Nef is an HIV-1 accessory protein essential for viral replication and AIDS progression. Nef interacts with a multitude of host cell signaling partners, including members of the Src kinase family. Nef preferentially activates Hck, a Src-family kinase (SFK) strongly expressed in macrophages and other HIV target cells, by binding to its regulatory SH3 domain. Recently, we identified a series of kinase inhibitors that preferentially inhibit Hck in the presence of Nef. These compounds also block Nef-dependent HIV replication, validating the Nef-SFK signaling pathway as an antiretroviral drug target. Our findings also suggested that by binding to the Hck SH3 domain, Nef indirectly affects the conformation of the kinase active site to favor inhibitor association.
To test this hypothesis, we engineered a "gatekeeper" mutant of Hck with enhanced sensitivity to the pyrazolopyrimidine tyrosine kinase inhibitor, NaPP1. We also modified the RT loop of the Hck SH3 domain to enhance interaction of the kinase with Nef. This modification stabilized Nef:Hck interaction in solution-based kinase assays, as a way to mimic the more stable association that likely occurs at cellular membranes. Introduction of the modified RT loop rendered Hck remarkably more sensitive to activation by Nef, and led to a significant decrease in the Km for ATP as well as enhanced inhibitor potency.
These observations suggest that stable interaction with Nef may induce Src-family kinase active site conformations amenable to selective inhibitor targeting.
G-quadruplexes are tetraplex structures of nucleic acids that can form in G-rich sequences. Their presence and functional role have been established in telomeres, oncogene promoters and coding regions of the human chromosome. In particular, they have been proposed to be directly involved in gene regulation at the level of transcription. Because the HIV-1 Nef protein is a fundamental factor for efficient viral replication, infectivity and pathogenesis invitro and invivo, we investigated G-quadruplex formation in the HIV-1 nef gene to assess the potential for viral inhibition through G-quadruplex stabilization. A comprehensive computational analysis of the nef coding region of available strains showed the presence of three conserved sequences that were uniquely clustered. Biophysical testing proved that G-quadruplex conformations were efficiently stabilized or induced by G-quadruplex ligands in all three sequences. Upon incubation with a G-quadruplex ligand, Nef expression was reduced in a reporter gene assay and Nef-dependent enhancement of HIV-1 infectivity was significantly repressed in an antiviral assay. These data constitute the first evidence of the possibility to regulate HIV-1 gene expression and infectivity through G-quadruplex targeting and therefore open a new avenue for viral treatment.
The c-Fes protein-tyrosine kinase modulates cellular signaling pathways governing differentiation, the innate immune response, and vasculogenesis. Here we report the identification of Type I and II kinase inhibitors with potent activity against c-Fes both in vitro and in cell-based assays. One of the most potent inhibitors is the previously described anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibitor, TAE684. The crystal structure of TAE684 in complex with the c-Fes SH2-kinase domain showed excellent shape complementarity with the ATP-binding pocket and a key role for the gatekeeper methionine in the inhibitory mechanism. TAE684 and two pyrazolopyrimidines with nanomolar potency against c-Fes in vitro were used to establish a novel role for this kinase in osteoclastogenesis, illustrating the value of these inhibitors as tool compounds to probe the diverse biological functions associated with this unique kinase.
The c-fes proto-oncogene encodes a unique non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinase (c-Fes) that contributes to the differentiation of myeloid hematopoietic, vascular endothelial, and some neuronal cell types. Although originally identified as the normal cellular homolog of the oncoproteins encoded by avian and feline transforming retroviruses, c-Fes has recently been implicated as a tumor suppressor in breast and colonic epithelial cells. Structurally, c-Fes consists of a unique N-terminal region harboring an FCH domain, two coiled-coil motifs, a central SH2 domain, and a C-terminal kinase domain. In living cells, c-Fes kinase activity is tightly regulated by a mechanism that remains unclear. Previous studies have established that c-Fes forms high molecular weight oligomers in vitro, suggesting that the dual coiled-coil motifs may regulate the interconversion of inactive monomeric and active oligomeric states. Here we show for the first time that c-Fes forms oligomers in live cells independently of its activation status using a YFP bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay. We also demonstrate that both N-terminal coiled-coil regions are essential for c-Fes oligomerization in transfected COS-7 cells as well as HCT 116 colorectal cancer and K-562 myeloid leukemia cell lines. Together, these data provide the first evidence that c-Fes, unlike c-Src, c-Abl and other non-receptor tyrosine kinases, is constitutively oligomeric in both its repressed and active states. This finding suggests that conformational changes, rather than oligomerization, may govern its kinase activity in vivo.
