Intrahepatic expression of DPP4, and circulating DPP4 (cDPP4) levels and its enzymatic activity, are increased in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and in type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or obesity. DPP4 has been implicated as a causative factor in NAFLD progression but few studies have examined associations between cDPP4 activity and NAFLD severity in humans. This study aimed to examine the relationship of cDPP4 activity with measures of liver disease severity in NAFLD in subjects with diabetes and/or obesity.
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a focus of interest as a potential cancer therapy target. This membrane bound protease possesses the unique catalytic activity of hydrolysis of the post-proline bond two or more residues from the N-terminus of substrates. FAP is highly expressed in activated fibroblastic cells in tumours, arthritis and fibrosis. A rare, novel, human polymorphism, C1088T, encoding Ser363 to Leu, occurring in the sixth blade of the ? propeller domain, was identified in a family. Both in primary human fibroblasts and in Ser363LeuFAP transfected cells, we showed that this single substitution ablates FAP dimerisation and causes loss of enzyme activity. Ser363LeuFAP was detectable only in endoplasmic reticulum (ER), in contrast to the distribution of wild-type FAP on the cell surface. The variant FAP showed decreased conformational antibody binding, consistent with an altered tertiary structure. Ser363LeuFAP expression was associated with upregulation of the ER chaperone BiP/GRP78, ER stress sensor ATF6, and the ER stress response target phospho-eIF2?, all indicators of ER stress. Proteasomal inhibition resulted in accumulation of Ser363LeuFAP, indicating the involvement of ER associated degradation (ERAD). Neither CHOP expression nor apoptosis was elevated, so ERAD is probably important for protecting Ser363LeuFAP expressing cells. These data on the first loss of function human FAP gene variant indicates that although the protein is vulnerable to an amino acid substitution in the ?-propeller domain, inactive, unfolded FAP can be tolerated by cells.
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is best known for its heightened expression in tumour stroma. This atypical serine protease has both dipeptidyl peptidase and endopeptidase activities, cleaving substrates at a post-proline bond. FAP expression is difficult to detect in non-diseased adult organs, but is greatly upregulated in sites of tissue remodelling, which include liver fibrosis, lung fibrosis, atherosclerosis, arthritis, tumours and embryonic tissues. Due to its restricted expression pattern and dual enzymatic activities, FAP is emerging as a unique therapeutic target. However, methods to exploit and target this protease are advancing more rapidly than knowledge of the fundamental biology of FAP. This review highlights this imbalance, emphasising the need to better define the substrate repertoire and expression patterns of FAP to elucidate its role in biological and pathological processes.
Kynurenine aminotransferase (KAT) isozymes are responsible for catalyzing the conversion of kynurenine (KYN) to kynurenic acid (KYNA), which is considered to play a key role in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, including schizophrenia. The levels of KYNA in the postmortem prefrontal cortex and in the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of schizophrenics are greater than normal brain. A basic strategy to decrease kynurenic acid levels is to promote the inhibition of the biosynthetic KAT isozymes. As there is no crystallographic model for human kynurenine aminotransferase III (KAT III), homology modeling has been performed based on the Mus musculus kynurenine aminotransferase III crystal structure (PDB ID: 3E2Y) as a template, the model of the human KAT III from which was refined and optimized with molecular dynamics simulations. Further evaluation of the model quality was accomplished by investigating the interaction of KAT III inhibitors with the modeled enzyme. Such interactions were determined employing the AutoDock 4.2 program using the MGLTools 1.5.6 package. The most important interactions for the binding of the inhibitors, which are probably also central components of the active site of KAT III, were identified as Ala134, Tyr135, Lys 280, Lys 288, Thr285 and Arg429, which provide hydrogen bond interactions. Additionally, Tyr135 and Arg429 have good electrostatic interactions with inhibitors consistent with these residues also being essential for inhibition of the enzyme activity. We expect that this model and these docking data will be a useful resource for the rational design of novel drugs for treating neuropathologies.
