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1.  A Strategy for Modulation of Enzymes in the Ubiquitin System 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;339(6119):10.1126/science.1230161.
The ubiquitin system regulates virtually all aspects of cellular function. We report a method to target the myriad enzymes that govern ubiquitination of protein substrates. We used massively diverse combinatorial libraries of ubiquitin variants to develop inhibitors of four deubiquitinases (DUBs) and analyzed the DUB-inhibitor complexes with crystallography. We extended the selection strategy to the ubiquitin conjugating (E2) and ubiquitin ligase (E3) enzymes and found that ubiquitin variants can also enhance enzyme activity. Last, we showed that ubiquitin variants can bind selectively to ubiquitin-binding domains. Ubiquitin variants exhibit selective function in cells and thus enable orthogonal modulation of specific enzymatic steps in the ubiquitin system.
PMCID: PMC3815447  PMID: 23287719
2.  In Vivo Requirement for Atg5 in Antigen Presentation by Dendritic Cells 
Immunity  2010;32(2):227-239.
Autophagy is known to be important in presentation of cytosolic antigens on MHC class II (MHC II). However, the role of autophagic process in antigen presentation in vivo is unclear. Mice with dendritic cell (DC)-conditional deletion in Atg5, a key autophagy gene, showed impaired CD4+ T cell priming after herpes simplex virus infection and succumbed to rapid disease. The most pronounced defect of Atg5−/− DCs was the processing and presentation of phagocytosed antigens containing Toll-like receptor stimuli for MHC class II. In contrast, cross-presentation of peptides on MHC I was intact in the absence of Atg5. Although induction of metabolic autophagy did not enhance MHC II presentation, autophagic machinery was required for optimal phagosome-to-lysosome fusion and subsequent processing of antigen for MHC II loading. Thus, our study revealed that DCs utilize autophagic machinery to optimally process and present extracellular microbial antigens for MHC II presentation.
PMCID: PMC2996467  PMID: 20171125
3.  Regulation of lipid droplet turnover by ubiquitin ligases 
BMC Biology  2010;8:94.
Mutation of the protein spartin is a cause of one form of spastic paraplegia. Spartin interacts with ubiquitin ligases of the Nedd4 family, and a recent report in BMC Biology now shows that it acts as an adaptor to recruit and activate the ubiquitin ligase AIP4 onto lipid droplets, leading to the ubiquitination and degradation of droplet-associated proteins. A deficiency of spartin apparently causes lipid droplets to accumulate.
See research article:
PMCID: PMC2906420  PMID: 20646264
4.  Comparison of substrate specificity of the ubiquitin ligases Nedd4 and Nedd4-2 using proteome arrays 
Target recognition by the ubiquitin system is mediated by E3 ubiquitin ligases. Nedd4 family members are E3 ligases comprised of a C2 domain, 2–4 WW domains that bind PY motifs (L/PPxY) and a ubiquitin ligase HECT domain. The nine Nedd4 family proteins in mammals include two close relatives: Nedd4 (Nedd4-1) and Nedd4L (Nedd4-2), but their global substrate recognition or differences in substrate specificity are unknown. We performed in vitro ubiquitylation and binding assays of human Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, and rat-Nedd4-1, using protein microarrays spotted with ∼8200 human proteins. Top hits (substrates) for the ubiquitylation and binding assays mostly contain PY motifs. Although several substrates were recognized by both Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, others were specific to only one, with several Tyr kinases preferred by Nedd4-1 and some ion channels by Nedd4-2; this was subsequently validated in vivo. Accordingly, Nedd4-1 knockdown or knockout in cells led to sustained signalling via some of its substrate Tyr kinases (e.g. FGFR), suggesting Nedd4-1 suppresses their signalling. These results demonstrate the feasibility of identifying substrates and deciphering substrate specificity of mammalian E3 ligases.
PMCID: PMC2824488  PMID: 19953087
E3 ubiquitin ligase; HECT domain; Nedd4; proteome array; ubiquitin
5.  Fast Turnover of L1 Adhesions in Neuronal Growth Cones Involving Both Surface Diffusion and Exo/Endocytosis of L1 Molecules 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(8):3131-3143.
We investigated the interplay between surface trafficking and binding dynamics of the immunoglobulin cell adhesion molecule L1 at neuronal growth cones. Primary neurons were transfected with L1 constructs bearing thrombin-cleavable green fluorescent protein (GFP), allowing visualization of newly exocytosed L1 or labeling of membrane L1 molecules by Quantum dots. Intracellular L1–GFP vesicles showed preferential centrifugal motion, whereas surface L1–GFP diffused randomly, revealing two pathways to address L1 to adhesive sites. We triggered L1 adhesions using microspheres coated with L1–Fc protein or anti-L1 antibodies, manipulated by optical tweezers. Microspheres coupled to the actin retrograde flow at the growth cone periphery while recruiting L1–GFP molecules, of which 50% relied on exocytosis. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments revealed a rapid recycling of L1–GFP molecules at L1–Fc (but not anti-L1) bead contacts, attributed to a high lability of L1–L1 bonds at equilibrium. L1–GFP molecules truncated in the intracellular tail as well as neuronal cell adhesion molecules (NrCAMs) missing the clathrin adaptor binding sequence showed both little internalization and reduced turnover rates, indicating a role of endocytosis in the recycling of mature L1 contacts at the base of the growth cone. Thus, unlike for other molecules such as NrCAM or N-cadherin, diffusion/trapping and exo/endocytosis events cooperate to allow the fast renewal of L1 adhesions.
