SUMMARY We have come a long way in the 55 years since Edmond Fischer and the late Edwin Krebs discovered that the activity of glycogen phosphorylase is regulated by reversible protein phosphorylation. Many of the fundamental molecular mechanisms that operate in biological signaling have since been characterized and the vast web of interconnected pathways that make up the cellular signaling network has been mapped in considerable detail. Nonetheless, it is important to consider how fast this field is still moving and the issues at the current boundaries of our understanding. One must also appreciate what experimental strategies have allowed us to attain our present level of knowledge. We summarize here some key issues (both conceptual and methodological), raise unresolved questions, discuss potential pitfalls, and highlight areas in which our understanding is still rudimentary. We hope these wide-ranging ruminations will be useful to investigators who carry studies of signal transduction forward during the rest of the 21st century.
Proline-directed phosphorylation is a posttranslational modification that is instrumental in regulating signaling from the plasma membrane to the nucleus, and its dysregulation contributes to cancer development. Protein interacting with never in mitosis A1 (Pin1), which is overexpressed in many types of cancer, isomerizes specific phosphorylated Ser/Thr-Pro bonds in many substrate proteins, including glycolytic enzyme, protein kinases, protein phosphatases, methyltransferase, lipid kinase, ubiquitin E3 ligase, DNA endonuclease, RNA polymerase, and transcription activators and regulators. This Pin1-mediated isomerization alters the structures and activities of these proteins, thereby regulating cell metabolism, cell mobility, cell cycle progression, cell proliferation, cell survival, apoptosis and tumor development.
Post-translational histone modifications have a critical role in regulating transcription, the cell cycle, DNA replication and DNA damage repair. The identification of new histone modifications critical for transcriptional regulation at initiation, elongation or termination is of particular interest. Here we report a new layer of regulation in transcriptional elongation that is conserved from yeast to mammals. This regulation is based on the phosphorylation of a highly conserved tyrosine residue, Tyr 57, in histone H2A and is mediated by the unsuspected tyrosine kinase activity of casein kinase 2 (CK2). Mutation of Tyr 57 in H2A in yeast or inhibition of CK2 activity impairs transcriptional elongation in yeast as well as in mammalian cells. Genome-wide binding analysis reveals that CK2?, the catalytic subunit of CK2, binds across RNA-polymerase-II-transcribed coding genes and active enhancers. Mutation of Tyr 57 causes a loss of H2B mono-ubiquitination as well as H3K4me3 and H3K79me3, histone marks associated with active transcription. Mechanistically, both CK2 inhibition and the H2A(Y57F) mutation enhance H2B deubiquitination activity of the Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase (SAGA) complex, suggesting a critical role of this phosphorylation in coordinating the activity of the SAGA complex during transcription. Together, these results identify a new component of regulation in transcriptional elongation based on CK2-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of the globular domain of H2A.
The poor clinical outcome in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is attributed to intrinsic chemoresistance and a growth-permissive tumor microenvironment. Conversion of quiescent to activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) drives the severe stromal reaction that characterizes PDA. Here, we reveal that the vitamin D receptor (VDR) is expressed in stroma from human pancreatic tumors and that treatment with the VDR ligand calcipotriol markedly reduced markers of inflammation and fibrosis in pancreatitis and human tumor stroma. We show that VDR acts as a master transcriptional regulator of PSCs to reprise the quiescent state, resulting in induced stromal remodeling, increased intratumoral gemcitabine, reduced tumor volume, and a 57% increase in survival compared to chemotherapy alone. This work describes a molecular strategy through which transcriptional reprogramming of tumor stroma enables chemotherapeutic response and suggests vitamin D priming as an adjunct in PDA therapy. PAPERFLICK:
The RING domain protein Arkadia/RNF111 is a ubiquitin ligase in the transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) pathway. We previously identified Arkadia as a small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-binding protein with clustered SUMO-interacting motifs (SIMs) that together form a SUMO-binding domain (SBD). However, precisely how SUMO interaction contributes to the function of Arkadia was not resolved. Through analytical molecular and cell biology, we found that the SIMs share redundant function with Arkadia's M domain, a region distinguishing Arkadia from its paralogs ARKL1/ARKL2 and the prototypical SUMO-targeted ubiquitin ligase (STUbL) RNF4. The SIMs and M domain together promote both Arkadia's colocalization with CBX4/Pc2, a component of Polycomb bodies, and the activation of a TGF? pathway transcription reporter. Transcriptome profiling through RNA sequencing showed that Arkadia can both promote and inhibit gene expression, indicating that Arkadia's activity in transcriptional control may depend on the epigenetic context, defined by Polycomb repressive complexes and DNA methylation.
