Disparate cell types use a shared complex of PDZ proteins for polarized protein localization.
Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 12:349-59. Abstract
Based on their morphology and function, epithelial cells and neurons appear to have very little in common; however, growing evidence indicates that these two disparate cell types share an underlying polarization pathway responsible for sorting proteins to specific subcellular sites. An evolutionarily conserved complex of PDZ domain-containing proteins thought to be responsible for polarized protein localization has been identified from both brain and epithelial tissue, both from mammals and from the nematode C. elegans. Some of the most recent data on PDZ proteins and the proteins with which they interact are summarized. In particular, some of the more recently proposed models for their function in cells, and the in vivo and in vitro data that support these models are focussed upon.
Epidermal growth factor and aging: A signaling molecule reveals a new eye opening function.
Aging. 3(9):1-10. Abstract
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is known for its role in promoting cell division and cellular differentiation in developing animals, but we know surprising little about what EGF does in vivo in mature adult animals. Here I review EGF signaling, emphasizing several recent studies that uncovered an unexpected role for EGF in promoting longevity and healthspan in mature adult C. elegans. EGF, acting through phospholipase Cγ and the IP3 receptor signaling, maintains pharyngeal and body wall muscle function in aging adults, and delays the accumulation of lipofuscin-enriched aging pigments within intestinal cells. EGF also acts through the Ras/ERK pathway to regulate protein homeostasis by promoting the expression of antioxidant genes, stimulating the activity of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS), and repressing the expression of small heat shock protein chaperones. The effects of EGF signaling on lifespan are largely independent of Insulin/IGF-like Signaling (IIS), as the effects of EGF signaling mutants on lifespan and heathspan are not affected by mutations in the DAF-2 insulin receptor or the DAF-16 FOXO transcription factor. Nevertheless, these two signal pathways have multiple points of overlap, coordination, and cross regulation. I propose that the IIS and EGF signaling pathways respond to environment and to developmental timing, respectively, so as to coordinate the appropriate physiological strategy that cells use to maintain protein homeostasis.
CaMKII regulates the density of central glutamatergic synapses in vivo.
Nature. 402:195-9. Abstract
Synaptic connections undergo a dynamic process of stabilization or elimination during development, and this process is thought to be critical in memory and learning and in establishing the specificity of synaptic connections. The type II calcium- and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII) has been proposed to be pivotal in regulating synaptic strength and in maturation of synapses during development. Here we describe how CaMKII regulates the formation of central glutamatergic synapses in Caenorhabditis elegans. During larval development, the density of ventral nerve cord synapses containing the GLR-1 glutamate receptor is held constant despite marked changes in neurite length. The coupling of synapse number to neurite length requires both CaMKII and voltage-gated calcium channels. CaMKII regulates GLR-1 by at least two distinct mechanisms: regulating transport of GLR-1 from cell bodies to neurites; and regulating the addition or maintenance of GLR-1 to postsynaptic elements.
A fresh look at the role of CaMKII in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory.
Bioessays. 24:223-33. Abstract
Advances in molecular, genetic, and cell biological techniques have allowed neuroscientists to delve into the cellular machinery of learning and memory. The calcium and calmodulin-dependent kinase type II (CaMKII) is one of the best candidates for being a molecular component of the learning and memory machinery in the mammalian brain. It is present in abundance at synapses and its enzymatic properties and responsiveness to intracellular Ca(2+) fit a model whereby Ca(2+) currents activate the kinase and lead to changes in synaptic efficacy. Indeed, such plastic properties of synapses are thought to be important for memory formation. Genetic analysis of the alpha isoform of CaMKII in mice support the hypothesis that CaMKII signaling is required to initiate the formation of new spatial memories in the hippocampus. CaMKII is also required for the correct induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus, consistent with the widely held belief that LTP is a mechanism for learning and memory. Recent cell biological, genetic, and physiological analyses suggest that one of the cellular explanations for LTP and CaMKII function might be the trafficking of AMPA-type receptors to synapses in response to neural activity.
Regulated synthesis, transport and assembly of the Drosophila germ plasm.
Trends Genet. 12:102-9. Abstract
Germ cells are set aside during early development and, in many organisms (including Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and Xenopus laevis), they form in a unique cytoplasm, termed the germ plasm. The germ plasm is synthesized during oogenesis, and the initial polarization of the oocyte is likely to determine where the germ plasm will form within the egg cell. Although we do not know how the fate of germ cells is specified in any organism, recent genetic analysis in Drosophila has identified the TGF-alpha homolog gurken as the signal involved in the initial polarization of the oocyte. These results imply that the limiting steps in the assembly of the germ plasm are localization of the OSK RNA and regulated synthesis of the OSK protein, encoded by oskar, which are components of the germ plasm.
Germ plasm assembly and germ cell migration in Drosophila.
Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 62:1-11. Abstract
Many aspects of germ cell behavior, migration, and gonad formation are shared between vertebrate and invertebrate species. For example, a specialized germ plasm has been observed in many species including Caenorhabditis elegans and Xenopus. Furthermore, the fact that Vasa marks germ cells in many species suggests that even certain molecular aspects of germ cells may be common between different organisms. In most organisms, germ cells initially form at a location away from their target mesodermal tissues and have to migrate to reach the mesoderm. Further genetic studies will reveal the extent to which molecular aspects of germ cell migration and gonad formation are conserved.
LIN-10 is a shared component of the polarized protein localization pathways in neurons and epithelia.
Cell. 94:751-9. Abstract
We tested the model that neurons and epithelial cells use a shared mechanism for polarized protein sorting by comparing the pathways for localizing basolateral and postsynaptic proteins in C. elegans. GLR-1 glutamate receptors are localized to postsynaptic elements of central synapses and, when ectopically expressed, to basolateral membranes of epithelial cells. Proper localization of GLR-1 in both neurons and epithelia requires the PDZ protein LIN-10, defining LIN-10 as a shared component of the basolateral and postsynaptic localization pathways. Changing the GLR-1 carboxy-terminal sequence from a group I PDZ-binding consensus (-TAV) to a group II consensus (-FYV) restores GLR-1 synaptic localization in lin-10 mutants. Thus, these interneurons utilize at least two separate postsynaptic localization pathways.
Localization of oskar RNA regulates oskar translation and requires Oskar protein.
Development. 121:2737-46. Abstract
The site of oskar RNA and protein localization within the oocyte determines where in the embryo primordial germ cells form and where the abdomen develops. Initiation of oskar RNA localization requires the activity of several genes. We show that ovaries mutant for any of these genes lack Oskar protein. Using various transgenic constructs we have determined that sequences required for oskar RNA localization and translational repression map to the oskar 3'UTR, while sequences involved in the correct temporal activation of translation reside outside the oskar 3'UTR. Upon localization of oskar RNA and protein at the posterior pole, Oskar protein is required to maintain localization of oskar RNA throughout oogenesis. Stable anchoring of a transgenic reporter RNA at the posterior pole is disrupted by oskar nonsense mutations. We propose that initially localization of oskar RNA permits translation into Oskar protein and that subsequently Oskar protein regulates its own RNA localization through a positive feedback mechanism.
Regulation of cell proliferation by a morphogen gradient.
Cell. 123:449-61. Abstract
One model to explain the relationship between patterning and growth during development posits that growth is regulated by the slope of morphogen gradients. The Decapentaplegic (DPP) morphogen controls growth in the Drosophila wing, but the slope of the DPP activity gradient has not been shown to influence growth. By employing a method for spatial, temporal, and quantitative control over gene expression, we show that the juxtaposition of cells perceiving different levels of DPP signaling is essential for medial-wing-cell proliferation and can be sufficient to promote the proliferation of cells throughout the wing. Either activation or inhibition of the DPP pathway in clones at levels distinct from those in surrounding cells stimulates nonautonomous cell proliferation. Conversely, uniform activation of the DPP pathway inhibits cell proliferation in medial wing cells. Our observations provide a direct demonstration that the slope of a morphogen gradient regulates growth during development.
Morphogen control of wing growth through the Fat signaling pathway.
Developmental Cell. 15:309-21. Abstract
Organ growth is influenced by organ patterning, but the molecular mechanisms that link patterning to growth have remained unclear. We show that the Dpp morphogen gradient in the Drosophila wing influences growth by modulating the activity of the Fat signaling pathway. Dpp signaling regulates the expression and localization of Fat pathway components, and Fat signaling through Dachs is required for the effect of the Dpp gradient on cell proliferation. Juxtaposition of cells that express different levels of the Fat pathway regulators four-jointed and dachsous stimulates expression of Fat/Hippo pathway target genes and cell proliferation, consistent with the hypothesis that the graded expression of these genes contributes to wing growth. Moreover, uniform expression of four-jointed and dachsous in the wing inhibits cell proliferation. These observations identify Fat as a signaling pathway that links the morphogen-mediated establishment of gradients of positional values across developing organs to the regulation of organ growth.
