Chemoattractant receptor-homologous molecule expressed on T helper type 2 cells (CRTH2) is a second prostaglandin D2 receptor involved in mediating the allergic response; however, its central function is not yet known. Here, we demonstrate that central CRTH2 mediates emotional impairment. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced decreases in social interaction and novel exploratory behavior were observed in wild-type (CRTH2(+/+)) mice but not CRTH2-deficient (CRTH2(-/-)) mice, but both genotypes showed hypolocomotion and anorexia following LPS injection. Tumor (colon 26) inoculation, a more pathologically relevant model, induced decreases in social interaction and novel exploratory behavior in CRTH2(+/+), but not CRTH2(-/-) mice. In addition, the CRTH2 antagonists including clinically available ramatroban reversed impaired social interaction and novel exploratory behavior after either LPS or tumor inoculation in CRTH2(+/+) mice. Finally, LPS-induced c-Fos expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and central amygdala (CeA) was selectively abolished in CRTH2(-/-) mice. These results show that CRTH2 participates in LPS-induced emotional changes and activation in the PVN and CeA. Our study provides the first evidence that central CRTH2 regulates specific emotional behaviors, and that CRTH2 antagonism has potential as a therapeutic target for behavioral symptoms associated with tumors and infectious diseases.
Accumulating evidence from human genetic studies implicates the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) gene as a risk factor for psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and stress-related diseases. Mice with homozygous disruption of the PACAP gene display profound behavioral and neurological abnormalities that are ameliorated with the atypical antipsychotic and dopamine D2 and serotonin (5-HT)2 antagonist risperidone and the 5-HT2 receptor antagonist ritanserin; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigated if PACAP heterozygous mutant (PACAP(+/-)) mice, which appear behaviorally normal, are vulnerable to aversive stimuli. PACAP(+/-) mice were administered a 5-HT2 receptor agonist, (±)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), a hallucinogenic drug, and their responses were compared with the littermate wild-type mice. After DOI injection, PACAP(+/-) mice showed increased head-twitch responses, while their behavior was normal after saline. DOI induced deficits in sensorimotor gating, as determined by prepulse inhibition, specifically in PACAP(+/-) mice. However, other 5-HT2 receptor-dependent responses, such as corticosterone release and hypothermia, were similarly observed in PACAP(+/-) and wild-type mice. c-Fos expression analysis, performed in various brain regions, revealed that the DOI-induced increase in the number of c-Fos-positive cells was more pronounced in 5-HT2A receptor-negative cells in the somatosensory cortex in PACAP(+/-) mice compared with wild-type mice. These results indicate that PACAP(+/-) mice exhibit specific vulnerability to DOI-induced deficits in cortical sensory function, such as exaggerated head-twitch responses and sensorimotor gating deficits. Our findings provide insight into the neural mechanisms underlying impaired behavioral responses in which 5-HT2 receptors are implicated.
Although the immune system may provide early protection against cancer, tumors may exploit the healing arm of the immune system to enhance their growth and metastasis. For example, myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are thought to promote tumor growth by several mechanisms, including the suppression of T cell activity. It has been suggested that STAT3 activation in myeloid cells modulates multiple aspects of MDSC physiology, including their expansion and activity. Whereas most animal studies investigating tumor immunology have used tumor implants, we used transgenic mice (Smo*) that spontaneously develop medulloblastoma brain tumors to investigate the temporal accumulation of MDSCs within tumors and how myeloid STAT3 disruption affects MDSC and other immune cell types. We found distinct populations of MDSC in medulloblastoma tumors, with a high prevalence of CD11b(+)Ly6G(+)Ly6C(low/-) cells, described previously by others as G-MDSCs. These were found early in tumor development, in premalignant lesions located on the surface of the cerebellum of 28-day-old mice. In fully developed tumors, pSTAT3 was found in the majority of these cells. Conditional STAT3 gene disruption in myeloid cells resulted in an enhanced proinflammatory phenotype of macrophages in Smo* mice. Moreover, a significant reduction in the abundance of G-MDSCs and Tregs was observed within tumors along with an increased presence of CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells. Despite these alterations in immune cells induced by myeloid STAT3 disruption, we found no effect on tumor incidence in Smo* mice with this deletion mice was observed.
