Instructor, Cardiovascular Institute
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), despite their efficacy as anticancer therapeutics, are associated with cardiovascular side effects ranging from induced arrhythmias to heart failure. We used human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), generated from 11 healthy individuals and 2 patients receiving cancer treatment, to screen U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved TKIs for cardiotoxicities by measuring alterations in cardiomyocyte viability, contractility, electrophysiology, calcium handling, and signaling. With these data, we generated a "cardiac safety index" to reflect the cardiotoxicities of existing TKIs. TKIs with low cardiac safety indices exhibit cardiotoxicity in patients. We also derived endothelial cells (hiPSC-ECs) and cardiac fibroblasts (hiPSC-CFs) to examine cell type-specific cardiotoxicities. Using high-throughput screening, we determined that vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)/platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-inhibiting TKIs caused cardiotoxicity in hiPSC-CMs, hiPSC-ECs, and hiPSC-CFs. With phosphoprotein analysis, we determined that VEGFR2/PDGFR-inhibiting TKIs led to a compensatory increase in cardioprotective insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling in hiPSC-CMs. Up-regulating cardioprotective signaling with exogenous insulin or IGF1 improved hiPSC-CM viability during cotreatment with cardiotoxic VEGFR2/PDGFR-inhibiting TKIs. Thus, hiPSC-CMs can be used to screen for cardiovascular toxicities associated with anticancer TKIs, and the results correlate with clinical phenotypes. This approach provides unexpected insights, as illustrated by our finding that toxicity can be alleviated via cardioprotective insulin/IGF signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf2584
View details for PubMedID 28202772
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5409837
Brugada syndrome (BrS), a disorder associated with characteristic electrocardiogram precordial ST-segment elevation, predisposes afflicted patients to ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death. Despite marked achievements in outlining the organ level pathophysiology of the disorder, the understanding of human cellular phenotype has lagged due to a lack of adequate human cellular models of the disorder.The objective of this study was to examine single cell mechanism of Brugada syndrome using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs).This study recruited 2 patients with type 1 BrS carrying 2 different sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 5 variants as well as 2 healthy control subjects. We generated iPSCs from their skin fibroblasts by using integration-free Sendai virus. We used directed differentiation to create purified populations of iPSC-CMs.BrS iPSC-CMs showed reductions in inward sodium current density and reduced maximal upstroke velocity of action potential compared with healthy control iPSC-CMs. Furthermore, BrS iPSC-CMs demonstrated increased burden of triggered activity, abnormal calcium (Ca(2+)) transients, and beating interval variation. Correction of the causative variant byágenome editing was performed, and resultant iPSC-CMs showed resolution of triggered activity and abnormal Ca(2+)átransients. Gene expression profiling of iPSC-CMs showed clustering of BrS compared with control subjects. Furthermore, BrS iPSC-CM gene expression correlated with gene expression from BrS human cardiac tissue gene expression.Patient-specific iPSC-CMs were able to recapitulate single-cell phenotype features of BrS, including blunted inward sodium current, increased triggered activity, and abnormal Ca(2+) handling. This novel human cellular model creates future opportunities to further elucidate the cellular disease mechanism and identify novel therapeutic targets.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.07.779
View details for PubMedID 27810048
Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is the third most prevalent cardiomyopathy in children and its pathogenesis has been associated with the developmental defect of the embryonic myocardium. We show that patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) generated from LVNC patients carrying a mutation in the cardiac transcription factor TBX20 recapitulate a key aspect of the pathological phenotype at the single-cell level and this was associated with perturbed transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?) signalling. LVNC iPSC-CMs have decreased proliferative capacity due to abnormal activation of TGF-? signalling. TBX20 regulates the expression of TGF-? signalling modifiers including one known to be a genetic cause of LVNC, PRDM16, and genome editing of PRDM16 caused proliferation defects in iPSC-CMs. Inhibition of TGF-? signalling and genome correction of the TBX20 mutation were sufficient to reverse the disease phenotype. Our study demonstrates that iPSC-CMs are a useful tool for the exploration of pathological mechanisms underlying poorly understood cardiomyopathies including LVNC.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncb3411
