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1.  Pharmacological properties of acid N-thiazolylamide FFA2 agonists 
FFA2 is a receptor for short-chain fatty acids. Propionate (C3) and 4-chloro-α-(1-methylethyl)-N-2-thiazolyl-benzeneacetamide (4-CMTB), the prototypical synthetic FFA2 agonist, evoke calcium mobilization in neutrophils and inhibit lipolysis in adipocytes via this G-protein-coupled receptor. 4-CMTB contains an N-thiazolylamide motif but no acid group, and 4-CMTB and C3 bind to different sites on FFA2 and show allosteric cooperativity. Recently, FFA2 agonists have been described that contain both N-thiazolylamide and carboxylate groups, reminiscent of bitopic ligands. These are thought to engage the carboxylate-binding site on FFA2, but preliminary evidence suggests they do not bind to the same site as 4-CMTB even though both contain N-thiazolylamide. Here, we describe the characterization of four FFA2 ligands containing both N-thiazolylamide and carboxylate. (R)-3-benzyl-4-((4-(2-chlorophenyl)thiazol-2-yl)(methyl)amino)-4-oxobutanoic acid (compound 14) exhibits allosteric agonism with 4-CMTB but not C3. Three other compounds agonize FFA2 in [35S]GTPγS-incorporation or cAMP assays but behave as inverse agonists in yeast-based gene-reporter assays, showing orthosteric antagonism of C3 responses but allosteric antagonism of 4-CMTB responses. Thus, the bitopic-like FFA2 ligands engage the orthosteric site but do not compete at the site of 4-CMTB binding on an FFA2 receptor molecule. Compound 14 activates FFA2 on human neutrophils and mouse adipocytes, but appears not to inhibit lipolysis upon treatment of human primary adipocytes in spite of the presence of a functional FFA2 receptor in these cells. Hence, these new ligands may reveal differences in coupling of FFA2 between human and rodent adipose tissues.
doi:10.1002/prp2.141
PMCID: PMC4492757  PMID: 26236484
4-CMTB; allosteric agonist; FFA2; GPR43; lipolysis; N-thiazolylamide
2.  The Human PDZome: A Gateway to PSD95-Disc Large-Zonula Occludens (PDZ)-mediated Functions* 
Protein–protein interactions organize the localization, clustering, signal transduction, and degradation of cellular proteins and are therefore implicated in numerous biological functions. These interactions are mediated by specialized domains able to bind to modified or unmodified peptides present in binding partners. Among the most broadly distributed protein interaction domains, PSD95-disc large-zonula occludens (PDZ) domains are usually able to bind carboxy-terminal sequences of their partners. In an effort to accelerate the discovery of PDZ domain interactions, we have constructed an array displaying 96% of the human PDZ domains that is amenable to rapid two-hybrid screens in yeast. We have demonstrated that this array can efficiently identify interactions using carboxy-terminal sequences of PDZ domain binders such as the E6 oncoviral protein and protein kinases (PDGFRβ, BRSK2, PCTK1, ACVR2B, and HER4); this has been validated via mass spectrometry analysis. Taking advantage of this array, we show that PDZ domains of Scrib and SNX27 bind to the carboxy-terminal region of the planar cell polarity receptor Vangl2. We also have demonstrated the requirement of Scrib for the promigratory function of Vangl2 and described the morphogenetic function of SNX27 in the early Xenopus embryo. The resource presented here is thus adapted for the screen of PDZ interactors and, furthermore, should facilitate the understanding of PDZ-mediated functions.
doi:10.1074/mcp.O112.021022
PMCID: PMC3769332  PMID: 23722234
3.  The yeast lgl family member Sro7p is an effector of the secretory Rab GTPase Sec4p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;172(1):55-66.
Rab guanosine triphosphatases regulate intracellular membrane traffic by binding specific effector proteins. The yeast Rab Sec4p plays multiple roles in the polarized transport of post-Golgi vesicles to, and their subsequent fusion with, the plasma membrane, suggesting the involvement of several effectors. Yet, only one Sec4p effector has been documented to date: the exocyst protein Sec15p. The exocyst is an octameric protein complex required for tethering secretory vesicles, which is a prerequisite for membrane fusion. In this study, we describe the identification of a second Sec4p effector, Sro7p, which is a member of the lethal giant larvae tumor suppressor family. Sec4-GTP binds to Sro7p in cell extracts as well as to purified Sro7p, and the two proteins can be coimmunoprecipitated. Furthermore, we demonstrate the formation of a ternary complex of Sec4-GTP, Sro7p, and the t-SNARE Sec9p. Genetic data support our conclusion that Sro7p functions downstream of Sec4p and further imply that Sro7p and the exocyst share partially overlapping functions, possibly in SNARE regulation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200510016
PMCID: PMC2063532  PMID: 16390997
4.  Lethal giant larvae proteins interact with the exocyst complex and are involved in polarized exocytosis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2005;170(2):273-283.
The tumor suppressor lethal giant larvae (Lgl) plays a critical role in epithelial cell polarization. However, the molecular mechanism by which Lgl carries out its functions is unclear. In this study, we report that the yeast Lgl proteins Sro7p and Sro77p directly interact with Exo84p, which is a component of the exocyst complex that is essential for targeting vesicles to specific sites of the plasma membrane for exocytosis, and that this interaction is important for post-Golgi secretion. Genetic analyses demonstrate a molecular pathway from Rab and Rho GTPases through the exocyst and Lgl to SNAREs, which mediate membrane fusion. We also found that overexpression of Lgl and t-SNARE proteins not only improves exocytosis but also rescues polarity defects in exocyst mutants. We propose that, although Lgl is broadly distributed in the cells, its localized interaction with the exocyst and kinetic activation are important for the establishment and reenforcement of cell polarity.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200502055
PMCID: PMC2171422  PMID: 16027223

Results 1-4 (4)