In preimplantation mouse development, the first cell lineages to be established are the trophectoderm (TE) and inner cell mass. TE possesses epithelial features, including apical-basal cell polarity and intercellular junctions, which are crucial to generate a fluid-filled cavity in the blastocyst. Homologs of the partitioning defective (par) genes in Caenorhabditis elegans are critical regulators of cell polarity. However, their roles in regulating TE differentiation and blastocyst formation remain unclear. Here, the role of mouse Pard6b, a homolog of par-6 gene and a component of the PAR-atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) complex, was investigated. Pard6b expression was knocked down by microinjecting RNA interference construct into zygotes. Pard6b-knockdown embryos cleaved and compacted normally but failed to form the blastocyst cavity. The cavitation failure is likely the result of defective intercellular junctions, because Pard6b knockdown caused abnormal distribution of actin filaments and TJP1 (ZO-1) tight junction (TJ) protein and interfered with cavitation in chimeras containing cells from normal embryos. Defective TJ formation may be caused by abnormal cell polarization, because the apical localization of PRKCZ (aPKCzeta) was absent in Pard6b-knockdown embryos. Pard6b knockdown also diminished the expression of CDX2, a TE-lineage transcription factor, in the outer cells. TEAD4, a transcriptional activator that is required for Cdx2 expression and cavity formation, was not essential for the transcription of Pard6b. Taken together, Pard6b is necessary for blastocyst morphogenesis, particularly the development of TE-specific features—namely, the apical-basal cell polarity, formation of TJ, paracellular permeability sealing, and up-regulated expression of Cdx2.
PARD6B regulates formation of trophectoderm epithelium and is involved in the up-regulation of the trophectoderm-lineage transcription factor CDX2.
blastocyst; Cdx2; cell polarity; cavity formation; early development; epithelium; gene regulation; Nanog; paracellular permeability seal; PRKCZ (aPKCzeta); Tead4; TJP1 (ZO-1); trophoblast
The Par3/Par6/aPKC protein complex plays a key role in the establishment and maintenance of apicobasal polarity, a cellular characteristic essential for tissue and organ morphogenesis, differentiation and homeostasis. During a forward genetic screen for liver and pancreas mutants, we identified a pard6γb mutant, representing the first known pard6 mutant in a vertebrate organism. pard6γb mutants exhibit defects in epithelial tissue development as well as multiple lumens in the neural tube. Analyses of the cells lining the neural tube cavity, or neurocoel, in wildtype and pard6γb mutant embryos show that lack of Pard6γb function leads to defects in mitotic spindle orientation during neurulation. We also found that the PB1 (aPKC-binding) and CRIB (Cdc-42-binding) domains and the KPLG amino acid sequence within the PDZ domain (Pals1- and Crumbs binding) are not required for Pard6γb localization but are essential for its function in neurocoel morphogenesis. Apical membranes are reduced, but not completely absent, in mutants lacking the zygotic, or both the maternal and zygotic, function of pard6γb, leading us to examine the localization and function of the three additional zebrafish Pard6 proteins. We found that Pard6α, but not Pard6β or Pard6γa, could partially rescue the pard6γbs441 mutant phenotypes. Altogether, these data indicate a previously unappreciated functional diversity and complexity within the vertebrate pard6 gene family.
Par6; neurulation; apicobasal polarity; epithelium; zebrafish
In a genome-wide screen of 684 cancer cell lines, we identified homozygous intragenic microdeletions involving genes encoding components of the apical-basal cell polarity complexes. Among these, PARD3 is disrupted in cell lines and primary tumors from squamous carcinomas and glioblastomas. Reconstituting PARD3 expression in both cell types restores tight junctions and retards contact-dependent proliferation. Searching specifically for small intragenic microdeletions using high resolution genomic arrays may be complementary to other genomic deletion screens and resequencing efforts in identifying new tumor suppressor genes.
The brain’s circuitry is established by directed migration and synaptogenesis of neurons during development. Although neurons mature and migrate in specific patterns, little is known about how neurons exit their germinal zone niche. We found that cerebellar granule neuron germinal zone exit is regulated by proteasomal degradation of Pard3A by the Seven in Absentia homolog (Siah) E3 ubiquitin ligase. Pard3A gain-of-function and Siah loss-of-function induce precocious radial migration. Time-lapse imaging using a probe to measure neuronal cell contact reveals that Pard3A promotes adhesive interactions needed for germinal zone exit by recruiting the JAM-C epithelial tight junction adhesion molecule to the neuronal cell surface. Our findings define a Siah-Pard3A signaling pathway that controls adhesion-dependent exit of neuronal progenitors or immature neurons from a germinal zone niche.
