[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteasomes are central regulators of protein homeostasis in eukaryotes. Proteasome function is vulnerable to environmental insults, cellular protein imbalance and targeted pharmaceuticals. Yet, mechanisms that cells deploy to counteract inhibition of this central regulator are little understood. To find such mechanisms, we reduced flux through the proteasome to the point of toxicity with specific inhibitors and performed genome-wide screens for mutations that allowed cells to survive. Counter to expectation, reducing expression of individual subunits of the proteasome's 19S regulatory complex increased survival. Strong 19S reduction was cytotoxic but modest reduction protected cells from inhibitors. Protection was accompanied by an increased ratio of 20S to 26S proteasomes, preservation of protein degradation capacity and reduced proteotoxic stress. While compromise of 19S function can have a fitness cost under basal conditions, it provided a powerful survival advantage when proteasome function was impaired. This means of rebalancing proteostasis is conserved from yeast to humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drugs that act more promiscuously provide fewer routes for the emergence of resistant mutants. This benefit, however, often comes at the cost of serious off-target and dose-limiting toxicities. The classic example is the antifungal amphotericin B (AmB), which has evaded resistance for more than half a century. We report markedly less toxic amphotericins that nevertheless evade resistance. They are scalably accessed in just three steps from the natural product, and they bind their target (the fungal sterol ergosterol) with far greater selectivity than AmB. Hence, they are less toxic and far more effective in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. To our surprise, exhaustive efforts to select for mutants resistant to these more selective compounds revealed that they are just as impervious to resistance as AmB. Thus, highly selective cytocidal action and the evasion of resistance are not mutually exclusive, suggesting practical routes to the discovery of less toxic, resistance-evasive therapies.
Nature Chemical Biology 06/2015; 11(7). DOI:10.1038/nchembio.1821 · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the absence of a single preventive or disease-modifying strategy, neurodegenerative diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent in our ageing population. The mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration are poorly understood, making the target-based drug screening strategies that are employed by the pharmaceutical industry fraught with difficulty. However, phenotypic screening in neurons and glia derived from patients is now conceivable through unprecedented developments in reprogramming, transdifferentiation, and genome editing. We outline progress in this nascent field, but also consider the formidable hurdles to identifying robust, disease-relevant and screenable cellular phenotypes in patient-derived cells. We illustrate how analysis in the simple baker's yeast cell Saccharaomyces cerevisiae is driving discovery in patient-derived neurons, and how approaches in this model organism can establish a paradigm to guide the development of stem cell-based phenotypic screens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ribosome is centrally situated to sense metabolic states, but whether its activity, in turn, coherently rewires transcriptional responses is unknown. Here, through integrated chemical-genetic analyses, we found that a dominant transcriptional effect of blocking protein translation in cancer cells was inactivation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), a multifaceted transcriptional regulator of the heat-shock response and many other cellular processes essential for anabolic metabolism, cellular proliferation, and tumorigenesis. These analyses linked translational flux to the regulation of HSF1 transcriptional activity and to the modulation of energy metabolism. Targeting this link with translation initiation inhibitors such as rocaglates deprived cancer cells of their energy and chaperone armamentarium and selectively impaired the proliferation of both malignant and premalignant cells with early-stage oncogenic lesions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steadily increasing antifungal drug resistance and persistent high rates of fungal-associated mortality highlight the dire need for the development of novel antifungals. Characterization of inhibitors of one enzyme in the GPI anchor pathway, Gwt1, has generated interest in the exploration of targets in this pathway for further study. Utilizing a chemical genomics-based screening platform referred to as the Candida albicans fitness test (CaFT), we have identified novel inhibitors of Gwt1 and a second enzyme in the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) cell wall anchor pathway, Mcd4. We further validate these targets using the model fungal organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae and demonstrate the utility of using the facile toolbox that