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1.  Activation of direct and indirect pathways of glycogen synthesis by hepatic overexpression of protein targeting to glycogen 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;105(4):479-488.
Glycogen-targeting subunits of protein phosphatase-1, such as protein targeting to glycogen (PTG), direct the phosphatase to the glycogen particle, where it stimulates glycogenesis. We have investigated the metabolic impact of overexpressing PTG in liver of normal rats. After administration of PTG cDNA in a recombinant adenovirus, animals were fasted or allowed to continue feeding for 24 hours. Liver glycogen was nearly completely depleted in fasted control animals, whereas glycogen levels in fasted or fed PTG-overexpressing animals were 70% higher than in fed controls. Nevertheless, transgenic animals regulated plasma glucose, triglycerides, FFAs, ketones, and insulin normally in the fasted and fed states. Fasted PTG-overexpressing animals receiving an oral bolus of [U-13C]glucose exhibited a large increase in hepatic glycogen content and a 70% increase in incorporation of [13C]glucose into glycogen. However, incorporation of labeled glucose accounted for only a small portion of the glycogen synthesized in PTG-overexpressing animals, consistent with our earlier finding that PTG promotes glycogen synthesis from gluconeogenic precursors. We conclude that hepatic PTG overexpression activates both direct and indirect pathways of glycogen synthesis. Because of its ability to enhance glucose storage without affecting other metabolic indicators, the glycogen-targeting subunit may prove valuable in controlling blood glucose levels in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC289167  PMID: 10683377
2.  A PTG Variant Contributes to a Milder Phenotype in Lafora Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21294.
Lafora disease is an autosomal recessive form of progressive myoclonus epilepsy with no effective therapy. Although the outcome is always unfavorable, onset of symptoms and progression of the disease may vary. We aimed to identify modifier genes that may contribute to the clinical course of Lafora disease patients with EPM2A or EPM2B mutations. We established a list of 43 genes coding for proteins related to laforin/malin function and/or glycogen metabolism and tested common polymorphisms for possible associations with phenotypic differences using a collection of Lafora disease families. Genotype and haplotype analysis showed that PPP1R3C may be associated with a slow progression of the disease. The PPP1R3C gene encodes protein targeting to glycogen (PTG). Glycogen targeting subunits play a major role in recruiting type 1 protein phosphatase (PP1) to glycogen-enriched cell compartments and in increasing the specific activity of PP1 toward specific glycogenic substrates (glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase). Here, we report a new mutation (c.746A>G, N249S) in the PPP1R3C gene that results in a decreased capacity to induce glycogen synthesis and a reduced interaction with glycogen phosphorylase and laforin, supporting a key role of this mutation in the glycogenic activity of PTG. This variant was found in one of two affected siblings of a Lafora disease family characterized by a remarkable mild course. Our findings suggest that variations in PTG may condition the course of Lafora disease and establish PTG as a potential target for pharmacogenetic and therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC3127956  PMID: 21738631
3.  PTG gene deletion causes impaired glycogen synthesis and developmental insulin resistance 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;111(9):1423-1432.
Protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) is a scaffolding protein that targets protein phosphatase 1α (PP1α) to glycogen, and links it to enzymes involved in glycogen synthesis and degradation. We generated mice that possess a heterozygous deletion of the PTG gene. These mice have reduced glycogen stores in adipose tissue, liver, heart, and skeletal muscle, corresponding with decreased glycogen synthase activity and glycogen synthesis rate. Although young PTG heterozygous mice initially demonstrate normal glucose tolerance, progressive glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance develop with aging. Insulin resistance in older PTG heterozygous mice correlates with a significant increase in muscle triglyceride content, with a corresponding attenuation of insulin receptor signaling. These data suggest that PTG plays a critical role in glycogen synthesis and is necessary to maintain the appropriate metabolic balance for the partitioning of fuel substrates between glycogen and lipid.
PMCID: PMC154451  PMID: 12727934
4.  Fasting-Induced Protein Phosphatase 1 Regulatory Subunit Contributes to Postprandial Blood Glucose Homeostasis via Regulation of Hepatic Glycogenesis 
Diabetes  2011;60(5):1435-1445.
Most animals experience fasting–feeding cycles throughout their lives. It is well known that the liver plays a central role in regulating glycogen metabolism. However, how hepatic glycogenesis is coordinated with the fasting–feeding cycle to control postprandial glucose homeostasis remains largely unknown. This study determines the molecular mechanism underlying the coupling of hepatic glycogenesis with the fasting–feeding cycle.
Through a series of molecular, cellular, and animal studies, we investigated how PPP1R3G, a glycogen-targeting regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), is implicated in regulating hepatic glycogenesis and glucose homeostasis in a manner tightly orchestrated with the fasting–feeding cycle.
