Glycoproteins carrying O-linked N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylgluco-samine, mannose, fucose, glucose, and xylose are found in the nervous system. Lipids can be glycosylated as well. Membrane lipid, ceramide, is modified by the addition of either glucose or galactose to form glycosphingolipid, galactosylceramide, or glucosylceramide. Recent analyses have identified glucosylated lipids of cholesterol and phosphatidic acid. These O-linked carbohydrate residues are found primarily on the outer surface of the plasma membrane or in the extracellular space. Their expression is cell or tissue specific and developmentally regulated. Due to their structural diversity, they play important roles in a variety of biological processes such as membrane transport and cell-cell interactions.
Myelin, a multilamellar structure extended from oligodendrocytes or Schwann cells, plays a critical role in maintenance of neuronal function, and damage or loss of myelin causes demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. For precise alignment of the myelin sheath, there is a requirement for expression of galactosylceramide (GalCer), a major glycosphingolipid in myelin. Synthesis of GalCer is strictly limited in oligodendrocytes in a developmental stage-specific manner. Ceramide galactosyltransferase (CGT), a key enzyme for biosynthesis of GalCer, exhibits restricted expression in oligodendrocytes but the mechanism is poorly understood. Based on our assumption that particular oligodendrocyte-lineage-specific transcription factors regulate CGT expression, we co-expressed a series of candidate transcription factors with the human CGT promoter-driving luciferase expression in oligodendroglioma cells to measure the promoter activity. We found that Nkx2.2 strongly activated the CGT promoter. In addition, we identified a novel repressive DNA element in the first intron of CGT and OLIG2, an oligodendrocyte-specific transcription factor, as a binding protein of this element. Moreover, overexpression of OLIG2 completely canceled the activating effect of Nkx2.2 on CGT promoter activity. Expression of CGT mRNA was also upregulated by Nkx2.2, but this upregulation was cancelled by co-expression of OLIG2 with Nkx2.2. Our study suggests that CGT expression is controlled by balanced expression of the negative modulator OLIG2 and positive regulator Nkx2.2, providing new insights into how expression of GalCer is tightly regulated in cell-type- and stage-specific manners.
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) often becomes refractory, and patients with TLE show a high incidence of psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is necessary to identify molecules that were previously unknown to contribute to epilepsy and its associated disorders. We previously found that the sialyltransferase ST3Gal IV is up-regulated within the neural circuits through which amygdala-kindling stimulation propagates epileptic seizures. In contrast, this study demonstrated that kindling stimulation failed to evoke epileptic seizures in ST3Gal IV-deficient mice. Furthermore, approximately 80% of these mice failed to show tonic-clonic seizures with stimulation, whereas all littermate wild-type mice showed tonic-clonic seizures. This indicates that the loss of ST3Gal IV does not cause TLE in mice. Meanwhile, ST3Gal IV-deficient mice exhibited decreased acclimation in the open field test, increased immobility in the forced swim test, enhanced freezing during delay auditory fear conditioning, and sleep disturbances. Thus, the loss of ST3Gal IV modulates anxiety-related behaviors. These findings indicate that ST3Gal IV is a key molecule in the mechanisms underlying anxiety - a side effect of TLE - and may therefore also be an effective target for treating epilepsy, acting through the same circuits. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) often becomes refractory, and the patients show a high incidence of psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety and depression. We indicate that the loss of sialyltransferase ST3Gal IV protects against TLE in mice, while exhibits decreased acclimation in the open field, increased immobility in the forced swim, and enhanced freezing during delay auditory fear conditioning. These findings indicate that ST3Gal IV is an effective target for treating epilepsy, and is a key molecule in the mechanisms underlying anxiety.
Growth hormone (GH) has been implicated in a variety of brain functions, including neural development, cognition, and neuroprotection. The biological effects of GH are known to rely on the binding of GH to the GH receptor (GHR), yet the resulting signals in the brain remain poorly understood. The present study investigated the effects of hippocampal infusions of recombinant GH and a GHR antagonist on the expression of immediate early genes (IEGs) and behavioral responses in mice. The infusions induced differential expression of Arc, Nr4a1, and Npas4 mRNAs among the IEGs. The infusions also elicited differential behavioral responses, such as varied levels of spontaneous locomotion, self-grooming, and frequency of access to the corner fields in the open-field test. Polynomial regression analyses and canonical discriminant analyses between gene expression and behavioral changes demonstrated that the expression level of Arc mRNA was strongly correlated with locomotor activity level (r = 0.71 and 0.92 on days 8 and 10, respectively) and that the correlation was completely discriminable between drugs (error rate = 0%). This analysis also revealed that a decrease in Npas4 mRNA was negatively correlated with the number of corner accesses (r = -0.63) and that this correlation was partially discriminable between drugs (error rate = 16.67%). Taken together, these results suggest that the GH-GHR complex modulates Arc and Npas4 signaling, which affects spontaneous locomotor and exploratory behaviors.
SDF-1/CXCR4 signalling plays an important role in neuronal cell migration and brain development. However, the impact of CXCR4 deficiency in the postnatal mouse brain is still poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate the importance of CXCR4 on cerebellar development and motor behaviour by conditional inactivation of Cxcr4 in the central nervous system. We found CXCR4 plays a key role in cerebellar development. Its loss leads to defects in Purkinje cell dentritogenesis and axonal projection in vivo but not in cell culture. Transcriptome analysis revealed the most significantly affected pathways in the Cxcr4 deficient developing cerebellum are involved in extra cellular matrix receptor interactions and focal adhesion. Consistent with functional impairment of the cerebellum, Cxcr4 knockout mice have poor coordination and balance performance in skilled motor tests. Together, these results suggest ectopic the migration of granule cells impairs development of Purkinje cells, causes gross cerebellar anatomical disruption and leads to behavioural motor defects in Cxcr4 null mice.
