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1.  Single-molecule analysis reveals self assembly and nanoscale segregation of two distinct cavin subcomplexes on caveolae 
eLife  2014;3:e01434.
In mammalian cells three closely related cavin proteins cooperate with the scaffolding protein caveolin to form membrane invaginations known as caveolae. Here we have developed a novel single-molecule fluorescence approach to directly observe interactions and stoichiometries in protein complexes from cell extracts and from in vitro synthesized components. We show that up to 50 cavins associate on a caveola. However, rather than forming a single coat complex containing the three cavin family members, single-molecule analysis reveals an exquisite specificity of interactions between cavin1, cavin2 and cavin3. Changes in membrane tension can flatten the caveolae, causing the release of the cavin coat and its disassembly into separate cavin1-cavin2 and cavin1-cavin3 subcomplexes. Each of these subcomplexes contain 9 ± 2 cavin molecules and appear to be the building blocks of the caveolar coat. High resolution immunoelectron microscopy suggests a remarkable nanoscale organization of these separate subcomplexes, forming individual striations on the surface of caveolae.
eLife digest
If you could look closely enough at the surface of some animal cells, especially fat or muscle cells, you would see that they are covered with pocket-like indents called ‘caveolae’. These structures are thought to help the cells communicate with the outside world, but they can also be used by viruses to gain entry into living cells.
Examining these caveolae even closer would reveal that these pockets contain proteins called caveolins that bind to each other—and also to cholesterol and fatty acids—to form a scaffold that help to maintain the shape of the caveolae from inside the cell. Each caveolae in a mammalian cell typically contains over 100 caveolin proteins. Caveolar coat proteins, or cavins for short, are also important building blocks for caveolae: however, we know relatively little about the interactions between caveolins and cavins.
Now, Gambin et al. have used powerful new single-molecule techniques to study these interactions. These experiments looked at the three main types of cavin proteins that associate with caveolae, and by tracking individual protein molecules they showed that cavin1 can interact with either cavin2 or cavin3, but that cavin2 and cavin3 do not interact with each other. Furthermore, cavin2 and cavin3 exist in separate stripes on a caveolae. Gambin et al. also stretched the cell membrane by forcing cells to take in extra water, and showed that this caused the cavin coat to peel away from the caveolae and break down into distinct cavin1-cavin2 and cavin1-cavin3 building blocks.
Faulty versions of caveolins and cavins have both been associated with several diseases in humans, including heart disease and muscle disorders. As such, an improved understanding of the formation and break down of caveolae may prove useful for developing treatments for these conditions.
PMCID: PMC3903133  PMID: 24473072
caveolae; single-molecule; cell-free protein expression; human
2.  Biogenesis of the multifunctional lipid droplet: Lipids, proteins, and sites 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2014;204(5):635-646.
Lipid droplets (LDs) are ubiquitous dynamic organelles that store and supply lipids in all eukaryotic and some prokaryotic cells for energy metabolism, membrane synthesis, and production of essential lipid-derived molecules. Interest in the organelle’s cell biology has exponentially increased over the last decade due to the link between LDs and prevalent human diseases and the discovery of new and unexpected functions of LDs. As a result, there has been significant recent progress toward understanding where and how LDs are formed, and the specific lipid pathways that coordinate LD biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3941045  PMID: 24590170
3.  Caveolae regulate the nanoscale organization of the plasma membrane to remotely control Ras signaling 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2014;204(5):777-792.
Caveolae transduce mechanical stress into plasma membrane lipid alterations that disrupt Ras organization in an isoform-specific manner and modulate downstream signal transduction.
The molecular mechanisms whereby caveolae exert control over cellular signaling have to date remained elusive. We have therefore explored the role caveolae play in modulating Ras signaling. Lipidomic and gene array analyses revealed that caveolin-1 (CAV1) deficiency results in altered cellular lipid composition, and plasma membrane (PM) phosphatidylserine distribution. These changes correlated with increased K-Ras expression and extensive isoform-specific perturbation of Ras spatial organization: in CAV1-deficient cells K-RasG12V nanoclustering and MAPK activation were enhanced, whereas GTP-dependent lateral segregation of H-Ras was abolished resulting in compromised signal output from H-RasG12V nanoclusters. These changes in Ras nanoclustering were phenocopied by the down-regulation of Cavin1, another crucial caveolar structural component, and by acute loss of caveolae in response to increased osmotic pressure. Thus, we postulate that caveolae remotely regulate Ras nanoclustering and signal transduction by controlling PM organization. Similarly, caveolae transduce mechanical stress into PM lipid alterations that, in turn, modulate Ras PM organization.
PMCID: PMC3941050  PMID: 24567358
4.  Acyl-CoA synthetase 3 promotes lipid droplet biogenesis in ER microdomains 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;203(6):985-1001.
