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1.  Swiprosin-1 stimulates cancer invasion and metastasis by increasing the Rho family of GTPase signaling 
Oncotarget  2015;6(15):13060-13071.
Ectopic expression of Swiprosin-1, an actin-binding protein (also known as EF hand domain containing 2; EFHD2), enhanced motile protrusions associated with actin, such as lamellipodia and membrane ruffles. Swiprosin-1 levels were increased in various human cancer tissues, particularly at highly invasive stages of malignant melanoma. Expression of Swiprosin-1 was correlated with that of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and induced by EGF. In a mouse metastasis model, Swiprosin-1 overexpression induced pulmonary metastasis whereas its knockdown led to marked inhibition of metastasis of highly invasive melanoma cells. Swiprosin-1 at the lamellipodia and membrane ruffles controlled the direction of cell protrusion and enhanced migration velocity through activating the Rho family of small GTPases, including Rac1, Cdc42 and RhoA. Our collective findings support the potential utility of Swiprosin-1 as a therapeutic target to prevent cancer invasion and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4536999  PMID: 26079945
Swiprosin-1; metastasis; invasion; migration; Rho GTPase
2.  Interaction of Crk with Myosin-1c Participates in Fibronectin-Induced Cell Spreading 
We previously reported a novel interaction between v-Crk and myosin-1c, and demonstrated that this interaction is essential for cell migration, even in the absence of p130CAS. We here demonstrate a role for Crk-myosin-1c interaction in cell adhesion and spreading. Crk-knockout (Crk‑/‑) mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibited significantly decreased cell spreading and reduced Rac1 activity. A stroboscopic analysis of cell dynamics during cell spreading revealed that the cell-spreading deficiency in Crk‑/‑ MEFs was due to the short protrusion/retraction distances and long persistence times of membrane extensions. The low activity of Rac1 in Crk‑/‑ MEFs, which led to delayed cell spreading in these cells, is consistent with the observed defects in membrane dynamics. Reintroduction of v-Crk into Crk‑/‑ MEFs rescued these defects, restoring cell-spreading activity and membrane dynamics to Crk+/+ MEF levels, and normalizing Rac1 activity. Knockdown of myosin-1c by introduction of small interfering RNA resulted in a delay in cell spreading and reduced Rac1 activity to low levels, suggesting that myosin-1c also plays an essential role in cell adhesion and spreading. In addition, deletion of the v-Crk SH3 domain, which interacts with the myosin-1c tail, led to defects in cell spreading. Overexpression of the GFP-myosin-1c tail domain effectively inhibited the v-Crk-myosin-1c interaction and led to a slight decrease in cell spreading and cell surface area. Collectively, these findings suggest that the v-Crk-myosin-1c interaction, which modulates membrane dynamics by regulating Rac1 activity, is crucial for cell adhesion and spreading.
PMCID: PMC3753442  PMID: 23983611
v-Crk; myosin-1c; cell adhesion; cell spreading
3.  v-Crk regulates membrane dynamics and Rac activation 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2008;2(3):174-176.
Cell migration is an integrated process that involves cell adhesion, protrusion and contraction. We recently used CAS (Crk-associated substrate, 130CAS)-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) to examined contribution made to v-Crk to that process via its interaction with Rac1. v-Crk, the oncogene product of avian sarcoma virus CT10, directly affects membrane ruffle formation and is associated with Rac1 activation, even in the absence of CAS, a major substrate for Crk. In CAS-deficient MEFs, cell spreading and lamellipodium dynamics are delayed; moreover, Rac activation is significantly reduced and it is no longer targeted to the membrane. However, expression of v-Crk by CAS-deficient MEFs increased cell spreading and active lamellipodium protrusion and retraction. v-Crk expression appears to induce Rac1 activation and its targeting to the membrane, which directly affects membrane dynamics and, in turn, cell migration. It thus appears that v-Crk/Rac1 signaling contributes to the regulation of membrane dynamics and cell migration, and that v-Crk is an effector molecule for Rac1 activation that regulates cell motility.
