Nicotine contributes to the onset and progression of several pulmonary diseases. Among the various pathophysiological mechanisms triggered by nicotine, oxidative stress and cell death are reported in several cell types. We found that chronic exposure to nicotine (48h) induced NOX1-dependent oxidative stress and apoptosis in primary pulmonary cells. In murine (MLE-12) and human (BEAS-2B) lung epithelial cell lines, nicotine acted as a sensitizer to cell death and synergistically enhanced apoptosis when cells were concomitantly exposed to hyperoxia. The precise signaling pathway was investigated in MLE-12 cells in which NOX1 was abrogated by a specific inhibitor or stably silenced by shRNA. In the early phase of exposure (1h), nicotine mediated intracellular Ca(2+) fluxes and activation of protein kinase C, which in its turn activated NOX1, leading to cellular and mitochondrial oxidative stress. The latter triggered the intrinsic apoptotic machinery by modulating the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax. Overexpression of Bcl-2 completely prevented nicotine's detrimental effects, suggesting Bcl-2as a downstream key regulator in nicotine/NOX1-induced cell damage. These results suggest that NOX1 is a major contributor to the generation of intracellular oxidative stress induced by nicotine and might be an important molecule to target in nicotine-related lung pathologies.
The three-dimensional structure of the PMCA pump has not been solved, but its basic mechanistic properties are known to repeat those of the other Ca(2+) pumps. However, the pump also has unique properties. They concern essentially its numerous regulatory mechanisms, the most important of which is the autoinhibition by its C-terminal tail. Other regulatory mechanisms involve protein kinases and the phospholipids of the membrane in which the pump is embedded. Permanent activation of the pump, e.g. by calmodulin, is physiologically as harmful to cells as its absence. The concept is now emerging that the global control of cell Ca(2+) may not be the main function of the pump; in some cell types, it could even be irrelevant. The main pump role would be the regulation of Ca(2+) in cell microdomains in which the pump co-segregates with partners that modulate the Ca(2+) message and transduce it to important cell functions.
The chemical nature and functional significance of mitochondrial flashes associated with fluctuations in mitochondrial membrane potential is unclear. Using a ratiometric pH probe insensitive to superoxide, we show that flashes reflect matrix alkalinization transients of ?0.4 pH units that persist in cells permeabilized in ion-free solutions and can be evoked by imposed mitochondrial depolarization. Ablation of the pro-fusion protein Optic atrophy 1 specifically abrogated pH flashes and reduced the propagation of matrix photoactivated GFP (paGFP). Ablation or invalidation of the pro-fission Dynamin-related protein 1 greatly enhanced flash propagation between contiguous mitochondria but marginally increased paGFP matrix diffusion, indicating that flashes propagate without matrix content exchange. The pH flashes were associated with synchronous depolarization and hyperpolarization events that promoted the membrane potential equilibration of juxtaposed mitochondria. We propose that flashes are energy conservation events triggered by the opening of a fusion pore between two contiguous mitochondria of different membrane potentials, propagating without matrix fusion to equilibrate the energetic state of connected mitochondria.
Mitochondrial calcium handling and its relation with calcium released from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in muscle tissue are subject of lively debate. In this study we aimed to clarify how the SR determines mitochondrial calcium handling using dCASQ-null mice which lack both isoforms of the major Ca(2+)-binding protein inside SR, calsequestrin. Mitochondrial free Ca(2+)-concentration ([Ca(2+)]mito) was determined by means of a genetically targeted ratiometric FRET-based probe. Electron microscopy revealed a highly significant increase in intermyofibrillar mitochondria (+55%) and augmented coupling (+12%) between Ca(2+) release units of the SR and mitochondria in dCASQ-null vs. WT fibers. Significant differences in the baseline [Ca(2+)]mito were observed between quiescent WT and dCASQ-null fibers, but not in the resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. The rise in [Ca(2+)]mito during electrical stimulation occurred in 20-30 ms, while the decline during and after stimulation was governed by 4 rate constants of approximately 40, 1.6, 0.2 and 0.03 s(-1). Accordingly, frequency-dependent increase in [Ca(2+)]mito occurred during sustained contractions. In dCASQ-null fibers the increases in [Ca(2+)]mito were less pronounced than in WT fibers and even lower when extracellular calcium was removed. The amplitude and duration of [Ca(2+)]mito transients were increased by inhibition of mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (mNCX). These results provide direct evidence for fast Ca(2+) accumulation inside the mitochondria, involvement of the mNCX in mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling and a dependence of mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling on intracellular (SR) and external Ca(2+) stores in fast skeletal muscle fibers. dCASQ-null mice represent a model for malignant hyperthermia. The differences in structure and in mitochondrial function observed relative to WT may represent compensatory mechanisms for the disease-related reduction of calcium storage capacity of the SR and/or SR Ca(2+)-leakage.
