Efrat Lev-Lehman

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (11)68.81 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Environmental, congenital, and acquired immunological insults perturbing neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity may induce a variety of debilitating neuromuscular pathologies. However, the molecular elements linking NMJ dysfunction to long-term myopathies are unknown. Here, we report dramatically elevated levels of mRNA encoding c-Fos and the "readthrough" (R) variant of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in muscles of transgenic mice overexpressing synaptic (S) AChE in motoneurons and in control mice treated with the irreversible cholinesterase inhibitor diisopropylfluorophosphonate (DFP). Tongue muscles from DFP-treated and AChE-S transgenic mice displayed exaggerated neurite branching and disorganized, wasting fibers. Moreover, diaphragm muscles from both transgenic and DFP-treated mice exhibited NMJ proliferation. 2′-O-methyl-protected antisense oligonucleotides targeted to AChE mRNA suppressed feedback upregulation of AChE and ameliorated DFP-induced NMJ proliferation. Our findings demonstrate common transcriptional responses to cholinergic NMJ stress of diverse origin, and implicate deregulated AChE expression in excessive neurite outgrowth, uncontrolled synaptogenesis, and myopathology.
    Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 04/2012; 14(1):93-105. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The extended human acetylcholinesterase (AChE) promoter contains many binding sites for osteogenic factors, including 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3 and 17β-estradiol. In differentiating osteosarcoma Saos-2 cells, both of these factors enhanced transcription of the AChE mRNA variant 3′ terminated with exon 6 (E6-AChE mRNA), which encodes the catalytically and morphogenically active E6-AChE isoform. In contrast, antisense oligodeoxynucleotide suppression of E6-AChE mRNA expression increased Saos-2 proliferation in a dose- and sequence-dependent manner. The antisense mechanism of action was most likely mediated by mRNA destruction or translational arrest, as cytochemical staining revealed reduction in AChE gene expression. In vivo, we found that E6-AChE mRNA levels rose following midgestation in normally differentiating, postproliferative fetal chondrocytes but not in the osteogenically impaired chondrocytes of dwarf fetuses with thanatophoric dysplasia. Taken together, these findings suggest morphogenic involvement of E6-AChE in the proliferation-differentiation balance characteristic of human osteogenesis.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 02/1999; · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To explore the possibility that overproduction of neuronal acetylcholinesterase (AChE) confers changes in both cholinergic and morphogenic intercellular interactions, we studied developmental responses to neuronal AChE overexpression in motoneurons and neuromuscular junctions of AChE-transgenic mice. Perikarya of spinal cord motoneurons were consistently enlarged from embryonic through adult stages in AChE-transgenic mice. Atypical motoneuron development was accompanied by premature enhancement in the embryonic spinal cord expression of choline acetyltransferase mRNA, encoding the acetylcholine-synthesizing enzyme choline acetyltransferase. In contrast, the mRNA encoding for neurexin-Iβ, the heterophilic ligand of the AChE-homologous neuronal cell surface protein neuroligin, was drastically lower in embryonic transgenic spinal cord than in controls. Postnatal cessation of these dual transcriptional responses was followed by late-onset deterioration in neuromotor performance that was associated with gross aberrations in neuromuscular ultrastructure and with pronounced amyotrophy. These findings demonstrate embryonic feedback mechanisms to neuronal AChE overexpression that are attributable to both cholinergic and cell–cell interaction pathways, suggesting that embryonic neurexin Iβ expression is concerted in vivo with AChE levels and indicating that postnatal changes in neuronal AChE-associated proteins may be involved in late-onset neuromotor pathologies.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/1997; · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • E Lev-Lehman, V Deutsch, A Eldor, H Soreq
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    ABSTRACT: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is expressed in murine megakaryocytes (MK), where its antisense inhibition suppresses differentiation, yet was never detected in human MK. Here, we report that AChE is produced in normal human bone marrow MK and in cell lines derived thereof. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification showed two ACHEmRNA forms in human megakaryoblastic DAMI cells. In situ hybridization demonstrated ACHEmRNA surrounding the nucleus of small DAMI cells and the nuclear lobes of large, polyploid cells. Differentiation induction with phorbol ester and exposure to recombinant human thrombopoietin suppressed both ACHEmRNA and AChE activity. The residual AChE in mature differentiated cells acquired higher stability and detergent-sensitivity as compared with AChE in small proliferating cells. AChE activity was primarily associated with nuclei of both DAMI cells and small (10 microm) primary proliferating human bone marrow MK identified with GPIIb/IIIa antibodies. This activity was significantly reduced in medium size MK (10 to 25 microm) and was almost undetectable in large MK (>25 microm), yet was twofold more abundant in some large MK from idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) patients with accelerated MK maturation. The loss of AChE activity at the transition from proliferating to differentiating MK highlights species-specific differences in its expression, suggesting a distinct role for AChE in human MK development.
