Protein S Protects Neurons from Excitotoxic Injury by Activating the TAM Receptor Tyro3-Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase-Akt Pathway through Its Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin-Like Region

Center for Neurodegenerative and Vascular Brain Disorders, Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 11/2010; 30(46):15521-34. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4437-10.2010
Source: PubMed


The anticoagulant factor protein S (PS) protects neurons from hypoxic/ischemic injury. However, molecular mechanisms mediating PS protection in injured neurons remain unknown. Here, we show mouse recombinant PS protects dose-dependently mouse cortical neurons from excitotoxic NMDA-mediated neuritic bead formation and apoptosis by activating the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway (EC(50) = 26 ± 4 nm). PS stimulated phosphorylation of Bad and Mdm2, two downstream targets of Akt, which in neurons subjected to pathological overstimulation of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) increased the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) levels and reduced the proapoptotic p53 and Bax levels. Adenoviral transduction with a kinase-deficient Akt mutant (Ad.Akt(K179A)) resulted in loss of PS-mediated neuronal protection, Akt activation, and Bad and Mdm2 phosphorylation. Using the TAM receptors tyrosine kinases Tyro3-, Axl-, and Mer-deficient neurons, we showed that PS protected neurons lacking Axl and Mer, but not Tyro3, suggesting a requirement of Tyro3 for PS-mediated protection. Consistent with these results, PS dose-dependently phosphorylated Tyro3 on neurons (EC(50) = 25 ± 3 nm). In an in vivo model of NMDA-induced excitotoxic lesions in the striatum, PS dose-dependently reduced the lesion volume in control mice (EC(50) = 22 ± 2 nm) and protected Axl(-/-) and Mer(-/-) transgenic mice, but not Tyro3(-/-) transgenic mice. Using different structural PS analogs, we demonstrated that the C terminus sex hormone-binding globulin-like (SHBG) domain of PS is critical for neuronal protection in vitro and in vivo. Thus, our data show that PS protects neurons by activating the Tyro3-PI3K-Akt pathway via its SHGB domain, suggesting potentially a novel neuroprotective approach for acute brain injury and chronic neurodegenerative disorders associated with excessive activation of NMDARs.