has been compiled in this species to further explore target specific biology. Using these compounds as probes, we demonstrate that inhibition of Mcd4 as well as Gwt1 blocks the growth of a broad spectrum of fungal pathogens and exposes key elicitors of pathogen recognition. Interestingly, a strong chemical synergy is also observed by combining Gwt1 and Mcd4 inhibitors, mirroring the demonstrated synthetic lethality of combining conditional mutants of GWT1 and MCD4. We further demonstrate that the Mcd4 inhibitor M720 is efficacious in a murine infection model of systemic candidiasis. Our results establish Mcd4 as a promising antifungal target and confirm the GPI cell wall anchor synthesis pathway as a promising antifungal target area by demonstrating that effects of inhibiting it are more general than previously recognized.Keywords: glycosylphosphatidylinositol; GPI; GWT1; MCD4; Candida albicans fitness test; antifungal; yeast cell wall; chemical biology; next-generation sequencing; natural product
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The efficacy of hormonal therapies for advanced estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers is limited by the nearly inevitable development of acquired resistance. Efforts to block the emergence of resistance have met with limited success, largely because the mechanisms underlying it are so varied and complex. Here, we investigate a new strategy aimed at the very processes by which cancers evolve resistance. From yeast to vertebrates, heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) plays a unique role among molecular chaperones by promoting the evolution of heritable new traits. It does so by regulating the folding of a diverse portfolio of metastable client proteins, many of which mediate adaptive responses that allow organisms to adapt and thrive in the face of diverse challenges, including those posed by drugs. Guided by our previous work in pathogenic fungi, in which very modest HSP90 inhibition impairs resistance to mechanistically diverse antifungals, we examined the effect of similarly modest HSP90 inhibition on the emergence of resistance to antiestrogens in breast cancer models. Even though this degree of inhibition fell below the threshold for proteotoxic activation of the heat-shock response and had no overt anticancer activity on its own, it dramatically impaired the emergence of resistance to hormone antagonists both in cell culture and in mice. Our findings strongly support the clinical testing of combined hormone antagonist-low-level HSP90 inhibitor regimens in the treatment of metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. At a broader level, they also provide promising proof of principle for a generalizable strategy to combat the pervasive problem of rapidly emerging resistance to molecularly targeted therapeutics.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 111(51). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1421323111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Structural conversion of one given protein sequence into different amyloid states, resulting in distinct phenotypes, is one of the most intriguing phenomena of protein biology. Despite great efforts the structural origin of prion diversity remains elusive, mainly because amyloids are insoluble yet noncrystalline and therefore not easily amenable to traditional structural-biology methods. We investigate two different phenotypic prion strains, weak and strong, of yeast translation termination factor Sup35 with respect to angular orientation of tyrosines using polarized light spectroscopy. By applying a combination of alignment methods the degree of fiber orientation can be assessed, which allows a relatively accurate determination of the aromatic ring angles. Surprisingly, the strains show identical average orientations of the tyrosines, which are evenly spread through the amyloid core. Small variations between the two strains are related to the local environment of a fraction of tyrosines outside the core, potentially reflecting differences in fibril packing.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2014; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1415663111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The disheartening results of recent clinical trials for neurodegenerative disease (ND) therapeutics underscore the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying disease biology before effective therapies can be devised. One hallmark of many NDs is a disruption in protein homeostasis. Therefore, investigating the role of protein homeostasis in these diseases is central to delineating their underlying pathobiology. Here, we review the seminal role that chemical biology has played in furthering the research on and treatment of dysfunctional protein homeostasis in NDs. We also discuss the vital and predictive role of model systems in identifying conserved homeostasis pathways and genes therein that are altered in neurodegeneration. Integrating approaches from chemical biology with the use of model systems yields a powerful toolkit with which to unravel the complexities of ND biology.
