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1.  ESCRT regulates surface expression of the Kir2.1 potassium channel 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(2):276-289.
The Kir2.1 potassium channel is targeted by endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation in yeast. To identify other Kir2.1 quality control factors, a novel yeast screen was performed. ESCRT components were among the strongest hits from the screen. Consistent with these data, ESCRT also regulates Kir2.1 stability in human cells.
Protein quality control (PQC) is required to ensure cellular health. PQC is recognized for targeting the destruction of defective polypeptides, whereas regulated protein degradation mechanisms modulate the concentration of specific proteins in concert with physiological demands. For example, ion channel levels are physiologically regulated within tight limits, but a system-wide approach to define which degradative systems are involved is lacking. We focus on the Kir2.1 potassium channel because altered Kir2.1 levels lead to human disease and Kir2.1 restores growth on low-potassium medium in yeast mutated for endogenous potassium channels. Using this system, first we find that Kir2.1 is targeted for endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation (ERAD). Next a synthetic gene array identifies nonessential genes that negatively regulate Kir2.1. The most prominent gene family that emerges from this effort encodes members of endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT). ERAD and ESCRT also mediate Kir2.1 degradation in human cells, with ESCRT playing a more prominent role. Thus multiple proteolytic pathways control Kir2.1 levels at the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC3890348  PMID: 24227888
2.  The threads that tie protein-folding diseases 
From unicellular organisms to humans, cells have evolved elegant systems to facilitate careful folding of proteins and the maintenance of protein homeostasis. Key modulators of protein homeostasis include a large, conserved family of proteins known as molecular chaperones, which augment the folding of nascent polypeptides and temper adverse consequences of cellular stress. However, errors in protein folding can still occur, resulting in the accumulation of misfolded proteins that strain cellular quality-control systems. In some cases, misfolded proteins can be targeted for degradation by the proteasome or via autophagy. Nevertheless, protein misfolding is a feature of many complex, genetically and clinically pleiotropic diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. In recent years, substantial progress has been made in unraveling the complexity of protein folding using model systems, and we are now closer to being able to diagnose and treat the growing number of protein-folding diseases. To showcase some of these important recent advances, and also to inspire discussion on approaches to tackle unanswered questions, Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM) presents a special collection of reviews from researchers at the cutting-edge of the field.
PMCID: PMC3882041  PMID: 24396147
Chaperones; Neurodegeneration; Protein folding
3.  Glycosylation-independent ERAD pathway serves as a backup system under ER stress 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(20):3155-3163.
Glycosylated and nonglycosylated proteins misfolded in the ER are degraded by discrete but interchangeable pathways in the ERAD system. Disulfide reductase ERdj5 plays a central role in both pathways through the complex formation with EDEM and/or BiP. The nonglycoprotein ERAD pathway serves as a backup system under ER stress conditions.
During endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–associated degradation (ERAD), terminally misfolded proteins are retrotranslocated from the ER to the cytosol and degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Misfolded glycoproteins are recognized by calnexin and transferred to EDEM1, followed by the ER disulfide reductase ERdj5 and the BiP complex. The mechanisms involved in ERAD of nonglycoproteins, however, are poorly understood. Here we show that nonglycoprotein substrates are captured by BiP and then transferred to ERdj5 without going through the calnexin/EDEM1 pathway; after cleavage of disulfide bonds by ERdj5, the nonglycoproteins are transferred to the ERAD scaffold protein SEL1L by the aid of BiP for dislocation into the cytosol. When glucose trimming of the N-glycan groups of the substrates is inhibited, glycoproteins are also targeted to the nonglycoprotein ERAD pathway. These results indicate that two distinct pathways for ERAD of glycoproteins and nonglycoproteins exist in mammalian cells, and these pathways are interchangeable under ER stress conditions.
PMCID: PMC3806662  PMID: 23966469
4.  Cleaning Up: Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation to the Rescue 
Cell  2012;151(6):1163-1167.
All cellular proteins are subject to quality control “decisions”, which helps prevent or delay a myriad of diseases. Quality control within the secretory pathway creates a special challenge, as aberrant polypeptides are recognized and returned to the cytoplasm for proteasomal degradation. This process is termed ER associated degradation (ERAD).
