Peptides (v.75, #C)

The protective and anti-inflammatory effects of glucagon-like peptide-2 in an experimental rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis by Kazuhiko Nakame; Tatsuru Kaji; Motoi Mukai; Shin Shinyama; Hiroshi Matsufuji (1-7).
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating gastrointestinal disease, that affects premature infants. Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) is an intestinotrophic hormone and reduces the inflammation. We suspected that GLP-2 would have protective and anti-inflammatory effects in an experimental rat model of NEC. NEC was induced in newborn rats by enteral feeding with hyperosmolar formula, asphyxial stress and enteral administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Rats were randomly divided into the following four groups: dam-fed, NEC, NEC + GLP-2(L) given 80 μg/kg/day of GLP-2, and NEC + GLP-2(H) given 800 μg/kg/day of GLP-2. GLP-2 was administered subcutaneously every 6 h before stress. All animals surviving beyond 96 h or any that developed signs of distress were euthanized. The clinical sickness score in the NEC + GLP-2(H) group was significantly lower than that in the NEC group. The NEC score and the survival rate in the NEC + GLP-2(H) group was significantly improved compared with those in the NEC and the NEC + GLP-2(L) groups. Villous height and crypt depth in both the GLP-2 treatment groups were significantly increased compared with those in the NEC group. There were no significant differences in the crypt cell proliferation indices among the groups. Ileal interstitial TNF-α and IL-6 level in the NEC + GLP-2(H) group was decreased to the same levels in the dam-fed group. High dose GLP-2 administration improved the incidence and survival rate for NEC. It also decreased mucosal inflammatory cytokine production. These results support a potential therapeutic role for GLP-2 in the treatment of NEC.
Keywords: NEC; GLP-2; Inflammation; Cytokines; Neonate;

Novel chiral-diazepines function as specific, selective receptor agonists with variable coupling and species variability in human, mouse and rat BRS-3 receptor cells by Irene Ramos-Álvarez; Taichi Nakamura; Samuel A. Mantey; Paola Moreno; Bernardo Nuche-Berenguer; Robert T. Jensen (8-17).
Bombesin receptor subtype-3 (BRS-3) is an orphan G-protein coupled receptor which is classified in the bombesin receptor (BnR) family with which it shares high homology. It is present widely in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues and primarily receptor-knockout studies suggest it is involved in metabolic-glucose-insulin homeostasis, feeding and other CNS behaviors, gastrointestinal motility and cancer growth. However, the role of BRS-3 physiologically or in pathologic disorders has been not well defined because the natural ligand is unknown. Until recently, no selective agonists/antagonists were available; however, recently synthetic high-affinity agonists, chiral-diazepines nonpeptide-analogs (3F, 9D, 9F, 9G) with low CNS penetrance, were described, but are not well-categorized pharmacologically or in different labarotory species. The present study characterizes the affinities, potencies, selectivities of the chiral-diazepine BRS-3 agonists in human and rodents (mice,rat). In human BRS-3 receptors, the relative affinities of the chiral-diazepines was 9G > 9D > 9F > 3F; each was selective for BRS-3. For stimulating PLC activity, in h-BRS-3 each of the four chiral diazepine analogs was fully efficacious and their relative potencies were: 9G (EC50: 9 nM) > 9D (EC50: 9.4 nM) > 9F (EC50: 39 nM) > 3F (EC50: 48 nM). None of the four chiral diazepine analogs activated r,m,h-GRPR/NMBR. The nonpeptide agonists showed marked differences from each other and a peptide agonist in receptor-coupling-stiochiometry and in affinities/potencies in different species. These results demonstrate that chiral diazepine analogs (9G, 9D, 9F, 3F) have high/affinity/potency for the BRS-3 receptor in human and rodent cells, but different coupling-relationships and species differences from a peptide agonist.
Keywords: BRS-3; Chiral diazepine; Bombesin receptor; Obesity; Diabetes; Nonpeptide agonist;

