[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The serine-threonine kinase Akt is a key regulator of cell proliferation and survival, glucose metabolism, cell mobility, and tumorigenesis. Activation of Akt by extracellular stimuli such as insulin centers on the interaction of Akt with PIP3 on the plasma membrane, where it is subsequently phosphorylated and activated by upstream protein kinases. However, it is not known how Akt is recruited to the plasma membrane upon stimulation. Here we report that ubiquitin-like protein 4A (Ubl4A) plays a crucial role in insulin-induced Akt plasma membrane translocation. Ubl4A knockout newborn mice have defective Akt-dependent glycogen synthesis and increased neonatal mortality. Loss of Ubl4A results in the impairment of insulin-induced Akt translocation to the plasma membrane and activation. Akt binds actin-filaments and colocalizes with actin-related protein 2 and 3 (Arp2/3) complex in the membrane ruffles and lamellipodia. Ubl4A directly interacts with Arp2/3 to accelerate actin branching and networking, allowing Akt to be in close proximity to the plasma membrane for activation upon insulin stimulation. Our finding reveals a new mechanism by which Akt is recruited to the plasma membrane for activation, thereby providing a missing link in Akt signaling.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2015; 112(31). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1508647112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of neutrophil polarization is the back localization of active RHOA and phosphorylated myosin light chain (pMLC). However, the mechanism for the polarization is not entirely clear. Here we show that FAM65B, a newly identified RHOA inhibitor, is important for the polarization. When FAM65B is phosphorylated, it binds to 14-3-3 and becomes more stable. In neutrophils, chemoattractants stimulate FAM65B phosphorylation largely depending on the front signals that include those mediated by PLCβ and PI3Kγ, leading to FAM65B accumulation at the leading edge. Concordantly, FAM65B-deficiency in neutrophils resulted in an increase in RHOA activity and front localization of pMLC as well as defects in chemotaxis directionality and adhesion to endothelial cells under flow. These data together elucidate a mechanism for RHOA and pMLC polarization in stimulated neutrophils through direct inhibition of RHOA by FAM65B at the leading edge.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum Response Factor (SRF) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor and master regulator of the actin cytoskeleton. We have previously shown, that SRF is essential for megakaryocyte maturation and platelet formation and function. Here we elucidate the role of SRF in neutrophils, the primary defense against infections. To study the effect of loss of SRF in neutrophils, we crossed Srf(fl/fl) mice with select Cre-expressing mice and studied neutrophil function in vitro and in vivo. Despite normal neutrophil numbers, neutrophil function is severely impaired in Srf knockout (KO) neutrophils. Srf KO neutrophils fail to polymerize globular actin to filamentous actin in response to fMLP, resulting in significantly disrupted cytoskeletal remodeling. Srf KO neutrophils fail to migrate to sites of inflammation in vivo and along chemokine gradients in vitro. Polarization in response to cytokine stimuli is absent and Srf KO neutrophils show markedly reduced adhesion. Integrins play an essential role in cellular adhesion, and while integrin expression levels are maintained with loss of SRF, integrin activation and trafficking are disrupted. Migration and cellular adhesion are essential for normal cell function, but also for malignant processes such as metastasis, thus underscoring an essential function for SRF and its pathway in health and disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophil degranulation plays an important role in acute innate immune responses and is tightly regulated because the granule contents can cause tissue damage. However, this regulation remains poorly understood. Here, we identify the complex of STK24 and CCM3 as being an important regulator of neutrophil degranulation. Lack of either STK24 or CCM3 increases the release of a specific granule pool without affecting other neutrophil functions. STK24 appears to suppress exocytosis by interacting and competing with UNC13D C2B domain for lipid binding, whereas CCM3 has dual roles in exocytosis regulation. Although CCM3 stabilizes STK24, it counteracts STK24-mediated inhibition of exocytosis by recruiting STK24 away from the C2B domain through its Ca(2+)-sensitive interaction with UNC13D C2A domain. This STK24/CCM3-regulated exocytosis plays an important role in the protection of kidneys from ischemia-reperfusion injury. Together, these findings reveal a function of the STK24 and CCM3 complex in the regulation of ligand-stimulated exocytosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously characterized a Gα12-specific signaling pathway that stimulates the transcription of the E3 ligase RFFL via the protein kinase ARAF and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). This pathway leads to persistent protein kinase C (PKC) activation and is