[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) is expressed in taste cells and may be involved in the salt taste transduction. ENaC activity is blocked by amiloride, which in several mammalian species also inhibits taste responses to NaCl. In mice, lingual application of amiloride inhibits NaCl responses in the chorda tympani (CT) gustatory nerve much stronger in the C57BL/6 (B6) strain than in the 129P3/J (129) strain. We examined whether this strain difference is related to gene sequence variation or mRNA expression of three ENaC subunits (alpha, beta, gamma). Real-time RT-PCR and in situ hybridization detected no significant strain differences in expression of all three ENaC subunits in fungiform papillae. Sequences of the beta- and gammaENaC subunit genes were also similar in the B6 and 129 strains, but alphaENaC gene had three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). One of these SNPs resulted in a substitution of arginine in the B6 strain to tryptophan in the 129 strain (R616W) in the alphaENaC protein. To examine association of this SNP with amiloride sensitivity of CT responses to NaCl, we produced F(2) hybrids between B6 and 129 strains. Amiloride inhibited CT responses to NaCl in F(2) hybrids with B6/129 and B6/B6 alphaENaC R616W genotypes stronger than in F(2) hybrids with 129/129 genotype. This suggests that the R616W variation in the alphaENaC subunit affects amiloride sensitivity of the ENaC channel and provides evidence that ENaC is involved in amiloride-sensitive salt taste responses in mice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our previous electrophysiological study demonstrated that amiloride-sensitive (AS) and -insensitive (AI) components of NaCl responses recovered differentially after the mouse chorda tympani (CT) was crushed. AI responses reappeared earlier (at 3 weeks after the nerve crush) than did AS ones (at 4 weeks). This and other results suggested that two salt-responsive systems were differentially and independently reformed after nerve crush. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of formation of the salt responsive systems, we examined expression patterns of three subunits (alpha, beta and gamma) of the amiloride-sensitive epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) in mouse taste cells after CT nerve crush by using in situ hybridization (ISH) analysis. The results showed that all three ENaC subunits, as well as alpha-gustducin, a marker of differentiated taste cells, were expressed in a subset of taste bud cells from an early stage (1-2 weeks) after nerve crush, although these taste buds were smaller and fewer in number than for control mice. At 3 weeks, the mean number of each ENaC subunit and alpha-gustducin mRNA-positive cells per taste bud reached the control level. Also, the size of taste buds became similar to those of the control mice at this time. Our previous electrophysiological study demonstrated that at 2 weeks no significant response of the nerve to chemical stimuli was observed. Thus ENaC subunits appear to be expressed prior to the reappearance of AI and AS neural responses after CT nerve crush. These results support the view that differentiation of taste cells into AS or AI cells is initiated prior to synapse formation.
Chemical Senses 08/2005; 30(6):531-8. · 3.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is an evolutionarily conserved mitogen-activated protein 3-kinase that activates both Jnk and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases. Here we used ASK1-deficient mice to show that ASK1 was selectively required for lipopolysaccharide-induced activation of p38 but not of Jnk or the transcription factor NF-kappaB. ASK1 was required for the induction of proinflammatory cytokines dependent on Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) but not TLR2 or other TLRs. Consistent with this, ASK1-deficient mice were resistant to lipopolysaccharide-induced septic shock. Lipopolysaccharide induced the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species, which was required for the formation of a complex of the adaptor molecule TRAF6 and ASK1 and subsequent activation of the ASK1-p38 pathway. Our data demonstrate that the reactive oxygen species-dependent TRAF6-ASK1-p38 axis is crucial for TLR4-mediated mammalian innate immunity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyloid beta (Abeta) is a main component of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease and induces neuronal cell death. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress have been implicated in Abeta-induced neurotoxicity. We have reported that apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is required for ROS- and ER stress-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. Here we show the involvement of ASK1 in Abeta-induced neuronal cell death. Abeta activated ASK1 mainly through production of ROS but not through ER stress in cultured neuronal cells. Importantly, ASK1-/- neurons were defective in Abeta-induced JNK activation and cell death. These results indicate that ROS-mediated ASK1 activation is a key mechanism for Abeta-induced neurotoxicity, which plays a central role in Alzheimer's disease.
Cell Death and Differentiation 02/2005; 12(1):19-24. · 8.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyloid β (Aβ) is a main component of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease and induces neuronal cell death. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress have been implicated in Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. We have reported that apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is required for ROS- and ER stress-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. Here we show the involvement of ASK1 in Aβ-induced neuronal cell death. Aβ activated ASK1 mainly through production of ROS but not through ER stress in cultured neuronal cells. Importantly, ASK1−/− neurons were defective in Aβ-induced JNK activation and cell death. These results indicate that ROS-mediated ASK1 activation is a key mechanism for Aβ-induced neurotoxicity, which plays a central role in Alzheimer's disease.
Cell Death and Differentiation 01/2005; 12(1):19-24. · 8.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Raf/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway regulates diverse cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis and is implicated as an important contributor to the pathogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. To examine the in vivo role of Raf-1 in the heart, we generated cardiac muscle-specific Raf-1-knockout (Raf CKO) mice with Cre-loxP-mediated recombination. The mice demonstrated left ventricular systolic dysfunction and heart dilatation without cardiac hypertrophy or lethality. The Raf CKO mice showed a significant increase in the number of apoptotic cardiomyocytes. The expression level and activation of MEK1/2 or ERK showed no difference, but the kinase activity of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), JNK, or p38 increased significantly compared with that in controls. The ablation of ASK1 rescued heart dysfunction and dilatation as well as cardiac fibrosis. These results indicate that Raf-1 promotes cardiomyocyte survival through a MEK/ERK-independent mechanism.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 11/2004; 114(7):937-43. · 12.81 Impact Factor