Two major apoptosis pathways have been defined in mammalian cells,the Fas/TNF-R1 death receptor pathway and the mitochondria pathway.The Bcl-2 family proteins consist of both anti-apoptosis and pro-apoptosis members that regulate apoptosis,mainly by controlling the release of cytochrome c and other mitochondrial apoptotic events.However,death signals mediated by Fas/TNF-R1 receptors can usually activate caspases directly,bypassing the need for mitochondria and escaping the regulation by Bcl-2 family proteins.Bid is a novel pro-apoptosis Bcl-2 family protein that is activated by caspase 8 in response to Fas/TNF-R1 death receptor signals.Activated Bid is translocated to mitochondria and induces cytochrome c release,which in turn activates downstream caspases.Such a connection between the two apoptosis pathways could be important for induction of apoptosis in certain types of cells and responsible for the pathogenesis of a number of human diseases.
IAPs (inhibitors of apoptosis) are a family of proteins containing one or more characteristic BIR domains.These proteins have multiple biological activities that include binding and inhibiting caspases,regulating cell cycle progression,and modulating receptor-mediated signal transduction.Our recent studies found the IAP family members XIAP and c-IAP1 are ubiquitinated and degraded in proteasomes in response to apoptotic stimuli in T cells,and their degradation appears to be important for T cells to commit to death.In addition to three BIR domains,each of these IAPs also contains a RING finger domain. We found this region confers ubiquitin protease ligase(E3) activity to IAPs,and is responsible for the auto-ubiquitination and degradation of IAPs after an apoptotic stimulus.Given the fact that IAPs can bind a variety of proteins,such as caspases and TRAFs,it will be of interest to characterize potential substrates of the E3 activity of IAPs and the effects of ubiquitination by IAPs on signal transduction,cell cycle,and apoptosis.
Leptin is the protein product encoded by the obese(ob) gene.It is a circulating hormone produced primarily by the adipose tissue.ob/ob mice with mutations of the gene encoding leptin become morbidly obese,infertile,hyperphagic,hypothermic,and diabetic.Since the cloning of leptin in 1994,our knowledge in body weight regulation and the role played by leptin has increased substantially.We now know that leptin signals through its receptor,OB-R,which is a member of the cytokine receptor superfamily.Leptin serves as an adiposity signal to inform the brain the adipose tissue mass in a negative feedback loop regulating food intake and energy expenditure.Leptin also plays important roles in angiogenesis,immune function,fertility,and bone formation.Humans with mutations in the gene encoding leptin are also morbidly obese and respond to leptin treatment,demonstrating that enhancing or inhibiting leptin's activities in vivo may have potential therapeutic benefits.
Cleavage of chromosomal DNA into oligonucleosomal size fragments is an integral part of apoptosis.Elegant biochemical work identified the DNA fragmentation factor(DFF) as a major apoptotic endonuclease for DNA fragmentation in vitro Genetic studies in mice support the importence of DFF in DNA fragmentation and possibly in apoptosis in vivo.Recent work also suggests the existence of additional endonucleases for DNA degradation.Understanding the roles of individual endonucleases in apoptosis,and how they might coordinate to degrade DNA in different tissues during normal development and homeostasis,as well as in various diseased states,will be a major research focus in the near future.
Cellular biological avtivities are tightly controlled by intracellular signaling processes initiated by extracellular signals.Protein tyrosine phosphatases,which remove phosphate groups from phosphorylated signaling molecules,play equally important tyrosine roles as protein tyrosine kinases in signal transduction.SHP-2 a cytoplasmic SH2 domain containing protein tyrosine phosphatase,is involved in the signaling pathways of a variety of growth factors and cytokines.Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that this phosphatase plays an important role in transducing signal relay from the cell surface to the nucleus,and is a critical intracellular regulator in mediating cell proliferation and differentiation.
In any multi-cellular organism,the balance between cell division and cell death maintains a constant cell number.Both cell division cycle and cell death are highly regulated events.Whether the cell will proceed through the cycle or not,depends upon whether the conditions required at the checkpoints during the cycle and fulfilled.In higher eucaryotic cells,such as mammalian cells,signals that arrest the cycle usually act at a G1 checkpoint.Cells that pass this restriction point are committed to complete the cycle.Regulation of the G1 phase of the cell cycle is extremely complex and involves many different families of proteins such as retinoblastoma family,cyclin dependent kinases,cyclins,and cyclin kinase inhibitors.