PMCID: PMC2634094  PMID: 19262107
v-Crk; Rac; lamellipodia dynamics; cell migration; p130CAS
4.  The Integrin-coupled Signaling Adaptor p130Cas Suppresses Smad3 Function in Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(5):2135-2146.
Reciprocal cooperative signaling by integrins and growth factor receptors at G1 phase during cell cycle progression is well documented. By contrast, little is known about the cross-talk between integrin and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. Here, we show that integrin signaling counteracts the inhibitory effects of TGF-β on cell growth and that this effect is mediated by p130Cas (Crk-associated substrate, 130 kDa). Adhesion to fibronectin or laminin reduces TGF-β–induced Smad3 phosphorylation and thus inhibits TGF-β–mediated growth arrest; loss of p130Cas abrogates these effects. Loss and gain of function studies demonstrated that, once tyrosine-phosphorylated via integrin signaling, p130Cas binds to Smad3 and reduces phosphorylation of Smad3. That in turn leads to inhibition of p15 and p21 expression and facilitation of cell cycle progression. Thus, p130Cas-mediated control of TGF-β/Smad signaling may provide an additional clue to the mechanism underlying resistance to TGF-β–induced growth inhibition.
PMCID: PMC2366878  PMID: 18321991
5.  Cannabinoids Regulate Bcl-2 and Cyclin D2 Expression in Pancreatic β Cells 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0150981.
Recent reports have shown that cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1Rs) are expressed in pancreatic β cells, where they induce cell death and cell cycle arrest by directly inhibiting insulin receptor activation. Here, we report that CB1Rs regulate the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and cell cycle regulator cyclin D2 in pancreatic β cells. Treatment of MIN6 and βTC6 cells with a synthetic CB1R agonist, WIN55,212–2, led to a decrease in the expression of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2, in turn inducing cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Additionally, genetic deletion and pharmacological blockade of CB1Rs after injury in mice led to increased levels of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2 in pancreatic β cells. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2 mediated by CB1Rs in the regulation of β-cell survival and growth, and will serve as a basis for developing new therapeutic interventions to enhance β-cell function and growth in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4788443  PMID: 26967640
6.  Interaction of EGFR to δ-catenin leads to δ-catenin phosphorylation and enhances EGFR signaling 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:21207.
Expression of δ-catenin reportedly increases during late stage prostate cancer. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that expression of EGFR is enhanced in hormone refractory prostate cancer. In this study, we investigated the possible correlation between EGFR and δ-catenin in prostate cancer cells. We found that EGFR interacted with δ-catenin and the interaction decreased in the presence of EGF. We also demonstrated that, on one hand, EGFR phosphorylated δ-catenin in a Src independent manner in the presence of EGF and on the other hand, δ-catenin enhanced protein stability of EGFR and strengthened the EGFR/Erk1/2 signaling pathway. Our findings added a new perspective to the interaction of EGFR to the E-cadherin complex. They also provided novel insights to the roles of δ-catenin in prostate cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4756308  PMID: 26883159
7.  LRRK2 G2019S mutation attenuates microglial motility by inhibiting focal adhesion kinase 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8255.
In response to brain injury, microglia rapidly extend processes that isolate lesion sites and protect the brain from further injury. Here we report that microglia carrying a pathogenic mutation in the Parkinson's disease (PD)-associated gene, G2019S-LRRK2 (GS-Tg microglia), show retarded ADP-induced motility and delayed isolation of injury, compared with non-Tg microglia. Conversely, LRRK2 knockdown microglia are highly motile compared with control cells. In our functional assays, LRRK2 binds to focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and phosphorylates its Thr–X–Arg/Lys (TXR/K) motif(s), eventually attenuating FAK activity marked by decreased pY397 phosphorylation (pY397). GS-LRRK2 decreases the levels of pY397 in the brain, microglia and HEK cells. In addition, treatment with an inhibitor of LRRK2 kinase restores pY397 levels, decreased pTXR levels and rescued motility of GS-Tg microglia. These results collectively suggest that G2019S mutation of LRRK2 may contribute to the development of PD by inhibiting microglial response to brain injury.