Nature Chemical Biology 11/2014; 10(11):911-920. DOI:10.1038/nchembio.1663 · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In experimental science, organisms are usually studied in isolation, but in the wild, they compete and cooperate in complex communities. We report a system for cross-kingdom communication by which bacteria heritably transform yeast metabolism. An ancient biological circuit blocks yeast from using other carbon sources in the presence of glucose. [ GAR <sup>+</sup>], a protein-based epigenetic element, allows yeast to circumvent this textquotedblleftglucose repressiontextquotedblright and use multiple carbon sources in the presence of glucose. Some bacteria secrete a chemical factor that induces [ GAR <sup>+</sup>]. [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] is advantageous to bacteria because yeast cells make less ethanol and is advantageous to yeast because their growth and long-term viability is improved in complex carbon sources. This cross-kingdom communication is broadly conserved, providing a compelling argument for its adaptive value. By heritably transforming growth and survival strategies in response to the selective pressures of life in a biological community, [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] presents a unique example of Lamarckian inheritance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Jarosz and Lancaster are co-first authors
[ GAR <sup>+</sup>] is a protein-based element of inheritance that allows yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) to circumvent a hallmark of their biology: extreme metabolic specialization for glucose fermentation. When glucose is present, yeast will not use other carbon sources. [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] allows cells to circumvent this textquotedblleftglucose repression.textquotedblright [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] is induced in yeast by a factor secreted by bacteria inhabiting their environment. We report that de novo rates of [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] appearance correlate with the yeasttextquoterights ecological niche. Evolutionarily distant fungi possess similar epigenetic elements that are also induced by bacteria. As expected for a mechanism whose adaptive value originates from the selective pressures of life in biological communities, the ability of bacteria to induce [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] and the ability of yeast to respond to bacterial signals have been extinguished repeatedly during the extended monoculture of domestication. Thus, [ GAR <sup>+</sup>] is a broadly conserved adaptive strategy that links environmental and social cues to heritable changes in metabolism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcineurin (CN) is a highly conserved Ca(2+)-calmodulin (CaM)-dependent phosphatase that senses Ca(2+) concentrations and transduces that information into cellular responses. Ca(2+) homeostasis is disrupted by α-synuclein (α-syn), a small lipid binding protein whose misfolding and accumulation is a pathological hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases. We report that α-syn, from yeast to neurons, leads to sustained highly elevated levels of cytoplasmic Ca(2+), thereby activating a CaM-CN cascade that engages substrates that result in toxicity. Surprisingly, complete inhibition of CN also results in toxicity. Limiting the availability of CaM shifts CN's spectrum of substrates toward protective pathways. Modulating CN or CN's substrates with highly selective genetic and pharmacological tools (FK506) does the same. FK506 crosses the blood brain barrier, is well tolerated in humans, and is active in neurons and glia. Thus, a tunable response to CN, which has been conserved for a billion years, can be targeted to rebalance the phosphatase's activities from toxic toward beneficial substrates. These findings have immediate therapeutic implications for synucleinopathies.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2014; 111(34). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1413201111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expansions of preexisting polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts in at least nine different proteins cause devastating neurodegenerative diseases. There are many unique features to these pathologies, but there must also be unifying mechanisms underlying polyQ toxicity. Using a polyQ-expanded fragment of huntingtin exon-1 (Htt103Q), the causal protein in Huntington disease, we and others have created tractable models for investigating polyQ toxicity in yeast cells. These models recapitulate key pathological features of human diseases and provide access to an unrivalled genetic toolbox. To identify toxicity modifiers, we performed an unbiased overexpression screen of virtually every protein encoded by the yeast genome. Surprisingly, there was no overlap between our modifiers and those from a conceptually identical screen reported recently, a discrepancy we attribute to an artifact of their overexpression plasmid. The suppressors of Htt103Q toxicity recovered in our screen were strongly enriched for glutamine- and asparagine-rich prion-like proteins. Separated from the rest of the protein, the prion-like sequences of these proteins were themselves potent suppressors of polyQ-expanded huntingtin exon-1 toxicity, in both yeast and human cells. Replacing the glutamines in these sequences with asparagines abolished suppression and converted them to enhancers of toxicity. Replacing asparagines with glutamines created stronger suppressors. The suppressors (but not the enhancers) coaggregated with Htt103Q, forming large foci at the insoluble protein deposit in which proteins were highly immobile. Cells possessing foci had fewer (if any) small diffusible oligomers of Htt103Q. Until such foci were lost, cells were protected from death. We discuss the therapeutic implications of these findings.