By establishing multi-omics pipelines, we uncover overexpression and gene copy-number alterations of nucleoporin-93 (NUP93), a nuclear pore component, in aggressive human mammary tumors. NUP93 overexpression enhances transendothelial migration and matrix invasion in vitro, along with tumor growth and metastasis in animal models. These findings are supported by analyses of two sets of naturally occurring mutations: rare oncogenic mutations and inactivating familial nephrotic syndrome mutations. Mechanistically, NUP93 binds with importins, boosts nuclear transport of importins' cargoes, such as β-catenin, and activates MYC. Likewise, NUP93 overexpression enhances the ultimate nuclear transport step shared by additional signaling pathways, including TGF-β/SMAD and EGF/ERK. The emerging addiction to nuclear transport exposes vulnerabilities of NUP93-overexpressing tumors. Congruently, myristoylated peptides corresponding to the nuclear translocation signals of SMAD and ERK can inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. Our study sheds light on an emerging hallmark of advanced tumors, which derive benefit from robust nucleocytoplasmic transport.
Macrophage infiltration in mammary tumors is associated with enhanced tumor progression, metastasis, and poor clinical outcome, and considered as target for therapeutic intervention. By using different genetic mouse models, the authors show that ablation of the tyrosine kinase PYK2, either in breast cancer cells, only in the tumor microenvironment, or in both, markedly reduces the number of infiltrating tumor macrophages and concomitantly inhibits tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth. Strikingly, PYK2 ablation only in macrophages is sufficient to induce similar effects. These phenotypic changes are associated with reduced monocyte recruitment and a substantial decrease in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Mechanistically, the authors show that PYK2 mediates mutual communication between breast cancer cells and macrophages through critical effects on key receptor signaling. Specifically, PYK2 ablation inhibits Notch1 signaling and consequently reduces CCL2 secretion by breast cancer cells, and concurrently reduces the levels of CCR2, CXCR4, IL-4Rα, and Stat6 activation in macrophages. These bidirectional effects modulate monocyte recruitment, macrophage polarization, and tumor angiogenesis. The expression of PYK2 is correlated with infiltrated macrophages in breast cancer patients, and its effects on macrophage infiltration and pro-tumorigenic phenotype suggest that PYK2 targeting can be utilized as an effective strategy to modulate TAMs and possibly sensitize breast cancer to immunotherapy.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive breast cancer subtype characterized by a remarkable molecular heterogeneity. Currently, there are no effective druggable targets and advanced preclinical models of the human disease. Here, a unique mouse model (MMTV-R26(Met) mice) of mammary tumors driven by a subtle increase in the expression of the wild-type MET receptor is generated. MMTV-R26(Met) mice develop spontaneous, exclusive TNBC tumors, recapitulating primary resistance to treatment of patients. Proteomic profiling of MMTV-R26(Met) tumors and machine learning approach show that the model faithfully recapitulates intertumoral heterogeneity of human TNBC. Further signaling network analysis highlights potential druggable targets, of which cotargeting of WEE1 and BCL-XL synergistically kills TNBC cells and efficiently induces tumor regression. Mechanistically, BCL-XL inhibition exacerbates the dependency of TNBC cells on WEE1 function, leading to Histone H3 and phosphoS(33)RPA32 upregulation, RRM2 downregulation, cell cycle perturbation, mitotic catastrophe, and apoptosis. This study introduces a unique, powerful mouse model for studying TNBC formation and evolution, its heterogeneity, and for identifying efficient therapeutic targets.
Cell cycle regulators are frequently altered in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Emerging agents targeting these signals offer the possibility to design new combinatorial therapies. However, preclinical models that recapitulate TNBC primary resistance and heterogeneity are essential to evaluate the potency of these combined treatments. Methods: Bioinformatic processing of human breast cancer datasets was used to analyse correlations between expression levels of cell cycle regulators and patient survival outcome. The MMTV-R26Met mouse model of TNBC resistance and heterogeneity was employed to analyse expression and targeting vulnerability of cell cycle regulators in the presence of BCL-XL blockage. Robustness of outcomes and selectivity was further explored using a panel of human breast cancer cells. Orthotopic studies in nude mice were applied for preclinical evaluation of efficacy and toxicity. Alterations of protein expression, phosphorylation, and/or cellular localisation were analysed by western blots, reverse phase protein array, and immunocytochemistry. Bioinformatics was performed to highlight drug's mechanisms of action. Results: We report that high expression levels of the BCL2L1 gene encoding BCL-XL and of specific cell cycle regulators correlate with poor survival outcomes of TNBC patients. Blockage of BCL-XL confers vulnerability to drugs targeting CDK1/2/4, but not FOXM1, CDK4/6, Aurora A and Aurora B, to all MMTV-R26Met and human TNBC cell lines tested. Combined blockage of BCL-XL and CDK1/2/4 interfered with tumour growth in vivo. Mechanistically, we show that, co-targeting of BCL-XL and CDK1/2/4 synergistically inhibited cell viability by combinatorial depletion of survival and RTK/AKT signals, and concomitantly restoring FOXO3a tumour suppression actions. This was accompanied by an accumulation of DNA damage and consequently apoptosis. Conclusions: Our studies illustrate the possibility to exploit the vulnerability of TNBC cells to CDK1/2/4 inhibition by targeting BCL-XL. Moreover, they underline that specificity matters in targeting cell cycle regulators for combinatorial anticancer therapies.
The tyrosine kinase receptor AXL of the TAM (TYRO3, AXL and MERTK) family is considered as a promising therapeutic target for different hematological cancers and solid tumors. AXL is involved in multiple pro-tumorigenic processes including cell migration, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and stemness, and recent studies demonstrated its impact on cancer metastasis and drug resistance. Extensive studies on AXL have highlighted its unique characteristics and physiological functions and suggest that targeting of AXL could be beneficial in combination with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. In this mini review, we discuss possible outcomes of AXL targeting either alone or together with other therapeutic agents and emphasize its impact on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are implicated in tumor initiation, metastasis and drug resistance, and considered as attractive targets for cancer therapy. Here we identified a clinically relevant signaling nexus mediated by AXL receptor, PYK2 and PKCα and show its impact on stemness in TNBC. AXL, PYK2, and PKCα expression correlates with stemness signature in basal-like breast cancer patients, and their depletion in multiple mesenchymal TNBC cell lines markedly reduced the number of mammosphere-forming cells and cells harboring CSCs characteristic markers. Knockdown of PYK2 reduced the levels of AXL, PKCα, FRA1, and PYK2 proteins, and similar trend was obtained upon PKCα depletion. PYK2 depletion decreased AXL transcription through feedback loops mediated by FRA1 and TAZ, whereas PKCα inhibition induced redistribution of AXL to endosomal/lysosomal compartment and enhanced its degradation. PYK2 and PKCα cooperate at a convergence point of multiple stemness-inducing pathways to regulate AXL levels and concomitantly the levels/activation of STAT3, TAZ, FRA1, and SMAD3 as well as the pluripotent transcription factors Nanog and Oct4. Induction of stemness in TNBC sensitized cells to PYK2 and PKCα inhibition suggesting that targeting the AXL-PYK2-PKCα circuit could be an efficient strategy to eliminate CSCs in TNBC.
