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Journal of Biological Chemistry, The

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
The p21-activated kinases (PAKs) are a family of six serine/threonine kinases that act as key effectors of RHO family GTPases in mammalian cells. PAKs are subdivided into two groups: type I PAKs (PAK1, PAK2, and PAK3) and type II PAKs (PAK4, PAK5, and PAK6). Although these groups are involved in common signaling pathways, recent work indicates that the two groups have distinct modes of regulation and have both unique and common substrates. Here, we review recent insights into the molecular level details that govern regulation of type II PAK signaling. We also consider mechanisms by which signal transduction is regulated at the level of substrate specificity. Finally, we discuss the implications of these studies for clinical targeting of these kinases.

Tetraploidy, a state in which cells have doubled chromosomal sets, is observed in ∼20% of solid tumors and is considered to frequently precede aneuploidy in carcinogenesis. Tetraploidy is also detected during terminal differentiation and represents a hallmark of aging. Most tetraploid cultured cells are arrested by p53 stabilization. However, the fate of tetraploid cells in vivo remains largely unknown. Here, we analyze the ability to repair wounds in the skin of phosphovimentin-deficient (VIMSA/SA) mice. Early into wound healing, subcutaneous fibroblasts failed to undergo cytokinesis, resulting in binucleate tetraploidy. Accordingly, the mRNA level of p21 (a p53-responsive gene) was elevated in a VIMSA/SA-specific manner. Disappearance of tetraploidy coincided with an increase in aneuploidy. Thereafter, senescence-related markers were significantly elevated in VIMSA/SA mice. Because our tetraploidy-prone mouse model also exhibited subcutaneous fat loss at the age of 14 months, another premature aging phenotype, our data suggest that following cytokinetic failure, a subset of tetraploid cells enters a new cell cycle and develops into aneuploid cells in vivo, which promote premature aging.

The membrane-proximal external region (MPER) C-terminal segment and the transmembrane domain (TMD) of gp41 are involved in HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein-mediated fusion and modulation of immune responses during viral infection. However, the atomic structure of this functional region remains unsolved. Here, based on the high resolution NMR data obtained for peptides spanning the C-terminal segment of MPER and the TMD, we report two main findings: (i) the conformational variability of the TMD helix at a membrane-buried position; and (ii) the existence of an uninterrupted α-helix spanning MPER and the N-terminal region of the TMD. Thus, our structural data provide evidence for the bipartite organization of TMD predicted by previous molecular dynamics simulations and functional studies, but they do not support the breaking of the helix at Lys-683, as was suggested by some models to mark the initiation of the TMD anchor. Antibody binding energetics examined with isothermal titration calorimetry and humoral responses elicited in rabbits by peptide-based vaccines further support the relevance of a continuous MPER-TMD helix for immune recognition. We conclude that the transmembrane anchor of HIV-1 envelope is composed of two distinct subdomains: 1) an immunogenic helix at the N terminus also involved in promoting membrane fusion; and 2) an immunosuppressive helix at the C terminus, which might also contribute to the late stages of the fusion process. The unprecedented high resolution structural data reported here may guide future vaccine and inhibitor developments.

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290, 12999–13015 The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, relies on two glycoproteins, gp41 and gp120, that form a non-covalent complex as the viral envelope. However, structural details of a transmembrane anchor found in gp41 are not known. In this Paper of the Week, a team led by José Nieva at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, M. Ángeles Jiménez at the Institute of Physical Chemistry “Rocasolano” (IQFR-CSIC) in Spain, and Jose M. M. Caaveiro at the University of Tokyo carried out high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze the anchor. They discovered that the anchor contains two helices that are held together by a flexible region. Further biophysical analyses revealed that the N-terminal helix was a scaffold for neutralizing antibodies. The C-terminal helix acted as an immunosuppressor and may contribute to the late stages of the viral fusion process into the host cell. The investigators concluded, “These data may guide the rational design of vaccines and inhibitors.” jbc;290/21/13016/FU1F1FU1 Models for gp41 transmembrane domain insertion into membranes.

Ganglioside GD2 is highly expressed on neuroectodermal tumors and an attractive therapeutic target for antibodies that have already shown some clinical efficacy. To further improve the current antibodies, which have modest affinity, we sought to improve affinity by using a combined method of random mutagenesis and in silico assisted design to affinity-mature the anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody hu3F8. Using yeast display, mutants in the Fv with enhanced binding over the parental clone were FACS-sorted and cloned. In silico modeling identified the minimal key interacting residues involved in the important charged interactions with the sialic acid groups of GD2. Two mutations, D32H (L-CDR1) and E1K (L-FR1) altered the electrostatic surface potential of the antigen binding site, allowing for an increase in positive charge to enhance the interaction with the negatively charged GD2-pentasaccharide headgroup. Purified scFv and IgG mutant forms were then tested for antigen specificity by ELISA, for tissue specificity by immunohistochemistry, for affinity by BIACORE, for antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro, and for anti-tumor efficacy in xenografted humanized mice. The nearly 7-fold improvement in affinity of hu3F8 with a single D32H (L-CDR1) mutation translated into a ∼12-fold improvement in NK92MI-transfected CD16-mediated ADCC, a 6-fold improvement in CD32-mediated ADCC, and a 2.5-fold improvement in complement-mediated cytotoxicity while maintaining restricted normal tissue cross-reactivity and achieving substantial improvement in tumor ablation in vivo. Despite increasing GD2 affinity, the double mutation D32H (L-CDR1) and E1K (L-FR1) did not further improve anti-tumor efficacy.

Chondrocyte-derived extracellular organelles known as articular cartilage vesicles (ACVs) participate in non-classical protein secretion, intercellular communication, and pathologic calcification. Factors affecting ACV formation and release remain poorly characterized; although in some cell types, the generation of extracellular vesicles is associated with up-regulation of autophagy. We sought to determine the role of autophagy in ACV production by primary articular chondrocytes. Using an innovative dynamic model with a light scatter nanoparticle counting apparatus, we determined the effects of autophagy modulators on ACV number and content in conditioned medium from normal adult porcine and human osteoarthritic chondrocytes. Healthy articular chondrocytes release ACVs into conditioned medium and show significant levels of ongoing autophagy. Rapamycin, which promotes autophagy, increased ACV numbers in a dose- and time-dependent manner associated with increased levels of autophagy markers and autophagosome formation. These effects were suppressed by pharmacologic autophagy inhibitors and short interfering RNA for ATG5. Caspase-3 inhibition and a Rho/ROCK inhibitor prevented rapamycin-induced increases in ACV number. Osteoarthritic chondrocytes, which are deficient in autophagy, did not increase ACV number in response to rapamycin. SMER28, which induces autophagy via an mTOR-independent mechanism, also increased ACV number. ACVs induced under all conditions had similar ecto-enzyme specific activities and types of RNA, and all ACVs contained LC3, an autophagosome-resident protein. These findings identify autophagy as a critical participant in ACV formation, and augment our understanding of ACVs in cartilage disease and repair.

VOLUME 290 (2015) PAGES 2577–2592 PAGE 2583: The method used to calculate the molar ellipticity of λ light chains at different temperatures from far UV CD spectra shown in Fig. 3 was incorrect. The calculations have now been performed correctly using the formula taken from Greenfield, N. J. (2006) Using circular dichroism spectra to estimate protein secondary structure. Nat. Protoc. 1, 2876—2890 with [θ] = millideg/(path length in millimeters × the molar concentration of protein × the number of residues). This correction does not affect the interpretation of the results or the conclusions of this work. jbc;290/21/13039/FU1F1FU1

VOLUME 285 (2010) PAGES 20452–20461 This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

VOLUME 286 (2011) PAGES 32962–32975 Dr. Hammond's name was misspelled and should appear as Gerald R. V. Hammond. The correct spelling is shown above.

Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone involved in the response to environmental stress. Recently, ABA has been shown to be present and active also in mammals, where it stimulates the functional activity of innate immune cells, of mesenchymal and hemopoietic stem cells, and insulin-releasing pancreatic β-cells. LANCL2, the ABA receptor in mammalian cells, is a peripheral membrane protein that localizes at the intracellular side of the plasma membrane. Here we investigated the mechanism enabling ABA transport across the plasmamembrane of human red blood cells (RBC). Both influx and efflux of [3H]ABA occur across intact RBC, as detected by radiometric and chromatographic methods. ABA binds specifically to Band 3 (the RBC anion transporter), as determined by labeling of RBC membranes with biotinylated ABA. Proteoliposomes reconstituted with human purified Band 3 transport [3H]ABA and [35S]sulfate, and ABA transport is sensitive to the specific Band 3 inhibitor 4,4′-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid. Once inside RBC, ABA stimulates ATP release through the LANCL2-mediated activation of adenylate cyclase. As ATP released from RBC is known to exert a vasodilator response, these results suggest a role for plasma ABA in the regulation of vascular tone.

RUNX1 (Runt-related transcription factor 1) is indispensable for the generation of hemogenic endothelium. However, the regulation of RUNX1 during this developmental process is poorly understood. We investigated the role of the histone chaperone HIRA (histone cell cycle regulation-defective homolog A) from this perspective and report that HIRA significantly contributes toward the regulation of RUNX1 in the transition of differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells from hemogenic to hematopoietic stage. Direct interaction of HIRA and RUNX1 activates the downstream targets of RUNX1 implicated in generation of hematopoietic stem cells. At the molecular level, HIRA-mediated incorporation of histone H3.3 variant within the Runx1 +24 mouse conserved noncoding element is essential for the expression of Runx1 during endothelial to hematopoietic transition. An inactive chromatin at the intronic enhancer of Runx1 in absence of HIRA significantly repressed the transition of cells from hemogenic to hematopoietic fate. We expect that the HIRA-RUNX1 axis might open up a novel approach in understanding leukemogenesis in future.

The zinc transporter ZnT2 (SLC30A2) imports zinc into vesicles in secreting mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and is critical for zinc efflux into milk during lactation. Recent studies show that ZnT2 also imports zinc into mitochondria and is expressed in the non-lactating mammary gland and non-secreting MECs, highlighting the importance of ZnT2 in general mammary gland biology. In this study we used nulliparous and lactating ZnT2-null mice and characterized the consequences on mammary gland development, function during lactation, and milk composition. We found that ZnT2 was primarily expressed in MECs and to a limited extent in macrophages in the nulliparous mammary gland and loss of ZnT2 impaired mammary expansion during development. Secondly, we found that lactating ZnT2-null mice had substantial defects in mammary gland architecture and MEC function during secretion, including fewer, condensed and disorganized alveoli, impaired Stat5 activation, and unpolarized MECs. Loss of ZnT2 led to reduced milk volume and milk containing less protein, fat, and lactose compared with wild-type littermates, implicating ZnT2 in the regulation of mammary differentiation and optimal milk production during lactation. Together, these results demonstrate that ZnT2-mediated zinc transport is critical for mammary gland function, suggesting that defects in ZnT2 not only reduce milk zinc concentration but may compromise breast health and increase the risk for lactation insufficiency in lactating women.

A gene named ltsA was earlier identified in Rhodococcus and Corynebacterium species while screening for mutations leading to increased cell susceptibility to lysozyme. The encoded protein belonged to a huge family of glutamine amidotransferases whose members catalyze amide nitrogen transfer from glutamine to various specific acceptor substrates. We here describe detailed physiological and biochemical investigations demonstrating the specific role of LtsA protein from Corynebacterium glutamicum (LtsACg) in the modification by amidation of cell wall peptidoglycan diaminopimelic acid (DAP) residues. A morphologically altered but viable ΔltsA mutant was generated, which displays a high susceptibility to lysozyme and β-lactam antibiotics. Analysis of its peptidoglycan structure revealed a total loss of DAP amidation, a modification that was found in 80% of DAP residues in the wild-type polymer. The cell peptidoglycan content and cross-linking were otherwise not modified in the mutant. Heterologous expression of LtsACg in Escherichia coli yielded a massive and toxic incorporation of amidated DAP into the peptidoglycan that ultimately led to cell lysis. In vitro assays confirmed the amidotransferase activity of LtsACg and showed that this enzyme used the peptidoglycan lipid intermediates I and II but not, or only marginally, the UDP-MurNAc pentapeptide nucleotide precursor as acceptor substrates. As is generally the case for glutamine amidotransferases, either glutamine or NH4+ could serve as the donor substrate for LtsACg. The enzyme did not amidate tripeptide- and tetrapeptide-truncated versions of lipid I, indicating a strict specificity for a pentapeptide chain length.

Gata3 acts as a master regulator for T helper 2 (Th2) cell differentiation by inducing chromatin remodeling of the Th2 cytokine loci, accelerating Th2 cell proliferation, and repressing Th1 cell differentiation. Gata3 also directly transactivates the interleukin-5 (Il5) gene via additional mechanisms that have not been fully elucidated. We herein identified a mechanism whereby the methylation of Gata3 at Arg-261 regulates the transcriptional activation of the Il5 gene in Th2 cells. Although the methylation-mimicking Gata3 mutant retained the ability to induce IL-4 and repress IFNγ production, the IL-5 production was selectively impaired. We also demonstrated that heat shock protein (Hsp) 60 strongly associates with the methylation-mimicking Gata3 mutant and negatively regulates elongation of the Il5 transcript by RNA polymerase II. Thus, arginine methylation appears to play a pivotal role in the organization of Gata3 complexes and the target gene specificity of Gata3.

In bacteria, membrane proteins are targeted cotranslationally via a signal recognition particle (SRP). During the evolution of higher plant chloroplasts from cyanobacteria, the SRP pathway underwent striking adaptations that enable the posttranslational transport of the abundant light-harvesting chlorophyll-a/b-binding proteins (LHCPs). The conserved 54-kDa SRP subunit in higher plant chloroplasts (cpSRP54) is not bound to an SRP RNA, an essential SRP component in bacteria, but forms a stable heterodimer with the chloroplast-specific cpSRP43. This heterodimeric cpSRP recognizes LHCP and delivers it to the thylakoid membrane whereby cpSRP43 plays a central role. This study shows that the cpSRP system in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii differs significantly from that of higher plants as cpSRP43 is not complexed to cpSRP54 in Chlamydomonas and cpSRP54 is not involved in LHCP recognition. This divergence is attributed to altered residues within the cpSRP54 tail and the second chromodomain of cpSRP43 that are crucial for the formation of the binding interface in Arabidopsis. These changes are highly conserved among chlorophytes, whereas all land plants contain cpSRP proteins with typical interaction motifs. These data demonstrate that the coevolution of LHCPs and cpSRP43 occurred independently of complex formation with cpSRP54 and that the interaction between cpSRP54 and cpSRP43 evolved later during the transition from chlorophytes to land plants. Furthermore, our data show that in higher plants a heterodimeric form of cpSRP is required for the formation of a low molecular weight transit complex with LHCP.

The constitutively expressed heat shock protein 70 kDa (Hsc70) is a major chaperone protein responsible for maintaining proteostasis, yet how its structure translates into functional decisions regarding client fate is still unclear. We previously showed that Hsc70 preserved aberrant Tau, but it remained unknown if selective inhibition of the activity of this Hsp70 isoform could facilitate Tau clearance. Using single point mutations in the nucleotide binding domain, we assessed the effect of several mutations on the functions of human Hsc70. Biochemical characterization revealed that one mutation abolished both Hsc70 ATPase and refolding activities. This variant resembled the ADP-bound conformer at all times yet remained able to interact with cofactors, nucleotides, and substrates appropriately, resembling a dominant negative Hsc70 (DN-Hsc70). We then assessed the effects of this DN-Hsc70 on its client Tau. DN-Hsc70 potently facilitated Tau clearance via the proteasome in cells and brain tissue, in contrast to wild type Hsc70 that stabilized Tau. Thus, DN-Hsc70 mimics the action of small molecule pan Hsp70 inhibitors with regard to Tau metabolism. This shift in Hsc70 function by a single point mutation was the result of a change in the chaperome associated with Hsc70 such that DN-Hsc70 associated more with Hsp90 and DnaJ proteins, whereas wild type Hsc70 was more associated with other Hsp70 isoforms. Thus, isoform-selective targeting of Hsc70 could be a viable therapeutic strategy for tauopathies and possibly lead to new insights in chaperone complex biology.

