Calcium/calcineurin signaling in primary cortical astrocyte cultures: Rcan1-4 and cyclooxygenase-2 as NFAT target genes

Department of Vascular Biology and Inflammation. Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), Madrid, Spain.
Glia (Impact Factor: 6.03). 05/2008; 56(7):709-22. DOI: 10.1002/glia.20647
Source: PubMed


The calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) signaling pathway mediates important cell responses to calcium, but its activity and function in astrocytes have remained unclear. We show that primary cortical astrocyte cultures express the regulatory and catalytic subunits of the phosphatase calcineurin as well as the calcium-regulated NFAT family members (NFATc1, c2, c3, and c4). NFATs are activated by calcium-mobilizing agents in astrocytes, and this activation is blocked by the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A. Microarray screening identified cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), which is implicated in brain injury, and Rcan 1-4, an endogenous calcineurin inhibitor, as genes up-regulated by calcineurin-dependent calcium signals in astrocytes. Mobilization of intracellular calcium with ionophore potently augments the promoter activity and mRNA and protein expression of Rcan 1-4 and Cox-2 induced by combined treatment with phorbol esters. Moreover, Rcan 1-4 expression is efficiently induced by calcium mobilization alone. For both the genes, the calcium signal component is dependent on calcineurin and is replicated by exogenous expression of a constitutively active NFAT, strongly suggesting that the calcium-induced gene activation is mediated by NFATs. Finally, we report that calcineurin-dependent expression of Cox-2 and Rcan 1-4 is induced by physiological calcium mobilizing agents, such as thrombin, agonists of purinergic and glutamate receptors, and L-type voltage-gated calcium channels. These findings provide insights into calcium-initiated gene transcription in astrocytes, and have implications for the regulation of calcium responses in astrocytes.

