Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide(1). Cardiac tissue engineering holds much promise to deliver groundbreaking medical discoveries with the aims of developing functional tissues for cardiac regeneration as well as in vitro screening assays. However, the ability to create high-fidelity models of heart tissue has proven difficult. The heart's extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex structure consisting of both biochemical and biomechanical signals ranging from the micro- to the nanometer scale(2). Local mechanical loading conditions and cell-ECM interactions have recently been recognized as vital components in cardiac tissue engineering(3-5). A large portion of the cardiac ECM is composed of aligned collagen fibers with nano-scale diameters that significantly influences tissue architecture and electromechanical coupling(2). Unfortunately, few methods have been able to mimic the organization of ECM fibers down to the nanometer scale. Recent advancements in nanofabrication techniques, however, have enabled the design and fabrication of scalable scaffolds that mimic the in vivo structural and substrate stiffness cues of the ECM in the heart(6-9). Here we present the development of two reproducible, cost-effective, and scalable nanopatterning processes for the functional alignment of cardiac cells using the biocompatible polymer poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA)(8) and a polyurethane (PU) based polymer. These anisotropically nanofabricated substrata (ANFS) mimic the underlying ECM of well-organized, aligned tissues and can be used to investigate the role of nanotopography on cell morphology and function(10-14). Using a nanopatterned (NP) silicon master as a template, a polyurethane acrylate (PUA) mold is fabricated. This PUA mold is then used to pattern the PU or PLGA hydrogel via UV-assisted or solvent-mediated capillary force lithography (CFL), respectively(15,16). Briefly, PU or PLGA pre-polymer is drop dispensed onto a glass coverslip and the PUA mold is placed on top. For UV-assisted CFL, the PU is then exposed to UV radiation (? = 250-400 nm) for curing. For solvent-mediated CFL, the PLGA is embossed using heat (120 °C) and pressure (100 kPa). After curing, the PUA mold is peeled off, leaving behind an ANFS for cell culture. Primary cells, such as neonatal rat ventricular myocytes, as well as human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, can be maintained on the ANFS(2).
Perlecan/HSPG2, a heparan sulfate proteoglycan typically found at tissue borders including those separating epithelia and connective tissue, increases near sites of invasion of primary prostatic tumors as previously shown for other proteins involved in desmoplastic tissue reaction. Studies of prostate cancer cells and stromal cells from both prostate and bone, the major site for prostate cancer metastasis, showed that cancer cells and a subset of stromal cells increased production of perlecan in response to cytokines present in the tumor microenvironment. In silico analysis of the HSPG2 promoter revealed two conserved NF?B binding sites, in addition to the previously reported SMAD3 binding sites. By systematically transfecting cells with a variety of reporter constructs including sequences up to 2.6 kb from the start site of transcription, we identified an active cis element in the distal region of the HSPG2 promoter, and showed that it functions in regulating transcription of HSPG2. Treatment with TNF-? and/or TGF?1 identified TNF-? as a major cytokine regulator of perlecan production. TNF-? treatment also triggered p65 nuclear translocation and binding to the HSPG2 regulatory region in stromal cells and cancer cells. In addition to stromal induction of perlecan production in the prostate, we identified a matrix-secreting bone marrow stromal cell type that may represent the source for increases in perlecan in the metastatic bone marrow environment. These studies implicate perlecan in cytokine-mediated, innate tissue responses to cancer cell invasion, a process we suggest reflects a modified wound healing tissue response co-opted by prostate cancer cells.
The extracellular matrix proteoglycan (ECM) perlecan, also known as heparan sulfate proteoglycan 2 or HSPG2, is one of the largest (>200nm) and oldest (>550Myears) extracellular matrix molecules. In vertebrates, perlecans five-domain structure contains numerous independently folding modules with sequence similarities to other ECM proteins, all connected like cars into one long, diverse complex train following a unique N-terminal domain I decorated with three long glycosaminoglycan chains, and an additional glycosaminoglycan attachment site in the C-terminal domain V. In lower invertebrates, perlecan is not typically a proteoglycan, possessing the majority of the core protein modules, but lacking domain I where the attachment sites for glycosaminoglycan chains are located. This suggests that uniting the heparan sulfate binding growth factor functions of domain I and the core protein functions of the rest of the molecule in domains II-V occurred later in evolution for a new functional purpose. In this review, we surveyed several decades of pertinent literature to ask a fundamental question: Why did nature design this protein uniquely as an extraordinarily long multifunctional proteoglycan with a single promoter regulating expression, rather than separating these functions into individual proteins that could be independently regulated? We arrived at the conclusion that the concentration of perlecan at functional borders separating tissues and tissue layers is an ancient key function of the core protein. The addition of the heparan sulfate chains in domain I likely occurred as an additional means of binding the core protein to other ECM proteins in territorial matrices and basement membranes, and as a means to reserve growth factors in an on-site depot to assist with rapid repair of those borders when compromised, such as would occur during wounding. We propose a function for perlecan that extends its role from that of an extracellular scaffold, as we previously suggested, to that of a critical agent for establishing and patrolling tissue borders in complex tissues in metazoans. We also propose that understanding these unique functions of the individual portions of the perlecan molecule can provide new insights and tools for engineering of complex multi-layered tissues including providing the necessary cues for establishing neotissue borders.
MUC1 is a large cell surface mucin glycoprotein that plays diverse roles in both normal and tumor cell biology. These roles include mucosal hydration and protection, inhibition of embryo implantation, protection of tumor cells from the immune system and reduction of cytotoxic drug uptake. Similarly, the EGFR family of cell surface receptors drives many normal developmental processes as well as various aspects of tumor growth and gene expression. EGFR family members have been demonstrated to form complexes with MUC1 in various cellular contexts. Nonetheless, the role that EGFR activation plays in modulating MUC1 levels has not been considered. In this study, we demonstrate that activated EGFR drives high level MUC1 expression in multiple cell lines of uterine adenocarcinoma and pancreatic cancer origins. In some cells, addition of exogenous EGFR ligands (EGF or HB-EGF) elevates MUC1 levels while addition of the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, AG1478, reduces MUC1 levels. The thiazolidinedione, rosiglitazone, previously shown to reduce progesterone-stimulated MUC1 expression, also blocks EGFR ligand-driven MUC1 expression. This activity was observed at relatively high rosiglitazone concentrations (above 10 µM) and appeared to be largely PPAR? independent indicating a novel utility of this drug to reduce mucin-expression in various tumor settings. Collectively, these data demonstrate that: (1) activation of EGFR stimulates MUC1 expression in multiple cellular contexts and (2) it may be possible to develop useful interventions to reduce MUC1 expression as a complementary strategy for tumor therapy.
Membrane-tethered mucin glycoproteins are abundantly expressed at the apical surfaces of simple epithelia, where they play important roles in lubricating and protecting tissues from pathogens and enzymatic attack. Notable examples of these mucins are MUC1, MUC4 and MUC16 (also known as cancer antigen 125). In adenocarcinomas, apical mucin restriction is lost and overall expression is often highly increased. High-level mucin expression protects tumors from killing by the host immune system, as well as by chemotherapeutic agents, and affords protection from apoptosis. Mucin expression can increase as the result of gene duplication and/or in response to hormones, cytokines and growth factors prevalent in the tumor milieu. Rises in the normally low levels of mucin fragments in serum have been used as markers of disease, such as tumor burden, for many years. Currently, several approaches are being examined that target mucins for immunization or nanomedicine using mucin-specific antibodies.
Females suffer injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament at rates significantly higher than males. Frontal plane knee motion and load have been identified as major risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament injury and in turn have been examined extensively.
Mucin 1 (MUC1), a transmembrane mucin expressed at the apical surface of uterine epithelia, is a barrier to microbial infection and enzymatic attack. MUC1 loss at implantation sites appears to be required to permit embryo attachment and implantation in most species. MUC1 expression is regulated by progesterone (P) and proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF? and interferon ? (IFN?). TNF? and IFN? are highly expressed in uterine tissues under conditions where MUC1 expression is also high and activate MUC1 expression via their downstream transcription factors, nuclear factor (NF) ?B and signal transducers and activators of transcription. P receptor (PR) regulates MUC1 gene expression in a PR isoform-specific fashion. Here we demonstrate that interactions among PR isoforms and cytokine-activated transcription factors cooperatively regulate MUC1 expression in a human uterine epithelial cell line, HES. Low doses of IFN? and TNF? synergistically stimulate MUC1 promoter activity, enhance PRB stimulation of MUC1 promoter activity and cooperate with PRA to stimulate MUC1 promoter activity. Cooperative stimulation of MUC1 promoter activity requires the DNA-binding domain of the PR isoforms. MUC1 mRNA and protein expression is increased by cytokine and P treatment in HES cells stably expressing PRB. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrate efficient recruitment of NF?B, p300, SRC3 (steroid receptor coactivator 3), and PR to the MUC1 promoter. Collectively, our studies indicate a dynamic interplay among cytokine-activated transcription factors, PR isoforms and transcriptional coregulators in modulating MUC1 expression. This interplay may have important consequences in both normal and pathological contexts, e.g. implantation failure and recurrent miscarriages.
