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Journal of Biological Chemistry, The

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a well characterized receptor-tyrosine kinase that functions in development and serves a vital role in many human cancers. Understanding EGFR regulatory mechanisms, and hence approaches for clinical intervention, has focused on ligand-receptor interactions and tyrosine kinase activity. Here, we show using the NCI-H460 lung and A431 epidermoid human cancer cell lines that EGFR binding to anterior gradient homolog 2 (AGR2) in the endoplasmic reticulum is required for receptor delivery to the plasma membrane and thus EGFR signaling. Reduced AGR2 protein levels or mutation of an essential cysteine in the active site result in decreased cell surface EGFR and a concomitant decrease in signaling as reflected by AREG, EGR1, and FOS expression. Similar to previously described EGFR nulls, an AGR2 null also resulted in embryonic lethality. Consistent with its role in regulating EGFR-mediated signaling, AGR2 expression is also enhanced in many human cancers and promotes the transformed phenotype. Furthermore, EGFR-mediated signaling in NCI-H460 cells, which are resistant to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor AG1478, is also disrupted with reduced AGR2 expression. The results provide insights into why cancer prognosis or response to therapy often does not correlate with EGFR protein or RNA levels because they do not reflect delivery to the cell surface where signaling is initiated. AGR2, therefore, represents a novel post-translational regulator of EGFR-mediated signaling and a promising target for treating human cancers.

The most common lesion in DNA is an abasic site resulting from glycolytic cleavage of a base. In a number of cellular studies, abasic sites preferentially code for dATP insertion (the “A rule”). In some cases frameshifts are also common. X-ray structures with abasic sites in oligonucleotides have been reported for several microbial and human DNA polymerases (pols), e.g. Dpo4, RB69, KlenTaq, yeast pol ι, human (h) pol ι, and human pol β. We reported previously that hpol η is a major pol involved in abasic site bypass (Choi, J.-Y., Lim, S., Kim, E. J., Jo, A., and Guengerich, F. P. (2010 J. Mol. Biol. 404, 34–44). hpol η inserted all four dNTPs in steady-state and pre-steady-state assays, preferentially inserting A and G. In LC-MS analysis of primer-template pairs, A and G were inserted but little C or T was inserted. Frameshifts were observed when an appropriate pyrimidine was positioned 5′ to the abasic site in the template. In x-ray structures of hpol η with a non-hydrolyzable analog of dATP or dGTP opposite an abasic site, H-bonding was observed between the phosphate 5′ to the abasic site and water H-bonded to N1 and N6 of A and N1 and O6 of G nucleoside triphosphate analogs, offering an explanation for what appears to be a “purine rule.” A structure was also obtained for an A inserted and bonded in the primer opposite the abasic site, but it did not pair with a 5′ T in the template. We conclude that hpol η, a major copying enzyme with abasic sites, follows a purine rule, which can also lead to frameshifts. The phenomenon can be explained with H-bonds.

The mechanisms of HCO3−-independent intracellular pH (pHi) regulation were examined in fibrous astrocytes within isolated neonatal rat optic nerve (RON) and in cultured cortical astrocytes. In agreement with previous studies, resting pHi in cultured astrocytes was 6.82 ± 0.06 and inhibition of the V-ATPase H+ pump by Cl− removal or via the selective inhibitor bafilomycin had only a small effect upon resting pHi and recovery following an acid load. In contrast, resting pHi in RON astrocytes was 7.10 ± 0.04, significantly less acidic than that in cultured cells (p < 0.001), and responded to inhibition of V-ATPase with profound acidification to the 6.3–6.5 range. Fluorescent immuno-staining and immuno-gold labeling confirmed the presence V-ATPase in the cell membrane of RON astrocyte processes and somata. Using ammonia pulse recovery, pHi recovery in RON astrocyte was achieved largely via V-ATPase with sodium-proton exchange (NHE) playing a minor role. The findings indicate that astrocytes in a whole-mount preparation such as the optic nerve rely to a greater degree upon V-ATPase for HCO3−-independent pHi regulation than do cultured astrocytes, with important functional consequences for the regulation of pH in the CNS.

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290, 8039–8047 Astrocytes are star-shaped cells that are abundant in the brain and spinal cord. One of their functions is to regulate the space surrounding neurons, which are the cells responsible for learning, memory, and cognition. An important part of this job is maintaining a normal concentration of protons, usually measured as pH. Changes in pH heavily influence neurotransmission, excitability, and injury recovery. In this Paper of the Week, Robert Fern and colleagues at Plymouth University in the U. K. analyzed cells in cultures and within whole optic nerves to understand the role of the vacuolar H+-ATPase, which uses energy to pump protons across the cell membrane. They found that V-ATPase was a major proton extruder in optic nerve astrocytes but not in cultured cells. All previous studies have used cultured cells rather than cells within a whole mount preparation such as the optic nerve. The investigators' observations suggest that regulation of brain pH is achieved via this novel mechanism, overturning the established model based on cell culture studies. The authors say, “High levels of V-ATPase expression will isolate astrocyte pH regulation from cytoplasm changes in other ion species.” jbc;290/13/8048/FU1F1FU1 Immuno-gold labeling of electron micrographs for V-ATPase reactivity in the rat optic nerve.

Glucose-regulated protein (GRP78)/BiP, a major chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum, is recently discovered to be preferably expressed on the surface of stressed cancer cells, where it regulates critical oncogenic signaling pathways and is emerging as a target for anti-cancer therapy while sparing normal organs. However, because GRP78 does not contain classical transmembrane domains, its mechanism of transport and its anchoring at the cell surface are poorly understood. Using a combination of biochemical, mutational, FACS, and single molecule super-resolution imaging approaches, we discovered that GRP78 majorly exists as a peripheral protein on plasma membrane via interaction with other cell surface proteins including glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins. Moreover, cell surface GRP78 expression requires its substrate binding activity but is independent of ATP binding or a membrane insertion motif conserved with HSP70. Unexpectedly, different cancer cell lines rely on different mechanisms for GRP78 cell surface translocation, implying that the process is cell context-dependent.

VOLUME 289 (2014) PAGES 33296–33310 PAGES 33306 and 33308: The immunostaining of SSdRe-S1 cells in Fig. 7D, which represents EGFR trafficking after EGF stimulation, was incorrect. Also, Figs. 7B and 9 did not conform with the JBC policy that figures assembled from separate images should indicate the borders between the images. These errors have been corrected in the revised figures. These revisions do not change the results or interpretation of this work. jbc;290/13/8065/FU1F1FU1 jbc;290/13/8065/FU2F2FU2

Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain tumors. We have previously found up-regulation of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in glioblastoma cells treated with the anticancer agent fenofibrate. Sequence analysis of GDF15 revealed the presence of a microRNA, miR-3189, in the single intron. We then asked whether miR-3189 was expressed in clinical samples and whether it was functional in glioblastoma cells. We found that expression of miR-3189-3p was down-regulated in astrocytoma and glioblastoma clinical samples compared with control brain tissue. In vitro, the functionality of miR-3189-3p was tested by RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation, and miR-3189-3p coimmunoprecipitated with Argonaute 2 together with two of its major predicted gene targets, the SF3B2 splicing factor and the guanine nucleotide exchange factor p63RhoGEF. Overexpression of miR-3189-3p resulted in a significant inhibition of cell proliferation and migration through direct targeting of SF3B2 and p63RhoGEF, respectively. Interestingly, miR-3189-3p levels were increased by treatment of glioblastoma cells with fenofibrate, a lipid-lowering drug with multiple anticancer activities. The attenuated expression of miR-3189-3p in clinical samples paralleled the elevated expression of SF3B2, which could contribute to the activation of SF3B2 growth-promoting pathways in these tumors. Finally, miR-3189-3p-mediated inhibition of tumor growth in vivo further supported the function of this microRNA as a tumor suppressor.

There is an intimate relationship between muscle and bone throughout life. However, how alterations in muscle functions in disease impact bone homeostasis is poorly understood. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle atrophy. In this study we analyzed the effects of ALS on bone using the well established G93A transgenic mouse model, which harbors an ALS-causing mutation in the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1. We found that 4-month-old G93A mice with severe muscle atrophy had dramatically reduced trabecular and cortical bone mass compared with their sex-matched wild type (WT) control littermates. Mechanically, we found that multiple osteoblast properties, such as the formation of osteoprogenitors, activation of Akt and Erk1/2 pathways, and osteoblast differentiation capacity, were severely impaired in primary cultures and bones from G93A relative to WT mice; this could contribute to reduced bone formation in the mutant mice. Conversely, osteoclast formation and bone resorption were strikingly enhanced in primary bone marrow cultures and bones of G93A mice compared with WT mice. Furthermore, sclerostin and RANKL expression in osteocytes embedded in the bone matrix were greatly up-regulated, and β-catenin was down-regulated in osteoblasts from G93A mice when compared with those of WT mice. Interestingly, calvarial bone that does not load and long bones from 2-month-old G93A mice without muscle atrophy displayed no detectable changes in parameters for osteoblast and osteoclast functions. Thus, for the first time to our knowledge, we have demonstrated that ALS causes abnormal bone remodeling and defined the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms.

