Genomics and proteomics studies in Chlamydomonas have revealed that an axoneme is composed of 200–600 types of proteins, including uncharacterized proteins collectively named flagellar-associated proteins (FAPs). Nine FAPs contain the EF-hand motif; however, they have not yet been well characterized. To find components responsible for Chlamydomonas-specific waveform changes coupled with intracellular Ca2+ concentrations, we focused on FAP85, an EF-hand motif-containing FAP specific to Chlamydomonas and its relatives. We cloned the cDNA encoding FAP85, expressed it in Escherichia coli cells, and generated a polyclonal antibody against the expressed protein. Immunoblotting showed that FAP85 was present in every axoneme of several flagellar mutants lacking major axonemal components. Immuno-electron microscopy revealed that anti-FAP85 antibodies were found only on the inner wall of A-tubules of the doublets exposed by N-lauroylsarcosine (Sarkosyl) treatment. The zero-length cross-linker 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) applied to 0.6 M KCl-extracted axonemes generated a 75-kDa complex containing β-tubulin and FAP85. Further characterization of FAP85 and its effects on microtubule dynamics showed that FAP85 binds to tubulin and stabilized microtubules. According to these results, we conclude that FAP85 is a novel member of microtubule-binding proteins, localizing on the inner wall of the A-tubule and stabilizing microtubules.
Key words: Chlamydomonas, flagella, doublet microtubule, microtubule inner proteins
Collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) regulates neuronal polarity by controlling microtubule dynamics. CRMP2 activity is regulated by semaphorin-induced phosphorylation at the C-terminal tail domain. Unphosphorylated CRMP2 induces effective axonal microtubule formation to give the axonal characteristics to a neurite, whereas phosphorylated CRMP2 leads to the apparently opposite effect, growth cone collapse. We have recently characterized the structural detail of CRMP2-induced axonal microtubule formation (Niwa et al. (2017) Sci. Rep., 7: 10681). CRMP2 forms the hetero-trimer with GTP-tubulin to induce effective axonal microtubule formation in the future axon. Phosphorylation of CRMP2 has been reported to decrease the affinity between CRMP2 and the microtubule, albeit the molecular mechanisms of how the phosphorylation of CRMP2 changes the structure to achieve distinct effects from unphosphorylated CRMP2 is not well understood. Here we performed a series of biochemical and structural analyses of phospho-mimic CRMP2. Phosphorylation of CRMP2 undergoes small conformational changes at the C-terminal tail with shifting the surface charge, which not only alters the interactions within the CRMP2 tetramer but also alters the interactions with GTP-tubulin. Consequently, phospho-mimic CRMP2 fails to form a hetero-trimer with GTP-tubulin, thus losing the ability to establish and maintain the axonal microtubules.
Key words: CRMP2, phosphorylation, microtubule, axon, crystal structure
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a refractory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that is believed to develop in genetically susceptible individuals. Glycosylation, a type of post-translational modification, is involved in the development of a wide range of diseases, including IBD, by modulating the function of various glycoproteins. To identify novel genes contributing to the development of IBD, we analyzed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of glycosylation-related genes in IBD patients and identified MAN2A1, encoding alpha-mannosidase II (α-MII), as a candidate gene. α-MII plays a crucial, but not exclusive, role in the maturation of N-glycans. We also observed that intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), which establish the first-line barrier and regulate gut immunity, selectively expressed α-MII with minimal expression of its isozyme, alpha-mannosidase IIx (α-MIIx). This led us to hypothesize that IEC-intrinsic α-MII is implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD. To test this hypothesis, we generated IEC-specific α-MII-deficient (α-MIIΔIEC) mice. Although α-MII deficiency has been shown to have a minimal effect on N-glycan maturation in most cell types due to the compensation by α-MIIx, ablation of α-MII impaired the maturation of N-glycans in IECs. α-MIIΔIEC mice were less susceptible to dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis compared with control littermates. In accordance with this, neutrophil infiltration in the colonic mucosa was attenuated in α-MIIΔIEC mice. Furthermore, gene expression levels of neutrophil-attracting chemokines were downregulated in the colonic tissue. These results suggest that IEC-intrinsic α-MII promotes intestinal inflammation by facilitating chemokine expression. We propose SNPs in MAN2A1 as a novel genetic factor for IBD.
Key words: inflammatory bowel disease, alpha-mannosidase II, intestinal epithelial cell, N-glycosylation
The Golgi apparatus is a key station of glycosylation and membrane traffic. It consists of stacked cisternae in most eukaryotes. However, the mechanisms how the Golgi stacks are formed and maintained are still obscure. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana provides a nice system to observe Golgi structures by light microscopy, because the Golgi in A. thaliana is in the form of mini-stacks that are distributed throughout the cytoplasm. To obtain a clue to understand the molecular basis of Golgi morphology, we took a forward-genetic approach to isolate A. thaliana mutants that show abnormal structures of the Golgi under a confocal microscope. In the present report, we describe characterization of one of such mutants, named #46-3. The #46-3 mutant showed pleiotropic Golgi phenotypes. The Golgi size was in majority smaller than the wild type, but varied from very small ones, sometimes without clear association of cis and trans cisternae, to abnormally large ones under a confocal microscope. At the ultrastructual level by electron microscopy, queer-shaped large Golgi stacks were occasionally observed. By positional mapping, genome sequencing, and complementation and allelism tests, we linked the mutant phenotype to the missense mutation D374N in the NSF gene, encoding the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), a key component of membrane fusion. This residue is near the ATP-binding site of NSF, which is very well conserved in eukaryotes, suggesting that the biochemical function of NSF is important for maintaining the normal morphology of the Golgi.
