Publications by authors named "Patricia Carvajal"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Type I Interferon Dependent hsa-miR-145-5p Downregulation Modulates MUC1 and TLR4 Overexpression in Salivary Glands From Sjögren's Syndrome Patients.

Front Immunol 2021 2;12:685837. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disease that mainly affects salivary glands (SG) and is characterized by overactivation of the type I interferon (IFN) pathway. Type I IFNs can decrease the levels of hsa-miR-145-5p, a miRNA with anti-inflammatory roles that is downregulated in SG from SS-patients. Two relevant targets of hsa-miR-145-5p, mucin 1 (MUC1) and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) are overexpressed in SS-patients and contribute to SG inflammation and dysfunction. This study aimed to evaluate if hsa-miR-145-5p modulates MUC1 and TLR4 overexpression in SG from SS-patients in a type I IFN dependent manner. Labial SG (LSG) biopsies from 9 SS-patients and 6 controls were analyzed. We determined hsa-miR-145-5p levels by TaqMan assays and the mRNA levels of MUC1, TLR4, IFN-α, IFN-β, and IFN-stimulated genes (MX1, IFIT1, IFI44, and IFI44L) by real time-PCR. We also performed assays using type I IFNs and chemically synthesized hsa-miR-145-5p mimics and inhibitors. We validated the decreased hsa-miR-145-5p levels in LSG from SS-patients, which inversely correlated with the type I IFN score, mRNA levels of IFN-β, MUC1, TLR4, and clinical parameters of SS-patients (Ro/La autoantibodies and focus score). IFN-α or IFN-β stimulation downregulated hsa-miR-145-5p and increased MUC1 and TLR4 mRNA levels. Hsa-miR-145-5p overexpression decreased MUC1 and TLR4 mRNA levels, while transfection with a hsa-miR-145-5p inhibitor increased mRNA levels. Our findings show that type I IFNs decrease hsa-miR-145-5p expression leading to upregulation of MUC1 and TLR4. Together, this suggests that type I interferon-dependent hsa-miR-145-5p downregulation contributes to the perpetuation of inflammation in LSG from SS-patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.685837DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8208490PMC
June 2021

Dysfunctional mitochondria as critical players in the inflammation of autoimmune diseases: Potential role in Sjögren's syndrome.

Autoimmun Rev 2021 Aug 9;20(8):102867. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:

Relevant reviews highlight the association between dysfunctional mitochondria and inflammation, but few studies address the contribution of mitochondria and mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites (MERCs) to cellular homeostasis and inflammatory signaling. The present review outlines the important role of mitochondria in cellular homeostasis and how dysfunctional mitochondrion can release and misplace mitochondrial components (cardiolipin, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and mitochondrial formylated peptides) through multiple mechanisms. These components can act as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and induce an inflammatory response via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Accumulation of damaged ROS-generating mitochondria, accompanied by the release of mitochondrial DAMPs, can activate PRRs such as the NLRP3 inflammasome, TLR9, cGAS/STING, and ZBP1. This process would explain the chronic inflammation that is observed in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), type I diabetes (T1D), and Sjögren's syndrome. This review also provides a comprehensive overview of the importance of MERCs to mitochondrial function and morphology, cellular homeostasis, and the inflammatory response. MERCs play an important role in calcium homeostasis by mediating the transfer of calcium from the ER to the mitochondria and thereby facilitating the production of ATP. They also contribute to the synthesis and transfer of phospholipids, protein folding in the ER, mitochondrial fission, mitochondrial fusion, initiation of autophagosome formation, regulation of cell death/survival signaling, and regulation of immune responses. Therefore, alterations within MERCs could increase inflammatory signaling, modulate ER stress responses, cell homeostasis, and ultimately, the cell fate. This study shows severe ultrastructural alterations of mitochondria in salivary gland cells from Sjögren's syndrome patients for the first time, which could trigger alterations in cellular bioenergetics. This finding could explain symptoms such as fatigue and malfunction of the salivary glands in Sjögren's syndrome patients, which would contribute to the chronic inflammatory pathology of the disease. However, this is only a first step in solving this complex puzzle, and several other important factors such as changes in mitochondrial morphology, functionality, and their important contacts with other organelles require further in-depth study. Future work should focus on detecting the key milestones that are related to inflammation in patients with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren´s syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2021.102867DOI Listing
August 2021

Tofacitinib counteracts IL-6 overexpression induced by deficient autophagy: implications in Sjögren's syndrome.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2021 04;60(4):1951-1962

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Objective: Altered homeostasis of salivary gland (SG) epithelial cells in Sjögren's syndrome (SS) could be the initiating factor that leads to inflammation, secretory dysfunction and autoimmunity. Autophagy is an important homeostatic mechanism, whose deficiency is associated with inflammation and accumulation of Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) components. We aimed to evaluate whether autophagy is altered in labial SG (LSG) epithelial cells from primary SS (pSS) patients and whether this contributes to inflammation through the JAK-STAT pathway. Furthermore, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib in autophagy-deficient (ATG5 knockdown) three-dimensional (3D)-acini.

