Acute suppression of Arp2/3 complex activity in lamellipodia demonstrates its essential role in actin network treadmilling and filament organization and geometry. Arp2/3 complex activity also defines the recruitment of crucial independent factors, including capping protein and cofilin, and is essential for lamellipodia-based keratocyte migration.
Lamellipodia are sheet-like protrusions formed during migration or phagocytosis and comprise a network of actin filaments. Filament formation in this network is initiated by nucleation/branching through the actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex downstream of its activator, suppressor of cAMP receptor/WASP-family verprolin homologous (Scar/WAVE), but the relative relevance of Arp2/3-mediated branching versus actin filament elongation is unknown. Here we use instantaneous interference with Arp2/3 complex function in live fibroblasts with established lamellipodia. This allows direct examination of both the fate of elongating filaments upon instantaneous suppression of Arp2/3 complex activity and the consequences of this treatment on the dynamics of other lamellipodial regulators. We show that Arp2/3 complex is an essential organizer of treadmilling actin filament arrays but has little effect on the net rate of actin filament turnover at the cell periphery. In addition, Arp2/3 complex serves as key upstream factor for the recruitment of modulators of lamellipodia formation such as capping protein or cofilin. Arp2/3 complex is thus decisive for filament organization and geometry within the network not only by generating branches and novel filament ends, but also by directing capping or severing activities to the lamellipodium. Arp2/3 complex is also crucial to lamellipodia-based migration of keratocytes.
The actin cytoskeleton plays a central role in many essential cellular processes. Its involvement requires actin filaments to form multiple populations with different structural and therefore functional properties in specific subcellular locations. This diversity is facilitated through the interaction between actin and a number of actin binding proteins. One family of proteins, the tropomyosins, are absolutely essential in regulating actin’s ability to form such diverse structures. In this review we integrate studies from different organisms and cell types in an attempt to provide a unifying view of tropomyosin dependent regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
Tropomyosin; Cytoskeleton; Actin; Cytoskeletal regulation
While the general understanding of muscle regenerative capacity is that it declines with increasing age due to impairments in the number of muscle progenitor cells and interaction with their niche, studies vary in their model of choice, indices of myogenic repair, muscle of interest and duration of studies. We focused on the net outcome of regeneration, functional architecture, compared across three models of acute muscle injury to test the hypothesis that satellite cells maintain their capacity for effective myogenic regeneration with age. Muscle regeneration in extensor digitorum longus muscle (EDL) of young (3 mo-old), old (22 mo-old) and senescent female mice (28 mo-old) was evaluated for architectural features, fiber number and central nucleation, weight, collagen and fat deposition. The 3 injury paradigms were: a myotoxin (notexin) which leaves the blood vessels and nerves intact, freezing (FI) that damages local muscle, nerve and blood vessels and denervation-devascularization (DD) which dissociates the nerves and blood vessels from the whole muscle. Histological analyses revealed successful architectural regeneration following notexin injury with negligible fibrosis and fully restored function, regardless of age. In comparison, the regenerative response to injuries that damaged the neurovascular supply (FI and DD) was less effective, but similar across the ages. The focus on net regenerative outcome demonstrated that old and senescent muscle has a robust capacity to regenerate functional architecture.
skeletal muscle; aging; progenitor cells; fiber branching; contractility
The first major hurdle for any new journal is to achieve acceptance into Medline/PubMed. I am pleased to report that BioArchitecture was accepted into Medline/PubMed in August 2012. This means that accepted manuscripts are immediately visible through their listing on PubMed. This is very welcome news to contributors to the journal and makes the journal a more attractive destination for publication of new research findings.
