ABSTRACT: Gastroschisis (GS) is a congenital abdominal wall defect that results in the development of GS-related intestinal dysfunction (GRID). Transforming growth factor-?, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, has been shown to cause organ dysfunction through alterations in vascular and airway smooth muscle. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of TGF-?3 on intestinal smooth muscle function and contractile gene expression.Archived human intestinal tissue was analyzed using immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR for TGF-? isoforms and markers of smooth muscle gene and micro-RNA contractile phenotype. Intestinal motility was measured in neonatal rats ± TGF-?3 (0.2 and 1 mg/kg). Human intestinal smooth muscle cells (hiSMCs) were incubated with fetal bovine serum ± 100 ng/ml of TGF-? 3 isoforms for 6, 24 and 72 h. The effects of TGF-?3 on motility, hiSMC contractility and hiSMC contractile phenotype gene and micro-RNA expression were measured using transit, collagen gel contraction assay and RT-PCR analysis. Data are expressed as mean ± SEM, ANOVA (n = 6-7/group).GS infants had increased immunostaining of TGF-?3 and elevated levels of micro-RNA 143 & 145 in the intestinal smooth muscle. Rats had significantly decreased intestinal transit when exposed to TGF-?3 in a dose-dependent manner compared with Sham animals. TGF-?3 significantly increased hiSMC gel contraction and contractile protein gene and micro-RNA expression.TGF-?3 contributed to intestinal dysfunction at the organ level, increased contraction at the cellular level and elevated contractile gene expression at the molecular level. A hyper-contractile response may play a role in the persistent intestinal dysfunction seen in GRID.
Project description:The regulatory subunit of myosin light chain phosphatase, MYPT1, has been proposed to control smooth muscle contractility by regulating phosphorylation of the Ca(2+)-dependent myosin regulatory light chain. We generated mice with a smooth muscle-specific deletion of MYPT1 to investigate its physiologic role in intestinal smooth muscle contraction.We used the Cre-loxP system to establish Mypt1-floxed mice, with the promoter region and exon 1 of Mypt1 flanked by 2 loxP sites. These mice were crossed with SMA-Cre transgenic mice to generate mice with smooth muscle-specific deletion of MYPT1 (Mypt1(SMKO) mice). The phenotype was assessed by histologic, biochemical, molecular, and physiologic analyses.Young adult Mypt1(SMKO) mice had normal intestinal motility in vivo, with no histologic abnormalities. On stimulation with KCl or acetylcholine, intestinal smooth muscles isolated from Mypt1(SMKO) mice produced robust and increased sustained force due to increased phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain compared with muscle from control mice. Additional analyses of contractile properties showed reduced rates of force development and relaxation, and decreased shortening velocity, compared with muscle from control mice. Permeable smooth muscle fibers from Mypt1(SMKO) mice had increased sensitivity and contraction in response to Ca(2+).MYPT1 is not essential for smooth muscle function in mice but regulates the Ca(2+) sensitivity of force development and contributes to intestinal phasic contractile phenotype. Altered contractile responses in isolated tissues could be compensated by adaptive physiologic responses in vivo, where gut motility is affected by lower intensities of smooth muscle stimulation for myosin phosphorylation and force development.
Project description:Supraphysiological mechanical stretching in smooth muscle results in decreased contractile activity. However, the mechanism is unclear. Previous studies indicated that intestinal motility dysfunction after edema development is associated with increased smooth muscle stress and decreased myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation in vivo, providing an ideal model for studying mechanical stress-mediated decrease in smooth muscle contraction. Primary human intestinal smooth muscle cells (hISMCs) were subjected to either control cyclical stretch (CCS) or edema (increasing) cyclical stretch (ECS), mimicking the biophysical forces in non-edematous and edematous intestinal smooth muscle in vivo. ECS induced significant decreases in phosphorylation of MLC and MLC phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT1) and a significant increase in p21-activated kinase (PAK) activity compared with CCS. PAK regulated MLC phosphorylation in an activity-dependent biphasic manner. PAK activation increased MLC and MYPT1 phosphorylation in CCS but decreased MLC and MYPT1 phosphorylation in hISMCs subjected to ECS. PAK inhibition had the opposite results. siRNA studies showed that PAK1 plays a critical role in regulating MLC phosphorylation in hISMCs. PAK1 enhanced MLC phosphorylation via phosphorylating MYPT1 on Thr-696, whereas PAK1 inhibited MLC phosphorylation via decreasing MYPT1 on both Thr-696 and Thr-853. Importantly, in vivo data indicated that PAK activity increased in edematous tissue, and inhibition of PAK in edematous intestine improved intestinal motility. We conclude that PAK1 positively regulates MLC phosphorylation in intestinal smooth muscle through increasing inhibitory phosphorylation of MYPT1 under physiologic conditions, whereas PAK1 negatively regulates MLC phosphorylation via inhibiting MYPT1 phosphorylation when PAK activity is increased under pathologic conditions.
