c-Jun is a transcription factor activated by phosphorylation by the stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathway in response to extracellular signals and cytokines. We show that adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of the dominant negative form of c-Jun (dn-c-Jun) in C57BL/6 mice increased greatly apoE hepatic mRNA and plasma levels, increased plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, and very low density lipoprotein levels, and resulted in the accumulation of discoidal high density lipoprotein particles. A similar but more severe phenotype was generated by overexpression of the mouse apoE in C57BL/6 mice, suggesting that dyslipidemia induced by dn-c-Jun was the result of apoE overexpression. Unexpectedly, infection of apoE(-/-) mice with adenovirus expressing dn-c-Jun reduced plasma cholesterol by 70%, suggesting that dn-c-Jun affected other genes that control plasma cholesterol levels. To identify these genes, we performed whole genome expression analysis (34,000 genes) of isolated livers from two groups of five apoE(-/-) mice, infected with adenoviruses expressing either the dn-c-Jun or the green fluorescence protein. Bioinformatic analysis and Northern blotting validation revealed that dn-c-Jun increased 40-fold the apoE mRNA and reduced by 70% the Scd-1 (stearoyl-CoA-desaturase 1) mRNA. The involvement of Scd-1 in lowering plasma cholesterol was confirmed by restoration of high cholesterol levels of apoE(-/-) mice following coinfection with adenoviruses expressing dn-c-Jun and Scd-1. In conclusion, dn-c-Jun appears to trigger two opposing events in mice that affect plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels as follows: one results in apoE overexpression and triggers dyslipidemia and the other results in inhibition of Scd-1 and offsets dyslipidemia.
Depressed cardiac Ca cycling by the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) has been associated with attenuated contractility, which can progress to heart failure. The histidine-rich Ca-binding protein (HRC) is an SR component that binds to triadin and may affect Ca release through the ryanodine receptor. HRC overexpression in transgenic mouse hearts was associated with decreased rates of SR Ca uptake and delayed relaxation, which progressed to hypertrophy with aging. The present study shows that HRC may mediate part of its regulatory effects by binding directly to sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase type 2 (SERCA2) in cardiac muscle, which is confirmed by coimmunostaining observed under confocal microscopy. This interaction involves the histidine- and glutamic acid-rich domain of HRC (320-460 aa) and the part of the NH(2)-terminal cation transporter domain of SERCA2 (74-90 aa) that projects into the SR lumen. The SERCA2-binding domain is upstream from the triadin-binding region in human HRC (609-699 aa). Specific binding between HRC and SERCA was verified by coimmunoprecipitation and pull-down assays using human and mouse cardiac homogenates and by blot overlays using glutathione S-transferase and maltose-binding protein recombinant proteins. Importantly, increases in Ca concentration were associated with a significant reduction of HRC binding to SERCA2, whereas they had opposite effects on the HRC-triadin interaction in cardiac homogenates. Collectively, our data suggest that HRC may play a key role in the regulation of SR Ca cycling through its direct interactions with SERCA2 and triadin, mediating a fine cross talk between SR Ca uptake and release in the heart.
Phospholamban (PLN) is a key regulator of Ca(2+) homeostasis and contractility in the heart. Its regulatory effects are mediated through its interaction with the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase, (SERCA2a), resulting in alterations of its Ca(2+)-affinity. To identify additional proteins that may interact with PLN, we used the yeast-two-hybrid system to screen an adult human cardiac cDNA library. HS-1 associated protein X-1 (HAX-1) was identified as a PLN-binding partner. The minimal binding regions were mapped to amino acid residues 203-245 for HAX-1 and residues 16-22 for PLN. The interaction between the two proteins was confirmed using GST-HAX-1, bound to the glutathione-matrix, which specifically adsorbed native PLN from human or mouse cardiac homogenates, while in reciprocal binding studies, recombinant His-HAX-1 bound GST-PLN. Kinetic studies using surface plasmon resonance yielded a K(D) of approximately 1 muM as the binding affinity for the PLN/HAX-1 complex. Phosphorylation of PLN by cAMP-dependent protein kinase reduced binding to HAX-1, while increasing concentrations of Ca(2+) diminished the PLN/HAX-1 interaction in a dose-dependent manner. HAX-1 concentrated to mitochondria, but upon transient co-transfection of HEK 293 cells with PLN, HAX-1 redistributed and co-localized with PLN at the endoplasmic reticulum. Analysis of the anti-apoptotic function of HAX-1 revealed that the presence of PLN enhanced the HAX-1 protective effects from hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced cell death. These findings suggest a possible link between the Ca(2+) handling by the sarcoplasmic reticulum and cell survival mediated by the PLN/HAX-1 interaction.
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