Francisco Aroca

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile

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Publications (5)24.04 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Extracellular regulation of growth factor signaling is a key event for embryonic patterning. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) are among the molecules that regulate this signaling during embryonic development. Here we study the function of syndecan1 (Syn1), a cell-surface HSPG expressed in the non-neural ectoderm during early development of Xenopus embryos. Overexpression of Xenopus Syn1 (xSyn1) mRNA is sufficient to reduce BMP signaling, induce chordin expression and rescue dorso-ventral patterning in ventralized embryos. Experiments using chordin morpholinos established that xSyn1 mRNA can inhibit BMP signaling in the absence of chordin. Knockdown of xSyn1 resulted in a reduction of BMP signaling and expansion of the neural plate with the concomitant reduction of the non-neural ectoderm. Overexpression of xSyn1 mRNA in xSyn1 morphant embryos resulted in a biphasic effect, with BMP being inhibited at high concentrations and activated at low concentrations of xSyn1. Interestingly, the function of xSyn1 on dorso-ventral patterning and BMP signaling is specific for this HSPG. In summary, we report that xSyn1 regulates dorso-ventral patterning of the ectoderm through modulation of BMP signaling.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Developmental Biology
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    Preview · Article · Jun 2007 · Developmental Biology
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    Preview · Article · Apr 2007 · Developmental Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The BMP4 signaling pathway plays key roles during early embryonic development and for maintenance of adult homeostasis. In the extracellular space, BMP4 activity is regulated by a group of interacting molecules including the BMP antagonist Chordin, the metalloproteinase Tolloid and Twisted gastrulation (Tsg). In this study, we identified Biglycan (Bgn), a member of the small leucine-rich proteoglycan family, as a new extracellular modulator of BMP4 signaling. Xenopus Bgn (xBgn) is expressed uniformly in the ectoderm and mesoderm and their derivatives during development. Microinjection of Bgn mRNA induced secondary axes, dorsalized the mesoderm and inhibited BMP4 activity in Xenopus embryos. Biochemical experiments showed that Bgn binds BMP4 and Chordin, interaction that increased binding of BMP4 to Chordin. Bgn was also able to improve the efficiency of Chordin-Tsg complexes to block BMP4 activity. Using antisense morpholinos, we demonstrated that Bgn required Chordin to induce double axes in Xenopus. This work unveiled a new function for Bgn, its ability to regulate BMP4 signaling through modulation of Chordin anti-BMP4 activity.
    Full-text · Article · May 2005 · The EMBO Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Saccharomyces cerevisiae phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxykinase is a key enzyme of the gluconeogenic pathway and catalyzes the decarboxylation of oxaloacetate and transfer of the gamma-phosphoryl group of ATP to yield PEP, ADP, and CO2 in the presence of a divalent metal ion. Previous experiments indicate that mutation of amino acid residues at metal site 1 decrease the enzyme catalytic efficiency and the affinity of the protein for PEP, evidencing the relevance of hydrogen-bond interactions between PEP and water molecules of the first coordination sphere of the metal ion for catalysis [Biochemistry 41 (2002) 12763]. To further understand the function of amino acid residues located in the PEP binding site, we have now addressed the catalytic importance of Arg70, whose guanidinium group is close to the PEP carboxyl group. Arg70 mutants of PEP carboxykinase were prepared, and almost unaltered kinetic parameters were found for the Arg70Lys PEP carboxykinase, while a decrease in 4-5 orders of magnitude for the catalytic efficiency was detected for the Arg70Gln and Arg70Met altered enzymes. To evaluate the enzyme interaction with PEP, the phosphopyridoxyl-derivatives of wild type, Arg70Lys, Arg70Gln, and Arg70Met S. cerevisiae PEP carboxykinase were prepared, and the change in the fluorescence emission of the probe upon PEP binding was used to obtain the dissociation equilibrium constant of the corresponding derivatized enzyme-PEP-Mn2+ complex. The titration experiments showed that a loss in 2.1 kcal/mol in PEP binding affinity is produced in the Arg70Met and Arg70Gln mutant enzymes. It is proposed that the electrostatic interaction between the guanidinium group of Arg70 and the carboxyl group of PEP is important for PEP binding and for further steps in catalysis.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2004 · Biochimie

Publication Stats

105 Citations
24.04 Total Impact Points


  • 2007-2009
    • Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
      • Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile
  • 2004-2005
    • University of Santiago, Chile
      • Facultad de Química y Biología
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile