Genetically-encoded biosensors based on Förster/fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) are versatile tools for studying the spatio-temporal regulation of signaling molecules within not only the cells but also tissues. Perhaps the hardest task in the development of a FRET biosensor for protein kinases is to identify the kinase-specific substrate peptide to be used in the FRET biosensor. To solve this problem, we took advantage of kinase-interacting substrate screening (KISS) technology, which deduces a consensus substrate sequence for the protein kinase of interest. Here, we show that a consensus substrate sequence for ROCK identified by KISS yielded a FRET biosensor for ROCK, named Eevee-ROCK, with high sensitivity and specificity. By treating HeLa cells with inhibitors or siRNAs against ROCK, we show that a substantial part of the basal FRET signal of Eevee-ROCK was derived from the activities of ROCK1 and ROCK2. Eevee-ROCK readily detected ROCK activation by epidermal growth factor, lysophosphatidic acid, and serum. When cells stably-expressing Eevee-ROCK were time-lapse imaged for three days, ROCK activity was found to increase after the completion of cytokinesis, concomitant with the spreading of cells. Eevee-ROCK also revealed a gradual increase in ROCK activity during apoptosis. Thus, Eevee-ROCK, which was developed from a substrate sequence predicted by the KISS technology, will pave the way to a better understanding of the function of ROCK in a physiological context.
Although the co-development of companion diagnostics with molecular targeted drugs is desirable, truly efficient diagnostics are limited to diseases in which chromosomal translocations or overt mutations are clearly correlated with drug efficacy. Moreover, even for such diseases, few methods are available to predict whether drug administration is effective for each individual patient whose disease is expected to respond to the drug(s). We have previously developed a biosensor based on the principle of Förster resonance energy transfer to measure the activity of the tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL and its response to drug treatment in patient-derived chronic myeloid leukemia cells. The biosensor harbors CrkL, one of the major substrates of BCR-ABL, and is therefore named Pickles after phosphorylation indicator of CrkL en substrate. The efficacy of this technique as a clinical test has been demonstrated, but the number of cells available for analysis is limited in a case-dependent manner, owing to the cleavage of the biosensor in patient-derived leukemia cells. Here, we describe an improved biosensor with an amino acid substitution and a nuclear export signal being introduced. Of the two predicted cleavage positions in CrkL, the mutations inhibited one cleavage completely and the other cleavage partially, thus collectively increasing the number of cells available for drug evaluation. This improved version of the biosensor holds promise in the future development of companion diagnostics to predict responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.
The capacity of each organelle in eukaryotic cells is tightly regulated in accordance with cellular demands by specific regulatory systems, which are generically termed organelle autoregulation. The Golgi stress response is one of the systems of organelle autoregulation and it augments the capacity of Golgi function if this becomes insufficient (Golgi stress). Recently, several pathways of the mammalian Golgi stress response have been identified, specifically the TFE3, HSP47, and CREB3 pathways. This review summarizes the essential parts of the Golgi stress response from the perspective of the organelle autoregulation.
Histone chaperones are a group of histone-binding proteins that facilitate the assembly of nucleosomes, the fundamental structural units of chromatin in eukaryotes. In nucleosome assembly, deposition of a histone H3-H4 tetramer onto DNA is the first and critical step, which is mediated by the histone chaperones HIRA and CAF-1. HIRA and CAF-1 are reportedly involved in DNA replication independent (RI) and replication coupled nucleosome assembly, respectively. However, the mechanisms by which they mediate histone deposition remain unclear. In this study, we focused on the mechanism by which HIRA induces RI-nucleosome assembly. We looked for HIRA domains that are required for nucleosome assembly and its localization to chromatin. We used cell-free extracts from Xenopus eggs that carry out RI-nucleosome assembly of plasmid DNA. We confirmed that HIRA formed stable complexes with Asf1, another histone H3-H4 chaperone, and the HIRA-Asf1 complex was solely responsible for RI-nucleosome assembly in egg extracts. We further demonstrated that the HIRA N-terminus containing the WD40 domain, which comprises seven WD40 repeats, and the B domain, to which Asf1 binds, were essential for RI-nucleosome assembly; the three WD40 repeats from the N-terminus were especially critical. Using egg extracts that reproduce nuclear formation accompanying the duplication of chromatin, we also demonstrated that the Hir domain was indispensable for the binding of HIRA to chromatin. Thus, the WD40 and B domains are the core elements for inducing RI-nucleosome assembly. Hir domain regulates the binding to chromatin. Based on these findings, similarities and differences between HIRA and CAF-1 are discussed.
In most eukaryotes, phosphoinositides (PIs) have crucial roles in multiple cellular functions. Although the cellular levels of phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate (PI5P) and phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2) are extremely low relative to some other PIs, emerging evidence demonstrates that both lipids are crucial for the endocytic pathway, intracellular signaling, and adaptation to stress. Mutations that causes defects in the biosynthesis of PI5P and PI(3,5)P2 are linked to human diseases including neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we review recent findings on cellular roles of PI5P and PI(3,5)P2, as well as the pathophysiological importance of these lipids.
IRE1α plays an important role in the unfolded protein response (UPR), which is activated by the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. 4μ8C, a well-known inhibitor of IRE1α RNase activity, is commonly used to analyze IRE1α function during ER stress in cultured mammalian cells. However, the off-target effects of 4μ8C remain elusive. Pancreatic β-cells synthesize a large amount of insulin in response to high glucose stimulation, and IRE1α plays an important role in insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. Here, to analyze the role of IRE1α in pancreatic β-cells, we examined insulin secretion after 4μ8C treatment. Although 4μ8C inhibited insulin secretion within 2 hr, neither insulin synthesis nor maturation was inhibited by 4μ8C under the same conditions. This result prompted us to examine the precise effects of 4μ8C on insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells. Unexpectedly, with just 5 min of treatment, 4μ8C blocked insulin secretion in cultured pancreatic β-cells as well as in pancreatic islets. Furthermore, insulin secretion was prevented by 4μ8C, even in pancreatic β-cells lacking the IRE1α RNase domain, suggesting that 4μ8C blocked the late stage of the insulin secretory process, independent of the IRE1α-XBP1 pathway. Our results indicate that 4μ8C has an off-target effect on insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells. These findings inform the researchers in the field that the use of 4μ8C requires the special consideration for the future studies.
Neuronal cellular accumulation of amyloid beta peptide (Aβ) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Intracellular accumulation of Aβ42, a toxic form of Aβ, was observed as an early event in AD patients. However, its contribution and the cellular mechanism of cell death remained unclear. We herein revealed the mechanism by which Aβ42 incorporated into cells leads to cell death by using chemically synthesized Aβ42 variants. The Aβ42 variant Aβ42 (E22P) which has an increased tendency to oligomerize, accumulated in lysosomes at an earlier stage than wild-type Aβ42, leading to higher ROS production and lysosomal membrane oxidation, and resulting in cell death. On the other hand, Aβ42 (E22V), which is incapable of oligomerization, did not accumulate in cells or affect the cell viability. Moreover, intracellular localization of EGFP-Galectin-3, a β-galactoside binding lectin, showed that accumulation of oligomerized Aβ42 in lysosomes caused lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP). Overexpression of lysosome-localized LAMP1-fused peroxiredoxin 1 and treatment with U18866A, an inhibitor of cholesterol export from lysosomes that causes an increase in lysosomal membrane stability, attenuated Aβ42-mediated LMP and cell death. Our findings show that lysosomal ROS generation by toxic conformer of Aβ led to cell death via LMP, and suggest that these events are potential targets for AD prevention.
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