Nef, an HIV-1 accessory factor capable of interaction with a diverse array of host cell signaling molecules, is essential for high-titer HIV replication and AIDS progression. Previous biochemical and structural studies have suggested that Nef may form homodimers and higher order oligomers in HIV-infected cells, which may be required for both immune and viral receptor downregulation as well as viral replication. Using bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), we provide the first direct evidence for Nef dimers within HIV host cells and identify the structural requirements for dimerization in vivo. BiFC analysis shows that the multiple hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions found within the dimerization interface of the Nef X-ray crystal structure are essential for dimerization in cells. Nef dimers localized to the plasma membrane as well as the trans-Golgi network, two subcellular localizations essential for Nef function. Mutations in the Nef dimerization interface dramatically reduced both Nef-induced CD4 downregulation and HIV replication. Viruses expressing dimerization-defective Nef mutants were disabled to the same extent as HIV that fails to express Nef in terms of replication. These results identify the Nef dimerization region as a potential molecular target for anti-retroviral drug discovery.
HIV Nef; bimolecular fluorescence complementation; dimerization; CD4; HIV replication
HIV-1 has evolved a cunning mechanism to circumvent the antiviral activity of the APOBEC3 family of host-cell enzymes. The HIV-1 virion infectivity factor, one of several HIV accessory proteins, targets APOBEC3 proteins for proteasomal degradation and down-regulates their expression at the mRNA level. Despite the importance of Vif for HIV-1 infection, there is little conformational data on Vif alone or in complex with other cellular factors due to incompatibilities with many structural techniques and difficulties in producing suitable quantities of protein for biophysical analysis. As an alternative, we have turned to hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HX MS), a conformational analysis method well suited for proteins that are difficult to study using X-ray crystallography and/or NMR. HX MS was used to probe the solution conformation of recombinant full-length HIV-1 Vif. Vif specifically interacted with the previously identified binding partner Hck and was able to cause kinase activation suggesting that the Vif studied by HX MS retained a biochemically competent conformation relevant to Hck interaction. HX MS analysis of Vif alone revealed low deuteration levels in the N-terminal portion indicating that this region contained structured or otherwise protected elements. In contrast, high deuteration levels in the C-terminal portion of Vif indicated that this region was likely unstructured in the absence of cellular interacting proteins. Several regions within Vif displayed conformational heterogeneity in solution including the APOBEC3G/F binding site and HCCH zinc finger. Taken together, these HX MS results provide new insights into the solution conformation of Vif.
Accessory protein; APOBEC3F/G; E3 Ligase; hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; deuterium; Vif
The FES locus encodes a unique non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinase (FES) traditionally viewed as a proto-oncogene but more recently implicated as a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer (CRC). Recent studies have demonstrated that while FES is expressed in normal colonic epithelium, expression is lost in tumor tissue and colorectal cancer cell lines, a finding common among tumor suppressors. Here we provide compelling evidence that promoter methylation is an important mechanism responsible for down-regulation of FES gene expression in colorectal cancer cells. Treatment with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine resulted in the expression of functional FES transcripts in all CRC cell lines examined, including Caco-2, COLO 320, DLD-1, HCT 116, SNU-1040, SW-480, and HT-29. Bisulfite sequencing of genomic DNA isolated from 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine-treated HT-29 cells identified methylated CpG dinucleotides immediately upstream from the FES transcription initiation sites. In contrast, this region of the FES promoter was hypomethylated in genomic DNA from normal colonic epithelium. In addition, methylation completely blocked the activity of the FES promoter in reporter gene assays. Promoter methylation is a previously unrecognized mechanism by which FES expression is suppressed in CRC cell lines, and is consistent with a tumor suppressor role for FES in this tumor site despite its tyrosine kinase activity.
