There are two barriers for iron entry into the brain: (1) the brain-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier and (2) the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Here, we review the literature on developmental iron accumulation by the brain, focusing on the transport of iron through the brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) of the BBB. We review the iron trafficking proteins which may be involved in the iron flux across BMVEC and discuss the plausible mechanisms of BMVEC iron uptake and efflux. We suggest a model for how BMVEC iron uptake and efflux are regulated and a mechanism by which the majority of iron is trafficked across the developing BBB under the direct guidance of neighboring astrocytes. Thus, we place brain iron uptake in the context of the neurovascular unit of the adult brain. Last, we propose that BMVEC iron is involved in the aggregation of amyloid-? peptides leading to the progression of cerebral amyloid angiopathy which often occurs prior to dementia and the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
BackgroundIron transport across the blood¿brain barrier (BBB) involves the cooperation of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) and their neighboring astrocytes. Astrocytes secrete a soluble form of ceruloplasmin (sCp) which, in turn, acts to export iron from ferroportin (Fpn) on the basolateral surface of BMVEC. Although regulation of astrocyte sCp gene expression has been demonstrated to be influenced by interleukin-1 beta (IL-1ß) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), the role of neighboring BMVEC in this regulation has yet to be determined and is the basis for this work.ResultsWe provide evidence that human BMVEC (hBMVEC) IL-1ß and IL-6 positively influence the expression of sCp transcript by neighboring C6 glioma cells (astrocytes). The effect of hBMVEC on C6 glioma sCp expression at the level of transcript and protein was repressed via the addition of IL-1ß and IL-6 pathway inhibitors (IL-1 receptor antagonist protein and SC144, respectively). Stimulation of hBMVEC interleukin gene expression by apical exposure to bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide significantly enhanced hBMVEC-mediated C6 glioma sCp gene expression.ConclusionhBMVEC influence the gene expression of neighboring C6 glioma sCp. This change in gene expression is mediated by the secretion of IL-1ß and IL-6 from hBMVEC. Furthermore, the hBMVEC-induced increase in neighboring C6 glioma sCp gene expression leads to an increased rate of hBMVEC iron efflux. Taken together, our results indicate that hBMVEC-secreted cytokine activity increases the gene expression of neighboring C6 glioma sCp, which reciprocally acts on basolateral hBMVEC Fpn to enhance brain iron import.
A sequence within the E2 domain of soluble amyloid precursor protein (sAPP) stimulates iron efflux. This activity has been attributed to a ferroxidase activity suggested for this motif. We demonstrate that the stimulation of efflux supported by this peptide and by sAPP? is due to their stabilization of the ferrous iron exporter, ferroportin (Fpn), in the plasma membrane of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMVEC). The peptide does not bind ferric iron explaining why it does not and thermodynamically cannot promote ferrous iron autoxidation. This peptide specifically pulls Fpn down from the plasma membrane of hBMVEC; based on these results, FTP, for ferroportin-targeting peptide, correctly identifies the function of this peptide. The data suggest that in stabilizing Fpn via the targeting due to the FTP sequence, sAPP will increase the flux of iron into the cerebral interstitium. This inference correlates with the observation of significant iron deposition in the amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Current liposomal gene delivery systems predominately utilize cationic lipids, which efficiently bind and deliver DNA plasmid, but also result in nonspecific gene expression in lung and liver tissue. To improve specificity, a two-component delivery strategy employing neutral liposomes was used to target breast cancers positive for the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her-2). The first component consisted of plasmid DNA condensed with cationic polyethylene glycol (PEG) modified polylysine (PL/DNA). The second component was a neutral Her-2 targeting liposome conjugated to the pore-forming protein, Listeriolysin O (LLO). Independently, PL/DNA delivery resulted in low expression of plasmid DNA. However, when PL/DNA and LLO/liposomes co-localized within an endosome, LLO disrupted endosome integrity, leading to cytoplasmic delivery and expression of the plasmid. When used to deliver a plasmid encoding the luciferase gene, this two-component system resulted in gene expression that was 268-fold greater in Her-2 positive cells than in Her-2 negative cells.