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Available from: Jose A. Fernandez, Dec 26, 2013
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    • "Axl has two consensus binding sites for p85 [52], [53] and one of these can bind both Grb2 and p85 in intact cells [54]. Tyro3 also has a consensus p85 binding site [29] and has been shown to activate AKT [22], [23], mTOR and p70S6 kinase in cortical neurons [22]. What are the mechanisms that could account for a decrease in PI(3)K signaling upon Tyro3 expression? "
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    ABSTRACT: The dysregulation of receptor protein tyrosine kinase (RPTK) function can result in changes in cell proliferation, cell growth and metastasis leading to malignant transformation. Among RPTKs, the TAM receptor family composed of three members Tyro3, Axl, and Mer has been recognized to have a prominent role in cell transformation. In this study we analyzed the consequences of Tyro3 overexpression on cell proliferation, activation of signaling pathways and its functional interactions with Axl. Overexpression of Tyro3 in the Rat2 cell line that expresses Axl, but not Mer or Tyro3, resulted in a 5 fold increase in cell proliferation. This increase was partially blocked by inhibitors of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway but not by inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI(3)K) signaling pathway. Consistent with these findings, an increase in ERK1/2 phosphorylation was detected with Tyro3 but not with Axl overexpression. In contrast, activation of Axl stimulated the PI(3)K pathway, which was mitigated by co-expression of Tyro3. The overexpression of Tyro3 enhanced Gas6-mediated Axl phosphorylation, which was not detected upon overexpression of a "kinase dead" form of Tyro3 (kdTyro3). In addition, the overexpression of Axl induced kdTyro3 phosphorylation. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that the Axl and Tyro3 receptors are closely associated. These findings show that overexpression of Tyro3 in the presence of Axl promotes cell proliferation, and that co-expression of Axl and Tyro3 can affect the outcome of Gas6-initiated signaling. Furthermore, they demonstrate a functional interaction between the members of the TAM receptor family which can shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying the functional consequences of TAM receptor activation in cell transformation, neural function, immune function, and reproductive function among others.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Recently, we have demonstrated that PS protects neurons from NMDA-induced excitotoxic injury by phosphorylating Bad and Mdm2 which in turn blocks the downstream steps in the intrinsic apoptotic cascade [27]. To test whether PS can protect neurons from tPA toxicity we employed a model of tPA and NMDA combined injury [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Thrombolytic therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) benefits patients with acute ischemic stroke. However, tPA increases the risk for intracerebral bleeding and enhances post-ischemic neuronal injury if administered 3-4 hours after stroke. Therefore, combination therapies with tPA and neuroprotective agents have been considered to increase tPA's therapeutic window and reduce toxicity. The anticoagulant factor protein S (PS) protects neurons from hypoxic/ischemic injury. PS also inhibits N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) excitotoxicity by phosphorylating Bad and Mdm2 which blocks the downstream steps in the intrinsic apoptotic cascade. To test whether PS can protect neurons from tPA toxicity we studied its effects on tPA/NMDA combined injury which in contrast to NMDA alone kills neurons by activating the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Neither Bad nor Mdm2 which are PS's targets and control the intrinsic apoptotic pathway can influence the extrinsic cascade. Thus, based on published data one cannot predict whether PS can protect neurons from tPA/NMDA injury by blocking the extrinsic pathway. Neurons express all three TAM (Tyro3, Axl, Mer) receptors that can potentially interact with PS. Therefore, we studied whether PS can activate TAM receptors during a tPA/NMDA insult. We show that PS protects neurons from tPA/NMDA-induced apoptosis by suppressing Fas-ligand (FasL) production and FasL-dependent caspase-8 activation within the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. By transducing neurons with adenoviral vectors expressing the kinase-deficient Akt mutant AktK179A and a triple FKHRL1 Akt phosphorylation site mutant (FKHRL1-TM), we show that Akt activation and Akt-mediated phosphorylation of FKHRL1, a member of the Forkhead family of transcription factors, are critical for FasL down-regulation and caspase-8 inhibition. Using cultured neurons from Tyro3, Axl and Mer mutants, we show that Tyro3, but not Axl and Mer, mediates phosphorylation of FHKRL1 that is required for PS-mediated neuronal protection after tPA/NMDA-induced injury. PS blocks the extrinsic apoptotic cascade through a novel mechanism mediated by Tyro3-dependent FKHRL1 phosphorylation which inhibits FasL-dependent caspase-8 activation and can control tPA-induced neurotoxicity associated with pathologic activation of NMDA receptors. The present findings should encourage future studies in animal stroke models to determine whether PS can increase the therapeutic window of tPA by reducing its post-ischemic neuronal toxicity.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Molecular Neurodegeneration
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    ABSTRACT: Ample clinical and preclinical evidence indicates that macrophages interact with tumor cells as well as with virtually all populations of host cells present in the tumor microenvironment. This crosstalk can strongly promote malignancy, but also has in principle the potential to inhibit tumor growth. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to improve our understanding of the mechanisms driving the pro- and antimalignant behavior of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in order to develop better anticancer therapies. In this review, we discuss the biological consequences of reciprocal interactions between TAMs, cancer cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and other leukocyte subfractions within tumors. It was recently elucidated that tumors specifically educate macrophages to secrete growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6), the common ligand of the Tyro3, Axl, Mer receptor (TAMR) family. In turn, Gas6 fosters tumor growth by promoting cancer cell proliferation. Therefore, the Gas6-TAMR axis might represent a novel target for disrupting tumor-macrophage crosstalk. We summarize here what is known about TAMR and their ligands in (human) cancer biology. In order to shed more light on the role of macrophages in human cancer, we additionally provide an overview of what is currently known about the prognostic impact of TAMs in human cancer.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS
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