Groundbreaking research published by BIO5 scientists and their collaborators


PubMed Articles

Search form

Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) is a master regulator of centriole duplication, and its hyperactivity induces centriole amplification. Homodimeric Plk4 has been shown to be ubiquitinated as a result of autophosphorylation, thus promoting its own degradation and preventing centriole amplification. Unlike other Plks, Plk4 contains three rather than two Polo box domains, and the function of its third Polo box (PB3) is unclear. Here, we performed a functional analysis of Plk4's structural domains. Like other Plks, Plk4 possesses a previously unidentified autoinhibitory mechanism mediated by a linker (L1) near the kinase domain. Thus, autoinhibition is a conserved feature of Plks. In the case of Plk4, autoinhibition is relieved after homodimerization and is accomplished by PB3 and by autophosphorylation of L1. In contrast, autophosphorylation of the second linker promotes separation of the Plk4 homodimer. Therefore, autoinhibition delays the multiple consequences of activation until Plk4 dimerizes. These findings reveal a complex mechanism of Plk4 regulation and activation which govern the process of centriole duplication.

Although the nuclear envelope is primarily known for its role as a boundary between the nucleus and cytoplasm in eukaryotes, it plays a vital and dynamic role in many cellular processes. Studies of nuclear structure have revealed tissue specific changes in nuclear envelope architecture, suggesting that its three-dimensional structure contributes to its functionality. Despite the importance of the nuclear envelope, the factors that regulate and maintain nuclear envelope shape remain largely unexplored. The nuclear envelope makes extensive and dynamic interactions with the underlying chromatin. Given this inexorable link between chromatin and the nuclear envelope, it is possible that local and global chromatin organization reciprocally impact nuclear envelope form and function. In this study, we use Drosophila salivary glands to show that the three-dimensional structure of the nuclear envelope can be altered with condensin II-mediated chromatin condensation. Both naturally occurring and engineered chromatin-envelope interactions are sufficient to allow chromatin compaction forces to drive distortions of the nuclear envelope. Weakening of the nuclear lamina further enhanced envelope remodeling, suggesting that envelope structure is capable of counterbalancing chromatin compaction forces. Our experiments reveal that the nucleoplasmic reticulum is born of the nuclear envelope and remains dynamic, in that they can be reabsorbed into the nuclear envelope. We propose a model where inner nuclear envelope-chromatin tethers allow interphase chromosome movements to change nuclear envelope morphology. Therefore, interphase chromatin compaction may be a normal mechanism that reorganizes nuclear architecture, while under pathological conditions, such as laminopathies, compaction forces may contribute to defects in nuclear morphology.

