Publications by authors named "Stefanie Nusser-Stein"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Deletion of fibroblast activation protein provides atheroprotection.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Mar;117(4):1060-1069

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, CH-8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is upregulated at sites of tissue remodelling including chronic arthritis, solid tumours, and fibrotic hearts. It has also been associated with human coronary atherosclerotic plaques. Yet, the causal role of FAP in atherosclerosis remains unknown. To investigate the cause-effect relationship of endogenous FAP in atherogenesis, we assessed the effects of constitutive Fap deletion on plaque formation in atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E (Apoe) or low-density lipoprotein receptor (Ldlr) knockout mice.

Methods And Results: Using en face analyses of thoraco-abdominal aortae and aortic sinus cross-sections, we demonstrate that Fap deficiency decreased plaque formation in two atherosclerotic mouse models (-46% in Apoe and -34% in Ldlr knockout mice). As a surrogate of plaque vulnerability fibrous cap thickness was used; it was increased in Fap-deficient mice, whereas Sirius red staining demonstrated that total collagen content remained unchanged. Using polarized light, atherosclerotic lesions from Fap-deficient mice displayed increased FAP targets in terms of enhanced collagen birefringence in plaques and increased pre-COL3A1 expression in aortic lysates. Analyses of the Stockholm Atherosclerosis Gene Expression data revealed that FAP expression was increased in human atherosclerotic compared to non-atherosclerotic arteries.

Conclusions: Our data provide causal evidence that constitutive Fap deletion decreases progression of experimental atherosclerosis and increases features of plaque stability with decreased collagen breakdown. Thus, inhibition of FAP expression or activity may not only represent a promising therapeutic target in atherosclerosis but appears safe at the experimental level for FAP-targeted cancer therapies.
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March 2021

Macrophage NCOR1 protects from atherosclerosis by repressing a pro-atherogenic PPARγ signature.

Eur Heart J 2020 03;41(9):995-1005

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Nuclear receptors and their cofactors regulate key pathophysiological processes in atherosclerosis development. The transcriptional activity of these nuclear receptors is controlled by the nuclear receptor corepressors (NCOR), scaffolding proteins that form the basis of large corepressor complexes. Studies with primary macrophages demonstrated that the deletion of Ncor1 increases the expression of atherosclerotic molecules. However, the role of nuclear receptor corepressors in atherogenesis is unknown.

Methods And Results: We generated myeloid cell-specific Ncor1 knockout mice and crossbred them with low-density lipoprotein receptor (Ldlr) knockouts to study the role of macrophage NCOR1 in atherosclerosis. We demonstrate that myeloid cell-specific deletion of nuclear receptor corepressor 1 (NCOR1) aggravates atherosclerosis development in mice. Macrophage Ncor1-deficiency leads to increased foam cell formation, enhanced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and atherosclerotic lesions characterized by larger necrotic cores and thinner fibrous caps. The immunometabolic effects of NCOR1 are mediated via suppression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) target genes in mouse and human macrophages, which lead to an enhanced expression of the CD36 scavenger receptor and subsequent increase in oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake in the absence of NCOR1. Interestingly, in human atherosclerotic plaques, the expression of NCOR1 is reduced whereas the PPARγ signature is increased, and this signature is more pronounced in ruptured compared with non-ruptured carotid plaques.

Conclusions: Our findings show that macrophage NCOR1 blocks the pro-atherogenic functions of PPARγ in atherosclerosis and suggest that stabilizing the NCOR1-PPARγ binding could be a promising strategy to block the pro-atherogenic functions of plaque macrophages and lesion progression in atherosclerotic patients.
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March 2020

Cell-cycle regulation of NOTCH signaling during C. elegans vulval development.

Mol Syst Biol 2012 ;8:618

Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

C. elegans vulval development is one of the best-characterized systems to study cell fate specification during organogenesis. The detailed knowledge of the signaling pathways determining vulval precursor cell (VPC) fates permitted us to create a computational model based on the antagonistic interactions between the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/RAS/MAPK and the NOTCH pathways that specify the primary and secondary fates, respectively. A key notion of our model is called bounded asynchrony, which predicts that a limited degree of asynchrony in the progression of the VPCs is necessary to break their equivalence. While searching for a molecular mechanism underlying bounded asynchrony, we discovered that the termination of NOTCH signaling is tightly linked to cell-cycle progression. When single VPCs were arrested in the G1 phase, intracellular NOTCH failed to be degraded, resulting in a mixed primary/secondary cell fate. Moreover, the G1 cyclins CYD-1 and CYE-1 stabilize NOTCH, while the G2 cyclin CYB-3 promotes NOTCH degradation. Our findings reveal a synchronization mechanism that coordinates NOTCH signaling with cell-cycle progression and thus permits the formation of a stable cell fate pattern.
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January 2013