Ricin is a member of the ubiquitous family of plant and bacterial AB toxins that gain entry into the cytosol of host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and retrograde traffic through the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). While a few ricin toxin-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) have been identified, the mechanisms by which these antibodies prevent toxin-induced cell death are largely unknown. Using immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and a TGN-specific sulfation assay, we demonstrate that 24B11, a MAb against ricin's binding subunit (RTB), associates with ricin in solution or when prebound to cell surfaces and then markedly enhances toxin uptake into host cells. Following endocytosis, however, toxin-antibody complexes failed to reach the TGN; instead, they were shunted to Rab7-positive late endosomes and LAMP-1-positive lysosomes. Monovalent 24B11 Fab fragments also interfered with toxin retrograde transport, indicating that neither cross-linking of membrane glycoproteins/glycolipids nor the recently identified intracellular Fc receptor is required to derail ricin en route to the TGN. Identification of the mechanism(s) by which antibodies like 24B11 neutralize ricin will advance our fundamental understanding of protein trafficking in mammalian cells and may lead to the discovery of new classes of toxin inhibitors and therapeutics for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. IMPORTANCE Ricin is the prototypic member of the AB family of medically important plant and bacterial toxins that includes cholera and Shiga toxins. Ricin is also a category B biothreat agent. Despite ongoing efforts to develop vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics against ricin, very little is known about the mechanisms by which antibodies neutralize this toxin. In general, it is thought that antibodies simply prevent toxins from attaching to cell surface receptors or promote their clearance through Fc receptor (FcR)-mediated uptake. In this report, however, we describe a neutralizing monoclonal antibody (MAb) against ricin's binding subunit (RTB) that not only associates with ricin after the toxin has bound to the cell's surface but actually enhances toxin uptake into host cells. Following endocytosis, the antibody-toxin complexes are then routed for degradation. The results of this study are important because they reveal a previously unappreciated role for B-subunit-specific antibodies in intracellular neutralization of ricin toxin.
The ErbB3 receptor is an important regulator of cell growth and carcinogenesis. Among breast cancer patients, up to 50-70% have ErbB3 overexpression and 20-30% show overexpressed or amplified ErbB2. ErbB3 has also been implicated in the development of resistance to several drugs used against cancers driven by ErbB1 or ErbB2. One of the main challenges in ErbB-targeting therapy is to inactivate signaling mediated by ErbB2-ErbB3 oncogenic receptor complexes. We analyzed the regulatory role of flotillins on ErbB3 levels and ErbB2-ErbB3 complexes in SKBR3, MCF7 and MDA-MB-134-VI human breast cancer cells. Recently, we described a mechanism for interfering with ErbB2 signaling in breast cancer and demonstrated a molecular complex of flotillin scaffolding proteins with ErbB2 and Hsp90. In the present study, flotillins were found to be in a molecular complex with ErbB3, even in cells without the presence of ErbB2 or other ErbB receptors. Depletion of either flotillin-1 or flotillin-2 resulted in downregulation of ErbB3 and a selective reduction of ErbB2-ErbB3 receptor complexes. Moreover, flotillin-2 depletion resulted in reduced activation of Akt and MAPK signaling cascades, and as a functional consequence of flotillin depletion, breast cancer cells showed an impaired cell migration. Altogether, we provide data demonstrating a novel and functional role of flotillins in the regulation of ErbB protein levels and stabilization of ErbB2-ErbB3 receptor complexes. Thus, flotillins are crucial regulators for oncogenic ErbB function and potential targets for cancer treatment.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli bacteria cause hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome in humans. Currently, only supportive treatment is available for diagnosed patients. We show here that 24-h pretreatment with an ether lipid precursor, the alkylglycerol sn-1-O-hexadecylglycerol (HG), protects HEp-2 cells against Shiga toxin and Shiga toxin 2. Also the endothelial cell lines HMEC-1 and HBMEC are protected against Shiga toxins after HG pretreatment. In contrast, the corresponding acylglycerol, DL-?-palmitin, has no effect on Shiga toxicity. Although HG treatment provides a strong protection (~30 times higher IC50) against Shiga toxin, only a moderate reduction in toxin binding was observed, suggesting that retrograde transport of the toxin from the plasma membrane to the cytosol is perturbed. Furthermore, endocytosis of Shiga toxin and retrograde sorting from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus remain intact, but transport from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum is inhibited by HG treatment. As previously described, HG reduces the total level of all quantified glycosphingolipids to 50-70 % of control, including the Shiga toxin receptor globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), in HEp-2 cells. In accordance with this, we find that interfering with Gb3 biosynthesis by siRNA-mediated knockdown of Gb3 synthase for 24 h causes a similar cytotoxic protection and only a moderate reduction in toxin binding (to 70 % of control cells). Alkylglycerols, including HG, have been administered to humans for investigation of therapeutic roles in disorders where ether lipid biosynthesis is deficient, as well as in cancer therapy. Further studies may reveal if HG can also have a therapeutic potential in Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections.
The Marasmius oreades mushroom agglutinin (MOA) is a blood group B-specific lectin carrying an active proteolytic domain. Its enzymatic activity has recently been shown to be critical for toxicity of MOA toward the fungivorous soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Here we present evidence that MOA also induces cytotoxicity in a cellular model system (murine NIH/3T3 cells), by inhibiting protein synthesis, and that cytotoxicity correlates, at least in part, with proteolytic activity. A peptide-array screen identified the apoptosis mediator BAX as a potential proteolytic substrate and further suggests a variety of bacterial and fungal peptides as potential substrates. These findings are in line with the suggestion that MOA and related proteases may play a role for host defense.
