Increased expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a common complication of limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (lcSSc), is associated with alterations of markers of inflammation and vascular damage in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) have been implicated in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The goal of this study was to assess whether markers of ER stress and the UPR are present in PBMCs from lcSSc patients with PAH.PBMCs were purified from 36 healthy controls, 32 lcSSc patients with PAH, and 34 lcSSc patients without PAH. Gene expression in healthy control PBMCs stimulated with thapsigargin was analyzed by DNA microarray. Genes were validated by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in PBMCs from healthy controls and lcSSc patients.Several ER stress/UPR genes, including BiP, activating transcription factor 4 (ATF-4), ATF-6, and a spliced form of X-box binding protein 1, were up-regulated in PBMCs from lcSSc patients, with the highest levels in patients with PAH. Thapsigargin up-regulated heat-shock proteins (HSPs) and interferon (IFN)-regulated genes in PBMCs from healthy controls. Selected HSP genes (particularly DnaJB1) and IFN-related genes were also found at significantly elevated levels in PBMCs from lcSSc patients, while IFN regulatory factor 4 expression was significantly decreased. There was a positive correlation between DnaJB1 and severity of PAH (measured by pulmonary artery pressure) (r = 0.56, P < 0.05) and between ER stress markers and interleukin-6 levels (r = 0.53, P < 0.0001) in PBMCs from lcSSc patients.This study demonstrates an association between select ER stress/UPR markers and lcSSc with PAH, suggesting that ER stress and the UPR may contribute to the altered function of circulating immune cells in lcSSc.
Project description:The goal of this study was to assess whether the presence of HLA-B*35 contributes to activation of ER stress/UPR and inflammation in lcSScPAH PBMC. HLA-B*35 is associated with increased risk of developing PAH in lcSSc patietns. Also we previously reported that HLA-B*35 induces ECs dysfunction via activation of ER stress/UPR and upregulation of the inflammatory response. Our study demonstrates that HLA-B*35 contributes to the dysregulated expression of selected ER stress, inflammation and proliferation related genes in lcSSc patient PBMCs, as well as healthy individuals, thus supporting a pathogenic role of HLA-B*35 as a risk factor for developing PAH in SSc patients. Overall design: In this study, PBMCs from 3 healthy controls were investigated.
Project description:To explore the relationship between biomarkers of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), interferon (IFN)-regulated gene expression, and the alternative activation pathway in systemic sclerosis (SSc).Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were purified from healthy controls, patients with idiopathic PAH, and SSc patients (classified as having diffuse cutaneous SSc, limited cutaneous SSc [lcSSc] without PAH, and lcSSc with PAH). IFN-regulated and "PAH biomarker" genes were compared after supervised hierarchical clustering. Messenger RNA levels of selected IFN-regulated genes (Siglec1 and MX1), biomarker genes (IL13RA1, CCR1, and JAK2), and the alternative activation marker gene (MRC1) were analyzed on PBMCs and on CD14- and CD14+ cell populations. Interleukin-13 (IL-13) and IL-4 concentrations were measured in plasma by immunoassay. CD14, MRC1, and IL13RA1 surface expression was analyzed by flow cytometry.Increased PBMC expression of both IFN-regulated and biomarker genes distinguished SSc patients from healthy controls. Expression of genes in the biomarker cluster, but not in the IFN-regulated cluster, distinguished lcSSc with PAH from lcSSc without PAH. The genes CCR1 (P<0.001) and JAK2 (P<0.001) were expressed more highly in lcSSc patients with PAH compared with controls and mainly by CD14+ cells. MRC1 expression was increased exclusively in lcSSc patients with PAH (P<0.001) and correlated strongly with pulmonary artery pressure (r=0.52, P=0.03) and higher mortality (P=0.02). MRC1 expression was higher in CD14+ cells and was greatly increased by stimulation with IL-13. IL-13 concentrations in plasma were most highly increased in lcSSc patients with PAH (P<0.001).IFN-regulated and biomarker genes represent distinct, although related, clusters in lcSSc patients with PAH. MRC1, a marker for the effect of IL-13 on alternative monocyte/macrophage activation, is associated with this severe complication and is related to mortality.
