Molecular chaperones: small heat shock proteins in the limelight.
Small heat shock proteins have been the Cinderellas of the molecular chaperone world, but now the crystal structure of a small heat shock protein has been solved and mutation of two human homologues implicated in genetic disease. Intermediate filaments appear to be one of the key targets of their chaperone activity. (+info)
Alzheimer's disease: clues from flies and worms.
Presenilin mutations give rise to familial Alzheimer's disease and result in elevated production of amyloid beta peptide. Recent evidence that presenilins act in developmental signalling pathways may be the key to understanding how senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and apoptosis are all biochemically linked. (+info)
JNK2 is required for efficient T-cell activation and apoptosis but not for normal lymphocyte development.
BACKGROUND: The Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway has been implicated in cell proliferation and apoptosis, but its function seems to depend on the cell type and inducing signal. In T cells, JNK has been implicated in both antigen-induced activation and apoptosis. RESULTS: We generated mice lacking the JNK2 isozymes. The mutant mice were healthy and fertile but defective in peripheral T-cell activation induced by antibody to the CD3 component of the T-cell receptor (TCR) complex - proliferation and production of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) were reduced. The proliferation defect was restored by exogenous IL-2. B-cell activation was normal in the absence of JNK2. Activation-induced peripheral T-cell apoptosis was comparable between mutant and wild-type mice, but immature (CD4(+) CD8(+)) thymocytes lacking JNK2 were resistant to apoptosis induced by administration of anti-CD3 antibody in vivo. The lack of JNK2 also resulted in partial resistance of thymocytes to anti-CD3 antibody in vitro, but had little or no effect on apoptosis induced by anti-Fas antibody, dexamethasone or ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation. CONCLUSIONS: JNK2 is essential for efficient activation of peripheral T cells but not B cells. Peripheral T-cell activation is probably required indirectly for induction of thymocyte apoptosis resulting from administration of anti-CD3 antibody in vivo. JNK2 functions in a cell-type-specific and stimulus-dependent manner, being required for apoptosis of immature thymocytes induced by anti-CD3 antibody but not for apoptosis induced by anti-Fas antibody, UVC or dexamethasone. JNK2 is not required for activation-induced cell death of mature T cells. (+info)
Reduced water permeability and altered ultrastructure in thin descending limb of Henle in aquaporin-1 null mice.
It has been controversial whether high water permeability in the thin descending limb of Henle (TDLH) is required for formation of a concentrated urine by the kidney. Freeze-fracture electron microscopy (FFEM) of rat TDLH has shown an exceptionally high density of intramembrane particles (IMPs), which were proposed to consist of tetramers of aquaporin-1 (AQP1) water channels. In this study, transepithelial osmotic water permeability (Pf) was measured in isolated perfused segments (0.5-1 mm) of TDLH in wild-type (+/+), AQP1 heterozygous (+/-), and AQP1 null (-/-) mice. Pf was measured at 37 degrees C using a 100 mM bath-to-lumen osmotic gradient of raffinose, and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran as the luminal volume marker. Pf was (in cm/s): 0.26 +/- 0.02 ([+/+]; SE, n = 9 tubules), 0.21 +/- 0.01 ([+/-]; n = 12), and 0.031 +/- 0.007 ([-/-]; n = 6) (P < 0.02, [+/+] vs. [+/-]; P < 0.0001, [+/+] vs. [-/-]). FFEM of kidney medulla showed remarkably fewer IMPs in TDLH from (-/-) vs. (+/+) and (+/-) mice. IMP densities were (in microm-2, SD, 5-12 micrographs): 5,880 +/- 238 (+/+); 5,780 +/- 450 (+/-); and 877 +/- 420 (-/-). IMP size distribution analysis revealed mean IMP diameters of 8.4 nm ([+/+] and [+/-]) and 5.2 nm ([-/-]). These results demonstrate that AQP1 is the principal water channel in TDLH and support the view that osmotic equilibration along TDLH by water transport plays a key role in the renal countercurrent concentrating mechanism. The similar Pf and AQP1 expression in TDLH of (+/+) and (+/-) mice was an unexpected finding that probably accounts for the unimpaired urinary concentrating ability in (+/-) mice. (+info)
A genetic model of substrate deprivation therapy for a glycosphingolipid storage disorder.
Inherited defects in the degradation of glycosphingolipids (GSLs) cause a group of severe diseases known as GSL storage disorders. There are currently no effective treatments for the majority of these disorders. We have explored a new treatment paradigm, substrate deprivation therapy, by constructing a genetic model in mice. Sandhoff's disease mice, which abnormally accumulate GSLs, were bred with mice that were blocked in their synthesis of GSLs. The mice with simultaneous defects in GSL synthesis and degradation no longer accumulated GSLs, had improved neurologic function, and had a much longer life span. However, these mice eventually developed a late-onset neurologic disease because of accumulation of another class of substrate, oligosaccharides. The results support the validity of the substrate deprivation therapy and also highlight some limitations. (+info)
Interleukin-8 receptor modulates IgE production and B-cell expansion and trafficking in allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation.