Maintenance of single layered endothelium, squamous endothelial cell shape, and formation of a patent vascular lumen all require defined endothelial cell polarity. Loss of β1 integrin (Itgb1) in nascent endothelium leads to disruption of arterial endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation. The loss of polarity is manifested as cuboidal shaped endothelial cells, dysregulated levels and mis-localization of normally polarized cell-cell adhesion molecules, as well as decreased expression of the polarity gene Par3 (pard3). β1 integrin and Par3 are both localized to the endothelial layer, with preferential expression of Par3 in arterial endothelium. Luminal occlusion is also exclusively noted in arteries, and is partially rescued by replacement of Par3 protein in β1 deficient vessels. Combined, our findings demonstrate that β1 integrin functions upstream of Par3 as part of a molecular cascade required for endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation.
β1 integrin; Itgb1; endothelium; VE-cadherin; vasculature; lumen formation; polarity; Par3; pard3; Cre; lox
The parD operon of Escherichia coli plasmid R1 encodes a toxin–antitoxin system, which is involved in plasmid stabilization. The toxin Kid inhibits cell growth by RNA degradation and its action is neutralized by the formation of a tight complex with the antitoxin Kis. A fascinating but poorly understood aspect of the kid–kis system is its autoregulation at the transcriptional level. Using macromolecular (tandem) mass spectrometry and DNA binding assays, we here demonstrate that Kis pilots the interaction of the Kid–Kis complex in the parD regulatory region and that two discrete Kis-binding regions are present on parD. The data clearly show that only when the Kis concentration equals or exceeds the Kid concentration a strong cooperative effect exists between strong DNA binding and Kid2–Kis2–Kid2–Kis2 complex formation. We propose a model in which transcriptional repression of the parD operon is tuned by the relative molar ratio of the antitoxin and toxin proteins in solution. When the concentration of the toxin exceeds that of the antitoxin tight Kid2–Kis2–Kid2 complexes are formed, which only neutralize the lethal activity of Kid. Upon increasing the Kis concentration, (Kid2–Kis2)n complexes repress the kid–kis operon.
This study aimed to examine (1) whether polarity protein partitioning defective-3 (PARD-3) was expressed in endothelial cells (ECs) and contributed to endothelial barrier integrity and (2) whether altered PARD-3 expression and distribution were associated with disturbed endothelial junction protein VE-cadherin expression induced by factors derived from preeclamptic (PE) placentas.
PARD-3 and VE-cadherin expressions were examined by immunofluorescent staining and Western blot in confluent ECs and in ECs treated with normal and PE placental conditioned medium (CM). Protein-protein interactions between PARD-3/VE-cadherin, PARD-3/ atypical protein kinase C (aPKCλ), and VE-cadherin/aPKCλ were examined by immuno-precipitation and immunobloting.
Similar to VE-cadherin, PARD-3 is localized at the cell contacts in control ECs. Both PARD-3 and VE-cadherin expressions were markedly reduced in cells treated with PE-CM for 2h, but not in cells treated with normal-CM compared to non-treated controls. Cytosol staining of VE-cadherin and PARD-3 was pronounced in cells after 24h treatment with PE-CM. PARD-3/VE-cadherin and PARD-3/aPKCλ complexes were detected in PE-CM treated cells, but not in untreated control cells and in cells after recovery. In contrast, VE-cadherin/aPKCλ complex was detected in control cells and in cells after recovery, but not in PE-CM treated cells.
Polarity protein PARD-3 is localized at cell contacts. Factors-derived from PE placentas not only interrupt junction protein VE-cadherin distribution, but also perturb polarity protein PARD-3 expression and distribution in ECs. The results of PARD-3/VE-cadherin and PARD-3/aPKCλ complexes formation in cells treated with placental CM suggest that factors-derived from placenta could interfere both junction protein and polarity protein functions in ECs.
