Subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have elevated brain levels of the selenium transporter selenoprotein P (Sepp1). We investigated if this elevation results from increased release of Sepp1 from the choroid plexus (CP). Sepp1 is significantly increased in CP from AD brains in comparison to non-AD brains. Sepp1 localizes to the trans-Golgi network within CP epithelia, where it is processed for secretion. The cerebrospinal fluid from AD subjects also contains increased levels Sepp1 in comparison to non-AD subjects. These findings suggest that AD pathology induces increased levels of Sepp1 within CP epithelia for release into the cerebrospinal fluid to ultimately increase brain selenium.
Selenoproteins are a unique family of proteins, characterized by the co-translational incorporation of selenium as selenocysteine, which play key roles in antioxidant defense. Among selenoproteins, selenoprotein P (Sepp1) is particularly distinctive due to the fact that it contains multiple selenocysteine residues and has been postulated to act in selenium transport. Within the brain, Sepp1 delivers selenium to neurons by binding to the ApoER2 receptor. Upon feeding a selenium-deficient diet, mice lacking ApoER2 or Sepp1 develop severe neurological dysfunction and exhibit widespread brainstem neurodegeneration, indicating an important role for ApoER2-mediated Sepp1 uptake in normal brain function. Selenocysteine lyase (Scly) is an enzyme that plays an important role in selenium homeostasis, in that it catalyzes the decomposition of selenocysteine and allows selenium to be recycled for additional selenoprotein synthesis. We previously reported that constitutive deletion of Scly results in neurological deficits only when mice are challenged with a low selenium diet. To gain insight into the relationship between Sepp1 and Scly in selenium metabolism, we created novel transgenic mice constitutively lacking both genes (Scly(-/-)Sepp1(-/-)) and characterized the neurobehavioral phenotype. We report that deletion of Scly in conjunction with Sepp1 further aggravates the phenotype of Sepp1(-/-) mice, as these mice needed supraphysiological selenium supplementation to survive, and surviving mice exhibited impaired motor coordination, audiogenic seizures, and brainstem neurodegeneration. These findings provide the first in vivo evidence that Scly and Sepp1 work cooperatively to maintain selenoprotein function in the mammalian brain.
Calpain enzymes proteolytically modulate cellular function and have been implicated in inflammatory diseases. In this study, we found that calpain levels did not differ between intestinal tissues from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and healthy controls, but IBD tissues showed increased levels of the endogenous calpain inhibitor, calpastatin (CAST). To investigate the role of CAST in the immune system during IBD, mice were x-ray irradiated, reconstituted with either CAST-knockout (KO) or wild-type (WT) bone marrow, and subjected to dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. CAST-KO recipients with induced colitis exhibited more severe weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and anemia compared with WT controls. Histological evaluation of colons from KO recipients with colitis revealed increased inflammatory pathology. Macrophages purified from the colons of KO recipients had higher IL-6, TNF-?, and IFN-? mRNA levels compared with WT controls. Mechanistic investigations using small interfering RNA and KO bone marrow to generate CAST-deficient macrophages showed that CAST deficiency during activation with bacterial pathogen associated molecular patterns, including heat-killed Enterococcus faecalis or CpG DNA, led to increased I?B cleavage, NF-?B nuclear localization, and IL-6 and TNF-? secretion. Thus, CAST plays a central role in regulating macrophage activation and limiting pathology during inflammatory disorders like IBD.
Selenium is an essential trace element that is co-translationally incorporated into selenoproteins in the form of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine. This class of proteins largely functions in oxidation-reduction reactions and is critically involved in maintaining proper redox balance essential to health. Selenoprotein M (SelM) is a thioredoxin-like endoplasmic reticulum-resident protein that is highly expressed in the brain and possesses neuroprotective properties. In this study, we first assessed the regional pattern of SelM expression in the mouse brain to provide insights into the potential functional implications of this protein in physiology and behavior. Next, we generated transgenic mice with a targeted deletion of the SelM gene and subjected them to a battery of neurobehavioral tests to evaluate motor coordination, locomotion, and cognitive function in comparison with wild-type controls. Finally, these mice were tested for several measures of metabolic function and body composition. Our results show that SelM knock-out (KO) mice display no deficits in measures of motor coordination and cognitive function but exhibit increased weight gain, elevated white adipose tissue deposition, and diminished hypothalamic leptin sensitivity. These findings suggest that SelM plays an important role in the regulation of body weight and energy metabolism.
