[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of microtubule (MT) dysfunction in Parkinson's disease is emerging. It is still unknown whether it is a cause or a consequence of neurodegeneration. Our objective was to assess whether alterations of MT stability precede or follow axonal transport impairment and neurite degeneration in experimental parkinsonism induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in C57Bl mice. MPTP induced a time- and dose-dependent increase in fibres with altered mitochondria distribution, and early changes in cytoskeletal proteins and MT stability. Indeed, we observed significant increases in neuron-specific βIII tubulin and enrichment of deTyr tubulin in dopaminergic neurons. Finally, we showed that repeated daily administrations of the MT stabilizer Epothilone D rescued MT defects and attenuated nigrostriatal degeneration induced by MPTP. These data suggest that alteration of ΜΤs is an early event specifically associated with dopaminergic neuron degeneration. Pharmacological stabilization of MTs may be a viable strategy for the management of parkinsonism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuritin 1 (Nrn1 or cpg15-1) is an activity-dependent protein involved in synaptic plasticity during brain development, a process that relies upon neuronal migration. By analyzing Nrn1 expression, we found that it is highly expressed in a mouse model of migrating immortalized neurons (GN11 cells), but not in a mouse model of non-migrating neurons (GT1-7 cells). We thus hypothesized that Nrn1 might control neuronal migration. By using complementary assays, as Boyden's microchemotaxis, scratch-wounding and live cell imaging, we found that GN11 cell migration is enhanced when Nrn1 is overexpressed and decreased when Nrn1 is silenced. The effects of Nrn1 in promoting neuronal migration have been then confirmed ex vivo, on rat cortical interneurons, by Boyden chamber assays and focal electroporation of acute embryonic brain slices. Furthermore, we found that Nrn1 level modulation affects GN11 cell morphology. The process is also paralleled by Nrn1-induced α-tubulin post-translational modifications, a well-recognized marker of microtubule stability. Altogether, the data demonstrate a novel function of Nrn1 in promoting migration of neuronal cells and indicate that Nrn1 levels impact on microtubule stability.
Brain Structure and Function 12/2012; · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects on tubulin dynamics of paclitaxel, ortataxel and two recently developed taxol derivatives bearing a five-membered heterocyclic ring fused at the 1,14 position were analysed by means of molecular dynamic simulations and the MM-PBSA approach. Tubulin polymerization kinetics and microtubule morphology assays were also conducted, providing support to computational results. In particular, it has been shown that the two recently developed 1,14-heterofused taxanes IDN5839 and IDN5798 are able to speed up the in vitro tubulin assembly by promoting the nucleation phase and to affect the microtubule network in cells earlier than paclitaxel.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Centaurin-α(2) is a GTPase-activating protein for ARF (ARFGAP) showing a diffuse cytoplasmic localization capable to translocate to membrane, where it binds phosphatidylinositols. Taking into account that Centaurin-α(2) can localize in cytoplasm and that its cytoplasmatic function is not well defined, we searched for further interactors by yeast two-hybrid assay to investigate its biological function. We identified a further Centaurin-α(2) interacting protein, β-Tubulin, by yeast two-hybrid assay. The interaction, involving the C-terminal region of β-Tubulin, has been confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation experiments. After Centaurin-α(2) overexpression in HeLa cells and extraction of soluble (αβ dimers) and insoluble (microtubules) fractions of Tubulin, we observed that Centaurin-α(2) mainly interacts with the polymerized Tubulin fraction, besides colocalizing with microtubules (MTs) in cytoplasm accordingly. Even following the depolimerizing Tubulin treatments Centaurin-α(2) remains mainly associated to nocodazole- and cold-resistant MTs. We found an increase of MT stability in transfected HeLa cells, evaluating as marker of stability the level of MT acetylation. In vitro assays using purified Centaurin-α(2) and tubulin confirmed that Centaurin-α(2) promotes tubulin assembly and increases microtubule stability. The biological effect of Centaurin-α(2) overexpression, assessed through the detection of an increased number of mitotic HeLa cells with bipolar spindles and with the correct number of centrosomes in both dividing and not dividing cells, is consistent with the Centaurin-α(2) role on MT stabilization. Centaurin-α(2) interacts with β-Tubulin and it mainly associates to MTs, resistant to destabilizing agents, in vitro and in cell. We propose Centaurin-α(2) as a new microtubule-associated protein (MAP) increasing MT stability.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e52867. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relevance of histone acetylation/deacetylation in regulating decompaction/compaction of chromatin and, consequently, in regulating gene expression, has been described for many physiological and pathological biological processes, including normal and altered embryo development. Similarly to other biological systems, also in embryo cells the acetylation status is controlled by the antagonist activity of histone acetyl transferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) and is influenced by other factors acting on chromatin structure (i.e., every epigenetic modification of chromatin). The relevance of acetylation during development has been demonstrated in all developmental phases, from gametogenesis to zygote formation and during early and late embryonic stages. Moreover, the increase number of xenobiotic showing HDAC inhibitory activity recently focused the attention of teratologists on the possible role of HDAC inhibition as a novel teratogenic mechanism. This hypothesis has been demonstrated at least in embryos at somitogenic stages (for mouse embryos from stage E8 till stage E15): HDAC inhibition, histone hyperacetylation, increased cell death (apoptosis) has been suggested as the main event cascade involved in axial skeletal defects induced in rodent by a number of HDAC inhibitors, including the antiepileptic drug valproic acid.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2012; 889:373-83.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data from both toxin-based and gene-based models suggest that dysfunction of the microtubule system contributes to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, even if, at present, no evidence of alterations of microtubules in vivo or in patients is available. Here we analyze cytoskeleton organization in primary fibroblasts deriving from patients with idiopathic or genetic Parkinson's disease, focusing on mutations in parkin and leucine-rich repeat kinase 2. Our analyses reveal that genetic and likely idiopathic pathology affects cytoskeletal organization and stability, without any activation of autophagy or apoptosis. All parkinsonian fibroblasts have a reduced microtubule mass, represented by a higher fraction of unpolymerized tubulin in respect to control cells, and display significant changes in microtubule stability-related signaling pathways. Furthermore, we show that the reduction of microtubule mass is so closely related to the alteration of cell morphology and behavior that both pharmacological treatment with microtubule-targeted drugs, and genetic approaches, by transfecting the wild type parkin or leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, restore the proper microtubule stability and are able to rescue cell architecture. Taken together, our results suggest that microtubule destabilization is a point of convergence of genetic and idiopathic forms of parkinsonism and highlight, for the first time, that microtubule dysfunction occurs in patients and not only in experimental models of Parkinson's disease. Therefore, these data contribute to the knowledge on molecular and cellular events underlying Parkinson's disease and, revealing that correction of microtubule defects restores control phenotype, may offer a new therapeutic target for the management of the disease.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e37467. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stromal cells may represent an ideal candidate to deliver anti-cancer drugs. In a previous study, we demonstrated that exposure of mouse bone marrow derived stromal cells to Doxorubicin led them to acquire anti-proliferative potential towards co-cultured haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). We thus hypothesized whether freshly isolated human bone marrow Mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and mature murine stromal cells (SR4987 line) primed in vitro with anti-cancer drugs and then localized near cancer cells, could inhibit proliferation.
Paclitaxel (PTX) was used to prime culture of hMSCs and SR4987. Incorporation of PTX into hMSCs was studied by using FICT-labelled-PTX and analyzed by FACS and confocal microscopy. Release of PTX in culture medium by PTX primed hMSCs (hMSCsPTX) was investigated by HPLC. Culture of Endothelial cells (ECs) and aorta ring assay were used to test the anti-angiogenic activity of hMSCsPTX and PTX primed SR4987(SR4987PTX), while anti-tumor activity was tested in vitro on the proliferation of different tumor cell lines and in vivo by co-transplanting hMSCsPTX and SR4987PTX with cancer cells in mice. Nevertheless, despite a loss of cells due to chemo-induced apoptosis, both hMSCs and SR4987 were able to rapidly incorporate PTX and could slowly release PTX in the culture medium in a time dependent manner. PTX primed cells acquired a potent anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic activity in vitro that was dose dependent, and demonstrable by using their conditioned medium or by co-culture assay. Finally, hMSCsPTX and SR4987PTX co-injected with human cancer cells (DU145 and U87MG) and mouse melanoma cells (B16) in immunodeficient and in syngenic mice significantly delayed tumor takes and reduced tumor growth.
