[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translation elongation factor isoform eEF1A2 is expressed in muscle and neurons. Deletion of eEF1A2 in mice gives rise to the neurodegenerative phenotype "wasted" (wst). Mice homozygous for the wasted mutation die of muscle wasting and neurodegeneration at four weeks post-natal. Although the mutation is said to be recessive, aged heterozygous mice have never been examined in detail; a number of other mouse models of motor neuron degeneration have recently been shown to have similar, albeit less severe, phenotypic abnormalities in the heterozygous state. We therefore examined the effects of ageing on a cohort of heterozygous +/wst mice and control mice, in order to establish whether a presumed 50% reduction in eEF1A2 expression was compatible with normal function. We evaluated the grip strength assay as a way of distinguishing between wasted and wild-type mice at 3-4 weeks, and then performed the same assay in older +/wst and wild-type mice. We also used rotarod performance and immunohistochemistry of spinal cord sections to evaluate the phenotype of aged heterozygous mice. Heterozygous mutant mice showed no deficit in neuromuscular function or signs of spinal cord pathology, in spite of the low levels of eEF1A2.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e41917. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translation elongation isoform eEF1A1 has a pivotal role in protein synthesis and is almost ubiquitously expressed. In mice and rats that transcription of the gene encoding eEF1A1 is downregulated to undetectable levels in muscle after weaning; eEF1A1 is then replaced by a separately encoded but closely related isoform eEF1A2, which has only previously been described in mammals. We now show that not only is eEF1A2 conserved in non-mammalian vertebrate species, but the down-regulation of eEF1A1 protein in muscle is preserved in Xenopus, with the protein being undetectable by adulthood. Interestingly, though, this down-regulation is controlled post-transcriptionally, and levels of full-length eEF1A1 mRNA remain similar to those of eEF1A2. The switching off of eEF1A1 in muscle is therefore sufficiently important to have evolved through the use of repression operating at different levels in different species. The 3'UTR of eEF1A1 is highly conserved and contains predicted binding sites for several miRNAs, suggesting a possible method for controlling of expression. We suggest that isoform switching may have evolved because of a need for certain cell types to modify the well-established non-canonical functions of eEF1A1.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2011; 411(1):19-24. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The canonical function of EEF1A2, normally expressed only in muscle, brain, and heart, is in translational elongation, but recent studies suggest a non-canonical function as a proto-oncogene that is overexpressed in a variety of solid tumors including breast and ovary. Transcriptional profiling of a spectrum of primary mouse B cell lineage neoplasms showed that transcripts encoding EEF1A2 were uniquely overexpressed in plasmacytomas (PCT), tumors of mature plasma cells. Cases of human multiple myeloma expressed significantly higher levels of EEF1A2 transcripts than normal bone marrow plasma cells. High-level expression was also a feature of a subset of cell lines developed from mouse PCT and from the human MM.
Heightened expression of EEF1A2 was not associated with increased copy number or coding sequence mutations. shRNA-mediated knockdown of Eef1a2 transcripts and protein was associated with growth inhibition due to delayed G1-S progression, and effects on apoptosis that were seen only under serum-starved conditions. Transcriptional profiles and western blot analyses of knockdown cells revealed impaired JAK/STAT and PI3K/AKT signaling suggesting their contributions to EEF1A2-mediated effects on PCT induction or progression.