Methods: We analysed LSG biopsies from 12 pSS patients with low focus score and 10 controls. ATG5-deficient 3D-acini were generated and incubated with IL-6 in the presence or absence of tofacitinib. Autophagy markers, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, and JAK-STAT pathway activation were evaluated by PCR or western blot, along with correlation analyses between the evaluated markers and clinical parameters.

Results: LSG from pSS patients showed increased p62 and decreased ATG5 expression, correlating negatively with increased activation of JAK-STAT pathway components (pSTAT1 and pSTAT3). Increased expression of STAT1 and IL-6 correlated with EULAR Sjögren's syndrome disease activity index and the presence of anti-Ro antibodies. ATG5-deficient 3D-acini reproduced the findings observed in LSG from pSS patients, showing increased expression of pro-inflammatory markers such as IL-6, which was reversed by tofacitinib.

Conclusion: Decreased expression of ATG5 in LSG epithelial cells from pSS patients possibly contributes to increased inflammation associated with JAK-STAT pathway activation, as evidenced in ATG5-deficient 3D-acini. Interestingly, these results suggest that tofacitinib could be used as an anti-inflammatory agent in pSS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keaa670DOI Listing
April 2021

Aberrant MUC1 accumulation in salivary glands of Sjögren's syndrome patients is reversed by TUDCA in vitro.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2020 04;59(4):742-753

Programa de Biología Celular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Objectives: Xerostomia in SS patients has been associated with low quality and quantity of salivary mucins, which are fundamental for the hydration and protection of the oral mucosa. The aim of this study was to evaluate if cytokines induce aberrant mucin expression and whether tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is able to counteract such an anomaly.

Methods: Labial salivary glands from 16 SS patients and 15 control subjects, as well as 3D acini or human submandibular gland cells stimulated with TNF-α or IFN-γ and co-incubated with TUDCA, were analysed. mRNA and protein levels of Mucin 1 (MUC1) and MUC7 were determined by RT-qPCR and western blot, respectively. Co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays for mucins and GRP78 [an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident protein] were also performed. mRNA levels of RelA/p65 (nuclear factor-κB subunit), TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, SEL1L and EDEM1 were determined by RT-qPCR, and RelA/p65 localization was evaluated by immunofluorescence.

Results: MUC1 is overexpressed and accumulated in the ER of labial salivary gland from SS patients, while MUC7 accumulates throughout the cytoplasm of acinar cells; however, MUC1, but not MUC7, co-precipitated with GRP78. TUDCA diminished the overexpression and aberrant accumulation of MUC1 induced by TNF-α and IFN-γ, as well as the nuclear translocation of RelA/p65, together with the expression of inflammatory and ER stress markers in 3D acini.

Conclusion: Chronic inflammation alters the secretory process of MUC1, inducing ER stress and affecting the quality of saliva in SS patients. TUDCA showed anti-inflammatory properties decreasing aberrant MUC1 accumulation. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the potential therapeutic effect of TUDCA in restoring glandular homeostasis in SS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kez316DOI Listing
April 2020

Synaptotagmin-1 overexpression under inflammatory conditions affects secretion in salivary glands from Sjögren's syndrome patients.

J Autoimmun 2019 02 31;97:88-99. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune exocrinopathy associated with severe secretory alterations by disruption of the glandular architecture integrity, which is fundamental for a correct function and localization of the secretory machinery. Syt-1, PI(4,5)P and Ca are significant factors controlling exocytosis in different secretory cells, the Ca role being the most studied. Salivary acinar cells from SS-patients show a defective agonist-regulated intracellular Ca release together with a decreased IP3R expression level, and this condition may explain a reduced water release. However, there are not reports where Syt-1, PI(4,5)P and Ca in acinar cells of SS patients had been studied. In the present study, we analyzed the expression and/or localization of Syt-1 and PI(4,5)P in acinar cells of labial salivary gland biopsies from SS-patients and control individuals. Also, we evaluated whether the overexpression of Syt-1 and the loss of cell polarity induced by TNF-α or loss of interaction between acinar cell and basal lamina, alters directionality of the exocytosis process, Ca signaling and α-amylase secretion in a 3D-acini model stimulated with cholinergic or β-adrenergic agonists. In addition, the correlation between Syt-1 protein levels and clinical parameters was evaluated. The results showed an increase of Syt-1 mRNA and protein levels, and a high number of co-localization points of Syt-1/STX4 and PI(4,5)P/Ezrin in the acinar basolateral region of LSG from SS-patients. With regard to 3D-acini, Syt-1 overexpression increased exocytosis in the apical pole compared to control acini. TNF-α stimulation increased exocytic events in the basal pole, which was further enhanced by Syt-1 overexpression. Additionally, altered acinar cell polarity affected Ca signaling and amylase secretion. Overexpression of Syt-1 was associated with salivary gland alterations revealing that the secretory dysfunction in SS-patients is linked to altered expression and/or localization of secretory machinery components together with impaired epithelial cell polarity. These findings provide a novel insight on the pathological mechanism implicated in ectopic secretory products to the extracellular matrix of LSG from SS-patients, which might initiate inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2018.10.019DOI Listing
February 2019

