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author:("loewi, hobbie")
1.  Roles for PI(3,5)P2 in nutrient sensing through TORC1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(7):1171-1185.
The protein kinase TORC1 regulates cell growth in response to nutrients. This study demonstrates that phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2) is a critical upstream modulator of TORC1 activity in yeast. In this capacity, PI(3,5)P2 is required for TORC1-dependent regulation of autophagy and nutrient-dependent endocytosis.
TORC1, a conserved protein kinase, regulates cell growth in response to nutrients. Localization of mammalian TORC1 to lysosomes is essential for TORC1 activation. Phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2), an endosomal signaling lipid, is implicated in insulin-dependent stimulation of TORC1 activity in adipocytes. This raises the question of whether PI(3,5)P2 is an essential general regulator of TORC1. Moreover, the subcellular location where PI(3,5)P2 regulates TORC1 was not known. Here we report that PI(3,5)P2 is required for TORC1 activity in yeast and regulates TORC1 on the vacuole (lysosome). Furthermore, we show that the TORC1 substrate, Sch9 (a homologue of mammalian S6K), is recruited to the vacuole by direct interaction with PI(3,5)P2, where it is phosphorylated by TORC1. Of importance, we find that PI(3,5)P2 is required for multiple downstream pathways via TORC1-dependent phosphorylation of additional targets, including Atg13, the modification of which inhibits autophagy, and phosphorylation of Npr1, which releases its inhibitory function and allows nutrient-dependent endocytosis. These findings reveal PI(3,5)P2 as a general regulator of TORC1 and suggest that PI(3,5)P2 provides a platform for TORC1 signaling from lysosomes.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E14-01-0021
PMCID: PMC3967979  PMID: 24478451
2.  A Neurotoxic Glycerophosphocholine Impacts PtdIns-4, 5-Bisphosphate and TORC2 Signaling by Altering Ceramide Biosynthesis in Yeast 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004010.
Unbiased lipidomic approaches have identified impairments in glycerophosphocholine second messenger metabolism in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, we have shown that amyloid-β42 signals the intraneuronal accumulation of PC(O-16:0/2:0) which is associated with neurotoxicity. Similar to neuronal cells, intracellular accumulation of PC(O-16:0/2:0) is also toxic to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, making yeast an excellent model to decipher the pathological effects of this lipid. We previously reported that phospholipase D, a phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P2)-binding protein, was relocalized in response to PC(O-16:0/2:0), suggesting that this neurotoxic lipid may remodel lipid signaling networks. Here we show that PC(O-16:0/2:0) regulates the distribution of the PtdIns(4)P 5-kinase Mss4 and its product PtdIns(4,5)P2 leading to the formation of invaginations at the plasma membrane (PM). We further demonstrate that the effects of PC(O-16:0/2:0) on the distribution of PM PtdIns(4,5)P2 pools are in part mediated by changes in the biosynthesis of long chain bases (LCBs) and ceramides. A combination of genetic, biochemical and cell imaging approaches revealed that PC(O-16:0/2:0) is also a potent inhibitor of signaling through the Target of rampamycin complex 2 (TORC2). Together, these data provide mechanistic insight into how specific disruptions in phosphocholine second messenger metabolism associated with Alzheimer's disease may trigger larger network-wide disruptions in ceramide and phosphoinositide second messenger biosynthesis and signaling which have been previously implicated in disease progression.
Author Summary
Accelerated cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients is associated with distinct changes in the abundance of choline-containing lipids belonging to the platelet activating factor family. In particular, PC(O-16:0/2:0) or C16:0 platelet activating factor (PAF), is specifically elevated in brains of Alzheimer's patients. Since elevated intraneuronal levels of PC(O-16:0/2:0) are thought to contribute to the loss of neuronal cells it is imperative to identify the underlying mechanisms contributing to the toxic effects of PC(O-16:0/2:0). In this study, we have determined that elevated levels of PC(O-16:0/2:0) has negative effects upon the distribution of phosphoinositides at the plasma membrane leading to a potent inhibition of target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling. We further show that the changes in phosphoinositide distribution are due to changes in ceramide metabolism. In conclusion, our study suggests that the toxicity associated with aberrant metabolism of glycerophosphocholine lipids species is likely due to the remodeling of phosphoinositide and ceramide metabolism and that therapeutic strategies which target these disruptions may be effective in ameliorating Alzheimer's Disease pathology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004010
PMCID: PMC3900389  PMID: 24465216
3.  Identification of a small molecule yeast TORC1 inhibitor with a flow cytometry-based multiplex screen 
ACS Chemical Biology  2012;7(4):715-722.
TOR (target of rapamycin) is a serine/threonine kinase, evolutionarily conserved from yeast to human, which functions as a fundamental controller of cell growth. The moderate clinical benefit of rapamycin in mTOR-based therapy of many cancers favors the development of new TOR inhibitors. Here we report a high throughput flow cytometry multiplexed screen using five GFP-tagged yeast clones that represent the readouts of four branches of the TORC1 signaling pathway in budding yeast. Each GFP-tagged clone was differentially color-coded and the GFP signal of each clone was measured simultaneously by flow cytometry, which allows rapid prioritization of compounds that likely act through direct modulation of TORC1 or proximal signaling components. A total of 255 compounds were confirmed in dose-response analysis to alter GFP expression in one or more clones. To validate the concept of the high throughput screen, we have characterized CID 3528206, a small molecule most likely to act on TORC1 as it alters GFP expression in all five GFP clones in an analogous manner to rapamycin. We have shown that CID 3528206 inhibited yeast cell growth, and that CID 3528206 inhibited TORC1 activity both in vitro and in vivo with EC50s of 150 nM and 3.9 μM, respectively. The results of microarray analysis and yeast GFP collection screen further support the notion that CID 3528206 and rapamycin modulate similar cellular pathways. Together, these results indicate that the HTS has identified a potentially useful small molecule for further development of TOR inhibitors.
doi:10.1021/cb200452r
PMCID: PMC3331904  PMID: 22260433
4.  Mitochondrial Genomic Dysfunction Causes Dephosphorylation of Sch9 in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae▿† 
Eukaryotic Cell  2011;10(10):1367-1369.
TORC1-dependent phosphorylation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sch9 was dramatically reduced upon exposure to a protonophore or in respiration-incompetent ρ0 cells but not in respiration-incompetent pet mutants, providing important insight into the molecular mechanisms governing interorganellar signaling in general and retrograde signaling in particular.
doi:10.1128/EC.05157-11
PMCID: PMC3187066  PMID: 21841122
5.  Target of Rapamycin (TOR) in Nutrient Signaling and Growth Control 
Genetics  2011;189(4):1177-1201.
TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) is a highly conserved protein kinase that is important in both fundamental and clinical biology. In fundamental biology, TOR is a nutrient-sensitive, central controller of cell growth and aging. In clinical biology, TOR is implicated in many diseases and is the target of the drug rapamycin used in three different therapeutic areas. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has played a prominent role in both the discovery of TOR and the elucidation of its function. Here we review the TOR signaling network in S. cerevisiae.
doi:10.1534/genetics.111.133363
PMCID: PMC3241408  PMID: 22174183
6.  Phosphoproteomic Analysis Reveals Interconnected System-Wide Responses to Perturbations of Kinases and Phosphatases in Yeast 
Science signaling  2010;3(153):rs4.
The phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of proteins by kinases and phosphatases constitute an essential regulatory network in eukaryotic cells. This network supports the flow of information from sensors through signaling systems to effector molecules, and ultimately drives the phenotype and function of cells, tissues, and organisms. Dysregulation of this process has severe consequences and is one of the main factors in the emergence and progression of diseases, including cancer. Thus, major efforts have been invested in developing specific inhibitors that modulate the activity of individual kinases or phosphatases; however, it has been difficult to assess how such pharmacological interventions would affect the cellular signaling network as a whole. Here, we used label-free, quantitative phosphoproteomics in a systematically perturbed model organism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to determine the relationships between 97 kinases, 27 phosphatases, and more than 1000 phosphoproteins. We identified 8814 regulated phosphorylation events, describing the first system-wide protein phosphorylation network in vivo. Our results show that, at steady state, inactivation of most kinases and phosphatases affected large parts of the phosphorylation-modulated signal transduction machinery, and not only the immediate downstream targets. The observed cellular growth phenotype was often well maintained despite the perturbations, arguing for considerable robustness in the system. Our results serve to constrain future models of cellular signaling and reinforce the idea that simple linear representations of signaling pathways might be insufficient for drug development and for describing organismal homeostasis.
doi:10.1126/scisignal.2001182
PMCID: PMC3072779  PMID: 21177495
7.  A Pharmacological Map of the PI3-K Family Defines a Role for p110α in Insulin Signaling 
Cell  2006;125(4):733-747.
SUMMARY
Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3-Ks) are an important emerging class of drug targets, but the unique roles of PI3-K isoforms remain poorly defined. We describe here an approach to pharmacologically interrogate the PI3-K family. A chemically diverse panel of PI3-K inhibitors was synthesized, and their target selectivity was biochemically enumerated, revealing cryptic homologies across targets and chemotypes. Crystal structures of three inhibitors bound to p110γ identify a conformationally mobile region that is uniquely exploited by selective compounds. This chemical array was then used to define the PI3-K isoforms required for insulin signaling. We find that p110α is the primary insulin-responsive PI3-K in cultured cells, whereas p110β is dispensable but sets a phenotypic threshold for p110α activity. Compounds targeting p110α block the acute effects of insulin treatment in vivo, whereas a p110β inhibitor has no effect. These results illustrate systematic target validation using a matrix of inhibitors that span a protein family.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.03.035
PMCID: PMC2946820  PMID: 16647110
8.  Functional Interactions between Sphingolipids and Sterols in Biological Membranes Regulating Cell Physiology 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(7):2083-2095.
Sterols and sphingolipids are limited to eukaryotic cells, and their interaction has been proposed to favor formation of lipid microdomains. Although there is abundant biophysical evidence demonstrating their interaction in simple systems, convincing evidence is lacking to show that they function together in cells. Using lipid analysis by mass spectrometry and a genetic approach on mutants in sterol metabolism, we show that cells adjust their membrane composition in response to mutant sterol structures preferentially by changing their sphingolipid composition. Systematic combination of mutations in sterol biosynthesis with mutants in sphingolipid hydroxylation and head group turnover give a large number of synthetic and suppression phenotypes. Our unbiased approach provides compelling evidence that sterols and sphingolipids function together in cells. We were not able to correlate any cellular phenotype we measured with plasma membrane fluidity as measured using fluorescence anisotropy. This questions whether the increase in liquid order phases that can be induced by sterol–sphingolipid interactions plays an important role in cells. Our data revealing that cells have a mechanism to sense the quality of their membrane sterol composition has led us to suggest that proteins might recognize sterol–sphingolipid complexes and to hypothesize the coevolution of sterols and sphingolipids.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E08-11-1126
PMCID: PMC2663937  PMID: 19225153
9.  Arsenic Toxicity to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Is a Consequence of Inhibition of the TORC1 Kinase Combined with a Chronic Stress Response 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(3):1048-1057.
