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Keiji Kuba Last modified date:2024.05.21

Professor / Science for Biological Information
Department of Basic Medicine
Faculty of Medical Sciences

Graduate School
Undergraduate School
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 Reseacher Profiling Tool Kyushu University Pure
Academic Degree
Medical Science
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Pharmacology, Biochemistry
ORCID(Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Research Interests
  • Elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms of cancer-related cardiovascular and respiratory dysfunction mediated by RNA regulation
    keyword : doxorubicin, heart failure, bleomycin, respiratory failure
  • Development of new prediction and treatment methods for cancer metastasis by spatial tumor heterogeneity of highly metastatic tumors
    keyword : galectin, tumor immunity, squamous cell carcinoma
  • Elucidation of the RNA degradation and transcriptional regulation-mediated pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and its therapeutic applications
    keyword : CCR4-NOT complex, poly(A), m6A methylation, heart failure
  • Elucidation of the pathogenesis of spatio-temporal exacerbation and aftereffects of highly pathogenic viral respiratory infections
    keyword : SARS-CoV-2, ACE2, ARDS, brain infection
Academic Activities
1. Minato T, Yamaguchi T, Hoshizaki M, Nirasawa S, An J, Takahashi S, Penninger JM, Imai Y, Kuba K., ACE2-like enzyme B38-CAP suppresses abdominal sepsis and severe acute lung injury., PLoS One, 17, 7, 17, 7, e0270920, 2022.07.
2. Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Midori Hoshizaki, Takafumi Minato, Satoru Nirasawa, Masamitsu N Asaka, Mayumi Niiyama, Masaki Imai, Akihiko Uda, Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan, Saori Takahashi, Jianbo An, Akari Saku, Ryota Nukiwa, Daichi Utsumi, Maki Kiso, Atsuhiro Yasuhara, Vincent Kwok-Man Poon, Chris Chung-Sing Chan, Yuji Fujino, Satoru Motoyama, Satoshi Nagata, Josef M Penninger, Haruhiko Kamada, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Wataru Kamitani, Ken Maeda, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Yasuhiro Yasutomi, Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, ACE2-like carboxypeptidase B38-CAP protects from SARS-CoV-2-induced lung injury., Nature communications, 10.1038/s41467-021-27097-8, 12, 1, 6791-6791, 2021.11, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a receptor for cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, and recombinant soluble ACE2 protein inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection as a decoy. ACE2 is a carboxypeptidase that degrades angiotensin II, thereby improving the pathologies of cardiovascular disease or acute lung injury. Here we show that B38-CAP, an ACE2-like enzyme, is protective against SARS-CoV-2-induced lung injury. Endogenous ACE2 expression is downregulated in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters, leading to elevation of angiotensin II levels. Recombinant Spike also downregulates ACE2 expression and worsens the symptoms of acid-induced lung injury. B38-CAP does not neutralize cell entry of SARS-CoV-2. However, B38-CAP treatment improves the pathologies of Spike-augmented acid-induced lung injury. In SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters or human ACE2 transgenic mice, B38-CAP significantly improves lung edema and pathologies of lung injury. These results provide the first in vivo evidence that increasing ACE2-like enzymatic activity is a potential therapeutic strategy to alleviate lung pathologies in COVID-19 patients..
3. Akinori Takahashi, Toru Suzuki, Shou Soeda, Shohei Takaoka, Shungo Kobori, Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Haytham Mohamed Aly Mohamed, Akiko Yanagiya, Takaya Abe, Mayo Shigeta, Yasuhide Furuta, Keiji Kuba, Tadashi Yamamoto, The CCR4-NOT complex maintains liver homeostasis through mRNA deadenylation., Life science alliance, 10.26508/lsa.201900494, 3, 5, 2020.05, The biological significance of deadenylation in global gene expression is not fully understood. Here, we show that the CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex maintains expression of mRNAs, such as those encoding transcription factors, cell cycle regulators, DNA damage response-related proteins, and metabolic enzymes, at appropriate levels in the liver. Liver-specific disruption of Cnot1, encoding a scaffold subunit of the CCR4-NOT complex, leads to increased levels of mRNAs for transcription factors, cell cycle regulators, and DNA damage response-related proteins because of reduced deadenylation and stabilization of these mRNAs. CNOT1 suppression also results in an increase of immature, unspliced mRNAs (pre-mRNAs) for apoptosis-related and inflammation-related genes and promotes RNA polymerase II loading on their promoter regions. In contrast, mRNAs encoding metabolic enzymes become less abundant, concomitant with decreased levels of these pre-mRNAs. Lethal hepatitis develops concomitantly with abnormal mRNA expression. Mechanistically, the CCR4-NOT complex targets and destabilizes mRNAs mainly through its association with Argonaute 2 (AGO2) and butyrate response factor 1 (BRF1) in the liver. Therefore, the CCR4-NOT complex contributes to liver homeostasis by modulating the liver transcriptome through mRNA deadenylation..
