The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a finite life span that is measured by the number of daughter cells an individual produces. The 20 genes known to determine yeast life span appear to function in more than one pathway, implicating a variety of physiological processes in yeast longevity. Less attention has been focused on environmental effects on yeast aging. We have examined the role that nutritional status plays in determining yeast life span. Reduction of the glucose concentration in the medium led to an increase in life span and to a delay in appearance of an aging phenotype. The increase in life span was the more extensive the lower the glucose levels. Life extension was also elicited by decreasing the amino acids content of the medium. This suggests that it is the decline in calories and not a particular nutrient that is responsible, in striking similarity to the effect on aging of caloric restriction in mammals. The caloric restriction effect did not require the induction of the retrograde response pathway, which signals the functional status of the mitochondrion and determines longevity. Furthermore, deletion of RTG3, a downstream mediator in this pathway, and caloric restriction had an additive effect, resulting in the largest increase (123%) in longevity described thus far in yeast. Thus, retrograde response and caloric restriction operate along distinct pathways in determining yeast longevity. These pathways may be exclusive, at least in part. This provides evidence for multiple mechanisms of metabolic control in yeast aging. Inasmuch as caloric restriction lowers blood glucose levels, this study raises the possibility that reduced glucose alters aging at the cellular level in mammals.
In this study, endogenous long chain ceramides were measured in 32 human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and 10 nonsquamous head and neck carcinoma tumor tissues, as compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues, by liquid chromatography/ mass spectroscopy. Interestingly, only one specific ceramide, C 18:0 -ceramide, was selectively down-regulated in the majority of HNSCC tumor tissues. On the other hand, in nonsquamous tumor tissues, this selectivity for C 18 -ceramide was not detected. These data suggested the hypotheses that decreased levels of C 18 -ceramide might impart a growth advantage to HNSCC cells and that increased generation of C 18 -ceramide may be involved in the inhibition of growth. These roles were examined by reconstitution of C 18 -ceramide at physiologically relevant concentrations in UM-SCC-22A cells (squamous cell carcinoma of hypopharynx) via overexpression of mammalian upstream regulator of growth and differentiation factor 1 (mUOG1), a mouse homologue of longevity assurance gene 1 (mLAG1), which has been shown to specifically induce the generation of C 18 -ceramide. Liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy analysis showed that overexpression of the mLAG1/ mUOG1 resulted in increased levels of only C 18:0 -ceramide by ϳ2-fold, i.e. concentrations similar to those of normal head and neck tissues. Importantly, increased generation of C 18 -ceramide by mLAG1/mUOG1 inhibited cell growth (ϳ70 -80%), which mechanistically involved the modulation of telomerase activity and induction of apoptotic cell death by mitochondrial dysfunction. In conclusion, this study demonstrates, for the first time, a biological role for LAG1 and C 18 -ceramide in the regulation of growth of HNSCC.
BackgroundDrug resistance is the outcome of multiple-gene interactions in cancer cells under stress of anticancer agents. MDR1 overexpression is most commonly detected in drug-resistant cancers and accompanied with other gene alterations including enhanced glucosylceramide synthase (GCS). MDR1 encodes for P-glycoprotein that extrudes anticancer drugs. Polymorphisms of MDR1 disrupt the effects of P-glycoprotein antagonists and limit the success of drug resistance reversal in clinical trials. GCS converts ceramide to glucosylceramide, reducing the impact of ceramide-induced apoptosis and increasing glycosphingolipid (GSL) synthesis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying MDR1 overexpression and how it interacts with GCS may find effective approaches to reverse drug resistance.ResultsMDR1 and GCS were coincidently overexpressed in drug-resistant breast, ovary, cervical and colon cancer cells; silencing GCS using a novel mixed-backbone oligonucleotide (MBO-asGCS) sensitized these four drug-resistant cell lines to doxorubicin. This sensitization was correlated with the decreased MDR1 expression and the increased doxorubicin accumulation. Doxorubicin treatment induced GCS and MDR1 expression in tumors, but MBO-asGCS treatment eliminated "in-vivo" growth of drug-resistant tumor (NCI/ADR-RES). MBO-asGCS suppressed the expression of MDR1 with GCS and sensitized NCI/ADR-RES tumor to doxorubicin. The expression of P-glycoprotein and the function of its drug efflux of tumors were decreased by 4 and 8 times after MBO-asGCS treatment, even though this treatment did not have a significant effect on P-glycoprotein in normal small intestine. GCS transient transfection induced MDR1 overexpression and increased P-glycoprotein efflux in dose-dependent fashion in OVCAR-8 cancer cells. GSL profiling, silencing of globotriaosylceramide synthase and assessment of signaling pathway indicated that GCS transfection significantly increased globo series GSLs (globotriaosylceramide Gb3, globotetraosylceramide Gb4) on GSL-enriched microdomain (GEM), activated cSrc kinase, decreased β-catenin phosphorylation, and increased nuclear β-catenin. These consequently increased MDR1 promoter activation and its expression. Conversely, MBO-asGCS treatments decreased globo series GSLs (Gb3, Gb4), cSrc kinase and nuclear β-catenin, and suppressed MDR-1 expression in dose-dependent pattern.ConclusionThis study demonstrates, for the first time, that GCS upregulates MDR1 expression modulating drug resistance of cancer. GSLs, in particular globo series GSLs mediate gene expression of MDR1 through cSrc and β-catenin signaling pathway.
