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Journal of Biological Chemistry recent issues



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Non-canonical proteolytic activation of human prothrombin by subtilisin from Bacillus subtilis may shift the procoagulant-anticoagulant equilibrium toward thrombosis [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Blood coagulation is a finely regulated physiological process culminating with the factor Xa (FXa)-mediated conversion of the prothrombin (ProT) zymogen to active α-thrombin (αT). In the prothrombinase complex on the platelet surface, FXa cleaves ProT at Arg-271, generating the inactive precursor prethrombin-2 (Pre2), which is further attacked at Arg-320–Ile-321 to yield mature αT. Whereas the mechanism of physiological ProT activation has been elucidated in great detail, little is known about the role of bacterial proteases, possibly released in the bloodstream during infection, in inducing blood coagulation by direct proteolytic ProT activation. This knowledge gap is particularly concerning, as bacterial infections are frequently complicated by severe coagulopathies. Here, we show that addition of subtilisin (50 nm to 2 μm), a serine protease secreted by the non-pathogenic bacterium Bacillus subtilis, induces plasma clotting by proteolytically converting ProT into active σPre2, a nicked Pre2 derivative with a single cleaved Ala-470–Asn-471 bond. Notably, we found that this non-canonical cleavage at Ala-470–Asn-471 is instrumental for the onset of catalysis in σPre2, which was, however, reduced about 100–200-fold compared with αT. Of note, σPre2 could generate fibrin clots from fibrinogen, either in solution or in blood plasma, and could aggregate human platelets, either isolated or in whole blood. Our findings demonstrate that alternative cleavage of ProT by proteases, even by those secreted by non-virulent bacteria such as B. subtilis, can shift the delicate procoagulant–anticoagulant equilibrium toward thrombosis.



The novel cardiac z-disc protein CEFIP regulates cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by modulating calcineurin signaling [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The z-disc is a structural component at the lateral borders of the sarcomere and is important for mechanical stability and contractility of both cardiac and skeletal muscles. Of note, the sarcomeric z-disc also represents a nodal point in cardiomyocyte function and signaling. Mutations of numerous z-disc proteins are associated with cardiomyopathies and muscle diseases. To identify additional z-disc proteins that might contribute to cardiac disease, we employed an in silico screen for cardiac-enriched cDNAs. This screen yielded a previously uncharacterized protein named cardiac-enriched FHL2-interacting protein (CEFIP), which exhibited a heart- and skeletal muscle-specific expression profile. Importantly, CEFIP was located at the z-disc and was up-regulated in several models of cardiomyopathy. We also found that CEFIP overexpression induced the fetal gene program and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Yeast two-hybrid screens revealed that CEFIP interacts with the calcineurin-binding protein four and a half LIM domains 2 (FHL2). Because FHL2 binds calcineurin, a phosphatase controlling hypertrophic signaling, we examined the effects of CEFIP on the calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT) pathway. These experiments revealed that CEFIP overexpression further enhances calcineurin-dependent hypertrophic signal transduction, and its knockdown repressed hypertrophy and calcineurin/NFAT activity. In summary, we report on a previously uncharacterized protein CEFIP that modulates calcineurin/NFAT signaling in cardiomyocytes, a finding with possible implications for the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy.



Neuropilin-1 promotes Hedgehog signaling through a novel cytoplasmic motif [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Hedgehog (HH) signaling critically regulates embryonic and postnatal development as well as adult tissue homeostasis, and its perturbation can lead to developmental disorders, birth defects, and cancers. Neuropilins (NRPs), which have well-defined roles in Semaphorin and VEGF signaling, positively regulate HH pathway function, although their mechanism of action in HH signaling remains unclear. Here, using luciferase-based reporter assays, we provide evidence that NRP1 regulates HH signaling specifically at the level of GLI transcriptional activator function. Moreover, we show that NRP1 localization to the primary cilium, a key platform for HH signal transduction, does not correlate with HH signal promotion. Rather, a structure–function analysis suggests that the NRP1 cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains are necessary and sufficient to regulate HH pathway activity. Furthermore, we identify a previously uncharacterized, 12-amino acid region within the NRP1 cytoplasmic domain that mediates HH signal promotion. Overall, our results provide mechanistic insight into NRP1 function within and potentially beyond the HH signaling pathway. These insights have implications for the development of novel modulators of HH-driven developmental disorders and diseases.



Epigenetic suppression of human telomerase (hTERT) is mediated by the metastasis suppressor NME2 in a G-quadruplex-dependent fashion [Genomics and Proteomics]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Transcriptional activation of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene, which remains repressed in adult somatic cells, is critical during tumorigenesis. Several transcription factors and the epigenetic state of the hTERT promoter are known to be important for tight control of hTERT in normal tissues, but the molecular mechanisms leading to hTERT reactivation in cancer are not well-understood. Surprisingly, here we found occupancy of the metastasis suppressor non-metastatic 2 (NME2) within the hTERT core promoter in HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells and HCT116 colon cancer cells and NME2-mediated transcriptional repression of hTERT in these cells. We also report that loss of NME2 results in up-regulated hTERT expression. Mechanistically, additional results indicated that the RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST)–lysine-specific histone demethylase 1 (LSD1) co-repressor complex associates with the hTERT promoter in an NME2-dependent way and that this assembly is required for maintaining repressive chromatin at the hTERT promoter. Interestingly, a G-quadruplex motif at the hTERT promoter was essential for occupancy of NME2 and the REST repressor complex on the hTERT promoter. In light of this mechanistic insight, we studied the effects of G-quadruplex–binding ligands on hTERT expression and observed that several of these ligands repressed hTERT expression. Together, our results support a mechanism of hTERT epigenetic control involving a G-quadruplex promoter motif, which potentially can be targeted by tailored small molecules.



Human ribonuclease H1 resolves R-loops and thereby enables progression of the DNA replication fork [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Faithful DNA replication is essential for genome stability. To ensure accurate replication, numerous complex and redundant replication and repair mechanisms function in tandem with the core replication proteins to ensure DNA replication continues even when replication challenges are present that could impede progression of the replication fork. A unique topological challenge to the replication machinery is posed by RNA–DNA hybrids, commonly referred to as R-loops. Although R-loops play important roles in gene expression and recombination at immunoglobulin sites, their persistence is thought to interfere with DNA replication by slowing or impeding replication fork progression. Therefore, it is of interest to identify DNA-associated enzymes that help resolve replication-impeding R-loops. Here, using DNA fiber analysis, we demonstrate that human ribonuclease H1 (RNH1) plays an important role in replication fork movement in the mammalian nucleus by resolving R-loops. We found that RNH1 depletion results in accumulation of RNA–DNA hybrids, slowing of replication forks, and increased DNA damage. Our data uncovered a role for RNH1 in global DNA replication in the mammalian nucleus. Because accumulation of RNA–DNA hybrids is linked to various human cancers and neurodegenerative disorders, our study raises the possibility that replication fork progression might be impeded, adding to increased genomic instability and contributing to disease.



A plant/fungal-type phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase located in the parasite mitochondrion ensures glucose-independent survival of Toxoplasma gondii [Metabolism]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Toxoplasma gondii is considered to be one of the most successful intracellular pathogens, because it can reproduce in varied nutritional milieus, encountered in diverse host cell types of essentially any warm-blooded organism. Our earlier work demonstrated that the acute (tachyzoite) stage of T. gondii depends on cooperativity of glucose and glutamine catabolism to meet biosynthetic demands. Either of these two nutrients can sustain the parasite survival; however, what determines the metabolic plasticity has not yet been resolved. Here, we reveal two discrete phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) enzymes in the parasite, one of which resides in the mitochondrion (TgPEPCKmt), whereas the other protein is not expressed in tachyzoites (TgPEPCKnet). Parasites with an intact glycolysis can tolerate genetic deletions of TgPEPCKmt as well as of TgPEPCKnet, indicating their nonessential roles for tachyzoite survival. TgPEPCKnet can also be ablated in a glycolysis-deficient mutant, while TgPEPCKmt is refractory to deletion. Consistent with this, the lytic cycle of a conditional mutant of TgPEPCKmt in the glycolysis-impaired strain was aborted upon induced repression of the mitochondrial isoform, demonstrating its essential role for the glucose-independent survival of parasites. Isotope-resolved metabolomics of the conditional mutant revealed defective flux of glutamine-derived carbon into RNA-bound ribose sugar as well as metabolites associated with gluconeogenesis, entailing a critical nodal role of PEPCKmt in linking catabolism of glucose and glutamine with anabolic pathways. Our data also suggest a homeostatic function ofTgPEPCKmt in cohesive operation of glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle in a normal glucose-replete milieu. Conversely, we found that the otherwise integrative enzyme pyruvate carboxylase (TgPyC) is dispensable not only in glycolysis-competent but also in glycolysis-deficient tachyzoites despite a mitochondrial localization. Last but not least, the observed physiology of T. gondii tachyzoites appears to phenocopy cancer cells, which holds promise for developing common therapeutics against both threats.



The exocyst subunit Sec3 is regulated by a protein quality control pathway [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Exocytosis involves fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane, thereby delivering membrane proteins to the cell surface and releasing material into the extracellular space. The tethering of the secretory vesicles before membrane fusion is mediated by the exocyst, an essential phylogenetically conserved octameric protein complex. Exocyst biogenesis is regulated by several processes, but the mechanisms by which the exocyst is degraded are unknown. Here, to unravel the components of the exocyst degradation pathway, we screened for extragenic suppressors of a temperature-sensitive fission yeast strain mutated in the exocyst subunit Sec3 (sec3-913). One of the suppressing DNAs encoded a truncated dominant-negative variant of the 26S proteasome subunit, Rpt2, indicating that exocyst degradation is controlled by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The temperature-dependent growth defect of the sec3-913 strain was gene dosage-dependent and suppressed by blocking the proteasome, Hsp70-type molecular chaperones, the Pib1 E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase, and the deubiquitylating enzyme Ubp3. Moreover, defects in cell septation, exocytosis, and endocytosis in sec3 mutant strains were similarly alleviated by mutation of components in this pathway. We also found that, particularly under stress conditions, wild-type Sec3 degradation is regulated by Pib1 and the 26S proteasome. In conclusion, our results suggest that a cytosolic protein quality control pathway monitors folding and proteasome-dependent turnover of an exocyst subunit and, thereby, controls exocytosis in fission yeast.



Squamous cell carcinoma-related oncogene (SCCRO) neddylates Cul3 protein to selectively promote midbody localization and activity of Cul3KLHL21 protein complex during abscission [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Squamous cell carcinoma–related oncogene (SCCRO)/DCUN1D1, a component of the neddylation E3 complex, regulates the activity of the cullin–RING–ligase type of ubiquitination E3s by promoting neddylation of cullin family members. Studies have shown that SCCRO regulates proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Here we show that inactivation of SCCRO results in prolonged mitotic time because of delayed and/or failed abscission. The effects of SCCRO on abscission involve its role in neddylation and localization of Cul3 to the midbody. The Cul3 adaptor KLHL21 mediates the effects of SCCRO on abscission, as it fails to localize to the midbody in SCCRO-deficient cells during abscission, and its inactivation resulted in phenotypic changes identical to SCCRO inactivation. Ubiquitination-promoted turnover of Aurora B at the midbody was deficient in SCCRO- and KLHL21-deficient cells, suggesting that it is the target of Cul3KLHL21 at the midbody. Correction of abscission delays in SCCRO-deficient cells with addition of an Aurora B inhibitor at the midbody stage suggests that Aurora B is the target of SCCRO-promoted Cul3KLHL21 activity. The activity of other Cul3-anchored complexes, including Cul3KLHL9/KLHL13, was intact in SCCRO-deficient cells, suggesting that SCCRO selectively, rather than collectively, neddylates cullins in vivo. Combined, these findings support a model in which the SCCRO, substrate, and substrate adaptors cooperatively provide tight control of neddylation and cullin–RING–ligase activity in vivo.



p38 MAPK inhibits nonsense-mediated RNA decay in response to persistent DNA damage in noncycling cells [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Persistent DNA damage induces profound alterations in gene expression that, in turn, influence tissue homeostasis, tumorigenesis, and cancer treatment outcome. However, the underlying mechanism for gene expression reprogramming induced by persistent DNA damage remains poorly understood. Here, using a highly effective bioluminescence-based reporter system and other tools, we report that persistent DNA damage inhibits nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD), an RNA surveillance and gene-regulatory pathway, in noncycling cells. NMD suppression by persistent DNA damage required the activity of the p38α MAPK. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), an NMD target and a key stress-inducible transcription factor, was stabilized in a p38α- and NMD-dependent manner following persistent DNA damage. Our results reveal a novel p38α-dependent pathway that regulates NMD activity in response to persistent DNA damage, which, in turn, controls ATF3 expression in affected cells.



An acetylation-phosphorylation switch that regulates tau aggregation propensity and function [Neurobiology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The aberrant accumulation of tau protein is a pathological hallmark of a class of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. On the basis of previous observations that tau is a direct substrate of histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), we sought to map all HDAC6-responsive sites in tau and determine how acetylation in a site-specific manner affects tau's biophysical properties in vitro. Our findings indicate that several acetylation sites in tau are responsive to HDAC6 and that acetylation on Lys-321 (within a KCGS motif) is both essential for acetylation-mediated inhibition of tau aggregation in vitro and a molecular tactic for preventing phosphorylation on the downstream Ser-324 residue. To determine the functional consequence of this HDAC6-regulated phosphorylation event, we examined tau's ability to promote microtubule assembly and found that phosphorylation of Ser-324 interferes with the normal microtubule-stabilizing function of tau. Tau phosphorylation of Ser-324 (pSer-324) has not previously been evaluated in the context of tauopathy, and here we observed increased deposition of pSer-324–positive tau both in mouse models of tauopathy and in patients with Alzheimer's disease. These findings uncover a novel acetylation–phosphorylation switch at Lys-321/Ser-324 that coordinately regulates tau polymerization and function. Because the disease relevance of this finding is evident, additional studies are needed to examine the role of pSer-324 in tau pathobiology and to determine whether therapeutically modulating this acetylation–phosphorylation switch affects disease progression in vivo.



The peroxisomal matrix protein translocon is a large cavity-forming protein assembly into which PEX5 protein enters to release its cargo [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

A remarkable property of the machinery for import of peroxisomal matrix proteins is that it can accept already folded proteins as substrates. This import involves binding of newly synthesized proteins by cytosolic peroxisomal biogenesis factor 5 (PEX5) followed by insertion of the PEX5–cargo complex into the peroxisomal membrane at the docking/translocation module (DTM). However, how these processes occur remains largely unknown. Here, we used truncated PEX5 molecules to probe the DTM architecture. We found that the DTM can accommodate a larger number of truncated PEX5 molecules comprising amino acid residues 1–197 than full-length PEX5 molecules. A shorter PEX5 version (PEX5(1–125)) still interacted correctly with the DTM; however, this species was largely accessible to exogenously added proteinase K, suggesting that this protease can access the DTM occupied by a small PEX5 protein. Interestingly, the PEX5(1–125)–DTM interaction was inhibited by a polypeptide comprising PEX5 residues 138–639. Apparently, the DTM can recruit soluble PEX5 through interactions with different PEX5 domains, suggesting that the PEX5–DTM interactions are to some degree fuzzy. Finally, we found that the interaction between PEX5 and PEX14, a major DTM component, is stable at pH 11.5. Thus, there is no reason to assume that the hitherto intriguing resistance of DTM-bound PEX5 to alkaline extraction reflects its direct contact with the peroxisomal lipid bilayer. Collectively, these results suggest that the DTM is best described as a large cavity-forming protein assembly into which cytosolic PEX5 can enter to release its cargo.



Functional insights into the mode of DNA and ligand binding of the TetR family regulator TylP from Streptomyces fradiae [DNA and Chromosomes]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Tetracycline repressors (TetRs) modulate multidrug efflux pathways in several pathogenic bacteria. In Streptomyces, they additionally regulate secondary metabolic pathways like antibiotic production. For instance, in the antibiotic producer Streptomyces fradiae, a layered network of TetRs regulates the levels of the commercially important antibiotic tylosin, with TylP occupying the top of this cascading network. TetRs exist in two functional states, the DNA-bound and the ligand-bound form, which are allosterically regulated. Here, to develop deeper insights into the factors that govern allostery, the crystal structure of TylP was solved to a resolution of 2.3 Å. The structure revealed that TylP possesses several unique features; notably, it harbors a unique C-terminal helix-loop extension that spans the entire length of the structure. This anchor connects the DNA-binding domain (DBD) with the ligand-binding domain (LBD) via a mix of positively charged and hydrogen-bonding interactions. Supporting EMSA studies with a series of ΔC truncated versions show that a systematic deletion of this region results in complete loss of DNA binding. The structure additionally revealed that TylP is markedly different in the orientation of its DBD and LBD architecture and the dimeric geometry from its hypothesized Streptomyces homologue CprB, which is a γ-butyrolactone regulator. Rather, TylP is closer in structural design to macrolide-binding TetRs found in pathogens. Supporting molecular dynamic studies suggested that TylP binds a macrolide intermediate in the tylosin pathway. Collectively, the structure along with corroborating biochemical studies provided insights into the novel mode of regulation of TetRs in antibiotic-producing organisms.