The bacterial gene regulatory regions often demonstrate distinctly organized arrays of RNA polymerase binding sites of ill-defined function. Previously we observed a module of closely spaced polymerase binding sites upstream of the canonical promoter of the Escherichia coli fis operon. FIS is an abundant nucleoid-associated protein involved in adjusting the chromosomal DNA topology to changing cellular physiology. Here we show that simultaneous binding of the polymerase at the canonical fis promoter and an upstream transcriptionally inactive site stabilizes a RNAP oligomeric complex in vitro. We further show that modulation of the upstream binding of RNA polymerase affects the fis promoter activity both in vivo and in vitro. The effect of the upstream RNA polymerase binding on the fis promoter activity depends on the spatial arrangement of polymerase binding sites and DNA supercoiling. Our data suggest that a specific DNA geometry of the nucleoprotein complex stabilized on concomitant binding of RNA polymerase molecules at the fis promoter and the upstream region acts as a topological device regulating the fis transcription. We propose that transcriptionally inactive RNA polymerase molecules can act as accessory factors regulating the transcription initiation from a nearby promoter.

The receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met is overexpressed in renal cancer cells and can play major role in the growth and survival of tumor. We investigated how the c-Met-mediated signaling through binding to its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can modulate the apoptosis and immune escape mechanism(s) of renal cancer cells by the regulations of novel molecules heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1). We found that HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling activated the Ras/Raf pathway and down-regulated cancer cell apoptosis; and it was associated with the overexpression of cytoprotective HO-1 and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. c-Met-induced HO-1 overexpression was regulated at the transcriptional level. Next, we observed that c-Met induction markedly up-regulated the expression of the negative co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1, and this can be prevented following treatment of the cells with pharmacological inhibitors of c-Met. Interestingly, HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling could not induce PD-L1 at the optimum level when either Ras or HO-1 was knocked down. To study the functional significance of c-Met-induced PD-L1 expression, we performed a co-culture assay using mouse splenocytes (expressing PD-L1 receptor PD-1) and murine renal cancer cells (RENCA, expressing high PD-L1). We observed that the splenocyte-mediated apoptosis of cancer cells during co-culture was markedly increased in the presence of either c-Met inhibitor or PD-L1 neutralizing antibody. Finally, we found that both c-Met and PD-L1 are significantly up-regulated and co-localized in human renal cancer tissues. Together, our study suggests a novel mechanism(s) by which c-Met can promote increased survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1.

We developed an isotopic technique to assess mitochondrial acetyl-CoA turnover (≈citric acid flux) in perfused rat hearts. Hearts are perfused with buffer containing tracer [13C2,2H3]acetate, which forms M5 + M4 + M3 acetyl-CoA. The buffer may also contain one or two labeled substrates, which generate M2 acetyl-CoA (e.g. [13C6]glucose or [1,2-13C2]palmitate) or/and M1 acetyl-CoA (e.g. [1-13C]octanoate). The total acetyl-CoA turnover and the contributions of fuels to acetyl-CoA are calculated from the uptake of the acetate tracer and the mass isotopomer distribution of acetyl-CoA. The method was applied to measurements of acetyl-CoA turnover under different conditions (glucose ± palmitate ± insulin ± dichloroacetate). The data revealed (i) substrate cycling between glycogen and glucose-6-P and between glucose-6-P and triose phosphates, (ii) the release of small excess acetyl groups as acetylcarnitine and ketone bodies, and (iii) the channeling of mitochondrial acetyl-CoA from pyruvate dehydrogenase to carnitine acetyltransferase. Because of this channeling, the labeling of acetylcarnitine and ketone bodies released by the heart are not proxies of the labeling of mitochondrial acetyl-CoA.

Abnormal angiogenesis is associated with a broad range of medical conditions, including cancer. The formation of neovasculature with functionally defective blood vessels significantly impacts tumor progression, metastasis, and the efficacy of anticancer therapies. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) potently induces vascular permeability and vessel growth in the tumor microenvironment, and its inhibition normalizes tumor vasculature. In contrast, the signaling of the small GTPase R-Ras inhibits excessive angiogenic growth and promotes the maturation of regenerating blood vessels. R-Ras signaling counteracts VEGF-induced vessel sprouting, permeability, and invasive activities of endothelial cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of R-Ras on VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) activation by VEGF, the key mechanism for angiogenic stimulation. We show that tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGFR2 is significantly elevated in the tumor vasculature and dermal microvessels of VEGF-injected skin in R-Ras knockout mice. In cultured endothelial cells, R-Ras suppressed the internalization of VEGFR2, which is required for full activation of the receptor by VEGF. Consequently, R-Ras strongly suppressed autophosphorylation of the receptor at all five major tyrosine phosphorylation sites. Conversely, silencing of R-Ras resulted in increased VEGFR2 phosphorylation. This effect of R-Ras on VEGFR2 was, at least in part, dependent on vascular endothelial cadherin. These findings identify a novel function of R-Ras to control the response of endothelial cells to VEGF and suggest an underlying mechanism by which R-Ras regulates angiogenesis.

Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a highly conserved cellular recycling process involved in degradation of eukaryotic cellular components. During autophagy, macromolecules and organelles are sequestered into the double-membrane autophagosome and degraded in the vacuole/lysosome. Autophagy-related 8 (Atg8), a core Atg protein essential for autophagosome formation, is a marker of several autophagic structures: the pre-autophagosomal structure (PAS), isolation membrane (IM), and autophagosome. Atg8 is conjugated to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) through a ubiquitin-like conjugation system to yield Atg8-PE; this reaction is called Atg8 lipidation. Although the mechanisms of Atg8 lipidation have been well studied in vitro, the cellular locale of Atg8 lipidation remains enigmatic. Atg3 is an E2-like enzyme that catalyzes the conjugation reaction between Atg8 and PE. Therefore, we hypothesized that the localization of Atg3 would provide insights about the site of the lipidation reaction. To explore this idea, we constructed functional GFP-tagged Atg3 (Atg3-GFP) by inserting the GFP portion immediately after the handle region of Atg3. During autophagy, Atg3-GFP transiently formed a single dot per cell on the vacuolar membrane. This Atg3-GFP dot colocalized with 2× mCherry-tagged Atg8, demonstrating that Atg3 is localized to autophagic structures. Furthermore, we found that Atg3-GFP is localized to the IM by fine-localization analysis. The localization of Atg3 suggests that Atg3 plays an important role in autophagosome formation at the IM.

Teneurins are large type II transmembrane proteins that are necessary for the normal development of the CNS. Although many studies highlight the significance of teneurins, especially during development, there is only limited information known about the molecular mechanisms of function. Previous studies have shown that the N-terminal intracellular domain (ICD) of teneurins can be cleaved at the membrane and subsequently translocates to the nucleus, where it can influence gene transcription. Because teneurin ICDs do not contain any intrinsic DNA binding sequences, interaction partners are required to affect transcription. Here, we identified histidine triad nucleotide binding protein 1 (HINT1) as a human teneurin-1 ICD interaction partner in a yeast two-hybrid screen. This interaction was confirmed in human cells, where HINT1 is known to inhibit the transcription of target genes by directly binding to transcription factors at the promoter. In a whole transcriptome analysis of BS149 glioblastoma cells overexpressing the teneurin-1 ICD, several microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) target genes were found to be up-regulated. Directly comparing the transcriptomes of MITF versus TEN1-ICD-overexpressing BS149 cells revealed 42 co-regulated genes, including glycoprotein non-metastatic b (GPNMB). Using real-time quantitative PCR to detect endogenous GPNMB expression upon overexpression of MITF and HINT1 as well as promoter reporter assays using GPNMB promoter constructs, we could demonstrate that the teneurin-1 ICD binds HINT1, thus switching on MITF-dependent transcription of GPNMB.

