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Tucson, AZ, United States

Sherwood C.L.,Arizona Health science Center | Sherwood C.L.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute | Boitano S.,Arizona Health science Center | Boitano S.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute
Respiratory Research | Year: 2016

Background: The potential for adverse respiratory effects following exposure to electronic (e-) cigarette liquid (e-liquid) flavorings remains largely unexplored. Given the multitude of flavor permutations on the market, identification of those flavor constituents that negatively impact the respiratory tract is a daunting task. In this study we examined the impact of common e-liquid flavoring chemicals on the airway epithelium, the cellular monolayer that provides the first line of defense against inhaled particulates, pathogens, and toxicants. Methods: We used the xCELLigence real-time cell analyzer (RTCA) as a primary high-capacity screening tool to assess cytotoxicity thresholds and physiological effects of common e-liquid flavoring chemicals on immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (16HBE14o-). The RTCA was used secondarily to assess the capability of 16HBE14o- cells to respond to cellular signaling agonists following a 24 h exposure to select flavoring chemicals. Finally, we conducted biophysical measurements of well-differentiated primary mouse tracheal epithelial (MTE) cells with an Ussing chamber to measure the effects of e-cigarette flavoring constituents on barrier function and ion conductance. Results: In our high-capacity screens five of the seven flavoring chemicals displayed changes in cellular impedance consistent with cell death at concentrations found in e-liquid. Vanillin and the chocolate flavoring 2,5-dimethylpyrazine caused alterations in cellular physiology indicative of a cellular signaling event. At subcytotoxic levels, 24 h exposure to 2,5-dimethylpyrazine compromised the ability of airway epithelial cells to respond to signaling agonists important in salt and water balance at the airway surface. Biophysical measurements of 2,5-dimethylpyrazine on primary MTE cells revealed alterations in ion conductance consistent with an efflux at the apical airway surface that was accompanied by a transient loss in transepithelial resistance. Mechanistic studies confirmed that the increases in ion conductance evoked by 2,5-dimethylpyrazine were largely attributed to a protein kinase A-dependent (PKA) activation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) ion channel. Conclusions: Data from our high-capacity screening assays demonstrates that individual e-cigarette liquid flavoring chemicals vary in their cytotoxicity profiles and that some constituents evoke a cellular physiological response on their own independent of cell death. The activation of CFTR by 2,5-dimethylpyrazine may have detrimental consequences for airway surface liquid homeostasis in individuals that use e-cigarettes habitually. © 2016 Sherwood and Boitano. Source


Qin Y.,University of Arizona | Fortin J.S.,University of Arizona | Tye D.,University of Arizona | Gleason-Guzman M.,University of Arizona | And 6 more authors.
Biochemistry | Year: 2010

To understand the mechanisms controlling platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFR-β) expression in malignancies, we have cloned and characterized the first functional promoter of the human PDGFR-β gene, which has been confirmed by luciferase reporter gene assays. The transcription initiation sites were mapped by primer extension. Promoter deletion experiments demonstrate that the proximal, highly GC-rich region (positions -165 to -139) of the human PDGFR-β promoter is crucial for basal promoter activity. This region is sensitive to S1 nuclease and likely to assume a non-B-form DNA secondary structure within the supercoiled plasmid. The G-rich strand in this region contains a series of runs of three or more guanines that can form multiple different G-quadruplex structures, which have been subsequently assessed by circular dichroism. A Taq polymerase stop assay has shown that three different G-quadruplex-interactive drugs can each selectively stabilize different G-quadruplex structures of the human PDGFR-β promoter. However, in transfection experiments, only telomestatin significantly reduced the human PDGFR-β basal promoter activity relative to the control. Furthermore, the PDGFR-β mRNA level in Daoy cells was significantly decreased after treatment with 1 μM telomestatin for 24 h. Therefore, we propose that ligand-mediated stabilization of specific G-quadruplex structures in the human PDGFR-β promoter can modulate its transcription. © 2010 American Chemical Society. Source


Flynn A.N.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute | Flynn A.N.,Arizona Respiratory Center | Hoffman J.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute | Hoffman J.,Arizona Respiratory Center | And 9 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2013

Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) associated with a variety of pathologies. However, the therapeutic potential of PAR2 is limited by a lack of potent and specific ligands. Following proteolytic cleavage, PAR2 is activated through a tethered ligand. Hence, we reasoned that lipidation of peptidomimetic ligands could promote membrane targeting and thus significantly improve potency and constructed a series of synthetic tethered ligands (STLs). STLs contained a peptidomimetic PAR2 agonist (2-aminothiazol-4-yl-LIGRL-NH 2) bound to a palmitoyl group (Pam) via polyethylene glycol (PEG) linkers. In a high-throughput physiological assay, these STL agonists displayed EC50 values as low as 1.47 nM, representing a 200 fold improvement over the untethered parent ligand. Similarly, these STL agonists were potent activators of signaling pathways associated with PAR2: EC50 for Ca2+ response as low as 3.95 nM; EC50 for MAPK response as low as 9.49 nM. Moreover, STLs demonstrated significant improvement in potency in vivo, evoking mechanical allodynia with an EC50 of 14.4 pmol. STLs failed to elicit responses in PAR2-/- cells at agonist concentrations of >300-fold their EC50 values. Our results demonstrate that the STL approach is a powerful tool for increasing ligand potency at PAR2 and represent opportunities for drug development at other protease activated receptors and across GPCRs.-Flynn, A. N., Hoffman, J., Tillu, D. V., Sherwood, C. L., Zhang, Z., Patek, R., Asiedu, M. N. K., Vagner, J., Price, T. J., Boitano, S. Development of highly potent protease-activated receptor 2 agonists via synthetic lipid tethering. FASEB J. 27, 1498-1510 (2013). www.fasebj.org. Source


