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1.  VAPB/ALS8 interacts with FFAT-like proteins including the p97 cofactor FAF1 and the ASNA1 ATPase 
BMC Biology  2014;12:39.
Background
FAF1 is a ubiquitin-binding adaptor for the p97 ATPase and belongs to the UBA-UBX family of p97 cofactors. p97 converts the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis into conformational changes of the p97 hexamer, which allows the dissociation of its targets from cellular structures or from larger protein complexes to facilitate their ubiquitin-dependent degradation. VAPB and the related protein VAPA form homo- and heterodimers that are anchored in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and can interact with protein partners carrying a FFAT motif. Mutations in either VAPB or p97 can cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects upper and lower motor neurons.
Results
We show that FAF1 contains a non-canonical FFAT motif that allows it to interact directly with the MSP domain of VAPB and, thereby, to mediate VAPB interaction with p97. This finding establishes a link between two proteins that can cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when mutated, VAPB/ALS8 and p97/ALS14. Subsequently, we identified a similar FFAT-like motif in the ASNA1 subunit of the transmembrane-domain recognition complex (TRC), which in turn mediates ASNA1 interaction with the MSP domain of VAPB.
Proteasome inhibition leads to the accumulation of ubiquitinated species in VAPB immunoprecipitates and this correlates with an increase in FAF1 and p97 binding. We found that VAPB interaction with ubiquitinated proteins is strongly reduced in cells treated with FAF1 siRNA. Our efforts to determine the identity of the ubiquitinated targets common to VAPB and FAF1 led to the identification of RPN2, a subunit of an oligosaccharyl-transferase located at the endoplasmic reticulum, which may be regulated by ubiquitin-mediated degradation.
Conclusions
The FFAT-like motifs we identified in FAF1 and ASNA1 demonstrate that sequences containing a single phenylalanine residue with the consensus (D/E)(D/E)FEDAx(D/E) are also proficient to mediate interaction with VAPB.
Our findings indicate that the repertoire of VAPB interactors is more diverse than previously anticipated and link VAPB to the function of ATPase complexes such as p97/FAF1 and ASNA1/TRC.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-12-39
PMCID: PMC4068158  PMID: 24885147
p97 ATPase; VAPB; FAF1; ASNA1; RPN2; ubiquitin
2.  Phosphorylation of Parkin at Serine65 is essential for activation: elaboration of a Miro1 substrate-based assay of Parkin E3 ligase activity 
Open Biology  2014;4(3):130213.
Mutations in PINK1 and Parkin are associated with early-onset Parkinson's disease. We recently discovered that PINK1 phosphorylates Parkin at serine65 (Ser65) within its Ubl domain, leading to its activation in a substrate-free activity assay. We now demonstrate the critical requirement of Ser65 phosphorylation for substrate ubiquitylation through elaboration of a novel in vitro E3 ligase activity assay using full-length untagged Parkin and its putative substrate, the mitochondrial GTPase Miro1. We observe that Parkin efficiently ubiquitylates Miro1 at highly conserved lysine residues, 153, 230, 235, 330 and 572, upon phosphorylation by PINK1. We have further established an E2-ubiquitin discharge assay to assess Parkin activity and observe robust discharge of ubiquitin-loaded UbcH7 E2 ligase upon phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 by wild-type, but not kinase-inactive PINK1 or a Parkin Ser65Ala mutant, suggesting a possible mechanism of how Ser65 phosphorylation may activate Parkin E3 ligase activity. For the first time, to the best of our knowledge, we report the effect of Parkin disease-associated mutations in substrate-based assays using full-length untagged recombinant Parkin. Our mutation analysis indicates an essential role for the catalytic cysteine Cys431 and reveals fundamental new knowledge on how mutations may confer pathogenicity via disruption of Miro1 ubiquitylation, free ubiquitin chain formation or by impacting Parkin's ability to discharge ubiquitin from a loaded E2. This study provides further evidence that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 is critical for its activation. It also provides evidence that Miro1 is a direct Parkin substrate. The assays and reagents developed in this study will be important to uncover new insights into Parkin biology as well as aid in the development of screens to identify small molecule Parkin activators for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
doi:10.1098/rsob.130213
PMCID: PMC3971407  PMID: 24647965
Parkin; PINK1; Miro1; ubiquitin; phosphorylation; Parkinson's disease
3.  Hydrophilic Strong Anion Exchange (hSAX) Chromatography for Highly Orthogonal Peptide Separation of Complex Proteomes 
Journal of Proteome Research  2013;12(6):2449-2457.
