- About us
- Scientific meetings
- Grants and funding
- Meetings grants
- Travel grants
- Departmental seminar scheme
- Outreach grants
- Public engagement grants
- Support for undergraduates
- Benevolent fund
- International grants
- Paton Prize Bursary
- Research grants
- Teaching grants
- Education and resources
- Higher education workshops
- Postgraduate / early career
- Media library
- Techniques workshops
- Physiology jobs
- In vivo short courses
- Rob Clarke Awards
- Press centre
- Public engagement
Journal of Physiology
RSS feed -- current issue.
Updated: 18 hours 23 min ago
Mammalian target of rapamycin signalling modulates amino acid uptake by regulating transporter cell surface abundance in primary human trophoblast cells
Abnormal fetal growth increases the risk for perinatal complications and predisposes for the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. Emerging evidence suggests that changes in placental amino acid transport directly contribute to altered fetal growth. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating placental amino acid transport are largely unknown. Here we combined small interfering (si) RNA-mediated silencing approaches with protein expression/localization and functional studies in cultured primary human trophoblast cells to test the hypothesis that mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and 2 (mTORC2) regulate amino acid transporters by post-translational mechanisms. Silencing raptor (inhibits mTORC1) or rictor (inhibits mTORC2) markedly decreased basal System A and System L amino acid transport activity but had no effect on growth factor-stimulated amino acid uptake. Simultaneous inhibition of mTORC1 and 2 completely inhibited both basal and growth factor-stimulated amino acid transport activity. In contrast, mTOR inhibition had no effect on serotonin transport. mTORC1 or mTORC2 silencing markedly decreased the plasma membrane expression of specific System A (SNAT2, SLC38A2) and System L (LAT1, SLC7A5) transporter isoforms without affecting global protein expression. In conclusion, mTORC1 and mTORC2 regulate human trophoblast amino acid transporters by modulating the cell surface abundance of specific transporter isoforms. This is the first report showing regulation of amino acid transport by mTORC2. Because placental mTOR activity and amino acid transport are decreased in human intrauterine growth restriction our data are consistent with the possibility that dysregulation of placental mTOR plays an important role in the development of abnormal fetal growth.
The voltage-gated H+ channel functions as a dimer, a configuration that is different from standard tetrameric voltage-gated channels. Each channel protomer has its own permeation pathway. The C-terminal coiled-coil domain has been shown to be necessary for both dimerization and cooperative gating in the two channel protomers. Here we report the gating cooperativity in trimeric and tetrameric Hv channels engineered by altering the hydrophobic core sequence of the coiled-coil assembly domain. Trimeric and tetrameric channels exhibited more rapid and less sigmoidal kinetics of activation of H+ permeation than dimeric channels, suggesting that some channel protomers in trimers and tetramers failed to produce gating cooperativity observed in wild-type dimers. Multimerization of trimer and tetramer channels were confirmed by the biochemical analysis of proteins, including crystallography. These findings indicate that the voltage-gated H+ channel is optimally designed as a dimeric channel on a solid foundation of the sequence pattern of the coiled-coil core, with efficient cooperative gating that ensures sustained and steep voltage-dependent H+ conductance in blood cells.
Sprint interval and endurance training are equally effective in increasing muscle microvascular density and eNOS content in sedentary males
Sprint interval training (SIT) has been proposed as a time efficient alternative to endurance training (ET) for increasing skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and improving certain cardiovascular functions. In this study we sought to make the first comparisons of the structural and endothelial enzymatic changes in skeletal muscle microvessels in response to ET and SIT. Sixteen young sedentary males (age 21 ± SEM 0.7 years, BMI 23.8 ± SEM 0.7 kg m–2) were randomly assigned to 6 weeks of ET (40–60 min cycling at ~65% , 5 times per week) or SIT (4–6 Wingate tests, 3 times per week). Muscle biopsies were taken from the m. vastus lateralis before and following 60 min cycling at 65% to measure muscle microvascular endothelial eNOS content, eNOS serine1177 phosphorylation, NOX2 content and capillarisation using quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy. Whole body insulin sensitivity, arterial stiffness and blood pressure were also assessed. ET and SIT increased skeletal muscle microvascular eNOS content (ET 14%; P < 0.05, SIT 36%; P < 0.05), with a significantly greater increase observed following SIT (P < 0.05). Sixty minutes of moderate intensity exercise increased eNOS ser1177 phosphorylation in all instances (P < 0.05), but basal and post-exercise eNOS ser1177 phosphorylation was lower following both training modes. All microscopy measures of skeletal muscle capillarisation (P < 0.05) were increased with SIT or ET, while neither endothelial nor sarcolemmal NOX2 was changed. Both training modes reduced aortic stiffness and increased whole body insulin sensitivity (P < 0.05). In conclusion, in sedentary males SIT and ET are effective in improving muscle microvascular density and eNOS protein content.