View details for PubMedID 27642787
Understanding individual susceptibility to drug-induced cardiotoxicity is key to improving patient safety and preventing drug attrition. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) enable the study of pharmacological and toxicological responses in patient-specific cardiomyocytes (CMs) and may serve as preclinical platforms for precision medicine. Transcriptome profiling in hiPSC-CMs from seven individuals lacking known cardiovascular disease-associated mutations and in three isogenic human heart tissue and hiPSC-CM pairs showed greater inter-patientávariation than intra-patient variation, verifyingáthat reprogramming and differentiation preserve patient-specific gene expression, particularly in metabolic and stress-response genes. Transcriptome-based toxicology analysis predicted and risk-stratified patient-specific susceptibility to cardiotoxicity, and functional assays in hiPSC-CMs using tacrolimus and rosiglitazone, drugs targeting pathways predicted to produce cardiotoxicity, validated inter-patient differential responses. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated pathway correction prevented drug-induced cardiotoxicity. Our data suggest that hiPSC-CMs can be used inávitro to predict and validate patient-specific drug safety and efficacy, potentially enabling future clinical approaches to precision medicine.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2016.07.006
View details for PubMedID 27545504
-The molecular regulation of heart development is regulated by cis- and trans- factors acting on the genome and epigenome. As a class of important regulatory RNAs, the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in human heart development is still poorly understood. Furthermore, factors that interact with lncRNAs in this process are not well characterized.-Utilizing RNA sequencing, we systematically define the contrasting lncRNA expression patterns between fetal and adult heart. We report that lncRNAs up-regulated in adult versus fetal heart have different sequence features and distributions. For example, the adult heart expresses more sense lncRNAs compared to fetal heart. We also report the co-expression of lncRNAs and neighboring coding genes that have important functions in heart development. Importantly, the regulation of lncRNA expression during fetal to adult heart development appears to be due in part to the coordination of specific developmental epigenetic modifications such as H3K4me1 and H3k4me3. The expression of promoter-associated lncRNAs in adult and fetal heart also appears to be related to these epigenetic states. Finally, transcription factor binding analysis suggests that lncRNAs are directly regulating cardiac gene expression during development.-We provide a systematic analysis of lncRNA control of heart development that gives clues to the roles that specific lncRNAs play in fetal and adult hearts.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.115.001264
View details for Web of Science ID 000374795800004
View details for PubMedID 26896382
The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether radiation exposure from cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is associated with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage and whether damage leads to programmed cell death and activation of genes involved in apoptosis and DNA repair.Exposure to radiation from medical imaging has become a public health concern, but whether it causes significant cell damage remains unclear.We conducted a prospective cohort study in 67 patients undergoing cardiac CTA between January 2012 and December 2013 in 2 U.S. medical centers. Median blood radiation exposure was estimated using phantom dosimetry. Biomarkers of DNA damage and apoptosis were measured by flow cytometry, whole genome sequencing, and single cell polymerase chain reaction.The median dose length product was 1,535.3 mGy?cm (969.7 to 2,674.0 mGy?cm). The median radiation dose to the blood was 29.8 mSv (18.8 to 48.8 mSv). Median DNA damage increased 3.39% (1.29% to 8.04%, pá< 0.0001) and median apoptosis increased 3.1-fold (1.4- to 5.1-fold, pá< 0.0001) post-radiation. Whole genome sequencing revealed changes in the expression of 39 transcription factors involved in the regulation of apoptosis, cell cycle, and DNA repair. Genes involved in mediating apoptosis and DNA repair were significantly changed post-radiation, including DDB2 (1.9-fold [1.5- to 3.0-fold], pá< 0.001), XRCC4 (3.0-fold [1.1- to 5.4-fold], pá= 0.005), and BAX (1.6-fold [0.9- to 2.6-fold], pá< 0.001). Exposure to radiation was associated with DNA damage (odds ratio [OR]: 1.8 [1.2 to 2.6], pá=á0.003). DNAádamage was associated with apoptosis (OR: 1.9 [1.2 to 5.1], pá< 0.0001) and gene activation (OR: 2.8 [1.2 to 6.2], pá= 0.002).Patients exposed to >7.5 mSv of radiation from cardiac CTA had evidence of DNA damage, which was associated with programmed cell death and activation of genes involved in apoptosis and DNA repair.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jcmg.2015.04.016
