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1.  Chemical combinations elucidate pathway interactions and regulation relevant to Hepatitis C replication 
SREBP-2, oxidosqualene cyclase (OSC) or lanosterol demethylase were identified as novel sterol pathway-associated targets that, when probed with chemical agents, can inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication.Using a combination chemical genetics approach, combinations of chemicals targeting sterol pathway enzymes downstream of and including OSC or protein geranylgeranyl transferase I (PGGT) produce robust and selective synergistic inhibition of HCV replication. Inhibition of enzymes upstream of OSC elicit proviral responses that are dominant to the effects of inhibiting all downstream targets.Inhibition of the sterol pathway without inhibition of regulatory feedback mechanisms ultimately results in an increase in HCV replication because of a compensatory upregulation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) expression. Increases in HMGCR expression without inhibition of HMGCR enzymatic activity ultimately stimulate HCV replication through increasing the cellular pool of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP).Chemical inhibitors that ultimately prevent SREBP-2 activation, inhibit PGGT or encourage the production of polar sterols have great potential as HCV therapeutics if associated toxicities can be reduced.
Chemical inhibition of enzymes in either the cholesterol or the fatty acid biosynthetic pathways has been shown to impact viral replication, both positively and negatively (Su et al, 2002; Ye et al, 2003; Kapadia and Chisari, 2005; Sagan et al, 2006; Amemiya et al, 2008). FBL2 has been identified as a 50 kDa geranylgeranylated host protein that is necessary for localization of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication complex to the membranous web through its close association with the HCV protein NS5A and is critical for HCV replication (Wang et al, 2005). Inhibition of the protein geranylgeranyl transferase I (PGGT), an enzyme that transfers geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) to cellular proteins such as FBL2 for the purpose of membrane anchoring, negatively impacts HCV replication (Ye et al, 2003). Conversely, chemical agents that increase intracellular GGPP concentrations promote viral replication (Kapadia and Chisari, 2005). Statin compounds that inhibit 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), the rate-limiting enzyme in the sterol pathway (Goldstein and Brown, 1990), have been suggested to inhibit HCV replication through ultimately reducing the cellular pool of GGPP (Ye et al, 2003; Kapadia and Chisari, 2005; Ikeda et al, 2006). However, inhibition of the sterol pathway with statin drugs has not yielded consistent results in patients. The use of statins for the treatment of HCV is likely to be complicated by the reported compensatory increase in HMGCR expression in vitro and in vivo (Stone et al, 1989; Cohen et al, 1993) in response to treatment. Enzymes in the sterol pathway are regulated on a transcriptional level by sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs), specifically SREBP-2 (Hua et al, 1993; Brown and Goldstein, 1997). When cholesterol stores in cells are depleted, SREBP-2 activates transcription of genes in the sterol pathway such as HMGCR, HMG-CoA synthase, farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) synthase, squalene synthase (SQLS) and the LDL receptor (Smith et al, 1988, 1990; Sakai et al, 1996; Brown and Goldstein, 1999; Horton et al, 2002). The requirement of additional downstream sterol pathway metabolites for HCV replication has not been completely elucidated.
To further understand the impact of the sterol pathway and its regulation on HCV replication, we conducted a high-throughput combination chemical genetic screen using 16 chemical probes that are known to modulate the activity of target enzymes relating to the sterol biosynthesis pathway (Figure 1). Using this approach, we identified several novel antiviral targets including SREBP-2 as well as targets downstream of HMGCR in the sterol pathway such as oxidosqualene cyclase (OSC) and lanosterol demethylase. Many of our chemical probes, specifically SR-12813, farnesol and squalestatin, strongly promoted replicon replication. The actions of both farnesol and squalestatin ultimately result in an increase in the cellular pool of GGPP, which is known to increase HCV replication (Ye et al, 2003; Kapadia and Chisari, 2005; Wang et al, 2005).
Chemical combinations targeting enzymes upstream of squalene epoxidase (SQLE) at the top of the sterol pathway (Figure 4A) elicited Bateson-type epistatic responses (Boone et al, 2007), where the upstream agent's response predominates over the effects of inhibiting all downstream targets. This was especially notable for combinations including simvastatin and either U18666A or squalestatin, and for squalestatin in combination with Ro48-8071. Treatment with squalestatin prevents the SQLS substrate, farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) from being further metabolized by the sterol pathway. As FPP concentrations increase, the metabolite can be shunted away from the sterol pathway toward farnesylation and GGPP synthetic pathways, resulting in an increase in host protein geranylgeranylation, including FBL2, and consequently replicon replication. This increase in replicon replication explains the source of the observed epistasis over Ro48-8071 treatment.
Combinations between probes targeting enzymes downstream of and including OSC produced robust synergies with each other or with a PGGT inhibitor. Figure 4B highlights examples of antiviral synergy resulting from treatment of cells with an OSC inhibitor in combination with an inhibitor of either an enzyme upstream or downstream of OSC. A combination of terconazole and U18666A is synergistic without similar combination effects in the host proliferation screen. Likewise, clomiphene was also synergistic when added to replicon cells in combination with U18666A. One of the greatest synergies observed downstream in the sterol pathway is a combination of amorolfine and AY 9944, suggesting that there is value in developing combinations of drugs that target enzymes in the sterol pathway, which are downstream of HMGCR.
Interactions with the protein prenylation pathway also showed strong mechanistic patterns (Figure 4C). GGTI-286 is a peptidomimetic compound resembling the CAAX domain of a protein to be geranylgeranylated and is a competitive inhibitor of protein geranylgeranylation. Simvastatin impedes the antiviral effect of GGTI-286 at low concentrations but that antagonism is balanced by comparable synergy at higher concentrations. At the low simvastatin concentrations, a compensatory increase in HMGCR expression leads to increased cellular levels of GGPP, which are likely to result in an increase in PGGT enzymatic turnover and decreased GGTI-286 efficacy. The antiviral synergy observed at the higher inhibitor concentrations is likely nonspecific as synergy was also observed in a host viability assay. Further downstream, however, a competitive interaction was observed between GGTI-286 and squalestatin, where the opposing effect of one compound obscures the other compound's effect. This competitive relationship between GGTI and SQLE explains the epistatic response observed between those two agents. For inhibitors of targets downstream of OSC, such as amorolfine, there are strong antiviral synergies with GGTI-286. Notably, combinations with OSC inhibitors and GGTI-286 were selective, in that comparable synergy was not found in a host viability assay. This selectivity suggests that jointly targeting OSC and PGGT is a promising avenue for future HCV therapy development.
