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1.  MINT, the molecular interaction database: 2012 update 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(Database issue):D857-D861.
The Molecular INTeraction Database (MINT, is a public repository for protein–protein interactions (PPI) reported in peer-reviewed journals. The database grows steadily over the years and at September 2011 contains approximately 235 000 binary interactions captured from over 4750 publications. The web interface allows the users to search, visualize and download interactions data. MINT is one of the members of the International Molecular Exchange consortium (IMEx) and adopts the Molecular Interaction Ontology of the Proteomics Standard Initiative (PSI-MI) standards for curation and data exchange. MINT data are freely accessible and downloadable at We report here the growth of the database, the major changes in curation policy and a new algorithm to assign a confidence to each interaction.
PMCID: PMC3244991  PMID: 22096227
2.  VirusMINT: a viral protein interaction database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D669-D673.
Understanding the consequences on host physiology induced by viral infection requires complete understanding of the perturbations caused by virus proteins on the cellular protein interaction network. The VirusMINT database ( aims at collecting all protein interactions between viral and human proteins reported in the literature. VirusMINT currently stores over 5000 interactions involving more than 490 unique viral proteins from more than 110 different viral strains. The whole data set can be easily queried through the search pages and the results can be displayed with a graphical viewer. The curation effort has focused on manuscripts reporting interactions between human proteins and proteins encoded by some of the most medically relevant viruses: papilloma viruses, human immunodeficiency virus 1, Epstein–Barr virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes viruses and Simian virus 40.
PMCID: PMC2686573  PMID: 18974184
3.  MINT, the molecular interaction database: 2009 update 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(Database issue):D532-D539.
MINT ( is a public repository for molecular interactions reported in peer-reviewed journals. Since its last report, MINT has grown considerably in size and evolved in scope to meet the requirements of its users. The main changes include a more precise definition of the curation policy and the development of an enhanced and user-friendly interface to facilitate the analysis of the ever-growing interaction dataset. MINT has adopted the PSI-MI standards for the annotation and for the representation of molecular interactions and is a member of the IMEx consortium.
PMCID: PMC2808973  PMID: 19897547
4.  A New Mint1 Isoform, but Not the Conventional Mint1, Interacts with the Small GTPase Rab6 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64149.
Small GTPases of the Rab family are important regulators of a large variety of different cellular functions such as membrane organization and vesicle trafficking. They have been shown to play a role in several human diseases. One prominent member, Rab6, is thought to be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, the most prevalent mental disorder worldwide. Previous studies have shown that Rab6 impairs the processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is cleaved to β-amyloid in brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, all three members of the Mint adaptor family are implied to participate in the amyloidogenic pathway. Here, we report the identification of a new Mint1 isoform in a yeast two-hybrid screening, Mint1 826, which lacks an eleven amino acid (aa) sequence in the conserved C-terminal region. Mint1 826, but not the conventional Mint1, interacts with Rab6 via the PTB domain. This interaction is nucleotide-dependent, Rab6-specific and influences the subcellular localization of Mint1 826. We were able to detect and sequence a corresponding proteolytic peptide derived from cellular Mint1 826 by mass spectrometry proving the absence of aa 495–505 and could show that the deletion does not influence the ability of this adaptor protein to interact with APP. Taking into account that APP interacts and co-localizes with Mint1 826 and is transported in Rab6 positive vesicles, our data suggest that Mint1 826 bridges APP to the small GTPase at distinct cellular sorting points, establishing Mint1 826 as an important player in regulation of APP trafficking and processing.
PMCID: PMC3667844  PMID: 23737971
5.  Integrative Features of the Yeast Phosphoproteome and Protein–Protein Interaction Map 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(1):e1001064.
Following recent advances in high-throughput mass spectrometry (MS)–based proteomics, the numbers of identified phosphoproteins and their phosphosites have greatly increased in a wide variety of organisms. Although a critical role of phosphorylation is control of protein signaling, our understanding of the phosphoproteome remains limited. Here, we report unexpected, large-scale connections revealed between the phosphoproteome and protein interactome by integrative data-mining of yeast multi-omics data. First, new phosphoproteome data on yeast cells were obtained by MS-based proteomics and unified with publicly available yeast phosphoproteome data. This revealed that nearly 60% of ∼6,000 yeast genes encode phosphoproteins. We mapped these unified phosphoproteome data on a yeast protein–protein interaction (PPI) network with other yeast multi-omics datasets containing information about proteome abundance, proteome disorders, literature-derived signaling reactomes, and in vitro substratomes of kinases. In the phospho-PPI, phosphoproteins had more interacting partners than nonphosphoproteins, implying that a large fraction of intracellular protein interaction patterns (including those of protein complex formation) is affected by reversible and alternative phosphorylation reactions. Although highly abundant or unstructured proteins have a high chance of both interacting with other proteins and being phosphorylated within cells, the difference between the number counts of interacting partners of phosphoproteins and nonphosphoproteins was significant independently of protein abundance and disorder level. Moreover, analysis of the phospho-PPI and yeast signaling reactome data suggested that co-phosphorylation of interacting proteins by single kinases is common within cells. These multi-omics analyses illuminate how wide-ranging intracellular phosphorylation events and the diversity of physical protein interactions are largely affected by each other.
