[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Mutations in GJB2, which encodes connexin 26 (Cx26), a cochlear gap junction protein, represent a major cause of pre-lingual, non-syndromic deafness. The degeneration of the organ of Corti observed in Cx26 mutant-associated deafness is thought to be a secondary pathology of hearing loss. Here we focused on abnormal development of the organ of Corti followed by degeneration including outer hair cell (OHC) loss.
We investigated the crucial factors involved in late-onset degeneration and loss of OHC by ultrastructural observation, immunohistochemistry and protein analysis in our Cx26-deficient mice (Cx26f/fP0Cre).
In ultrastructural observations of Cx26f/fP0Cre mice, OHCs changed shape irregularly, and several folds or notches were observed in the plasma membrane. Furthermore, the mutant OHCs had a flat surface compared with the characteristic wavy surface structure of OHCs of normal mice. Protein analysis revealed an increased protein level of caveolin-2 (CAV2) in Cx26f/fP0Cre mouse cochlea. In immunohistochemistry, a remarkable accumulation of CAV2 was observed in Cx26f/fP0Cre mice. In particular, this accumulation of CAV2 was mainly observed around OHCs, and furthermore this accumulation was observed around the shrunken site of OHCs with an abnormal hourglass-like shape.
The deformation of OHCs and the accumulation of CAV2 in the organ of Corti may play a crucial role in the progression of, or secondary OHC loss in, GJB2-associated deafness. Investigation of these molecular pathways, including those involving CAV2, may contribute to the elucidation of a new pathogenic mechanism of GJB2-associated deafness and identify effective targets for new therapies.
PLoS ONE 10/2015; 10(10):e0141258. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0141258 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypertension induces structural remodelling of arteries, which leads to arteriosclerosis and end-organ damage. Hyperplasia of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and infiltration of immune cells are the hallmark of hypertensive arterial remodelling. However, the precise molecular mechanisms of arterial remodelling remain elusive. We have recently reported that complement C1q activates β-catenin signalling independent of Wnts. Here, we show a critical role of complement C1-induced activation of β-catenin signalling in hypertensive arterial remodelling. Activation of β-catenin and proliferation of VSMCs were observed after blood-pressure elevation, which were prevented by genetic and chemical inhibition of β-catenin signalling. Macrophage depletion and C1qa gene deletion attenuated the hypertension-induced β-catenin signalling, proliferation of VSMCs and pathological arterial remodelling. Our findings unveil the link between complement C1 and arterial remodelling and suggest that C1-induced activation of β-catenin signalling becomes a novel therapeutic target to prevent arteriosclerosis in patients with hypertension.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signalling regulates numerous developmental and homeostatic processes. Ctnnb1 (also known as β-catenin) is the only protein that transmits signals from various Wnt ligands to downstream genes. In this study, we report that our newly established mouse strain, which harbours a Cys429 to Ser missense mutation in the β-catenin gene, exhibited specific organ defects in contrast to mice with broadly functioning Wnt/β-catenin signalling. Both homozygous mutant males and females produced normal gametes but were infertile because of abnormal seminal vesicle and vaginal morphogenesis. An ins-TOPGAL transgenic reporter spatiotemporally sustained Wnt/β-catenin signalling during the corresponding organogenesis. Therefore, β-catenin(C429S) should provide new insights into β-catenin as a universal component of Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is considered a chronic inflammatory disease; however, the molecular basis underlying the sterile inflammatory response involved in the process of AAA remains unclear. We previously showed that the inflammasome, which regulates the caspase-1-dependent interleukin-1β production, mediates the sterile cardiovascular inflammatory responses. Therefore, we hypothesized that the inflammasome is a key mediator of initial inflammation in AAA formation.
Approach and results:
Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain is highly expressed in adventitial macrophages in human and murine AAA tissues. Using an established mouse model of AAA induced by continuous infusion of angiotensin II in Apoe(-/-) mice, NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3), apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, and caspase-1 deficiency in Apoe(-/-) mice were shown to decrease the incidence, maximal diameter, and severity of AAA along with adventitial fibrosis and inflammatory responses significantly, such as inflammatory cell infiltration and cytokine expression in the vessel wall. NLRP3, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, and caspase-1 deficiency in Apoe(-/-) mice also reduced elastic lamina degradation and metalloproteinase activation in the early phase of AAA formation. Furthermore, angiotensin II stimulated generation of mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species in the adventitial macrophages, and this mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species generation was inhibited by NLRP3, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, and caspase-1 deficiency. In vitro experiments revealed that angiotensin II stimulated the NLRP3 inflammasome activation and subsequent interleukin-1β release in macrophages, and this activation was mediated through an angiotensin type I receptor/mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species-dependent pathway.