PPP1R3G in the liver is upregulated during fasting and downregulated after feeding. PPP1R3G associates with glycogen pellet, interacts with the catalytic subunit of PP1, and regulates glycogen synthase (GS) activity. Fasting glucose level is reduced when PPP1R3G is overexpressed in the liver. Hepatic knockdown of PPP1R3G reduces postprandial elevation of GS activity, decreases postprandial accumulation of liver glycogen, and decelerates postprandial clearance of blood glucose. Other glycogen-targeting regulatory subunits of PP1, such as PPP1R3B, PPP1R3C, and PPP1R3D, are downregulated by fasting and increased by feeding in the liver.
We propose that the opposite expression pattern of PPP1R3G versus other PP1 regulatory subunits comprise an intricate regulatory machinery to control hepatic glycogenesis during the fasting–feeding cycle. Because of its unique expression pattern, PPP1R3G plays a major role to control postprandial glucose homeostasis during the fasting–feeding transition via its regulation on liver glycogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3292316  PMID: 21471512
5.  Malin decreases glycogen accumulation by promoting the degradation of protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;283(7):4069-4076.
Lafora disease (LD) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease that results in progressive myoclonus epilepsy and death. LD is caused by mutations in either the E3 ubiquitin ligase malin or the dual-specificity phosphatase laforin. A hallmark of LD is the accumulation of insoluble glycogen in the cytoplasm of cells from most tissues. Glycogen metabolism is regulated by phosphorylation of key metabolic enzymes. One regulator of this phosphorylation is protein targeting to glycogen (PTG/R5), a scaffold protein that binds both glycogen and many of the enzymes involved in glycogen synthesis, including protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), glycogen synthase, phosphorylase, and laforin. Overexpression of PTG markedly increases glycogen accumulation, and decreased PTG expression decreases glycogen stores. To investigate if malin and laforin play a role in glycogen metabolism, we overexpressed PTG, malin, and laforin in tissue culture cells. We found that expression of malin or laforin decreased PTG-stimulated glycogen accumulation by 25%, and co-expression of malin and laforin abolished PTG-stimulated glycogen accumulation. Consistent with this result, we found that malin ubiquitinates PTG in a laforin-dependent manner, both in vivo and in vitro, and targets PTG for proteasome-dependent degradation. These results suggest an additional mechanism, involving laforin and malin, in regulating glycogen metabolism.
PMCID: PMC2251628  PMID: 18070875
6.  Central Role for Protein Targeting to Glycogen in the Maintenance of Cellular Glycogen Stores in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(1):334-342.
Overexpression of the protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) subunit protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) markedly enhances cellular glycogen levels. In order to disrupt the endogenous PTG-PP1 complex, small interfering RNA (siRNA) constructs against PTG were identified. Infection of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with PTG siRNA adenovirus decreased PTG mRNA and protein levels by >90%. In parallel, PTG reduction resulted in a >85% decrease in glycogen levels 4 days after infection, supporting a critical role for PTG in glycogen metabolism. Total PP1, glycogen synthase, and GLUT4 levels, as well as insulin-stimulated signaling cascades, were unaffected. However, PTG knockdown reduced glycogen-targeted PP1 protein levels, corresponding to decreased cellular glycogen synthase- and phosphorylase-directed PP1 activity. Interestingly, GLUT1 levels and acute insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis rates were increased two- to threefold, and glycogen synthase activation in the presence of extracellular glucose was maintained. In contrast, glycogenolysis rates were markedly increased, suggesting that PTG primarily acts to suppress glycogen breakdown. Cumulatively, these data indicate that disruption of PTG expression resulted in the uncoupling of PP1 activity from glycogen metabolizing enzymes, the enhancement of glycogenolysis, and a dramatic decrease in cellular glycogen levels. Further, they suggest that reduction of glycogen stores induced cellular compensation by several mechanisms, but ultimately these changes could not overcome the loss of PTG expression.
PMCID: PMC1317620  PMID: 16354703
7.  Widespread presence of "bacterial-like" PPP phosphatases in eukaryotes 
In eukaryotes, PPP (protein phosphatase P) family is one of the two known protein phosphatase families specific for Ser and Thr. The role of PPP phosphatases in multiple signaling pathways in eukaryotic cell has been extensively studied. Unlike eukaryotic PPP phosphatases, bacterial members of the family have broad substrate specificity or may even be Tyr-specific. Moreover, one group of bacterial PPPs are diadenosine tetraphosphatases, indicating that bacterial PPP phosphatases may not necessarily function as protein phosphatases.
