Yan Chen

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, MI, United States

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Publications (16)54.44 Total impact

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    03/2012; , ISBN: 978-953-51-0248-9
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    ABSTRACT: Cumulative oxidative damage is implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a transcription factor that plays key roles in retinal antioxidant and detoxification responses. The purposes of this study were to determine whether NRF2-deficient mice would develop AMD-like retinal pathology with aging and to explore the underlying mechanisms. Eyes of both wild type and Nrf2(-/-) mice were examined in vivo by fundus photography and electroretinography (ERG). Structural changes of the outer retina in aged animals were examined by light and electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence labeling. Our results showed that Nrf2(-/-) mice developed age-dependent degenerative pathology in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Drusen-like deposits, accumulation of lipofuscin, spontaneous choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and sub-RPE deposition of inflammatory proteins were present in Nrf2(-/-) mice after 12 months. Accumulation of autophagy-related vacuoles and multivesicular bodies was identified by electron microscopy both within the RPE and in Bruch's membrane of aged Nrf2(-/-) mice. Our data suggest that disruption of Nfe2l2 gene increased the vulnerability of outer retina to age-related degeneration. NRF2-deficient mice developed ocular pathology similar to cardinal features of human AMD and deregulated autophagy is likely a mechanistic link between oxidative injury and inflammation. The Nrf2(-/-) mice can provide a novel model for mechanistic and translational research on AMD.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e19456. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-mediated pathways play central roles in regulating aging. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the mTOR cascade in human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and to investigate its potential roles in controlling RPE senescence. Expression of major components of the mTOR signaling networks was evaluated by Western blot analyses. Formations of the two signaling complexes of mTOR, mTORC1, and mTORC2 were determined by coimmunoprecipitation. The activation of mTORC1 was monitored by measuring the phosphorylation status of the downstream substrate protein S6. Senescence of the cultured human RPE cells was assessed by measuring both the senescence associated-β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) activity and the expression level of p16, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Human RPE cells contained functional mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling complexes. The assembly and activity of mTORC1 were regulated by upstream nutrient and growth factor signals. The sensitivity of mTORC1 to extracellular nutrient stimuli increased in RPE cells that had developed in vitro senescence. Suppression of the mTORC1 by rapamycin prevented the appearance of senescence markers in the RPE. The mTOR pathway presented age-associated changes in human RPE cells, and downregulation of mTORC1 could delay the aging process of the RPE.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 05/2010; 51(10):5314-9. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) is a major lipid peroxidation product in the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) and phosphatidylinositol 3 (PI3K) pathways affect the responses of cultured human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells to 4-HNE. Cultured ARPE-19 cells were treated with different concentrations of 4-HNE and a PI3K inhibitor, LY294002. Intracellular glutathione (GSH) was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The transcriptional activity of Nrf2 was measured by dual luciferase assay after transient transfection with reporter plasmids. The mRNA level of glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL) was quantified by real-time RT-PCR. Formation of HNE adduct on heat shock cognate protein 70 (Hsc70) was measured by immunoprecipitation and Western blot analyses. Treatment with 4-HNE increased Nrf2 activity and GSH synthesis in a dose-dependent manner in cultured RPE cells. The modulatory subunit of GCL was upregulated by 4-HNE. Antioxidant responses were largely abolished by pretreatment with LY294002. The modification of Hsc70 by 4-HNE was increased when PI3K was inhibited. The Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response protects against 4-HNE toxicity, and this protective mechanism is dependent on the functions of the PI3K pathway.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 10/2008; 50(2):936-42. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thioredoxin 2 (Trx2) is a mitochondrially localized antioxidant and antiapoptotic protein, whose functions are mainly dependent on the conserved cysteines at its redox active center. In the current study, we showed by mass spectrometry that a thiol alkylating agent, N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), alkylated a single cysteine residue in the active center of Trx2. The interaction between NEM and Trx2 in intact cells was confirmed by redox Western analysis. Overexpression of Trx2 in cultured 143B osteosarcoma cells caused increased sensitivity to NEM. Covalent modification by NEM resulted in a dominant-negative effect and increased the interaction between Trx2 and peroxiredoxin 3 (Prx3). Our data suggest that the alkylation of the essential thiol(s) of Trx2 has profound impact on the mitochondrial redox circuitry and that such effects are distinct from the responses to agents causing reversible disulfide bond formation between the vicinal dithiols in the active center.