Scholarly Works - Pharmacology


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  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Visceral and somatic pain modalities reveal NaV 1.7-independent visceral nociceptive pathways.
    (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017-04-15) Hockley, James RF; González-Cano, Rafael; McMurray, Sheridan; Tejada-Giraldez, Miguel A; McGuire, Cian; Torres, Antonio; Wilbrey, Anna L; Cibert-Goton, Vincent; Nieto, Francisco R; Pitcher, Thomas; Knowles, Charles H; Baeyens, José Manuel; Wood, John N; Winchester, Wendy J; Bulmer, David C; Cendán, Cruz Miguel; McMurray, Gordon; Hockley, James [0000-0002-9578-6071]; Bulmer, David [0000-0002-4703-7877]
    KEY POINTS: Voltage-gated sodium channels play a fundamental role in determining neuronal excitability. Specifically, voltage-gated sodium channel subtype NaV 1.7 is required for sensing acute and inflammatory somatic pain in mice and humans but its significance in pain originating from the viscera is unknown. Using comparative behavioural models evoking somatic and visceral pain pathways, we identify the requirement for NaV 1.7 in regulating somatic (noxious heat pain threshold) but not in visceral pain signalling. These results enable us to better understand the mechanisms underlying the transduction of noxious stimuli from the viscera, suggest that the investigation of pain pathways should be undertaken in a modality-specific manner and help to direct drug discovery efforts towards novel visceral analgesics. ABSTRACT: Voltage-gated sodium channel NaV 1.7 is required for acute and inflammatory pain in mice and humans but its significance for visceral pain is unknown. Here we examine the role of NaV 1.7 in visceral pain processing and the development of referred hyperalgesia using a conditional nociceptor-specific NaV 1.7 knockout mouse (NaV 1.7Nav1.8 ) and selective small-molecule NaV 1.7 antagonist PF-5198007. NaV 1.7Nav1.8 mice showed normal nociceptive behaviours in response to intracolonic application of either capsaicin or mustard oil, stimuli known to evoke sustained nociceptor activity and sensitization following tissue damage, respectively. Normal responses following induction of cystitis by cyclophosphamide were also observed in both NaV 1.7Nav1.8 and littermate controls. Loss, or blockade, of NaV 1.7 did not affect afferent responses to noxious mechanical and chemical stimuli in nerve-gut preparations in mouse, or following antagonism of NaV 1.7 in resected human appendix stimulated by noxious distending pressures. However, expression analysis of voltage-gated sodium channel α subunits revealed NaV 1.7 mRNA transcripts in nearly all retrogradely labelled colonic neurons, suggesting redundancy in function. By contrast, using comparative somatic behavioural models we identify that genetic deletion of NaV 1.7 (in NaV 1.8-expressing neurons) regulates noxious heat pain threshold and that this can be recapitulated by the selective NaV 1.7 antagonist PF-5198007. Our data demonstrate that NaV 1.7 (in NaV 1.8-expressing neurons) contributes to defined pain pathways in a modality-dependent manner, modulating somatic noxious heat pain, but is not required for visceral pain processing, and advocate that pharmacological block of NaV 1.7 alone in the viscera may be insufficient in targeting chronic visceral pain.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Inhibition of Sec61-dependent translocation by mycolactone uncouples the integrated stress response from ER stress, driving cytotoxicity via translational activation of ATF4
    (Springer Nature, 2018-03-14) Ogbechi, J; Hall, BS; Sbarrato, T; Taunton, J; Willis, AE; Wek, RC; Simmonds, RE; Willis, Anne [0000-0002-1470-8531]
    Mycolactone is the exotoxin virulence factor of Mycobacterium ulcerans that causes the neglected tropical disease Buruli ulcer. We recently showed it to be a broad spectrum inhibitor of Sec61-dependent co-translational translocation of proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). An outstanding question is the molecular pathway linking this to its known cytotoxicity. We have now used translational profiling to better understand the reprogramming that occurs in cells exposed to mycolactone. Gene ontology identified enrichment in genes involved in cellular response to stress, and apoptosis signalling among those showing enhanced translation. Validation of these results supports a mechanism by which mycolactone activates an integrated stress response meditated by phosphorylation of eIF2α via multiple kinases (PERK, GCN, PKR) without activation of the ER stress sensors IRE1 or ATF6. The response therefore uncouples the integrated stress response from ER stress, and features translational and transcriptional modes of genes expression that feature the key regulatory transcription factor ATF4. Emphasising the importance of this uncoupled response in cytotoxicity, downstream activation of this pathway is abolished in cells expressing mycolactone-resistant Sec61α variants. Using multiple genetic and biochemical approaches, we demonstrate that eIF2α phosphorylation is responsible for mycolactone-dependent translation attenuation, which initially protects cells from cell death. However, chronic activation without stress remediation enhances autophagy and apoptosis of cells by a pathway facilitated by ATF4 and CHOP. Our findings demonstrate that priming events at the ER can result in the sensing of stress within different cellular compartments
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Isolated pores dissected from human two-pore channel 2 are functional.
