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Penumatsa K.C.,Tupper Research Institute | Toksoz D.,Tupper Research Institute | Warburton R.R.,Tupper Research Institute | Hilmer A.J.,Stanford University | And 4 more authors.
American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Year: 2014

We previously reported that transglutaminase 2 (TG2) activity is markedly elevated in lungs of hypoxia-exposed rodent models of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Since vascular remodeling of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) is important in PH, we undertook the present study to determine whether TG2 activity is altered in PASMCs with exposure to hypoxia and whether that alteration participates in their proliferative response to hypoxia. Cultured distal bovine (b) and proximal human (h) PASMCs were exposed to hypoxia (3% O2) or normoxia (21% O2). mRNA and protein expression were determined by PCR and Western blot analyses. TG2 activity and function were visualized and determined by fluorescent labeled 5-pentylamine biotin incorporation and immunoblotting of serotonylated fibronectin. Cell proliferation was assessed by [3H]thymidine incorporation assay. At 24 h, both TG2 expression and activity were stimulated by hypoxia in bPASMCs. Activation of TG2 by hypoxia was blocked by inhibition of the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor or the transient receptor potential channel V4. In contrast, TG2 expression was blocked by inhibition of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, supporting the presence of separate mechanisms for stimulation of activity and expression of TG2. Pulmonary arterial hypertension patient-derived hPASMCs were found to proliferate significantly more rapidly and respond to hypoxia more strongly than control-derived hPASMCs. Similar to bovine cells, hypoxia-induced proliferation of patient-derived cells was blocked by inhibition of TG2 activity. Our results suggest an important role for TG2, mediated by intracellular calcium fluxes and HIF-1α, in hypoxia-induced PASMC proliferation and possibly in vascular remodeling in PH. © 2014 the American Physiological Society.


Freitas B.C.G.,Federal University of São Paulo | Gereben B.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Castillo M.,University of Miami | Kallo I.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2010

Hypothyroidism in humans is characterized by severe neurological consequences that are often irreversible, highlighting the critical role of thyroid hormone (TH) in the brain. Despite this, not much is known about the signaling pathways that control TH action in the brain. What is known is that the prohormone thyroxine (T4) is converted to the active hormone triiodothyronine (T3) by type 2 deiodinase (D2) and that this occurs in astrocytes, while TH receptors and type 3 deiodinase (D3), which inactivates T3, are found in adjacent neurons. Here, we modeled TH action in the brain using an in vitro coculture system of D2-expressing H4 human glioma cells and D3-expressing SK-N-AS human neuroblastoma cells. We found that glial cell D2 activity resulted in increased T3 production, which acted in a paracrine fashion to induce T3-responsive genes, including ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/ phosphodiesterase 2 (ENPP2), in the cocultured neurons. D3 activity in the neurons modulated these effects. Furthermore, this paracrine pathway was regulated by signals such as hypoxia, hedgehog signaling, and LPS-induced inflammation, as evidenced both in the in vitro coculture system and in in vivo rat models of brain ischemia and mouse models of inflammation. This study therefore presents what we believe to be the first direct evidence for a paracrine loop linking glial D2 activity to TH receptors in neurons, thereby identifying deiodinases as potential control points for the regulation of TH signaling in the brain during health and disease.


Scerif M.,Queen Mary, University of London | Fuzesi T.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Thomas J.D.,Queen Mary, University of London | Kola B.,Queen Mary, University of London | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2013

