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1.  Yeast homologues of lethal giant larvae and type V myosin cooperate in the regulation of Rab-dependent vesicle clustering and polarized exocytosis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(6):842-857.
The yeast type V myosin, Myo2, and the lethal giant larvae homologue, Sro7, are important players in polarized exocytosis. This paper article characterizes the role of Myo2 both in recruiting Sro7 to sites of polarized growth and in negatively regulating a Sec4-dependent vesicle-clustering activity of Sro7.
Lgl family members play an important role in the regulation of cell polarity in eukaryotic cells. The yeast homologues Sro7 and Sro77 are thought to act downstream of the Rab GTPase Sec4 to promote soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor adaptor protein receptor (SNARE) function in post-Golgi transport. In this article, we characterize the interaction between Sro7 and the type V myosin Myo2 and show that this interaction is important for two distinct aspects of Sro7 function. First, we show that this interaction plays a positive role in promoting the polarized localization of Sro7 to sites of active growth. Second, we find evidence that Myo2 negatively regulates Sro7 function in vesicle clustering. Mutants in either Myo2 or Sro7 that are defective for this interaction show hypersensitivity to Sro7 overexpression, which results in Sec4-dependent accumulation of large groups of vesicles in the cytoplasm. This suggests that Myo2 serves a dual function, to both recruit Sro7 to secretory vesicles and inhibit its Rab-dependent tethering activity until vesicles reach the plasma membrane. Thus Sro7 appears to coordinate the spatial and temporal nature of both Rab-dependent tethering and SNARE-dependent membrane fusion of exocytic vesicles with the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC3057708  PMID: 21248204
2.  The yeast lgl family member Sro7p is an effector of the secretory Rab GTPase Sec4p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;172(1):55-66.
Rab guanosine triphosphatases regulate intracellular membrane traffic by binding specific effector proteins. The yeast Rab Sec4p plays multiple roles in the polarized transport of post-Golgi vesicles to, and their subsequent fusion with, the plasma membrane, suggesting the involvement of several effectors. Yet, only one Sec4p effector has been documented to date: the exocyst protein Sec15p. The exocyst is an octameric protein complex required for tethering secretory vesicles, which is a prerequisite for membrane fusion. In this study, we describe the identification of a second Sec4p effector, Sro7p, which is a member of the lethal giant larvae tumor suppressor family. Sec4-GTP binds to Sro7p in cell extracts as well as to purified Sro7p, and the two proteins can be coimmunoprecipitated. Furthermore, we demonstrate the formation of a ternary complex of Sec4-GTP, Sro7p, and the t-SNARE Sec9p. Genetic data support our conclusion that Sro7p functions downstream of Sec4p and further imply that Sro7p and the exocyst share partially overlapping functions, possibly in SNARE regulation.
PMCID: PMC2063532  PMID: 16390997
3.  The Yeast Par-1 Homologs Kin1 and Kin2 Show Genetic and Physical Interactions with Components of the Exocytic Machinery 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(2):532-549.
Kin1 and Kin2 are Saccharomyces cerevisiae counterparts of Par-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans kinase essential for the establishment of polarity in the one cell embryo. Here, we present evidence for a novel link between Kin1, Kin2, and the secretory machinery of the budding yeast. We isolated KIN1 and KIN2 as suppressors of a mutant form of Rho3, a Rho-GTPase acting in polarized trafficking. Genetic analysis suggests that KIN1 and KIN2 act downstream of the Rab-GTPase Sec4, its exchange factor Sec2, and several components of the vesicle tethering complex, the Exocyst. We show that Kin1 and Kin2 physically interact with the t-SNARE Sec9 and the Lgl homologue Sro7, proteins acting at the final stage of exocytosis. Structural analysis of Kin2 reveals that its catalytic activity is essential for its function in the secretory pathway and implicates the conserved 42-amino acid tail at the carboxy terminal of the kinase in autoinhibition. Finally, we find that Kin1 and Kin2 induce phosphorylation of t-SNARE Sec9 in vivo and stimulate its release from the plasma membrane. In summary, we report the finding that yeast Par-1 counterparts are associated with and regulate the function of the exocytic apparatus via phosphorylation of Sec9.
PMCID: PMC545889  PMID: 15563607
4.  Visualization of the exocyst complex dynamics at the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis thaliana 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(4):510-520.
The exocyst complex localizes to distinct foci at the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis thaliana cells. Their localization at the plasma membrane is insensitive to BFA treatment but is decreased in an exocyst-subunit mutant. In turn, exocyst-subunit mutants show decreased exocytosis.
