Birgitte Lygren

University of Oslo, Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway

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Publications (16)71.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cell fusion occurs as part of the differentiation of some cell types including myotubes in muscle and osteoclasts in remodeling bone. In the human placenta, mononuclear cytotrophoblasts in a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-driven process fuse to form multinucleated syncytia that allow exchange of nutrients and gases between the maternal and fetal circulation. Experiments displacing protein kinase A (PKA) from A kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) or depleting specific AKAPs by siRNA-mediated knock down pointed to ezrin as a scaffold required for hCG-, cAMP and PKA-mediated regulation of the fusion process. By a variety of immunoprecipitation and immunolocalization experiments, we show that ezrin directs PKA to a molecular complex of connexin 43 (Cx43) and zona occludens-1 (ZO-1). A combination of knock down and reconstitution experiments with ezrin or Cx43 with or without the ability to bind its interaction partner or PKA demonstrated that ezrin-mediated coordination of PKA and Cx43 localization is necessary for discrete control of Cx43 phosphorylation and hCG-stimulated gap junction communication which triggers cell fusion in cytotrophoblasts.
    Journal of cell science. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Cholera is a disease which shows a clear blood group profile, with blood group O individuals experiencing the most severe symptoms. For a long time, the cholera toxin has been suspected to be the main culprit of this blood group dependence. Here, we show that both El Tor and classical cholera toxin B-pentamers do indeed bind blood group determinants (with equal affinities), using Surface Plasmon Resonance and NMR spectroscopy. Together with previous structural data, this confirms our earlier hypothesis as to the molecular basis of cholera blood group dependence, with an interesting twist: the shorter blood group H-determinant characteristic of blood group O individuals binds with similar binding affinity compared to the A-determinant, however, with different kinetics.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2012; 418(4):731-5. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) tether the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) to intracellular sites where they preferentially phosphorylate target substrates. Most AKAPs exhibit nanomolar affinity for the regulatory (RII) subunit of the type II PKA holoenzyme, whereas dual-specificity anchoring proteins also bind the type I (RI) regulatory subunit of PKA with 10-100-fold lower affinity. A range of cellular, biochemical, biophysical, and genetic approaches comprehensively establish that sphingosine kinase interacting protein (SKIP) is a truly type I-specific AKAP. Mapping studies located anchoring sites between residues 925-949 and 1,140-1,175 of SKIP that bind RI with dissociation constants of 73 and 774 nM, respectively. Molecular modeling and site-directed mutagenesis approaches identify Phe 929 and Tyr 1,151 as RI-selective binding determinants in each anchoring site. SKIP complexes exist in different states of RI-occupancy as single-molecule pull-down photobleaching experiments show that 41 ± 10% of SKIP sequesters two YFP-RI dimers, whereas 59 ± 10% of the anchoring protein binds a single YFP-RI dimer. Imaging, proteomic analysis, and subcellular fractionation experiments reveal that SKIP is enriched at the inner mitochondrial membrane where it associates with a prominent PKA substrate, the coiled-coil helix protein ChChd3.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2011; 108(48):E1227-35. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently reported that the dual-specificity AKAP (A-kinaseanchoring protein) Ezrin targets type I PKA (protein kinase A) to the vicinity of the TCR (T-cell receptor) in T-cells and, together with PAG (phosphoprotein associated with glycosphingolipid-enriched membrane microdomains) and EBP50 [ERM (Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin)-binding phosphoprotein 50], forms a scaffold that positions PKA close to its substrate, Csk (C-terminal Src kinase). This complex is important for controlling the activation state of T-cells. Ezrin binds the adaptor protein EBP50, which again contacts PAG. In the present study, we show that Ezrin and EBP50 interact with high affinity (KD=58+/-7 nM). A peptide corresponding to the EB (Ezrin-binding) region in EBP50 (EBP50pep) was used to further characterize the binding kinetics and compete the Ezrin-EBP50 interaction by various methods in vitro. Importantly, loading T-cells with EBP50pep delocalized Ezrin, but not EBP50. Furthermore, disruption of this complex interfered with cAMP modulation of T-cell activation, which is seen as a reversal of cAMP-mediated inhibition of IL-2 (interleukin 2) production, demonstrating an important role of EBP50 in this complex. In summary, both the biochemical and functional data indicate that targeting the Ezrin-EBP interaction could be a novel and potent strategy for immunomodulation.