The transmembrane protein Tim-3 has been shown to negatively regulate T-cell-dependent immune responses and was recently demonstrated to be associated with the phenomenon of immune exhaustion, which can occur as a consequence of chronic viral infection. Unlike other negative regulators of T-cell function (e.g., PD-1), Tim-3 does not contain any obvious inhibitory signaling motifs. We have found that ectopic expression of Tim-3 in T cells leads to enhancement of T-cell receptor (TCR)-dependent signaling pathways, which was observed at the level of transcriptional reporters and endogenous cytokine production. We have exploited this observation to dissect what elements within the cytoplasmic tail of Tim-3 are required for coupling to downstream signaling pathways. Here we have demonstrated that two of the more membrane-proximal cytoplasmic tail tyrosines are required for Tim-3 signaling to T-cell activation pathways in a redundant fashion. Furthermore, we show that Tim-3 can directly bind to the Src family tyrosine kinase Fyn and the p85 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) adaptor. Thus, at least under conditions of short-term stimulation, Tim-3 can augment T-cell activation, although this effect can be blocked by the inclusion of an agonistic antibody to Tim-3. These findings should help further the study of Tim-3 function in other physiological settings, such as those that lead to immune exhaustion.
The HIV-1 accessory factor Nef is essential for high-titer viral replication and AIDS progression. Nef function requires interaction with many host cell proteins, including specific members of the Src kinase family. Here we explored whether Src-family kinase activation is a conserved property of Nef alleles from a wide range of primary HIV-1 isolates and their sensitivity to selective pharmacological inhibitors. Representative Nef proteins from the major HIV-1 subtypes A1, A2, B, C, F1, F2, G, H, J and K strongly activated Hck and Lyn as well as c-Src to a lesser extent, demonstrating for the first time that Src-family kinase activation is a highly conserved property of primary M-group HIV-1 Nef isolates. Recently, we identified 4-amino substituted diphenylfuropyrimidines (DFPs) that selectively inhibit Nef-dependent activation of Src-family kinases as well as HIV replication. To determine whether DFP compounds exhibit broad-spectrum Nef-dependent antiretroviral activity against HIV-1, we first constructed chimeric forms of the HIV-1 strain NL4-3 expressing each of the primary Nef alleles. The infectivity and replication of these Nef chimeras was indistinguishable from that of wild-type virus in two distinct cell lines (U87MG astroglial cells and CEM-T4 lymphoblasts). Importantly, the 4-aminopropanol and 4-aminobutanol derivatives of DFP potently inhibited the replication of all chimeric forms of HIV-1 in both U87MG and CEM-T4 cells in a Nef-dependent manner. The antiretroviral effects of these compounds correlated with inhibition of Nef-dependent activation of endogenous Src-family kinases in the HIV-infected cells. Our results demonstrate that the activation of Hck, Lyn and c-Src by Nef is highly conserved among all major clades of HIV-1 and that selective targeting of this pathway uniformly inhibits HIV-1 replication.
