Ebola virus causes severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in humans and nonhuman primates. Vascular instability and dysregulation are disease-decisive symptoms during severe infection. While the transmembrane glycoprotein GP 1,2 has been shown to cause endothelial cell destruction, the role of the soluble glycoproteins in pathogenesis is largely unknown; however, they are hypothesized to be of biological relevance in terms of target cell activation and/or increase of endothelial permeability. Here we show that virus-like particles (VLPs) consisting of the Ebola virus matrix protein VP40 and GP 1,2 were able to activate endothelial cells and induce a decrease in barrier function as determined by impedance spectroscopy and hydraulic conductivity measurements. In contrast, the soluble glycoproteins sGP and ⌬-peptide did not activate endothelial cells or change the endothelial barrier function. The VLP-induced decrease in barrier function was further enhanced by the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-␣), which is known to induce a long-lasting decrease in endothelial cell barrier function and is hypothesized to play a key role in Ebola virus pathogenesis. Surprisingly, sGP, but not ⌬-peptide, induced a recovery of endothelial barrier function following treatment with TNF-␣. Our results demonstrate that Ebola virus GP 1,2 in its particle-associated form mediates endothelial cell activation and a decrease in endothelial cell barrier function. Furthermore, sGP, the major soluble glycoprotein of Ebola virus, seems to possess an anti-inflammatory role by protecting the endothelial cell barrier function.
Apoptosis is a strictly regulated and genetically encoded cell 'suicide' that may be triggered by cytokines, depletion of growth factors or certain chemicals. It is morphologically characterized by severe alterations in cell shape like cell shrinkage and disintegration of cell-cell contacts. We applied a non-invasive electrochemical technique referred to as electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) in order to monitor the apoptosis-induced changes in cell shape in an integral and quantitative fashion with a time resolution in the order of minutes. In ECIS the cells are grown directly on the surface of small gold-film electrodes (d = 2 mm). From readings of the electrical impedance of the cell-covered electrode, performed with non-invasive, low amplitude sensing voltages, it is possible to deduce alterations in cell-cell and cell-substrate contacts. To improve the sensitivity of this impedance assay we used endothelial cells derived from cerebral micro-vessels as cellular model systems since these are well known to express electrically tight intercellular junctions. Apoptosis was induced by cycloheximide (CHX) and verified by biochemical and cytological assays. The time course of cell shape changes was followed with unprecedented time resolution by impedance readings at 1 kHz and correlated with biochemical parameters. From impedance readings along a broad frequency range of 1-10 6 Hz we could assign the observed impedance changes to alterations on the subcellular level. We observed that disassembly of barrier-forming tight junctions precedes changes in cell-substrate contacts and correlates strongly with the time course of protease activation.
VEGFR-2/Notch signalling regulates angiogenesis in part by driving the remodelling of endothelial cell junctions and by inducing cell migration. Here, we show that VEGF-induced polarized cell elongation increases cell perimeter and decreases the relative VE-cadherin concentration at junctions, triggering polarized formation of actin-driven junction-associated intermittent lamellipodia (JAIL) under control of the WASP/WAVE/ARP2/3 complex. JAIL allow formation of new VE-cadherin adhesion sites that are critical for cell migration and monolayer integrity. Whereas at the leading edge of the cell, large JAIL drive cell migration with supportive contraction, lateral junctions show small JAIL that allow relative cell movement. VEGFR-2 activation initiates cell elongation through dephosphorylation of junctional myosin light chain II, which leads to a local loss of tension to induce JAIL-mediated junctional remodelling. These events require both microtubules and polarized Rac activity. Together, we propose a model where polarized JAIL formation drives directed cell migration and junctional remodelling during sprouting angiogenesis.