View details for PubMedID 26210695
?-adrenergic signaling pathways mediate key aspects of cardiac function. Its dysregulation is associated with a range of cardiac diseases, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Previously, we established an iPSC model of familial DCM from patients with a mutation in TNNT2, a sarcomeric protein. Here, we found that the ?-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol induced mature ?-adrenergic signaling in iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) but that this pathway was blunted in DCM iPSC-CMs. Although expression levels of several ?-adrenergic signaling components were unaltered between control and DCM iPSC-CMs, we found that phosphodiesterases (PDEs) 2A and PDE3A were upregulated in DCM iPSC-CMs and that PDE2A was also upregulated in DCM patient tissue. We further discovered increased nuclear localization of mutant TNNT2 and epigenetic modifications of PDE genes in both DCM iPSC-CMs and patient tissue. Notably, pharmacologic inhibition of PDE2A and PDE3A restored cAMP levels and ameliorated the impaired ?-adrenergic signaling of DCM iPSC-CMs, suggesting therapeutic potential.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2015.04.020
View details for PubMedID 26095046
High-fat diet-induced obesity (DIO) is a major contributor to type II diabetes and micro- and macro-vascular complications leading to peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Metabolic abnormalities of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) from obese individuals could potentially limit their therapeutic efficacy for PVD. The aim of this study was to compare the function of iPSC-ECs from normal and DIO mice using comprehensive in vitro and in vivo assays.Six-week-old C57Bl/6 mice were fed with a normal or high-fat diet. At 24 weeks, iPSCs were generated from tail tip fibroblasts and differentiated into iPSC-ECs using a directed monolayer approach. In vitro functional analysis revealed that iPSC-ECs from DIO mice had significantly decreased capacity to form capillary-like networks, diminished migration, and lower proliferation. Microarray and ELISA confirmed elevated apoptotic, inflammatory, and oxidative stress pathways in DIO iPSC-ECs. Following hindlimb ischaemia, mice receiving intramuscular injections of DIO iPSC-ECs had significantly decreased reperfusion compared with mice injected with control healthy iPSC-ECs. Hindlimb sections revealed increased muscle atrophy and presence of inflammatory cells in mice receiving DIO iPSC-ECs. When pravastatin was co-administered to mice receiving DIO iPSC-ECs, a significant increase in reperfusion was observed; however, this beneficial effect was blunted by co-administration of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, N(?)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester.This is the first study to provide evidence that iPSC-ECs from DIO mice exhibit signs of endothelial dysfunction and have suboptimal efficacy following transplantation in a hindlimb ischaemia model. These findings may have important implications for future treatment of PVD using iPSC-ECs in the obese population.
View details for DOI 10.1093/eurheartj/ehu411
View details for PubMedID 25368203
The development of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology has revolutionized the regenerative medicine field. This technology provides a powerful tool for disease modeling and drug screening approaches. To circumvent the risk of random integration into the host genome caused by retroviruses, non-integrating reprogramming methods have been developed. However, these techniques are relatively inefficient or expensive. The mini-intronic plasmid (MIP) is an alternative, robust transgene expression vector for reprogramming. Here we developed a single plasmid reprogramming system which carries codon-optimized (Co) sequences of the canonical reprogramming factors (Oct4, Klf4, Sox2, and c-Myc) and short hairpin RNA against p53 ("4-in-1 CoMiP"). We have derived human and mouse iPSC lines from fibroblasts by performing a single transfection. Either independently or together with an additional vector encoding for LIN28, NANOG, and GFP, we were also able to reprogram blood-derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) into iPSCs. Taken together, the CoMiP system offers a new highly efficient, integration-free, easy to use, and inexpensive methodology for reprogramming. Furthermore, the CoMIP construct is color-labeled, free of any antibiotic selection cassettes, and independent of the requirement for expression of the Epstein-Barr Virus nuclear antigen (EBNA), making it particularly beneficial for future applications in regenerative medicine.