Constitutive activation of the NF-κB transcription factor plays a key role in chronic colonic inflammation and colon tumorigenesis. However, the mechanisms by which the tightly regulated NF-κB pathway becomes constitutively activated during colonic pathogenesis remain obscure. Here, we report that PDLIM2, an essential terminator of NF-κB activation, is repressed in various human colorectal cancer cell lines, suggesting one important mechanism for the constitutive activation of NF-κB. Indeed, expression of exogenous PDLIM2 inhibited constitutive NF-κB activation in these colorectal cancer cells. Importantly, the PDLIM2 expression was sufficient to suppress in vitro anchorage-independent growth and in vivo tumor formation of these malignant cells. We have further shown that the PDLIM2 repression involves promoter methylation. Accordingly, treatment of the colorectal tumor cell lines with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) restored PDLIM2 expression and resulted in growth arrest. These studies thus provide new mechanistic insights into colon tumorigenesis by identifying a novel tumor suppressor role for PDLIM2.
Nef assembles a multi-kinase complex triggering MHC-I down-regulation. We identify an inhibitor that blocks MHC-I down-regulation, identifying a temporally regulated switch in Nef action from directing MHC-I endocytosis to blocking cell surface delivery. These findings challenge current dogma and reveal a regulated immune evasion program.
HIV-1 Nef triggers down-regulation of cell-surface MHC-I by assembling a Src family kinase (SFK)-ZAP-70/Syk-PI3K cascade. Here, we report that chemical disruption of the Nef-SFK interaction with the small molecule inhibitor 2c blocks assembly of the multi-kinase complex and represses HIV-1–mediated MHC-I down-regulation in primary CD4+ T-cells. 2c did not interfere with the PACS-2–dependent trafficking of Nef required for the Nef-SFK interaction or the AP-1 and PACS-1–dependent sequestering of internalized MHC-I, suggesting the inhibitor specifically interfered with the Nef-SFK interaction required for triggering MHC-I down-regulation. Transport studies revealed Nef directs a highly regulated program to down-regulate MHC-I in primary CD4+ T-cells. During the first two days after infection, Nef assembles the 2c-sensitive multi-kinase complex to trigger down-regulation of cell-surface MHC-I. By three days postinfection Nef switches to a stoichiometric mode that prevents surface delivery of newly synthesized MHC-I. Pharmacologic inhibition of the multi-kinase cascade prevents the Nef-dependent block in MHC-I transport, suggesting the signaling and stoichiometric modes are causally linked. Together, these studies resolve the seemingly controversial models that describe Nef-induced MHC-I down-regulation and provide new insights into the mechanism of Nef action.
Nef is an HIV-1 virulence factor that promotes viral pathogenicity by altering host cell signaling pathways. Nef binds several members of the Src kinase family, and these interactions have been implicated in the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS. However, the direct effect of Nef interaction on Src family kinase (SFK) regulation and activity has not been systematically addressed. We explored this issue using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a well defined model system for the study of SFK regulation. Previous studies have shown that ectopic expression of c-Src arrests yeast cell growth in a kinase-dependent manner. We expressed Fgr, Fyn, Hck, Lck, Lyn, and Yes as well as c-Src in yeast and found that each kinase was active and induced growth suppression. Co-expression of the negative regulatory kinase Csk suppressed SFK activity and reversed the growth-inhibitory effect. We then co-expressed each SFK with HIV-1 Nef in the presence of Csk. Nef strongly activated Hck, Lyn, and c-Src but did not detectably affect Fgr, Fyn, Lck, or Yes. Mutagenesis of the Nef PXXP motif essential for SH3 domain binding greatly reduced the effect of Nef on Hck, Lyn, and c-Src, suggesting that Nef activates these Src family members through allosteric displacement of intra-molecular SH3-linker interactions. These data show that Nef selectively activates Hck, Lyn, and c-Src among SFKs, identifying these kinases as proximal effectors of Nef signaling and potential targets for anti-HIV drug discovery.
