BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease (v.1638, #1)

The ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase (E-NPP) multigene family contains five members. NPP1-3 are type II transmembrane metalloenzymes characterized by a similar modular structure composed of a short intracellular domain, a single transmembrane domain and an extracellular domain containing a conserved catalytic site. The short intracellular domain of NPP1 has a basolateral membrane-targeting signal while NPP3 is targeted to the apical surface of polarized cells. NPP4-5 detected by database searches have a predicted type I membrane orientation but have not yet been functionally characterized.E-NPPs have been detected in almost all tissues often confined to specific substructures or cell types. In some cell types, NPP1 expression is constitutive or can be induced by TGF-β and glucocorticoids, but the signal transduction pathways that control expression are poorly documented.NPP1-3 have a broad substrate specificity which may reflect their role in a host of physiological and biochemical processes including bone mineralization, calcification of ligaments and joint capsules, modulation of purinergic receptor signalling, nucleotide recycling, and cell motility. Abnormal NPP expression is involved in pathological mineralization, crystal depositions in joints, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells, and type 2 diabetes.In this review we summarize the present knowledge on the structure and the physiological and biochemical functions of E-NPP and their contribution to the pathogenesis of diseases.
Keywords: Nucleotide pyrophosphatase; Bone mineralization; Purinergic receptor signalling; Cell motility; Type 2 diabetes;

Expression of mutant and wild-type TIMP3 in primary gingival fibroblasts from Sorsby's fundus dystrophy patients by Christine E. Arris; Debra J. Bevitt; Jeseem Mohamed; Zheng Li; Kevin P. Langton; Michael D. Barker; Michael P. Clarke; Norman McKie (20-28).
Gingival fibroblast cell lines were derived from Sorsby's fundus dystrophy (SFD) patients carrying the S181C TIMP3 and the E139X TIMP3 mutations. These cell lines were grown in culture to study expression of the wild-type and mutant tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3) alleles from a normal diploid cell type. Firstly, patient cells were found to co-express the wild-type and mutant TIMP3 alleles, S181C TIMP3 or E139X TIMP3, at the mRNA level using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. A SpeI RFLP for E139X TIMP3 is described. Low levels of endogenous TIMP3 protein expression were elevated using the natural polysaccharide calcium pentosan polysulfate (CaPPs) in combination with the cytokine IL-1α. Immunoblotting detected protein expression from both wild-type and mutant alleles, S181C TIMP3 or E139X TIMP3. S181C TIMP3 from these cells was found to dimerise and retain MMP2 inhibitory activity. To facilitate studies of the E139X TIMP3 protein, the allele was expressed using HighFive insect cells. In this cell type, the E139X TIMP3 was synthesised as a mixture of monomer and dimer. Both monomeric and dimeric E139X TIMP3 protein retained MMP2 inhibitory activity in gelatin zymography. Expression of mutant E139X or S181C TIMP3 protein from a normal diploid patient-derived fibroblast cell had no effect on either MMP2 or MMP9 expression or activation whilst transcribed from their normal promoter context.
Keywords: Retinal pigment epithelium; Sorsby's fundus dystrophy; TIMP3; CaPPs; IL-1α; Metalloproteinase; Extracellular matrix;

Betaine homocysteine methyltransferase: gene cloning and expression analysis in rat liver cirrhosis by Marc Forestier; Reto Bänninger; Jürg Reichen; Marc Solioz (29-34).
It has been known for over half a century that homocysteine levels are elevated in liver cirrhosis, but the basis for it is not fully understood. Using differential display, we identified betaine homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) as a gene down-regulated in rat liver cirrhosis and most likely involved in this dysregulation. A partial BHMT clone was isolated by screening of a cDNA library with the differential display fragment. The full-length gene was generated by primer extension of cDNA. Expression levels of BHMT in cirrhotic livers of bile duct ligated rats were compared to controls by Northern and Western blotting as well as by enzyme activity measurements. BHMT mRNA levels were reduced to 29±23% in established liver cirrhosis induced by bile duct ligation (BDL) as compared to controls. Enzyme assays in crude liver homogenates showed a similar reduction in BHMT activity in bile duct ligated rat livers. By Western blotting, BHMT could be detected in crude liver homogenates of control animals, but was reduced to below the limit of detection in cirrhotic livers. In conclusion, these findings establish a reduced BHMT enzyme activity in cirrhotic rat livers, which may explain the elevated plasma homocysteine levels in cirrhosis.
Keywords: Gene regulation; Betaine homocysteine methyltransferase; Expression; Differential display;