EEF1A2 may play contribute to the induction or progression of some PCT and a small percentage of MM. Eef1a2 could also prove to be a useful new marker for a subset of MM and, ultimately, a possible target for therapy.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(5):e10755. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translation elongation factor eEF1A (eukaryotic elongation factor 1A) exists as two individually encoded variants in mammals, which are 98% similar and 92% identical at the amino acid level. One variant, eEF1A1, is almost ubiquitously expressed, the other variant, eEF1A2, shows a very restricted pattern of expression. A spontaneous mutation was described in 1972, which gives rise to the wasted phenotype: homozygous wst/wst mice develop normally until shortly after weaning, but then lose muscle bulk, acquire tremors and gait abnormalities and die by 4 weeks. This mutation has been shown to be a deletion of 15 kb that removes the promoter and first exon of the gene encoding eEF1A2. The reciprocal pattern of expression of eEF1A1 and eEF1A2 in muscle fits well with the timing of onset of the phenotype of wasted mice: eEF1A1 declines after birth until it is undetectable by 3 weeks, whereas eEF1A2 expression increases over this time. No other gene is present in the wasted deletion, and transgenic studies have shown that the phenotype is due to loss of eEF1A2. We have shown that eEF1A2, but not eEF1A1, is also expressed at high levels in motor neurons in the spinal cord. Wasted mice develop many pathological features of motor neuron degeneration and may represent a good model for early onset of motor neuron disease. Molecular modelling of the eEF1A1 and eEF1A2 protein structures highlights differences between the two variants that may be critical for functional differences. Interactions between eEF1A2 and ZPR1 (zinc-finger protein 1), which interacts with the SMN (survival motor neuron) protein, may be important in motor neuron biology.
Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2009; 37(Pt 6):1293-7. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite sharing 92% sequence identity, paralogous human translation elongation factor 1 alpha-1 (eEF1A1) and elongation factor 1 alpha-2 (eEF1A2) have different but overlapping functional profiles. This may reflect the differential requirements of the cell-types in which they are expressed and is consistent with complex roles for these proteins that extend beyond delivery of tRNA to the ribosome.
To investigate the structural basis of these functional differences, we created and validated comparative three-dimensional (3-D) models of eEF1A1 and eEF1A2 on the basis of the crystal structure of homologous eEF1A from yeast. The spatial location of amino acid residues that vary between the two proteins was thereby pinpointed, and their surface electrostatic and lipophilic properties were compared. None of the variations amongst buried amino acid residues are judged likely to have a major structural effect on the protein fold, or to affect domain-domain interactions. Nearly all the variant surface-exposed amino acid residues lie on one face of the protein, in two proximal but distinct sub-clusters. The result of previously performed mutagenesis in yeast may be interpreted as confirming the importance of one of these clusters in actin-bundling and filament disorganization. Interestingly, some variant residues lie in close proximity to, and in a few cases show differences in interactions with, residues previously inferred to be directly involved in binding GTP/GDP, eEF1Balpha and aminoacyl-tRNA. Additional sequence-based predictions, in conjunction with the 3-D models, reveal likely differences in phosphorylation sites that could reconcile some of the functional differences between the two proteins.
The revelation and putative functional assignment of two distinct sub-clusters on the surface of the protein models should enable rational site-directed mutagenesis, including homologous reverse-substitution experiments, to map surface binding patches onto these proteins. The predicted variant-specific phosphorylation sites also provide a basis for experimental verification by mutagenesis. The models provide a structural framework for interpretation of the resulting functional analysis.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6315. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translation elongation factor eEF1A, formerly known as EF-1 alpha, exists as two variant forms; eEF1A1, which is almost ubiquitously expressed, and eEF1A2, whose expression is restricted to muscle and brain at the level of whole tissues. Expression analysis of these genes has been complicated by a general lack of availability of antibodies that specifically recognize each variant form. Wasted mice (wst/wst) have a 15.8-kilobase deletion that abolishes activity of eEF1A2, but before this study it was unknown whether the deletion also affected neighboring genes. We have generated a panel of anti-peptide antibodies and used them to show that eEF1A2 is expressed at high levels in specific cell types in tissues previously thought not to express this variant, such as pancreatic islet cells and enteroendocrine cells in colon crypts. Expression of eEF1A1 and eEF1A2 is shown to be generally mutually exclusive, and we relate the expression pattern of eEF1A2 to the phenotype seen in wasted mice. We then carried out a series of transgenic experiments to establish whether the expression of other genes is affected by the deletion in wasted mice. We show that aspects of the phenotype such as motor neuron degeneration relate precisely to the relative expression of eEF1A1 and eEF1A2, whereas the immune system abnormalities are likely to result from a stress response. We conclude that loss of eEF1A2 function is solely responsible for the abnormalities seen in these mice.