We describe the presence in eukaryotes of three groups of expressed genes encoding "non-conventional" phosphatases of the PPP family. These enzymes are more closely related to bacterial PPP phosphatases than to the known eukaryotic members of the family. One group, found exclusively in land plants, is most closely related to PPP phosphatases from some α-Proteobacteria, including Rhizobiales, Rhodobacterales and Rhodospirillaceae. This group is therefore termed Rhizobiales / Rhodobacterales / Rhodospirillaceae-like phosphatases, or Rhilphs. Phosphatases of the other group are found in Viridiplantae, Rhodophyta, Trypanosomatidae, Plasmodium and some fungi. They are structurally related to phosphatases from psychrophilic bacteria Shewanella and Colwellia, and are termed Shewanella-like phosphatases, or Shelphs. Phosphatases of the third group are distantly related to ApaH, bacterial diadenosine tetraphosphatases, and are termed ApaH-like phosphatases, or Alphs. Patchy distribution of Alphs in animals, plants, fungi, diatoms and kinetoplasts suggests that these phosphatases were present in the common ancestor of eukaryotes but were independently lost in many lineages. Rhilphs, Shelphs and Alphs form PPP clades, as divergent from "conventional" eukaryotic PPP phosphatases as they are from each other and from major bacterial clades. In addition, comparison of primary structures revealed a previously unrecognised (I/L/V)D(S/T)G motif, conserved in all bacterial and "bacterial-like" eukaryotic PPPs, but not in "conventional" eukaryotic and archaeal PPPs.
Our findings demonstrate that many eukaryotes possess diverse "bacterial-like" PPP phosphatases, the enzymatic characteristics, physiological roles and precise evolutionary history of which have yet to be determined.
PMCID: PMC535813  PMID: 15555063
8.  PER2 promotes glucose storage to liver glycogen during feeding and acute fasting by inducing Gys2 PTG and GL expression★ 
Molecular Metabolism  2013;2(3):292-305.
The interplay between hepatic glycogen metabolism and blood glucose levels is a paradigm of the rhythmic nature of metabolic homeostasis. Here we show that mice lacking a functional PER2 protein (Per2Brdm1) display reduced fasting glycemia, altered rhythms of hepatic glycogen accumulation, and altered rhythms of food intake. Per2Brdm1 mice show reduced hepatic glycogen content and altered circadian expression during controlled fasting and refeeding. Livers from Per2Brdm1 mice display reduced glycogen synthase protein levels during refeeding, and increased glycogen phosphorylase activity during fasting. The latter is explained by PER2 action on the expression of the adapter proteins PTG and GL, which target the protein phosphatase-1 to glycogen to decrease glycogen phosphorylase activity. Finally, PER2 interacts with genomic regions of Gys2, PTG, and GL. These results indicate an important role for PER2 in the hepatic transcriptional response to feeding and acute fasting that promotes glucose storage to liver glycogen.
PMCID: PMC3773838  PMID: 24049741
PER2; Glycogen metabolism; Glucose metabolism; Gene expression; Circadian biology
9.  Significant Expression Levels of Transgenic PPP1CC2 in Testis and Sperm Are Required to Overcome the Male Infertility Phenotype of Ppp1cc Null Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47623.
PPP1CC2, one of four isoforms of the ser/thr protein phosphatase PP1, is a mammalian-specific splice variant of the Ppp1cc gene, and the only isoform whose expression is confined almost completely to spermatogenic cells. Additionally, PPP1CC2 is the sole isoform found in mammalian spermatozoa. Although PPP1CC1, the other Ppp1cc product, is expressed in many tissues including testis, the only phenotype resulting from deletion of Ppp1cc gene is male infertility. To determine which of the products of Ppp1cc is essential for male fertility, we created two PPP1CC2 transgenes, eTg-G2 and pTg-G2, where Ppp1cc2 expression was driven by the putative endogenous promoter of Ppp1cc or by the testis specific human Pgk2 promoter, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the 2.6-kb genomic region directly upstream of the Ppp1cc structural gene can drive expression of Ppp1cc2, and recapitulate the wild-type tissue specificity of PPP1CC2 in transgenic mice. More importantly, we show that expression of PPP1CC2 alone, via either promoter, is able not only to restore normal spermatogenesis, but the fertility of Ppp1cc null mice as well, provided that transgenic PPP1CC2 expression in testis reaches at least a lower threshold level equivalent to approximately 50% of its expression by a Ppp1cc +/− male. We conclude that the endogenous Ppp1cc promoter normally functions in the testis to maintain a sufficient level of PPP1CC2 expression for normal spermatogenesis to occur, and that production of spermatozoa capable of fertilization in vivo can take place in the complete absence of PPP1CC1 expression.
PMCID: PMC3474748  PMID: 23082183
10.  Insulin Control of Glycogen Metabolism in Knockout Mice Lacking the Muscle-Specific Protein Phosphatase PP1G/RGL 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(8):2683-2694.
