Promoter-proximal pausing by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) ensures both gene-specific regulation and RNA quality control. Structural considerations suggested initiation factor eviction would be required for elongation factor engagement and pausing of transcription complexes. Here we show that selective inhibition of Cdk7—part of TFIIH—increases TFIIE retention, prevents DRB-sensitivity inducing factor (DSIF) recruitment and attenuates pausing in human cells. Pause release depends on Cdk9—cyclin T1 (P-TEFb); Cdk7 is also required for Cdk9-activating phosphorylation and Cdk9-dependent downstream events—Pol II carboxyl-terminal domain Ser2 phosphorylation and histone H2B ubiquitylation—in vivo. Cdk7 inhibition, moreover, impairs Pol II transcript 3′-end formation. Cdk7 thus acts through TFIIE and DSIF to establish and through P-TEFb to relieve barriers to elongation: incoherent feedforward that might create a window to recruit RNA-processing machinery. Therefore, cyclin-dependent kinases govern Pol II handoff from initiation to elongation factors and co-transcriptional RNA maturation.
Phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) negatively regulates the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway. In colorectal cancer (CRC), observed frequencies of loss of PTEN expression, concordant expression in primary tumors and metastases, and the association of PTEN status with outcome vary markedly by detection method. We determined the degree to which PTEN expression is consistent in 70 matched human CRC primaries and liver metastases using a validated immunohistochemistry assay. We found loss of PTEN expression in 12.3% of assessable CRC primaries and 10.3% of assessable liver metastases. PTEN expression (positive or negative) was concordant in 98% of matched colorectal primaries and liver metastases. Next we related PTEN status to mutations in RAS and PI3K pathway genes (KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA) and to overall survival (OS). PTEN expression was not significantly associated with the presence or absence of mutations in RAS or PI3K pathway genes. The median OS of patients whose tumors did not express PTEN was 9 months, compared to 49 months for patients whose tumors did express PTEN (HR = 6.25, 95% confidence intervals (CI) (1.98, 15.42), P = 0.0017). The association of absent PTEN expression with increased risk of death remained significant in multivariate analysis (HR = 6.31, 95% CI (2.03, 17.93), P = 0.0023). In summary, PTEN expression was consistent in matched CRC primaries and in liver metastases. Therefore, future investigations of PTEN in metastatic CRC can use primary tumor tissue. In patients with liver-only metastases, loss of PTEN expression predicted poor OS.
We observed concordant PTEN expression in 98% of colorectal cancer (CRC) primary and liver metastasis pairs using a validated immunohistochemistry assay. Consistent PTEN expression at both disease sites is significant because tumor tissue is usually available from CRC primaries but not metastases. Loss of PTEN expression associated with poor survival of CRC patients with liver-only metastases.
Biomarker; colorectal cancer; concordance; PTEN; survival
To investigate the role of the kinase zeta-associated protein of 70 kDa (ZAP-70) in T cells, we generated mice expressing a ZAP-70 mutant whose catalytic activity can be selectively blocked by a small molecule inhibitor. Conventional naïve, effector and memory T cells were dependent on ZAP-70 kinase activity for their activation, demonstrating a non-redundant role for ZAP-70 in TCR-induced signals. In contrast, ZAP-70 catalytic activity was not required for activation of the GTPase Rap1 and inside-out signals that promote integrin adhesion. This ZAP-70 kinase-independent pathway is sufficient for regulatory T (TREG) cell suppressive activity, which was unperturbed by ZAP-70 catalytic inhibition. Our results implicate ZAP-70 as an attractive therapeutic target.
