Abstract : The liver is an important organ in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism. It is responsible for systemic energy homeostasis. When energy need exceeds the storage capacity in the liver, fatty acids are shunted into nonoxidative sphingolipid biosynthesis, which increases the level of cellular ceramides. Accumulation of ceramides alters substrate utilization from glucose to lipids, activates triglyceride storage, and results in the development of both insulin resistance and hepatosteatosis, increasing the likelihood of major metabolic diseases. Another sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive signaling molecule that acts via S1P-specific G protein coupled receptors. It regulates many cellular and physiological events. Since an increase in plasma S1P is associated with obesity, it seems reasonable that recent studies have provided evidence that S1P is linked to lipid pathophysiology, including hepatosteatosis and fibrosis. Herein, we review recent findings on ceramides and S1P in obesity-mediated liver diseases and the therapeutic potential of these sphingolipid metabolites.
Abstract : The hypothalamus is a crucial organ for the maintenance of appropriate body fat storage. Neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARH) detect energy shortage or surplus via the circulating concentrations of metabolic hormones and nutrients, and then coordinate energy intake and expenditure to maintain energy homeostasis. Malfunction or loss of hypothalamic ARH neurons results in obesity. Accumulated evidence suggests that hypothalamic inflammation is a key pathological mechanism that links chronic overconsumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) with the development of obesity and related metabolic complications. Interestingly, overnutrition-induced hypothalamic inflammation occurs specifically in the ARH, where microglia initiate an inflammatory response by releasing proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in response to excessive fatty acid flux. Upon more prolonged HFD consumption, astrocytes and perivascular macrophages become involved and sustain hypothalamic inflammation. ARH neurons are victims of hypothalamic inflammation, but they may actively participate in hypothalamic inflammation by sending quiescence or stress signals to surrounding glia. In this mini-review, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding the contributions of neurons and glia, and their interactions, to HFD-induced hypothalamic inflammation.
Abstract : The aim of this study was to explore the role of IL-6-miR-210 in the regulation of Tregs function and atrial fibrosis in atrial fibrillation (AF). The levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10 in AF patients were detected by using ELISA. Proportions of Treg cells were detected by fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis in AF patients. The expression of Foxp3, α-SMA, collagen I and collagen III were determined by western blot. The atrial mechanocytes were authenticated by vimentin immunostaining. The expression of miR-210 was performed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). TargetScan was used to predict potential targets of miR-210. The cardiomyocyte transverse sections in AF model group were observed by H&E staining. The myocardial filaments were observed by masson staining. The level of IL-6 was highly increased while the level of IL-10 (Tregs) was significantly decreased in AF patients as compared to normal control subjects, and IL-6 suppressed Tregs function and promoted the expression of α-SMA, collagen I and collagen III. Furthermore, miR-210 regulated Tregs function by targeting Foxp3, and IL-6 promoted expression of miR-210 via regulating hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). IL-6-miR-210 suppresses regulatory T cell function and promotes atrial fibrosis by targeting Foxp3.
Abstract : T-DNA insertional mutations in Arabidopsis genes have conferred huge benefits to the research community, greatly facilitating gene function analyses. However, the insertion process can cause chromosomal rearrangements. Here, we show an example of a likely rearrangement following T-DNA insertion in the Anti-Silencing Function 1B (ASF1B) gene locus on Arabidopsis chromosome 5, so that the phenotype was not relevant to the gene of interest, ASF1B. ASF1 is a histone H3/H4 chaperone involved in chromatin remodeling in the sporophyte and during reproduction. Plants that were homozygous for mutant alleles asf1a or asf1b were developmentally normal. However, following self-fertilization of double heterozygotes (ASF1A/asf1a ASF1B/asf1b, hereafter AaBb), defects were visible in both male and female gametes. Half of the AaBb and aaBb ovules displayed arrested embryo sacs with functional megaspore identity. Similarly, half of the AaBb and aaBb pollen grains showed centromere defects, resulting in pollen abortion at the bi-cellular stage of the male gametophyte. However, inheritance of the mutant allele in a given gamete did not solely determine the abortion phenotype. Introducing functional ASF1B failed to rescue the AaBb- and aaBb- mediated abortion, suggesting that heterozygosity in the ASF1B gene causes gametophytic defects, rather than the loss of ASF1. The presence of reproductive defects in heterozygous mutants but not in homozygotes, and the characteristic all-or-nothing pollen viability within tetrads, were both indicative of commonly-observed T-DNA-mediated translocation activity for this allele. Our observations reinforce the importance of complementation tests in assigning gene function using reverse genetics.