This study provides a comprehensive and unique perspective into the impact of sterol pathway regulation on HCV replication and provides compelling insight into the use of chemical combinations to maximize antiviral effects while minimizing proviral consequences. Our results suggest that HCV therapeutics developed against sterol pathway targets must consider the impact on underlying sterol pathway regulation. We found combinations of inhibitors of the lower part of the sterol pathway that are effective and synergistic with each other when tested in combination. Furthermore, the combination effects observed with simvastatin suggest that, though statins inhibit HMGCR activity, the resulting regulatory consequences of such inhibition ultimately lead to undesirable epistatic effects. Inhibitors that prevent SREBP-2 activation, inhibit PGGT or encourage the production of polar sterols have great potential as HCV therapeutics if associated toxicities can be reduced.
The search for effective Hepatitis C antiviral therapies has recently focused on host sterol metabolism and protein prenylation pathways that indirectly affect viral replication. However, inhibition of the sterol pathway with statin drugs has not yielded consistent results in patients. Here, we present a combination chemical genetic study to explore how the sterol and protein prenylation pathways work together to affect hepatitis C viral replication in a replicon assay. In addition to finding novel targets affecting viral replication, our data suggest that the viral replication is strongly affected by sterol pathway regulation. There is a marked transition from antagonistic to synergistic antiviral effects as the combination targets shift downstream along the sterol pathway. We also show how pathway regulation frustrates potential hepatitis C therapies based on the sterol pathway, and reveal novel synergies that selectively inhibit hepatitis C replication over host toxicity. In particular, combinations targeting the downstream sterol pathway enzymes produced robust and selective synergistic inhibition of hepatitis C replication. Our findings show how combination chemical genetics can reveal critical pathway connections relevant to viral replication, and can identify potential treatments with an increased therapeutic window.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.32
PMCID: PMC2913396  PMID: 20531405
chemical genetics; combinations and synergy; hepatitis C; replicon; sterol biosynthesis
2.  Rab GTPase Prenylation Hierarchy and Its Potential Role in Choroideremia Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81758.
Protein prenylation is a widespread post-translational modification in eukaryotes that plays a crucial role in membrane targeting and signal transduction. RabGTPases is the largest group of post-translationally C-terminally geranylgeranylated. All Rabs are processed by Rab geranylgeranyl-transferase and Rab escort protein (REP). Human genetic defects resulting in the loss one of two REP isoforms REP-1, lead to underprenylation of RabGTPases that manifests in retinal degradation and blindness known as choroideremia. In this study we used a combination of microinjections and chemo-enzymatic tagging to establish whether Rab GTPases are prenylated and delivered to their target cellular membranes with the same rate. We demonstrate that although all tested Rab GTPases display the same rate of membrane delivery, the extent of Rab prenylation in 5 hour time window vary by more than an order of magnitude. We found that Rab27a, Rab27b, Rab38 and Rab42 display the slowest prenylation in vivo and in the cell. Our work points to possible contribution of Rab38 to the emergence of choroideremia in addition to Rab27a and Rab27b.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081758
PMCID: PMC3864799  PMID: 24358126
3.  Membrane Targeting of Rab GTPases Is Influenced by the Prenylation MotifD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(5):1882-1899.
Rab GTPases are regulators of membrane traffic. Rabs specifically associate with target membranes via the attachment of (usually) two geranylgeranyl groups in a reaction involving Rab escort protein and Rab geranylgeranyl transferase. In contrast, related GTPases are singly prenylated by CAAX prenyl transferases. We report that di-geranylgeranyl modification is important for targeting of Rab5a and Rab27a to endosomes and melanosomes, respectively. Transient expression of EGFP-Rab5 mutants containing two prenylatable cysteines (CGC, CC, CCQNI, and CCA) in HeLa cells did not affect endosomal targeting or function, whereas mono-cysteine mutants (CSLG, CVLL, or CVIM) were mistargeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and were nonfunctional. Similarly, Rab27aCVLL mutant is also mistargeted to the ER and transgenic expression on a Rab27a null background (Rab27aash) did not rescue the coat color phenotype, suggesting that Rab27aCVLL is not functional in vivo. CAAX prenyl transferase inhibition and temperature-shift experiments further suggest that Rabs, singly or doubly modified are recruited to membranes via a Rab escort protein/Rab geranylgeranyl transferase-dependent mechanism that is distinct from the insertion of CAAX-containing GTPases. Finally, we show that both singly and doubly modified Rabs are extracted from membranes by RabGDIα and propose that the mistargeting of Rabs to the ER results from loss of targeting information.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E02-10-0639
PMCID: PMC165084  PMID: 12802062
4.  Protein Prenylation and Synaptic Plasticity: Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease 
Molecular neurobiology  2014;50(1):177-185.
Protein prenylation is an important lipid posttranslational modification of proteins. It includes protein farnesylation and geranylgeranylation, in which the 15-carbon farnesyl pyrophosphate or 20-carbon geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate is attached to the C-terminus of target proteins, catalyzed by farnesyl transferase or geranylgeranyl transferases, respectively. Protein prenylation facilitates the anchoring of proteins into the cell membrane and mediates protein-protein interactions. Among numerous proteins that undergo prenylation, small GTPases represent the largest group of prenylated proteins. Small GTPases are involved in regulating a plethora of cellular functions including synaptic plasticity. The prenylation status of small GTPases determines the subcellular locations and functions of the proteins. Dysregulation or dysfunction of small GTPases leads to the development of different types of disorders. Emerging evidence indicates that prenylated proteins, in particular small GTPases, may play important roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. This review focuses on the prenylation of Ras and Rho subfamilies of small GTPases and its relation to synaptic plasticity and Alzheimer’s disease.
doi:10.1007/s12035-013-8627-z
PMCID: PMC4082763  PMID: 24390573
Protein prenylation; farnesylation; geranylgeranylation; small GTPases; synaptic plasticity; Alzheimer’s disease
5.  The Putative “Switch 2” Domain of the Ras-related GTPase, Rab1B, Plays an Essential Role in the Interaction with Rab Escort Protein 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1998;9(1):223-235.
