Margarita Fernández

Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Publications (29)133.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Whereas the main function of APN is to enhance insulin activity, it is also involved in modulating the macrophage phenotype. Here, we demonstrate that at physiological concentrations, APN activates Erk1/2 via the IKKβ-p105/NF-κΒ1-Cot/tpl2 intracellular signal transduction cassette in macrophages. In peritoneal macrophages stimulated with APN, Cot/tpl2 influences the ability to phagocytose beads. However, Cot/tpl2 did not modulate the known capacity of APN to decrease lipid content in peritoneal macrophages in response to treatment with oxLDL or acLDL. A microarray analysis of gene-expression profiles in BMDMs exposed to APN revealed that APN modulated the expression of ∼3300 genes; the most significantly affected biological functions were the inflammatory and the infectious disease responses. qRT-PCR analysis of WT and Cot/tpl2 KO macrophages stimulated with APN for 0, 3, and 18 h revealed that Cot/tpl2 participated in the up-regulation of APN target inflammatory mediators included in the cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction pathway (KEGG ID 4060). In accordance with these data, macrophages stimulated with APN increased secretion of cytokines and chemokines, including IL-1β, IL-1α, TNF-α, IL-10, IL-12, IL-6, and CCL2. Moreover, Cot/tpl2 also played an important role in the production of these inflammatory mediators upon stimulation of macrophages with APN. It has been reported that different types of signals that stimulate TLRs, IL-1R, TNFR, FcγR, and proteinase-activated receptor-1 activate Cot/tpl2. Here, we demonstrate that APN is a new signal that activates the IKKβ-p105/NF-κΒ1-Cot/tpl2-MKK1/2-Erk1/2 axis in macrophages. Furthermore, this signaling cassette modulates the biological functions triggered by APN in macrophages.
    Journal of leukocyte biology 02/2014; · 4.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The NADPH oxidase NOX4 has emerged as an important source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in signal transduction, playing roles in physiological and pathological processes. NOX4 mediates Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β)-induced intracellular signals that provoke liver fibrosis and pre-clinical assays have suggested NOX4 inhibitors as useful tools to ameliorate this process. However, the potential consequences of sustained treatment of liver cells with NOX4 inhibitors are unknown yet. The aim of this work was to analyze whether NOX4 plays a role in regulating liver cell growth either under physiological conditions or during tumorigenesis. In vitro assays proved that stable knock-down of NOX4 expression in human liver tumor cells increased cell proliferation, which correlated with a higher percentage of cells in S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle, down-regulation of p21(CIP1/WAF1), increase of Cyclin D1 protein levels and nuclear localization of beta-catenin. Silencing of NOX4 in untransformed human and mouse hepatocytes also increased their in vitro proliferative capacity. In vivo analysis in mice revealed that NOX4 expression was down-regulated under physiological proliferative situations of the liver, such as regeneration after partial hepatectomy, as well as during pathological proliferative conditions, such as diethyl-nitrosamine (DEN)-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Xenograft experiments in athymic mice indicated that NOX4 silencing conferred advantage to the human hepatocarcinoma cells, resulting in earlier onset of tumor formation and increase in tumor size. Interestingly, immunochemical analyses of NOX4 expression in human liver tumor cell lines and tissues revealed decreased NOX4 protein levels in liver tumorigenesis. Overall, results described here strongly suggest that NOX4 would play a growth inhibitory role in liver cells.
