• Cul4 ubiquitin ligase cofactor DCAF12 promotes neurotransmitter release and homeostatic plasticity

      Patrón, Lilian A; Nagatomo, Kei; Eves, David Tyler; Imad, Mays; Young, Kimberly; Torvund, Meaghan; Guo, Xiufang; Rogers, Gregory C; Zinsmaier, Konrad E; Univ Arizona, Dept Neurosci; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-03-04)
      We genetically characterized the synaptic role of the Drosophila homologue of human DCAF12, a putative cofactor of Cullin4 (Cul4) ubiquitin ligase complexes. Deletion of Drosophila DCAF12 impairs larval locomotion and arrests development. At larval neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), DCAF12 is expressed presynaptically in synaptic boutons, axons, and nuclei of motor neurons. Postsynaptically, DCAF12 is expressed in muscle nuclei and facilitates Cul4-dependent ubiquitination. Genetic experiments identified several mechanistically independent functions of DCAF12 at larval NMJs. First, presynaptic DCAF12 promotes evoked neurotransmitter release. Second, postsynaptic DCAF12 negatively controls the synaptic levels of the glutamate receptor subunits GluRIIA, GluRIIC, and GluRIID. The down-regulation of synaptic GluRIIA subunits by nuclear DCAF12 requires Cul4. Third, presynaptic DCAF12 is required for the expression of synaptic homeostatic potentiation. We suggest that DCAF12 and Cul4 are critical for normal synaptic function and plasticity at larval NMJs.
    • A homozygous SFTPA1 mutation drives necroptosis of type II alveolar epithelial cells in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

      Takezaki, Akio; Tsukumo, Shin-Ichi; Setoguchi, Yasuhiro; Ledford, Julie G; Goto, Hisatsugu; Hosomichi, Kazuyoshi; Uehara, Hisanori; Nishioka, Yasuhiko; Yasutomo, Koji; Univ Arizona, Dept Cellular & Mol Med (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-12)
      Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease characterized by scattered fibrotic lesions in the lungs. The pathogenesis and genetic basis of IPF remain poorly understood. Here, we show that a homozygous missense mutation in SFTPA1 caused IPF in a consanguineous Japanese family. The mutation in SFTPA1 disturbed the secretion of SFTPA1 protein. Sftpa1 knock-in (Sftpa1-KI) mice that harbored the same mutation as patients spontaneously developed pulmonary fibrosis that was accelerated by influenza virus infection. Sftpa1-KI mice showed increased necroptosis of alveolar epithelial type II (AEII) cells with phosphorylation of IRE1α leading to JNK-mediated up-regulation of Ripk3. The inhibition of JNK ameliorated pulmonary fibrosis in Sftpa1-KI mice, and overexpression of Ripk3 in Sftpa1-KI mice treated with a JNK inhibitor worsened pulmonary fibrosis. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms of IPF in which a mutation in SFTPA1 promotes necroptosis of AEII cells through JNK-mediated up-regulation of Ripk3, highlighting the necroptosis pathway as a therapeutic target for IPF.
    • Loss of myosin Vb promotes apical bulk endocytosis in neonatal enterocytes

      Engevik, Amy C; Kaji, Izumi; Postema, Meagan M; Faust, James J; Meyer, Anne R; Williams, Janice A; Fitz, Gillian N; Tyska, Matthew J; Wilson, Jean M; Goldenring, James R; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-09-27)
      In patients with inactivating mutations in myosin Vb (Myo5B), enterocytes show large inclusions lined by microvilli. The origin of inclusions in small-intestinal enterocytes in microvillus inclusion disease is currently unclear. We postulated that inclusions in Myo5b KO mouse enterocytes form through invagination of the apical brush border membrane. 70-kD FITC-dextran added apically to Myo5b KO intestinal explants accumulated in intracellular inclusions. Live imaging of Myo5b KO–derived enteroids confirmed the formation of inclusions from the apical membrane. Treatment of intestinal explants and enteroids with Dyngo resulted in accumulation of inclusions at the apical membrane. Inclusions in Myo5b KO enterocytes contained VAMP4 and Pacsin 2 (Syndapin 2). Myo5b;Pacsin 2 double-KO mice showed a significant decrease in inclusion formation. Our results suggest that apical bulk endocytosis in Myo5b KO enterocytes resembles activity-dependent bulk endocytosis, the primary mechanism for synaptic vesicle uptake during intense neuronal stimulation. Thus, apical bulk endocytosis mediates the formation of inclusions in neonatal Myo5b KO enterocytes.
    • Mechanosensing during directed cell migration requires dynamic actin polymerization at focal adhesions

