Publications by authors named "Masahiro Nishijima"

52 Publications

Targeting cellular squalene synthase, an enzyme essential for cholesterol biosynthesis, is a potential antiviral strategy against hepatitis C virus.

J Virol 2015 Feb 3;89(4):2220-32. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan

Unlabelled: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) exploits host membrane cholesterol and its metabolism for progeny virus production. Here, we examined the impact of targeting cellular squalene synthase (SQS), the first committed enzyme for cholesterol biosynthesis, on HCV production. By using the HCV JFH-1 strain and human hepatoma Huh-7.5.1-derived cells, we found that the SQS inhibitors YM-53601 and zaragozic acid A decreased viral RNA, protein, and progeny production in HCV-infected cells without affecting cell viability. Similarly, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of SQS led to significantly reduced HCV production, confirming the enzyme as an antiviral target. A metabolic labeling study demonstrated that YM-53601 suppressed the biosynthesis of cholesterol and cholesteryl esters at antiviral concentrations. Unlike YM-53601, the cholesterol esterification inhibitor Sandoz 58-035 did not exhibit an antiviral effect, suggesting that biosynthesis of cholesterol is more important than that of cholesteryl esters for HCV production. YM-53601 inhibited transient replication of a JFH-1 subgenomic replicon and entry of JFH-1 pseudoparticles, suggesting that at least suppression of viral RNA replication and entry contributes to the antiviral effect of the drug. Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in HCV production and implicate SQS as a potential target for antiviral strategies against HCV.

Importance: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is known to be closely associated with host cholesterol and its metabolism throughout the viral life cycle. However, the impact of targeting cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes on HCV production is not fully understood. We found that squalene synthase, the first committed enzyme for cholesterol biosynthesis, is important for HCV production, and we propose this enzyme as a potential anti-HCV target. We provide evidence that synthesis of free cholesterol is more important than that of esterified cholesterol for HCV production, highlighting a marked free cholesterol dependency of HCV production. Our findings also offer a new insight into a role of the intracellular cholesterol pool that is coupled to its biosynthesis in the HCV life cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.03385-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338862PMC
February 2015

Self-enhancement of hepatitis C virus replication by promotion of specific sphingolipid biosynthesis.

PLoS Pathog 2012 16;8(8):e1002860. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Lipids are key components in the viral life cycle that affect host-pathogen interactions. In this study, we investigated the effect of HCV infection on sphingolipid metabolism, especially on endogenous SM levels, and the relationship between HCV replication and endogenous SM molecular species. We demonstrated that HCV induces the expression of the genes (SGMS1 and 2) encoding human SM synthases 1 and 2. We observed associated increases of both total and individual sphingolipid molecular species, as assessed in human hepatocytes and in the detergent-resistant membrane (DRM) fraction in which HCV replicates. SGMS1 expression had a correlation with HCV replication. Inhibition of sphingolipid biosynthesis with a hepatotropic serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) inhibitor, NA808, suppressed HCV-RNA production while also interfering with sphingolipid metabolism. Further, we identified the SM molecular species that comprise the DRM fraction and demonstrated that these endogenous SM species interacted with HCV nonstructural 5B polymerase to enhance viral replication. Our results reveal that HCV alters sphingolipid metabolism to promote viral replication, providing new insights into the formation of the HCV replication complex and the involvement of host lipids in the HCV life cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3420934PMC
December 2012

[Current status in the commercialization and application of genetically modified plants and their effects on human and livestock health and phytoremediation].

Yakugaku Zasshi 2012 ;132(5):629-74

Research Center for Medicinal Plant Resources, National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Ibaraki, Japan.

Developments in the use of genetically modified plants for human and livestock health and phytoremediation were surveyed using information retrieved from Entrez PubMed, Chemical Abstracts Service, Google, congress abstracts and proceedings of related scientific societies, scientific journals, etc. Information obtained was classified into 8 categories according to the research objective and the usage of the transgenic plants as 1: nutraceuticals (functional foods), 2: oral vaccines, 3: edible curatives, 4: vaccine antigens, 5: therapeutic antibodies, 6: curatives, 7: diagnostic agents and reagents, and 8: phytoremediation. In total, 405 cases were collected from 2006 to 2010. The numbers of cases were 120 for nutraceuticals, 65 for oral vaccines, 25 for edible curatives, 36 for vaccine antigens, 36 for therapeutic antibodies, 76 for curatives, 15 for diagnostic agents and reagents, and 40 for phytoremediation (sum of each cases was 413 because some reports were related to several categories). Nutraceuticals, oral vaccines and curatives were predominant. The most frequently used edible crop was rice (51 cases), and tomato (28 cases), lettuce (22 cases), potato (18 cases), corn (15 cases) followed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/yakushi.132.629DOI Listing
March 2013

Reconstitution assay system for ceramide transport with semi-intact cells.