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a regulator of cellular and systemic energy homeostasis, can be influenced by several hormones. Tissue-specific alteration of AMPK activity by glucocorticoids may explain the increase in appetite, the accumulation of lipids in adipose tissues, and the detrimental cardiac effects of Cushing's syndrome. Endocannabinoids are known to mediate the effects of various hormones and to influence AMPK activity. Cannabinoids have central orexigenic and direct peripheral metabolic effects via the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1). In our preliminary experiments, WT mice received implants of a corticosterone-containing pellet to establish a mouse model of Cushing's syndrome. Subsequently, WT and Cb1 (Cnr1)-knockout (CB1-KO) littermates were treated with corticosterone and AMPK activity in the hypothalamus, various adipose tissues, liver and cardiac tissue was measured. Corticosterone-treated CB1-KO mice showed a lack of weight gain and of increase in hypothalamic and hepatic AMPK activity. In adipose tissues, baseline AMPK activity was higher in CB1-KO mice, but a glucocorticoid-induced drop was observed, similar to that observed in WT mice. Cardiac AMPK levels were reduced in CB1-KO mice, but while WT mice showed significantly reduced AMPK activity following glucocorticoid treatment, CB1-KO mice showed a paradoxical increase. Our findings indicate the importance of the CB1 receptor in the central orexigenic effect of glucocorticoid-induced activation of hypothalamic AMPK activity. In the periphery adipose tissues, changes may occur independently of the CB1 receptor, but the receptor appears to alter the responsiveness of the liver and myocardial tissues to glucocorticoids. In conclusion, our data suggest that an intact cannabinoid pathway is required for the full metabolic effects of chronic glucocorticoid excess. © 2013 Society for Endocrinology.


Wei L.,Tupper Research Institute | Liu Y.,Tupper Research Institute | Kaneto H.,Osaka University | Fanburg B.L.,Tupper Research Institute
American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Year: 2010

JNK is a member of the MAPK family and has essential roles in inflammation and cell differentiation and apoptosis. In recent years, there have been accumulating data indicating a novel role for JNK in cell growth and migration. In this report, we demonstrate that JNK activity is necessary for serotonin (5-HT)-induced proliferation and migration of bovine pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Stimulation with 5-HT was found to lead to activation of JNK with a maximal activation at 10 min. Inhibition of JNK with its specific inhibitor, SP-600125, or its dominant-negative form, DN-JNK, significantly reduced 5-HT-stimulated 3 H]thymidine incorporation and cyclin D1 expression. A similar inhibitory effect on SMC migration produced by 5-HT, as detected by a wound healing assay, was observed with inhibition of JNK. Furthermore, inhibition of 5-HT receptors 1B and 2A, but not inhibition of the 5-HT transporter, blocked 5-HT-induced JNK activation. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) with LY-294002 and wortmannin had little or no effect on 5-HT-induced JNK phosphorylation, but JNK inhibitor SP-600125 and DN-JNK blocked 5-HT-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream effectors, p70S6K1 and S6, indicating that Akt is a downstream effector of JNK. Activation of Akt by 5-HT was blocked only minimally, if at all, by inhibitors of ERK and p38 MAPK, indicating a uniqueness of JNK MAPK in this activation of Akt. Coimmunoprecipitation showed binding of Akt to JNK, further supporting the interaction of JNK and Akt. Thus JNK is a critical molecule in 5-HT-induced PASMC proliferation and migration and may act at an important point for cross talk of the MAPK and PI3K pathways. Its activation by 5-HT is initiated through 5-HT 1B and 2A receptors, and its stimulation of SMC proliferation and migration occurs through the Akt pathway. Copyright © 2010 the American Physiological Society.