endothelium; PARD-3; aPKCλ; VE-cadherin; preeclampsia
Objective: This study aimed to examine (1) whether polarity protein partitioning defective-3 (PARD-3) was expressed in endothelial cells (ECs) and contributed to endothelial barrier integrity and (2) whether altered PARD-3 expression and distribution were associated with disturbed endothelial junction protein VE-cadherin expression induced by factors derived from preeclamptic (PE) placentas. Methods: PARD-3 and VE-cadherin expressions were examined by immunofluorescent staining and Western blot in confluent ECs and in ECs treated with normal and PE placental conditioned medium (CM). Protein-protein interactions between PARD-3/VE-cadherin, PARD-3/ atypical protein kinase C (aPKCλ), and VE-cadherin/aPKCλ were examined by immuno-precipitation and immunobloting. Results: Similar to VE-cadherin, PARD-3 is localized at the cell contacts in control ECs. Both PARD-3 and VE-cadherin expressions were markedly reduced in cells treated with PE-CM for 2h, but not in cells treated with normal-CM compared to non-treated controls. Cytosol staining of VE-cadherin and PARD-3 was pronounced in cells after 24h treatment with PE-CM. PARD-3/VE-cadherin and PARD-3/aPKCλ complexes were detected in PE-CM treated cells, but not in untreated control cells and in cells after recovery. In contrast, VE-cadherin/aPKCλ complex was detected in control cells and in cells after recovery, but not in PE-CM treated cells. Conclusions: Polarity protein PARD-3 is localized at cell contacts. Factors-derived from PE placentas not only interrupt junction protein VE-cadherin distribution, but also perturb polarity protein PARD-3 expression and distribution in ECs. The results of PARD-3/VE-cadherin and PARD-3/aPKCλ complexes formation in cells treated with placental CM suggest that factors-derived from placenta could interfere both junction protein and polarity protein functions in ECs.
endothelium; PARD-3; aPKCλ; VE-cadherin; preeclampsia
The parDE operon, located within the 3.2-kb stabilization region of plasmid RK2, encodes antitoxin (ParD) and toxin (ParE) proteins that stabilize the maintenance of this broad-host-range plasmid via a postsegregational killing mechanism. A ParE protein derivative, designated ParE', was purified by construction of a fusion protein, GST-ParE, followed by glutathione-agarose binding and cleavage of the fusion protein. ParE' has three additional amino acids on the N terminus and a methionine residue in place of the native leucine residue. The results of glutathione-agarose affinity binding and glutaraldehyde cross-linking indicate that ParE' exists as a dimer in solution and that it binds to the dimeric form of ParD to form a tetrameric complex. The formation of this complex is presumably responsible for the ability of ParD to neutralize ParE toxin activity. Previous studies demonstrated that the parDE operon is autoregulated as a result of the binding of the ParD protein to the parDE promoter. ParE' also binds to the parDE promoter but only in the presence of the autoregulatory ParD protein. ParE', in the presence or absence of the ParD protein, does not bind to any other part of the 3.2-kb stabilization region. The binding of the ParE' protein to ParD did not alter the DNase I footprint pattern obtained as a result of ParD binding to the parDE promoter. The role of ParE in binding along with ParD to the promoter, if any, remains unclear.
Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems form a ubiquitous class of prokaryotic proteins with functional roles in plasmid inheritance, environmental stress response, and cell development. ParDE-family TA systems are broadly conserved on plasmids and bacterial chromosomes, and have been well characterized as genetic elements that promote stable plasmid inheritance. We present a crystal structure of a chromosomally-encoded ParD-ParE complex from Caulobacter crescentus at 2.6 Å resolution. This TA system forms an α2β2 heterotetramer in the crystal and in solution. The toxin-antitoxin binding interface reveals extensive polar and hydrophobic contacts of ParD antitoxin helices with a conserved recognition and binding groove on the ParE toxin. A cross-species comparison of this complex structure with related toxin structures identified an antitoxin recognition and binding sub-domain that is conserved between distantly-related members of the RelE/ParE toxin superfamily despite low overall primary sequence identity. We further demonstrate that ParD antitoxin is dimeric, stably folded, and largely helical when not bound to ParE toxin. Thus, the paradigmatic model in which antitoxin undergoes a disorder-to-order transition upon toxin binding does not apply to this chromosomal ParD-ParE TA system.
To evaluate the efficacy of saracatinib (AZD0530), an oral Src inhibitor, in colorectal cancer (CRC) and to identify biomarkers that predict antitumor activity.
Twenty-three CRC cell lines were exposed to saracatinib, and baseline gene expression profiles of three sensitive and eight resistant cell lines in vitro and in vivo were used to predict saracatinib sensitivity in an independent group of 10 human CRC explant tumors using the gene array K-Top Scoring Pairs (K-TSP) method. In addition, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunoblotting determined both Src gene copy number and activation of Src, respectively.