The exocyst complex, an effector of Rho and Rab GTPases, is believed to function as an exocytotic vesicle tether at the plasma membrane before soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex formation. Exocyst subunits localize to secretory-active regions of the plasma membrane, exemplified by the outer domain of Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. Using variable-angle epifluorescence microscopy, we visualized the dynamics of exocyst subunits at this domain. The subunits colocalized in defined foci at the plasma membrane, distinct from endocytic sites. Exocyst foci were independent of cytoskeleton, although prolonged actin disruption led to changes in exocyst localization. Exocyst foci partially overlapped with vesicles visualized by VAMP721 v-SNARE, but the majority of the foci represent sites without vesicles, as indicated by electron microscopy and drug treatments, supporting the concept of the exocyst functioning as a dynamic particle. We observed a decrease of SEC6–green fluorescent protein foci in an exo70A1 exocyst mutant. Finally, we documented decreased VAMP721 trafficking to the plasma membrane in exo70A1 and exo84b mutants. Our data support the concept that the exocyst-complex subunits dynamically dock and undock at the plasma membrane to create sites primed for vesicle tethering.
PMCID: PMC3571873  PMID: 23283982
5.  The tumor suppressor Lgl1 regulates NMII-A cellular distribution and focal adhesion morphology to optimize cell migration 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(4):591-601.
ETOC: Lgl1 interacts directly with NMII-A, inhibiting its filament assembly. It excludes NMII-A from the cell leading edge. Depletion of Lgl1 affects the size and number of focal adhesions, cell polarity, and the rate of migrating cells. These results indicate that Lgl1 regulates the polarity of migrating cells by controlling NMII-A filament assembly.
The Drosophila tumor suppressor Lethal (2) giant larvae (Lgl) regulates the apical–basal polarity in epithelia and asymmetric cell division. However, little is known about the role of Lgl in cell polarity in migrating cells. In this study we show direct physiological interactions between the mammalian homologue of Lgl (Lgl1) and the nonmuscle myosin II isoform A (NMII-A). We demonstrate that Lgl1 and NMII-A form a complex in vivo and provide data that Lgl1 inhibits NMII-A filament assembly in vitro. Furthermore, depletion of Lgl1 results in the unexpected presence of NMII-A in the cell leading edge, a region that is not usually occupied by this protein, suggesting that Lgl1 regulates the cellular localization of NMII-A. Finally, we show that depletion of Lgl1 affects the size and number of focal adhesions, as well as cell polarity, membrane dynamics, and the rate of migrating cells. Collectively these findings indicate that Lgl1 regulates the polarity of migrating cells by controlling the assembly state of NMII-A, its cellular localization, and focal adhesion assembly.
PMCID: PMC3279388  PMID: 22219375
6.  Yeast Homologues of Tomosyn and lethal giant larvae Function in Exocytosis and Are Associated with the Plasma Membrane Snare, Sec9 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;146(1):125-140.
We have identified a pair of related yeast proteins, Sro7p and Sro77p, based on their ability to bind to the plasma membrane SNARE (SNARE) protein, Sec9p. These proteins show significant similarity to the Drosophila tumor suppressor, lethal giant larvae and to the neuronal syntaxin–binding protein, tomosyn. SRO7 and SRO77 have redundant functions as loss of both gene products leads to a severe cold-sensitive growth defect that correlates with a severe defect in exocytosis. We show that similar to Sec9, Sro7/77 functions in the docking and fusion of post-Golgi vesicles with the plasma membrane. In contrast to a previous report, we see no defect in actin polarity under conditions where we see a dramatic effect on secretion. This demonstrates that the primary function of Sro7/77, and likely all members of the lethal giant larvae family, is in exocytosis rather than in regulating the actin cytoskeleton. Analysis of the association of Sro7p and Sec9p demonstrates that Sro7p directly interacts with Sec9p both in the cytosol and in the plasma membrane and can associate with Sec9p in the context of a SNAP receptor complex. Genetic analysis suggests that Sro7 and Sec9 function together in a pathway downstream of the Rho3 GTPase. Taken together, our studies suggest that members of the lethal giant larvae/tomosyn/Sro7 family play an important role in polarized exocytosis by regulating SNARE function on the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC2199738  PMID: 10402465
exocytosis; SNARE complex; cell polarity; tumor suppressor; tomosyn
7.  The role of Sec3p in secretory vesicle targeting and exocyst complex assembly 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(23):3813-3822.
The exocyst has been speculated to mediate the tethering of secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane. However, there has been no direct experimental evidence for this notion. An ectopic targeting strategy is used to provide experimental support for this model and investigate the regulators of exocyst assembly and vesicle targeting.
During membrane trafficking, vesicular carriers are transported and tethered to their cognate acceptor compartments before soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment protein (SNARE)-mediated membrane fusion. The exocyst complex was believed to target and tether post-Golgi secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane during exocytosis. However, no definitive experimental evidence is available to support this notion. We developed an ectopic targeting assay in yeast in which each of the eight exocyst subunits was expressed on the surface of mitochondria. We find that most of the exocyst subunits were able to recruit the other members of the complex there, and mistargeting of the exocyst led to secretion defects in cells. On the other hand, only the ectopically located Sec3p subunit is capable of recruiting secretory vesicles to mitochondria. Our assay also suggests that both cytosolic diffusion and cytoskeleton-based transport mediate the recruitment of exocyst subunits and secretory vesicles during exocytosis. In addition, the Rab GTPase Sec4p and its guanine nucleotide exchange factor Sec2p regulate the assembly of the exocyst complex. Our study helps to establish the role of the exocyst subunits in tethering and allows the investigation of the mechanisms that regulate vesicle tethering during exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC4230786  PMID: 25232005
8.  Lgl2 Executes Its Function as a Tumor Suppressor by Regulating ErbB Signaling in the Zebrafish Epidermis 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(11):e1000720.