Mutations in the large BEACH domain-containing protein LYST causes Chediak-Higashi syndrome. The diagnostic hallmark is enlarged lysosomes and lysosome-related organelles in various cell types. Dysfunctional secretion of enlarged lysosome-related organelles has been observed in cells with mutations in LYST, but the capacity of the enlarged lysosomes to degrade endogenous proteins has not been studied. Here, we show for the first time that small interfering RNA-depletion of LYST in human cell lines recapitulates the LYST mutant phenotype of enlarged lysosomes. We found no evidence for an effect of LYST depletion on autophagy or endocytic degradation. Autophagosomes are formed in normal size and quantities and are able to fuse to the enlarged lysosomes, leading to normal rates of degradation. Degradation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was similarly not affected, indicating that the enlarged lysosomes are fully functional in degrading endogenous proteins. Retrograde trafficking of toxins as well as the localization of transporters of lysosomal proteins, adaptor protein-3 (AP-3) and cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-MPR), were all found to be unaffected by LYST. Quantitative analysis of the enlarged lysosomes shows that LYST depletion causes a reduction in vesicle quantity per cell, while the total enzymatic content and vesicular pH are unaffected, supporting a role for LYST in lysosomal fission and/or fusion events.
Exosomes are released by cells after fusion of multivesicular bodies with the plasma membrane. The molecular mechanism of this process is still unclear. We investigated the role of sphingolipids and flotillins, which constitute a raft-associated family of proteins, in the release of exosomes. Interestingly, our results show that dl-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol, an inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase, seemed to affect the composition of exosomes released from PC-3 cells. However, the inhibition of ceramide formation from the de novo pathway by fumonisin B1 did not affect exosome secretion. Moreover, in contrast to findings obtained with other cell lines published so far, inhibition of neutral sphingomyelinase 2, an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of ceramide from sphingomyelin, did not inhibit the secretion of exosomes in PC-3 cells. Finally, small interfering RNA-mediated downregulation of flotillin-1 and flotillin-2 did not significantly change the levels of released exosomes as such, but seemed to affect the composition of exosomes. In conclusion, our results reveal the involvement of glycosphingolipids and flotillins in the release of exosomes from PC-3 cells, and indicate that the role of ceramide in exosome formation may be cell-dependent.
The plant toxin ricin and the bacterial toxin Shiga toxin both belong to a group of protein toxins having one moiety that binds to the cell surface, and another, enzymatically active moiety, that enters the cytosol and inhibits protein synthesis by inactivating ribosomes. Both toxins travel all the way from the cell surface to endosomes, the Golgi apparatus and the ER before the ribosome-inactivating moiety enters the cytosol. Shiga toxin binds to the neutral glycosphingolipid Gb3 at the cell surface and is therefore dependent on this lipid for transport into the cells, whereas ricin binds both glycoproteins and glycolipids with terminal galactose. The different steps of transport used by these toxins have specific requirements for lipid species, and with the recent developments in mass spectrometry analysis of lipids and microscopical and biochemical dissection of transport in cells, we are starting to see the complexity of endocytosis and intracellular transport. In this article we describe lipid requirements and the consequences of lipid changes for the entry and intoxication with ricin and Shiga toxin. These toxins can be a threat to human health, but can also be exploited for diagnosis and therapy, and have proven valuable as tools to study intracellular transport.
We recently reported that ERM (ezrin, radixin, moesin) proteins are involved in intracellular sorting of Shiga toxin (Stx) and its receptor globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), and that depletion of ezrin and moesin reduced retrograde Golgi transport of Stx. In the same study, we found that knockdown of Vps11, a core subunit of both the homotypic fusion and protein sorting (HOPS) complex and the class C core vacuole/endosome tethering factor (CORVET), increased retrograde transport of Stx and could counteract the inhibiting effect of moesin and ezrin knockdown. In this study we demonstrate that Vps11 knockdown also leads to increased Stx toxicity as well as increased retrograde transport and toxicity of ricin. Additionally, we show that knockdown of Vps11 restores the reduced Gb3 level observed after moesin depletion.
The molecular lipid composition of exosomes is largely unknown. In this study, sophisticated shotgun and targeted molecular lipidomic assays were performed for in-depth analysis of the lipidomes of the metastatic prostate cancer cell line, PC-3, and their released exosomes. This study, based in the quantification of approximately 280 molecular lipid species, provides the most extensive lipid analysis of cells and exosomes to date. Interestingly, major differences were found in the lipid composition of exosomes compared to parent cells. Exosomes show a remarkable enrichment of distinct lipids, demonstrating an extraordinary discrimination of lipids sorted into these microvesicles. In particular, exosomes are highly enriched in glycosphingolipids, sphingomyelin, cholesterol, and phosphatidylserine (mol% of total lipids). Furthermore, lipid species, even of classes not enriched in exosomes, were selectively included in exosomes. Finally, it was found that there is an 8.4-fold enrichment of lipids per mg of protein in exosomes. The detailed lipid composition provided in this study may be useful to understand the mechanism of exosome formation, release and function. Several of the lipids enriched in exosomes could potentially be used as cancer biomarkers.
A number of protein toxins from plants and bacteria take advantage of transport through the Golgi apparatus to gain entry into the cytosol where they exert their action. These toxins include the plant toxin ricin, the bacterial Shiga toxins, and cholera toxin. Such toxins bind to lipids or proteins at the cell surface, and they are endocytosed both by clathrin-dependent and clathrin-independent mechanisms. Sorting to the Golgi and retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are common to these toxins, but the exact mechanisms turn out to be toxin and cell-type dependent. In the ER, the enzymatically active part is released and then transported into the cytosol, exploiting components of the ER-associated degradation system. In this review, we will discuss transport of different protein toxins, but we will focus on factors involved in entry and sorting of ricin and Shiga toxin into and through the Golgi apparatus.