The lung is a target organ for adverse health outcomes following exposure to As. Several studies have reported a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms and diseases in subjects highly exposed to As through drinking water; however, most studies to date has been performed in exposed adults, with little information on respiratory effects in children. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association between urinary levels of As and its metabolites with lung function in children exposed in utero and in early childhood to high As levels through drinking water. A total of 358 healthy children were included in our study. Individual exposure was assessed based on urinary concentration of inorganic As. Lung function was assessed by spirometry. Participants were exposed since pregnancy until early childhood to an average water As concentration of 152.13 µg l(-1) . The mean urinary As level registered in the studied subjects was 141.2 µg l(-1) and only 16.7% had a urinary concentration below the national concern level. Forced vital capacity was significantly decreased in the studied population and it was negatively associated with the percentage of inorganic As. More than 57% of the subjects had a restrictive spirometric pattern. The urinary As level was higher in those children with restrictive lung patterns when compared with the levels registered in subjects with normal spirometric patterns. Exposure to As through drinking water during in utero and early life was associated with a decrease in forced vital capacity and with a restrictive spirometric pattern in the children evaluated. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Arsenic is a lung toxicant that can lead to respiratory illness through inhalation and ingestion, although the most common exposure is through contaminated drinking water. Lung effects reported from arsenic exposure include lung cancer and obstructive lung disease, as well as reductions in lung function and immune response. As part of their role in innate immune function, airway epithelial cells provide a barrier that protects underlying tissue from inhaled particulates, pathogens, and toxicants frequently found in inspired air. We evaluated the effects of a five-day exposure to environmentally relevant levels of arsenic {<4μM [~300 μg/L (ppb)] as NaAsO2} on airway epithelial barrier function and structure. In a primary mouse tracheal epithelial (MTE) cell model we found that both micromolar (3.9 μM) and submicromolar (0.8 μM) arsenic concentrations reduced transepithelial resistance, a measure of barrier function. Immunofluorescent staining of arsenic-treated MTE cells showed altered patterns of localization of the transmembrane tight junction proteins claudin (Cl) Cl-1, Cl-4, Cl-7 and occludin at cell-cell contacts when compared with untreated controls. To better quantify arsenic-induced changes in tight junction transmembrane proteins we conducted arsenic exposure experiments with an immortalized human bronchial epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-). We found that arsenic exposure significantly increased the protein expression of Cl-4 and occludin as well as the mRNA levels of Cl-4 and Cl-7 in these cells. Additionally, arsenic exposure resulted in altered phosphorylation of occludin. In summary, exposure to environmentally relevant levels of arsenic can alter both the function and structure of airway epithelial barrier constituents. These changes likely contribute to the observed arsenic-induced loss in basic innate immune defense and increased infection in the airway.

No abstract given.

Cathepsin L (CatL) and cathepsin B (CatB) are lysosomal proteases that many viruses utilize for capsid disassembly. We tested whether CatL and CatB are required for infection by human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16). CatL- and CatB-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts had higher levels of infection when compared with wild-type cells. Similar results were obtained in HaCaT keratinocytes treated with CatL- or CatB-specific small interfering RNA. Thus, CatL and CatB are not required for HPV16 infection but instead appear to restrict infection.

During cellular invasion, human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) must transfer its viral genome (vDNA) across the endosomal membrane prior to its accumulation at nuclear PML bodies for the establishment of infection. After cellular uptake, the capsid likely undergoes pH-dependent disassembly within the endo-/lysosomal compartment, thereby exposing hidden domains in L2 that facilitate membrane penetration of L2/vDNA complexes. In an effort to identify regions of L2 that might physically interact with membranes, we have subjected the L2 sequence to multiple transmembrane (TM) domain prediction algorithms. Here, we describe a conserved TM domain within L2 (residues 45 to 67) and investigate its role in HPV16 infection. In vitro, the predicted TM domain adopts an alpha-helical structure in lipid environments and can function as a real TM domain, although not as efficiently as the bona fide TM domain of PDGFR. An L2 double point mutant renders the TM domain nonfunctional and blocks HPV16 infection by preventing endosomal translocation of vDNA. The TM domain contains three highly conserved GxxxG motifs. These motifs can facilitate homotypic and heterotypic interactions between TM helices, activities that may be important for vDNA translocation. Disruption of some of these GxxxG motifs resulted in noninfectious viruses, indicating a critical role in infection. Using a ToxR-based homo-oligomerization assay, we show a propensity for this TM domain to self-associate in a GxxxG-dependent manner. These data suggest an important role for the self-associating L2 TM domain and the conserved GxxxG motifs in the transfer of vDNA across the endo-/lysosomal membrane.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) L2 capsid protein plays an essential role during the early stages of viral infection, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its mode of action remain obscure. Using a proteomic approach, we have identified the adaptor protein, sorting nexin 17 (SNX17) as a strong interacting partner of HPV L2. This interaction occurs through a highly conserved SNX17 consensus binding motif, which is present in the majority of HPV L2 proteins analysed. Using mutants of L2 defective for SNX17 interaction, or siRNA ablation of SNX17 expression, we demonstrate that the interaction between L2 and SNX17 is essential for viral infection. Furthermore, loss of the L2-SNX17 interaction results in enhanced turnover of the L2 protein and decreased stability of the viral capsids, and concomitantly, there is a dramatic decrease in the efficiency with which viral genomes transit to the nucleus. Indeed, using a range of endosomal and lysosomal markers, we show that capsids defective in their capacity to bind SNX17 transit much more rapidly to the lysosomal compartment. These results demonstrate that the L2-SNX17 interaction is essential for viral infection and facilitates the escape of the L2-DNA complex from the late endosomal/lysosomal compartments.