Mucin 1 (MUC1) is a type I transmembrane glycoprotein abundantly expressed on nearly all epithelial tissues and overexpressed by many cancer cells. Previous studies from our lab showed that progesterone receptor (PR)B is a strong stimulator of MUC1 gene expression. It is reported that liganded peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) stimulates Muc1 expression in murine trophoblast. Here, we demonstrate that although the PPARgamma ligand, rosiglitazone, stimulates the murine Muc1 promoter in HEC1A, a human uterine epithelial cell line, rosiglitazone alone, has no significant effect on basal human MUC1 promoter activity. In fact, rosiglitazone treatment antagonizes progesterone-stimulated human MUC1 promoter activity and protein expression in two human uterine epithelial cell lines and T47D human breast cancer cells. This response is antagonized by the PPARgamma antagonist, GW9662, as well as a dominant-negative form of PPARgamma, demonstrating the response is mediated by PPARgamma. Additional studies indicate that PPARgamma activation does not change PR binding to the MUC1 promoter but generally antagonizes progesterone activity by stimulating PRB degradation and inhibiting progesterone-induced PRB phosphorylation. Collectively, these studies indicate that PPARgamma activation inhibits PRB activity through both acute (phosphorylation) and long-term (PRB degradation) pathways.
Understanding the underlying mechanisms by which a normal cell avoids the oncogenic potential of MUC1 signaling requires further definition of the pathways by which the MUC1 cytoplasmic tail is processed in both normal and tumor-derived cells. In the present study we describe the processing pathway initiated by TACE/ADAM17 cleavage of MUC1. Utilizing the human uterine epithelial cell line, HES, derived from normal endometrium, we show that endogenous full length MUC1 undergoes regulated intramembranous proteolysis mediated by presenillin-dependent gamma-secretase. Cytokine-stimulated HES cells exposed to gamma-secretase inhibitors accumulated a membrane-associated 15 kDa fragment of the MUC1 C-terminal subunit (CTF15). Inhibitors of TACE/ADAM17-mediated shedding inhibited accumulation of MUC1-CTF15 and MUC1 ectodomain release to a similar extent consistent with MUC1-CTF15 being a product of TACE/ADAM17 action. Reduction of catalytically active gamma-secretase complex by nicastrin siRNA treatment also resulted in CTF15 accumulation. Furthermore, mature nicastrin, the substrate receptor for gamma-secretase, co-immunoprecipitated with CTF15 in the presence of gamma-secretase inhibitors indicating the formation of CTF15: nicastrin complexes. MUC1-CTF15 accumulation in response to gamma-secretase inhibition was demonstrated in both normal and tumor-derived cells from humans and mice indicating that this processing pathway exists in many cell contexts. We did not detect products of MUC1 cleavage by gamma-secretase in the presence of various proteasomal inhibitors indicating that subsequent degradation is either non-proteasomal or extremely efficient. We suggest that this efficient pathway attenuates potential signaling mediated by cytoplasmic tail fragments.
Embryo implantation involves direct interaction of the blastocyst with the luminal epithelium of the receptive uterus. MUC1, a transmembrane mucin expressed at the apical surface of uterine epithelia, acts as a barrier to microbial infection and enzymatic attack. Loss of MUC1 is believed to be a prerequisite for a functionally receptive uterus across many species. Human and murine MUC1 regulation by steroid hormones displays important differences. Estrogen (E2) stimulates MUC1 expression in mice, and progesterone (P4) antagonizes E2 action in this regard. MUC1 expression is severely reduced during the receptive uterine state in mice. In contrast, human MUC1 expression is maximal at the receptive or midluteal phase, when P4 levels are high. No information is available regarding regulation of human MUC1 in vivo at the site of embryo attachment. Our aim was to better understand regulation of human MUC1 during early pregnancy in vivo. For this purpose, we used a transgenic mouse carrying full-length human MUC1 gene (Tg(MUC1)79.24Gend) as well as endogenous MUC1 as a model system. Human MUC1 was detected by real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry during early pregnancy. Our data indicate that human MUC1 persists at reduced (20% relative to Day 1 postcoitum) levels in receptive-phase uteri, including the site of embryo attachment. In contrast, mouse MUC1 was much more severely (>98% relative to Day 1 postcoitum) reduced in the same context. These observations are consistent with distinct regulation between the human and mouse genes. Because these genes are expressed in the same transcriptional context (i.e., mouse uterine epithelia), structural differences between human and murine genes must account for these differences in MUC1 regulation.
