[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes.
For example, a key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process including the amount and rate of cargo sequestered and degraded). In particular, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation must be differentiated from stimuli that increase autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. It is worth emphasizing here that lysosomal digestion is a stage of autophagy and evaluating its competence is a crucial part of the evaluation of autophagic flux, or complete autophagy.
Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. Along these lines, because of the potential for pleiotropic effects due to blocking autophagy through genetic manipulation, it is imperative to target by gene knockout or RNA interference more than one autophagy-related protein. In addition, some individual Atg proteins, or groups of proteins, are involved in other cellular pathways implying that not all Atg proteins can be used as a specific marker for an autophagic process. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interrupting the hormonal balance of an organism by interfering with hormones and their target receptors gives rise to various problems such as developmental disorders. Collectively, these reagents are known as endocrine disruptors (EDs). Cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes (cVMSs) are a group of silicone polymers that including octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4). In the present study, we examined the estrogenicity of D4 through in vitro and in vivo assays that employed calcium-binding protein 9K (calbindin-D9k; CaBP-9K) as a biomarker. For in vitro investigation, GH3 rat pituitary cells were exposed to vehicle, 17β-estradiol (E2), or D4 with/without ICI 182 780 (ICI). CaBP-9K and progesterone receptor (PR) both were up-regulated by E2 and D4 which were completely blocked by ICI. Transcription of estrogen receptor α (ER α) was decreased by E2 and D4 but increased by ICI. D4 was also administered to immature female rats for an uterotrophic (UT) assay and detection of CaBP-9K. Ethinyl estradiol (EE) or D4 was administered subcutaneously with or without ICI. Although uterine weight was not significant altered by D4, an effect thought to be due to cytochrome P450 (CYP), it induced CaBP-9K and PR gene expression. Based on these results we reveal that D4 has estrogenic potential proven under in vitro and in vivo experimental conditions.
Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The establishment of porcine embryonic stem cells (ESCs) would have great impact in biomedical studies and preclinical trials through their use in genetic engineering. However, authentic porcine ESCs have not been established until now. In this study, a total of seven putative ESC lines were derived from porcine embryos of various origins, including in vitro fertilization, parthenogenetic activation, and, in particular, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) nuclear transfer (NT) from a donor cell with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). To characterize these cell lines, several assays including an assessment of intensive alkaline phosphatase activity, karyotyping, embryoid body formation, expression analysis of the pluripotency-associated markers, and the three germ layerassociated markers were performed. Based on quantitative polymerase chain reaction, the expression levels of REX1 and FGFR2 in iPS-NT lines were higher than those of cells of other origins. Additionally, only iPS-NT lines showed multiple aberrant patterns of nuclear foci elucidated by immunofluorescence staining of H3K27me3 as a marker of the state of X chromosome inactivation and a less mature form of mitochondria like naive ESCs, by transmission electron microscopy. Together, these data suggested that established putative porcine ESC lines generally exhibited a primed pluripotent state, like human ESCs. However, iPS-NT lines have especially unique characteristics distinct from other origins because they have more epigenetic instability and naive-like mitochondrial morphology than other putative ESC lines. This is the first study to establish and characterize the iPSC-derived putative ESC lines and compare them with other lines derived from different origins in pigs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dog cloning offers a substantial potential because of the advancements in assisted reproductive technology and development of the human disease model in line with the transgenic technique. However, little is known about the development of the canine cloned embryo during the pre-implantation period. The aim of this study was to investigate the most efficient method and time for collecting cloned canine pre-implantation embryos and to ascertain the developmental timeline of cloned canine embryos. Two hundred cloned embryos were created and transferred into eleven surrogates. The pre-implantation stage cloned embryos were then collected on days 7, 8 and 9 using an ovariohysterectomy (OHE) or the Foley balloon catheter (FBC) method. The recovery rate of reconstructed embryos was 63.6% and 60.6% for the OHE and FBC method, respectively. Although significant differences were observed in the early developmental stages (1-cell and 16-cell stages), no significant difference was observed in the blastocyst stage. Significantly higher blastocyst rate was observed when the embryos were collected on day 8 (11.4%) than on day 7 (0.0%) (P < 0.05). At the proximal uterine horn on day 7, no embryos at any stage were