The complexity of cancer has led to recent interest in polypharmacological approaches for developing kinase-inhibitor drugs; however, optimal kinase-inhibition profiles remain difficult to predict. Using a Ret-kinase-driven Drosophila model of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 and kinome-wide drug profiling, here we identify that AD57 rescues oncogenic Ret-induced lethality, whereas related Ret inhibitors imparted reduced efficacy and enhanced toxicity. Drosophila genetics and compound profiling defined three pathways accounting for the mechanistic basis of efficacy and dose-limiting toxicity. Inhibition of Ret plus Raf, Src and S6K was required for optimal animal survival, whereas inhibition of the ‘anti-target’ Tor led to toxicity owing to release of negative feedback. Rational synthetic tailoring to eliminate Tor binding afforded AD80 and AD81, compounds featuring balanced pathway inhibition, improved efficacy and low toxicity in Drosophila and mammalian multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 models. Combining kinase-focused chemistry, kinome-wide profiling and Drosophila genetics provides a powerful systems pharmacology approach towards developing compounds with a maximal therapeutic index.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress activates a set of signaling pathways, collectively termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). The three UPR branches (IRE1, PERK, and ATF6) promote cell survival by reducing misfolded protein levels. UPR signaling also promotes apoptotic cell death if ER stress is not alleviated. How the UPR integrates its cytoprotective and proapoptotic outputs to select between life or death cell fates is unknown. We found that IRE1 and ATF6 activities were attenuated by persistent ER stress in human cells. By contrast, PERK signaling, including translational inhibition and proapoptotic transcription regulator Chop induction, was maintained. When IRE1 activity was sustained artificially, cell survival was enhanced, suggesting a causal link between the duration of UPR branch signaling and life or death cell fate after ER stress. Key findings from our studies in cell culture were recapitulated in photoreceptors expressing mutant rhodopsin in animal models of retinitis pigmentosa.
EphB receptor tyrosine kinases control multiple steps in nervous system development. However, it remains unclear whether EphBs regulate these different developmental processes directly or indirectly. In addition, as EphBs signal through multiple mechanisms, it has been challenging to define which signaling functions of EphBs regulate particular developmental events. To address these issues, we engineered triple knockin mice in which the kinase activity of three neuronally expressed EphBs can be rapidly, reversibly, and specifically blocked. Using these mice we demonstrate that the tyrosine kinase activity of EphBs is required for axon guidance in vivo. By contrast, EphB-mediated synaptogenesis occurs normally when the kinase activity of EphBs is inhibited suggesting that EphBs mediate synapse development by an EphB tyrosine kinase-independent mechanism. Taken together, these experiments reveal that EphBs control axon guidance and synaptogenesis by distinct mechanisms, and provide a new mouse model for dissecting EphB function in development and disease.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase is a master regulator of protein synthesis that couples nutrient sensing to cell growth and cancer. However, the downstream translationally regulated nodes of gene expression that may direct cancer development are poorly characterized. Using ribosome profiling, we uncover specialized translation of the prostate cancer genome by oncogenic mTOR signalling, revealing a remarkably specific repertoire of genes involved in cell proliferation, metabolism and invasion. We extend these findings by functionally characterizing a class of translationally controlled pro-invasion messenger RNAs that we show direct prostate cancer invasion and metastasis downstream of oncogenic mTOR signalling. Furthermore, we develop a clinically relevant ATP site inhibitor of mTOR, INK128, which reprograms this gene expression signature with therapeutic benefit for prostate cancer metastasis, for which there is presently no cure. Together, these findings extend our understanding of how the ‘cancerous’ translation machinery steers specific cancer cell behaviours, including metastasis, and may be therapeutically targeted.
While mutational activation of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) features prominently in glioma and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), inhibitors of EGFR improve survival only in NCSLC. To understand how mutations in EGFR influence response to therapy, we generated glioma cells expressing either glioma- or NSCLC-derived alleles, quantifying kinase site occupancy by clinical inhibitors using novel affinity probe and kinetic methodology. At equivalent doses, erlotinib achieved lower kinase site occupancy in glioma-derived EGFRvIII, compared to NSCLC-derived EGFR mutants. Kinase site occupancy correlated directly with cell cycle arrest. EGFRvIII released erlotinib rapidly compared to wild-type EGFR, whereas NSCLC-derived mutants released erlotinib slowly.
