Environmental exposures pose a significant threat to human health. However, it is often difficult to study toxicological mechanisms in human subjects due to ethical concerns. Plant-derived aristolochic acids are among the most potent nephrotoxins and carcinogens discovered to date, yet the mechanism of bioactivation in humans remains poorly understood. Microphysiological systems (organs-on-chips) provide an approach to examining the complex, species-specific toxicological effects of pharmaceutical and environmental chemicals using human cells. We microfluidically linked a kidney-on-a-chip with a liver-on-a-chip to determine the mechanisms of bioactivation and transport of aristolochic acid I (AA-I), an established nephrotoxin and human carcinogen. We demonstrate that human hepatocyte-specific metabolism of AA-I substantially increases its cytotoxicity toward human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells, including formation of aristolactam adducts and release of kidney injury biomarkers. Hepatic biotransformation of AA-I to a nephrotoxic metabolite involves nitroreduction, followed by sulfate conjugation. Here, we identify, in a human tissue-based system, that the sulfate conjugate of the hepatic NQO1-generated aristolactam product of AA-I (AL-I-NOSO3) is the nephrotoxic form of AA-I. This conjugate can be transported out of liver via MRP membrane transporters and then actively transported into kidney tissue via one or more organic anionic membrane transporters. This integrated microphysiological system provides an ex vivo approach for investigating organ-organ interactions, whereby the metabolism of a drug or other xenobiotic by one tissue may influence its toxicity toward another, and represents an experimental approach for studying chemical toxicity related to environmental and other toxic exposures.
Shih-Yu Chang, Elijah J. Weber, Viktoriya S. Sidorenko, Alenka Chapron, Catherine K. Yeung, Chunying Gao, Qingcheng Mao, Danny Shen, Joanne Wang, Thomas A. Rosenquist, Kathleen G. Dickman, Thomas Neumann, Arthur P. Grollman, Edward J. Kelly, Jonathan Himmelfarb, David L. Eaton
Maternal obesity is a global health problem that increases offspring obesity risk. The metabolic pathways underlying early developmental programming in human infants at risk for obesity remain poorly understood, largely due to barriers in fetal/infant tissue sampling. Utilizing umbilical cord–derived mesenchymal stem cells (uMSC) from offspring of normal weight and obese mothers, we tested whether energy metabolism and gene expression differ in differentiating uMSC myocytes and adipocytes, in relation to maternal obesity exposures and/or neonatal adiposity. Biomarkers of incomplete β-oxidation were uniquely positively correlated with infant adiposity and maternal lipid levels in uMSC myocytes from offspring of obese mothers only. Metabolic and biosynthetic processes were enriched in differential gene expression analysis related to maternal obesity. In uMSC adipocytes, maternal obesity and lipids were associated with downregulation in multiple insulin-dependent energy-sensing pathways including PI3K and AMPK. Maternal lipids correlated with uMSC adipocyte upregulation of the mitochondrial respiratory chain but downregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Overall, our data revealed cell-specific alterations in metabolism and gene expression that correlated with maternal obesity and adiposity of their offspring, suggesting tissue-specific metabolic and regulatory changes in these newborn cells. We provide important insight into potential developmental programming mechanisms of increased obesity risk in offspring of obese mothers.
Peter R. Baker II, Zachary Patinkin, Allison L.B. Shapiro, Becky A. De La Houssaye, Michael Woontner, Kristen E. Boyle, Lauren Vanderlinden, Dana Dabelea, Jacob E. Friedman
Blood pressure is regulated by extrinsic factors including noradrenaline, the sympathetic neurotransmitter that controls cardiovascular functions through adrenergic receptors. However, the fine-tuning system of noradrenaline signaling is relatively unknown. We here show that l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), a precursor of catecholamines, sensitizes the vascular adrenergic receptor alpha1 (ADRA1) through activation of L-DOPA receptor GPR143. In WT mice, intravenous infusion of the ADRA1 agonist phenylephrine induced a transient elevation of blood pressure. This response was attenuated in Gpr143 gene–deficient (Gpr143–/y) mice. Specific knockout of Gpr143 in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) also showed a similar phenotype, indicating that L-DOPA directly modulates ADRA1 signaling in the VSMCs. L-DOPA at nanomolar concentrations alone produced no effect on the VSMCs, but it enhanced phenylephrine-induced vasoconstriction and intracellular Ca2+ responses. Phenylephrine also augmented the phosphorylation of extracellular signal–regulated kinases in cultured VSMCs from WT but not Gpr143–/y mice. In WT mice, blood pressure increased during the transition from light-rest to dark-active phases. This elevation was not observed in Gpr143–/y mice. Taken together, our findings provide evidence for L-DOPA/GPR143 signaling that exerts precursor control of sympathetic neurotransmission through sensitizing vascular ADRA1.