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2007; 282(39):28951-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tissue-specific translation elongation factor eEF1A2 is a potential oncogene that is overexpressed in human ovarian cancer. eEF1A2 is highly similar (98%) to the near-ubiquitously expressed eEF1A1 (formerly known as EF1-alpha) making analysis with commercial antibodies difficult. We wanted to establish the expression pattern of eEF1A2 in ovarian cancer of defined histological subtypes at both the RNA and protein level, and to establish the mechanism for the overexpression of eEF1A2 in tumours. We show that while overexpression of eEF1A2 is seen at both the RNA and protein level in up to 75% of clear cell carcinomas, it occurs at a lower frequency in other histological subtypes. The copy number at the EEF1A2 locus does not correlate with expression level of the gene, no functional mutations were found, and the gene is unmethylated in both normal and tumour DNA, showing that overexpression is not dependent on genetic or epigenetic modifications at the EEF1A2 locus. We suggest that the cause of overexpression of eEF1A2 may be the inappropriate expression of a trans-acting factor. The oncogenicity of eEF1A2 may be related either to its role in protein synthesis or to potential non-canonical functions.
British Journal of Cancer 06/2007; 96(10):1613-20. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wasted (wst) is a spontaneous autosomal recessive mutation in which the gene encoding translation factor eEF1A2 is deleted. Homozygous mice show tremors and disturbances of gait shortly after weaning, followed by motor neuron degeneration, paralysis, and death by about 28 days. We have now conducted a more detailed analysis of neuromuscular pathology in these animals. Reactive gliosis was observed at 19 days postnatal in wst/wst cervical spinal cord, showing a rostrocaudal gradient. This was followed a few days later by motor neuron vacuolation and neurofilament accumulation, again with a rostrocaudal progression. Thoracic/abdominal muscles from wst/wst mice aged 17 days showed evidence of progressive denervation of motor endplates, including weak synaptic transmission and retraction of motor nerve terminals. Similar abnormalities appeared in distal, lumbrical muscles from about 25 days of age. We conclude that spontaneous failure of eEF1A2 expression in the wasted mutant first triggers gliosis in spinal cord and retraction of motor nerve terminals in muscle, and then motor neuron pathology and death. The early initiation and rapid progression of motor unit degeneration in wst/wst mice suggest that they should be considered an important and accessible model of early-onset motor neuron degeneration in humans.
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 05/2005; 64(4):295-303. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tissue-specific translation elongation factor eEF1A2 was recently shown to be a potential oncogene that is overexpressed in ovarian cancer. Although there is no direct evidence for an involvement of eEF1A2 in breast cancer, the genomic region to which EEF1A2 maps, 20q13, is frequently amplified in breast tumours. We therefore sought to establish whether eEF1A2 expression might be upregulated in breast cancer.
eEF1A2 is highly similar (98%) to the near-ubiquitously expressed eEF1A1 (formerly known as EF1-alpha) making analysis with commercial antibodies difficult. We have developed specific anti-eEF1A2 antibodies and used them in immunohistochemical analyses of tumour samples. We report the novel finding that although eEF1A2 is barely detectable in normal breast it is moderately to strongly expressed in two-thirds of breast tumours. This overexpression is strongly associated with estrogen receptor positivity.
eEF1A2 should be considered as a putative oncogene in breast cancer that may be a useful diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for a high proportion of breast tumours. The oncogenicity of eEF1A2 may be related to its role in protein synthesis or to its potential non-canonical functions in cytoskeletal remodelling or apoptosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of mouse models has been of particular importance in studying the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Here, we describe both transgenic and classical mutants for which the genetic lesion is known. We draw attention, wherever possible, to pathological factors common to multiple models.
Trends in Molecular Medicine 03/2002; 8(2):88-92. · 9.57 Impact Factor