Cholesteryl glucoside (?-ChlGlc), a monoglucosylated derivative of cholesterol, is involved in the regulation of heat shock responses. ?-ChlGlc, which is rapidly induced in response to heat shock, activates heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) leading to the expression of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) in human fibroblasts. Identification and biochemical characterization of the enzyme responsible for ?-ChlGlc formation is important for a complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to HSP70-induction following heat shock. Recently, we demonstrated that ?-ChlGlc synthesis is not dependent on UDP-Glucose but glucosylceramide (GlcCer) in animal tissue and human fibroblasts. In this study, we examined the possibility of glucocerebrosidase, a GlcCer-degrading glycosidase, acting as ?-ChlGlc-synthesizing enzyme. Overexpression of ?-glucosidase 1 (GBA1, lysosomal acid ?-glucocerebrosidase) led to an increase in cholesterol glucosylation activity in human fibroblasts. Using a cell line generated from type 2 Gaucher disease patients with severe defects in GBA1 activity, we found that cholesterol glucosylation activity was very low in the cells and the overexpression of GBA1 rescued the activity. In addition, purified recombinant GBA1 exhibits conduritol B-epoxide-sensitive cholesterol glucosylation activity. The optimum pH and temperature for cholesterol glucosylation by GBA1 were at about 5.3 and 43°C, respectively. Short chain C8:0-GlcCer was the most effective donor for cholesterol glucosylation activity among GlcCer containing saturated fatty acid (C8:0 to C18:0) tested. GlcCer containing mono-unsaturated fatty acid was more preferred substrate for cholesterol glucosylation when compared with GlcCer containing same chain length of saturated fatty acid. These results demonstrate, for the first time, a novel function of GBA1 as a ?-ChlGlc-synthesizing enzyme. Therefore, our results also reveal a new pathway for glycolipid metabolism in mammals.
The fluorescent protein toolbox has revolutionized experimental biology. Despite this advance, no fluorescent proteins have been identified from vertebrates, nor has chromogenic ligand-inducible activation or clinical utility been demonstrated. Here, we report the cloning and characterization of UnaG, a fluorescent protein from Japanese eel. UnaG belongs to the fatty-acid-binding protein (FABP) family, and expression in eel is restricted to small-diameter muscle fibers. On heterologous expression in cell lines or mouse brain, UnaG produces oxygen-independent green fluorescence. Remarkably, UnaG fluorescence is triggered by an endogenous ligand, bilirubin, a membrane-permeable heme metabolite and clinical health biomarker. The holoUnaG structure at 1.2 Å revealed a biplanar coordination of bilirubin by reversible ?-conjugation, and we used this high-affinity and high-specificity interaction to establish a fluorescence-based human bilirubin assay with promising clinical utility. UnaG will be the prototype for a versatile class of ligand-activated fluorescent proteins, with applications in research, medicine, and bioengineering.
In order to examine the potential involvement of gangliosides in AD (Alzheimers disease), we compared the ganglioside compositions of the brains of a double-transgenic (Tg) mouse model [APP (amyloid precursor protein)/PSEN1 (presenilin)] of AD and a triple mutant mouse model with an additional deletion of the GD3S (GD3-synthase) gene (APP/PSEN1/GD3S(-/-)). These animals were chosen since it was previously reported that APP/PSEN1/GD3S(-/-) triple-mutant mice performed as well as WT (wild-type) control and GD3S(-/-) mice on a number of reference memory tasks. Cholinergic neuron-specific gangliosides, such as GT1a? and GQ1b?, were elevated in the brains of double-Tg mice (APP/PSEN1), as compared with those of WT mice. Remarkably, in the triple mutant mouse brains (APP/PSEN1/GD3S(-/-)), the concentration of GT1a? was elevated and as expected there was no expression of GQ1b?. On the other hand, the level of c-series gangliosides, including GT3, was significantly reduced in the double-Tg mouse brain as compared with the WT. Thus, the disruption of the gene of a specific ganglioside-synthase, GD3S, altered the expression of cholinergic neuron-specific gangliosides. Our data thus suggest the intriguing possibility that the elevated cholinergic-specific ganglioside, GT1a?, in the triple mutant mouse brains (APP/PSEN1/GD3S(-/-)) may contribute to the memory retention in these mice.
Ceramide, cholesterol, and phosphatidic acid are major basic structures for cell membrane lipids. These lipids are modified with glucose to generate glucosylceramide (GlcCer), cholesterylglucoside (ChlGlc), and phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc), respectively. Glucosylation dramatically changes the functional properties of lipids. For instance, ceramide acts as a strong tumor suppressor that causes apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, while GlcCer has an opposite effect, downregulating ceramide activities. All glucosylated lipids are enriched in lipid rafts or microdomains and play fundamental roles in a variety of cellular processes. In this review, we discuss the biological functions and metabolism of these three glucosylated lipids.
The acetyl-CoA (Ac-CoA) transporter, ACATN is a multiple (11 or 12) transmembrane protein in the endoplasmic reticulum. Ac-CoA is transported into the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi apparatus, where it serves as the substrate of acetyltransferases that modify a variety of molecules including the sialic acid residues of gangliosides and lysine residues of membrane proteins. The ACATN gene, assigned as SLC33A1, was cloned from human melanoma cells and encodes the ACATN/ACATN1 (Acetyl-CoA Transporter 1) protein. Although homologs of this family of proteins have been identified in lower organisms such as Escherichia coli, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, only one member of this SLC33A1 family has been identified. Although acetylated gangliosides are synthesized in the luminal Golgi membrane and show a highly tissue-specific distribution, ACATN1 is enriched in the ER membrane and is ubiquitously expressed. Phylogenetically, the SLC33A1 gene is highly conserved, suggesting that it is particularly significant. In fact, ACATN1 is essential for motor neuron viability. SLC33A1 is associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Spastic Paraplegia 42, in the Chinese population.
