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1.  Reduced migration of MLH1 deficient colon cancer cells depends on SPTAN1 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:11.
Introduction
Defects in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein MLH1 are frequently observed in sporadic and hereditary colorectal cancers (CRC). Affected tumors generate much less metastatic potential than the MLH1 proficient forms. Although MLH1 has been shown to be not only involved in postreplicative MMR but also in several MMR independent processes like cytoskeletal organization, the connection between MLH1 and metastasis remains unclear. We recently identified non-erythroid spectrin αII (SPTAN1), a scaffolding protein involved in cell adhesion and motility, to interact with MLH1. In the current study, the interaction of MLH1 and SPTAN1 and its potential consequences for CRC metastasis was evaluated.
Methods
Nine cancer cell lines as well as fresh and paraffin embedded colon cancer tissue from 12 patients were used in gene expression studies of SPTAN1 and MLH1. Co-expression of SPTAN1 and MLH1 was analyzed by siRNA knock down of MLH1 in HeLa, HEK293, MLH1 positive HCT116, SW480 and LoVo cells. Effects on cellular motility were determined in MLH1 deficient HCT116 and MLH1 deficient HEK293T compared to their MLH1 proficient sister cells, respectively.
Results
MLH1 deficiency is clearly associated with SPTAN1 reduction. Moreover, siRNA knock down of MLH1 decreased the mRNA level of SPTAN1 in HeLa, HEK293 as well as in MLH1 positive HCT116 cells, which indicates a co-expression of SPTAN1 by MLH1. In addition, cellular motility of MLH1 deficient HCT116 and MLH1 deficient HEK293T cells was impaired compared to the MLH1 proficient sister clones. Consequently, overexpression of SPTAN1 increased migration of MLH1 deficient cells while knock down of SPTAN1 decreased cellular mobility of MLH1 proficient cells, indicating SPTAN1-dependent migration ability.
Conclusions
These data suggest that SPTAN1 levels decreased in concordance with MLH1 reduction and impaired cellular mobility in MLH1 deficient colon cancer cells. Therefore, aggressiveness of MLH1-positive CRC might be related to SPTAN1.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-11
PMCID: PMC3904401  PMID: 24456667
DNA mismatch repair; MLH1; SPTAN1; Cytoskeletal proteins; Cellular mobility
2.  Promoter Methylation of MLH1, PMS2, MSH2 and p16 Is a Phenomenon of Advanced-Stage HCCs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84453.
Epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressor genes has been observed in various cancers. Looking at hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) specific protein silencing was previously demonstrated to be associated with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, the proposed HCV dependent promoter methylation of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes and thereby enhanced progression of hepatocarcinogenesis has been the subject of controversial discussion. We investigated promoter methylation pattern of the MMR genes MLH1, MSH2 and PMS2 as well as the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A gene (p16) in 61 well characterized patients with HCCs associated with HCV, Hepatitis B virus infection or alcoholic liver disease. DNA was isolated from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumour and non-tumour adjacent tissue and analysed by methylation-specific PCR. Moreover, microsatellite analysis was performed in tissues showing methylation in MMR gene promoters. Our data demonstrated that promoter methylation of MLH1, MSH2, PMS2 and p16 is present among all considered HCCs. Hereby, promoter silencing was detectable more frequently in advanced-stage HCCs than in low-stage ones. However, there was no significant correlation between aberrant DNA methylation of MMR genes or p16 and HCV infection in related HCC specimens. In summary, we show that promoter methylation of essential MMR genes and p16 is detectable in HCCs most dominantly in pT3 stage tumour cases. Since loss of MMR proteins was previously described to be not only responsible for tumour development but also for chemotherapy resistance, the knowledge of mechanisms jointly responsible for HCC progression might enable significant improvement of individual HCC therapy in the future.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084453
PMCID: PMC3882222  PMID: 24400091
3.  C-Terminal Fluorescent Labeling Impairs Functionality of DNA Mismatch Repair Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31863.