We have used an in vitro model system to probe the iron transport pathway across the brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This model consists of human BMVEC (hBMVEC) and C6 glioma cells (as an astrocytic cell line) grown in a transwell, a cell culture system commonly used to quantify metabolite flux across a cell-derived barrier. We found that iron efflux from hBMVEC through the ferrous iron permease ferroportin (Fpn) was stimulated by secretion of the soluble form of the multi-copper ferroxidase, ceruloplasmin (sCp) from the co-cultured C6 cells. Reciprocally, expression of sCp mRNA in the C6 cells was increased by neighboring hBMVEC. In addition, data indicate that C6 cell-secreted hepcidin stimulates internalization of hBMVEC Fpn but only when the end-feet projections characteristic of this glia-derived cell line are proximal to the endothelial cells. This hepcidin-dependent loss of Fpn correlated with knock-down of iron efflux from the hBMVEC; this result was consistent with the mechanism by which hepcidin regulates iron efflux in mammalian cells. In summary, the data support a model of iron trafficking across the BBB in which the capillary endothelium induce the underlying astrocytes to produce the ferroxidase activity needed to support Fpn-mediated iron efflux. Reciprocally, astrocyte proximity modulates the effective concentration of hepcidin at the endothelial cell membrane and thus the surface expression of hBMVEC Fpn. These results are independent of the source of hBMVEC iron (transferrin or non-transferrin bound) indicating that the model developed here is broadly applicable to brain iron homeostasis.
The objective of a systemically administered cancer gene therapy is to achieve gene expression that is isolated to the tumor tissue. Unfortunately, viral systems have strong affinity for the liver, and delivery from non-viral cationic systems often results in high expression in the lungs. Non-specific delivery to these organs must be overcome if tumors are to be aggressively treated with genes such as IL-12 which activates a tumor immune response, and TNF-alpha which can induce tumor cell apoptosis. Techniques which have led to specific expression in tumor tissue include receptor targeting through ligand conjugation, utilization of tumor specific promoters and viral mutation in order to take advantage of proteins overexpressed in tumor cells. This review analyzes these techniques applied to liposomal, PEI, dendrimer, stem cell and viral gene delivery systems in order to determine the techniques that are most effective in achieving tumor specific gene expression after systemic administration.
The mechanism(s) of iron flux across the brain microvasculature endothelial cells (BMVEC) of the blood-brain barrier remains unknown. Although both hephaestin (Hp) and the ferrous iron permease ferroportin (Fpn) have been identified in BMVEC, their roles in iron efflux have not been examined. Using a human BMVEC line (hBMVEC), we have demonstrated that these proteins are required for iron efflux from these cells. Expression of both Hp and Fpn protein was confirmed in hBMVEC by immunoblot and indirect immunofluorescence; we show that hBMVEC express soluble ceruloplasmin (Cp) transcript as well. Depletion of endogenous Hp and Cp via copper chelation leads to the reduction of hBMVEC Fpn protein levels as well as a complete inhibition of (59)Fe efflux. Both hBMVEC Fpn protein and (59)Fe efflux activity are restored upon incubation with 6.6 nm soluble plasma Cp. These results are independent of the source of cell iron, whether delivered as transferrin- or non-transferrin-bound (59)Fe. Our results demonstrate that iron efflux from hBMVEC Fpn requires the action of an exocytoplasmic ferroxidase, which can be either endogenous Hp or extracellular Cp.
