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1.  Dystroglycan is associated to the disulfide isomerase ERp57 
Experimental Cell Research  2012;318(19):2460-2469.
Dystroglycan (DG) is an extracellular receptor composed of two subunits, α-DG and β-DG, connected through the α-DG C-terminal domain and the β-DG N-terminal domain. We report an alanine scanning of all DG cysteine residues performed on DG-GFP constructs overexpressed in 293-Ebna cells, demonstrating that Cys-669 and Cys-713, both located within the β-DG N-terminal domain, are key residues for the DG precursor cleavage and trafficking, but not for the interaction between the two DG subunits. In addition, we have used immunprecipitation and confocal microscopy showing that ERp57, a member of the disulfide isomerase family involved in glycoprotein folding, is associated and colocalizes immunohistochemically with β-DG in the ER and at the plasma membrane of 293-Ebna cells. The β-DG–ERp57 complex also included α-DG. DG mutants, unable to undergo the precursor cleavage, were still associated to ERp57. β-DG and ERp57 were also co-immunoprecipitated in rat heart and kidney tissues. In vitro, a mutant ERp57, mimicking the reduced form of the wild-type protein, interacts directly with the recombinant N-terminal domain of both α-DG and β-DG with apparent dissociation constant values in the micromolar range. ERp57 is likely to be involved in the DG processing/maturation pathway, but its association to the mature DG complex might also suggest some further functional role that needs to be investigated.
► Cys-669 and Cys-713 are key residues for dystroglycan precursor cleavage. ► ERp57 is co-immunopurified with dystroglycan. ► ERp57 co-localizes with dystroglycan in the ER and at the plasma membrane. ► Recombinant ERp57 binds directly to dystroglycan recombinant domains.
PMCID: PMC3459099  PMID: 22814252
DG, dystroglycan; pre-DG, dystroglycan precursor; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; DTT, dithiothreitol; sWGL, succinylated wheat germ lectin; Dystroglycan; ERp57; Immunoprecipitation; Fluorescence microscopy; Solid-phase binding assay
2.  The glucuronyltransferase B4GAT1 is required for initiation of LARGE-mediated α-dystroglycan functional glycosylation 
eLife  2014;3:e03941.
Dystroglycan is a cell membrane receptor that organizes the basement membrane by binding ligands in the extracellular matrix. Proper glycosylation of the α-dystroglycan (α-DG) subunit is essential for these activities, and lack thereof results in neuromuscular disease. Currently, neither the glycan synthesis pathway nor the roles of many known or putative glycosyltransferases that are essential for this process are well understood. Here we show that FKRP, FKTN, TMEM5 and B4GAT1 (formerly known as B3GNT1) localize to the Golgi and contribute to the O-mannosyl post-phosphorylation modification of α-DG. Moreover, we assigned B4GAT1 a function as a xylose β1,4-glucuronyltransferase. Nuclear magnetic resonance studies confirmed that a glucuronic acid β1,4-xylose disaccharide synthesized by B4GAT1 acts as an acceptor primer that can be elongated by LARGE with the ligand-binding heteropolysaccharide. Our findings greatly broaden the understanding of α-DG glycosylation and provide mechanistic insight into why mutations in B4GAT1 disrupt dystroglycan function and cause disease.
eLife digest
Dystroglycan is a protein that is critical for the proper function of many tissues, especially muscles and brain. Dystroglycan helps to connect the structural network inside the cell with the matrix outside of the cell. The extracellular matrix fills the space between the cells to serve as a scaffold and hold cells together within a tissue. It is well established that the interaction of cells with their extracellular environments is important for structuring tissues, as well as for helping cells to specialize and migrate. These interactions also play a role in the progression of cancer.
As is the case for many proteins, dystroglycan must be modified with particular sugar molecules in order to work correctly. Enzymes called glycosyltransferases are responsible for sequentially assembling a complex array of sugar molecules on dystroglycan. This modification is essential for making dystroglycan ‘sticky’, so it can bind to the components of the extracellular matrix. If sugar molecules are added incorrectly, dystroglycan loses its ability to bind to these components. This causes congenital muscular dystrophies, a group of diseases that are characterized by a progressive loss of muscle function.
Willer et al. use a wide range of experimental techniques to investigate the types of sugar molecules added to dystroglycan, the overall structure of the resulting ‘sticky’ complex and the mechanism whereby it is built. This reveals that a glycosyltransferase known as B3GNT1 is one of the enzymes responsible for adding a sugar molecule to the complex. This enzyme was first described in the literature over a decade ago, and the name B3GNT1 was assigned, according to a code, to reflect the sugar molecule it was thought to transfer to proteins. However, Willer et al. (and independently, Praissman et al.) find that this enzyme actually attaches a different sugar modification to dystroglycan, and so should therefore be called B4GAT1 instead.
Willer et al. find that the sugar molecule added by the B4GAT1 enzyme acts as a platform for the assembly of a much larger sugar polymer that cells use to anchor themselves within a tissue. Some viruses–including Lassa virus, which causes severe fever and bleeding–also use the ‘sticky’ sugar modification of dystroglycan to bind to and invade cells, causing disease in humans. Understanding the structure of this complex, and how these sugar modifications are added to dystroglycan, could therefore help to develop treatments for a wide range of diseases like progressive muscle weakening and viral infections.
PMCID: PMC4227050  PMID: 25279699
glycosylation; B4GAT1; B3GNT1; LARGE; alpha-dystroglycan; basement membrane; mouse
3.  Inhibition of Ubiquitination and Stabilization of Human Ubiquitin E3 Ligase PIRH2 by Measles Virus Phosphoprotein 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(18):11824-11836.
Using a C-terminal domain (PCT) of the measles virus (MV) phosphoprotein (P protein) as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen, a cDNA identical to the recently described human p53-induced-RING-H2 (hPIRH2) cDNA was isolated. A glutathione S-transferase-hPIRH2 fusion protein expressed in bacteria was able to pull down P protein when mixed with an extract from P-expressing HeLa cells in vitro, and myc-tagged hPIRH2 could be reciprocally coimmunoprecipitated with MV P protein from human cells. Additionally, immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that hPIRH2-myc, MV P, and nucleocapsid (N) proteins form a ternary complex. The hPIRH2 binding site was mapped to the C-terminal X domain region of the P protein by using a yeast two-hybrid assay. The PCT binding site was mapped on hPIRH2 by using a novel yeast two-hybrid tagged PCR approach and by coimmunoprecipitation of hPIRH2 cysteine mutants and mouse/human PIRH2 chimeras. The hPIRH2 C terminus could mediate the interaction with MV P which was favored by the RING-H2 motif. When coexpressed with an enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged hPIRH2 protein, MV P alone or in a complex with MV N was able to redistribute hPIRH2 to outside the nucleus, within intracellular aggregates. Finally, MV P efficiently stabilized hPIRH2-myc expression and prevented its ubiquitination in vivo but had no effect on the stability or ubiquitination of an alternative ubiquitin E3 ligase, Mdm2. Thus, MV P protein is the first protein from a pathogen that is able to specifically interact with and stabilize the ubiquitin E3 ligase hPIRH2 by preventing its ubiquitination.
