Neuregulin-ERBB signaling in the nervous system and neuropsychiatric diseases.
ABSTRACT: Neuregulins (NRGs) comprise a large family of growth factors that stimulate ERBB receptor tyrosine kinases. NRGs and their receptors, ERBBs, have been identified as susceptibility genes for diseases such as schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder. Recent studies have revealed complex Nrg/Erbb signaling networks that regulate the assembly of neural circuitry, myelination, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity. Evidence indicates there is an optimal level of NRG/ERBB signaling in the brain and deviation from it impairs brain functions. NRGs/ERBBs and downstream signaling pathways may provide therapeutic targets for specific neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Project description:The recently isolated second family of neuregulins, NRG2, shares its primary receptors, ErbB-3 and ErbB-4, and induction of mammary cell differentiation with NRG1 isoforms, suggesting functional redundancy of the two growth factor families. To address this possibility, we analyzed receptor specificity of NRGs by using an engineered cellular system. The activity of isoform-specific but partly overlapping patterns of specificities that collectively activate all eight ligand-stimulatable ErbB dimers was revealed. Specifically, NRG2-alpha [corrected], like NRG1-beta [corrected], emerges as a narrow-specificity ligand, whereas NRG2-beta [corrected] is a pan-ErbB ligand that binds with different affinities to all receptor combinations, including those containing ErbB-1, but excluding homodimers of ErbB-2. The latter protein, however, displayed cooperativity with the direct NRG receptors. Apparently, signaling by all NRGs is funneled through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). However, the duration and potency of MAPK activation depend on the identity of the stimulatory ligand-receptor ternary complex. We conclude that the NRG-ErbB network represents a complex and nonredundant machinery developed for fine-tuning of signal transduction.
Project description:Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are mobilized into the vascular space and home to damaged tissues, where they promote repair in part through a process of angiogenesis. Neuregulins (NRGs) are ligands in the epidermal growth factor family that signal through type I receptor tyrosine kinases in the erbB family (erbB2, erbB3, and erbB4) and regulate endothelial cell biology, promoting angiogenesis. Stimuli such as ischemia and exercise that promote EPC mobilization also induce cleavage and release of transmembrane NRG from cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs). We hypothesized that NRG/erbB signaling may regulate EPC biology. Using an embryonic (e)EPC cell line that homes to and repairs injured myocardium, we were able to detect erbB2 and erbB3 transcripts. Identical receptor expression was found in EPCs isolated from rat bone marrow and human whole blood. NRG treatment of eEPCs induces phosphorylation of kinases including Akt, GSK-3?, and Erk1/2 and the nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activation of ?-catenin. NRG does not induce eEPC proliferation or migration but does protect eEPCs against serum deprivation-induced apoptosis. These results suggest a role for tissue-derived NRG in the regulation of EPC survival.
Project description:Metastatic dissemination of tumor cells is responsible for the fatal outcome of breast cancer. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms involved in dissemination is essential for the development of new therapeutic strategies to prevent metastasis. One mechanism involved in metastatic dissemination of breast cancer cells is dependent on control of the production of matrix metalloproteinases by the neuregulins (NRGs). The NRGs are polypeptide factors that act by binding to the ErbB/HER subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases. NRG-mediated activation of HER receptors causes an increase in the production of metalloprotease 13 (MMP13, also termed collagenase-3), which facilitates metastatic dissemination of breast tumors. In this context, we aimed to explore whether the clinically approved tyrosine kinase inhibitor dasatinib was able to neutralize this mechanism of metastatic dissemination. Here, we show that dasatinib restricted NRG-induced MMP13 upregulation, both in vitro and in vivo, and in vivo metastatic dissemination of breast cancer cells. Chemical proteomics studies showed that the main cellular targets of dasatinib were SRC family kinases (SFKs). Moreover, genetic studies showed that knockdown of SRC or YES strongly inhibited NRG-induced MMP13 upregulation in vitro. Mechanistically, dasatinib treatment or knockdown of SRC also inhibited ERK1/2 kinases in vitro, which were required for NRG-induced MMP13 upregulation. These results open the possibility of clinically exploring the antitumoral action of dasatinib in those tumors in which the NRG-MMP13 signaling axis may play a relevant role in the control of tumor cell dissemination.