Changes in tissue homeostasis, acquisition of invasive cell characteristics, and tumor formation can often be linked to the loss of epithelial cell polarity. In carcinogenesis, the grade of neoplasia correlates with impaired cell polarity. In Drosophila, lethal giant larvae (lgl), discs large (dlg), and scribble, which are components of the epithelial apico-basal cell polarity machinery, act as tumor suppressors, and orthologs of this evolutionary conserved pathway are lost in human carcinoma with high frequency. However, a mechanistic link between neoplasia and vertebrate orthologs of these tumor-suppressor genes remains to be fully explored at the organismal level. Here, we show that the pen/lgl2 mutant phenotype shares two key cellular and molecular features of mammalian malignancy: cell autonomous epidermal neoplasia and epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) of basal epidermal cells including the differential expression of several regulators of EMT. Further, we found that epidermal neoplasia and EMT in pen/lgl2 mutant epidermal cells is promoted by ErbB signalling, a pathway of high significance in human carcinomas. Intriguingly, EMT in the pen/lgl2 mutant is facilitated specifically by ErbB2 mediated E-cadherin mislocalization and not via canonical snail–dependent down-regulation of E-cadherin expression. Our data reveal that pen/lgl2 functions as a tumor suppressor gene in vertebrates, establishing zebrafish pen/lgl2 mutants as a valuable cancer model.
Author Summary
In metazoans, the body surface and linings of several organs are formed from membranous tissue called epithelia. The functions of epithelia include secretion, absorption, and protection. Epithelial cells exhibit polarized distribution of several proteins, which is essential for their function. In carcinomas, which are cancers of epithelial origin, this epithelial cell polarity is impaired. Intriguingly, defects in cell polarization can also lead to tumorigenesis in some animal model systems. It is thus important to understand how cell polarization and epithelial growth control are linked so as to treat the carcinomas better by identifying new drug targets. Here we show that in zebrafish a gene named lethal giant larvae 2 (lgl2), which is essential for the establishment of epithelial cell polarity, also acts as a suppressor of malignant growth properties in the epidermis, an epithelial component of the skin. We further show that in absence of lgl2 function increased epidermal growth factor receptor activity imparts malignant properties to the epidermal cells. Thus, we report here a mechanism by which epithelial cells acquire malignant characteristics when cell polarity is impaired in absence of lgl2 function.
PMCID: PMC2771016  PMID: 19911055
9.  p32 is a novel mammalian Lgl binding protein that enhances the activity of protein kinase Cζ and regulates cell polarity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;178(4):575-581.
Lgl (lethal giant larvae) plays an important role in cell polarity. Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) binds to and phosphorylates Lgl, and the phosphorylation negatively regulates Lgl activity. In this study, we identify p32 as a novel Lgl binding protein that directly binds to a domain on mammalian Lgl2 (mLgl2), which contains the aPKC phosphorylation site. p32 also binds to PKCζ, and the three proteins form a transient ternary complex. When p32 is bound, PKCζ is stimulated to phosphorylate mLgl2 more efficiently. p32 overexpression in Madin–Darby canine kidney cells cultured in a 3D matrix induces an expansion of the actin-enriched apical membrane domain and disrupts cell polarity. Addition of PKCζ inhibitor blocks apical actin accumulation, which is rescued by p32 overexpression. p32 knockdown by short hairpin RNA also induces cell polarity defects. Collectively, our data indicate that p32 is a novel regulator of cell polarity that forms a complex with mLgl2 and aPKC and enhances aPKC activity.
PMCID: PMC2064465  PMID: 17682048
10.  Involvement of Lgl and Mahjong/VprBP in Cell Competition 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(7):e1000422.
Mahjong is a novel Lethal giant larvae-binding protein that plays a vital role in cell competition in both flies and mammals.