Immune complexes composed of IgG-opsonized pathogens, particles, or proteins are phagocytosed by macrophages through Fc? receptors (Fc?Rs). Macrophages primed with IFN? or other pro-inflammatory mediators respond to Fc?R engagement by secreting high levels of cytokines and nitric oxide (NO). We found that unprimed macrophages produced lower levels of NO, which required efficient calcium (Ca(2+)) flux as demonstrated by using macrophages lacking selenoprotein K, which is required for Fc?R-induced Ca(2+) flux. Thus, we further investigated the signaling pathways involved in low output NO and its functional significance. Evaluation of inducible, endothelial, and neuronal nitric-oxide synthases (iNOS, eNOS, and nNOS) revealed that Fc?R stimulation in unprimed macrophages caused a marked Ca(2+)-dependent increase in both total and phosphorylated nNOS and slightly elevated levels of phosphorylated eNOS. Also activated were three MAP kinases, ERK, JNK, and p38, of which ERK activation was highly dependent on Ca(2+) flux. Inhibition of ERK reduced both nNOS activation and NO secretion. Finally, Transwell experiments showed that Fc?R-induced NO functioned to increase the phagocytic capacity of other macrophages and required both NOS and ERK activity. The production of NO by macrophages is conventionally attributed to iNOS, but we have revealed an iNOS-independent receptor/enzyme system in unprimed macrophages that produces low output NO. Under these conditions, Fc?R engagement relies on Ca(2+)-dependent ERK phosphorylation, which in turn increases nNOS and, to a lesser extent, eNOS, both of which produce low levels of NO that function to promote phagocytosis.
Calpains are proteolytic enzymes that modulate cellular function through cleavage of targets, thereby modifying their actions. An important role is emerging for calpains in regulating inflammation and immune responses, although specific mechanisms by which this occurs have not been clearly defined. In this study, we identify a novel target of calpain, selenoprotein K (SelK), which is an endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane protein important for Ca(2+) flux in immune cells. Calpain-mediated cleavage of SelK was detected in myeloid cells (macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells) but not in lymphoid cells (B and T cells). Both m- and ?-calpain were capable of cleaving immunoprecipitated SelK, but m-calpain was the predominant isoform expressed in mouse immune cells. Consistent with these results, specific inhibitors were used to show that only m-calpain cleaved SelK in macrophages. The cleavage site in SelK was identified between Arg(81) and Gly(82) and the resulting truncated SelK was shown to lack selenocysteine, the amino acid that defines selenoproteins. Resting macrophages predominantly expressed cleaved SelK and, when activated through different Toll-like receptors (TLRs), SelK cleavage was inhibited. We found that decreased calpain cleavage was due to TLR-induced up-regulation of the endogenous inhibitor, calpastatin. TLR-induced calpastatin expression not only inhibited SelK cleavage, but cleavage of another calpain target, talin. Moreover, the expression of the calpain isoforms and calpastatin in macrophages were different from T and B cells. Overall, our findings identify SelK as a novel calpain target and reveal dynamic changes in the calpain/calpastatin system during TLR-induced activation of macrophages.
Selenium (Se) is thought to confer cardioprotective effects through the actions of antioxidant selenoprotein enzymes that directly limit levels of ROS such as hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) or that reverse oxidative damage to lipids and proteins. To determine how the selenoproteome responds to myocardial hypertrophy, two mouse models were employed: triidothyronine (T3)- or isoproterenol (ISO)-treatment. After 7days of T3- and ISO-treatment, cardiac stress was demonstrated by increased H(2)O(2) and caspase-3 activity. Neither treatment produced significant increases in phospholipid peroxidation or TUNEL-positive cells, suggesting that antioxidant systems were protecting the cardiomyocytes from damage. Many selenoprotein mRNAs were induced by T3- and ISO-treatment, with levels of methionine sulfoxide reductase 1 (MsrB1, also called SelR) mRNA showing the largest increases. MsrB enzymatic activity was also elevated in both models of cardiac stress, while glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity and thioredoxin reductase (Trxrd) activity were moderately and nonsignificantly increased, respectively. Western blot assays revealed a marked increase in MsrB1 and moderate increases in GPx3, GPx4, and Trxrd1, particularly in T3-treated hearts. Thus, the main response of the selenoproteome during hypertrophy does not involve increased GPx1, but increased GPx3 for reducing extracellular H(2)O(2) and increased GPx4, Trxrd1, and MsrB1 for minimizing intracellular oxidative damage.
