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Articles by Burkhard Wiesner in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Culturing Primary Rat Inner Medullary Collecting Duct Cells

1Anchored Signalling, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, 2Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP), 3Charité University Medicine Berlin


JoVE 50366

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) controls fine-tuning of body water homeostasis through facilitating water reabsorption by renal principal cells. Here, we present a protocol for the cultivation of primary rat inner medullary collecting duct cells suitable for the elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying AVP-mediated water reabsorption.

Other articles by Burkhard Wiesner on PubMed

Fluorescence Spectroscopic Quantification of the Release of Cyclic Nucleotides from Photocleavable [bis(carboxymethoxy)coumarin-4-yl]methyl Esters Inside Cells

Intracellular Calcium Measurements of Single Human Skin Cells After Stimulation with Corticotropin-releasing Factor and Urocortin Using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy

Using confocal laser scanning microscopy we investigated the Ca(2+) distribution in single corticotropin releasing factor- and urocortin-stimulated human skin cells. The models tested included melanoma cells, neonatal melanocytes and keratinocytes, and immortalized HaCaT keratinocytes. The changes in intracellular Ca(2+) signal intensities observed after stimulation of different cell types with corticotropin releasing factor and urocortin showed that: (1) the increase of intracellular Ca(2+) concentration was caused by a Ca(2+) influx (inhibition by EGTA); (2) this Ca(2+) influx took place through voltage-activated Ca(2+) ion channels (inhibition by d-cis-diltiazem, verapamil) and (3) cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels were not involved in this process (no effect of Mg(2+)). The effects were also observed at very low peptide concentrations (10(-13) M) with no apparent linear correlation between peptide dosage and increase of fluorescence intensity, which implied co-expression of different corticotropin releasing factor receptor forms in the same cell. Immortalized (HaCaT) keratinocytes exhibited the strongest differential increases of a Ca(2+) fluorescence after peptide-stimulation. Corticotropin releasing factor induced Ca(2+) flux into the cytoplasm, while urocortin Ca(2+) flux into the nucleus with a remarkable oscillatory effect. The latter indicated the presence of an intracellular urocortin-induced signal transduction pathway that is unique to keratinocytes.

DMACM-caged Adenosine Nucleotides: Ultrafast Phototriggers for ATP, ADP, and AMP Activated by Long-wavelength Irradiation

The development of new photocleavable adenosine nucleotides based on the photochemistry of [7-(dimethylamino)coumarin-4-yl]methyl (DMACM) esters is described. The phototriggers liberate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), diphosphate, and monophosphate upon UV/Vis irradiation between 334 and 405 nm. The efficiency of photocleavage at long wavelengths is high as a result of a combination of appropriate quantum yields and intensive absorptivities. By using time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, we determined a lower limit of 1.6 x 10(9) s(-1) for the rate constant of the release of ATP from DMACM-caged ATP. The favorable properties of DMACM-caged ATP were confirmed in physiological studies by confocal laser scanning microscopy. We were able to uncage DMACM-caged ATP in cultures of mouse astrocytes and in brain tissue slices from mice and were also able to measure the effect of photoreleased ATP on the cellular response of astrocytes, namely the ability of the ATP to evoke Ca(2+) ion waves.

[7-(Dialkylamino)coumarin-4-yl]methyl-Caged Compounds As Ultrafast and Effective Long-Wavelength Phototriggers of 8-Bromo-Substituted Cyclic Nucleotides

[7-(Dimethylamino)coumarin-4-yl]methyl (DMACM) and [7-(diethylamino)coumarin-4-yl]methyl (DEACM) esters of 8-bromoadenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-Br-cAMP) and 8-bromoguanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-Br-cGMP) are described as novel caged compounds for 8-bromo-substituted cyclic nucleotides. Synthesis is accomplished by treatment of the free acids of the cyclic nucleotides with the corresponding 7(dialkylamino)-substituted 4(diazomethyl)coumarins. Irradiation of the DMACM- and DEACM-caged cyclic nucleotides with UV light stimulates the release of the cyclic nucleotides within roughly a nanosecond. The new caged compounds are resistant to hydrolysis in aqueous buffers and exhibit long-wavelength absorption properties with maxima at 400 nm, high extinction coefficients, and high quantum yields (0.15-0.31). Their favorable properties render these compounds the most efficient and rapid phototriggers of 8-bromo-substituted cyclic nucleotides known. The usefulness of the compounds for physiological studies under nondamaging light conditions was examined in HEK293 cells expressing the alpha subunit of the cyclic-nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel of cone photoreceptors (CNGA3) and of olfactory neurons (CNGA2) by using confocal laser scanning microscopy and the patch clamp technique.

The Prostaglandin E2 Analogue Sulprostone Antagonizes Vasopressin-induced Antidiuresis Through Activation of Rho

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) facilitates water reabsorption in renal collecting duct principal cells by activation of vasopressin V2 receptors and the subsequent translocation of water channels (aquaporin-2, AQP2) from intracellular vesicles into the plasma membrane. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) antagonizes AVP-induced water reabsorption; the signaling pathway underlying the diuretic response is not known. Using primary rat inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells, we show that stimulation of prostaglandin EP3 receptors induced Rho activation and actin polymerization in resting IMCD cells, but did not modify the intracellular localization of AQP2. However, AVP-, dibutyryl cAMP- and forskolin-induced AQP2 translocation was strongly inhibited. This inhibitory effect was independent of increases in cAMP and cytosolic Ca2+. In addition, stimulation of EP3 receptors inhibited the AVP-induced Rho inactivation and the AVP-induced F-actin depolymerization. The data suggest that the signaling pathway underlying the diuretic effects of PGE2 and probably those of other diuretic agents include cAMP- and Ca2+-independent Rho activation and F-actin formation.

DNA Binding Controls Inactivation and Nuclear Accumulation of the Transcription Factor Stat1

Cytokine-dependent gene transcription greatly depends on the tyrosine phosphorylation ("activation") of Stat proteins at the cell membrane. This rapidly leads to their accumulation in the nucleus by an unknown mechanism. We performed microinjections of recombinant Stat1 protein to show that nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated Stat1 can occur without cytokine stimulation of cells. Microinjection of Stat1 antibody and treatment of cells with kinase or phosphatase inhibitors revealed that nuclear accumulation is a highly dynamic process sustained by Stat1 nucleocytoplasmic cycling and continuous kinase activity. By characterizing nuclear accumulation mutants, it is demonstrated that nuclear import and nuclear retention are two separate steps leading up to nuclear accumulation, with nonspecific DNA binding of activated Stat1 being sufficient for nuclear retention. Critical for nuclear buildup of Stat1 and the subsequent nuclear export is the point of time of tyrosine dephosphorylation, because our data indicate that activated Stat1 is incapable of leaving the nucleus and requires dephosphorylation to do so. It is demonstrated that the inactivation of Stat1 is controlled by its exchange reaction with DNA, whereby DNA binding protects Stat1 from dephosphorylation in a sequence-specific manner. Thus, during nuclear accumulation, a surprisingly simple mechanism integrates central aspects of cytokine-dependent gene regulation, for example, receptor monitoring, promoter occupancy, and transcription factor inactivation.

