Abstract in English:Many growth factors and their protein kinase receptors play a role in regulating vascular development. In addition, cell adhesion molecules, such as integrins and their ligands in the extracellular matrix, play important roles in the adhesion, migration, proliferation, survival and differentiation of the cells that form the vasculature. Some integrins are known to be regulated by angiogenic growth factors and studies with inhibitors of integrin functions and using strains of mice lacking specific integrins clearly implicate some of these molecules in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. However, the data are incomplete and sometimes discordant and it is unclear how angiogenic growth factors and integrin-mediated adhesive events cooperate in the diverse cell biological processes involved in forming the vasculature. Consideration of the results suggests working hypotheses and raises questions for future research directions.
Abstract in English:Leukocyte adhesion is of pivotal functional importance. The adhesion involves several different adhesion molecules, the most important of which are the leukocyte ß2-integrins (CD11/CD18), the intercellular adhesion molecules, and the selectins. We and others have extensively studied the specificity and binding sites in the integrins and the intercellular adhesion molecules for their receptors and ligands. The integrins have to become activated to exert their functions but the possible mechanisms of activation remain poorly understood. Importantly, a few novel intercellular adhesion molecules have been recently described, which seem to function only in specific tissues. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly apparent that changes in integrins and intercellular adhesion molecules are associated with a number of acute and chronic diseases.
Abstract in English:P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1) is a dimeric mucin-like 120-kDa glycoprotein on leukocyte surfaces that binds to P- and L-selectin and promotes cell adhesion in the inflammatory response. The extreme amino terminal extracellular domain of PSGL-1 is critical for these interactions, based on site-directed mutagenesis, blocking monoclonal antibodies, and biochemical analyses. The current hypothesis is that for high affinity interactions with P-selectin, PSGL-1 must contain O-glycans with a core-2 branched motif containing the sialyl Lewis x antigen (NeuAc<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>2<FONT FACE="Symbol">®</font>3Galß1<FONT FACE="Symbol">®</font>4[Fuc<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>1<FONT FACE="Symbol">®</font>3]GlcNAcß1<FONT FACE="Symbol">®</font>R). In addition, high affinity interactions require the co-expression of tyrosine sulfate on tyrosine residues near the critical O-glycan structure. This review addresses the biochemical evidence for this hypothesis and the evidence that PSGL-1 is an important in vivo ligand for cell adhesion.
Abstract in English:The distribution and structure of heparan sulfate and heparin are briefly reviewed. Heparan sulfate is a ubiquitous compound of animal cells whose structure has been maintained throughout evolution, showing an enormous variability regarding the relative amounts of its disaccharide units. Heparin, on the other hand, is present only in a few tissues and species of the animal kingdom and in the form of granules inside organelles in the cytoplasm of special cells. Thus, the distribution as well as the main structural features of the molecule, including its main disaccharide unit, have been maintained through evolution. These and other studies led to the proposal that heparan sulfate may be involved in the cell-cell recognition phenomena and control of cell growth, whereas heparin may be involved in defense mechanisms against bacteria and other foreign materials. All indications obtained thus far suggest that these molecules perform the same functions in vertebrates and invertebrates.
Abstract in English:Heparan sulfate is a component of vertebrate and invertebrate tissues which appears during the cytodifferentiation stage of embryonic development. Its structure varies according to the tissue and species of origin and is modified during neoplastic transformation. Several lines of experimental evidence suggest that heparan sulfate plays a role in cellular recognition, cellular adhesion and growth control. Heparan sulfate can participate in the process of cell division in two distinct ways, either as a positive or negative modulator of cellular proliferation, or as a response to a mitogenic stimulus.
Abstract in English:Flavobacterium heparinum is a soil bacterium that produces several mucopolysaccharidases such as heparinase, heparitinases I and II, and chondroitinases AC, B, C and ABC. The purpose of the present study was to optimize the preparation of F. heparinum chondroitinases, which are very useful tools for the identification and structural characterization of chondroitin and dermatan sulfates. We observed that during the routine procedure for cell disruption (ultrasound, 100 kHz, 5 min) some of the chondroitinase B activity was lost. Using milder conditions (2 min), most of the chondroitinase B and AC protein was solubilized and the enzyme activities were preserved. Tryptic soy broth without glucose was the best culture medium both for bacterial growth and enzyme induction. Chondroitinases AC and B were separated from each other and also from glucuronidases and sulfatases by hydrophobic interaction chromatography on HP Phenyl-Sepharose. A rapid method for screening of the column fractions was also developed based on the metachromatic shift of the color of dimethylmethylene blue.