    Biochemical Journal 10/2009; 425(2):381-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have reported previously the design of a RIAD (RI-anchoring disruptor) peptide that specifically displaces PKA (protein kinase A) type I from the AKAP (A-kinase-anchoring protein) ezrin, which is present in the immunological synapse of T-cells. This increases immune reactivity by reducing the threshold for activation and may prove a feasible approach for improving immune function in patients with cAMP-mediated T-cell dysfunction. However, the use of RIAD in biological systems is restricted by its susceptibility to enzymatic cleavage and, consequently, its short half-life in presence of the ubiquitous serum peptidases. In the present study, carefully selected non-natural amino acids were employed in the design of RIAD analogues with improved stability. The resulting peptidomimetics demonstrated up to 50-fold increased half-lives in serum compared with RIAD, while maintaining similar or improved specificity and potency with respect to disruption of PKA type I-AKAP interactions.
    Biochemical Journal 09/2009; 424(1):69-78. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Respiratory Medicine - RESP MED. 01/2009; 103.
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    ABSTRACT: A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) target protein kinase A (PKA) to a variety of subcellular locations. Conventional AKAPs contain a 14-18-amino acid sequence that forms an amphipathic helix that binds with high affinity to the regulatory (R) subunit of PKA type II. More recently, a group of dual specificity AKAPs has been classified on the basis of their ability to bind the PKA type I and the PKA type II isozymes. In this study we show that dual specificity AKAPs contain an additional PKA binding determinant called the RI Specifier Region (RISR). A variety of protein interaction assays and immunoprecipitation and immunolocalization experiments indicates that the RISR augments RI binding in vitro and inside cells. Cellular delivery of the RISR peptide uncouples RI anchoring to Ezrin leading to release of T cell inhibition by cAMP. Likewise, expression of mutant Ezrin forms where RI binding has been abrogated by substitution of the RISR sequence prevents cAMP-mediated inhibition of T cell function. Thus, we propose that the RISR acts in synergy with the amphipathic helix in dual specificity anchoring proteins to enhance anchoring of PKA type I.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2008; 283(48):33708-18. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Birgitte Lygren, Kjetil Taskén
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    ABSTRACT: The adrenaline-beta-adrenoreceptor-cAMP-protein kinase A signaling pathway regulates heart rate and contractility. Although changes in contractility are associated with cardiovascular disease, surprisingly few drugs are available that modulate the cardiac myocyte cAMP system. Beta-blocking agents reduce cAMP levels only by 50%. Compounds that interfere with the pathway at other levels are wanted as they may provide new tools for treatment of heart failure used alone or together with beta-blockers and may make therapy more potent and/or more targeted and avoid side effects. Original findings and strategies for targeting protein-protein interactions are reviewed. We have shown that A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP)18delta is important for organizing the molecular machinery that mediates adrenergic control of calcium reabsorption into sarcoplasmic reticulum. Calcium reabsorption is essential for relaxation and filling of the heart and is the rate-limiting step for making the heart beat faster in response to adrenaline or noradrenaline. We conclude that targeting AKAP18delta may have application in manipulating calcium reabsorption and protecting the heart from adrenergic pacing at the level of specific signaling events in heart failure patients.