Aquaporin-1, Nothing but a Water Channel

Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) is a membrane channel that allows rapid water movement driven by a transmembrane osmotic gradient. It was claimed to have a secondary function as a cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel. However, upon reconstitution into planar bilayers, the ion channel exhibited a 10-fold lower single channel conductance than in Xenopus oocytes and a 100-fold lower open probability (<10(-6)) of doubtful physiological significance (Saparov, S. M., Kozono, D., Rothe, U., Agre, P., and Pohl, P. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 31515-31520). Investigating AQP1 expressed in human embryonic kidney cells, we now have shown that the discrepancy is not due to alterations of AQP1 properties upon reconstitution into bilayers but rather to regulatory processes of the oocyte expression system that may have been misinterpreted as AQP1 ion channel activity. As confirmed by laser scanning reflection microscopy, from 0.8 to 1.4 x 10(6) AQP1 copies/cell contributed to osmotic cell swelling. The proper plasma membrane localization was confirmed by observing the fluorescence of the N-terminal yellow fluorescent protein tag. Whole-cell patch clamp experiments of wild type or tagged AQP1-expressing cells revealed that neither cGMP nor cAMP mediated ion channel activity. The lack of significant CNG ion channel activity rules out a secondary role of AQP1 water channels in cellular signal transduction.

Identification of a Novel A-kinase Anchoring Protein 18 Isoform and Evidence for Its Role in the Vasopressin-induced Aquaporin-2 Shuttle in Renal Principal Cells

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) increases the water permeability of renal collecting duct principal cells by inducing the fusion of vesicles containing the water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2) with the plasma membrane (AQP2 shuttle). This event is initiated by activation of vasopressin V2 receptors, followed by an elevation of cAMP and the activation of protein kinase A (PKA). The tethering of PKA to subcellular compartments by protein kinase A anchoring proteins (AKAPs) is a prerequisite for the AQP2 shuttle. During the search for AKAP(s) involved in the shuttle, a new splice variant of AKAP18, AKAP18delta, was identified. AKAP18delta functions as an AKAP in vitro and in vivo. In the kidney, it is mainly expressed in principal cells of the inner medullary collecting duct, closely resembling the distribution of AQP2. It is present in both the soluble and particulate fractions derived from renal inner medullary tissue. Within the particulate fraction, AKAP18delta was identified on the same intracellular vesicles as AQP2 and PKA. AVP not only recruited AQP2, but also AKAP18delta to the plasma membrane. The elevation of cAMP caused the dissociation of AKAP18delta and PKA. The data suggest that AKAP18delta is involved in the AQP2 shuttle.

C-FLIP Mediates Resistance of Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg Cells to Death Receptor-induced Apoptosis

Resistance to death receptor-mediated apoptosis is supposed to be important for the deregulated growth of B cell lymphoma. Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells, the malignant cells of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL), resist CD95-induced apoptosis. Therefore, we analyzed death receptor signaling, in particular the CD95 pathway, in these cells. High level CD95 expression allowed a rapid formation of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) containing Fas-associated death domain-containing protein (FADD), caspase-8, caspase-10, and most importantly, cellular FADD-like interleukin 1beta-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP). The immunohistochemical analysis of the DISC members revealed a strong expression of CD95 and c-FLIP overexpression in 55 out of 59 cases of cHL. FADD overexpression was detectable in several cases. Triggering of the CD95 pathway in HRS cells is indicated by the presence of CD95L in cells surrounding them as well as confocal microscopy showing c-FLIP predominantly localized at the cell membrane. Elevated c-FLIP expression in HRS cells depends on nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB. Despite expression of other NF-kappaB-dependent antiapoptotic proteins, the selective down-regulation of c-FLIP by small interfering RNA oligoribonucleotides was sufficient to sensitize HRS cells to CD95 and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand-induced apoptosis. Therefore, c-FLIP is a key regulator of death receptor resistance in HRS cells.

Enhancement of Intracellular Concentration and Biological Activity of PNA After Conjugation with a Cell-penetrating Synthetic Model Peptide

In order to evaluate the ability of the cell-penetrating alpha-helical amphipathic model peptide KLALKLALKALKAALKLA-NH(2) (MAP) to deliver peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) into mammalian cells, MAP was covalently linked to the 12-mer PNA 5'-GGAGCAGGAAAG-3' directed against the mRNA of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor. The cellular uptake of both the naked PNA and its MAP-conjugate was studied by means of capillary electrophoresis combined with laser-induced fluorescence detection, confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Incubation with the fluorescein-labelled PNA-peptide conjugate led to three- and eightfold higher intracellular concentrations in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes and CHO cells, respectively, than found after exposure of the cells to the naked PNA. Correspondingly, pretreatment of spontaneously-beating neonatal rat cardiomyocytes with the PNA-peptide conjugate and the naked PNA slowed down the positive chronotropic effect elicited by the neuropeptide nociceptin by 10- and twofold, respectively. The main reasons for the higher bioavailability of the PNA-peptide conjugate were found to be a more rapid cellular uptake in combination with a lowered re-export and resistance against influences of serum.

Pharmacochaperones Post-translationally Enhance Cell Surface Expression by Increasing Conformational Stability of Wild-type and Mutant Vasopressin V2 Receptors

Some membrane-permeable antagonists restore cell surface expression of misfolded receptors retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and are therefore termed pharmacochaperones. Whether pharmacochaperones increase protein stability, thereby preventing rapid degradation, or assist folding via direct receptor interactions or interfere with quality control components remains elusive. We now show that the cell surface expression and function (binding of the agonist) of the mainly ER-retained wild-type murine vasopressin V2 receptor GFP fusion protein (mV2R.GFP) is restored by the vasopressin receptor antagonists SR49059 and SR121463B with EC50 values similar to their KD values. This effect was preserved when protein synthesis was abolished. In addition, SR121463B rescued eight mutant human V2Rs (hV2Rs, three are responsible for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus) characterized by amino acid exchanges at the C-terminal end of transmembrane helix TM I and TM VII. In contrast, mutants with amino acid exchanges at the interface of TM II and IV were not rescued by either antagonist. The mechanisms involved in successful rescue of cell surface delivery are explained in a three-dimensional homology model of the antagonist-bound hV2R.

Studies on the Cellular Uptake of Substance P and Lysine-rich, KLA-derived Model Peptides

In the last decade many peptides have been shown to be internalized into various cell types by different, poorly characterized mechanisms. This review focuses on uptake studies with substance P (SP) aimed at unravelling the mechanism of peptide-induced mast cell degranulation, and on the characterization of the cellular uptake of designed KLA-derived model peptides. Studies on structure-activity relationships and receptor autoradiography failed to detect specific peptide receptors for the undecapeptide SP on mast cells. In view of these findings, a direct interaction of cationic peptides with heterotrimeric G proteins without the participation of a receptor has been proposed. Such a process would require insertion into and translocation of peptides across the plasma membrane. In order to clarify whether a transport of cationic peptides into rat peritoneal mast cells is possible, transport studies were performed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) using fluorescence-labeled Arg(3),Orn(7)-SP and its D-amino acid analog, all-D-Arg(3),Orn(7)-SP, as well as by electron microscopic autoradiography using (3)H-labelled SP and (125)I-labelled all-D-SP. The results obtained by CLSM directly showed translocation of SP peptides into pertussis toxin-treated cells. Kinetic experiments indicated that the translocation process was rapid, occurring within a few seconds. Mast cell degranulation induced by analog of magainin 2 amide, neuropeptide Y and the model peptide acetyl-KLALKLALKALKAALKLA-amide was also found to be very fast, pointing to an extensive translocation of the peptides. In order to learn more about structural requirements for the cellular uptake of peptides, the translocation behavior of a set of systematically modified KLA-based model peptides has been studied in detail. By two different protocols for determining the amount of internalized peptide, evidence was found that the structure of the peptides only marginally affects their uptake, whereas the efflux of cationic, amphipathic peptides is strikingly diminished, thus allowing their enrichment within the cells. Although the mechanism of cellular uptake, consisting of energy-dependent and -independent contributions, is not well understood, KLA-derived peptides have been shown to deliver various cargos (PNAs, peptides) into cells. The results obtained with SP- and KLA-derived peptides are discussed in the context of the current literature.

