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1.  Single-cell analysis of population context advances RNAi screening at multiple levels 
A large set of high-content RNAi screens investigating mammalian virus infection and multiple cellular activities is analysed to reveal the impact of population context on phenotypic variability and to identify indirect RNAi effects.
Cell population context determines phenotypes in RNAi screens of multiple cellular activities (including virus infection, cell size regulation, endocytosis, and lipid homeostasis), which can be accounted for by a combination of novel image analysis and multivariate statistical methods.Accounting for cell population context-mediated effects strongly changes the reproducibility and consistency of RNAi screens across cell lines as well as of siRNAs targeting the same gene.Such analyses can identify the perturbed regulation of population context dependent cell-to-cell variability, a novel perturbation phenotype.Overall, these methods advance the use of large-scale RNAi screening for a systems-level understanding of cellular processes.
Isogenic cells in culture show strong variability, which arises from dynamic adaptations to the microenvironment of individual cells. Here we study the influence of the cell population context, which determines a single cell's microenvironment, in image-based RNAi screens. We developed a comprehensive computational approach that employs Bayesian and multivariate methods at the single-cell level. We applied these methods to 45 RNA interference screens of various sizes, including 7 druggable genome and 2 genome-wide screens, analysing 17 different mammalian virus infections and four related cell physiological processes. Analysing cell-based screens at this depth reveals widespread RNAi-induced changes in the population context of individual cells leading to indirect RNAi effects, as well as perturbations of cell-to-cell variability regulators. We find that accounting for indirect effects improves the consistency between siRNAs targeted against the same gene, and between replicate RNAi screens performed in different cell lines, in different labs, and with different siRNA libraries. In an era where large-scale RNAi screens are increasingly performed to reach a systems-level understanding of cellular processes, we show that this is often improved by analyses that account for and incorporate the single-cell microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC3361004  PMID: 22531119
cell-to-cell variability; image analysis; population context; RNAi; virus infection
3.  Amiloride inhibits macropinocytosis by lowering submembranous pH and preventing Rac1 and Cdc42 signaling 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;188(4):547-563.
Inhibitors of Na+/H+ exchange proteins block macropinocytosis by lowering the pH near the plasma membrane, which in turn inhibits actin remodeling by Rho family GTPases.
Macropinocytosis is differentiated from other types of endocytosis by its unique susceptibility to inhibitors of Na+/H+ exchange. Yet, the functional relationship between Na+/H+ exchange and macropinosome formation remains obscure. In A431 cells, stimulation by EGF simultaneously activated macropinocytosis and Na+/H+ exchange, elevating cytosolic pH and stimulating Na+ influx. Remarkably, although inhibition of Na+/H+ exchange by amiloride or HOE-694 obliterated macropinocytosis, neither cytosolic alkalinization nor Na+ influx were required. Instead, using novel probes of submembranous pH, we detected the accumulation of metabolically generated acid at sites of macropinocytosis, an effect counteracted by Na+/H+ exchange and greatly magnified when amiloride or HOE-694 were present. The acidification observed in the presence of the inhibitors did not alter receptor engagement or phosphorylation, nor did it significantly depress phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase stimulation. However, activation of the GTPases that promote actin remodelling was found to be exquisitely sensitive to the submembranous pH. This sensitivity confers to macropinocytosis its unique susceptibility to inhibitors of Na+/H+ exchange.
PMCID: PMC2828922  PMID: 20156964
4.  In Vitro Budding of Intralumenal Vesicles into Late Endosomes Is Regulated by Alix and Tsg101 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(11):4942-4955.
Endosomes along the degradation pathway leading to lysosomes accumulate membranes in their lumen and thus exhibit a characteristic multivesicular appearance. These lumenal membranes typically incorporate down-regulated EGF receptor destined for degradation, but the mechanisms that control their formation remain poorly characterized. Here, we describe a novel quantitative biochemical assay that reconstitutes the formation of lumenal vesicles within late endosomes in vitro. Vesicle budding into the endosome lumen was time-, temperature-, pH-, and energy-dependent and required cytosolic factors and endosome membrane components. Our light and electron microscopy analysis showed that the compartment supporting the budding process was accessible to endocytosed bulk tracers and EGF receptor. We also found that the EGF receptor became protected against trypsin in our assay, indicating that it was sorted into the intraendosomal vesicles that were formed in vitro. Our data show that the formation of intralumenal vesicles is ESCRT-dependent, because the process was inhibited by the K173Q dominant negative mutant of hVps4. Moreover, we find that the ESCRT-I subunit Tsg101 and its partner Alix control intralumenal vesicle formation, by acting as positive and negative regulators, respectively. We conclude that budding of the limiting membrane toward the late endosome lumen, which leads to the formation of intraendosomal vesicles, is controlled by the positive and negative functions of Tsg101 and Alix, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2575168  PMID: 18768755
5.  Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate hydrolysis directs actin remodeling during phagocytosis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2005;169(1):139-149.
The Rho GTPases play a critical role in initiating actin polymerization during phagocytosis. In contrast, the factors directing the disassembly of F-actin required for fission of the phagocytic vacuole are ill defined. We used fluorescent chimeric proteins to monitor the dynamics of association of actin and active Cdc42 and Rac1 with the forming phagosome. Although actin was found to disappear from the base of the forming phagosome before sealing was complete, Rac1/Cdc42 activity persisted, suggesting that termination of GTPase activity is not the main determinant of actin disassembly. Furthermore, fully internalized phagosomes engineered to associate constitutively with active Rac1 showed little associated F-actin. The disappearance of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) from the phagosomal membrane closely paralleled the course of actin disassembly. Furthermore, inhibition of PI(4,5)P2 hydrolysis or increased PI(4,5)P2 generation by overexpression of phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase I prevented the actin disassembly necessary for the completion of phagocytosis. These observations suggest that hydrolysis of PI(4,5)P2 dictates the remodeling of actin necessary for completion of phagocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2171893  PMID: 15809313
6.  Salmonella Impairs RILP Recruitment to Rab7 during Maturation of Invasion Vacuoles 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(7):3146-3154.
After invasion of epithelial cells, Salmonella enterica Typhimurium resides within membrane-bound vacuoles where it survives and replicates. Like endocytic vesicles, the Salmonella-containing vacuoles (SCVs) undergo a maturation process that involves sequential acquisition of Rab5 and Rab7 and displacement toward the microtubule-organizing center. However, SCVs fail to merge with lysosomes and instead develop subsequently into a filamentous network that extends toward the cell periphery. We found that the initial centripetal displacement of the SCV is due to recruitment by Rab7 of Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP), an effector protein that can simultaneously associate with the dynein motor complex. Unlike the early SCVs, the Salmonella-induced filaments (Sifs) formed later are devoid of RILP and dynein, despite the presence of active Rab7 on their membranes. Kinesin seems to be involved in the elongation of Sifs. SifA, a secreted effector of Salmonella, was found to be at least partly responsible for uncoupling Rab7 from RILP in Sifs and in vitro experiments suggest that SifA may exert this effect by interacting with Rab7. We propose that, by disengaging RILP from Rab7, SifA enables the centrifugal extension of tubules from the Salmonella-containing vacuoles, thereby providing additional protected space for bacterial replication.
PMCID: PMC452572  PMID: 15121880
7.  Acquisition of Hrs, an Essential Component of Phagosomal Maturation, Is Impaired by Mycobacteria 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(10):4593-4604.
Pathogenic mycobacteria survive within macrophages by precluding the fusion of phagosomes with late endosomes or lysosomes. Because the molecular determinants of normal phagolysosome formation are poorly understood, the sites targeted by mycobacteria remain unidentified. We found that Hrs, an adaptor molecule involved in protein sorting, associates with phagosomes prior to their fusion with late endosomes or lysosomes. Recruitment of Hrs required the interaction of its FYVE domain with phagosomal phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate, but two other attachment sites were additionally involved. Depletion of Hrs by use of small interfering RNA impaired phagosomal maturation, preventing the acquisition of lysobisphosphatidic acid and reducing luminal acidification. As a result, the maturation of phagosomes formed in Hrs-depleted cells was arrested at an early stage, characterized by the acquisition and retention of sorting endosomal markers. This phenotype is strikingly similar to that reported to occur in phagosomes of cells infected by mycobacteria. We therefore tested whether Hrs is recruited to phagosomes containing mycobacteria. Hrs associated readily with phagosomes containing inert particles but poorly with mycobacterial phagosomes. Moreover, Hrs was found more frequently in phagosomes containing avirulent Mycobacterium smegmatis than in phagosomes with the more virulent Mycobacterium marinum. These findings suggest that the inability to recruit Hrs contributes to the arrest of phagosomal maturation induced by pathogenic mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC400451  PMID: 15121875

Results 1-7 (7)