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1.  A Mammalian Homolog of Yeast MOB1 Is Both a Member and a Putative Substrate of Striatin Family-Protein Phosphatase 2A Complexes* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2001;276(26):24253-24260.
Striatin and S/G2 nuclear autoantigen (SG2NA) are related proteins that contain membrane binding domains and associate with protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and many additional proteins that may be PP2A regulatory targets. Here we identify a major member of these complexes as class II mMOB1, a mammalian homolog of the yeast protein MOB1, and show that its phosphorylation appears to be regulated by PP2A. Yeast MOB1 is critical for cytoskeletal reorganization during cytokinesis and exit from mitosis. We show that mMOB1 associated with PP2A is not detectably phosphorylated in asynchronous murine fibroblasts. However, treatment with the PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid induces phosphorylation of PP2A-associated mMOB1 on serine. Moreover, specific inhibition of PP2A also results in hyperphosphorylation of striatin, SG2NA, and three unidentified proteins, suggesting that these proteins may also be regulated by PP2A. Indirect immunofluorescence produced highly similar staining patterns for striatin, SG2NA, and mMOB1, with the highest concentrations for each protein adjacent to the nuclear membrane. We also present evidence that these complexes may interact with each other. These data are consistent with a model in which PP2A may regulate mMOB1, striatin, and SG2NA to modulate changes in the cytoskeleton or interactions between the cytoskeleton and membrane structures.
PMCID: PMC3503316  PMID: 11319234
2.  Methylation of the Protein Phosphatase 2A Catalytic Subunit Is Essential for Association of Bα Regulatory Subunit But Not SG2NA, Striatin, or Polyomavirus Middle Tumor Antigen 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(1):185-199.
Binding of different regulatory subunits and methylation of the catalytic (C) subunit carboxy-terminal leucine 309 are two important mechanisms by which protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) can be regulated. In this study, both genetic and biochemical approaches were used to investigate regulation of regulatory subunit binding by C subunit methylation. Monoclonal antibodies selectively recognizing unmethylated C subunit were used to quantitate the methylation status of wild-type and mutant C subunits. Analysis of 13 C subunit mutants showed that both carboxy-terminal and active site residues are important for maintaining methylation in vivo. Severe impairment of methylation invariably led to a dramatic decrease in Bα subunit binding but not of striatin, SG2NA, or polyomavirus middle tumor antigen (MT) binding. In fact, most unmethylated C subunit mutants showed enhanced binding to striatin and SG2NA. Certain carboxy-terminal mutations decreased Bα subunit binding without greatly affecting methylation, indicating that Bα subunit binding is not required for a high steady-state level of C subunit methylation. Demethylation of PP2A in cell lysates with recombinant PP2A methylesterase greatly decreased the amount of C subunit that could be coimmunoprecipitated via the Bα subunit but not the amount that could be coimmunoprecipitated with Aα subunit or MT. When C subunit methylation levels were greatly reduced in vivo, Bα subunits were found complexed exclusively to methylated C subunits, whereas striatin and SG2NA in the same cells bound both methylated and unmethylated C subunits. Thus, C subunit methylation is critical for assembly of PP2A heterotrimers containing Bα subunit but not for formation of heterotrimers containing MT, striatin, or SG2NA. These findings suggest that methylation may be able to selectively regulate the association of certain regulatory subunits with the A/C heterodimer.
PMCID: PMC30577  PMID: 11160832
3.  WD40 Repeat Proteins Striatin and S/G2 Nuclear Autoantigen Are Members of a Novel Family of Calmodulin-binding Proteins That Associate with Protein Phosphatase 2A* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2000;275(8):5257-5263.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a multifunctional serine/threonine phosphatase that is critical to many cellular processes including development, neuronal signaling, cell cycle regulation, and viral transformation. PP2A has been implicated in Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways, but how PP2A is targeted to these pathways is not understood. We have identified two calmodulin (CaM)-binding proteins that form stable complexes with the PP2A A/C heterodimer and may represent a novel family of PP2A B-type subunits. These two proteins, striatin and S/G2 nuclear autoantigen (SG2NA), are highly related WD40 repeat proteins of previously unknown function and distinct subcellular localizations. Striatin has been reported to associate with the postsynaptic densities of neurons, whereas SG2NA has been reported to be a nuclear protein expressed primarily during the S and G2 phases of the cell cycle. We show that SG2NA, like striatin, binds to CaM in a Ca2+-dependent manner. In addition to CaM and PP2A, several unidentified proteins stably associate with the striatin-PP2A and SG2NA-PP2A complexes. Thus, one mechanism of targeting and organizing PP2A with components of Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways may be through the molecular scaffolding proteins striatin and SG2NA.
PMCID: PMC3505218  PMID: 10681496
4.  Molecular Cloning and Characterization of Phocein, a Protein Found from the Golgi Complex to Dendritic Spines 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(3):663-673.