Subspecies B1 human adenoviruses (HAdV-B1s) are important causative agents of acute respiratory disease, but the molecular bases of their distinct pathobiology are still poorly understood. Marked differences in genetic content between HAdV-B1s and the well-characterized HAdV-Cs that may contribute to distinct pathogenic properties map to the E3 region. Between the highly conserved E3-19K and E3-10.4K/RIDα open reading frames (ORFs), and in the same location as the HAdV-C ADP/E3-11.6K ORF, HAdV-B1s carry ORFs E3-20.1K and E3-20.5K and a polymorphic third ORF, designated E3-10.9K, that varies in the size of its predicted product among HAdV-B1 serotypes and genomic variants. As an initial effort to define the function of the E3-10.9K ORF, we carried out a biochemical characterization of E3-10.9K-encoded orthologous proteins and investigated their expression in infected cells. Sequence-based predictions suggested that E3-10.9K orthologs with a hydrophobic domain are integral membrane proteins. Ectopically expressed, C-terminally tagged (with enhanced green fluorescent protein [EGFP]) E3-10.9K and E3-9K localized primarily to the plasma membrane, while E3-7.7K localized primarily to a juxtanuclear compartment that could not be identified. EGFP fusion proteins with a hydrophobic domain were N and O glycosylated. EGFP-tagged E3-4.8K, which lacked the hydrophobic domain, displayed diffuse cellular localization similar to that of the EGFP control. E3-10.9K transcripts from the major late promoter were detected at late time points postinfection. A C-terminally hemagglutinin-tagged version of E3-9K was detected by immunoprecipitation at late times postinfection in the membrane fraction of mutant virus-infected cells. These data suggest a role for ORF E3-10.9K-encoded proteins at late stages of HAdV-B1 replication, with potentially important functional implications for the documented ORF polymorphism.

Minor capsid protein L2 performs an indispensable but uncharacterized role in human papillomavirus infections. A neutralizing B cell epitope has recently been mapped to the N-terminus of HPV16 L2, residues 17-36, and exposure of this region of L2 has been implicated in translocation of incoming virions from the endo/lysosomal compartment to the cellular cytoplasm. Here we examine the redox state of Cys22 and Cys28 two highly conserved cysteines located within this epitope. We also investigate the infectivity of virions containing L2 single and double cysteine point mutants.

Denaturing/non-reducing gel analysis and thiol labeling experiments of wild type and cysteine mutant HPV16 virion particles strongly support the existence of a buried intramolecular C22-C28 disulfide bond. The disulfide was confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry of L2 protein from non-reduced virions. Single C22S and C28S and the double C22/28S mutants were non-infectious but had no apparent defects in cell binding, endocytosis, or trafficking to lysosomes by 8 h post infection. During infection with L2 mutant particles, there was a marked decrease in L2 levels compared to wild type L2-containing virions, suggesting a failure of mutant L2/genome complexes to exit the endo/lysosomal compartment.

L2 residues C22 and C28 are bound as an intramolecular disulfide bond in HPV16 virions and are necessary for infectivity. Previous work has suggested that the furin-dependent exposure of the 17-36 epitope and subsequent interaction of this region with an unknown receptor is necessary for egress from the endo/lysosomal compartment and infection. Identification of the C22-C28 disulfide suggests that reduction of this disufide bond may be necessary for exposure of 17-36 and HPV16 infection.