Serotonin has a myriad of central functions involving mood, appetite, sleep, and memory and while its release within the spinal cord is particularly important for generating movement, the corresponding role on cortical movement representations (motor maps) is unknown. Using adult rats we determined that pharmacological depletion of serotonin (5-HT) via intracerebroventricular administration of 5,7 dihydroxytryptamine resulted in altered movements of the forelimb in a skilled reaching task as well as higher movement thresholds and smaller maps derived using high-resolution intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). We ruled out the possibility that reduced spinal cord excitability could account for the serotonin depletion-induced changes as we observed an enhanced Hoffman reflex (H-reflex), indicating a hyperexcitable spinal cord. Motor maps derived in 5-HT1A receptor knock-out mice also showed higher movement thresholds and smaller maps compared with wild-type controls. Direct cortical application of the 5-HT1A/7 agonist 8-OH-DPAT lowered movement thresholds in vivo and increased map size in 5-HT-depleted rats. In rats, electrical stimulation of the dorsal raphe lowered movement thresholds and this effect could be blocked by direct cortical application of the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY-100135, indicating that serotonin is primarily acting through the 5-HT1A receptor. Next we developed a novel in vitro ICMS preparation that allowed us to track layer V pyramidal cell excitability. Bath application of WAY-100135 raised the ICMS current intensity to induce action potential firing whereas the agonist 8-OH-DPAT had the opposite effect. Together our results demonstrate that serotonin, acting through 5-HT1A receptors, plays an excitatory role in forelimb motor map expression.
Wood is mainly composed of secondary walls, which constitute the most abundant stored carbon produced by vascular plants. Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling secondary wall deposition during wood formation is not only an important issue in plant biology but also critical for providing molecular tools to custom-design wood composition suited for diverse end uses. Past molecular and genetic studies have revealed a transcriptional network encompassing a group of wood-associated NAC and MYB transcription factors that are involved in the regulation of the secondary wall biosynthetic program during wood formation in poplar trees. Here, we report the functional characterization of poplar orthologs of MYB46 and MYB83 that are known to be master switches of secondary wall biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. In addition to the two previously-described PtrMYB3 and PtrMYB20, two other MYBs, PtrMYB2 and PtrMYB21, were shown to be MYB46/MYB83 orthologs by complementation and overexpression studies in Arabidopsis. The functional roles of these PtrMYBs in regulating secondary wall biosynthesis were further demonstrated in transgenic poplar plants showing an ectopic deposition of secondary walls in PtrMYB overexpressors and a reduction of secondary wall thickening in their dominant repressors. Furthermore, PtrMYB2/3/20/21 together with two other tree MYBs, the Eucalyptus EgMYB2 and the pine PtMYB4, were shown to differentially bind to and activate the eight variants of the 7-bp SMRE consensus sequence, composed of ACC(A/T)A(A/C)(T/C). Together, our results indicate that the tree MYBs, PtrMYB2/3/20/21, EgMYB2 and PtMYB4, are master transcriptional switches that activate the SMRE sites in the promoters of target genes and thereby regulate secondary wall biosynthesis during wood formation.
Wood biomass is mainly made of secondary cell walls; hence, elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying the transcriptional regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis during wood formation will be instrumental to design strategies for genetic improvement of wood biomass. Here, we provide direct evidence demonstrating that the poplar (Populus trichocarpa) wood-associated NAC domain transcription factors (PtrWNDs) are master switches activating a suite of downstream transcription factors, and together, they are involved in the coordinated regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis during wood formation. We show that transgenic poplar plants with dominant repression of PtrWNDs functions exhibit a drastic reduction in secondary wall thickening in woody cells, and those with PtrWND overexpression result in ectopic deposition of secondary walls. Analysis of PtrWND2B overexpressors revealed up-regulation of the expression of a number of wood-associated transcription factors, the promoters of which were also activated by PtrWND6B and the Eucalyptus EgWND1. Transactivation analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that PtrWNDs and EgWND1 activated gene expression through direct binding to the secondary wall NAC-binding elements, which are present in the promoters of several wood-associated transcription factors and a number of genes involved in secondary wall biosynthesis and modification. The WND-regulated transcription factors PtrNAC150, PtrNAC156, PtrNAC157, PtrMYB18, PtrMYB74, PtrMYB75, PtrMYB121, PtrMYB128, PtrZF1, and PtrGATA8 were able to activate the promoter activities of the biosynthetic genes for all three major wood components. Our study has uncovered that the WND master switches together with a battery of their downstream transcription factors form a transcriptional network controlling secondary wall biosynthesis during wood formation.