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-12-12) Penny, Christopher J; Rahman, Taufiq; Sula, Altin; Miles, Andrew J; Wallace, BA; Patel, Sandip; Rahman, Md Taufiq [0000-0001-7247-2013]
    Multi-domain voltage-gated ion channels appear to have evolved through sequential rounds of intragenic duplication from a primordial one-domain precursor. Whereas modularity within one-domain symmetrical channels is established, little is known about the roles of individual regions within more complex asymmetrical channels where the domains have undergone substantial divergence. Here we isolated and characterised both of the divergent pore regions from human TPC2, a two-domain channel that holds a key intermediate position in the evolution of voltage-gated ion channels. In HeLa cells, each pore localised to the ER and caused Ca2+ depletion, whereas an ER-targeted pore mutated at a residue that inactivates full-length TPC2 did not. Additionally, one of the pores expressed at high levels in E. coli. When purified, it formed a stable, folded tetramer. Liposomes reconstituted with the pore supported Ca2+ and Na+ uptake that was inhibited by known blockers of full-length channels. Computational modelling of the pore corroborated cationic permeability and drug interaction. Therefore, despite divergence, both pores are constitutively active in the absence of their partners and retain several properties of the wild-type pore. Such symmetrical 'pore-only' proteins derived from divergent channel domains may therefore provide tractable tools for probing the functional architecture of complex ion channels.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Stable MOB1 interaction with Hippo/MST is not essential for development and tissue growth control.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-09-25) Kulaberoglu, Yavuz; Lin, Kui; Holder, Maxine; Gai, Zhongchao; Gomez, Marta; Assefa Shifa, Belul; Mavis, Merdiye; Hoa, Lily; Sharif, Ahmad AD; Lujan, Celia; Smith, Ewan St John; Bjedov, Ivana; Tapon, Nicolas; Wu, Geng; Hergovich, Alexander; Kulaberoglu, Yavuz [0000-0003-2372-184X]; Smith, Ewan St John [0000-0002-2699-1979]
    The Hippo tumor suppressor pathway is essential for development and tissue growth control, encompassing a core cassette consisting of the Hippo (MST1/2), Warts (LATS1/2), and Tricornered (NDR1/2) kinases together with MOB1 as an important signaling adaptor. However, it remains unclear which regulatory interactions between MOB1 and the different Hippo core kinases coordinate development, tissue growth, and tumor suppression. Here, we report the crystal structure of the MOB1/NDR2 complex and define key MOB1 residues mediating MOB1's differential binding to Hippo core kinases, thereby establishing MOB1 variants with selective loss-of-interaction. By studying these variants in human cancer cells and Drosophila, we uncovered that MOB1/Warts binding is essential for tumor suppression, tissue growth control, and development, while stable MOB1/Hippo binding is dispensable and MOB1/Trc binding alone is insufficient. Collectively, we decrypt molecularly, cell biologically, and genetically the importance of the diverse interactions of Hippo core kinases with the pivotal MOB1 signal transducer.The Hippo tumor suppressor pathway is essential for development and tissue growth control. Here the authors employ a multi-disciplinary approach to characterize the interactions of the three Hippo kinases with the signaling adaptor MOB1 and show how they differently affect development, tissue growth and tumor suppression.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Ca2+ signals initiate at immobile IP3 receptors adjacent to ER-plasma membrane junctions.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-11-15) Thillaiappan, Nagendra Babu; Chavda, Alap P; Tovey, Stephen C; Prole, David L; Taylor, Colin W; Prole, David L [0000-0003-2782-6665]