Abstract in English:The thymus contains an extensive extracellular matrix. Although thymocytes express integrins capable of binding to matrix molecules, the functional significance of the matrix for T cell development is uncertain. We have shown that the matrix is associated with thymic fibroblasts which are required for the CD44+ CD25+ stage of double negative (CD4-8-) thymocyte development. The survival of cells at this stage is dependent on IL-7 and we propose that the role of fibroblasts is to present, via the matrix, IL-7 to developing T cells.
Abstract in English:Galectin-1 belongs to an evolutionarily conserved family of animal ß-galactoside-binding proteins, which exert their functions by crosslinking the oligosaccharides of specific glycoconjugate ligands. During the past decade, attempts to identify the functional role of galectin-1 suggested participation in the regulation of the immune response. Only in the last few years has the molecular mechanism involved in these properties been clearly elucidated, revealing a critical role for galectin-1 as an alternative signal in the generation of T cell death. In the present study we will discuss the latest advances in galectin research in the context of the regulation of the immune response, not only at the central level but also at the periphery. Moreover, we will review the purification, biochemical properties and functional significance of a novel galectin-1-like protein from activated rat macrophages, whose expression is differentially regulated according to the activation state of the cells. The novel role of a carbohydrate-binding protein in the regulation of apoptosis is providing a breakthrough in galectin research and extending the interface between immunology, glycobiology and clinical medicine.
Abstract in English:Thymocyte differentiation is the process by which bone marrow-derived precursors enter the thymus, proliferate, rearrange the genes and express the corresponding T cell receptors, and undergo positive and/or negative selection, ultimately yielding mature T cells that will represent the so-called T cell repertoire. This process occurs in the context of cell migration, whose cellular and molecular basis is still poorly understood. Kinetic studies favor the idea that these cells leave the organ in an ordered pattern, as if they were moving on a conveyor belt. We have recently proposed that extracellular matrix glycoproteins, such as fibronectin, laminin and type IV collagen, among others, produced by non-lymphoid cells both in the cortex and in the medulla, would constitute a macromolecular arrangement allowing differentiating thymocytes to migrate. Here we discuss the participation of both molecules with adhesive and de-adhesive properties in the intrathymic T cell migration. Functional experiments demonstrated that galectin-3, a soluble ß-galactoside-binding lectin secreted by thymic microenvironmental cells, is a likely candidate for de-adhesion proteins by decreasing thymocyte interaction with the thymic microenvironment.
Abstract in English:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic debilitating disease characterized by distinct autoimmune, inflammatory and fibrovascular components which lead to synovial proliferation and joint destruction. However, existing treatments specifically target only autoimmune and inflammatory components despite the fact that neovascularization of the inflamed synovium is a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis. Angiogenesis may contribute to synovial growth, leukocyte recruitment and tissue remodeling, thus potentiating disease progression. Although no therapies currently target angiogenesis, several existing therapies have anti-angiogenic activity. Recent advances in anti-angiogenic strategies in oncology, including the identification of integrin <FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>vß3 as a crucial effector of angiogenesis, suggest a means to assess the role of angiogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis. Synovial endothelial cells have been shown to express integrin <FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>vß3, suggesting that these cells may be targeted for angiogenesis inhibition. Prior studies in rat arthritis models have shown benefit after the addition of broad spectrum integrin antagonists. However, formal assessment of integrin-targeted anti-angiogenic activity is now underway. These controlled studies will be important in assessing the efficacy of therapies which target angiogenesis in RA.
