C/EBPalpha regulates generation of C/EBPbeta isoforms through activation of specific proteolytic cleavage. (1/1604)

C/EBPalpha and C/EBPbeta are intronless genes that can produce several N-terminally truncated isoforms through the process of alternative translation initiation at downstream AUG codons. C/EBPbeta has been reported to produce four isoforms: full-length 38-kDa C/EBPbeta, 35-kDa LAP (liver-enriched transcriptional activator protein), 21-kDa LIP (liver-enriched transcriptional inhibitory protein), and a 14-kDa isoform. In this report, we investigated the mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms are generated in the liver and in cultured cells. Using an in vitro translation system, we found that LIP can be generated by two mechanisms: alternative translation and a novel mechanism-specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. Studies of mice in which the C/EBPalpha gene had been deleted (C/EBPalpha-/-) showed that the regulation of C/EBPbeta proteolysis is dependent on C/EBPalpha. The induction of C/EBPalpha in cultured cells leads to induced cleavage of C/EBPbeta to generate the LIP isoform. We characterized the cleavage activity in mouse liver extracts and found that the proteolytic cleavage activity is specific to prenatal and newborn livers, is sensitive to chymostatin, and is completely abolished in C/EBPalpha-/- animals. The lack of cleavage activity in the livers of C/EBPalpha-/- mice correlates with the decreased levels of LIP in the livers of these animals. Analysis of LIP production during liver regeneration showed that, in this system, the transient induction of LIP is dependent on the third AUG codon and most likely involves translational control. We propose that there are two mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms might be generated in the liver and in cultured cells: one that is determined by translation and a second that involves C/EBPalpha-dependent, specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. The latter mechanism implicates C/EBPalpha in the regulation of posttranslational generation of the dominant negative C/EBPbeta isoform, LIP.  (+info)

Mutant p53 can provoke apoptosis in p53-deficient Hep3B cells with delayed kinetics relative to wild-type p53. (2/1604)

Wild-type (wt) p53 frequently induces apoptosis when expressed in tumor cells whereas mutant p53 acts as an oncoprotein and consequently, stimulates cell proliferation. We report here exceptions to that rule. p53 conformational mutant 175H and DNA contact mutant 273H provoke apoptosis in human p53-deficient Hep3B hepatoma cells with delayed kinetics relative to wt p53. Similarly, c-Myc strongly stimulates apoptosis in these cells. In contrast, viral oncoproteins E1A and E7, and the cellular oncoprotein MDM-2, fail to elicit cytocidal responses. Efficient apoptotic cell death by mutant p53 requires oligomerization as 175H and 273H with deletions between amino acid residues 326 and 347 of the oligomerization domain are nontoxic. Apoptosis by mutant or wt p53 was significantly inhibited by the serine protease inhibitor AEBSF but not by the inactive analog AEBSA. Together, these results suggest that a wt p53-independent control mechanism is operational in Hep3B cells that eliminates cells upon sensing illegitimate proliferation signals originating from certain oncoproteins, including mutant p53 and Myc. We suggest that some tumor cell types lack p53 altogether because they tolerate neither wild-type nor mutant forms of the protein.  (+info)

Exosites 1 and 2 are essential for protection of fibrin-bound thrombin from heparin-catalyzed inhibition by antithrombin and heparin cofactor II. (3/1604)

Assembly of ternary thrombin-heparin-fibrin complexes, formed when fibrin binds to exosite 1 on thrombin and fibrin-bound heparin binds to exosite 2, produces a 58- and 247-fold reduction in the heparin-catalyzed rate of thrombin inhibition by antithrombin and heparin cofactor II, respectively. The greater reduction for heparin cofactor II reflects its requirement for access to exosite 1 during the inhibitory process. Protection from inhibition by antithrombin and heparin cofactor II requires ligation of both exosites 1 and 2 because minimal protection is seen when exosite 1 variants (gamma-thrombin and thrombin Quick 1) or an exosite 2 variant (Arg93 --> Ala, Arg97 --> Ala, and Arg101 --> Ala thrombin) is substituted for thrombin. Likewise, the rate of thrombin inhibition by the heparin-independent inhibitor, alpha1-antitrypsin Met358 --> Arg, is decreased less than 2-fold in the presence of soluble fibrin and heparin. In contrast, thrombin is protected from inhibition by a covalent antithrombin-heparin complex, suggesting that access of heparin to exosite 2 of thrombin is hampered when ternary complex formation occurs. These results reveal the importance of exosites 1 and 2 of thrombin in assembly of the ternary complex and the subsequent protection of thrombin from inhibition by heparin-catalyzed inhibitors.  (+info)