Acyl-CoA synthetase 3 is recruited early to lipid droplet assembly sites on the ER, where it is required for efficient lipid droplet nucleation and lipid storage.
Control of lipid droplet (LD) nucleation and copy number are critical, yet poorly understood, processes. We use model peptides that shift from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to LDs in response to fatty acids to characterize the initial steps of LD formation occurring in lipid-starved cells. Initially, arriving lipids are rapidly packed in LDs that are resistant to starvation (pre-LDs). Pre-LDs are restricted ER microdomains with a stable core of neutral lipids. Subsequently, a first round of “emerging” LDs is nucleated, providing additional lipid storage capacity. Finally, in proportion to lipid concentration, new rounds of LDs progressively assemble. Confocal microscopy and electron tomography suggest that emerging LDs are nucleated in a limited number of ER microdomains after a synchronized stepwise process of protein gathering, lipid packaging, and recognition by Plin3 and Plin2. A comparative analysis demonstrates that the acyl-CoA synthetase 3 is recruited early to the assembly sites, where it is required for efficient LD nucleation and lipid storage.
PMCID: PMC3871434  PMID: 24368806
5.  MURC/cavin-4 Is Co-Expressed with Caveolin-3 in Rhabdomyosarcoma Tumors and Its Silencing Prevents Myogenic Differentiation in the Human Embryonal RD Cell Line 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130287.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether MURC/cavin-4, a plasma membrane and Z-line associated protein exhibiting an overlapping distribution with Caveolin-3 (Cav-3) in heart and muscle tissues, may be expressed and play a role in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), an aggressive myogenic tumor affecting childhood. We found MURC/cavin-4 to be expressed, often concurrently with Cav-3, in mouse and human RMS, as demonstrated through in silico analysis of gene datasets and immunohistochemical analysis of tumor samples. In vitro expression studies carried out using human cell lines and primary mouse tumor cultures showed that expression levels of both MURC/cavin-4 and Cav-3, while being low or undetectable during cell proliferation, became robustly increased during myogenic differentiation, as detected via semi-quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblotting analysis. Furthermore, confocal microscopy analysis performed on human RD and RH30 cell lines confirmed that MURC/cavin-4 mostly marks differentiated cell elements, colocalizing at the cell surface with Cav-3 and labeling myosin heavy chain (MHC) expressing cells. Finally, MURC/cavin-4 silencing prevented the differentiation in the RD cell line, leading to morphological cell impairment characterized by depletion of myogenin, Cav-3 and MHC protein levels. Overall, our data suggest that MURC/cavin-4, especially in combination with Cav-3, may play a consistent role in the differentiation process of RMS.
PMCID: PMC4472524  PMID: 26086601
6.  An RPTPα/Src family kinase/Rap1 signaling module recruits myosin IIB to support contractile tension at apical E-cadherin junctions 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2015;26(7):1249-1262.
The role of myosin IIB in junctional contractility and its mode of regulation are not well understood. It is demonstrated that junctional recruitment of myosin IIB requires the activation of a receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatase alpha–Src family kinase–Rap1 pathway. This reinforces the concept that E-cadherin–based signaling recruits distinct myosin II paralogues to generate contractile tension.
Cell–cell adhesion couples the contractile cortices of epithelial cells together, generating tension to support a range of morphogenetic processes. E-cadherin adhesion plays an active role in generating junctional tension by promoting actin assembly and cortical signaling pathways that regulate myosin II. Multiple myosin II paralogues accumulate at mammalian epithelial cell–cell junctions. Earlier, we found that myosin IIA responds to Rho-ROCK signaling to support junctional tension in MCF-7 cells. Although myosin IIB is also found at the zonula adherens (ZA) in these cells, its role in junctional contractility and its mode of regulation are less well understood. We now demonstrate that myosin IIB contributes to tension at the epithelial ZA. Further, we identify a receptor type-protein tyrosine phosphatase alpha–Src family kinase–Rap1 pathway as responsible for recruiting myosin IIB to the ZA and supporting contractile tension. Overall these findings reinforce the concept that orthogonal E-cadherin–based signaling pathways recruit distinct myosin II paralogues to generate the contractile apparatus at apical epithelial junctions.
PMCID: PMC4454173  PMID: 25631816
7.  AMPK activation promotes lipid droplet dispersion on detyrosinated microtubules to increase mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7176.
Lipid droplets (LDs) are intracellular organelles that provide fatty acids (FAs) to cellular processes including synthesis of membranes and production of metabolic energy. While known to move bidirectionally along microtubules (MTs), the role of LD motion and whether it facilitates interaction with other organelles are unclear. Here we show that during nutrient starvation, LDs and mitochondria relocate on detyrosinated MT from the cell centre to adopt a dispersed distribution. In the cell periphery, LD–mitochondria interactions increase and LDs efficiently supply FAs for mitochondrial beta-oxidation. This cellular adaptation requires the activation of the energy sensor AMPK, which in response to starvation simultaneously increases LD motion, reorganizes the network of detyrosinated MTs and activates mitochondria. In conclusion, we describe the existence of a specialized cellular network connecting the cellular energetic status and MT dynamics to coordinate the functioning of LDs and mitochondria during nutrient scarcity.