Incorporating structure to predict microRNA targets.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 102:4006-9. Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered set of regulatory genes that constitute up to an estimated 1% of the total number of genes in animal genomes, including Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila, mouse, and humans [Lagos-Quintana, M., Rauhut, R., Lendeckel, W. & Tuschl, T. (2001) Science 294, 853-858; Lai, E. C., Tomancak, P., Williams, R. W. & Rubin, G.M. (2003) Genome Biol. 4, R42; Lau, N. C., Lim, L. P., Weinstein, E. G. & Bartel, D. P. (2001) Science 294, 858-862; Lee, R. C. & Ambros, V. (2001) Science 294, 862-8644; and Lee, R. C., Feinbaum, R. L. & Ambros, V. (1993) Cell 115, 787-798]. In animals, miRNAs regulate genes by attenuating protein translation through imperfect base pair binding to 3' UTR sequences of target genes. A major challenge in understanding the regulatory role of miRNAs is to accurately predict regulated targets. We have developed an algorithm for predicting targets that does not rely on evolutionary conservation. As one of the features of this algorithm, we incorporate the folded structure of mRNA. By using Drosophila miRNAs as a test case, we have validated our predictions in 10 of 15 genes tested. One of these validated genes is mad as a target for bantam. Furthermore, our computational and experimental data suggest that miRNAs have fewer targets than previously reported.
The transcription bubble of the RNA polymerase-promoter open complex exhibits conformational heterogeneity and millisecond-scale dynamics: implications for transcription start-site selection..
Journal of molecular biology. 425:875-885. Abstract
Bacterial transcription is initiated after RNA polymerase (RNAP) binds to promoter DNA, melts ~14 base-pairs around the transcription start site, and forms a single-stranded "transcription bubble" within a catalytically active RNAP-DNA open complex (RP(o)). There is significant flexibility in the transcription start site, which causes variable spacing between the promoter elements and the start site; this in turn causes differences in the length and sequence at the 5' end of RNA transcripts, and can be important for gene regulation. The start-site variability also implies the presence of some flexibility in the positioning of the DNA relative to the RNAP active site in RP(o). The flexibility may occur in the positioning of the transcription bubble prior to RNA synthesis and may reflect bubble expansion ("scrunching") or bubble contraction ("unscrunching"). Here, we assess the presence of dynamic flexibility in RP(o) with single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer. We obtain experimental evidence for dynamic flexibility in RP(o) using different FRET rulers and labelling positions. An analysis of FRET distributions of RP(o) using burst variance analysis reveals conformational fluctuations in RP(o) in the millisecond timescale. Further experiments using subsets of nucleotides and DNA mutations allowed us to reprogram the transcription start sites, in a way that can be described by repositioning of the single-stranded transcription bubble relative to the RNAP active site within RP(o). Our study marks the first experimental observation of conformational dynamics in the transcription bubble of RP(o) and indicates that DNA dynamics within the bubble affect the search for transcription start sites.
Promoter unwinding and promoter clearance by RNA polymerase: detection by single-molecule DNA nanomanipulation..
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101(14):4776-80. Abstract
By monitoring the end-to-end extension of a mechanically stretched, supercoiled, single DNA molecule, we have been able directly to observe the change in extension associated with unwinding of approximately one turn of promoter DNA by RNA polymerase (RNAP). By performing parallel experiments with negatively and positively supercoiled DNA, we have been able to deconvolute the change in extension caused by RNAP-dependent DNA unwinding (with approximately 1-bp resolution) and the change in extension caused by RNAP-dependent DNA compaction (with approximately 5-nm resolution). We have used this approach to quantify the extent of unwinding and compaction, the kinetics of unwinding and compaction, and effects of supercoiling, sequence, ppGpp, and nucleotides. We also have used this approach to detect promoter clearance and promoter recycling by successive RNAP molecules. We find that the rate of formation and the stability of the unwound complex depend profoundly on supercoiling and that supercoiling exerts its effects mechanically (through torque), and not structurally (through the number and position of supercoils). The approach should permit analysis of other nucleic-acid-processing factors that cause changes in DNA twist and/or DNA compaction.
Abortive initiation and productive initiation by RNA polymerase involve DNA scrunching..
Science (New York, N.Y.). 314(5802):1139-43. Abstract
Using single-molecule DNA nanomanipulation, we show that abortive initiation involves DNA "scrunching"--in which RNA polymerase (RNAP) remains stationary and unwinds and pulls downstream DNA into itself--and that scrunching requires RNA synthesis and depends on RNA length. We show further that promoter escape involves scrunching, and that scrunching occurs in most or all instances of promoter escape. Our results support the existence of an obligatory stressed intermediate, with approximately one turn of additional DNA unwinding, in escape and are consistent with the proposal that stress in this intermediate provides the driving force to break RNAP-promoter and RNAP-initiation-factor interactions in escape.
Transcription factor B contacts promoter DNA near the transcription start site of the archaeal transcription initiation complex..
