BackgroundPlatelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) has been implicated in the proliferation, migration and synthetic activities of smooth muscle cells that characterize physiologic and pathologic tissue remodeling in hollow organs. However, neither the molecular basis of PDGFR-regulated signaling webs, nor the extent to which specific components within these networks could be exploited for therapeutic benefit has been fully elucidated.ResultsExpression profiling and quantitative proteomics analysis of PDGF-treated primary human bladder smooth muscle cells identified 1,695 genes and 241 proteins as differentially expressed versus non-treated cells. Analysis of gene expression data revealed MYC, JUN, EGR1, MYB, RUNX1, as the transcription factors most significantly networked with up-regulated genes. Forty targets were significantly altered at both the mRNA and protein levels. Proliferation, migration and angiogenesis were the biological processes most significantly associated with this signature, and MYC was the most highly networked master regulator. Alterations in master regulators and gene targets were validated in PDGF-stimulated smooth muscle cells in vitro and in a model of bladder injury in vivo. Pharmacologic inhibition of MYC and JUN confirmed their role in SMC proliferation and migration. Network analysis identified the diaphanous-related formin 3 as a novel PDGF target regulated by MYC and JUN, which was necessary for PDGF-stimulated lamellipodium formation.ConclusionsThese findings provide the first systems-level analysis of the PDGF-regulated transcriptome and proteome in normal smooth muscle cells. The analyses revealed an extensive cohort of PDGF-dependent biological processes and connected key transcriptional effectors to their regulation, significantly expanding current knowledge of PDGF-stimulated signaling cascades. These observations also implicate MYC as a novel target for pharmacological intervention in fibroproliferative expansion of smooth muscle, and potentially in cancers in which PDGFR-dependent signaling or MYC activation promote tumor progression.
Prior studies have compared the effect of spinal cord injury elicited using distinct approaches on motor and visceral function. However, the impact of such discrete modes of injury specifically on bladder muscle contractility has not been explored in detail. The goal of this study is to compare the impact of complete spinal cord transection versus clip compression at thoracic vertebra eight (T8) on bladder muscle contractility.
Smooth muscle contraction is a dynamic process driven by acto-myosin interactions that are controlled by multiple regulatory proteins. Our studies have shown that members of the AP-1 transcription factor family control discrete behaviors of smooth muscle cells (SMC) such as growth, migration and fibrosis. However, the role of AP-1 in regulation of smooth muscle contractility is incompletely understood. In this study we show that the AP-1 family member JunB regulates contractility in visceral SMC by altering actin polymerization and myosin light chain phosphorylation. JunB levels are robustly upregulated downstream of transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF?1), a known inducer of SMC contractility. RNAi-mediated silencing of JunB in primary human bladder SMC (pBSMC) inhibited cell contractility under both basal and TGF?1-stimulated conditions, as determined using gel contraction and traction force microscopy assays. JunB knockdown did not alter expression of the contractile proteins ?-SMA, calponin or SM22?. However, JunB silencing decreased levels of Rho kinase (ROCK) and myosin light chain (MLC20). Moreover, JunB silencing attenuated phosphorylation of the MLC20 regulatory phosphatase subunit MYPT1 and the actin severing protein cofilin. Consistent with these changes, cells in which JunB was knocked down showed a reduction in the F:G actin ratio in response to TGF?1. Together these findings demonstrate a novel function for JunB in regulating visceral smooth muscle cell contractility through effects on both myosin and the actin cytoskeleton.
Fibroproliferative remodeling in smooth muscle-rich hollow organs is associated with aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) production. Although mechanical stimuli regulate ECM protein expression, the transcriptional mediators of this process remain poorly defined. Previously, we implicated AP-1 as a mediator of smooth muscle cell (SMC) mechanotransduction; however, its role in stretch-induced ECM regulation has not been explored. Herein, we identify a novel role for the AP-1 subunit FosB in stretch-induced ECM expression in SMCs. The DNA-binding activity of AP-1 increased after stretch stimulation of SMCs in vitro. In contrast to c-Jun and c-fos, which are also activated by the SMC mitogen platelet-derived growth factor, FosB was only activated by stretch. FosB silencing attenuated the expression of the profibrotic factors tenascin C (TNC) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), whereas forced expression of Jun~FosB stimulated TNC and CTGF promoter activity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed enrichment of AP-1 at the TNC and CTGF promoters. Bladder distension in vivo enhanced nuclear localization of c-jun and FosB. Finally, the distension-induced expression of TNC and CTGF in the detrusor smooth muscle of bladders from wild-type mice was significantly attenuated in FosB-null mice. Together, these findings identify FosB as a mechanosensitive regulator of ECM production in smooth muscle.