Erlotinib; EGFR; malignant glioma; EGFRvIII; kinase site occupancy
In fission yeast, discrete steps in mRNA maturation and synthesis depend on a complex containing the 5′-cap methyltransferase Pcm1 and Cdk9, which phosphorylates the RNA polymerase II (Pol II) carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) and the processivity factor Spt5 to promote transcript elongation. Here we show that a Cdk9 carboxyl-terminal extension, distinct from the catalytic domain, mediates binding to both Pcm1 and the Pol II CTD. Removal of this segment diminishes Cdk9/Pcm1 chromatin recruitment and Spt5 phosphorylation in vivo and leads to slow growth and hypersensitivity to cold temperature, nutrient limitation, and the IMP dehydrogenase inhibitor mycophenolic acid (MPA). These phenotypes, and the Spt5 phosphorylation defect, are suppressed by Pcm1 overproduction, suggesting that normal transcript elongation and gene expression depend on physical linkage between Cdk9 and Pcm1. The extension is dispensable, however, for recognition of CTD substrates “primed” by Mcs6 (Cdk7). On defined peptide substrates in vitro, Cdk9 prefers CTD repeats phosphorylated at Ser7 over unmodified repeats. In vivo, Ser7 phosphorylation depends on Mcs6 activity, suggesting a conserved mechanism, independent of chromatin recruitment, to order transcriptional CDK functions. Therefore, fission yeast Cdk9 comprises a catalytic domain sufficient for primed substrate recognition and a multivalent recruitment module that couples transcription with capping.
The energy-sensing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated by low nutrient levels. Functions of AMPK, other than its role in cellular metabolism, are just beginning to emerge. Here we use a chemical genetics screen to identify direct substrates of AMPK in human cells. We find that AMPK phosphorylates 28 previously unidentified substrates, several of which are involved in mitosis and cytokinesis. We identify the residues phosphorylated by AMPK in vivo in several substrates, including protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 12C (PPP1R12C) and p21 -activated protein kinase (PAK2). AMPK-induced phosphorylation is necessary for PPP1R12C interaction with 14-3-3 and phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain. Both AMPK activity and PPP1R12C phosphorylation are increased in mitotic cells and are important for mitosis completion. These findings suggest that AMPK coordinates nutrient status with mitosis completion, which may be critical for the organism’s response to low nutrients during development, or in adult stem and cancer cells.
Dendrite arborization and synapse formation are essential for wiring the neural circuitry. The evolutionarily conserved NDR1/2 kinase pathway, important for polarized growth from yeast to mammals, controls dendrite growth and morphology in worm and fly. Whether NDR1/2 kinases regulate dendrite and synapse development in mammals was not known. Nor have their phosphorylation targets been identified. Here we show that expression of dominant negative (kinase dead) NDR1/2 mutants or siRNA increase dendrite length and proximal branching of mammalian pyramidal neurons in cultures and in vivo, whereas expression of constitutively active NDR1/2 has the opposite effects. Moreover, NDR1/2 contributes to dendritic spine development and excitatory synaptic function. We further employed chemical genetics and identified NDR1/2 substrates in the brain, including two proteins involved in intracellular vesicle trafficking: AAK1 (AP-2 associated kinase) and Rabin8, a GDP/GTP exchange factor (GEF) of Rab8 GTPase. We finally show that AAK1 contributes to dendrite growth regulation and Rabin8 regulates spine development.
This study reveals the basis for how temporal phosphoregulation of Orm protein controls sphingolipid production in response to stress. Orm protein phosphorylation is highly responsive to sphingoid bases, and Ypk1 protein kinase transmits heat stress signals to the sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway via Orm phosphorylation.
