Andreas Rohrwasser

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States

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Publications (24)111.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Much remains unknown about the genetic factors that contribute to essential hypertension. The Utah Genetic Reference Project (UGRP) large pedigree collection provides new opportunities to study quantitative relationships between genetic variation, endophenotypes, and blood pressure. We analyzed the relationship between common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes spanning the angiotensinogen (AGT) gene and promoter region, plasma AGT levels, and systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in 424 individuals from 41 two-generation UGRP families. Plasma AGT levels are significantly correlated among UGRP family members. Correlations are higher for males than for females. Parent-offspring correlations for plasma AGT (0.30) are higher than those for SBP (0.26) and DBP (0.17) (all P values <0.01). The additive heritability (h(2)) for plasma AGT is high (0.74) and substantially exceeds heritability estimates for SBP (0.26) and DBP (0.16) (all P values <0.01). Significant linkage (logarithm of the odds (LOD) >3) is found between six AGT SNPs and plasma AGT. A model that utilizes three AGT haplotype groups produces the best LOD score (5.1) that exceeds the best single SNP LOD score (3.8). Plasma AGT and blood pressure were not significantly correlated. Plasma AGT levels demonstrate high heritability in 41 UGRP families. Locus-specific heritability estimates for AGT SNPs and haplotypes approach 67%, indicating that variation at AGT accounts for a large percentage of the heritability of plasma AGT. A three-way haplotype model outperforms single SNPs for quantitative linkage analysis to plasma AGT. In these predominantly normotensive individuals, plasma AGT did not correlate significantly with blood pressure.
    American Journal of Hypertension 04/2010; 23(8):917-23. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to longitudinally monitor portal and splanchnic pressures would greatly enhance the understanding of acute and chronic liver disease by helping to assess the immediate and long-term impact of therapeutic manipulations. However, a technique for measuring portal pressures in the ambulatory setting is not currently available. To overcome this difficulty, we utilized an approach that involved the implantation of a miniature telemetric device, equipped with a specially-designed pressure transmission catheter, into the spleen of an anesthetized mouse. Using this approach, portal pressures were measured continuously over 5 d in conscious, unrestrained animals, the availability of which will help facilitate studies of the portal circulation requiring long-term stability.
    Journal of Surgical Research 04/2010; 159(2):618-21. · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitination serves multiple cellular functions, including proteasomal degradation and the control of stability, function, and intracellular localization of a wide variety of proteins. NEDD4L is a member of the HECT class of E3 ubiquitin ligases. A defining feature of NEDD4L protein isoforms is the presence or absence of an amino-terminal C2 domain, a class of subcellular, calcium-dependent targeting domains. We previously identified a common variant in human NEDD4L that generates isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain. To address the potential functional significance of the NEDD4L common variant on NEDD4L subcellular localization, NEDD4L isoforms that either contained or lacked a C2 domain were tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein, transfected into Xenopus laevis kidney epithelial cells, and imaged by performing confocal microscopy on live cells. We report that the presence or absence of this C2 domain exerts differential effects on the subcellular distribution of NEDD4L, the ability of C2 containing and lacking NEDD4L isoforms to mobilize in response to a calcium stimulus, and the intracellular transport of subunits of the NEDD4L substrate, ENaC. Furthermore, the ability of the C2-containing isoform to influence beta-ENaC mobilization from intracellular pools involves the NEDD4L active site for ubiquitination. We propose a model to account for the potential impact of this common genetic variant on protein function at the cellular level. NEDD4L isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain target different intracellular locations. Additionally, whereas the C2-containing NEDD4L isoform is capable of shuttling between the plasma membrane and intracellular compartments in response to calcium stimulus the C2-lacking isoform can not. The C2-containing isoform differentially affects the mobilization of ENaC subunits from intracellular pools and this trafficking step requires NEDD4L ubiquitin ligase activity. This observation suggests a new mechanism for the requirement for the PY motif in cAMP-mediated exocytosis of ENaC. We have elucidated how a common genetic variant can underlie significant functional diversity in NEDD4L at the cellular level. We propose a model that describes how that functional variation may influence blood pressure. Moreover, our observations regarding differential function of the NEDD4L isoforms may impact other aspects of physiology that involve this ubiquitin ligase.