Overdistension of hollow organs evokes pathological changes characterized by smooth muscle remodeling. Mechanical stimuli induce smooth muscle cell (SMC) growth through acute activation of signaling cascades and by increased expression of soluble mitogens. Physical forces have also been implicated in ligand-independent activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, including the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor, although the extent to which this occurs in intact tissue is unknown. Previously, we implicated Akt and activator protein-1 (AP-1) as mediators of growth and gene expression in SMC exposed to cyclic stretch or PDGF. Here we show that bladder wall distension leads to PDGFR activation and identify thrombomodulin (TM) as an Akt and AP-1 target in SMC. We demonstrate that TM, also induced by bladder stretch injury, is regulated at the transcriptional level by the AP-1 components c-jun and Fra1. Mutation of an AP-1 motif at -2010/-2004 abolished both AP-1 binding and PDGF responsiveness of the TM promoter. Fra1 silencing diminished PDGF-induced TM expression and SMC cell cycle transit. In contrast, TM knockdown did not affect cell growth but attenuated PDGF-stimulated SMC migration. Taken together, these results reveal new facets of TM regulation in SMC and provide the first demonstration of a role for endogenous TM in PDGF-induced cell migration. Moreover, TM induction on bladder injury suggests that it may be a biomarker for pathological smooth muscle remodeling.
The urinary bladder and associated tract are lined by the urothelium, a transitional epithelium that acts as a specialized permeability barrier that protects the underlying tissue from urine via expression of a highly specific group of proteins known as the uroplakins (UP). To date, our understanding of the developmental processes responsible for urothelial differentiation has been hampered due to the lack of suitable models. In this study, we describe a novel in vitro cell culture system for derivation of urothelial cells from murine embryonic stem cells (ESCs) following cultivation on collagen matrices in the presence all trans retinoic acid (RA). Upon stimulation with micromolar concentrations of RA, ESCs significantly downregulated the pluripotency factor OCT-4 but markedly upregulated UP1A, UP1B, UP2, UP3A, and UP3B mRNA levels in comparison to naïve ESCs and spontaneously differentiating controls. Pan-UP protein expression was associated with both p63- and cytokeratin 20-positive cells in discrete aggregating populations of ESCs following 9 and 14 days of RA stimulation. Analysis of endodermal transcription factors such as GATA4 and GATA6 revealed significant upregulation and nuclear enrichment in RA-treated UP2-GFP+ populations. GATA4-/- and GATA6-/- transgenic ESC lines revealed substantial attenuation of RA-mediated UP expression in comparison to wild type controls. In addition, EMSA analysis revealed that RA treatment induced formation of transcriptional complexes containing GATA4/6 on both UP1B and UP2 promoter fragments containing putative GATA factor binding sites. Collectively, these data suggest that RA mediates ESC specification toward a urothelial lineage via GATA4/6-dependent processes.
Cells resident in certain hollow organs are subjected routinely to large transient stretches, including every adherent cell resident in lungs, heart, great vessels, gut, and bladder. We have shown recently that in response to a transient stretch the adherent eukaryotic cell promptly fluidizes and then gradually resolidifies, but mechanism is not yet understood.