    Free Radical Biology & Medicine 02/2014; · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polμ is an error-prone PolX polymerase that contributes to classical NHEJ DNA repair. Mice lacking Polμ (Polμ-/-) show altered hematopoiesis homeostasis and DSB repair and a more pronounced nucleolytic resection of some V(D)J junctions. We previously showed that Polμ-/- mice have increased learning capacity at old ages, suggesting delayed brain aging. Here we investigated the effect of Polμ-/- deficiency on liver aging. We found that old Polμ-/- mice (>20 month) have greater liver regenerative capacity compared with wt animals. Old Polμ-/- liver showed reduced genomic instability and increased apoptosis resistance. However, Polμ-/- mice did not show an extended life span and other organs (e.g., heart) aged normally. Our results suggest that Polμ deficiency activates transcriptional networks that reduce constitutive apoptosis, leading to enhanced liver repair at old age.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e93074. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cot/tpl2 (MAP3K8) activates MKK1/2-Erk1/2 following stimulation of the Toll-like/IL-1 receptor superfamily. Here, we investigated the role of Cot/tpl2 in sterile inflammation and drug-induced liver toxicity. Cot/tpl2 KO mice exhibited reduced hepatic injury after acetaminophen challenge, as evidence by decreased serum levels of both alanine and aspartate aminotransferases, decreased hepatic necrosis and increased survival relative to Wt mice. Serum levels of both alanine and aspartate aminotransferases were also lower after intraperitoneal injection of acetaminophen in mice expressing an inactive form of Cot/tpl2 as compared with Wt mice, suggesting that Cot/tpl2 activity contributes to acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Furthermore, Cot/tpl2 deficiency reduced neutrophil and macrophage infiltration in the liver of mice treated with acetaminophen, as well as their hepatic and systemic levels of IL-1alpha. Intraperitoneal injection of damaged-associated molecular patterns from necrotic hepatocytes also impaired the recruitment of leukocytes and decreased the levels of several cytokines in the peritoneal cavity in Cot/tpl2 KO mice compared to Wt counterparts. Moreover, similar activation profiles of intracellular pathways were observed in Wt macrophages stimulated with Wt or Cot/tpl2 KO damaged-associated molecular patterns. However, upon stimulation with damaged-associated molecular patterns the activation of Erk1/2 and JNK was deficient in Cot/tpl2 KO macrophages compared with their Wt counterparts, an effect accompanied by weaker release of several cytokines, including IL-1alpha, an important component in the development of sterile inflammation. Taken together, these findings indicate that Cot/tpl2 contributes to acetaminophen-induced liver injury, providing some insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been known for a long time that mitochondria isolated from hepatocytes treated with glucagon or Ca2+-mobilising agents such as phenylephrine show an increase in their adenine nucleotide (AdN) content, respiratory activity and calcium retention capacity (CRC). Here, we have studied the role of SCaMC-3/slc25a23, the mitochondrial ATP-Mg/Pi carrier present in adult mouse liver, in the control of mitochondrial AdN levels and respiration in response to Ca2+ signals as a candidate target of glucagon actions. With the use of SCaMC-3 knock-out (KO) mice, we have found that the carrier is responsible for the accumulation of AdNs in liver mitochondria in a strictly Ca2+-dependent way with an S0.5 for Ca2+ activation of 3.4 +/- 1.9 microM. Accumulation of matrix AdNs allows SCaMC-3-dependent increase in CRC. In addition, SCaMC-3-dependent accumulation of AdNs is required to acquire a fully active state 3 respiration in AdN-depleted liver mitochondria, although further accumulation of AdNs is not followed by increases in respiration. Moreover, glucagon addition to isolated hepatocytes increases oligomycin-sensitive oxygen consumption and maximal respiratory rates in cells derived from wild type, but not SCaMC-3-KO mice and glucagon administration in vivo results in an increase in AdN content, state 3 respiration and CRC in liver mitochondria in wild type but not in SCaMC-3-KO mice. These results show that SCaMC-3 is required for the increase in oxidative phosphorylation observed in liver mitochondria in response to glucagon and Ca2+-mobilising agents, possibly by allowing a Ca2+-dependent accumulation of mitochondrial AdNs and matrix Ca2+, events permissive for other glucagon actions.