These data demonstrate, for the first time, that without any genetic manipulation, mesenchymal stromal cells can uptake and subsequently slowly release PTX. This may lead to potential new tools to increase efficacy of cancer therapy.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28321. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of tubulin as a target to influence the composition of the mixture from a dynamic combinatorial library, based on the disulfide bond exchange reaction, is described. ESI-FT-ICR-MS was used to determine the composition of the library. The heterodimeric compound amplified by this approach was used to design the homologous derivative with a two-carbon spacer in place of the disulfide function. The ability of the compounds to inhibit tubulin polymerization is reported and compared to thiocolchicine.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysfunction of the microtubule (MT) system is an emerging theme in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. This study was designed to investigate the putative role of MT dysfunction in dopaminergic neuron death induced by the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpiridinium (MPP(+)). In nerve growth factor-differentiated PC12 cells, we have analyzed post-translational modifications of tubulin known to be associated with differently dynamic MTs and show that MPP(+) causes a selective loss of dynamic MTs and a concomitant enrichment of stable MTs. Through a direct live cell imaging approach, we show a significant reduction of MT dynamics following exposure to MPP(+) and a reorientation of MTs. Furthermore, these alterations precede the impairment of intracellular transport as revealed by changes in mitochondria movements along neurites and their accumulation into varicosities. We have also analyzed activation of caspase 3 and mitochondrial injury, well-known alterations induced by MPP(+), and found that they are noticeable only when MT dysfunction is already established. These data provide the first evidence that axonal transport impairment and mitochondrial damage might be a consequence of MT dysfunction in MPP(+) -induced neurodegeneration, lending support to the concept that alterations of MT organization and dynamics could play a pivotal role in neuronal death in Parkinson's disease.
Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2010; 115(1):247-58. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of dithiolethione derivatives was synthesized and the in vitro HDAC inhibitory activity was tested. The most active compounds, 1 and 2, exhibited an IC(50) in nM range with a strong hyperacetylation of histone H4 in A549 cells. The HDAC inhibitory activity comparable to that of SAHA and the inhibition of A549 cell proliferation suggest that these compounds are worthy of further studies as potential anticancer agents.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microtubules are polymeric structures formed by the self-assembly of tubulin dimers. The growth and shrinkage of these dynamic arrays have a key role during the cell-proliferation process. This makes tubulin the molecular target of many anticancer drugs currently in use or under clinical trial. Their impressive success is limited by the onset of resistant tumour cells during the treatment, so new resistance-proof molecules need to be developed. Here we use molecular dynamics and free-energy calculations to study the network of interactions that allow microtubule formation. Modelling the protein-protein interface allows us to identify the amino acids responsible for tubulin-tubulin binding and thus to design peptides, which correspond to tubulin subsequences, that interfere with microtubule formation. We show that the application of molecular modelling techniques leads to the identification of peptides that exhibit antitubulin activity both in vitro and in cultured cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthesis and biological evaluation of 9 dimeric compounds obtained by condensation of thiocolchicine and/or podophyllotoxin with 6 different dicarboxylic acids is described. In particular, tubulin assembly assay and immunofluorescence analysis results are reported. The biological data highlighted three compounds as being more active than the others, having a marked ability to inhibit the polymerization of tubulin in vitro and causing significant disruption to the microtubule network in vivo. The spacer unit was found to have a significant effect on biological activity, reinforcing the importance of the design of conjugate compounds to create new biologically active molecules in which the spacer could be useful to improve the solubility and to modulate the efficacy of well known anticancer drugs.
European journal of medicinal chemistry 10/2009; 45(1):219-26. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The preparation and biological evaluation of a novel series of dimeric epothilone A derivatives (1-6) are described. Two types of diacyl spacers were introduced to establish the various dimeric epothilone A constructs. The effect of these compounds on tubulin polymerization and their cytotoxicity against four different cancer cell lines are reported. Several of the newly synthesized compounds inhibit endothelial cell differentiation and endothelial cell migration that are key steps of the angiogenic process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antitumour activity was observed in a series of tricyclic compounds characterised by a 2-(1H-pyrrol-3-yl)-1,3,4-oxadiazole moiety with various substitutions. Their synthesis and antiproliferative activity toward a panel of human tumour cell lines is described. The most interesting compounds 1 c and 4 c were selected for further evaluation to elucidate their possible mechanism of action.Interesting antitumour activity was observed in a series of tricyclic compounds characterised by the presence of a 2-(1H-pyrrol-3-yl)-1,3,4-oxadiazole moiety that is variously substituted. Their synthesis and antiproliferative activity toward a panel of human tumour cell lines is described. The two most interesting compounds were selected for further evaluation to elucidate their possible mechanism of action. Analysis of cell cycle, tubulin polymerisation, modulation of mitotic markers of the M phase, and apoptosis showed that antimitotic activity is the primary mechanism of the cytotoxic effects of these compounds. Experiments performed on isolated tubulin confirmed that the compounds act by inducing tubulin polymerisation, like taxanes. The binding model against tubulin was also examined by molecular modelling and docking. The results support the proposed binding model, which is able to explain the activity of the oxadiazole derivatives on the basis of their docking energy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is characterized by weakness and spasticity of the lower limbs, owing to degeneration of corticospinal axons. The most common form is due to heterozygous mutations in the SPG4 gene, encoding spastin, a microtubule (MT)-severing protein. Here, we show that neurite growth in immortalized and primary neurons responds in pleiotropic ways to changes in spastin levels. Spastin depletion alters the development of primary hippocampal neurons leading to abnormal neuron morphology, dystrophic neurites, and axonal growth defects. By live imaging with End-Binding Protein 3-Fluorescent Green Protein (EB3-GFP), a MT plus-end tracking protein, we ascertained that the assembly rate of MTs is reduced when spastin is down-regulated. Spastin over-expression at high levels strongly suppresses neurite maintenance, while slight spastin up-regulation using an endogenous promoter enhances neurite branching and elongation. Spastin severing activity is exerted preferentially on stable acetylated and detyrosinated MTs. We further show that SPG4 nonsense or splice site mutations found in hereditary spastic paraplegia patients result in reduced spastin levels, supporting haploinsufficiency as the molecular cause of the disease. Our study reveals that SPG4 is a dosage-sensitive gene, and broadens the understanding of the role of spastin in neurite growth and MT dynamics.