During the initial stages of carcinogenesis, transformation events occur in a single cell within an epithelial monolayer. However, it remains unknown what happens at the interface between normal and transformed epithelial cells during this process. In Drosophila, it has been recently shown that normal and transformed cells compete with each other for survival in an epithelial tissue; however the molecular mechanisms whereby “loser cells” undergo apoptosis are not clearly understood. Lgl (lethal giant larvae) is a tumor suppressor protein and plays a crucial role in oncogenesis in flies and mammals. Here we have examined the involvement of Lgl in cell competition and shown that a novel Lgl-binding protein is involved in Lgl-mediated cell competition. Using biochemical immunoprecipitation methods, we first identified Mahjong as a novel binding partner of Lgl in both flies and mammals. In Drosophila, Mahjong is an essential gene, but zygotic mahjong mutants (mahj−/−) do not have obvious patterning defects during embryonic or larval development. However, mahj−/− cells undergo apoptosis when surrounded by wild-type cells in the wing disc epithelium. Importantly, comparable phenomena also occur in Mahjong-knockdown mammalian cells; Mahjong-knockdown Madin-Darby canine kidney epithelial cells undergo apoptosis, only when surrounded by non-transformed cells. Similarly, apoptosis of lgl−/− cells is induced when they are surrounded by wild-type cells in Drosophila wing discs. Phosphorylation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is increased in mahj−/− or lgl−/− mutant cells, and expression of Puckered (Puc), an inhibitor of the JNK pathway, suppresses apoptosis of these mutant cells surrounded by wild-type cells, suggesting that the JNK pathway is involved in mahj- or lgl-mediated cell competition. Finally, we have shown that overexpression of Mahj in lgl−/− cells strongly suppresses JNK activation and blocks apoptosis of lgl−/− cells in the wild-type wing disc epithelium. These data indicate that Mahjong interacts with Lgl biochemically and genetically and that Mahjong and Lgl function in the same pathway to regulate cellular competitiveness. As far as we are aware, this is the first report that cell competition can occur in a mammalian cell culture system.
Author Summary
Cell transformation arises from the activation of oncoproteins and/or inactivation of tumor suppressor proteins. During the initial stage of carcinogenesis, transformation occurs in a single epithelial cell that grows within an epithelial monolayer. However, it remains unclear what happens at the interface between normal and transformed epithelial cells during this process. In Drosophila, it has been shown that normal and transformed cells often compete with each other for survival in an epithelial tissue, in a process called “cell competition.” Lethal giant larvae (Lgl) is a tumor suppressor protein in flies and mammals. Using biochemical methods, we identified Mahjong as a novel binding partner of Lgl in flies and mammals. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that Mahjong is involved in cell competition in both flies and mammals. In particular, we found that canine kidney epithelial cells depleted for Mahjong undergo apoptosis, but only when surrounded by non-transformed cells. This represents the first evidence that cell competition can occur in a mammalian cell culture system. Although it is not clear at present what molecules/signaling pathways are regulated by Lgl/Mahjong during cell competition, future studies might reveal important pathway components that could be targeted therapeutically to prevent tumor cells from “winning” in their race against normal tissue cells.
PMCID: PMC2903597  PMID: 20644714
11.  Regulation of exocytosis by the exocyst subunit Sec6 and the SM protein Sec1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(2):337-346.
The Sec6 subunit of the multisubunit exocyst tethering complex interacts with the Sec1/Munc18 protein Sec1 and with the t-SNARE Sec9. Assembly of the exocyst upon vesicle arrival at sites of secretion is proposed to release Sec9 for SNARE complex assembly and to recruit Sec1 for interaction with SNARE complexes to facilitate fusion.
Trafficking of protein and lipid cargo through the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells is mediated by membrane-bound vesicles. Secretory vesicle targeting and fusion require a conserved multisubunit protein complex termed the exocyst, which has been implicated in specific tethering of vesicles to sites of polarized exocytosis. The exocyst is directly involved in regulating soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complexes and membrane fusion through interactions between the Sec6 subunit and the plasma membrane SNARE protein Sec9. Here we show another facet of Sec6 function—it directly binds Sec1, another SNARE regulator, but of the Sec1/Munc18 family. The Sec6–Sec1 interaction is exclusive of Sec6–Sec9 but compatible with Sec6–exocyst assembly. In contrast, the Sec6–exocyst interaction is incompatible with Sec6–Sec9. Therefore, upon vesicle arrival, Sec6 is proposed to release Sec9 in favor of Sec6–exocyst assembly and to simultaneously recruit Sec1 to sites of secretion for coordinated SNARE complex formation and membrane fusion.
PMCID: PMC3258177  PMID: 22114349
12.  Regulation of myosin activation during cell–cell contact formation by Par3-Lgl antagonism: entosis without matrix detachment 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(11):2076-2091.
Two polarity proteins, partitioning defective 3 homologue (Par3) and mammalian homologues of Drosophila lethal(2)giant larvae (Lgl1/2), antagonize each other in modulating myosin II activation during cell–cell contact formation in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. Altering the counteraction between Par3 and Lgl1/2 leads to entosis without matrix detachment.
