Background & aimsHeavy alcohol drinking is associated with pancreatitis, whereas moderate intake lowers the risk. Mice fed ethanol long term show no pancreas damage unless adaptive/protective responses mediating proteostasis are disrupted. Pancreatic acini synthesize digestive enzymes (largely serine hydrolases) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where perturbations (eg, alcohol consumption) activate adaptive unfolded protein responses orchestrated by spliced X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1). Here, we examined ethanol-induced early structural changes in pancreatic ER proteins.
MethodsWild-type and Xbp1+/- mice were fed control and ethanol diets, then tissues were homogenized and fractionated. ER proteins were labeled with a cysteine-reactive probe, isotope-coded affinity tag to obtain a novel pancreatic redox ER proteome. Specific labeling of active serine hydrolases in ER with fluorophosphonate desthiobiotin also was characterized proteomically. Protein structural perturbation by redox changes was evaluated further in molecular dynamic simulations.
ResultsEthanol feeding and Xbp1 genetic inhibition altered ER redox balance and destabilized key proteins. Proteomic data and molecular dynamic simulations of Carboxyl ester lipase (Cel), a unique serine hydrolase active within ER, showed an uncoupled disulfide bond involving Cel Cys266, Cel dimerization, ER retention, and complex formation in ethanol-fed, XBP1-deficient mice.
ConclusionsResults documented in ethanol-fed mice lacking sufficient spliced XBP1 illustrate consequences of ER stress extended by preventing unfolded protein response from fully restoring pancreatic acinar cell proteostasis during ethanol-induced redox challenge. In this model, orderly protein folding and transport to the secretory pathway were disrupted, and abundant molecules including Cel with perturbed structures were retained in ER, promoting ER stress-related pancreas pathology.