4. Takafumi Minato, Satoru Nirasawa, Teruki Sato, Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Midori Hoshizaki, Tadakatsu Inagaki, Kazuhiko Nakahara, Tadashi Yoshihashi, Ryo Ozawa, Saki Yokota, Miyuki Natsui, Souichi Koyota, Taku Yoshiya, Kumiko Yoshizawa-Kumagaye, Satoru Motoyama, Takeshi Gotoh, Yoshikazu Nakaoka, Josef M Penninger, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Yumiko Imai, Saori Takahashi, Keiji Kuba, B38-CAP is a bacteria-derived ACE2-like enzyme that suppresses hypertension and cardiac dysfunction., Nature communications, 10.1038/s41467-020-14867-z, 11, 1, 1058-1058, 2020.02, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is critically involved in cardiovascular physiology and pathology, and is currently clinically evaluated to treat acute lung failure. Here we show that the B38-CAP, a carboxypeptidase derived from Paenibacillus sp. B38, is an ACE2-like enzyme to decrease angiotensin II levels in mice. In protein 3D structure analysis, B38-CAP homolog shares structural similarity to mammalian ACE2 with low sequence identity. In vitro, recombinant B38-CAP protein catalyzed the conversion of angiotensin II to angiotensin 1-7, as well as other known ACE2 target peptides. Treatment with B38-CAP suppressed angiotensin II-induced hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, and fibrosis in mice. Moreover, B38-CAP inhibited pressure overload-induced pathological hypertrophy, myocardial fibrosis, and cardiac dysfunction in mice. Our data identify the bacterial B38-CAP as an ACE2-like carboxypeptidase, indicating that evolution has shaped a bacterial carboxypeptidase to a human ACE2-like enzyme. Bacterial engineering could be utilized to design improved protein drugs for hypertension and heart failure..
5. Koizumi Y, Fukushima J, Kobayashi Y, Kadowaki A, Natsui M, Yamaguchi T, Imai Y, Sugiyama T, Kuba K, Genome-Scale CRISPR/Cas9 Screening Reveals Squalene Epoxidase as a Susceptibility Factor for Cytotoxicity of Malformin A1., Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology, 10.1002/cbic.201800769, 20, 12, 1563-1568, 2019.06.
6. Pulmonary phagocyte-derived NPY controls the pathology of severe influenza virus infection.
© 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Crosstalk between the autonomic nervous system and the immune system by means of the sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways is a critical process in host defence. Activation of the sympathetic nervous system results in the release of catecholamines as well as neuropeptide Y (NPY). Here, we investigated whether phagocytes are capable of the de novo production of NPY, as has been described for catecholamines. We show that the synthesis of NPY and its Y1 receptor (Y1R) is increased in phagocytes in lungs following severe influenza virus infection. The genetic deletion of Npy or Y1r specifically in phagocytes greatly improves the pathology of severe influenza virus infection, which is characterized by excessive virus replication and pulmonary inflammation. Mechanistically, it is the induction of suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) via NPY–Y1R activation that is responsible for impaired antiviral response and promoting pro-inflammatory cytokine production, thereby enhancing the pathology of influenza virus infection. Thus, direct regulation of the NPY–Y1R–SOCS3 pathway on phagocytes may act as a fine-tuner of an innate immune response to virus infection, which could be a therapeutic target for lethal influenza virus infection..
7. Sato T, Kadowaki A, Suzuki T, Ito H, Watanabe H, Imai Y, Kuba K, Loss of Apelin Augments Angiotensin II-Induced Cardiac Dysfunction and Pathological Remodeling., International journal of molecular sciences, 10.3390/ijms20020239, 20, 2, 2019.01.
8. Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Takashi Suzuki, Teruki Sato, Akinori Takahashi, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Ayumi Kadowaki, Miyuki Natsui, Hideaki Inagaki, Satoko Arakawa, Shinji Nakaoka, Yukio Koizumi, Shinsuke Seki, Shungo Adachi, Akira Fukao, Toshinobu Fujiwara, Tohru Natsume, Akinori Kimura, Masaaki Komatsu, Shigeomi Shimizu, Hiroshi Ito, Yutaka Suzuki, Josef M Penninger, Tadashi Yamamoto, Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, The CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex controls Atg7-dependent cell death and heart function., Science signaling, 10.1126/scisignal.aan3638, 11, 516, 2018.02, Shortening and removal of the polyadenylate [poly(A)] tail of mRNA, a process called deadenylation, is a key step in mRNA decay that is mediated through the CCR4-NOT (carbon catabolite repression 4-negative on TATA-less) complex. In our investigation of the regulation of mRNA deadenylation in the heart, we found that this complex was required to prevent cell death. Conditional deletion of the CCR4-NOT complex components Cnot1 or Cnot3 resulted in the formation of autophagic vacuoles and cardiomyocyte death, leading to lethal heart failure accompanied by long QT intervals. Cnot3 bound to and shortened the poly(A) tail of the mRNA encoding the key autophagy regulator Atg7. In Cnot3-depleted hearts, Atg7 expression was posttranscriptionally increased. Genetic ablation of Atg7, but not Atg5, increased survival and partially restored cardiac function of Cnot1 or Cnot3 knockout mice. We further showed that in Cnot3-depleted hearts, Atg7 interacted with p53 and modulated p53 activity to induce the expression of genes encoding cell death-promoting factors in cardiomyocytes, indicating that defects in deadenylation in the heart aberrantly activated Atg7 and p53 to promote cell death. Thus, mRNA deadenylation mediated by the CCR4-NOT complex is crucial to prevent Atg7-induced cell death and heart failure, suggesting a role for mRNA deadenylation in targeting autophagy genes to maintain normal cardiac homeostasis..
9. Laina Freyer, Chih-Wei Hsu, Sonja Nowotschin, Andrea Pauli, Junji Ishida, Keiji Kuba, Akiyoshi Fukamizu, Alexander F. Schier, Pamela A. Hoodless, Mary E. Dickinson, Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, Loss of Apela Peptide in Mice Causes Low Penetrance Embryonic Lethality and Defects in Early Mesodermal Derivatives, CELL REPORTS, 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.08.014, 20, 9, 2116-2130, 2017.08, Apela (also known as Elabela, Ende, and Toddler) is a small signaling peptide that activates the G-proteincoupled receptor Aplnr to stimulate cell migration during zebrafish gastrulation. Here, using CRISPR/Cas9 to generate a null, reporter-expressing allele, we study the role of Apela in the developing mouse embryo. We found that loss of Apela results in low-penetrance cardiovascular defects that manifest after the onset of circulation. Three-dimensional micro- computed tomography revealed a higher penetrance of vascular remodeling defects, from which some mutants recover, and identified extraembryonic anomalies as the earliest morphological distinction in Apela mutant embryos. Transcriptomics at late gastrulation identified aberrant upregulation of erythroid and myeloid markers in mutant embryos prior to the appearance of physical malformations. Double-mutant analyses showed that loss of Apela signaling impacts early Aplnr-expressing mesodermal populations independently of the alternative ligand Apelin, leading to lethal cardiac defects in some Apela null embryos..
10. Teruki Sato, Chitose Sato, Ayumi Kadowaki, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Lena Ho, Junji Ishida, Tomokazu Yamaguchi, Akinori Kimura, Akiyoshi Fukamizu, Josef M. Penninger, Bruno Reversade, Hiroshi Ito, Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, ELABELA-APJ axis protects from pressure overload heart failure and angiotensin II-induced cardiac damage, CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH, 10.1093/cvr/cvx061, 113, 7, 760-769, 2017.06, Aims Elabela/Toddler/Apela (ELA) has been identified as a novel endogenous peptide ligand for APJ/Apelin receptor/ Aplnr. ELA plays a crucial role in early cardiac development of zebrafish as well as in maintenance of self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells. Apelin was the first identified APJ ligand, and exerts positive inotropic heart effects and regulates the renin-angiotensin system. The aim of this study was to investigate the biological effects of ELA in the cardiovascular system.
Methods and results Continuous infusion of ELA peptide significantly suppressed pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and impaired contractility in mice. ELA treatment reduced mRNA expression levels of genes associated with heart failure and fibrosis. The cardioprotective effects of ELA were diminished in APJ knockout mice, indicating that APJ is the key receptor for ELA in the adult heart. Mechanistically, ELA downregulated angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) expression in the stressed hearts, whereas it showed little effects on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression, which are distinct from the effects of Apelin. FoxM1 transcription factor, which induces ACE expression in the stressed hearts, was downregulated by ELA but not by Apelin. ELA antagonized angiotensin IIinduced hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, and fibrosis in mice.
