Publications by authors named "James T Alston"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

GPR142 prompts glucagon-like Peptide-1 release from islets to improve β cell function.

Mol Metab 2018 05 23;11:205-211. Epub 2018 Feb 23.

Lilly Research Laboratories, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Objective: GPR142 agonists are being pursued as novel diabetes therapies by virtue of their insulin secretagogue effects. But it is undetermined whether GPR142's functions in pancreatic islets are limited to regulating insulin secretion. The current study expands research on its action.

Methods And Results: We demonstrated by in situ hybridization and immunostaining that GPR142 is expressed not only in β cells but also in a subset of α cells. Stimulation of GPR142 by a selective agonist increased glucagon secretion in both human and mouse islets. More importantly, the GPR142 agonist also potentiated glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) production and its release from islets through a mechanism that involves upregulation of prohormone convertase 1/3 expression. Strikingly, stimulation of insulin secretion and increase in insulin content via GPR142 engagement requires intact GLP-1 receptor signaling. Furthermore, GPR142 agonist increased β cell proliferation and protected both mouse and human islets against stress-induced apoptosis.

Conclusions: Collectively, we provide here evidence that local GLP-1 release from α cells defines GPR142's beneficial effects on improving β cell function and mass, and we propose that GPR142 agonism may have translatable and durable efficacy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2018.02.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6001353PMC
May 2018

Ectonucleotidase NTPDase3 is abundant in pancreatic β-cells and regulates glucose-induced insulin secretion.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2013 Nov 1;305(10):E1319-26. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Extracellular ATP released from pancreatic β-cells acts as a potent insulinotropic agent through activation of P2 purinergic receptors. Ectonucleotidases, a family of membrane-bound nucleotide-metabolizing enzymes, regulate extracellular ATP levels by degrading ATP and related nucleotides. Ectonucleotidase activity affects the relative proportion of ATP and its metabolites, which in turn will impact the level of purinergic receptor stimulation exerted by extracellular ATP. Therefore, we investigated the expression and role of ectonucleotidases in pancreatic β-cells. Of the ectonucleotidases studied, only ENTPD3 (gene encoding the NTPDase3 enzyme) mRNA was detected at fairly abundant levels in human and mouse pancreatic islets as well as in insulin-secreting MIN6 cells. ARL67156, a selective ectonucleotidase inhibitor, blocked degradation of extracellular ATP that was added to MIN6 cells. The compound also decreased degradation of endogenous ATP released from cells. Measurements of insulin secretion in MIN6 cells as well as in mouse and human pancreatic islets demonstrated that ARL67156 potentiated glucose-dependent insulin secretion. Downregulation of NTPDase3 expression in MIN6 cells with the specific siRNA replicated the effects of ARL67156 on extracellular ATP hydrolysis and insulin secretion. Our results demonstrate that NTPDase3 is the major ectonucleotidase in pancreatic β-cells in multiple species and that it modulates insulin secretion by controlling activation of purinergic receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00328.2013DOI Listing
November 2013

High molecular weight polyethylene glycol cellular distribution and PEG-associated cytoplasmic vacuolation is molecular weight dependent and does not require conjugation to proteins.

Toxicol Pathol 2013 20;41(7):970-83. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

1Translational Sciences and Investigative Pathology, Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Conjugation of therapeutic proteins with high molecular weight polyethylene glycols (HMW PEGs) is used to extend the half-life of biologics. To evaluate the effects of HMW PEGs in animals, we used an immunohistochemical procedure to study the tissue distribution and toxicity of unconjugated HMW PEGs in rats given 100 mg/kg (10K)PEG, (20K)PEG, or (40K)PEG intravenously. Both the PEG cellular distribution and the histology were different between groups. In (10K)PEG and (20K)PEG groups, PEG immunoreactivity was most prominent in the renal tubule epithelium and in alveolar macrophages and hepatic Kupffer cells and cellular vacuolation was absent. In contrast, rats given (40K)PEG had strong PEG immunoreactivity in splenic subcapsular red pulp macrophages, renal interstitial macrophages, and choroid plexus epithelial cells that was frequently associated with cytoplasmic vacuolation. While the vacuolation appeared to be an adaptive response, there was focal renal tubular epithelial degeneration associated with strong PEG immunoreactivity in one rat given (40K)PEG. These data indicate that both the tissue distribution and the vacuolation observed with unconjugated HMW PEGs are markedly influenced by the molecular weight of the PEG and that when vacuolation is observed it is likely an adaptive change that is associated with PEG cytoplasmic immunoreactivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623312474726DOI Listing
June 2014

ADAM-8 isolated from human osteoarthritic chondrocytes cleaves fibronectin at Ala(271).

Arthritis Rheum 2009 Sep;60(9):2704-13

Pfizer Global Research and Development, 700 Chesterfield Parkway, Chesterfield, MO 63017, USA.