Regulation of the activities of thrombin and plasmin by cholesterol sulfate as a physiological inhibitor in human plasma. (4/1604)

Thrombin and plasmin, both of which are serine proteases in the plasma of vertebrates, play essential roles in blood clotting and fibrinolysis, respectively, and regulation of their activities is important to suppress the excessive reactions within the vascular network and to prevent tissue injury. Along with the peptidic inhibitors belonging to the serpin family, we found that cholesterol sulfate (CS), which is present at the concentration of 2.0+/-1.2 nmol/ml in human plasma, was a potent inhibitor of both plasma thrombin and plasmin. Thrombin, as determined both using a chromogenic substrate and the natural substrate, fibrinogen, was inactivated upon reaction with CS in a dose-dependent manner, but not in the presence of the structurally related steroid sulfates, I3SO3-GalCer and II3NAalpha-LacCer, suggesting that both the sulfate group and the hydrophobic side chain of CS are necessary for the inhibitory activity of CS. Preincubation of thrombin with CS at 37 degrees C for 10 min was required to achieve maximum inhibition, and virtually complete inhibition was achieved at a molar ratio of CS to thrombin of 18:1. CS-treated thrombin had the same Km and a lower Vmax than the original enzyme, and a higher molecular weight. The molecular weight and activity of the original enzyme were not observed on the attempted separation of the CS-treated enzyme by gel permeation chromatography and native PAGE, indicating that the inactivation of thrombin by CS is irreversible. In contrast, CS was readily liberated from the enzyme by SDS-PAGE, suggesting that hydrophobic interactions are involved in the CS-mediated inactivation of thrombin. When acidic lipids were reacted with thrombin after dissolving them in DMSO, I3SO3-GalCer, steroid sulfates and II3NAalpha-LacCer, as well as CS, but not SDS and sodium taurocholate, exhibited inhibitory activity, probably due to micellar formation facilitating interaction between thrombin and negatively charged lipids. On the other hand, plasmin, as determined using a chromogenic substrate, was more susceptible to acidic lipids than thrombin. CS, I3SO3-GalCer and II3NAalpha-LacCer, all of which are present in serum, inhibited the activity of plasmin in aqueous media, as well as in DMSO-mediated lipid solutions. Thus, acidic lipids in plasma were demonstrated to possess regulatory activity as endogenous detergents toward both enzymes for blood clotting and fibrinolysis.  (+info)

CD44 cleavage induced by a membrane-associated metalloprotease plays a critical role in tumor cell migration. (5/1604)

CD44 is a cell surface receptor for hyaluronate, a component of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Although CD44 has been implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis, the molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Here we find that CD44 expressed in cancer cells is cleaved at the membrane-proximal region of the ectodomain and the membrane-bound cleavage product can be detected using an antibody against the cytoplasmic domain of CD44. Furthermore, we report that CD44 cleavage is mediated by a membrane-associated metalloprotease expressed in cancer cells. A tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases-1 (TIMP-1), as well as metalloprotease inhibitors, inhibit CD44 cleavage in the cell-free assay. Contrary, serine protease inhibitors enhance CD44 cleavage, and the enhancement can be prevented by pretreatment with a metalloprotease inhibitor. Thus, CD44 cleavage is regulated by an intricate balance between some proteases and their inhibitors. Interestingly, treatment with the metalloprotease blocker 1,10-phenanthroline, which strongly prevent the CD44 cleavage, suppressed RERF-LC-OK lung cancer cell migration on a hyaluronate substrate, but not on several other substrates. These results suggest that CD44 cleavage plays a critical role in an efficient cell-detachment from a hyaluronate substrate during the cell migration and consequently promotes CD44-mediated cancer cell migration. Our present data indicate that CD44, not only ECM per se, is one of the targets of pericellular proteolysis involved in tumor invasion and metastasis.  (+info)

