Yumei Lai

Nankai University, T’ien-ching-shih, Tianjin Shi, China

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Publications (14)83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal osteoclast formation and osteolysis are a hallmark of multiple myeloma (MM) bone disease, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here we show that the AKT pathway was dramatically up-regulated in primary bone marrow monocytes (BMM) from MM patients, which resulted in sustained high expression of receptor activator of NF-kappaB (RANK) in osteoclast precursors. The increased RANK expression and osteoclast formation in the MM BMMs were inhibited by AKT inhibition. Conditioned media from MM cell cultures activated AKT and increased RANK expression and osteoclast formation in BMM cultures. In vivo studies revealed that AKT inhibition dramatically blocked the formation of tumor tissue in the bone marrow cavity and essentially abolished the MM-induced osteoclast formation and osteolysis in SCID mice. The level of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) protein, which was up-regulated by AKT and activated RANK expression in osteoclast precursors, was dramatically increased in BMM cultures from MM patients. These results demonstrate a new role of AKT in the MM promotion of osteoclast formation and bone osteolysis through, at least in part, the ATF4-dependent up-regulation of RANK expression in osteoclast precursors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a key regulator of cell growth and metabolism. Its activity is controlled by various types of signals, including growth factors, nutrients and stresses. In this study, we show that changes in expression levels of two anti-apoptotic proteins, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL, also affect mTORC1 signaling activity. In cells overexpressing Bcl-XL mTORC1 activity is increased and become less sensitive to growth factor or nutrient conditions. In contrast, reduction in expression levels of the two anti-apoptotic proteins inhibits mTORC1 signaling activity. Our results suggest that the effect of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL on mTORC1 is mediated by FKBP38, an inhibitor of mTORC1. The two proteins compete with mTORC1 for FKBP38 binding and hence alter mTORC1 activity. This study reveals a novel crosstalk between Bcl-2/XL and mTORC1 signaling, which is likely to contribute to cancer development.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is a critical transcription factor for bone remodeling; however, its role in bone angiogenesis has not been established. Here we show that ablation of the Atf4 gene expression in mice severely impaired skeletal vasculature and reduced microvascular density of the bone associated with dramatically decreased expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in osteoblasts located on bone surfaces. Results from in vivo studies revealed that hypoxia/reoxygenation induction of HIF-1α and VEGF expression leading to bone angiogenesis, a key adaptive response to hypoxic conditions, was severely compromised in mice lacking the Atf4 gene. Loss of ATF4 completely prevented endothelial sprouting from embryonic metatarsals, which was restored by addition of recombinant human VEGF protein. In vitro studies revealed that ATF4 promotion of HIF-1α and VEGF expression in osteoblasts was highly dependent upon the presence of hypoxia. ATF4 interacted with HIF-1α in hypoxic osteoblasts and loss of ATF4 increased HIF-1α ubiquitination and reduced its protein stability without affecting HIF-1α mRNA stability and protein translation. Loss of ATF4 increased the binding of HIF-1α to prolyl hydroxylases, the enzymes that hydroxylate HIF-1α protein and promote its proteasomal degradation via the pVHL pathway. Furthermore, parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) and receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL), both well-known activators of osteoclasts, increased release of VEGF from the bone matrix and promoted angiogenesis through the protein kinase C- and ATF4-dependent activation of osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption. Thus, ATF4 is a new key regulator of the HIF/VEGF axis in osteoblasts in response to hypoxia and of VEGF release from bone matrix, two critical steps for bone angiogenesis.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 05/2013; · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into multiple cell types including osteoblasts. How this differentiation process is controlled, however, is not completely understood. Here we show that activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) plays a critical role in promoting bone marrow MSC differentiation towards the osteoblast lineage. Ablation of the Atf4 gene blocked the formation of osteoprogenitors and inhibited osteoblast differentiation without affecting the expansion and formation of MSCs in bone marrow cultures. Loss of ATF4 dramatically reduced the level of β-catenin protein in MSCs in vitro and in osteoblasts/osteoprogenitors located on trabecular and calvarial surfaces. Loss of ATF4 did not decrease the expression of major canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling components such as Wnt3a, Wnt7b, Wnt10b, Lrp5, and Lrp6 in MSCs. Furthermore, shRNA knockdown of ATF4 expression decreased the level of β-catenin protein in MC-4 preosteoblasts. In contrast, overexpression of ATF4 increased β-catenin protein levels in MC-4 cells. Finally, ATF4 and β-catenin formed a protein-protein complex in COS-7 cells coexpressing both factors or in MC-4 preosteoblastic cells. This study establishes a new role of ATF4 in controlling the β-catenin protein levels and MSC differentiation towards the osteoblast lineage.