The bulk of grass biomass potentially useful for cellulose-based biofuel production is the remains of secondary wall-containing sclerenchymatous fibers. Hence, it is important to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of secondary wall thickening in grass species. So far, little is known about the transcriptional regulatory switches responsible for the activation of the secondary wall biosynthetic program in grass species. Here, we report the roles of a group of rice and maize NAC and MYB transcription factors in the regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis. The rice and maize secondary wall-associated NACs (namely OsSWNs and ZmSWNs) were able to complement the Arabidopsis snd1 nst1 double mutant defective in secondary wall thickening. When overexpressed in Arabidopsis, OsSWNs and ZmSWNs were sufficient to activate a number of secondary wall-associated transcription factors and secondary wall biosynthetic genes, and concomitantly result in the ectopic deposition of cellulose, xylan and lignin. It was also found that the rice and maize MYB transcription factors, OsMYB46 and ZmMYB46, are functional orthologs of Arabidopsis MYB46/MYB83 and, when overexpressed in Arabidopsis, they were able to activate the entire secondary wall biosynthetic program. Furthermore, the promoters of OsMYB46 and ZmMYB46 contain secondary wall NAC-binding elements (SNBEs), which can be bound and activated by OsSWNs and ZmSWNs. Together, our results indicate that the rice and maize SWNs and MYB46 are master transcriptional activators of the secondary wall biosynthetic program and that OsSWNs and ZmSWNs activate their direct target genes through binding to the SNBE sites.
The biosynthesis of secondary walls in vascular plants requires the coordinated regulation of a suite of biosynthetic genes, and this coordination has recently been shown to be executed by the secondary wall NAC (SWN)-mediated transcriptional network. In Arabidopsis, five SWNs, including SND1, NST1/2 and VND6/7, function as master transcriptional switches to activate their common targets and consequently the secondary wall biosynthetic program. A recent report by Zhong et al. revealed that SWNs bind to a common cis-acting element, namely secondary wall NAC binding element (SNBE), which is composed of an imperfect palindromic 19-bp consensus sequence, (T/A)NN(C/T)(T/C/G)TNNNNNNNA(A/C)GN(A/C/T) (A/T). Genome-wide analysis of direct targets of SWNs showed that SWNs directly activate the expression of not only many transcription factors but also a battery of genes involved in secondary wall biosynthesis, cell wall modification and programmed cell death, the promoters of which all contain multiple SNBE sites. The functional significance of the SNBE sites is further substantiated by our current in planta expression study demonstrating that representative SNBE sequences from several SWN direct target promoters are sufficient to drive the expression of the GUS reporter gene in secondary wall-forming cells. The identification of the SWN DNA binding element (SNBE) and the SWN direct targets marks an important step forward toward the dissection of the transcriptional network regulating the biosynthesis of secondary walls, the most abundant biomass produced by land plants.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae expresses two proteins that together support high-affinity Fe-uptake. These are a multicopper oxidase, Fet3p, with specificity towards Fe²? and a ferric iron permease, Ftr1p, which supports Fe-accumulation. Homologues of the genes encoding these two proteins are found in all fungal genomes including those for the pathogens, Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. At least one of these loci represents a virulence factor for each pathogen suggesting that this complex would be an appropriate pharmacologic target. However, the mechanism by which this protein pair supports Fe-uptake in any fungal pathogen has not been elucidated. Taking advantage of the robust molecular genetics available in S. cerevisiae, we identify the two of five candidate ferroxidases likely involved in high-affinity Fe-uptake in C. albicans, Fet31 and Fet34. Both localize to the yeast plasma membrane and both support Fe-uptake along with an Ftr1 protein, either from C. albicans or from S. cerevisiae. We express and characterize Fet34, demonstrating that it is functionally homologous to ScFet3p. Using S. cerevisiae as host for the functional expression of the C. albicans Fe-uptake proteins, we demonstrate that they support a mechanism of Fe-trafficking that involves channelling of the CaFet34-generated Fe³? directly to CaFtr1 for transport into the cytoplasm.