The regulation of androgen receptor (AR) expression in prostate cancer is still poorly understood. The activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in prostate cancer cells was previously shown to lower AR expression by a rapamycin-sensitive, posttranscriptional mechanism involving the AR mRNA 5-untranslated region (5-UTR). In a search for an intermediate within the EGFR/phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway that regulates AR at this site, we identified the nucleic acid-binding protein, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP-K), by mass spectrometric analysis of Akt immune complexes from lipid raft-enriched subcellular fractions. We show here that hnRNP-K is a novel inhibitor of AR mRNA translation that regulates androgen-responsive gene expression and prostate cancer cell proliferation. A functional hnRNP-K binding site involved in down-regulating AR protein levels was identified in the AR mRNA 5-UTR. Further analysis revealed that hnRNP-K is also able to inhibit AR translation in the absence of the 5-UTR, consistent with the presence of additional predicted hnRNP-K binding sites within the AR open reading frame and in the 3-UTR. Immunohistochemical analysis of a human prostate cancer tissue microarray revealed an inverse correlation between hnRNP-K expression and AR protein levels in organ-confined prostate tumors and a substantial decline in cytoplasmic hnRNP-K in metastases, despite an overall increase in hnRNP-K levels in metastatic tumors. These data suggest that translational inhibition of AR by hnRNP-K may occur in organ-confined tumors but possibly at a reduced level in metastases. HnRNP-K is the first protein identified that directly interacts with and regulates the AR translational apparatus.
The Brg1/Brm-associated factor (BAF) chromatin remodeling complex directly binds the CD4 silencer and is essential for CD4 repression during T-cell development, because deletion of the ATPase subunit Brg1 or a dominant negative mutant of BAF57 each impairs CD4 repression in early thymocytes. Paradoxically, BAF57 is dispensable for remodeling nucleosomes in vitro or for binding of the BAF complex to the CD4 silencer in vivo. Thus, it is unclear whether BAF57-dependent CD4 repression involves chromatin remodeling and, if so, how the remodeling translates into CD4 repression. Here we show that nucleosomes at the CD4 silencer occupy multiple translational frames. BAF57 dominant negative mutant does not alter these frames, but reduces the accessibility of the entire silencer without affecting the flanking regions, concomitant with localized accumulation of linker histone H1 and eviction of Runx1, a key repressor of CD4 transcription that directly binds the CD4 silencer. Our data indicate that precise nucleosome positioning is not critical for the CD4 silencer function and that BAF57 participates in remodeling H1-containing chromatin at the CD4 silencer, which enables Runx1 to access the silencer and repress CD4. In addition to BAF57, multiple other subunits in the BAF complex are also dispensable for chromatin remodelling in vitro. Our data suggest that these subunits could also help remodel chromatin at a step after the recruitment of the BAF complex to target genes.
The baculovirus expression vector system exploits the polyhedrin (polh) promoter for high expression of foreign proteins in insect cells. The mechanism of basal and hyperactivated transcription from this promoter, however, remains poorly understood. We have analyzed the 4-kb upstream region of the polh promoter; deletion of two separate parts of the 4-kb upstream region, harboring the Oct binding site and the heat shock element, respectively, resulted in significant reduction of reporter gene expression regulated by the polh promoter. Insect cell host factors could bind to these elements in vitro. Moreover, these elements could activate polh transcription during viral infection when present upstream of a minimal polh promoter in transient expression reporter assays. Our results suggest the possible existence of transcription factors belonging to the POU and heat shock transcription factor family in Spodoptera frugiperda cells and support the hypothesis that host proteins may play a major role in activating transcription from the polh promoter.
Neuropilins (NRPs) are transmembrane receptors that bind class 3 semaphorins and VEGF family members to regulate axon guidance and angiogenesis. Although expression of NRP1 by vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) has been reported, NRP function in smooth muscle (SM) in vivo is unexplored. Using Nrp2(+/LacZ) and Nrp2(+/gfp) transgenic mice, we observed robust and sustained expression of Nrp2 in the SM compartments of the bladder and gut, but no expression in vascular SM, skeletal muscle, or cardiac muscle. This expression pattern was recapitulated in vitro using primary human SM cell lines. Alterations in cell morphology after treatment of primary visceral SMCs with the NRP2 ligand semaphorin-3F (SEMA3F) were accompanied by inhibition of RhoA activity and myosin light chain phosphorylation, as well as decreased cytoskeletal stiffness. Ex vivo contractility testing of bladder muscle strips exposed to electrical stimulation or soluble agonists revealed enhanced tension generation of tissues from mice with constitutive or SM-specific knockout of Nrp2, compared with controls. Mice lacking Nrp2 also displayed increased bladder filling pressures, as assessed by cystometry in conscious mice. Together, these findings identify Nrp2 as a mediator of prorelaxant stimuli in SMCs and suggest a novel function for Nrp2 as a regulator of visceral SM contractility.
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