GTF2IRD1 is one of the genes implicated in Williams-Beuren syndrome, a disease caused by haploinsufficiency of certain dosage-sensitive genes within a hemizygous microdeletion of chromosome 7. GTF2IRD1 is a prime candidate for some of the major features of the disease, presumably caused by abnormally reduced abundance of this putative transcriptional repressor protein. GTF2IRD1 has been shown to interact with the E3 SUMO ligase PIASxβ, but the significance of this relationship is largely unexplored. Here, we demonstrate that GTF2IRD1 can be SUMOylated by the SUMO E2 ligase UBC9 and the level of SUMOylation is enhanced by PIASxβ. A major SUMOylation site was mapped to lysine 495 within a conserved SUMO consensus motif. SUMOylation of GTF2IRD1 alters the affinity of the protein for binding partners that contain SUMO-interacting motifs, including a novel family member of the HDAC repressor complex, ZMYM5, and PIASxβ itself. In addition, we show that GTF2IRD1 is targeted for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Cross regulation by SUMOylation modulates this process, thus potentially regulating the level of GTF2IRD1 protein in the cell. These findings, concerning post-translational control over the activity and stability of GTF2IRD1, together with previous work showing how GTF2IRD1 directly regulates its own transcription levels suggest an evolutionary requirement for fine control over GTF2IRD1 activity in the cell.
BioArchitecture is a term used to describe the organization and regulation of biological space. It applies to the principles which govern the structure of molecules, polymers and mutiprotein complexes, organelles, membranes and their organization in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. It also covers the integration of cells into their three dimensional environment at the level of cell-matrix, cell-cell interactions, integration into tissue/organ structure and function and finally into the structure of the organism. This review will highlight studies at all these levels which are providing a new way to think about the relationship between the organization of biological space and the function of biological systems.
actin; cytoskeleton; microtubules; intermediate filaments; nuclear structure; protein folding; isoform sorting
Tropomyosins are rod-like dimers which form head-to-tail polymers along the length of actin filaments and regulate the access of actin binding proteins to the filaments.1 The diversity of tropomyosin isoforms, over 40 in mammals, and their role in an increasing number of biological processes presents a challenge both to experienced researchers and those new to this field. The increased appreciation that the role of these isoforms expands beyond that of simply stabilizing actin filaments has lead to a surge of reagents and techniques to study their function and mechanisms of action. This report is designed to provide a basic guide to the genes and proteins and the availability of reagents which allow effective study of this family of proteins. We highlight the value of combining multiple techniques to better evaluate the function of different tm isoforms and discuss the limitations of selected reagents. Brief background material is included to demystify some of the unfortunate complexity regarding this multi-gene family of proteins including the unconventional nomenclature of the isoforms and the evolutionary relationships of isoforms between species. Additionally, we present step-by-step detailed experimental protocols used in our laboratory to assist new comers to the field and experts alike.
tropomyosin; isoforms; cytoskeleton; reagents; antibodies; multi-gene family
Apoptosis is an important biological process required for the removal of unwanted or damaged cells. Mounting evidence implicates the actin cytoskeleton as both a sensor and mediator of apoptosis. Studies also suggest that actin binding proteins (ABPs) significantly contribute to apoptosis and that actin dynamics play a key role in regulating apoptosis signaling. Changes in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton has been attributed to the process of malignant transformation and it is hypothesized that remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton may enable tumor cells to evade normal apoptotic signaling. This review aims to illuminate the role of the actin cytoskeleton in apoptosis by systematically analyzing how actin and ABPs regulate different apoptosis pathways and to also highlight the potential for developing novel compounds that target tumor-specific actin filaments.