PMCID: PMC3521611  PMID: 23217703
5.  Ciprofloxacin is an inhibitor of the Mcm2-7 replicative helicase 
Bioscience Reports  2013;33(5):e00072.
Most currently available small molecule inhibitors of DNA replication lack enzymatic specificity, resulting in deleterious side effects during use in cancer chemotherapy and limited experimental usefulness as mechanistic tools to study DNA replication. Towards development of targeted replication inhibitors, we have focused on Mcm2-7 (minichromosome maintenance protein 2–7), a highly conserved helicase and key regulatory component of eukaryotic DNA replication. Unexpectedly we found that the fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin preferentially inhibits Mcm2-7. Ciprofloxacin blocks the DNA helicase activity of Mcm2-7 at concentrations that have little effect on other tested helicases and prevents the proliferation of both yeast and human cells at concentrations similar to those that inhibit DNA unwinding. Moreover, a previously characterized mcm mutant (mcm4chaos3) exhibits increased ciprofloxacin resistance. To identify more potent Mcm2-7 inhibitors, we screened molecules that are structurally related to ciprofloxacin and identified several that compromise the Mcm2-7 helicase activity at lower concentrations. Our results indicate that ciprofloxacin targets Mcm2-7 in vitro, and support the feasibility of developing specific quinolone-based inhibitors of Mcm2-7 for therapeutic and experimental applications.
PMCID: PMC3791872  PMID: 24001138
AAA+ ATPase; DNA replication; fluoroquinolone; helicase; minichromosome maintenance complex; CI, confidence interval; DCCD, N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodi-imide; EEDQ, N-ethoxy-carbonyl-2-ethoxy-1,2-dyhydroquinolone; Mcm, minichromosome maintenance protein; Nbf, 4-chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; PG, phenylglyoxal; PP, pyridoxal phosphate; SsoMcm, Sulfolobus solfataricus Mcm protein; SV40, simian virus 40; TAg, T-antigen; Topo I, topoisomerase I; Topo II, topoisomerase II
6.  A Screen for Modulators of Large T Antigen's ATPase Activity Uncovers Novel Inhibitors of Simian Virus 40 and BK Virus Replication 
Antiviral research  2012;96(1):70-81.
New polyomaviruses are continually being identified, and it is likely that links between this virus family and disease will continue to emerge. Unfortunately, a specific treatment for polyomavirus-associated disease is lacking. Because polyomaviruses express large Tumor Antigen, TAg, we hypothesized that small molecule inhibitors of the essential ATPase activity of TAg would inhibit viral replication. Using a new screening platform, we identified inhibitors of TAg's ATPase activity. Lead compounds were moved into a secondary assay, and ultimately two FDA approved compounds, bithionol and hexachlorophene, were identified as the most potent TAg inhibitors known to date. Both compounds inhibited Simian Virus 40 replication as assessed by plaque assay and quantitative PCR. Moreover, these compounds inhibited BK virus, which causes BKV Associated Nephropathy. In neither case was host cell viability compromised at these concentrations. Our data indicate that directed screening for TAg inhibitors is a viable method to identify polyomavirus inhibitors, and that bithionol and hexachlorophene represent lead compounds that may be further modified and/or ultimately used to combat diseases associated with polyomavirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3465505  PMID: 22898086
polyomavirus; bithionol; hexachlorophene; T antigen; molecular chaperone; high throughput screen
7.  Ubiquitin conjugation triggers misfolded protein sequestration into quality control foci when Hsp70 chaperone levels are limiting 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(13):2076-2087.
Ubiquitylation of partially misfolded proteins by the yeast Doa10 E3 ligase requires the Hsp40 cochaperone Sis1, whereas the Hsp70 chaperones Ssa1 and Ssa2 are dispensable. Elimination of the Hsp70 chaperones prevents proteasomal degradation, resulting in ubiquitin-dependent sequestration of the misfolded proteins in Hsp42-positive foci.
