Qingli Shi

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States

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Publications (17)81.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the molecular sequence of events that culminate in multiple abnormalities in brains from patients that died with Alzheimer's disease (AD) will help to reveal the mechanisms of the disease and identify upstream events as therapeutic targets. The activity of the mitochondrial α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC) in homogenates from autopsy brain declines with AD. Experimental reductions in KGDHC in mouse models of AD promote plaque and tangle formation, the hallmark pathologies of AD. We hypothesize that deficits in KGDHC also lead to the abnormalities in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium stores and cytosolic calcium following K(+) depolarization that occurs in cells from AD patients and transgenic models of AD. The activity of the mitochondrial enzyme KGDHC was diminished acutely (minutes), long-term (days), or chronically (weeks). Acute inhibition of KGDHC produced effects on calcium opposite to those in AD, while the chronic or long-term inhibition of KGDHC mimicked the AD-related changes in calcium. Divergent changes in proteins released from the mitochondria that affect endoplasmic reticulum calcium channels may underlie the selective cellular consequences of acute versus longer term inhibition of KGDHC. The results suggest that the mitochondrial abnormalities in AD can be upstream of those in calcium.
    Neurobiology of aging 12/2011; 33(6):1121.e13-24. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    Qingli Shi, Gary E Gibson
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    ABSTRACT: These experiments reveal for the first time that microRNAs (miRNAs) mediate oxidant regulated expression of a mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle gene (mdh2). mdh2 encoded malate dehydrogenase (MDH) is elevated by an unknown mechanism in brains of patients that died with Alzheimer's disease. Oxidative stress, an early and pervasive event in Alzheimer's disease, increased MDH activity and mRNA level of mdh2 by 19% and 22%, respectively, in a mouse hippocampal cell line (HT22). Post-transcriptional events underlie the change in mRNA because actinomycin D did not block the elevated mdh2 mRNA. Since miRNAs regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally, the expression of miR-743a, a miRNA predicted to target mdh2, was determined and showed a 52% reduction after oxidant treatment. Direct interaction of miR-743a with mdh2 was demonstrated with a luciferase based assay. Over-expression or inhibition of miR-743a led to a respective reduction or increase in endogenous mRNA and MDH activity. The results demonstrate that miR-743a negatively regulates mdh2 at post-transcriptional level by directly targeting the mdh2 3'UTR. The findings are consistent with the suggestion that oxidative stress can elevate the activity of MDH through miR-743a, and provide new insights into possible roles of miRNA in oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 05/2011; 118(3):440-8. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced brain metabolism is an invariant feature of Alzheimer Disease (AD) that is highly correlated to the decline in brain functions. Decreased activities of key tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle enzymes may underlie this abnormality and are highly correlated to the clinical state of the patient. The activity of the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), an arguably rate-limiting enzyme of the TCA cycle, declines with AD, but the mechanism of inactivation and whether it can be reversed remains unknown. KGDHC consists of multiple copies of three subunits. KGDHC is sensitive to oxidative stress, which is pervasive in AD brain. The present studies tested the mechanism for the peroxynitrite-induced inactivation and subsequent reactivation of purified and cellular KGDHC. Peroxynitrite inhibited purified KGDHC activity in a dose-dependent manner and reduced subunit immunoreactivity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed that the inactivation was related to nitration of specific tyrosine residues in the three subunits. GSH diminished the nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity of peroxynitrite-treated KGDHC, restored the activity and the immunoreactivity for KGDHC. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed this was related to de-nitration of specific tyrosine residues, suggesting KGDHC may have a denitrase activity. Treatment of N2a cells with peroxynitrite for 5 min followed by recovery of cells for 24 h reduced KGDHC activity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Increasing cellular GSH in peroxynitrite-treated cells rescued KGDHC activity to the control level. The results suggest that restoring KGDHC activity is possible and may be a useful therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2011; 286(20):17640-17648. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), a mitochondrial enzyme complex that mediates the oxidative decarboxylation of α-ketoglutarate in the TCA cycle, is reduced in Alzheimer's disease. We investigated the metabolic effects of a partial KGDHC activity reduction on brain glucose metabolism using mice with disrupted expression of dihydrolipoyl succinyltransferase (DLST; gene encoding the E2k subunit of KGDHC). Brain tissue extracts from cortex and cerebellum of 6-week-old heterozygote DLST knockout mice (DLST+/-) and corresponding wild-type mice injected with [U-(13) C]glucose and decapitated 15 min later were analyzed. An increase in the concentration of glucose in cortex suggested a decrease in the cortical utilization of glucose in DLST+/- mice. Furthermore, the concentration and (13) C labelling of aspartate in cortex were reduced in DLST+/- mice. This decline was likely caused by a decrease in the pool of oxaloacetate. In contrast to results from cell culture studies, no indications of altered glycolysis or GABA shunt activity were found. Glucose metabolism in the cerebellum was unaffected by the decrease in KGDHC activity. Among metabolites not related to glucose metabolism, the concentration of taurine was decreased in the cortex, and that of tyrosine was increased in the cerebellum. These results imply that diminished KGDHC activity has the potential to induce the reduction in glucose utilization that is seen in several neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 03/2011; 89(12):1997-2007. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced brain metabolism is an invariant feature of Alzheimer Disease (AD) that is highly correlated to the decline in brain functions. Decreased activities of key tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle enzymes may underlie this abnormality and are highly correlated to the clinical state of the patient. The activity of the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), an arguably rate-limiting enzyme of the TCA cycle, declines with AD, but the mechanism of inactivation and whether it can be reversed remains unknown. KGDHC consists of multiple copies of three subunits. KGDHC is sensitive to oxidative stress, which is pervasive in AD brain. The present studies tested the mechanism for the peroxynitrite-induced inactivation and subsequent reactivation of purified and cellular KGDHC. Peroxynitrite inhibited purified KGDHC activity in a dose-dependent manner and reduced subunit immunoreactivity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed that the inactivation was related to nitration of specific tyrosine residues in the three subunits. GSH diminished the nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity of peroxynitrite-treated KGDHC, restored the activity and the immunoreactivity for KGDHC. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed this was related to de-nitration of specific tyrosine residues, suggesting KGDHC may have a denitrase activity. Treatment of N2a cells with peroxynitrite for 5 min followed by recovery of cells for 24 h reduced KGDHC activity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Increasing cellular GSH in peroxynitrite-treated cells rescued KGDHC activity to the control level. The results suggest that restoring KGDHC activity is possible and may be a useful therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2011; 286(20):17640-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2010; 6(4). · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    Gary E Gibson, Qingli Shi
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is defined by senile plaques made of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta), neurofibrillary tangles made of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins, and memory deficits. Thus, the events initiating the cascade leading to these end points may be more effective therapeutic targets than treating each facet individually. In the small percentage of cases of AD that are genetic (or animal models that reflect this form of AD), the factor initiating AD is clear (e.g., genetic mutations lead to high Abeta1-42 or hyperphosphorylated tau proteins). In the vast majority of AD cases, the cause is unknown. Substantial evidence now suggests that abnormalities in glucose metabolism/mitochondrial function/oxidative stress (GMO) are an invariant feature of AD and occur at an early stage of the disease process in both genetic and non-genetic forms of AD. Indeed, decreases in brain glucose utilization are diagnostic for AD. Changes in calcium homeostasis also precede clinical manifestations of AD. Abnormal GMO can lead to plaques, tangles, and the calcium abnormalities that accompany AD. Abnormalities in GMO diminish the ability of the brain to adapt. Therapies targeting mitochondria may ameliorate abnormalities in plaques, tangles, calcium homeostasis, and cognition that comprise AD.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 01/2010; 20 Suppl 2:S591-607. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of a key mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle enzyme, alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), declines in many neurodegenerative diseases. KGDHC consists of three subunits. The dihydrolipoyl succinyl transferase (DLST) component is unique to KGDHC. DLST(+/-) mice showed reduced mRNA and protein levels and decreased brain mitochondrial KGDHC activity. Neurotoxic effects of mitochondrial toxins were exacerbated in DLST(+/-) mice. MPTP produced a significantly greater reduction of striatal dopamine and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta of DLST(+/-) mice. DLST deficiency enhanced the severity of lipid peroxidation in the substantia nigra after MPTP treatment. Striatal lesions induced by either malonate or 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) were significantly larger in DLST(+/-) mice than in wildtype controls. DLST deficiency enhanced the 3-NP inhibition of mitochondria enzymes, and 3-NP induced protein and DNA oxidations. These observations support the hypothesis that reductions in KGDHC may impair the adaptability of the brain and contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
    Neurobiology of Disease 09/2009; 36(2):320-30. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diminished energy metabolism and reduced activity of brain alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC) occur in a number of neurodegenerative diseases. The relation between diminished KGDHC activity and altered energy metabolism is unknown. The present study tested whether a reduction in the KGDHC activity would alter cellular metabolism by comparing metabolism of [U-13C]glucose in a human embryonic kidney cell line (E2k100) to one in which the KGDHC activity was about 70% of control (E2k67). After a 2 h incubation of the cells with [U-13C]glucose, the E2k67 cells showed a greater increase in 13C labeling of alanine compared with the E2k100 cells. This suggested an increase in glycolysis. Furthermore, an increase in labeled lactate after 12 h incubation supported the suggestion of an increased glycolysis in the E2k67 cells. Increased GABA shunt in the E2k67 cells was indicated by increased 13C labeling of GABA at both 2 and 12 h compared with the control cells. GABA concentration as determined by HPLC was also increased in the E2k67 cells compared with the control cells. However, the GABA shunt was not sufficient to normalize metabolism in the E2k67 cells compared with control at 2 or 12 h. However, by 24 h metabolism had normalized (i.e. labeling was similar in E2k67 and E2k100). Thus, the data are consistent with an enhanced glycolysis and GABA shunt in response to a mild reduction in KGDHC. Our findings indicate that a mild change in KGDHC activity can lead to large changes in metabolism. The changes may maintain normal energy metabolism but make the cells more vulnerable to perturbations such as occur with oxidants.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 05/2009; 109 Suppl 1:214-21. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Considerable data support the hypothesis that mitochondrial abnormalities link gene defects and/or environmental insults to the neurodegenerative process. The interaction of oxidants with calcium and the mitochondrial enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle are central to that relationship. Abnormalities that were discovered in brains or fibroblasts from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been modeled in vitro and in vivo to assess their pathophysiological importance and to determine how they might be reversed. The conclusions are consistent with the hypothesis that the AD-related abnormalities result from oxidative stress. The selection of compounds for reversal is complex because the actions of the relevant compounds vary under different conditions, such as cell redox states and acute versus chronic changes. However, the models that have been developed are useful for testing the effectiveness of the potential medications. The results suggest that the reversal of mitochondrial deficits and a reduction in oxidative stress will reduce clinical and pathological changes and benefit patients.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 01/2009; 1147:221-32. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and reductions in thiamine-dependent enzymes have been implicated in multiple neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Experimental thiamine deficiency (TD) is an established model for reducing the activities of thiamine-dependent enzymes in brain. TD diminishes thiamine-dependent enzymes throughout the brain, but produces a time-dependent selective neuronal loss, glial activation, inflammation, abnormalities in oxidative metabolism and clusters of degenerating neurites in only specific thalamic regions. The present studies tested how TD alters brain pathology in Tg19959 transgenic mice over expressing a double mutant form of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). TD exacerbated amyloid plaque pathology in transgenic mice and enlarged the area occupied by plaques in cortex, hippocampus and thalamus by 50%, 200% and 200%, respectively. TD increased Abeta(1-42) levels by about three fold, beta-CTF (C99) levels by 33% and beta-secretase (BACE1) protein levels by 43%. TD-induced inflammation in areas of plaque formation. Thus, the induction of mild impairment of oxidative metabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation induced by TD alters metabolism of APP and/or Abeta and promotes accumulation of plaques independent of neuron loss or neuritic clusters.
    Neurobiology of aging 05/2008; 30(10):1587-600. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Measures in autopsied brains from Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients reveal a decrease in the activity of alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC) and an increase in malate dehydrogenase (MDH) activity. The present experiments tested whether both changes could be caused by the common oxidant H(2)O(2) and to probe the mechanism underlying these changes. Since the response to H(2)O(2) is modified by the level of the E2k subunit of KGDHC, the interaction of MDH and KGDHC was studied in cells with varying levels of E2k. In cells with only 23% of normal E2k protein levels, one-hour treatment with H(2)O(2) decreased KGDHC and increased MDH activity as well as the mRNA level for both cytosolic and mitochondrial MDH. The increase in MDH did not occur in cells with 100% or 46% of normal E2k. Longer treatments with H(2)O(2) inhibited the activity of both enzymes. Glutathione is a major regulator of cellular redox state and can modify enzyme activities. H(2)O(2) converts reduced glutathione (GSH) to oxidized glutathione (GSSG), which reacts with protein thiols. Treatment of purified KGDHC with GSSG leads to glutathionylation of all three KGDHC subunits. Thus, cellular glutathione level was manipulated by two means to determine the effect on KGDHC and MDH activities. Both buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), which inhibits glutathione synthesis without altering redox state, and H(2)O(2) diminished glutathione to a similar level after 24 h. However, H(2)O(2), but not BSO, reduced KGDHC and MDH activities, and the reduction was greater in the E2k-23 line. These findings suggest that the E2k may mediate diverse responses of KGDHC and MDH to oxidants. In addition, the differential response of activities to BSO and H(2)O(2) together with the in vitro interaction of KGDHC with GSSG suggests that glutathionylation is one possible mechanism underlying oxidative stress-induced inhibition of the TCA cycle enzymes.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2008; 1782(4):229-38. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2008; 4(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormalities in oxidative metabolism and reductions of thiamine-dependent enzymes accompany many age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Thiamine deficiency (TD) produces a cascade of events including mild impairment of oxidative metabolism, activation of microglia, astrocytes and endothelial cells that leads to neuronal loss in select brain regions. The earliest changes occur in a small, well-defined brain region, the submedial thalamic nucleus (SmTN). In the present study, a micropunch technique was used to evaluate quantitatively the selective regional changes in mRNA and protein levels. To test whether this method can distinguish between changes in vulnerable and non-vulnerable regions, markers for neuronal loss (NeuN) and endothelial cells (eNOS) and inflammation (IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha) in SmTN and cortex of control and TD mice were assessed. TD significantly reduced NeuN and increased CD11b, GFAP and ICAM-1 immunoreactivity in SmTN as revealed by immunocytochemistry. When assessed on samples obtained by the micropunch method, NeuN protein declined (-49%), while increased mRNA levels were observed for eNOS (3.7-fold), IL-1beta (43-fold), IL-6 (44-fold) and TNF-alpha (64-fold) in SmTN with TD. The only TD-induced change that occurred in cortex with TD was an increase in TNF-alpha (22-fold) mRNA levels. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha protein levels increased in TD brains and colocalized with glial markers. The consistency of these quantitative results with immunocytochemical measurements validates the micropunch technique. The results demonstrate that TD induces quantitative, distinct inflammatory responses and oxidative stress in vulnerable and non-vulnerable regions that may underlie selective vulnerability.