The regulatory-targeting subunit (RGL, also called GM) of the muscle-specific glycogen-associated protein phosphatase PP1G targets the enzyme to glycogen where it modulates the activity of glycogen-metabolizing enzymes. PP1G/RGL has been postulated to play a central role in epinephrine and insulin control of glycogen metabolism via phosphorylation of RGL. To investigate the function of the phosphatase, RGL knockout mice were generated. Animals lacking RGL show no obvious defects. The RGL protein is absent from the skeletal and cardiac muscle of null mutants and present at ∼50% of the wild-type level in heterozygotes. Both the level and activity of C1 protein are also decreased by ∼50% in the RGL-deficient mice. In skeletal muscle, the glycogen synthase (GS) activity ratio in the absence and presence of glucose-6-phosphate is reduced from 0.3 in the wild type to 0.1 in the null mutant RGL mice, whereas the phosphorylase activity ratio in the absence and presence of AMP is increased from 0.4 to 0.7. Glycogen accumulation is decreased by ∼90%. Despite impaired glycogen accumulation in muscle, the animals remain normoglycemic. Glucose tolerance and insulin responsiveness are identical in wild-type and knockout mice, as are basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptakes in skeletal muscle. Most importantly, insulin activated GS in both wild-type and RGL null mutant mice and stimulated a GS-specific protein phosphatase in both groups. These results demonstrate that RGL is genetically linked to glycogen metabolism, since its loss decreases PP1 and basal GS activities and glycogen accumulation. However, PP1G/RGL is not required for insulin activation of GS in skeletal muscle, and rather another GS-specific phosphatase appears to be involved.
PMCID: PMC86899  PMID: 11283248
11.  Association of glycogen synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase activities with membranes of hepatic smooth endoplasmic reticulum 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1979;83(2):348-356.
A detailed investigation was conducted to determine the precise subcellular localization of the rate-limiting enzymes of hepatic glycogen metabolism (glycogen synthase and phosphorylase) and their regulatory enzymes (synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase). Rat liver was homogenized and fractionated to produce soluble, rough and smooth microsomal fractions. Enzyme assays of the fractions were performed, and the results showed that glycogen synthase and phosphorylase were located in the soluble fraction of the livers. Synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase activities were also present in soluble fractions, but were clearly identified in both rough and smooth microsomal fractions. It is suggested that the location of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) within the cytosome forms a microenvironment within hepatocytes that establishes conditions necessary for glycogen synthesis (and degradation). Thus the location of SER in the cell determines regions of the hepatocyte that are rich in glycogen particles. Furthermore, the demonstration of the association of synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase with membranes of SER may account for the close morphological association of SER with glycogen particles (i.e., disposition of SER membranes brings the membrane-bound regulatory enzymes in close contact with their substrates).
PMCID: PMC2111548  PMID: 227915
12.  Exercise Training-Induced Adaptations Associated with Increases in Skeletal Muscle Glycogen Content 
The FEBS journal  2013;280(3):916-926.
Chronic exercise training results in numerous skeletal muscle adaptations, including increases in insulin sensitivity and glycogen content. To understand the mechanism for increased muscle glycogen, we studied the effects of exercise training on glycogen regulatory proteins in rat skeletal muscle. Female Sprague Dawley rats performed voluntary wheel running for 1, 4, or 7 weeks. After 7 weeks of training, insulin-stimulated glucose uptake was increased in epitrochlearis muscle. Compared to sedentary control rats, muscle glycogen did not change after 1 week of training, but increased significantly after 4 and 7 weeks. The increases in muscle glycogen were accompanied by elevated glycogen synthase activity and protein expression. To assess the regulation of glycogen synthase, we examined its major activator, protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), and its major deactivator, glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Consistent with glycogen synthase activity, PP1 activity was unchanged after 1 week of training but significantly increased after 4 and 7 weeks of training. Protein expression of RGL(GM), another regulatory PP1 subunit, significantly decreased after 4 and 7 weeks of training. Unlike PP1, GSK3 phosphorylation did not follow the pattern of glycogen synthase activity. The ~40% decrease in GSK-3α phosphorylation after 1 week of exercise training persisted until 7 weeks and may function as a negative feedback to elevated glycogen. Our findings suggest that exercise training-induced increases in muscle glycogen content could be regulated by multiple mechanisms including enhanced insulin sensitivity, glycogen synthase expression, allosteric activation of glycogen synthase and PP1activity.
PMCID: PMC3558638  PMID: 23206309
exercise; skeletal muscle; glycogen synthase; GSK-3; rat
13.  Identification and characterization of two distinct PPP1R2 isoforms in human spermatozoa 
BMC Cell Biology  2013;14:15.
