Despite the well-established role of heterochromatin in protecting chromosomal integrity during meiosis and mitosis, the contribution and extent of heterochromatic histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs) remain poorly defined. Here, we gained novel functional insight about heterochromatic PTMs by analyzing histone H3 purified from the heterochromatic germline micronucleus of the model organism Tetrahymena thermophila. Mass spectrometric sequencing of micronuclear H3 identified H3K23 trimethylation (H3K23me3), a previously uncharacterized PTM. H3K23me3 became particularly enriched during meiotic leptotene and zygotene in germline chromatin of Tetrahymena and C. elegans. Loss of H3K23me3 in Tetrahymena through deletion of the methyltransferase Ezl3p caused mislocalization of meiosis-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) to heterochromatin, and a decrease in progeny viability. These results show that an evolutionarily conserved developmental pathway regulates H3K23me3 during meiosis, and our studies in Tetrahymena suggest this pathway may function to protect heterochromatin from DSBs.
Nutrient-sensitive pathways regulate both O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), cooperatively connecting metabolic homeostasis to regulation of numerous intracellular processes essential for life. Similar to phosphorylation, catalyzed by kinases such as AMPK, O-GlcNAcylation is a highly dynamic Ser/Thr-specific post-translational modification of nuclear, cytoplasmic, and mitochondrial proteins catalyzed exclusively by OGT. OGT and AMPK target a multitude of intracellular proteins, with the net effect to protect cells from the damaging effects of metabolic stress. Despite hundreds of studies demonstrating significant overlap in upstream and downstream signaling processes, no study has investigated if OGT and AMPK can directly regulate each other. We show acute activation of AMPK alters the substrate selectivity of OGT in several cell lines and nuclear localization of OGT in C2C12 skeletal muscle myotubes. Nuclear localization of OGT affects O-GlcNAcylation of numerous nuclear proteins and acetylation of Lys-9 on histone 3 in myotubes. AMPK phosphorylates Thr-444 on OGT in vitro; phosphorylation of Thr-444 is tightly associated with AMPK activity and nuclear localization of OGT in myotubes, and phospho-mimetic T444E-OGT exhibits altered substrate selectivity. Conversely, the ?- and ?-subunits of AMPK are O-GlcNAcylated, O-GlcNAcylation of the ?1-subunit increases with AMPK activity, and acute inhibition of O-GlcNAc cycling disrupts activation of AMPK. We have demonstrated significant cross-talk between the O-GlcNAc and AMPK systems, suggesting OGT and AMPK may cooperatively regulate nutrient-sensitive intracellular processes that mediate cellular metabolism, growth, proliferation, and/or tissue function.
Stored, soluble histones in eggs are essential for early development, in particular during the maternally controlled early cell cycles in the absence of transcription. Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) direct and regulate chromatin-templated transactions, so understanding the nature and function of pre-deposition maternal histones is essential to deciphering mechanisms of regulation of development, chromatin assembly, and transcription. Little is known about histone H2A pre-deposition modifications nor known about the transitions that occur upon the onset of zygotic control of the cell cycle and transcription at the mid-blastula transition (MBT).
Cbx7 is one of five mammalian orthologs of the Drosophila Polycomb. Cbx7 recognizes methylated lysine residues on the histone H3 tail and contributes to gene silencing in the context of the Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1). However, our knowledge of Cbx7 post-translational modifications remains limited. Through combined biochemical and mass spectrometry approaches, we report a novel phosphorylation site on mouse Cbx7 at residue Thr-118 (Cbx7T118ph), near the highly conserved Polycomb box. The generation of a site-specific antibody to Cbx7T118ph demonstrates that Cbx7 is phosphorylated via MAPK signaling. Furthermore, we find Cbx7T118 phosphorylation in murine mammary carcinoma cells, which can be blocked by MEK inhibitors. Upon EGF stimulation, Cbx7 interacts robustly with other members of PRC1. To test the role of Cbx7T118 phosphorylation in gene silencing, we employed a RAS-induced senescence model system. We demonstrate that Cbx7T118 phosphorylation moderately enhances repression of its target gene p16. In summary, we have identified and characterized a novel MAPK-mediated phosphorylation site on Cbx7 and propose that mitogen signaling to the chromatin template regulates PRC1 function.
Insights gained from characterizing MHC-peptide-TCR interactions have held the promise that directed structural modifications can have predictable functional consequences. The ability to manipulate T cell reactivity synthetically or through genetic engineering might thus be translated into new therapies for common diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. In the current study, we determined the crystal structure of HLA-DR4 in complex with the nonmutated dominant gp100 epitope gp10044-59, associated with many melanomas. Altered peptide ligands (APLs) were designed to enhance MHC binding and hence T cell recognition of gp100 in HLA-DR4(+) melanoma patients. Increased MHC binding of several APLs was observed, validating this approach biochemically. Nevertheless, heterogeneous preferences of CD4(+) T cells from several HLA-DR4(+) melanoma patients for different gp100 APLs suggested highly variable TCR usage, even among six patients who had been vaccinated against the wild-type gp100 peptide. This heterogeneity prevented the selection of an APL candidate for developing an improved generic gp100 vaccine in melanoma. Our results are consistent with the idea that even conservative changes in MHC anchor residues may result in subtle, yet crucial, effects on peptide contacts with the TCR or on peptide dynamics, such that alterations intended to enhance immunogenicity may be unpredictable or counterproductive. They also underscore a critical knowledge gap that needs to be filled before structural and in vitro observations can be used reliably to devise new immunotherapies for cancer and other disorders.