Ubiquitin accumulation in amyloid plaques is a pathological marker observed in the vast majority of neurodegenerative diseases, yet ubiquitin function in these inclusions is controversial. It has been suggested that ubiquitylated proteins are directed to inclusion bodies under stress conditions, when both chaperone-mediated refolding and proteasomal degradation are compromised or overwhelmed. Alternatively, ubiquitin and chaperones may be recruited to preformed inclusions to promote their elimination. We address this issue using a yeast model system, based on expression of several mildly misfolded degradation substrates in cells with altered chaperone content. We find that the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) chaperone pair Ssa1/Ssa2 and the Hsp40 cochaperone Sis1 are essential for degradation. Substrate ubiquitylation is strictly dependent on Sis1, whereas Ssa1 and Ssa2 are dispensable. Remarkably, in Ssa1/Ssa2-depleted cells, ubiquitylated substrates are sequestered into detergent-insoluble, Hsp42-positive inclusion bodies. Unexpectedly, sequestration is abolished by preventing substrate ubiquitylation. We conclude that Hsp40 is required for the targeting of misfolded proteins to the ubiquitylation machinery, whereas the decision to degrade or sequester ubiquitylated proteins is mediated by the Hsp70s. Accordingly, diminished Hsp70 levels, as observed in aging or certain pathological conditions, might be sufficient to trigger ubiquitin-dependent sequestration of partially misfolded proteins into inclusion bodies.
PMCID: PMC3694792  PMID: 23637465
8.  Mechanisms Underlying the Cellular Clearance of Antitrypsin Z 
The most frequent cause of α1-antitrypsin (here referred to as AT) deficiency is homozygosity for the AT-Z allele, which encodes AT-Z. Such individuals are at increased risk for liver disease due to the accumulation of aggregation-prone AT-Z in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. However, the penetrance and severity of liver dysfunction in AT deficiency is variable, indicating that unknown genetic and environmental factors contribute to its occurrence. There is evidence that the rate of AT-Z degradation may be one such contributing factor. Through the use of several AT-Z model systems, it is now becoming appreciated that AT-Z can be degraded through at least two independent pathways. One model system that has contributed significantly to our understanding of the AT-Z disposal pathway is the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC3136956  PMID: 21030514
antitrypsin; endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation; autophagy; yeast
9.  A stalled retrotranslocation complex reveals physical linkage between substrate recognition and proteasomal degradation during ER-associated degradation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(11):1765-1775.
Inactivation of Cdc48p/p97 triggers formation of a complex that contains the 26S proteasome, Cdc48p/p97, ubiquitinated substrates, select components of the Hrd1 complex, and the lumenal recognition factor, Yos9p. A model is proposed in which the Hrd1 complex links substrate recognition and degradation on opposite sides of the ER membrane.
During endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation (ERAD), misfolded lumenal and membrane proteins in the ER are recognized by the transmembrane Hrd1 ubiquitin ligase complex and retrotranslocated to the cytosol for ubiquitination and degradation. Although substrates are believed to be delivered to the proteasome only after the ATPase Cdc48p/p97 acts, there is limited knowledge about how the Hrd1 complex coordinates with Cdc48p/p97 and the proteasome to orchestrate substrate recognition and degradation. Here we provide evidence that inactivation of Cdc48p/p97 stalls retrotranslocation and triggers formation of a complex that contains the 26S proteasome, Cdc48p/p97, ubiquitinated substrates, select components of the Hrd1 complex, and the lumenal recognition factor, Yos9p. We propose that the actions of Cdc48p/p97 and the proteasome are tightly coupled during ERAD. Our data also support a model in which the Hrd1 complex links substrate recognition and degradation on opposite sides of the ER membrane.
PMCID: PMC3667728  PMID: 23536702
10.  High-Throughput Screening Identifies a Bisphenol Inhibitor of SV40 Large T Antigen ATPase Activity 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2011;17(2):194-203.