HA14-1 is a Bcl-2 inhibitor that is widely used for studies of apoptosis. In the course of searching for a ceramide glucosyltransferase inhibitor that catalyzes the first glycosylation step of glycosphingolipid synthesis, we unexpectedly found that HA-14-1 also has the ability to inhibit ceramide glucosyltransferase. The IC50 value of HA14-1 against ceramide glucosyltransferase is 4.5?M, which is lower than that reported for Bcl-2 in vitro. Kinetic analyses revealed that HA14-1 is a competitive and mixed-type inhibitor with respect to C6-NBD-ceramide and UDP-glucose, respectively.
Targeted disruption in mice of the gene encoding D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (Phgdh) results in embryonic lethality associated with a striking reduction in free L-serine and growth retardation including severe brain malformation. We previously observed a severe impairment in neurogenesis of the central nervous system of Phgdh knockout (KO) embryos and a reduction in the protein content of their brains. Although these findings suggest that L-serine deficiency links attenuation of mRNA translation to severe developmental malformation of the central nervous system, the underlying key molecular event remains unexplored. Here we demonstrate that mRNA of Eif4ebp1 encoding eukaryotic initiation factor 4 binding protein 1 and its protein, 4E-BP1, are markedly induced in the central nervous system of Phgdh KO embryos, whereas a modest induction is observed in the liver. The increase in 4E-BP1 was associated with a decrease in the cap initiation complex in the brain, as shown by lower levels of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G bound to eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and increased eIF4E interaction with 4E-BP1 based on 7-methyl-GTP chromatography. eIF4E protein and polysomes were also diminished in Phgdh KO embryos. Induction of Eif4ebp1 mRNA and of 4E-BP1 was reproduced in mouse embryonic fibroblasts established from Phgdh KO embryos under the condition of L-serine deprivation. Induction of Eif4ebp1 mRNA was suppressed only when L-serine was supplemented in the culture medium, indicating that reduced L-serine availability regulates the induction of Eif4ebp1/4E-BP1. These data suggest that elevated levels of 4E-BP1 may be involved in a mechanism to arrest brain development in Phgdh KO embryos.
Influenza virus attaches to sialic acid residues on the surface of host cells via the hemagglutinin (HA), a glycoprotein expressed on the viral envelope, and enters into the cytoplasm by receptor-mediated endocytosis. The viral genome is released and transported in to the nucleus, where transcription and replication take place. However, cellular factors affecting the influenza virus infection such as the cell cycle remain uncharacterized.
Although GPRC5B and GPRC5C are categorized into the G protein-coupled receptor family C, including glutamate receptors, GABA receptors, and taste receptors, their physiological functions remain unknown. Since both receptors are expressed in the brain and evolutionarily conserved from fly to human, it is conceivable that they have significant biological roles particularly in the central nervous system (CNS). We generated GPRC5B- and GPRC5C-deficient mice to examine their roles in the CNS. Both homozygous mice were viable, fertile, and showed no apparent histological abnormalities, though GPRC5B-deficient mice resulted in partial perinatal lethality. We demonstrated that the expressions of GPRC5B and GPRC5C are developmentally regulated and differentially distributed in the brain. GPRC5B-deficient mice exhibited altered spontaneous activity pattern and decreased response to a new environment, while GPRC5C-deficient mice have no apparent behavioral deficits. Thus, GPRC5B has important roles for animal behavior controlled by the CNS. In contrast, GPRC5C does not affect behavior, though it has a high sequence similarity to GPRC5B. These findings suggest that family C, group 5 (GPRC5) receptors in mammals are functionally segregated from their common ancestor.
Phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc) is a unique glyco-glycerophospholipid that is found in both bacterial and mammalian cells. The discovery of PtdGlc in mammalian cells is relatively recent (Nagatsuka et al., 2001. FEBS Lett. 497, 141-147). Chemical structural analysis of the PtdGlc found in mammalian organs and cultured cells showed that PtdGlc is composed exclusively of a single pair of saturated fatty acid chains; the sn-1 chain is stearic acid (C18:0) and the sn-2 chain is arachidic acid (C20:0). PtdGlc forms distinct domains, which are different from cholesterol-based sphingolipid domains, on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. In this review, we summarize recent studies of PtdGlc. Special attention is paid to the thermal behavior of PtdGlc in a pure system and in mixtures with other lipid components that may relate to the formation of PtdGlc domains in biomembranes. Finally, we discuss proposed biological functions of PtdGlc based on recent experimental results.
The assembly of progenitor cells is a crucial step for organ formation during vertebrate development. Kupffers vesicle (KV), a key organ required for the left-right asymmetric body plan in zebrafish, is generated from a cluster of ~20 dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs). Although several genes are known to be involved in KV formation, how DFC clustering is regulated and how cluster formation then contributes to KV formation remain unclear. Here we show that positive feedback regulation of FGF signaling by Canopy1 (Cnpy1) controls DFC clustering. Cnpy1 positively regulates FGF signals within DFCs, which in turn promote Cadherin1-mediated cell adhesion between adjacent DFCs to sustain cell cluster formation. When this FGF positive feedback loop is disrupted, the DFC cluster fails to form, eventually leading to KV malformation and defects in the establishment of laterality. Our results therefore uncover both a previously unidentified role of FGF signaling during vertebrate organogenesis and a regulatory mechanism underlying cell cluster formation, which is an indispensable step for formation of a functional KV and establishment of the left-right asymmetric body plan.
