In vivo chaperone activity of heat shock protein 70 and thermotolerance.
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is thought to play a critical role in the thermotolerance of mammalian cells, presumably due to its chaperone activity. We examined the chaperone activity and cellular heat resistance of a clonal cell line in which overexpression of Hsp70 was transiently induced by means of the tetracycline-regulated gene expression system. This single-cell-line approach circumvents problems associated with clonal variation and indirect effects resulting from constitutive overexpression of Hsp70. The in vivo chaperone function of Hsp70 was quantitatively investigated by using firefly luciferase as a reporter protein. Chaperone activity was found to strictly correlate to the level of Hsp70 expression. In addition, we observed an Hsp70 concentration dependent increase in the cellular heat resistance. In order to study the contribution of the Hsp70 chaperone activity, heat resistance of cells that expressed tetracycline-regulated Hsp70 was compared to thermotolerant cells expressing the same level of Hsp70 plus all of the other heat shock proteins. Overexpression of Hsp70 alone was sufficient to induce a similar recovery of cytoplasmic luciferase activity, as does expression of all Hsps in thermotolerant cells. However, when the luciferase reporter protein was directed to the nucleus, expression of Hsp70 alone was not sufficient to yield the level of recovery observed in thermotolerant cells. In addition, cells expressing the same level of Hsp70 found in heat-induced thermotolerant cells containing additional Hsps showed increased resistance to thermal killing but were more sensitive than thermotolerant cells. These results suggest that the inducible form of Hsp70 contributes to the stress-tolerant state by increasing the chaperone activity in the cytoplasm. However, its expression alone is apparently insufficient for protection of other subcellular compartments to yield clonal heat resistance to the level observed in thermotolerant cells. (+info
Transcriptional regulation and induction of apoptosis: implications for the use of monomeric p53 variants in gene therapy.
The p53 tumour suppressor protein is a transcriptional activator, which can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. p53 Gene mutations occur in more than 50% of all human tumours. Reintroduction of wild-type p53 but also of oligomerisation-independent p53 variants into tumour cells by gene transfer methods has been considered. We have investigated the biological properties of two carboxy-terminal deletion mutants of p53, p53 delta 300 (comprising amino acids 1-300) and p53 delta 326 (amino acids 1-326), to evaluate their potential deployment in gene therapy. Transactivation was measured in transiently transfected HeLa and SKBR3 cells. Both monomeric variants showed reduced activities compared with wild-type p53. Individual promoters were differently affected. In contrast to wild-type p53, monomeric variants were not able to induce apoptosis. We also provided wild-type p53 and p53 delta 326 with tetracycline-regulated promoters and stably introduced these constructs into Saos2 and SKBR3 cells. Upon induction, wild-type p53 expressing cells, but not p53 delta 326 expressing cells underwent apoptosis. Consistently, only wild-type p53 expressing cells accumulated p21/waf1/cip1 mRNA and protein and showed increased bax, Gadd45 and mdm2 mRNA. Neither wild-type p53 nor p53 delta 326 repressed the transcription of the IGF-1R gene in these cell lines. We conclude that the transactivation potential of monomeric, carboxy-terminally truncated p53 is not sufficient to cause induction of the endogenous target genes which trigger apoptosis. (+info
A strategy for enhancing the transcriptional activity of weak cell type-specific promoters.
Cell type- and tissue-specific promoters play an important role in the development of site-selective vectors for gene therapy. A large number of highly specific promoters has been described, but their applicability is often hampered by their inefficient transcriptional activity. In this study, we describe a new strategy for enhancing the activity of weak promoters without loss of specificity. The basic principle of this strategy is to establish a positive feedback loop which is initiated by transcription from a cell type-specific promoter. This was achieved by using a cell type-specific promoter to drive the simultaneous expression of the desired effector/reporter gene product and a strong artificial transcriptional activator which stimulates transcription through appropriate binding sites in the promoter. Using a VP16-LexA chimeric transcription factor, we show that this approach leads to a 14- to > 100-fold enhancement of both the endothelial cell-specific von Willebrand factor promoter and the gastrointestinal-specific sucrase-isomaltase promoter while maintaining approximately 30- to > 100-fold cell type specificity. (+info
Ligand substitution of receptor targeted DNA complexes affects gene transfer into hepatoma cells.
We have targeted the serpin enzyme complex receptor for gene transfer in human hepatoma cell lines using peptides < 30 amino acids in length which contain the five amino acid recognition sequence for this receptor, coupled to poly K of average chain length 100 K, using the heterobifunctional coupling reagent sulfo-LC SPDP. The number of sulfo-LC SPDP modified poly-L-lysine residues, as well as the degree of peptide substitution was assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Conjugates were prepared in which 3.5%, 7.8% or 26% of the lysine residues contained the sulfo-LC SPDP moiety. Each of these conjugates was then coupled with ligand peptides so that one in 370, one in 1039, or one in 5882 lysines were substituted with receptor ligand. Electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to assess complex structure and size. HuH7 human hepatoma cells were transfected with complexes of these conjugates with the plasmid pGL3 and luciferase expression measured 2 to 16 days after treatment. All the protein conjugates in which 26% of the K residues were modified with sulfo-LC SPDP were poor gene transfer reagents. Complexes containing less substituted poly K, averaged 17 +/- 0.5 nm in diameter and gave peak transgene expression of 3-4 x 10(6) ILU/mg which persisted (> 7 x 10(5) ILU) at 16 days. Of these, more substituted polymers condensed DNA into complexes averaging 20 +/- 0.7 nm in diameter and gave five-fold less luciferase than complexes containing less substituted conjugates. As few as eight to 11 ligands per complex are optimal for DNA delivery via the SEC receptor. The extent of substitution of receptor-mediated gene transfer complexes affects the size of the complexes, as well as the intensity and duration of transgene expression. These observations may permit tailoring of complex construction for the usage required. (+info
Cadmium-mediated activation of the metal response element in human neuroblastoma cells lacking functional metal response element-binding transcription factor-1.
