Cover Story Current Issue

The gastrointestinal tract is involved in physiological regulation, including regulation of metabolism and feeding behavior, through the secretion of gut hormones and generation of signals via receptors in response to nutrients. Several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been identified as sensors of lipids, such as fatty acids, monoacylglycerols (MAGs), and their metabolites, the levels of which are increased in the intestine after meals. GPR40 and 120 are well-known receptors for dietary long-chain fatty acids and their metabolites produced by gut microbiota. In addition, GPR119 is a receptor for MAGs [i.e. 2-oleoylglycerol (2-OG)], lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), and fatty acid ethanolamides (FAEs) [i.e. oleoylethanolamide (OEA)]. Although enterocytes, enteroendocrine cells, and neural fibers have been postulated to sense lipids via GPCRs in the gut, most studies imply that enteroendocrine cells are the primary cells that sense lipids, which results in the production of hormones like cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) after a meal.

Miki Igarashi, Tetsuhiko Hayakawa, Haruka Tanabe, Keita Watanabe, ... Ikuo Kimura

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Current Issue

Epigenetic regulation of IPF fibroblast phenotype by glutaminolysis

Zheyi Xiang, Le Bai, Jennifer Q. Zhou, Ricardo R. Cevallos, ... Yan Y. Sanders

Objective

Excessive extra-cellular-matrix production and uncontrolled proliferation of the fibroblasts are characteristics of many fibrotic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The fibroblasts have enhanced glutaminolysis with up-regulated glutaminase, GLS1, which converts glutamine to glutamate. Here, we investigated the role of glutaminolysis and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) on IPF fibroblast phenotype and gene expression.

Methods

Reduced glutamine conditions were carried out either using glutamine-free culture medium or silencing the expression of GLS1 with siRNA, with or without α-KG compensation. Cell phenotype has been characterized under these different conditions, and gene expression profile was examined by RNA-Seq. Specific profibrotic genes (Col3A1 and PLK1) expression were examined by real-time PCR and western blots. The levels of repressive histone H3K27me3, which demethylase activity is affected by glutaminolysis, were examined and H3K27me3 association with promoter region of Col3A1 and PLK1 were checked by ChIP assays. Effects of reduced glutaminolysis on fibrosis markers were checked in an animal model of lung fibrosis.

Results

The lack of glutamine in the culture medium alters the profibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. The addition of exogenous and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-KG to glutamine-free media barely restores the pro-fibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. Many genes are down-regulated in glutamine-free medium, α-KG supplementation only rescues a limited number of genes. As α-KG is a cofactor for histone demethylases of H3K27me3, the reduced glutaminolysis alters H3K27me3 levels, and enriches H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 and PLK1 promoter region. Adding α-KG in glutamine-free medium depleted H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 promoter region but not that of PLK1. In a murine model of lung fibrosis, mice with reduced glutaminolysis showed markedly reduced fibrotic markers.

Conclusions

This study indicates that glutamine is critical for supporting pro-fibrotic fibroblast phenotype in lung fibrosis, partially through α-KG-dependent and –independent mechanisms, and supports targeting fibroblast metabolism as a therapeutic method for fibrotic diseases.

Epigenetic regulation of IPF fibroblast phenotype by glutaminolysis

Zheyi Xiang, Le Bai, Jennifer Q. Zhou, Ricardo R. Cevallos, ... Yan Y. Sanders

Objective

Excessive extra-cellular-matrix production and uncontrolled proliferation of the fibroblasts are characteristics of many fibrotic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The fibroblasts have enhanced glutaminolysis with up-regulated glutaminase, GLS1, which converts glutamine to glutamate. Here, we investigated the role of glutaminolysis and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) on IPF fibroblast phenotype and gene expression.

Methods

Reduced glutamine conditions were carried out either using glutamine-free culture medium or silencing the expression of GLS1 with siRNA, with or without α-KG compensation. Cell phenotype has been characterized under these different conditions, and gene expression profile was examined by RNA-Seq. Specific profibrotic genes (Col3A1 and PLK1) expression were examined by real-time PCR and western blots. The levels of repressive histone H3K27me3, which demethylase activity is affected by glutaminolysis, were examined and H3K27me3 association with promoter region of Col3A1 and PLK1 were checked by ChIP assays. Effects of reduced glutaminolysis on fibrosis markers were checked in an animal model of lung fibrosis.

Results

The lack of glutamine in the culture medium alters the profibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. The addition of exogenous and glutaminolysis-derived metabolite α-KG to glutamine-free media barely restores the pro-fibrotic phenotype of activated fibroblasts. Many genes are down-regulated in glutamine-free medium, α-KG supplementation only rescues a limited number of genes. As α-KG is a cofactor for histone demethylases of H3K27me3, the reduced glutaminolysis alters H3K27me3 levels, and enriches H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 and PLK1 promoter region. Adding α-KG in glutamine-free medium depleted H3K27me3 association with Col3A1 promoter region but not that of PLK1. In a murine model of lung fibrosis, mice with reduced glutaminolysis showed markedly reduced fibrotic markers.

Conclusions

This study indicates that glutamine is critical for supporting pro-fibrotic fibroblast phenotype in lung fibrosis, partially through α-KG-dependent and –independent mechanisms, and supports targeting fibroblast metabolism as a therapeutic method for fibrotic diseases.

2021 impact factor: 8.568

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