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
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
Scaffolding proteins that are associated with glutamate receptors in dendritic spines govern the location and function of receptors to control synaptic transmission. Unraveling the spatio-temporal dynamics of protein-protein interactions within components of the scaffolding complex will bring to light the function of these interactions. Combining bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) imaging to electrophysiological recordings, we have recently shown that GKAP, a core protein of the scaffolding complex, interacts with DLC2, a protein associated with molecular motors. Synaptic activity-induced GKAP-DLC2 interaction in spines stabilizes the scaffolding complex and enhances the NMDA currents. Interestingly, this work placed emphasis on the bioarchitectural dependence of protein-protein interaction dynamics. Depending on physiological conditions, the modulation in space and time of protein-protein interaction is acutely regulated, engendering a subtle control of synaptic transmission in the state of the individual synapse.
bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET); dendritic spine; dynein light chain 2 (DLC2); glutamate receptors; guanylate kinase-associated protein (GKAP); protein-protein interaction; scaffolding proteins; synaptic transmission
Checkpoint controls, the surveillance pathways that impose “an order of execution” on the major cell cycle events, are critical to the maintenance of genome stability. When cells fail to execute a cellular event or do so erroneously due to misregulation or exposure to genotoxic stresses, these evolutionarily conserved regulatory circuits prevent passage to the subsequent event, thus bringing the cell cycle to a halt. Once the checkpoint stimulus is removed, cells recover from the arrest and eventually resume cell cycle progression. While the activation, execution and maintenance, the three major aspects of the checkpoint controls, have been investigated in detail, the recovery process remains underexplored. It is not clear if cells recover passively upon dissipation of the checkpoint signals or require an active participation by specific effectors. A recent study in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae uncovered two previously unsuspected functions of Cdk1 in efficient recovery from the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) imposed arrest. An inability to fulfil these requirements in the absence of Cdk1 makes it virtually impossible for cells to recover from the mitotic arrest. Given the conserved nature of the SAC, these findings may have implications for vertebrate cells.
Cdk1; cell cycle; cell division; checkpoint; mitosis; recovery; spindle; yeast
Manipulation of the actin cytoskeleton is a commonly used process by which bacterial pathogens and viruses are able to neutralize host defense mechanisms and subvert them in order to replicate in a hostile environment. Diverse bacteria display a wide array of mechanisms of regulation of microfilaments to enter, move within or exit the host cell. A less studied subject is how pathogens may co-opt the actin cytoskeleton to disturb vesicle trafficking pathways, namely phagolysosomal fusion, and avoid degradation. In fact, although actin plays a role in endosomal trafficking and phagosome maturation, the knowledge on the exact mechanisms and additional players is still scarce. Recently, we found that the Legionella pneumophila virulence factor VipA is an actin nucleator, associates with actin filaments and early endosomes during infection, and interferes in yeast organelle trafficking pathways, suggesting it may be linking actin dynamics to endosome biogenesis. Further studies on this protein, together with work on other bacterial effectors, may help shed light in the role of actin in endosomal maturation.
Legionella pneumophila; Type IV Secretion System; VipA; actin; effector; multivesicular body; organelle trafficking
Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton is crucial for cell morphology and migration. One of the key molecules that regulates actin remodeling is the small GTPase Rho. Rho shuttles between the inactive GDP-bound form and the active GTP-bound form, and works as a molecular switch in actin remodeling in response to both extra- and intra-cellular stimuli. Mammalian homolog of Diaphanous (mDia) is one of the Rho effectors and produces unbranched actin filaments. While Rho GTPases activate mDia, the mechanisms of how the activity of mDia is downregulated in cells remains largely unknown. In our recent paper, we identified Liprin-α as an mDia interacting protein and found that Liprin-α negatively regulates the activity of mDia in the cell by displacing it from the plasma membrane through binding to the DID-DD region of mDia. Here, we review these findings and discuss how Liprin-α regulates the Rho-mDia pathway and how the mDia-Liprin-α complex functions in vivo.