Our results demonstrate the importance of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the initial inflammatory responses in AAA formation, indicating its potential as a novel therapeutic target for preventing AAA progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brn4, which encodes a POU transcription factor, is the gene responsible for DFN3, an X chromosome-linked, non-syndromic type of hearing loss. Brn4-deficient mice have a low endocochlear potential (EP), hearing loss, and ultrastructural alterations in spiral ligament fibrocytes, however the molecular pathology through which Brn4 deficiency causes low EP is still unclear. Mutations in the Gjb2 and Gjb6 genes encoding the gap junction proteins connexin26 (Cx26) and connexin30 (Cx30) genes, respectively, which encode gap junction proteins and are expressed in cochlear fibrocytes and non-sensory epithelial cells (i.e., cochlear supporting cells) to maintain the proper EP, are responsible for hereditary sensorineural deafness. It has been hypothesized that the gap junction in the cochlea provides an intercellular passage by which K+ is transported to maintain the EP at the high level necessary for sensory hair cell excitation. Here we analyzed the formation of gap junction plaques in cochlear supporting cells of Brn4-deficient mice at different stages by confocal microscopy and three-dimensional graphic reconstructions. Gap junctions from control mice, which are composed mainly of Cx26 and Cx30, formed linear plaques along the cell-cell junction sites with adjacent cells. These plaques formed pentagonal or hexagonal outlines of the normal inner sulcus cells and border cells. Gap junction plaques in Brn4-deficient mice did not, however, show the normal linear structure but instead formed small spots around the cell-cell junction sites. Gap junction lengths were significantly shorter, and the level of Cx26 and Cx30 was significantly reduced in Brn4-deficient mice compared with littermate controls. Thus the Brn4 mutation affected the assembly and localization of gap junction proteins at the cell borders of cochlear supporting cells, suggesting that Brn4 substantially contributes to cochlear gap junction properties to maintain the proper EP in cochleae, similar to connexin-related deafness.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108216. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108216 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Despite the increasing commercial use of nanoparticles, little is known about their effects on placental inflammation and pregnancy complications. In this study, nanosilica (NS) particles upregulated the inflammasome component nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) and induced placental inflammation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, resulting in pregnancy complications. Furthermore, NS-induced pregnancy complications were markedly improved in Nlrp3(-/-) mice but not in component apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC)-deficient (Asc(-/-)) mice, indicating the independence of NLRP3 inflammasomes. Pregnancy complications in Nlrp3(-/-) and Asc(-/-) mice phenotypes were dependent on the balance between interleukin (IL)-1α and IL-10. NS-induced pregnancy complications were completely prevented by either inhibition of ROS generation or forced expression of IL-10. Our findings provide important information about NS-induced placental inflammation and pregnancy complications and the novel pathophysiological roles of NLRP3 and ASC in pregnancy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a reversible and dynamic process hypothesized to be co-opted by carcinoma during invasion and metastasis. Yet, there is still no quantitative measure to assess the interplay between EMT and cancer progression. Here, we derived a method for universal EMT scoring from cancer-specific transcriptomic EMT signatures of ovarian, breast, bladder, lung, colorectal and gastric cancers. We show that EMT scoring exhibits good correlation with previously published, cancer-specific EMT signatures. This universal and quantitative EMT scoring was used to establish an EMT spectrum across various cancers, with good correlation noted between cell lines and tumours. We show correlations between EMT and poorer disease-free survival in ovarian and colorectal, but not breast, carcinomas, despite previous notions. Importantly, we found distinct responses between epithelial- and mesenchymal-like ovarian cancers to therapeutic regimes administered with or without paclitaxel in vivo and demonstrated that mesenchymal-like tumours do not always show resistance to chemotherapy. EMT scoring is thus a promising, versatile tool for the objective and systematic investigation of EMT roles and dynamics in cancer progression, treatment response and survival.
EMBO Molecular Medicine 09/2014; 6(10). DOI:10.15252/emmm.201404208 · 8.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutant mouse models are indispensable tools for clarifying gene functions and elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms of human diseases. Here, we describe novel cancer models bearing point mutations in the retinoblastoma gene (Rb1) generated by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea mutagenesis. Two mutations in splice sites reduced Rb1 expression and led to a tumor spectrum and incidence similar to those observed in the conventional Rb1 knockout mice. The missense mutant, Rb1D326V/+, developed pituitary tumors, but thyroid tumors were completely suppressed. Immunohistochemical analyses of thyroid tissue revealed that E2F1, but not E2F2/3, was selectively inactivated, indicating that the mutant Rb protein (pRb) suppressed thyroid tumors by inactivating E2F1. Interestingly, Rb1D326V/+ mice developed pituitary tumors that originated from the intermediate lobe of the pituitary, despite selective inactivation of E2F1. Furthermore, in the anterior lobe of the pituitary, other E2Fs were also inactivated. These observations show that pRb mediates the inactivation of E2F function, and its contribution to tumorigenesis is highly dependent on the cell-type. Finally, we showed that, by using a reconstitution assay of synthesized proteins, the D326V missense pRb bound to E2F1 but failed to interact with E2F2/3. These results reveal the effect of the pRb N-terminal domain on E2F function and the impact of the protein on tumorigenesis. Thus, this mutant mouse model can be used to investigate human Rb family bearing mutations at the N-terminal region.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Cancer Science 08/2014; 105(10). DOI:10.1111/cas.12495 · 3.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Voltage-dependent block of the NMDA receptor by Mg2+ is thought to be central to the unique involvement of this receptor in higher brain functions. However, the in vivo role of the Mg2+ block in the mammalian brain has not yet been investigated, because brain-wide loss of the Mg2+ block causes perinatal lethality. In this study, we used a brain-region specific knock-in mouse expressing an NMDA receptor that is defective for the Mg2+ block in order to test its role in neural information processing.