Methods Cell Biol 2012 ;108:117-29

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

The intracellular transport of lipids from the sites of their synthesis to their appropriate destination is a critical step for lipid metabolism. One well-defined inter-organelle lipid movement is the transport of ceramide by ceramide transport protein (CERT). Ceramide, a key intermediate for both sphingomyelin and glycosphingolipids, is synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum and delivered to the Golgi apparatus to be converted to sphingomyelin. CERT delivers ceramide from the ER to the Golgi apparatus in a non-vesicular and ATP-dependent manner. This chapter describes a reconstitution assay system for ceramide transport with semi-intact cells, which is useful for the study of the CERT-mediated inter-organelle transport of ceramide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-386487-1.00006-7DOI Listing
May 2012

[Efficacy and safety of vaccine adjuvants: a review from a pharmaceutical perspective].

Yakugaku Zasshi 2011 ;131(12):1721-2

Natinal Institute of Infectious Diseases, Department of Safety Research on Blood and Biological Products, Musashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/yakushi.131.1721DOI Listing
March 2012

PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE SYNTHASE1 is required for microspore development in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Plant J 2011 Aug 24;67(4):648-61. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, Shimo-Okubo 255, Sakura-Ku, Saitama 338-8570, Japan.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) has many important biological roles, but little is known about its role in plants, partly because of its low abundance. We show here that PS is enriched in Arabidopsis floral tissues and that genetic disruption of PS biosynthesis decreased heterozygote fertility due to inhibition of pollen maturation. At1g15110, designated PSS1, encodes a base-exchange-type PS synthase. Escherichia coli cells expressing PSS1 accumulated PS in the presence of l-serine at 23°C. Promoter-GUS assays showed PSS1 expression in developing anther pollen and tapetum. A few seeds with pss1-1 and pss1-2 knockout alleles escaped embryonic lethality but developed into sterile dwarf mutant plants. These plants contained no PS, verifying that PSS1 is essential for PS biosynthesis. Reciprocal crossing revealed reduced pss1 transmission via male gametophytes, predicting a rate of 61.6%pss1-1 pollen defects in PSS1/pss1-1 plants. Alexander's staining of inseparable qrt1-1 PSS1/pss1-1 quartets revealed a rate of 42% having three or four dead pollen grains, suggesting sporophytic pss1-1 cell death effects. Analysis with the nuclear stain 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) showed that all tetrads from PSS1/pss1-1 anthers retain their nuclei, whereas unicellular microspores were sometimes anucleate. Transgenic Arabidopsis expressing a GFP-LactC2 construct that binds PS revealed vesicular staining in tetrads and bicellular microspores and nuclear membrane staining in unicellular microspores. Hence, distribution and/or transport of PS across membranes were dynamically regulated in pollen microspores. However, among unicellular microspores from PSS1/pss1-2 GFP-LactC2 plants, all anucleate microspores showed little GFP-LactC2 fluorescence, suggesting that pss1-2 microspores are more sensitive to sporophytic defects or show partial gametophytic defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04624.xDOI Listing
August 2011

Identification and structural analysis of C-terminally truncated collapsin response mediator protein-2 in a murine model of prion diseases.

Proteome Sci 2010 Oct 20;8:53. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Background: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that accompany an accumulation of the disease-associated form(s) of prion protein (PrPSc) in the central nervous system. The neuropathological changes in the brain begin with focal deposits of PrPSc, followed by pathomorphological abnormalities of axon terminal degeneration, synaptic loss, atrophy of dendritic trees, and eventual neuronal cell death in the lesions. However, the underlying molecular basis for these neuropathogenic abnormalities is not fully understood.

Results: In a proteomic analysis of soluble proteins in the brains of mice challenged intracerebrally with scrapie prion (Obihiro I strain), we found that the amount of the full-length form of collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2; 61 kDa) decreased in the late stages of the disease, while the amount of its truncated form (56 kDa) increased to comparable levels observed for the full-length form. Detailed analysis by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry showed that the 56-kDa form (named CRMP-2-ΔC) lacked the sequence from serine518 to the C-terminus, including the C-terminal phosphorylation sites important for the regulation of axonal growth and axon-dendrite specification in developing neurons. The invariable size of the mRNA transcript in Northern blot analysis suggested that the truncation was due to post-translational proteolysis. By overexpression of CRMP-2-ΔC in primary cultured neurons, we observed the augmentation of the development of neurite branch tips to the same levels as for CRMP-2T514A/T555A, a non-phosphorylated mimic of the full-length protein. This suggests that the increased level of CRMP-2-ΔC in the brain modulates the integrity of neurons, and may be involved in the pathogenesis of the neuronal abnormalities observed in the late stages of the disease.

Conclusions: We identified the presence of CRMP-2-ΔC in the brain of a murine model of prion disease. Of note, C-terminal truncations of CRMP-2 have been recently observed in models for neurodegenerative disorders such as ischemia, traumatic brain injury, and Wallerian degeneration. While the structural identity of CRMP-2-ΔC in those models remains unknown, the present study should provide clues to the molecular pathology of degenerating neurons in prion diseases in connection with other neurodegenerative disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1477-5956-8-53DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978134PMC
October 2010

Update of the LIPID MAPS comprehensive classification system for lipids.

J Lipid Res 2009 Apr 19;50 Suppl:S9-14. Epub 2008 Dec 19.

San Diego Supercomputer Center, Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0505, USA.