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans are a remarkably diverse family of glycosaminoglycan-bearing protein cores that include the syndecans, the glypicans, perlecan, agrin, and collagen XVIII. Members of this protein class play key roles during normal processes that occur during development, tissue morphogenesis, and wound healing. As key components of basement membranes in organs and tissues, they also participate in selective filtration of biological fluids, in establishing cellular barriers, and in modulation of angiogenesis. The ability to perform these functions is provided both by the features of the protein cores as well as by the unique properties of heparan sulfate, which is assembled as a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine and glucuronic acid and modified by specific enzymes to generate specialized biologically active structures. This article discusses the structures and functions of this amazing family of proteoglycans and provides a platform for further study of the individual members.
Treatment of xerostomia would benefit from development of a functional implantable artificial salivary gland. Salivary gland tissue from surgical patients was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry to establish the phenotype of normal salivary gland cells including the native basement membranes. Ductal and acinar cells were identified in tissue and cultured cells from dispersed tissue. High levels of laminin and perlecan/HSPG2 (heparan sulfate proteoglycan 2) were noted in basement membranes, and perlecan also was secreted and organized by cultured acinar populations, which formed lobular structures that mimicked intact glands when cultured on Matrigel or a bioactive peptide derived from domain IV of perlecan. On either matrix, large acini-like lobular structures grew and formed connections between the lobes. alpha-Amylase secretion was confirmed by staining and activity assay. Biomarkers, including tight junction protein E-cadherin and water channel protein aquaporin 5 found in tissue, were expressed in cultured acinar cells. Cells cultured on Matrigel or domain IV of perlecan peptide organized stress fibers and activated focal adhesion kinase. We report a novel technique to isolate acinar cells from human salivary gland and identify a human peptide sequence in perlecan that triggers differentiation of salivary gland cells into self-assembling acini-like structures that express essential biomarkers and which secrete alpha-amylase.
Risk of overuse injury among athletes is high due in part to repeated loading of the lower extremities. Compared to individuals with normal arch (NA) structure, those with high (HA) or low arch (LA) may be at increased risk of specific overuse injuries, including stress fractures. A high medial longitudinal arch may result in decreased shock absorbing properties due to increased rigidity in foot mechanics. While the effect of arch structure on dynamic function has been examined in straight line walking and running, the relationship between the two during multi-directional movements remains unstudied.
MUC1 is a large, heavily glycosylated transmembrane glycoprotein that is proposed to create a protective microenvironment in many adenocarcinomas. Here we compare MUC1 and the well studied cell surface receptor target, EGFR, as gold nanoparticle (AuNP) targets and their subsequent vapor nanobubble generation efficacy in the human epithelial cell line, HES. Although EGFR and MUC1 were both highly expressed in these cells, TEM and confocal images revealed MUC1 as a superior target for nanoparticle intracellular accumulation and clustering. The MUC1-targeted AuNP intracellular clusters also generated significantly larger vapor nanobubbles. Our results demonstrate the promising opportunities MUC1 offers to improve the efficacy of targeted nanoparticle based approaches.
Prior experimentation has shown that loss of the tyrosine kinase (TK) signaling domain of the Ron receptor leads to marked hepatocyte protection in a model of lipopolysaccharide-induced acute liver failure (ALF) in D-galactosamine (GalN)-sensitized mice. The aim of this study was to identify the role of Ron in the regulation of hepatic gene expression.
The limited specificity of nanoparticle (NP) uptake by target cells associated with a disease is one of the principal challenges of nanomedicine. Using the threshold mechanism of plasmonic nanobubble (PNB) generation and enhanced accumulation and clustering of gold nanoparticles in target cells, we increased the specificity of PNB generation and detection in target versus non-target cells by more than one order of magnitude compared to the specificity of NP uptake by the same cells. This improved cellular specificity of PNBs was demonstrated in six different cell models representing diverse molecular targets such as epidermal growth factor receptor, CD3 receptor, prostate specific membrane antigen and mucin molecule MUC1. Thus PNBs may be a universal method and nano-agent that overcome the problem of non-specific uptake of NPs by non-target cells and improve the specificity of NP-based diagnostics, therapeutics and theranostics at the cell level.
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