Posttranslational modification of Rab proteins by geranylgeranyltransferase type II requires that they first bind to Rab escort protein (REP). Following prenylation, REP is postulated to accompany the modified GTPase to its specific target membrane. REP binds preferentially to Rab proteins that are in the GDP state, but the specific structural domains involved in this interaction have not been defined. In p21 Ras, the α2 helix of the Switch 2 domain undergoes a major conformational change upon GTP hydrolysis. Therefore, we hypothesized that the corresponding region in Rab1B might play a key role in the interaction with REP. Introduction of amino acid substitutions (I73N, Y78D, and A81D) into the putative α2 helix of Myc-tagged Rab1B prevented prenylation of the recombinant protein in cell-free assays, whereas mutations in the α3 and α4 helices did not. Additionally, upon transient expression in transfected HEK-293 cells, the Myc-Rab1B α2 helix mutants were not efficiently prenylated as determined by incorporation of [3H]mevalonate. Metabolic labeling studies using [32P]orthophosphate indicated that the poor prenylation of the Rab1B α2 helix mutants was not directly correlated with major disruptions in guanine nucleotide binding or intrinsic GTPase activity. Finally, gel filtration analysis of cytosolic fractions from 293 cells that were coexpressing T7 epitope-tagged REP with various Myc-Rab1B constructs revealed that mutations in the α2 helix of Rab1B prevented the association of nascent (i.e., nonprenylated) Rab1B with REP. These data indicate that the Switch 2 domain of Rab1B is a key structural determinant for REP interaction and that nucleotide-dependent conformational changes in this region are largely responsible for the selective interaction of REP with the GDP-bound form of the Rab substrate.
PMCID: PMC25245  PMID: 9437002
6.  Use of Synthetic Isoprenoids to Target Protein Prenylation and Rho GTPases in Breast Cancer Invasion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89892.
Dysregulation of Ras and Rho family small GTPases drives the invasion and metastasis of multiple cancers. For their biological functions, these GTPases require proper subcellular localization to cellular membranes, which is regulated by a series of post-translational modifications that result in either farnesylation or geranylgeranylation of the C-terminal CAAX motif. This concept provided the rationale for targeting farnesyltransferase (FTase) and geranylgeranyltransferases (GGTase) for cancer treatment. However, the resulting prenyl transferase inhibitors have not performed well in the clinic due to issues with alternative prenylation and toxicity. As an alternative, we have developed a unique class of potential anti-cancer therapeutics called Prenyl Function Inhibitors (PFIs), which are farnesol or geranyl-geraniol analogs that act as alternate substrates for FTase or GGTase. Here, we test the ability of our lead PFIs, anilinogeraniol (AGOH) and anilinofarnesol (AFOH), to block the invasion of breast cancer cells. We found that AGOH treatment effectively decreased invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells in a two-dimensional (2D) invasion assay at 100 µM while it blocked invasive growth in three-dimensional (3D) culture model at as little as 20 µM. Notably, the effect of AGOH on 3D invasive growth was phenocopied by electroporation of cells with C3 exotransferase. To determine if RhoA and RhoC were direct targets of AGOH, we performed Rho activity assays in MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells and found that AGOH blocked RhoA and RhoC activation in response to LPA and EGF stimulation. Notably, the geranylgeraniol analog AFOH was more potent than AGOH in inhibiting RhoA and RhoC activation and invasive growth. Interestingly, neither AGOH nor AFOH impacted 3D growth of MCF10A cells. Collectively, this study demonstrates that AGOH and AFOH dramatically inhibit breast cancer invasion, at least in part by blocking Rho function, thus, suggesting that targeting prenylation by using PFIs may offer a promising mechanism for treatment of invasive breast cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089892
PMCID: PMC3935959  PMID: 24587105
7.  Molecular Basis for Rab Prenylation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;150(1):89-104.
Rab escort proteins (REP) 1 and 2 are closely related mammalian proteins required for prenylation of newly synthesized Rab GTPases by the cytosolic heterodimeric Rab geranylgeranyl transferase II complex (RabGG transferase). REP1 in mammalian cells is the product of the choroideremia gene (CHM). CHM/REP1 deficiency in inherited disease leads to degeneration of retinal pigmented epithelium and loss of vision. We now show that amino acid residues required for Rab recognition are critical for function of the yeast REP homologue Mrs6p, an essential protein that shows 50% homology to mammalian REPs. Mutant Mrs6p unable to bind Rabs failed to complement growth of a mrs6Δ null strain and were found to be dominant inhibitors of growth in a wild-type MRS6 strain. Mutants were identified that did not affect Rab binding, yet prevented prenylation in vitro and failed to support growth of the mrs6Δ null strain. These results suggest that in the absence of Rab binding, REP interaction with RabGG transferase is maintained through Rab-independent binding sites, providing a molecular explanation for the kinetic properties of Rab prenylation in vitro. Analysis of the effects of thermoreversible temperature-sensitive (mrs6ts) mutants on vesicular traffic in vivo showed prenylation activity is only transiently required to maintain normal growth, a result promising for therapeutic approaches to disease.
PMCID: PMC2185574  PMID: 10893259
choroideremia; REP1; CHM; vesicle traffic; MRS6
8.  Isoprenoids and Related Pharmacological Interventions: Potential Application in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Molecular neurobiology  2012;46(1):64-77.
