We have been performing a systematic screening using a whole-body counter of internal radiation exposure in the affected areas by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident. This case suggests 2 important points regarding the thyroid internal exposure screening immediately after a nuclear disaster. First, clinicians should recognize the possibility of overestimation of I exposure during the initial checkups of thyroid internal exposure if a detailed history of treatment by radioisotopes is not obtained. Second, in vivo measurements should be taken immediately after the disaster because all of the radioactive iodine generated after the disaster disappears within a few months.
Sex steroid action is critical to form sexually dimorphic nuclei, although it is not fully understood. We previously reported that masculinization of the principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNSTp), which is larger and has more neurons in males than in females, involves aromatized testosterone that acts via estrogen receptor-? (ER?), but not estrogen receptor-? (ER?). Here, we examined sex steroid action on the formation of the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) that is larger and has more neurons in females. Morphometrical analysis of transgenic mice lacking aromatase, ER?, or ER? genes revealed that the volume and neuron number of the male AVPV were significantly increased by deletion of aromatase and ER? genes, but not the ER? gene. We further examined the AVPV and BNSTp of androgen receptor knockout (ARKO) mice. The volume and neuron number of the male BNSTp were smaller in ARKO mice than those in wild-type mice, while no significant effect of ARKO was found on the AVPV and female BNSTp. We also examined aromatase, ER?, and AR mRNA levels in the AVPV and BNSTp of wild-type and ARKO mice on embryonic day (ED) 18 and postnatal day (PD) 4. AR mRNA in the BNSTp and AVPV of wild-type mice was not expressed on ED18 and emerged on PD4. In the AVPV, the aromatase mRNA level was higher on ED18, although the ER? mRNA level was higher on PD4 without any effect of AR gene deletion. Aromatase and ER? mRNA levels in the male BNSTp were significantly increased on PD4 by AR gene deletion. These results suggest that estradiol signaling via ER? during the perinatal period and testosterone signaling via AR during the postnatal period are required for masculinization of the BNSTp, whereas the former is sufficient to defeminize the AVPV.
Maintaining low levels of chronic internal contamination among residents in radiation-contaminated areas after a nuclear disaster is a great public health concern. However, the efficacy of reduction measures for individual internal contamination remains unknown. To reduce high levels of internal radiation exposure in a group of individuals exposed through environmental sources, we performed careful dietary intervention with identification of suspected contaminated foods, as part of mass voluntary radiation contamination screenings and counseling program in Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital and Hirata Central Hospital. From a total of 30,622 study participants, only 9 residents displayed internal cesium-137 (Cs-137) levels of more than 50 Bq/kg. The median level of internal Cs-137 contamination in these residents at the initial screening was 4,830 Bq/body (range: 2,130-15,918 Bq/body) and 69.6 Bq/kg (range: 50.7-216.3 Bq/kg). All these residents with high levels of internal contamination consumed homegrown produce without radiation inspection, and often collected mushrooms in the wild or cultivated them on bed-logs in their homes. They were advised to consume distributed food mainly and to refrain from consuming potentially contaminated foods without radiation inspection and local produces under shipment restrictions such as mushrooms, mountain vegetables, and meat of wild life. A few months after the intervention, re-examination of Cs levels revealed remarkable reduction of internal contamination in all residents. Although the levels of internal radiation exposure appear to be minimal amongst most residents in Fukushima, a subset of the population, who unknowingly consumed highly contaminated foodstuffs, experienced high levels of internal contamination. There seem to be similarities in dietary preferences amongst residents with high internal contamination levels, and intervention based on pre- and post-test counseling and dietary advice from medical care providers about risky food intake appears to be a feasible option for changing residents' dietary practices, subsequently resulting in a reduction in Cs internal contamination levels.
In women, estrogen deficiency after menopause frequently accelerates osteoclastic bone resorption, leading to osteoporosis, the most common skeletal disorder. However, mechanisms underlying osteoporosis resulting from estrogen deficiency remain largely unknown. Here we show that in bone-resorbing osteoclasts, estrogen-dependent destabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1?), which is unstable in the presence of oxygen, plays a pivotal role in promoting bone loss in estrogen-deficient conditions. In vitro, HIF1? was destabilized by estrogen treatment even in hypoxic conditions, and estrogen loss in ovariectomized (Ovx) mice stabilized HIF1? in osteoclasts and promoted their activation and subsequent bone loss in vivo. Osteoclast-specific HIF1? inactivation antagonized bone loss in Ovx mice and osteoclast-specific estrogen receptor alpha deficient mice, both models of estrogen-deficient osteoporosis. Oral administration of a HIF1? inhibitor protected Ovx mice from osteoclast activation and bone loss. Thus, HIF1? represents a promising therapeutic target in osteoporosis.
Decontamination workers may face a high risk of exposure to internal irradiation through inhalation during decontamination activities; there is, however, little previous research on the levels of internal contamination during decontamination procedures. The authors reviewed the medical records, including whole body counter measurements, of decontamination workers in villages near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to assess their levels of internal radiation exposure. In total, 83 decontamination workers were enrolled in this study. They were regularly engaged in decontamination activities in highly contaminated areas where surface 137Cs deposition density was over 100 kBq m-2. The present study showed low levels of internal exposure among the decontamination workers near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cesium burdens of all the decontamination workers were below detection limits. They had reported no acute health problems. The resuspension of radioactive materials may cause minimal internal contamination during decontamination activities.
Hypoandrogenemia is associated with an increased risk of ischemic diseases. Because actions of androgens are exerted through androgen receptor (AR) activation, we studied hind-limb ischemia in AR knockout mice to elucidate the role of AR in response to ischemia.
Bone resorption by osteoclasts requires a large number of lysosomes that release proteases in the resorption lacuna. Whether lysosomal biogenesis is a consequence of the action of transcriptional regulators of osteoclast differentiation or is under the control of a different and specific transcriptional pathway remains unknown. We show here, through cell-based assays and cell-specific gene deletion experiments in mice, that the osteoclast differentiation factor RANKL promotes lysosomal biogenesis once osteoclasts are differentiated through the selective activation of TFEB, a member of the MITF/TFE family of transcription factors. This occurs following PKC? phosphorylation of TFEB on three serine residues located in its last 15 amino acids. This post-translational modification stabilizes and increases the activity of this transcription factor. Supporting these biochemical observations, mice lacking in osteoclasts--either TFEB or PKC?--show decreased lysosomal gene expression and increased bone mass. Altogether, these results uncover a RANKL-dependent signaling pathway taking place in differentiated osteoclasts and culminating in the activation of TFEB to enhance lysosomal biogenesis-a necessary step for proper bone resorption.
During the last decade, our view on the skeleton as a mere solid physical support structure has been transformed, as bone emerged as a dynamic, constantly remodeling tissue with systemic regulatory functions including those of an endocrine organ. Reflecting this remarkable functional complexity, distinct classes of humoral and intracellular regulatory factors have been shown to control vital processes in the bone. Among these regulators, nuclear receptors (NRs) play fundamental roles in bone development, growth, and maintenance. NRs are DNA-binding transcription factors that act as intracellular transducers of the respective ligand signaling pathways through modulation of expression of specific sets of cognate target genes. Aberrant NR signaling caused by receptor or ligand deficiency may profoundly affect bone health and compromise skeletal functions. Ligand dependency of NR action underlies a major strategy of therapeutic intervention to correct aberrant NR signaling, and significant efforts have been made to design novel synthetic NR ligands with enhanced beneficial properties and reduced potential negative side effects. As an example, estrogen deficiency causes bone loss and leads to development of osteoporosis, the most prevalent skeletal disorder in postmenopausal women. Since administration of natural estrogens for the treatment of osteoporosis often associates with undesirable side effects, several synthetic estrogen receptor ligands have been developed with higher therapeutic efficacy and specificity. This review presents current progress in our understanding of the roles of various nuclear receptor-mediated signaling pathways in bone physiology and disease, and in development of advanced NR ligands for treatment of common skeletal disorders.
Bone remodeling is characterized by the sequential, local tethering of osteoclasts and osteoblasts and is key to the maintenance of bone integrity. While bone matrix-mobilized growth factors, such as TGF-?, are proposed to regulate remodeling, no in vivo evidence exists that an osteoclast-produced molecule serves as a coupling factor for bone resorption to formation. We found that CTHRC1, a protein secreted by mature bone-resorbing osteoclasts, targets stromal cells to stimulate osteogenesis. Cthrc1 expression was robustly induced when mature osteoclasts were placed on dentin or hydroxyapatite, and also by increasing extracellular calcium. Cthrc1 expression in bone increased in a high-turnover state (such as that induced by RANKL injections in vivo), but decreased in conditions associated with suppressed bone turnover (such as with aging and after alendronate treatment). Targeted deletion of Cthrc1 in mice eliminated Cthrc1 expression in bone, whereas its deficiency in osteoblasts did not exert any significant effect. Osteoclast-specific deletion of Cthrc1 resulted in osteopenia due to reduced bone formation and impaired the coupling process after resorption induced by RANKL injections, impairing bone mass recovery. These data demonstrate that CTHRC1 is an osteoclast-secreted coupling factor that regulates bone remodeling.
