Increased expression of a proline-rich Akt substrate (PRAS40) in human copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase transgenic rats protects motor neurons from death after spinal cord injury.
ABSTRACT: The serine-threonine kinase, Akt, plays an important role in the cell survival signaling pathway. A proline-rich Akt substrate, PRAS40, has been characterized, and an increase in phospho-PRAS40 (pPRAS40) is neuroprotective after transient focal cerebral ischemia. However, the involvement of PRAS40 in the cell death/survival pathway after spinal cord injury (SCI) is unclear. Liposome-mediated PRAS40 transfection was performed to study whether overexpression of pPRAS40 is neuroprotective. We further examined the expression of pPRAS40 after SCI by immunohistochemistry and Western blot using copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) transgenic (Tg) rats and wild-type (Wt) littermates. We then examined the relationship between PRAS40 and Akt by injection of LY294002, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway inhibitor, or Akt inhibitor IV, a compound that inhibits Akt activation after SCI. Our data demonstrated that increased pPRAS40 resulted in survival of more motor neurons compared with control complementary DNA transfection. Phosphorylated PRAS40 increased in the Wt rats after SCI, whereas there was a greater and prolonged increase in the SOD1 Tg rats. Coimmunoprecipitation showed that binding of pPRAS40 with 14-3-3 increased 1 day after SCI in the Wt rats, whereas there was a significant increase in the Tg rats. The inhibitor studies showed that phospho-Akt and pPRAS40 were decreased after injection of LY294002 or Akt inhibitor IV. We conclude that an increase in pPRAS40 by transfection after SCI results in survival of motor neurons, and overexpression of SOD1 in the Tg rats results in an increase in endogenous pPRAS40 and a decrease in motor neuron death through the PI3K/Akt pathway.
Project description:The proline-rich Akt substrate of 40kDa (PRAS40) protein is not only a substrate of the protein kinase Akt but also a component of the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), thus it links the Akt and the mTOR pathways. We investigated the potential protective role of PRAS40 in cerebral ischemia and its underlying mechanisms by using rats with lentiviral over-expression of PRAS40 and mice with PRAS40 gene knockout (PRAS40 KO). Our results show that gene transfer of PRAS40 reduced infarction size in rats by promoting phosphorylation of Akt, FKHR (FOXO1), PRAS40, and mTOR. In contrast, PRAS40 KO increased infarction size. Although the PRAS40 KO under normal condition did not alter baseline levels of phosphorylated proteins in the Akt and mTOR pathways, PRAS40 KO that underwent stroke exhibited reduced protein levels of p-S6K and p-S6 in the mTOR pathway but not p-Akt, or p-PTEN in the Akt pathway. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation suggests that there were less interactive effects between Akt and mTOR in the PRAS40 KO. In conclusion, PRAS40 appears to reduce brain injury by converting cell signaling from Akt to mTOR.
Project description:After spinal cord injury (SCI), disruption of blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) elicits blood cell infiltration such as neutrophils and macrophages, contributing to permanent neurological disability. Previous studies show that epidermal growth factor (EGF) produces potent neuroprotective effects in SCI models. However, little is known that whether EGF contributes to the integrity of BSCB. The present study is performed to explore the mechanism of BSCB permeability changes which are induced by EGF treatment after SCI in rats. In this study, we demonstrate that EGF administration inhibits the disruption of BSCB permeability and improves the locomotor activity in SCI model rats. Inhibition of the PI3K/Akt pathways by a specific inhibitor, LY294002, suppresses EGF-induced Rac1 activation as well as tight junction (TJ) and adherens junction (AJ) expression. Furthermore, the protective effect of EGF on BSCB is related to the activation of Rac1 both in vivo and in vitro. Blockade of Rac1 activation with Rac1 siRNA downregulates EGF-induced TJ and AJ proteins expression in endothelial cells. Taken together, our results indicate that EGF treatment preserves BSCB integrity and improves functional recovery after SCI via PI3K-Akt-Rac1 signalling pathway.
