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Journal of Biological Chemistry, The

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
Structural carbohydrates comprise an extraordinary source of energy that remains poorly utilized by the biofuel sector as enzymes have restricted access to their substrates within the intricacy of plant cell walls. Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZYmes) that target recalcitrant polysaccharides are modular enzymes containing noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) that direct enzymes to their cognate substrate, thus potentiating catalysis. In general, CBMs are functionally and structurally autonomous from their associated catalytic domains from which they are separated through flexible linker sequences. Here, we show that a C-terminal CBM46 derived from BhCel5B, a Bacillus halodurans endoglucanase, does not interact with β-glucans independently but, uniquely, acts cooperatively with the catalytic domain of the enzyme in substrate recognition. The structure of BhCBM46 revealed a β-sandwich fold that abuts onto the region of the substrate binding cleft upstream of the active site. BhCBM46 as a discrete entity is unable to bind to β-glucans. Removal of BhCBM46 from BhCel5B, however, abrogates binding to β-1,3–1,4-glucans while substantially decreasing the affinity for decorated β-1,4-glucan homopolymers such as xyloglucan. The CBM46 was shown to contribute to xyloglucan hydrolysis only in the context of intact plant cell walls, but it potentiates enzymatic activity against purified β-1,3–1,4-glucans in solution or within the cell wall. This report reveals the mechanism by which a CBM can promote enzyme activity through direct interaction with the substrate or by targeting regions of the plant cell wall where the target glucan is abundant.

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290, 10572–10586 A challenge in the biofuel and biochemical industries is to find ways to efficiently and effectively break down the intricate cell walls of plants and algae to release energy and important biomolecules. Researchers are interested in a family of enzymes called CAZYmes (carbohydrate-active enzymes) because these enzymes can deconstruct cell walls. CAZYmes usually have a modular architecture that consists of a catalytic domain combined with one or more noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) that can function autonomously. In this Paper of the Week, a team led by Carlos M. G. A. Fontes at the University of Lisboa in Portugal and Harry Gilbert at Newcastle University presented biochemical, structural, and functional analyses of a unique CAZYme called endo-β-1,4-glucanase B (BhCel5B) from Bacillus halodurans. They found that, on its own, the CBM did not bind soluble or insoluble polysaccharides. The domain was tightly associated with the catalytic module. Depending on the nature of the carbohydrate, the CBM cooperated with the catalytic module to participate in substrate binding or target the enzyme to parts of the cell wall rich in polysaccharides. The authors say, “This report reveals the mechanism by which a CBM can promote enzyme activity through direct interaction with the substrate or by targeting regions of the plant cell wall where the target glucan is abundant.” jbc;290/17/10587/FU1F1FU1 Structure of BhCBM46.

AMP kinase is a heterotrimeric serine/threonine protein kinase that regulates a number of metabolic processes, including lipid biosynthesis and metabolism. AMP kinase activity is regulated by phosphorylation, and the kinases involved have been uncovered. The particular phosphatases counteracting these kinases remain elusive. Here we discovered that the protein phosphatase 2A heterotrimer, PP2APpp2r2d, regulates the phosphorylation state of AMP kinase by dephosphorylating Thr-172, a residue that activates kinase activity when phosphorylated. Co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization studies indicated that PP2APpp2r2d directly interacted with AMP kinase. PP2APpp2r2d dephosphorylated Thr-172 in rat aortic and human vascular smooth muscle cells. A positive correlation existed between decreased phosphorylation, decreased acetyl-CoA carboxylase Acc1 phosphorylation, and sterol response element-binding protein 1c-dependent gene expression. PP2APpp2r2d protein expression was up-regulated in the aortas of mice fed a high fat diet, and the increased expression correlated with increased blood lipid levels. Finally, we found that the aortas of mice fed a high fat diet had decreased AMP kinase Thr-172 phosphorylation, and contained an Ampk-PP2APpp2r2d complex. Thus, PP2APpp2r2d may antagonize the aortic AMP kinase activity necessary for maintaining normal aortic lipid metabolism. Inhibiting PP2APpp2r2d or activating AMP kinase represents a potential pharmacological treatment for many lipid-related diseases.

All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is a differentiation agent that revolutionized the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia. However, it has not been useful for other types of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we explored the effect of SALL4, a stem cell factor, on ATRA-induced AML differentiation in both ATRA-sensitive and ATRA-resistant AML cells. Aberrant SALL4 expression has been found in nearly all human AML cases, whereas, in normal bone marrow and peripheral blood cells, its expression is only restricted to hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. We reason that, in AMLs, SALL4 activation may prevent cell differentiation and/or protect self-renewal that is seen in normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Indeed, our studies show that ATRA-mediated myeloid differentiation can be largely blocked by exogenous expression of SALL4, whereas ATRA plus SALL4 knockdown causes significantly increased AML differentiation and cell death. Mechanistic studies indicate that SALL4 directly associates with retinoic acid receptor α and modulates ATRA target gene expression. SALL4 is shown to recruit lysine-specific histone demethylase 1 (LSD1) to target genes and alter the histone methylation status. Furthermore, coinhibition of LSD1 and SALL4 plus ATRA treatment exhibited the strongest anti-AML effect. These findings suggest that SALL4 plays an unfavorable role in ATRA-based regimes, highlighting an important aspect of leukemia therapy.

Introduction I was born to John and Inez Frey in Plain City, Ohio, on November 14, 1935, and I received primary and secondary education in the local public schools. My father worked in seasonally complementary trades as a sheep shearer and painting contractor. He hired me in the contracting business during school breaks through junior and senior high school and college. He instilled in me the values of hard work and uncompromising honesty, which have served me well. My mother managed the local office of the General Telephone Company. I have been happily married to Carolyn Scott Frey since 1961. We have two daughters, Suzanne and Cynthia, and three granddaughters, Samantha, Carrie, and Bonnie. I served in the United States Army (1954–1956), and I was educated in chemistry at The Ohio State University (B.S., 1959). I was a chemist in the United States Public Health Service in 1960–1963. I did graduate work at the University of Cincinnati Evening College until 1964 and then at the University of Michigan and Brandeis University. I received my Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Brandeis University under Robert H. Abeles in 1968. I was a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at Harvard University under Frank H. Westheimer in 1968. Professor Abeles inspired me to become a biological chemist; he and Professor Westheimer trained me to address significant problems by critical and imaginative methods. I established my research program at The Ohio State University in 1969 as an assistant professor of chemistry and progressed to professor...

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) virus, H5N1, is a serious threat to public health worldwide. Both the currently circulating H5N1 and previously circulating AI viruses recognize avian-type receptors; however, only the H5N1 is highly infectious and virulent in humans. The mechanism(s) underlying this difference in infectivity remains unclear. The aim of this study was to clarify the mechanisms responsible for the difference in infectivity between the current and previously circulating strains. Primary human small airway epithelial cells (SAECs) were transformed with the SV40 large T-antigen to establish a series of clones (SAEC-Ts). These clones were then used to test the infectivity of AI strains. Human SAEC-Ts could be broadly categorized into two different types based on their susceptibility (high or low) to the viruses. SAEC-T clones were poorly susceptible to previously circulating AI but were completely susceptible to the currently circulating H5N1. The hemagglutinin (HA) of the current H5N1 virus showed greater membrane fusion activity at higher pH levels than that of previous AI viruses, resulting in broader cell tropism. Moreover, the endosomal pH was lower in high susceptibility SAEC-T clones than that in low susceptibility SAEC-T clones. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that the infectivity of AI viruses, including H5N1, depends upon a delicate balance between the acid sensitivity of the viral HA and the pH within the endosomes of the target cell. Thus, one of the mechanisms underlying H5N1 pathogenesis in humans relies on its ability to fuse efficiently with the endosomes in human airway epithelial cells.