Liprin; Rho; actin cytoskeleton; formin; mDia
The radial spoke (RS) is a complex of at least 23 proteins that works as a mechanochemical transducer between the central‐pair apparatus and the peripheral microtubule doublets in eukaryotic flagella and motile cilia. The RS contributes to the regulation of the activity of dynein motors, and thus to flagellar motility. Despite numerous biochemical, physiological and structural studies, the mechanism of the function of the radial spoke remains unclear. Detailed knowledge of the 3D structure of the RS protein complex is needed in order to understand how RS regulates dynein activity. Here we review the most important findings on the structure of the RS, including results of our recent cryo‐electron tomographic analysis of the RS protein complex.
axoneme; cilia; cryo‐electron tomography; dynein; flagella; motility; radial spokes
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.
Actin polymerization plays a major role in many cellular processes, including cell motility, vesicle trafficking, and pathogen propulsion. The transformation of the (protrusive) polymerization forces into directed motion requires that the growing filaments are positioned next to the surface. This is achieved by localization of surface actin nucleators (WASP), which then activate Arp2/3 complex to form new actin branches. Yet, the same surface-bound WASP molecule which initiates the nucleation of new actin branches, also inherently prevents the translation of the polymerization forces into motion, essentially because the WASP molecule has to be in contact with the network during the formation of the new branch. In our recent paper we show that cortactin relaxes this internal inhibition by enhancing the release of WASP-VCA molecule from the new branching site after nucleation is initiated. We show that this enhanced release has two major effects; it increases the turnover rate of branching per WASP molecule, and it decreases the friction-like force caused by the binding of the moving surface with respect to the growing actin network.
Arp2/3 complex; WASP-VCA; actin-based motility; cortactin; friction-like force; propulsion velocity
Chemotaxis is crucial for many physiological processes including the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of infection, trafficking of lymphocytes in the human body, and metastasis of cancer cells. A family of small proteins, chemokines, serves as the signals, and a family of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) detects chemokines and direct cell migration. One of the basic questions in chemotaxis of eukaryotes is how a GPCR transduces signals to control the assembly of the actin network that generates directional force for cell migration. Over the past decade, a variety of signaling components have been implicated to transduce the GPCR signaling to the actin cytoskeleton. Studies in a lower eukaryotic organism, Dictyostelium discoideum, have allowed us to discover evolutionary conversed components involved in the GPCR-controlled actin network during chemotaxis. However, complete pathways linking GPCR to the actin network are still far from clear. Here we first summarize the previous studies on these components, and then update with our finding showing a new pathway, consisting of a GPCR, Gβγ, Elmo/Dock, Rac and Arp2/3 and actin. We suggest that this pathway serves as a direct linkage between the GPCR/G-protein, the chemoattractant sensing machinery, and the actin cytoskeleton, the machinery of cell movement during chemotaxis of eukaryotic cells.
Dictyostelium; Dock; Elmo; GPCR; actin; chemotaxis; cytoskeleton; signaling
Proper cell division requires the formation of the microtubule-based mitotic spindle, which mediates the dynamic movement and alignment of chromosomes to the metaphase plate and their equal transmission to daughter cells. Kinesins are molecular motors that utilize ATP hydrolysis to perform their functions and are instrumental in spindle assembly and function. Of the over 45 kinesins encoded in the human genome, only two are specifically enriched at the centrioles, Kif24 at the mother centriole and STARD9/Kif16a at the daughter centriole. While Kif24 possesses centriolar microtubule-depolymerizing activity and has been implicated in regulating cilia formation, our recent study implicates STARD9 in maintaining pericentriolar material (PCM) cohesion during early mitosis. However, very little is known about how STARD9 performs its function, including the mechanisms that recruit or retain STARD9 at the centrioles and how it cooperates with centrosome components to regulate PCM stability. Additionally, the signals leading to apoptosis in the absence of STARD9 remain to be explored.