Association of high 5-hydroxymethylcytosine levels with Ten Eleven Translocation 2 overexpression and inflammation in Sjögren's syndrome patients.

Clin Immunol 2018 11 9;196:85-96. Epub 2018 Jun 9.

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas (ICBM), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:

Here, we determined the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-methylcytosine (5mC), Ten Eleven Translocation (TETs), and DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) levels in epithelial and inflammatory cells of labial salivary glands (LSG) from Sjögren's syndrome (SS)-patients and the effect of cytokines on HSG cells. LSG from SS-patients, controls and HSG cells incubated with cytokines were analysed. Levels of 5mC, 5hmC, DNMTs, TET2 and MeCP2 were assessed by immunofluorescence. In epithelial cells from SS-patients, an increase in TET2, 5hmC and a decrease in 5mC and MeCP2 were observed, additionally, high levels of 5mC and DNMTs and low levels of 5hmC were detected in inflammatory cells. Cytokines increased TET2 and 5hmC and decreased 5mC levels. Considering that the TET2 gene.promoter contains response elements for transcription factors activated by cytokines, together to in vitro results suggest that changes in DNA hydroxymethylation, resulting from altered levels of TET2 are likely to be relevant in the Sjögren's syndrome etiopathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clim.2018.06.002DOI Listing
November 2018

Endoplasmic reticulum stress in autoimmune diseases: Can altered protein quality control and/or unfolded protein response contribute to autoimmunity? A critical review on Sjögren's syndrome.

Autoimmun Rev 2018 Aug 8;17(8):796-808. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas (ICBM), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:

For many years, researchers in the field of autoimmunity have focused on the role of the immune components in the etiopathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. However, some studies have demonstrated the importance of target tissues in their pathogenesis and the breach of immune tolerance. The immune system as well as target tissue cells (plasmatic, β-pancreatic, fibroblast-like synoviocytes, thyroid follicular and epithelial cells of the lachrymal glands, salivary glands, intestine, bronchioles and renal tubules) share the characteristic of secretory cells with an extended endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The function of these cells depends considerably on a normal ER function and calcium homeostasis, so they can produce and secrete their main components, which include glycoproteins involved in antigenic presentation such as major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II. All these proteins are synthesized and modified in the ER, and for this reason disturbances in the normal functions of this organelle such as protein folding, protein quality control, calcium homeostasis and redox balance, promote accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins, a condition known as ER stress. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by inflammation, which has been associated with an ER stress condition. Interestingly, patients with these diseases contain circulating auto-antibodies against chaperone proteins (such as Calnexin and GRP94), thus affecting the folding and assembly of MHC class I and II glycoproteins and their loading with peptide. The main purpose of this article is to review the involvement of the protein quality control and unfolded protein response (UPR) in the ER protein homeostasis (proteostasis) and their alterations in autoimmune diseases. In addition, we describe the interaction between ER stress and inflammation and evidences are shown of how autoimmune diseases are associated with an ER stress condition, with a special emphasis on the second most prevalent autoimmune rheumatic disease, Sjögren's syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2018.02.009DOI Listing
August 2018

Impaired IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway associated to DNA methylation might contribute to salivary gland dysfunction in Sjögren's syndrome patients.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2018 06;57(6):1021-1032

Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas (ICBM), Santiago, Chile.

Objectives: Labial salivary glands (LSGs) of SS patients show alterations related to endoplasmic reticulum stress. Glandular dysfunction could be partly the consequence of an altered inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α)/X box-binding protein 1 (XBP-1) signalling pathway of the unfolded protein response, which then regulates genes involved in biogenesis of the secretory machinery. This study aimed to determine the expression, promoter methylation and localization of the IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components in LSGs of SS patients and also their expression induced by IFN-γ in vitro.