p80 coilin, a coiled body-specific protein, interacts with ataxin-1, the SCA1 gene product by Sunghoi Hong; Sojeong Ka; Sungjo Kim; Yongjae Park; Seongman Kang (35-42).
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by ataxia and progressive motor deterioration. SCA1 is associated with an elongated polyglutamine tract in ataxin-1, the SCA1 gene product. Using the yeast two-hybrid system and co-immunoprecipitation experiments, we have found that p80 coilin, coiled body-specific protein, binds to ataxin-1. In further experiments with deletion mutants, we found that the C-terminal regions of ataxin-1 and p80 coilin were essential for this interaction. In HeLa cells that have been co-transfected with ataxin-1 and p80 coilin, the p80 coilin protein co-localizes with ataxin-1 aggregates in the nucleoplasm. However, immunohistochemical analysis and immunofluorescence assays showed that mutant ataxin-1 aggregates do not redistribute p80 coilin's dot-like structures in the Purkinje cells of SCA1 transgenic mice. This feature of the interaction between ataxin-1 and p80 coilin suggests that p80 coilin might be implicated in altering the function of ataxin-1.
Keywords: Polyglutamine; SCA1; p80 coilin; Coiled body; Yeast two-hybrid;

Functional analysis of PCCB mutations causing propionic acidemia based on expression studies in deficient human skin fibroblasts by C. Pérez-Cerdá; S. Clavero; B. Pérez; P. Rodrı́guez-Pombo; L.R. Desviat; M. Ugarte (43-49).
Propionic acidemia (PA) is a recessive disorder caused by a deficiency of propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC), a dodecameric enzyme composed of two different proteins α-PCC and β-PCC, nuclear encoded by the PCCA and PCCB genes, respectively. Mutations in either gene cause PA and to date, up to 47 different allelic variations in the PCCB gene have been identified in different populations. In this work, we describe the expression studies of 18 PCCB sequence changes in order to elucidate their functional consequences. We have used a PCCB-deficient transformed fibroblast cell line to target the wild-type and mutant proteins to their physiological situation, analysing the effect of the mutations on PCC activity and protein stability. Of the 18 mutant proteins tested for activity, those carrying the L17M and A497V substitutions showed an activity similar to the wild-type one, which proves that these changes do not have any effect on protein activity. The other 16 mutant proteins exhibited two different functional behaviours, 3 retained substantial activity (K218R, R410W and N536D), and the remaining 13 proteins showed null or very low activity. Western blot analysis demonstrated instability only for the L519P, R512C and G112D mutant proteins. We have proved the pathogenicity of R67S, R165Q and G112D mutation in PCCB gene, expressed for the first time in this work. The information derived from the expression analysis is discussed in the phenotype and genotype context in order to improve the knowledge of this complex disease.
Keywords: Propionyl-CoA carboxylase; Propionic acidemia; SV40-transformed skin human fibroblast; Expression study; Phenotype–genotype correlation;

Kinetic properties of the glucose 6-phosphatase of the liver from arthritic rats by Ana Maria Kelmer-Bracht; Carmem Patrı́cia Barbosa Santos; Emy Luiza Ishii-Iwamoto; Ana Carla Broetto-Biazon; Adelar Bracht (50-56).
According to previous reports, adjuvant-induced arthritic rats present reduced activities of the hepatic glucose 6-phosphatase. A kinetic study was done in order to characterize this phenomenon. Microsomes were isolated from livers of arthritic and control rats (Holtzman strain) and the glucose 6-phosphatase was measured at various temperatures (13–37 °C) and glucose 6-phosphate concentrations. Irrespective of the temperature, the enzyme from arthritic rats presented a reduction of both V max and K M. Detergent treatment of liver microsomes from control rats increased the activity, but no increase was found when microsomes from arthritic rats were treated in the same way. The mannose 6-phosphatase activity of detergent-treated microsomes from arthritic rats was only 25% of the activity found with detergent-treated microsomes from control rats. Without detergent treatment, the mannose 6-phosphatase activities of both control and arthritic rats were minimal. The activation energy, derived from V max, was not changed by arthritis. In vivo arthritic rats presented higher hepatic glucose 6-phosphate concentrations, a phenomenon that is consistent with a reduced activity of glucose 6-phosphatase. It was concluded that in arthritic rats, the hydrolase is probably reduced, without a similar change in the translocase activity.
Keywords: Adjuvant-induced arthritis; Liver; Microsome; Glucose 6-phosphatase; Kinetics;

Extracellular matrix and nuclear abnormalities in skeletal muscle of a patient with Walker–Warburg syndrome caused by POMT1 mutation by Patrizia Sabatelli; Marta Columbaro; Isabella Mura; Cristina Capanni; Giovanna Lattanzi; Nadir M. Maraldi; Daniel Beltràn-Valero de Barnabè; Hans van Bokoven; Stefano Squarzoni; Luciano Merlini (57-62).
Walker–Warburg syndrome (WWS) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by congenital muscular dystrophy, structural eye abnormalities and severe brain malformations. We performed an immunohistochemical and electron microscopy study of a muscle biopsy from a patient affected by WWS carrying a homozygous frameshift mutation in O-mannosyltransferase 1 gene (POMT1). α-Dystroglycan glycosylated epitope was not detected in muscle fibers and intramuscular peripheral nerves. Laminin α2 chain and perlecan were reduced in muscle fibers and well preserved in intramuscular peripheral nerves. The basal lamina in several muscle fibers showed discontinuities and detachment from the plasmalemma. Most nuclei, including myonuclei and satellite cell nuclei, showed detachment or complete absence of peripheral heterochromatin from the nuclear envelope. Apoptotic changes were detected in 3% of muscle fibers. The particular combination of basal lamina and nuclear changes may suggest that a complex pathogenetic mechanism, affecting several subcellular compartments, underlies the degenerative process in WWS muscle.
Keywords: Walker–Warburg syndrome; α-Dystroglycan; Glycosylation; Basal lamina; Chromatin;

The fundamental process of placental trophoblast cell fusion (syncytiotrophoblast formation or syncytialisation) which is a characteristic of this tissue is poorly understood. Pre-eclampsia is associated with placental hypoxia and suppressed syncytiotrophoblast formation. We therefore have studied the effect of low-oxygen tensions on the rate of cell fusion, relative abundance of mRNAs encoding syncytin and its receptor, amino acid transport system B0, which are thought to be involved in trophoblast cell fusion (as well as the activity of amino acid transport through this system) in a cell model of syncytialisation (BeWo cells following forskolin treatment). Forskolin-induced cell fusion (determined by a quantitative flow cytometry assay) was reversibly suppressed in 2% oxygen compared to 20% oxygen. This was associated with suppressed secretion of human chorionic gonadotropin. Forskolin stimulated relatively less syncytin mRNA (determined by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction) in 2% than in 20% oxygen and there was no stimulation after 48 h in 2% oxygen. There was a spontaneous, time-dependent increase of amino acid transporter B0 mRNA in vehicle, which was suppressed by 2% oxygen and by forskolin treatment in 20% oxygen. Forskolin-induced changes in amino acid transport system B0 function were not seen in cells cultured for 48 h in 2% oxygen. These observations suggest that under conditions of low ambient oxygen, dysregulation of expression of syncytin and of its receptor may suppress the normal process of cell fusion necessary for syncytiotrophoblast formation and contributes to syncytiotrophoblast abnormalities characteristic of pre-eclampsia.
Keywords: Syncytiotrophoblast; Cell fusion; Oxygen; Placenta; BeWo cell;

Vitronectin in human breast carcinomas by Mads Aaboe; Birgitte V. Offersen; Anni Christensen; Peter A. Andreasen (72-82).
We have analysed the occurrence of the extracellular glycoprotein vitronectin in carcinomas and normal tissue of human breast. Immunohistochemical analysis of carcinomas revealed a strong vitronectin accumulation in extracellular matrix (ECM) around some cancer cell clusters and in the subendothelial area of some blood vessels. In normal tissue, vitronectin had a homogeneous periductal occurrence, with local accumulation much lower than that in the carcinomas. Using a new solid phase radioligand assay, the vitronectin concentrations of extracts of carcinomas and normal breast tissue were determined and found to be indistinguishable. Comparison of the vitronectin and the hemoglobin concentrations of the extracts showed that their vitronectin content was not derived from blood contamination. Vitronectin mRNA was undetectable in both carcinomas and normal tissue. We conclude that vitronectin is not synthesised locally in breast tissue but derived by leakage from vessels, followed by extracellular accumulation in patterns distinctly different in carcinomas and normal tissue. The observation of a high vitronectin content in the carcinomas and its localisation in the tissue contributes to the clarification of the role of vitronectin in tumour biology in interaction with the plasminogen activation system and integrins.
Keywords: Breast; Carcinoma; CD34; PAI-1; Vitronectin;

Cloning genomic INGAP: a Reg-related family member with distinct transcriptional regulation sites by David A. Taylor-Fishwick; Sharon Rittman; Hidayah Kendall; Lipika Roy; Wenjing Shi; Yong Cao; Gary L. Pittenger; Aaron I. Vinik (83-89).
The protein product of hamster islet neogenesis-associated protein (INGAP) cDNA induces new pancreatic islet development. Manipulation of this process provides a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diabetes. As regulators of INGAP gene expression are unknown over 6 kb of hamster genomic INGAP has been cloned. Sequence analysis has identified a 3 kb 5-prime region with core promoter elements that is rich in transcription factor binding sites and six exons for the coding region. Analysis of promoter activity reveals stimulus-responsive DNA elements which have been identified though deletion analysis. Comparison of transcription factor binding sites in INGAP to the related gene RegIIIδ exposes potential sites for differential gene regulation.
Keywords: Diabetes; Islet; INGAP; Neogenesis; Pancreas; Gene expression; PMA;