification of active recombinant μ-calpain.
    Genes to Cells 06/2013; · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CAPN3/p94/calpain-3 is a skeletal muscle-specific member of the calpain protease family. Multiple muscle-cell functions have been reported for CAPN3, and mutations in this protease cause limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. Little is known about the molecular mechanism(s) that allow CAPN3 to be so multifunctional. One hypothesis is that the very rapid and exhaustive autolytic activity of CAPN3 needs to be suppressed by dynamic molecular interactions for specific periods of time. The previously identified interaction between CAPN3 and connectin/titin, a giant molecule in muscle sarcomeres, supports this assumption; however, the regulatory mechanisms of non-sarcomere-associated CAPN3 are unknown. Here, we report that a novel CAPN3-binding protein, PLEIAD (Platform element for inhibition of autolytic degradation, originally called SIMC1/C5orf25), suppresses the protease activity of CAPN3. Database analyses showed that PLEIAD homologs, like CAPN3 homologs, are evolutionarily conserved in vertebrates. Furthermore, we found that PLEIAD also interacts with CTBP1, a transcriptional co-regulator, and CTBP1 is proteolyzed in COS7 cells expressing CAPN3. The identified cleavage sites in CTBP1 suggested that it undergoes functional modification upon its proteolysis by CAPN3, as well as by conventional calpains. These results indicate that PLEIAD can shift its major function from CAPN3 suppression to CAPN3-substrate recruitment, depending on the cellular context. Taken together, our data suggest that PLEIAD is a novel regulatory scaffold for CAPN3, as reflected in its name.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 05/2013; · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calpain belongs to the superfamily of Ca(2+)-regulated cysteine proteases, which are indispensable to the regulation of various cellular functions. Of the 15 mammalian calpain isoforms, µ- and m-calpains are the best characterized. Both µ- and m-calpain are ubiquitously expressed and exist as heterodimers, containing a distinct 80-kDa catalytic subunit (CAPN1 and CAPN2, respectively) and the common, 30-kDa regulatory subunit (CAPNS1). To date, various expression systems have been developed for producing recombinant calpains for use in structural and physiological studies, however Escherichia coli systems have proven incompatible with large-scale preparation of calpain, with the exception of rat m-calpain. Here, we have established a highly efficient method to purify active recombinant human m-calpain using an E. coli expression system at low temperature (22°C). This was achieved by co-expressing CAPN2 with a C-terminal histidine-tag, and CAPNS1, lacking the first Gly-repeated region at the N-terminal. After three sequential passes through a chromatographic column, ~5 mg of human m-calpain was homogenously purified from 1 l of E. coli culture. Proteins were stable for several months. This is the first report of efficient, large-scale purification of recombinant human m-calpain using an E. coli expression system.
    Journal of Biochemistry 01/2012; 151(4):417-22. · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A (LGMD2A) is a genetic disease that is caused by mutations in the calpain 3 gene (CAPN3), which encodes the skeletal muscle-specific calpain, calpain 3 (also known as p94). However, the precise mechanism by which p94 functions in the pathogenesis of this disease remains unclear. Here, using p94 knockin mice (termed herein p94KI mice) in which endogenous p94 was replaced with a proteolytically inactive but structurally intact p94:C129S mutant protein, we have demonstrated that stretch-dependent p94 distribution in sarcomeres plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of LGMD2A. The p94KI mice developed a progressive muscular dystrophy, which was exacerbated by exercise. The exercise-induced muscle degeneration in p94KI mice was associated with an inefficient redistribution of p94:C129S in stretched sarcomeres. Furthermore, the p94KI mice showed impaired adaptation to physical stress, which was accompanied by compromised upregulation of muscle ankyrin-repeat protein-2 and hsp upon exercise. These findings indicate that the stretch-induced dynamic redistribution of p94 is dependent on its protease activity and essential to protect muscle from degeneration, particularly under conditions of physical stress. Furthermore, our data provide direct evidence that loss of p94 protease activity can result in LGMD2A and molecular insight into how this could occur.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 08/2010; 120(8):2672-83. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calpains constitute a superfamily of Ca2+-dependent cysteine proteases, indispensable for various cellular processes. Among the 15 mammalian calpains, calpain 8/nCL-2 and calpain 9/nCL-4 are predominantly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and are restricted to the gastric surface mucus (pit) cells in the stomach. Possible functions reported for calpain 8 are in vesicle trafficking between ER and Golgi, and calpain 9 are implicated in suppressing tumorigenesis. These highlight that calpains 8 and 9 are regulated differently from each other and from conventional calpains and, thus, have potentially important, specific functions in the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is no direct evidence implicating calpain 8 or 9 in human disease, and their properties and physiological functions are currently unknown. To address their physiological roles, we analyzed mice with mutations in the genes for these calpains, Capn8 and Capn9. Capn8(-/-) and Capn9(-/-) mice were fertile, and their gastric mucosae appeared normal. However, both mice were