Project description:Neuregulins (NRGs) are protein ligands that act through ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases to regulate tissue morphogenesis, plasticity, and adaptive responses to physiologic needs in multiple tissues, including the heart and circulatory system. The role of NRG/ErbB signaling in cardiovascular biology, and how it responds to physiologic and pathologic stresses is a rapidly evolving field. While initial concepts focused on the role that NRG may play in regulating cardiac myocyte responses, including cell survival, growth, adaptation to stress, and proliferation, emerging data support a broader role for NRGs in the regulation of metabolism, inflammation, and fibrosis in response to injury. The constellation of effects modulated by NRGs may account for the findings that two distinct forms of recombinant NRG-1 have beneficial effects on cardiac function in humans with systolic heart failure. NRG-4 has recently emerged as an adipokine with similar potential to regulate cardiovascular responses to inflammation and injury. Beyond systolic heart failure, NRGs appear to have beneficial effects in diastolic heart failure, prevention of atherosclerosis, preventing adverse effects on diabetes on the heart and vasculature, including atherosclerosis, as well as the cardiac dysfunction associated with sepsis. Collectively, this literature supports the further examination of how this developmentally critical signaling system functions and how it might be leveraged to treat cardiovascular disease.
Project description:The neuregulins (NRGs) represent a large family of membrane-anchored growth factors, whose deregulation may contribute to the pathogenesis of several tumors. In fact, targeting of NRG-activated pathways has demonstrated clinical benefit. To improve the efficacy of anti-NRG therapies, it is essential to gain insights into the regions of NRGs that favor their pro-oncogenic properties. Here, we have addressed the protumorigenic impact of different NRG domains. To do this, deletion mutants affecting different NRG domains were expressed in 293 and MCF7 cells. Of the five forms studied, only the wild-type and a mutant lacking the Ig-like domain (NRG?Ig ) were properly sorted to the plasma membrane. Both forms were released as soluble forms to the culture media. However, the mutant NRG?Ig failed to efficiently activate HER2 and HER3 receptors, signaling pathways, and cell proliferation when compared to wild-type NRG. Treatment with trastuzumab, a humanized antibody used in the breast cancer clinic, inhibited the constitutive activation of HER2, HER3, and downstream signaling in MCF7 cells constitutively expressing wild-type NRG. In contrast, this treatment had a marginal effect on MCF7-NRG?Ig cells. This study demonstrates that the Ig-like region of NRGs exerts an important role in their capability to activate ErbB/HER receptors and mitogenic responses. Strategies aimed at targeting NRGs should consider that fact to improve neutralization of the pro-oncogenic properties of NRGs.
Project description:Understanding the control of myelin formation by oligodendrocytes is essential for treating demyelinating diseases. Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) type III, an EGF-like growth factor, is essential for myelination in the PNS. It is thus thought that NRG1/ErbB signaling also regulates CNS myelination, a view suggested by in vitro studies and the overexpression of dominant-negative ErbB receptors. To directly test this hypothesis, we generated a series of conditional null mutants that completely lack NRG1 beginning at different stages of neural development. Unexpectedly, these mice assemble normal amounts of myelin. In addition, double mutants lacking oligodendroglial ErbB3 and ErbB4 become myelinated in the absence of any stimulation by neuregulins. In contrast, a significant hypermyelination is achieved by transgenic overexpression of NRG1 type I or NRG1 type III. Thus, NRG1/ErbB signaling is markedly different between Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes that have evolved an NRG/ErbB-independent mechanism of myelination control.
Project description:The Neuregulin (NRG) family of ErbB ligands is comprised of numerous variants originating from the use of different genes, alternative promoters, and splice variants. NRGs have generally been thought to be transported to axons and presynaptic terminals where they signal via ErbB3/4 receptors in paracrine or juxtacrine mode. However, we recently demonstrated that unprocessed pro-NRG2 accumulates on cell bodies and proximal dendrites, and that NMDAR activity is required for shedding of its ectodomain by metalloproteinases. Here we systematically investigated the subcellular distribution and processing of major NRG isoforms in rat hippocampal neurons. We show that NRG1 isotypes I and II, which like NRG2 are single-pass transmembrane proteins with an Ig-like domain, share the same subcellular distribution and ectodomain shedding properties. We furthermore show that NRG3, like CRD-NRG1, is a dual-pass transmembrane protein that harbors a second transmembrane domain near its amino terminus. Both NRG3 and CRD-NRG1 cluster on axons through juxtacrine interactions with ErbB4 present on GABAergic interneurons. Interestingly, although single-pass NRGs accumulate as unprocessed proforms, axonal puncta of CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 are comprised of processed protein. Mutations of CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 that render them resistant to BACE cleavage, as well as BACE inhibition, result in the loss of axonal puncta and in the accumulation of unprocessed proforms in neuronal soma. Together, these results define two groups of NRGs with distinct membrane topologies and fundamentally different targeting and processing properties in central neurons. The implications of this functional diversity for the regulation of neuronal processes by the NRG/ErbB pathway are discussed.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Numerous Neuregulins (NRGs) are generated through the use of different genes, promoters, and alternative splicing, but the functional significance of this evolutionary conserved diversity remains poorly understood. Here we show that NRGs can be categorized by their membrane topologies. Single-pass NRGs, such as NRG1 Types I/II and NRG2, accumulate as unprocessed proforms on cell bodies, and their ectodomains are shed by metalloproteinases in response to NMDA receptor activation. By contrast, dual-pass CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 are constitutively processed by BACE and accumulate on axons where they interact with ErbB4 in juxtacrine mode. These findings reveal a previously unknown functional relationship between membrane topology, protein processing, and subcellular distribution, and suggest that single- and dual-pass NRGs regulate neuronal functions in fundamentally different ways.