Post-translational modification by SUMO is a highly conserved pathway in eukaryotes that plays very important regulatory roles in many cellular processes. Deregulation of the SUMO pathway contributes to the development and progression of many diseases including cancer. Therefore, identifying additional SUMO substrates and studying how their cellular and biological functions are regulated by sumoylation should provide new insights. Our studies showed that sumoylation activity was significant in Xenopus egg extracts, and that a high level of sumoylation was associated with sperm chromatin when SUMO was incubated with Xenopus egg extracts. By isolating SUMO-conjugated substrates using His-tagged SUMO1 or SUMO2 proteins under denaturing conditions, we identified 346 proteins by mass spectrometry analysis that were not present in control pull-downs. Among them, 167 proteins were identified from interphase egg extracts, 86 proteins from mitotic phase egg extracts, and 93 proteins from both. Thirty-three proteins were pulled down by SUMO1, 85 proteins by SUMO2, and 228 proteins by both. We validated the sumoylation of five candidates, CKB, ATXN10, BTF3, HABP4, and BZW1, by co-transfecting them along with SUMO in HEK293T cells. Gene ontology analysis showed that SUMO substrates identified in this study were involved in diverse biological processes. Additionally, SUMO substrates identified from different cell cycle stages or pulled down by different SUMO homologs were enriched for distinct cellular components and functional categories. Our results comprehensively profile the sumoylation occurring in the Xenopus egg extract system.
Tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins was discovered in 1979, but this posttranslational modification had been "invented" by evolution more than a billion years ago in single-celled eukaryotic organisms that were the antecedents of the first multicellular animals. Because sophisticated cell-cell communication is a sine qua non for the existence of multicellular organisms, the development of cell-surface receptor systems that use tyrosine phosphorylation for transmembrane signal transduction and intracellular signaling seems likely to have been a crucial event in the evolution of metazoans. Like all types of protein phosphorylation, tyrosine phosphorylation serves to regulate proteins in multiple ways, including causing electrostatic repulsion and inducing allosteric transitions, but the most important function of phosphotyrosine (P.Tyr) is to serve as a docking site that promotes a specific interaction between a tyrosine phosphorylated protein and another protein that contains a P.Tyr-binding domain, such as an SH2 or PTB domain. Such docking interactions are essential for signal transduction downstream from receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) on the cell surface, which are activated on binding a cognate extracellular ligand, and, as a consequence, elicit specific cellular outcomes.
Stem cells reside within specialized microenvironments, or niches, that control many aspects of stem cell behavior. Somatic hub cells in the Drosophila testis regulate the behavior of cyst stem cells (CySCs) and germline stem cells (GSCs) and are a primary component of the testis stem cell niche. The shutoff (shof) mutation, characterized by premature loss of GSCs and CySCs, was mapped to a locus encoding the evolutionarily conserved transcription factor Escargot (Esg). Hub cells depleted of Esg acquire CySC characteristics and differentiate as cyst cells, resulting in complete loss of hub cells and eventually CySCs and GSCs, similar to the shof mutant phenotype. We identified Esg-interacting proteins and demonstrate an interaction between Esg and the corepressor C-terminal binding protein (CtBP), which was also required for maintenance of hub cell fate. Our results indicate that niche cells can acquire stem cell properties upon removal of a single transcription factor in vivo.
The HECT ubiquitin E3 ligase WWP-1 is a positive regulator of lifespan in response to dietary restriction (DR) in Caenorhabditis elegans. However, substrates of WWP-1 for ubiquitylation in the DR pathway have not yet been identified. Here we identify the C. elegans Krüppel-like factor, KLF-1, as an essential and specific regulator of DR-induced longevity and a substrate for ubiquitylation by WWP-1. Knockdown of klf-1 suppresses the extended lifespan of both DR animals and wwp-1-overexpressing animals, indicating that KLF-1 functions within the same pathway as WWP-1. In addition, overexpression of klf-1 in the intestine is sufficient to extend the lifespan of WT animals on an ad libitum diet, and requires wwp-1 or pha-4/FoxA. We demonstrate that WWP-1 directly interacts with KLF-1 and mediates multiple monoubiquitylation of KLF-1 in vitro and in cellulo. Our data support a model in which modulation of KLF-1 by WWP-1 regulates diet-restriction-induced longevity.