Cell–cell contact formation following cadherin engagement requires actomyosin contraction along the periphery of cell–cell contact. The molecular mechanisms that regulate myosin activation during this process are not clear. In this paper, we show that two polarity proteins, partitioning defective 3 homologue (Par3) and mammalian homologues of Drosophila Lethal (2) Giant Larvae (Lgl1/2), antagonize each other in modulating myosin II activation during cell–cell contact formation in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. While overexpression of Lgl1/2 or depletion of endogenous Par3 leads to enhanced myosin II activation, knockdown of Lgl1/2 does the opposite. Intriguingly, altering the counteraction between Par3 and Lgl1/2 induces cell–cell internalization during early cell–cell contact formation, which involves active invasion of the lateral cell–cell contact underneath the apical-junctional complexes and requires activation of the Rho–Rho-associated, coiled-coil containing protein kinase (ROCK)–myosin pathway. This is followed by predominantly nonapoptotic cell-in-cell death of the internalized cells and frequent aneuploidy of the host cells. Such effects are reminiscent of entosis, a recently described process observed when mammary gland epithelial cells were cultured in suspension. We propose that entosis could occur without matrix detachment and that overactivation of myosin or unbalanced myosin activation between contacting cells may be the driving force for entosis in epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3364173  PMID: 22496418
13.  A Truncated NLR Protein, TIR-NBS2, Is Required for Activated Defense Responses in the exo70B1 Mutant 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(1):e1004945.
During exocytosis, the evolutionarily conserved exocyst complex tethers Golgi-derived vesicles to the target plasma membrane, a critical function for secretory pathways. Here we show that exo70B1 loss-of-function mutants express activated defense responses upon infection and express enhanced resistance to fungal, oomycete and bacterial pathogens. In a screen for mutants that suppress exo70B1 resistance, we identified nine alleles of TIR-NBS2 (TN2), suggesting that loss-of-function of EXO70B1 leads to activation of this nucleotide binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing (NLR)-like disease resistance protein. This NLR-like protein is atypical because it lacks the LRR domain common in typical NLR receptors. In addition, we show that TN2 interacts with EXO70B1 in yeast and in planta. Our study thus provides a link between the exocyst complex and the function of a ‘TIR-NBS only’ immune receptor like protein. Our data are consistent with a speculative model wherein pathogen effectors could evolve to target EXO70B1 to manipulate plant secretion machinery. TN2 could monitor EXO70B1 integrity as part of an immune receptor complex.
Author Summary
Secretory pathways play an important role in the plant immune response by delivering antimicrobial compounds and metabolites to the site of infection. The evolutionarily conserved exocyst complex is involved in exocytosis, the final step in the secretory pathway. We showed that loss of the function of EXO70B1, a subunit of exocyst complex, results in activated defense responses, and enhanced resistance to a range of pathogens. We found that EXO70B1 associates with the SNARE complex protein SNAP33, which is involved in focal secretion of defense-related proteins. Enhanced disease resistance and cell death in the exo70B1 mutant are dependent on TIR-NBS2 (TN2), an atypical intracellular immune receptor-like protein that lacks leucine-rich repeats. TN2 physically associates with EXO70B1, and TN2 transcripts accumulate at much higher levels in the exo70B1 mutant. These data are consistent with a model where activation of a receptor pathway containing TIR-NBS2 is responsible for activated defense responses and cell death in exo70B1. Our data further suggest that this, and possibly other, exocyst components could be targets of effectors that are guarded by immune receptors.
PMCID: PMC4305288  PMID: 25617755
14.  Cyclical Regulation of the Exocyst and Cell Polarity Determinants for Polarized Cell Growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1500-1512.
Polarized exocytosis is important for morphogenesis and cell growth. The exocyst is a multiprotein complex implicated in tethering secretory vesicles at specific sites of the plasma membrane for exocytosis. In the budding yeast, the exocyst is localized to sites of bud emergence or the tips of small daughter cells, where it mediates secretion and cell surface expansion. To understand how exocytosis is spatially controlled, we systematically analyzed the localization of Sec15p, a member of the exocyst complex and downstream effector of the rab protein Sec4p, in various mutants. We found that the polarized localization of Sec15p relies on functional upstream membrane traffic, activated rab protein Sec4p, and its guanine exchange factor Sec2p. The initial targeting of both Sec4p and Sec15p to the bud tip depends on polarized actin cable. However, different recycling mechanisms for rab and Sec15p may account for the different kinetics of polarization for these two proteins. We also found that Sec3p and Sec15p, though both members of the exocyst complex, rely on distinctive targeting mechanisms for their localization. The assembly of the exocyst may integrate various cellular signals to ensure that exocytosis is tightly controlled. Key regulators of cell polarity such as Cdc42p are important for the recruitment of the exocyst to the budding site. Conversely, we found that the proper localization of these cell polarity regulators themselves also requires a functional exocytosis pathway. We further report that Bem1p, a protein essential for the recruitment of signaling molecules for the establishment of cell polarity, interacts with the exocyst complex. We propose that a cyclical regulatory network contributes to the establishment and maintenance of polarized cell growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC551511  PMID: 15647373
15.  Fission Yeast Sec3 and Exo70 Are Transported on Actin Cables and Localize the Exocyst Complex to Cell Poles 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40248.