Proteomic profiling of circulating small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) represents a promising, noninvasive approach for early detection and therapeutic monitoring of breast cancer (BC). We describe a relatively low-cost, fast, and reliable method to isolate sEVs from plasma of BC patients and analyze their protein content by semiquantitative proteomics. sEV-enriched fractions were isolated from plasma of healthy controls and BC patients at different disease stages before and after surgery. Proteomic analysis of sEV-enriched fractions using reverse phase protein array revealed a signature of seven proteins that differentiated BC patients from healthy individuals, of which FAK and fibronectin displayed high diagnostic accuracy. The size of sEVs was significantly reduced in advanced disease stage, concomitant with a stage-specific protein signature. Furthermore, we observed protein-based distinct clusters of healthy controls, chemotherapy-treated and untreated postsurgery samples, as well as a predictor of high risk of cancer relapse, suggesting that the applied methods warrant development for advanced diagnostics.
Phosphatidylinositol (PI)-transfer proteins (PITPs) have been long recognized as proteins that modulate phosphoinositide
levels in membranes through their intrinsic PI/PC-exchange activity. Recent studies from flies and mammals suggest that
certain PITPs bind phosphatidic acid (PA) and possess PI/PA-exchange activity. Phosphoinositides and PA play critical roles in
cell signaling and membrane trafficking, and numerous biochemical, genetic and functional studies have shown that PITPs
regulate cellular lipid metabolism, various signaling pathways and intracellular membrane transport events. In this minireview,
we discuss the function of mammalian PITPs at the Golgi and ER-Golgi membrane contact sites (MCS) and highlight
DAG (Diacylglycerol) as a central hub of PITPs functions. We describe PITPs-associated phospho-signaling network at the
ER-Golgi interface, and share our perspective on future studies related to PITPs at MCSs.
Identification of targeted therapies for TNBC is an urgent medical need. Using a drug combination screen reliant on synthetic lethal interactions, we identified clinically relevant combination therapies for different TNBC subtypes. Two drug combinations targeting the BET family were further explored. The first, targeting BET and CXCR2, is specific for mesenchymal TNBC and induces apoptosis, whereas the second, targeting BET and the proteasome, is effective for major TNBC subtypes and triggers ferroptosis. Ferroptosis was induced at low drug doses and was associated with increased cellular iron and decreased glutathione levels, concomitant with reduced levels of GPX4 and key glutathione biosynthesis genes. Further functional studies, analysis of clinical datasets and breast cancer specimens revealed a unique vulnerability of TNBC to ferroptosis inducers, enrichment of ferroptosis gene signature, and differential expression of key proteins that increase labile iron and decrease glutathione levels. This study identified potent combination therapies for TNBC and unveiled ferroptosis as a promising therapeutic strategy.
Targeting of estrogen receptor is commonly used as a first-line treatment for hormone-positive breast cancer patients, and is considered as a keystone of systemic cancer therapy. Likewise, HER2-targeted therapy significantly improved the survival of HER2-positive breast cancer patients, indicating that targeted therapy is a powerful therapeutic strategy for breast cancer. However, for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive breast cancer subtype, there are no clinically approved targeted therapies, and thus, an urgent need to identify potent, highly effective therapeutic targets. In this mini-review, we describe general strategies to inhibit tumor growth by targeted therapies and briefly discuss emerging resistance mechanisms. Particularly, we focus on therapeutic targets for TNBC and discuss combination therapies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and associated resistance mechanisms.
Secreted animal lectins of the galectin family are key players in cancer growth and metastasis. Here we show that galectin-8 (gal-8) induces the expression and secretion of cytokines and chemokines such as SDF-1 and MCP-1 in a number of cell types. This involves gal-8 binding to a uPAR/LRP1/integrin complex that activates JNK and the NFkB pathway. Cytokine and chemokine secretion, induced by gal-8, promotes migration of cancer cells toward cells treated with this lectin. Indeed, immune-competent gal-8 knockout (KO) mice express systemic lower levels of cytokines and chemokines while the opposite is true for gal-8 transgenic animals. Accordingly, gal-8 KO mice experience reduced tumor size and smaller and fewer metastatic lesions when injected with cancer cells. These results suggest the existence of a 'vicious cycle' whereby gal-8 secreted by the tumor microenvironment, promotes secretion of chemoattractants at the metastatic niche that promote further recruitment of tumor cells to that site. This study further implicate gal-8 in control of cancer progression and metastasis through its effects on the production of immunoregulatory cytokines.
Lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs) were initially discovered as cytosolic factors that facilitate lipid transport between membrane bilayers in vitro. Since then, many LTPs have been isolated from bacteria, plants, yeast, and mammals, and extensively studied in cell-free systems and intact cells. A major advance in the LTP field was associated with the discovery of intracellular membrane contact sites (MCSs), small cytosolic gaps between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and other cellular membranes, which accelerate lipid transfer by LTPs. As LTPs modulate the distribution of lipids within cellular membranes, and many lipid species function as second messengers in key signaling pathways that control cell survival, proliferation, and migration, LTPs have been implicated in cancer-associated signal transduction cascades. Increasing evidence suggests that LTPs play an important role in cancer progression and metastasis. This review describes how different LTPs as well as MCSs can contribute to cell transformation and malignant phenotype, and discusses how "aberrant" MCSs are associated with tumorigenesis in human.
The tumor suppressor Hippo pathway negatively regulates the transcriptional coactivators Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) to inhibit cell growth and control organ size, whereas activation of YAP and TAZ is implicated in tumorigenesis and cancer metastasis. Here, we report that the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 positively regulates TAZ and YAP transcriptional activity in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). We found that inhibition of PYK2 expression or its kinase activity substantially affects the steady-state level of TAZ and markedly facilitates its proteasomal degradation. This effect was specific to PYK2 inhibition and was not obtained by inhibition of FAK. Destabilization of TAZ was associated with profound effect of PYK2 inhibition on cell growth at low-density concomitant with reduced expression of TAZ-target genes and induction of cell apoptosis. We further show that PYK2 enhances the tyrosine phosphorylation of both TAZ and LATS1/2 and concomitantly TAZ stability, and that PYK2 protein level correlates with the level of TAZ protein in primary breast tumors. Together these observations suggest that PYK2 is an important regulator of the Hippo pathway, and its tyrosine kinase activity has a striking effect on TAZ stabilization and activation in TNBC.
Prediction of drug combinations that effectively target cancer cells is a critical challenge for cancer therapy, in particular for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a highly aggressive breast cancer subtype with no effective targeted treatment. As signalling pathway networks critically control cancer cell behaviour, analysis of signalling network activity and crosstalk can help predict potent drug combinations and rational stratification of patients, thus bringing therapeutic and prognostic values. We have previously showed that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 is a downstream effector of EGFR and c-Met and demonstrated their crosstalk signalling in basal-like TNBC. Here we applied a systems modelling approach and developed a mechanistic model of the integrated EGFR-PYK2-c-Met signalling network to identify and prioritize potent drug combinations for TNBC. Model predictions validated by experimental data revealed that among six potential combinations of drug pairs targeting the central nodes of the network, including EGFR, c-Met, PYK2 and STAT3, co-targeting of EGFR and PYK2 and to a lesser extent of EGFR and c-Met yielded strongest synergistic effect. Importantly, the synergy in co-targeting EGFR and PYK2 was linked to switch-like cell proliferation-associated responses. Moreover, simulations of patient-specific models using public gene expression data of TNBC patients led to predictive stratification of patients into subgroups displaying distinct susceptibility to specific drug combinations. These results suggest that mechanistic systems modelling is a powerful approach for the rational design, prediction and prioritization of potent combination therapies for individual patients, thus providing a concrete step towards personalized treatment for TNBC and other tumour types.