actin; apoptosis; actin binding proteins; mitochondria; Bcl-2; cancer; multi-drug resistance
Actin dynamics have been implicated in a variety of developmental processes during the malaria parasite lifecycle. Parasite motility, in particular, is thought to critically depend on an actomyosin motor located in the outer pellicle of the parasite cell. Efforts to understand the diverse roles actin plays have, however, been hampered by an inability to detect microfilaments under native conditions. To visualise the spatial dynamics of actin we generated a parasite-specific actin antibody that shows preferential recognition of filamentous actin and applied this tool to different lifecycle stages (merozoites, sporozoites and ookinetes) of the human and mouse malaria parasite species Plasmodium falciparum and P. berghei along with tachyzoites from the related apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Actin filament distribution was found associated with three core compartments: the nuclear periphery, pellicular membranes of motile or invasive parasite forms and in a ring-like distribution at the tight junction during merozoite invasion of erythrocytes in both human and mouse malaria parasites. Localisation at the nuclear periphery is consistent with an emerging role of actin in facilitating parasite gene regulation. During invasion, we show that the actin ring at the parasite-host cell tight junction is dependent on dynamic filament turnover. Super-resolution imaging places this ring posterior to, and not concentric with, the junction marker rhoptry neck protein 4. This implies motor force relies on the engagement of dynamic microfilaments at zones of traction, though not necessarily directly through receptor-ligand interactions at sites of adhesion during invasion. Combined, these observations extend current understanding of the diverse roles actin plays in malaria parasite development and apicomplexan cell motility, in particular refining understanding on the linkage of the internal parasite gliding motor with the extra-cellular milieu.
Volume 1 has defined the scope of BioArchitecture. From the outset we have strived to ensure that BioArchitecture is not limited to the three major polymer systems of the cytoplasm. I am happy to say that a cursory glance at the contents of volume 1 makes it clear that we are interested in all aspects of bioarchitecture from molecules to polymers to cells to tissue to the organism.
Synaptic function in the central nervous system (CNS) is highly dependent on a dynamic actin cytoskeleton in both the pre- and the postsynaptic compartment. Remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton is controlled by tropomyosins, a family of actin-associated proteins which define distinct actin filament populations. Here we show that TPM3 and TPM4 gene products localize to the postsynaptic region in mouse hippocampal neurons. Furthermore our data confirm previous findings of isoform segregation to the pre- and postsynaptic compartments at CNS synapses. These data provide fundamental insights in the formation of functionally distinct actin filament populations at the pre- and post-synapse.
actin cytoskeleton; central nervous system; postsynapse; tropomyosin
Nature contains a tremendous diversity of forms both at the organismal and genomic levels. This diversity motivates the twin central questions of molecular evolution: what are the molecular mechanisms of adaptation, and what are the functional consequences of genomic diversity. We report a 22-species comparative analysis of tropomyosin (PPM) genes, which exist in a variety of forms and are implicated in the emergence of a wealth of cellular functions, including the novel muscle functions integral to the functional diversification of bilateral animals. TPM genes encode either or both of long-form [284 amino acid (aa)] and short-form (approximately 248 aa) proteins. Consistent with a role of TPM diversification in the origins and radiation of bilaterians, we find evidence that the muscle-specific long-form protein arose in proximal bilaterian ancestors (the bilaterian ‘stem’). Duplication of the 5′ end of the gene led to alternative promoters encoding long- and short-form transcripts with distinct functions. This dual-function gene then underwent strikingly parallel evolution in different bilaterian lineages. In each case, recurrent tandem exon duplication and mutually exclusive alternative splicing of the duplicates, with further association between these alternatively spliced exons along the gene, led to long- and short-form–specific exons, allowing for gradual emergence of alternative “internal paralogs” within the same gene. We term these Mutually exclusively Alternatively spliced Tandemly duplicated Exon sets “MATEs”. This emergence of internal paralogs in various bilaterians has employed every single TPM exon in at least one lineage and reaches striking levels of divergence with up to 77% of long- and short-form transcripts being transcribed from different genomic regions. Interestingly, in some lineages, these internal alternatively spliced paralogs have subsequently been “externalized” by full gene duplication and reciprocal retention/loss of the two transcript isoforms, a particularly clear case of evolution by subfunctionalization. This parallel evolution of TPM genes in diverse metazoans attests to common selective forces driving divergence of different gene transcripts and represents a striking case of emergence of evolutionary novelty by alternative splicing.