The exocyst complex is essential for many exocytic events, by tethering vesicles at the plasma membrane for fusion. In fission yeast, polarized exocytosis for growth relies on the combined action of the exocyst at cell poles and myosin-driven transport along actin cables. We report here the identification of fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe Sec3 protein, which we identified through sequence homology of its PH-like domain. Like other exocyst subunits, sec3 is required for secretion and cell division. Cells deleted for sec3 are only conditionally lethal and can proliferate when osmotically stabilized. Sec3 is redundant with Exo70 for viability and for the localization of other exocyst subunits, suggesting these components act as exocyst tethers at the plasma membrane. Consistently, Sec3 localizes to zones of growth independently of other exocyst subunits but depends on PIP2 and functional Cdc42. FRAP analysis shows that Sec3, like all other exocyst subunits, localizes to cell poles largely independently of the actin cytoskeleton. However, we show that Sec3, Exo70 and Sec5 are transported by the myosin V Myo52 along actin cables. These data suggest that the exocyst holocomplex, including Sec3 and Exo70, is present on exocytic vesicles, which can reach cell poles by either myosin-driven transport or random walk.
PMCID: PMC3386988  PMID: 22768263
16.  lgl Regulates the Hippo Pathway Independently of Fat/Dachs, Kibra/Expanded/Merlin and dRASSF/dSTRIPAK 
Cancers  2014;6(2):879-896.
In both Drosophila and mammalian systems, the Hippo (Hpo) signalling pathway controls tissue growth by inhibiting cell proliferation and promoting apoptosis. The core pathway consists of a protein kinase Hpo (MST1/2 in mammals) that is regulated by a number of upstream inputs including Drosophila Ras Association Factor, dRASSF. We have previously shown in the developing Drosophila eye epithelium that loss of the apico-basal cell polarity regulator lethal-(2)-giant-larvae (lgl), and the concomitant increase in aPKC activity, results in ectopic proliferation and suppression of developmental cell death by blocking Hpo pathway signalling. Here, we further explore how Lgl/aPKC interacts with the Hpo pathway. Deregulation of the Hpo pathway by Lgl depletion is associated with the mislocalization of Hpo and dRASSF. We demonstrate that Lgl/aPKC regulate the Hpo pathway independently of upstream inputs from Fat/Dachs and the Kibra/Expanded/Merlin complex. We show depletion of Lgl also results in accumulation and mislocalization of components of the dSTRIPAK complex, a major phosphatase complex that directly binds to dRASSF and represses Hpo activity. However, depleting dSTRIPAK components, or removal of dRASSF did not rescue the lgl−/− or aPKC overexpression phenotypes. Thus, Lgl/aPKC regulate Hpo activity by a novel mechanism, independently of dRASSF and dSTRIPAK. Surprisingly, removal of dRASSF in tissue with increased aPKC activity results in mild tissue overgrowth, indicating that in this context dRASSF acts as a tumor suppressor. This effect was independent of the Hpo and Ras Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways, suggesting that dRASSF regulates a novel pathway to control tissue growth.
PMCID: PMC4074808  PMID: 24743776
tumor suppressor; cell polarity; Drosophila; Lgl; aPKC; dRASSF; Hpo; Ras; dSTRIPAK complex
17.  The involvement of lethal giant larvae and Wnt signaling in bottle cell formation in Xenopus embryos 
Developmental biology  2009;336(1):68-75.
Lethal giant larvae (Lgl) plays a critical role in establishment of cell polarity in epithelial cells. While Frizzled/Dsh signaling has been implicated in the regulation of the localization and activity of Lgl, it remains unclear whether specific Wnt ligands are involved. Here we show that Wnt5a triggers the release of Lgl from the cell cortex into the cytoplasm with the concomitant decrease in Lgl stability. The observed changes in Lgl localization were independent of atypical PKC (aPKC), which is known to influence Lgl distribution. In ectodermal cells, both Wnt5a and Lgl triggered morphological and molecular changes characteristic of apical constriction, whereas depletion of their functions prevented endogenous and ectopic bottle cell formation. Furthermore, Lgl RNA partially rescued bottle cell formation in embryos injected with a dominant negative Wnt5a construct. These results suggest a molecular link between Wnt5a and Lgl that is essential for apical constriction during vertebrate gastrulation.
PMCID: PMC2801549  PMID: 19782678
Lgl; Wnt5a; apical constriction; bottle cell; Xenopus
18.  Rho GTPase regulation of exocytosis in yeast is independent of GTP hydrolysis and polarization of the exocyst complex 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2005;170(4):583-594.
Rho GTPases are important regulators of polarity in eukaryotic cells. In yeast they are involved in regulating the docking and fusion of secretory vesicles with the cell surface. Our analysis of a Rho3 mutant that is unable to interact with the Exo70 subunit of the exocyst reveals a normal polarization of the exocyst complex as well as other polarity markers. We also find that there is no redundancy between the Rho3–Exo70 and Rho1–Sec3 pathways in the localization of the exocyst. This suggests that Rho3 and Cdc42 act to polarize exocytosis by activating the exocytic machinery at the membrane without the need to first recruit it to sites of polarized growth. Consistent with this model, we find that the ability of Rho3 and Cdc42 to hydrolyze GTP is not required for their role in secretion. Moreover, our analysis of the Sec3 subunit of the exocyst suggests that polarization of the exocyst may be a consequence rather than a cause of polarized exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2171504  PMID: 16103227
19.  par-1, Atypical pkc, and PP2A/B55 sur-6 Are Implicated in the Regulation of Exocyst-Mediated Membrane Trafficking in Caenorhabditis elegans 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(1):173-183.