Conclusion The ELA-APJ axis protects from pressure overload-induced heart failure possibly via suppression of ACE expression and pathogenic angiotensin II signalling. The different effects of ELA and Apelin on the expression of ACE and ACE2 implicate fine-tuned mechanisms for a ligand-induced APJ activation and downstream signalling..
11. Cheng-Yuan Yang, Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, Soeren Boller, Marc Rosenbaum, Alfonso Rodriguez Gil, Gerhard Mittler, Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, Rudolf Grosschedl, Interaction of CCR4-NOT with EBF1 regulates gene-specific transcription and mRNA stability in B lymphopoiesis, GENES & DEVELOPMENT, 10.1101/gad.285452.116, 30, 20, 2310-2324, 2016.10, Transcription factor EBF1 (early B-cell factor 1) regulates early B-cell differentiation by poising or activating lineage-specific genes and repressing genes associated with alternative cell fates. To identify proteins that regulate the diverse functions of EBF1, we used SILAC (stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture)-based mass spectrometry of proteins associated with endogenous EBF1 in pro-B cells. This analysis identified most components of the multifunctional CCR4-NOT complex, which regulates transcription and mRNA degradation. CNOT3 interacts with EBF1, and we identified histidine 240 in EBF1 as a critical residue for this interaction. Complementation of Ebf1(-/-)progenitors with EBF1H240A revealed a partial block of pro-B-cell differentiation and altered expression of specific EBF1 target genes that show either reduced transcription or increased mRNA stability. Most deregulated EBF1 target genes show normal occupancy by EBF1H240A, but we also detected genes with altered occupancy, suggesting that the CCR4-NOT complex affects multiple activities of EBF1. Mice with conditional Cnot3 inactivation recapitulate the block of early B-cell differentiation, which we found to be associated with an impaired autoregulation of Ebf1 and reduced expression of pre-B-cell receptor components. Thus, the interaction of the CCR4-NOT complex with EBF1 diversifies the function of EBF1 in a context-dependent manner and may coordinate transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation..
12. Teruki Sato, Takashi Suzuki, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Ayumi Kadowaki, Akiyoshi Fukamizu, Peter P. Liu, Akinori Kimura, Hiroshi Ito, Josef M. Penninger, Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, Apelin is a positive regulator of ACE2 in failing hearts, JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION, 10.1172/JCI69608, 123, 12, 5203-5211, 2013.12, Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), catalyzing the conversion of Angiotensin II to Angiotensin 1-7. Apelin is a second catalytic substrate for ACE2 and functions as an inotropic and cardioprotective peptide. While an antagonistic relationship between the RAS and apelin has been proposed, such functional interplay remains elusive. Here we found that ACE2 was d.ownregulated in apelin-deficient mice. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) rescued the impaired contractility and hypertrophy of apelin mutant mice, which was accompanied by restored ACE2 levels. Importantly, treatment with angiotensin 1-7 rescued hypertrophy and heart dysfunctions of apelin-knockout mice. Moreover, apelin, via activation of its receptor, APJ, increased ACE2 promoter activity in vitro and upregulated ACE2 expression in failing hearts in vivo. Apelin treatment also increased cardiac contractility and ACE2 levels in AT1R-deficient mice. These data demonstrate that ACE2 couples the RAS to the apelin system, adding a conceptual framework for the apelin-ACE2-angiotensin 1-7 axis as a therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases..
13. Masayuki Morita, Keiji Kuba, Akihiko Ichikawa, Mizuho Nakayama, Jun Katahira, Ryo Iwamoto, Tokiko Watanebe, Saori Sakabe, Tomo Daidoji, Shota Nakamura, Ayumi Kadowaki, Takayo Ohto, Hiroki Nakanishi, Ryo Taguchi, Takaaki Nakaya, Makoto Murakami, Yoshihiro Yoneda, Hiroyuki Arai, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Josef M. Penninger, Makoto Arita, Yumiko Imai, The lipid mediator protectin D1 inhibits influenza virus replication and improves severe influenza, Cell, 10.1016/j.cell.2013.02.027, 153, 1, 112-125, 2013.03, Influenza A viruses are a major cause of mortality. Given the potential for future lethal pandemics, effective drugs are needed for the treatment of severe influenza such as that caused by H5N1 viruses. Using mediator lipidomics and bioactive lipid screen, we report that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-derived lipid mediator protectin D1 (PD1) markedly attenuated influenza virus replication via RNA export machinery. Production of PD1 was suppressed during severe influenza and PD1 levels inversely correlated with the pathogenicity of H5N1 viruses. Suppression of PD1 was genetically mapped to 12/15-lipoxygenase activity. Importantly, PD1 treatment improved the survival and pathology of severe influenza in mice, even under conditions where known antiviral drugs fail to protect from death. These results identify the endogenous lipid mediator PD1 as an innate suppressor of influenza virus replication that protects against lethal influenza virus infection. © 2013 Elsevier Inc..