Protein Ser/Thr Phosphatase PPP1CC2 is an alternatively spliced isoform of PPP1C that is highly enriched in testis and selectively expressed in sperm. Addition of the phosphatase inhibitor toxins okadaic acid or calyculin A to caput and caudal sperm triggers and stimulates motility, respectively. Thus, the endogenous mechanisms of phosphatase inhibition are fundamental for controlling sperm function and should be characterized. Preliminary results have shown a protein phosphatase inhibitor activity resembling PPP1R2 in bovine and primate spermatozoa.
Here we show conclusively, for the first time, that PPP1R2 is present in sperm. In addition, we have also identified a novel protein, PPP1R2P3. The latter was previously thought to be an intron-less pseudogene. We show that the protein corresponding to the pseudogene is expressed. It has PPP1 inhibitory potency similar to PPP1R2. The potential phosphosites in PPP1R2 are substituted by non-phosphorylable residues, T73P and S87R, in PPP1R2P3. We also confirm that PPP1R2/PPP1R2P3 are phosphorylated at Ser121 and Ser122, and report a novel phosphorylation site, Ser127. Subfractionation of sperm structures show that PPP1CC2, PPP1R2/PPP1R2P3 are located in the head and tail structures.
The conclusive identification and localization of sperm PPP1R2 and PPP1R2P3 lays the basis for future studies on their roles in acrosome reaction, sperm motility and hyperactivation. An intriguing possibility is that a switch in PPP1CC2 inhibitory subunits could be the trigger for sperm motility in the epididymis and/or sperm hyperactivation in the female reproductive tract.
PMCID: PMC3606321  PMID: 23506001
PP1; Phosphorylation; PP1 interacting protein; PPP1R2; PPP1R2P3; Pseudogene
14.  Protein Phosphatase 2A and Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 Signaling Modulate Prepulse Inhibition of the Acoustic Startle Response by Altering Cortical M-Type Potassium Channel Activity 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2010;30(26):8830-8840.
There is considerable interest in the regulation of sensorimotor gating, since deficits in this process could play a critical role in the symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Sensorimotor gating is often studied in humans and rodents using the prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response (PPI) model, in which an acoustic prepulse suppresses behavioral output to a startle-inducing stimulus. However, the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying PPI are poorly understood. Here, we show that a regulatory pathway involving protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (GSK3β), and their downstream target, the M-type potassium channel, regulates PPI. Mice (Mus musculus) carrying a hypomorphic allele of Ppp2r5δ, encoding a regulatory subunit of PP2A, show attenuated PPI. This PPP2R5δ reduction increases the phosphorylation of GSK3β at serine 9, which inactivates GSK3β, indicating that PPP2R5δ positively regulates GSK3β activity in the brain. Consistently, genetic and pharmacological manipulations that reduce GSK3β function attenuate PPI. The M-type potassium channel subunit, KCNQ2, is a putative GSK3β substrate. Genetic reduction of Kcnq2 also reduces PPI, as does systemic inhibition of M-channels with linopirdine. Importantly, both the GSK3 inhibitor 3-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-(1-methyl-1H-indol-3-yl)1H-pyrrole-2,5-dione (SB216763) and linopirdine reduce PPI when directly infused into the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Whole-cell electrophysiological recordings of mPFC neurons show that SB216763 and linopirdine have similar effects on firing, and GSK3 inhibition occludes the effects of M-channel inhibition. These data support a previously uncharacterized mechanism by which PP2A/GSK3β signaling regulates M-type potassium channel activity in the mPFC to modulate sensorimotor gating.
PMCID: PMC3842471  PMID: 20592205
15.  Site-Specific Phosphorylation of Protein Phosphatase 1 Regulatory Subunit 12A Stimulated or Suppressed by Insulin 
Journal of Proteomics  2012;75(11):3342-3350.
Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is one of the major phosphatases responsible for protein dephosphorylation in eukaryotes. So far, only few specific phosphorylation sites of PP1 regulatory subunit 12A (PPP1R12A) have been shown to regulate the PP1 activity. The effect of insulin on PPP1R12A phosphorylation is largely unknown. Utilizing a mass spectrometry based phosphorylation identification and quantification approach, we identified 21 PPP1R12A phosphorylation sites (7 novel sites, including Ser20, Thr22, Thr453, Ser478, Thr671, Ser678, and Ser680) and quantified 16 of them under basal and insulin stimulated conditions in hamster ovary cells overexpressing the insulin receptor (CHO/IR), an insulin sensitive cell model. Insulin stimulated the phosphorylation of PPP1R12A significantly at Ser477, Ser478, Ser507, Ser668, and Ser695, while simultaneously suppressing the phosphorylation of PPP1R12A at Ser509 (more than 2-fold increase or decrease compared to basal). Our data demonstrate that PPP1R12A undergoes insulin stimulated/suppressed phosphorylation, suggesting that PPP1R12A phosphorylation may play a role in insulin signal transduction. The novel PPP1R12A phosphorylation sites as well as the new insulin-responsive phosphorylation sites of PPP1R12A in CHO/IR cells provides targets for investigation of the regulation of PPP1R12A and the PPP1R12A-PP1cδ complex in insulin action and other signaling pathways in other cell models, animal models, and humans.
