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author:("bakken, Kent")
1.  The Kinesin-related Protein Costal2 Associates with Membranes in a Hedgehog-sensitive, Smoothened-independent Manner* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2003;279(8):7064-7071.
In Drosophila, Hedgehog (Hh) signal transduction has been shown to require a multiprotein complex (Hedgehog signaling complex (HSC)), which includes the Kinesin-related protein Costal2 (Cos2), the serine/threonine protein kinase Fused (Fu), and the transcription factor Cubitus interruptus (Ci). We present evidence that a biologically relevant fraction of the HSC is found in association with cellular membranes. We demonstrate that Cos2 is capable of tethering an exogenous protein to vesicular membranes and that Cos2 association with membranes is Hh-sensitive. In addition, we demonstrate that Cos2 associates with membranes in cells that lack the transmembrane protein Smoothened (Smo) through a domain of Cos2 distinct from its recently characterized Smo binding domain. We suggest that an Hh-regulated membrane binding activity of Cos2 is part of the mechanism by which Cos2 contributes to Hh signaling. We propose a model in which there are two distinct HSCs with discrete subcellular localizations and activities: one is endosome-associated and facilitates production of a repressor form of Ci (HSC-R), and one is Smo-associated and promotes Ci activation (HSC-A). In response to Hh and through interaction with Cos2, Smo mediates both inhibition of the endosome-associated HSC-R and activation of HSC-A at the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC3659396  PMID: 14645371
2.  Host Glycosaminoglycan Confers Susceptibility to Bacterial Infection in Drosophila melanogasterâ–¿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;77(2):860-866.
Many pathogens engage host cell surface glycosaminoglycans, but redundancy in pathogen adhesins and host glycosaminoglycan-anchoring proteins (heparan sulfate proteoglycans) has limited the understanding of the importance of glycosaminoglycan binding during infection. The alpha C protein of group B streptococcus, a virulence determinant for this neonatal human pathogen, binds to host glycosaminoglycan and mediates the entry of bacteria into human cells. We studied alpha C protein-glycosaminoglycan binding in Drosophila melanogaster, whose glycosaminoglycan repertoire resembles that of humans but whose genome includes only three characterized membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan genes. The knockdown of glycosaminoglycan polymerases or of heparan sulfate proteoglycans reduced the cellular binding of alpha C protein. The interruption of alpha C protein-glycosaminoglycan binding was associated with longer host survival and a lower bacterial burden. These data indicate that the glycosaminoglycan-alpha C protein interaction involves multiple heparan sulfate proteoglycans and impairs bacterial killing. Host glycosaminoglycans, anchored by multiple proteoglycans, thereby determine susceptibility to infection. Because there is homology between Drosophila and human glycosaminoglycan/proteoglycan structures and many pathogens express glycosaminoglycan-binding structures, our data suggest that interfering with glycosaminoglycan binding may protect against infections in humans.
PMCID: PMC2632041  PMID: 19047407
3.  A case study of the reproducibility of transcriptional reporter cell-based RNAi screens in Drosophila 
Genome Biology  2007;8(9):R203.
A second generation dsRNA library was used to re-assess factors that influence the outcome of transcriptional reporter-based whole-genome RNAi screens for the Wnt/Wingless (wg) and Hedgehog (hh)-signaling pathways.
Off-target effects have been demonstrated to be a major source of false-positives in RNA interference (RNAi) high-throughput screens. In this study, we re-assess the previously published transcriptional reporter-based whole-genome RNAi screens for the Wingless and Hedgehog signaling pathways using second generation double-stranded RNA libraries. Furthermore, we investigate other factors that may influence the outcome of such screens, including cell-type specificity, robustness of reporters, and assay normalization, which determine the efficacy of RNAi-knockdown of target genes.
PMCID: PMC2375041  PMID: 17903264
4.  The Carboxyl-Terminal Domain of the Protein Kinase Fused Can Function as a Dominant Inhibitor of Hedgehog Signaling 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(5):1555-1566.
The secreted protein hedgehog (Hh) plays a critical role in the developmental patterning of multiple tissues. In Drosophila melanogaster, a cytosolic multiprotein signaling complex appears necessary for Hh signaling. Genes that encode components of this Hh signaling complex (HSC) were originally identified and characterized based on their genetic interactions with hh, as well as with each other. It is only in recent years that the mechanistic functions of these components have begun to be unraveled. Here, we have investigated the relationship between two components of the HSC, the serine/threonine protein kinase Fused (Fu) and the kinesin-related protein Costal2 (Cos2). We have reconstituted a Fu/Cos2 complex in vitro and shown that Fu is able to directly associate with Cos2, forming a complex whose molecular size is similar to a previously described complex found in Drosophila cell extracts. We have also determined that the carboxyl-terminal domain of Fu is necessary and sufficient for the direct binding of Fu to Cos2. To validate the physiological relevance of this interaction, we overexpressed the carboxyl-terminal domain of Fu in wild-type flies. These flies exhibit a phenotype similar to that seen in fu mutants and consistent with an hh loss-of-function phenotype. We conclude that the carboxyl-terminal domain of Fu can function in a dominant negative manner, by preventing endogenous Fu from binding to Cos2. Thus, we provide the first evidence that Hh signaling can be compromised by targeting the HSC for disruption.
PMCID: PMC134684  PMID: 11839821

Results 1-4 (4)