Faithful transmission of genetic material is essential for cell viability and organism health. The occurrence of DNA damage, due to either spontaneous events or environmental agents, threatens the integrity of the genome. The consequences of these insults, if allowed to perpetuate and accumulate over time, are mutations that can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer. Alkylation is a relevant DNA lesion produced endogenously as well as by exogenous agents including certain chemotherapeutics. We sought to better understand the cellular response to this form of DNA damage using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. For this purpose, we performed sub-cellular fractionation to monitor the effect of methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) treatment on protein localization to chromatin. The levels of over 500 proteins were increased in the chromatin-enriched nuclear lysate including histone chaperones. Levels of ubiquitin and subunits of the proteasome were also increased within this fraction, suggesting that ubiquitin-mediated degradation by the proteasome has an important role in the chromatin response to MMS treatment. Finally, the levels of some proteins were decreased within the chromatin-enriched lysate including components of the nuclear pore complex. Our spatial proteomics data demonstrate that many proteins that influence chromatin organization are regulated in response to MMS treatment, presumably to open the DNA to allow access by other DNA damage response proteins. To gain further insight into the cellular response to MMS-induced DNA damage, we also performed phosphorylation enrichment on total cell lysates to identify proteins regulated via post-translational modification. Phosphoproteomic analysis demonstrated that many nuclear phosphorylation events were decreased in response to MMS treatment. This reflected changes in protein kinase and/or phosphatase activity in response to DNA damage rather than changes in total protein abundance. Using these two mass spectrometry-based approaches, we have identified a novel set of MMS-responsive proteins that will expand our understanding of DNA damage signaling.
The reversible nature of protein phosphorylation dictates that any protein kinase activity must be counteracted by protein phosphatase activity. How phosphatases target specific phosphoprotein substrates and reverse the action of kinases, however, is poorly understood in a biological context. We address this question by elucidating a novel function of the conserved PP4 family phosphatase Pph3-Psy2, the yeast counterpart of the mammalian PP4c-R3 complex, in the glucose-signaling pathway. Our studies show that Pph3-Psy2 specifically targets the glucose signal transducer protein Mth1 via direct binding of the EVH1 domain of the Psy2 regulatory subunit to the polyproline motif of Mth1. This activity is required for the timely dephosphorylation of the downstream transcriptional repressor Rgt1 upon glucose withdrawal, a critical event in the repression of HXT genes, which encode glucose transporters. Pph3-Psy2 dephosphorylates Mth1, an Rgt1 associated corepressor, but does not dephosphorylate Rgt1 at sites associated with inactivation, in vitro. We show that Pph3-Psy2 phosphatase antagonizes Mth1 phosphorylation by PKA, the major protein kinase activated in response to glucose, in vitro and regulates Mth1 function via putative PKA phosphorylation sites in vivo. We conclude that the Pph3-Psy2 phosphatase modulates Mth1 activity to facilitate precise regulation of HXT gene expression by glucose.
Pink1, a mitochondrial kinase, and Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, function in mitochondrial maintenance. Pink1 accumulates on depolarized mitochondria, where it recruits Parkin to mainly induce K63-linked chain ubiquitination of outer membrane proteins and eventually mitophagy. Parkin belongs to the RBR E3 ligase family. Recently, it has been proposed that the RBR domain transfers ubiquitin to targets via a cysteine?ubiquitin enzyme intermediate, in a manner similar to HECT domain E3 ligases. However, direct evidence for a ubiquitin transfer mechanism and its importance for Parkins in vivo function is still missing. Here, we report that Parkin E3 activity relies on cysteine-mediated ubiquitin transfer during mitophagy. Mutating the putative catalytic cysteine to serine (Parkin C431S) traps ubiquitin, and surprisingly, also abrogates Parkin mitochondrial translocation, indicating that E3 activity is essential for Parkin translocation. We found that Parkin can bind to K63-linked ubiquitin chains, and that targeting K63-mimicking ubiquitin chains to mitochondria restores Parkin C431S localization. We propose that Parkin translocation is achieved through a novel catalytic activity coupled mechanism.