(Coumarin-4-yl)methyl Esters As Highly Efficient, Ultrafast Phototriggers for Protons and Their Application to Acidifying Membrane Surfaces

Live Cell Imaging of G Protein-coupled Receptors

Nuclear Export Determines the Cytokine Sensitivity of STAT Transcription Factors

Cytokine-dependent gene activation critically depends upon the tyrosine phosphorylation (activation) of STAT transcription factors at membrane-bound cytokine receptors. The extent of STAT activation and hence the specificity of signaling is primarily determined by structural complementarity between the SH2 domain of the STATs and the tyrosine-phosphorylated receptor chains. Here, we identified constitutive nucleocytoplasmic shuttling as another mechanism that controls the differential activation of STAT transcription factors. Our analysis of nucleocytoplasmic cycling of STAT1 revealed that the expression of the alternatively spliced transactivation domain and its signal-dependent serine phosphorylation maximized the rate of nuclear export. Export modulation occurred independently of retention factors or the export receptor CRM1, and was observed both before and during stimulation of cells with cytokines. Our data indicated a dual role for the transactivation domain. It enhanced the nuclear retention of activated STAT1, but had the opposite effect on inactivated molecules. Accordingly, and despite their identical receptor recognition, the STAT1 splice variants differed strongly in the amplitude of tyrosine phosphorylation and in the duration of the cytokine signal. Thus, regulated nuclear export determined the cytokine sensitivity of the shuttling STAT1 transcription factors by controlling their availability at the receptor kinase complex.

Coumarinylmethyl Esters for Ultrafast Release of High Concentrations of Cyclic Nucleotides Upon One- and Two-photon Photolysis

Dimerization of Corticotropin-releasing Factor Receptor Type 1 is Not Coupled to Ligand Binding

As described previously, receptor dimerization of G protein-coupled receptors may influence signaling, trafficking, and regulation in vivo. Up to now, most studies aiming at the possible role of receptor dimerization in receptor activation and signal transduction are focused on class A GPCRs. In the present work, the dimerization behavior of the corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 1 (CRF1R), which belongs to class B of GPCRs and plays an important role in coordination of the immune response, stress, and learning behavior, was investigated by using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). For this purpose, we generated fusion proteins of CRF1R tagged at their C-terminus to a cyan or yellow fluorescent protein, which can be used as a FRET pair. Binding studies verified that the receptor constructs were able to bind their natural ligands in a manner comparable with the wild-type receptor, whereas cAMP accumulation proved the functionality of the constructs. In microscopic studies, a dimerization of the CRF1R was observed, but the addition of either CRF-related agonists or antagonists did not show any dose-related increase of the observed FRET signal, indicating that the dimer-monomer ratio is not changed on addition of ligand.

Spatial Organisation of AKAP18 and PDE4 Isoforms in Renal Collecting Duct Principal Cells

A plethora of stimuli including hormones and neurotransmitters mediate a rise of the cellular level of cAMP and thereby activation of protein kinase A (PKA). PKA phosphorylates and thereby modulates the activity of a wide range of cellular targets. It is now appreciated that different stimuli induce the activation of PKA at specific sites where the kinase phosphorylates particular substrates in close proximity. The tethering of PKA to cellular compartments is facilitated by A kinase-anchoring proteins (AKAPs). The incorporation of phosphodiesterases (PDEs) into AKAP-based signalling complexes provides gradients of cAMP that regulate PKA activity locally. An example for a process depending on compartmentalised cAMP/PKA signalling is the arginine-vasopressin (AVP)-mediated water reabsorption in renal collecting duct principal cells. Upon activation through AVP, PKA phosphorylates the water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP-2) located on intracellular vesicles. The phosphorylation triggers the redistribution of AQP2 to the plasma membrane. AKAP-anchored PKA has been shown to be involved in AQP2 shuttling. Here, AKAP18 isoforms and members of the PDE4 family of PDEs are shown to be differentially localised in renal principal cells.

The Corticotropin-releasing Factor Receptor Type 2a Contains an N-terminal Pseudo Signal Peptide

The corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 2a (CRF(2(a)) receptor) belongs to the family of G protein-coupled receptors. The receptor possesses a putative N-terminal signal peptide that is believed to be cleaved-off after mediating the endoplasmic reticulum targeting/insertion process, like the corresponding sequence of the homologous CRF(1) receptor. Here, we have assessed the functional significance of the putative signal peptide of the CRF(2(a)) receptor and show that it is surprisingly completely incapable of mediating endoplasmic reticulum targeting, despite meeting all sequence criteria for a functional signal by prediction algorithms. Moreover, it is uncleaved and forms part of the mature receptor protein. Replacement of residue Asn(13) by hydrophobic or positively charged residues converts the sequence into a fully functional and cleaved signal peptide demonstrating that conventional signal peptide functions are inhibited by a single amino acid residue. Deletion of the domain leads to an increase in the amount of immature, intracellularly retained receptors demonstrating that the sequence has adopted a new function in receptor trafficking through the early secretory pathway. Taken together, our results identify a novel hydrophobic receptor domain in the family of the heptahelical G protein-coupled receptors and the first pseudo signal peptide of a eukaryotic membrane protein. Our data also show that the extreme N termini of the individual CRF receptor subtypes differ substantially.

TIRC7 Inhibits T Cell Proliferation by Modulation of CTLA-4 Expression

Ab targeting of TIRC7 has been shown previously to inhibit T cell proliferation and Th1 lymphocyte-associated cytokine production. In this study, we demonstrate that Ab targeting of TIRC7 induces early cell surface expression of CTLA-4. The majority of stimulated CD4+ and CD8+ human T cells coexpress CTLA-4 and TIRC7. Similar to CTLA-4, TIRC7 rapidly accumulates at the site of Ag adhesion upon T cell activation. TIRC7 seems to colocalize with CTLA-4 in human T cells, and both molecules are associated with clathrin-coated vesicles, indicating they share intracellular transport systems. Moreover, Ab targeting of TIRC7 results in an early activation of CTLA-4 transcription. The inhibition of cell proliferation mediated by TIRC7 is dependent on CTLA-4 expression because the TIRC7-mediated inhibitory effects on cell proliferation and cytokine expression are abolished by Ab blockade of CTLA-4. Splenocytes obtained from CTLA-4-deficient mice are not responsive to TIRC7 Ab targeting. Thus, TIRC7 acts as an upstream regulatory molecule of CTLA-4 expression.