Standard chemotherapy is the only systemic treatment for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and despite the good initial response, resistance remains a major therapeutic obstacle. Here, we employed a High-Throughput Screen to identify targeted therapies that overcome chemoresistance in TNBC. We applied short-term paclitaxel treatment and screened 320 small-molecule inhibitors of known targets to identify drugs that preferentially and efficiently target paclitaxel-treated TNBC cells. Among these compounds the SMAC mimetics (BV6, Birinapant) and BH3-mimetics (ABT-737/263) were recognized as potent targeted therapy for multiple paclitaxel-residual TNBC cell lines. However, acquired paclitaxel resistance through repeated paclitaxel pulses result in desensitization to BV6, but not to ABT-263, suggesting that short- and long-term paclitaxel resistance are mediated by distinct mechanisms. Gene expression profiling of paclitaxel-residual, -resistant and naive MDA-MB-231 cells demonstrated that paclitaxel-residual, as opposed to -resistant cells, were characterized by an apoptotic signature, with downregulation of anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2, BIRC5), induction of apoptosis inducers (IL24, PDCD4), and enrichment of TNFa/NF-kappa B pathway, including upregulation of TNFSF15, coupled with cell-cycle arrest. BIRC5 and FOXM1 downregulation and IL24 induction was also evident in breast cancer patient datasets following taxane treatment. Exposure of naive or paclitaxel-resistant cells to supernatants of paclitaxel-residual cells sensitized them to BV6, and treatment with TNFa enhanced BV6 potency, suggesting that sensitization to BV6 is mediated, at least partially, by secreted factor(s). Our results suggest that administration of SMAC or BH3 mimetics following short-term paclitaxel treatment could be an effective therapeutic strategy for TNBC, while only BH3-mimetics could effectively overcome long-term paclitaxel resistance.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive, heterogeneous disease with poor prognosis and no effective targeted therapies. EGFR is highly expressed in basal-like TNBC and is considered as a potential therapeutic target. However, EGFR targeting exerts only marginal clinical benefits, possibly due to activation of compensatory signaling pathways, which are frequently associated with HER3 upregulation. Here we show that concomitant targeting of EGFR and the nonreceptor tyrosine kinases PYK2/FAK synergistically inhibits the proliferation of basal-like TNBC cells in vitro and attenuates tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Dual targeting of EGFR and PYK2/FAK inhibited complementary key growth and survival pathways mediated by AKT, S6K, STAT3, and ERK1/2 activation. PYK2 inhibition also abrogated HER3 upregulation in response to EGFR antagonists, thereby circumventing HER3-associated drug resistance. Mechanistically, PYK2 inhibition facilitated the proteasomal degradation of HER3 while inducing upregulation of NDRG1 (N-myc downstream regulated 1 gene). NDRG1 enhanced the interaction of HER3 with the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4, while PYK2, which interacts with NEDD4 and HER3, interfered with NEDD4-HER3 binding, suggesting that the PYK2-NDRG1-NEDD4 circuit has a critical role in receptor degradation, drug response, and resistance mechanism. Our studies offer a preclinical proof of concept for a strategy of cotargeting the EGFR and PYK2/FAK kinases to improve TNBC therapy. (C) 2016 AACR.
The transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) pathway plays critical roles during cancer cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis. SMAD7 is both a transcriptional target and a negative regulator of TGF beta signalling, thus mediating a negative feedback loop that may potentially restrain TGF beta responses of cancer cells. Here, however, we show that TGFb treatment induces SMAD7 transcription but not its protein level in a panel of cancer cells. Mechanistic studies reveal that TGFb activates the expression of microRNA-182 (miR-182), which suppresses SMAD7 protein. miR-182 silencing leads to SMAD7 upregulation on TGF beta treatment and prevents TGF beta-induced EMT and invasion of cancer cells. Overexpression of miR-182 promotes breast tumour invasion and TGFb-induced osteoclastogenesis for bone metastasis. Furthermore, miR-182 expression inversely correlates with SMAD7 protein in human tumour samples. Therefore, our data reveal the miR-182-mediated disruption of TGF beta self-restraint and provide a mechanism to explain the unleashed TGF beta responses in metastatic cancer cells.
2016 Authors; published by Portland Press Limited.Phosphatidylinositol-transfer proteins (PITPs) have been initially identified as soluble factors that accelerate the monomeric exchange of either phosphatidylinositol (PI) or phosphatidylcholine (PC) between membrane bilayersinvitro They are highly conserved in eukaryotes and have been implicated in different cellular processes, including vesicular trafficking, signal transduction, and lipid metabolism. Recent studies suggest that PITPs function at membrane contact sites (MCSs) to facilitate the transport of PI from its synthesis site at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to various membrane compartments. In this review, we describe the underlying mechanism of PITPs targeting to MCSs, discuss their cellular roles and potential mode of action.
The involvement of ErbB family members in breast cancer progression and metastasis has been demonstrated by many studies. However, the downstream effectors that mediate their migratory and invasive responses have not been fully explored. In this study, we show that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 is a key effector of EGFR and HER2 signaling in human breast carcinoma. We found that PYK2 is activated by both EGF and heregulin (HRG) in breast cancer cells, and positively regulates EGF/HRG-induced cell spreading, migration and invasion. PYK2 depletion markedly affects ERK1/2 and STAT3 phosphorylation in response to EGF/HRG as well as to IL8 treatment. Importantly, PYK2 depletion also reduced EGF/HRG-induced MMP9 and IL8 transcription, while IL8 inhibition abrogated EGF-induced MMP9 transcription and attenuated cell invasion. IL8, which is transcriptionally regulated by STAT3 and induces PYK2 activation, prolonged EGF-induced PYK2, STAT3 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation suggesting that IL8 acts through an autocrine loop to reinforce EGF-induced signals. Collectively our studies suggest that PYK2 is a common downstream effector of ErbB and IL8 receptors, and that PYK2 integrates their signaling pathways through a positive feedback loop to potentiate breast cancer invasion. Hence, PYK2 could be a potential therapeutic target for a subset of breast cancer patients.
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a central developmental process implicated in cancer metastasis. Here we show that the tyrosine kinase PYK2 enhances cell migration and invasion and potentiates EMT in human breast carcinoma. EMT inducer, such as EGF, induces rapid phosphorylation of PYK2 and its translocation to early endosomes where it co-localizes with EGFR and sustains its downstream signals. Furthermore, PYK2 enhances EGF-induced STAT3-phosphorylation, while phospho-STAT3 directly binds to PYK2 promoter and regulates PYK2 transcription. STAT3 and PYK2 also enhance c-Met expression, while c-Met augments their phosphorylation, suggesting a positive feedback loop between PYK2-STAT3c- Met. We propose that PYK2 sustains endosomal-derived receptor signalling and participates in a positive feedback that links cell surface receptor(s) to transcription factor(s) activation, thereby prolonging signalling duration and potentiating EMT. Given the role of EMT in breast cancer metastasis, we also found a significant correlation between PYK2 expression, tumour grade and lymph node metastasis, thus, demonstrating the clinicopathological implication of our findings.
The involvement of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer metastasis has been demonstrated in many studies. However, the intracellular proteins and signaling pathways that regulate EMT have not been fully identified. Here, we show that the lipid-transfer protein Nir2 (also known as PITPNM1) enhances EMT in mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells. Nir2 overexpression decreases the expression of epithelial markers and concomitantly increases the expression of mesenchymal markers, whereas silencing of Nir2 expression by small hairpin RNA (shRNA) has opposite effects. Additionally, Nir2 expression is increased during EMT and affects cell morphology, whereas Nir2 depletion attenuates growth factor-induced cell migration. These effects of Nir2 on EMT-associated processes are mainly mediated through the PI3K/AKT and the ERK1/2 pathways. Nir2 depletion also inhibits cell invasion in vitro and lung metastasis in animal models. Immunohistochemical analysis of breast cancer tissue samples reveals a correlation between high Nir2 expression and tumor grade, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves correlate Nir2 expression with poor disease outcome. These results suggest that Nir2 not only enhances EMT in vitro and breast cancer metastasis in animal models, but also contributes to breast cancer progression in human patients.
