The mechanisms of regulation, activation and signal transduction of the angiotensin II (Ang II) type 1 (AT1) receptor have been studied extensively in the decade after its cloning. The AT1 receptor is a major component of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). It mediates the classical biological actions of Ang II. Among the structures required for regulation and activation of the receptor, its carboxyl-terminal region plays crucial roles in receptor internalization, desensitization and phosphorylation. The mechanisms involved in heterotrimeric G-protein coupling to the receptor, activation of the downstream signaling pathway by G proteins and the Ang II signal transduction pathways leading to specific cellular responses are discussed. In addition, recent work on the identification and characterization of novel proteins associated with carboxyl-terminus of the AT1 receptor is presented. These novel proteins will advance our understanding of how the receptor is internalized and recycled as they provide molecular mechanisms for the activation and regulation of G-protein-coupled receptors.
A number of studies show that environmental stress conditions increase abscisic acid (ABA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) levels in plant cells. Despite this central role of ABA in altering stomatal aperture by regulating guard cell ion transport, little is known concerning the relationship between ABA and H2O2 in signal transduction leading to stomatal movement. Epidermal strip bioassay illustrated that ABA-inhibited stomatal opening and ABA-induced stomatal closure were abolished partly by externally added catalase (CAT) or diphenylene iodonium (DPI), which are a H2O2 scavenger and a NADPH oxidase inhibitor respectively. In contrast, internally added CAT or DPI nearly completely or partly reversed ABA-induced closure in half-stoma. Consistent with these results, whole-cell patch-clamp analysis showed that intracellular application of CAT or DPI partly abolished ABA-inhibited inward K+ current across the plasma membrane of guard cells. H2O2 mimicked ABA to inhibit inward K+ current, an effect which was reversed by the addition of ascorbic acid (V-c) in patch clamping micropipettes. These results suggested that H2O2 mediated ABA-induced stomatal movement by targeting inward K+ channels at plasma membrane.
Epidermal bioassay demonstrated that benzylamine, a membrane-permeable weak base, can mimick hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to induce stomatal closure, and butyric acid, a membrane-permeable weak acid, can partly abolish the H2O2-induced stomatal closure. Confocal pH mapping with the probe 5-(and-6)carboxy seminaphthorhodafluor-1-acetoxymethyleste (SNARF-1-AM) revealed that H2O2 leads to rapid changes in cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH in guard cells of Vicia faba L, i. e. alkalinization of cytoplasmic areas occur red in parallel with a decrease of the vacuolar pH, and that butyric acid pretreatment can abolish alkalinization of cytoplasmic areas and acidification of vacuolar areas of guard cells challenged with H2O2. These results imply that the alkalinization of cytoplasm via efflux of cytosol protons into the vacuole in guard cells challenged with H2O2 is important at an early stage in the signal cascade leading to stomatal closure.
We reported in this manuscript that TGF-beta1 induces apoptosis in AML12 murine hepatocytes, which is associated with the activation of p38 MAPK signaling pathway. SB202190, a specific inhibitor of p38 MAPK, strongly inhibited the TGF-beta1-induced apoptosis and PAI-1 promoter activity. Treatment of cells with TGF-beta1 activates p38. Furthermore, over-expression of dominant negative mutant p38 also reduced the TGF-beta1-induced apoptosis. The data indicate that the activation of p38 is involved in TGF-beta1-mediated gene expression and apoptosis.
Anuran metamorphosis involves systematic transformations of individual organs in a thyroid hormone (TH)-dependent manner. Morphological and cellular studies have shown that the removal of larval organs/tissues such the tail and the tadpole intestinal epithelium is through programmed cell death or apoptosis. Recent molecular investigations suggest that TH regulates metamorphosis by regulating target gene expression through thyroid hormone receptors (TRs), which are DNA-binding transcription factors. Cloning and characterization of TH response genes show that diverse groups of early response genes are induced by TH. The products of these TH response genes are believed to directly or indirectly affect the expression and/or functions of cell death genes, which are conserved at both sequence and function levels in different animal species. A major challenge for future research lies at determining the signaling pathways leading to the activation of apoptotic processes and whether different death genes are involved in the regulation of apoptosis in different tissues/organs to effect tissue-specific transformations.
