Publications by authors named "Fujian Zhang"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Exocyst Genes Are Essential for Recycling Membrane Proteins and Maintaining Slit Diaphragm in Nephrocytes.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2020 05 1;31(5):1024-1034. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Center for Precision Disease Modeling, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Background: Studies have linked mutations in genes encoding the eight-protein exocyst protein complex to kidney disease, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Because nephrocytes share molecular and structural features with mammalian podocytes, they provide an efficient model for studying this issue.

Methods: We silenced genes encoding exocyst complex proteins specifically in nephrocytes and studied the effects on protein reabsorption by lacuna channels and filtration by the slit diaphragm. We performed nephrocyte functional assays, carried out super-resolution confocal microscopy of slit diaphragm proteins, and used transmission electron microscopy to analyze ultrastructural changes. We also examined the colocalization of slit diaphragm proteins with exocyst protein Sec15 and with endocytosis and recycling regulators Rab5, Rab7, and Rab11.

Results: Silencing exocyst genes in nephrocytes led to profound changes in structure and function. Abolition of cellular accumulation of hemolymph proteins with dramatically reduced lacuna channel membrane invaginations offered a strong indication of reabsorption defects. Moreover, the slit diaphragm's highly organized surface structure-essential for filtration-was disrupted, and key proteins were mislocalized. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that exocyst gene silencing led to the striking appearance of novel electron-dense structures that we named "exocyst rods," which likely represent accumulated membrane proteins following defective exocytosis or recycling. The slit diaphragm proteins partially colocalized with Sec15, Rab5, and Rab11.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the slit diaphragm of nephrocytes requires balanced endocytosis and recycling to maintain its structural integrity and that impairment of the exocyst complex leads to disruption of the slit diaphragm and nephrocyte malfunction. This model may help identify therapeutic targets for treating kidney diseases featuring molecular defects in vesicle endocytosis, exocytosis, and recycling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2019060591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7217423PMC
May 2020

Overexpression of a trypanothione synthetase gene from Trypanosoma cruzi, TcTrys, confers enhanced tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses in rice.

Gene 2019 Aug 12;710:279-290. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Agricultural Genetics and Breeding, Agro-Biotechnology Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2901 Beidi Rd, Shanghai 201106, PR China. Electronic address:

Plants are frequently exposed to variable environmental stresses that adversely affect plant growth, development and agricultural production. In this study, a trypanothione synthetase gene from Trypanosoma cruzi, TcTryS, was chemically synthesized and its roles in tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses were functionally characterized by generating transgenic rice overexpressing TcTryS. Overexpression of TcTryS in rice endows transgenic plants with hypersensitivity to ABA, hyposensitivity to NaCl- and mannitol-induced osmotic stress at the seed germination stage. TcTryS overexpression results in enhanced tolerance to drought, salt, cadmium, and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol stresses in transgenic rice, simultaneously supported by improved physiological traits. The TcTryS-overexpression plants also accumulated greater amounts of proline, less malondialdehyde and more transcripts of stress-related genes than wild-type plants under drought and salt stress conditions. In addition, TcTryS might play a positive role in maintaining chlorophyll content under 2,4,6-trichlorophenol stress. Histochemical staining assay showed that TcTryS renders transgenic plants better ROS-scavenging capability. All of these results suggest that TcTryS could function as a key regulator in modulation of abiotic stress tolerance in plant, and may have applications in the engineering of economically important crops.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2019.06.018DOI Listing
August 2019

Molecular Dynamics Study on the Reverse Osmosis Using Multilayer Porous Graphene Membranes.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2018 Oct 9;8(10). Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Micro/Nano Science and Technology Center, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, China.

