Islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP, amylin) is the major protein component of the islet amyloid deposits associated with type 2 diabetes. The polypeptide lacks a well-defined structure in its monomeric state but readily assembles to form amyloid. Amyloid fibrils formed from TAPP, intermediates generated in the assembly of IAPP amyloid, or both are toxic to beta-cells, suggesting that islet amyloid formation may contribute to the pathology of type 2 diabetes. There are relatively few reported inhibitors of amyloid formation by IAPP. Here we show that the tea-derived flavanol, (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate [(2R,3R)-5,7-dihydroxy-2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl)-3,4-dihydro-2H-1-benzopyran-3-yl 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoate] (EGCG), is an effective inhibitor of in vitro IAPP amyloid formation and disaggregates preformed amyloid fibrils derived from IAPP. The compound is thus one of a very small set of molecules which have been shown to disaggregate TAPP amyloid fibrils. Fluorescence-detected thioflavin-T binding assays and transmission electron microscopy confirm that the compound inhibits unseeded amyloid fibril formation as well as disaggregates IAPP amyloid. Seeding studies show that the complex formed by IAPP and EGCG does not seed amyloid formation by LAPP. In this regard, the behavior of IAPP is similar to the reported interactions of A beta and alpha-synuclein with EGCG. Alamar blue assays and light microscopy indicate that the compound protects cultured rat INS-1 cells against IAPP-induced toxicity. Thus, EGCG offers an interesting lead structure for further development of inhibitors of IAPP amyloid formation and compounds that disaggregate IAPP amyloid.
Key points A polymorphism of human AE3 is associated with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Knockout of AE3 in mice lowers the threshold for triggering epileptic seizures. The explanations for these effects are elusive. Comparisons of cells from wild‐type vs. AE3–/– mice show that AE3 (present in hippocampal neurons, not astrocytes; mediates HCO3– efflux) enhances intracellular pH (pHi) recovery (decrease) from alkali loads in neurons and, surprisingly, adjacent astrocytes. During metabolic acidosis (MAc), AE3 speeds initial acidification, but limits the extent of pHi decrease in neurons and astrocytes. AE3 speeds re‐alkalization after removal of MAc in neurons and astrocytes, and speeds neuronal pHi recovery from an ammonium prepulse‐induced acid load. We propose that neuronal AE3 indirectly increases acid extrusion in (a) neurons via Cl– loading, and (b) astrocytes by somehow enhancing NBCe1 (major acid extruder). The latter would enhance depolarization‐induced alkalinization of astrocytes, and extracellular acidification, and thereby reduce susceptibility to epileptic seizures. The anion exchanger AE3, expressed in hippocampal (HC) neurons but not astrocytes, contributes to intracellular pH (pHi) regulation by facilitating the exchange of extracellular Cl– for intracellular HCO3–. The human AE3 polymorphism A867D is associated with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Moreover, AE3 knockout (AE3–/–) mice are more susceptible to epileptic seizure. The mechanism of these effects has been unclear because the starting pHi in AE3–/– and wild‐type neurons is indistinguishable. The purpose of the present study was to use AE3–/– mice to investigate the role of AE3 in pHi homeostasis in HC neurons, co‐cultured with astrocytes. We find that the presence of AE3 increases the acidification rate constant during pHi recovery from intracellular alkaline loads imposed by reducing [CO2]. The presence of AE3 also speeds intracellular acidification during the early phase of metabolic acidosis (MAc), not just in neurons but, surprisingly, in adjacent astrocytes. Additionally, AE3 contributes to braking the decrease in pHi later during MAc in both neurons and astrocytes. Paradoxically, AE3 enhances intracellular re‐alkalization after MAc removal in neurons and astrocytes, and pHi recovery from an ammonium prepulse‐induced acid load in neurons. The effects of AE3 knockout on astrocytic pHi homeostasis in MAc‐related assays require the presence of neurons, and are consistent with the hypothesis that the AE3 knockout reduces functional expression of astrocytic NBCe1. These findings suggest a new type of neuron–astrocyte communication, based on the expression of AE3 in neurons, which could explain how AE3 reduces seizure susceptibility. Key points A polymorphism of human AE3 is associated with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Knockout of AE3 in mice lowers the threshold for triggering epileptic seizures. The explanations for these effects are elusive. Comparisons of cells from wild‐type vs. AE3–/– mice show that AE3 (present in hippocampal neurons, not astrocytes; mediates HCO3– efflux) enhances intracellular pH (pHi) recovery (decrease) from alkali loads in neurons and, surprisingly, adjacent astrocytes. During metabolic acidosis (MAc), AE3 speeds initial acidification, but limits the extent of pHi decrease in neurons and astrocytes. AE3 speeds re‐alkalization after removal of MAc in neurons and astrocytes, and speeds neuronal pHi recovery from an ammonium prepulse‐induced acid load. We propose that neuronal AE3 indirectly increases acid extrusion in (a) neurons via Cl– loading, and (b) astrocytes by somehow enhancing NBCe1 (major acid extruder). The latter would enhance depolarization‐induced alkalinization of astrocytes, and extracellular acidification, and thereby reduce susceptibility to epileptic seizures.