important for sustaining fibroblast migration. However, questions remain on how Gα12 specifically activates ARAF, which transcription factor is involved in Gα12-mediated RFFL expression, and whether RFFL is important for cell migration stimulated by other signaling mechanisms that can activate ERK. In this study, we show that replacement of Gα12 residue Arg-264 with Gln, which is the corresponding Gα13 residue, abrogates the ability of Gα12 to interact with or activate ARAF. We also show that Gα12 can no longer interact with and activate an ARAF mutant with its C-terminal sequence downstream of the kinase domain being replaced with the corresponding CRAF sequence. These results explain why Gα12, but not Gα13, specifically activates ARAF, but not CRAF. Together with our finding that recombinant Gα12 is sufficient for stimulating the kinase activity of ARAF, this study has revealed an ARAF activation mechanism that is different from that of CRAF. In addition, we show that this Gα12-ARAF-ERK pathway stimulates RFFL transcription through the transcription factor c-Myc. We further demonstrate that epidermal growth factor (EGF), which signals through CRAF, and an activated BRAF mutant also activate PKC and stimulate cell migration through upregulating RFFL expression. Thus, the RFFL-mediated PKC activation has a broad significance in cell migration regulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence points to a role for the protein quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. However, the specific role for general ER chaperones in this process remains unknown. Herein, we report that a major ER heat shock protein grp94 interacts with MesD, a critical chaperone for the Wnt coreceptor low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6). Without grp94, LRP6 fails to export from the ER to the cell surface, resulting in a profound loss of canonical Wnt signaling. The significance of this finding is demonstrated in vivo in that grp94 loss causes a rapid and profound compromise in intestinal homeostasis with gut-intrinsic defect in the proliferation of intestinal crypts, compromise of nuclear β-catenin translocation, loss of crypt-villus structure, and impaired barrier function. Taken together, our work has uncovered the role of grp94 in chaperoning LRP6-MesD in coordinating intestinal homeostasis, placing canonical Wnt-signaling pathway under the direct regulation of the general protein quality control machinery in the ER.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; 110(17). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1302933110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) is a key regulator of cellular and systemic energy homeostasis and a potential therapeutic target for the intervention of cancer and metabolic disorders. However, the role of AMPK in bone homeostasis remains incompletely understood. Here we assessed the skeletal phenotype of mice lacking catalytic subunits of AMPK and found that mice lacking AMPKα1 (Prkaa1-/-) or AMPKα2 (Prkaa2-/-) had reduced bone mass compared with the WT mice, albeit the reduction was less in Prkaa2-/- mice than in Prkaa1-/- mice. Static and dynamic bone histomorphometric analyses revealed that Prkaa1-/- mice had an elevated rate of bone remodeling due to increases in bone formation and resorption, whereas AMPKα2 KO-induced bone mass reduction was largely attributable to elevated bone resorption. In agreement with our in vivo results, AMPKα deficiency was associated with increased osteoclastogenesis in vitro. Moreover, we found that AMPKα1 inhibited the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B (RANK) signaling, providing an explanation for AMPK-mediated inhibition of osteoclastogenesis. Therefore, our findings further underscore the importance of AMPK for bone homeostasis, in particular osteoclastogenesis, in young adult mammals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Canonical Wnt signaling is initiated by the binding of Wnt proteins to their receptors, low-density lipoprotein-related protein 5 and 6 (LRP5/6) and frizzled proteins, leading to phosphatidylinositol (4,5)bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P(2)) production, signalosome formation, and LRP phosphorylation. However, the mechanism by which PtdIns(4,5)P(2) regulates the signalosome formation remains unclear. Here we show that clathrin and adaptor protein 2 (AP2) were part of the LRP6 signalosomes. The presence of clathrin and AP2 in the LRP6 signalosomes depended on PtdIns(4,5)P(2), and both clathrin and AP2 were required for the formation of LRP6 signalosomes. In addition, WNT3A-induced LRP6 signalosomes were primarily localized at cell surfaces, and WNT3A did not induce marked LRP6 internalization. However, rapid PtdIns(4,5)P(2) hydrolysis induced artificially after WNT3A stimulation could lead to marked LRP6 internalization. Moreover, we observed WNT3A-induced LRP6 and clathrin clustering at cell surfaces using super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Therefore, we conclude that PtdIns(4,5)P(2) promotes the assembly of LRP6 signalosomes via the recruitment of AP2 and clathrin and that LRP6 internalization may not be a prerequisite for Wnt signaling to β-catenin stabilization.
