The molecular and physiological roles of ABCC6: more than meets the eye.
ABSTRACT: Abnormal mineralization occurs in the context of several common conditions, including advanced age, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, chronic renal failure, and certain genetic conditions. Metabolic, mechanical, infectious, and inflammatory injuries promote ectopic mineralization through overlapping yet distinct molecular mechanisms of initiation and progression. The ABCC6 protein is an ATP-dependent transporter primarily found in the plasma membrane of hepatocytes. ABCC6 exports unknown substrates from the liver presumably for systemic circulation. ABCC6 deficiency is the primary cause for chronic and acute forms of ectopic mineralization described in diseases such as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), ?-thalassemia, and generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) in humans and dystrophic cardiac calcification (DCC) in mice. These pathologies are characterized by mineralization of cardiovascular, ocular, and dermal tissues. PXE and to an extent GACI are caused by inactivating ABCC6 mutations, whereas the mineralization associated with ?-thalassemia patients derives from a liver-specific change in ABCC6 expression. DCC is an acquired phenotype resulting from cardiovascular insults (ischemic injury or hyperlipidemia) and secondary to ABCC6 insufficiency. Abcc6-deficient mice develop ectopic calcifications similar to both the human PXE and mouse DCC phenotypes. The precise molecular and cellular mechanism linking deficient hepatic ABCC6 function to distal ectopic mineral deposition is not understood and has captured the attention of many research groups. Our previously published work along with that of others show that ABCC6 influences other modulators of calcification and that it plays a much greater physiological role than originally thought.
Project description:Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) and generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) are heritable ectopic mineralization disorders. Most cases of PXE and many cases of GACI harbor mutations in the ABCC6 gene. There is no effective treatment for these disorders. We explored the potential efficacy of bisphosphonates to prevent ectopic calcification caused by ABCC6 mutations by feeding Abcc6(-/-) mice with diet containing etidronate disodium (ETD) or alendronate sodium trihydrate (AST) in quantities corresponding to 1x, 5x, or 12x of the doses used to treat osteoporosis in humans. The mice were placed on diet at 4 weeks of age, and the degree of mineralization was assessed at 12 weeks by quantitation of the calcium deposits in the dermal sheath of vibrissae, a progressive biomarker of the mineralization, by computerized morphometry of histopathologic sections and by direct chemical assay of calcium. We found that ETD, but not AST, at the 12x dosage, significantly reduced mineralization, suggesting that selected bisphosphonates may be helpful for prevention of mineral deposits in PXE and GACI caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, when combined with careful monitoring of efficacy and potential side-effects.
Project description:Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) and generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) are heritable disorders manifesting with ectopic tissue mineralization. Most cases of PXE and some cases of GACI are caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, resulting in reduced plasma pyrophosphate (PPi) levels. There is no effective treatment for these disorders. It has been suggested that administration of bisphosphonates, stable and non-hydrolyzable PPi analogs, could counteract ectopic mineralization in these disorders. In this study we tested the potential efficacy of etidronate, a first generation bisphosphonate, on ectopic mineralization in the muzzle skin of Abcc6-/- mice, a model of PXE. The Abcc6-/- mice received subcutaneous injections of etidronate, 0.283 and 3.40 mg/kg per injection (0.01× and 0.12×), twice a week, in both prevention and reversal studies. Ectopic mineralization in the dermal sheath of vibrissae in muzzle skin was determined by histopathologic analysis and by direct chemical assay for calcium content. Subcutaneous injection of etidronate prevented ectopic mineralization but did not reverse existing mineralization. The effect of etidronate was accompanied by alterations in the trabecular bone microarchitecture, determined by micro-computed tomography. The results suggest that etidronate may offer a potential treatment modality for PXE and GACI caused by ABCC6 mutations. Etidronate therapy should be initiated in PXE patients as soon as the diagnosis is made, with careful monitoring of potential side effects.
Project description:Generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by congenital calcification of large- and medium-sized arteries, associated with early myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke, and premature death. Most cases of GACI are caused by mutations in the ENPP1 gene. We first studied two siblings with GACI from a non-consanguineous family without mutations in the ENPP1 gene. To search for disease-causing mutations, we identified genomic regions shared between the two affected siblings but not their unaffected parents or brother. The ABCC6 gene, which is mutated in pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), resided within a small region of homozygosity shared by the affected siblings. Sequence analysis of ABCC6 revealed that the two affected siblings were homozygous for the missense mutation p.R1314W. Subsequently, ABCC6 mutations were identified in five additional GACI families with normal ENPP1 sequences. Genetic mutations in ABCC6 in patients with PXE are associated with ectopic tissue mineralization in the skin and arterial blood vessels. Thus, our findings provide additional evidence that the ABCC6 gene product inhibits calcification under physiologic conditions and confirm a second locus for GACI. In addition, our study emphasizes the potential utility of shared homozygosity mapping to identify genetic causes of inherited disorders.