PMCID: PMC1212616  PMID: 16140759
4.  Fluorescent Fusion Proteins of Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase Indicate Proximity of the Heme Nitric Oxide Domain and Catalytic Domain 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11617.
To examine the structural organisation of heterodimeric soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) was measured between fluorescent proteins fused to the amino- and carboxy-terminal ends of the sGC β1 and α subunits.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) was used as FRET donor and yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) as FRET acceptor. After generation of recombinant baculovirus, fluorescent-tagged sGC subunits were co-expressed in Sf9 cells. Fluorescent variants of sGC were analyzed in vitro in cytosolic fractions by sensitized emission FRET. Co-expression of the amino-terminally tagged α subunits with the carboxy-terminally tagged β1 subunit resulted in an enzyme complex that showed a FRET efficiency of 10% similar to fluorescent proteins separated by a helix of only 48 amino acids. Because these findings indicated that the amino-terminus of the α subunits is close to the carboxy-terminus of the β1 subunit we constructed fusion proteins where both subunits are connected by a fluorescent protein. The resulting constructs were not only fluorescent, they also showed preserved enzyme activity and regulation by NO.
Based on the ability of an amino-terminal fragment of the β1 subunit to inhibit activity of an heterodimer consisting only of the catalytic domains (αcatβcat), Winger and Marletta (Biochemistry 2005, 44:4083–90) have proposed a direct interaction of the amino-terminal region of β1 with the catalytic domains. In support of such a concept of “trans” regulation of sGC activity by the H-NOX domains our results indicate that the domains within sGC are organized in a way that allows for direct interaction of the amino-terminal regulatory domains with the carboxy-terminal catalytic region. In addition, we constructed “fluorescent-conjoined” sGC's by fusion of the α amino-terminus to the β1 carboxy-terminus leading to a monomeric, fluorescent and functional enzyme complex. To our knowledge this represents the first example where a fluorescent protein links two different subunits of a higher ordered complex to yield a stoichometrically fixed functionally active monomer.
PMCID: PMC2904703  PMID: 20657650
5.  Evidence that a Single Monomer of Spx Can Productively Interact with RNA Polymerase in Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(7):1697-1707.
Spx activates transcription initiation in Bacillus subtilis by directly interacting with the C-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme α subunit, which generates a complex that recognizes the promoter regions of genes within the Spx regulon. Many Gram-positive species possess multiple paralogs of Spx, suggesting that two paralogous forms of Spx could simultaneously contact RNAP. The composition of Spx/RNAP was examined in vitro using an Spx variant (SpxΔCHA) bearing a 12-amino-acid deletion of the C terminus (SpxΔC) and a hemagglutinin (HA) epitope tag and Spxc-Myc, a full-length Spx with a C-terminal myelocytomatosis oncoprotein (c-Myc) epitope tag. All Spx/RNAP complexes bearing deletion or C-terminal-tagged variants were transcriptionally active in vivo and in vitro. Reaction mixtures containing SpxΔCHA and Spxc-Myc combined with RNAP were applied to either anti-HA or anti-c-Myc affinity columns. Eluted fractions contained RNAP with only one of the epitope-tagged Spx derivatives. The resin-bound RNAP complex bearing a single epitope-tagged Spx derivative was transcriptionally active. In vivo production of SpxΔC and SpxΔCHA followed by anti-HA affinity column chromatography of a cleared lysate resulted in retrieval of Spx/RNAP with only the SpxΔCHA derivative. Binding reactions that combined active Spxc-Myc, inactive Spx(R60E)ΔCHA, and RNAP, when applied to the anti-HA affinity column, yielded only inactive Spx(R60E)ΔCHA/RNAP complexes. The results strongly argue for a model in which a single Spx monomer engages RNAP to generate an active transcriptional complex.
PMCID: PMC3302468  PMID: 22307755
6.  Construction and Application of Epitope- and Green Fluorescent Protein-Tagging Integration Vectors for Bacillus subtilis 
Here we describe the construction and application of six new tagging vectors allowing the fusion of two different types of tagging sequences, epitope and localization tags, to any Bacillus subtilis protein. These vectors are based on the backbone of pMUTIN2 and replace the lacZ gene with tagging sequences. Fusion of the tagging sequences occurs by PCR amplification of the 3′ terminal part of the gene of interest (about 300 bp), insertion into the tagging vector in such a way that a fusion protein will be synthesized upon integration of the whole vector via homologous recombination with the chromosomal gene. Three of these tagging sequences (FLAG, hemagglutinin, and c-Myc) allow the covalent addition of a short epitope tag and thereby detection of the fusion proteins in immunoblots, while three other tags (green fluorescent protein+, yellow fluorescent protein, and cyan fluorescent protein) are helpful in assigning proteins within one of the compartments of the cell. The versatility of these vectors was demonstrated by fusing these tags to the cytoplasmically located HtpG and the inner membrane protein FtsH.
PMCID: PMC127589  PMID: 11976148
7.  Engineering a Novel Multifunctional Green Fluorescent Protein Tag for a Wide Variety of Protein Research 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3822.
Genetically encoded tag is a powerful tool for protein research. Various kinds of tags have been developed: fluorescent proteins for live-cell imaging, affinity tags for protein isolation, and epitope tags for immunological detections. One of the major problems concerning the protein tagging is that many constructs with different tags have to be made for different applications, which is time- and resource-consuming.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we report a novel multifunctional green fluorescent protein (mfGFP) tag which was engineered by inserting multiple peptide tags, i.e., octa-histidine (8×His), streptavidin-binding peptide (SBP), and c-Myc tag, in tandem into a loop of GFP. When fused to various proteins, mfGFP monitored their localization in living cells. Streptavidin agarose column chromatography with the SBP tag successfully isolated the protein complexes in a native form with a high purity. Tandem affinity purification (TAP) with 8×His and SBP tags in mfGFP further purified the protein complexes. mfGFP was clearly detected by c-Myc-specific antibody both in immunofluorescence and immuno-electron microscopy (EM). These findings indicate that mfGFP works well as a multifunctional tag in mammalian cells. The tag insertion was also successful in other fluorescent protein, mCherry.
