PTEN Promotes Dopaminergic Neuronal Differentiation Through Regulation of ERK-Dependent Inhibition of S6K Signaling in Human Neural Stem Cells.
ABSTRACT: : Phosphatase and tension homolog (PTEN) is a widely known negative regulator of insulin/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling. The PI3K/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) and Ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Ras-ERK) signaling pathways are the chief mechanisms controlling the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of neural stem cells (NSCs). However, the roles of PTEN in Akt/mTOR and ERK signaling during proliferation and neuronal differentiation of human NSCs (hNSCs) are poorly understood. Treatment of proliferating hNSCs with a specific inhibitor of PTEN or overexpression of the PTEN inactive mutant G129E resulted in an increase in the expression levels of Ki67, p-S6 kinase (p-S6K), and p-ERK without affecting p-Akt expression during proliferation of hNSCs. Therefore, we focused on the regulatory effect of PTEN in S6K and ERK signaling during dopaminergic neuronal differentiation of hNSCs. Overexpression of PTEN during neuronal differentiation of hNSCs caused an increase in p-S6K expression and a decrease in p-ERK expression. Conversely, inhibition of PTEN increased p-ERK expression and decreased p-S6K expression. Inhibition of ERK by a specific chemical inhibitor, U0126, promoted neuronal generation, especially of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons. p-S6K expression increased in a time-dependent manner during differentiation, and this effect was enhanced by U0126. These results indicated that PTEN promoted neuronal differentiation by inhibition of ERK signaling, which in turn induced activation of S6K. Our data suggest that ERK pathways participate in crosstalk with S6K through PTEN signaling during neuronal differentiation of hNSCs. These results represent a novel pathway by which PTEN may modulate the interplay between ERK and S6K signaling, leading to increased neuronal differentiation in hNSCs.This article adds to the body of knowledge about the mechanism of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-mediated differentiation by describing the molecular function of phosphatase and tension homolog (PTEN) during the neuronal differentiation of human neural stem cells (hNSCs). Previous studies showed that S6K signaling promoted neuronal differentiation in hNSCs via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway. A further series of studies investigated whether this S6 kinase-induced differentiation in hNSCs involves regulation of ERK signaling by PTEN. The current study identified a novel mechanism by which PTEN regulates neuronal differentiation in hNSCs, suggesting that activating PTEN function promotes dopaminergic neuronal differentiation and providing an important resource for future studies of PTEN function.
Project description:Sprouty2 (Spry2) and phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) are both well-established regulators of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling, and knockdown of Spry2 or PTEN enhances axon regeneration of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons. The major role of Spry2 is the inhibition of the rat sarcoma RAS/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, whereas PTEN acts mainly as an inhibitor of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway. In non-neuronal cells, Spry2 increases the expression and activity of PTEN, and PTEN enhances the amount of Spry2 by the inhibition of the microRNA-21 (miR-21) that downregulates Spry2. Applying dissociated DRG neuron cultures from wild-type (WT) or Spry2 deficient mice, we demonstrate that PTEN protein was reduced after 72 h during rapid axonal outgrowth on the laminin substrate. Furthermore, PTEN protein was decreased in DRG cultures obtained from homozygous Spry2-/- knockout mice. Vice versa, Spry2 protein was reduced by PTEN siRNA in WT and heterozygous Spry2+/- neurons. Knockdown of PTEN in DRG cultures obtained from homozygous Spry2-/- knockout mice promoted axon elongation without increasing axonal branching. Activation of Akt, but not ERK, was stronger in response to PTEN knockdown in homozygous Spry2-/- DRG neurons than in WT neurons. Together, our study confirms the important role of the signaling modulators Spry2 and PTEN in axon growth of adult DRG neurons. Both function as endogenous inhibitors of neuronal growth factor signaling and their simultaneous knockdown promotes axon elongation more efficiently than the single knockdown of each inhibitor. Furthermore, Spry2 and PTEN are reciprocally downregulated in adult DRG neuron cultures. Axon growth is influenced by multiple factors and our results demonstrate that the endogenous inhibitors of axon growth, Spry2 and PTEN, are co-regulated in adult DRG neuron cultures. Together, our data demonstrate that combined approaches may be more useful to improve nerve regeneration than targeting one single inhibitor of axon growth.