Project description:The PI3K/Akt pathway is interconnected to protein kinase CK2, which directly phosphorylates Akt1 at S129. We have previously found that, in HK-2 renal cells, downregulation of the CK2 regulatory subunit ? (shCK2? cells) reduces S129 Akt phosphorylation. Here, we investigated in more details how the different CK2 isoforms impact on Akt and other signaling pathways. We found that all CK2 isoforms phosphorylate S129 in vitro, independently of CK2?. However, in HK-2 cells the dependence on CK2? was confirmed by rescue experiments (CK2? re-expression in shCK2? HK-2 cells), suggesting the presence of additional components that drive Akt recognition by CK2 in cells. We also found that CK2? downregulation altered the phosphorylation ratio between the two canonical Akt activation sites (pT308 strongly reduced, pS473 slightly increased) in HK-2 cells. Similar results were found in other cell lines where CK2? was stably knocked out by CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The phosphorylation of rpS6 S235/S236, a downstream effector of Akt, was strongly reduced in shCK2? HK-2 cells, while the phosphorylation of two Akt direct targets, PRAS40 T246 and GSK3? S9, was increased. Differently to what observed in response to CK2? down-regulation, the chemical inhibition of CK2 activity by cell treatment with the specific inhibitor CX-4945 reduced both the Akt canonical sites, pT308 and pS473. In CX-4945-treated cells, the changes in rpS6 pS235/S236 and GSK3? pS9 mirrored those induced by CK2? knock-down (reduction and slight increase, respectively); on the contrary, the effect on PRAS40 pT246 phosphorylation was sharply different, being strongly reduced by CK2 inhibition; this suggests that this Akt target might be dependent on Akt pS473 status in HK-2 cells. Since PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2/p90rsk pathways are known to be interconnected and both modulated by CK2, with GSK3? pS9 representing a convergent point, we investigated if ERK1/2/p90rsk signaling was affected by CK2? knock-down and CX-4945 treatment in HK-2 cells. We found that p90rsk was insensitive to any kind of CK2 targeting; therefore, the observation that, similarly, GSK3? pS9 was not reduced by CK2 blockade suggests that GSK3? phosphorylation is mainly under the control of p90rsk in these cells. However, we found that the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 reduced GSK3? pS9, and concomitantly decreased Snail1 levels (a GSK3? target and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal transition marker). The effects of LY294002 were observed also in CK2?-downregulated cells, suggesting that reducing GSK3? pS9 could be a strategy to control Snail1 levels in any situation where CK2? is defective, as possibly occurring in cancer cells.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating disease that may lead to lifelong disability. Thus, seeking for valid drugs that are beneficial to promoting axonal regrowth and elongation after SCI has gained wide attention. Metformin, a glucose-lowering agent, has been demonstrated to play roles in various central nervous system (CNS) disorders. However, the potential protective effect of metformin on nerve regeneration after SCI is still unclear. In this study, we found that the administration of metformin improved functional recovery after SCI through reducing neuronal cell apoptosis and repairing neurites by stabilizing microtubules via PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Inhibiting the PI3K/Akt pathway with LY294002 partly reversed the therapeutic effects of metformin on SCI in vitro and vivo. Furthermore, metformin treatment weakened the excessive activation of oxidative stress and improved the mitochondrial function by activating the nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (Nrf2) transcription and binding to the antioxidant response element (ARE). Moreover, treatment with Nrf2 inhibitor ML385 partially abolished its antioxidant effect. We also found that the Nrf2 transcription was partially reduced by LY294002 in vitro. Taken together, these results revealed that the role of metformin in nerve regeneration after SCI was probably related to stabilization of microtubules and inhibition of the excessive activation of Akt-mediated Nrf2/ARE pathway-regulated oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. Overall, our present study suggests that metformin administration may provide a potential therapy for SCI.