Airway hyperresponsiveness is a key characteristic of human asthma and a marker for asthma-like conditions in animals. F1 mice derived from A/J and C57BL/6J display a phenotype which resembles the asthma-like phenotype of the A/J mice. Since airway responsiveness failed to segregate as a mendelian trait, we show significant linkage at two loci, Bhr1 (lod = 3.0) and Bhr2 (lod = 3.7) on chromosomes 2 and 15. A third locus, Bhr3 (lod = 2.83), maps to chromosome 17. Each of these loci maps near candidate loci implicated in the pathobiology of asthma. Our study represents the first linkages established through a genome-wide survey of airway hyperresponsiveness in any mammal.
Homing of mast cell progenitors (MCps) to the mouse small intestine involves the interaction of alpha4beta7 integrin with mucosal addressin cellular adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1). We now demonstrate the dependence of this process on CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) using null strains and mice sublethally irradiated and bone marrow (BM) reconstituted (SIBR) with wild-type or null BM or with wild-type BM followed by administration of blocking antibody. The intestinal MCp concentration in CXCR2(-/-) mice was reduced by 67%, but was unaltered in CC chemokine receptor 2(-/-) (CCR2(-/-)), CCR3(-/-), or CCR5(-/-) mice. SIBR mice given CXCR2(-/-) BM had an intestinal MCp concentration that was 76% less than that in BALB/c BM reconstituted mice. Antibody blockade of VCAM-1 or of CXCR2 in SIBR mice reduced intestinal MCp reconstitution, and mice lacking endothelial VCAM-1 also had a marked reduction relative to wild-type mice. Finally, the half-life of intestinal MCps in wild-type mice was less than one week on the basis of a more than 50% reduction by administration of anti-alpha4beta7 integrin or anti-CXCR2. Thus, the establishment and maintenance of MCps in the small intestine is a dynamic process that requires expression of the alpha4beta7 integrin and the alpha-chemokine receptor CXCR2.
Mast cell-deficient mutant mice and their normal littermates were used to determine whether activation of mast cells by anti-IgE enhances airway responsiveness to bronchoactive agonists in vivo. Pulmonary conductance was used as an index of airway response as the mice were challenged with increasing intravenous doses of methacholine (Mch) or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). Mast cell activation with anti-IgE enhanced pulmonary responsiveness to Mch in both types of normal mice (P < 0.0001 by analysis of variance) but not in either genotype of mast cell-deficient mouse. Additionally, anti-IgE pretreatment of genetically mast cell-deficient W/Wv mice whose mast cell deficiency had been repaired by infusion of freshly obtained bone marrow cells or bone marrow-derived cultured mast cells from congenic normal mice led to significant (P < 0.0001) enhancement of Mch responsiveness. 5-HT responsiveness was not significantly influenced by anti-IgE pretreatment in any of the mice studied. The data support the hypothesis that IgE-mediated activation of mast cells enhances pulmonary responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation.
Mouse mast cell protease (mMCP) 6 and mMCP-7 are homologous tryptases stored in granules as macromolecular complexes with heparin and/or chondroitin sulfate E containing serglycin proteoglycans. When pro-mMCP-7 and pseudozymogen forms of this tryptase and mMCP-6 were separately expressed in insect cells, all three recombinant proteins were secreted into the conditioned medium as properly folded, enzymatically inactive 33-kDa monomers. However, when their propeptides were removed, mMCP-6 and mMCP-7 became enzymatically active and spontaneously assumed an approximately 150-kDa tetramer structure. Heparin was not required for this structural change. When incubated at 37 degrees C, recombinant mMCP-7 progressively lost its enzymatic activity in a time-dependent manner. Its N-linked glycans helped regulate the thermal stability of mMCP-7. However, the ability of this tryptase to form the enzymatically active tetramer was more dependent on a highly conserved Trp-rich domain on its surface. Although recombinant mMCP-6 and mMCP-7 preferred to form homotypic tetramers, these tryptases readily formed heterotypic tetramers in vitro. This latter finding indicates that the tetramer structural unit is a novel way the mast cell uses to assemble varied combinations of tryptases.
Leukotriene (LT) C(4) and its metabolites, LTD(4) and LTE(4), are involved in the pathobiology of bronchial asthma. LTC(4) synthase is the nuclear membrane-embedded enzyme responsible for LTC(4) biosynthesis, catalyzing the conjugation of two substrates that have considerably different water solubility; that amphipathic LTA(4) as a derivative of arachidonic acid and a water-soluble glutathione (GSH). A previous crystal structure revealed important details of GSH binding and implied a GSH activating function for Arg-104. In addition, Arg-31 was also proposed to participate in the catalysis based on the putative LTA(4) binding model. In this study enzymatic assay with mutant enzymes demonstrates that Arg-104 is required for the binding and activation of GSH and that Arg-31 is needed for catalysis probably by activating the epoxide group of LTA(4).
Leukotriene C4 (LTC4) and its extracellular metabolites, LTD4 and LTE4, mediate airway inflammation. They signal through three specific receptors (type 1 cys-LT receptor [CysLT1R], CysLT2R, and GPR99) with overlapping ligand preferences. In this article, we demonstrate that LTC4, but not LTD4 or LTE4, activates mouse platelets exclusively through CysLT2R. Platelets expressed CysLT1R and CysLT2R proteins. LTC4 induced surface expression of CD62P by wild-type mouse platelets in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and caused their secretion of thromboxane A2 and CXCL4. LTC4 was fully active on PRP from mice lacking either CysLT1R or GPR99, but completely inactive on PRP from CysLT2R-null (Cysltr2(-/-)) mice. LTC4/CysLT2R signaling required an autocrine ADP-mediated response through P2Y12 receptors. LTC4 potentiated airway inflammation in a platelet- and CysLT2R-dependent manner. Thus, CysLT2R on platelets recognizes LTC4 with unexpected selectivity. Nascent LTC4 may activate platelets at a synapse with granulocytes before it is converted to LTD4, promoting mediator generation and the formation of leukocyte-platelet complexes that facilitate inflammation.
The complete nucleotide sequence of the 16.7-kb human gene that encodes the peptide core (serglycin) of a secretory granule proteoglycan was determined, thus representing the first proteoglycan peptide core gene to be sequenced in its entirety. The exons, intron 1, and intron 2 comprised 7, 53, and 40% of the gene, respectively. Nineteen Alu-repetitive DNA sequences were interspersed in the gene, accounting for 28% of the total nucleotides in intron 1 and 40% of the nucleotides in intron 2. The nucleotide sequence was then used in an examination of the methylation pattern of the human serglycin gene in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells that contain serglycin mRNA and in T-lymphoblast Molt-4 cells that do not. With polymerase chain reaction methodology, 13 DNA probes of 250-880 base pairs in length were generated that corresponded to unique, non-Alu sequences spaced throughout the entire human serglycin gene. When blots containing genomic DNA digested with HpaII or MspI were examined with these genomic probes, it was discovered that the 5'-flanking region and intron 1 of the serglycin gene in HL-60 cells were both substantially less methylated than intron 2. In contrast, the entire serglycin gene in Molt-4 cells was highly methylated. Because hypomethylated genes generally are transcribed more efficiently than hypermethylated genes, the high level of serglycin mRNA in HL-60 cells probably is a consequence of the low level of methylation of intron 1 and the 5'-flanking region of the serglycin gene in these cells.