Endogenous opiates and behavior: 2014 by Richard J. Bodnar (18-70).
This paper is the thirty-seventh consecutive installment of the annual review of research concerning the endogenous opioid system. It summarizes papers published during 2014 that studied the behavioral effects of molecular, pharmacological and genetic manipulation of opioid peptides, opioid receptors, opioid agonists and opioid antagonists. The particular topics that continue to be covered include the molecular-biochemical effects and neurochemical localization studies of endogenous opioids and their receptors related to behavior (endogenous opioids and receptors), and the roles of these opioid peptides and receptors in pain and analgesia (pain and analgesia); stress and social status (human studies); tolerance and dependence (opioid mediation of other analgesic responses); learning and memory (stress and social status); eating and drinking (stress-induced analgesia); alcohol and drugs of abuse (emotional responses in opioid-mediated behaviors); sexual activity and hormones, pregnancy, development and endocrinology (opioid involvement in stress response regulation); mental illness and mood (tolerance and dependence); seizures and neurologic disorders (learning and memory); electrical-related activity and neurophysiology (opiates and conditioned place preferences (CPP)); general activity and locomotion (eating and drinking); gastrointestinal, renal and hepatic functions (alcohol and drugs of abuse); cardiovascular responses (opiates and ethanol); respiration and thermoregulation (opiates and THC); and immunological responses (opiates and stimulants).This paper is the thirty-seventh consecutive installment of the annual review of research concerning the endogenous opioid system. It summarizes papers published during 2014 that studied the behavioral effects of molecular, pharmacological and genetic manipulation of opioid peptides, opioid receptors, opioid agonists and opioid antagonists. The particular topics that continue to be covered include the molecular-biochemical effects and neurochemical localization studies of endogenous opioids and their receptors related to behavior (endogenous opioids and receptors), and the roles of these opioid peptides and receptors in pain and analgesia (pain and analgesia); stress and social status (human studies); tolerance and dependence (opioid mediation of other analgesic responses); learning and memory (stress and social status); eating and drinking (stress-induced analgesia); alcohol and drugs of abuse (emotional responses in opioid-mediated behaviors); sexual activity and hormones, pregnancy, development and endocrinology (opioid involvement in stress response regulation); mental illness and mood (tolerance and dependence); seizures and neurologic disorders (learning and memory); electrical-related activity and neurophysiology (opiates and conditioned place preferences (CPP)); general activity and locomotion (eating and drinking); gastrointestinal, renal and hepatic functions (alcohol and drugs of abuse); cardiovascular responses (opiates and ethanol); respiration and thermoregulation (opiates and THC); and immunological responses (opiates and stimulants).
Keywords: Morphine; Naloxone; Beta-endorphin; Enkephalin; Orphanin/nocicpetin FQ; Dynorphin; mu Opioid receptor; Delta opioid receptor; Kappa opioid receptor; Orphan opioid receptor;

The radish defensins RsAFP1 and RsAFP2 act synergistically with caspofungin against Candida albicans biofilms by Kim Vriens; Tanne L. Cools; Peta J. Harvey; David J. Craik; Annabel Braem; Jozef Vleugels; Barbara De Coninck; Bruno P.A. Cammue; Karin Thevissen (71-79).
The radish defensin RsAFP2 was previously characterized as a peptide with potent antifungal activity against several plant pathogenic fungi and human pathogens, including Candida albicans. RsAFP2 induces apoptosis and impairs the yeast-to-hypha transition in C. albicans. As the yeast-to-hypha transition is considered important for progression to mature biofilms, we analyzed the potential antibiofilm activity of recombinant (r)RsAFP2, heterologously expressed in Pichia pastoris, against C. albicans biofilms. We found that rRsAFP2 prevents C. albicans biofilm formation with a BIC-2 (i.e., the minimal rRsAFP2 concentration that inhibits biofilm formation by 50% as compared to control treatment) of 1.65 ± 0.40 mg/mL. Moreover, biofilm-specific synergistic effects were observed between rRsAFP2 doses as low as 2.5 μg/mL to 10 μg/mL and the antimycotics caspofungin and amphotericin B, pointing to the potential of RsAFP2 as a novel antibiofilm compound. In addition, we characterized the solution structure of rRsAFP2 and compared it to that of RsAFP1, another defensin present in radish seeds. These peptides have similar amino acid sequences, except for two amino acids, but rRsAFP2 is more potent than RsAFP1 against planktonic and biofilm cultures. Interestingly, as in case of rRsAFP2, also RsAFP1 acts synergistically with caspofungin against C. albicans biofilms in a comparable low dose range as rRsAFP2. A structural comparison of both defensins via NMR analysis revealed that also rRsAFP2 adopts the typical cysteine-stabilized αβ-motif of plant defensins, however, no structural differences were found between these peptides that might result in their differential antifungal/antibiofilm potency. This further suggests that the conserved structure of RsAFP1 and rRsAFP2 bears the potential to synergize with antimycotics against C. albicans biofilms.
Keywords: plant defensin; RsAFP1; RsAFP2; recombinant protein production; NMR analysis; Candida albicans; fungal biofilm;

Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) and endopeptidase that is weakly expressed in normal adult human tissues but is greatly up-regulated in activated mesenchymal cells of tumors and chronically injured tissue. The identities and locations of target substrates of FAP are poorly defined, in contrast to the related protease DPP4. This study is the first to characterize the physiological substrate repertoire of the DPP activity of endogenous FAP present in plasma. Four substrates, neuropeptide Y (NPY), peptide YY, B-type natriuretic peptide and substance P, were analyzed by mass spectrometry following proteolysis in human or mouse plasma, and by in vivo localization in human liver tissues with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). NPY was the most efficiently cleaved substrate of both human and mouse FAP, whereas all four peptides were efficiently cleaved by endogenous DPP4, indicating that the in vivo degradomes of FAP and DPP4 differ. All detectable DPP-specific proteolysis and C-terminal processing of these neuropeptides was attributable to FAP and DPP4, and plasma kallikrein, respectively, highlighting their combined physiological significance in the regulation of these neuropeptides. In cirrhotic liver and HCC, NPY and its receptor Y2R, but not Y5R, were increased in hepatocytes near the parenchymal–stromal interface where there is an opportunity to interact with FAP expressed on nearby activated mesenchymal cells in the stroma. These novel findings provide insights into the substrate specificity of FAP, which differs greatly from DPP4, and reveal a potential function for FAP in neuropeptide regulation within liver and cancer biology.
Keywords: Cancer; Dipeptidyl peptidase; Fibroblast activation protein; Kallikrein; Liver disease; Protease substrates;

Apelin-13 protects against apoptosis by activating AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in ischemia stroke by Yi Yang; Xiang-Jian Zhang; Li-Tao Li; Hai-Ying Cui; Cong Zhang; Chun-Hua Zhu; Jiang-Yong Miao (96-100).
Apelin has been proved to be protective against apoptosis induced by ischemic reperfusion. However, mechanisms whereby apelin produces neuroprotection remain to be elucidated. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master energy sensor that monitors levels of key energy metabolites. It is activated via AMPKαThr172 phosphorylation during cerebral ischemia and appears to be neuroprotective. In this study, we investigated the effect of apelin on AMPKα and tested whether apelin protecting against apoptosis was associated with AMPK signals. Focal transient cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) model in male ICR mice was induced by 60 min of ischemia followed by reperfusion. Apelin-13 was injected intracerebroventricularly 15 min before reperfusion. AMPK inhibitor, compound C, was injected to mice intraperitoneally at the onset of ischemia. In experiment 1, the effect of apelin-13 on AMPKα was measured. In experiment 2, the relevance of AMPKα and apelin-13′ effect on apoptosis was measured. Data showed that apelin-13 significantly increased AMPKα phosphorylation level after cerebral I/R. Apelin-13, with the co-administration of saline, reduced apoptosis cells, down-regulated Bax and cleaved-caspase3 and up-regulated Bcl2. However, with the co-administration of compound C, apelin-13 was inefficient in affecting apoptosis and Bax, Bcl2 and cleaved-caspase3. The study provided the evidence that apelin-13 up-regulated AMPKα phosphorylation level in cerebral ischemia insults and AMPK signals participated in the mechanism of apelin-mediated neuroprotection.
Keywords: Apoptosis; AMPK; Stroke;