The authors conducted a high-throughput screening campaign for inhibitors of SV40 large T antigen ATPase activity to identify candidate antivirals that target the replication of polyomaviruses. The primary assay was adapted to 1536-well microplates and used to screen the National Institutes of Health Molecular Libraries Probe Centers Network library of 306 015 compounds. The primary screen had an Z value of ~0.68, signal/background = 3, and a high (5%) DMSO tolerance. Two counterscreens and two secondary assays were used to prioritize hits by EC50, cytotoxicity, target specificity, and off-target effects. Hits that inhibited ATPase activity by >44% in the primary screen were tested in dose–response efficacy and eukaryotic cytotoxicity assays. After evaluation of hit cytotoxicity, drug likeness, promiscuity, and target specificity, three compounds were chosen for chemical optimization. Chemical optimization identified a class of bisphenols as the most effective biochemical inhibitors. Bisphenol A inhibited SV40 large T antigen ATPase activity with an IC50 of 41 μM in the primary assay and 6.2 μM in a cytoprotection assay. This compound class is suitable as probes for biochemical investigation of large T antigen ATPase activity, but because of their cytotoxicity, further optimization is necessary for their use in studying polyomavirus replication in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3731742  PMID: 21948801
SV40; chemistry; large T antigen; HTS; antivirals
11.  Survivin Is a Therapeutic Target in Merkel Cell Carcinoma 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(133):133ra56.
Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) causes ~80% of primary and metastatic Merkel cell carcinomas (MCCs). By comparing digital transcriptome subtraction deep-sequencing profiles, we found that transcripts of the cellular survivin oncoprotein [BIRC5a (baculoviral inhibitor of apoptosis repeat-containing 5)] were up-regulated sevenfold in virus-positive compared to virus-negative MCC tumors. Knockdown of MCV large T antigen in MCV-positive MCC cell lines decreased survivin mRNA and protein expression. Exogenously expressed MCV large T antigen increased survivin protein expression in non-MCC primary cells. This required an intact retinoblastoma protein–targeting domain that activated survivin gene transcription as well as expression of other G1-S–phase proteins including E2F1 and cyclin E. Survivin expression is critical to the survival of MCV-positive MCC cells. A small-molecule survivin inhibitor, YM155, potently and selectively initiates irreversible, nonapoptotic, programmed MCV-positive MCC cell death. Of 1360 other chemotherapeutic and pharmacologically active compounds screened in vitro, only bortezomib (Velcade) was found to be similarly potent, but was not selective in killing MCV-positive MCC cells. YM155 halted the growth of MCV-positive MCC xenograft tumors and was nontoxic in mice, whereas bortezomib was not active in vivo and mice displayed serious morbidity. Xenograft tumors resumed growth once YM155 treatment was stopped, suggesting that YM155 may be cytostatic rather than cytotoxic in vivo. Identifying the cellular pathways, such as those involving survivin, that are targeted by tumor viruses can lead to rapid and rational identification of drug candidates for treating virus-induced cancers.
PMCID: PMC3726222  PMID: 22572880
12.  The Endoplasmic Reticulum–associated Degradation of the Epithelial Sodium Channel Requires a Unique Complement of Molecular Chaperones 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(6):1047-1058.
This study describes new yeast expression systems for each subunit of the heterotrimeric epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). We found that a significant amount of each subunit resides in the ER and is destroyed via ERAD. We also found that the chaperone requirements for ENaC subunit degradation were unlike any other ERAD substrate examined.
The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is composed of a single copy of an α-, β-, and γ-subunit and plays an essential role in water and salt balance. Because ENaC assembles inefficiently after its insertion into the ER, a substantial percentage of each subunit is targeted for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). To define how the ENaC subunits are selected for degradation, we developed novel yeast expression systems for each ENaC subunit. Data from this analysis suggested that ENaC subunits display folding defects in more than one compartment and that subunit turnover might require a unique group of factors. Consistent with this hypothesis, yeast lacking the lumenal Hsp40s, Jem1 and Scj1, exhibited defects in ENaC degradation, whereas BiP function was dispensable. We also discovered that Jem1 and Scj1 assist in ENaC ubiquitination, and overexpression of ERdj3 and ERdj4, two lumenal mammalian Hsp40s, increased the proteasome-mediated degradation of ENaC in vertebrate cells. Our data indicate that Hsp40s can act independently of Hsp70 to select substrates for ERAD.
