Publications by authors named "Patricia M J Lievens"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Bile Acids Quantification by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry: Method Validation, Reference Range, and Interference Study.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2020 Jul 7;10(7). Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Clinical Biochemistry Section, Department of Neurological, Biomedical and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy.

Bile acids (BA) play a pivotal role in cholesterol metabolism. Their blood concentration has also been proposed as new prognostic and diagnostic indicator of hepatobiliary, intestinal, and cardiovascular disease. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) currently represents the gold standard for analysis of BA profile in biological samples. We report here development and validation of a LC-MS/MS technique for simultaneously quantifying 15 BA species in serum samples. We also established a reference range for adult healthy subjects ( = 130) and performed a preliminary evaluation of in vitro and in vivo interference. The method displayed good linearity, with high regression coefficients (>0.99) over a range of 5 ng/mL (lower limit of quantification, LLOQ) and 5000 ng/mL for all analytes tested. The accuracies were between 85-115%. Both intra- and inter-assay imprecision was <10%. The recoveries ranged between 92-110%. Each of the tested BA species (assessed on three concentrations) were stable for 15 days at room temperature, 4 °C, and -20 °C. The in vitro study did not reveal any interference from triglycerides, bilirubin, or cell-free hemoglobin. The in vivo interference study showed that pools obtained from hyper-cholesterolemic patients and hyper-bilirubinemic patients due to post-hepatic jaundice for benign cholestasis, cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic head tumors had clearly distinct patterns of BA concentrations compared with a pool obtained from samples of healthy subjects. In conclusion, this study proposes a new suitable candidate method for identification and quantitation of BA in biological samples and provides new insight into a number of variables that should be taken into account when investigating pathophysiological changes of BA in human diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics10070462DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399932PMC
July 2020

Adenylyl cyclase activating polypeptide reduces phosphorylation and toxicity of the polyglutamine-expanded androgen receptor in spinobulbar muscular atrophy.

Sci Transl Med 2016 12;8(370):370ra181

Dulbecco Telethon Institute, Centre for Integrative Biology, University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy.

Spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an X-linked neuromuscular disease caused by polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the androgen receptor (AR) gene. SBMA belongs to the family of polyQ diseases, which are fatal neurodegenerative disorders mainly caused by protein-mediated toxic gain-of-function mechanisms and characterized by deposition of misfolded proteins in the form of aggregates. The neurotoxicity of the polyQ proteins can be modified by phosphorylation at specific sites, thereby providing the rationale for the development of disease-specific treatments. We sought to identify signaling pathways that modulate polyQ-AR phosphorylation for therapy development. We report that cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) phosphorylates polyQ-AR specifically at Ser Phosphorylation of polyQ-AR by CDK2 increased protein stabilization and toxicity and is negatively regulated by the adenylyl cyclase (AC)/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway. To translate these findings into therapy, we developed an analog of pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP), a potent activator of the AC/PKA pathway. Chronic intranasal administration of the PACAP analog to knock-in SBMA mice reduced Ser phosphorylation, promoted polyQ-AR degradation, and ameliorated disease outcome. These results provide proof of principle that noninvasive therapy based on the use of PACAP analogs is a therapeutic option for SBMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf9526DOI Listing
December 2016

Protein arginine methyltransferase 6 enhances polyglutamine-expanded androgen receptor function and toxicity in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.

Neuron 2015 Jan;85(1):88-100

Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, 16163 Genoa, Italy; Dulbecco Telethon Institute Lab of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy. Electronic address:

Polyglutamine expansion in androgen receptor (AR) is responsible for spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) that leads to selective loss of lower motor neurons. Using SBMA as a model, we explored the relationship between protein structure/function and neurodegeneration in polyglutamine diseases. We show here that protein arginine methyltransferase 6 (PRMT6) is a specific co-activator of normal and mutant AR and that the interaction of PRMT6 with AR is significantly enhanced in the AR mutant. AR and PRMT6 interaction occurs through the PRMT6 steroid receptor interaction motif, LXXLL, and the AR activating function 2 surface. AR transactivation requires PRMT6 catalytic activity and involves methylation of arginine residues at Akt consensus site motifs, which is mutually exclusive with serine phosphorylation by Akt. The enhanced interaction of PRMT6 and mutant AR leads to neurodegeneration in cell and fly models of SBMA. These findings demonstrate a direct role of arginine methylation in polyglutamine disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4305189PMC
January 2015

The extracellular matrix molecule hyaluronic acid regulates hippocampal synaptic plasticity by modulating postsynaptic L-type Ca(2+) channels.