Key words: Golgi morphology, N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), Arabidopsis thaliana
Stabilisation of minus ends of microtubules (MTs) is critical for organising MT networks in land plant cells, in which all MTs are nucleated independent of centrosomes. Recently, Arabidopsis SPIRAL2 (SPR2) protein was shown to localise to plus and minus ends of cortical MTs, and increase stability of both ends. Here, we report molecular and functional characterisation of SPR2 of the basal land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens. In protonemal cells of P. patens, where non-cortical, endoplasmic MT network is organised, we observed SPR2 at minus ends, but not plus ends, of endoplasmic MTs and likely also of phragmoplast MTs. Minus end decoration was reconstituted in vitro using purified SPR2, suggesting that moss SPR2 is a minus end-specific binding protein (-TIP). We generated a loss-of-function mutant of SPR2, in which frameshift-causing deletions/insertions were introduced into all four paralogous SPR2 genes by means of CRISPR/Cas9. Protonemal cells of the mutant showed instability of endoplasmic MT minus ends. These results indicate that moss SPR2 is a MT minus end stabilising factor.
Key words: acentrosomal microtubule network, microtubule minus end, P. patens, CAMSAP/Nezha/Patronin
Protein kinases play pivotal roles in intracellular signal transduction, and dysregulation of kinases leads to pathological results such as malignant tumors. Kinase activity has hitherto been measured by biochemical methods such as in vitro phosphorylation assay and western blotting. However, these methods are less useful to explore spatial and temporal changes in kinase activity and its cell-to-cell variation. Recent advances in fluorescent proteins and live-cell imaging techniques enable us to visualize kinase activity in living cells with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Several genetically encoded kinase activity reporters, which are based on the modes of action of kinase activation and phosphorylation, are currently available. These reporters are classified into single-fluorophore kinase activity reporters and Förster (or fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based kinase activity reporters. Here, we introduce the principles of genetically encoded kinase activity reporters, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these reporters.
Key words: kinase, FRET, phosphorylation, KTR
Although the definition of a noncoding RNA (ncRNA) is an RNA molecule that does not encode a protein, recent evidence has revealed that some ncRNAs are indeed translated to give rise to small polypeptides (usually containing fewer than 100 amino acids). Despite their small size, however, these peptides are often biologically relevant in that they are required for a variety of cellular processes. In this review, we summarize the production and functions of peptides that have been recently identified as translation products of putative ncRNAs.
Key words: long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), circular RNA (circRNA), primary miRNA (pri-miRNA), translation, peptide
It takes several months to form the 3-dimensional morphology of the human embryonic brain. Therefore, establishing a long-term culture method for neuronal tissues derived from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is very important for studying human brain development. However, it is difficult to keep primary neurons alive for more than 3 weeks in culture. Moreover, long-term adherent culture to maintain the morphology of telencephalic neuron aggregates induced from human iPS cells is also difficult. Although collagen gel has been widely used to support long-term culture of cells, it is not clear whether human iPS cell-derived neuron aggregates can be cultured for long periods on this substrate. In the present study, we differentiated human iPS cells to telencephalic neuron aggregates and examined long-term culture of these aggregates on collagen gel. The results indicated that these aggregates could be cultured for over 3 months by adhering tightly onto collagen gel. Furthermore, telencephalic neuronal precursors within these aggregates matured over time and formed layered structures. Thus, long-term culture of telencephalic neuron aggregates derived from human iPS cells on collagen gel would be useful for studying human cerebral cortex development.
Key words: Induced pluripotent stem cell, forebrain neuron, collagen gel, long-term culture
Epithelial tubules, consisting of the epithelial cell sheet with a central lumen, are the basic structure of many organs. Mechanical forces play an important role in epithelial tubulogenesis; however, little is known about the mechanisms controlling the mechanical forces during epithelial tubule morphogenesis. Solo (also known as ARHGEF40) is a RhoA-targeting guanine-nucleotide exchange factor that is involved in mechanical force-induced RhoA activation and stress fiber formation. Solo binds to keratin-8/keratin-18 (K8/K18) filaments, and this interaction plays a crucial role in mechanotransduction. In this study, we examined the roles of Solo and K8/K18 filaments in epithelial tubulogenesis using MDCK cells cultured in 3D collagen gels. Knockdown of either Solo or K18 resulted in rounder tubules with increased lumen size, indicating that Solo and K8/K18 filaments play critical roles in forming the elongated morphology of epithelial tubules. Moreover, knockdown of Solo or K18 decreased the level of diphosphorylated myosin light chain (a marker of contractile force) at the luminal and outer surfaces of tubules, suggesting that Solo and K8/K18 filaments are involved in the generation of the myosin II-mediated contractile force during epithelial tubule morphogenesis. In addition, K18 filaments were normally oriented along the long axis of the tubule, but knockdown of Solo perturbed their orientation. These results suggest that Solo plays crucial roles in forming the elongated morphology of epithelial tubules and in regulating myosin II activity and K18 filament organization during epithelial tubule formation.
Key words: epithelial tubulogenesis, Solo, keratin, Rho-GEF, myosin