Heterozygous missense mutations in lysyl oxidase (LOX) are associated with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. To assess how LOX mutations modify protein function and lead to aortic disease, we studied the factors that influence the onset and progression of vascular aneurysms in mice bearing a Lox mutation (p.M292R) linked to aortic dilation in humans. We show that mice heterozygous for the M292R mutation did not develop aneurysmal disease unless challenged with increased hemodynamic stress. Vessel dilation was confined to the ascending aorta although both the ascending and descending aortae showed changes in vessel wall structure, smooth muscle cell number and inflammatory cell recruitment that differed between wild-type and mutant animals. Studies with isolated cells found that M292R-mutant Lox is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum and ultimately cleared through an autophagy/proteasome pathway. Because the mutant protein does not transit to the Golgi where copper incorporation occurs, the protein is never catalytically active. These studies show that the M292R mutation results in LOX loss-of-function due to a secretion defect that predisposes the ascending aorta in mice (and by extension humans with similar mutations) to arterial dilation when exposed to risk factors that impart stress to the arterial wall.
Vivian S. Lee, Carmen M. Halabi, Thomas J. Broekelmann, Philip C. Trackman, Nathan O. Stitziel, Robert P. Mecham
Patients with mutations in Cullin-3 (CUL3) exhibit severe early onset hypertension but the contribution of the smooth muscle remains unclear. Conditional genetic ablation of CUL3 in vascular smooth muscle (S-CUL3KO) causes progressive impairment in responsiveness to nitric oxide (NO), rapid development of severe hypertension, and increased arterial stiffness. Loss of CUL3 in primary aortic smooth muscle cells or aorta resulted in decreased expression of the NO receptor, soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), causing a marked reduction in cGMP production and impaired vasodilation to cGMP analogues. Vasodilation responses to a selective large conductance Ca2+-activated K+-channel activator were normal suggesting that downstream signals which promote smooth muscle-dependent relaxation remained intact. We conclude that smooth muscle specific CUL3 ablation impairs both cGMP production and cGMP responses and that loss of CUL3 function selectively in smooth muscle is sufficient to cause severe hypertension by interfering with the NO-sGC-cGMP pathway. Our study provides compelling evidence for the sufficiency of vascular smooth muscle CUL3 as a major regulator of BP. CUL3 mutations cause severe vascular dysfunction, arterial stiffness and hypertension due to defects in vascular smooth muscle.
Larry N. Agbor, Anand R. Nair, Jing Wu, Ko-Ting Lu, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, James A. McCormick, Jeffrey D. Singer, Curt D. Sigmund
Atherosclerotic plaques feature local proliferation of leukocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and changes in cellular metabolism. Yet the relationship between glucose utilization and proliferation has been technically impossible to study directly in cells of atherosclerotic plaques in vivo. We used multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS), a quantitative imaging platform, to measure coincident cell division and glucose utilization at suborganelle resolution in atherosclerotic plaques. In established plaques, 65% of intimal foam cells and only 4% of medial VSMCs were labeled with 15N-thymidine after 1 week of isotope treatment. Dividing cells demonstrated heightened glucose labeling. MIMS detected 2H-glucose label in multiple subcellular compartments within foam cells, including lipid droplets, the cytosol, and chromatin. Unexpectedly, we identified an intensely focal region of 2H-label in VSMCs underlying plaques. This signal diminished in regions of aorta without atherosclerosis. In advanced plaques, 15N-thymidine and 2H-glucose labeling in foam cells and VSMCs significantly decreased. These data demonstrate marked heterogeneity in VSMC glucose metabolism that was dependent on both proliferative status and proximity of VSMCs to plaques. Furthermore, these results reveal how quantitative mass spectrometry coupled with isotope imaging can complement other methods used to study cell biology directly in the growing atherosclerotic plaque in vivo.
Christelle Guillermier, Sean P. Doherty, Adam G. Whitney, Vladimir R. Babaev, MacRae F. Linton, Matthew L. Steinhauser, Jonathan D. Brown
BACKGROUND. Physical function decreases with age, and though bioenergetic alterations contribute to this decline, the mechanisms by which mitochondrial function changes with age remains unclear. This is partially because human mitochondrial studies require highly invasive procedures, such as muscle biopsies, to obtain live tissue with functional mitochondria. However, recent studies demonstrate that circulating blood cells are potentially informative in identifying systemic bioenergetic changes. Here, we hypothesize that human platelet bioenergetics reflect bioenergetics measured in muscle biopsies. METHODS & RESULTS. We demonstrate that maximal and ATP-linked respiratory rate measured in isolated platelets from older adults (86–93 years) correlates significantly with maximal respiration (r = 0.595; P = 0.003) measured by muscle biopsy respirometry and maximal ATP production (r = 0.643; P = 0.004) measured by 31P-MRS respectively, in the same individuals. Comparison of platelet bioenergetics in this aged cohort to platelets from younger adults (18–35 years) shows aged adults demonstrate lower basal and ATP-linked respiration. Platelets from older adults also show enhanced proton leak, which is likely due to increased protein levels of uncoupling protein 2, and correlates with increased gate speed in this cohort (r = 0.58; P = 0.0019). While no significant difference in glycolysis was observed in older adults compared to younger adults, platelet glycolytic rate correlated with fatigability (r = 0.44; P = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS. These data advance the mechanistic understanding of age-related changes in mitochondrial function. Further, they suggest that measuring platelet bioenergetics provides a potential supplement or surrogate for muscle biopsy measurement and may be a valuable tool to study mitochondrial involvement in age-related decline of physical function.