VOLUME 287 (2012) PAGES 34500–34513 This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

VOLUME 282 (2007) PAGES 33681–33690 PAGE 33687: The image representing input data for the HO-1 Maf recognition element in Fig. 4D was mistakenly used to represent input data for the third exon of the HO-1 gene in Fig. 4F. The correct data for the third exon of the HO-1 gene are now shown in Fig. 4F. Furthermore, Fig. 4A did not conform with the JBC policy that figures assembled from separate images should indicate the borders between the images. These errors do not change the interpretation of the results or the conclusions of this work. jbc;290/17/10644/FU1F1FU1 jbc;290/17/10644/FU2F2FU2

A variety of catalytic and noncatalytic protein domains are deployed by select microorganisms to deconstruct lignocellulose. These extracellular proteins are used to attach to, modify, and hydrolyze the complex polysaccharides present in plant cell walls. Cellulolytic enzymes, often containing carbohydrate-binding modules, are key to this process; however, these enzymes are not solely responsible for attachment. Few mechanisms of attachment have been discovered among bacteria that do not form large polypeptide structures, called cellulosomes, to deconstruct biomass. In this study, bioinformatics and proteomics analyses identified unique, discrete, hypothetical proteins (“tāpirins,” origin from Māori: to join), not directly associated with cellulases, that mediate attachment to cellulose by species in the noncellulosomal, extremely thermophilic bacterial genus Caldicellulosiruptor. Two tāpirin genes are located directly downstream of a type IV pilus operon in strongly cellulolytic members of the genus, whereas homologs are absent from the weakly cellulolytic Caldicellulosiruptor species. Based on their amino acid sequence, tāpirins are specific to these extreme thermophiles. Tāpirins are also unusual in that they share no detectable protein domain signatures with known polysaccharide-binding proteins. Adsorption isotherm and trans vivo analyses demonstrated the carbohydrate-binding module-like affinity of the tāpirins for cellulose. Crystallization of a cellulose-binding truncation from one tāpirin indicated that these proteins form a long β-helix core with a shielded hydrophobic face. Furthermore, they are structurally unique and define a new class of polysaccharide adhesins. Strongly cellulolytic Caldicellulosiruptor species employ tāpirins to complement substrate-binding proteins from the ATP-binding cassette transporters and multidomain extracellular and S-layer-associated glycoside hydrolases to process the carbohydrate content of lignocellulose.

Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein complexes play essential roles in catalyzing intracellular membrane fusion events although the assembly pathway and molecular arrangement of SNARE complexes in membrane fusion reactions are not well understood. Here we monitored interactions of the R-SNARE protein Sec22 through a cysteine scanning approach and detected efficient formation of cross-linked Sec22 homodimers in cellular membranes when cysteine residues were positioned in the SNARE motif or C terminus of the transmembrane domain. When specific Sec22 cysteine derivatives are present on both donor COPII vesicles and acceptor Golgi membranes, the formation of disulfide cross-links provide clear readouts on trans- and cis-SNARE arrangements during this fusion event. The Sec22 transmembrane domain was required for efficient homodimer formation and for membrane fusion suggesting a functional role for Sec22 homodimers. We propose that Sec22 homodimers promote assembly of higher-order SNARE complexes to catalyze membrane fusion. Sec22 is also reported to function in macroautophagy and in formation of endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane contact sites therefore homodimer assembly may regulate Sec22 activity across a range of cellular processes.

Complement 5a (C5a), a potent immune mediator generated by complement activation, promotes tumor growth; however, its role in tumor metastasis remains unclear. We demonstrate that C5a contributes to tumor metastases by modulating tumor inflammation in hepatic metastases of colon cancer. Colon cancer cell lines generate C5a under serum-free conditions, and C5a levels increase over time in a murine syngeneic colon cancer hepatic metastasis model. Furthermore, in the absence of C5a receptor or upon pharmacological inhibition of C5a production with an anti-C5 monoclonal antibody, tumor metastasis is severely impaired. A lack of C5a receptor in colon cancer metastatic foci reduces the infiltration of macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells, and the role for C5a receptor on these cells were further verified by bone marrow transplantation experiments. Moreover, C5a signaling increases the expression of the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and the anti-inflammatory molecules arginase-1, interleukin 10, and transforming growth factor β, but is inversely correlated with the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules, which suggests a mechanism for the role of C5a in the inflammatory microenvironment required for tumor metastasis. Our results indicate a new and potentially promising therapeutic application of complement C5a inhibitor for the treatment of malignant tumors.

Transcellular Cl− movement across acinar cells is the rate-limiting step for salivary gland fluid secretion. Basolateral Nkcc1 Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporters play a critical role in fluid secretion by promoting the intracellular accumulation of Cl− above its equilibrium potential. However, salivation is only partially abolished in the absence of Nkcc1 cotransporter activity, suggesting that another Cl− uptake pathway concentrates Cl− ions in acinar cells. To identify alternative molecular mechanisms, we studied mice lacking Ae2 and Ae4 Cl−/HCO3− exchangers. We found that salivation stimulated by muscarinic and β-adrenergic receptor agonists was normal in the submandibular glands of Ae2−/− mice. In contrast, saliva secretion was reduced by 35% in Ae4−/− mice. The decrease in salivation was not related to loss of Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporter or Na+/H+ exchanger activity in Ae4−/− mice but correlated with reduced Cl− uptake during β-adrenergic receptor activation of cAMP signaling. Direct measurements of Cl−/HCO3− exchanger activity revealed that HCO3−-dependent Cl− uptake was reduced in the acinar cells of Ae2−/− and Ae4−/− mice. Moreover, Cl−/HCO3− exchanger activity was nearly abolished in double Ae4/Ae2 knock-out mice, suggesting that most of the Cl−/HCO3− exchanger activity in submandibular acinar cells depends on Ae2 and Ae4 expression. In conclusion, both Ae2 and Ae4 anion exchangers are functionally expressed in submandibular acinar cells; however, only Ae4 expression appears to be important for cAMP-dependent regulation of fluid secretion.

Apolipoprotein (apo)A-IV is a lipid emulsifying protein linked to a range of protective roles in obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It exists in several states in plasma including lipid-bound in HDL and chylomicrons and as monomeric and dimeric lipid-free/poor forms. Our recent x-ray crystal structure of the central domain of apoA-IV shows that it adopts an elongated helical structure that dimerizes via two long reciprocating helices. A striking feature is the alignment of conserved proline residues across the dimer interface. We speculated that this plays important roles in the structure of the lipid-free protein and its ability to bind lipid. Here we show that the systematic conversion of these prolines to alanine increased the thermodynamic stability of apoA-IV and its propensity to oligomerize. Despite the structural stabilization, we noted an increase in the ability to bind and reorganize lipids and to promote cholesterol efflux from cells. The novel properties of these mutants allowed us to isolate the first trimeric form of an exchangeable apolipoprotein and characterize it by small-angle x-ray scattering and chemical cross-linking. The results suggest that the reciprocating helix interaction is a common feature of all apoA-IV oligomers. We propose a model of how self-association of apoA-IV can result in spherical lipoprotein particles, a model that may have broader applications to other exchangeable apolipoprotein family members.

In beating hearts, phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) at a single site to 0.45 mol of phosphate/mol by cardiac myosin light chain kinase (cMLCK) increases Ca2+ sensitivity of myofilament contraction necessary for normal cardiac performance. Reduction of RLC phosphorylation in conditional cMLCK knock-out mice caused cardiac dilation and loss of cardiac performance by 1 week, as shown by increased left ventricular internal diameter at end-diastole and decreased fractional shortening. Decreased RLC phosphorylation by conventional or conditional cMLCK gene ablation did not affect troponin-I or myosin-binding protein-C phosphorylation in vivo. The extent of RLC phosphorylation was not changed by prolonged infusion of dobutamine or treatment with a β-adrenergic antagonist, suggesting that RLC is constitutively phosphorylated to maintain cardiac performance. Biochemical studies with myofilaments showed that RLC phosphorylation up to 90% was a random process. RLC is slowly dephosphorylated in both noncontracting hearts and isolated cardiac myocytes from adult mice. Electrically paced ventricular trabeculae restored RLC phosphorylation, which was increased to 0.91 mol of phosphate/mol of RLC with inhibition of myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP). The two RLCs in each myosin appear to be readily available for phosphorylation by a soluble cMLCK, but MLCP activity limits the amount of constitutive RLC phosphorylation. MLCP with its regulatory subunit MYPT2 bound tightly to myofilaments was constitutively phosphorylated in beating hearts at a site that inhibits MLCP activity. Thus, the constitutive RLC phosphorylation is limited physiologically by low cMLCK activity in balance with low MLCP activity.

Living organisms rely on the FoF1 ATP synthase to maintain the non-equilibrium chemical gradient of ATP to ADP and phosphate that provides the primary energy source for cellular processes. How the Fo motor uses a transmembrane electrochemical ion gradient to create clockwise torque that overcomes F1 ATPase-driven counterclockwise torque at high ATP is a major unresolved question. Using single FoF1 molecules embedded in lipid bilayer nanodiscs, we now report the observation of Fo-dependent rotation of the c10 ring in the ATP synthase (clockwise) direction against the counterclockwise force of ATPase-driven rotation that occurs upon formation of a leash with Fo stator subunit a. Mutational studies indicate that the leash is important for ATP synthase activity and support a mechanism in which residues aGlu-196 and cArg-50 participate in the cytoplasmic proton half-channel to promote leash formation.

