MPP + -induced neuronal death in rats involves tyrosine 33 phosphorylation of WW domain-containing oxidoreductase WOX1

Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 70101, ROC.
European Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.18). 05/2008; 27(7):1634-46. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06139.x
Source: PubMed


WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (named WWOX, FOR or WOX1) is a pro-apoptotic protein and tumor suppressor. Animals treated with dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+) develop Parkinson's disease (PD)-like symptoms. Here we investigated whether WOX1 is involved in MPP+-induced neurodegeneration. Upon insult with MPP+ in rat brains, WOX1 protein was upregulated and phosphorylated at Tyr33 (or activated) in the injured neurons in the striatum and cortex ipsilaterally to intoxication, as determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Also, WOX1 was present in the condensed nuclei and damaged mitochondria of degenerative neurons, as revealed by transmission immunoelectron microscopy. Time-lapse microscopy revealed that MPP+ induced membrane blebbing and shrinkage of neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells. Dominant-negative WOX1, a potent inhibitor of Tyr33 phosphorylation, abolished this event, indicating a critical role of the phosphorylation in apoptosis. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK1) is known to bind and counteract the apoptotic function of WOX1. Suppression of JNK1 function by a dominant-negative spontaneously induced WOX1 activation. WOX1 physically interacted with JNK1 in SK-N-SH cells and rat brain extracts. MPP+ rapidly increased the binding, followed by dissociation, which is probably needed for WOX1 to exert apoptosis. We synthesized a short Tyr33-phosphorylated WOX1 peptide (11 amino acid residues). Interestingly, this peptide blocked MPP+-induced neuronal death in the rat brains, whereas non-phospho-WOX1 peptide had no effect. Together, activated WOX1 plays an essential role in the MPP+-induced neuronal death. Our synthetic phospho-WOX1 peptide prevents neuronal death, suggestive of its therapeutic potential in mitigating the symptoms of PD.

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    • "The wild type protein possesses two N-terminal WW domains, a nuclear localization sequence between these domains, and a C-terminal short-chain alcohol dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) domain. Under stress conditions, WOX1 may undergo Tyr33 phosphorylation in the first WW domain and then relocates to the mitochondria and nuclei for inducing apoptosis both in vivo and in vitro [2], [3], [6], [13], [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor suppressor WOX1 (also named WWOX or FOR) is known to participate in neuronal apoptosis in vivo. Here, we investigated the functional role of WOX1 and transcription factors in the delayed loss of axotomized neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in rats. Sciatic nerve transection in rats rapidly induced JNK1 activation and upregulation of mRNA and protein expression of WOX1 in the injured DRG neurons in 30 min. Accumulation of p-WOX1, p-JNK1, p-CREB, p-c-Jun, NF-kappaB and ATF3 in the nuclei of injured neurons took place within hours or the first week of injury. At the second month, dramatic nuclear accumulation of WOX1 with CREB (>65% neurons) and NF-kappaB (40-65%) occurred essentially in small DRG neurons, followed by apoptosis at later months. WOX1 physically interacted with CREB most strongly in the nuclei as determined by FRET analysis. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed the complex formation of p-WOX1 with p-CREB and p-c-Jun in vivo. WOX1 blocked the prosurvival CREB-, CRE-, and AP-1-mediated promoter activation in vitro. In contrast, WOX1 enhanced promoter activation governed by c-Jun, Elk-1 and NF-kappaB. WOX1 directly activated NF-kappaB-regulated promoter via its WW domains. Smad4 and p53 were not involved in the delayed loss of small DRG neurons. Rapid activation of JNK1 and WOX1 during the acute phase of injury is critical in determining neuronal survival or death, as both proteins functionally antagonize. In the chronic phase, concurrent activation of WOX1, CREB, and NF-kappaB occurs in small neurons just prior to apoptosis. Likely in vivo interactions are: 1) WOX1 inhibits the neuroprotective CREB, which leads to eventual neuronal death, and 2) WOX1 enhances NF-kappaB promoter activation (which turns to be proapoptotic). Evidently, WOX1 is the potential target for drug intervention in mitigating symptoms associated with neuronal injury.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · PLoS ONE
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    • "We have shown that JNK1 physically interacts with WOX1, and that the binding is increased upon stimulation of cells with UV light or anisomycin (activator of JNK1) in vitro [27]. Interestingly, dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+) reduces the binding of WOX1 with JNK1 in rat brains [31]. JNK1 blocks the apoptotic function of WOX1 in vitro [27], whereas the functional antagonism in vivo is unknown. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue exudates contain low levels of serum complement proteins, and their regulatory effects on prostate cancer progression are largely unknown. We examined specific serum complement components in coordinating the activation of tumor suppressors p53 and WWOX (also named FOR or WOX1) and kinases ERK, JNK1 and STAT3 in human prostate DU145 cells. DU145 cells were cultured overnight in 1% normal human serum, or in human serum depleted of an indicated complement protein. Under complement C1q- or C6-free conditions, WOX1 and ERK were mainly present in the cytoplasm without phosphorylation, whereas phosphorylated JNK1 was greatly accumulated in the nuclei. Exogenous C1q rapidly restored the WOX1 activation (with Tyr33 phosphorylation) in less than 2 hr. Without serum complement C9, p53 became activated, and hyaluronan (HA) reversed the effect. Under C6-free conditions, HA induced activation of STAT3, an enhancer of metastasis. Notably, exogenous C1q significantly induced apoptosis of WOX1-overexpressing DU145 cells, but not vehicle-expressing cells. A dominant negative and Y33R mutant of WOX1 blocked the apoptotic effect. C1q did not enhance p53-mediated apoptosis. By total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, it was determined that C1q destabilized adherence of WOX1-expressing DU145 cells by partial detaching and inducing formation of clustered microvilli for focal adhesion particularly in between cells. These cells then underwent shrinkage, membrane blebbing and death. Remarkably, as determined by immunostaining, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer were shown to have a significantly reduced expression of tissue C1q, compared to age-matched normal prostate tissues. We conclude that complement C1q may induce apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by activating WOX1 and destabilizing cell adhesion. Downregulation of C1q enhances prostate hyperplasia and cancerous formation due to failure of WOX1 activation.
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