Abstract : Intrinsically disordered proteins or regions (IDPs or IDRs) are widespread in the eukaryotic proteome. Although lacking stable three-dimensional structures in the free forms, IDRs perform critical functions in various cellular processes. Accordingly, mutations and altered expression of IDRs are associated with many pathological conditions. Hence, it is of great importance to understand at the molecular level how IDRs interact with their binding partners. In particular, discovering the unique interaction features of IDRs originating from their dynamic nature may reveal uncharted regulatory mechanisms of specific biological processes. Here we discuss the mechanisms of the macromolecular interactions mediated by IDRs and present the relevant cellular processes including transcription, cell cycle progression, signaling, and nucleocytoplasmic transport. Of special interest is the multivalent binding nature of IDRs driving assembly of multicomponent macromolecular complexes. Integrating the previous theoretical and experimental investigations, we suggest that such IDR-driven multiprotein complexes can function as versatile allosteric switches to process diverse cellular signals. Finally, we discuss the future challenges and potential medical applications of the IDR research.
Abstract : Cytosolic Ca2+ levels ([Ca2+]c) change dynamically in response to inducers, repressors, and physiological conditions, and aberrant [Ca2+]c concentration regulation is associated with cancer, heart failure, and diabetes. Therefore, [Ca2+]c is considered as a good indicator of physiological and pathological cellular responses, and is a crucial biomarker for drug discovery. A genetically encoded calcium indicator (GECI) was recently developed to measure [Ca2+]c in single cells and animal models. GECI have some advantages over chemically synthesized indicators, although they also have some drawbacks such as poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), low positive signal, delayed response, artifactual responses due to protein overexpression, and expensive detection equipment. Here, we developed an indicator based on interactions between Ca2+-loaded calmodulin and target proteins, and generated an innovative GECI sensor using split nano-luciferase (Nluc) fragments to detect changes in [Ca2+]c. Stimulation-dependent luciferase activities were optimized by combining large and small subunits of Nluc binary technology (NanoBiT, LgBiT:SmBiT) fusion proteins and regulating the receptor expression levels. We constructed the binary [Ca2+]c sensors using a multicistronic expression system in a single vector linked via the internal ribosome entry site (IRES), and examined the detection efficiencies. Promoter optimization studies indicated that promoter-dependent protein expression levels were crucial to optimize SNR and sensitivity. This novel [Ca2+]c assay has high SNR and sensitivity, is easy to use, suitable for high-throughput assays, and may be useful to detect [Ca2+]c in single cells and animal models.
Abstract : Lck-interacting transmembrane adaptor 1 (LIME) has been previously identified as a raft-associated transmembrane protein expressed predominantly in T and B lymphocytes. Although LIME is shown to transduce the immunoreceptor signaling and immunological synapse formation via its tyrosine phosphorylation by Lck, a Src-family kinase, the in vivo function of LIME has remained elusive in the previous studies. Here we report that LIME is preferentially expressed in effector T cells and mediates chemokine-mediated T cell migration. Interestingly, in LIME-/- mice, while T cell receptor stimulation-dependent proliferation, differentiation to effector T cells, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) function and regulatory T lymphocyte (Treg) function were normal, only T cell-mediated inflammatory response was significantly defective. The reduced inflammation was accompanied by the impaired infiltration of leukocytes and T cells to the inflammatory sites of LIME-/- mice. More specifically, the absence of LIME in effector T cells resulted in the reduced migration and defective morphological polarization in response to inflammatory chemokines such as CCL5 and CXCL10. Consistently, LIME-/- effector T cells were found to be defective in chemokine-mediated activation of Rac1 and Rap1, and dysregulated phosphorylation of Pyk2 and Cas. Taken together, the present findings show that LIME is a critical regulator of inflammatory chemokine-mediated signaling and the subsequent migration of effector T cells to inflammatory sites.
Abstract : Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) plays an essential role in maintaining cellular homeostasis in response to environmental stress. Under conditions of hypoxia or xenobiotic exposure, ARNT regulates the subset of genes involved in adaptive responses, by forming heterodimers with hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIF1α and HIF2α) or aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Here, we have shown that ARNT interacts with DDB1 and CUL4-associated factor 15 (DCAF15), and the aryl sulfonamides, indisulam and E7820, induce its proteasomal degradation through Cullin-RING finger ligase 4 containing DCAF15 (CRL4DCAF15) E3 ligase. Moreover, the two known neo-substrates of aryl sulfonamide, RNA-binding motif protein 39 (RBM39) and RNA-binding motif protein 23 (RBM23), are not required for ARNT degradation. In line with this finding, aryl sulfonamides inhibited the transcriptional activities of HIFs and AhR associated with ARNT. Our results collectively support novel regulatory roles of aryl sulfonamides in both hypoxic and xenobiotic responses.
Abstract : Hypoxia induces the expression of several genes through the activation of a master transcription factor, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α. This study shows that hypoxia strongly induced the expression of two carboxypeptidases (CP), CPA4 and CPE, in an HIF-1α-dependent manner. The hypoxic induction of CPA4 and CPE gene was accompanied by the recruitment of HIF-1α and upregulation in the active histone modification, H3K4me3, at their promoter regions. The hypoxic responsiveness of CPA4 and CPE genes was observed in human adipocytes, human adipose-derived stem cells, and human primary fibroblasts but not mouse primary adipocyte progenitor cells. CPA4 and CPE have been identified as secreted exopeptidases that degrade and process other secreted proteins and matrix proteins. This finding suggests that hypoxia changes the microenvironment of the obese hypoxic adipose tissue by inducing the expression of not only adipokines but also peptidases such as CPA4 and CPE.
Abstract : Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an infectious disease with multiple severe symptoms, such as fever over 37.5°C, cough, dyspnea, and pneumonia. In our research, microRNAs (miRNAs) binding to the genome sequences of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and SARS-CoV-2 were identified by bioinformatic tools. Five miRNAs (hsa-miR-15a-5p, hsa-miR-15b-5p, hsa-miR-195-5p, hsa-miR-16-5p, and hsa-miR-196a-1-3p) were found to commonly bind to SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. We also identified miRNAs that bind to receptor proteins, such as ACE2, ADAM17, and TMPRSS2, which are important for understanding the infection mechanism of SARS-CoV-2. The expression patterns of those miRNAs were examined in hamster lung samples infected by SARS-CoV-2. Five miRNAs (hsa-miR-15b-5p, hsa-miR-195-5p, hsa-miR-221-3p, hsa-miR-140-3p, and hsa-miR-422a) showed differential expression patterns in lung tissues before and after infection. Especially, hsa-miR-15b-5p and hsa-miR-195-5p showed a large difference in expression, indicating that they may potentially be diagnostic biomarkers for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Abstract : Recent studies have highlighted that early enhancement of the glycolytic pathway is a mode of maintaining the pro-inflammatory status of immune cells. Thiamine, a well-known co-activator of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, a gatekeeping enzyme, shifts energy utilization of glucose from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, we hypothesized that thiamine may modulate inflammation by alleviating metabolic shifts during immune cell activation. First, using allithiamine, which showed the most potent anti-inflammatory capacity among thiamine derivatives, we confirmed the inhibitory effects of allithiamine on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production and maturation process in dendritic cells. We applied the LPS-induced sepsis model to examine whether allithiamine has a protective role in hyper-inflammatory status. We observed that allithiamine attenuated tissue damage and organ dysfunction during endotoxemia, even when the treatment was given after the early cytokine release. We assessed the changes in glucose metabolites during LPS-induced dendritic cell activation and found that allithiamine significantly inhibited glucose-driven citrate accumulation. We then examined the clinical implication of regulating metabolites during sepsis by performing a tail bleeding assay upon allithiamine treatment, which expands its capacity to hamper the coagulation process. Finally, we confirmed that the role of allithiamine in metabolic regulation is critical in exerting anti-inflammatory action by demonstrating its inhibitory effect upon mitochondrial citrate transporter activity. In conclusion, thiamine could be used as an alternative approach for controlling the immune response in patients with sepsis.