The “Hippo” signaling pathway has emerged as a major regulator of cell proliferation and survival in metazoans. The pathway, as delineated by genetic and biochemical studies in Drosophila, consists of a kinase cascade regulated by cell-cell contact and cell polarity that inhibits the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie and its proliferative, anti-differentiation, antiapoptotic transcriptional program. The core pathway components are the GC kinase Hippo, which phosphorylates the noncatalytic polypeptide Mats/Mob1 and, with the assistance of the scaffold protein Salvador, phosphorylates the ndr-family kinase Lats. In turn phospho-Lats, after binding to phospho-Mats, autoactivates and phosphorylates Yorkie, resulting in its nuclear exit. Hippo also uses the scaffold protein Furry and a different Mob protein to control another ndr-like kinase, the morphogenetic regulator Tricornered. Architecturally homologous kinase cascades consisting of a GC kinase, a Mob protein, a scaffolding polypeptide and an ndr-like kinase are well described in yeast; in S. cerevisiae e.g., the MEN pathway promotes mitotic exit whereas the RAM network, using a different GC kinase, Mob protein, scaffold and ndr-like kinase, regulates cell polarity and morphogenesis. In mammals, the Hippo orthologues Mst1 and Mst2 utilize the Salvador ortholog WW45/Sav1 and other scaffolds to regulate the kinases Lats1/Lats2 and ndr1/ndr2. As in Drosophila, murine Mst1/Mst2, in a redundant manner, negatively regulate the Yorkie ortholog YAP in the epithelial cells of the liver and gut; loss of both Mst1 and Mst2 results in hyperproliferation and tumorigenesis that can be largely negated by reduction or elimination of YAP. Despite this conservation, considerable diversification in pathway composition and regulation is already evident; in skin e.g., YAP phosphorylation is independent of Mst1Mst2 and Lats1Lats2. Moreover, in lymphoid cells, Mst1/Mst2, under the control of the Rap1 GTPase and independent of YAP, promotes integrin clustering, actin remodeling and motility while restraining the proliferation of naïve T cells. This review will summarize current knowledge of the structure and regulation of the kinases Hippo/Mst1&2, their noncatalytic binding partners, Salvador and the Rassf polypeptides, and their major substrates Warts/Lats1&2, Trc/ndr1&2, Mats/Mob1 and FOXO.
Protein kinase; Hippo; Mst1/2; Mob1; Lats1/2; ndr1/2
The transcriptional co-activator YAP is an evolutionarily conserved regulator of organ size and progenitor cell proliferation. YAP is overexpressed at high frequency in many common human cancers and can directly drive cancer development in mouse models. YAP abundance and nuclear localization are negatively regulated by the Hippo kinase cascade, which, in epithelia, is activated by physiological cell-cell contact. recent work in intestinal epithelium has established that YAP is constitutively inhibited by the Hippo pathway and entirely dispensable for normal development and homeostasis. YAP serves only in a standby capacity; should cell-cell contact be abrogated, as after intestinal damage, the loss of Hippo input permits increased YAP abundance and nuclear residence. in turn, YAP cooperates with β-catenin to transactivate genes that promote stem cell expansion for epithelial repair. This interplay between overexpressed YAP and β-catenin also drives proliferation of colon cancer cells. The dispensability of YAP in normal intestine makes YAP's expression or outputs attractive targets for cancer therapy.
