|Placental melatonin production and melatonin receptor expression are altered in preeclampsia: new insights into the role of this hormone in pregnancy. |
Dave Lanoix,Pascale Guérin,Cathy Vaillancourt
Journal of pineal research
The melatonin system in preeclamptic pregnancies has been largely overlooked, especially in the placenta. We have previously documented melatonin production and expression of its receptors in normal human placentas. In addition, we and others have shown a beneficial role of melatonin in placental and fetal functions. In line with this, decreased maternal blood levels of melatonin are found in preeclamptic compared with normotensive pregnancies. However, melatonin production and expression of its receptors in preeclamptic compared with normotensive pregnancy placentas has never been examined. This study compares (i) melatonin-synthesizing enzyme expression and activity, (ii) melatonin and serotonin, melatonin's immediate precursor, levels and (iii) expression of MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors in placentas from preeclamptic and normotensive pregnancies. Protein and mRNA expression of aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and hydroxyindole O-methyltransferase (HIOMT), the melatonin-synthesizing enzymes, as well as MT1 and MT2 receptors were determined by RT-qPCR and Western blot, respectively. The activities of melatonin-synthesizing enzymes were assessed by radiometric assays while melatonin levels were determined by LC-MS/MS. There is a significant inhibition of AANAT, melatonin's rate-limiting enzyme, expression and activity in preeclamptic placentas, correlating with decreased melatonin levels. Likewise, MT1 and MT2 expression is significantly reduced in preeclamptic compared with normotensive pregnancy placentas. We propose that reduced maternal plasma melatonin levels may be an early diagnostic tool to identify pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia. This study indicates a clinical utility of melatonin as a potential treatment for preeclampsia in women where reduced maternal plasma levels have been identified.
|Dynamics in enzymatic protein complexes offer a novel principle for the regulation of melatonin synthesis in the human pineal gland. |
Erik Maronde,Anastasia Saade,Katrin Ackermann,Hany Goubran-Botros,Cecile Pagan,Roman Bux,Thomas Bourgeron,Faramarz Dehghani,Jörg H Stehle
Journal of pineal research
Time of day is communicated to the body through rhythmic cues, including pineal gland melatonin synthesis, which is restricted to nighttime. Whereas in most rodents transcriptional regulation of the arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (Aanat) gene is essential for rhythmic melatonin synthesis, investigations into nonrodent mammalian species have shown post-transcriptional regulation to be of central importance, with molecular mechanisms still elusive. Therefore, human pineal tissues, taken from routine autopsies were allocated to four time-of-death groups (night/dawn/day/dusk) and analyzed for daytime-dependent changes in phosphorylated AANAT (p31T-AANAT) and in acetyl-serotonin-methyltransferase (ASMT) expression and activity. Protein content, intracellular localization, and colocalization of p31T-AANAT and ASMT were assessed, using immunoblotting, immunofluorescence, and immunoprecipitation techniques. Fresh sheep pineal gland preparations were used for comparative purposes. The amount of p31T-AANAT and ASMT proteins as well as their intracellular localization showed no diurnal variation in autoptic human and fresh sheep pineal glands. Moreover, in human and sheep pineal extracts, AANAT could not be dephosphorylated, which was at variance to data derived from rat pineal extracts. P31T-AANAT and ASMT were often found to colocalize in cellular rod-like structures that were also partly immunoreactive for the pinealocyte process-specific marker S-antigen (arrestin) in both, human and sheep pinealocytes. Protein-protein interaction studies with p31T-AANAT, ASMT, and S-antigen demonstrated a direct association and formation of robust complexes, involving also 14-3-3. This work provides evidence for a regulation principle for AANAT activity in the human pineal gland, which may not be based on a p31T-AANAT phosphorylation/dephosphorylation switch, as described for other mammalian species.
|Melatonin synthesis: 14-3-3-dependent activation and inhibition of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase mediated by phosphoserine-205. |
Ganguly, Surajit, et al.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 102: 1222-7 (2005)
The nocturnal increase in circulating melatonin in vertebrates is regulated by the activity of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the penultimate enzyme in the melatonin pathway (serotonin --> N-acetylserotonin --> melatonin). Large changes in activity are linked to cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation of AANAT T31. Phosphorylation of T31 promotes binding of AANAT to the dimeric 14-3-3 protein, which activates AANAT by increasing arylalkylamine affinity. In the current study, a putative second AANAT cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation site, S205, was found to be approximately 55% phosphorylated at night, when T31 is approximately 40% phosphorylated. These findings indicate that ovine AANAT is dual-phosphorylated. Moreover, light exposure at night decreases T31 and S205 phosphorylation, consistent with a regulatory role of both sites. AANAT peptides containing either T31 or S205 associate with 14-3-3zeta in a phosphorylation-dependent manner; binding through phosphorylated (p)T31 is stronger than that through pS205, consistent with the location of only pT31 in a mode I binding motif, one of two recognized high-affinity 14-3-3-binding motifs AANAT protein binds to 14-3-3zeta through pT31 or pS205. Two-site binding lowers the Km for arylalkylamine substrate to approximately 30 microM. In contrast, single-site pS205 binding increases the Km to approximately 1,200 microM. Accordingly, the switch from dual to single pS205 binding of AANAT to 14-3-3 changes the Km for substrates by approximately 40-fold. pS205 seems to be part of a previously unrecognized 14-3-3-binding motif-pS/pT (X1-2)-COOH, referred to here as mode III.