The expansion of the N-terminal poly-glutamine tract of the huntingtin (Htt) protein is responsible for Huntington disease (HD). A large number of studies have explored the neuronal phenotype of HD, but the molecular aethiology of the disease is still very poorly understood. This has hampered the development of an appropriate therapeutical strategy to at least alleviate its symptoms. In this short review, we have focused our attention on the alteration of a specific cellular mechanism common to all HD models, either genetic or induced by treatment with 3-NPA, i.e. the cellular dyshomeostasis of Ca(2+). We have highlighted the direct and indirect (i.e. transcriptionally mediated) effects of mutated Htt on the maintenance of the intracellular Ca(2+) balance, the correct modulation of which is fundamental to cell survival and the disturbance of which plays a key role in the death of the cell.
The inner ear converts sound waves into hearing signals through the mechanoelectrical transduction (MET) process. Deflection of the stereocilia bundle of hair cells causes the opening of channels that allow the entry of endolymph K(+) and Ca(2+). Ca(2+) that enters is crucial to the hearing process and is exported to the endolymph by the plasma membrane Ca(2+) pump (isoform PMCA2w/a): disturbances of the balance between Ca(2+) penetration and ejection, e.g. by pump mutations, generate deafness. Hearing loss caused by PMCA defects is frequently exacerbated by mutations in cadherin 23, a single pass stereociliar Ca(2+) binding protein that forms the tip links which permit the deflection of the stereocilia bundle and thus the opening of the MET channels. The PMCA2w/a pump ejects Ca(2+) to the endolymph even in the absence of the natural activator calmodulin. This satisfies the special Ca(2+) homeostasis requirements of the stereocilia/endolymph system. Here we have analyzed a mice and a human previously described pump mutant. The human mutant only exacerbated the deafness produced by a cadherin 23 mutation. The murine mutant overexpressed in model cells displayed an evident defect both in the basal activity of the pump and in the long range ejection of Ca(2+), the human mutant instead failed to impair the Ca(2+) ejection by the pump.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is caused by a mutation that increases the number of CAG repeats in the gene encoding for the protein Huntingtin (Htt). The mutation results in the pathological expansion of the polyQ stretch that is normally present within the N-terminal region of Htt. Even if Htt is ubiquitously expressed in tissues, the changes in the protein finally result in the clinical manifestation of motor and cognitive impairments observed in HD patients. The molecular ethiology of the disease is obscure: a number of cellular and animal models are used as essential tools in experimental approaches aimed at understanding it. Biochemical changes have been described that correlate with the malfunction of HD neurons (primarily in the striatum): consensus is gradually emerging that the dyshomeostasis of Ca(2+) and/or mitochondria stress are important factors in the linkage of the Htt mutation to the onset and progression of the disease. Here, we present a succint overview of the changes of Htt, of its possible effect on the transcription of critical genes and of its causative role in the disturbance of the neuronal Ca(2+) homeostasis. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of mitochondria as key player in the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.
Huntingtons disease (HD), a genetic neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) protein, is accompanied by multiple mitochondrial alterations. Here, we show that mitochondrial fragmentation and cristae alterations characterize cellular models of HD and participate in their increased susceptibility to apoptosis. In HD cells, the increased basal activity of the phosphatase calcineurin dephosphorylates the pro-fission dynamin related protein 1 (Drp1), increasing its mitochondrial translocation and activation, and ultimately leading to fragmentation of the organelle. The fragmented HD mitochondria are characterized by cristae alterations that are aggravated by apoptotic stimulation. A genetic analysis indicates that correction of mitochondrial elongation is not sufficient to rescue the increased cytochrome c release and cell death observed in HD cells. Conversely, the increased apoptosis can be corrected by manoeuvres that prevent fission and cristae remodelling. In conclusion, the cristae remodelling of the fragmented HD mitochondria contributes to their hypersensitivity to apoptosis.
Metallothioneins (MT) belong to a widespread family of proteins characterized by a high metal content (mainly Cu(2+) and Zn(2+)) and by the presence of cysteine residues. The expression of metallothionein I-II (MT I/II), glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), and vimentin was examined in a series of 16 developing human brains of the second trimester. The brains of a stillborn/newborn individual and two postnatal individuals were studied for comparison. MT I/II-containing cells became consistently and clearly visible only from gestational week 21 onwards. On the other hand, several densely packed GFAP- and vimentin-containing elements were evident in the neuroepithelium at several periventricular locations and in the subventricular zone of all fetuses of the series. GFAP- and vimentin-containing elements also entered the intermediate plate, but only a few elements were evident in the outer layers of the maturing cortex. The relatively late onset of MT I/II expression and their distribution are discussed in relation to the uptake of trace elements during the last trimester of pregnancy, and the role of astrocytes in neuronal guidance and maturation of cortical circuits.