PMCID: PMC3367048  PMID: 22516431
PPP1R12A; phosphorylation; HPLC-ESI-MS/MS; quantification
16.  Glycogen metabolism in tissues from a mouse model of Lafora disease 
Laforin, encoded by the EPM2A gene, by sequence is a member of the dual specificity protein phosphatase family. Mutations in the EPM2A gene account for around half of the cases of Lafora disease, an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by progressive myoclonus epilepsy. The hallmark of the disease is the presence of Lafora bodies, which contain polyglucosan, a poorly branched form of glycogen, in neurons, muscle and other tissues. Glycogen metabolizing enzymes were analyzed in a transgenic mouse over-expressing a dominant negative form of laforin that accumulates Lafora bodies in several tissues. Skeletal muscle glycogen was increased two-fold as was the total glycogen synthase protein. However, the −/+ glucose-6-P activity of glycogen synthase was decreased from 0.29 to 0.16. Branching enzyme activity was increased by 30%. Glycogen phosphorylase activity was unchanged. In whole brain, no differences in glycogen synthase or branching enzyme activities were found. Although there were significant differences in enzyme activities in muscle, the results do not support the hypothesis that Lafora body formation is caused by a major change in the balance between glycogen elongation and branching activities.
PMCID: PMC2577384  PMID: 17118331
17.  Chemical genetic screen for AMPKα2 substrates uncovers a network of proteins involved in mitosis 
Molecular cell  2011;44(6):878-892.
The energy-sensing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated by low nutrient levels. Functions of AMPK, other than its role in cellular metabolism, are just beginning to emerge. Here we use a chemical genetics screen to identify direct substrates of AMPK in human cells. We find that AMPK phosphorylates 28 previously unidentified substrates, several of which are involved in mitosis and cytokinesis. We identify the residues phosphorylated by AMPK in vivo in several substrates, including protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 12C (PPP1R12C) and p21 -activated protein kinase (PAK2). AMPK-induced phosphorylation is necessary for PPP1R12C interaction with 14-3-3 and phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain. Both AMPK activity and PPP1R12C phosphorylation are increased in mitotic cells and are important for mitosis completion. These findings suggest that AMPK coordinates nutrient status with mitosis completion, which may be critical for the organism’s response to low nutrients during development, or in adult stem and cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3246132  PMID: 22137581
18.  Insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 12B revealed by HPLC-ESI-MS/MS 
Proteome Science  2012;10:52.
Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is one of the major phosphatases responsible for protein dephosphorylation in eukaryotes. Protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 12B (PPP1R12B), one of the regulatory subunits of PP1, can bind to PP1cδ, one of the catalytic subunits of PP1, and modulate the specificity and activity of PP1cδ against its substrates. Phosphorylation of PPP1R12B on threonine 646 by Rho kinase inhibits the activity of the PP1c-PPP1R12B complex. However, it is not currently known whether PPP1R12B phosphorylation at threonine 646 and other sites is regulated by insulin. We set out to identify phosphorylation sites in PPP1R12B and to quantify the effect of insulin on PPP1R12B phosphorylation by using high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry.
14 PPP1R12B phosphorylation sites were identified, 7 of which were previously unreported. Potential kinases were predicted for these sites. Furthermore, relative quantification of PPP1R12B phosphorylation sites for basal and insulin-treated samples was obtained by using peak area-based label-free mass spectrometry of fragment ions. The results indicate that insulin stimulates the phosphorylation of PPP1R12B significantly at serine 29 (3.02 ± 0.94 fold), serine 504 (11.67 ± 3.33 fold), and serine 645/threonine 646 (2.34 ± 0.58 fold).
PPP1R12B was identified as a phosphatase subunit that undergoes insulin-stimulated phosphorylation, suggesting that PPP1R12B might play a role in insulin signaling. This study also identified novel targets for future investigation of the regulation of PPP1R12B not only in insulin signaling in cell models, animal models, and in humans, but also in other signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3546068  PMID: 22937917
PPP1R12B; Phosphorylation; HPLC-ESI-MS/MS; Insulin signaling; Label-free; Quantification
19.  Enforced Expression of PPP1R13L Increases Tumorigenesis and Invasion Through p53-Dependent and p53-Independent Mechanisms 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2009;48(9):832-842.