The exocyst is a conserved protein complex that is involved in tethering secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane and regulating cell polarity. Despite a large body of work, little is known how exocyst function is controlled. To identify regulators for exocyst function, we performed a targeted RNA interference (RNAi) screen in Caenorhabditis elegans to uncover kinases and phosphatases that genetically interact with the exocyst. We identified seven kinase and seven phosphatase genes that display enhanced phenotypes when combined with hypomorphic alleles of exoc-7 (exo70), exoc-8 (exo84), or an exoc-7;exoc-8 double mutant. We show that in line with its reported role in exocytotic membrane trafficking, a defective exoc-8 caused accumulation of exocytotic soluble NSF attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins in both intestinal and neuronal cells in C. elegans. Down-regulation of the phosphatase protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) phosphatase regulatory subunit sur-6/B55 gene resulted in accumulation of exocytic SNARE proteins SNB-1 and SNAP-29 in wild-type and in exoc-8 mutant animals. In contrast, RNAi of the kinase par-1 caused reduced intracellular green fluorescent protein signal for the same proteins. Double RNAi experiments for par-1, pkc-3, and sur-6/B55 in C. elegans suggest a possible cooperation and involvement in postembryo lethality, developmental timing, as well as SNARE protein trafficking. Functional analysis of the homologous kinases and phosphatases in Drosophila median neurosecretory cells showed that atypical protein kinase C kinase and phosphatase PP2A regulate exocyst-dependent, insulin-like peptide secretion. Collectively, these results characterize kinases and phosphatases implicated in the regulation of exocyst function, and suggest the possibility for interplay between the par-1 and pkc-3 kinases and the PP2A phosphatase regulatory subunit sur-6 in this process.
PMCID: PMC3887533  PMID: 24192838
Caenorhabditis elegans; exocyst; PP2A; par-1; pkc-3
20.  The Microtubule-associated Rho Activating Factor GEF-H1 interacts with Exocyst complex to regulate Vesicle Traffic 
Developmental cell  2012;23(2):397-411.
The exocyst complex plays a critical role in targeting and tethering vesicles to specific sites of the plasma membrane. These events are crucial for polarized delivery of membrane components to the cell surface, which is critical for cell motility and division. Though Rho GTPases are involved in regulating actin dynamics and membrane trafficking, their role in exocyst-mediated vesicle targeting is not very clear. Herein, we present evidence that depletion of GEF-H1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho proteins, affects vesicle trafficking. Interestingly, we found that GEF-H1 directly binds to exocyst component Sec5 in a Ral GTPase-dependent manner. This interaction promotes RhoA activation, which then regulates exocyst assembly/localization and exocytosis. Taken together, our work defines a mechanism for RhoA activation in response to RalA-Sec5 signaling and involvement of GEF-H1/RhoA pathway in the regulation of vesicle trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3422510  PMID: 22898781
21.  Rabs and the Exocyst in Ciliogenesis, Tubulogenesis, and Beyond 
Trends in cell biology  2011;21(7):383-386.
The exocyst -- an octameric protein complex mediating vesicle tethering at the plasma membrane for exocytosis -- is a downstream effector of the Rab proteins Rab8 and Rab11, which are key regulators of membrane trafficking from the trans-Golgi network and recycling endosome to the plasma membrane. Rab11 and Rab8 coordinate their actions via Rabin8, the guanine nucleotide exchange factor of Rab8. A cascade of protein-protein interactions involving the Rabs and the exocyst complex couples the generation of secretory vesicles at donor compartments to their docking and fusion at the plasma membrane. Here, we discuss recent work implicating Rab proteins and the exocyst in primary ciliogenesis and epithelial lumenogenesis. In addition, we discuss early work in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which provided initial insight into the molecular mechanisms of polarized exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC3128673  PMID: 21550243
22.  GTP Hydrolysis of TC10 Promotes Neurite Outgrowth through Exocytic Fusion of Rab11- and L1-Containing Vesicles by Releasing Exocyst Component Exo70 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79689.