Nef is an HIV-1 accessory protein essential for AIDS progression and an attractive target for drug discovery. Lack of a catalytic function makes Nef difficult to assay in chemical library screens. We developed a high-throughput screening assay for inhibitors of Nef function by coupling it to one of its host cell binding partners, the Src-family kinase Hck. Hck activation is dependent upon Nef in this assay, providing a direct readout of Nef activity in vitro. Using this screen, a unique diphenylfuropyrimidine was identified as a strong inhibitor of Nef-dependent Hck activation. This compound also exhibited remarkable antiretroviral effects, blocking Nef-dependent HIV replication in cell culture. Structurally related analogs were synthesized and shown to exhibit similar Nef-dependent anti-viral activity, identifying the diphenylfuropyrimidine substructure as a new lead for antiretroviral drug development. This study demonstrates that coupling non-catalytic HIV accessory factors with host cell target proteins addressable by high-throughput assays may afford new avenues for the discovery of anti-HIV agents.
The dual specificity phosphatase 6 (Dusp6) functions as a feedback regulator of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling to limit the activity of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) 1 and 2. We have identified a small molecule inhibitor of Dusp6, (E)-2-benzylidene-3-(cyclohexylamino)-2,3-dihydro-1H-inden-1-one (BCI), using a transgenic zebrafish chemical screen. BCI treatment blocked Dusp6 activity and enhanced FGF target gene expression in zebrafish embryos. Docking simulations predicted an allosteric binding site for BCI within the phosphatase domain. In vitro studies supported a model that BCI inhibits Dusp6 catalytic activation by ERK2 substrate binding. A temporal role for Dusp6 in restricting cardiac progenitors and controlling heart organ size was uncovered with BCI treatment at varying developmental stages. This study highlights the power of in vivo zebrafish chemical screens to identify novel compounds targeting Dusp6, a component of the FGF signaling pathway that has eluded traditional high-throughput in vitro screens.
The c-Fes protein-tyrosine kinase is associated with growth and differentiation of hematopoietic, neuronal, vascular endothelial and epithelial cell types. In this study, we investigated whether small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of c-Fes expression affected proliferation of the human renal carcinoma cell lines, ACHN and VMRC-RCW. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that c-Fes was expressed in both the cytosol and nuclei of these cells, and siRNA treatment preferentially downregulated c-Fes expression in the cytosol. Knock-down of c-Fes inhibited cellular proliferation in a dose-dependent manner with minimal increase in cell death. c-Fes siRNA treatment also downregulated the phosphorylation of Akt1 on S473 and IKKα on T23, and cyclin D1 expression, enhanced the expression of IκBα, and prevented the nuclear localization of NFκB. Treatment with an NFκB inhibitory peptide (SN50) also blocked the proliferation and nuclear localization of NFκB in these cells. The effect of SN50 treatment was not enhanced by c-Fes siRNA, suggesting that downregulation of c-Fes expression inhibited cell cycle progression through the Akt1/NFκB pathway. In contrast to siRNA-mediated knockdown, ectopic expression of either wild-type or kinase-inactive c-Fes in renal carcinoma cells failed to alter their proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Thus, suppression of proliferation resulting from siRNA-mediated knockdown may depend upon an expression of c-Fes protein rather than its kinase activity. Taken together, our results indicate that downregulation of c-Fes expression may be a potential therapeutic strategy for advanced human renal cell carcinoma and inhibition of its kinase activity as an antiangiogenic therapy does not seem to induce the growth of human renal carcinoma cells.
human renal carcinoma cells; c-Fes; siRNA; proliferation; Akt1; NFκB
Multiple Src family kinases (SFKs) are present in murine embryonic stem (mES) cells. Whereas complete inhibition of all SFK activity blocks mES cell differentiation, inhibition of only c-Yes induces differentiation. Thus, individual SFKs may have opposing roles in the regulation of mES cell fate. To test this possibility, we generated SFK mutants with engineered resistance to a nonselective SFK inhibitor. The presence of an inhibitor-resistant c-Src mutant, but not analogous mutants of Hck, Lck, c-Yes, or Fyn, reversed the differentiation block associated with inhibitor treatment, resulting in the formation of cells with properties of primitive ectoderm. These results show that distinct SFK signaling pathways regulate mES cell fate and demonstrate that the formation of primitive ectoderm is regulated by the activity of c-Src.