Cell density is one of the extrinsic factors to which cells adapt their physiology when grown in culture. However, little is known about the molecular changes which occur during cell growth and how cellular responses are then modulated. In many cases, inhibitors, drugs or growth factors used for in vitro studies change the rate of cell proliferation, resulting in different cell densities in control and treated samples. Therefore, for a comprehensive data analysis, it is essential to understand the implications of cell density on the molecular level. In this study, we have investigated how lipid composition changes during cell growth, and the consequences it has for transport of Shiga toxin. By quantifying 308 individual lipid species from 17 different lipid classes, we have found that the levels and species distribution of several lipids change during cell growth, with the major changes observed for diacylglycerols, phosphatidic acids, cholesterol esters, and lysophosphatidylethanolamines. In addition, there is a reduced binding and retrograde transport of Shiga toxin in high density cells which lead to reduced intoxication by the toxin. In conclusion, our data provide novel information on how lipid composition changes during cell growth in culture, and how these changes can modulate intracellular trafficking.
The ERM proteins (ezrin, radixin and moesin) are known for connecting the actin cytoskeleton to the plasma membrane. They have been found to associate with lipid rafts as well as to be important for endosomal sorting and receptor signaling. However, little is known about the role of ERM proteins in retrograde transport and lipid homeostasis. In this study, we show that ezrin and moesin are important for efficient cell surface association of Shiga toxin (Stx) as well as for its retrograde transport. Furthermore, we show that depletion of these proteins influences endosomal dynamics and seems to enhance Stx transport toward lysosomes. We also show that knockdown of Vps11, a subunit of the HOPS complex, leads to increased retrograde Stx transport and reverses the inhibiting effect of ezrin and moesin knockdown. Importantly, retrograde transport of the plant toxin ricin, which binds to both glycolipids and glycoproteins with a terminal galactose, seems to be unaffected by ezrin and moesin depletion.
The AB plant toxin ricin binds both glycoproteins and glycolipids at the cell surface via its B subunit. After binding, ricin is endocytosed and then transported retrogradely through the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In the ER, the A subunit is retrotranslocated to the cytosol in a chaperone-dependent process, which is not fully explored. Recently two separate siRNA screens have demonstrated that ER chaperones have implications for ricin toxicity. ER associated degradation (ERAD) involves translocation of misfolded proteins from ER to cytosol and it is conceivable that protein toxins exploit this pathway. The ER chaperone BiP is an important ER regulator and has been implicated in toxicity mediated by cholera and Shiga toxin. In this study, we have investigated the role of BiP in ricin translocation to the cytosol. We first show that overexpression of BiP inhibited ricin translocation and protected cells against the toxin. Furthermore, shRNA-mediated depletion of BiP enhanced toxin translocation resulting in increased cytotoxicity. BiP-dependent inhibition of ricin toxicity was independent of ER stress. Our findings suggest that in contrast to what was shown with the Shiga toxin, the presence of BiP does not facilitate, but rather inhibits the entry of ricin into the cytosol.
miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that finely regulate gene expression in cells. Alterations in miRNA expression have been associated with development of cancer, and miRNAs are now being investigated as biomarkers for cancer as well as other diseases. Recently, miRNAs have been found outside cells in body fluids. Extracellular miRNAs exist in different forms - associated with Ago2 proteins, loaded into extracellular vesicles (exosomes, microvesicles, or apoptotic bodies) or into high density lipoprotein particles. These extracellular miRNAs are probably products of distinct cellular processes, and might therefore play different roles. However, their functions in vivo are currently unknown. In spite of this, they are considered as promising, non-invasive diagnostic, and prognostic tools. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the Western world, but the currently used biomarker (prostate specific antigen) has low specificity. Therefore, novel biomarkers are highly needed. In this review we will discuss possible biological functions of extracellular miRNAs, as well as the potential use of miRNAs from extracellular vesicles as biomarkers for prostate cancer.
The ether-lipid precursor sn-1-O-hexadecylglycerol (HG) can be used to compensate for early metabolic defects in ether-lipid biosynthesis. To investigate a possible metabolic link between ether-linked phospholipids and the rest of the cellular lipidome, we incubated HEp-2 cells with HG. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed major changes in the lipidome of HG-treated cells compared to that of untreated cells or cells treated with palmitin, a control substance for HG containing an acyl group instead of the ether group. We present quantitative data for a total of 154 species from 17 lipid classes. These species are those constituting more than 2% of their lipid class for most lipid classes, but more than 1% for the ether lipids and glycosphingolipids. In addition to the expected ability of HG to increase the levels of ether-linked glycerophospholipids with 16 carbon atoms in the sn-1 position, this precursor also decreased the amounts of glycosphingolipids and increased the amounts of ceramide, phosphatidylinositol and lysophosphatidylinositol. However, incubation with palmitin, the fatty acyl analogue of HG, also increased the amounts of ceramide and phosphatidylinositols. Thus, changes in these lipid classes were not ether lipid-dependent. No major effects were observed for the other lipid classes, and cellular functions such as growth and endocytosis were unaffected. The data presented clearly demonstrate the importance of performing detailed quantitative lipidomic studies to reveal how the metabolism of ether-linked glycerophospholipids is coupled to that of glycosphingolipids and ester-linked glycerophospholipids, especially phosphatidylinositols.