Objective: Fibronectin fragments are thought to play a critical role in the initiation and progression of cartilage degradation in arthritis. In a recent study, fibronectin neoepitopes resulting from cleavage of intact fibronectin at the Ala(271)/Val(272) scissile bond, generating an approximately 30-kd fragment with the new C-terminus VRAA(271) and an approximately 50-85-kd fragment with the new N-terminus (272)VYQP, were identified in osteoarthritis (OA) cartilage. The present study was undertaken to isolate the enzymes responsible for this cleavage from human OA chondrocytes.

Methods: Fibronectin-degrading activity in human OA chondrocyte-conditioned medium (OACCM) was purified using conventional chromatography. A fluorescent peptide was developed based on the fibronectin scissile bond (269)RAA downward arrowVal(272), and this peptide was used to track fibronectinase activity during purification. Western blotting with antibodies that detect the fibronectin neoepitopes VRAA(271) and (272)VYQP was used to confirm cleavage of intact fibronectin by the enzymatically active fractions. Mass spectrometry was used to identify the proteins found in the fibronectinase-enriched fractions, with further confirmation by Western blotting. In addition, a recombinant enzyme identified by mass spectrometry was tested by Western blotting and dimethylmethylene blue assay for its ability to produce fibronectin neoepitopes in OA cartilage.

Results: Purification of OACCM by chromatography resulted in isolation of a fibronectin-degrading enzyme, and mass spectrometry identified ADAM-8 as the fibronectinase present in these preparations. Furthermore, treatment of OA cartilage with recombinant human ADAM-8 promoted cartilage catabolism.

Conclusion: The results of this study identify ADAM-8 as a fibronectinase in human OA chondrocytes. Because ADAM-8 is capable of producing the fibronectin neoepitopes VRAA(271) and (272)VYQP in human OA cartilage, this enzyme may be an important mediator of cartilage catabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.24753DOI Listing
September 2009

Proprotein convertase activation of aggrecanases in cartilage in situ.

Arch Biochem Biophys 2008 Oct 19;478(1):43-51. Epub 2008 Jul 19.

Pfizer Global Research and Development, 700 Chesterfield Parkway-AA3E, Chesterfield, St. Louis, MO 63017, USA.

Proteolytic degradation of the major cartilage macromolecules, aggrecan and type II collagen, is a key pathological event in osteoarthritis (OA). ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5, the primary aggrecanases capable of cartilage aggrecan cleavage, are synthesized as latent enzymes and require prodomain removal for activity. The N-termini of the mature proteases suggest that activation involves a proprotein convertase, but the specific family member responsible for aggrecanase activation in cartilage in situ has not been identified. Here we describe purification of a proprotein convertase activity from human OA cartilage. Through biochemical characterization and the use of siRNA, PACE4 was identified as a proprotein convertase responsible for activation of aggrecanases in osteoarthritic and cytokine-stimulated cartilage. Posttranslational activation of ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 was observed in the extracellular milieu of cartilage, resulting in aggrecan degradation. These findings suggest that PACE4 represents a novel target for the development of OA therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2008.07.012DOI Listing
October 2008

Aggrecan degradation in human articular cartilage explants is mediated by both ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5.

Arthritis Rheum 2007 Feb;56(2):575-85

Pfizer Global Research and Development, St Louis, MO 63017, USA.

Objective: Recent published studies have shown that cartilage from ADAMTS-5-knockout mice, but not ADAMTS-4- or ADAMTS-1-knockout mice, is significantly protected from degradation. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the respective roles of these enzymes in human cartilage breakdown, using a small interfering RNA (siRNA) approach to assess the effects of inhibition of each enzyme in normal and osteoarthritic (OA) explants.

Methods: The activities of siRNA specifically targeting ADAMTS-1, -4, and -5 were assessed by transfection into primary human chondrocytes and cultured human cartilage explants. At 24 hours, a cytokine stimulus was applied to normal, but not OA, samples to initiate a catabolic response. At designated times, total RNA was isolated and gene expression was measured by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Aggrecan release and aggrecanase-generated neoepitope formation were determined by dye binding analysis and Western blotting, respectively.

Results: Human chondrocytes and explants were efficiently transfected with siRNA that specifically decreased the expression of each targeted gene. Suppression of ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5, individually or in combination, attenuated the degradation of aggrecan in cytokine-stimulated normal cartilage. A reduction in aggrecan degradation was also observed following siRNA-mediated knockdown of either gene in unstimulated OA cartilage. In contrast, knockdown of ADAMTS-1 failed to inhibit aggrecan loss.

Conclusion: Despite the apparent dominant role of ADAMTS-5 in genetically modified mice, our data suggest that both ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 contribute to the structural damage that characterizes human OA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.22334DOI Listing
February 2007

Identification of fibronectin neoepitopes present in human osteoarthritic cartilage.