The fusion of transport vesicles with their target membranes is fundamental for intracellular membrane trafficking and diverse physiological processes and is driven by the assembly of functional soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complexes. Prior to fusion, transport vesicles are physically linked to their target membranes by various tethering factors. Recent studies suggest that tethering factors also positively regulate the assembly of functional SNARE complexes, thereby coupling tethering with fusion events. This coupling is mediated, at least in part, by direct physical interactions between tethering factors, SNAREs, and Sec1/Munc18 (SM) proteins. In this review we summarize recent progress in understanding the roles of tethering factors in the assembly of specific and functional SNARE complexes driving membrane-fusion events.
Phosphatidic acid (PA) and phosphoinositides are metabolically interconverted lipid second messengers that have central roles in many growth factor (GF)-stimulated signalling pathways. Yet, little is known about the mechanisms that coordinate their production and downstream signalling. Here we show that the phosphatidylinositol (PI)-transfer protein Nir2 translocates from the Golgi complex to the plasma membrane in response to GF stimulation. This translocation is triggered by PA formation and is mediated by its C-terminal region that binds PA in vitro. We further show that depletion of Nir2 substantially reduces the PI(4,5)P2 levels at the plasma membrane and concomitantly GF-stimulated PI(3,4,5)P3 production. Finally, we show that Nir2 positively regulates the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways. We propose that Nir2 through its PA-binding capability and PI-transfer activity can couple PA to phosphoinositide signalling, and possibly coordinates their local lipid metabolism and downstream signalling.
Multiple mutations in different subunits of the tethering complex Conserved Oligomeric Golgi (COG) have been identified as a cause for Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG) in humans. Yet, the mechanisms by which COG mutations induce the pleiotropic CDG defects have not been fully defined. By detailed analysis of Cog8 deficiency in either HeLa cells or CDG-derived fibroblasts, we show that Cog8 is required for the assembly of both the COG complex and the Golgi Stx5-GS28-Ykt6-GS15 and Stx6-Stx16-Vti1a-VAMP4 SNARE complexes. The assembly of these SNARE complexes is also impaired in cells derived from a Cog7-deficient CDG patient. Likewise, the integrity of the COG complex is also impaired in Cog1-, Cog4- and Cog6-depleted cells. Significantly, deficiency of Cog1, Cog4, Cog6 or Cog8 distinctly influences the production of COG subcomplexes and their Golgi targeting. These results shed light on the structural organization of the COG complex and its subcellular localization, and suggest that its integrity is required for both tethering of transport vesicles to the Golgi apparatus and the assembly of Golgi SNARE complexes. We propose that these two key functions are generally and mechanistically impaired in COG-associated CDG patients, thereby exerting severe pleiotropic defects.
Multisubunit tethering complexes (MTCs) positively regulate vesicular fusion by as yet unclear mechanism. In this study we provide evidence that the MTC COG enhances the assembly of fusogenic Golgi SNARE complexes and concomitantly prevents nonfusogenic tSNARE interactions. This capability is possibly mediated by multiple direct interactions of COG subunits and specific Golgi SNAREs and SM (Sec1/Munc18) proteins. By using a systematic co-immunoprecipitation analysis, we identified seven new interactions between the COG subunits and components of the Golgi fusion machinery in mammalian cells. Our studies suggest that these multivalent interactions are critical for the assembly of fusogenic SNARE complexes on the Golgi apparatus and consequently for facilitating endosome-to-trans-Golgi network (TGN) and intra-Golgi retrograde transport, and also for coordinating these transport routes.
VAPB (VAMP- associated protein B) is an ER protein that regulates multiple biological functions. Although aberrant expression of VAPB is associated with breast cancer, its function in tumor cells is poorly understood. In this report, we provide evidence that VAPB regulates breast tumor cell proliferation and AKT activation. VAPB protein expression is elevated in primary and metastatic tumor specimens, and VAPB mRNA expression levels correlated negatively with patient survival in two large breast tumor datasets. Overexpression of VAPB in mammary epithelial cells increased cell growth, whereas VAPB knockdown in tumor cells inhibited cell proliferation in vitro and suppressed tumor growth in orthotopic mammary gland allografts. The growth regulation of mammary tumor cells controlled by VAPB appears to be mediated, at least in part, by modulation of AKT activity. Overexpression of VAPB in MCF10A-HER2 cells enhances phosphorylation of AKT. In contrast, knockdown of VAPB in MMTV-Neu tumor cells inhibited pAKT levels. Pharmacological inhibition of AKT significantly reduced three-dimensional spheroid growth induced by VAPB. Collectively, the genetic, functional and mechanistic analyses suggest a role of VAPB in tumor promotion in human breast cancer.
The transport of lipids from their synthesis site at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to different target membranes could be mediated by both vesicular and nonvesicular transport mechanisms. Nonvesicular lipid transport appears to be the major transport route of certain lipid species, and could be mediated by either spontaneous lipid transport or by lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs). Although nonvesicular lipid transport has been extensively studied for more than four decades, its underlying mechanism, advantage and regulation, have not been fully explored. In particular, the function of LTPs and their involvement in intracellular lipid movement remain largely controversial. In this article, we describe the pathways by which lipids are synthesized at the ER and delivered to different cellular membranes, and discuss the role of LTPs in lipid transport both in vitro and in intact cells.
Sweet melon cultivars contain a low level of organic acids and, therefore, the quality and flavor of sweet melon fruit is determined almost exclusively by fruit sugar content. However, genetic variability for fruit acid levels in the Cucumis melo species exists and sour fruit accessions are characterized by acidic fruit pH of <5, compared to the sweet cultivars that are generally characterized by mature fruit pH values of > 6. In this paper, we report results from a mapping population based on recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from the cross between the non-sour 'Dulce' variety and the sour PI 414323 accession. Results show that a single major QTL for pH co-localizes with major QTLs for the two predominant organic acids in melon fruit, citric and malic, together with an additional metabolite which we identified as uridine. While the acidic recombinants were characterized by higher citric and malic acid levels, the non-acidic recombinants had a higher uridine content than did the acidic recombinants. Additional minor QTLs for pH, citric acid and malic acid were also identified and for these the increased acidity was unexpectedly contributed by the non-sour parent. To test for co-localization of these QTLs with genes encoding organic acid metabolism and transport, we mapped the genes encoding structural enzymes and proteins involved in organic acid metabolism, transport and vacuolar H+ pumps. None of these genes co-localized with the major pH QTL, indicating that the gene determining melon fruit pH is not one of the candidate genes encoding this primary metabolic pathway. Linked markers were tested in two additional inter-varietal populations and shown to be linked to the pH trait. The presence of the same QTL in such diverse segregating populations suggests that the trait is determined throughout the species by variability in the same gene and is indicative of a major role of the evolution of this gene in determining the important domestication trait of fru
The conserved oligomeric Golgi (COG) complex has been implicated in the regulation of endosome to trans-Golgi network (TGN) retrograde trafficking in both yeast and mammals. However, the exact mechanisms by which it regulates this transport route remain largely unknown. In this paper, we show that COG interacts directly with the target membrane SNARE (t-SNARE) Syntaxin 6 via the Cog6 subunit. In Cog6-depleted cells, the steady-state level of Syntaxin 6 was markedly reduced, and concomitantly, endosome-to-TGN retrograde traffic was significantly attenuated. Cog6 knockdown also affected the steady-state levels and/or subcellular distributions of Syntaxin 16, Vti1a, and VAMP4 and impaired the assembly of the Syntaxin 6-Syntaxin16-Vti1a-VAMP4 SNARE complex. Remarkably, overexpression of VAMP4, but not of Syntaxin 6, bypassed the requirement for COG and restored endosome-to-TGN trafficking in Cog6-depleted cells. These results suggest that COG directly interacts with specific t-SNAREs and positively regulates SNARE complex assembly, thereby affecting their associated trafficking steps.