    IP3 receptors (IP3Rs) release Ca2+ from the ER when they bind IP3 and Ca2+. The spatial organization of IP3Rs determines both the propagation of Ca2+ signals between IP3Rs and the selective regulation of cellular responses. Here we use gene editing to fluorescently tag endogenous IP3Rs, and super-resolution microscopy to determine the geography of IP3Rs and Ca2+ signals within living cells. We show that native IP3Rs cluster within ER membranes. Most IP3R clusters are mobile, moved by diffusion and microtubule motors. Ca2+ signals are generated by a small population of immobile IP3Rs. These IP3Rs are licensed to respond, but they do not readily mix with mobile IP3Rs. The licensed IP3Rs reside alongside ER-plasma membrane junctions where STIM1, which regulates store-operated Ca2+ entry, accumulates after depletion of Ca2+ stores. IP3Rs tethered close to ER-plasma membrane junctions are licensed to respond and optimally placed to be activated by endogenous IP3 and to regulate Ca2+ entry.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Differentiation dynamics of mammary epithelial cells revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-12-11) Bach, Karsten; Pensa, Sara; Grzelak, Marta; Hadfield, James; Adams, David J; Marioni, John C; Khaled, Walid T; Hadfield, James [0000-0001-9868-4989]
    Characterising the hierarchy of mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and how they are regulated during adult development is important for understanding how breast cancer arises. Here we report the use of single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the gene expression profile of MECs across four developmental stages; nulliparous, mid gestation, lactation and post involution. Our analysis of 23,184 cells identifies 15 clusters, few of which could be fully characterised by a single marker gene. We argue instead that the epithelial cells-especially in the luminal compartment-should rather be conceptualised as being part of a continuous spectrum of differentiation. Furthermore, our data support the existence of a common luminal progenitor cell giving rise to intermediate, restricted alveolar and hormone-sensing progenitors. This luminal progenitor compartment undergoes transcriptional changes in response to a full pregnancy, lactation and involution. In summary, our results provide a global, unbiased view of adult mammary gland development.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Inhibition of PIP4Kγ ameliorates the pathological effects of mutant huntingtin protein.
    (eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd, 2017-12-26) Al-Ramahi, Ismael; Giridharan, Sai Srinivas Panapakkam; Chen, Yu-Chi; Patnaik, Samarjit; Safren, Nathaniel; Hasegawa, Junya; de Haro, Maria; Wagner Gee, Amanda K; Titus, Steven A; Jeong, Hyunkyung; Clarke, Jonathan; Krainc, Dimitri; Zheng, Wei; Irvine, Robin F; Barmada, Sami; Ferrer, Marc; Southall, Noel; Weisman, Lois S; Botas, Juan; Marugan, Juan Jose; Patnaik, Samarjit [0000-0002-4265-7620]; Hasegawa, Junya [0000-0002-7041-890X]; Clarke, Jonathan [0000-0002-4079-5333]; Southall, Noel [0000-0003-4500-880X]; Marugan, Juan Jose [0000-0002-3951-7061]
    The discovery of the causative gene for Huntington's disease (HD) has promoted numerous efforts to uncover cellular pathways that lower levels of mutant huntingtin protein (mHtt) and potentially forestall the appearance of HD-related neurological defects. Using a cell-based model of pathogenic huntingtin expression, we identified a class of compounds that protect cells through selective inhibition of a lipid kinase, PIP4Kγ. Pharmacological inhibition or knock-down of PIP4Kγ modulates the equilibrium between phosphatidylinositide (PI) species within the cell and increases basal autophagy, reducing the total amount of mHtt protein in human patient fibroblasts and aggregates in neurons. In two Drosophila models of Huntington's disease, genetic knockdown of PIP4K ameliorated neuronal dysfunction and degeneration as assessed using motor performance and retinal degeneration assays respectively. Together, these results suggest that PIP4Kγ is a druggable target whose inhibition enhances productive autophagy and mHtt proteolysis, revealing a useful pharmacological point of intervention for the treatment of Huntington's disease, and potentially for other neurodegenerative disorders.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Heroin seeking becomes dependent on dorsal striatal dopaminergic mechanisms and can be decreased by N-acetylcysteine.