14. Akihiko Ichikawa, Keiji Kuba, Masayuki Morita, Shinsuke Chida, Hiroyuki Tezuka, Hiromitsu Hara, Takehiko Sasaki, Toshiaki Ohteki, V. Marco Ranieri, Claudia C. dos Santos, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Shizuo Akira, Andrew D. Luster, Bao Lu, Josef M. Penninger, Stefan Uhlig, Arthur S. Slutsky, Yumiko Imai, CXCL10-CXCR3 Enhances the Development of Neutrophil-mediated Fulminant Lung Injury of Viral and Nonviral Origin, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 10.1164/rccm.201203-0508OC, 187, 1, 65-77, 2013.01, Rationale: Patients who developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after infection with severe respiratory viruses (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, H5N1 avian influenza virus), exhibited unusually high levels of CXCL10, which belongs to the non-ELR (glutamic-leucine-arginine) CXC chemokine superfamily. CXCL10 may not be a bystander to the severe virus infection but may directly contribute to the pathogenesis of neutrophil-mediated, excessive pulmonary inflammation.
Objectives: We investigated the contribution of CXCL10 and its receptor CXCR3 axis to the pathogenesis of ARDS with nonviral and viral origins.
Methods: We induced nonviral ARDS by acid aspiration and viral ARDS by intratracheal influenza virus infection in wild-type mice and mice deficient in CXCL10, CXCR3, IFNAR1 (IFN-alpha/beta receptor 1), or TIR domain-containing adaptor inducing IFN-beta (TRIF).
Measurements and Main Results: We found that the mice lacking CXCL10 or CXCR3 demonstrated improved severity and survival of nonviral and viral ARDS, whereas mice that lack IFNAR1 did not control the severity of ARDS in vivo. The increased levels of CXCL10 in lungs with ARDS originate to a large extent from infiltrated pulmonary neutrophils, which express a unique CXCR3 receptor via TRIF. CXCL10-CXCR3 acts in an autocrine fashion on the oxidative burst and chemotaxis in the inflamed neutrophils,leading to fulminant pulmonary inflammation.
Conclusions: CXCL10-CXCR3 signaling appears to be a critical factor for the exacerbation of the pathology of ARDS. Thus, the CXCL10-CXCR3 axis could represent a prime therapeutic target in the treatment of the acute phase of ARDS of nonviral and viral origins..
15. Akihiko Ichikawa, Keiji Kuba, Masayuki Morita, Shinsuke Chida, Hiroyuki Tezuka, Hiromitsu Hara, Takehiko Sasaki, Toshiaki Ohteki, V Marco Ranieri, Claudia C dos Santos, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Shizuo Akira, Andrew D Luster, Bao Lu, Josef M Penninger, Stefan Uhlig, Arthur S Slutsky, Yumiko Imai, CXCL10-CXCR3 enhances the development of neutrophil-mediated fulminant lung injury of viral and nonviral origin., Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., 10.1164/rccm.201203-0508OC, 187, 1, 65-77, 2013.01, Patients who developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after infection with severe respiratory viruses (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus, H5N1 avian influenza virus), exhibited unusually high levels of CXCL10, which belongs to the non-ELR (glutamic-leucine-arginine) CXC chemokine superfamily. CXCL10 may not be a bystander to the severe virus infection but may directly contribute to the pathogenesis of neutrophil-mediated, excessive pulmonary inflammation.

We investigated the contribution of CXCL10 and its receptor CXCR3 axis to the pathogenesis of ARDS with nonviral and viral origins.

We induced nonviral ARDS by acid aspiration and viral ARDS by intratracheal influenza virus infection in wild-type mice and mice deficient in CXCL10, CXCR3, IFNAR1 (IFN-α/β receptor 1), or TIR domain-containing adaptor inducing IFN-β (TRIF).

