Significant advances in our understanding of the genetic defects and the pathogenesis of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) have been achieved in the last several years. The information gathered tremendously helps us in designing molecular targeted therapies for this otherwise fatal disease. Various approaches are being investigated to target defective pathways/molecules in this disease. However, effective therapy is still lacking. Development of specific target-based drugs for JMML remains a big challenge and represents a promising direction in this field.
SHP-2 (PTPN11), a ubiquitously expressed protein tyrosine phosphatase, is critical for hematopoietic cell development and function owing to its essential role in growth factor/cytokine signaling. More importantly, germline and somatic mutations in this phosphatase are associated with Noonan syndrome, Leopard syndrome, and childhood hematologic malignancies. The molecular mechanisms by which SHP-2 mutations induce these diseases are not fully understood, as the biochemical bases of SHP-2 functions still remain elusive. Further understanding SHP-2 signaling activities and identification of its interacting proteins/substrates will shed light on the pathogenesis of PTPN11-associated hematologic malignancies, which, in turn, may lead to novel therapeutics for these diseases.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that give rise to all blood cell types are important vehicles for cell-based and gene therapies. After isolation from the bone marrow, HSCs are often cultured in laboratory settings for purposes of ex vivo expansion, gene transduction, and bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of various disorders of the blood and immune systems. Here we demonstrate that during in vitro culturing outside of hypoxic bone marrow niches, HSCs may genetically alter even after short durations of time. Lineage- Scal-1+ c-Kit+ (LSK) cells that are enriched with HSCs revealed significant levels of genomic instability following culture, as evidenced by the emergence of aneuploid cells. To further determine the effects of in vitro culturing conditions, whole bone marrow cells were cultured in a hypoxic environment of 3% oxygen, mimicking conditions within the body's bone marrow, following which, cells proved to undergo less genetic alterations. Proper dosages of the antioxidant N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) similarly decreased occurrences of chromosomal change. Furthermore, analysis of aged hematopoietic cells revealed enhanced in vitro normoxic culture-induced chromosomal instability compared to that of young hematopoietic cells due to noted increased oxidative stress in aged cells. These results reveal that in vitro cell culturing does indeed cause genomic instability in hematopoietic cells. Reduced oxygen to physiological levels and additions of antioxidants can be employed as possible strategies to lower oxidative stress and decrease chances of chromosomal transformation. Because hematopoietic cells are commonly processed in laboratory settings before transplantation for patient treatment, our findings also raise a concern on the therapeutic use of cultured hematopoietic cells.
Hematopoietic cells; stem cells; oxidative stress; chromosomal instability
SHP-2, a ubiquitously expressed Src homology 2 (SH2) domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP), plays a critical role in physiology and disease. SHP-2 has been clearly demonstrated to be an important molecule in various cytoplasmic signal transduction pathways. In addition, emerging evidence indicates that SHP-2 may function in the nucleus and in the mitochondria. However, the signaling mechanisms of SHP-2 are not completely understood. Interestingly, genetic mutations in SHP-2 that either enhance or inactivate its catalytic activity have been identified in human diseases with overlapping phenotypes. In light of this hint given by nature, new cell and animal models now provide the opportunity to uncover how this molecule functions in multiple cellular processes, and more importantly, how its known mutations induce human diseases.
SHP-2; tyrosine phosphatase; Src homology 2 domain
The Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway is crucial in controlling cellular activities in response to extracellular cytokines. Dysfunctions of the JAK/STAT pathway result in various hematopoietic and immune disorders. The central events in regulating this pathway are tyrosine phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of the signaling components, which are carried out by protein tyrosine kinases and protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTP), respectively. Here, we review recent advances in the regulatory roles of PTPs, in particular, SHP2 phosphatase, in the JAK/STAT signaling pathway.