    International journal of biological sciences 01/2013; 9(3):256-266. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone mass is controlled through a delicate balance between osteoblast-mediated bone formation and osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. We show here that RNA editing enzyme adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 (ADAR1) is critical for proper control of bone mass. Postnatal conditional knockout of Adar1 (the gene encoding ADAR1) resulted in a severe osteopenic phenotype. Ablation of the Adar1 gene significantly suppressed osteoblast differentiation without affecting osteoclast differentiation in bone. In vitro deletion of the Adar1 gene decreased expression of osteoblast-specific osteocalcin and bone sialoprotein genes, alkaline phosphatase activity, and mineralization, suggesting a direct intrinsic role of ADAR1 in osteoblasts. ADAR1 regulates osteoblast differentiation by, at least in part, modulation of osterix expression, which is essential for bone formation. Further, ablation of the Adar1 gene decreased the proliferation and survival of bone marrow stromal cells and inhibited the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells towards osteoblast lineage. Finally, shRNA knockdown of the Adar1 gene in MC-4 pre-osteoblasts reduced cyclin D1 and cyclin A1 expression and cell growth. Our results identify ADAR1 as a new key regulator of bone mass and suggest that ADAR1 functions in this process mainly through modulation of the intrinsic properties of osteoblasts (i.e., proliferation, survival and differentiation).
    Gene 10/2012; · 2.20 Impact Factor
  • Gonghong Yan, Yumei Lai, Yu Jiang
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    ABSTRACT: In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, small GTPase Rho1 controls polarized actin distribution and cell wall expansion in response to many different environmental and intracellular stimuli. Its activity is essential for cell survival and adaptation under various stress conditions. A recent study identified the TOR complex 1 (TORC1), a central regulator in cell growth and metabolism, as a direct target of the small GTPase. This novel crosstalk extends the signaling network of Rho1 into many TORC1-dependent processes and sheds light on how yeast cells coordinate polarized spatial expansion with mass increase.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 08/2012; 11(18):3384-8. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    Gonghong Yan, Yumei Lai, Yu Jiang
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    ABSTRACT: The TOR complex 1 (TORC1) in yeast is regulated by various stress conditions. However, the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. In this study, we show that stresses affect TORC1 function through Rho1, a member of Rho family GTPases. Upon activation by stresses, Rho1 binds directly to Kog1, a unique component of TORC1, resulting in downregulation of TORC1 activity and disruption of its membrane association. The binding also triggers the release and activation of the Tap42-2A phosphatase, a major effector of TORC1 that resides on the complex. Rapamycin and caffeine also induce Rho1 activation. While the two agents inhibit TOR directly, their effects on TORC1 signaling are largely dependent on Rho1 activation. Our findings demonstrate that TORC1 acts both upstream and downstream of Rho1 GTPase, unveiling a mechanism that integrates stress and nutrient signals to coordinate Rho1-mediated spatial expansion and TORC1-dependent mass increase.