Although it is widely accepted that mitochondria in living cells can efficiently uptake Ca(2+) during stimulation because of their vicinity to microdomains of high [Ca(2+)], the direct proof of Ca(2+) hot spots existence is still lacking. Thanks to a GFP-based Ca(2+) probe localized on the cytosolic surface of the outer mitochondrial membrane, we demonstrate that, upon Ca(2+) mobilization, the [Ca(2+)] in small regions of the mitochondrial surface reaches levels 5- to 10-fold higher than in the bulk cytosol. We also show that the [Ca(2+)] to which mitochondria are exposed during capacitative Ca(2+) influx is similar between near plasma membrane mitochondria and organelles deeply located in the cytoplasm, whereas it is 2- to 3-fold higher in subplasma membrane mitochondria upon activation of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. These results demonstrate that mitochondria are exposed to Ca(2+) hot spots close to the ER but are excluded from the regions where capacitative Ca(2+) influx occurs.
The plasma membrane Ca(2+) ATPases (PMCA pumps) cooperate with other transport systems in the plasma membrane and in the organelles in the regulation of cell Ca(2+). They have high Ca(2+) affinity and are thus the fine tuners of cytosolic Ca(2+). They belong to the superfamily of P-type ATPases: their four basic isoforms share the essential properties of the reaction cycle and the general membrane topography motif of 10 transmembrane domains and three large cytosolic units. However they also differ in other important properties, e.g., tissue distribution and regulatory mechanisms. Their chief regulator is calmodulin, that removes their C-terminal cytosolic tail from autoinhibitory binding sites next to the active site of the pump, restoring activity. The number of pump isoforms is increased to over 30 by alternative splicing of the transcripts at a N-terminal site (site A) and at site C within the C-terminal calmodulin binding domain: the splice variants are tissue specific and developmentally regulated. The importance of PMCAs in the maintenance of cellular Ca(2+) homeostasis is underlined by the disease phenotypes, genetic or acquired, caused by their malfunction. Non-genetic PMCA deficiencies have long been considered possible causative factors in disease conditions as important as cancer, hypertension, or neurodegeneration. Those of genetic origin are better characterized: some have now been discovered in humans as well. They concern all four PMCA isoforms, and range from cardiac dysfunctions, to deafness, to hypertension, to cerebellar ataxia.
Estrogens diversely affect various physiological processes by genomic or non-genomic mechanisms, in both excitable and non-excitable cells. Additional to the trophic effects of estrogens promoting cell growth and differentiation, recent experimental evidence highlights their involvement in the regulation of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis. The effects of estrogens on excitable cells are well documented. However, these steroids also influence numerous physiological events in non-excitable cells, such as fibroblasts or vascular endothelial cells. We have focused our attention on an immortalized endothelial-like cell line derived from fetal bovine cerebellum. Estradiol (E(2)) effects on intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis were tested by varying the exposure time to the hormone (8, 24, 48 h). Calcium measurements were performed with genetically encoded Ca(2+) probes (Cameleons) targeted to the main subcellular compartments involved in intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis (cytosol, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria). Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake significantly decreased after 48-h exposure to E(2), whereas cytosolic and endoplasmic reticulum responses were unaffected. The effect of E(2) on mitochondrial Ca(2+) handling was blocked by ICI 182,780, a pure estrogen receptor antagonist, suggesting that the effect was estrogen-receptor-mediated. To evaluate whether the decrease of Ca(2+) uptake affected mitochondrial membrane potential (??m), cells were monitored in the presence of tetra-methyl-rhodamine-methylester; no significant changes were seen between cells treated with E(2) and controls. To investigate a mechanism of action, we assessed the possibile involvement of the permeability transition pore (PTP), an inner mitochondrial membrane channel influencing energy metabolism and cell viability. We treated cells with CyclosporinA (CsA), which binds to the matrix chaperone cyclophilin-D and regulates PTP opening. CsA reversed the effects of a 48-h treatment with E(2), suggesting a possible transcriptional modulation of proteins involved in the mitochondrial permeability transition process.
Hearing relies on the ability of the inner ear to convert sound waves into electrical signals. The main actors in this process are hair cells. Their stereocilia contain a number of specific proteins and a scaffold of actin molecules. They are organized in bundles by tip-link filaments composed of cadherin 23 and protocadherin 15. The bundle is deflected by sound waves leading to the opening of mechano-transduction channels and to the influx of K(+) and Ca(2+) into the stereocilia. Cadherin 23 and the plasma membrane calcium ATPase isoform 2 (PMCA2) are defective in human and murine cases of deafness. While the involvement of cadherin 23 in deafness/hearing could be expected due to its structural role in the tip-links, that of PMCA2 has been discovered only recently. This review will summarize the structural and functional characteristics of hair cells, focusing on the proteins whose mutations may lead to a deafness phenotype.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.