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 06/2008; 21(6):1205-10. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterize the involvement of Zip2, a zinc transporter protein, in the antioxidant functions of cultured human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. The expression of zinc transporter proteins was determined by RT-PCR. Intracellular zinc concentration was assessed by staining with a zinc-sensitive dye followed by flow cytometry. Stable overexpression of the transporter protein Zip2 was achieved by transducing ARPE-19 cells with a retroviral vector containing the open reading frame of the human Zip2 gene. Activity of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was measured using a dual luciferase assay after transient transfection of reporter plasmids containing the antioxidant response element (ARE). Glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) expression was measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Cultured RPE cells could transport zinc with Zip2 as an influx transporter expressed in ARPE-19 cells and human RPE cells isolated from postmortem donor eyes. The mRNA level of Zip2 was influenced by intracellular and extracellular zinc concentrations. Overexpression of Zip2 resulted in increased Nrf2 activity, higher GCL expression, and increased glutathione synthesis. RPE cells can actively uptake zinc through the transporter Zip2, and the increased intracellular zinc upregulates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant function.
    Investigative Ophthalmology &amp Visual Science 05/2008; 49(4):1665-70. · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate functional interactions between the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway and the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-dependent antioxidant system in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. Cultured ARPE-19 cells were treated with different concentrations of PI3K inhibitors, followed by exposure to sulforaphane, an Nrf2 inducer. Akt phosphorylation was detected by Western blot analysis. Intracellular glutathione (GSH) content was measured by HPLC. Expression of genes downstream of Nrf2, including glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) and glutathione S-transferase, was measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Nrf2 activity was measured by a dual luciferase assay after transfection of a reporter plasmid containing the antioxidant response element (ARE). The small interference RNA approach was used to knock down Nrf2 in the RPE. Nrf2 localization was determined by subcellular fractionation and Western blot analyses. PI3K inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002 caused dose-dependent cellular and mitochondrial GSH depletion and downregulation of the modulatory subunit of GCL in cultured RPE cells. Both the basal and the induced Nrf2 activities were inhibited by wortmannin and LY294002. Overexpression of a constitutively active form of Akt potentiated Nrf2 activation, and the effect of Akt was blocked by siRNA that knocked down Nrf2. LY294002 also inhibited sulforaphane-induced Nrf2 nuclear translocation. The PI3K/Akt pathway plays key roles in regulating Nrf2-ARE-dependent protection against oxidative stress in the RPE.
    Investigative Ophthalmology &amp Visual Science 05/2008; 49(4):1671-8. · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The immunophilin protein FKBP8 interacts with Bcl2/Bcl-XL and is essential for mouse eye development. The purpose of this study was to define the expression of the FKBP8 gene in cultured human RPE cells and explore its involvement in the control of apoptosis. Rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) was performed on RNA isolated from human RPE cells. The existence of FKBP8 and a splice variant was confirmed by RT-PCR. The interaction between Bcl-XL and FKBP8 was measured by coimmunoprecipitation. ARPE-19 cells stably overexpressing FKBP8 and its splice variant were established. Their responses to thapsigargin and t-butyl hydroperoxide-induced cell death were measured by flow cytometry. Apoptosis was determined by terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated fluorescein-dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay. The activities of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) were measured by reporter assay after transient transfection. RACE and RT-PCR identified a splice variant of FKBP8 lacking exons 3, 4, and 5 in human RPE cells. Both the full-length and the short form of FKBP8 proteins showed mitochondrial distribution and directly interacted with Bcl-XL. Overexpression of FKBP8 caused increased sensitivity to apoptosis induced by thapsigargin. The transcriptional activity of NFAT was not affected by FKBP8. FKBP8 and its novel splice variant are Bcl-XL-interacting proteins and regulate the apoptotic signaling pathways in the RPE.