PPP1R13L was initially identified as a protein that binds to the NF-κB subunit p65/RelA and inhibits its transcriptional activity. It also binds p53 and inhibits its action. One set of experimental findings based on overexpression of PPP1R13L indicates that PPP1R13L blocks apoptosis. Another set of experiments, based on endogenous production of PPP1R13L, suggests that the protein may sometimes be pro-apoptotic. We have used primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), dually transformed by HRAS and adenovirus E1A and differing in their p53 status, to explore the effects of PPP1R13L overexpression, thus examining the ability of PPP1R13L to act as an oncoprotein. We found that overexpression of PPP1R13L strongly accelerated tumor formation by RAS/E1A. PPP1R13L overexpressing cells were depleted for both p53 and active p65/RelA and we found that both p53-dependent and -independent apoptosis pathways were modulated by PPP1R13L. Finally, studies with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 revealed that overexpression of PPP1R13L causes faster p53 degradation, a likely explanation for the depletion of p53. Taken together, our results show that increased levels of PPP1R13L can increase tumorigenesis and furthermore suggest that PPP1R13L can influence metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3328301  PMID: 19263435
PPP1R13L gene; malignant transformation; tumorigenesis; tumor cell migration; tumor suppressor p53
20.  Protein phosphatase 4 is phosphorylated and inactivated by Cdk in response to spindle toxins and interacts with γ-tubulin 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(17):2876-2887.
Many pharmaceuticals used to treat cancer target the cell cycle or mitotic spindle dynamics, such as the anti-tumor drug, paclitaxel, which stabilizes microtubules. Here we show that, in cells arrested in mitosis with the spindle toxins, nocodazole, or paclitaxel, the endogenous protein phosphatase 4 (Ppp4) complex Ppp4c-R2-R3A is phosphorylated on its regulatory (R) subunits, and its activity is inhibited. The phosphorylations are blocked by roscovitine, indicating that they may be mediated by Cdk1-cyclin B. Endogenous Ppp4c is enriched at the centrosomes in the absence and presence of paclitaxel, nocodazole, or roscovitine, and the activity of endogenous Ppp4c-R2-R3A is inhibited from G1/S to the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Endogenous γ-tubulin and its associated protein, γ-tubulin complex protein 2, both of which are essential for nucleation of microtubules at centrosomes, interact with the Ppp4 complex. Recombinant γ-tubulin can be phosphorylated by Cdk1-cyclin B or Brsk1 and dephosphorylated by Ppp4c-R2-R3A in vitro. The data indicate that Ppp4c-R2-R3A regulates microtubule organization at centrosomes during cell division in response to stress signals such as spindle toxins, paclitaxel, and nocodazole, and that inhibition of the Ppp4 complex may be advantageous for treatment of some cancers.
PMCID: PMC3899200  PMID: 23966160
Cdk1; cell cycle; centrosome; nocodazole; paclitaxel; protein phosphatase 4; γ-tubulin
21.  Molecular Cloning, Structural Analysis and Tissue Expression of Protein Phosphatase 3 Catalytic Subunit Alpha Isoform (PPP3CA) Gene in Tianfu Goat Muscle 
Calcineurin, a Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase, plays a critical role in controlling skeletal muscle fiber type. However, little information is available concerning the expression of calcineurin in goat. Therefore, protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit alpha isoform (PPP3CA) gene, also called calcineurin Aα, was cloned and its expression characterized in Tianfu goat muscle. Real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analyses revealed that Tianfu goat PPP3CA was detected in cardiac muscle, biceps femoris muscle, abdominal muscle, longissimus dors muscle, and soleus muscle. High expression levels were found in biceps femoris muscle, longissimus muscle and abdominal muscle (p < 0.01), and low expression levels were seen in cardiac muscle and soleus muscle (p > 0.05). In addition, the spatial-temporal mRNA expression levels showed different variation trends in different muscles with the age of the goats. Western blotting further revealed that PPP3CA protein was expressed in the above-mentioned tissues, with the highest level in biceps femoris muscle, and the lowest level in soleus muscle. In this study, we isolated the full-length coding sequence of Tianfu goat PPP3CA gene, analyzed its structure, and investigated its expression in different muscle tissues from different age stages. These results provide a foundation for understanding the function of the PPP3CA gene in goats.
PMCID: PMC3958854  PMID: 24514563
PPP3CA; cDNA clone; sequence analysis; structure prediction; expression analysis
22.  Endogenous inhibitor proteins that connect Ser/Thr kinases and phosphatases in cell signaling 
IUBMB life  2012;64(9):732-739.