Deregulation of signaling pathways is a hallmark of malignant transformation. Signaling-associated phosphoproteins can be degraded to generate cancer-specific phosphopeptides that are presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules and recognized by T cells; however, the contribution of these phosphoprotein-specific T cells to immune surveillance is unclear. We identified 95 phosphopeptides presented on the surface of primary hematological tumors and normal tissues, including 61 that were tumor-specific. Phosphopeptides were more prevalent on more aggressive and malignant samples. CD8(+) T cell lines specific for these phosphopeptides recognized and killed both leukemia cell lines and human leukocyte antigen-matched primary leukemia cells ex vivo. Notably, healthy individuals showed robust CD8(+) T cell responses against many of these phosphopeptides within the circulating memory compartment. This immunity was significantly reduced or absent in some leukemia patients. This reduction correlated with clinical outcome; however, immunity was restored after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. These results suggest that phosphopeptides may be targets of cancer immune surveillance in humans, and point to their importance for development of vaccine-based and T cell adoptive transfer immunotherapies.
Emerin, a membrane component of nuclear "lamina" networks with lamins and barrier to autointegration factor (BAF), is highly O-GlcNAc-modified ("O-GlcNAcylated") in mammalian cells. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed eight sites of O-GlcNAcylation, including Ser-53, Ser-54, Ser-87, Ser-171, and Ser-173. Emerin O-GlcNAcylation was reduced ~50% by S53A or S54A mutation in vitro and in vivo. O-GlcNAcylation was reduced ~66% by the triple S52A/S53A/S54A mutant, and S173A reduced O-GlcNAcylation of the S52A/S53A/S54A mutant by ~30%, in vivo. We separated two populations of emerin, A-type lamins and BAF; one population solubilized easily, and the other required sonication and included histones and B-type lamins. Emerin and BAF associated only in histone- and lamin-B-containing fractions. The S173D mutation specifically and selectively reduced GFP-emerin association with BAF by 58% and also increased GFP-emerin hyper-phosphorylation. We conclude that ?-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase, an essential enzyme, controls two regions in emerin. The first region, defined by residues Ser-53 and Ser-54, flanks the LEM domain. O-GlcNAc modification at Ser-173, in the second region, is proposed to promote emerin association with BAF in the chromatin/lamin B "niche." These results reveal direct control of a conserved LEM domain nuclear lamina component by ?-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase, a nutrient sensor that regulates cell stress responses, mitosis, and epigenetics.
Electron transfer dissociation (ETD), a technique that provides efficient fragmentation while depositing little energy into vibrational modes, has been widely integrated into proteomics workflows. Current implementations of this technique, as well as other ion-ion reactions like proton transfer, involve sophisticated hardware, lack robustness, and place severe design limitations on the instruments to which they are attached. Described herein is a novel, electrical discharge-based reagent ion source that is located in the first differentially pumped region of the mass spectrometer. The reagent source was found to produce intense reagent ion signals over extended periods of time while having no measurable impact on precursor ion signal. Further, the source is simple to construct and enables implementation of ETD on any instrument without modification to footprint. Finally, in the context of hybrid mass spectrometers, relocation of the reagent ion source to the front of the mass spectrometer enables new approaches to gas phase interrogation of intact proteins.
Centromeres are chromosomal loci required for accurate segregation of sister chromatids during mitosis. The location of the centromere on the chromosome is not dependent on DNA sequence, but rather it is epigenetically specified by the histone H3 variant centromere protein A (CENP-A). The N-terminal tail of CENP-A is highly divergent from other H3 variants. Canonical histone N termini are hotspots of conserved posttranslational modification; however, no broadly conserved modifications of the vertebrate CENP-A tail have been previously observed. Here, we report three posttranslational modifications on human CENP-A N termini using high-resolution MS: trimethylation of Gly1 and phosphorylation of Ser16 and Ser18. Our results demonstrate that CENP-A is subjected to constitutive initiating methionine removal, similar to other H3 variants. The nascent N-terminal residue Gly1 becomes trimethylated on the ?-amino group. We demonstrate that the N-terminal RCC1 methyltransferase is capable of modifying the CENP-A N terminus. Methylation occurs in the prenucleosomal form and marks the majority of CENP-A nucleosomes. Serine 16 and 18 become phosphorylated in prenucleosomal CENP-A and are phosphorylated on asynchronous and mitotic nucleosomal CENP-A and are important for chromosome segregation during mitosis. The double phosphorylation motif forms a salt-bridged secondary structure and causes CENP-A N-terminal tails to form intramolecular associations. Analytical ultracentrifugation of phospho-mimetic CENP-A nucleosome arrays demonstrates that phosphorylation results in greater intranucleosome associations and counteracts the hyperoligomerized state exhibited by unmodified CENP-A nucleosome arrays. Our studies have revealed that the major modifications on the N-terminal tail of CENP-A alter the physical properties of the chromatin fiber at the centromere.
The mediators of the DNA damage response (DDR) are highly phosphorylated by kinases that control cell proliferation, but little is known about the role of this regulation. Here we show that cell cycle phosphorylation of the prototypical DDR mediator Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rad9 depends on cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) complexes. We find that a specific G2/M form of Cdc28 can phosphorylate in vitro the N-terminal region of Rad9 on nine consensus CDK phosphorylation sites. We show that the integrity of CDK consensus sites and the activity of Cdc28 are required for both the activation of the Chk1 checkpoint kinase and its interaction with Rad9. We have identified T125 and T143 as important residues in Rad9 for this Rad9/Chk1 interaction. Phosphorylation of T143 is the most important feature promoting Rad9/Chk1 interaction, while the much more abundant phosphorylation of the neighbouring T125 residue impedes the Rad9/Chk1 interaction. We suggest a novel model for Chk1 activation where Cdc28 regulates the constitutive interaction of Rad9 and Chk1. The Rad9/Chk1 complex is then recruited at sites of DNA damage where activation of Chk1 requires additional DDR-specific protein kinases.
