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ER stress and basement membrane defects combine to cause glomerular and tubular renal disease resulting from Col4a1 mutations in mice. - Disease models & mechanisms
Collagen IV is a major component of basement membranes, and mutations in COL4A1, which encodes collagen IV alpha chain 1, cause a multisystemic disease encompassing cerebrovascular, eye and kidney defects. However, COL4A1 renal disease remains poorly characterized and its pathomolecular mechanisms are unknown. We show that Col4a1 mutations in mice cause hypotension and renal disease, including proteinuria and defects in Bowman's capsule and the glomerular basement membrane, indicating a role for Col4a1 in glomerular filtration. Impaired sodium reabsorption in the loop of Henle and distal nephron despite elevated aldosterone levels indicates that tubular defects contribute to the hypotension, highlighting a novel role for the basement membrane in vascular homeostasis by modulation of the tubular response to aldosterone. Col4a1 mutations also cause diabetes insipidus, whereby the tubular defects lead to polyuria associated with medullary atrophy and a subsequent reduction in the ability to upregulate aquaporinÂ 2 and concentrate urine. Moreover, haematuria, haemorrhage and vascular basement membrane defects confirm an important vascular component. Interestingly, although structural and compositional basement membrane defects occurred in the glomerulus and Bowman's capsule, no tubular basement membrane defects were detected. By contrast, medullary atrophy was associated with chronic ER stress, providing evidence for cell-type-dependent molecular mechanisms of Col4a1 mutations. These data show that both basement membrane defects and ER stress contribute to Col4a1 renal disease, which has important implications for the development of treatment strategies for collagenopathies.Â© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Deducing the stage of origin of Wilms' tumours from a developmental series of Wt1-mutant mice. - Disease models & mechanisms
Wilms' tumours, paediatric kidney cancers, are the archetypal example of tumours caused through the disruption of normal development. The genetically best-defined subgroup of Wilms' tumours is the group caused by biallelic loss of the WT1 tumour suppressor gene. Here, we describe a developmental series of mouse models with conditional loss of Wt1 in different stages of nephron development before and after the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). We demonstrate that Wt1 is essential for normal development at all kidney developmental stages under study. Comparison of genome-wide expression data from the mutant mouse models with human tumour material of mutant or wild-type WT1 datasets identified the stage of origin of human WT1-mutant tumours, and emphasizes fundamental differences between the two human tumour groups due to different developmental stages of origin.Â© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
A novel mouse model of Warburg Micro syndrome reveals roles for RAB18 in eye development and organisation of the neuronal cytoskeleton. - Disease models & mechanisms
Mutations in RAB18 have been shown to cause the heterogeneous autosomal recessive disorder Warburg Micro syndrome (WARBM). Individuals with WARBM present with a range of clinical symptoms, including ocular and neurological abnormalities. However, the underlying cellular and molecular pathogenesis of the disorder remains unclear, largely owing to the lack of any robust animal models that phenocopy both the ocular and neurological features of the disease. We report here the generation and characterisation of a novel Rab18-mutant mouse model of WARBM. Rab18-mutant mice are viable and fertile. They present with congenital nuclear cataracts and atonic pupils, recapitulating the characteristic ocular features that are associated with WARBM. Additionally, Rab18-mutant cells exhibit an increase in lipid droplet size following treatment with oleic acid. Lipid droplet abnormalities are a characteristic feature of cells taken from WARBM individuals, as well as cells taken from individuals with other neurodegenerative conditions. Neurological dysfunction is also apparent in Rab18-mutant mice, including progressive weakness of the hind limbs. We show that the neurological defects are, most likely, not caused by gross perturbations in synaptic vesicle recycling in the central or peripheral nervous system. Rather, loss of Rab18 is associated with widespread disruption of the neuronal cytoskeleton, including abnormal accumulations of neurofilament and microtubule proteins in synaptic terminals, and gross disorganisation of the cytoskeleton in peripheral nerves. Global proteomic profiling of peripheral nerves in Rab18-mutant mice reveals significant alterations in several core molecular pathways that regulate cytoskeletal dynamics in neurons. The apparent similarities between the WARBM phenotype and the phenotype that we describe here indicate that the Rab18-mutant mouse provides an important platform for investigation of the disease pathogenesis and therapeutic interventions.Â© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
In vivo characterization of the role of tissue-specific translation elongation factor 1A2 in protein synthesis reveals insights into muscle atrophy. - The FEBS journal
Translation elongation factor 1A2 (eEF1A2), uniquely among translation factors, is expressed specifically in neurons and muscle. eEF1A2-null mutant wasted mice develop an aggressive, early-onset form of neurodegeneration, but it is unknown whether the wasting results from denervation of the muscles, or whether the mice have a primary myopathy resulting from loss of translation activity in muscle. We set out to establish the relative contributions of loss of eEF1A2 in the different tissues to this postnatal lethal phenotype. We used tissue-specific transgenesis to show that correction of eEF1A2 levels in muscle fails to ameliorate the overt phenotypic abnormalities or time of death of wasted mice. Molecular markers of muscle atrophy such as Fbxo32 were dramatically upregulated at the RNA level in wasted mice, both in the presence and in the absence of muscle-specific expression of eEF1A2, but the degree of upregulation at the protein level was significantly lower in those wasted mice without transgene-derived expression of eEF1A2 in muscle. This provides the first in vivo confirmation that eEF1A2 plays an important role in translation. In spite of the inability of the nontransgenic wasted mice to upregulate key atrogenes at the protein level in response to denervation to the same degree as their transgenic counterparts, there were no measurable differences between transgenic and nontransgenic wasted mice in terms of weight loss, grip strength, or muscle pathology. This suggests that a compromised ability fully to execute the atrogene pathway in denervated muscle does not affect the process of muscle atrophy in the short term.Â© 2013 The Authors. FEBS Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of FEBS.