Interaction of transmembrane receptors of the Robo family and the secreted protein Slit provides important signals in the development of the central nervous system and regulation of axonal midline crossing. Heparan sulfate, a sulfated linear polysaccharide modified in a complex variety of ways, serves as an essential co-receptor in Slit-Robo signaling. Previous studies have shown that closely related heparin octasaccharides bind to Drosophila Robo directly, and surface plasmon resonance analysis revealed that Robo1 binds more tightly to full-length unfractionated heparin. For the first time, we utilized electron transfer dissociation-based high spatial resolution hydroxyl radical protein footprinting to identify two separate binding sites for heparin interaction with Robo1: one binding site at the previously identified site for heparin dp8 and a second binding site at the N terminus of Robo1 that is disordered in the x-ray crystal structure. Mutagenesis of the identified N-terminal binding site exhibited a decrease in binding affinity as measured by surface plasmon resonance and heparin affinity chromatography. Footprinting also indicated that heparin binding induces a minor change in the conformation and/or dynamics of the Ig2 domain, but no major conformational changes were detected. These results indicate a second low affinity binding site in the Robo-Slit complex as well as suggesting the role of the Ig2 domain of Robo1 in heparin-mediated signal transduction. This study also marks the first use of electron transfer dissociation-based high spatial resolution hydroxyl radical protein footprinting, which shows great utility for the characterization of protein-carbohydrate complexes.

Toxicity of selenomethionine, an organic derivative of selenium widely used as supplement in human diets, was studied in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several DNA repair-deficient strains hypersensitive to selenide displayed wild-type growth rate properties in the presence of selenomethionine indicating that selenide and selenomethionine exert their toxicity via distinct mechanisms. Cytotoxicity of selenomethionine decreased when the extracellular concentration of methionine or S-adenosylmethionine was increased. This protection resulted from competition between the S- and Se-compounds along the downstream metabolic pathways inside the cell. By comparing the sensitivity to selenomethionine of mutants impaired in the sulfur amino acid pathway, we excluded a toxic effect of Se-adenosylmethionine, Se-adenosylhomocysteine, or of any compound in the methionine salvage pathway. Instead, we found that selenomethionine toxicity is mediated by the trans-sulfuration pathway amino acids selenohomocysteine and/or selenocysteine. Involvement of superoxide radicals in selenomethionine toxicity in vivo is suggested by the hypersensitivity of a Δsod1 mutant strain, increased resistance afforded by the superoxide scavenger manganese, and inactivation of aconitase. In parallel, we showed that, in vitro, the complete oxidation of the selenol function of selenocysteine or selenohomocysteine by dioxygen is achieved within a few minutes at neutral pH and produces superoxide radicals. These results establish a link between superoxide production and trans-sulfuration pathway seleno-amino acids and emphasize the importance of the selenol function in the mechanism of organic selenium toxicity.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sae2 and its ortholog CtIP in higher eukaryotes have a conserved role in the initial processing of DNA lesions and influencing their subsequent repair pathways. Sae2 is phosphorylated by the ATR/ATM family kinases Mec1 and Tel1 in response to DNA damage. Among the Mec1/Tel1 consensus phosphorylation sites of Sae2, we found that mutations of Thr-90 and Thr-279 of Sae2 into alanine caused a persistent Rad53 activation in response to a transient DNA damage, similar to the loss of Sae2. To gain insight into the function of this phosphorylation of Sae2, we performed a quantitative proteomics analysis to identify its associated proteins. We found that phosphorylation of Thr-90 of Sae2 mediates its interaction with Rad53, Dun1, Xrs2, Dma1, and Dma2, whereas Rad53 and Dun1 additionally interact with phosphorylated Thr-279 of Sae2. Mutations of the ligand-binding residues of Forkhead-associated (FHA) domains of Rad53, Dun1, Xrs2, Dma1, and Dma2 abolished their interactions with Sae2, revealing the involvement of FHA-specific interactions. Mutations of Thr-90 and Thr-279 of Sae2 caused a synergistic defect when combined with sgs1Δ and exo1Δ and elevated gross chromosomal rearrangements. Likewise, mutations of RAD53 and DUN1 caused a synthetic growth defect with sgs1Δ and elevated gross chromosomal rearrangements. These findings suggest that threonine-specific phosphorylation of Sae2 by Mec1 and Tel1 contributes to DNA repair and genome maintenance via its interactions with Rad53 and Dun1.

Inflammation induced by exposure to the common food additive carrageenan leads to insulin resistance by increase in Ser(P)307-insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) and subsequent decline in the insulin-stimulated increase in Ser(P)473-AKT. Inhibition of carrageenan-induced inflammation reversed the increase in Ser(P)307-IRS1 but did not completely reverse the carrageenan-induced decline in Ser(P)473-AKT. To identify the additional mechanism responsible for the decrease in Ser(P)473-AKT, studies were performed in human HepG2 cells and in C57BL/6J mice. Following carrageenan, expression of GRB10 (growth factor receptor-bound 10 protein), an adaptor protein that binds to the insulin receptor and inhibits insulin signaling, increased significantly. GRB10 silencing blocked the carrageenan-induced reduction of the insulin-stimulated increase in Tyr(P)-IRS1 and partially reversed the decline in Ser(P)473-AKT. The combination of GRB10 silencing with BCL10 silencing and the reactive oxygen species inhibitor Tempol completely reversed the decline in Ser(P)473-AKT. After carrageenan, GRB10 promoter activity was enhanced because of activation by GATA2. A direct correlation between Ser(P)473-AKT and Ser(P)401-GATA2 was evident, and inhibition of AKT phosphorylation by the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 blocked Ser401-GATA2 phosphorylation and the increase in GRB10 expression. Studies indicated that carrageenan inhibited insulin signaling by two mechanisms: through the inflammation-mediated increase in Ser(P)307-IRS1, a negative regulator of insulin signaling, and through a transcriptional mechanism leading to increase in GRB10 expression and GRB10-inhibition of Tyr(P)-IRS1, a positive regulator of insulin signaling. These mechanisms converge to inhibit the insulin-induced increase in Ser(P)473-AKT. They provide internal feedback, mediated by Ser(P)473-AKT, Ser(P)401-GATA2, and nuclear GATA2, which links the opposing effects of serine and tyrosine phosphorylations of IRS1 and can modulate insulin responsiveness.

G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinases (GRKs) play a key role in homologous desensitization of GPCRs. It is widely assumed that most GRKs selectively phosphorylate only active GPCRs. Here, we show that although this seems to be the case for the GRK2/3 subfamily, GRK5/6 effectively phosphorylate inactive forms of several GPCRs, including β2-adrenergic and M2 muscarinic receptors, which are commonly used as representative models for GPCRs. Agonist-independent GPCR phosphorylation cannot be explained by constitutive activity of the receptor or membrane association of the GRK, suggesting that it is an inherent ability of GRK5/6. Importantly, phosphorylation of the inactive β2-adrenergic receptor enhanced its interactions with arrestins. Arrestin-3 was able to discriminate between phosphorylation of the same receptor by GRK2 and GRK5, demonstrating preference for the latter. Arrestin recruitment to inactive phosphorylated GPCRs suggests that not only agonist activation but also the complement of GRKs in the cell regulate formation of the arrestin-receptor complex and thereby G protein-independent signaling.

p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) play important roles in various cellular stress responses, including cell death, which is roughly categorized into apoptosis and necrosis. Although p38 signaling has been extensively studied, the molecular mechanisms of p38-mediated cell death are unclear. ASK1 is a stress-responsive MAP3K that acts as an upstream kinase of p38 and is activated by various stresses, such as oxidative stress. Here, we show that NR4A2, a member of the NR4A nuclear receptor family, acts as a necrosis promoter downstream of ASK1-p38 pathway during oxidative stress. Although NR4A2 is well known as a nucleus-localized transcription factor, we found that it is translocated into the cytosol after phosphorylation by p38. Because the phosphorylation site mutants of NR4A2 cannot rescue the cell death-promoting activity, ASK1-p38 pathway-dependent phosphorylation and subsequent cytoplasmic translocation of NR4A2 may be required for oxidative stress-induced cell death. In addition, NR4A2-mediated cell death does not depend on caspases and receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1)-RIP3 complex, suggesting that NR4A2 promotes an RIP kinase-independent necrotic type of cell death. Our findings may enable a more precise understanding of molecular mechanisms that regulate oxidative stress-induced and p38-mediated necrosis.