Conclusions and Significance
The multifunctional fluorescent protein tag is a useful tool for a wide variety of protein research, and may have the advantage over other multiple tag systems in its higher expandability and compatibility with existing and future tag technologies.
PMCID: PMC2585475  PMID: 19048102
8.  Follice-Stimulating Hormone Receptor Forms Oligomers and Shows Evidence of Carboxyl-Terminal Proteolytic Processing 
Endocrinology  2007;148(5):1987-1995.
FSH receptor (FSHR), a member of the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily, is present in the plasma membrane of ovarian granulosa cells and testicular Sertoli cells. FSH regulates normal ovarian follicle development and spermatogenesis through FSHR. The extracellular domain of FSHR is a weakly associated homodimer in the recently solved crystal structure of FSH in complex with the extracellular domain of FSHR. However, there is currently no biochemical data that demonstrate that FSHR exists as a dimer or higher-order oligomer in cell membranes. A fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay was used to determine whether full-length native FSHR is an oligomer. FSHR-specific monoclonal antibody or Fab fragments, labeled with two different fluorophores, allowed the study of nontagged receptor in situ. Unoccupied FSHR exhibited strong fluorescence resonance energy transfer profiles in situ. Complementary coimmunoprecipitation experiments of myc- or FLAG-tagged FSHR indicated that FSHR forms oligomers early in receptor biosynthesis. No effect of FSH treatment was observed. Thus, immature forms of FSHR, not yet fully processed, were observed to coimmuno-precipitate. An unexpected observation was made that the C-terminal epitope tags are removed from FSHR before arrival at the cell surface. These results provide the first evidence for oligomers of full-length FSHR in situ and for C-terminal proteolytic processing of FSHR and that both events take place during biosynthesis. This may explain how heterozygous mutations in the FSHR gene that affect receptor trafficking may be ameliorated by oligomer formation.
PMCID: PMC3113408  PMID: 17272391
9.  Bacterial Phage Receptors, Versatile Tools for Display of Polypeptides on the Cell Surface 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(23):6924-6935.
Four outer membrane proteins of Escherichia coli were examined for their capabilities and limitations in displaying heterologous peptide inserts on the bacterial cell surface. The T7 tag or multiple copies of the myc epitope were inserted into loops 4 and 5 of the ferrichrome and phage T5 receptor FhuA. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis showed that peptides of up to 250 amino acids were efficiently displayed on the surface of E. coli as inserts within FhuA. Strains expressing FhuA fusion proteins behaved similarly to those expressing wild-type FhuA, as judged by phage infection and colicin sensitivity. The vitamin B12 and phage BF23 receptor BtuB could display peptide inserts of at least 86 amino acids containing the T7 tag. In contrast, the receptors of the phages K3 and λ, OmpA and LamB, accepted only insertions in their respective loop 4 of up to 40 amino acids containing the T7 tag. The insertion of larger fragments resulted in inefficient transport and/or assembly of OmpA and LamB fusion proteins into the outer membrane. Cells displaying a foreign peptide fused to any one of these outer membrane proteins were almost completely recovered by magnetic cell sorting from a large pool of cells expressing the relevant wild-type platform protein only. Thus, this approach offers a fast and simple screening procedure for cells displaying heterologous polypeptides. The combination of FhuA, along with with BtuB and LamB, should provide a comprehensive tool for displaying complex peptide libraries of various insert sizes on the surface of E. coli for diverse applications.
PMCID: PMC95534  PMID: 11698382
10.  The Pleckstrin Homology (PH) Domain-Interacting Protein Couples the Insulin Receptor Substrate 1 PH Domain to Insulin Signaling Pathways Leading to Mitogenesis and GLUT4 Translocation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(20):7325-7336.
Receptor-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) is required for the propagation of many of insulin's biological effects. The amino-terminal pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of IRS-1 plays a pivotal role in promoting insulin receptor (IR)-IRS-1 protein interactions. We have recently reported the isolation of a PH domain-interacting protein, PHIP, which selectively binds to the IRS-1 PH domain and is stably associated with IRS-1 in mammalian cells. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of PHIP in fibroblasts enhances insulin-induced transcriptional responses in a mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent manner. In contrast, a dominant-negative mutant of PHIP (DN-PHIP) was shown to specifically block transcriptional and mitogenic signals elicited by insulin and not serum. In order to examine whether PHIP/IRS-1 complexes participate in the signal transduction pathway linking the IR to GLUT4 traffic in muscle cells, L6 myoblasts stably expressing a myc-tagged GLUT4 construct (L6GLUT4myc) were transfected with either wild-type or dominant-interfering forms of PHIP. Whereas insulin-dependent GLUT4myc membrane translocation was not affected by overexpression of PHIP, DN-PHIP caused a nearly complete inhibition of GLUT4 translocation, in a manner identical to that observed with a dominant-negative mutant of the p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (Δp85). Furthermore, DN-PHIP markedly inhibited insulin-stimulated actin cytoskeletal reorganization, a process required for the productive incorporation of GLUT4 vesicles at the cell surface in L6 cells. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that PHIP represents a physiological protein ligand of the IRS-1 PH domain, which plays an important role in insulin receptor-mediated mitogenic and metabolic signal transduction.
PMCID: PMC139823  PMID: 12242307
11.  The Myc negative autoregulation mechanism requires Myc-Max association and involves the c-myc P2 minimal promoter. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(1):100-114.
Increasing evidence supports an important biological role for Myc in the downregulation of specific gene transcription. Recent studies suggest that c-Myc may suppress promoter activity through proteins of the basal transcription machinery. We have previously reported that Myc protein, in combination with additional cellular factors, suppresses transcription initiation from the c-myc promoter. To characterize the cis components of this Myc negative autoregulation pathway, fragments of the human c-myc promoter were inserted upstream of luciferase reporter genes and assayed for responsiveness to inducible MycER activation in Rat-1 fibroblasts. We found four- to fivefold suppression of a c-myc P2 minimal promoter fragment upon induction of wild-type MycER protein activity, while induction of a mutant MycER protein lacking amino acids 106 to 143 required for Myc autosuppression failed to elicit this response. This assay is physiologically significant, as it reflects Myc autosuppression of the endogenous c-myc gene with regard to kinetics, dose dependency, cell type specificity, and c-Myc functional domains. Analysis of mutations within the P2 minimal promoter indicated that the cis components of Myc autosuppression could not be ascribed to any known protein-binding motifs. In addition, to address the trans factors required for Myc negative autoregulation, we expressed MycEG and MaxEG leucine zipper dimerization mutants in Rat-1 cells and found that Myc-Max heterodimerization is obligatory for Myc autosuppression. Two models for the Myc autosuppression mechanism are discussed.