In response to brain injury, microglia extend processes to isolate the lesion. Here Choi et al. show that microglia expressing a pathogenic mutation in the Parkinson's disease-associated LRRK2 gene show reduced motility and delayed lesion isolation in vitro and in vivo due to attenuated focal adhesion kinase activity.
PMCID: PMC4647842  PMID: 26365310
8.  TAGLN2 regulates T cell activation by stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton at the immunological synapse 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2015;209(1):143-162.
TAGLN2 stabilizes cortical F-actin and thereby maintains F-actin contents at the immunological synapse, which allows T cell activation following T cell receptor stimulation.
The formation of an immunological synapse (IS) requires tight regulation of actin dynamics by many actin polymerizing/depolymerizing proteins. However, the significance of actin stabilization at the IS remains largely unknown. In this paper, we identify a novel function of TAGLN2—an actin-binding protein predominantly expressed in T cells—in stabilizing cortical F-actin, thereby maintaining F-actin contents at the IS and acquiring LFA-1 (leukocyte function-associated antigen-1) activation after T cell receptor stimulation. TAGLN2 blocks actin depolymerization and competes with cofilin both in vitro and in vivo. Knockout of TAGLN2 (TAGLN2−/−) reduced F-actin content and destabilized F-actin ring formation, resulting in decreased cell adhesion and spreading. TAGLN2−/− T cells displayed weakened cytokine production and cytotoxic effector function. These findings reveal a novel function of TAGLN2 in enhancing T cell responses by controlling actin stability at the IS.
PMCID: PMC4395477  PMID: 25869671
9.  Intracellular Cleavage of Amyloid β by a Viral Protease NIa Prevents Amyloid β-Mediated Cytotoxicity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98650.
Nuclear inclusion a (NIa) of turnip mosaic virus is a cytosolic protease that cleaves amyloid β (Aβ) when heterologously overexpressed. Lentivirus-mediated expression of NIa in the brains of APP(sw)/PS1 mice significantly reduces cerebral Aβ levels and plaque depositions, and improves behavioral deficits. Here, the effects of NIa and neprilysin (NEP), a well-known Aβ-cleaving protease, on oligomeric Aβ-induced cell death were evaluated. NIa cleaved monomeric and oligomeric Aβ at a similar rate, whereas NEP only cleaved monomeric Aβ. Oligomeric Aβ-induced cytotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction were significantly ameliorated by NIa, but not by NEP. Endocytosed fluorescently-labeled Aβ localized to mitochondria, and this was significantly reduced by NIa, but not by NEP. These data suggest that NIa may exerts its protective roles by degrading Aβ and thus preventing mitochondrial deposition of Aβ.
PMCID: PMC4051590  PMID: 24915567
10.  USP47 and C Terminus of Hsp70-Interacting Protein (CHIP) Antagonistically Regulate Katanin-p60-Mediated Axonal Growth 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(31):12728-12738.
Katanin is a heterodimeric enzyme that severs and disassembles microtubules. While the p60 subunit has the enzyme activity, the p80 subunit regulates the p60 activity. The microtubule-severing activity of katanin plays an essential role in axonal growth. However, the mechanisms by which neuronal cells regulate the expression of katanin-p60 remains unknown. Here we showed that USP47 and C terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP) antagonistically regulate the stability of katanin-p60 and thereby axonal growth. USP47 was identified as a katanin-p60-specific deubiquitinating enzyme for its stabilization. We also identified CHIP as a ubiquitin E3 ligase that promotes proteasome-mediated degradation of katanin-p60. Moreover, USP47 promoted axonal growth of cultured rat hippocampal neurons, whereas CHIP inhibited it. Significantly, treatment with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), an inducer of axonal growth, increased the levels of USP47 and katanin-p60, but not CHIP. Consistently, bFGF treatment resulted in a marked decrease in the level of ubiquitinated katanin-p60 and thereby in the promotion of axonal growth. On the other hand, the level of USP47, but not CHIP, decreased concurrently with that of katanin-p60 as axons reached their target cells. These results indicate that USP47 plays a crucial role in the control of axonal growth during neuronal development by antagonizing CHIP-mediated katanin-p60 degradation.
PMCID: PMC4469866  PMID: 23904609
11.  SPIN90 Knockdown Attenuates the Formation and Movement of Endosomal Vesicles in the Early Stages of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Endocytosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82610.