genome innovation; alternative splicing; intron sliding; exon duplication; tropomyosin
Orderly cell migration is essential for embryonic development, efficient wound healing and a functioning immune system and the dysregulation of this process leads to a number of pathologies. The speed and direction of cell migration is critically dependent on the structural organization of focal adhesions in the cell. While it is well established that contractile forces derived from the acto-myosin filaments control the structure and growth of focal adhesions, how this may be modulated to give different outcomes for speed and persistence is not well understood. The tropomyosin family of actin-associating proteins are emerging as important modulators of the contractile nature of associated actin filaments. The multiple non-muscle tropomyosin isoforms are differentially expressed between tissues and across development and are thought to be major regulators of actin filament functional specialization. In the present study we have investigated the effects of two splice variant isoforms from the same α-tropomyosin gene, TmBr1 and TmBr3, on focal adhesion structure and parameters of cell migration. These isoforms are normally switched on in neuronal cells during differentiation and we find that exogenous expression of the two isoforms in undifferentiated neuronal cells has discrete effects on cell migration parameters. While both isoforms cause reduced focal adhesion size and cell migration speed, they differentially effect actin filament phenotypes and migration persistence. Our data suggests that differential expression of tropomyosin isoforms may coordinate acto-myosin contractility and focal adhesion structure to modulate cell speed and persistence.
focal adhesion; tropomyosin; actin; migration; persistence; speed; mesenchymal
The actin filament system is fundamental to cellular functions including regulation of shape, motility, cytokinesis, intracellular trafficking and tissue organization. Tropomyosins (Tm) are highly conserved components of actin filaments which differentially regulate filament stability and function. The mammalian Tm family consists of four genes; αTm, βTm, γTm and δTm. Multiple Tm isoforms (>40) are generated by alternative splicing and expression of these isoforms is highly regulated during development. In order to further identify the role of Tm isoforms during development, we tested the specificity of function of products from the γTm gene family in mice using a series of gene knockouts. Ablation of all γTm gene cytoskeletal products results in embryonic lethality. Elimination of just two cytoskeletal products from the γTm gene (NM1,2) resulted in a 50% reduction in embryo viability. It was also not possible to generate homozygous knockout ES cells for the targets which eliminated or reduced embryo viability in mice. In contrast, homozygous knockout ES cells were generated for a different set of isoforms (NM3,5,6,8,9,11) which were not required for embryogenesis. We also observed that males hemizygous for the knockout of all cytoskeletal products from the γTm gene preferentially transmitted the minus allele with 80–100% transmission. Since all four Tm genes are expressed in early embryos, ES cells and sperm, we conclude that isoforms of the γTm gene are functionally unique in their role in embryogenesis, ES cell viability and sperm function.
cytoskeleton; actin; tropomyosin; redundancy; isoforms
The balance of transition between distinct adhesion types contributes to the regulation of mesenchymal cell migration, and the characteristic association of adhesions with actin filaments led us to question the role of actin filament-associating proteins in the transition between adhesive states. Tropomyosin isoform association with actin filaments imparts distinct filament structures, and we have thus investigated the role for tropomyosins in determining the formation of distinct adhesion structures. Using combinations of overexpression, knockdown, and knockout approaches, we establish that Tm5NM1 preferentially stabilizes focal adhesions and drives the transition to fibrillar adhesions via stabilization of actin filaments. Moreover, our data suggest that the expression of Tm5NM1 is a critical determinant of paxillin phosphorylation, a signaling event that is necessary for focal adhesion disassembly. Thus, we propose that Tm5NM1 can regulate the feedback loop between focal adhesion disassembly and focal complex formation at the leading edge that is required for productive and directed cell movement.
The functional diversity of the actin microfilaments relies in part on the actin binding protein tropomyosin (Tm). The muscle-specific Tms regulate actin-myosin interactions and hence contraction. However, there is less known about the roles of the numerous cytoskeletal isoforms. We have shown previously that a cytoskeletal Tm, Tm5NM1, defines a Z-line adjacent cytoskeleton in skeletal muscle. Recently, we identified a second cytoskeletal Tm in this region, Tm4. Here we show that Tm4 and Tm5NM1 define separate actin filaments; the former associated with the terminal sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and other tubulovesicular structures. In skeletal muscles of Tm5NM1 knockout (KO) mice, Tm4 localization was unchanged, demonstrating the specificity of the membrane association. Tm5NM1 KO muscles exhibit potentiation of T-system depolarization and decreased force rundown with repeated T-tubule depolarizations consistent with altered T-tubule function. These results indicate that a Tm5NM1-defined actin cytoskeleton is required for the normal excitation–contraction coupling in skeletal muscle.