Exosomes are secreted extracellular vesicles that mediate intercellular transfer of cellular contents and are attractive vehicles for therapeutic delivery of bimolecular cargo such as nucleic acids, proteins, and even drugs. Efficient exosome-mediated delivery in vivo requires targeting vesicles for uptake by specific recipient cells. Although exosomes have been successfully targeted to several cellular receptors by displaying peptides on the surface of the exosomes, identifying effective exosome-targeting peptides for other receptors has proven challenging. Furthermore, the biophysical rules governing targeting peptide success remain poorly understood. To evaluate one factor potentially limiting exosome delivery, we investigated whether peptides displayed on the exosome surface are degraded during exosome biogenesis, for example by endosomal proteases. Indeed, peptides fused to the N terminus of exosome-associated transmembrane protein Lamp2b were cleaved in samples derived from both cells and exosomes. To suppress peptide loss, we engineered targeting peptide-Lamp2b fusion proteins to include a glycosylation motif at various positions. Introduction of this glycosylation motif both protected the peptide from degradation and led to an increase in overall Lamp2b fusion protein expression in both cells and exosomes. Moreover, glycosylation-stabilized peptides enhanced targeted delivery of exosomes to neuroblastoma cells, demonstrating that such glycosylation does not ablate peptide-target interactions. Thus, we have identified a strategy for achieving robust display of targeting peptides on the surface of exosomes, which should facilitate the evaluation and development of new exosome-based therapeutics.

Expression and activity of the System A/SNAT2 (SLC38A2) amino acid transporter is up-regulated by amino acid starvation and hypertonicity by a mechanism dependent on both ATF4-mediated transcription of the SLC38A2 gene and enhanced stabilization of SNAT2 itself, which forms part of an integrated cellular stress response to nutrient deprivation and osmotic stress. Here we demonstrate that this adaptive increase in System A function is restrained in cells subjected to prior incubation with linoleic acid (LOA, an unsaturated C18:2 fatty acid) for 24 h. While fatty acid treatment had no detectable effect upon stress-induced SNAT2 or ATF4 gene transcription, the associated increase in SNAT2 protein/membrane transport activity were strongly suppressed in L6 myotubes or HeLa cells preincubated with LOA. Cellular ubiquitination of many proteins was increased by LOA and although the fatty acid-induced loss of SNAT2 could be attenuated by proteasomal inhibition, the functional increase in System A transport activity associated with amino acid starvation/hypertonicity that depends upon processing/maturation and delivery of SNAT2 to the cell surface could not be rescued. LOA up-regulated cellular expression of Nedd4.2, an E3-ligase implicated in SNAT2 ubiquitination, but shRNA-directed Nedd4.2 gene silencing could not curb fatty acid-induced loss of SNAT2 adaptation. However, expression of SNAT2 in which seven putative lysyl-ubiquitination sites in the cytoplasmic N-terminal domain were mutated to alanine protected SNAT2 against LOA-induced proteasomal degradation. Collectively, our findings indicate that increased availability of unsaturated fatty acids can compromise the stress-induced induction/adaptation in SNAT2 expression and function by promoting its degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system.

Although the gluconeogenesis pathway is already a target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the potential role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in gluconeogenesis remains unclear. Here, we investigated the physiological functions of miR-214 in gluconeogenesis. The expression of miR-214 was suppressed by glucagon via protein kinase A signaling in primary hepatocytes, and miR-214 was down-regulated in the livers of fasted, high fat diet-induced diabetic and leptin receptor-mutated (db/db) mice. The overexpression of miR-214 in primary hepatocytes suppressed glucose production, and silencing miR-214 reversed this effect. Gluconeogenesis was suppressed in the livers of mice injected with an adenovirus expressing miR-214 (Ad-miR-214). Additionally, Ad-miR-214 alleviated high fat diet-induced elevation of gluconeogenesis and hyperglycemia. Furthermore, we found that activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), a reported target of miR-214, can reverse the suppressive effect of miR-214 on gluconeogenesis in primary hepatocytes, and this suppressive effect was blocked in liver-specific ATF4 knock-out mice. ATF4 regulated gluconeogenesis via affecting forkhead box protein O1 (FOXO1) transcriptional activity. Finally, liver-specific miR-214 transgenic mice exhibited suppressed gluconeogenesis and reduced expression of ATF4, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, and glucose-6-phosphatase in liver. Taken together, our results suggest that the miR-214-ATF4 axis is a novel pathway for the regulation of hepatic gluconeogenesis.

In this study, we tested the hypothesis that phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) is a plausible mediator of phospholipid (PL) transfer to the N-terminal 1000 residues of apoB (apoB:1000) leading to the initiation of apoB-containing lipoprotein assembly. To this end, primary hepatocytes from wild type (WT) and PLTP knock-out (KO) mice were transduced with adenovirus-apoB:1000 with or without co-transduction with adenovirus-PLTP, and the assembly and secretion of apoB:1000-containing lipoproteins were assessed. PLTP deficiency resulted in a 65 and 72% reduction in the protein and lipid content, respectively, of secreted apoB:1000-containing lipoproteins. Particles secreted by WT hepatocytes contained 69% PL, 9% diacylglycerol (DAG), and 23% triacylglycerol (TAG) with a stoichiometry of 46 PL, 6 DAG, and 15 TAG molecules per apoB:1000. PLTP absence drastically altered the lipid composition of apoB:1000 lipoproteins; these particles contained 46% PL, 13% DAG, and 41% TAG with a stoichiometry of 27 PL, 10 DAG, and 23 TAG molecules per apoB:1000. Reintroduction of Pltp gene into PLTP-KO hepatocytes stimulated the lipidation and secretion of apoB:1000-containing lipoproteins by ∼3-fold; the lipid composition and stoichiometry of these particles were identical to those secreted by WT hepatocytes. In contrast to the WT, apoB:1000 in PLTP-KO hepatocytes was susceptible to intracellular degradation predominantly in the post-endoplasmic reticulum, presecretory compartment. Reintroduction of Pltp gene into PLTP-KO hepatocytes restored the stability of apoB:1000. These results provide compelling evidence that in hepatocytes initial recruitment of PL by apoB:1000 leading to the formation of the PL-rich apoB-containing initiation complex is mediated to a large extent by PLTP.

Mitochondrial carriers, including uncoupling proteins, are unstable in detergents, which hampers structural and mechanistic studies. To investigate carrier stability, we have purified ligand-free carriers and assessed their stability with a fluorescence-based thermostability assay that monitors protein unfolding with a thiol-reactive dye. We find that mitochondrial carriers from both mesophilic and thermophilic organisms exhibit poor stability in mild detergents, indicating that instability is inherent to the protein family. Trends in the thermostability of yeast ADP/ATP carrier AAC2 and ovine uncoupling protein UCP1 allow optimal conditions for stability in detergents to be established but also provide mechanistic insights into the interactions of lipids, substrates, and inhibitors with these proteins. Both proteins exhibit similar stability profiles across various detergents, where stability increases with the size of the associated detergent micelle. Detailed analysis shows that lipids stabilize carriers indirectly by increasing the associated detergent micelle size, but cardiolipin stabilizes by direct interactions as well. Cardiolipin reverses destabilizing effects of ADP and bongkrekic acid on AAC2 and enhances large stabilizing effects of carboxyatractyloside, revealing that this lipid interacts in the m-state and possibly other states of the transport cycle, despite being in a dynamic interface. Fatty acid activators destabilize UCP1 in a similar way, which can also be prevented by cardiolipin, indicating that they interact like transport substrates. Our controls show that carriers can be soluble but unfolded in some commonly used detergents, such as the zwitterionic Fos-choline-12, which emphasizes the need for simple validation assays like the one used here.

Transcription factors (TFs) containing the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) domain are widely distributed in eukaryotes and display an array of distinct functions. In this study, a bZIP-type TF gene (MBZ1) was deleted and functionally characterized in the insect pathogenic fungus Metarhizium robertsii. The deletion mutant (ΔMBZ1) showed defects in cell wall integrity, adhesion to hydrophobic surfaces, and topical infection of insects. Relative to the WT, ΔMBZ1 was also impaired in growth and conidiogenesis. Examination of putative target gene expression indicated that the genes involved in chitin biosynthesis were differentially transcribed in ΔMBZ1 compared with the WT, which led to the accumulation of a higher level of chitin in mutant cell walls. MBZ1 exhibited negative regulation of subtilisin proteases, but positive control of an adhesin gene, which is consistent with the observation of effects on cell autolysis and a reduction in spore adherence to hydrophobic surfaces in ΔMBZ1. Promoter binding assays indicated that MBZ1 can bind to different target genes and suggested the possibility of heterodimer formation to increase the diversity of the MBZ1 regulatory network. The results of this study advance our understanding of the divergence of bZIP-type TFs at both intra- and interspecific levels.

Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a potent chemoattractant, induces cell migration via the MAPK and PI3K/Akt pathways. However, the downstream mediators are still elusive. In particular, the role of extracellular mediators is largely unknown. In this study, we identified the matricellular protein Cyr61, which is de novo synthesized in response to PDGF stimulation, as the key downstream mediator of the ERK and JNK pathways, independent of the p38 MAPK and AKT pathways, and, thereby, it mediates PDGF-induced smooth muscle cell migration but not proliferation. Our results revealed that, when Cyr61 was newly synthesized by PDGF, it was promptly translocated to the extracellular matrix and physically interacted with the plasma membrane integrins α6β1 and αvβ3. We further demonstrate that Cyr61 and integrins are integral components of the PDGF signaling pathway via an “outside-in” signaling route to activate intracellular focal adhesion kinase (FAK), leading to cell migration. Therefore, this study provides the first evidence that the PDGF-induced endogenous extracellular matrix component Cyr61 is a key mediator in modulating cell migration by connecting intracellular PDGF-ERK and JNK signals with integrin/FAK signaling. Therefore, extracellular Cyr61 convergence with growth factor signaling and integrin/FAK signaling is a new concept of growth factor-induced cell migration. The discovered signaling pathway may represent an important therapeutic target in growth factor-mediated cell migration/invasion-related vascular diseases and tumorigenesis.

To determine the differences between brown adipocytes from interscapular brown tissue (iBAT) and those induced in white adipose tissue (WAT) with respect to their thermogenic capacity, we examined two essential characteristics: the dynamics of mitochondrial turnover during reversible transitions from 29 °C to 4 °C and the quantitative relationship between UCP1 and selected subunits of mitochondrial respiratory complex in the fully recruited state. To follow the kinetics of induction and involution of mitochondria, we determined the expression pattern of UCP1 and other mitochondrial proteins as well as analyzed mtDNA content after cold stimulation and reacclimation to thermoneutrality. We showed that UCP1 turnover is very different in iBAT and inguinal WAT (ingWAT); the former showed minimal changes in protein content, whereas the latter showed major changes. Similarly, in iBAT both mtDNA content and the expression of mitochondrial proteins were stable and expressed at similar levels during reversible transitions from 29 °C to 4 °C, whereas ingWAT revealed dynamic changes. Further analysis showed that in iBAT, the expression patterns for UCP1 and other mitochondrial proteins resembled each other, whereas in ingWAT, UCP1 varied ∼100-fold during the transition from cold to warmth, and no other mitochondrial proteins matched UCP1. In turn, quantitative analysis of thermogenic capacity determined by estimating the proportion of UCP1 to respiratory complex components showed no significant differences between brown and brite adipocytes, suggesting similar thermogenic potentiality. Our results indicate that dynamics of brown adipocytes turnover during reversible transition from warm to cold may determine the thermogenic capacity of an individual in a changing temperature environment.

Signaling at nerve cell synapses is a key determinant of proper brain function, and synaptic defects—or synaptopathies—are at the basis of many neurological and psychiatric disorders. In key areas of the mammalian brain, such as the hippocampus or the basolateral amygdala, the clustering of the scaffolding protein Gephyrin and of γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors at inhibitory neuronal synapses is critically dependent upon the brain-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor Collybistin (Cb). Accordingly, it was discovered recently that an R290H missense mutation in the diffuse B-cell lymphoma homology domain of Cb, which carries the guanine nucleotide exchange factor activity, leads to epilepsy and intellectual disability in human patients. In the present study, we determined the mechanism by which the CbR290H mutation perturbs inhibitory synapse formation and causes brain dysfunction. Based on a combination of biochemical, cell biological, and molecular dynamics simulation approaches, we demonstrate that the R290H mutation alters the strength of intramolecular interactions between the diffuse B-cell lymphoma homology domain and the pleckstrin homology domain of Cb. This defect reduces the phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate binding affinity of Cb, which limits its normal synaptogenic activity. Our data indicate that impairment of the membrane lipid binding activity of Cb and a consequent defect in inhibitory synapse maturation represent a likely molecular pathomechanism of epilepsy and mental retardation in humans.

Prostate cancer remains the second highest contributor to male cancer-related lethality. The transition of a subset of tumors from indolent to invasive disease is associated with a poor clinical outcome. Activation of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) genetic program is a major risk factor for cancer progression. We recently reported that secreted extracellular Hsp90 (eHsp90) initiates EMT in prostate cancer cells, coincident with its enhanced expression in mesenchymal models. Our current work substantially extended these findings in defining a pathway linking eHsp90 signaling to EZH2 function, a methyltransferase of the Polycomb repressor complex. EZH2 is also implicated in EMT activation, and its up-regulation represents one of the most frequent epigenetic alterations during prostate cancer progression. We have now highlighted a novel epigenetic function for eHsp90 via its modulation of EZH2 expression and activity. Mechanistically, eHsp90 initiated sustained activation of MEK/ERK, a signal critical for facilitating EZH2 transcriptional up-regulation and recruitment to the E-cadherin promoter. We further demonstrated that an eHsp90-EZH2 pathway orchestrates an expanded repertoire of EMT-related events including Snail and Twist expression, tumor cell motility, and anoikis resistance. To evaluate the role of eHsp90 in vivo, eHsp90 secretion was stably enforced in a prostate cancer cell line resembling indolent disease. Remarkably, eHsp90 was sufficient to induce tumor growth, suppress E-cadherin, and initiate localized invasion, events that are exquisitely dependent upon EZH2 function. In summary, our findings illuminate a hitherto unknown epigenetic function for eHsp90 and support a model wherein tumor eHsp90 functions as a rheostat for EZH2 expression and activity to orchestrate mesenchymal properties and coincident aggressive behavior.

Cationic membrane-proximal amino acids determine the topology of membrane proteins by interacting with anionic lipids that are restricted to the intracellular membrane leaflet. This mechanism implies that anionic lipids interfere with electrostatic interactions of membrane proteins. The integrin αIIbβ3 transmembrane (TM) complex is stabilized by a membrane-proximal αIIb(Arg995)-β3(Asp723) interaction; here, we examine the influence of anionic lipids on this complex. Anionic lipids compete for αIIb(Arg995) contacts with β3(Asp723) but paradoxically do not diminish the contribution of αIIb(Arg995)-β3(Asp723) to TM complex stability. Overall, anionic lipids in annular positions stabilize the αIIbβ3 TM complex by up to 0.50 ± 0.02 kcal/mol relative to zwitterionic lipids in a headgroup structure-dependent manner. Comparatively, integrin receptor activation requires TM complex destabilization of 1.5 ± 0.2 kcal/mol, revealing a sizeable influence of lipid composition on TM complex stability. We implicate changes in lipid headgroup accessibility to small molecules (physical membrane characteristics) and specific but dynamic protein-lipid contacts in this TM helix-helix stabilization. Thus, anionic lipids in ubiquitous annular positions can benefit the stability of membrane proteins while leaving membrane-proximal electrostatic interactions intact.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis genes Rv0844c/Rv0845 encoding the NarL response regulator and NarS histidine kinase are hypothesized to constitute a two-component system involved in the regulation of nitrate metabolism. However, there is no experimental evidence to support this. In this study, we established M. tuberculosis NarL/NarS as a functional two-component system and identified His241 and Asp61 as conserved phosphorylation sites in NarS and NarL, respectively. Transcriptional profiling between M. tuberculosis H37Rv and a ΔnarL mutant strain during exponential growth in broth cultures with or without nitrate defined an ∼30-gene NarL regulon that exhibited significant overlap with DevR-regulated genes, thereby implicating a role for the DevR response regulator in the regulation of nitrate metabolism. Notably, expression analysis of a subset of genes common to NarL and DevR regulons in M. tuberculosis ΔdevR, ΔdevSΔdosT, and ΔnarL mutant strains revealed that in response to nitrite produced during aerobic nitrate metabolism, the DevRS/DosT regulatory system plays a primary role that is augmented by NarL. Specifically, NarL itself was unable to bind to the narK2, acg, and Rv3130c promoters in phosphorylated or unphosphorylated form; however, its interaction with DevR∼P resulted in cooperative binding, thereby enabling co-regulation of these genes. These findings support the role of physiologically derived nitrite as a metabolic signal in mycobacteria. We propose NarL-DevR binding, possibly as a heterodimer, as a novel mechanism for co-regulation of gene expression by the DevRS/DosT and NarL/NarS regulatory systems.

A cardioprotectant at low concentrations, H2S is a toxin at high concentrations and inhibits cytochrome c oxidase. A conundrum in H2S homeostasis is its fate in red blood cells (RBCs), which produce H2S but lack the canonical mitochondrial sulfide oxidation pathway for its clearance. The sheer abundance of RBCs in circulation enhances the metabolic significance of their clearance strategy for H2S, necessary to avoid systemic toxicity. In this study, we demonstrate that H2S generation by RBCs is catalyzed by mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase. Furthermore, we have discovered the locus of sulfide oxidation in RBCs and describe a new role for an old protein, hemoglobin, which in the ferric or methemoglobin state binds H2S and oxidizes it to a mixture of thiosulfate and hydropolysulfides. Our study reveals a previously undescribed route for the biogenesis of hydropolysulfides, which are increasingly considered important for H2S-based signaling, but their origin in mammalian cells is unknown. An NADPH/flavoprotein oxidoreductase system restores polysulfide-carrying hemoglobin derivatives to ferrous hemoglobin, thus completing the methemoglobin-dependent sulfide oxidation cycle. Methemoglobin-dependent sulfide oxidation in mammals is complex and has similarities to chemistry reported for the dissolution of iron oxides in sulfidic waters and during bioleaching of metal sulfides. The catalytic oxidation of H2S by hemoglobin explains how RBCs maintain low steady-state H2S levels in circulation, and suggests that additional hemeproteins might be involved in sulfide homeostasis in other tissues.

The Ssl1/p44 subunit is a core component of the yeast/mammalian general transcription factor TFIIH, which is involved in transcription and DNA repair. Ssl1/p44 binds to and stimulates the Rad3/XPD helicase activity of TFIIH. To understand the helicase stimulatory mechanism of Ssl1/p44, we determined the crystal structure of the N-terminal regulatory domain of Ssl1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ssl1 forms a von Willebrand factor A fold in which a central six-stranded β-sheet is sandwiched between three α helices on both sides. Structural and biochemical analyses of Ssl1/p44 revealed that the β4-α5 loop, which is frequently found at the interface between von Willebrand factor A family proteins and cellular counterparts, is critical for the stimulation of Rad3/XPD. Yeast genetics analyses showed that double mutation of Leu-239 and Ser-240 in the β4-α5 loop of Ssl1 leads to lethality of a yeast strain, demonstrating the importance of the Rad3-Ssl1 interactions to cell viability. Here, we provide a structural model for the Rad3/XPD-Ssl1/p44 complex and insights into how the binding of Ssl1/p44 contributes to the helicase activity of Rad3/XPD and cell viability.

The CCR4-NOT complex, the major deadenylase in eukaryotes, plays crucial roles in gene expression at the levels of transcription, mRNA decay, and protein degradation. GW182/TNRC6 proteins, which are core components of the microRNA-induced silencing complex in animals, stimulate deadenylation and repress translation via recruitment of the CCR4-NOT complex. Here we report a heterologous experimental system that recapitulates the recruitment of CCR4-NOT complex by TNRC6 in S. cerevisiae. Using this system, we characterize conserved functions of the CCR4-NOT complex. The complex stimulates degradation of mRNA from the 5′ end by Xrn1, in a manner independent of both translation and deadenylation. This degradation pathway is probably conserved in miRNA-mediated gene silencing in zebrafish. Furthermore, the mRNA fate modulators Dhh1 and Pat1 redundantly stimulate mRNA decay, but both factors are required for poly(A) tail-independent translation repression by tethered TNRC6A. Our tethering-based reconstitution system reveals that the conserved architecture of Not1/CNOT1 provides a binding surface for TNRC6, thereby connecting microRNA-induced silencing complex to the decapping machinery as well as the translation apparatus.

Cancer cells that escape induction therapy are a major cause of relapse. Understanding metabolic alterations associated with drug resistance opens up unexplored opportunities for the development of new therapeutic strategies. Here, we applied a broad spectrum of technologies including RNA sequencing, global untargeted metabolomics, and stable isotope labeling mass spectrometry to identify metabolic changes in P-glycoprotein overexpressing T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells, which escaped a therapeutically relevant daunorubicin treatment. We show that compared with sensitive ALL cells, resistant leukemia cells possess a fundamentally rewired central metabolism characterized by reduced dependence on glutamine despite a lack of expression of glutamate-ammonia ligase (GLUL), a higher demand for glucose and an altered rate of fatty acid β-oxidation, accompanied by a decreased pantothenic acid uptake capacity. We experimentally validate our findings by selectively targeting components of this metabolic switch, using approved drugs and starvation approaches followed by cell viability analyses in both the ALL cells and in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) sensitive/resistant cell line pair. We demonstrate how comparative metabolomics and RNA expression profiling of drug-sensitive and -resistant cells expose targetable metabolic changes and potential resistance markers. Our results show that drug resistance is associated with significant metabolic costs in cancer cells, which could be exploited using new therapeutic strategies.

Integrins are heterodimeric α/β extracellular matrix adhesion receptors that couple physically to the actin cytoskeleton and regulate kinase signaling pathways to control cytoskeletal remodeling and adhesion complex formation and disassembly. β1 integrins signal through the Abl2/Arg (Abl-related gene) nonreceptor tyrosine kinase to control fibroblast cell motility, neuronal dendrite morphogenesis and stability, and cancer cell invasiveness, but the molecular mechanisms by which integrin β1 activates Arg are unknown. We report here that the Arg kinase domain interacts directly with a lysine-rich membrane-proximal segment in the integrin β1 cytoplasmic tail, that Arg phosphorylates the membrane-proximal Tyr-783 in the β1 tail, and that the Arg Src homology domain then engages this phosphorylated region in the tail. We show that these interactions mediate direct binding between integrin β1 and Arg in vitro and in cells and activate Arg kinase activity. These findings provide a model for understanding how β1-containing integrins interact with and activate Abl family kinases.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is the only current anabolic treatment for osteoporosis in the United States. PTH stimulates expression of matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13) in bone. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), an NAD-dependent deacetylase, participates in a variety of human diseases. Here we identify a role for SIRT1 in the action of PTH in osteoblasts. We observed increased Mmp13 mRNA expression and protein levels in bone from Sirt1 knock-out mice compared with wild type mice. PTH-induced Mmp13 expression was significantly blocked by the SIRT1 activator, resveratrol, in osteoblastic UMR 106-01 cells. In contrast, the SIRT1 inhibitor, EX527, significantly enhanced PTH-induced Mmp13 expression. Two h of PTH treatment augmented SIRT1 association with c-Jun, a component of the transcription factor complex, activator protein 1 (AP-1), and promoted SIRT1 association with the AP-1 site of the Mmp13 promoter. This binding was further increased by resveratrol, implicating SIRT1 as a feedback inhibitor regulating Mmp13 transcription. The AP-1 site of the Mmp13 promoter is required for PTH stimulation of Mmp13 transcriptional activity. When the AP-1 site was mutated, EX527 was unable to increase PTH-stimulated Mmp13 promoter activity, indicating a role for the AP-1 site in SIRT1 inhibition. We further showed that SIRT1 deacetylates c-Jun and that the cAMP pathway participates in this deacetylation process. These data indicate that SIRT1 is a negative regulator of MMP13 expression, SIRT1 activation inhibits PTH stimulation of Mmp13 expression, and this regulation is mediated by SIRT1 association with c-Jun at the AP-1 site of the Mmp13 promoter.

Bacterial pathogens often interfere with host tyrosine phosphorylation cascades to control host responses and cause infection. Given the role of tyrosine phosphorylation events in different human infections and our previous results showing the activation of the tyrosine kinase Src upon incubation of cells with Listeria monocytogenes, we searched for novel host proteins undergoing tyrosine phosphorylation upon L. monocytogenes infection. We identify the heavy chain of the non-muscle myosin IIA (NMHC-IIA) as being phosphorylated in a specific tyrosine residue in response to L. monocytogenes infection. We characterize this novel post-translational modification event and show that, upon L. monocytogenes infection, Src phosphorylates NMHC-IIA in a previously uncharacterized tyrosine residue (Tyr-158) located in its motor domain near the ATP-binding site. In addition, we found that other intracellular and extracellular bacterial pathogens trigger NMHC-IIA tyrosine phosphorylation. We demonstrate that NMHC-IIA limits intracellular levels of L. monocytogenes, and this is dependent on the phosphorylation of Tyr-158. Our data suggest a novel mechanism of regulation of NMHC-IIA activity relying on the phosphorylation of Tyr-158 by Src.

The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is responsible for membrane remodeling in a number of biological processes including multivesicular body biogenesis, cytokinesis, and enveloped virus budding. In mammalian cells, efficient abscission during cytokinesis requires proper function of the ESCRT-III protein IST1, which binds to the microtubule interacting and trafficking (MIT) domains of VPS4, LIP5, and Spartin via its C-terminal MIT-interacting motif (MIM). Here, we studied the molecular interactions between IST1 and the three MIT domain-containing proteins to understand the structural basis that governs pairwise MIT-MIM interaction. Crystal structures of the three molecular complexes revealed that IST1 binds to the MIT domains of VPS4, LIP5, and Spartin using two different mechanisms (MIM1 mode versus MIM3 mode). Structural comparison revealed that structural features in both MIT and MIM contribute to determine the specific binding mechanism. Within the IST1 MIM sequence, two phenylalanine residues were shown to be important in discriminating MIM1 versus MIM3 binding. These observations enabled us to deduce a preliminary binding code, which we applied to provide CHMP2A, a protein that normally only binds the MIT domain in the MIM1 mode, the additional ability to bind the MIT domain of Spartin in the MIM3 mode.