In 2005, the International Lipid Classification and Nomenclature Committee under the sponsorship of the LIPID MAPS Consortium developed and established a "Comprehensive Classification System for Lipids" based on well-defined chemical and biochemical principles and using an ontology that is extensible, flexible, and scalable. This classification system, which is compatible with contemporary databasing and informatics needs, has now been accepted internationally and widely adopted. In response to considerable attention and requests from lipid researchers from around the globe and in a variety of fields, the comprehensive classification system has undergone significant revisions over the last few years to more fully represent lipid structures from a wider variety of sources and to provide additional levels of detail as necessary. The details of this classification system are reviewed and updated and are presented here, along with revisions to its suggested nomenclature and structure-drawing recommendations for lipids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1194/jlr.R800095-JLR200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2674711PMC
April 2009

Cellular vimentin content regulates the protein level of hepatitis C virus core protein and the hepatitis C virus production in cultured cells.

Virology 2009 Jan 14;383(2):319-27. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is essential for virus particle formation. Using HCV core-expressing and non-expressing Huh7 cell lines, Uc39-6 and Uc321, respectively, we performed comparative proteomic studies of proteins in the 0.5% Triton X-100-insoluble fractions of cells, and found that core-expressing Uc39-6 cells had much lower vimentin content than Uc321 cells. In experiments using vimentin-overexpressing and vimentin-knocked-down cells, we demonstrated that core protein levels were affected by cellular vimentin content. When vimentin expression was knocked-down, there was no difference in mRNA level of core protein; but proteasome-dependent degradation of the core protein was strongly reduced. These findings suggest that the turnover rate of core protein is regulated by cellular vimentin content. HCV production was also affected by cellular vimentin content. Our findings together suggest that modulation of hepatic vimentin expression might enable the control of HCV production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2008.10.009DOI Listing
January 2009

Casein kinase I{gamma}2 down-regulates trafficking of ceramide in the synthesis of sphingomyelin.

Mol Biol Cell 2009 Jan 12;20(1):348-57. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.

Intracellullar trafficking of lipids is fundamental to membrane biogenesis. For the synthesis of sphingomyelin, ceramide is transported from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus by the ceramide transfer protein CERT. CERT is phosphorylated by protein kinase D at S132 and subsequently multiple times in a serine-repeat motif, resulting in its inactivation. However, the kinase involved in the multiple phosphorylation remains unclear. Here, we identify the gamma2 isoform of casein kinase I (CKIgamma2) as a kinase whose overexpression confers sphingomyelin-directed toxin-resistance to Chinese hamster ovary cells. In a transformant stably expressing CKIgamma2, CERT was hyperphosphorylated, and the intracellular trafficking of ceramide was retarded, thereby reducing de novo sphingomyelin synthesis. The reduction in the synthesis of sphingomyelin caused by CKIgamma2 was reversed by the expression of CERT mutants that are not hyperphosphorylated. Furthermore, CKIgamma2 directly phosphorylated CERT in vitro. Among three gamma isoforms, only knockdown of gamma2 isoform caused drastic changes in the ratio of hypo- to hyperphosphorylated form of CERT in HeLa cells. These results indicate that CKIgamma2 hyperphosphorylates the serine-repeat motif of CERT, thereby inactivating CERT and down-regulating the synthesis of sphingomyelin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.e08-07-0669DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613112PMC
January 2009

The preparation of a lipidic endotoxin affects its biological activities.

Biol Pharm Bull 2008 Oct;31(10):1952-4

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Bacterial membrane constituents, such as Ornithine-containing lipid (OL) and the lipid A portion of lipopolysaccharide, trigger various immune responses through recognition by Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4. Usually, these lipids are dissolved in a small amount of aqueous or organic solvent before being added to the culture medium for examination of their biological activities. Macrophages stimulated with OL or lipid A sonically dissolved in saline released both interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). In contrast, macrophages stimulated with OL or lipid A sonically dissolved in ethanol or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) secreted much TNF-alpha, but very little IL-1beta. These results, taken together, indicate that how an endotoxin is prepared affects its biological activities. In addition, electromicroscopic analysis revealed that sonication of air-dried OL or lipid A in DMSO produced larger particles than those produced in saline, suggesting that the process of preparing lipidic TLR4-ligands affects their physical state including particle size, and that the physical state might be an important determinant of biological activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/bpb.31.1952DOI Listing
October 2008

Synthetic fibril peptide promotes clearance of scrapie prion protein by lysosomal degradation.

Microbiol Immunol 2008 Jul;52(7):357-65

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institue of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are infectious and neurodegenerative disorders that cause neural deposition of aggregates of the disease-associated form of PrP(Sc). PrP(Sc) reproduces by recruiting and converting the cellular PrP(C), and ScN2a cells support PrP(Sc) propagation. We found that incubation of ScN2a cells with a fibril peptide named P9, which comprises an intrinsic sequence of residues 167-184 of mouse PrP(C), significantly reduced the amount of PrP(Sc) in 24 hr. P9 did not affect the rates of synthesis and degradation of PrP(C). Interestingly, immunofluorescence analysis showed that the incubation of ScN2a cells with P9 induced colocalization of the accumulation of PrP with cathepsin D-positive compartments, whereas the accumulation of PrP in the cells without P9 colocalized mainly with lysosomal associated membrane proteins (LAMP)-1-positive compartments but rarely with cathepsin D-positive compartments in perinuclear regions. Lysosomal enzyme inhibitors attenuated the anti-PrP(Sc) activity; however, a proteasome inhibitor did not impair P9 activity. In addition, P9 neither promoted the ubiquitination of cellular proteins nor caused the accumulation of LC3-II, a biochemical marker of autophagy. These results indicate that P9 promotes PrP(Sc) redistribution from late endosomes to lysosomes, thereby attaining PrP(Sc) degradation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1348-0421.2008.00046.xDOI Listing
July 2008

Critical role of virion-associated cholesterol and sphingolipid in hepatitis C virus infection.

