Exosomes are endosomally derived vesicles that are secreted from cells and contain a suite of molecules, including proteins and nucleic acids. Recent studies suggest the possibility that exosomes in circulation may be affecting recipient target cell function, but the modes of action are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that exosomes are in circulation in fish plasma and that these vesicles are enriched with heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). Exosomes were isolated from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) plasma using differential centrifugation, and their presence was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and the exosomal marker acetylcholinesterase. Plasma exosomes were enriched with Hsp70, and this stress protein was transiently elevated in trout plasma in response to a heat shock in vivo. Using trout hepatocytes in primary culture, we tested whether stress levels of cortisol, the principle corticosteroid in teleosts, regulates exosomal Hsp70 content. As expected, a 1-h heat shock (+15°C above ambient) increased Hsp70 expression in hepatocytes, and this led to higher Hsp70 enrichment in exosomes over a 24-h period. However, cortisol treatment significantly reduced the expression of Hsp70 in exosomes released from either unstressed or heat-shocked hepatocytes. This cortisol-mediated suppression was not specific to Hsp70 as beta-actin expression was also reduced in exosomes released from hepatocytes treated with the steroid. Our results suggest that circulating Hsp70 is released from target tissues via exosomes, and their release is modulated by stress and cortisol. Overall, we propose a novel role for extracellular vesicular transport of Hsp70 in the organismal stress response.
Erin Faught, Lynsi Henrickson and Mathilakath M Vijayan
Sarah L Alderman and Mathilakath M Vijayan
The type 2, 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (Hsd11b2) converts active glucocorticoids to their inactive derivatives (e.g. cortisol to cortisone). In most vertebrates, Hsd11b2 is essential for conferring aldosterone-specific actions in mineralocorticoid target tissues and for protecting glucocorticoid-sensitive tissues during stress. However, teleosts do not synthesize aldosterone, and the function of Hsd11b2 is poorly defined. The distribution of Hsd11b2 in nonmammalian brain is also largely unexplored. We tested the hypothesis that modulation of brain Hsd11b2 activity is involved in stressor-mediated cortisol regulation in zebrafish (Danio rerio). In adult zebrafish, the stress effect on Hsd11b2 expression in the brain was tested using acute air exposure followed by recovery over a 24-h period. hsd11b2 transcripts were found in nearly all peripheral tissues examined, and a spatial map of its mRNA abundance in unstressed zebrafish brain revealed extensive distribution. Stressor exposure increased the conversion of 3H-cortisol to 3H-cortisone indicating enhanced Hsd11b2 activity in zebrafish brain. Promoter analysis of zebrafish hsd11b2 gene revealed putative sites for cortisol-mediated transcriptional regulation of this gene. Furthermore, inhibition of Hsd11b2 activity by 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid resulted in elevated whole-body cortisol levels and preoptic area mRNA abundance of corticotropin-releasing factor and mineralocorticoid receptor. Taken together, our results underscore an important role for brain Hsd11b2 involvement in the negative feedback regulation of cortisol poststress in zebrafish.
Erin Faught and Mathilakath M Vijayan
During early development, stress or exogenous glucocorticoid (GC) administration reduces body mass in vertebrates, and this is associated with the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activation. Although GCs also activate the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), the physiological significance of MR activation on early developmental growth is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that activation of both GR and MR are required for postnatal growth suppression by GCs. Differential regulation of GR and MR activation was achieved by using ubiquitous GR- (GRKO) and MR- (MRKO) knockout zebrafish (Danio rerio) in combination with exogenous cortisol treatment. MR activation increased protein deposition in zebrafish larvae and also upregulated lepa and downregulated lepr transcript abundance. Cortisol treatment reduced body mass and protein content in the WT, and this corresponded with the upregulation of muscle proteolytic markers, including murf1 and redd1 by GR activation. The combined activation of MR and GR by cortisol also upregulated the gh and igf1 transcript abundance, and insulin expression compared to the WT. However, cortisol-mediated reduction in body mass and protein content required the activation of both MR and GR, as activation by GR alone (MRKO + cortisol) did not reduce the larval protein content. Collectively, our results indicate that MR activation favors protein deposition and GR activation stimulates proteolysis, while their combined activation is involved in cortisol-mediated growth suppression. Overall, this work provides insight into the physiological significance of MR activation in regulating protein deposition during early development at a systems level.