The Alzheimer's disease-protective CD33 splice variant mediates adaptive loss of function via diversion to an intracellular pool [Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The immunomodulatory receptor Siglec-3/CD33 influences risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD), an apparently human-specific post-reproductive disease. CD33 generates two splice variants: a full-length CD33M transcript produced primarily by the “LOAD-risk” allele and a shorter CD33m isoform lacking the sialic acid-binding domain produced primarily from the “LOAD-protective” allele. An SNP that modulates CD33 splicing to favor CD33m is associated with enhanced microglial activity. Individuals expressing more protective isoform accumulate less brain β-amyloid and have a lower LOAD risk. How the CD33m isoform increases β-amyloid clearance remains unknown. We report that the protection by the CD33m isoform may not be conferred by what it does but, rather, from what it cannot do. Analysis of blood neutrophils and monocytes and a microglial cell line revealed that unlike CD33M, the CD33m isoform does not localize to cell surfaces; instead, it accumulates in peroxisomes. Cell stimulation and activation did not mobilize CD33m to the surface. Thus, the CD33m isoform may neither interact directly with amyloid plaques nor engage in cell-surface signaling. Rather, production and localization of CD33m in peroxisomes is a way of diminishing the amount of CD33M and enhancing β-amyloid clearance. We confirmed intracellular localization by generating a CD33m-specific monoclonal antibody. Of note, CD33 is the only Siglec with a peroxisome-targeting sequence, and this motif emerged by convergent evolution in toothed whales, the only other mammals with a prolonged post-reproductive lifespan. The CD33 allele that protects post-reproductive individuals from LOAD may have evolved by adaptive loss-of-function, an example of the less-is-more hypothesis.



Palmitoylation is a prerequisite for dimerization-dependent raftophilicity of rhodopsin [Membrane Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The visual photopigment rhodopsin (Rh) is a prototypical G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR) responsible for initiation of the phototransduction cascade in rod photoreceptors. Similar to other GPCRs, Rh can form dimers or even higher oligomers and tends to have a supramolecular organization that is likely important in the dim light response. Rh also exhibits high affinity for lipid rafts (i.e. raftophilicity) upon light-dependent binding with the cognate G protein transducin (Gt), suggesting the presence of lipid raft-like domains in the retinal disk membrane and their importance in phototransduction. However, the relationship between Rh oligomerization and lipid rafts in the disk membrane remains to be explored. Given previous findings that Gt binds to dimeric Rh and that Rh is posttranslationally modified with two highly raftophilic palmitoyl moieties, we hypothesized that Rh becomes raftophilic upon dimerization. Here, using biochemical assays, we found that Rh*–Gt complexes in the detergent-resistant membrane are partially resistant to cholesterol depletion by methyl-β-cyclodextrin and that the Rh-to-Gt stoichiometry in this methyl-β-cyclodextrin–resistant complex is 2:1. Next, we found that IgG-mediated Rh–Rh cross-linking renders Rh highly raftophilic, supporting the premise that Rh becomes raftophilic upon dimerization. Rh depalmitoylation via reduction of thioester linkages blocked the translocation of IgG–cross-linked Rh to the detergent-resistant membrane, highlighting that the two palmitoyl moieties are important for the dimerization-dependent raftophilicity of Rh. These results indicate that palmitoylated GPCRs such as Rh can acquire raftophilicity upon G protein–stabilized dimerization and thereby organize receptor-cluster rafts by recruiting raftophilic lipids.



A mosquito hemolymph odorant-binding protein family member specifically binds juvenile hormone [Lipids]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Juvenile hormone (JH) is a key regulator of insect development and reproduction. In adult mosquitoes, it is essential for maturation of the ovary and normal male reproductive behavior, but how JH distribution and activity is regulated after secretion is unclear. Here, we report a new type of specific JH-binding protein, given the name mosquito juvenile hormone-binding protein (mJHBP), which circulates in the hemolymph of pupal and adult Aedes aegypti males and females. mJHBP is a member of the odorant-binding protein (OBP) family, and orthologs are present in the genomes of Aedes, Culex, and Anopheles mosquito species. Using isothermal titration calorimetry, we show that mJHBP specifically binds JH II and JH III but not eicosanoids or JH derivatives. mJHBP was crystallized in the presence of JH III and found to have a double OBP domain structure reminiscent of salivary “long” D7 proteins of mosquitoes. We observed that a single JH III molecule is contained in the N-terminal domain binding pocket that is closed in an apparent conformational change by a C-terminal domain-derived α-helix. The electron density for the ligand indicated a high occupancy of the natural 10R enantiomer of JH III. Of note, mJHBP is structurally unrelated to hemolymph JHBP from lepidopteran insects. A low level of expression of mJHBP in Ae. aegypti larvae suggests that it is primarily active during the adult stage where it could potentially influence the effects of JH on egg development, mating behavior, feeding, or other processes.



Site-specific inhibition of the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-conjugating enzyme Ubc9 selectively impairs SUMO chain formation [Enzymology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Posttranslational modifications by small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMOs) regulate many cellular processes, including genome integrity, gene expression, and ribosome biogenesis. The E2-conjugating enzyme Ubc9 catalyzes the conjugation of SUMOs to ϵ-amino groups of lysine residues in target proteins. Attachment of SUMO moieties to internal lysines in Ubc9 itself can further lead to the formation of polymeric SUMO chains. Mono- and poly-SUMOylations of target proteins provide docking sites for distinct adapter and effector proteins important for regulating discrete SUMO-regulated pathways. However, molecular tools to dissect pathways depending on either mono- or poly-SUMOylation are largely missing. Using a protein-engineering approach, we generated high-affinity SUMO2 variants by phage display that bind the back side binding site of Ubc9 and function as SUMO-based Ubc9 inhibitors (SUBINs). Importantly, we found that distinct SUBINs primarily inhibit poly-SUMO chain formation, whereas mono-SUMOylation was not impaired. Proof-of-principle experiments demonstrated that in a cellular context, SUBINs largely prevent heat shock-triggered poly-SUMOylation. Moreover, SUBINs abrogated arsenic-induced degradation of promyelocytic leukemia protein. We propose that the availability of the new chain-selective SUMO inhibitors reported here will enable a thorough investigation of poly-SUMO-mediated cellular processes, such as DNA damage responses and cell cycle progression.



Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a new bone morphogenetic protein-2 and -4 (BMP-2/4) antagonist identified in pituitary cells [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate diverse cellular responses during embryogenesis and in adulthood including cell differentiation, proliferation, and death in various tissues. In the adult pituitary, BMPs participate in the control of hormone secretion and cell proliferation, suggesting a potential endocrine/paracrine role for BMPs, but some of the mechanisms are unclear. Here, using a bioactivity test based on embryonic cells (C3H10T1/2) transfected with a BMP-responsive element, we sought to determine whether pituitary cells secrete BMPs or BMP antagonists. Interestingly, we found that pituitary-conditioned medium contains a factor that inhibits action of BMP-2 and -4. Combining surface plasmon resonance and high-resolution mass spectrometry helped pinpoint this factor as thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1). Surface plasmon resonance and co-immunoprecipitation confirmed that recombinant human TSP-1 can bind BMP-2 and -4 and antagonize their effects on C3H10T1/2 cells. Moreover, TSP-1 inhibited the action of serum BMPs. We also report that the von Willebrand type C domain of TSP-1 is likely responsible for this BMP-2/4-binding activity, an assertion based on sequence similarity that TSP-1 shares with the von Willebrand type C domain of Crossveinless 2 (CV-2), a BMP antagonist and member of the chordin family. In summary, we identified for the first time TSP-1 as a BMP-2/-4 antagonist and presented a structural basis for the physical interaction between TSP-1 and BMP-4. We propose that TSP-1 could regulate bioavailability of BMPs, either produced locally or reaching the pituitary via blood circulation. In conclusion, our findings provide new insights into the involvement of TSP-1 in the BMP-2/-4 mechanisms of action.



Phosphorylation of the kainate receptor (KAR) auxiliary subunit Neto2 at serine 409 regulates synaptic targeting of the KAR subunit GluK1 [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Synaptic strength at excitatory synapses is determined by the presence of glutamate receptors (i.e. AMPA, NMDA, and kainate receptors) at the synapse. Synaptic strength is modulated by multiple factors including assembly of different receptor subunits, interaction with auxiliary subunits, and post-translational modifications of either the receptors or their auxiliary subunits. Using mass spectrometry, we found that the intracellular region of neuropilin and tolloid-like proteins (Neto) 1 and Neto2, the auxiliary subunits of kainate receptor (KARs), are phosphorylated by multiple kinases in vitro. Specifically, Neto2 was phosphorylated at serine 409 (Ser-409) by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and protein kinase A (PKA) both in vitro and in heterologous cells. Interestingly, we observed a substantial increase in Neto2 Ser-409 phosphorylation in the presence of CaMKII, and this phosphorylation was reduced in the presence of the KAR subunit GluK1 or GluK2. We also found endogenous phosphorylation of Neto2 at Ser-409 in the brain. Moreover, Neto2 Ser-409 phosphorylation inhibited synaptic targeting of GluK1 because, unlike WT Neto2 and the phosphodeficient mutant Neto2 S409A, the Neto2 S409D phosphomimetic mutant impeded GluK1 trafficking to synapses. These results support a molecular mechanism by which Neto2 phosphorylation at Ser-409 helps restrict GluK1 targeting to the synapse.



Funiculosin variants and phosphorylated derivatives promote innate immune responses via the Toll-like receptor 4/myeloid differentiation factor-2 complex [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/myeloid differentiation factor-2 (MD-2) complex is essential for LPS recognition and induces innate immune responses against Gram-negative bacteria. As activation of TLR4/MD-2 is also critical for the induction of adaptive immune responses, TLR4/MD-2 agonists have been developed as vaccine adjuvants, but their efficacy has not yet been ascertained. Here, we demonstrate that a funiculosin (FNC) variant, FNC-RED, and FNC-RED and FNC derivatives are agonists for both murine and human TLR4/MD-2. FNC-RED induced nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation via murine TLR4/MD-2, whereas FNC had no TLR4/MD-2 stimulatory activity. Biacore analysis revealed that FNC-RED binds to murine TLR4/MD-2 but not murine radioprotective 105 (RP105)/myeloid differentiation factor-1 (MD-1), another LPS sensor. FNC-RED induced CD14-independent expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules in murine macrophages and dendritic cells. In contrast, FNC-RED stimulation was reduced in CD14-dependent LPS responses, including dimerization and internalization of TLR4/MD-2 and IFN-β expression. FNC-RED-induced IL-12p40 production from murine dendritic cells was dependent on NF-κB but not MAPK pathway. In addition, fetal bovine serum augmented lipid A-induced NF-κB activation but blocked FNC-RED-mediated responses. Two synthetic phosphate group-containing FNC-RED and FNC derivatives, FNC-RED-P01 and FNC-P01, respectively, activated human TLR4/MD-2, unlike FNC-RED. Finally, computational analysis revealed that this species-specific activation by FNC-RED and FNC-RED-P01 resulted from differences in electrostatic surface potentials between murine and human TLR4/MD-2. We conclude that FNC-RED and its synthetic derivative represent a novel category of murine and human TLR4/MD-2 agonist.



The long noncoding RNA HULC promotes liver cancer by increasing the expression of the HMGA2 oncogene via sequestration of the microRNA-186 [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

The long noncoding RNA highly up-regulated in liver cancer (HULC) is aberrantly elevated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and this up-regulation is crucial for HCC pathogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism in HULC up-regulation is poorly understood. We hypothesized that HULC might modulate the oncogene high mobility group A2 (HMGA2) to promote hepatocarcinogenesis. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that the expression levels of HULC were positively correlated with those of HMGA2 in clinical HCC tissues. Interestingly, we also observed that HULC could up-regulate HMGA2 in HCC cells. Mechanistically, we found that the microRNA-186 inhibited HMGA2 expression by targeting the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of HMGA2 mRNA. Strikingly, HULC acted as a competing noncoding RNA to sequester miR-186 and thereby relieved miR-186–mediated HMGA2 repression. Functionally, HMGA2 knockdown decreased the HULC-enhanced growth of HCC cells both in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that the long noncoding RNA HULC increases HMGA2 expression by sequestering miR-186 post-transcriptionally and thereby promotes liver cancer growth, providing new insights into the mechanism by which HULC enhances hepatocarcinogenesis.



Surface Toll-like receptor 3 expression in metastatic intestinal epithelial cells induces inflammatory cytokine production and promotes invasiveness [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:47-07:00

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are innate immune receptors for sensing microbial molecules and damage-associated molecular patterns released from host cells. Double-stranded RNA and the synthetic analog polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) bind and activate TLR3. This stimulation leads to recruitment of the adaptor molecule TRIF (Toll/IL-1 resistance (TIR) domain–containing adapter-inducing interferon β) and activation of the transcription factors nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3), classically inducing IFNβ production. Here we report that, unlike non-metastatic intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), metastatic IECs express TLR3 and that TLR3 promotes invasiveness of these cells. In response to poly(I:C) addition, the metastatic IECs also induced the chemokine CXCL10 in a TLR3-, TRIF-, and IRF3-dependent manner but failed to produce IFNβ. This was in contrast to healthy and non-metastatic IECs, which did not respond to poly(I:C) stimulation. Endolysosomal acidification and the endosomal transporter protein UNC93B1 was required for poly(I:C)-induced CXCL10 production. However, TLR3-induced CXCL10 was triggered by immobilized poly(I:C), was only modestly affected by inhibition of endocytosis, and could be blocked with an anti-TLR3 antibody, indicating that TLR3 can still signal from the cell surface of these cells. Furthermore, plasma membrane fractions from metastatic IECs contained both full-length and cleaved TLR3, demonstrating surface expression of both forms of TLR3. Our results imply that metastatic IECs express surface TLR3, allowing it to sense extracellular stimuli that trigger chemokine responses and promote invasiveness in these cells. We conclude that altered TLR3 expression and localization may have implications for cancer progression.



Commensal microbiota-induced microRNA modulates intestinal epithelial permeability through the small GTPase ARF4 [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

The intestinal tract contains many commensal bacteria that modulate various physiological host functions. Dysbiosis of commensal bacteria triggers dysfunction of the intestinal epithelial barrier, leading to the induction or aggravation of intestinal inflammation. To elucidate whether microRNA plays a role in commensal microbiome-dependent intestinal epithelial barrier regulation, we compared transcripts in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) from conventional and germ-free mice and found that commensal bacteria induced the expression of miR-21-5p in IECs. miR-21-5p increased intestinal epithelial permeability and up-regulated ADP ribosylation factor 4 (ARF4), a small GTPase, in the IEC line Caco-2. We also found that ARF4 expression was up-regulated upon suppression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4), which are known miR-21-5p targets, by RNAi. Furthermore, ARF4 expression in epithelial cells of the large intestine was higher in conventional mice than in germ-free mice. ARF4 suppression in the IEC line increased the expression of tight junction proteins and decreased intestinal epithelial permeability. These results indicate that commensal microbiome-dependent miR-21-5p expression in IECs regulates intestinal epithelial permeability via ARF4, which may therefore represent a target for preventing or managing dysfunction of the intestinal epithelial barrier.



De novo triiodothyronine formation from thyrocytes activated by thyroid-stimulating hormone [Metabolism]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

The thyroid gland secretes primarily tetraiodothyronine (T4), and some triiodothyronine (T3). Under normal physiological circumstances, only one-fifth of circulating T3 is directly released by the thyroid, but in states of hyperactivation of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptors (TSHRs), patients develop a syndrome of relative T3 toxicosis. Thyroidal T4 production results from iodination of thyroglobulin (TG) at residues Tyr5 and Tyr130, whereas thyroidal T3 production may originate in several different ways. In this study, the data demonstrate that within the carboxyl-terminal portion of mouse TG, T3 is formed de novo independently of deiodination from T4. We found that upon iodination in vitro, de novo T3 formation in TG was decreased in mice lacking TSHRs. Conversely, de novo T3 that can be formed upon iodination of TG secreted from PCCL3 (rat thyrocyte) cells was augmented from cells previously exposed to increased TSH, a TSHR agonist, a cAMP analog, or a TSHR-stimulating antibody. We present data suggesting that TSH-stimulated TG phosphorylation contributes to enhanced de novo T3 formation. These effects were reversed within a few days after removal of the hyperstimulating conditions. Indeed, direct exposure of PCCL3 cells to human serum from two patients with Graves' disease, but not control sera, led to secretion of TG with an increased intrinsic ability to form T3 upon in vitro iodination. Furthermore, TG secreted from human thyrocyte cultures hyperstimulated with TSH also showed an increased intrinsic ability to form T3. Our data support the hypothesis that TG processing in the secretory pathway of TSHR-hyperstimulated thyrocytes alters the structure of the iodination substrate in a way that enhances de novo T3 formation, contributing to the relative T3 toxicosis of Graves' disease.



Structural basis of autoinhibition and activation of the DNA-targeting ADP-ribosyltransferase pierisin-1 [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

ADP-ribosyltransferases transfer the ADP-ribose moiety of βNAD+ to an acceptor molecule, usually a protein that modulates the function of the acceptor. Pierisin-1 is an ADP-ribosyltransferase from the cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae and is composed of N-terminal catalytic and C-terminal ricin B–like domains. Curiously, it ADP-ribosylates the DNA duplex, resulting in apoptosis of various cancer cells, which has raised interest in pierisin-1 as an anti-cancer agent. However, both the structure and the mechanism of DNA ADP-ribosylation are unclear. Here, we report the crystal structures of the N-terminal catalytic domain of pierisin-1, its complex with βNAD+, and the catalytic domain with the linker connecting it to the ricin B–like domains. We found that the catalytic domain possesses a defined, positively charged region on the molecular surface but that its overall structure is otherwise similar to those of protein-targeting ADP-ribosyltransferases. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and site-directed mutagenesis indicated that pierisin-1 binds double-stranded but not single-stranded DNA and that Lys122, Lys123, and Lys124, which are found in a loop, and Arg181 and Arg187, located in a basic cleft near the loop, are required for DNA binding. Furthermore, the structure of the catalytic domain with the linker revealed an autoinhibitory mechanism in which the linker occupies and blocks both the βNAD+- and DNA-binding sites, suggesting that proteolytic cleavage to remove the linker is necessary for enzyme catalysis. Our study provides a structural basis for the DNA-acceptor specificity of pierisin-1 and reveals that a self-regulatory mechanism is required for its activity.