The evolutionally conserved DNA damage response (DDR) and cell cycle checkpoints preserve genome integrity. Central to these genome surveillance pathways is a protein kinase, Chk1. DNA damage induces activation of Chk1, which then transduces the checkpoint signal and facilitates cell cycle arrest and DNA damage repair. Significant progress has been made recently toward our understanding of Chk1 regulation and its implications in cancer etiology and therapy. Specifically, a model that involves both spatiotemporal and conformational changes of proteins has been proposed for Chk1 activation. Further, emerging evidence suggests that Chk1 does not appear to be a tumor suppressor; instead, it promotes tumor growth and may contribute to anticancer therapy resistance. Recent data from our laboratory suggest that activating, but not inhibiting, Chk1 in the absence of chemotherapy might represent an innovative approach to suppress tumor growth. These findings suggest unique regulation of Chk1 in cell biology and cancer etiology, pointing to novel strategies for targeting Chk1 in cancer therapy.
Cancer kinome sequencing studies have identified several protein kinases predicted to possess driver (i.e., causal) mutations. Using bioinformatic applications, we have pinpointed DAPK3 (ZIPK) as a novel cancer-associated kinase with functional mutations. Evaluation of nonsynonymous point mutations, discovered in DAPK3 in various tumors (T112M, D161N, and P216S), reveals that all three mutations decrease or abolish kinase activity. Furthermore, phenotypic assays indicate that the three mutations observed in cancer abrogate the function of the kinase to regulate both the cell cycle and cell survival. Coexpression of wild-type (WT) and cancer mutant kinases shows that the cancer mutants dominantly inhibit the function of the WT kinase. Reconstitution of a non-small cell lung cancer cell line that harbors an endogenous mutation in DAPK3 (P216S) with WT DAPK3 resulted in decreased cellular aggregation and increased sensitivity to chemotherapy. Our results suggest that DAPK3 is a tumor suppressor in which loss-of-function mutations promote increased cell survival, proliferation, cellular aggregation, and increased resistance to chemotherapy.
We examined the cell cycle dynamics of the retinoblastoma (RB) protein complex in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that has single homologs for each subunit-RB, E2F, and DP. We found that Chlamydomonas RB (encoded by MAT3) is a cell cycle-regulated phosphoprotein, that E2F1-DP1 can bind to a consensus E2F site, and that all three proteins interact in vivo to form a complex that can be quantitatively immunopurified. Yeast two-hybrid assays revealed the formation of a ternary complex between MAT3, DP1, and E2F1 that requires a C-terminal motif in E2F1 analogous to the RB binding domain of plant and animal E2Fs. We examined the abundance of MAT3/RB and E2F1-DP1 in highly synchronous cultures and found that they are synthesized and remain stably associated throughout the cell cycle with no detectable fraction of free E2F1-DP1. Consistent with their stable association, MAT3/RB and DP1 are constitutively nuclear, and MAT3/RB does not require DP1-E2F1 for nuclear localization. In the nucleus, MAT3/RB remains bound to chromatin throughout the cell cycle, and its chromatin binding is mediated through E2F1-DP1. Together, our data show that E2F-DP complexes can regulate the cell cycle without dissociation of their RB-related subunit and that other changes may be sufficient to convert RB-E2F-DP from a cell cycle repressor to an activator.
Protein kinases orchestrate the activation of signaling cascades in response to extracellular and intracellular stimuli to control cell growth, proliferation, and survival. The complexity of numerous intracellular signaling pathways is highlighted by the number of kinases encoded by the human genome (539) and the plethora of phosphorylation sites identified in phosphoproteomic studies. Perturbation of these signaling networks by mutations or abnormal protein expression underlies the cause of many diseases including cancer. Recent RNAi screens and cancer genomic sequencing studies have revealed that many more kinases than anticipated contribute to tumorigenesis and are potential targets for inhibitor drug development intervention. This review will highlight recent insights into known pathways essential for tumorigenesis and discuss exciting new pathways for therapeutic intervention.
Fasting promotes hepatic gluconeogenesis to maintain glucose homeostasis. The cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB)-regulated transcriptional coactivator 2 (CRTC2) is responsible for transcriptional activation of gluconeogenic genes and is critical for conveying the opposing hormonal signals of glucagon and insulin in the liver. Here, we show that suppressor of MEK null 1 (SMEK1) and SMEK2 [protein phosphatase 4 (PP4) regulatory subunits 3a and 3b, respectively] are directly involved in the regulation of hepatic glucose metabolism in mice. Expression of hepatic SMEK1/2 is up-regulated during fasting or in mouse models of insulin-resistant conditions in a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-gamma Coactivator 1? (PGC-1?)-dependent manner. Overexpression of SMEK promotes elevations in plasma glucose with increased hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression, whereas depletion of the SMEK proteins reduces hyperglycemia and enhances CRTC2 phosphorylation; the effect is blunted by S171A CRTC2, which is refractory to salt-inducible kinase (SIK)-dependent inhibition. Taken together, we would propose that mammalian SMEK/PP4C proteins are involved in the regulation of hepatic glucose metabolism through dephosphorylation of CRTC2.
