[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A virus (IAV) replicates in the upper respiratory tract of humans at 33 degrees C and in the intestinal tract of birds at close to 41 degrees C. The viral RNA polymerase complex comprises three subunits (PA, PB1 and PB2) and plays an important role in host adaptation. We therefore developed an in vitro system to examine the temperature sensitivity of IAV RNA polymerase complexes from different origins. Complexes were prepared from human lung epithelial cells (A549) using a novel adenoviral expression system. Affinity-purified complexes were generated that contained either all three subunits (PA/PB1/PB2) from the A/Viet/1203/04 H5N1 virus (H/H/H) or the A/WSN/33 H1N1 strain (W/W/W). We also prepared chimeric complexes in which the PB2 subunit was exchanged (H/H/W, W/W/H) or substituted with an avian PB2 from the A/chicken/Nanchang/3-120/01 H3N2 strain (W/W/N). All complexes were functional in transcription, cap-binding and endonucleolytic activity. Complexes containing the H5N1 or Nanchang PB2 protein retained transcriptional activity over a broad temperature range (30-42 degrees C). In contrast, complexes containing the WSN PB2 protein lost activity at elevated temperatures (39 degrees C or higher). The E627K mutation in the avian PB2 was not required for this effect. Finally, the avian PB2 subunit was shown to confer enhanced stability to the WSN 3P complex. These results show that PB2 plays an important role in regulating the temperature optimum for IAV RNA polymerase activity, possibly due to effects on the functional stability of the 3P complex.
Journal of General Virology 01/2009; 89(Pt 12):2923-32. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in synaptic plasticity required for memory formation are dynamically regulated through opposing excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmissions. To explore the potential contribution of NF-kappaB/Rel to these processes, we generated transgenic mice conditionally expressing a potent NF-kappaB/Rel inhibitor termed IkappaBalpha superrepressor (IkappaBalpha-SR). Using the prion promoter-enhancer, IkappaBalpha-SR is robustly expressed in inhibitory GABAergic interneurons and, at lower levels, in excitatory neurons but not in glia. This neuronal pattern of IkappaBalpha-SR expression leads to decreased expression of glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65), the enzyme required for synthesis of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in GABAergic interneurons. IkappaBalpha-SR expression also results in diminished basal GluR1 levels and impaired synaptic strength (input/output function), both of which are fully restored following activity-based task learning. Consistent with diminished GAD65-derived inhibitory tone and enhanced excitatory firing, IkappaBalpha-SR+ mice exhibit increased late-phase long-term potentiation, hyperactivity, seizures, increased exploratory activity, and enhanced spatial learning and memory. IkappaBalpha-SR+ neurons also express higher levels of the activity-regulated, cytoskeleton-associated (Arc) protein, consistent with neuronal hyperexcitability. These findings suggest that NF-kappaB/Rel transcription factors act as pivotal regulators of activity-dependent inhibitory and excitatory neuronal function regulating synaptic plasticity and memory.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 11/2006; 26(19):7283-98. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral vectors represent an efficient delivery method for in vitro and in vivo gene transfer, and their utility may be further enhanced through the use of pharmacologic agents that increase gene expression. Here, we demonstrate that valproic acid (VPA), a drug which is widely used for the treatment of epilepsy and mood disorders, enhances and prolongs expression of exogenous genes in cells transduced with various gene transfer agents, including adenovirus, adeno-associated virus and herpesvirus vectors. This effect occurs in a wide range of cell types, including both primary cells and cell lines, and appears to be associated with VPA's ability to function as a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi). VPA treatment also enhanced adenovirally-vectored expression of a luciferase reporter gene in mice, as demonstrated by in vivo imaging. VPA was also less cytotoxic than a commonly used HDAC inhibitor, TSA, suggesting its use as a safer alternative. Taken together, these results suggest that VPA treatment may represent a useful approach to various gene transfer approaches in which enhanced transgene expression is desirable.