J Virol 2008 Jun 26;82(12):5715-24. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Department of Virology II, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

In this study, we establish that cholesterol and sphingolipid associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) particles are important for virion maturation and infectivity. In a recently developed culture system enabling study of the complete life cycle of HCV, mature virions were enriched with cholesterol as assessed by the molar ratio of cholesterol to phospholipid in virion and cell membranes. Depletion of cholesterol from the virus or hydrolysis of virion-associated sphingomyelin almost completely abolished HCV infectivity. Supplementation of cholesterol-depleted virus with exogenous cholesterol enhanced infectivity to a level equivalent to that of the untreated control. Cholesterol-depleted or sphingomyelin-hydrolyzed virus had markedly defective internalization, but no influence on cell attachment was observed. Significant portions of HCV structural proteins partitioned into cellular detergent-resistant, lipid-raft-like membranes. Combined with the observation that inhibitors of the sphingolipid biosynthetic pathway block virion production, but not RNA accumulation, in a JFH-1 isolate, our findings suggest that alteration of the lipid composition of HCV particles might be a useful approach in the design of anti-HCV therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02530-07DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2395132PMC
June 2008

Structural basis for specific lipid recognition by CERT responsible for nonvesicular trafficking of ceramide.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Jan 9;105(2):488-93. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Structural Biology Research Center, Photon Factory, Institute of Materials Structure Science, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0801, Japan.

In mammalian cells, ceramide is synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum and transferred to the Golgi apparatus for conversion to sphingomyelin. Ceramide transport occurs in a nonvesicular manner and is mediated by CERT, a cytosolic 68-kDa protein with a C-terminal steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid transfer (START) domain. The CERT START domain efficiently transfers natural D-erythro-C16-ceramide, but not lipids with longer (C20) amide-acyl chains. The molecular mechanisms of ceramide specificity, both stereo-specific recognition and length limit, are not well understood. Here we report the crystal structures of the CERT START domain in its apo-form and in complex with ceramides having different acyl chain lengths. In these complex structures, one ceramide molecule is buried in a long amphiphilic cavity. At the far end of the cavity, the amide and hydroxyl groups of ceramide form a hydrogen bond network with specific amino acid residues that play key roles in stereo-specific ceramide recognition. At the head of the ceramide molecule, there is no extra space to accommodate additional bulky groups. The two aliphatic chains of ceramide are surrounded by the hydrophobic wall of the cavity, whose size and shape dictate the length limit for cognate ceramides. Furthermore, local high-crystallographic B-factors suggest that the alpha-3 and the Omega1 loop might work as a gate to incorporate the ceramide into the cavity. Thus, the structures demonstrate the structural basis for the mechanism by which CERT can distinguish ceramide from other lipid types yet still recognize multiple species of ceramides.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0709191105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2206563PMC
January 2008

De novo biosynthesis of the late endosome lipid, bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate.

J Lipid Res 2007 Sep 8;48(9):1997-2008. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

RIKEN, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.

Bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP) is a unique lipid enriched in the late endosomes participating in the trafficking of lipids and proteins through this organelle. The de novo biosynthesis of BMP has not been clearly demonstrated. We investigated whether phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and cardiolipin (CL) could serve as precursors of de novo BMP synthesis using two different cellular models: CHO cells deficient in phosphatidylglycerophosphate (PGP) synthase, the enzyme responsible for the first step of PG synthesis; and human lymphoblasts from patients with Barth syndrome (BTHS), characterized by mutations in tafazzin, an enzyme implicated in the deacylation-reacylation cycle of CL. The biosynthesis of both PG and BMP was reduced significantly in the PGP synthase-deficient CHO mutants. Furthermore, overexpression of PGP synthase in the deficient mutants induced an increase of BMP biosynthesis. In contrast to CHO mutants, BMP biosynthesis and its fatty acid composition were not altered in BTHS lymphoblasts. Our results thus suggest that in mammalian cells, PG, but not CL, is a precursor of the de novo biosynthesis of BMP. Despite the decrease of de novo synthesis, the cellular content of BMP remained unchanged in CHO mutants, suggesting that other pathway(s) than de novo biosynthesis are also used for BMP synthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M700154-JLR200DOI Listing
September 2007

Release of the lipopolysaccharide deacylase PagL from latency compensates for a lack of lipopolysaccharide aminoarabinose modification-dependent resistance to the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B in Salmonella enterica.