    BMC Cell Biology 05/2009; 10:26. · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Surgical Research - J SURG RES. 01/2009; 151(2):291-291.
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic variation in the human angiotensinogen gene (AGT) influences plasma AGT concentration and susceptibility to essential hypertension by a mechanism that remains to be clarified. When one or two additional copies of the gene were inserted by gene titration (by homologous recombination with gap-repair at the AGT locus), both plasma AGT and arterial pressure were elevated in the physiological range in the mouse. The causal dependency between plasma AGT and blood pressure and the relative contribution of the various tissues that express AGT to these two phenotypic parameters remained to be determined. To address these issues, we generated a transgenic mouse with overexpression of the mouse AGT gene restricted to the liver. The transgene was examined in two contrasted genetic backgrounds, the sodium-sensitive C57BL/6J and the sodium-resistant A/J. Transgenic and control male animals underwent continuous cardiovascular monitoring by telemetry for 14 days while under a standard sodium diet (0.2%). Moderate but significant increases in plasma AGT (40%, p = 0.01) and systolic blood pressure (4-6 mmHg, p ranging from 0.01 to <0.001) were observed in the sodium-sensitive background, but not in the sodium-resistant animals. Statistical analysis of a large number of consecutive, repeated measurements of blood pressure afforded power to detect small effects in the physiological range by use of advanced mixed models of analysis of variances and covariances. Although plasma renin activity was increased in the sodium-sensitive background, it did not reach statistical significance. These observations underline a potential contribution of systemic AGT to the mechanism of AGT-mediated hypertension, but the significance of sodium sensitivity in the genetic background suggests participation of the kidney in expression of the elevated blood pressure phenotype, a matter that will warrant further studies. They also highlight the challenge of identifying the contribution of individual genes in complex inheritance, as their effects are modulated by other genetic and environmental determinants.
    Journal of Human Genetics 07/2008; 53(9):775-88. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With each advance in genomic technology, new statistical methods have regularly emerged to test genetic hypotheses in complex inheritance, as evidenced throughout this book. Notwithstanding the approach used, the greatest challenge in the genetics of complex traits remains the identification of the gene(s) and the molecular variant(s) accounting for a genetic inference based on statistical testing. We take the example of quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for blood pressure (BP) and related phenotypes in rodents to review the current landscape. Traditional approaches to refined mapping are typically hampered by the small effect and the small proportion of the variance attached to individual QTLs. The alternative of functional screens in intact animals, whether by chemical mutagenesis or gene targeting, remains a daunting undertaking. Such limitations account for the slow progress to date of inferences from QTL to gene(s). We select a QTL for differential sodium sensitivity between two mouse inbred lines to propose an approach that can be used in relatively large genomic regions (1) by optimizing the selection of candidate genes and (2) by subjecting such genes to high-throughput functional screens. While this is still work in progress, we think it abundantly illustrates what is ahead of us in delineating genetic variation that underlie complex disease.
    Advances in genetics 02/2008; 60:701-26. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ubiquitin ligase, NEDD4L, participates in plasma volume and blood pressure regulation by controlling cell surface expression of kidney epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). Impairment of ENaC internalization with disrupting Nedd4L binding PY motif in the C-terminal of the protein showed rare Mendelian human hypertension disorder, Liddle syndrome. Therefore, possible involvements of ENaC-Nedd4L system abnormalities were suggested in development of human hypertension. Previously, we discovered a common variant, named v13(G/A), that affects the formation of an evolutionally new C2-encoding isoform of the Nedd4L gene in humans. The aim of this study was to test a hypothesis whether this variant is involved in essential hypertension; we performed the association study in a sample of the Japanese population. We found a gender-specific genotypic and allelic association with statistical significance achieved only in males. Our data suggest that this genetic variation may contribute to essential hypertension in Japanese male patients through the mechanism of disrupting the C2 encoding isoform in vivo. Furthermore, molecular and functional studies will be required to elucidate the mechanism by which genetic variation in NEDD4L contributes to the development of essential hypertension.
