Astrocyte-specific expression of tyrosine hydroxylase after intracerebral gene transfer induces behavioral recovery in experimental parkinsonism.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the depletion of dopamine in the caudate putamen. Dopamine replacement with levodopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter, is presently the most common treatment for this disease. However, in an effort to obtain better therapeutic results, tissue or cells that synthesize catecholamines have been grafted into experimental animals and human patients. In this paper, we present a novel technique to express tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the host's own astrocytes. This procedure uses a transgene in which the expression of a TH cDNA is under the control of a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, which confers astrocyte-specific expression and also increases its activity in response to brain injury. The method was tested in a rat model of Parkinson's disease produced by lesioning the striatum with 6-hydroxydopamine. Following microinjection of the transgene into the denervated striatum as a DNA-liposome complex, expression of the transgene was detected by RT-PCR and TH protein was observed specifically in astrocytes by using double-labeling immunofluorescence for GFAP and TH coupled with laser confocal microscopy. Efficacy was demonstrated by significant behavioral recovery, as assessed by a decrease in the pharmacologically induced turning behavior generated by the unilateral denervation of the rat striatum. These results suggest this is a valuable technique to express molecules of therapeutic interest in the brain. (+info)
An Arabidopsis 14-3-3 protein can act as a transcriptional activator in yeast.
The 14-3-3 proteins are a group of highly conserved and widely distributed eukaryotic proteins with diverse functions. One 14-3-3 protein, AFT1 from Arabidopsis thaliana, was found to be able to activate transcription in yeast. When fused to the DNA-binding domain of a bacterial protein LexA, AFT1 can activate transcription of reporter genes that contain LexA operator sequences in their promoters. Although the in vivo function of AFT1 is not completely known, its similarity to previously identified proteins found in transcription complexes of Arabidopsis and maize suggests that AFT1 and some other 14-3-3 proteins may activate gene expression in other systems as well. (+info)
Glucocorticoid receptor immunoreactivity in neurons and pituitary cells implicated in reproductive functions in rainbow trout: a double immunohistochemical study.
In order to identify the nature of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-expressing neurons and pituitary cells that potentially mediate the negative effects of stress on reproductive performance, double immunohistochemical stainings were performed in the brain and pituitary of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). To avoid possible cross-reactions during the double staining studies, combinations of primary antibodies raised in different species were used, and we report here the generation of an antibody raised in guinea pig against the rainbow trout glucocorticoid receptor (rtGR). The results obtained in vitellogenic females showed that GnRH-positive neurons in the caudal telencephalon/anterior preoptic region consistently exhibited rtGR immunoreactivity. Similarly, in the anterior ventral preoptic region, a group of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons, known for inhibiting gonadotropin (GTH)-2 secretion during vitellogenesis, was consistently shown to strongly express GR. Finally, we show that a large majority of the GTH-1 (FSH-like) and GTH-2 (LH-like) cells of the pituitary exhibit rtGR immunoreactivity. These results indicate that cortisol may affect the neuroendocrine control of the reproductive process of the rainbow trout at multiple sites. (+info)
Cell adhesion regulates the interaction between the docking protein p130(Cas) and the 14-3-3 proteins.
Integrin ligand binding induces a signaling complex formation via the direct association of the docking protein p130(Cas) (Cas) with diverse molecules. We report here that the 14-3-3zeta protein interacts with Cas in the yeast two-hybrid assay. We also found that the two proteins associate in mammalian cells and that this interaction takes place in a phosphoserine-dependent manner, because treatment of Cas with a serine phosphatase greatly reduced its ability to bind 14-3-3zeta. Furthermore, the Cas-14-3-3zeta interaction was found to be regulated by integrin-mediated cell adhesion. Thus, when cells are detached from the extracellular matrix, the binding of Cas to 14-3-3zeta is greatly diminished, whereas replating the cells onto fibronectin rapidly induces the association. Consistent with these results, we found that the subcellular localization of Cas and 14-3-3 is also regulated by integrin ligand binding and that the two proteins display a significant co-localization during cell attachment to the extracellular matrix. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that 14-3-3 proteins participate in integrin-activated signaling pathways through their interaction with Cas, which, in turn, may contribute to important biological responses regulated by cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix. (+info)
Viral gene delivery selectively restores feeding and prevents lethality of dopamine-deficient mice.