PMCID: PMC2836957  PMID: 20110346
13.  The Recognition and Retrotranslocation of Misfolded Proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2008;9(6):861-870.
Secretory and membrane proteins that fail to fold in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are retained and may be sorted for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). During ERAD, ER-associated components such as molecular chaperones and lectins recognize folding intermediates and specific oligosaccharyl modifications on ERAD substrates. Substrates selected for ERAD are then targeted for ubiquitin- and proteasome-mediated degradation. Because the catalytic steps of the ubiquitin–proteasome system reside in the cytoplasm, soluble ERAD substrates that reside in the ER lumen must be retrotranslocated back to the cytoplasm prior to degradation. In contrast, it has been less clear how polytopic, integral membrane substrates are delivered to enzymes required for ubiquitin conjugation and to the proteasome. In this review, we discuss recent studies addressing how ERAD substrates are recognized, ubiquitinated and delivered to the proteasome and then survey current views of how soluble and integral membrane substrates may be retrotranslocated.
PMCID: PMC2754126  PMID: 18315532
degradation; ER; glycosylation; molecular chaperone; proteasome; proteolysis; transport; ubiquitin
14.  The Yeast Hsp110, Sse1p, Exhibits High Affinity Peptide Binding 
FEBS letters  2008;582(16):2393-2396.
Hsp110s are divergent relatives of Hsp70 chaperones that hydrolyze ATP. Hsp110s serve as Hsp70 nucleotide exchange factors and act directly to maintain polypeptide solubility. To date, the impact of peptide binding on Hsp110 ATPase activity is unknown and an Hsp110/peptide affinity has not been measured. We now report on a peptide that binds to the yeast Hsp110, Sse1p, with a KD of ~2 nM. Surprisingly, the binding of this peptide fails to stimulate Sse1p ATP hydrolysis. Moreover, an Hsp70-binding peptide is unable to associate with Sse1p, suggesting that Hsp70s and Hsp110s possess partially distinct peptide recognition motifs.
PMCID: PMC2504362  PMID: 18539149
Hsp70; molecular chaperone; nucleotide exchange factor; fluorescence; ATPase
15.  Tipping the Delicate Balance: Defining How Proteasome Maturation Affects the Degradation of a Substrate for Autophagy and Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD) 
Autophagy  2007;3(6):623-625.
An increasing body of data links endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function to autophagy. Not surprisingly, then, some aberrant proteins in the ER can be destroyed either via ER associated degradation (ERAD), which is proteasome-mediated, or via autophagy. One such substrate is the “Z” variant of the alpha-1 protease inhibitor (A1Pi), variably known as A1Pi-Z or AT-Z (“anti-trypsin, Z variant”). The wild type protein is primarily synthesized in the liver and is secreted. In contrast, AT-Z, like other ERAD substrates, is retro-translocated from the ER and delivered to the proteasome. However, AT-Z can form high molecular weight polymers that are degraded via autophagy, and cells that accumulate AT-Z polymers ultimately succumb, which leads to liver disease. Therefore, identifying genes that have an impact AT-Z turnover represents an active area of research. To this end, a yeast expression system for AT-Z has proven valuable. For example, a recent study using this system indicates that the activity of a proteasome assembly chaperone (PAC) is critical for maximal AT-Z turnover, which suggests a new role for PACs. Because PACs are conserved, it will be critical to analyze whether these dedicated chaperones are implicated in other diseases associated with ERAD and autophagy.
PMCID: PMC2654318  PMID: 17786020
anti-trypsin; A1Pi; proteasome; chaperone; proteasome assembly chaperone; PAC; yeast; unfolded protein response; liver disease; apoptosis
16.  Comparison of mRNA localization and regulation during endoplasmic reticulum stress in Drosophila cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(1):14-20.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induces an mRNA decay pathway termed regulated Ire-dependent decay (RIDD). This study shows that in Drosophila cells, ER association is sufficient for targeting mRNAs to RIDD and most membrane-associated mRNAs are degraded more rapidly during ER stress. It is also reported that a small number of mRNAs are specifically protected from this default pathway.