Identification of the early microscopic changes associated with ovarian cancer may lead to development of a diagnostic test for high-risk women. In this study we use optical coherence tomography (OCT) and multiphoton microscopy (MPM) (collecting both two photon excited fluorescence [TPEF] and second harmonic generation [SHG]) to image mouse ovaries in vivo at multiple time points. We demonstrate the feasibility of imaging mouse ovaries in vivo during a long-term survival study and identify microscopic changes associated with early tumor development. These changes include alterations in tissue microstructure, as seen by OCT, alterations in cellular fluorescence and morphology, as seen by TPEF, and remodeling of collagen structure, as seen by SHG. These results suggest that a combined OCT-MPM system may be useful for early detection of ovarian cancer.

Chronic inflammation and enteric infections are frequently associated with epithelial Na(+)/H(+) exchange (NHE) inhibition. Alterations in electrolyte transport and in mucosal pH associated with inflammation may represent a key mechanism leading to changes in the intestinal microbial composition. NHE3 expression is essential for the maintenance of the epithelial barrier function. NHE3(-/-) mice develop spontaneous distal chronic colitis and are highly susceptible to dextran sulfate (DSS)-induced mucosal injury. Spontaneous colitis is reduced with broad-spectrum antibiotics treatment, thus highlighting the importance of the microbiota composition in NHE3 deficiency-mediated colitis. We herein characterized the colonic microbiome of wild-type (WT) and NHE3(-/-) mice housed in a conventional environment using 454 pyrosequencing. We demonstrated a significant decrease in the phylogenetic diversity of the luminal and mucosal microbiota of conventional NHE3(-/-) mice compared with WT. Rederivation of NHE3(-/-) mice from conventional to a barrier facility eliminated the signs of colitis and decreased DSS susceptibility. Reintroduction of the conventional microflora into WT and NHE3(-/-) mice from the barrier facility resulted in the restoration of the symptoms initially described in the conventional environment. Interestingly, qPCR analysis of the microbiota composition in mice kept in the barrier facility compared with reconventionalized mice showed a significant reduction of Clostridia classes IV and XIVa. Therefore, the gut microbiome plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of colitis in NHE3(-/-) mice, and, reciprocally, NHE3 also plays a critical role in shaping the gut microbiota. NHE3 deficiency may be a critical contributor to dysbiosis observed in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Decreased bone mineral density (BMD) represents an extraintestinal complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Vitamin D₃ has been considered a viable adjunctive therapy in IBD. However, vitamin D₃ plays a pleiotropic role in bone modeling and regulates the bone formation-resorption balance, depending on the physiological environment, and supplementation during active IBD may have unintended consequences. We evaluated the effects of vitamin D₃ supplementation during the active phase of disease on colonic inflammation, BMD, and bone metabolism in an adoptive IL-10-/- CD4⁺ T cell transfer model of chronic colitis. High-dose vitamin D₃ supplementation for 12 days during established disease had negligible effects on mucosal inflammation. Plasma vitamin D₃ metabolites correlated with diet, but not disease, status. Colitis significantly reduced BMD. High-dose vitamin D₃ supplementation did not affect cortical bone but led to a further deterioration of trabecular bone morphology. In mice fed a high vitamin D₃ diet, colitis more severely impacted bone formation markers (osteocalcin and bone alkaline phosphatase) and increased bone resorption markers, ratio of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand to osteoprotegrin transcript, plasma osteoprotegrin level, and the osteoclast activation marker tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (ACp5). Bone vitamin D receptor expression was increased in mice with chronic colitis, especially in the high vitamin D₃ group. Our data suggest that vitamin D₃, at a dose that does not improve inflammation, has no beneficial effects on bone metabolism and density during active colitis or may adversely affect BMD and bone turnover. These observations should be taken into consideration in the planning of further clinical studies with high-dose vitamin D₃ supplementation in patients with active IBD.