The Journal of Cell Biology 02/2013; 200(4):419-28. DOI:10.1083/jcb.201206096 · 9.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in Wnt receptor LRP5/6 and polymorphism in Wnt-regulated transcription factor TCF7L2 are associated with dysregulation of glucose metabolism. However, it is not clear whether Wnt antagonist Dickkopf (Dkk) has a significant role in the regulation of glucose metabolism. Here, we identified small-molecule inhibitors of Wnt antagonist Dkk through molecular modeling, computation-based virtual screens, and biological assays. One of the Dkk inhibitors reduced basal blood-glucose concentrations and improved glucose tolerance in mice. This Dkk inhibitor appeared to act through DKK2 because the inhibitor exerted no additional effects on glucose metabolism in the Dkk2(-/-) mice. Our study of Dkk2(-/-) mice showed that DKK2 deficiency was associated with increased hepatic glycogen accumulation and decreased hepatic glucose output. DKK2 deficiency did not cause in increase in insulin production but resulted in increased Wnt activity and GLP1 production in the intestines. Given that the Dkk inhibitor improved glucose tolerance in a murine model of type 2 diabetes (db/db), we suggest that DKK2 may be a potential therapeutic target for treating type 2 diabetes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(28):11402-7. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1205015109 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MIP-2/CXCL2 is a murine chemokine related to human chemokines that possesses the Glu-Leu-Arg (ELR) activation motif and activates CXCR2 for neutrophil chemotaxis. We determined the structure of MIP-2 to 1.9 Å resolution and created a model with its murine receptor CXCR2 based on the coordinates of human CXCR4. Chemokine-induced migration of cells through specific G-protein coupled receptors is regulated by glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that oligomerize chemokines. MIP-2 GAG-binding residues were identified that interact with heparin disaccharide I-S by NMR spectroscopy. A model GAG/MIP-2/CXCR2 complex that supports a 2:2 complex between chemokine and receptor was created. Mutants of these disaccharide-binding residues were made and tested for heparin binding, in vitro neutrophil chemotaxis, and in vivo neutrophil recruitment to the mouse peritoneum and lung. The mutants have a 10-fold decrease in neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. There is no difference in neutrophil recruitment between wild-type MIP-2 and mutants in the peritoneum, but all activity of the mutants is lost in the lung, supporting the concept that GAG regulation of chemokines is tissue-dependent.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) phosphorylates AGC protein kinases including protein kinase C (PKC) and regulates cellular functions such as cell migration. However, its regulation remains poorly understood. Here we show that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) induces two phases of PKC-δ hydrophobic motif phosphorylation. The late phase is mediated by Gα(12), which specifically activates ARAF, leading to upregulation of the RFFL E3 ubiquitin ligase and subsequent ubiquitylation and degradation of the PRR5L subunit of mTORC2. Destabilization of PRR5L, a suppressor of mTORC2-mediated hydrophobic motif phosphorylation of PKC-δ, but not AKT, results in PKC-δ hydrophobic motif phosphorylation and activation. This Gα(12)-mediated signalling pathway for mTORC2 regulation is critically important for fibroblast migration and pulmonary fibrosis development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins 5 and 6 (LRP5/6) mediate canonical Wnt-β-catenin signaling by forming a complex with the co-receptor Frizzled, which binds to Wnt proteins. Dickkopf (DKK)-related proteins inhibit the Wnt signaling pathway by directly binding to the ectodomains of LRP5/6. However, the mechanism for DKK-mediated antagonism has not been fully understood as of yet. Crystal structures of the LRP6 ectodomain in complex with DKK1, along with mutagenesis studies, provide considerable insights into the molecular basis for DKK-mediated inhibition and Wnt signaling through LRP5/6.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin-mediated gene transcription plays important roles in a wide range of biological and pathophysiological processes including tumorigenesis where β-catenin-mediated transcription activity frequently elevates. TRABID, a deubiquitinase, was shown to have a positive Wnt/β-catenin-mediated gene transcription and hence holds a promise as a putative anti-cancer target.