Chinese rhesus macaques are of particular interest in simian immunodeficiency virus/human immunodeficiency virus (SIV/HIV) research as these animals have prolonged kinetics of disease progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), compared to their Indian counterparts, suggesting that they may be a better model for HIV. Nevertheless, the specific mechanism(s) accounting for these kinetics remains unclear. The study of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, including their MHC/peptide-binding motifs, provides valuable information for measuring cellular immune responses and deciphering outcomes of infection and vaccine efficacy. In this study, we have provided detailed characterization of six prevalent Chinese rhesus macaque MHC class I alleles, yielding a combined phenotypic frequency of 29 %. The peptide-binding specificity of two of these alleles, Mamu-A2*01:02 and Mamu-B*010:01, as well as the previously characterized allele Mamu-B*003:01 (and Indian rhesus Mamu-B*003:01), was found to be analogous to that of alleles in the HLA-B27 supertype family. Specific alleles in the HLA-B27 supertype family, including HLA-B*27:05, have been associated with long-term nonprogression to AIDS in humans. All six alleles characterized in the present study were found to have specificities analogous to HLA supertype alleles. These data contribute to the concept that Chinese rhesus macaque MHC immunogenetics is more similar to HLA than their Indian rhesus macaque counterparts and thereby warrants further studies to decipher the role of these alleles in the context of SIV infection.
O-GlcNAcylation is a dynamic protein modification which has been studied mainly in metazoans. We reported previously that an Arabidopsis thaliana O-GlcNAc transferase modifies at least two threonine residues of the Plum pox virus (PPV) capsid protein (CP). Now, six additional residues were shown to be involved in O-GlcNAc modification of PPV CP. CP O-GlcNAcylation was abolished in the PPV CP7-T/A mutant, in which seven threonines were mutated. PPV CP7-T/A infected Nicotiana clevelandii, Nicotiana benthamiana, and Prunus persica without noticeable defects. However, defects in infection of A. thaliana were readily apparent. In mixed infections of wild-type arabidopsis, the CP7-T/A mutant was outcompeted by wild-type virus. These results indicate that CP O-GlcNAcylation has a major role in the infection process. O-GlcNAc modification may have a role in virion assembly and/or stability as the CP of PPV CP7-T/A was more sensitive to protease digestion than that of the wild-type virus.
Histone proteins carry information contained in post-translational modifications. Eukaryotic cells utilize this histone code to regulate the usage of the underlying DNA. In the maturing oocytes and eggs of the frog Xenopus laevis, histones are synthesized in bulk in preparation for deposition during the rapid early developmental cell cycles. During this key developmental time frame, embryonic pluripotent chromatin is established. In the egg, non-chromatin-bound histones are complexed with storage chaperone proteins, including nucleoplasmin. Here we describe the identification and characterization of a complex of the protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (Prmt5) and the methylosome protein 50 (Mep50) isolated from Xenopus eggs that specifically methylates predeposition histones H2A/H2A.X-F and H4 and the histone chaperone nucleoplasmin on a conserved motif (GRGXK). We demonstrate that nucleoplasmin (Npm), an exceedingly abundant maternally deposited protein, is a potent substrate for Prmt5-Mep50 and is monomethylated and symmetrically dimethylated at Arg-187. Furthermore, Npm modulates Prmt5-Mep50 activity directed toward histones, consistent with a regulatory role for Npm in vivo. We show that H2A and nucleoplasmin methylation appears late in oogenesis and is most abundant in the laid egg. We hypothesize that these very abundant arginine methylations are constrained to pre-mid blastula transition events in the embryo and therefore may be involved in the global transcriptional repression found in this developmental time frame.
Previously we determined that S81 is the highest stoichiometric phosphorylation on the androgen receptor (AR) in response to hormone. To explore the role of this phosphorylation on growth, we stably expressed wild-type and S81A mutant AR in LHS and LAPC4 cells. The cells with increased wild-type AR expression grow faster compared with parental cells and S81A mutant-expressing cells, indicating that loss of S81 phosphorylation limits cell growth. To explore how S81 regulates cell growth, we tested whether S81 phosphorylation regulates AR transcriptional activity. LHS cells stably expressing wild-type and S81A mutant AR showed differences in the regulation of endogenous AR target genes, suggesting that S81 phosphorylation regulates promoter selectivity. We next sought to identify the S81 kinase using ion trap mass spectrometry to analyze AR-associated proteins in immunoprecipitates from cells. We observed cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)9 association with the AR. CDK9 phosphorylates the AR on S81 in vitro. Phosphorylation is specific to S81 because CDK9 did not phosphorylate the AR on other serine phosphorylation sites. Overexpression of CDK9 with its cognate cyclin, Cyclin T, increased S81 phosphorylation levels in cells. Small interfering RNA knockdown of CDK9 protein levels decreased hormone-induced S81 phosphorylation. Additionally, treatment of LNCaP cells with the CDK9 inhibitors, 5,6-dichloro-1-?-D-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole and Flavopiridol, reduced S81 phosphorylation further, suggesting that CDK9 regulates S81 phosphorylation. Pharmacological inhibition of CDK9 also resulted in decreased AR transcription in LNCaP cells. Collectively these results suggest that CDK9 phosphorylation of AR S81 is an important step in regulating AR transcriptional activity and prostate cancer cell growth.
