Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center

United States

Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center

United States
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Chipuk J.E.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | McStay G.P.,St Jude Childrens Research Hospital | McStay G.P.,Columbia University | Bharti A.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | And 8 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2012

Mitochondria are functionally and physically associated with heterotypic membranes, yet little is known about how these interactions impact mitochondrial outer-membrane permeabilization (MOMP) and apoptosis. We observed that dissociation of heterotypic membranes from mitochondria inhibited BAK/BAX-dependent cytochrome c (cyto c) release. Biochemical purification of neutral sphingomyelinases that correlated with MOMP sensitization suggested that sphingolipid metabolism coordinates BAK/BAX activation. Using purified lipids and enzymes, sensitivity to MOMP was achieved by in vitro reconstitution of the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. Sphingolipid metabolism inhibitors blocked MOMP from heavy membrane preparations but failed to influence MOMP in the presence of sphingolipid-reconstituted, purified mitochondria. Furthermore, the sphingolipid products, sphingosine-1-PO 4 and hexadecenal, cooperated specifically with BAK and BAX, respectively. Sphingolipid metabolism was also required for cellular responses to apoptosis. Our studies suggest that BAK/BAX activation and apoptosis are coordinated through BH3-only proteins and a specific lipid milieu that is maintained by heterotypic membrane-mitochondrial interactions. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Mullen T.D.,Medical University of South Carolina | Hannun Y.A.,Medical University of South Carolina | Obeid L.M.,Medical University of South Carolina | Obeid L.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2012

Sphingolipid metabolism in metazoan cells consists of a complex interconnected web of numerous enzymes, metabolites and modes of regulation. At the centre of sphingolipid metabolism reside CerSs (ceramide synthases), a group of enzymes that catalyse the formation of ceramides from sphingoid base and acyl-CoA substrates. From a metabolic perspective, these enzymes occupy a unique niche in that they simultaneously regulate de novo sphingolipid synthesis and the recycling of free sphingosine produced from the degradation of pre-formed sphingolipids (salvage pathway). Six mammalian CerSs (CerS1-CerS6) have been identified. Unique characteristics have been described for each of these enzymes, but perhaps the most notable is the ability of individual CerS isoforms to produce ceramides with characteristic acyl-chain distributions. Through this control of acyl-chain length and perhaps in a compartment-specific manner, CerSs appear to regulate multiple aspects of sphingolipid-mediated cell and organismal biology. In the present review, we discuss the function of CerSs as critical regulators of sphingolipid metabolism, highlight their unique characteristics and explore the emerging roles of CerSs in regulating programmed cell death, cancer and many other aspects of biology. © The Authors Journal compilation © 2012 Biochemical Society.

Mullen T.D.,Medical University of South Carolina | Obeid L.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Obeid L.M.,Medical University of South Carolina
Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2012

Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is a complex process whereby eukaryotic cells react to physiologic or pathophysiologic stimuli by undergoing genetically programmed suicide. Programmed cell death involves many well-characterized signaling pathways including permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane and activation of caspases. Other pathways, such as pro-apoptotic lipid signaling, are less understood despite many years of study. The sphingolipid ceramide has received considerable attention as a key regulator of programmed cell death, yet the mechanisms of its up-regulation and ability to control cell fate remain ill-defined. In this review, we will examine the connections between sphingolipid metabolism and programmed cell death with a focus on the role of de novo sphingolipid synthesis and sphingosine salvage in producing pro-apoptotic ceramide. We will also highlight the evidence supporting an increasingly complex role for ceramide in regulating apoptosis and provide a framework in which to ask new questions about the functions of this enigmatic lipid. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.

Dixon J.A.,Medical University of South Carolina | Dixon J.A.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Spinale F.G.,Medical University of South Carolina | Spinale F.G.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Annual Review of Physiology | Year: 2011

The focus of this review is on translational studies utilizing large-animal models and clinical studies that provide fundamental insight into cellular and extracellular pathways contributing to post-myocardial infarction (MI) left ventricle (LV) remodeling. Specifically, both large-animal and clinical studies have examined the potential role of endogenous and exogenous stem cells to alter the course of LV remodeling. Interestingly, there have been alterations in LV remodeling with stem cell treatment despite a lack of long-term cell engraftment. The translation of the full potential of stem cell treatments to clinical studies has yet to be realized. The modulation of proteolytic pathways that contribute to the post-MI remodeling process has also been examined. On the basis of recent large-animal studies, there appears to be a relationship between stem cell treatment post-MI and the modification of proteolytic pathways, generating the hypothesis that stem cells leave an echo effect that moderates LV remodeling. © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Alge J.L.,Medical University of South Carolina | Arthur J.M.,Medical University of South Carolina | Arthur J.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology | Year: 2015