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Available from: Eva Cano, Jun 03, 2014
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    • "We find that the expression of the transcription factor CAMTA1, a member of a recently recognized family of Ca2+-dependent calmodulin binding transcription activators conserved in eukaryotes [38], [39], [40], [41], [42] and RCAN1, a known regulator of calcineurin [36], [43], [44], [45], to be significantly up-regulated in the stem cells as early as 24 hrs in co-culture with rat neonatal cardiomyocytes. This process preceded stem cell acquisition of other cardiac properties. "
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    ABSTRACT: The phenotype of somatic cells has recently been found to be reversible. Direct reprogramming of one cell type into another has been achieved with transduction and over expression of exogenous defined transcription factors emphasizing their role in specifying cell fate. To discover early and novel endogenous transcription factors that may have a role in adult-derived stem cell acquisition of a cardiomyocyte phenotype, mesenchymal stem cells from human and mouse bone marrow and rat liver were co-cultured with neonatal cardiomyocytes as an in vitro cardiogenic microenvironment. Cell-cell communications develop between the two cell types as early as 24 hrs in co-culture and are required for elaboration of a myocardial phenotype in the stem cells 8-16 days later. These intercellular communications are associated with novel Ca(2+) oscillations in the stem cells that are synchronous with the Ca(2+) transients in adjacent cardiomyocytes and are detected in the stem cells as early as 24-48 hrs in co-culture. Early and significant up-regulation of Ca(2+)-dependent effectors, CAMTA1 and RCAN1 ensues before a myocardial program is activated. CAMTA1 loss-of-function minimizes the activation of the cardiac gene program in the stem cells. While the expression of RCAN1 suggests involvement of the well-characterized calcineurin-NFAT pathway as a response to a Ca(2+) signal, the CAMTA1 up-regulated expression as a response to such a signal in the stem cells was unknown. Cell-cell communications between the stem cells and adjacent cardiomyocytes induce Ca(2+) signals that activate a myocardial gene program in the stem cells via a novel and early Ca(2+)-dependent intermediate, up-regulation of CAMTA1.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "PIo is a stimulus widely used to rise intracellular Ca2+ concentration [Ca2+ i] and thereby triggering intracellular signaling pathways such as CN/NFAT. In cultures of ESC isolated from non-pregnant animals, the COX-2 induction was abolished by pretreatment with the CN inhibitor CsA, similar to that observed in other cell types [22], [23], [26]. As in other cell types, stimuli that only augment [Ca2+ i] such as calcium ionophore, are not sufficient to full induce COX2 expression (data not shown and [22], [23], [26]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase, plays a role in the process of uterine decidualization and blastocyst attachment. On the other hand, overexpression of COX-2 is involved in the proliferation of the endometrial tissue during endometriosis. Deregulation of the renin-angiotensin-system plays a role in the pathophysiology of endometriosis and pre-eclampsia. Angiotensin II increases intracellular Ca(2+) concentration by targeting phospholypase C-gamma in endometrial stromal cells (ESC). A key element of the cellular response to Ca(2+) signals is the activity of the Ca(2+)- and calmodulin-dependent phosphatase calcineurin. Our first aim was to study whether angiotensin II stimulated Cox-2 gene expression in rat ESC and to analyze whether calcineurin activity was involved. In cells isolated from non-pregnant uteri, COX-2 expression--both mRNA and protein--was induced by co-stimulation with phorbol ester and calcium ionophore (PIo), as well as by angiotensin II. Pretreatment with the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A inhibited this induction. We further analyzed the role of the calcineurin/NFAT signaling pathway in the induction of Cox-2 gene expression in non-pregnant rat ESC. Cyclosporin A abolished NFATc1 dephosphorylation and translocation to the nucleus. Cyclosporin A also inhibited the transcriptional activity driven by the Cox-2 promoter. Exogenous expression of the peptide VIVIT -specific inhibitor of calcineurin/NFAT binding- blocked the activation of Cox-2 promoter and the up-regulation of COX-2 protein in these cells. Finally we analyzed Cox-2 gene expression in ESC of early-pregnant rats. COX-2 expression--both mRNA and protein--was induced by stimulation with PIo as well as by angiotensin II. This induction appears to be calcineurin independent, since it was not abrogated by cyclosporin A. In conclusion, angiotensin II induced Cox-2 gene expression by activating the calcineurin/NFAT signaling pathway in endometrial stromal cells of non-pregnant but not of early-pregnant rats. These results might be related to differential roles that COX-2 plays in the endometrium.
    Preview · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "These results thus indicate that Rcan1-4 accumulation inhibits CN signaling by preventing NFAT dephosphorylation. Our previous work demonstrated that primary astrocytes respond to PIo treatment with a marked induction of Cox-2 protein expression [28]. Adenoviral overexpression of Rcan1-4 in primary astrocytes reduced the amount of Cox-2 induced by PIo by 30% (Figure 5B, C). "
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    ABSTRACT: An increase in intracellular calcium concentration [Ca2+]i is one of the first events to take place after brain ischemia. A key [Ca2+]i-regulated signaling molecule is the phosphatase calcineurin (CN), which plays important roles in the modulation of inflammatory cascades. Here, we have analyzed the role of endogenous regulator of CN 1 (Rcan1) in response to experimental ischemic stroke induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion. Animals were subjected to focal cerebral ischemia with reperfusion. To assess the role of Rcan1 after stroke, we measured infarct volume after 48 h of reperfusion in Rcan1 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice. In vitro studies were performed in astrocyte-enriched cortical primary cultures subjected to 3% oxygen (hypoxia) and glucose deprivation (HGD). Adenoviral vectors were used to analyze the effect of overexpression of Rcan1-4 protein. Protein expression was examined by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting and expression of mRNA by quantitative real-time Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (real time qRT-PCR). Brain ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in vivo increased mRNA and protein expression of the calcium-inducible Rcan1 isoform (Rcan1-4). I/R-inducible expression of Rcan1 protein occurred mainly in astroglial cells, and in an in vitro model of ischemia, HGD treatment of primary murine astrocyte cultures induced Rcan1-4 mRNA and protein expression. Exogenous Rcan1-4 overexpression inhibited production of the inflammatory marker cyclo-oxygenase 2. Mice lacking Rcan1 had higher expression of inflammation associated genes, resulting in larger infarct volumes. Our results support a protective role for Rcan1 during the inflammatory response to stroke, and underline the importance of the glial compartment in the inflammatory reaction that takes place after ischemia. Improved understanding of non-neuronal mechanisms in ischemic injury promises novel approaches to the treatment of acute ischemic stroke.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of Neuroinflammation
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