Transactivation-proficient (TA) p73 is a transcription factor belonging to the p53 family, which regulates a variety of biological processes, including neurogenesis, differentiation, apoptosis, and DNA damage checkpoint response. In the present study, we adopted multiple Omics approaches, based upon the simultaneous application of metabolomics, lipidomics, and proteomics, in order to dissect the intracellular pathways activated by p73. As cellular model, we utilized a clone of the human osteosarcoma SAOS-2 cell line that allows the expression of TAp73? in an inducible manner. We found that TAp73? promoted mitochondrial activity (accumulation of metabolic intermediates and up-regulation of proteins related to the Krebs cycle), boosted glutathione homeostasis, increased arginine-citrulline-NO metabolism, altered purine synthesis, and promoted the pentose phosphate pathway toward NADPH accumulation for reducing and biosynthetic purposes. Indeed, lipid metabolism was driven toward the accumulation and oxidation of long-chain fatty acids with pro-apoptotic potential. In parallel, the expression of TAp73? was accompanied by the dephosphorylation of key proteins of the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint. In conclusion, the obtained results confirm existing evidence from transcriptomics analyses and suggest a role for TAp73? in the regulation of cellular metabolism, cell survival, and cell growth.
The transcription factor p63 is critical for many biological processes, including development and maintenance of epidermal tissues and tumorigenesis. Here, we report that the TAp63 isoforms regulate cell metabolism through the induction of the mitochondrial glutaminase 2 (GLS2) gene both in primary cells and tumor cell lines. By ChIP analysis and luciferase assay, we confirmed that TAp63 binds directly to the p53/p63 consensus DNA binding sequence within the GLS2 promoter region. Given the critical role of p63 in epidermal differentiation, we have investigated the regulation of GLS2 expression during this process. GLS2 and TAp63 expression increases during the in vitro differentiation of primary human keratinocytes, and depletion of GLS2 inhibits skin differentiation both at molecular and cellular levels. We found that GLS2 and TAp63 expression are concomitantly induced in cancer cells exposed to oxidative stresses. siRNA-mediated depletion of GLS2 sensitizes cells to ROS-induced apoptosis, suggesting that the TAp63/GLS2 axis can be functionally important as a cellular antioxidant pathway in the absence of p53. Accordingly, we found that GLS2 is upregulated in colon adenocarcinoma. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that GLS2 is a bona fide TAp63 target gene, and that the TAp63-dependent regulation of GLS2 is important for both physiological and pathological processes.
The discovery of the receptors for the most active compound of cannabis/marihuana opened the chase for the intrinsic, physiological ligands, which are collectively termed endocannabinoids. In just a few years, it has become difficult even for the followers of this field to keep up with the endocannabinoids literature, thus we thought it useful to offer the reader at least a compass to navigate such a mare magnum.
In this study, we analyzed the components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in R6/2 mice, a widely used model of Huntingtons disease (HD). We measured the endogenous content of N-arachidonoylethanolamine and 2-arachidonoylglycerol and the activity of their biosynthetic enzymes (N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D and diacylglycerol lipase, respectively) and hydrolytic enzymes [fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase, respectively] and of their target receptors (type 1 cannabinoid receptor, type 2 cannabinoid receptor, and transient receptor potential vanilloid-1) in the brains of wild-type and R6/2 mice of different ages, as well as in the striatum and cortex of 12-week-old animals. In addition, we measured FAAH activity in lymphocytes of R6/2 mice. In the whole brains of 12-week-old R6/2 mice, we found reductions in N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D activity, diacylglycerol lipase activity and cannabinoid receptor binding, mostly associated with changes in the striatum but not in the cortex, as well as an increase in 2-arachidonoylglycerol content as compared with wild-type littermates, without any other change in ECS elements. Then, our analysis was extended to HD43 cells, an inducible cellular model of HD derived from rat ST14A cells. In both induced and noninduced conditions, we demonstrated a fully functional ECS. Overall, our data suggest that the ECS is differently affected in mouse and human HD, and that HD43 cells are suitable for high-throughput screening of FAAH-oriented drugs affecting HD progression.