In this study, the reverse osmosis (RO) of a salt solution was investigated using a molecular dynamics method to explore the performance of a multilayer porous graphene membrane. The effects of the salt solution concentration, pressure, layer separation and pore offset on the RO performance of the membrane were investigated and the influences of the number of layers and the gradient structure were determined. The results show that as the salt solution concentration increases, the energy barrier of the water molecules passing through the bilayer porous graphene membranes changes slightly, indicating that the effect of the water flux on the membrane can be ignored. The salt rejection performance of the membrane improves with an increase in the concentration of the salt solution. When the pressure is increased, the energy barrier decreases, the water flux increases and the salt rejection decreases. When the layer separation of the bilayer porous graphene membrane is the same as the equilibrium spacing of the graphene membrane, the energy barrier is the lowest and the membrane water flux is the largest. The energy barrier of the bilayer porous graphene membrane increases with increasing layer separation, resulting in a decrease in the water flux of the membrane. The salt rejection increases with increasing layer separation. The water flux of the membrane decreases as the energy barrier increases with increasing pore offset and the salt rejection increases. The energy barrier effect is more pronounced for a larger number of graphene layers and the water flux of the membrane decreases because it is more difficult for the water molecules to pass through the porous graphene membrane. However, the salt rejection performance improves with the increase in the number of layers. The gradient pore structure enhances the energy barrier effect of the water molecules permeating through the membrane and the water flux of the membrane decreases. The salt rejection performance is improved by the gradient pore structure. The research results provide theoretical guidance for research on the RO performance of porous graphene membranes and the design of porous graphene membranes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano8100805DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6215223PMC
October 2018

Comprehensive functional analysis of Rab GTPases in Drosophila nephrocytes.

Cell Tissue Res 2017 06 8;368(3):615-627. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

Center for Cancer and Immunology Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA.

The Drosophila nephrocyte is a critical component of the fly renal system and bears structural and functional homology to podocytes and proximal tubule cells of the mammalian kidney. Investigations of nephrocyte cell biological processes are fundamental to understanding the insect renal system. Nephrocytes are highly active in endocytosis and vesicle trafficking. Rab GTPases regulate endocytosis and trafficking but specific functions of nephrocyte Rabs remain undefined. We analyzed Rab GTPase expression and function in Drosophila nephrocytes and found that 11 out of 27 Drosophila Rabs were required for normal activity. Rabs 1, 5, 7, 11 and 35 were most important. Gene silencing of the nephrocyte-specific Rab5 eliminated all intracellular vesicles and the specialized plasma membrane structures essential for nephrocyte function. Rab7 silencing dramatically increased clear vacuoles and reduced lysosomes. Rab11 silencing increased lysosomes and reduced clear vacuoles. Our results suggest that Rab5 mediates endocytosis that is essential for the maintenance of functionally critical nephrocyte plasma membrane structures and that Rabs 7 and 11 mediate alternative downstream vesicle trafficking pathways leading to protein degradation and membrane recycling, respectively. Elucidating molecular pathways underlying nephrocyte function has the potential to yield important insights into human kidney cell physiology and mechanisms of cell injury that lead to disease. The Drosophila nephrocyte is emerging as a useful in vivo model system for molecular target identification and initial testing of therapeutic approaches in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00441-017-2575-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429992PMC
June 2017

A Drosophila model system to assess the function of human monogenic podocyte mutations that cause nephrotic syndrome.

Hum Mol Genet 2017 02;26(4):768-780

Center for Cancer and Immunology Research, Children's National Health Systems, 111 Michigan Ave. NW, Washington, DC, USA.

Many genetic mutations have been identified as monogenic causes of nephrotic syndrome (NS), but important knowledge gaps exist in the roles of these genes in kidney cell biology and renal diseases. More animal models are needed to assess the functions of these genes in vivo, and to determine how they cause NS in a timely manner. Drosophila nephrocytes and human podocytes share striking similarities, but to what degree these known NS genes play conserved roles in nephrocytes remains unknown. Here we systematically studied 40 genes associated with NS, including 7 that have not previously been analysed for renal function in an animal model. We found that 85% of these genes are required for nephrocyte functions, suggesting that a majority of human genes known to be associated with NS play conserved roles in renal function from flies to humans. To investigate functional conservation in more detail, we focused on Cindr, the fly homolog of the human NS gene CD2AP. Silencing Cindr in nephrocytes led to dramatic nephrocyte functional impairment and shortened life span, as well as collapse of nephrocyte lacunar channels and effacement of nephrocyte slit diaphragms. These phenotypes could be rescued by expression of a wild-type human CD2AP gene, but not a mutant allele derived from a patient with CD2AP-associated NS. We conclude that the Drosophila nephrocyte can be used to elucidate clinically relevant molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of most monogenic forms of NS, and to efficiently generate personalized in vivo models of genetic renal diseases bearing patient-specific mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddw428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6074792PMC
February 2017

Genistein-loaded nanoparticles of star-shaped diblock copolymer mannitol-core PLGA-TPGS for the treatment of liver cancer.