Author Summary
To date, high-throughput proteome technologies have revealed that hundreds to thousands of proteins in each of many organisms are phosphorylated under the appropriate environmental conditions. A critical role of phosphorylation is control of protein signaling. However, only a fraction of the identified phosphoproteins participate in currently known protein signaling pathways, and the biological relevance of the remainder is unclear. This has raised the question of whether phosphorylation has other major roles. In this study, we identified new phosphoproteins in budding yeast by mass spectrometry and unified these new data with publicly available phosphoprotein data. We then performed an integrative data-mining of large-scale yeast phosphoproteins and protein–protein interactions (complex formation) by an exhaustive analysis that incorporated yeast protein information from several other sources. The phosphoproteome data integration surprisingly showed that nearly 60% of yeast genes encode phosphoproteins, and the subsequent data-mining analysis derived two models interpreting the mutual intracellular effects of large-scale protein phosphorylation and binding interaction. Biological interpretations of both large-scale intracellular phosphorylation and the topology of protein interaction networks are highly relevant to modern biology. This study sheds light on how in vivo protein pathways are supported by a combination of protein modification and molecular dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3029238  PMID: 21298081
6.  The ER-associated degradation component Der1p and its homolog Dfm1p are contained in complexes with distinct cofactors of the ATPase Cdc48p 
FEBS letters  2008;582(11):1575-1580.
Misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are often degraded in the cytosol by a process called ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). During ERAD in S. cerevisiae, the ATPase Cdc48p associates with Der1p, a putative component of a retro-translocation channel. Cdc48p also binds a homolog of Der1p, Dfm1p, that has no known function in ERAD. Here, we show that Der1p and Dfm1p are contained in distinct complexes. While the complexes share several ERAD components, only the Dfm1p complex contains the Cdc48p cofactors Ubx1p and Ubx7p, while the Der1p complex is enriched in Ufd1p. These data suggest distinct functions for the Der1p and Dfm1p complexes.
Structured summary
MINT-6491003: Ufd1-SA (uniprotkb:P53044) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Der1-HA (uniprotkb:P38307) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6490940: Der1-SA (uniprotkb:P38307) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Cdc48 (uniprotkb:P25694), Usa1 (uniprotkb:Q03714), Hrd3 (uniprotkb:Q05787), Hrd1 (uniprotkb:Q08109), Ubx2 (uniprotkb:Q04228), Yos9 (uniprotkb:Q99220), Npl4 (uniprotkb:P33755) and Ufd1 (uniprotkb:P53044) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6490972: Dfm1-CA (uniprotkb:Q12743) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Ubx7 (uniprotkb:P38349), Ubx1 (uniprotkb:P34223), Kar2 (uniprotkb:P16474), Npl4 (uniprotkb:P33755), Yos9 (uniprotkb:Q99220), Ubx2 (uniprotkb:Q04228), Hrd1 (uniprotkb:Q08109), Hrd3 (uniprotkb:Q05787), Usa1 (uniprotkb:Q03714) and Cdc48 (uniprotkb:P25694) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6491016: Ufd1-SA (uniprotkb:P53044) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Dfm1-HA (uniprotkb:Q12743) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6491041: Ubx7-SA (uniprotkb:P38349) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Dfm1-HA (uniprotkb:Q12743) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6490909: Dfm1-CA (uniprotkb:Q12743) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Dfm1-HA (uniprotkb:Q12743) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
MINT-6491029: Ubx1-SA (uniprotkb:P34223) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Dfm1-HA (uniprotkb:Q12743) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007) MINT-6490896: Der1-SA (uniprotkb:P38307) physically interacts (MI:0218) with Der1-HA (uniprotkb:P38307) by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (MI:0007)
PMCID: PMC2438607  PMID: 18407841
ER-associated degradation; Ubx proteins; Cdc48p ATPase
7.  Mff is an essential factor for mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1 during mitochondrial fission in mammalian cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(6):1141-1158.
Localization of the dynamin-related GTPase Drp1 to mitochondria relies on the mitochondrial fission factor Mff.
The cytoplasmic dynamin-related guanosine triphosphatase Drp1 is recruited to mitochondria and mediates mitochondrial fission. Although the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) protein Fis1 is thought to be a Drp1 receptor, this has not been confirmed. To analyze the mechanism of Drp1 recruitment, we manipulated the expression of mitochondrial fission and fusion proteins and demonstrated that (a) mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) knockdown released the Drp1 foci from the MOM accompanied by network extension, whereas Mff overexpression stimulated mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1 accompanied by mitochondrial fission; (b) Mff-dependent mitochondrial fission proceeded independent of Fis1; (c) a Mff mutant with the plasma membrane–targeted CAAX motif directed Drp1 to the target membrane; (d) Mff and Drp1 physically interacted in vitro and in vivo; (e) exogenous stimuli–induced mitochondrial fission and apoptosis were compromised by knockdown of Drp1 and Mff but not Fis1; and (f) conditional knockout of Fis1 in colon carcinoma cells revealed that it is dispensable for mitochondrial fission. Thus, Mff functions as an essential factor in mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1.
PMCID: PMC3002033  PMID: 21149567
8.  VirusMentha: a new resource for virus-host protein interactions 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;43(Database issue):D588-D592.
Viral infections often cause diseases by perturbing several cellular processes in the infected host. Viral proteins target host proteins and either form new complexes or modulate the formation of functional host complexes. Describing and understanding the perturbation of the host interactome following viral infection is essential for basic virology and for the development of antiviral therapies. In order to provide a general overview of such interactions, a few years ago we developed VirusMINT. We have now extended the scope and coverage of VirusMINT and established VirusMentha, a new virus–virus and virus–host interaction resource build on the detailed curation protocols of the IMEx consortium and on the integration strategies developed for mentha. VirusMentha is regularly and automatically updated every week by capturing, via the PSICQUIC protocol, interactions curated by five different databases that are part of the IMEx consortium. VirusMentha can be freely browsed at and its complete data set is available for download.
PMCID: PMC4384001  PMID: 25217587
9.  Intracellular APP Sorting and Aβ Secretion are Regulated by Src-mediated Phosphorylation of Mint2 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(28):9613-9625.