The Journal of biological chemistry. 279(4):2825-31. Abstract
Transcription initiation in all three domains of life requires the assembly of large multiprotein complexes at DNA promoters before RNA polymerase (RNAP)-catalyzed transcript synthesis. Core RNAP subunits show homology among the three domains of life, and recent structural information supports this homology. General transcription factors are required for productive transcription initiation complex formation. The archaeal general transcription factors TATA-element-binding protein (TBP), which mediates promoter recognition, and transcription factor B (TFB), which mediates recruitment of RNAP, show extensive homology to eukaryal TBP and TFIIB. Crystallographic information is becoming available for fragments of transcription initiation complexes (e.g. RNAP, TBP-TFB-DNA, TBP-TFIIB-DNA), but understanding the molecular topography of complete initiation complexes still requires biochemical and biophysical characterization of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. In published work, systematic site-specific protein-DNA photocrosslinking has been used to define positions of RNAP subunits and general transcription factors in bacterial and eukaryal initiation complexes. In this work, we have used systematic site-specific protein-DNA photocrosslinking to define positions of RNAP subunits and general transcription factors in an archaeal initiation complex. Employing a set of 41 derivatized DNA fragments, each having a phenyl azide photoactivable crosslinking agent incorporated at a single, defined site within positions -40 to +1 of the gdh promoter of the hyperthermophilic marine archaea, Pyrococcus furiosus (Pf), we have determined the locations of PfRNAP subunits PfTBP and PfTFB relative to promoter DNA. The resulting topographical information supports the striking homology with the eukaryal initiation complex and permits one major new conclusion, which is that PfTFB interacts with promoter DNA not only in the TATA-element region but also in the transcription-bubble region, near the transcription start site. Comparison with crystallographic information implicates the PfTFB N-terminal domain in the interaction with the transcription-bubble region. The results are discussed in relation to the known effects of substitutions in the TFB and TFIIB N-terminal domains on transcription initiation and transcription start-site selection.
Regulation of Hippo Signaling by EGFR-MAPK Signaling through Ajuba Family Proteins..
EGFR and Hippo signaling pathways both control growth and, when dysregulated, contribute to tumorigenesis. We find that EGFR activates the Hippo pathway transcription factor Yorkie and demonstrate that Yorkie is required for the influence of EGFR on cell proliferation in Drosophila. EGFR regulates Yorkie through the influence of its Ras-MAPK branch on the Ajuba LIM protein Jub. Jub is epistatic to EGFR and Ras for Yorkie regulation, Jub is subject to MAPK-dependent phosphorylation, and EGFR-Ras-MAPK signaling enhances Jub binding to the Yorkie kinase Warts and the adaptor protein Salvador. An EGFR-Hippo pathway link is conserved in mammals, as activation of EGFR or RAS activates the Yorkie homolog YAP, and EGFR-RAS-MAPK signaling promotes phosphorylation of the Ajuba family protein WTIP and also enhances WTIP binding to the Warts and Salvador homologs LATS and WW45. Our observations implicate the Hippo pathway in EGFR-mediated tumorigenesis and identify a molecular link between these pathways.
The Fat and Warts signaling pathways: new insights into their regulation, mechanism and conservation.
Development (Cambridge, England). 135:2827-38. Abstract
A cassette of cytoplasmic Drosophila tumor suppressors, including the kinases Hippo and Warts, has recently been linked to the transmembrane tumor suppressor Fat. These proteins act within interconnected signaling pathways, the principal functions of which are to control the growth and polarity of developing tissues. Recent studies have enhanced our understanding of the basis for signal transduction by Fat and Warts pathways, including the identification of a DNA-binding protein at the end of the pathway, have established the conservation of Fat and Warts signaling from flies to mammals, and have given us new insights into their regulation and biological functions.
Influence of fat-hippo and notch signaling on the proliferation and differentiation of Drosophila optic neuroepithelia.
Development (Cambridge, England). 137:2397-408. Abstract
The Drosophila optic lobe develops from neuroepithelial cells, which function as symmetrically dividing neural progenitors. We describe here a role for the Fat-Hippo pathway in controlling the growth and differentiation of Drosophila optic neuroepithelia. Mutation of tumor suppressor genes within the pathway, or expression of activated Yorkie, promotes overgrowth of neuroepithelial cells and delays or blocks their differentiation; mutation of yorkie inhibits growth and accelerates differentiation. Neuroblasts and other neural cells, by contrast, appear unaffected by Yorkie activation. Neuroepithelial cells undergo a cell cycle arrest before converting to neuroblasts; this cell cycle arrest is regulated by Fat-Hippo signaling. Combinations of cell cycle regulators, including E2f1 and CyclinD, delay neuroepithelial differentiation, and Fat-Hippo signaling delays differentiation in part through E2f1. We also characterize roles for Jak-Stat and Notch signaling. Our studies establish that the progression of neuroepithelial cells to neuroblasts is regulated by Notch signaling, and suggest a model in which Fat-Hippo and Jak-Stat signaling influence differentiation by their acceleration of cell cycle progression and consequent impairment of Delta accumulation, thereby modulating Notch signaling. This characterization of Fat-Hippo signaling in neuroepithelial growth and differentiation also provides insights into the potential roles of Yes-associated protein in vertebrate neural development and medullablastoma.