Flynn A.N.,Arizona Health science Center | Flynn A.N.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute | Flynn A.N.,Arizona Respiratory Center | Tillu D.V.,Arizona Health science Center | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2011

Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is one of four protease-activated G-protein-coupled receptors. PAR2 is expressed on multiple cell types where it contributes to cellular responses to endogenous and exogenous proteases. Proteolytic cleavage of PAR2 reveals a tethered ligand that activates PAR2 and two major downstream signaling pathways: mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and intracellular Ca 2+ signaling. Peptides or peptidomimetics can mimic binding of the tethered ligand to stimulate signaling without the nonspecific effects of proteases. The most commonly used peptide activators of PAR2 (e.g. SLIGRL-NH2 and SLIGKV-NH2) lack potency at the receptor. However, although the potency of 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH2 (2-f-LIGRLO-NH2) underscores the use of peptidomimetic PAR 2 ligands as a mechanism to enhance pharmacological action at PAR2, 2-f-LIGRLO-NH2 has not been thoroughly evaluated. We evaluated the known agonist 2-f-LIGRLO-NH2 and two recently described pentapeptidomimetic PAR2-specific agonists, 2-aminothiazol-4-yl-LIGRL-NH2 (2-at-LIGRL-NH2) and 6-aminonicotinyl-LIGRL-NH2 (6-an-LIGRL-NH2). All peptidomimetic agonists stimulated PAR2-dependent in vitro physiological responses, MAPK signaling, and Ca2+ signaling with an overall rank order of potency of 2-f-LIGRLO-NH2 ≈ 2-at-LIGRL-NH2 > 6-an-LIGRL-NH2 ≫ SLIGRL-NH 2. Because PAR2 plays a major role in pathological pain conditions and to test potency of the peptidomimetic agonists in vivo, we evaluated these agonists in models relevant to nociception. All three agonists activated Ca2+ signaling in nociceptors in vitro, and both 2-at-LIGRL-NH2 and 2-f-LIGRLO-NH2 stimulated PAR 2-dependent thermal hyperalgesia in vivo. We have characterized three high potency ligands that can be used to explore the physiological role of PAR2 in a variety of systems and pathologies. © 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Source


Hoffman J.,Arizona Health science Center | Hoffman J.,Bio5 Collaborative Research Institute | Hoffman J.,Arizona Respiratory Center | Flynn A.N.,Arizona Health science Center | And 11 more authors.
Bioconjugate Chemistry | Year: 2012

Protease activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is one of four G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that can be activated by exogenous or endogenous proteases, which cleave the extracellular amino-terminus to expose a tethered ligand and subsequent G-protein signaling. Alternatively, PAR2 can be activated by peptide or peptidomimetic ligands derived from the sequence of the natural tethered ligand. Screening of novel ligands that directly bind to PAR2 to agonize or antagonize the receptor has been hindered by the lack of a sensitive, high-throughput, affinity binding assay. In this report, we describe the synthesis and use of a modified PAR2 peptidomimetic agonist, 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-(diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid)-NH2 (2-f-LIGRLO-dtpa), designed for lanthanide-based time-resolved fluorescence screening. We first demonstrate that 2-f-LIGRLO-dtpa is a potent and specific PAR2 agonist across a full spectrum of in vitro assays. We then show that 2-f-LIGRLO-dtpa can be utilized in an affinity binding assay to evaluate the ligand-receptor interactions between known high potency peptidomimetic agonists (2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH2, 2-f-LIGRLO; 2-aminothiazol-4-yl-LIGRL- NH2, 2-at-LIGRL; 6-aminonicotinyl-LIGRL-NH2, 6-an-LIGRL) and PAR2. A separate N-terminal peptidomimetic modification (3-indoleacetyl-LIGRL-NH2, 3-ia-LIGRL) that does not activate PAR2 signaling was used as a negative control. All three peptidomimetic agonists demonstrated sigmoidal competitive binding curves, with the more potent agonists (2-f-LIGRLO and 2-at-LIGRL) displaying increased competition. In contrast, the control peptide (3-ia-LIGRL) displayed limited competition for PAR2 binding. In summary, we have developed a europium-containing PAR2 agonist that can be used in a highly sensitive affinity binding assay to screen novel PAR2 ligands in a high-throughput format. This ligand can serve as a critical tool in the screening and development of PAR2 ligands. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source

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