Compartmentalization of CAMP-dependent Signaling by Phosphodiesterase-4D is Involved in the Regulation of Vasopressin-mediated Water Reabsorption in Renal Principal Cells

The cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent insertion of water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2)-bearing vesicles into the plasma membrane in renal collecting duct principal cells (AQP2 shuttle) constitutes the molecular basis of arginine vasopressin (AVP)-regulated water reabsorption. cAMP/PKA signaling systems are compartmentalized by A kinase anchoring proteins (AKAP) that tether PKA to subcellular sites and by phosphodiesterases (PDE) that terminate PKA signaling through hydrolysis of localized cAMP. In primary cultured principal cells, AVP causes focal activation of PKA. PKA and cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase-4D (PDE4D) are located on AQP2-bearing vesicles. The selective PDE4 inhibitor rolipram increases AKAP-tethered PKA activity on AQP2-bearing vesicles and enhances the AQP2 shuttle and thereby the osmotic water permeability. AKAP18delta, which is located on AQP2-bearing vesicles, directly interacts with PDE4D and PKA. In response to AVP, PDE4D and AQP2 translocate to the plasma membrane. Here PDE4D is activated through PKA phosphorylation and reduces the osmotic water permeability. Taken together, a novel, compartmentalized, and physiologically relevant cAMP-dependent signal transduction module on AQP2-bearing vesicles, comprising anchored PDE4D, AKAP18delta, and PKA, has been identified.

A Role of Myosin Vb and Rab11-FIP2 in the Aquaporin-2 Shuttle

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) regulates water reabsorption in renal collecting duct principal cells. Its binding to Gs-coupled vasopressin V2 receptors increases cyclic AMP (cAMP) and subsequently elicits the redistribution of the water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2) from intracellular vesicles into the plasma membrane (AQP2 shuttle), thereby facilitating water reabsorption from primary urine. The AQP2 shuttle is a paradigm for cAMP-dependent exocytic processes. Using sections of rat kidney, the AQP2-expressing cell line CD8, and primary principal cells, we studied the role of the motor protein myosin Vb, its vesicular receptor Rab11, and the myosin Vb- and Rab11-binding protein Rab11-FIP2 in the AQP2 shuttle. Myosin Vb colocalized with AQP2 intracellularly in resting and at the plasma membrane in AVP-treated cells. Rab11 was found on AQP2-bearing vesicles. A dominant-negative myosin Vb tail construct and Rab11-FIP2 lacking the C2 domain (Rab11-FIP2-DeltaC2), which disrupt recycling, caused condensation of AQP2 in a Rab11-positive compartment and abolished the AQP2 shuttle. This effect was dependent on binding of myosin Vb tail and Rab11-FIP2-DeltaC2 to Rab11. In summary, we identified myosin Vb as a motor protein involved in AQP2 recycling and show that myosin Vb- and Rab11-FIP2-dependent recycling of AQP2 is an integral part of the AQP2 shuttle.

Increase in Fluidity in the Membrane of MT3 Breast Cancer Cells Correlates with Enhanced Cell Adhesion in Vitro and Increased Lung Metastasis in NOD/SCID Mice

To study whether membrane fluidity of tumor cells have an influence on metastasis, MT3 breast cancer cells harvested during exponential growth and under confluent conditions were compared. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) data revealed that, in comparison to growing cells, confluent cells have a significant higher fluidity in their membrane related to a higher relative portion of disordered domains and a reduced portion of the most ordered domains. Further, sialyl Lewis X and/or A ligand-mediated adhesion of these cells was 2-fold enhanced. Confocal laser scanning microscopy further demonstrated a higher motility of ligands in the membrane of confluent cells, together with an accumulation of these ligands in distinct areas. Both facts are suggested to be responsible for an enhanced cell adhesion observed. Finally, an increased number of large distinct metastatic foci was registered in lungs of mice after i.v. inoculation of confluent cells. The results indicate that domain organization and fluidity of the cell membrane affect tumor cell adhesion and can have in this way also an impact on the malignancy of breast cancer cells.

Rescue of a Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus-causing Vasopressin V2 Receptor Mutant by Cell-penetrating Peptides

Mutant membrane proteins are frequently retained in the early secretory pathway by a quality control system, thereby causing disease. An example are mutants of the vasopressin V(2) receptor (V(2)R) leading to nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Transport-defective V(2)Rs fall into two classes: those retained exclusively in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and those reaching post-ER compartments such as the ER/Golgi intermediate compartment. Although numerous chemical or pharmacological chaperones that rescue the transport of ER-retained membrane proteins are known, substances acting specifically in post-ER compartments have not been described as yet. Using the L62P (ER-retained) and Y205C (reaching post-ER compartments) mutants of the V(2)R as a model, we show here that the cell-penetrating peptide penetratin and its synthetic analog KLAL rescue the transport of the Y205C mutant. In contrast, the location of the L62P mutant is not influenced by either peptide because the peptides are unable to enter the ER. We also show data indicating that the peptide-mediated transport rescue is associated with an increase in cytosolic Ca(2+) concentrations. Thus, we describe a new class of substances influencing protein transport specifically in post-ER compartments.

Microtubules Are Needed for the Perinuclear Positioning of Aquaporin-2 After Its Endocytic Retrieval in Renal Principal Cells

Water reabsorption in the renal collecting duct is regulated by arginine vasopressin (AVP). AVP induces the insertion of the water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2) into the plasma membrane of principal cells, thereby increasing the osmotic water permeability. The redistribution of AQP2 to the plasma membrane is a cAMP-dependent process and thus a paradigm for cAMP-controlled exocytic processes. Using primary cultured rat inner medullary collecting duct cells, we show that the redistribution of AQP2 to the plasma membrane is accompanied by the reorganization of microtubules and the redistribution of the small GTPase Rab11. In resting cells, AQP2 is colocalized with Rab11 perinuclearly. AVP induced the redistribution of AQP2 to the plasma membrane and of Rab11 to the cell periphery. The redistribution of both proteins was increased when microtubules were depolymerized by nocodazole. In addition, the depolymerization of microtubules prevented the perinuclear positioning of AQP2 and Rab11 in resting cells, which was restored if nocodazole was washed out and microtubules repolymerized. After internalization of AQP2, induced by removal of AVP, forskolin triggered the AQP2 redistribution to the plasma membrane even if microtubules were depolymerized and without the previous positioning of AQP2 in the perinuclear recycling compartment. Collectively, the data indicate that microtubule-dependent transport of AQP2 is predominantly responsible for trafficking and localization of AQP2 inside the cell after its internalization but not for the exocytic transport of the water channel. We also demonstrate that cAMP-signaling regulates the localization of Rab11-positive recycling endosomes in renal principal cells.

AKAP Complex Regulates Ca2+ Re-uptake into Heart Sarcoplasmic Reticulum

The beta-adrenergic receptor/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signalling pathway regulates heart rate and contractility. Here, we identified a supramolecular complex consisting of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA2), its negative regulator phospholamban (PLN), the A-kinase anchoring protein AKAP18delta and PKA. We show that AKAP18delta acts as a scaffold that coordinates PKA phosphorylation of PLN and the adrenergic effect on Ca(2+) re-uptake. Inhibition of the compartmentalization of this cAMP signalling complex by specific molecular disruptors interferes with the phosphorylation of PLN. This prevents the subsequent release of PLN from SERCA2, thereby affecting the Ca(2+) re-uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum induced by adrenergic stimuli.