Mint adaptor proteins bind to the membrane-bound amyloid precursor protein (APP) and affect the production of pathogenic amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides related to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previous studies have shown that loss of each of the three Mint proteins delays the age-dependent production of amyloid plaques in transgenic mouse models of AD. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying Mints effect on amyloid production are unclear. Because Aβ generation involves the internalization of membrane-bound APP via endosomes and Mints bind directly to the endocytic motif of APP, we proposed that Mints are involved in APP intracellular trafficking, which in turn, affects Aβ generation. Here, we show that APP endocytosis was attenuated in Mint knockout neurons, revealing a role for Mints in APP trafficking. We also show that the endocytic APP sorting processes are regulated by Src-mediated phosphorylation of Mint2 and that internalized APP is differentially sorted between autophagic and recycling trafficking pathways. A Mint2 phospho-mimetic mutant favored endocytosis of APP along the autophagic sorting pathway leading to increased intracellular Aβ accumulation. Conversely, the Mint2 phospho-resistant mutant increased APP localization to the recycling pathway and back to the cell surface thereby enhancing Aβ42 secretion. These results demonstrate that Src-mediated phosphorylation of Mint2 regulates the APP endocytic sorting pathway, providing a mechanism for regulating Aβ secretion.
PMCID: PMC3404619  PMID: 22787047
Mint; X11; APP; Src; phosphorylation; β-amyloid; Alzheimer’s disease
10.  MINT: the Molecular INTeraction database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;35(Database issue):D572-D574.
The Molecular INTeraction database (MINT, ) aims at storing, in a structured format, information about molecular interactions (MIs) by extracting experimental details from work published in peer-reviewed journals. At present the MINT team focuses the curation work on physical interactions between proteins. Genetic or computationally inferred interactions are not included in the database. Over the past four years MINT has undergone extensive revision. The new version of MINT is based on a completely remodeled database structure, which offers more efficient data exploration and analysis, and is characterized by entries with a richer annotation. Over the past few years the number of curated physical interactions has soared to over 95 000. The whole dataset can be freely accessed online in both interactive and batch modes through web-based interfaces and an FTP server. MINT now includes, as an integrated addition, HomoMINT, a database of interactions between human proteins inferred from experiments with ortholog proteins in model organisms ().
PMCID: PMC1751541  PMID: 17135203
11.  HomoMINT: an inferred human network based on orthology mapping of protein interactions discovered in model organisms 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6(Suppl 4):S21.
The application of high throughput approaches to the identification of protein interactions has offered for the first time a glimpse of the global interactome of some model organisms. Until now, however, such genome-wide approaches have not been applied to the human proteome.
In order to fill this gap we have assembled an inferred human protein interaction network where interactions discovered in model organisms are mapped onto the corresponding human orthologs. In addition to a stringent assignment to orthology classes based on the InParanoid algorithm, we have implemented a string matching algorithm to filter out orthology assignments of proteins whose global domain organization is not conserved. Finally, we have assessed the accuracy of our own, and related, inferred networks by benchmarking them against i) an assembled experimental interactome, ii) a network derived by mining of the scientific literature and iii) by measuring the enrichment of interacting protein pairs sharing common Gene Ontology annotation.
The resulting networks are named HomoMINT and HomoMINT_filtered, the latter being based on the orthology table filtered by the domain architecture matching algorithm. They contains 9749 and 5203 interactions respectively and can be analyzed and viewed in the context of the experimentally verified interactions between human proteins stored in the MINT database. HomoMINT is constantly updated to take into account the growing information in the MINT database.
PMCID: PMC1866386  PMID: 16351748
12.  Mff functions with Pex11pβ and DLP1 in peroxisomal fission 
Biology Open  2013;2(10):998-1006.
Peroxisomal division comprises three steps: elongation, constriction, and fission. Translocation of dynamin-like protein 1 (DLP1), a member of the large GTPase family, from the cytosol to peroxisomes is a prerequisite for membrane fission; however, the molecular machinery for peroxisomal targeting of DLP1 remains unclear. This study investigated whether mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), which targets DLP1 to mitochondria, may also recruit DLP1 to peroxisomes. Results show that endogenous Mff is localized to peroxisomes, especially at the membrane-constricted regions of elongated peroxisomes, in addition to mitochondria. Knockdown of MFF abrogates the fission stage of peroxisomal division and is associated with failure to recruit DLP1 to peroxisomes, while ectopic expression of MFF increases the peroxisomal targeting of DLP1. Co-expression of MFF and PEX11β, the latter being a key player in peroxisomal elongation, increases peroxisome abundance. Overexpression of MFF also increases the interaction between DLP1 and Pex11pβ, which knockdown of MFF, but not Fis1, abolishes. Moreover, results show that Pex11pβ interacts with Mff in a DLP1-dependent manner. In conclusion, Mff contributes to the peroxisomal targeting of DLP1 and plays a key role in the fission of the peroxisomal membrane by acting in concert with Pex11pβ and DLP1.
PMCID: PMC3798195  PMID: 24167709
Peroxisome morphogenesis; Elongation; Fission; Division; Mitochondrial fission factor; Dynamin-like protein 1; Peroxin Pex11p; Fis1
13.  Phospho.ELM: a database of phosphorylation sites—update 2008 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;36(Database issue):D240-D244.
Phospho.ELM is a manually curated database of eukaryotic phosphorylation sites. The resource includes data collected from published literature as well as high-throughput data sets.
The current release of Phospho.ELM (version 7.0, July 2007) contains 4078 phospho-protein sequences covering 12 025 phospho-serine, 2362 phospho-threonine and 2083 phospho-tyrosine sites. The entries provide information about the phosphorylated proteins and the exact position of known phosphorylated instances, the kinases responsible for the modification (where known) and links to bibliographic references. The database entries have hyperlinks to easily access further information from UniProt, PubMed, SMART, ELM, MSD as well as links to the protein interaction databases MINT and STRING.