Bone health was assessed for inhabitants of an area affected by the Fukushima nuclear plant incident. Osteoporotic patients, who had been treated with active vitamin D3 and/or bisphosphonate at Soma Central Hospital before the Fukushima incident, were enrolled. Changes in bone turnover markers and bone mineral density were retrospectively analyzed. Serum levels of a bone resorption marker, serum type I collagen cross-linked N-telopeptide were decreased in all the treated groups, whereas those of a bone formation marker, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, were increased. Accordingly, bone mineral density, estimated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, was increased in the lumbar spine of all groups, but bone mass increase in the proximal femur was detected only in the group treated with the two agents in combination. From the degree of these parameter changes, the antiosteoporotic treatments looked effective and were equivalent to the expected potency of past observations. At this stage, the present study implies that the Fukushima nuclear incident did not bring an acute risk to bone health in the affected areas.
The physiological and beneficial actions of vitamin D in bone health have been experimentally and clinically proven in mammals. The active form of vitamin D [1?,25(OH)(2)D(3)] binds and activates its specific nuclear receptor, the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Activated VDR prevents the release of calcium from its storage in bone to serum by stimulating intestinal calcium absorption and renal reabsorption. However, the direct action of VDR in bone tissue is poorly understood because serum Ca(2+) homeostasis is maintained through tightly regulated ion transport by the kidney, intestine, and bone. In addition, conventional genetic approaches using VDR knockout (VDR-KO, VDR(-/-)) mice could not identify VDR action in bone because of the animals systemic defects in calcium metabolism. In this study, we report that systemic VDR heterozygous KO (VDR(+/L-)) mice generated with the Cre/loxP system as well as conventional VDR heterozygotes (VDR(+/-)) showed increased bone mass in radiological assessments. Because mineral metabolism parameters were unaltered in both types of mice, these bone phenotypes imply that skeletal VDR plays a role in bone mass regulation. To confirm this assumption, osteoblast-specific VDR-KO (VDR(?Ob/?Ob)) mice were generated with 2.3 kb ?1(I)-collagen promoter-Cre transgenic mice. They showed a bone mass increase without any dysregulation of mineral metabolism. Although bone formation parameters were not affected in bone histomorphometry, bone resorption was obviously reduced in VDR(?Ob/?Ob) mice because of decreased expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (an essential molecule in osteoclastogenesis) in VDR(?Ob/?Ob) osteoblasts. These findings establish that VDR in osteoblasts is a negative regulator of bone mass control.
The primary determinant of circulating 1?,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH](2)D) levels is the activity of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1?-hydroxylase (cytochrome P450 27B1 [CYP27B1]) in the kidney. Hyperthyroid patients have been reported to have low levels of plasma 1,25(OH)(2)D. However, the detailed mechanism of thyroid hormone action on vitamin D metabolism is still poorly understood. The present study determined whether renal CYP27B1 gene expression was negatively regulated by thyroid hormones. T(3)-induced hyperthyroid mice showed marked decreases in plasma 1,25(OH)(2)D levels and in renal expression of CYP27B1 mRNA but no changes in plasma concentrations of calcium, PTH, or fibroblast growth factor-23. In addition, we observed that T(3) administration significantly decreased plasma 1,25(OH)(2)D and renal CYP27B1 mRNA levels that were increased by low-calcium or low-phosphorus diets and induced hypocalcemia in mice fed a low-calcium diet. Promoter analysis revealed that T(3) decreases the basal transcriptional activity of the CYP27B1 gene through thyroid hormone receptors (TR? and TR?1) and the retinoid X receptor ? (RXR?) in renal proximal tubular cells. Interestingly, we identified an everted repeat negative thyroid hormone response element (1?-nTRE) overlapping the sterol regulatory element (1?-SRE) and the TATA-box -50 to -20 base pairs from the human CYP27B1 gene transcription start site. Finally, we established that CYP27B1 gene transcription is positively regulated by SRE-binding proteins and that a T(3)-bound TR?1/RXR? heterodimer inhibits SRE-binding protein-1c-induced transcriptional activity through the 1?-nTRE. These results suggest that transcriptional repression of the CYP27B1 gene by T(3)-bound TRs/RXR?, acting through the 1?-nTRE, results in decreased renal CYP27B1 expression and plasma 1,25(OH)(2)D levels.
The transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) into osteoblast-like cells has been implicated in the context of vascular calcification. We investigated the roles of vitamin D receptor (Vdr) and runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) in the osteoblastic differentiation of VSMCs in response to vitamin D3 using in vitro VSMCs cultures and in vivo in Vdr knockout (Vdr (-/-) ) and Runx2 carboxy-terminus truncated heterozygous (Runx2 (+/?C) ) mice. Treatment of VSMCs with active vitamin D3 promoted matrix mineral deposition, and increased the expressions of Vdr, Runx2, and of osteoblastic genes but decreased the expression of smooth muscle myosin heavy chain in primary VSMCs cultures. Immunoprecipitation experiments suggested an interaction between Vdr and Runx2. Furthermore, silencing Vdr or Runx2 attenuated the procalcific effects of vitamin D3. Functional cooperation between Vdr and Runx2 in vascular calcification was also confirmed in in vivo mouse models. Vascular calcification induced by high-dose vitamin D3 was completely inhibited in Vdr (-/-) or Runx2 (+/?C) mice, despite elevated levels of serum calcium or alkaline phosphatase. Collectively, these findings suggest that functional cooperation between Vdr and Runx2 is necessary for vascular calcification in response to vitamin D3.
Resettlement to their radiation-contaminated hometown could be an option for people displaced at the time of a nuclear disaster; however, little information is available on the safety implications of these resettlement programs. Kawauchi village, located 12-30 km southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, was one of the 11 municipalities where mandatory evacuation was ordered by the central government. This village was also the first municipality to organize the return of the villagers. To assess the validity of the Kawauchi villagers resettlement program, the levels of internal Cesium (Cs) exposures were comparatively measured in returnees, commuters, and non-returnees among the Kawauchi villagers using a whole body counter. Of 149 individuals, 5 villagers had traceable levels of Cs exposure; the median detected level was 333 Bq/body (range, 309-1050 Bq/kg), and 5.3 Bq/kg (range, 5.1-18.2 Bq/kg). Median annual effective doses of villagers with traceable Cs were 1.1 x 10(-2) mSv/y (range, 1.0 x 10(-2)-4.1 x 10(-2) mSv/y). Although returnees had higher chances of consuming locally produced vegetables, Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test showed that their level of internal radiation exposure was not significantly higher than that in the other 2 groups (p=0.643). The present findings in Kawauchi village imply that it is possible to maintain internal radiation exposure at very low levels even in a highly radiation-contaminated region at the time of a nuclear disaster. Moreover, the risks for internal radiation exposure could be limited with a strict food control intervention after resettlement to the radiation-contaminated village. It is crucial to establish an adequate number of radio-contaminated testing sites within the village, to provide immediate test result feedback to the villagers, and to provide education regarding the importance of re-testing in reducing the risk of high internal radiation exposure.
Fat-soluble ligands like steroid hormones exert their actions through nuclear receptor-mediated transcriptional controls. Nuclear receptors are hormone-dependent transcription factors, and their ligand-dependent function is facilitated by transcriptional co-regulators, that were initially considered to bridge nuclear receptors with transcription initiation complex. However, recent progress in epigenome and chromatin research has uncovered that hormone-dependent transcriptional controls by nuclear receptors require a number of epigenetic/transcriptional co-regurators facilitating chromatin reorganization.
Vitamin D is one of the best established hormone to exert beneficial action for bone mass control and bone metabolism. Such vitamin D action for bone tissue is recapitulated in intact animals, while vitamin D is well known to potentiate bone resorption by inducing gene of RANKL an osteoclastic inducer. By genetic characterization of VDR in mice, VDR was found to serve as a negative regulator in intact bone. Moreover, RANKL gene expression level in intact bone was down-regulated in osteoblast-specific VDR KO mice. Thus, these findings indicate that VDR in bone tissue is a negative regulator for bone mass control.