      Puleo, Julieann I; Parker, Sara S; Roman, Mackenzie R; Watson, Adam W; Eliato, Kiarash Rahmani; Peng, Leilei; Saboda, Kathylynn; Roe, Denise J; Ros, Robert; Gertler, Frank B; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-12-02)
      The mechanical properties of a cell's microenvironment influence many aspects of cellular behavior, including cell migration. Durotaxis, the migration toward increasing matrix stiffness, has been implicated in processes ranging from development to cancer. During durotaxis, mechanical stimulation by matrix rigidity leads to directed migration. Studies suggest that cells sense mechanical stimuli, or mechanosense, through the acto-myosin cytoskeleton at focal adhesions (FAs); however, FA actin cytoskeletal remodeling and its role in mechanosensing are not fully understood. Here, we show that the Ena/VASP family member, Ena/VASP-like (EVL), polymerizes actin at FAs, which promotes cell-matrix adhesion and mechanosensing. Importantly, we show that EVL regulates mechanically directed motility, and that suppression of EVL expression impedes 3D durotactic invasion. We propose a model in which EVL-mediated actin polymerization at FAs promotes mechanosensing and durotaxis by maturing, and thus reinforcing, FAs. These findings establish dynamic FA actin polymerization as a central aspect of mechanosensing and identify EVL as a crucial regulator of this process.
    • Metformin improves diastolic function in an HFpEF-like mouse model by increasing titin compliance

      Slater, Rebecca E; Strom, Joshua G; Methawasin, Mei; Liss, Martin; Gotthardt, Michael; Sweitzer, Nancy; Granzier, Henk L; Univ Arizona, Dept Cellular & Mol Med; Univ Arizona, Coll Med, Sarver Heart Ctr (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-01-07)
      Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a complex syndrome characterized by a preserved ejection fraction but increased diastolic stiffness and abnormalities of filling. Although the prevalence of HFpEF is high and continues to rise, no effective therapies exist; however, the diabetic drug metformin has been associated with improved diastolic function in diabetic patients. Here we determine the therapeutic potential of metformin for improving diastolic function in a mouse model with HFpEF-like symptoms. We combine transverse aortic constriction (TAC) surgery with deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) supplementation to obtain a mouse model with increased diastolic stiffness and exercise intolerance. Echocardiography and pressure-volume analysis reveal that providing metformin to TAC/DOCA mice improves diastolic function in the left ventricular (LV) chamber. Muscle mechanics show that metformin lowers passive stiffness of the LV wall muscle. Concomitant with this improvement in diastolic function, metformin-treated TAC/DOCA mice also demonstrate preserved exercise capacity. No metformin effects are seen in sham operated mice. Extraction experiments on skinned ventricular muscle strips show that the metformin-induced reduction of passive stiffness in TAC/DOCA mice is due to an increase in titin compliance. Using phospho-site-specific antibodies, we assay the phosphorylation of titin's PEVK and N2B spring elements. Metformin-treated mice have unaltered PEVK phosphorylation but increased phosphorylation of PKA sites in the N2B element, a change which has previously been shown to tower titin's stiffness. Consistent with this result, experiments with a mouse model deficient in the N2B element reveal that the beneficial effect of metformin on LV chamber and muscle stiffness requires the presence of the N2B element. We conclude that metformin offers therapeutic benefit during HFpEF by lowering titin-based passive stiffness.
    • A molecular mechanism for the procentriole recruitment of Ana2

