Improvement of liver injury and survival by JNK2 and iNOS deficiency in liver transplants from cardiac death mice.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND & AIMS:Inclusion of liver grafts from cardiac death donors (CDD) would increase the availability of donor livers but is hampered by a higher risk of primary non-function. Here, we seek to determine mechanisms that contribute to primary non-function of liver grafts from CDD with the goal to develop strategies for improved function and outcome, focusing on c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and mitochondrial depolarization, two known mediators of graft failure. METHODS:Livers explanted from wild-type, inducible nitric oxide synthase knockout (iNOS(-/-)), JNK1(-/-) or JNK2(-/-) mice after 45-min aorta clamping were implanted into wild-type recipients. Mitochondrial depolarization was detected by intravital confocal microscopy in living recipients. RESULTS:After transplantation of wild-type CDD livers, graft iNOS expression and 3-nitrotyrosine adducts increased, but hepatic endothelial NOS expression was unchanged. Graft injury and dysfunction were substantially higher in CDD grafts than in non-CDD grafts. iNOS deficiency and inhibition attenuated injury and improved function and survival of CDD grafts. JNK1/2 and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase-1 activation increased markedly in wild-type CDD grafts, which was blunted by iNOS deficiency. JNK inhibition and JNK2 deficiency, but not JNK1 deficiency, decreased injury and improved function and survival of CDD grafts. Mitochondrial depolarization and binding of phospho-JNK2 to Sab, a mitochondrial protein linked to the mitochondrial permeability transition, were higher in CDD than in non-CDD grafts. iNOS deficiency, JNK inhibition and JNK2 deficiency all decreased mitochondrial depolarization and blunted ATP depletion in CDD grafts. JNK inhibition and deficiency did not decrease 3-nitrotyrosine adducts in CDD grafts. CONCLUSION:The iNOS-JNK2-Sab pathway promotes CDD graft failure via increased mitochondrial depolarization, and is an attractive target to improve liver function and survival in CDD liver transplantation recipients.
Project description:Three JNK isoforms, JNK1, JNK2, and JNK3 have been reported and unique biological function has been ascribed to each. It is unknown if selective inhibition of these isoforms would confer therapeutic or safety benefit. To probe JNK isoform function we designed JNK2/3 inhibitors that have >30-fold selectivity over JNK1. Utilizing site-directed mutagenesis and x-ray crystallography we identified L144 in JNK3 as a key residue for selectivity. To test whether JNK2/3 selective inhibitors protect human dopaminergic neurons against neurotoxin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, we monitored reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). The results showed that JNK2/3 selective inhibitors protected against 6-hydroxydopamine-induced ROS generation and MMP depolarization. These results suggest that it was possible to develop JNK2/3 selective inhibitors and that residues in hydrophobic pocket I were responsible for selectivity. Moreover, the findings also suggest that inhibition of JNK2/3 likely contributed to protecting mitochondrial function and prevented ultimate cell death.
Project description:The c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) is implicated in proliferation. Mice with a deficiency of either the Jnk1 or the Jnk2 genes are viable, but a compound deficiency of both Jnk1 and Jnk2 causes early embryonic lethality. Studies using conditional gene ablation and chemical genetic approaches demonstrate that the combined loss of JNK1 and JNK2 protein kinase function results in rapid senescence. To test whether this role of JNK was required for stem cell proliferation, we isolated embryonic stem (ES) cells from wild-type and JNK-deficient mice. We found that Jnk1(-/-) Jnk2(-/-) ES cells underwent self-renewal, but these cells proliferated more rapidly than wild-type ES cells and exhibited major defects in lineage-specific differentiation. Together, these data demonstrate that JNK is not required for proliferation or self-renewal of ES cells, but JNK plays a key role in the differentiation of ES cells.
Project description:The c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK) are regulated by a wide variety of cellular stresses and have been implicated in apoptotic signaling. Macrophages express 2 JNK isoforms, JNK1 and JNK2, which may have different effects on cell survival and atherosclerosis.To dissect the effect of macrophage JNK1 and JNK2 on early atherosclerosis, Ldlr(-/-) mice were reconstituted with wild-type, Jnk1(-/-), and Jnk2(-/-) hematopoietic cells and fed a high cholesterol diet. Jnk1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice have larger atherosclerotic lesions with more macrophages and fewer apoptotic cells than mice transplanted with wild-type or Jnk2(-/-) cells. Moreover, genetic ablation of JNK to a single allele (Jnk1(+/-)/Jnk2(-/-) or Jnk1(-/-)/Jnk2(+/-)) in marrow of Ldlr(-/-) recipients further increased atherosclerosis compared with Jnk1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) and wild-type?Ldlr(-/-) mice. In mouse macrophages, anisomycin-mediated JNK signaling antagonized Akt activity, and loss of Jnk1 gene obliterated this effect. Similarly, pharmacological inhibition of JNK1, but not JNK2, markedly reduced the antagonizing effect of JNK on Akt activity. Prolonged JNK signaling in the setting of endoplasmic reticulum stress gradually extinguished Akt and Bad activity in wild-type cells with markedly less effects in Jnk1(-/-) macrophages, which were also more resistant to apoptosis. Consequently, anisomycin increased and JNK1 inhibitors suppressed endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis in macrophages. We also found that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of phosphatase and tensin homolog abolished the JNK-mediated effects on Akt activity, indicating that phosphatase and tensin homolog mediates crosstalk between these pathways.Loss of Jnk1, but not Jnk2, in macrophages protects them from apoptosis, increasing cell survival, and this accelerates early atherosclerosis.
Project description:The roles of the c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) in inflammatory arthritis have been investigated; however, the roles of each isotype (ie, JNK1 and JNK2) in rheumatoid arthritis and conclusions about whether inhibition of one or both is necessary for amelioration of disease are unclear. By using JNK1- or JNK2-deficient mice in the collagen-induced arthritis and the KRN T-cell receptor transgenic mouse on C57BL/6 nonobese diabetic (K/BxN) serum transfer arthritis models, we demonstrate that JNK1 deficiency results in protection from arthritis, as judged by clinical score and histological evaluation in both models of inflammatory arthritis. In contrast, abrogation of JNK2 exacerbates disease. In collagen-induced arthritis, the distinct roles of the JNK isotypes can, at least in part, be explained by altered regulation of CD86 expression in JNK1- or JNK2-deficient macrophages in response to microbial products, thereby affecting T-cell-mediated immunity. The protection from K/BxN serum-induced arthritis in Jnk1(-/-) mice can also be explained by inept macrophage function because adoptive transfer of wild-type macrophages to Jnk1(-/-) mice restored disease susceptibility. Thus, our results provide a possible explanation for the modest therapeutic effects of broad JNK inhibitors and suggest that future therapies should selectively target the JNK1 isoform.
Project description:The relative contributions of the JNK subtypes in inflammatory ?-cell failure and apoptosis are unclear. The JNK protein family consists of JNK1, JNK2, and JNK3 subtypes, encompassing many different isoforms. INS-1 cells express JNK1?1, JNK1?2, JNK1?1, JNK1?2, JNK2?1, JNK2?2, JNK3?1, and JNK3?2 mRNA isoform transcripts translating into 46 and 54?kDa isoform JNK proteins. Utilizing Lentiviral mediated expression of shRNAs against JNK1, JNK2, or JNK3 in insulin-producing INS-1 cells, we investigated the role of individual JNK subtypes in IL-1?-induced ?-cell apoptosis. JNK1 knockdown prevented IL-1?-induced INS-1 cell apoptosis associated with decreased 46?kDa isoform JNK protein phosphorylation and attenuated Myc expression. Transient knockdown of Myc also prevented IL-1?-induced apoptosis as well as caspase 3 cleavage. JNK2 shRNA potentiated IL-1?-induced apoptosis and caspase 3 cleavage, whereas JNK3 shRNA did not affect IL-1?-induced ?-cell death compared to nonsense shRNA expressing INS-1 cells. In conclusion, JNK1 mediates INS-1 cell death associated with increased Myc expression. These findings underline the importance of differentiated targeting of JNK subtypes in the development of inflammatory ?-cell failure and destruction.