PMCID: PMC231734  PMID: 8972190
12.  Cell Surface Localization of α3β4 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Is Regulated by N-Cadherin Homotypic Binding and Actomyosin Contractility 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62435.
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are widely expressed throughout the central and peripheral nervous system and are localized at synaptic and extrasynaptic sites of the cell membrane. However, the mechanisms regulating the localization of nicotinic receptors in distinct domains of the cell membrane are not well understood. N-cadherin is a cell adhesion molecule that mediates homotypic binding between apposed cell membranes and regulates the actin cytoskeleton through protein interactions with the cytoplasmic domain. At synaptic contacts, N-cadherin is commonly localized adjacent to the active zone and the postsynaptic density, suggesting that N-cadherin contributes to the assembly of the synaptic complex. To examine whether N-cadherin homotypic binding regulates the cell surface localization of nicotinic receptors, this study used heterologous expression of N-cadherin and α3β4 nAChR subunits C-terminally fused to a myc-tag epitope in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Expression levels of α3β4 nAChRs at cell-cell contacts and at contact-free cell membrane were analyzed by confocal microscopy. α3β4 nAChRs were found distributed over the entire surface of contacting cells lacking N-cadherin. In contrast, N-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts were devoid of α3β4 nAChRs. Cell-cell contacts mediated by N-cadherin-deleted proteins lacking the β-catenin binding region or the entire cytoplasmic domain showed control levels of α3β4 nAChRs expression. Inhibition of actin polymerization with latrunculin A and cytochalasin D did not affect α3β4 nAChRs localization within N-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts. However, treatment with the Rho associated kinase inhibitor Y27632 resulted in a significant increase in α3β4 nAChR levels within N-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts. Analysis of α3β4 nAChRs localization in polarized Caco-2 cells showed specific expression on the apical cell membrane and colocalization with apical F-actin and the actin nucleator Arp3. These results indicate that actomyosin contractility downstream of N-cadherin homotypic binding regulates the cell surface localization of α3β4 nAChRs presumably through interactions with a particular pool of F-actin.
PMCID: PMC3633863  PMID: 23626818
13.  A membrane-proximal region of the interleukin-2 receptor gamma c chain sufficient for Jak kinase activation and induction of proliferation in T cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(1):309-317.
The interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor (IL-2R) consists of three distinct subunits (alpha, beta, and gamma c) and regulates proliferation of T lymphocytes. Intracellular signalling results from ligand-mediated heterodimerization of the cytoplasmic domains of the beta and gamma c chains. To identify the residues of gamma c critical to this process, mutations were introduced into the cytoplasmic domain, and the effects on signalling were analyzed in the IL-2-dependent T-cell line CTLL2 and T-helper clone D10, using chimeric IL-2R chains that bind and are activated by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Whereas previous studies of fibroblasts and transformed T cells have suggested that signalling by gamma c requires both membrane-proximal and C-terminal subdomains, our results for IL-2-dependent T cells demonstrate that the membrane-proximal 52 amino acids are sufficient to mediate a normal proliferative response, including induction of the proto-oncogenes c-myc and c-fos. Although gamma c is phosphorylated on tyrosine upon receptor activation and could potentially interact with downstream molecules containing SH2 domains, cytoplasmic tyrosine residues were dispensable for mitogenic signalling. However, deletion of a membrane-proximal region conserved among other cytokine receptors (cytoplasmic residues 5 to 37) or an adjacent region unique to gamma c (residues 40 to 52) abrogated functional interaction of the receptor chain with the tyrosine kinase Jak3. This correlated with a loss of all signalling events analyzed, including phosphorylation of the IL-2R beta-associated kinase Jak1, expression of c-myc and c-fos, and induction of the proliferative response. Thus, it appears in T cells that Jak3 is a critical mediator of mitogenic signaling by the gamma c chain.
PMCID: PMC231005  PMID: 8524310
14.  Impact of Cell Type and Epitope Tagging on Heterologous Expression of G Protein-Coupled Receptor: A Systematic Study on Angiotensin Type II Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47016.
Despite heterologous expression of epitope-tagged GPCR is widely adopted for functional characterization, there is lacking of systematic analysis of the impact of expression host and epitope tag on GPCR expression. Angiotensin type II (AT2) receptor displays agonist-dependent and -independent activities, coupling to a spectrum of signaling molecules. However, consensus has not been reached on the subcellular distributions, signaling cascades and receptor-mediated actions. To examine the contributions of host cell and epitope tag on receptor expression and activity, epitope-tagged AT2 receptor variants were transiently or stably expressed in HEK293, CHO-K1 and PC12 cells. The epitope-tagged AT2 receptor variants were detected both on the cell membrane and in the perinuclear region. In transiently transfected HEK293 cells, Myc-AT2 existed predominantly as monomer. Additionally, a ladder of ubiquitinated AT2 receptor proteins was detected. By contrast, stably expressed epitope-tagged AT2 receptor variants existed as both monomer and high molecular weight complexes, and the latter was enriched in cell surface. Glycosylation promoted cell surface expression of Myc-AT2 but had no effect on AT2-GFP in HEK293 cells. In cells that stably expressed Myc-AT2, serum starvation induced apoptosis in CHO-K1 cells but not in HEK293 or PC12 cells. Instead, HEK293 and PC12 cells stably expressing Myc-AT2 exhibited partial cell cycle arrest with cells accumulating at G1 and S phases, respectively. Taken together, these results suggest that expression levels, subcellular distributions and ligand-independent constitutive activities of AT2 receptor were cell type-dependent while posttranslational processing of nascent AT2 receptor protein was modulated by epitope tag and mode of expression.