RNF4 [RING (really interesting new gene) finger protein 4] family ubiquitin ligases are RING E3 ligases that regulate the homoeostasis of SUMOylated proteins by promoting their ubiquitylation. In the present paper we report that the RING domain of RNF4 forms a stable dimer, and that dimerization is required for ubiquitin transfer. Our results suggest that the stability of the E2~ubiquitin thioester bond is regulated by RING domain dimerization.
The expression levels of the p21(Cip1) family CDK inhibitors (CKIs), p21(Cip1), p27(Kip1) and p57(Kip2), play a pivotal role in the precise regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) activity, which is instrumental to proper cell cycle progression. The stabilities of p21(Cip1), p27(Kip1) and p57(Kip2) are all tightly and differentially regulated by ubiquitylation and proteasome-mediated degradation during various stages of the cell cycle, either in steady state or in response to extracellular stimuli, which often elicit site-specific phosphorylation of CKIs triggering their degradation.
Kinases and proteases are responsible for two fundamental regulatory mechanisms--phosphorylation and proteolysis--that orchestrate the rhythms of life and death in all organisms. Recent studies have highlighted the elaborate interplay between both post-translational regulatory systems. Many intracellular or pericellular proteases are regulated by phosphorylation, whereas multiple kinases are activated or inactivated by proteolytic cleavage. The functional consequences of this regulatory crosstalk are especially relevant in the different stages of cancer progression. What are the clinical implications derived from the fertile dialogue between kinases and proteases in cancer?
Protein kinases are important regulators of intracellular signal transduction pathways and play critical roles in diverse cellular functions. Once a protein kinase is activated, its activity is subsequently downregulated through a variety of mechanisms. Accumulating evidence indicates that the activation of protein kinases commonly initiates their downregulation via the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway. Failure to regulate protein kinase activity or expression levels can cause human diseases.
Dietary restriction extends longevity in diverse species, suggesting that there is a conserved mechanism for nutrient regulation and prosurvival responses. Here we show a role for the HECT (homologous to E6AP carboxy terminus) E3 ubiquitin ligase WWP-1 as a positive regulator of lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans in response to dietary restriction. We find that overexpression of wwp-1 in worms extends lifespan by up to 20% under conditions of ad libitum feeding. This extension is dependent on the FOXA transcription factor pha-4, and independent of the FOXO transcription factor daf-16. Reduction of wwp-1 completely suppresses the extended longevity of diet-restricted animals. However, the loss of wwp-1 does not affect the long lifespan of animals with compromised mitochondrial function or reduced insulin/IGF-1 signalling. Overexpression of a mutant form of WWP-1 lacking catalytic activity suppresses the increased lifespan of diet-restricted animals, indicating that WWP-1 ubiquitin ligase activity is essential for longevity. Furthermore, we find that the E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, UBC-18, is essential and specific for diet-restriction-induced longevity. UBC-18 interacts with WWP-1 and is required for the ubiquitin ligase activity of WWP-1 and the extended longevity of worms overexpressing wwp-1. Taken together, our results indicate that WWP-1 and UBC-18 function to ubiquitinate substrates that regulate diet-restriction-induced longevity.
Epithelial tumors, including breast cancer, are being identified and treated at earlier stages of tumor development because of technological advances in screening and detection methods. It is likely that early-stage epithelial tumors, such as mammary ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), will be amenable to new and more efficacious diagnostic tests and forms of therapy. However, our limited understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of early-stage epithelial tumor growth has hampered the development of new forms treatment and preventative therapy.
