Evaluation of: Vergadi E, Vaporidi K, Theodorakis EE et al. Akt2 deficiency protects from acute lung injury via alternative macrophage activation and miR-146a induction in mice. J. Immunol. 192, 394-406 (2013). Acute respiratory distress syndrome currently has limited effective treatments; however, recent evidence suggests that modulation of alveolar macrophage responses may be an effective method for protection or repair of lung injury. Vergadi et al. are the first to demonstrate that depletion of Akt2 kinase and microRNA-146a induction in mice resulted in polarization of alveolar macrophages towards an M2 activation phenotype and resulted in less severe injury following acid-induced lung injury. However, this M2 polarization also resulted in increased lung bacterial load following infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Patients with Sjögren's syndrome or head and neck cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy suffer from severe dry mouth (xerostomia) due to salivary exocrine cell death. Regeneration of the salivary glands requires a better understanding of regulatory mechanisms by which stem cells differentiate into exocrine cells. In our study, bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells were co-cultured with primary salivary epithelial cells from C57BL/6 mice. Co-cultured bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells clearly resembled salivary epithelial cells, as confirmed by strong expression of salivary gland epithelial cell-specific markers, such as alpha-amylase, muscarinic type 3 receptor, aquaporin-5, and cytokeratin 19. To identify regulatory factors involved in this differentiation, transdifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells were analyzed temporarily by two-dimensional-gel-electrophoresis, which detected 58 protein spots (>1.5 fold change, p<0.05) that were further categorized into 12 temporal expression patterns. Of those proteins only induced in differentiated mesenchymal stem cells, ankryin-repeat-domain-containing-protein 56, high-mobility-group-protein 20B, and transcription factor E2a were selected as putative regulatory factors for mesenchymal stem cell transdifferentiation based on putative roles in salivary gland development. Induction of these molecules was confirmed by RT-PCR and western blotting on separate sets of co-cultured mesenchymal stem cells. In conclusion, our study is the first to identify differentially expressed proteins that are implicated in mesenchymal stem cell differentiation into salivary gland epithelial cells. Further investigation to elucidate regulatory roles of these three transcription factors in mesenchymal stem cell reprogramming will provide a critical foundation for a novel cell-based regenerative therapy for patients with xerostomia.
Sjögrens syndrome (SjS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that mainly targets the salivary and lacrimal glands. It has been controversial whether anti-muscarinic type 3 receptor (?-M3R) autoantibodies in patients with SjS inhibit intracellular trafficking of aquaporin-5 (AQP5), water transport protein, leading to secretory dysfunction. To address this issue, GFP-tagged human AQP5 was overexpressed in human salivary gland cells (HSG-hAQP5) and monitored AQP5 trafficking to the plasma membrane following carbachol (CCh, M3R agonist) stimulation. AQP5 trafficking was indeed mediated by M3R stimulation, shown in partial blockage of trafficking by M3R-antagonist 4-DAMP. HSG-hAQP5 pre-incubated with SjS plasma for 24 hours significantly reduced AQP5 trafficking with CCh, compared with HSG-hAQP5 pre-incubated with healthy control (HC) plasma. This inhibition was confirmed by monoclonal ?-M3R antibody and pre-absorbed plasma. Interestingly, HSG-hAQP5 pre-incubated with SjS plasma showed no change in cell volume, compared to the cells incubated with HC plasma showing shrinkage by twenty percent after CCh-stimulation. Our findings clearly indicate that binding of anti-M3R autoantibodies to the receptor, which was verified by immunoprecipitation, suppresses AQP5 trafficking to the membrane and contribute to impaired fluid secretion in SjS. Our current study urges further investigations of clinical associations between SjS symptoms, such as degree of secretory dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and/or bladder irritation, and different profiles (titers, isotypes, and/or specificity) of anti-M3R autoantibodies in individuals with SjS.
Sjögrens syndrome (SS) is characterized by xerophthalmia and xerostomia resulting from loss of secretory function due to immune cell infiltration in lacrimal and salivary glands. Current therapeutic strategies for SS use secretagogues to induce secretion via muscarinic receptor stimulation. The purpose of this study was to create a secretagogue-small interfering RNA (siRNA) conjugate to deliver siRNA into cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis, thereby altering epithelial cell responses to external cues, such as proinflammatory or death signals, while simultaneously stimulating secretion.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNA molecules that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression, are known to play key roles in regulating immune responses and autoimmunity. We investigated miR-146a expression in Sjögrens syndrome (SjS) patients as well as in the SjS-prone C57BL/6.NOD-Aec1Aec2 mouse model, to elucidate its involvement in SjS pathogenesis. Expression of miR-146a was examined in the PBMCs of 25 SjS patients and ten healthy donors, as well as in PBMCs, salivary and lacrimal glands of SjS-prone mice and WT C57BL/6J mice. Functional assays using THP-1 human monocytes were conducted to determine the biological roles of miR-146a in innate immunity. Expression of miR-146a was significantly increased in SjS patients compared with healthy controls, and was upregulated in the salivary glands and PBMCs of the SjS-prone mouse at both 8?wk (prior to disease onset) and 20?wk (full-blown disease) of age. More importantly, functional analysis revealed roles for miR-146a in increasing phagocytic activity and suppressing inflammatory cytokine production while migration, nitric oxide production and expression of antigen-presenting/costimulatory molecules are not affected in human monocytic THP-1 cells. Taken together, our data suggest that abnormal expression/regulation of microRNAs in innate immunity may contribute to, or be indicative of, the initiation and progression of SjS.
Retrotransposons including CR1 (chicken repeat 1) elements are important factors in genome evolution. They also mobilize in a genome in a way that makes them useful for phylogenetic analysis and species identification. This study was designed to identify lineages of CR1 elements in the genomes of forensically important oestroid flies and to further characterize one family, Sbul.CR1B. CR1 fragments from several taxa were amplified, cloned, sequenced and analyzed to identify different lineages of elements. A variety of retrotransposon families were recovered that exhibit similarity to known retrotransposon families. A number of these lineages may have given rise to taxon-specific subfamilies that have been recently active in oestroid fly genomes. One element from Sarcophaga bullata was analyzed in detail to reconstruct a partial Open Reading Frame containing both the reverse transcriptase (RT) and endonuclease (EN) domains. These domains were used to identify conserved amino acid regions in the recovered consensus via comparison to known non-LTR retrotransposons. Phylogenetic analysis of the RT domain revealed the recovered ORF in S. bullata compares favorably with previously documented CR1-like elements. This work will serve as the basis for additional analyses targeted at developing a simple, efficient marker system for the identification of forensically important carrion flies.
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