Dimerization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is crucial for receptor function including agonist affinity, efficacy, trafficking and specificity of signal transduction, including G protein coupling. Emerging data suggest that the cardiovascular system is the main target of apelin, which exerts an overall neuroprotective role, and is a positive regulator of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in heart failure. Moreover, ACE2 cleaves off C-terminal residues of vasoactive peptides including apelin-13, and neurotensin that activate the apelin receptor (APJ) and neurotensin receptor 1 (NTSR1) respectively, that belong to the A class of GPCRs. Therefore, based on the similar mode of modification by ACE2 at peptide level, the homology at amino acid level and the capability of forming dimers with other GPCRs, we have been suggested that APJ and NTSR1 can form a functional heterodimer. Using co-immunoprecipitation, BRET and FRET, we provided conclusive evidence of heterodimerization between APJ and NTSR1 in a constitutive and induced form. Upon agonist stimulation, hetrodimerization enhanced ERK1/2 activation and increased proliferation via activation of Gq ?-subunits. These novel data provide evidence for a physiological role of APJ/NTSR1 heterodimers in terms of ERK1/2 activation and increased intracellular calcium and induced cell proliferation and provide potential new pharmaceutical targets for cardiovascular disease.
The mammalian or mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a Ser/Thr protein kinase that, in response to nutrient stimulation, regulates cellular growth, proliferation, survival, protein synthesis and gene transcription. It has also been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) with neuronal cells and hippocampal slices of AD transgenic mice experiencing dysregulated mTOR and synaptic plasticity in response to treatment with the toxic amyloid ? (A?(1-42)) peptide, which has been implicated in AD. DEP domain-containing mTOR-interacting protein (DEPTOR) is a protein which can bind to mTOR and cause its inhibition, and functions as a regulatory protein of mTOR to control its activity. The inhibition of mTOR has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect; in an animal model, it was shown to protect against A?-induced neurotoxicity. In the present study, to investigate to role of DEPTOR in a model of AD, we neuronally differentiated the SH-SY5Y cell line and examined the effects of treatment with an A?(42) peptide, thus mimicking plaque formation. This resulted in a significant increase in mTOR and a significant decrease in DEPTOR expression compared to the unstimulated controls. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, we demonstrate for the first time a reduction in the protein level of DEPTOR in the precentral gyrus, postcentral gyrus and occipital lobe of a brain with AD compared to a normal control, as well as a significant reduction in DEPTOR expression in samples from late-onset AD (LOAD) compared to early-onset familial AD (EOFAD). The reduction in DEPTOR expression in cases of AD compared to healthy controls can lead to an augmentation of mTOR signalling, leading to A? accumulation, which in turn leads to a further reduction in DEPTOR expression. This results in the accumulation of amyloid plaque, shifting the balance from neuroprotection to neurodegeneration.
Hormonal regulation of adrenal function occurs primarily through activation of GPCRs. GPCRs are central to many of the bodys endocrine and neurotransmitter pathways. Recently, it was shown that activation of GPR103 by its ligand QRFP induced feeding, locomotor activity, and metabolic rate, and QRFP is bioactive in adipose tissue of obese individuals. Given that the adrenal gland is a pivotal organ for energy balance and homeostasis, we hypothesized that GPR103 and QRFP are involved in steroidogenic responses. Using qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, we mapped both GPR103 and QRFP in human fetal and adult adrenal gland as well as rat adrenals. Both were primarily localized in the adrenal cortex but not in the medulla. Activation of GPR103 in human adrenocortical H295R cells led to a decrease in forskolin-increased cAMP and an increase of intracellular Ca(2+) levels. In addition, treatment of H295R cells with QRFP induced aldosterone and cortisol secretion as measured by ELISA. These increases were accompanied by increased expression and activity of StAR, CYB11B1, and CYP11B2 as assessed by qRT-PCR and luciferase reporter assay, respectively. Using specific inhibitors, we also demonstrated that aldosterone induction involves MAPK, PKC, and/or T-type Ca(2+) channel-dependent pathways. These novel data demonstrate that QRFP induces adrenal steroidogenesis in vitro by regulating key steroidogenic enzymes involving MAPK/PKC and Ca(2+) signaling pathways.
Emerging studies implicate the signalling of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in a number of reproductive functions. To this date, there are no data regarding the expression of mTOR signalling components in the human myometrium during pregnancy. We hypothesized that mTOR-related genes might be differentially expressed in term or preterm labour as well as in labour or non-labour myometria during pregnancy. Using quantitative RT-PCR we demonstrate for first time that there is a significant downregulation of mTOR, DEPTOR, and Raptor in preterm labouring myometria when compared to non-pregnant tissues taken from the same area (lower segment). We used an immortalized myometrial cell line (ULTR) as an in vitro model to dissect further mTOR signalling. In ULTR cells DEPTOR and Rictor had a cytoplasmic distribution, whereas mTOR and Raptor were detected in the cytoplasm and the nucleus, indicative of mTORC1 shuttling. Treatment with inflammatory cytokines caused only minor changes in gene expression of these components, whereas progesterone caused significant down-regulation. We performed a non-biased gene expression analysis of ULTR cells using Nimblegen human gene expression microarray (n=3), and selected genes were validated by quantitative RT-PCR in progesterone treated myometrial cells. Progesterone significantly down-regulated key components of the mTOR pathway. We conclude that the human myometrium differentially expresses mTOR signalling components and they can be regulated by progesterone. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Pregnancy and Steroids.