J Bacteriol 2007 Jul 4;189(13):4911-9. Epub 2007 May 4.

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Doshisha Women's College, Kodo, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0395, Japan.

Salmonella enterica modifies its lipopolysaccharide (LPS), including the lipid A portion, to adapt to its environments. The lipid A 3-O-deacylase PagL exhibits latency; deacylation of lipid A is not usually observed in vivo despite the expression of PagL, which is under the control of a two-component regulatory system, PhoP-PhoQ. In contrast, PagL is released from latency in pmrA and pmrE mutants, both of which are deficient in aminoarabinose-modified lipid A, although the biological significance of this is not clear. The attachment of aminoarabinose to lipid A decreases the net anionic charge at the membrane's surface and reduces electrostatic repulsion between neighboring LPS molecules, leading to increases in bacterial resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides, including polymyxin B. Here we examined the effects of the release of PagL from latency on resistance to polymyxin B. The pmrA pagL and pmrE pagL double mutants were more susceptible to polymyxin B than were the parental pmrA and pmrE mutants, respectively. Furthermore, introduction of the PagL expression plasmid into the pmrA pagL double mutant increased the resistance to polymyxin B. In addition, PagL-dependent deacylation of lipid A was observed in a mutant in which lipid A could not be modified with phosphoethanolamine, which partly contributes to the PmrA-dependent resistance to polymyxin B. These results, taken together, suggest that the release of PagL from latency compensates for the loss of resistance to polymyxin B that is due to a lack of other modifications to LPS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.00451-07DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1913436PMC
July 2007

Interorganelle trafficking of ceramide is regulated by phosphorylation-dependent cooperativity between the PH and START domains of CERT.

J Biol Chem 2007 Jun 18;282(24):17758-66. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

The synthesis and transport of lipids are essential events for membrane biogenesis. However, little is known about how intracellular trafficking of lipids is regulated. Ceramide is synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and transported by the ceramide transfer protein CERT to the Golgi apparatus, where it is converted to sphingomyelin. CERT has a phosphoinositide-binding pleckstrin homology (PH) domain for Golgi-targeting and a lipid transfer START domain for intermembrane transfer of ceramide. We here show that CERT receives multiple phosphorylations at a serine-repeat motif, a possibe site for casein kinase I, and that the phosphorylation down-regulates the ER-to-Golgi transport of ceramide. In vitro assays show that the phosphorylation induces an autoinhibitory interaction between the PH and START domains and consequently inactivates both the phosphoinositide binding and ceramide transfer activities of CERT. Loss of sphingomyelin and cholesterol from cells causes dephosphorylation of CERT to activate it. The cooperative control of functionally distinct domains of CERT is a novel molecular event to regulate the intracellular trafficking of ceramide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M702291200DOI Listing
June 2007

Prevention of prion propagation by dehydrocholesterol reductase inhibitors in cultured cells and a therapeutic trial in mice.

Biol Pharm Bull 2007 Apr;30(4):835-8

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan.

In prion diseases, the normal cellular form of prion protein (PrP(C)) is converted into the disease-associated isoforms (PrP(Sc)) which accumulate in the infected tissues. Although the precise mechanism of this conversion remains unsolved, drugs of various categories have been reported to reduce the accumulation of PrP(Sc) in prion-infected cultured cells. We here show that AY-9944 (a 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase inhibitor) and U18666A (a 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase inhibitor) prevent PrP(Sc) from accumulating in prion-infected mouse neuroblastoma cells (ScN2a), with an ED50 of about 0.5 microM and 10 nM, respectively. In order to evaluate the efficacy of these two inhibitors in vivo, C57BL/6J mice inoculated with mouse-adapted scrapie-prion received repetitive intraperitoneal injections of U18666A (10 mg/kg) or a mixture of U18666A (10 mg/kg) and AY-9944 (12 mg/kg). By contrast to the potent anti-prion effects observed in ScN2a cells, the in vivo trial was abortive with neither drug halting the progression of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/bpb.30.835DOI Listing
April 2007

E6AP ubiquitin ligase mediates ubiquitylation and degradation of hepatitis C virus core protein.

J Virol 2007 Feb 15;81(3):1174-85. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

Department of Virology II, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is a major component of viral nucleocapsid and a multifunctional protein involved in viral pathogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis. We previously showed that the HCV core protein is degraded through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. However, the molecular machinery for core ubiquitylation is unknown. Using tandem affinity purification, we identified the ubiquitin ligase E6AP as an HCV core-binding protein. E6AP was found to bind to the core protein in vitro and in vivo and promote its degradation in hepatic and nonhepatic cells. Knockdown of endogenous E6AP by RNA interference increased the HCV core protein level. In vitro and in vivo ubiquitylation assays showed that E6AP promotes ubiquitylation of the core protein. Exogenous expression of E6AP decreased intracellular core protein levels and supernatant HCV infectivity titers in the HCV JFH1-infected Huh-7 cells. Furthermore, knockdown of endogenous E6AP by RNA interference increased intracellular core protein levels and supernatant HCV infectivity titers in the HCV JFH1-infected cells. Taken together, our results provide evidence that E6AP mediates ubiquitylation and degradation of HCV core protein. We propose that the E6AP-mediated ubiquitin-proteasome pathway may affect the production of HCV particles through controlling the amounts of viral nucleocapsid protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01684-06DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1797542PMC
February 2007

Enhancement of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in hepatic cell line Huh7 expressing hepatitis C virus core protein.