Apoptosis is a form of genetically programmed cell death, which plays a key role in regulation of cellularity in a variety of tissue and cell types including the cardiovascular tissues. Under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions, various biophysiological and biochemical factors, including mechanical forces, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, cytokines, growth factors, oxidized lipoproteins, etc., may influence apoptosis of vascular cells. The Fas/Fas ligand/caspase death-signaling pathway, Bcl-2 protein family/mitochondria, the tumor suppressive gene p53, and the proto-oncogene c-myc may be activated in atherosclerotic lesions, and mediates vascular apoptosis during the development of atherosclerosis. Abnormal expression and dysfunction of these apoptosis-regulating genes may attenuate or accelerate vascular cell apoptosis and affect the integrity and stability of atherosclerotic plaques. Clarification of the molecular mechanism that regulates apoptosis may help design a new strategy for treatment of atherosclerosis and its major complication, the acute vascular syndromes.
A major problem which is poorly understood in the management of bladder cancer is low sensitivity to chemotherapy and high recurrence after transurethral resection. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) signaling plays a very important role in progression, invasion and metastasis of bladder cancer cells. In this study, we investigated whether IGF-1R was involved in the growth stimulating activity and drug resistance of bladder cancer cells. The results showed: The mRNAs of IGF-1, IGF-2 and IGF-1R were strongly expressed in serum-free cultured T24 cell line, whereas normal urothelial cells did not express these factors/receptors or only in trace levels; T24 cell responded far better to growth stimulation by IGF-1 than did normal urothelial cells; blockage of IGF1R by antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) significantly inhibited the growth of T24 cell and enhanced sensitivity and apoptosis of T24 cells to mitomycin (MMC). These results suggested that blockage of IGF-IR signaling might potentially contribute to the treatment of bladder cancer cells which are insensitive to chemotherapy.
Auxin distribution during embryogenesis and seed germination were studied with transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing GUS gene driven by a synthetic DR5 promoter, an auxin responsive promoter. The results showed that GUS activity is higher in ends of hypophysis and cotyledon primordia of heart-, torpedo- and cotyledon-stage embryos, leaf tip area, lateral root primordia, root apex and cotyledon of young seedlings. And GUS accumulated in root apex of the seedlings grown on auxin transport inhibitor containing media. All these suggested that above-mentioned part of the organs and tissues have a higher level of auxin, and auxin polar transport inhibitor could cause the accumulation of auxin in root apex. And auxin transport inhibitor also resulted in aberration of Arabidopsis leaf pattern formation, root gravitropism and elongation.
Directional migration of leukocytes is indispensable to innate immunity for host defense. However, recruitment of leukocytes to a site of tissue injury also constitutes a leading cause for inflammatory responses. Mechanistically, it involves a cascade of cellular events precisely regulated by temporal and spatial presentation of a repertoire of molecules in the migrating leukocytes and their surroundings (microenvironments). Here I will summarize the emerging evidence that has shed lights on the underlying molecular mechanism for directional migration of leukocytes, which has guided the therapeutical development for innovative anti-inflammatory medicines.
The legume forage Alhagi pseudoalhagi was transformed by the Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain A4 using cotyledon and hypocotyl segments as infection materials. Regenerated plants were achieved from sterile calli derived from hairy roots, which occurred at or near the infection sites. The regenerated plants from hairy root were characterized by normal leaf morphology and stem growth but a shallow and more extensive root system than normal plants. Opine synthesis, PCR and Southern blot confirmed that T-DNA had been integrated into the A. pseudoalhagi genome. Acetosyringone (AS) was found to be vital for successful transformation of A. pseudoalhagi.
Mercury pollution is a major environmental problem accompanying industrial activities. Most of the mercury released ends up and retained in the soil as complexes of the toxic ionic mercury (Hg2+), which then can be converted by microbes into the even more toxic methylmercury which tends to bioaccumulate. Mercury detoxification of the soil can also occur by microbes converting the ionic mercury into the least toxic metallic mercury (Hg-0) form, which then evaporates. The remediation potential of transgenic plants carrying the MerA gene from E. coli encoding mercuric ion reductase could be evaluated. A modified version of the gene, optimized for plant codon preferences (merApe9, Rugh et al. 1996), was introduced into tobacco by Agrobacterium-mediated leaf disk transformation. Transgenic seeds were resistant to HgCl2 at 50 muM, and some of them (10-20%) could germinate on media containing as much as 350 muM HgCl2, while the control plants were fully inhibited or died on 50 MM HgC12. The rate of elemental mercury evolution from Hg2+ (added as HgCl2) was 5-8 times higher for transgenic plants than the control. Mercury volatilization by isolated organs standardized for fresh weight was higher (up to 5 times) in the roots than in shoots or the leaves. The data suggest that it is the root system of the transgenic plants that volatilizes most of the reduced mercury (Hg-0). It also suggests that much of the mercury need not enter the vascular system to be transported to the leaves for volatilization. Transgenic plants with the merApe9 gene may be used to mercury detoxification for environmental improvement in mercury-contaminated regions more efficiently than it had been predicted based on data on volatilization of whole plants via the upper parts only (Rugh et al. 1996).