Formation of Tight Junction: Determinants of Homophilic Interaction Between Classic Claudins

Claudins are the critical transmembrane proteins in tight junctions. Claudin-5, for instance, prevents paracellular permeation of small molecules. However, the molecular interaction mechanism is unknown. Hence, the claudin-claudin interaction and tight junction strand formation were investigated using systematic single mutations. Claudin-5 mutants transfected into tight junction-free cells demonstrated that the extracellular loop 2 is involved in strand formation via trans-interaction, but not via polymerization, along the plasma membrane of one cell. Three phenotypes were obtained: the tight junction type (wild-type-like trans- and cis-interaction; the disjunction type (blocked trans-interaction); the intracellular type (disturbed folding). Combining site-directed mutagenesis, live-cell imaging-, electron microscopy-, and molecular modeling data led to an antiparallel homodimer homology model of the loop. These data for the first time explain how two claudins hold onto each other and constrict the paracellular space. The intermolecular interface includes aromatic (F147, Y148, Y158) and hydrophilic (Q156, E159) residues. The aromatic residues form a strong binding core between two loops from opposing cells. Since nearly all these residues are conserved in most claudins, our findings are of general relevance for all classical claudins. On the basis of the data we have established a novel molecular concept for tight junction formation.

{7-[Bis(carboxymethyl)amino]coumarin-4-yl}methoxycarbonyl Derivatives for Photorelease of Carboxylic Acids, Alcohols/phenols, Thioalcohols/thiophenols, and Amines

Light-induced release of biomolecules from inactive precursor molecules represents a powerful method to study cellular processes with high temporal and spatial resolution. Here we report the synthesis and photochemistry of a series of {7-[bis(carboxymethyl)amino]coumarin-4-yl}methyl carboxylates, carbonates, carbamates, and thiocarbonates as potential phototriggers for compounds with COOH, OH, NH(2), and SH functions. The compounds are soluble in aqueous buffer, show low fluorescence, and are efficiently photolysed by irradiation with UV/Vis or IR light to release carboxylates, alcohols, phenols, amines, thioalcohols, or thiophenols.

Derlin-1 and P97/valosin-containing Protein Mediate the Endoplasmic Reticulum-associated Degradation of Human V2 Vasopressin Receptors

The endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD), the main quality control pathway of the cell, is crucial for the elimination of unfolded or misfolded proteins. Several diseases are associated with the retention of misfolded proteins in the early secretory pathway. Among them is X-linked nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, caused by mutations in the gene encoding the V2 vasopressin receptor (V2R). We studied the degradation pathways of three intracellularly retained V2R mutants with different misfolded domains in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. At steady state, the wild-type V2R and the complex-glycosylated mutant G201D were partially located in lysosomes, whereas core-glycosylated mutants L62P and V226E were excluded from this compartment. In pulse-chase experiments, proteasomal inhibition stabilized the nonglycosylated and core-glycosylated forms of all studied receptors. In addition, all mutants and the wild-type receptor were found to be polyubiquitinylated. Nonglycosylated and core-glycosylated receptor forms were located in cytosolic and membrane fractions, respectively, confirming the deglycosylation and retrotranslocation of ERAD substrates to the cytosol. Distinct Derlin-1-dependent and -independent ERAD pathways have been proposed for proteins with different misfolded domains (cytosolic, extracellular, and membrane) in yeast. Here, we show for the first time that V2R mutants with different misfolded domains are able to coprecipitate the ERAD components p97/valosin-containing protein, Derlin-1 and the 26S proteasome regulatory subunit 7. Our results demonstrate the presence of a Derlin-1-mediated ERAD pathway degrading wild-type and disease-causing V2R mutants with different misfolded domains in a mammalian system.

Nuclear Localization of the Zebrafish Tight Junction Protein Nagie Oko

The tight junctions-associated MAGUK protein nagie oko is closely related to Drosophila Stardust, mouse protein associated with lin-seven 1 (Pals1), and human MAGUK p55 subfamily member 5 (Mpp5). As a component of the evolutionarily conserved Crumbs protein complex, nagie oko is essential for the maintenance of epithelial cell polarity. Here, we show that nagie oko contains a predicted nuclear export and two conserved nuclear localization signals. We find that loss of the predicted nuclear export signal results in nuclear protein accumulation. We show that nagie oko nuclear import is redundantly controlled by the two nuclear localization signals and the evolutionarily conserved region 1 (ECR1), which links nagie oko with Par6-aPKC. Finally, deletion forms of nagie oko that lack nuclear import and export signals complement several nagie oko mutant defects in cell polarity and epithelial integrity. This finding provides an entry point to potentially novel and unknown roles of this important cell polarity regulator.

Interaction of Angiotensin-converting Enzyme (ACE) with Membrane-bound Carboxypeptidase M (CPM) - a New Function of ACE

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) demonstrates, besides its typical dipeptidyl-carboxypeptidase activity, several unusual functions. Here, we demonstrate with molecular, biochemical, and cellular techniques that the somatic wild-type murine ACE (mACE), stably transfected in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) or Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells, interacts with endogenous membranal co-localized carboxypeptidase M (CPM). CPM belongs to the group of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins. Here we report that ACE, completely independent of its known dipeptidase activities, has GPI-targeted properties. Our results indicate that the spatial proximity between mACE and the endogenous CPM enables an ACE-evoked release of CPM. These results are discussed with respect to the recently proposed GPI-ase activity and function of sperm-bound ACE.

Use of Kaede Fusions to Visualize Recycling of G Protein-coupled Receptors

The heptahelical G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are internalized following agonist treatment and either recycle rapidly to the plasma membrane or enter the lysosomal degradation pathway. Many conventional GPCR recycling assays suffer from the fact that receptors arriving from the secretory pathway may interfere with recycling receptors. In this study, we introduce a new methodology to study post-endocytotic GPCR trafficking using fusions with the recently cloned Kaede protein. In contrast to the widely used green fluorescent protein, the fluorescence of Kaede can be converted from green to red using ultraviolet irradiation. Our methodology allows to study recycling of GPCRs microscopically in real-time bypassing problems with secretory pathway receptors. Initially, receptors are internalized using an agonist. Fluorescence signals in endosomes are switched, and trafficking of the receptors to the plasma membrane can be easily visualized by monitoring their new fluorescence. Using this methodology, we show that the corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 1 belongs to the family of recycling GPCRs. Moreover, we demonstrate by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy that Kaede does not oligomerize when fused to membrane proteins, representing an additional advantage of this technique. The Kaede technology may be a powerful tool to study membrane protein trafficking in general.

Apical Membrane Maturation and Cellular Rosette Formation During Morphogenesis of the Zebrafish Lateral Line

Tissue morphogenesis and cell sorting are major forces during organ development. Here, we characterize the process of tissue morphogenesis within the zebrafish lateral line primordium, a migratory sheet of cells that gives rise to the neuromasts of the posterior lateral line organ. We find that cells within this epithelial tissue constrict actin-rich membranes and enrich apical junction proteins at apical focal points. The coordinated apical membrane constriction in single Delta D-positive hair cell progenitors and in their neighbouring prospective support cells generates cellular rosettes. Live imaging reveals that cellular rosettes subsequently separate from each other and give rise to individual neuromasts. Genetic analysis uncovers an involvement of Lethal giant larvae proteins in the maturation of apical junction belts during cellular rosette formation. Our findings suggest that apical constriction of cell membranes spatially confines regions of strong cell-cell adhesion and restricts the number of tightly interconnected cells into cellular rosettes, which ensures the correct deposition of neuromasts during morphogenesis of the posterior lateral line organ.