Ire1 is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) transmembrane protein that senses disturbances in protein folding homeostasis and contributes to a multifaceted response to stress. The nuclease activity of Ire1, in addition to splicing the mRNA encoding the transcription factor Xbp1, mediates mRNA degradation in response to ER stress through a pathway termed regulated Ire1-dependent decay (RIDD). We previously showed that ER targeting of substrates is necessary for RIDD; in this paper, we show that ER localization is also sufficient to induce decay in a normally unaffected mRNA. Using microarrays, we also measured relative mRNA degradation in the presence and absence of ER stress in Drosophila S2 cells, and determined mRNA membrane association using detergent fractionation. The vast majority of mRNAs that were strongly associated with the ER were degraded faster during ER stress in an Ire1-dependent manner, suggesting that RIDD is the default pathway for ER-localized mRNAs during stress. We also show that the mRNA encoding plexin A remains highly polysome associated during stress and escapes degradation by RIDD, and that its 5′ untranslated region can protect a strong RIDD target from degradation. These results suggest that while translation is generally attenuated during ER stress, continued translation of certain messages can protect them from degradation by RIDD.
PMCID: PMC3530775  PMID: 23135994
17.  Dissecting the ER-associated degradation of a misfolded polytopic membrane protein 
Cell  2008;132(1):101-112.
It remains unclear how misfolded membrane proteins are selected and destroyed during endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation (ERAD). For example, chaperones are thought to solubilize aggregation-prone motifs, and some data suggest that these proteins are degraded at the ER. To better define how membrane proteins are destroyed, the ERAD of Ste6p*, a twelve transmembrane protein, was reconstituted. We found that specific Hsp70/40s act before ubiquitination and facilitate Ste6p* association with an E3 ubiquitin ligase, suggesting an active role for chaperones. Furthermore, polyubiquitination was a prerequisite for retro-translocation, which required the Cdc48 complex and ATP. Surprisingly, the substrate was soluble, and extraction was independent of a ubiquitin chain extension enzyme (Ufd2p). However, Ufd2p increased the degree of ubiquitination and facilitated degradation. These data indicate that polytopic membrane proteins can be extracted from the ER, and define the point of action of chaperones and the requirement for Ufd2p during membrane protein quality control.
PMCID: PMC2219389  PMID: 18191224
molecular chaperone; Hsp70; ubiquitination; Cdc48/p97; Ufd2; proteasome
18.  The Activities and Function of Molecular Chaperones in the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Most proteins in the secretory pathway are translated, folded, and subjected to quality control at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These processes must be flexible enough to process diverse protein conformations, yet specific enough to recognize when a protein should be degraded. Molecular chaperones are responsible for this decision making process. ER associated chaperones assist in polypeptide translocation, protein folding, and ER associated degradation (ERAD). Nevertheless, we are only beginning to understand how chaperones function, how they are recruited to specific substrates and assist in folding/degradation, and how unique chaperone classes make quality control “decisions.”
PMCID: PMC2175536  PMID: 17964199
heat shock proteins; ERAD; proteasome; lectin; degradation
19.  Characterization of Inhibitors of Glucocorticoid Receptor Nuclear Translocation: A Model of Cytoplasmic Dynein-Mediated Cargo Transport 
Agonist-induced glucocorticoid receptor [GR] transport from the cytoplasm to the nucleus was used as a model to identify dynein-mediated cargo transport inhibitors. Cell-based screening of the library of pharmacologically active compound (LOPAC)-1280 collection identified several small molecules that stalled the agonist-induced transport of GR-green fluorescent protein (GFP) in a concentration-dependent manner. Fluorescent images of microtubule organization, nuclear DNA staining, expression of GR-GFP, and its subcellular distribution were inspected and quantified by image analysis to evaluate the impact of compounds on cell morphology, toxicity, and GR transport. Given the complexity of the multi-protein complex involved in dynein-mediated cargo transport and the variety of potential mechanisms for interruption of that process, we therefore developed and validated a panel of biochemical assays to investigate some of the more likely intracellular target(s) of the GR transport inhibitors. Although the apomorphine enantiomers exhibited the most potency toward the ATPase activities of cytoplasmic dynein, myosin, and the heat-shock proteins (HSPs), their apparent lack of specificity made them unattractive for further study in our quest. Other molecules appeared to be nonspecific inhibitors that targeted reactive cysteines of proteins. Ideally, specific retrograde transport inhibitors would either target dynein itself or one of the other important proteins associated with the transport process. Although the hits from the cell-based screen of the LOPAC-1280 collection did not exhibit this desired profile, this screening platform provided a promising phenotypic system for the discovery of dynein/HSP modulators.
