Nitrotyrosine is used as a marker for the production of peroxynitrite and other reactive nitrogen species. For over 20 years the presence of nitrotyrosine was associated with cell death in multiple pathologies. Filling the gap between correlation and causality has proven to be a difficult task. Here, we discuss the evidence supporting tyrosine nitration as a specific posttranslational modification participating in the induction of cell death signaling pathways.
Oxidative stress is a widely recognized cause of cell death associated with neurodegeneration, inflammation, and aging. Tyrosine nitration in these conditions has been reported extensively, but whether tyrosine nitration is a marker or plays a role in the cell-death processes was unknown. Here, we show that nitration of a single tyrosine residue on a small proportion of 90-kDa heat-shock protein (Hsp90), is sufficient to induce motor neuron death by the P2X7 receptor-dependent activation of the Fas pathway. Nitrotyrosine at position 33 or 56 stimulates a toxic gain of function that turns Hsp90 into a toxic protein. Using an antibody that recognizes the nitrated Hsp90, we found immunoreactivity in motor neurons of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and after experimental spinal cord injury. Our findings reveal that cell death can be triggered by nitration of a single protein and highlight nitrated Hsp90 as a potential target for the development of effective therapies for a large number of pathologies.
Reduced brain metabolism is an invariant feature of Alzheimer Disease (AD) that is highly correlated to the decline in brain functions. Decreased activities of key tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle enzymes may underlie this abnormality and are highly correlated to the clinical state of the patient. The activity of the ?-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), an arguably rate-limiting enzyme of the TCA cycle, declines with AD, but the mechanism of inactivation and whether it can be reversed remains unknown. KGDHC consists of multiple copies of three subunits. KGDHC is sensitive to oxidative stress, which is pervasive in AD brain. The present studies tested the mechanism for the peroxynitrite-induced inactivation and subsequent reactivation of purified and cellular KGDHC. Peroxynitrite inhibited purified KGDHC activity in a dose-dependent manner and reduced subunit immunoreactivity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed that the inactivation was related to nitration of specific tyrosine residues in the three subunits. GSH diminished the nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity of peroxynitrite-treated KGDHC, restored the activity and the immunoreactivity for KGDHC. Nano-LC-MS/MS showed this was related to de-nitration of specific tyrosine residues, suggesting KGDHC may have a denitrase activity. Treatment of N2a cells with peroxynitrite for 5 min followed by recovery of cells for 24 h reduced KGDHC activity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. Increasing cellular GSH in peroxynitrite-treated cells rescued KGDHC activity to the control level. The results suggest that restoring KGDHC activity is possible and may be a useful therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases.
When replete with zinc and copper, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated mutant SOD proteins can protect motor neurons in culture from trophic factor deprivation as efficiently as wild-type SOD. However, the removal of zinc from either mutant or wild-type SOD results in apoptosis of motor neurons through a copper- and peroxynitrite-dependent mechanism. It has also been shown that motor neurons isolated from transgenic mice expressing mutant SODs survive well in culture but undergo apoptosis when exposed to nitric oxide via a Fas-dependent mechanism. We combined these two parallel approaches for understanding SOD toxicity in ALS and found that zinc-deficient SOD-induced motor neuron death required Fas activation, whereas the nitric oxide-dependent death of G93A SOD-expressing motor neurons required copper and involved peroxynitrite formation. Surprisingly, motor neuron death doubled when Cu,Zn-SOD protein was either delivered intracellularly to G93A SOD-expressing motor neurons or co-delivered with zinc-deficient SOD to nontransgenic motor neurons. These results could be rationalized by biophysical data showing that heterodimer formation of Cu,Zn-SOD with zinc-deficient SOD prevented the monomerization and subsequent aggregation of zinc-deficient SOD under thiol-reducing conditions. ALS mutant SOD was also stabilized by mutating cysteine 111 to serine, which greatly increased the toxicity of zinc-deficient SOD. Thus, stabilization of ALS mutant SOD by two different approaches augmented its toxicity to motor neurons. Taken together, these results are consistent with copper-containing zinc-deficient SOD being the elusive "partially unfolded intermediate" responsible for the toxic gain of function conferred by ALS mutant SOD.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and fatal motor neuron disease, and protein aggregation has been proposed as a possible pathogenetic mechanism. However, the aggregate protein constituents are poorly characterized so knowledge on the role of aggregation in pathogenesis is limited.
gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) regulates the proliferation and migration of olfactory bulb (OB) interneuron progenitors derived from the subventricular zone (SVZ), but the role of GABA in the differentiation of these progenitors has been largely unexplored. This study examines the role of GABA in the differentiation of OB dopaminergic interneurons using neonatal forebrain organotypic slice cultures prepared from transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) gene promoter (ThGFP). KCl-mediated depolarization of the slices induced ThGFP expression. The addition of GABA to the depolarized slices further increased GFP fluorescence by inducing ThGFP expression in an additional set of periglomerular cells. These findings show that GABA promoted differentiation of SVZ-derived OB dopaminergic interneurons and suggest that GABA indirectly regulated Th expression and OB dopaminergic neuron differentiation through an acceleration of the maturation rate for the dopaminergic progenitors. Additional studies revealed that the effect of GABA on ThGFP expression required activation of L- and P/Q-type Ca2+ channels as well as GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors. These voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and GABA receptors have previously been shown to be required for the coexpressed GABAergic phenotype in the OB interneurons. Together, these findings suggest that Th expression and the differentiation of OB dopaminergic interneurons are coupled to the coexpressed GABAergic phenotype and demonstrate a novel role for GABA in neurogenesis.
Retrospective analysis of registry data on angiographically confirmed stent thromboses recorded between 1998 and 2007. In total, 58 cases of stent thrombosis occurred, of which 15 were in drug-eluting stents. Fourteen (24.1%) stent thromboses were acute, 27 (46.6%) were subacute, 9 (15.5%) were late, and 8 (13.8%) were very late. The most common clinical presentation was ST-elevation myocardial infarction (48-82.8%) and 3 (5.2%) patients died during admission. Balloon angioplasty was the most frequently used treatment (25-43.1%). During follow-up (median period, 1.7 years), 9 (16.4%) patients presented with recurrence of the stent thrombosis between 5 and 166 days after the first occurrence. One patient presented with two recurrences and 4 (7.3%) experienced sudden death. In conclusion, stent thrombosis most frequently presented as ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which was not fatal in 95%. There is a high risk of recurrence during the following 6 months.
Depending on its concentration, nitric oxide (NO) has beneficial or toxic effects. In pathological conditions, NO reacts with superoxide to form peroxynitrite, which nitrates proteins forming nitrotyrosine residues (3NY), leading to loss of protein function, perturbation of signal transduction, and cell death. 3NY immunoreactivity is present in many CNS diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis. Here, using the high flux NO donor, spermine-NONOate, we report that oligodendrocytes are resistant to NO, while motor neurons are NO sensitive. Motor neuron sensitivity correlates with the NO-dependent formation of 3NY, which is significantly more pronounced in motor neurons when compared with oligodendrocytes, suggesting peroxynitrite as the toxic molecule. The heme-metabolizing enzyme, heme-oxygenase-1 (HO1), is necessary for oligodendrocyte NO resistance, as demonstrated by loss of resistance after HO1 inhibition. Resistance is reinstated by peroxynitrite scavenging with uric acid further implicating peroxynitrite as responsible for NO sensitivity. Most importantly, differential sensitivity to NO is also present in cultures of primary oligodendrocytes and motor neurons. Finally, motor neurons cocultured with oligodendrocytes, or oligodendrocyte-conditioned media, become resistant to NO toxicity. Preliminary studies suggest oligodendrocytes release a soluble factor that protects motor neurons. Our findings challenge the current paradigm that oligodendrocytes are the exclusive target of multiple sclerosis pathology.
During CNS injury and diseases, nitric oxide (NO) is released at a high flux rate leading to formation of peroxynitrite (ONOO(*)) and other reactive nitrogenous species, which nitrate tyrosines of proteins to form 3-nitrotyrosine (3NY), leading to cell death. Previously, we have found that motor neurons exposed to low levels of NO become resistant to subsequent cytotoxic NO challenge; an effect dubbed induced adaptive resistance (IAR). Here, we report IAR mitigates, not only cell death, but 3NY formation in response to cytotoxic NO. Addition of an NO scavenger before NO challenge duplicates IAR, implicating reactive nitrogenous species in cell death. Addition of uric acid (a peroxynitrite scavenger) before cytotoxic NO challenge, duplicates IAR, implicating peroxynitrite, with subsequent 3NY formation, in cell death, and abrogation of this pathway as a mechanism of IAR. IAR is dependent on the heme-metabolizing enzyme, heme oxygenase-1 (HO1), as indicated by the elimination of IAR by a specific HO1 inhibitor, and by the finding that neurons isolated from HO1 null mice have increased NO sensitivity with concomitant increased 3NY formation. This data indicate that IAR is an HO1-dependent mechanism that prevents peroxynitrite-mediated NO toxicity in motor neurons, thereby elucidating therapeutic targets for the mitigation of CNS disease and injury.