We examined the role of the interleukin-8 (IL-8) receptor in a murine model of allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation using mice with a targeted deletion of the murine IL-8 receptor homologue (IL-8r-/-). Wild-type (Wt) and IL-8r-/- mice were systemically immunized to ovalbumin (OVA) and were exposed with either single or multiple challenge of aerosolized phosphate-buffered saline (OVA/PBS) or OVA (OVA/OVA). Analysis of cells recovered from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) revealed a diminished recruitment of neutrophils to the airway lumen after single challenge in IL-8r-/- mice compared with Wt mice, whereas multiply challenged IL-8r-/- mice had increased B cells and fewer neutrophils compared with Wt mice. Both Wt and IL-8r-/- OVA/OVA mice recruited similar numbers of eosinophils to the BAL fluid and exhibited comparable degrees of pulmonary inflammation histologically. Both total and OVA-specific IgE levels were greater in multiply challenged IL-8r-/- OVA/OVA mice than in Wt mice. Both the IL-8r-/- OVA/OVA and OVA/PBS mice were significantly less responsive to methacholine than their respective Wt groups, but both Wt and IL-8r mice showed similar degrees of enhancement after multiple allergen challenge. The data demonstrate that the IL-8r modulates IgE production, airway responsiveness, and the composition of the cells (B cells and neutrophils) recruited to the airway lumen in response to antigen. (+info)
Lung fluid transport in aquaporin-1 and aquaporin-4 knockout mice.
The mammalian lung expresses water channel aquaporin-1 (AQP1) in microvascular endothelia and aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in airway epithelia. To test whether these water channels facilitate fluid movement between airspace, interstitial, and capillary compartments, we measured passive and active fluid transport in AQP1 and AQP4 knockout mice. Airspace-capillary osmotic water permeability (Pf) was measured in isolated perfused lungs by a pleural surface fluorescence method. Pf was remarkably reduced in AQP1 (-/-) mice (measured in cm/s x 0.001, SE, n = 5-10: 17 +/- 2 [+/+]; 6.6 +/- 0.6 AQP1 [+/-]; 1.7 +/- 0.3 AQP1 [-/-]; 12 +/- 1 AQP4 [-/-]). Microvascular endothelial water permeability, measured by a related pleural surface fluorescence method in which the airspace was filled with inert perfluorocarbon, was reduced more than 10-fold in AQP1 (-/-) vs. (+/+) mice. Hydrostatically induced lung interstitial and alveolar edema was measured by a gravimetric method and by direct measurement of extravascular lung water. Both approaches indicated a more than twofold reduction in lung water accumulation in AQP1 (-/-) vs. (+/+) mice in response to a 5- to 10-cm H2O increase in pulmonary artery pressure for five minutes. Active, near-isosmolar alveolar fluid absorption (Jv) was measured in in situ perfused lungs using 125I-albumin as an airspace fluid volume marker. Jv (measured in percent fluid uptake at 30 min, n = 5) in (+/+) mice was 6.0 +/- 0.6 (37 degrees C), increased to 16 +/- 1 by beta-agonists, and inhibited to less than 2.0 by amiloride, ouabain, or cooling to 23 degrees C. Jv (with isoproterenol) was not affected by aquaporin deletion (18.9 +/- 2.2 [+/+]; 16.4 +/- 1.5 AQP1 [-/-]; 16.3 +/- 1.7 AQP4 [-/-]). These results indicate that osmotically driven water transport across microvessels in adult lung occurs by a transcellular route through AQP1 water channels and that the microvascular endothelium is a significant barrier for airspace-capillary osmotic water transport. AQP1 facilitates hydrostatically driven lung edema but is not required for active near-isosmolar absorption of alveolar fluid. (+info)
GM-CSF-deficient mice are susceptible to pulmonary group B streptococcal infection.
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) gene-targeted mice (GM-/-) cleared group B streptococcus (GBS) from the lungs more slowly than wild-type mice. Expression of GM-CSF in the respiratory epithelium of GM-/- mice improved bacterial clearance to levels greater than that in wild-type GM+/+ mice. Acute aerosolization of GM-CSF to GM+/+ mice significantly enhanced clearance of GBS at 24 hours. GBS infection was associated with increased neutrophilic infiltration in lungs of GM-/- mice, while macrophage infiltrates predominated in wild-type mice, suggesting an abnormality in macrophage clearance of bacteria in the absence of GM-CSF. While phagocytosis of GBS was unaltered, production of superoxide radicals and hydrogen peroxide was markedly deficient in macrophages from GM-/- mice. Lipid peroxidation, assessed by measuring the isoprostane 8-iso-PGF2alpha, was decreased in the lungs of GM-/- mice. GM-CSF plays an important role in GBS clearance in vivo, mediated in part by its role in enhancing superoxide and hydrogen peroxide production and bacterial killing by alveolar macrophages. (+info)