Kif16a; STARD9; cancer target; cell division; centrosomes; kinesin; microtubules; mitosis; spindle assembly
The accurate and timely transmission of the genetic material to progeny during successive rounds of cell division is sine qua non for the maintenance of genome stability. Eukaryotic cells have evolved a surveillance mechanism, the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), to prevent premature advance to anaphase before every chromosome is properly attached to microtubules of the mitotic spindle. The architecture of the KNL1-BubR1 complex reveals important features of the molecular recognition between SAC components and the kinetochore. The interaction is important for a functional SAC as substitution of BubR1 residues engaged in KNL1 binding impaired the SAC and BubR1 recruitment into checkpoint complexes in stable cell lines. Here we discuss the implications of the disorder-to-order transition of KNL1 upon BubR1 binding for SAC signaling and propose a mechanistic model of how BUBs binding may affect the recognition of KNL1 by its other interacting partners.
Bub1; BubR1; BubR1-Blinkin complex; BubR1-KNL1; KNL1; chromosome instability; kinetochore; mitosis; spindle assembly checkpoint; tetratricopeptide repeat motif
Maintaining the stability of the replication forks is one of the main tasks of the DNA damage response. Specifically, checkpoint mechanisms detect stressed forks and prevent their collapse. In the published report reviewed here we have shown that defective chromatin assembly in cells lacking either H3K56 acetylation or the chromatin assembly factors CAF1 and Rtt106 affects the integrity of advancing replication forks, despite the presence of functional checkpoints. This loss of replication intermediates is exacerbated in the absence of Rad52, suggesting that collapsed forks are rescued by homologous recombination and providing an explanation for the accumulation of recombinogenic DNA damage displayed by these mutants. These phenotypes mimic those obtained by a partial reduction in the pool of available histones and are consistent with a model in which defective histone deposition uncouples DNA synthesis and nucleosome assembly, thus making the fork more susceptible to collapse. Here, we review these findings and discuss the possibility that defects in the lagging strand represent a major source of fork instability in chromatin assembly mutants.
Asf1; H3K56 acetylation; Okazaki fragment; Rad27; genetic instability; homologous recombination; nucleosome assembly; replication fork
Directional cellular movement is required for various organismal processes, including immune defense and cancer metastasis. Proper navigation of migrating cells involves responding to a complex set of extracellular cues, including diffusible chemical signals and physical structural information. In tissues, conflicting gradients and signals may require cells to not only respond to the environment but also modulate it for efficient adhesion formation and directional cell motility. Recently, we found that cells endocytose fibronectin (FN) and resecrete it from a late endosomal/lysosomal (LE/Lys) compartment to provide an autocrine extracellular matrix (ECM) substrate for cell motility. Branched actin assembly regulated by cortactin was required for trafficking of FN-containing vesicles from LE/Lys to the cell surface. These findings suggest a model in which migrating cells use lysosomal secretion as a versatile mechanism to modulate the ECM environment, promote adhesion assembly and enhance directional migration.
Arp2/3 complex; branched actin; cell motility; cortactin; extracellular matrix; fibronectin; lamellipodium; late endosomal/lysosomal compartments; lysosomal secretion; migration
Dendritic spines are postsynaptic structures that receive excitatory synaptic signals from presynaptic terminals in neurons. Because the morphology of spines has been considered to be a crucial factor for the efficiency of synaptic transmission, understanding the mechanisms regulating their morphology is important for neuroscience. Actin filaments and their regulatory proteins are known to actively maintain spine morphology; recent studies have also shown an essential role of microtubules (MTs). Live imaging of the plus-ends of MTs in mature neurons revealed that MTs stochastically enter spines and mediate accumulation of p140Cap, which regulates reorganization of actin filaments. However, the molecular mechanism by which MT dynamics is controlled has remained largely unknown. A cell polarity-regulating serine/threonine kinase, partitioning-defective 1 (PAR-1), phosphorylates classical MAPs and inhibits their binding to MTs. Because the interaction of MAPs with MTs can decrease MT dynamic instability, PAR-1 is supposed to activate MT dynamics through its MAP/MT affinity-regulating kinase (MARK) activity, although there is not yet any direct evidence for this. Here, we review recent findings on the localization of PAR-1b in the dendrites of mouse hippocampal neurons, and its novel function in the maintenance of mature spine morphology by regulating MT dynamics.