    Geriatrics & Gerontology International 05/2007; 7(2):114 - 117.
  • Jean-Marc Lalouel, Andreas Rohrwasser
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    ABSTRACT: Although progress in the genetics of essential hypertension may seem disappointing, it has considerable potential in defining research directions that will ultimately translate into clinical practice. The hypothesis that genetic variation at the angiotensinogen locus impacts on individual susceptibility to develop essential hypertension has motivated a substantial body of research by us and many others. We examine how analyses of the mechanisms by which variation in angiotensinogen expression may contribute to disease susceptibility and may have arisen in human populations have progressed in recent years. Although the objective of personalized medicine is still in the future, a genetic hypothesis based on human variation can uniquely empower functional genomics approaches to reach such an ultimate goal.
    Hypertension 04/2007; 49(3):597-603. · 6.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Women who develop pre-eclampsia show significantly less hypervolemia of pregnancy, compared with controls. We have shown that chronically elevated angiotensinogen expression increases a woman's risk of developing pre-eclampsia. Our objective was to determine whether increased angiotensinogen expression is sufficient to cause failed hypervolemia. To isolate the effects of elevated angiotensinogen expression, we studied transgenic mice with either 2 or 3 copies of the murine angiotensinogen gene. Plasma volume was measured by Evans blue dye dilution, and kidney sections were immunostained for angiotensinogen and renin. Three-copy mice failed to maintain hypervolemia after midgestation (P < .01) and failed to up-regulate renin expression in the distal nephron, compared with 2-copy controls. Intrarenal angiotensinogen was up-regulated during pregnancy in both genotypes. Chronically elevated angiotensinogen expression is sufficient to cause failed hypervolemia of pregnancy. Whether this observation is related to failed up-regulation of distal tubule renin expression requires further study.
    American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 01/2007; 195(6):1700-6. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The structural and functional heterogeneity of the collecting duct present a tremendous experimental challenge requiring manual microdissection, which is time-consuming, labor intensive, and not amenable to high throughput. To overcome these limitations, we developed a novel approach combining the use of transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the collecting duct with large-particle-based flow cytometry to isolate pure populations of tubular fragments from the whole collecting duct (CD), or inner medullary (IMCD), outer medullary (OMCD), or connecting segment/cortical collecting duct (CNT/CCD). Kidneys were enzymatically dispersed into tubular fragments and sorted based on tubular length and GFP intensity using large-particle-based flow cytometry or a complex object parametric analyzer and sorter (COPAS). A LIVE/DEAD assay demonstrates that the tubules were >90% viable. Tubules were collected as a function of fluorescent intensity and analyzed by epifluorescence and phase microscopy for count accuracy, GFP positivity, average tubule length, and time required to collect 100 tubules. Similarly, mRNA and protein from sorted tubules were analyzed for expression of tubule segment-specific genes using quantitative real-time RT-PCR and immunoblotting. The purity and yield of sorted tubules were related to sort stringency. Four to six replicates of 100 collecting ducts (9.68+/-0.44-14.5+/-0.66 cm or 9.2+/-0.7 mg tubular protein) were routinely obtained from a single mouse in under 1 h. In conclusion, large-particle-based flow cytometry is fast, reproducible, and generates sufficient amounts of highly pure and viable collecting ducts from single or replicate animals for gene expression and proteomic analysis.