Due to its compatibility and orthogonality to reversed phase (RP) liquid chromatography (LC) separation, ion exchange chromatography, and mainly strong cation exchange (SCX), has often been the first choice in multidimensional LC experiments in proteomics. Here, we have tested the ability of three strong anion exchanger (SAX) columns differing in their hydrophobicity to fractionate RAW264.7 macrophage cell lysate. IonPac AS24, a strong anion exchange material with ultralow hydrophobicity, demonstrated to be superior to other materials by fractionation and separation of tryptic peptides from both a mixture of 6 proteins as well as mouse cell lysate. The chromatography displayed very high orthogonality and high robustness depending on the hydrophilicity of column chemistry, which we termed hydrophilic strong anion exchange (hSAX). Mass spectrometry analysis of 34 SAX fractions from RAW264.7 macrophage cell lysate digest resulted in an identification of 9469 unique proteins and 126318 distinct peptides in one week of instrument time. Moreover, when compared to an optimized high pH/low pH RP separation approach, the method presented here raised the identification of proteins and peptides by 10 and 28%, respectively. This novel hSAX approach provides robust, reproducible, and highly orthogonal separation of complex protein digest samples for deep coverage proteome analysis.
doi:10.1021/pr301011r
PMCID: PMC3679572  PMID: 23294059
ultralow hydrophobicity; chromatography; proteomics; strong anion exchange; hydrophilic strong anion exchange; HPLC; mouse macrophage; RAW264.7; orthogonality; mass spectrometry
4.  PGE2 Induces Macrophage IL-10 Production and a Regulatory-like Phenotype via a Protein Kinase A–SIK–CRTC3 Pathway 
The polarization of macrophages into a regulatory-like phenotype and the production of IL-10 plays an important role in the resolution of inflammation. We show in this study that PGE2, in combination with LPS, is able to promote an anti-inflammatory phenotype in macrophages characterized by high expression of IL-10 and the regulatory markers SPHK1 and LIGHT via a protein kinase A–dependent pathway. Both TLR agonists and PGE2 promote the phosphorylation of the transcription factor CREB on Ser133. However, although CREB regulates IL-10 transcription, the mutation of Ser133 to Ala in the endogenous CREB gene did not prevent the ability of PGE2 to promote IL-10 transcription. Instead, we demonstrate that protein kinase A regulates the phosphorylation of salt-inducible kinase 2 on Ser343, inhibiting its ability to phosphorylate CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 3 in cells. This in turn allows CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 3 to translocate to the nucleus where it serves as a coactivator with the transcription factor CREB to induce IL-10 transcription. In line with this, we find that either genetic or pharmacological inhibition of salt-inducible kinases mimics the effect of PGE2 on IL-10 production.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1202462
PMCID: PMC3620524  PMID: 23241891
5.  An improved SUMmOn-based methodology for the identification of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like protein (Ubl) conjugation sites identifies novel Ubl chain linkages 
Proteomics  2010;10(2):254-265.
Ubiquitin (Ub) and the ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls) comprise a remarkable assortment of polypeptides that are covalently conjugated to target proteins (or other biomolecules) to modulate their intracellular localization, half-life and/or activity. Identification of Ub/Ubl conjugation sites on a protein of interest can thus be extremely important for understanding how it is regulated. While mass spectrometry (MS) has become a powerful tool for the study of many classes of post-translational modifications, the identification of Ub/Ubl conjugation sites presents a number of unique challenges. Here, we present an improved Ub/Ubl conjugation site identification strategy, utilizing SUMmOn analysis and an additional protease (LysC), as a complement to standard approaches. As compared to standard trypsin proteolysis-database search protocols alone, the addition of SUMmOn analysis can; (a) identify Ubl conjugation sites that are not detected by standard database searching methods, (b) better preserve Ub/Ubl conjugate identity, and (c) increase the number of identifications of Ub/Ubl modifications in lysine-rich protein regions. Using this methodology, we characterize for the first time a number of novel Ubl linkages and conjugation sites, including alternative yeast (K54) and mammalian SUMO chain (SUMO-2 K42, SUMO-3 K41) assemblies, as well as previously unreported NEDD8 chain (K27, K33 and K54) topologies.
doi:10.1002/pmic.200900648
PMCID: PMC3374337  PMID: 20029837
NEDD8; SUMO; SUMmOn; ubiquitin; ubiquitin-like proteins
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.  PhosphoPep—a phosphoproteome resource for systems biology research in Drosophila Kc167 cells 
The ability to analyze and understand the mechanisms by which cells process information is a key question of systems biology research. Such mechanisms critically depend on reversible phosphorylation of cellular proteins, a process that is catalyzed by protein kinases and phosphatases. Here, we present PhosphoPep, a database containing more than 10 000 unique high-confidence phosphorylation sites mapping to nearly 3500 gene models and 4600 distinct phosphoproteins of the Drosophila melanogaster Kc167 cell line. This constitutes the most comprehensive phosphorylation map of any single source to date. To enhance the utility of PhosphoPep, we also provide an array of software tools that allow users to browse through phosphorylation sites on single proteins or pathways, to easily integrate the data with other, external data types such as protein–protein interactions and to search the database via spectral matching. Finally, all data can be readily exported, for example, for targeted proteomics approaches and the data thus generated can be again validated using PhosphoPep, supporting iterative cycles of experimentation and analysis that are typical for systems biology research.
doi:10.1038/msb4100182
PMCID: PMC2063582  PMID: 17940529
data integration; Drosophila; interactive database; phosphoproteomics; systems biology

Results 1-7 (7)