Efficient methylation of C2 in l-tryptophan by the cobalamin-dependent radical S-adenosylmethionine methylase TsrM requires an unmodified N1 amine [Metabolism]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

TsrM catalyzes the methylation of C2 in l-tryptophan (Trp). This reaction is the first step in the biosynthesis of the quinaldic acid moiety of the thiopeptide antibiotic thiostrepton, which exhibits potent activity against Gram-positive pathogens. TsrM is a member of the radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) superfamily of enzymes, but it does not catalyze the formation of 5′-deoxyadenosin-5′-yl or any other SAM-derived radical. In addition to a [4Fe–4S] cluster, TsrM contains a cobalamin cofactor that serves as an intermediate methyl carrier in its reaction. However, how this cofactor donates a methyl moiety to the Trp substrate is unknown. Here, we showed that the unmodified N1 position of Trp is important for turnover and that 1-thia-Trp and 1-oxa-Trp serve as competitive inhibitors. We also showed that β-cyclopropyl-Trp undergoes C2 methylation in the absence of cyclopropyl ring opening, disfavoring mechanisms that involve unpaired electron density at C3 of the indole ring. Moreover, we showed that all other indole-substituted analogs of Trp undergo methylation at varying but measurable rates and that the analog 7-aza-Trp, which is expected to temper the nucleophilicity of C2 in Trp, is a very poor substrate. Last, no formation of cob(II)alamin or substrate radicals was observed during the reaction with Trp or any molecule within a tested panel of Trp analogs. In summary, our results are most consistent with a mechanism that involves two polar nucleophilic displacements, the second of which requires deprotonation of the indole nitrogen in Trp during its attack on methylcobalamin.



Heme and nitric oxide binding by the transcriptional regulator DnrF from the marine bacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae increases napD promoter affinity [Microbiology]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

Under oxygen-limiting conditions, the marine bacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae DFL12T generates energy via denitrification, a respiratory process in which nitric oxide (NO) is an intermediate. Accumulation of NO may cause cytotoxic effects. The response to this nitrosative (NO-triggered) stress is controlled by the Crp/Fnr-type transcriptional regulator DnrF. We analyzed the response to NO and the mechanism of NO sensing by the DnrF regulator. Using reporter gene fusions and transcriptomics, here we report that DnrF selectively repressed nitrate reductase (nap) genes, preventing further NO formation. In addition, DnrF induced the expression of the NO reductase genes (norCB), which promote NO consumption. We used UV-visible and EPR spectroscopy to characterize heme binding to DnrF and subsequent NO coordination. DnrF detects NO via its bound heme cofactor. We found that the dimeric DnrF bound one molecule of heme per subunit. Purified recombinant apo-DnrF bound its target promoter sequences (napD, nosR2, norC, hemA, and dnrE) in electromobility shift assays, and we identified a specific palindromic DNA-binding site 5′-TTGATN4ATCAA-3′ in these target sequences via mutagenesis studies. Most importantly, successive addition of heme as well as heme and NO to purified recombinant apo-DnrF protein increased affinity of the holo-DnrF for its specific binding motif in the napD promoter. On the basis of these results, we propose a model for the DnrF-mediated NO stress response of this marine bacterium.



Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase 2 (Shp2) controls surface GluA1 protein in synaptic homeostasis [Cell Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

Src Homology 2 domain–containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase 2 (Shp2) functions in synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory. However, the precise mechanisms by which this multifunctional protein contributes to synaptic function remains largely unknown. Homeostatic plasticity may be viewed as a process of bidirectional synaptic scaling, up or down. Through this process, neuronal circuitry stability is maintained so that changes in synaptic strength may be preserved under changing conditions. A better understanding of these processes is needed. In this regard, we report that phosphorylation of Shp2 at tyrosine 542 and its translocation to the postsynaptic compartment are integral processes in synaptic scaling. Furthermore, we show, using both pharmacological and genetic approaches, that Shp2 phosphatase activity is critical to the regulation of Ser(P)845 GluA1 and surface expression of this AMPA receptor subunit during synaptic scaling. Thus, Shp2 may contribute meaningfully to synaptic homeostasis.



CDK9 and SPT5 proteins are specifically required for expression of herpes simplex virus 1 replication-dependent late genes [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

DNA replication greatly enhances expression of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) γ2 late genes by still unknown mechanisms. Here, we demonstrate that 5,6-dichloro-1-β-d-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole (DRB), an inhibitor of CDK9, suppresses expression of γ2 late genes with an IC50 of 5 μm, which is at least 10 times lower than the IC50 value required for inhibition of expression of early genes. The effect of DRB could not be explained by inhibition of DNA replication per se or loading of RNA polymerase II to late promoters and subsequent reduction of transcription. Instead, DRB reduces accumulation of γ2 late mRNA in the cytoplasm. In addition, we show that siRNA-mediated knockdown of the transcription factor SPT5, but not NELF-E, also gives rise to a specific inhibition of HSV-1 late gene expression. Finally, addition of DRB reduces co-immunoprecipitation of ICP27 using an anti-SPT5 antibody. Our results suggest that efficient expression of replication-dependent γ2 late genes is, at least in part, regulated by CDK9 dependent co- and/or post-transcriptional events involving SPT5 and ICP27.



The interleukin-like epithelial-mesenchymal transition inducer ILEI exhibits a non-interleukin-like fold and is active as a domain-swapped dimer [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-15T00:16:48-07:00

Production and secretion of pro-metastatic proteins is a feature of many tumor cells. The FAM3C interleukin-like epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) inducer (ILEI) has been shown to be strongly up-regulated in several cancers and to be essential for tumor formation and metastasis in epithelial cells, correlating with a significant decrease in overall survival in colon and breast cancer patients. ILEI has been seen to interact with the γ-secretase presenilin 1 subunit (PS1). However, not much is known about the mechanism-of-action or the detailed ILEI structure. We present here the crystal structures of FAM3C ILEI and show that it exists as monomers but also as covalent dimers. The observed ILEI β-β-α fold confirmed previous indications that the FAM3C proteins do not form classical four-helix-bundle structures as was initially predicted. This provides the first experimental evidence that the interleukin-like EMT inducers are not evolutionarily related to the interleukins. However, more surprisingly, the ILEI dimer structure was found to feature a trans-linked domain swap, converting an intramolecular disulfide to intermolecular. Interestingly, dimeric but not monomeric ILEI was subsequently found to cause a dose-dependent increase in EpRas cell invasiveness comparable with TGF-β, indicating that the dimer might be the active ILEI species. This is in line with a parallel study showing that covalent oligomerization of ILEI is essential for EMT and tumor progression in vivo. The structures and the activity data give some first insight into the relationship between dimerization and ILEI function as well as indicate an intriguing link between ILEI, the PS1-protease, TGF-β, and the TGF-β receptor 1.



NMDA receptors mediate leptin signaling and regulate potassium channel trafficking in pancreatic {beta}-cells [Membrane Biology]

2017-09-15T00:16:49-07:00

NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are Ca2+-permeant, ligand-gated ion channels activated by the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and have well-characterized roles in the nervous system. The expression and function of NMDARs in pancreatic β-cells, by contrast, are poorly understood. Here, we report a novel function of NMDARs in β-cells. Using a combination of biochemistry, electrophysiology, and imaging techniques, we now show that NMDARs have a key role in mediating the effect of leptin to modulate β-cell electrical activity by promoting AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent trafficking of KATP and Kv2.1 channels to the plasma membrane. Blocking NMDAR activity inhibited the ability of leptin to activate AMPK, induce KATP and Kv2.1 channel trafficking, and promote membrane hyperpolarization. Conversely, activation of NMDARs mimicked the effect of leptin, causing Ca2+ influx, AMPK activation, and increased trafficking of KATP and Kv2.1 channels to the plasma membrane, and triggered membrane hyperpolarization. Moreover, leptin potentiated NMDAR currents and triggered NMDAR-dependent Ca2+ influx. Importantly, NMDAR-mediated signaling was observed in rat insulinoma 832/13 cells and in human β-cells, indicating that this pathway is conserved across species. The ability of NMDARs to regulate potassium channel surface expression and thus, β-cell excitability provides mechanistic insight into the recently reported insulinotropic effects of NMDAR antagonists and therefore highlights the therapeutic potential of these drugs in managing type 2 diabetes.



Leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 4 (Lgr4) is necessary for prostate cancer metastasis via epithelial-mesenchymal transition [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-15T00:16:51-07:00

Prostate cancer is a highly penetrant disease among men in industrialized societies, but the factors regulating the transition from indolent to aggressive and metastatic cancer remain poorly understood. We found that men with prostate cancers expressing high levels of the G protein–coupled receptor LGR4 had a significantly shorter recurrence-free survival compared with patients with cancers having low LGR4 expression. LGR4 expression was elevated in human prostate cancer cell lines with metastatic potential. We therefore generated a novel transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mouse model to investigate the role of Lgr4 in prostate cancer development and metastasis in vivo. TRAMP Lgr4−/− mice exhibited an initial delay in prostate intraepithelial neoplasia formation, but the frequency of tumor formation was equivalent between TRAMP and TRAMP Lgr4−/− mice by 12 weeks. The loss of Lgr4 significantly improved TRAMP mouse survival and dramatically reduced the occurrence of lung metastases. LGR4 knockdown impaired the migration, invasion, and colony formation of DU145 cells and reversed epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), as demonstrated by up-regulation of E-cadherin and decreased expression of the EMT transcription factors ZEB, Twist, and Snail. Overexpression of LGR4 in LNCaP cells had the opposite effects. Orthotopic injection of DU145 cells stably expressing shRNA targeting LGR4 resulted in decreased xenograft tumor size, reduced tumor EMT marker expression, and impaired metastasis, in accord with our findings in TRAMP Lgr4−/− mice. In conclusion, we propose that Lgr4 is a key protein necessary for prostate cancer EMT and metastasis.



The 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratases HACD1 and HACD2 exhibit functional redundancy and are active in a wide range of fatty acid elongation pathways [Metabolism]

2017-09-15T00:16:52-07:00

Differences among fatty acids (FAs) in chain length and number of double bonds create lipid diversity. FA elongation proceeds via a four-step reaction cycle, in which the 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratases (HACDs) HACD1–4 catalyze the third step. However, the contribution of each HACD to 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase activity in certain tissues or in different FA elongation pathways remains unclear. HACD1 is specifically expressed in muscles and is a myopathy-causative gene. Here, we generated Hacd1 KO mice and observed that these mice had reduced body and skeletal muscle weights. In skeletal muscle, HACD1 mRNA expression was by far the highest among the HACDs. However, we observed only an ∼40% reduction in HACD activity and no changes in membrane lipid composition in Hacd1-KO skeletal muscle, suggesting that some HACD activities are redundant. Moreover, when expressed in yeast, both HACD1 and HACD2 participated in saturated and monounsaturated FA elongation pathways. Disruption of HACD2 in the haploid human cell line HAP1 significantly reduced FA elongation activities toward both saturated and unsaturated FAs, and HACD1 HACD2 double disruption resulted in a further reduction. Overexpressed HACD3 exhibited weak activity in saturated and monounsaturated FA elongation pathways, and no activity was detected for HACD4. We therefore conclude that HACD1 and HACD2 exhibit redundant activities in a wide range of FA elongation pathways, including those for saturated to polyunsaturated FAs, with HACD2 being the major 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase. Our findings are important for furthering the understanding of the molecular mechanisms in FA elongation and diversity.



Selective exclusion and selective binding both contribute to ion selectivity in KcsA, a model potassium channel [Molecular Biophysics]

2017-09-15T00:16:52-07:00

The selectivity filter in potassium channels, a main component of the ion permeation pathway, configures a stack of binding sites (sites S1–S4) to which K+ and other cations may bind. Specific ion binding to such sites induces changes in the filter conformation, which play a key role in defining both selectivity and permeation. Here, using the potassium channel KcsA as a model, we contribute new evidence to reinforce this assertion. First, ion binding to KcsA blocked by tetrabutylammonium at the most cytoplasmic site in the selectivity filter (S4) suggests that such a site, when in the nonconductive filter conformation, has a higher affinity for cation binding than the most extracellular S1 site. This filter asymmetry, along with differences in intracellular and extracellular concentrations of K+ versus Na+ under physiological conditions, should strengthen selection of the permeant K+ by the channel. Second, we used different K+ concentrations to shift the equilibrium between nonconductive and conductive states of the selectivity filter in which to test competitive binding of Na+. These experiments disclosed a marked decrease in the affinity of Na+ to bind the channel when the conformational equilibrium shifts toward the conductive state. This finding suggested that in addition to the selective binding of K+ and other permeant species over Na+, there is a selective exclusion of nonpermeant species from binding the channel filter, once it reaches a fully conductive conformation. We conclude that selective binding and selective exclusion of permeant and nonpermeant cations, respectively, are important determinants of ion channel selectivity.



Pyruvate kinase M knockdown-induced signaling via AMP-activated protein kinase promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, autophagy, and cancer cell survival [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-15T00:16:52-07:00

Preferential expression of the low-activity (dimeric) M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PK) over its constitutively active splice variant M1 isoform is considered critical for aerobic glycolysis in cancer cells. However, our results reported here indicate co-expression of PKM1 and PKM2 and their possible physical interaction in cancer cells. We show that knockdown of either PKM1 or PKM2 differentially affects net PK activity, viability, and cellular ATP levels of the lung carcinoma cell lines H1299 and A549. The stable knockdown of PK isoforms in A549 cells significantly reduced the cellular ATP level, whereas in H1299 cells the level of ATP was unaltered. Interestingly, the PKM1/2 knockdown in H1299 cells activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling and stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy to maintain energy homeostasis. In contrast, knocking down either of the PKM isoforms in A549 cells lacking LKB1, a serine/threonine protein kinase upstream of AMPK, failed to activate AMPK and sustain energy homeostasis and resulted in apoptosis. Moreover, in a similar genetic background of silenced PKM1 or PKM2, the knocking down of AMPKα1/2 catalytic subunit in H1299 cells induced apoptosis. Our findings help explain why previous targeting of PKM2 in cancer cells to control tumor growth has not met with the expected success. We suggest that this lack of success is because of AMPK-mediated energy metabolism rewiring, protecting cancer cell viability. On the basis of our observations, we propose an alternative therapeutic strategy of silencing either of the PKM isoforms along with AMPK in tumors.



The glucose sensor Snf1 and the transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4 regulate transcription of the vacuolar iron importer gene CCC1 and iron resistance in yeast [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-15T00:16:52-07:00

The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae stores iron in the vacuole, which is a major resistance mechanism against iron toxicity. One key protein involved in vacuolar iron storage is the iron importer Ccc1, which facilitates iron entry into the vacuole. Transcription of the CCC1 gene is largely regulated by the binding of iron–sulfur clusters to the activator domain of the transcriptional activator Yap5. Additional evidence, however, suggests that Yap5-independent transcriptional activation of CCC1 also contributes to iron resistance. Here, we demonstrate that components of the signaling pathway involving the low-glucose sensor Snf1 regulate CCC1 transcription and iron resistance. We found that SNF1 deletion acts synergistically with YAP5 deletion to regulate CCC1 transcription and iron resistance. A kinase-dead mutation of Snf1 lowered iron resistance as did deletion of SNF4, which encodes a partner protein of Snf1. Deletion of all three alternative partners of Snf1 encoded by SIT1, SIT2, and GAL83 decreased both CCC1 transcription and iron resistance. The Snf1 complex is known to activate the general stress transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4. We show that Msn2 and Msn4 contribute to Snf1-mediated CCC1 transcription. Of note, SNF1 deletion in combination with MSN2 and MSN4 deletion resulted in additive effects on CCC1 transcription, suggesting that other activators contribute to the regulation of CCC1 transcription. In conclusion, we show that yeast have developed multiple transcriptional mechanisms to regulate Ccc1 expression and to protect against high cytosolic iron toxicity.



Functional specialization of two paralogous TAF12 variants by their selective association with SAGA and TFIID transcriptional regulatory complexes. [Additions and Corrections]

2017-09-15T00:16:52-07:00

VOLUME 292 (2017) PAGES 6047–6055Dr. Shambhu Kumar was inadvertently omitted as an author. The author byline should appear as above with Drs. Shambhu Kumar and Poonam Poonia, listed in order of seniority, contributing equally to this work. Dr. Kumar's affiliation is the Laboratory of Eukaryotic Gene Regulation, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India.



Isoform- and cell type-specific structure of apolipoprotein E lipoparticles as revealed by a novel Forster resonance energy transfer assay [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Apolipoprotein E (apoE) has an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease with its three isoforms having distinct effects on disease risk. Here, we assessed the conformational differences between those isoforms using a novel flow cytometry-Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay. We showed that the conformation of intracellular apoE within HEK cells and astrocytes adopts a directional pattern; in other words, E4 adopts the most closed conformation, E2 adopts the most open conformation, and E3 adopts an intermediate conformation. However, this pattern was not maintained upon secretion of apoE from astrocytes. Intermolecular interactions between apoE molecules were isoform-specific, indicating a great diversity in the structure of apoE lipoparticles. Finally, we showed that secreted E4 is the most lipidated isoform in astrocytes, suggesting that increased lipidation acts as a folding chaperone enabling E4 to adopt a closed conformation. In conclusion, this study gives insights into apoE biology and establishes a robust screening system to monitor apoE conformation.



Methionine synthase is localized to the nucleus in Pichia pastoris and Candida albicans and to the cytoplasm in Saccharomyces cerevisiae [Enzymology]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Methionine synthase (MS) catalyzes methylation of homocysteine, the last step in the biosynthesis of methionine, which is essential for the regeneration of tetrahydrofolate and biosynthesis of S-adenosylmethionine. Here, we report that MS is localized to the nucleus of Pichia pastoris and Candida albicans but is cytoplasmic in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The P. pastoris strain carrying a deletion of the MET6 gene encoding MS (Ppmet6) exhibits methionine as well as adenine auxotrophy indicating that MS is required for methionine as well as adenine biosynthesis. Nuclear localization of P. pastoris MS (PpMS) was abrogated by the deletion of 107 C-terminal amino acids or the R742A mutation. In silico analysis of the PpMS structure indicated that PpMS may exist in a dimer-like configuration in which Arg-742 of a monomer forms a salt bridge with Asp-113 of another monomer. Biochemical studies indicate that R742A as well as D113R mutations abrogate nuclear localization of PpMS and its ability to reverse methionine auxotrophy of Ppmet6. Thus, association of two PpMS monomers through the interaction of Arg-742 and Asp-113 is essential for catalytic activity and nuclear localization. When PpMS is targeted to the cytoplasm employing a heterologous nuclear export signal, it is expressed at very low levels and is unable to reverse methionine and adenine auxotrophy of Ppmet6. Thus, nuclear localization is essential for the stability and function of MS in P. pastoris. We conclude that nuclear localization of MS is a unique feature of respiratory yeasts such as P. pastoris and C. albicans, and it may have novel moonlighting functions in the nucleus.



Microtubule-assisted altered trafficking of astrocytic gap junction protein connexin 43 is associated with depletion of connexin 47 during mouse hepatitis virus infection [Neurobiology]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Gap junctions (GJs) are important for maintenance of CNS homeostasis. GJ proteins, connexin 43 (Cx43) and connexin 47 (Cx47), play a crucial role in production and maintenance of CNS myelin. Cx43 is mainly expressed by astrocytes in the CNS and forms gap junction intercellular communications between astrocytes-astrocytes (Cx43–Cx43) and between astrocytes-oligodendrocytes (Cx43–Cx47). Mutations of these connexin (Cx) proteins cause dysmyelinating diseases in humans. Previously, it has been shown that Cx43 localization and expression is altered due to mouse hepatitis virus (MHV)-A59 infection both in vivo and in vitro; however, its mechanism and association with loss of myelin protein was not elaborated. Thus, we explored potential mechanisms by which MHV-A59 infection alters Cx43 localization and examined the effects of viral infection on Cx47 expression and its association with loss of the myelin marker proteolipid protein. Immunofluorescence and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy confirmed that MHV-A59 used microtubules (MTs) as a conduit to reach the cell surface and restricted MT-mediated Cx43 delivery to the cell membrane. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that Cx43–β-tubulin molecular interaction was depleted due to protein–protein interaction between viral particles and MTs. During acute MHV-A59 infection, oligodendrocytic Cx47, which is mainly stabilized by Cx43 in vivo, was down-regulated, and its characteristic staining remained disrupted even at chronic phase. The loss of Cx47 was associated with loss of proteolipid protein at the chronic stage of MHV-A59 infection.



Exosomes from uninfected cells activate transcription of latent HIV-1. [Additions and Corrections]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

VOLUME 292 (2017) PAGES 11682–11701The RNA Seq data can be found in the NCBI GEO database. The accession number is GSE102364.



The Hsp70 interdomain linker is a dynamic switch that enables allosteric communication between two structured domains [Molecular Biophysics]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Hsp70 molecular chaperones play key roles in cellular protein homeostasis by binding to exposed hydrophobic regions of incompletely folded or aggregated proteins. This crucial Hsp70 function relies on allosteric communication between two well-structured domains: an N-terminal nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) and a C-terminal substrate-binding domain (SBD), which are tethered by an interdomain linker. ATP or ADP binding to the NBD alters the substrate-binding affinity of the SBD, triggering functionally essential cycles of substrate binding and release. The interdomain linker is a well-structured participant in the interdomain interface in ATP-bound Hsp70s. By contrast, in the ADP-bound state, exemplified by the Escherichia coli Hsp70 DnaK, the interdomain linker is flexible. Hsp70 interdomain linker sequences are highly conserved; moreover, mutations in this region compromise interdomain allostery. To better understand the role of this region in Hsp70 allostery, we used molecular dynamics simulations to explore the conformational landscape of the interdomain linker in ADP-bound DnaK and supported our simulations by strategic experimental data. We found that while the interdomain linker samples many conformations, it behaves as three relatively ordered segments connected by hinges. As a consequence, the distances and orientations between the NBD and SBD are limited. Additionally, the C-terminal region of the linker forms previously unreported, transient interactions with the SBD, and the predominant linker-docking site is available in only one allosteric state, that with high affinity for substrate. This preferential binding implicates the interdomain linker as a dynamic allosteric switch. The linker-binding site on the SBD is a potential target for small molecule modulators of the Hsp70 allosteric cycle.



Molecular determinants of acidic pH-dependent transport of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 3 [Membrane Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs) translocate hydrophilic nucleosides across cellular membranes and are essential for salvage nucleotide synthesis and purinergic signaling. Unlike the prototypic human ENT members hENT1 and hENT2, which mediate plasma membrane nucleoside transport at pH 7.4, hENT3 is an acidic pH-activated lysosomal transporter partially localized to mitochondria. Recent studies demonstrate that hENT3 is indispensable for lysosomal homeostasis, and that mutations in hENT3 can result in a spectrum of lysosomal storage-like disorders. However, despite hENT3's prominent role in lysosome pathophysiology, the molecular basis of hENT3-mediated transport is unknown. Therefore, we sought to examine the mechanistic basis of acidic pH-driven hENT3 nucleoside transport with site-directed mutagenesis, homology modeling, and [3H]adenosine flux measurements in mutant RNA-injected Xenopus oocytes. Scanning mutagenesis of putative residues responsible for pH-dependent transport via hENT3 revealed that the ionization states of Asp-219 and Glu-447, and not His, strongly determined the pH-dependent transport permissible-impermissible states of the transporter. Except for substitution with certain isosteric and polar residues, substitution of either Asp-219 or Glu-447 with any other residues resulted in robust activity that was pH-independent. Dual substitution of Asp-219 and Glu-447 to Ala sustained pH-independent activity over a broad range of physiological pH (pH 5.5–7.4), which also maintained stringent substrate selectivity toward endogenous nucleosides and clinically used nucleoside drugs. Our results suggest a putative pH-sensing role for Asp-219 and Glu-447 in hENT3 and that the size, ionization state, or electronegative polarity at these positions is crucial for obligate acidic pH-dependent activity.



Adaptor protein p62 promotes skin tumor growth and metastasis and is induced by UVA radiation [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Skin cancer is the most common cancer, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, namely UVA and UVB, is the major risk factor for skin cancer development. UVA is significantly less effective in causing direct DNA damage than UVB, but UVA has been shown to increase skin cancer risk. The mechanism by which UVA contributes to skin cancer remains unclear. Here, using RNA-Seq, we show that UVA induces autophagy and lysosomal gene expression, including the autophagy receptor and substrate p62. We found that UVA activates transcription factor EB (TFEB), a known regulator of autophagy and lysosomal gene expression, which, in turn, induces p62 transcription. Next, we identified a novel relationship between p62 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a prostaglandin synthase critical for skin cancer development. COX-2 expression was up-regulated by UVA-induced p62, suggesting that p62 plays a role in UVA-induced skin cancer. Moreover, we found that p62 stabilizes COX-2 protein through the p62 ubiquitin-associated domain and that p62 regulates prostaglandin E2 production in vitro. In a syngeneic squamous cell carcinoma mouse model, p62 knockdown inhibited tumor growth and metastasis. Furthermore, p62-deficient tumors exhibited reduced immune cell infiltration and increased cell differentiation. Because prostaglandin E2 is known to promote pro-tumorigenic immune cell infiltration, increase proliferation, and inhibit keratinocyte differentiation in vivo, this work suggests that UVA-induced p62 acts through COX-2 to promote skin tumor growth and progression. These findings expand our understanding of UVA-induced skin tumorigenesis and tumor progression and suggest that targeting p62 can help prevent or treat UVA-associated skin cancer.



Revisiting the substrate specificity of mammalian {alpha}1,6-fucosyltransferase reveals that it catalyzes core fucosylation of N-glycans lacking {alpha}1,3-arm GlcNAc [Enzymology]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

The mammalian α1,6-fucosyltransferase (FUT8) catalyzes the core fucosylation of N-glycans in the biosynthesis of glycoproteins. Previously, intensive in vitro studies with crude extract or purified enzyme concluded that the attachment of a GlcNAc on the α1,3 mannose arm of N-glycan is essential for FUT8-catalyzed core fucosylation. In contrast, we have recently shown that expression of erythropoietin in a GnTI knock-out, FUT8-overexpressing cell line results in the production of fully core-fucosylated glycoforms of the oligomannose substrate Man5GlcNAc2, suggesting that FUT8 can catalyze core fucosylation of N-glycans lacking an α1,3-arm GlcNAc in cells. Here, we revisited the substrate specificity of FUT8 by examining its in vitro activity toward an array of selected N-glycans, glycopeptides, and glycoproteins. Consistent with previous studies, we found that free N-glycans lacking an unmasked α1,3-arm GlcNAc moiety are not FUT8 substrates. However, Man5GlcNAc2 glycan could be efficiently core-fucosylated by FUT8 in an appropriate protein/peptide context, such as with the erythropoietin protein, a V3 polypeptide derived from HIV-1 gp120, or a simple 9-fluorenylmethyl chloroformate-protected Asn moiety. Interestingly, when placed in the V3 polypeptide context, a mature bi-antennary complex-type N-glycan also could be core-fucosylated by FUT8, albeit at much lower efficiency than the Man5GlcNAc2 peptide. This study represents the first report of in vitro FUT8-catalyzed core fucosylation of N-glycans lacking the α1,3-arm GlcNAc moiety. Our results suggest that an appropriate polypeptide context or other adequate structural elements in the acceptor substrate could facilitate the core fucosylation by FUT8.



Hydrogen peroxide produced by superoxide dismutase SOD-2 activates sperm in Caenorhabditis elegans [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:14-07:00

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a ubiquitous antioxidant enzyme that catalytically converts the superoxide radical to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In mammals, high SOD activity is detectable in sperm and seminal plasma, and loss of SOD activity has been correlated with male infertility; however, the underlying mechanisms of sperm infertility remain to be clarified. Here we report that the deletion of two major SOD genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, sod-1 and sod-2, causes sperm activation defects, leading to a significant reduction in brood size. By examining the reactivity to the sperm activation signals Pronase and triethanolamine, we found that sod-1;sod-2 double mutant sperm cells display defects in pseudopod extension. Neither the content nor oxidative modification of major sperm protein, an essential cytoskeletal component for crawling movement, were significantly affected in sod-1;sod-2 mutant sperm. Surprisingly, H2O2, the dismutation product of SOD, could activate sod-1;sod-2 mutant sperm treated with Pronase. Moreover, the H2O2 scavenger ebselen completely inhibited pseudopod extension in wild-type sperm treated with Pronase, and H2O2 could directly induce pseudopod extension in wild-type sperm. Analysis of Pronase-triggered sperm activation in sod-1 and sod-2 single mutants revealed that sod-2 is required for pseudopod extension. These results suggest that SOD-2 plays an important role in the sperm activation of C. elegans by producing H2O2 as an activator of pseudopod extension.



The exocyst is required for photoreceptor ciliogenesis and retinal development [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

We previously have shown that the highly conserved eight-protein exocyst trafficking complex is required for ciliogenesis in kidney tubule cells. We hypothesized here that ciliogenic programs are conserved across organs and species. To determine whether renal primary ciliogenic programs are conserved in the eye, and to characterize the function and mechanisms by which the exocyst regulates eye development in zebrafish, we focused on exoc5, a central component of the exocyst complex, by analyzing both exoc5 zebrafish mutants, and photoreceptor-specific Exoc5 knock-out mice. Two separate exoc5 mutant zebrafish lines phenocopied exoc5 morphants and, strikingly, exhibited a virtual absence of photoreceptors, along with abnormal retinal development and cell death. Because the zebrafish mutant was a global knockout, we also observed defects in several ciliated organs, including the brain (hydrocephalus), heart (cardiac edema), and kidney (disordered and shorter cilia). exoc5 knockout increased phosphorylation of the regulatory protein Mob1, consistent with Hippo pathway activation. exoc5 mutant zebrafish rescue with human EXOC5 mRNA completely reversed the mutant phenotype. We accomplished photoreceptor-specific knockout of Exoc5 with our Exoc5 fl/fl mouse line crossed with a rhodopsin-Cre driver line. In Exoc5 photoreceptor-specific knock-out mice, the photoreceptor outer segment structure was severely impaired at 4 weeks of age, although a full-field electroretinogram indicated a visual response was still present. However, by 6 weeks, visual responses were eliminated. In summary, we show that ciliogenesis programs are conserved in the kidneys and eyes of zebrafish and mice and that the exocyst is necessary for photoreceptor ciliogenesis and retinal development, most likely by trafficking cilia and outer-segment proteins.



Coordinated transcriptional control of adipocyte triglyceride lipase (Atgl) by transcription factors Sp1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor {gamma} (PPAR{gamma}) during adipocyte differentiation [Metabolism]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

The breakdown of stored fat deposits into its components is a highly regulated process that maintains plasma levels of free fatty acids to supply energy to cells. Insulin-mediated transcription of Atgl, the enzyme that mediates the rate-limiting step in lipolysis, is a key point of this regulation. Under conditions such as obesity or insulin resistance, Atgl transcription is often misregulated, which can contribute to overall disease progression. The mechanisms by which Atgl is induced during adipogenesis are not fully understood. We utilized computational approaches to identify putative transcriptional regulatory elements in Atgl and then tested the effect of these elements and the transcription factors that bind to them in cultured preadipocytes and mature adipocytes. Here we report that Atgl is down-regulated by the basal transcription factor Sp1 in preadipocytes and that the magnitude of down-regulation depends on interactions between Sp1 and peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ). In mature adipocytes, when PPARγ is abundant, PPARγ abrogated transcriptional repression by Sp1 at the Atgl promoter and up-regulated Atgl mRNA expression. Targeting the PPARγ–Sp1 interaction could be a potential therapeutic strategy to restore insulin sensitivity by modulating Atgl levels in adipocytes.



C1q/TNF-related protein 6 (CTRP6) links obesity to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, and metabolic regulators linking obesity to inflammation have therefore received much attention. Secreted C1q/TNF-related proteins (CTRPs) are one such group of regulators that regulate glucose and fat metabolism in peripheral tissues and modulate inflammation in adipose tissue. We have previously shown that expression of CTRP6 is up-regulated in leptin-deficient mice and, conversely, down-regulated by the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone. Here, we provide evidence for a novel role of CTRP6 in modulating both inflammation and insulin sensitivity. We found that in obese and diabetic humans and mouse models, CTRP6 expression was markedly up-regulated in adipose tissue and that stromal vascular cells, such as macrophages, are a major CTRP6 source. Overexpressing mouse or human CTRP6 impaired glucose disposal in peripheral tissues in response to glucose and insulin challenge in wild-type mice. Conversely, Ctrp6 gene deletion improved insulin action and increased metabolic rate and energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Mechanistically, CTRP6 regulates local inflammation and glucose metabolism by targeting macrophages and adipocytes, respectively. In cultured macrophages, recombinant CTRP6 dose-dependently up-regulated the expression and production of TNF-α. Conversely, CTRP6 deficiency reduced circulating inflammatory cytokines and pro-inflammatory macrophages in adipose tissue. CTRP6-overexpressing mice or CTRP6-treated adipocytes had reduced insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation and glucose uptake. In contrast, loss of CTRP6 enhanced insulin-stimulated Akt activation in adipose tissue. Together, these results establish CTRP6 as a novel metabolic/immune regulator linking obesity to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.



Chromatin-remodeling SWI/SNF complex regulates coenzyme Q6 synthesis and a metabolic shift to respiration in yeast [Lipids]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Despite its relatively streamlined genome, there are many important examples of regulated RNA splicing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we report a role for the chromatin remodeler SWI/SNF in respiration, partially via the regulation of splicing. We find that a nutrient-dependent decrease in Snf2 leads to an increase in splicing of the PTC7 transcript. The spliced PTC7 transcript encodes a mitochondrial phosphatase regulator of biosynthesis of coenzyme Q6 (ubiquinone or CoQ6) and a mitochondrial redox-active lipid essential for electron and proton transport in respiration. Increased splicing of PTC7 increases CoQ6 levels. The increase in PTC7 splicing occurs at least in part due to down-regulation of ribosomal protein gene expression, leading to the redistribution of spliceosomes from this abundant class of intron-containing RNAs to otherwise poorly spliced transcripts. In contrast, a protein encoded by the nonspliced isoform of PTC7 represses CoQ6 biosynthesis. Taken together, these findings uncover a link between Snf2 expression and the splicing of PTC7 and establish a previously unknown role for the SWI/SNF complex in the transition of yeast cells from fermentative to respiratory modes of metabolism.



Phosphorylation of the type II transmembrane serine protease, TMPRSS13, in hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 and -2-mediated cell-surface localization [Enzymology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

TMPRSS13 is a member of the type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) family. Although various TTSPs have been characterized in detail biochemically and functionally, the basic properties of TMPRSS13 remain unclear. Here, we investigate the activation, inhibition, post-translational modification, and localization of TMPRSS13. We show that TMPRSS13 is a glycosylated, active protease and that its own proteolytic activity mediates zymogen cleavage. Full-length, active TMPRSS13 exhibits impaired cell-surface expression in the absence of the cognate Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitors, hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1 or HAI-2. Concomitant presence of TMPRSS13 with either HAI-1 or -2 mediates phosphorylation of residues in the intracellular domain of the protease, and it coincides with efficient transport of the protease to the cell surface and its subsequent shedding. Cell-surface labeling experiments indicate that the dominant form of TMPRSS13 on the cell surface is phosphorylated, whereas intracellular TMPRSS13 is predominantly non-phosphorylated. These data provide novel insight into the cellular properties of TMPRSS13 and highlight phosphorylation of TMPRSS13 as a novel post-translational modification of this TTSP family member and potentially other members of this family of proteases.