dendritic spine; microtubule associated proteins; microtubule dynamics; microtubule plus-end tracking proteins; partition defective 1/microtubule affinity-regulating kinase; partitioning-defective protein–atypical protein kinase C system
The special architecture of neurons in the peripheral nervous system, with axons extending for long distances, represents a major challenge for the intracellular transport system. Two recent studies show that mutations in the small heat shock protein HSPB1, which cause an axonal type of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy, affect microtubule dynamics and impede axonal transport. Intriguingly, while at presymptomatic age the neurons in the mutant HSPB1 mouse show a hyperstable microtubule network, at postsymptomatic age, the microtubule network completely lost its stability as reflected by a marked decrease in tubulin acetylation levels. We here propose a model explaining the role of microtubule stabilization and tubulin acetylation in the pathogenesis of HSPB1 mutations.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth; HSP27; HSPB1; microtubule dynamics; microtubule stabilization; neurodegeneration; peripheral nervous system; Peripheral neuropathy; tubulin acetylation
Actin filaments, an essential part of the cytoskeleton, drive various cell processes, during which they elongate, disassemble and form different architectures. Over the past 30 years, the study of actin dynamics has relied mainly on bulk solution measurements, which revealed the kinetics and thermodynamics of actin self-assembly at barbed and pointed ends, its control by ATP hydrolysis and its regulation by proteins binding either monomeric actin or filament ends and sides. These measurements provide quantitative information on the averaged behavior of a homogeneous population of filaments. They have been complemented by light microscopy observations of stabilized individual filaments, providing information inaccessible using averaging methods, such as mechanical properties or length distributions. In the past ten years, the improvement of light microscopy techniques has allowed biophysicists to monitor the dynamics of individual actin filaments, thus giving access to the length fluctuations of filaments or the mechanism of processive assembly by formins. Recently, in order to solve some of the problems linked to these observations, such as the need to immobilize filaments on a coverslip, we have used microfluidics as a tool to improve the observation, manipulation and analysis of individual actin filaments. This microfluidic method allowed us to rapidly switch filaments from polymerizing to depolymerizing conditions, and derive the molecular mechanism of ATP hydrolysis on a single filament from the kinetic analysis of its nucleotide-dependent disassembly rate. Here, we discuss how this work sets the basis for future experiments on actin dynamics, and briefly outline promising developments of this technique.
actin assembly dynamics; microfluidics; single filament; TIRF microscopy
Myosin binding protein C (MyBP-C or C-protein) is a protein of the thick (myosin-containing) filaments of striated muscle thought to be involved in the modulation of cardiac contraction in response to β-adrenergic stimulation. The mechanism of this modulation is unknown, but one possibility is through transient binding of the N-terminal end of MyBP-C to the thin (actin-containing) filaments. While such binding has been demonstrated in vitro, it was not known until recently whether such a link between thick and thin filaments also occurred in vivo. Here we review a recent paper in which electron microscopy (EM) is used to directly demonstrate MyBP-C links between myosin and actin filaments in the intact sarcomere, suggesting a possible physical mechanism for modulating filament sliding. Molecular details of MyBP-C binding to actin have recently been elucidated by EM of isolated filaments: the results suggest that MyBP-C might contribute to the modulation of contraction in part by competing with tropomyosin for binding sites on actin. New results on the structure and dynamics of the MyBP-C molecule provide additional insights into the function of this enigmatic molecule.