Two of 10 explant tumors were determined to be sensitive to saracatinib. The K-TSP classifier (TOX>GLIS2, TSPAN7>BCAS4, and PARD6G>NXN) achieved 70% (7 of 10) accuracy on the test set. Evaluation of Src gene copy number by FISH showed a trend toward significance (P = 0.066) with respect to an increase in Src gene copy and resistance to saracatinib. Tumors sensitive to saracatinib showed an increase in the activation of Src and FAK when compared with resistant tumors.
Saracatinib significantly decreased tumor growth in a subset of CRC cell lines and explants. A K-TSP classifier (TOX>GLIS2, TSPAN7>BCAS4, and PARD6G>NXN) was predictive for sensitivity to saracatinib. In addition, increased activation of the Src pathway was associated with sensitivity to saracatinib. These results suggest that FISH, a K-TSP classifier, and activation of the Src pathway have potential in identifying CRC patients that would potentially benefit from treatment with saracatinib.
Par6–aPKC recruitment to the premature apical membrane through Morg1 interaction with Par6 is required for definition of apical identity of epithelial cells.
Formation of apico-basal polarity in epithelial cells is crucial for both morphogenesis (e.g., cyst formation) and function (e.g., tight junction development). Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC), complexed with Par6, is considered to translocate to the apical membrane and function in epithelial cell polarization. However, the mechanism for translocation of the Par6–aPKC complex has remained largely unknown. Here, we show that the WD40 protein Morg1 (mitogen-activated protein kinase organizer 1) directly binds to Par6 and thus facilitates apical targeting of Par6–aPKC in Madin-Darby canine kidney epithelial cells. Morg1 also interacts with the apical transmembrane protein Crumbs3 to promote Par6–aPKC binding to Crumbs3, which is reinforced with the apically localized small GTPase Cdc42. Depletion of Morg1 disrupted both tight junction development in monolayer culture and cyst formation in three-dimensional culture; apico-basal polarity was notably restored by forced targeting of aPKC to the apical surface. Thus, Par6–aPKC recruitment to the premature apical membrane appears to be required for definition of apical identity of epithelial cells.
Development of epithelial cell polarity is a highly dynamic process, and often established by the sequential recruitment of conserved protein complexes, such as the Par or the Crumbs (Crb) complex. However, detailed insights into the refinement of polarity and the formation of the complexes are still lacking. Here, we established fluorescently tagged Lin7c, a core member of the Crb complex, as an ideal tool to follow development of polarity in zebrafish epithelia. We find that in gastrula stages, RFP-Lin7c is found in the cytosol of the enveloping layer, while Pard3-GFP is already polarized at this stage. During development of the retinal epithelium, RFP-Lin7c localization is refined from being cytosolic at 14 hours post fertilization (hpf) to almost entirely apical in cells of the eye cup at 28 hpf. This apical Lin7c localization depends on the Crb complex members Oko meduzy and Nagie oko. Thus, fluorescently tagged Lin7c can be used in a broad range of epithelia to follow polarity maturation in vivo and specifically to elucidate the sequence of events determining Crb complex-mediated polarity.
Polarity; Neuroepithelia; Retina; Crumbs; Zebrafish
Uroplakin (UP)3a is critical for urinary tract development and function; however, its role in these processes is unknown. We examined the function of the UP3a-like protein Upk3l, which was expressed at the apical surfaces of the epithelial cells that line the pronephric tubules (PTs) of the zebrafish pronephros. Embryos treated with upk3l-targeted morpholinos showed decreased pronephros function, which was attributed to defects in PT epithelial cell morphogenesis and polarization including: loss of an apical brush border and associated phospho-ERM proteins, apical redistribution of the basolateral Na+/K+–ATPase, and altered or diminished expression of the apical polarity complex proteins Prkcz (atypical protein kinase C zeta) and Pard3 (Par3). Upk3l missing its C-terminal cytoplasmic domain or containing mutations in conserved tyrosine or proline residues did not rescue, or only partially rescued the effects of Upk3l depletion. Our studies indicate that Upk3l promotes epithelial polarization and morphogenesis, likely by forming or stimulating interactions with cytoplasmic signaling or polarity proteins, and that defects in this process may underlie the pathology observed in UP3a knockout mice or patients with renal abnormalities that result from altered UP3a expression.