Sphingoid intermediates accumulate in response to a variety of stresses, including heat, and trigger cellular responses. However, the mechanism by which stress affects sphingolipid biosynthesis has yet to be identified. Recent studies in yeast suggest that sphingolipid biosynthesis is regulated through phosphorylation of the Orm proteins, which in humans are potential risk factors for childhood asthma. Here we demonstrate that Orm phosphorylation status is highly responsive to sphingoid bases. We also demonstrate, by monitoring temporal changes in Orm phosphorylation and sphingoid base production in cells inhibited for yeast protein kinase 1 (Ypk1) activity, that Ypk1 transmits heat stress signals to the sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway via Orm phosphorylation. Our data indicate that heat-induced sphingolipid biosynthesis in turn triggers Orm protein dephosphorylation, making the induction transient. We identified Cdc55–protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as a key phosphatase that counteracts Ypk1 activity in Orm-mediated sphingolipid biosynthesis regulation. In total, our study reveals a mechanism through which the conserved Pkh-Ypk kinase cascade and Cdc55-PP2A facilitate rapid, transient sphingolipid production in response to heat stress through Orm protein phosphoregulation. We propose that this mechanism serves as the basis for how Orm phosphoregulation controls sphingolipid biosynthesis in response to stress in a kinetically coupled manner.
The cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) that promote cell-cycle progression are targets for negative regulation by signals from damaged or unreplicated DNA, but also play active roles in response to DNA lesions. The requirement for activity in the face of DNA damage implies that there are mechanisms to insulate certain CDKs from checkpoint inhibition. It remains difficult, however, to assign precise functions to specific CDKs in protecting genomic integrity. In mammals, Cdk2 is active throughout S and G2 phases, but Cdk2 protein is dispensable for survival, owing to compensation by other CDKs. That plasticity obscured a requirement for Cdk2 activity in proliferation of human cells, which we uncovered by replacement of wild-type Cdk2 with a mutant version sensitized to inhibition by bulky adenine analogs. Here we show that transient, selective inhibition of analog-sensitive (AS) Cdk2 after exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) enhances cell-killing. In extracts supplemented with an ATP analog used preferentially by AS kinases, Cdk2as phosphorylated the Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome gene product Nbs1—a component of the conserved Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 complex required for normal DNA damage repair and checkpoint signaling—dependent on a consensus CDK recognition site at Ser432. In vivo, selective inhibition of Cdk2 delayed and diminished Nbs1-Ser432 phosphorylation during S phase, and mutation of Ser432 to Ala or Asp increased IR–sensitivity. Therefore, by chemical genetics, we uncovered both a non-redundant requirement for Cdk2 activity in response to DNA damage and a specific target of Cdk2 within the DNA repair machinery.
Multiple cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) control human cell proliferation, but it remains unclear how functions of different CDKs are coordinated during unperturbed cell division or after dividing cells incur DNA damage. DNA lesions activate checkpoint signaling pathways to inhibit CDK activity, arrest the cell division cycle, and thus prevent loss of genetic information; but an effective response to damage also requires CDK activity to modify components of repair and checkpoint pathways. We took a chemical-genetic approach to ask if a specific CDK, Cdk2, played a specialized, non-redundant role in protecting genomic integrity of human cells. By sensitizing Cdk2 to chemical inhibition, we were able to detect a specific requirement for its catalytic activity in survival of cells after exposure to ionizing radiation (IR). We identified Nbs1, product of the gene mutated in the cancer-predisposing Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome, as a Cdk2 substrate and showed that mutant forms of Nbs1 that cannot be modified by Cdk2 are defective in protecting cells from death due to IR–induced DNA damage. Therefore, our work defines a DNA damage response pathway that depends on catalytic activity of a specific CDK in human cells and suggests a mechanism to promote efficient repair without triggering inappropriate cell division.