Lipid droplets (LDs) supply fatty acids to cellular processes and move bidirectionally on microtubules. Here the authors show that nutrient starvation causes dispersal of mitochondria and LD to the periphery of the cell along detyrosinated microtubules and increases LD–mitochondria interactions in an AMPK-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC4446796  PMID: 26013497
8.  Diet-induced hypercholesterolemia promotes androgen-independent prostate cancer metastasis via IQGAP1 and caveolin-1 
Oncotarget  2015;6(10):7438-7453.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome are associated with several cancers, however, the molecular mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. Recent studies suggest that hypercholesterolemia increases intratumoral androgen signaling in prostate cancer, but it is unclear whether androgen-independent mechanisms also exist. Since hypercholesterolemia is associated with advanced, castrate-resistant prostate cancer, in this study, we aimed to determine whether and how hypercholesterolemia affects prostate cancer progression in the absence of androgen signaling. We demonstrate that diet-induced hypercholesterolemia promotes orthotopic xenograft PC-3 cell metastasis, concomitant with elevated expression of caveolin-1 and IQGAP1 in xenograft tumor tissues. In vitro cholesterol treatment of PC-3 cells stimulated migration and increased IQGAP1 and caveolin-1 protein level and localization to a detergent-resistant fraction. Down-regulation of caveolin-1 or IQGAP1 in PC-3 cells reduced migration and invasion in vitro, and hypercholesterolemia-induced metastasis in vivo. Double knock-down of caveolin-1 and IQGAP1 showed no additive effect, suggesting that caveolin-1 and IQGAP1 act via the same pathway. Taken together, our data show that hypercholesterolemia promotes prostate cancer metastasis independent of the androgen pathway, in part by increasing IQGAP1 and caveolin-1. These results have broader implications for managing metastasis of cancers in general as IQGAP1 and hypercholesterolemia are implicated in the progression of several cancers.
PMCID: PMC4480691  PMID: 25924234
Prostate cancer; hypercholesterolemia; metastasis; IQGAP1; caveolin-1
9.  Caveolae control the anti-inflammatory phenotype of senescent endothelial cells 
Aging Cell  2014;14(1):102-111.
Senescent endothelial cells (EC) have been identified in cardiovascular disease, in angiogenic tumour associated vessels and in aged individuals. We have previously identified a novel anti-inflammatory senescent phenotype of EC. We show here that caveolae are critical in the induction of this anti-inflammatory senescent state. Senescent EC induced by either the overexpression of ARHGAP18/SENEX or by H2O2 showed significantly increased numbers of caveolae and associated proteins Caveolin-1, cavin-1 and cavin-2. Depletion of these proteins by RNA interference decreased senescence induced by ARHGAP18 and by H2O2. ARHGAP18 overexpression induced a predominantly anti-inflammatory senescent population and depletion of the caveolae-associated proteins resulted in the preferential reduction in this senescent population as measured by neutrophil adhesion and adhesion protein expression after TNFα treatment. In confirmation, EC isolated from the aortas of CAV-1−/− mice failed to induce this anti-inflammatory senescent cell population upon expression of ARHGAP18, whereas EC from wild-type mice showed a significant increase. NF-κB is one of the major transcription factors mediating the induction of E-selectin and VCAM-1 expression, adhesion molecules responsible for leucocyte attachment to EC. TNFα-induced activation of NF-κB was suppressed in ARHGAP18-induced senescent EC, and this inhibition was reversed by Caveolin-1 knock-down. Thus, out results demonstrate that an increase in caveolae and its component proteins in senescent ECs is associated with inhibition of the NF-kB signalling pathway and promotion of the anti-inflammatory senescent pathway.
PMCID: PMC4326911  PMID: 25407919
ARHGAP18; caveolae; cellular senescence; endothelial cells; inflammation
10.  Structure-based Reassessment of the Caveolin Signaling Model: Do Caveolae Regulate Signaling Through Caveolin-Protein Interactions? 
Developmental cell  2012;23(1):11-20.
Caveolin proteins drive formation of caveolae, specialized cell-surface microdomains that influence cell signaling. Signaling proteins are proposed to use conserved caveolin-binding motifs (CBMs) to associate with caveolae via the caveolin scaffolding domain (CSD). However, structural and bioinformatic analyses argue against such direct physical interactions: In the majority of signaling proteins, the CBM is buried and inaccessible. Putative CBMs do not form a common structure for caveolin recognition, are not enriched amongst caveolin-binding proteins, and are even more common in yeast, which lack caveolae. We propose that CBM/CSD-dependent interactions are unlikely to mediate caveolar signaling, and the basis for signaling effects should therefore be reassessed.