HER2/neu is an oncogene that facilitates neoplastic transformation due to its ability to transduce growth signals in a ligand-independent manner, is over-expressed in 20-30% of human breast cancers correlating with aggressive disease and has been successfully targeted with trastuzumab (Herceptin®). Because trastuzumab alone achieves only a 15-30% response rate, it is now commonly combined with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs. While the combination of trastuzumab plus chemotherapy has greatly improved response rates and increased survival, these conventional chemotherapy drugs are frequently associated with gastrointestinal and cardiac toxicity, bone marrow and immune suppression. These drawbacks necessitate the development of new, less toxic drugs that can be combined with trastuzumab. Recently, we reported that orally administered alpha-tocopheryloxyacetic acid (α-TEA), a novel ether derivative of alpha-tocopherol, dramatically suppressed primary tumor growth and reduced the incidence of lung metastases both in a transplanted and a spontaneous mouse model of breast cancer without discernable toxicity.

In this study we examined the effect of α-TEA plus HER2/neu-specific antibody treatment on HER2/neu-expressing breast cancer cells in vitro and in a HER2/neu positive human xenograft tumor model in vivo.

We show in vitro that α-TEA plus anti-HER2/neu antibody has an increased cytotoxic effect against murine mammary tumor cells and human breast cancer cells and that the anti-tumor effect of α-TEA is independent of HER2/neu status. More importantly, in a human breast cancer xenograft model, the combination of α-TEA plus trastuzumab resulted in faster tumor regression and more tumor-free animals than trastuzumab alone.

Due to the cancer cell selectivity of α-TEA, and because α-TEA kills both HER2/neu positive and HER2/neu negative breast cancer cells, it has the potential to be effective and less toxic than existing chemotherapeutic drugs when used in combination with HER2/neu antibody.

The Par-3/Par-6/aPKC complex is the primary determinant of apical polarity in epithelia across animal species, but how the activity of this complex is restricted to allow polarization of the basolateral domain is less well understood. In Drosophila, several multiprotein modules antagonize the Par complex through a variety of means. Here we identify a new mechanism involving regulated protein degradation. Strong mutations in supernumerary limbs (slmb), which encodes the substrate adaptor of an SCF-class E3 ubiquitin ligase, cause dramatic loss of polarity in imaginal discs accompanied by tumorous proliferation defects. Slmb function is required to restrain apical aPKC activity in a manner that is independent of endolysosomal trafficking and parallel to the Scribble module of junctional scaffolding proteins. The involvement of the Slmb E3 ligase in epithelial polarity, specifically limiting Par complex activity to distinguish the basolateral domain, points to parallels with polarization of the C. elegans zygote.

Pericentrin is a critical centrosomal protein required for organizing pericentriolar material (PCM) in mitosis. Mutations in Pericentrin cause the human genetic disorder MOPD II, making a detailed understanding of its regulation extremely important. Germaine to Pericentrin's function in organizing PCM is its ability to localize to the centrosome through the conserved C-terminal PACT domain. Here, we use Drosophila Pericentrin-Like-Protein (PLP) to understand how the PACT domain is regulated. We show that the interaction of PLP with Calmodulin (CaM) at two highly conserved CaM binding sites in the PACT domain controls the proper targeting of PLP to the centrosome. Disrupting the PLP-CaM interaction with single point mutations renders PLP inefficient in localizing to centrioles in cultured S2 cells and Drosophila neuroblasts. Although levels of PCM are unaffected, it is highly disorganized. We also demonstrate that basal body formation in the male testes and the production of functional sperm does not rely on the PLP-CaM interaction, while production of functional mechanosensory neurons does.

Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) isoforms ζ and λ interact with polarity complex protein Par3 and are evolutionarily conserved regulators of cell polarity. Prkcz encodes aPKC-ζ and PKM-ζ, a truncated, neuron-specific alternative transcript, and Prkcl encodes aPKC-λ. Here we show that, in embryonic hippocampal neurons, two aPKC isoforms, aPKC-λ and PKM-ζ, are expressed. The localization of these isoforms is spatially distinct in a polarized neuron. aPKC-λ, as well as Par3, localizes at the presumptive axon, whereas PKM-ζ and Par3 are distributed at non-axon-forming neurites. PKM-ζ competes with aPKC-λ for binding to Par3 and disrupts the aPKC-λ-Par3 complex. Silencing of PKM-ζ or overexpression of aPKC-λ in hippocampal neurons alters neuronal polarity, resulting in neurons with supernumerary axons. In contrast, the overexpression of PKM-ζ prevents axon specification. Our studies suggest a molecular model wherein mutually antagonistic intermolecular competition between aPKC isoforms directs the establishment of neuronal polarity.