Abstract in English:Fibronectin (FN), a large family of plasma and extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins, plays an important role in leukocyte migration. In normal central nervous system (CNS), a fine and delicate mesh of FN is virtually restricted to the basal membrane of cerebral blood vessels and to the glial limitans externa. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an inflammatory CNS demyelinating disease, was induced in Lewis rats with a spinal cord homogenate. During the preclinical phase and the onset of the disease, marked immunolabelling was observed on the endothelial luminal surface and basal lamina of spinal cord and brainstem microvasculature. In the paralytic phase, a discrete labelling was evident in blood vessels of spinal cord and brainstem associated or not with an inflammatory infiltrate. Conversely, intense immunolabelling was present in cerebral and cerebellar blood vessels, which were still free from inflammatory cuffs. Shortly after clinical recovery minimal labelling was observed in a few blood vessels. Brainstem and spinal cord returned to normal, but numerous inflammatory foci and demyelination were still evident near the ventricle walls, in the cerebral cortex and in the cerebellum. Intense expression of FN in brain vessels ascending from the spinal cord towards the encephalon preceded the appearance of inflammatory cells but faded away after the establishment of the inflammatory cuff. These results indicate an important role for FN in the pathogenesis of CNS inflammatory demyelinating events occurring during EAE.
Abstract in English:Alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) expression in the central nervous system (CNS) usually associated with inflammatory lesions have been described in several pathological situations including neuroblastoma and demyelinating diseases. The participation of fibronectin (FN) and its receptor, the VLA-4 molecule, in the migration of inflammatory cells into the CNS has been proposed. In Trypanosoma cruzi infection encephalitis occurs during the acute phase, whereas in Toxoplasma infection encephalitis is a chronic persisting process. In immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients, T. cruzi or T. gondii infection can lead to severe CNS damage. At the moment, there are no data available regarding the molecules involved in the entrance of inflammatory cells into the CNS during parasitic encephalitis. Herein, we characterized the expression of the ECM components FN and laminin (LN) and their receptors in the CNS of T. gondii- and T. cruzi-infected mice. An increased expression of FN and LN was detected in the meninges, leptomeninges, choroid plexus and basal lamina of blood vessels. A fine FN network was observed involving T. gondii-free and T. gondii-containing inflammatory infiltrates. Moreover, perivascular spaces presenting a FN-containing filamentous network filled with <FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>4+ and <FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>5+ cells were observed. Although an increased expression of LN was detected in the basal lamina of blood vessels, the CNS inflammatory cells were <FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>6-negative. Taken together, our results suggest that FN and its receptors VLA-4 and VLA-5 might be involved in the entrance, migration and retention of inflammatory cells into the CNS during parasitic infections.
Abstract in English:All blood cells are derived from a small common pool of totipotent cells, called hematopoietic stem cells. The process is strictly regulated by the hematopoietic microenvironment, which includes stromal cells, extracellular matrix molecules and soluble regulatory factors. Several experimental in vitro assays have been developed for the study of hematopoietic differentiation, and have provided valuable information on the stroma, which includes, among other cell types, macrophages, fibroblasts, adipocytes, and endothelial cells. The composition, ontogeny, and function in physiological as well as pathological conditions of stroma are discussed.
Abstract in English:As a result of recent investigations, the cytoskeleton can be viewed as a cytoplasmic system of interconnected filaments with three major integrative levels: self-assembling macromolecules, filamentous polymers, e.g., microtubules, intermediate filaments and actin filaments, and supramolecular structures formed by bundles of these filaments or networks resulting from cross-bridges between these major cytoskeletal polymers. The organization of this biological structure appears to be sensitive to fine spatially and temporally dependent regulatory signals. In differentiating neurons, regulation of cytoskeleton organization is particularly relevant, and the microtubule-associated protein (MAP) tau appears to play roles in the extension of large neuritic processes and axons as well as in the stabilization of microtubular polymers along these processes. Within this context, tau is directly involved in defining neuronal polarity as well as in the generation of neuronal growth cones. There is increasing evidence that elements of the extracellular matrix contribute to the control of cytoskeleton organization in differentiating neurons, and that these regulations could be mediated by changes in MAP activity. In this brief review, we discuss the possible roles of tau in mediating the effects of extracellular matrix components on the internal cytoskeletal arrays and its organization in growing neurons.
Abstract in English:Intermediate filament (IF) proteins constitute an extremely large multigene family of developmentally and tissue-regulated cytoskeleton proteins abundant in most vertebrate cell types. Astrocyte precursors of the CNS usually express vimentin as the major IF. Astrocyte maturation is followed by a switch between vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression, with the latter being recognized as an astrocyte maturation marker. Levels of GFAP are regulated under developmental and pathological conditions. Upregulation of GFAP expression is one of the main characteristics of the astrocytic reaction commonly observed after CNS lesion. In this way, studies on GFAP regulation have been shown to be useful to understand not only brain physiology but also neurological disease. Modulators of GFAP expression include several hormones such as thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids and several growth factors such as FGF, CNTF and TGFß, among others. Studies of the GFAP gene have already identified several putative growth factor binding domains in its promoter region. Data obtained from transgenic and knockout mice have provided new insights into IF protein functions. This review highlights the most recent studies on the regulation of IF function by growth factors and hormones.