The finding that SPIN90 colocalizes with epidermal growth factor (EGF) in EEA1-positive endosomes prompted us to investigate the role of SPIN90 in endocytosis of the EGF receptor (EGFR). In the present study, we demonstrated that SPIN90 participates in the early stages of endocytosis, including vesicle formation and trafficking. Stable HeLa cells with knockdown of SPIN90 displayed significantly higher levels of surface EGFR than control cells. Analysis of the abundance and cellular distribution of EGFR via electron microscopy revealed that SPIN90 knockdown cells contain residual EGFR at cell membranes and fewer EGFR-containing endosomes, both features that reflect reduced endosome formation. The delayed early endosomal targeting capacity of SPIN90 knockdown cells led to increased EGFR stability, consistent with the observed accumulation of EGFR at the membrane. Small endosome sizes and reduced endosome formation in SPIN90 knockdown cells, observed using fluorescent confocal microscopy, strongly supported the involvement of SPIN90 in endocytosis of EGFR. Overexpression of SPIN90 variants, particularly the SH3, PRD, and CC (positions 643 - 722) domains, resulted in aberrant morphology of Rab5-positive endosomes (detected as small spots located near the cell membrane) and defects in endosomal movement. These findings clearly suggest that SPIN90 participates in the formation and movement of endosomes. Consistent with this, SPIN90 knockdown enhanced cell proliferation. The delay in EGFR endocytosis effectively increased the levels of endosomal EGFR, which triggered activation of ERK1/2 and cell proliferation via upregulation of cyclin D1. Collectively, our findings suggest that SPIN90 contributes to the formation and movement of endosomal vesicles, and modulates the stability of EGFR protein, which affects cell cycle progression via regulation of the activities of downstream proteins, such as ERK1/2, after EGF stimulation.
PMCID: PMC3858329  PMID: 24340049
12.  Swiprosin-1 modulates actin dynamics by regulating the F-actin accessibility to cofilin 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2013;70(24):4841-4854.
Membrane protrusions, like lamellipodia, and cell movement are dependent on actin dynamics, which are regulated by a variety of actin-binding proteins acting cooperatively to reorganize actin filaments. Here, we provide evidence that Swiprosin-1, a newly identified actin-binding protein, modulates lamellipodial dynamics by regulating the accessibility of F-actin to cofilin. Overexpression of Swiprosin-1 increased lamellipodia formation in B16F10 melanoma cells, whereas knockdown of Swiprosin-1 inhibited EGF-induced lamellipodia formation, and led to a loss of actin stress fibers at the leading edges of cells but not in the cell cortex. Swiprosin-1 strongly facilitated the formation of entangled or clustered F-actin, which remodeled the structural organization of actin filaments making them inaccessible to cofilin. EGF-induced phosphorylation of Swiprosin-1 at Ser183, a phosphorylation site newly identified using mass spectrometry, effectively inhibited clustering of actin filaments and permitted cofilin access to F-actin, resulting in actin depolymerization. Cells overexpressing a Swiprosin-1 phosphorylation-mimicking mutant or a phosphorylation-deficient mutant exhibited irregular membrane dynamics during the protrusion and retraction cycles of lamellipodia. Taken together, these findings suggest that dynamic exchange of Swiprosin-1 phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is a novel mechanism that regulates actin dynamics by modulating the pattern of cofilin activity at the leading edges of cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1447-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3830201  PMID: 23959172
Swiprosin-1; Actin filament; Cofilin; Lamellipodia
13.  Swiprosin-1 Is a Novel Actin Bundling Protein That Regulates Cell Spreading and Migration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71626.