View details for DOI 10.1038/srep08081
View details for PubMedID 25628230
Nearly 8% of the human population carries an inactivating point mutation in the gene that encodes the cardioprotective enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). This genetic polymorphism (ALDH2*2) is linked to more severe outcomes from ischemic heart damage and an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), but the underlying molecular bases are unknown. We investigated the ALDH2*2 mechanisms in a human model system of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) generated from individuals carrying the most common heterozygous form of the ALDH2*2 genotype. We showed that the ALDH2*2 mutation gave rise to elevated amounts of reactive oxygen species and toxic aldehydes, thereby inducing cell cycle arrest and activation of apoptotic signaling pathways, especially during ischemic injury. We established that ALDH2 controls cell survival decisions by modulating oxidative stress levels and that this regulatory circuitry was dysfunctional in the loss-of-function ALDH2*2 genotype, causing up-regulation of apoptosis in cardiomyocytes after ischemic insult. These results reveal a new function for the metabolic enzyme ALDH2 in modulation of cell survival decisions. Insight into the molecular mechanisms that mediate ALDH2*2-related increased ischemic damage is important for the development of specific diagnostic methods and improved risk management of CAD and may lead to patient-specific cardiac therapies.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009027
View details for PubMedID 25253673
Rationale: Viral myocarditis is a life-threatening illness that may lead to heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. A major causative agent for viral myocarditis is the B3 strain of coxsackievirus, a positive-sense RNA enterovirus. However, human cardiac tissues are difficult to procure in sufficient enough quantities for studying the mechanisms of cardiac-specific viral infection. Objective: This study examined whether human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) could be used to model the pathogenic processes of coxsackievirus-induced viral myocarditis and to screen antiviral therapeutics for efficacy. Methods and Results: Human iPSC-CMs were infected with a luciferase-expressing coxsackievirus B3 strain (CVB3-Luc). Brightfield microscopy, immunofluorescence, and calcium imaging were utilized to characterize virally-infected hiPSC-CMs for alterations in cellular morphology and calcium handling. Viral proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was quantified using bioluminescence imaging. Antiviral compounds including interferon beta 1 (IFN?1), ribavirin, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, and fluoxetine were tested for their capacity to abrogate CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs in vitro. The ability of these compounds to reduce CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was consistent with reported drug effects in previous studies. Mechanistic analyses via gene expression profiling of hiPSC-CMs infected with CVB3-Luc revealed an activation of viral RNA and protein clearance pathways after IFN?1 treatment. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that hiPSC-CMs express the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor, are susceptible to coxsackievirus infection, and can be used to predict antiviral drug efficacy. Our results suggest that the hiPSC-CM/CVB3-Luc assay is a sensitive platform that can screen novel antiviral therapeutics for their effectiveness in a high-throughput fashion.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.303810
View details for PubMedID 25015077
Viral myocarditis is a life-threatening illness that may lead to heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. A major causative agent for viral myocarditis is the B3 strain of coxsackievirus, a positive-sense RNA enterovirus. However, human cardiac tissues are difficult to procure in sufficient enough quantities for studying the mechanisms of cardiac-specific viral infection.This study examined whether human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) could be used to model the pathogenic processes of coxsackievirus-induced viral myocarditis and to screen antiviral therapeutics for efficacy.hiPSC-CMs were infected with a luciferase-expressing coxsackievirus B3 strain (CVB3-Luc). Brightfield microscopy, immunofluorescence, and calcium imaging were used to characterize virally infected hiPSC-CMs for alterations in cellular morphology and calcium handling. Viral proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was quantified using bioluminescence imaging. Antiviral compounds including interferon?1, ribavirin, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, and fluoxetine were tested for their capacity to abrogate CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs in vitro. The ability of these compounds to reduce CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was consistent with reported drug effects in previous studies. Mechanistic analyses via gene expression profiling of hiPSC-CMs infected with CVB3-Luc revealed an activation of viral RNA and protein clearance pathways after interferon?1 treatment.This study demonstrates that hiPSC-CMs express the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor, are susceptible to coxsackievirus infection, and can be used to predict antiviral drug efficacy. Our results suggest that the hiPSC-CM/CVB3-Luc assay is a sensitive platform that can screen novel antiviral therapeutics for their effectiveness in a high-throughput fashion.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.303810
View details for PubMedID 25015077
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4149868
Existing methods for human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) cardiac differentiation are efficient but require complex, undefined medium constituents that hinder further elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of cardiomyogenesis. Using hiPSCs derived under chemically defined conditions on synthetic matrices, we systematically developed an optimized cardiac differentiation strategy, using a chemically defined medium consisting of just three components: the basal medium RPMI 1640, L-ascorbic acid 2-phosphate and rice-derived recombinant human albumin. Along with small molecule-based induction of differentiation, this protocol produced contractile sheets of up to 95% TNNT2(+) cardiomyocytes at a yield of up to 100 cardiomyocytes for every input pluripotent cell and was effective in 11 hiPSC lines tested. This chemically defined platform for cardiac specification of hiPSCs will allow the elucidation of cardiomyocyte macromolecular and metabolic requirements and will provide a minimal system for the study of maturation and subtype specification.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nmeth.2999