susceptible to gastric mucosal injury induced by ethanol administration. Moreover, the Capn8(-/-) stomach showed significant decreases in both calpains 9 and 8, and the same was true for Capn9(-/-). Consistent with this finding, in the wild-type stomach, calpains 8 and 9 formed a complex we termed "G-calpain," in which both were essential for activity. This is the first example of a "hybrid" calpain complex. To address the physiological relevance of the calpain 8 proteolytic activity, we generated calpain 8:C105S "knock-in" (Capn8(CS/CS)) mice, which expressed a proteolytically inactive, but structurally intact, calpain 8. Although, unlike the Capn8(-/-) stomach, that of the Capn8(CS/CS) mice expressed a stable and active calpain 9, the mice were susceptible to ethanol-induced gastric injury. These results provide the first evidence that both of the gastrointestinal-tract-specific calpains are essential for gastric mucosal defense, and they point to G-calpain as a potential target for gastropathies caused by external stresses.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2010; 6(7):e1001040. · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - J ALLERG CLIN IMMUNOL. 01/2010; 125(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Among several C-terminal binding proteins (CtBPs), friend of GATA (FOG) has been implicated in the down-regulation of GATA-3-mediated Th2 cell differentiation. Here we investigated the role of CtBP2 in Th1 and Th2 cytokine expression in human T cells. CtBP2 was introduced into human peripheral CD4+ T cells by a lentiviral transduction system. Subsequently, the expression of Th1 and Th2 cytokine mRNA was determined by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. CtBP2 significantly suppressed stimulation-induced expression of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in human T cells. However, IFN-gamma expression was not affected by the introduction of CtBP2. CtBP2 selectively down-regulates Th2 cytokines, therefore it is a potential target for the treatment of allergic diseases.
    International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 01/2010; 152 Suppl 1:18-21. · 2.25 Impact Factor
  • Neuromuscular Disorders - NEUROMUSCULAR DISORD. 01/2010; 20(9):598-599.
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    ABSTRACT: The functional role of C-terminal binding protein (CtBP)1, a transcriptional corepressor, in Th1 and Th2 cytokine expression in human T cells was investigated. Upon introduction of CtBP1 by lentiviral transduction system, IL-4 synthesis was suppressed but IFN-gamma was weakly up-regulated in human CD4(+) T cells. In contrast, a reduction of endogenously expressed CtBP1 in Jurkat T cells using RNAi technology selectively augmented IL-4 expression. The down-regulation of IL-4 by CtBP1 was achieved at the level of gene transcription. Deletion mutation analysis revealed that N-terminal approximately 200 amino acid and C-terminal approximately 50 amino acid residues are participated in CtBP1-mediated suppression of IL-4 expression. CtBP1 expressed in human CD4(+) T cells crucially contribute to Th1/Th2 differentiation via selective down-regulation of IL-4 synthesis.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2009; 382(2):326-30. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regardless of T(H)1/T(H)2 theory, CD4(+) T cells of patients with allergic asthma, a typical T(H)2 disease, and those of healthy subjects expressed equivalent levels of IFN-gamma, even though T(H)2 cytokines were significantly upregulated in asthmatic patients. The mechanisms underlying distorted T(H)2 cell polarization in human T cells were elucidated. Cytokine-producing activity and the expression of T(H)1/T(H)2-specific transcription factors in naïve, T(H)1/T(H)2, or both CD4(+) T cells derived from human peripheral and cord blood were comparatively analyzed. The mechanisms of the differential expression of T-box 21 transcription factor (T-bet) in the cells were assessed by determining the chromatin accessibility at the TBX21 gene. The functional roles of T-bet and other transcription factors in human T(H)1/T(H)2 differentiation were further investigated. T(H)2 cells derived from naive CD4(+) T cells in peripheral blood but not in cord blood produced IFN-gamma. T-bet was expressed in peripheral, but not cord blood, resting naive T cells. Consistently, the accessibility at the proximal TBX21 gene promoter in peripheral naive T cells was higher than that in cord blood naive T cells. IFN-gamma-producing activity was induced in T(H)2-differentiated cord blood T cells by means of ectopic expression of T-bet. In addition, a reduction of T-bet in peripheral T cells suppressed IFN-gamma production. T-bet not only upregulated IFN-gamma but also downregulated IL-4 and IL-13 gene transcription, independently of the modification of T(H)1/T(H)2 balance. The expression of T-bet at a naive stage is crucial for the development of IFN-gamma-producing T cells in human peripheral blood, even in T(H)2-related diseases.