Protein functions are often revealed by their localization to specialized cellular sites. Recent reports demonstrated that swiprosin-1 is found together with actin and actin-binding proteins in the cytoskeleton fraction of human mast cells and NK-like cells. However, direct evidence of whether swiprosin-1 regulates actin dynamics is currently lacking. We found that swiprosin-1 localizes to microvilli-like membrane protrusions and lamellipodia and exhibits actin-binding activity. Overexpression of swiprosin-1 enhanced lamellipodia formation and cell spreading. In contrast, swiprosin-1 knockdown showed reduced cell spreading and migration. Swiprosin-1 induced actin bundling in the presence of Ca2+, and deletion of the EF-hand motifs partially reduced bundling activity. Swiprosin-1 dimerized in the presence of Ca2+ via its coiled-coil domain, and a lysine (Lys)-rich region in the coiled-coil domain was essential for regulation of actin bundling. Consistent with these observations, mutations of the EF-hand motifs and coiled-coil region significantly reduced cell spreading and lamellipodia formation. We provide new evidence of how swiprosin-1 influences cytoskeleton reorganization and cell spreading.
PMCID: PMC3744483  PMID: 23977092
14.  SPIN90 dephosphorylation is required for cofilin-mediated actin depolymerization in NMDA-stimulated hippocampal neurons 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2013;70(22):4369-4383.
Actin plays a fundamental role in the regulation of spine morphology (both shrinkage and enlargement) upon synaptic activation. In particular, actin depolymerization is crucial for the spine shrinkage in NMDAR-mediated synaptic depression. Here, we define the role of SPIN90 phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in regulating actin depolymerization via modulation of cofilin activity. When neurons were treated with NMDA, SPIN90 was dephosphorylated by STEP61 (striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase) and translocated from the spines to the dendritic shafts. In addition, phosphorylated SPIN90 bound cofilin and then inhibited cofilin activity, suggesting that SPIN90 dephosphorylation is a prerequisite step for releasing cofilin so that cofilin can adequately sever actin filaments into monomeric form. We found that SPIN90 YE, a phosphomimetic mutant, remained in the spines after NMDAR activation where it bound cofilin, thereby effectively preventing actin depolymerization. This led to inhibition of the activity-dependent redistribution of cortactin and drebrin A, as well as of the morphological changes in the spines that underlie synaptic plasticity. These findings indicate that NMDA-induced SPIN90 dephosphorylation and translocation initiates cofilin-mediated actin dynamics and spine shrinkage within dendritic spines, thereby modulating synaptic activity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1391-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3825632  PMID: 23765104
Dendritic spines; Long-term depression; Spine shrinkage; Actin depolymerization
15.  Pharmacological Activation of Sirt1 Ameliorates Polyglutamine-Induced Toxicity through the Regulation of Autophagy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64953.
Intracellular accumulation of polyglutamine (polyQ)-expanded Huntingtin (Htt) protein is a hallmark of Huntington’s disease (HD). This study evaluated whether activation of Sirt1 by the anti-cancer agent, β-lapachone (β-lap), induces autophagy in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, thereby reducing intracellular levels of polyQ aggregates and their concomitant cytotoxicity. Treatment of cells with β-lap markedly diminished the cytotoxicity induced by forced expression of Htt exon 1 containing a pathogenic polyQ stretch fused to green fluorescent protein (HttEx1(97Q)-GFP). β-lap increased autophagy in SH-SY5Y cells, as evidenced by the increased formation of LC3-II and autolysosomes. Furthermore, β-lap reduced HttEx1(97Q)-GFP aggregation, which was significantly prevented by co-incubation with 3-methyladenine, an inhibitor of autophagy. β-lap increased Sirt1 activity, as shown by the increased deacetylation of the Sirt1 substrates, PARP-1 and Atg5, and the nuclear translocation of FOXO1. Both the induction of autophagy and attenuation of HttEx1(97Q)-GFP aggregation by β-lap were significantly prevented by co-incubation with sirtinol, a general sirtuin inhibitor or by co-transfection with shRNA against Sirt1. The pro-autophagic actions of β-lap were further investigated in a transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) line that expressed Q67 fused to cyanine fluorescent protein (Q67). Notably, β-lap reduced the number of Q67 puncta and restored Q67-induced defects in motility, which were largely prevented by pre-treatment with RNAi against sir-2.1, the C. elegans orthologue of Sirt1. Collectively, these data suggest that β-lap induces autophagy through activation of Sirt1, which in turn leads to a reduction in polyQ aggregation and cellular toxicity. Thus, β-lap provides a novel therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of HD.