PMCID: PMC3277738  PMID: 21919741
20.  Small Heat-Shock Proteins Select ΔF508-CFTR for Endoplasmic Reticulum-associated Degradation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(3):806-814.
Secreted proteins that fail to achieve their native conformations, such as cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and particularly the ΔF508-CFTR variant can be selected for endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) by molecular chaperones. Because the message corresponding to HSP26, which encodes a small heat-shock protein (sHsp) in yeast was up-regulated in response to CFTR expression, we examined the impact of sHsps on ERAD. First, we observed that CFTR was completely stabilized in cells lacking two partially redundant sHsps, Hsp26p and Hsp42p. Interestingly, the ERAD of a soluble and a related integral membrane protein were unaffected in yeast deleted for the genes encoding these sHsps, and CFTR polyubiquitination was also unaltered, suggesting that Hsp26p/Hsp42p are not essential for polyubiquitination. Next, we discovered that ΔF508-CFTR degradation was enhanced when a mammalian sHsp, αA-crystallin, was overexpressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, but wild-type CFTR biogenesis was unchanged. Because αA-crystallin interacted preferentially with ΔF508-CFTR and because purified αA-crystallin suppressed the aggregation of the first nucleotide-binding domain of CFTR, we suggest that sHsps maintain the solubility of ΔF508-CFTR during the ERAD of this polypeptide.
PMCID: PMC1805084  PMID: 17182856
21.  Assays to Measure ER-Associated Degradation in Yeast 
Endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) is a process that clears the early secretory pathway of misfolded proteins. Though ERAD is of basic biological importance, the clinical importance of this pathway is emphasized by the fact that mutations that render a protein subject to the ERAD quality control pathway underlie the cause of several diseases. The yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a valuable and frequently used model system to study biological processes, such as ERAD, as it is a relatively simple model system for which numerous biochemical and genetic tools are available. In addition, the ERAD system is highly conserved between yeast and man. In this chapter, we describe two methods for the analysis of model substrates that undergo catabolism via the ERAD pathway using S. cerevisiae. In particular, we will describe non-radioactive degradation assays and the analysis of substrate ubiquitylation in vivo with or without the use of ubiquitin overexpression systems. We also describe technical hurdles, which we have encountered in our research, and highlight remedies to overcome them.
PMCID: PMC3334846  PMID: 22350909
Yeast; ER-associated degradation; Ubiquitin; Proteasome; Cycloheximide chase
22.  Protein Folding and Quality Control in the Endoplasmic Reticulum: Recent Lessons from Yeast and Mammalian Cell Systems 
Current opinion in cell biology  2011;23(4):464-475.
The evolution of eukaryotes was accompanied by an increased need for intracellular communication and cellular specialization. Thus, a more complex collection of secreted and membrane proteins had to be synthesized, modified, and folded. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) thereby became equipped with devoted enzymes and associated factors that both catalyze the production of secreted proteins and remove damaged proteins. A means to modify ER function to accommodate and destroy misfolded proteins also evolved. Not surprisingly, a growing number of human diseases are linked to various facets of ER function. Each of these topics will be discussed in this article, with an emphasis on recent reports in the literature that employed diverse models.
PMCID: PMC3154734  PMID: 21664808
23.  Yos9p and Hrd1p mediate ER retention of misfolded proteins for ER-associated degradation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(7):1283-1293.