Endotoxin-neutralizing activity and mechanism of action of a cationic α-helical antimicrobial octadecapeptide derived from α-amylase of rice by Masayuki Taniguchi; Akihito Ochiai; Kenta Matsushima; Koji Tajima; Tetsuo Kato; Eiichi Saitoh; Takaaki Tanaka (101-108).
We have previously reported that AmyI-1-18, an octadecapeptide derived from α-amylase (AmyI-1) of rice, is a novel cationic α-helical peptide that exhibited antimicrobial activity against human pathogens, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Propionibacterium acnes, Streptococcus mutans, and Candida albicans. In this study, to further investigate the potential functions of AmyI-1-18, we examined its inhibitory ability against the endotoxic activities of lipopolysaccharides (LPSs, smooth and Rc types) and lipid A from Escherichia coli. AmyI-1-18 inhibited the production of endotoxin-induced nitric oxide (NO), an inflammatory mediator, in mouse macrophages (RAW264) in a concentration-dependent manner. The results of a chromogenic Limulus amebocyte lysate assay illustrated that the ability [50% effective concentration (EC50): 0.17 μM] of AmyI-1-18 to neutralize lipid A was similar to its ability (EC50: 0.26 μM) to neutralize LPS, suggesting that AmyI-1-18 specifically binds to the lipid A moiety of LPS. Surface plasmon resonance analysis of the interaction between AmyI-1-18 and LPS or lipid A also suggested that AmyI-1-18 directly binds to the lipid A moiety of LPS because the dissociation constant (K D) of AmyI-1-18 with lipid A is 5.6 × 10−10  M, which is similar to that (4.3 × 10−10  M) of AmyI-1-18 with LPS. In addition, AmyI-1-18 could block the binding of LPS-binding protein to LPS, although its ability was less than that of polymyxin B. These results suggest that AmyI-1-18 expressing antimicrobial and endotoxin-neutralizing activities is useful as a safe and potent host defense peptide against pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria in many fields of healthcare.
Keywords: Endotoxin-neutralizing peptide; Multi-functional peptide; Anti-inflammatory activity; LPS-binding activity; Lipid A-binding activity;

Effect of palmitoylated prolactin-releasing peptide on food intake and neural activation after different routes of peripheral administration in rats by Barbora Mikulášková; Jana Zemenová; Zdenko Pirník; Veronika Pražienková; Lucie Bednárová; Blanka Železná; Lenka Maletínská; Jaroslav Kuneš (109-117).
Obesity is an escalating epidemic, but an effective non-invasive therapy is still scarce. For obesity treatment, anorexigenic neuropeptides are promising tools, but their delivery from the periphery to the brain is complicated by their peptide character. In order to overcome this unfavorable fact, we have applied the lipidization of neuropeptide prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP), whose strong anorexigenic effect was demonstrated. A palmitoylated analog of human PrRP (h palm-PrRP31) was injected in free-fed Wistar rats by three routes: subcutaneous (s.c.), intraperitoneal (i.p) (both 5 mg/kg) and intravenous (i.v.) (from 0.01 to 0.5 mg/kg). We found a circulating compound in the blood after all three applications with the highest concentration after i.v. administration. This corresponds to the effect on food intake, which was also strongest after i.v. injection. Moreover, this is in agreement with the fact that the expression of c-Fos in specific brain regions involved in food intake regulation was also highest after intravenous application. Pharmacokinetic data are further supported by results obtained from dynamic light scattering and CD spectroscopy. Human palm-PrRP31 analog showed a strong tendency to micellize, and formation of aggregates suggested lower availability after i.p. or s.c. application. We have demonstrated that palm-PrRP influenced food intake even in free fed rats. Not surprisingly, the maximal effect was achieved after the intravenous application even though two orders of magnitude lower dose was used compared to both two other applications. We believe that palm-PrRP could have a potential as an antiobesity drug when its s.c. application would be improved.
Keywords: Prolactin-releasing peptide; Lipidization; Food intake; c-Fos; Pharmacokinetics; CD spectroscopy;