In epithelial cells, the tight junction divides the plasma membrane into distinct apical and basolateral domains. Polarization is essential for epithelial cell function, and apico-basal cell polarity is lost during the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a program of events characterized not only by loss of cell polarity, but also by enhanced cell motility and increased cell invasion. Among several apically localized protein complexes, the Crumbs and Par protein complexes have pivotal roles in control of epithelial polarity and apical membrane formation. Here, we demonstrate that the Snail transcriptional repressor antagonizes expression of the Crumbs polarity complex. We show that Snail abolishes localization of the Crumbs and Par complexes to the tight junction, decreases Crumbs complex protein levels and suppresses Crumbs3 transcription. Evidence that Snail acts directly to antagonize Crumbs3 promoter activity is presented. Strikingly, we note that reexpression of exogenous Crumbs3 in Snail-expressing Madin–Darby Canine Kidney cells partially restores cell–cell junctions. Moreover, we find that the EMT inducer transforming growth factor- β elicits transcriptional repression of Crumbs3 and results in a measurable loss of Crumbs3 protein. Our findings provide new insights into the links between the transcriptional repression function of Snail and its role in antagonizing key apico-basal polarity factors during EMT.
Crumbs; Snail; apico-basal polarity; tight junction; epithelial to mesenchymal transition
A 3.2-kb region of the broad-host-range plasmid RK2 has been shown to encode a highly efficient plasmid maintenance system that functions in a vector-independent manner. This region, designated par, consists of two divergently arranged operons: parCBA and parDE. The 0.7-kb parDE operon promotes plasmid stability by a postsegregational killing mechanism that ensures that plasmid-free daughter cells do not survive after cell division. The 2.3-kb parCBA operon encodes a site-specific resolvase protein (ParA) and its multimer resolution site (res) and two proteins (ParB and ParC) whose functions are as yet unknown. It has been proposed that the parCBA operon encodes a plasmid partitioning system (M. Gerlitz, O. Hrabak, and H. Schwabb, J. Bacteriol. 172:6194-6203, 1990; R. C. Roberts, R. Burioni, and D. R. Helinski, J. Bacteriol. 172:6204-6216, 1990). To further define the role of this region in promoting the stable maintenance of plasmid RK2, the parCBA and parDE operons separately and the intact (parCBA/DE) par region (3.2 kb) were reintroduced into an RK2 plasmid deleted for par and assayed for plasmid stability in two Escherichia coli strains (MC1061K and MV10delta lac). The intact 3.2-kb region provided the highest degree of stability in the two strains tested. The ability of the parCBA or parDE region alone to promote stable maintenance in the E. coli strains was dependent on the particular strain and the growth temperature. Furthermore, the insertion of the ColE1 cer site into the RK2 plasmid deleted for the par region failed to stabilize the plasmid in the MC1061K strain, indicating that the multimer resolution activity encoded by parCBA is not by itself responsible for the stabilization activity observed for this operon. To examine the relative contributions of postsegregational cell killing and a possible partitioning function encoded by the intact 3.2-kb par region, stability assays were carried out with ParD provided in trans by a compatible (R6K) minireplicon to prevent postsegregational killing. In E. coli MV10delta lac, postsegregational killing appeared to be the predominant mechanism for stabilization since the presence of ParD substantially reduced the stability of plasmids carrying either the 3.2- or 0.7-kb region. However, in the case of E. coli MC1061K, the presence of ParD in trans did not result in a significant loss of stabilization by the 3.2-kb region, indicating that the putative partitioning function was largely responsible for RK2 maintenance. To examine the basis for the apparent differences in postsegregational killing between the two E. coli strains, transformation assays were carried out to determine the relative sensitivities of the strains to the ParE toxin protein. Consistent with the relatively small contribution of the postsegregational killing to plasmid stabilization in MC1061K, we found that this strain was substantially more resistant to killing by ParE in comparison to E. coli MV10delta lac. A transfer-deficient mutant of thepar-deleted plasmid was constructed for the stable maintenance studies. This plasmid was found to be lost from E. coli MV10delta lac at a rate three times greater than the rate for the transfer-proficient plasmid, suggesting that conjugation can also play a significant role in the maintenance of plasmid RK2.