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 05/2009; 123(4):813-23.e3. · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: p94/calpain 3 is a skeletal muscle-specific Ca(2+)-regulated cysteine protease (calpain), and genetic loss of p94 protease activity causes muscular dystrophy (calpainopathy). In addition, a small in-frame deletion in the N2A region of connectin/titin that impairs p94-connectin interaction causes a severe muscular dystrophy (mdm) in mice. Since p94 via its interaction with the N2A and M-line regions of connectin becomes part of the connectin filament system that serves as a molecular scaffold for the myofibril, it has been proposed that structural and functional integrity of the p94-connectin complex is essential for health and maintenance of myocytes. In this study, we have surveyed the interactions made by p94 and connectin N2A inside COS7 cells. This revealed that p94 binds to connectin at multiple sites, including newly identified loci in the N2A and PEVK regions of connectin. Functionally, p94-N2A interactions suppress p94 autolysis and protected connectin from proteolysis. The connectin N2A region also contains a binding site for the muscle ankyrin repeat proteins (MARPs), a protein family involved in the cellular stress responses. MARP2/Ankrd2 competed with p94 for binding to connectin and was also proteolyzed by p94. Intriguingly, a connectin N2A fragment with the mdm deletion possessed enhanced resistance to proteases, including p94, and its interaction with MARPs was weakened. Our data support a model in which MARP2-p94 signaling converges within the N2A connectin segment and the mdm deletion disrupts their coordination. These results also implicate the dynamic nature of connectin molecule as a regulatory scaffold of p94 functions.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2008; 283(21):14801-14. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During pathophysiological muscle wasting, a family of ubiquitin ligases, including muscle RING-finger protein-1 (MuRF1), has been proposed to trigger muscle protein degradation via ubiquitination. Here, we characterized skeletal muscles from wild-type (WT) and MuRF1 knockout (KO) mice under amino acid (AA) deprivation as a model for physiological protein degradation, where skeletal muscles altruistically waste themselves to provide AAs to other organs. When WT and MuRF1 KO mice were fed a diet lacking AA, MuRF1 KO mice were less susceptible to muscle wasting, for both myocardium and skeletal muscles. Under AA depletion, WT mice had reduced muscle protein synthesis, while MuRF1 KO mice maintained nonphysiologically elevated levels of skeletal muscle protein de novo synthesis. Consistent with a role of MuRF1 for muscle protein turnover during starvation, the concentrations of essential AAs, especially branched-chain AAs, in the blood plasma significantly decreased in MuRF1 KO mice under AA deprivation. To clarify the molecular roles of MuRF1 for muscle metabolism during wasting, we searched for MuRF1-associated proteins using pull-down assays and mass spectrometry. Muscle-type creatine kinase (M-CK), an essential enzyme for energy metabolism, was identified among the interacting proteins. Coexpression studies revealed that M-CK interacts with the central regions of MuRF1 including its B-box domain and that MuRF1 ubiquitinates M-CK, which triggers the degradation of M-CK via proteasomes. Consistent with MuRF1's role of adjusting CK activities in skeletal muscles by regulating its turnover in vivo, we found that CK levels were significantly higher in the MuRF1 KO mice than in WT mice. Glucocorticoid modulatory element binding protein-1 and 3-hydroxyisobutyrate dehydrogenase, previously identified as potential MuRF1-interacting proteins, were also ubiquitinated MuRF1-dependently. Taken together, these data suggest that, in a multifaceted manner, MuRF1 participates in the regulation of AA metabolism, including the control of free AAs and their supply to other organs under catabolic conditions, and in the regulation of ATP synthesis under metabolic-stress conditions where MuRF1 expression is induced.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2008; 376(5):1224-36. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The NFAT family transcription factors play crucial roles in immunological and other biological events; however, the functional differences among NFAT members have not been fully elucidated. This study investigated the relative contribution of NFATc2 and NFATc1 to the transactivation of cytokine genes in T cells. Ectopic expression of NFATc2 but not NFATc1, especially its short isoform, enhanced TNF-alpha synthesis in human T cells at the gene transcription level, whereas both NFATs augmented IL-2 expression. In addition, a reduction of the shortest NFATc1 isoform using RNA interference technology failed to suppress TNF-alpha expression. The promoter/enhancer activity of the NFAT-binding site in the TNF-alpha gene was up-regulated by NFATc2 but not by NFATc1, whereas both NFATs associated similarly with this region. A study of mRNA expression using NFATc2/NFATc1 chimeric molecules revealed that the enhancing activity of NFAT on the TNF-alpha gene was lost by truncation of its C-terminal transactivation domain. In addition, this domain derived from NFATc2 behaved as a dominant negative against the NFAT site in TNF-alpha promoter-dependent transcriptional activity in T cells. We conclude that the C-terminal transactivation domain in NFAT is crucial for TNF-alpha gene expression in human T cells.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2008; 180(1):319-26. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Downregulation of a Th2 cytokine, IL-4, by a Th1-specific transcription factor, T-bet, has been demonstrated. However, the regulatory role of T-bet in another Th2 cytokine, IL-13, is not fully delineated. IL-13 mRNA expression in Jurkat cells was examined by quantitative RT-PCR, while the transcriptional activity of 5'-flanking region in the IL-13 gene encompassing -1077 to +49 was investigated by fluorescence-based promoter reporter assay. The effect of T-bet was investigated by transfection of the cells with the T-bet expression vector. Stimulation with phorbol ester plus Ca2+ ionophore clearly induced IL-13 gene transcription in Jurkat cells. Ectopically expressed T-bet significantly suppressed the inducible mRNA expression and promoter activity of IL-13. IL-13 expression was downregulated by T-bet at the level of gene transcription, independently of the modulation of Th1/Th2 balance. T-bet is the potential key factor in the development of Th1/Th2-related diseases.