Two major isoprenoids, farnesyl pyrophosphate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, serve as lipid donors for the posttranslational modification (known as prenylation) of proteins that possess a characteristic C-terminal motif. The prenylation reaction is catalyzed by prenyltransferases. The lipid prenyl group facilitates to anchor the proteins in cell membranes and mediates protein-protein interactions. A variety of important intracellular proteins undergo prenylation, including almost all members of small GTPase superfamilies as well as heterotrimeric G protein subunits and nuclear lamins. These prenylated proteins are involved in regulating a wide range of cell processes and functions, such as cell growth, differentiation, cytoskeletal organization and vesicle trafficking. Prenylated proteins are also implicated in the pathogenesis of different types of diseases. Consequently, isoprenoids and/or prenyltransferases have emerged as attractive therapeutic targets for combating various disorders. This review attempts to summarize the pharmacological agents currently available or under development that control isoprenoid availability and/or the process of prenylation, mainly focusing on statins, bisphosphonates, and prenyltransferase inhibitors. Whereas statins and bisphosphonates deplete the production of isoprenoids by inhibiting the activity of upstream enzymes, prenyltransferase inhibitors directly block the prenylation of proteins. As the importance of isoprenoids and prenylated proteins in health and disease continues to emerge, the therapeutic potential of these pharmacological agents has expanded across multiple disciplines. This review mainly discusses their potential application in Alzheimer’s disease.
doi:10.1007/s12035-012-8253-1
PMCID: PMC4440689  PMID: 22418893
Isoprenoids; Protein Prenylation; Statins; Bisphosphonates; Prenyltransferase Inhibitors; Alzheimer’s Disease
9.  A highly sensitive prenylation assay reveals in vivo effects of bisphosphonate drug on the Rab prenylome of macrophages outside the skeleton 
Small GTPases  2015;6(4):202-211.
Bisphosphonate drugs such as zoledronic acid (ZOL), used for the treatment of common bone disorders, target the skeleton and inhibit bone resorption by preventing the prenylation of small GTPases in bone-destroying osteoclasts. Increasing evidence indicates that bisphosphonates also have pleiotropic effects outside the skeleton, most likely via cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage exposed to nanomolar circulating drug concentrations. However, no effects of such low concentrations of ZOL have been reported using existing approaches. We have optimized a highly sensitive in vitro prenylation assay utilizing recombinant geranylgeranyltransferases to enable the detection of subtle effects of ZOL on the prenylation of Rab- and Rho-family GTPases. Using this assay, we found for the first time that concentrations of ZOL as low as 10nM caused inhibition of Rab prenylation in J774 macrophages following prolonged cell culture. By combining the assay with quantitative mass spectrometry we identified an accumulation of 18 different unprenylated Rab proteins in J774 cells after nanomolar ZOL treatment, with a >7-fold increase in the unprenylated form of Rab proteins associated with the endophagosome pathway (Rab1, Rab5, Rab6, Rab7, Rab11, Rab14 and Rab21). Finally, we also detected a clear effect of subcutaneous ZOL administration in vivo on the prenylation of Rab1A, Rab5B, Rab7A and Rab14 in mouse peritoneal macrophages, confirming that systemic treatment with bisphosphonate drug can inhibit prenylation in myeloid cells in vivo outside the skeleton. These observations begin a new era in defining the precise pharmacological actions of bisphosphonate drugs on the prenylation of small GTPases in vivo.
doi:10.1080/21541248.2015.1085485
PMCID: PMC4905276  PMID: 26399387
bisphosphonate; geranylgeranyl transferase; macrophage; prenylation; Rab
10.  Relative Contributions of Prenylation and Postprenylation Processing in Cryptococcus neoformans Pathogenesis 
mSphere  2016;1(2):e00084-15.
Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human fungal pathogen that causes disease and death in immunocompromised individuals. The growth and morphogenesis of this fungus are controlled by conserved Ras-like GTPases, which are also important for its pathogenicity. Many of these proteins require proper subcellular localization for full function, and they are directed to cellular membranes through a posttranslational modification process known as prenylation. These studies investigate the roles of one of the prenylation enzymes, farnesyltransferase, as well as the postprenylation processing enzymes in C. neoformans. We demonstrate that the postprenylation processing steps are dispensable for the localization of certain substrate proteins. However, both protein farnesylation and the subsequent postprenylation processing steps are required for full pathogenesis of this fungus.
ABSTRACT
Prenyltransferase enzymes promote the membrane localization of their target proteins by directing the attachment of a hydrophobic lipid group at a conserved C-terminal CAAX motif. Subsequently, the prenylated protein is further modified by postprenylation processing enzymes that cleave the terminal 3 amino acids and carboxymethylate the prenylated cysteine residue. Many prenylated proteins, including Ras1 and Ras-like proteins, require this multistep membrane localization process in order to function properly. In the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, previous studies have demonstrated that two distinct forms of protein prenylation, farnesylation and geranylgeranylation, are both required for cellular adaptation to stress, as well as full virulence in animal infection models. Here, we establish that the C. neoformans RAM1 gene encoding the farnesyltransferase β-subunit, though not strictly essential for growth under permissive in vitro conditions, is absolutely required for cryptococcal pathogenesis. We also identify and characterize postprenylation protease and carboxyl methyltransferase enzymes in C. neoformans. In contrast to the prenyltransferases, deletion of the genes encoding the Rce1 protease and Ste14 carboxyl methyltransferase results in subtle defects in stress response and only partial reductions in virulence. These postprenylation modifications, as well as the prenylation events themselves, do play important roles in mating and hyphal transitions, likely due to their regulation of peptide pheromones and other proteins involved in development.
IMPORTANCE Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human fungal pathogen that causes disease and death in immunocompromised individuals. The growth and morphogenesis of this fungus are controlled by conserved Ras-like GTPases, which are also important for its pathogenicity. Many of these proteins require proper subcellular localization for full function, and they are directed to cellular membranes through a posttranslational modification process known as prenylation. These studies investigate the roles of one of the prenylation enzymes, farnesyltransferase, as well as the postprenylation processing enzymes in C. neoformans. We demonstrate that the postprenylation processing steps are dispensable for the localization of certain substrate proteins. However, both protein farnesylation and the subsequent postprenylation processing steps are required for full pathogenesis of this fungus.
doi:10.1128/mSphere.00084-15
PMCID: PMC4894686  PMID: 27303728
Cryptococcus neoformans; farnesyltransferase; fungal pathogen; protein prenylation; Ras-like GTPases
11.  P53- and mevalonate pathway–driven malignancies require Arf6 for metastasis and drug resistance 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2016;213(1):81-95.
The mevalonate pathway (MVP) is a metabolic pathway associated with tumor invasiveness and is known to prenylate proteins, but which prenylated proteins are critical for MVP-driven cancers is unknown. Hashimoto et al. show that MVP-driven cancers require activation of the GTPase Arf6 for invasion and that the MVP substrate Rab11 is required for Arf6 activation.