Phocein is a widely expressed, highly conserved intracellular protein of 225 amino acids, the sequence of which has limited homology to the ς subunits from clathrin adaptor complexes and contains an additional stretch bearing a putative SH3-binding domain. This sequence is evolutionarily very conserved (80% identity between Drosophila melanogaster and human). Phocein was discovered by a yeast two-hybrid screen using striatin as a bait. Striatin, SG2NA, and zinedin, the three mammalian members of the striatin family, are multimodular, WD-repeat, and calmodulin-binding proteins. The interaction of phocein with striatin, SG2NA, and zinedin was validated in vitro by coimmunoprecipitation and pull-down experiments. Fractionation of brain and HeLa cells showed that phocein is associated with membranes, as well as present in the cytosol where it behaves as a protein complex. The molecular interaction between SG2NA and phocein was confirmed by their in vivo colocalization, as observed in HeLa cells where antibodies directed against either phocein or SG2NA immunostained the Golgi complex. A 2-min brefeldin A treatment of HeLa cells induced the redistribution of both proteins. Immunocytochemical studies of adult rat brain sections showed that phocein reactivity, present in many types of neurons, is strictly somato-dendritic and extends down to spines, just as do striatin and SG2NA.
PMCID: PMC30971  PMID: 11251078
5.  CTTNBP2, but not CTTNBP2NL, regulates dendritic spinogenesis and synaptic distribution of the striatin–PP2A complex 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(22):4383-4392.
Although both CTTNBP2 and CTTNBP2NL interact with cortactin and striatin/zinedin, CTTNBP2, but not CTTNBP2NL, is predominantly expressed in neurons and regulates dendritic spine distribution of cortactin and striatin/zinedin. The finding may be relevant to the association of CTTNBP2 with autism.
Cortactin-binding protein 2 (CTTNBP2) interacts with cortactin to regulate cortactin mobility and control dendritic spine formation. CTTNBP2 has also been associated with autistic spectrum disorder. The regulation of dendritic spinogenesis could explain the association of CTTNBP2 with autism. Sequence comparison has indicated that CTTNBP2 N-terminal–like protein (CTTNBP2NL) is a CTTNBP2 homologue. To confirm the specific effect of CTTNBP2 on dendritic spinogenesis, here we investigate whether CTTNBP2NL has a similar function to CTTNBP2. Although both CTTNBP2 and CTTNBP2NL interact with cortactin, CTTNBP2NL is associated with stress fibers, whereas CTTNBP2 is distributed to the cortex and intracellular puncta. We also provide evidence that CTTNBP2, but not CTTNBP2NL, is predominantly expressed in the brain. CTTNBP2NL does not show any activity in the regulation of dendritic spinogenesis. In addition to spine morphology, CTTNBP2 is also found to regulate the synaptic distribution of striatin and zinedin (the regulatory B subunits of protein phosphatase 2A [PP2A]), which interact with CTTNBP2NL in HEK293 cells. The association between CTTNBP2 and striatin/zinedin suggests that CTTNBP2 targets the PP2A complex to dendritic spines. Thus we propose that the interactions of CTTNBP2 and cortactin and the PP2A complex regulate spine morphogenesis and synaptic signaling.
PMCID: PMC3496612  PMID: 23015759
6.  Molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations based structural analysis of the SG2NA protein variants 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:446.
SG2NA is a member of the striatin sub-family of WD-40 repeat proteins. Striatin family members have been associated with diverse physiological functions. SG2NA has also been shown to have roles in cell cycle progression, signal transduction etc. They have been known to interact with a number of proteins including Caveolin and Calmodulin and also propagate the formation of a multimeric protein unit called striatin-interacting phosphatase and kinase. As a pre-requisite for such interaction ability, these proteins are known to be unstable and primarily disordered in their arrangement. Earlier we had identified that it has multiple isoforms (namely 35, 78, 87 kDa based on its molecular weight) which are generated by alternative splicing. However, detailed structural information of SG2NA is still eluding the researchers.
This study was aimed towards three-dimensional molecular modeling and characterization of SG2NA protein and its isoforms. One structure out of five was selected for each variant having the least value for C score. Out of these, m35 kDa with a C score value of −3.21was the most poorly determined structure in comparison to m78 kDa and m87 kDa variants with C scores of −1.16 and −1.97 respectively. Further evaluation resulted in about 61.6% residues of m35 kDa, 76.6% residues of m78 kDa and 72.1% residues of m87 kDa falling in the favorable regions of Ramchandran Plot. Molecular dynamics simulations were also carried out to obtain biologically relevant structural models and compared with previous atomic coordinates. N-terminal region of all variants was found to be highly disordered.
This study provides first-hand detailed information to understand the structural conformation of SG2NA protein variants (m35 kDa, m78 kDa and m87 kDa). The WD-40 repeat domain was found to constitute antiparallel strands of β-sheets arranged circularly. This study elucidates the crucial structural features of SG2NA proteins which are involved in various protein-protein interactions and also reveals the extent of disorder present in the SG2NA structure crucial for excessive interaction and multimeric protein complexes. The study also potentiates the role of computational approaches for preliminary examination of unknown proteins in the absence of experimental information.
PMCID: PMC4105797  PMID: 25015106
SG2NA; Molecular modeling; Molecular dynamics simulations; Disorder prediction; Striatin
7.  The phocein homologue SmMOB3 is essential for vegetative cell fusion and sexual development in the filamentous ascomycete Sordaria macrospora 
Current Genetics  2011;57(2):133-149.