Project description:cJun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling has been implicated in the developmental morphogenesis of epithelial organs. In this study, we employed a compound deletion of the murine Jnk1 and Jnk2 genes in the mammary gland to evaluate the requirement for these ubiquitously expressed genes in breast development and tumorigenesis. JNK1/2 was not required for breast epithelial cell proliferation or motility. However, JNK1/2 deficiency caused increased branching morphogenesis and defects in the clearance of lumenal epithelial cells. In the setting of breast cancer development, JNK1/2 deficiency significantly increased tumor formation. Together, these findings established that JNK signaling is required for normal mammary gland development and that it has a suppressive role in mammary tumorigenesis.
Project description:Chronic liver injury triggers complications such as liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which are associated with alterations in distinct signaling pathways. Of particular interest is the interaction between mechanisms controlled by IKKγ/NEMO, the regulatory IKK subunit, and Jnk activation for directing cell death and survival. In the present study, we aimed to define the relevance of Jnk in hepatocyte-specific NEMO knockout mice (NEMOΔhepa), a genetic model of chronic inflammatory liver injury. We generated global Jnk1-/-/NEMOΔhepa and Jnk2-/-/NEMOΔhepa mice by crossing NEMOΔhepa mice with Jnk1-/- and Jnk2-/- animals, respectively, and examined the progression of chronic liver disease. Moreover, we investigated the expression of Jnk during acute liver injury, evaluated the role of Jnk1 in bone marrow-derived cells, and analyzed the expression of NEMO and pJnk in human diseased-livers. Deletion of Jnk1 significantly aggravated the progression of liver disease, exacerbating apoptosis, compensatory proliferation and carcinogenesis in NEMOΔhepa mice. Jnk2-/-/NEMOΔhepa showed increased RIP-1 and RIP-3 expression and hepatic inflammation. Jnk1 in hematopoietic cells rather than hepatocytes had an impact on the progression of chronic liver disease in NEMOΔhepa livers. These findings are of clinical relevance since NEMO expression was down-regulated in hepatocytes of patients with HCC whereas NEMO and pJnk were expressed in a large amount of infiltrating cells. While Jnk1 is protective in NEMOΔhepa-depleted hepatocytes, Jnk1 in hematopoietic cells rather than hepatocytes is a crucial driver of hepatic injury. These results elucidate the complex function of Jnk in chronic inflammatory liver disease. Livers from global knockout mice for Jnk1 (Jnk1-/-) and Jnk2 (Jnk2-/- ), and double-knockout mice for Jnk1/NEMO (global Jnk1-/-/NEMOΔhepa) and Jnk2/NEMO (global Jnk2-/-/NEMOΔhepa), were subjected to gene expression profiling.
Project description:Overexpression and activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) have been observed in multiple cancer cell lines and tumor samples. Various JNK isoforms have been reported to promote lung and liver cancer, as well as keratinocyte transformation, suggesting an important role of JNK signaling in promoting tumor development. However, there are three JNK isoforms, and it is unclear how each individual isoform, especially the ubiquitously expressed JNK1 and JNK2, functions in melanoma. Our previous study found that C116S mutations in both JNK1 and JNK2 rendered them insensitive to the covalent pan-JNK inhibitor JNK-IN-8 while retaining kinase activity. To delineate the specific roles of JNK1 and JNK2 in melanoma cell proliferation and invasiveness, we expressed the wild type (WT) and C116S mutants in melanoma cell lines and used JNK-IN-8 to enable chemical-genetic dissection of JNK1 and JNK2 activity. We found that the JNK2C116S allele consistently enhanced colony proliferation and cell invasiveness in the presence of JNK-IN-8. When cells individually expressing WT or C116S JNK1/2 were subcutaneously implanted into immunodeficient mice, we again found that bypass of JNK-IN-8-mediated inhibition of JNK signaling by expression of JNK2C116S specifically resulted in enhanced tumor growth in vivo. In addition, we observed a high level of JNK pathway activation in some human BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) resistant melanoma cell lines relative to their BRAFi sensitive isogenic counterparts. JNK-IN-8 significantly enhanced the response to dabrafenib in resistant cells overexpressing JNK1WT, JNK2WT, and JNK1C116S but had no effect on cells expressing JNK2C116S, suggesting that JNK2 signaling is also crucial for BRAFi resistance in a subset of melanomas. Collectively, our data show that JNK2 activity is specifically required for melanoma cell proliferation, invasiveness, and BRAFi resistance and that this activity is most important in the context of JNK1 suppression, thus providing a compelling rationale for the development of JNK2 selective inhibitors as a potential therapy for the treatment of melanoma.
