Rab5-mediated endocytosis of activin is not required for gene activation or long-range signalling in Xenopus.
ABSTRACT Morphogen gradients provide positional cues for cell fate specification and tissue patterning during embryonic development. One important aspect of morphogen function, the mechanism by which long-range signalling occurs, is still poorly understood. In Xenopus, members of the TGF-beta family such as the nodal-related proteins and activin act as morphogens to induce mesoderm and endoderm. In an effort to understand the mechanisms and dynamics of morphogen gradient formation, we have used fluorescently labelled activin to study ligand distribution and Smad2/Smad4 bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) to analyse, in a quantitative manner, the cellular response to induction. Our results indicate that labelled activin travels exclusively through the extracellular space and that its range is influenced by numbers of type II activin receptors on responding cells. Inhibition of endocytosis, by means of a dominant-negative form of Rab5, blocks internalisation of labelled activin, but does not affect the ability of cells to respond to activin and does not significantly influence signalling range. Together, our data indicate that long-range signalling in the early Xenopus embryo, in contrast to some other developmental systems, occurs through extracellular movement of ligand. Signalling range is not regulated by endocytosis, but is influenced by numbers of cognate receptors on the surfaces of responding cells.
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ABSTRACT: After activation by Wnt/β-Catenin ligands, a multi-protein complex assembles at the clustering membrane-bound receptors and intracellular signal transducers into the so-called Lrp6-signalosome. However, the mechanism of signalosome formation and dissolution is yet not clear. Our imaging studies of live zebrafish embryos show that the signalosome is a highly dynamic structure. It is continuously assembled by Dvl2-mediated recruitment of the transducer complex to the activated receptors and partially disassembled by endocytosis. We find that, after internalization, the ligand-receptor complex and the transducer complex take separate routes. The Wnt-Fz-Lrp6 complex follows a Rab-positive endocytic path. However, when still bound to the transducer complex, Dvl2 forms intracellular aggregates. We show that this endocytic process is not only essential for ligand-receptor internalization but also for signaling. The μ2-subunit of the endocytic Clathrin adaptor Ap2 interacts with Dvl2 to maintain its stability during endocytosis. Blockage of Ap2μ2 function leads to Dvl2 degradation, inhibiton of signalosome formation at the plasma membrane and, consequently, reduction of signaling. We conclude that Ap2μ2-mediated endocytosis is important to maintain Wnt/β-catenin signaling in vertebrates.Journal of Cell Science 09/2014; 127(18):3970-82. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Morphogens are substances that establish a graded distribution and elicit distinct cellular responses in a dose-dependent manner. They function to provide individual cells within a field with positional information, which is interpreted to give rise to spatial patterns. Morphogens can consist of intracellular factors that set up a concentration gradient by diffusion in the cytoplasm. More commonly, morphogens comprise secreted proteins that form an extracellular gradient across a field of cells. Experimental studies and computational analyses have provided support for a number of diverse strategies by which extracellular morphogen gradients are formed. These include free diffusion in the extracellular space, restricted diffusion aided by interactions with heparan sulfate proteoglycans, transport on lipid-containing carriers or transport aided by soluble binding partners. More specialized modes of transport have also been postulated such as transcytosis, in which repeated rounds of secretion, endocytosis, and intracellular trafficking move morphogens through cells rather than around them, or cytonemes, which consist of filopodial extensions from signal-receiving cells that are hypothesized to reach out to morphogen-sending cells. Once the gradient has formed, cells must distinguish small differences in morphogen concentration and store this information even after the gradient has dissipated. This is often achieved by translating ligand concentration into a proportional increase in numbers of activated cell surface receptors that are internalized and continue to signal from endosomal compartments. Ultimately, this leads to activation of one or a few transcription factors that transduce this information into qualitatively distinct gene responses inside the nucleus. WIREs Dev Biol 2012, 1:3-15. doi: 10.1002/wdev.2 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Developmental biology. 01/2012; 1(1):3-15.
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ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor β superfamily members signal through Smad transcription factors. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) act via Smads 1, 5 and 8 and TGF-βs signal through Smads 2 and 3. The endocytic adaptor protein Eps15R, or 'epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor pathway substrate 15-related protein' is a component of EGF signal transduction, mediating internalization of the EGF receptor. We show that it interacts with Smad proteins, is required for BMP signalling in animal caps and stimulates Smad1 transcriptional activity. This function resides in the Asp-Pro-Phe motif-enriched 'DPF domain' of Eps15R, which activates transcription and antagonizes Smad2 signalling. In living cells, Eps15R segregates into spatially distinct regions with different Smads, indicating an unrecognized level of Smad compartmentalization.Open Biology 04/2012; 2(4):120060. · 3.27 Impact Factor