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl 2016 Feb 30;59:792-800. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

Clinical Laboratory, Huai'an First People's Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Huaian 223003, China. Electronic address:

The purpose of this research is to develop nanoparticles (NPs) of star-shaped copolymer mannitol-functionalized PLGA-TPGS for Genistein delivery for liver cancer treatment, and evaluate their therapeutic effects in liver cancer cell line and hepatoma-tumor-bearing nude mice in comparison with the linear PLGA nanoparticles and PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles. The Genistein-loaded M-PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles (MPTN), prepared by a modified nanoprecipitation method, were observed by FESEM and TEM to be near-spherical shape with narrow size distribution. The nanoparticles were further characterized in terms of their size, size distribution, surface charge, drug-loading content, encapsulation efficiency and in vitro drug release profiles. The data showed that the M-PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles were found to be stable, showing almost no change in particle size and surface charge during 3-month storage of their aqueous solution. In vitro Genistein release from the nanoparticles exhibited biphasic pattern with burst release at the initial 4days and sustained release afterwards. The cellular uptake efficiency of fluorescent M-PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was 1.25-, 1.22-, and 1.29-fold higher than that of the PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles at the nanoparticle concentrations of 100, 250, and 500μg/mL, respectively. In the MPTN group, the ratio of apoptotic cells increased with the drug dose increased, which exhibited dose-dependent effect and a significant difference compared with Genistein solution group (p<0.05). The data also showed that the Genistein-loaded M-PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles have higher antitumor efficacy than that of linear PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles and PLGA nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, the star-shaped copolymer M-PLGA-TPGS could be used as a potential and promising bioactive material for nanomedicine development for liver cancer treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2015.10.087DOI Listing
February 2016

KANK deficiency leads to podocyte dysfunction and nephrotic syndrome.

J Clin Invest 2015 Jun 11;125(6):2375-84. Epub 2015 May 11.

Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) is a frequent cause of progressive renal function decline and affects millions of people. In a recent study, 30% of SRNS cases evaluated were the result of monogenic mutations in 1 of 27 different genes. Here, using homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified recessive mutations in kidney ankyrin repeat-containing protein 1 (KANK1), KANK2, and KANK4 in individuals with nephrotic syndrome. In an independent functional genetic screen of Drosophila cardiac nephrocytes, which are equivalents of mammalian podocytes, we determined that the Drosophila KANK homolog (dKank) is essential for nephrocyte function. RNAi-mediated knockdown of dKank in nephrocytes disrupted slit diaphragm filtration structures and lacuna channel structures. In rats, KANK1, KANK2, and KANK4 all localized to podocytes in glomeruli, and KANK1 partially colocalized with synaptopodin. Knockdown of kank2 in zebrafish recapitulated a nephrotic syndrome phenotype, resulting in proteinuria and podocyte foot process effacement. In rat glomeruli and cultured human podocytes, KANK2 interacted with ARHGDIA, a known regulator of RHO GTPases in podocytes that is dysfunctional in some types of nephrotic syndrome. Knockdown of KANK2 in cultured podocytes increased active GTP-bound RHOA and decreased migration. Together, these data suggest that KANK family genes play evolutionarily conserved roles in podocyte function, likely through regulating RHO GTPase signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI79504DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4497755PMC
June 2015

Chronic lithium treatment diminishes the female advantage in lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster.

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2015 Jun;42(6):617-21

Department of Nephrology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Chinese PLA Institute of Nephrology, State Key Laboratory of Kidney Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Kidney Diseases, Beijing, China.

