Elizabeth Stivison

Columbia University, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (4)15.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A subgroup of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) family of pore-forming toxins (PFTs) has an unusually narrow host range due to a requirement for binding to human CD59 (hCD59), a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked complement regulatory molecule. hCD59-specific CDCs are produced by several organisms that inhabit human mucosal surfaces and can act as pathogens, including Gardnerella vaginalis and Streptococcus intermedius. The consequences and potential selective advantages of such PFT host limitation have remained unknown. Here, we demonstrate that, in addition to species restriction, PFT ligation of hCD59 triggers a previously unrecognized pathway for programmed necrosis in primary erythrocytes (red blood cells [RBCs]) from humans and transgenic mice expressing hCD59. Because they lack nuclei and mitochondria, RBCs have typically been thought to possess limited capacity to undergo programmed cell death. RBC programmed necrosis shares key molecular factors with nucleated cell necroptosis, including dependence on Fas/FasL signaling and RIP1 phosphorylation, necrosome assembly, and restriction by caspase-8. Death due to programmed necrosis in RBCs is executed by acid sphingomyelinase-dependent ceramide formation, NADPH oxidase- and iron-dependent reactive oxygen species formation, and glycolytic formation of advanced glycation end products. Bacterial PFTs that are hCD59 independent do not induce RBC programmed necrosis. RBC programmed necrosis is biochemically distinct from eryptosis, the only other known programmed cell death pathway in mature RBCs. Importantly, RBC programmed necrosis enhances the growth of PFT-producing pathogens during exposure to primary RBCs, consistent with a role for such signaling in microbial growth and pathogenesis.
    mBio 01/2014; 5(5). · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inactivating mutations in the neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) tumor suppressor gene results in the development of schwannomas and meningiomas. Using NF2-deficient meningioma cells and tumors, together with the normal cellular counterparts that meningiomas derive, arachnoid cells, we identified merlin as a novel negative regulator of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1). We now show that merlin positively regulates the kinase activity of mTORC2, a second functionally distinct mTOR complex, and that downstream phosphorylation of mTORC2 substrates, including Akt, is reduced upon acute merlin deficiency in cells. In response to general growth factor stimulation, Akt signaling is attenuated in merlin RNA interference-suppressed human arachnoid and Schwann cells by mechanisms mediated by hyperactive mTORC1 and impaired mTORC2. Moreover, Akt signaling is impaired differentially in a cell type-dependent manner in response to distinct growth factor stimuli. However, contrary to activation of mTORC1, the attenuated mTORC2 signaling profiles exhibited by normal arachnoid and Schwann cells in response to acute merlin loss were not consistently reflected in NF2-deficient meningiomas and schwannomas, suggesting additional genetic events may have been acquired in tumors after initial merlin loss. This finding contrasts with another benign tumor disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex, which exhibits attenuated mTORC2 signaling profiles in both cells and tumors. Finally, we examined rapamycin, as well as the mTOR kinase inhibitor, Torin1, targeting both mTOR complexes to identify the most efficacious class of compounds for blocking mTOR-mediated signaling and proliferation in merlin-deficient meningioma cells. These studies may ultimately aid in the development of suitable therapeutics for NF2-associated tumors.
    Molecular Cancer Research 03/2012; 10(5):649-59. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The SecA nanomotor promotes protein translocation in eubacteria by binding both protein cargo and the protein-conducting channel and by undergoing ATP-driven conformation cycles that drive this process. There are conflicting reports about whether SecA functions as a monomer or dimer during this dynamic process. Here we reexamined the roles of the amino and carboxyl termini of SecA in promoting its dimerization and functional state by examining three secA mutants and the corresponding proteins: SecADelta8 lacking residues 2 to 8, SecADelta11 lacking residues 2 to 11, and SecADelta11/N95 lacking both residues 2 to 11 and the carboxyl-terminal 70 residues. We demonstrated that whether SecADelta11 or SecADelta11/N95 was functional for promoting cell growth depended solely on the vivo level of the protein, which appeared to govern residual dimerization. All three SecA mutant proteins were defective for promoting cell growth unless they were highly overproduced. Cell fractionation revealed that SecADelta11 and SecADelta11/N95 were proficient in membrane association, although the formation of integral membrane SecA was reduced. The presence of a modestly higher level of SecADelta11/N95 in the membrane and the ability of this protein to form dimers, as detected by chemical cross-linking, were consistent with the higher level of secA expression and better growth of the SecADelta11/N95 mutant than of the SecADelta11 mutant. Biochemical studies showed that SecADelta11 and SecADelta11/N95 had identical dimerization defects, while SecADelta8 was intermediate between these proteins and wild-type SecA in terms of dimer formation. Furthermore, both SecADelta11 and SecADelta11/N95 were equally defective in translocation ATPase specific activity. Our studies showed that the nonessential carboxyl-terminal 70 residues of SecA play no role in its dimerization, while increasing the truncation of the amino-terminal region of SecA from 8 to 11 residues results in increased defects in SecA dimerization and poor in vivo function unless the protein is highly overexpressed. They also clarified a number of conflicting previous reports and support the essential nature of the SecA dimer.
    Journal of bacteriology 09/2008; 190(21):7302-7. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    Elizabeth Anne Stivison
    Honors Theses - All.