Andrea C. Braganza, Catherine G. Corey, Adam J. Santanasto, Giovanna Distefano, Paul M. Coen, Nancy W. Glynn, Seyed-Mehdi Nouraie, Bret H. Goodpaster, Anne B. Newman, Sruti Shiva
Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbimortality worldwide, promising new drug candidates are lacking. We compared the arterial high-resolution proteome of patients with advanced versus early-stage CVD to predict, from a library of small bioactive molecules, drug candidates able to reverse this disease signature. Of the approximately 4000 identified proteins, 100 proteins were upregulated and 52 were downregulated in advanced-stage CVD. Arachidonyl trifluoromethyl ketone (AACOCF3), a cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) inhibitor was predicted as the top drug able to reverse the advanced-stage CVD signature. Vascular cPLA2 expression was increased in patients with advanced-stage CVD. Treatment with AACOCF3 significantly reduced vascular calcification in a cholecalciferol-overload mouse model and inhibited osteoinductive signaling in vivo and in vitro in human aortic smooth muscle cells. In conclusion, using a systems biology approach, we have identified a potentially new compound that prevented typical vascular calcification in CVD in vivo. Apart from the clear effect of this approach in CVD, such strategy should also be able to generate novel drug candidates in other complex diseases.
Joost P. Schanstra, Trang T.D. Luong, Manousos Makridakis, Sophie Van Linthout, Vasiliki Lygirou, Agnieszka Latosisnska, Ioana Alesutan, Beate Boehme, Nadeshda Schelski, Dirk Von Lewinski, William Mullen, Stuart Nicklin, Christian Delles, Guylène Feuillet, Colette Denis, Florian Lang, Burkert Pieske, Jean-Loup Bascands, Harald Mischak, Jean-Sebastien Saulnier-Blache, Jakob Voelkl, Antonia Vlahou, Julie Klein
Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension are two major risk factors for coronary artery diseases, which remain the major cause of mortality in the industrialized world. Current animal models of atherosclerosis do not recapitulate coronary plaque disruption, thrombosis, and myocardial infarction occurring in humans. Recently, we demonstrated that exposure of the heart to high pressure, by transverse aortic constriction (TAC), induced coronary lesions in ApoE–/– mice on chow diet. The aim of this study was to characterize the magnitude and location of coronary lesions in ApoE–/– mice after TAC and to assess the susceptibility of coronary plaque to disruption, leading to myocardial events. Here, we describe a reliable pathological condition in mice characterized by the development of coronary lesions and its progression, leading to myocardial infarction; this model better recapitulates human disease. Following TAC surgery, about 90% of ApoE–/– mice developed coronary lesions, especially in the left anterior descending artery, with 59% of the mice manifesting a different magnitude of LAD stenosis. Myocardial events, identified in 74% of the mice, were mainly due to coronary plaque thrombosis and occlusion. That TAC-induced development and progression of coronary lesions in ApoE–/– mice, leading to myocardial events, represents a potentially novel and important tool to investigate the development of coronary lesions and its sequelae in a setting that better resemble human conditions.
Alice Marino, Yi Zhang, Luisa Rubinelli, Maria Antonietta Riemma, James E. Ip, Annarita Di Lorenzo
The interplay among signaling events for endothelial cell (EC) senescence, apoptosis, and activation and how these pathological conditions promote atherosclerosis in the area exposed to disturbed flow (d-flow) in concert remain unclear. The aim of this study was to determine whether telomeric repeat-binding factor 2–interacting protein (TERF2IP), a member of the shelterin complex at the telomere, can regulate EC senescence, apoptosis, and activation simultaneously, and if so, by what molecular mechanisms. We found that d-flow induced p90RSK and TERF2IP interaction in a p90RSK kinase activity–dependent manner. An in vitro kinase assay revealed that p90RSK directly phosphorylated TERF2IP at the serine 205 (S205) residue, and d-flow increased TERF2IP S205 phosphorylation as well as EC senescence, apoptosis, and activation by activating p90RSK. TERF2IP phosphorylation was crucial for nuclear export of the TERF2IP-TRF2 complex, which led to EC activation by cytosolic TERF2IP-mediated NF-κB activation and also to senescence and apoptosis of ECs by depleting TRF2 from the nucleus. Lastly, using EC-specific TERF2IP-knockout (TERF2IP-KO) mice, we found that the depletion of TERF2IP inhibited d-flow–induced EC senescence, apoptosis, and activation, as well as atherosclerotic plaque formation. These findings demonstrate that TERF2IP is an important molecular switch that simultaneously accelerates EC senescence, apoptosis, and activation by S205 phosphorylation.