Journal of Virological Methods 05/2005; 125(1):23-33. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) has been shown to be necessary for maintaining neuronal viability. In cultured rat cerebellar granule neurons, trophic factor withdrawal induces NF-kappaB inactivation, resulting in cell death. The exact mechanism of this inactivation, however, has not been revealed. Here we report that trophic factor deprivation in cultured cerebellar granule neurons leads to a rapid and sustained increase in the level of IkappaBalpha and IkappaBbeta, the inhibitory proteins of NF-kappaB, causing prolonged NF-kappaB inactivation. Transient NF-kappaB activation resulting in new IkappaBalpha mRNA and protein synthesis gives rise to the rapid increase of IkappaBalpha level. The importance of elevated IkappaB level in neuronal apoptosis was confirmed in transfection experiments. Ectopic expression of a stabilized form of IkappaBalpha protein promoted neuronal death. Our findings suggest a novel mode of initiation of neuronal apoptosis wherein survival signal withdrawal induces NF-kappaB to lethally turn itself off.
European Journal of Neuroscience 08/2004; 20(2):345-52. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have revealed a positive correlation between astrocyte apoptosis and rapid disease progression in persons with neurodegenerative diseases. Glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3beta) is a molecular regulator of cell fate in the central nervous system and a target of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3K) pathway. We have therefore examined the role of the PI-3K pathway, and of GSK-3beta, in regulating astrocyte survival. Our studies indicate that inhibition of PI-3K leads to apoptosis in primary cortical astrocytes. Furthermore, overexpression of a constitutively active GSK-3beta mutant (S9A) is sufficient to cause astrocyte apoptosis, whereas an enzymatically inactive GSK-3beta mutant (K85M) has no effect. In light of reports on the interplay between GSK-3beta and nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), and because of the antiapoptotic activity of NF-kappaB, we examined the effect of GSK-3beta overexpression on NF-kappaB activation. These experiments revealed strong inhibition of NF-kappaB activation in astrocytes upon overexpression of the S9A, but not the K85M, mutant of GSK-3beta. This was accompanied by stabilization of the NF-kappaB-inhibitory protein, IkappaBalpha and down-regulation of IkappaB kinase (IKK) activity. These findings therefore implicate GSK-3beta as a regulator of NF-kappaB activation in astrocytes and suggest that the pro-apoptotic effects of GSK-3beta may be mediated at least in part through the inhibition of NF-kappaB pathway.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 08/2003; 23(13):4649-62. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD40 is a receptor with numerous functions in the activation of antigen presenting cells (APCs), particularly dendritic cells (DC). Using phage display technology, we identified linear peptides containing a novel FPGN/S consensus sequence that enhances the binding of phage to a purified murine CD40-immunoglobulin (Ig) fusion protein (CD40-Ig), but not to Ig alone. To examine the ability the FPGN/S peptides to enhance adenoviral infection of CD40-positive cells, we used bifunctional peptides consisting of an FPGN-containing peptide covalently linked to an adenoviral knob-binding peptide (KBP). One of these, FPGN2-KBP, was able to enhance adenoviral infection of both murine and human DCs in a dose-dependent manner. FPGN2-KBP also improved infection of murine B cell blasts, a murine B lymphoma cell line (L10A), and immortalized human B cells. To demonstrate that enhancement of adenoviral infection depended on the presence of CD40, we analyzed infection of the breast cancer line, SKBR3, that does not express CD40 or the adenovirus cellular receptor, CAR. Infection of SKBR3 cells was enhanced by FPGN2-KBP following transient transfection with a plasmid vector that expresses murine CD40, but not when the cells were mock-transfected. In conclusion, we have isolated a peptide that binds to murine CD40, and promotes the uptake of adenoviruses into CD40-expressing cells of both murine and human origin, suggesting that it may have potential applications for antigen delivery to CD40-positive antigen-presenting cells.
European Journal of Biochemistry 06/2003; 270(10):2287-94. · 3.58 Impact Factor