Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling

Leuven, Belgium

Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling

Leuven, Belgium

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PubMed | Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Center for Anatomy and Brain Research, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cell death and differentiation | Year: 2016

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves as the major intracellular Ca(2+) store and has a role in the synthesis and folding of proteins. BAX (BCL2-associated X protein) inhibitor-1 (BI-1) is a Ca(2+) leak channel also implicated in the response against protein misfolding, thereby connecting the Ca(2+) store and protein-folding functions of the ER. We found that BI-1-deficient mice suffer from leukopenia and erythrocytosis, have an increased number of splenic marginal zone B cells and higher abundance and nuclear translocation of NF-B (nuclear factor- light-chain enhancer of activated B cells) proteins, correlating with increased cytosolic and ER Ca(2+) levels. When put into culture, purified knockout T cells and even more so B cells die spontaneously. This is preceded by increased activity of the mitochondrial initiator caspase-9 and correlated with a significant surge in mitochondrial Ca(2+) levels, suggesting an exhausted mitochondrial Ca(2+) buffer capacity as the underlying cause for cell death in vitro. In vivo, T-cell-dependent experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and B-cell-dependent antibody production are attenuated, corroborating the ex vivo results. These results suggest that BI-1 has a major role in the functioning of the adaptive immune system by regulating intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in lymphocytes.


Monaco G.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Decrock E.,Ghent University | Nuyts K.,Section of Molecular Design and Synthesis | Wagner II L.E.,University of Rochester | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein is the founding member and namesake of the Bcl-2-protein family. It has recently been demonstrated that Bcl-2, apart from its anti-apoptotic role at mitochondrial membranes, can also directly interact with the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R), the primary Ca2+-release channel in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Bcl-2 can thereby reduce pro-apoptotic IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release from the ER. Moreover, the Bcl-2 homology domain 4 (Bcl-2-BH4) has been identified as essential and sufficient for this IP3R-mediated anti-apoptotic activity. In the present study, we investigated whether the reported inhibitory effect of a Bcl-2-BH4 peptide on the IP 3R1 was related to the distinctive α-helical conformation of the BH4 domain peptide. We therefore designed a peptide with two glycine "hinges" replacing residues I14 and V15, of the wild-type Bcl-2-BH4 domain (Bcl-2-BH4-IV/GG). By comparing the structural and functional properties of the Bcl-2-BH4-IV/GG peptide with its native counterpart, we found that the variant contained reduced α-helicity, neither bound nor inhibited the IP 3R1 channel, and in turn lost its anti-apoptotic effect. Similar results were obtained with other substitutions in Bcl-2-BH4 that destabilized the α-helix with concomitant loss of IP3R inhibition. These results provide new insights for the further development of Bcl-2-BH4-derived peptides as specific inhibitors of the IP3R with significant pharmacological implications. © 2013 Monaco et al.


Decuypere J.-P.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Monaco G.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Kiviluoto S.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Oh-hora M.,Tokyo Medical and Dental University | And 5 more authors.
Cell Calcium | Year: 2010

The stromal interaction molecules STIM1 and STIM2 sense a decreasing Ca2+ concentration in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and activate Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane. In addition, at least 2 reports suggested that STIM1 may also interact with the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptor. Using embryonic fibroblasts from Stim1-/-, Stim2-/- and wild-type mice, we now tested the hypothesis that STIM1 and STIM2 would also regulate the IP3 receptor. We investigated whether STIM1 or STIM2 would be the luminal Ca2+ sensor that controls the loading dependence of the IP3-induced Ca2+ release. Partial emptying of the stores in plasma-membrane permeabilized cells resulted in an increased EC50 and a decreased Hill coefficient for IP3-induced Ca2+ release. This effect occurred both in the presence and absence of STIM proteins, indicating that these proteins were not the luminal Ca2+ sensor for the IP3 receptor. Although Stim1-/- cells displayed a normal IP3-receptor function, agonist-induced Ca2+ release was reduced. This finding suggests that the presence of STIM1 is required for proper agonist-induced Ca2+ signaling. Our data do not provide experimental evidence for the suggestion that STIM proteins would directly control the function of the IP3 receptor. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Parys J.B.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Decuypere J.-P.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Bultynck G.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Cell Communication and Signaling | Year: 2012