found, whereas on days 8 and 9, blastocysts were found. We have observed a 63% initial pregnancy rate at 25–30 days after embryo transfer (ET) and a 50% full-term pregnancy rate, while 6.3% of the puppies were born and 5.5% were born live among the total transferred embryos. Our results suggest that cloned embryos can develop to blastocysts by day 8, and full-term pregnancy can be achieved following ET in canine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 2-Methoxyestradiol (2-ME), an endogenous metabolite of 17β-estradiol (E2), interacts with estrogen receptors (ERs) and microtubules, however, 2-ME has a low affinity for ERs. Furthermore, 2‑ME has been identified as a potential novel antitumor agent, combining its anti‑proliferative effects on a variety of tumor cell types with its anti‑angiogenic action. Therefore, 2‑ME is of interest due to its potential anticancer therapeutic effects. In the current study, the estrogenic effect of 2‑ME on CaBP‑9k, ERα, and progesterone receptor (PR) mRNA levels in the absence and presence of E2 and progesterone (P4) in in vivo and in vitro models was examined. In GH3 cells, the mRNA level of CaBP‑9k was induced in the E2 treatment group (concentration, 10‑9 M), and the expression of CaBP‑9k was also upregulated in the 2‑ME‑treated group (concentration, 10‑7 M). Uterine lactoferrin (Ltf) mRNA expression was also increased in the 2‑ME group [dose, 40 mg/kg body weight (BW)], which was comparable to the response with E2 (dose, 40 µg/kg BW) observed in mice. As inhibitors of ER and PR activity, ICI 182,780 and mifepristone (RU486) were observed to reverse the E2 or 2‑ME mediated increase of CaBP‑9k and Ltf mRNA expression. In addition, it was found that 2‑ME significantly decreased the levels of ERα and increased PR transcripts. Consistent with the in vitro results, the mRNA levels revealed decreased ERα and increased PR in in vivo treatment of E2 and 2‑ME. These findings demonstrate that the expression of estrogenic markers, CaBP‑9k and Ltf, is regulated by 2‑ME in in vitro and in vivo models, therefore, estrogenic activi-ties of 2-ME may be increased in females during the estrous cycle via the ER and/or PR-mediated signaling pathway.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Molecular Medicine Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chamaecyparis obtusa has been traditionally used as an antibiotic agent and in cosmetics for the prevention of microorganism infection and skin troubles. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that encompasses immunologic responses, susceptibility factors and compromised skin-barrier function. Use of plant medicines in therapeutic treatment of AD has recently been suggested as an alternative therapeutic option. The present study examined the effect of elemol, an active component of Chamaecyparis obtusa, on AD using in vivo and in vitro models. RBL-2H3 cells were stimulated with concanavalin A and dinitrophenyl human serum albumin, and atopic dermatitis was induced in BALB/c mice by topical application of 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) prior to elemol treatment. The mRNA expression was evaluated by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and the levels of β-hexosaminidase and serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) were examined by ELISA. Histological changes were also performed by microscopy. Elemol attenuated the onset of AD-like skin lesions, reduced serum IgE levels and decreased mast cell infiltration into the dermis and hypodermis. In addition, elemol downregulated the transcriptional expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IκBα, in the skin of the DNCB‑induced animal models of AD. In the RBL-2H3 mast cell line, elemol significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of IL-4 and IL-13, and further attenuated the release of β-hexosaminidase from mast cells. Histological examination revealed that elemol significantly ameliorated the DNCB-induced dermal destruction in mice. The results of the present study suggested that elemol may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of AD due to its immunosuppressive effects.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · International Journal of Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Salivary fluid formation is primarily driven by Ca(2+)-activated, apical efflux of chloride into the lumen of the salivary acinus. The anoctamin1 protein is an anion channel with properties resembling the endogenous calcium-activated chloride channels. In order to better understand the role of anoctamin proteins in salivary exocrine secretion, the expression of the ten members of the anoctamin gene family in the mouse submandibular gland was studied.
Total RNA extracted from mouse submandibular salivary glands was reverse transcribed using primer pairs to amplify the full-length coding regions of each anoctamin gene and was subcloned into plasmid vectors for DNA sequencing. Alternative splice variants were also screened by polymerase chain reaction using primer pairs that amplified six overlapping regions of the complementary DNA of each anoctamin gene, spanning multiple exons.
Multiple anoctamin transcripts were found in the mouse submandibular salivary gland, including full-length transcripts of anoctamin1, anoctamin3, anoctamin4, anoctamin5, anoctamin6, anoctamin9, and anoctamin10. Exon-skipping splicing in the N-terminal exons of the anoctamins1, anoctamin5, and anoctamin6 genes resulted in multiple alternative splice variants. No expression of anoctamin2, anoctamin7, or anoctamin8 was found.