Upon encountering the antigen(Ag),the immune system can either develop a specific immune response of enter a specific state of unresponsiveness,tolerance.The response of B cells to their specific Ag can be activation and proliferation,leading to the immune response,or anergy and activation-induced cell death(AICD),leading to tolerance.AICD in B lymphocytes is a highly regulated event initiated by crosslinking of the B cell receptor (BCR).BCR engagement initiates several signaling events such as activation of PLCγ,Ras,and PI3K,which generally speaking,lead to survival.However,in the absence of survival signals(CD40 or IL-4R engagement),BCR crosslinking can also promote apoptotic signal transduction pathways such as activation of effector caspases,expression of pro-apoptotic genes,and inhibition of pro-survival genes.The complex interplay between survival and death signals determines the B cell fate and, consequently,the immune response.
Apoptosis produced in B cells through Fas(APO-1,CD95) triggering is regulated by signals derived from other surface receptors:CD40 engagement produces upregulation of Fas expression and marked susceptibility to Fas-induced cell death,whereas antigen receptor engagement,or IL-4R engagement,inhibits Fas killing and in so doing induces a state of Fas-resistance,even in otherwise sensitive,CD40-stimulated targets.Surface immunoglobulin and IL-4R utilize at least partially distinct path ways to produce Fas-resistance that differentially depend on PKC and STAT6,respectively.Further,surface immunoglobulin signaling for inducible Fas-resistance bypasses Btk,requires NF-κB,and entails new macromolecular synthesis.Terminal effectors of B cell Fas-resistance include the known anti-apoptotic gene products,Bcl-XL and FLIP,and a novel anti-apoptotic gene that encodes FAIM (Fas Apoptosis Inhibitory Molecule).faim was identified by differential display and exists in two alternatively spliced forms;faim-S is broadly expressed,but faim-L expression is tissue-specific.The FAIM sequence is highly evolu tionarily conserved,suggesting an important role for this molecule throughout phylogeny.Inducible resistance to Fas killing is hypothesized to protect foreign antigen-specific B cells during potentially hazardous interactions with FasL-bearing T cells,whereas autoreactive B cells fail to become Fas-resistant and are deleted via Fas-dependent cytotoxicity.Inadvertent or aberrant acquisition of Fas-resistance may permit autoreactive B cells to escape Fas deletion,and malignant lymphocytes to impede anti-tumor immunity.
Fishes,the biggest and most diverse community in vertebrates are good experimental models for studies of cell and developmental biology by many favorable characteristics.Nuclear transplantation in fish has been thoroughly studied in China since 1960s.Fish nuclei of embryonic cells from different genera were transplanted into enucleated eggs generating nucleo-cytoplasmic hybrids of adults.Most importantly,nuclei of cultured goldfish kidney cells had been reprogrammed in enucleated eggs to support embryogenesis and ontogenesis of a fertile fish.This was the first case of cloned fish with somatic cells.Based on the technique of microinjection,recombinant MThGH gene has been transferred into fish eggs and the firsh batch of transgenic fish were produced in 1984.The behavior of foreign gene was characterized and the onsed of the foreign gene replication occurred between the blastula to gastrula stages and random integration mainly occurred at later stages of embryogenesis.This eventually led to the transgenic mosaicism.The MThGH-transferred common carp enhanced growth rate by 2-4 times in the founder juveniles and doubled the body weight in the adults.The transgenic common carp were more efficient in utilizing dietary protein than the controls.An “all-fish” gene construct CAgcGH has been made by splicing the common carp β-actin gene (CA) promoter onto the grass carp growth hormone gene (grGH) coding sequence.The CAgcGH-transferred Yellow River Carp have also shown significantly fast-growth trait.Combination of techniques of fish cell culture,gene transformation with cultured cells and nuclear transplantation should be able to generate homogeneous strain of valuable transgenic fish to fulfil human requirement in 21^st century.
Our previous work showed that the cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan could induce an erosive polyarthritis and spondylitis in BALB/c mice and the G1 globular domain of the aggrecan (G1) contained the arthritogenic region.To elucidate whether autoreactive T cells to G1 are expressed in rheumatoid arthritis patients,we analyzed the frequency of human G1-specific T cells in the peripheral blood of five rheumatoid arthritis patients and tried to establish G1-reactive T cell lines from these rheumatoid arthritis patients.The results showed that the G1-specific T cells in PBL were detectable at the range of 4.97±0.5×10^-6 in peripheral blood lymphocytes.We have also generated 15 G1-specific T lymphocyte lines from these pateints with a standard split-well method.All these cells expressed fine specificity to human recombinant G1,but not to unrelated antigen.All the 15 lines expressed a panT cell marker and 13 of them selectively used the αβT cell receptor.Two of them used γδT cell receptor.The 13 of these T cell lines was CD4 positive.One line expressed CD8.One line expressed both CD4 and CD8.Moreover,14 out of 15 lines expressed the Th-1 cytokine profile,characterized by interferon-γ positivity and IL-4 negativity.No Th-2 type cell line was generated.These data provide strong evidence in favor of the presence of autoreactive T cells in the rheumatoid arthritis pateints.What is the mechanism(s) tnat these autoreactive T cells attack self-targen and whether these G1-specific,Th-1 type T cell lines can induce arthritis in immune deficiency mice are currently under investigation.