Metal response element-binding transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) binds specifically to metal response elements (MREs) and transactivates metallothionein (MT) gene expression in response to zinc and cadmium. This investigation contrasts the mechanism of mouse MT gene (mMT-I) promoter activation by cadmium and zinc in IMR-32 human neuroblastoma cells to determine whether MTF-1 binding to the MRE is necessary for activation by these metals. Cadmium activated a mMT-1 promoter (-150 base pairs) luciferase reporter 20-25-fold through a MRE-dependent mechanism. In contrast, zinc had little effect on the mMT-1 luciferase reporter. IMR-32 cells lacked MRE binding activity, and treatment with zinc in vitro or in vivo did not generate a MTF-1. MRE complex, suggesting that IMR-32 cells lack functional MTF-1. Overexpression of mMTF-1 regenerated a zinc-mediated induction of the MRE without affecting cadmium activation. Because no other transition metals tested activated the MRE, this effect appeared to be cadmium-specific. These data demonstrate that in IMR-32 human neuroblastoma cells, zinc and cadmium can use independent mechanisms for activation of the mMT-I promoter and cadmium-mediated MRE activation is independent of MTF-1 and zinc. (+info
Gene expression and chromatin organization during mouse oocyte growth.
Mouse oocytes can be classified according to their chromatin organization and the presence [surrounded nucleolus (SN) oocytes] or absence [nonsurrounded nucleolus (NSN) oocytes] of a ring of Hoechst-positive chromatin around the nucleolus. Following fertilization only SN oocytes are able to develop beyond the two-cell stage. These studies indicate a correlation between SN and NSN chromatin organization and the developmental competence of the female gamete, which may depend on gene expression. In the present study, we have used the HSP70.1Luc transgene (murine HSP70.1 promoter + reporter gene firefly luciferase) to analyze gene expression in oocytes isolated from ovaries of 2-day- to 13-week-old females. Luciferase was assayed on oocytes after classification as SN or NSN type. Our data show that SN oocytes always exhibit a higher level of luciferase activity, demonstrating a higher gene expression in this category. Only after meiotic resumption, metaphase II oocytes derived from NSN or SN oocytes acquire the same level of transgene expression. We suggest that the limited availability of transcripts and corresponding proteins, excluded from the cytoplasm until GVBD in NSN oocytes, could explain why these oocytes have a lower ability to sustain embryonic development beyond the two-cell stage at which major zygotic transcription occurs. With this study we have furthered our knowledge of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in oogenesis. (+info
UV-A-induced decrease in nuclear factor-kappaB activity in human keratinocytes.
Previous reports have demonstrated an increase in nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity in response to UV radiation. These studies have essentially focused on the DNA-damaging fraction of solar UV radiation (UV-B and UV-C). In contrast, the effects of UV-A radiation (320-400 nm) on NF-kappaB are not well known. In this study, we present evidence that UV-A radiation induces a marked decrease in NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity in NCTC 2544 human keratinocytes. In addition, NCTC 2544 keratinocytes pretreated with UV-A fail to respond to NF-kappaB inducers. Moreover, UV-A radiation induces a decrease in NF-kappaB-driven luciferase reporter gene expression in NCTC 2544 keratinocytes. The expression of the gene encoding IkappaBalpha (IkappaB is the NF-kappaB inhibitor), which is closely associated with NF-kappaB activity, is also reduced (3-fold) upon UV-A treatment. Our results indicate that the UV-A-induced decrease in NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity is associated with a decrease in the levels of the p50 and p65 protein subunits. This is the first evidence that an oxidative stress, such as UV-A radiation, may induce a specific decrease in NF-kappaB activity in mammalian cells, probably through degradation of NF-kappaB protein subunits. These findings suggest that UV-A could modulate the NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression. (+info
Modulation of human airway smooth muscle proliferation by type 3 phosphodiesterase inhibition.
Elevation in cell cAMP content can inhibit mitogenic signaling in cultured human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells. We studied the effects of the type 3-selective phosphodiesterase inhibitor siguazodan, the type 4-selective phosphodiesterase inhibitor rolipram, and the nonselective inhibitor 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) on proliferation of cultured HASM cells. At concentrations selective for the type 3 phosphodiesterase isoform, siguazodan inhibited both [3H]thymidine incorporation (IC50 2 microM) and the increase in cell number (10 microM; 64% reduction) induced by platelet-derived growth factor-BB (20 ng/ml). These effects were mimicked by IBMX. At concentrations selective for type 4 phosphodiesterase inhibition, rolipram was without effect. A 20-min exposure to siguazodan and rolipram did not increase whole cell cAMP levels. However, in HASM cells transfected with a cAMP-responsive luciferase reporter (p6CRE/Luc), increases in cAMP-driven luciferase expression were seen with siguazodan (3.9-fold) and IBMX (16.5-fold). These data suggest that inhibition of the type 3 phosphodiesterase isoform present in airway smooth muscle results in inhibition of mitogenic signaling, possibly through an increase in cAMP-driven gene expression. (+info