The phorbol ester tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) induces promyelocytic leukaemia cells to differentiate to macrophage-like cells in vitro. During the course of this differentiation, the cells adhere to the bottom of the culture dish, a process that requires an increase in cell surface glycosphingolipids (GSLs). We examined the cellular content of glucosylceramide (GlcCer), the simplest of the GSLs, in a TPA-treated leukaemia cell line, U937. Following TPA treatment, we observed a 3.5-fold increase in GlcCer levels that was caused by enhanced activity of ceramide glucosyltransferase (GlcT-1), which catalyses ceramide glycosylation. Furthermore, in TPA-treated cell GlcT-1 amounts were increased at both the mRNA and protein levels. We also found decreased activity of lactosylceramide synthase in TPA-treated cells, which could also contribute to the increase in cellular GlcCer content.
Glucosylceramide synthase (GlcT-1) catalyzes the synthesis of glucosylceramide (GlcCer), the core structure of major glycosphingolipids (GSLs). Obesity is a metabolic disorder caused by an imbalance between energy uptake and expenditure, resulting in excess stored body fat. Recent studies have shown that GSL levels are increased in obese rodents and that pharmacologically reducing GSL levels by inhibiting GlcCer synthesis improves adipocyte function. However, the molecular mechanism underlying these processes is still not clearly understood. Using Drosophila as a model animal, we report that GlcT-1 expression in the fat body, which is equivalent to mammalian adipose tissue, regulates energy metabolism. Overexpression of GlcT-1 increases stored nutrition (triacylglycerol and carbohydrate) levels. Conversely, reduced expression of GlcT-1 in the fat body causes a reduction of fat storage. This regulation occurs, at least in part, through the activation of p38-ATF2 signaling. Furthermore, we found that GlcCer is the sole GSL of the fat body, indicating that regulation of GlcCer synthesis by GlcT-1 in the fat body is responsible for regulating energy homeostasis. Both GlcT-1 and p38-ATF2 signaling are evolutionarily conserved, leading us to propose an evolutionary perspective in which GlcT-1 appears to be one of the key factors that control fat metabolism.
Ceramides play a crucial role in divergent signaling events, including differentiation, senescence, proliferation, and apoptosis. Ceramides are a minor lipid component in terms of content; thus, highly sensitive detection is required for accurate quantification. The recently developed isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) method enables a precise comparison of both protein and aminophospholipids. However, iTRAQ tagging had not been applied to the determination of sphingolipids. Here we report a method for the simultaneous measurement of multiple ceramide and monohexosylceramide samples using iTRAQ tags. Samples were hydrolyzed with sphingolipid ceramide N-deacylase (SCDase) to expose the free amino group of the sphingolipids, to which the N-hydroxysuccinimide group of iTRAQ reagent was conjugated. The reaction was performed in the presence of a cleavable detergent, 3-[3-(1,1-bisalkyloxyethyl)pyridine-1-yl]propane-1-sulfonate (PPS) to both improve the hydrolysis and ensure the accuracy of the mass spectrometry analysis performed after iTRAQ labeling. This method was successfully applied to the profiling of ceramides and monohexosylceramides in sphingomyelinase-treated Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and apoptotic Jurkat cells.
A new type of glycolipid, phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc), was identified as a component of raft-like membrane domains of the human leukemia cell line HL-60. In this study, we show that PtdGlc forms functional domains that are different from those produced by lactosylceramide (LacCer)-enriched lipid rafts. These rafts initiate neutrophil apoptosis. Neutrophils are the only type of human peripheral blood leukocyte or monocyte-derived dendritic cell to express large amounts of PtdGlc on their cell surfaces. PtdGlc was not colocalized with LacCer. Anti-PtdGlc IgM DIM21 did not induce neutrophil chemotaxis or superoxide generation, whereas anti-LacCer IgM T5A7 induced these activities. DIM21, but not T5A7, significantly induced neutrophil apoptosis. DIM21-induced apoptosis was inhibited by specific inhibitors of cysteine-containing aspartate-specific proteases (caspases)-8, -9, and -3 but not by the Src family kinase inhibitor PP1, PIP(3) kinase inhibitor LY294002, NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium, superoxide dismutase, or catalase. PtdGlc was colocalized with Fas on the neutrophil plasma membrane. DIM21 and the agonist anti-Fas Ab DX2 induced the formation of large Fas-colocalized clusters of PtdGlc on the plasma membrane. Furthermore, the antagonistic anti-Fas Ab ZB4 significantly inhibited DIM21-induced neutrophil apoptosis. These results suggest that PtdGlc is specifically expressed on neutrophils and mediates apoptosis of these cells, and that the Fas-associated death signal may be involved in PtdGlc-mediated apoptosis.
Ceramide glucosyltransferase (Ugcg) [uridine diphosphate (UDP)-glucose:N-acylsphingosine D-glucosyltransferase or UDP-glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase (GlcT): EC 220.127.116.11] catalyzes formation of glucosylceramide (GlcCer) from ceramide and UDP-glucose. There is only one Ugcg gene in the mouse genome, which is essential in embryogenesis and brain development. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has three Ugcg genes (cgt-1, cgt-2 and cgt-3), and double RNAi of the cgt-1 and cgt-3 genes results in lethality at the L1 larval stage. In this study, we isolated knockout worms for the three genes and characterized the gene functions. Each gene product showed active enzymatic activity when expressed in GM95 cells deficient in glycosphingolipids (GSLs). When each gene function was disrupted, the brood size of the animal markedly decreased, and abnormal oocytes and multinucleated embryos were formed. The CGT-3 protein had the highest Ugcg activity, and knockout of its gene resulted in the severest phenotype. When cgt-3 RNAi was performed on rrf-1 worms lacking somatic RNAi machinery but with intact germline RNAi machinery, a number of abnormal oocytes and multinucleated eggs were observed, although the somatic phenotype, i.e., L1 lethal effects of cgt-1/cgt-3 RNAi, was completely suppressed. Cell surface expression of GSLs and sphingomyelin, which are important components of membrane domains, was affected in the RNAi-treated embryos. In the embryos, an abnormality in cytokinesis was also observed. From these results, we concluded that the Ugcg gene is indispensable in the germline and that an ample supply of GlcCer is needed for oocytes and fertilized eggs to maintain normal membranes and to proceed through the normal cell cycle.
