[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a catalytic machinery that targets numerous cellular proteins for degradation, thus being an essential system to control a wide range of basic cellular processes and cell survival. Degradation of intracellular proteins via the UPS is a tightly regulated process initiated by tagging a target protein with a specific ubiquitin chain. Neurons are particularly vulnerable to any change in protein composition, and therefore the UPS is a key regulator of neuronal biology. Alterations in UPS activity may induce pathological effects, ultimately leading to neuronal cell death. Brain ischemia triggers a complex series of biochemical and molecular mechanisms, such as an inflammatory response, an exacerbated production of misfolded and oxidized proteins, due to oxidative stress, and the breakdown of cellular integrity mainly mediated by excitotoxic glutamatergic signaling. Brain ischemia also damages protein degradation pathways which, together with the overproduction of damaged proteins and consequent upregulation of ubiquitin-conjugated proteins, contribute to the accumulation of ubiquitin-containing proteinaceous deposits. Despite recent advances, the factors leading to deposition of such aggregates after cerebral ischemic injury remain poorly understood. This review discusses the current knowledge on the role of the UPS in brain function and the molecular mechanisms contributing to UPS dysfunction in brain ischemia with consequent accumulation of ubiquitin-containing proteins. Chemical inhibitors of the proteasome and small molecule inhibitors of deubiquitinating enzymes, which promote the degradation of proteins by the proteasome, were both shown to provide neuroprotection in brain ischemia, and this apparent contradiction is also discussed in this review.
Progress in Neurobiology 10/2013; · 9.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important regulator of synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus and in other brain regions, playing a role in the formation of certain forms of memory. The effects of BDNF in LTP are mediated by TrkB (tropomyosin-related kinase B) receptors, which are known to be coupled to the activation of the Ras/ERK, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and phospholipase C-γ (PLC-γ) pathways. The role of BDNF in LTP is best studied in the hippocampus, where the neurotrophin is thought to act at pre- and post-synaptic levels. Recent studies have shown that BDNF regulates the transport of mRNAs along dendrites and their translation at the synapse, by modulating the initiation and elongation phases of protein synthesis, and by acting on specific miRNAs. Furthermore, the effect of BDNF on transcription regulation may further contribute to long-term changes in the synaptic proteome. In this review we discuss the recent progress in understanding the mechanisms contributing to the short- and long-term regulation of the synaptic proteome by BDNF, and the role in synaptic plasticity, which is likely to influence learning and memory formation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BDNF protects hippocampal neurons from glutamate excitotoxicity as determined by analysis of chromatin condensation, through activation of ERK and PI3-K signaling pathways. However, it is still unknown whether BDNF also prevents the degeneration of axons and dendrites, and the functional demise of synapses, which would be required to preserve neuronal activity. Herein, we have studied the time-dependent changes in several neurobiological markers, and the regulation of proteolytic mechanisms in cultured rat hippocampal neurons, through quantitative western-blot and immunocytochemistry. Calpain activation peaked immediately after the neurodegenerative input, followed by a transient increase in ubiquitin-conjugated proteins and increased abundance of cleaved-caspase-3. Proteasome and calpain inhibition did not reproduce the protective effect of BDNF and caspase inhibition in preventing chromatin condensation. However, proteasome and calpain inhibition did protect the neuronal markers for dendrites (MAP-2), axons (Neurofilament-H) and the vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT1-2), whereas caspase inhibition was unable to mimic the protective effect of BDNF on neurites and synaptic markers. BDNF partially prevented the downregulation of synaptic activity measured by the KCl-evoked glutamate release using a FRET glutamate nanosensor. These results translate a time-dependent activation of proteases and spatial segregation of these mechanisms, where calpain activation is followed by proteasome deregulation, from neuronal processes to the soma, and finally by caspase activation in the cell body. Moreover, PI3-K and PLCγ small molecule inhibitors significantly blocked the protective action of BDNF, suggesting an activity-dependent mechanism of neuroprotection. Ultimately, we hypothesize that neuronal repair after a degenerative insult is initiated at the synaptic level.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BDNF is a pro-survival protein involved in neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. BDNF strengthens excitatory synapses and contributes to LTP, presynaptically, through enhancement of glutamate release, and postsynaptically, via phosphorylation of neurotransmitter receptors, modulation of receptor traffic and activation of the translation machinery. We examined whether BDNF upregulated vesicular glutamate receptor (VGLUT) 1 and 2 expression, which would partly account for the increased glutamate release in LTP. Cultured rat hippocampal neurons were incubated with 100 ng/ml BDNF, for different periods of time, and VGLUT gene and protein expression were assessed by real-time PCR and immunoblotting, respectively. At DIV7, exogenous application of BDNF rapidly increased VGLUT2 mRNA and protein levels, in a dose-dependent manner. VGLUT1 expression also increased but only transiently. However, at DIV14, BDNF stably increased VGLUT1 expression, whilst VGLUT2 levels remained low. Transcription inhibition with actinomycin-D or α-amanitine, and translation inhibition with emetine or anisomycin, fully blocked BDNF-induced VGLUT upregulation. Fluorescence microscopy imaging showed that BDNF stimulation