The movement of lipids within and between intracellular membranes is mediated by different lipid transport mechanisms and is crucial for maintaining the identities of different cellular organelles. Non-vesicular lipid transport has a crucial role in intracellular lipid trafficking and distribution, but its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs), which regulate diverse lipid-mediated cellular processes and accelerate vectorial transport of lipid monomers between membranes in vitro, could potentially mediate non-vesicular intracellular lipid trafficking. Understanding the mechanisms by which lipids are transported and distributed between cellular membranes, and elucidating the role of LTPs in intracellular lipid transport and homeostasis, are currently subjects of intensive study.
The integral endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-membrane protein VAP-B interacts with various lipid-transfer/binding proteins containing an FFAT motif through its N-terminal MSP domain. A genetic mutation within its MSP domain, P56S, was identified in familial forms of motor neuron diseases. This mutation induces the formation of insoluble VAP-B(P56S) protein aggregates by an unknown mechanism. In this study, we defined the structural requirements for VAP-B oligomerization and demonstrated their contribution for VAP-B(P56S) aggregation and neurotoxicity. We show that the oligomerization of VAP-B is mainly mediated by its coiled-coil domain and that the GXXXG dimerization motif within the transmembrane domain mediates transmembrane domains self-association but is insufficient to drive VAP-B oligomerization. We further show that the oligomerization of the wild-type VAP-B is independent of its MSP domain. However, we found that the P56S mutation induces conformational changes within the MSP domain and facilitates its propensity to aggregate by exposing hydrophobic patches to the solvent. These conformational changes have no direct effect on FFAT binding. Rather, they enhance VAP-B(P56S) oligomerization driven by the combined contributions of the coiled-coil and the transmembrane domains, thereby preventing accessibility to FFAT-binding site, facilitating the production of VAP-B(P56S)-insoluble aggregates and consequently its neurotoxicity. These results shed light on the mechanism by which VAP-B(P56S) aggregates are formed and induce familial motor neuron diseases.
The crucial roles of Sec1/Munc18 (SM)-like proteins in membrane fusion have been evidenced in genetic and biochemical studies. SM proteins interact directly with SNAREs and contribute to SNARE pairing by a yet unclear mechanism. Here, we show that the SM protein, Sly1, interacts directly with the conserved oligomeric Golgi (COG) tethering complex. The Sly1-COG interaction is mediated by the Cog4 subunit, which also interacts with Syntaxin 5 through a different binding site. We provide evidence that disruption of Cog4-Sly1 interaction impairs pairing of SNAREs involved in intra-Golgi transport thereby markedly attenuating Golgi-to-ER retrograde transport. These results highlight the mechanism by which SM proteins link tethering to SNAREpin assembly. The EMBO Journal (2009) 28, 2006-2017. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.168; Published online 18 June 2009
Lipid transport between intracellular organelles is mediated by vesicular and nonvesicular transport mechanisms and is critical for maintaining the identities of different cellular membranes. Nonvesicular lipid transport between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi complex has been proposed to affect the lipid composition of the Golgi membranes. Here, we show that the integral ER-membrane proteins VAP-A and VAP-B affect the structural and functional integrity of the Golgi complex. Depletion of VAPs by RNA interference reduces the levels of phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P), diacylglycerol, and sphingomyelin in the Golgi membranes, and it leads to substantial inhibition of Golgi-mediated transport events. These effects are coordinately mediated by the lipid-transfer/binding proteins Nir2, oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP), and ceramide-transfer protein (CERT), which interact with VAPs via their FFAT motif. The effect of VAPs on PI4P levels is mediated by the phosphatidylinositol/phosphatidylcholine transfer protein Nir2, which is required for Golgi targeting of OSBP and CERT and the subsequent production of diacylglycerol and sphingomyelin. We propose that Nir2, OSBP, and CERT function coordinately at the ER-Golgi membrane contact sites, thereby affecting the lipid composition of the Golgi membranes and consequently their structural and functional identities.
West Nile virus ( WNV), and related flaviviruses such as tick- borne encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever and dengue viruses, constitute a significant global human health problem(1). However, our understanding of the molecular interaction of such flaviviruses with mammalian host cells is limited(1). WNV encodes only 10 proteins, implying that it may use many cellular proteins for infection(1). WNV enters the cytoplasm through pH- dependent endocytosis, undergoes cycles of translation and replication, assembles progeny virions in association with endoplasmic reticulum, and exits along the secretory pathway(1-3). RNA interference ( RNAi) presents a powerful forward genetics approach to dissect virus - host cell interactions(4-6). Here we report the identification of 305 host proteins that affect WNV infection, using a human- genome-wide RNAi screen. Functional clustering of the genes revealed a complex dependence of this virus on host cell physiology, requiring a wide variety of molecules and cellular pathways for successful infection. We further demonstrate a requirement for the ubiquitin ligase CBLL1 in WNV internalization, a post- entry role for the endoplasmic- reticulum- associated degradation pathway in viral infection, and the monocarboxylic acid transporter MCT4 as a viral replication resistance factor. By extending this study to dengue virus, we show that flaviviruses have both overlapping and unique interaction strategies with host cells. This study provides a comprehensive molecular portrait of WNV - human cell interactions that forms a model for understanding single plus- stranded RNA virus infection, and reveals potential antiviral targets.
The VAMP-associated proteins (VAPs) are highly conserved integral endoplasmic reticulum membrane proteins implicated in diverse cellular functions, including the regulation of lipid transport and homeostasis, membrane trafficking, neurotransmitter release, stabilization of presynaptic microtubules, and the unfolded protein response. Recently, a single missense mutation within the human VAP-B gene was identified in three forms of familial motor neuron disease. In this review, we integrate results from studies of yeast, fly and mammalian VAPs that provide insight into the structural features of these proteins, the network of VAP-interacting proteins, their possible physiological functions, and their involvement in motor neuron disease.
The unique lipid composition of the Golgi membranes is critical for maintaining their structural and functional identity, and is regulated by local lipid metabolism, a variety of lipid-binding, -modifying, -sensing and -transfer proteins, and by selective lipid sorting mechanisms. A growing body of evidence suggests that certain lipids, such as phosphoinositides and diacylglycerol, regulate Golgi-mediated transport events. However, their exact role in this process, and the underlying mechanisms that maintain their critical levels in specific membrane domains of the Golgi apparatus, remain poorly understood. Nevertheless, recent advances have revealed key regulators of lipid homoeostasis in the Golgi complex and have demonstrated their role in Golgi secretory function.