The recruitment of mural cells such as pericytes to patent vessels with an endothelial lumen is a key factor for the maturation of blood vessels and the prevention of hemorrhage in pathological angiogenesis. To date, our understanding of the specific trigger underlying the transition from cell growth to the maturation phase remains incomplete. Since rapid endothelial cell growth causes pericyte loss, we hypothesized that suppression of endothelial growth factors would both promote pericyte recruitment, in addition to inhibiting pathological angiogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that targeted knockdown of apelin in endothelial cells using siRNA induced the expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) through activation of Smad3, via suppression of the PI3K/Akt pathway. The conditioned medium of endothelial cells treated with apelin siRNA enhanced the migration of vascular smooth muscle cells, through MCP-1 and its receptor pathway. Moreover, in vivo delivery of siRNA targeting apelin, which causes exuberant endothelial cell proliferation and pathological angiogenesis through its receptor APJ, led to increased pericyte coverage and suppressed pathological angiogenesis in an oxygen-induced retinopathy model. These data demonstrate that apelin is not only a potent endothelial growth factor, but also restricts pericyte recruitment, establishing a new connection between endothelial cell proliferation signaling and a trigger of mural recruitment.
Plants can attenuate the replication of plant viruses and viroids by RNA silencing induced by virus and viroid infection. In higher plants, silencing signals such as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) produced by RNA silencing can be transported systemically through phloem, so it is anticipated that antiviral siRNA signals produced in a stock would have the potential to attenuate propagation of viruses or viroids in the scion. To test whether this is indeed the case, we prepared transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) expressing a hairpin RNA (hpRNA) of Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) in companion cells by using a strong companion cell-specific promoter. A grafting experiment of the wild type tobacco scion on the top of the transgenic tobacco stock revealed that accumulation of PSTVd challenge-inoculated into the scion was apparently attenuated compared to the control grafted plants. These results indicate that genetically modified rootstock expressing viroid-specific siRNAs can attenuate viroid accumulation in a non-genetically modified scion grafted on the stock.
Progression of ischemic retinal diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, is closely associated with pathological retinal angiogenesis mainly induced by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Anti-angiogenic therapy using anti-VEGF antibodies is effective in treating diabetic retinopathy, even though its efficacy is not long-lasting. Since many factors are involved in angiogenesis, it is reasonable to seek new therapeutic target molecules in pathological retinal angiogenesis. We have found that apelin/APJ system is involved in not only physiological but also pathological retinal angiogenesis using a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Oxygen-induced vessel loss in the retinas of OIR model leads to a significant increase in the capillary density accompanied by abnormal vessel growth, similar to aneurysms, which are hardly detected in the retinas of control mice. Compared with age-matched control mice, retinal apelin expression was dramatically increased during retinal angiogenesis in OIR model. Immunostaining for APJ, apelin receptor, in retinal from OIR model revealed that APJ was localized in proliferating endothelial cells in the retinal vascular plexus. Retinal angiogenesis in the OIR model was rarely observed in apelin deficient mice, although temporal expression pattern of VEGF was similar to that of wild-type OIR model. In addition, clinical study showed that vitreous concentrations of apelin were significantly higher in the proliferative diabetic retinopathy group than in the control group. Taken together, these findings clearly suggest that apelin/APJ system may be a crucial factor for pathological retinal angiogenesis. Inhibition of this system could offer new therapeutic opportunities against ischemic retinopathy.
Transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) can be induced by promoter-targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA). Long-distance transmission of TGS by viral infection in plants has been reported. However, systemic TGS has not been observed in the case of using an inverted repeat transgene as the silencing trigger. Here it is reported that a mobile signal, presumably the siRNA, produced from a hairpin structure transgene controlled by a companion cell-specific promoter can also induce transmissible TGS in both a modified agroinfiltration and a grafting system. Although the transmissible TGS occurred only in cells located in the vicinity of a leaf vein in the scion, very strong silencing was observed in the root system, especially the lateral roots, including the root apical meristem. The transmissible TGS was maintained through tissue culture and subsequently inherited by the progeny. The results suggest the potential application of mobile promoter-targeting siRNA in horticulture for improvement of plant cultivars by grafting.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons. Recent studies have implicated that chronic hypoxia and insufficient vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-dependent neuroprotection may lead to the degeneration of motor neurons in ALS. Expression of apelin, an endogenous ligand for the G protein-coupled receptor APJ, is regulated by hypoxia. In addition, recent reports suggest that apelin protects neurons against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Here, we examined whether apelin is an endogenous neuroprotective factor using SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS. In mouse CNS tissues, the highest expressions of both apelin and APJ mRNAs were detected in spinal cord. APJ immunoreactivity was observed in neuronal cell bodies located in gray matter of spinal cord. Although apelin mRNA expression in the spinal cord of wild-type mice was not changed from 4 to 18 weeks age, that of SOD1(G93A) mice was reduced along with the paralytic phenotype. In addition, double mutant apelin-deficient and SOD1(G93A) displayed the disease phenotypes earlier than SOD1(G93A) littermates. Immunohistochemical observation revealed that the number of motor neurons was decreased and microglia were activated in the spinal cord of the double mutant mice, indicating that apelin deficiency pathologically accelerated the progression of ALS. Furthermore, we showed that apelin enhanced the protective effect of VEGF on H(2)O(2)-induced neuronal death in primary neurons. These results suggest that apelin/APJ system in the spinal cord has a neuroprotective effect against the pathogenesis of ALS.
The present study investigated the function of caspase-4 in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis in human neuronal cell line SH-SY5Y. Tunicamycin, which is known to induce ER stress, activated both caspase-9 and caspase-4, and the activation of caspase-4 preceded that of caspase-9. The caspase-4 inhibitor LEVD-CHO suppressed both the apoptosis and caspase-9 activation. In addition, human recombinant active caspase-4 cleaved wild type and D330A mutant substituted Asp-330 for alanine of human recombinant procaspase-9, but did not cleave D315A mutant substituted Asp-315 for alanine. These results suggest that caspase-4 directly activates caspase-9 by the processing of procaspase-9 at Asp-315 in ER stress-induced neuronal apoptosis.
In yellow soybean, seed coat pigmentation is inhibited via endogenous RNA interference (RNAi) of the chalcone synthase (CHS) genes. Genetic studies have shown that a single dominant gene, named the I gene, inhibits pigmentation over the entire seed coat in soybean. We previously isolated a candidate for the I gene from the yellow soybean genome with the I/I genotype, and designated it GmIRCHS. A structural feature of GmIRCHS is a perfect inverted repeat of the pseudoCHS gene lacking 5-coding region. This suggests that the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) structure of the pseudoCHS gene may be formed in the GmIRCHS transcript. RNAi is triggered by the dsRNA for a target gene, so the GmIRCHS transcript is likely to be a trigger for RNAi of CHS genes. In this study, we identified a 1087-bp dsRNA, including pseudoCHS region ranging from most of exon 2 to 3-UTR, in the GmIRCHS transcript. Interestingly, this dsRNA was detected not only in the seed coat but also in the cotyledon and leaf tissues. Previously, CHS RNAi has been shown to be restricted to the seed coat, and we reported that endogenous short interfering RNAs of CHS genes (CHS siRNAs) are detected only in the seed coat and not in the cotyledon and leaf tissues. Taken together with these previous reports, our result suggests that seed-coat specificity of CHS RNAi may be determined in the amplification step of CHS siRNAs rather than dsRNA formation in the GmIRCHS transcript. Our studies further revealed that CHS siRNAs are modified at the 3 ends and bear 5 monophosphorylated ends, suggesting that CHS siRNA duplexes are generated by Dicer-like enzyme from CHS dsRNA and subsequently modified at the 3 ends for stabilizing CHS siRNAs.
In plants, post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) spreads systemically, being transmitted from the silenced stock to the scion expressing the corresponding transgene. It has been reported that a graft-transmitted siRNA signal can also induce PTGS of an endogenous gene, but this was done by top-grafting using silenced stock. In the present study involving grafting of Nicotiana benthamiana, we found that PTGS of an endogenous gene, glutamate-1-semialdehyde aminotransferase (GSA), which acts as a visible marker of RNAi via inhibition of chlorophyll synthesis, was manifested along the veins of newly developed leaves in the wild-type scion by the siRNA signal synthesized only in companion cells of the rootstock.