PMCID: PMC3466278  PMID: 23056563
15.  A dual tag system for facilitated detection of surface expressed proteins in Escherichia coli 
The discovery of the autotransporter family has provided a mechanism for surface expression of proteins in laboratory strains of Escherichia coli. We have previously reported the use of the AIDA-I autotransport system to express the Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis proteins SefA and H:gm. The SefA protein was successfully exposed to the medium, but the orientation of H:gm in the outer membrane could not be determined due to proteolytic cleavage of the N-terminal detection-tag. The goal of the present work was therefore to construct a vector containing elements that facilitates analysis of surface expression, especially for proteins that are sensitive to proteolysis or otherwise difficult to express.
The surface expression system pAIDA1 was created with two detection tags flanking the passenger protein. Successful expression of SefA and H:gm on the surface of E. coli was confirmed with fluorescently labeled antibodies specific for the N-terminal His6-tag and the C-terminal Myc-tag. While both tags were detected during SefA expression, only the Myc-tag could be detected for H:gm. The negative signal indicates a proteolytic cleavage of this protein that removes the His6-tag facing the medium.
Expression levels from pAIDA1 were comparable to or higher than those achieved with the formerly used vector. The presence of the Myc- but not of the His6-tag on the cell surface during H:gm expression allowed us to confirm the hypothesis that this fusion protein was present on the surface and oriented towards the cell exterior. Western blot analysis revealed degradation products of the same molecular weight for SefA and H:gm. The size of these fragments suggests that both fusion proteins have been cleaved at a specific site close to the C-terminal end of the passenger. This proteolysis was concluded to take place either in the outer membrane or in the periplasm. Since H:gm was cleaved to a much greater extent then the three times smaller SefA, it is proposed that the longer translocation time for the larger H:gm makes it more susceptible to proteolysis.
PMCID: PMC3511212  PMID: 22943700
AIDA; Surface expression; Autotransport; Escherichia coli; Proteolysis; Detection tag
16.  Binding of an ankyrin-1 isoform to obscurin suggests a molecular link between the sarcoplasmic reticulum and myofibrils in striated muscles 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;160(2):245-253.
Assembly of specialized membrane domains, both of the plasma membrane and of the ER, is necessary for the physiological activity of striated muscle cells. The mechanisms that mediate the structural organization of the sarcoplasmic reticulum with respect to the myofibrils are, however, not known. We report here that ank1.5, a small splice variant of the ank1 gene localized on the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane, is capable of interacting with a sequence of 25 aa located at the COOH terminus of obscurin. Obscurin is a giant sarcomeric protein of ∼800 kD that binds to titin and has been proposed to mediate interactions between myofibrils and other cellular structures. The binding sites and the critical aa required in the interaction between ank1.5 and obscurin were characterized using the yeast two-hybrid system, in in vitro pull-down assays and in experiments in heterologous cells. In differentiated skeletal muscle cells, a transfected myc-tagged ank1.5 was found to be selectively restricted near the M line region where it colocalized with endogenous obscurin. The M line localization of ank1.5 required a functional obscurin-binding site, because mutations of this domain resulted in a diffused distribution of the mutant ank1.5 protein in skeletal muscle cells. The interaction between ank1.5 and obscurin represents the first direct evidence of two proteins that may provide a direct link between the sarcoplasmic reticulum and myofibrils.
In keeping with the proposed role of obscurin in mediating an interaction with ankyrins and sarcoplasmic reticulum, we have also found that a sequence with homology to the obscurin-binding site of ank1.5 is present in the ank2.2 isoform, which in striated muscles has been also shown to associate with the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Accordingly, a peptide containing the COOH terminus of ank2.2 fused with GST was found to bind to obscurin. Based on reported evidence showing that the COOH terminus of ank2.2 is necessary for the localization of ryanodine receptors and InsP3 receptors in the sarcoplasmic reticulum, we propose that obscurin, through multiple interactions with ank1.5 and ank2.2 isoforms, may assemble a large protein complex that, in addition to a structural function, may play a role in the organization of specific subdomains in the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
PMCID: PMC2172649  PMID: 12527750
sarcoplasmic reticulum; calcium release; ryanodine receptors; InsP3 receptors; endoplasmic reticulum
17.  SIRT1 Promotes N-Myc Oncogenesis through a Positive Feedback Loop Involving the Effects of MKP3 and ERK on N-Myc Protein Stability 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(6):e1002135.
The N-Myc oncoprotein is a critical factor in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis which requires additional mechanisms converting a low-level to a high-level N-Myc expression. N-Myc protein is stabilized when phosphorylated at Serine 62 by phosphorylated ERK protein. Here we describe a novel positive feedback loop whereby N-Myc directly induced the transcription of the class III histone deacetylase SIRT1, which in turn increased N-Myc protein stability. SIRT1 binds to Myc Box I domain of N-Myc protein to form a novel transcriptional repressor complex at gene promoter of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 3 (MKP3), leading to transcriptional repression of MKP3, ERK protein phosphorylation, N-Myc protein phosphorylation at Serine 62, and N-Myc protein stabilization. Importantly, SIRT1 was up-regulated, MKP3 down-regulated, in pre-cancerous cells, and preventative treatment with the SIRT1 inhibitor Cambinol reduced tumorigenesis in TH-MYCN transgenic mice. Our data demonstrate the important roles of SIRT1 in N-Myc oncogenesis and SIRT1 inhibitors in the prevention and therapy of N-Myc–induced neuroblastoma.
Author Summary
The class III histone deacetylase SIRT1 is repressed by tumor suppressor genes and exerts divergent effects on tumorigenesis depending on its down-stream targets. Small molecule SIRT1 inhibitors have shown promising anti-cancer effects both in vitro and in vivo. Here we identified SIRT1 as a gene directly up-regulated by N-Myc and identified SIRT1-mediated transcriptional repression as a novel mechanism responsible for maintaining N-Myc oncoprotein stability. Moreover, SIRT1 contributed to N-Myc–induced cell proliferation, and preventative treatment with the SIRT1 inhibitor Cambinol reduced tumorigenesis in N-Myc transgenic mice. Our data identify SIRT1 as an important co-factor for N-Myc oncogenesis and provide important evidence for the potential application of SIRT1 inhibitors in the prevention and therapy of N-Myc–induced neuroblastoma.
PMCID: PMC3116909  PMID: 21698133
18.  tRNA synthetase counteracts c-Myc to develop functional vasculature 
eLife  2014;3:e02349.
