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1.  An Invertebrate Warburg Effect: A Shrimp Virus Achieves Successful Replication by Altering the Host Metabolome via the PI3K-Akt-mTOR Pathway 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(6):e1004196.
In this study, we used a systems biology approach to investigate changes in the proteome and metabolome of shrimp hemocytes infected by the invertebrate virus WSSV (white spot syndrome virus) at the viral genome replication stage (12 hpi) and the late stage (24 hpi). At 12 hpi, but not at 24 hpi, there was significant up-regulation of the markers of several metabolic pathways associated with the vertebrate Warburg effect (or aerobic glycolysis), including glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway, nucleotide biosynthesis, glutaminolysis and amino acid biosynthesis. We show that the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway was of central importance in triggering this WSSV-induced Warburg effect. Although dsRNA silencing of the mTORC1 activator Rheb had only a relatively minor impact on WSSV replication, in vivo chemical inhibition of Akt, mTORC1 and mTORC2 suppressed the WSSV-induced Warburg effect and reduced both WSSV gene expression and viral genome replication. When the Warburg effect was suppressed by pretreatment with the mTOR inhibitor Torin 1, even the subsequent up-regulation of the TCA cycle was insufficient to satisfy the virus's requirements for energy and macromolecular precursors. The WSSV-induced Warburg effect therefore appears to be essential for successful viral replication.
Author Summary
The Warburg effect (or aerobic glycolysis) is a metabolic shift that was first found in cancer cells, but has also recently been discovered in vertebrate cells infected by viruses. The Warburg effect facilitates the production of more energy and building blocks to meet the enormous biosynthetic requirements of cancerous and virus-infected cells. To date, all of our knowledge of the Warburg effect comes from vertebrate cell systems and our previous paper was the first to suggest that the Warburg effect may also occur in invertebrates. Here, we use a state-of-the-art systems biology approach to show the global metabolomic and proteomic changes that are triggered in shrimp hemocytes by a shrimp virus, white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). We characterize several critical metabolic properties of the invertebrate Warburg effect and show that they are similar to the vertebrate Warburg effect. WSSV triggers aerobic glycolysis via the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway, and during the WSSV genome replication stages, we show that the Warburg effect is essential for the virus, because even when the TCA cycle is boosted in mTOR-inactivated shrimp, this fails to provide enough energy and materials for successful viral replication. Our study provides new insights into the rerouting of the host metabolome that is triggered by an invertebrate virus.
PMCID: PMC4055789  PMID: 24945378
2.  Dual role of acetaminophen in promoting hepatoma cell apoptosis and kidney fibroblast proliferation 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;9(6):2077-2084.
Acetaminophen (APAP), is a safe analgesic and antipyretic drug at therapeutic dose, and is widely used in the clinic. However, high doses of APAP can induce hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Most studies have focused on high-dose APAP-induced acute liver and kidney injury. So far, few studies have investigated the effects of the therapeutic dose (1/10 of the high dose) or of the low dose (1/100 of the high dose) of APAP on the cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the cellular effects of therapeutic- or low-dose APAP treatment on hepatoma cells and kidney fibroblasts. As expected, high-dose APAP treatment inhibited while therapeutic and low-dose treatment did not inhibit cell survival of kidney tubular epithelial cells. In addition, therapeutic-dose treatment induced an increase in the H2O2 level, activated the caspase-9/-3 cascade, and induced cell apoptosis of hepatoma cells. Notably, APAP promoted fibroblast proliferation, even at low doses. This study demonstrates that different cellular effects are exerted upon treatment with different APAP concentrations. Our results indicate that treatment with the therapeutic dose of APAP may exert an antitumor activity on hepatoma, while low-dose treatment may be harmful for patients with fibrosis, since it may cause proliferation of fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC4055434  PMID: 24682227
acetaminophen; kidney tubular cell; hepatoma; fibroblasts
3.  Ser-634 and Ser-636 of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus RTA are Involved in Transactivation and are Potential Cdk9 Phosphorylation Sites 
The replication and transcription activator (RTA) of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), K-RTA, is a lytic switch protein that moderates the reactivation process of KSHV latency. By mass spectrometric analysis of affinity purified K-RTA, we showed that Thr-513 or Thr-514 was the primary in vivo phosphorylation site. Thr-513 and Thr-514 are proximal to the nuclear localization signal (527KKRK530) and were previously hypothesized to be target sites of Ser/Thr kinase hKFC. However, substitutions of Thr with Ala at 513 and 514 had no effect on K-RTA subcellular localization or transactivation activity. By contrast, replacement of Ser with Ala at Ser-634 and Ser-636 located in a Ser/Pro-rich region of K-RTA, designated as S634A/S636A, produced a polypeptide with ∼10 kDa shorter in molecular weight and reduced transactivation in a luciferase reporter assay relative to the wild type. In contrast to prediction, the decrease in molecular weight was not due to lack of phosphorylation because the overall Ser and Thr phosphorylation state in K-RTA and S634A/S636A were similar, excluding that Ser-634 or Ser-636 motif served as docking sites for consecutive phosphorylation. Interestingly, S634A/S636A lost ∼30% immuno-reactivity to MPM2, an antibody specific to pSer/pThr-Pro motif, indicating that 634SPSP637 motif was in vivo phosphorylated. By in vitro kinase assay, we showed that K-RTA is a substrate of CDK9, a Pro-directed Ser/Thr kinase central to transcriptional regulation. Importantly, the capability of K-RTA in associating with endogenous CDK9 was reduced in S634A/S636A, which suggested that Ser-634 and Ser-636 may be involved in CDK9 recruitment. In agreement, S634A/S636A mutant exhibited ∼25% reduction in KSHV lytic cycle reactivation relative to that by the wild type K-RTA. Taken together, our data propose that Ser-634 and Ser-636 of K-RTA are phosphorylated by host transcriptional kinase CDK9 and such a process contributes to a full transcriptional potency of K-RTA.