A new BLAST search tool, complementary to retrieval by keyword and UniProt accession number, allows users to submit a protein query (by sequence or UniProt accession) to search against the curated data set of phosphorylated peptides.
Phospho.ELM is available on line at:
PMCID: PMC2238828  PMID: 17962309
14.  Detecting and Removing Inconsistencies between Experimental Data and Signaling Network Topologies Using Integer Linear Programming on Interaction Graphs 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(9):e1003204.
Cross-referencing experimental data with our current knowledge of signaling network topologies is one central goal of mathematical modeling of cellular signal transduction networks. We present a new methodology for data-driven interrogation and training of signaling networks. While most published methods for signaling network inference operate on Bayesian, Boolean, or ODE models, our approach uses integer linear programming (ILP) on interaction graphs to encode constraints on the qualitative behavior of the nodes. These constraints are posed by the network topology and their formulation as ILP allows us to predict the possible qualitative changes (up, down, no effect) of the activation levels of the nodes for a given stimulus. We provide four basic operations to detect and remove inconsistencies between measurements and predicted behavior: (i) find a topology-consistent explanation for responses of signaling nodes measured in a stimulus-response experiment (if none exists, find the closest explanation); (ii) determine a minimal set of nodes that need to be corrected to make an inconsistent scenario consistent; (iii) determine the optimal subgraph of the given network topology which can best reflect measurements from a set of experimental scenarios; (iv) find possibly missing edges that would improve the consistency of the graph with respect to a set of experimental scenarios the most. We demonstrate the applicability of the proposed approach by interrogating a manually curated interaction graph model of EGFR/ErbB signaling against a library of high-throughput phosphoproteomic data measured in primary hepatocytes. Our methods detect interactions that are likely to be inactive in hepatocytes and provide suggestions for new interactions that, if included, would significantly improve the goodness of fit. Our framework is highly flexible and the underlying model requires only easily accessible biological knowledge. All related algorithms were implemented in a freely available toolbox SigNetTrainer making it an appealing approach for various applications.
Author Summary
Cellular signal transduction is orchestrated by communication networks of signaling proteins commonly depicted on signaling pathway maps. However, each cell type may have distinct variants of signaling pathways, and wiring diagrams are often altered in disease states. The identification of truly active signaling topologies based on experimental data is therefore one key challenge in systems biology of cellular signaling. We present a new framework for training signaling networks based on interaction graphs (IG). In contrast to complex modeling formalisms, IG capture merely the known positive and negative edges between the components. This basic information, however, already sets hard constraints on the possible qualitative behaviors of the nodes when perturbing the network. Our approach uses Integer Linear Programming to encode these constraints and to predict the possible changes (down, neutral, up) of the activation levels of the involved players for a given experiment. Based on this formulation we developed several algorithms for detecting and removing inconsistencies between measurements and network topology. Demonstrated by EGFR/ErbB signaling in hepatocytes, our approach delivers direct conclusions on edges that are likely inactive or missing relative to canonical pathway maps. Such information drives the further elucidation of signaling network topologies under normal and pathological phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3764019  PMID: 24039561
15.  Conventional Kinesin Holoenzymes Are Composed of Heavy and Light Chain Homodimers† 
Biochemistry  2008;47(15):4535-4543.
Conventional kinesin is a major microtubule-based motor protein responsible for anterograde transport of various membrane-bounded organelles (MBO) along axons. Structurally, this molecular motor protein is a tetrameric complex composed of two heavy (kinesin-1) chains and two light chain (KLC) subunits. The products of three kinesin-1 (kinesin-1A, -1B, and -1C, formerly KIF5A, -B, and -C) and two KLC (KLC1, KLC2) genes are expressed in mammalian nervous tissue, but the functional significance of this subunit heterogeneity remains unknown. In this work, we examine all possible combinations among conventional kinesin subunits in brain tissue. In sharp contrast with previous reports, immunoprecipitation experiments here demonstrate that conventional kinesin holoenzymes are formed of kinesin-1 homodimers. Similar experiments confirmed previous findings of KLC homodimerization. Additionally, no specificity was found in the interaction between kinesin-1s and KLCs, suggesting the existence of six variant forms of conventional kinesin, as defined by their gene product composition. Subcellular fractionation studies indicate that such variants associate with biochemically different MBOs and further suggest a role of kinesin-1s in the targeting of conventional kinesin holoenzymes to specific MBO cargoes. Taken together, our data address the combination of subunits that characterize endogenous conventional kinesin. Findings on the composition and subunit organization of conventional kinesin as described here provide a molecular basis for the regulation of axonal transport and delivery of selected MBOs to discrete subcellular locations.
PMCID: PMC2644488  PMID: 18361505
16.  Structural implications for K5/K12-di-acetylated histone H4 recognition by the second bromodomain of BRD2 
FEBS letters  2010;584(18):3901-3908.
The BET family proteins recognize acetylated chromatin through their two bromodomains, acting as transcriptional activators or tethering viral genomes to the mitotic chromosomes of their host. The structural mechanism for how the N-terminal bromodomain of human BRD2 (BRD2-BD1) deciphers the mono-acetylated status of histone H4 tail was recently reported. Here we show the crystal structure of the second bromodomain of BRD2 (BRD2-BD2) in complex with the di-acetylated histone H4 tail (H4K5ac/K12ac). To our surprise, a single K5ac/K12ac peptide interacts with two BRD2-BD2 molecules simultaneously: the K5ac residue binds to one BRD2-BD2 molecule while the K12ac residue binds to another. These results provide a structural basis for the recognition of two different patterns of the histone acetylation status by a single bromodomain.