In response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), cells sense the DNA lesions and then activate the protein kinase ATM. Subsequent DSB resection produces RPA-coated ssDNA that is essential for activation of the DNA damage checkpoint and DNA repair by homologous recombination (HR). However, the biochemical mechanism underlying the transition from DSB sensing to resection remains unclear. Using Xenopus egg extracts and human cells, we show that the tumor suppressor protein CtIP plays a critical role in this transition. We find that CtIP translocates to DSBs, a process dependent on the DSB sensor complex Mre11-Rad50-NBS1, the kinase activity of ATM, and a direct DNA-binding motif in CtIP, and then promotes DSB resection. Thus, CtIP facilitates the transition from DSB sensing to processing: it does so by binding to the DNA at DSBs after DSB sensing and ATM activation and then promoting DNA resection, leading to checkpoint activation and HR.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) serine/threonine kinase is the catalytic component of two evolutionarily conserved signaling complexes. mTOR signaling complex 1 (mTORC1) is a key regulator of growth factor and nutrient signaling. S6 kinase is the best-characterized downstream effector of mTORC1. mTOR signaling complex 2 (mTORC2) has a role in regulating the actin cytoskeleton and activating Akt through S473 phosphorylation. Herein, we show that mTOR is phosphorylated differentially when associated with mTORC1 and mTORC2 and that intact complexes are required for these mTORC-specific mTOR phosphorylations. Specifically, we find that mTORC1 contains mTOR phosphorylated predominantly on S2448, whereas mTORC2 contains mTOR phosphorylated predominantly on S2481. Using S2481 phosphorylation as a marker for mTORC2 sensitivity to rapamycin, we find that mTORC2 formation is in fact rapamycin sensitive in several cancer cell lines in which it had been previously reported that mTORC2 assembly and function were rapamycin insensitive. Thus, phospho-S2481 on mTOR serves as a biomarker for intact mTORC2 and its sensitivity to rapamycin.
ATR and Chk1 are two key protein kinases in the replication checkpoint. Activation of ATR-Chk1 has been extensively investigated, but checkpoint termination and replication fork restart are less well understood. Here, we report that DNA damage not only activates Chk1, but also exposes a degron-like region at the carboxyl terminus of Chk1 to an Fbx6-containing SCF (Skp1-Cul1-F box) E3 ligase, which mediates the ubiquitination and degradation of Chk1 and, in turn, terminates the checkpoint. The protein levels of Chk1 and Fbx6 showed an inverse correlation in both cultured cancer cells and in human breast tumor tissues. Further, we show that low levels of Fbx6 and consequent impairment of replication stress-induced Chk1 degradation are associated with cancer cell resistance to the chemotherapeutic agent, camptothecin. We propose that Fbx6-dependent Chk1 degradation contributes to S phase checkpoint termination and that a defect in this mechanism might increase tumor cell resistance to certain anticancer drugs.
In the 30 years since its discovery, tyrosine phosphorylation has emerged as a fundamentally important mechanism of signal transduction and regulation in all eukaryotic cells, governing many processes, including cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, metabolic homeostasis, transcriptional activation, neural transmission, differentiation and development, and aging. Perturbations in tyrosine phosphorylation underlie many human diseases, and in particular cancer, and this has prompted the development of inhibitors of tyrosine kinases implicated in disease, a number of which have been approved for clinical use. The following is a brief personal reflection on some of the salient findings over the past 30 years that led to the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors for disease therapy.
The basis of genome size variation remains an outstanding question because DNA sequence data are lacking for organisms with large genomes. Sixteen BAC clones from the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum: c-value = 32 x 10(9) bp) were isolated and sequenced to characterize the structure of genic regions.
Microarray analysis and 454 cDNA sequencing were used to investigate a centuries-old problem in regenerative biology: the basis of nerve-dependent limb regeneration in salamanders. Innervated (NR) and denervated (DL) forelimbs of Mexican axolotls were amputated and transcripts were sampled after 0, 5, and 14 days of regeneration.
Ubiquitination plays an important role in the DNA damage response. We identified a novel interaction of the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF8 with Nbs1, a key regulator of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. We found that Nbs1 is ubiquitinated both before and after DNA damage and is a direct ubiquitination substrate of RNF8. We also identified key residues on Nbs1 that are ubiquitinated by RNF8. By using laser microirradiation and live-cell imaging, we observed that RNF8 and its ubiquitination activity are important for promoting optimal binding of Nbs1 to DSB-containing chromatin. We also demonstrated that RNF8-mediated ubiquitination of Nbs1 contributes to the efficient and stable binding of Nbs1 to DSBs and is important for HR-mediated DSB repair. Taken together, these studies suggest that Nbs1 is one important target of RNF8 to regulate DNA DSB repair.
