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1.  Optimization and critical evaluation of decellularization strategies to develop renal extracellular matrix scaffolds as biological templates for organ engineering and transplantation 
The ability to generate patient-specific cells through induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology has encouraged development of three-dimensional extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds as bioactive substrates for cell differentiation with the long-range goal of bioengineering organs for transplantation. Perfusion decellularization uses the vasculature to remove resident cells, leaving an intact ECM template wherein new cells grow; however, a rigorous evaluative framework assessing ECM structural and biochemical quality is lacking. To address this, we developed histologic scoring systems to quantify fundamental characteristics of decellularized rodent kidneys: ECM structure (tubules, vessels, glomeruli) and cell removal. We also assessed growth factor retention—indicating matrix biofunctionality. These scoring systems evaluated three strategies developed to decellularize kidneys (1% Triton X-100, 1% Triton X-100/0.1% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and 0.02% Trypsin-0.05% EGTA/1% Triton X-100). Triton and Triton/SDS preserved renal microarchitecture and retained matrix-bound bFGF and VEGF. Trypsin caused structural deterioration and growth factor loss. Triton/SDS-decellularized scaffolds maintained three hours of leak-free blood flow in a rodent transplantation model and supported repopulation with human iPSC-derived endothelial cells and tubular epithelial cells ex vivo. Taken together, we identify an optimal Triton/SDS-based decellularization strategy that produces a biomatrix that may ultimately serve as a rodent model for kidney bioengineering.
PMCID: PMC4276475  PMID: 25403742
2.  Novel Activities of Select NSAID R-Enantiomers against Rac1 and Cdc42 GTPases 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142182.
Rho family GTPases (including Rac, Rho and Cdc42) collectively control cell proliferation, adhesion and migration and are of interest as functional therapeutic targets in numerous epithelial cancers. Based on high throughput screening of the Prestwick Chemical Library® and cheminformatics we identified the R-enantiomers of two approved drugs (naproxen and ketorolac) as inhibitors of Rac1 and Cdc42. The corresponding S-enantiomers are considered the active component in racemic drug formulations, acting as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with selective activity against cyclooxygenases. Here, we show that the S-enantiomers of naproxen and ketorolac are inactive against the GTPases. Additionally, more than twenty other NSAIDs lacked inhibitory action against the GTPases, establishing the selectivity of the two identified NSAIDs. R-naproxen was first identified as a lead compound and tested in parallel with its S-enantiomer and the non-chiral 6-methoxy-naphthalene acetic acid (active metabolite of nabumetone, another NSAID) as a structural series. Cheminformatics-based substructure analyses—using the rotationally constrained carboxylate in R-naproxen—led to identification of racemic [R/S] ketorolac as a suitable FDA-approved candidate. Cell based measurement of GTPase activity (in animal and human cell lines) demonstrated that the R-enantiomers specifically inhibit epidermal growth factor stimulated Rac1 and Cdc42 activation. The GTPase inhibitory effects of the R-enantiomers in cells largely mimic those of established Rac1 (NSC23766) and Cdc42 (CID2950007/ML141) specific inhibitors. Docking predicts that rotational constraints position the carboxylate moieties of the R-enantiomers to preferentially coordinate the magnesium ion, thereby destabilizing nucleotide binding to Rac1 and Cdc42. The S-enantiomers can be docked but are less favorably positioned in proximity to the magnesium. R-naproxen and R-ketorolac have potential for rapid translation and efficacy in the treatment of several epithelial cancer types on account of established human toxicity profiles and novel activities against Rho-family GTPases.
PMCID: PMC4641600  PMID: 26558612
3.  A Pan-GTPase Inhibitor as a Molecular Probe 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0134317.
Overactive GTPases have often been linked to human diseases. The available inhibitors are limited and have not progressed far in clinical trials. We report here a first-in-class small molecule pan-GTPase inhibitor discovered from a high throughput screening campaign. The compound CID1067700 inhibits multiple GTPases in biochemical, cellular protein and protein interaction, as well as cellular functional assays. In the biochemical and protein interaction assays, representative GTPases from Rho, Ras, and Rab, the three most generic subfamilies of the GTPases, were probed, while in the functional assays, physiological processes regulated by each of the three subfamilies of the GTPases were examined. The chemical functionalities essential for the activity of the compound were identified through structural derivatization. The compound is validated as a useful molecular probe upon which GTPase-targeting inhibitors with drug potentials might be developed.
PMCID: PMC4527730  PMID: 26247207
4.  Rapid parallel flow cytometry assays of active GTPases using effector beads 
Analytical biochemistry  2013;442(2):10.1016/j.ab.2013.07.039.