Project description:Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic antigen-mediated disease characterized by esophageal eosinophilia, remodeling, and fibrosis. TGF-?1 is a central regulator of EoE remodeling and increases esophageal smooth muscle (ESM) cell contraction.In this study we aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms by which TGF-?1 could induce ESM cell contraction.We used primary human ESM cells and esophageal myofibroblasts (EMFs) to assess the mechanisms of TGF-?1-induced contraction. We analyzed the expression, phosphorylation, and function of phospholamban (PLN), a sarcoendoplasmic reticulum regulatory protein induced by TGF-?1. Expression of PLN, phospho-PLN, and its regulatory pathway was analyzed in the ESM of biopsy specimens from patients with EoE and control subjects. Gene silencing in EMFs from patients with EoE was used to understand the role of PLN in contraction.TGF-?1 induced and phosphorylated PLN in primary human ESM cells and EMFs from patients with EoE. PLN and phospho-PLN levels were increased in smooth muscle from patients with EoE compared with that seen in smooth muscle from control subjects in vivo. PLN inhibition significantly diminished TGF-?1-induced EMF contraction in patients with EoE. PLN expression and ESM/EMF contraction depended on TGF-? receptor I signals.We describe a previously unrecognized mechanism for ESM cell contraction that depends on TGF-?1, its receptors, and PLN. Because PLN levels are increased in smooth muscle from patients with EoE and PLN silencing diminishes contraction, we provide a novel potential mechanistic framework and therapeutic target for ESM dysfunction in patients with EoE.
Project description:The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in fibrogenic diseases where transdifferentiated myofibroblasts produce excessive amounts of extracellular matrix, resulting in organ dysfunction. Idiopathic epiretinal membrane (iERM) is a vision-threatening disorder characterized by fibrocellular proliferation and contraction on the central retina. Müller glial cells, which regulate retinal physiology and structure, are the major cellular components in the iERM tissue; however, the pathological role of this cell type remains incompletely understood. Here we revealed the involvement of Müller glial-mesenchymal transition (GMT), as an alternative to EMT, in the pathogenesis of iERM lacking epithelial contribution in nature. Of various pro-fibrotic cytokines, transforming growth factor (TGF)-?1 stimulation to human Müller glial cells exclusively increased mRNA and protein levels of several EMT-related molecular markers, together with the transcription factor SNAIL but not SLUG or TWIST. TGF-?1-stimulated Müller cells also exhibited EMT-related cell motility, while reducing the expression of glutamine synthetase (GS), a Müller glial marker. Notably, all of these TGF-?-induced EMT features were reversed by SNAI1 knockdown in Müller cells. iERM patient specimens demonstrated co-immunolocalization of SNAIL with TGF-?1, GS, and smooth muscle protein 22. Our data implicated a critical role of the TGF-?-SNAIL axis in Müller GMT to promote iERM formation.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:The ? subunit of the heterotrimeric G stimulatory protein (Gsa), encoded by the guanine nucleotide binding protein, ?-stimulating gene (Gnas, in mice), is expressed ubiquitously and mediates receptor-stimulated production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and activation of the protein kinase A signaling pathway. We investigated the roles of Gsa in vivo in smooth muscle cells of mice. METHODS:We performed studies of mice with Cre recombinase-mediated disruption of Gnas in smooth muscle cells (GsaSMKO and SM22-CreERT2, induced in adult mice by tamoxifen). Intestinal tissues were collected for histologic, biochemical, molecular, cell biology, and physiology analyses. Intestinal function was assessed in mice using the whole-gut transit time test. We compared gene expression patterns of intestinal smooth muscle from mice with vs without disruption of Gnas. Biopsy specimens from ileum of patients with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction and age-matched control biopsies were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS:Disruption of Gnas in smooth muscle of mice reduced intestinal motility and led to death within 4 weeks. Tamoxifen-induced disruption of Gnas in adult mice impaired contraction of intestinal smooth muscle and peristalsis. More than 80% of these died within 3 months of tamoxifen exposure, with features of intestinal pseudo-obstruction characterized by chronic intestinal dilation and dysmotility. Gsa deficiency reduced intestinal levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and transcriptional activity of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding protein 1 (CREB1); this resulted in decreased expression of the forkhead box F1 gene (Foxf1) and protein, and contractile proteins, such as myosin heavy chain 11; actin, ?2, smooth muscle, aorta; calponin 1; and myosin light chain kinase. We found decreased levels of Gsa, FOXF1, CREB1, and phosphorylated CREB1 proteins in intestinal muscle layers of patients with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, compared with tissues from controls. CONCLUSIONS:Gsa is required for intestinal smooth muscle contraction in mice, and its levels are reduced in ileum biopsies of patients with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Mice with disruption of Gnas might be used to study human chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