Members of the striatin family and their highly conserved interacting protein phocein/Mob3 are key components in the regulation of cell differentiation in multicellular eukaryotes. The striatin homologue PRO11 of the filamentous ascomycete Sordaria macrospora has a crucial role in fruiting body development. Here, we functionally characterized the phocein/Mob3 orthologue SmMOB3 of S. macrospora. We isolated the gene and showed that both, pro11 and Smmob3 are expressed during early and late developmental stages. Deletion of Smmob3 resulted in a sexually sterile strain, similar to the previously characterized pro11 mutant. Fusion assays revealed that ∆Smmob3 was unable to undergo self-fusion and fusion with the pro11 strain. The essential function of the SmMOB3 N-terminus containing the conserved mob domain was demonstrated by complementation analysis of the sterile S. macrospora ∆Smmob3 strain. Downregulation of either pro11 in ∆Smmob3, or Smmob3 in pro11 mutants by means of RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in synthetic sexual defects, demonstrating for the first time the importance of a putative PRO11/SmMOB3 complex in fruiting body development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00294-010-0333-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3059760  PMID: 21229248
Phocein; Hyphal fusion; Fruiting body development; Sordaria macrospora
8.  A novel non-canonical mechanism of regulation of MST3 (mammalian Sterile20-related kinase 3) 
Biochemical Journal  2012;442(Pt 3):595-610.
The canonical pathway of regulation of the GCK (germinal centre kinase) III subgroup member, MST3 (mammalian Sterile20-related kinase 3), involves a caspase-mediated cleavage between N-terminal catalytic and C-terminal regulatory domains with possible concurrent autophosphorylation of the activation loop MST3(Thr178), induction of serine/threonine protein kinase activity and nuclear localization. We identified an alternative ‘non-canonical’ pathway of MST3 activation (regulated primarily through dephosphorylation) which may also be applicable to other GCKIII (and GCKVI) subgroup members. In the basal state, inactive MST3 co-immunoprecipitated with the Golgi protein GOLGA2/gm130 (golgin A2/Golgi matrix protein 130). Activation of MST3 by calyculin A (a protein serine/threonine phosphatase 1/2A inhibitor) stimulated (auto)phosphorylation of MST3(Thr178) in the catalytic domain with essentially simultaneous cis-autophosphorylation of MST3(Thr328) in the regulatory domain, an event also requiring the MST3(341–376) sequence which acts as a putative docking domain. MST3(Thr178) phosphorylation increased MST3 kinase activity, but this activity was independent of MST3(Thr328) phosphorylation. Interestingly, MST3(Thr328) lies immediately C-terminal to a STRAD (Sterile20-related adaptor) pseudokinase-like site identified recently as being involved in binding of GCKIII/GCKVI members to MO25 scaffolding proteins. MST3(Thr178/Thr328) phosphorylation was concurrent with dissociation of MST3 from GOLGA2/gm130 and association of MST3 with MO25, and MST3(Thr328) phosphorylation was necessary for formation of the activated MST3–MO25 holocomplex.
PMCID: PMC3286863  PMID: 22229648
cardiac myocyte; germinal centre kinase; mammalian Sterile20-related kinase 3 (MST3); MO25; phosphorylation; regulation; AdV, adenovirus; CCM3, cerebral cavernous malformation 3; ECL, enhanced chemiluminescence; GCK, germinal centre kinase; GOLGA2, golgin A2; gm130, Golgi matrix protein 130; GST, glutathione transferase; HA, haemagglutinin; LKB1, liver kinase B1; mAb, monoclonal antibody; MASK, MST3 and SOK1-related kinase; MBP, myelin basic protein; MST, mammalian Sterile20-related kinase; NLS, nuclear localization signal; OXSR1, oxidative-stress responsive 1; PAK, p21-activated kinase; PASK, proline-alanine-rich Sterile20-related kinase; PDCD10, programmed cell death 10; PKA, cAMP-dependent protein kinase; PP, protein serine/threonine phosphatase; SOK1, Sterile20/oxidant stress response kinase1; SPAK, Sterile20/Sps1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase; Ste20, Sterile20; STRAD, Ste20-related adapter; TBST, Tris-buffered saline plus Tween 20; YSK1, yeast Sps1/Ste20-related kinase 1
9.  A novel calmodulin-binding protein, belonging to the WD-repeat family, is localized in dendrites of a subset of CNS neurons 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;134(4):1051-1062.
A rat brain synaptosomal protein of 110,000 M(r) present in a fraction highly enriched in adenylyl cyclase activity was microsequenced (Castets, F., G. Baillat, S. Mirzoeva, K. Mabrouk, J. Garin, J. d'Alayer, and A. Monneron. 1994. Biochemistry. 33:5063-5069). Peptide sequences were used to clone a cDNA encoding a novel, 780-amino acid protein named striatin. Striatin is a member of the WD-repeat family (Neer, E.J., C.J. Schmidt, R. Nambudripad, and T.F. Smith. 1994. Nature (Lond.). 371:297-300), the first one known to bind calmodulin (CaM) in the presence of Ca++. Subcellular fractionation shows that striatin is a membrane-associated, Lubrol-soluble protein. As analyzed by Northern blots, in situ hybridization, and immunocytochemistry, striatin is localized in the central nervous system, where it is confined to a subset of neurons, many of which are associated with the motor system. In particular, striatin is conspicuous in the dorsal part of the striatum, as well as in motoneurons. Furthermore, striatin is essentially found in dendrites, but not in axons, and is most abundant in dendritic spines. We propose that striatin interacts, through its WD- repeat domain and in a CaM/Ca(++)-dependent manner, with one or several members of a surrounding cluster of molecules engaged in a Ca(++)- signaling pathway specific to excitatory synapses.
PMCID: PMC2120968  PMID: 8769426
10.  Activation of the Mineralocorticoid Receptor Increases Striatin Levels 
American journal of hypertension  2011;25(2):243-249.