We describe a rapid assay for measuring the cellular activity of small GTPases in response to a specific stimulus. Effector functionalized beads are used to quantify in parallel multiple, GTP-bound GTPases in the same cell lysate by flow cytometry. In a biologically relevant example, five different Ras family GTPases are shown for the first time to be involved in a concerted signaling cascade downstream of receptor ligation by Sin Nombre hantavirus.
PMCID: PMC3848308  PMID: 23928044
Ras; Rho; Rac; Cdc42 and Rab GTPases; cell signaling; hantavirus; flow cytometry; integrins
5.  OFD1 and Flotillins Are Integral Components of a Ciliary Signaling Protein Complex Organized by Polycystins in Renal Epithelia and Odontoblasts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106330.
Mutation of the X-linked oral-facial-digital syndrome type 1 (OFD1) gene is embryonic lethal in males and results in craniofacial malformations and adult onset polycystic kidney disease in females. While the OFD1 protein localizes to centriolar satellites, centrosomes and basal bodies, its cellular function and how it relates to cystic kidney disease is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that OFD1 is assembled into a protein complex that is localized to the primary cilium and contains the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and domain organizing flotillin proteins. This protein complex, which has similarity to a basolateral adhesion domain formed during cell polarization, also contains the polycystin proteins that when mutant cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Importantly, in human ADPKD cells where mutant polycystin-1 fails to localize to cilia, there is a concomitant loss of localization of polycystin-2, OFD1, EGFR and flotillin-1 to cilia. Together, these data suggest that polycystins are necessary for assembly of a novel flotillin-containing ciliary signaling complex and provide a molecular rationale for the common renal pathologies caused by OFD1 and PKD mutations.
PMCID: PMC4152239  PMID: 25180832
6.  Bacterial Pathogens Commandeer Rab GTPases to Establish Intracellular Niches 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2012;13(12):1565-1588.
Intracellular bacterial pathogens deploy virulence factors termed effectors to inhibit degradation by host cells and to establish intracellular niches where growth and differentiation take place. Here, we describe mechanisms by which human bacterial pathogens (including Chlamydiae; Coxiella burnetii; Helicobacter pylori; Legionella pneumophila; Listeria monocytogenes; Mycobacteria; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica) modulate endocytic and exocytic Rab GTPases in order to thrive in host cells. Host cell Rab GTPases are critical for intracellular transport following pathogen phagocytosis or endocytosis. At the molecular level bacterial effectors hijack Rab protein function to: evade degradation, direct transport to particular intracellular locations, and monopolize host vesicles carrying molecules that are needed for a stable niche and/or bacterial growth and differentiation. Bacterial effectors may serve as specific receptors for Rab GTPases or as enzymes that post-translationally modify Rab proteins or endosomal membrane lipids required for Rab function. Emerging data indicate that bacterial effector expression is temporally and spatially regulated and multiple virulence factors may act concertedly to usurp Rab GTPase function, alter signaling and ensure niche establishment and intracellular bacterial growth, making this field an exciting area for further study.
PMCID: PMC3530015  PMID: 22901006
Post-translational modification (adenylylation, ribosylation, phosphocholination); bacterial secretion; cytoskeletal motors (kinesin, dynein/dynactin); pathogen containing vacuole or inclusion; phagosome; membrane trafficking; regulation; replication
7.  A Competitive Nucleotide Binding Inhibitor: In vitro Characterization of Rab7 GTPase Inhibition 
ACS chemical biology  2012;7(6):1095-1108.