Cells have to maintain stable plasma membrane protein and lipid compositions under normal conditions and to remodel their plasma membranes in response to stimuli. This maintenance and remodeling require that integral membrane proteins at the plasma membrane that become misfolded, because of the relatively harsher extracellular milieu or carbohydrate and amino acid sequence changes, are degraded. We had previously shown that Derlin proteins, required for quality control mechanisms in the endoplasmic reticulum, also localize to endosomes and function in the degradation of misfolded integral membrane proteins at the plasma membrane. In this study, we show that Derlin proteins physically associate with sorting nexins that function in retrograde membrane transport from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. Using genetic studies in Caenorhabditis elegans and ricin pulse-chase analyses in murine RAW264.7 macrophages, we show that the Derlin-sorting nexin interaction is physiologically relevant. Our studies suggest that at least some integral membrane proteins that are misfolded at the plasma membrane are retrogradely transported to the Golgi apparatus and ultimately to the endoplasmic reticulum for degradation via resident quality control mechanisms.
Ricin is a protein toxin classified as a bioterror agent, for which there are no known treatment options available after intoxication. It is composed of an enzymatically active A-chain connected by a disulfide bond to a cell binding B-chain. After internalization by endocytosis, ricin is transported retrogradely to the Golgi and ER, from where the ricin A-chain is translocated to the cytosol where it inhibits protein synthesis and thus induces cell death. We have identified cytoplasmic phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) as an important factor in ricin retrograde transport. Inhibition of PLA(2) protects against ricin challenge, however the toxin can still be endocytosed and transported to the Golgi. Interestingly, ricin transport from the Golgi to the ER is strongly impaired in response to PLA(2) inhibition. Confocal microscopy analysis shows that ricin is still colocalized with the trans-Golgi marker TGN46 in the presence of PLA(2) inhibitor, but less is colocalized with the cis-Golgi marker GM130. We propose that PLA(2) inhibition results in impaired ricin transport through the Golgi stack, thus preventing it from reaching the ER. Consequently, ricin cannot be translocated to the cytosol to exert its toxic action.
Shiga toxin inhibits protein synthesis after being transported from the cell surface to endosomes and retrogradely through the Golgi apparatus to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and into the cytosol. In this study, we have abolished proton gradients across internal membranes in different ways and investigated the effect on the various transport steps of Shiga toxin. Although inhibitors of the proton pump such as bafilomycin A1 and concanamycin A as well as some ionophores and chloroquine all protect against Shiga toxin, they mediate protection by inhibiting different transport steps. For instance, chloroquine protects the cells, although the toxin is transported to the ER. Importantly, our data indicate that proton pump activity is required for efficient endosome-to-Golgi transport of Shiga toxin, although acidification as such does not seem to be required.
The Marasmius oreades mushroom lectin (MOA) is well known for its exquisite binding specificity for blood group B antigens. In addition to its N-terminal carbohydrate-binding domain, MOA possesses a C-terminal domain with unknown function, which structurally resembles hydrolytic enzymes. Here we show that MOA indeed has catalytic activity. It is a calcium-dependent cysteine protease resembling papain-like cysteine proteases, with Cys215 being the catalytic nucleophile. The possible importance of MOAs proteolytic activity for mushroom defense against pathogens is discussed.
Ricin is a potent plant cytotoxin composed of an A-chain [RTA (ricin A-chain)] connected by a disulfide bond to a cell binding lectin B-chain [RTB (ricin B-chain)]. After endocytic uptake, the toxin is transported retrogradely to the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) from where enzymatically active RTA is translocated to the cytosol. This transport is promoted by the EDEM1 (ER degradation-enhancing ?-mannosidase I-like protein 1), which is also responsible for directing aberrant proteins for ERAD (ER-associated protein degradation). RTA contains a 12-residue hydrophobic C-terminal region that becomes exposed after reduction of ricin in the ER. This region, especially Pro250, plays a crucial role in ricin cytotoxicity. In the present study, we introduced a point mutation [P250A (substitution of Pro250 with alanine)] in the hydrophobic region of RTA to study the intracellular transport of the modified toxin. The introduced mutation alters the secondary structure of RTA into a more helical structure. Mutation P250A increases endosomal-lysosomal degradation of the toxin, as well as reducing its transport from the ER to the cytosol. Transport of modified RTA to the cytosol, in contrast to wild-type RTA, appears to be EDEM1-independent. Importantly, the interaction between EDEM1 and RTA(P250A) is reduced. This is the first reported evidence that EDEM1 protein recognition might be determined by the structure of the ERAD substrate.
Endocytosis of tyrosine kinase receptors can influence both the duration and the specificity of the signal emitted. We have investigated the mechanisms of internalization of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) and compared it to that of FGFR1 which is internalized predominantly through clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Interestingly, we observed that FGFR3 was internalized at a slower rate than FGFR1 indicating that it may use a different endocytic mechanism than FGFR1. Indeed, after depletion of cells for clathrin, internalization of FGFR3 was only partly inhibited while endocytosis of FGFR1 was almost completely abolished. Similarly, expression of dominant negative mutants of dynamin resulted in partial inhibition of the endocytosis of FGFR3 whereas internalization of FGFR1 was blocked. Interfering with proposed regulators of clathrin-independent endocytosis such as Arf6, flotillin 1 and 2 and Cdc42 did not affect the endocytosis of FGFR1 or FGFR3. Furthermore, depletion of clathrin decreased the degradation of FGFR1 resulting in sustained signalling. In the case of FGFR3, both the degradation and the signalling were only slightly affected by clathrin depletion. The data indicate that clathrin-mediated endocytosis is required for efficient internalization and downregulation of FGFR1 while FGFR3, however, is internalized by both clathrin-dependent and clathrin-independent mechanisms.