Project description:The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an adaptive signaling pathway utilized to sense and alleviate the stress of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In mammals, the UPR is mediated through three proximal sensors PERK/PEK, IRE1, and ATF6. PERK/PEK is a protein kinase that phosphorylates the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 to inhibit protein synthesis. Activation of IRE1 induces splicing of XBP1 mRNA to produce a potent transcription factor. ATF6 is a transmembrane transcription factor that is activated by cleavage upon ER stress. We show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, deletion of either ire-1 or xbp-1 is synthetically lethal with deletion of either atf-6 or pek-1, both producing a developmental arrest at larval stage 2. Therefore, in C. elegans, atf-6 acts synergistically with pek-1 to complement the developmental requirement for ire-1 and xbp-1. Microarray analysis identified inducible UPR (i-UPR) genes, as well as numerous constitutive UPR (c-UPR) genes that require the ER stress transducers during normal development. Although ire-1 and xbp-1 together regulate transcription of most i-UPR genes, they are each required for expression of nonoverlapping sets of c-UPR genes, suggesting that they have distinct functions. Intriguingly, C. elegans atf-6 regulates few i-UPR genes following ER stress, but is required for the expression of many c-UPR genes, indicating its importance during development and homeostasis. In contrast, pek-1 is required for induction of approximately 23% of i-UPR genes but is dispensable for the c-UPR. As pek-1 and atf-6 mainly act through sets of nonoverlapping targets that are different from ire-1 and xbp-1 targets, at least two coordinated responses are required to alleviate ER stress by distinct mechanisms. Finally, our array study identified the liver-specific transcription factor CREBh as a novel UPR gene conserved during metazoan evolution.
Project description:Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress from accumulated misfolded proteins in the ER can activate the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR acts either to restore proteostasis or to activate cell death pathways if the stress cannot be resolved. The key downstream effectors in these pathways have been studied extensively. However, in comparison, stressor-specific key mediators are not as well characterized. In this study, we sought to identify and compare the genes that are necessary for cell death induced by three classic pharmacological ER stressors with different mechanisms of action: thapsigargin, tunicamycin, and brefeldin A. We conducted genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-based loss-of-function screens against these agents in HAP1 cells, which are a near-haploid cell line. Our screens confirmed that MFSD2A and ARF4, which were identified in previous screens, are necessary for tunicamycin- and brefeldin A-induced cytotoxicity, respectively. We identified a novel gene, SEC24A, as an essential gene for thapsigargin-induced cytotoxicity in HAP1 cells. Further experiments showed that the ability of SEC24A to facilitate ER stress-induced cell death is specific to thapsigargin and that SEC24A acts upstream of the UPR. These findings show that the genes required for ER stress-induced cell death are specific to the agent used to induce ER stress and that the resident ER cargo receptor protein SEC24A is an essential mediator of thapsigargin-induced UPR and cell death.
Project description:Reovirus type 3 Dearing (reovirus) is a tumor-selective oncolytic virus currently under evaluation in clinical trials. Here, we report that the therapeutic efficacy of reovirus in head and neck squamous cell cancer can be enhanced by targeting the unfolded protein response (UPR) kinase, protein kinase R (PKR)-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK). PERK inhibition by GSK2606414 increased reovirus efficacy in both 2D and 3D models in vitro, while perturbing the normal host cell response to reovirus-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. UPR reporter constructs were used for live-cell 3D spheroid imaging. Profiling of eIF2a-ATF4, IRE1a-XBP1, and ATF6 pathway activity revealed a context-dependent increase in eIF2a-ATF4 signaling due to GSK2606414. GSK2606414 blocked eIF2a-ATF4 signaling because of the canonical ER stress agent thapsigargin. In the context of reovirus infection, GSK2606414 induced eIF2a-ATF4 signaling. Knockdown of eIF2a kinases PERK, GCN2, and PKR revealed eIF2a-ATF4 reporter activity was dependent on either PERK or GCN2. Knockdown of ATF4 abrogated the GSK2606414-induced increase in reovirus protein levels, confirming eIF2a-ATF signaling as key to the observed phenotype. Our work identifies a novel approach to enhance the efficacy and replication of reovirus in a therapeutic setting.
Project description:The unfolded protein response (UPR) regulates the protein-folding capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) according to cellular demand. In mammalian cells, three ER transmembrane components, IRE1, PERK, and ATF6, initiate distinct UPR signaling branches. We show that these UPR components display distinct sensitivities toward different forms of ER stress. ER stress induced by ER Ca2+ release in particular revealed fundamental differences in the properties of UPR signaling branches. Compared with the rapid response of both IRE1 and PERK to ER stress induced by thapsigargin, an ER Ca2+ ATPase inhibitor, the response of ATF6 was markedly delayed. These studies are the first side-by-side comparisons of UPR signaling branch activation and reveal intrinsic features of UPR stress sensor activation in response to alternate forms of ER stress. As such, they provide initial groundwork toward understanding how ER stress sensors can confer different responses and how optimal UPR responses are achieved in physiological settings.