C-protein; cardiac muscle regulation; electron tomography; sarcomere structure; thick filament structure
Actin is one of the most abundant proteins in eukaryote cells, which forms a double stranded filament. The actin filament is not only a main component of the cytoskeleton, but also acts as a motor protein which moves toward one specific end, the barbed end, driven by polymerization at the barbed end and depolymerization at the other end, the pointed end, without any associated proteins. This motor activity is referred to as “treadmilling” and it represents the simplest motor system known, consisting of only one 42 kDa protein, actin. Here we report the minimum requirements of the actin-like motor system elucidated by computer simulations: (1) Nucleotide binding and ATPase activity in the filament; (2) Polarity in the rates of polymerization and depolymerization between the two ends; and (3) The dependence of the subunit-subunit interactions on the bound nucleotide. These requirements are simple and this knowledge should facilitate the development of artificial molecular motor systems in the future.
actin; computer simulation; electron microscopy; motor; treadmilling
During animal development, microtubules (MTs) play a major role in directing cellular and subcellular patterning, impacting cell polarization and subcellular organization, thereby affecting cell fate determination and tissue architecture. In particular, when progenitor cells divide asymmetrically along an anterior-posterior or apical-basal axis, MTs must coordinate the position of the mitotic spindle with the site of cell division to ensure normal distribution of cell fate determinants and equal sequestration of genetic material into the two daughter cells. Emerging data from diverse model systems have led to the prevailing view that, during mitotic spindle positioning, polarity cues at the cell cortex signal for the recruitment of NuMA and the minus-end directed MT motor cytoplasmic dynein.1 The NuMA/dynein complex is believed to connect, in turn, to the mitotic spindle via astral MTs, thus aligning and tethering the spindle, but how this connection is achieved faithfully is unclear. Do astral MTs need to search for and then capture cortical NuMA/dynein? How does dynein capture the astral MTs emanating from the correct spindle pole? Recently, using the classical model of asymmetric cell division—budding yeast S. cerevisiae—we successfully demonstrated that astral MTs assume an active role in cortical dynein targeting, in that astral MTs utilize their distal plus ends to deliver dynein to the daughter cell cortex, the site where dynein activity is needed to perform its spindle alignment function. This observation introduced the novel idea that, during mitotic spindle orientation processes, polarity cues at the cell cortex may actually signal to prime the cortical receptors for MT-dependent dynein delivery. This model is consistent with the observation that dynein/dynactin accumulate prominently at the astral MT plus ends during metaphase in a wide range of cultured mammalian cells.
cytoplasmic dynein; dynein pathway; dynein targeting; spindle orientation
Early morphogenic movements are an important feature of embryonic development in vertebrates. During zebrafish gastrulation, epiboly progression is driven by the coordinated remodeling of the YSL microtubule network and F-actin cables. We recently described the implication of Nrz, an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 homolog, in the control of the YSL cytoskeleton dynamics. Nrz knock-down induces premature actin-myosin ring formation leading to margin constriction, epiboly arrest and embryo lethality. At the molecular level, the Nrz protein controls the actin-myosin dynamics through IP3R-dependent calcium levels variation. Here, we discuss these novel findings and propose a model in which reversible phosphorylation of the Nrz/IP3R complex modulates the permeability of the IP3R calcium channel and thus may explain the Nrz-dependent control of IP3R opening required for proper epiboly completion.
Bcl-2; IP3R; Nrz; actin cytoskeleton; calcium; phosphorylation; zebrafish
In many tissues microtubules reorganize into non-centrosomal arrays in differentiated cells. In the epidermis, proliferative basal cells have a radial array of microtubules organized around a centrosome, while differentiated cells have cortical microtubules. The desmosomal protein desmoplakin is required for the microtubules to organize around the cell cortex. Furthermore, the centrosomal and/or microtubule-associated proteins ninein, Lis1, Ndel1, and CLIP170 are recruited to the cell cortex, where they have been implicated in the cortical organization of microtubules. Recently, it has been shown that in Lis1-null epidermis, microtubules are disorganized in the differentiated layers of the epidermis. Furthermore, Lis1-null mice die perinatally due to dehydration. This is due, in part, to the unexpected desmosome phenotype observed in Lis1-null skin. Upon loss of Lis1, desmosomal proteins become less stable. Here, we propose that Lis1 may regulate desmosomal stability through its binding partners Nde1/Ndel1 and dynein.