The conserved Target Of Rapamycin (TOR) growth control signaling pathway is a major regulator of genes required for protein synthesis. The ubiquitous toxic metalloid arsenic, as well as mercury and nickel, are shown here to efficiently inhibit the rapamycin-sensitive TORC1 (TOR complex 1) protein kinase. This rapid inhibition of the TORC1 kinase is demonstrated in vivo by the dephosphorylation and inactivation of its downstream effector, the yeast S6 kinase homolog Sch9. Arsenic, mercury, and nickel cause reduction of transcription of ribosome biogenesis genes, which are under the control of Sfp1, a TORC1-regulated transcriptional activator. We report that arsenic stress deactivates Sfp1 as it becomes dephosphorylated, dissociates from chromatin, and exits the nucleus. Curiously, whereas loss of SFP1 function leads to increased arsenic resistance, absence of TOR1 or SCH9 has the opposite effect suggesting that TORC1 has a role beyond down-regulation of Sfp1. Indeed, we show that arsenic activates the transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4 both of which are targets of TORC1 and protein kinase A (PKA). In contrast to TORC1, PKA activity is not repressed during acute arsenic stress. A normal level of PKA activity might serve to dampen the stress response since hyperactive Msn2 will decrease arsenic tolerance. Thus arsenic toxicity in yeast might be determined by the balance between chronic activation of general stress factors in combination with lowered TORC1 kinase activity.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E08-04-0438
PMCID: PMC2633375  PMID: 19073887
10.  Active-Site Inhibitors of mTOR Target Rapamycin-Resistant Outputs of mTORC1 and mTORC2 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(2):e1000038.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates cell growth and survival by integrating nutrient and hormonal signals. These signaling functions are distributed between at least two distinct mTOR protein complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 is sensitive to the selective inhibitor rapamycin and activated by growth factor stimulation via the canonical phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)→Akt→mTOR pathway. Activated mTORC1 kinase up-regulates protein synthesis by phosphorylating key regulators of mRNA translation. By contrast, mTORC2 is resistant to rapamycin. Genetic studies have suggested that mTORC2 may phosphorylate Akt at S473, one of two phosphorylation sites required for Akt activation; this has been controversial, in part because RNA interference and gene knockouts produce distinct Akt phospho-isoforms. The central role of mTOR in controlling key cellular growth and survival pathways has sparked interest in discovering mTOR inhibitors that bind to the ATP site and therefore target both mTORC2 and mTORC1. We investigated mTOR signaling in cells and animals with two novel and specific mTOR kinase domain inhibitors (TORKinibs). Unlike rapamycin, these TORKinibs (PP242 and PP30) inhibit mTORC2, and we use them to show that pharmacological inhibition of mTOR blocks the phosphorylation of Akt at S473 and prevents its full activation. Furthermore, we show that TORKinibs inhibit proliferation of primary cells more completely than rapamycin. Surprisingly, we find that mTORC2 is not the basis for this enhanced activity, and we show that the TORKinib PP242 is a more effective mTORC1 inhibitor than rapamycin. Importantly, at the molecular level, PP242 inhibits cap-dependent translation under conditions in which rapamycin has no effect. Our findings identify new functional features of mTORC1 that are resistant to rapamycin but are effectively targeted by TORKinibs. These potent new pharmacological agents complement rapamycin in the study of mTOR and its role in normal physiology and human disease.
Author Summary
Growth factor pathways are required for normal development but are often inappropriately activated in many cancers. One growth-factor–sensitive pathway of increasing interest to cancer researchers relies on the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a kinase that (like all kinases) delivers phosphate groups from ATP to amino acid residues of downstream proteins. TOR proteins were first discovered in yeast as the cellular targets of rapamycin, a small, naturally occurring molecule derived from bacteria that is widely used as an immunosuppressant and more recently in some cancer therapies. The study of TOR proteins has relied heavily on the use of rapamycin, but rapamycin does not directly inhibit TOR kinase activity; rather, rapamycin influences TOR's enzymatic activities by binding to a domain far from the kinase's active site. Some mTOR functions are resistant to rapamycin, as a result of the kinase activity of one kind of multiprotein complex, the mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2), whereas rapamycin-sensitive functions of mTOR are due to the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1). We have developed new inhibitors of mTOR that bind to the ATP-binding site of mTOR and inhibit the catalytic activity of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 without inhibiting other kinases. Unexpectedly, these inhibitors had profound effects on protein synthesis and cell proliferation due to their inhibition of mTORC1 rather than mTORC2. We found that the phosphorylation of a protein that controls protein synthesis, the mTORC1 substrate 4E binding protein (4EBP) is partially resistant to rapamycin but fully inhibited by our new inhibitors. The finding that 4EBP phosphorylation is resistant to rapamycin suggests that active-site inhibitors may be more effective than rapamycin in the treatment of cancer and may explain why rapamycin is so well tolerated when taken for immunosuppression.
