Quantitative analysis of the cardiac fibroblast transcriptome implications for NO/cGMP signaling
Maisa I. Garcia Arguinzonis
Suzanne M. Lohmann
- Cardiac fibroblasts regulate tissue repair and remodeling in the heart. To quantify transcript levels in these cells we performed a comprehensive gene expression study using serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE). Among 110,169 sequenced tags we could identify 30,507 unique transcripts. A comparison of SAGE data from cardiac fibroblasts with data derived from total mouse heart revealed a number of fibroblast-specific genes. Cardiac fibroblasts expressed a specific collection of collagens, matrix proteins and metalloproteinases, growth factors, and components of signaling pathways. The NO/cGMP signaling pathway was represented by the mRNAs for α1 and β1 subunits of guanylyl cyclase, cGMP-dependent protein kinase type I (cGK I), and, interestingly, the G-kinase-anchoring protein GKAP42. The expression of cGK I was verified by RT-PCR and Western blot. To establish a functional role for cGK I in cardiac fibroblasts we studied its effect on cell proliferation. Selective activation of cGK I with a cGMP analog inhibited the proliferation of serum-stimulated cardiac fibroblasts, which express cGK I, but not higher passage fibroblasts, which contain no detectable cGK I. Currently, our data suggest that cGK I mediates the inhibitory effects of the NO/cGMP pathway on cardiac fibroblast growth. Furthermore the SAGE library of transcripts expressed in cardiac fibroblasts provides a basis for future investigations into the pathological regulatory mechanisms underlying cardiac fibrosis.
Endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxation and VASP serines 157/239 phosphorylation by cyclic nucleotide-elevating vasodilators in rat aorta
- Endothelium-dependent vasodilation is thought to be mediated primarily by the NO/cGMP signaling pathway whereas cAMP-elevating vasodilators are considered to act independent of the endothelial cell layer. However, recent functional data suggest that cAMP-elevating vasodilators such as β-receptor agonists, adenosine or forskolin may also be endothelium-dependent. Here we used functional and biochemical assays to analyze endothelium-dependent, cGMP- and cAMP-mediated signaling in rat aorta. Acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) induced a concentration-dependent relaxation of phenylephrine-precontracted aorta. This response was reflected by the phosphorylation of the vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a validated substrate of cGMP- and cAMP-dependent protein kinases (cGK, cAK), on Ser157 and Ser239. As expected, the effects of acetylcholine were endothelium-dependent. However, relaxation induced by the β-receptor agonist isoproterenol was also almost completely impaired after endothelial denudation. At the biochemical level, acetylcholine- and isoproterenol-evoked cGK and cAK activation, respectively, as measured by VASP Ser239 and Ser157 phosphorylation, was strongly diminished. Furthermore, the effects of isoproterenol were repressed by eNOS inhibition when endothelium was present. We also observed that the relaxing and biochemical effects of forskolin were at least partially endothelium-dependent. We conclude that cAMP-elevating vasodilators, i.e. isoproterenol and to a lesser extent also forskolin, induce vasodilation and concomitant cyclic nucleotide protein kinase activation in the vessel wall in an endothelium-dependent way.