Shiga and the Shiga-like toxins are related protein toxins produced by Shigella dysenteriae and certain strains of Escherichia coli. These toxins are composed of two non-covalently attached, modular parts: the A moiety (StxA) containing the enzymatically active A1 fragment, and the non-toxic, pentameric binding moiety (StxB). Stx binds specifically to the glycosphingolipid globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) at the surface of target cells and is then internalized by endocytosis. Subsequently, in toxin-sensitive cells, the Stx/Gb3 complex is transported in a retrograde manner via the Golgi apparatus to the endoplasmic reticulum, where the enzymatically active part of Stx is translocated to the cytosol, enabling it to irreversibly inhibit protein synthesis via modification of ribosomal 28S RNA. Whereas Gb3 shows a relatively restricted expression in normal human tissues, it has been reported to be highly expressed in many types of cancers. This review gives a brief introduction to Stx and its intracellular transport. Furthermore, after a description of Gb3 and the methods that are currently used to detect its cellular expression, we provide an updated overview of the published reports on Gb3 overexpression in human cancers. Finally, we discuss the possibility of utilizing Stx or StxB coupled to therapeutic compounds or contrast agents in targeted cancer therapy and imaging.
Protein C (PC) deficiency is associated with a high risk of venous thrombosis. Recently, we identified the PC-A267T mutation in a patient with PC deficiency and revealed by in vitro studies decreased intracellular and secreted levels of the mutant. The aim of the present study was to characterize the underlying mechanism(s).
It is now about 20 years since we first wrote reviews about clathrin-independent endocytosis. The challenge at the time was to convince the reader about its existence. Then the suggestion came up that caveolae might be responsible for the uptake. However, clearly this could not be the case since a large fraction of the clathrin-independent uptake is dynamin-independent. Today, two decades later, the field has developed considerably. New techniques have enabled a detailed analysis of several clathrin-independent endocytic mechanisms, and caveolae have been found to be mostly stable structures having several functions of their own. This article aims at providing a brief update on the importance of clathrin-independent endocytic mechanisms, how the processes are regulated differentially, for instance on the poles of polarized cells, and the challenges in studying them.
Infection with Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing, gram-negative bacteria can induce serious conditions such as dysentery and hemolytic uremic syndrome. In target cells, Stx is internalized by endocytosis, and travels through the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum to reach the cytosol, where it inhibits protein synthesis. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mediates the recognition of gram-negative bacteria. Here, we have investigated whether the cellular uptake and transport of Stx could involve TLR4. We found that upon small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated TLR4 depletion in epithelial colon carcinoma cells, Stx transport to the Golgi was strongly reduced, and this was primarily caused by diminished Stx cellular binding rather than by reduction in toxin uptake or endosome-to-Golgi transport. The reduced cellular binding of Stx upon siRNA-transfection was solely due to TLR4 depletion, because reconstitution of TLR4 expression by the introduction of an siRNA-resistant TLR4 gene completely abolished the TLR4-targeting siRNA-mediated effect. Importantly, the effect of TLR4 depletion was not restricted to cancer cells or epithelial cells, because primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells also displayed reduced Stx binding upon TLR4 depletion. These results indicate that although TLR4 is imperative in innate immunity against gram-negative bacteria, it may be exploited by bacterial toxins, for example Stx, to gain access and entry into cells.
Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin is an ADP-ribosyltransferase, causing depolymerization of the actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells. The C2 toxin is a binary toxin consisting of the enzymatic subunit C2I and the binding subunit C2II. Proteolytical activation of the binding subunit triggers the formation of heptameric structures (C2IIa), which bind to cellular receptors. C2I is able to bind to C2IIa oligomers, and it has been suggested that the whole complex is internalized by a raft-dependent mechanism. Here we analysed by which mechanism C2 toxin is endocytosed. In HeLa cells expressing a dominant-negative dynamin mutant, cytotoxicity and C2 toxin uptake were blocked. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown of flotillins or inhibition of Arf6 function, proteins suggested to be involved in dynamin-independent endocytosis, did not affect C2 toxicity. Knockdown of caveolin did not inhibit endocytosis of C2 toxin, whereas inhibition of clathrin function reduced the uptake of C2 toxin and delayed the cytotoxic effect. Finally, we found evidence for a Rho-mediated uptake of C2 toxin. In conclusion, C2 toxin is endocytosed by dynamin-dependent mechanisms and we provide evidence for involvement of clathrin and Rho.
Activated protein C (PC) is a serine protease that regulates blood coagulation by inactivating coagulation factors Va and VIIIa. PC deficiency is an autosomally inherited disorder associated with a high risk of recurrent venous thrombosis. The aim of the study was to explore the mechanisms responsible for severe PC deficiency in a patient with the protein C A267T mutation by in-vitro expression studies.
A number of protein toxins produced by bacteria and plants enter eukaryotic cells and inhibit protein synthesis enzymatically. These toxins include the plant toxin ricin and the bacterial toxin Shiga toxin, which we will focus on in this article. Although a threat to human health, toxins are valuable tools to discover and characterize cellular processes such as endocytosis and intracellular transport. Bacterial infections associated with toxin production are a problem worldwide. Increased knowledge about toxins is important to prevent and treat these diseases in an optimal way. Interestingly, toxins can be used for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Animal studies have during the last years revealed a large potential for in vivo imaging with new metal-based nanoparticles and will certainly during the next years also continue to improve our understanding of basic biological processes. In the present article we discuss what is needed to bring such non-iron oxide particles into clinical imaging. For imaging agents it is essential to have a rapid clearance from blood so as to obtain low background signals and good images. The surface charge and hydrodynamic diameter of the nanoparticles in the presence of plasma proteins are important for their biodistribution, excretion. and a rapid clearance from blood. As discussed, some major challenges remain to be met regarding safety and metabolism issues. Measurements and optimization of the critical parameters will shorten the time needed for such particles to be accepted for widespread medical use.