Recent studies have shown that trans-phosphorylation of the Abl SH3 domain at Tyr89 by Src-family kinases is required for the full transforming activity of Bcr-Abl. Tyr89 localizes to a binding surface of the SH3 domain that engages the SH2-kinase linker in the crystal structure of the c-Abl core. Displacement of SH3 from the linker is an event likely to influence efficient downregulation of c-Abl. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HX) and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to investigate whether Tyr89 phosphorylation affects the ability of the SH3 domain to interact intramolecularly with the SH2-kinase linker in cis as well as other peptide ligands in trans. HX MS analysis of SH3 binding showed that when various Abl constructs were phosphorylated at Tyr89 by the Src-family kinase Hck, SH3 was unable to engage a high-affinity ligand in trans and that cis interaction with the linker was dramatically reduced in a construct containing the SH3 and SH2 domains plus the linker. Phosphorylation of the Abl SH3 domain on Tyr89 also interfered with binding to the negative regulatory protein Abi-1 in trans. Site-directed mutagenesis of Tyr89 and Tyr245, another tyrosine phosphorylation site located in the linker that may also influence SH3 binding, implicated Tyr89 as the key residue necessary for disrupting regulation after phosphorylation. These results imply that phosphorylation at Tyr89 by Src-family kinases prevents engagement of the Abl SH3 domain with its intramolecular binding partner leading to enhanced Abl kinase activity and cellular signaling.
Hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; phosphorylation; Src-family kinase; Bcr-Abl; Hck
Crystal structures and other biochemical data indicate that the N-terminal cap (NCap) region of the Abelson tyrosine kinase (c-Abl) is important for maintaining the downregulated conformation of the kinase domain. The exact contributions that NCap makes in stabilizing the various intramolecular interactions within c-Abl are less clear. While the NCap appears important for locking the SH3/SH2 domains to the back of the kinase domain, there may be other more subtle elements of regulation. Hydrogen exchange (HX) and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to determine if the NCap contributes to intramolecular interactions involving the Abl SH3 domain. Under physiological conditions, the Abl SH3 domain underwent partial unfolding and its unfolding half-life was slowed during binding to the SH2-kinase linker, providing a unique assay to test NCap-induced stabilization of the SH3 domain in various constructs. The results showed that NCap stabilizes the dynamics of the SH3 domain in certain constructs but does not increase the relative affinity of the SH3 domain for the native SH2-kinase linker. The stabilization effect was absent in constructs of just NCap + SH3 but was obvious when the SH2 domain and the SH2-kinase linker were present. These results suggest that interactions between NCap and the SH3 domain can contribute to c-Abl stabilization in constructs that contain at least the SH2 domain, an effect that may partially compensate for the absence of the negative regulatory C-terminal tail found in the related Src family of kinases.
Activation of Src family kinases by HIV-1 Nef may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS. Here we investigated whether diverse Nef sequences universally activate Hck, a Src family member expressed in macrophages and other HIV-1 target cells. In general, we observed that Hck activation is a highly conserved Nef function. However, we identified an unusual Nef variant from an HIV-positive individual that did not develop AIDS which failed to activate Hck despite the presence of conserved residues linked to Hck SH3 domain binding and kinase activation. Amino acid sequence alignment with active Nef proteins revealed differences in regions not previously implicated in Hck activation, including a large internal flexible loop absent from available Nef structures. Substitution of these residues in active Nef compromised Hck activation without affecting SH3 domain binding. These findings show that residues at a distance from the SH3 domain binding site allosterically influence Nef interactions with a key effector protein linked to AIDS progression.
Tyrosine kinase interacting protein (Tip) of Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) activates the lymphoid-specific Src-family kinase Lck. The Tip:Lck interaction is essential for transformation and oncogenesis in HVS-infected cells. As there are no structural data for Tip, hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry was used to investigate the conformation of a nearly full-length form (residues 1-187) of Tip from HVS strain C484. Disorder predictions suggested that Tip would be mostly unstructured so great care was taken to ascertain whether recombinant Tip was functional. Circular dichroism and gel filtration analysis indicated an extended, unstructured protein. In vitro and in vivo binding and kinase assays confirmed that purified, recombinant Tip interacted with Lck, was capable of strongly activating Lck kinase activity and was multiply phosphorylated by Lck. Hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry of Tip then showed that the majority of backbone amide hydrogens became deuterated after only 10 seconds of labeling. Such a result suggested that Tip was almost totally unstructured in solution. Digestion of deuterium labeled Tip revealed some regions with minor protection from exchange. Overall, it was found that although recombinant Tip is still functional and capable of binding and activating its target Lck, it is largely unstructured.
Lck; unstructured protein; hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; kinase activation
The c-Fes protein-tyrosine kinase (Fes) has been implicated in the differentiation of vascular endothelial, myeloid hematopoietic, and neuronal cells, promoting substantial morphological changes in these cell types. The mechanism by which Fes promotes morphological aspects of cellular differentiation is unknown. Using COS-7 cells as a model system, we observed that Fes strongly colocalizes with microtubules in vivo when activated via coiled-coil mutation or by coexpression with an active Src family kinase. In contrast, wild-type Fes showed a diffuse cytoplasmic localization in this system, which correlated with undetectable kinase activity. Coimmunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence microscopy showed that the N-terminal Fes/CIP4 homology (FCH) domain is involved in Fes interaction with soluble unpolymerized tubulin. However, the FCH domain was not required for colocalization with polymerized microtubules in vivo. In contrast, a functional SH2 domain was essential for microtubule localization of Fes, consistent with the strong tyrosine phosphorylation of purified tubulin by Fes in vitro. Using a microtubule nucleation assay, we observed that purified c-Fes also catalyzed extensive tubulin polymerization in vitro. Taken together, these results identify c-Fes as a regulator of the tubulin cytoskeleton that may contribute to Fes-induced morphological changes in myeloid hematopoietic and neuronal cells.
The c-fes locus encodes a 93-kDa non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase (Fes) that regulates the growth and differentiation of hematopoietic and vascular endothelial cells. Unique to Fes is a long N-terminal sequence with two regions of strong homology to coiled-coil oligomerization domains. We introduced leucine-to-proline substitutions into the coiled coils that were predicted to disrupt the coiled-coil structure. The resulting mutant proteins, together with wild-type Fes, were fused to green fluorescent protein and expressed in Rat-2 fibroblasts. We observed that a point mutation in the first coiled-coil domain (L145P) dramatically increased Fes tyrosine kinase and transforming activities in this cell type. In contrast, a similar point mutation in the second coiled-coil motif (L334P) was without effect. However, combining the L334P and L145P mutations reduced transforming and kinase activities by approximately 50% relative to the levels of activity produced with the L145P mutation alone. To study the effects of the coiled-coil mutations in a biologically relevant context, we expressed the mutant proteins in the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-dependent myeloid leukemia cell line TF-1. In this cellular context, the L145P mutation induced GM-CSF independence, cell attachment, and spreading. These effects correlated with a marked increase in L145P protein autophosphorylation relative to that of wild-type Fes. In contrast, the double coiled-coil mutant protein showed greatly reduced kinase and biological activities in TF-1 cells. These data are consistent with a role for the first coiled coil in the negative regulation of kinase activity and a requirement for the second coiled coil in either oligomerization or recruitment of signaling partners. Gel filtration experiments showed that the unique N-terminal region interconverts between monomeric and oligomeric forms. Single point mutations favored oligomerization, while the double point mutant protein eluted essentially as the monomer. These data provide new evidence for coiled-coil-mediated regulation of c-Fes tyrosine kinase activity and signaling, a mechanism unique among tyrosine kinases.