    Blood 05/1997; 89(10):3644-53. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive deterioration is a characteristic symptom of Alzheimer's disease. This deterioration is notably associated with structural changes and subsequent cell death which occur, primarily, in acetylcholine-producing neurons, progressively damaging cholinergic neurotransmission. We have reported previously that excess acetylcholinesterase (AChE) alters structural features of neuromuscular junctions in transgenic Xenopus tadpoles. However, the potential of cholinergic imbalance to induce progressive decline of memory and learning in mammals has not been explored. To approach the molecular mechanisms underlying the progressive memory deficiencies associated with impaired cholinergic neurotransmission, we created transgenic mice that express human AChE in brain neurons. With enzyme levels up to two-fold higher than in control mice, transgenic mice displayed an age-independent resistance to the hypothermic effects of the AChE inhibitor, paraoxon. In addition to this improved scavenging capacity for anti-AChEs, however, these transgenic mice also resisted muscarinic, nicotinic and serotonergic agonists, indicating that secondary pharmacological changes had occurred. The transgenic mice also developed progressive learning and memory impairments, although their locomotor activities and open-field behaviour remained similar to those of matched control mice. By six months of age, transgenic mice lost their ability to respond to training in a spatial learning water maze test, whereas they performed normally in this test at the age of four weeks. This animal model is therefore suitable for investigating the transcriptional changes associated with cognitive deterioration and for testing drugs that may attenuate progressive damage. We conclude that upsetting cholinergic balance may by itself cause progressive memory decline in mammals, suggesting that congenital and/or acquired changes in this vulnerable balance may contribute to the physiopathology of Alzheimer's disease.
    Current Biology 10/1995; 5(9):1063-71. · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the mechanisms underlying cholinotoxic brain damage, we examined ethylcholine aziridinium (AF64A) effects on cholinesterase genes. In vitro, AF64A hardly affected cholinesterase activities yet inhibited transcription of the G,C-rich AChE DNA encoding acetylcholinesterase (AChE) more than the A,T-rich butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) DNA. In vivo, intracerebroventricular injection of 2 nmol of AF64A decreased AChE mRNA in striatum and septum by 3- and 25-fold by day 7, with no change in BChE mRNA or AChE activity. In contrast, hippocampal AChE mRNA increased 10-fold by day 7 and BChE mRNA and AChE activity decreased 2-fold. By day 60 post-treatment, both AChE mRNA and AChE levels returned to normal in all regions except hippocampus, where AChE activity and BChE mRNA were decreased by 2-fold. Moreover, differential PCR displays revealed persistent induction, specific to the hippocampus of treated rats, of several unidentified G,C-rich transcripts, suggesting particular responsiveness of hippocampal G,C-rich genes to cholinotoxicity.