In yellow soybean, seed coat pigmentation is inhibited by post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) of chalcone synthase (CHS) genes. A CHS cluster named GmIRCHS (Glycine max inverted-repeat CHS pseudogene) is suggested to cause PTGS in yellow-hilum cultivars. Cold-induced seed coat discoloration (CD), a commercially serious deterioration of seed appearance, is caused by an inhibition of this PTGS upon exposure to low temperatures. In the highly CD-tolerant cultivar Toyoharuka, the GmIRCHS structure differs from that of other cultivars. The aim of this study was to determine whether the variation of GmIRCHS structure among cultivars is related to variations in CD tolerance. Using two sets of recombinant inbred lines between Toyoharuka and CD-susceptible cultivars, we compared the GmIRCHS genotype and CD tolerance phenotype during low temperature treatment. The GmIRCHS genotype was related to the phenotype of CD tolerance. A QTL analysis around GmIRCHS showed that GmIRCHS itself or a region located very close to it was responsible for CD tolerance. The variation in GmIRCHS can serve as a useful DNA marker for marker-assisted selection for breeding CD tolerance. In addition, QTL analysis of the whole genome revealed a minor QTL that also affected CD tolerance.
The present study examined the effect of the nitric oxide (NO) donor NOC18 on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced NO production to investigate a regulation mechanism of NO production by microglial cells. LPS increased the levels of NO and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) protein in BV-2 murine microglial cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Pretreatment with NOC18 for 24 h concentration-dependently attenuated the LPS-induced iNOS protein expression and NO production. The inhibitory effect of NOC18 on LPS-induced NO production was partially blocked by LY83583, a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor. Pretreatment with dibutyryl guanosine-3,5-cyclic monophosphate (DBcGMP), a cell-permeable cGMP analogue, for 24 h attenuated partially LPS-induced iNOS protein expression and NO production. Furthermore, the effects of LPS on iNOS and NO production were inhibited by the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125, and LPS-induced phosphorylation of JNK and c-Jun was inhibited by NOC18 and DBcGMP. These results suggest that NO production by microglial cells is controlled by a negative feedback mechanism via the NO/cGMP signaling pathway.
Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) is one of the susceptibility genes for schizophrenia and implicated in the neurotrophic regulation of GABAergic and dopaminergic neurons, myelination, and NMDA receptor function. Postmortem studies often indicate a pathologic association of increased NRG1 expression or signaling with this illness. However, the psychobehavioral implication of NRG1 signaling has mainly been investigated using hypomorphic mutant mice for individual NRG1 splice variants.
Expression of MdACS1, coding for 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACS), parallels the level of ethylene production in ripening apple (Malus domestica) fruit. Here we show that expression of another ripening-specific ACS gene (MdACS3) precedes the initiation of MdACS1 expression by approximately 3 weeks; MdACS3 expression then gradually decreases as MdACS1 expression increases. Because MdACS3 expression continues in ripening fruit treated with 1-methylcyclopropene, its transcription appears to be regulated by a negative feedback mechanism. Three genes in the MdACS3 family (a, b, and c) were isolated from a genomic library, but two of them (MdACS3b and MdACS3c) possess a 333-bp transposon-like insertion in their 5 flanking region that may prevent transcription of these genes during ripening. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the coding region of MdACS3a results in an amino acid substitution (glycine-289 --> valine) in the active site that inactivates the enzyme. Furthermore, another null allele of MdACS3a, Mdacs3a, showing no ability to be transcribed, was found by DNA sequencing. Apple cultivars homozygous or heterozygous for both null allelotypes showed no or very low expression of ripening-related genes and maintained fruit firmness. These results suggest that MdACS3a plays a crucial role in regulation of fruit ripening in apple, and is a possible determinant of ethylene production and shelf life in apple fruit.
Seed coat pigmentation is inhibited in yellow soybean. The I gene inhibits pigmentation over the entire seed coat. In yellow soybean, seed coat discoloration occurs when plants are exposed to low temperatures after the onset of flowering, a phenomenon named cold-induced discoloration (CD). Inhibition of seed coat pigmentation results from post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) of the chalcone synthase (CHS) genes. PTGS is a sequence-specific RNA degradation mechanism in plants and occurs via short interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Similar post-transcriptional suppression is called RNAi (RNA interference) in animals. Recently, we identified a candidate of the I gene designated GmIRCHS. In this study, to elucidate the molecular mechanism of CD, CHS mRNA and siRNA levels in the seed coat were compared between CD-sensitive and CD-tolerant cultivars (Toyomusume and Toyoharuka, respectively). In Toyomusume, the CHS siRNA level was reduced markedly by low temperature treatment, and subsequently the CHS mRNA level increased rapidly after treatment. In contrast, low temperature treatment did not result in severe reduction of the CHS siRNA level in Toyoharuka, and the CHS mRNA level did not increase after the treatment. These results suggest that the rapid increase in CHS mRNA level after low temperature treatment may lead to enhanced pigmentation in some of the seed coat cells and finally in seed coat discoloration. Interestingly, we found a Toyoharuka-specific difference in the GmIRCHS region, which may be involved in CD tolerance.
