Peptides (v.81, #C)

Bovine ovarian cells have (pro)renin receptors and prorenin induces resumption of meiosis in vitro by Andressa Minussi Pereira Dau; Eduardo Pradebon da Silva; Paulo Roberto Antunes da Rosa; Felipe Tusi Bastiani; Karina Gutierrez; Gustavo Freitas Ilha; Fabio Vasconcellos Comim; Paulo Bayard Dias Gonçalves (1-8).
The discovery of a receptor that binds prorenin and renin in human endothelial and mesangial cells highlights the possible effect of renin-independent prorenin in the resumption of meiosis in oocytes that was postulated in the 1980s.This study aimed to identify the (pro)renin receptor in the ovary and to assess the effect of prorenin on meiotic resumption. The (pro)renin receptor protein was detected in bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes, theca cells, granulosa cells, and in the corpus luteum. Abundant (pro)renin receptor messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was detected in the oocytes and cumulus cells, while prorenin mRNA was identified in the cumulus cells only. Prorenin at concentrations of 10−10, 10−9, and 10−8  M incubated with oocytes co-cultured with follicular hemisections for 15 h caused the resumption of oocyte meiosis. Aliskiren, which inhibits free renin and receptor-bound renin/prorenin, at concentrations of 10−7, 10−5, and 10−3  M blocked this effect (P  < 0.05). To determine the involvement of angiotensin II in prorenin-induced meiosis resumption, cumulus-oocyte complexes and follicular hemisections were treated with prorenin and with angiotensin II or saralasin (angiotensin II antagonist). Prorenin induced the resumption of meiosis independently of angiotensin II. Furthermore, cumulus-oocyte complexes cultured with forskolin (200 μM) and treated with prorenin and aliskiren did not exhibit a prorenin-induced resumption of meiosis (P  < 0.05). Only the oocytes’ cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels seemed to be regulated by prorenin and/or forskolin treatment after incubation for 6 h. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to identify the (pro)renin receptor in ovarian cells and to demonstrate the independent role of prorenin in the resumption of oocyte meiosis in cattle.
Keywords: Aliskiren; Angiotensin II; Saralasin; Prorenin; Oocyte; Cumulus cell;

Hypocretinergic system in the medial preoptic area promotes maternal behavior in lactating rats by Mayda Rivas; Pablo Torterolo; Annabel Ferreira; Luciana Benedetto (9-14).
Hypocretin-1 and 2 (HCRT-1 and HCRT-2, respectively) are neuropeptides synthesized by neurons located in the postero-lateral hypothalamus, whose projections are widely distributed throughout the brain. The hypocretinergic (HCRTergic) system has been associated with the generation and maintenance of wakefulness, as well as with the promotion of motivated behaviors. In lactating rats, intra-cerebroventricular HCRT-1 administration stimulates maternal behavior, whilst lactation per se increases the expression of HCRT type 1 receptor (HCRT-R1). Due to the fact that HCRTergic receptors are expressed in the medial preoptic area (mPOA), a region critically involved in maternal behavior, we hypothesize that HCRT-1 promotes maternal behavior acting on this region. In order to evaluate this hypothesis, we assessed the maternal behavior of lactating rats following microinjections of HCRT-1 (10 or 100 μM) and the selective HCRT-R1 antagonist SB-334867 (250 μM) into the mPOA, during the first and second postpartum weeks. While intra-mPOA microinjections of HCRT-1 (100 μM) increased corporal pup licking during the second postpartum week, the blockade of HCRT-R1 significantly decreased active components of maternal behavior, such as retrievals, corporal and ano-genital lickings, and increased the time spent in nursing postures in both postpartum periods. We conclude that HCRTergic system in the mPOA may stimulate maternal behavior, suggesting that endogenous HCRT-1 is necessary for the natural display of this behavior.
Keywords: Hypocretin; Orexin; Hypothalamus; Neuropeptide; Lactation;

Im10A, a short conopeptide isolated from Conus imperialis and possesses two highly concentrated disulfide bridges and analgesic activity by Shuo Yu; Tianpeng Du; Zhuguo Liu; Qiaoling Wu; Guixue Feng; Mingxin Dong; Xiaowei Zhou; Ling Jiang; Qiuyun Dai (15-20).
In the present study, we isolated, synthesized and NMR structurally characterized a novel conopeptide Im10A consisting of 11 amino acids (NTICCEGCMCY-NH2) from Conus imperialis. Unlike other conopeptides with four cysteine residues, Im10A had only two residues in loop 1 and one residue in loop 2 (CC-loop1-C-loop2-C), which formed a stable disulfide connectivity “I-IV, II- III” (framework X) with a type I β-turn. Interestingly, Im10A exhibited 50.7% analgesic activity on rat partial sciatic nerve ligation (PNL) at 2 h after Im10A administration. However, 10 μM Im10A exhibited no apparent effect on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, and it did not target DRG voltage-dependent sodium, potassium and calcium ion channels and opioid receptor. To our knowledge, Im10A had the most concentrated disulfide bridges among conopeptides with four cysteine residues. This finding provided a new motif for the future development of biomimetic compounds.
Keywords: Conopeptide; Im10A; Isolation; Synthesis; NMR structure; Analgesic activity;