Aldosterone (ALDO), a critical regulator of sodium homeostasis, mediates its effects via activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) through mechanisms that are not entirely clear. Striatin, a membrane associated protein, interacts with estrogen receptors in endothelial cells.
We studied the effects of MR activation in vitro and in vivo on striatin levels in vascular tissue.
We observed that dietary sodium restriction was associated with increased striatin levels in mouse heart and aorta and that striatin and MR are present in the human endothelial cell line, (EA.hy926), and in mouse aortic endothelial cells (MAEC). Further, we show that MR co-precipitates with striatin in vascular tissue. Incubation of EA.hy926 cells with ALDO (10−8 mol/l for 5–24 h) increases striatin protein and mRNA expression, an effect that was inhibited by canrenoic acid, an MR antagonist. Consistent with these observations, incubation of MAEC with ALDO increased striatin levels that were likewise blocked by canrenoic acid. To test the in vivo relevance of these findings, we studied two previously described mouse models of increased ALDO levels. Intraperitoneal ALDO administration augmented the abundance of striatin protein in mouse heart. We also observed that in a murine model of chronic ALDO-mediated cardiovascular damage following treatment with NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester plus angiotensin II an increased abundance of striatin protein in heart and kidney tissue.
Our results provide evidence that increased striatin levels is a component of MR activation in the vasculature and suggest that regulation of striatin by ALDO may modulate estrogen’s nongenomic effects.
PMCID: PMC3773217  PMID: 22089104
aldosterone; angiotensin; animal physiology; antagonists; blood pressure; endothelial cells; heart tissue; hypertension; inflammation; L-NAME; mineralocorticoid receptor; RAAS
11.  Structural basis of the heterodimerization of the MST and RASSF SARAH domains in the Hippo signalling pathway 
The heterodimeric structure of the MST1 and RASSF5 SARAH domains is presented. A comparison of homodimeric and heterodimeric interactions provides a structural basis for the preferential association of the SARAH heterodimer.
Despite recent progress in research on the Hippo signalling pathway, the structural information available in this area is extremely limited. Intriguingly, the homodimeric and heterodimeric interactions of mammalian sterile 20-like (MST) kinases through the so-called ‘SARAH’ (SAV/RASSF/HPO) domains play a critical role in cellular homeostasis, dictating the fate of the cell regarding cell proliferation or apoptosis. To understand the mechanism of the heterodimerization of SARAH domains, the three-dimensional structures of an MST1–RASSF5 SARAH heterodimer and an MST2 SARAH homodimer were determined by X-ray crystallography and were analysed together with that previously determined for the MST1 SARAH homodimer. While the structure of the MST2 homodimer resembled that of the MST1 homodimer, the MST1–RASSF5 heterodimer showed distinct structural features. Firstly, the six N-terminal residues (Asp432–Lys437), which correspond to the short N-terminal 310-helix h1 kinked from the h2 helix in the MST1 homodimer, were disordered. Furthermore, the MST1 SARAH domain in the MST1–RASSF5 complex showed a longer helical structure (Ser438–Lys480) than that in the MST1 homodimer (Val441–Lys480). Moreover, extensive polar and nonpolar contacts in the MST1–RASSF5 SARAH domain were identified which strengthen the interactions in the heterodimer in comparison to the interactions in the homodimer. Denaturation experiments performed using urea also indicated that the MST–RASSF heterodimers are substantially more stable than the MST homodimers. These findings provide structural insights into the role of the MST1–RASSF5 SARAH domain in apoptosis signalling.
PMCID: PMC4089488  PMID: 25004971
Hippo signalling pathway; SARAH domains; MST; RASSF
12.  Co-operation between Raf-1 and Akt pathways for the inhibition of RASSF1A-MST2-triggered apoptosis 
Cancer research  2010;70(3):1195-1203.
Mammalian sterile20-like kinases (MST1/2) are involved in stress-induced apoptosis signalling. MST2 is inhibited by Raf-1 binding, and its activation requires dissociation from Raf-1 and binding to the RASSF1A tumour suppressor protein. Here, we have investigated the regulation of MST2 by the pro-survival phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway. Akt phosphorylates MST2 in response to mitogens, oncogenic Ras expression or depletion of the tumour suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN). We identified two Akt phosphorylation sites (T117 and T384) in MST2. Mutation of these sites individually reduced phosphorylation, while the double mutation abolished it. These mutations, especially the double mutation, inhibited MST2 interactions with Raf-1, but enhanced binding to RASSF1A resulting in higher activation of downstream stress signalling pathways (JNK and p38 MAPK) and apoptosis. Biochemical and in situ FLIM experiments revealed a dual mechanism of inhibition. Akt phosphorylation of MST2 (i) blocks binding to RASSF1A and promotes sequestration into the inhibitory complex with Raf-1; and (ii) prevents MST2 homo-dimerisation which is essential for MST2 activation. Our results further show that the dissociation of the Raf-1-MST2 complex is part of mitogenic signalling, thereby linking induction of proliferation with the risk of apoptosis. Results with Ras effector domain mutants that selectively couple to either PI3K or Raf-1 show that Akt activation is necessary to abrogate MST2 activation in response to mitogenic stimulation. Thus, MST2 serves as a hub to integrate the biological outputs of the Raf-1 and Akt pathways.
PMCID: PMC2880716  PMID: 20086174
MST2; Raf-1; Akt; crosstalk; apoptosis
13.  PDCD10 Interacts with Ste20-related Kinase MST4 to Promote Cell Growth and Transformation via Modulation of the ERK Pathway 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(6):1965-1978.