    International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 02/2008; 146 Suppl 1:33-5. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics 01/2008;
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    Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics 01/2008;
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    The Journal of Immunology 12/2007; 180(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calpains constitute a family of intracellular Ca(2+)-regulated cysteine proteases that are indispensable in the regulation of a wide variety of cellular functions. The improper activation of calpain causes lethality or various disorders, such as muscular dystrophies and tumor formation. nCL-2/calpain 8 is predominantly expressed in the stomach, where it appears to be involved in membrane trafficking in the gastric surface mucus cells (pit cells). Although the primary structure of nCL-2 is quite similar to that of the ubiquitous m-calpain large subunit, the enzymatic properties of nCL-2 have never been reported. Here, to characterize nCL-2, the recombinant protein was prepared using an Escherichia coli expression system and purified to homogeneity. nCL-2 was stably produced as a soluble and active enzyme without the conventional calpain regulatory subunit (30K). Purified nCL-2 showed Ca(2+)-dependent activity, with half-maximal activity at about 0.3 mM Ca(2+), similar to that of m-calpain, whereas its optimal pH and temperature were comparatively low. Immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that nCL-2 exists in both monomeric and homo-oligomeric forms, but not as a heterodimer with 30K or 30K-2, and that the oligomerization occurs through domains other than the 5EF-hand domain IV, most probably through domain III, suggesting a novel regulatory system for nCL-2.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2007; 282(38):27847-56. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of selective CC chemokine receptor (CCR)-3 antagonists on antigen-induced leukocyte accumulation in the lungs of mice adoptively transferred with in vitro-differentiated T(h)1 and T(h)2 were investigated. Inhalation of antigen by mice injected with T(h)1 and T(h)2 initiated the migration of T cells themselves into the lungs. Subsequently, neutrophils massively accumulated in T(h)1-transferred mice, whereas eosinophil infiltration was specifically induced by T(h)2. CCR3 antagonists, SB-297006 and/or SB-328437, suppressed antigen-induced accumulation of T(h)2 as well as eosinophils in the lungs, whereas they failed to affect T(h)1-mediated airway inflammation. Not only T(h)2 and eosinophil infiltration but also cellular mobilization in T(h)1-transferred mice was attenuated by an anti-CC chemokine ligand-11 antibody. CCR3 antagonists reduced chemokine production in the lungs of mice transferred with T(h)2 but not T(h)1, suggesting that down-regulation of chemokine synthesis is involved in the selective inhibition of T(h)2-mediated eosinophil infiltration by CCR3 antagonists.
    International Immunology 09/2007; 19(8):913-21. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calpain represents a family of Ca(2+)-dependent cytosolic cysteine proteases found in almost all eukaryotes and some bacteria, and is involved in a variety of biological phenomena, including brain function. Several substrates of calpain are aggressively proteolyzed under pathological conditions, e.g., in neurodegenerating processes, fodrin is proteolyzed by calpain. Because very small amounts of substrate are proteolyzed by calpain under normal biological conditions, the molecular identities of calpain substrates are largely unknown. In this study, an extensive survey of the substrates of p94/calpain 3 in COS7 cells was executed using iTRAQ(TM) labeling and 2-D LC-MALDI analysis. p94 was used because: (i) several p94 splicing variants are expressed in brain tissue even though p94 itself is a skeletal-muscle-specific calpain, and (ii) it exhibits Ca(2+)-independent activity in COS cells, which makes it useful for evaluating the effects of p94 protease activity on proteins without perturbing the cells. Our approach revealed several novel protein substrates for p94, including the substrates of conventional calpains, components of the protein synthesis system, and enzymes of the glycolytic pathway. The results demonstrate the usefulness and sensitivity of this approach for mining calpain substrates. A combination of this method with other analytical methods would contribute to elucidation of the biological relevance of the calpain family.
    Biotechnology Journal 06/2007; 2(5):565-76. · 3.71 Impact Factor