Structured summary
MINT-7989882, MINT-7989824, MINT-7989846, MINT-7989865: H4 (uniprotkb:P62805) binds (MI:0407) to BRD2 (uniprotkb:P25440) by surface plasmon resonance (MI:0107)
MINT-7989539: H4 (uniprotkb:P62805) and BRD2 (uniprotkb:P25440) bind (MI:0407) by X-ray crystallography (MI:0114)
PMCID: PMC4158924  PMID: 20709061
BET family; Bromodomain; Cell cycle; Chromatin; Crystal structure; Papilloma virus; Transcription
17.  Association of Kinesin Light Chain with Outer Dense Fibers in a Microtubule-independent Fashion* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2003;278(18):16159-16168.
Conventional kinesin I motor molecules are heterotetramers consisting of two kinesin light chains (KLCs) and two kinesin heavy chains. The interaction between the heavy and light chains is mediated by the KLC heptad repeat (HR), a leucine zipper-like motif. Kinesins bind to microtubules and are involved in various cellular functions, including transport and cell division. We recently isolated a novel KLC gene, klc3. klc3 is the only known KLC expressed in post-meiotic male germ cells. A monoclonal anti-KLC3 antibody was developed that, in immunoelectron microscopy, detects KLC3 protein associated with outer dense fibers (ODFs), unique structural components of sperm tails. No significant binding of KLC3 with microtubules was observed with this monoclonal antibody. In vitro experiments showed that KLC3-ODF binding occurred in the absence of kinesin heavy chains or microtubules and required the KLC3 HR. ODF1, a major ODF protein, was identified as the KLC3 binding partner. The ODF1 leucine zipper and the KLC3 HR mediated the interaction. These results identify and characterize a novel interaction between a KLC and a non-microtubule macromolecular structure and suggest that KLC3 could play a microtubule-independent role during formation of sperm tails.
PMCID: PMC3178653  PMID: 12594206 CAMSID: cams1883
18.  Lysosomal localization of GLUT8 in the testis – the EXXXLL motif of GLUT8 is sufficient for its intracellular sorting via AP1- and AP2-mediated interaction 
The Febs Journal  2009;276(14):3729-3743.
The class III sugar transport facilitator GLUT8 co-localizes with the lysosomal protein LAMP1 in heterologous expression systems. GLUT8 carries a [D/E]XXXL[L/I]-type dileucine sorting signal that has been postulated to retain the protein in an endosomal/lysosomal compartment via interactions with clathrin adaptor protein (AP) complexes. However, contradictory findings have been described regarding the subcellular localization of the endogenous GLUT8 and the adaptor proteins that interact with its dileucine motif. Here we demonstrate that endogenous GLUT8 is localized in a late endosomal/lysosomal compartment of spermatocytes and spermatids, and that the adaptor complexes AP1 and AP2, but not AP3 or AP4, interact with its N-terminal intracellular domain (NICD). In addition, fusion of the GLUT8 NICD to the tailless lumenal domain of the IL-2 receptor alpha chain (TAC) protein (interleukin-2 receptor α chain) targeted the protein to intracellular membranes, indicating that its N-terminal dileucine signal is sufficient for endosomal/lysosomal targeting of the transporter. The localization and targeting of GLUT8 show striking similarities to sorting mechanisms reported for lysosomal proteins. Therefore, we suggest a potential role for GLUT8 in the so far unexplored substrate transport across intracellular membranes.
Structured digital abstract
MINT-7035377: GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) physically interacts (MI:0915) with AP2 (uniprotkb:P62944) by pull down (MI:0096)MINT-7035218: GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) physically interacts (MI:0915) with AP1 (uniprotkb:O43747) by pull down (MI:0096)MINT-7035273: GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) physically interacts (MI:0915) with AP1 (uniprotkb:P22892) by pull down (MI:0096)MINT-7035235: GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) physically interacts (MI:0915) with AP1 (uniprotkb:Q8R525) by pull down (MI:0096)MINT-7035360: GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) physically interacts (MI:0915) with AP2 (uniprotkb:Q9DBG3) by pull down (MI:0096)MINT-7035789, MINT-7035807: lamp1 (uniprotkb:P11438) and GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) colocalize (MI:0403) by fluorescence microscopy (MI:0416)MINT-7039929, MINT-7039945: lamp2 (uniprotkb:P17047) and GLUT8 (uniprotkb:Q9JIF3) colocalize (MI:0403) by fluorescence microscopy (MI:0416)
PMCID: PMC2730553  PMID: 19523115
adaptor proteins; endocytosis; glucose transporter; GLUT8; lysosomes; targeting
19.  Fis1, Mff, MiD49, and MiD51 mediate Drp1 recruitment in mitochondrial fission 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(5):659-667.
Mitochondrial fission requires recruitment of the GTPase Drp1 to mitochondria, but the molecules that mediate this recruitment have been disputed. Fis1, Mff, MiD49, and MiD51 can all recruit Drp1 to mitochondria and promote fission. MiD49 and MiD51 can promote mitochondrial fission, but their activity depends on cellular context.
Several mitochondrial outer membrane proteins—mitochondrial fission protein 1 (Fis1), mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), mitochondrial dynamics proteins of 49 and 51 kDa (MiD49 and MiD51, respectively)—have been proposed to promote mitochondrial fission by recruiting the GTPase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), but fundamental issues remain concerning their function. A recent study supported such a role for Mff but not for Fis1. In addition, it is unclear whether MiD49 and MiD51 activate or inhibit fission, because their overexpression causes extensive mitochondrial elongation. It is also unknown whether these proteins can act in the absence of one another to mediate fission. Using Fis1-null, Mff-null, and Fis1/Mff-null cells, we show that both Fis1 and Mff have roles in mitochondrial fission. Moreover, immunofluorescence analysis of Drp1 suggests that Fis1 and Mff are important for the number and size of Drp1 puncta on mitochondria. Finally, we find that either MiD49 or MiD51 can mediate Drp1 recruitment and mitochondrial fission in the absence of Fis1 and Mff. These results demonstrate that multiple receptors can recruit Drp1 to mediate mitochondrial fission.