Protein phosphatase activity acts as a primary determinant of the extent and duration of phosphorylation of cellular proteins in response to physiological stimuli. Ser/Thr protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) belongs to the PPP superfamily, and is associated with regulatory subunits that confer substrate specificity, allosteric regulation and subcellular compartmentalization. In addition, all eukaryotic cells contain multiple heat-stable proteins that originally were thought to inhibit phosphatase catalytic subunits released from the regulatory subunits, as a fail-safe mechanism. However, discovery of CPI-17 required fresh thinking about the endogenous inhibitors as specific regulators of particular phosphatase complexes, acting in addition to, not instead of, regulatory subunits. The cellular actions of the endogenous inhibitors are controlled by phosphorylation, connecting them to kinase pathways. More recent progress has unveiled additional functions of PP1 inhibitor-2 (I-2), including regulation of protein kinases. Transcriptional mechanisms govern the expression levels of CPI-17 in response to stimuli. If true for other inhibitor proteins, they have the potential of being diagnostic markers for pathological conditions. We discuss specific examples of PP1 inhibitor proteins regulating particular cellular functions and the rationale for incorporating phosphatase inhibitor proteins in development of new therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3422418  PMID: 22815089
CPI-17; inhibitor-2; PP2A; ROCK; PKC; Aurora; Pin1
23.  Applying a Targeted Label-free Approach using LC-MS AMT Tags to Evaluate Changes in Protein Phosphorylation Following Phosphatase Inhibition 
Journal of proteome research  2007;6(11):4489-4497.
In order to identify phosphoproteins regulated by the phosphoprotein phosphatase (PPP) family of S/T phosphatases, we performed a large-scale characterization of changes in protein phosphorylation on extracts from HeLa cells treated with or without calyculin A, a potent PPP enzyme inhibitor. A label-free comparative phosphoproteomics approach using immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography and targeted tandem mass spectrometry was employed to discover and identify signatures based upon distinctive changes in abundance. Overall, 232 proteins were identified as either direct or indirect targets for PPP enzyme regulation. Most of the present identifications represent novel PPP enzyme targets at the level of both phosphorylation site and protein. These data can be used to define the underlying signaling pathways and events regulated by the PPP family of S/T phosphatases.
PMCID: PMC2516346  PMID: 17929957
Label-free quantitation; Targeted MS/MS; AMT tag pipeline; Comparative phosphoproteomics; Immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC); Mass spectrometry; 20 μm ID monolithic column; Phosphoprotein phosphatase (PPP) family; Ser/Thr protein phosphatase; Calyculin A
24.  Not so pseudo: the evolutionary history of protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 2 and related pseudogenes 
Pseudogenes are traditionally considered “dead” genes, therefore lacking biological functions. This view has however been challenged during the last decade. This is the case of the Protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 2 (PPP1R2) or inhibitor-2 gene family, for which several incomplete copies exist scattered throughout the genome.
In this study, the pseudogenization process of PPP1R2 was analyzed. Ten PPP1R2-related pseudogenes (PPP1R2P1-P10), highly similar to PPP1R2, were retrieved from the human genome assembly present in the databases. The phylogenetic analysis of mammalian PPP1R2 and related pseudogenes suggested that PPP1R2P7 and PPP1R2P9 retroposons appeared before the great mammalian radiation, while the remaining pseudogenes are primate-specific and retroposed at different times during Primate evolution. Although considered inactive, four of these pseudogenes seem to be transcribed and possibly possess biological functions. Given the role of PPP1R2 in sperm motility, the presence of these proteins was assessed in human sperm, and two PPP1R2-related proteins were detected, PPP1R2P3 and PPP1R2P9. Signatures of negative and positive selection were also detected in PPP1R2P9, further suggesting a role as a functional protein.
The results show that contrary to initial observations PPP1R2-related pseudogenes are not simple bystanders of the evolutionary process but may rather be at the origin of genes with novel functions.
PMCID: PMC3840573  PMID: 24195737
PPP1; PPP1R2; Retroposons; Pseudogenization; Evolution; Vertebrates
25.  Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases Promote WNT/β-Catenin Signaling via Phosphorylation of LRP6 ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;31(1):179-189.
LDL-related protein 6 (LRP6) is a coreceptor of WNTs and a key regulator of the WNT/β-catenin pathway. Upon activation, LRP6 is phosphorylated within its intracellular PPPS/TP motifs. These phosphorylated motifs are required to recruit axin and to inhibit glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), two basic components of the β-catenin destruction complex. On the basis of a kinome-wide small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen and confirmative biochemical analysis, we show that several proline-directed mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), such as p38, ERK1/2, and JNK1 are sufficient and required for the phosphorylation of PPPS/TP motifs of LRP6. External stimuli, which control the activity of MAPKs, such as phorbol esters and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) control the choice of the LRP6-PPPS/TP kinase and regulate the amplitude of LRP6 phosphorylation and WNT/β-catenin-dependent transcription. Our findings suggest that cells not only recruit one dedicated LRP6 kinase but rather select their LRP6 kinase depending on cell type and the external stimulus. Moreover, direct phosphorylation of LRP6 by MAPKs provides a unique point for convergence between WNT/β-catenin signaling and mitogenic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3019858  PMID: 20974802

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