PMCID: PMC1949362  PMID: 17538021
6.  Cdc42 and Actin Control Polarized Expression of TI-VAMP Vesicles to Neuronal Growth Cones and Their Fusion with the Plasma MembraneV⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(3):1194-1203.
Tetanus neurotoxin-insensitive vesicle-associated membrane protein (TI-VAMP)-mediated fusion of intracellular vesicles with the plasma membrane is crucial for neurite outgrowth, a pathway not requiring synaptobrevin-dependent exocytosis. Yet, it is not known how the TI-VAMP membrane trafficking pathway is regulated or how it is coordinated with cytoskeletal dynamics within the growth cone that guide neurite outgrowth. Here, we demonstrate that TI-VAMP, but not synaptobrevin 2, concentrates in the peripheral, F-actin-rich region of the growth cones of hippocampal neurons in primary culture. Its accumulation correlates with and depends upon the presence of F-actin. Moreover, acute stimulation of actin remodeling by homophilic activation of the adhesion molecule L1 induces a site-directed, actin-dependent recruitment of the TI-VAMP compartment. Expression of a dominant-positive mutant of Cdc42, a key regulator of cell polarity, stimulates formation of F-actin- and TI-VAMP-rich filopodia outside the growth cone. Furthermore, we report that Cdc42 activates exocytosis of pHLuorin tagged TI-VAMP in an actin-dependent manner. Collectively, our data suggest that Cdc42 and regulated assembly of the F-actin network control the accumulation and exocytosis of TI-VAMP-containing membrane vesicles in growth cones to coordinate membrane trafficking and actin remodeling during neurite outgrowth.
PMCID: PMC1382309  PMID: 16381811
7.  Cross Talk between Tetanus Neurotoxin-insensitive Vesicle-associated Membrane Protein-mediated Transport and L1-mediated AdhesionD⃞V⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(10):4207-4220.
The membrane-trafficking pathway mediated by tetanus neurotoxin-insensitive vesicle-associated membrane protein (TI-VAMP) in neurons is still unknown. We show herein that TI-VAMP expression is necessary for neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells and hippocampal neurons in culture. TI-VAMP interacts with plasma membrane and endosomal target soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors, suggesting that TI-VAMP mediates a recycling pathway. L1, a cell-cell adhesion molecule involved in axonal outgrowth, colocalized with TI-VAMP in the developing brain, neurons in culture, and PC12 cells. Plasma membrane L1 was internalized into the TI-VAMP–containing compartment. Silencing of TI-VAMP resulted in reduced expression of L1 at the plasma membrane. Finally, using the extracellular domain of L1 and N-cadherin immobilized on beads, we found that the silencing of TI-VAMP led to impaired L1- but not N-cadherin–mediated adhesion. Furthermore, TI-VAMP- but not synaptobrevin 2-containing vesicles accumulated at the site of the L1 bead-cell junction. We conclude that TI-VAMP mediates the intracellular transport of L1 and that L1-mediated adhesion controls this membrane trafficking, thereby suggesting an important cross talk between membrane trafficking and cell-cell adhesion.
PMCID: PMC207012  PMID: 14517330
8.  Role of Tetanus Neurotoxin Insensitive Vesicle-Associated Membrane Protein (Ti-Vamp) in Vesicular Transport Mediating Neurite Outgrowth 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(4):889-900.
How vesicular transport participates in neurite outgrowth is still poorly understood. Neurite outgrowth is not sensitive to tetanus neurotoxin thus does not involve synaptobrevin-mediated vesicular transport to the plasma membrane of neurons. Tetanus neurotoxin-insensitive vesicle-associated membrane protein (TI-VAMP) is a vesicle-SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein [NSF] attachment protein [SNAP] receptor), involved in transport to the apical plasma membrane in epithelial cells, a tetanus neurotoxin-resistant pathway. Here we show that TI-VAMP is essential for vesicular transport-mediating neurite outgrowth in staurosporine-differentiated PC12 cells. The NH2-terminal domain, which precedes the SNARE motif of TI-VAMP, inhibits the association of TI-VAMP with synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kD (SNAP25). Expression of this domain inhibits neurite outgrowth as potently as Botulinum neurotoxin E, which cleaves SNAP25. In contrast, expression of the NH2-terminal deletion mutant of TI-VAMP increases SNARE complex formation and strongly stimulates neurite outgrowth. These results provide the first functional evidence for the role of TI-VAMP in neurite outgrowth and point to its NH2-terminal domain as a key regulator in this process.
PMCID: PMC2174569  PMID: 10811829
membrane traffic; neurite outgrowth; SNAREs; TI-VAMP; SNAP25

Results 1-8 (8)