Glucocorticoid receptor is required for foetal heart maturation. - Human molecular genetics
Glucocorticoids are vital for the structural and functional maturation of foetal organs, yet excessive foetal exposure is detrimental to adult cardiovascular health. To elucidate the role of glucocorticoid signalling in late-gestation cardiovascular maturation, we have generated mice with conditional disruption of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells using smooth muscle protein 22-driven Cre recombinase (SMGRKO mice) and compared them with mice with global deficiency in GR (GR(-/-)). Echocardiography shows impaired heart function in both SMGRKO and GR(-/-) mice at embryonic day (E)17.5, associated with generalized oedema. Cardiac ultrastructure is markedly disrupted in both SMGRKO and GR(-/-) mice at E17.5, with short, disorganized myofibrils and cardiomyocytes that fail to align in the compact myocardium. Failure to induce critical genes involved in contractile function, calcium handling and energy metabolism underpins this common phenotype. However, although hearts of GR(-/-) mice are smaller, with 22% reduced ventricular volume at E17.5, SMGRKO hearts are normally sized. Moreover, while levels of mRNA encoding atrial natriuretic peptide are reduced in E17.5 GR(-/-) hearts, they are normal in foetal SMGRKO hearts. These data demonstrate that structural, functional and biochemical maturation of the foetal heart is dependent on glucocorticoid signalling within cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscle, though some aspects of heart maturation (size, ANP expression) are independent of GR at these key sites.
Mast cells express 11Î²-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1: a role in restraining mast cell degranulation. - PloS one
Mast cells are key initiators of allergic, anaphylactic and inflammatory reactions, producing mediators that affect vascular permeability, angiogenesis and fibrosis. Glucocorticoid pharmacotherapy reduces mast cell number, maturation and activation but effects at physiological levels are unknown. Within cells, glucocorticoid concentration is modulated by the 11Î²-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11Î²-HSDs). Here we show expression and activity of 11Î²-HSD1, but not 11Î²-HSD2, in mouse mast cells with 11Î²-HSD activity only in the keto-reductase direction, regenerating active glucocorticoids (cortisol, corticosterone) from inert substrates (cortisone, 11-dehydrocorticosterone). Mast cells from 11Î²-HSD1-deficient mice show ultrastructural evidence of increased activation, including piecemeal degranulation and have a reduced threshold for IgG immune complex-induced mast cell degranulation. Consistent with reduced intracellular glucocorticoid action in mast cells, levels of carboxypeptidase A3 mRNA, a glucocorticoid-inducible mast cell-specific transcript, are lower in peritoneal cells from 11Î²-HSD1-deficient than control mice. These findings suggest that 11Î²-HSD1-generated glucocorticoids may tonically restrain mast cell degranulation, potentially influencing allergic, anaphylactic and inflammatory responses.
Acute multiple organ failure in adult mice deleted for the developmental regulator Wt1. - PLoS genetics
There is much interest in the mechanisms that regulate adult tissue homeostasis and their relationship to processes governing foetal development. Mice deleted for the Wilms' tumour gene, Wt1, lack kidneys, gonads, and spleen and die at mid-gestation due to defective coronary vasculature. Wt1 is vital for maintaining the mesenchymal-epithelial balance in these tissues and is required for the epithelial-to-mesenchyme transition (EMT) that generates coronary vascular progenitors. Although Wt1 is only expressed in rare cell populations in adults including glomerular podocytes, 1% of bone marrow cells, and mesothelium, we hypothesised that this might be important for homeostasis of adult tissues; hence, we deleted the gene ubiquitously in young and adult mice. Within just a few days, the mice suffered glomerulosclerosis, atrophy of the exocrine pancreas and spleen, severe reduction in bone and fat, and failure of erythropoiesis. FACS and culture experiments showed that Wt1 has an intrinsic role in both haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell lineages and suggest that defects within these contribute to the phenotypes we observe. We propose that glomerulosclerosis arises in part through down regulation of nephrin, a known Wt1 target gene. Protein profiling in mutant serum showed that there was no systemic inflammatory or nutritional response in the mutant mice. However, there was a dramatic reduction in circulating IGF-1 levels, which is likely to contribute to the bone and fat phenotypes. The reduction of IGF-1 did not result from a decrease in circulating GH, and there is no apparent pathology of the pituitary and adrenal glands. These findings 1) suggest that Wt1 is a major regulator of the homeostasis of some adult tissues, through both local and systemic actions; 2) highlight the differences between foetal and adult tissue regulation; 3) point to the importance of adult mesenchyme in tissue turnover.