Mapping the functionality of GTPases through small molecule inhibitors represents an underexplored area in large part due to the lack of suitable compounds. Here we report on the small chemical molecule 2-(benzoylcarbamothioylamino)-5,5-dimethyl-4,7-dihydrothieno[2,3-c]pyran-3-carboxylic acid (PubChem CID 1067700) as an inhibitor of nucleotide binding by Ras-related GTPases. The mechanism of action of this pan-GTPase inhibitor was characterized in the context of the Rab7 GTPase as there are no known inhibitors of Rab GTPases. Bead-based flow cytometry established that CID 1067700 has significant inhibitory potency on Rab7 nucleotide binding with nanomolar inhibitor (Ki) values and an inhibitory response of ≥97% for BODIPY-GTP and BODIPY-GDP binding. Other tested GTPases exhibited significantly lower responses. The compound behaves as a competitive inhibitor of Rab7 nucleotide binding based on both equilibrium binding and dissociation assays. Molecular docking analyses are compatible with CID 1067700 fitting into the nucleotide binding pocket of the GTP-conformer of Rab7. On the GDP-conformer, the molecule has greater solvent exposure and significantly less protein interaction relative to GDP, offering a molecular rationale for the experimental results. Structural features pertinent to CID 1067700 inhibitory activity have been identified through initial structure activity analyses and identified a molecular scaffold that may serve in the generation of more selective probes for Rab7 and other GTPases. Taken together, our study has identified the first competitive GTPase inhibitor and demonstrated the potential utility of the compound for dissecting the enzymology of the Rab7 GTPase as well as serving as a model for other small molecular weight GTPase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3440014  PMID: 22486388
Rab, Rho, Rac, Cdc42 and Ras GTPases; chemical biology; drug discovery; therapeutics; fluorescent GTP and GDP; enzyme kinetics
8.  Human ADPKD primary cyst epithelial cells with a novel PKD1 mutation exhibit defective ciliary polycystin localization and loss of flow-induced Ca2+ signaling 
ADPKD gene products polycystin-1 (PC1) and polycystin-2 (PC2) colocalize in the apical monocilia of renal epithelial cells. Mouse and human renal cells without PC1 protein show impaired ciliary mechanosensation, and this impairment has been proposed to promote cystogenesis. However, most cyst epithelia of human ADPKD kidneys appear to express full-length PC1 and PC2 in normal or increased abundance. We show that confluent primary ADPKD cyst cells with the novel PC1 mutation ΔL2433 and with normal abundance of PC1 and PC2 polypeptides lack ciliary PC1 and often lack ciliary PC2, whereas PC1 and PC2 are both present in cilia of confluent normal human kidney (NK) epithelial cells in primary culture. Confluent NK cells respond to shear stress with transient increases in [Ca2+]i dependent upon both extracellular Ca2+ and release from intracellular stores. In contrast, ADPKD cyst cells lack flow-sensitive [Ca2+]i signaling and exhibit reduced ER Ca2+ stores and store-depletion-operated Ca2+ entry, but retain near-normal Ca2+i responses to angiotensin II and to vasopressin. Expression of wildtype and mutant CD16.7-PKD1(115-226) fusion proteins reveals within the C-terminal 112 aa of PC1 a coiled-coil domain-independent ciliary targeting signal. However, the coiled-coil domain is required for CD16.7-PKD1(115-226) expression to accelerate decay of the flow-induced Ca2+ signal in NK cells. These data provide evidence for ciliary dysfunction and polycystin mislocalization in human ADPKD cells with normal levels of PC1.
PMCID: PMC3586432  PMID: 17090781
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; monocilium; shear stress; protein trafficking; Fura-2
9.  Characterization of a Cdc42 Protein Inhibitor and Its Use as a Molecular Probe* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(12):8531-8543.
Background: By integrating extracellular signals with actin cytoskeletal changes, Cdc42 plays important roles in cell physiology and has been implicated in human diseases.
Results: A small molecule was found to selectively inhibit Cdc42 in biochemical and cellular assays.
Conclusion: The identified compound is a highly Cdc42-selective inhibitor.
Significance: The described first-in-class Cdc42 GTPase-selective inhibitor will have applications in drug discovery and fundamental research.
Cdc42 plays important roles in cytoskeleton organization, cell cycle progression, signal transduction, and vesicle trafficking. Overactive Cdc42 has been implicated in the pathology of cancers, immune diseases, and neuronal disorders. Therefore, Cdc42 inhibitors would be useful in probing molecular pathways and could have therapeutic potential. Previous inhibitors have lacked selectivity and trended toward toxicity. We report here the characterization of a Cdc42-selective guanine nucleotide binding lead inhibitor that was identified by high throughput screening. A second active analog was identified via structure-activity relationship studies. The compounds demonstrated excellent selectivity with no inhibition toward Rho and Rac in the same GTPase family. Biochemical characterization showed that the compounds act as noncompetitive allosteric inhibitors. When tested in cellular assays, the lead compound inhibited Cdc42-related filopodia formation and cell migration. The lead compound was also used to clarify the involvement of Cdc42 in the Sin Nombre virus internalization and the signaling pathway of integrin VLA-4. Together, these data present the characterization of a novel Cdc42-selective allosteric inhibitor and a related analog, the use of which will facilitate drug development targeting Cdc42-related diseases and molecular pathway studies that involve GTPases.
PMCID: PMC3605667  PMID: 23382385
Cdc42; Cytoskeleton; GTPase; Integrin; Migration
10.  A Telomerase Immortalized Human Proximal Tubule Cell Line with a Truncation Mutation (Q4004X) in Polycystin-1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e55191.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is associated with a variety of cellular phenotypes in renal epithelial cells. Cystic epithelia are secretory as opposed to absorptive, have higher proliferation rates in cell culture and have some characteristics of epithelial to mesenchymal transitions [1], [2]. In this communication we describe a telomerase immortalized cell line that expresses proximal tubule markers and is derived from renal cysts of an ADPKD kidney. These cells have a single detectable truncating mutation (Q4004X) in polycystin-1. These cells make normal appearing but shorter cilia and fail to assemble polycystin-1 in the cilia, and less uncleaved polycystin-1 in membrane fractions. This cell line has been maintained in continuous passage for over 35 passages without going into senescence. Nephron segment specific markers suggest a proximal tubule origin for these cells and the cell line will be useful to study mechanistic details of cyst formation in proximal tubule cells.