upregulates the number, integrated density and intensity of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 puncta in neurites of cultured hippocampal neurons (DIV7), indicating that the neurotrophin also affects the subcellular distribution of the transporter in developing neurons. Increased VGLUT1 somatic signals were also found 3 h after stimulation with BDNF, further suggesting an increased de novo transcription and translation. BDNF regulation of VGLUT expression was specifically mediated by BDNF, as no effect was found upon application of IGF-1 or bFGF, which activate other receptor tyrosine kinases. Moreover, inhibition of TrkB receptors with K252a and PLCγ signaling with U-73122 precluded BDNF-induced VGLUT upregulation. Hippocampal neurons express both isoforms during embryonic and neonatal development in contrast to adult tissue expressing only VGLUT1. These results suggest that BDNF regulates VGLUT expression during development and its effect on VGLUT1 may contribute to enhance glutamate release in LTP.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53793. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overactivation of glutamate receptors contributes to neuronal damage (excitotoxicity) in ischemic stroke but the detailed mechanisms are not fully elucidated. Brain ischemia is also characterized by an impairment of the activity of the proteasome, one of the major proteolytic systems in neurons. We found that excitotoxic stimulation with glutamate rapidly decreases ATP levels and the proteasome activity, and induces the disassembly of the 26S proteasome in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Downregulation of the proteasome activity, leading to an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, was mediated by calcium entry through NMDA receptors and was only observed in the nuclear fraction. Furthermore, excitotoxicity-induced proteasome inhibition was partially sensitive to cathepsin-L inhibitor and was specifically induced by activation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors. Oxygen and glucose deprivation induced neuronal death and downregulated the activity of the proteasome by a mechanism dependent on the activation of NMDA receptors. Since deubiquitinating enzymes may regulate proteins half-life by counteracting ubiquitination, we also analyzed how their activity is regulated under excitotoxic conditions. Glutamate stimulation decreased the total deubiquitinase activity in hippocampal neurons, but was without effect on the activity of Uch-L1, showing that not all deubiquitinases are affected. These results indicate that excitotoxic stimulation with glutamate has multiple effects on the ubiquitin-proteasome system which may contribute to the demise process in brain ischemia and in other neurological disorders.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 10/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Machado-Joseph disease is the most frequently found dominantly-inherited cerebellar ataxia. Over-repetition of a CAG trinucleotide in the MJD1 gene translates into a polyglutamine tract within the ataxin 3 protein, which upon proteolysis may trigger Machado-Joseph disease. We investigated the role of calpains in the generation of toxic ataxin 3 fragments and pathogenesis of Machado-Joseph disease. For this purpose, we inhibited calpain activity in mouse models of Machado-Joseph disease by overexpressing the endogenous calpain-inhibitor calpastatin. Calpain blockage reduced the size and number of mutant ataxin 3 inclusions, neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration. By reducing fragmentation of ataxin 3, calpastatin overexpression modified the subcellular localization of mutant ataxin 3 restraining the protein in the cytoplasm, reducing aggregation and nuclear toxicity and overcoming calpastatin depletion observed upon mutant ataxin 3 expression. Our findings are the first in vivo proof that mutant ataxin 3 proteolysis by calpains mediates its translocation to the nucleus, aggregation and toxicity and that inhibition of calpains may provide an effective therapy for Machado-Joseph disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) was first identified as a survival factor for midbrain dopaminergic neurons, but additional studies provided evidences for a role as a trophic factor for other neurons of the central and peripheral nervous systems. GDNF regulates cellular activity through interaction with glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored cell surface receptors, GDNF family receptor-α1, which might signal through the transmembrane Ret tyrosine receptors or the neural cell adhesion molecule, to promote cell survival, neurite outgrowth, and synaptogenesis. The neuroprotective effect of exogenous GDNF has been shown in different experimental models of focal and global brain ischemia, by local administration of the trophic factor, using viral vectors carrying the GDNF gene and by transplantation of GDNF-expressing cells. These different strategies and the mechanisms contributing to neuroprotection by GDNF are discussed in this review. Importantly, neuroprotection by GDNF was observed even when administered after the ischemic injury.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thioredoxin-1 is a ubiquitous protein involved in phenotypical and functional changes in dendritic cells (DC). We investigated
the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), skin sensitizers, and irritants on thioredoxin-1 by Western blot and immunofluorescence
and on mRNA by real-time PCR. As DC models, we used a skin DC line and DC derived from human blood monocytes. We observed
that all tested chemicals increased thioredoxin-1 expression, which is only transient for irritants, being the strongest effect
observed for LPS (63±15%). To address the involvement of thioredoxin-1 in DC maturation, we analysed the effect of an activator
of thioredoxin-1 expression, hydrogen peroxide, on CD86 expression, a marker of DC maturation. We found that hydrogen peroxide
increases thioredoxin-1 and CD86 expression reinforcing thioredoxin-1 involvement in DC maturation. Because mitogen-activated
protein kinases and PI3K are activated upon DC maturation, we also analysed their involvement in thioredoxin-1 modulation.