In this study, we used a combination of structure based virtual screening and an in vitro deubiquitinase (DUB) assay to identify several small molecules that inhibit TRABID DUB activity. However, these inhibitors failed to show inhibitory effects on β-catenin-mediated gene transcription. In addition, expression of TRABID shRNAs, wildtype TRABID, or the DUB activity-deficient mutant showed little effects on β-catenin-mediated gene transcription.
TRABID may not be a critical component in canonical Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction or that a minute amount of this protein is sufficient for its role in regulating Wnt activity.
BMC Chemical Biology 05/2012; 12(1):4. DOI:10.1186/1472-6769-12-4 · 1.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophils, in response to a chemoattractant gradient, undergo dynamic F-actin remodeling, a process important for their directional migration or chemotaxis. However, signaling mechanisms for chemoattractants to regulate the process are incompletely understood. Here, we characterized chemoattractant-activated signaling mechanisms that regulate cofilin dephosphorylation and actin cytoskeleton reorganization and are critical for neutrophil polarization and chemotaxis. In neutrophils, chemoattractants induced phosphorylation and inhibition of GSK3 via both PLCβ-PKC and PI3Kγ-AKT pathways, leading to the attenuation of GSK3-mediated phosphorylation and inhibition of the cofilin phosphatase slingshot2 and an increase in dephosphorylated, active cofilin. The relative contribution of this GSK3-mediated pathway to neutrophil chemotaxis regulation depended on neutrophil polarity preset by integrin-induced polarization of PIP5K1C. Therefore, our study characterizes a signaling mechanism for chemoattractant-induced actin cytoskeleton remodeling and elucidates its context-dependent role in regulating neutrophil polarization and chemotaxis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: mTORC2 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2) plays important roles in signal transduction by regulating an array of downstream effectors, including protein kinase AKT. However, its regulation by upstream regulators remains poorly characterized. Although phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)) is known to regulate the phosphorylation of AKT Ser(473), the hydrophobic motif (HM) site, by mTORC2, it is not clear whether PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) can directly regulate mTORC2 kinase activity. Here, we used two membrane-docked AKT mutant proteins, one with and the other without the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain, as substrates for mTORC2 to dissect the roles of PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) in AKT HM phosphorylation in cultured cells and in vitro kinase assays. In HEK293T cells, insulin and constitutively active mutants of small GTPase H-Ras and PI3K could induce HM phosphorylation of both AKT mutants, which was blocked by the PI3K inhibitor LY294002. Importantly, PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) was able to stimulate the phosphorylation of both AKT mutants by immunoprecipitated mTOR2 complexes in an in vitro kinase assay. In both in vivo and in vitro assays, the AKT mutant containing the PH domain appeared to be a better substrate than the one without the PH domain. Therefore, these results suggest that PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) can regulate HM phosphorylation by mTORC2 via multiple mechanisms. One of the mechanisms is to directly stimulate the kinase activity of mTORC2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt signaling pathways are involved in embryonic development and adult tissue maintenance and have been implicated in tumorigenesis. Dishevelled (Dvl/Dsh) protein is one of key components in Wnt signaling and plays essential roles in regulating these pathways through protein-protein interactions. Identifying and characterizing Dvl-binding proteins are key steps toward understanding biological functions. Given that the tripeptide VWV (Val-Trp-Val) binds to the PDZ domain of Dvl, we searched publically available databases to identify proteins containing the VWV motif at the C terminus that could be novel Dvl-binding partners. On the basis of the cellular localization and expression patterns of the candidates, we selected for further study the TMEM88 (target protein transmembrane 88), a two-transmembrane-type protein. The interaction between the PDZ domain of Dvl and the C-terminal tail of TMEM88 was confirmed by using NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. Furthermore, in HEK293 cells, TMEM88 attenuated the Wnt/β-catenin signaling induced by Wnt-1 ligand in a dose-dependent manner, and TMEM88 knockdown by RNAi increased Wnt activity. In Xenopus, TMEM88 protein is sublocalized at the cell membrane and inhibits Wnt signaling induced by Xdsh but not β-catenin. In addition, TMEM88 protein inhibits the formation of a secondary axis normally induced by Xdsh. The findings suggest that TMEM88 plays a role in regulating Wnt signaling. Indeed, analysis of microarray data revealed that the expression of the Tmem88 gene was strongly correlated with that of Wnt signaling-related genes in embryonic mouse intestines. Together, we propose that TMEM88 associates with Dvl proteins and regulates Wnt signaling in a context-dependent manner.