The NO/cGMP pathway inhibits Rap1 activation in human platelets via cGMP-dependent protein kinase I
- The NO/cGMP signalling pathway strongly inhibits agonist-induced platelet aggregation. However, the molecular mechanisms involved are not completely defined.We have studied NO/cGMP effects on the activity of Rap1, an abundant guanine-nucleotidebinding protein in platelets. Rap1-GTP levels were reduced by NO-donors and activators of NO-sensitive soluble guanylyl cyclase. Four lines of evidence suggest that NO/cGMP effects are mediated by cGMP-dependent protein kinase (cGKI): (i) Rap1 inhibition correlated with cGKI activity as measured by the phosphorylation state ofVASP, an established substrate of cGKI, (ii) 8-pCPT-cGMP, a membrane permeable cGMP-analog and activator of cGKI, completely blocked Rap1 activation, (iii) Rp- 8pCPT-cGMPS, a cGKI inhibitor, reversed NO effects and (iv) expression of cGKI in cGKI-deficient megakaryocytes inhibited Rap1 activation. NO/cGMP/cGKI effects were independent of the type of stimulus used for Rap1 activation.Thrombin-,ADPand collagen-induced formation of Rap1-GTP in platelets as well as turbulence-induced Rap1 activation in megakaryocytes were inhibited. Furthermore, cGKI inhibited ADP-induced Rap1 activation induced by the G a i -coupled P2Y12 receptor alone, i.e. independently of effects on Ca2+-signalling. From these studies we conclude that NO/cGMP inhibit Rap1 activation in human platelets and that this effect is mediated by cGKI. Since Rap1 controls the function of integrin a IIbß 3 , we propose that Rap1 inhibition might play a central role in the anti-aggregatory actions of NO/cGMP.
Sestrin-2, a repressor of PDGFRβ signalling, promotes cigarette smoke-induced pulmonary emphysema in mice and is upregulated in patients with COPD
K. C. Kent Lloyd
Harald von Melchner
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. COPD is caused by chronic exposure to cigarette smoke and/or other environmental pollutants that are believed to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that gradually disrupt signalling pathways responsible for maintaining lung integrity. Here we identify the antioxidant protein Sestrin 2 (Sesn2) as a repressor of PDGFRβ signalling and PDGFRβ signalling as an upstream regulator of alveolar maintenance programs. In mice, the mutational inactivation of Sesn2 prevents the development of cigarette-smoke induced pulmonary emphysema by upregulating PDGFRβ expression via a selective accumulation of intracellular superoxide anions (O2-). We also show that SESN2 is overexpressed and PDGFRβ downregulated in the emphysematous lungs of patients with COPD and to a lesser extent in human lungs of habitual smokers without COPD, implicating a negative SESN2/PDGFRβ interrelationship in the pathogenesis of COPD. Taken together, our results imply that SESN2 could serve as both a biomarker and as a drug target in the clinical management of COPD.
Integer point sets minimizing average pairwise L1 distance: What is the optimal shape of a town?
Erik D. Demaine
Sándor P. Fekete
- An n-town, n[is an element of]N , is a group of n buildings, each occupying a distinct position on a 2-dimensional integer grid. If we measure the distance between two buildings along the axis-parallel street grid, then an n-town has optimal shape if the sum of all pairwise Manhattan distances is minimized. This problem has been studied for cities, i.e., the limiting case of very large n. For cities, it is known that the optimal shape can be described by a differential equation, for which no closed-form solution is known. We show that optimal n-towns can be computed in O(n[superscript 7.5]) time. This is also practically useful, as it allows us to compute optimal solutions up to n=80.
Analyst behaviour: the geography of social interaction
- An analyst who works in Germany is more likely to publish a high (low) price target regarding a DAX30 stock if other Germany based analysts are also optimistic (pessimistic) about the same stock. This finding is not biased by the fact that DAX30 companies are headquartered in Germany. In times of bull markets, price targets of analysts who regularly exchange their opinion are higher correlated compared to other analysts. This effect vanishes in a bearish market environment. This suggests that communication among analysts indeed plays an important role. However, analysts’ incentives induce them not to deviate too much from the overall average during an economic downturn.
Does social interaction destablise financial markets?
- With this paper, I propose a simple asset pricing model that accounts for the influence from social interaction. Investors are assumed to make up their mind about an asset’s price based on a forecasting strategy and its past profitability as well as on the contemporaneous expectations of other market participants. Empirically analysing stocks of the DAX30 index, I provide evidence that social interaction rather destabilises financial markets. Based on my results, I state that at least, it does not have a stabilising effect.