Biol Pharm Bull 2006 Sep;29(9):1958-61

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein plays important roles in the pathogeneses of liver steatosis as well as hepatocellular carcinomas due to HCV infection. In this study, we examined de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in hepatic cell line Huh7 cells expressing HCV core protein. The rate of metabolic labeling of cellular fatty acids with [(3)H]acetate in core-expressing (Uc39-6) cells was ca. 1.5-fold higher than that in non-expressing (Uc321) cells. The enzyme activities responsible for fatty acid biosynthesis were assayed in vitro. Cytosolic acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity in Uc39-6 cells was ca. 1.6-fold higher than that in Uc321 cells. On the other hand, cytosolic fatty acid synthase activity in Uc39-6 cells was only slightly higher than that in Uc321 cells. Immunoblot analysis of acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), which is a rate-limiting enzyme for fatty acid biosynthesis, revealed a higher expression level of the protein in Uc39-6 cells than in Uc321 cells. The ACC1 mRNA content in Uc39-6 cells was 1.4-fold higher than that in Uc321 cells. These results strongly suggest that enhancement of fatty acid biosynthesis in core-expressing cells is caused by increased expression of fatty acid biosynthetic enzymes, especially ACC1. Up-regulation of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis by HCV core protein may affect cellular lipid metabolism, resulting in neutral lipid accumulation in HCV-infected cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/bpb.29.1958DOI Listing
September 2006

Efficient trafficking of ceramide from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus requires a VAMP-associated protein-interacting FFAT motif of CERT.

J Biol Chem 2006 Oct 8;281(40):30279-88. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Ceramide is synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and transported to the Golgi apparatus by CERT for its conversion to sphingomyelin in mammalian cells. CERT has a pleck-strin homology (PH) domain for Golgi targeting and a START domain catalyzing the intermembrane transfer of ceramide. The region between the two domains contains a short peptide motif designated FFAT, which is supposed to interact with the ER-resident proteins VAP-A and VAP-B. Both VAPs were actually co-immunoprecipitated with CERT, and the CERT/VAP interaction was abolished by mutations in the FFAT motif. These mutations did not affect the Golgi targeting activity of CERT. Whereas mutations of neither the FFAT motif nor the PH domain inhibited the ceramide transfer activity of CERT in a cell-free system, they impaired the ER-to-Golgi transport of ceramide in intact and in semi-intact cells at near endogenous expression levels. By contrast, when overexpressed, both the FFAT motif and the PH domain mutants of CERT substantially supported the transport of ceramide from the ER to the site where sphingomyelin is produced. These results suggest that the Golgi-targeting PH domain and ER-interacting FFAT motif of CERT spatially restrict the random ceramide transfer activity of the START domain in cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M605032200DOI Listing
October 2006

Intracerebroventricular delivery of dominant negative prion protein in a mouse model of iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease after dura graft transplantation.

Neurosci Lett 2006 Jul 6;402(3):222-6. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.

We have developed a novel procedure in which a small collagen sheet (3 mm x 3 mm) absorbing prion-infected brain homogenates was transplanted onto the brain surface of highly prion-susceptible transgenic mice (Tg(MoPrP)4053/FVB), as an animal model of iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (iCJD) caused by prion-contaminated cadaveric dura graft transplantation. Using the iCJD model, we further investigated the in vivo efficacy of dominant negative recombinant prion protein with lysine substitution at mouse codon 218 (rPrP-Q218K), which is known to inhibit prion replication in vitro (H. Kishida, Y. Sakasegawa, K. Watanabe, Y. Yamakawa, M. Nishijima, Y. Kuroiwa, N.S. Hachiya, K. Kaneko, Non-glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored recombinant prion protein with dominant-negative mutation inhibits PrPSc replication in vitro, Amyloid, vol. 11, 2004, pp. 14-20.). Following 7-day intracerebroventricular administration of the rPrP-Q218K via an indwelling catheter connected to the implanted osmotic pump, the median incubation period of Tg(MoPrP)4053/FVB was prolonged considerably from 117 days to 131 days (p=0.016, log-rank test) in the rPrP-Q218K-treated group, even after a lengthy latency period of as long as 30 days by starting the rPrP-Q218K injection. Whether wild-type rPrP, other mutant rPrPs, or the combination of rPrP-Q218K with other anti-prion compounds might extend the survival period in that condition must be further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2006.03.062DOI Listing
July 2006

Proteomic profiling of lipid droplet proteins in hepatoma cell lines expressing hepatitis C virus core protein.