Cholesteryl glucoside (CG), a membrane glycolipid, regulates heat shock response. CG is rapidly induced by heat shock before the activation of heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) and production of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), and the addition of CG in turn induces HSF1 activation and HSP70 production in human fibroblasts; thus, a reasonable correlation is that CG functions as a crucial lipid mediator in stress responses in the animal. In this study, we focused on a CG-synthesizing enzyme, animal sterol glucosyltransferase, which has not yet been identified. In this study, we describe a novel type of animal sterol glucosyltransferase in hog stomach and human fibroblasts (TIG-3) detected by a sensitive assay with a fluorescence-labeled substrate. The cationic requirement, inhibitor resistance, and substrate specificity of animal sterol glucosyltransferase were studied. Interestingly, animal sterol glucosyltransferase did not use uridine diphosphate glucose (UDP-glucose) as an immediate glucose donor, as has been shown in plants and fungi. Among the glycolipids tested in vitro, glucosylceramide (GlcCer) was the most effective substrate for CG formation in animal tissues and cultured cells. Using chemically synthesized [U-((13))C]Glc-?-Cer as a glucose donor, we confirmed by mass spectrometry that [U-((13))C]CG was synthesized in hog stomach homogenate. These results suggest that animal sterol glucosyltransferase transfers glucose moiety from GlcCer to cholesterol. Additionally, using GM-95, a mutant B16 melanoma cell line that does not express ceramide glucosyltransferase, we showed that GlcCer is an essential substrate for animal sterol glucosyltransferase in the cell.
We investigated the expression of a novel glycophospholipid, phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc), in adult mouse brains. Immunohistochemical analysis with DIM21 antibody, a monoclonal anti-PtdGlc antibody, revealed robust PtdGlc staining in the two primary neurogenic regions of the adult rodent brain, the subventricular zone (SVZ) lining the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. Intriguingly, the staining pattern of PtdGlc appeared to overlap that of glial fibrillary acidic protein, an adult neural stem cell marker in these regions. Further immunohistochemical analysis revealed that PtdGlc expression on the cell membranes of adult SVZ neural stem cells significantly overlapped with other proposed adult neural stem cell markers. Moreover, PtdGlc(+) cells isolated from adult mouse SVZs by fluorescence-activated cell sorting with anti-PtdGlc antibody efficiently generated neurospheres in cell culture. These cells differentiated into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes in vitro, directly demonstrating that PtdGlc-expressing cells possessed multipotency. Our data suggest that PtdGlc could be a useful adult stem cell marker.
In mammalian brain, D-serine is synthesized from L-serine by serine racemase, and it functions as an obligatory co-agonist at the glycine modulatory site of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-selective glutamate receptors. Although diminution in D-serine level has been implicated in NMDA receptor hypofunction, which is thought to occur in schizophrenia, the source of the precursor L-serine and its role in D-serine metabolism in adult brain have yet to be determined. We investigated whether L-serine synthesized in brain via the phosphorylated pathway is essential for D-serine synthesis by generating mice with a conditional deletion of D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (Phgdh; EC 18.104.22.168). This enzyme catalyzes the first step in L-serine synthesis via the phosphorylated pathway. HPLC analysis of serine enantiomers demonstrated that both L- and D-serine levels were markedly decreased in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of conditional knock-out mice, whereas the serine deficiency did not alter protein expression levels of serine racemase and NMDA receptor subunits in these regions. The present study provides definitive proof that L-serine-synthesized endogenously via the phosphorylated pathway is a key rate-limiting factor for maintaining steady-state levels of D-serine in adult brain. Furthermore, NMDA-evoked transcription of Arc, an immediate early gene, was diminished in the hippocampus of conditional knock-out mice. Thus, this study demonstrates that in mature neuronal circuits L-serine availability determines the rate of D-serine synthesis in the forebrain and controls NMDA receptor function at least in the hippocampus.
Glucose is a key carbohydrate for the majority of living organisms. In animals, plasma glucose levels must be strictly regulated and maintained at proper levels. Abnormal upregulated glucose levels lead to various human metabolic disorders such as diabetes or obesity. In the diabetic state, protein glycation occurs, producing nonenzymatic products that are thought to be causative compounds for the disease. During evolution, animals developed sensing and regulatory mechanisms to maintain constant levels of body glucose levels. How organisms respond to extracellular glucose and how glucose controls nutrient homeostasis, however, have remained uncertain. Recently, we identified bride of sevenless (BOSS) in Drosophila as a glucose-responding membrane receptor. In this chapter, we summarize the utility of Drosophila as a model organism for studying conserved mechanisms of glucose and triacylglycerol (energy) homeostatic metabolism through the 7-pass transmembrane glycoprotein BOSS, which carries N-linked carbohydrates.