Cells rely on the mammalian target of rapamycin kinase (mTOR) to sense growth factors. Inhibition of all forms of mTOR using newly developed inhibitors of its active site reveals new insights into the function of two mTOR-containing protein complexes and their potential as therapeutic targets.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000038
PMCID: PMC2637922  PMID: 19209957
11.  Tor2 Directly Phosphorylates the AGC Kinase Ypk2 To Regulate Actin Polarization†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(16):7239-7248.
The target of rapamycin (TOR) protein kinases, Tor1 and Tor2, form two distinct complexes (TOR complex 1 and 2) in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. TOR complex 2 (TORC2) contains Tor2 but not Tor1 and controls polarity of the actin cytoskeleton via the Rho1/Pkc1/MAPK cell integrity cascade. Substrates of TORC2 and how TORC2 regulates the cell integrity pathway are not well understood. Screening for multicopy suppressors of tor2, we obtained a plasmid expressing an N-terminally truncated Ypk2 protein kinase. This truncation appears to partially disrupt an autoinhibitory domain in Ypk2, and a point mutation in this region (Ypk2D239A) conferred upon full-length Ypk2 the ability to rescue growth of cells compromised in TORC2, but not TORC1, function. YPK2D239A also suppressed the lethality of tor2Δ cells, suggesting that Ypks play an essential role in TORC2 signaling. Ypk2 is phosphorylated directly by Tor2 in vitro, and Ypk2 activity is largely reduced in tor2Δ cells. In contrast, Ypk2D239A has increased and TOR2-independent activity in vivo. Thus, we propose that Ypk protein kinases are direct and essential targets of TORC2, coupling TORC2 to the cell integrity cascade.
doi:10.1128/MCB.25.16.7239-7248.2005
PMCID: PMC1190227  PMID: 16055732
12.  Three Yeast Proteins Related to the Human Candidate Tumor Suppressor p33ING1 Are Associated with Histone Acetyltransferase Activities 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(11):3807-3816.
Three Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins (Yng1/YOR064c, Yng2/YHR090c, and Pho23) and two Schizosaccharomyces pombe proteins (Png1/CAA15917 and Png2/CAA21250) share significant sequence identity with the human candidate tumor suppressor p33ING1 in their C-terminal regions. The homologous regions contain PHD finger domains which have been implicated in chromatin-mediated transcriptional regulation. We show that GFP-Yng2, like human Ing1, is localized in the nucleus. Deletion of YNG2 results in several phenotypes, including an abnormal multibudded morphology, an inability to utilize nonfermentable carbon sources, heat shock sensitivity, slow growth, temperature sensitivity, and sensitivity to caffeine. These phenotypes are suppressed by expression of either human Ing1 or S. pombe Png1, suggesting that the yeast and human proteins are functionally conserved. Yng1- and Pho23-deficient cells also share some of these phenotypes. We demonstrated by yeast two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation tests that Yng2 interacts with Tra1, a component of histone acetyltransferase (HAT) complexes. We further demonstrated by coimmunoprecipitation that HA-Yng1, HA-Yng2, HA-Pho23, and HA-Ing1 are associated with HAT activities in yeast. Genetic and biochemical evidence indicate that the Yng2-associated HAT is Esa1, suggesting that Yng2 is a component of the NuA4 HAT complex. These studies suggest that the yeast Ing1-related proteins are involved in chromatin remodeling. They further suggest that these functions may be conserved in mammals and provide a possible mechanism for the human Ing1 candidate tumor suppressor.
PMCID: PMC85704  PMID: 10805724

Results 1-12 (12)