Heterodimers of the transcriptional factors NFATc3 and FosB mediate tissue factor expression for 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid-induced monocyte trafficking [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Tissue factor (TF) is expressed in vascular and nonvascular tissues and functions in several pathways, including embryonic development, inflammation, and cell migration. Many risk factors for atherosclerosis, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and smoking, increase TF expression. To better understand the TF-related mechanisms in atherosclerosis, here we investigated the role of 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15-LOX) in TF expression. 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15(S)-HETE), the major product of human 15-LOXs 1 and 2, induced TF expression and activity in a time-dependent manner in the human monocytic cell line THP1. Moreover, TF suppression with neutralizing antibodies blocked 15(S)-HETE–induced monocyte migration. We also found that NADPH- and xanthine oxidase–dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) activation, and interactions between nuclear factor of activated T cells 3 (NFATc3) and FosB proto-oncogene, AP-1 transcription factor subunit (FosB) are involved in 15(S)-HETE–induced TF expression. Interestingly, NFATc3 first induced the expression of its interaction partner FosB before forming the heterodimeric NFATc3–FosB transcription factor complex, which bound the proximal AP-1 site in the TF gene promoter and activated TF expression. We also observed that macrophages from 12/15-LOX−/− mice exhibit diminished migratory response to monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1) and lipopolysaccharide compared with WT mouse macrophages. Similarly, compared with WT macrophages, monocytes from 12/15-LOX−/− mice displayed diminished trafficking, which was rescued by prior treatment with 12(S)-HETE, in a peritonitis model. These observations indicate that 15(S)-HETE–induced monocyte/macrophage migration and trafficking require ROS-mediated CaMKIV activation leading to formation of NFATc3 and FosB heterodimer, which binds and activates the TF promoter.



TGF-{beta}1 regulates the expression and transcriptional activity of TAZ protein via a Smad3-independent, myocardin-related transcription factor-mediated mechanism [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Hippo pathway transcriptional coactivators TAZ and YAP and the TGF-β1 (TGFβ) effector Smad3 regulate a common set of genes, can physically interact, and exhibit multilevel cross-talk regulating cell fate-determining and fibrogenic pathways. However, a key aspect of this cross-talk, TGFβ-mediated regulation of TAZ or YAP expression, remains uncharacterized. Here, we show that TGFβ induces robust TAZ but not YAP protein expression in both mesenchymal and epithelial cells. TAZ levels, and to a lesser extent YAP levels, also increased during experimental kidney fibrosis. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of Smad3 did not prevent the TGFβ-induced TAZ up-regulation, indicating that this canonical pathway is dispensable. In contrast, inhibition of p38 MAPK, its downstream effector MK2 (e.g. by the clinically approved antifibrotic pirferidone), or Akt suppressed the TGFβ-induced TAZ expression. Moreover, TGFβ elevated TAZ mRNA in a p38-dependent manner. Myocardin-related transcription factor (MRTF) was a central mediator of this effect, as MRTF silencing/inhibition abolished the TGFβ-induced TAZ expression. MRTF overexpression drove the TAZ promoter in a CC(A/T-rich)6GG (CArG) box-dependent manner and induced TAZ protein expression. TGFβ did not act by promoting nuclear MRTF translocation; instead, it triggered p38- and MK2-mediated, Nox4-promoted MRTF phosphorylation and activation. Functionally, higher TAZ levels increased TAZ/TEAD-dependent transcription and primed cells for enhanced TAZ activity upon a second stimulus (i.e. sphingosine 1-phosphate) that induced nuclear TAZ translocation. In conclusion, our results uncover an important aspect of the cross-talk between TGFβ and Hippo signaling, showing that TGFβ induces TAZ via a Smad3-independent, p38- and MRTF-mediated and yet MRTF translocation-independent mechanism.



Protection of the general stress response {sigma}S factor by the CrsR regulator allows a rapid and efficient adaptation of Shewanella oneidensis [Microbiology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

To cope with environmental stresses, bacteria have evolved various strategies, including the general stress response (GSR). GSR is governed by an alternative transcriptional σ factor named σS (RpoS) that associates with RNA polymerase and controls the expression of numerous genes. Previously, we have reported that posttranslational regulation of σS in the aquatic bacterium Shewanella oneidensis involves the CrsR-CrsA partner-switching regulatory system, but the exact mechanism by which CrsR and CrsA control σS activity is not completely unveiled. Here, using a translational gene fusion, we show that CrsR sequesters and protects σS during the exponential growth phase and thus enables rapid gene activation by σS as soon as the cells enter early stationary phase. We further demonstrate by an in vitro approach that this protection is mediated by the anti-σ domain of CrsR. Structure-based alignments of CsrR orthologs and other anti-σ factors identified a CsrR-specific region characteristic of a new family of anti-σ factors. We found that CrsR is conserved in many aquatic proteobacteria, and most of the time it is associated with CrsA. In conclusion, our results suggest that CsrR-mediated protection of σS during exponential growth enables rapid adaptation of S. oneidensis to changing and stressful growth conditions, and this ability is probably widespread among aquatic proteobacteria.



The small G protein RAS2 is involved in the metabolic compensation of the circadian clock in the circadian model Neurospora crassa [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Accumulating evidence from both experimental and clinical investigations indicates a tight interaction between metabolism and circadian timekeeping; however, knowledge of the underlying mechanism is still incomplete. Metabolic compensation allows circadian oscillators to run with a constant speed at different substrate levels and, therefore, is a substantial criterion of a robust rhythm in a changing environment. Because previous data have suggested a central role of RAS2-mediated signaling in the adaptation of yeast to different nutritional environments, we examined the involvement of RAS2 in the metabolic regulation of the clock in the circadian model organism Neurospora crassa. We show that, in a ras2-deficient strain, the period is longer than in the control. Moreover, unlike in the WT, in Δras2, operation of the circadian clock was affected by glucose; compared with starvation conditions, the period was longer and the oscillation of expression of the frequency (frq) gene was dampened. In constant darkness, the delayed phosphorylation of the FRQ protein and the long-lasting accumulation of FRQ in the nucleus were in accordance with the longer period and the less robust rhythm in the mutant. Although glucose did not affect the subcellular distribution of FRQ in the WT, highly elevated FRQ levels were detected in the nucleus in Δras2. RAS2 interacted with the RAS-binding domain of the adenylate cyclase in vitro, and the cAMP analogue 8-bromo-cyclic AMP partially rescued the circadian phenotype in vivo. We therefore propose that RAS2 acts via a cAMP-dependent pathway and exerts significant metabolic control on the Neurospora circadian clock.



Sustained O-GlcNAcylation reprograms mitochondrial function to regulate energy metabolism [Bioenergetics]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Dysfunctional mitochondria and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) promote chronic diseases, which have spurred interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying these conditions. Previously, we have demonstrated that disruption of post-translational modification of proteins with β-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAcylation) via overexpression of the O-GlcNAc-regulating enzymes O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) or O-GlcNAcase (OGA) impairs mitochondrial function. Here, we report that sustained alterations in O-GlcNAcylation either by pharmacological or genetic manipulation also alter metabolic function. Sustained O-GlcNAc elevation in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells increased OGA expression and reduced cellular respiration and ROS generation. Cells with elevated O-GlcNAc levels had elongated mitochondria and increased mitochondrial membrane potential, and RNA-sequencing analysis indicated transcriptome reprogramming and down-regulation of the NRF2-mediated antioxidant response. Sustained O-GlcNAcylation in mouse brain and liver validated the metabolic phenotypes observed in the cells, and OGT knockdown in the liver elevated ROS levels, impaired respiration, and increased the NRF2 antioxidant response. Moreover, elevated O-GlcNAc levels promoted weight loss and lowered respiration in mice and skewed the mice toward carbohydrate-dependent metabolism as determined by indirect calorimetry. In summary, sustained elevation in O-GlcNAcylation coupled with increased OGA expression reprograms energy metabolism, a finding that has potential implications for the etiology, development, and management of metabolic diseases.



Growth-incompetent monomers of human calcitonin lead to a noncanonical direct relationship between peptide concentration and aggregation lag time [Molecular Biophysics]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

The role of the peptide hormone calcitonin in skeletal protection has led to its use as a therapeutic for osteoporosis. However, calcitonin aggregation into amyloid fibrils limits its therapeutic efficacy, necessitating a modification of calcitonin's aggregation kinetics. Here, we report a direct relationship between human calcitonin (hCT) concentration and aggregation lag time. This kinetic trend was contrary to the conventional understanding of amyloid aggregation and persisted over a range of aggregation conditions, as confirmed by thioflavin-T kinetics assays, CD spectroscopy, and transmission EM. Dynamic light scattering, 1H NMR experiments, and seeded thioflavin-T assay results indicated that differences in initial peptide species contribute to this trend more than variations in the primary nucleus formation rate. On the basis of kinetics modeling results, we propose a mechanism whereby a structural conversion of hCT monomers is needed before incorporation into the fibril. Our kinetic mechanism recapitulates the experimentally observed relationship between peptide concentration and lag time and represents a novel mechanism in amyloid aggregation. Interestingly, hCT at low pH and salmon calcitonin (sCT) exhibited the canonical inverse relationship between concentration and lag time. Comparative studies of hCT and sCT with molecular dynamics simulations and CD indicated an increased α-helical structure in sCT and low-pH hCT monomers compared with neutral-pH hCT, suggesting that α-helical monomers represent a growth-competent species, whereas unstructured random coil monomers represent a growth-incompetent species. Our finding that initial monomer concentration is positively correlated with lag time in hCT aggregation could help inform future efforts for improving therapeutic applications of CT.



Pancreatic {beta}-cell protection from inflammatory stress by the endoplasmic reticulum proteins thrombospondin 1 and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neutrotrophic factor (MANF) [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Cytokine-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is one of the molecular mechanisms underlying pancreatic β-cell demise in type 1 diabetes. Thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) was recently shown to promote β-cell survival during lipotoxic stress. Here we show that ER-localized THBS1 is cytoprotective to rat, mouse, and human β-cells exposed to cytokines or thapsigargin-induced ER stress. THBS1 confers cytoprotection by maintaining expression of mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neutrotrophic factor (MANF) in β-cells and thereby prevents the BH3-only protein BIM (BCL2-interacting mediator of cell death)-dependent triggering of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Prolonged exposure of β-cells to cytokines or thapsigargin leads to THBS1 and MANF degradation and loss of this prosurvival mechanism. Approaches that sustain intracellular THBS1 and MANF expression in β-cells should be explored as a cytoprotective strategy in type 1 diabetes.



LGR5 receptor promotes cell-cell adhesion in stem cells and colon cancer cells via the IQGAP1-Rac1 pathway [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein–coupled receptor 5 (LGR5) is a bona fide marker of adult stem cells in several epithelial tissues, most notably in the intestinal crypts, and is highly up-regulated in many colorectal, hepatocellular, and ovarian cancers. LGR5 activation by R-spondin (RSPO) ligands potentiates Wnt/β-catenin signaling in vitro; however, deletion of LGR5 in stem cells has little or no effect on Wnt/β-catenin signaling or cell proliferation in vivo. Remarkably, modulation of LGR5 expression has a major impact on the actin cytoskeletal structure and cell adhesion in the absence of RSPO stimulation, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Here, we show that LGR5 interacts with IQ motif-containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1), an effector of Rac1/CDC42 GTPases, in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton dynamics and cell–cell adhesion. Specifically, LGR5 decreased levels of IQGAP1 phosphorylation at Ser-1441/1443, leading to increased binding of Rac1 to IQGAP1 and thus higher levels of cortical F-actin and enhanced cell–cell adhesion. LGR5 ablation in colon cancer cells and crypt stem cells resulted in loss of cortical F-actin, reduced cell–cell adhesion, and disrupted localization of adhesion-associated proteins. No evidence of LGR5 coupling to any of the four major subtypes of heterotrimeric G proteins was found. These findings suggest that LGR5 primarily functions via the IQGAP1–Rac1 pathway to strengthen cell–cell adhesion in normal adult crypt stem cells and colon cancer cells.



Palmitic acid dysregulates the Hippo-YAP pathway and inhibits angiogenesis by inducing mitochondrial damage and activating the cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS-STING-IRF3 signaling mechanism [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Impaired angiogenesis and wound healing carry significant morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Metabolic stress from hyperglycemia and elevated free fatty acids have been shown to inhibit endothelial angiogenesis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, we show that dysregulation of the Hippo–Yes-associated protein (YAP) pathway, an important signaling mechanism in regulating tissue repair and regeneration, underlies palmitic acid (PA)-induced inhibition of endothelial angiogenesis. PA inhibited endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and tube formation, which were associated with increased expression of mammalian Ste20-like kinases 1 (MST1), YAP phosphorylation/inactivation, and nuclear exclusion. Overexpression of YAP or knockdown of MST1 prevented PA-induced inhibition of angiogenesis. When searching upstream signaling mechanisms, we found that PA dysregulated the Hippo–YAP pathway by inducing mitochondrial damage. PA treatment induced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release to cytosol, and activated cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS–STING–IRF3 signaling. Activated IRF3 bound to the MST1 gene promoter and induced MST1 expression, leading to MST1 up-regulation, YAP inactivation, and angiogenesis inhibition. Thus, mitochondrial damage and cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS–STING–IRF3 signaling are critically involved in PA-induced Hippo–YAP dysregulation and angiogenesis suppression. This mechanism may have implication in impairment of angiogenesis and wound healing in diabetes.



Conformationally organized lysine isosteres in Streptococcus pyogenes M protein mediate direct high-affinity binding to human plasminogen [Molecular Biophysics]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

The binding of human plasminogen (hPg) to the surface of the human pathogen group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) and subsequent hPg activation to the protease plasmin generate a proteolytic surface that GAS employs to circumvent host innate immunity. Direct high-affinity binding of hPg/plasmin to pattern D GAS is fully recapitulated by the hPg kringle 2 domain (K2hPg) and a short internal peptide region (a1a2) of a specific subtype of bacterial surface M protein, present in all GAS pattern D strains. To better understand the nature of this binding, critical to the virulence of many GAS skin-tropic strains, we used high-resolution NMR to define the interaction of recombinant K2hPg with recombinant a1a2 (VKK38) of the M protein from GAS isolate NS455. We found a 2:1 (m/m) binding stoichiometry of K2hPg/VKK38, with the lysine-binding sites of two K2hPg domains anchored to two regions of monomeric VKK38. The K2hPg/VKK38 binding altered the VKK38 secondary structure from a helical apo-peptide with a flexible center to an end-to-end K2hPg-bound α-helix. The K2hPg residues occupied opposite faces of this helix, an arrangement that minimized steric clashing of K2hPg. We conclude that VKK38 provides two conformational lysine isosteres that each interact with the lysine-binding sites in K2hPg. Further, the adoption of an α-helix by VKK38 upon binding to K2hPg sterically optimizes the side chains of VKK38 for maximal binding to K2hPg and minimizes steric overlap between the K2hPg domains. The mechanism for hPg/M protein binding uncovered here may facilitate targeting of GAS virulence factors for disease management.



Cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1)-mediated mitotic phosphorylation of the transcriptional co-repressor Vgll4 inhibits its tumor-suppressing activity [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

The Hippo pathway is an evolutionarily conserved signaling pathway that plays important roles in stem cell biology, tissue homeostasis, and cancer development. Vestigial-like 4 (Vgll4) functions as a transcriptional co-repressor in the Hippo-Yes-associated protein (YAP) pathway. Vgll4 inhibits cell proliferation and tumor growth by competing with YAP for binding to TEA-domain proteins (TEADs). However, the mechanisms by which Vgll4 itself is regulated are unclear. Here we identified a mechanism that regulates Vgll4's tumor-suppressing function. We found that Vgll4 is phosphorylated in vitro and in vivo by cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) during antimitotic drug-induced mitotic arrest and also in normal mitosis. We further identified Ser-58, Ser-155, Thr-159, and Ser-280 as the main mitotic phosphorylation sites in Vgll4. We also noted that the nonphosphorylatable mutant Vgll4-4A (S58A/S155A/T159A/S280A) suppressed tumorigenesis in pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo to a greater extent than did wild-type Vgll4, suggesting that mitotic phosphorylation inhibits Vgll4's tumor-suppressive activity. Consistent with these observations, the Vgll4-4A mutant possessed higher-binding affinity to TEAD1 than wild-type Vgll4. Interestingly, Vgll4 and Vgll4-4A markedly suppressed YAP and β-catenin signaling activity. Together, these findings reveal a previously unrecognized mechanism for Vgll4 regulation in mitosis and its role in tumorigenesis.



Phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate is involved in methylglyoxal-induced activation of the Mpk1 mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade in Saccharomyces cerevisiae [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Methylglyoxal (MG) is a natural metabolite derived from glycolysis, and this 2-oxoaldehyde has been implicated in some diseases including diabetes. However, the physiological significance of MG for cellular functions is yet to be fully elucidated. We previously reported that MG activates the Mpk1 (MAPK) cascade in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To gain further insights into the cellular functions and responses to MG, we herein screened yeast-deletion mutant collections for susceptibility to MG. We found that mutants defective in the synthesis of phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(3,5)P2) are more susceptible to MG. PtdIns(3,5)P2 levels increased following MG treatment, and vacuolar morphology concomitantly changed to a single swollen shape. MG activated the Pkc1–Mpk1 MAPK cascade in which a small GTPase Rho1 plays a crucial role, and the MG-induced phosphorylation of Mpk1 was impaired in mutants defective in the PtdIns(3,5)P2 biosynthetic pathway. Of note, heat shock-induced stress also provoked Mpk1 phosphorylation in a Rho1-dependent manner; however, PtdIns(3,5)P2 was dispensable for the heat shock-stimulated activation of this signaling pathway. Our results suggest that PtdIns(3,5)P2 is specifically involved in the MG-induced activation of the Mpk1 MAPK cascade and in the cellular adaptation to MG-induced stress.