Cytochrome P450 (P450) 21A2 is the major steroid 21-hydroxylase, and deficiency of this enzyme is involved in ∼95% of cases of human congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a disorder of adrenal steroidogenesis. A structure of the bovine enzyme that we published previously (Zhao, B., Lei, L., Kagawa, N., Sundaramoorthy, M., Banerjee, S., Nagy, L. D., Guengerich, F. P., and Waterman, M. R. (2012) Three-dimensional structure of steroid 21-hydroxylase (cytochrome P450 21A2) with two substrates reveals locations of disease-associated variants. J. Biol. Chem. 287, 10613–10622), containing two molecules of the substrate 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, has been used as a template for understanding genetic deficiencies. We have now obtained a crystal structure of human P450 21A2 in complex with progesterone, a substrate in adrenal 21-hydroxylation. Substrate binding and release were fast for human P450 21A2 with both substrates, and pre-steady-state kinetics showed a partial burst but only with progesterone as substrate and not 17α-hydroxyprogesterone. High intermolecular non-competitive kinetic deuterium isotope effects on both kcat and kcat/Km, from 5 to 11, were observed with both substrates, indicative of rate-limiting C–H bond cleavage and suggesting that the juxtaposition of the C21 carbon in the active site is critical for efficient oxidation. The estimated rate of binding of the substrate progesterone (kon 2.4 × 107 m−1 s−1) is only ∼2-fold greater than the catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km = 1.3 × 107 m−1 s−1) with this substrate, suggesting that the rate of substrate binding may also be partially rate-limiting. The structure of the human P450 21A2-substrate complex provides direct insight into mechanistic effects of genetic variants.

Hyaluronan (HA) turnover accelerates metastatic progression of prostate cancer in part by increasing rates of tumor cell proliferation and motility. To determine the mechanism, we overexpressed hyaluronidase 1 (Hyal1) as a fluorescent fusion protein and examined its impact on endocytosis and vesicular trafficking. Overexpression of Hyal1 led to increased rates of internalization of HA and the endocytic recycling marker transferrin. Live imaging of Hyal1, sucrose gradient centrifugation, and specific colocalization of Rab GTPases defined the subcellular distribution of Hyal1 as early and late endosomes, lysosomes, and recycling vesicles. Manipulation of vesicular trafficking by chemical inhibitors or with constitutively active and dominant negative Rab expression constructs caused atypical localization of Hyal1. Using the catalytically inactive point mutant Hyal1-E131Q, we found that enzymatic activity of Hyal1 was necessary for normal localization within the cell as Hyal1-E131Q was mainly detected within the endoplasmic reticulum. Expression of a HA-binding point mutant, Hyal1-Y202F, revealed that secretion of Hyal1 and concurrent reuptake from the extracellular space are critical for rapid HA internalization and cell proliferation. Overall, excess Hyal1 secretion accelerates endocytic vesicle trafficking in a substrate-dependent manner, promoting aggressive tumor cell behavior.

A family of six ceramide synthases with distinct but overlapping substrate specificities is responsible for generation of ceramides with acyl chains ranging from ∼14–26 carbons. Ceramide synthase 6 (CerS6) preferentially generates C14- and C16-ceramides, and we have previously shown that down-regulation of this enzyme decreases apoptotic susceptibility. In this study, we further evaluated how increased CerS6 expression impacts sphingolipid composition and metabolism. Overexpression of CerS6 in HT29 colon cancer cells resulted in increased apoptotic susceptibility and preferential generation of C16-ceramide, which occurred at the expense of very long chain, saturated ceramides. These changes were also reflected in sphingomyelin composition. HT-CerS6 cells had increased intracellular levels of sphingosine, which is generated by ceramidases upon hydrolysis of ceramide. qRT-PCR analysis revealed that only expression of acid ceramidase (ASAH1) was increased. The increase in acid ceramidase was confirmed by expression and activity analyses. Pharmacological inhibition of JNK (SP600125) or curcumin reduced transcriptional up-regulation of acid ceramidase. Using an acid ceramidase promoter driven luciferase reporter plasmid, we demonstrated that CerS1 has no effect on transcriptional activation of acid ceramidase and that CerS2 slightly but significantly decreased the luciferase signal. Similar to CerS6, overexpression of CerS3–5 resulted in an ∼2-fold increase in luciferase reporter gene activity. Exogenous ceramide failed to induce reporter activity, while a CerS inhibitor and a catalytically inactive mutant of CerS6 failed to reduce it. Taken together, these results suggest that increased expression of CerS6 can mediate transcriptional activation of acid ceramidase in a JNK-dependent manner that is independent of CerS6 activity.

Heparan sulfate proteoglycans are ubiquitously located on cell surfaces and in the extracellular matrices. The negatively charged heparan sulfate chains interact with a multitude of different proteins, thereby influencing a variety of cellular and developmental processes, for example cell adhesion, migration, tissue morphogenesis, and differentiation. The human exostosin (EXT) family of genes contains five members: the heparan sulfate polymerizing enzymes, EXT1 and EXT2, and three EXT-like genes, EXTL1, EXTL2, and EXTL3. EXTL2 has been ascribed activities related to the initiation and termination of heparan sulfate chains. Here we further investigated the role of EXTL2 in heparan sulfate chain elongation by gene silencing and overexpression strategies. We found that siRNA-mediated knockdown of EXTL2 in human embryonic kidney 293 cells resulted in increased chain length, whereas overexpression of EXTL2 in the same cell line had little or no effect on heparan sulfate chain length. To study in more detail the role of EXTL2 in heparan sulfate chain elongation, we tested the ability of the overexpressed protein to catalyze the in vitro incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine to oligosaccharide acceptors resembling unmodified heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate precursor molecules. Analysis of the generated products revealed that recombinant EXTL2 showed weak ability to transfer N-acetylgalactosamine to heparan sulfate precursor molecules but also, that EXTL2 exhibited much stronger in vitro N-acetylglucosamine-transferase activity related to elongation of heparan sulfate chains.

When V. cholerae encounters nutritional stress, it activates (p)ppGpp-mediated stringent response. The genes relA and relV are involved in the production of (p)ppGpp, whereas the spoT gene encodes an enzyme that hydrolyzes it. Herein, we show that the bacterial capability to produce (p)ppGpp plays an essential role in glucose metabolism. The V. cholerae mutants defective in (p)ppGpp production (i.e. ΔrelAΔrelV and ΔrelAΔrelVΔspoT mutants) lost their viability because of uncontrolled production of organic acids, when grown with extra glucose. In contrast, the ΔrelAΔspoT mutant, a (p)ppGpp overproducer strain, exhibited better growth in the presence of the same glucose concentration. An RNA sequencing analysis demonstrated that transcriptions of genes consisting of an operon for acetoin biosynthesis were markedly elevated in N16961, a seventh pandemic O1 strain, but not in its (p)ppGpp0 mutant during glucose-stimulated growth. Transposon insertion in acetoin biosynthesis gene cluster resulted in glucose-induced loss of viability of the ΔrelAΔspoT mutant, further suggesting the crucial role of acetoin production in balanced growth under glucose-rich environments. Additional deletion of the aphA gene, encoding a negative regulator for acetoin production, failed to rescue the (p)ppGpp0 mutant from the defective glucose-mediated growth, suggesting that (p)ppGpp-mediated acetoin production occurs independent of the presence of AphA. Overall, our results reveal that (p)ppGpp, in addition to its well known role as a stringent response mediator, positively regulates acetoin production that contributes to the successful glucose metabolism and consequently the proliferation of V. cholerae cells under a glucose-rich environment, a condition that may mimic the human intestine.