YAP; Hippo; intestinal stem cell; β-catenin; colon cancer; liver cancer
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a giant protein kinase that controls cell proliferation, growth, and metabolism. mTOR is regulated by nutrient availability, by mitogens, and by stress, and operates through two independently regulated hetero-oligomeric complexes. We have attempted to identify the cellular components necessary to maintain the activity of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), the amino acid-dependent, rapamycin-inhibitable complex, using a whole genome approach involving RNAi-induced depletion of cellular polypeptides. We have used a pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell line, Mia-PaCa for this screen; as with many pancreatic cancers, these cells exhibit constitutive activation of mTORC1. PDAC is the most common form of pancreatic cancer and the 5-year survival rate remains 3–5% despite current nonspecific and targeted therapies. Although rapamycin-related mTOR inhibitors have yet to demonstrate encouraging clinical responses, it is now evident that this class of compounds is capable of only partial mTORC1 inhibition. Identifying previously unappreciated proteins needed for maintenance of mTORC1 activity may provide new targets and lead to the development of beneficial therapies for pancreatic cancer.
rpS6; Phosphorylation; mTOR; Genome wide; RNAi; Screen; Immunofluorescence; Pancreatic cancer
In mice lacking both Mst1 and Mst2 in the lymphoid compartment, thymocyte development is normal, but single-positive thymocytes exhibit excessive apoptosis and greatly diminished thymic egress, accompanied by loss of chemokine activation of RhoA and Rac1.
The Mst1 kinase is an important regulator of murine T cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and apoptosis. In this study, we analyze mice lacking both Mst1 and Mst2 in hematopoietic cells. Compared with wild-type mice, these double knockout (DKO) mice exhibit a severe reduction in the number of mature T cells in the circulation and in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs). CD4+CD8− and CD4−CD8+ single-positive (SP) thymocytes in DKO mice resemble mature T cells of wild-type mice but undergo excessive apoptosis, and their egress from the thymus is reduced by >90%. Even when placed directly in the circulation, DKO SP thymocytes failed to enter SLOs. In SP thymocytes, deficiency of Mst1 and Mst2 abolished sphingosine-1 phosphate– and CCL21-induced Mob1 phosphorylation, Rac1 and RhoA GTP charging, and subsequent cell migration. When phosphorylated by Mst1 or Mst2, Mob1 binds and activates the Rac1 guanyl nucleotide exchanger Dock8, which is abundant in the thymus. Thus, the Mst1 and Mst2 kinases control Rho GTPase activation and the migratory responses of SP thymocytes.
No targeted immunotherapies reverse type 1 diabetes in humans. However, in a rodent model of type 1 diabetes, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) reverses disease by restoring insulin secretion. Specifically, it stimulates innate immunity by inducing the host to produce tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which, in turn, kills disease-causing autoimmune cells and restores pancreatic beta-cell function through regeneration.
Translating these findings to humans, we administered BCG, a generic vaccine, in a proof-of-principle, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of adults with long-term type 1 diabetes (mean: 15.3 years) at one clinical center in North America. Six subjects were randomly assigned to BCG or placebo and compared to self, healthy paired controls (n = 6) or reference subjects with (n = 57) or without (n = 16) type 1 diabetes, depending upon the outcome measure. We monitored weekly blood samples for 20 weeks for insulin-autoreactive T cells, regulatory T cells (Tregs), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and other autoantibodies, and C-peptide, a marker of insulin secretion. BCG-treated patients and one placebo-treated patient who, after enrollment, unexpectedly developed acute Epstein-Barr virus infection, a known TNF inducer, exclusively showed increases in dead insulin-autoreactive T cells and induction of Tregs. C-peptide levels (pmol/L) significantly rose transiently in two BCG-treated subjects (means: 3.49 pmol/L [95% CI 2.95–3.8], 2.57 [95% CI 1.65–3.49]) and the EBV-infected subject (3.16 [95% CI 2.54–3.69]) vs.1.65 [95% CI 1.55–3.2] in reference diabetic subjects. BCG-treated subjects each had more than 50% of their C-peptide values above the 95th percentile of the reference subjects. The EBV-infected subject had 18% of C-peptide values above this level.
We conclude that BCG treatment or EBV infection transiently modified the autoimmunity that underlies type 1 diabetes by stimulating the host innate immune response. This suggests that BCG or other stimulators of host innate immunity may have value in the treatment of long-term diabetes.