JAK; STAT; SHP2; Cytokine; Signal transduction; Hematopoiesis
Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that play multiple roles in cells. How mitochondria cooperatively modulate embryonic stem (ES) cell function during development is not fully understood. Global disruption of Ptpmt1, a mitochondrial Pten-like phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) phosphatase, resulted in developmental arrest and postimplantation lethality. Ptpmt1−/− blastocysts failed to outgrow, and inner-cell-mass cells failed to thrive. Depletion of Ptpmt1 in conditional knockout ES cells decreased proliferation without affecting energy homeostasis or cell survival. Differentiation of Ptpmt1-depleted ES cells was essentially blocked. This was accompanied by upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors and a significant cell cycle delay. Reintroduction of wild-type but not of catalytically deficient Ptpmt1 C132S or truncated Ptpmt1 lacking the mitochondrial localization signal restored the differentiation capabilities of Ptpmt1 knockout ES cells. Intriguingly, Ptpmt1 is specifically important for stem cells, as ablation of Ptpmt1 in differentiated embryonic fibroblasts did not disturb cellular function. Further analyses demonstrated that oxygen consumption of Ptpmt1-depleted cells was decreased, while glycolysis was concomitantly enhanced. In addition, mitochondrial fusion/dynamics were compromised in Ptpmt1 knockout cells due to accumulation of PIPs. These studies, while establishing a crucial role for Ptpmt1 phosphatase in embryogenesis, reveal a mitochondrial metabolic stress-activated checkpoint in the control of ES cell differentiation.
The SHP2 phosphatase plays a central role in a number of signaling pathways were it dephosphorylates various substrate proteins. Regulation of SHP2 activity is, in part, achieved by an intramolecular interaction between the PTP domain of the protein, which contains the catalytic site, and the N-SH2 domain leading to a “closed” protein conformation and autoinhibition. Accordingly, “opening” of the N-SH2 and PTP domains is required for the protein to become active. Binding of phosphopeptides to the N-SH2 domain is known to induce the opening event, while a number of gain-of-function (GOF) mutants, implicated in Noonan’s Syndrome and childhood leukemias, are thought to facilitate opening. In the present study a combination of computational and experimental methods are used to investigate the structural mechanism of opening of SHP2 and the impact of three GOF mutants, D61G, E76K, and N308D, on the opening mechanism. Calculated free energies of opening indicate that opening must be facilitated by effector molecules, possibly the protein substrates themselves, as the calculated free energies preclude spontaneous opening. Simulations of both wild type (WT) SHP2 and GOF mutants in the closed state indicate GOF activity to involve increased solvent exposure of selected residues, most notably Arg362, which in turn may enhance interactions of SHP2 with its substrate proteins and thereby aid opening. In addition, GOF mutations cause structural changes in the phosphopeptide-binding region of the N-SH2 domain leading to conformations that mimic the bound state. Such conformational changes are suggested to enhance binding of phosphopeptides and/or decrease interactions between the PTP and N-SH2 domains thereby facilitating opening. Experimental assays of the impact of effector molecules on SHP2 phosphatase activity against both small molecule and peptide substrates support the hypothesized mechanism of GOF mutant action. The present calculations also suggest a role for the C-SH2 domain of SHP2 in stabilizing the overall conformation of the protein in the open state, thereby aiding conformational switching between the open active and closed inactive states.
Noonan’s syndrome; Childhood leukemia; CHARMM; Molecular dynamics; Potential of mean force; normal mode analysis; phosphatase assay
A common Shp2 mutation leads to myeloproliferative disease and malignant acute leukemia in stem cells and committed progenitors, associated with Shp2 maintaining chromosomal stability
Activating mutations in protein tyrosine phosphatase 11 (Ptpn11) have been identified in childhood acute leukemias, in addition to juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), which is a myeloproliferative disorder (MPD). It is not clear whether activating mutations of this phosphatase play a causal role in the pathogenesis of acute leukemias. If so, the cell origin of leukemia-initiating stem cells (LSCs) remains to be determined. Ptpn11E76K mutation is the most common and most active Ptpn11 mutation found in JMML and acute leukemias. However, the pathogenic effects of this mutation have not been well characterized. We have created Ptpn11E76K conditional knock-in mice. Global Ptpn11E76K/+ mutation results in early embryonic lethality. Induced knock-in of this mutation in pan hematopoietic cells leads to MPD as a result of aberrant activation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and myeloid progenitors. These animals subsequently progress to acute leukemias. Intriguingly, in addition to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL) and B-ALL are evolved. Moreover, tissue-specific knock-in of Ptpn11E76K/+ mutation in lineage-committed myeloid, T lymphoid, and B lymphoid progenitors also results in AML, T-ALL, and B-ALL, respectively. Further analyses have revealed that Shp2 (encoded by Ptpn11) is distributed to centrosomes and that Ptpn11E76K/+ mutation promotes LSC development, partly by causing centrosome amplification and genomic instability. Thus, Ptpn11E76K mutation has non–lineage-specific effects on malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells and initiates acute leukemias at various stages of hematopoiesis.