PDCD10 (programmed cell death 10, TFAR15), a novel protein associated with cell apoptosis has been recently implicated in mutations associated with Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCM). Yeast two-hybrid screening revealed that PDCD10 interacts with MST4, a member of Ste20-related kinases. This interaction was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and colocalization assays in mammalian cells. Furthermore, the co-overexpression of PDCD10 and MST4 promoted cell proliferation and transformation via modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. Potent short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against PDCD10 (siPDCD10) and MST4 (siMST4) were designed to specifically inhibit the expression of PDCD10 and MST4 mRNA, respectively. The induction of siPDCD10 or siMST4 resulted in decreased expression of endogenous PDCD10 or MST4, which was accompanied by reduced ERK activity and attenuated cell growth and anchorage-independent growth. On the other hand, siMST4 had similar effects in PDCD10-overexpressed cells. And more importantly, we confirmed that either overexpressing or endogenous PDCD10 can increase the MST4 kinase activity in vitro. Our results demonstrated that PDCD10 modulation of ERK signaling was mediated by MST4, and PDCD10 could be a regulatory adaptor necessary for MST4 function, suggesting a link between cerebral cavernous malformation pathogenesis and the ERK-MAPK cascade via PDCD10/MST4.
PMCID: PMC1877091  PMID: 17360971
14.  CCM3 signaling through sterile 20–like kinases plays an essential role during zebrafish cardiovascular development and cerebral cavernous malformations 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(8):2795-2804.
Cerebral cavernous malformation is a common human vascular disease that arises due to loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding three intracellular adaptor proteins, cerebral cavernous malformations 1 protein (CCM1), CCM2, and CCM3. CCM1, CCM2, and CCM3 interact biochemically in a pathway required in endothelial cells during cardiovascular development in mice and zebrafish. The downstream effectors by which this signaling pathway regulates endothelial function have not yet been identified. Here we have shown in zebrafish that expression of mutant ccm3 proteins (ccm3Δ) known to cause cerebral cavernous malformation in humans confers cardiovascular phenotypes identical to those associated with loss of ccm1 and ccm2. CCM3Δ proteins interacted with CCM1 and CCM2, but not with other proteins known to bind wild-type CCM3, serine/threonine protein kinase MST4 (MST4), sterile 20–like serine/threonine kinase 24 (STK24), and STK25, all of which have poorly defined biological functions. Cardiovascular phenotypes characteristic of CCM deficiency arose due to stk deficiency and combined low-level deficiency of stks and ccm3 in zebrafish embryos. In cultured human endothelial cells, CCM3 and STK25 regulated barrier function in a manner similar to CCM2, and STKs negatively regulated Rho by directly activating moesin. These studies identify STKs as essential downstream effectors of CCM signaling in development and disease that may regulate both endothelial and epithelial cell junctions.
PMCID: PMC2912181  PMID: 20592472
15.  Fungal Communication Requires the MAK-2 Pathway Elements STE-20 and RAS-2, the NRC-1 Adapter STE-50 and the MAP Kinase Scaffold HAM-5 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(11):e1004762.
Intercellular communication is critical for the survival of unicellular organisms as well as for the development and function of multicellular tissues. Cell-to-cell signaling is also required to develop the interconnected mycelial network characteristic of filamentous fungi and is a prerequisite for symbiotic and pathogenic host colonization achieved by molds. Somatic cell–cell communication and subsequent cell fusion is governed by the MAK-2 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade in the filamentous ascomycete model Neurospora crassa, yet the composition and mode of regulation of the MAK-2 pathway are currently unclear. In order to identify additional components involved in MAK-2 signaling we performed affinity purification experiments coupled to mass spectrometry with strains expressing functional GFP-fusion proteins of the MAPK cascade. This approach identified STE-50 as a regulatory subunit of the Ste11p homolog NRC-1 and HAM-5 as cell-communication-specific scaffold protein of the MAPK cascade. Moreover, we defined a network of proteins consisting of two Ste20-related kinases, the small GTPase RAS-2 and the adenylate cyclase capping protein CAP-1 that function upstream of the MAK-2 pathway and whose signals converge on the NRC-1/STE-50 MAP3K complex and the HAM-5 scaffold. Finally, our data suggest an involvement of the striatin interacting phosphatase and kinase (STRIPAK) complex, the casein kinase 2 heterodimer, the phospholipid flippase modulators YPK-1 and NRC-2 and motor protein-dependent vesicle trafficking in the regulation of MAK-2 pathway activity and function. Taken together, these data will have significant implications for our mechanistic understanding of MAPK signaling and for homotypic cell–cell communication in fungi and higher eukaryotes.
Author Summary
Appropriate cellular responses to external stimuli depend on the highly orchestrated activity of interconnected signaling cascades. One crucial level of control arises from the formation of discrete complexes through scaffold proteins that bind multiple components of a given pathway. Central for our understanding of these signaling platforms is the archetypical MAP kinase scaffold Ste5p, a protein that is restricted to budding yeast and close relatives. We identified HAM-5, a protein highly conserved in filamentous ascomycete fungi, as cell–cell communication-specific scaffold protein of the Neurospora crassa MAK-2 cascade (homologous to the budding yeast pheromone pathway). We also describe a network of upstream acting proteins, consisting of two Ste20-related kinases, the small G-protein RAS-2 and the adenylate cyclase capping protein CAP-1, whose signals converge on HAM-5. Our work has implications for the mechanistic understanding of MAP kinase scaffold proteins and their function during intercellular communication in eukaryotic microbes as well as higher eukaryotes.