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophils are important in innate immunity and acute inflammatory responses. However, the regulation of their recruitment to sites of inflammation has not been well characterized. Here, we investigated the kinase PIP5K1C and showed that PIP5K1C deficiency impaired neutrophil recruitment because of an adhesion defect. PIP5K1C regulated the adhesion through facilitating RhoA GTPase and integrin activation by chemoattractants. Integrins could induce polarization of an isoform of PIP5K1C, PIP5K1C-90, in neutrophils through intracellular vesicle transport independently of exogenous chemoattractant. PIP5K1C-90 polarization was required for polarized RhoA activation at uropods and provided an initial directional cue for neutrophil polarization on the endothelium. Importantly, the polarization was also required for circumventing the inhibition of lamellipodium formation by RhoA so that neutrophils could form leading edges required for transendothelial migration. Because integrins are not known to regulate neutrophil polarization, our study revealed a previously underappreciated role of integrin signaling in neutrophil regulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophils play important roles in host innate immunity and various inflammation-related diseases. In addition, neutrophils represent an excellent system for studying directional cell migration. However, neutrophils are terminally differentiated cells that are short lived and refractory to transfection; thus, they are not amenable for existing gene silencing techniques. Here we describe the development of a method to silence gene expression efficiently in primary mouse neutrophils. A mouse stem cell virus-based retroviral vector was modified to express short hairpin RNAs and fluorescent marker protein at high levels in hematopoietic cells and used to infect mouse bone marrow cells prior to reconstitution of the hematopoietic system in lethally irradiated mice. This method was used successfully to silence the expression of Gbeta(1) and/or Gbeta(2) in mouse neutrophils. Knockdown of Gbeta(2) appeared to affect primarily the directionality of neutrophil chemotaxis rather than motility, whereas knockdown of Gbeta(1) had no significant effect. However, knockdown of both Gbeta(1) and Gbeta(2) led to significant reduction in motility and responsiveness. In addition, knockdown of Gbeta(1) but not Gbeta(2) inhibited the ability of neutrophils to kill ingested bacteria, and only double knockdown resulted in significant reduction in bacterial phagocytosis. Therefore, we have developed a short hairpin RNA-based method to effectively silence gene expression in mouse neutrophils for the first time, which allowed us to uncover divergent roles of Gbeta(1) and Gbeta(2) in the regulation of neutrophil functions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptor-regulated PI3Kgamma is abundantly expressed in myeloid cells and has been implicated as a promising drug target to treat various inflammatory diseases. However, its role in bone homeostasis has not been investigated, despite the fact that osteoclasts are derived from myeloid lineage. We therefore carried out thorough bone phenotypic characterization of a PI3Kgamma-deficient mouse line and found that PI3Kgamma-deficient mice had high bone mass. Our analyses further revealed that PI3Kgamma deficiency did not affect bone formation because no significant changes in osteoblast number and bone formation rate were observed. Instead, the lack of PI3Kgamma was associated with decreased bone resorption, as evidenced by decreased osteoclast number in vivo and impaired osteoclast formation in vitro. The decreased osteoclast formation was accompanied by down-regulated expression of osteoclastogenic genes, compromised chemokine receptor signaling, and an increase in apoptosis during osteoclast differentiation. Together, these data suggest that PI3Kgamma regulates bone homeostasis by modulating osteoclastogenesis. Our study also suggests that inhibition of PI3Kgamma, which is being considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for treating chronic inflammatory disorders, may result in an increase in bone mass.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2010; 107(29):12901-6. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1001499107 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecular gradients are important for various biological processes including the polarization of tissues and cells during embryogenesis and chemotaxis. Investigations of these phenomena require control over the chemical microenvironment of cells. We present a technique to set up molecular concentration patterns that are chemically, spatially and temporally flexible. Our strategy uses optically manipulated microsources, which steadily release molecules. Our technique enables the control of molecular concentrations over length scales down to about 1 microm and timescales from fractions of a second to an hour. We demonstrate this technique by manipulating the motility of single human neutrophils. We induced directed cell polarization and migration with microsources loaded with the chemoattractant formyl-methionine-leucine-phenylalanine. Furthermore, we triggered highly localized retraction of lamellipodia and redirection of polarization and migration with microsources releasing cytochalasin D, an inhibitor of actin polymerization.