Polysumoylation is a crucial cellular response to stresses against genomic integrity or proteostasis. Like the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-targeted ubiquitin ligase RNF4, proteins with clustered SUMO-interacting motifs (SIMs) can be important signal transducers downstream of polysumoylation. To identify novel polySUMO-binding proteins, we conducted a computational string search with a custom Python script. We found clustered SIMs in another RING domain protein Arkadia/RNF111. Detailed biochemical analysis of the Arkadia SIMs revealed that dominant SIMs in a SIM cluster often contain a pentameric VIDLT ((V/I/L/F/Y)(V/I)DLT) core sequence that is also found in the SIMs in PIAS family E3s and is likely the best-fitted structure for SUMO recognition. This idea led to the identification of additional novel SIM clusters in FLASH/CASP8AP2, C5orf25, and SOBP/JXC1. We suggest that the clustered SIMs in these proteins form distinct SUMO binding domains to recognize diverse forms of protein sumoylation.
The genome-wide identification of pairs of interacting proteins is an important step in the elucidation of cell regulatory mechanisms. Much of our present knowledge derives from high-throughput techniques such as the yeast two-hybrid assay and affinity purification, as well as from manual curation of experiments on individual systems. A variety of computational approaches based, for example, on sequence homology, gene co-expression and phylogenetic profiles, have also been developed for the genome-wide inference of protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Yet comparative studies suggest that the development of accurate and complete repertoires of PPIs is still in its early stages. Here we show that three-dimensional structural information can be used to predict PPIs with an accuracy and coverage that are superior to predictions based on non-structural evidence. Moreover, an algorithm, termed PrePPI, which combines structural information with other functional clues, is comparable in accuracy to high-throughput experiments, yielding over 30,000 high-confidence interactions for yeast and over 300,000 for human. Experimental tests of a number of predictions demonstrate the ability of the PrePPI algorithm to identify unexpected PPIs of considerable biological interest. The surprising effectiveness of three-dimensional structural information can be attributed to the use of homology models combined with the exploitation of both close and remote geometric relationships between proteins.
Salamanders possess an extraordinary capacity for tissue and organ regeneration when compared to mammals. In our effort to characterize the unique transcriptional fingerprint emerging during the early phase of salamander limb regeneration, we identified transcriptional activation of some germline-specific genes within the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) that is indicative of cellular reprogramming of differentiated cells into a germline-like state. In this work, we focus on one of these genes, the long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon, which is usually active in germ cells and silent in most of the somatic tissues in other organisms. LINE-1 was found to be dramatically upregulated during regeneration. In addition, higher genomic LINE-1 content was also detected in the limb regenerate when compared to that before amputation indicating that LINE-1 retrotransposition is indeed active during regeneration. Active LINE-1 retrotransposition has been suggested to have a potentially deleterious impact on genomic integrity. Silencing of activated LINE-1 by small RNAs has been reported to be part of the machinery aiming to maintain genomic integrity. Indeed, we were able to identify putative LINE-1-related piRNAs in the limb blastema. Transposable element-related piRNAs have been identified frequently in the germline in other organisms. Thus, we present here a scenario in which a unique germline-like state is established during axolotl limb regeneration, and the re-activation of LINE-1 may serve as a marker for cellular dedifferentiation in the early-stage of limb regeneration.
Tumor-specific pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) is essential for the Warburg effect. In addition to its well-established role in aerobic glycolysis, PKM2 directly regulates gene transcription. However, the mechanism underlying this nonmetabolic function of PKM2 remains elusive. We show here that PKM2 directly binds to histone H3 and phosphorylates histone H3 at T11 upon EGF receptor activation. This phosphorylation is required for the dissociation of HDAC3 from the CCND1 and MYC promoter regions and subsequent acetylation of histone H3 at K9. PKM2-dependent histone H3 modifications are instrumental in EGF-induced expression of cyclin D1 and c-Myc, tumor cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and brain tumorigenesis. In addition, levels of histone H3 T11 phosphorylation correlate with nuclear PKM2 expression levels, glioma malignancy grades, and prognosis. These findings highlight the role of PKM2 as a protein kinase in its nonmetabolic functions of histone modification, which is essential for its epigenetic regulation of gene expression and tumorigenesis.