PMCID: PMC3557233  PMID: 23383103
11.  Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases are novel components of a polycystin complex 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1812(10):1225-1238.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is caused by mutation of PKD1 and PKD2 that encode polycystin-1 and polycystin-2. Polycystin-1 is tyrosine phosphorylated and modulates multiple signaling pathways including AP-1, but the identity of the phosphatases regulating polycystin-1 are previously uncharacterized. Here we identify members of the LAR protein tyrosine phosphatase (RPTP) superfamily as members of the polycystin-1complex mediated through extra- and intracellular interactions. The first extracellular PKD1 domain of polycystin-1 interacts with the first Ig domain of RPTPσ, while the polycystin-1 C-terminus of polycystin-1 interacts with the regulatory D2 phosphatase domain of RPTPγ. Additional homo- and heterotypic interactions between RPTPs recruit RPTPδ The multimeric polycystin protein complex is found localised in cilia. RPTPσ and RPTPδ are also part of a polycystin-1/E-cadherin complex known to be important for early events in adherens junction stabilisation. The interaction between polycystin-1 and RPTPγ is disrupted in ADPKD cells, while RPTPσ and RPTPδ remain closely associated with E-cadherin, largely in an intracellular location. The polycystin-1 C-terminus is an in vitro substrate of RPTPγ, which dephosphorylates the c-Src phosphorylated Y4237 residue and activates AP1-mediated transcription. The data identify RPTPs as novel interacting partners of the polycystins both in cilia and at adhesion complexes and demonstrate RPTPγ phosphatase activity is central to the molecular mechanisms governing polycystin-dependent signaling.
PMCID: PMC3156852  PMID: 21126580
polycystins; tyrosine kinase; tyrosine phosphatase; adherens junctions; primary cilium; G-protein coupled signaling
12.  Adult Human CD133/1+ Kidney Cells Isolated from Papilla Integrate into Developing Kidney Tubules 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2011;1812(10):1344-1357.
Approximately 60,000 patients in the US are waiting for a kidney transplant due to genetic, immunologic and environmentally caused kidney failure. Adult human renal stem cells could offer opportunities for autologous transplant and repair of damaged organs. Current data suggest that there are multiple progenitor types in the kidney with distinct localizations. In the present study, we characterize cells derived from human kidney papilla and show their capacity for tubulogenesis. In situ, nestin+ and CD133/1+ cells were found extensively intercalated between tubular epithelia in the loops of Henle of renal papilla, but not of the cortex. Populations of primary cells from the renal cortex and renal papilla were isolated by enzymatic digestion from human kidneys unsuited for transplant and immuno-enriched for CD133/1+ cells. Isolated CD133/1+ papillary cells were positive for nestin, as well as several human embryonic stem cell markers (SSEA4, Nanog, SOX2, and OCT4/POU5F1) and could be triggered to adopt tubular epithelial and neuronal like phenotypes. Isolated papillary cells exhibited morphologic plasticity upon modulation of culture conditions and inhibition of asymmetric cell division. Labeled papillary cells readily associated with cortical tubular epithelia in co-culture and 3-dimensional collagen gel cultures. Heterologous organ culture demonstrated that CD133/1+ progenitors from the papilla and cortex, became integrated into developing kidney tubules. Tubular epithelia did not participate in tubulogenesis. Human renal papilla harbor cells with the hallmarks of adult kidney stem/progenitor cells that can be amplified and phenotypically modulated in culture while retaining the capacity to form new kidney tubules.
PMCID: PMC3166446  PMID: 21255643
kidney disease; ADPKD; regenerative medicine; renopoietic; mesenchymal stem cell; Tamm-Horsfall/uromodulin; metanephric organ culture; xanthosine
13.  Identification of a Small GTPase Inhibitor using a High-Throughput Flow Cytometry Bead-Based Multiplex Assay 
Small GTPases are key regulators of cellular activity and represent novel targets for the treatment of human diseases using small molecule inhibitors. We describe a multiplex, flow cytometry bead-based assay for the identification and characterization of inhibitors or activators of small GTPases. Six different GST-tagged small GTPases were bound to glutathione beads each labeled with a different red fluorescence intensity. Subsequently, beads bearing different GTPase were mixed and dispensed into 384-well plates with test compounds, and fluorescent-GTP binding was used as the read-out. This novel multiplex assay allowed us to screen a library of almost 200,000 compounds and identify over 1,200 positive compounds, which were further verified by dose response analyses, using 6 to 8-plex assays. After the elimination of false positive and negative compounds, several small molecule families with opposing effects on GTP-binding activity were identified. Here we detail the characterization of MLS000532223, a general inhibitor that prevents GTP-binding to several GTPases in a dose-dependent manner and is active in biochemical and cell-based secondary assays. Live cell imaging and confocal microscopy studies revealed the inhibitor-induced actin reorganization and cell morphology changes, characteristic of Rho GTPases inhibition. Thus, high throughput screening (HTS) via flow cytometry provides a strategy for identifying novel compounds that are active against small GTPases.