Exaggerated contraction of airway smooth muscle is the major cause of symptoms in asthma, but the mechanisms that prevent exaggerated contraction are incompletely understood. Here, we showed that integrin α9β1 on airway smooth muscle localizes the polyamine catabolizing enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) in close proximity to the lipid kinase PIP5K1γ. As PIP5K1γ is the major source of PIP2 in airway smooth muscle and its activity is regulated by higher-order polyamines, this interaction inhibited IP3-dependent airway smooth muscle contraction. Mice lacking integrin α9β1 in smooth muscle had increased airway responsiveness in vivo, and loss or inhibition of integrin α9β1 increased in vitro airway narrowing and airway smooth muscle contraction in murine and human airways. Contraction was enhanced in control airways by the higher-order polyamine spermine or by cell-permeable PIP2, but these interventions had no effect on airways lacking integrin α9β1 or treated with integrin α9β1–blocking antibodies. Enhancement of SSAT activity or knockdown of PIP5K1γ inhibited airway contraction, but only in the presence of functional integrin α9β1. Therefore, integrin α9β1 appears to serve as a brake on airway smooth muscle contraction by recruiting SSAT, which facilitates local catabolism of polyamines and thereby inhibits PIP5K1γ. Targeting key components of this pathway could thus lead to new treatment strategies for asthma.
Multiple cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) control eukaryotic cell division, but assigning specific functions to individual CDKs remains a challenge. During the mammalian cell cycle, Cdk2 forms active complexes before Cdk1, but lack of Cdk2 protein does not block cell-cycle progression. To detect requirements and define functions for Cdk2 activity in human cells when normal expression levels are preserved, and non-physiologic compensation by other CDKs is prevented, we replaced the wild-type kinase with a version sensitized to specific inhibition by bulky adenine analogs. The sensitizing mutation also impaired a non-catalytic function of Cdk2 in restricting assembly of cyclin A with Cdk1, but this defect could be corrected by both inhibitory and non-inhibitory analogs. This allowed either chemical rescue or selective antagonism of Cdk2 activity in vivo, to uncover a requirement in cell proliferation, and non-redundant, rate-limiting roles in restriction point passage and S-phase entry.
Post-synaptic density 95 (PSD-95), the major scaffold at excitatory synapses, is critical for synapse maturation and learning. In rodents, eye opening, the onset of pattern vision, triggers a rapid movement of PSD-95 from visual neuron somata to synapses. We previously showed that the PI3 kinase-Akt pathway downstream of BDNF/TrkB signaling stimulates synaptic delivery of PSD-95 via vesicular transport. However, vesicular transport requires PSD-95 palmitoylation to attach it to a lipid membrane. Also PSD-95 insertion at synapses is known to require this lipid modification. Here, we show that BDNF/TrkB signaling is also necessary for PSD-95 palmitoylation and its transport to synapses in mouse visual cortical layer 2/3 neurons. However, palmitoylation of PSD-95 requires the activation of another pathway downstream of BDNF/TrkB, namely signaling through PLCγ and the brain-specific PKC variant PKMζ. We find that PKMζ selectively regulates phosphorylation of the palmitoylation enzyme ZDHHC8. Inhibition of PKMζ results in a reduction of synaptic PSD-95 accumulation in vivo, which can be rescued by over-expression ZDHHC8. Therefore, TrkB and PKMζ, two critical regulators of synaptic plasticity, facilitate PSD-95 targeting to synapses. These results also indicate that palmitoylation can be regulated by a trophic factor. Our findings have implications for neurodevelopmental disorders as well as ageing brains.
Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that is expressed primarily in hematopoietic cells. Because this protein has been implicated in processes such as Fc-mediated phagocytosis, BCR signaling, oxidative burst, degranulation, cytokine secretion, and integrin-mediated outside-in signaling, it is hypothesized that Syk may be a viable target in the treatment of a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Because efforts to design a small-molecule therapeutic that specifically inhibits Syk have been largely unsuccessful, and genetic studies of Syk have been hampered by the fact that syk−/− mice die in utero, we have taken a chemical genetic approach to study the function of Syk. Specifically, we have created a mutant form of Syk that retains its wild-type function, but is susceptible to inhibition by enlarged derivatives of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, PP1. We report in this study that Syk M442A S505A reconstituted wild-type function when introduced into murine syk−/− bone marrow-derived macrophages and syk−/− DT40 chicken B cells, as determined by functional and biochemical assays. Furthermore, after screening a series of PP1 derivatives, we identified one compound, namely 2,3-DMB-PP1, that specifically inhibited Syk M442A S505A, but not wild-type Syk. This system provides us with the power to characterize immune functions that are Syk specific, and furthermore, it provides us with a tool to assess how inhibition of Syk may alter an immune response and influence disease pathogenesis and/or progression.