Chromatin reorganization is governed by multiple post-translational modifications of chromosomal proteins and DNA. These histone modifications are reversible, dynamic events that can regulate DNA-driven cellular processes. However, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate histone modification patterns remain largely unknown. In metazoans, reversible protein modification by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is catalysed by two enzymes, O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and O-GlcNAcase (OGA). However, the significance of GlcNAcylation in chromatin reorganization remains elusive. Here we report that histone H2B is GlcNAcylated at residue S112 by OGT in vitro and in living cells. Histone GlcNAcylation fluctuated in response to extracellular glucose through the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP). H2B S112 GlcNAcylation promotes K120 monoubiquitination, in which the GlcNAc moiety can serve as an anchor for a histone H2B ubiquitin ligase. H2B S112 GlcNAc was localized to euchromatic areas on fly polytene chromosomes. In a genome-wide analysis, H2B S112 GlcNAcylation sites were observed widely distributed over chromosomes including transcribed gene loci, with some sites co-localizing with H2B K120 monoubiquitination. These findings suggest that H2B S112 GlcNAcylation is a histone modification that facilitates H2BK120 monoubiquitination, presumably for transcriptional activation.
Bone undergoes remodeling consisting of osteoclastic bone resorption followed by osteoblastic bone formation throughout life. Although the effects of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signals on osteoblasts have been studied extensively, the function of BMP signals in osteoclasts has not been fully elucidated. To delineate the function of BMP signals in osteoclasts during bone remodeling, we deleted BMP receptor type IA (Bmpr1a) in an osteoclast-specific manner using a knock-in Cre mouse line to the cathepsin K locus (Ctsk(Cre/+);Bmpr1a(flox/flox), designated as Bmpr1a(?Oc/?Oc)). Cre was specifically expressed in multinucleated osteoclasts in vivo. Cre-dependent deletion of the Bmpr1a gene occurred at 4 days after cultivation of bone marrow macrophages obtained from Bmpr1a(?Oc/?Oc) with RANKL. These results suggested that Bmpr1a was deleted after formation of osteoclasts in Bmpr1a(?Oc/?Oc) mice. Expression of bone-resorption markers increased, thus suggesting that BMPRIA signaling negatively regulates osteoclast differentiation. Trabeculae in tibia and femurs were thickened in 3.5-, 8-, and 12-week-old Bmpr1a(?Oc/?Oc) mice. Bone histomorphometry revealed increased bone volume associated with increased osteoblastic bone-formation rates (BFR) in the remodeling bone of the secondary spongiosa in Bmpr1a(?Oc/?Oc) tibias at 8 weeks of age. For comparison, we also induced an osteoblast-specific deletion of Bmpr1a using Col1a1-Cre. The resulting mice showed increased bone volume with marked decreases in BFR in tibias at 8 weeks of age. These results indicate that deletion of Bmpr1a in differentiated osteoclasts increases osteoblastic bone formation, thus suggesting that BMPR1A signaling in osteoclasts regulates coupling to osteoblasts by reducing bone-formation activity during bone remodeling.
Sex steroid hormones play important roles in bone metabolism through the functions of its specific nuclear receptors, estrogen receptors(ERs) and androgen receptor (AR). From the results of analyses of bone tissue specific sex steroid hormone receptors knockout mice, it has been clarified that sex steroids can directly function in bone tissue as well as indirect endocrine influences. These recent researches may promote the investigations of novel strategies to treat osteoporosis, which could be induced by deficiency of sex steroid hormones in the old population regardless of gender.
The maturation of primary microrRNAs (pri-miRNAs) to precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) is mediated by the "microprocessor" complex minimally comprimising two core components, Drosha and DGCR8. However, the roles of RNA-binding proteins associated with these core units in the large Drosha complex remain to be defined. While signal-dependent regulation of miRNA biogenesis is assumed, such regulation remains to be described. here, we provide a short review based on our recent findings of hormonally-regulated pri-miRNA processing by nuclear estrogen receptor.
Reversible histone methylation and demethylation are highly regulated processes that are crucial for chromatin reorganization and regulation of gene transcription in response to extracellular conditions. However, the mechanisms that regulate histone-modifying enzymes are largely unknown. Here, we characterized a protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent histone lysine demethylase complex, PHF2-ARID5B. PHF2, a jmjC demethylase, is enzymatically inactive by itself, but becomes an active H3K9Me2 demethylase through PKA-mediated phosphorylation. We found that phosphorylated PHF2 then associates with ARID5B, a DNA-binding protein, and induce demethylation of methylated ARID5B. This modification leads to targeting of the PHF2-ARID5B complex to its target promoters, where it removes the repressive H3K9Me2 mark. These findings suggest that the PHF2-ARID5B complex is a signal-sensing modulator of histone methylation and gene transcription, in which phosphorylation of PHF2 enables subsequent formation of a competent and specific histone demethylase complex.
The treatment of osteoporosis has been a critical issue in todays medical situation. Various therapeutic agents and strategies have been investigated and applied, and have proven successful in the treatment of osteoporosis. However, some concerns still remain, such as the adverse effects of such treatments. From this point of view, a search for novel therapeutic targets, such as Fas signaling, remains important.
To investigate the role of post-translational modifications (PTMs) in the hepatocyte nuclear factor 4? (HNF4?)-mediated transcription, we took a comprehensive survey of PTMs in HNF4? protein by mass-spectrometry and identified totally 8 PTM sites including newly identified ubiquitilation and acetylation sites. To assess the impact of identified PTMs in HNF4?-function, we introduced point mutations at the identified PTM sites and, tested transcriptional activity of the HNF4?. Among the point-mutations, an acetylation site at lysine 458 was found significant in the HNF4?-mediated transcriptional control. An acetylation negative mutant at lysine 458 showed an increased transcriptional activity by about 2-fold, while an acetylation mimic mutant had a lowered transcriptional activation. Furthermore, this acetylation appeared to be fluctuated in response to extracellular nutrient conditions. Thus, by applying an comprehensive analysis of PTMs, multiple PTMs were newly identified in HNF4? and unexpected role of an HNF4? acetylation could be uncovered.
Fat-soluble ligands like vitamin A/D and steroid hormones activate their cognate nuclear receptors for ligand-dependent transcriptional regulation. Nuclear receptors constitute a gene superfamily with 48 members in higher mammals, and act as ligand-dependent transcription factors to bind stably to specific DNA elements in ligand/NR target gene promoters. Hence, most of biological actions of fat-soluble ligands are generally thought to mediate NR-mediated gene regulation. Starting in early 1990, transcriptional co-regulators supporting ligand-dependent transcriptional controls by NRs have been characterized. Initially, the transcriptional co-regulators were believed to couple with histone acethylation/deacethylation, and thereby histone acethyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacethylases (HDACs) were characterized as NR co-activators and co-repressor, respectively. However, recent progress in chromatin biology and epigenome have revealed that other histone modifying enzymes and chromatin remodelers are potential co-regulators for NRs. In this review, these cuttingedge aspects are discussed together with our recent findings on NR co-regulators.
Prostate cancer development is associated with hyperactive androgen signaling. However, the molecular link between androgen receptor (AR) function and humoral factors remains elusive. A prostate cancer mouse model was generated by selectively mutating the AR threonine 877 into alanine in prostatic epithelial cells through Cre-ERT2-mediated targeted somatic mutagenesis. Such AR point mutant mice (ARpe-T877A/Y) developed hypertrophic prostates with responses to both an androgen antagonist and estrogen, although no prostatic tumor was seen. In prostate cancer model transgenic mice, the onset of prostatic tumorigenesis as well as tumor growth was significantly potentiated by introduction of the AR T877A mutation into the prostate. Genetic screening of mice identified Wnt-5a as an activator. Enhanced Wnt-5a expression was detected in the malignant prostate tumors of patients, whereas in benign prostatic hyperplasia such aberrant up-regulation was not obvious. These findings suggest that a noncanonical Wnt signal stimulates development of prostatic tumors with AR hyperfunction.
The epididymis is a male accessory organ and functions for sperm maturation and storage under the control of androgen. The development of the epididymis is also androgen dependent. The Wolffian duct (WD), anlagen of the epididymis, is formed in both male and female embryos; however, it is stabilized only in male embryos by testicular androgen. Androgen drives subsequent differentiation of the WD into the epididymis. Although the essential roles of androgen in WD masculinization and epididymal function have been established, little is known about cellular events regulated precisely by androgen signaling during these processes. It is also unclear whether androgen signaling, especially in the epithelia, has further function for epididymal epithelial cell differentiation. In this study we examined the cellular death and proliferation controlled by androgen signaling via the androgen receptor (AR) in WD stabilization. Analyses using AR knockout mice revealed that androgen signaling inhibits epithelial cell death in this process. Analysis of AP2?-Cre;AR(flox/Y) mice, in which AR function is deleted in the WD epithelium, revealed that epithelial AR is not required for the WD stabilization but is required for epithelial cell differentiation in the epididymis. Specifically, loss of epithelial AR significantly reduced expression of p63 that is essential for differentiation of basal cells in the epididymal epithelium. We also interrogated the possibility of regulation of the p63 gene (Trp63) by AR in vitro and found that p63 is a likely direct target of AR regulation.