have recently reported that a novel muscle-specific inositide phosphatase
(MIP/MTMR14) plays a critical role in [Ca2+]i
homeostasis through dephosphorylation of sn-1-stearoyl-2-arachidonoyl
phosphatidylinositol (3,5) bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2). Loss of function mutations
in MIP have been identified in human centronuclear myopathy. We developed a
MIP knockout (MIPKO) animal model and found that MIPKO mice were more
susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage, a trademark of muscle
functional changes in older subjects. We used wild-type (Wt) mice and MIPKO
mice to elucidate the roles of MIP in muscle function during aging. We
found MIP mRNA expression, MIP protein levels, and MIP phosphatase activity
significantly decreased in old Wt mice. The mature MIPKO mice displayed
phenotypes that closely resembled those seen in old Wt mice: i) decreased
walking speed, ii) decreased treadmill activity, iii) decreased contractile
force, and iv) decreased power generation, classical features of sarcopenia
in rodents and humans. Defective Ca2+ homeostasis is also
present in mature MIPKO and old Wt mice, suggesting a putative role of MIP
in the decline of muscle function during aging. Our studies offer a new
avenue for the investigation of MIP roles in skeletal muscle function and as
a potential therapeutic target to treat aging sarcopenia.
MIP/MTMR14; muscle aging; sarcopenia; skeletal muscle; intracellular calcium homeostasis
Virtual screening methods combined with experimental assays were used to identify low molecular weight inhibitors for Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 2 (SHP-2) that is mutated and hyperactivated in Noonan syndrome and a significant portion of childhood leukemias. Virtual screening included multiple conformations of the protein, score normalization procedures, and chemical similarity considerations. As the catalytic core of SHP-2 shares extremely high homology to those of the related SHP-1 phosphatase and other tyrosine phosphatases, in order to identify selective inhibitors, we chose to target an adjacent protein surface pocket that is predicted to be important for binding to phospho-peptides and that has structural features unique to SHP-2. From a database of 1.3 million compounds, 9 out of 165 computationally selected compounds were shown to inhibit SHP-2 activity with IC50 values of ≈ 100 μM. Two of the active compounds were further verified for their ability to inhibit SHP-2-mediated cellular functions. Fluorescence titration experiments confirmed their direct binding to SHP-2. Because of their simple chemical structures, these small organic compounds have the potential to act as lead compounds for the development of novel anti-SHP-2 drugs.
The intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) level of skeletal muscles must be rapidly regulated during the excitation-contraction-relaxation process 1. However, the signaling components involved in such rapid Ca2+ movement are not fully understood. Here, we report that mice deficient in the novel phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) phosphatase MIP displayed muscle weakness and fatigue. Muscles isolated from MIP−/− mice produced less contractile force, markedly prolonged relaxation, and exhibited exacerbated fatigue. Further analyses revealed that MIP deficiency resulted in spontaneous Ca2+ leak from the internal store — the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). This was attributed to the decreased metabolism/dephosphorylation and the subsequent accumulation of MIP substrates, especially PI(3,5)P2 and PI(3,4)P2. Furthermore, we found that PI(3,5)P2 and PI(3,4)P2 bound to and directly activated the Ca2+ release channel/ryanodine receptor (RyR1) of the SR. These studies provide the first evidence that finely controlled PIP levels in muscle cells are essential for maintaining Ca2+ homeostasis and muscle performance.
In this work, we search for coordination as an organizing principle in a complex signaling system using a multilevel hierarchical paradigm. The objective is to explain the underlying mechanism of Interferon (IFNγ) induced JAK-STAT (specifically JAK1/JAK2-STAT1) pathway behavior. Starting with a mathematical model of the pathway from the literature, we modularize the system using biological knowledge via principles of biochemical cohesion, biological significance, and functionality. The modularized system is then used as a basis for in silico inhibition, knockdown/deletion and perturbation experiments to discover a coordination mechanism. Our analysis shows that a module representing the SOCS1 complex can be identified as the coordinator. Analysis of the coordinator can then be used for the selection of biological experiments for the discovery of ’soft’ molecular drug targets, that could lead to the development of improved therapeutics. The coordinator identified is also being investigated to determine its relationship to pathological conditions.