    American journal of physiology. Renal physiology 07/2006; 291(1):F236-45. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ubiquitin ligase NEDD4L participates in plasma volume and blood pressure regulation by controlling expression of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). Genetic impairment of EnaC-Nedd4L-Proteasome system caused a rare mendelian hereditary human hypertension, Liddle syndrome. This finding suggested that Nedd4L is playing an important role in pathogenesis for hypertensive disorders. This prompted us to test a possible involvement of NEDD4L for the development of sodium-sensitive hypertension in Dahl salt-sensitive (DS) rats and its normotensive littermate Dahl salt-resistant (DR) rats. First, we analyzed the transcriptional diversity of rat Nedd4L gene and observed several isoforms with and without calcium-dependent membrane binding (C2) domain at the N-terminal of the protein as we found in human and mouse before. Then, we analyzed the expression of rat NEDD4L in the kidney of both DS and DR under high and low sodium regimens. NEDD4L expression examined by quantitative PCR technique revealed lower expression of NEDD4L transcripts in DS rats under either diet compared to DR animals; additionally, NEDD4L expression was significantly increased with sodium loading. Using in situ hybridization experiments, rat NEDD4L was predominantly expressed in distal nephron in a manner dependent on both sodium regimen and genetic background. A similar histological distribution pattern was observed in human kidney. The expression of NEDD4L in distal nephron and its response to chronic sodium loading suggest that it participates in the functioning of this segment in sodium reabsorption. This response was impaired in genetically sodium-sensitive animals. These findings suggested that Nedd4L gene products were involved in the development of salt-sensitive hypertension.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2006; 339(4):1129-37. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was performed to test the significance of urinary angiotensinogen (UAGT) in essential hypertensive patients stratified as a function of plasma renin and aldosterone. A sample of 248 essential hypertensives, investigated under their usual sodium diet and either off-medication or under a standardized treatment, was separated into two groups on the basis of upright plasma active renin and aldosterone medians. Patients with plasma active renin and aldosterone below medians are referred to as the low renin-aldosterone essential hypertensive group (LRA-EH). Others subjects are defined as other essential hypertensives (O-EH). Blood pressure (BP) was recorded by 24-h ambulatory monitoring. UAGT was measured by a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for total angiotensinogen. Because UAGT was markedly increased in the presence of overt proteinuria (>/= 300 mg/24 h), proteinuric patients (n = 29) were excluded from subsequent analyses. UAGT was a significant predictor of systolic and diastolic BP in LRA-EH females (P < 0.01 and P = 0.05, respectively) but not in males. By contrast, urinary sodium excretion (P < 0.001) and maintenance of treatment (P = 0.002) were significant predictors of systolic BP in males. These correlations were not observed in O-EH, whether males or females. In the present study, UAGT stands as a strong predictor of BP in women with low plasma renin/aldosterone, suggesting an involvement of the tubular renin-angiotensin system in these subjects. Higher sodium intake or the need to maintain treatment may account in part for the lack of a similar relationship in males.
    Journal of Hypertension 04/2005; 23(4):785-92. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proximal tubule (PT) angiotensinogen (AGT) is part of a tubular renin-angiotensin system (RAS) that participates in the regulation of sodium reabsorption along the entire nephron. Physiologic maneuvers affecting AGT expression in PT also affect systemic RAS. Here, we tested the hypothesis that PT AGT is regulated by increased glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Complete unilateral nephrectomy (UNX) in mice was used to induce a sustained increase in GFR in the remaining kidney. AGT expression was monitored by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). AGT protein in PT was investigated by semiquantitative histology. We also measured AGT concentration in plasma and in 24-hour urine by a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Seven weeks after nephrectomy, UNX animals exhibited a 2-fold increase in tubular AGT mRNA (P <.001) compared with sham-operated control animals. The proportion of PT sections exhibiting AGT immunostaining was significantly increased at day 3 (P <.05), and remained elevated at seven weeks (UNX = 0.63 +/- 0.09, sham = 0.38 +/- 0.02, P <.01), revealing recruitment of AGT-producing cells along the PT. AGT excretion in final urine corrected for creatinine and kidney weight was also elevated by UNX at seven weeks (UNX = 209 +/- 42 pmol/mg/g, sham = 147 +/- 29 pmol/mg/g, P <.05), with no difference in plasma AGT between UNX and control animals. These observations suggest that AGT expression in PT adapts in the long-term to changes in GFR. In the UNX model, urinary AGT excretion is also elevated as a consequence of increase in net tubular flow.
