Browsing Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics: Faculty Research and Presentations by Subjects
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Deoxycholate promotes survival of breast cancer cells by reducing the level of pro-apoptotic ceramide.INTRODUCTION: At physiologic concentration in serum, the bile acid sodium deoxycholate (DC) induces survival and migration of breast cancer cells. Here we provide evidence of a novel mechanism by which DC reduces apoptosis that is induced by the sphingolipid ceramide in breast cancer cells. METHODS: Murine mammacarcinoma 4T1 cells were used in vitro to determine apoptosis and alteration of sphingolipid metabolism by DC, and in vivo to quantify the effect of DC on metastasis. RESULTS: We found that DC increased the number of intestinal metastases generated from 4T1 cell tumors grafted into the fat pad. The metastatic nodes contained slowly dividing cancer cells in immediate vicinity of newly formed blood vessels. These cells were positive for CD44, a marker that has been suggested to be expressed on breast cancer stem cells. In culture, a subpopulation (3 +/- 1%) of slowly dividing, CD44+ cells gave rise to rapidly dividing, CD44- cells. DC promoted survival of CD44+ cells, which was concurrent with reduced levels of activated caspase 3 and ceramide, a sphingolipid inducing apoptosis in 4T1 cells. Z-guggulsterone, an antagonist of the farnesoid-X-receptor, obliterated this anti-apoptotic effect, indicating that DC increased cell survival via farnesoid-X-receptor. DC also increased the gene expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (Flk-1), suggesting that DC enhanced the initial growth of secondary tumors adjacent to blood vessels. The Flk-1 antagonist SU5416 obliterated the reduction of ceramide and apoptosis by DC, indicating that enhanced cell survival is due to Flk-1-induced reduction in ceramide. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show, for the first time, that DC is a natural tumor promoter by elevating Flk-1 and decreasing ceramide-mediated apoptosis of breast cancer progenitor cells. Reducing the level or effect of serum DC and elevating ceramide in breast cancer progenitor cells by treatment with Z-guggulsterone and/or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2/Flk-1 antagonists may thus be a promising strategy to reduce breast cancer metastasis.
Dynamic expression of a glutamate decarboxylase gene in multiple non-neural tissues during mouse development.BACKGROUND: Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) is the biosynthetic enzyme for the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Mouse embryos lacking the 67-kDa isoform of GAD (encoded by the Gad1 gene) develop a complete cleft of the secondary palate. This phenotype suggests that this gene may be involved in the normal development of tissues outside of the CNS. Although Gad1 expression in adult non-CNS tissues has been noted previously, no systematic analysis of its embryonic expression outside of the nervous system has been performed. The objective of this study was to define additional structures outside of the central nervous system that express Gad1, indicating those structures that may require its function for normal development. RESULTS: Our analysis detected the localized expression of Gad1 transcripts in several developing tissues in the mouse embryo from E9.0-E14.5. Tissues expressing Gad1 included the tail bud mesenchyme, the pharyngeal pouches and arches, the ectodermal placodes of the developing vibrissae, and the apical ectodermal ridge (AER), mesenchyme and ectoderm of the limb buds. CONCLUSIONS: Some of the sites of Gad1 expression are tissues that emit signals required for patterning and differentiation (AER, vibrissal placodes). Other sites correspond to proliferating stem cell populations that give rise to multiple differentiated tissues (tail bud mesenchyme, pharyngeal endoderm and mesenchyme). The dynamic expression of Gad1 in such tissues suggests a wider role for GABA signaling in development than was previously appreciated.
Estrogen-astrocyte interactions: implications for neuroprotection.BACKGROUND: Recent work has suggested that the ovarian steroid 17beta-estradiol, at physiological concentrations, may exert protective effects in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and acute ischemic stroke. While physiological concentrations of estrogen have consistently been shown to be protective in vivo, direct protection upon purified neurons is controversial, with many investigators unable to show a direct protection in highly purified primary neuronal cultures. These findings suggest that while direct protection may occur in some instances, an alternative or parallel pathway for protection may exist which could involve another cell type in the brain. PRESENTATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS: A hypothetical indirect protective mechanism is proposed whereby physiological levels of estrogen stimulate the release of astrocyte-derived neuroprotective factors, which aid in the protection of neurons from cell death. This hypothesis is attractive as it provides a potential mechanism for protection of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative neurons through an astrocyte intermediate. It is envisioned that the indirect pathway could act in concert with the direct pathway to achieve a more widespread global protection of both ER+ and ER- neurons. TESTING THE HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that targeted deletion of estrogen receptors in astrocytes will significantly attenuate the neuroprotective effects of estrogen. IMPLICATIONS OF THE HYPOTHESIS: If true, the hypothesis would significantly advance our understanding of endocrine-glia-neuron interactions. It may also help explain, at least in part, the reported beneficial effects of estrogen in neurodegenerative disorders. Finally, it also sets the stage for potential extension of the hypothetical mechanism to other important estrogen actions in the brain such as neurotropism, neurosecretion, and synaptic plasticity.
Extranuclear estrogen receptors mediate the neuroprotective effects of estrogen in the rat hippocampus.BACKGROUND: 17beta-estradiol (E2) has been implicated to exert neuroprotective effects in the brain following cerebral ischemia. Classically, E2 is thought to exert its effects via genomic signaling mediated by interaction with nuclear estrogen receptors. However, the role and contribution of extranuclear estrogen receptors (ER) is unclear and was the subject of the current study. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To accomplish this goal, we employed two E2 conjugates (E2 dendrimer, EDC, and E2-BSA) that can interact with extranuclear ER and exert rapid nongenomic signaling, but lack the ability to interact with nuclear ER due to their inability to enter the nucleus. EDC or E2-BSA (10 microM) was injected icv 60 min prior to global cerebral ischemia (GCI). FITC-tagged EDC or E2-BSA revealed high uptake in the hippocampal CA1 region after icv injection, with a membrane (extranuclear) localization pattern in cells. Both EDC and E2-BSA exerted robust neuroprotection in the CA1 against GCI, and the effect was blocked by the ER antagonist, ICI182,780. EDC and E2-BSA both rapidly enhanced activation of the prosurvival kinases, ERK and Akt, while attenuating activation of the proapoptotic kinase, JNK following GCI, effects that were blocked by ICI182,780. Administration of an MEK or PI3K inhibitor blocked the neuroprotective effects of EDC and E2-BSA. Further studies showed that EDC increased p-CREB and BDNF in the CA1 region in an ERK- and Akt-dependent manner, and that cognitive outcome after GCI was preserved by EDC in an ER-dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In conclusion, the current study demonstrates that activation of extranuclear ER results in induction of ERK-Akt-CREB-BDNF signaling in the hippocampal CA1 region, which significantly reduces ischemic neuronal injury and preserves cognitive function following GCI. The study adds to a growing literature that suggests that extranuclear ER can have important actions in the brain.