We found that the mice lacking CXCL10 or CXCR3 demonstrated improved severity and survival of nonviral and viral ARDS, whereas mice that lack IFNAR1 did not control the severity of ARDS in vivo. The increased levels of CXCL10 in lungs with ARDS originate to a large extent from infiltrated pulmonary neutrophils, which express a uniq.
16. G. Gregory Neely, Keiji Kuba, Anthony Cammarato, Kazuya Isobe, Sabine Amann, Liyong Zhang, Mitsushige Murata, Lisa Elmen, Vaijayanti Gupta, Suchir Arora, Rinku Sarangi, Debasis Dan, Susumu Fujisawa, Takako Usami, Cui-ping Xia, Alex C. Keene, Nakissa N. Alayari, Hiroyuki Yamakawa, Ulrich Elling, Christian Berger, Maria Novatchkova, Rubina Koglgruber, Keiichi Fukuda, Hiroshi Nishina, Mitsuaki Isobe, J. Andrew Pospisilik, Yumiko Imai, Arne Pfeufer, Andrew A. Hicks, Peter P. Pramstaller, Sai Subramaniam, Akinori Kimura, Karen Ocorr, Rolf Bodmer, Josef M. Penninger, A Global In Vivo Drosophila RNAi Screen Identifies NOT3 as a Conserved Regulator of Heart Function, CELL, 10.1016/j.cell.2010.02.023, 141, 1, 142-153, 2010.04, Heart diseases are the most common causes of morbidity and death in humans. Using cardiac-specific RNAi-silencing in Drosophila, we knocked down 7061 evolutionarily conserved genes under conditions of stress. We present a first global road-map of pathways potentially playing conserved roles in the cardiovascular system. One critical pathway identified was the CCR4-Not complex implicated in transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms. Silencing of CCR4-Not components in adult Drosophila resulted in myofibrillar disarray and dilated cardiomyopathy. Heterozygous not3 knockout mice showed spontaneous impairment of cardiac contractility and increased susceptibility to heart failure. These heart defects were reversed via inhibition of HDACs, suggesting a mechanistic link to epigenetic chromatin remodeling. In humans, we show that a common NOT3 SNP correlates with altered cardiac QT intervals, a known cause of potentially lethal ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Thus, our functional genome-wide screen in Drosophila can identify candidates that directly translate into conserved mammalian genes involved in heart function..
17. Yumiko Imai, Keiji Kuba, G. Greg Neely, Rubina Yaghubian-Malhami, Thomas Perkmann, Geert van Loo, Maria Ermolaeva, Ruud Veldhuizen, Y. H. Connie Leung, Hongliang Wang, Haolin Liu, Yang Sun, Manolis Pasparakis, Manfred Kopf, Christin Mech, Sina Bavari, J. S. Malik Peiris, Arthur S. Slutsky, Shizuo Akira, Malin Hultqvist, Rikard Holmdahl, John Nicholls, Chengyu Jiang, Christoph J. Binder, Josef M. Penninger, Identification of oxidative stress and toll-like receptor 4 signaling as a key pathway of acute lung injury, CELL, 10.1016/j.cell.2008.02.043, 133, 2, 235-249, 2008.04, Multiple lung pathogens such as chemical agents, H5N1 avian flu, or SARS cause high lethality due to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Here we report that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mutant mice display natural resistance to acid-induced acute lung injury (ALI). We show that TLR4-TRIF-TRAF6 signaling is a key disease pathway that controls the severity of ALI. The oxidized phospholipid (OxPL) OxPAPC was identified to induce lung injury and cytokine production by lung macrophages via TLR4-TRIF. We observed OxPL production in the lungs of humans and animals infected with SARS, Anthrax, or H5N1. Pulmonary challenge with an inactivated H5N1 avian influenza virus rapidly induces ALI and OxPL formation in mice. Loss of TLR4 or TRIF expression protects mice from H5N1-induced ALI. Moreover, deletion of ncf1, which controls ROS production, improves the severity of H5N1-mediated ALI. Our data identify oxidative stress and innate immunity as key lung injury pathways that control the severity of ALI..