Summary ‘Circulating’ T follicular helper cells (Tfh), characterized by their surface phenotypes CD4+chemokine receptor 5 (CXCR5)+ inducible co‐stimulatory molecule (ICOS)+, have been identified as the CD4+ T cell subset specialized in supporting the activation, expansion and differentiation of B cells. Fibroblast‐like synoviocytes (FLS) are critical in promoting inflammation and cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the interaction between FLS and T cells is considered to facilitate FLS activation and T cell recruitment. However, it remains unknown whether RA‐FLS co‐cultured with activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) has immunoregulatory effects on peripheral Tfh. In the present study, we co‐cultured RA‐FLS with or without anti‐CD3/CD28‐stimulated PBMC. The results showed that RA‐FLS co‐cultured with stimulated PBMC could increase the numbers of CD4+CXCR5+ICOS+ T cells of RA PBMC possibly via the production of interleukin (IL)‐6, a critical cytokine involved in the differentiation of Tfh cells. We also observed increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the co‐culture system of RA‐FLS and PBMC. The percentage of CD4+CXCR5+ICOS+ T cells was decreased when ROS production was inhibited by N‐acetyl‐L‐cysteine (NAC), a specific inhibitor which can decrease ROS production. In addition, we showed that the higher levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)‐α and IL‐1β in the co‐culture system and the blocking of TNF receptor 2 (TNF‐R2) and IL‐1β receptor (IL‐1βR) both decreased the numbers of CD4+CXCR5+ICOS+ T cells. Our study reveals a novel mechanistic insight into how the interaction of RA‐FLS and PBMC participates in the RA pathogenesis, and also provides support for the biologicals application for RA. In the RA‐FLS and activated PBMC coculture system, we found that the numbers of CD4+CXCR5+ICOS+ T cells in RA PBMC were increased possibly via the production of IL‐6 and ROS. In addition, it showed the higher levels of TNF‐α and IL‐1β in the coculture system, and the blocking of TNFR2 and IL‐1βR both decreased the numbers of CD4+CXCR5+ICOS+ T cells.
One-cell-thick monolayers are the simplest tissues in multicellular organisms, yet they fulfill critical roles in development and normal physiology. In early development embryonic morphogenesis results largely from monolayer rearrangement and deformation due to internally generated forces. Later, monolayers act as physical barriers separating the internal environment from the exterior and must withstand externally applied forces. Though resisting and generating mechanical forces is an essential part of monolayer function, simple experimental methods to characterize monolayer mechanical properties are lacking. Here, we describe a system for tensile testing of freely suspended cultured monolayers that enables the examination of their mechanical behavior at multi-, uni-, and subcellular scales. Using this system, we provide measurements of monolayer elasticity and show that this is two orders of magnitude larger than the elasticity of their isolated cellular components. Monolayers could withstand more than a doubling in length before failing through rupture of intercellular junctions. Measurement of stress at fracture enabled a first estimation of the average force needed to separate cells within truly mature monolayers, approximately ninefold larger than measured in pairs of isolated cells. As in single cells, monolayer mechanical properties were strongly dependent on the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton, myosin, and intercellular adhesions interfacing adjacent cells. High magnification imaging revealed that keratin filaments became progressively stretched during extension, suggesting they participate in monolayer mechanics. This multiscale study of monolayer response to deformation enabled by our device provides the first quantitative investigation of the link between monolayer biology and mechanics.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia and is especially prevalent in the elderly. Because aging is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus, and insulin resistance may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), anti‐diabetic agents (thiazolidinediones‐TZDs) are being studied for the treatment of cognitive decline associated with AD. These agents normalize insulin sensitivity in the periphery and can improve cognition and verbal memory in AD patients. Based on evidence that Ca2+ dysregulation is a pathogenic factor of brain aging/AD, we tested the hypothesis that TZDs could impact Ca2+ signaling/homeostasis in neurons. We assessed the effects of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone (TZDs) on two major sources of Ca2+ influx in primary hippocampal cultured neurons, voltage‐gated Ca2+ channel (VGCC) and the NMDA receptor (NMDAR). VGCC‐ and NMDAR‐mediated Ca2+ currents were recorded using patch‐clamp techniques, and Ca2+ intracellular levels were monitored with Ca2+ imaging techniques. Rosiglitazone, but not pioglitazone reduced VGCC currents. In contrast, NMDAR‐mediated currents were significantly reduced by pioglitazone but not rosiglitazone. These results show that TZDs modulate Ca2+‐dependent pathways in the brain and have different inhibitory profiles on two major Ca2+ sources, potentially conferring neuroprotection to an area of the brain that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of aging and/or AD.