View details for PubMedID 24930130
Coronary arteries (CAs) stem from the aorta at 2 highly stereotyped locations, deviations from which can cause myocardial ischemia and death. CA stems form during embryogenesis when peritruncal blood vessels encircle the cardiac outflow tract and invade the aorta, but the underlying patterning mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, using murine models, we demonstrated that VEGF-C-deficient hearts have severely hypoplastic peritruncal vessels, resulting in delayed and abnormally positioned CA stems. We observed that VEGF-C is widely expressed in the outflow tract, while cardiomyocytes develop specifically within the aorta at stem sites where they surround maturing CAs in both mouse and human hearts. Mice heterozygous for islet 1 (Isl1) exhibited decreased aortic cardiomyocytes and abnormally low CA stems. In hearts with outflow tract rotation defects, misplaced stems were associated with shifted aortic cardiomyocytes, and myocardium induced ectopic connections with the pulmonary artery in culture. These data support a model in which CA stem development first requires VEGF-C to stimulate vessel growth around the outflow tract. Then, aortic cardiomyocytes facilitate interactions between peritruncal vessels and the aorta. Derangement of either step can lead to mispatterned CA stems. Studying this niche for cardiomyocyte development, and its relationship with CAs, has the potential to identify methods for stimulating vascular regrowth as a treatment for cardiovascular disease.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI77483
View details for PubMedID 25271623
Pannexin1 (Panx1), a channel-forming glycoprotein is expressed in neonatal but not aged mouse skin. Histological staining of Panx1 knockout (KO) mouse skin revealed a reduction in epidermal and dermal thickness but an increase in hypodermal adipose tissue. Following dorsal skin punch biopsies, mutant mice exhibited a significant delay in wound healing. Scratch wound and proliferation assays revealed that cultured keratinocytes from KO mice were more migratory while dermal fibroblasts were more proliferative than controls. Additionally, collagen gels populated with fibroblasts from KO mice exhibited significantly reduced contraction, comparable to WT fibroblasts treated with the Panx1 blocker, probenecid. KO fibroblasts did not increase ?-smooth muscle actin expression in response to TGF-?, as is the case for differentiating WT myofibroblasts during wound contraction. We conclude that Panx1 controls cellular properties of keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts during early stages of skin development and modulates wound repair upon injury.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 12 February 2014; doi:10.1038/jid.2014.86.
View details for DOI 10.1038/jid.2014.86
View details for PubMedID 24522432
High throughput sequencing technologies have become essential in studies on genomics, epigenomics, and transcriptomics. Although sequencing information has traditionally been elucidated using a low throughput technique called Sanger sequencing, high throughput sequencing technologies are capable of sequencing multiple DNA molecules in parallel, enabling hundreds of millions of DNA molecules to be sequenced at a time. This advantage allows high throughput sequencing to be used to create large data sets, generating more comprehensive insights into the cellular genomic and transcriptomic signatures of various diseases and developmental stages. Within high throughput sequencing technologies, whole exome sequencing can be used to identify novel variants and other mutations that may underlie many genetic cardiac disorders, whereas RNA sequencing can be used to analyze how the transcriptome changes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and methylation sequencing can be used to identify epigenetic changes, whereas ribosome sequencing can be used to determine which mRNA transcripts are actively being translated. In this review, we will outline the differences in various sequencing modalities and examine the main sequencing platforms on the market in terms of their relative read depths, speeds, and costs. Finally, we will discuss the development of future sequencing platforms and how these new technologies may improve on current sequencing platforms. Ultimately, these sequencing technologies will be instrumental in further delineating how the cardiovascular system develops and how perturbations in DNA and RNA can lead to cardiovascular disease.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.300939
View details for PubMedID 23743227
In the present review, we provide an overview of connexin expression during skin development and remodeling in wound healing, and reflect on how loss- or gain-of-function connexin mutations may change cellular phenotypes and lead to diseases of the skin. We also consider the therapeutic value of targeting connexins in wound healing.
View details for DOI 10.1152/physiol.00058.2012
View details for PubMedID 23636264
Human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have received enormous attention because of their ability to differentiate into multiple cell types that demonstrate the patient's original phenotype. The use of hiPSCs is particularly valuable to the study of cardiac biology, as human cardiomyocytes are difficult to isolate and culture and have a limited proliferative potential. By deriving iPSCs from patients with heart disease and subsequently differentiating these hiPSCs to cardiomyocytes, it is feasible to study cardiac biology in vitro and model cardiac diseases. While there are many different methods for deriving hiPSCs, clinical use of these hiPSCs will require derivation by methods that do not involve modification of the original genome (non-integrative) or incorporate xeno-derived products (such as bovine serum albumin) which may contain xeno-agents. Ideally, this derivation would be carried out under chemically defined conditions to prevent lot-to-lot variability and enhance reproducibility. Additionally, derivation from cell types such as fibroblasts requires extended culture (4-6 weeks), greatly increasing the time required to progress from biopsy to hiPSC. Herein, we outline a method of culturing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and reprogramming PBMCs into hiPSCs using a non-integrative Sendai virus.