During development and regeneration, proliferation of tissue-specific stem cells is tightly controlled to produce organs of a predetermined size. The molecular determinants of this process remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate the function of Yap1, the transcriptional effector of the Hippo signaling pathway, in skin biology. Using gain- and loss-of-function studies we show that Yap1 is a critical modulator of epidermal stem cell proliferation and tissue expansion. Yap1 mediates this effect through interaction with TEAD transcription factors. Additionally, our studies reveal that α-catenin, a molecule previously implicated in tumor suppression and cell density sensing in the skin, is an upstream negative regulator of Yap1. α-catenin controls Yap1 activity and phosphorylation by modulating its interaction with 14-3-3 and the PP2A phosphatase. Together, these data identify Yap1 as a determinant of the proliferative capacity of epidermal stem cells and as an important effector of a ‘crowd control’ molecular circuitry in mammalian skin.
The mechanisms controlling mammalian organ size have long been a source of fascination for biologists. These controls are needed to both ensure the integrity of the body plan and to restrict inappropriate proliferation that could lead to cancer. Regulation of liver size is of particular interest inasmuch as this organ maintains the capacity for regeneration throughout life, and is able to regain precisely its original mass after partial surgical resection. Recent studies using genetically engineered mouse strains have shed new light on this problem; the Hippo signalling pathway, first elucidated as a regulator of organ size in Drosophila, has been identified as dominant determinant of liver growth. Defects in this pathway in mouse liver lead to sustained liver overgrowth and the eventual development of both major types of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. In this review, we discuss the role of Hippo signalling in liver biology and the contribution of this pathway to liver cancer in humans.
liver cancer; hepatocellular carcinoma; cholangiocarcinoma; oval cells; Hippo; Rassf polypeptides; tumour suppressor pathway
The small GTPase Rheb is a positive upstream regulator of the target of rapamycin (TOR) complex 1 in mammalian cells and can bind directly to TOR complex 1. To identify the regions of the Rheb surface most critical for signaling to TOR complex 1, we created a set of 26 mutants wherein clusters of 1–5 putative solvent-exposed residues were changed to alanine, ultimately changing 65 residues distributed over the entire Rheb surface. The signaling function of these mutants was assessed by their ability, in comparison to wild type Rheb, to restore the phosphorylation of S6K1(Thr389) when expressed transiently in amino acid-deprived 293T cells. The major finding is that two mutants situated in the Rheb switch 2 segment, Y67A/I69A and I76A/D77A, exhibit a near total loss of function, whereas extensive replacement of the switch 1 segment and other surface residues with alanines causes relatively little disturbance of Rheb rescue of S6K1 from amino acid withdrawal. This is surprising in view of the minimal impact of guanyl nucleotide on Rheb switch 2 configuration. The loss of function Rheb switch 2 mutants are well expressed and exhibit partial agonist function in amino acid-replete cells. They are unimpaired in their ability to bind GTP or mammalian (m)TOR in vivo or in vitro, and the mTOR polypeptides retrieved with these inactive Rheb mutants exhibit kinase activity in vitro comparable with mTOR bound to wild type Rheb. We conclude that Rheb signaling to mTOR in vivo requires a Rheb switch 2-dependent interaction with an element other than the three known polypeptide components of TOR complex 1.
Nore1A was originally identified as a potential Ras effector, and Nore1B is an alternatively spliced isoform. Both share a Ras/Rap association domain (RA domain) but only Nore1A contains sequence motifs that predict SH3 domain binding and diacylglycerol/phorbol ester binding in the amino-terminal region. Here we report that Carma1 binds to Nore1A and Nore1B through the RA domain and that Carma1 interacts with active Ras in the presence of Nore1B. RNA interference against Nore1B attenuates NF-κB activation induced by T cell receptor (TCR) ligation, but not NF-κB activation induced by TNFα or lipoteichoic acid. In addition, Nore1B is also required for KiRas GV12-mediated ERK1 activation and Elk1 reporter activity in T cells. We also provide evidence that knockdown of Nore1B also impairs polarized redistribution of Ras at the B cell-T cell immune interface. Together, these findings suggest that endogenous Nore1B recruits active Ras to the APC-T cell interface and mediates the interaction between Ras and Carma1.