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that oval cells harboring a genetically inactivated Met tyrosine kinase (Met(-/-) oval cells) are more sensitive to TGF-β-induced apoptosis than cells expressing a functional Met (Met(flx/flx)), demonstrating that the HGF/Met axis plays a pivotal role in oval cell survival. Here, we have examined the mechanism behind this effect and have found that TGF-β induced a mitochondria-dependent apoptotic cell death in Met(flx/flx) and Met(-/-) oval cells, associated with a marked increase in levels of the BH3-only proteins Bim and Bmf. Bmf plays a key role during TGF-β-mediated apoptosis since knocking down of BMF significantly diminished the apoptotic response in Met(-/-) oval cells. TGF-β also induced oxidative stress accompanied by NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) mRNA up-regulation and decreased protein levels of antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants inhibit both TGF-β-induced caspase 3 activity and Bmf up-regulation, revealing an oxidative stress-dependent Bmf regulation by TGF-β. Notably, oxidative stress-related events were strongly amplified in Met(-/-) oval cells, emphasizing the critical role of Met in promoting survival. Pharmacological inhibition of PI3K did impair HGF-driven protection from TGF-β-induced apoptosis and increased sensitivity of Met(flx/flx) oval cells to TGF-ß by enhancing oxidative stress, reaching apoptotic indices similar to those obtained in Met(-/-) oval cells. Interestingly, both PI3K inhibition and/or knockdown itself resulted in caspase-3 activation and loss of viability in Met(flx/flx) oval cells, whereas no effect was observed in Met(-/-) oval cells. Altogether, results presented here provide solid evidences that both paracrine and autocrine HGF/Met signaling requires PI3K to promote mouse hepatic oval cell survival against TGF-β-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53108. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TGF-β family members play a relevant role in tumorigenic processes, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but a specific implication of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) subfamily is still unknown. Although originally isolated from fetal liver, little is known about BMP9, a BMP family member, and its role in liver physiology and pathology. Our results show that BMP9 promotes growth in HCC cells, but not in immortalized human hepatocytes. In the liver cancer cell line HepG2, BMP9 triggers Smad1,5,8 phosphorylation and inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (Id1) expression up- regulation. Importantly, by using chemical inhibitors, ligand trap and gene silencing approaches we demonstrate that HepG2 cells autocrinely produce BMP9 that supports their proliferation and anchorage independent growth. Additionally, our data reveal that in HepG2 cells BMP9 triggers cell cycle progression, and strikingly, completely abolishes the increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells induced by long-term incubation in low serum. Collectively, our data unveil a dual role for BMP9, both promoting a proliferative response and exerting a remarkable anti-apoptotic function in HepG2 cells, which result in a robust BMP9 effect on liver cancer cell growth. Finally, we show that BMP9 expression is increased in 40% of human HCC tissues compared with normal human liver as revealed by immunohistochemistry analysis, suggesting that BMP9 signaling may be relevant during hepatocarcinogenesis in vivo. Our findings provide new clues for a better understanding of BMPs contribution, and in particular BMP9, in HCC pathogenesis that may result in the development of effective and targeted therapeutic interventions.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e69535. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cot/tpl2 is the only MAP3K that activates MKK1/2-Erk1/2 in Toll-like receptor-activated macrophages. Here we show that Cot/tpl2 regulates RSK, S6 ribosomal protein, and 4E-BP phosphorylation after stimulation of bone marrow-derived macrophages with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), poly I:C, or zymosan. The dissociation of the 4E-BP-eIF4E complex, a key event in the cap-dependent mRNA translation initiation, is dramatically reduced in LPS-stimulated Cot/tpl2-knockout (KO) macrophages versus LPS-stimulated wild-type (Wt) macrophages. Accordingly, after LPS activation, increased cap-dependent translation is observed in Wt macrophages but not in Cot/tpl2 KO macrophages. In agreement with these data, Cot/tpl2 increases the polysomal recruitment of the 5´ TOP eEF1α and eEF2 mRNAs, as well as of inflammatory mediator gene-encoding mRNAs, such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and KC in LPS-stimulated macrophages. In addition, Cot/tpl2 deficiency also reduces total TNFα, IL-6, and KC mRNA expression in LPS-stimulated macrophages, which is concomitant with a decrease in their mRNA half-lives. Macrophages require rapid fine control of translation to provide an accurate and not self-damaging response to host infection, and our data show that Cot/tpl2 controls inflammatory mediator gene-encoding mRNA translation in Toll-like receptor-activated macrophages.