PMCID: PMC3433230  PMID: 20008126
Ras; Rab and Rho GTPases; actin cytoskeleton; bead-based multiplex assay; flow cytometry; fluorescent GTP binding
14.  Mispolarization of Desmosomal Proteins and Altered Cell Adhesion in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease 
Polycystin-1, the product of the major gene mutated in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), associates with multiple epithelial cell junctions, including desmosomes. It was our objective to identify the molecular interactions between polycystin-1 and desmosomal components in primary human kidney epithelial cells and to determine if desmosomal adhesion is altered in ADPKD. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy and two models of cell polarization, polycystin-1 and desmosomes were found to colocalize during the initial establishment of cell-cell contact when junctions were forming. However, colocalization was lost in confluent monolayers. Parallel morphological and biochemical evaluations of polycystic kidney tissue and primary epithelial cells from ADPKD cysts revealed a profound mispolarization of desmosomal components to both the apical and basolateral domains of the disease cells. Structural and functional evaluations of the desmosomal assemblies in ADPKD cells provide evidence for impaired cytokeratin expression and increased sensitivity of the monolayers to shear stress. Together, these discoveries suggest a transient role for polycystin-1 activity in the assembly of functional desmosomes at early stages of cell differentiation and polarization, which when disrupted leads to abnormal desmosomal adhesion in ADPKD.
PMCID: PMC3432402  PMID: 15701820
15.  Drug Repurposing from an Academic Perspective 
Academia and small business research units are poised to play an increasing role in drug discovery, with drug repurposing as one of the major areas of activity. Here we summarize project status for a number of drugs or classes of drugs: raltegravir, cyclobenzaprine, benzbromarone, mometasone furoate, astemizole, R-naproxen, ketorolac, tolfenamic acid, phenothiazines, methylergonovine maleate and beta-adrenergic receptor drugs, respectively. Based on this multi-year, multi-project experience we discuss strengths and weaknesses of academic-based drug repurposing research. Translational, target and disease foci are strategic advantages fostered by close proximity and frequent interactions between basic and clinical scientists, which often result in discovering new modes of action for approved drugs. On the other hand, lack of integration with pharmaceutical sciences and toxicology, lack of appropriate intellectual coverage and issues related to dosing and safety may lead to significant drawbacks. The development of a more streamlined regulatory process world-wide, and the development of pre-competitive knowledge transfer systems such as a global healthcare database focused on regulatory and scientific information for drugs world-wide, are among the ideas proposed to improve the process of academic drug discovery and repurposing, and to overcome the “valley of death” by bridging basic to clinical sciences.
PMCID: PMC3285382  PMID: 22368688
16.  Differential Downregulation of E-Cadherin and Desmoglein by Epidermal Growth Factor 
Modulation of cell : cell junctions is a key event in cutaneous wound repair. In this study we report that activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor disrupts cell : cell adhesion, but with different kinetics and fates for the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein and for E-cadherin. Downregulation of desmoglein preceded that of E-cadherin in vivo and in an EGF-stimulated in vitro wound reepithelialization model. Dual immunofluorescence staining revealed that neither E-cadherin nor desmoglein-2 internalized with the EGF receptor, or with one another. In response to EGF, desmoglein-2 entered a recycling compartment based on predominant colocalization with the recycling marker Rab11. In contrast, E-cadherin downregulation was accompanied by cleavage of the extracellular domain. A broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor protected E-cadherin but not the desmosomal cadherin, desmoglein-2, from EGF-stimulated disruption. These findings demonstrate that although activation of the EGF receptor regulates adherens junction and desmosomal components, this stimulus downregulates associated cadherins through different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3270554  PMID: 22312325
17.  A conserved signal and GTPase complex are required for the ciliary transport of polycystin-1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(18):3289-3305.
Ciliary delivery of polycystin-1 depends on a conserved (K/R/Q)VxPx motif. The signal enables Arf4 GTPase binding and assembly of a multimeric trafficking complex. Functional importance of Arf4 and Rab8 in ciliary trafficking is shown. The studies offer the first unifying molecular rationale for human cystic kidney diseases and retinopathies.