Two studies have concluded that lithium exposure extends the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the effect of lithium on another widely used model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that chronic treatment with a low to moderate dose of lithium chloride does not extend lifespan in D. melanogaster and that the drug abolishes the female lifespan advantage in flies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1681.12393DOI Listing
June 2015

The Drosophila nephrocyte has a glomerular filtration system.

Nat Rev Nephrol 2014 Sep 12;10(9):491. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Department of Nephrology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Kidney Diseases, National Clinical Research Center of Kidney Diseases, 28 Fuxing Road, Beijing 100853, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrneph.2012.290-c1DOI Listing
September 2014

FHL2-driven molecular network mediated Septin2 knockdown inducing apoptosis in mesangial cell.

Proteomics 2014 Nov 22;14(21-22):2485-97. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Department of Nephrology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Chinese PLA Institute of Nephrology, State Key Laboratory of Kidney Diseases, National Clinical Research Center of Kidney Diseases, Beijing, P. R. China.

The apoptosis of mesangial cells (MCs) plays a critical role in the pathological progress of MesPGN. Septin2, a filamentous GTPase, is implicated in the apoptotic progress of MCs in the rat MesPGN model. However, the molecular mechanism of SEPT2 in MCs apoptosis is not clear. Here, we present the FHL2-driven molecular network as the main mechanism of SEPT2-mediated rat primary MCs apoptosis. First, we proved that the expression of FHL2 and Septin2 were closely related with MCs apoptosis in anti-Thy1 nephritis model. Then, it was found that FHL2 was a new interaction protein of Septin2 and Septin2 knockdown could induce MC apoptosis by FHL2-mediatied signal pathways including p-ERK1 and p-AKT. We applied label-Free quantitative proteomics to identify the mechanism of Septin2/FHL2-regulated apoptosis. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that FHL2-driven molecular network composed of biological functions including glycolysis, oxidative stress, ribonucleotide metabolism, actin cytoskeleton regulation, and signaling pathway, was the main mechanism of SETP2-mediated apoptosis. Furthermore, we showed that the effect of Septin2 knockdown on MC apoptosis could be alleviated by the overexpression of FHL2. Overall, this study illustrated the FHL2-driven molecular network controlling SEPT2-mediated apoptosis in MCs and their potential roles in mesangial proliferative nephritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201400252DOI Listing
November 2014

An in vivo functional analysis system for renal gene discovery in Drosophila pericardial nephrocytes.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2013 Feb 4;24(2):191-7. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

The difficulty in accessing mammalian nephrons in vivo hinders the study of podocyte biology. The Drosophila nephrocyte shares remarkable similarities to the glomerular podocyte, but the lack of a functional readout for nephrocytes makes it challenging to study this model of the podocyte, which could potentially harness the power of Drosophila genetics. Here, we present a functional analysis of nephrocytes and establish an in vivo system to screen for renal genes. We found that nephrocytes efficiently take up secreted fluorescent protein, and therefore, we generated a transgenic line carrying secreted fluorescent protein and combined it with a nephrocyte-specific driver for targeted gene knockdown, allowing the identification of genes required for nephrocyte function. To validate this system, we examined the effects of knocking down sns and duf, the Drosophila homologs of nephrin and Neph1, respectively, in pericardial nephrocytes. Knockdown of sns or duf completely abolished the accumulation of the fluorescent protein in pericardial nephrocytes. Examining the ultrastructure revealed that the formation of the nephrocyte diaphragm and lacunar structure, which is essential for protein uptake, requires sns. Our preliminary genetic screen also identified Mec2, which encodes the homolog of mammalian Podocin. Taken together, these data suggest that the Drosophila pericardial nephrocyte is a useful in vivo model to help identify genes involved in podocyte biology and facilitate the discovery of renal disease genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2012080769DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3559487PMC
February 2013

Cubilin and amnionless mediate protein reabsorption in Drosophila nephrocytes.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2013 Feb 20;24(2):209-16. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