The human DNA mismatch repair (MMR) process is crucial to maintain the integrity of the genome and requires many different proteins which interact perfectly and coordinated. Germline mutations in MMR genes are responsible for the development of the hereditary form of colorectal cancer called Lynch syndrome. Various mutations mainly in two MMR proteins, MLH1 and MSH2, have been identified so far, whereas 55% are detected within MLH1, the essential component of the heterodimer MutLα (MLH1 and PMS2). Most of those MLH1 variants are pathogenic but the relevance of missense mutations often remains unclear. Many different recombinant systems are applied to filter out disease-associated proteins whereby fluorescent tagged proteins are frequently used. However, dye labeling might have deleterious effects on MutLα's functionality. Therefore, we analyzed the consequences of N- and C-terminal fluorescent labeling on expression level, cellular localization and MMR activity of MutLα. Besides significant influence of GFP- or Red-fusion on protein expression we detected incorrect shuttling of single expressed C-terminal GFP-tagged PMS2 into the nucleus and found that C-terminal dye labeling impaired MMR function of MutLα. In contrast, N-terminal tagged MutLαs retained correct functionality and can be recommended both for the analysis of cellular localization and MMR efficiency.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031863
PMCID: PMC3279419  PMID: 22348133
4.  Identification of Lynch syndrome mutations in the MLH1-PMS2 interface that disturb dimerization and mismatch repair 
Human mutation  2010;31(8):975-982.
Missense alterations of the mismatch repair gene MLH1 have been identified in a significant proportion of individuals suspected of having Lynch syndrome, a hereditary syndrome which predisposes for cancer of colon and endometrium. The pathogenicity of many of these alterations, however, is unclear. A number of MLH1 alterations are located in the C-terminal domain (CTD) of MLH1, which is responsible for constitutive dimerization with PMS2. We analyzed which alterations may result in pathogenic effects due to interference with dimerization. We used a structural model of CTD of MLH1-PMS2 heterodimer to select 19 MLH1 alterations located inside and outside two candidate dimerization interfaces in the MLH1-CTD. Three alterations (p.Gln542Leu, p.Leu749Pro, p.Tyr750X) caused decreased co-expression of PMS2, which is unstable in the absence of interaction with MLH1, suggesting that these alterations interfere with dimerization. All three alterations are located within the dimerization interface suggested by our model. They also compromised mismatch repair, suggesting that defects in dimerization abrogate repair and confirming that all three alterations are pathogenic. Additionally, we provided biochemical evidence that four alterations with uncertain pathogenicity (p.Ala586Pro, p.Leu636Pro, p.Thr662Pro, and p.Arg755Trp) are deleterious because of poor expression or poor repair efficiency, and confirm the deleterious effect of eight further alterations.
doi:10.1002/humu.21301
PMCID: PMC2908215  PMID: 20533529
Lynch syndrome; HNPCC; MLH1; PMS2; MutL; missense mutation; dimerization
5.  Mutations in the MutSα interaction interface of MLH1 can abolish DNA mismatch repair 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(22):6574-6586.
MutLα, a heterodimer of MLH1 and PMS2, plays a central role in human DNA mismatch repair. It interacts ATP-dependently with the mismatch detector MutSα and assembles and controls further repair enzymes. We tested if the interaction of MutLα with DNA-bound MutSα is impaired by cancer-associated mutations in MLH1, and identified one mutation (Ala128Pro) which abolished interaction as well as mismatch repair activity. Further examinations revealed three more residues whose mutation interfered with interaction. Homology modelling of MLH1 showed that all residues clustered in a small accessible surface patch, suggesting that the major interaction interface of MutLα for MutSα is located on the edge of an extensive β-sheet that backs the MLH1 ATP binding pocket. Bioinformatic analysis confirmed that this patch corresponds to a conserved potential protein–protein interaction interface which is present in both human MLH1 and its E.coli homologue MutL. MutL could be site-specifically crosslinked to MutS from this patch, confirming that the bacterial MutL–MutS complex is established by the corresponding interface in MutL. This is the first study that identifies the conserved major MutLα–MutSα interaction interface in MLH1 and demonstrates that mutations in this interface can affect interaction and mismatch repair, and thereby can also contribute to cancer development.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl944
PMCID: PMC1747184  PMID: 17135187
6.  Epac Activation Converts cAMP from a Proliferative into a Differentiation Signal in PC12 CellsD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(12):5639-5648.