Project description:The Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) maintains homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and defends against ER stress, an underlying factor in various human diseases. During the UPR, numerous genes are activated that sustain and protect the ER. These responses are known to involve the canonical UPR transcription factors XBP1, ATF4, and ATF6. Here, we show in C. elegans that the conserved stress defense factor SKN-1/Nrf plays a central and essential role in the transcriptional UPR. While SKN-1/Nrf has a well-established function in protection against oxidative and xenobiotic stress, we find that it also mobilizes an overlapping but distinct response to ER stress. SKN-1/Nrf is regulated by the UPR, directly controls UPR signaling and transcription factor genes, binds to common downstream targets with XBP-1 and ATF-6, and is present at the ER. SKN-1/Nrf is also essential for resistance to ER stress, including reductive stress. Remarkably, SKN-1/Nrf-mediated responses to oxidative stress depend upon signaling from the ER. We conclude that SKN-1/Nrf plays a critical role in the UPR, but orchestrates a distinct oxidative stress response that is licensed by ER signaling. Regulatory integration through SKN-1/Nrf may coordinate ER and cytoplasmic homeostasis.
Project description:Adipose tissue inflammation has been linked to age-related metabolic diseases. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in diet associated obesity has been correlated with aberrant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. This study was undertaken to test our hypothesis that increased ER stress response contributes to age-associated adipose tissue inflammation. We found elevated ER stress response in adipose tissue of old (18-20 months) compared to young (4-6 months) mice. Elevated ER stress markers BIP (GRP78), CHOP, cleaved-ATF-6, phospho-IRE1?, and XBP-1 were observed in old compared to young adipose tissue stromal cells. Additionally, old adipose tissue stromal cells were more sensitive to an ER stress inducer, thapsigargin. Similar experiments with adipose tissue macrophages showed elevated Chop and Bip expression in old adipose tissue macrophages when induced with thapsigargin. Treatment of chemical chaperone 4-phenyle-butyric acid alleviated ER stress in adipose tissue stromal cells and adipose tissue macrophages and attenuated the production of IL-6 and MCP-1 by adipose tissue stromal cells, and TNF-? by adipose tissue macrophages from both young and old mice. Finally, old mice fed with 4-phenyle-butyric acid have reduced expression of ER stress and inflammatory cytokine genes. Our data suggests that an exaggerated ER stress response in aging adipose tissue contributes to age-associated inflammation that can be mitigated by treatment with chemical chaperones.
Project description:4-Phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) is a chemical chaperone that eliminates the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, its chaperoning ability is often weak and unable to attenuate the unfolded protein response (UPR) in vitro or in vivo. To develop more potent chemical chaperones, we synthesized six analogues of 4-PBA and evaluated their pharmacological actions on the UPR.NRK-52E cells were treated with ER stress inducers (tunicamycin or thapsigargin) in the presence of each of the 4-PBA analogues; the suppressive effects of these analogues on the UPR were assessed using selective indicators for individual UPR pathways.2-POAA-OMe, 2-POAA-NO2 and 2-NOAA, but not others, suppressed the induction of ER stress markers GRP78 and CHOP. This suppressive effect was more potent than that of 4-PBA. Of the three major UPR branches, the IRE1 and ATF6 pathways were markedly blocked by these compounds, as indicated by suppression of XBP1 splicing, inhibition of UPRE and ERSE activation, and inhibition of JNK phosphorylation. Unexpectedly, however, these agents did not inhibit phosphorylation of PERK and eIF2? triggered by ER stress. These compounds dose-dependently inhibited the early activation of NF-?B in ER stress-exposed cells. 2-POAA-OMe and 2-POAA-NO2 also inhibited ER stress-induced phosphorylation of Akt.The 4-PBA analogues 2-POAA-OMe, 2-POAA-NO2 and 2-NOAA strongly inhibited activation of the IRE1 and ATF6 pathways and downstream pathogenic targets, including NF-?B and Akt, in ER stress-exposed cells. These compounds may be useful for therapeutic intervention in ER stress-related pathological conditions.
Project description:The accumulation of misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) results in activation of signaling pathways collectively known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR promotes adaptation of cells to ER stress by transient inhibition of protein translation and transcriptional up-regulation of genes encoding chaperones, oxidoreductases, and ER-associated degradation components. However, it may also trigger apoptosis in response to persistent ER stress. Recently, a novel selenocysteine-containing oxidoreductase, Sep15, has been reported to reside in the ER lumen. It has been proposed that this oxidoreductase may assist oxidative folding and structural maturation of N-glycosylated proteins targeted by UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase, a chaperone implicated in quality control in the ER that forms a 1:1 complex with Sep15. To address the role of Sep15 in protein folding, we analyzed changes in Sep15 expression in murine fibroblast NIH3T3 cells in response to tunicamycin, brefeldin A (brefA), thapsigargin, and DTT that lead to accumulation of unfolded proteins within the ER. We show that expression of this protein is transcriptionally up-regulated in response to adaptive UPR caused by tunicamycin and brefA, whereas acute ER stress caused by DTT and thapsigargin leads to rapid and specific degradation of Sep15 by proteasomes. However, Sep15 deficiency did not result in detectable ER stress, consistent with the idea that Sep15 assists in the maturation of a restricted group of N-glycosylated proteins and/or that its function may be compensated by other mechanisms.