Tensin1 is the archetype of a family of focal adhesion proteins. Tensin1 has a phosphotyrosine binding domain that binds the cytoplasmic tail of ?-integrin, a Src homology 2 domain that binds focal adhesion kinase, p130Cas, and the RhoGAP called deleted in liver cancer-1, a phosphatase and tensin homology domain that binds protein phosphatase-1? and other regions that bind F-actin. The association between tensin1 and these partners affects cell polarization, migration, and invasion. In this study we analyzed the phosphorylation of human S-tag-tensin1 expressed in HEK293 cells by mass spectrometry. Peptides covering >90% of the sequence initially revealed 50 phosphorylated serine/phosphorylated threonine (pSer/pThr) but no phosphorylated tyrosine (pTyr) sites. Addition of peroxyvanadate to cells to inhibit protein tyrosine phosphatases exposed 10 pTyr sites and addition of calyculin A to cells to inhibit protein phosphatases type 1 and 2A gave a total of 62 pSer/pThr sites. We also characterized two sites modified by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine. Tensin1 F302A, which does not bind protein phosphatase-1, showed > twofold enhanced phosphorylation of seven sites. The majority of pSer/pThr have adjacent proline (Pro) residues and we show endogenous p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) associated with and phosphorylated tensin1 in an in vitro kinase assay. Recombinant p38? MAPK also phosphorylated S-tag-tensin1, resulting in decreased binding with deleted in liver cancer-1. Activation of p38 MAPK in cells by sorbitol-induced hyperosmotic stress increased phosphorylation of S-tag-tensin1, which reduced binding to deleted in liver cancer-1 and increased binding to endogenous pTyr proteins, including p130Cas and focal adhesion kinase. These data demonstrate that tensin1 is extensively phosphorylated on Ser/Thr residues in cells and phosphorylation by p38 MAPK regulates the specificity of the tensin1 Src homology 2 domain for binding to different proteins. Tensin1 provides a hub for connecting signaling pathways involving p38 MAP kinase, tyrosine kinases and RhoGTPases.
Formation of epithelial sheets requires that cell division occurs in the plane of the sheet. During mitosis, spindle poles align so the astral microtubules contact the lateral cortex. Confinement of the mammalian Pins protein to the lateral cortex is essential for this process. Defects in signaling through Cdc42 and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) also cause spindle misorientation. When epithelial cysts are grown in 3D cultures, misorientation creates multiple lumens.
The capsid protein of Plum pox virus (PPV-CP) is modified with O-linked ?-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc). In Arabidopsis thaliana this modification is made by an O-GlcNAc transferase named SECRET AGENT (SEC). Modification of PPV-CP by SEC is hypothesized to have a direct role in the infection process, because virus titer and rate of spread are reduced in SEC mutants. Previous studies used deletion mapping and site-directed mutagenesis to identify four O-GlcNAc sites on the capsid protein that are modified by Escherichia coli-expressed SEC. The infection process was not affected when two of these sites were mutated suggesting that O-GlcNAcylation of these sites does not have a significant role in the infection process or that a subset of the modifications is sufficient. Since it is possible that the mutational mapping approach missed or incorrectly identified O-GlcNAc sites, the modifications produced by E. coli-expressed SEC were characterized using mass spectrometry. O-GlcNAcylated peptides were enzymatically tagged with galactose, the products were enriched on immobilized Ricinus communis agglutinin I and sequenced by electron transfer dissociation (ETD) mass spectrometry. Five O-GlcNAc sites on PPV-CP were identified. Two of these sites were not identified in by the previous mutational mapping. In addition, one site previously predicted by mutation mapping was not detected, but modification of this site was not supported when the mutation mapping was repeated. This study suggests that mapping modification sites by ETD mass spectrometry is more comprehensive and accurate than mutational mapping.
The post-translational methylation of alpha-amino groups was first discovered over 30 years ago on the bacterial ribosomal proteins L16 and L33 (refs 1, 2), but almost nothing is known about the function or enzymology of this modification. Several other bacterial and eukaryotic proteins have since been shown to be alpha-N-methylated. However, the Ran guanine nucleotide-exchange factor, RCC1, is the only protein for which any biological function of alpha-N-methylation has been identified. Methylation-defective mutants of RCC1 have reduced affinity for DNA and cause mitotic defects, but further characterization of this modification has been hindered by ignorance of the responsible methyltransferase. All fungal and animal N-terminally methylated proteins contain a unique N-terminal motif, Met-(Ala/Pro/Ser)-Pro-Lys, indicating that they may be targets of the same, unknown enzyme. The initiating Met is cleaved, and the exposed alpha-amino group is mono-, di- or trimethylated. Here we report the discovery of the first alpha-N-methyltransferase, which we named N-terminal RCC1 methyltransferase (NRMT). Substrate docking and mutational analysis of RCC1 defined the NRMT recognition sequence and enabled the identification of numerous new methylation targets, including SET (also known as TAF-I or PHAPII) and the retinoblastoma protein, RB. Knockdown of NRMT recapitulates the multi-spindle phenotype seen with methylation-defective RCC1 mutants, demonstrating the importance of alpha-N-methylation for normal bipolar spindle formation and chromosome segregation.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by T cell-mediated destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. In both humans and the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of T1D, class II MHC alleles are the primary determinant of disease susceptibility. However, class I MHC genes also influence risk. These findings are consistent with the requirement for both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the pathogenesis of T1D. Although a large body of work has permitted the identification of multiple mechanisms to explain the diabetes-protective effect of particular class II MHC alleles, studies examining the protective influence of class I alleles are lacking. Here, we explored this question by performing biochemical and structural analyses of the murine class I MHC molecule H-2K(wm7), which exerts a diabetes-protective effect in NOD mice. We have found that H-2K(wm7) molecules are predominantly occupied by the single self-peptide VNDIFERI, derived from the ubiquitous protein histone H2B. This unexpected finding suggests that the inability of H-2K(wm7) to support T1D development could be due, at least in part, to the failure of peptides from critical beta-cell antigens to adequately compete for binding and be presented to T cells. Predominant presentation of a single peptide would also be expected to influence T-cell selection, potentially leading to a reduced ability to select a diabetogenic CD8(+) T-cell repertoire. The report that one of the predominant peptides bound by T1D-protective HLA-A*31 is histone derived suggests the potential translation of our findings to human diabetes-protective class I MHC molecules.