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) occur in all mammalian plasma membranes. They are most abundant in neuronal cells and have essential roles in brain development. Glucosylceramide (GlcCer) synthase, which is encoded by the Ugcg gene, is the key enzyme driving the synthesis of most neuronal GSLs. Experiments using conditional Nestin-Cre Ugcg knockout mice have shown that GSL synthesis in vivo is essential, especially for brain maturation. However, the roles of GSL synthesis in mature neurons remain elusive, since Nestin-Cre is expressed in neural precursors as well as in postmitotic neurons. To address this problem, we generated Purkinje cell-specific Ugcg knockout mice using mice that express Cre under the control of the L7 promoter. In these mice, Purkinje cells survived for at least 10-18 weeks after Ugcg deletion. We observed apparent axonal degeneration characterized by the accumulation of axonal transport cargos and aberrant membrane structures. Dendrites, however, were not affected. In addition, loss of GSLs disrupted myelin sheaths, which were characterized by detached paranodal loops. Notably, we observed doubly myelinated axons enveloped by an additional concentric myelin sheath around the original sheath. Our data show that axonal GlcCer-based GSLs are essential for axonal homeostasis and correct myelin sheath formation.
Phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc) is a recently discovered unique glycophospholipid involved in granulocytic differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL60 and in astrocytic differentiation in developing rodent brains. Using a PtdGlc-specific monoclonal antibody in immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy, we showed that PtdGlc forms distinct lipid domains on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane of HL60 cells and the human alveolar epithelial cell line, A549. Similar to glycosphingolipid, glucosylceramide (GlcCer), the natural form of PtdGlc exhibited a high main phase transition temperature in differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). However, unlike GlcCer, PtdGlc did not exhibit a large difference in the main phase transition temperature between the heating and cooling scans. DSC further indicated that GlcCer, but not PtdGlc, was miscible with sphingomyelin. In addition, DSC and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments revealed that PtdGlc was poorly miscible with phosphatidylcholine. Our results suggest that the lack of tight intermolecular interaction excludes PtdGlc from other lipid domains on the plasma membrane.
Serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) is the enzyme which catalyzes the first step of the biosynthesis of sphingolipids. However, the precise roles of SPT in vivo are not well understood, since complete knockout (KO) of genes which compose SPT results in a fetal lethal phenotype. A conditional KO (cKO) mouse of SPT long chain base 2 (Sptlc2) was therefore developed, and the effects of Sptlc2 deficiency were examined. Single cell necrosis in the epithelia of the crypts of the small and large intestines was observed as early as 24 h after induction of knockout. At 48 h after induction, decreases in spleen and thymus weights and decreases in numbers of reticulocytes and lymphocytes were observed in cKO mice, and single cell necrosis in the intestine became prominent. At 72 h after induction, decreases in body weight, spleen and thymus weights, and numbers of reticulocytes and lymphocytes became obvious in cKO mice. Histologically, atrophy of gastrointestinal mucosa and lymphoid necrosis as well as depletion of lymphoid and hematopoietic tissues were observed. These findings suggest that SPT plays important roles in the maintenance of the gastrointestinal mucosa, especially in the proliferation of the mucosal epithelial cells, and that deficiency of Sptlc2 induces necrotic lesions in gastrointestinal cells followed by atrophic change of the tissue in short term.
A number of factors including low stoichiometry of phosphorylation, ion suppression, and reduced peptide backbone fragmentation interfere with precise identification of proteins in phosphoproteomic analysis by MS. Therefore, enrichment of phosphopeptides is an important process for subsequent mass spectrometric analysis. Here, we have developed a simple and efficient method for phosphopeptides enrichment, which employs a biphasic phosphate-binding tag (Phos-tag)/C18 tip consisting of overlaid Phos-tag on the C18 resin in a pipet tip. The improvement in selectivity for phosphopeptides was achieved by using a 40% ACN solution under the phosphopeptides binding conditions. We also assessed the adequacy of Phos-tag/C18 tip for quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis using the iTRAQ technology. After protein digestion and subsequent iTRAQ labeling, interfering substances including excess iTRAQ reagent were directly removed by Phos-tag/C18 tip in a single step. Applying this method, phosphoproteomic analysis of HeLa cells stimulated with tumor necrosis factor -alpha was rapidly and successfully achieved.
Phosphatidylglucoside (PtdGlc), a new type of glycolipid, was recently identified. We examined PtdGlc expression in normal blood cells and leukemic cells using an anti-PtdGlc monoclonal antibody, DIM-21. Neutrophils, monocytes, HL-60 cells and a subset of cord blood (CB) CD34(+) cells, but not erythroblasts, expressed lipid antigen. PtdGlc was preferentially expressed along the neutrophil differentiation pathway of CB CD34(+) cells treated with cytokines and HL-60 cells treated with retinoic acid. PtdGlc expression was not increased in HL-60 cells treated with phorbol ester. CB CD34(+) cells contained a population of PtdGlc(+) cells, and CB CD34(+)PtdGlc(+) cells produced mainly granulocyte-macrophage colonies and a small number of erythroid colonies. A positive correlation between PtdGlc expression and CD15 expression in leukemic cells from patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia was shown. These results indicate that increasing PtdGlc expression is seen with neutrophil maturation.
Mutations in the d-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH; EC 22.214.171.124) gene, which encodes an enzyme involved in de novol-serine biosynthesis, are shown to cause human serine deficiency disorder. This disorder has been characterized by severe neurological symptoms including congenital microcephaly and psychomotor retardation. Our previous work demonstrated that targeted disruption of mouse Phgdh leads to a marked decrease in serine and glycine, severe growth retardation of the central nervous system, and lethality after embryonic day 13.5. To clarify how a serine deficiency causes neurodevelopmental defects, we characterized changes in metabolites, gene expression and morphological alterations in the spinal cord of Phgdh knockout mice. BeadChip microarray analysis revealed significant dysregulation of genes involved in the cell cycle. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis also revealed a significant perturbation of regulatory networks that operate in the cell cycle progression. Moreover, morphological examinations of the knockout spinal cord demonstrated a marked deficit in dorsal horn neurons. Radial glia cells, native neural stem/progenitor cells, accumulated in the dorsal ventricular zone, but they did not proceed to a G(0)-like quiescent state. The present integrative study provides in vivo evidence that normal cell cycle progression and subsequent neurogenesis of radial glia cells are severely impaired by serine deficiency.