JAK-STAT; multilevel; hierarchical; coordination; systems biology; mathematical modeling
The tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) regulate matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity required for cell migration/invasion associated with cancer progression and angiogenesis. TIMPs also modulate cell proliferation in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo independent of their MMP-inhibitory activity. Here, we show that TIMP-2 mediates G1 growth arrest in human endothelial cells through de novo synthesis of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1. TIMP-2-mediated inhibition of Cdk4 and Cdk2 activity is associated with increased binding of p27Kip1 to these complexes in vivo. Protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors or expression of a dominant negative Shp-1 mutant ablates TIMP-2 induction of p27Kip1. Finally, angiogenic responses to FGF-2 and VEGF-A in ‘motheaten viable’ Shp-1 deficient mice are resistant to TIMP-2 inhibition, demonstrating that Shp-1 is an important negative regulator of angiogenesis in vivo.
TIMP-2, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; Shp-1, SH2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase-1; PTP, protein tyrosine phosphatase; hMVECs, human microvascular endothelial cells; Cdks, cyclin-dependent kinases; ECM, extracellular matrix; FGF-2, fibroblast growth factor; PDGF, platelet derived growth factor; EGF, epidermal growth factor; VEGF-A, vascular endothelial growth factor-A; INK4, inhibitors of Cdk4; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; pRb, retinoblastoma protein
The N-terminal SH2 domain (N-SH2) of the non-receptor tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 is involved both in localization of SHP-2 by recognition of phosphotyrosine (pY) peptides and self-inhibition of SHP-2 phosphatase activity through the formation of a protein – protein interface with the phosphatase domain. Mutations that disrupt this interface break the coupling between pY-peptide binding cleft conformation and self-inhibition, thereby increasing both SHP-2 phosphatase activity and pY-peptide binding affinity, and are associated with the congenital condition Noonan syndrome and various pediatric leukemias. To better characterize the molecular process involved in N-SH2 pY-dependent binding, we have applied explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations to study the closed-to-open transition of the N-SH2 pY-peptide binding cleft.
The existence of stable conformations in the left-handed helical and the extended regions of Tyr66 φ/ψ space prevent rapid interconversion of the backbone and create a conformational switch such that Tyr66 in a left-handed helical backbone conformation results in an open cleft and in an extended backbone conformation results in a closed cleft. The stable conformations arise from deep, well-localized free-energy minima in the left-handed helical and extended regions of the Tyr66 φ/ψ map. Changing the Tyr66 backbone conformation from extended to left-handed helical induces a closed-to-open transition in the cleft, and the reverse change in backbone conformation induces the reverse, open-to-closed transition. In the open-cleft state, weak solvent-exposed interactions involving the sidechains of Tyr66, Asp40, Lys55, and Gln57 serve to anchor the Tyr66 sidechain to the surface of the protein and away from the binding cleft entrance, thereby facilitating pY-peptide access to the binding cleft.
The simulations point to a regulatory role for Tyr66 and surrounding residues in SHP-2 function: mutations at Tyr66, Asp40, Lys55, and/or Gln57 are predicted to break the switching mechanism and negatively impact pY-peptide binding. This in turn would interfere with cellular localization and the coupled SHP-2 phosphatase activity. The structurally well-defined binding cleft conformations resulting from the switch-like transition suggest the possibility of applying structure-based methods to develop inhibitors of N-SH2 pY-peptide binding to serve as research tools for signal transduction and precursors to therapeutics for SHP-2-related diseases.
Grb-2-related adaptor protein (Grap) is a Grb2-like SH3-SH2-SH3 adaptor protein with expression restricted to lymphoid tissues. Grap−/− lymphocytes isolated from targeted Grap-deficient mice exhibited enhanced proliferation, interleukin-2 production, and c-fos induction in response to mitogenic T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, compared to wild-type cells. Ectopic expression of Grap led to a suppression of Elk-1-directed transcription induced by the Ras/Erk pathway, without having effects on gene expression mediated by Jnk and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases. Together, these data suggest that Grap, unlike Grb2, acts as a negative regulator of TCR-stimulated intracellular signaling by downregulating signal relay through the Ras/Erk pathway.
Chemokines regulate a number of biological processes, including trafficking of diverse leukocytes and proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells. SHP-1 (Src homology 2 domain tyrosine phosphatase 1), a phosphotyrosine phosphatase, is considered an important regulator of signaling for a number of cytokine receptors. Since specific tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins is important for biological activities induced by chemokines, we examined the role of SHP-1 in functions of chemokines using viable motheaten (mev/mev) mice that were deficient in SHP-1. Chemotactic responses to stromal call–derived factor 1 (SDF-1), a CXC chemokine, were enhanced with bone marrow myeloid progenitor cells as well as macrophages, T cells, and B cells from mev/mev versus wild-type (+/+) mice. SDF-1–dependent actin polymerization and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases were also greater in mev/mev versus +/+ cells. In contrast, immature subsets of mev/mev bone marrow myeloid progenitors were resistant to effects of a number of chemokines that suppressed proliferation of +/+ progenitors. These altered chemokine responses did not appear to be due to enhanced expression of CXCR4 or lack of chemokine receptor expression. However, expression of some chemokine receptors (CCR1, CCR2, CCR3, and CXCR2) was significantly enhanced in mev/mev T cells. Our results implicate SHP-1 involvement in a number of different chemokine-induced biological activities.
chemokine; Src homology 2 domain tyrosine phosphatase 1; viable motheaten mice; chemotaxis; myelosuppression; stromal cell–derived factor 1
Shp-2 is a cytoplasmic tyrosine phosphatase that contains two Src homology 2 (SH2) domains at the N terminus. Biochemical data suggests that Shp-2 acts downstream of a variety of receptor and cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases. A targeted deletion mutation in the N-terminal SH2 (SH2-N) domain results in embryonic lethality of homozygous mutant mice at midgestation. In vitro embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation assays suggest that Shp-2 might play an important role in hematopoiesis. By aggregating homozygous mutant (Shp-2−/−) ES cells and wild-type (WT) embryos, we created Shp-2−/−-WT chimeric animals. We report here an essential role of Shp-2 in the control of blood cell development. Despite the widespread contribution of mutant cells to various tissues, no Shp-2−/− progenitors for erythroid or myeloid cells were detected in the fetal liver and bone marrow of chimeric animals by using the in vitro CFU assay. Furthermore, hematopoiesis was defective in Shp-2−/− yolk sacs. In addition, the Shp-2 mutation caused multiple developmental defects in chimeric mice, characterized by short hind legs, aberrant limb features, split lumbar vertebrae, abnormal rib patterning, and pathological changes in the lungs, intestines, and skin. These results demonstrate a functional involvement of Shp-2 in the differentiation of multiple tissue-specific cells and in body organization. More importantly, the requirement for Shp-2 is more stringent in hematopoiesis than in other systems.
Stem cell factor (SCF) mediated KIT receptor activation plays a pivotal role in mast cell growth, maturation and survival. However, the signaling events downstream from KIT are poorly understood. Mast cells express multiple regulatory subunits of class 1A PI3Kinase (PI3K) including p85α, p85β, p50α, and p55α. While it is known that PI3K plays an essential role in mast cells; the precise mechanism by which these regulatory subunits impact specific mast cell functions including growth, survival and cycling are not known. We show that loss of p85α impairs the growth, survival and cycling of mast cell progenitors (MCp). To delineate the molecular mechanism (s) by which p85α regulates mast cell growth, survival and cycling, we performed microarray analyses to compare the gene expression profile of MCps derived from WT and p85α-deficient mice in response to SCF stimulation. We identified 151 unique genes exhibiting altered expression in p85α-deficient cells in response to SCF stimulation compared to WT cells. Functional categorization based on DAVID bioinformatics tool and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software relates the altered genes due to lack of p85α to transcription, cell cycle, cell survival, cell adhesion, cell differentiation, and signal transduction. Our results suggest that p85α is involved in mast cell development through regulation of expression of growth, survival and cell cycle related genes.