PMCID: PMC3427029  PMID: 22814599
11.  Signal Integration by Lipid-Mediated Spatial Cross Talk between Ras Nanoclusters 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(5):862-876.
Lipid-anchored Ras GTPases form transient, spatially segregated nanoclusters on the plasma membrane that are essential for high-fidelity signal transmission. The lipid composition of Ras nanoclusters, however, has not previously been investigated. High-resolution spatial mapping shows that different Ras nanoclusters have distinct lipid compositions, indicating that Ras proteins engage in isoform-selective lipid sorting and accounting for different signal outputs from different Ras isoforms. Phosphatidylserine is a common constituent of all Ras nanoclusters but is only an obligate structural component of K-Ras nanoclusters. Segregation of K-Ras and H-Ras into spatially and compositionally distinct lipid assemblies is exquisitely sensitive to plasma membrane phosphatidylserine levels. Phosphatidylserine spatial organization is also modified by Ras nanocluster formation. In consequence, Ras nanoclusters engage in remote lipid-mediated communication, whereby activated H-Ras disrupts the assembly and operation of spatially segregated K-Ras nanoclusters. Computational modeling and experimentation reveal that complex effects of caveolin and cortical actin on Ras nanoclustering are similarly mediated through regulation of phosphatidylserine spatiotemporal dynamics. We conclude that phosphatidylserine maintains the lateral segregation of diverse lipid-based assemblies on the plasma membrane and that lateral connectivity between spatially remote lipid assemblies offers important previously unexplored opportunities for signal integration and signal processing.
PMCID: PMC4023829  PMID: 24366544
12.  Cell to cell heterogeneity in lipid droplets suggests a mechanism to reduce lipotoxicity 
Current biology : CB  2013;23(15):1489-1496.
Lipid droplets (LDs) are dynamic organelles that collect, store, and supply lipids [1]. LDs have a central role in the exchange of lipids occurring between the cell and the environment, and provide cells with substrates for energy metabolism, membrane synthesis, and production of lipid-derived molecules such as lipoproteins or hormones. However, lipid-derived metabolites also cause progressive lipotoxicity [2]; accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial malfunctioning, and cell death [2]. Intracellular accumulation of LDs is a hallmark of prevalent human diseases including obesity, steatosis, diabetes, myopathies, and arteriosclerosis [3]. Indeed, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common cause of abnormal hepatic function among adults [4, 5]. Lipotoxicity gradually promotes cellular ballooning and disarray, megamitochondria, and accumulation of Mallory’s hyaline in hepatocytes and inflammation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis in the liver. Here, using confocal microscopy, serial-block-face scanning electron microscopy, and flow-cytometry we show that LD accumulation is heterogeneous within a cell population and follows a positive skewed distribution. Lipid availability and fluctuations in biochemical networks controlling lipolysis, fatty acid oxidation, and protein synthesis, contribute to cell-to-cell heterogeneity. Critically, this reversible variability generates a subpopulation of cells that effectively collect and store lipids. This high-lipid subpopulation accumulates more LDs, more ROS, and reduces the risk of lipotoxicity to the population without impairing overall lipid homeostasis, since high-lipid cells can supply stored lipids to the other cells. In conclusion, we demonstrate fat storage compartmentalization within a cell population and propose that this is a protective social organization to reduce lipotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3746173  PMID: 23871243
13.  Population Distribution Analyses Reveal a Hierarchy of Molecular Players Underlying Parallel Endocytic Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100554.
Single-cell-resolved measurements reveal heterogeneous distributions of clathrin-dependent (CD) and -independent (CLIC/GEEC: CG) endocytic activity in Drosophila cell populations. dsRNA-mediated knockdown of core versus peripheral endocytic machinery induces strong changes in the mean, or subtle changes in the shapes of these distributions, respectively. By quantifying these subtle shape changes for 27 single-cell features which report on endocytic activity and cell morphology, we organize 1072 Drosophila genes into a tree-like hierarchy. We find that tree nodes contain gene sets enriched in functional classes and protein complexes, providing a portrait of core and peripheral control of CD and CG endocytosis. For 470 genes we obtain additional features from separate assays and classify them into early- or late-acting genes of the endocytic pathways. Detailed analyses of specific genes at intermediate levels of the tree suggest that Vacuolar ATPase and lysosomal genes involved in vacuolar biogenesis play an evolutionarily conserved role in CG endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC4074053  PMID: 24971745
14.  Cavin-1/PTRF alters prostate cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicle content and internalization to attenuate extracellular vesicle-mediated osteoclastogenesis and osteoblast proliferation 
Journal of Extracellular Vesicles  2014;3:10.3402/jev.v3.23784.