The predominant anoctamin transcript expressed in the mouse submandibular gland is anoctamin1ac. The chloride channel protein produced by anoctamin1ac is likely responsible for the Ca(2+)-activated chloride efflux, which is the rate-limiting step in salivary exocrine secretion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon α (IFN‑α) is a cytokine, produced predominantly in immune cells in response to pathogens, which interferes with viral replication in host cells. Another cytokine hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), is synthesized in interstitial fibroblasts of the kidney and acts as a stimulator for the production of red blood cells. Importantly, the two cytokines have been used in the treatment of certain hematological malignancies, including renal anemia. In the production of recombinant proteins, a transgenic expression system in bovine species is an efficient strategy for pharmaceutical production. In the present study, recombinant constructs capable of producing recombinant human IFN‑α and EPO proteins were established and were generated containing the mammary gland‑specific αS1‑casein promoter region (between ‑175 and +796 nt), as this promoter was revealed to have the highest level of activity in a previous promoter study. In order to minimize developmental toxicity by constitutive exogenous expression, a doxycycline (dox)‑inducible system was introduced to the IFN‑α/EPO‑expressing constructs. Therefore, a unitary tetracycline (tet)‑on the IFN‑α/EPO vector was established, which combined a tet‑on activator cassette controlled by the αS1‑casein promoter, with a responder cassette encoding the IFN‑α/EPO gene, controlled by the tetracycline response element (TRE) promoter. In these systems, the tet‑controlled transactivator is affected by mammary gland‑specific αS1‑casein promoter, and binding of the transcriptional activator to the TRE results in transcription of the downstream IFN‑α/EPO genes in the presence of dox. To assess this, the unitary tet‑on IFN‑α/EPO vector was introduced into a bovine mammary gland cell line (MAC‑T), and the cells were then treated with 0.1‑1 µg/ml dox. A marked increase was observed in the expression levels of IFN‑α/EPO. In addition, bovine transgenic fibroblasts containing a mammary gland‑specific and dox‑inducible IFN‑α/EPO construct were generated. These transgenic fibroblasts may provide a source for somatic cell nuclear transfer for the generation of transgenic cattle producing recombinant human IFN‑α/EPO protein during lactation.
No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular Medicine Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aromatherapy has been suggested as an alternative therapeutic method for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD), eczema and other skin diseases. In the current study, the anti‑atopic properties of the volatile organic compounds of Chamaecyparis obtusa (VOCCo) were examined to determine whether they are amenable for use as a pharmaceutical candidate. The alterations in histological features, serum IgE levels and mast cell infiltration following exposure to VOCCo were determined in a 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB)-induced AD-like mouse model. The results of these experiments demonstrated that VOCCo inhibited the development of AD‑like skin lesions by reducing the serum IgE level and mast cell infiltration into the dermal and subcutaneous layers. This was supported by screening of immune cytokine mRNAs, including interleukin (IL)‑1β and IL‑6 from the skin of DNCB‑treated mice. The expression of IL‑1β and IL‑6 in the skin lesions of mice was dose-dependently inhibited by treatment with VOCCo. Furthermore, treatment with VOCCo resulted in the recovery of histopathological features in AD-like skin lesions. These results suggest that VOCCo may have therapeutic and preventive effects for the development of AD.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular Medicine Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclosporine A (CsA) is a powerful immunosuppressive drug with side effects including the development of chronic nephrotoxicity. In this study, we investigated CsA treatment induced apoptotic and autophagic cell death in pituitary GH3 cells. CsA treatment (0.1 to 10 µM) decreased survival of GH3 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Cell viability decreased significantly with increasing CsA concentrations largely due to an increase in apoptosis, while cell death rates due to autophagy altered only slightly. Several molecular and morphological features correlated with cell death through these distinct pathways. At concentrations ranging from 1.0 to 10 µM, CsA induced a dose-dependent increase in expression of the autophagy markers LC3-I and LC3-II. Immunofluorescence staining revealed markedly increased levels of both LC3 and lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2 (Lamp2), indicating increases in autophagosomes. At the same CsA doses, apoptotic cell death was apparent as indicated by nuclear and DNA fragmentation and increased p53 expression. In apoptotic or autophagic cells, p-ERK levels were highest at 1.0 µM CsA compared to control or other doses. In contrast, Bax levels in both types of cell death were increased in a dose-dependent manner, while Bcl-2 levels showed dose-dependent augmentation in autophagy and were decreased in apoptosis. Manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) showed a similar dose-dependent reduction in cells undergoing apoptosis, while levels of the intracellular calcium ion exchange maker calbindin-D9k were decreased in apoptosis (1.0 to 5 µM CsA), but unchanged in autophagy. In conclusion, these results suggest that CsA induction of apoptotic or autophagic cell death in rat pituitary GH3 cells depends on the relative expression of factors and correlates with Bcl-2 and Mn-SOD levels.