The polarity protein Par-3 plays critical roles in axon specification and the establishment of epithelial apico-basal polarity. Par-3 associates with Par-6 and atypical protein kinase C and is required for the proper assembly of tight junctions, but the molecular basis for its functions is poorly understood. We now report that depletion of Par-3 elevates the phosphorylated pool of cofilin, a key regulator of actin dynamics. Expression of a nonphosphorylatable mutant of cofilin partially rescues tight junction assembly in cells lacking Par-3, as does the depletion of LIM kinase 2 (LIMK2), an upstream kinase for cofilin. Par-3 binds to LIMK2 but not to the related kinase LIMK1. Par-3 inhibits LIMK2 activity in vitro, and overexpressed Par-3 suppresses cofilin phosphorylation that is induced by lysophosphatidic acid. Our findings identify LIMK2 as a novel target of Par-3 and uncover a molecular mechanism by which Par-3 could regulate actin dynamics during cell polarization.
DNA gyrase is an essential bacterial enzyme required for the maintenance of chromosomal DNA topology. This enzyme is the target of several protein toxins encoded in toxin-antitoxin (TA) loci as well as of man-made antibiotics such as quinolones. The genome of Vibrio cholerae, the cause of cholera, contains three putative TA loci that exhibit modest similarity to the RK2 plasmid-borne parDE TA locus, which is thought to target gyrase although its mechanism of action is uncharacterized. Here we investigated the V. cholerae parDE2 locus. We found that this locus encodes a functional proteic TA pair that is active in Escherichia coli as well as V. cholerae. ParD2 co-purified with ParE2 and interacted with it directly. Unlike many other antitoxins, ParD2 could prevent but not reverse ParE2 toxicity. ParE2, like the unrelated F-encoded toxin CcdB and quinolones, targeted the GyrA subunit and stalled the DNA-gyrase cleavage complex. However, in contrast to other gyrase poisons, ParE2 toxicity required ATP, and it interfered with gyrase-dependent DNA supercoiling but not DNA relaxation. ParE2 did not bind GyrA fragments bound by CcdB and quinolones, and a set of strains resistant to a variety of known gyrase inhibitors all exhibited sensitivity to ParE2. Together, our findings suggest that ParE2 and presumably its many plasmid- and chromosome-encoded homologues inhibit gyrase in a different manner than previously described agents.
Bacteria; Bacterial Toxins; DNA Gyrase; DNA Topoisomerase; DNA Topology
Cell polarity plays a key role in development and is disrupted in tumors, yet the molecules and mechanisms that regulate polarity remain poorly defined. We found that the scaffolding adaptor GAB1 interacts with two polarity proteins, PAR1 and PAR3. GAB1 binds PAR1 and enhances its kinase activity. GAB1 brings PAR1 and PAR3 into a transient complex, stimulating PAR3 phosphorylation by PAR1. GAB1 and PAR6 bind the PAR3 PDZ1 domain and thereby compete for PAR3 binding. Consequently, GAB1 depletion causes PAR3 hypo-phosphorylation and increases PAR3/PAR6 complex formation, resulting in accelerated and enhanced tight junction formation, increased trans-epithelial resistance and lateral domain shortening. Conversely, GAB1 over-expression, in a PAR1/PAR3-dependent manner, disrupts epithelial apical-basal polarity, promotes multi-lumen cyst formation, and enhances growth factor-induced epithelial cell scattering. Our results identify GAB1 as a novel negative regulator of epithelial cell polarity that functions as a scaffold for modulating PAR protein complexes on the lateral membrane.
The par region of the stably maintained broad-host-range plasmid RK2 is organized as two divergent operons, parCBA and parDE, and a cis-acting site. parDE encodes a postsegregational killing system, and parCBA encodes a resolvase (ParA), a nuclease (ParB), and a protein of unknown function (ParC). The present study was undertaken to further delineate the role of the parCBA region in the stable maintenance of RK2 by first introducing precise deletions in the three genes and then assessing the abilities of the different constructs to stabilize RK2 in three strains of Escherichia coli and two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The intact parCBA operon was effective in stabilizing a conjugation-defective RK2 derivative in E. coli MC1061K and RR1 but was relatively ineffective in E. coli MV10Δlac. In the two strains in which the parCBA operon was effective, deletions in parB, parC, or both parB and parC caused an approximately twofold reduction in the stabilizing ability of the operon, while a deletion in the parA gene resulted in a much greater loss of parCBA activity. For P. aeruginosa PAO1161Rifr, the parCBA operon provided little if any plasmid stability, but for P. aeruginosa PAC452Rifr, the RK2 plasmid was stabilized to a substantial extent by parCBA. With this latter strain, parA and res alone were sufficient for stabilization. The cer resolvase system of plasmid ColE1 and the loxP/Cre system of plasmid P1 were tested in comparison with the parCBA operon. We found that, not unlike what was previously observed with MC1061K, cer failed to stabilize the RK2 plasmid with par deletions in strain MV10Δlac, but this multimer resolution system was effective in stabilizing the plasmid in strain RR1. The loxP/Cre system, on the other hand, was very effective in stabilizing the plasmid in all three E. coli strains. These observations indicate that the parA gene, along with its res site, exhibits a significant level of plasmid stabilization in the absence of the parC and parB genes but that in at least one E. coli strain, all three genes are required for maximum stabilization. It cannot be determined from these results whether or not the stabilization effects seen with parCBA or the cer and loxP/Cre systems are strictly due to a reduction in the level of RK2 dimers and an increase in the number of plasmid monomer units or if these systems play a role in a more complex process of plasmid stabilization that requires as an essential step the resolution of plasmid dimers.