The N-acetylmuramic acid α-1-phosphate (MurNAc-α1-P) uridylyltransferase MurU catalyzes the synthesis of uridine diphosphate (UDP)-MurNAc, a crucial precursor of the bacterial peptidoglycan cell wall. MurU is part of a recently identified cell wall recycling pathway in Gram-negative bacteria that bypasses the general de novo biosynthesis of UDP-MurNAc and contributes to high intrinsic resistance to the antibiotic fosfomycin, which targets UDP-MurNAc de novo biosynthesis. To provide insights into substrate binding and specificity, we solved crystal structures of MurU of Pseudomonas putida in native and ligand-bound states at high resolution. With the help of these structures, critical enzyme-substrate interactions were identified that enable tight binding of MurNAc-α1-P to the active site of MurU. The MurU structures define a “minimal domain” required for general nucleotidyltransferase activity. They furthermore provide a structural basis for the chemical design of inhibitors of MurU that could serve as novel drugs in combination therapy against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.

The noradrenergic and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) systems are implicated in cocaine-elicited behaviors. Previously, we demonstrated a role for p38 MAPK-mediated norepinephrine transporter (NET) Thr30 phosphorylation in cocaine-induced NET up-regulation (Mannangatti, P., Arapulisamy, O., Shippenberg, T. S., Ramamoorthy, S., and Jayanthi, L. D. (2011) J. Biol. Chem. 286, 20239–20250). The present study explored the functional interaction between p38 MAPK-mediated NET regulation and cocaine-induced behaviors. In vitro cocaine treatment of mouse prefrontal cortex synaptosomes resulted in enhanced NET function, surface expression, and phosphorylation. Pretreatment with PD169316, a p38 MAPK inhibitor, completely blocked cocaine-mediated NET up-regulation and phosphorylation. In mice, in vivo administration of p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 completely blocked cocaine-induced NET up-regulation and p38 MAPK activation in the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. When tested for cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization and conditioned place preference (CPP), mice receiving SB203580 on cocaine challenge day or on postconditioning test day exhibited significantly reduced cocaine sensitization and CPP. A transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide strategy was utilized to test the involvement of the NET-Thr30 motif. In vitro treatment of synaptosomes with TAT-NET-Thr30 (wild-type peptide) completely blocked cocaine-mediated NET up-regulation and phosphorylation. In vivo administration of TAT-NET-Thr30 peptide but not TAT-NET-T30A (mutant peptide) completely blocked cocaine-mediated NET up-regulation and phosphorylation. In the cocaine CPP paradigm, mice receiving TAT-NET-Thr30 but not TAT-NET-T30A on postconditioning test day exhibited significantly reduced cocaine CPP. Following extinction, TAT-NET-Thr30 when given prior to cocaine challenge significantly reduced reinstatement of cocaine CPP. These results demonstrate that the direct inhibition of p38 MAPK or the manipulation of NET-Thr30 motif/phosphorylation via a TAT peptide strategy prevents cocaine-induced NET up-regulation, locomotor sensitization, and CPP, suggesting a role for Thr30-linked NET regulation in cocaine-elicited behaviors.

When replication stalls and forks disassemble, the restart primosome is required to reload the replicative helicase so that chromosomal replication can be reinitiated. We have taken a photo-cross-linking approach, using model replication forks containing a phenyl diazirine placed at single locations, to determine the positions of primosomal protein binding and changes in interactions that occur during the assembly reaction. This approach revealed a novel mode for single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB)-DNA binding, in which SSB interacts with both the leading and lagging single-strand segments and the parental duplex of the fork. Cross-linking to a novel region within SSB is observed only when it is bound to forked structures. This binding mode is also followed by PriB. PriA binds to the fork, excluding SSB and PriB, interacting with the primer terminus, single-stranded leading and lagging strands and duplex in immediate proximity of the fork. SSB binds to flanking single-stranded segments distal to the fork in the presence of PriA. The addition of PriB or DnaT to a PriA-SSB-fork complex does not lead to cross-linking or displacement, suggesting that their association is through protein-protein interactions at early stages of the reaction. Upon addition of DnaC and the DnaB helicase in the presence of ATPγS, helicase is assembled, leading to contacts within the duplex region on the tracking (lagging) strand and strong contacts with the displaced leading single strand near the fork. PriA is displaced from DNA upon helicase assembly.

Sarcolipin (SLN) is a novel regulator of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) in muscle. SLN binding to SERCA uncouples Ca2+ transport from ATP hydrolysis. By this mechanism, SLN promotes the futile cycling of SERCA, contributing to muscle heat production. We recently showed that SLN plays an important role in cold- and diet-induced thermogenesis. However, the detailed mechanism of how SLN regulates muscle metabolism remains unclear. In this study, we used both SLN knockout (Sln−/−) and skeletal muscle-specific SLN overexpression (SlnOE) mice to explore energy metabolism by pair feeding (fixed calories) and high-fat diet feeding (ad libitum). Our results show that, upon pair feeding, SlnOE mice lost weight compared with the WT, but Sln−/− mice gained weight. Interestingly, when fed with a high-fat diet, SlnOE mice consumed more calories but gained less weight and maintained a normal metabolic profile in comparison with WT and Sln−/− mice. We found that oxygen consumption and fatty acid oxidation were increased markedly in SlnOE mice. There was also an increase in both mitochondrial number and size in SlnOE muscle, together with increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ) and PPAR γ coactivator 1 α (PGC1α), key transcriptional activators of mitochondrial biogenesis and enzymes involved in oxidative metabolism. These results, taken together, establish an important role for SLN in muscle metabolism and energy expenditure. On the basis of these data we propose that SLN is a novel target for enhancing whole-body energy expenditure.

The physicochemical landscape of the bilayer modulates membrane protein function. Actinoporins are a family of potent hemolytic proteins from sea anemones acting at the membrane level. This family of cytolysins preferentially binds to target membranes containing sphingomyelin, where they form lytic pores giving rise to cell death. Although the cytolytic activity of the actinoporin fragaceatoxin C (FraC) is sensitive to vesicles made of various lipid compositions, it is far from clear how this toxin adjusts its mechanism of action to a broad range of physiochemical landscapes. Herein, we show that the conserved residue Phe-16 of FraC is critical for pore formation in cholesterol-rich membranes such as those of red blood cells. The interaction of a panel of muteins of Phe-16 with model membranes composed of raft-like lipid domains is inactivated in cholesterol-rich membranes but not in cholesterol-depleted membranes. These results indicate that actinoporins recognize different membrane environments, resulting in a wider repertoire of susceptible target membranes (and preys) for sea anemones. In addition, this study has unveiled promising candidates for the development of protein-based biosensors highly sensitive to the concentration of cholesterol within the membrane.

Alzheimer disease (AD) is a degenerative tauopathy characterized by aggregation of Tau protein through the repeat domain to form intraneuronal paired helical filaments (PHFs). We report two cell models in which we control the inherent toxicity of the core Tau fragment. These models demonstrate the properties of prion-like recruitment of full-length Tau into an aggregation pathway in which template-directed, endogenous truncation propagates aggregation through the core Tau binding domain. We use these in combination with dissolution of native PHFs to quantify the activity of Tau aggregation inhibitors (TAIs). We report the synthesis of novel stable crystalline leucomethylthioninium salts (LMTX®), which overcome the pharmacokinetic limitations of methylthioninium chloride. LMTX®, as either a dihydromesylate or a dihydrobromide salt, retains TAI activity in vitro and disrupts PHFs isolated from AD brain tissues at 0.16 μm. The Ki value for intracellular TAI activity, which we have been able to determine for the first time, is 0.12 μm. These values are close to the steady state trough brain concentration of methylthioninium ion (0.18 μm) that is required to arrest progression of AD on clinical and imaging end points and the minimum brain concentration (0.13 μm) required to reverse behavioral deficits and pathology in Tau transgenic mice.

Human peroxidasin 1 (hsPxd01) is a multidomain heme peroxidase that uses bromide as a cofactor for the formation of sulfilimine cross-links. The latter confers critical structural reinforcement to collagen IV scaffolds. Here, hsPxd01 and various truncated variants lacking nonenzymatic domains were recombinantly expressed in HEK cell lines. The N-glycosylation site occupancy and disulfide pattern, the oligomeric structure, and unfolding pathway are reported. The homotrimeric iron protein contains a covalently bound ferric high spin heme per subunit with a standard reduction potential of the Fe(III)/Fe(II) couple of −233 ± 5 mV at pH 7.0. Despite sequence homology at the active site and biophysical properties similar to human peroxidases, the catalytic efficiency of bromide oxidation (kcat/KMapp) of full-length hsPxd01 is rather low but increased upon truncation. This is discussed with respect to its structure and proposed biosynthetic function in collagen IV cross-linking.