The endocannabinoid system, composed of endogenous lipids, their target receptors and metabolic enzymes, has been implicated in multiple biological functions in health and disease, both in the central nervous system and in peripheral organs. Despite the exponential growth of experimental evidence on the key role of endocannabinoid signalling in basic cellular processes, and on its potential exploitation for therapeutic interventions, much remains to be clarified about the respective regulatory mechanisms. Epigenetics refers to a set of post-translational modifications that regulate gene expression without causing variation in DNA sequence, endowed with a major impact on signal transduction pathways. The epigenetic machinery includes DNA methylation, histone modifications, nucleosome positioning and non-coding RNAs. Due to the reversibility of epigenetic changes, an emerging field of interest is the possibility of an epigenetic therapy that could possibly be applied also to endocannabinoids. Here, we review current knowledge of epigenetic regulation of endocannabinoid system components under both physiological and pathological conditions, as well as the epigenetic changes induced by endocannabinoid signalling.
Ascorbate oxidase (AAO) is a large, multidomain, dimeric protein whose folding/unfolding pathway is characterized by a complex, multistep process. Here we used fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to demonstrate the formation of partially folded monomers by pH-induced full dissociation into subunits. Hence, the structural features of monomeric AAO could be studied by fluorescence and CD spectroscopy. We found that the monomers keep their secondary structure, whereas subtle conformational changes in the tertiary structure become apparent. AAO dissociation has also been studied when unfolding the protein by high hydrostatic pressure at different pH values. A strong protein concentration dependence was observed at pH 8, whereas the enzyme was either monomeric or dimeric at pH 10 and 6, respectively. The calculated volume change associated with the unfolding of monomeric AAO, ?V ? -55 mL·mol(-1), is in the range observed for most proteins of the same size. These findings demonstrate that partially folded monomeric species might populate the energy landscape of AAO and that the overall AAO stability is crucially controlled by a few quaternary interactions at the subunits interface.
Nonspecific binding of anandamide to plastic exhibits many features that could be mistaken as biological processes, thereby representing an important source of conflicting data on the uptake and release of this lipophilic substance. Herein, we propose an improved method to assay anandamide transport, by using glass slides (i.e., coverslips) as physical support to grow cells. Although the results obtained using plastic do not differ significantly from those obtained using glass, the new procedure has the advantage of being faster, simpler, and more accurate. In fact, the lack of aspecific adsorption of anandamide to the glass surface yields a lower background and a higher precision and accuracy in determining transport kinetics, especially for the export process. Remarkably, the kinetic parameters of anandamide uptake obtained with the old and the new procedures may be similar or different depending on the cell type, thus demonstrating the complexity of the interference of plastic on the transport process. In addition, the novel procedure is particularly suitable for visualization and measurement of anandamide transport in intact cells by using a biotinylated derivative in confocal fluorescence microscopy.
The biological activity of endocannabinoids like anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is subjected in vivo to a "metabolic control", exerted mainly by catabolic enzymes. AEA is inactivated by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), that is inhibited competitively by hydroxyanandamides (HAEAs) generated from AEA by lipoxygenase activity. Among these derivatives, 15-HAEA has been shown to be an effective (K(i) approximately 0.6 muM) FAAH inhibitor, that blocks also type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) but not other components of the "endocannabinoid system (ECS)", like the AEA transporter (AMT) or CB2R. Here, we extended the study of the effect of 15-HAEA on the AEA synthetase (NAPE-PLD) and the AEA-binding vanilloid receptor (TRPV1), showing that 15-HAEA activates the former (up to approximately 140% of controls) and inhibits the latter protein (down to approximately 70%). We also show that 15-HAEA halves the synthesis of 2-AG and almost doubles the transport of this compound across the membrane. In addition, we synthesized methyl and acetyl derivatives of 15-HAEA (15-MeOAEA and 15-AcOAEA, respectively), in order to check their ability to modulate FAAH and the other ECS elements. In fact, methylation and acetylation are common biochemical reactions in the cellular environment. We show that 15-MeOAEA, unlike 15-AcOAEA, is still a powerful competitive inhibitor of FAAH (K(i) approximately 0.7 muM), and that both derivatives have negligible interactions with the other proteins of ECS. Therefore, 15-MeOAEA is a FAAH inhibitor more selective than 15-HAEA. Further molecular dynamics analysis gave clues to the molecular requirements for the interaction of 15-HAEA and 15-MeOAEA with FAAH.