    Brain Research 11/1994; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. To investigate the possibility that cholinesterase inhibitors may cause adverse hematopoietic effects, we employed antisense oligodeoxynucleotides selectively inhibiting butyrylcholinesterase gene expression (AS-BCHE). Complementary sense (S) oligonucleotides served as controls.2. In primary bone marrow cell cultures grown with interleukin 3 (IL-3), AS-BCHE but not S-BCHE reduced growth of megakaryocyte colony-forming units (CFU-MK) in a dose-dependent manner at the micromolar range.3. In cultures grown with IL-3, transferrin, and erythropoietin (Epo), cell counts increased up to twofold, yet colony counts (CFU-GEMM) remained unchanged under AS-BCHE treatment.4. Electrophoretic measurements of DNA ladder as an apoptotic index revealed that the above oligonucleotide effects were not due to nonspecific induction of programmed cell death.5. Differential cell counts demonstrated increased myeloidogenesis and reduced levels of early megakaryocytes in CFU-GEMM under AS-BCHE, suggesting requirement of the BuChE protein for megakaryopoiesis.6.In vivo injection of AS-BCHE reduced BCHE mRNA levels in both young and mature megakaryocytes for as long as 20 days, as shown byin situ hybridization.7.Ex vivo growth of primary bone marrow cells revealed a twofold reduction in CFU-MK colonies grown from the AS-BCHE- but not the S-BCHE-injected mice, 15 days posttreatment.8. These findings demonstrate that deficient butyrylcholinesterase expression, and hence interference with this enzyme's activity through treatment with or exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors, may cause hematopoietic differences in treated patients.
    Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 09/1994; 14(5):459-473. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the role of acetylcholinesterase (EC in hematopoietic cell proliferation and differentiation, we administered a 15-mer phosphorothioate oligonucleotide, antisense to the corresponding ACHE gene (AS-ACHE), to primary mouse bone marrow cultures. Within 2 hr of AS-ACHE addition to the culture, ACHE mRNA levels dropped by approximately 90%, as compared with those in cells treated with the "sense" oligomer, S-ACHE. Four days after AS-ACHE treatment, ACHE mRNA increased to levels 10-fold higher than in S-ACHE cultures or in fresh bone marrow. At this later time point, differential PCR display revealed significant differences between cellular mRNA transcripts in bone marrow and those in AS-ACHE- or S-ACHE-treated cultures. These oligonucleotide-triggered effects underlay considerable alterations at the cellular level: AS-ACHE but not S-ACHE increased cell counts, reflecting enhanced proliferation. In the presence of erythropoietin it also enhanced colony counts, reflecting expansion of progenitors. AS-ACHE further suppressed apoptosis-related fragmentation of cellular DNA in the progeny cells, and it diverted hematopoiesis toward production of primitive blasts and macrophages in a dose-dependent manner promoted by erythropoietin. These findings suggest that the hematopoietic role of acetylcholinesterase, anticipated to be inverse to the observed antisense effects, is to reduce proliferation of the multipotent stem cells committed to erythropoiesis and megakaryocytopoiesis and macrophage production and to promote apoptosis in their progeny. Moreover, these findings may explain the tumorigenic association of perturbations in ACHE gene expression with leukemia.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/1994; 91(17):7907-11. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The H19 gene is a parenterally imprinted maternally expressed gene which has a pivotal role in embryogenesis and fetal development. It is tightly linked to the IGF-II gene on chromosome 11p15.5 which is reciprocally imprinted. We studied the expression of the human H19 by in situ hybridization in an embryo 35 days post coitus (dpc) and in a fetus from the second trimester of pregnancy. The expression pattern of H19 in the human fetal tissues was similar to its expression in the mouse, and paralleled, with some exceptions, the expression of IGF-II in human fetuses. Abundant expression was found in organs comprising the fetoplacental unit: the placenta, the fetal adrenal, and liver. The expression in the fetal adrenal cortex was most prominent in the definitive cortex and somewhat weaker in the fetal zone. Considerable expression of H19 was found in the fetal liver as early as 35 dpc and in the second trimester. Hematopoietic cells in fetal liver did not express the gene. Moderate expression of H19 was detected in the epithelium of the small intestines, in endometrial stroma and Fallopian tube. In the kidney conspicuous labeling of the metanephric blastema was noted, which was markedly reduced with differentiation to tubules. This pattern of expression is identical to that of IGF-II in the fetal kidney and is relevant to the evolution of Wilms' tumor. No expression of H19 was found in the neural tube of the first trimester embryo or in the developing fetal brain in the second trimester, nor were transcripts detected in the choroid plexus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 08/1994; 38(3):239-46. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic acetylcholinesterase (ACHE) gene expression and its implication for development were studied by in vivo administration to mice of an antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotide targetted toward ACHE (AS-ACHE). Hematopoietic alterations were observed by differential cell counts and ACHE mRNA levels determined by quantified RNA polymerase chain reaction (RNA-PCR) and in situ hybridization analyses. In control mice, injected with phosphate-buffered saline and untreated, ACHE mRNA labeling with ACHE [35S]cRNA was about 10-fold higher on megakaryocytes (MK) compared with all other bone marrow cells and increased by 20-fold during MK development, similar to reports for MK actin mRNA. Drastic reductions occurred in the bone marrow lymphocyte and erythroid fractions 12 days following intraperitoneal injection of AS-ACHE (5 micrograms/g weight) into groups of four mice. RNA-PCR revealed over 1000-fold decreases in ACHE mRNA levels in lymph nodes and bone marrow at this time, while actin mRNA levels dropped by 10 and 100-fold in lymph nodes and bone marrow of AS-ACHE treated mice compared with controls. In view of the developmental increase in MK actin, this suggested arrest in MK development as well. By 20 days postinjection, bone marrow actin mRNA was fully restored and the sensitive in situ hybridization technique revealed that ACHE mRNA levels were also restored and reached levels only 2-3-fold lower than in controls in all bone marrow cells of AS-ACHE treated mice. Moreover, lymphocytes and erythroid cells repopulated to levels 25% above normal, and promegakaryocyte and mature MK fractions of the total MK were 3 and 2-fold higher, respectively, than in controls.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Gene Therapy 04/1994; 1(2):127-35. · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the primary structure of human acetylcholinesterase (AcChoEase; EC and its gene expression and amplification, cDNA libraries from human tissues expressing oocyte-translatable AcChoEase mRNA were constructed and screened with labeled oligodeoxynucleotide probes. Several cDNA clones were isolated that encoded a polypeptide with greater than or equal to 50% identically aligned amino acids to Torpedo AcChoEase and human butyrylcholinesterase (BtChoEase; EC However, these cDNA clones were all truncated within a 300-nucleotide-long G + C-rich region with a predicted pattern of secondary structure having a high Gibbs free energy (-117 kcal/mol) downstream from the expected 5' end of the coding region. Screening of a genomic DNA library revealed the missing 5' domain. When ligated to the cDNA and constructed into a transcription vector, this sequence encoded a synthetic mRNA translated in microinjected oocytes into catalytically active AcChoEase with marked preference for acetylthiocholine over butyrylthiocholine as a substrate, susceptibility to inhibition by the AcChoEase inhibitor BW284C51, and resistance to the BtChoEase inhibitor tetraisopropylpyrophosphoramide. Blot hybridization of genomic DNA from different individuals carrying amplified AcChoEase genes revealed variable intensities and restriction patterns with probes from the regions upstream and downstream from the predicted G + C-rich structure. Thus, the human AcChoEase gene includes a putative G + C-rich attenuator domain and is subject to structural alterations in cases of AcChoEase gene amplification.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/1991; 87(24):9688-92. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

543 Citations
68.81 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 1995–2012
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      • Department of Biological Chemistry
      Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel
  • 1994
    • Loyola University Chicago
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Chicago, IL, United States