T-lymphocytes; NF-κB; Ras proteins; MAGUK proteins; Lymphocyte activation
We developed a pTOM construct that can express two proteins in a cell. Using pTOM ensures that two polypeptide-encoding nucleotide sequences are simultaneously transfected into the same cell. The ability to simultaneously express two separate polypeptide-encoding nucleotide sequences from the same vector in the same cell allows the user to determine the relationship between the two proteins. Another advantage is that one of the proteins can be used as a transfection marker/selector. The vector contains multiple cloning sites for insertions of polypeptide-encoding nucleotide sequences. Positive clones can be easily selected when performing cloning using ampicillin. Overall, this vector provides a convenient way to express dual proteins in a single mammalian cell.
The proline-rich Akt substrate of 40 kilodaltons (PRAS40) was identified as a raptor-binding protein that is phosphorylated directly by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) but not mTORC2 in vitro, predominantly at PRAS40 (Ser183). The binding of S6K1 and 4E-BP1 to raptor requires a TOR signaling (TOS) motif, which contains an essential Phe followed by four alternating acidic and small hydrophobic amino acids. PRAS40 binding to raptor was severely inhibited by mutation of PRAS40 (Phe129 to Ala). Immediately carboxyl-terminal to Phe129 are two small hydrophobic amino acid followed by two acidic residues. PRAS40 binding to raptor was also abolished by mutation of the major mTORC1 phosphorylation site, Ser183, to Asp. PRAS40 (Ser183) was phosphorylated in intact cells; this phosphorylation was inhibited by rapamycin, by 2-deoxyglucose, and by overexpression of the tuberous sclerosis complex heterodimer. PRAS40 (Ser183) phosphorylation was also inhibited reversibly by withdrawal of all or of only the branched chain amino acids; this inhibition was reversed by overexpression of the Rheb GTPase. Overex-pressed PRAS40 suppressed the phosphorylation of S6K1 and 4E-BP1 at their rapamycin-sensitive phosphorylation sites, and reciprocally, overexpression of S6K1 or 4E-BP1 suppressed phosphorylation of PRAS40 (Ser183) and its binding to raptor. RNA interference-induced depletion of PRAS40 enhanced the amino acid-stimulated phosphorylation of both S6K1 and 4E-BP1. These results establish PRAS40 as a physiological mTORC1 substrate that contains a variant TOS motif. Moreover, they indicate that the ability of raptor to bind endogenous substrates is limiting for the activity of mTORC1 in vivo and is therefore a potential locus of regulation.
Hippo-Lats-Yorkie signaling regulates tissue overgrowth and tumorigenesis in Drosophila. We show that the Mst1 and Mst2 protein kinases, the mammalian Hippo orthologs, are cleaved and constitutively activated in the mouse liver. Combined Mst1/2 deficiency in the liver results in loss of inhibitory Ser127 phosphorylation of the Yorkie ortholog, Yap1, massive overgrowth, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Reexpression of Mst1 in HCC-derived cell lines promotes Yap1 Ser127 phosphorylation and inactivation, and abrogates their tumorigenicity. Notably, Mst1/2 inactivates Yap1 in liver through an intermediary kinase distinct from Lats1/2. Approximately 30% of human HCCs show low Yap1(Ser127) phosphorylation and a majority exhibit loss of cleaved, activated Mst1. Mst1/2 inhibition of Yap1 is an important pathway for tumor suppression in liver relevant to human HCC.