The use of exocytosis for membrane expansion at nerve growth cones is critical for neurite outgrowth. TC10 is a Rho family GTPase that is essential for specific types of vesicular trafficking to the plasma membrane. Recent studies have shown that TC10 and its effector Exo70, a component of the exocyst tethering complex, contribute to neurite outgrowth. However, the molecular mechanisms of the neuritogenesis-promoting functions of TC10 remain to be established. Here, we propose that GTP hydrolysis of vesicular TC10 near the plasma membrane promotes neurite outgrowth by accelerating vesicle fusion by releasing Exo70. Using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors, we show that TC10 activity at the plasma membrane decreased at extending growth cones in hippocampal neurons and nerve growth factor (NGF)-treated PC12 cells. In neuronal cells, TC10 activity at vesicles was higher than its activity at the plasma membrane, and TC10-positive vesicles were found to fuse to the plasma membrane in NGF-treated PC12 cells. Therefore, activity of TC10 at vesicles is presumed to be inactivated near the plasma membrane during neuronal exocytosis. Our model is supported by functional evidence that constitutively active TC10 could not rescue decrease in NGF-induced neurite outgrowth induced by TC10 depletion. Furthermore, TC10 knockdown experiments and colocalization analyses confirmed the involvement of Exo70 in TC10-mediated trafficking in neuronal cells. TC10 frequently resided on vesicles containing Rab11, which is a key regulator of recycling pathways and implicated in neurite outgrowth. In growth cones, most of the vesicles containing the cell adhesion molecule L1 had TC10. Exocytosis of Rab11- and L1-positive vesicles may play a central role in TC10-mediated neurite outgrowth. The combination of this study and our previous work on the role of TC10 in EGF-induced exocytosis in HeLa cells suggests that the signaling machinery containing TC10 proposed here may be broadly used for exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC3817099  PMID: 24223996
23.  Abnormalities in cell proliferation and apico-basal cell polarity are separable in Drosophila lgl mutant clones in the developing eye 
Developmental biology  2007;311(1):106-123.
In homozygous mutants of Drosophila lethal-2-giant larvae (lgl), tissues lose apico-basal cell polarity and exhibit ectopic proliferation. Here, we use clonal analysis in the developing eye to investigate the effect of lgl null mutations in the context of surrounding wild-type tissue. lgl− clones in the larval eye disc exhibit ectopic expression of the G1-S regulator, Cyclin E, and ectopic proliferation, but do not lose apico-basal cell polarity. Decreasing the perdurance of Lgl protein in larval eye disc clones, by forcing extra proliferation of lgl− tissue (using a Minute background), leads to a loss in cell polarity and to more extreme ectopic cell proliferation. Later in development at the pupal stage, lgl mutant photoreceptor cells show aberrant apico-basal cell polarity, but this is not associated with ectopic proliferation, presumably because cells are differentiated. Thus in a clonal context, the ectopic proliferation and cell polarity defects of lgl− mutants are separable. Furthermore, lgl− mosaic eye discs have alterations in the normal patterns of apoptosis: in larval discs some lgl− and wild-type cells at the clonal boundary undergo apoptosis and are excluded from the epithelia, but apoptosis is decreased elsewhere in the disc, and in pupal retinas lgl− tissue shows less apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2974846  PMID: 17870065
Drosophila; eye development; proliferation; apico-basal cell polarity; apoptosis; lgl; cyclin E
24.  The interaction of IQGAP1 with the exocyst complex is required for tumor cell invasion downstream of Cdc42 and RhoA 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;181(6):985-998.
Invadopodia are actin-based membrane protrusions formed at contact sites between invasive tumor cells and the extracellular matrix with matrix proteolytic activity. Actin regulatory proteins participate in invadopodia formation, whereas matrix degradation requires metalloproteinases (MMPs) targeted to invadopodia. In this study, we show that the vesicle-tethering exocyst complex is required for matrix proteolysis and invasion of breast carcinoma cells. We demonstrate that the exocyst subunits Sec3 and Sec8 interact with the polarity protein IQGAP1 and that this interaction is triggered by active Cdc42 and RhoA, which are essential for matrix degradation. Interaction between IQGAP1 and the exocyst is necessary for invadopodia activity because enhancement of matrix degradation induced by the expression of IQGAP1 is lost upon deletion of the exocyst-binding site. We further show that the exocyst and IQGAP1 are required for the accumulation of cell surface membrane type 1 MMP at invadopodia. Based on these results, we propose that invadopodia function in tumor cells relies on the coordination of cytoskeletal assembly and exocytosis downstream of Rho guanosine triphosphatases.
PMCID: PMC2426946  PMID: 18541705
25.  The exocyst at the interface between cytoskeleton and membranes in eukaryotic cells 
Delivery and final fusion of the secretory vesicles with the relevant target membrane are hierarchically organized and reciprocally interconnected multi-step processes involving not only specific protein–protein interactions, but also specific protein–phospholipid interactions. The exocyst was discovered as a tethering complex mediating initial encounter of arriving exocytic vesicles with the plasma membrane. The exocyst complex is regulated by Rab and Rho small GTPases, resulting in docking of exocytic vesicles to the plasma membrane (PM) and finally their fusion mediated by specific SNARE complexes. In model Opisthokont cells, the exocyst was shown to directly interact with both microtubule and microfilament cytoskeleton and related motor proteins as well as with the PM via phosphatidylinositol 4, 5-bisphosphate specific binding, which directly affects cortical cytoskeleton and PM dynamics. Here we summarize the current knowledge on exocyst-cytoskeleton-PM interactions in order to open a perspective for future research in this area in plant cells.
PMCID: PMC3877765  PMID: 24427163
exocyst; actin cytoskeleton; microtubule cytoskeleton; phospholipids; myosin; small GTPases; Exo70; secretion

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