A vital function of the human placenta is to produce steroid hormones such as progesterone, which are essential for the maintenance of pregnancy and the onset of parturition. Although choriocarcinoma cell lines are valuable placental models for investigations of steroid hormone actions, little is known about the expression of progesterone receptors (PRs) in these cell lines. Therefore, in this study, the expression of membrane and nuclear PRs was investigated in cultures of fusigenic (BeWo) and non-fusigenic (JEG-3) human choriocarcinoma cell lines. In addition, the effects of an inducer of syncytialization (forskolin) on the PR expression in BeWo cells were assessed. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that in fully syncytialized BeWo cells (treated with 50 µM forskolin for 72 h) there was a significant down-regulation of mPR? and up-regulation of mPR? and of the progesterone membrane component-1 (PGRMC1) when compared with non-syncytialized BeWo cells. Expression of all the mPR and PGRMC1 mRNAs was significantly lower in JEG-3 cells compared to non-syncytialized BeWo cells. Interestingly, expression of PR-B was unaltered between the two BeWo states but was significantly higher in JEG-3 cells. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that mPR proteins are differentially expressed in these choriocarcinoma cell lines as well as in the human placenta. The data demonstrate that human choriocarcinoma cell lines have a complex system of progesterone signalling involving multiple classes of PRs. The finding that syncytialization is accompanied by changes in the expression of these receptors may suggest that this process influences progesterone signalling.
A limitation to successful cancer chemotherapy treatments is the acquisition of drug resistance. In advanced-stage ovarian cancer, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is up-regulated, and inhibition of this pathway increases chemosensitivity in ovarian carcinoma cell lines. In this study, the expression of DEPTOR, mTOR, RICTOR, RAPTOR and S6 kinases were investigated in SKOV-3 and PEO1 parental and the paclitaxel-resistant (TaxR) SKOV-3TaxR and PEO1TaxR cell lines.
Two types of CRH receptors mediate the diverse biological functions of CRH and CRH-related peptides. The type 1 CRH-R (CRH-R1) is extensively targeted by pre-mRNA splicing mechanisms that give rise to multiple mRNA splice variants. RT-PCR amplification of CRH-R1 sequences from human myometrium yielded cDNAs that encode a novel CRH-R1 splice variant with structural characteristics identical with CRH-R1? except a 14-amino acid deletion in the seventh transmembrane domain characteristic of the CRH-R1d. Transient expression of the hybrid CRH-R1 variant (CRH-R1?/d) in human embryonic kidney 293 cells revealed primarily intracellular expression, although some plasma membrane protein expression was also detectable. CRH bound to CRH-R1?/d with affinity comparable with the CRH-R1?; however, it was unable to stimulate adenylyl cyclase or other second messengers. Using a semiquantitative RT-PCR assay, CRH-R1?/d mRNA transcript was detected in human pregnant, but not nonpregnant, myometrium as early as 31 wk of gestation. Furthermore, in human pregnant myometrial cells, the relative expression of CRH-R1? and CRH-R1?/d mRNA appeared to be regulated by steroids; CRH-R1?/d mRNA expression was increased by estradiol-17?, whereas CRH-R1? mRNA levels were increased by progesterone. Progesterone also substantially increased CRH-R1? mRNA levels and cellular responsiveness to CRH as determined by increased agonist binding and cAMP production as well as resistance to CRH-R heterologous desensitization by phorbol esters. These results provide novel evidence for distinct patterns of CRH-R1 splicing and identify specific steroid-mediated regulation of CRH-R1 variant expression, which might be important for modulating CRH actions during human pregnancy and labour.
G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 1, GPER, formerly known as GPR30, is a seven transmembrane domain receptor that mediates rapid estrogen responses in a wide variety of cell types. To date, little is known about the role of GPER during ischaemia/reperfusion injury. In this study, we report both mRNA and protein expression of GPER in the rat and human heart. The role of GPER in estrogen protection against ischaemic stress in the rat heart was also assessed using the isolated Langendorff system. Pre-treatment with 17beta-estradiol (E2) significantly decreased infarct size, (61.48+/-2.2% to 27.92+/-2.9% (P<0.001). Similarly, treatment with the GPER agonist G1 prior to 30-min global ischaemia followed by 120-min reperfusion significantly reduced infarct size from 61.48+/-2.2% to 23.85+/-3.2% (P<0.001), whilst addition of GPR30 antibody, abolished the protective effect of G1 (infarct size: 55.42+/-1.3%). The results suggest that GPER under cardiac stress exerts direct protection in the heart and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for cardiac drug therapy.
To study clinical features of patient presented with severe hydramnios, associated with hydronephrosis, that was antenatally diagnosed and has been successfully treated immediately after birth. At a molecular level, we investigated the gene expression of key steroidogenic enzymes from the maternal ovary.
Choriocarcinoma is a highly malignant epithelial tumour that is most often associated with hydatidiform mole and presents the most common emergency medical problem in the management of trophoblast disease. We hypothesise that the hormones/cytokines present within the tumour microenvironment play key roles in the development of choriocarcinoma. In this study we assessed the effects of interleukin-1? (IL-1?) on cell death in the presence or absence of the sex hormone progesterone using two choriocarcinoma cell lines (BeWo and JEG-3) as in vitro experimental models. Although IL-1? induced cell death in both cell lines, the effect was more pronounced in JEG-3 cells, where cell death reached 40% compared to 15% in BeWo cells. Cell death of JEG-3 cells in response to IL-1? was significantly decreased by co-treatment with 100 nM and 1000 nM progesterone and completely abolished at a progesterone concentration of 1000 nM. Progesterone was also able to induce phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in these cells. Pretreatment of JEG-3 cells with a specific MAPK inhibitor (UO126) inhibited progesterones inhibitory effect on cell death. Collectively, these data provide evidence of cross-talk between progesterone and IL-1? in this aggressive and poorly understood tumour that involves activation of a MAPK pathway and involvement of numerous progesterone receptors.
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