Phosphorylation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Snf1 kinase activation loop is determined by the integration of two reaction rates: the rate of phosphorylation by upstream kinases and the rate of dephosphorylation by Glc7. The activities of the Snf1-activating kinases do not appear to be glucose-regulated, since immune complex kinase assays with each of the three Snf1-activating kinases show similar levels of activity when prepared from cells grown in either high or low glucose. In contrast, the dephosphorylation of the Snf1 activation loop was strongly regulated by glucose. When de novo phosphorylation of Snf1 was inhibited, phosphorylation of the Snf1 activation loop was found to be stable in low glucose but rapidly lost upon the addition of glucose. A greater than 10-fold difference in the rates of Snf1 activation loop dephosphorylation was detected. However, the activity of the Glc7-Reg1 phosphatase may not itself be directly regulated by glucose, since the Glc7-Reg1 enzyme was active in low glucose toward another substrate, the transcription factor Mig1. Glucose-mediated regulation of Snf1 activation loop dephosphorylation is controlled by changes in the ability of the Snf1 activation loop to act as a substrate for Glc7.
The genome of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe encodes for 17 protein kinases that are essential for viability. Studies of the essential kinases often require the use of mutant strains carrying conditional alleles. To inactivate these kinases conditionally, we applied a recently developed chemical genetic strategy. The mutation of a single residue in the ATP-binding pocket confers sensitivity to small-molecule inhibitors, allowing for specific inactivation of the modified kinase. Using this approach, we constructed conditional analog-sensitive alleles of 13 essential protein kinases in the fission yeast S. pombe.
kinase; analog-sensitive; conditional allele; fission yeast; phosphorylation
The unfolded protein response (UPR) controls the protein folding capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Central to this signaling pathway is the ER-resident bifunctional transmembrane kinase/endoribonuclease Ire1. The endoribonuclease (RNase) domain of Ire1 initiates a non-conventional mRNA splicing reaction, leading to the production of a transcription factor that controls UPR target genes. The mRNA splicing reaction is an obligatory step of Ire1 signaling, yet its mechanism has remained poorly understood due to the absence of substrate-bound crystal structures of Ire1, the lack of structural similarity between Ire1 and other RNases, and a scarcity of quantitative enzymological data. Here, we experimentally define the active site of Ire1 RNase and quantitatively evaluate the contribution of the key active site residues to catalysis.
This analysis and two new crystal structures suggest that Ire1 RNase uses histidine H1061 and tyrosine Y1043 as the general acid-general base pair contributing ≥ 7.6 kcal/mol and 1.4 kcal/mol to transition state stabilization, respectively, and asparagine N1057 and arginine R1056 for coordination of the scissile phosphate. Investigation of the stem-loop recognition revealed that additionally to the stem-loops derived from the classic Ire1 substrates HAC1 and Xbp1 mRNA, Ire1 can site-specifically and rapidly cleave anticodon stem-loop (ASL) of unmodified tRNAPhe, extending known substrate specificity of Ire1 RNase.
Our data define the catalytic center of Ire1 RNase and suggest a mechanism of RNA cleavage: each RNase monomer apparently contains a separate catalytic apparatus for RNA cleavage, whereas two RNase subunits contribute to RNA stem-loop docking. Conservation of the key residues among Ire1 homologues suggests that the mechanism elucidated here for yeast Ire1 applies to Ire1 in metazoan cells, and to the only known Ire1 homologue RNase L.