Protein-tyrosine phosphorylation regulates a wide variety of cellular processes at the plasma membrane. Recently, we showed that nuclear tyrosine kinases induce global nuclear structure changes, which we called chromatin structural changes. However, the mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study we identify protein kinase A anchoring protein 8 (AKAP8/AKAP95), which associates with chromatin and the nuclear matrix, as a nuclear tyrosine-phosphorylated protein. Tyrosine phosphorylation of AKAP8 is induced by several tyrosine kinases, such as Src, Fyn, and c-Abl but not Syk. Nucleus-targeted Lyn and c-Src strongly dissociate AKAP8 from chromatin and the nuclear matrix in a kinase activity-dependent manner. The levels of tyrosine phosphorylation of AKAP8 are decreased by substitution of multiple tyrosine residues on AKAP8 into phenylalanine. Importantly, the phenylalanine mutations of AKAP8 inhibit its dissociation from nuclear structures, suggesting that the association/dissociation of AKAP8 with/from nuclear structures is regulated by its tyrosine phosphorylation. Furthermore, the phenylalanine mutations of AKAP8 suppress the levels of nuclear tyrosine kinase-induced chromatin structural changes. In contrast, AKAP8 knockdown increases the levels of chromatin structural changes. Intriguingly, stimulation with hydrogen peroxide induces chromatin structural changes accompanied by the dissociation of AKAP8 from nuclear structures. These results suggest that AKAP8 is involved in the regulation of chromatin structural changes through nuclear tyrosine phosphorylation.

Proper ribosome formation is a prerequisite for cell growth and proliferation. Failure of this process results in nucleolar stress and p53-mediated apoptosis. The Wnt target Peter Pan (PPAN) is required for 45 S rRNA maturation. So far, the role of PPAN in nucleolar stress response has remained elusive. We demonstrate that PPAN localizes to mitochondria in addition to its nucleolar localization and inhibits the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway in a p53-independent manner. Loss of PPAN induces BAX stabilization, depolarization of mitochondria, and release of cytochrome c, demonstrating its important role as an anti-apoptotic factor. Staurosporine-induced nucleolar stress and apoptosis disrupt nucleolar PPAN localization and induce its accumulation in the cytoplasm. This is accompanied by phosphorylation and subsequent cleavage of PPAN by caspases. Moreover, we show that PPAN is a novel interaction partner of the anti-apoptotic protein nucleophosmin (NPM). PPAN depletion induces NPM and upstream-binding factor (UBF) degradation, which is independent of caspases. In summary, we provide evidence for a novel nucleolar stress-response pathway involving PPAN, NPM, and BAX to guarantee cell survival in a p53-independent manner.

The restriction factor BST2 (tetherin) prevents the release of enveloped viruses from the host cell and is counteracted by HIV-1 Vpu. Vpu and BST2 interact directly via their transmembrane domains. This interaction enables Vpu to induce the surface down-regulation and the degradation of BST2, but neither of these activities fully accounts for the ability of Vpu to enhance virion release. During a study of naturally occurring Vpu proteins, we found that a tryptophan residue near the Vpu C terminus is particularly important for enhancing virion release. Vpu proteins with a W76G polymorphism degraded and down-regulated BST2 from the cell surface, yet they inefficiently stimulated virion release. Here we explore the mechanism of this anomaly. We find that Trp-76 is critical for the ability of Vpu to displace BST2 from sites of viral assembly in the plane of the plasma membrane. This effect does not appear to involve a general reorganization of the membrane microdomains associated with virion assembly, but rather is a specific effect of Vpu on BST2. Using NMR spectroscopy, we find that the cytoplasmic domain of Vpu and Trp-76 specifically interact with lipids. Moreover, paramagnetic relaxation enhancement studies show that Trp-76 inserts into the lipid. These data are consistent with a model whereby Trp-76 anchors the C terminus of the cytoplasmic tail of Vpu to the plasma membrane, enabling the movement of Vpu-bound BST2 away from viral assembly sites.

We previously demonstrated that pharmacological induction of autophagy protected against acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver injury in mice by clearing damaged mitochondria. However, the mechanism for removal of mitochondria by autophagy is unknown. Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, has been shown to be required for mitophagy induction in cultured mammalian cells following mitochondrial depolarization, but its role in vivo is not clear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of Parkin-mediated mitophagy in protection against APAP-induced liver injury. We found that Parkin translocated to mitochondria in mouse livers after APAP treatment followed by mitochondrial protein ubiquitination and mitophagy induction. To our surprise, we found that mitophagy still occurred in Parkin knock-out (KO) mice after APAP treatment based on electron microscopy analysis and Western blot analysis for some mitochondrial proteins, and Parkin KO mice were protected against APAP-induced liver injury compared with wild type mice. Mechanistically, we found that Parkin KO mice had decreased activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), increased induction of myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein (Mcl-1) expression, and increased hepatocyte proliferation after APAP treatment in their livers compared with WT mice. In contrast to chronic deletion of Parkin, acute knockdown of Parkin in mouse livers using adenovirus shRNA reduced mitophagy and Mcl-1 expression but increased JNK activation after APAP administration, which exacerbated APAP-induced liver injury. Therefore, chronic deletion (KO) and acute knockdown of Parkin have differential responses to APAP-induced mitophagy and liver injury in mice.

The ability of neurons to maintain spine architecture and modulate it in response to synaptic activity is a crucial component of the cellular machinery that underlies information storage in pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus. Here we show a critical role for δ-catenin, a component of the cadherin-catenin cell adhesion complex, in regulating spine head width and length in pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus. The loss of Ctnnd2, the gene encoding δ-catenin, has been associated with the intellectual disability observed in the cri du chat syndrome, suggesting that the functional roles of δ-catenin are vital for neuronal integrity and higher order functions. We demonstrate that loss of δ-catenin in a mouse model or knockdown of δ-catenin in pyramidal neurons compromises spine head width and length, without altering spine dynamics. This is accompanied by a reduction in the levels of synaptic N-cadherin. The ability of δ-catenin to modulate spine architecture is critically dependent on its ability to interact with cadherin and PDZ domain-containing proteins. We propose that loss of δ-catenin during development perturbs synaptic architecture leading to developmental aberrations in neural circuit formation that contribute to the learning disabilities in a mouse model and humans with cri du chat syndrome.

High plasma levels of apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) correlate with cardiovascular health, whereas dysfunctional apoA-I is a cause of atherosclerosis. In the atherosclerotic plaques, amyloid deposition increases with aging. Notably, apoA-I is the main component of these amyloids. Recent studies identified high levels of oxidized lipid-free apoA-I in atherosclerotic plaques. Likely, myeloperoxidase (MPO) secreted by activated macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions is the promoter of such apoA-I oxidation. We hypothesized that apoA-I oxidation by MPO levels similar to those present in the artery walls in atherosclerosis can promote apoA-I structural changes and amyloid fibril formation. ApoA-I was exposed to exhaustive chemical (H2O2) oxidation or physiological levels of enzymatic (MPO) oxidation and incubated at 37 °C and pH 6.0 to induce fibril formation. Both chemically and enzymatically oxidized apoA-I produced fibrillar amyloids after a few hours of incubation. The amyloid fibrils were composed of full-length apoA-I with differential oxidation of the three methionines. Met to Leu apoA-I variants were used to establish the predominant role of oxidation of Met-86 and Met-148 in the fibril formation process. Importantly, a small amount of preformed apoA-I fibrils was able to seed amyloid formation in oxidized apoA-I at pH 7.0. In contrast to hereditary amyloidosis, wherein specific mutations of apoA-I cause protein destabilization and amyloid deposition, oxidative conditions similar to those promoted by local inflammation in atherosclerosis are sufficient to transform full-length wild-type apoA-I into an amyloidogenic protein. Thus, MPO-mediated oxidation may be implicated in the mechanism that leads to amyloid deposition in the atherosclerotic plaques in vivo.

Phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PSDs) play a central role in the synthesis of phosphatidylethanolamine in numerous species of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. PSDs are unusual decarboxylase containing a pyruvoyl prosthetic group within the active site. The covalently attached pyruvoyl moiety is formed in a concerted reaction when the PSD proenzyme undergoes an endoproteolytic cleavage into a large β-subunit, and a smaller α-subunit, which harbors the prosthetic group at its N terminus. The mechanism of PSD proenzyme cleavage has long been unclear. Using a coupled in vitro transcription/translation system with the soluble Plasmodium knowlesi enzyme (PkPSD), we demonstrate that the post-translational processing is inhibited by the serine protease inhibitor, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride. Comparison of PSD sequences across multiple phyla reveals a uniquely conserved aspartic acid within an FFXRX6RX12PXD motif, two uniquely conserved histidine residues within a PXXYHXXHXP motif, and a uniquely conserved serine residue within a GS(S/T) motif, suggesting that PSDs belong to the D-H-S serine protease family. The function of the conserved D-H-S residues was probed using site-directed mutagenesis of PkPSD. The results from these mutagenesis experiments reveal that Asp-139, His-198, and Ser-308 are all essential for endoproteolytic processing of PkPSD, which occurs in cis. In addition, within the GS(S/T) motif found in all PSDs, the Gly-307 residue is also essential, but the Ser/Thr-309 is non-essential. These results define the mechanism whereby PSDs begin their biochemical existence as proteases that execute one autoendoproteolytic cleavage reaction to give rise to a mature PSD harboring a pyruvoyl prosthetic group.