Tumour-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) play a role in tumour progression; however, the spectrum of molecular mechanisms regulating EV secretion and cargo selection remain to be fully elucidated. We have reported that cavin-1 expression in prostate cancer PC3 cells reduced the abundance of a subset of EV proteins, concomitant with reduced xenograft tumour growth and metastasis.
We examined the functional outcomes and mechanisms of cavin-1 expression on PC3-derived EVs (PC3-EVs).
PC3-EVs were internalized by osteoclast precursor RAW264.7 cells and primary human osteoblasts (hOBs) in vitro, stimulating osteoclastogenesis 37-fold and hOB proliferation 1.5-fold, respectively. Strikin gly, EVs derived from cavin-1-expressing PC3 cells (cavin-1-PC3-EVs) failed to induce multinucleate osteoblasts or hOB proliferation. Cavin-1 was not detected in EVs, indicating an indirect mechanism of action. EV morphology, size and quantity were also not affected by cavin-1 expression, suggesting that cavin-1 modulated EV cargo recruitment rather than release. While cavin-1-EVs had no osteoclastogenic function, they were internalized by RAW264.7 cells but at a reduced efficiency compared to control EVs. EV surface proteins are required for internalization of PC3-EVs by RAW264.7 cells, as proteinase K treatment abolished uptake of both control and cavin-1-PC3-EVs. Removal of sialic acid modifications by neuraminidase treatment increased the amount of control PC3-EVs internalized by RAW264.7 cells, without affecting cavin-1-PC3-EVs. This suggests that cavin-1 expression altered the glycosylation modifications on PC3-EV surface. Finally, cavin-1 expression did not affect EV in vivo tissue targeting as both control and cavin-1-PC3-EVs were predominantly retained in the lung and bone 24 hours after injection into mice.
Taken together, our results reveal a novel pathway for EV cargo sorting, and highlight the potential of utilizing cavin-1-mediated pathways to attenuate metastatic prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4072912  PMID: 25018864
polymerase I and transcript release factor; osteoclast; exosomes; metastasis; caveolin; caveolae; prostasome
15.  Revisiting caveolin trafficking: the end of the caveosome 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(3):439-441.
In this issue, a study by Hayer et al. (2010. J. Cell Biol. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201003086) provides insights into the trafficking of caveolins, the major membrane proteins of caveolae. As well as providing evidence for ubiquitin-mediated endosomal sorting and degradation of caveolin in multivesicular bodies (MVBs), the new findings question the existence of a unique organelle proposed nine years ago, the caveosome.
PMCID: PMC3003311  PMID: 21041440
16.  Endocytic Crosstalk: Cavins, Caveolins, and Caveolae Regulate Clathrin-Independent Endocytosis 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(4):e1001832.
Caveolar proteins and caveolae negatively regulate a second clathrin-independent endocytic CLIC/GEEC pathway; caveolin-1 affects membrane diffusion properties of raft-associated CLIC cargo, and the scaffolding domain of caveolin-1 is required and sufficient for endocytic inhibition.
Several studies have suggested crosstalk between different clathrin-independent endocytic pathways. However, the molecular mechanisms and functional relevance of these interactions are unclear. Caveolins and cavins are crucial components of caveolae, specialized microdomains that also constitute an endocytic route. Here we show that specific caveolar proteins are independently acting negative regulators of clathrin-independent endocytosis. Cavin-1 and Cavin-3, but not Cavin-2 or Cavin-4, are potent inhibitors of the clathrin-independent carriers/GPI-AP enriched early endosomal compartment (CLIC/GEEC) endocytic pathway, in a process independent of caveola formation. Caveolin-1 (CAV1) and CAV3 also inhibit the CLIC/GEEC pathway upon over-expression. Expression of caveolar protein leads to reduction in formation of early CLIC/GEEC carriers, as detected by quantitative electron microscopy analysis. Furthermore, the CLIC/GEEC pathway is upregulated in cells lacking CAV1/Cavin-1 or with reduced expression of Cavin-1 and Cavin-3. Inhibition by caveolins can be mimicked by the isolated caveolin scaffolding domain and is associated with perturbed diffusion of lipid microdomain components, as revealed by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) studies. In the absence of cavins (and caveolae) CAV1 is itself endocytosed preferentially through the CLIC/GEEC pathway, but the pathway loses polarization and sorting attributes with consequences for membrane dynamics and endocytic polarization in migrating cells and adult muscle tissue. We also found that noncaveolar Cavin-1 can act as a modulator for the activity of the key regulator of the CLIC/GEEC pathway, Cdc42. This work provides new insights into the regulation of noncaveolar clathrin-independent endocytosis by specific caveolar proteins, illustrating multiple levels of crosstalk between these pathways. We show for the first time a role for specific cavins in regulating the CLIC/GEEC pathway, provide a new tool to study this pathway, identify caveola-independent functions of the cavins and propose a novel mechanism for inhibition of the CLIC/GEEC pathway by caveolin.