We verified that LPS-induced upregulation of thioredoxin-1 expression was dependent on PI3K pathway.
KeywordsDendritic cells maturation-Intracellular signalling pathways-Lipopolysaccharide-Skin sensitization-Thioredoxin
Archives for Dermatological Research 04/2012; 302(4):271-282. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuronal survival through activation of TrkB receptors. The trkB gene encodes a full-length receptor tyrosine kinase (TrkB.FL) and its truncated (T1/T2) isoforms. We investigated the changes in TrkB protein levels and signaling activity under excitotoxic conditions, which are characteristic of brain ischemia, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative disorders. Excitotoxic stimulation of cultured rat hippocampal or striatal neurons downregulated TrkB.FL and upregulated a truncated form of the receptor (TrkB.T). Downregulation of TrkB.FL was mediated by calpains, whereas the increase in TrkB.T protein levels required transcription and translation activities. Downregulation of TrkB.FL receptors in hippocampal neurons correlated with a decrease in BDNF-induced activation of the Ras/ERK and PLCγ pathways. However, calpain inhibition, which prevents TrkB.FL degradation, did not preclude the decrease in signaling activity of these receptors. On the other hand, incubation with anisomycin, to prevent the upregulation of TrkB.T, protected to a large extent the TrkB.FL signaling activity, suggesting that truncated receptors may act as dominant-negatives. The upregulation of TrkB.T under excitotoxic conditions was correlated with an increase in BDNF-induced inhibition of RhoA, a mediator of excitotoxic neuronal death. BDNF fully protected hippocampal neurons transduced with TrkB.T when present during excitotoxic stimulation with glutamate, in contrast with the partial protection observed in cells overexpressing TrkB.FL or expressing GFP. These results indicate that BDNF protects hippocampal neurons by two distinct mechanisms: through the neurotrophic effects of TrkB.FL receptors and by activation of TrkB.T receptors coupled to inhibition of the excitotoxic signaling.
Journal of Neuroscience 03/2012; 32(13):4610-22. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In addition to its central roles in protein quality control, regulation of cell cycle, intracellular signaling, DNA damage response and transcription regulation, the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) plays specific roles in the nervous system, where it contributes to precise connectivity through development, and later assures functionality by regulating a wide spectrum of neuron-specific cellular processes. Aberrations in this system have been implicated in the etiology of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we provide an updated view on the UPS and highlight recent findings concerning its role in normal and diseased nervous systems. We discuss the advantages of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans as a tool to unravel the major unsolved questions concerning this biochemical pathway and its involvement in nervous system function and dysfunction, and expose the new possibilities, using state-of-the-art techniques, to assess UPS function using this model system.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 03/2012; 69(16):2691-715. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamate receptors of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) type mediate fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the CNS. Synaptic strength is modulated by AMPA receptor binding partners, which regulate receptor synaptic targeting and functional properties. We identify Contactin-associated protein 1 (Caspr1) as an AMPA receptor interactor. Caspr1 is present in synapses and interacts with AMPA receptors in brain synaptic fractions. Coexpression of Caspr1 with GluA1 increases the amplitude of glutamate-evoked currents. Caspr1 overexpression in hippocampal neurons increases the number and size of synaptic GluA1 clusters, whereas knockdown of Caspr1 decreases the intensity of synaptic GluA1 clusters. Hence, Caspr1 is a regulator of the trafficking of AMPA receptors to synapses.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2012; 287(9):6868-77. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamate is loaded into synaptic vesicles by vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs), and alterations in the transporters expression directly regulate neurotransmitter release. We investigated changes in VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 protein levels after ischemic and excitotoxic insults. The results show that VGLUT2 is cleaved by calpains after excitotoxic stimulation of hippocampal neurons with glutamate, whereas VGLUT1 is downregulated to a lower extent. VGLUT2 was also cleaved by calpains after oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD), and downregulated after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and intrahippocampal injection of kainate. In contrast, VGLUT1 was not affected after OGD. Incubation of isolated synaptic vesicles with recombinant calpain also induced VGLUT2 cleavage, with a little effect observed for VGLUT1. N-terminal sequencing analysis showed that calpain cleaves VGLUT2 in the C-terminus, at Asn(534) and Lys(542). The truncated GFP-VGLUT2 forms were found to a great extent in non-synaptic regions along neurites, when compared to GFP-VGLUT2. These findings show that excitotoxic and ischemic insults downregulate VGLUT2, which is likely to affect glutamatergic transmission and cell death, especially in the neonatal period when the transporter is expressed at higher levels.