AKI is a common clinical condition associated with a number of adverse outcomes. More timely diagnosis would Allow for earlier intervention and could improve patient outcomes. The goal of early identification of AKI has been the primary impetus for AKI biomarker research, and has led to the discovery of numerous novel biomarkers. However, in addition to facilitating more timely intervention, AKI biomarkers can provide valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms of this complex and heterogeneous disease. Furthermore, AKI biomarkers could also function as molecular phenotyping tools that could be used to direct clinical intervention. This review highlights the major studies that have characterized the diagnostic and prognostic predictive power of these biomarkers. The mechanistic relevance of neutrophil gelatinase–associated lipocalin, kidney injury molecule 1, IL-18, liver type fatty acid–binding protein, angiotensinogen, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2, and IGF-binding protein 7 to the pathogenesis and pathobiology of AKI is discussed, putting these biomarkers in the context of the progressive phases of AKI. A biomarker-integrated model of AKI is proposed, which summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding the roles of these biomarkers and the molecular and cellular biology of AKI. © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.

Luttrell L.M.,Medical University of South Carolina | Luttrell L.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Maudsley S.,University of Antwerp | Bohn L.M.,Scripps Research Institute
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2015

The fact that over 30% of current pharmaceuticals target heptahelical G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) attests to their tractability as drug targets. Although GPCR drug development has traditionally focused on conventional agonists and antagonists, the growing appreciation that GPCRs mediate physiologically relevant effects via both G protein and non-G protein effectors has prompted the search for ligands that can "bias" downstream signaling in favor of one or the other process. Biased ligands are novel entities with distinct signaling profiles dictated by ligand structure, and the potential prospect of biased ligands as better drugs has been pleonastically proclaimed. Indeed, preclinical proof-of-concept studies have demonstrated that both G protein and arrestin pathwayselective ligands can promote beneficial effects in vivo while simultaneously antagonizing deleterious ones. But along with opportunity comes added complexity and new challenges for drug discovery. If ligands can be biased, then ligand classification becomes assay dependent, and more nuanced screening approaches are needed to capture ligand efficacy across several dimensions of signaling. Moreover, because the signaling repertoire of biased ligands differs from that of the native agonist, unpredicted responses may arise in vivo as these unbalanced signals propagate. For any given GPCR target, establishing a framework relating in vitro efficacy to in vivo biologic response is crucial to biased drug discovery. This review discusses approaches to describing ligand efficacy in vitro, translating ligand bias into biologic response, and developing a systemslevel understanding of biased agonism in vivo, with the overall goal of overcoming current barriers to developing biased GPCR therapeutics. Copyright © 2015 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Luttrell L.M.,Medical University of South Carolina | Luttrell L.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Gesty-Palmer D.,Duke University | Gesty-Palmer D.,Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Pharmacological Reviews | Year: 2010

Heptahelical G protein-coupled receptors are the most diverse and therapeutically important family of receptors in the human genome. Ligand binding activates heterotrimeric G proteins that transmit intracellular signals by regulating effector enzymes or ion channels. G protein signaling is terminated, in large part, by arrestin binding, which uncouples the receptor and G protein and targets the receptor for internalization. It is clear, however, that heptahelical receptor signaling does not end with desensitization. Arrestins bind a host of catalytically active proteins and serve as ligand-regulated scaffolds that recruit protein and lipid kinase, phosphatase, phosphodiesterase, and ubiquitin ligase activity into the receptor-arrestin complex. Although many of these arrestin-bound effectors serve to modulate G protein signaling, degrading second messengers and regulating endocytosis and trafficking, other signals seem to extend beyond the receptor-arrestin complex to regulate such processes as protein translation and gene transcription. Although these findings have led to a re-envisioning of heptahelical receptor signaling, little is known about the physiological roles of arrestin-dependent signaling. In vivo, the duality of arrestin function makes it difficult to dissociate the consequences of arrestin-dependent desensitization from those that might be ascribed to arrestin-mediated signaling. Nonetheless, recent evidence generated using arrestin knockouts, G protein-uncoupled receptor mutants, and arrestin pathway-selective "biased agonists" is beginning to reveal that arrestin signaling plays important roles in the retina, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, bone remodeling, immune system, and cancer. Understanding the signaling roles of arrestins may foster the development of pathway-selective drugs that exploit these pathways for therapeutic benefit.