Neuron 2010 Jul;67(1):116-28

Zentrum für Molekulare Neurobiologie Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 85, Hamburg, Germany.

Although the extracellular matrix plays an important role in regulating use-dependent synaptic plasticity, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we examined the synaptic function of hyaluronic acid (HA), a major component of the extracellular matrix. Enzymatic removal of HA with hyaluronidase reduced nifedipine-sensitive whole-cell Ca(2+) currents, decreased Ca(2+) transients mediated by L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels (L-VDCCs) in postsynaptic dendritic shafts and spines, and abolished an L-VDCC-dependent component of long-term potentiation (LTP) at the CA3-CA1 synapses in the hippocampus. Adding exogenous HA, either by bath perfusion or via local delivery near recorded synapses, completely rescued this LTP component. In a heterologous expression system, exogenous HA rapidly increased currents mediated by Ca(v)1.2, but not Ca(v)1.3, subunit-containing L-VDCCs, whereas intrahippocampal injection of hyaluronidase impaired contextual fear conditioning. Our observations unveil a previously unrecognized mechanism by which the perisynaptic extracellular matrix influences use-dependent synaptic plasticity through regulation of dendritic Ca(2+) channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2010.05.030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378029PMC
July 2010

Cell adaptation to activated FGFR3 includes Sprouty4 up regulation to inhibit the receptor-mediated ERKs activation from the endoplasmic reticulum.

FEBS Lett 2009 Oct 15;583(19):3254-8. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

Department of Morphological and Biomedical Sciences, Division of Biochemistry, University of Verona Medical School, Verona, Italy.

The kinase activity of the thanatophoric dysplasia type II-fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 mutant (TDII-FGFR3) hampers its maturation. As a consequence, the immature receptor activates extracellular regulated kinases (ERKs) from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which leads to apoptosis. On the other hand, in stable TDII-FGFR3 cells receptor biosynthesis is restored and ERKs are activated from the cell surface. To identify potential mediators of cell adaptation to the activated receptor we investigated gene products that are differently regulated in TDII and wild-type FGFR3 cells. cDNA representational difference analysis reveals Sprouty4 up regulation in the TDII-FGFR3 cells. Interestingly, Sprouty4 inhibits the TDII-FGFR3-mediated ERKs activation from the ER, but fails to suppress ERKs activation from cell surface. We conclude that cell adaptation to activated FGFR3 include Sprouty4 activity, which silences the premature receptor signaling and suppress apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2009.09.021DOI Listing
October 2009

Transient dimerization and interaction with ERGIC-53 occur in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 early secretory pathway.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2008 5;40(11):2649-59. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

Division of Biochemistry, Department of Morphological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Verona Medical School, Verona, Italy.

The fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) secretory pathway includes N-linked glycosylation in the endoplasmic reticulum where a stringent quality control system ensures that only correctly folded receptor reaches the cell surface from where mature-functional FGFR3 signals upon ligand-mediated dimerization. We have previously shown that the increased kinase activity associated with FGFR3 bearing the thanatophoric dysplasia type II (TDII) mutation hampers its maturation, enabling the receptor to signal from the endoplasmic reticulum. Here we investigate if this biosynthetic disturbance could be explained by premature dimerization of the receptor. Our observations show that a limited fraction of the immature high-mannose, mutant receptor dimerizes in the early secretory pathway, as does the immature wild type FGFR3. In contrast, the mature fully glycosylated wild type receptor reaches the cell surface as monomer suggesting that dimerization is a transient event. The kinase activity of mutant FGFR3 is not required for dimerization to occur, although it increases dimerization efficiency. Furthermore, mutant FGFR3 trans-phosphorylates the immature wild type receptor indicating that dimerization occurs in the endoplasmic reticulum. Visualization of protein interaction inside the secretory pathway confirms receptor dimerization. In addition, it shows that both wild type and TDII FGFR3 interact with the mannose-specific lectin ERGIC-53. We conclude that transient dimerization is an obligatory step in FGFR3 biosynthesis acting as a pre-assembly quality control mechanism. Furthermore, the TDII/ERGIC-53 complex formation may function as a checkpoint for FGFR3 sorting downstream the endoplasmic reticulum. These findings have implications for understanding the pathogenesis of FGFR3-related disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2008.05.017DOI Listing
October 2008

Naturally occurring C-terminally truncated STAT5 is a negative regulator of HIV-1 expression.