Lis1; desmoplakin; desmosome; epidermis; microtubule
In exocrine organs such as the salivary glands, fluids and proteins are secreted into ductal structures by distinct mechanisms that are tightly coupled. In the acinar cells, the major secretory units of the salivary glands, fluids are secreted into the acinar canaliculi through paracellular and intracellular transport, whereas proteins are stored in large granules that undergo exocytosis and fuse with the apical plasma membranes releasing their content into the canaliculi. Both secretory processes elicit a remodeling of the apical plasma membrane that has not been fully addressed in in vitro or ex vivo models. Recently, we have studied regulated exocytosis in the salivary glands of live rodents, focusing on the role that actin and myosin plays in this process. We observed that during exocytosis both secretory granules and canaliculi are subjected to the hydrostatic pressure generated by fluid secretion. Furthermore, the absorption of the membranes of the secretory granules contributes to the expansion and deformation of the canaliculi. Here we suggest that the homeostasis of the apical plasma membranes during exocytosis is maintained by various strategies that include: (1) membrane retrieval via compensatory endocytosis, (2) increase of the surface area via membrane folds and (3) recruitment of a functional actomyosin complex. Our observations underscore the important relationship between tissue architecture and cellular response, and highlight the potential of investigating biological processes in vivo by using intravital microscopy.
actin; cytoskeleton; exocrine glands; exocytosis; intravital microscopy; membrane tension; myosin; salivary glands; secretion
Cellular functions are intimately associated with rapid changes in membrane shape. Different mechanisms interfering with the lipid bilayer, such as the insertion of proteins with amphipatic helices or the association of a protein scaffold, trigger membrane bending. By exerting force on membranes, molecular motors can also contribute to membrane remodeling. Previous studies have shown that actin and myosin 1 participate in the invagination of the plasma membrane during endocytosis while kinesins and dynein with microtubules provide the force to elongate membrane buds at recycling endosomes and at the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Using live cell imaging we have recently shown that a myosin 1 (myosin 1b) regulates the actin dependent post-Golgi traffic of cargo and generates force that controls the assembly of F-actin foci and promotes with the actin cytoskeleton the formation of tubules at the TGN. Our data provide evidence that actin and myosin 1 can regulate membrane remodeling of organelles as well as having an unexpected role in the spatial organization of the actin cytoskeleton. Here, we discuss our results together with the role of actin and other myosins that have been implicated in the traffic of cargo.
Myosins; actin; membrane remodeling; membrane traffic; trans-Golgi network
Accurate segregation of genetic material into two daughter cells is essential for organism reproduction, development, and survival. The cell assembles a macromolecular structure called the mitotic spindle, which is composed of dynamic microtubules (MTs) and many associated proteins that assemble the spindle and drive the segregation of the chromosomes. Members of the kinesin superfamily of MT associated proteins use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to help organize the spindle, to transport cargo within the spindle, and to regulate spindle MT dynamics. The Kinesin-8 and Kinesin-13 families are involved in controlling mitotic spindle morphology, spindle positioning, and chromosome movement. While both kinesin families are MT destabilizing enzymes, it is unclear whether their mechanisms of MT destabilization are mechanistically similar or how they act to destabilize MTs. Recently, three groups identified an additional MT binding domain within the tail of Kinesin-8s that is essential for their roles in regulating MT dynamics and chromosome positioning.
depolymerase; kinesin-8; microtubule dynamics; mitosis; spindle assembly