    Molecular cell 03/2012; 45(6):743-53. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is a critical transcription factor for osteoblast (OBL) function and bone formation; however, a direct role in osteoclasts (OCLs) has not been established. Here, we targeted expression of ATF4 to the OCL lineage using the Trap promoter or through deletion of Atf4 in mice. OCL differentiation was drastically decreased in Atf4-/- bone marrow monocyte (BMM) cultures and bones. Coculture of Atf4-/- BMMs with WT OBLs or a high concentration of RANKL failed to restore the OCL differentiation defect. Conversely, Trap-Atf4-tg mice displayed severe osteopenia with dramatically increased osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption. We further showed that ATF4 was an upstream activator of the critical transcription factor Nfatc1 and was critical for RANKL activation of multiple MAPK pathways in OCL progenitors. Furthermore, ATF4 was crucial for M-CSF induction of RANK expression on BMMs, and lack of ATF4 caused a shift in OCL precursors to macrophages. Finally, ATF4 was largely modulated by M-CSF signaling and the PI3K/AKT pathways in BMMs. These results demonstrate that ATF4 plays a direct role in regulating OCL differentiation and suggest that it may be a therapeutic target for treating bone diseases associated with increased OCL activity.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 08/2010; 120(8):2755-66. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: FKBP38 is a member of the family of FK506-binding proteins that acts as an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). The inhibitory action of FKBP38 is antagonized by Rheb, an oncogenic small GTPase, which interacts with FKBP38 and prevents its association with mTOR. In addition to the role in mTOR regulation, FKBP38 is also involved in binding and recruiting Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L), two anti-apoptotic proteins, to mitochondria. In this study, we investigated the possibility that Rheb controls apoptosis by regulating the interaction of FKBP38 with Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L). We demonstrate in vitro that the interaction of FKBP38 with Bcl-2 is regulated by Rheb in a GTP-dependent manner. In cultured cells, the interaction is controlled by Rheb in response to changes in amino acid and growth factor conditions. Importantly, we found that the Rheb-dependent release of Bcl-X(L) from FKBP38 facilitates the association of this anti-apoptotic protein with the pro-apoptotic protein Bak. Consequently, when Rheb activity increases, cells become more resistant to apoptotic inducers. Our findings reveal a novel mechanism through which growth factors and amino acids control apoptosis.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(12):8621-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is a potent anabolic agent for the treatment of osteoporosis. However, its mechanism of action in osteoblast and bone is not well understood. In this study, we show that the anabolic actions of PTH in bone are severely impaired in both growing and adult ovariectomized mice lacking bone-related activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4). Our study demonstrates that ATF4 deficiency suppresses PTH-stimulated osteoblast proliferation and survival and abolishes PTH-induced osteoblast differentiation, which, together, compromise the anabolic response. We further demonstrate that the PTH-dependent increase in osteoblast differentiation is correlated with ATF4-dependent up-regulation of Osterix. This regulation involves interactions of ATF4 with a specific enhancer sequence in the Osterix promoter. Furthermore, actions of PTH on Osterix require this same element and are associated with increased binding of ATF4 to chromatin. Taken together these experiments establish a fundamental role for ATF4 in the anabolic actions of PTH on the skeleton.
    PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(10):e7583. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sorting signals for apically destined proteins are highly diverse and can be present within the luminal, membrane-associated, and cytoplasmic domains of these proteins. A subset of apical proteins partition into detergent-resistant membranes, and the association of these proteins with glycolipid-enriched microdomains or lipid rafts may be important for their proper targeting. Recently, we observed that raft-associated and raft-independent apical proteins take different routes to the apical surface of polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney cells (Cresawn, K. O., Potter, B. A., Oztan, A., Guerriero, C. J., Ihrke, G., Goldenring, J. R., Apodaca, G., and Weisz, O. A. (2007) EMBO J. 26, 3737-3748). Here we reconstituted in vitro the export of raft-associated and raft-independent markers staged intracellularly at 19 degrees C. Surprisingly, whereas release of the raft-associated protein influenza hemagglutinin was dependent on the addition of an ATP-regenerating system and cytosol, release of a yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-tagged raft-independent protein (the 75-kDa neurotrophin receptor; YFP-p75) was efficient even in the absence of these constituents. Subsequent studies suggested that YFP-p75 is released from the trans-Golgi network in fragile tubules that do not withstand isolation procedures. Moreover, immunofluorescence analysis revealed that hemagglutinin and YFP-p75 segregate into distinct subdomains of the Golgi complex at 19 degrees C. Our data suggest that raft-associated and raft-independent proteins accumulate at distinct intracellular sites upon low temperature staging, and that upon warming, they exit these compartments in transport carriers that have very different membrane characteristics and morphologies.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2008; 283(26):18040-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PTH is an important peptide hormone regulator of calcium homeostasis and osteoblast function. However, its mechanism of action in osteoblasts is poorly understood. Our previous study demonstrated that PTH activates mouse osteocalcin (Ocn) gene 2 promoter through the osteoblast-specific element 1 site, a recently identified activating transcription factor-4 (ATF4) -binding element. In the present study, we examined effects of PTH on ATF4 expression and activity as well as the requirement for ATF4 in the regulation of Ocn by PTH. Results show that PTH elevated levels of ATF4 mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent manner. This PTH regulation requires transcriptional activity but not de novo protein synthesis. PTH also increased binding of nuclear extracts to osteoblast-specific element 1 DNA. PTH stimulated ATF4-dependent transcriptional activity mainly through protein kinase A with a lesser requirement for protein kinase C and MAPK/ERK pathways. Lastly, PTH stimulation of Ocn expression was lost by small interfering RNA down-regulation of ATF4 in MC-4 cells and Atf4(-/-) bone marrow stromal cells. Collectively, these studies for the first time demonstrate that PTH increases ATF4 expression and activity and that ATF4 is required for PTH induction of Ocn expression in osteoblasts.