    (Wiley, 2019-08) Hodebourg, Ritchy; Murray, Jennifer E; Fouyssac, Maxime; Puaud, Mickaël; Everitt, Barry J; Belin, David; Belin, David [0000-0002-7383-372X]
    The alarming increase in heroin overdoses in the USA is a reminder of the need for efficacious and novel treatments for opiate addiction. This may reflect the relatively poor understanding of the neural basis of heroin, as compared to cocaine, seeking behaviour. While cocaine reinforcement depends on the mesolimbic system, well-established cocaine seeking is dependent on dorsolateral striatum (aDLS) dopamine-dependent mechanisms which are disrupted by N-acetylcysteine, through normalisation of corticostriatal glutamate homeostasis. However, it is unknown whether a functional recruitment of aDLS dopamine-dependent control over instrumental responding also occurs for heroin seeking, even though heroin reinforcement does not depend on the mesolimbic dopamine system. Lister Hooded rats acquired heroin self-administration and were subsequently trained to seek heroin daily over prolonged periods of time under the control of drug-paired cues, as measured under a second-order schedule of reinforcement. At different stages of training, that is, early on and when heroin seeking behaviour was well established, we measured the sensitivity of drug-seeking responses to either bilateral aDLS infusions of the dopamine receptor antagonist α-flupenthixol (5, 10 and 15 μg/side) or systemic administration of N-acetylcysteine (30, 60 and 90 mg/kg). The results demonstrate that control over heroin seeking behaviour devolves to aDLS dopamine-dependent mechanisms after extended training. Further aDLS-dependent well-established, cue-controlled heroin seeking was disrupted by N-acetylcysteine. Comparison with previous data on cocaine suggests that the development of drug seeking habits and the alteration of corticostriatal glutamate homeostasis, which is restored by N-acetylcysteine, are quantitatively similar between heroin and cocaine.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Nanoscale click-reactive scaffolds from peptide self-assembly.
    (BioMed Central, 2017-10-06) Guttenplan, Alexander; Young, Laurence J; Matak Vinkovic, Dijana; Kaminski, Clemens; Knowles, Tuomas; Itzhaki, Laura; Guttenplan, Alexander [0000-0001-8120-7609]; Matak Vinkovic, Dijana [0000-0003-4093-1443]; Kaminski, Clemens [0000-0002-5194-0962]; Knowles, Tuomas [0000-0002-7879-0140]; Itzhaki, Laura [0000-0001-6504-2576]
    Background Due to their natural tendency to self-assemble, proteins and peptides are important components for organic nanotechnology. One particular class of peptides of recent interest is those that form amyloid fibrils, as this self-assembly results in extremely strong, stable quasi-one-dimensional structures which can be used to organise a wide range of cargo species including proteins and oligonucleotides. However, as the amyloid state is accessible to a large number of proteins via misfolding, assembly of peptides already conjugated to proteins is limited to certain cargo species. Therefore, a general method is needed to conjugate proteins and other molecules to amyloid fibrils after the fibrils have self-assembled. Results Here we have designed an amyloidogenic peptide based on the TTR105-115 fragment of transthyretin to form fibrils that display an alkyne functionality, important for bioorthogonal chemical reactions, on their surface. The fibrils were formed and reacted both with an azide-containing amino acid and with an azide-functionalised dye by the Huisgen azidoalkyne cycloaddition, one of the class of “click” reactions. Mass spectrometry and total internal reflection fluorescence optical microscopy were used to show that peptides incorporated into the fibrils reacted with the azide while maintaining the structure of the fibril. These click-functionalised amyloid fibrils have a variety of potential uses in materials and as scaffolds for bionanotechnology. Discussion Although previous studies have produced peptides that can both form amyloid fibrils and undergo “click”-type reactions, this is the first example of amyloid fibrils that can undergo such a reaction after they have been formed. Our approach has the advantage that self-assembly takes place before click functionalization rather than pre-functionalised building blocks self-assembling. Therefore, the molecules used to functionalise the fibril do not themselves have to be exposed to harsh, amyloid-forming conditions. This means that a wider range of proteins can be used as ligands in this process. For instance, the fibrils can be functionalised with a green fluorescent protein that retains its fluorescence after it is attached to the fibrils, whereas this protein loses its fluorescence if it is exposed to the conditions used for aggregation.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Cross-reactivity of anti-HMGB1 antibodies for HMGB2.
    (Elsevier BV, 2018-05) Davies, Jessica E; Apta, Bonita HR; Harper, Matthew T; Harper, Matthew [0000-0002-4740-637X]
    HMGB1 and HMGB2 are DNA-interacting proteins but can also have extracellular actions during inflammation. Despite their relatively high homology, they may have distinct roles, making it essential to be able to differentiate between the two. Here we examine the specificity of five commercially-available anti-HMGB1 antibodies. By Western blotting of recombinant proteins and HMGB1-/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we identified only one HMGB1 antibody that, under our experimental conditions, did not also detect HMGB2. Selecting specific antibodies for HMGB1 and HMGB2 allowed identification of distinct HMGB1 and HMGB2 subcellular pools in primary neutrophils.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Single-cell RNAseq reveals seven classes of colonic sensory neuron.