β-Barrel pore-forming toxins (β-PFT), a large family of bacterial toxins, are generally secreted as water-soluble monomers and can form oligomeric pores in membranes following proteolytic cleavage and interaction with cell surface receptors. Monalysin has been recently identified as a β-PFT that contributes to the virulence of Pseudomonas entomophila against Drosophila. It is secreted as a pro-protein that becomes active upon cleavage. Here we report the crystal and cryo-electron microscopy structure of the pro-form of Monalysin as well as the crystal structures of the cleaved form and of an inactive mutant lacking the membrane-spanning region. The overall structure of Monalysin displays an elongated shape, which resembles those of β-pore-forming toxins, such as Aerolysin, but is devoid of a receptor-binding domain. X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and light-scattering studies show that pro-Monalysin forms a stable doughnut-like 18-mer complex composed of two disk-shaped nonamers held together by N-terminal swapping of the pro-peptides. This observation is in contrast with the monomeric pro-form of the other β-PFTs that are receptor-dependent for membrane interaction. The membrane-spanning region of pro-Monalysin is fully buried in the center of the doughnut, suggesting that upon cleavage of pro-peptides, the two disk-shaped nonamers can, and have to, dissociate to leave the transmembrane segments free to deploy and lead to pore formation. In contrast with other toxins, the delivery of 18 subunits at once, nearby the cell surface, may be used to bypass the requirement of receptor-dependent concentration to reach the threshold for oligomerization into the pore-forming complex.

As acidic glycocalyx on primary mouse microglial cells and a mouse microglial cell line Ra2, expression of polysialic acid (polySia/PSA), a polymer of the sialic acid Neu5Ac (N-acetylneuraminic acid), was demonstrated. PolySia is known to modulate cell adhesion, migration, and localization of neurotrophins mainly on neural cells. PolySia on Ra2 cells disappeared very rapidly after an inflammatory stimulus. Results of knockdown and inhibitor studies indicated that rapid surface clearance of polySia was achieved by secretion of endogenous sialidase Neu1 as an exovesicular component. Neu1-mediated polySia turnover was accompanied by the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor normally retained by polySia molecules. Introduction of a single oxygen atom change into polySia by exogenous feeding of the non-neural sialic acid Neu5Gc (N-glycolylneuraminic acid) caused resistance to Neu1-induced polySia turnover and also inhibited the associated release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. These results indicate the importance of rapid turnover of the polySia glycocalyx by exovesicular sialidases in neurotrophin regulation.

HLTF (helicase-like transcription factor) is a yeast RAD5 homolog found in mammals. HLTF has E3 ubiquitin ligase and DNA helicase activities, and plays a pivotal role in the template-switching pathway of DNA damage tolerance. HLTF has an N-terminal domain that has been designated the HIRAN (HIP116 and RAD5 N-terminal) domain. The HIRAN domain has been hypothesized to play a role in DNA binding; however, the structural basis of, and functional evidence for, the HIRAN domain in DNA binding has remained unclear. Here we show for the first time the crystal structure of the HIRAN domain of human HLTF in complex with DNA. The HIRAN domain is composed of six β-strands and two α-helices, forming an OB-fold structure frequently found in ssDNA-binding proteins, including in replication factor A (RPA). Interestingly, this study reveals that the HIRAN domain interacts with not only with a single-stranded DNA but also with a duplex DNA. Furthermore, the structure unexpectedly clarifies that the HIRAN domain specifically recognizes the 3′-end of DNA. These results suggest that the HIRAN domain functions as a sensor to the 3′-end of the primer strand at the stalled replication fork and that the domain facilitates fork regression. HLTF is recruited to a damaged site through the HIRAN domain at the stalled replication fork. Furthermore, our results have implications for the mechanism of template switching.

The transmembrane protein Crumbs (Crb) and its intracellular adaptor protein Pals1 (Stardust, Sdt in Drosophila) play a crucial role in the establishment and maintenance of apical-basal polarity in epithelial cells in various organisms. In contrast, the multiple PDZ domain-containing protein Pals1-associated tight junction protein (PATJ), which has been described to form a complex with Crb/Sdt, is not essential for apical basal polarity or for the stability of the Crb/Sdt complex in the Drosophila epidermis. Here we show that, in the embryonic epidermis, Sdt is essential for the correct subcellular localization of PATJ in differentiated epithelial cells but not during cellularization. Consistently, the L27 domain of PATJ is crucial for the correct localization and function of the protein. Our data further indicate that the four PDZ domains of PATJ function, to a large extent, in redundancy, regulating the function of the protein. Interestingly, the PATJ-Sdt heterodimer is not only recruited to the apical cell-cell contacts by binding to Crb but depends on functional Bazooka (Baz). However, biochemical experiments show that PATJ associates with both complexes, the Baz-Sdt and the Crb-Sdt complex, in the mature epithelium of the embryonic epidermis, suggesting a role of these two complexes for the function of PATJ during the development of Drosophila.

H2A.Z is a histone H2A variant that is essential for viability in Tetrahymena and Drosophila and also during embryonic development of mice. Although implicated in diverse cellular processes, including transcriptional regulation, chromosome segregation, and heterochromatin formation, its essential function in cells remains unknown. Cellular differentiation is part of the developmental process of multicellular organisms. To elucidate the roles of H2A.Z and H2A.Z acetylation in cellular differentiation, we examined the effects of expressing wild type (WT) or a non-acetylatable form of H2A.Z in the growth and differentiation of the myoblast C2C12 cell line. Ectopic expression of wild type or mutant H2A.Z resulted in distinct phenotypes in the differentiation of the C2C12 cells and the formation of myotubes. Most strikingly, expression of the H2A.Z non-acetylatable mutant (H2A.Z-Ac-mut) resulted in a complete block of myoblast differentiation. We determined that this phenotype is caused by a loss of MyoD expression in the Ac-mut-expressing cells prior to and after induction of differentiation. Moreover, chromatin accessibility assays showed that the promoter region of MyoD is less accessible in the differentiation-defective cells. Altogether, these new findings show that expression of the Ac-mut form of H2A.Z resulted in a dominant phenotype that blocked differentiation due to chromatin changes at the MyoD promoter.

Women of reproductive age are protected from metabolic disease relative to postmenopausal women and men. Most preclinical rodent studies are skewed toward the use of male mice to study obesity-induced metabolic dysfunction because of a similar protection observed in female mice. How sex differences in obesity-induced inflammatory responses contribute to these observations is unknown. We have compared and contrasted the effects of high fat diet-induced obesity on glucose metabolism and leukocyte activation in multiple depots in male and female C57Bl/6 mice. With both short term and long term high fat diet, male mice demonstrated increased weight gain and CD11c+ adipose tissue macrophage content compared with female mice despite similar degrees of adipocyte hypertrophy. Competitive bone marrow transplant studies demonstrated that obesity induced a preferential contribution of male hematopoietic cells to circulating leukocytes and adipose tissue macrophages compared with female cells independent of the sex of the recipient. Sex differences in macrophage and hematopoietic cell in vitro activation in response to obesogenic cues were observed to explain these results. In summary, this report demonstrates that male and female leukocytes and hematopoietic stem cells have cell-autonomous differences in their response to obesity that contribute to an amplified response in males compared with females.

The folding trajectory of solute carrier 6 (SLC6) family members is of interest because point mutations result in misfolding and thus cause clinically relevant phenotypes in people. Here we examined the contribution of the C terminus in supporting folding of the serotonin transporter (SERT; SLC6A4). Our working hypothesis posited that the amphipathic nature of the C-terminal α-helix (Thr603–Thr613) was important for folding of SERT. Accordingly, we disrupted the hydrophobic moment of the α-helix by replacing Phe604, Ile608, or Ile612 by Gln. The bulk of the resulting mutants SERT-F604Q, SERT-I608Q, and SERT-I612Q were retained in the endoplasmic reticulum, but their residual delivery to the cell surface still depended on SEC24C. This indicates that the amphipathic nature of the C-terminal α-helix was dispensable to endoplasmic reticulum export. The folding trajectory of SERT is thought to proceed through the inward facing conformation. Consistent with this conjecture, cell surface expression of the misfolded mutants was restored by (i) introducing second site suppressor mutations, which trap SERT in the inward facing state, or (ii) by the pharmacochaperone noribogaine, which binds to the inward facing conformation. Finally, mutation of Glu615 at the end of the C-terminal α-helix to Lys reduced surface expression of SERT-E615K. A charge reversal mutation in intracellular loop 1 restored surface expression of SERT-R152E/E615K to wild type levels. These observations support a mechanistic model where the C-terminal amphipathic helix is stabilized by an intramolecular salt bridge between residues Glu615 and Arg152. This interaction acts as a pivot in the conformational search associated with folding of SERT.