The pathways that regulate quiescence and tumor suppression in the liver have not been fully elucidated. We show that the Mst1 and Mst2 kinases are tumor suppressors and regulators of liver size in adults and that negative regulation of the transcriptional coactivator, Yap1, is central to Mst1/2 tumor suppressor function. Loss of both Mst1 and Mst2 is sufficient to initiate hepatocyte proliferation, resulting in dramatic liver overgrowth, resistance to pro-apoptotic stimuli, and the development of HCC. Mst1 and Mst2 promote phosphorylation of Yap1 and thereby suppress its oncogenic activity. Mst1/2 regulation of Yap1 is tissue-specific and, in the liver, involves an Mst1/2-regulated Yap1 kinase distinct from Lats1/2. Significantly, the Mst-Yap1 pathway is disrupted in a substantial fraction of human HCCs.
Mst1; Mst2; hepatocellular carcinoma; tumor suppressor; Yap1; hippo
The stimulatory effect of insulin on protein synthesis is due to its ability to activate various translation factors. We now show that insulin can increase protein synthesis capacity also by translational activation of TOP mRNAs encoding various components of the translation machinery. This translational activation involves the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), as the knockout of TSC1 or TSC2 rescues TOP mRNAs from translational repression in mitotically arrested cells. Similar results were obtained upon overexpression of Rheb, an immediate TSC1-TSC2 target. The role of mTOR, a downstream effector of Rheb, in translational control of TOP mRNAs has been extensively studied, albeit with conflicting results. Even though rapamycin fully blocks mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) kinase activity, the response of TOP mRNAs to this drug varies from complete resistance to high sensitivity. Here we show that mTOR knockdown blunts the translation efficiency of TOP mRNAs in insulin-treated cells, thus unequivocally establishing a role for mTOR in this mode of regulation. However, knockout of the raptor or rictor gene has only a slight effect on the translation efficiency of these mRNAs, implying that mTOR exerts its effect on TOP mRNAs through a novel pathway with a minor, if any, contribution of the canonical mTOR complexes mTORC1 and mTORC2. This conclusion is further supported by the observation that raptor knockout renders the translation of TOP mRNAs rapamycin hypersensitive.
Mammalian sterile 20-like kinase 1 (Mst1) is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase belonging to the family of Sterile 20-like kinases. MST1 has been inferred to play important roles in apoptosis and in the inhibition of proliferation in mammalian cells. Here, we describe the genetic characterization of Mst1-deficient mice produced by two distinct gene-trap insertions. Animals generated from clone RRT293 exhibit transmission ratio distortion favoring the mutated allele and is amplified with each generation. Inexplicably, while the mutated allele is favored for transmission, its homozygosity is embryonic lethal. By contrast, animals generated from the second Mst1 gene-trap clone, AJ0315, do not show any gross abnormalities. We find that the discrepancy in phenotype is most likely attributable to a second insertion in the RRT293 clone. Thus, a mutation in Mst1 alone does not affect survival. Our results set the stage for identification of the lethal second-site mutation that is paradoxically favored for transmission.
Mst1; Sterile 20-like kinases; transmission ratio distortion; gene-trap insertion
Insulin signaling through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) activates the protein kinase Akt through phosphorylation of its threonine 308 and serine 473 residues by the PDK1 protein kinase and the Rictor-mammalian target of rapamycin complex (mTORC2), respectively. Remarkably, we show here that the Rictor protein is also present in cultured adipocytes in complexes containing Myo1c, a molecular motor that promotes cortical actin remodeling. Interestingly, the Rictor-Myo1c complex is biochemically distinct from the previously reported mTORC2 and can be immunoprecipitated independently of mTORC2. Furthermore, while RNA interference-directed silencing of Rictor results in the expected attenuation of Akt phosphorylation at serine 473, depletion of Myo1c is without effect. In contrast, loss of either Rictor or Myo1c inhibits phosphorylation of the actin filament regulatory protein paxillin at tyrosine 118. Furthermore, Myo1c-induced membrane ruffling of 3T3-L1 adipocytes is also compromised following Rictor knockdown. Interestingly, neither the mTORC2 inhibitor rapamycin nor the PI 3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin affects paxillin tyrosine 118 phosphorylation. Taken together, our findings suggest that the Rictor-Myo1c complex is distinct from mTORC2 and that Myo1c, in conjunction with Rictor, participates in cortical actin remodeling events.