In soybean seeds, numerous variations in colors and pigmentation patterns exist, most of which are observed in the seed coat. Patterns of seed coat pigmentation are determined by four alleles (I, i(i), i(k) and i) of the classically defined I locus, which controls the spatial distribution of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in the seed coat. Most commercial soybean cultivars produce yellow seeds with yellow cotyledons and nonpigmented seed coats, which are important traits of high-quality seeds. Plants carrying the I or i(i) allele show complete inhibition of pigmentation in the seed coat or pigmentation only in the hilum, respectively, resulting in a yellow seed phenotype. Classical genetic analyses of the I locus were performed in the 1920s and 1930s but, until recently, the molecular mechanism by which the I locus regulated seed coat pigmentation remained unclear. In this review, we provide an overview of the molecular suppressive mechanism of seed coat pigmentation in yellow soybean, with the main focus on the effect of the I allele. In addition, we discuss seed coat pigmentation phenomena in yellow soybean and their relationship to inhibition of I allele action.
Plant-dwelling mites are potentially exposed to solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation that causes deleterious and often lethal effects, leading most mites to inhabit the lower (underside) leaf surfaces. However, in species of spider mite belonging to the Genus Panonychus, a substantial portion of individuals occur on upper leaf surfaces. We investigated whether the upper leaf surfaces of citrus trees are favorable for P. citri, and to what extent they are tolerant to UVB radiation. If eggs are not adequately protected from UVB damage, females may avoid ovipositing on the upper surfaces of sunny leaves. To test this, we conducted laboratory experiments using a UVB lamp, and semioutdoor manipulative experiments. As a result, P. citri eggs are tolerant to UVB. Field studies revealed that the ratio of eggs and adult females on upper leaf surfaces were larger for shaded than for sunny leaves. However, 64-89% of eggs hatched successfully even on sunny upper leaf surfaces. Nutritional evaluation revealed that whether on sunny or shaded leaves, in fecundity and juvenile development P. citri reaped the fitness benefits of upper leaf surfaces. Consequently, P. citri is tolerant to UVB damage, and inhabiting the upper surfaces of shaded leaves is advantageous to this mite.
We are investigating a new class of penetration enhancers that enable poorly membrane-permeable molecules physically mixed with them to effectively penetrate cell membranes without their concomitant cellular uptake. Since we previously revealed that poly(N-vinylacetamide-co-acrylic acid) modified with d-octaarginine, which is a typical cell-penetrating peptide, significantly enhanced the nasal absorption of insulin, we examined the performance of the polymers on cell membranes. When Caco-2 cells were incubated with 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein (CF) for 30 min, approximately 0.1% of applied CF was internalized into the cells. This poor membrane permeability was dramatically enhanced by d-octaarginine-linked polymers; a 25-fold increase in the cellular uptake of CF was observed when the polymer concentration was adjusted to 0.2mg/mL. None of the individual components, for example, d-octaarginine, had any influence on CF uptake, demonstrating that only d-octaarginine anchored chemically to the polymeric platform enhanced the membrane permeation of CF. The polymer-induced CF uptake was consistently high even when the incubation time was extended to 120 min. Confocal laser scanning microphotographs of cells incubated with d-octaarginine-linked polymers bearing rhodamine red demonstrated that the cell outline was stained with red fluorescence. The polymer-induced CF uptake was significantly suppressed by 5-(N-ethyl-N-isopropyl)amiloride, which is an inhibitor of macropinocytosis. Results indicated that d-octaarginine-linked polymers remained on the cell membrane and poorly membrane-permeable CF was continuously internalized into cells mainly via macropinocytosis repeated for the individual peptidyl branches in the polymer backbone.
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