    Expert opinion on biological therapy 09/2008; 8(8):1099-108. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with alveolar hypoxia is associated with diastolic dysfunction in the right and left ventricle (LV). LV diastolic dysfunction is not caused by increased afterload, and we recently showed that reduced phosphorylation of phospholamban at serine (Ser) 16 may explain the reduced relaxation of the myocardium. Here, we study the mechanisms leading to the hypoxia-induced reduction in phosphorylation of phospholamban at Ser16. In C57Bl/6j mice exposed to 10% oxygen, signalling molecules were measured in cardiac tissue, sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR)-enriched membrane preparations, and serum. Cardiomyocytes isolated from neonatal mice were exposed to interleukin (IL)-18 for 24 h. The beta-adrenergic pathway in the myocardium was not altered by alveolar hypoxia, as assessed by measurements of beta-adrenergic receptor levels, adenylyl cyclase activity, and subunits of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. However, alveolar hypoxia led to a significantly higher amount (124%) and activity (234%) of protein phosphatase (PP) 2A in SR-enriched membrane preparations from LV compared with control. Serum levels of an array of cytokines were assayed, and a pronounced increase in IL-18 was observed. In isolated cardiomyocytes, treatment with IL-18 increased the amount and activity of PP2A, and reduced phosphorylation of phospholamban at Ser16 to 54% of control. Our results indicate that the diastolic dysfunction observed in alveolar hypoxia might be caused by increased circulating IL-18, thereby inducing an increase in PP2A and a reduction in phosphorylation of phospholamban at Ser16.
    Cardiovascular Research 08/2008; 80(1):47-54. · 5.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The beta-adrenergic receptor/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signalling pathway regulates heart rate and contractility. Here, we identified a supramolecular complex consisting of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA2), its negative regulator phospholamban (PLN), the A-kinase anchoring protein AKAP18delta and PKA. We show that AKAP18delta acts as a scaffold that coordinates PKA phosphorylation of PLN and the adrenergic effect on Ca(2+) re-uptake. Inhibition of the compartmentalization of this cAMP signalling complex by specific molecular disruptors interferes with the phosphorylation of PLN. This prevents the subsequent release of PLN from SERCA2, thereby affecting the Ca(2+) re-uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum induced by adrenergic stimuli.
    EMBO Reports 12/2007; 8(11):1061-7. · 7.19 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology - J MOL CELL CARDIOL. 01/2007; 42(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Localization of cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKA) by A kinase-anchoring proteins (AKAPs) restricts the action of this broad specificity kinase. The high-resolution crystal structures of the docking and dimerization (D/D) domain of the RIIalpha regulatory subunit of PKA both in the apo state and in complex with the high-affinity anchoring peptide AKAP-IS explain the molecular basis for AKAP-regulatory subunit recognition. AKAP-IS folds into an amphipathic alpha helix that engages an essentially preformed shallow groove on the surface of the RII dimer D/D domains. Conserved AKAP aliphatic residues dominate interactions to RII at the predominantly hydrophobic interface, whereas polar residues are important in conferring R subunit isoform specificity. Using a peptide screening approach, we have developed SuperAKAP-IS, a peptide that is 10,000-fold more selective for the RII isoform relative to RI and can be used to assess the impact of PKA isoform-selective anchoring on cAMP-responsive events inside cells.