Abstract : Nuclear receptor subfamily group H member 4 (NR1H4), also known as farnesoid X receptor, has been implicated in several cellular processes in the liver and intestine. Preclinical and clinical studies have suggested a role of NR1H4 in colon cancer development; however, how NR1H4 regulates colon cancer cell growth and survival remains unclear. We generated NR1H4 knockout (KO) colon cancer cells using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease (CAS9) technology and explored the effects of NR1H4 KO in colon cancer cell proliferation, survival, and apoptosis. Interestingly, NR1H4 KO cells showed impaired cell proliferation, reduced colony formation, and increased apoptotic cell death compared to control colon cancer cells. We identified MYC as an important mediator of the signaling pathway alterations induced by NR1H4 KO. NR1H4 silencing in colon cancer cells resulted in reduced MYC protein levels, while NR1H4 activation using an NR1H4 ligand, chenodeoxycholic acid, resulted in time- and dose-dependent MYC induction. Moreover, NR1H4 KO enhanced the anti-cancer effects of doxorubicin and cisplatin, supporting the role of MYC in the enhanced apoptosis observed in NR1H4 KO cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that modulating NR1H4 activity in colon cancer cells might be a promising alternative approach to treat cancer using MYC-targeting agents.
Abstract : Hepatitis C virus (HCV) propagation is highly dependent on cellular proteins. To identify the host factors involved in HCV propagation, we previously performed protein microarray assays and identified the LIM and SH3 domain protein 1 (LASP-1) as an HCV NS5A-interacting partner. LASP-1 plays an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation, migration, and protein-protein interactions. Alteration of LASP-1 expression has been implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the functional involvement of LASP1 in HCV propagation and HCV-induced pathogenesis has not been elucidated. Here, we first verified the protein interaction of NS5A and LASP-1 by both in vitro pulldown and coimmunoprecipitation assays. We further showed that NS5A and LASP-1 were colocalized in the cytoplasm of HCV infected cells. NS5A interacted with LASP-1 through the proline motif in domain I of NS5A and the tryptophan residue in the SH3 domain of LASP-1. Knockdown of LASP-1 increased HCV replication in both HCV-infected cells and HCV subgenomic replicon cells. LASP-1 negatively regulated viral propagation and thereby overexpression of LASP-1 decreased HCV replication. Moreover, HCV propagation was decreased by wild-type LASP-1 but not by an NS5A binding-defective mutant of LASP-1. We further demonstrated that LASP-1 was involved in the replication stage of the HCV life cycle. Importantly, LASP-1 expression levels were increased in persistently infected cells with HCV. These data suggest that HCV modulates LASP-1 via NS5A in order to regulate virion levels and maintain a persistent infection.
Abstract : Interleukin-9 (IL-9) is well known for its role in allergic inflammation. For cancer, both pro- and anti-tumor effects of IL-9 were controversially reported, but the impact of IL-9 on tumor metastasis has not yet been clarified. In this study, IL-9 was expressed as a secretory form (sIL-9) and a membrane-bound form (mbIL-9) on B16F10 melanoma cells. The mbIL-9 was engineered as a chimeric protein with the transmembrane and cytoplasmic region of TNF-α. The effect of either mbIL-9 or sIL-9 expressing cells were analyzed on the metastasis capability of the cancer cells. After three weeks of tumor implantation into C57BL/6 mice through the tail vein, the number of tumor modules in lungs injected with IL-9 expressing B16F10 was 5-fold less than that of control groups. The percentages of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, NK cells, and M1 macrophages considerably increased in the lungs of the mice injected with IL-9 expressing cells. Among them, the M1 macrophage subset was the most significantly enhanced. Furthermore, peritoneal macrophages, which were stimulated with either sIL-9 or mbIL-9 expressing transfectant, exerted higher anti-tumor cytotoxicity compared with that of the mock control. The IL-9-stimulated peritoneal macrophages were highly polarized to M1 phenotype. Stimulation of RAW264.7 macrophages with sIL-9 or mbIL-9 expressing cells also significantly increased the cytotoxicity of those macrophages against wild-type B16F10 cells. These results clearly demonstrate that IL-9 can induce an anti-metastasis effect by enhancing the polarization and proliferation of M1 macrophages.
Abstract : Hippo signaling acts as a tumor suppressor pathway by inhibiting the proliferation of adult stem cells and progenitor cells in various organs. Liver-specific deletion of Hippo pathway components in mice induces liver cancer development through activation of the transcriptional coactivators, YAP and TAZ, which exhibit nuclear enrichment and are activated in numerous types of cancer. The upstream-most regulators of Warts, the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian LATS1/2, are Kibra, Expanded, and Merlin. However, the roles of the corresponding mammalian orthologs, WWC1, FRMD6 and NF2, in the regulation of LATS1/2 activity and liver tumorigenesis in vivo are not fully understood. Here, we show that deletion of both Wwc1 and Nf2 in the liver accelerates intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) development through activation of YAP/TAZ. Additionally, biliary epithelial cell-specific deletion of both Lats1 and Lats2 using a Sox9-CreERT2 system resulted in iCCA development through hyperactivation of YAP/TAZ. These findings suggest that WWC1 and NF2 cooperate to promote suppression of cholangiocarcinoma development by inhibiting the oncogenic activity of YAP/TAZ via LATS1/2.