Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) dramatically reduces AIDS-related complications, yet the life expectancy of long-term ART-treated HIV-infected patients remains shortened compared to that of uninfected controls, due to increased risk of non-AIDS related morbidities. Many propose that these complications result from translocated microbial products from the gut that stimulate systemic inflammation--a consequence of increased intestinal paracellular permeability that persists in this population. Concurrent intestinal immunodeficiency and structural barrier deterioration are postulated to drive microbial translocation, and direct evidence of intestinal epithelial breakdown has been reported in untreated pathogenic SIV infection of rhesus macaques. To assess and characterize the extent of epithelial cell damage in virally-suppressed HIV-infected patients, we analyzed intestinal biopsy tissues for changes in the epithelium at the cellular and molecular level. The intestinal epithelium in the HIV gut is grossly intact, exhibiting no decreases in the relative abundance and packing of intestinal epithelial cells. We found no evidence for structural and subcellular localization changes in intestinal epithelial tight junctions (TJ), but observed significant decreases in the colonic, but not terminal ileal, transcript levels of TJ components in the HIV+ cohort. This result is confirmed by a reduction in TJ proteins in the descending colon of HIV+ patients. In the HIV+ cohort, colonic TJ transcript levels progressively decreased along the proximal-to-distal axis. In contrast, expression levels of the same TJ transcripts stayed unchanged, or progressively increased, from the proximal-to-distal gut in the healthy controls. Non-TJ intestinal epithelial cell-specific mRNAs reveal differing patterns of HIV-associated transcriptional alteration, arguing for an overall change in intestinal epithelial transcriptional regulation in the HIV colon. These findings suggest that persistent intestinal epithelial dysregulation involving a reduction in TJ expression is a mechanism driving increases in colonic permeability and microbial translocation in the ART-treated HIV-infected patient, and a possible immunopathogenic factor for non-AIDS related complications.
Accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein (?-syn) into Lewy bodies (LBs) and Lewy neurites (LNs) is a major hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with LBs (DLB). Recent studies showed that synthetic preformed fibrils (pffs) recruit endogenous ?-syn and induce LB/LN pathology in vitro and in vivo, thereby implicating propagation and cell-to-cell transmission of pathological ?-syn as mechanisms for the progressive spread of LBs/LNs. Here, we demonstrate that ?-syn monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) reduce ?-syn pff-induced LB/LN formation and rescue synapse/neuron loss in primary neuronal cultures by preventing both pff uptake and subsequent cell-to-cell transmission of pathology. Moreover, intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of mAb specific for misfolded ?-syn into nontransgenic mice injected intrastriatally with ?-syn pffs reduces LB/LN pathology, ameliorates substantia nigra dopaminergic neuron loss, and improves motor impairments. We conclude that ?-syn antibodies could exert therapeutic effects in PD/DLB by blocking entry of pathological ?-syn and/or its propagation in neurons.
Processing of ?-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by ?- and ?-secretases in neurons produces amyloid-? (A?), whose excess accumulation leads to Alzheimers disease (AD). Knowledge on subcellular trafficking pathways of APP and its fragments is important for the understanding of AD pathogenesis. We designed fusion proteins comprising a C-terminal fragment of APP (app) and fluorescent proteins GFP (G) and DsRed (D) to permit the tracking of the fusion proteins and fragments in cells. CAD cells expressing these proteins emitted colocalized green and red fluorescence and produce ectodomains, sGapp and sRapp, and A?, whose level was reduced by inhibitors of ?- and ?-secretases. The presence of GappR in endosomes was observed via colocalization with Rab5. These observations indicated that the fusion proteins were membrane inserted, transported in vesicles and proteolytically processed by the same mechanism for APP. By attenuating fusion protein synthesis with cycloheximide, individual fluorescent colors from the C-terminus of the fusion proteins appeared in the cytosol which was strongly suppressed by ?-secretase inhibitor, suggesting that the ectodomains exit the cell rapidly (t1/2 about 20min) while the C-terminal fragments were retained longer in cells. In live cells, we observed the fluorescence of the ectodomains located between parental fusion proteins and plasma membrane, suggesting that these ectodomain positions are part of their secretion pathway. Our results indicate that the native ectodomain does not play a decisive role for the key features of APP trafficking and processing and the new fusion proteins may lead to novel insights in intracellular activities of APP.
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