Funk J.A.,Medical University of South Carolina | Schnellmann R.G.,Medical University of South Carolina | Schnellmann R.G.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology | Year: 2012

While mitochondrial dysfunction is a pathological process that occurs after acute kidney injury (AKI), the state of mitochondrial homeostasis during the injury and recovery phases of AKI remains unclear. We examined markers of mitochondrial homeostasis in two nonlethal rodent AKI models. Myoglobinuric AKI was induced by glycerol injection into rats, and mice were subjected to ischemic AKI. Animals in both models had elevated serum creatinine, indicative of renal dysfunction, 24 h after injury which partially recovered over 144 h postinjury. Markers of proximal tubule function/injury, including neutrophil gelatinase-associated li-pocalin and urine glucose, did not recover during this same period. The persistent pathological state was confirmed by sustained caspase 3 cleavage and evidence of tubule dilation and brush-border damage. Respiratory proteins NDUFB8, ATP synthase β, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COX I), and COX IV were decreased in both injury models and did not recover by 144 h. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed that COX IV protein was progressively lost in proximal tubules of the kidney cortex after ischemia-reperfusion (I/R). Expression of mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 was elevated after injury in both models, whereas the fusion protein Mfn2 was elevated after glycerol injury but decreased after I/R AKI. LC3-I/II expression revealed that autophagy increased in both injury models at the later time points. Markers of mitochondrial biogenesis, such as PGC-1α and PRC, were elevated in both models. These findings reveal that there is persistent disruption of mitochondrial homeostasis and sustained tubular damage after AKI, even in the presence of mitochondrial recovery signals and improved glomerular filtration. © 2012 by the American Physiological Society.

Luttrell L.M.,Medical University of South Carolina | Luttrell L.M.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Molecular Endocrinology | Year: 2014

Conventional orthosteric drug development programs targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have focused on the concepts of agonism and antagonism, in which receptor structure determines the nature of the downstream signal and ligand efficacy determines its intensity. Over the past decade, the emerging paradigms of "pluridimensional efficacy" and "functional selectivity" have revealed that GPCR signaling is not monolithic, and that ligand structure can "bias" signal output by stabilizing active receptor states in different proportions than the native ligand. Biased ligands are novel pharmacologic entities that possess the unique ability to qualitatively change GPCR signaling, in effect creating "new receptors" with distinct efficacy profiles driven by ligand structure. The promise of biased agonism lies in this ability to engender "mixed" effects not attainable using conventional agonists or antagonists, promoting therapeutically beneficial signals while antagonizing deleterious ones. Indeed, arrestin pathway-selective agonists for the type 1 parathyroid hormone and angiotensin AT1 receptors, and G protein pathway-selective agonists for the GPR109A nicotinic acid and μ-opioid receptors, have demonstrated unique, and potentially therapeutic, efficacy in cell-based assays and preclinical animal models. Conversely, activating GPCRs in "unnatural" ways may lead to downstream biological consequences that cannot be predicted from prior knowledge of the actions of the native ligand, especially in the case of ligands that selectively activate as-yet poorly characterized G protein-independent signaling networks mediated via arrestins. Although much needs to be done to realize the clinical potential of functional selectivity, biased GPCR ligands nonetheless appear to be important new additions to the pharmacologic toolbox. © 2014 by the Endocrine Society.

Lu Z.,Ralph hnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology | Year: 2012

It is known that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) plays an important role in atherosclerosis. Because both microvascular (MIC) and macrovascular (MAC) endothelial cells (ECs) are present in atherosclerotic lesions, the present study compared TLR4-triggered inflammatory response and cross talk with mononuclear cells between MIC and MAC ECs. ELISA, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and gene expression profiling showed that TLR4 activation by lipopolysaccharide stimulated a much higher expression of inflammatory genes including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and adhesion molecules in MIC ECs than MAC ECs. Furthermore, coculture studies showed that TLR4 activation in MIC ECs, but not MAC ECs, induced a cross talk with U937 mononuclear cells through MIC EC-released interleukin-6 to upregulate matrix metalloproteinase-1 expression in U937 cells. To explore molecular mechanisms underlying the different responses to TLR4 activation between MIC and MAC ECs, we showed that MIC ECs had a higher expression of TLR4 and CD14 and a higher TLR4-mediated nuclear factor-kappaB activity than MAC ECs. The present study showed that TLR4 activation triggers a more robust inflammatory response in MIC ECs than MAC ECs. Given the importance of inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases in plaque rupture, MIC ECs may play a key role in plaque destabilization through a TLR4-dependent mechanism.

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