    Molecular biology of the cell 06/2012; 23(15):2982-92. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 04/2012; 421(1):157. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) cells overexpress CD30 on their cell surface, show increased levels of activated Erk1/2 and of JunB; participating JunB in the proliferative capacity of these lymphomas. Here, we show that ALCL lymphoma cells also present high expression levels of the proto-oncogenic Cot (MAP3K8). Using pharmacological drugs as well as the RNA interference technique we show that Cot protein is responsible for the constitutive Erk1/2 activation in the ALCL lymphoma cells, SUDHL-1. Besides, inhibition of Cot activity reduces the number of cell divisions which is achieved, at least in part, by the control that Cot exercises on the activation state of p70 S6K and on the expression levels of JunB. Since Cot represents an alternative mode, independently of RAF, to activate Erk1/2, all these data strongly suggest that molecular targeting of Cot may be a potential new specific strategy for ALCL lymphomas therapy, without the fully disturbance of the Erk1/2 function.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2011; 411(4):655-60. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LPS stimulation activates IKK and different MAP kinase pathways, as well as the PI3K-Akt-mTOR-p70 S6k pathway, a negative regulator of these MyD88-dependent intracellular signals. Here, we show that Cot/tpl2, a MAP3K responsible for the activation of the MKK1-Erk1/2, controls P-Ser473 Akt and P-Thr389 p70 S6k phosphorylation in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Analysis of the intracellular signalling in Cot/tpl2 KO macrophages versus WT macrophages reveals lower IκBα recovery and higher phosphorylation of JNK and p38α after 1 h of LPS stimulation. Moreover, Cot/tpl2 deficiency increases LPS-induced NO synthase 2 (NOS2) expression in macrophages. Inhibition of the PI3K pathway abolishes the differences in IκBα and NOS2 expression between Cot/tpl2 KO and WT macrophages following LPS administration. Furthermore, in zymosan- and polyI:C-stimulated macrophages, Cot/tpl2 mediates P-Ser473 Akt phosphorylation, increases IκBα levels and decreases NOS2 expression. In conclusion, these data reveal a novel role for the Cot/tpl2 pathway in mediating TLR activation of the Akt-mTOR-p70 S6k pathway, allowing Cot/tpl2 to fine-control the activation state of other signalling pathways.
    European Journal of Immunology 04/2011; 41(6):1733-41. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) is a key regulator of metabolism and cell growth by its ability to dephosphorylate tyrosine kinase receptors and modulate the intensity of their signaling cascades. Because liver regeneration involves tyrosine phosphorylation-mediated signaling, we investigated the role of PTP1B in this process by performing partial hepatectomy in wild-type (PTP1B(+/+)) and PTP1B-deficient (PTP1B(-/-)) mice. The expression of PCNA and cyclins D1 and E (cell proliferation markers) was enhanced in PTP1B(-/-) regenerating livers, in parallel with 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation. Phosphorylation of JNK1/2 and STAT3, early triggers of hepatic regeneration in response to TNF-α and IL-6, was accelerated in PTP1B(-/-) mice compared with PTP1B(+/+) mice. These phosphorylations were increased in PTP1B(-/-) hepatocytes or by silencing PTP1B in wild-type cells and decreased further after the addition of recombinant PTP1B. Enhanced EGF- and HGF receptor-mediated signaling was observed in regenerating livers lacking PTP1B and in EGF- or HGF-stimulated PTP1B(-/-) hepatocytes. Moreover, PTP1B(-/-) mice displayed a more rapid increase in intrahepatic lipid accumulation than PTP1B(+/+) control mice. Late responses to partial hepatectomy revealed additional divergences because stress-mediated signaling was attenuated at 24 to 96 hours in PTP1B(-/-) mice compared with PTP1B(+/+) mice. Finally, PTP1B deficiency also improves hepatic regeneration in mice fed a high-fat diet. These results suggest that pharmacological inhibition of PTP1B would improve liver regeneration in patients with acute or chronic liver injury.