Doxorubicin (DOX) is a chemotherapeutic agent effective in the treatment of many cancers. However, cardiac dysfunction caused by DOX limits its clinical use. DOX is believed to be harmful to cardiomyocytes by interfering with the mitochondrial phospholipid cardiolipin and causing inefficient electron transfer resulting in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Sirtuin-3 (SIRT3) is a class III lysine deacetylase that is localized to the mitochondria and regulates mitochondrial respiration and oxidative stress resistance enzymes such as superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2). The purpose of this study was to determine whether SIRT3 prevents DOX-induced mitochondrial ROS production. Administration of DOX to mice suppressed cardiac SIRT3 expression, and DOX induced a dose-dependent decrease in SIRT3 and SOD2 expression in H9c2 cardiomyocytes. SIRT3-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts produced significantly more ROS in the presence of DOX compared with wild-type cells. Overexpression of wild-type SIRT3 increased cardiolipin levels and rescued mitochondrial respiration and SOD2 expression in DOX-treated H9c2 cardiomyocytes and attenuated the amount of ROS produced following DOX treatment. These effects were absent when a deacetylase-deficient SIRT3 was expressed in H9c2 cells. Our results suggest that overexpression of SIRT3 attenuates DOX-induced ROS production, and this may involve increased SOD2 expression and improved mitochondrial bioenergetics. SIRT3 activation could be a potential therapy for DOX-induced cardiac dysfunction.

Venoms of the sicariid spiders contain phospholipase D enzyme toxins that can cause severe dermonecrosis and even death in humans. These enzymes convert sphingolipid and lysolipid substrates to cyclic phosphates by activating a hydroxyl nucleophile present in both classes of lipid. The most medically relevant substrates are thought to be sphingomyelin and/or lysophosphatidylcholine. To better understand the substrate preference of these toxins, we used 31P NMR to compare the activity of three related but phylogenetically diverse sicariid toxins against a diverse panel of sphingolipid and lysolipid substrates. Two of the three showed significantly faster turnover of sphingolipids over lysolipids, and all three showed a strong preference for positively charged (choline and/or ethanolamine) over neutral (glycerol and serine) headgroups. Strikingly, however, the enzymes vary widely in their preference for choline, the headgroup of both sphingomyelin and lysophosphatidylcholine, versus ethanolamine. An enzyme from Sicarius terrosus showed a strong preference for ethanolamine over choline, whereas two paralogous enzymes from Loxosceles arizonica either preferred choline or showed no significant preference. Intrigued by the novel substrate preference of the Sicarius enzyme, we solved its crystal structure at 2.1 Å resolution. The evolution of variable substrate specificity may help explain the reduced dermonecrotic potential of some natural toxin variants, because mammalian sphingolipids use primarily choline as a positively charged headgroup; it may also be relevant for sicariid predatory behavior, because ethanolamine-containing sphingolipids are common in insect prey.

The ClpP1P2 protease complex is essential for viability in Mycobacteria tuberculosis and is an attractive drug target. Using a fluorogenic tripeptide library (Ac-X3X2X1-aminomethylcoumarin) and by determining specificity constants (kcat/Km), we show that ClpP1P2 prefers Met ≫ Leu > Phe > Ala in the X1 position, basic residues or Trp in the X2 position, and Pro ≫ Ala > Trp in the X3 position. We identified peptide substrates that are hydrolyzed up to 1000 times faster than the standard ClpP substrate. These positional preferences were consistent with cleavage sites in the protein GFPssrA by ClpXP1P2. Studies of ClpP1P2 with inactive ClpP1 or ClpP2 indicated that ClpP1 was responsible for nearly all the peptidase activity, whereas both ClpP1 and ClpP2 contributed to protein degradation. Substrate-based peptide boronates were synthesized that inhibit ClpP1P2 peptidase activity in the submicromolar range. Some of them inhibited the growth of Mtb cells in the low micromolar range indicating that cleavage specificity of Mtb ClpP1P2 can be used to design novel anti-bacterial agents.

Diabetes is a consequence of reduced β-cell function and mass, due to β-cell apoptosis. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is induced during β-cell apoptosis due to various stimuli, and our work indicates that group VIA phospholipase A2β (iPLA2β) participates in this process. Delineation of underlying mechanism(s) reveals that ER stress reduces the anti-apoptotic Bcl-x(L) protein in INS-1 cells. The Bcl-x pre-mRNA undergoes alternative pre-mRNA splicing to generate Bcl-x(L) or Bcl-x(S) mature mRNA. We show that both thapsigargin-induced and spontaneous ER stress are associated with reductions in the ratio of Bcl-x(L)/Bcl-x(S) mRNA in INS-1 and islet β-cells. However, chemical inactivation or knockdown of iPLA2β augments the Bcl-x(L)/Bcl-x(S) ratio. Furthermore, the ratio is lower in islets from islet-specific RIP-iPLA2β transgenic mice, whereas islets from global iPLA2β−/− mice exhibit the opposite phenotype. In view of our earlier reports that iPLA2β induces ceramide accumulation through neutral sphingomyelinase 2 and that ceramides shift the Bcl-x 5′-splice site (5′SS) selection in favor of Bcl-x(S), we investigated the potential link between Bcl-x splicing and the iPLA2β/ceramide axis. Exogenous C6-ceramide did not alter Bcl-x 5′SS selection in INS-1 cells, and neutral sphingomyelinase 2 inactivation only partially prevented the ER stress-induced shift in Bcl-x splicing. In contrast, 5(S)-hydroxytetraenoic acid augmented the ratio of Bcl-x(L)/Bcl-x(S) by 15.5-fold. Taken together, these data indicate that β-cell apoptosis is, in part, attributable to the modulation of 5′SS selection in the Bcl-x pre-mRNA by bioactive lipids modulated by iPLA2β.

Ig-Hepta/GPR116 is a member of the G protein-coupled receptor family predominantly expressed in the alveolar type II epithelial cells of the lung. Previous studies have shown that Ig-Hepta is essential for lung surfactant homeostasis, and loss of its function results in high accumulation of surfactant lipids and proteins in the alveolar space. Ig-Hepta knock-out (Ig-Hepta−/−) mice also exhibit emphysema-like symptoms, including accumulation of foamy alveolar macrophages (AMs), but its pathogenic mechanism is unknown. Here, we show that the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from Ig-Hepta−/− mice contains high levels of inflammatory mediators, lipid hydroperoxides, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are produced by AMs. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species was observed in the AMs of Ig-Hepta−/− mice in an age-dependent manner. In addition, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is activated and translocated into the nuclei of the AMs of Ig-Hepta−/− mice. Release of MMP-2 and MMP-9 from the AMs was strongly inhibited by treatment with inhibitors of oxidants and NF-κB. We also found that the level of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 is increased in the embryonic lungs of Ig-Hepta−/− mice at 18.5 days postcoitum, when AMs are not accumulated and activated. These results suggest that Ig-Hepta plays an important role in regulating macrophage immune responses, and its deficiency leads to local inflammation in the lung, where AMs produce excessive amounts of reactive oxygen species and up-regulate MMPs through the NF-κB signaling pathway.

The chemokine receptors CCR5 and CCR2b share 89% amino acid homology. CCR5 is a co-receptor for HIV and CCR5 antagonists have been investigated as inhibitors of HIV infection. We describe the use of two CCR5 antagonists, Schering-C (SCH-C), which is specific for CCR5, and TAK-779, a dual inhibitor of CCR5 and CCR2b, to probe the CCR5 inhibitor binding site using CCR5/CCR2b chimeric receptors. Compound inhibition in the different chimeras was assessed by inhibition of chemokine-induced calcium flux. SCH-C inhibited RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) (CCL5)-mediated calcium flux on CCR5 with an IC50 of 22.8 nm but was inactive against monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL2)-mediated calcium flux on CCR2b. However, SCH-C inhibited CCL2-induced calcium flux against a CCR5/CCR2b chimera consisting of transmembrane domains IV–VI of CCR5 with an IC50 of 55 nm. A sequence comparison of CCR5 and CCR2b identified a divergent amino acid sequence located at the junction of transmembrane domain V and second extracellular loop. Transfer of the CCR5 sequence KNFQTLKIV into CCR2b conferred SCH-C inhibition (IC50 of 122 nm) into the predominantly CCR2b chimera. Furthermore, a single substitution, R206I, conferred partial but significant inhibition (IC50 of 1023 nm) by SCH-C. These results show that a limited amino acid sequence is responsible for SCH-C specificity to CCR5, and we propose a model showing the interaction with CCR5 Ile198.