J Biochem 2006 May;139(5):921-30

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Department of Virology II, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo 162-8640.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein has been suggested to play crucial roles in the pathogeneses of liver steatosis and hepatocellular carcinomas due to HCV infection. Intracellular HCV core protein is localized mainly in lipid droplets, in which the core protein should exert its significant biological/pathological functions. In this study, we performed comparative proteomic analysis of lipid droplet proteins in core-expressing and non-expressing hepatoma cell lines. We identified 38 proteins in the lipid droplet fraction of core-expressing (Hep39) cells and 30 proteins in that of non-expressing (Hepswx) cells by 1-D-SDS-PAGE/MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS) or direct nanoflow liquid chromatography-MS/MS. Interestingly, the lipid droplet fraction of Hep39 cells had an apparently lower content of adipose differentiation-related protein and a much higher content of TIP47 than that of Hepswx cells, suggesting the participation of the core protein in lipid droplet biogenesis in HCV-infected cells. Another distinct feature is that proteins involved in RNA metabolism, particularly DEAD box protein 1 and DEAD box protein 3, were detected in the lipid droplet fraction of Hep39 cells. These results suggest that lipid droplets containing HCV core protein may participate in the RNA metabolism of the host and/or HCV, affecting the pathopoiesis and/or virus replication/production in HCV-infected cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jb/mvj104DOI Listing
May 2006

Phosphatidylserine is involved in gene expression from Sindbis virus subgenomic promoter.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2006 Jun 3;345(2):878-85. Epub 2006 May 3.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Sindbis virus replication is mediated by an RNA replicase translated from viral RNA genome. The replicase synthesizes progeny genomic RNA and shorter RNA (subgenomic RNA) carrying viral structural genes in association with cytoplasmic membranes. Here we examined the involvement of a membrane lipid, phosphatidylserine (PS), in Sindbis virus gene expression using Chinese hamster ovary cell mutants. When the mutant cells were transfected with viral replicon RNA, in which the structural genes downstream of the subgenomic promoter were replaced by a reporter gene, reporter expression was inhibited under PS-deficient conditions. In contrast, reporter expression from an SV40 promoter-driven construct was normal under similar conditions. Furthermore, expression of a viral replicase protein from the genomic RNA and accumulation of the subgenomic RNA were not inhibited by PS deficiency. These findings indicate that reduced cellular PS level impairs a posttranscriptional event of Sindbis virus subgenomic promoter-driven gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.04.138DOI Listing
June 2006

Regulatory roles for MD-2 and TLR4 in ligand-induced receptor clustering.

J Immunol 2006 May;176(10):6211-8

Division of Infectious Genetics, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minatoku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.

LPS, a principal membrane component in Gram-negative bacteria, is recognized by a receptor complex consisting of TLR4 and MD-2. MD-2 is an extracellular molecule that is associated with the extracellular domain of TLR4 and has a critical role in LPS recognition. MD-2 directly interacts with LPS, and the region from Phe(119) to Lys(132) (Arg(132) in mice) has been shown to be important for interaction between LPS and TLR4/MD-2. With mouse MD-2 mutants, we show in this study that Gly(59) was found to be a novel critical amino acid for LPS binding outside the region 119-132. LPS signaling is thought to be triggered by ligand-induced TLR4 clustering, which is also regulated by MD-2. Little is known, however, about a region or an amino acid in the MD-2 molecule that regulates ligand-induced receptor clustering. MD-2 mutants substituting alanine for Phe(126) or Gly(129) impaired LPS-induced TLR4 clustering, but not LPS binding to TLR4/MD-2, demonstrating that ligand-induced receptor clustering is differentially regulated by MD-2 from ligand binding. We further show that dissociation of ligand-induced receptor clustering and of ligand-receptor interaction occurs in a manner dependent on TLR4 signaling and requires endosomal acidification. These results support a principal role for MD-2 in LPS recognition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.176.10.6211DOI Listing
May 2006

A potent adjuvant monophosphoryl lipid A triggers various immune responses, but not secretion of IL-1beta or activation of caspase-1.

J Immunol 2006 Jan;176(2):1203-8

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.

Lipid A, the membrane anchor portion of LPS, is responsible for the endotoxin activity of LPS and induces many inflammatory responses in macrophages. Monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), a lipid A derivative lacking a phosphate residue, induces potent immune responses with low toxicity. To elucidate the mechanism underlying the low toxicity of MPL, we examined the effects of MPL on the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines by mouse peritoneal macrophages, a murine macrophage-like cell line (RAW 264.7), and a human macrophage-like cell line (THP-1). MPL enhanced the secretion of TNF-alpha, but not that of IL-1beta, whereas Escherichia coli-type lipid A (natural source-derived and chemically synthesized lipid A) enhanced the secretion of both cytokines. Although MPL enhanced the levels of IL-1beta mRNA and IL-1beta precursor protein to levels similar to those induced by lipid A, IL-1beta precursor processing in MPL-treated cells was much lower than that in E. coli-type lipid A-treated ones. Moreover, MPL, unlike E. coli-type lipid A, failed to induce activation of caspase-1, which catalyzes IL-1beta precursor processing. These results suggest that an immune response without activation of caspase-1 or secretion of IL-1beta results in the low toxicity of this adjuvant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.176.2.1203DOI Listing
January 2006

Requirement of an IkappaB-beta COOH terminal region protein for acidic-adaptation in CHO cells.