    American Journal Of Pathology 03/2011; 178(4):1591-604. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cot/tpl2 (also known as MAP3K8) has emerged as a new and potentially interesting therapeutic anti-inflammatory target. Here, we report the first study of Cot/tpl2 involvement in acute peripheral inflammation in vivo. Six hours after an intraplantar injection of zymosan, Cot/tpl2(-/-) mice showed a 47% reduction in myeloperoxidase activity, concomitant with a 46% lower neutrophil recruitment and a 40% decreased luminol-mediated bioluminescence imaging in vivo. Accordingly, Cot/tpl2 deficiency provoked a 25-30% reduction in luminol-mediated bioluminescence and neutrophil recruitment together with a 65% lower macrophage recruitment 4 h following zymosan-induced peritonitis. Significantly impaired levels of G-CSF and GM-CSF and of other cytokines such as TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6, as well as some chemokines such as MCP-1, MIP-1β, and keratinocyte-derived chemokine, were detected during the acute zymosan-induced intraplantar inflammatory response in Cot/tpl2(-/-) mice. Moreover, Cot/tpl2 deficiency dramatically decreased the production of the hypernociceptive ligand NGF at the inflammatory site during the course of inflammation. Most importantly, Cot/tpl2 deficiency significantly reduced zymosan-induced inflammatory hypernociception in mice, with a most pronounced effect of a 50% decrease compared with wild type (WT) at 24 h following intraplantar injection of zymosan. At this time, Cot/tpl2(-/-) mice showed significantly reduced NGF, TNFα, and prostaglandin E(2) levels compared with WT littermates. In conclusion, our study demonstrates an important role of Cot/tpl2 in the NGF, G-CSF, and GM-CSF production and myeloperoxidase activity in the acute inflammatory response process and its implication in inflammatory hypernociception.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(44):33805-15. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cot/tpl2 (also known as MAP3K8) has emerged as a new and potentially interesting therapeutic anti-inflammatory target. Here, we report the first study of Cot/tpl2 involvement in acute peripheral inflammation in vivo. Six hours after an intraplantar injection of zymosan, Cot/tpl2−/− mice showed a 47% reduction in myeloperoxidase activity, concomitant with a 46% lower neutrophil recruitment and a 40% decreased luminol-mediated bioluminescence imaging in vivo. Accordingly, Cot/tpl2 deficiency provoked a 25–30% reduction in luminol-mediated bioluminescence and neutrophil recruitment together with a 65% lower macrophage recruitment 4 h following zymosan-induced peritonitis. Significantly impaired levels of G-CSF and GM-CSF and of other cytokines such as TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6, as well as some chemokines such as MCP-1, MIP-1β, and keratinocyte-derived chemokine, were detected during the acute zymosan-induced intraplantar inflammatory response in Cot/tpl2−/− mice. Moreover, Cot/tpl2 deficiency dramatically decreased the production of the hypernociceptive ligand NGF at the inflammatory site during the course of inflammation. Most importantly, Cot/tpl2 deficiency significantly reduced zymosan-induced inflammatory hypernociception in mice, with a most pronounced effect of a 50% decrease compared with wild type (WT) at 24 h following intraplantar injection of zymosan. At this time, Cot/tpl2−/− mice showed significantly reduced NGF, TNFα, and prostaglandin E2 levels compared with WT littermates. In conclusion, our study demonstrates an important role of Cot/tpl2 in the NGF, G-CSF, and GM-CSF production and myeloperoxidase activity in the acute inflammatory response process and its implication in inflammatory hypernociception.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(44):33805-33815. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The MAPKKK8 Cot/tpl-2, identified as an oncogene (Cot-T), participates in the intracellular signaling activated by members of the TLR and TNFalpha receptor superfamilies. Here we demonstrate that Cot promotes cell migration by regulating different steps involved in this process, such as cell adhesion and metalloproteinase activity. Indeed, Cot also regulates the cytoskeleton and Cot-T overexpression provokes the polarization of microtubules and the loss of stress fibers. Moreover, and in accordance with the increased Rac-GTP levels observed, Cot-T overexpressing cells develop more lamellipodia than control cells. Conversely, depletion of endogenous Cot increases the formation of stress fibers which is correlated with the high levels of Rho-GTP observed in these cells. In addition, the increase in COX2 expression and the activation of Erk1/2 regulated by Cot are essential for the induction of cell migration. Together, these data provide evidence of a new role for both proto-oncogenic and oncogenic Cot.