PMCID: PMC3583668  PMID: 23283981
20.  Kinesin Light-Chain KLC3 Expression in Testis Is Restricted to Spermatids1 
Biology of reproduction  2001;64(5):1320-1330.
Kinesins are tetrameric motor molecules, consisting of two kinesin heavy chains (KHCs) and two kinesin light chains (KLCs) that are involved in transport of cargo along microtubules. The function of the light chain may be in cargo binding and regulation of kinesin activity. In the mouse, two KLC genes, KLC1 and KLC2, had been identified. KLC1 plays a role in neuronal transport, and KLC2 appears to be more widely expressed. We report the cloning from a testicular cDNA expression library of a mammalian light chain, KLC3. The KLC3 gene is located in close proximity to the ERCC2 gene. KLC3 can be classified as a genuine light chain: it interacts in vitro with the KHC, the interaction is mediated by a conserved heptade repeat sequence, and it associates in vitro with microtubules. In mouse and rat testis, KLC3 protein expression is restricted to round and elongating spermatids, and KLC3 is present in sperm tails. In contrast, KLC1 and KLC2 can only be detected before meiosis in testis. Interestingly, the expression profiles of the three known KHCs and KLC3 differ significantly: Kif5a and Kif5b are not expressed after meiosis, and Kif5c is expressed at an extremely low level in spermatids but is not detectable in sperm tails. Our characterization of the KLC3 gene suggests that it carries out a unique and specialized role in spermatids.
PMCID: PMC3161965  PMID: 11319135 CAMSID: cams1886
gene regulation; meiosis; spermatid; spermatogenesis; testis
21.  Molecular characterization of the evolution of phagosomes 
First large-scale comparative proteomics/phosphoproteomics study characterizing some of the key steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes that occurred during evolution. Comparison of profiling analyses of isolated phagosomes from three distant organisms (Dictyostelium, Drosophila, and mouse) revealed a protein core that defines a potential ‘ancient' phagosome and a set of 50 proteins that emerged while adaptive immunity was already well established.Gene duplication events of mouse phagosome paralogs occurred mostly in Bilateria and Euteleostomi, coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity, and thus, provided the functional innovations needed for the establishment of these two crucial evolutionary steps of the immune system.Phosphoproteomics of isolated phagosomes from the same three distant species indicate that the phagosome phosphoproteome has been extensively modified during evolution. Still, some phosphosites have been maintained for >1.2 billion years, and thus, highlight their particular significance in the regulation of key phagosomal functions.
Phagocytosis is the process by which multiple cell types internalize large particulate material from the external milieu. The functional properties of phagosomes are acquired through a complex maturation process, referred to as phagolysosome biogenesis. This pathway involves a series of rapid interactions with organelles of the endocytic apparatus, enabling the gradual transformation of newly formed phagosomes into phagolysosomes in which proteolytic degradation occurs. The degradative environment encountered in the phagosome lumen has enabled the use of phagocytosis as a predation mechanism for feeding (phagotrophy) in amoeba, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in jawed vertebrates (fish), initiate a sustained immune response.
High-throughput proteomics profiling of isolated phagosomes has been tremendously helpful for the molecular comprehension of this organelle. This approach is achieved by feeding low buoyancy latex beads to phagocytic cells, enabling the subsequent isolation of latex bead-containing phagosomes, away from all the other cell organelles, by a single-isopicnic centrifugation in sucrose gradient. In order to characterize some of the key steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes during evolution, we isolated this organelle from three distant organisms: the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and mouse (Mus musculus) that use phagocytosis for different purposes, and performed detailed proteomics and phosphoproteomics analyses with unparallel protein coverage for this organelle (two- to four-fold enhancements in identified proteins).
In order to establish the origin of the mouse phagosome proteome, we performed comparative analyses among 39 taxa including plants/algea, unicellular organisms, fungi, and more complex animal multicellular organisms. These genomic comparisons indicated that a large proportion of the mouse phagosome proteome is of ancient origin (73.1% of the proteome is conserved in eukaryotic organisms) (Figure 2A). This stresses the fact that phagocytosis is a very ancient process, as shown by its possible involvement in the emergence of eukaryotic cells (eukaryogenesis). Indeed, we identified close to 300 phagosome mouse proteins also present on Drosophila and Dictyostelium phagosomes, defining a potential ‘ancient' core of proteins from which the immune functions of phagosomes likely evolved. Around 16.7% of the mouse phagosome proteins appeared in organisms that use phagocytosis for innate immunity (Bilateria to Chordata), whereas 10.2% appeared in Euteleostomi or Tetrapoda where phagosomes have an important function in linking the killing of microorganisms with the development of a specific sustained immune response following antigen recognition. The phagosome is made of molecules taken from a variety of sources within the cell, including the cytoplasm, the cytoskeleton and membrane organelles. Despite the evolution and diversification of these various cellular systems, the mammalian phagosome proteome is made preferentially of ancient proteins (Figure 2B). Comparison of functional annotation during evolution highlighted the emergence of specific phagosomal functions at various steps during evolution (Figure 2C). Some of these proteins and their point of origin during evolution are highlighted in Figure 2D. Strikingly, we identified in Tetrapods a set of 50 proteins that arose while adaptive immunity was already well established in teleosts (fish), indicating that the phagocytic system is still evolving.