We devised a method to induce a single amino acid substitution (N595Q) in the GluN2A subunit of the NMDA receptor, specifically in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in mice. This mutation reduced the Mg2+ block at the medial perforant path–granule cell synapse and facilitated synaptic potentiation induced by high-frequency stimulation. The mutants had more stable hippocampal place fields in the CA1 than the controls did, and place representation showed lower sensitivity to visual differences. In addition, behavioral tests revealed that the mutants had a spatial working memory deficit.
These results suggest that the Mg2+ block in the dentate gyrus regulates hippocampal spatial information processing by attenuating activity-dependent synaptic potentiation in the dentate gyrus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in β cells is usually found as a consequence of increased metabolic load. Although it has essential roles in β cell compensatory mechanisms, mTORC1 negatively regulates autophagy. Using a mouse model with β cell specific deletion of Tsc2 (βTsc2(-/-)) and consequently mTORC1 hyperactivation, we focused on the role that chronic mTORC1 hyperactivation might be having on β cell failure. mTORC1 hyperactivation drove an early increase in β cell mass which lately declined, triggering hyperglycemia. Apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum stress markers were found in islets of older βTsc2(-/-), as well as accumulation of p62/SQSTM1 and impaired autophagic response. Mitochondrial mass was increased on β cells of βTsc2(-/-) mice, but mitophagy was also impaired under these circumstances. Here we provide the evidence of β cell autophagy impairment as a link between mTORC1 hyperactivation and mitochondrial dysfunction, probably contributing to β cell failure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While T-cell responses are directly modulated by Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, the mechanism and physiological function of nucleic acids (NAs)-mediated T cell costimulation remains unclear. Here we show that unlike in innate cells, T-cell costimulation is induced even by non-CpG DNA and by self-DNA, which is released from dead cells and complexes with antimicrobial peptides or histones. Such NA complexes are internalized by T cells and induce costimulatory responses independently of known NA sensors, including TLRs, RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), inflammasomes and STING-dependent cytosolic DNA sensors. Such NA-mediated costimulation crucially induces Th2 differentiation by suppressing T-bet expression, followed by the induction of GATA-3 and Th2 cytokines. These findings unveil the function of NA sensing by T cells to trigger and amplify allergic inflammation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation plays a key role in the pathophysiology of hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, the mechanism by which hepatic I/R induces inflammatory responses remains unclear. Recent evidence indicates that a sterile inflammatory response triggered by I/R is mediated through a multiple-protein complex called the inflammasome. Therefore, we investigated the role of the inflammasome in hepatic I/R injury and found that hepatic I/R stimuli upregulated the inflammasome-component molecule, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3), but not apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC). NLRP3(-/-) mice, but not ASC(-/-) and caspase-1(-/-) mice, had significantly less liver injury after hepatic I/R. NLRP3(-/-) mice showed reduced inflammatory responses, reactive oxygen species production, and apoptosis in I/R liver. Notably, infiltration of neutrophils, but not macrophages, was markedly inhibited in the I/R liver of NLRP3(-/-) mice. Bone marrow transplantation experiments showed that NLRP3 not only in bone marrow-derived cells, but also in non-bone marrow-derived cells contributed to liver injury after I/R. In vitro experiments revealed that keratinocyte-derived chemokine-induced activation of heterotrimeric G proteins was markedly diminished. Furthermore, NLRP3(-/-) neutrophils decreased keratinocyte-derived chemokine-induced concentrations of intracellular calcium elevation, Rac activation, and actin assembly formation, thereby resulting in impaired migration activity. Taken together, NLRP3 regulates chemokine-mediated functions and recruitment of neutrophils, and thereby contributes to hepatic I/R injury independently of inflammasomes. These findings identify a novel role of NLRP3 in the pathophysiology of hepatic I/R injury.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2014; 192(9). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1302039 · 4.92 Impact Factor