Author Summary
Endocytosis is the process that allows cells to take up molecules from the environment. Several endocytic pathways exist in mammalian cells. While the best understood endocytic pathway uses clathrin, recent years have seen a great increase in our understanding of clathrin-independent endocytic pathways. Here we characterize the crosstalk between caveolae, flask-shaped specialized microdomains present at the plasma membrane, and a second clathrin-independent pathway, the CLIC/GEEC Cdc42-regulated endocytic pathway. These pathways are segregated in migrating cells with caveolae at the rear and CLIC/GEEC endocytosis at the leading edge. Here we find that specific caveolar proteins, caveolins and cavins, can also negatively regulate the CLIC/GEEC pathway. With the help of several techniques, including quantitative electron microscopy analysis and real-time live-cell imaging, we demonstrate that expression of caveolar proteins affects early carrier formation, causes cellular lipid changes, and changes the activity of the key regulator of the CLIC/GEEC pathway, Cdc42. The functional consequences of loss of caveolar proteins on the CLIC/GEEC pathway included inhibition of polarized cell migration and increased endocytosis in tissue explants.
PMCID: PMC3979662  PMID: 24714042
17.  Clathrin-independent carriers form a high capacity endocytic sorting system at the leading edge of migrating cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;190(4):675-691.
Quantitative ultrastructural analysis and proteomics detail CLIC structure, composition, and function.
Although the importance of clathrin- and caveolin-independent endocytic pathways has recently emerged, key aspects of these routes remain unknown. Using quantitative ultrastructural approaches, we show that clathrin-independent carriers (CLICs) account for approximately three times the volume internalized by the clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway, forming the major pathway involved in uptake of fluid and bulk membrane in fibroblasts. Electron tomographic analysis of the 3D morphology of the earliest carriers shows that they are multidomain organelles that form a complex sorting station as they mature. Proteomic analysis provides direct links between CLICs, cellular adhesion turnover, and migration. Consistent with this, CLIC-mediated endocytosis of key cargo proteins, CD44 and Thy-1, is polarized at the leading edge of migrating fibroblasts, while transient ablation of CLICs impairs their ability to migrate. These studies provide the first quantitative ultrastructural analysis and molecular characterization of the major endocytic pathway in fibroblasts, a pathway that provides rapid membrane turnover at the leading edge of migrating cells.
PMCID: PMC2928008  PMID: 20713605
18.  The RhoD to centrosomal duplication 
Small GTPases  2013;4(2):116-122.
The main functional roles attributed to the centrosome, the major microtubule organizing center (MTOC) of metazoans, are related to cell locomotion, sensory perception and division. The role of vesicular trafficking in the regulation of the centrosome cycle has been largely unexplored. Recently, however, several studies have indicated the involvement of molecules and/or complexes of the trafficking routes in centrosome positioning, duplication and regulation. Functional screens have revealed communication between the outer nuclear envelope, the Golgi apparatus, the endosomal recycling compartment and centrosomes, while other studies underline the involvement of the ESCRT complex proteins in centrosome function. In this commentary, we discuss our recent study, which shows the involvement of an endosomal Rho protein, namely RhoD, in centrosome duplication and possible links between the centrosome’s structural and functional integrity to vesicular trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3747252  PMID: 23422264
Rho GTPase; RhoD; centrosome; recycling endosome; trafficking
19.  MURC/Cavin-4 and cavin family members form tissue-specific caveolar complexes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(7):1259-1273.
Polymerase I and transcript release factor (PTRF)/Cavin is a cytoplasmic protein whose expression is obligatory for caveola formation. Using biochemistry and fluorescence resonance energy transfer–based approaches, we now show that a family of related proteins, PTRF/Cavin-1, serum deprivation response (SDR)/Cavin-2, SDR-related gene product that binds to C kinase (SRBC)/Cavin-3, and muscle-restricted coiled-coil protein (MURC)/Cavin-4, forms a multiprotein complex that associates with caveolae. This complex can constitutively assemble in the cytosol and associate with caveolin at plasma membrane caveolae. Cavin-1, but not other cavins, can induce caveola formation in a heterologous system and is required for the recruitment of the cavin complex to caveolae. The tissue-restricted expression of cavins suggests that caveolae may perform tissue-specific functions regulated by the composition of the cavin complex. Cavin-4 is expressed predominantly in muscle, and its distribution is perturbed in human muscle disease associated with Caveolin-3 dysfunction, identifying Cavin-4 as a novel muscle disease candidate caveolar protein.
PMCID: PMC2712963  PMID: 19546242
20.  Abnormal Nuclear Pore Formation Triggers Apoptosis in the Intestinal Epithelium of elys-Deficient Zebrafish 
Gastroenterology  2008;136(3):902-911.