The advantageous chemical properties of the phosphate ester linkage were exploited early in evolution to generate the phosphate diester linkages that join neighbouring bases in RNA and DNA (Westheimer 1987 Science 235, 1173-1178). Following the fixation of the genetic code, another use for phosphate ester modification was found, namely reversible phosphorylation of the three hydroxyamino acids, serine, threonine and tyrosine, in proteins. During the course of evolution, phosphorylation emerged as one of the most prominent types of post-translational modification, because of its versatility and ready reversibility. Phosphoamino acids generated by protein phosphorylation act as new chemical entities that do not resemble any natural amino acid, and thereby provide a means of diversifying the chemical nature of protein surfaces. A protein-linked phosphate group can form hydrogen bonds or salt bridges either intra- or intermolecularly, creating stronger hydrogen bonds with arginine than either aspartate or glutamate. The unique size of the ionic shell and charge properties of covalently attached phosphate allow specific and inducible recognition of phosphoproteins by phosphospecific-binding domains in other proteins, thus promoting inducible protein-protein interaction. In this manner, phosphorylation serves as a switch that allows signal transduction networks to transmit signals in response to extracellular stimuli.
Three p160 family members, p/CIP, SRC1, and TIF2, have been identified as transcriptional coactivators for nuclear hormone receptors and other transcription factors in vitro. In a previous study, we reported initial characterization of the obesity-resistant phenotypes of p/CIP and SRC-1 double knockout (DKO) mice, which exhibit increased energy expenditure, and suggested that nuclear hormone receptor target genes were involved in these phenotypes. In this study, we demonstrate that p/CIP and SRC1 control insulin signaling in a cell-autonomous manner both in vitro and in vivo. Genetic deletion of p/CIP and SRC-1 increases glucose uptake and enhances insulin sensitivity in both regular chow- and high fat diet-fed DKO mice despite increased food intake. Interestingly, we discover that loss of p/CIP and SRC-1 results in resistance to age-related obesity and glucose intolerance. We show that expression levels of a key insulin signaling component, insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1), are significantly increased in two cell lines representing fat and muscle lineages with p/CIP and SRC-1 deletions and in white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle of DKO mice; this may account for increased glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This is the first evidence that the p160 coactivators control insulin signaling and glucose metabolism through IRS1. Therefore, our studies indicate that p/CIP and SRC-1 are potential therapeutic targets not only for obesity but also for diabetes.
The capacity for tissue and organ regeneration in humans is dwarfed by comparison to that of salamanders. Emerging evidence suggests that mechanisms learned from the early phase of salamander limb regeneration-wound healing, cellular dedifferentiation and blastemal formation-will reveal therapeutic approaches for tissue regeneration in humans. Here we describe a unique transcriptional fingerprint of regenerating limb tissue in the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) that is indicative of cellular reprogramming of differentiated cells to a germline-like state. Two genes that are required for self-renewal of germ cells in mice and flies, Piwi-like 1 (PL1) and Piwi-like 2 (PL2), are expressed in limb blastemal cells, the basal layer keratinocytes and the thickened apical epithelial cap in the wound epidermis in the regenerating limb. Depletion of PL1 and PL2 by morpholino oligonucleotides decreased cell proliferation and increased cell death in the blastema leading to a significant retardation of regeneration. Examination of key molecules that are known to be required for limb development or regeneration further revealed that FGF8 is transcriptionally downregulated in the presence of the morpholino oligos, indicating PL1 and PL2 might participate in FGF signaling during limb regeneration. Given the requirement for FGF signaling in limb development and regeneration, the results suggest that PL1 and PL2 function to establish a unique germline-like state that is associated with successful regeneration.
Viral hijacking of cellular processes relies on the ability to mimic the structure or function of cellular proteins. Many viruses encode ubiquitin ligases to facilitate infection, although the mechanisms by which they select their substrates are often unknown. The Herpes Simplex Virus type-1-encoded E3 ubiquitin ligase, ICP0, promotes infection through degradation of cellular proteins, including the DNA damage response E3 ligases RNF8 and RNF168. Here we describe a mechanism by which this viral E3 hijacks a cellular phosphorylation-based targeting strategy to degrade RNF8. By mimicking a cellular phosphosite, ICP0 binds RNF8 via the RNF8 forkhead associated (FHA) domain. Phosphorylation of ICP0 T67 by CK1 recruits RNF8 for degradation and thereby promotes viral transcription, replication, and progeny production. We demonstrate that this mechanism may constitute a broader viral strategy to target other cellular factors, highlighting the importance of this region of the ICP0 protein in countering intrinsic antiviral defenses.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.