GAMT, a p53-inducible modulator of apoptosis, is critical for the adaptive response to nutrient stress.
ABSTRACT: The p53 tumor suppressor protein has a well-established role in cell-fate decision-making processes. However, recent discoveries indicate that p53 has a non-tumor-suppressive role. Here we identify guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), an enzyme involved in creatine synthesis, as a p53 target gene and a key downstream effector of adaptive response to nutrient stress. We show that GAMT is not only involved in p53-dependent apoptosis in response to genotoxic stress but is important for apoptosis induced by glucose deprivation. Additionally, p53-->GAMT upregulates fatty acid oxidation (FAO) induced by glucose starvation, utilizing this pathway as an alternate ATP-generating energy source. These results highlight that p53-dependent regulation of GAMT allows cells to maintain energy levels sufficient to undergo apoptosis or survival under conditions of nutrient stress. The p53-->GAMT pathway represents a new link between cellular stress responses and processes of creatine synthesis and FAO, demonstrating a further role of p53 in cellular metabolism.
Project description:Creatine is thought to be involved in the spatial and temporal buffering of ATP in energetic organs such as heart and skeletal muscle. Creatine depletion affects force generation during maximal stimulation, while reduced levels of myocardial creatine are a hallmark of the failing heart, leading to the widely held view that creatine is important at high workloads and under conditions of pathological stress.We therefore hypothesised that the consequences of creatine-deficiency in mice would be impaired running capacity, and exacerbation of heart failure following myocardial infarction.Surprisingly, mice with whole-body creatine deficiency due to knockout of the biosynthetic enzyme (guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase [GAMT]) voluntarily ran just as fast and as far as controls (>10 km/night) and performed the same level of work when tested to exhaustion on a treadmill. Furthermore, survival following myocardial infarction was not altered, nor was subsequent left ventricular (LV) remodelling and development of chronic heart failure exacerbated, as measured by 3D-echocardiography and invasive hemodynamics. These findings could not be accounted for by compensatory adaptations, with no differences detected between WT and GAMT(-/-) proteomes. Alternative phosphotransfer mechanisms were explored; adenylate kinase activity was unaltered, and although GAMT(-/-) hearts accumulated the creatine precursor guanidinoacetate, this had negligible energy-transfer activity, while mitochondria retained near normal function.Creatine-deficient mice show unaltered maximal exercise capacity and response to chronic myocardial infarction, and no obvious metabolic adaptations. Our results question the paradigm that creatine is essential for high workload and chronic stress responses in heart and skeletal muscle.
Project description:Creatine is a metabolite important for cellular energy homeostasis as it provides spatio-temporal adenosine triphosphate (ATP) buffering for cells with fluctuating energy demands. Here, we examined whether placental creatine metabolism was altered in cases of early-onset pre-eclampsia (PE), a condition known to cause placental metabolic dysfunction. We studied third trimester human placentae collected between 27-40 weeks' gestation from women with early-onset PE (n = 20) and gestation-matched normotensive control pregnancies (n = 20). Placental total creatine and creatine precursor guanidinoacetate (GAA) content were measured. mRNA expression of the creatine synthesizing enzymes arginine:glycine aminotransferase (GATM) and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), the creatine transporter (SLC6A8), and the creatine kinases (mitochondrial CKMT1A & cytosolic BBCK) was assessed. Placental protein levels of arginine:glycine aminotransferase (AGAT), GAMT, CKMT1A and BBCK were also determined. Key findings; total creatine content of PE placentae was 38% higher than controls (p < 0.01). mRNA expression of GATM (p < 0.001), GAMT (p < 0.001), SLC6A8 (p = 0.021) and BBCK (p < 0.001) was also elevated in PE placentae. No differences in GAA content, nor protein levels of AGAT, GAMT, BBCK or CKMT1A were observed between cohorts. Advancing gestation and birth weight were associated with a down-regulation in placental GATM mRNA expression, and a reduction in GAA content, in control placentae. These relationships were absent in PE cases. Our results suggest PE placentae may have an ongoing reliance on the creatine kinase circuit for maintenance of cellular energetics with increased total creatine content and transcriptional changes to creatine synthesizing enzymes and the creatine transporter. Understanding the functional consequences of these changes warrants further investigation.