SAMHD1 is a nuclear deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate triphosphohydrolase that contributes to the control of cellular deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pool sizes through dNTP hydrolysis and modulates the innate immune response to viruses. CyclinA2-CDK1/2 phosphorylates SAMHD1 at Thr-592, but how this modification controls SAMHD1 functions in proliferating cells is not known. Here, we show that SAMHD1 levels remain relatively unchanged during the cell division cycle in primary human T lymphocytes and in monocytic cell lines. Inactivation of the bipartite cyclinA2-CDK-binding site in the SAMHD1 C terminus described herein abolished SAMHD1 phosphorylation on Thr-592 during S and G2 phases thus interfering with DNA replication and progression of cells through S phase. The effects exerted by Thr-592 phosphorylation-defective SAMHD1 mutants were associated with activation of DNA damage checkpoint and depletion of dNTP concentrations to levels lower than those seen upon expression of wild type SAMHD1 protein. These disruptive effects were relieved by either mutation of the catalytic residues of the SAMHD1 phosphohydrolase domain or by a Thr-592 phosphomimetic mutation, thus linking the Thr-592 phosphorylation state to the control of SAMHD1 dNTPase activity. Our findings support a model in which phosphorylation of Thr-592 by cyclinA2-CDK down-modulates, but does not inactivate, SAMHD1 dNTPase in S phase, thereby fine-tuning SAMHD1 control of dNTP levels during DNA replication.

The new G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER/GPR30) plays important roles in many organ systems. The plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) is essential for removal of cytoplasmic Ca2+ and for shaping the time courses of Ca2+-dependent activities. Here, we show that PMCA and GPER/GPR30 physically interact and functionally influence each other. In primary endothelial cells, GPER/GPR30 agonist G-1 decreases PMCA-mediated Ca2+ extrusion by promoting PMCA tyrosine phosphorylation. GPER/GPR30 overexpression decreases PMCA activity, and G-1 further potentiates this effect. GPER/GPR30 knockdown increases PMCA activity, whereas PMCA knockdown substantially reduces GPER/GPR30-mediated phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK1/2). GPER/GPR30 co-immunoprecipitates with PMCA with or without treatment with 17β-estradiol, thapsigargin, or G-1. Heterologously expressed GPER/GPR30 in HEK 293 cells co-localizes with PMCA4b, the main endothelial PMCA isoform. Endothelial cells robustly express the PDZ post-synaptic density protein (PSD)-95, whose knockdown reduces the association between GPER/GPR30 and PMCA. Additionally, the association between PMCA4b and GPER/GPR30 is substantially reduced by truncation of either or both of their C-terminal PDZ-binding motifs. Functionally, inhibition of PMCA activity is significantly reduced by truncation of GPER/GPR30's C-terminal PDZ-binding motif. These data strongly indicate that GPER/GPR30 and PMCA4b form a hetero-oligomeric complex in part via the anchoring action of PSD-95, in which they constitutively affect each other's function. Activation of GPER/GPR30 further inhibits PMCA activity through tyrosine phosphorylation of the pump. These interactions represent cross-talk between Ca2+ signaling and GPER/GPR30-mediated activities.

The F-ATPase in bovine mitochondria is a membrane-bound complex of about 30 subunits of 18 different kinds. Currently, ∼85% of its structure is known. The enzyme has a membrane extrinsic catalytic domain, and a membrane intrinsic domain where the turning of the enzyme's rotor is generated from the transmembrane proton-motive force. The domains are linked by central and peripheral stalks. The central stalk and a hydrophobic ring of c-subunits in the membrane domain constitute the enzyme's rotor. The external surface of the catalytic domain and membrane subunit a are linked by the peripheral stalk, holding them static relative to the rotor. The membrane domain contains six additional subunits named ATP8, e, f, g, DAPIT (diabetes-associated protein in insulin-sensitive tissues), and 6.8PL (6.8-kDa proteolipid), each with a single predicted transmembrane α-helix, but their orientation and topography are unknown. Mutations in ATP8 uncouple the enzyme and interfere with its assembly, but its roles and the roles of the other five subunits are largely unknown. We have reacted accessible amino groups in the enzyme with bifunctional cross-linking agents and identified the linked residues. Cross-links involving the supernumerary subunits, where the structures are not known, show that the C terminus of ATP8 extends ∼70 Å from the membrane into the peripheral stalk and that the N termini of the other supernumerary subunits are on the same side of the membrane, probably in the mitochondrial matrix. These experiments contribute significantly toward building up a complete structural picture of the F-ATPase.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis employs various strategies to modulate host immune responses to facilitate its persistence in macrophages. The M. tuberculosis cell wall contains numerous glycoproteins with unknown roles in pathogenesis. Here, by using Concanavalin A and LC-MS analysis, we identified a novel mannosylated glycoprotein phosphoribosyltransferase, encoded by Rv3242c from M. tuberculosis cell walls. Homology modeling, bioinformatic analyses, and an assay of phosphoribosyltransferase activity in Mycobacterium smegmatis expressing recombinant Rv3242c (MsmRv3242c) confirmed the mass spectrometry data. Using Mycobacterium marinum-zebrafish and the surrogate MsmRv3242c infection models, we proved that phosphoribosyltransferase is involved in mycobacterial virulence. Histological and infection assays showed that the M. marinum mimG mutant, an Rv3242c orthologue in a pathogenic M. marinum strain, was strongly attenuated in adult zebrafish and also survived less in macrophages. In contrast, infection with wild type and the complemented ΔmimG:Rv3242c M. marinum strains showed prominent pathological features, such as severe emaciation, skin lesions, hemorrhaging, and more zebrafish death. Similarly, recombinant MsmRv3242c bacteria showed increased invasion in non-phagocytic epithelial cells and longer intracellular survival in macrophages as compared with wild type and vector control M. smegmatis strains. Further mechanistic studies revealed that the Rv3242c- and mimG-mediated enhancement of intramacrophagic survival was due to inhibition of autophagy, reactive oxygen species, and reduced activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase enzymes. Infection with MsmRv3242c also activated the MAPK pathway, NF-κB, and inflammatory cytokines. In summary, we show that a novel mycobacterial mannosylated phosphoribosyltransferase acts as a virulence and immunomodulatory factor, suggesting that it may constitute a novel target for antimycobacterial drugs.

3′ repair exonuclease 1 (TREX1) is a known DNA exonuclease involved in autoimmune disorders and the antiviral response. In this work, we show that TREX1 is also a RNA exonuclease. Purified TREX1 displays robust exoribonuclease activity that degrades single-stranded, but not double-stranded, RNA. TREX1-D200N, an Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome disease-causing mutant, is defective in degrading RNA. TREX1 activity is strongly inhibited by a stretch of pyrimidine residues as is a bacterial homolog, RNase T. Kinetic measurements indicate that the apparent Km of TREX1 for RNA is higher than that for DNA. Like RNase T, human TREX1 is active in degrading native tRNA substrates. Previously reported TREX1 crystal structures have revealed that the substrate binding sites are open enough to accommodate the extra hydroxyl group in RNA, further supporting our conclusion that TREX1 acts on RNA. These findings indicate that its RNase activity needs to be taken into account when evaluating the physiological role of TREX1.

In order to identify cellular factors that regulate human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) gene expression, cervical cancer cells permissive for HPV16 late gene expression were identified and characterized. These cells either contained a novel spliced variant of the L1 mRNAs that bypassed the suppressed HPV16 late, 5′-splice site SD3632; produced elevated levels of RNA-binding proteins SRSF1 (ASF/SF2), SRSF9 (SRp30c), and HuR that are known to regulate HPV16 late gene expression; or were shown by a gene expression array analysis to overexpress the RALYL RNA-binding protein of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C) family. Overexpression of RALYL or hnRNP C1 induced HPV16 late gene expression from HPV16 subgenomic plasmids and from episomal forms of the full-length HPV16 genome. This induction was dependent on the HPV16 early untranslated region. Binding of hnRNP C1 to the HPV16 early, untranslated region activated HPV16 late 5′-splice site SD3632 and resulted in production of HPV16 L1 mRNAs. Our results suggested that hnRNP C1 controls HPV16 late gene expression.