Methods: IRE1α, XBP-1 and glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) mRNA and protein levels were measured by qPCR and western blot, respectively, in LSGs of SS patients (n = 47) and control subjects (n = 37). Methylation of promoters was evaluated by methylation-sensitive high resolution melting, localization was analysed by immunofluorescence and induction of the IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components by IFN-γ was evaluated in 3D acini.

Results: A significant decrease of IRE1α, XBP-1u, XBP-1s, total XBP-1 and GRP78 mRNAs was observed in LSGs of SS patients, which was correlated with increased methylation levels of their respective promoters, and consistently the protein levels for IRE1α, XBP-1s and GRP78 were observed to decrease. IFN-γ decreased the mRNA and protein levels of XBP-1s, IRE1α and GRP78, and increased methylation of their promoters. Significant correlations were also found between IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components and clinical parameters.

Conclusion: Decreased mRNA levels for IRE1α, XBP-1 and GRP78 can be partially explained by hypermethylation of their promoters and is consistent with chronic endoplasmic reticulum stress, which may explain the glandular dysfunction observed in LSGs of SS patients. Additionally, glandular stress signals, including IFN-γ, could modulate the expression of the IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/key021DOI Listing
June 2018

Activity of maize transglutaminase overexpressed in Escherichia coli inclusion bodies: an alternative to protein refolding.

Biotechnol Prog 2011 Jan-Feb;27(1):232-40. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Dept. of Molecular Genetics, Centre de Recerca Agrigenomica CRAG (CSIC-IRTA-UAB), Jordi Girona Salgado 18-24, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.

Transglutaminases (TGases) catalyze protein post-translational modification by ε-(γ-glutamyl) links and covalent polyamine conjugation. In plants, this enzyme is poorly characterized and only the maize plastidial TGase gene (tgz) has been cloned. The tgz gene (Patent WWO03102128) had been subcloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli cells, and the recombinant protein (TGZp) was present mainly in inclusion bodies (IB) fraction. In this work, after overexpression of TGZ15p and SDS-PAGE IB fraction analysis, bands about 65 and 56 kDa were obtained. Western blot, alkylation and MALDI-TOF/TOF analyses indicated that the 56 kDa band corresponded to a truncated sequence from the native TGZ15p (expected MW 65 kDa), by elimination of a chloroplast signal peptide fragment during expression processing. So that large-scale protein production and protein crystallization can be applied, we characterized the TGZ15p enzyme activity in the IB protein fraction, with and without refolding. Results indicate that it presented the biochemical characteristics of other described TGases, showing a certain plant-substrate preference. Solubilization of the IB fraction with Triton X-100 as nondenaturing detergent yielded active TGZ without the need for refolding, giving activity values comparable to those of the refolded protein, indicating that this is a valuable, faster way to obtain TGZ active protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/btpr.538DOI Listing
June 2011

Remodeling of tobacco thylakoids by over-expression of maize plastidial transglutaminase.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2009 Oct 2;1787(10):1215-22. Epub 2009 Jun 2.

Department of Biology, University of Crete, Crete, Greece.

Transglutaminases (TGases, EC 2.3.2.13) are intra- and extra-cellular enzymes that catalyze post-translational modification of proteins by establishing epsilon-(gamma-glutamyl) links and covalent conjugation of polyamines. In chloroplast it is well established that TGases specifically polyaminylate the light-harvesting antenna of Photosystem (PS) II (LHCII, CP29, CP26, CP24) and therefore a role in photosynthesis has been hypothesised (Della Mea et al. [23] and refs therein). However, the role of TGases in chloroplast is not yet fully understood. Here we report the effect of the over-expression of maize (Zea mays) chloroplast TGase in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum var. Petit Havana) chloroplasts. The transglutaminase activity in over-expressers was increased 4 times in comparison to the wild-type tobacco plants, which in turn increased the thylakoid associated polyamines about 90%. Functional comparison between Wt tobacco and tgz over-expressers is shown in terms of fast fluorescence induction kinetics, non-photochemical quenching of the singlet excited state of chlorophyll a and antenna heterogeneity of PSII. Both in vivo probing and electron microscopy studies verified thylakoid remodeling. PSII antenna heterogeneity in vivo changes in the over-expressers to a great extent, with an increase of the centers located in grana-appressed regions (PSIIalpha) at the expense of centers located mainly in stroma thylakoids (PSIIbeta). A major increase in the granum size (i.e. increase of the number of stacked layers) with a concomitant decrease of stroma thylakoids is reported for the TGase over-expressers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbabio.2009.05.014DOI Listing
October 2009
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