[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of the Lafora's disease (LD) is caused by defect in the EPM2A gene, including missense and nonsense mutations and deletions. These defects mainly occur in the carbohydrate-binding domain, and how these mutations cause neuronal defects is under active investigation. Here, we report that the mutant proteins encoded by all missense mutations and most deletions tested are unstable, insoluble and ubiquitinated, and are accumulated in aggresome-like structures. The effect of apparent 'gain-of-function' mutations can be corrected by co-transfection of wild-type EPM2A cDNA, which is consistent with the recessive nature of these mutations in LD patients. In a neuronal cell line, these mutant aggregates exacerbate endoplasm reticulum (ER) stress and make the cells susceptible to the apoptosis induced by ER stressor, thapsigargin. The chemical chaperon, 4-phenylbutyrate, increased the mutant solubility, reduced the ER stress and dulled the sensitivity of mutant neuronal cells to apoptosis induced by thapsigargin and the mutant laforin proteins. The increased sensitivity to ER stress-induced apoptosis may contribute to LD pathogenesis.
Human Molecular Genetics 05/2009; 18(14):2622-31. · 6.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A long-standing but poorly understood observation in experimental cancer therapy is the heterogeneity in cancer susceptibility to energy deprivation. Here, we show that the hexose kinase inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose (2-dG) preferentially kills cancer cells with defective laforin expression and significantly increases the survival of mice with aggressive lymphoma due to a genetic defect of the laforin-encoding Epm2a gene. Normal cells from Epm2a(-/-) mice also had greatly increased susceptibility to 2-dG. Thus, laforin is a novel regulator for cellular response to energy deprivation and its defects in cancer cells may be targeted for cancer therapy.
Cancer Research 06/2008; 68(11):4039-44. · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epilepsy of progressive myoclonus type 2 gene A (EPM2A) encodes a dual specificity protein phosphatase called Laforin. Laforin is also a tumor suppressor that dephosphorylates GSK3beta at the critical Ser9 position and regulates Wnt signaling. The epilepsy-causing mutations have a deleterious effect on phosphatase activity, regardless of whether they locate in the carbohydrate-binding domain (CBD) at the N terminus or the dual specificity phosphatase domain (DSPD) at the C terminus. How mutations outside the DSPD reduce the phosphatase activity of Laforin remains unexplained. Here we report that Laforin expressed in mammalian cells forms dimers that are highly resistant to SDS treatment. Deleting CBD completely abolished the dimerization and phosphatase activity of Laforin. Moreover, all of the naturally occurring Laforin mutations tested impaired laforin GSK3beta dephosphorylation at Ser9 dimerization, and beta-catenin accumulation in nucleus. Our results demonstrate a critical role of dimerization in Laforin function and suggest an important new dimension in protein phosphatase function and in molecular pathogenesis of Lafora's disease.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2006; 281(46):34768-74. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic mechanisms responsible for increased incidence of lymphoma in immunocompromised individuals have not been fully elucidated. We show that, in a line of TCR transgenic TG-B mice, an insertional mutation in one allele of the Epm2a locus and epigenetic silencing of another led to a high rate of lymphoma with early onset. Overexpressing Epm2a suppressed the growth of established tumor cells and the development of lymphoma in the TG-B mice, while specific silencing of the locus increased tumorigenesis in the immune-deficient host. Downregulation of Epm2a expression is widespread among mouse and human lymphoma cell lines. Epm2a-encoded laforin is a phosphatase for GSK-3beta and an important repressor in the Wnt signaling pathway. Inactivation of Epm2a resulted in increased Wnt signaling and tumorigenesis.
Cancer Cell 10/2006; 10(3):179-90. · 23.89 Impact Factor