Geographic atrophy is a blinding form of age-related macular degeneration characterized by death of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). In this disease, the RPE displays evidence of DICER1 deficiency, resultant accumulation of endogenous Alu retroelement RNA, and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. How the inflammasome is activated in this untreatable disease is largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that RPE degeneration in human cell culture and in mouse models is driven by a non-canonical inflammasome pathway that results in activation of caspase-4 (caspase-11 in mice) and caspase-1, and requires cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)-dependent interferon-β (IFN-β) production and gasdermin D-dependent interleukin-18 (IL-18) secretion. Reduction of DICER1 levelsor accumulation of Alu RNA triggers cytosolic escape of mitochondrial DNA, which engages cGAS. Moreover, caspase-4, gasdermin D, IFN-β, and cGAS levels are elevated in the RPE of human eyes with geographic atrophy. Collectively, these data highlight an unexpected role for cGAS in responding to mobile element transcripts, reveal cGAS-driven interferon signaling as a conduit for mitochondrial damage-induced inflammasome activation, expand the immune sensing repertoire of cGAS and caspase-4 to non-infectious human disease, and identify new potential targets for treatment of a major cause of blindness.
The gut microbiota shows a wide inter-individual variation, but its within-individual variation is relatively stable over time. A functional core microbiome, provided by abundant bacterial taxa, seems to be common to various human hosts regardless of their gender, geographic location, and age. With advancing chronological age, the gut microbiota becomes more diverse and variable. However, when measures of biological age are used with adjustment for chronological age, overall richness decreases, while a certain group of bacteria associated with frailty increases. This highlights the importance of considering biological or functional measures of aging. Studies using model organisms indicate that age-related gut dysbiosis may contribute to unhealthy aging and reduced longevity. The gut microbiome depends on the host nutrient signaling pathways for its beneficial effects on host health and lifespan, and gut dysbiosis disrupting the interdependence may diminish the beneficial effects or even have reverse effects. Gut dysbiosis can trigger the innate immune response and chronic low-grade inflammation, leading to many age-related degenerative pathologies and unhealthy aging. The gut microbiota communicates with the host through various biomolecules, nutrient signaling-independent pathways, and epigenetic mechanisms. Disturbance of these communications by age-related gut dysbiosis can affect the host health and lifespan. This may explain the impact of the gut microbiome on health and aging.
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a limited life-span, which is measured by the number of divisions that individual cells complete. Among the many changes that occur as yeasts age are alterations in chromatin-dependent transcriptional silencing. We have genetically manipulated histone deacetylases to modify chromatin, and we have examined the effect on yeast longevity. Deletion of the histone deacetylase gene RPD3 extended life-span. Its effects on chromatin functional state were evidenced by enhanced silencing at the three known heterochromatic regions of the genome, the silent mating type (HM), subtelomeric, and rDNA loci, which occurred even in the absence of SIR3. Similarly, the effect of the rpd3Delta on life-span did not depend on an intact Sir silencing complex. In fact, deletion of SIR3 itself had little effect on life-span, although it markedly accelerated the increase in cell generation time that is observed during yeast aging. Deletion of HDA1, another histone deacetylase gene, did not result in life-span extension, unless it was combined with deletion of SIR3. The hda1Delta sir3Delta resulted in an increase in silencing, but only at the rDNA locus. Deletion of RPD3 suppressed the loss of silencing in rDNA in a sir2 mutant; however, the silencing did not reach the level found in the rpd3Delta single mutant, and RPD3 deletion did not overcome the life-span shortening seen in the sir2 mutant. Deletion of both RPD3 and HDA1 caused a decrease in life-span, which resulted from a substantial increase in initial mortality of the population. The expression of both of these genes declines with age, providing one possible explanation for the increase in mortality during the life-span. Our results are consistent with the loss of rDNA silencing leading to aging in yeast. The functions of RPD3 and HDA1 do not overlap entirely. RPD3 exerts its effect on chromatin at additional sites in the genome, raising the possibility that events at loci other than rDNA play a role in the aging process.
Until recently, biogerontology was a backwater of biology, but progress in the qualitative and quantitative genetic analysis of longevity has led to a revolution in aging research. This research has revealed that extended longevity is frequently associated with enhanced metabolic capacity and response to stress. Moreover, it suggests that there are multiple mechanisms of aging. Because of its complexity, the aging process takes us into the realm of integrative biology, and thus, biogerontology should prove instrumental in deciphering the functional and regulatory circuitry of the sequenced genome.
Advanced cancers acquire resistance to chemotherapy, and this results in treatment failure. The cellular mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance are not well understood. Here, for the first time, we show that ceramide contributes to cellular resistance to doxorubicin through up-regulating the gene expression of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS). Ceramide, a cellular lipid messenger, modulates doxorubicin-induced cell death. GCS catalyzes ceramide glycosylation, converting ceramide to glucosylceramide; this process hastens ceramide clearance and limits ceramide-induced apoptosis. In the present study, we evaluated the role of the GCS gene in doxorubicin resistance using several paired wild-type and drug-resistant (doxorubicin-selected) cancer cell lines, including breast, ovary, cervical, and colon. GCS was overexpressed in all drug-resistant counterparts, and suppressing GCS overexpression using antisense oligonucleotide restored doxorubicin sensitivity. Characterizing the effect mechanism showed that doxorubicin exposure increased ceramide levels, enhanced GCS expression, and imparted cellular resistance. Exogenous C(6)-ceramide and sphingomyelinase treatments mimicked the influence of doxorubicin on GCS, activating the GCS promoter and up-regulating GCS gene expression. Fumonisin B(1), an inhibitor of ceramide synthesis, significantly suppressed doxorubicin-up-regulated GCS expression. Promoter truncation, point mutation, gel-shift, and protein-DNA ELISA analysis showed that transcription factor Sp1 was essential for ceramide-induced GCS up-regulation. These data indicate that ceramide-governed GCS gene expression drives cellular resistance to doxorubicin.
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