Sivareddy Kotla, Hang Thi Vu, Kyung Ae Ko, Yin Wang, Masaki Imanishi, Kyung-Sun Heo, Yuka Fujii, Tamlyn N. Thomas, Young Jin Gi, Hira Mazhar, Jesus Paez-Mayorga, Ji-Hyun Shin, Yunting Tao, Carolyn J. Giancursio, Jan L.M. Medina, Jack Taunton, Aldos J. Lusis, John P. Cooke, Keigi Fujiwara, Nhat-Tu Le, Jun-ichi Abe
Extracellular mRNAs (ex-mRNAs) potentially supersede extracellular miRNAs (ex-miRNAs) and other RNA classes as biomarkers. We performed conventional small-RNA-sequencing (sRNA-seq) and sRNA-seq with T4 polynucleotide kinase (PNK) end-treatment of total exRNA isolated from serum and platelet-poor EDTA, ACD, and heparin plasma to study the effect on ex-mRNA capture. Compared to conventional sRNA-seq PNK-treatment increased the detection of informative ex-mRNAs reads up to 50-fold. The exRNA pool was dominated by hematopoietic cells and platelets, with additional contribution from the liver. About 60% of the 15- to 42-nt reads originated from the coding sequences, in a pattern reminiscent of ribosome-profiling. Blood sample type had a considerable influence on the exRNA profile. On average approximately 350 to 1,100 distinct ex-mRNA transcripts were detected depending on plasma type. In serum, additional transcripts from neutrophils and hematopoietic cells increased this number to near 2,300. EDTA and ACD plasma showed a destabilizing effect on ex mRNA and non-coding RNA ribonucleoprotein complexes compared to other plasma types. In a proof-of-concept study, we investigated differences between the exRNA profiles of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and healthy controls. The improved tissue resolution of ex mRNAs after PNK-treatment enabled us to detect a neutrophil-signature in ACS that escaped detection by ex miRNA analysis.
Kemal M. Akat, Youngmin A. Lee, Arlene Hurley, Pavel Morozov, Klaas E.A. Max, Miguel Brown, Kimberly Bogardus, Anuoluwapo Sopeyin, Kai Hildner, Thomas G. Diacovo, Markus F. Neurath, Martin Borggrefe, Thomas Tuschl
Changes in neuronal activity alter blood flow to match energy demand with the supply of oxygen and nutrients. This functional hyperemia is maintained by interactions between neurons, vascular cells, and glia. However, how changing neuronal activity prevalent at the onset of neurodegenerative disease affects neurovascular elements is unclear. Here, in mice with photoreceptor degeneration, a model of neuron-specific dysfunction, we combined assessment of visual function, neurovascular unit structure, and the blood-retina barrier permeability. We found that the rod loss paralleled remodeling of the neurovascular unit, comprised of photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and Muller glia. When significant visual function was still present, blood flow became disrupted and blood-retina barrier began to fail, facilitating cone loss and vision decline. Thus, in contrast to the established view, vascular deficit in neuronal degeneration is not a late consequence of neuronal dysfunction, but is present early in the course of disease. These findings further establish the importance of vascular deficit and blood retina barrier function in neuron-specific loss, and highlight it as a target for early therapeutic intervention.
Elena Ivanova, Nazia M. Alam, Glen T. Prusky, Botir T. Sagdullaev
The purpose of this study was to determine important genes, functions, and networks contributing to the pathobiology of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) from transcriptomic analyses across 3 species and 2 disease genotypes. Sequencing of RNA from laser microdissected neurovascular units of 5 human surgically resected CCM lesions, mouse brain microvascular endothelial cells, Caenorhabditis elegans with induced Ccm gene loss, and their respective controls provided differentially expressed genes (DEGs). DEGs from mouse and C. elegans were annotated into human homologous genes. Cross-comparisons of DEGs between species and genotypes, as well as network and gene ontology (GO) enrichment analyses, were performed. Among hundreds of DEGs identified in each model, common genes and 1 GO term (GO:0051656, establishment of organelle localization) were commonly identified across the different species and genotypes. In addition, 24 GO functions were present in 4 of 5 models and were related to cell-to-cell adhesion, neutrophil-mediated immunity, ion transmembrane transporter activity, and responses to oxidative stress. We have provided a comprehensive transcriptome library of CCM disease across species and for the first time to our knowledge in Ccm1/Krit1 versus Ccm3/Pdcd10 genotypes. We have provided examples of how results can be used in hypothesis generation or mechanistic confirmatory studies.
Janne Koskimäki, Romuald Girard, Yan Li, Laleh Saadat, Hussein A. Zeineddine, Rhonda Lightle, Thomas Moore, Seán Lyne, Kenneth Avner, Robert Shenkar, Ying Cao, Changbin Shi, Sean P. Polster, Dongdong Zhang, Julián Carrión-Penagos, Sharbel Romanos, Gregory Fonseca, Miguel A. Lopez-Ramirez, Eric M. Chapman, Evelyn Popiel, Alan T. Tang, Amy Akers, Pieter Faber, Jorge Andrade, Mark Ginsberg, W. Brent Derry, Mark L. Kahn, Douglas A. Marchuk, Issam A. Awad
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