The insect nephrocyte and the mammalian glomerular podocyte are similar with regard to filtration, but it remains unclear whether there is an organ or cell type in flies that reabsorbs proteins. Here, we show that the Drosophila nephrocyte has molecular, structural, and functional similarities to the renal proximal tubule cell. We screened for genes required for nephrocyte function and identified two Drosophila genes encoding orthologs of mammalian cubilin and amnionless (AMN), two major receptors for protein reabsorption in the proximal tubule. In Drosophila, expression of dCubilin and dAMN is specific to nephrocytes, where they function as co-receptors for protein uptake. Targeted expression of human AMN in Drosophila nephrocytes was sufficient to rescue defective protein uptake induced by dAMN knockdown, suggesting evolutionary conservation of Cubilin/AMN co-receptors function from flies to humans. Furthermore, we found that Cubilin/AMN-mediated protein reabsorption is required for the maintenance of nephrocyte ultrastructure and fly survival under conditions of toxic stress. In conclusion, the insect nephrocyte combines filtration with protein reabsorption, using evolutionarily conserved genes and subcellular structures, suggesting that it can serve as a simplified model for both podocytes and the renal proximal tubule.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2012080795DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3559489PMC
February 2013

Interaction of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-related mutant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase with the dynein-dynactin complex contributes to inclusion formation.

J Biol Chem 2008 Aug 30;283(33):22795-805. Epub 2008 May 30.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.

An important consequence of protein misfolding related to neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the formation of proteinaceous inclusions or aggregates within the central nervous system. We have previously shown that several familial ALS-linked copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutants (A4V, G85R, and G93A) interact and co-localize with the dynein-dynactin complex in cultured cells and affected tissues of ALS mice. In this study, we report that the interaction between mutant SOD1 and the dynein motor plays a critical role in the formation of large inclusions containing mutant SOD1. Disruption of the motor by overexpression of the p50 subunit of dynactin in neuronal and non-neuronal cell cultures abolished the association between aggregation-prone SOD1 mutants and the dynein-dynactin complex. The p50 overexpression also prevented mutant SOD1 inclusion formation and improved the survival of cells expressing A4V SOD1. Furthermore, we observed that two ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, H46R and H48Q, which showed a lower propensity to interact with the dynein motor, also produced less aggregation and fewer large inclusions. Overall, these data suggest that formation of large inclusions depends upon association of the abnormal SOD1s with the dynein motor. Whether the misfolded SOD1s directly perturb axonal transport or impair other functional properties of the dynein motor, this interaction could propagate a toxic effect that ultimately causes motor neuron death in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M800276200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504878PMC
August 2008

Interaction between familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked SOD1 mutants and the dynein complex.

J Biol Chem 2007 Jun 2;282(22):16691-9. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive motor neuron death. More than 90 mutations in the copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene cause a subset of familial ALS. Toxic properties have been proposed for the ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, but the nature of the toxicity has not been clearly specified. Cytoplasmic inclusion bodies containing mutant SOD1 and a number of other proteins are a pathological hallmark of mutant SOD1-mediated familial ALS, but whether such aggregates are toxic to motor neurons remains unclear. In this study, we identified a dynein subunit as a component of the mutant SOD1-containing high molecular weight complexes using proteomic techniques. We further demonstrated interaction and colocalization between dynein and mutant SOD1, but not normal SOD1, in cultured cells and also in G93A and G85R transgenic rodent tissues. Moreover, the interaction occurred early, prior to the onset of symptoms in the ALS animal models and increased over the disease progression. Motor neurons with long axons are particularly susceptible to defects in axonal transport. Our results demonstrate a direct "gain-of-interaction" between mutant SOD1 and dynein, which may provide insights into the mechanism by which mutant SOD1 could contribute to a defect in retrograde axonal transport or other dynein functions. The aberrant interaction is potentially critical to the formation of mutant SOD1 aggregates as well as the toxic cascades leading to motor neuron degeneration in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M609743200DOI Listing
June 2007

p62 accumulates and enhances aggregate formation in model systems of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