Primary cilia regulate epithelial differentiation and organ function. Failure of mutant polycystins to localize to cilia abolishes flow-stimulated calcium signaling and causes autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. We identify a conserved amino acid sequence, KVHPSST, in the C-terminus of polycystin-1 (PC1) that serves as a ciliary-targeting signal. PC1 binds a multimeric protein complex consisting of several GTPases (Arf4, Rab6, Rab11) and the GTPase-activating protein (GAP), ArfGAP with SH3 domain, ankyrin repeat and PH domain 1 (ASAP1) in the Golgi, which facilitates vesicle budding and Golgi exocytosis. A related N-terminal ciliary-targeting sequence in polycystin-2 similarly binds Arf4. Deletion of the extreme C-terminus of PC1 ablates Arf4 and ASAP1 binding and prevents ciliary localization of an integral membrane CD16.7-PC1 chimera. Interactions are confirmed for chimeric and endogenous proteins through quantitated in vitro and cell-based approaches. PC1 also complexes with Rab8; knockdown of trafficking regulators Arf4 or Rab8 functionally blocks CD16.7-PC1 trafficking to cilia. Mutations in rhodopsin disrupt a similar signal and cause retinitis pigmentosa, while Bardet-Biedl syndrome, primary open-angle glaucoma, and tumor cell invasiveness are linked to dysregulation of ASAP1 or Rab8 or its effectors. In this paper, we provide evidence for a conserved GTPase-dependent ciliary-trafficking mechanism that is shared between epithelia and neurons, and is essential in ciliary-trafficking and cell homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3172256  PMID: 21775626
18.  Rab7 Mutants Associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Exhibit Enhanced NGF-Stimulated Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15351.
Missense mutants in the late endosomal Rab7 GTPase cause the autosomal dominant peripheral neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2B (CMT2B). As yet, the pathological mechanisms connecting mutant Rab7 protein expression to altered neuronal function are undefined. Here, we analyze the effects Rab7 CMT2B mutants on nerve growth factor (NGF) dependent intracellular signaling in PC12 cells. The nerve growth factor receptor TrkA interacted similarly with Rab7 wild-type and CMT2B mutant proteins, but the mutant proteins significantly enhanced TrkA phosphorylation in response to brief NGF stimulation. Two downstream signaling pathways (Erk1/2 and Akt) that are directly activated in response to phospho-TrkA were differentially affected. Akt signaling, arising in response to activated TrkA at the plasma membrane was unaffected. However Erk1/2 phosphorylation, triggered on signaling endosomes, was increased. Cytoplasmic phospho-Erk1/2 persisted at elevated levels relative to control samples for up to 24 h following NGF stimulation. Nuclear shuttling of phospho Erk1/2, which is required to induce MAPK phosphatase expression and down regulate signaling, was greatly reduced by the Rab7 CMT2B mutants and explains the previously reported inhibition in PC12 neurite outgrowth. In conclusion, the data demonstrate a mechanistic link between Rab7 CMT2B mutants and altered TrkA and Erk1/2 signaling from endosomes.
PMCID: PMC3000344  PMID: 21151572
19.  Flow Cytometry for Real-Time Measurement of Guanine Nucleotide Binding and Exchange by Ras-like GTPases 
Analytical biochemistry  2008;381(2):258-266.
Ras-like small GTPases cycle between GTP-bound active and GDP-bound inactive conformational states to regulate diverse cellular processes. Despite their importance, detailed kinetic or comparative studies of family members are rarely undertaken due to the lack of real-time assays measuring nucleotide binding or exchange. Here, we report a bead-based, flow cytometric assay that quantitatively measures the nucleotide binding properties of GST-chimeras for prototypical Ras-family members Rab7 and Rho. Measurements are possible in the presence or absence of Mg2+, with magnesium cations principally increasing affinity and slowing nucleotide dissociation rate 8- to 10-fold. GST-Rab7 exhibited a 3-fold higher affinity for GDP relative to GTP that is consistent with a 3-fold slower dissociation rate of GDP. Strikingly, GST-Rab7 had a marked preference for GTP with ribose ring-conjugated BODIPY FL. The more commonly used γ-NH-conjugated BODIPY FL GTP analogue failed to bind to GST-Rab7. In contrast, both BODIPY analogues bound equally well to GST-RhoA and GST-RhoC. Comparisons of the GST-Rab7 and GST-RhoA GTP-binding pockets provide a structural basis for the observed binding differences. In sum, the flow cytometric assay can be used to measure nucleotide binding properties of GTPases in real-time and quantitatively assess differences between GTPases.
PMCID: PMC2633595  PMID: 18638444
Rab and Rho GTPases; membrane trafficking; actin remodeling; nucleotide binding and exchange; fluorescent GTP analogues
20.  Progesterone receptor isoform identification and subcellular localization in endometrial cancer 
Gynecologic oncology  2005;96(1):32-41.