The protease fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a specific marker of activated mesenchymal cells in tumour stroma and fibrotic liver. A specific, reliable FAP enzyme assay has been lacking. FAPs unique and restricted cleavage of the post proline bond was exploited to generate a new specific substrate to quantify FAP enzyme activity. This sensitive assay detected no FAP activity in any tissue or fluid of FAP gene knockout mice, thus confirming assay specificity. Circulating FAP activity was ?20- and 1.3-fold less in baboon than in mouse and human plasma, respectively. Serum and plasma contained comparable FAP activity. In mice, the highest levels of FAP activity were in uterus, pancreas, submaxillary gland and skin, whereas the lowest levels were in brain, prostate, leukocytes and testis. Baboon organs high in FAP activity included skin, epididymis, bladder, colon, adipose tissue, nerve and tongue. FAP activity was greatly elevated in tumours and associated lymph nodes and in fungal-infected skin of unhealthy baboons. FAP activity was 14- to 18-fold greater in cirrhotic than in non-diseased human liver, and circulating FAP activity was almost doubled in alcoholic cirrhosis. Parallel DPP4 measurements concorded with the literature, except for the novel finding of high DPP4 activity in bile. The new FAP enzyme assay is the first to be thoroughly characterised and shows that FAP activity is measurable in most organs and at high levels in some. This new assay is a robust tool for specific quantitation of FAP enzyme activity in both preclinical and clinical samples, particularly liver fibrosis.
Dipeptidyl peptidases (DPPs) are proteolytic enzymes that regulate many physiological systems by degrading signaling peptides. DPP8 and DPP9 are distinct from DPP4 in sequence, cellular localization and expression levels, thus implying distinct functions. However, DPP8 and DPP9 expression needs further delineation. We evaluated DPP4, DPP8 and DPP9 expression using three independent methods at the mRNA, protein, and functional levels to better understand the local physiological contribution of each enzyme. Sprague Dawley rats and cynomolgus monkeys were selected for DPP4, DPP8 and DPP9 expression profiling to represent animal species commonly utilized for drug preclinical safety evaluation. A novel Xhibit assay of DPP protease activity was applied in addition to newly available antibodies for immunohistochemical localization. This combined approach can facilitate a functional evaluation of protease expression, which is important for understanding physiological relevance. Few inter-species differences were observed. Tissue mRNA and protein levels generally correlated to functional DPP4 and DPP8/9 enzymatic activity. All three proteins were seen in epithelial cells, lymphoid cells and some endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. Combined DPP8/DPP9 enzymatic activity was uniformly intracellular across tissues at approximately 10-fold lower levels than non-renal DPP4. Consistent levels of each DPP were detected among most non-renal tissues in rats and monkeys. DPP4 was ubiquitous, principally detected on cell membranes of epithelial and endothelial cells and was greatest in the kidney. The expression patterns suggest that DPP8 and DPP9 may act similarly across tissues, and that their actions might in part overlap with DPP4.
Dipeptidyl Peptidase (DPP) 4 and related dipeptidyl peptidases are emerging as current and potential therapeutic targets. DPP9 is an intracellular protease that is regulated by redox status and by SUMO1. DPP9 can influence antigen processing, epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated signaling and tumor biology. We made the first gene knock-in (gki) mouse with a serine to alanine point mutation at the DPP9 active site (S729A). Weaned heterozygote DPP9 (wt/S729A) pups from 110 intercrosses were indistinguishable from wild-type littermates. No homozygote DPP9 (S729A/S729A) weaned mice were detected. DPP9 (S729A/S729A) homozygote embryos, which were morphologically indistinguishable from their wild-type littermate embryos at embryonic day (ED) 12.5 to ED 17.5, were born live but these neonates died within 8 to 24 hours of birth. All neonates suckled and contained milk spots and were of similar body weight. No gender differences were seen. No histological or DPP9 immunostaining pattern differences were seen between genotypes in embryos and neonates. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from DPP9 (S729A/S729A) ED13.5 embryos and neonate DPP9 (S729A/S729A) mouse livers collected within 6 hours after birth had levels of DPP9 protein and DPP9-related proteases that were similar to wild-type but had less DPP9/DPP8-derived activity. These data confirmed the absence of DPP9 enzymatic activity due to the presence of the serine to alanine mutation and no compensation from related proteases. These novel findings suggest that DPP9 enzymatic activity is essential for early neonatal survival in mice.
Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP4), DPP8, DPP9, and fibroblast activation protein (FAP), the four proteases of the DPP4 gene family, have unique peptidase and extra-enzymatic activities that have been implicated in various diseases including cancers. We report here a novel role of DPP9 in regulating cell survival and proliferation through modulating molecular signaling cascades. Akt (protein kinase B) activation was significantly inhibited by human DPP9 overexpression in human hepatoma cells (HepG2 and Huh7) and human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293T), whereas extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) activity was unaffected, revealing a pathway-specific effect. Interestingly, the inhibitory effect of DPP9 on Akt pathway activation was growth factor dependent. DPP9 overexpression caused apoptosis and significantly less epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated Akt activation in HepG2 cells. However, such inhibitory effect was not observed in cells stimulated with other growth factors, including connective tissue growth factor, hepatic growth factor, insulin or platelet-derived growth factor-BB. The effect of DPP9 on Akt did not occur when DPP9 enzyme activity was ablated by either mutagenesis or inhibition. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is a major downstream effector of Ras. We found that DPP9 and DPP8, but not DPP4 or FAP, associate with H-Ras, a key signal molecule of the EGF receptor signaling pathway. These findings suggest an important signaling role of DPP9 in the regulation of survival and proliferation pathways.
