Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) agonists induce a subset of TLR4-inducible proinflammatory genes, which suggests the use of differential signaling pathways. Murine macrophages stimulated with the TLR4 agonist Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS), but not with TLR2 agonists, induced phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1alpha (STAT1alpha) and STAT1beta, which was blocked by antibodies to interferon beta (IFN-beta) but not IFN-alpha. All TLR2 agonists poorly induced IFN-beta, which is encoded by an immediate early LPS-inducible gene. Thus, the failure of TLR2 agonists to induce STAT1-dependent genes resulted, in part, from their inability to express IFN-beta. TLR4-induced IFN-beta mRNA was MyD88- and PKR (double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase)-independent, but TIRAP (Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain-containing adapter protein)-dependent. Together, these findings provide the first mechanistic basis for differential patterns of gene expression activated by TLR4 and TLR2 agonists.
We analyzed a new hypomorphic mouse model containing a targeted intronic insertion of a neomycin cassette within the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) locus. Mice with two hypomorphic (mTORΔ/Δ) alleles are viable but express mTOR at approximately 25% of wild type levels. These animals demonstrate reduced mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity and exhibit an approximate 20% increase in median survival. While mTORΔ/Δ mice are smaller than wild type mice, these animals do not demonstrate any alterations in normalized food intake, glucose homeostasis or metabolic rate. Consistent with their increased lifespan, mTORΔ/Δ mice exhibited a reduction in a number of aging tissue biomarkers. Functional assessment suggested that as mTORΔ/Δ mice age, they exhibit a marked functional preservation in many but not all organ systems. Thus, in a mammalian model, while reducing mTOR expression markedly increases overall lifespan, it affects the age-dependent decline in tissue and organ function in a segmental fashion.
We identified previously a patient with recurrent bacterial infections who failed to respond to gram-negative LPS in vivo, and whose leukocytes were profoundly hyporesponsive to LPS and IL-1 in vitro. We now demonstrate that this patient also exhibits deficient responses in a skin blister model of aseptic inflammation. A lack of IL-18 responsiveness, coupled with diminished LPS and/or IL-1–induced nuclear factor–κB and activator protein-1 translocation, p38 phosphorylation, gene expression, and dysregulated IL-1R–associated kinase (IRAK)–1 activity in vitro support the hypothesis that the defect lies within the signaling pathway common to toll-like receptor 4, IL-1R, and IL-18R. This patient expresses a “compound heterozygous” genotype, with a point mutation (C877T in cDNA) and a two-nucleotide, AC deletion (620–621del in cDNA) encoded by distinct alleles of the IRAK-4 gene (GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ accession nos. AF445802 and AY186092). Both mutations encode proteins with an intact death domain, but a truncated kinase domain, thereby precluding expression of full-length IRAK-4 (i.e., a recessive phenotype). When overexpressed in HEK293T cells, neither truncated form augmented endogenous IRAK-1 kinase activity, and both inhibited endogenous IRAK-1 activity modestly. Thus, IRAK-4 is pivotal in the development of a normal inflammatory response initiated by bacterial or nonbacterial insults.
Mammalian TOR (mTOR) regulates cell growth, proliferation, and migration. Because mTOR knock-outs are embryonic lethal, we generated a viable hypomorphic mouse by neo-insertion that partially disrupts mTOR transcription and creates a potential physiologic model of mTORC1/ TORC2 inhibition. Homozygous knock-in mice exhibited reductions in body, organ, and cell size. Although reductions in most organ sizes were proportional to decreased body weight, spleens were disproportionately smaller. Decreases in the total number of T cells, particularly memory cells, and reduced responses to chemokines suggested alterations in T-cell homing/homeostasis. T-cell receptor-stimulated T cells proliferated less, produced lower cytokine levels, and expressed FoxP3. Decreased neutrophil numbers were also observed in the spleen, despite normal development and migration in the bone marrow. However, B-cell effects were most pronounced, with a partial block in B-cell development in the bone marrow, altered splenic populations, and decreases in proliferation, antibody production, and migration to chemokines. Moreover, increased AKT Ser473 phosphorylation was observed in activated B cells, reminiscent of cancers treated with rapamycin, and was reduced by a DNA-pk inhibitor. Thus, mTOR is required for the maturation and differentiation of multiple immune cell lineages. These mice provide a novel platform for studying the consequences of constitutively reduced mTORC1/TORC2 activity. IntroductionThe mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is part of a conserved pathway regulating fundamental physiologic functions, including nutrient sensing and metabolism, and cell growth, proliferation, and migration. mTOR forms 2 protein complexes: one with RAPTOR, mLST8(G␤L), and PRAS40 to form TOR complex 1 (mTORC1) involved in phosphorylating S6K and 4EBP1, 1,2 and a second with RICTOR, mLST8(G␤L), SIN1, and PROTOR to form TOR complex 2 (mTORC2), which phosphorylates AKT on Ser473.  In yeast, TOR controls cell proliferation and size. 5,6 In Drosophila, inactivation of dTOR results in lethality and reduced embryo size. 7,8 Genetically targeting the kinase domain of murine mTOR for inactivation results in embryonic lethality, 9-11 although deletions in the C terminal portion yield mice that are normal and fertile. 11 ENU-mutagenesis screens uncovered an additional embryonic lethal mutation of mTOR, resulting in flat-top embryos lacking telencephalons resulting from limited neuroectodermal cell proliferation. 10,12 Knockouts of Raptor or Sin1 13 result in early embryonic lethality, whereas those of Rictor and mLST8(G␤L) lead to late embryonic lethality and defective vascular development. mTOR signaling/function has been deduced from studies with rapamycin, which associates with FKBP12, 14 and together binds mTOR to destabilize mTORC1. Although originally thought to affect only mTORC1, long-term treatment with rapamycin can also affect mTORC2. 15 Rapamycin and numerous rapalogs are potent immunosuppressants used in cancer chemotherapy and bone marro...