Project description:Intestinal ganglioneuromatosis is a benign proliferation of nerve ganglion cells, nerve fibers, and supporting cells of the enteric nervous system (ENS) that can result in abnormally large enteric neuronal cells (ENCs) in the myenteric plexus and chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction (CIPO). As phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is a phosphatase that is critical for controlling cell growth, proliferation, and death, we investigated the role of PTEN in the ENS by generating mice with an embryonic, ENC-selective deletion within the Pten locus. Mutant mice died 2 to 3 weeks after birth, with clinical signs of CIPO and hyperplasia and hypertrophy of ENCs resulting from increased activity of the PI3K/PTEN-AKT-S6K signaling pathway. Further analysis revealed that PTEN was only expressed in developing mouse embryonic ENCs from E15.5 and that the rate of ENC proliferation decreased once PTEN was expressed. Specific deletion of the Pten gene in ENCs therefore induced hyperplasia and hypertrophy in the later stages of embryogenesis. This phenotype was reversed by administration of a pharmacological inhibitor of AKT. In some human ganglioneuromatosis forms of CIPO, PTEN expression was found to be abnormally low and S6 phosphorylation increased. Our study thus reveals that loss of PTEN disrupts development of the ENS and identifies the PI3K/PTEN-AKT-S6K signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for ganglioneuromatosis forms of CIPO.
Project description:Without a fully developed initial segment, the most proximal region of the epididymis, male infertility results. Therefore, it is important to understand the development and regulation of this crucial region. In addition to distinctively high activity levels of the components of the ERK pathway, which are essential for initial-segment differentiation, the initial segment exhibits high protein and activity levels of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). To understand the role of PTEN in the regulation of the initial segment, we generated a mouse model with a conditional deletion of Pten from the epithelial cells of the proximal epididymis from postnatal day 17 (P17) onward. Shortly after Pten deletion, hypertrophy of the proximal epididymis became evident. Loss of Pten resulted in activation of the AKT (protein kinase B) pathway components from P28 onward, which in turn gradually suppressed RAF1 proto-oncogene serine/threonine kinase (RAF1)/ERK signaling through the interaction between AKT and RAF1. Consistent with progressive changes in RAF1/ERK signaling, loss of Pten progressively altered cell shape, size, organization, proliferation, and survival in the initial-segment epithelium and resulted in dedifferentiation and extensive epithelial folding. Most importantly, knockout males progressively lost fertility and became infertile from 6 to 12 mo. Spermatozoa from older knockout mice showed a lower percentage of motility and a higher percentage of flagellar angulation compared with controls, suggesting compromised sperm maturation. Therefore, under normal physiological conditions, PTEN suppresses AKT activity to maintain activation of the RAF1/ERK signaling pathway, which in turn maintains normal function of the initial segment and therefore, normal sperm maturation.
Project description:Phytoestrogens can have a neuroprotective effect towards ischemia-reperfusion-induced neuronal damage. However, their mechanism of action has not been well described. In this work, we investigate the type of neuronal cell death induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) and resupply (OGDR) and pinpoint some of the signaling mechanisms whereby the neuroprotective effects of phytoestrogens occur in these conditions. First, we found that autophagy initiation affords neuronal protection upon neuronal damage induced by OGD and OGDR. The mammalian target of rapamycin/ribosomal S6 kinase (mTOR/S6K) pathway is blocked in these conditions, and we provide evidence that this is mediated by modulation of both the 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) pathways. These are dampened up or down, respectively, under OGDR-induced neuronal damage. In contrast, the MAPK-Erk kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK/ERK) pathway is increased under these conditions. Regarding the pathways affected by phytoestrogens, we show that their protective properties require autophagy initiation, but at later stages, they decrease mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and AMPK activation and increase mTOR/S6K activation. Collectively, our results put forward a novel mode of action where phytoestrogens play a dual role in the regulation of autophagy by acting as autophagy initiation enhancers when autophagy is a neuroprotective and pro-survival mechanism, and as autophagy initiation inhibitors when autophagy is a pro-death mechanism. Finally, our results support the therapeutic potential of phytoestrogens in brain ischemia by modulating autophagy.