Caged Progesterone: a New Tool for Studying Rapid Nongenomic Actions of Progesterone

Ketalization of the biomolecule progesterone with (6-bromo-7-hydroxycoumarin-4-yl)ethane-1,2-diol gives the photolabile progesterone derivatives 3 and 4. These compounds display dramatically reduced bioactivity and release progesterone upon irradiation with UV/vis or IR light. In particular, 4 can be used to perform concentration-jump experiments with high temporal and spatial resolution that allows one to study elegantly the mechanisms of rapid nongenomic cellular events evoked by progesterone. The usefulness of 4 was demonstrated by measurement of changes in swimming behavior of single human sperm caused by progesterone-induced Ca(2+) influx in the sperm flagellum.

Cellular Uptake and Biological Activity of Peptide Nucleic Acids Conjugated with Peptides with and Without Cell-penetrating Ability

A 12-mer peptide nucleic acid (PNA) directed against the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor mRNA was disulfide bridged with various peptides without and with cell-penetrating features. The cellular uptake and the antisense activity of these conjugates were assessed in parallel. Quantitation of the internalized PNA was performed by using an approach based on capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF). This approach enabled a selective assessment of the PNA moiety liberated from the conjugate in the reducing intracellular environment, thus avoiding bias of the results by surface adsorption. The biological activity of the conjugates was studied by an assay based on the downregulation of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (CM). Comparable cellular uptake was found for all conjugates and for the naked PNA, irrespective of the cell-penetrating properties of the peptide components. All conjugates exhibited a comparable biological activity in the 100 nM range. The naked PNA also exhibited extensive antisense activity, which, however, proved about five times lower than that of the conjugates. The found results suggest cellular uptake and the bioactivity of PNA-peptide conjugates to be not primarily related to the cell-penetrating ability of their peptide components. Likewise from these results it can be inferred that the superior bioactivity of the PNA-peptide conjugates in comparison with that of naked PNA rely on as yet unknown factors rather than on higher membrane permeability. Several hints point to the resistance against cellular export and the aggregation propensity combined with the endocytosis rate to be candidates for such factors.

Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3beta Interaction Protein Functions As an A-kinase Anchoring Protein

A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) include a family of scaffolding proteins that target protein kinase A (PKA) and other signaling proteins to cellular compartments and thereby confine the activities of the associated proteins to distinct regions within cells. AKAPs bind PKA directly. The interaction is mediated by the dimerization and docking domain of regulatory subunits of PKA and the PKA-binding domain of AKAPs. Analysis of the interactions between the dimerization and docking domain and various PKA-binding domains yielded a generalized motif allowing the identification of AKAPs. Our bioinformatics and peptide array screening approaches based on this signature motif identified GSKIP (glycogen synthase kinase 3beta interaction protein) as an AKAP. GSKIP directly interacts with PKA and GSK3beta (glycogen synthase kinase 3beta). It is widely expressed and facilitates phosphorylation and thus inactivation of GSK3beta by PKA. GSKIP contains the evolutionarily conserved domain of unknown function 727. We show here that this domain of GSKIP and its vertebrate orthologues binds both PKA and GSK3beta and thereby provides a mechanism for the integration of PKA and GSK3beta signaling pathways.

Impact of Membrane Properties on Uptake and Transcytosis of Colloidal Nanocarriers Across an Epithelial Cell Barrier Model

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of liposomal membrane properties on cellular uptake and transcytosis across a tight Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell barrier in vitro. More than 25 small vesicles were prepared by lipid film hydration/extrusion to generate small unilamellar vesicles. The fluorescence marker calcein was encapsulated to mimic hydrophilic drug transport. Marker uptake by MDCK cells seems to be mediated by different mechanisms for the liposomes used. It was mainly depending on membrane fluidity and vesicle charge. Liposomes L2 with a positive charge (325 +/- 3 pmol/well) and vesicles L3 containing the helper lipid dioleylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) in their membrane (216 +/- 42 pmol/well) were taken up to the most. Selected liposomes were tested for their transcytotic transport across a MDCK monolayer. Liposomes L4 containing equimolar DOPE and octadecyl-1,1-dimethylpiperidin-1-ium-4-yl phosphate (OPP) were the most efficient vesicles for transcellular transport resulting in 808 +/- 30 pmol calcein/cm(2) in the basal medium (28.1% of total liposomal marker added). Transcytosis was positively correlated with membrane fluidity in the outer part of the bilayer, as electron paramagnetic resonance measurements revealed. We expect that an increase in membrane fluidity of vesicles should also improve the restricted transport of hydrophilic drugs across the blood-brain barrier.

The Pseudo Signal Peptide of the Corticotropin-releasing Factor Receptor Type 2a Decreases Receptor Expression and Prevents Gi-mediated Inhibition of Adenylyl Cyclase Activity

The corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 2a (CRF(2(a))R) belongs to the family of G protein-coupled receptors. The receptor possesses an N-terminal pseudo signal peptide that is unable to mediate targeting of the nascent chain to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane during early receptor biogenesis. The pseudo signal peptide remains uncleaved and consequently forms an additional hydrophobic receptor domain with unknown function that is unique within the large G protein-coupled receptor protein family. Here, we have analyzed the functional significance of this domain in comparison with the conventional signal peptide of the homologous corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 1 (CRF(1)R). We show that the presence of the pseudo signal peptide leads to a very low cell surface receptor expression of the CRF(2(a))R in comparison with the CRF(1)R. Moreover, whereas the presence of the pseudo signal peptide did not affect coupling to the G(s) protein, G(i)-mediated inhibition of adenylyl cyclase activity was abolished. The properties mediated by the pseudo signal peptide were entirely transferable to the CRF(1)R in signal peptide exchange experiments. Taken together, our results show that signal peptides do not only influence early protein biogenesis. In the case of the corticotropin-releasing factor receptor subtypes, the use of conventional and pseudo signal peptides have an unexpected influence on signal transduction.

Reciprocal Regulation of Aquaporin-2 Abundance and Degradation by Protein Kinase A and P38-MAP Kinase

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) modulates the water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2) in the renal collecting duct to maintain homeostasis of body water. AVP binds to vasopressin V2 receptors (V2R), increasing cAMP, which promotes the redistribution of AQP2 from intracellular vesicles into the plasma membrane. cAMP also increases AQP2 transcription, but whether altered degradation also modulates AQP2 protein levels is not well understood. Here, elevation of cAMP increased AQP2 protein levels within 30 minutes in primary inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells, in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells ectopically expressing AQP2, and in mouse kidneys. Accelerated transcription or translation did not explain this increase in AQP2 abundance. In IMCD cells, cAMP inhibited p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38-MAPK) via activation of protein kinase A (PKA). Inhibition of p38-MAPK associated with decreased phosphorylation (serine 261) and polyubiquitination of AQP2, preventing proteasomal degradation. Our results demonstrate that AVP enhances AQP2 protein abundance by altering its proteasomal degradation through a PKA- and p38-MAPK-dependent pathway.