Vitamin D has a pivotal role in a many biological processes, including the maintenance of calcium homeostasis, cell differentiation and proliferation. Most of these actions are mediated by transcriptional regulation of target genes through vitamin D receptor (VDR), a member the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. Thus, it is important to understand vitamin D biosynthesis into an active form that regulates VDR transcriptional functions. The active form of vitamin D, 1?,25(OH)(2)D(3), derived by vitamin D3 1alpha hydroxylase, 1?(OH)ase in renal proximal tubule cells is a ligand for VDR. We have identified the 1?(OH)ase gene, which uses a novel expression cloning method derived from VDR deficient mice that have excess amounts of active vitamin D3 in the serum. Identification of 1?(OH)ase gene had lead us to understand not only the biological significance of active vitamin D3 synthesis, but also a novel mechanism of VDR-mediated transcriptional regulation. The gene expression of 1?(OH)ase is positively and negatively regulated by parathyroid hormone (PTH) and active vitamin D3 respectively. In this review, we describe switching between positive and negative transcriptional modulation by the VDR, together with recent findings on the mechanisms of VDR-mediated epigenetic regulation in the 1?(OH)ase gene.
The arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor mediating the adverse effects of dioxins. Although cross-talk of dioxins with estrogen and androgen signaling pathways are well described, the underlying molecular mechanisms have been largely elusive. Recent studies showed that modulation of estrogen/androgen signaling by dioxins is exerted in part through direct association of AhR with estrogen (ER) or androgen (AR) receptors. Agonist-bound AhR and ER? work as a functional unit to regulate expression of target genes. In addition to such genomic actions, AhR mediates non-genomic actions of AhR-ligands through the assembly of a CUL4B-based ubiquitin ligase complex and promotes the degradation of ER? and AR. These findings reveal the roles of the ubiquitin system in sensing and biological response to environmental chemicals, in which AhR acts as a ubiquitin ligase component to enhance the destruction of specific substrates.
We identify a new mammalian cohesin subunit, RAD21-like protein (RAD21L), with sequence similarity to RAD21 and REC8. RAD21L localizes along axial elements in early meiotic prophase, in a manner that is spatiotemporally different to either REC8 or RAD21. Remarkably, RAD21L and REC8 have symmetrical, mutually exclusive localization on the not-yet-synapsed homologues, implying that the cohesin patterning could provide a code for homologue recognition. RAD21 transiently localizes to axial elements after the dissociation of RAD21L and REC8 in late pachytene, a period of recombination repair. Further, we show that the removal of cohesins and synaptonemal complex during late meiotic prophase is promoted by Polo-like kinase 1, which is similar to the mitotic prophase pathway.
Signaling mediated by Notch receptors is crucial for the development of many organs and the maintenance of various stem cell populations. The activation of Notch signaling is first detectable by the expression of an effector gene, Hes5, in the neuroepithelium of mouse embryos at embryonic day (E) 8.0-8.5, and this activation is indispensable for the generation of neural stem cells. However, the molecular mechanism by which Hes5 expression is initiated in stem-producing cells remains unknown. We found that mammalian Gcm1 and Gcm2 (glial cells missing 1 and 2) are involved in the epigenetic regulation of Hes5 transcription by DNA demethylation independently of DNA replication. Loss of both Gcm genes and subsequent lack of Hes5 upregulation in the neuroepithelium of E7.5-8.5 Gcm1(-/-); Gcm2(-/-) mice resulted in the impaired induction of neural stem cells. Our data suggest that Hes5 expression is serially activated first by Gcms and later by the canonical Notch pathway.
A human multi-protein complex (WINAC), composed of SWI/SNF components and DNA replication-related factors, that directly interacts with the vitamin D receptor (VDR) through the Williams syndrome transcription factor (WSTF), was identified with an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling activity. This novel ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex facilitates VDR-mediated transrepression as well as transactivation with its ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling activity and promoter targeting property for the activator to access to the DNA. It also suggested that in this complex, WSTF serves as a signaling sensor to receive intra-cellular singalings to switch the activity of WINAC as well as WICH, another ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex containing hSNF2h. By making WSTF-deficient mice, some of the heart defects as well as abnormal calcium metabolism observed in Williams syndrome are attributed to the abnormal chromatin remodeling activity caused by WSTF deficiency. Thus, we would propose to designate Williams syndrome as an epigenome-regulator disease.
Members of the nuclear steroid/thyroid hormone receptor (NR) gene superfamily are DNA-binding transcription factors that regulate target genes in a spatiotemporal manner, depending on the promoter context. In vivo observations of ligand responses in NR-mediated gene regulation led to the identification of ligand-dependent coregulators that directly interact with NRs. Functional dissection of NR coregulators revealed that their transcriptional coregulation was linked to histone acetylation. However, recent work in the fields of reversible histone modification and chromatin remodeling indicates that histone-modifying enzymes, including histone methylases and chromatin remodelers, are potential transcriptional coregulators that interact directly and indirectly with NRs.
Osteoblasts and adipocytes are derived from common mesenchymal progenitor cells. The bone loss of osteoporosis is associated with altered progenitor differentiation from an osteoblastic to an adipocytic lineage. cDNA microarrays and quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR) were carried out in a differentiating mouse stromal osteoblastic cell line, Kusa 4b10, to identify gene targets of factors that stimulate osteoblast differentiation including parathyroid hormone (PTH) and gp130-binding cytokines, oncostatin M (OSM) and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1). Zinc finger protein 467 (Zfp467) was rapidly down-regulated by PTH, OSM, and CT-1. Retroviral overexpression and RNA interference for Zfp467 in mouse stromal cells showed that this factor stimulated adipocyte formation and inhibited osteoblast commitment compared with controls. Regulation of adipocyte markers, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) ?, C/EBP?, adiponectin, and resistin, and late osteoblast/osteocyte markers (osteocalcin and sclerostin) by Zfp467 was confirmed by Q-PCR. Intra-tibial injection of calvarial cells transduced with retroviral Zfp467 doubled the number of marrow adipocytes in C57Bl/6 mice compared with vector control-transduced cells, providing in vivo confirmation of a pro-adipogenic role of Zfp467. Furthermore, Zfp467 transactivated a PPAR-response element reporter construct and recruited a histone deacetylase complex. Thus Zfp467 is a novel co-factor that promotes adipocyte differentiation and suppresses osteoblast differentiation. This has relevance to therapeutic interventions in osteoporosis, including PTH-based therapies currently available, and may be of relevance for the use of adipose-derived stem cells for tissue engineering.
Testis-specific protein on Y chromosome (TSPY) is an ampliconic gene on the Y chromosome, and genetic interaction with gonadoblastoma has been clinically established. However, the function of the TSPY protein remains to be characterized in physiological and pathological settings. In the present study, we observed coexpression of TSPY and the androgen receptor (AR) in testicular germ-cell tumors (TGCTs) in patients as well as in model cell lines, but such coexpression was not seen in normal testis of humans or mice. TSPY was a repressor for androgen signaling because of its trapping of cytosolic AR even in the presence of androgen. Androgen treatment stimulated cell proliferation of a TGCT model cell line, and TSPY potently attenuated androgen-dependent cell growth. Together with the finding that TSPY expression is reduced in more malignant TGCTs in vivo, the present study suggests that TSPY serves as a repressor in androgen-induced tumor development in TGCTs and raises the possibility that TSPY could be used as a clinical marker to assess the malignancy of TGCTs.
Fat-soluble ligands like steroid hormones serve to activate nuclear receptors. Nuclear receptors are ligand-dependent transcription factors to transcriptionally activate sets of target genes, and such ligand-dependent transcription mediates a number of transcriptional coregulators. Since nuclear receptors form a gene superfamily, their protein structures are divided into several functional domains. The C-terminal ligand binding domain is structurally altered upon ligand binding, and switches interaction of co-transcriptional regulators; from co-repressors to co-activators. Likewise, owing to ligand-dependent structure alteration of the entire receptor proteins, the N-terminal domains of receptors become accessible to co-activators. Synthetic agonists/antagonists are potent to induce structural alteration in ligand-type dependent manner, resulting in pharmacological association with transcriptional co-regulators.
Methylation and demethylation of cytosine residues in the genomic DNA play key roles in a wide range of fundamental biological processes such as differentiation and development, genome stability, imprinting, X chromosome inactivation, carcinogenesis and aging. DNA methylation is considered to be a stable modification associated with the epigenetic silencing of genomic loci and maintained through cellular division. Recent studies however, suggest that DNA methylation and demethylation are considerably more dynamic than previously thought and may be involved in repression and derepression of gene activity during the lifespan of a cell. This article is focused on epigenetic mechanisms in the hormonal regulation of the cytochrome p450 27B1 or CYP27B1 gene activity that involve reversible epigenetic modifications to chromatin and DNA methylation profiles.