Our study highlights the fact that the functional properties of phagosomes emerged by the remodeling of ancient molecules, the addition of novel components, and the duplication of existing proteins (paralogs) leading to the formation of molecular machines of mixed origin. Gene duplication is a process that contributed continuously to the complexification of the mouse proteome during evolution. In sharp contrast, paralog analysis indicated that the phagosome proteome was mainly reorganized through two periods of gene duplication, in Bilateria and Euteleostomi, coinciding with the emergence of adaptive immunity (in jawed fish), and innate immunity (at the split between Metazoa and Bilateria). These results strongly suggest that selective constraints may have favored the maintenance of phagosome paralogs to ensure the establishment of novel functions associated with this organelle at these two crucial evolutionary steps of the immune system.
The emergence of genes associated to the MHC locus in mammals that appeared originally in the genome of jawed fishes, contributed to the development of complex molecular mechanisms linking innate (our immune system that defends the host from infection in a non-specific manner) and adaptive immunity (the part of the immune system triggered specifically after antigen recognition). Several of the genes of this locus encode proteins known to have important functions in antigen presentation, such as subunits of the immunoproteasome (LMP2 and LMP7), MHC class I and class II molecules, as well as tapasin and the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1 and TAP2), involved in the transport and loading of peptides on MHC class I molecules (Figure 6). In addition to their ability to present peptides on MHC class II molecules, phagosomes of vertebrates have been shown to be competent for the presentation of exogenous peptides on MHC class I molecules, a process referred to as cross-presentation. From a functional point of view, the involvement of phagosomes in antigen cross-presentation is the outcome of the successful integration of a wide range of multimolecular components that emerged throughout evolution (Figure 6). The trimming of exogenous proteins into small peptides that can be loaded on MHC class I molecules is inherited from the phagotrophic properties of unicellular organisms, where internalized bacteria are degraded into basic molecules and used as a source of nutrients. Ancient processes have therefore been co-opted (the use of an existing biological structure or feature for a new function) for new functionalities. A summarizing model of the various steps that enabled phagosome antigen presentation is presented in Figure 6. This model highlights the fact that although antigen presentation is unique to evolutionary recent phagosomes (starting in jawed fishes about 450 million years ago), it uses and integrates molecular machines composed of proteins that emerged throughout evolution.
In summary, we present here the first large-scale comparative proteomics/phosphoproteomics study characterizing some of the key evolutionary steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes during evolution. Functional properties of this organelle emerged by the remodeling of ancient molecules, the addition of novel components, the extensive adaption of protein phosphorylation sites and the duplication of existing proteins leading to the formation of molecular machines of mixed origin.
Amoeba use phagocytosis to internalize bacteria as a source of nutrients, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in vertebrates, initiate a sustained immune response. By using a large-scale approach to identify and compare the proteome and phosphoproteome of phagosomes isolated from distant organisms, and by comparative analysis over 39 taxa, we identified an ‘ancient' core of phagosomal proteins around which the immune functions of this organelle have likely organized. Our data indicate that a larger proportion of the phagosome proteome, compared with the whole cell proteome, has been acquired through gene duplication at a period coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity. Our study also characterizes in detail the acquisition of novel proteins and the significant remodeling of the phagosome phosphoproteome that contributed to modify the core constituents of this organelle in evolution. Our work thus provides the first thorough analysis of the changes that enabled the transformation of the phagosome from a phagotrophic compartment into an organelle fully competent for antigen presentation.
PMCID: PMC2990642  PMID: 20959821
evolution; immunity; phosphoproteomics; phylogeny; proteomics
22.  Vaccinia Virus Protein Complex F12/E2 Interacts with Kinesin Light Chain Isoform 2 to Engage the Kinesin-1 Motor Complex 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(3):e1004723.
During vaccinia virus morphogenesis, intracellular mature virus (IMV) particles are wrapped by a double lipid bilayer to form triple enveloped virions called intracellular enveloped virus (IEV). IEV are then transported to the cell surface where the outer IEV membrane fuses with the cell membrane to expose a double enveloped virion outside the cell. The F12, E2 and A36 proteins are involved in transport of IEVs to the cell surface. Deletion of the F12L or E2L genes causes a severe inhibition of IEV transport and a tiny plaque size. Deletion of the A36R gene leads to a smaller reduction in plaque size and less severe inhibition of IEV egress. The A36 protein is present in the outer membrane of IEVs, and over-expressed fragments of this protein interact with kinesin light chain (KLC). However, no interaction of F12 or E2 with the kinesin complex has been reported hitherto. Here the F12/E2 complex is shown to associate with kinesin-1 through an interaction of E2 with the C-terminal tail of KLC isoform 2, which varies considerably between different KLC isoforms. siRNA-mediated knockdown of KLC isoform 1 increased IEV transport to the cell surface and virus plaque size, suggesting interaction with KLC isoform 1 is somehow inhibitory of IEV transport. In contrast, knockdown of KLC isoform 2 did not affect IEV egress or plaque formation, indicating redundancy in virion egress pathways. Lastly, the enhancement of plaque size resulting from loss of KLC isoform 1 was abrogated by removal of KLC isoforms 1 and 2 simultaneously. These observations suggest redundancy in the mechanisms used for IEV egress, with involvement of KLC isoforms 1 and 2, and provide evidence of interaction of F12/E2 complex with the kinesin-1 complex.