Background & Aims
Zebrafish mutants generated by ethylnitrosourea (ENU)-mutagenesis provide a powerful tool for dissecting the genetic regulation of developmental processes, including organogenesis. One zebrafish mutant, “flotte lotte” (flo), displays striking defects in intestinal, liver, pancreas and eye formation at 78hpf. In this study we sought to identify the underlying mutated gene in flo and link the genetic lesion to its phenotype.
Positional cloning was employed to map the flo mutation. Sub-cellular characterization of flo embryos was achieved using histology, immunocytochemistry, bromodeoxyuridine incorporation analysis, confocal and electron microscopy.
The molecular lesion in flo is a nonsense mutation in the elys (embryonic large molecule derived from yolk sac) gene which encodes a severely truncated protein lacking the Elys C-terminal AT-hook DNA binding domain. Recently, ELYS has been shown to play a critical, and hitherto unsuspected, role in nuclear pore assembly. Though elys mRNA is expressed broadly during early zebrafish development, widespread early defects in flo are circumvented by the persistence of maternally-expressed elys mRNA until 24hpf. From 72hpf, elys mRNA expression is restricted to proliferating tissues, including the intestinal epithelium, pancreas, liver and eye. Cells in these tissues display disrupted nuclear pore formation; ultimately intestinal epithelial cells undergo apoptosis.
Our results demonstrate that Elys regulates digestive organ formation.
PMCID: PMC3804769  PMID: 19073184
21.  PTRF/Cavin-1 decreases prostate cancer angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis 
Oncotarget  2013;4(10):1844-1855.
Caveolae are specialized plasma membrane subdomains implicated in cellular functions such as migration, signalling and trafficking. Caveolin-1 and polymerase I and transcript release factor (PTRF)/cavin-1 are essential for caveola formation. Caveolin-1 is overexpressed and secreted in prostate tumors and promotes aggressiveness and angiogenesis. In contrast, a lack of PTRF expression is reported in prostate cancer, and ectopic PTRF expression in prostate cancer cells inhibits tumor growth and metastasis. We experimentally manipulated PTRF expression in three prostate cancer cell lines, namely the caveolin-1 positive cells PC3 and DU145 and the caveolin-1-negative LNCaP cells, to evaluate angiogenesis- and lymphangiogenesis-regulating functions of PTRF. We show that the conditioned medium of PTRF-expressing prostate cancer cells decreases ECs proliferation, migration and differentiation in vitro and ex vivo. This can occur independently from caveolin-1 expression and secretion or caveola formation, since the anti-angiogenic effects of PTRF were detected in caveolin-1-negative LNCaP cells. Additionally, PTRF expression in PC3 cells significantly decreased blood and lymphatic vessel densities in orthotopic tumors in mice. Our results suggest that the absence of PTRF in prostate cancer cells contributes significantly to tumour progression and metastasis by promoting the angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis potential of the cancer cells, and this could be exploited for therapy.
PMCID: PMC3858569  PMID: 24123650
PTRF; Caveolae; Angiogenesis; Lymphangiogenesis; Prostate Cancer
22.  Glucose principally regulates insulin secretion in mouse islets by controlling the numbers of granule fusion events per cell 
Diabetologia  2013;56(12):2629-2637.
In dispersed single beta cells the response of each cell to glucose is heterogeneous. In contrast, within an islet, cell-to-cell communication leads to glucose inducing a more homogeneous response. For example, increases in NAD(P)H and calcium are relatively uniform across the cells of the islet. These data suggest that secretion of insulin from single beta cells within an islet should also be relatively homogeneous. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis by determining the glucose dependence of single-cell insulin responses within an islet.
Two-photon microscopy was used to detect the glucose-induced fusion of single insulin granules within beta cells in intact mouse islets.
First, we validated our assay and showed that the measures of insulin secretion from whole islets could be explained by the time course and numbers of granule fusion events observed. Subsequent analysis of the patterns of granule fusion showed that cell recruitment is a significant factor, accounting for a fourfold increase from 3 to 20 mmol/l glucose. However, the major factor is the regulation of the numbers of granule fusion events within each cell, which increase ninefold over the range of 3 to 20 mmol/l glucose. Further analysis showed that two types of granule fusion event occur: ‘full fusion’ and ‘kiss and run’. We show that the relative frequency of each type of fusion is independent of glucose concentration and is therefore not a factor in the control of insulin secretion.
Within an islet, glucose exerts its main effect through increasing the numbers of insulin granule fusion events within a cell.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-013-3019-5) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC3825531  PMID: 23995471
Insulin; Islet; Secretion
23.  Rab18 Binds to Hepatitis C Virus NS5A and Promotes Interaction between Sites of Viral Replication and Lipid Droplets 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003513.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that replicates on endoplasmic reticulum-derived membranes. HCV particle assembly is dependent on the association of core protein with cellular lipid droplets (LDs). However, it remains uncertain whether HCV assembly occurs at the LD membrane itself or at closely associated ER membranes. Furthermore, it is not known how the HCV replication complex and progeny genomes physically associate with the presumed sites of virion assembly at or near LDs. Using an unbiased proteomic strategy, we have found that Rab18 interacts with the HCV nonstructural protein NS5A. Rab18 associates with LDs and is believed to promote physical interaction between LDs and ER membranes. Active (GTP-bound) forms of Rab18 bind more strongly to NS5A than a constitutively GDP-bound mutant. NS5A colocalizes with Rab18-positive LDs in HCV-infected cells, and Rab18 appears to promote the physical association of NS5A and other replicase components with LDs. Modulation of Rab18 affects genome replication and possibly also the production of infectious virions. Our results support a model in which specific interactions between viral and cellular proteins may promote the physical interaction between membranous HCV replication foci and lipid droplets.
Author Summary
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects about 170 million people worldwide and can ultimately lead to liver failure and liver cancer. HCV, like other RNA viruses, exploits cellular proteins and membranes to promote their own replication and virion production. In particular, HCV replication occurs at membranes derived from the endoplasmic reticulum, while HCV virion assembly is believed to occur at or near cellular lipid droplets. In this work, we report that Rab18, a lipid droplet-associated cellular protein, binds to the viral protein NS5A, and that the silencing of Rab18 reduces the association of other HCV replication complex components with lipid droplets. These data are consistent with a model in which Rab18 promotes the physical interaction between sites of viral replication to lipid droplets. We also speculate that Rab18 may help to link sites of viral replication to sites of virion assembly. Understanding how viruses exploit cellular proteins may result in new methods of disrupting viral infection.
PMCID: PMC3731246  PMID: 23935497
24.  Fendiline Inhibits K-Ras Plasma Membrane Localization and Blocks K-Ras Signal Transmission 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(2):237-251.
Ras proteins regulate signaling pathways important for cell growth, differentiation, and survival. Oncogenic mutant Ras proteins are commonly expressed in human tumors, with mutations of the K-Ras isoform being most prevalent. To be active, K-Ras must undergo posttranslational processing and associate with the plasma membrane. We therefore devised a high-content screening assay to search for inhibitors of K-Ras plasma membrane association. Using this assay, we identified fendiline, an L-type calcium channel blocker, as a specific inhibitor of K-Ras plasma membrane targeting with no detectable effect on the localization of H- and N-Ras. Other classes of L-type calcium channel blockers did not mislocalize K-Ras, suggesting a mechanism that is unrelated to calcium channel blockade. Fendiline did not inhibit K-Ras posttranslational processing but significantly reduced nanoclustering of K-Ras and redistributed K-Ras from the plasma membrane to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi apparatus, endosomes, and cytosol. Fendiline significantly inhibited signaling downstream of constitutively active K-Ras and endogenous K-Ras signaling in cells transformed by oncogenic H-Ras. Consistent with these effects, fendiline blocked the proliferation of pancreatic, colon, lung, and endometrial cancer cell lines expressing oncogenic mutant K-Ras. Taken together, these results suggest that inhibitors of K-Ras plasma membrane localization may have utility as novel K-Ras-specific anticancer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3554123  PMID: 23129805
25.  Phosphocaveolin-1 is a mechanotransducer that induces caveola biogenesis via Egr1 transcriptional regulation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;199(3):425-435.
Phosphocaveolin-1 regulates a positive feedback loop that responds to mechanical stress to induce caveola biogenesis by relieving Egr1 transcriptional inhibition of caveolin-1 and cavin-1.
Caveolin-1 (Cav1) is an essential component of caveolae whose Src kinase-dependent phosphorylation on tyrosine 14 (Y14) is associated with regulation of focal adhesion dynamics. However, the relationship between these disparate functions remains to be elucidated. Caveola biogenesis requires expression of both Cav1 and cavin-1, but Cav1Y14 phosphorylation is dispensable. In this paper, we show that Cav1 tyrosine phosphorylation induces caveola biogenesis via actin-dependent mechanotransduction and inactivation of the Egr1 (early growth response-1) transcription factor, relieving inhibition of endogenous Cav1 and cavin-1 genes. Cav1 phosphorylation reduces Egr1 binding to Cav1 and cavin-1 promoters and stimulates their activity. In MDA-231 breast carcinoma cells that express elevated levels of Cav1 and caveolae, Egr1 regulated Cav1, and cavin-1 promoter activity was dependent on actin, Cav1, Src, and Rho-associated kinase as well as downstream protein kinase C (PKC) signaling. pCav1 is therefore a mechanotransducer that acts via PKC to relieve Egr1 transcriptional inhibition of Cav1 and cavin-1, defining a novel feedback regulatory loop to regulate caveola biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3483133  PMID: 23091071

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