Anandamide (AEA) is an endogenous agonist of type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R) that, along with metabolic enzymes of AEA and congeners, compose the "endocannabinoid system." Here we report the biochemical, morphological, and functional characterization of the endocannabinoid system in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells that are an experimental model for neuronal cell damage and death, as well as for major human neurodegenerative disorders. We also show that AEA dose-dependently induced apoptosis of SH-SY5Y cells. Through proteomic analysis, we further demonstrate that AEA-induced apoptosis was paralleled by an approximately 3 to approximately 5-fold up-regulation or down-regulation of five genes; IgG heavy chain-binding protein, stress-induced phosphoprotein-1, and triose-phosphate isomerase-1, which were up-regulated, are known to act as anti-apoptotic agents; actin-related protein 2/3 complex subunit 5 and peptidylprolyl isomerase-like protein 3 isoform PPIL3b were down-regulated, and the first is required for actin network formation whereas the second is still function-orphan. Interestingly, only the effect of AEA on BiP was reversed by the CB1R antagonist SR141716, in SH-SY5Y cells as well as in human neuroblastoma LAN-5 cells (that express a functional CB1R) but not in SK-NBE cells (which do not express CB1R). Silencing or overexpression of BiP increased or reduced, respectively, AEA-induced apoptosis of SH-SY5Y cells. In addition, the expression of BiP and of the BiP-related apoptotic markers p53 and PUMA was increased by AEA through a CB1R-dependent pathway that engages p38 and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinases. Consistently, this effect of AEA was minimized by SR141716. In conclusion, we identified BiP as a key protein in neuronal apoptosis induced by AEA.
The role of the endocannabinoid system in haematopoietic cells is not completely understood. We investigated whether human erythroleukemia (HEL) cells were able to bind, metabolise and transport the main endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). We also investigated whether AEA or 2-AG could modulate HEL differentiation. Although able to internalise both endocannabinoids, HEL cells had the machinery to metabolise 2-AG only, since they were devoid of the enzymes needed to synthesise and degrade AEA. Nonetheless, the intracellular transport of exogenous AEA might be required to activate the vanilloid receptors, with yet unknown implications for vascular biology. On the contrary, 2-AG appeared to play a role in lineage determination. Indeed, 2-AG itself drove HEL cells towards megakaryocytic differentiation, as it enhanced expression of beta3 integrin subunit, a megakaryocyte/platelet surface antigen, and glycoprotein VI, a late marker of megakaryocytes; in parallel, it reduced the amount of messenger RNA encoding for glycophorin A, a marker of erythroid phenotype. All these effects were mediated by activation of CB(2) cannabinoid receptors that triggered an extracellular signal-regulated kinase-dependent signalling cascade. In addition, classical inducers of megakaryocyte differentiation reduced 2-AG synthesis (although they did not affect the binding efficiency of CB(2) receptors), suggesting that levels of this endocannabinoid may be critical for committing HEL cells towards the megakaryocytic lineage.
Platelets are stored at 22 degrees C, since incubation at 37 degrees C results in loss of viability. Nonetheless, in our body (37 degrees C), platelets survive for 8-10 days. This discrepancy has been explained in terms of deprivation of viability factors or accumulation of apoptotic factors during storage. We report that the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) may be one of the agents allowing platelet survival. In fact, at 37 degrees C, human platelets enhance the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins (caspases, Bax, Bak) and decrease the expression of Bcl-xL, thus changing the Bcl-xL/Bak ratio, a key platelet biological clock. AEA or its non-hydrolyzable analogue, methanandamide, extend platelet life span, without reversing the changes in Bcl-xL/Bak ratio induced by heat stress. Instead, AEA binding to type-1 cannabinoid receptor activates Akt, which regulates, through phosphorylation of Bad, the interactions among different Bcl-2 family members. These findings could have implications for platelet collection and, potentially, for their clinical use.
The cellular uptake and the intracellular synthesis/degradation of anandamide are crucial steps for controlling its extracellular level and the duration of its activity. Although the biosynthesis and breakdown of anandamide are well understood, little is known about the mechanisms underlying its intracellular transport. Here, we investigated the presence of a potential carrier-mediated trafficking of anandamide within the cytosol, using a biotinylated analog as a tool to catch by affinity chromatography anandamide-interacting proteins. The identity of two of these anandamide-binding proteins, Hsp70 and serum albumin, was determined by mass spectrometry, confirmed by western blotting and confocal microscopy, and further validated through an anandamide-binding assay. These findings suggest that the trafficking of anandamide from the plasma membrane to the internal compartments of a cell occur via a nonvesicular mechanism mediated by cytosolic carriers.
