Deborah C Nycz

University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, United States

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Publications (4)58.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The arginine-type soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (R-SNARE) ykt6 possesses several atypical properties including selective high expression in neurons, a lipidated C-terminus, localization to punctae that do not correspond with known endomembrane markers, a potent ability to protect the secretory pathway from alpha-synuclein over-expression and specific up-regulation in tumors. We have followed up on several of these features that together suggest nontraditional SNARE structures and functions. A significant portion of ykt6 in PC12 cells was found in a protease-resistant state suggestive of a large complex or aggregate. Other endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi SNAREs were not protease resistant, demonstrating that SNARE complexes per se did not cause protease resistance. Mutagenesis indicated that lipidation of the ykt6 C-terminus was also not involved, implicating its longin domain in particle formation. Immunogold electron microscopy revealed ykt6 labeling of ∼100 nm electron densities associated with diverse membranes. Density gradient analysis of the protease-resistant structures confirmed their tight association with membranes. Since excess ykt6 has been correlated with tumorigenesis, we tested whether ykt6 over-expression in normal rat kidney cells that normally express little ykt6 affected the cell cycle. Ykt6 over-expression was found to result in altered cell division cycles as evidenced by significantly smaller cells, a higher mitotic index and increased DNA synthesis. Mutagenesis studies dis-correlated SNARE function with the cell cycle effects; instead, the cell cycle effects correlated better with ykt6 properties related to the longin domain or particle formation. The ykt6 particles/aggregates may represent ykt6 engaged in a non-SNARE function(s) or else nonfunctional, stored and/or excess ykt6. Whether the particulate ykt6 structures represent a means of buffering the apparent proliferative activity or are in fact mechanistically related to this activity will be of future interest in neuroscience and cancer biology.
    Biology of the Cell 03/2012; 104(7):397-417. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: How the directionality of vesicle traffic is achieved remains an important unanswered question in cell biology. The Sec23p/Sec24p coat complex sorts the fusion machinery (SNAREs) into vesicles as they bud from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Vesicle tethering to the Golgi begins when the tethering factor TRAPPI binds to Sec23p. Where the coat is released and how this event relates to membrane fusion is unknown. Here we use a yeast transport assay to demonstrate that an ER-derived vesicle retains its coat until it reaches the Golgi. A Golgi-associated kinase, Hrr25p (CK1δ orthologue), then phosphorylates the Sec23p/Sec24p complex. Coat phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are needed for vesicle fusion and budding, respectively. Additionally, we show that Sec23p interacts in a sequential manner with different binding partners, including TRAPPI and Hrr25p, to ensure the directionality of ER-Golgi traffic and prevent the back-fusion of a COPII vesicle with the ER. These events are conserved in mammalian cells.
    Nature 05/2011; 473(7346):181-6. · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toxicity of human alpha-synuclein when expressed in simple organisms can be suppressed by overexpression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-Golgi transport machinery, suggesting that inhibition of constitutive secretion represents a fundamental cause of the toxicity. Whether similar inhibition in mammals represents a cause of familial Parkinson's disease has not been established. We tested elements of this hypothesis by expressing human alpha-synuclein in mammalian kidney and neuroendocrine cells and assessing ER-to-Golgi transport. Overexpression of wild type or the familial disease-associated A53T mutant alpha-synuclein delayed transport by up to 50%; however, A53T inhibited more potently. The secretory delay occurred at low expression levels and was not accompanied by insoluble alpha-synuclein aggregates or mistargeting of transport machinery, suggesting a direct action of soluble alpha-synuclein on trafficking proteins. Co-overexpression of ER/Golgi arginine soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (R-SNAREs) specifically rescued transport, indicating that alpha-synuclein antagonizes SNARE function. Ykt6 reversed alpha-synuclein inhibition much more effectively than sec22b, suggesting a possible neuroprotective role for the enigmatic high expression of ykt6 in neurons. In in vitro reconstitutions, purified alpha-synuclein A53T protein specifically inhibited COPII vesicle docking and fusion at a pre-Golgi step. Finally, soluble alpha-synuclein A53T directly bound ER/Golgi SNAREs and inhibited SNARE complex assembly, providing a potential mechanism for toxic effects in the early secretory pathway.
    Molecular biology of the cell 06/2010; 21(11):1850-63. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The significance and extent of Ca(2+) regulation of the biosynthetic secretory pathway have been difficult to establish, and our knowledge of regulatory relationships integrating Ca(2+) with vesicle coats and function is rudimentary. Here, we investigated potential roles and mechanisms of luminal Ca(2+) in the early secretory pathway. Specific depletion of luminal Ca(2+) in living normal rat kidney cells using cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) resulted in the extreme expansion of vesicular tubular cluster (VTC) elements. Consistent with this, a suppressive role for vesicle-associated Ca(2+) in COPII vesicle homotypic fusion was demonstrated in vitro using Ca(2+) chelators. The EF-hand-containing protein apoptosis-linked gene 2 (ALG-2), previously implicated in the stabilization of sec31 at endoplasmic reticulum exit sites, inhibited COPII vesicle fusion in a Ca(2+)-requiring manner, suggesting that ALG-2 may be a sensor for the effects of vesicular Ca(2+) on homotypic fusion. Immunoisolation established that Ca(2+) chelation inhibits and ALG-2 specifically favors residual retention of the COPII outer shell protein sec31 on pre-Golgi fusion intermediates. We conclude that vesicle-associated Ca(2+), acting through ALG-2, favors the retention of residual coat molecules that seem to suppress membrane fusion. We propose that in cells, these Ca(2+)-dependent mechanisms temporally regulate COPII vesicle interactions, VTC biogenesis, cargo sorting, and VTC maturation.
    Molecular biology of the cell 03/2010; 21(6):1033-46. · 5.98 Impact Factor