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2014; 111(33). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1412504111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment are essential for tumor progression and metastasis. Surprisingly little is known about the factors that drive the transcriptional reprogramming of stromal cells within tumors. We report that the transcriptional regulator heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is frequently activated in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), where it is a potent enabler of malignancy. HSF1 drives a transcriptional program in CAFs that complements, yet is completely different from, the program it drives in adjacent cancer cells. This CAF program is uniquely structured to support malignancy in a non-cell-autonomous way. Two central stromal signaling molecules-TGF-β and SDF1-play a critical role. In early-stage breast and lung cancer, high stromal HSF1 activation is strongly associated with poor patient outcome. Thus, tumors co-opt the ancient survival functions of HSF1 to orchestrate malignancy in both cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous ways, with far-reaching therapeutic implications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chaperones are abundant cellular proteins that promote the folding and function of their substrate proteins (clients). In vivo, chaperones also associate with a large and diverse set of cofactors (cochaperones) that regulate their specificity and function. However, how these cochaperones regulate protein folding and whether they have chaperone-independent biological functions is largely unknown. We combined mass spectrometry and quantitative high-throughput LUMIER assays to systematically characterize the chaperone-cochaperone-client interaction network in human cells. We uncover hundreds of chaperone clients, delineate their participation in specific cochaperone complexes, and establish a surprisingly distinct network of protein-protein interactions for cochaperones. As a salient example of the power of such analysis, we establish that NUDC family cochaperones specifically associate with structurally related but evolutionarily distinct β-propeller folds. We provide a framework for deciphering the proteostasis network and its regulation in development and disease and expand the use of chaperones as sensors for drug-target engagement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During heat shock and other proteotoxic stresses, cells regulate multiple steps in gene expression in order to globally repress protein synthesis and selectively upregulate stress response proteins. Splicing of several mRNAs is known to be inhibited during heat stress, often meditated by SRp38, but the extent and specificity of this effect have remained unclear. Here, we examined splicing regulation genome-wide during heat shock in mouse fibroblasts. We observed widespread retention of introns in transcripts from ∼1,700 genes, which were enriched for tRNA synthetase, nuclear pore, and spliceosome functions. Transcripts with retained introns were largely nuclear and untranslated. However, a group of 580+ genes biased for oxidation reduction and protein folding functions continued to be efficiently spliced. Interestingly, these unaffected transcripts are mostly cotranscriptionally spliced under both normal and stress conditions, whereas splicing-inhibited transcripts are mostly spliced posttranscriptionally. Altogether, our data demonstrate widespread repression of splicing in the mammalian heat stress response, disproportionately affecting posttranscriptionally spliced genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prions are self-templating protein aggregates that stably perpetuate distinct biological states and are of keen interest to researchers in both evolutionary and biomedical science. The best understood prions are from yeast and have a prion-forming domain with strongly biased amino acid composition, most notably enriched for Q or N. PLAAC is a web application that scans protein sequences for domains with P: rion-L: ike A: mino A: cid C: omposition. Users can upload sequence files, or paste sequences directly into a textbox. PLAAC ranks the input sequences by several summary scores and allows scores along sequences to be visualized. Text output files can be downloaded for further analyses, and visualizations saved in PDF and PNG formats. Availability and Implementation: http://plaac.wi.mit.edu/. The Ruby-based web framework, and the command-line software (implemented in Java, with visualization routines in R) are available at: http://github.com/whitehead/plaac under the MIT license. All software can be run under OS X, Windows, and Unix.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell signaling, one of key processes in both normal cellular function and disease, is coordinated by numerous interactions between membrane proteins that change in response to stimuli. We present a split ubiquitin-based method for detection of integral membrane protein-protein interactions (PPIs) in human cells, termed mammalian-membrane two-hybrid assay (MaMTH). We show that this technology detects stimulus (hormone or agonist)-dependent and phosphorylation-dependent PPIs. MaMTH can detect changes in PPIs conferred by mutations such as those in oncogenic ErbB receptor variants or by treatment with drugs such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib. Using MaMTH as a screening assay, we identified CRKII as an interactor of oncogenic EGFR(L858R) and showed that CRKII promotes persistent activation of aberrant signaling in non-small cell lung cancer cells. MaMTH is a powerful tool for investigating the dynamic interactomes of human integral membrane proteins.