Project description:The mechanisms of neuronal differentiation in PC12 cells are still not completely understood. Here, we report that the tumor suppressor PTEN has a profound effect on differentiation by affecting several pathways involved in nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling. When overexpressed in PC12 cells, PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten) blocked neurite outgrowth induced by NGF. In addition, these cells failed to demonstrate the transient mitogenic response to NGF, as well as subsequent growth arrest. Consistent with these observations was a finding that PTEN significantly inhibits NGF-mediated activation of the members of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathways, crucial for these processes. While exploring possible mechanisms of PTEN effects on NGF signaling, we discovered a significant down-regulation of both high-affinity (TrkA) and low-affinity (p75) NGF receptors in PTEN-overexpressing clones. Subsequent microarray analysis of several independent clonal isolates revealed a myriad of neuronal genes to be affected by PTEN. All of these changes were validated by quantitative PCR. Of particular interest were the genes for the key enzymes of the dopamine synthesis pathway, receptors for different neurotransmitters, and neuron-specific cytoskeleton proteins, among others. Some, but not all effects could be reproduced by pharmacological inhibitors of PI3K and/or MAPK, suggesting that PTEN may influence some genes by mechanisms independent of these signaling pathways. Our findings may shed new light on the role of this tumor suppressor during normal brain development and suggest a previously uncharacterized mechanism of PTEN action in neuron-like cells.
Project description:Clara cells, together with ciliated and pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, make up the epithelium of the bronchioles along the conducting airways. Clara cells are also known as progenitor or stem cells during lung regeneration after injury. The mechanisms of Clara cell differentiation are largely unknown. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta)is a multifunctional molecule with roles in normal development and disease pathogenesis. In this study, we deleted the TGFbeta type I receptor Alk5 in the embryonic lung epithelium using Gata5-Cre mice. Absence of Alk5 blocked Clara cell differentiation but had no effect on ciliated or pulmonary neuroendocrine cells. Hairy/Enhancer of Split-1, which is expressed in Clara cell putative ;progenitors' was found to be a downstream target of Alk5 in vivo and in vitro. Loss of Alk5-mediated signaling also stimulated Pten gene expression and inhibited ERK phosphorylation in vivo. Using lung epithelial cells, we show that Alk5-regulated Hes1 expression is stimulated through Pten and the MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT pathways. Thus, the signaling pathway by which TGFbeta/ALK5 regulates Clara cell differentiation may entail inhibition of Pten expression, which in turn activates ERK and AKT phosphorylation.
Project description:Bisperoxovanadium (pyridine-2-carboxyl) [bpV(pic)] is a commercially available PTEN inhibitor. Previous studies from us and others have shown that bpV(pic) confers neuroprotection in cerebral ischemia injury. We set up to determine whether ERK 1/2 activation plays a role in bpV(pic)-induced neuroprotective effect in cerebral ischemia injury. We found that the phosphorylation levels of Akt (p-AKT) and ERK1/2 (p-ERK 1/2) were down-regulated after cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. The injection of bpV(pic) after injury not only increased the level of p-AKT but also the level of p-ERK 1/2. While the inhibition of PTEN mediated the up-regulatation of p-AKT and p-ERK 1/2 by bpV(pic). Interestingly, the ERK 1/2 activation induced by bpV(pic) was also independent of the inhibition of PTEN. Our results indicate that bpV(pic) protects against OGD-induced neuronal death and promotes the functional recovery of stroke animals through PTEN inhibition and ERK 1/2 activation, respectively. This study suggests that the effect of bpV(pic) on ERK 1/2 signaling should be considered while using bpV(pic) as a PTEN inhibitor.