    Endocrinology 05/2008; 149(4):1960-8. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ATF4 (activating transcription factor 4) is an osteoblast-enriched transcription factor that regulates terminal osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. ATF4 knock-out mice have reduced bone mass (severe osteoporosis) throughout life. Runx2 (runt-related transcription factor 2) is a runt domain-containing transcription factor that is essential for bone formation during embryogenesis and postnatal life. In this study, we identified general transcription factor IIA gamma (TFIIA gamma) as a Runx2-interacting factor in a yeast two-hybrid screen. Immunoprecipitation assays confirmed that TFIIA gamma interacts with Runx2 in osteoblasts and when coexpressed in COS-7 cells or using purified glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay of MC3T3-E1 (clone MC-4) preosteoblast cells showed that in intact cells TFIIA gamma is recruited to the region of the osteocalcin promoter previously shown to bind Runx2 and ATF4. A small region of Runx2 (amino acids 258-286) was found to be required for TFIIA gamma binding. Although TFIIA gamma interacts with Runx2, it does not activate Runx2. Instead, TFIIA gamma binds to and activates ATF4. Furthermore, TFIIA gamma together with ATF4 and Runx2 stimulates osteocalcin promoter activity and endogenous mRNA expression. Small interfering RNA silencing of TFIIA gamma markedly reduces levels of endogenous ATF4 protein and Ocn mRNA in osteoblastic cells. Overexpression of TFIIA gamma increases levels of ATF4 protein. Finally, TFIIA gamma significantly prevents ATF4 degradation. This study shows that a general transcription factor, TFIIA gamma, facilitates osteoblast-specific gene expression through interactions with two important bone transcription factors ATF4 and Runx2.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2008; 283(9):5542-53. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of ATF4 (activating transcription factor 4) in osteoblast differentiation and bone formation was recently described using ATF4-deficient mice (Yang, X., Matsuda, K., Bialek, P., Jacquot, S., Masuoka, H. C., Schinke, T., Li, L., Brancorsini, S., Sassone-Corsi, P., Townes, T. M., Hanauer, A., and Karsenty, G. (2004) Cell 117, 387-398). However, the mechanisms of ATF4 in bone cells are still not clear. In this study, we determined the molecular mechanisms through which ATF4 activates the mouse osteocalcin (Ocn) gene 2 (mOG2) expression and mOG2 promoter activity. ATF4 increased the levels of Ocn mRNA and mOG2 promoter activity in Runx2-containing osteoblasts but not in non-osteoblastic cells that lack detectable Runx2 protein. However, ATF4 increased Ocn mRNA and mOG2 promoter activity in non-osteoblastic cells when Runx2 was co-expressed. Mutational analysis of the OSE1 (ATF4-binding site) and the two OSE2s (Runx2-binding sites) in the 657-bp mOG2 promoter demonstrated that ATF4 and Runx2 activate Ocn via cooperative interactions with these sites. Pull-down assays using nuclear extracts from osteoblasts or COS-7 cells overexpressing ATF4 and Runx2 showed that both factors are present in either anti-ATF4 and anti-Runx2 immunoprecipitates. In contrast, pull-down assays using purified glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins were unable to demonstrate a direct physical interaction between ATF4 and Runx2. Thus, accessory factors are likely involved in stabilizing interactions between these two molecules. Regions within Runx2 required for ATF4 complex formation and activation were identified. Deletion analysis showed that the leucine zipper domain of ATF4 is critical for Runx2 activation. This study is the first demonstration that cooperative interactions between ATF4 and Runx2/Cbfa1 stimulate osteoblast-specific Ocn expression and suggests that this regulation may represent a novel intramolecular mechanism regulating Runx2 activity and, thereby, osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2005; 280(35):30689-96. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

237 Citations
83.00 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Nankai University
      • College of Life Sciences
      T’ien-ching-shih, Tianjin Shi, China
  • 2012–2013
    • Rush University Medical Center
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2009–2013
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
      • • School of Medicine
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States