    Cellular Signalling 10/2008; 20(9):1625-31. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces apoptosis in hepatocytes through an oxidative stress process. Here, we have analyzed the role of different NADPH oxidase isoforms in the intracellular signalling induced by TGF-beta in hepatocytes, to later explore whether this mechanism is altered in liver tumor cells. Primary cultures of rat and human hepatocytes, HepG2 and Hep3B cells were used in in vitro studies to analyze the TGF-beta response. TGF-beta-induced apoptosis in rat hepatocytes does not require Rac-dependent NADPH oxidases. TGF-beta upregulates the Rac-independent Nox4, which correlates with its pro-apoptotic activity. Regulation of Nox4 occurs at the transcriptional level and is counteracted by intracellular survival signals. siRNA targeted knock-down of Nox4 attenuates NADPH oxidase activity, caspase activation and cell death in rat hepatocytes. NOX4 upregulation by TGF-beta is also observed in human hepatocytes, coincident with apoptosis. In human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, NOX4 upregulation by TGF-beta is only observed in cells that are sensitive to its cytotoxic effect, such as Hep3B cells. siRNA targeted knock-down of NOX4 in these cells impairs TGF-beta-induced apoptosis. Upregulation of NOX4 by TGF-beta is required for its pro-apoptotic activity in hepatocytes. Impairment of this TGF-beta-induced response might confer apoptosis resistance in HCC cells.
    Journal of Hepatology 10/2008; 49(6):965-76. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The "in vitro" establishment of a physiological model of bipotential liver progenitors would be useful for analyzing the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating growth and differentiation, as well as studying their potential role/s in liver physiology and pathology. The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces de-differentiation of fetal rat hepatocytes (FH), concomitant with changes in morphology. The aim of this work was to isolate and characterize this population of TGF-beta-treated fetal hepatocytes (TbetaT-FH) and test whether they can behave as liver progenitors. The TbetaT-FH isolated cell lines show high expression of Thy-1 and low expression of c-Kit. They express liver-specific proteins, such as albumin and alpha-fetoprotein, and mesenchymal markers, such as vimentin. TbetaT-FH maintain expression of the hnf3beta gene, but lose expression of hnf1beta, hnf4, and hnf6. They express c-met and show an increase in proliferation in response to HGF. Interestingly, the transdifferentiation process is coincident with changes in the expression of genes related to the oxidative metabolism. TbetaT-FH cultured in the presence of EGF + DMSO change morphology, towards epithelial cells, gaining expression of CK19 and c-Kit, markers found in hepatoblasts and bile duct cells. Furthermore, TbetaT-FH form duct-like structures when cultured on Matrigel. TbetaT-FH show also potential to revert to an hepatocyte phenotype when submitted to a long-term "in vitro" differentiation protocol towards hepatocytic lineage. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that hepatocytes can function as facultative liver stem cells and demonstrate that TGF-beta might play an essential role in the transdifferentiation process.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 07/2008; 215(3):846-55. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/Met signaling system is essential for liver development, homeostasis, and function. In this study, we took advantage of a liver-specific, Met-conditional knockout mouse generated in our laboratory to address the molecular mechanisms of HGF/Met signaling in adult liver progenitor cell (oval cell) biology. For this purpose, we isolated oval cells from 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-collidine-treated Met(flx/flx) mice and established oval cell-derived cell lines that carried either functional (Met(flx/flx)) or a nonfunctional (Met(-/-)) met gene using virus-mediated Cre-loxP recombination. Oval cells lacking Met tyrosine kinase activity displayed neither Met phosphorylation nor activation of downstream targets and were refractory to HGF stimulation. Although Met(-/-) and Met(flx/flx) cells proliferated at similar rates under 10% serum, Met-deficient cells demonstrated decreased cell viability and were more prone to apoptosis when challenged with either serum starvation or the pro-apoptotic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta. Treatment with HGF reduced transforming growth factor-beta-mediated cell death in Met(flx/flx) but not Met(-/-) cells. Importantly, Met(flx/flx) and Met(-/-) cells both constitutively expressed hgf, and conditioned medium from serum-starved oval cells exhibited anti-apoptotic activity in Met(flx/flx) cells. Furthermore, serum-starved Met(flx/flx) cells showed persistent activation of the Met tyrosine kinase, suggesting HGF/Met autocrine regulation. In conclusion, these data reveal a critical, functional role for Met in oval cell survival through an autocrine mechanism.
