Molecular Bases of Disease
TFPI2 suppresses the interaction of TGF-β2 pathway regulators to promote endothelial–mesenchymal transition in diabetic nephropathyEndothelial–mesenchymal transition (EndMT) is an important source of myofibroblasts, but also contributes to the progression of diabetic nephropathy (DN). By several differential gene expression analyses from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, the tissue factor pathway inhibitor 2 (TFPI2) gene, known as a tumor suppressor, was shown to be dysregulated in DN; however, the potential role and regulatory mechanism of TFPI2 in DN are unclear. Here, we found abnormal upregulation of TFPI2 in the renal cortex of diabetic mice, accompanied by impaired renal function.
Ca2+/calmodulin kinase II–dependent regulation of βIV-spectrin modulates cardiac fibroblast gene expression, proliferation, and contractilityFibrosis is a pronounced feature of heart disease and the result of dysregulated activation of resident cardiac fibroblasts (CFs). Recent work identified stress-induced degradation of the cytoskeletal protein βIV-spectrin as an important step in CF activation and cardiac fibrosis. Furthermore, loss of βIV-spectrin was found to depend on Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII). Therefore, we sought to determine the mechanism for CaMKII-dependent regulation of βIV-spectrin and CF activity. Computational screening and MS revealed a critical serine residue (S2250 in mouse and S2254 in human) in βIV-spectrin phosphorylated by CaMKII.
Trefoil factor 2 secreted from damaged hepatocytes activates hepatic stellate cells to induce fibrogenesisLiver fibrosis is a common characteristic of chronic liver diseases. The activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) plays a key role in fibrogenesis in response to liver injury, yet the mechanism by which damaged hepatocytes modulate the activation of HSCs is poorly understood. Our previous studies have established that liver-specific deletion of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT)leads to hepatocyte necroptosis and spontaneous fibrosis. Here, we report that OGT-deficient hepatocytes secrete trefoil factor 2 (TFF2) that activates HSCs and contributes to the fibrogenic process.
4-Phenylbutyric acid enhances the mineralization of osteogenesis imperfecta iPSC-derived osteoblastsOsteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a heritable brittle bone disease mainly caused by mutations in the two type I collagen genes. Collagen synthesis is a complex process including trimer formation, glycosylation, secretion, extracellular matrix (ECM) formation, and mineralization. Using OI patient-derived fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we investigated the effect of 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) on collagen synthesis to test its potential as a new treatment for OI. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention of type I collagen was observed by immunofluorescence staining in OI patient-derived fibroblasts with glycine substitution and exon skipping mutations.
O-Fucosylation of ADAMTSL2 is required for secretion and is impacted by geleophysic dysplasia-causing mutationsADAMTSL2 mutations cause an autosomal recessive connective tissue disorder, geleophysic dysplasia 1 (GPHYSD1), which is characterized by short stature, small hands and feet, and cardiac defects. ADAMTSL2 is a matricellular protein previously shown to interact with latent transforming growth factor-β binding protein 1 and influence assembly of fibrillin 1 microfibrils. ADAMTSL2 contains seven thrombospondin type-1 repeats (TSRs), six of which contain the consensus sequence for O-fucosylation by protein O-fucosyltransferase 2 (POFUT2).
Group V secreted phospholipase A2 plays a protective role against aortic dissectionAortic dissection is a life-threatening aortopathy involving separation of the aortic wall, whose underlying mechanisms are still incompletely understood. Epidemiological evidence suggests that unsaturated fatty acids improve cardiovascular health. Here, using quantitative RT-PCR, histological analyses, magnetic cell sorting and flow cytometry assays, and MS-based lipidomics, we show that the activity of a lipid-metabolizing enzyme, secreted phospholipase A2 group V (sPLA2-V), protects against aortic dissection by endogenously mobilizing vasoprotective lipids.
Elucidation of proteostasis defects caused by osteogenesis imperfecta mutations in the collagen-α2(I) C-propeptide domainIntracellular collagen assembly begins with the oxidative folding of ∼30-kDa C-terminal propeptide (C-Pro) domains. Folded C-Pro domains then template the formation of triple helices between appropriate partner strands. Numerous C-Pro missense variants that disrupt or delay triple-helix formation are known to cause disease, but our understanding of the specific proteostasis defects introduced by these variants remains immature. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not recognition and quality control of misfolded C-Pro domains is mediated by recognizing stalled assembly of triple-helical domains or by direct engagement of the C-Pro itself.
Deacetylation of S6 kinase promotes high glucose–induced glomerular mesangial cell hypertrophy and matrix protein accumulationS6 kinase acts as a driver for renal hypertrophy and matrix accumulation, two key pathologic signatures of diabetic nephropathy. As a post-translational modification, S6 kinase undergoes acetylation at the C terminus. The role of this acetylation to regulate kidney glomerular cell hypertrophy and matrix expansion is not known. In mesangial cells, high glucose decreased the acetylation and enhanced phosphorylation of S6 kinase and its substrates rps6 and eEF2 kinase that lead to dephosphorylation of eEF2.
Extracellular matrix components modulate different stages in β2-microglobulin amyloid formationAmyloid deposition of WT human β2-microglobulin (WT-hβ2m) in the joints of long-term hemodialysis patients is the hallmark of dialysis-related amyloidosis. In vitro, WT-hβ2m does not form amyloid fibrils at physiological pH and temperature unless co-solvents or other reagents are added. Therefore, understanding how fibril formation is initiated and maintained in the joint space is important for elucidating WT-hβ2m aggregation and dialysis-related amyloidosis onset. Here, we investigated the roles of collagen I and the commonly administered anticoagulant, low-molecular-weight (LMW) heparin, in the initiation and subsequent aggregation phases of WT-hβ2m in physiologically relevant conditions.
Cell surface expression of 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) mediates diabetic nephropathyThe 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) is a well-established endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident chaperone that maintains protein homeostasis and regulates the unfolded protein response. Under conditions of ER stress, GRP78 is also expressed at the cell surface and implicated in tumorigenesis, immunity, and cellular signaling events. The role of cell surface–associated GRP78 (csGRP78) in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy has not yet been defined. Here we explored the role of csGRP78 in regulating high glucose (HG)–induced profibrotic AKT Ser/Thr kinase (AKT) signaling and up-regulation of extracellular matrix proteins.
A small-molecule ligand of valosin-containing protein/p97 inhibits cancer cell–accelerated fibroblast migrationCarcinoma-associated fibroblasts are fibroblasts activated by surrounding cancer cells. Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts exhibit enhanced cell migration, which plays an important role in cancer metastasis. Previously, we demonstrated enhanced migration of NIH3T3 fibroblasts when they were cultured in the presence of MCF7 breast cancer cells. Human fibroblasts displayed a similar phenomenon even when they were co-cultured with cancer cells other than MCF7 cells. In this study, we screened ∼16,000 compounds from the RIKEN Natural Products Depository chemical library for inhibitors of enhanced NIH3T3 cell migration in the presence of MCF7.
Biological scaffold–mediated delivery of myostatin inhibitor promotes a regenerative immune response in an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophyRecent studies have reported that the immune system significantly mediates skeletal muscle repair and regeneration. Additionally, biological scaffolds have been shown to play a role in polarizing the immune microenvironment toward pro-myogenic outcomes. Moreover, myostatin inhibitors are known to promote muscle regeneration and ameliorate fibrosis in animal models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a human disease characterized by chronic muscle degeneration. Biological scaffolds and myostatin inhibition can potentially influence immune-mediated regeneration in the dystrophic environment, but have not been evaluated together.
Glycation of type I collagen selectively targets the same helical domain lysine sites as lysyl oxidase–mediated cross-linkingNonenzymatic glycation of collagen has long been associated with the progressive secondary complications of diabetes. How exactly such random glycations result in impaired tissues is still poorly understood. Because of the slow turnover rate of most fibrillar collagens, they are more susceptible to accumulate time-dependent glycations and subsequent advanced glycation end-products. The latter are believed to include cross-links that stiffen host tissues. However, diabetic animal models have also displayed weakened tendons with reduced stiffness.
Transcription factor scleraxis vitally contributes to progenitor lineage direction in wound healing of adult tendon in miceTendon is a dense connective tissue that transmits high mechanical forces from skeletal muscle to bone. The transcription factor scleraxis (Scx) is a highly specific marker of both precursor and mature tendon cells (tenocytes). Mice lacking scx exhibit a specific and virtually complete loss of tendons during development. However, the functional contribution of Scx to wound healing in adult tendon has not yet been fully characterized. Here, using ScxGFP-tracking and loss-of-function systems, we show in an adult mouse model of Achilles tendon injury that paratenon cells, representing a stem cell antigen-1 (Sca-1)–positive and Scx-negative progenitor subpopulation, display Scx induction, migrate to the wound site, and produce extracellular matrix (ECM) to bridge the defect, whereas resident tenocytes exhibit a delayed response.
TNF-stimulated gene 6 promotes formation of hyaluronan–inter-α-inhibitor heavy chain complexes necessary for ozone-induced airway hyperresponsivenessExposure to pollutants, such as ozone, exacerbates airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR). TNF-stimulated gene 6 (TSG-6) is required to transfer inter-α-inhibitor heavy chains (HC) to hyaluronan (HA), facilitating HA receptor binding. TSG-6 is necessary for AHR in allergic asthma, because it facilitates the development of a pathological HA–HC matrix. However, the role of TSG-6 in acute airway inflammation is not well understood. Here, we hypothesized that TSG-6 is essential for the development of HA- and ozone-induced AHR.
Thrombin Cleavage of Inter-α-inhibitor Heavy Chain 1 Regulates Leukocyte Binding to an Inflammatory Hyaluronan MatrixDynamic alterations of the extracellular matrix in response to injury directly modulate inflammation and consequently the promotion and resolution of disease. During inflammation, hyaluronan (HA) is increased at sites of inflammation where it may be covalently modified with the heavy chains (HC) of inter-α-trypsin inhibitor. Deposition of this unique, pathological form of HA (HC-HA) leads to the formation of cable-like structures that promote adhesion of leukocytes. Naive mononuclear leukocytes bind specifically to inflammation-associated HA matrices but do not adhere to HA constitutively expressed under homeostatic conditions.
Cardiac-restricted Overexpression of TRAF3 Interacting Protein 2 (TRAF3IP2) Results in Spontaneous Development of Myocardial Hypertrophy, Fibrosis, and DysfunctionTRAF3IP2 (TRAF3 interacting protein 2; previously known as CIKS or Act1) is a key intermediate in the normal inflammatory response and the pathogenesis of various autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Induction of TRAF3IP2 activates IκB kinase (IKK)/NF-κB, JNK/AP-1, and c/EBPβ and stimulates the expression of various inflammatory mediators with negative myocardial inotropic effects. To investigate the role of TRAF3IP2 in heart disease, we generated a transgenic mouse model with cardiomyocyte-specific TRAF3IP2 overexpression (TRAF3IP2-Tg).
Mapping the Effect of Gly Mutations in Collagen on α2β1 Integrin BindingThe replacement of one Gly in the essential repeating tripeptide sequence of the type I collagen triple helix results in the dominant hereditary bone disorder osteogenesis imperfecta. The mechanism leading to pathology likely involves misfolding and autophagy, although it has been hypothesized that some mutations interfere with known collagen interactions. Here, the effect of Gly replacements within and nearby the integrin binding GFPGER sequence was investigated using a recombinant bacterial collagen system.
An Intrinsically Disordered Motif Mediates Diverse Actions of Monomeric C-reactive ProteinMost proinflammatory actions of C-reactive protein (CRP) are only expressed following dissociation of its native pentameric assembly into monomeric form (mCRP). However, little is known about what underlies the greatly enhanced activities of mCRP. Here we show that a single sequence motif, i.e. cholesterol binding sequence (CBS; a.a. 35–47), is responsible for mediating the interactions of mCRP with diverse ligands. The binding of mCRP to lipoprotein component ApoB, to complement component C1q, to extracellular matrix components fibronectin and collagen, to blood coagulation component fibrinogen, and to membrane lipid component cholesterol, are all found to be markedly inhibited by the synthetic CBS peptide but not by other CRP sequences tested.
myo-Inositol Oxygenase Overexpression Accentuates Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species and Exacerbates Cellular Injury following High Glucose Ambience: A NEW MECHANISM RELEVANT TO THE PATHOGENESIS OF DIABETIC NEPHROPATHYDiabetic nephropathy (DN) is characterized by perturbations in metabolic/cellular signaling pathways with generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The ROS are regarded as a common denominator of various pathways, and they inflict injury on renal glomerular cells. Recent studies indicate that tubular pathobiology also plays a role in the progression of DN. However, the mechanism(s) for how high (25 mm) glucose (HG) ambience induces tubular damage remains enigmatic. myo-Inositol oxygenase (MIOX) is a tubular enzyme that catabolizes myo-inositol to d-glucuronate via the glucuronate-xylulose (G-X) pathway.
Fibulin-4 E57K Knock-in Mice Recapitulate Cutaneous, Vascular and Skeletal Defects of Recessive Cutis Laxa 1B with both Elastic Fiber and Collagen Fibril AbnormalitiesBackground: Mutations in fibulin-4 cause autosomal recessive cutis laxa 1B, characterized by loose skin with vascular, lung, and skeletal abnormalities.Results: A mouse strain carrying a recurrent fibulin-4 missense mutation was generated and characterized.Conclusion: Mutant mice recapitulate the complete clinical features of the disease.Significance: The study provides the first evidence that fibulin-4 regulates collagen fibrillogenesis.
High Glucose Up-regulates ADAM17 through HIF-1α in Mesangial CellsBackground: ADAM17 is an important promoter of fibrosis in diabetic kidney disease.Results: ADAM17 is transcriptionally up-regulated by glucose through HIF-1α in kidney mesangial cells, associated with enhanced enzymatic activity.Conclusion: ADAM17 induces its own up-regulation, thereby augmenting its activity, in response to glucose.Significance: These studies provide a strong foundation for further evaluation of the role of ADAM17 in the profibrotic response of kidney cells to high glucose.
Molecular Consequences of the SERPINH1/HSP47 Mutation in the Dachshund Natural Model of Osteogenesis ImperfectaBackground The collagen chaperone HSP47 is implicated in recessive osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). Results In OI dachshunds, an HSP47(L326P) mutation affects the post-translational modification, secretion, and cross-linking of collagen type I. Conclusion Impaired chaperone function, ER stress, and aberrant bone collagen cross-linking are implicated in the disease mechanism. Significance Our findings are relevant for the diagnosis and pathological understanding of OI caused by an HSP47 defect.
Severe Extracellular Matrix Abnormalities and Chondrodysplasia in Mice Lacking Collagen Prolyl 4-Hydroxylase Isoenzyme II in Combination with a Reduced Amount of Isoenzyme IBackground: Roles of collagen prolyl 4-hydroxylases (C-P4Hs) I and II in growth plate development were studied.Results: Proliferating chondrocytes undergo apoptosis in C-P4H-I+/−;C-P4H-II−/− growth plates, and the mice develop chondrodysplasia.Conclusion: Biomechanically impaired extracellular matrix is the primary cause of death of C-P4H-I+/−;C-P4H-II−/− growth plate chondrocytes.Significance: Sufficient C-P4H activity is essential for growth plate chondrocyte survival and proper skeletogenesis.
The Role of Multicellular Aggregation in the Survival of ErbB2-positive Breast Cancer Cells during Extracellular Matrix DetachmentBackground: Cancer cells evade death caused by extracellular matrix (ECM)-detachment to facilitate metastasis.Results: ErbB2-expressing cancer cells form aggregates during ECM-detachment that promote survival signaling through EGFR.Conclusion: Multicellular aggregation in ErbB2 positive cancer cells promotes survival by preventing EGFR degradation.Significance: Disrupting aggregation or inhibiting EGFR may be effective strategies to eliminate ErbB2-expressing cancer cells during ECM-detachment.