    (BMJ, 2019-04) Hockley, James RF; Taylor, Toni S; Callejo, Gerard; Wilbrey, Anna L; Gutteridge, Alex; Bach, Karsten; Winchester, Wendy J; Bulmer, David C; McMurray, Gordon; Smith, Ewan St John; Smith, Ewan St John [0000-0002-2699-1979]
    OBJECTIVE: Integration of nutritional, microbial and inflammatory events along the gut-brain axis can alter bowel physiology and organism behaviour. Colonic sensory neurons activate reflex pathways and give rise to conscious sensation, but the diversity and division of function within these neurons is poorly understood. The identification of signalling pathways contributing to visceral sensation is constrained by a paucity of molecular markers. Here we address this by comprehensive transcriptomic profiling and unsupervised clustering of individual mouse colonic sensory neurons. DESIGN: Unbiased single-cell RNA-sequencing was performed on retrogradely traced mouse colonic sensory neurons isolated from both thoracolumbar (TL) and lumbosacral (LS) dorsal root ganglia associated with lumbar splanchnic and pelvic spinal pathways, respectively. Identified neuronal subtypes were validated by single-cell qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Ca2+-imaging. RESULTS: Transcriptomic profiling and unsupervised clustering of 314 colonic sensory neurons revealed seven neuronal subtypes. Of these, five neuronal subtypes accounted for 99% of TL neurons, with LS neurons almost exclusively populating the remaining two subtypes. We identify and classify neurons based on novel subtype-specific marker genes using single-cell qRT-PCR and IHC to validate subtypes derived from RNA-sequencing. Lastly, functional Ca2+-imaging was conducted on colonic sensory neurons to demonstrate subtype-selective differential agonist activation. CONCLUSIONS: We identify seven subtypes of colonic sensory neurons using unbiased single-cell RNA-sequencing and confirm translation of patterning to protein expression, describing sensory diversity encompassing all modalities of colonic neuronal sensitivity. These results provide a pathway to molecular interrogation of colonic sensory innervation in health and disease, together with identifying novel targets for drug development.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Folding cooperativity and allosteric function in the tandem-repeat protein class.
    (The Royal Society, 2018-06-19) Perez-Riba, Albert; Synakewicz, Marie; Itzhaki, Laura S; Perez-Riba, Albert [0000-0002-4659-0320]; Synakewicz, Marie [0000-0003-0256-2712]; Itzhaki, Laura S [0000-0001-6504-2576]
    The term allostery was originally developed to describe structural changes in one binding site induced by the interaction of a partner molecule with a distant binding site, and it has been studied in depth in the field of enzymology. Here, we discuss the concept of action at a distance in relation to the folding and function of the solenoid class of tandem-repeat proteins such as tetratricopeptide repeats (TPRs) and ankyrin repeats. Distantly located repeats fold cooperatively, even though only nearest-neighbour interactions exist in these proteins. A number of repeat-protein scaffolds have been reported to display allosteric effects, transferred through the repeat array, that enable them to direct the activity of the multi-subunit enzymes within which they reside. We also highlight a recently identified group of tandem-repeat proteins, the RRPNN subclass of TPRs, recent crystal structures of which indicate that they function as allosteric switches to modulate multiple bacterial quorum-sensing mechanisms. We believe that the folding cooperativity of tandem-repeat proteins and the biophysical mechanisms that transform them into allosteric switches are intimately intertwined. This opinion piece aims to combine our understanding of the two areas and develop ideas on their common underlying principles.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Allostery and molecular machines'.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Decrease of cocaine, but not heroin, self-administration and relapse by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor masitinib in male Sprague Dawley rats.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-05) Belin-Rauscent, A; Lacoste, J; Hermine, O; Moussy, A; Everitt, BJ; Belin, David; Belin, David [0000-0002-7383-372X]