Anti-infective efficacy of the lactoferrin-derived antimicrobial peptide HLR1r by Camilla Björn; Margit Mahlapuu; Inger Mattsby-Baltzer; Joakim Håkansson (21-28).
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have emerged as a new class of drug candidates for the treatment of infectious diseases. Here we describe a novel AMP, HLR1r, which is structurally derived from the human milk protein lactoferrin and demonstrates a broad spectrum microbicidal action in vitro. The minimum concentration of HLR1r needed for killing ≥99% of microorganisms in vitro, was in the range of 3–50 μg/ml for common Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and for the yeast Candida albicans, when assessed in diluted brain-heart infusion medium. We found that HLR1r also possesses anti-inflammatory properties as evidenced by inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion from human monocyte-derived macrophages and by repression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) secretion from human mesothelial cells, without any cytotoxic effect observed at the concentration range tested (up to 400 μg/ml). HLR1r demonstrated pronounced anti-infectious effect in in vivo experimental models of cutaneous candidiasis in mice and of excision wounds infected with MRSA in rats as well as in an ex vivo model of pig skin infected with S. aureus. In conclusion, HLR1r may constitute a new therapeutic alternative for local treatment of skin infections.
Keywords: AMP; Wound infection; Antibiotic resistance; Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; Candida albicans;

Adropin reduces paracellular permeability of rat brain endothelial cells exposed to ischemia-like conditions by Changjun Yang; Kelly M. DeMars; Kimberly E. Hawkins; Eduardo Candelario-Jalil (29-37).
Adropin is a peptide encoded by the energy homeostasis associated gene (Enho) and plays a critical role in the regulation of lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and endothelial function. Little is known of the effects of adropin in the brain and whether this peptide modulates ischemia-induced blood-brain barrier (BBB) injury. Here, we used an in vitro BBB model of rat brain microvascular endothelial cells (RBE4) and hypothesized that adropin would reduce endothelial permeability during ischemic conditions. To mimic ischemic conditions in vitro, RBE4 cell monolayers were subjected to 16 h hypoxia/low glucose (HLG). This resulted in a significant increase in paracellular permeability to FITC-labeled dextran (40 kDa), a dramatic upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and the loss of junction proteins occludin and VE-cadherin. Notably, HLG also significantly decreased Enho expression and adropin levels. Treatment of RBE4 cells with synthetic adropin (1, 10 and 100 ng/ml) concentration-dependently reduced endothelial permeability after HLG, but this was not mediated through protection to junction proteins or through reduced levels of VEGF. We found that HLG dramatically increased myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) phosphorylation in RBE4 cells, which was significantly reduced by adropin treatment. We also found that HLG significantly increased Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) activity, a critical upstream effector of MLC2 phosphorylation, and that adropin treatment attenuated that effect. These data indicate that treatment with adropin reduces endothelial cell permeability after HLG insult by inhibition of the ROCK-MLC2 signaling pathway. These promising findings suggest that adropin protects against endothelial barrier dysfunction during ischemic conditions.
Keywords: Adropin; Hypoxia; Paracellular permeability; Tight junction proteins; Adherens junction protein; Myosin light chain 2; Rho-associated kinase;

Brain-specific natriuretic peptide receptor-B deletion attenuates high-fat diet-induced visceral and hepatic lipid deposition in mice by Yui Yamashita; Nobuko Yamada-Goto; Goro Katsuura; Yukari Ochi; Yugo Kanai; Yuri Miyazaki; Koichiro Kuwahara; Naotetsu Kanamoto; Masako Miura; Akihiro Yasoda; Kousaku Ohinata; Nobuya Inagaki; Kazuwa Nakao (38-50).
C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) and its receptor, natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B), are abundantly distributed in the hypothalamus. To explore the role of central CNP/NPR-B signaling in energy regulation, we generated mice with brain-specific NPR-B deletion (BND mice) by crossing Nestin-Cre transgenic mice and mice with a loxP-flanked NPR-B locus. Brain-specific NPR-B deletion prevented body weight gain induced by a high-fat diet (HFD), and the mesenteric fat and liver weights were significantly decreased in BND mice fed an HFD. The decreased liver weight in BND mice was attributed to decreased lipid accumulation in the liver, which was confirmed by histologic findings and lipid content. Gene expression analysis revealed a significant decrease in the mRNA expression levels of CD36, Fsp27, and Mogat1 in the liver of BND mice, and uncoupling protein 2 mRNA expression was significantly lower in the mesenteric fat of BND mice fed an HFD than in that of control mice. This difference was not observed in the epididymal or subcutaneous fat. Although previous studies reported that CNP/NPR-B signaling inhibits SNS activity in rodents, SNS is unlikely to be the underlying mechanism of the metabolic phenotype observed in BND mice.Taken together, CNP/NPR-B signaling in the brain could be a central factor that regulates visceral lipid accumulation and hepatic steatosis under HFD conditions. Further analyses of the precise mechanisms will enhance our understanding of the contribution of the CNP/NPR-B system to energy regulation.
Keywords: Natriuretic peptide; Obesity; Visceral fat; Hepatic steatosis; Guanylyl cyclase;