[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B-Raf and C-Raf kinases have emerged as critical players in melanoma. However, little is known about their role during development and homeostasis of the melanocyte lineage. Here, we report that knockout of B-raf and C-raf genes in this lineage results in normal pigmentation at birth with no defect in migration, proliferation, or differentiation of melanoblasts in mouse hair follicles. In contrast, the double raf knockout mice displayed hair graying resulting from a defect in cell-cycle entry of melanocyte stem cells (MSCs) and their subsequent depletion in the hair follicle bulge. Therefore, Raf signaling is dispensable for early melanocyte lineage development, but necessary for MSC maintenance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B-raf proto-oncogene exerts essential functions during development and adulthood. It is required for various processes, such as placental development, postnatal nervous system myelination and adult learning and memory. The mouse B-raf gene encodes several isoforms resulting from alternative splicing of exons 8b and 9b located in the hinge region upstream of the kinase domain. These alternative sequences modulate the biochemical and biological properties of B-Raf proteins. To gain insight into the physiological importance of B-raf alternative splicing, we generated two conditional knockout mice of exons 8b and 9b. Homozygous animals with a constitutive deletion of either exon are healthy and fertile, and survive up to 18 months without any visible abnormalities, demonstrating that alternative splicing is not essential for embryonic development and brain myelination. However, behavioural analyses revealed that expression of exon 9b-containing isoforms is required for B-Raf function in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. In contrast, mice mutated on exon 8b are not impaired in this function. Interestingly, our results suggest that exon 8b is present only in eutherians and its splicing is differentially regulated among species.
PLoS ONE 12/2010; 5(12):e15272. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0015272 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B-Raf proto-oncogene encodes several isoforms resulting from alternative splicing in the hinge region upstream of the kinase domain. The presence of exon 8b in the B2-Raf(8b) isoform and exon 9b in the B3-Raf(9b) isoform differentially regulates B-Raf by decreasing and increasing MEK activating and oncogenic activities, respectively. Using different cell systems, we investigated here the molecular basis of this regulation. We show that exons 8b and 9b interfere with the ability of the B-Raf N-terminal region to interact with and inhibit the C-terminal kinase domain, thus modulating the autoinhibition mechanism in an opposite manner. Exons 8b and 9b are flanked by two residues reported to down-regulate B-Raf activity upon phosphorylation. The S365A mutation increased the activity of all B-Raf isoforms, but the effect on B2-Raf(8b) was more pronounced. This was correlated to the high level of S365 phosphorylation in this isoform, whereas the B3-Raf(9b) isoform was poorly phosphorylated on this residue. In contrast, S429 was equally phosphorylated in all B-Raf isoforms, but the S429A mutation activated B2-Raf(8b), whereas it inhibited B3-Raf(9b). These results indicate that phosphorylation on both S365 and S429 participate in the differential regulation of B-Raf isoforms through distinct mechanisms. Finally, we show that autoinhibition and phosphorylation represent independent but convergent mechanisms accounting for B-Raf regulation by alternative splicing.