Project description:Activation of erbB-1 receptors by glial TGFalpha has been shown to be a component of the developmental program by which the neuroendocrine brain controls mammalian sexual development. The participation of other members of the erbB family may be required, however, for full signaling capacity. Here, we show that activation of astrocytic erbB-2/erbB-4 receptors plays a significant role in the process by which the hypothalamus controls the advent of mammalian sexual maturation. Hypothalamic astrocytes express both the erbB-2 and erbB-4 genes, but no erbB-3, and respond to neuregulins (NRGs) by releasing prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), which acts on neurosecretory neurons to stimulate secretion of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), the neuropeptide controlling sexual development. The actions of TGFalpha and NRGs in glia are synergistic and involve recruitment of erbB-2 as a coreceptor, via erbB-1 and erbB-4, respectively. Hypothalamic expression of both erbB-2 and erbB-4 increases first in a gonad-independent manner before the onset of puberty, and then, at the time of puberty, in a sex steroid-dependent manner. Disruption of erbB-2 synthesis in hypothalamic astrocytes by treatment with an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide inhibited the astrocytic response to NRGs and, to a lesser extent, that to TGFalpha and blocked the erbB-dependent, glia-mediated, stimulation of LHRH release. Intracerebral administration of the oligodeoxynucleotide to developing animals delayed the initiation of puberty. Thus, activation of the erbB-2-erbB-4 receptor complex appears to be a critical component of the signaling process by which astrocytes facilitate the acquisition of female reproductive capacity in mammals.
Project description:The neuregulins (NRGs) are a family of four structurally related growth factors that are expressed in the developing and adult brain. NRG-1 is essential for normal heart formation and has been implicated in the development and maintenance of both neurons and glia. NRG-2 was identified on the basis of its homology to NRG-1 and, like NRG-1, is expressed predominantly by neurons in the central nervous system. We have generated mice with the active domain of NRG-2 deleted in an effort to characterize the biological function of NRG-2 in vivo. In contrast to the NRG-1 knockout animals, NRG-2 knockouts have no apparent heart defects and survive embryogenesis. Mutant mice display early growth retardation and reduced reproductive capacity. No obvious histological differences were observed in the major sites of NRG-2 expression. Our results indicate that in vivo NRG-2 activity differs substantially from that of NRG-1 and that it is not essential for normal development in utero.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) exhibit either a "working" chamber or a nodal-like phenotype. To generate optimal hESC-CM preparations for eventual clinical application in cell-based therapies, we will need to control their differentiation into these specialized cardiac subtypes.To demonstrate intact neuregulin (NRG)-1?/ErbB signaling in hESC-CMs and test the hypothesis that this signaling pathway regulates cardiac subtype abundance in hESC-CM cultures.All experiments used hESC-CM cultures generated using our recently reported directed differentiation protocol. To support subsequent action potential phenotyping approaches and provide a higher-throughput method of determining cardiac subtype, we first developed and validated a novel genetic label that identifies nodal-type hESC-CMs. Next, control hESC-CM preparations were compared to those differentiated in the presence of exogenous NRG-1?, an anti-NRG-1? neutralizing antibody, or the ErbB antagonist AG1478. We used 3 independent approaches to determine the ratio of cardiac subtypes in the resultant populations: direct action potential phenotyping under current-clamp, activation of the aforementioned genetic label, and subtype-specific marker expression by RT-PCR. Using all 3 end points, we found that inhibition of NRG-1?/ErbB signaling greatly enhanced the proportion of cells showing the nodal phenotype.NRG-1?/ErbB signaling regulates the ratio of nodal- to working-type cells in differentiating hESC-CM cultures and presumably functions similarly during early human heart development. We speculate that, by manipulating NRG-1?/ErbB signaling, it will be possible to generate preparations of enriched working-type myocytes for infarct repair, or, conversely, nodal cells for potential use in a biological pacemaker.