DNA damage-induced NF-κB activation plays a critical role in regulating cellular response to genotoxic stress. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling the magnitude and duration of this genotoxic NF-κB signaling cascade are poorly understood. We recently demonstrated that genotoxic NF-κB activation is regulated by reversible ubiquitination of several essential mediators involved in this signaling pathway. Here we show that TRAF family member-associated NF-κB activator (TANK) negatively regulates NF-κB activation by DNA damage via inhibiting ubiquitination of TRAF6. Despite the lack of a deubiquitination enzyme domain, TANK has been shown to negatively regulate the ubiquitination of TRAF proteins. We found TANK formed a complex with MCPIP1 (also known as ZC3H12A) and a deubiquitinase, USP10, which was essential for the USP10-dependent deubiquitination of TRAF6 and the resolution of genotoxic NF-κB activation upon DNA damage. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9-mediated deletion of TANK in human cells significantly enhanced NF-κB activation by genotoxic treatment, resulting in enhanced cell survival and increased inflammatory cytokine production. Furthermore, we found that the TANK-MCPIP1-USP10 complex also decreased TRAF6 ubiquitination in cells treated with IL-1β or LPS. In accordance, depletion of USP10 enhanced NF-κB activation induced by IL-1β or LPS. Collectively, our data demonstrate that TANK serves as an important negative regulator of NF-κB signaling cascades induced by genotoxic stress and IL-1R/Toll-like receptor stimulation in a manner dependent on MCPIP1/USP10-mediated TRAF6 deubiquitination.

CRD-BP/IGF2BP1 has been characterized as an “oncofetal” RNA binding protein typically highly expressed in embryonic tissues, suppressed in normal adult tissues, but induced in many tumor types. In this study, we show that adult breast tissues express ubiquitous but low levels of CRD-BP protein and mRNA. Although CRD-BP mRNA expression is induced in breast tumor cells, levels remain ∼1000-fold lower than in embryonic tissues. Despite low expression levels, CRD-BP is required for clonogenic growth of breast cancer cells. We reveal that because the most common protein isoform in normal adult breast and breast tumors has an N-terminal deletion (lacking two RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains) and is therefore missing antibody epitopes, CRD-BP expression has been under-reported by previous studies. We show that a CRD-BP mutant mouse strain retains expression of the shorter transcript (ΔN-CRD-BP), which originates in intron 2, suggesting that the impact of complete ablation of this gene in mice is not yet known. Either the full-length CRD-BP or the N-terminally truncated version can rescue the clonogenicity of CRD-BP knockdown breast cancer cells, suggesting that clonogenic function is served by either CRD-BP isoform. In summary, although CRD-BP expression levels are low in breast cancer cells, this protein is necessary for clonogenic activity.

Glucocorticoids signal through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and are administered clinically for a variety of situations, including inflammatory disorders, specific cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and organ/tissue transplantation. However, glucocorticoid therapy is also associated with additional complications, including steroid-induced diabetes. We hypothesized that modification of the steroid backbone is one strategy to enhance the therapeutic potential of GR activation. Toward this goal, two commercially unavailable, thiobenzothiazole-containing derivatives of hydrocortisone (termed MS4 and MS6) were examined using 832/13 rat insulinoma cells as well as rodent and human islets. We found that MS4 had transrepression properties but lacked transactivation ability, whereas MS6 retained both transactivation and transrepression activities. In addition, MS4 and MS6 both displayed anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, MS4 displayed reduced impact on islet β-cell function in both rodent and human islets. Similar to dexamethasone, MS6 promoted adipocyte development in vitro, whereas MS4 did not. Moreover, neither MS4 nor MS6 activated the Pck1 (Pepck) gene in primary rat hepatocytes. We conclude that modification of the functional groups attached to the D-ring of the hydrocortisone steroid molecule produces compounds with altered structure-function GR agonist activity with decreased impact on insulin secretion and reduced adipogenic potential but with preservation of anti-inflammatory activity.

Set-β protein plays different roles in neurons, but the diversity of Set-β neuronal isoforms and their functions have not been characterized. The expression and subcellular localization of Set-β are altered in Alzheimer disease, cleavage of Set-β leads to neuronal death after stroke, and the full-length Set-β regulates retinal ganglion cell (RGC) and hippocampal neuron axon growth and regeneration in a subcellular localization-dependent manner. Here we used various biochemical approaches to investigate Set-β isoforms and their role in the CNS, using the same type of neurons, RGCs, across studies. We found multiple alternatively spliced isoforms expressed from the Set locus in purified RGCs. Set transcripts containing the Set-β-specific exon were the most highly expressed isoforms. We also identified a novel, alternatively spliced Set-β transcript lacking the nuclear localization signal and demonstrated that the full-length (∼39-kDa) Set-β is localized predominantly in the nucleus, whereas a shorter (∼25-kDa) Set-β isoform is localized predominantly in the cytoplasm. Finally, we show that an N-terminal Set-β cleavage product can induce neuronal death.

Inflammation and oxidative stress through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are consistently associated with metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetes. Although the role of Nox2, a major ROS-generating enzyme, is well described in host defense and inflammation, little is known about its potential role in insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Insulin resistance induced by a high fat diet was mitigated in Nox2-null mice compared with wild-type mice after 3 or 9 months on the diet. High fat feeding increased Nox2 expression, superoxide production, and impaired insulin signaling in skeletal muscle tissue of wild-type mice but not in Nox2-null mice. Exposure of C2C12 cultured myotubes to either high glucose concentration, palmitate, or H2O2 decreases insulin-induced Akt phosphorylation and glucose uptake. Pretreatment with catalase abrogated these effects, indicating a key role for H2O2 in mediating insulin resistance. Down-regulation of Nox2 in C2C12 cells by shRNA prevented insulin resistance induced by high glucose or palmitate but not H2O2. These data indicate that increased production of ROS in insulin resistance induced by high glucose in skeletal muscle cells is a consequence of Nox2 activation. This is the first report to show that Nox2 is a key mediator of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.

Lipid A in LPS activates innate immunity through the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-MD-2 complex on host cells. Variation in lipid A has significant consequences for TLR4 activation and thus may be a means by which Gram-negative bacteria modulate host immunity. However, although even minor changes in lipid A structure have been shown to affect downstream immune responses, the mechanism by which the TLR4-MD-2 receptor complex recognizes these changes is not well understood. We previously showed that strain BP338 of the human pathogen Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, modifies its lipid A by the addition of glucosamine moieties that promote TLR4 activation in human, but not mouse, macrophages. Using site-directed mutagenesis and an NFκB reporter assay screen, we have identified several charged amino acid residues in TLR4 and MD-2 that are important for these species-specific responses; some of these are novel for responses to penta-acyl B. pertussis LPS, and their mutation does not affect the response to hexa-acylated Escherichia coli LPS or tetra-acylated lipid IVA. We additionally show evidence that suggests that recognition of penta-acylated B. pertussis lipid A is dependent on uncharged amino acids in TLR4 and MD-2 and that this is true for both human and mouse TLR4-MD-2 receptors. Taken together, we have demonstrated that the TLR4-MD-2 receptor complex recognizes variation in lipid A molecules using multiple sites for receptor-ligand interaction and propose that host-specific immunity to a particular Gram-negative bacterium is, at least in part, mediated by very subtle tuning of one of the earliest interactions at the host-pathogen interface.

Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an endonuclease that catalyzes the essential removal of the 5′ end of tRNA precursors. Until recently, all identified RNase P enzymes were a ribonucleoprotein with a conserved catalytic RNA component. However, the discovery of protein-only RNase P (PRORP) shifted this paradigm, affording a unique opportunity to compare mechanistic strategies used by naturally evolved protein and RNA-based enzymes that catalyze the same reaction. Here we investigate the enzymatic mechanism of pre-tRNA hydrolysis catalyzed by the NYN (Nedd4-BP1, YacP nuclease) metallonuclease of Arabidopsis thaliana, PRORP1. Multiple and single turnover kinetic data support a mechanism where a step at or before chemistry is rate-limiting and provide a kinetic framework to interpret the results of metal alteration, mutations, and pH dependence. Catalytic activity has a cooperative dependence on the magnesium concentration (nH = 2) under kcat/Km conditions, suggesting that PRORP1 catalysis is optimal with at least two active site metal ions, consistent with the crystal structure. Metal rescue of Asp-to-Ala mutations identified two aspartates important for enhancing metal ion affinity. The single turnover pH dependence of pre-tRNA cleavage revealed a single ionization (pKa ∼ 8.7) important for catalysis, consistent with deprotonation of a metal-bound water nucleophile. The pH and metal dependence mirrors that observed for the RNA-based RNase P, suggesting similar catalytic mechanisms. Thus, despite different macromolecular composition, the RNA and protein-based RNase P act as dynamic scaffolds for the binding and positioning of magnesium ions to catalyze phosphodiester bond hydrolysis.

Membrane-anchored lipoproteins have a broad range of functions and play key roles in several cellular processes in Gram-positive bacteria. BA0330 and BA0331 are the only lipoproteins among the 11 known or putative polysaccharide deacetylases of Bacillus anthracis. We found that both lipoproteins exhibit unique characteristics. BA0330 and BA0331 interact with peptidoglycan, and BA0330 is important for the adaptation of the bacterium to grow in the presence of a high concentration of salt, whereas BA0331 contributes to the maintenance of a uniform cell shape. They appear not to alter the peptidoglycan structure and do not contribute to lysozyme resistance. The high resolution x-ray structure of BA0330 revealed a C-terminal domain with the typical fold of a carbohydrate esterase 4 and an N-terminal domain unique for this family, composed of a two-layered (4 + 3) β-sandwich with structural similarity to fibronectin type 3 domains. Our data suggest that BA0330 and BA0331 have a structural role in stabilizing the cell wall of B. anthracis.

Protein arginine methyl transferase 1 (PRMT1) was shown to be up-regulated in cancers and important for cancer cell proliferation. However, the role of PRMT1 in lung cancer progression and metastasis remains incompletely understood. In the present study, we show that PRMT1 is an important regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), cancer cell migration, and invasion, which are essential processes during cancer progression, and metastasis. Additionally, we have identified Twist1, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor and a well-known E-cadherin repressor, as a novel PRMT1 substrate. Taken together, we show that PRMT1 is a novel regulator of EMT and arginine 34 (Arg-34) methylation of Twist1 as a unique “methyl arginine mark” for active E-cadherin repression. Therefore, targeting PRMT1-mediated Twist1 methylation might represent a novel strategy for developing new anti-invasive/anti-metastatic drugs. Moreover, methylated Twist1 (Arg-34), as such, could also emerge as a potential important biomarker for lung cancer.

The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) pathway drives reverse topology membrane fission events within multiple cellular pathways, including cytokinesis, multivesicular body biogenesis, repair of the plasma membrane, nuclear membrane vesicle formation, and HIV budding. The AAA ATPase Vps4 is recruited to membrane necks shortly before fission, where it catalyzes disassembly of the ESCRT-III lattice. The N-terminal Vps4 microtubule-interacting and trafficking (MIT) domains initially bind the C-terminal MIT-interacting motifs (MIMs) of ESCRT-III subunits, but it is unclear how the enzyme then remodels these substrates in response to ATP hydrolysis. Here, we report quantitative binding studies that demonstrate that residues from helix 5 of the Vps2p subunit of ESCRT-III bind to the central pore of an asymmetric Vps4p hexamer in a manner that is dependent upon the presence of flexible nucleotide analogs that can mimic multiple states in the ATP hydrolysis cycle. We also find that substrate engagement is autoinhibited by the Vps4p MIT domain and that this inhibition is relieved by binding of either Type 1 or Type 2 MIM elements, which bind the Vps4p MIT domain through different interfaces. These observations support the model that Vps4 substrates are initially recruited by an MIM-MIT interaction that activates the Vps4 central pore to engage substrates and generate force, thereby triggering ESCRT-III disassembly.

The compartmentalization of cell cycle regulators is a common mechanism to ensure the precise temporal control of key cell cycle events. For instance, many mitotic spindle assembly factors are known to be sequestered in the nucleus prior to mitotic onset. Similarly, the essential cytokinetic factor anillin, which functions at the cell membrane to promote the physical separation of daughter cells at the end of mitosis, is sequestered in the nucleus during interphase. To address the mechanism and role of anillin targeting to the nucleus in interphase, we identified the nuclear targeting motif. Here, we show that anillin is targeted to the nucleus by importin β2 in a Ran-dependent manner through an atypical basic patch PY nuclear localization signal motif. We show that although importin β2 binding does not regulate anillin's function in mitosis, it is required to prevent the cytosolic accumulation of anillin, which disrupts cellular architecture during interphase. The nuclear sequestration of anillin during interphase serves to restrict anillin's function at the cell membrane to mitosis and allows anillin to be rapidly available when the nuclear envelope breaks down to remodel the cellular architecture necessary for successful cell division.

Interleukin 31 receptor α (IL-31RA) is a novel Type I cytokine receptor that pairs with oncostatin M receptor to mediate IL-31 signaling. Binding of IL-31 to its receptor results in the phosphorylation and activation of STATs, MAPK, and JNK signaling pathways. IL-31 plays a pathogenic role in tissue inflammation, particularly in allergic diseases. Recent studies demonstrate IL-31RA expression and signaling in non-hematopoietic cells, but this receptor is poorly studied in immune cells. Macrophages are key immune-effector cells that play a critical role in Th2-cytokine-mediated allergic diseases. Here, we demonstrate that Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are capable of up-regulating IL-31RA expression on both peritoneal and bone marrow-derived macrophages from mice. Our data also demonstrate that IL-4Rα-driven IL-31RA expression is STAT6 dependent in macrophages. Notably, the inflammation-associated genes Fizz1 and serum amyloid A (SAA) are significantly up-regulated in M2 macrophages stimulated with IL-31, but not in IL-4 receptor-deficient macrophages. Furthermore, the absence of Type II IL-4 receptor signaling is sufficient to attenuate the expression of IL-31RA in vivo during allergic asthma induced by soluble egg antigen, which may suggest a role for IL-31 signaling in Th2 cytokine-driven inflammation and allergic responses. Our study reveals an important counter-regulatory role between Th2 cytokine and IL-31 signaling involved in allergic diseases.

Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is a key epigenetic regulator that symmetrically dimethylates arginine residues on histones H3 and H4 to silence gene expression. PRMT5 is frequently observed in a complex with the cofactor methylosome protein 50 (MEP50), which is required for PRMT5 activity. PKCδ/p38δ signaling, a key controller of keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, increases p21Cip1 expression to suppress keratinocyte proliferation. We now show that MEP50 enhances keratinocyte proliferation and survival via mechanisms that include silencing of p21Cip1 expression. This is associated with enhanced PRMT5-MEP50 interaction at the p21Cip1 promoter and enhanced arginine dimethylation of the promoter-associated histones H3 and H4. It is also associated with a MEP50-dependent reduction in the level of p53, a key controller of p21Cip1 gene expression. We confirm an important biological role for MEP50 and PRMT5 in regulating keratinocyte proliferation using a stratified epidermal equivalent model that mimics in vivo epidermal keratinocyte differentiation. In this model, PRMT5 or MEP50 knockdown results in reduced keratinocyte proliferation. We further show that PKCδ/p38δ signaling suppresses MEP50 expression, leading to reduced H3/H4 arginine dimethylation at the p21Cip1 promoter, and that this is associated with enhanced p21Cip1 expression and reduced cell proliferation. These findings describe an opposing action between PKCδ/p38δ MAPK signaling and PRMT5/MEP50 epigenetic silencing mechanisms in regulating cell proliferation.