18. Keiji Kuba, Liyong Zhang, Yumiko Imai, Sara Arab, Manyin Chen, Yuichiro Maekawa, Michael Leschnik, Andreas Leibbrandt, Mato Makovic, Julia Schwaighofer, Nadine Beetz, Renata Musialek, G. Greg Neely, Vukoslav Komnenovic, Ursula Kolm, Bernhard Metzler, Romeo Ricci, Hiromitsu Hara, Arabella Meixner, Mai Nghiem, Xin Chen, Fayez Dawood, Kit Man Wong, Renu Sarao, Eva Cukerman, Akinori Kimura, Lutz Hein, Johann Thalhammer, Peter P. Liu, Josef M. Penninger, Impaired heart Contractility in apelin gene-deficient mice associated with aging and pressure overload, CIRCULATION RESEARCH, 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.107.158659, 101, 4, E32-E42, 2007.08, Apelin constitutes a novel endogenous peptide system suggested to be involved in a broad range of physiological functions, including cardiovascular function, heart development, control of fluid homeostasis, and obesity. Apelin is also a catalytic substrate for angiotensin- converting enzyme 2, the key severe acute respiratory syndrome receptor. The in vivo physiological role of Apelin is still elusive. Here we report the generation of Apelin gene -targeted mice. Apelin mutant mice are viable and fertile, appear healthy, and exhibit normal body weight, water and food intake, heart rates, and heart morphology. Intriguingly, aged Apelin knockout mice developed progressive impairment of cardiac contractility associated with systolic dysfunction in the absence of histological abnormalities. We also report that pressure overload induces upregulation of Apelin expression in the heart. Importantly, in pressure overload -induced heart failure, loss of Apelin did not significantly affect the hypertrophy response, but Apelin mutant mice developed progressive heart failure. Global gene expression arrays and hierarchical clustering of differentially expressed genes in hearts of banded Apelin(-/y) and Apelin(-/y) mice showed concerted upregulation of genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and muscle contraction. These genetic data show that the endogenous peptide Apelin is crucial to maintain cardiac contractility in pressure overload and aging..
19. K Kuba, Y Imai, SA Rao, H Gao, F Guo, B Guan, Y Huan, P Yang, YL Zhang, W Deng, LL Bao, BL Zhang, G Liu, Z Wang, M Chappell, YX Liu, DX Zheng, A Leibbrandt, T Wada, AS Slutsky, DP Liu, CA Qin, CY Jiang, JM Penninger, A crucial role of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in SARS coronavirus-induced lung injury, NATURE MEDICINE, 10.1038/nm1267, 11, 8, 875-879, 2005.08, During several months of 2003, a newly identified illness termed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread rapidly through the world(1-3). A new coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was identified as the SARS pathogen(4-7) which triggered severe pneumonia and acute, often lethal, lung failure(8). Moreover, among infected individuals influenza such as the Spanish flu(9,10) and the emergence of new respiratory disease viruses(11,12) have caused high lethality resulting from acute lung failure(13). In cell lines, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been identified as a potential SARS-CoV receptor(14). The high lethality of SARS-CoV infections, its enormous economic and social impact, fears of renewed outbreaks as well as the potential misuse of such viruses as biologic weapons make it paramount to understand the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV. Here we provide the first genetic proof that ACE2 is a crucial SARS-CoV receptor in vivo. SARS-CoV infections and the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV reduce ACE2 expression. Notably, injection of SARS-CoV Spike into mice worsens acute lung failure in vivo that can be attenuated by blocking the renin-angiotensin pathway. These results provide a molecular explanation why SARS-CoV infections cause severe and often lethal lung failure and suggest a rational therapy for SARS and possibly other respiratory disease viruses..
20. Y Imai, K Kuba, S Rao, Y Huan, F Guo, B Guan, P Yang, R Sarao, T Wada, H Leong-Poi, MA Crackower, A Fukamizu, CC Hui, L Hein, S Uhlig, AS Slutsky, CY Jiang, JM Penninger, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 protects from severe acute lung failure, NATURE, 10.1038/nature03712, 436, 7047, 112-116, 2005.07, Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the most severe form of acute lung injury, is a devastating clinical syndrome with a high mortality rate (30-60%) (refs 1-3). Predisposing factors for ARDS are diverse(1,3) and include sepsis, aspiration, pneumonias and infections with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) corona-virus(4,5). At present, there are no effective drugs for improving the clinical outcome of ARDS(1-3). Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and ACE2 are homologues with different key functions in the renin-angiotensin system(6-8). ACE cleaves angiotensin I to generate angiotensin II, whereas ACE2 inactivates angiotensin II and is a negative regulator of the system. ACE2 has also recently been identified as a potential SARS virus receptor and is expressed in lungs(9,10). Here we report that ACE2 and the angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT(2)) protect mice from severe acute lung injury induced by acid aspiration or sepsis. However, other components of the renin-angiotensin system, including ACE, angiotensin II and the angiotensin II type 1a receptor (AT(1)a), promote disease pathogenesis, induce lung oedemas and impair lung function. We show that mice deficient for Ace show markedly improved disease, and also that recombinant ACE2 can protect mice from severe acute lung injury. Our data identify a critical function for ACE2 in acute lung injury, pointing to a possible therapy for a syndrome affecting millions of people worldwide every year..
21. Daisaku Tomioka, Naoki Maehara, Keiji Kuba, Kazuhiro Mizumoto, Masao Tanaka, Kunio Matsumoto, Toshikazu Nakamura, Inhibition of growth, invasion, and metastasis of human pancreatic carcinoma cells by NK4 in an orthotopic mouse model, Cancer Research, 61, 20, 7518-7524, 2001.10, Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is involved in malignant behavior of cancers as a mediator in tumor-stromal interactions through enhancing tumor invasion and metastasis. We found recently that NK4, a four-kringle fragment of HGF, functions as both an HGF-antagonist and an angiogenesis inhibitor. We have now determined whether blockade of the HGF-c-Met/HGF receptor pathway and tumor angiogenesis by administration of recombinant NK4 would inhibit growth, invasion, and metastasis of human pancreatic carcinoma implanted into the pancreas of nude mice. When treatment with NK4 or anti-HGF neutralizing antibody was initiated from the third day after orthotopic injection of SUIT-2 human pancreatic cancer cells, both NK4 and anti-HGF antibody suppressed the conversion of orthotopic pancreatic tumors from carcinoma in situ to aberrantly invading cancers during days 3-14. On the other hand, when the treatment was begun on day 10, a time when cancer cells were already invading surrounding tissues, NK4 but not anti-HGF antibody inhibited tumor growth, peritoneal dissemination, and ascites accumulation at 4 weeks after the inoculation. Antitumor effects of NK4 correlated with decreased microvessel density in pancreatic tumors thereby indicating that the antlangiogenic activity of NK4 may have mainly contributed to its antitumor effects. Moreover, although NK4-treatment was initiated from the end stage (day 24 after tumor inoculation), NK4 prolonged survival time of mice, and the suppression of peritoneal dissemination, ascites accumulation, and invasion of metastasized cancer cells into the peritoneal wall were remarkable. We propose that simultaneous targeting of both tumor angiogenesis and the HGF-mediated invasion-metastasis may prove to be a new approach to treating patients with pancreatic cancer..
22. Keiji Kuba, Kunio Matsumoto, Kenji Ohnishi, Takayuki Shiratsuchi, Masao Tanaka, Toshikazu Nakamura, Kringle 1-4 of hepatocyte growth factor inhibits proliferation and migration of human microvascular endothelial cells, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 10.1006/bbrc.2000.4034, 279, 3, 846-852, 2000.12, NK4 composed of the N-terminal hairpin and subsequent four-kringle domains of Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is bifunctional, acting as a competitive antagonist for HGF and an angiogenesis inhibitor. In this study, we determined whether or not four-kringle domains of HGF (K1-4) have anti-angiogenic activity. For this purpose, we prepared recombinant K1-4 and NK4, using the baculovirus expression system. Although NK4 antagonized HGF-induced DNA synthesis of rat hepatocytes, cell scattering of MDCK cells and the c-Met/HGF receptor tyrosine phosphorylation in endothelial cells, K1-4 failed to antagonize HGF-induced DNA synthesis, cell scattering and the c-Met/HGF receptor tyrosine phosphorylation in endothelial cells, thus, indicating that K1-4 lacks HGF-antagonist activity. However, endothelial proliferation and migration induced by HGF was inhibited by K1-4, similar to the case seen with NK4. Furthermore, K1-4 inhibited the proliferation and migration of human dermal microvascular endothelial cells induced by vascular endothelial growth factor or by basic fibroblast growth factor. We propose that kringle 1-4 of HGF inhibits angiogenic responses in endothelial cells, independently of HGF-c-Met signaling pathways. © 2000 Academic Press..
23. Kuba K, Matsumoto K, Date K, Shimura H, Tanaka M, Nakamura T, HGF/NK4, a four-kringle antagonist of hepatocyte growth factor, is an angiogenesis inhibitor that suppresses tumor growth and metastasis in mice., Cancer Research, 60(23):6737-43, 2000.01.