Selenoprotein K (Sel K) is a selenium-containing protein for which no function has been identified. We found that Sel K is an endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane protein expressed at relatively high levels in immune cells and is regulated by dietary selenium. Sel K(-/-) mice were generated and found to be similar to wild-type controls regarding growth and fertility. Immune system development was not affected by Sel K deletion, but specific immune cell defects were found in Sel K(-/-) mice. Receptor-mediated Ca(2+) flux was decreased in T cells, neutrophils, and macrophages from Sel K(-/-) mice compared with controls. Ca(2+)-dependent functions including T cell proliferation, T cell and neutrophil migration, and Fc? receptor-mediated oxidative burst in macrophages were decreased in cells from Sel K(-/-) mice compared with that in cells from controls. West Nile virus infections were performed, and Sel K(-/-) mice exhibited decreased viral clearance in the periphery and increased viral titers in brain. Furthermore, West Nile virus-infected Sel K(-/-) mice demonstrated significantly lower survival (2 of 23; 8.7%) compared with that of wild-type controls (10 of 26; 38.5%). These results establish Sel K as an endoplasmic reticulum-membrane protein important for promoting effective Ca(2+) flux during immune cell activation and provide insight into molecular mechanisms by which dietary selenium enhances immune responses.
The immune-enhancing effects of selenium (Se) supplementation make it a promising complementary and alternative medicine modality for boosting immunity, although mechanisms by which Se influences immunity are unclear. Mice fed low (0.08 mg/kg), medium (0.25 mg/kg), or high (1.0 mg/kg) Se diets for 8 wk were challenged with peptide/adjuvant. Antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell responses were increased in the high Se group compared with the low and medium Se groups. T cell receptor signaling in ex vivo CD4(+) T cells increased with increasing dietary Se, with all 3 groups differing from one another in terms of calcium mobilization, oxidative burst, translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells, and proliferation. The high Se diet increased expression of interleukin (IL)-2 and the high affinity chain of the IL-2 receptor compared with the low and medium Se diets. The high Se diet skewed the T helper (Th)1/Th2 balance toward a Th1 phenotype, leading to higher interferon-gamma and CD40 ligand levels compared with the low and medium Se diets. Prior to CD4(+) T cell activation, levels of reactive oxygen species did not differ among the groups, but the low Se diet decreased free thiols compared with the medium and high Se diets. Addition of exogenous free thiols eliminated differences in CD4(+) T cell activation among the dietary groups. Overall, these data suggest that dietary Se levels modulate free thiol levels and specific signaling events during CD4(+) T cell activation, which influence their proliferation and differentiation.
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element used for biosynthesis of selenoproteins and is acquired either through diet or cellular recycling mechanisms. Selenocysteine lyase (Scly) is the enzyme that supplies Se for selenoprotein biosynthesis via decomposition of the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec). Knockout (KO) of Scly in a mouse affected hepatic glucose and lipid homeostasis. Mice lacking Scly and raised on an Se-adequate diet exhibit hyperinsulinemia, hyperleptinemia, glucose intolerance, and hepatic steatosis, with increased hepatic oxidative stress, but maintain selenoprotein levels and circulating Se status. Insulin challenge of Scly KO mice results in attenuated Akt phosphorylation but does not decrease phosphorylation levels of AMP kinase alpha (AMPK?). Upon dietary Se restriction, Scly KO animals develop several characteristics of metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, fatty liver, and hypercholesterolemia, with aggravated hyperleptinemia, hyperinsulinemia, and glucose intolerance. Hepatic glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1) and selenoprotein S (SelS) production and circulating selenoprotein P (Sepp1) levels are significantly diminished. Scly disruption increases the levels of insulin-signaling inhibitor PTP1B. Our results suggest a dependence of glucose and lipid homeostasis on Scly activity. These findings connect Se and energy metabolism and demonstrate for the first time a unique physiological role of Scly in an animal model.
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