PMCID: PMC3677867  PMID: 23762270
16.  SPIN90 Phosphorylation Modulates Spine Structure and Synaptic Function 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54276.
The correct rearrangement of postsynaptic components in dendritic spines is important for driving changes of spine structure and synaptic function. SPIN90 plays an essential role in many cellular processes including actin polymerization, endocytosis, growth cone formation and dendritic spine morphogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that SPIN90, which is a binding partner of PSD95 and Shank in spines, is targeted to synapses and leads to enhanced synaptic activity in neurons. We show, using in vitro and in vivo kinase assays, that SPIN90 is tyrosine phosphorylated by Src kinase. SPIN90 that was tyrosine-phosphorylated by Src was targeted to dendritic spines in cultured hippocampal neurons. Moreover, a SPIN90 phospho-deficient mutant was unable to accumulate at dendritic spines whereas SPIN90 WT and a phospho-mimicking mutant were localized at spines and bound PSD95 and Shank with increased efficiency. Consistent with these findings, hippocampal neurons that overexpressed SPIN90 WT or a phospho-mimicking mutant had enlarged spine heads, leading to enhanced postsynaptic function in terms of both amplitude and frequency. Together, our findings show that SPIN90 modulates synaptic activity in neurons as a result of its phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC3544810  PMID: 23342115
17.  F-Actin-Dependent Regulation of NESH Dynamics in Rat Hippocampal Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34514.
Synaptic plasticity is an important feature of neurons essential for learning and memory. Postsynaptic organization and composition are dynamically remodeled in response to diverse synaptic inputs during synaptic plasticity. During this process, the dynamics and localization of postsynaptic proteins are also precisely regulated. NESH/Abi-3 is a member of the Abl interactor (Abi) protein family. Overexpression of NESH is associated with reduced cell motility and tumor metastasis. Strong evidence of a close relationship between NESH and the actin cytoskeleton has been documented. Although earlier studies have shown that NESH is prominently expressed in the brain, its function and characteristics are yet to be established. Data from the present investigation suggest that synaptic localization of NESH in hippocampal neurons is regulated in an F-actin-dependent manner. The dynamic fraction of NESH in the dendritic spine was analyzed using FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching). Interestingly, F-actin stabilization and disruption significantly affected the mobile fraction of NESH, possibly through altered interactions of NESH with the F-actin. In addition, NESH was synaptically targeted from the dendritic shaft to spine after induction of chemical LTP (long-term potentiation) and the translocation was dependent on F-actin. Our data collectively support the significance of the F-actin cytoskeleton in synaptic targeting of NESH as well as its dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3319579  PMID: 22496823
18.  NESH Regulates Dendritic Spine Morphology and Synapse Formation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34677.
Dendritic spines are small membranous protrusions on the neuronal dendrites that receive synaptic input from axon terminals. Despite their importance for integrating the enormous information flow in the brain, the molecular mechanisms regulating spine morphogenesis are not well understood. NESH/Abi-3 is a member of the Abl interactor (Abi) protein family, and its overexpression is known to reduce cell motility and tumor metastasis. NESH is prominently expressed in the brain, but its function there remains unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
NESH was strongly expressed in the hippocampus and moderately expressed in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and striatum, where it co-localized with the postsynaptic proteins PSD95, SPIN90 and F-actin in dendritic spines. Overexpression of NESH reduced numbers of mushroom-type spines and synapse density but increased thin, filopodia-like spines and had no effect on spine density. siRNA knockdown of NESH also reduced mushroom spine numbers and inhibited synapse formation but it increased spine density. The N-terminal region of NESH co-sedimented with filamentous actin (F-actin), which is an essential component of dendritic spines, suggesting this interaction is important for the maturation of dendritic spines.
NESH is a novel F-actin binding protein that likely plays important roles in the regulation of dendritic spine morphogenesis and synapse formation.
PMCID: PMC3317636  PMID: 22485184
19.  P130Cas Attenuates Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Receptor Internalization by Modulating EGF-Triggered Dynamin Phosphorylation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20125.