Post-translational histone modifications are crucial for the regulation of numerous DNA-templated processes, and are thought to mediate both alteration of chromatin dynamics and recruitment of effector proteins to specific regions of the genome. In particular, histone Ser/Thr phosphorylation regulates multiple nuclear functions in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, including transcription, DNA damage repair, mitosis, apoptosis and sporulation. Although modifications to chromatin during replication remain poorly understood, a number of recent studies have described acetylation of the histone H3 N-terminal alpha-helix (alphaN helix) at Lys 56 as a modification that is important for maintenance of genomic integrity during DNA replication and repair. Here, we report phosphorylation of H3 Thr 45 (H3-T45), a histone modification also located within the H3 alphaN helix in S. cerevisiae. Thr 45 phosphorylation peaks during DNA replication, and is mediated by the S phase kinase Cdc7-Dbf4 as part of a multiprotein complex identified in this study. Furthermore, loss of phosphorylated H3-T45 causes phenotypes consistent with replicative defects, and prolonged replication stress results in H3-T45 phosphorylation accumulation over time. Notably, the phenotypes described here are independent of Lys 56 acetylation status, and combinatorial mutations to both Thr 45 and Lys 56 of H3 cause synthetic growth defects. Together, these data identify and characterize H3-T45 phosphorylation as a replication-associated histone modification in budding yeast.
Like phosphorylation, the addition of O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAcylation) is a ubiquitous, reversible process that modifies serine and threonine residues on nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. Overexpression of the enzyme that adds O-GlcNAc to target proteins, O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), perturbs cytokinesis and promotes polyploidy, but the molecular targets of OGT that are important for its cell cycle functions are unknown. Here, we identify 141 previously unknown O-GlcNAc sites on proteins that function in spindle assembly and cytokinesis. Many of these O-GlcNAcylation sites are either identical to known phosphorylation sites or in close proximity to them. Furthermore, we found that O-GlcNAcylation altered the phosphorylation of key proteins associated with the mitotic spindle and midbody. Forced overexpression of OGT increased the inhibitory phosphorylation of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) and reduced the phosphorylation of CDK1 target proteins. The increased phosphorylation of CDK1 is explained by increased activation of its upstream kinase, MYT1, and by a concomitant reduction in the transcript for the CDK1 phosphatase, CDC25C. OGT overexpression also caused a reduction in both messenger RNA expression and protein abundance of Polo-like kinase 1, which is upstream of both MYT1 and CDC25C. The data not only illustrate the crosstalk between O-GlcNAcylation and phosphorylation of proteins that are regulators of crucial signaling pathways but also uncover a mechanism for the role of O-GlcNAcylation in regulation of cell division.
Within chromatin, the histone variant H2A.Z plays a role in many diverse nuclear processes including transcription, preventing the spread of heterochromatin and epigenetic transcriptional memory. The molecular mechanisms of how H2A.Z mediates its effects are not entirely understood. However, it is now known that H2A.Z has two protein isoforms in vertebrates, H2A.Z-1 and H2A.Z-2, which are encoded by separate genes and differ by 3 amino acid residues.
Numerous cellular processes are regulated by the reversible addition of either phosphate or O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) to nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. Although sensitive methods exist for the enrichment and identification of protein phosphorylation sites, those for the enrichment of O-GlcNAc-containing peptides are lacking. Reported here is highly efficient methodology for the enrichment and characterization of O-GlcNAc sites from complex samples. In this method, O-GlcNAc-modified peptides are tagged with a novel biotinylation reagent, enriched by affinity chromatography, released from the solid support by photochemical cleavage, and analyzed by electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometry. Using this strategy, eight O-GlcNAc sites were mapped from a tau-enriched sample from rat brain. Sites of GlcNAcylation were characterized on important neuronal proteins such as tau, synucleins, and methyl CpG-binding protein 2.
The activation and recruitment of CD4(+) T cells are critical for the development of efficient antitumor immunity and may allow for the optimization of current cancer immunotherapy strategies. Searching for more optimal and selective targets for CD4(+) T cells, we have investigated phosphopeptides, a new category of tumor-derived epitopes linked to proteins with vital cellular functions. Although MHC I-restricted phosphopeptides have been identified, it was previously unknown whether human MHC II molecules present phosphopeptides for specific CD4(+) T cell recognition. We first demonstrated the fine specificity of human CD4(+) T cells to discriminate a phosphoresidue by using cells raised against the candidate melanoma antigen mutant B-Raf or its phosphorylated counterpart. Then, we assessed the presence and complexity of human MHC II-associated phosphopeptides by analyzing 2 autologous pairs of melanoma and EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid lines. By using sequential affinity isolation, biochemical enrichment, mass spectrometric sequencing, and comparative analysis, a total of 175 HLA-DR-associated phosphopeptides were characterized. Many were derived from source proteins that may have roles in cancer development, growth, and metastasis. Most were expressed exclusively by either melanomas or transformed B cells, suggesting the potential to define cell type-specific phosphatome "fingerprints." We then generated HLA-DRbeta1*0101-restricted CD4(+) T cells specific for a phospho-MART-1 peptide identified in both melanoma cell lines. These T cells showed specificity for phosphopeptide-pulsed antigen-presenting cells as well as for intact melanoma cells. This previously undescribed demonstration of MHC II-restricted phosphopeptides recognizable by human CD4(+) T cells provides potential new targets for cancer immunotherapy.
Purified histone H2A.Z from chicken erythrocytes and a sodium butyrate-treated chicken erythroleukemic cell line was used as a model system to identify the acetylation sites (K4, K7, K11, K13, and K15) and quantify their distribution in this vertebrate histone variant. To understand the role played by acetylation in the modulation of the H2A.Z nucleosome core particle (NCP) stability and conformation, an extensive analysis was conducted on NCPs reconstituted from acetylated forms of histones, including H2A.Z and recombinant H2A.Z (K/Q) acetylation mimic mutants. Although the overall global acetylation of core histones destabilizes the NCP, we found that H2A.Z stabilizes the NCP regardless of its state of acetylation. Interestingly and quite unexpectedly, we found that the change in NCP conformation induced by global histone acetylation is dependent on H2A/H2A.Z acetylation. This suggests that acetylated H2A variants act synergistically with the acetylated forms of the core histone complement to alter the particle conformation. Furthermore, the simultaneous occurrence of H2A.Z and H2A in heteromorphic NCPs that most likely occurs in vivo slightly destabilizes the NCP, but only in the presence of acetylation.