In order to study the mechanism of the effect of heparin on apoptosis in carcinoma cells, the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CNE2 was used to identify the effect of heparin on apoptosis associated with the expression of c-myc, bax, bcl-2 proteins by use of Hoechst 33258 staining, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL), agarose gel electrophoresis, and flow cytometry, as well as Western blot analysis. The results showed that heparin induced apoptosis of CNE2 cells including the morphologic changes such as reduction in the volume, and the nuclear chromatin condensation, as well as the "ladder pattern" revealed by agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA in a concentration-dependent manner. The number of TUNEL-positive cells was dramatically increased to 33.6+/-1.2% from 2.8+/-0.3% by treatment with heparin in different concentrations (10 similar to 40 kU/L). The apoptotic index was increased to 32.5% from 3.5% by detecting SubG1 peaks on flow cytometry. Western blot analysis showed that levels of bcl-2, bax and c-myc were significantly overexpressed by treatment with the increase of heparin concentrations. These results suggest that heparin induces apoptosis of CNE2 cells, which may be regulated by differential expression of apoptosis-related genes.
Apoptosis is a complex process involving a large array of genes and mutation of any of these genes may lead to malignancy formation. Re-acquirement of FasL by tumor cells may enable them to evade the surveillance of immune system and thus contributes to the growth of tumor. Apart from traditional therapies, inducing apoptosis of tumor cell by new methods employing death receptor ligands and making use of Fas counterattack is also being developed.
Trail, a tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, is a novel potent endogenous activator of the cell death pathway through the activation of cell surface death receptors Trail-Ri and Trail-Ra. Its role, like Fast in activation-induced cell death (AICD), has been demonstrated in immune system. However the mechanism of Trail induced apoptosis remains unclear. In this report, the recombinant Trail protein was expressed and purified. The apoptosis-inducing activity and the regulation mechanism of recombinant Trail on Jurkat T cells were explored in vitro. Trypan blue exclusion assay demonstrated that the recombinant Trail protein actively killed Jurkat T cells in a dose-dependent manner. Trail-induced apoptosis in Jurkat T cells were remarkably reduced by Bcl-2 over expression in Bcl-2 gene transfected cells. Treatment with PMA (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate), a PKC activator, suppressed Trail-induced apoptosis in Jurkat T cells. The inhibition of apoptosis by PMA was abolished by pretreatment with His, a PKC inhibitor. Taken together, it was suggested that Bcl-2 over-expression and PMA activated PKC actively down-regulated the Trail-mediated apoptosis in Jurkat T cell.
Effects of maternal dietary zinc deficiency on prenatal and postnatal brain development were investigated in ICR strain mice. From d 1 of pregnancy (EO) until postnatal d 20 (P20), maternal mice were fed experimental diets that contained 1 mg Zn/kg/day (severe zinc deficient, SZD), 5 mg Zn/kg/day (marginal zinc deficient, MZD), 30 mg Zn/kg/day (zinc adequately supplied, ZA) or 100 mg Zn/kg/day (zinc supplemented, ZS and pair-fed, PF). Brains of offspring from these dietary groups were examined at various developmental stages for expression of nestin, an intermediate filament protein found in neural stem cells and young neurons. Immunocytochemistry showed nestin expression in neural tube 10.5 d post citrus (dpc) as well as in the cerebral cortex and neural tube from 10.5 dpc to postnatal d 10 (P10). Nestin immunoreactivities in both brain and neural tube of those zinc-supplemented control groups (ZA, ZS, PF) were stronger than those in zinc-deficient groups (SZD and MZD). Western blot analysis confirmed that nestin levels in pooled brain extracts from each of the zinc-supplemented groups (ZA, ZS, PF) were much higher than those from the zinc-deficient groups (SZD and MZD) from 10.5 dpc to P10. Immunostaining and Western blots showed no detectable nestin in any of the experimental and control group brains after P20. These observations of an association between maternal zinc deficiency and decreased nestin protein levels in brains of offspring suggest that zinc deficiency suppresses development of neural stem cells, an effect which may lead to neuroanatomical and behavioral abnormalities in adults.