Molecular and genetic characterizations of mutants have led to a better understanding of many developmental processes in the model system Arabidopsis thaliana.However,the leaf development that is specific to plants has been little studies.With the aim of contributing to the genetic dissection of leaf development,we have performed a large-scare screening for mutants with abnormal leaves.Among a great number of leaf mutants we have generated by T-DNA and transposon tagging and ethylmethae sulfonate (EMS) mutagenesis,four independent mutant lines have been identified and studied genetically.Phenotypes of these mutant lines represent the defects of four novel muclear genes designated LL1(LOTUS LEAF 1),LL2(LOTUS LEAF2),URO(UPRIGHT ROSETTE),and EIL(ENVIRONMENT CONDITION INDUCED LESION).The phenotypic analysis indicates that these genes play important roles during leaf development.For the further genetic analysis of these genes and the map-based cloning of LL1 and LL2,we have mapped these genes to chromosome regions with an efficient and rapid mapping method.
Apoptosis or programmed cell death(PCD) is an evolutionarily conserved cellular process that is essential for normal development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms.Defects in the apoptosis signaling result in many diseases including autoimmune diseases and cancer.The apoptosis signaling pathway was first described genetically in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans which serves as a framework for the more complex apoptotic pathways that exist in mammals.In this review,we will discuss the apoptotic pathways that are emerging in mammals as elucidated by studies of gene-targeted mutant mice.
To elucidate the molecular pathology underlying the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC),we used 41 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers to examine 55 HCC and corresponding non-tumor liver tissues on chromosome 9,16 and 17.Loss-of-heterozygosity(LOH) is observed with high frequency on chromosomal region 17p13(36k/55,65%),9q21-p23(28/55,51%),16q21-23(27/55,49%) in tumors.Meanwhile,microsatellite instability is rarely found in these microsatellite loci.Direct sequencing was performed to detect the tentative mutation of tumor wuppressor genes in these regions:p53,MTS1/p16,and CDH1/E-cadherin.Wihin exon 5-9 of p53 gene,14 out of 55 HCC specimens(24%) have somatic mutations,and nucleotide deletion of this gene is reported in HCC for the first time.Mutation in MTS1/p16 is found only in one tumor case.We do not find mutations in CDH1/E-cadherin.Furthermore,a statistically significant correlation is present between p53 gene mutation and loss of chromosome region 16q21-q23 and 9p21-p23,which indicates that synergism between p53 inactivation and deletion of 16q21-q23 and 9p21-p23 may play a role in the pathogenesis of HCC.
Apoptosis plays an important role in embryonic development,tissue remodeling,immune regulation and tumor regression.Two groups of molecules(Bcl-2 family and “Death factor” family) are involved in regulating apoptosis.In order to know about the effect of Bcl-2 on apoptosis induced by Fas,a typical member of “Death factor” family,the transfection experiments with expression vectors pcDNA3-fl and pcDNA3-bcl-2 were performed in BEL-7404 cells,a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line which expresses endogenous Fas,but not FasL and Bcl-2.The data showed that the expression of FasL in pcDNA3-fl transfected hepatoma cells obviously induced the apoptosis of the cells.However,the overexpression of Bcl-2 in pcDNA3-bcl-2 transfected 7404/b-16 cells counteracted pcDNA3-fl transient transfection mediated apoptosis.Further study by cotransfection experiments indicated that Bid but not Bax (both were pro-apoptotic proteins of Bcl-2 family) blocked the inhibitory effect of Bcl-2 on Fas-mediated apoptosis.These results suggested that Fas-mediated apoptosis in human hepatoma cells is possibly regulated by Bcl-2 family proteins via mitochondria pathway.