By generating the second messenger cGMP in retinal rods and cones, ROS-GC plays a central role in visual transduction. Guanylate cyclase-activating proteins (GCAPs) link cGMP synthesis to the light-induced fall in [Ca2+]i to help set absolute sensitivity and assure prompt recovery of the response to light. The present report discloses a surprising feature of this system: ROS-GC is a sensor of bicarbonate. Recombinant ROS-GCs synthesized cGMP from GTP at faster rates in the presence of bicarbonate with an ED50 of 27 mm for ROS-GC1 and 39 mm for ROS-GC2. The effect required neither Ca2+ nor use of the GCAPs domains; however, stimulation of ROS-GC1 was more powerful in the presence of GCAP1 or GCAP2 at low [Ca2+]. When applied to retinal photoreceptors, bicarbonate enhanced the circulating current, decreased sensitivity to flashes, and accelerated flash response kinetics. Bicarbonate was effective when applied either to the outer or inner segment of red-sensitive cones. In contrast, bicarbonate exerted an effect when applied to the inner segment of rods but had little efficacy when applied to the outer segment. The findings define a new regulatory mechanism of the ROS-GC system that affects visual transduction and is likely to affect the course of retinal diseases caused by cGMP toxicity.

Inhibition of signal transduction downstream of the IL-23 receptor represents an intriguing approach to the treatment of autoimmunity. Using a chemogenomics approach marrying kinome-wide inhibitory profiles of a compound library with the cellular activity against an IL-23-stimulated transcriptional response in T lymphocytes, a class of inhibitors was identified that bind to and stabilize the pseudokinase domain of the Janus kinase tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2), resulting in blockade of receptor-mediated activation of the adjacent catalytic domain. These Tyk2 pseudokinase domain stabilizers were also shown to inhibit Tyk2-dependent signaling through the Type I interferon receptor but not Tyk2-independent signaling and transcriptional cellular assays, including stimulation through the receptors for IL-2 (JAK1- and JAK3-dependent) and thrombopoietin (JAK2-dependent), demonstrating the high functional selectivity of this approach. A crystal structure of the pseudokinase domain liganded with a representative example showed the compound bound to a site analogous to the ATP-binding site in catalytic kinases with features consistent with high ligand selectivity. The results support a model where the pseudokinase domain regulates activation of the catalytic domain by forming receptor-regulated inhibitory interactions. Tyk2 pseudokinase stabilizers, therefore, represent a novel approach to the design of potent and selective agents for the treatment of autoimmunity.

The lipid composition of insulin secretory granules (ISG) has never previously been thoroughly characterized. We characterized the phospholipid composition of ISG and mitochondria in pancreatic beta cells without and with glucose stimulation. The phospholipid/protein ratios of most phospholipids containing unsaturated fatty acids were higher in ISG than in whole cells and in mitochondria. The concentrations of negatively charged phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylinositol in ISG were 5-fold higher than in the whole cell. In ISG phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylethanolamine, and sphingomyelin, fatty acids 12:0 and 14:0 were high, as were phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylinositol containing 18-carbon unsaturated FA. With glucose stimulation, the concentration of many ISG phosphatidylserines and phosphatidylinositols increased; unsaturated fatty acids in phosphatidylserine increased; and most phosphatidylethanolamines, phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins, and lysophosphatidylcholines were unchanged. Unsaturation and shorter fatty acid length in phospholipids facilitate curvature and fluidity of membranes, which favors fusion of membranes. Recent evidence suggests that negatively charged phospholipids, such as phosphatidylserine, act as coupling factors enhancing the interaction of positively charged regions in SNARE proteins in synaptic or secretory vesicle membrane lipid bilayers with positively charged regions in SNARE proteins in the plasma membrane lipid bilayer to facilitate docking of vesicles to the plasma membrane during exocytosis. The results indicate that ISG phospholipids are in a dynamic state and are consistent with the idea that changes in ISG phospholipids facilitate fusion of ISG with the plasma membrane-enhancing glucose-stimulated insulin exocytosis.

Matrix metalloproteinase 13 (Mmp13, collagenase-3) plays an essential role in bone metabolism and mineral homeostasis. It is regulated by numerous factors, including BMP-2, parathyroid hormone, and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), through transcription factors such as Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ), OSX, and vitamin D receptor (VDR). During osteoblast maturation, the basal expression of Mmp13 and its sensitivity to 1,25(OH)2D3 are strikingly increased. In this report, ChIP-sequencing analysis in mouse preosteoblasts revealed that the Mmp13 gene was probably regulated by three major enhancers located −10, −20, and −30 kb upstream of the gene promoter, occupied by activated VDR and prebound C/EBPβ and RUNX2, respectively. Initially, bacterial artificial chromosome clone recombineering and traditional mutagenesis defined binding sites for VDR and RUNX2. We then employed a CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing approach to delete the −10 and −30 kb Mmp13 enhancers, a region proximal to the promoter, and VDR or RUNX2. VDR-mediated up-regulation of Mmp13 transcription was completely abrogated upon removal of the −10 kb enhancer, resulting in a 1,25(OH)2D3-directed repression of Mmp13. Deletion of either the −30 kb enhancer or RUNX2 resulted in a complete loss of basal transcript activity and a ChIP-identified destabilization of the chromatin enhancer environment and factor binding. Whereas enhancer deletions only affected Mmp13 expression, the RUNX2 deletion led to changes in gene expression, a reduction in cellular proliferation, and an inability to differentiate. We conclude that the Mmp13 gene is regulated via at least three specific distal enhancers that display independent activities yet are able to integrate response from multiple signaling pathways in a model of activation and suppression.

TNFRSF10A and TNFRSF10B are cell surface receptors that bind to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and mediate the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. However, the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of TNFRSF10A and TNFRSF10B remain largely uncharacterized. In this study, two putative DDIT3 binding sites (−1636/−1625; −374/−364) and a putative AP-1 binding site (−304/−298) were identified in the TNFRSF10A promoter region. We found that DDIT3 interacts with phospho-JUN, and the DDIT3·phospho-JUN complex binds to the AP-1 binding site (−304/−298) within the TNFRSF10A promoter region. In addition, we confirmed that KAT2A physically interacts with the N-terminal region (amino acids 1–26) of DDIT3. Importantly, knockdown of KAT2A down-regulated TNFRSF10A and TNFRSF10B and dramatically decreased promoter activity of cells transfected with luciferase reporter plasmid containing the AP-1 binding site (−304/−298) of the TNFRSF10A promoter, as well as cells transfected with luciferase reporter plasmid containing DDIT3 binding site (−276/−264) of the TNFRSF10B promoter. ChIP results suggest that KAT2A may participate in a KAT2A·DDIT3·phospho-JUN complex, or may participate in a KAT2A·DDIT3 complex and acetylate H3K9/K14, respectively. Moreover, we verified that TNFRSF10A mediates apoptosis triggered by endoplasmic reticulum stress in human lung cancer cells. Collectively, we demonstrate that DDIT3 and KAT2A cooperatively up-regulate TNFRSF10A and TNFRSF10B. Our findings highlight novel mechanisms underlying endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced TNFRSF10A and TNFRSF10B expressions and apoptosis. These findings will be helpful for elucidating mechanisms related to anticancer drugs in mediating apoptosis.

The integration of signals involved in deciding the fate of mesenchymal stem cells is largely unknown. We used proteomics profiling to identify RhoGDIβ, an inhibitor of the small G-protein Rho family, as a component that regulates commitment of C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal stem cells to the adipocyte or smooth muscle cell lineage in response to bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4). RhoGDIβ is notably down-regulated during BMP4-induced adipocytic lineage commitment of C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal stem cells, and this involves the cytoskeleton-associated protein lysyl oxidase. Excess RhoGDIβ completely prevents BMP4-induced commitment to the adipocyte lineage and simultaneously stimulates smooth muscle cell commitment by suppressing the activation of Rac1. Overexpression of RhoGDIβ induces stress fibers of F-actin by a process involving phosphomyosin light chain, indicating that cytoskeletal tension regulated by RhoGDIβ contributes to determining adipocyte versus myocyte commitment. Furthermore, the overexpression of RacV12 (constitutively active form of Rac1) totally rescues the inhibition of adipocyte commitment by RhoGDIβ, simultaneously preventing formation of the smooth muscle-like phenotype and disrupting the stress fibers in cells overexpressing RhoGDIβ. Collectively, these results indicate that RhoGDIβ functions as a novel BMP4 signaling target that regulates adipogenesis and myogensis.