Metabolic and stress response gene regulation is crucial for the survival of an organism to a changing environment. Three key molecules that sense nutrients and broadly affect gene expression are the FoxO transcription factors, the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1alpha, and the dynamic post-translational modification, O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc). Here we identify novel post-translational modifications of PGC-1alpha, including O-GlcNAc, and describe a novel mechanism for how PGC-1alpha co-activates transcription by FoxOs. In liver, in cultured cells, and in vitro with recombinant proteins, PGC-1alpha binds to O-GlcNAc transferase and targets the enzyme to FoxOs, resulting in their increased GlcNAcylation and increased transcriptional activity. Furthermore, glucose-enhanced activation of FoxO1 occurs via this PGC-1alpha-O-GlcNAc transferase-mediated GlcNAcylation. Therefore, one mechanism by which PGC-1alpha can serve as a co-activator of transcription is by targeting the O-GlcNAc transferase to increase GlcNAcylation of specific transcription factors important to nutrient/stress sensing and energy metabolism.
The gene transfer agent of Rhodobacter capsulatus (GTA) is a unique phage-like particle that exchanges genetic information between members of this same species of bacterium. Besides being an excellent tool for genetic mapping, the GTA has a number of advantages for biotechnological and nanoengineering purposes. To facilitate the GTA purification and identify the proteins involved in GTA expression, assembly and regulation, in the present work we construct and transform into R. capsulatus Y262 a gene coding for a C-terminally His-tagged capsid protein. The constructed protein was expressed in the cells, assembled into chimeric GTA particles inside the cells and excreted from the cells into surrounding medium. Transmission electron micrographs of phosphotungstate-stained, NiNTA-purified chimeric GTA confirm that its structure is similar to normal GTA particles, with many particles composed both of a head and a tail. The mass spectrometric proteomic analysis of polypeptides present in the GTA recovered outside the cells shows that GTA is composed of at least 9 proteins represented in the GTA gene cluster including proteins coded for by Orfs 3, 5, 6-9, 11, 13, and 15.
Mass spectrometric analysis identified the peptide recognized by a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) specific for the chemically induced BALB/c Meth A sarcoma as derived from a 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 12 (Hsd17b12) pseudogene present in the BALB/c genome, but only expressed in Meth A sarcoma. The sequence of the peptide is TYDKIKTGL and corresponds to Hsd17b12(114-122) with threonine instead of isoleucine at codon 114 and is designated Hsd17b12(114T). Immunization of mice with an Hsd17b12(114T) peptide-pulsed dendritic cell-based vaccine or a non-viral plasmid construct expressing the Hsd17b12(114T) peptide protected the mice from lethal Meth A tumor challenge in tumor rejection assays. A Hsd17b12(114-122) peptide-pulsed vaccine was ineffective in inducing resistance in mice to Meth A sarcoma. These results confirm the immunogenicity of the identified tumor peptide, as well as demonstrate the efficacies of these vaccine vehicles. These findings suggest that the role of the human homolog of Hsd17b12, HSD17B12, as a potential human tumor antigen be explored.
Histone proteins contain epigenetic information that is encoded both in the relative abundance of core histones and variants and particularly in the post-translational modification of these proteins. We determined the presence of such variants and covalent modifications in seven tissue types of the anuran Xenopus laevis, including oocyte, egg, sperm, early embryo equivalent (pronuclei incubated in egg extract), S3 neurula cells, A6 kidney cells, and erythrocytes. We first developed a new robust method for isolating the stored, predeposition histones from oocytes and eggs via chromatography on heparin-Sepharose, whereas we isolated chromatinized histones via conventional acid extraction. We identified two previously unknown H1 isoforms (H1fx and H1B.Sp) present on sperm chromatin. We immunoblotted this global collection of histones with many specific post-translational modification antibodies, including antibodies against methylated histone H3 on Lys(4), Lys(9), Lys(27), Lys(79), Arg(2), Arg(17), and Arg(26); methylated histone H4 on Lys(20); methylated H2A and H4 on Arg(3); acetylated H4 on Lys(5), Lys(8), Lys(12), and Lys(16) and H3 on Lys(9) and Lys(14); and phosphorylated H3 on Ser(10) and H2A/H4 on Ser(1). Furthermore, we subjected a subset of these histones to two-dimensional gel analysis and subsequent immunoblotting and mass spectrometry to determine the global remodeling of histone modifications that occurs as development proceeds. Overall, our observations suggest that each metazoan cell type may have a unique histone modification signature correlated with its differentiation status.
Epigenetic information is hypothesized to be encoded in histone variants and post-translational modifications. Varied cell- and locus-specific combinations of these epigenetic marks are likely contributors to regulation of chromatin-templated transactions, including transcription, replication, recombination, and repair. Therefore, the relative abundance of histone modifications in a given cell type is a potential index of cell fate and specificity. Here, we utilize mass spectrometry techniques to characterize the relative abundance index of cell type-specific modifications on histones H3 and H4 in distinct cell types from the frog Xenopus laevis, including the sperm, the stored predeposition histones in the egg, the early embryo equivalent pronuclei, cultured somatic cells, and erythrocytes. We used collisionally associated dissociation to identify the modifications present on histone H3 in a variety of cell types, resolving 26 distinctly modified H3 peptides. We employed the electron transfer dissociation fragmentation technique in a "middle-down" approach on the H4 N-terminal tail to explore the overlap of post-translational modifications. We observed 66 discrete isoforms of the H4 1-23 fragment in four different cell types. Isolation of the stored, predeposition histone H4 from the frog egg also revealed a more varied pattern of modifications than the previously known diacetylation on Lys(5) and Lys(12). The developmental transitions of modifications on H3 and H4 were strikingly varied, implying a strong correlation of the histone code with cell type and fate. Our results are consistent with a histone code index for each cell type and uncover potential cross-talk between modifications on a single tail.