Sprint interval and traditional endurance training increase net intramuscular triglyceride breakdown and expression of perilipin 2 and 5
Intramuscular triglyceride (IMTG) utilization is enhanced by endurance training (ET) and is linked to improved insulin sensitivity. This study first investigated the hypothesis that ET-induced increases in net IMTG breakdown and insulin sensitivity are related to increased expression of perilipin 2 (PLIN2) and perilipin 5 (PLIN5). Second, we hypothesized that sprint interval training (SIT) also promotes increases in IMTG utilization and insulin sensitivity. Sixteen sedentary males performed 6 weeks of either SIT (4–6, 30 s Wingate tests per session, 3 days week–1) or ET (40–60 min moderate-intensity cycling, 5 days week–1). Training increased resting IMTG content (SIT 1.7-fold, ET 2.4-fold; P < 0.05), concomitant with parallel increases in PLIN2 (SIT 2.3-fold, ET 2.8-fold; P < 0.01) and PLIN5 expression (SIT 2.2-fold, ET 3.1-fold; P < 0.01). Pre-training, 60 min cycling at ~65% pre-training decreased IMTG content in type I fibres (SIT 17 ± 10%, ET 15 ± 12%; P < 0.05). Following training, a significantly greater breakdown of IMTG in type I fibres occurred during exercise (SIT 27 ± 13%, ET 43 ± 6%; P < 0.05), with preferential breakdown of PLIN2- and particularly PLIN5-associated lipid droplets. Training increased the Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (SIT 56 ± 15%, ET 29 ± 12%; main effect P < 0.05). No training x group interactions were observed for any variables. In conclusion, SIT and ET both increase net IMTG breakdown during exercise and increase in PLIN2 and PLIN5 protein expression. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that increases in PLIN2 and PLIN5 are related to the mechanisms that promote increased IMTG utilization during exercise and improve insulin sensitivity following 6 weeks of SIT and ET.
Reverse myocardial effects of intermedin in pressure-overloaded hearts: role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity
Intermedin (IMD) is a cardiac peptide synthesized in a prepro form, which undergoes a series of proteolytic cleavages and amidations to yield the active forms of 47 (IMD1–47) and 40 amino acids (IMD8–47). There are several lines of evidence of increased IMD expression in rat models of cardiac pathologies, including congestive heart failure and ischaemia; however, its myocardial effects upon cardiac disease remain unexplored. With this in mind, we investigated the direct effects of increasing concentrations of IMD1–47 (10–10 to10–6 m) on contraction and relaxation of left ventricular (LV) papillary muscles from two rat models of chronic pressure overload, one induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC), the other by nitric oxide (NO) deficiency due to chronic NO synthase inhibition (NG-nitro-l-arginine, l-NAME), and respective controls (Sham and Ctrl). In TAC and l-NAME rats, exogenous administration of IMD1–47 elicited concentration-dependent positive inotropic and lusitropic effects. By contrast, in Sham and Ctrl rats, IMD1–47 induced a negative inotropic response without a significant effect on relaxation. Both TAC and l-NAME rats presented LV hypertrophy, elevated LV systolic pressures, preserved systolic function and elevated peroxynitrite levels. In the normal myocardium (Ctrl and Sham), IMD1–47 induced a 3-fold increase of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation at Ser1177, indicating enhanced eNOS activity. In TAC and l-NAME rats, eNOS phosphorylation was increased at baseline, and its response to IMD1–47 was blunted. In addition, the distinct myocardial response to IMD1–47 was accompanied by distinct subcellular mechanisms. While in Sham rats the addition of IMD1–47 induced the phosphorylation of cardiac troponin I due to NO/cGMP activation, in TAC rats IMD1–47 induced phospholamban phosphorylation possibly associated with cAMP/protein kinase A activation. Therefore, we demonstrated for the first time a reversed myocardial response to IMD1–47 neurohumoral stimulation due to impairment of eNOS activation in TAC and l-NAME rats. These results not only reveal the distinct myocardial effects and subcellular mechanisms for IMD1–47 in normal and hypertrophic hearts, but also highlight the potential pathophysiological relevance of cardiac endothelial dysfunction in neurohumoral myocardial action.
Familial dysautonomia (Riley–Day syndrome) is an hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN type III), expressed at birth, that is associated with reduced pain and temperature sensibilities and absent baroreflexes, causing orthostatic hypotension as well as labile blood pressure that increases markedly during emotional excitement. Given the apparent absence of functional baroreceptor afferents, we tested the hypothesis that the normal cardiac-locked bursts of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) are absent in patients with familial dysautonomia. Tungsten microelectrodes were inserted percutaneously into muscle or cutaneous fascicles of the common peroneal nerve in 12 patients with familial dysautonomia. Spontaneous bursts of MSNA were absent in all patients, but in five patients we found evidence of tonically firing sympathetic neurones, with no cardiac rhythmicity, that increased their spontaneous discharge during emotional arousal but not during a manoeuvre that unloads the baroreceptors. Conversely, skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA), recorded in four patients, appeared normal. We conclude that the loss of phasic bursts of MSNA and the loss of baroreflex modulation of muscle vasoconstrictor drive contributes to the poor control of blood pressure in familial dysautonomia, and that the increase in tonic firing of muscle vasoconstrictor neurones contributes to the increase in blood pressure during emotional excitement.