Clathrin-dependent endocytosis is a main entry mechanism for the glycolipid-binding Shiga toxin (Stx), although clathrin-independent pathways are also involved. Binding of Stx to its receptor Gb3 not only is essential for Stx retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum and toxicity but also activates signaling through the tyrosine kinase Syk. We previously described that Syk activity is important for Stx entry, but it remained unclear how this kinase modulates endocytosis of Stx. Here we characterized the effects of Stx and Syk on clathrin-coated pit formation. We found that acute treatment with Stx results in an increase in the number of clathrin-coated profiles as determined by electron microscopy and on the number of structures containing the endocytic AP-2 adaptor at the plasma membrane determined by live-cell spinning disk confocal imaging. These responses to Stx require functional Syk activity. We propose that a signaling pathway mediated by Syk and modulated by Stx leads to an increased number of endocytic clathrin-coated structures, thus providing a possible mechanism by which Stx enhances its own endocytosis.
The flotillin proteins are localized in lipid domains at the plasma membrane as well as in intracellular compartments. In the present study, we examined the importance of flotillin-1 and flotillin-2 for the uptake and transport of the bacterial Shiga toxin (Stx) and the plant toxin ricin and we investigated whether toxin binding and uptake were associated with flotillin relocalization. We observed a toxin-induced redistribution of the flotillins, which seemed to be regulated in a p38-dependent manner. Our experiments provide no evidence for a changed endocytic uptake of Stx or ricin in cells silenced for flotillin-1 or -2. However, the Golgi-dependent sulfation of both toxins was significantly reduced in flotillin knockdown cells. Interestingly, when the transport of ricin to the ER was investigated, we obtained an increased mannosylation of ricin in flotillin-1 and flotillin-2 knockdown cells. The toxicity of both toxins was twofold increased in flotillin-depleted cells. Since BFA (Brefeldin A) inhibits the toxicity even in flotillin knockdown cells, the retrograde toxin transport is apparently still Golgi-dependent. Thus, flotillin proteins regulate and facilitate the retrograde transport of Stx and ricin.
Shiga toxin belongs to the group of bacterial and plant toxins that act on cells by binding to cell surface receptors via a binding-moiety, then the toxins are endocytosed and transported retrogradely to the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) before an enzymatically active moiety enters the cytosol and exerts the toxic effect. In the case of Shiga toxin, similarly to plant toxins such as ricin and viscumin, the toxin removes one adenine from the 28S RNA of the 60S subunit of the ribosome and thereby inhibits protein synthesis. This ribotoxic effect is in some cells followed by apoptosis. In this article we focus on new discoveries concerning endocytosis and retrograde transport of Shiga toxin to the Golgi, the ER and the cytosol.
Sorting nexin 8 (SNX8) belongs to the sorting nexin protein family, whose members are involved in endocytosis and endosomal sorting and signaling. The function of SNX8 has so far been unknown. Here, we have investigated the role of SNX8 in intracellular transport of the bacterial toxin Shiga toxin (Stx) and the plant toxin ricin. After being endocytosed, these toxins are transported retrogradely from endosomes, via the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), into the cytosol, where they exert their toxic effect. Interestingly, our experiments show that SNX8 regulates the transport of Stx and ricin differently; siRNA-mediated knockdown of SNX8 significantly increased the Stx transport to the trans-Golgi network (TGN), whereas ricin transport was slightly inhibited. We also found that SNX8 colocalizes with early endosome antigen 1 (EEA1) and with retromer components, suggesting an endosomal localization of SNX8 and supporting our finding that SNX8 is involved in endosomal sorting.
Shiga toxin binds to globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) receptors on the target cell surface. To enter the cytosol, Shiga toxin is dependent on endocytic uptake, retrograde transport to the Golgi apparatus and further to the endoplasmic reticulum before translocation of the enzymatically active moiety to the cytosol. Here, we have investigated the importance of newly synthesized glycosphingolipids for the uptake and intracellular transport of Shiga toxin in HEp-2 cells. Inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis by treatment with either PDMP or Fumonisin B(1) for 24-48 h strongly reduced the transport of Gb3-bound Shiga toxin from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. This was associated with a change in localization of sorting nexins 1 and 2, and accompanied by a protection against the toxin. In contrast, there was no effect on transport or toxicity of the plant toxin ricin. High-resolution mass spectrometry revealed a 2-fold reduction in Gb3 at conditions giving a 10-fold inhibition of Shiga toxin transport to the Golgi. Furthermore, mass spectrometry showed that the treatment with PDMP (DL-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol) and Fumonisin B(1) among other changes of the lipidome, affected the relative content of the different glycosphingolipid species. The largest depletion was observed for the hexosylceramide species with the N-amidated fatty acid 16:0, whereas hexosylceramide species with 24:1 were less affected. Quantitative lipid profiling with mass spectrometry demonstrated that PDMP did not influence the content of sphingomyelins, phospholipids and plasmalogens. In contrast, Fumonisin B(1) affected the amount and composition of sphingomyelin and glycolipids and altered the profiles of phospholipids and plasmalogens.
We demonstrate a ligand-specific induction of endocytosis in cells of juvenile brown trout taste buds. The process is fast, massive and selective, as only a few cells in each taste buds are stained by exposure of the oral cavity to the taste stimulant l-cysteine together with a dye at 20 degrees C. Low temperature (+2 degrees C) and disruption of microtubules with nocodazole caused a substantial reduction in the number of taste cells stained, indicating endocytic uptake of dye and transport towards the cell soma in vesicles. As endocytosis is evoked by the presence of ligands, it is most likely that the stained cells are the so-called receptor cells, which have taste receptors and the molecular machinery for downstream processing. The number of stained taste cells and taste buds containing stained taste cells increased with the concentration of l-cysteine. Control experiments with different dyes revealed great variability in the ability to induce staining on their own. In particular, Texas Red dextran was efficient and stained many cells within each taste bud. Behavioural experiments demonstrated that Texas Red dextran is a deterrent taste substance for brown trout. In fish first exposed to the stimulant l-cysteine plus a dye and subsequently to a deterrent, either Texas Red, or glycine, the majority of stained cells were found in separate taste receptor cells, indicating that the majority of taste receptors for stimulants and deterrents are expressed in separate taste buds. These results also strengthen the assumption that the stained cells take part in the initiation of taste processes that are related to perception. The functional implication of the induced endocytosis is discussed.