Drug resistance, metastasis, and a mesenchymal transcriptional program are central features of aggressive breast tumors. The GTPase Arf6, often overexpressed in tumors, is critical to promote epithelial–mesenchymal transition and invasiveness. The metabolic mevalonate pathway (MVP) is associated with tumor invasiveness and known to prenylate proteins, but which prenylated proteins are critical for MVP-driven cancers is unknown. We show here that MVP requires the Arf6-dependent mesenchymal program. The MVP enzyme geranylgeranyl transferase II (GGT-II) and its substrate Rab11b are critical for Arf6 trafficking to the plasma membrane, where it is activated by receptor tyrosine kinases. Consistently, mutant p53, which is known to support tumorigenesis via MVP, promotes Arf6 activation via GGT-II and Rab11b. Inhibition of MVP and GGT-II blocked invasion and metastasis and reduced cancer cell resistance against chemotherapy agents, but only in cells overexpressing Arf6 and components of the mesenchymal program. Overexpression of Arf6 and mesenchymal proteins as well as enhanced MVP activity correlated with poor patient survival. These results provide insights into the molecular basis of MVP-driven malignancy.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201510002
PMCID: PMC4828690  PMID: 27044891
12.  Rab GDI: a solubilizing and recycling factor for rab9 protein. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1993;4(4):425-434.
Rab proteins are thought to function in the processes by which transport vesicles identify and/or fuse with their respective target membranes. The bulk of these proteins are membrane associated, but a measurable fraction can be found in the cytosol. The cytosolic forms of rab3A, rab11, and Sec4 occur as equimolar complexes with a class of proteins termed "GDIs," or "GDP dissociation inhibitors." We show here that the cytosolic form of rab9, a protein required for transport between late endosomes and the trans Golgi network, also occurs as a complex with a GDI-like protein, with an apparent mass of approximately 80 kD. Complex formation could be reconstituted in vitro using recombinant rab9 protein, cytosol, ATP, and geranylgeranyl diphosphate, and was shown to require an intact rab9 carboxy terminus, as well as rab9 geranylgeranylation. Monoprenylation was sufficient for complex formation because a mutant rab9 protein bearing the carboxy terminal sequence, CLLL, was prenylated in vitro by geranylgeranyl transferase I and was efficiently incorporated into 80-kD complexes. Purified, prenylated rab9 could also assemble into 80-kD complexes by addition of purified, rab3A GDI. Finally, rab3A-GDI had the capacity to solubilize rab9GDP, but not rab9GTP, from cytoplasmic membranes. These findings support the proposal that GDI proteins serve to recycle rab proteins from their target membranes after completion of a rab protein-mediated, catalytic cycle. Thus GDI proteins have the potential to regulate the availability of specific intracellular transport factors.
Images
PMCID: PMC300943  PMID: 8389620
13.  Properties of Rab5 N-terminal domain dictate prenylation of C-terminal cysteines. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1995;6(1):71-85.
Rab5 is a Ras-related GTP-binding protein that is post-translationally modified by prenylation. We report here that an N-terminal domain contained within the first 22 amino acids of Rab5 is critical for efficient geranylgeranylation of the protein's C-terminal cysteines. This domain is immediately upstream from the "phosphate binding loop" common to all GTP-binding proteins and contains a highly conserved sequence recognized among members of the Rab family, referred to here as the YXYLFK motif. A truncation mutant that lacks this domain (Rab5(23-215) fails to become prenylated. However, a chimeric peptide with the conserved motif replacing cognate Rab5 sequence (MAYDYLFKRab5(23-215) does become post-translationally modified, demonstrating that the presence of this simple six amino acid N-terminal element enables prenylation at Rab5's C-terminus. H-Ras/Rab5 chimeras that include the conserved YXYLFK motif at the N-terminus do not become prenylated, indicating that, while this element may be necessary for prenylation of Rab proteins, it alone is not sufficient to confer properties to a heterologous protein to enable substrate recognition by the Rab geranylgeranyl transferase. Deletion analysis and studies of point mutants further reveal that the lysine residue of the YXYLFK motif is an absolute requirement to enable geranylgeranylation of Rab proteins. Functional studies support the idea that this domain is not required for guanine nucleotide binding since prenylation-defective mutants still bind GDP and are protected from protease digestion in the presence of GTP gamma S. We conclude that the mechanism of Rab geranylgeranylation involves key elements of the protein's tertiary structure including a conserved N-terminal amino acid motif (YXYLFK) that incorporates a critical lysine residue.
Images
PMCID: PMC275815  PMID: 7749197
14.  Statin Treatment Increases Lifespan and Improves Cardiac Health in Drosophila by Decreasing Specific Protein Prenylation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39581.
Statins such as simvastatin are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors and standard therapy for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in mammals. Here we show that simvastatin significantly increased the mean and maximum lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster (Drosophila) and enhanced cardiac function in aging flies by significantly reducing heart arrhythmias and increasing the contraction proportion of the contraction/relaxation cycle. These results appeared independent of internal changes in ubiquinone or juvenile hormone levels. Rather, they appeared to involve decreased protein prenylation. Simvastatin decreased the membrane association (prenylation) of specific small Ras GTPases in mice. Both farnesyl (L744832) and type 1 geranylgeranyl transferase (GGTI-298) inhibitors increased Drosophila lifespan. These data are the most direct evidence to date that decreased protein prenylation can increase cardiac health and lifespan in any metazoan species, and may explain the pleiotropic (non-cholesterol related) health effects of statins.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039581
PMCID: PMC3380867  PMID: 22737247
15.  Global proteomic analysis of prenylated proteins in Plasmodium falciparum using an alkyne-modified isoprenoid analogue 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:38615.