The inverted repeat (IR) sequences delimiting the left and right ends of many naturally active mariner DNA transposons are non-identical and have different affinities for their transposase. We have compared the preferences of two active mariner transposases, Mos1 and Mboumar-9, for their imperfect transposon IRs in each step of transposition: DNA binding, DNA cleavage, and DNA strand transfer. A 3.1 Å resolution crystal structure of the Mos1 paired-end complex containing the pre-cleaved left IR sequences reveals the molecular basis for the reduced affinity of the Mos1 transposase DNA-binding domain for the left IR as compared with the right IR. For both Mos1 and Mboumar-9, in vitro DNA transposition is most efficient when the preferred IR sequence is present at both transposon ends. We find that this is due to the higher efficiency of cleavage and strand transfer of the preferred transposon end. We show that the efficiency of Mboumar-9 transposition is improved almost 4-fold by changing the 3′ base of the preferred Mboumar-9 IR from guanine to adenine. This preference for adenine at the reactive 3′ end for both Mos1 and Mboumar-9 may be a general feature of mariner transposition.

Previous studies revealed an essential role for the lipid-binding Sec14 domain of kalirin (KalSec14), but its mechanism of action is not well understood. Because alternative promoter usage appends unique N-terminal peptides to the KalSec14 domain, we used biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological approaches to examine the two major products, bKalSec14 and cKalSec14. Promoter B encodes a charged, unstructured peptide, whereas promoter C encodes an amphipathic helix (Kal-C-helix). Both bKalSec14 and cKalSec14 interacted with lipids in PIP strip and liposome flotation assays, with significantly greater binding by cKalSec14 in both assays. Disruption of the hydrophobic face of the Kal-C-helix in cKalSec14KKED eliminated its increased liposome binding. Although cKalSec14 showed significantly reduced binding to liposomes lacking phosphatidylinositol phosphates or cholesterol, liposome binding by bKalSec14 and cKalSec14KKED was not affected. When expressed in AtT-20 cells, bKalSec14-GFP was diffusely localized, whereas cKalSec14-GFP localized to the trans-Golgi network and secretory granules. The amphipathic C-helix was sufficient for this localization. When AtT-20 cells were treated with a cell-permeant derivative of the Kal-C-helix (Kal-C-helix-Arg9), we observed increased secretion of a product stored in mature secretory granules, with no effect on basal secretion; a cell-permeant control peptide (Kal-C-helixKKED-Arg9) did not have this effect. Through its ability to control expression of a novel, phosphoinositide-binding amphipathic helix, Kalrn promoter usage is expected to affect function.

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress transducers, such as old astrocyte specifically induced substance (OASIS) and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), which are induced by bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), regulate bone formation and osteoblast differentiation. Here, we examined the role of cAMP response element-binding protein H (CREBH), a member of the same family of ER membrane-bound basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors as OASIS and ATF6, in osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Proinflammatory cytokine TNFα increased CREBH expression by up-regulating the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway in osteoblasts, increased the level of N-terminal fragment of CREBH in the nucleus, and inhibited BMP2 induction of osteoblast specific gene expression. Overexpression of CREBH suppressed BMP2-induced up-regulation of the osteogenic markers runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and osteocalcin (OC) in MC3T3-E1 cells and primary osteoblasts, as well as BMP2-induced ALP activity and OC protein production. In contrast, knockdown of CREBH attenuated the inhibitory effect of TNFα on BMP2-induced osteoblast differentiation. Mechanistic studies revealed that CREBH increased the expression of Smad ubiquitination regulatory factor 1 (Smurf1), leading to ubiquitin-dependent degradation of Smad1, whereas knockdown of CREBH inhibited TNFα-mediated degradation of Smad1 by Smurf1. Consistent with these in vitro findings, administration of Ad-CREBH inhibited BMP2-induced ectopic and orthotopic bone formation in vivo. Taken together, these results suggest that CREBH is a novel negative regulator of osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.

Squamous cell differentiation requires the coordinated activation and repression of genes specific to the differentiation process; disruption of this program accompanies malignant transformation of epithelium. The exploration of genes that control epidermal proliferation and terminal differentiation is vital to better understand esophageal carcinogenesis. KLF4 is a member of the KLF family of transcription factors and is involved in both cellular proliferation and differentiation. This study using immunohistochemistry analysis of KLF4 in clinical specimens of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) demonstrated that decreased KLF4 was substantially associated with poor differentiation. Moreover, we determined that both KLF4 and KRT13 levels were undoubtedly augmented upon sodium butyrate-induced ESCC differentiation and G1 phase arrest. Conversely, silencing of KLF4 and KRT13 abrogated the inhibition of G1-S transition induced by sodium butyrate. Molecular investigation demonstrated that KLF4 transcriptionally regulated KRT13 and the expression of the two molecules appreciably correlated in ESCC tissues and cell lines. Collectively, these results suggest that KLF4 transcriptionally regulates KRT13 and is invovled in ESCC cell differentiation.

Protein-protein interactions play a pivotal role in the assembly of the cellulosome, one of nature's most intricate nanomachines dedicated to the depolymerization of complex carbohydrates. The integration of cellulosomal components usually occurs through the binding of type I dockerin modules located at the C terminus of the enzymes to cohesin modules located in the primary scaffoldin subunit. Cellulosomes are typically recruited to the cell surface via type II cohesin-dockerin interactions established between primary and cell-surface anchoring scaffoldin subunits. In contrast with type II interactions, type I dockerins usually display a dual binding mode that may allow increased conformational flexibility during cellulosome assembly. Acetivibrio cellulolyticus produces a highly complex cellulosome comprising an unusual adaptor scaffoldin, ScaB, which mediates the interaction between the primary scaffoldin, ScaA, through type II cohesin-dockerin interactions and the anchoring scaffoldin, ScaC, via type I cohesin-dockerin interactions. Here, we report the crystal structure of the type I ScaB dockerin in complex with a type I ScaC cohesin in two distinct orientations. The data show that the ScaB dockerin displays structural symmetry, reflected by the presence of two essentially identical binding surfaces. The complex interface is more extensive than those observed in other type I complexes, which results in an ultra-high affinity interaction (Ka ∼1012 m). A subset of ScaB dockerin residues was also identified as modulating the specificity of type I cohesin-dockerin interactions in A. cellulolyticus. This report reveals that recruitment of cellulosomes onto the cell surface may involve dockerins presenting a dual binding mode to incorporate additional flexibility into the quaternary structure of highly populated multienzyme complexes.

During animal development, various signaling pathways converge to regulate cell growth. In this study, we identified LTV1 as a novel cell growth regulator in Drosophila. LTV1 mutant larvae exhibited developmental delays and lethality at the second larval stage. Using biochemical studies, we discovered that LTV1 interacted with ribosomal protein S3 and co-purified with free 40S ribosome subunits. We further demonstrated that LTV1 is crucial for ribosome biogenesis through 40S ribosome subunit synthesis and preribosomal RNA processing, suggesting that LTV1 is required for cell growth by regulating protein synthesis. We also demonstrated that Drosophila Myc (dMyc) directly regulates LTV1 transcription and requires LTV1 to stimulate ribosome biogenesis. Importantly, the loss of LTV1 blocked the cell growth and endoreplication induced by dMyc. Combined, these results suggest that LTV1 is a key downstream factor of dMyc-induced cell growth by properly maintaining ribosome biogenesis.

Male germ cell differentiation is a subtle and complex regulatory process. Currently, its regulatory mechanism is still not fully understood. In our experiment, we performed the first comprehensive genome and transcriptome-wide analyses of the crucial genes and signaling pathways in three kinds of crucial cells (embryonic stem cells, primordial germ cell, and spermatogonial stem cells) that are associated with the male germ cell differentiation. We identified thousands of differentially expressed genes in this process, and from these we chose 173 candidate genes, of which 98 genes were involved in cell differentiation, 19 were involved in the metabolic process, and 56 were involved in the differentiation and metabolic processes, like GAL9, AMH, PLK1, and PSMD7 and so on. In addition, we found that 18 key signaling pathways were involved mainly in cell proliferation, differentiation, and signal transduction processes like TGF-β, Notch, and Jak-STAT. Further exploration found that the candidate gene expression patterns were the same between in vitro induction experiments and transcriptome results. Our results yield clues to the mechanistic basis of male germ cell differentiation and provide an important reference for further studies.