The MAP kinases, discovered approximately twenty years ago, together with their immediate upstream regulators, are among the most highly studied signal transduction molecules. This body of work has shaped many aspects of our present views of signal transduction by protein kinases. The effort expended in this area reflects the extensive participation of these regulatory modules in the control of cell fate decisions, i.e., proliferation, differentiation and death, across all eukaryotic phylla and in all tissues of metazoans. The discovery of these kinases is reviewed, followed by a discussion of some of the features of this signaling module that account for its broad impact on cell function and its enormous interest to many investigators.
The Nercc1 protein kinase autoactivates in vitro and is activated in vivo during mitosis. Autoactivation in vitro requires phosphorylation of the activation loop at threonine 210. Mitotic activation of Nercc1 in mammalian cells is accompanied by Thr210 phosphorylation and involves a small fraction of total Nercc1. Mammalian Nercc1 coimmunoprecipitates γ-tubulin and the activated Nercc1 polypeptides localize to the centrosomes and spindle poles during early mitosis, suggesting that active Nercc has important functions at the microtubular organizing center during cell division. To test this hypothesis, we characterized the Xenopus Nercc1 orthologue (XNercc). XNercc endogenous to meiotic egg extracts coprecipitates a multiprotein complex that contains γ-tubulin and several components of the γ-tubulin ring complex and localizes to the poles of spindles formed in vitro. Reciprocally, immunoprecipitates of the γ-tubulin ring complex polypeptide Xgrip109 contain XNercc. Immunodepletion of XNercc from egg extracts results in delayed spindle assembly, fewer bipolar spindles, and the appearance of aberrant microtubule structures, aberrations corrected by addition of purified recombinant XNercc. XNercc immunodepletion also slows aster assembly induced by Ran-GTP, producing Ran-asters of abnormal size and morphology. Thus, Nercc1 contributes to both the centrosomal and the chromatin/Ran pathways that collaborate in the organization of a bipolar spindle.
The Ras-Raf-MAPK cascade is a key growth-signaling pathway and its uncontrolled activation results in cell transformation. Although the general features of the signal transmission along the cascade are reasonably defined, the mechanisms underlying Raf activation remain incompletely understood. Here, we show that Raf-1 dephosphorylation, primarily at epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced sites, abolishes Raf-1 kinase activity. Using mass spectrometry, we identified five novel in vivo Raf-1 phosphorylation sites, one of which, S471, is located in subdomain VIB of Raf-1 kinase domain. Mutational analyses demonstrated that Raf-1 S471 is critical for Raf-1 kinase activity and for its interaction with mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK). Similarly, mutation of the corresponding B-Raf site, S578, resulted in an inactive kinase, suggesting that the same Raf-1 and B-Raf phosphorylation is needed for Raf kinase activation. Importantly, the naturally occurring, cancer-associated B-Raf activating mutation V599E suppressed the S578A mutation, suggesting that introducing a charged residue at this region eliminates the need for an activating phosphorylation. Our results demonstrate an essential role of specific EGF-induced Raf-1 phosphorylation sites in Raf-1 activation, identify Raf-1 S471 as a novel phosphorylation site critical for Raf-1 and B-Raf kinase activities, and point to the possibility that the V599E mutation activates B-Raf by mimicking a phosphorylation at the S578 site.