Multinucleation is indispensable for the bone-resorbing activity of mature osteoclasts. Although multinucleation is evident in mature osteoclasts and certain other cell types, putative regulatory networks among nuclei remain poorly characterized. To address this issue, transcriptional activity of each nucleus in a multinucleated osteoclast was assessed by detecting the distributions of nuclear proteins by immunocytochemistry and primary transcripts by RNA FISH. Patterns of epigenetic histone markers governing transcription as well as localization of tested nuclear receptor proteins appeared indistinguishable among nuclei in differentiated Raw264 cells and mouse mature osteoclasts. However, RNAPII-Ser5P/2P and NFATc1 proteins were selectively distributed in certain nuclei in the same cell. Similarly, the distributions of primary transcripts for osteoclast-specific genes (Nfatc1, Ctsk and Acp5) as well as a housekeeping gene (beta-tubulin) were limited in certain nuclei within individual cells. By fusing two Raw264 cell lines that stably expressed ZsGreen-NLS and DsRed-NLS proteins, transmission of nuclear proteins across all of the nuclei in a cell could be observed, presumably through the shared cytoplasm. Taken together, we conclude that although nuclear proteins are diffusible among nuclei, only certain nuclei within a multinucleated osteoclast are transcriptionally active.
Multinucleation is indispensable to the bone-resorbing activity of mature osteoclasts. Nevertheless, little is known about the regulatory networks among multi-nuclei in a single mature osteoclast. For this reason, we purified osteoclastic factors from the nuclear envelope by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Two annexin family proteins and ferritin light chain 1 protein were identified as osteoclastic candidates.
Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) are released from the bone marrow to the circulation by the cytokine, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, via sympathetic nervous system (SNS)-mediated osteoblast suppression. Because the orientation of HSPCs in their osteoblastic niche is reported to be guided by [Ca(2+)], we speculated on a cooperation between the calcium-regulating hormones and SNS in the regulation of HSPC trafficking. Here, we present the severe impairment of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-induced osteoblast suppression and subsequent HSPC mobilization in vitamin D receptor (VDR)-deficient mice. In osteoblasts, functional VDR possessing, at least in part, a transcriptional activity, was specifically induced by ?2-adrenergic receptor (AR) agonists. While ?2-AR agonists transiently increased mRNA expression of Vdr and its downstream gene, Rankl, 1?,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D(3) sustained the ?2-AR-induced Rankl expression at high level by stabilizing VDR protein. These data suggest that VDR is essential for durable ?2-AR signaling in the stem cell niche. Our study demonstrates not only a novel function of VDR as a critical modulator of HSPC trafficking, but also the presence of a SNS-mediated, bone-remodeling mechanism through VDR. VDR contributes to brain-bone-blood integration in an unanticipated way distinct from other classical calcium-regulating hormones.
Heparin cofactor II (HCII), a serine protease inhibitor, inhibits tissue thrombin action after binding with dermatan sulfate proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix of the vascular system. We previously reported that heterozygous HCII-deficient (HCII(+/-)) humans and mice demonstrate acceleration of vascular remodeling, including atherosclerosis. However, the action of HCII on cardiac remodeling never has been determined. HCII(+/+) and HCII(+/-) mice at age 25 weeks were infused with angiotensin II (Ang II; 2.0 mg/kg/d) for 2 weeks by an osmotic mini-pump. Echocardiography revealed acceleration of cardiac concentric remodeling in HCII(+/-) mice and larger left atrial volume in HCII(+/-) mice than in HCII(+/+) mice. Histopathologic studies showed more prominent interstitial fibrosis in both the left atrium and left ventricle in HCII(+/-) mice than in HCII(+/+) mice. Daily urinary excretion of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, a parameter of oxidative stress, and dihydroethidium-positive spots, indicating superoxide production in the myocardium, were markedly increased in Ang II-treated HCII(+/-) mice compared to those in HCII(+/+) mice. Cardiac gene expression levels of atrial natriuretic peptides and brain natriuretic peptides, members of the natriuretic peptide family, Nox 4, Rac-1, and p67(phox) as components of NAD(P)H oxidase, and transforming growth factor-beta1 and procollagen III were more augmented in HCII(+/-) mice than in HCII(+/+) mice. However, administration of human HCII protein attenuated all of those abnormalities in Ang II-treated HCII(+/-) mice. Moreover, human HCII protein supplementation almost abolished cardiac fibrosis in Ang II-treated HCII(+/+) mice. The results indicate that HCII has a protective role against Ang II-induced cardiac remodeling through suppression of the NAD(P)H oxidase-transforming growth factor-beta1 pathway.
The anabolic effects of androgens on skeletal muscles are thought to be mediated predominantly through the androgen receptor (AR), a member of the ligand-dependent nuclear receptor superfamily. However, despite numerous studies performed in men and in rodents, these effects remain poorly understood. To characterize androgen signaling in skeletal muscles, we generated mice in which the AR is selectively ablated in myofibers. We show that myocytic AR controls androgen-induced insulin-like growth factor IEa (IGF-IEa) expression in the highly androgen-sensitive perineal muscles and that it mediates androgen-stimulated postnatal hypertrophy of these muscles. In contrast, androgen-dependent postnatal hypertrophy of limb muscle fibers is independent of myocytic AR. Thus, androgens control perineal and limb muscle mass in male mice through myocytic AR-dependent and -independent pathways, respectively. Importantly, we also show that AR deficiency in limb myocytes impairs myofibrillar organization of sarcomeres and decreases muscle strength, thus demonstrating that myocytic AR controls key pathways required for maximum force production. These distinct androgen signaling pathways in perineal and limb muscles may allow the design of screens to identify selective androgen modulators of muscle strength.
The methylation states of histone lysine residues are regarded as significant epigenetic marks governing transcriptional regulation. A number of histone demethylases containing a jumonji C (JmjC) domain have been recognized; however, their properties remain to be investigated. Here, we show that KIAA1718, a PHF2/PHF8 subfamily member, possesses histone demethylase activity specific for H3K9 and H3K27, transcriptionally repressive histone marks. Biochemical purification of the KIAA1718 interactants reveals that KIAA1718 forms complexes with several factors including KAP1, a transcriptional co-activator. Consistent with these findings, KIAA1718 shows a transcriptional activation function in the chromatin context. Thus, our study identifies KIAA1718 as a histone demethylase for repressive methyl marks and shows that it is involved in transcriptional activation.
The two p160 transcriptional coregulator family members SRC-1 and TIF2 have important metabolic functions in white and brown adipose tissues as well as in the liver. To analyze TIF2 cell-autonomous functions in skeletal muscles, we generated TIF2((i)skm)?(/)? mice in which TIF2 was selectively ablated in skeletal muscle myofibers at adulthood. We found that increased mitochondrial uncoupling in skeletal muscle myocytes protected these mice from decreased muscle oxidative capacities induced by sedentariness, delayed the development of type 2 diabetes, and attenuated high-caloric-diet-induced obesity. Moreover, our results demonstrate that SRC-1 and TIF2 can modulate the expression of the uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) in an antagonistic manner and that enhanced SRC-1 levels in TIF2-deficient myofibers are critically involved in the metabolic changes of TIF2((i)skm)?(/)? mice. Thus, modulation of the expression and/or activity of these coregulators represents an attractive way to prevent or treat metabolic disorders.
Doxorubicin (Dox) has been used as a potent anticancer agent, but serious cardiotoxicity precludes its use in a wide range of patients. We have reported that the androgen-androgen receptor (AR) system plays important roles in cardiac growth and protection from angiotensin II-induced cardiac remodeling. The present study was undertaken to clarify whether the androgen-AR system exerts a cardioprotective effect against Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. Male AR knockout (ARKO) and age-matched littermate male wild-type (WT) mice at 25 wk of age were given ip injections of Dox (20 mg/kg) or a vehicle. The survival rate and left ventricular function in Dox-treated male ARKO mice were reduced compared with those in Dox-treated male WT mice. Electron microscopic study showed prominent vacuole formation of myocardial mitochondria in Dox-treated male ARKO mice. Cardiac oxidative stress and apoptosis of cardiomyocytes were increased more prominently by Dox treatment in male ARKO mice than in male WT mice. In addition, Dox-induced reduction in the expression of cardiac mitochondria transcription factor A (Tfam) and phosphorylation of serine-threonine kinase (Akt) was more pronounced in male ARKO mice than in male WT mice. In cardiac myoblast cells, testosterone up-regulated Akt phosphorylation and Tfam expression and exerted an antiapoptotic effect against Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. Collectively, the results demonstrate that Dox-induced cardiotoxicity is aggravated in male ARKO mice via exacerbation of mitochondrial damage and superoxide generation, leading to enhanced apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. Thus, the androgen-AR system is thought to counteract Dox-induced cardiotoxicity partly through activation of the Akt pathway and up-regulation of Tfam to protect cardiomyocytes from mitochondrial damage and apoptosis.