Elevation of the intracellular cAMP concentration ([cAMP]i) regulates metabolism, cell proliferation, and differentiation and plays roles in memory formation and neoplastic growth. cAMP mediates its effects mainly through activation of protein kinase A (PKA) as well as Epac1 and Epac2, exchange factors activating the small GTPases Rap1 and Rap2. However, how cAMP utilizes these effectors to induce distinct biological responses is unknown. We here studied the specific roles of PKA and Epac in neuroendocrine PC12 cells. In these cells, elevation of [cAMP]i activates extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and induces low-degree neurite outgrowth. The present study showed that specific stimulation of PKA triggered ERK1/2 activation that was considerably more transient than that observed upon simultaneous activation of both PKA and Epac. Unexpectedly, the PKA-specific cAMP analog induced cell proliferation rather than neurite outgrowth. The proliferative signaling pathway activated by the PKA-specific cAMP analog involved activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor and ERK1/2. Activation of Epac appeared to extend the duration of PKA-dependent ERK1/2 activation and converted cAMP from a proliferative into an anti-proliferative, neurite outgrowth-promoting signal. Thus, the present study showed that the outcome of cAMP signaling can depend heavily on the set of cAMP effectors activated.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E05-05-0432
PMCID: PMC1289409  PMID: 16207818
7.  N-terminus of hMLH1 confers interaction of hMutLα and hMutLβ with hMutSα 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(12):3217-3226.
Mismatch repair is a highly conserved system that ensures replication fidelity by repairing mispairs after DNA synthesis. In humans, the two protein heterodimers hMutSα (hMSH2-hMSH6) and hMutLα (hMLH1-hPMS2) constitute the centre of the repair reaction. After recognising a DNA replication error, hMutSα recruits hMutLα, which then is thought to transduce the repair signal to the excision machinery. We have expressed an ATPase mutant of hMutLα as well as its individual subunits hMLH1 and hPMS2 and fragments of hMLH1, followed by examination of their interaction properties with hMutSα using a novel interaction assay. We show that, although the interaction requires ATP, hMutLα does not need to hydrolyse this nucleotide to join hMutSα on DNA, suggesting that ATP hydrolysis by hMutLα happens downstream of complex formation. The analysis of the individual subunits of hMutLα demonstrated that the hMutSα–hMutLα interaction is predominantly conferred by hMLH1. Further experiments revealed that only the N-terminus of hMLH1 confers this interaction. In contrast, only the C-terminus stabilised and co-immunoprecipitated hPMS2 when both proteins were co-expressed in 293T cells, indicating that dimerisation and stabilisation are mediated by the C-terminal part of hMLH1. We also examined another human homologue of bacterial MutL, hMutLβ (hMLH1–hPMS1). We show that hMutLβ interacts as efficiently with hMutSα as hMutLα, and that it predominantly binds to hMutSα via hMLH1 as well.
PMCID: PMC162253  PMID: 12799449
8.  hMutSα forms an ATP-dependent complex with hMutLα and hMutLβ on DNA 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(3):711-718.
The DNA binding properties of hMutSα and hMutLα and complex formation of hMutSα with hMutLα and hMutLβ were investigated using binding experiments on magnetic bead-coupled DNA substrates with nuclear extracts as well as purified proteins. hMutSα binding to homoduplex DNA was disrupted by lower NaCl concentrations than hMutSα binding to a mismatch. ATP markedly reduced the salt resistance of hMutSα binding but hMutSα still retained affinity for heteroduplexes. hMutSα formed a complex with hMutLα and hMutLβ on DNA in the presence of ATP. This complex only formed on 81mer and not 32mer DNA substrates. Complex formation was enhanced by a mismatch in the DNA substrate, and hMutLα and hMutLβ were shown to enter the complex at different ATP concentrations. Purified hMutLα showed an intrinsic affinity for DNA, with a preference for single-stranded over double-stranded DNA.
PMCID: PMC100294  PMID: 11809883

Results 1-8 (8)