    Investigative Ophthalmology &amp Visual Science 05/2008; 49(4):1721-7. · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial thioredoxin (mtTrx) can be oxidized in response to inducers of oxidative stress; yet the functional consequences of the oxidation have not been determined. This study evaluated the redox status of mtTrx and its association to oxidant-induced apoptosis. Results showed that mtTrx was oxidized after exposure to peroxides and diamide. Overexpression of mtTrx protected against diamide-induced oxidation and cytotoxicity. Oxidation of mtTrx was also achieved by knocking down its reductase; and lead to increased susceptibility to cell death. The data indicate that the redox status of mtTrx is a regulatory mechanism underlying the vulnerability of mitochondria to oxidative injury.
    FEBS Letters 01/2007; 580(28-29):6596-602. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial oxidative stress plays important roles in aging and age-related degenerative disorders. The newly identified mitochondrial thioredoxin (mtTrx; Trx2) is a key component of the mitochondrial antioxidant system which is responsible for the clearance of reactive intermediates and repairs proteins with oxidative damage. Here, we show that in cultured SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma 1cells, overexpression of mtTrx inhibited apoptosis and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential induced by a chemical oxidant, tert-butylhydroperoxide (tBH). The effects of calcium ionophore (Br-A23187) were not affected by mtTrx, suggesting the protection was specific against oxidative injury. The mitochondrial glutathione pool was oxidized by tBH, and this oxidation was not inhibited by increased mtTrx. Consequently, the antioxidant function of mtTrx is not redundant, but rather in addition, to that of GSH. Mutations of Cys90 and Cys93 to serines rendered mtTrx ineffective in protection against tBH-induced cytoxicity. These data indicate that mtTrx controls the mitochondrial redox status independently of GSH and is a key component of the defensive mechanism against oxidative stress in cultured neuronal cells.
    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 11/2006; 216(2):256-62. · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective effects of zinc against oxidative stress in cultured retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Cultured ARPE-19 cells were treated with different concentrations of zinc for various times. Cellular glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) expression was measured by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). Nuclear factor erythroid2-related factor (Nrf2) activity was measured in a dual luciferase assay after transfection of reporter plasmids containing the antioxidant response element (ARE). The small interference (si)RNA approach was used to knock down the expression of Nrf2. Zinc significantly increased GSH levels in ARPE-19 cells through induction of the de novo synthesis pathway. At 150 microM, zinc increased the GSH level by 70%. At similar concentrations, zinc upregulated the mRNA level of GCL and activated the ARE-Nrf2 pathway. The effects of zinc on ARE activation and GSH synthesis were inhibited by knockdown of Nrf2 expression using the siRNA approach. Induction of the ARE-Nrf2 pathway by zinc provides powerful and prolonged antioxidation and detoxification that may explain the beneficial effects of zinc observed in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
    Investigative Ophthalmology &amp Visual Science 07/2006; 47(6):2709-15. · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Produced by dietary fiber, butyrate is a potential chemopreventive agent against colon cancer. It stimulates proliferation of normal colonic epithelial cells but induces growth inhibition, differentiation, apoptosis, or a combination of effects in colon carcinoma cells. In this study, we used cDNA membrane arrays and real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to identify stress genes that were differentially regulated by sodium butyrate (NaB) in HT 29 human colon carcinoma cells. The results indicated that a group of heat shock protein (hsp) genes were upregulated by 3 mM NaB within the first 24 hours of exposure. Because the transcription of hsp genes is under the control of heat shock factors (HSFs), we measured the effects of overexpressed HSF-1 on the responses of HT 29 cells to NaB. Overexpression of HSF-1 inhibited NaB-induced differentiation as measured by alkaline phosphatase activity and carcinoembryonic antigen expression. These results suggest that increased expression of HSFs and Hsps might render colon carcinoma cells resistant to the chemopreventive effects of butyrate.