We analyzed vitamin D receptor (VDR) (-/-) mice fed either a normal diet or a rescue diet. Weanling VDR (-/-) mice had hypophosphatemia and hyperphosphaturia. Renal Na(+)-dependent inorganic phosphate (Pi) cotransport activity was significantly decreased in weanling VDR (-/-) mice. In VDR (+/+) mice, renal Npt2a/Npt2c/PiT-2 protein levels were significantly increased at 21 and 28 days of age compared with that at 1 day of age. Npt2c and PiT-2 protein levels were maximally expressed at 28 days of age. Npt2a protein levels were significantly decreased in mice at 28 days of age compared with 21 and 60 days of age. In VDR (-/-) mice, Npt2a/Npt2c/PiT-2 protein levels were considerably lower than those in age-matched VDR (+/+) mice at 21 and 28 days of age. The reduced Npt2a/Npt2c/PiT-2 protein recovered completely in VDR-null mice fed the rescue diet. Although Pi transport activity and Npt2b were reduced in the proximal intestine in VDR (-/-) mice, Npt2b protein levels were not reduced in the distal intestine in VDR (-/-) mice. The rescue diet did not affect intestinal Npt2b protein levels in VDR (-/-) mice. Thus, reduced intestinal Pi absorption in VDR (-/-) mice does not seem to be the only factor that causes hypophosphatemia; reduced Npt2a, Npt2c, or PiT-2 protein levels during development might also cause hypophosphatemia and rickets in VDR (-/-) mice. Furthermore, dietary intervention completely normalized the expression of the renal phosphate transporters (Npt2a/Npt2c/PiT-2) in VDR (-/-) mice, suggesting that the lack of VDR activity is not the cause of impaired renal phosphate reabsorption.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) is a member of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-activated transcriptional factors. Among other functions, PPAR-gamma acts as a key regulator of the adipogenesis. Since several cytokines (IL-1, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta) had been known to inhibit adipocyte differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), we examined the effect of these cytokines on the transactivation function of PPAR-gamma. We found that the TNF-alpha/IL-1-activated TAK1/TAB1/NIK (NFkappaB-inducible kinase) signaling cascade inhibited both the adipogenesis and Tro-induced transactivation by PPAR-gamma by blocking the receptor binding to the cognate DNA response elements. Furthermore, it has been shown that the noncanonical Wnts are expressed in MSCs and that Wnt-5a was capable to inhibit transactivation by PPAR-gamma. Treatment with Wnt5a-activated NLK (nemo-like kinase) induced physical association of the endogenous NLK and H3K9 histone methyltransferase (SETDB1) protein complexes with PPAR-gamma. This resulted in histoneH3K9 tri-methylation at PPAR-gamma target gene promoters. Overall, our data show that cytokines and noncanonical Wnts play a crucial role in modulation of PPAR-gamma regulatory function in its target cells and tissues.
Estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRalpha) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and regulates many physiological functions, including mitochondrial biogenesis and lipid metabolism. ERRalpha enhances the transactivation function without endogenous ligand by associating with coactivators such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha and beta (PGC-1alpha and -beta) and members of the steroid receptor coactivator family. However, the molecular mechanism by which the transactivation function of ERRalpha is converted from a repressive state to an active state is poorly understood. Here we used biochemical purification techniques to identify ERRalpha-associated proteins in HeLa cells stably expressing ERRalpha. Interestingly, we found that double PHD fingers protein DPF2/BAF45d suppressed PGC-1alpha-dependent transactivation of ERRalpha by recognizing acetylated histone H3 and associating with HDAC1. DPF2 directly bound to ERRalpha and suppressed the transactivation function of nuclear receptors such as androgen receptor. DPF2 was recruited to ERR target gene promoters in myoblast cells, and knockdown of DPF2 derepressed the level of mRNA expressed by target genes of ERRalpha. These results show that DPF2 acts as a nuclear receptor-selective co-repressor for ERRalpha by associating with both acetylated histone H3 and HDAC1.
Mature osteoclasts are multinuclear, macrophage-like cells derived from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. Several transcription factors regulating osteoclast differentiation have been identified. However, the molecular basis of transcriptional regulation in osteoclasts at epigenetic levels is largely unknown. In fact, no osteoclast-specific transcriptional co-regulators have been characterized. Recently, selective ablation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) in mature osteoclasts derived from female mice (ERalpha(Deltaoc/Deltaoc)) exhibited trabecular bone loss due to induced apoptosis via upregulated expression of Fas ligand mRNA. In general, the component composition of the ERalpha-associated co-activator complex and its expression levels are distinct among tissues. However, ERalpha transcriptional co-regulators in mature osteoclasts remain unclear. In the present study, we achieved large-scale cultivation of mature, multinucleated osteoclasts and established a purification system for ERalpha-associated proteins. In addition to co-regulators previously found in other ERalpha target cells, several unexpected factors were found such as CAP-H. The mRNA expression level of CAP-H was high during osteoclast differentiation. These results demonstrate the existence of osteoclast-specific transcriptional co-regulators supporting ERalpha function.
Controlling osteoclastogenesis is critical to maintain physiological bone homeostasis and prevent skeletal disorders. Although signaling activating nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATc1), a transcription factor essential for osteoclastogenesis, has been intensively investigated, factors antagonistic to NFATc1 in osteoclasts have not been characterized. Here, we describe a novel pathway that maintains bone homeostasis via two transcriptional repressors, B cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl6) and B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp1). We show that Bcl6 directly targets osteoclastic molecules such as NFATc1, cathepsin K, and dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP), all of which are targets of NFATc1. Bcl6-overexpression inhibited osteoclastogenesis in vitro, whereas Bcl6-deficient mice showed accelerated osteoclast differentiation and severe osteoporosis. We report that Bcl6 is a direct target of Blimp1 and that mice lacking Blimp1 in osteoclasts exhibit osteopetrosis caused by impaired osteoclastogenesis resulting from Bcl6 up-regulation. Indeed, mice doubly mutant in Blimp1 and Bcl6 in osteoclasts exhibited decreased bone mass with increased osteoclastogenesis relative to osteoclast-specific Blimp1-deficient mice. These results reveal a Blimp1-Bcl6-osteoclastic molecule axis, which critically regulates bone homeostasis by controlling osteoclastogenesis and may provide a molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies.
The essential osteoblast-related transcription factor Runx2 and the female steroid hormone estrogen are known to play pivotal roles in bone homeostasis; however, the functional interaction between Runx2- and estrogen-mediated signaling in skeletal tissues is minimally understood. Here we provide evidence that aromatase (CYP19), a rate-limiting enzyme responsible for estrogen biosynthesis in mammals, is transcriptionally regulated by Runx2. Consistent with the presence of multiple Runx2 binding sites, the binding of Runx2 to the aromatase promoter was demonstrated in vitro and confirmed in vivo by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. The bone-specific aromatase promoter is activated by Runx2, and endogenous aromatase gene expression is upregulated by Runx2 overexpression, establishing the aromatase gene as a target of Runx2. The biological significance of the Runx2 transcriptional control of the aromatase gene is reflected by the enhanced estrogen biosynthesis in response to Runx2 in cultured cells. Reduced in vivo expression of skeletal aromatase gene and low bone mineral density are evident in Runx2 mutant mice. Collectively, these findings uncover a novel link between Runx2-mediated osteoblastogenic processes and the osteoblast-mediated biosynthesis of estrogen as an osteoprotective steroid hormone.
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The bone mass, which is controlled by the balances between bone formation and bone resorption can be reduced by estrogen deficiency in post-menopausal osteoporosis. Reduced bone mass can be recovered by hormone replacement therapy (HRT) , however, HRT has various side effects. Although SERMs can rescue the bone mass with less side effect compared to HRT, the precise mechanisms of this effect is still elusive. From the results of the analyses for osteoclast specific estrogen receptor (ER) alphaknockout mice and the genome wide approach of ERalphabinding site, estrogen and SERMs can, at least in part, protect the bone mass by inducing the expression of Fas ligand and controling the life span of osteoclasts. More precise molecular mechanisms of the effect of SERM, especially in tissue/cell type specificity, may help to investigate new SERM, which is more specific and effective to treat post-menopausal osteoporosis.
The mechanisms of testosterone-induced vasodilatation are not fully understood. This study investigated the effect of testosterone on nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and its molecular mechanism using human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC). Testosterone at physiological concentrations (1-100 nm) induced a rapid (15-30 min) increase in NO production, which was associated with phosphorylation and activation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Then, the involvement of the androgen receptor (AR), which is abundantly expressed in HAEC, was examined. The effect of testosterone on eNOS activation and NO production were abolished by pretreatment with an AR antagonist nilutamide and by transfection with AR small interference RNA. In contrast, testosterone-induced eNOS phosphorylation was unchanged by pretreatment with an aromatase inhibitor or by transfection with ERalpha small interference RNA. 5alpha-Dihydrotestosterone, a nonaromatizable androgen, also stimulated eNOS phosphorylation. Next, the signaling cascade that leads to eNOS phosphorylation was explored. Testosterone stimulated rapid phosphorylation of Akt in a time- and dose-dependent manner, with maximal response at 15-60 min. The rapid phosphorylation of eNOS or NO production induced by testosterone was inhibited by Akt inhibitor SH-5 or by phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin. Co-immunoprecipitation assays revealed a testosterone-dependent interaction between AR and the p85alpha subunit of PI3-kinase. In conclusion, testosterone rapidly induces NO production via AR-dependent activation of eNOS in HAEC. Activation of PI3-kinase/Akt signaling and the direct interaction of AR with p85alpha are involved, at least in part, in eNOS phosphorylation.