Severe malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum infection remains a serious threat to health worldwide and new therapeutic targets are highly desirable. Small molecule inhibitors of prenyl transferases, enzymes that catalyze the post-translational isoprenyl modifications of proteins, exhibit potent antimalarial activity. The antimalarial actions of prenyltransferase inhibitors indicate that protein prenylation is required for malaria parasite development. In this study, we used a chemical biology strategy to experimentally characterize the entire complement of prenylated proteins in the human malaria parasite. In contrast to the expansive mammalian and fungal prenylomes, we find that P. falciparum possesses a restricted set of prenylated proteins. The prenylome of P. falciparum is dominated by Rab GTPases, in addition to a small number of prenylated proteins that also appear to function primarily in membrane trafficking. Overall, we found robust experimental evidence for a total of only thirteen prenylated proteins in P. falciparum, with suggestive evidence for an additional two probable prenyltransferase substrates. Our work contributes to an increasingly complete picture of essential, post-translational hydrophobic modifications in blood-stage P. falciparum.
doi:10.1038/srep38615
PMCID: PMC5141570  PMID: 27924931
16.  Towards Complete Sets of Farnesylated and Geranylgeranylated Proteins 
PLoS Computational Biology  2007;3(4):e66.
Three different prenyltransferases attach isoprenyl anchors to C-terminal motifs in substrate proteins. These lipid anchors serve for membrane attachment or protein–protein interactions in many pathways. Although well-tolerated selective prenyltransferase inhibitors are clinically available, their mode of action remains unclear since the known substrate sets of the various prenyltransferases are incomplete. The Prenylation Prediction Suite (PrePS) has been applied for large-scale predictions of prenylated proteins. To prioritize targets for experimental verification, we rank the predictions by their functional importance estimated by evolutionary conservation of the prenylation motifs within protein families. The ranked lists of predictions are accessible as PRENbase (http://mendel.imp.univie.ac.at/sat/PrePS/PRENbase) and can be queried for verification status, type of modifying enzymes (anchor type), and taxonomic distribution. Our results highlight a large group of plant metal-binding chaperones as well as several newly predicted proteins involved in ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, enriching the known functional repertoire of prenylated proteins. Furthermore, we identify two possibly prenylated proteins in Mimivirus. The section HumanPRENbase provides complete lists of predicted prenylated human proteins—for example, the list of farnesyltransferase targets that cannot become substrates of geranylgeranyltransferase 1 and, therefore, are especially affected by farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) used in cancer and anti-parasite therapy. We report direct experimental evidence verifying the prediction of the human proteins Prickle1, Prickle2, the BRO1 domain–containing FLJ32421 (termed BROFTI), and Rab28 (short isoform) as exclusive farnesyltransferase targets. We introduce PRENbase, a database of large-scale predictions of protein prenylation substrates ranked by evolutionary conservation of the motif. Experimental evidence is presented for the selective farnesylation of targets with an evolutionary conserved modification site.
Author Summary
Various cellular functions require reversible membrane localization of proteins. This is often facilitated by attaching lipids to the respective proteins, thus anchoring them to the membrane. For example, addition of prenyl lipid anchors (prenylation) is directed by a motif in the protein sequence that can be predicted using a recently developed method. We describe the prediction of protein prenylation in all currently known proteins. The annotated results are available as an online database: PRENbase. A ranking of the predictions is introduced, assuming that existence of a prenylation sequence motif in related proteins from different species (evolutionary conservation) relates to functional importance of the lipid anchor. We present experimental evidence for high-ranked human proteins predicted to be affected by anticancer drugs inhibiting prenylation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030066
PMCID: PMC1847700  PMID: 17411337
17.  Mevalonate kinase deficiency leads to decreased prenylation of Rab GTPases 
Immunology and Cell Biology  2016;94(10):994-999.
Mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD) is caused by mutations in a key enzyme of the mevalonate–cholesterol biosynthesis pathway, leading to recurrent autoinflammatory disease characterised by enhanced release of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). It is currently believed that the inflammatory phenotype of MKD is triggered by temperature-sensitive loss of mevalonate kinase activity and reduced biosynthesis of isoprenoid lipids required for the prenylation of small GTPase proteins. However, previous studies have not clearly shown any change in protein prenylation in patient cells under normal conditions. With lymphoblast cell lines from two compound heterozygous MKD patients, we used a highly sensitive in vitro prenylation assay, together with quantitative mass spectrometry, to reveal a subtle accumulation of unprenylated Rab GTPases in cells cultured for 3 days or more at 40 °C compared with 37 °C. This included a 200% increase in unprenylated Rab7A, Rab14 and Rab1A. Inhibition of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) activation by fatostatin led to more pronounced accumulation of unprenylated Rab proteins in MKD cells but not parent cells, suggesting that cultured MKD cells may partially overcome the loss of isoprenoid lipids by SREBP-mediated upregulation of enzymes required for isoprenoid biosynthesis. Furthermore, while inhibition of Rho/Rac/Rap prenylation promoted the release of IL-1β, specific inhibition of Rab prenylation by NE10790 had no effect in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells or human THP-1 monocytic cells. These studies demonstrate for the first time that mutations in mevalonate kinase can lead to a mild, temperature-induced defect in the prenylation of small GTPases, but that loss of prenylated Rab GTPases is not the cause of enhanced IL-1β release in MKD.
doi:10.1038/icb.2016.58
PMCID: PMC5122740  PMID: 27377765
18.  Splice Variants of SmgGDS Control Small GTPase Prenylation and Membrane Localization* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(46):35255-35266.
