[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endocytosis and intracellular sorting of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) receptors play an important regulatory role in TGF-β signaling. Two major endocytic pathways, clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytosis, have been reported to independently mediate the internalization of TGF-β receptors. In this study, we demonstrate that the clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytic pathways can converge during TGF-β receptor endocytic trafficking. By tracking the intracellular dynamics of fluorescently-labeled TGF-β type I receptor (TβRI), we found that after mediating TβRI internalization, certain clathrin-coated vesicles and caveolar vesicles are fused underneath the plasma membrane, forming a novel type of caveolin-1 and clathrin double-positive vesicles. Under the regulation of Rab5, the fused vesicles are targeted to early endosomes and thus deliver the internalized TβRI to the caveolin-1 and EEA1 double-positive early endosomes (caveolin-1-positive early endosomes). We further showed that the caveolin-1-positive early endosomes are positive for Smad3/SARA, Rab11 and Smad7/Smurf2, and may act as a multifunctional device for TGF-β signaling and TGF-β receptor recycling and degradation. Therefore, these findings uncover a novel scenario of endocytosis, the direct fusion of clathrin-coated and caveolae vesicles during TGF-β receptor endocytic trafficking, which leads to the formation of the multifunctional sorting device, caveolin-1-positive early endosomes, for TGF-β receptors.Cell Research advance online publication 22 May 2015; doi:10.1038/cr.2015.60.
Cell Research 05/2015; 25(6). DOI:10.1038/cr.2015.60 · 12.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lgr5+ stem cells are crucial to gut epithelium homeostasis, and therapies targeting these cells hold promise for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. Here we report that the non-muscle-myosin-II (NMII) heavy chain Myh9 accumulates at epithelial injury sites in mice distal colon treated with dextran sulphate sodium (DSS). Gut-epithelium-specific Myh9 monoallelic deletion alleviates DSS-induced colonic crypt damage and acute colitis. Consistently, the NMII inhibitor blebbistatin can improve the survival of Lgr5+ stem cells and the growth of Lgr5 organoids. Mechanistically, inhibition of NMII by blebbistatin or Myh9 monoallelic deletion activates Akt through Rac1 and PAK1, which is essential for the survival and pluripotency of Lgr5+ cells. These results establish a critical role of the Myh9-Rac1-PAK1-Akt pathway in the maintenance of Lgr5+ stem cells. As blebbistatin can mitigate DSS-induced colitis and preserve Lgr5+ colonic stem cells in vivo, our findings provide a potential therapeutic intervention of gastrointestinal epithelium injury and degenerative diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The remarkable ability of rapid self-renewal makes the intestinal epithelium an ideal model for the study of adult stem cells. The intestinal epithelium is organized into villus and crypt, and a group of intestinal stem cells located at the base of crypt are responsible for this constant self-renewal throughout the life. Identification of the intestinal stem cell marker Lgr5, isolation and in vitro culture of Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells and the use of transgenic mouse models have significantly facilitated the studies of intestinal stem cell homeostasis and differentiation, therefore greatly expanding our knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms underlying the intestinal stem cell fate determination. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of how signals of Wnt, BMP, Notch and EGF in the stem cell niche modulate the intestinal stem cell fate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Receptor-mediated signal transduction modulates complex cellular behaviours such as cell growth, migration and differentiation. Although photoactivatable proteins have emerged as a powerful tool for controlling molecular interactions and signalling cascades at precise times and spaces using light, many of these light-sensitive proteins are activated by ultraviolent or visible light, which has limited tissue penetration. Here, we report a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)-assisted approach that enables near-infrared light-triggered activation of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signal transduction, an important signalling pathway in embryonic development and cancer progression. The protein complex of TGF-β and its latency-associated peptide is conjugated onto SWCNTs, where TGF-β is inactive. Upon near-infrared irradiation, TGF-β is released through the photothermal effect of SWCNTs and becomes active. The released TGF-β activates downstream signal transduction in live cells and modulates cellular behaviours. Furthermore, preliminary studies show that the method can be used to mediate TGF-β signalling in living mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling regulates diverse cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, cell plasticity, and migration. TGF-β signaling can be mediated by Smad proteins or other signaling proteins such as MAP kinases and Akt. TGF-β signaling is tightly regulated at different levels along the pathways to ensure its proper physiological functions in different cells and tissues. Deregulation of TGF-β signaling has been associated with various kinds of diseases, such as cancer and tissue fibrosis. This paper focuses on our recent work on regulation of TGF-β signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signaling via the β-catenin/TCF complex plays crucial roles in tissue homeostasis. Wnt stimulated β-catenin/TCF complex accumulation in the nucleus regulates cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation through the transcription of target genes. Compared with those in G1, LRP6 receptor activation and cytosolic β-catenin are both up-regulated in G2 cells. However, accumulation of the Wnt pathway negative regulator, AXIN2, also occurs in this phase. Therefore, it is unclear whether Wnt signaling is active in G2 phase cells. Here, we established a bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) biosensor system for the direct visualization of β-catenin/TCF interaction in living cells. Using the BiFC biosensor and co-immunoprecipitation experiments, we demonstrated the nucleus-localized β-catenin/TCF complex increases during the S and G2 phases, and declines in the next G1 phase. Accordingly, a subset of Wnt target genes was transcribed by the β-catenin/TCF complex during both S and G2 phases. In contrast, transient inhibition of this complex disturbed both cell survival and G2/M progression. Our results suggest that in S-G2 phase cells, Wnt/β-catenin signaling is highly active and functions to ensure cell survival and cell-cycle progression.