Daiki Masukawa, Motokazu Koga, Anna Sezaki, Yuka Nakao, Yuji Kamikubo, Tatsuo Hashimoto, Yuki Okuyama-Oki, Aderemi Caleb Aladeokin, Fumio Nakamura, Utako Yokoyama, Hiromichi Wakui, Hiroshi Ichinose, Takashi Sakurai, Satoshi Umemura, Koichi Tamura, Yoshihiro Ishikawa, Yoshio Goshima
Cardiac hypertrophy, as a response to hemodynamic stress, is associated with cardiac dysfunction and death, but whether hypertrophy itself represents a pathological process remains unclear. Hypertrophy is driven by changes in myocardial gene expression that require the MEF2 family of DNA-binding transcription factors, as well as the nuclear lysine acetyltransferase p300. Here we used genetic and small-molecule probes to determine the effects of preventing MEF2 acetylation on cardiac adaptation to stress. Both nonacetylatable MEF2 mutants and 8MI, a molecule designed to interfere with MEF2-coregulator binding, prevented hypertrophy in cultured cardiac myocytes. 8MI prevented cardiac hypertrophy in 3 distinct stress models, and reversed established hypertrophy in vivo, associated with normalization of myocardial structure and function. The effects of 8MI were reversible, and did not prevent training effects of swimming. Mechanistically, 8MI blocked stress-induced MEF2 acetylation, nuclear export of class II histone deacetylases HDAC4 and -5, and p300 induction, without impeding HDAC4 phosphorylation. Correspondingly, 8MI transformed the transcriptional response to pressure overload, normalizing almost all 232 genes dysregulated by hemodynamic stress. We conclude that MEF2 acetylation is required for development and maintenance of pathological cardiac hypertrophy, and that blocking MEF2 acetylation can permit recovery from hypertrophy without impairing physiologic adaptation.
Jianqin Wei, Shaurya Joshi, Svetlana Speransky, Christopher Crowley, Nimanthi Jayathilaka, Xiao Lei, Yongqing Wu, David Gai, Sumit Jain, Michael Hoosien, Yan Gao, Lin Chen, Nanette H. Bishopric
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, highlighting a pressing need to identify novel regulators of cardiomyocyte (CM) function that could be therapeutically targeted. The mammalian Hippo/Tead pathway is critical in embryonic cardiac development and perinatal CM proliferation. However, the requirement of Tead1, the transcriptional effector of this pathway, in the adult heart is unknown. Here, we show that tamoxifen-inducible adult CM–specific Tead1 ablation led to lethal acute-onset dilated cardiomyopathy, associated with impairment in excitation-contraction coupling. Mechanistically, we demonstrate Tead1 is a cell-autonomous, direct transcriptional activator of SERCA2a and SR-associated protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit, Inhibitor-1 (I-1). Thus, Tead1 deletion led to a decrease in SERCA2a and I-1 transcripts and protein, with a consequent increase in PP1-activity, resulting in accumulation of dephosphorylated phospholamban (Pln) and decreased SERCA2a activity. Global transcriptomal analysis in Tead1-deleted hearts revealed significant changes in mitochondrial and sarcomere-related pathways. Additional studies demonstrated there was a trend for correlation between protein levels of TEAD1 and I-1, and phosphorylation of PLN, in human nonfailing and failing hearts. Furthermore, TEAD1 activity was required to maintain PLN phosphorylation and expression of SERCA2a and I-1 in human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPS-derived) CMs. To our knowledge, taken together, this demonstrates a nonredundant, novel role of Tead1 in maintaining normal adult heart function.