Ras and Rho small GTPases possessing a C-terminal polybasic region (PBR) are vital signaling proteins whose misregulation can lead to cancer. Signaling by these proteins depends on their ability to bind guanine nucleotides and their prenylation with a geranylgeranyl or farnesyl isoprenoid moiety and subsequent trafficking to cellular membranes. There is little previous evidence that cellular signals can restrain nonprenylated GTPases from entering the prenylation pathway, leading to the general belief that PBR-possessing GTPases are prenylated as soon as they are synthesized. Here, we present evidence that challenges this belief. We demonstrate that insertion of the dominant negative mutation to inhibit GDP/GTP exchange diminishes prenylation of Rap1A and RhoA, enhances prenylation of Rac1, and does not detectably alter prenylation of K-Ras. Our results indicate that the entrance and passage of these small GTPases through the prenylation pathway is regulated by two splice variants of SmgGDS, a protein that has been reported to promote GDP/GTP exchange by PBR-possessing GTPases and to be up-regulated in several forms of cancer. We show that the previously characterized 558-residue SmgGDS splice variant (SmgGDS-558) selectively associates with prenylated small GTPases and facilitates trafficking of Rap1A to the plasma membrane, whereas the less well characterized 607-residue SmgGDS splice variant (SmgGDS-607) associates with nonprenylated GTPases and regulates the entry of Rap1A, RhoA, and Rac1 into the prenylation pathway. These results indicate that guanine nucleotide exchange and interactions with SmgGDS splice variants can regulate the entrance and passage of PBR-possessing small GTPases through the prenylation pathway.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.129916
PMCID: PMC2975149  PMID: 20709748
Low Molecular Weight G Proteins; Protein Isoprenylation; Ras; Rho; Trafficking; Rac; Rap; Rap1GDS1; SmgGDS; Polybasic
19.  Statins Inhibit HIV-1 Infection by Down-regulating Rho Activity 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infectivity requires actin-dependent clustering of host lipid raft–associated receptors, a process that might be linked to Rho guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) activation. Rho GTPase activity can be negatively regulated by statins, a family of drugs used to treat hypercholesterolemia in man. Statins mediate inhibition of Rho GTPases by impeding prenylation of small G proteins through blockade of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase. We show that statins decreased viral load and increased CD4+ cell counts in acute infection models and in chronically HIV-1–infected patients. Viral entry and exit was reduced in statin-treated cells, and inhibition was blocked by the addition of l-mevalonate or of geranylgeranylpyrophosphate, but not by cholesterol. Cell treatment with a geranylgeranyl transferase inhibitor, but not a farnesyl transferase inhibitor, specifically inhibited entry of HIV-1–pseudotyped viruses. Statins blocked Rho-A activation induced by HIV-1 binding to target cells, and expression of the dominant negative mutant RhoN19 inhibited HIV-1 envelope fusion with target cell membranes, reducing cell infection rates. We suggest that statins have direct anti–HIV-1 effects by targeting Rho.
doi:10.1084/jem.20040061
PMCID: PMC2211926  PMID: 15314078
cholesterol; actin cytoskeleton; small GTPases; lipid rafts; prenylation
20.  Zoledronic acid induces apoptosis and S-phase arrest in mesothelioma through inhibiting Rab family proteins and topoisomerase II actions 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(11):e1517-.
Zoledronic acid (ZOL), a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, produced anti-tumor effects through apoptosis induction or S-phase arrest depending on human mesothelioma cells tested. An addition of isoprenoid, geranylgeraniol but not farnesol, negated these ZOL-induced effects, indicating that the ZOL-mediated effects were attributable to depletion of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphates which were substrates for prenylation processes of small guanine-nucleotide-binding regulatory proteins (small G proteins). ZOL-treated cells decreased a ratio of membrane to cytoplasmic fractions in RhoA, Cdc42 and Rab6 but less significantly Rac1 proteins, indicating that these proteins were possible targets for ZOL-induced actions. We further analyzed which small G proteins were responsible for the three ZOL-induced effects, caspase-mediated apoptosis, S-phase arrest and morphological changes, using inhibitors for respective small G proteins and siRNA for Cdc42. ZOL-induced apoptosis is due to insufficient prenylation of Rab proteins because an inhibitor of geranlygeranyl transferase II that was specific for Rab family proteins prenylation, but not others inhibitors, activated the same apoptotic pathways that ZOL did. ZOL suppressed an endogenous topoisomerase II activity, which was associated with apoptosis and S-phase arrest in respective cells because we detected the same cell cycle changes in etoposide-treated cells. Inhibitors for geranlygeranyl transferase I and for RhoA produced morphological changes and disrupted actin fiber structures, both of which were similar to those by ZOL treatments. These data demonstrated that anti-tumor effects by ZOL were attributable to inhibited functions of respective small G proteins and topoisomerase II activity, and suggested that cellular factors were involved in the differential cell cycle changes.
doi:10.1038/cddis.2014.475
PMCID: PMC4260733  PMID: 25393473
21.  Dual Prenylation Is Required for Rab Protein Localization and Function 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(5):1852-1867.
The majority of Rab proteins are posttranslationally modified with two geranylgeranyl lipid moieties that enable their stable association with membranes. In this study, we present evidence to demonstrate that there is a specific lipid requirement for Rab protein localization and function. Substitution of different prenyl anchors on Rab GTPases does not lead to correct function. In the case of YPT1 and SEC4, two essential Rab genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, alternative lipid tails cannot support life when present as the sole source of YPT1 and SEC4. Furthermore, our data suggest that double geranyl-geranyl groups are required for Rab proteins to correctly localize to their characteristic organelle membrane. We have identified a factor, Yip1p that specifically binds the di-geranylgeranylated Rab and does not interact with mono-prenylated Rab proteins. This is the first demonstration that the double prenylation modification of Rab proteins is an important feature in the function of this small GTPase family and adds specific prenylation to the already known determinants of Rab localization.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E02-11-0707
PMCID: PMC165082  PMID: 12802060
22.  Impaired prenylation of Rab GTPases in the gunmetal mouse causes defects in bone cell function 
Small GTPases  2011;2(3):131-142.
Vesicular trafficking is crucial for bone resorption by osteoclasts, in particular for formation of the ruffled border membrane and for removal of the resultant bone degradation products by transcytosis. These processes are regulated by Rab family GTPases, whose activity is dependent on post-translational prenylation by Rab geranylgeranyl transferase (RGGT). Specific pharmacological inhibition of RGGT inhibits bone resorption in vitro and in vivo, illustrating the importance of Rab prenylation for osteoclast function. The gunmetal (gm/gm) mouse bears a mutation in the catalytic subunit of RGGT, causing a loss of 75% of the activity of this enzyme and hence hypoprenylation of several Rabs in melanocytes, platelets and cytotoxic T cells. We have now found that prenylation of several Rab proteins is also defective in gm/gm osteoclasts. Moreover, while osteoclast formation and cytoskeletal polarization occurs normally, gm/gm osteoclasts exhibit a substantial reduction in resorptive activity in vitro compared with osteoclasts from +/gm mice, which do not have a prenylation defect. Surprisingly, rather than the osteosclerosis that would be expected to result from defective osteoclast function in vivo, gm/gm mice exhibited a slightly lower bone mass than +/gm mice, indicating that defects in other cell types, such as osteoblasts, in which hypoprenylation of Rabs was also detected, may contribute to the phenotype. However, gm/gm mice were partially protected from ovariectomy-induced bone loss, suggesting that levels of Rab prenylation in gm/gm osteoclasts may be sufficient to maintain normal physiological levels of activity, but not pathological levels of bone resorption in vivo.