    Cell Stress and Chaperones 02/2006; 11(3):199-207. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colon epithelial cells have a defined life span and undergo terminal differentiation as they mature and migrate to the luminal surface. The differentiation process can be induced in cultured colon cancer cells by sodium butyrate, which induces expression of various differentiation markers followed subsequently by cell death. In the present study, HT29 colorectal carcinoma cells were shown to undergo butyrate-induced caspase activation that was mainly produced through a mitochondrial pathway. Inhibition of caspase activation, either by peptide pan caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, by caspase 9 inhibitor Z-LEHD-FMK, or by overexpression of Bcl-XL, also inhibited the expression of differentiation markers. These findings suggest (a) that terminal differentiation of HT29 colon carcinoma cells is tightly linked to caspase activation and (b) that increased expression of anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins, as well as other inhibitors of caspase activation, has the potential to inhibit terminal differentiation and thereby may contribute to the progression of colon cancer.
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 05/2004; 424(2):119-27. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infection by RNA virus induces oxidative stress in host cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that cellular redox status plays an important role in regulating viral replication and infectivity. In this study, experiments were performed to determine whether the thiol antioxidant glutathione (GSH) blocked influenza viral infection in cultures of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells or human small airway epithelial cells. Protection against production of active virus particles was observed at a low (0.05-0.1) multiplicity of infection (MOI). GSH inhibited expression of viral matrix protein and inhibited virally induced caspase activation and Fas upregulation. In BALB/c mice, inclusion of GSH in the drinking water decreased viral titer in both lung and trachea homogenates 4 d after intranasal inoculation with a mouse-adapted influenza strain A/X-31. Together, the data suggest that the thiol antioxidant GSH has an anti-influenza activity in vitro and in vivo. Oxidative stress or other conditions that deplete GSH in the epithelium of the oral, nasal, and upper airway may, therefore, enhance susceptibility to influenza infection.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 05/2003; 34(7):928-36. · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    BioFactors 02/2003; 17(1-4):307-14. · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative damage to mitochondria is a central mechanism of apoptosis induced by many toxic chemicals. Thioredoxin family proteins share a conserved Cys-X-X-Cys motif at their active center and play important roles in control of cellular redox state and protection against oxidative damage. In addition to the well studied cytosolic and extracellular form (Trx1), rat and avian mitochondrial forms of thioredoxin (mtTrx) have been reported. In this study, we cloned the full-length human mtTrx cDNA and performed localization and functional studies in 143B human osteosarcoma cells. The coding sequence of human mtTrx consists of a region with homology to Trx1 as well as a putative mitochondrial localization signal (MLS) at its N terminus. In stably transfected cell lines, mtTrx had a mitochondrial localization as measured by subcellular fractionation studies and by confocal fluorescence microscopy. Deletion of the MLS rendered mtTrx to be solely expressed in the cytosolic fraction. On SDS-PAGE, transfected mtTrx had the same apparent molecular weight as the MLS truncated form, indicating that the leader sequence is cleaved during or after mitochondrial import. Treatment with the oxidant tert-butylhydroperoxide induced apoptosis in 143B cells. This oxidant-induced apoptosis was inhibited by overexpressing the full-length mtTrx in 143B cells. Thus, human mtTrx is a member of the thioredoxin family of proteins localized to mitochondria and may play important roles in protection against oxidant-induced apoptosis.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2002; 277(36):33242-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

433 Citations
54.44 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2011
    • Vanderbilt University
      • • Vanderbilt Eye Institute
      • • Vanderbilt Brain Institute
      Nashville, MI, United States
  • 2002–2007
    • Emory University
      • • Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      Atlanta, GA, United States