Recent studies suggested an essential role for seryl-tRNA synthetase (SerRS) in vascular development. This role is specific to SerRS among all tRNA synthetases and is independent of its well-known aminoacylation function in protein synthesis. A unique nucleus-directing domain, added at the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition, confers this novel non-translational activity of SerRS. Previous studies showed that SerRS, in some unknown way, controls VEGFA expression to prevent vascular over-expansion. Using in vitro, cell and animal experiments, we show here that SerRS intervenes by antagonizing c-Myc, the major transcription factor promoting VEGFA expression, through a tandem mechanism. First, by direct head-to-head competition, nuclear-localized SerRS blocks c-Myc from binding to the VEGFA promoter. Second, DNA-bound SerRS recruits the SIRT2 histone deacetylase to erase prior c-Myc-promoted histone acetylation. Thus, vertebrate SerRS and c-Myc is a pair of ‘Yin-Yang’ transcriptional regulator for proper development of a functional vasculature. Our results also discover an anti-angiogenic activity for SIRT2.
eLife digest
The network of blood vessels is one of the earliest structures to develop in a vertebrate embryo. A protein called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (or VEGFA for short) is needed to promote the growth of these blood vessels, but too much VEGFA can cause blood vessels to grow too much and to grow abnormally.
Like most of the DNA in the nucleus, the gene for VEGFA is tightly wrapped around proteins called histones and must be unwrapped before it can be expressed as a protein. For the VEGFA gene, this unwrapping process starts when a protein called c-Myc adds chemical tags to the histones.
Recent research suggested that an enzyme called seryl-tRNA synthetase (or SerRS for short) also controls the expression of VEGFA. This came as a surprise because no other tRNA synthetase has a similar role during development. And although SerRS is known to enter the cell nucleus in vertebrates, researchers did not know what SerRS did in the nucleus to control the expression of VEGFA.
Now, Shi et al. have discovered that SerRS controls blood vessel development in zebrafish embryos by counteracting the activity of c-Myc. It does this in two different ways: first, it directly blocks c-Myc from binding to and unpacking the DNA; and second, SerRS works with another enzyme to remove tags that are already on the histones. Shi et al. found that if the expression of this other enzyme (called SIRT2) was reduced in zebrafish, the fish expressed more VEGFA and their blood vessels grew too much.
Since blood vessel growth is important in the development of cancers, the findings of Shi et al. could also lead to a better understanding of how tumors develop, as well as how blood vessels develop normally.
PMCID: PMC4057782  PMID: 24940000
seryl-tRNA synthetase; c-Myc; VEGFA; SIRT2; angiogenesis; vasculature; human; zebrafish
19.  Selection for c-myc Integration Sites in Polyclonal T-Cell Lymphomas 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(5):2087-2099.
Type B leukemogenic virus (TBLV) is highly related to mouse mammary tumor virus but induces rapidly appearing T-cell lymphomas in mice. Unlike other T-cell tumors induced by retroviruses, only 5 to 10% of TBLV-induced lymphomas have detectable viral integrations near c-myc by Southern blotting, whereas Northern blotting has shown that most tumors have two- to sixfold overexpression of c-myc RNA. In this report, PCR was used to demonstrate that at least 30% of these lymphomas have TBLV insertions near c-myc. Some tumors contained multiple TBLV proviruses in different locations and orientations, suggesting that the tumors are polyclonal. The integrated proviruses near c-myc had different numbers (two to four) of long terminal repeat (LTR) enhancer repeats, although LTRs with three-repeat enhancers dominated the proviral population. Passage of polyclonal tumors in immunocompetent mice and semiquantitative PCR revealed that only cells with particular integrations were selected for growth. In three of six tumors tested, proviruses containing four-repeat enhancers near c-myc were selected during tumor passage. Since tumor cell selection may be accomplished by overexpression of c-myc RNA due to proximity to the unique TBLV LTR enhancer, we inserted LTRs at various locations within a plasmid containing the entire c-myc locus and cellular flanking sequences. To quantitatively measure effects on transcription, the Renilla luciferase gene was substituted for most of c-myc exon 2, and transient transfections were performed with c-myc reporter constructs in two different T-cell lines. As expected, insertion of a TBLV LTR with three-repeat enhancers in either orientation, 5" and 3", of the myc gene elevated reporter activity from 2- to 160-fold, consistent with enhancer function, but four-repeat LTRs had lower levels of expression compared to three-repeat LTRs. Surprisingly, LTR insertions that gave maximal c-myc expression in transient-transfection assays declined in tumor cells selected for growth in vivo. Selection for clonal growth may occur in tumor cells that have modest c-myc overexpression after proviral insertion to prevent apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC153816  PMID: 11836386
20.  Insertional Mutagenesis and Deep Profiling Reveals Gene Hierarchies and a Myc/p53-Dependent Bottleneck in Lymphomagenesis 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(2):e1004167.
Retroviral insertional mutagenesis (RIM) is a powerful tool for cancer genomics that was combined in this study with deep sequencing (RIM/DS) to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of lymphoma progression. Transgenic mice expressing two potent collaborating oncogenes in the germ line (CD2-MYC, -Runx2) develop rapid onset tumours that can be accelerated and rendered polyclonal by neonatal Moloney murine leukaemia virus (MoMLV) infection. RIM/DS analysis of 28 polyclonal lymphomas identified 771 common insertion sites (CISs) defining a ‘progression network’ that encompassed a remarkably large fraction of known MoMLV target genes, with further strong indications of oncogenic selection above the background of MoMLV integration preference. Progression driven by RIM was characterised as a Darwinian process of clonal competition engaging proliferation control networks downstream of cytokine and T-cell receptor signalling. Enhancer mode activation accounted for the most efficiently selected CIS target genes, including Ccr7 as the most prominent of a set of chemokine receptors driving paracrine growth stimulation and lymphoma dissemination. Another large target gene subset including candidate tumour suppressors was disrupted by intragenic insertions. A second RIM/DS screen comparing lymphomas of wild-type and parental transgenics showed that CD2-MYC tumours are virtually dependent on activation of Runx family genes in strong preference to other potent Myc collaborating genes (Gfi1, Notch1). Ikzf1 was identified as a novel collaborating gene for Runx2 and illustrated the interface between integration preference and oncogenic selection. Lymphoma target genes for MoMLV can be classified into (a) a small set of master regulators that confer self-renewal; overcoming p53 and other failsafe pathways and (b) a large group of progression genes that control autonomous proliferation in transformed cells. These findings provide insights into retroviral biology, human cancer genetics and the safety of vector-mediated gene therapy.