Project description:Targeted inhibition of the c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) has shown therapeutic potential in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA)-related tumorigenesis. However, the cell-type-specific role and mechanisms triggered by JNK in liver parenchymal cells during CCA remain largely unknown. Here, we aimed to investigate the relevance of JNK1 and JNK2 function in hepatocytes in two different models of experimental carcinogenesis, the dethylnitrosamine (DEN) model and in nuclear factor kappa B essential modulator (NEMO)hepatocyte-specific knockout (?hepa) mice, focusing on liver damage, cell death, compensatory proliferation, fibrogenesis, and tumor development. Moreover, regulation of essential genes was assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunoblottings, and immunostainings. Additionally, specific Jnk2 inhibition in hepatocytes of NEMO?hepa/JNK1?hepa mice was performed using small interfering (si) RNA (siJnk2) nanodelivery. Finally, active signaling pathways were blocked using specific inhibitors. Compound deletion of Jnk1 and Jnk2 in hepatocytes diminished hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in both the DEN model and in NEMO?hepa mice but in contrast caused massive proliferation of the biliary ducts. Indeed, Jnk1/2 deficiency in hepatocytes of NEMO?hepa (NEMO?hepa/JNK?hepa) animals caused elevated fibrosis, increased apoptosis, increased compensatory proliferation, and elevated inflammatory cytokines expression but reduced HCC. Furthermore, siJnk2 treatment in NEMO?hepa/JNK1?hepa mice recapitulated the phenotype of NEMO?hepa/JNK?hepa mice. Next, we sought to investigate the impact of molecular pathways in response to compound JNK deficiency in NEMO?hepa mice. We found that NEMO?hepa/JNK?hepa livers exhibited overexpression of the interleukin-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathway in addition to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma (Raf)-mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) cascade. The functional relevance was tested by administering lapatinib, which is a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of erythroblastic oncogene B-2 (ErbB2) and EGFR signaling, to NEMO?hepa/JNK?hepa mice. Lapatinib effectively inhibited cystogenesis, improved transaminases, and effectively blocked EGFR-Raf-MEK-ERK signaling. Conclusion: We define a novel function of JNK1/2 in cholangiocyte hyperproliferation. This opens new therapeutic avenues devised to inhibit pathways of cholangiocarcinogenesis.
Project description:The cJun N-terminal kinases (JNKs; JNK1, JNK2, and JNK3) promote degenerative processes after neuronal injury and in disease. JNK2 and JNK3 have been shown to promote retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death after optic nerve injury. In their absence, long-term survival of RGC somas is significantly increased after mechanical optic nerve injury. In glaucoma, because optic nerve damage is thought to be a major cause of RGC death, JNKs are an important potential target for therapeutic intervention. To assess the role of JNK2 and JNK3 in an ocular hypertensive model of glaucoma, null alleles of Jnk2 and Jnk3 were backcrossed into the DBA/2J (D2) mouse. JNK activation occurred in RGCs following increased intraocular pressure in D2 mice. However, deficiency of both Jnk2 and Jnk3 together did not lessen optic nerve damage or RGC death. These results differentiate the molecular pathways controlling cell death in ocular hypertensive glaucoma compared with mechanical optic nerve injury. It is further shown that JUN, a pro-death component of the JNK pathway in RGCs, can be activated in glaucoma in the absence of JNK2 and JNK3. This implicates JNK1 in glaucomatous RGC death. Unexpectedly, at younger ages, Jnk2-deficient mice were more likely to develop features of glaucomatous neurodegeneration than D2 mice expressing Jnk2. This appears to be due to a neuroprotective effect of JNK2 and not due to a change in intraocular pressure. The Jnk2-deficient context also unmasked a lesser role for Jnk3 in glaucoma. Jnk2 and Jnk3 double knockout mice had a modestly increased risk of neurodegeneration compared with mice only deficient in Jnk2. Overall, these findings are consistent with pleiotropic effects of JNK isoforms in glaucoma and suggest caution is warranted when using JNK inhibitors to treat chronic neurodegenerative conditions.