Subtilisin-like proteases are broadly expressed in organisms ranging from bacteria to mammals. During maturation of these enzymes, N-terminal propeptides function as intramolecular chaperones, assisting the folding of their catalytic domains. However, we have identified an exceptional case, the serine protease from Aeromonas sobria (ASP), that lacks a propeptide. Instead, ORF2, a protein encoded just downstream of asp, appears essential for proper ASP folding. The mechanism by which ORF2 functions remains an open question, because it shares no sequence homology with any known intramolecular propeptide or other protein. Here we report the crystal structure of the ORF2-ASP complex and the solution structure of free ORF2. ORF2 consists of three regions: an N-terminal extension, a central body, and a C-terminal tail. Together, the structure of the central body and the C-terminal tail is similar to that of the intramolecular propeptide. The N-terminal extension, which is not seen in other subtilisin-like enzymes, is intrinsically disordered but forms some degree of secondary structure upon binding ASP. We also show that C-terminal (ΔC1 and ΔC5) or N-terminal (ΔN43 and ΔN64) deletion eliminates the ability of ORF2 to function as a chaperone. Characterization of the maturation of ASP with ORF2 showed that folding occurs in the periplasmic space and is followed by translocation into extracellular space and dissociation from ORF2, generating active ASP. Finally, a PSI-BLAST search revealed that operons encoding subtilases and their external chaperones are widely distributed among Gram-negative bacteria, suggesting that ASP and its homologs form a novel family of subtilases having an external chaperone.

The bacterial enzyme designated QhpD belongs to the radical S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) superfamily of enzymes and participates in the post-translational processing of quinohemoprotein amine dehydrogenase. QhpD is essential for the formation of intra-protein thioether bonds within the small subunit (maturated QhpC) of quinohemoprotein amine dehydrogenase. We overproduced QhpD from Paracoccus denitrificans as a stable complex with its substrate QhpC, carrying the 28-residue leader peptide that is essential for the complex formation. Absorption and electron paramagnetic resonance spectra together with the analyses of iron and sulfur contents suggested the presence of multiple (likely three) [4Fe-4S] clusters in the purified and reconstituted QhpD. In the presence of a reducing agent (sodium dithionite), QhpD catalyzed the multiple-turnover reaction of reductive cleavage of SAM into methionine and 5′-deoxyadenosine and also the single-turnover reaction of intra-protein sulfur-to-methylene carbon thioether bond formation in QhpC bound to QhpD, producing a multiknotted structure of the polypeptide chain. Homology modeling and mutagenic analysis revealed several conserved residues indispensable for both in vivo and in vitro activities of QhpD. Our findings uncover another challenging reaction catalyzed by a radical SAM enzyme acting on a ribosomally translated protein substrate.

Astrocytes contain glycogen, an energy buffer, which can bridge local short term energy requirements in the brain. Glycogen levels reflect a dynamic equilibrium between glycogen synthesis and glycogenolysis. Many factors that include hormones and neuropeptides, such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) likely modulate glycogen stores in astrocytes, but detailed mechanisms at the cellular level are sparse. We used a glucose nanosensor based on Förster resonance energy transfer to monitor cytosolic glucose concentration with high temporal resolution and a cytochemical approach to determine glycogen stores in single cells. The results show that after glucose depletion, glycogen stores are replenished. Insulin and IGF-1 boost the process of glycogen formation. Although astrocytes appear to express glucose transporter GLUT4, glucose entry across the astrocyte plasma membrane is not affected by insulin. Stimulation of cells with insulin and IGF-1 decreased cytosolic glucose concentration, likely because of elevated glucose utilization for glycogen synthesis.

Cachexia occurs in patients with advanced cancers. Despite the adverse clinical impact of cancer-induced muscle wasting, pathways causing cachexia are controversial, and clinically reliable therapies are not available. A trigger of muscle protein loss is the Jak/Stat pathway, and indeed, we found that conditioned medium from C26 colon carcinoma (C26) or Lewis lung carcinoma cells activates Stat3 (p-Stat3) in C2C12 myotubes. We identified two proteolytic pathways that are activated in muscle by p-Stat3; one is activation of caspase-3, and the other is p-Stat3 to myostatin, MAFbx/Atrogin-1, and MuRF-1 via CAAT/enhancer-binding protein δ (C/EBPδ). Using sequential deletions of the caspase-3 promoter and CHIP assays, we determined that Stat3 activation increases caspase-3 expression in C2C12 cells. Caspase-3 expression and proteolytic activity were stimulated by p-Stat3 in muscles of tumor-bearing mice. In mice with cachexia caused by Lewis lung carcinoma or C26 tumors, knock-out of p-Stat3 in muscle or with a small chemical inhibitor of p-Stat3 suppressed muscle mass losses, improved protein synthesis and degradation in muscle, and increased body weight and grip strength. Activation of p-Stat3 stimulates a pathway from C/EBPδ to myostatin and expression of MAFbx/Atrogin-1 and increases the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Indeed, C/EBPδ KO decreases the expression of MAFbx/Atrogin-1 and myostatin, while increasing muscle mass and grip strength. In conclusion, cancer stimulates p-Stat3 in muscle, activating protein loss by stimulating caspase-3, myostatin, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system. These results could lead to novel strategies for preventing cancer-induced muscle wasting.

Microbial hormone-sensitive lipases (HSLs) contain a CAP domain and a catalytic domain. However, it remains unclear how the CAP domain interacts with the catalytic domain to maintain the stability of microbial HSLs. Here, we isolated an HSL esterase, E40, from a marine sedimental metagenomic library. E40 exhibited the maximal activity at 45 °C and was quite thermolabile, with a half-life of only 2 min at 40 °C, which may be an adaptation of E40 to the permanently cold sediment environment. The structure of E40 was solved to study its thermolability. Structural analysis showed that E40 lacks the interdomain hydrophobic interactions between loop 1 of the CAP domain and α7 of the catalytic domain compared with its thermostable homologs. Mutational analysis showed that the introduction of hydrophobic residues Trp202 and Phe203 in α7 significantly improved E40 stability and that a further introduction of hydrophobic residues in loop 1 made E40 more thermostable because of the formation of interdomain hydrophobic interactions. Altogether, the results indicate that the absence of interdomain hydrophobic interactions between loop 1 and α7 leads to the thermolability of E40. In addition, a comparative analysis of the structures of E40 and other thermolabile and thermostable HSLs suggests that the interdomain hydrophobic interactions between loop 1 and α7 are a key element for the thermostability of microbial HSLs. Therefore, this study not only illustrates the structural element leading to the thermolability of E40 but also reveals a structural determinant for HSL thermostability.

PKD is a family of three serine/threonine kinases (PKD-1, -2, and -3) involved in the regulation of diverse biological processes including proliferation, migration, secretion, and cell survival. We have previously shown that despite expression of all three isoforms in mouse epidermis, PKD1 plays a unique and critical role in wound healing, phorbol ester-induced hyperplasia, and tumor development. In translating our findings to the human, we discovered that PKD1 is not expressed in human keratinocytes (KCs) and there is a divergence in the expression and function of other PKD isoforms. Contrary to mouse KCs, treatment of cultured human KCs with pharmacological inhibitors of PKDs resulted in growth arrest. We found that PKD2 and PKD3 are expressed differentially in proliferating and differentiating human KCs, with the former uniformly present in both compartments whereas the latter is predominantly expressed in the proliferating compartment. Knockdown of individual PKD isoforms in human KCs revealed contrasting growth regulatory roles for PKD2 and PKD3. Loss of PKD2 enhanced KC proliferative potential while loss of PKD3 resulted in a progressive proliferation defect, loss of clonogenicity and diminished tissue regenerative ability. This proliferation defect was correlated with up-regulation of CDK4/6 inhibitor p15INK4B and induction of a p53-independent G1 cell cycle arrest. Simultaneous silencing of PKD isoforms resulted in a more pronounced proliferation defect consistent with a predominant role for PKD3 in proliferating KCs. These data underline the importance and complexity of PKD signaling in human epidermis and suggest a central role for PKD3 signaling in maintaining human epidermal homeostasis.