Ruya Liu, Jeongkyung Lee, Byung S. Kim, Qiongling Wang, Samuel K. Buxton, Nikhil Balasubramanyam, Jean J. Kim, Jianrong Dong, Aijun Zhang, Shumin Li, Anisha A. Gupte, Dale J. Hamilton, James F. Martin, George G. Rodney, Cristian Coarfa, Xander H.T. Wehrens, Vijay K. Yechoor, Mousumi Moulik
Adrenergic signaling is known to promote tumor growth and metastasis, but the effects on tumor stroma are not well understood. An unbiased bioinformatics approach analyzing tumor samples from patients with known biobehavioral profiles identified a prominent stromal signature associated with cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in those with a high biobehavioral risk profile (high Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D] score and low social support). In several models of epithelial ovarian cancer, daily restraint stress resulted in significantly increased CAF activation and was abrogated by a nonspecific β-blocker. Adrenergic signaling–induced CAFs had significantly higher levels of collagen and extracellular matrix components than control tumors. Using a systems-based approach, we found INHBA production by cancer cells to induce CAFs. Ablating inhibin β A decreased CAF phenotype both in vitro and in vivo. In preclinical models of breast and colon cancers, there were increased CAFs and collagens following daily restraint stress. In an independent data set of renal cell carcinoma patients, there was an association between high depression (CES-D) scores and elevated expression of ACTA2, collagens, and inhibin β A. Collectively, our findings implicate adrenergic influences on tumor stroma as important drivers of CAFs and establish inhibin β A as an important regulator of the CAF phenotype in ovarian cancer.
Archana S. Nagaraja, Robert L. Dood, Guillermo Armaiz-Pena, Yu Kang, Sherry Y. Wu, Julie K. Allen, Nicholas B. Jennings, Lingegowda S. Mangala, Sunila Pradeep, Yasmin Lyons, Monika Haemmerle, Kshipra M. Gharpure, Nouara C. Sadaoui, Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, Cristina Ivan, Ying Wang, Keith Baggerly, Prahlad Ram, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Jinsong Liu, Samuel C. Mok, Lorenzo Cohen, Susan K. Lutgendorf, Steve W. Cole, Anil K. Sood
The architectural integrity of tissues requires complex interactions, both between cells and between cells and the extracellular matrix. Fundamental to cell and tissue homeostasis are the specific mechanical forces conveyed by the actomyosin cytoskeleton. Here we used super-resolution imaging methods to visualize the actin cytoskeleton in the kidney glomerulus, an organized collection of capillaries that filters the blood to make the primary urine. Our analysis of both mouse and human glomeruli reveals a network of myosin IIA–containing contractile actin cables within podocyte cell bodies and major processes at the outer aspects of the glomerular tuft. These likely exert force on an underlying network of myosin IIA–negative, noncontractile actin fibers present within podocyte foot processes that function to both anchor the cells to the glomerular basement membrane and stabilize the slit diaphragm against the pressure of fluid flow. After injuries that disrupt the kidney filtration barrier and cause foot process effacement, the podocyte’s contractile actomyosin network relocates to the basolateral surface of the cell, manifesting as sarcomere-like structures juxtaposed to the basement membrane. Our findings suggest a new model of the podocyte actin cytoskeleton in health and disease and suggest the existence of novel mechanisms that regulate podocyte architecture.