    Neurobiology of Disease 05/2007; 26(2):353-62. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    Qingli Shi, Gary E Gibson
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer disease (AD) is defined by progressive impairments in memory and cognition and by the presence of extracellular neuritic plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. However, oxidative stress and impaired mitochondrial function always accompany AD. Mitochondria are a major site of production of free radicals [ie, reactive oxygen species (ROS)] and primary targets of ROS. ROS are cytotoxic, and evidence of ROS-induced damage to cell membranes, proteins, and DNA in AD is overwhelming. Nevertheless, therapies based on antioxidants have been disappointing. Thus, alternative strategies are necessary. ROS also act as signaling molecules including for transcription. Thus, chronic exposure to ROS in AD could activate cascades of genes. Although initially protective, prolonged activation may be damaging. Thus, therapeutic approaches based on modulation of these gene cascades may lead to effective therapies. Genes involved in several pathways including antioxidant defense, detoxification, inflammation, etc, are induced in response to oxidative stress and in AD. However, genes that are associated with energy metabolism, which is necessary for normal brain function, are mostly down-regulated. Redox-sensitive transcription factors such as activator protein-1, nuclear factor-kappaB, specificity protein-1, and hypoxia-inducible factor are important in redox-dependent gene regulation. Peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC-1alpha) is a coactivator of several transcription factors and is a potent stimulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration. Down-regulated expression of PGC-1alpha has been implicated in Huntington disease and in several Huntington disease animal models. PGC-1alpha role in regulation of ROS metabolism makes it a potential candidate player between ROS, mitochondria, and neurodegenerative diseases. This review summarizes the current progress on how oxidative stress regulates the expression of genes that might contribute to AD pathophysiology and the implications of the transcriptional modifications for AD. Finally, potential therapeutic strategies based on the updated understandings of redox state-dependent gene regulation in AD are proposed to overcome the lack of efficacy of antioxidant therapies.
    Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 01/2007; 21(4):276-91. · 2.73 Impact Factor
  • Article: P3-358
    Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2006; 2(3).
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC) declines in brains of patients with several neurodegenerative diseases. KGDHC consists of multiple copies of E1k, E2k, and E3. E1k and E2k are unique to KGDHC and may have functions independent of the complex. The present study tested the consequences of different levels of diminished E2k mRNA on protein levels of the subunits, KGDHC activity, and physiological responses. Human embryonic kidney cells were stably transfected with an E2k sense or antisense expression vector. Sense control (E2k-mRNA-100) was compared with two clones in which the mRNA was reduced to 67% of control (E2k-mRNA-67) or to 30% of control (E2k-mRNA-30). The levels of the E2k protein in clones paralleled the reduction in mRNA, and E3 proteins were unaltered. Unexpectedly, the clone with the greatest reduction in E2k protein (E2k-mRNA-30) had a 40% increase in E1k protein. The activity of the complex was only 52% of normal in E2k-mRNA-67 clone, but was near normal (90%) in E2k-mRNA-30 clone. Subsequent experiments tested whether the physiological consequences of a reduction in E2k mRNA correlated more closely to E2k protein or to KGDHC activity. Growth rate, increased DCF-detectable reactive oxygen species, and cell death in response to added oxidant were proportional to E2k proteins, but not complex activity. These results were not predicted because subunits unique to KGDHC have never been manipulated in mammalian cells. These results suggest that in addition to its essential role in metabolism, the E2k component of KGDHC may have other novel roles.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2005; 280(12):10888-96. · 4.65 Impact Factor