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder with no effective treatment. Fasudil hydrochloride (fasudil), a potent rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, is useful for the treatment of ischaemic diseases. In previous reports, fasudil improved pathology in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and spinal muscular atrophy, but there is no evidence in that it can affect ALS. We therefore investigated its effects on experimental models of ALS.In mice motor neuron (NSC34) cells, the neuroprotective effect of hydroxyfasudil (M3), an active metabolite of fasudil, and its mechanism were evaluated. Moreover, the effects of fasudil, 30 and 100 mg·kg(-1), administered via drinking water to mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1(G93A)) mice were tested by measuring motor performance, survival time and histological changes, and its mechanism investigated.M3 prevented motor neuron cell death induced by SOD1(G93A). Furthermore, M3 suppressed both the increase in ROCK activity and phosphorylated phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), and the reduction in phosphorylated Akt induced by SOD1(G93A). These effects of M3 were attenuated by treatment with a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002). Moreover, fasudil slowed disease progression, increased survival time and reduced motor neuron loss, in SOD1(G93A) mice. Fasudil also attenuated the increase in ROCK activity and PTEN, and the reduction in Akt in SOD1(G93A) mice.These findings indicate that fasudil may be effective at suppressing motor neuron degeneration and symptom progression in ALS. Hence, fasudil may have potential as a therapeutic agent for ALS treatment.
Project description:Although mechanisms involved in progression of cell death in spinal cord injury (SCI) have been studied extensively, few are clear targets for translation to clinical application. One of the best-understood mechanisms of cell survival in SCI is phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and associated downstream signaling. Clear therapeutic efficacy of a phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) inhibitor called bisperoxovanadium (bpV) has been shown in SCI, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other neurological disease models in both neuroprotection and functional recovery. The present study aimed to elucidate mechanistic influences of bpV activity in neuronal survival in in vitro and in vivo models of SCI. Treatment with 100?nM bpV(pic) reduced cell death in a primary spinal neuron injury model (p?<?0.05) in vitro, and upregulated both Akt and ribosomal protein S6 (pS6) activity (p?<?0.05) compared with non-treated injured neurons. Pre-treatment of spinal neurons with a PI3K inhibitor, LY294002 or mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, rapamycin blocked bpV activation of Akt and ribosomal protein S6 activity, respectively. Treatment with bpV increased extracellular signal-related kinase (Erk) activity after scratch injury in vitro, and rapamycin reduced influence by bpV on Erk phosphorylation. After a cervical hemicontusive SCI, Akt phosphorylation decreased in total tissue via Western blot analysis (p?<?0.01) as well as in penumbral ventral horn motor neurons throughout the first week post-injury (p?<?0.05). Conversely, PTEN activity appeared to increase over this period. As observed in vitro, bpV also increased Erk activity post-SCI (p?<?0.05). Our results suggest that PI3K/Akt signaling is the likely primary mechanism of bpV action in mediating neuroprotection in injured spinal neurons.
