bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒04‒25
ten papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba

  1. J Neurosci. 2021 Apr 20. pii: JN-RM-2384-20. [Epub ahead of print]
      Schwann cells produce a considerable amount of lipids and proteins to form myelin in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). For this reason, the quality control of myelin proteins is crucial to ensure proper myelin synthesis. Deletion of serine 63 from P0 (P0S63del) protein in myelin forming Schwann cells causes Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1B (CMT1B) neuropathy in humans and mice. Misfolded P0S63del accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of Schwann cells where it elicits the unfolded protein response (UPR). PERK is the UPR transducer that attenuates global translation and reduces ER stress by phosphorylating the translation initiation factor eIF2alpha. Paradoxically, Perk ablation in P0S63del Schwann cells (S63del/PerkSCKO ) reduced the level of P-eIF2alpha, leaving UPR markers upregulated, yet unexpectedly improved S63del myelin defects in vivo We therefore investigated the hypothesis that PERK may interfere with signals outside of the UPR and specifically with Calcineurin/NFATc4 pro-myelinating pathway. Using mouse genetics including females and males in our experimental setting, we show that PERK and Calcineurin interact in P0S63del nerves and that Calcineurin activity and NFATc4 nuclear localization are increased in S63del Schwann cells, without altering EGR2/KROX20 expression. Moreover, genetic manipulation of the Calcineurin subunits appears to be either protective or toxic in S63del in a context dependent manner, suggesting that Schwann cells are highly sensitive to alterations of Calcineurin activity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Our work shows a novel activity and function for Calcineurin in Schwann cells in the context of ER stress. Schwann cells expressing the S63del mutation in P0 protein induce the unfolded protein response and upregulate Calcineurin activity. Calcineurin interacts with the ER stress transducer PERK but the relationship between the UPR and Calcineurin in Schwann cells is unclear. Here we propose a protective role for Calcineurin in S63del neuropathy although Schwann cells appear to be very sensitive to its regulation. The paper uncovers a new important role for Calcineurin in a demyelinating diseases.
  2. BMC Endocr Disord. 2021 Apr 21. 21(1): 76
      BACKGROUND: Wolfram syndrome (WS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy and deafness. Mutations in Wolfram syndrome 1 (WFS1) gene may cause dysregulated endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress and cell apoptosis, contributing to WS symptoms. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular etiology of a case of WS and to explore the functional consequence of the mutant WFS1 gene in vitro.METHODS: A 27 years-old Chinese man was diagnosed as wolfram syndrome type 1 based on clinical data and laboratory data. DNA sequencing of WFS1 gene and mitochondrial m.3337G > A, m.3243A > G mutations were performed in the patient and his 4 family members. Functional analysis was performed to assessed the in vitro effect of the newly identified mutant. ER stress were evaluated by ER stress response element (ERSE)-luciferase assay. Cell apoptosis were performed by CCK-8, TUNEL staining and flow cytometric analysis.
    RESULTS: A novel heterozygous 10-base deletion (c. 2067_2076 del10, p.W690fsX706) was identified in the patient. In vitro studies showed that mutant p.W690fsX706 increased ERSE reporter activity in the presence or absence of thapsigargin instead of wild type WFS1. Knockdown of WFS1 activated the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway and increased the cell apoptosis, which could not be restored by transfection with WFS1 mutant (p.W690fsX706) comparable to the wild type WFS1.