Project description:KEY POINTS:Transforming growth-factor-? (TGF-?) and RhoA/Rho-kinase are independently implicated in the airway hyper-responsiveness associated with asthma, but how these proteins interact is not fully understood. We examined the effects of pre-treatment with TGF-? on expression and activity of RhoA, Rho-kinase and ARHGEF1, an activator of RhoA, as well as on bradykinin-induced contraction, in airway smooth muscle. TGF-? enhanced bradykinin-induced RhoA translocation, Rho-kinase-dependent phosphorylation and contraction, but partially suppressed bradykinin-induced RhoA activity (RhoA-GTP content). TGF-? enhanced the expression of ARHGEF1, while a small interfering RNA against ARHGEF1 and a RhoGEF inhibitor prevented the effects of TGF-? on RhoA and Rho-kinase activity and contraction, respectively. ARHGEF1 expression was also enhanced in airway smooth muscle from asthmatic patients and ovalbumin-sensitized mice. ARHGEF1 is a key TGF-? target gene, an important regulator of Rho-kinase activity and therefore a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of asthmatic airway hyper-responsiveness. ABSTRACT:Transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?), RhoA/Rho-kinase and Src-family kinases (SrcFK) have independently been implicated in airway hyper-responsiveness, but how they interact to regulate airway smooth muscle contractility is not fully understood. We found that TGF-? pre-treatment enhanced acute contractile responses to bradykinin (BK) in isolated rat bronchioles, and inhibitors of RhoGEFs (Y16) and Rho-kinase (Y27632), but not the SrcFK inhibitor PP2, prevented this enhancement. In cultured human airway smooth muscle cells (hASMCs), TGF-? pre-treatment enhanced the protein expression of the Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor ARHGEF1, MLC20 , MYPT-1 and the actin-severing protein cofilin, but not of RhoA, ROCK2 or c-Src. In hASMCs, acute treatment with BK triggered subcellular translocation of ARHGEF1 and RhoA and enhanced auto-phosphorylation of SrcFK and phosphorylation of MYPT1 and MLC20 , but induced de-phosphorylation of cofilin. TGF-? pre-treatment amplified the effects of BK on RhoA translocation and MYPT1/MLC20 phosphorylation, but suppressed the effects of BK on RhoA-GTP content, SrcFK auto-phosphorylation and cofilin de-phosphorylation. In hASMCs, an ARHGEF1 small interfering RNA suppressed the effects of BK and TGF-? on RhoA-GTP content, RhoA translocation and MYPT1 and MLC20 phosphorylation, but minimally influenced the effects of TGF-? on cofilin expression and phosphorylation. ARHGEF1 expression was also enhanced in ASMCs of asthmatic patients and in lungs of ovalbumin-sensitized mice. Our data indicate that TGF-? enhances BK-induced contraction, RhoA translocation and Rho-kinase activity in airway smooth muscle largely via ARHGEF1, but independently of SrcFK and total RhoA-GTP content. A role for smooth muscle ARHGEF1 in asthmatic airway hyper-responsiveness is worthy of further investigation.
Project description:Smooth muscle is a major component of most hollow organ systems (e.g., airways, vasculature, bladder and gut/gastrointestine); therefore, the coordinated regulation of contraction is a key property of smooth muscle. When smooth muscle functions normally, it contributes to general health and wellness, but its dysfunction is associated with morbidity and mortality. Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) is central to calcium-independent, actomyosin-mediated contractile force generation in the vasculature, thereby playing a role in smooth muscle contraction, cell motility and adhesion. Recent evidence supports an important role for ROCK in the increased vasoconstriction and remodeling observed in various models of hypertension. This review will provide a commentary on the development of specific ROCK inhibitors and their clinical application. Fasudil will be discussed as an example of bench-to-bedside development of a clinical therapeutic that is used to treat conditions of vascular hypercontractility. Due to the wide spectrum of biological processes regulated by ROCK, many additional clinical indications might also benefit from ROCK inhibition. Apart from the importance of ROCK in smooth muscle contraction, a variety of other protein kinases are known to play similar roles in regulating contractile force. The zipper-interacting protein kinase (ZIPK) and integrin-linked kinase (ILK) are two well-described regulators of contraction. The relative contribution of each kinase to contraction depends on the muscle bed as well as hormonal and neuronal stimulation. Unfortunately, specific inhibitors for ZIPK and ILK are still in the development phase, but the success of fasudil suggests that inhibitors for these other kinases may also have valuable clinical applications. Notably, the directed inhibition of ZIPK with a pseudosubstrate molecule shows unexpected effects on the contractility of gastrointestinal smooth muscle.