Shiga toxin (Stx) is a bacterial toxin that binds to its receptor Gb3 at the plasma membrane. It is taken up by endocytosis and transported retrogradely via the Golgi apparatus to the endoplasmic reticulum. The toxin is then translocated to the cytosol where it exerts its toxic effect. We have previously shown that phosphorylation of clathrin heavy chain (CHC) is an early event following Stx binding to HeLa cells, and that this requires the activity of the tyrosine kinase Syk. Here, we have investigated this event in more detail in the B lymphoid cell line Ramos, which expresses high endogenous levels of both Syk and Gb3. We report that efficient endocytosis of Stx in Ramos cells requires Syk activity and that Syk is recruited to the uptake site of Stx. Furthermore, in response to Stx treatment, CHC and Syk were rapidly phosphorylated in a Src family kinase dependent manner at Y1477 and Y352, respectively. We show that these phosphorylated residues act as binding sites for the direct interaction between Syk and CHC. Interestingly, Syk-CHC complex formation could be induced by both Stx and B cell receptor stimulation.
Sorting nexins (SNXs) constitute a family of proteins classified by their phosphatidylinositol (PI) binding Phox homology (PX) domain. Some members regulate intracellular trafficking. We have here investigated mechanisms underlying SNX4 mediated endosome to Golgi transport.
Shiga toxin (Stx) is after endocytosis transported via early endosomes to the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum. It is then translocated to the cytosol where it exerts its toxic effect. We recently reported that p38 is required for endosome to Golgi transport of Stx. In the present study, we investigated whether ?-arrestins are effectors of this pathway. ?-arrestin knockdown led to enhanced Stx transport. A similar phenotype was achieved upon p38 activation. We demonstrate that p38 and ?-arrestin act on the same pathway. ?-arrestin colocalized with internalized Stx and, interestingly, was recruited to endosomes upon p38 activation. After Stx treatment, p38 and ?-arrestin formed a transient complex. From these data we propose that ?-arrestin negatively regulates Stx transport via an interaction with activated p38 and attenuation of its signalling. Interestingly, also mannose 6-phosphate receptor transport was regulated by p38 and ?-arrestin. ?-arrestins therefore seem to regulate an endosome to Golgi pathway used by multiple cargo proteins.
Detailed understanding of the uptake mechanisms and intracellular processing of nonviral gene delivery systems will allow design of more effective carriers. This work gets insight into the intracellular kinetics of pDNA delivered by polyethyleneimine (PEI), cationic lipid DOTAP and calcium phosphate (CaP) precipitates. Amount of cell- and nuclear-associated pDNA was quantified by qRT-PCR at multiple time points after transfection. Moreover, the impact of specific endocytic pathways on the cell entry and intracellular kinetics of pDNA was studied by inhibition (blockage) of either clathrin- or dynamin-mediated endocytosis by using both genetically manipulated cell lines and chemical inhibitors of endocytosis. Quantitative analysis of defined kinetic parameters revealed that neither cellular nor nuclear uptake of pDNA correlated with transgene expression, emphasizing the importance of the post-nuclear processes in overall transfection efficacy. Changes in transgene expression observed upon blockage of endocytosis was carrier dependent and correlated relatively well with the changes at the cellular and nuclear uptake levels but not with the amount of cell-associated pDNA. Due to low specificity of chemical inhibitors and activation of alternative endocytosis pathways after genetic blockage of endocytosis neither of these methods is optimal for studying the role of endocytosis. Therefore, one should be careful when interpreting the obtained results from such studies and not to trust the data obtained only from one method.
Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles released to the extracellular milieu through fusion of multivesicular bodies with the plasma membrane. These vesicles contain microRNAs and might therefore be vehicles transferring genetic information between cells. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there was a sorting of microRNAs into exosomes in the prostate cancer cell line PC-3. In addition, microRNAs in PC-3 cells and in the non-cancerous prostate cell line RWPE-1 were compared. Exosomes were isolated from the conditioned media from PC-3 cells by ultracentrifugation and inspected by electron microscopy. Total RNA was isolated and microRNAs were analyzed by microarray analysis and real time RT-PCR. MicroRNA microarray analysis revealed that the microRNA profile of PC-3 released exosomes was similar to the profile of the corresponding parent cells. Nevertheless, a sorting of certain microRNAs into exosomes was observed, and low number microRNAs (microRNAs with a low number in their name) were found to be underrepresented in these vesicles. Moreover, the miRNA profile of PC-3 cells resembled the miRNA profile of RWPE-1 cells, though some miRNAs were found to be differently expressed in these cell lines. These results show that exosomes from PC-3 cells, in agreement with previous reports from other cell types, contain microRNAs. Furthermore, this study supports the idea that there is a sorting of microRNAs into exosomes and adds a new perspective by pointing at the underrepresentation of low number miRNAs in PC-3 released exosomes.