PMCID: PMC4239118  PMID: 25411845
16.  Structural Comparison of Human Mammalian Ste20-Like Kinases 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11905.
The serine/threonine mammalian Ste-20 like kinases (MSTs) are key regulators of apoptosis, cellular proliferation as well as polarization. Deregulation of MSTs has been associated with disease progression in prostate and colorectal cancer. The four human MSTs are regulated differently by C-terminal regions flanking the catalytic domains.
Principal Findings
We have determined the crystal structure of kinase domain of MST4 in complex with an ATP-mimetic inhibitor. This is the first structure of an inactive conformation of a member of the MST kinase family. Comparison with active structures of MST3 and MST1 revealed a dimeric association of MST4 suggesting an activation loop exchanged mechanism of MST4 auto-activation. Together with a homology model of MST2 we provide a comparative analysis of the kinase domains for all four members of the human MST family.
The comparative analysis identified new structural features in the MST ATP binding pocket and has also defined the mechanism for autophosphorylation. Both structural features may be further explored for inhibitors design.
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PMCID: PMC2920948  PMID: 20730082
17.  Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Interacts with Proapoptotic Kinase Mst1 to Promote Cardiomyocyte Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58697.
Mammalian sterile 20-like kinase 1 (Mst1) is a critical component of the Hippo signaling pathway, which regulates a variety of biological processes ranging from cell contact inhibition, organ size control, apoptosis and tumor suppression in mammals. Mst1 plays essential roles in the heart disease since its activation causes cardiomyocyte apoptosis and dilated cardiomyopathy. However, the mechanism underlying Mst1 activation in the heart remains unknown. In a yeast two-hybrid screen of a human heart cDNA library with Mst1 as bait, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) was identified as an Mst1-interacting protein. The interaction of GAPDH with Mst1 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation in both co-transfected HEK293 cells and mouse heart homogenates, in which GAPDH interacted with the kinase domain of Mst1, whereas the C-terminal catalytic domain of GAPDH mediated its interaction with Mst1. Moreover, interaction of Mst1 with GAPDH caused a robust phosphorylation of GAPDH and markedly increased the Mst1 activity in cells. Chelerythrine, a potent inducer of apoptosis, substantially increased the nuclear translocation and interaction of GAPDH and Mst1 in cardiomyocytes. Overexpression of GAPDH significantly augmented the Mst1 mediated apoptosis, whereas knockdown of GAPDH markedly attenuated the Mst1 activation and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in response to either chelerythrine or hypoxia/reoxygenation. These findings reveal a novel function of GAPDH in Mst1 activation and cardiomyocyte apoptosis and suggest that disruption of GAPDH interaction with Mst1 may prevent apoptosis related heart diseases such as heart failure and ischemic heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3604124  PMID: 23527007
18.  Protein-L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-Methyltransferase Protects Cardiomyocytes Against Hypoxia Induced Apoptosis Through Inhibiting Proapoptotic Kinase Mst1 
International journal of cardiology  2013;168(4):3291-3299.
Mammalian sterile 20-like kinase 1 (Mst1) is a mammalian homolog of Hippo kinase from Drosophila and it is a critical component of the Hippo signaling pathway, which regulates a variety of biological processes ranging from cell contact inhibition, organ size control, apoptosis and tumor suppression in mammals. Mst1 plays essential roles in the heart disease since its activation causes cardiomyocyte apoptosis and dilated cardiomyopathy. However, the mechanism underlying Mst1 activation in the heart is not known.
Methods and Results
To identify novel cardiac proteins that may regulate Mst1 activity in the heart under pathophysiological conditions, a yeast two-hybrid screen of a human heart cDNA library with a dominant-negative Mst1 (K59R) mutant used as bait was performed. As a result, protein-L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-methyltransferase (PCMT1) was identified as an Mst1-interacting protein. The interaction of PCMT1 with Mst1 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation in both co-transfected HEK293 cells and native cardiomyocytes, in which PCMT1 interacted with the kinase domain of Mst1, but not with its C-terminal regulatory domain. Overexpression of PCMT1 did not affect the Mst1 expression, but significantly attenuated the Mst1 activation and its apoptotic effects in response to the hypoxia/reoxygenation induced injury in cardiomyocytes. Indeed, upregulation of PCMT1 by CGP3466B, a compound related to the anti-Parkinson’s drug R-(−)-deprenyl with potent antiapoptotic effects, inhibited the hypoxia/reoxygenation induced Mst1 activation and cardiomyocte apoptosis.
These findings implicate PCMT1 as a novel inhibitor of Mst1 activation in cardiomyocytes and suggest that targeting PCMT1 may prevent myocardial apoptosis through inhibition of Mst1.
PMCID: PMC3788851  PMID: 23647599
Mst1 kinase; PCMT1; hypoxia/reoxygenation; cardiac myocytes; apoptosis
19.  A WD40 Repeat Protein Regulates Fungal Cell Differentiation and Can Be Replaced Functionally by the Mammalian Homologue Striatin 
Eukaryotic Cell  2004;3(1):232-240.