O-glycosylation has emerged as an important modification of nuclear proteins, and it appears to be involved in gene regulation. Recently, we have shown that one of the histone methyl transferases (MLL5) is activated through O-glycosylation by O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). Addition of this monosaccharide is essential for forming a functional complex. However, in spite of the abundance of OGT in the nucleus, the impact of nuclear O-glycosylation by OGT remains largely unclear. To address this issue, the present study was undertaken to test the impact of nuclear O-glycosylation in a monocytic cell line, THP-1. Using a cytokine array, MIP-1alpha and -1beta genes were found to be regulated by nuclear O-glycosylation. Biochemical purification of the OGT interactants from THP-1 revealed that OGT is an associating partner for distinct co-regulatory complexes. OGT recruitment and protein O-glycosylation were observed at the MIP-1alpha gene promoter; however, the known OGT partner (HCF-1) was absent when the MIP-1alpha gene promoter was not activated. From these findings, we suggest that OGT could be a co-regulatory subunit shared by functionally distinct complexes supporting epigenetic regulation.
Androgen is well established to exert anabolic action for skeletal tissues beyond sex difference. However, the target cells/genes remain to be identified. Recently, we have generated a mouse line selectively ablated androgen receptor gene in osteoclasts, and found osteoporotic phenotype in male mutants, indicating that anabolic androgen action is attributed to its repressive action for bone resorption.
Regulation of irreversible cell lineage commitment depends on a delicate balance between positive and negative regulators, which comprise a sophisticated network of transcription factors. Receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL) stimulates the differentiation of bone-resorbing osteoclasts through the induction of nuclear factor of activated T cells c1 (NFATc1), the essential transcription factor for osteoclastogenesis. Osteoclast-specific robust induction of NFATc1 is achieved through an autoamplification mechanism, in which NFATc1 is constantly activated by calcium signaling while the negative regulators of NFATc1 are suppressed. However, it has been unclear how such negative regulators are repressed during osteoclastogenesis. Here we show that B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp1; encoded by Prdm1), which is induced by RANKL through NFATc1 during osteoclastogenesis, functions as a transcriptional repressor of anti-osteoclastogenic genes such as Irf8 and Mafb. Overexpression of Blimp1 leads to an increase in osteoclast formation, and Prdm1-deficient osteoclast precursor cells do not undergo osteoclast differentiation efficiently. The importance of Blimp1 in bone homeostasis is underscored by the observation that mice with an osteoclast-specific deficiency in the Prdm1 gene exhibit a high bone mass phenotype caused by a decreased number of osteoclasts. Thus, NFATc1 choreographs the determination of cell fate in the osteoclast lineage by inducing the repression of negative regulators as well as through its effect on positive regulators.
The role of aldosterone has been implicated in the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases. The biological actions of aldosterone are mediated through mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). Nuclear receptor-mediated gene expression is regulated by dynamic and coordinated recruitment of coactivators and corepressors. To identify new coregulators of the MR, full-length MR was used as bait in yeast two-hybrid screening. We isolated NF-YC, one of the subunits of heterotrimeric transcription factor NF-Y. Specific interaction between MR and NF-YC was confirmed by yeast two-hybrid, mammalian two-hybrid, coimmunoprecipitation assays, and fluorescence subcellular imaging. Transient transfection experiments in COS-7 cells demonstrated that NF-YC repressed MR transactivation in a hormone-sensitive manner. Moreover, reduction of NF-YC protein levels by small interfering RNA potentiated hormonal activation of endogenous target genes in stably MR-expressing cells, indicating that NF-YC functions as an agonist-dependent MR corepressor. The corepressor function of NF-YC is selective for MR, because overexpression of NF-YC did not affect transcriptional activity mediated by androgen, progesterone, or glucocorticoid receptors. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that endogenous MR and steroid receptor coactivator-1 were recruited to an endogenous ENaC gene promoter in a largely aldosterone-dependent manner, and endogenous NF-YC was sequentially recruited to the same element. Immunohistochemistry showed that endogenous MR and NF-YC were colocalized within the mouse kidney. Although aldosterone induces interaction of the N and C termini of MR, NF-YC inhibited the N/C interaction. These findings indicate that NF-YC functions as a new corepressor of agonist-bound MR via alteration of aldosterone-induced MR conformation.
It has been well established that estrogen is involved in the pathophysiology of breast cancer. Estrogen receptor (ER) alpha appears to promote the proliferation of cancer tissues, while ERbeta can protect against the mitogenic effect of estrogen in breast tissue. The expression status of ERalpha and ERbeta may greatly influence on the development, treatment, and prognosis of breast cancer. Previous studies have indicated that the deleted in breast cancer 1 (DBC1/KIAA1967) gene product has roles in regulating functions of nuclear receptors. The gene encoding DBC1 is a candidate for tumor suppressor identified by genetic search for breast cancer. Caspase-dependent processing of DBC1 promotes apoptosis, and depletion of the endogenous DBC1 negatively regulates p53-dependent apoptosis through its specific inhibition of SIRT1. In addition, DBC1 modulates ERalpha expression and promotes breast cancer cell survival by binding to ERalpha. Here we report an ERbeta-specific repressive function of DBC1. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence studies show that ERbeta and DBC1 interact in a ligand-independent manner similar to ERalpha. In vitro pull-down assays revealed a direct interaction between DBC1 amino-terminus and activation function-1/2 domain of ERbeta. Although DBC1 shows no influence on the ligand-dependent transcriptional activation function of ERalpha, the expression of DBC1 negatively regulates the ligand-dependent transcriptional activation function of ERbetain vivo, and RNA interference-mediated depletion of DBC1 stimulates the transactivation function of ERbeta. These results implicate the principal role of DBC1 in regulating ERbeta-dependent gene expressions.
Recent epidemiological studies have found that androgen deficiency is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in men. However, little is known about the mechanism underlying the cardioprotective effects of androgens. Here we show the inhibitory effects of testosterone on vascular calcification and a critical role of androgen receptor (AR)-dependent transactivation of growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6), a key regulator of inorganic phosphate (P(i))-induced calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Testosterone and nonaromatizable androgen dihydrotestosterone inhibited P(i)-induced calcification of human aortic VSMC in a concentration-dependent manner. Androgen inhibited P(i)-induced VSMC apoptosis, an essential process for VSMC calcification. The effects on VSMC calcification were mediated by restoration of P(i)-induced down-regulation of Gas6 expression and a subsequent reduction of Akt phosphorylation. These effects of androgen were blocked by an AR antagonist, flutamide, but not by an estrogen receptor antagonist, ICI 182,780. We then explored the mechanistic role of the AR in Gas6 expression and found an abundant expression of AR predominantly in the nucleus of VSMC and two consensus ARE sequences in the Gas6 promoter region. Dihydrotestosterone stimulated Gas6 promoter activity, and this effect was abrogated by flutamide and by AR siRNA. Site-specific mutation revealed that the proximal ARE was essential for androgen-dependent transactivation of Gas6. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated ligand-dependent binding of the AR to the proximal ARE of Gas6. These results indicate that AR signaling directly regulates Gas6 transcription, which leads to inhibition of vascular calcification, and provides a mechanistic insight into the cardioprotective action of androgens.
Bone tissue protects and supports soft organs and maintains calcium homeostasis. Steroid sex hormones and fat-soluble vitamins play a pivotal role in regulation of bone homeostasis, turnover and remodeling. These molecules act as ligands of nuclear receptors, through which they control gene expression in bone cells, namely bone-forming osteoblasts, bone-resorptive osteoclasts and osteocytes. Significant advances in our understanding of nuclear receptor physiology have been achieved due to development of novel genetic manipulation approaches and generation of experimental animal models in which nuclear receptor genes were mutated in specific cell types. In this review, we summarized some aspects of recent progress in studies on molecular mechanisms of cell-specific action of nuclear hormone receptors in bone tissue.