View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-62703-511-8_7
View details for PubMedID 23807788
Pannexin 1 (Panx1) is a channel-forming glycoprotein expressed in different cell types of mammalian skin. We examined the role of Panx1 in melanoma tumorigenesis and metastasis since qPCR and Western blots revealed that mouse melanocytes exhibited low levels of Panx1 while increased Panx1 expression was correlated with tumor cell aggressiveness in the isogenic melanoma cell lines (B16-F0, -F10, and -BL6). Panx1 shRNA knockdown (Panx1-KD) generated stable BL6 cell lines, with reduced dye uptake, that showed a marked increase in melanocyte-like cell characteristics including higher melanin production, decreased cell migration and enhanced formation of cellular projections. Western blotting and proteomic analyses using 2D-gel/mass spectroscopy identified vimentin and ?-catenin as two of the markers of malignant melanoma that were down-regulated in Panx1-KD cells. Xenograft Panx1-KD cells grown within the chorioallantoic membrane of avian embryos developed tumors that were significantly smaller than controls. Mouse-Alu qPCR of the excised avian embryonic organs revealed that tumor metastasis to the liver was significantly reduced upon Panx1 knockdown. These data suggest that while Panx1 is present in skin melanocytes it is up-regulated during melanoma tumor progression, and tumorigenesis can be inhibited by the knockdown of Panx1 raising the possibility that Panx1 may be a viable target for the treatment of melanoma.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M112.377176
View details for Web of Science ID 000308074600084
View details for PubMedID 22753409
Transient knock-down of the gap junction protein Cx43 by antisense and siRNA, or gap junction block with mimetic peptides, have been shown to enhance epidermal wound healing. However, patients with oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD) express mutant Cx43 that leads to a chronic reduction in gap junctional intercellular communication. To determine whether mutant Cx43 in keratinocytes would impact upon the wound healing process, we localized Cx43 in human and mouse skin tissue expressing mutant Cx43 and assessed the ability of primary keratinocytes derived from a mouse model of ODDD to proliferate, migrate and differentiate. In the epidermis from an ODDD patient and in the epidermis of mice expressing the G60S mutant or in keratinocytes obtained from mutant mice, Cx43 was frequently found within intracellular compartments and rarely localized to punctate sites of cell-cell apposition. Primary keratinocytes derived from G60S mutant mice proliferated faster but migrated similarly to keratinocytes derived from wild-type control mice. Keratinocytes derived from mutant mice expressed abundant Cx43 and higher levels of involucrin and loricrin under low calcium conditions. However, after calcium-induced differentiation, similar levels of Cx43, involucrin and loricrin were observed. Thus, we conclude that during wound healing, mutant Cx43 may enhance keratinocyte proliferation and promote early differentiation of keratinocytes.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2012.01532.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000306222700009
View details for PubMedID 22775996
Patients expressing mutations in the gene encoding the gap junction protein Cx43 suffer from a disease called oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD). Patients with ODDD are often reported to develop hair that is dry, dull, sparse, and slow growing. To evaluate the linkage between Cx43 and hair growth, structure, and follicle density we employed a mouse model of ODDD that harbors a Cx43 G60S point mutant. Regionally sparse and overall dull hair were observed in mutant mice compared with their wild-type (WT) littermates. However, histological analysis of overall hair follicle density in mutant and WT mice did not reveal any significant differences. After epilation, mutant mouse hair grew back slower, and hair growth was asynchronous. In addition, ultrastructural scanning electron microscopic imaging of hair fibers taken from mutant mice and two patients harboring the G143S mutation revealed severe cuticle weathering. Nodule formation was also observed in the proximal region of hair fibers taken from mutant mice. These results suggest that the G60S mutant mouse model mimics the hair phenotype found in at least some ODDD patients and suggests an important role for Cx43 in hair regeneration, growth, and cuticle formation.