Author Summary
Cancers are known to arise by a series of mutational and non-mutational (epigenetic) events but the advent of cancer genome sequencing highlights the growing challenge of separating important (driver) from irrelevant (passenger) mutations. Retroviruses that induce cancer by inserting into host DNA and thereby altering key genes are valuable tools because they act as ‘tags’ to identify the critical targets. In this study we combined retroviral tagging with next generation sequencing to achieve a comprehensive description of lymphoma development and progression in transgenic mouse model systems. Our study suggests that three events may be sufficient for lymphoma development and identifies a genetic bottleneck at a small gene set that regulates tumour cell self-renewal, including the Myc oncogene and the p53 tumour suppressor. In contrast, many genes can provide the final step where the lymphoma cell acquires the ability to divide independently of external stimuli. As many of the target genes are conserved and play roles in cancers of non-viral origin, this study may provide a paradigm for the gene interactions that underlie cancer biology. It also elucidates the risks entailed in the recent use of retrovirus-based vectors for human gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC3937229  PMID: 24586197
21.  Potential role of Rab4 in the regulation of subcellular localization of Glut4 in adipocytes. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(12):6879-6886.
A role for Rab4 in the translocation of the glucose transporter Glut4 induced by insulin has been recently proposed. To study more directly the role of this small GTPase, freshly isolated adipocytes were transiently transfected with the cDNAs of both an epitope-tagged Glut4-myc and Rab4, a system which allows direct measurement of the concentration of Glut4 molecules at the cell surface. When cells were cotransfected with Glut4-myc and Rab4, the concentration of Glut4-myc at the cell surface decreased in parallel with the increased expression of Rab4, suggesting that Rab4 participates in the intracellular retention of Glut4. In parallel, the amount of Rab4 associated with the Glut4-containing vesicles increased. When Rab4 was moderately overexpressed, the number of Glut4-myc molecules recruited to the cell surface in response to insulin was similar to that observed in mock-transfected cells, and thus the insulin efficiency was increased. When Rab4 was expressed at a higher level, the amount of Glut4-myc present at the cell surface in response to insulin decreased. Since the overexpressed protein was predominantly cytosolic, this suggests that the cytosolic Rab4 might complex some factor(s) necessary for insulin action. This hypothesis was strengthened by the fact that Rab4 deltaCT, a Rab4 mutant lacking the geranylgeranylation sites, inhibited insulin-induced recruitement of Glut4-myc to the cell surface, even when moderately overexpressed. Rab3D was without effect on Glut4-myc subcellular distribution in basal or insulin-stimulated conditions. While two mutated proteins unable to bind GTP did not decrease the number of Glut4-myc molecules in basal or insulin-stimulated conditions at the plasma membrane, the behavior of a mutated Rab4 protein without GTPase activity was similar to that of the wild-type Rab4 protein, indicating that GTP binding but not its hydrolysis was required for the observed effects. Altogether, our results suggest that Rab4, but not Rab3D, participates in the molecular mechanism involved in the subcellular distribution of the Glut4 molecules both in basal and in insulin-stimulated conditions in adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC231691  PMID: 8943343
22.  Conformational Changes during Pore Formation by the Perforin-Related Protein Pleurotolysin 
PLoS Biology  2015;13(2):e1002049.
Membrane attack complex/perforin-like (MACPF) proteins comprise the largest superfamily of pore-forming proteins, playing crucial roles in immunity and pathogenesis. Soluble monomers assemble into large transmembrane pores via conformational transitions that remain to be structurally and mechanistically characterised. Here we present an 11 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the two-part, fungal toxin Pleurotolysin (Ply), together with crystal structures of both components (the lipid binding PlyA protein and the pore-forming MACPF component PlyB). These data reveal a 13-fold pore 80 Å in diameter and 100 Å in height, with each subunit comprised of a PlyB molecule atop a membrane bound dimer of PlyA. The resolution of the EM map, together with biophysical and computational experiments, allowed confident assignment of subdomains in a MACPF pore assembly. The major conformational changes in PlyB are a ∼70° opening of the bent and distorted central β-sheet of the MACPF domain, accompanied by extrusion and refolding of two α-helical regions into transmembrane β-hairpins (TMH1 and TMH2). We determined the structures of three different disulphide bond-trapped prepore intermediates. Analysis of these data by molecular modelling and flexible fitting allows us to generate a potential trajectory of β-sheet unbending. The results suggest that MACPF conformational change is triggered through disruption of the interface between a conserved helix-turn-helix motif and the top of TMH2. Following their release we propose that the transmembrane regions assemble into β-hairpins via top down zippering of backbone hydrogen bonds to form the membrane-inserted β-barrel. The intermediate structures of the MACPF domain during refolding into the β-barrel pore establish a structural paradigm for the transition from soluble monomer to pore, which may be conserved across the whole superfamily. The TMH2 region is critical for the release of both TMH clusters, suggesting why this region is targeted by endogenous inhibitors of MACPF function.
Author Summary
Animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria all use pore-forming proteins of the membrane attack complex-perforin (MACPF) family as lethal, cell-killing weapons. These proteins are able to insert into the plasma membranes of target cells, creating large pores that short circuit the natural separation between the intracellular and extracellular milieu, with catastrophic results. However, the pore-forming proteins must undergo a substantial transformation from soluble precursors to a large barrel-shaped transmembrane complex as they punch their way into cells. Using a combination of X-ray crystallography and cryo electron microscopy, we have visualized, for the first time, the mechanism of action of one of these pore-forming proteins—pleurotolysin, a MACPF protein from the edible oyster mushroom. This enabled us to propose a model of the pleurotolysin pore by fitting the crystallographic structures of the pore proteins into a three-dimensional map of the pore obtained by cryo electron microscopy. We then designed a set of double mutants that allowed us to chemically trap intermediate states along the trajectory of the pore formation process, and to determine their structures too. By combining these data we proposed a detailed molecular mechanism for pore formation. The pleurotolysin first assembles into rings of 13 subunits, each of which then opens up by about 70° during pore formation. This process is accompanied by refolding and extrusion of two compact regions from each subunit into long hairpins that then zipper together to form an 80-Å wide barrel-shaped channel through the membrane.
A combination of structural methods reveals the complex process by which the perforin-like fungal toxin Pleurotolysin rearranges its structure to form a pore that punches a hole in target cell membranes.
PMCID: PMC4318580  PMID: 25654333
23.  Mechanotransduction In Vivo by Repeated Talin Stretch-Relaxation Events Depends upon Vinculin 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(12):e1001223.