Project description:Aim:Guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT) is the second essential enzyme in creatine (Cr) biosynthesis. Short-term Cr deficiency is metabolically well tolerated as GAMT-/- mice exhibit normal exercise capacity and response to ischemic heart failure. However, we hypothesized long-term consequences of Cr deficiency and/or accumulation of the Cr precursor guanidinoacetate (GA). Methods:Cardiac function and metabolic profile were studied in GAMT-/- mice >1 year. Results:In vivo LV catheterization revealed lower heart rate and developed pressure in aging GAMT-/- but normal lung weight and survival versus age-matched controls. Electron microscopy indicated reduced mitochondrial volume density in GAMT-/- hearts (P < 0.001), corroborated by lower mtDNA copy number (P < 0.004), and citrate synthase activity (P < 0.05), however, without impaired mitochondrial respiration. Furthermore, myocardial energy stores and key ATP homeostatic enzymes were barely altered, while pathology was unrelated to oxidative stress since superoxide production and protein carbonylation were unaffected. Gene expression of PGC-1? was 2.5-fold higher in GAMT-/- hearts while downstream genes were not activated, implicating a dysfunction in mitochondrial biogenesis signaling. This was normalized by 10 days of dietary Cr supplementation, as were all in vivo functional parameters, however, it was not possible to differentiate whether relief from Cr deficiency or GA toxicity was causative. Conclusion:Long-term Cr deficiency in GAMT-/- mice reduces mitochondrial volume without affecting respiratory function, most likely due to impaired biogenesis. This is associated with hemodynamic changes without evidence of heart failure, which may represent an acceptable functional compromise in return for reduced energy demand in aging mice.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency is an inborn error of metabolism (IEM), clinically characterized by intellectual disability, developmental delay, seizures, and movement disorders. Biochemical diagnosis of GAMT deficiency is based on the measurement of creatine and guanidinoacetate in urine, plasma, or CSF and is confirmed genetically by DNA analysis or by enzyme assay in lymphoblasts or fibroblasts. To obtain enough cells, these cells need to be cultured for at least 1 month. A less time-consuming diagnostic functional test is needed, since GAMT deficiency is a candidate for newborn screening (NBS) programs, to be able to confirm or rule out this IEM after an initial positive result in the NBS. METHODS:Stable-isotope-labeled 13C2-guanidinoacetate and 2H3-S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) were used, which are converted by GAMT present in lymphocyte extracts into 2H3-13C2-creatine. The formed 2H3-13C2-creatine was butylated and subsequently measured by liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). RESULTS:We measured GAMT enzyme activity in lymphocyte extracts of 24 controls, 3 GAMT deficient patients and of 2 parents proven to be carrier. Because GAMT activity decreases when isolation time after venipuncture increases, reference values were obtained for 2 control groups: isolation on the day of venipuncture (27-130 pmol/h/mg) and 1 day afterwards (15-146 pmol/h/mg). Deficient patients had no detectable GAMT activity. The two carriers had GAMT activity within the normal range. CONCLUSION:We designed a fast, less invasive, and valid method to measure GAMT activity in lymphocytes using LC-MS/MS analysis without the need of time-consuming and laborious cell culture.
Project description:The creatine/phosphocreatine system is the principal energy buffer in mammals, but is scarcely documented in fish. We measured the gene expression of major enzymes of this system, glycine amidinotransferase (GATM), guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT) and muscle-type creatine kinase (CKM) in kidney, liver, and muscle tissues of fish and mammals. CKM was expressed strongly in the muscles of all examined species. In contrast, GATM and GAMT were strongly expressed in the muscle tissue of fish, but not of mammals. This indicates that creatine synthesis and usage are spatially separated in mammals, but not in fish, which is supported by RNA-Seq data of 25 species. Differences in amino acid metabolism along with methionine adenosyltransferase gene expression in muscle from fishes but not mammals further support a central metabolic role of muscle in fish, and hence different organization of the creatine/phosphocreatine biosynthesis system in higher and lower vertebrates.
Project description:Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency is a rare disorder of creatine synthesis resulting in cerebral creatine depletion. We present a 38-year-old patient, the first Japanese case of GAMT deficiency. Developmental delay started after a few months of age with a marked delay in language, which resulted in severe intellectual deficit. She showed hyperactivity and trichotillomania from childhood. Epileptic seizures appeared at 18 months and she had multiple types of seizures including epileptic spasms, brief tonic seizures, atypical absences, complex partial seizures with secondary generalization, and "drop" seizures. They have been refractory to multiple antiepileptic drugs. Although there have been no involuntary movements, magnetic resonance imaging revealed T2 hyperintense lesions in bilateral globus pallidi. Motor regression started around 30 years of age and the patient is now able to walk for only short periods. Very low serum creatinine levels measured by enzymatic method raised a suspicion of GAMT deficiency, which was confirmed by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and urinary guanidinoacetate assay. GAMT gene analysis revealed that the patient is a compound heterozygote of c.578A>G, p.Gln193Arg and splice site mutation, c.391G>C, p.Gly131Arg, neither of which have been reported in the literature. We also identified two aberrant splice products from the patient's cDNA analysis. The patient was recently started on supplementation of high-dose creatine and ornithine, the effects of which are currently under evaluation. Although rare, patients with developmental delay, epilepsy, behavioral problems, and movement disorders should be vigorously screened for GAMT deficiency, as it is a treatable disorder.