Ire1 is a signal transduction protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane that serves to adjust the protein-folding capacity of the ER according to the needs of the cell. Ire1 signals, in a transcriptional program, the unfolded protein response (UPR) via the coordinated action of its protein kinase and RNase domains. In this study, we investigated how the binding of cofactors to the kinase domain of Ire1 modulates its RNase activity.
Our results suggest that the kinase domain of Ire1 initially binds cofactors without activation of the RNase domain. RNase is activated upon a subsequent conformational rearrangement of Ire1 governed by the chemical properties of bound cofactors. The conformational step can be selectively inhibited by chemical perturbations of cofactors. Substitution of a single oxygen atom in the terminal β-phosphate group of a potent cofactor ADP by sulfur results in ADPβS, a cofactor that binds to Ire1 as well as to ADP but does not activate RNase. RNase activity can be rescued by thiophilic metal ions such as Mn2+ and Cd2+, revealing a functional metal ion-phosphate interaction which controls the conformation and RNase activity of the Ire1 ADP complex. Mutagenesis of the kinase domain suggests that this rearrangement involves movement of the αC-helix, which is generally conserved among protein kinases. Using X-ray crystallography, we show that oligomerization of Ire1 is sufficient for placing the αC-helix in the active, cofactor-bound-like conformation, even in the absence of cofactors.
Our structural and biochemical evidence converges on a model that the cofactor-induced conformational change in Ire1 is coupled to oligomerization of the receptor, which, in turn, activates RNase. The data reveal that cofactor-Ire1 interactions occur in two independent steps: binding of a cofactor to Ire1 and subsequent rearrangement of Ire1 resulting in its self-association. The pronounced allosteric effect of cofactors on protein-protein interactions involving Ire1's kinase domain suggests that protein kinases and pseudokinases encoded in metazoan genomes may use ATP pocket-binding ligands similarly to exert signaling roles other than phosphoryl transfer.
Disturbances in GABAA receptor trafficking contribute to several neurological and psychiatric disorders by altering inhibitory neurotransmission. Identifying mechanisms that regulate GABAA receptor trafficking could lead to better understanding of disease pathogenesis and treatment. Here we show that protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) regulates the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), an ATPase critical for membrane fusion events, and thereby promotes the trafficking of GABAA receptors. Activation of PKCε decreased cell surface expression of GABAA receptors and attenuated GABAA currents. Activated PKCε associated with NSF, phosphorylated NSF at serine 460 and threonine 461, and increased NSF ATPase activity, which was required for GABAA receptor down-regulation. These findings identify new roles for NSF and PKCε in regulating synaptic inhibition through down-regulation of GABAA receptors. Reducing NSF activity by inhibiting PKCε could help restore synaptic inhibition in disease states where it is impaired.
gamma-aminobutyrate; phosphorylation; protein kinase C; synaptic inhibition; receptor trafficking; NSF
The Phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway regulates cell proliferation, survival and migration and is consequently of great interest for targeted cancer therapy. Using a panel of small molecule PI3K isoform-selective inhibitors in a diverse set of breast cancer cell lines, we demonstrate that the biochemical and biological responses were highly variable and dependent on the genetic alterations present. p110α inhibitors were generally effective in inhibiting the phosphorylation of Akt and S6, two downstream components of PI3K signaling, in most cell lines examined. In contrast, 110β selective inhibitors only reduced Akt phosphorylation in PTEN mutant cell lines, and was associated with a lesser decrease in S6 phosphorylation. PI3K inhibitors reduced cell viability by causing a cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase of the cell cycle, with multi-targeted inhibitors causing the most potent effects. Cells expressing mutant Ras were resistant to the cell cycle effects of PI3K inhibition, which could be reversed using inhibitors of Ras signaling pathways. Taken together our data indicates that these compounds, alone or in suitable combinations, may be useful as breast cancer therapeutics, when used in appropriate genetic contexts.
PI3K inhibitors; PKB/Akt; S6; phosphorylation; breast cancer; genetic alterations
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.