PMCID: PMC3283893  PMID: 22371709
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; replication and transcription activator; phosphorylation; negative elongation factor B; CDK9
4.  Suppressive Regulation of KSHV RTA with O-GlcNAcylation 
The replication and transcription activator (RTA) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a molecular switch that initiates a productive replication of latent KSHV genomes. KSHV RTA (K-RTA) is composed of 691 amino acids with high Ser and Thr content (17.7%), but to what extent these Ser and Thr are modified in vivo has not been explored.
By using tandem mass spectrometric analysis of affinity-purified FLAG tagged K-RTA, we sought to identify Ser and Thr residues that are post-translationally modified in K-RTA.
We found that K-RTA is an O-GlcNAcylated protein and Thr-366/Thr-367 is the primary motif with O-GlcNAcylation in vivo. The biological significance of O-GlcNAc modified Thr-366 and Thr-367 was assessed by site-specific amino acid substitution. Replacement of Thr with Ala at amino acid 366 or 367 caused a modest enhancement of K-RTA transactivation activity in a luciferase reporter assay and a cell model for KSHV reactivation. By using co-immunoprecipitation coupled with western blot analysis, we showed that the capacity of K-RTA in associating with endogenous PARP1 was significantly reduced in the Thr-366/Thr-367 O-GlcNAc mutants. PARP1 is a documented negative regulator of K-RTA that can be ascribed by the attachment of large negatively charged polymer onto K-RTA via PARP1's poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase activity. In agreement, shRNA-mediated depletion of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) in KSHV infected cells augmented viral reactivation and virus production that was accompanied by diminished K-RTA and PARP1 complexes.
KSHV latent-lytic switch K-RTA is modified by cellular O-GlcNAcylation, which imposes a negative effect on K-RTA transactivation activity. This inhibitory effect involves OGT and PARP1, two nutritional sensors recently emerging as chromatin modifiers. Thus, we speculate that the activity of K-RTA on its target genes is continuously checked and modulated by OGT and PARP1 in response to cellular metabolic state.
PMCID: PMC3395832  PMID: 22300411
KSHV; K-RTA; O-GlcNAcylation; PARP1; Polycomb group (PcG) complex
5.  Phosphorylation of the Zebrafish M6Ab at Serine 263 Contributes to Filopodium Formation in PC12 Cells and Neurite Outgrowth in Zebrafish Embryos 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26461.
Mammalian M6A, a member of the proteolipid protein (PLP/DM20) family expressed in neurons, was first isolated by expression cloning with a monoclonal antibody. Overexpression of M6A was shown to induce filopodium formation in neuronal cells; however, the underlying mechanism of is largely unknown. Possibly due to gene duplication, there are two M6A paralogs, M6Aa and M6Ab, in the zebrafish genome. In the present study, we used the zebrafish as a model system to investigate the role of zebrafish M6Ab in filopodium formation in PC12 cells and neurite outgrowth in zebrafish embryos.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We demonstrated that zebrafish M6Ab promoted extensive filopodium formation in NGF-treated PC12 cells, which is similar to the function of mammalian M6A. Phosphorylation at serine 263 of zebrafish M6Ab contributed to this induction. Transfection of the S263A mutant protein greatly reduced filopodium formation in PC12 cells. In zebrafish embryos, only S263D could induce neurite outgrowth.
Our results reveal that the phosphorylation status of zebrafish M6Ab at serine 263 is critical for its role in regulating filopodium formation and neurite outgrowth.
PMCID: PMC3197635  PMID: 22028883

Results 1-5 (5)