      McLamarrah, Tiffany A; Speed, Sarah K; Ryniawec, John M; Buster, Daniel W; Fagerstrom, Carey J; Galletta, Brian J; Rusan, Nasser M; Rogers, Gregory C; Univ Arizona, Canc Ctr, Dept Cellular & Mol Med (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-12-16)
      During centriole duplication, a preprocentriole forms at a single site on the mother centriole through a process that includes the hierarchical recruitment of a conserved set of proteins, including the Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4), Ana2/STIL, and the cartwheel protein Sas6. Ana2/STIL is critical for procentriole assembly, and its recruitment is controlled by the kinase activity of Plk4, but how this works remains poorly understood. A structural motif called the G-box in the centriole outer wall protein Sas4 interacts with a short region in the N terminus of Ana2/STIL. Here, we show that binding of Ana2 to the Sas4 G-box enables hyperphosphorylation of the Ana2 N terminus by Plk4. Hyperphosphorylation increases the affinity of the Ana2-G-box interaction, and, consequently, promotes the accumulation of Ana2 at the procentriole to induce daughter centriole formation.
    • Nebulin and titin modulate cross-bridge cycling and length-dependent calcium sensitivity

      Mijailovich, Srboljub M; Stojanovic, Boban; Nedic, Djordje; Svicevic, Marina; Geeves, Michael A; Irving, Thomas C; Granzier, Henk L; Univ Arizona (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-05-06)
      Various mutations in the structural proteins nebulin and titin that are present in human disease are known to affect the contractility of striated muscle. Loss of nebulin is associated with reduced actin filament length and impairment of myosin binding to actin, whereas titin is thought to regulate muscle passive elasticity and is likely involved in length-dependent activation. Here, we sought to assess the modulation of muscle function by these sarcomeric proteins by using the computational platform muscle simulation code (MUSICO) to quantitatively separate the effects of structural changes, kinetics of cross-bridge cycling, and calcium sensitivity of the thin filaments. The simulations show that variation in thin filament length cannot by itself account for experimental observations of the contractility in nebulin-deficient muscle, but instead must be accompanied by a decreased myosin binding rate. Additionally, to match the observed calcium sensitivity, the rate of TnI detachment from actin needed to be increased. Simulations for cardiac muscle provided quantitative estimates of the effects of different titin-based passive elasticities on muscle force and activation in response to changes in sarcomere length and interfilament lattice spacing. Predicted force–pCa relations showed a decrease in both active tension and sensitivity to calcium with a decrease in passive tension and sarcomere length. We conclude that this behavior is caused by partial redistribution of the muscle load between active muscle force and titin-dependent passive force, and also by redistribution of stretch along the thin filament, which together modulate the release of TnI from actin. These data help advance understanding of how nebulin and titin mutations affect muscle function.
    • An ordered pattern of Ana2 phosphorylation by Plk4 is required for centriole assembly

      McLamarrah, Tiffany A.; Buster, Daniel W.; Galletta, Brian J.; Boese, Cody J.; Ryniawec, John M.; Hollingsworth, Natalie Ann; Byrnes, Amy E.; Brownlee, Christopher W.; Slep, Kevin C.; Rusan, Nasser M.; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2018-03-01)
      Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) initiates an early step in centriole assembly by phosphorylating Ana2/STIL, a structural component of the procentriole. Here, we show that Plk4 binding to the central coiled-coil (CC) of Ana2 is a conserved event involving Polo-box 3 and a previously unidentified putative CC located adjacent to the kinase domain. Ana2 is then phosphorylated along its length. Previous studies showed that Plk4 phosphorylates the C-terminal STil/ANa2 (STAN) domain of Ana2/STIL, triggering binding and recruitment of the cartwheel protein Sas6 to the procentriole assembly site. However, the physiological relevance of N-terminal phosphorylation was unknown. We found that Plk4 first phosphorylates the extreme N terminus of Ana2, which is critical for subsequent STAN domain modification. Phosphorylation of the central region then breaks the Plk4-Ana2 interaction. This phosphorylation pattern is important for centriole assembly and integrity because replacement of endogenous Ana2 with phospho-Ana2 mutants disrupts distinct steps in Ana2 function and inhibits centriole duplication.
    • Sarcomere length-dependent effects on Ca2+-troponin regulation in myocardium expressing compliant titin