Bear M.D.,Tupper Research Institute | Li M.,Tupper Research Institute | Liu Y.,Tupper Research Institute | Giel-Moloney M.A.,Tufts University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is mitogenic for several cell types including pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC), and is associated with the abnormal vascular smooth muscle remodeling that occurs in pulmonary arterial hypertension. RhoA/Rho kinase (ROCK) function is required for 5-HT-induced PASMC mitogenesis, and 5-HT activates RhoA; however, the signaling steps are poorly defined. Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (Rho GEFs) transduce extracellular signals to Rho, and we found that 5-HT treatment of PASMC led to increased membrane-associated Lbc Rho GEF, suggesting modulation by 5-HT. Lbc knockdown by siRNA attenuated 5-HT-induced thymidine uptake in PASMC, indicating a role in PASMC mitogenesis. 5-HT triggered Rho-dependent serum response factor-mediated reporter activation in PASMC, and this was reduced by Lbc depletion. Lbc knockdown reduced 5-HT-induced RhoA/ROCK activation, but not p42/44 ERK MAP kinase activation, suggesting that Lbc is an intermediary between 5-HT and RhoA/ROCK, but not ERK. 5-HT stimulation of PASMC led to increased association between Lbc, RhoA, and the α-catulin scaffold. Furthermore, α-catulin knockdown attenuated 5-HT-induced PASMC thymidine uptake. 5-HT-induced PASMC mitogenesis was reduced by dominant-negative Gq protein, suggesting cooperation with Lbc/α-catulin. These results for the first time define a Rho GEF involved in vascular smooth muscle cell growth and serotonin signaling, and suggest that Lbc Rho GEF family members play distinct roles. Thus, the Lbc/α-catulin axis participates in 5-HT-induced PASMC mitogenesis and RhoA/ROCK signaling, and may be an interventional target in diseases involving vascular smooth muscle remodeling. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Wong C.-M.,Georgetown University | Preston I.R.,Tupper Research Institute | Hill N.S.,Tupper Research Institute | Suzuki Y.J.,Georgetown University
Free Radical Biology and Medicine | Year: 2012

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension. Because iron is an important regulator of ROS biology, this study examined the effects of iron chelation on the development of pulmonary vascular remodeling. The administration of an iron chelator, deferoxamine, to rats prevented chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular remodeling. Various iron chelators inhibited the growth of cultured pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Protein carbonylation, an important iron-dependent biological event, was promoted in association with pulmonary vascular remodeling and cell growth. A proteomic approach identified that Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor (a negative regulator of RhoA) is carbonylated. In human plasma, the protein carbonyl content was significantly higher in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension than in healthy controls. These results suggest that iron plays an important role in the ROS-dependent mechanism underlying the development of pulmonary hypertension. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Malhowski A.J.,Tupper Research Institute | Hira H.,Tupper Research Institute | Bashiruddin S.,Tupper Research Institute | Warburton R.,Tupper Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Constitutive activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a key kinase complex that regulates cell size and growth, is observed with inactivating mutations of either of the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes, Tsc1 and Tsc2. Tsc1 and Tsc2 are highly expressed in cardiovascular tissue but their functional role there is unknown. We generated a tissue-specific knock-out of Tsc1, using a conditional allele of Tsc1 and a cre recombinase allele regulated by the smooth muscle protein-22 (SM22) promoter (Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/-) to constitutively activate mTOR in cardiovascular tissue. Significant gene recombination (~80%) occurred in the heart by embryonic day (E) 15, and reduction in Tsc1 expression with increased levels of phosphorylated S6 kinase (S6K) and S6 was observed, consistent with constitutive activation of mTORC1. Cardiac hypertrophy was evident by E15 with post-natal progression to heart weights of 142±24 mg in Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/- mice versus 65±14 mg in controls (P < 0.01). Median survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/- mice was 24 days, with none surviving beyond 6 weeks. Pathologic and echocardiographic analysis revealed severe biventricular hypertrophy without evidence of fibrosis or myocyte disarray, and significant reduction in the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (P < 0.001) and fractional index (P < 0.001). Inhibition of mTORC1 by rapamycin resulted in prolonged survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/- mice, with regression of ventricular hypertrophy. These data support a critical role for the Tsc1/Tsc2-mTORC1-S6K axis in the normal development of cardiovascular tissue and also suggest possible therapeutic potential of rapamycin in cardiac disorders where pathologic mTORC1 activation occurs. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Liu Y.,Rutgers University | Wei L.,Tupper Research Institute | Laskin D.L.,Rutgers University | Fanburg B.L.,Tupper Research Institute
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology | Year: 2011

Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by elevated pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and migration. Clinical and experimental evidence suggests that serotonin (5-HT) is important in these responses. We previously demonstrated the participation of the 5-HT transporter and intracellular 5-HT (5-HTi) in the pulmonary vascular SMC-proliferative response to 5-HT. However, the mechanism underlying the intracellular actions of 5-HT is unknown. We speculated that 5-HTi activates SMC growth by post-translational transamidation of proteins via transglutaminase (TGase) activity, a process referred to as serotonylation. To test this hypothesis, serotonylation of pulmonary artery SMC proteins, and their role in 5-HT-induced proliferative and migratory responses, were assessed. 5-HT caused dose- and time-dependent increase in serotonylation of multiple proteins in both bovine and rat pulmonary artery SMCs. Inhibition of TGase with dansylcadaverin blocked this activity, as well as SMC-proliferative and migratory responses to 5-HT. Serotonylation of proteins also was blocked by 5-HT transporter inhibitors, and was enhanced by inhibition of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme known to degrade 5-HTi, indicating that 5-HTi levels regulate serotonylation. Immunoprecipitation assays and HPLC-mass spectral peptide sequencing revealed that a major protein serotonylated by TGase was fibronectin (FN). 5-HT-stimulated SMC serotonylation and proliferation were blocked by FN small interfering (si) RNA. These findings, together with previous observations that FN expression in the lung strongly correlates with the progression of pulmonary hypertension in both experimental animals and humans, suggest an important role of FN serotonylation in the pathogenesis of this disease. Copyright © 2011 American Thoracic Society.


Fekete C.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Fekete C.,Tupper Research Institute | Lechan R.M.,Tupper Research Institute | Lechan R.M.,Tufts University
Endocrine Reviews | Year: 2014

TRH is a tripeptide amide that functions as a neurotransmitter but also serves as a neurohormone that has a critical role in the central regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Hypophysiotropic TRH neurons involved in this neuroendocrine process are located in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and secrete TRH into the pericapillary space of the external zone of the median eminence for conveyance to anterior pituitary thyrotrophs. Under basal conditions, the activity of hypophysiotropic TRH neurons is regulated by the negative feedback effects of thyroid hormone to ensure stable, circulating, thyroid hormone concentrations, a mechanism that involves complex interactions between hypophysiotropic TRH neurons and the vascular system, cerebrospinal fluid, and specializedglial cells called tanycytes.HypophysiotropicTRHneuronsalso integrateotherhumoralandneuronalinputsthat can alter the setpoint for negative feedback regulation by thyroid hormone. This mechanism facilitates adaptation of the organism to changing environmental conditions, including the shortage of food and a cold environment. The thyroid axis is also affected by other adverse conditions such as infection, but the central mechanisms mediating suppression of hypophysiotropicTRHmaybepathophysiological. In this review,wediscuss currentknowledgeabout the mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of hypophysiotropic TRH neurons under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. © 2014 by the Endocrine Society.


Penumatsa K.C.,Tupper Research Institute | Fanburg B.L.,Tupper Research Institute
American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Year: 2014

The monoamine serotonin (5-HT) has been previously implicated in pulmonary arterial remodeling and is considered a potential therapeutic target for the disease pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). More recently, it has been recognized that the enzyme tissue transglutaminase (TG2) mediates cross-linking of proteins with 5-HT, a posttranslational process of monoaminylation known as "serotonylation." TG2 activity and serotonylation of protein participate in both smooth muscle proliferation and contraction produced by 5-HT. Indeed, markedly increased TG2 activity has now been identified in lung tissue of an experimental rodent model of pulmonary hypertension, and elevated serotonylation of fibronectin and the signaling molecule Rho, downstream products of transglutamidation, have been found in blood of patients with PAH. The basic mechanism by which TG2 is activated and the potential role(s) of serotonylated proteins in pulmonary hypertension remain a mystery. In the present review we have tried to address the current understanding of 5-HT metabolism in pulmonary hypertension and relate it to what is currently known about the evolving cellular process of serotonylation. © 2014 the American Physiological Society.

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