Autophagy is an important cell-biological process responsible for the disposal of long-lived proteins, protein aggregates, defective organelles and intracellular pathogens. It is activated in response to cellular stress and plays a role in development, cell differentiation, and ageing. Moreover, it has been shown to be involved in different pathologies, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. It is a long standing issue whether and how the Ca2+ ion is involved in its regulation. The role of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor, the main intracellular Ca2+-release channel, in apoptosis is well recognized, but its role in autophagy only recently emerged and is therefore much less well understood. Positive as well as negative effects on autophagy have been reported for both the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor and Ca2+. This review will critically present the evidence for a role of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor/Ca2+-release channel in autophagy and will demonstrate that depending on the cellular conditions it can either suppress or promote autophagy. Suppression occurs through Ca2+ signals directed to the mitochondria, fueling ATP production and decreasing AMP-activated kinase activity. In contrast, Ca2+-induced autophagy can be mediated by several pathways including calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase β, calmodulin-dependent kinase I, protein kinase C θ, and/or extracellular signal-regulated kinase. © 2012 Parys et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Mekahli D.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Bultynck G.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Parys J.B.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | de Smedt H.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Missiaen L.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology | Year: 2011

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as an intracellular Ca2+ store not only sets up cytosolic Ca2+ signals but among other functions also assembles and folds newly synthesized proteins. Alterations in ER homeostasis including severe Ca2+ depletion are an upstream event in the pathophysiology of many diseases. On the one hand insufficient release of activator Ca2+ may no longer sustain essential cell functions. On the other hand loss of luminal Ca2+ causes ER stress and activates an unfolded protein response which depending on the duration and severity of the stress can reestablish normal ER function or lead to cell death. We will review these various diseases by mainly focusing on the mechanisms that cause ER Ca2+ depletion. © 2011 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


D'hondt C.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE | Year: 2013

Intercellular communication is essential for the coordination of physiological processes between cells in a variety of organs and tissues, including the brain, liver, retina, cochlea and vasculature. In experimental settings, intercellular Ca(2+)-waves can be elicited by applying a mechanical stimulus to a single cell. This leads to the release of the intracellular signaling molecules IP3 and Ca(2+) that initiate the propagation of the Ca(2+)-wave concentrically from the mechanically stimulated cell to the neighboring cells. The main molecular pathways that control intercellular Ca(2+)-wave propagation are provided by gap junction channels through the direct transfer of IP3 and by hemichannels through the release of ATP. Identification and characterization of the properties and regulation of different connexin and pannexin isoforms as gap junction channels and hemichannels are allowed by the quantification of the spread of the intercellular Ca(2+)-wave, siRNA, and the use of inhibitors of gap junction channels and hemichannels. Here, we describe a method to measure intercellular Ca(2+)-wave in monolayers of primary corneal endothelial cells loaded with Fluo4-AM in response to a controlled and localized mechanical stimulus provoked by an acute, short-lasting deformation of the cell as a result of touching the cell membrane with a micromanipulator-controlled glass micropipette with a tip diameter of less than 1 μm. We also describe the isolation of primary bovine corneal endothelial cells and its use as model system to assess Cx43-hemichannel activity as the driven force for intercellular Ca(2+)-waves through the release of ATP. Finally, we discuss the use, advantages, limitations and alternatives of this method in the context of gap junction channel and hemichannel research.


D'Hondt C.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Himpens B.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling | Bultynck G.,Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Journal of Visualized Experiments | Year: 2013

Intercellular communication is essential for the coordination of physiological processes between cells in a variety of organs and tissues, including the brain, liver, retina, cochlea and vasculature. In experimental settings, intercellular Ca2+-waves can be elicited by applying a mechanical stimulus to a single cell. This leads to the release of the intracellular signaling molecules IP3 and Ca2+ that initiate the propagation of the Ca2+-wave concentrically from the mechanically stimulated cell to the neighboring cells. The main molecular pathways that control intercellular Ca2+-wave propagation are provided by gap junction channels through the direct transfer of IP3 and by hemichannels through the release of ATP. Identification and characterization of the properties and regulation of different connexin and pannexin isoforms as gap junction channels and hemichannels are allowed by the quantification of the spread of the intercellular Ca2+-wave, siRNA, and the use of inhibitors of gap junction channels and hemichannels. Here, we describe a method to measure intercellular Ca2+-wave in monolayers of primary corneal endothelial cells loaded with Fluo4-AM in response to a controlled and localized mechanical stimulus provoked by an acute, short-lasting deformation of the cell as a result of touching the cell membrane with a micromanipulator-controlled glass micropipette with a tip diameter of less than 1 μm. We also describe the isolation of primary bovine corneal endothelial cells and its use as model system to assess Cx43-hemichannel activity as the driven force for intercellular Ca2+-waves through the release of ATP. Finally, we discuss the use, advantages, limitations and alternatives of this method in the context of gap junction channel and hemichannel research.