Project description:Lens epithelial cells express many receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that stimulate PI3K-AKT and RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK intracellular signaling pathways. These pathways ultimately activate the phosphorylation of key cellular transcription factors and other proteins that control proliferation, survival, metabolism, and differentiation in virtually all cells. Among RTKs in the lens, only stimulation of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) elicits a lens epithelial cell to fiber cell differentiation response in mammals. Moreover, although the lens expresses three different Fgfr genes, the isolated removal of Fgfr2 at the lens placode stage inhibits both lens cell survival and fiber cell differentiation. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), commonly known as a tumor suppressor, inhibits ERK and AKT activation and initiates both apoptotic pathways, and cell cycle arrest. Here, we show that the combined deletion of Fgfr2 and Pten rescues the cell death phenotype associated with Fgfr2 loss alone. Additionally, Pten removal increased AKT and ERK activation, above the levels of controls, in the presence or absence of Fgfr2. However, isolated deletion of Pten failed to stimulate ectopic fiber cell differentiation, and the combined deletion of Pten and Fgfr2 failed to restore differentiation-specific Aquaporin0 and DnaseII? expression in the lens fiber cells.
Project description:Lipid and protein tyrosine phosphatase, phosphatase and tension homologue (PTEN), is a widely known negative regulator of insulin/phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling. Down-regulation of PTEN is thus widely documented to ameliorate insulin resistance in peripheral tissues such as skeletal muscle and adipose. However, not much is known about its exact role in neuronal insulin signaling and insulin resistance. Moreover, alterations of PTEN in neuronal systems have led to discovery of several unexpected outcomes, including in the neurodegenerative disorder Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is increasingly being recognized as a brain-specific form of diabetes. In addition, contrary to expectations, its neuron-specific deletion in mice resulted in development of diet-sensitive obesity. The present study shows that PTEN, paradoxically, positively regulates neuronal insulin signaling and glucose uptake. Its down-regulation exacerbates neuronal insulin resistance. The positive role of PTEN in neuronal insulin signaling is likely due to its protein phosphatase actions, which prevents the activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), the kinases critically involved in neuronal energy impairment and neurodegeneration. Results suggest that PTEN acting through FAK, the direct protein substrate of PTEN, prevents ERK activation. Our findings provide an explanation for unexpected outcomes reported earlier with PTEN alterations in neuronal systems and also suggest a novel molecular pathway linking neuronal insulin resistance and AD, the two pathophysiological states demonstrated to be closely linked.
Project description:Scribble (SCRIB) localizes to cell-cell junctions and regulates establishment of epithelial cell polarity. Loss of expression of SCRIB functions as a tumor suppressor in Drosophila and mammals; conversely, overexpression of SCRIB promotes epithelial differentiation in mammals. Here, we report that SCRIB is frequently amplified, mRNA overexpressed, and protein is mislocalized from cell-cell junctions in human breast cancers. High levels of SCRIB mRNA are associated with poor clinical prognosis, identifying an unexpected role for SCRIB in breast cancer. We find that transgenic mice expressing a SCRIB mutant [Pro 305 to Leu (P305L)] that fails to localize to cell-cell junctions, under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat promoter, develop multifocal hyperplasia that progresses to highly pleomorphic and poorly differentiated tumors with basal characteristics. SCRIB interacts with phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and the expression of P305L, but not wild-type SCRIB, promotes an increase in PTEN levels in the cytosol. Overexpression of P305L, but not wild-type SCRIB, activates the Akt/mTOR/S6K signaling pathway. Human breast tumors overexpressing SCRIB have high levels of S6K but do not harbor mutations in PTEN or PIK3CA, identifying SCRIB amplification as a mechanism of activating PI3K signaling in tumors without mutations in PIK3CA or PTEN. Thus, we demonstrate that high levels of mislocalized SCRIB functions as a neomorph to promote mammary tumorigenesis by affecting subcellular localization of PTEN and activating an Akt/mTOR/S6kinase signaling pathway.