We report here a method of simultaneously quantifying glucosylceramide (GlcCer) and galactosylceramide (GalCer) by normal-phase HPLC using O-phtalaldehyde derivatives. Treatment with sphingolipid ceramide N-deacylase which converts the cerebrosides in the sample to their lyso-forms was followed by the quantitative labeling of free NH(2) groups of the lyso-cerebrosides with O-phtalaldehyde. Using this method, 14.1 pmol of GlcCer and 10.4 pmol of GalCer, and 108.1 pmol of GlcCer and 191.1 pmol of GalCer were detected in zebrafish embryos and RPMI 1864 cells, respectively, while 22.2 pmol of GlcCer but no GalCer was detected in CHOP cells using cell lysate containing 100 microg of protein. Linearity for the determination of each cerebroside was observed from 50 to 400 microg of protein under the conditions used, which corresponds to approximately 10(3) to 10(5) RPMI cells and 5 to 80 zebrafish embryos. The present method clearly revealed that the treatment of RPMI cells with a GlcCer synthase inhibitor P4 resulted in a marked decrease in GlcCer but not GalCer, concomitantly with a significant decrease in the GlcCer synthase activity. On the other hand, GlcCer but not GalCer increased 2-fold when an acid glucocerebrosidase inhibitor CBE was injected into zebrafish embryos. Interestingly, the treatment of CHOP cells with ciclosporin A increased GlcCer possibly due to the inhibition of LacCer synthase. A significant increase in levels of GlcCer in fibroblasts from patients with Gaucher disease was clearly shown by the method. The proposed method is useful for the determination of GlcCer and GalCer levels in various biological samples.
Temporal lobe epilepsy is a common form of pharmacoresistant epilepsy, in which epileptogenic foci propagate to other regions of the brain from the area of the initial insult. The present study focused on epileptogenesis, that is, the development of the first foci inducing seizures in amygdala-kindled mice, a model of temporal lobe epilepsy, to find the molecular process promoting the formation of epileptogenic networks. The expression of growth hormone (GH) was up-regulated along neural circuits during the epileptogenesis, while there was no difference in the pituitary gland. The up-regulation was associated with increased phosphorylation/activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 and expression of the Serum Response Element-regulated genes, FBJ osteosarcoma oncogene, early growth response 1, and Jun-B oncogene, suggesting that expression of GH leads to GH signaling in the hippocampus and cortex. Furthermore, the administration of the hormone into the hippocampus markedly enhanced the progression of kindling. The administration of an inhibitor of its secretion into the hippocampus elicited a delay in the progression. Our results demonstrate directly that regulation via growth hormone has a robust impact in epileptogenesis.
A major feedback mechanism of cholesterol in transcription of cholesterol metabolism-related genes is mediated by sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP). Involvement of glycosphingolipids (GSLs) in the SREBP pathway is unknown. In this study, we examined the effects of GSL depletion on SRE-mediated gene transcription using GSL-defective cells. We found that the content of mature SREBP, the transcriptional active form, is increased in the GSL-defective cells. Transcription of SREBP target genes and cholesterol synthesis are also induced in the GSL-defective cells. These results indicate that GSL deficiency up-regulates the SREBP pathway, pointing out the regulatory role of GSL in cholesterol homeostasis.
Membrane lipid rafts provide a specialized microenvironment enriched with sphingolipids and phospholipids containing saturated fatty acids and serve as a platform for various intracellular signalling pathways. PtdGlc (phosphatidylglucoside) is a type of glycophospholipid localized in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. Owing to PtdGlcs unique fatty acid composition, exclusively composed of C(18:0) at sn-1 and C(20:0) at sn-2 of the glycerol backbone, it tends to form PGLRs (PtdGlc-enriched lipid rafts). Previously, we demonstrated that PGLRs reside on the cell surface of astroglial cells from fetal rat brain [Nagatsuka, Horibata, Yamazaki, Kinoshita, Shinoda, Hashikawa, Koshino, Nakamura and Hirabayashi (2006) Biochemistry 45, 8742-8750]. In the present study, we observed PGLRs in astroglial lineage cells at mid-embryonic to early-postnatal stages of developing mouse cortex. This suggests that PGLRs are developmentally correlated with astroglial differentiation during fetal cortical development. Our cell culture studies with multipotent neural progenitor cells prepared from fetal mouse telencephalon demonstrated that treatment with EGF (epidermal growth factor) or anti-PtdGlc antibody caused recruitment of EGFRs (EGF receptors) into lipid raft compartments, leading to activation of EGFRs. Moreover, the activation of EGFRs by antibody triggered downstream tyrosine kinase signalling and induced marked GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein) expression via the JAK (Janus kinase)/STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) signalling pathway. These findings strongly suggest that PGLRs are physiologically coupled to activated EGFRs on neural progenitor cells during fetal cortical development, and thereby play a distinct role in mediating astrogliogenesis.