Fruiting body development in fungi is a complex cellular differentiation process that is controlled by more than 100 developmental genes. Mutants of the filamentous fungus Sordaria macrospora showing defects in fruiting body formation are pertinent sources for the identification of components of this multicellular differentiation process. Here we show that the sterile mutant pro11 carries a defect in the pro11 gene encoding a multimodular WD40 repeat protein. Complementation analysis indicates that the wild-type gene or C-terminally truncated versions of the wild-type protein are able to restore the fertile phenotype in mutant pro11. PRO11 shows significant homology to several vertebrate WD40 proteins, such as striatin and zinedin, which seem to be involved in Ca2+-dependent signaling in cells of the central nervous system and are supposed to function as scaffolding proteins linking signaling and eukaryotic endocytosis. Cloning of a mouse cDNA encoding striatin allowed functional substitution of the wild-type protein with restoration of fertility in mutant pro11. Our data strongly suggest that an evolutionarily conserved cellular process controlling eukaryotic cell differentiation may regulate fruiting body formation.
PMCID: PMC329509  PMID: 14871953
20.  Rapid Estrogen Receptor Signaling is Essential for the Protective Effects of Estrogen Against Vascular Injury 
Circulation  2012;126(16):1993-2004.
Clinical trial and epidemiological data support that the cardiovascular effects of estrogen are complex, including a mixture of both potentially beneficial and harmful effects. In animal models, estrogen protects females from vascular injury and inhibits atherosclerosis. These effects are mediated by estrogen receptors (ERs), which when bound to estrogen can bind to DNA to directly regulate transcription. ERs can also activate several cellular kinases by inducing a “rapid” non-nuclear signaling cascade. However, the biologic significance of this rapid signaling pathway has been unclear.
Methods and Results
Here, we develop a novel transgenic mouse in which rapid signaling is blocked by over-expression of a peptide that prevents ERs from interacting with the scaffold protein, striatin (the Disrupting Peptide Mouse, DPM). Microarray analysis of ex vivo-treated mouse aortas demonstrates that rapid ER signaling plays an important role in estrogen-mediated gene regulatory responses. Disruption of ER-striatin interactions also eliminates the ability of estrogen to stimulate cultured endothelial cell migration and to inhibit cultured vascular smooth muscle cell growth. The importance of these findings is underscored by in vivo experiments demonstrating loss of estrogen-mediated protection against vascular injury in the DPM mouse following carotid artery wire injury.
Taken together, these results support that rapid, non-nuclear ER signaling contributes to the transcriptional regulatory functions of ER, and is essential for many of the vasoprotective effects of estrogen. These findings also identify the rapid ER signaling pathway as a potential target for the development of novel therapeutic agents.
PMCID: PMC3780602  PMID: 22997253
cardiovascular diseases; hormones; molecular biology; signal transduction
The Biochemical journal  2009;418(1):93-101.
Mammalian sterile 20—like kinase 1 (Mst1) is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase and its activation in the heart causes cardiomyocyte apoptosis and dilated cardiomyopathy. Its myocardial substrates, however, remain unknown. In a yeast two-hybrid screen of human heart cDNA library with a dominant negative Mst1 (K59R) as bait, cardiac troponin I (cTnI) was identified as an Mst1-interacting protein. The interaction of cTnI with Mst1 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation in both co-transfected HEK293 cells and native cardiac myocytes, in which cTnI interacted with full length Mst1, but not with its N-terminal kinase fragment. In vitro phosphorylation assays demonstrated that cTnI is a sensitive substrate for Mst1 in its free form or in reconstituted troponin complex. In contrast, cardiac TnT was phosphorylated by Mst1 only when incorporated in the troponin complex. Mass spectrometric analysis indicated that Mst1 phosphorylates cTnI at Thr31, Thr51, Thr129, and Thr143. Substitution of Thr31 with Ala substantially reduced Mst1-mediated cTnI phosphorylation by approximately 90%, while replacement of either Thr51 orThr129, or Thr143 with Ala reduced Mst1-catalyzed cTnI phosphorylation by approximately 60%, suggesting that Thr31 is a preferential phosphorylation site for Mst1. Protein epitope analysis and binding assays showed that Mst1 mediated phosphorylation modulates the molecular conformation of cTnI and its binding affinity to TnT and TnC, thus indicating functional significances. Our results suggest that Mst1 is a novel mediator of cTnI and/or cTnT phosphorylation in the heart and may contribute to the modulation of myofilament function under a variety of physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC2754779  PMID: 18986304
Mst1; cardiac troponin I; substrate; myofilament; contractility; kinase
22.  Genome-wide association identifies a deletion in the 3’ untranslated region of Striatin in a canine model of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy 
Human genetics  2010;128(3):315-324.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a familial cardiac disease characterized by ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. It is most frequently inherited as an autosomal dominant trait with incomplete and age-related penetrance and variable clinical expression. The human disease is most commonly associated with a causative mutation in one of several genes encoding desmosomal proteins.
We have previously described a spontaneous canine model of ARVC in the boxer dog. We phenotyped adult boxer dogs for ARVC by performing physical examination, echocardiogram and ambulatory electrocardiogram. Genome-wide association using the canine 50k SNP array identified several regions of association, of which the strongest resided on chromosome 17. Fine-mapping and direct DNA sequencing identified an eight base pair deletion in the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of the striatin (STRN) gene on chromosome 17 in association with ARVC in the boxer dog. Evaluation of the secondary structure of the 3’ UTR demonstrated that the deletion affects a stem loop structure of the mRNA and expression analysis identified a reduction in striatin mRNA. Dogs that were homozygous for the deletion had a more severe form of disease based on a significantly higher number of ventricular premature complexes. Immunofluorescence studies localized striatin to the intercalated disc region of the cardiac myocyte and co-localized it to three desmosomal proteins, plakophilin- 2, plakoglobin and desmoplakin, all involved in the pathogenesis of ARVC in human beings.