11Î²-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, but not type 2, deficiency worsens acute inflammation and experimental arthritis in mice. - Endocrinology
Glucocorticoids profoundly influence immune responses, and synthetic glucocorticoids are widely used clinically for their potent antiinflammatory effects. Endogenous glucocorticoid action is modulated by the two isozymes of 11Î²-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11Î²-HSD). In vivo, 11Î²-HSD1 catalyzes the reduction of inactive cortisone or 11-dehydrocorticosterone into active cortisol or corticosterone, respectively, thereby increasing intracellular glucocorticoid levels. 11Î²-HSD2 catalyzes the reverse reaction, inactivating intracellular glucocorticoids. Both enzymes have been postulated to modulate inflammatory responses. In the K/BxN serum transfer model of arthritis, 11Î²-HSD1-deficient mice showed earlier onset and slower resolution of inflammation than wild-type controls, with greater exostoses in periarticular bone and, uniquely, ganglion cysts, consistent with greater inflammation. In contrast, K/BxN serum arthritis was unaffected by 11Î²-HSD2 deficiency. In a distinct model of inflammation, thioglycollate-induced sterile peritonitis, 11Î²-HSD1-deficient mice had more inflammatory cells in the peritoneum, but again 11Î²-HSD2-deficient mice did not differ from controls. Additionally, compared with control mice, 11Î²-HSD1-deficient mice showed greater numbers of inflammatory cells in pleural lavages in carrageenan-induced pleurisy with lung pathology consistent with slower resolution. These data suggest that 11Î²-HSD1 limits acute inflammation. In contrast, 11Î²-HSD2 plays no role in acute inflammatory responses in mice. Regulation of local 11Î²-HSD1 expression and/or delivery of substrate may afford a novel approach for antiinflammatory therapy.
A wt1-controlled chromatin switching mechanism underpins tissue-specific wnt4 activation and repression. - Developmental cell
Wt1 regulates the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the epicardium and the reverse process (MET) in kidney mesenchyme. The mechanisms underlying these reciprocal functions are unknown. Here, we show in both embryos and cultured cells that Wt1 regulates Wnt4 expression dichotomously. In kidney cells, Wt1 recruits Cbp and p300 as coactivators; in epicardial cells it enlists Basp1 as a corepressor. Surprisingly, in both tissues, Wt1 loss reciprocally switches the chromatin architecture of the entire Ctcf-bounded Wnt4 locus, but not the flankingÂ regions; we term this mode of action "chromatin flip-flop." Ctcf and cohesin are dispensable for Wt1-mediated chromatin flip-flop but essential for maintaining the insulating boundaries. This work demonstrates that a developmental regulator coordinates chromatin boundaries with the transcriptional competence of the flanked region. These findings also have implications for hierarchical transcriptional regulation in development and disease.Copyright Â© 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Smooth muscle cell-specific knockout of androgen receptor: a new model for prostatic disease. - Endocrinology
Androgen-driven stromal-epithelial interactions play a key role in normal prostate development and function as well as in the progression of common prostatic diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. However, exactly how, and via which cell type, androgens mediate their effects in the adult prostate remains unclear. This study investigated the role for smooth muscle (SM) androgen signaling in normal adult prostate homeostasis and function using mice in which androgen receptor was selectively ablated from prostatic SM cells. In adulthood the knockout (KO) mice displayed a 44% reduction in prostate weight and exhibited histological abnormalities such as hyperplasia, inflammation, fibrosis, and reduced expression of epithelial, SM, and stem cell identify markers (e.g. p63 reduced by 27% and Pten by 31%). These changes emerged beyond puberty and were not explained by changes in serum hormones. Furthermore, in response to exogenous estradiol, adult KO mice displayed an 8.5-fold greater increase in prostate weight than controls and developed urinary retention. KO mice also demonstrated a reduced response to castration compared with controls. Together these results demonstrate that prostate SM cells are vital in mediating androgen-driven stromal-epithelial interactions in adult mouse prostates, determining cell identity and function and limiting hormone-dependent epithelial cell proliferation. This novel mouse model provides new insight into the possible role for SM androgen action in prostate disease.
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