J Biol Chem 2007 Apr 12;282(15):11068-77. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurode-generative disease characterized by motor neuron death. A hallmark of the disease is the appearance of protein aggregates in the affected motor neurons. We have found that p62, a protein implicated in protein aggregate formation, accumulated progressively in the G93A mouse spinal cord. The accumulation of p62 was in parallel to the increase of polyubiquitinated proteins and mutant SOD1 aggregates. Immunostaining studies showed that p62, ubiquitin, and mutant SOD1 co-localized in the protein aggregates in affected cells in G93A mouse spinal cord. The p62 protein selectively interacted with familial ALS mutants, but not WT SOD1. When p62 was co-expressed with SOD1 in NSC34 cells, it greatly enhanced the formation of aggregates of the ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, but not wild-type SOD1. Cell viability was measured in the presence and absence of overexpressed p62, and the results suggest that the large aggregates facilitated by p62 were not directly toxic to cells under the conditions in this study. Deletion of the ubiquitin-association (UBA) domain of p62 significantly decreased the p62-facilitated aggregate formation, but did not completely inhibit it. Further protein interaction experiments also showed that the truncated p62 with the UBA domain deletion remained capable of interacting with mutant SOD1. The findings of this study show that p62 plays a critical role in forming protein aggregates in familial ALS, likely by linking misfolded mutant SOD1 molecules and other cellular proteins together.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M608787200DOI Listing
April 2007

Intracellular conformational alterations of mutant SOD1 and the implications for fALS-associated SOD1 mutant induced motor neuron cell death.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2006 Mar 4;1760(3):404-14. Epub 2006 Jan 4.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine University of Kentucky, 741 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective death of motor neurons. Approximately 10% of ALS cases are familial (fALS) and about 25% of fALS patients inherit autosomal dominant mutations in the gene encoding copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1). Over 90 different SOD1 mutations have been identified in fALS patients. It has been established that the ALS-linked SOD1 mutations provoke a new toxic function, the nature of which remains unclear. In vitro studies using various biophysical techniques have demonstrated that the SOD1 mutants share a reduced conformational stability. However, conformational alterations of the ALS mutants have not been directly demonstrated in vivo. We employed an SOD1-GFP fusion protein system in this study to monitor the intracellular protein conformation. We demonstrate that the ALS-linked SOD1 mutants adopt different conformations from the wild-type (WT) protein in living cells. Moreover, the conformational alterations of mutant SOD1 render the mutants susceptible to the formation of high-molecular-weight complexes prior to the appearance of detergent-resistant aggregates. Finally, we show that the motor neuron-like cells expressing mutant SOD1 are more susceptible to H2O2 induced cell death compared to the cells expressing WT SOD1. This study provides direct evidence of in vivo conformational differences between WT and mutant SOD1. In addition, the SOD1-GFP system can be exploited in future studies to investigate how conformational alterations of mutant SOD1 lead to protein aggregation and to study the potential toxicity of such aggregates in familial ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2005.11.024DOI Listing
March 2006

Mitochondrial proteomic analysis of a cell line model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2004 Dec 21;3(12):1211-23. Epub 2004 Oct 21.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536.

Mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) have been linked to a subset of familial amytrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive motor neuron death. An increasing amount of evidence supports that mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis activation play a critical role in the fALS etiology, but little is known about the mechanisms by which SOD1 mutants cause the mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. In this study, we use proteomic approaches to identify the mitochondrial proteins that are altered in the presence of a fALS-causing mutant G93A-SOD1. A comprehensive characterization of mitochondrial proteins from NSC34 cells, a motor neuron-like cell line, was achieved by two independent proteomic approaches. Four hundred seventy unique proteins were identified in the mitochondrial fraction collectively, 75 of which are newly discovered proteins that previously had only been reported at the cDNA level. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was subsequently used to analyze the differences between the mitochondrial proteomes of NSC34 cells expressing wild-type and G93A-SOD1. Nine and 36 protein spots displayed elevated and suppressed abundance respectively in G93A-SOD1-expressing cells. The 45 spots were identified by MS, and they include proteins involved in mitochondrial membrane transport, apoptosis, the respiratory chain, and molecular chaperones. In particular, alterations in the post-translational modifications of voltage-dependent anion channel 2 (VDAC2) were found, and its relevance to regulating mitochondrial membrane permeability and activation of apoptotic pathways is discussed. The potential role of other proteins in the mutant SOD1-mediated fALS is also discussed. This study has produced a short list of mitochondrial proteins that may hold the key to the mechanisms by which SOD1 mutants cause mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal death. It has laid the foundation for further detailed functional studies to elucidate the role of particular mitochondrial proteins, such as VDAC2, in the pathogenesis of familial ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M400094-MCP200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360176PMC
December 2004

Mismatch repair deficiency in hematological malignancies with microsatellite instability.

