Inhibition of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β Promotes Tight Junction Stability in Brain Endothelial Cells by Half-Life Extension of Occludin and Claudin-5

Center for Substance Abuse Research, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 02/2013; 8(2):e55972. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055972
Source: PubMed


Neuroinflammatory conditions often involve dysfunction of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). Therefore, identifying molecular targets that can maintain barrier fidelity is of clinical importance. We have previously reported on the anti-inflammatory effects that glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) inhibition has on primary human brain endothelial cells. Here we show that GSK3β inhibitors also promote barrier tightness by affecting tight junction (TJ) protein stability. Transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) was used to evaluate barrier integrity with both pharmacological inhibitors and mutants of GSK3β. Inhibition of GSK3β produced a gradual and sustained increase in TEER (as much as 22% over baseline). Analysis of subcellular membrane fractions revealed an increase in the amount of essential tight junction proteins, occludin and claudin-5, but not claudin-3. This phenomenon was attributed to a decrease in TJ protein turnover and not transcriptional regulation. Using a novel cell-based assay, inactivation of GSK3β significantly increased the half-life of occludin and claudin-5 by 32% and 43%, respectively. A correlation was also established between the enhanced association of β-catenin with ZO-1 as a function of GSK3β inhibition. Collectively, our findings suggest the possibility of using GSK3β inhibitors as a means to extend the half-life of key tight junction proteins to promote re-sealing of the BBB during neuroinflammation.

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Available from: Holly Dykstra
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    • "It is not clear about the half-life of Occludin and Claudin-1 proteins in vivo. In vitro studies showed that basal half-life of Occludin was about ∼6 hours in primary human brain microvascular cells [31] and basal half-life of Claudin-1 was also about ∼6 hours in human lung carcinoma cell line A549 cells [32]. Hence, we speculate that Occludin and Claudin-1 proteins might have relatively short half-life in the mouse colon and circadian regulation of these molecules at the transcriptional levels could indeed contribute to the changes of the protein levels in vivo. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background & Aims The circadian clock drives daily rhythms in behavior and physiology. A recent study suggests that intestinal permeability is also under control of the circadian clock. However, the precise mechanisms remain largely unknown. Because intestinal permeability depends on tight junction (TJ) that regulates the epithelial paracellular pathway, this study investigated whether the circadian clock regulates the expression levels of TJ proteins in the intestine. Methods The expression levels of TJ proteins in the large intestinal epithelium and colonic permeability were analyzed every 4, 6, or 12 hours between wild-type mice and mice with a mutation of a key clock gene Period2 (Per2; mPer2m/m). In addition, the susceptibility to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis was compared between wild-type mice and mPer2m/m mice. Results The mRNA and protein expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 exhibited daily variations in the colonic epithelium in wild-type mice, whereas they were constitutively high in mPer2m/m mice. Colonic permeability in wild-type mice exhibited daily variations, which was inversely associated with the expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 proteins, whereas it was constitutively low in mPer2m/m mice. mPer2m/m mice were more resistant to the colonic injury induced by DSS than wild-type mice. Conclusions Occludin and Claudin-1 expressions in the large intestine are under the circadian control, which is associated with temporal regulation of colonic permeability and also susceptibility to colitis.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Our findings are consistent with previous reports that HC can maintain the integrity of tight junctions and thus, stabilize the BBB [20]. The activation of endogenous antioxidant proteins and inhibition of neuroinflammation restores claudin-5 levels and protects against TBI-induced increase in BBB permeability [49,50]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The spectrum of critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency (CIRCI) in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not fully defined and no effective treatments for TBI-induced CIRCI are available to date. Despite growing interest in the use of stress-dose hydrocortisone as a potential therapy for CIRCI, there remains a paucity of data regarding its benefits following severe TBI. This study was designed to investigate the effects of stress-dose hydrocortisone on CIRCI development and neurological outcomes in a rat model of severe traumatic brain injury. Rats were subjected to lateral fluid percussion injury of 3.2-3.5 atmosphere. These rats were then treated with either a stress-dose hydrocortisone (HC, 3 mg/kg/d for 5 days, 1.5 mg/kg on day 6, and 0.75 mg on day 7), a low-dose methylprednisolone (MP, 1 mg/kg/d for 5 days, 0.5 mg/kg on day 6, and 0.25 mg on day 7) or control saline solution intraperitoneally daily for 7 days after injury. We investigated the effects of stress-dose HC on the mortality, CIRCI occurrence, and neurological deficits using an electrical stimulation test to assess corticosteroid response and modified neurological severity score (mNSS). We also studied pathological changes in the hypothalamus, especially in the paraventricular nuclei (PVN), after stress-dose HC or a low dose of MP was administered, including apoptosis detected by a TUNEL assay, blood--brain barrier (BBB) permeability assessed by brain water content and Evans Blue extravasation into the cerebral parenchyma, and BBB integrity evaluated by CD31 and claudin-5 expression. We made the following observations. First, 70% injured rats developed CIRCI, with a peak incidence on post-injury day 7. The TBI-associated CIRCI was closely correlated with an increased mortality and delayed neurological recovery. Second, post-injury administration of stress-dose HC, but not MP or saline increased corticosteroid response, prevented CIRCI, reduced mortality, and improved neurological function during the first 14 days post injury dosing. Thirdly, these beneficial effects were closely related to improved vascular function by the preservation of tight junctions in surviving endothelial cells, and reduced neural apoptosis in the PVN of hypothalamus. Our findings indicate that post-injury administration of stress-dose HC, but not MP reduces CIRCI and improves neurological recovery. These improvements are associated with reducing the damage to the tight junction of vascular endothelial cells and blocking neuronal apoptosis in the PVN of the hypothalamus.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Critical care (London, England)
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    • "Up to now, we could not detect GSK3β-dependent phosphorylation of occludin neither with nor without pre-phosphorylation with CK2 in vitro. Thus the recently reported stabilization of endothelial TJs in response to inhibition of GSK3β [59] may be an indirect effect. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Casein kinase 2 (CK2) is a ubiquitously expressed Ser/Thr kinase with multiple functions in the regulation of cell proliferation and transformation. In targeting adherens and tight junctions (TJs), CK2 modulates the strength and dynamics of epithelial cell-cell contacts. Occludin previously was identified as a substrate of CK2, however the functional consequences of CK2-dependent occludin phosphorylation on TJ function were unknown. Results Here, we present evidence that phosphorylation of a Thr400-XXX-Thr404-XXX-Ser408 motif in the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of human occludin regulates assembly/disassembly and barrier properties of TJs. In contrast to wildtype and T400A/T404A/S408A-mutated occludin, a phospho-mimetic Occ-T400E/T404E/S408E construct was impaired in binding to ZO-2. Interestingly, pre-phosphorylation of a GST-Occ C-terminal domain fusion protein attenuated binding to ZO-2, whereas, binding to ZO-1 was not affected. Moreover, Occ-T400E/T404E/S408E showed delayed reassembly into TJs in Ca2+-switch experiments. Stable expression of Occ-T400E/T404E/S408E in MDCK C11 cells augments barrier properties in enhancing paracellular resistance in two-path impedance spectroscopy, whereas expression of wildtype and Occ-T400A/T404A/S408A did not affect transepithelial resistance. Conclusions These results suggest an important role of CK2 in epithelial tight junction regulation. The occludin sequence motif at amino acids 400–408 apparently represents a hotspot for Ser/Thr-kinase phosphorylation and depending on the residue(s) which are phosphorylated it differentially modulates the functional properties of the TJ.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Cell Communication and Signaling
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