View details for DOI 10.1038/jid.2011.183
View details for Web of Science ID 000296240100013
View details for PubMedID 21716323
Oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD) is primarily an autosomal dominant human disease caused by any one of over 60 mutations in the GJA1 gene encoding the gap junction protein Cx43. In the present study, wound healing was investigated in a G60S ODDD mutant mouse model and by using dermal fibroblasts isolated from two ODDD patients harboring the p.D3N and p.V216L mutants along with dermal fibroblasts isolated from their respective unaffected relatives. Punch biopsies revealed a delay in wound closure in the G60S mutant mice in comparison to wild-type littermates, and this delay appeared to be due to defects in the dermal fibroblasts. Although both the p.D3N and p.V216L mutants reduced gap junctional intercellular communication in human dermal fibroblasts, immunolocalization studies revealed that Cx43 gap junctions were prevalent at the cell surface of p.D3N expressing fibroblasts but greatly reduced in p.V216L expressing fibroblasts. Mutant expressing fibroblasts were further found to have reduced proliferation and migration capabilities. Finally, in response to TGF?1, mutant expressing fibroblasts expressed significantly less alpha smooth muscle actin suggesting they were inefficient in their ability to differentiate into myofibroblasts. Collectively, our results suggest that ODDD patients may have subclinical defects in wound healing due to impaired function of dermal fibroblasts.
View details for DOI 10.1002/humu.21472
View details for Web of Science ID 000288464100018
View details for PubMedID 21305658
Although there are currently 62 mutants of Cx43 (connexin43) that can cause ODDD (oculodentodigital dysplasia), only two mutants have also been reported to cause palmar plantar hyperkeratosis. To determine how mutants of Cx43 can lead to this skin disease, REKs (rat epidermal keratinocytes) were engineered to express an ODDD-associated Cx43 mutant always linked to skin disease (fs260), an ODDD-linked Cx43 mutant which has been reported to sometimes cause skin disease (fs230), Cx43 mutants which cause ODDD only (G21R, G138R), a mouse Cx43 mutant linked to ODDD (G60S), a non-disease-linked truncated Cx43 mutant that is trapped in the endoplasmic reticulum (Delta244*) or full-length Cx43. When grown in organotypic cultures, of all the mutants investigated, only the fs260-expressing REKs consistently developed a thinner stratum corneum and expressed lower levels of Cx43, Cx26 and loricrin in comparison with REKs overexpressing wild-type Cx43. REKs expressing the fs260 mutant also developed a larger organotypic vital layer after acetone-induced injury and exhibited characteristics of parakeratosis. Collectively, our results suggest that the increased skin disease burden exhibited in ODDD patients harbouring the fs260 mutant is probably due to multiple additive effects cause by the mutant during epidermal differentiation.
View details for DOI 10.1042/BJ20100155
View details for Web of Science ID 000280625400006
View details for PubMedID 20515445
Pannexin (Panx) 1 and Panx3 are integral membrane proteins that share some sequence homology with the innexin family of invertebrate gap junctions. They are expressed in mammalian skin. Pannexins have been reported to form functional mechanosensitive single-membrane channels, but their importance in regulating cellular function is poorly understood. In this study, Panx1 and Panx3 were detected in the epidermis of 13.5 day embryonic mice. Compared with newborn mice, there was less Panx1 expression in both thin and thick murine skin, whereas Panx3 expression was unchanged. To investigate the role of pannexins in keratinocyte differentiation, we employed rat epidermal keratinocytes (REKs) that have the capacity to differentiate into organotypic epidermis, and engineered them to overexpress Panx1, Panx1-GFP or Panx3. The expression of Panx1 or Panx3 resulted in the increased ability of REKs to take up dye, suggesting that cell-surface channels were formed. Compared with monolayer REKs, endogenous Panx1 levels remained unchanged, whereas the 70 kDa immunoreactive species of Panx3 was greatly increased in the organotypic epidermis. In monolayer cultures, ectopic Panx1 and Panx1-GFP localized to the plasma membrane, whereas Panx3 displayed both intracellular and plasma-membrane profiles. Although both pannexins reduced cell proliferation, only Panx1 disrupted the architecture of the organotypic epidermis and markedly dysregulated cytokeratin 14 expression and localization. Furthermore, ectopic expression of only Panx1 reduced the vital layer thickness of the organotypic epidermis. In summary, Panx1 and Panx3 are coexpressed in the mammalian epidermis, and the regulation of Panx1 plays a key role in keratinocyte differentiation.