The level of diacylglycerol (DAG) in the Golgi apparatus is crucial for protein transport to the plasma membrane. Studies in budding yeast indicate that Sec14p, a phosphatidylinositol ( PI)-transfer protein, is involved in regulating DAG homeostasis in the Golgi complex. Here, we show that Nir2, a peripheral Golgi protein containing a PI-transfer domain, is essential for maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the Golgi apparatus in mammalian cells. Depletion of Nir2 by RNAi leads to substantial inhibition of protein transport from the trans-Golgi network to the plasma membrane, and causes a reduction in the DAG level in the Golgi apparatus. Remarkably, inactivation of the cytosine 5'-diphosphate (CDP)-choline pathway for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis restores both effects. These results indicate that Nir2 is involved in maintaining a critical DAG pool in the Golgi apparatus by regulating its consumption via the CDP-choline pathway, demonstrating the interface between secretion from the Golgi and lipid homeostasis.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) exhibits a characteristic tubular structure that is dynamically rearranged in response to specific physiological demands. However, the mechanisms by which the ER maintains its characteristic structure are largely unknown. Here we show that the integral ER-membrane protein VAP-B causes a striking rearrangement of the ER through interaction with the Nir2 and Nir3 proteins. We provide evidence that Nir (Nir1, Nir2, and Nir3)-VAP-B interactions are mediated through the conserved FFAT (two phenylalanines (FF) in acidic tract) motif present in Nir proteins. However, each interaction affects the structural integrity of the ER differently. Whereas the Nir2-VAP-B interaction induces the formation of stacked ER membrane arrays, the Nir3-VAP-B interaction leads to a gross remodeling of the ER and the bundling of thick microtubules along the altered ER membranes. In contrast, the Nir1-VAP-B interaction has no apparent effect on ER structure. We also show that the Nir2-VAP-B interaction attenuates protein export from the ER. These results demonstrate new mechanisms for the regulation of ER structure, all of which are mediated through interaction with an identical integral ER-membrane protein.
In the hippocampus, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and the non-receptor protein proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2) are activated by depolarization and involved in synaptic plasticity. Both are also activated under pathological conditions following ischemia, convulsions, or electroconvulsive shock. Although in non-neuronal cells PYK2 activates ERK through the recruitment of Src-family kinases (SFKs), the link between these pathways in the hippocampus is not known. We addressed this question using K+-depolarized rat hippocampal slices. Depolarization increased the phosphorylation of PYK2, SFKs, and ERK. These effects resulted from Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and were diminished by GF109203X, a protein kinase C inhibitor. Inhibition of SFKs with PP2 decreased PYK2 tyrosine phosphorylation dramatically, but not its autophosphorylation on Tyr-402. Moreover, PYK2 autophosphorylation and total tyrosine phosphorylation were profoundly altered in fyn(-/-) mice, revealing an important functional relationship between Fyn and PYK2 in the hippocampus. In contrast, ERK activation was unaltered by PP2, Fyn knock-out, or LY294002, a phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase inhibitor. ERK activation was prevented by MEK inhibitors that had no effect on PYK2. Immunofluorescence of hippocampal slices showed that PYK2 and ERK were activated in distinct cellular compartments in somatodendritic regions and nerve terminals, respectively, with virtually no overlap. Activation of ERK was critical for the rephosphorylation of a synaptic vesicle protein, synapsin I, following depolarization, underlining its functional importance in nerve terminals. Thus, in hippocampal slices, in contrast to cell lines, depolarization-induced activation of non-receptor tyrosine kinases and ERK occurs independently in distinct cellular compartments in which they appear to have different functional roles.
Chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan (CSPG) inhibits axonal regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS) and its local degradation promotes repair. We postulated that the enzymatic degradation of CSPG generates reparative products. Here we show that an enzymatic degradation product of CSPG, a specific disaccharide (CSPG-DS), promoted CNS recovery by modulating both neuronal and microglial behaviour. In neurons, acting via a mechanism that involves the PKCalpha and PYK2 intracellular signalling pathways, CSPG-DS induced neurite outgrowth and protected against neuronal toxicity and axonal collapse in vitro. In microglia, via a mechanism that involves ERK1/2 and PYK2, CSPG-DS evoked a response that allowed these cells to manifest a neuroprotective phenotype ex vivo. In vivo, systemically or locally injected CSPG-DS protected neurons in mice subjected to glutamate or aggregated beta-amyloid intoxication. Our results suggest that treatment with CSPG-DS might provide a way to promote post-traumatic recovery, via multiple cellular targets.
The Nir/rdgB family of proteins has been identified in a variety of eukaryotic organisms, ranging from worms to mammals. The Drosophila retinal degeneration B (rdgB), a protein that is required for photoreceptor cell viability and light response, was the first to be identified. It consists an amino-terminal phosphatidylinositol (PI)-transfer domain and was proposed to play an essential role in photoreceptor membrane renewal and biogenesis. The other Nir/rdgB family members are functionally and structurally related to the Drosophila homolog and are implicated in regulation of lipid trafficking, metabolism, and signaling. Recent advances have revealed that Nir/rdgB proteins are also involved in regulation of cytoskeletal elements. Thus, these family members exert a broad spectrum of cellular functions and are involved in multiple cellular processes. The physiological functions of these closely related proteins are described in this review. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The rearrangement of the Golgi apparatus during mitosis is regulated by several protein kinases, including Cdk1 and Plk1. Several peripheral Golgi proteins that dissociate from the Golgi during mitosis are implicated in regulation of cytokinesis or chromosome segregation, thereby coordinating mitotic and cytokinetic events to Golgi rearrangement. Here we show that, at the onset of mitosis, Cdk1 phosphorylates the peripheral Golgi protein Nir2 at multiple sites; of these, S382 is the most prominent. Phosphorylation of Nir2 by Cdk1 facilitates its dissociation from the Golgi apparatus, and phospho-Nir2(pS382) is localized in the cleavage furrow and midbody during cytokinesis. Mitotic phosphorylation of Nir2 is required for docking of the phospho-Ser/Thr binding module, the Polo box domain of Plk1, and overexpression of a Nir2 mutant, which fails to interact with Plk1, affects the completion of cytokinesis. These results demonstrate a mechanism for coordinating mitotic and cytokinetic events with Golgi rearrangement during cell division.
Background: Growth factors and their receptor tyrosine kinases play pivotal roles in development, normal physiology, and pathology. Signal transduction is regulated primarily by receptor endocytosis and degradation in lysosomes ("receptor downregulation"). c-Cbl is an adaptor that modulates this process by recruiting binding partners, such as ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes. The role of another group of adaptors, Sprouty proteins, is less understood; although, studies in insects implicated the founder protein in the negative regulation of several receptor tyrosine kinases. Results: By utilizing transfection of living cells, as well as reconstituted in vitro systems, We identified a dual regulatory mechanism that combines human Sprouty2 and c-Cbl. Upon activation of the receptor for the epidermal growth factor (EGFR), Sprouty2 undergoes phosphorylation at a conserved tyrosine that recruits the Src homology 2 domain of c-Cbl. Subsequently, the flanking RING finger of c-CbI mediates poly-ubiquitination of Sprouty2, which is followed by proteasomal degradation. Because phosphorylated. Sprouty2 sequesters active c-Cbl molecules, it impedes receptor ubiquitination, downregulation, and degradation in lysosomes. This competitive interplay occurs in endosomes, and it regulates the amplitude and longevity of intracellular signals. Conclusions: Sprouty2 emerges as an inducible antagonist of c-Cbl, and together they set a time window for receptor activation. When incorporated in signaling networks, the coupling of positive (Sprouty) to negative (Cbl) feedback loops can greatly enhance output diversification.