In the present study expression of estrogen receptor subtype -alpha (ER alpha) and -beta (ER beta) in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and olfactory bulb was investigated and compared between neonatal (1 similar to3-days-old) and adult (250 similar to 350g) rats, using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). No ER alpha transcripts were detectable in the adult cerebellum and olfactory bulb, whereas very weak expression of ER alpha was present in the adult cerebral cortex. No significant difference in ER beta transcripts was detectable between the neonatal and adult rats. While transcripts for both ER subtypes were co-expressed in these brain areas of neonatal rats, although ER alpha expression was significantly weaker than ER beta. Even in the cerebral cortex known to contain both ER subtypes in adult rats, ER alpha transcripts in neonatal rats were much higher than in adult. These observations provide evidence for the existence of different expression patterns of ER alpha /ER beta transcripts in these three brain areas between the neonatal and adult rats, suggesting that each ER subtype may play a distinct role in the regulation of differentiation, development, and functions of the brain by estrogen.
Immature embryos of rice varieties "Xiushui11" and "Chunjiang 11" precultured for 4d were infected and transformed by Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA101/pExT(7) (containing the spider insecticidal gene). The resistant calli were transferred onto the differentiation medium and plants were regenerated. The transformation frequency reached 56%similar to 72% measured as numbers of Geneticin (G418)-resistant calli produced and 36% similar to 60% measured as numbers of transgenic plants regenerated, respectively. PCR and Southern blot analysis of transgenic plants confirmed that the T-DNA had been integrated into the rice genome. Insect bioassays using T1 transgenic plants indicated that the mortality of the leaffolder (Cnaphalocrasis medinalis) after 7d of leaf feeding reached 38%similar to 61% and the corrected mortality of the striped stem borer (Chilo suppressalis) after 7d of leaf feeding reached 16%similar to 75%. The insect bioassay results demonstrated that the transgenic plants expressing the spider insecticidal protein conferred enhanced resistance to these pests.
Gynogenetic silver crucian carp, Carassius auratus gibelio, is an intriguing model. system. In the present work, a systemic study has been initiated by introducing suppression subtractive hybridization technique into this model system to identify the differentially expressed genes in oocytes between gynogenetic silver crucian carp and its closely related gonochoristic color crucian carp. Five differential cDNA fragments were identified from the preliminary screening, and two of them are ZP3 homologues. Moreover, the full length ZP3 cDNAs were cloned from their oocyte cDNA libraries. The length of ZP3 cDNAs were 1378 bp for gyno-carp and 1367 bp for gono-carp, and they can be translated into proteins with 435 amino acids. Obvious differences are not only in the composition of amino acids, but also in the number of potential O-linked oligosaccharide sites. In addition, gyno-carp ZP3 amino acid sequence has an unexpected higher identity value with common carp (83.5%) than that with the closely related gono-carp (74.7%). The unique homology may be originated from the ancient hybridization. Northern blot analysis confirmed that expression of the ZP3 gene occurred exclusively in the oocytes. Because O-linked oligosaccharides on ZP3 have been demonstrated to play very important roles in fertilization, it is suggested that the extra O-linked glycosylation sites may be related to the unique sperm-egg recognition mechanism in gynogenesis.
There is strong relationship between melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene variants and human hair color and skin type. Based on a sequencing study of MC1R gene in 50 individuals from the Uygur, Tibetan, Wa and Dai ethnic populations, we discuss the occurrence of 7 mc1r variants consisting of 5 nonsynonymous sites (Val60Leu, Arg67Gln, Val92Met, Arg163Gln and Ala299Val) and 2 synonymous sites (C414T and A942G), among which C414T and Ala299Val were reported for the first time. Confirmation and analysis were also made of 122 individuals at three common point mutations (Val92Met, Arg163Gln, A942G) using PCR-SSCP. The frequency of Arg163Gln variant varies in the four ethnic populations, with percentage of 40%, 85.0%, 66. 2% and 72.7%, respectively, while those of Val92Met and A942G are roughly similar in these four populations. The different environments, migration and admixture of various ethnic groups in China might have impact on the observed frequency of Arg163Gln.