The cytoplasmic protein-tyrosine kinase Fes has been implicated in cytokine signal transduction, hematopoiesis, and embryonic development. Previous work from our laboratory has shown that active Fes exists as a large oligomeric complex in vitro. However, when Fes is expressed in mammalian cells, its kinase activity is tightly repressed. The Fes unique N-terminal sequence has two regions with strong homology to coiled-coil-forming domains often found in oligomeric proteins. Here we show that disruption or deletion of the first coiled-coil domain upregulates Fes tyrosine kinase and transforming activities in Rat-2 fibroblasts and enhances Fes differentiation-inducing activity in myeloid leukemia cells. Conversely, expression of a Fes truncation mutant consisting only of the unique N-terminal domain interfered with Rat-2 fibroblast transformation by an activated Fes mutant, suggesting that oligomerization is essential for Fes activation in vivo. Coexpression with the Fes N-terminal region did not affect the transforming activity of v-Src in Rat-2 cells, arguing against a nonspecific suppressive effect. Taken together, these findings suggest a model in which Fes activation may involve coiled-coil-mediated interconversion of monomeric and oligomeric forms of the kinase. Mutation of the first coiled-coil domain may activate Fes by disturbing intramolecular coiled-coil interaction, allowing for oligomerization via the second coiled-coil domain. Deletion of the second coiled-coil domain blocks fibroblast transformation by an activated form of c-Fes, consistent with this model. These results provide the first evidence for regulation of a nonreceptor protein-tyrosine kinase by coiled-coil domains.
A variety of regulatory proteins, including different classes of transcription factors and protein kinases, have been identified in complexes with Hsp90. On careful examination of unactivated progesterone receptor complexes, eight different protein participants have been identified, and each can be considered a component of the cytoplasmic molecular chaperone machinery. These proteins are Hsp90, Hsp70, Hip, p60, p23, FKBP51, FKBP52 and Cyp40. Studies in a cell-free assembly system have helped to define a highly ordered, dynamic pathway for assembly of progesterone receptor complexes. In the present study, target proteins other than progesterone receptor were used in this cell-free system to assemble complexes in vitro and to compare the composition of resulting complexes. Targets used were human estrogen receptor, human Fes protein–tyrosine kinase, human heat shock transcription factor Hsf1, and human aryl hydrocarbon receptor. The striking similarity of resulting target complexes with previously characterized progesterone receptor complexes suggest that each of these targets undergoes a common assembly pathway involving multiple chaperone components in addition to Hsp90.
Programmed cell death is critical not only in adult tissue homeostasis but for embryogenesis as well. One of the earliest steps in development, formation of the proamniotic cavity, involves coordinated apoptosis of embryonic cells. Recent work from our group demonstrated that c-Src protein-tyrosine kinase activity triggers differentiation of mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells to primitive ectoderm-like cells. In this report, we identified Timeless (Tim), the mammalian ortholog of a Drosophila circadian rhythm protein, as a binding partner and substrate for c-Src and probed its role in the differentiation of mES cells.
To determine whether Tim is involved in ES cell differentiation, Tim protein levels were stably suppressed using shRNA. Tim-defective ES cell lines were then tested for embryoid body (EB) formation, which models early mammalian development. Remarkably, confocal microscopy revealed that EBs formed from the Tim-knockdown ES cells failed to cavitate. Cells retained within the centers of the failed cavities strongly expressed the pluripotency marker Oct4, suggesting that further development is arrested without Tim. Immunoblots revealed reduced basal Caspase activity in the Tim-defective EBs compared to wild-type controls. Furthermore, EBs formed from Tim-knockdown cells demonstrated resistance to staurosporine-induced apoptosis, consistent with a link between Tim and programmed cell death during cavitation.
Our data demonstrate a novel function for the clock protein Tim during a key stage of early development. Specifically, EBs formed from ES cells lacking Tim showed reduced caspase activity and failed to cavitate. As a consequence, further development was halted, and the cells present in the failed cavity remained pluripotent. These findings reveal a new function for Tim in the coordination of ES cell differentiation, and raise the intriguing possibility that circadian rhythms and early development may be intimately linked.