    Kidney International 07/2004; 65(6):2153-60. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The observation of renin expression in connecting tubule, a segment that also expresses tissue kallikrein (KLK-1), raises two questions. Are the genes expressed in the same or in different cells of connecting tubule? Does this topography support the hypothesis that KLK-1 activates prorenin or is it more likely that it affords coordinated gene regulation? Renin and KLK-1 were examined by immunostaining and in situ hybridization. Renin activation by KLK-1 was investigated in vitro. In vivo, excretion of prorenin and active renin was compared in mice homozygous for targeted inactivation of KLK-1 (TK(-/-)) and normal littermates (TK(+/+)). Using in situ immunostaining for renin and in situ hybridization for KLK-1 mRNA, we found that connecting tubule cells expressing renin also expressed KLK-1. We confirmed in vitro activation of prorenin by KLK-1, but found no difference in the ratio of active renin to prorenin in urine of TK(-/-) and TK(+/+) animals. Compared to TK(+/+) controls, TK(-/-) mice exhibited significantly lower 24-hour excretion of prorenin (5.05 +/- 1.16 mg Ang I/hour vs. 9.39 +/- 1.96 mg Ang I/hour, P < 0.05) and active renin (1.98 +/- 0.25 mg Ang I/hour vs. 3.58 +/- 0.39 mg Ang I/hour, P < 0.05), with no difference in either urine volumes or plasma renin concentrations. Direct interaction between renin and KLK-1, not ruled out in vitro, is not supported in vivo. By contrast, lower excretion of active renin and prorenin in TK(-/-) compared to TK(+/+) suggest coordinated regulation of the two proteins in their participation to collecting duct function.
    Kidney International 12/2003; 64(6):2155-62. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Elements of a renin-angiotensin system expressed along the entire nephron, including angiotensinogen secreted by proximal tubule and renin expressed in connecting tubule, may participate in the regulation of sodium reabsorption at multiple sites of the nephron. The response of this tubular renin-angiotensin system to stepwise changes in dietary sodium was investigated in 2 mouse strains, the sodium-sensitive inbred C57BL/6 and the sodium-resistant CD1 outbred. Plasma angiotensinogen was not affected by sodium regimen, whereas plasma renin increased 2-fold under low sodium. In both strains, the variation in urinary parameters did not parallel the changes observed in plasma. Angiotensinogen and renin excretion were significantly higher under high sodium than under low sodium. Water deprivation, by contrast, induced significant activation in the tubular expression of angiotensinogen and renin. C57BL/6 exhibited significantly higher urinary excretion of angiotensinogen than did CD1 animals under both conditions of sodium intake. The extent to which these urinary parameters reflect systemic or tubular responses to challenges of sodium homeostasis may depend on the relative contribution of sodium restriction and volume depletion.
    Hypertension 06/2002; 39(5):1007-14. · 6.87 Impact Factor
  • Jean-Marc Lalouel, Andreas Rohrwasser
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    ABSTRACT: The case-control study design, a common staple of epidemiology, is increasingly used to test for genetic association. The simplicity of the design accounts for both its appeal and its limitations. Too often, however, apparent controversy arises for lack of appreciation of basic tenets underlying statistical testing. Power and replication are two concepts most commonly ignored in evaluating such studies. We review the basic principles of statistical testing, recall simple means to calculate power, and provide numerical examples pertaining to the association between angiotensinogen and essential hypertension.
