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1.  Cholesterol sensor ORP1L contacts the ER protein VAP to control Rab7–RILP–p150Glued and late endosome positioning 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(7):1209-1225.
Late endosomes (LEs) have characteristic intracellular distributions determined by their interactions with various motor proteins. Motor proteins associated to the dynactin subunit p150Glued bind to LEs via the Rab7 effector Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) in association with the oxysterol-binding protein ORP1L. We found that cholesterol levels in LEs are sensed by ORP1L and are lower in peripheral vesicles. Under low cholesterol conditions, ORP1L conformation induces the formation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–LE membrane contact sites. At these sites, the ER protein VAP (VAMP [vesicle-associated membrane protein]-associated ER protein) can interact in trans with the Rab7–RILP complex to remove p150Glued and associated motors. LEs then move to the microtubule plus end. Under high cholesterol conditions, as in Niemann-Pick type C disease, this process is prevented, and LEs accumulate at the microtubule minus end as the result of dynein motor activity. These data explain how the ER and cholesterol control the association of LEs with motor proteins and their positioning in cells.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200811005
PMCID: PMC2712958  PMID: 19564404
2.  Activation of endosomal dynein motors by stepwise assembly of Rab7–RILP–p150Glued, ORP1L, and the receptor βlll spectrin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;176(4):459-471.
The small GTPase Rab7 controls late endocytic transport by the minus end–directed motor protein complex dynein–dynactin, but how it does this is unclear. Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) and oxysterol-binding protein–related protein 1L (ORP1L) are two effectors of Rab7. We show that GTP-bound Rab7 simultaneously binds RILP and ORP1L to form a RILP–Rab7–ORP1L complex. RILP interacts directly with the C-terminal 25-kD region of the dynactin projecting arm p150Glued, which is required for dynein motor recruitment to late endocytic compartments (LEs). Still, p150Glued recruitment by Rab7–RILP does not suffice to induce dynein-driven minus-end transport of LEs. ORP1L, as well as βIII spectrin, which is the general receptor for dynactin on vesicles, are essential for dynein motor activity. Our results illustrate that the assembly of microtubule motors on endosomes involves a cascade of linked events. First, Rab7 recruits two effectors, RILP and ORP1L, to form a tripartite complex. Next, RILP directly binds to the p150Glued dynactin subunit to recruit the dynein motor. Finally, the specific dynein motor receptor Rab7–RILP is transferred by ORP1L to βIII spectrin. Dynein will initiate translocation of late endosomes to microtubule minus ends only after interacting with βIII spectrin, which requires the activities of Rab7–RILP and ORP1L.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200606077
PMCID: PMC2063981  PMID: 17283181
3.  Dynein-mediated Vesicle Transport Controls Intracellular Salmonella Replication 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(6):2954-2964.
Salmonella typhimurium survives and replicates intracellular in a membrane-bound compartment, the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). In HeLa cells, the SCV matures through interactions with the endocytic pathway, but Salmonella avoids fusion with mature lysosomes. The exact mechanism of the inhibition of phagolysosomal fusion is not understood. Rab GTPases control several proteins involved in membrane fusion and vesicular transport. The small GTPase Rab7 regulates the transport of and fusion between late endosomes and lysosomes and associates with the SCV. We show that the Rab7 GTPase cycle is not affected on the SCV. We then manipulated a pathway downstream of the small GTPase Rab7 in HeLa cells infected with Salmonella. Expression of the Rab7 effector RILP induces recruitment of the dynein/dynactin motor complex to the SCV. Subsequently, SCV fuse with lysosomes. As a result, the intracellular replication of Salmonella is inhibited. Activation of dynein-mediated vesicle transport can thus control intracellular survival of Salmonella.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E03-08-0614
PMCID: PMC420117  PMID: 15064357
4.  Oncogenic Ras Downregulates Rac Activity, Which Leads to Increased Rho Activity and Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(4):775-782.
Proteins of the Rho family regulate cytoskeletal rearrangements in response to receptor stimulation and are involved in the establishment and maintenance of epithelial cell morphology. We recently showed that Rac is able to downregulate Rho activity and that the reciprocal balance between Rac and Rho activity is a major determinant of cellular morphology and motility in NIH3T3 fibroblasts. Using biochemical pull-down assays, we analyzed the effect of transient and sustained oncogenic Ras signaling on the activation state of Rac and Rho in epithelial MDCK cells. In contrast to the activation of Rac by growth factor-induced Ras signaling, we found that sustained signaling by oncogenic RasV12 permanently downregulates Rac activity, which leads to upregulation of Rho activity and epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Oncogenic Ras decreases Rac activity through sustained Raf/MAP kinase signaling, which causes transcriptional downregulation of Tiam1, an activator of Rac in epithelial cells. Reconstitution of Rac activity by expression of Tiam1 or RacV12 leads to downregulation of Rho activity and restores an epithelial phenotype in mesenchymal RasV12- or RafCAAX-transformed cells. The present data reveal a novel mechanism by which oncogenic Ras is able to interfere with the balance between Rac and Rho activity to achieve morphological transformation of epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2174558  PMID: 10811819
Ras signaling; Rho-like GTPases; Madin-Darby canine kidney cells; RaF/MAP kinase; Tiam1
5.  Drug-induced histone eviction from open chromatin contributes to the chemotherapeutic effects of doxorubicin 
Nature Communications  2013;4:1908-.
DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors are a major class of cancer chemotherapeutics, which are thought to eliminate cancer cells by inducing DNA double-strand breaks. Here we identify a novel activity for the anthracycline class of DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors: histone eviction from open chromosomal areas. We show that anthracyclines promote histone eviction irrespective of their ability to induce DNA double-strand breaks. The histone variant H2AX, which is a key component of the DNA damage response, is also evicted by anthracyclines, and H2AX eviction is associated with attenuated DNA repair. Histone eviction deregulates the transcriptome in cancer cells and organs such as the heart, and can drive apoptosis of topoisomerase-negative acute myeloid leukaemia blasts in patients. We define a novel mechanism of action of anthracycline anticancer drugs doxorubicin and daunorubicin on chromatin biology, with important consequences for DNA damage responses, epigenetics, transcription, side effects and cancer therapy.
Anthracycline-based drugs can kill cancer cells by inhibiting topoisomerase II and promoting DNA double-strand breaks. Pang et al. show that anthracyclines also induce eviction of histones from open chromatin regions and, in doing so, modulate DNA repair and apoptosis in human cancer cells.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2921
PMCID: PMC3674280  PMID: 23715267

Results 1-5 (5)