Abstract in English:Axon growth and guidance represent complex biological processes in which probably intervene diverse sets of molecular cues that allow for the appropriate wiring of the central nervous system (CNS). The extracellular matrix (ECM) represents a major contributor of molecular signals either diffusible or membrane-bound that may regulate different stages of neural development. Some of the brain ECM molecules form tridimensional structures (tunnels and boundaries) that appear during time- and space-regulated events, possibly playing relevant roles in the control of axon elongation and pathfinding. This short review focuses mainly on the recognized roles played by proteoglycans, laminin, fibronectin and tenascin in axonal development during ontogenesis.
Abstract in English:The collagen structure of isolated and in situ liver granuloma from Swiss Webster mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni was sequentially and three-dimensionally analyzed during different times of infection (early acute, acute, transitional acute-chronic, and chronic phases) by laser scanning confocal microscopy and electron scanning variable vacuum microscopy. The initial granuloma structure is characterized by vascular collagen residues and by anchorage points (or fiber radiation centers), from where collagenous fibers are angularly shed and self-assembled. During the exudative-productive stage, the self-assembly of these fibers minimizes energy and mass through continuous tension and focal compression. The curvature or angles between collagen fibers probably depends on the fibroblastic or myofibroblastic organization of stress fibers. Gradually, the loose unstable lattice of the exudative-productive stage transforms into a highly packed and stable architecture as a result of progressive compactness. The three-dimensional architecture of granulomas provides increased tissue integrity, efficient distribution of soluble compounds and a haptotactic background to the cells.
Abstract in English:We have characterized, in the Paracoccidioides brasiliensis yeast phase, an exocellular SH-dependent serine proteinase activity against Abz-MKRLTL-EDDnp and analogous fluorescent-quenched peptides, and showed that it is also active against constituents of the basement membrane in vitro. In the present study, we separated the components of P. brasiliensis culture filtrates by electrophoresis and demonstrated that the serine-thiol exocellular proteinase has a diffuse and heterogeneous migration by SDS-PAGE, localizing in a region between 69 and 43 kDa. The hydrolytic activity was demonstrable after SDS-PAGE using buffered agarose overlays of Abz-MKALTLQ-EDDnp, following incubation at 37oC, and detection of fluorescent bands with a UV transilluminator. Hydrolysis was more intense when incubation was carried out at basic pH, and was completely inhibited with 2.5 mM PMSF and partially with sodium 7-hydroxymercuribenzoate (2.5 mM p-HMB), suggesting its serine-thiol nature. A proteolytic band with similar characteristics was observed in conventional gelatin zymograms, but could not be correlated with a silver-stained component. Detection of the serine-thiol proteinase in substrate gels after SDS-PAGE provides a useful way of monitoring purification of the basement membrane degrading enzyme.
Abstract in English:The pathogenic fungus Sporothrix schenckii is the causative agent of sporotrichosis. This subcutaneous mycosis may disseminate in immunocompromised individuals and also affect several internal organs and tissues, most commonly the bone, joints and lung. Since adhesion is the first step involved with the dissemination of pathogens in the host, we have studied the interaction between S. schenckii and several extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. The binding of two morphological phases of S. schenckii, yeast cells and conidia, to immobilized type II collagen, laminin, fibronectin, fibrinogen and thrombospondin was investigated. Poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (poly-HEMA) was used as the negative control. Cell adhesion was assessed by ELISA with a rabbit anti-S. schenckii antiserum. The results indicate that both morphological phases of this fungus can bind significantly to type II collagen, fibronectin and laminin in comparison to the binding observed with BSA (used as blocking agent). The adhesion rate observed with the ECM proteins (type II collagen, fibronectin and laminin) was statistically significant (P<0.05) when compared to the adhesion obtained with BSA. No significant binding of conidia was observed to either fibrinogen or thrombospondin, but yeast cells did bind to the fibrinogen. Our results indicate that S. schenckii can bind to fibronectin, laminin and type II collagen and also show differences in binding capacity according to the morphological form of the fungus.