    RATIONALE: Accumulating evidence shows that cocaine, and also heroin, influence several tyrosine kinases, expressed in neurons and in non-neuronal populations such as microglia, astrocytes and mast-cells. Drug-induced activation of mast cells both triggers inflammatory processes in the brain mediated by the glial cells they activate, and facilitates histamine release which may directly influence the dopamine system. Thus, by triggering the activation and degranulation of mast cells dependent on the tyrosine kinase c-kit and Fyn, the latter being also involved in NMDA-dependent synaptic plasticity, cocaine and heroin may indirectly influence the neural mechanisms that mediate their reinforcing properties. Masitinib, a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor with high selectivity for c-Kit, Fyn and Lyn, may alter the aberrant consequences of the activation of these tyrosine kinases by cocaine and heroin. OBJECTIVE: We investigated in rats the effect of a chronic oral treatment with masitinib (20 mg/kg) on the reinforcing and motivational properties of self-administered cocaine (250 μg/infusion) and heroin (40 μg/infusion). METHODS: Three different cohorts of rats were trained instrumentally to respond for cocaine, heroin or food under continuous reinforcement. In each group, we assessed the influence of chronic daily treatment with masitinib on the maintenance of instrumental responding and intake and the motivation for the reinforcer. Thus, masitinib and vehicle-treated rats were challenged to adapt to high behavioural demand, to respond under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement and to reinstate instrumental responding after extinction and/or abstinence. RESULTS: Masitinib selectively decreased cocaine intake, the motivation for cocaine and the subsequent propensity to respond for cocaine under extinction, while having no effect on instrumental responding for heroin or food. CONCLUSION: The present findings suggest masitinib, a drug with proven efficacy in CNS disorders, could represent a novel treatment for cocaine addiction provided its influence on the reinforcing and incentive properties of the drug is confirmed.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    The anterior insula bidirectionally modulates cost-benefit decision-making on a rodent gambling task.
    (Wiley, 2017-11) Daniel, ML; Cocker, PJ; Lacoste, J; Mar, AC; Houeto, JL; Belin-Rauscent, A; Belin, D; Cocker, PJ [0000-0002-2957-2884]; Belin, D [0000-0002-7383-372X]
    Deficits in cost-benefit decision-making, as assessed in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), are commonly observed in neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction. There is considerable variation in the maximization of rewards on such tasks, both in the general population and in rodent models, suggesting individual differences in decision-making may represent a key endophenotype for vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders. Increasing evidence suggests that the insular cortex, which is involved in interoception and emotional processes in humans, may be a key neural locus in the control of decision-making processes. However, the extent to which the insula contributes to individual differences in cost-benefit decision-making remains unknown. Using male Sprague Dawley rats, we first assessed individual differences in the performance over the course of a single session on a rodent analogue of the IGT (rGT). Rats were matched for their ability to maximize reward and received bilateral excitotoxic or sham lesions of the anterior insula cortex (AIC). Animals were subsequently challenged on a second rGT session with altered contingencies. Finally, animals were also assessed for instrumental conditioning and reversal learning. AIC lesions produced bidirectional alterations on rGT performance; rats that had performed optimally prior to surgery subsequently showed impairments, and animals that had performed poorly showed improvements in comparison with sham-operated controls. These bidirectional effects were not attributable to alterations in behavioural flexibility or in motivation. These data suggest that the recruitment of the AIC during decision-making may be state-dependent and help guide response selection towards subjectively favourable options.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Immobile IP3 Receptor Clusters: Building Blocks For IP3-Evoked Ca2+ Signals
    Taylor, CW; Thillaiappan, Negendra Babu; Prole, David; Taylor, Colin [0000-0001-7771-1044]; Thillaiappan, Nagendra Babu [0000-0001-5641-4067]