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains are important causes of intestinal disease in humans and lead to severe production losses in animal farming. A range of fimbrial adhesins in ETEC strains determines host and tissue tropism. ETEC strains expressing F4 fimbriae are associated with neonatal and post-weaning diarrhea in piglets. Three naturally occurring variants of F4 fimbriae (F4ab, F4ac, and F4ad) exist that differ in the primary sequence of their major adhesive subunit FaeG, and each features a related yet distinct receptor binding profile. Here the x-ray structure of FaeGad bound to lactose provides the first structural insight into the receptor specificity and mode of binding by the poly-adhesive F4 fimbriae. A small D′-D″-α1-α2 subdomain grafted on the immunoglobulin-like core of FaeG hosts the carbohydrate binding site. Two short amino acid stretches Phe150–Glu152 and Val166–Glu170 of FaeGad bind the terminal galactose in the lactosyl unit and provide affinity and specificity to the interaction. A hemagglutination-based assay with E. coli expressing mutant F4ad fimbriae confirmed the elucidated co-complex structure. Interestingly, the crucial D′-α1 loop that borders the FaeGad binding site adopts a different conformation in the two other FaeG variants and hints at a heterogeneous binding pocket among the FaeG serotypes.

The human IgG1 antibody subclass shows distinct properties compared with the IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4 subclasses and is the most exploited subclass in therapeutic antibodies. It is the most abundant subclass, has a half-life as long as that of IgG2 and IgG4, binds the FcγR receptor, and activates complement. There is limited structural information on full-length human IgG1 because of the challenges of crystallization. To rectify this, we have studied the solution structures of two human IgG1 6a and 19a monoclonal antibodies in different buffers at different temperatures. Analytical ultracentrifugation showed that both antibodies were predominantly monomeric, with sedimentation coefficients s20,w0 of 6.3–6.4 S. Only a minor dimer peak was observed, and the amount was not dependent on buffer conditions. Solution scattering showed that the x-ray radius of gyration Rg increased with salt concentration, whereas the neutron Rg values remained unchanged with temperature. The x-ray and neutron distance distribution curves P(r) revealed two peaks, M1 and M2, whose positions were unchanged in different buffers to indicate conformational stability. Constrained atomistic scattering modeling revealed predominantly asymmetric solution structures for both antibodies with extended hinge structures. Both structures were similar to the only known crystal structure of full-length human IgG1. The Fab conformations in both structures were suitably positioned to permit the Fc region to bind readily to its FcγR and C1q ligands without steric clashes, unlike human IgG4. Our molecular models for human IgG1 explain its immune activities, and we discuss its stability and function for therapeutic applications.

Idelalisib (also known as GS-1101, CAL-101, IC489666, and Zydelig) is a PI3Kδ inhibitor that has recently been approved for the treatment of several hematological malignancies. Given its use in human diseases, we needed a clear picture of how idelalisib binds to and inhibits PI3Kδ. Our data show that idelalisib is a potent and selective inhibitor of the kinase activity of PI3Kδ. A kinetic characterization clearly demonstrated ATP-competitive inhibition, and several additional biochemical and biophysical assays showed that the compound binds reversibly and noncovalently to the kinase. A crystal structure of idelalisib bound to the p110δ subunit of PI3Kδ furthers our understanding of the binding interactions that confer the potency and selectivity of idelalisib.

Mortalin/mtHsp70/Grp75 (mot-2), a heat shock protein 70 family member, is an essential chaperone, enriched in cancers, and has been shown to possess pro-proliferative and anti-apoptosis functions. An allelic form of mouse mortalin (mot-1) that differs by two amino acids, M618V and G624R, in the C terminus substrate-binding domain has been reported. Furthermore, genome sequencing of mortalin from Parkinson disease patients identified two missense mutants, R126W and P509S. In the present study, we investigated the significance of these mutations in survival, proliferation, and oxidative stress tolerance in human cells. Using mot-1 and mot-2 recombinant proteins and specific antibodies, we performed screening to find their binding proteins and then identified ribosomal protein L-7 (RPL-7) and elongation factor-1 α (EF-1α), which differentially bind to mot-1 and mot-2, respectively. We demonstrate that mot-1, R126W, or P509S mutant (i) lacks mot-2 functions involved in carcinogenesis, such as p53 inactivation and hTERT/hnRNP-K (heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K) activation; (ii) causes increased level of endogenous oxidative stress; (iii) results in decreased tolerance of cells to exogenous oxidative stress; and (iv) shows differential binding and impact on the RPL-7 and EF-1α proteins. These factors may mediate the transformation of longevity/pro-proliferative function of mot-2 to the premature aging/anti-proliferative effect of mutants, and hence may have significance in cellular aging, Parkinson disease pathology, and prognosis.

PAR3 suppresses tumor growth and metastasis in vivo and cell invasion through matrix in vitro. We propose that PAR3 organizes and limits multiple signaling pathways and that inappropriate activation of these pathways occurs without PAR3. Silencing Pard3 in conjunction with oncogenic activation promotes invasion and metastasis via constitutive STAT3 activity in mouse models, but the mechanism for this is unknown. We now show that loss of PAR3 triggers increased production of interleukin-6, which induces STAT3 signaling in an autocrine manner. Activation of atypical protein kinase C ι/λ (aPKCι/λ) mediates this effect by stimulating NF-κB signaling and IL-6 expression. Our results suggest that PAR3 restrains aPKCι/λ activity and thus prevents aPKCι/λ from activating an oncogenic signaling network.

The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) triggers calcium signaling pathway to regulate 20E response gene expression, but the mechanism underlying this process remains unclear. We propose that the 20E-induced phosphorylation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) serves an important function in 20E response gene transcription in the lepidopteran insect Helicoverpa armigera. CaMKII showed increased expression and phosphorylation during metamorphosis. 20E elevated CaMKII phosphorylation. However, the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and ryanodine receptor inhibitor suramin, the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122, and the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor inhibitor xestospongin C suppressed 20E-induced CaMKII phosphorylation. Two ecdysone-responsible GPCRs and Gαq protein were involved in 20E-induced CaMKII phosphorylation by RNA interference analysis. 20E regulated CaMKII threonine phosphorylation at amino acid 290, thereby inducing CaMKII nuclear translocation. CaMKII knockdown by dsCaMKII injection into the larvae prevented the occurrence of larval-pupal transition and suppressed 20E response gene expression. CaMKII phosphorylation and nuclear translocation maintained USP1 lysine acetylation at amino acid 303 by inducing histone deacetylase 3 phosphorylation and nuclear export. The lysine acetylation of USP1 was necessary for the interaction of USP1 with EcRB1 and their binding to the ecdysone response element. Results suggest that 20E (via GPCR activation and calcium signaling) activates CaMKII phosphorylation and nuclear translocation, which regulate USP1 lysine acetylation to form an EcRB1-USP1 complex for 20E response gene transcription.

The maintenance of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis is a critical aspect of determining cell fate and requires a properly functioning unfolded protein response (UPR). We have discovered a previously unknown role of a post-translational modification termed adenylylation/AMPylation in regulating signal transduction events during UPR induction. A family of enzymes, defined by the presence of a Fic (filamentation induced by cAMP) domain, catalyzes this adenylylation reaction. The human genome encodes a single Fic protein, called HYPE (Huntingtin yeast interacting protein E), with adenylyltransferase activity but unknown physiological target(s). Here, we demonstrate that HYPE localizes to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum via its hydrophobic N terminus and adenylylates the ER molecular chaperone, BiP, at Ser-365 and Thr-366. BiP functions as a sentinel for protein misfolding and maintains ER homeostasis. We found that adenylylation enhances BiP's ATPase activity, which is required for refolding misfolded proteins while coping with ER stress. Accordingly, HYPE expression levels increase upon stress. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown of HYPE prevents the induction of an unfolded protein response. Thus, we identify HYPE as a new UPR regulator and provide the first functional data for Fic-mediated adenylylation in mammalian signaling.

Infectious bursal disease (IBD) is an acute, highly contagious, and immunosuppressive avian disease caused by IBD virus (IBDV). Our previous report indicates that IBDV VP5 induces apoptosis via interaction with voltage-dependent anion channel 2 (VDAC2). However, the underlying molecular mechanism is still unclear. We report here that receptor of activated protein kinase C 1 (RACK1) interacts with both VDAC2 and VP5 and that they could form a complex. We found that overexpression of RACK1 inhibited IBDV-induced apoptosis in DF-1 cells and that knockdown of RACK1 by small interfering RNA induced apoptosis associated with activation of caspases 9 and 3 and suppressed IBDV growth. These results indicate that RACK1 plays an antiapoptotic role during IBDV infection via interaction with VDAC2 and VP5, suggesting that VP5 sequesters RACK1 and VDAC2 in the apoptosis-inducing process.