J Cell Physiol 2006 Apr;207(1):238-43

Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

We previously reported that an IkappaB-beta COOH terminal region protein (designated CTIB) was essential for the proliferation of CHO cells under acidic stress (Lao et al., 2005. J Cell Physiol 203(1):186-192). In order to investigate the mechanisms underlying the requirement of CTIB for acidic adaptation, CTIB was silenced with an RNAi technique in CHO cells. CTIB silencing resulted in those cells completely failing to proliferate and maintain intracellular pH (pHi) homeostasis at an extracellular pH (pHe) of 6.3. An increased activation of p38 MAP kinase was induced by CTIB silencing at the low pH value. CTIB was only present in the cytoplasm and co-immunoprecipitation of the cytoplasmic fraction revealed that the loss of CTIB led to a loss of p65 in the immunoprecipitate complex. CTIB silencing reduced both the decrease in p65 and the increase in p50 in the nucleus when the cells were incubated at pHe 6.3. In cells with CTIB silenced, the transcriptions of p65, p105, and IL1-beta were suppressed, and decreases in both the transcription and activity of MnSOD were observed at pHe 6.3. Suppression of these genes suggested a suppressed NF-kappaB activity since p105, IL1-beta, and MnSOD were target genes of NF-kappaB. Our data demonstrated that CTIB functioned to prevent the over-accumulation of p65 in the nucleus, ensuring the appropriate composition of the NF-kappaB complex in the nucleus to respond to stimuli under acidic conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.20558DOI Listing
April 2006

Infection route-independent accumulation of splenic abnormal prion protein.

Jpn J Infect Dis 2005 Apr;58(2):78-82

Department of Molecular Immunology, School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.

The accumulation kinetics of the abnormal form of prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in spleens and brains of scrapie (Obihiro-1)-infected mice at various times after intracerebral (i.c.), intraperitoneal (i.p.), or oral inoculation were studied. PrP(Sc) was first detected by Western blotting with anti-prion protein antibodies on days 70 and 116 after i.c. (3 microg) in spleens and brains, respectively. Although the amount of cerebral PrP(Sc) gradually increased to the maximum level on day 152 after i.c. inoculation, splenic PrP(Sc) established the maximum level on day 116 after i.c. inoculation then registered slight decreases up to day 152 with further incubation. The detectable levels of cerebral PrP(Sc) by Western blotting were established on day 231 or 259, whereas those of splenic PrP(Sc) were detected on day 94 or 93, after i.p. and oral infection, respectively. The splenic PrP(Sc) decreased slightly thereafter. These results indicate that splenic PrP(Sc) increased before cerebral PrP(Sc) established a detectable level in a manner independent of the inoculation route.
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April 2005

CERT mediates intermembrane transfer of various molecular species of ceramides.

J Biol Chem 2005 Feb 13;280(8):6488-95. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640 and Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.

Ceramide produced at the endoplasmic reticulum is transported to the Golgi apparatus for conversion to sphingomyelin. The main pathway of endoplasmic reticulum-to-Golgi transport of ceramide is mediated by CERT, a cytosolic 68-kDa protein, in a nonvesicular manner. CERT contains a domain that catalyzes the intermembrane transfer of natural C(16)-ceramide. In this study, we examined the ligand specificity of CERT in detail by using a cell-free assay system for intermembrane transfer of lipids. CERT did not mediate the transfer of sphingosine or sphingomyelin at all. The activity of CERT to transfer saturated and unsaturated diacylglycerols, which structurally resemble ceramide, was 5-10% of the activity toward C(16)-ceramide. Among four stereoisomers of C(16)-ceramide, CERT specifically recognized the natural d-erythro isomer. CERT efficiently transferred ceramides having C(14), C(16), C(18), and C(20) chains, but not longer acyl chains, and also mediated efficient transfer of C(16)-dihydroceramide and C(16)-phyto-ceramide. Binding assays showed that CERT also recognizes short chain fluorescent analogs of ceramide with a stoichiometry of 1:1. Moreover, (1R,3R)-N-(3-hydroxy-1-hydroxymethyl-3-phenylpropyl)dodecamide, which inhibited the CERT-dependent pathway of ceramide trafficking in intact cells, was found to be an antagonist of the CERT protein. These results indicate that CERT can mediate transfer of various types of ceramides that naturally exist and their close relatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M409290200DOI Listing
February 2005

An IkappaB-beta COOH terminal region protein is essential for the proliferation of CHO cells under acidic stress.

J Cell Physiol 2005 Apr;203(1):186-92

Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

CHO-K1 cells were able to proliferate and maintain pHi homeostasis at pH 6.3. A novel acidic sensitive mutant, AS-5B, which proliferated at pH 7.4 but failed to either proliferate or maintain pHi homeostasis at pH 6.3, was derived from CHO-K1 using a replica method. The acidic-sensitivity of AS-5B was not due to deficiencies in sodium proton exchangers, HCO3- (co)transporters or H+-ATPases. A cDNA clone encoding a COOH terminal region of IkappaB-beta conferred partial acidic-resistance on AS-5B, and the encoded protein was present in CHO-K1, but was nearly absent from AS-5B. Our data demonstrated that the expression of this small protein was essential for the proliferation of CHO cells under acidic stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.20221DOI Listing
April 2005
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