Fibroblast activation protein-? (FAP) is a cell surface-expressed and soluble enzyme of the prolyl oligopeptidase family, which includes dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). FAP is not generally expressed in normal adult tissues, but is found at high levels in activated myofibroblasts and hepatic stellate cells in fibrosis and in stromal fibroblasts of epithelial tumours. FAP possesses a rare catalytic activity, hydrolysis of the post-proline bond two or more residues from the N-terminus of target substrates. ?(2)-antiplasmin is an important physiological substrate of FAP endopeptidase activity. This study reports the first natural substrates of FAP dipeptidyl peptidase activity. Neuropeptide Y, B-type natriuretic peptide, substance P and peptide YY were the most efficiently hydrolysed substrates and the first hormone substrates of FAP to be identified. In addition, FAP slowly hydrolysed other hormone peptides, such as the incretins glucagon-like peptide-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, which are efficient DPP4 substrates. FAP showed negligible or no hydrolysis of eight chemokines that are readily hydrolysed by DPP4. This novel identification of FAP substrates furthers our understanding of this unique protease by indicating potential roles in cardiac function and neurobiology.
Discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that binds and is activated by collagens. Transcriptional profiling of cirrhosis in human liver using a DNA array and quantitative PCR detected elevated mRNA expression of DDR1 compared with that in nondiseased liver. The present study characterized DDR1 expression in cirrhotic and nondiseased human liver and examined the cellular effects of DDR1 expression. mRNA expression of all five isoforms of DDR1 was detected in human liver, whereas DDR1a demonstrated differential expression in liver with hepatitis C virus and primary biliary cirrhosis compared with nondiseased liver. In addition, immunoblot analysis detected shed fragments of DDR1 more readily in cirrhotic liver than in nondiseased liver. Inasmuch as DDR1 is subject to protease-mediated cleavage after prolonged interaction with collagen, this differential expression may indicate more intense activation of DDR1 protein in cirrhotic compared with nondiseased liver. In situ hybridization and immunofluorescence localized intense DDR1 mRNA and protein expression to epithelial cells including hepatocytes at the portal-parenchymal interface and the luminal aspect of the biliary epithelium. Overexpression of DDR1a altered hepatocyte behavior including increased adhesion and less migration on extracelular matrix substrates. DDR1a regulated extracellular expression of matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 2. These data elucidate DDR1 function pertinent to cirrhosis and indicate the importance of epithelial cell-collagen interactions in chronic liver injury.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an umbrella term for a series of hepatic pathologies that begin with relatively benign steatosis and can, with appropriate triggers, lead to the serious entity of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This sets the stage for liver fibrosis and finally the development of cirrhosis in up to 20% of patients with NASH. NAFLD, already among the most common diseases in industrialized countries, is increasing in prevalence and roughly affects 30% of US adults and 10% of US children alone. NAFLD is strongly associated with insulin resistance (IR) and represents the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. Indeed, treatments aimed at reducing IR are the current mainstay of therapeutic approaches to NAFLD. While lifestyle interventions may produce limited degrees of success, there remains an urgent need for improved pharmacological therapies. Emerging diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities as well as future developments in NAFLD, NASH and liver fibrosis were discussed by a panel of experts and are presented herein. Promising novel therapeutic targets include inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 and the renin-angiotensin system. However, improved non-invasive technologies to diagnose and stage NAFLD are needed. Combined with a better understanding of the pathophysiological processes that underlie the mechanisms of hepatic fibrogenesis in NASH, rapid clinical validation of novel therapies is expected.
While type 2 diabetes is an independent risk factor for worsening of human non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in clinical studies, it has not been systematically reported in any model whether diabetes exacerbates NASH. The study aim was to determine if diabetes causes NASH progression in a mouse model of diet induced obesity.
Of the 600+ known proteases identified to date in mammals, a significant percentage is involved or implicated in pathogenic and cancer processes. The dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPIV) gene family, comprising four enzyme members [DPIV (EC 22.214.171.124), fibroblast activation protein, DP8 and DP9] and two nonenzyme members [DP6 (DPL1) and DP10 (DPL2)], are interesting in this regard because of their multiple diverse functions, varying patterns of distribution/localization and subtle, but significant, differences in structure/substrate recognition. In addition, their engagement in cell biological processes involves both enzymatic and nonenzymatic capabilities. This article examines, in detail, our current understanding of the biological involvement of this unique enzyme family and their overall potential as therapeutic targets.
DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase-4) degrades the incretin hormones GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (gastric inhibitory polypeptide), decreasing their stimulatory effects on beta-cell insulin secretion. In patients with Type 2 diabetes, meal-related GLP-1 secretion is reduced. DPP-4 inhibitors (alogliptin, saxagliptin, sitagliptin and vildagliptin) correct the GLP-1 deficiency by blocking this degradation, prolonging the incretin effect and enhancing glucose homoeostasis. DPP-4 is a member of a family of ubiquitous atypical serine proteases with many physiological functions beyond incretin degradation, including effects on the endocrine and immune systems. The role of DPP-4 on the immune system relates to its extra-enzymatic activities. The intracytosolic enzymes DPP-8 and DPP-9 are recently discovered DPP-4 family members. Although specific functions of DPP-8 and DPP-9 are unclear, a potential for adverse effects associated with DPP-8 and DPP-9 inhibition by non-selective DPP inhibitors has been posed based on a single adverse preclinical study. However, the preponderance of data suggests that such DPP-8 and DPP-9 enzyme inhibition is probably without clinical consequence. This review examines the structure and function of the DPP-4 family, associated DPP-4 inhibitor selectivity and the implications of DPP-4 inhibition in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
The dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPIV) enzyme family contains both potential and proven therapeutic targets. Recent reports indicate the presence of DP8 and DP9 in peripheral blood lymphocytes, testis, lung, and brain. For a more comprehensive understanding of DP8 and DP9 tissue and cellular expression, mRNA and enzyme activity were examined. Many organs from C57BL/6 wild-type and DPIV gene-knockout mice were examined; DP8/9 enzyme activity was detected in the immune system, brain, testis, muscle, and epithelia. In situ hybridization localized DP8 and DP9 mRNA to lymphocytes and epithelial cells in liver, gastrointestinal tract, lymph node, spleen, and lung. DP8 and DP9 mRNA was detected in baboon and mouse testis, and DP9 expression was elevated in human testicular cancers. DP8 and DP9 mRNA were ubiquitous in day 17 mouse embryo, with greatest expression in epithelium (skin and gastrointestinal tract) and brain. Thus, DP8 and DP9 are widely expressed enzymes. Their expression in lymphocytes and epithelia indicates potential for roles in the digestive and immune systems. This manuscript contains online supplemental material at http://www.jhc.org. Please visit this article online to view these materials.
Epidemic Pseudomonas aeruginosa have been identified in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients worldwide. The Australian Epidemic Strain-2 (AES-2) infects up to 40% of patients in three eastern Australian CF clinics. To investigate whether AES-2 isolates from chronically infected CF adults differentially express well-conserved genes potentially associated with transmissibility, we compared the transcriptomes of planktonic and biofilm-grown AES-2, infrequent P. aeruginosa clones and the reference P. aeruginosa PAO1 using the Affymetrix PAO1 array. The most interesting findings emerged from comparisons of planktonic and biofilm AES-2. AES-2 biofilms upregulated Type III secretion system genes, but downregulated quorum-sensing (QS)-regulatory genes, except lasR, QS-regulated, oxidative-stress and iron-storage genes. QS-regulated and iron-storage genes were downregulated to a greater extent in AES-2 biofilms compared with infrequent clone and PAO1 biofilms, suggesting enhanced anaerobic respiration in AES-2. Chitinase and chitin-binding protein maintained high expression in AES-2 biofilms compared with infrequent clone and PAO1 biofilms. Planktonic AES-2 upregulated QS regulators and QS-regulated genes, iron acquisition and aerobic respiration genes, and had high expression of Group III Type IV pilA compared with low expression of Group I Type IV pilA in infrequent clones. Together, these properties may enhance long-term survival of AES-2 in CF lung and contribute to its transmissibility.
Herein we report 6-ethoxy-6-oxo-5-(2-phenylhydrazono) hexanoic acid and 3-(2-carboxyethyl)-1H-indole-2-carboxylic acid derivatives as synthetically accessible leads for human kynurenine aminotransferase-I (KAT-I) inhibitors. In total, 12 compounds were synthesized and their biological activities were determined using the HPLC-UV based KAT-I inhibition assay. Of the 12 compounds synthesized, 10 were found to inhibit human KAT-I and the most active compound was found to be 5-(2-(4-chlorophenyl) hydrazono)-6-ethoxy-6-oxohexanoic acid (9a) with an IC(50) of 19.8 ?M.
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