Fluctuations of social influence: evidence from the behaviour of mutual fund managers during the economic crisis 2008/09
- In this paper, I analyse the reciprocal social influence on investment decisions within an international group of roughly 2000 mutual fund managers that invested in companies of the DAX30. Using a robust estimation procedure, I provide empirical evidence that in the average a fund manager puts 0.69% more portfolio weight on a particular stock, if other fund managers increase the corresponding position by 1%. The dynamics of this influence on portfolio weights suggest that fund managers adjust their behaviour according to the prevailing market situation and are more strongly influenced by others in times of an economic downturn. Analysing the working locations of the fund managers, I conclude that more than 90% of the magnitude of influence is due to pure observation. While this form of influence varies much in time, the magnitude of influence resulting from the exchange of opinion is more or less constant.
Evidence regarding clinical use of microvolt T-wave alternans
Stefan H. Hohnloser
Richard J. Cohen
- Background: Microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) testing in many studies has proven to be a highly accurate predictor of ventricular tachyarrhythmic events (VTEs) in patients with risk factors for sudden cardiac death (SCD) but without a prior history of sustained VTEs (primary prevention patients). In some recent studies involving primary prevention patients with prophylactically implanted cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), MTWA has not performed as well. Objective: This study examined the hypothesis that MTWA is an accurate predictor of VTEs in primary prevention patients without implanted ICDs, but not of appropriate ICD therapy in such patients with implanted ICDs. Methods: This study identified prospective clinical trials evaluating MTWA measured using the spectral analytic method in primary prevention populations and analyzed studies in which: (1) few patients had implanted ICDs and as a result none or a small fraction (≤15%) of the reported end point VTEs were appropriate ICD therapies (low ICD group), or (2) many of the patients had implanted ICDs and the majority of the reported end point VTEs were appropriate ICD therapies (high ICD group). Results: In the low ICD group comprising 3,682 patients, the hazard ratio associated with a nonnegative versus negative MTWA test was 13.6 (95% confidence interval [CI] 8.5 to 30.4) and the annual event rate among the MTWA-negative patients was 0.3% (95% CI: 0.1% to 0.5%). In contrast, in the high ICD group comprising 2,234 patients, the hazard ratio was only 1.6 (95% CI: 1.2 to 2.1) and the annual event rate among the MTWA-negative patients was elevated to 5.4% (95% CI: 4.1% to 6.7%). In support of these findings, we analyzed published data from the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Trial II (MADIT II) and Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial (SCD-HeFT) trials and determined that in those trials only 32% of patients who received appropriate ICD therapy averted an SCD. Conclusion: This study found that MTWA testing using the spectral analytic method provides an accurate means of predicting VTEs in primary prevention patients without implanted ICDs; in particular, the event rate is very low among such patients with a negative MTWA test. In prospective trials of ICD therapy, the number of patients receiving appropriate ICD therapy greatly exceeds the number of patients who avert SCD as a result of ICD therapy. In trials involving patients with implanted ICDs, these excess appropriate ICD therapies seem to distribute randomly between MTWA-negative and MTWA-nonnegative patients, obscuring the predictive accuracy of MTWA for SCD. Appropriate ICD therapy is an unreliable surrogate end point for SCD. Key words: Arrhythmia; Sudden cardiac death; Cardiac arrest; ICD; T-wave alternans; Surrogate endpoint; Ventricular tachyarrhythmic event; Primary prevention
'Kiezdeutsch goes School' : a multiethnic variety of German from an educational perspective
- This article presents linguistic features of and educational approaches to a new variety of German that has emerged in multi-ethnic urban areas in Germany: Kiezdeutsch (‘Hood German’). From a linguistic point of view, Kiezdeutsch is very interesting, as it is a multi-ethnolect that combines features of a youth language with those of a contact language. We will present examples that illustrate the grammatical productivity and innovative potential of this variety. From an educational perspective, Kiezdeutsch has also a high potential in many respects: school projects can help enrich intercultural communication and weaken derogatory attitudes. In grammar lessons, Kiezdeutsch can be a means to enhance linguistic competence by having the adolescents analyse their own language. Keywords: German, Kiezdeutsch, multi-ethnolect, migrants’ language, language change, educational proposals