Structural Basis of Oligomerization in Septin-like GTPase of Immunity-associated Protein 2 (GIMAP2)

GTPases of immunity-associated proteins (GIMAPs) are a distinctive family of GTPases, which control apoptosis in lymphocytes and play a central role in lymphocyte maturation and lymphocyte-associated diseases. To explore their function and mechanism, we determined crystal structures of a representative member, GIMAP2, in different nucleotide-loading and oligomerization states. Nucleotide-free and GDP-bound GIMAP2 were monomeric and revealed a guanine nucleotide-binding domain of the TRAFAC (translation factor associated) class with a unique amphipathic helix α7 packing against switch II. In the absence of α7 and the presence of GTP, GIMAP2 oligomerized via two distinct interfaces in the crystal. GTP-induced stabilization of switch I mediates dimerization across the nucleotide-binding site, which also involves the GIMAP specificity motif and the nucleotide base. Structural rearrangements in switch II appear to induce the release of α7 allowing oligomerization to proceed via a second interface. The unique architecture of the linear oligomer was confirmed by mutagenesis. Furthermore, we showed a function for the GIMAP2 oligomer at the surface of lipid droplets. Although earlier studies indicated that GIMAPs are related to the septins, the current structure also revealed a strikingly similar nucleotide coordination and dimerization mode as in the dynamin GTPase. Based on this, we reexamined the relationships of the septin- and dynamin-like GTPases and demonstrate that these are likely to have emerged from a common membrane-associated dimerizing ancestor. This ancestral property appears to be critical for the role of GIMAPs as nucleotide-regulated scaffolds on intracellular membranes.

Routes of Epithelial Water Flow: Aquaporins Versus Cotransporters

The routes water takes through membrane barriers is still a matter of debate. Although aquaporins only allow transmembrane water movement along an osmotic gradient, cotransporters are believed to be capable of water transport against the osmotic gradient. Here we show that the renal potassium-chloride-cotransporter (KCC1) does not pump a fixed amount of water molecules per movement of one K(+) and one Cl(-), as was reported for the analogous transporter in the choroid plexus. We monitored water and potassium fluxes through monolayers of primary cultured renal epithelial cells by detecting tiny solute concentration changes in the immediate vicinity of the monolayer. KCC1 extruded K(+) ions in the presence of a transepithelial K(+) gradient, but did not transport water. KCC1 inhibition reduced epithelial osmotic water permeability P(f) by roughly one-third, i.e., the effect of inhibitors was small in resting cells and substantial in hormonal stimulated cells that contained high concentrations of aquaporin-2 in their apical membranes. The furosemide or DIOA (dihydroindenyl-oxy-alkanoic acid)-sensitive water flux was much larger than expected when water passively followed the KCC1-mediated ion flow. The inhibitory effect of these drugs on water flux was reversed by the K(+)-H(+) exchanger nigericin, indicating that KCC1 affects water transport solely by K(+) extrusion. Intracellular K(+) retention conceivably leads to cell swelling, followed by an increased rate of endocytic AQP2 retrieval from the apical membrane.

Photocontrol of Contracting Muscle Fibers

Inhibition of Biosynthesis of Human Endothelin B Receptor by the Cyclodepsipeptide Cotransin

The specific inhibition of the biosynthesis of target proteins is a relatively novel strategy in pharmacology and is based mainly on antisense approaches (e.g. antisense oligonucleotides or RNA interference). Recently, a novel class of substances was described acting at a later step of protein biosynthesis. The cyclic heptadepsipeptides CAM741 and cotransin were shown to inhibit selectively the biosynthesis of a small subset of secretory proteins by preventing stable insertion of the nascent chains into the Sec61 translocon complex at the endoplasmic reticulum membrane (Besemer, J., Harant, H., Wang, S., Oberhauser, B., Marquardt, K., Foster, C. A., Schreiner, E. P., de Vries, J. E., Dascher-Nadel, C., and Lindley, I. J. (2005) Nature 436, 290-293; Garrison, J. L., Kunkel, E. J., Hegde, R. S., and Taunton, J. (2005) Nature 436, 285-289). These peptides act in a signal sequence-discriminatory manner, which explains their selectivity. Here, we have analyzed the cotransin sensitivity of various G protein-coupled receptors in transfected HEK 293 cells. We show that the biosynthesis of the human endothelin B receptor (ET(B)R) is highly sensitive to cotransin, in contrast to that of the other G protein-coupled receptors analyzed. Using a novel biosynthesis assay based on fusions with the photoconvertible Kaede protein, we show that the IC(50) value of cotransin action on ET(B)R biosynthesis is 5.4 μm and that ET(B)R signaling could be completely blocked by treating cells with 30 μm cotransin. Taken together, our data add an integral membrane protein, namely the ET(B)R, to the small group of cotransin-sensitive proteins.

Growth Factor- and Adhesion Protein-like Components of Fetal Calf Serum Can Significantly Enhance the Intracellular Delivery of Peptide Nucleic Acids

Evidence is presented that components of fetal calf serum (FCS) can significantly enhance the splicing correction activity of peptide nucleic acids (PNA) in HeLa pLuc 705 cells. The effect proved more pronounced for PNAs bearing fluorescence tags and relies on the ability of specific components of FCS to mediate a mainly nonendocytotic intracellular delivery of PNA. Attempts to isolate and characterize the active serum components using PNA-loaded beads and nano-LC-ESI mass spectrometry revealed the growth-factor related inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor and the adhesion protein fibronectin to be substantially responsible for the delivery activity of FCS.

Quantitative Modelling of Amyloidogenic Processing and Its Influence by SORLA in Alzheimer's Disease

The extent of proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) into neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides is central to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Accordingly, modifiers that increase Aβ production rates are risk factors in the sporadic form of AD. In a novel systems biology approach, we combined quantitative biochemical studies with mathematical modelling to establish a kinetic model of amyloidogenic processing, and to evaluate the influence by SORLA/SORL1, an inhibitor of APP processing and important genetic risk factor. Contrary to previous hypotheses, our studies demonstrate that secretases represent allosteric enzymes that require cooperativity by APP oligomerization for efficient processing. Cooperativity enables swift adaptive changes in secretase activity with even small alterations in APP concentration. We also show that SORLA prevents APP oligomerization both in cultured cells and in the brain in vivo, eliminating the preferred form of the substrate and causing secretases to switch to a less efficient non-allosteric mode of action. These data represent the first mathematical description of the contribution of genetic risk factors to AD substantiating the relevance of subtle changes in SORLA levels for amyloidogenic processing as proposed for patients carrying SORL1 risk alleles.

New Pathogenic Thyrotropin Receptor Mutations Decipher Differentiated Activity Switching at a Conserved Helix 6 Motif of Family A GPCR

In this paper we report two new TSH receptor (TSHR) mutations. One mutation (Pro639(6.50)Leu) was identified in two siblings with congenital hypothyroidism, and a second mutation (Cys636(6.47)Arg) was found in a patient suffering from nonautoimmune hyperthyroidism. Both mutations are located in transmembrane helix (TMH) 6 at the conserved Cys(6.47)-Trp(Met)(6.48)-Leu(Ala)(6.49)-Pro(6.50) motif of family A G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR).

Use of Kikume Green-red Fusions to Study the Influence of Pharmacological Chaperones on Trafficking of G Protein-coupled Receptors

In this study we demonstrate that the photoconvertible monomeric Kikume green-red (mKikGR) protein is suitable to study trafficking of G protein-coupled receptors. Taking mKikGR-tagged mutants of the vasopressin V(2) receptor (V(2)R) as models, we analyzed whether the V(2)R-specific pharmacological chaperone SR121463B influences receptor folding on a co- or post-translational level. Misfolded mKikGR-tagged V(2)Rs were completely photoconverted in the early secretory pathway yielding a red receptor population (already synthesized receptors) and an arising green receptor population (newly synthesized receptors). Trafficking of both receptor populations could be rescued by treatment with SR121463B demonstrating that the substance can act co- and post-translationally.