Transgenic mice ubiquitously overexpressing murine γ-aminobutyric acid transporter subtype I were created.Unexpectedly,these mice markedly exhibited heritable obesity,which features significantly increased body weight and fat deposition.Behavioral examination revealed that transgenic mice have slightly reduced spontaneous locomotive capacity and altered feeding pattern.This preliminary finding indicates that the inappropriate level of γ-aminobutyric acid transporters may be directly or indirectly involved in the pathogenic mechanism underlying certain types of obesity.
p34^cdc2 and Cyclin Bl are key components of cell cycle controlling machine and are believed to play a fundamjental role in gametogenesis.It is also well known that,in scrotal mammals,spermatogenesis depends greatly on the maintenance of comparatively low temperature in the scrotum.To investigate whether the expression of cdc2 and cyclin Bl in spermatogenic cells during spermatogenesis is actually a temperature dependent event,in situ hybridization,Western blotting and immunohistochemistry analysis were used to study the expression of cdc2 and cyclin Bl in normal and cryptorchid testis.Results showed that the abdominal temperature had no significant influence on the transcription of cdc2 and cyclin Bl in the spermatogonia and pachytene/diplotene primary spermatocytes,but it blocked the translation of them.Due to the deficiency of p34^cdc2 and Cyclin B1,the spermatogonia and pachytene/diplotene primary spermatocytes were unable to form MPF,hence,they couldn't undergo karyokinesis.The development of primary spermatocytes was arrested at the G2 to M phase transition.We also found that testosterone could regulate the Cyclin B1 expression in spermatogenic cells.Muscular injection of testosterone could recover spermatogenesis in the unilateral scrotal testis which was influenced by the contralateral cryptorchid testis,but it could not salvage the spermatogenesis block in the cryptorchid testis.
gamma-Aminobutyric acid and GABAergic receptors were previously reported to be distributed in reproductive systems besides CNS and predicted to participate in the modulation of testicular function. gamma-Aminobutyric acid transporter was implicated to be involved in this process. However, the potential role of gamma-aminobutyric transporter in testis has not been explored. In this study, we investigated the existence of mouse gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter subtype I (mGAT1) in testis. Wild-type and transgenic mice, which overexpressing mGAT1 in a variety of tissues, especially in testis, were primarily studied to approach the profile of mGAT1 in testis. Mice with overexpressed mGAT1 develop normally but with reduced mass and size of testis as compared with wild-type. Testicular morphology of transgenic mice exhibited overt abnormalities including focal damage of the spermatogenic epithelium accompanied by capillaries proliferation and increased diameter of seminiferous tubules lumen. Reduced number of spermatids was also found in some seminiferous tubules. Our results clearly demonstrate the presence of GAT1 in mouse testis and imply that GAT1 is possibly involved in testicular function.
The experiment was performed to evaluate the progenies of plant lines transgenic for auxin synthesis genes derived from Ri T-DNA.Four lines of the transgenic plants were self-crossed and the foreign auxin genes in plants of T5 generation were confirmed by Southern hybridization.Two lines,D1232 and D1653,showed earlier folding of expanding leaves than untransformed line and therefore had early initiation of leafy head.Leaf cuttings derived from plant of transgenic line D1653 produced more adventitious roots than the control whereas the cuttings from folding leaves had much more roots than rosette leaves at folding stage,and the cuttings from head leaves had more roots than rosette leaves at heading stage.It is demonstrated that early folding of transgenic leaf may be caused by the relatively higher concentration of auxin.These plant lines with auxin transgenes can be used for the study of hormonal regulation in differentiation and development of plant orgens and for the breeding of new variety with rapid growth trait.
Some recent studies indicated that GABAergic system is involved in mammalian sperm acrosome reaction (AR), but direct evidence pertaining to the expression of gat1 in mammalian sperm is not yet demonstrated. In this study, we evaluated the presence of 67kDa GAT1 protein and mRNA in rat testis by Western blotting and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Meanwhile, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent analyses also identified GAT1 protein on the elongated spermatid and sperm. These results indicated that rat testis is a novel site of gat1 expression. Further studies should be taken to explore the sole of GAT1 protein on sperm acrosome reaction.
Programmed cell death plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis during animal development,and has been conserved in animals as different as nematoes and humans. Recent studies of Drosophila have provided valuadle information toward our understanding of genetic regulation of death.Different signals trigger the novel death regulators rpr,hid,and grim,that utilize the evolutionarily conserved iap and ark genes to modulate caspase function.Subsequent removal of dying cells also appears to be accomplished by conserved mechanisms.The similarity between Drosophila and human in cell death signaling pathways illustrate the promise of fruit flies as a model system to elucidatek the mechanisms underlying regulation of programmed cell death.