Arabidopsis calmodulin-like protein CML36 is a calcium (Ca2+) sensor that interacts with the plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase isoform ACA8 and stimulates its activity [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Calmodulin-like (CML) proteins are major EF-hand–containing, calcium (Ca2+)–binding proteins with crucial roles in plant development and in coordinating plant stress tolerance. Given their abundance in plants, the properties of Ca2+ sensors and identification of novel target proteins of CMLs deserve special attention. To this end, we recombinantly produced and biochemically characterized CML36 from Arabidopsis thaliana. We analyzed Ca2+ and Mg2+ binding to the individual EF-hands, observed metal-induced conformational changes, and identified a physiologically relevant target. CML36 possesses two high-affinity Ca2+/Mg2+ mixed binding sites and two low-affinity Ca2+-specific sites. Binding of Ca2+ induced an increase in the α-helical content and a conformational change that lead to the exposure of hydrophobic regions responsible for target protein recognition. Cation binding, either Ca2+ or Mg2+, stabilized the secondary and tertiary structures of CML36, guiding a large structural transition from a molten globule apo-state to a compact holoconformation. Importantly, through in vitro binding and activity assays, we showed that CML36 interacts directly with the regulative N terminus of the Arabidopsis plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase isoform 8 (ACA8) and that this interaction stimulates ACA8 activity. Gene expression analysis revealed that CML36 and ACA8 are co-expressed mainly in inflorescences. Collectively, our results support a role for CML36 as a Ca2+ sensor that binds to and modulates ACA8, uncovering a possible involvement of the CML protein family in the modulation of plant-autoinhibited Ca2+ pumps.



Lineage tracing of epithelial cells in developing teeth reveals two strategies for building signaling centers [Developmental Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

An important event in organogenesis is the formation of signaling centers, which are clusters of growth factor-secreting cells. In the case of tooth development, sequentially formed signaling centers known as the initiation knot (IK) and the enamel knot (EK) regulate morphogenesis. However, despite the importance of signaling centers, their origin, as well as the fate of the cells composing them, remain open questions. Here, using lineage tracing of distinct epithelial populations, we found that the EK of the mouse incisor is derived de novo from a group of SRY-box 2 (Sox2)-expressing cells in the posterior half of the tooth germ. Specifically, EK progenitors are located in the posterior ventral basal layer, as demonstrated by DiI labeling of cells. Lineage tracing the formed EK with ShhCreER, which encodes an inducible Cre recombinase under the control of the Sonic hedgehog promoter, at subsequent developmental stages showed that, once formed, some EK cells in the incisor give rise to differentiated cells, whereas in the molar, EK cells give rise to the buccal secondary EK. This work thus establishes the developmental origin as well as the fate of the EK and reveals two strategies for the emergence of serially formed signaling centers: one through de novo establishment and the other by incorporation of progeny from previously formed signaling centers.



The K-Ras effector p38{gamma} MAPK confers intrinsic resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors by stimulating EGFR transcription and EGFR dephosphorylation [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Mutations in K-Ras and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are mutually exclusive, but it is not known how K-Ras activation inactivates EGFR, leading to resistance of cancer cells to anti-EGFR therapy. Here, we report that the K-Ras effector p38γ MAPK confers intrinsic resistance to small molecular tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) by concurrently stimulating EGFR gene transcription and protein dephosphorylation. We found that p38γ increases EGFR transcription by c-Jun-mediated promoter binding and stimulates EGFR dephosphorylation via activation of protein-tyrosine phosphatase H1 (PTPH1). Silencing the p38γ/c-Jun/PTPH1 signaling network increased sensitivities to TKIs in K-Ras mutant cells in which EGFR knockdown inhibited growth. Similar results were obtained with the p38γ-specific pharmacological inhibitor pirfenidone. These results indicate that in K-Ras mutant cancers, EGFR activity is regulated by the p38γ/c-Jun/PTPH1 signaling network, whose disruption may be a novel strategy to restore the sensitivity to TKIs.



The retinol-binding protein receptor STRA6 regulates diurnal insulin responses [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

It has long been appreciated that insulin action is closely tied to circadian rhythms. However, the mechanisms that dictate diurnal insulin sensitivity in metabolic tissues are not well understood. Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) has been implicated as a driver of insulin resistance in rodents and humans, and it has become an attractive drug target in type II diabetes. RBP4 is synthesized primarily in the liver where it binds retinol and transports it to tissues throughout the body. The retinol–RBP4 complex (holo-RBP) can be recognized by a cell-surface receptor known as stimulated by retinoic acid 6 (STRA6), which transports retinol into cells. Coupled to retinol transport, holo-RBP can activate STRA6-driven Janus kinase (JAK) signaling and downstream induction of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) target genes. STRA6 signaling in white adipose tissue has been shown to inhibit insulin receptor responses. Here, we examined diurnal rhythmicity of the RBP4/STRA6 signaling axis and investigated whether STRA6 is necessary for diurnal variations in insulin sensitivity. We show that adipose tissue STRA6 undergoes circadian patterning driven in part by the nuclear transcription factor REV-ERBα. Furthermore, STRA6 is necessary for diurnal rhythmicity of insulin action and JAK/STAT signaling in adipose tissue. These findings establish that holo-RBP and its receptor STRA6 are potent regulators of diurnal insulin responses and suggest that the holo-RBP/STRA6 signaling axis may represent a novel therapeutic target in type II diabetes.



Altered Met receptor phosphorylation and LRP1-mediated uptake in cells lacking carbohydrate-dependent lysosomal targeting [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Acid hydrolases utilize a carbohydrate-dependent mechanism for lysosomal targeting. These hydrolases acquire a mannose 6-phosphate tag by the action of the GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase enzyme, allowing them to bind receptors and traffic to endosomes. Loss of GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase results in hydrolase hypersecretion and profound lysosomal storage. Little, however, is known about how these cellular phenotypes affect the trafficking, activity, and localization of surface glycoproteins. To address this question, we profiled the abundance of surface glycoproteins in WT and CRISPR-mediated GNPTAB−/− HeLa cells and identified changes in numerous glycoproteins, including the uptake receptor LRP1 and multiple receptor tyrosine kinases. Decreased cell surface LRP1 in GNPTAB−/− cells corresponded with a reduction in its steady-state level and less amyloid-β-40 (Aβ40) peptide uptake. GNPTAB−/− cells displayed elevated activation of several kinases including Met receptor. We found increased Met phosphorylation within both the kinase and the docking domains and observed that lower concentrations of pervanadate were needed to cause an increase in phospho-Met in GNPTAB−/− cells. Together, these data suggested a decrease in the activity of the receptor and non-receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatases that down-regulate Met phosphorylation. GNPTAB−/− cells exhibited elevated levels of reactive oxygen species, known to inactivate cell surface and cytosolic phosphatases by oxidation of active site cysteine residues. Consistent with this mode of action, peroxide treatment of parental HeLa cells elevated phospho-Met levels whereas antioxidant treatment of GNPTAB−/− cells reduced phospho-Met levels. Collectively, these findings identify new mechanisms whereby impaired lysosomal targeting can impact the activity and recycling of receptors.



Sorafenib targets the mitochondrial electron transport chain complexes and ATP synthase to activate the PINK1-Parkin pathway and modulate cellular drug response [Cell Biology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Sorafenib (Nexavar) is a broad-spectrum multikinase inhibitor that proves effective in treating advanced renal-cell carcinoma and liver cancer. Despite its well-characterized mechanism of action on several established cancer-related protein kinases, sorafenib causes variable responses among human tumors, although the cause for this variation is unknown. In an unbiased screening of an oncology drug library, we found that sorafenib activates recruitment of the ubiquitin E3 ligase Parkin to damaged mitochondria. We show that sorafenib inhibits the activity of both complex II/III of the electron transport chain and ATP synthase. Dual inhibition of these complexes, but not inhibition of each individual complex, stabilizes the serine-threonine protein kinase PINK1 on the mitochondrial outer membrane and activates Parkin. Unlike the protonophore carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, which activates the mitophagy response, sorafenib treatment triggers PINK1/Parkin-dependent cellular apoptosis, which is attenuated upon Bcl-2 overexpression. In summary, our results reveal a new mechanism of action for sorafenib as a mitocan and suggest that high Parkin activity levels could make tumor cells more sensitive to sorafenib's actions, providing one possible explanation why Parkin may be a tumor suppressor gene. These insights could be useful in developing new rationally designed combination therapies with sorafenib.



Cell-free production of a functional oligomeric form of a Chlamydia major outer-membrane protein (MOMP) for vaccine development [Immunology]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Chlamydia is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease that infects more than 100 million people worldwide. Although most individuals infected with Chlamydia trachomatis are initially asymptomatic, symptoms can arise if left undiagnosed. Long-term infection can result in debilitating conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and blindness. Chlamydia infection, therefore, constitutes a significant public health threat, underscoring the need for a Chlamydia-specific vaccine. Chlamydia strains express a major outer-membrane protein (MOMP) that has been shown to be an effective vaccine antigen. However, approaches to produce a functional recombinant MOMP protein for vaccine development are limited by poor solubility, low yield, and protein misfolding. Here, we used an Escherichia coli-based cell-free system to express a MOMP protein from the mouse-specific species Chlamydia muridarum (MoPn-MOMP or mMOMP). The codon-optimized mMOMP gene was co-translated with Δ49apolipoprotein A1 (Δ49ApoA1), a truncated version of mouse ApoA1 in which the N-terminal 49 amino acids were removed. This co-translation process produced mMOMP supported within a telodendrimer nanolipoprotein particle (mMOMP–tNLP). The cell-free expressed mMOMP–tNLPs contain mMOMP multimers similar to the native MOMP protein. This cell-free process produced on average 1.5 mg of purified, water-soluble mMOMP–tNLP complex in a 1-ml cell-free reaction. The mMOMP–tNLP particle also accommodated the co-localization of CpG oligodeoxynucleotide 1826, a single-stranded synthetic DNA adjuvant, eliciting an enhanced humoral immune response in vaccinated mice. Using our mMOMP–tNLP formulation, we demonstrate a unique approach to solubilizing and administering membrane-bound proteins for future vaccine development. This method can be applied to other previously difficult-to-obtain antigens while maintaining full functionality and immunogenicity.



Potential dual function of PQ-loop proteins such as cystinosin [Letters to the Editor]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Zhang et al. (1) demonstrate convincingly that cystinosin has a dual function. In addition to its low-molecular-weight solute transport, it participates in small GTPase-regulated vesicle trafficking and lysosomal localization of LAMP2A, a protein regulating chaperone-mediated autophagy. If cystinosin is absent or impaired, LAMP2A is mislocalized. Such a protein-trafficking function has been suggested previously, based on a bioinformatics analysis (2). Cystinosin belongs to a diverse family of homologous proteins named PQ-loop (2). Some of the members have been shown to be solute transporters, e.g. plant SWEETs (3); others have been shown to be protein cargo receptors in vesicle trafficking, e.g. KDEL receptors (4). The molecular functions of many of them, e.g. MPDU1 and CLPT1L, have not yet been found despite their involvement in important biological processes. The cargo-trafficking function has been described for mammalian SWEET1, alias RAG1AP1 (5), although not noticed when its solute transport was later discovered (3). The most recent discovery of this dual function in cystinosin (1) suggests that it could be a general property of many other family members and should always be considered when investigating these important proteins. It could turn out to be particularly relevant for KDEL receptors that show several activities independent of their receptor function (4).



R213I mutation in release factor 2 (RF2) is one step forward for engineering an omnipotent release factor in bacteria Escherichia coli [RNA]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

The current understanding of the specificity of the bacterial class I release factors (RFs) in decoding stop codons has evolved beyond a simple tripeptide anticodon model. A recent molecular dynamics study for deciphering the principles for specific stop codon recognition by RFs identified Arg-213 as a crucial residue on Escherichia coli RF2 for discriminating guanine in the third position (G3). Interestingly, Arg-213 is highly conserved in RF2 and substituted by Ile-196 in the corresponding position in RF1. Another similar pair is Leu-126 in RF1 and Asp-143 in RF2, which are also conserved within their respective groups. With the hypothesis that replacement of Arg-213 and Asp-143 with the corresponding RF1 residues will reduce G3 discrimination by RF2, we swapped these residues between E. coli RF1 and RF2 by site-directed mutagenesis and characterized their preference for different codons using a competitive peptide release assay. Among these, the R213I mutant of RF2 showed 5-fold improved reading of the RF1-specific UAG codon relative to UAA, the universal stop codon, compared with the wild type (WT). In-depth fast kinetic studies revealed that the gain in UAG reading by RF2 R213I is associated with a reduced efficiency of termination on the cognate UAA codon. Our work highlights the notion that stop codon recognition involves complex interactions with multiple residues beyond the PXT/SPF motifs. We propose that the R213I mutation in RF2 brings us one step forward toward engineering an omnipotent RF in bacteria, capable of reading all three stop codons.



Structure-function analyses of a pertussis-like toxin from pathogenic Escherichia coli reveal a distinct mechanism of inhibition of trimeric G-proteins [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Pertussis-like toxins are secreted by several bacterial pathogens during infection. They belong to the AB5 virulence factors, which bind to glycans on host cell membranes for internalization. Host cell recognition and internalization are mediated by toxin B subunits sharing a unique pentameric ring-like assembly. Although the role of pertussis toxin in whooping cough is well-established, pertussis-like toxins produced by other bacteria are less studied, and their mechanisms of action are unclear. Here, we report that some extra-intestinal Escherichia coli pathogens (i.e. those that reside in the gut but can spread to other bodily locations) encode a pertussis-like toxin that inhibits mammalian cell growth in vitro. We found that this protein, EcPlt, is related to toxins produced by both nontyphoidal and typhoidal Salmonella serovars. Pertussis-like toxins are secreted as disulfide-bonded heterohexamers in which the catalytic ADP-ribosyltransferase subunit is activated when exposed to the reducing environment in mammalian cells. We found here that the reduced EcPlt exhibits large structural rearrangements associated with its activation. We noted that inhibitory residues tethered within the NAD+-binding site by an intramolecular disulfide in the oxidized state dissociate upon the reduction and enable loop restructuring to form the nucleotide-binding site. Surprisingly, although pertussis toxin targets a cysteine residue within the α subunit of inhibitory trimeric G-proteins, we observed that activated EcPlt toxin modifies a proximal lysine/asparagine residue instead. In conclusion, our results reveal the molecular mechanism underpinning activation of pertussis-like toxins, and we also identified differences in host target specificity.



When Escherichia coli doesn't fit the mold: A pertussis-like toxin with altered specificity [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-08T00:10:15-07:00

Bacterial toxins introduce protein modifications such as ADP-ribosylation to manipulate host cell signaling and physiology. Several general mechanisms for toxin function have been established, but the extent to which previously uncharacterized toxins utilize these mechanisms is unknown. A study of an Escherichia coli pertussis-like toxin demonstrates that this protein acts on a known toxin substrate but displays distinct and dual chemoselectivity, suggesting this E. coli pertussis-like toxin may serve as a unique tool to study G-protein signaling in eukaryotic cells.



Role of the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF157 as a novel downstream effector linking PI3K and MAPK signaling pathways to the cell cycle [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The interconnected PI3K and MAPK signaling pathways are commonly perturbed in cancer. Dual inhibition of these pathways by the small-molecule PI3K inhibitor pictilisib (GDC-0941) and the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib (GDC-0973) suppresses cell proliferation and induces cell death better than either single agent in several preclinical models. Using mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics, we have identified the RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF157 as a target at the intersection of PI3K and MAPK signaling. We demonstrate that RNF157 phosphorylation downstream of the PI3K and MAPK pathways influences the ubiquitination and stability of RNF157 during the cell cycle in an anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome–CDH1-dependent manner. Deletion of these phosphorylation-targeted residues on RNF157 disrupts binding to CDH1 and protects RNF157 from ubiquitination and degradation. Expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2), itself a downstream target of PI3K/MAPK signaling, leads to increased phosphorylation of RNF157 on the same residues modulated by PI3K and MAPK signaling. Inhibition of PI3K and MEK in combination or of CDK2 by their respective small-molecule inhibitors reduces RNF157 phosphorylation at these residues and attenuates RNF157 interaction with CDH1 and its subsequent degradation. Knockdown of endogenous RNF157 in melanoma cells leads to late S phase and G2/M arrest and induces apoptosis, the latter further potentiated by concurrent PI3K/MEK inhibition, consistent with a role for RNF157 in the cell cycle. We propose that RNF157 serves as a novel node integrating oncogenic signaling pathways with the cell cycle machinery and promoting optimal cell cycle progression in transformed cells.



Dysregulation of BCL-2 family proteins by leukemia fusion genes [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The genomic lesions that characterize acute lymphoblastic leukemia in childhood include recurrent translocations that result in the expression of fusion proteins that typically involve genes encoding tyrosine kinases, cytokine receptors, and transcription factors. These genetic rearrangements confer phenotypic hallmarks of malignant transformation, including unrestricted proliferation and a relative resistance to apoptosis. In this Minireview, we discuss the molecular mechanisms that link these fusions to the control of cell death. We examine how these fusion genes dysregulate the BCL-2 family of proteins, preventing activation of the apoptotic effectors, BAX and BAK, and promoting cell survival.