Terpenes are an important and diverse class of secondary metabolites widely produced by fungi. Volatile compound screening of a fungal endophyte collection revealed a number of isolates in the family Xylariaceae, producing a series of terpene molecules, including 1,8-cineole. This compound is a commercially important component of eucalyptus oil used in pharmaceutical applications and has been explored as a potential biofuel additive. The genes that produce terpene molecules, such as 1,8-cineole, have been little explored in fungi, providing an opportunity to explore the biosynthetic origin of these compounds. Through genome sequencing of cineole-producing isolate E7406B, we were able to identify 11 new terpene synthase genes. Expressing a subset of these genes in Escherichia coli allowed identification of the hyp3 gene, responsible for 1,8-cineole biosynthesis, the first monoterpene synthase discovered in fungi. In a striking example of convergent evolution, mutational analysis of this terpene synthase revealed an active site asparagine critical for water capture and specificity during cineole synthesis, the same mechanism used in an unrelated plant homologue. These studies have provided insight into the evolutionary relationship of fungal terpene synthases to those in plants and bacteria and further established fungi as a relatively untapped source of this important and diverse class of compounds.

Protein phosphorylation mediates essentially all aspects of cellular life. In humans, this is achieved by ∼500 kinases, each recognizing a specific consensus motif (CM) in the substrates. The majority of CMs are surface-exposed and are thought to be accessible to kinases for phosphorylation. Here we investigated the archetypical protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of filamin, a major cytoskeletal protein that can adopt an autoinhibited conformation. Surprisingly, autoinhibited filamin is refractory to phosphorylation by PKA on a known Ser2152 site despite its CM being exposed and the corresponding isolated peptide being readily phosphorylated. Structural analysis revealed that although the CM fits into the PKA active site its surrounding regions sterically clash with the kinase. However, upon ligand binding, filamin undergoes a conformational adjustment, allowing rapid phosphorylation on Ser2152. These data uncover a novel ligand-induced conformational switch to trigger filamin phosphorylation. They further suggest a substrate shape-dependent filtering mechanism that channels specific exposed CM/kinase recognition in diverse signaling responses.

Ets-2, like its closely related homologue Ets-1, is a member of the Ets family of DNA binding transcription factors. Both proteins are subject to multiple levels of regulation of their DNA binding and transactivation properties. One such regulatory mechanism is the presence of an autoinhibitory module, which in Ets-1 allosterically inhibits the DNA binding activity. This inhibition can be relieved by interaction with protein partners or cooperative binding to closely separated Ets binding sites in a palindromic arrangement. In this study we describe the 2.5 Å resolution crystal structure of a DNA complex of the Ets-2 Ets domain. The Ets domain crystallized with two distinct species in the asymmetric unit, which closely resemble the autoinhibited and DNA bound forms of Ets-1. This discovery prompted us to re-evaluate the current model for the autoinhibitory mechanism and the structural basis for cooperative DNA binding. In contrast to Ets-1, in which the autoinhibition is caused by a combination of allosteric and steric mechanisms, we were unable to find clear evidence for the allosteric mechanism in Ets-2. We also demonstrated two possibly distinct types of cooperative binding to substrates with Ets binding motifs separated by four and six base pairs and suggest possible molecular mechanisms for this behavior.

The heterodimeric [NiFe] hydrogenase from Desulfovibrio fructosovorans catalyzes the reversible oxidation of H2 into protons and electrons. The catalytic intermediates have been attributed to forms of the active site (NiSI, NiR, and NiC) detected using spectroscopic methods under potentiometric but non-catalytic conditions. Here, we produced variants by replacing the conserved Thr-18 residue in the small subunit with Ser, Val, Gln, Gly, or Asp, and we analyzed the effects of these mutations on the kinetic (H2 oxidation, H2 production, and H/D exchange), spectroscopic (IR, EPR), and structural properties of the enzyme. The mutations disrupt the H-bond network in the crystals and have a strong effect on H2 oxidation and H2 production turnover rates. However, the absence of correlation between activity and rate of H/D exchange in the series of variants suggests that the alcoholic group of Thr-18 is not necessarily a proton relay. Instead, the correlation between H2 oxidation and production activity and the detection of the NiC species in reduced samples confirms that NiC is a catalytic intermediate and suggests that Thr-18 is important to stabilize the local protein structure of the active site ensuring fast NiSI-NiC-NiR interconversions during H2 oxidation/production.

meta-Azi-propofol (AziPm) is a photoactive analog of the general anesthetic propofol. We photolabeled a myelin-enriched fraction from rat brain with [3H]AziPm and identified the sirtuin deacetylase SIRT2 as a target of the anesthetic. AziPm photolabeled three SIRT2 residues (Tyr139, Phe190, and Met206) that are located in a single allosteric protein site, and propofol inhibited [3H]AziPm photolabeling of this site in myelin SIRT2. Structural modeling and in vitro experiments with recombinant human SIRT2 determined that propofol and [3H]AziPm only bind specifically and competitively to the enzyme when co-equilibrated with other substrates, which suggests that the anesthetic site is either created or stabilized in enzymatic conformations that are induced by substrate binding. In contrast to SIRT2, specific binding of [3H]AziPm or propofol to recombinant human SIRT1 was not observed. Residues that line the propofol binding site on SIRT2 contact the sirtuin co-substrate NAD+ during enzymatic catalysis, and assays that measured SIRT2 deacetylation of acetylated α-tubulin revealed that propofol inhibits enzymatic function. We conclude that propofol inhibits the mammalian deacetylase SIRT2 through a conformation-specific, allosteric protein site that is unique from the previously described binding sites of other inhibitors. This suggests that propofol might influence cellular events that are regulated by protein acetylation state.

Mammalian Plk1 is critically required for proper M phase progression. Plk1 is self-recruited to prekinetochores/kinetochores by phosphorylating and binding to the Thr-78 motif of a kinetochore scaffold protein, PBIP1 (also called CENP-U/50), which forms a stable complex with another kinetochore component, CENP-Q. However, the mechanism regulating Plk1 localization to this site remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the PBIP1·CENP-Q complex became hyperphosphorylated and rapidly delocalized from kinetochores as cells entered mitosis. Plk1 phosphorylated the CENP-Q subunit of the PBIP1·CENP-Q complex at multiple sites, and mutation of nine Plk1-dependent phosphorylation sites to Ala (9A) enhanced CENP-Q association with chromatin and prolonged CENP-Q localization to kinetochores. Conversely, mutation of the nine sites to phospho-mimicking Asp/Glu (9D/E) residues dissociated CENP-Q from chromatin and kept the CENP-Q(9D/E) mutant from localizing to interphase prekinetochores. Strikingly, both the 9A and 9D/E mutants induced a defect in proper chromosome segregation, suggesting that both timely localization of the PBIP1·CENP-Q complex to prekinetochores and delocalization from kinetochores are critical for normal M phase progression. Notably, although Plk1 did not alter the level of PBIP1 and CENP-Q ubiquitination, Plk1-dependent phosphorylation and delocalization of these proteins from kinetochores appeared to indirectly lead to their degradation in the cytosol. Thus, we propose that Plk1 regulates the timing of the delocalization and ultimate destruction of the PBIP1·CENP-Q complex and that these processes are important not only for promoting Plk1-dependent mitotic progression, but also for resetting the timing of Plk1 recruitment to prekinetochores in the next cell cycle.

2-Cys peroxiredoxins belonging to the Prx1 subfamily are Cys-based peroxidases that control the intracellular levels of H2O2 and seem to assume a chaperone function under oxidative stress conditions. The regulation of their peroxidase activity as well as the observed functional switch from peroxidase to chaperone involves changes in their quaternary structure. Multiple factors can modulate the oligomeric transitions of 2-Cys peroxiredoxins such as redox state, post-translational modifications, and pH. However, the molecular basis for the pH influence on the oligomeric state of these enzymes is still elusive. Herein, we solved the crystal structure of a typical 2-Cys peroxiredoxin from Leishmania in the dimeric (pH 8.5) and decameric (pH 4.4) forms, showing that conformational changes in the catalytic loop are associated with the pH-induced decamerization. Mutagenesis and biophysical studies revealed that a highly conserved histidine (His113) functions as a pH sensor that, at acidic conditions, becomes protonated and forms an electrostatic pair with Asp76 from the catalytic loop, triggering the decamerization. In these 2-Cys peroxiredoxins, decamer formation is important for the catalytic efficiency and has been associated with an enhanced sensitivity to oxidative inactivation by overoxidation of the peroxidatic cysteine. In eukaryotic cells, exposure to high levels of H2O2 can trigger intracellular pH variations, suggesting that pH changes might act cooperatively with H2O2 and other oligomerization-modulator factors to regulate the structure and function of typical 2-Cys peroxiredoxins in response to oxidative stress.