Project description:Spontaneous pathologic arterial calcifications in childhood can occur in generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) or in pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). GACI is associated with biallelic mutations in ENPP1 in the majority of cases, whereas mutations in ABCC6 are known to cause PXE. However, the genetic basis in subsets of both disease phenotypes remains elusive. We hypothesized that GACI and PXE are in a closely related spectrum of disease. We used a standardized questionnaire to retrospectively evaluate the phenotype of 92 probands with a clinical history of GACI. We obtained the ENPP1 genotype by conventional sequencing. In those patients with less than two disease-causing ENPP1 mutations, we sequenced ABCC6. We observed that three GACI patients who carried biallelic ENPP1 mutations developed typical signs of PXE between 5 and 8 years of age; these signs included angioid streaks and pseudoxanthomatous skin lesions. In 28 patients, no disease-causing ENPP1 mutation was found. In 14 of these patients, we detected pathogenic ABCC6 mutations (biallelic mutations in eight patients, monoallelic mutations in six patients). Thus, ABCC6 mutations account for a significant subset of GACI patients, and ENPP1 mutations can also be associated with PXE lesions in school-aged children. Based on the considerable overlap of genotype and phenotype of GACI and PXE, both entities appear to reflect two ends of a clinical spectrum of ectopic calcification and other organ pathologies, rather than two distinct disorders. ABCC6 and ENPP1 mutations might lead to alterations of the same physiological pathways in tissues beyond the artery.
Project description:Mutations in the ABCC6 gene cause soft-tissue calcification in pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) and, in some patients, generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI). PXE is characterized by late onset and progressive mineralization of elastic fibers in dermal, ocular, and cardiovascular tissues. GACI patients present a more severe, often prenatal arterial calcification. We have tested 10 frequent disease-causing ABCC6 missense mutants for the transport activity by using Sf9 (Spodoptera frugiperda) cells, characterized the subcellular localization in MDCKII (Madin-Darby canine kidney (cell line)) cells and in mouse liver, and tested the phenotypic rescue in zebrafish. We aimed at identifying mutants with preserved transport activity but with improper plasma membrane localization for rescue by the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PBA). Seven of the mutants were transport-competent but mislocalized in mouse liver. The observed divergence in cellular localization of mutants in MDCKII cells versus mouse liver underlined the limitations of this 2D in vitro cell system. The functionality of ABCC6 mutants was tested in zebrafish, and minimal rescue of the morpholino-induced phenotype was found. However, 4-PBA, a drug approved for clinical use, restored the plasma membrane localization of four ABCC6 mutants (R1114P, S1121W, Q1347H, and R1314W), suggesting that allele-specific therapy may be useful for selected patients with PXE and GACI.
Project description:Generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) is associated with biallelic mutations in ENPP1 in the majority of cases, whereas mutations in ABCC6 (ATP-binding cassette subfamily C number 6) are known to cause pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). However, ABCC6 mutations account for a significant subset of GACI cases, and ENPP1 mutations can also be associated with PXE lesions. Based on the considerable overlap of GACI and PXE, both entities appear to reflect two ends of a clinical spectrum of ectopic calcification rather than two distinct disorders. ABCC6 and ENPP1 mutations might lead to alterations of the same physiological pathways.