PubMed | Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cell calcium | Year: 2012

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the PKD1 or PKD2 genes encoding respectively polycystin-1 and polycystin-2. Polycystin-2 stimulates the inositol trisphosphate (IP(3)) receptor (IP(3)R), a Ca(2+)-release channel in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The effect of ER-located polycystin-1 is less clear. Polycystin-1 has been reported both to stimulate and to inhibit the IP(3)R. We now studied the effect of polycystin-1 and of polycystin-2 on the IP(3)R activity under conditions where the cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration was kept constant and the reuptake of released Ca(2+) was prevented. We also studied the interdependence of the interaction of polycystin-1 and polycystin-2 with the IP(3)R. The experiments were done in conditionally immortalized human proximal-tubule epithelial cells in which one or both polycystins were knocked down using lentiviral vectors containing miRNA-based short hairpins. The Ca(2+) release was induced in plasma membrane-permeabilized cells by various IP(3) concentrations at a fixed Ca(2+) concentration under unidirectional (45)Ca(2+)-efflux conditions. We now report that knock down of polycystin-1 or of polycystin-2 inhibited the IP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release. The simultaneous presence of the two polycystins was required to fully amplify the IP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release, since the presence of polycystin-1 alone or of polycystin-2 alone did not result in an increased Ca(2+) release. These novel findings indicate that ER-located polycystin-1 and polycystin-2 operate as a functional complex. They are compatible with the view that loss-of-function mutations in PKD1 and in PKD2 both cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.


PubMed | Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cell death and differentiation | Year: 2012

Antiapoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) targets the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP(3)R) via its BH4 domain, thereby suppressing IP(3)R Ca(2+)-flux properties and protecting against Ca(2+)-dependent apoptosis. Here, we directly compared IP(3)R inhibition by BH4-Bcl-2 and BH4-Bcl-Xl. In contrast to BH4-Bcl-2, BH4-Bcl-Xl neither bound the modulatory domain of IP(3)R nor inhibited IP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release (IICR) in permeabilized and intact cells. We identified a critical residue in BH4-Bcl-2 (Lys17) not conserved in BH4-Bcl-Xl (Asp11). Changing Lys17 into Asp in BH4-Bcl-2 completely abolished its IP(3)R-binding and -inhibitory properties, whereas changing Asp11 into Lys in BH4-Bcl-Xl induced IP(3)R binding and inhibition. This difference in IP(3)R regulation between BH4-Bcl-2 and BH4-Bcl-Xl controls their antiapoptotic action. Although both BH4-Bcl-2 and BH4-Bcl-Xl had antiapoptotic activity, BH4-Bcl-2 was more potent than BH4-Bcl-Xl. The effect of BH4-Bcl-2, but not of BH4-Bcl-Xl, depended on its binding to IP(3)Rs. In agreement with the IP(3)R-binding properties, the antiapoptotic activity of BH4-Bcl-2 and BH4-Bcl-Xl was modulated by the Lys/Asp substitutions. Changing Lys17 into Asp in full-length Bcl-2 significantly decreased its binding to the IP(3)R, its ability to inhibit IICR and its protection against apoptotic stimuli. A single amino-acid difference between BH4-Bcl-2 and BH4-Bcl-Xl therefore underlies differential regulation of IP(3)Rs and Ca(2+)-driven apoptosis by these functional domains. Mutating this residue affects the function of Bcl-2 in Ca(2+) signaling and apoptosis.


PubMed | Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology | Year: 2011

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as an intracellular Ca(2+) store not only sets up cytosolic Ca(2+) signals, but, among other functions, also assembles and folds newly synthesized proteins. Alterations in ER homeostasis, including severe Ca(2+) depletion, are an upstream event in the pathophysiology of many diseases. On the one hand, insufficient release of activator Ca(2+) may no longer sustain essential cell functions. On the other hand, loss of luminal Ca(2+) causes ER stress and activates an unfolded protein response, which, depending on the duration and severity of the stress, can reestablish normal ER function or lead to cell death. We will review these various diseases by mainly focusing on the mechanisms that cause ER Ca(2+) depletion.

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