Role of proteases in implantation. (6/1604)

Implantation of the embryo into the endometrium is a critical step in the establishment of pregnancy and the failure of embryos to implant is a major limiting factor in the success of reproductive technologies. Furthermore, one or more of the molecules of importance at implantation could provide a suitable target for post-coital contraception. While there is considerable species variation in the extent to which the trophoblast invades the maternal endometrium and makes contact with the maternal blood supply, many of the molecular mechanisms are conserved among species. Three families of protease are involved in the matrix degradation required for implantation: the cysteine, serine and matrix metalloproteinases. Other proteases are required for the activation of regulatory molecules. Although trophoblast from all species appears to have a high invasive potential, this is limited by the presence of partner protease inhibitors, the presence of which provides restraint to this invasion. It is the balance between the proteases and their inhibitors at any focal point that determines the site and extent of trophoblast invasion. This review examines the literature regarding proteases and their inhibitors at early implantation sites across a range of species with very different forms of placentation and evaluates their common features and their dissimilarities.  (+info)

Sperm chemotaxis. (7/1604)

Communication between spermatozoa and egg before contact by chemotaxis appears to be prevalent throughout the animal kingdom. In non-mammalian species, sperm chemotaxis to factors secreted from the egg is well documented. In mammals, sperm chemotaxis to follicular factors in vitro has been established in humans and mice. The attractants of female origin in non-mammalian species are heat-stable peptides or proteins of various sizes, or other small molecules, depending on the species. Species specificity of the attractants in non-mammalian species may vary from high species specificity, through specificity to families with no specificity within a family, to absence of specificity. The mammalian sperm attractants have not been identified but they appear to be heat-stable peptides. The claim that progesterone is the attractant for human spermatozoa has failed to be substantiated, neither have claims for other mammalian sperm attractants been verified. The molecular mechanism of sperm chemotaxis is not known. Models involving modulation of the intracellular Ca2+ concentration have been proposed for both mammalian and non-mammalian sperm chemotaxis. The physiological role of sperm chemotaxis in non-mammalian species appears to differ from that in mammals. In non-mammalian species, sperm chemotaxis strives to bring as many spermatozoa as possible to the egg. However, in mammals, the role appears to be recruitment of a selective population of capacitated ('ripe') spermatozoa to fertilize the egg.  (+info)

Prevention of neointimal formation by a serine protease inhibitor, FUT-175, after carotid balloon injury in rats. (8/1604)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In vivo and vitro studies revealed the activation of thrombin and the complement system in vascular lesion formation during the process of atherosclerosis, along with pathological proliferation of smooth muscle cells. We examined the effect of the synthetic serine protease inhibitor FUT-175 (developed as a potent inhibitor of thrombin and the complement system) on vascular lesions using balloon dilatation-induced neointimal formation in the carotid artery of rats. METHODS: Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats underwent balloon dilatation injury of the left carotid artery to induce neointimal formation. Three groups of these rats (n=8, each) were treated with daily intraperitoneal injections of 1 of the following doses of FUT-175: 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg/d in 1 mL of saline for 7 consecutive days. The control group (n=8) was similarly treated with 1 mL of saline for 7 days. The injections were started immediately after balloon injury. Two weeks after the injury, the left carotid arteries were perfusion-fixed, and the areas of the neointimal and medial layer were analyzed under a microscope. RESULTS: A morphometric analysis revealed that there were significant differences in the intima-media ratio between the 4 groups treated with vehicle (saline) or a low, medium, or high dose of FUT-175 (1.45+/-0.11, 1.08+/-0.06, 0.71+/-0.04, or 0.32+/-0.04, respectively). This suppression was achieved in a dose-dependent manner by the administration of FUT-175 after balloon injury. In the histological study, it was demonstrated that FUT-175 suppresses the production of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB in the neointima and the medial smooth muscle cell layer. CONCLUSIONS: After balloon injury activated proteases that were inhibited by FUT-175 were demonstrated to have an essential role in the development of the pathological thickening of the arterial wall.  (+info)