A 3.2-kb fragment encoding five genes, parCBA/DE, in two divergently transcribed operons promotes stable maintenance of the replicon of the broad-host-range plasmid RK2 in a vector-independent manner in Escherichia coli. The parDE operon has been shown to contribute to stabilization through the postsegregational killing of plasmid-free daughter cells, while the parCBA operon encodes a resolvase, ParA, that mediates the resolution of plasmid multimers through site-specific recombination. To date, evidence indicates that multimer resolution alone does not play a significant role in RK2 stable maintenance by the parCBA operon in E. coli. It has been proposed, instead, that the parCBA region encodes an additional stability mechanism, a partition system, that ensures that each daughter cell receives a plasmid copy at cell division. However, studies carried out to date have not directly determined the plasmid stabilization activity of the parCBA operon alone. An assessment was made of the relative contributions of postsegregational killing (parDE) and the putative partitioning system (parCBA) to the stabilization of mini-RK2 replicons in E. coli. Mini-RK2 replicons carrying either the entire 3.2-kb (parCBA/DE) fragment or the 2.3-kb parCBA region alone were found to be stably maintained in two E. coli strains tested. The stabilization found is not due to resolution of multimers. The stabilizing effectiveness of parCBA was substantially reduced when the plasmid copy number was lowered, as in the case of E. coli cells carrying a temperature-sensitive mini-RK2 replicon grown at a nonpermissive temperature. The presence of the entire 3.2-kb region effectively stabilized the replicon, however, under both low- and high-copy-number-conditions. In those instances of decreased plasmid copy number, the postsegregational killing activity, encoded by parDE, either as part of the 3.2-kb fragment or alone played the major role in the stabilization of mini-RK2 replicons within the growing bacterial population. Our findings indicate that the parCBA operon functions to stabilize by a mechanism other than cell killing and resolution of plasmid multimers, while the parDE operon functions solely to stabilize plasmids by cell killing. The relative contribution of each system to stabilization depends on plasmid copy number and the particular E. coli host.
The par region of the broad-host-range, IncP alpha plasmid RK2 has been implicated as a stability determinant by its ability to enhance the maintenance of mini-RK2 plasmids or heterologous replicons in a growing population of host cells. The region consists of two operons: parCBA, which encodes a multimer resolution system, and parDE, which specifies a postsegregational response mechanism that is toxic to plasmidless segregants. To assess the importance of this region to the stable maintenance of the complete RK2 plasmid in different hosts, we used the vector-mediated excision (VEX) deletion system to specifically remove the entire par region or each operon separately from an otherwise intact RK2 plasmid carrying a lacZ marker. The par region was found to be important to stable maintenance of RK2lac (pRK2526) in Escherichia coli and five other gram-negative hosts (Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Azotobacter vinelandii, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Caulobacter crescentus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). However, the relative importance of the parCBA and parDE operons varied from host to host. Deletion of parDE had no effect on the maintenance of pRK2526 in A. calcoaceticus, but it severely reduced pRK2526 maintenance in A. vinelandii and resulted in significant instability in the other hosts. Deletion of parCBA did not alter pRK2526 stability in E. coli, A. tumefaciens, or A. vinelandii but severely reduced plasmid maintenance in A. calcoaceticus and P. aeruginosa. In the latter two hosts and C. crescentus, the delta parCBA mutant caused a notable reduction in growth rate in the absence of selection for the plasmid, indicating that instability resulting from the absence of parCBA may trigger the postsegregational response mediated by parDE. We also examined the effect of the conjugal transfer system on RK2 maintenance in E. coli. Transfer-defective traJ and traG mutants of pRK2526 were stably maintained in rapidly growing broth cultures. On solid medium, which should be optimal for IncP-mediated conjugation, colonies from cells containing the pRK2526 tra mutants displayed significant numbers of white (Lac-) sectors on X-Gal (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside) plates, whereas sectors appeared rarely in colonies from tra+ plasmid-containing cells. Both the traJ and traG mutations further reduced the maintenance of the already unstable deltapar derivative. Thus, these experiments with defined mutations in an intact RK2 plasmid have revealed (i) that the par region allows RK2 to adapt to the different requirements for stable maintenance in various hosts and (ii) that conjugal transfer can contribute to the maintenance of RK2 in a growing population, particularly under conditions that are favorable to RK2 transfer.