    Co-regulation of IP3 receptors (IP3Rs) by IP3 and cytosolic Ca2+ allows them to mediate regenerative signals, amongst which are Ca2+ puffs. These reflect the near-simultaneous opening of a few IP3Rs within a small cluster. A long-standing conundrum is the observation that while most IP3Rs appear to be mobile, Ca2+ puffs repeatedly initiate from a limited number of fixed sites. Using gene-editing to attach GFP to endogenous IP3Rs in HeLa cells has allowed the distribution of IP3Rs and the Ca2+ signals they evoke to be imaged simultaneously. This approach shows that most endogenous IP3Rs are loosely assembled into small clusters, most of which are mobile. However, the Ca2+ puffs evoked by histamine or photolysis of caged IP3 invariably initiated at immobile IP3R clusters adjacent to the plasma membrane (PM). Hence, only a small fraction of cellular IP3Rs are 'licensed' to respond. The licensed IP3R clusters sit alongside the sites where store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) occurs, suggesting that the IP3Rs may allow local regulation of SOCE.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Evidence for long-term sensitization of the bowel in patients with post-infectious-IBS.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-10-19) Balemans, D; Mondelaers, SU; Cibert-Goton, V; Stakenborg, N; Aguilera-Lizarraga, J; Dooley, J; Liston, A; Bulmer, DC; Vanden Berghe, P; Boeckxstaens, GE; Wouters, MM; Dooley, J [0000-0003-3154-4708]
    Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder characterized by persistent abdominal pain despite recovery from acute gastroenteritis. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, although long-term changes in neuronal function, and low grade inflammation of the bowel have been hypothesized. We investigated the presence and mechanism of neuronal sensitization in a unique cohort of individuals who developed PI-IBS following exposure to contaminated drinking water 7 years ago. We provide direct evidence of ongoing sensitization of neuronal signaling in the bowel of patients with PI-IBS. These changes occur in the absence of any detectable tissue inflammation, and instead appear to be driven by pro-nociceptive changes in the gut micro-environment. This is evidenced by the activation of murine colonic afferents, and sensitization responses to capsaicin in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) following application of supernatants generated from tissue biopsy of patients with PI-IBS. We demonstrate that neuronal signaling within the bowel of PI-IBS patients is sensitized 2 years after the initial infection has resolved. This sensitization appears to be mediated by a persistent pro-nociceptive change in the gut micro-environment, that has the capacity to stimulate visceral afferents and facilitate neuronal TRPV1 signaling.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Estrogen Enhances the Expression of the Multidrug Transporter Gene ABCG2-Increasing Drug Resistance of Breast Cancer Cells through Estrogen Receptors.
    (MDPI AG, 2017-01-14) Chang, Fung-Wei; Fan, Hueng-Chuen; Liu, Jui-Ming; Fan, Tai-Ping; Jing, Jin; Yang, Chia-Ling; Hsu, Ren-Jun; Fan, Tai-Ping [0000-0003-1000-5369]
    BACKGROUND: Multidrug resistance is a major obstacle in the successful therapy of breast cancer. Studies have proved that this kind of drug resistance happens in both human cancers and cultured cancer cell lines. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance is important for the reasonable design and use of new treatment strategies to effectively confront cancers. RESULTS: In our study, ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 2 (ABCG2), adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase and cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIc (COX6C) were over-expressed more in the MCF-7/MX cell line than in the normal MCF7 cell line. Therefore, we believe that these three genes increase the tolerance of MCF7 to mitoxantrone (MX). The data showed that the high expression of COX6C made MCF-7/MX have more stable on mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) expression than normal MCF7 cells under hypoxic conditions. The accumulation of MX was greater in the ATP-depleted treatment MCF7/MX cells than in normal MCF7/MX cells. Furthermore, E2 increased the tolerance of MCF7 cells to MX through inducing the expression of ABCG2. However, E2 could not increase the expression of ABCG2 after the inhibition of estrogen receptor α (ERα) in MCF7 cells. According to the above data, under the E2 treatment, MDA-MB231, which lacks ER, had a higher sensitivity to MX than MCF7 cells. CONCLUSIONS: E2 induced the expression of ABCG2 through ERα and the over-expressed ABCG2 made MCF7 more tolerant to MX. Moreover, the over-expressed ATP synthase and COX6c affected mitochondrial genes and function causing the over-expressed ABCG2 cells pumped out MX in a concentration gradient from the cell matrix. Finally lead to chemoresistance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Modelling and simulation of biased agonism dynamics at a G protein-coupled receptor.