Krüppel-like factor 3 (KLF3/BKLF), a member of the Krüppel-like factor (KLF) family of transcription factors, is a widely expressed transcriptional repressor with diverse biological roles. Although there is considerable understanding of the molecular mechanisms that allow KLF3 to silence the activity of its target genes, less is known about the signal transduction pathways and post-translational modifications that modulate KLF3 activity in response to physiological stimuli. We observed that KLF3 is modified in a range of different tissues and found that the serine/threonine kinase homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) can both bind and phosphorylate KLF3. Mass spectrometry identified serine 249 as the primary phosphorylation site. Mutation of this site reduces the ability of KLF3 to bind DNA and repress transcription. Furthermore, we also determined that HIPK2 can phosphorylate the KLF3 co-repressor C-terminal binding protein 2 (CtBP2) at serine 428. Finally, we found that phosphorylation of KLF3 and CtBP2 by HIPK2 strengthens the interaction between these two factors and increases transcriptional repression by KLF3. Taken together, our results indicate that HIPK2 potentiates the activity of KLF3.

Proteasome-mediated proteolysis provides dynamic spatial and temporal modulation of protein concentration in response to various intrinsic and extrinsic challenges. To gain a better understanding of the role of the proteasome in DNA repair, we systematically monitored the stability of 26 proteins involved in nucleotide excision repair (NER) under normal growth conditions. Among six NER factors found to be regulated by the proteasome, we further delineated the specific pathway involved in the degradation of Rad25, a subunit of TFIIH. We demonstrate that Rad25 turnover requires the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Ubc4 and the ubiquitin ligase Ufd4. Interestingly, the deletion of UFD4 specifically suppresses the rad25 mutant defective in transcription. Our results reveal a novel function of the Ufd4 pathway and another tie between the proteasome and NER regulators.

Myopia, the leading cause of visual impairment worldwide, results from an increase in the axial length of the eyeball. Mutations in LEPREL1, the gene encoding prolyl 3-hydroxylase-2 (P3H2), have recently been identified in individuals with recessively inherited nonsyndromic severe myopia. P3H2 is a member of a family of genes that includes three isoenzymes of prolyl 3-hydroxylase (P3H), P3H1, P3H2, and P3H3. Fundamentally, it is understood that P3H1 is responsible for converting proline to 3-hydroxyproline. This limited additional knowledge also suggests that each isoenzyme has evolved different collagen sequence-preferred substrate specificities. In this study, differences in prolyl 3-hydroxylation were screened in eye tissues from P3h2-null (P3h2n/n) and wild-type mice to seek tissue-specific effects due the lack of P3H2 activity on post-translational collagen chemistry that could explain myopia. The mice were viable and had no gross musculoskeletal phenotypes. Tissues from sclera and cornea (type I collagen) and lens capsule (type IV collagen) were dissected from mouse eyes, and multiple sites of prolyl 3-hydroxylation were identified by mass spectrometry. The level of prolyl 3-hydroxylation at multiple substrate sites from type I collagen chains was high in sclera, similar to tendon. Almost every known site of prolyl 3-hydroxylation in types I and IV collagen from P3h2n/n mouse eye tissues was significantly under-hydroxylated compared with their wild-type littermates. We conclude that altered collagen prolyl 3-hydroxylation is caused by loss of P3H2. We hypothesize that this leads to structural abnormalities in multiple eye tissues, but particularly sclera, causing progressive myopia.

Pexophagy is a process that selectively degrades peroxisomes by autophagy. The Pichia pastoris pexophagy receptor Atg30 is recruited to peroxisomes under peroxisome proliferation conditions. During pexophagy, Atg30 undergoes phosphorylation, a prerequisite for its interactions with the autophagy scaffold protein Atg11 and the ubiquitin-like protein Atg8. Atg30 is subsequently shuttled to the vacuole along with the targeted peroxisome for degradation. Here, we defined the binding site for Atg30 on the peroxisomal membrane protein Pex3 and uncovered a role for Pex3 in the activation of Atg30 via phosphorylation and in the recruitment of Atg11 to the receptor protein complex. Pex3 is classically a docking protein for other proteins that affect peroxisome biogenesis, division, and segregation. We conclude that Pex3 has a role beyond simple docking of Atg30 and that its interaction with Atg30 regulates pexophagy in the yeast P. pastoris.

The ceramide nanoliposome (CNL) has shown promise in being able to treat a variety of primary tumors. However, its potential for treating metastatic cancer remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that CNL increases anoikis while preventing cancer cell extravasation under both static and physiological fluid flow conditions. Mechanistically, CNL limits metastases by decreasing CD44 protein levels in human breast and pancreatic cancer cells via lysosomal degradation of CD44, independent of palmitoylation or proteasome targeting. siRNA down-regulation of CD44 mimics CNL-induced anoikis and diminished extravasation of cancer cells. Taken together, our data indicate that ceramide limits CD44-dependent cancer cell migration, suggesting that CNL could be used to prevent and treat solid tumor metastasis.

Recent studies have demonstrated that urotensin-II (U-II) plays important roles in cardiovascular actions including cardiac positive inotropic effects and increasing cardiac output. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects of U-II in cardiomyocytes still remain unknown. We show by electrophysiological studies that U-II dose-dependently potentiates L-type Ca2+ currents (ICa,L) in adult rat ventricular myocytes. This effect was U-II receptor (U-IIR)-dependent and was associated with a depolarizing shift in the voltage dependence of inactivation. Intracellular application of guanosine-5′-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) and pertussis toxin pretreatment both abolished the stimulatory effects of U-II. Dialysis of cells with the QEHA peptide, but not scrambled peptide SKEE, blocked the U-II-induced response. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin as well as the class I PI3K antagonist CH132799 blocked the U-II-induced ICa,L response. Protein kinase C antagonists calphostin C and chelerythrine chloride as well as dialysis of cells with 1,2bis(2aminophenoxy)ethaneN,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid abolished the U-II-induced responses, whereas PKCα inhibition or PKA blockade had no effect. Exposure of ventricular myocytes to U-II markedly increased membrane PKCβ1 expression, whereas inhibition of PKCβ1 pharmacologically or by shRNA targeting abolished the U-II-induced ICa,L response. Functionally, we observed a significant increase in the amplitude of sarcomere shortening induced by U-II; blockade of U-IIR as well as PKCβ inhibition abolished this effect, whereas Bay K8644 mimicked the U-II response. Taken together, our results indicate that U-II potentiates ICa,L through the βγ subunits of Gi/o-protein and downstream activation of the class I PI3K-dependent PKCβ1 isoform. This occurred via the activation of U-IIR and contributes to the positive inotropic effect on cardiomyocytes.

Serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT) is a pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme that catalyzes a hydroxymethyl group transfer from l-serine to tetrahydrofolate (H4folate) to yield glycine and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate (CH2-H4folate). SHMT is crucial for deoxythymidylate biosynthesis and a target for antimalarial drug development. Our previous studies indicate that PvSHMT catalyzes the reaction via a ternary complex mechanism. To define the kinetic mechanism of this catalysis, we explored the PvSHMT reaction by employing various methodologies including ligand binding, transient, and steady-state kinetics as well as product analysis by rapid-quench and HPLC/MS techniques. The results indicate that PvSHMT can bind first to either l-serine or H4folate. The dissociation constants for the enzyme·l-serine and enzyme·H4folate complexes were determined as 0.18 ± 0.08 and 0.35 ± 0.06 mm, respectively. The amounts of glycine formed after single turnovers of different preformed binary complexes were similar, indicating that the reaction proceeds via a random-order binding mechanism. In addition, the rate constant of glycine formation measured by rapid-quench and HPLC/MS analysis is similar to the kcat value (1.09 ± 0.05 s−1) obtained from the steady-state kinetics, indicating that glycine formation is the rate-limiting step of SHMT catalysis. This information will serve as a basis for future investigation on species-specific inhibition of SHMT for antimalarial drug development.

Photosynthetic microalgae are exposed to changing environmental conditions. In particular, microbes found in ponds or soils often face hypoxia or even anoxia, and this severely impacts their physiology. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is one among such photosynthetic microorganisms recognized for its unusual wealth of fermentative pathways and the extensive remodeling of its metabolism upon the switch to anaerobic conditions. As regards the photosynthetic electron transfer, this remodeling encompasses a strong limitation of the electron flow downstream of photosystem I. Here, we further characterize the origin of this limitation. We show that it stems from the strong reducing pressure that builds up upon the onset of anoxia, and this pressure can be relieved either by the light-induced synthesis of ATP, which promotes the consumption of reducing equivalents, or by the progressive activation of the hydrogenase pathway, which provides an electron transfer pathway alternative to the CO2 fixation cycle.