Endocytosis controls localization-specific signal transduction via epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), as well as downregulation of that receptor. Extracellular matrix (ECM)-integrin coupling induces formation of macromolecular complexes that include EGFR, integrin, Src kinase and p130Cas, resulting in EGFR activation. In addition, cell adhesion to ECM increases EGFR localization at the cell surface and reduces EGFR internalization. The molecular mechanisms involved are not yet well understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the molecular mechanism by which p130Cas affects the endocytic regulation of EGFR. Biochemical quantification revealed that cell adhesion to fibronectin (FN) increases total EGFR levels and its phosphorylation, and that p130Cas is required for this process. Measurements of Texas Red-labeled EGF uptake and cell surface EGFR revealed that p130Cas overexpression reduces EGF-induced EGFR internalization, while p130Cas depletion enhances it. In addition, both FN-mediated cell adhesion and p130Cas overexpression reduce EGF-stimulated dynamin phosphorylation, which is necessary for EGF-induced EGFR internalization. Coimmunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assays confirmed the interaction between p130Cas and dynamin. Moreover, a SH3-domain-deleted form of p130Cas, which shows diminished binding to dynamin, inhibits dynamin phosphorylation and EGF uptake less effectively than wild-type p130Cas.
Our results show that p130Cas plays an inhibitory role in EGFR internalization via its interaction with dynamin. Given that the EGFR internalization process determines signaling density and specificity in the EGFR pathway, these findings suggest that the interaction between p130Cas and dynamin may regulate EGFR trafficking and signaling in the same manner as other endocytic regulatory proteins related to EGFR endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC3097230  PMID: 21625594
20.  The Nuclear Inclusion a (NIa) Protease of Turnip Mosaic Virus (TuMV) Cleaves Amyloid-β 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15645.
The nuclear inclusion a (NIa) protease of turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) is responsible for the processing of the viral polyprotein into functional proteins. NIa was previously shown to possess a relatively strict substrate specificity with a preference for Val-Xaa-His-Gln↓, with the scissile bond located after Gln. The presence of the same consensus sequence, Val12-His-His-Gln15, near the presumptive α-secretase cleavage site of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide led us to hypothesize that NIa could possess activity against Aβ.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Western blotting results showed that oligomeric as well as monomeric forms of Aβ can be degraded by NIa in vitro. The specific cleavage of Aβ was further confirmed by mass spectrometry analysis. NIa was shown to exist predominantly in the cytoplasm as observed by immunofluorescence microscopy. The overexpression of NIa in B103 neuroblastoma cells resulted in a significant reduction in cell death caused by both intracellularly generated and exogenously added Aβ. Moreover, lentiviral-mediated expression of NIa in APPsw/PS1 transgenic mice significantly reduced the levels of Aβ and plaques in the brain.
These results indicate that the degradation of Aβ in the cytoplasm could be a novel strategy to control the levels of Aβ, plaque formation, and the associated cell death.
PMCID: PMC3004936  PMID: 21187975
21.  Palladin interacts with SH3 domains of SPIN90 and Src and is required for Src-induced cytoskeletal remodeling 
Experimental cell research  2007;313(12):2575-2585.
Palladin and SPIN90 are widely expressed proteins, which participate in modulation of actin cytoskeleton by binding to a variety of scaffold and signaling molecules. Cytoskeletal reorganization can induced by activation of signaling pathways, including the PDGF receptor and Src tyrosine kinase pathways. In this study we have analyzed the interplay between palladin, SPIN90 and Src, and characterized the role of palladin and SPIN90 in PDGF and Src-induced cytoskeletal remodeling. We show that the SH3 domains of SPIN90 and Src directly bind palladin’s poly-proline sequence and the interaction controls intracellular targeting of SPIN90. In PDGF-treated cells, palladin and SPIN90 co-localize in actin rich membrane ruffles and lamellipodia. The effect of PDGF on the cytoskeleton is at least partly mediated by the Src kinase, since PP2, a selective Src kinase family inhibitor, blocked PDGF-induced changes. Furthermore, expression of active Src kinase resulted in coordinated translocation of both palladin and SPIN90 to membrane protrusions. Knock-down of endogenous SPIN90 did not inhibit Src-induced cytoskeletal rearrangement, whereas knock-down of palladin resulted in cytoskeletal disorganization and inhibition of remodeling. Further studies showed that palladin is tyrosine phosphorylated in cells expressing active Src indicating bidirectional interplay between palladin and Src. These results may have implications in understanding the invasive and metastatic phenotype of neoplastic cells induced by Src.