14-3-3 proteins via binding serine/threonine-phosphorylated proteins regulate diverse intracellular processes in all eukaryotic organisms. Here, we examine the role of 14-3-3 self-dimerization in target binding, and in the susceptibility of 14-3-3 to undergo phosphorylation. Using a phospho-specific antibody developed against a degenerated mode-1 14-3-3 binding motif (RSxpSxP), we demonstrate that most of the 14-3-3-associated proteins in COS-7 cells are phosphorylated on sites that react with this antibody. The binding of these phosphoproteins depends on 14-3-3 dimerization, inasmuch as proteins associated in vivo with a monomeric 14-3-3 form are not recognized by the phospho-specific antibody. The role of 14-3-3 dimerization in the phosphorylation-dependent target binding is further exemplified with two well-defined 14-3-3 targets, Raf and DAF-16. Raf and DAF-16 can bind both monomeric and dimeric 14-3-3; however, whereas phosphorylation of specific Raf and DAF-16 sites is required for binding to dimeric 14-3-3, binding to monomeric 14-3-3 forms is entirely independent of Raf and DAF-16 phosphorylation. We also find that dimerization diminishes 14-3-3 susceptibility to phosphorylation. These findings establish a significant role of 14-3-3 dimerization in its ability to bind targets in a phosphorylation-dependent manner and point to a mechanism in which 14-3-3 phosphorylation and dimerization counterregulate each other.
Vertebrate TOP mRNAs contain an oligopyrimidine tract at their 5′ termini (5′TOP) and encode components of the translational machinery. Previously it has been shown that they are subject to selective translational repression upon growth arrest and that their translational behavior correlates with the activity of S6K1. We now show that the translation of TOP mRNAs is rapidly repressed by amino acid withdrawal and that this nutritional control depends strictly on the integrity of the 5′TOP motif. However, neither phosphorylation of ribosomal protein (rp) S6 nor activation of S6K1 per se is sufficient to relieve the translational repression of TOP mRNAs in amino acid-starved cells. Likewise, inhibition of S6K1 activity and rpS6 phosphorylation by overexpression of dominant-negative S6K1 mutants failed to suppress the translational activation of TOP mRNAs in amino acid-refed cells. Furthermore, TOP mRNAs were translationally regulated by amino acid sufficiency in embryonic stem cells lacking both alleles of the S6K1 gene. Inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin led to fast and complete repression of S6K1, as judged by rpS6 phosphorylation, but to only partial and delayed repression of translational activation of TOP mRNAs. In contrast, interference in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase)-mediated pathway by chemical or genetic manipulations blocked rapidly and completely the translational activation of TOP mRNAs. It appears, therefore, that translational regulation of TOP mRNAs, at least by amino acids, (i) is fully dependent on PI3-kinase, (ii) is partially sensitive to rapamycin, and (iii) requires neither S6K1 activity nor rpS6 phosphorylation.
The function of the c-Raf-1 zinc finger domain in the activation of the Raf kinase was examined by the creation of variant zinc finger structures. Mutation of Raf Cys 165 and Cys 168 to Ser strongly inhibits the Ras-dependent activation of c-Raf-1 by epidermal growth factor (EGF). Deletion of the Raf zinc finger and replacement with a homologous zinc finger from protein kinase C gamma (PKC gamma) (to give gamma/Raf) also abrogates EGF-induced activation but enables a vigorous phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-induced activation. PMA activation of gamma/Raf does not require endogenous Ras or PKCs and probably occurs through a PMA-induced recruitment of gamma/Raf to the plasma membrane. The impaired ability of EGF to activate the Raf zinc finger variants in situ is attributable, at least in part, to a major decrement in their binding to Ras-GTP; both Raf zinc finger variants exhibit decreased association with Ras (V12) in situ upon coexpression in COS cells, as well as diminished binding in vitro to immobilized, processed COS recombinant Ras(V12)-GTP. In contrast, Raf binding to unprocessed COS or prokaryotic recombinant Ras-GTP is unaffected by Raf zinc finger mutation. Thus, the Raf zinc finger contributes an important component to the overall binding to Ras-GTP in situ, through an interaction between the zinc finger and an epitope on Ras, distinct from the effector loop, that is present only on prenylated Ras.