Blood 2007 Jun 1;109(12):5380-9. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

AIDS Immunopathogenesis Unit and the Division of Infectious Diseases, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy.

CD4(+) cells of most individuals infected with HIV-1 harbor a C-terminally truncated and constitutively activated form of signal transducer and activator of transcription-5 (STAT5 Delta). We report that the chronically HIV-infected U1 cell line expresses STAT5 Delta but not full-length STAT5. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) stimulation of U1 cells promoted early activation of STAT5 Delta and of extracellular signal regulated kinases (ERKs), followed by later activation of activator protein 1 (AP-1) and HIV expression. Inhibition of ERK/AP-1 by PD98,059 abolished, whereas either tyrphostin AG490 or a STAT5 small interfering RNA (siRNA) enhanced, virion production in GM-CSF-stimulated U1 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated the induction of STAT5 Delta binding to STAT consensus sequences in the HIV-1 promoter together with a decreased recruitment of RNA polymerase II after 1 hour of GM-CSF stimulation of U1 cells. Down-regulation of STAT5 Delta by siRNA resulted in the up-regulation of both HIV-1 gag-pol RNA and p24 Gag antigen expression in CD8-depleted leukocytes of several HIV-positive individuals cultivated ex vivo in the presence of interleukin-2 but not of interleukin-7. Thus, the constitutively activated STAT5 Delta present in the leukocytes of most HIV-positive individuals acts as a negative regulator of HIV expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2006-08-042556DOI Listing
June 2007

Heterogeneity of signal transducer and activator of transcription binding sites in the long-terminal repeats of distinct HIV-1 subtypes.

Open Virol J 2007 20;1:26-32. Epub 2007 Oct 20.

AIDS Immunopathogenesis, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy.

HIV-1 can be subdivided into distinct subtypes; the consequences of such a genomic variability remain largely speculative. The long terminal repeats (LTR) control HIV transcription and reflect the major differences of distinct viral subtypes. Three regions in the HIV-1 subtype B LTR are close matches to the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) consensus sequence. Here, we show heterogeneity in these putative STAT binding sites among HIV-1 LTR subtypes A through G. Transfection of constitutively activated STAT5 lead to transcriptional activation of HIV-1 expression in 293T cells transfected with a reporter assay driven by HIV-1 LTR subtype B. Constitutively activated STAT5 transactivated the LTR of various subtypes in U937 cells with different potency. These findings support and expand the potential relevance of STAT5 activation in HIV infection and may bear relevance for a differential regulation of latency and expression of different subtypes of HIV-1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874357900701010026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2675545PMC
June 2009

K644E/M FGFR3 mutants activate Erk1/2 from the endoplasmic reticulum through FRS2 alpha and PLC gamma-independent pathways.

J Mol Biol 2006 Mar 3;357(3):783-92. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Division of Biochemistry, Department of Morphological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Verona Medical School, 37134 Verona, Italy.

Fibroblast growth factor receptors 3 (FGFR3) with K644M/E substitutions are associated to the severe skeletal dysplasias: severe achondroplasia with developmental delay and achanthosis nigricans(SADDAN) and thanatophoric dysplasia(TDII). The high levels of kinase activity of the FGFR3-mutants cause uncompleted biosynthesis that results in the accumulation of the immature/mannose-rich, phosphorylated receptors in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and STATs activation. Here we report that FGFR3 mutants activate Erk1/2 from the ER through an FRS2-independent pathway: instead, a multimeric complex by directly recruiting PLCgamma, Pyk2 and JAK1 is formed. The Erk1/2 activation from the ER however, is PLCgamma-independent, since preventing the PLCgamma/FGFR3 interaction by the Y754F substitution does not inhibit Erks. Furthermore, Erk1/2 activation is abrogated upon treatment with the Src inhibitor PP2, suggesting a role played by a Src family member in the pathway from the ER. Finally we show that the intrinsic kinase activity by mutant receptors is required to allow signaling from the ER. Overall these results highlight how activated FGFR3 exhibits signaling activity in the early phase of its biosynthesis and how segregation in a sub-cellular compartment can affect the FGFR3 multi-faceted capacity to recruit specific substrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2006.01.058DOI Listing
March 2006

The kinase activity of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 with activation loop mutations affects receptor trafficking and signaling.