Cell polarity is fundamental to differentiation and function of most cells. Studies in mammalian epithelial cells have revealed that the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity depends upon cell adhesion, signaling networks, the cytoskeleton, and protein transport. Atypical protein kinase C (PKC) isotypes PKCζ and PKCλ have been implicated in signaling through lipid metabolites including phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphates, but their physiological role remains elusive. In the present study we report the identification of a protein, ASIP (atypical PKC isotype–specific interacting protein), that binds to aPKCs, and show that it colocalizes with PKCλ to the cell junctional complex in cultured epithelial MDCKII cells and rat intestinal epithelia. In addition, immunoelectron microscopy revealed that ASIP localizes to tight junctions in intestinal epithelial cells. Furthermore, ASIP shows significant sequence similarity to Caenorhabditis elegans PAR-3. PAR-3 protein is localized to the anterior periphery of the one-cell embryo, and is required for the establishment of cell polarity in early embryos. ASIP and PAR-3 share three PDZ domains, and can both bind to aPKCs. Taken together, our results suggest a role for a protein complex containing ASIP and aPKC in the establishment and/or maintenance of epithelial cell polarity. The evolutionary conservation of the protein complex and its asymmetric distribution in polarized cells from worm embryo to mammalian-differentiated cells may mean that the complex functions generally in the organization of cellular asymmetry.
ASIP; atypical PKC; par; cell polarity; tight junction
The PAR-3–aPKC–PAR-6 complex is recruited to primordial cell–cell junctions, in which aPKC phosphorylates JAM-A to promote junctional maturation.
The PAR-3–atypical protein kinase C (aPKC)–PAR-6 complex has been implicated in the development of apicobasal polarity and the formation of tight junctions (TJs) in vertebrate epithelial cells. It is recruited by junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A) to primordial junctions where aPKC is activated by Rho family small guanosine triphosphatases. In this paper, we show that aPKC can interact directly with JAM-A in a PAR-3–independent manner. Upon recruitment to primordial junctions, aPKC phosphorylates JAM-A at S285 to promote the maturation of immature cell–cell contacts. In fully polarized cells, S285-phosphorylated JAM-A is localized exclusively at the TJs, and S285 phosphorylation of JAM-A is required for the development of a functional epithelial barrier. Protein phosphatase 2A dephosphorylates JAM-A at S285, suggesting that it antagonizes the activity of aPKC. Expression of nonphosphorylatable JAM-A/S285A interferes with single lumen specification during cyst development in three-dimensional culture. Our data suggest that aPKC phosphorylates JAM-A at S285 to regulate cell–cell contact maturation, TJ formation, and single lumen specification.
Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems encode two proteins, a potent inhibitor of cell proliferation (toxin) and its specific antidote (antitoxin). Structural data has revealed striking similarities between the two model TA toxins CcdB, a DNA gyrase inhibitor encoded by the ccd system of plasmid F, and Kid, a site-specific endoribonuclease encoded by the parD system of plasmid R1. While a common structural fold seemed at odds with the two clearly different modes of action of these toxins, the possibility of functional crosstalk between the parD and ccd systems, which would further point to their common evolutionary origin, has not been documented. Here, we show that the cleavage of RNA and the inhibition of protein synthesis by the Kid toxin, two activities that are specifically counteracted by its cognate Kis antitoxin, are altered, but not inhibited, by the CcdA antitoxin. In addition, Kis was able to inhibit the stimulation of DNA gyrase-mediated cleavage of DNA by CcdB, albeit less efficiently than CcdA. We further show that physical interactions between the toxins and antitoxins of the different systems do occur and define the stoichiometry of the complexes formed. We found that CcdB did not degrade RNA nor did Kid have any reproducible effect on the tested DNA gyrase activities, suggesting that these toxins evolved to reach different, rather than common, cellular targets.