The transcription factor MYC plays a pivotal role in cancer initiation, progression, and maintenance. However, it has proven difficult to develop small molecule inhibitors of MYC. One attractive route to pharmacological inhibition of MYC has been the prevention of its expression through small molecule-mediated stabilization of the G-quadruplex (G4) present in its promoter. Although molecules that bind globally to quadruplex DNA and influence gene expression are well-known, the identification of new chemical scaffolds that selectively modulate G4-driven genes remains a challenge. Here, we report an approach for the identification of G4-binding small molecules using small molecule microarrays (SMMs). We use the SMM screening platform to identify a novel G4-binding small molecule that inhibits MYC expression in cell models, with minimal impact on the expression of other G4-associated genes. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and thermal melt assays demonstrated that this molecule binds reversibly to the MYC G4 with single digit micromolar affinity, and with weaker or no measurable binding to other G4s. Biochemical and cell-based assays demonstrated that the compound effectively silenced MYC transcription and translation via a G4-dependent mechanism of action. The compound induced G1 arrest and was selectively toxic to MYC-driven cancer cell lines containing the G4 in the promoter but had minimal effects in peripheral blood mononucleocytes or a cell line lacking the G4 in its MYC promoter. As a measure of selectivity, gene expression analysis and qPCR experiments demonstrated that MYC and several MYC target genes were downregulated upon treatment with this compound, while the expression of several other G4-driven genes was not affected. In addition to providing a novel chemical scaffold that modulates MYC expression through G4 binding, this work suggests that the SMM screening approach may be broadly useful as an approach for the identification of new G4-binding small molecules.
Notch signaling is essential to the regulation of cell differentiation, and aberrant activation of this pathway is implicated in human fibrotic diseases, such as pulmonary, renal, and peritoneal fibrosis. However, the role of Notch signaling in hepatic fibrosis has not been fully investigated. In the present study, we show Notch signaling to be highly activated in a rat model of liver fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), as indicated by increased expression of Jagged1, Notch3, and Hes1. Blocking Notch signaling activation by a γ-secretase inhibitor, DAPT, significantly attenuated liver fibrosis and decreased the expression of snail, vimentin, and TGF-β1 in association with the enhanced expression of E-cadherin. The study in vitro revealed that DAPT treatment could suppress the EMT process of rat hepatic stellate cell line (HSC-T6). Interestingly, DAPT treatment was found not to affect hepatocyte proliferation in vivo. In contrast, DAPT can inhibit hepatocyte apoptosis to some degree. Our study provides the first evidence that Notch signaling is implicated in hepatic fibrogenesis and DAPT treatment has a protective effect on hepatocytes and ameliorates liver fibrosis. These findings suggest that the inhibition of Notch signaling might present a novel therapeutic approach for hepatic fibrosis.
Generation of high-affinity Abs in response to Ags/infectious agents is essential for developing long-lasting immune responses. B cell maturation and Ab responses to Ag stimulation require Ig somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class-switch recombination (CSR) for high-affinity responses. Upon immunization with either the model Ag 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl hapten (NP) conjugated to chicken γ globulin lysine (NP-CGG) or heat-killed Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular type 14 protein (Pn14), knock-in (KI) mice hypomorphic for mTOR function had a decreased ability to form germinal centers, develop high-affinity anti-NP–specific or anti-Pn14–specific Abs, and perform SHM/CSR. Hypomorphic mTOR mice also had a high mortality (40%) compared with wild-type (WT) (0%) littermates and had lower pneumococcal surface protein A–specific Ab titers when immunized and challenged with live S. pneumoniae infection. Mice with mTOR deleted in their B cell lineage (knockout [KO]) also produced fewer splenic germinal centers and decreased high-affinity Ab responses to NP-CGG than did their WT littermates. CSR rates were lower in mTOR KI and KO mice, and pharmacologic inhibition of mTOR in WT B cells resulted in decreased rates of ex vivo CSR. RNA and protein levels of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a protein essential for SHM and CSR, were lower in B cells from both KI and B cell–specific KO mice, concomitant with increases in phosphorylated AKT and FOXO1. Rescue experiments increasing AID expression in KI B cells restored CSR levels to those in WT B cells. Thus, mTOR plays an important immunoregulatory role in the germinal center, at least partially through AID signaling, in generating high-affinity Abs.
G-quadruplexes (G4s) are noncanonical DNA structures that frequently occur in the promoter regions of oncogenes, such as MYC, and regulate gene expression. Although G4s are attractive therapeutic targets, ligands capable of discriminating between different G4 structures are rare. Here, we describe DC-34, a small molecule that potently downregulates MYC transcription in cancer cells by a G4-dependent mechanism. Inhibition by DC-34 is significantly greater for MYC than other G4-driven genes. We use chemical, biophysical, biological, and structural studies to demonstrate a molecular rationale for the recognition of the MYC G4. We solve the structure of the MYC G4 in complex with DC-34 by NMR spectroscopy and illustrate specific contacts responsible for affinity and selectivity. Modification of DC-34 reveals features required for G4 affinity, biological activity, and validates the derived NMR structure. This work advances the design of quadruplex-interacting small molecules to control gene expression in therapeutic areas such as cancer.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2024 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.