These studies were undertaken to characterize the subcellular localization of the two major isoforms of progesterone receptors (PR), PRA and PRB, in endometrial cancer.
Immunohistochemistry, immunoprecipitation, and confocal microscopy were performed using Hec50co and KLE endometrial cancer cell models expressing PRA or PRB as a consequence of transduction. The location of PRB compared to PRA was determined, and antibodies were tested for specificity with respect to PR isoform recognition. Immunohistochemical analyses of PR expression and subcellular compartmentalization were also performed on 20 formalin-fixed endometrial cancer tumors.
Morphological and biochemical evaluations demonstrated that PRA is localized to the nucleus, even in the absence of progesterone. In contrast, a large proportion of PRB is cytoplasmic in the absence of ligand, but is rapidly translocated to the nucleus in the presence of progesterone. The differential distribution of PRA and PRB proved to be a hallmark of malignant and nonmalignant epithelia in 20 samples of archival endometrial tissue from women with the pre-operative diagnosis of endometrial cancer. All endometrial cancer specimens demonstrated cytoplasmic PRB in 50% or more of the cells, and five of the seven tumors that were moderately to poorly differentiated demonstrated no PRB staining in the nuclei. Nuclear PRB was significantly associated with increasing tumor differentiation (P = 0.031).
In the absence of ligand, PRA is nuclear and PRB is largely cytoplasmic. This suggests that PRA may exert ligandindependent nuclear effects, while PRB may have nongenomic cytoplasmic actions in endometrial cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2755492  PMID: 15589577
Uterus; Endometrium; Estrogen; Progesterone; Receptors; Human; Trafficking
21.  Caveolin-1-Dependent Infectious Entry of Human Papillomavirus Type 31 in Human Keratinocytes Proceeds to the Endosomal Pathway for pH-Dependent Uncoating▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(19):9505-9512.
High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small nonenveloped DNA viruses with a strict tropism for squamous epithelium. The viruses are causative agents of cervical cancer and some head and neck cancers, but their differentiation-dependent life cycles have made them difficult to study in simple cell culture. Thus, many aspects of early HPV infection remain mysterious. We recently showed the high-risk HPV type 31 (HPV31) enters its natural host cell type via caveola-dependent endocytosis, a distinct mechanism from that of the closely related HPV16 (Smith et al., J. Virol. 81:9922-9931, 2007). Here, we determined the downstream trafficking events after caveolar entry of HPV31 into human keratinocytes. After initial plasma membrane binding, HPV31 associates with caveolin-1 and transiently localizes to the caveosome before trafficking to the early endosome and proceeding through the endosomal pathway. Caveosome-to-endosome transport was found to be Rab5 GTPase dependent. Although HPV31 capsids were observed in the lysosome, Rab7 GTPase was dispensable for HPV31 infection, suggesting that viral genomes escape from the endosomal pathway prior to Rab7-mediated capsid transport. Consistent with this, the acidic pH encountered by HPV31 within the early endosomal pathway induces a conformational change in the capsid resulting in increased DNase susceptibility of the viral genome, which likely aids in uncoating and/or endosomal escape. The entry and trafficking route of HPV31 into human keratinocytes represents a unique viral pathway by which the virions use caveolar entry to eventually access a low-pH site that appears to facilitate endosomal escape of genomes.
PMCID: PMC2546945  PMID: 18667513
22.  Sequential Actions of Myotubularin Lipid Phosphatases Regulate Endosomal PI(3)P and Growth Factor Receptor Trafficking 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(8):3334-3346.
Two different human diseases, X-linked myotubular myopathy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, result from mutant MTM1 or MTMR2 lipid phosphatases. Although events involved in endosomal PI(3)P and PI(3,5)P2 synthesis are well established and pivotal in receptor signaling and degradation, enzymes involved in phosphoinositide degradation and their roles in trafficking are incompletely characterized. Here, we dissect the functions of the MTM1 and MTMR2 myotubularins and establish how they contribute to endosomal PI(3)P homeostasis. By mimicking loss of function in disease through siRNA-mediated depletion of the myotubularins, excess PI(3)P accumulates on early (MTM1) and late (MTMR2) endosomes. Surprisingly, the increased PI(3)P blocks the egress of epidermal growth factor receptors from early or late endosomes, suggesting that the accumulation of signaling receptors in distinct endosomes may contribute to the unique disease etiologies when MTM1 or MTMR2 are mutant. We further demonstrate that direct myotubularin binding to the type III PI 3-kinase complex hVps34/hVps15 leads to phosphatase inactivation. The lipid kinase-phosphatase interaction also precludes interaction of the PI 3-kinase with Rab GTPase activators. Thus, unique molecular complexes control kinase and phosphatase activation and locally regulate PI(3)P on discrete endosome populations, thereby providing a molecular rationale for related human myo- and neuropathies.
PMCID: PMC2488308  PMID: 18524850
23.  Clustering and Redistribution of Late Endocytic Compartments in Response to Helicobacter pylori Vacuolating Toxin 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(4):1946-1959.
Helicobacter pylori VacA is a secreted protein toxin that may contribute to the pathogenesis of peptic ulcer disease and gastric adenocarcinoma. When added to cultured mammalian cells in the presence of weak bases (e.g., ammonium chloride), VacA induces the formation of large cytoplasmic vacuoles. Here, we report a previously unrecognized capacity of VacA to induce clustering and perinuclear redistribution of late endocytic compartments. In contrast to VacA-induced cell vacuolation, VacA-induced clustering and redistribution of late endocytic compartments are not dependent on the presence of weak bases and are not inhibited by bafilomycin A1. VacA mutant toxins defective in the capacity to form anion-selective membrane channels fail to cause clustering and redistribution. VacA-induced clusters of late endocytic compartments undergo transformation into vacuoles after the addition of ammonium chloride. VacA-induced clustering and redistribution of late endocytic compartments occur in cells expressing wild-type or constitutively active Rab7, but not in cells expressing dominant-negative mutant Rab7. In VacA-treated cells containing clustered late endocytic compartments, overexpression of dominant-negative Rab7 causes reversion to a nonclustered distribution. Redistribution of late endocytic compartments to the perinuclear region requires a functional microtubule cytoskeleton, whereas clustering of these compartments and vacuole formation do not. These data provide evidence that clustering of late endocytic compartments is a critical mechanistic step in the process of VacA-induced cell vacuolation. We speculate that VacA-induced alterations in late endocytic membrane traffic contribute to the capacity of H. pylori to persistently colonize the human gastric mucosa.
PMCID: PMC379289  PMID: 14742715
24.  A Polycystin-1 Multiprotein Complex Is Disrupted in Polycystic Kidney Disease CellsD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(3):1334-1346.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is typified by the accumulation of fluid-filled cysts and abnormalities in renal epithelial cell function. The disease is principally caused by mutations in the gene encoding polycystin-1, a large basolateral plasma membrane protein expressed in kidney epithelial cells. Our studies reveal that, in normal kidney cells, polycystin-1 forms a complex with the adherens junction protein E-cadherin and its associated catenins, suggesting a role in cell adhesion or polarity. In primary cells from ADPKD patients, the polycystin-1/polycystin-2/E-cadherin/β-catenin complex was disrupted and both polycystin-1 and E-cadherin were depleted from the plasma membrane as a result of the increased phosphorylation of polycystin-1. The loss of E-cadherin was compensated by the transcriptional upregulation of the normally mesenchymal N-cadherin. Increased cell surface N-cadherin in the disease cells in turn stabilized the continued plasma membrane localization of β-catenin in the absence of E-cadherin. The results suggest that enhanced phosphorylation of polycystin-1 in ADPKD cells precipitates changes in its localization and its ability to form protein complexes that are critical for the stabilization of adherens junctions and the maintenance of a fully differentiated polarized renal epithelium.
PMCID: PMC363138  PMID: 14718571
25.  Compromised Cytoarchitecture and Polarized Trafficking in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease Cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(1):111-124.
Cystogenesis associated with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is characterized by perturbations in the polarized phenotype and function of cyst-lining epithelial cells. The polycystins, the protein products of the genes mutated in the majority of ADPKD cases, have been described recently, but the pathological mechanism by which causal mutations result in the mislocalization of cell membrane proteins has remained unclear. This report documents the dissociation from the ADPKD cell basolateral membrane of three molecules essential for spatial organization and exocytosis. The adherens junction protein E-cadherin, the subcellular disposition of which governs intercellular and intracellular architecture, was discovered sequestered in an internal ADPKD cell compartment. At the same time, sec6 and sec8, components of a complex critical for basolateral cargo delivery normally arrayed at the apico-lateral apex, were depleted from the ADPKD cell plasma membrane. An analysis of membrane transport revealed that basolateral trafficking of proteins and lipids was impaired as a result of delayed cargo exit from the ADPKD cell Golgi apparatus. Apical transport proceeded normally. Taken together with recent documentation of an association between polycystin-1 and E-cadherin (Huan and van Adelsberg 1999), the data suggest that causal mutations disrupt E-cadherin–dependent cytoarchitecture, adversely affecting protein assemblies crucial for basolateral trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2175108  PMID: 10747091
basolateral; adherens junction; epithelia; autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD); polycystin

Results 1-25 (27)