Dopamine-deficient mice (DA-/- ), lacking tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in dopaminergic neurons, become hypoactive and aphagic and die by 4 weeks of age. They are rescued by daily treatment with L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA); each dose restores dopamine (DA) and feeding for less than 24 hr. Recombinant adeno-associated viruses expressing human TH or GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GTPCH1) were injected into the striatum of DA-/- mice. Bilateral coinjection of both viruses restored feeding behavior for several months. However, locomotor activity and coordination were partially improved. A virus expressing only TH was less effective, and one expressing GTPCH1 alone was ineffective. TH immunoreactivity and DA were detected in the ventral striatum and adjacent posterior regions of rescued mice, suggesting that these regions mediate a critical DA-dependent aspect of feeding behavior. (+info)
Inhibition of angiogenesis induces chromaffin differentiation and apoptosis in neuroblastoma.
Inhibition of angiogenesis has been shown to reduce tumor growth, metastasis, and tumor microvascular density in experimental models. To these effects we would now like to add induction of differentiation, based on biological analysis of xenografted human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y, WAG rnu/rnu) treated with the angiogenesis inhibitor TNP-470. Treatment with TNP-470 (10 mg/kg s.c., n = 15) reduced the tumor growth by 66% and stereological vascular parameters (Lv, Vv, Sv) by 36-45%. The tumor cell apoptotic fraction increased more than threefold, resulting in a decrease in viable tumor cells by 33%. In contrast, the mean vascular diameter (29 microm) and the mean tumor cell proliferative index (49%) were unaffected. TNP-470-treated tumors exhibited striking chromaffin differentiation of neuroblastoma cells, observed as increased expression of insulin-like growth factor II gene (+88%), tyrosine hydroxylase (+96%), chromogranin A, and cellular processes. Statistical analysis revealed an inverse correlation between differentiation and angiogenesis. It is suggested that by inhibiting angiogenesis, TNP-470 induces metabolic stress, resulting in chromaffin differentiation and apoptosis in neuroblastoma. Such agonal differentiation may be the link between angiostatic therapy and tumor cell apoptosis. (+info)
In oculo transplants of myometrium from postpartum guinea pigs fail to support sympathetic reinnervation.
Sympathetic nerves to the enlarged fetus-containing region of the uterus undergo degenerative changes during late pregnancy and show slow regrowth after parturition. It is not known whether this unusual response of sympathetic nerves to smooth muscle hypertrophy is due to the sensitivity of short adrenergic neurons to hormonal changes, or whether the nerves respond to changes in the neurotrophic capacity of the target. We have investigated this question using in oculo transplantation. Small pieces of myometrium from the uterine horn of virgin guinea pigs, or from the region previously occupied by the placenta and fetus in postpartum guinea pigs, were transplanted into the anterior eye chamber. After 3 wk in oculo, the pattern of reinnervation of the transplants was assessed on whole mount stretch preparations stained for tyrosine hydroxylase. The histology of the transplants was examined in toluidine blue-stained semithin sections. Myometrial transplants from virgin donors and uterine artery transplants from both virgin and postpartum donors became organotypically reinnervated by sympathetic fibres from the host iris. In contrast, sympathetic nerves did not reinnervate myometrial transplants from postpartum donors, although they approached the transplants and became distributed in the surrounding connective tissue. All transplanted tissues showed a normal histological appearance. Both the myometrium and uterine artery from postpartum donors retained a hypertrophic appearance after 3 wk in oculo. We interpret these results to indicate that the degeneration of sympathetic nerves in late pregnancy, as well as their slow regrowth to the uterus after delivery, may be due to changes in uterine smooth muscle rather than a particular sensitivity of short adrenergic neurons to hormonal changes. (+info)
Improved methods using the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect tumour cells.
Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is increasingly used to detect small numbers of circulating tumour cells, though the clinical benefit remains controversial. The largest single contributing factor to the controversy of its value is the different approaches to sample processing. The aim of this study was to compare the sensitivity and reproducibility of RT-PCR for the detection of tumour cells after four commonly used different methods of sample processing. Using RT-PCR, one tumour cell spiked in 2 ml of whole blood was detected after analysis of separated mononuclear cell RNA, whole blood total or poly-A+ RNA. No false positives were identified with any method. However, the reproducibility of tumour cell detection was reduced after isolation of the mononuclear cell fraction. Only analysis of poly-A+ RNA had a sensitivity of 100% in all the cell spiking experiments. In patient blood samples, analysis of poly-A+ RNA increased the number of blood samples positive for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA compared with those positive after analysis of total RNA. This may reflect high levels of cDNA reducing the efficiency of the PCR. Isolation of poly-A+ RNA increases the sensitivity and reproducibility of tumour cell detection in peripheral blood. (+info)