Epithelial cells display distinct apical and basolateral membrane domains, and maintenance of this asymmetry is essential to the function of epithelial tissues. Polarized delivery of apical and basolateral membrane proteins from the trans Golgi network (TGN) and/or endosomes to the correct domain requires specific cytoplasmic machinery to control the sorting, budding and fission of vesicles. However, the molecular machinery that regulates polarized delivery of apical proteins remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that the small guanosine triphosphatase Rab14 is involved in the apical targeting pathway. Using yeast two-hybrid analysis and glutathione S-transferase pull down, we show that Rab14 interacts with apical membrane proteins and localizes to the TGN and apical endosomes. Overexpression of the GDP mutant form of Rab14 (S25N) induces an enlargement of the TGN and vesicle accumulation around Golgi membranes. Moreover, expression of Rab14-S25N results in mislocalization of the apical raft-associated protein vasoactive intestinal peptide/MAL to the basolateral domain but does not disrupt basolateral targeting or recycling. These data suggest that Rab14 specifically regulates delivery of cargo from the TGN to the apical domain.

During development, neuronal processes extend, branch and navigate to ultimately synapse with target tissue. We have shown a regulatory role for ARNO and ARF6 in dendritic branching and axonal elongation and branching during neuritogenesis, particularly with respect to cytoskeletal dynamics. Here, we have examined the role of ARF6 and the ARF GEF ARNO in endosomal dynamics during neurite elongation in hippocampal neurons. Axonal and dendritic endosomes were labeled by expression of the endosomal marker, endotubin. Expression of endotubin-green fluorescent protein resulted in targeting to tubular-vesicular structures throughout the somatodendritic and axonal domains. These endosomal structures did not colocalize with conventional early or late endosomal markers or with the synaptic vesicle marker, SV2. However, they did label with internalized lectin, indicating that they are endosomal structures. Expression of catalytically inactive ARNO (ARNO-E156K) or inactive ARF6 (ARF6-T27N) caused a redistribution of endotubin to the cell surface of the axons and dendrites. In contrast, expression of these constructs had no effect upon the distribution of SV2-positive structures. Furthermore, expression of inactive ARF1 (ARF1-T31N) did not change endotubin distribution. These results suggest that endotubin labels a distinct endosomal structure in neurons and that ARNO and ARF6 mediate neurite extension through the regulation of this compartment.

In the developing nervous system, controlled neurite extension and branching are critical for the establishment of connections between neurons and their targets. Although much is known about the regulation of axonal development, many of the molecular events that regulate axonal extension remain unknown. ADP-ribosylation factor nucleotide-binding site opener (ARNO) and ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF)6 have important roles in the regulation of the cytoskeleton as well as membrane trafficking. To investigate the role of these molecules in axonogenesis, we expressed ARNO and ARF6 in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Expression of catalytically inactive ARNO or dominant negative ARF6 resulted in enhanced axonal extension and branching and this effect was abrogated by coexpression of constitutively active ARF6. We sought to identify the downstream effectors of ARF6 during neurite extension by coexpressing phosphatidyl-inositol-4-phosphate 5-Kinase alpha [PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha] with catalytically inactive ARNO and dominant negative ARF6. We found that PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha plays a role in neurite extension and branching downstream of ARF6. Also, expression of inactive ARNO/ARF6 depleted the actin binding protein mammalian ena (Mena) from the growth cone leading edge, indicating that these effects on axonogenesis may be mediated by changes in cytoskeletal dynamics. These results suggest that ARNO and ARF6, through PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha, regulate axonal elongation and branching during neuronal development.