Spatially distinct populations of microfilaments, characterized by different tropomyosin (Tm) isoforms, are present within a neuron. To investigate the impact of altered tropomyosin isoform expression on neuronal morphogenesis, embryonic cortical neurons from transgenic mice expressing the isoforms Tm3 and Tm5NM1, under the control of the β-actin promoter, were cultured in vitro. Exogenously expressed Tm isoforms sorted to different subcellular compartments with Tm5NM1 enriched in filopodia and growth cones, whereas the Tm3 was more broadly localized. The Tm5NM1 neurons displayed significantly enlarged growth cones accompanied by an increase in the number of dendrites and axonal branching. In contrast, Tm3 neurons displayed inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Recruitment of Tm5a and myosin IIB was observed in the peripheral region of a significant number of Tm5NM1 growth cones. We propose that enrichment of myosin IIB increases filament stability, leading to the enlarged growth cones. Our observations support a role for different tropomyosin isoforms in regulating interactions with myosin and thereby regulating morphology in specific intracellular compartments.
Tropomyosin (Tm) is a key component of the actin cytoskeleton and >40 isoforms have been described in mammals. In addition to the isoforms in the sarcomere, we now report the existence of two nonsarcomeric (NS) isoforms in skeletal muscle. These isoforms are excluded from the thin filament of the sarcomere and are localized to a novel Z-line adjacent structure. Immunostained cross sections indicate that one Tm defines a Z-line adjacent structure common to all myofibers, whereas the second Tm defines a spatially distinct structure unique to muscles that undergo chronic or repetitive contractions. When a Tm (Tm3) that is normally absent from muscle was expressed in mice it became associated with the Z-line adjacent structure. These mice display a muscular dystrophy and ragged-red fiber phenotype, suggestive of disruption of the membrane-associated cytoskeletal network. Our findings raise the possibility that mutations in these tropomyosin and these structures may underpin these types of myopathies.
tropomyosin; muscles; muscular dystrophies; transgenic mice; sarcomeres
A growing body of evidence suggests that the Golgi complex contains an actin-based filament system. We have previously reported that one or more isoforms from the tropomyosin gene Tm5NM (also known as γ-Tm), but not from either the α- or β-Tm genes, are associated with Golgi-derived vesicles (Heimann et al., (1999). J. Biol. Chem. 274, 10743-10750). We now show that Tm5NM-2 is sorted specifically to the Golgi complex, whereas Tm5NM-1, which differs by a single alternatively spliced internal exon, is incorporated into stress fibers. Tm5NM-2 is localized to the Golgi complex consistently throughout the G1 phase of the cell cycle and it associates with Golgi membranes in a brefeldin A-sensitive and cytochalasin D-resistant manner. An actin antibody, which preferentially reacts with the ends of microfilaments, newly reveals a population of short actin filaments associated with the Golgi complex and particularly with Golgi-derived vesicles. Tm5NM-2 is also found on these short microfilaments. We conclude that an alternative splice choice can restrict the sorting of a tropomyosin isoform to short actin filaments associated with Golgi-derived vesicles. Our evidence points to a role for these Golgi-associated microfilaments in vesicle budding at the level of the Golgi complex.