Dicot wood is mainly composed of cellulose, xylan and lignin, and its formation requires the coordinated regulation of their biosynthesis. In this report, we demonstrate that the poplar wood-associated MYB transcriptional activators, PtrMYB3 and PtrMYB20, activate the biosynthetic pathways of cellulose, xylan and lignin when overexpressed in Arabidopsis and they are also able to activate the promoter activities of poplar wood biosynthetic genes. We also show that PtrMYB3 and PtrMYB20 are functional orthologs of Arabidopsis MYB46 and MYB83, and their expression is directly activated by poplar PtrWND2, suggesting their involvement in the regulation of wood formation in poplar.
It has been proposed that the transcriptional regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis in Arabidopsis is controlled by a transcriptional network mediated by SND1 and its close homologs. Uncovering all the transcription factors and deciphering their interrelationships in the network are essential for our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the transcriptional regulation of biosynthesis of secondary walls, the major constituent of wood and fibers. Here, we present functional evidence that the MYB83 transcription factor is another molecular switch in the SND1-mediated transcriptional network regulating secondary wall biosynthesis. MYB83 is specifically expressed in fibers and vessels where secondary wall thickening occurs. Its expression is directly activated by SND1 and its close homologs, including NST1, NST2, VND6 and VND7, indicating that MYB83 is their direct target. MYB83 overexpression is able to activate a number of the biosynthetic genes of cellulose, xylan and lignin and concomitantly induce ectopic secondary wall deposition. In addition, its overexpression upregulates the expression of several transcription factors involved in regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis. Dominant repression of MYB83 functions or simultaneous RNAi inhibition of MYB83 and MYB46 results in a reduction in secondary wall thickening in fibers and vessels and a deformation of vessels. Furthermore, double T-DNA knockout mutations of MYB83 and MYB46 cause a lack of secondary walls in vessels and an arrest in plant growth. Together, these results demonstrate that MYB83 and MYB46, both of which are SND1 direct targets, function redundantly in the transcriptional regulatory cascade leading to secondary wall formation in fibers and vessels.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has defined knowledge translation (KT) as a dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the healthcare system. CIHR, the national health research funding agency in Canada, has undertaken to advance this concept through direct research funding opportunities in KT. Because CIHR is recognized within Canada and internationally for leading and funding the advancement of KT science and practice, it is essential and timely to evaluate this intervention, and specifically, these funding opportunities.
The mechanism(s) by which iron in blood is transported across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) remains controversial. Here we have examined the first step of this trans-cellular pathway, namely the mechanism(s) of iron uptake into human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMVEC). We show that hBMVEC actively reduce non-transferrin bound Fe(III) (NTBI) and transferrin-bound Fe(III) (TBI); this activity is associated with one or more ferrireductases. Efficient, exo-cytoplasmic ferri-reduction from TBI is dependent upon transferrin receptor (TfR), also. Blocking holo-Tf binding with an anti-TfR antibody significantly decreases the reduction of iron from transferrin by hBMVEC, suggesting that holo-Tf needs to bind to TfR in order for efficient reduction to occur. Ferri-reduction from TBI significantly decreases when hBMVEC are pre-treated with Pt(II), an inhibitor of cell surface reductase activity. Uptake of (59)Fe from (59)Fe-Tf by endothelial cells is inhibited by 50 % when ferrozine is added to solution; in contrast, no inhibition occurs when cells are alkalinized with NH(4)Cl. This indicates that the iron reduced from holo-transferrin at the plasma membrane accounts for at least 50 % of the iron uptake observed. hBMVEC-dependent reduction and uptake of NTBI utilizes a Pt(II)-insensitive reductase. Reductase-independent uptake of Fe(II) by hBMVEC is inhibited up to 50 % by Zn(II) and/or Mn(II) by a saturable process suggesting that redundant Fe(II) transporters exist in the hBMVEC plasma membrane. These results are the first to demonstrate multiple mechanism(s) of TBI and NTBI reduction and uptake by endothelial cells (EC) of the BBB.
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