The neuronal protein Neurexin directly interacts with the Scribble-Pix complex to stimulate F-actin assembly for synaptic vesicle clustering [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Synaptic vesicles (SVs) form distinct pools at synaptic terminals, and this well-regulated separation is necessary for normal neurotransmission. However, how the SV cluster, in particular synaptic compartments, maintains normal neurotransmitter release remains a mystery. The presynaptic protein Neurexin (NRX) plays a significant role in synaptic architecture and function, and some evidence suggests that NRX is associated with neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorders. However, the role of NRX in SV clustering is unclear. Here, using the neuromuscular junction at the 2–3 instar stages of Drosophila larvae as a model and biochemical imaging and electrophysiology techniques, we demonstrate that Drosophila NRX (DNRX) plays critical roles in regulating synaptic terminal clustering and release of SVs. We found that DNRX controls the terminal clustering and release of SVs by stimulating presynaptic F-actin. Furthermore, our results indicate that DNRX functions through the scaffold protein Scribble and the GEF protein DPix to activate the small GTPase Ras-related C3 Botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1). We observed a direct interaction between the C-terminal PDZ-binding motif of DNRX and the PDZ domains of Scribble and that Scribble bridges DNRX to DPix, forming a DNRX–Scribble–DPix complex that activates Rac1 and subsequently stimulates presynaptic F-actin assembly and SV clustering. Taken together, our work provides important insights into the function of DNRX in regulating SV clustering, which could help inform further research into pathological neurexin-mediated mechanisms in neurological disorders such as autism.



Computational tools help improve protein stability but with a solubility tradeoff [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Accurately predicting changes in protein stability upon amino acid substitution is a much sought after goal. Destabilizing mutations are often implicated in disease, whereas stabilizing mutations are of great value for industrial and therapeutic biotechnology. Increasing protein stability is an especially challenging task, with random substitution yielding stabilizing mutations in only ∼2% of cases. To overcome this bottleneck, computational tools that aim to predict the effect of mutations have been developed; however, achieving accuracy and consistency remains challenging. Here, we combined 11 freely available tools into a meta-predictor (meieringlab.uwaterloo.ca/stabilitypredict/). Validation against ∼600 experimental mutations indicated that our meta-predictor has improved performance over any of the individual tools. The meta-predictor was then used to recommend 10 mutations in a previously designed protein of moderate thermodynamic stability, ThreeFoil. Experimental characterization showed that four mutations increased protein stability and could be amplified through ThreeFoil's structural symmetry to yield several multiple mutants with >2-kcal/mol stabilization. By avoiding residues within functional ties, we could maintain ThreeFoil's glycan-binding capacity. Despite successfully achieving substantial stabilization, however, almost all mutations decreased protein solubility, the most common cause of protein design failure. Examination of the 600-mutation data set revealed that stabilizing mutations on the protein surface tend to increase hydrophobicity and that the individual tools favor this approach to gain stability. Thus, whereas currently available tools can increase protein stability and combining them into a meta-predictor yields enhanced reliability, improvements to the potentials/force fields underlying these tools are needed to avoid gaining protein stability at the cost of solubility.



Guanylyl cyclase sensitivity to nitric oxide is protected by a thiol oxidation-driven interaction with thioredoxin-1 [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Nitric oxide (NO) modulates many physiological events through production of cGMP from its receptor, the NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (GC1). NO also appears to function in a cGMP-independent manner, via S-nitrosation (SNO), a redox-based modification of cysteine thiols. Previously, we have shown that S-nitrosated GC1 (SNO-GC1) is desensitized to NO stimulation following prolonged NO exposure or under oxidative/nitrosative stress. In animal models of nitrate tolerance and angiotensin II-induced hypertension, decreased vasodilation in response to NO correlates with GC1 thiol oxidation, but the physiological mechanism that resensitizes GC1 to NO and restores basal activity is unknown. Because GC1 interacts with the oxidoreductase protein-disulfide isomerase, we hypothesized that thioredoxin-1 (Trx1), a cytosolic oxidoreductase, could be involved in restoring GC1 basal activity and NO sensitivity because the Trx/thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) system maintains thiol redox homeostasis. Here, by manipulating activity and levels of the Trx1/TrxR system and by using a Trx1-Trap assay, we demonstrate that Trx1 modulates cGMP synthesis through an association between Trx1 and GC1 via a mixed disulfide. A proximity ligation assay confirmed the endogenous Trx1–GC1 complex in cells. Mutational analysis suggested that Cys609 in GC1 is involved in the Trx1–GC1 association and modulation of GC1 activity. Functionally, we established that Trx1 protects GC1 from S-nitrosocysteine–induced desensitization. A computational model of Trx1–GC1 interaction illustrates a possible mechanism for Trx1 to maintain basal GC1 activity and prevent/rescue GC1 desensitization to NO. The etiology of some oxidative vascular diseases may very well be explained by the dysfunction of the Trx1–GC1 association.



Thioredoxin reductase 1 and NADPH directly protect protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B from inactivation during H2O2 exposure [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Regulation of growth factor signaling involves reversible inactivation of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) through the oxidation and reduction of their active site cysteine. However, there is limited mechanistic understanding of these redox events and their co-ordination in the presence of cellular antioxidant networks. Here we investigated interactions between PTP1B and the peroxiredoxin 2 (Prx2)/thioredoxin 1 (Trx1)/thioredoxin reductase 1 (TrxR1) network. We found that Prx2 becomes oxidized in PDGF-treated fibroblasts, but only when TrxR1 has first been inhibited. Using purified proteins, we also found that PTP1B is relatively insensitive to inactivation by H2O2 but found no evidence for a relay mechanism in which Prx2 or Trx1 facilitates PTP1B oxidation. Instead, these proteins prevented PTP1B inactivation by H2O2. Intriguingly, we discovered that TrxR1/NADPH directly protects PTP1B from inactivation when present during the H2O2 exposure. This protection was dependent on the concentration of TrxR1 and independent of Trx1 and Prx2. The protection was blocked by auranofin and required an intact selenocysteine residue in TrxR1. This activity likely involves reduction of the sulfenic acid intermediate form of PTP1B by TrxR1 and is therefore distinct from the previously described reactivation of end-point oxidized PTP1B, which requires both Trx1 and TrxR1. The ability of TrxR1 to directly reduce an oxidized phosphatase is a novel activity that can help explain previously observed increases in PTP1B oxidation and PDGF receptor phosphorylation in TrxR1 knockout cells. The activity of TrxR1 is therefore of potential relevance for understanding the mechanisms of redox regulation of growth factor signaling pathways.



Versican G1 domain enhances adenoviral-mediated transgene expression and can be modulated by inhibitors of the Janus kinase (JAK)/STAT and Src family kinase pathways [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

To examine the biochemical influences that may contribute to the success of gene therapy for ocular disorders, the role of versican, a vitreous component, in adenoviral-mediated transgene expression was examined. Versican is a large chondroitin sulfate-containing, hyaluronic acid-binding proteoglycan present in the extracellular matrix and in ocular vitreous body. Y79 retinoblastoma cells and CD44-negative SK-N-DZ neuroblastoma cells transduced with adenoviral vectors in the presence of versican respond with an activation of transgene expression. Proteolysis of versican generates a hyaluronan-binding G1 domain. The addition of recombinant versican G1 to SK-N-DZ cells results in a similar activation of transgene expression, and treatment with dasatinib, an inhibitor of Src family kinases, also mimics the effects of versican. Enhancement is accompanied by an increase in signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) phosphorylation and is abrogated by treatment with C188-9, a STAT3/5 inhibitor, or with ruxolitinib, a Janus kinase 1/2 (JAK1/2) inhibitor. These data implicate versican G1 in enhancing adenoviral vector transgene expression in a hyaluronic acid-CD44 independent manner that is down-regulated by inhibitors of the JAK/STAT pathway and enhanced by inhibitors of the Src kinase pathway.



CD14 is a key mediator of both lysophosphatidic acid and lipopolysaccharide induction of foam cell formation [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Macrophage uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) plays an important role in foam cell formation and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. We report here that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) enhances lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced oxLDL uptake in macrophages. Our data revealed that both LPA and LPS highly induce the CD14 expression at messenger RNA and protein levels in macrophages. The role of CD14, one component of the LPS receptor cluster, in LPA-induced biological functions has been unknown. We took several steps to examine the role of CD14 in LPA signaling pathways. Knockdown of CD14 expression nearly completely blocked LPA/LPS-induced oxLDL uptake in macrophages, demonstrating for the first time that CD14 is a key mediator responsible for both LPA- and LPS-induced oxLDL uptake/foam cell formation. To determine the molecular mechanism mediating CD14 function, we demonstrated that both LPA and LPS significantly induce the expression of scavenger receptor class A type I (SR-AI), which has been implicated in lipid uptake process, and depletion of CD14 levels blocked LPA/LPS-induced SR-AI expression. We further showed that the SR-AI–specific antibody, which quenches SR-AI function, blocked LPA- and LPS-induced foam cell formation. Thus, SR-AI is the downstream mediator of CD14 in regulating LPA-, LPS-, and LPA/LPS-induced foam cell formation. Taken together, our results provide the first experimental evidence that CD14 is a novel connecting molecule linking both LPA and LPS pathways and is a key mediator responsible for LPA/LPS-induced foam cell formation. The LPA/LPS–CD14–SR-AI nexus might be the new convergent pathway, contributing to the worsening of atherosclerosis.



Use of a neutralizing antibody helps identify structural features critical for binding of Clostridium difficile toxin TcdA to the host cell surface [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Clostridium difficile is a clinically significant pathogen that causes mild-to-severe (and often recurrent) colon infections. Disease symptoms stem from the activities of two large, multidomain toxins known as TcdA and TcdB. The toxins can bind, enter, and perturb host cell function through a multistep mechanism of receptor binding, endocytosis, pore formation, autoproteolysis, and glucosyltransferase-mediated modification of host substrates. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize toxin activity provide a survival benefit in preclinical animal models and prevent recurrent infections in human clinical trials. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in these neutralizing activities are unclear. To this end, we performed structural studies on a neutralizing monoclonal antibody, PA50, a humanized mAb with both potent and broad-spectrum neutralizing activity, in complex with TcdA. Electron microscopy imaging and multiangle light-scattering analysis revealed that PA50 binds multiple sites on the TcdA C-terminal combined repetitive oligopeptides (CROPs) domain. A crystal structure of two PA50 Fabs bound to a segment of the TcdA CROPs helped define a conserved epitope that is distinct from previously identified carbohydrate-binding sites. Binding of TcdA to the host cell surface was directly blocked by either PA50 mAb or Fab and suggested that receptor blockade is the mechanism by which PA50 neutralizes TcdA. These findings highlight the importance of the CROPs C terminus in cell-surface binding and a role for neutralizing antibodies in defining structural features critical to a pathogen's mechanism of action. We conclude that PA50 protects host cells by blocking the binding of TcdA to cell surfaces.



Low-level internalization of cystatin E/M affects legumain activity and migration of melanoma cells [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The ratio between proteases and their inhibitors is unbalanced in cancer. The cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C is internalized by some cancer cells, which affects cellular properties. Here we aimed to investigate if uptake of cystatin C and the related inhibitor cystatin E/M occur in melanoma cell lines and to evaluate to what extent the uptake affects the legumain activity that is typically increased in melanoma. First we studied the basic expression, secretion, and intracellular content of all type 2 cystatins as well as expression and activity of their possible target enzymes legumain and cathepsin B in MDA-MB-435S, A375, and C8161 melanoma cells. Legumain activity was measureable in all cell lines, and of the potential legumain inhibitors, cystatin C, E/M, and F, cystatin C was the one mainly produced. All cells internalized cystatin C added to culture media, leading to increased intracellular cystatin C levels by 120–200%. Cystatin E/M was internalized as well but at a modest rate. The effects on intracellular legumain activity were nevertheless pronounced, probably because the cells lacked this inhibitor, and its affinity for legumain is 100-fold higher than that of cystatin C. Likewise, the low-degree uptake resulted in reduced migration and invasion of A375 cells in Matrigel to an extent comparable with the W106F variant of cystatin C with optimal uptake properties and resulting in much higher intracellular levels. Thus, cystatin E/M appears to be a good candidate to efficiently down-regulate the increased legumain activity, possibly important for the malignant phenotype of melanoma cells.



Amorphous protein aggregates stimulate plasminogen activation, leading to release of cytotoxic fragments that are clients for extracellular chaperones [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The misfolding of proteins and their accumulation in extracellular tissue compartments as insoluble amyloid or amorphous protein aggregates are a hallmark feature of many debilitating protein deposition diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases, and type II diabetes. The plasminogen activation system is best known as an extracellular fibrinolytic system but was previously reported to also be capable of degrading amyloid fibrils. Here we show that amorphous protein aggregates interact with tissue-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen, via an exposed lysine-dependent mechanism, to efficiently generate plasmin. The insoluble aggregate-bound plasmin is shielded from inhibition by α2-antiplasmin and degrades amorphous protein aggregates to release smaller, soluble but relatively hydrophobic fragments of protein (plasmin-generated protein fragments (PGPFs)) that are cytotoxic. In vitro, both endothelial and microglial cells bound and internalized PGPFs before trafficking them to lysosomes. Clusterin and α2-macroglobulin bound to PGPFs to significantly ameliorate their toxicity. On the basis of these findings, we hypothesize that, as part of the in vivo extracellular proteostasis system, the plasminogen activation system may work synergistically with extracellular chaperones to safely clear large and otherwise pathological protein aggregates from the body.



Dynamics and energetics of the mammalian phosphatidylinositol transfer protein phospholipid exchange cycle [Signal Transduction]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Phosphatidylinositol-transfer proteins (PITPs) regulate phosphoinositide signaling in eukaryotic cells. The defining feature of PITPs is their ability to exchange phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) molecules between membranes, and this property is central to PITP-mediated regulation of lipid signaling. However, the details of the PITP-mediated lipid exchange cycle remain entirely obscure. Here, all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of the mammalian StART-like PtdIns/phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) transfer protein PITPα, both on membrane bilayers and in solvated systems, informed downstream biochemical analyses that tested key aspects of the hypotheses generated by the molecular dynamics simulations. These studies provided five key insights into the PITPα lipid exchange cycle: (i) interaction of PITPα with the membrane is spontaneous and mediated by four specific protein substructures; (ii) the ability of PITPα to initiate closure around the PtdCho ligand is accompanied by loss of flexibility of two helix/loop regions, as well as of the C-terminal helix; (iii) the energy barrier of phospholipid extraction from the membrane is lowered by a network of hydrogen bonds between the lipid molecule and PITPα; (iv) the trajectory of PtdIns or PtdCho into and through the lipid-binding pocket is chaperoned by sets of PITPα residues conserved throughout the StART-like PITP family; and (v) conformational transitions in the C-terminal helix have specific functional involvements in PtdIns transfer activity. Taken together, these findings provide the first mechanistic description of key aspects of the PITPα PtdIns/PtdCho exchange cycle and offer a rationale for the high conservation of particular sets of residues across evolutionarily distant members of the metazoan StART-like PITP family.



Acetylation on histone H3 lysine 9 mediates a switch from transcription initiation to elongation [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The transition from transcription initiation to elongation is a key regulatory step in gene expression, which requires RNA polymerase II (pol II) to escape promoter proximal pausing on chromatin. Although elongation factors promote pause release leading to transcription elongation, the role of epigenetic modifications during this critical transition step is poorly understood. Two histone marks on histone H3, lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and lysine 9 acetylation (H3K9ac), co-localize on active gene promoters and are associated with active transcription. H3K4me3 can promote transcription initiation, yet the functional role of H3K9ac is much less understood. We hypothesized that H3K9ac may function downstream of transcription initiation by recruiting proteins important for the next step of transcription. Here, we describe a functional role for H3K9ac in promoting pol II pause release by directly recruiting the super elongation complex (SEC) to chromatin. H3K9ac serves as a substrate for direct binding of the SEC, as does acetylation of histone H4 lysine 5 to a lesser extent. Furthermore, lysine 9 on histone H3 is necessary for maximal pol II pause release through SEC action, and loss of H3K9ac increases the pol II pausing index on a subset of genes in HeLa cells. At select gene promoters, H3K9ac loss or SEC depletion reduces gene expression and increases paused pol II occupancy. We therefore propose that an ordered histone code can promote progression through the transcription cycle, providing new mechanistic insight indicating that SEC recruitment to certain acetylated histones on a subset of genes stimulates the subsequent release of paused pol II needed for transcription elongation.



Mitochondrial calcium uniporter in Drosophila transfers calcium between the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria in oxidative stress-induced cell death [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Mitochondrial calcium plays critical roles in diverse cellular processes ranging from energy metabolism to cell death. Previous studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial calcium uptake is mainly mediated by the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) complex. However, the roles of the MCU complex in calcium transport, signaling, and dysregulation by oxidative stress still remain unclear. Here, we confirmed that Drosophila MCU contains evolutionarily conserved structures and requires essential MCU regulator (EMRE) for its calcium channel activities. We generated Drosophila MCU loss-of-function mutants, which lacked mitochondrial calcium uptake in response to caffeine stimulation. Basal metabolic activities were not significantly affected in these MCU mutants, as observed in examinations of body weight, food intake, body sugar level, and starvation-induced autophagy. However, oxidative stress-induced increases in mitochondrial calcium, mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization, and cell death were prevented in these mutants. We also found that inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor genetically interacts with Drosophila MCU and effectively modulates mitochondrial calcium uptake upon oxidative stress. Taken together, these results support the idea that Drosophila MCU is responsible for endoplasmic reticulum-to-mitochondrial calcium transfer and for cell death due to mitochondrial dysfunction under oxidative stress.