Microfilaments have been reported to be polarized in a number of cell types based both on function and isoform composition. There is evidence that microfilaments are involved in the movement of vesicles and the polarized delivery of proteins to specialized membrane domains. We have investigated the composition of actin microfilaments in gastrointestinal epithelial cells and their role in the delivery of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) into the apical membrane using cultured T84 cells as a model. We identified a specific population of microfilaments containing the tropomyosin (Tm) isoforms Tm5a and/or Tm5b, which are polarized in T84 cell monolayers. Polarization of this microfilament population occurs very rapidly in response to cell-cell and cell-substratum contact and is not inhibited by jasplakinolide, suggesting this involves the movement of intact filaments. Colocalization of Tm5a and/or Tm5b and CFTR was observed in long-term cultures. A reduction in Tm5a and Tm5b expression, induced using antisense oligonucleotides, resulted in an increase in both CFTR surface expression and chloride efflux in response to cAMP stimulation. We conclude that Tm isoforms Tm5a and/or Tm5b mark an apical population of microfilaments that can regulate the insertion and/or retention of CFTR into the plasma membrane.
The specific functions of greater than 40 vertebrate nonmuscle tropomyosins (Tms) are poorly understood. In this article we have tested the ability of two Tm isoforms, TmBr3 and the human homologue of Tm5 (hTM5NM1), to regulate actin filament function. We found that these Tms can differentially alter actin filament organization, cell size, and shape. hTm5NM1 was able to recruit myosin II into stress fibers, which resulted in decreased lamellipodia and cellular migration. In contrast, TmBr3 transfection induced lamellipodial formation, increased cellular migration, and reduced stress fibers. Based on coimmunoprecipitation and colocalization studies, TmBr3 appeared to be associated with actin-depolymerizing factor/cofilin (ADF)-bound actin filaments. Additionally, the Tms can specifically regulate the incorporation of other Tms into actin filaments, suggesting that selective dimerization may also be involved in the control of actin filament organization. We conclude that Tm isoforms can be used to specify the functional properties and molecular composition of actin filaments and that spatial segregation of isoforms may lead to localized specialization of actin filament function.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) intimately adhere to epithelial cells producing cytoskeletal rearrangement with typical attaching and effacing lesions and altered epithelial barrier and transport function. Since EPEC and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) share similar genes in the “locus for enterocyte effacement” (LEE) thought to cause these changes, it has been assumed that STEC shares similar pathogenic mechanisms with EPEC. The aims of this study were to compare the effects of EPEC and STEC on bacterial-epithelial interactions and to examine changes in epithelial function. T84 monolayers were infected with STEC O157:H7 (wild strain EDL 933 or non-toxin-producing strain 85/170), EPEC (strain E2348/69), or HB101 (nonpathogenic) and studied at various times after infection. EPEC bound more avidly than EDL 933, but both strains exhibited greater binding than HB101. Attaching and effacing lesions and severe disruption to the actin cytoskeleton were observed in EPEC by 3 h postinfection but not in EDL 933 or HB101 at any time point. EPEC and EDL 933 increased monolayer permeability to [3H]mannitol 5- to 10-fold. In contrast to EPEC, EDL 933 completely abolished secretagogue-stimulated anion secretion as assessed under voltage clamp conditions in Ussing chambers. Several other STEC strains induced changes similar to those of EDL 933. In conclusion, STEC impairs epithelial barrier function and ion transport without causing major disruption to the actin cytoskeleton. Pathogenic factors other than products of LEE may be operant in STEC.
We characterized nine human actin genes that we isolated (Engel et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 78:4674-4678, 1981) from a library of cloned human DNA. Measurements of the thermal stability of hybrids formed between each cloned actin gene and α-, β-, and γ-actin mRNA demonstrated that only one of the clones is most homologous to sarcomeric actin mRNA, whereas the remaining eight clones are most homologous to cytoplasmic actin mRNA. By the following criteria we show that these nine clones represent nine different actin gene loci rather than different alleles or different parts of a single gene: (i) the restriction enzyme maps of the coding regions are dissimilar; (ii) each clone contains sufficient coding region to encode all or most of an entire actin gene; and (iii) each clone contains sequences homologous to both the 5′ and 3′ ends of the coding region of a cloned chicken β-actin cDNA. We conclude, therefore, that the human cytoplasmic actin proteins are encoded by a multigene family.