Journal of Neurochemistry 02/2009; 108(5):1277-88. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthesis of new D-seco-C-nor-taxane derivatives in which the D-ring has been deleted and the C-ring has been transformed into a new pentatomic ring, i.e., the polyfunctionalized tetrahydrofuranosyl and cyclopentenyl or cyclopentyl ring, was performed starting from baccatin III derivatives. The synthetic strategy adopted took advantage of the oxetane ring opening and disconnection of the C4-C5 bond, followed by an intramolecular condensation. The formation of furanosyl or cyclopentyl rings is strictly dependent on the presence of unprotected or protected oxygen at C-7 in the starting material. The reactions proceeded with good diastereoselectivity with control of the stereochemistry of one or two stereocenters.
The Journal of Organic Chemistry 11/2008; 73(22):8893-900. · 4.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In spite of the large use of salicylates, introduced into clinical practice more than 100 years ago, their anti-inflammatory and cancer preventive mechanisms are still under study. Teratogenic effects of salicylates have been reported in experimental animals since 1959 but the pathogenic pathways and the mechanisms of action were never described until now. The aim of this work is to verify if the inhibition of embryonic histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes and the consequent tissue hyperacetylation could be the mechanism responsible for axial skeletal defects described after the exposure of pregnant rodents to sodium salicylate (SAL). E8 pregnant CD-1 mice were intraperitoneally treated with SAL 0-150-300-450 mg/kg and sacrificed at 1, 3, 5 h after treatment or at term of gestation (E18). E8 embryos were processed for Western blotting and immunostaining analyses, while skeletons of E18 fetuses were double stained for bone and cartilage. A group of control E8 embryos were used to prepare embryonic nuclear extract for the HDAC enzyme assay. A significant SAL dose-related HDAC inhibition activity, compatible with a mixed-type partial inhibition mechanism, was detected. A clear dose-related hyperacetylation of histones was observed in embryos exposed in utero to SAL, with a peak at 3 h after treatment of dams. The most hyperacetylated organs were somites and the heart. Histone hyperacetylation is suggested to be the mechanism accounting for SAL-related axial skeletal and cardiovascular defects and is proposed as the mechanism responsible for other biological effects of salicylates.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of novel hybrid compounds obtained by the attachment of anhydrovinblastine, vinorelbine, and vindoline to thiocolchicine, podophyllotoxin, and baccatin III are described. Two types of diacyl spacers are introduced. The influence of the hybrid compounds on tubulin polymerization is reported. The results highlight the importance of the length of the spacer. Immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry measurements that compound with the best in vitro activity could disrupt microtubule networks in cell and prevent the formation of the proper spindle apparatus, thereby causing cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase. The newly synthesized compounds were tested in the human lung cancer cell line A549.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One dithiolthione and two new methanethiosulfonate derivatives of valproic acid (VPA) were synthesized and tested in vitro as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. The new molecules, as well as their sulfurated moieties, exhibited a much stronger inhibition of HDAC enzymatic and antiproliferative activities and histone hyperacetylation than VPA. ACS 2 is the most interesting compound among the new VPA derivatives and its sulfurated moiety, 5-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione, also known to be a metabolite of anethole trithione, seems to contribute significantly to its activity. This is the first time that HDAC inhibitory activity is described for dithiolethiones and thiosulfonates.