View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.056093
View details for Web of Science ID 000276568200019
View details for PubMedID 20332104
Pannexins (Panx) are a class of integral membrane proteins that have been proposed to exhibit characteristics similar to those of connexin family members. In this study, we utilized Cx43-positive BICR-M1R(k) cells to stably express Panx1, Panx3, or Panx1-green fluorescent protein (GFP) to assess their trafficking, cell surface dynamics, and interplay with the cytoskeletal network. Expression of a Sar1 dominant negative mutant revealed that endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi transport of Panx1 and Panx3 was mediated via COPII-dependent vesicles. Distinct from Cx43-GFP, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching studies revealed that both Panx1-GFP and Panx3-GFP remained highly mobile at the cell surface. Unlike Cx43, Panx1-GFP exhibited no detectable interrelationship with microtubules. Conversely, cytochalasin B-induced disruption of microfilaments caused a severe loss of cell surface Panx1-GFP, a reduction in the recoverable fraction of Panx1-GFP that remained at the cell surface, and a decrease in Panx1-GFP vesicular transport. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation and co-sedimentation assays revealed actin as a novel binding partner of Panx1. Collectively, we conclude that although Panx1 and Panx3 share a common endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi secretory pathway to Cx43, their ultimate cell surface residency appears to be independent of cell contacts and the need for intact microtubules. Importantly, Panx1 has an interaction with actin microfilaments that regulates its cell surface localization and mobility.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M109.082008
View details for Web of Science ID 000275553700064
View details for PubMedID 20086016
The epidermis is a complex tissue composed principally of differentiated keratinocytes that form a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. The gap junction proteins, connexins (Cx), are differentially expressed throughout the stratified layers of the epidermis and their exquisite regulation appears to govern the delicate balance between cell proliferation and differentiation in normal skin homeostasis and in wound healing. In the last 10 years, germ line mutations in the genes encoding five connexin family members have been linked to various types of skin diseases that appear to offset the balance between keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation. Consequently, in order to determine how these connexin gene mutations manifest as skin disease, disease-linked mutants must be expressed in 3D organotypic epidermis reference models that attempt to mimic the human condition. Given the complexity of organotypic epidermis, confocal optical and biochemical dissection of connexin or disease-linked connexin mutants within the regenerated epidermal layer is required. The procedures necessary to assess the architectural characteristics of genetically modified organotypic epidermis and its state of differentiation will be described in this chapter.
View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-60761-380-0_22
View details for PubMedID 19908013
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is a dynamic molecule, having a short half-life of only a few hours. In this study, we use fluorescent-protein-tagged Cx43 variants to examine Cx43 delivery to the cell surface, its residency status in various cell-surface membrane domains and its mobility characteristics. Rapid time-lapse imaging led to the identification of Cx43 being delivered to cell-surface domains that lacked a contacting cell, and also to its localization within membrane protrusions. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) was used to investigate the mobility state of cell-surface-localized Cx43. Cx43 mobility within clustered cell-surface profiles of Cx43 could be categorized into those with generally a high degree of lateral mobility and those with generally a low degree of lateral mobility. Cx43 mobility was independent of cluster size, yet the C-terminal domain of Cx43 regulated the proportion of gap-junction-like clusters that acquired a low Cx43 mobility state. Collectively, these studies show that Cx43 establishes residency at all cell-surface membrane domains, and progressively acquires assembly states that probably reflect differences in either channel packing and/or its interactions with Cx43-binding proteins.
View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.036970
View details for Web of Science ID 000263071700014
View details for PubMedID 19174466
More than 40 mutations in the GJA1 gene encoding connexin43 (Cx43) have been linked to oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD), a pleiotropic, autosomal dominant disorder. We hypothesized that even with a significant reduction in the levels of Cx43 in a mutant mouse model of ODDD (Gja1(Jrt/+)) harbouring a G60S mutation (Cx43(G60S)), cardiomyocyte function may only be moderately compromised given that a majority of mutant mice typically survive.Western blotting and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in conjunction with immunofluorescence were used to assess the expression and localization of Cx43 in hearts and cultured cardiomyocytes from wild-type and Gja1(Jrt/+) mice. Dye-coupling and dual whole cell patch-clamp recordings were also used to assess the gap junction channel status in cultured cardiomyocytes from wild-type and mutant mice. Cardiac tissue from adult Gja1(Jrt/+) mice revealed a 60-80% reduction in Cx43 protein with a preferential loss of the highly phosphorylated forms of Cx43. Compensation via the up-regulation of Cx40 or Cx45 was not observed. Immunofluorescent analysis of cultured cardiomyocytes revealed a trafficking defect, with a decrease in Cx43 plaques and a large population of Cx43 being retained in the Golgi apparatus. However, cultured cardiomyocytes from mutant mice remained beating with a 50% decrease in coupling conductance.These results suggest that the Cx43(G60S) mutant impairs normal trafficking and function of co-expressed Cx43 with no dramatic effect on cardiomyocyte function, suggesting that Cx43 is biosynthesized in excess of an essential need.
View details for DOI 10.1093/cvr/cvn203
View details for Web of Science ID 000260973500011
View details for PubMedID 18678643