We suggest that striatin may serve as a novel candidate gene for human ARVC.
PMCID: PMC2962869  PMID: 20596727
23.  Protein Kinases of the Hippo Pathway: Regulation and Substrates 
The “Hippo” signaling pathway has emerged as a major regulator of cell proliferation and survival in metazoans. The pathway, as delineated by genetic and biochemical studies in Drosophila, consists of a kinase cascade regulated by cell-cell contact and cell polarity that inhibits the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie and its proliferative, anti-differentiation, antiapoptotic transcriptional program. The core pathway components are the GC kinase Hippo, which phosphorylates the noncatalytic polypeptide Mats/Mob1 and, with the assistance of the scaffold protein Salvador, phosphorylates the ndr-family kinase Lats. In turn phospho-Lats, after binding to phospho-Mats, autoactivates and phosphorylates Yorkie, resulting in its nuclear exit. Hippo also uses the scaffold protein Furry and a different Mob protein to control another ndr-like kinase, the morphogenetic regulator Tricornered. Architecturally homologous kinase cascades consisting of a GC kinase, a Mob protein, a scaffolding polypeptide and an ndr-like kinase are well described in yeast; in S. cerevisiae e.g., the MEN pathway promotes mitotic exit whereas the RAM network, using a different GC kinase, Mob protein, scaffold and ndr-like kinase, regulates cell polarity and morphogenesis. In mammals, the Hippo orthologues Mst1 and Mst2 utilize the Salvador ortholog WW45/Sav1 and other scaffolds to regulate the kinases Lats1/Lats2 and ndr1/ndr2. As in Drosophila, murine Mst1/Mst2, in a redundant manner, negatively regulate the Yorkie ortholog YAP in the epithelial cells of the liver and gut; loss of both Mst1 and Mst2 results in hyperproliferation and tumorigenesis that can be largely negated by reduction or elimination of YAP. Despite this conservation, considerable diversification in pathway composition and regulation is already evident; in skin e.g., YAP phosphorylation is independent of Mst1Mst2 and Lats1Lats2. Moreover, in lymphoid cells, Mst1/Mst2, under the control of the Rap1 GTPase and independent of YAP, promotes integrin clustering, actin remodeling and motility while restraining the proliferation of naïve T cells. This review will summarize current knowledge of the structure and regulation of the kinases Hippo/Mst1&2, their noncatalytic binding partners, Salvador and the Rassf polypeptides, and their major substrates Warts/Lats1&2, Trc/ndr1&2, Mats/Mob1 and FOXO.
PMCID: PMC3489012  PMID: 22898666
Protein kinase; Hippo; Mst1/2; Mob1; Lats1/2; ndr1/2
24.  RASSF2 associates with and stabilises the proapoptotic kinase MST2 
Oncogene  2009;28(33):2988-2998.
RASSF2 is a tumour suppressor that in common with the rest of the RASSF family contains Ras association and SARAH domains. We identified the proapoptotic kinases MST1 and MST2 as the most significant binding partners of RASSF2, confirmed the interactions at endogenous levels and demonstrated that RASSF2 immunoprecipitates active MST1/2. We then demonstrated that RASSF2 can be phosphorylated by a co-immunoprecipitating kinase which is likely to be MST1/2. Furthermore, we demonstrated that RASSF2 and MST2 do indeed colocalise, but whilst RASSF2 alone is nuclear, the presence of MST1 or MST2 results in colocalisation in the cytoplasm. Expression of RASSF2 (stably in MCF7 or transiently in HEK-293) increases MST2 levels and knockdown of RASSF2 in HEK-293 cells reduces MST2 levels, additionally colorectal tumour cell lines and primary tumours with low RASSF2 levels show decreased MST2 protein levels. This is likely to be mediated by RASSF2-dependent protection of MST2 against proteolytic degradation. Our findings suggest that MST2 and RASSF2 form an active complex in vivo where RASSF2 is maintained in a phosphorylated state and protects MST2 from degradation and turnover. Thus we propose that the frequent loss of RASSF2 in tumours results in destabilisation of MST2 and thus decreased apoptotic potential.
PMCID: PMC2829092  PMID: 19525978
RASSF2; MST2; MST1; proteomics; epigenetics
25.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic studies of CCM3 in complex with the C-terminal domain of MST4 
The complex of CCM3 and the C-terminal domain of MST4 has been successfully constructed, purified and crystallized. The crystal diffracted to a resolution of 2.4 Å.
MST4 is a member of the GCKIII kinases. The interaction between cerebral cavernous malformation 3 (CCM3) and GCKIII kinases plays a critical role in cardiovascular development and in cerebral cavernous malformations. The complex of CCM3 and the C-terminal domain of MST4 has been constructed, purified and crystallized, and a diffraction data set has been collected to 2.4 Å resolution. The crystal of the CCM3–MST4 C-terminal domain complex belonged to space group P41212 or P43212, with unit-cell parameters a = 69.10, b = 69.10, c = 117.57 Å.
PMCID: PMC3388915  PMID: 22750858
cerebral cavernous malformations; GCKIII kinases; CCM3–MST4 C-terminal domain complex

Results 1-25 (1050934)