Journal of Cell Science 09/2014; DOI:10.1242/jcs.146977 · 5.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process to clear up aggregated proteins or aged and damaged organelles. The Beclin1-Vps34-Atg14L complex is essential for autophagosome formation. However, how the complex formation is regulated is unclear. Here, we show that Dapper1 (Dpr1) acts as a critical regulator of the Beclin1-Vps34-Atg14L complex to promote autophagy. Dpr1 ablation in the central nervous system results in motor coordination defect and accumulation of p62 and ubiquitinated proteins. Dpr1 increases autophagosome formation as indicated by elevated puncta formation of LC3, Atg14L and DFCP1 (Double FYVE-containing protein 1). Conversely, loss of Dpr1 impairs LC3 lipidation and causes p62/SQSTM1 accumulation. Dpr1 directly interacts with Beclin1 and Atg14L and enhances the Beclin1-Vps34 interaction and Vps34 activity. Together, our findings suggest that Dpr1 enhances the Atg14L-Beclin1-Vps34 complex formation to drive autophagy.Cell Research advance online publication 1 July 2014; doi:10.1038/cr.2014.84.
Cell Research 07/2014; 24(8). DOI:10.1038/cr.2014.84 · 12.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of animal embryos before zygotic genome activation at the midblastula transition (MBT) is essentially supported
by egg-derived maternal products. Nodal proteins are crucial signals for mesoderm and endoderm induction after the MBT. It
remains unclear which maternal factors activate zygotic expression of nodal genes in the ventrolateral blastodermal margin of the zebrafish blastulas. In this study, we show that loss of maternal Eomesodermin
a (Eomesa), a T-box transcription factor, impairs zygotic expression of the nodal genes ndr1 and ndr2 as well as mesodermal and endodermal markers, indicating an involvement in mesendoderm induction. Maternal Eomesa is also
required for timely zygotic expression of the transcription factor gene mxtx2, a regulator of nodal gene expression. Eomesa directly binds to the Eomes-binding sites in the promoter or enhancer of ndr1, ndr2, and mxtx2 to activate their transcription. Furthermore, human and mouse Nodal genes are also regulated by Eomes. Transfection of zebrafish eomesa into murine embryonic stem cells promotes mesendodermal differentiation with constant higher levels of endogenous Nodal expression, suggesting a conserved function of Eomes. Taken together, our findings reveal a conserved role of maternal T-box
transcription factors in regulating nodal gene expression and mesendoderm induction in vertebrate embryos.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the early vertebrate body plan formation, convergent extension (CE) of dorsal mesoderm and neurectoderm is coordinated by the evolutionarily conserved non-canonical Wnt/PCP signaling. Dishevelled (Dvl), a key mediator of Wnt/PCP signaling, is essential for the medial-lateral polarity formation in the cells undergoing convergent extension movements. NEDD4L, a highly conserved HECT type E3 ligase, has been reported to regulate the stability of multiple substrates including Dvl2. Here we demonstrate that NEDD4L is required for the cellular polarity formation and convergent extension in the early Xenopus embryos. Depletion of NEDD4L in early Xenopus embryos results in the loss of mediolateral polarity of the convergent-extending mesoderm cells and the shortened body axis, resembling those defects caused by the disruption of non-canonical Wnt signaling. Depletion of xNEDD4L also blocks the elongation of the animal explants in response to endogenous mesoderm inducing signals and partially compromises the expression of Brachyury. Importantly, reducing Dvl2 expression can largely rescue the cellular polarity and convergent extension defects in NEDD4L-depleted embryos and explants. Together with the data that NEDD4L reduces Dvl2 protein expression in the frog embryos, our findings suggest that regulation of Dvl protein levels by NEDD4L is essential for convergent extension during early Xenopus embryogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research in autophagy continues to accelerate,(1) and as a result many new scientists are entering the field. Accordingly, it is important to establish a standard set of criteria for monitoring macroautophagy in different organisms. Recent reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose.(2,3) There are many useful and convenient methods that can be used to monitor macroautophagy in yeast, but relatively few in other model systems, and there is much confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure macroautophagy in higher eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers of autophagosomes versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway; thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from fully functional autophagy that includes delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of the methods that can be used by investigators who are attempting to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as by reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that investigate these processes. This set of guidelines is not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to verify an autophagic response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The zinc finger transcription factor Smad-interacting protein-1 (Sip1; Zeb2, Zfhx1b) plays an important role during vertebrate embryogenesis in various tissues and differentiating cell types, and during tumorigenesis. Previous biochemical analysis suggests that interactions with several partner proteins, including TGFβ family receptor-activated Smads, regulate the activities of Sip1 in the nucleus both as a DNA-binding transcriptional repressor and activator. Using a peptide aptamer approach we mapped in Sip1 its Smad-binding domain (SBD), initially defined as a segment of 51 amino acids, to a shorter stretch of 14 amino acids within this SBD. Modelling suggests that this short SBD stretch is part of an extended α-helix that may fit the binding to a hydrophobic corridor within the MH2 domain of activated Smads. Four amino acids (two polar Q residues and two non-polar V residues) that form the tandem repeat (QxVx)2 in this 14-residue stretch were found to be crucial for binding to both TGFβ/Nodal/Activin-Smads and BMP-Smads. A full-length Sip1 with collective mutation of these Q and V residues (to A) no longer binds to Smads, while it retains its binding activity to its cognate bipartite target DNA sequence. This missense mutant Sip1(AxAx)2 provides a new molecular tool to identify SBD (in)dependent target genes in Sip1-controlled TGFβ and/or BMP (de)regulated cellular, developmental and pathological processes.
PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e76733. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0076733 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The DNA damage checkpoint is tightly controlled. After its activation, the checkpoint machinery is inactivated once lesions
are repaired or undergoes adaptation if the DNA damage is unable to be repaired. Protein acetylation has been shown to play
an important role in DNA damage checkpoint activation. However, the role of acetylation in checkpoint inactivation is unclear.
Here we show that histone deacetylase Rpd3-mediated deacetylation of Rad53 plays an important role in checkpoint adaptation.
Deletion of Rpd3 or inhibition of its activity impairs adaptation. RPD3 deletion also leads to a higher acetylation level and enhanced kinase activity of Rad53. Replacement of two major acetylation
sites of Rad53 with arginine reduces its activity and further suppresses the adaptation defect of rpd3Δ cells, indicating that Rpd3 facilitates adaptation by preventing Rad53 overactivation. Similar to its role in adaptation,
deletion of RPD3 or inhibition of its activity also suppressed checkpoint recovery. Altogether, our findings reveal an important role of Rpd3
in promoting checkpoint adaptation via deacetylation and inhibition of Rad53.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In hematopoietic system, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are characterized by their self-renewal and multilineage differentiation capability. The abnormal behavior of HSCs causes emergence and progression of leukemia and other hematopoietic malignancies. Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) is a multipotent factor which impacts the diverse fates of HSCs, including proliferation, self-renewal, differentiation, apoptosis, and mobilization from the niche. TGF-β signaling is finely controlled, and its deregulation is associated to leukemia development. In recent years, using genetically modified mice and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation system, the in vivo functions of TGF-β signaling in hematopoietic system have been greatly appreciated. This review summarizes the recent development on the role of TGF-β signaling in HSC fate decision and leukemia development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smad2/3-mediated transforming growth factor β signalling and the Ras-Raf-Mek-Erk cascade have important roles in stem cell and development and tissue homeostasis. However, it remains unknown whether Raf kinases directly crosstalk with Smad2/3 signalling and how this would regulate embryonic development. Here we show that Araf antagonizes mesendoderm induction and patterning activity of Nodal/Smad2 signals in vertebrate embryos by directly inhibiting Smad2 signalling. Knockdown of araf in zebrafish embryos leads to an increase of activated Smad2 with a decrease in linker phosphorylation; consequently, the embryos have excess mesendoderm precursors and are dorsalized. Mechanistically, Araf physically binds to and phosphorylates Smad2 in the linker region with S253 being indispensable in a Mek/Erk-independent manner, thereby attenuating Smad2 signalling by accelerating degradation of activated Smad2. Our findings open avenues for investigating the potential significance of Raf regulation of transforming growth factor β signalling in versatile biological and pathological processes in the future.