Project description:Ectopic mineralization is a global problem and leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The pathomechanisms of ectopic mineralization are poorly understood. Recent studies on heritable ectopic mineralization disorders with defined gene defects have been helpful in elucidation of the mechanisms of ectopic mineralization in general. The prototype of such disorders is pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a late-onset, slowly progressing disorder with multisystem clinical manifestations. Other conditions include generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI), characterized by severe, early-onset mineralization of the cardiovascular system, often with early postnatal demise. In addition, arterial calcification due to CD73 deficiency (ACDC) occurs late in life, mostly affecting arteries in the lower extremities in elderly individuals. These three conditions, PXE, GACI, and ACDC, caused by mutations in ABCC6, ENPP1, and NT5E, respectively, are characterized by reduced levels of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) in plasma. Because PPi is a powerful antimineralization factor, it has been postulated that reduced PPi is a major determinant for ectopic mineralization in these conditions. These and related observations on complementary mechanisms of ectopic mineralization have resulted in development of potential treatment modalities for PXE, including administration of bisphosphonates, stable PPi analogs with antimineralization activity. It is conceivable that efficient treatments may soon become available for heritable ectopic mineralization disorders with application to common calcification disorders.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a multisystem orphan disease, clinically affects the skin, the eyes, and the cardiovascular system with considerable morbidity and mortality. The clinical manifestations reflect the underlying pathology consisting of ectopic mineralization of peripheral connective tissues. AREAS COVERED:The diagnostic criteria of PXE include characteristic clinical findings, together with histopathology of accumulation of pleiomorphic elastic structures in the dermis with progressive mineralization, and the presence of mutations in the ABCC6 gene. PXE-like cutaneous changes can also be encountered in other ectopic mineralization disorders, including generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) caused by mutations in the ENPP1 gene. In some cases, overlapping clinical features of PXE/GACI, associated with mutations either in ABCC6 or ENPP1, have been noted. PXE demonstrates considerable inter- and intrafamilial heterogeneity, and consequently, accurate diagnosis is required for appropriate classification with prognostic implications. There is no effective and specific treatment for the systemic manifestations of PXE, but effective therapies to counteract the ocular complications are in current clinical use. EXPERT OPINION:A number of observations in the murine model, the Abcc6-/- mouse, have indicated that the mineral composition of diet, particularly the magnesium content, can influence the severity of the mineralization phenotype. These observations suggest that appropriate dietary interventions, coupled with lifestyle modifications, including smoking cessation, might alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life of individuals affected with this, currently intractable, orphan disease.
Project description:?-Thalassemia and pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) are distinct genetic disorders. Yet, a dystrophic mineralization phenotype similar to PXE has frequently been associated with ?-thalassemia or sickle cell anemia patients of Mediterranean descent. These calcifications are clinically and structurally identical to inherited PXE. As we previously excluded the presence of PXE-causing mutations in the ABCC6 gene of ?-thalassemia patients with PXE manifestations, we hypothesized that a molecular mechanism independent of gene mutations either altered the ABCC6 gene expression or disrupted the biologic properties of its product in the liver or kidneys, which are the tissues with the highest levels of expression. To test this possibility, we investigated Abcc6 synthesis in the liver and kidneys of a ?-thalassemia mouse model (Hbb(th3/+)). We found a progressive liver-specific down-regulation of the Abcc6 gene expression and protein levels by quantitative PCR, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence. The levels of Abcc6 protein decreased significantly at 6 months of age and stabilized at 10 months and older ages at ?25% of the wild-type protein levels. We studied the transcriptional regulation of the Abcc6 gene in wild-type and Hbb(th3/+) mice, and we identified the erythroid transcription factor NF-E2 as the main cause of the transcriptional down-regulation using transcription factor arrays and chromatin immunoprecipitation. The Hbb(th3/+) mice did not develop spontaneous calcification as seen in the Abcc6(-/-) mice probably because the Abcc6 protein decrease occurred late in life and was probably insufficient to promote mineralization in the Hbb(th3/+) mouse C57BL/6J genetic background. Nevertheless, our result suggested that a similar decrease of ABCC6 expression occurs in the liver of ?-thalassemia patients and may be responsible for their frequent PXE-like manifestations.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Mutations in ABCC6 underlie the ectopic mineralization disorder pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) and some forms of generalized arterial calcification of infancy, both of which affect the cardiovascular system. Using cultured cells, we recently showed that ATP-binding cassette subfamily C member 6 (ABCC6) mediates the cellular release of ATP, which is extracellularly rapidly converted into AMP and the mineralization inhibitor inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi). The current study was performed to determine which tissues release ATP in an ABCC6-dependent manner in vivo, where released ATP is converted into AMP and PPi, and whether human PXE ptients have low plasma PPi concentrations. APPROACH AND RESULTS:Using cultured primary hepatocytes and in vivo liver perfusion experiments, we found that ABCC6 mediates the direct, sinusoidal, release of ATP from the liver. Outside hepatocytes, but still within the liver vasculature, released ATP is converted into AMP and PPi. The absence of functional ABCC6 in patients with PXE leads to strongly reduced plasma PPi concentrations. CONCLUSIONS:Hepatic ABCC6-mediated ATP release is the main source of circulating PPi, revealing an unanticipated role of the liver in systemic PPi homeostasis. Patients with PXE have a strongly reduced plasma PPi level, explaining their mineralization disorder. Our results indicate that systemic PPi is relatively stable and that PXE, generalized arterial calcification of infancy, and other ectopic mineralization disorders could be treated with PPi supplementation therapy.