The Müller glia of fish provide a source for neuronal regeneration after injury, but they do not do so in mammals. We previously showed that lentiviral gene transfer of the transcription factor Achaete‐scute homolog 1 (Ascl1/Mash1) in murine Müller glia cultures resulted in partial reprogramming of the cells to retinal progenitors. The microRNAs (miRNAs) miR‐124‐9‐9* facilitate neuronal reprogramming of fibroblasts, but their role in glia reprogramming has not been reported. The aim of this study was to test whether (1) lentiviral gene transfer of miR‐124‐9‐9* can reprogram Müller glia into retinal neurons and (2) miR‐124‐9‐9* can improve Ascl1‐induced reprogramming. Primary Müller glia cultures were generated from postnatal day (P) 11/12 mice, transduced with lentiviral particles, i.e., miR‐124‐9‐9*‐RFP, nonsense‐RFP, Ascl1‐GFP, or GFP‐control. Gene expression and immunofluorescence analyses were performed within 3 weeks after infection. Overexpression of miR‐124‐9‐9* induced the expression of the proneural factor Ascl1 and additional markers of neurons, including TUJ1 and MAP2. When Ascl1 and miR‐124‐9‐9* were combined, 50 to 60% of Müller glia underwent neuronal reprogramming, whereas Ascl1 alone results in a 30 to 35% reprogramming rate. Analysis of the miR‐124‐9‐9* treated glial cells showed a reduction in the level of Ctdsp1 and Ptbp1, indicating a critical role for the REST pathway in the repression of neuronal genes in Müller glia. Our data further suggest that miR‐124‐9‐9* and the REST complex may play a role in regulating the reprogramming of Müller glia to progenitors that underlies retinal regeneration in zebrafish. GLIA 2016;64:743–762 Main points We show that the combination of the microRNAs miR‐124‐9‐9* with the transcription factor Ascl1 significantly increase neuronal reprogramming of Müller glia and that the underlying mechanism appears to involve members of the REST silencing complex.
Accumulating evidence shows that several cell types have the capacity to secrete membrane proteins by incorporating them into exosomes, which are small lipid vesicles derived from the intralumenal membranes of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) of the endocytic pathway. Exosomes are expelled in the extracellular space upon fusion of the MVB with the plasma membrane. Exosomal release is a way of secreting membrane proteins meant to be discarded, or to be passed on to other cells. Here, we demonstrate, using primary cortical cultures, that neurones and astrocytes can secrete exosomes. We find that exosomes released by cortical neurones contain the L1 cell adhesion molecule, the GPI-anchored prion protein, and the GluR2/3 but not the NR1 subunits of glutamate receptors. We also show that exosomal release is regulated by depolarisation. Our observation suggests that exosomes may have a regulatory function at synapses and could also allow intercellular exchange of membrane proteins within the brain.
Although understanding cells' responses to mechanical stimuli is seen as increasingly important for understanding cell biology, how to best measure, interpret, and model cells' mechanical properties remains unclear. We determine the frequency-dependent shear modulus of cultured mammalian cells by using four different methods, both unique and well established. This approach clarifies the effects of cytoskeletal heterogeneity, ATP-dependent processes, and cell regional variations on the interpretation of such measurements. Our results clearly indicate two qualitatively similar, but distinct, mechanical responses, corresponding to the cortical and intracellular networks, each having an unusual, weak power-law form at low frequency. The two frequency-dependent responses we observe are remarkably similar to those reported for a variety of cultured mammalian cells measured with different techniques, suggesting it is a useful consensus description. Finally, we discuss possible physical explanations for the observed mechanical response.
Cells contain a large number of antioxidants to prevent or repair the damage caused by reactive oxygen species, as well as to regulate redox-sensitive signaling pathways. General protocols are described to measure the antioxidant enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and glutathione peroxidase. The SODs convert superoxide radical into hydrogen peroxide and molecular oxygen, whereas the catalase and peroxidases convert hydrogen peroxide into water. In this way, two toxic species, superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide, are converted to the harmless product water. Western blots, activity gels and activity assays are various methods used to determine protein and activity in both cells and tissue depending on the amount of protein required for each assay. Other techniques including immunohistochemistry and immunogold can further evaluate the levels of the various antioxidant enzymes in tissues and cells. In general, these assays require 24-48 h to complete.
Cytoplasmic inclusions containing α-synuclein (α-Syn) fibrils, referred to as Lewy bodies (LBs), are the signature neuropathological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD). Although α-Syn fibrils can be generated from recombinant α-Syn protein in vitro, the production of fibrillar α-Syn inclusions similar to authentic LBs in cultured cells has not been achieved. We show here that intracellular α-Syn aggregation can be triggered by the introduction of exogenously produced recombinant α-Syn fibrils into cultured cells engineered to overexpress α-Syn. Unlike unassembled α-Syn, these α-Syn fibrils "seeded" recruitment of endogenous soluble α-Syn protein and their conversion into insoluble, hyperphosphorylated, and ubiquitinated pathological species. Thus, this cell model recapitulates key features of LBs in human PD brains. Also, these findings support the concept that intracellular α-Syn aggregation is normally limited by the number of active nucleation sites present in the cytoplasm and that small quantities of α-Syn fibrils can alter this balance by acting as seeds for aggregation.