Nir2, like its Drosophila homolog retinal degeneration B (RdgB), contains an N-terminal phosphatidylinositol-transfer protein (PI-TP)-like domain . Previous studies have suggested that RdgB plays an important role in the fly phototransduction cascade and that its PI-transfer domain is critical for this function [2-4]. In this domain, a specific mutation, T59E, induces a dominant retinal degeneration phenotype . Here we show that a similar mutation, T59E in the human Nir2 protein, targets Nir2 to spherical cytosolic structures identified as lipid droplets by the lipophilic dye Nile red. A truncated Nir2T59E mutant consisting of only the PI-transfer domain was also targeted to lipid droplets, whereas neither the wild-type Nir2 nor the Nir2T59A mutant was associated with lipid droplets under regular growth conditions. However, oleic-acid treatment caused translocation of wild-type Nir2, but not translocation of the T59A mutant, to lipid droplets. This treatment also induced partial targeting of endogenous Nir2, which is mainly associated with the Golgi apparatus, to lipid droplets. Targeting of Nir2 to lipid droplets was attributed to its enhanced threonine phosphorylation. These results suggest that a specific threonine within the PI-transfer domain of Nir2 provides a regulatory site for targeting to lipid droplets. In conjunction with the role of PI-TPs in lipid transport, this targeting may affect intracellular lipid trafficking and distribution and may provide the molecular basis underlying the dominant effect of the RdgB-T59E mutant on retinal degeneration.
Cytokinesis, the final stage of eukaryotic cell division, ensures the production of two daughter cells. It requires fine coordination between the plasma membrane and cytoskeletal networks, and it is known to be regulated by several intracellular proteins, including the small GTPase Rho and its effectors. In this study we provide evidence that the protein Nir2 is essential for cytokinesis. Microinjection of anti-Nir2 antibodies into interphase cells blocks cytokinesis, as it results in the production of multinucleate cells. Immunolocalization studies revealed that Nir2 is mainly localized in the Golgi apparatus in interphase cells, but it is recruited to the cleavage furrow and the midbody during cytokinesis. Nir2 colocalizes with the small GTPase RhoA in the cleavage furrow and the midbody, and it associates with RhoA in mitotic cells. Its N-terminal region, which contains a phosphatidylinositol transfer domain and a novel Rho-inhibitory domain (Rid), is required for normal cytokinesis, as overexpression of an N-terminal-truncated mutant blocks cytokinesis completion. Time-lapse videomicroscopy revealed that this mutant normally initiates cytokinesis but fails to complete it, due to cleavage furrow regression, while Rid markedly affects cytokinesis due to abnormal contractility. Rid-expressing cells exhibit aberrant ingression and ectopic cleavage sites; the cells fail to segregate into daughter cells and they form a long unseparated bridge-like cytoplasmic structure. These results provide new insight into the cellular functions of Nir2 and introduce it as a novel regulator of cytokinesis.
PURPOSE. The Nirs (Nir1, Nir2, and Nir3), human homologues of Drosophila retinal degeneration B (rdgB), have been considered candidate genes for human inherited retinal degeneration diseases. To gain a better understanding of their functions in the retina and their putative roles in retinal degeneration diseases, this study was undertaken to determine their distribution profile in developing and mature rat retinas. METHODS. Specific antibodies against each of the Nir proteins were raised in rabbits and used in indirect immunofluorescence analysis to determine the distribution profile of the three proteins. Eyes from Wistar rats at various developmental stages (embryonic day [E] 18 to postnatal day [P] 16) were sectioned vertically and immunostained with anti-Nir antibodies. Coimmunostaining for Nirs and several specific cellular and subcellular markers was used to determine precisely the cellular and subcellular distribution of the Nirs. Sections were observed under a confocal laser microscope, and image analysis was performed with the standard operating software provided with the microscope. RESULTS. Confocal microscopic analysis of Nir1 immunoreactivity revealed that it was predominantly expressed in premature Muller cells at birth and that it was upregulated during Muller cell maturation. In contrast, Nir2 and Nir3 were homogeneously distributed in undifferentiated neuroblasts and ganglion cells at birth and later became distinctly distributed in newly differentiated neuronal cells. From P4, Nir2 and Nir3 were highly expressed in neuronal cells and their processes, coinciding with the formation of synaptic layers and ongoing synaptogenesis. From P12, Nir2 was uniformly expressed in all classes of retinal neuronal cells, including ganglion cells, horizontal cells, amacrine cells, bipolar cells, and photoreceptor cells. In the adult rat retina, Nir2 was preferentially localized to the somata of all classes of retinal neurons, whereas Nir3 was highly expressed in
Cell morphogenesis requires dynamic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, a process that is tightly regulated by the Rho family of small GTPases. These GTPases act as molecular switches by shuttling between their inactive GDP-bound and active GTP-bound forms. Here we show that Nir2, a novel protein related to Drosophila retinal degeneration B (RdgB), markedly affects cell morphology through a novel Rho-inhibitory domain (Rid) which resides in its N-terminal region. Rid exhibits sequence homology with the Rho-binding site of formin-homology (FH) proteins and leads to an apparent loss of F-actin staining when ectopically expressed in mammalian cells. We also show that Rid inhibits Rho-mediated stress fiber formation and lysophosphatidic acid-induced RhoA activation. Biochemical studies demonstrated that Nir2, via Rid, preferentially binds to the inactive GDP-bound form of the small GTPase Rho. Microinjection of antibodies against Nir2 into neuronal cells markedly attenuates neurite extension, whereas overexpression of Nir2 in these cells attenuates Rho-mediated neurite retraction. These results implicate Nir2 as a novel regulator of the small GTPase Rho in actin cytoskeleton reorganization and cell morphogenesis.
Retinal degeneration, either acquired or inherited, is a major cause of visual impairment and blindness in humans, Inherited retinal degeneration comprises a large group of diseases that result in the loss of photoreceptor cells. To date, 131 retinal disease loci have been identified, and 76 of the genes at these loci have been isolated (RetNet Web site), Several of these genes were first considered candidates because of their chromosomal localization or homology to genes involved in retinal degeneration in other organisms. In this review, I will discuss recent advances in the identification of genes that cause retinal degeneration, and I will describe the mechanisms of photoreccptor death and potential treatments for retinal degenerative diseases.
The non-receptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 appears to function at a point of convergence of integrins and certain G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling cascades. In this study, we provide evidence that translocation of PYK2 to focal adhesions is triggered both by cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins and by activation of the histamine GPCR. By using different mutants of PYK2 as green fluorescent fusion proteins, we show that the translocation of PYK2 to focal adhesions is not dependent on its catalytic activity but rather is mediated by its carboxyl-terminal domain. Translocation of PYK2 to focal adhesions was attributed to enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of PYK2 and its association with the focal adhesion proteins paxillin and p130(Cas). Translocation of PYK2 to focal adhesions, as well as its tyrosine phosphorylation in response to histamine treatment, was abolished in the presence of protein kinase C inhibitors or cytochalasin D treatment, whereas activation of protein kinase C by phorbol ester resulted in focal adhesion targeting of PYR2 and its tyrosine phosphorylation in an integrin-clustering dependent manner. Overexpression of a wild-type PYK2 enhanced ERK activation in response to histamine, whereas a kinase-deficient mutant substantially inhibited this response. Furthermore, inhibition of PYK2 translocation to focal adhesions abolished ERK activation in response to histamine treatment. These results suggest that PYK2 apparently links between GPCRs and focal adhesion-dependent ERK activation and can provide the molecular basis underlying PYK2 function at a point of convergence between signaling pathways triggered by extracellular matrix proteins and certain GPCR agonists.