Several G protein-associated receptors and synaptic proteins function within lipid rafts, which are subdomains of the plasma membranes that contain high concentrations of cholesterol. In this study we addressed the possible role of lipid rafts in the control of endocannabinoid system in striatal slices. Disruption of lipid rafts following cholesterol depletion with methyl-beta-cyclodestrin (MCD) failed to affect synthesis and degradation of anandamide, while it caused a marked increase in the synthesis and concentration of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), as well as in the binding activity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Surprisingly, endogenous 2-AG-mediated control of GABA transmission was not potentiated by MCD treatment and, in contrast, neither basal nor 3,5-Dihydroxyphenylglycine-stimulated 2-AG altered GABA synapses in cholesterol-depleted slices. Synaptic response to the cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist HU210 was however intact in MCD-treated slices, indicating that reduced sensitivity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors does not explain why endogenous 2-AG is ineffective in inhibiting striatal GABA transmission after cholesterol depletion. Confocal microscopy analysis suggested that disruption of raft integrity by MCD might uncouple metabotropic glutamate 5-CB1 receptor interaction by altering the correct localization of both receptors in striatal neuron elements. In conclusion, our data indicate that disruption of raft integrity causes a complex alteration of the endocannabinoid signalling in the striatum.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is a membrane protein that plays a relevant role in the metabolism of fatty acid amides and esters. It degrades important neurotransmitters such as oleamide and anandamide, and it has been involved in a number of human pathological conditions, representing therefore a valuable target for biochemical and pharmacological research. In this study, we have investigated in vitro the structure-function relationship of rat and human FAAHs. In particular circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy and light scattering measurements have been performed, in order to characterize the structural features of the two proteins, both in the presence and absence of the irreversible inhibitor methoxyarachidonyl-fluorophosphonate. The results demonstrate that the structural dynamics of the two FAAHs are different, despite their high sequence homology and overall similarity in temperature-dependence. Additionally, membrane binding and kinetic assays of both FAAHs indicate that also the functional properties of the two enzymes are different in their interaction with lipid bilayers and with exogenous inhibitors. These findings suggest that pre-clinical studies of FAAH-dependent human diseases based only on animal models should be interpreted with caution, and that the efficacy of new drugs targeted to FAAH should be tested in vitro, on both rat and human enzymes.
We show that a fully functional endocannabinoid system is present in primary human melanocytes (normal human epidermal melanocyte cells), including anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol, the respective target receptors (CB(1), CB(2), and TRPV1), and their metabolic enzymes. We also show that at higher concentrations AEA induces normal human epidermal melanocyte apoptosis (?3-fold over controls at 5 ?M) through a TRPV1-mediated pathway that increases DNA fragmentation and p53 expression. However, at lower concentrations, AEA and other CB(1)-binding endocannabinoids dose-dependently stimulate melanin synthesis and enhance tyrosinase gene expression and activity (?3- and ?2-fold over controls at 1 ?M). This CB(1)-dependent activity was fully abolished by the selective CB(1) antagonist SR141716 or by RNA interference of the receptor. CB(1) signaling engaged p38 and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinases, which in turn activated the cyclic AMP response element-binding protein and the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor. Silencing of tyrosinase or microphthalmia-associated transcription factor further demonstrated the involvement of these proteins in AEA-induced melanogenesis. In addition, CB(1) activation did not engage the key regulator of skin pigmentation, cyclic AMP, showing a major difference compared with the regulation of melanogenesis by ?-melanocyte-stimulating hormone through melanocortin 1 receptor.
The functional adaptation of the immune system to the surrounding environment is also a fundamental issue in space. It has been suggested that a decreased number of lymphocytes might be a cause of immunosuppression, possibly due to the induction of apoptosis. Early activation of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) might play a central role in the initiation of the apoptotic program. The goal of the role of apoptosis in lymphocyte depression (ROALD) experiment, flown on the International Space Station as part of the BIO-4 mission of the European Space Agency, was to ascertain the induction of apoptosis in human lymphocytes under authentic microgravity, and to elucidate the possible involvement of 5-LOX. Our results demonstrate that exposure of human lymphocytes to microgravity for 48 h onboard the ISS remarkably increased apoptotic hallmarks such as DNA fragmentation (?3-fold compared to ground-based controls) and cleaved-poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) protein expression (?3-fold), as well as mRNA levels of apoptosis-related markers such as p53 (?3-fold) and calpain (?4-fold); these changes were paralleled by an early increase of 5-LOX activity (?2-fold). Our findings provide a molecular background for the immune dysfunction observed in astronauts during space missions, and reveal potential new markers to monitor health status of ISS crew members.
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