Project description:Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), necessary for cellular growth, is regulated by intracellular signaling mediating inhibition of mTORC1 activation. Among mTORC1 regulatory binding partners, the role of Proline Rich AKT Substrate of 40 kDa (PRAS40) in controlling mTORC1 activity and cellular growth in response to pathological and physiological stress in the heart has never been addressed. This report shows PRAS40 is regulated by AKT in cardiomyocytes and that AKT-driven phosphorylation relieves the inhibitory function of PRAS40. PRAS40 overexpression in vitro blocks mTORC1 in cardiomyocytes and decreases pathological growth. Cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression in vivo blunts pathological remodeling after pressure overload and preserves cardiac function. Inhibition of mTORC1 by PRAS40 preferentially promotes protective mTORC2 signaling in chronic diseased myocardium. In contrast, strong PRAS40 phosphorylation by AKT allows for physiological hypertrophy both in vitro and in vivo, whereas cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression of a PRAS40 mutant lacking capacity for AKT-phosphorylation inhibits physiological growth in vivo, demonstrating that AKT-mediated PRAS40 phosphorylation is necessary for induction of physiological hypertrophy. Therefore, PRAS40 phosphorylation acts as a molecular switch allowing mTORC1 activation during physiological growth, opening up unique possibilities for therapeutic regulation of the mTORC1 complex to mitigate pathologic myocardial hypertrophy by PRAS40.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>We previously showed that the fatty liver formations observed in overfed geese are accompanied by the activation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway and an increase in plasma insulin concentrations. Recent studies have suggested a crucial role for the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway in regulating lipid metabolism; therefore, we hypothesized that insulin affects goose hepatocellular lipid metabolism through the PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling pathway.<h4>Methods</h4>Goose primary hepatocytes were isolated and treated with serum-free media supplemented with PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway inhibitors (LY294002, rapamycin, and NVP-BEZ235, respectively) and 50 or 150 nmol/L insulin.<h4>Results</h4>Insulin induced strong effects on lipid accumulation as well as the mRNA and protein levels of genes involved in lipogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, and VLDL-TG assembly and secretion in primary goose hepatocytes. The stimulatory effect of insulin on lipogenesis was significantly decreased by treatment with PI3K-Akt-mTOR inhibitors. These inhibitors also rescued the insulin-induced down-regulation of fatty acid oxidation and VLDL-TG assembly and secretion.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These findings suggest that the stimulatory effect of insulin on lipid deposition is mediated by PI3K-Akt-mTOR regulation of lipogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, and VLDL-TG assembly and secretion in goose hepatocytes.
Project description:The molecular mechanism underlying acute right heart failure (RHF) is poorly understood. We used pulmonary artery banding (PAB) to induce acute RHF characterized by a rapid rise of right ventricular pressure, and then a decrease in right ventricular pressure along with a decrease in blood pressure right after banding. We found higher brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and beta-myosin heavy chain (?MHC) levels and lower alpha-myosin heavy chain (?MHC) levels in RHF rats than sham-operated rats. Hemodynamic indexes in rats with acute RHF were slightly improved by trimedazidine TMZ, a key inhibitor of fatty acid (FA) oxidation. TMZ also reversed downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-beta (PGC-1?) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR?) by PAB and up-regulates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1?), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR?) and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoform 4 (PDK4). In addition, TMZ reversed upregulation of phosphorylated Akt by PAB and increased phosphorylated proline-rich Akt-substrate 40 (PRAS40). Autophagy and apoptosis were not modified by PAB or TMZ. An acute RHF model was established in rats through 70% constriction of the pulmonary artery. TMZ treatment alleviated PAB-induced acute RHF by activating PRAS40 and upregulatingPGC-1?, PGC-1?, PPAR?, PPAR?, and PDK4.
Project description:In this study we investigate how the molecular response to a mechanical stress applied to the spinal cord can be modified by a G93A SOD1 gene mutation, a genetic defect known to cause an invariably fatal form of motor neuron disease. In a 7-day post-injury time period, we perform a 4 time points gene expression profiling of injured spinal cords obtained from pre-symptomatic rats over-expressing the G93A SOD1 gene mutation and from wild type (WT) littermates. The hypothesis tested in this investigation is that the presence of a known genetic defect in a pre-symptomatic rat with a macroscopically normal spinal cord modifies the molecular response to mechanical stress as part of an increase genetically-induced vulnerability to this kind of stress. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying this susceptibility to trauma may open the way to the uncovering of molecular events which are crucially linked to neurodegenerastion. Overall design: Total RNA was isolated from the spinal cords of both wild type (WT) and mutant (G93A SOD1 gene mutation) rats sacrificed after mild compression spinal cord injury (SCI) at 30 minutes, 4 hours, 24 hours and 7 days from the experimental injury. Total RNA was also isolated from the spinal cords of both wild type (WT) and mutant (G93A SOD1 gne mutation) rats sacrificed after sham operation at 30 minutes and 4 hours after surgery. RNA samples from rats spinal cords of the same genetic type sacrificed at the same time points after sham operation or compression SCI were pooled together, for a tota of 12 pooled samples.