Author Summary
Viruses often hijack the cellular transport systems to facilitate their movement within and between cells. Vaccinia virus (VACV), the smallpox vaccine, is very adept at this and exploits cellular transport machinery at several stages during its life cycle. For instance, during transport of new virus particles to the cell surface VACV interacts with a protein motor complex called kinesin-1 that moves cargo on microtubules. However, details of the cellular and viral components needed and the molecular mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. Hitherto, only the VACV protein A36 has been shown to interact with kinesin-1, however viruses lacking A36 still reach the cell surface, albeit at reduced efficiency, indicating other factors are involved. Here we describe an interaction between kinesin-1 and a complex of VACV proteins F12 and E2, which are both needed for virus transport. The F12/E2 complex associates with a subset of kinesin-1 molecules (kinesin light chain isoform 2) with a region thought to be involved in modulation of cargo binding and kinesin-1 motor activity. Further study of this interaction will enhance understanding of the VACV life cycle and of the roles of different kinesin-1 subtypes in cellular processes and the mechanisms that regulate them.
PMCID: PMC4356562  PMID: 25760349
23.  Control of Replicative Life Span in Human Cells: Barriers to Clonal Expansion Intermediate Between M1 Senescence and M2 Crisis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(4):3103-3114.
The accumulation of genetic abnormalities in a developing tumor is driven, at least in part, by the need to overcome inherent restraints on the replicative life span of human cells, two of which—senescence (M1) and crisis (M2)—have been well characterized. Here we describe additional barriers to clonal expansion (Mint) intermediate between M1 and M2, revealed by abrogation of tumor-suppressor gene (TSG) pathways by individual human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) proteins. In human fibroblasts, abrogation of p53 function by HPVE6 allowed escape from M1, followed up to 20 population doublings (PD) later by a second viable proliferation arrest state, MintE6, closely resembling M1. This occurred despite abrogation of p21WAF1 induction but was associated with and potentially mediated by a further ∼3-fold increase in p16INK4a expression compared to its level at M1. Expression of HPVE7, which targets pRb (and p21WAF1), also permitted clonal expansion, but this was limited predominantly by increasing cell death, resulting in a MintE7 phenotype similar to M2 but occurring after fewer PD. This was associated with, and at least partly due to, an increase in nuclear p53 content and activity, not seen in younger cells expressing E7. In a different cell type, thyroid epithelium, E7 also allowed clonal expansion terminating in a similar state to MintE7 in fibroblasts. In contrast, however, there was no evidence for a p53-regulated pathway; E6 was without effect, and the increases in p21WAF1 expression at M1 and MintE7 were p53 independent. These data provide a model for clonal evolution by successive TSG inactivation and suggest that cell type diversity in life span regulation may determine the pattern of gene mutation in the corresponding tumors.
PMCID: PMC84104  PMID: 10082577
24.  Mint3/X11γ Is an ADP-Ribosylation Factor-dependent Adaptor that Regulates the Traffic of the Alzheimer's Precursor Protein from the Trans-Golgi Network 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(1):51-64.
β-Amyloid peptides (Aβ) are the major component of plaques in brains of Alzheimer's patients, and are they derived from the proteolytic processing of the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP). The movement of APP between organelles is highly regulated, and it is tightly connected to its processing by secretases. We proposed previously that transport of APP within the cell is mediated in part through its sorting into Mint/X11-containing carriers. To test our hypothesis, we purified APP-containing vesicles from human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, and we showed that Mint2/3 are specifically enriched and that Mint3 and APP are present in the same vesicles. Increasing cellular APP levels increased the amounts of both APP and Mint3 in purified vesicles. Additional evidence supporting an obligate role for Mint3 in traffic of APP from the trans-Golgi network to the plasma membrane include the observations that depletion of Mint3 by small interference RNA (siRNA) or mutation of the Mint binding domain of APP changes the export route of APP from the basolateral to the endosomal/lysosomal sorting route. Finally, we show that increased expression of Mint3 decreased and siRNA-mediated knockdowns increased the secretion of the neurotoxic β-amyloid peptide, Aβ1-40. Together, our data implicate Mint3 activity as a critical determinant of post-Golgi APP traffic.
PMCID: PMC2174186  PMID: 17959829
25.  Human MIEF1 recruits Drp1 to mitochondrial outer membranes and promotes mitochondrial fusion rather than fission 
The EMBO Journal  2011;30(14):2762-2778.
Human MIEF1 recruits Drp1 to mitochondrial outer membranes and promotes mitochondrial fusion rather than fission
Mitochondrial morphology depends on the balance between fission and fusion events. This study identifies a receptor for the fission factor Drp1 within the mitochondrial outer membrane, which inhibits Drp1-mediated fission and activates fusion.
Mitochondrial morphology is controlled by two opposing processes: fusion and fission. Drp1 (dynamin-related protein 1) and hFis1 are two key players of mitochondrial fission, but how Drp1 is recruited to mitochondria and how Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission is regulated in mammals is poorly understood. Here, we identify the vertebrate-specific protein MIEF1 (mitochondrial elongation factor 1; independently identified as MiD51), which is anchored to the outer mitochondrial membrane. Elevated MIEF1 levels induce extensive mitochondrial fusion, whereas depletion of MIEF1 causes mitochondrial fragmentation. MIEF1 interacts with and recruits Drp1 to mitochondria in a manner independent of hFis1, Mff (mitochondrial fission factor) and Mfn2 (mitofusin 2), but inhibits Drp1 activity, thus executing a negative effect on mitochondrial fission. MIEF1 also interacts with hFis1 and elevated hFis1 levels partially reverse the MIEF1-induced fusion phenotype. In addition to inhibiting Drp1, MIEF1 also actively promotes fusion, but in a manner distinct from mitofusins. In conclusion, our findings uncover a novel mechanism which controls the mitochondrial fusion–fission machinery in vertebrates. As MIEF1 is vertebrate-specific, these data also reveal important differences between yeast and vertebrates in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3160255  PMID: 21701560
Drp1; hFis1; mitochondrial fusion and fission; SMCR7L; MIEF1/MiD51

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