    Molecular Cell 12/2006; 24(3):383-95. · 15.28 Impact Factor
  • B Lygren, K Taskén
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    ABSTRACT: Co-ordinated myocyte handling of calcium is essential for efficient excitation-contraction coupling in the heart. The calcium cycling activity can be modulated by adrenergic stimulation and subsequent phosphorylation. Important functional consequences of phosphorylation include a greater influx of calcium through the voltage-dependent L-type Ca(2+) channel and a greater release of calcium from SR (sarcoplasmic reticulum) through the ryanodine R2 receptor. Furthermore, a more efficient reuptake through SERCA2 (sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic-reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase 2) is a result of phosphorylation of its regulatory protein phospholamban. Compartmentalized signalling is important in this signalling cascade, and A-kinase-anchoring proteins play a central role by providing a high level of specificity.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 09/2006; 34(Pt 4):489-91. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Control of specificity in cAMP signaling is achieved by A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs), which assemble cAMP effectors such as protein kinase A (PKA) into multiprotein signaling complexes in the cell. AKAPs tether the PKA holoenzymes at subcellular locations to favor the phosphorylation of selected substrates. PKA anchoring is mediated by an amphipathic helix of 14-18 residues on each AKAP that binds to the R subunit dimer of the PKA holoenzymes. Using a combination of bioinformatics and peptide array screening, we have developed a high affinity-binding peptide called RIAD (RI anchoring disruptor) with >1000-fold selectivity for type I PKA over type II PKA. Cell-soluble RIAD selectively uncouples cAMP-mediated inhibition of T cell function and inhibits progesterone synthesis at the mitochondria in steroid-producing cells. This study suggests that these processes are controlled by the type I PKA holoenzyme and that RIAD can be used as a tool to define anchored type I PKA signaling events.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2006; 281(30):21535-45. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a fast and sensitive method for isolation of detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) from T cells by sucrose density gradient centrifugation using a smaller accumulated centrifugal force in a tabletop ultracentrifuge. Compared to previous reports, this method, which requires less biological material, is faster and permits quantitative separation of DRMs from other cellular membranes with good resolution. The method, which can be completed in 6 h, yields more than 80% of the total content of DRM-associated adaptor molecules LAT (linker for T cell activation), PAG/Cbp (protein associated with glycosphingolipid-enriched microdomains or Csk-binding protein) and LIME (Lck-interacting membrane protein) in low-density fractions using only 2x10(7) T cells.
    Journal of Immunological Methods 11/2005; 305(2):199-205. · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We employ a novel, dominant negative approach to identify a key role for certain tethered cyclic AMP specific phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) isoforms in regulating cyclic AMP dependent protein kinase A (PKA) sub-populations in resting COS1 cells. A fraction of PKA is clearly active in resting COS1 cells and this activity increases when cells are treated with the selective PDE4 inhibitor, rolipram. Point mutation of a critical, conserved aspartate residue in the catalytic site of long PDE4A4, PDE4B1, PDE4C2 and PDE4D3 isoforms renders them catalytically inactive. Overexpressed in resting COS1 cells, catalytically inactive forms of PDE4C2 and PDE4D3, but not PDE4A4 and PDE4B1, are constitutively PKA phosphorylated while overexpressed active versions of all these isoforms are not. Inactive and active versions of all these isoforms are PKA phosphorylated in cells where protein kinase A is maximally activated with forskolin and IBMX. By contrast, rolipram challenge of COS1 cells selectively triggers the PKA phosphorylation of recombinant, active PDE4D3 and PDE4C2 but not recombinant, active PDE4A4 and PDE4B1. Purified, recombinant PDE4D3 and PDE4A4 show a similar dose-dependency for in vitro phosphorylation by PKA. Disruption of the tethering of PKA type-II to PKA anchor proteins (AKAPs), achieved using the peptide Ht31, prevents inactive forms of PDE4C2 and PDE4D3 being constitutively PKA phosphorylated in resting cells as does siRNA-mediated knockdown of PKA-RII, but not PKA-RI. PDE4C2 and PDE4D3 co-immunoprecipitate from COS1 cell lysates with 250 kDa and 450 kDa AKAPs that tether PKA type-II and not PKA type-I. PKA type-II co-localises with AKAP450 in the centrosomal region of COS1 cells. The perinuclear distribution of recombinant, inactive PDE4D3, but not inactive PDE4A4, overlaps with AKAP450 and PKA type-II. The distribution of PKA phosphorylated inactive PDE4D3 also overlaps with that of AKAP450 in the centrosomal region of COS1 cells. We propose that a novel role for PDE4D3 and PDE4C2 is to gate the activation of AKAP450-tethered PKA type-II localised in the perinuclear region under conditions of basal cAMP generation in resting cells.
    Cellular Signalling 10/2005; 17(9):1158-73. · 4.47 Impact Factor