Oncogene 2002 Aug;21(37):5758-64

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, KY 40536, USA.

Mutations in human mismatch repair (MMR) genes are the genetic basis for certain types of solid tumors displaying microsatellite instability (MSI). MSI has also been observed in hematological malignancies, but whether these hematological malignancies are associated with MMR deficiency is still unclear. Using both biochemical and genetic approaches, this study analysed MMR proficiency in 11 cell lines derived from patients with hematological malignancies and demonstrated that six out of seven hematological cancer cell lines with MSI were defective in strand-specific MMR. In vitro complementation experiments, using characterized MMR mutant extracts or purified proteins, showed that these hematological cancer cells were defective in either hMutS(alpha) (a heterodimer of hMSH2 and hMSH6) or hMutL(alpha) (a heterodimer of hMLH1 and hPMS2). Furthermore, cell lines deficient in hMutS(alpha) showed large deletions or point mutations in hMSH2, while those deficient in hMutL(alpha) exhibited point mutations in hMLH1 or a lack of expression of hPMS2. From these results, we conclude that, as in solid tumors, hematological malignancies with MSI are also associated with MMR deficiency, and that the cause of MMR deficiency in these cell lines is due to a defective MutS(alpha) or MutL(alpha). We also report here, for the first time, that an MSI-positive cell line derived from Burkitt's lymphoma is proficient in MMR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.onc.1205695DOI Listing
August 2002

Angiotensin II and cAMP regulate AT(1)-mRNA expression in rat cardiomyocytes by transcriptional mechanism.

Eur J Pharmacol 2002 Jul;448(1):1-9

Division of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Institute and Fu Wai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, #167, Bei Li Shi Lu, Xi Cheng Qu, Beijing, 100037, People's Republic of China.

Mechanisms of angiotensin II and cAMP regulating the expression of angiotensin II type 1 (AT(1)) receptor mRNA were studied in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Angiotensin II induced a transient decrease of AT(1)-mRNA expression in time- and dose-dependent manner. Maximal decrease (49.2 +/- 9.5% of control) occurred at 6 h of angiotensin II (10 nmol/l) treatment. AT(1) receptor antagonists 4-ethyl-2-n-propyl-1-[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl)biphenyl-4-yl)methyl]imidazole-5-carboxylic acid (DMP811) and losartan as well as 1-(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-methylpiperazine dihydrochloride (H-7) reversed the down-regulation of AT(1)-mRNA expression. 6 h of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) stimulation caused a decrease of AT(1)-mRNA level. Treatment by angiotensin II plus actinomycin D for 6 h produced the same effect as actinomycin D alone. These results suggest that angiotensin II down-regulates AT(1)-mRNA level of rat cardiomyocytes by inhibiting the transcription of AT(1) gene, which is mediated by AT(1) receptor and related to the activation of protein kinase C. Stimulation by forskolin plus 3-isobutyl-1-methyl-xanthine (IBMX) decreased the expression of AT(1)-mRNA to 68.1 +/- 21.5% of control at 6 h treatment; while increased to 207.9 +/- 27.1% of control at 48 h treatment. A series of 5'-upstream deletion mutants of AT(1A) promoter were produced and then were recombined with pGL(3) basic vector utilizing luciferase as reporter gene. Among all the constructors, p(-201/+ 74)Luc was of the highest luciferase activity (5.9 times higher than control) after stimulation by forskolin for 48 h. Further deletion from -201 to -61 resulted in a large decrease of activity. These results indicate that cAMP induces a time-dependent bi-directional regulation of AT(1)-mRNA expression. The cAMP responsible element (CRE) cis-element located in the region -201/-61 of rat AT(1A) promoter is forskolin inducible, which may mediate the up-regulation of AT(1)-mRNA expression induced by cAMP long-lasting stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-2999(02)01900-3DOI Listing
July 2002