Neurobiology of Disease 07/2011; 44(3):292-303. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS and changes in GABAergic neurotransmission affect the overall activity of neuronal networks. The uptake of GABA into synaptic vesicles is mediated by the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT), and changes in the expression of the transporter directly regulate neurotransmitter release. In this work we investigated the changes in VGAT protein levels during ischemia and in excitotoxic conditions, which may affect the demise process. We found that VGAT is cleaved by calpains following excitotoxic stimulation of hippocampal neurons with glutamate, giving rise to a stable truncated cleavage product (tVGAT). VGAT cleavage was also observed after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in mice, a cerebral ischemia model, and following intrahippocampal injection of kainate, but no effect was observed in transgenic mice overexpressing calpastatin, a calpain inhibitor. Incubation of isolated cerebrocortical synaptic vesicles with recombinant calpain also induced the cleavage of VGAT and formation of stable tVGAT. Immunoblot experiments using antibodies targeting different regions of VGAT and N-terminal sequencing analysis showed that calpain cleaves the transporter in the N-terminal region, at amino acids 52 and 60. Immunocytochemistry of GABAergic striatal neurons expressing GFP fusion proteins with the full-length VGAT or tVGAT showed that cleavage of the transporter induces a loss of synaptic delivery, leading to a homogeneous distribution of the protein along neurites. Our results show that excitotoxicity downregulates full-length VGAT, with a concomitant generation of tVGAT, which is likely to affect GABAergic neurotransmission and may influence cell death during ischemia.
Journal of Neuroscience 03/2011; 31(12):4622-35. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The GluA4-containing Ca(2+)-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid receptors (Ca-AMPARs) were previously shown to mediate excitotoxicity through mechanisms involving the activator protein-1 (AP-1), a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) substrate. To further investigate JNK involvement in excitotoxic pathways coupled to Ca-AMPARs we used HEK293 cells expressing GluA4-containing Ca-AMPARs (HEK-GluA4). Cell death induced by overstimulation of Ca-AMPARs was mediated, at least in part, by JNK. Importantly, JNK activation downstream of these receptors was dependent on the extracellular Ca(2+) concentration. In our quest for a molecular link between Ca-AMPARs and the JNK pathway we found that the JNK interacting protein-1 (JIP-1) interacts with the GluA4 subunit of AMPARs through the N-terminal domain. In vivo, the excitotoxin kainate promoted the association between GluA4 and JIP-1 in the rat hippocampus. Taken together, our results show that the JNK pathway is activated by Ca-AMPARs upon excitotoxic stimulation and suggest that JIP-1 may contribute to the propagation of the excitotoxic signal.
Neurobiology of Disease 12/2010; 40(3):645-55. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a key role in synaptic plasticity, in part due to changes in local protein synthesis. Activation of TrkB (tropomyosin-related kinase B) receptors for BDNF triggers several parallel signaling pathways, including the Ras/ERK, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and the phospholipase C-γ pathways. Recent studies have elucidated some of the signaling mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of translation activity by BDNF, through modulation of initiation and elongation phases, but the resulting changes in the proteome are not yet fully characterized. The proteins synthesized in response to activation of TrkB receptors by BDNF depend on the mRNAs that are available locally, after delivery and transport along dendrites. Recent studies have shown that BDNF may also play a regulatory role at this level. Furthermore, BDNF regulates transcription activity, thereby affecting the array of mRNAs available to be transported along dendrites. This review highlights the recent advances in the understanding of the diversity of mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of the synaptic proteome by BDNF, which may account for its role in synaptic plasticity.
Progress in Neurobiology 12/2010; 92(4):505-16. · 9.04 Impact Factor