Chromatin reorganization is essential for transcriptional control by sequence-specific transcription factors. However, the molecular link between transcriptional control and chromatin reconfiguration remains unclear. By colocalization of the nuclear ecdysone receptor (EcR) on the ecdysone-induced puff in the salivary gland, Drosophila DEK (dDEK) was genetically identified as a coactivator of EcR in both insect cells and intact flies. Biochemical purification and characterization of the complexes containing fly and human DEKs revealed that DEKs serve as histone chaperones via phosphorylation by forming complexes with casein kinase 2. Consistent with the preferential association of the DEK complex with histones enriched in active epigenetic marks, dDEK facilitated H3.3 assembly during puff formation. In some human myeloid leukemia patients, DEK was fused to CAN by chromosomal translocation. This mutation significantly reduced formation of the DEK complex, which is required for histone chaperone activity. Thus, the present study suggests that at least one histone chaperone can be categorized as a type of transcriptional coactivator for nuclear receptors.
A highly efficient screening method for naturally occurring products that bind to a specific target protein was demonstrated by using hVDR magnetic beads. The native ligand 1alpha,25(OH)2 VD3 (1) was selectively bound by hVDR magnetic beads when present in a mixture of natural compounds. Furthermore, this method was shown to be applicable to the identification of natural products that interact with a specific protein immobilized on the beads from an extract of a natural resource. Two new natural compounds were isolated by this method. This approach will be helpful for the discovery of novel, naturally occurring products that bind to specific target proteins. This method has the further advantages that it can identify the HPLC peak corresponding to the target compound for isolation, as well as provide important UV, CD, or MS profile information.
The osteoprotective action of estrogen in women has drawn considerable attention because estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis became one of the most widely spread diseases in developed countries. In men, the significance of estrogen action for bone health maintenance is also apparent from the osteoporotic phenotype seen in male patients with genetically impaired estrogen signaling. Severe bone loss and high bone turnover, including typical osteofeatures seen in postmenopausal women, can also be recapitulated in rodents after ovariectomy. However, the expected osteoporotic phenotype is not observed in female mice deficient in estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha or -beta or both, even though the degenerative defects are clearly seen in other estrogen target tissues together with up-regulated levels of circulating testosterone. It has also been reported that estrogens may attenuate bone remodeling by cell autonomous suppressive effects on osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis. Hence, the effects of estrogens in bone appear to be complex, and the molecular role of bone estrogen receptors in osteoprotective estrogen action remains unclear. Instead, it has been proposed that estrogens indirectly control bone remodeling. For example, the enhanced production of cytokines under estrogen deficiency induces bone resorption through stimulation of osteoclastogenesis. However, the osteoporotic phenotype without systemic defects has been recapitulated in female (but not in male) mice by osteoclast-specific ablation of the ERalpha, proving that bone cells represent direct targets for estrogen action. An aberrant accumulation of mature osteoclasts in these female mutants indicates that in females, the inhibitory action of estrogens on bone resorption is mediated by the osteoclastic ERalpha through the shortened lifespan of osteoclasts.
Changes in the environment of a cell precipitate extracellular signals and sequential cascades of protein modification and elicit nuclear transcriptional responses. However, the functional links between intracellular signaling-dependent gene regulation and epigenetic regulation by chromatin-modifying proteins within the nucleus are largely unknown. Here, we describe novel epigenetic regulation by MAPK cascades that modulate formation of an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex, WINAC (WSTF Including Nucleosome Assembly Complex), an SWI/SNF-type complex containing Williams syndrome transcription factor (WSTF). WSTF, a specific component of two chromatin remodeling complexes (SWI/SNF-type WINAC and ISWI-type WICH), was phosphorylated by the stimulation of MAPK cascades in vitro and in vivo. Ser-158 residue in the WAC (WSTF/Acf1/cbpq46) domain, located close to the N terminus of WSTF, was identified as a major phosphorylation target. Using biochemical analysis of a WSTF mutant (WSTF-S158A) stably expressing cell line, the phosphorylation of this residue (Ser-158) was found to be essential for maintaining the association between WSTF and core BAF complex components, thereby maintaining the ATPase activity of WINAC. WINAC-dependent transcriptional regulation of vitamin D receptor was consequently impaired by this WSTF mutation, but the recovery from DNA damage mediated by WICH was not impaired. Our results suggest that WSTF serves as a nuclear sensor of the extracellular signals to fine-tune the chromatin remodeling activity of WINAC. WINAC mediates a previously unknown MAPK-dependent step in epigenetic regulation, and this MAPK-dependent switching mechanism between the two functionally distinct WSTF-containing complexes might underlie the diverse functions of WSTF in various nuclear events.
Estrogens play a key role in regulation of bone mass and strength by controlling activity of bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts. Cellular effects of estrogens are mediated predominantly by the action of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha). In earlier studies, ablation of the ERalpha gene in mice did not result in osteoporotic phenotypes due to systemic endocrine disturbance and compensatory effects of elevated levels of testosterone. Despite the relatively well-established effects in osteoblasts, little is known about the direct action of estrogen in osteoclasts. Development in the last decade of more sophisticated genetic manipulation approaches opened new possibilities to explore cell-specific roles of nuclear receptors in bone tissue. Recently, we have generated osteoclast-specific ERalpha gene knockout mice and shown that in vivo estrogens directly regulate the life span of mature osteoclasts by inducing the expression of pro-apoptotic Fas ligand (FasL). Inhibitory effects of estrogens on osteoclast function were further studied in vitro. We observed sufficiently detectable ERalpha expression in osteoclasts differentiating from primary bone marrow cells or RAW264 cells, although levels of ERalpha were decreasing during progression of the differentiation into mature osteoclasts. Treatment with estrogens led to reduction in expression of osteoclast-specific genes controlling bone resorption activity. However, estrogens did not affect the size of multinucleated osteoclasts or number of nuclei in a mature osteoclast. In conclusion, in osteoclasts, estrogens function to inhibit bone resorption activity and vitality rather than differentiation.
Epigenetic modifications at the histone level affect gene regulation in response to extracellular signals. However, regulated epigenetic modifications at the DNA level, especially active DNA demethylation, in gene activation are not well understood. Here we report that DNA methylation/demethylation is hormonally switched to control transcription of the cytochrome p450 27B1 (CYP27B1) gene. Reflecting vitamin-D-mediated transrepression of the CYP27B1 gene by the negative vitamin D response element (nVDRE), methylation of CpG sites ((5m)CpG) is induced by vitamin D in this gene promoter. Conversely, treatment with parathyroid hormone, a hormone known to activate the CYP27B1 gene, induces active demethylation of the (5m)CpG sites in this promoter. Biochemical purification of a complex associated with the nVDRE-binding protein (VDIR, also known as TCF3) identified two DNA methyltransferases, DNMT1 and DNMT3B, for methylation of CpG sites, as well as a DNA glycosylase, MBD4 (ref. 10). Protein-kinase-C-phosphorylated MBD4 by parathyroid hormone stimulation promotes incision of methylated DNA through glycosylase activity, and a base-excision repair process seems to complete DNA demethylation in the MBD4-bound promoter. Such parathyroid-hormone-induced DNA demethylation and subsequent transcriptional derepression are impaired in Mbd4(-/-) mice. Thus, the present findings suggest that methylation switching at the DNA level contributes to the hormonal control of transcription.
Intestinal cancer is one of the most common human cancers. Aberrant activation of the canonical Wnt signaling cascade, for example, caused by adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene mutations, leads to increased stabilization and accumulation of beta-catenin, resulting in initiation of intestinal carcinogenesis. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) has dual roles in regulating intracellular protein levels both as a ligand-activated transcription factor and as a ligand-dependent E3 ubiquitin ligase. Here, we show that the AhR E3 ubiquitin ligase has a role in suppression of intestinal carcinogenesis by a previously undescribed ligand-dependent beta-catenin degradation pathway that is independent of and parallel to the APC system. This function of AhR is activated by both xenobiotics and natural AhR ligands, such as indole derivatives that are converted from dietary tryptophan and glucosinolates by intestinal microbes, and suppresses intestinal tumor development in Apc(Min/+) mice. These findings suggest that chemoprevention with naturally-occurring and chemically-designed AhR ligands can be used to successfully prevent intestinal cancers.
Histone acetyl transferases (HATs) play a crucial role in eukaryotes by regulating chromatin architecture and locus-specific transcription. The GCN5 HAT was identified as a subunit of the SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5-Acetyltransferase) multiprotein complex. Vertebrate cells express a second HAT, PCAF, that is 73% identical to GCN5. Here, we report the characterization of the mammalian ATAC (Ada-Two-A-Containing) complexes containing either GCN5 or PCAF in a mutually exclusive manner. In vitro ATAC complexes acetylate lysine 14 of histone H3. Moreover, ATAC- or SAGA-specific knock-down experiments suggest that both ATAC and SAGA are involved in the acetylation of histone H3K9 and K14 residues. Despite their catalytic similarities, SAGA and ATAC execute their coactivator functions on distinct sets of inducible target genes. Interestingly, ATAC strongly influences the global phosphorylation level of histone H3S10, suggesting that in mammalian cells a cross-talk exists linking ATAC function to H3S10 phosphorylation.
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