Interventricular comparison of the energetics of contraction of trabeculae carneae isolated from the rat heart
We compare the energetics of right ventricular and left ventricular trabeculae carneae isolated from rat hearts. Using our work-loop calorimeter, we subjected trabeculae to stress-length work (W), designed to mimic the pressure–volume work of the heart. Simultaneous measurement of heat production (Q) allowed calculation of the accompanying change of enthalpy (H = W + Q). From the mechanical measurements (i.e. stress and change of length), we calculated work, shortening velocity and power. In combination with heat measurements, we calculated activation heat (QA), crossbridge heat (Qxb) and two measures of cardiac efficiency: ‘mechanical efficiency' (mech = W/H) and ‘crossbridge efficiency' (xb = W/(H – QA)). With respect to their left ventricular counterparts, right venticular trabeculae have higher peak shortening velocity, and higher peak mechanical efficiency, but with no difference of stress development, twitch duration, work performance, shortening power or crossbridge efficiency. That is, the 35% greater maximum mechanical efficiency of right venticular than left ventricular trabeculae (13.6 vs. 10.2%) is offset by the greater metabolic cost of activation (QA) in the latter. When corrected for this difference, crossbridge efficiency does not differ between the ventricles.
Excessive increases in intracellular [Ca2+] in skeletal muscle fibres cause failure of excitation–contraction coupling by disrupting communication between the dihydropyridine receptors in the transverse tubular system and the Ca2+ release channels (RyRs) in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), but the exact mechanism is unknown. Previous work suggested a possible role of Ca2+-dependent proteolysis in this uncoupling process but found no proteolysis of the dihydropyridine receptors, RyRs or triadin. Junctophilin-1 (JP1; ~90 kDa) stabilizes close apposition of the transverse tubular system and SR membranes in adult skeletal muscle; its C-terminal end is embedded in the SR and its N-terminal associates with the transverse tubular system membrane. Exposure of skeletal muscle homogenates to precisely set [Ca2+] revealed that JP1 undergoes Ca2+-dependent proteolysis over the physiological [Ca2+] range in tandem with autolytic activation of endogenous -calpain. Cleavage of JP1 occurs close to the C-terminal, yielding a ~75 kDa diffusible fragment and a fixed ~15 kDa fragment. Depolarization-induced force responses in rat skinned fibres were abolished following 1 min exposure to 40 m Ca2+, with accompanying loss of full-length JP1. Supraphysiological stimulation of rat skeletal muscle in vitro by repeated tetanic stimulation in 30 mm caffeine also produced marked proteolysis of JP1 (and not RyR1). In dystrophic mdx mice, JP1 proteolysis is seen in limb muscles at 4 and not at 10 weeks of age. Junctophilin-2 in cardiac and skeletal muscle also undergoes Ca2+-dependent proteolysis, and junctophilin-2 levels are reduced following cardiac ischaemia–reperfusion. Junctophilin proteolysis may contribute to skeletal muscle weakness and cardiac dysfunction in a range of circumstances.
On-off asymmetries in oxygen consumption kinetics of single Xenopus laevis skeletal muscle fibres suggest higher-order control
The mechanisms controlling skeletal muscle oxygen consumption ( ) during exercise are not well understood. We determined whether first-order control could explain kinetics at contractions onset ( ) and cessation ( ) in single skeletal muscle fibres differing in oxidative capacity, and across stimulation intensities up to . Xenopus laevis fibres (n = 21) were suspended in a sealed chamber with a fast response electrode to measure every second before, during and after stimulated isometric contractions. A first-order model did not well characterise on-transient kinetics. Including a time delay (TD) in the model provided a significantly improved characterisation than a first-order fit without TD (F-ratio; P < 0.05), and revealed separate ‘activation' and ‘exponential' phases in 15/21 fibres contracting at (mean ± SD TD: 14 ± 3 s). On-transient kinetics ( ) was weakly and linearly related to (R2 = 0.271, P = 0.015). Off-transient kinetics, however, were first-order, and was greater in low-oxidative ( < 0.05 nmol mm–3 s–1) than high-oxidative fibres ( > 0.10 nmol mm–3 s–1; 170 ± 70 vs. 29 ± 6 s, P < 0.001). was proportional to (R2 = 0.727, P < 0.001), unlike in the on-transient. The calculated oxygen deficit was larger (P < 0.05) than the post-contraction volume of consumed oxygen at all intensities except . These data show a clear dissociation between the kinetic control of at the onset and cessation of contractions and across stimulation intensities. More complex models are therefore required to understand the activation of mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle at the start of exercise.