Histone H2A.X is an H2A variant present in multicellular organisms that is specifically phosphorylated on the serine in the C-terminal consensus sequence, canonically "SQEY," in response to DNA damage. We have recently shown the significance of phosphorylation of the penultimate tyrosine for maintenance and processing of the DNA damage response in mammalian cells. Here, we report the identification of distinct H2A.X variants in the eggs and early embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis that contain a C-terminal SQEF, among other changes; we have denoted these proteins as "H2A.X-F." H2A.X-F is present only in late-staged oocytes, eggs, and premidblastula transition embryos and is not present in somatic cells. Similar unannotated isoforms were identified in other rapidly developing aquatic species, such as Xenopus tropicalis, goldfish, and zebrafish, and in Arabidopsis and chickpea. Furthermore, we demonstrate by mass spectrometry and phospho-specific antibodies that H2A.X-F is phosphorylated in the absence of exogenous DNA damage, in both actively dividing, unperturbed embryos and cell-free egg extract in the absence and presence of DNA damage and S-phase checkpoint conditions. We propose that this isoform may be involved in modulating the cellular response to the rapid early cell cycles in externally developing species.
Many plant proteins are modified with N-linked oligosaccharides at asparagine-X-serine/threonine sites during transit through the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi. We have identified a number of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) proteins with modifications consisting of an N-linked N-acetyl-D-glucosamine monosaccharide (N-GlcNAc). Electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometry analysis of peptides bearing this modification mapped the modification to asparagine-X-serine/threonine sites on proteins that are predicted to transit through the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. A mass labeling method was developed and used to study N-GlcNAc modification of two thioglucoside glucohydrolases (myrosinases), TGG1 and TGG2 (for thioglucoside glucohydrolase). These myrosinases are also modified with high-mannose (Man)-type glycans. We found that N-GlcNAc and high-Man-type glycans can occur at the same site. It has been hypothesized that N-GlcNAc modifications are generated when endo-?-N-acetylglucosaminidase (ENGase) cleaves N-linked glycans. We examined the effects of mutations affecting the two known Arabidopsis ENGases on N-GlcNAc modification of myrosinase and found that modification of TGG2 was greatly reduced in one of the single mutants and absent in the double mutant. Surprisingly, N-GlcNAc modification of TGG1 was not affected in any of the mutants. These data support the hypothesis that ENGases hydrolyze high-Man glycans to produce some of the N-GlcNAc modifications but also suggest that some N-GlcNAc modifications are generated by another mechanism. Since N-GlcNAc modification was detected at only one site on each myrosinase, the production of the N-GlcNAc modification may be regulated.
The retrograde transport of Trk-containing endosomes from the axon to the cell body by cytoplasmic dynein is necessary for axonal and neuronal survival. We investigated the recruitment of dynein to signaling endosomes in rat embryonic neurons and PC12 cells. We identified a novel phosphoserine on the dynein intermediate chains (ICs), and we observed a time-dependent neurotrophin-stimulated increase in intermediate chain phosphorylation on this site in both cell types. Pharmacological studies, overexpression of constitutively active MAP kinase kinase, and an in vitro assay with recombinant proteins demonstrated that the intermediate chains are phosphorylated by the MAP kinase ERK1/2, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, a major downstream effector of Trk. Live cell imaging with fluorescently tagged IC mutants demonstrated that the dephosphomimic mutants had significantly reduced colocalization with Trk and Rab7, but not a mitochondrial marker. The phosphorylated intermediate chains were enriched on immunoaffinity-purified Trk-containing organelles. Inhibition of ERK reduced the amount of phospho-IC and the total amount of dynein that copurified with the signaling endosomes. In addition, inhibition of ERK1/2 reduced the motility of Rab7- and TrkB-containing endosomes and the extent of their colocalization with dynein in axons. NGF-dependent survival of sympathetic neurons was significantly reduced by the overexpression of the dephosphomimic mutant IC-1B-S80A, but not WT IC-1B, further demonstrating the functional significance of phosphorylation on this site. These results demonstrate that neurotrophin binding to Trk initiates the recruitment of cytoplasmic dynein to signaling endosomes through ERK1/2 phosphorylation of intermediate chains for their subsequent retrograde transport in axons.
N-Terminal methylation of free ?-amino groups is a post-translational modification of proteins that was first described 30 years ago but has been studied very little. In this modification, the initiating M residue is cleaved and the exposed ?-amino group is mono-, di-, or trimethylated by NRMT, a recently identified N-terminal methyltransferase. Currently, all known eukaryotic ?-amino-methylated proteins have a unique N-terminal motif, M-X-P-K, where X is A, P, or S. NRMT can also methylate artificial substrates in vitro in which X is G, F, Y, C, M, K, R, N, Q, or H. Methylation efficiencies of N-terminal amino acids are variable with respect to the identity of X. Here we use in vitro peptide methylation assays and substrate immunoprecipitations to show that the canonical M-X-P-K methylation motif is not the only one recognized by NRMT. We predict that N-terminal methylation is a widespread post-translational modification and that there is interplay between N-terminal acetylation and N-terminal methylation. We also use isothermal calorimetry experiments to demonstrate that NRMT can efficiently recognize and bind to its fully methylated products.