Arthritis Rheum 2006 Sep;54(9):2912-22

Pfizer Global Research & Development, Chesterfield, Missouri 63017, USA.

Objective: Fibronectin fragments are present at high concentrations in the cartilage of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and have been shown to promote cartilage catabolism in human cartilage cultures, suggesting that fibronectin fragments participate in the initiation and progression of arthritic disease. This study was undertaken to 1) identify the major fibronectin fragments in human OA cartilage and confirm their ability to elicit cartilage catabolism, 2) identify the cleavage sites in fibronectin and generate the corresponding neoepitope antibodies, and 3) explore the utility of fibronectin neoepitopes as biomarkers.

Methods: Fibronectin fragments were purified from human OA cartilage using affinity chromatography; their N-termini were then identified by sequencing. Bovine nasal cartilage was treated with affinity-purified fibronectin fragments and assayed for aggrecan breakdown by monitoring the release of glycosaminoglycans and the aggrecan neoepitope 1771AGEG. Fibronectin neoepitopes were detected by Western blotting in cytokine-treated media of human cartilage explants, and by immunohistochemical analyses of human OA cartilage.

Results: Multiple fibronectin fragments were isolated from human OA cartilage, and all contained the N-terminus 272VYQP. These fragments induced aggrecanase-mediated cartilage catabolism in bovine cartilage explants. Fibronectin fragments with the N-terminus 272VYQP and fragments with the C-terminus VRAA271 were detected following cytokine treatment of human cartilage extracts. These neoepitopes localized with areas of aggrecan loss in OA cartilage.

Conclusion: Human OA cartilage contains fibronectin fragments with catabolic activity and a major cleavage site within fibronectin. This study is the first to characterize fibronectin neoepitopes in OA cartilage, suggesting that they may represent a novel biomarker of arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.22045DOI Listing
September 2006

Modulation of cell adhesion molecules in various epithelial cell lines after treatment with PP2.

Mol Pharm 2005 May-Jun;2(3):170-84

Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66047, USA.

Regulation and expression of E-cadherin and other adhesion molecules were evaluated after exposure to a selective inhibitor of the Src family of tyrosine kinases and inducer of E-cadherin, PP2. E-cadherin is located within the intercellular junction, and it is involved in the management of paracellular permeability of various epithelial barriers in the body. Epithelial cell lines HCT-116, HT29, Caco-2, LS174T, and ARPE-19 were examined for morphological, functional, protein, and mRNA changes following 20 microM PP2 treatment. PP2 treatment caused cell clustering in Caco-2, HT29, and HCT-116 cells. E-cadherin also redistributed to the points of cell contact in Caco-2 cells. These changes suggest increased E-cadherin-dependent cell adhesion. Studies evaluating transepithelial electrical resistance, an established measurement of paracellular permeability, displayed increases in resistance for the Caco-2 cells following PP2 treatment, which correlates with our microscopy data. In addition, E-cadherin protein levels increased for all cells except HCT-116. ARPE-19 cells did not express E-cadherin at the protein or mRNA level. Expression of adhesion molecules varied for the cell lines, and only Claudin 3 mRNA expression was significantly increased in the three intestinal cell lines treated with PP2. Overall, our data suggest that E-cadherin is positively regulated by inhibition of Src tyrosine kinases at the functional and protein expression levels within these epithelial cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/mp0499003DOI Listing
August 2005

Effects of an E-cadherin-derived peptide on the gene expression of Caco-2 cells.

Pharm Res 2004 Nov;21(11):2085-94

Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66047, USA.

Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine the effects of exposure to an HAV peptide (Ac-SHAVSS-NH2) on the protein and gene expression in Caco-2 cells, a model for the intestinal mucosa.

Methods: Caco-2 cells were incubated with either 100 or 500 microM of the hexapeptide then evaluated over a 48-h time period.

Results: Cell detachment from the monolayer was seen only after 48 h of exposure to the peptide, with the greatest effects occurring with a peptide concentration of 500 microM. Total protein expression of E-cadherin showed a decrease of nearly 20% at the 24-h time point for each concentration examined, whereas no significant changes were detected at the other time points studied. Short term exposure to a 500 microM solution of Ac-SHAVSS-NH2 caused few changes in gene expression as determined by Affymetrix GeneChip microarrays; however, longer exposure periods produced numerous changes in the treated cells. The variations in mRNA expression indicate that this HAV peptide has an effect in the E-cadherin signaling pathways. The greatest increases in mRNA expression were found in genes regulating excretion or degradation of the peptide.

Conclusions: This work suggests that this HAV peptide produces effects that reach beyond modulation of adhesion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/b:pham.0000048201.00143.72DOI Listing
November 2004
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