Xirp Proteins Mark Injured Skeletal Muscle in Zebrafish

Myocellular regeneration in vertebrates involves the proliferation of activated progenitor or dedifferentiated myogenic cells that have the potential to replenish lost tissue. In comparison little is known about cellular repair mechanisms within myocellular tissue in response to small injuries caused by biomechanical or cellular stress. Using a microarray analysis for genes upregulated upon myocellular injury, we identified zebrafish Xin-actin-binding repeat-containing protein1 (Xirp1) as a marker for wounded skeletal muscle cells. By combining laser-induced micro-injury with proliferation analyses, we found that Xirp1 and Xirp2a localize to nascent myofibrils within wounded skeletal muscle cells and that the repair of injuries does not involve cell proliferation or Pax7(+) cells. Through the use of Xirp1 and Xirp2a as markers, myocellular injury can now be detected, even though functional studies indicate that these proteins are not essential in this process. Previous work in chicken has implicated Xirps in cardiac looping morphogenesis. However, we found that zebrafish cardiac morphogenesis is normal in the absence of Xirp expression, and animals deficient for cardiac Xirp expression are adult viable. Although the functional involvement of Xirps in developmental and repair processes currently remains enigmatic, our findings demonstrate that skeletal muscle harbours a rapid, cell-proliferation-independent response to injury which has now become accessible to detailed molecular and cellular characterizations.

Live Cell Imaging of G Protein-coupled Receptors

Live cell imaging experiments with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) tagged with fluorescent fusion proteins were originally performed to study trafficking and subcellular location of these important drug targets. In the past decade, however, substantial progress came from improved imaging methods and from the cloning of novel fluorescent fusion proteins. Today, these methods allow to visualize not only GPCR interactions but also, e.g., receptor activation, trafficking between subcellular compartments, and to measure transport kinetics. Here, we summarize recent progress in live cell imaging of GPCRs using a confocal laser scanning microscope.

Coumarin-based Octopamine Phototriggers and Their Effects on an Insect Octopamine Receptor

We have developed and characterized efficient caged compounds of the neurotransmitter octopamine. For derivatization, we introduced [6-bromo-8-(diethylaminomethyl)-7-hydroxycoumarin-4-yl]methoxycarbonyl (DBHCMOC) and {6-bromo-7-hydroxy-8-[(piperazin-1-yl)methyl]coumarin-4-yl}methoxycarbonyl (PBHCMOC) moieties as novel photo-removable protecting groups. The caged compounds were functionally inactive when applied to heterologously expressed octopamine receptors (AmOctα1R). Upon irradiation with UV-visible or IR light, bioactive octopamine was released and evoked Ca2+ signals in AmOctα1R-expressing cells. The pronounced water solubility of compounds 2-4 in particular holds great promise for these substances as excellent phototriggers of this important neurotransmitter.

The Pseudo Signal Peptide of the Corticotropin-releasing Factor Receptor Type 2A Prevents Receptor Oligomerization

N-terminal signal peptides mediate the interaction of native proteins with the translocon complex of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and are cleaved off during early protein biogenesis. The corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 2a (CRF(2(a))R) possesses an N-terminal pseudo signal peptide, which represents a so far unique domain within the large protein family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In contrast to a conventional signal peptide, the pseudo signal peptide remains uncleaved and consequently forms a hydrophobic extension at the N terminus of the receptor. The functional consequence of the presence of the pseudo signal peptide is not understood. Here, we have analyzed the significance of this domain for receptor dimerization/oligomerization in detail. To this end, we took the CRF(2(a))R and the homologous corticotropin-releasing factor receptor type 1 (CRF(1)R) possessing a conventional cleaved signal peptide and conducted signal peptide exchange experiments. Using single cell and single molecule imaging methods (fluorescence resonance energy transfer and fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy, respectively) as well as biochemical experiments, we obtained two novel findings; we could show that (i) the CRF(2(a))R is expressed exclusively as a monomer, and (ii) the presence of the pseudo signal peptide prevents its oligomerization. Thus, we have identified a novel functional domain within the GPCR protein family, which plays a role in receptor oligomerization and which may be useful to study the functional significance of this process in general.

Multivalent Design of Apoptosis-inducing Bid-BH3 Peptide-oligosaccharides Boosts the Intracellular Activity at Identical Overall Peptide Concentrations

Multivalent peptide-oligosaccharide conjugates were prepared and used to investigate the multivalency effect concerning the activity of Bid-BH3 peptides in live cells. Dextran oligosaccharides were carboxyethylated selectively in the 2-position of the carbohydrate units and activated for the ligation of N-terminally cysteinylated peptides. Ligation through maleimide coupling was found to be superior to the native chemical ligation protocol. Monomeric Bid-BH3 peptides were virtually inactive, whereas pentameric peptide conjugates induced apoptosis up to 20-fold stronger at identical peptide concentrations. Comparison of lowly multivalent and highly multivalent peptide dextrans proved a multivalency effect in life cells which was specific for the BH3 peptide sequence.

Structural Insights into the Mechanism of GTPase Activation in the GIMAP Family

GTPases of immunity-associated proteins (GIMAPs) are regulators of lymphocyte survival and homeostasis. We previously determined the structural basis of GTP-dependent GIMAP2 scaffold formation on lipid droplets. To understand how its GTP hydrolysis is activated, we screened for other GIMAPs on lipid droplets and identified GIMAP7. In contrast to GIMAP2, GIMAP7 displayed dimerization-stimulated GTP hydrolysis. The crystal structure of GTP-bound GIMAP7 showed a homodimer that assembled via the G domains, with the helical extensions protruding in opposite directions. We identified a catalytic arginine that is supplied to the opposing monomer to stimulate GTP hydrolysis. GIMAP7 also stimulated GTP hydrolysis by GIMAP2 via an analogous mechanism. Finally, we found GIMAP2 and GIMAP7 expression differentially regulated in several human T cell lymphoma lines. Our findings suggest that GTPase activity in the GIMAP family is controlled by homo- and heterodimerization. This may have implications for the differential roles of some GIMAPs in lymphocyte survival.

Small-molecule Screening Identifies Modulators of Aquaporin-2 Trafficking

In the principal cells of the renal collecting duct, arginine vasopressin (AVP) stimulates the synthesis of cAMP, leading to signaling events that culminate in the phosphorylation of aquaporin-2 water channels and their redistribution from intracellular domains to the plasma membrane via vesicular trafficking. The molecular mechanisms that control aquaporin-2 trafficking and the consequent water reabsorption, however, are not completely understood. Here, we used a cell-based assay and automated immunofluorescence microscopy to screen 17,700 small molecules for inhibitors of the cAMP-dependent redistribution of aquaporin-2. This approach identified 17 inhibitors, including 4-acetyldiphyllin, a selective blocker of vacuolar H(+)-ATPase that increases the pH of intracellular vesicles and causes accumulation of aquaporin-2 in the Golgi compartment. Although 4-acetyldiphyllin did not inhibit forskolin-induced increases in cAMP formation and downstream activation of protein kinase A (PKA), it did prevent cAMP/PKA-dependent phosphorylation at serine 256 of aquaporin-2, which triggers the redistribution to the plasma membrane. It did not, however, prevent cAMP-induced changes to the phosphorylation status at serines 261 or 269. Last, we identified the fungicide fluconazole as an inhibitor of cAMP-mediated redistribution of aquaporin-2, but its target in this pathway remains unknown. In conclusion, our screening approach provides a method to begin dissecting molecular mechanisms underlying AVP-mediated water reabsorption, evidenced by our identification of 4-acetyldiphyllin as a modulator of aquaporin-2 trafficking.

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