    (Elsevier BV, 2018-04-07) Bridge, LJ; Mead, J; Frattini, E; Winfield, I; Ladds, G; Ladds, Graham [0000-0001-7320-9612]
    Theoretical models of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) concentration-response relationships often assume an agonist producing a single functional response via a single active state of the receptor. These models have largely been analysed assuming steady-state conditions. There is now much experimental evidence to suggest that many GPCRs can exist in multiple receptor conformations and elicit numerous functional responses, with ligands having the potential to activate different signalling pathways to varying extents-a concept referred to as biased agonism, functional selectivity or pluri-dimensional efficacy. Moreover, recent experimental results indicate a clear possibility for time-dependent bias, whereby an agonist's bias with respect to different pathways may vary dynamically. Efforts towards understanding the implications of temporal bias by characterising and quantifying ligand effects on multiple pathways will clearly be aided by extending current equilibrium binding and biased activation models to include G protein activation dynamics. Here, we present a new model of time-dependent biased agonism, based on ordinary differential equations for multiple cubic ternary complex activation models with G protein cycle dynamics. This model allows simulation and analysis of multi-pathway activation bias dynamics at a single receptor for the first time, at the level of active G protein (αGTP), towards the analysis of dynamic functional responses. The model is generally applicable to systems with NG G proteins and N* active receptor states. Numerical simulations for NG=N*=2 reveal new insights into the effects of system parameters (including cooperativities, and ligand and receptor concentrations) on bias dynamics, highlighting new phenomena including the dynamic inter-conversion of bias direction. Further, we fit this model to 'wet' experimental data for two competing G proteins (Gi and Gs) that become activated upon stimulation of the adenosine A1 receptor with adenosine derivative compounds. Finally, we show that our model can qualitatively describe the temporal dynamics of this competing G protein activation.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Functional and Molecular Characterization of Mechanoinsensitive "Silent" Nociceptors.
    (Elsevier BV, 2017-12-12) Prato, Vincenzo; Taberner, Francisco J; Hockley, James RF; Callejo, Gerard; Arcourt, Alice; Tazir, Bassim; Hammer, Leonie; Schad, Paulina; Heppenstall, Paul A; Smith, Ewan S; Lechner, Stefan G; Hockley, James [0000-0002-9578-6071]; Smith, Ewan St John [0000-0002-2699-1979]
    Mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia (pain hypersensitivity) are cardinal signs of inflammation. Although the mechanism underlying thermal hyperalgesia is well understood, the cellular and molecular basis of mechanical hyperalgesia is poorly described. Here, we have identified a subset of peptidergic C-fiber nociceptors that are insensitive to noxious mechanical stimuli under normal conditions but become sensitized to such stimuli when exposed to the inflammatory mediator nerve growth factor (NGF). Strikingly, NGF did not affect mechanosensitivity of other nociceptors. We show that these mechanoinsensitive "silent" nociceptors are characterized by the expression of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit alpha-3 (CHRNA3) and that the mechanically gated ion channel PIEZO2 mediates NGF-induced mechanosensitivity in these neurons. Retrograde tracing revealed that CHRNA3+ nociceptors account for ∼50% of all peptidergic nociceptive afferents innervating visceral organs and deep somatic tissues. Hence, our data suggest that NGF-induced "un-silencing" of CHRNA3+ nociceptors significantly contributes to the development of mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Naked mole-rat acid-sensing ion channel 3 forms nonfunctional homomers, but functional heteromers.
    (Elsevier BV, 2018-02-02) Schuhmacher, Laura-Nadine; Callejo, Gerard; Srivats, Shyam; Smith, Ewan St John; Smith, Ewan St John [0000-0002-2699-1979]
    Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) form both homotrimeric and heterotrimeric ion channels that are activated by extracellular protons and are involved in a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological processes, including pain and anxiety. ASIC proteins can form both homotrimeric and heterotrimeric ion channels. The ASIC3 subunit has been shown to be of particular importance in the peripheral nervous system with pharmacological and genetic manipulations demonstrating a role in pain. Naked mole-rats, despite having functional ASICs, are insensitive to acid as a noxious stimulus and show diminished avoidance of acidic fumes, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. Here we cloned naked mole-rat ASIC3 (nmrASIC3) and used a cell-surface biotinylation assay to demonstrate that it traffics to the plasma membrane, but using whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology we observed that nmrASIC3 is insensitive to both protons and the non-proton ASIC3 agonist 2-guanidine-4-methylquinazoline. However, in line with previous reports of ASIC3 mRNA expression in dorsal root ganglia neurons, we found that the ASIC3 antagonist APETx2 reversibly inhibits ASIC-like currents in naked mole-rat dorsal root ganglia neurons. We further show that like the proton-insensitive ASIC2b and ASIC4, nmrASIC3 forms functional, proton-sensitive heteromers with other ASIC subunits. An amino acid alignment of ASIC3s between 9 relevant rodent species and human identified unique sequence differences that might underlie the proton insensitivity of nmrASIC3. However, introducing nmrASIC3 differences into rat ASIC3 (rASIC3) produced only minor differences in channel function, and replacing the nmrASIC3 sequence with that of rASIC3 did not produce a proton-sensitive ion channel. Our observation that nmrASIC3 forms nonfunctional homomers may reflect a further adaptation of the naked mole-rat to living in an environment with high-carbon dioxide levels.