Identification and quantification of protein S-nitrosation by nitrite in the mouse heart during ischemia [Methods and Resources]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Nitrate (NO3−) and nitrite (NO2−) are known to be cardioprotective and to alter energy metabolism in vivo. NO3− action results from its conversion to NO2− by salivary bacteria, but the mechanism(s) by which NO2− affects metabolism remains obscure. NO2− may act by S-nitrosating protein thiols, thereby altering protein activity. But how this occurs, and the functional importance of S-nitrosation sites across the mammalian proteome, remain largely uncharacterized. Here we analyzed protein thiols within mouse hearts in vivo using quantitative proteomics to determine S-nitrosation site occupancy. We extended the thiol-redox proteomic technique, isotope-coded affinity tag labeling, to quantify the extent of NO2−-dependent S-nitrosation of proteins thiols in vivo. Using this approach, called SNOxICAT (S-nitrosothiol redox isotope-coded affinity tag), we found that exposure to NO2− under normoxic conditions or exposure to ischemia alone results in minimal S-nitrosation of protein thiols. However, exposure to NO2− in conjunction with ischemia led to extensive S-nitrosation of protein thiols across all cellular compartments. Several mitochondrial protein thiols exposed to the mitochondrial matrix were selectively S-nitrosated under these conditions, potentially contributing to the beneficial effects of NO2− on mitochondrial metabolism. The permeability of the mitochondrial inner membrane to HNO2, but not to NO2−, combined with the lack of S-nitrosation during anoxia alone or by NO2− during normoxia places constraints on how S-nitrosation occurs in vivo and on its mechanisms of cardioprotection and modulation of energy metabolism. Quantifying S-nitrosated protein thiols now allo[...]



Understanding inhibitor resistance in Mps1 kinase through novel biophysical assays and structures [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Monopolar spindle 1 (Mps1/TTK) is a protein kinase essential in mitotic checkpoint signaling, preventing anaphase until all chromosomes are properly attached to spindle microtubules. Mps1 has emerged as a potential target for cancer therapy, and a variety of compounds have been developed to inhibit its kinase activity. Mutations in the catalytic domain of Mps1 that give rise to inhibitor resistance, but retain catalytic activity and do not display cross-resistance to other Mps1 inhibitors, have been described. Here we characterize the interactions of two such mutants, Mps1 C604Y and C604W, which raise resistance to two closely related compounds, NMS-P715 and its derivative Cpd-5, but not to the well characterized Mps1 inhibitor, reversine. We show that estimates of the IC50 (employing a novel specific and efficient assay that utilizes a fluorescently labeled substrate) and the binding affinity (KD) indicate that, in both mutants, Cpd-5 should be better tolerated than the closely related NMS-P715. To gain further insight, we determined the crystal structure of the Mps1 kinase mutants bound to Cpd-5 and NMS-P715 and compared the binding modes of Cpd-5, NMS-P715, and reversine. The difference in steric hindrance between Tyr/Trp604 and the trifluoromethoxy moiety of NMS-P715, the methoxy moiety of Cpd-5, and complete absence of such a group in reversine, account for differences we observe in vitro. Our analysis enforces the notion that inhibitors targeting Mps1 drug-resistant mutations can emerge as a feasible intervention strategy based on existing scaffolds, if the clinical need arises.



The nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor/heme oxygenase-1 axis is critical for the inflammatory features of type 2 diabetes-associated osteoarthritis [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Epidemiological findings support the hypothesis that type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA). Moreover, OA cartilage from patients with T2DM exhibits a greater response to inflammatory stress, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. To investigate whether the antioxidant defense system participates in this response, we examined here the expression of nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf-2), a master antioxidant transcription factor, and of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), one of its main target genes, in OA cartilage from T2DM and non-T2DM patients as well as in murine chondrocytes exposed to high glucose (HG). Ex vivo experiments indicated that Nrf-2 and HO-1 expression is reduced in T2DM versus non-T2DM OA cartilage (0.57-fold Nrf-2 and 0.34-fold HO-1), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release was increased in samples with low HO-1 expression. HG-exposed, IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes had lower Nrf-2 levels in vitro, particularly in the nuclear fraction, than chondrocytes exposed to normal glucose (NG). Accordingly, HO-1 levels were also decreased (0.49-fold) in these cells. The HO-1 inducer cobalt protoporphyrin IX more efficiently attenuated PGE2 and IL-6 release in HG+IL-1β-treated cells than in NG+IL-1β-treated cells. Greater reductions in HO-1 expression and increase in PGE2/IL-6 production were observed in HG+IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes from Nrf-2−/− mice than in chondrocytes from wild-type mice. We conclude that the Nrf-2/HO-1 axis is a critical pathway in the hyperglucidic-mediated dysregulation of chondrocytes. Impairments in this antioxidant system may explain the greater inflammatory r[...]



Gq pathway regulates proximal C-type lectin-like receptor-2 (CLEC-2) signaling in platelets [Cell Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Platelets play a key role in the physiological hemostasis or pathological process of thrombosis. Rhodocytin, an agonist of the C-type lectin-like receptor-2 (CLEC-2), elicits powerful platelet activation signals in conjunction with Src family kinases (SFKs), spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk), and phospholipase γ2 (PLCγ2). Previous reports have shown that rhodocytin-induced platelet aggregation depends on secondary mediators such as thromboxane A2 (TxA2) and ADP, which are agonists for G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) on platelets. How the secondary mediators regulate CLEC-2-mediated platelet activation in terms of signaling is not clearly defined. In this study, we report that CLEC-2-induced Syk and PLCγ2 phosphorylation is potentiated by TxA2 and that TxA2 plays a critical role in the most proximal event of CLEC-2 signaling, i.e. the CLEC-2 receptor tyrosine phosphorylation. We show that the activation of other GPCRs, such as the ADP receptors and protease-activated receptors, can also potentiate CLEC-2 signaling. By using the specific Gq inhibitor, UBO-QIC, or Gq knock-out murine platelets, we demonstrate that Gq signaling, but not other G-proteins, is essential for GPCR-induced potentiation of Syk phosphorylation downstream of CLEC-2. We further elucidated the signaling downstream of Gq and identified an important role for the PLCβ-PKCα pathway, possibly regulating activation of SFKs, which are crucial for initiation of CLEC-2 signaling. Together, these results provide evidence for novel Gq-PLCβ-PKCα-mediated regulation of proximal CLEC-2 signaling by Gq-coupled receptors.



The RNA-binding protein HuR contributes to neuroinflammation by promoting C-C chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6) expression on Th17 cells [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

In both multiple sclerosis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the C-C chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6) is critical for pathogenic T helper 17 (Th17) cell migration to the central nervous system (CNS). Whereas many cytokines and their receptors are potently regulated via post-transcriptional mechanisms in response to various stimuli, how CCR6 expression is post-transcriptionally regulated in Th17 cells is unknown. Here, using RNA-binding protein HuR conditional knock-out (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice, we present evidence that HuR post-transcriptionally regulates CCR6 expression by binding to and stabilizing Ccr6 mRNA and by promoting CCR6 translation. We also found that HuR down-regulates several microRNA expressions, which could target the 3′-UTR of Ccr6 mRNA for decay. Accordingly, knock-out of HuR reduced CCR6 expression on Th17 cells and impaired their migration to CNS compared with the response of WT Th17 cells and thereby ameliorated EAE. Together, these findings highlight how HuR contributes to Th17 cell-mediated autoimmune neuroinflammation and support the notion that targeting HuR might be a potential therapeutic intervention for managing autoimmune disorders of the CNS.



IL-4 up-regulates cyclooxygenase-1 expression in macrophages [Lipids]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Macrophages use various cell-surface receptors to sense their environment and undergo polarized responses. The cytokines, interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, released from T-helper type 2 (Th2) cells, drive macrophage polarization toward an alternatively activated phenotype (M2). This phenotype is associated with the expression of potent pro-resolving mediators, such as the prostaglandin (PG) D2-derived cyclopentenone metabolite, 15d-PGJ2, produced by the cyclooxygenase (Ptgs; Cox) pathway. Interestingly, IL-4 treatment of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) significantly down-regulates Cox-2 protein expression, whereas Cox-1 levels are significantly increased. This phenomenon not only challenges the dogma that Cox-1 is only developmentally regulated, but also demonstrates a novel mechanism in which IL-4-dependent regulation of Cox-1 involves the activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex (mTORC). Using specific chemical inhibitors, we demonstrate here that IL-4-dependent Cox-1 up-regulation occurs at the post-transcriptional level via the Fes-Akt-mTORC axis. Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by metformin, inhibition of mTORC by torin 1, or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic knock-out of tuberous sclerosis complex-2 (Tsc2) blocked the IL-4-dependent expression of Cox-1 and the ability of macrophages to polarize to M2. However, use of 15d-PGJ2 partially rescued the effects of AMPK activation, suggesting the importance of Cox-1 in macrophage polarization as also observed in a model of gastrointestinal helminth clearance. In summary, the[...]



The assembly of the plant urease activation complex and the essential role of the urease accessory protein G (UreG) in delivery of nickel to urease [Plant Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Urease is a ubiquitous nickel metalloenzyme. In plants, its activation requires three urease accessory proteins (UAPs), UreD, UreF, and UreG. In bacteria, the UAPs interact with urease and facilitate activation, which involves the channeling of two nickel ions into the active site. So far this process has not been investigated in eukaryotes. Using affinity pulldowns of Strep-tagged UAPs from Arabidopsis and rice transiently expressed in planta, we demonstrate that a urease–UreD–UreF–UreG complex exists in plants and show its stepwise assembly. UreG is crucial for nickel delivery because UreG-dependent urease activation in vitro was observed only with UreG obtained from nickel-sufficient plants. This activation competence could not be generated in vitro by incubation of UreG with nickel, bicarbonate, and GTP. Compared with their bacterial orthologs, plant UreGs possess an N-terminal extension containing a His- and Asp/Glu-rich hypervariable region followed by a highly conserved sequence comprising two potential HXH metal-binding sites. Complementing the ureG-1 mutant of Arabidopsis with N-terminal deletion variants of UreG demonstrated that the hypervariable region has a minor impact on activation efficiency, whereas the conserved region up to the first HXH motif is highly beneficial and up to the second HXH motif strictly required for activation. We also show that urease reaches its full activity several days after nickel becomes available in the leaves, indicating that urease activation is limited by nickel accessibility in[...]



Transient and dynamic DNA supercoiling potently stimulates the leu-500 promoter in Escherichia coli [Gene Regulation]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The inactive prokaryotic leu-500 promoter (Pleu-500) contains a single A-to-G point mutation in the −10 region of the leucine operon promoter, which causes leucine auxotrophy. This promoter can be activated by (−) DNA supercoiling in Escherichia coli topA strains. However, whether this activation arises from global, permanent, or transient, dynamic supercoiling is still not fully understood. In this article, using a newly established in vivo system carrying a pair of divergently coupled promoters, i.e. an IPTG-inducible promoter and Pleu-500 that control the expression of lacZ and luc (the firefly luciferase gene), respectively, we demonstrate that transient, dynamic (−) DNA supercoiling provided by divergent transcription in both wild-type and topA strains can potently activate Pleu-500. We found that this activation depended on the promoter strength and the length of RNA transcripts, which are functional characteristics of transcription-coupled DNA supercoiling (TCDS) precisely predicted by the twin-supercoiled domain model of transcription in which a (+) supercoiled domain is produced ahead of the RNA polymerase and a (−) supercoiled domain behind it. We also demonstrate that TCDS can be generated on topologically open DNA molecules, i.e. linear DNA molecules, in Escherichia coli, suggesting that topological boundaries or barriers are not required for the production of TCDS in vivo. This work demonstrates that transient, dynamic TCDS by RNA polymerases is a major chromosome remodeling force in[...]



The non-homologous end-ȷoining factor Neȷ1 inhibits resection mediated by Dna2-Sgs1 nuclease-helicase at DNA double strand breaks [Molecular Bases of Disease]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Double strand breaks (DSBs) represent highly deleterious DNA damage and need to be accurately repaired. Homology-directed repair and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) are the two major DSB repair pathways that are highly conserved from yeast to mammals. The choice between these pathways is largely based on 5′ to 3′ DNA resection, and NHEJ proceeds only if resection has not been initiated. In yeast, yKu70/80 rapidly localizes to the break, protecting DNA ends from nuclease accessibility, and recruits additional NHEJ factors, including Nej1 and Lif1. Cells harboring the nej1-V338A mutant exhibit NHEJ-mediated repair deficiencies and hyper-resection 0.15 kb from the DSB that was dependent on the nuclease activity of Dna2–Sgs1. The integrity of Nej1 is also important for inhibiting long-range resection, 4.8 kb from the break, and for preventing the formation of large genomic deletions at sizes >700 bp around the break. Nej1V338A localized to a DSB similarly to WT Nej1, indicating that the Nej1–Lif1 interaction becomes critical for blocking hyper-resection mainly after their recruitment to the DSB. This work highlights that Nej1 inhibits 5′ DNA hyper-resection mediated by Dna2–Sgs1, a function distinct from its previously reported role in supporting Dnl4 ligase activity, and has implications for repair pathway choice and resection regulation upon DSB formation.



Key aromatic/hydrophobic amino acids controlling a cross-amyloid peptide interaction versus amyloid self-assembly [Protein Structure and Folding]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

The interaction of the intrinsically disordered polypeptide islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), which is associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D), with the Alzheimer's disease amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide modulates their self-assembly into amyloid fibrils and may link the pathogeneses of these two cell-degenerative diseases. However, the molecular determinants of this interaction remain elusive. Using a systematic alanine scan approach, fluorescence spectroscopy, and other biophysical methods, including heterocomplex pulldown assays, far-UV CD spectroscopy, the thioflavin T binding assay, transmission EM, and molecular dynamics simulations, here we identified single aromatic/hydrophobic residues within the amyloid core IAPP region as hot spots or key residues of its cross-interaction with Aβ40(42) peptide. Importantly, we also find that none of these residues in isolation plays a key role in IAPP self-assembly, whereas simultaneous substitution of four aromatic/hydrophobic residues with Ala dramatically impairs both IAPP self-assembly and hetero-assembly with Aβ40(42). Furthermore, our experiments yielded several novel IAPP analogs, whose sequences are highly similar to that of IAPP but have distinct amyloid self- or cross-interaction potentials. The identified similarities and major differences controlling IAPP cross-peptide interaction with Aβ40(42) versus its amyloid self-assembly offer a molecular basis for understanding the underlying mechanisms. We p[...]



Two functionally distinct NADP+-dependent ferredoxin oxidoreductases maintain the primary redox balance of Pyrococcus furiosus [Metabolism]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Electron bifurcation has recently gained acceptance as the third mechanism of energy conservation in which energy is conserved through the coupling of exergonic and endergonic reactions. A structure-based mechanism of bifurcation has been elucidated recently for the flavin-based enzyme NADH-dependent ferredoxin NADP+ oxidoreductase I (NfnI) from the hyperthermophillic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. NfnI is thought to be involved in maintaining the cellular redox balance, producing NADPH for biosynthesis by recycling the two other primary redox carriers, NADH and ferredoxin. The P. furiosus genome encodes an NfnI paralog termed NfnII, and the two are differentially expressed, depending on the growth conditions. In this study, we show that deletion of the genes encoding either NfnI or NfnII affects the cellular concentrations of NAD(P)H and particularly NADPH. This results in a moderate to severe growth phenotype in deletion mutants, demonstrating a key role for each enzyme in maintaining redox homeostasis. Despite their similarity in primary sequence and cofactor content, crystallographic, kinetic, and mass spectrometry analyses reveal that there are fundamental structural differences between the two enzymes, and NfnII does not catalyze the NfnI bifurcating reaction. Instead, it exhibits non-bifurcating ferredoxin NADP oxidoreductase-type activity. NfnII is therefore proposed to be a bifunctional enzyme and also to catalyze a[...]



ATP binding and hydrolysis disrupt the high-affinity interaction between the heme ABC transporter HmuUV and its cognate substrate-binding protein [Membrane Biology]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Using the energy of ATP hydrolysis, ABC transporters catalyze the trans-membrane transport of molecules. In bacteria, these transporters partner with a high-affinity substrate-binding protein (SBP) to import essential micronutrients. ATP binding by Type I ABC transporters (importers of amino acids, sugars, peptides, and small ions) stabilizes the interaction between the transporter and the SBP, thus allowing transfer of the substrate from the latter to the former. In Type II ABC transporters (importers of trace elements, e.g. vitamin B12, heme, and iron-siderophores) the role of ATP remains debatable. Here we studied the interaction between the Yersinia pestis ABC heme importer (HmuUV) and its partner substrate-binding protein (HmuT). Using real-time surface plasmon resonance experiments and interaction studies in membrane vesicles, we find that in the absence of ATP the transporter and the SBP tightly bind. Substrate in excess inhibits this interaction, and ATP binding by the transporter completely abolishes it. To release the stable docked SBP from the transporter hydrolysis of ATP is required. Based on these results we propose a mechanism for heme acquisition by HmuUV-T where the substrate-loaded SBP docks to the nucleotide-free outward-facing conformation of the transporter. ATP binding leads to formation of an occluded state with the substrate trapped in the trans-membrane translocation cavi[...]



Lipid oxidation inactivates the anticoagulant function of protein Z-dependent protease inhibitor (ZPI) [Lipids]

2017-09-01T00:10:06-07:00

Lipid oxidation due to oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and thrombotic cardiovascular diseases. Several findings suggest that lipid peroxidation can alter the function of coagulation proteins and contribute to a hypercoagulable state, but the molecular mechanisms are unclear. Here, we report that oxidized phospholipids suppress the anticoagulant function of the serpin, protein Z-dependent protease inhibitor (ZPI), a specific inhibitor of membrane-associated factor Xa (FXa) that requires protein Z (PZ), phospholipid, and calcium as cofactors. We found that this suppression arises from a diminished ability of the oxidized membrane to function as a cofactor to promote ZPI inhibition of membrane-bound FXa, due fully or in part to the susceptibility of the bound ZPI-PZ complex to oxidative inactivation. Surprisingly, free ZPI was also susceptible to inactivation by oxidized membrane vesicles in the absence of calcium. Oxidized vesicles containing both phosphatidylserine and polyunsaturated fatty acids were required to promote inactivation of the ZPI-PZ complex or free ZPI, indicating that binding of the PZ-complexed or free ZPI to peroxide-modified phospholipid vesicles mediates the inactivation. Heparin protected the ZPI-PZ complex and free ZPI from inactivation, suggesting that blocking the heparin-binding site on ZPI interferes [...]