Idiosyncratic adverse drug reactions are unpredictable, dose-independent and potentially life threatening; this makes them a major factor contributing to the cost and uncertainty of drug development. Clinical data suggest that many such reactions involve immune mechanisms, and genetic association studies have identified strong linkages between drug hypersensitivity reactions to several drugs and specific HLA alleles. One of the strongest such genetic associations found has been for the antiviral drug abacavir, which causes severe adverse reactions exclusively in patients expressing the HLA molecular variant B*57:01. Abacavir adverse reactions were recently shown to be driven by drug-specific activation of cytokine-producing, cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells that required HLA-B*57:01 molecules for their function; however, the mechanism by which abacavir induces this pathologic T-cell response remains unclear. Here we show that abacavir can bind within the F pocket of the peptide-binding groove of HLA-B*57:01, thereby altering its specificity. This provides an explanation for HLA-linked idiosyncratic adverse drug reactions, namely that drugs can alter the repertoire of self-peptides presented to T cells, thus causing the equivalent of an alloreactive T-cell response. Indeed, we identified specific self-peptides that are presented only in the presence of abacavir and that were recognized by T cells of hypersensitive patients. The assays that we have established can be applied to test additional compounds with suspected HLA-linked hypersensitivities in vitro. Where successful, these assays could speed up the discovery and mechanistic understanding of HLA-linked hypersensitivities, and guide the development of safer drugs.
O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a reversible posttranslational modification of Ser and Thr residues on cytosolic and nuclear proteins of higher eukaryotes catalyzed by O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). O-GlcNAc has recently been found on Notch1 extracellular domain catalyzed by EGF domain-specific OGT. Aberrant O-GlcNAc modification of brain proteins has been linked to Alzheimers disease (AD). However, understanding specific functions of O-GlcNAcylation in AD has been impeded by the difficulty in characterization of O-GlcNAc sites on proteins. In this study, we modified a chemical/enzymatic photochemical cleavage approach for enriching O-GlcNAcylated peptides in samples containing ?100 ?g of tryptic peptides from mouse cerebrocortical brain tissue. A total of 274 O-GlcNAcylated proteins were identified. Of these, 168 were not previously known to be modified by O-GlcNAc. Overall, 458 O-GlcNAc sites in 195 proteins were identified. Many of the modified residues are either known phosphorylation sites or located proximal to known phosphorylation sites. These findings support the proposed regulatory cross-talk between O-GlcNAcylation and phosphorylation. This study produced the most comprehensive O-GlcNAc proteome of mammalian brain tissue with both protein identification and O-GlcNAc site assignment. Interestingly, we observed O-?-GlcNAc on EGF-like repeats in the extracellular domains of five membrane proteins, expanding the evidence for extracellular O-GlcNAcylation by the EGF domain-specific OGT. We also report a GlcNAc-?-1,3-Fuc-?-1-O-Thr modification on the EGF-like repeat of the versican core protein, a proposed substrate of Fringe ?-1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases.
Intestinal cell kinase (ICK), named after its cloning origin, the intestine, is actually a ubiquitously expressed and highly conserved serine/threonine protein kinase. Recently we reported that ICK supports cell proliferation and G(1) cell cycle progression. ICK deficiency significantly disrupted the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling events. However, the biological substrates that mediate the downstream signaling effects of ICK in proliferation and the molecular mechanisms by which ICK interacts with mTORC1 are not well defined. Our prior studies also provided biochemical evidence that ICK interacts with the mTOR/Raptor complex in cells and phosphorylates Raptor in vitro. In this report, we investigated whether and how ICK targets Raptor to regulate the activity of mTORC1. Using the ICK substrate consensus sequence [R-P-X-S/T-P/A/T/S], we identified a putative phosphorylation site, RPGT908T, for ICK in human Raptor. By mass spectrometry and a phospho-specific antibody, we showed that Raptor Thr-908 is a novel in vivo phosphorylation site. ICK is able to phosphorylate Raptor Thr-908 both in vitro and in vivo and when Raptor exists in protein complexes with or without mTOR. Although expression of the Raptor T908A mutant did not affect the mTORC1 integrity, it markedly impaired the mTORC1 activation by insulin or by overexpression of the small GTP-binding protein RheB under nutrient starvation. Our findings demonstrate an important role for ICK in modulating the activity of mTORC1 through phosphorylation of Raptor Thr-908 and thus implicate a potential signaling mechanism by which ICK regulates cell proliferation and division.
Electron Transfer Dissociation [ETD] can dissociate multiply charged precursor polypeptides, providing extensive peptide backbone cleavage. ETD spectra contain charge reduced precursor peaks, usually of high intensity, and whose pattern is dependent on its parent precursor charge. These charge reduced precursor peaks and associated neutral loss peaks should be removed before these spectra are searched for peptide identifications. ETD spectra can also contain ion-types other than c and z?. Modifying search strategies to accommodate these ion-types may aid in increased peptide identifications. Additionally, if the precursor mass is measured using a lower resolution instrument such as a linear ion trap, the charge of the precursor is often not known, reducing sensitivity and increasing search times. We implemented algorithms to remove these precursor peaks, accommodate new ion-types in noise filtering routine in OMSSA and to estimate any unknown precursor charge, using Linear Discriminant Analysis [LDA].
Rhesus and pigtail macaques have proven to be valuable animal models for several important human diseases, including HIV, where they exhibit similar pathology and disease progression. Because rhesus macaques have been extensively characterized in terms of their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alleles, their demand has soared, making them increasingly difficult to obtain for research purposes. This problem has been exacerbated by a continued export ban in place since 1978. Pigtail macaques represent a potential alternative animal model. However, because their MHC class I alleles have not been characterized in detail, their use has been hindered. To address this, in the present study, we have characterized the peptide binding specificity of the pigtail macaque class I allele Mane-A1*082:01 (formerly known as Mane A*0301), representative of the second most common MHC class I antigen detected across several cohorts. The motif was defined on the basis of binding studies utilizing purified MHC protein and panels of single amino acid substitution analog peptides, as well as sequences of peptide ligands eluted from Mane-A1*082:01. Based on these analyses, Mane-A1*082:01 was found to recognize a motif with H in position 2 and the aromatic residues F and Y, or the hydrophobic/aliphatic residue M, at the C-terminus. Finally, analysis of the binding of a combinatorial peptide library allowed the generation of a detailed quantitative motif that proved effective in the prediction of a set of high-affinity binders derived from chimeric SIV/HIV, an important model virus for studying HIV infection in humans.
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