The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition and health education, and social services referral to pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, and their infants and young children who are both low-income and at nutritional risk. A number of statistically controlled evaluations that compared prenatal women who received WIC services with demographically similar women who did not receive WIC services have found WIC enrollment associated with decreased levels of low birth weight among enrolled women's infants. Several also have found lower overall maternal and infant hospital costs among women who had received prenatal WIC services compared with similar women who did not receive prenatal WIC services. A meta-analysis of the studies shows that providing WIC benefits to pregnant women is estimated to reduce low birth weight rates 25 percent and reduce very low birth weight births by 44 percent. Using these data to estimate costs, prenatal WIC enrollment is estimated to have reduced first year medical costs for U.S. infants by $1.19 billion in 1992. Savings from a reduction in estimated Medicaid expenditures in the first year post-partum more than offset the cost of the Federal prenatal WIC Program. Even using more conservative assumptions, providing prenatal WIC benefits was cost-beneficial. Because of the estimated program cost-savings, the U.S. General Accounting Office has recommended that all pregnant women at or below 185 percent of Federal poverty level be eligible for the program.
Previous studies have shown that the noncatalytic carboxy-terminal tail of the p70 S6 kinase (amino acids 422 to 525) contains an autoinhibitory pseudosubstrate domain that is phosphorylated in situ during activation and in vitro by mitogen-activated protein kinases. The present study shows that a recombinant p70 deleted of the carboxy-terminal tail (p70 delta CT104) nevertheless exhibits a basal and serum-stimulated 40S kinase activity and susceptibility to inhibition by wortmannin very similar to those of the parent, full-length p70 kinase. Carboxy-terminal deletion reduces the extent of maximal inhibition produced by rapamycin, from > 95% in the full-length p70 to 60 to 80% in p70 delta CT104, without altering the sensitivity to rapamycin inhibition (50% inhibitory concentration of 2 nM). Serum activation of p70 delta CT104, as with the parent, full-length p70, is accompanied by an increase in 32P content (about twofold) in situ and a slowing in electrophoretic mobility; both modifications are inhibited by pretreatment with wortmannin or rapamycin. 32P-peptide maps of p70 delta CT104 show multisite phosphorylation, and wortmannin and rapamycin appear to cause preferential dephosphorylation of the same subset of sites. Thus, it is likely that activation of the kinase requires phosphorylation of p70 at sites in addition to those previously identified in the carboxy-terminal tail. Evidence that the carboxy-terminal tail actually functions as a potent intramolecular inhibitor of kinase activity in situ is uncovered by deletion of a short acidic segment (amino acids 29 to 46) from the p70 amino-terminal noncatalytic region. Deletion of amino acids 29 to 46 causes a >95% inhibition of p70 activity despite continue phosphorylation of the carboxy-terminal tail in situ; additional deletion of the carboxy-terminal tail (yielding p70 delta 29-46/ delta CT104) increases activity 10-fold, to a level approaching that of p70 delta CT104. Deletion of residues 29 to 46 also abolishes completely the sensitivity of p70 to inhibition by rapamycin but does not alter the susceptibility to activation by serum of inhibition by wortmannin. Although the mechanisms underlying the effects of the delta 29-46 deletion are not known, they are not attributable to loss of the major in situ p70 phosphorylation site at Ser-40. Thus, activation of the p70 S6 kinase involves multiple, independent inputs directed at different domains of the p70 polypeptide. Disinhibition from the carboxy-terminal tail requires, in addition to its multisite phosphorylation, an activating input dependent on the presence of amino acids 29 to 46; this p70-activating input may be the same as that inhibited by rapamycin but is distinct from that arising from the wortmannin-inhibitable phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. In addition, as exemplified by the rapamycin-resistant but mitogen- and wortmannin-sensitive p70 delta 29-46/ delta CT104 mutant, a further activating input, which probably involves site-specific phosphorylation in the segment between amino acids 46 to 421, is necessary.