Shiga toxins are virulence factors produced by the bacteria Shigella dysenteriae and certain strains of Escherichia coli. There is currently no available treatment for disease caused by these toxin-producing bacteria, and understanding the biology of the Shiga toxins might be instrumental in addressing this issue. In target cells, the toxins efficiently inhibit protein synthesis by inactivating ribosomes, and they may induce signaling leading to apoptosis. To reach their cytoplasmic target, Shiga toxins are endocytosed and transported by a retrograde pathway to the endoplasmic reticulum, before the enzymatically active moiety is translocated to the cytosol. The toxins thereby serve as powerful tools to investigate mechanisms of intracellular transport. Although Shiga toxins are a serious threat to human health, the toxins may be exploited for medical purposes such as cancer therapy or imaging.
There is a huge effort in developing ligand-mediated targeting of nanoparticles to diseased cells and tissue. The plant toxin ricin has been shown to enter cells by utilizing both dynamin-dependent and -independent endocytic pathways. Thus, it is a representative ligand for addressing the important issue of whether even a relatively small ligand-nanoparticle conjugate can gain access to the same endocytic pathways as the free ligand.
Annexins constitute a family of calcium and membrane binding proteins. As annexin A1 and A2 have previously been linked to various membrane trafficking events, we initiated this study to investigate the role of these annexins in the uptake and intracellular transport of the bacterial Shiga toxin (Stx) and the plant toxin ricin. Once endocytosed, both toxins are retrogradely transported from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum before being targeted to the cytosol where they inhibit protein synthesis. This study was performed to obtain new information both about toxin transport and the function of annexin A1 and annexin A2. Our data show that depletion of annexin A1 or A2 alters the retrograde transport of Stx but not ricin, without affecting toxin binding or internalization. Knockdown of annexin A1 increases Golgi transport of Stx, whereas knockdown of annexin A2 slightly decreases the same transport step. Interestingly, annexin A1 was found in proximity to cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 (cPLA(2)), and the basal as well as the increased Golgi transport of Stx upon annexin A1 knockdown is dependent on cPLA(2) activity. In conclusion, annexin A1 and A2 have different roles in Stx transport to the trans-Golgi network. The most prominent role is played by annexin A1 which normally works as a negative regulator of retrograde transport from the endosomes to the Golgi network, most likely by complex formation and inhibition of cPLA(2).
Optimization of our previously described peptidomimetic furin inhibitors was performed and yielded several analogs with a significantly improved activity. The most potent compounds containing an N-terminal 4- or 3-(guanidinomethyl)phenylacetyl residue inhibit furin with K(i) values of 16 and 8 pM, respectively. These analogs inhibit other proprotein convertases, such as PC1/3, PC4, PACE4, and PC5/6, with similar potency, whereas PC2, PC7, and trypsin-like serine proteases are poorly affected. Incubation of selected compounds with Madin-Darby canine kidney cells over a period of 96 h revealed that they exhibit great stability, making them suitable candidates for further studies in cell culture. Two of the most potent derivatives were used to inhibit the hemagglutinin cleavage and viral propagation of a highly pathogenic avian H7N1 influenza virus strain. The treatment with inhibitor 24 (4-(guanidinomethyl)phenylacetyl-Arg-Val-Arg-4-amidinobenzylamide) resulted in significantly delayed virus propagation compared with an inhibitor-free control. The same analog was also effective in inhibiting Shiga toxin activation in HEp-2 cells. This antiviral effect, as well as the protective effect against a bacterial toxin, suggests that inhibitors of furin or furin-like proprotein convertases could represent promising lead structures for future drug development, in particular for the treatment of infectious diseases.
Cancer biomarkers are invaluable tools for cancer detection, prognosis, and treatment. Recently, microvesicles have appeared as a novel source for cancer biomarkers. We present here the results from a proteomic analysis of microvesicles released to the extracellular environment by the metastatic prostate cancer cell line PC-3. Using nanocapillary liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry 266 proteins were identified with two or more peptide sequences. Further analysis showed that 16% of the proteins were classified as extracellular and that intracellular proteins were annotated in a variety of locations. Concerning biological processes, the proteins found in PC-3 cell-released microvesicles are mainly involved in transport, cell organization and biogenesis, metabolic process, response to stimulus, and regulation of biological processes. Several of the proteins identified (tetraspanins, annexins, Rab proteins, integrins, heat shock proteins, cytoskeletal proteins, 14-3-3 proteins) have previously been found in microvesicles isolated from other sources. However, some of the proteins seem to be more specific to the vesicular population released by the metastatic prostate cancer PC-3 cell line. Among these proteins are the tetraspanin protein CD151 and the glycoprotein CUB domain-containing protein 1. Interestingly, our results show these proteins are promising biomarkers for prostate cancer and therefore candidates for clinical validation studies in biological fluids.
EDEM1 and EDEM2 are crucial regulators of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) that extracts non-native glycoproteins from the calnexin chaperone system. Ricin is a potent plant cytotoxin composed of an A-chain (RTA) connected by a disulfide bond to a cell binding lectin B-chain (RTB). After endocytic uptake, the toxin is transported retrogradely to the ER from where the enzymatically active RTA is translocated to the cytosol in a similar manner as misfolded ER proteins. This transport is promoted by EDEM1. In this study we report that EDEM2 is also involved in ricin retrotranslocation out of the ER. However, the role of EDEM1 and EDEM2 in ricin transport to the cytosol seems to differ. EDEM2 promotes ricin retrotranslocation irrespectively of ER translocon accessibility; moreover co- immunoprecipitation and pull-down studies revealed that more ricin can interact with EDEM2 in comparison to EDEM1. On the other hand, interactions of both lectins with RTA are dependent on the structure of ricin A-chain. Thus, our data display a newly discovered role for EDEM2. Moreover, analysis of the involvement of EDEM1 and EDEM2 in ricin retrotranslocation to the cytosol may provide crucial information about general mechanisms of the recognition of ERAD substrates in the ER.
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