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1.  Defining mechanisms of actin polymerization and depolymerization during dendritic spine morphogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(2):323-339.
Dendritic spines are small protrusions along dendrites where the postsynaptic components of most excitatory synapses reside in the mature brain. Morphological changes in these actin-rich structures are associated with learning and memory formation. Despite the pivotal role of the actin cytoskeleton in spine morphogenesis, little is known about the mechanisms regulating actin filament polymerization and depolymerization in dendritic spines. We show that the filopodia-like precursors of dendritic spines elongate through actin polymerization at both the filopodia tip and root. The small GTPase Rif and its effector mDia2 formin play a central role in regulating actin dynamics during filopodia elongation. Actin filament nucleation through the Arp2/3 complex subsequently promotes spine head expansion, and ADF/cofilin-induced actin filament disassembly is required to maintain proper spine length and morphology. Finally, we show that perturbation of these key steps in actin dynamics results in altered synaptic transmission.
PMCID: PMC2700375  PMID: 19380880
2.  OSBPL10, a novel candidate gene for high triglyceride trait in dyslipidemic Finnish subjects, regulates cellular lipid metabolism 
Analysis of variants in three genes encoding oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues (OSBPL2, OSBPL9, OSBPL10) in Finnish families with familial low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (N = 426) or familial combined hyperlipidemia (N = 684) revealed suggestive linkage of OSBPL10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with extreme end high triglyceride (TG; >90th percentile) trait. Prompted by this initial finding, we carried out association analysis in a metabolic syndrome subcohort (Genmets) of Health2000 examination survey (N = 2,138), revealing association of multiple OSBPL10 SNPs with high serum TG levels (>95th percentile). To investigate whether OSBPL10 could be the gene underlying the observed linkage and association, we carried out functional experiments in the human hepatoma cell line Huh7. Silencing of OSBPL10 increased the incorporation of [3H]acetate into cholesterol and both [3H]acetate and [3H]oleate into triglycerides and enhanced the accumulation of secreted apolipoprotein B100 in growth medium, suggesting that the encoded protein ORP10 suppresses hepatic lipogenesis and very-low-density lipoprotein production. ORP10 was shown to associate dynamically with microtubules, consistent with its involvement in intracellular transport or organelle positioning. The data introduces OSBPL10 as a gene whose variation may contribute to high triglyceride levels in dyslipidemic Finnish subjects and provides evidence for ORP10 as a regulator of cellular lipid metabolism.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-009-0490-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2707950  PMID: 19554302
Cholesterol; High-density lipoprotein; Microtubule; Oxysterol-binding protein; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Triglyceride
3.  The Oxysterol-binding Protein Homologue ORP1L Interacts with Rab7 and Alters Functional Properties of Late Endocytic Compartments 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(12):5480-5492.
ORP1L is a member of the human oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) family. ORP1L localizes to late endosomes (LEs)/lysosomes, colocalizing with the GTPases Rab7 and Rab9 and lysosome-associated membrane protein-1. We demonstrate that ORP1L interacts physically with Rab7, preferentially with its GTP-bound form, and provide evidence that ORP1L stabilizes GTP-bound Rab7 on LEs/lysosomes. The Rab7-binding determinant is mapped to the ankyrin repeat (ANK) region of ORP1L. The pleckstrin homology domain (PHD) of ORP1L binds phosphoinositides with low affinity and specificity. ORP1L ANK- and ANK+PHD fragments induce perinuclear clustering of LE/lysosomes. This is dependent on an intact microtubule network and a functional dynein/dynactin motor complex. The dominant inhibitory Rab7 mutant T22N reverses the LE clustering, suggesting that the effect is dependent on active Rab7. Transport of fluorescent dextran to LEs is inhibited by overexpression of ORP1L. Overexpression of ORP1L, and in particular the N-terminal fragments of ORP1L, inhibits vacuolation of LE caused by Helicobacter pylori toxin VacA, a process also involving Rab7. The present study demonstrates that ORP1L binds to Rab7, modifies its functional cycle, and can interfere with LE/lysosome organization and endocytic membrane trafficking. This is the first report of a direct connection between the OSBP-related protein family and the Rab GTPases.
PMCID: PMC1289395  PMID: 16176980
4.  MLN64 Is Involved in Actin-mediated Dynamics of Late Endocytic OrganellesD⃞V⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(8):3873-3886.
MLN64 is a late endosomal cholesterol-binding membrane protein of an unknown function. Here, we show that MLN64 depletion results in the dispersion of late endocytic organelles to the cell periphery similarly as upon pharmacological actin disruption. The dispersed organelles in MLN64 knockdown cells exhibited decreased association with actin and the Arp2/3 complex subunit p34-Arc. MLN64 depletion was accompanied by impaired fusion of late endocytic organelles and delayed cargo degradation. MLN64 overexpression increased the number of actin and p34-Arc-positive patches on late endosomes, enhanced the fusion of late endocytic organelles in an actin-dependent manner, and stimulated the deposition of sterol in late endosomes harboring the protein. Overexpression of wild-type MLN64 was capable of rescuing the endosome dispersion in MLN64-depleted cells, whereas mutants of MLN64 defective in cholesterol binding were not, suggesting a functional connection between MLN64-mediated sterol transfer and actin-dependent late endosome dynamics. We propose that local sterol enrichment by MLN64 in the late endosomal membranes facilitates their association with actin, thereby governing actin-dependent fusion and degradative activity of late endocytic organelles.
PMCID: PMC1182323  PMID: 15930133
5.  Modulation of Cellular Cholesterol Transport and Homeostasis by Rab11 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(9):3107-3122.
To analyze the contribution of vesicular trafficking pathways in cellular cholesterol transport we examined the effects of selected endosomal Rab proteins on cholesterol distribution by filipin staining. Transient overexpression of Rab11 resulted in prominent accumulation of free cholesterol in Rab11-positive organelles that sequestered transferrin receptors and internalized transferrin. Sphingolipids were selectively redistributed as pyrene-sphingomyelin and sulfatide cosequestered with Rab11-positive endosomes, whereas globotriaosyl ceramide and GM2 ganglioside did not. Rab11 overexpression did not perturb the transport of 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine-perchlorate–labeled low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to late endosomes or the Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1)-induced late endosomal cholesterol clearance in NPC patient cells. However, Rab11 overexpression inhibited cellular cholesterol esterification in an LDL-independent manner. This effect could be overcome by introducing cholesterol to the plasma membrane by using cyclodextrin as a carrier. These results suggest that in Rab11-overexpressing cells, deposition of cholesterol in recycling endosomes results in its impaired esterification, presumably due to defective recycling of cholesterol to the plasma membrane. The findings point to the importance of the recycling endosomes in regulating cholesterol and sphingolipid trafficking and cellular cholesterol homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC124146  PMID: 12221119

Results 1-5 (5)