Project description:Creatine plays an important role in the cell as an energy buffer. As the energy system is a basic element of the organism it may possibly contribute to differences between rainbow trout strains selected for the traits growth and robustness, respectively. The cDNA sequences of creatine-related genes encoding glycine amidinotransferase (GATM), guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT), creatine kinase muscle-type (CKM) and creatine transporter 1 (CT1, encoded by gene solute carrier family 6, member 8 (SLC6A8)) were characterized in rainbow trout. Transcripts of the respective genes were quantified in kidney, liver, brain and skeletal muscle in both trout strains that had been acclimated to different temperatures. Several differences between the compared trout strains were found as well as between temperatures indicating that the energy system may contribute to differences between both strains. In addition to that, the expression data showed clear differences between the creatine system in rainbow trout and mammals, as the spatial distribution of the enzyme-encoding gene expression was clearly different from the patterns described for mammals. In rainbow trout, creatine synthesis seems to take place to a big extent in the skeletal muscle.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Creatine (Cr) is synthesized by a two-step mechanism involving arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), and is taken up by cells through a specific Cr transporter, CT1. Recently, genetic defects of this pathway have been described, that lead to Cr deficiency, neurological symptoms in early infancy and severe neurodevelopmental delay. To investigate the involvement of Cr synthesis and uptake pathways during embryonic development, we determined the spatiotemporal expression of AGAT, GAMT and CT1 during the rat embryogenesis, at the mRNA and protein level. RESULTS: We show that AGAT and GAMT are expressed in hepatic primordium as soon as 12.5 days, then progressively acquire their adult pattern of expression, with high levels of AGAT in kidney and pancreas, and high levels of GAMT in liver and pancreas. AGAT and CT1 are prominent in CNS, skeletal muscles and intestine, where they appear earlier than GAMT. High levels of CT1 are found in epithelia. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that de novo synthesis of Cr by AGAT and GAMT, as well as cellular Cr uptake by CT1, are essential during embryonic development. This work provides new clues on how creatine can be provided to developing tissues, and suggests that Cr deficiencies might induce irreversible damages already in utero, particularly on the nervous system.
Project description:Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder which results in global developmental delay and intellectual disability. There is evidence that early treatment prevents intellectual disability and seizures. GAMT deficiency is now being discussed as a potential addition to the U.S. Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP); the availability of suitable screening methods must be considered. A neonatal screening derivatized method to quantify creatine (CRE) and guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) in dried blood spots by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) has been described. Its key feature is the ability to detect CRE and GAA in the same extract generated from neonatal DBS during amino acids (AA) and acylcarnitines (AC) analysis. More laboratories are adopting non-derivatized MS/MS screening methods. We describe an improved, non-derivatized DBS extraction and MS/MS analytical method (AAAC-GAMT) which incorporates quantitation of CRE and GAA into routine analysis of amino acids, acylcarnitines, and succinylacetone. The non-derivatized AAAC-GAMT method performs comparably to the stand-alone GAMT and non-derivatized AAAC screening methods, evidencing its potential suitability for high-throughput GAMT neonatal screening.
Project description:Pregnancy induces adaptations in maternal metabolism to meet the increased need for nutrients by the placenta and fetus. Creatine is an important intracellular metabolite obtained from the diet and also synthesised endogenously. Experimental evidence suggests that the fetus relies on a maternal supply of creatine for much of gestation. However, the impact of pregnancy on maternal creatine homeostasis is unclear. We hypothesise that alteration of maternal creatine homeostasis occurs during pregnancy to ensure adequate levels of this essential substrate are available for maternal tissues, the placenta and fetus. This study aimed to describe maternal creatine homeostasis from mid to late gestation in the precocial spiny mouse.Plasma creatine concentration and urinary excretion were measured from mid to late gestation in pregnant (n = 8) and age-matched virgin female spiny mice (n = 6). At term, body composition and organ weights were assessed and tissue total creatine content determined. mRNA expression of the creatine synthesising enzymes arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), and the creatine transporter (CrT1) were assessed by RT-qPCR. Protein expression of AGAT and GAMT was also assessed by western blot analysis.Plasma creatine and renal creatine excretion decreased significantly from mid to late gestation (P < 0.001, P < 0.05, respectively). Pregnancy resulted in increased lean tissue (P < 0.01), kidney (P < 0.01), liver (P < 0.01) and heart (P < 0.05) mass at term. CrT1 expression was increased in the heart (P < 0.05) and skeletal muscle (P < 0.05) at term compared to non-pregnant tissues, and creatine content of the heart (P < 0.05) and kidney (P < 0.001) were also increased at this time. CrT1 mRNA expression was down-regulated in the liver (<0.01) and brain (<0.01) of pregnant spiny mice at term. Renal AGAT mRNA (P < 0.01) and protein (P < 0.05) expression were both significantly up-regulated at term, with decreased expression of AGAT mRNA (<0.01) and GAMT protein (<0.05) observed in the term pregnant heart. Brain AGAT (<0.01) and GAMT (<0.001) mRNA expression were also decreased at term.Change of maternal creatine status (increased creatine synthesis and reduced creatine excretion) may be a necessary adjustment of maternal physiology to pregnancy to meet the metabolic demands of maternal tissues, the placenta and developing fetus.