Tyrosine nitration is a biomarker for the production of peroxynitrite and other reactive nitrogen species. Nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity is present in many pathological conditions including several cardiac diseases. Because the events observed during heart failure may recapitulate some aspects of development, we tested whether nitrotyrosine is present during normal development of the rat embryo heart and its potential relationship in cardiac remodeling through apoptosis. Nitric oxide production is highly dynamic during development, but whether peroxynitrite and nitrotyrosine are formed during normal embryonic development has received little attention. Rat embryo hearts exhibited strong nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity in endocardial and myocardial cells of the atria and ventricles from E12 to E18. After E18, nitrotyrosine staining faded and disappeared entirely by birth. Tyrosine nitration in the myocardial tissue coincided with elevated protein expression of nitric oxide synthases (eNOS and iNOS). The immunoreactivity for these NOS isoforms remained elevated even after nitrotyrosine had disappeared. Tyrosine nitration did not correlate with cell death or proliferation of cardiac cells. Analysis of tryptic peptides by MALDI-TOF showed that nitration occurs in actin, myosin, and the mitochondrial ATP synthase ? chain. These results suggest that reactive nitrogen species are not restricted to pathological conditions but may play a role during normal embryonic development.
Oxidative damage is a common and early feature of Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Mark Smith and his colleagues have built the case for oxidative stress being a primary progenitor rather than a secondary end-stage epiphenomenon of neurodegeneration. They proposed that reactive oxygen species contribute to the "age-related cascade of neurodegeneration," whereby accumulative oxidative damage with age promotes other characteristic pathological changes in afflicted brain regions, including protein aggregation, metabolic deficiencies, and inflammation. Nitric oxide (NO) likely plays a critical role in this age-related cascade. NO is a major signaling molecule produced in the central nervous system to modulate neurological activity through stimulating cyclic GMP synthesis. However, the same physiological concentrations of NO, relevant in cellular signaling, may also initiate and amplify oxidative damage by diffusion-limited reactions with superoxide (O(2)(•-)) to produce peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)). This is perhaps best illustrated in ALS where physiological levels of NO promote survival of motor neurons, but the same concentrations can stimulate motor neuron apoptosis and glial cell activation under pathological conditions. While these changes represent a complex mechanism involving multiple cell types in the pathogenesis of ALS, they also reveal general processes underlying neurodegeneration.
Mutations in Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS), a rapidly fatal motor neuron disease. Mutant SOD1 has pleiotropic toxic effects on motor neurons, among which mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed as one of the contributing factors in motor neuron demise. Mitochondria are highly dynamic in neurons; they are constantly reshaped by fusion and move along neurites to localize at sites of high-energy utilization, such as synapses. The finding of abnormal mitochondria accumulation in neuromuscular junctions, where the SOD1-FALS degenerative process is though to initiate, suggests that impaired mitochondrial dynamics in motor neurons may be involved in pathogenesis. We addressed this hypothesis by live imaging microscopy of photo-switchable fluorescent mitoDendra in transgenic rat motor neurons expressing mutant or wild-type human SOD1. We demonstrate that mutant SOD1 motor neurons have impaired mitochondrial fusion in axons and cell bodies. Mitochondria also display selective impairment of retrograde axonal transport, with reduced frequency and velocity of movements. Fusion and transport defects are associated with smaller mitochondrial size, decreased mitochondrial density, and defective mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, mislocalization of mitochondria at synapses among motor neurons, in vitro, correlates with abnormal synaptic number, structure, and function. Dynamics abnormalities are specific to mutant SOD1 motor neuron mitochondria, since they are absent in wild-type SOD1 motor neurons, they do not involve other organelles, and they are not found in cortical neurons. Together, these results suggest that impaired mitochondrial dynamics may contribute to the selective degeneration of motor neurons in SOD1-FALS.
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