    American Journal of Hypertension 03/2002; 15(2 Pt 1):201-5. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several genetic polymorphisms have been identified in the proximal promoter of angiotensinogen ( AGT). Gene titration experiments in transgenic animals have demonstrated that small increases in the basal expression of AGT can lead to elevated blood pressure. The direct proof that promoter variants of AGT can lead to elevated blood pressure will ultimately require the development of specific animal models. Before such work can be contemplated, however, a formal understanding of the mechanisms controlling transcriptional activation of AGT needs to be developed. Analysis of DNA-protein interactions in vitro and transactivation experiments in cultured cells reveal the critical role of an Sp1 binding site immediately upstream of the TATA box of AGT in both mouse and human. Both sites are required for transcription initiation in the mouse. By contrast, a minimal human AGT promoter can initiate transcription in the absence of either this Sp1 site or the TATA box, albeit at a lower level. Further analysis and consideration of these interspecific differences will be essential for the development of meaningful animal models to probe the mechanism by which AGT may predispose to human essential hypertension.
    Journal of Human Genetics 02/2002; 47(5):249-56. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is general consensus that genetic variation accounts in part for individual susceptibilities to essential hypertension. In marked contrast to classic mendelian disorders, in which genetic alterations produce a gain or loss of function, genetic determinants of essential hypertension, high blood pressure of unknown cause, are expected to be small, achieving significance through the cumulative effects of environmental exposure over the course of a lifetime. Whether and how genetic factors that contribute to common diseases can be identified remain unclear. Research on a link between angiotensinogen and essential hypertension illustrates a path that began in genetics and is now leading toward nephrology. Various challenges encountered along the way may prove to be characteristic features of genetic investigations of the pathogenesis of common diseases. The implication of a gene by statistical analysis is only the beginning of a protracted process of functional analysis at increasing levels of biologic integration. The ultimate goal is to develop an understanding of the manner in which genetic variation at a locus can affect a physiologic parameter and to extract from this inference new knowledge of significance for the prevention or treatment of disease.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 04/2001; 12(3):606-15. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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    J M Lalouel, A Rohrwasser
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    ABSTRACT: Essential hypertension illustrates the formidable task presented by the identification of genetic determinants of common disease. Making an initial genetic inference may prove difficult enough; the subsequent demonstration of functional significance at various levels of biological integration may be even more challenging. We review three instances in which an initial genetic inference has led to the development of testable hypotheses pursued at increasingly higher levels of biological organization. These include the adducin, the G protein beta3 subunit, and the angiotensinogen hypotheses.
    Journal of Human Genetics 02/2001; 46(6):299-306. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies with mice overproducing ornithine decarboxylase have demonstrated the importance of polyamine homeostasis for normal mammalian spermatogenesis. The present study introduces a likely key player in the maintenance of proper polyamine homeostasis during spermatogenesis. Antizyme 3 is a paralog of mammalian ornithine decarboxylase antizymes. Like its previously described counterparts, antizymes 1 and 2, it inhibits ornithine decarboxylase, which catalyzes the synthesis of putrescine. Earlier work has shown that the coding sequences for antizymes 1 and 2 are in two different, partially overlapping reading frames. Ribosomes translate the first reading frame, and just before the stop codon for that frame, they shift to the second reading frame to synthesize a trans-frame product. The efficiency of this frameshifting depends on polyamine concentration, creating an autoregulatory circuit. Antizyme 3 cDNA has the same arrangement of reading frames and a potential shift site with definite, although limited, homology to its evolutionarily distant antizyme 1 and 2 counterparts. In contrast to antizymes 1 and 2, which are widely expressed throughout the body, antizyme 3 transcription is restricted to testis germ cells. Expression starts early in spermiogenesis and finishes in the late spermatid phase. The potential significance of antizyme 3 expression during spermatogenesis is discussed in this paper.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2000; 97(9):4808-13. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

543 Citations
111.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2010
    • University of Utah
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • Department of Human Genetics
      Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • 2006–2009
    • Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health
      Bangor, Maine, United States
  • 2007
    • Oregon Health and Science University
      Portland, Oregon, United States
  • 1995–2000
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States