In the adult rodent brain, constitutive neurogenesis occurs in two restricted regions, the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus, where multipotent neural stem/progenitor cells generate new neurons. Using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry for established markers, we demonstrated that the expression of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (Phgdh), an enzyme involved in de novo synthesis of l-serine, was upregulated in the SVZ. The expression was selective to cells having morphological features and expressing markers of astrocyte-like primary neural stem cells (type B cells) and their progeny, actively proliferating progenitors (type C cells). By contrast, Phgdh protein expression was virtually absent in committed neuronal precursors (type A cells) derived from type C cells. High levels of Phgdh were also expressed by glial tube cells located in the rostral migratory stream (RMS). Interestingly, ensheathment of type A cells by these Phgdh-expressing cells was persistent in the SVZ and RMS, suggesting that l-serine mediates trophic support for type A cells via these glial cells. In vitro neurosphere assays confirmed that growth-factor-responsive, transient amplifying neural progenitors in the SVZ, but not differentiated neurons, expressed Phgdh. In the aged brain, a decline in Phgdh expression was evident in type B and C cells of the SVZ. These observations support the notion that availability of l-serine within neural stem/progenitor cells may be a critical factor for neurogenesis in developing and adult brain.
A genome-wide association study identified a strong correlation between body mass index and the presence of a 21-kb copy number variation upstream of the human GPRC5B gene; however, the functional role of GPRC5B in obesity remains unknown. We report that GPRC5B-deficient mice were protected from diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance because of reduced inflammation in their white adipose tissue. GPRC5B is a lipid raft-associated transmembrane protein that contains multiple phosphorylated residues in its carboxyl terminus. Phosphorylation of GPRC5B by the tyrosine kinase Fyn and the subsequent direct interaction with Fyn through the Fyn Src homology 2 (SH2) domain were critical for the initiation and progression of inflammatory signaling in adipose tissue. We demonstrated that a GPRC5B mutant lacking the direct binding site for Fyn failed to activate a positive feedback loop of nuclear factor ?B-inhibitor of ?B kinase ? signaling. These findings suggest that GPRC5B may be a major node in adipose signaling systems linking diet-induced obesity to type 2 diabetes and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches to diabetic progression.
The leukocyte cell-surface antigen CD38 is the major nicotinamide adenide dinucleotide glycohydrolase in mammals, and its ectoenzyme activity is involved in calcium mobilization. CD38 is also a raft-dependent signaling molecule. CD38 forms a tetramer on the cell surface, but the structural basis and the functional significance of tetramerization have remained unexplored. We identified the interfaces contributing to the homophilic interaction of mouse CD38 by site-specific crosslinking on the cell surface with an expanded genetic code, based on a crystallographic analysis. A combination of the three interfaces enables CD38 to tetramerize: one interface involving the juxtamembrane ?-helix is responsible for the formation of the core dimer, which is further dimerized via the other two interfaces. This dimerization of dimers is required for the catalytic activity and the localization of CD38 in membrane rafts. The glycosylation prevents further self-association of the tetramer. Accordingly, the tetrameric interaction underlies the multifaceted actions of CD38.
Gangliosides mediate neuronal differentiation and maturation and are indispensable for the maintenance of brain function and survival. As part of our ongoing efforts to understand signaling pathways related to ganglioside function, we recently demonstrated that neuronal cells react to exogenous gangliosides GT1b and GD1b. Both of these gangliosides are enriched in the synapse-forming area of the brain and induce Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores, activation of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and activation of cdc42 to promote reorganization of cytoskeletal actin and dendritic differentiation. Here, we show that bradykinin B2 receptors transduce these reactions as a mediator for ganglioside glycan signals. The B2 antagonist Hoe140 inhibited ganglioside-induced CaMKII activation, actin reorganization and early development of axon- and dendrite-like processes of primary cultured hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, we confirmed by yeast reporter assay that major b-series gangliosides, GT1b, GD1b and GD3, stimulated B2 bradykinin receptors. We hypothesize that this B2 receptor-mediated ganglioside signal transduction pathway is one mechanism that modulates neuronal differentiation and maturation.
Mutations in the presenilin 1 (PS1) gene are associated with early onset familial Alzheimers disease (FAD). In this study, we found that the expression of mutant-PS1 in stable transfectants of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells results in a reduction of the biosynthesis and steady-state levels of glucosylceramide. As an in vivo corroboration of these data, there was a significant reduction of brain glucosylceramide and gangliosides in an animal model of FAD. In mutant-PS1-transfectants (I143T, G384A), immunocytochemistry disclosed a remarkable reduction of glucosylceramide synthase (GlcT-1)-like immunoreactivity in the cells when compared with those of mock- and wild-PS1 transfectants. Immunoprecipitation of GlcT-1 protein from mutant-PS1 transfectants demonstrated a marked reduction in GlcT-1 protein, but there was no reduction in the levels of GlcT-1 mRNA. Both coprecipitation and ?-secretase inhibition experiments suggest that mutant-PS1 seems to form a complex with GlcT-1 protein and to be involved in GlcT-1 degradation, which was never found in other cell types. Thus, mutations in the PS1 gene result in profound glycosphingolipids abnormalities by abnormal molecular interaction with GlcT-1.
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are present on cell surface membranes and are particularly abundant in the brain. Since over 300-400 GSLs are synthesized from glucosylceramide (GlcCer), GlcCer is believed to only serve as the source of most GSLs, including sialic acid-containing GSLs or gangliosides, in the brain. Recent studies, however, suggest that GlcCer itself plays a role in the heat stress response, as it functions as a glucose donor for the synthesis of cholesterylglucoside, a lipid mediator in heat stress responses in animals. GlcCer in adipose tissues is also thought to be involved in mechanisms that regulate energy (sugar and lipid) metabolism. Our extensive structural study revealed an additional novel glucosylated membrane lipid, called phosphatidylglucoside, in developing rodent brains and human neutrophils. These lipids, all modified with glucose, are enriched in lipid rafts and play important roles in basic cellular processes. Here, I summarize the recent progress regarding these glucosylated lipids and their biosynthesis and regulation in the central nervous system (CNS).
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