Large conductance, calcium-sensitive K+ channels (BKCa channels) contribute to the control of membrane potential in a variety of tissues, including smooth muscle, where they act as the target effector for intracellular "calcium sparks" and the endothelium-derived vasodilator nitric oxide. Various signal transduction pathways, including protein phosphorylation can regulate the activity of BKCa channels, along with many other membrane ion channels. In our study, we have examined the regulation of BKCa channels by the cellular Src gene product (cSrc), a soluble tyrosine kinase that has been implicated in the regulation of both voltage and ligand-gated ion channels. Using a heterologous expression system, we observed that co-expression of murine BKCa channel and the human cSrc tyrosine kinase in HEK 293 cells led to a calcium-sensitive enhancement of BKCa, channel activity in excised membrane patches. In contrast, co-expression with a catalytically inactive cSrc mutant produced no change in BKCa, channel activity, demonstrating the requirement for a functional cSrc molecule. Furthermore, we observed that BKCa channels underwent direct tyrosine phosphorylation in cells co-transfected with BKCa, channels and active cSre but not in cells co-transfected with the kinase inactive form of the enzyme. A single Tyr to Phe substitution in the C-terminal half of the channel largely prevented this observed phosphorylation, Given that cSre may become activated by receptor tyrosine kinases or G-protein-coupled receptors, these findings suggest that cSrc-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of BKCa, channels in situ may represent a novel regulatory mechanism for altering membrane potential and calcium entry.
The nonreceptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 represents a stress-sensitive mediator of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways in many cell types. In the present study, we assessed the tyrosine phosphorylation of PYK2 under normal and pathological conditions in the CNS. We generated a polyclonal antibody that selectively recognizes tyrosine-phosphorylated PYK2 at its major autophosphorylation site. By using this antibody, we demonstrate that the phosphorylation profile of PYK2 after focal cerebral ischemia is biphasic. The first phase occurs within 1 hr, when most of the phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was observed in cortical neurons, whereas 24-72 hr after ischemia, a striking induction of phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was evident in microglia around the necrotic infarcted area. Double-immunostaining analysis using both anti-phospho-PYK2 antibody and antibody against the double-phosphorylated active form of p38MAPK revealed that the two phosphorylated protein kinases exhibit strikingly similar distribution patterns after ischemia. A short time after ischemia, phosphorylation of p38MAPK was evident in the cortical neurons as demonstrated by both immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting analysis, whereas 24-72 hr after ischemia, phospho-p38MAPK was found in activated microglia and colocalized with phospho-PYK2. In contrast to cortical neurons, basal phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was observed in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, which was markedly decreased after kainate acid-induced status epilepticus. However, 24 hr after the epileptic onset, a pronounced upregulation of PYK2 and phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivities was evident in microglial cells, as demonstrated by double-immunostaining with the microglial marker OX42. These results provide, for the first time, in situ localization of tyrosine-phosphorylated PYK2 in neuronal stress pathways in the adult rat brain and are consistent with the role of PYK2 as an upstream regulator
The protein tyrosine kinase PYK2 has been implicated in signaling pathways activated by G-protein-coupled receptors, intracellular calcium, and stress signals. Here we describe the molecular cloning and characterization of a novel family of PYK2-binding proteins designated Nirs (PYK2 N-terminal domain-interacting receptors). The three Nir proteins (Nir1, Nir2, and Nir3) bind to the amino-terminal domain of PYK2 via a conserved sequence motif located in the carboxy terminus. The primary structures of Nirs reveal six putative transmembrane domains, a region homologous to phosphatidylinositol (PI) transfer protein, and an acidic domain. The Nir proteins are the human homologues of the Drosophila retinal degeneration B protein (rdgB), a protein implicated in the visual transduction pathway in flies, We demonstrate that Nirs are calcium-binding proteins that exhibit PI transfer activity in vivo. Activation of PYK2 by agents that elevate intracellular calcium or by phorbol ester induce tyrosine phosphorylation of Nirs. Moreover, PYK2 and Nirs exhibit similar expression patterns in several regions of the brain and retina. In addition, PYK2-Nir complexes are detected in lysates prepared from cultured cells or from brain tissues. Finally, the Nir1-encoding gene is located at human chromosome 17p13.1, in proximity to a locus responsible for several human retinal diseases. We propose that the Nir and rdgB proteins represent a nem family of evolutionarily conserved PYK2-binding proteins that play a role in the control of calcium and phosphoinositide metabolism downstream of G-protein-coupled receptors.
Tumour necrosis factor at (TNF-a) is a cytokine with pleiotropic effects, modulating cell growth, differentiation, and synthesis of various substances, Recent demonstration of TNF-alpha mRNA and protein in the uteroplacental unit suggests that this cytokine may be involved in the development of the embryo, To determine whether the embryo itself binds TNF-alpha, mouse blastocyst outgrowths and human first trimester villous trophoblast were analysed for TNP-alpha binding, Our experiments revealed that binding of TNF-alpha could be specifically detected on the trophectoderm of the outgrowing mouse embryos, They also show a complete disappearance of the colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) receptor that occurs shortly after the binding of TNF-alpha by the trophectoderm. In human first trimester villous trophoblast, TNF-alpha binding was found to be predominantly detectable on the syncytiotrophoblast and to a lesser extent on the cytotrophoblastic cells, Binding was not observed on adjacent embryonic or maternal cells, Our results further support the idea that TNF-alpha as well as other cytokines may modulate early embryonic development and implantation. (C) 1997 Academic Press Limited.
The Src family protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs), Lck and Fyn, are coexpressed in T cells and perform crucial functions involved in the initiation of T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signal transduction. However, the mechanisms by which Lck and Fyn regulate TCR signaling are still not completely understood. One important question is whether Lck and Fyn have specific targets or only provide functional redundancy during TCR signaling. We have previously shown that Lck plays a major role in the tyrosine phosphorylation of the TCR-zeta chain and the ZAP-70 PTK. In an effort to identify the targets that are specifically regulated by Fyn, we have studied the tyrosine phosphorylation of Pyk2, a recently discovered new member of the focal adhesion kinase family PTK. We demonstrated that Pyk2 was rapidly tyrosine phosphorylated following TCR stimulation. TCR-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of Pyk2 was selectively dependent on Fyn but not Lck. Moreover, in heterologous COS-7 cells, coexpression of Pyk2 with Fyn but not Lck resulted in substantial increases in Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation. The selective regulation of Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation by Fyn in vivo correlated with the preferential phosphorylation of Pyk2 by Fyn in vitro. Our results demonstrate that Pyk2 is a specific target regulated by Fyn during TCR signaling.
THE mechanisms by which mitogenic G-protein-coupled receptors activate the MAP kinase signalling pathway are poorly understood. Candidate protein tyrosine kinases that link G-protein-coupled receptors with MAP kinase include Src family kinases(1), the epidermal growth factor receptor(2), Lyn and Syk(3). Here we show that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and bradykinin induce tyrosine phosphorylation of Pyk2 and complex formation between Pyk2 and activated Src. Moreover, tyrosine phosphorylation of Pyk2 Leads to binding of the SH2 domain of Src to tyrosine 402 of Pyk2 and activation of Src. Transient overexpression of a dominant interfering mutant of Pyk2 or the protein tyrosine kinase Csk reduces LPA- or bradykinin-induced activation of MAP kinase. LPA- or bradykinin-induced MAP kinase activation was also inhibited by overexpression of dominant interfering mutants of Grb2 and Sos. We propose that Pyk2 acts with Src to link G(i)- and G(q)-coupled receptors with Grb2 and Sos to activate the MAP kinase signalling pathway in PC12 cells.
The c-Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK) is activated by various heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptors, inflammatory cytokines, and stress signals. Yet, upstream mediators that link extracellular signals with the JNK signaling pathway are currently unknown. The tyrosine kinase Pyk2 was activated by tumor necrosis factor alpha, by ultraviolet irradiation, and by changes in osmolarity. Overexpression of Pyke led to activation of JNK, and a dominant-negative mutant of Pyk2 interfered with ultraviolet light- or osmotic shock-induced activation of JNK. Pyk2 represents a cell type-specific, stress-sensitive mediator of the JNK signaling pathway.