doi:10.4161/sgtp.2.3.16488
PMCID: PMC3136943  PMID: 21776414
osteoclast; bone resorption; bone; Rab; small GTPase; prenylation; gunmetal
23.  Rab27a Is Required for Regulated Secretion in Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;152(4):825-834.
Rab27a activity is affected in several mouse models of human disease including Griscelli (ashen mice) and Hermansky-Pudlak (gunmetal mice) syndromes. A loss of function mutation occurs in the Rab27a gene in ashen (ash), whereas in gunmetal (gm) Rab27a dysfunction is secondary to a mutation in the α subunit of Rab geranylgeranyl transferase, an enzyme required for prenylation and activation of Rabs. We show here that Rab27a is normally expressed in cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), but absent in ashen homozygotes (ash/ash). Cytotoxicity and secretion assays show that ash/ash CTLs are unable to kill target cells or to secrete granzyme A and hexosaminidase. By immunofluorescence and electron microscopy, we show polarization but no membrane docking of ash/ash lytic granules at the immunological synapse. In gunmetal CTLs, we show underprenylation and redistribution of Rab27a to the cytosol, implying reduced activity. Gunmetal CTLs show a reduced ability to kill target cells but retain the ability to secrete hexosaminidase and granzyme A. However, only some of the granules polarize to the immunological synapse, and many remain dispersed around the periphery of the CTLs. These results demonstrate that Rab27a is required in a final secretory step and that other Rab proteins also affected in gunmetal are likely to be involved in polarization of the granules to the immunological synapse.
PMCID: PMC2195783  PMID: 11266472
Rab27a; cytotoxic T lymphocyte; secretory lysosomes; immunological synapse; Arp2/3
24.  How prenylation and S-acylation regulate subcellular targeting and function of ROP GTPases 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(7):1026-1029.
Rho of Plants (ROP) small G proteins function at discrete domains of the plasma and possibly endo membranes. ROPs are synthesized as soluble proteins and their attachment to membranes and partitioning in membrane microdomains are facilitated by the posttranslational lipid modifications prenylation and/or S-acylation. Based on their amino acid sequences, ROPs can be classified into two major subgroups: type-I ROPs terminate with a canonical CaaX box motif and are prenylated primarily by geranyl-geranyltransferase-I (GGT-I) and to a lesser extent by farnesyltransferase (FT). Type-II ROPs terminate with a plant specific GC-CG box domain and are attached to the plasma membrane by stable S-acylation. In addition, type-I and possibly also type-II ROPs undergo activation dependent transient S-acylation in the G-domain and consequent partitioning into lipid rafts. Surprisingly, although geranylgeranylation is required for the membrane attachment of type-I ROPs and the γ subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins, Arabidopsis mutants lacking GGT-I function have a mild phenotype compared to wild type plants. The mild phenotype of the ggt-I mutants suggested that farnesylation by FT may compensate for the loss of GGT-I function and that possibly the prenylated type-I and S-acylated type-II ROPS have some overlapping functions. In a paper recently published in Plant Physiology1 we examined the role of the prenyl group type in type-I ROP function and membrane interaction dynamics and the functional redundancy between type-I and type-II ROPs. This study complements a second paper in which we examined the role of G-domain transient S-acylation in the membrane interaction dynamics and signaling by type-I ROPs.2 Together these two studies provide a framework for realizing the role of prenylation and S-acylation in subcellular targeting, membrane interaction dynamics and signaling by ROP GTPases.
doi:10.4161/psb.6.7.15578
PMCID: PMC3257786  PMID: 21694496
prenylation; S-acylation; ROP; FRAP; membrane targeting; lipid rafts
25.  Intracellular oxygen determined by respiration regulates localization of Ras and prenylated proteins 
Cell Death & Disease  2015;6(7):e1825-.
Reduction of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content induces the reduction of oxidative phosphorylation and dependence on fermentative glycolysis, that is, the Warburg effect. In aggressive prostate cancer (PCa), the reduction of mtDNA reduces oxygen consumption, increases intracellular oxygen concentration, and induces constitutive activation of Ras. Many essential proteins for cell death, growth, differentiation, and development, such as Ras, require prenylation for subcellular localization and activation. Prenylation of a protein is defined as the attachment of isoprenoids to a cysteine residue at or near the C-terminus. 3-Hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) produces isoprenoids, and is posttranslationally regulated by oxygen. We investigated a critical role of intracellular oxygen in membrane localization of prenylated proteins. Localization of prenylated proteins (H-Ras, prelamin A/C, and Rab5a) was observed in poorly differentiated PCa (PC-3) and well-differentiated PCa (LNCaP) cells. PC-3 cells exhibited high intracellular oxygen concentration, and H-Ras, prelamin A/C, and Rab5a were localized to various membranes (Golgi and plasma membrane, nuclear membrane, and early endosomes, respectively). Remarkably, exogenous hypoxia (0.2% O2) in PC-3 cells induced intracellular hypoxia and changed the localization of the prenylated proteins. H-Ras and Rab5a were translocated to cytosol, and prelamin A/C was in the nucleus forming an abnormal nuclear envelope. The localization was reversed by mevalonate indicating the involvement of mevalonate pathway. In contrast, in LNCaP cells, exhibiting low intracellular oxygen concentration, H-Ras and Rab5a were localized in the cytosol, and prelamin A/C was inside the nucleus forming an inadequate nuclear envelope. Exogenous hyperoxia (40% O2) increased the intracellular oxygen concentration and induced Ras translocation from cytosol to the membrane. Prelamin A/C was translocated to the nuclear membrane and formed a proper nuclear envelope. Rab5a was translocated to the early endosomes. The specific localizations of the prenylated proteins were dependent on intracellular oxygen concentration. These results demonstrate that intracellular oxygen concentration regulates the localization and activation of prenylated proteins.
doi:10.1038/cddis.2015.64
PMCID: PMC4650746  PMID: 26181205

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