Project description:<h4>Background and aims</h4>Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is a non-tyrosine kinase receptor for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and class 3 semaphorins, playing a role in angiogenesis and neuronal axon guidance, respectively. NRP1 is expressed in smooth muscle cells (SMC) but the functional role of NRP1 in SMC has not been elucidated. We therefore investigated the biological relevance of NRP1 in SMC in vivo by generating mice with SMC-specific Nrp1 deficiency.<h4>Methods</h4>Conditional gene targeting generated SMC-specific Nrp1 knockout mice (Nrp1SMKO) in which Cre recombinase is driven by the smooth muscle-specific myosin heavy chain (smMHC) promoter.<h4>Results</h4>SMC-specific Nrp1 deficiency resulted in a significant reduction in intestinal length by 6 months, and, by 18 months, in severe constipation, and enlargement of the intestine consistent with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. These effects were associated with significant thinning of the intestinal smooth muscle, and decreased intestinal contractility. Expression of contractile proteins was reduced in Nrp1SMKO mice, including the smMHC isoform, SMB, whereas we observed a significant increase in the expression of the small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel 3 (SK3/KCa2.3), implicated in negative regulation of smooth muscle contraction.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Nrp1 deficiency in visceral SMC results in adult-onset defects in gastrointestinal contractility and motility and causes a shift to a less contractile SMC phenotype. These findings indicate a new role for Nrp1 in the maintenance of the visceral SMC contractile phenotype required for normal GI motility in aged mice.
Project description:Abl is a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that is required for smooth muscle contraction. However, the mechanism by which Abl regulates smooth muscle contraction is not completely understood. In the present study, Abl underwent phosphorylation at Tyr412 (an index of Abl activation) in smooth muscle in response to contractile activation. Treatment with a cell-permeable decoy peptide, but not the control peptide, attenuated Abl phosphorylation during contractile stimulation. Treatment with the decoy peptide did not affect the association of Abl with the cytoskeletal protein vinculin and the spatial location of vinculin in smooth muscle. Inhibition of Abl phosphorylation by the decoy peptide attenuated the agonist-induced phosphorylation of Crk-associated substrate (CAS), an adapter protein participating in the signaling processes that regulate force development in smooth muscle. Additionally, previous studies have shown that contractile stimulation triggers the dissociation of CAS from the vimentin network, which is important for cytoskeletal signaling and contraction in smooth muscle. In this report, the decrease in the amount of CAS in cytoskeletal vimentin in response to contractile activation was reversed by the Abl inhibition with the decoy peptide. Moreover, force development and the enhancement of F-actin-to-G-actin ratios (an indication of actin polymerization) upon contractile activation were also attenuated by the Abl inhibition. However, myosin phosphorylation induced by contractile activation was not affected by the inhibition of Abl. These results suggest that Abl regulates the dissociation of CAS from the vimentin network, actin polymerization, and contraction by modulating CAS phosphorylation in smooth muscle.
Project description:Actin dynamics plays an essential role in regulating airway smooth muscle contraction. The mechanisms that regulate actin dynamics in smooth muscle are not completely understood. Glia maturation factor (GMF) is a protein that has been reported to inhibit actin nucleation and to induce actin network debranching in vitro. The role of GMF in human smooth muscle cells and tissues has not been investigated. In this study, knockdown of GMF-? by RNA interference enhanced actin polymerization and contraction in human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells and tissues without affecting myosin phosphorylation (another important biochemical change during contractile activation). Activation of HASM cells and tissues with acetylcholine induced dissociation of GMF-? from Arp2 of the Arp2/3 complex. Acetylcholine stimulation also increased GMF-? phosphorylation at Tyr-104. GMF-? phosphorylation at this residue was mediated by c-Abl tyrosine kinase. The GMF-? mutant Y104F (phenylalanine substitution at Tyr-104) had higher association with Arp2 in HASM cells upon contractile activation. Furthermore, expression of mutant Y104F GMF-? attenuated actin polymerization and contraction in smooth muscle. Thus, we propose a novel mechanism for the regulation of actin dynamics and smooth muscle contraction. In unstimulated smooth muscle, GMF-? binds to the Arp2/3 complex, which induces actin disassembly and retains lower levels of F-actin. Upon contractile stimulation, phosphorylation at Tyr-104 mediated by c-Abl tyrosine kinase leads to the dissociation of GMF-? from Arp2/3, by which GMF-? no longer induces actin disassembly. Reduced actin disassembly renders F-actin in higher level, which facilitates smooth muscle contraction.