PMCID: PMC2000818  PMID: 17537434
Palladin; SPIN90; Src; cytoskeleton
22.  Calreticulin, a Calcium-binding Molecular Chaperone, Is Required for Stress Response and Fertility in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(9):2835-2845.
Calreticulin (CRT), a Ca2+-binding protein known to have many cellular functions, including regulation of Ca2+ homoeostasis and chaperone activity, is essential for heart and brain development during embryogenesis in mice. Here, we report the functional characterization of Caenorhabditis elegans calreticulin (crt-1). A crt-1 null mutant does not result in embryonic lethality but shows temperature-dependent reproduction defects. In C. elegans CRT-1 is expressed in the intestine, pharynx, body-wall muscles, head neurons, coelomocytes, and in sperm. crt-1 males exhibit reduced mating efficiency and defects late in sperm development in addition to defects in oocyte development and/or somatic gonad function in hermaphrodites. Furthermore, crt-1 and itr-1 (inositol triphosphate receptor) together are required for normal behavioral rhythms. crt-1 transcript level is elevated under stress conditions, suggesting that CRT-1 may be important for stress-induced chaperoning function in C. elegans.
PMCID: PMC59717  PMID: 11553721
23.  Calreticulin Couples Calcium Release and Calcium Influx in Integrin-mediated Calcium Signaling 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2000;11(4):1433-1443.
The engagement of integrin α7 in E63 skeletal muscle cells by laminin or anti-α7 antibodies triggered transient elevations in the intracellular free Ca2+ concentration that resulted from both inositol triphosphate-evoked Ca2+ release from intracellular stores and extracellular Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated, L-type Ca2+ channels. The extracellular domain of integrin α7 was found to associate with both ectocalreticulin and dihydropyridine receptor on the cell surface. Calreticulin appears to also associate with cytoplasmic domain of integrin α7 in a manner highly dependent on the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. It appeared that intracellular Ca2+ release was a prerequisite for Ca2+ influx and that calreticulin associated with the integrin cytoplasmic domain mediated the coupling of between the Ca2+ release and Ca2+ influx. These findings suggest that calreticulin serves as a cytosolic activator of integrin and a signal transducer between integrins and Ca2+ channels on the cell surface.
PMCID: PMC14857  PMID: 10749940
24.  Caspase-mediated Cleavage of p130cas in Etoposide-induced Apoptotic Rat-1 Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2000;11(3):929-939.
Apoptosis causes characteristic morphological changes in cells, including membrane blebbing, cell detachment from the extracellular matrix, and loss of cell–cell contacts. We investigated the changes in focal adhesion proteins during etoposide-induced apoptosis in Rat-1 cells and found that during apoptosis, p130cas (Crk-associated substrate [Cas]) is cleaved by caspase-3. Sequence analysis showed that Cas contains 10 DXXD consensus sites preferred by caspase-3. We identified two of these sites (DVPD416G and DSPD748G) in vitro, and point mutations substituting the Asp of DVPD416G and DSPD748G with Glu blocked caspase-3-mediated cleavage. Cleavage at DVPD416G generated a 74-kDa fragment, which was in turn cleaved at DSPD748G, yielding 47- and 31-kDa fragments. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed well-developed focal adhesion sites in control cells that dramatically declined in number in etoposide-treated cells. Cas cleavage correlated temporally with the onset of apoptosis and coincided with the loss of p125FAK (focal adhesion kinase [FAK]) from focal adhesion sites and the attenuation of Cas–paxillin interactions. Considering that Cas associates with FAK, paxillin, and other molecules involved in the integrin signaling pathway, these results suggest that caspase-mediated cleavage of Cas contributes to the disassembly of focal adhesion complexes and interrupts survival signals from the extracellular matrix.
PMCID: PMC14821  PMID: 10712510

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