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Articles by Fa-Jun Nan
Total Records ( 2 ) for Fa-Jun Nan
  Yi Zang , Li-Fang Yu , Tao Pang , Lei-Ping Fang , Xu Feng , Tie-Qiao Wen , Fa-Jun Nan , Lin-Yin Feng and Jia Li
  Neural stem cell differentiation and the determination of lineage decision between neuronal and glial fates have important implications in the study of developmental, pathological, and regenerative processes. Although small molecule chemicals with the ability to control neural stem cell fate are considered extremely useful tools in this field, few were reported. AICAR is an adenosine analog and extensively used to activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a metabolic "fuel gauge" of the biological system. In the present study, we found an unrecognized astrogliogenic activity of AICAR on not only immortalized neural stem cell line C17.2 (C17.2-NSC), but also primary neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from post-natal (P0) rat hippocampus (P0-NSC) and embryonic day 14 (E14) rat embryonic cortex (E14-NSC). However, another AMPK activator, Metformin, did not alter either the C17.2-NSC or E14-NSC undifferentiated state although both Metformin and AICAR can activate the AMPK pathway in NSC. Furthermore, overexpression of dominant-negative mutants of AMPK in C17.2-NSC was unable to block the gliogenic effects of AICAR. We also found AICAR could activate the Janus kinase (JAK) STAT3 pathway in both C17.2-NSC and E14-NSC but Metformin fails. JAK inhibitor I abolished the gliogenic effects of AICAR. Taken together, these results suggest that the astroglial differentiation effect of AICAR on neural stem cells was acting independently of AMPK and that the JAK-STAT3 pathway is essential for the gliogenic effect of AICAR.
  Tao Pang , Zhen-Shan Zhang , Min Gu , Bei-Ying Qiu , Li-Fang Yu , Peng-Rong Cao , Wei Shao , Ming-Bo Su , Jing-Ya Li , Fa-Jun Nan and Jia Li
  AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) serves as an energy sensor and is considered a promising drug target for treatment of type II diabetes and obesity. A previous report has shown that mammalian AMPK α1 catalytic subunit including autoinhibitory domain was inactive. To test the hypothesis that small molecules can activate AMPK through antagonizing the autoinhibition in α subunits, we screened a chemical library with inactive human α1394 (α1, residues 1-394) and found a novel small-molecule activator, PT1, which dose-dependently activated AMPK α1394, α1335, α2398, and even heterotrimer α1β1γ1. Based on PT1-docked AMPK α1 subunit structure model and different mutations, we found PT1 might interact with Glu-96 and Lys-156 residues near the autoinhibitory domain and directly relieve autoinhibition. Further studies using L6 myotubes showed that the phosphorylation of AMPK and its downstream substrate, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, were dose-dependently and time-dependently increased by PT1 with-out an increase in cellular AMP:ATP ratio. Moreover, in HeLa cells deficient in LKB1, PT1 enhanced AMPK phosphorylation, which can be inhibited by the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinases inhibitor STO-609 and AMPK inhibitor compound C. PT1 also lowered hepatic lipid content in a dose-dependent manner through AMPK activation in HepG2 cells, and this effect was diminished by compound C. Taken together, these data indicate that this small-molecule activator may directly activate AMPK via antagonizing the autoinhibition in vitro and in cells. This compound highlights the effort to discover novel AMPK activators and can be a useful tool for elucidating the mechanism responsible for conformational change and autoinhibitory regulation of AMPK.
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