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1.  Protein associated with SMAD1 (PAWS1/FAM83G) is a substrate for type I bone morphogenetic protein receptors and modulates bone morphogenetic protein signalling 
Open Biology  2014;4(2):130210.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) control multiple cellular processes in embryos and adult tissues. BMPs signal through the activation of type I BMP receptor kinases, which then phosphorylate SMADs 1/5/8. In the canonical pathway, this triggers the association of these SMADs with SMAD4 and their translocation to the nucleus, where they regulate gene expression. BMPs can also signal independently of SMAD4, but this pathway is poorly understood. Here, we report the discovery and characterization of PAWS1/FAM83G as a novel SMAD1 interactor. PAWS1 forms a complex with SMAD1 in a SMAD4-independent manner, and BMP signalling induces the phosphorylation of PAWS1 through BMPR1A. The phosphorylation of PAWS1 in response to BMP is essential for activation of the SMAD4-independent BMP target genes NEDD9 and ASNS. Our findings identify PAWS1 as the first non-SMAD substrate for type I BMP receptor kinases and as a novel player in the BMP pathway. We also demonstrate that PAWS1 regulates the expression of several non-BMP target genes, suggesting roles for PAWS1 beyond the BMP pathway.
doi:10.1098/rsob.130210
PMCID: PMC3938053  PMID: 24554596
bone morphogenetic protein; SMAD1; FAM83G; PAWS1; ALK3; BMPR1
2.  PINK1 is activated by mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization and stimulates Parkin E3 ligase activity by phosphorylating Serine 65 
Open Biology  2012;2(5):120080.
Summary
Missense mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) cause autosomal-recessive inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). We have exploited our recent discovery that recombinant insect PINK1 is catalytically active to test whether PINK1 directly phosphorylates 15 proteins encoded by PD-associated genes as well as proteins reported to bind PINK1. We have discovered that insect PINK1 efficiently phosphorylates only one of these proteins, namely the E3 ligase Parkin. We have mapped the phosphorylation site to a highly conserved residue within the Ubl domain of Parkin at Ser65. We show that human PINK1 is specifically activated by mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) depolarization, enabling it to phosphorylate Parkin at Ser65. We further show that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 leads to marked activation of its E3 ligase activity that is prevented by mutation of Ser65 or inactivation of PINK1. We provide evidence that once activated, PINK1 autophosphorylates at several residues, including Thr257, which is accompanied by an electrophoretic mobility band-shift. These results provide the first evidence that PINK1 is activated following Δψm depolarization and suggest that PINK1 directly phosphorylates and activates Parkin. Our findings indicate that monitoring phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 and/or PINK1 at Thr257 represent the first biomarkers for examining activity of the PINK1-Parkin signalling pathway in vivo. Our findings also suggest that small molecule activators of Parkin that mimic the effect of PINK1 phosphorylation may confer therapeutic benefit for PD.
doi:10.1098/rsob.120080
PMCID: PMC3376738  PMID: 22724072
PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson's disease

Results 1-2 (2)