    American Journal Of Pathology 06/2008; 172(5):1238-47. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) induces survival signals in foetal rat hepatocytes through transactivation of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor). The molecular mechanism is not completely understood, but both activation of the TACE (tumour necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme)/ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17; one of the metalloproteases involved in shedding of the EGFR ligands) and up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF (heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor) appear to be involved. In the present study, we have analysed the molecular mechanisms that mediate up-regulation of the EGFR ligands by TGF-beta in foetal rat hepatocytes. The potential involvement of ROS (reactive oxygen species), an early signal induced by TGF-beta, and the existence of an amplification loop triggered by initial activation of the EGFR, have been studied. Results indicate that DPI (diphenyleneiodonium) and apocynin, two NOX (NADPH oxidase) inhibitors, and SB431542, an inhibitor of the TbetaR-I (TGF-beta receptor I), block up-regulation of EGFR ligands and Akt activation. Different members of the NOX family of genes are expressed in hepatocytes, included nox1, nox2 and nox4. TGF-beta up-regulates nox4 and increases the levels of Rac1 protein, a known regulator of both Nox1 and Nox2, in a TbetaR-I-dependent manner. TGF-beta mediates activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway, which is inhibited by DPI and is required for up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF. In contrast, EGFR activation is not required for TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of those ligands. Considering previous work that has established the role of ROS in apoptosis induced by TGF-beta in hepatocytes, the results of the present study indicate that ROS might mediate both pro- and anti-apoptotic signals in TGF-beta-treated cells.
    Biochemical Journal 08/2007; 405(2):251-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Isabel Fabregat, César Roncero, Margarita Fernández
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    ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of the balance between proliferation and cell death represents a protumorigenic principle in human hepatocarcinogenesis. This article aims to provide a review of the current findings about how physiological hepatocyte apoptosis is regulated and whether or not its dysregulation might contribute to the progression towards a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) process. Although some physiological proapoptotic molecules are downregulated or inactivated in HCC, such as Fas, p53, Bax or Bid, dysregulation of the balance between death and survival is mainly due to overactivation of antiapoptotic signals. Thus, some growth factors that mediate cell survival are upregulated in HCC, as well as the molecules involved in the machinery responsible for cleavage of their proforms to an active peptide. The expression of the pten gene is reduced or absent in almost half the HCCs and the Spred family of Ras/ERK inhibitors is also dysregulated in HCC, which consequently lead to the overactivation of relevant survival kinases: AKT and ERKs. Alterations in the expression and/or activity of molecules involved in counteracting apoptosis, such as NF-kappaB, Bcl-X(L), Mcl-1 or c-IAP1, have also been observed in HCC. Therefore, therapeutic strategies to inhibit selectively antiapoptotic signals in tumour cells have the potential to provide powerful tools to treat liver cancer.
    Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 04/2007; 27(2):155-62. · 3.87 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

665 Citations
133.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • Complutense University of Madrid
      • • Facultad de Farmacia
      • • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2013
    • Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2012
    • Spanish National Research Council
      Hispalis, Andalusia, Spain
  • 2006–2012
    • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
      • Facultad de Medicina
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2010–2011
    • Institute for Biomedical Research “Alberto Sols“
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2007
    • Parc de recerca biomedica de barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain