Abstract : Post-translational modifications play major roles in the stability, function, and localization of target proteins involved in the nervous system. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway uses small ubiquitin molecules to degrade neuronal proteins. Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) reverse this degradation and thereby control neuronal cell fate, synaptic plasticity,axonal growth, and proper function of the nervous system.Moreover, mutations or downregulation of certain DUBshave been found in several neurodegenerative diseases, as well as gliomas and neuroblastomas. Based on emerging findings, DUBs represent an important target for therapeutic intervention in various neurological disorders. Here, we summarize advances in our understanding of the roles of DUBs related to neurobiology.
Abstract : The olfactory bulb (OB) has an extremely higher proportion of interneurons innervating excitatory neurons than other brain regions, which is evolutionally conserved across species.Despite the abundance of OB interneurons, little is known about the diversification and physiological functions of OB interneurons compared to cortical interneurons. In this review, an overview of the general developmental process of interneurons from the angles of the spatial and temporal specifications was presented. Then, the distinct features shown exclusively in OB interneurons development and molecular machinery recently identified were discussed.Finally, we proposed an evolutionary meaning for the diversity of OB interneurons.
Abstract : Inositol polyphosphate multikinase (IPMK) is required for the biosynthesis of inositol phosphates (IPs) through the phosphorylation of multiple IP metabolites such as IP3 and IP4. The biological significance of IPMK’s catalytic actions to regulate cellular signaling events such as growth and metabolism has been studied extensively. However, pharmacological reagents that inhibit IPMK have not yet been identified. We employed a structure-based virtual screening of publicly available U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and chemicals that identified the antidepressant, vilazodone, as an IPMK inhibitor. Docking simulations and pharmacophore analyses showed that vilazodone has a higher affinity for the ATP-binding catalytic region of IPMK than ATP and we validated that vilazodone inhibits IPMK’s IP kinase activities in vitro . The incubation of vilazodone with NIH3T3-L1 fibroblasts reduced cellular levels of IP5 and other highly phosphorylated IPs without influencing IP4 levels. We further found decreased Akt phosphorylation in vilazodone-treated HCT116 cancer cells. These data clearly indicate selective cellular actions of vilazodone against IPMK-dependent catalytic steps in IP metabolism and Akt activation. Collectively, our data demonstrate vilazodone as a method to inhibit cellular IPMK, providing a valuable pharmacological agent to study and target the biological and pathological processes governed by IPMK.
Abstract : The Drosophila transmembrane semaphorin Sema-1a mediates forward and reverse signaling that plays an essential role in motor and central nervous system (CNS) axon pathfinding during embryonic neural development. Previous immunohistochemical analysis revealed that Sema-1a is expressed on most commissural and longitudinal axons in the CNS and five motor nerve branches in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). However, Sema-1a-mediated axon guidance function contributes significantly to both intersegmental nerve b (ISNb) and segmental nerve a (SNa), and slightly to ISNd and SNc, but not to ISN motor axon pathfinding. Here, we uncover three cis-regulatory elements (CREs), R34A03, R32H10, and R33F06, that robustly drove reporter expression in a large subset of neurons in the CNS. In the transgenic lines R34A03 and R32H10 reporter expression was consistently observed on both ISNb and SNa nerve branches, whereas in the line R33F06 reporter expression was irregularly detected on ISNb or SNa nerve branches in small subsets of abdominal hemisegments. Through complementation test with a Sema1a loss-of-function allele, we found that neuronal expression of Sema-1a driven by each of R34A03 and R32H10 restores robustly the CNS and PNS motor axon guidance defects observed in Sema-1a homozygous mutants. However, when wild-type Sema-1a is expressed by R33F06 in Sema-1a mutants, the Sema-1a PNS axon guidance phenotypes are partially rescued while the Sema-1a CNS axon guidance defects are completely rescued. These results suggest that in a redundant manner, the CREs, R34A03, R32H10, and R33F06 govern the Sema-1a expression required for the axon guidance function of Sema-1a during embryonic neural development.
Abstract : Currently, many available anti-cancer therapies are targeting apoptosis. However, many cancer cells have acquired resistance to apoptosis. To overcome this problem, simultaneous induction of other types of programmed cell death in addition to apoptosis of cancer cells might be an attractive strategy. For this purpose, we initially investigated the inhibitory role of TRIP-Br1/XIAP in necroptosis, a regulated form of necrosis, under nutrient/serum starvation. Our data showed that necroptosis was significantly induced in all tested 9 different types of cancer cell lines in response to prolonged serum starvation. Among them, necroptosis was induced at a relatively lower level in MCF-7 breast cancer line that was highly resistant to apoptosis than that in other cancer cell lines. Interestingly, TRIP-Br1 oncogenic protein level was found to be very high in this cell line. Upregulated TRIP-Br1 suppressed necroptosis by repressing reactive oxygen species generation. Such suppression of necroptosis was greatly enhanced by XIAP, a potent inhibitor of apoptosis. Our data also showed that TRIP-Br1 increased XIAP phosphorylation at serine87, an active form of XIAP. Our mitochondrial fractionation data revealed that TRIPBr1 protein level was greatly increased in the mitochondria upon serum starvation. It suppressed the export of CypD, a vital regulator in mitochondria-mediated necroptosis, from mitochondria to cytosol. TRIP-Br1 also suppressed shikon-inmediated necroptosis, but not TNF-α-mediated necroptosis, implying possible presence of another signaling pathway in necroptosis. Taken together, our results suggest that TRIPBr1/XIAP can function as onco-proteins by suppressing necroptosis of cancer cells under nutrient/serum starvation.
Abstract : Flagellin, a major structural protein of the flagellum found in all motile bacteria, activates the TLR5- or NLRC4 inflammasome-dependent signaling pathway to induce innate immune responses. Flagellin can also serve as a specific antigen for the adaptive immune system and stimulate anti-flagellin antibody responses. Failure to recognize commensal-derived flagellin in TLR5-deficient mice leads to the reduction in anti-flagellin IgA antibodies at steady state and causes microbial dysbiosis and mucosal barrier breach by flagellated bacteria to promote chronic intestinal inflammation. Despite the important role of anti-flagellin antibodies in maintaining the intestinal homeostasis, regulatory mechanisms underlying the flagellin-specific antibody responses are not well understood. In this study, we show that flagellin induces interferon-β (IFN-β) production and subsequently activates type I IFN receptor signaling in a TLR5- and MyD88-dependent manner in vitro and in vivo . Internalization of TLR5 from the plasma membrane to the acidic environment of endolysosomes was required for the production of IFN-β, but not for other proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, we found that antiflagellin IgG2c and IgA responses were severely impaired in interferon-alpha receptor 1 (IFNAR1)-deficient mice, suggesting that IFN-β produced by the flagellin stimulation regulates anti-flagellin antibody class switching. Our findings shed a new light on the regulation of flagellin-mediated immune activation and may help find new strategies to promote the intestinal health and develop mucosal vaccines.
Abstract : Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a significant role in intracellular signaling and regulation, particularly when they are maintained at physiologic levels. However, excess ROS can cause cell damage and induce cell death. We recently reported that eIF2α phosphorylation protects hepatocytes from oxidative stress and liver fibrosis induced by fructose metabolism. Here, we found that hepatocyte-specific eIF2α phosphorylation-deficient mice have significantly reduced expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and altered EGFR-mediated signaling pathways. EGFR-mediated signaling pathways are important for cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival in many tissues and cell types. Therefore, we studied whether the reduced amount of EGFR is responsible for the eIF2α phosphorylation-deficient hepatocytes’ vulnerability to oxidative stress. ROS such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxides induce both EGFR tyrosine phosphorylation and eIF2α phosphorylation. eIF2α phosphorylation-deficient primary hepatocytes, or EGFR knockdown cells, have decreased ROS scavenging ability compared to normal cells. Therefore, these cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. However, overexpression of EGFR in these eIF2α phosphorylation-deficient primary hepatocytes increased ROS scavenging ability and alleviated ROS-mediated cell death. Therefore, we hypothesize that the reduced EGFR level in eIF2α phosphorylation-deficient hepatocytes is one of critical factors responsible for their susceptibility to oxidative stress.
Abstract : Circadian rhythm is an endogenous oscillation of about 24-h period in many physiological processes and behaviors. This daily oscillation is maintained by the molecular clock machinery with transcriptional-translational feedback loops mediated by clock genes including Period2 (Per2) and Bmal1. Recently, it was revealed that gut microbiome exerts a significant impact on the circadian physiology and behavior of its host; however, the mechanism through which it regulates the molecular clock has remained elusive. 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propionic acid (4-OH-PPA) and 3-phenylpropionic acid (PPA) are major metabolites exclusively produced by Clostridium sporogenes and may function as unique chemical messengers communicating with its host. In the present study, we examined if two C. sporogenes-derived metabolites can modulate the oscillation of mammalian molecular clock. Interestingly, 4-OH-PPA and PPA increased the amplitude of both PER2 and Bmal1 oscillation in a dose-dependent manner following their administration immediately after the nadir or the peak of their rhythm. The phase of PER2 oscillation responded differently depending on the mode of administration of the metabolites. In addition, using an organotypic slice culture ex vivo, treatment with 4-OH-PPA increased the amplitude and lengthened the period of PER2 oscillation in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and other tissues. In summary, two C. sporogenes-derived metabolites are involved in the regulation of circadian oscillation of Per2 and Bmal1 clock genes in the host’s peripheral and central clock machineries.
Abstract : Mammalian patatin-like phospholipase domain containing proteins (PNPLAs) play critical roles in triglyceride hydrolysis, phospholipids metabolism, and lipid droplet (LD) homeostasis. PNPLA7 is a lysophosphatidylcholine hydrolase anchored on the endoplasmic reticulum which associates with LDs through its catalytic region (PNPLA7-C) in response to increased cyclic nucleotide levels. However, the interaction of PNPLA7 with LDs through its catalytic region is unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that PNPLA7-C localizes to the mature LDs ex vivo and also colocalizes with pre-existing LDs. Localization of PNPLA7-C with LDs induces LDs clustering via non-enzymatic intermolecular associations, while PNPLA7 alone does not induce LD clustering. Residues 742-1016 contains four putative transmembrane domains which act as a LD targeting motif and are required for the localization of PNPLA7-C to LDs. Furthermore, the N-terminal flanking region of the LD targeting motif, residues 681-741, contributes to the LD targeting, whereas the C-terminal flanking region (1169-1326) has an anti-LD targeting effect. Interestingly, the LD targeting motif does not exhibit lysophosphatidylcholine hydrolase activity even though it associates with LDs phospholipid membranes. These findings characterize the specific functional domains of PNPLA7 mediating subcellular positioning and interactions with LDs, as wells as providing critical insights into the structure of this evolutionarily conserved phospholipid-metabolizing enzyme family.
Abstract : Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is now the first choice to determine the high-resolution structures of huge protein complexes. Grids with two-dimensional arrays of holes covered with a carbon film are typically used in cryo-EM. Although semi-automatic plungers are available, notable trial-and-error is still required to obtain a suitable grid specimen. Herein, we introduce a new method to obtain thin ice specimens using real-time measurement of the liquid amounts in cryo-EM grids. The grids for cryo-EM strongly diffracted laser light, and the diffraction intensity of each spot was measurable in real-time. The measured diffraction patterns represented the states of the liquid in the holes due to the curvature of the liquid around them. Using the diffraction patterns, the optimal time point for freezing the grids for cryo-EM was obtained in real-time. This development will help researchers rapidly determine high-resolution protein structures using the limited resource of cryo-EM instrument access.