SUMMARY:It has been suggested that increasing levels of shear stress could modify endothelial permeability. This might be critical in venous grafting and in the pathogenesis of certain vascular diseases. We present a novel setup based on impedance spectroscopy that allows online investigation of the transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) under pure laminar shear stress. Shear stress-induced change in TER was associated with changes in cell motility and cell shape as a function of time (morphodynamics) and accompanied by a reorganization of catenins that regulate endothelial adherens junctions. Confluent cultures of porcine pulmonary trunk endothelial cells typically displayed a TER between 6 and 15 ⍀cm 2 under both resting conditions and low shear stress levels (0.5 dyn/cm 2 ). Raising shear stress to the range of 2 to 50 dyn/cm 2 caused a transient 2% to 15% increase in TER within 15 minutes that was accompanied by a reduction in cell motility. Subsequently, TER slowly decreased to a minimum of 20% below the starting value. During this period, acceleration of shape change occurred. In the ensuing period, TER values recovered, reaching control levels within hours and associated with an entire deceleration of shape change. A heterogeneous distribution of ␣-, ␤-, and ␥-catenin, main components of the endothelial adherens type junctions, was also observed, indicating a differentiated regulation of shear stress-induced junction rearrangement. Additionally, catenins were partly colocalized with ␤-actin at the plasma membrane, indicating migration activity of these subcellular parts. Shear stress, even at peak levels of 50 dyn/cm 2 , did not cause intercellular gap formation. These data show that endothelial monolayers exposed to increased levels of laminar shear stress respond with a shear stress-dependent regulation of permeability and a reorganization of junction-associated proteins, whereas monolayer integrity remains unaffected. (Lab Invest 2000, 80:1819 -1831.
The ARP2/3 complex controls junction-associated intermittent lamellipodia (JAIL), which trigger VE-cadherin adhesion and dynamics. JAIL formation maintains paraendothelial barrier function under physiological conditions and depends on the local VE-cadherin concentration.
Ebola virus (EBOV), an enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA virus, causes severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. The EBOV glycoprotein (GP) gene encodes the nonstructural soluble glycoprotein (sGP) but also produces the transmembrane glycoprotein (GP 1,2 ) through transcriptional editing. A third GP gene product, a small soluble glycoprotein (ssGP), has long been postulated to be produced also as a result of transcriptional editing. To identify and characterize the expression of this new EBOV protein, we first analyzed the relative ratio of GP gene-derived transcripts produced during infection in vitro (in Vero E6 cells or Huh7 cells) and in vivo (in mice). The average percentages of transcripts encoding sGP, GP 1,2 , and ssGP were approximately 70, 25, and 5%, respectively, indicating that ssGP transcripts are indeed produced via transcriptional editing. N-terminal sequence similarity with sGP, the absence of distinguishing antibodies, and the abundance of sGP made it difficult to identify ssGP through conventional methodology. Optimized 2-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis analyses finally verified the expression and secretion of ssGP in tissue culture during EBOV infection. Biochemical analysis of recombinant ssGP characterized this protein as a disulfide-linked homodimer that was exclusively N glycosylated. In conclusion, we have identified and characterized a new EBOV nonstructural glycoprotein, which is expressed as a result of transcriptional editing of the GP gene. While ssGP appears to share similar structural properties with sGP, it does not appear to have the same anti-inflammatory function on endothelial cells as sGP.
The suitability of the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technique for monitoring the attachment and spreading of mammalian cells has recently been established. Different cell species were shown to generate an individual response of the QCM when they make contact with the resonator surface. Little is known, however, about the underlying mechanisms that determine the QCM signal for a particular cell type. Here we describe our results for different experimental approaches designed to probe the particular contributions of various subcellular compartments to the overall QCM signal. Using AC impedance analysis in a frequency range that closely embraces the resonators' fundamental frequency, we have explored the signal contribution of the extracellular matrix, the actin cytoskeleton, the medium that overlays the cell layer, as well as the liquid compartment that is known to exist between the basal plasma membrane and the culture substrate. Results indicate that the QCM technique is only sensitive to those parts of the cellular body that are involved in cell substrate adhesion and are therefore close to the resonator surface. Because of its noninvasive nature, sensitivity, and time resolution, the QCM is a powerful means of quantitatively studying various aspects of cell-substrate interactions.
These results show that flow-induced conversion of endothelial cells into an arterial phenotype occurs while intercellular junctions remain intact. The data place rac1 in a central multimodal regulatory position that might be important in the development of vascular diseases, such as arteriosclerosis.
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