Hani Y. Suleiman, Robyn Roth, Sanjay Jain, John E. Heuser, Andrey S. Shaw, Jeffrey H. Miner
Myocardial atrophy is a wasting of cardiac muscle due to hemodynamic unloading. Doxorubicin is a highly effective anticancer agent but also induces myocardial atrophy through a largely unknown mechanism. Here, we demonstrate that inhibiting transient receptor potential canonical 3 (TRPC3) channels abolishes doxorubicin-induced myocardial atrophy in mice. Doxorubicin increased production of ROS in rodent cardiomyocytes through hypoxic stress–mediated upregulation of NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2), which formed a stable complex with TRPC3. Cardiomyocyte-specific expression of TRPC3 C-terminal minipeptide inhibited TRPC3-Nox2 coupling and suppressed doxorubicin-induced reduction of myocardial cell size and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, along with its upregulation of Nox2 and oxidative stress, without reducing hypoxic stress. Voluntary exercise, an effective treatment to prevent doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, also downregulated the TRPC3-Nox2 complex and promoted volume load–induced LV compliance, as demonstrated in TRPC3-deficient hearts. These results illustrate the impact of TRPC3 on LV compliance and flexibility and, focusing on the TRPC3-Nox2 complex, provide a strategy for prevention of doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy.
Tsukasa Shimauchi, Takuro Numaga-Tomita, Tomoya Ito, Akiyuki Nishimura, Ryosuke Matsukane, Sayaka Oda, Sumio Hoka, Tomomi Ide, Norimichi Koitabashi, Koji Uchida, Hideki Sumimoto, Yasuo Mori, Motohiro Nishida
The Mediator complex regulates gene transcription by linking basal transcriptional machinery with DNA-bound transcription factors. The activity of the Mediator complex is mainly controlled by a kinase submodule that is composed of 4 proteins, including MED12. Although ubiquitously expressed, Mediator subunits can differentially regulate gene expression in a tissue-specific manner. Here, we report that MED12 is required for normal cardiac function, such that mice with conditional cardiac-specific deletion of MED12 display progressive dilated cardiomyopathy. Loss of MED12 perturbs expression of calcium-handling genes in the heart, consequently altering calcium cycling in cardiomyocytes and disrupting cardiac electrical activity. We identified transcription factors that regulate expression of calcium-handling genes that are downregulated in the heart in the absence of MED12, and we found that MED12 localizes to transcription factor consensus sequences within calcium-handling genes. We showed that MED12 interacts with one such transcription factor, MEF2, in cardiomyocytes and that MED12 and MEF2 co-occupy promoters of calcium-handling genes. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MED12 enhances MEF2 transcriptional activity and that overexpression of both increases expression of calcium-handling genes in cardiomyocytes. Our data support a role for MED12 as a coordinator of transcription through MEF2 and other transcription factors. We conclude that MED12 is a regulator of a network of calcium-handling genes, consequently mediating contractility in the mammalian heart.
Kedryn K. Baskin, Catherine A. Makarewich, Susan M. DeLeon, Wenduo Ye, Beibei Chen, Nadine Beetz, Heinrich Schrewe, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Eric N. Olson
Our previous work showed myocellular differences in pediatric and adult dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). However, a thorough characterization of the molecular pathways involved in pediatric DCM does not exist, limiting the development of age-specific therapies. To characterize this patient population, we investigated the transcriptome profile of pediatric patients. RNA-Seq from 7 DCM and 7 nonfailing (NF) explanted age-matched pediatric left ventricles (LV) was performed. Changes in gene expression were confirmed by real-time PCR (RT-PCR) in 36 DCM and 21 NF pediatric hearts and in 20 DCM and 10 NF adult hearts. The degree of myocyte hypertrophy was investigated in 4 DCM and 7 NF pediatric hearts and in 4 DCM and 9 NF adult hearts. Changes in gene expression in response to pluripotency-inducing factors were investigated in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs). Transcriptome analysis identified a gene expression profile in children compared with adults with DCM. Additionally, myocyte hypertrophy was not observed in pediatric hearts but was present in adult hearts. Furthermore, treatment of NRVMs with pluripotency-inducing factors recapitulated changes in gene expression observed in the pediatric DCM heart. Pediatric DCM is characterized by unique changes in gene expression that suggest maintenance of an undifferentiated state.
Philip D. Tatman, Kathleen C. Woulfe, Anis Karimpour-Fard, Danielle A. Jeffrey, James Jaggers, Joseph C. Cleveland, Karin Nunley, Matthew R.G. Taylor, Shelley D. Miyamoto, Brian L. Stauffer, Carmen C. Sucharov
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