    CONCLUSIONS: A novel heterozygous mutation of WFS1 detected in the patient resulted in loss-of-function of wolframin, thereby inducing dysregulated ER stress signaling and cell apoptosis. These findings increase the spectrum of WFS1 gene mutations and broaden our insights into the roles of mutant WFS1 in the pathogenesis of WS.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Mutation; WFS1 gene; Wolfram syndrome
  3. J Mol Endocrinol. 2021 Apr 01. pii: JME-21-0057.R1. [Epub ahead of print]
      We examined endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related gene expression in orbital tissues from patients with Graves' orbitopathy (GO) and the effects of silencing protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) in primary orbital fibroblast cultures to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of PERK-modulating agents in GO management. The expression of ER stress related genes in orbital tissue harvested from individuals with or without GO was studied using real-time polymerase chain reaction. The role of PERK in GO pathogenesis was examined through small-interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated silencing in cultured primary orbital fibroblasts. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels induced in response to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) or hydrogen peroxide were measured using 5-(and 6)-carboxy-20,70-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate staining and flow cytometry. Cells were stained with Oil Red O, and adipogenesis-related transcription factor expression was evaluated through western blotting after adipogenic differentiation. PERK, activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP)-homologous protein(CHOP)mRNA levels were significantly higher in GO orbital tissues than in non-GO orbital tissues. PERK silencing inhibited CSE- or hydrogen peroxide-induced ROS generation. After adipogenic differentiation, GO orbital fibroblasts revealed decreased lipid droplets and downregulation of C/EBPα, C/EBPβ, and peroxisome proliferator-activator gamma (PPARγ) in PERK siRNA-transfected cells. The orbital tissues of patients with GO were exposed to chronic ER stress and subsequently exhibited enhanced unfolded protein response (especially through the PERK pathway). PERK silencing reduced oxidative stress and adipogenesis in GO orbital fibroblasts in vitro. Our results imply that PERK-modulating agents can potentially be used to manage GO.
  4. Front Cell Neurosci. 2021 ;15 653688
      Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease of the motor system with complex determinants, including genetic and non-genetic factors. Despite this heterogeneity, a key pathological signature is the mislocalization and aggregation of specific proteins in the cytoplasm, suggesting that convergent pathogenic mechanisms focusing on disturbances in proteostasis are important in ALS. In addition, many cellular processes have been identified as potentially contributing to disease initiation and progression, such as defects in axonal transport, autophagy, nucleocytoplasmic transport, ER stress, calcium metabolism, the unfolded protein response and mitochondrial function. Here we review the evidence from in vitro and in vivo models of C9ORF72 and TDP-43-related ALS supporting a central role in pathogenesis for endoplasmic reticulum stress, which activates an unfolded protein response (UPR), and mitochondrial dysfunction. Disruption in the finely tuned signaling between the ER and mitochondria through calcium ions may be a crucial trigger of mitochondrial deficits and initiate an apoptotic signaling cascade, thus acting as a point of convergence for multiple upstream disturbances of cellular homeostasis and constituting a potentially important therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  ALS; C9orf72; TDP-43; UPR; calcium homeostasis; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria
  5. J Neurochem. 2021 Apr 19.
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized Sigma-1 receptor (S1R) is neuroprotective in models of neurodegenerative diseases, among them Huntington disease (HD). Recent clinical trials in HD patients and preclinical studies in cellular and mouse HD models suggest a therapeutic potential for the high-affinity S1R agonist pridopidine. However, the molecular mechanisms of the cytoprotective effect are unclear. We have previously reported strong induction of ER stress by toxic mutant huntingtin (mHtt) oligomers, which is reduced upon sequestration of these mHtt oligomers into large aggregates. Here, we show that pridopidine significantly ameliorates mHtt-induced ER stress in cellular HD models, starting at low nanomolar concentrations. Pridopidine reduced the levels of markers of the three branches of the unfolded protein response (UPR), showing the strongest effects on the PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) branch. The effect is S1R-dependent, as it is abolished in cells expressing mHtt in which the S1R was deleted using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. mHtt increased the level of the detergent-insoluble fraction of S1R, suggesting a compensatory cellular mechanism that responds to increased ER stress. Pridopidine further enhanced levels of insoluble S1R, suggesting the stabilization of activated S1R oligomers. These S1R oligomeric species appeared in ER-localized patches, and not in the mitochondria-associated membranes nor the ER-derived quality control compartment. The colocalization of S1R with the chaperone BiP was significantly reduced by mHtt, and pridopidine restored this colocalization to normal, unstressed levels. Pridopidine increased toxic oligomeric mHtt recruitment into less toxic large SDS-insoluble aggregates, suggesting that this in turn reduces ER stress and cytotoxicity.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Huntington disease; Sigma-1 receptor; neurodegeneration; unfolded protein response
  6. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 20.
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) has been shown to activate the eIF2α kinase PERK to directly regulate translation initiation. Tight control of PERK-eIF2α signaling has been shown to be necessary for normal long-lasting synaptic plasticity and cognitive function, including memory. In contrast, chronic activation of PERK-eIF2α signaling has been shown to contribute to pathophysiology, including memory impairments, associated with multiple neurological diseases, making this pathway an attractive therapeutic target. Herein, using multiple genetic approaches we show that selective deletion of the PERK in mouse midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons results in multiple cognitive and motor phenotypes. Conditional expression of phospho-mutant eIF2α in DA neurons recapitulated the phenotypes caused by deletion of PERK, consistent with a causal role of decreased eIF2α phosphorylation for these phenotypes. In addition, deletion of PERK in DA neurons resulted in altered de novo translation, as well as changes in axonal DA release and uptake in the striatum that mirror the pattern of motor changes observed. Taken together, our findings show that proper regulation of PERK-eIF2α signaling in DA neurons is required for normal cognitive and motor function in a non-pathological state, and also provide new insight concerning the onset of neuropsychiatric disorders that accompany UPR failure.
  7. Toxicology. 2021 Apr 01. pii: S0300-483X(21)00092-5. [Epub ahead of print] 152769
      Cadmium (Cd) is a nephrotoxicant that primarily damages renal proximal tubular cells. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is mechanistically linked to Cd-induced renal injury. Inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE-1α) is the most conserved ER stress transducer protein, which has both kinase and endonuclease activities. This study aimed to investigate whether the two enzymatic activities of IRE-1α have different effects in its regulation of Cd-induced apoptosis. Human proximal tubular (HK-2) cells were treated with 20 μM CdCl2 for 0-24 h, and mice were fed with Cd-containing drinking water (100-400 mg/L) for 24 weeks. We found that Cd increased cell apoptosis in HK-2 cells and mouse kidneys in a time-dependent manner. Such cytotoxicity was correlated with activation of ER stress, evidenced by upregulation of IRE-1α and its target protein spliced X-box binding protein-1 (XBP-1 s). Interestingly, inhibition of IRE-1α kinase activity by KIRA6 was more protective against Cd-induced apoptosis than inhibition of its RNase activity by STF-083010. Mechanistically, Cd promoted the binding of IRE-1α with signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) leading to elevated phosphorylation of STAT3 at Ser727 and thus inactivation of STAT3 signaling, which resulted in aggravation of Cd-induced apoptosis in HK-2 cells. Collectively, our findings indicate that IRE-1α coordinate ER stress and STAT3 signaling in mediating Cd-induced renal toxicity, suggesting that targeting IRE-1α might be a potential therapeutic approach for Cd-induced renal dysfunction and disease.
    Keywords:  Cd; ER stress; IRE-1α; STAT3; kidney
  8. Genesis. 2021 Apr 23. e23420
      Upon endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) is activated and catalyzes nonconventional splicing of an unspliced X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1U) mRNA to yield a spliced XBP1 (XBP1S) mRNA that encodes a potent XBP1S transcription factor. XBP1S is a key mediator of the IRE1 branch that is essential for alleviating ER stress. We generated a novel mouse strain (referred to as "Xbp1CS/+ " mice) that constitutively expressed XBP1S after Cre recombinase-mediated recombination. Further breeding of these mice with Twist2 Cre recombinase (Twist2-Cre) knock-in mice generated Twist2-Cre;Xbp1CS/+ mice. Most Twist2-Cre;Xbp1CS/+ mice died shortly after birth. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed that constitutive expression of XBP1S occurred in various mouse tissues examined, but not in the brain. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that although the immunostaining signals for total XBP1 (XBP1U and XBP1S) were found in the calvarial bones in both Twist2-Cre;Xbp1CS/+ and control mice, the signals for XBP1S were only detected in the Twist2-Cre;Xbp1CS/+ mice, but not in the control mice. These results suggest that a precise control of XBP1S production is essential for normal mouse development.
    Keywords:  X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1); development; mouse
  9. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2021 Apr;pii: e001884. [Epub ahead of print]9(1):
      INTRODUCTION: Glucose-induced insulin resistance is a typical character of diabetes. Nicorandil is now widely used in ischemic heart disease. Nicorandil shows protective effects against oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which are involved in insulin resistance. Here, we investigated mechanisms of nicorandil's novel pharmacological activity on insulin resistance in diabetes.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Nicorandil was administrated to streptozotocin-induced animals with diabetes and high glucose exposed skeletal muscle cells. Insulin resistance and glucose tolerance were evaluated. Molecular mechanisms concerning oxidative stress, ER stress signaling activation and glucose uptake were assessed.
    RESULTS: Nicorandil attenuated high glucose-induced insulin resistance without affecting fasting blood glucose and glucose tolerance in whole body and skeletal muscle in rats with diabetes. Nicorandil treatment suppressed protein kinase C/nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidases system activities by reducing cytoplasmic free calcium level in skeletal muscle cells exposed to high glucose. As a result, the oxidative stress-mediated ER stress protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK)/eukaryotic initiation factor 2α/activating transcription factor 4/CEBP homologous protein/tribbles homolog (TRB)3 signaling pathway activation was inhibited. Nicorandil downregulated expression of TRB3 and thus facilitated Akt phosphorylation in response to insulin stimulation, leading to glucose transporter4 plasma membrane translocation which promoted glucose uptake capability of skeletal muscle cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: By reducing cytoplasmic calcium, nicorandil alleviated high glucose-induced insulin resistance by inhibiting oxidative stress-mediated ER stress PERK pathway.
    Keywords:  diabetes complications; endoplasmic reticulum; insulin resistance
  10. J Leukoc Biol. 2021 Apr 18.
      The activation of dendritic cells (DC) during respiratory viral infections is central to directing the immune response and the pathologic outcome. In these studies, the effect of RSV infection on development of ER stress responses and the impact on innate immunity was examined. The upregulation of ER stress was closely associated with the PERK pathway through the upregulation of CHOP in RSV infected DC. The inhibition of PERK corresponded with decreased EIF2a phosphorylation but had no significant effect on Nrf2 in DC, two primary pathways regulated by PERK. Subsequent studies identified that by blocking PERK activity in infected DC an altered ER stress response and innate cytokine profile was observed with the upregulation of IFNβ and IL-12, coincident to the down regulation of IL-1β. When mitochondria respiration was assessed in PERK deficient DC there were increased dysfunctional mitochondria after RSV infection that resulted in reduced oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and ATP production indicating altered cellular metabolism. Use of a CD11c targeted genetic deleted murine model, RSV infection was characterized by reduced inflammation and diminished mucus staining as well as reduced mucus-associated gene gob5 expression. The assessment of the cytokine responses showed decreased IL-13 and IL-17 along with diminished IL-1β in the lungs of PERK deficient infected mice. When PERK-deficient animals were assessed in parallel for lung leukocyte numbers, animals displayed significantly reduced myeloid and activated CD4 and CD8 T cell numbers. Thus, the PERK activation pathway may provide a rational target for altering the severe outcome of an RSV infection through modifying immune responses.
    Keywords:  Innate Immunity; Lung; PERK; RSV