Yos9p is involved in ER-associated degradation (ERAD) of misfolded glycoproteins. This study shows that Yos9p is required for ER retention of ERAD substrates by targeting them to the Hrd1p E3 ligase. This ER retention is independent of the glycan degradation signal on substrates and is separable from the later degradation step.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) has an elaborate quality control system, which retains misfolded proteins and targets them to ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). To analyze sorting between ER retention and ER exit to the secretory pathway, we constructed fusion proteins containing both folded carboxypeptidase Y (CPY) and misfolded mutant CPY (CPY*) units. Although the luminal Hsp70 chaperone BiP interacts with the fusion proteins containing CPY* with similar efficiency, a lectin-like ERAD factor Yos9p binds to them with different efficiency. Correlation between efficiency of Yos9p interactions and ERAD of these fusion proteins indicates that Yos9p but not BiP functions in the retention of misfolded proteins for ERAD. Yos9p targets a CPY*-containing ERAD substrate to Hrd1p E3 ligase, thereby causing ER retention of the misfolded protein. This ER retention is independent of the glycan degradation signal on the misfolded protein and operates even when proteasomal degradation is inhibited. These results collectively indicate that Yos9p and Hrd1p mediate ER retention of misfolded proteins in the early stage of ERAD, which constitutes a process separable from the later degradation step.
PMCID: PMC3315801  PMID: 22298424
24.  Stability and Function of the Sec61 Translocation Complex Depends on the Sss1p Tail-Anchor Sequence 
The Biochemical journal  2011;436(2):291-303.
Sss1p, an essential component of the heterotrimeric Sec61 complex in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) #, is a tail-anchored protein whose precise mechanism of action is largely unknown. Tail-anchored proteins are involved in many cellular processes and are characterized by a single transmembrane sequence (TMS) at or near the carboxyl-terminus. The Sec61 complex is the molecular machine through which secretory and membrane proteins translocate into and across the ER membrane. To understand the function of the tail-anchor of Sss1p, we introduced mutations into the tail-anchor sequence and analyzed the resulting yeast phenotypes. Point mutations in the C-terminal hydrophobic core of the tail-anchor of Sss1p were identified that allowed Sss1p assembly into Sec61 complexes but resulted in diminished growth, defects in co- and post-translational translocation, diminished ribosome binding to Sec61 complexes, reduced stability of both heterotrimeric Sec61 and heptameric Sec complexes, and a complete breakdown of ER structure. The underlying defect caused by the mutations involves loss of a stabilizing function of the Sss1p tail-anchor sequence for both the heterotrimeric Sec61 and the heptameric Sec complexes. These data indicate that by stabilizing multiprotein membrane complexes, the hydrophobic core of a tail-anchor sequence can be more than a simple membrane anchor.
PMCID: PMC3095691  PMID: 21355855
tail-anchor proteins; translocon; endoplasmic reticulum; membrane protein complexes; Sec61; yeast
25.  Design of a Flexible Cell-Based Assay for the Evaluation of Heat Shock Protein 70 Expression Modulators 
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a chaperone protein that helps protect against cellular stress, a function that may be co-opted to fight human diseases. In particular, the upregulation of Hsp70 can suppress the neurotoxicity of misfolded proteins, suggesting possible therapeutic strategies in neurodegenerative diseases. Alternatively, in cancer cells where high levels of Hsp70 inhibit both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways, a reduction in Hsp70 levels may induce apoptosis. To evaluate and identify, in a single assay format, small molecules that induce or inhibit endogenous Hsp70, we have designed and optimized a microtiter assay that relies on whole-cell immunodetection of Hsp70. The assay utilizes a minimal number of neuronal or cancer cells, yet is sufficiently sensitive and reproducible to permit quantitative determinations. We further validated the assay using a panel of Hsp70 modulators. In conclusion, we have developed an assay that is fast, robust, and cost efficient. As such, it can be implemented in most research laboratories. The assay should greatly improve the speed at which novel Hsp70 inducers and inhibitors of expression can be identified and evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3102259  PMID: 21133677

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