      Li, King-Lun; Methawasin, Mei; Tanner, Bertrand C W; Granzier, Henk L; Solaro, R John; Dong, Wen-Ji; Univ Arizona, Dept Cellular & Mol Med (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-01-07)
      Cardiac performance is tightly regulated at the cardiomyocyte level by sarcomere length, such that increases in sarcomere length lead to sharply enhanced force generation at the same Ca2+ concentration. Length-dependent activation of myofilaments involves dynamic and complex interactions between a multitude of thick- and thin-filament components. Among these components, troponin, myosin, and the giant protein titin are likely to be key players, but the mechanism by which these proteins are functionally linked has been elusive. Here, we investigate this link in the mouse myocardium using in situ FRET techniques. Our objective was to monitor how length-dependent Ca2+-induced conformational changes in the N domain of cardiac troponin C (cTnC) are modulated by myosin-actin cross-bridge (XB) interactions and increased titin compliance. We reconstitute FRET donor- and acceptor-modified cTnC(13C/51C)AEDANS-DDPM into chemically skinned myocardial fibers from wild-type and RBM20-deletion mice. The Ca2+-induced conformational changes in cTnC are quantified and characterized using time-resolved FRET measurements as XB state and sarcomere length are varied. The RBM20-deficient mouse expresses a more compliant N2BA titin isoform, leading to reduced passive tension in the myocardium. This provides a molecular tool to investigate how altered titin-based passive tension affects Ca2+-troponin regulation in response to mechanical stretch. In wild-type myocardium, we observe a direct association of sarcomere length-dependent enhancement of troponin regulation with both Ca2+ activation and strongly bound XB states. In comparison, measurements from titin RBM20-deficient animals show blunted sarcomere length-dependent effects. These results suggest that titin-based passive tension contributes to sarcomere length-dependent Ca2+-troponin regulation. We also conclude that strong XB binding plays an important role in linking the modulatory effect of titin compliance to Ca2+-troponin regulation of the myocardium.
    • The Toxoplasma gondii virulence factor ROP16 acts in cis and trans, and suppresses T cell responses

      Chen, Longfei; Christian, David A.; Kochanowsky, Joshua A.; Phan, Anthony T.; Clark, Joseph T.; Wang, Shuai; Berry, Corbett; Oh, Jung; Chen, Xiaoguang; Roos, David S.; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2020-03)
      The ability of Toxoplasma gondii to inject the rhoptry kinase ROP16 into host cells results in the activation of the transcription factors STAT3 and STAT6, but it is unclear how these events impact infection. Here, parasites that inject Cre-recombinase with rhoptry proteins were used to distinguish infected macrophages from those only injected with parasite proteins. Transcriptional profiling revealed that injection of rhoptry proteins alone was sufficient to induce an M2 phenotype that is dependent on STAT3 and STAT6, but only infected cells displayed reduced expression of genes associated with antimicrobial activity and protective immunity. In vivo, the absence of STAT3 or STAT6 improved parasite control, while the loss of ROP16 resulted in a marked reduction in parasite numbers and heightened parasite-specific T cell responses. Thus, ROP16 is a virulence factor that can act in cis and trans to promote M2 programs and which limits the magnitude of parasite-specific T cell responses.
    • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs predicts improved patient survival for PIK3CA-altered head and neck cancer

      Hedberg, Matthew L; Peyser, Noah D; Bauman, Julie E; Gooding, William E; Li, Hua; Bhola, Neil E; Zhu, Tian Ran; Zeng, Yan; Brand, Toni M; Kim, Mi-Ok; et al. (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2019-02-04)
      PIK3CA is the most commonly altered oncogene in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). We evaluated the impact of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on survival in a PIK3CA-characterized cohort of 266 HNSCC patients and explored the mechanism in relevant preclinical models including patient-derived xenografts. Among subjects with PIK3CA mutations or amplification, regular NSAID use (≥6 mo) conferred markedly prolonged disease-specific survival (DSS; hazard ratio 0.23, P = 0.0032, 95% CI 0.09-0.62) and overall survival (OS; hazard ratio 0.31, P = 0.0043, 95% CI 0.14-0.69) compared with nonregular NSAID users. For PIK3CA-altered HNSCC, predicted 5-yr DSS was 72% for NSAID users and 25% for nonusers; predicted 5-yr OS was 78% for regular NSAID users and 45% for nonregular users. PIK3CA mutation predicted sensitivity to NSAIDs in preclinical models in association with increased systemic PGE2 production. These findings uncover a biologically plausible rationale to implement NSAID therapy in PIK3CA-altered HNSCC.