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1.  Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element Binding Protein Deficiency Stimulates PTEN and Stat3 mRNA Translation and Induces Hepatic Insulin Resistance 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(1):e1002457.
The cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein CPEB1 (CPEB) regulates germ cell development, synaptic plasticity, and cellular senescence. A microarray analysis of mRNAs regulated by CPEB unexpectedly showed that several encoded proteins are involved in insulin signaling. An investigation of Cpeb1 knockout mice revealed that the expression of two particular negative regulators of insulin action, PTEN and Stat3, were aberrantly increased. Insulin signaling to Akt was attenuated in livers of CPEB–deficient mice, suggesting that they might be defective in regulating glucose homeostasis. Indeed, when the Cpeb1 knockout mice were fed a high-fat diet, their livers became insulin-resistant. Analysis of HepG2 cells, a human liver cell line, depleted of CPEB demonstrated that this protein directly regulates the translation of PTEN and Stat3 mRNAs. Our results show that CPEB regulated translation is a key process involved in insulin signaling.
Author Summary
One major hallmark of diabetes is insulin resistance in peripheral tissues that is controlled at the posttranslational level. For example, insulin activates a kinase cascade that leads to the phosphorylation of Akt, a centrally important molecule that regulates glucose metabolism. In this study, we define a translational regulatory pathway that mediates insulin action in the liver. The Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Binding Protein (CPEB) interacts with mRNA to control translation; knockout mice that lack CPEB exhibit high-fat-diet-induced liver insulin resistance and do so by having aberrant expression of major insulin signaling molecules, in particular PTEN 3 and Stat3. Our data further suggest that CPEB modulates, in a manner similar to a rheostat, functionally related mRNAs that encode proteins involved in insulin signaling.
PMCID: PMC3257279  PMID: 22253608
2.  Interdependence of amyloid formation in yeast 
Prion  2010;4(1):45-52.
In eukaryotic cells amyloid aggregates may incorporate various functionally unrelated proteins. In mammalian diseases this may cause amyloid toxicity, while in yeast this could contribute to prion phenotypes. Insolubility of amyloids in the presence of strong ionic detergents, such as SDS or sarcosyl, allows discrimination between amorphous and amyloid aggregates. Here, we used this property of amyloids to study the interdependence of their formation in yeast. We observed that SDS-resistant polymers of proteins with extended polyglutamine domains caused the appearance of SDS or sarcosyl-insoluble polymers of three tested chromosomally-encoded Q/N-rich proteins, Sup35, Rnq1 and Pub1. These polymers were non-heritable, since they could not propagate in the absence of polyglutamine polymers. Sup35 prion polymers caused the appearance of non-heritable sarcosyl-resistant polymers of Pub1. Since eukaryotic genomes encode hundreds of proteins with long Q/N-rich regions, polymer interdependence suggests that conversion of a single protein into polymer form may significantly affect cell physiology by causing partial transfer of other Q/N-rich proteins into a non-functional polymer state.
PMCID: PMC2850420  PMID: 20118659
amyloid; prion; [PSI+]; huntingtin; polyglutamine; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Sup35/eRF3
3.  Prion and Nonprion Amyloids 
Prion  2007;1(3):179-184.
Yeast prion determinants are related to polymerization of some proteins into amyloid-like fibers. The [PSI+] determinant reflects polymerization of the Sup35 protein. Fragmentation of prion polymers by the Hsp104 chaperone represents a key step of the prion replication cycle. The frequency of fragmentation varies depending on the structure of the prion polymers and defines variation in the prion phenotypes, e.g., the suppressor strength of [PSI+] and stability of its inheritance. Besides [PSI+], overproduction of Sup35 can produce nonheritable phenotypically silent Sup35 amyloid-like polymers. These polymers are fragmented poorly and are present due to efficient seeding with the Rnq1 prion polymers, which occurs by several orders of magnitude more frequently than seeding of [PSI+] appearance. Such Sup35 polymers resemble human nonprion amyloids by their nonheritability, mode of appearance and increased size. Thus, a single protein, Sup35, can model both prion and nonprion amyloids. In yeast, these phenomena are distinguished by the frequency of polymer fragmentation. We argue that in mammals the fragmentation frequency also represents a key factor defining differing properties of prion and nonprion amyloids, including infectivity. By analogy with the Rnq1 seeding of nonheritable Sup35 polymers, the “species barrier” in prion transmission may be due to seeding by heterologous prion of nontransmissible type of amyloid, rather than due to the lack of seeding.
PMCID: PMC2634591  PMID: 19164899
amyloid; prion; Rnq1; Sup35; Ure2; translation termination; yeast
4.  Appearance and Propagation of Polyglutamine-based Amyloids in Yeast 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(22):15185-15192.
In yeast, fragmentation of amyloid polymers by the Hsp104 chaperone allows them to propagate as prions. The prion-forming domain of the yeast Sup35 protein is rich in glutamine, asparagine, tyrosine, and glycine residues, which may define its prion properties. Long polyglutamine stretches can also drive amyloid polymerization in yeast, but these polymers are unable to propagate because of poor fragmentation and exist through constant seeding with the Rnq1 prion polymers. We proposed that fragmentation of polyglutamine amyloids may be improved by incorporation of hydrophobic amino acid residues into polyglutamine stretches. To investigate this, we constructed sets of polyglutamine with or without tyrosine stretches fused to the non-prion domains of Sup35. Polymerization of these chimeras started rapidly, and its efficiency increased with stretch size. Polymerization of proteins with polyglutamine stretches shorter than 70 residues required Rnq1 prion seeds. Proteins with longer stretches polymerized independently of Rnq1 and thus could propagate. The presence of tyrosines within polyglutamine stretches dramatically enhanced polymer fragmentation and allowed polymer propagation in the absence of Rnq1 and, in some cases, of Hsp104.
PMCID: PMC2397454  PMID: 18381282

Results 1-4 (4)