The focal adhesion protein talin undergoes cycles of stretching and relaxation in living cells, suggesting a role in the transduction of mechanical into biochemical signals.
Mechanotransduction is a critical function for cells, in terms of cell viability, shaping of tissues, and cellular behavior. In vitro, cellular level forces can stretch adhesion proteins that link extracellular matrix to the actin cytoskeleton exposing hidden binding sites. However, there is no evidence that in vivo forces produce significant in vivo stretching to cause domain unfolding. We now report that the adhesion protein, talin, is repeatedly stretched by 100–350 nm in vivo by myosin contraction of actin filaments. Using a functional EGFP-N-Talin1-C-mCherry to measure the length of single talin molecules, we observed that the C-terminal mCherry was normally displaced in the direction of actin flow by 90 to >250 nm from N-EGFP but only by 50–60 nm (talin's length in vitro) after myosin inhibition. Individual talin molecules transiently stretched and relaxed. Peripheral, multimolecular adhesions had green outside and red proximal edges. They also exhibited transient, myosin-dependent stretching of 50–350 nm for 6–16 s; however, expression of the talin-binding head of vinculin increased stretching to about 400 nm and suppressed dynamics. We suggest that rearward moving actin filaments bind, stretch, and release talin in multiple, stochastic stick-slip cycles and that multiple vinculin binding and release cycles integrate pulling on matrices into biochemical signals.
Author Summary
How are mechanical forces that act on the surface of a cell transformed into biochemical signals within the cell? Studies of isolated proteins suggest that some of them can stretch, but whether this also happens in living cells remains unclear. In this study, we have been able to measure the stretching of single molecules of a cellular adhesion protein called talin in vivo by tagging each end of the protein with a different fluorescent marker and observing changes in the distance between the two markers with a new microscopic method. Talin is a large cellular protein that concentrates at sites where the cell attaches to the substratum and links integrins in the cell membrane to the actin filament network in the cell. In our study, a green tag at the integrin-binding site was close to the cell surface, whereas a red tag at the actin-binding site was displaced inward by actin flow. We observed repeated protein stretching to 5–8 times the native protein length and relaxation linked to the transduction process in living cells in culture. Individual molecules stretched for 6–16 seconds over ranges of 50–350 nm. Cell adhesion sites, where hundreds of talin molecules were displaced in concert, had similar dynamics. These cycles of stretching and relaxation required the contractile protein myosin. The head domain of vinculin—an adhesion site protein that binds strongly to the stretched talin—kept the adhesions stretched and blocked large oscillations in length. These observations indicate that there is repeated stretching of talin, and that adhesion proteins play a role in the transduction of mechanical signals into biochemical signals through binding and release of vinculin and possibly other focal adhesion proteins.
PMCID: PMC3243729  PMID: 22205879
24.  Transcriptional Repression 
Genes & Cancer  2010;1(6):580-586.
The (c-)Myc oncoprotein and its cousins, the N-Myc and L-Myc proteins, show all hallmarks of transcriptional activator proteins: Myc carries a carboxy-terminal DNA binding domain, which mediates sequence-specific binding to DNA. At its amino-terminus, Myc carries a transcriptional regulatory domain that strongly activates transcription when fused to an ectopic DNA binding domain; moreover, the strength of activation of different members of the Myc family correlates with their ability to transform rodent cells. Furthermore, activation of conditional alleles of Myc, either tetracycline or estrogen inducible, upregulates expression of a large number of genes, both in tissue culture and in transgenic animals. Indeed, many of these genes have essential roles in cell proliferation, cell growth, and metabolism; two of them, odc, encoding ornithine decarboxylase, a rate-limiting enzyme of polyamine biosynthesis, and rpl24, encoding a constituent of the large ribosomal subunit, are haploinsufficient for Myc-induced lymphomagenesis but not for normal development, arguing very strongly that upregulation of both genes is critical for Myc-dependent tumor formation. Undoubtedly, therefore, Myc exerts part of its biological activities via transcriptional upregulation of a large number of target genes. One of the key issues in the field is whether there are additional biochemical activities of the Myc protein and, if so, whether and how they contribute to Myc biology. This review summarizes evidence demonstrating that Myc has the ability to repress transcription and that this may be an important function during oncogenic transformation.
PMCID: PMC3092225  PMID: 21779459
Miz1; Sp1; p15Ink4b; p21Cip1; integrin beta1; Arf
25.  Structure and transforming function of transduced mutant alleles of the chicken c-myc gene. 
Journal of Virology  1986;59(2):341-353.
A small retroviral vector carrying an oncogenic myc allele was isolated as a spontaneous variant (MH2E21) of avian oncovirus MH2. The MH2E21 genome, measuring only 2.3 kilobases, can be replicated like larger retroviral genomes and hence contains all cis-acting sequence elements essential for encapsidation and reverse transcription of retroviral RNA or for integration and transcription of proviral DNA. The MH2E21 genome contains 5' and 3' noncoding retroviral vector elements and a coding region comprising the first six codons of the viral gag gene and 417 v-myc codons. The gag-myc junction corresponds precisely to the presumed splice junction on subgenomic MH2 v-myc mRNA, the possible origin of MH2E21. Among the v-myc codons, the first 5 are derived from the noncoding 5' terminus of the second c-myc exon, and 412 codons correspond to the c-myc coding region. The predicted sequence of the MH2E21 protein product differs from that of the chicken c-myc protein by 11 additional amino-terminal residues and by 25 amino acid substitutions and a deletion of 4 residues within the shared domains. To investigate the functional significance of these structural changes, the MH2E21 genome was modified in vitro. The gag translational initiation codon was inactivated by oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis. Furthermore, all but two of the missense mutations were reverted, and the deleted sequences were restored by replacing most of the MH2E21 v-myc allele by the corresponding segment of the CMII v-myc allele which is isogenic to c-myc in that region. The remaining two mutations have not been found in the v-myc alleles of avian oncoviruses MC29, CMII, and OK10. Like MH2 and MH2E21, modified MH2E21 (MH2E21m1c1) transforms avian embryo cells. Like c-myc, it encodes a 416-amino-acid protein initiated at the myc translational initiation codon. We conclude that neither major structural changes, such as in-frame fusion with virion genes or internal deletions, nor specific, if any, missense mutations of the c-myc coding region are necessary for activation of the basic oncogenic function of transduced myc alleles.
PMCID: PMC253083  PMID: 3016301

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