J Biol Chem 2004 Oct 2;279(41):43254-60. Epub 2004 Aug 2.

Division of Biochemistry, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Verona Medical School, 37134 Verona, Italy.

Amino acid substitutions at the Lys-650 codon within the activation loop kinase domain of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) result in graded constitutive phosphorylation of the receptor. Accordingly, the Lys-650 mutants are associated with dwarfisms with graded clinical severity. To assess the importance of the phosphorylation level on FGFR3 maturation along the secretory pathway, hemagglutinin A-tagged derivatives were studied. The highly activated SADDAN (severe achondroplasia with developmental delay and acanthosis nigricans) mutant accumulates in its immature and phosphorylated form in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which fails to be degraded. Furthermore, the Janus kinase (Jak)/STAT pathway is activated from the ER by direct recruitment of Jak1. Abolishing the autocatalytic property of the mutated FGFR3 by replacing the critical Tyr-718 reestablishes the receptor full maturation and inhibits signaling. Differently, the low activated hypochondroplasia mutant is present as a mature phosphorylated form on the plasma membrane, although with a delayed transition in the ER, and is completely processed. Signaling does not occur in the presence of brefeldin A; instead, STAT1 is activated when protein secretion is blocked with monensin, suggesting that the hypochondroplasia receptor signals at the exit from the ER. Our results suggest that kinase activity affects FGFR3 trafficking and determines the spatial segregation of signaling pathways. Consequently, the defect in down-regulation of the highly activated receptors results in the increased signaling capacity from the intracellular compartments, and this may determine the severity of the diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M405247200DOI Listing
October 2004

The thanatophoric dysplasia type II mutation hampers complete maturation of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3), which activates signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) from the endoplasmic reticulum.

J Biol Chem 2003 May 6;278(19):17344-9. Epub 2003 Mar 6.

Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Verona Medical School, 37134 Verona, Italy.

The K650E substitution in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) causes constitutive tyrosine kinase activity of the receptor and is associated to the lethal skeletal disorder, thanatophoric dysplasia type II (TDII). The underlying mechanisms of how the activated FGFR3 causes TDII remains to be elucidated. FGFR3 is a transmembrane glycoprotein, which is synthesized through three isoforms, with various degrees of N-glycosylation. We have studied whether immature FGFR3 isoforms mediate the abnormal signaling in TDII. We show that synthesis of TDII-FGFR3 presents two phosphorylated forms: the immature non-glycosylated 98-kDa peptides and the intermediate 120-kDa glycomers. The mature, fully glycosylated 130-kDa forms, detected in wild type FGFR3, are not present in TDII. Endoglycosidase H cleaves the sugars on TDII intermediates thus indicating their intracellular localization in the endoplasmic reticulum. Accordingly, TDII-FGFR3-GFP co-localizes with calreticulin in the endoplasmic reticulum. Furthermore, following TDII transfection, signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) is phosphorylated in the absence of FGFR3 ligand and brefeldin A does not inhibit its activation. On the contrary, the cell membrane-anchored FRS2alpha protein is not activated in TDII cells. The opposite situation is observed in stable TDII cell clones where, despite the presence of phosphorylated mature receptor, STAT1 is not activated whereas FRS2alpha is phosphorylated. We speculate that the selection process favors cells defective in STAT1 activation through the 120-kDa TDII-FGFR3, thus allowing growth of the TDII cell clones. Accordingly, apoptosis is observed following TDII-FGFR3 transfection. These observations highlight the importance of the immature TDII-FGFR3 proteins as mediators of an abnormal signaling in TDII.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M212710200DOI Listing
May 2003