Recombinant glycoproteins produced in mammalian cells are clinically indispensable drugs used to treat a broad spectrum of diseases. Their bio-manufacturing process is laborious, time consuming, and expensive. Investment in expediting the process and reducing its cost is the subject of continued research. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway is a key regulator of diverse physiological functions such as proliferation, global protein, and lipid synthesis as well as many metabolic pathways interacting to increase secretory capabilities. In this review we detail various strategies previously employed to increase glycoprotein production yields via either genetic or pharmacological over-activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, and we discuss their potential and limitations.
Key words: mTORC1, CRISPR, specific productivity, translation
In research on cell biology, organelles have been a major unit of such analyses. Researchers have assumed that the inside of an organelle is almost uniform in regards to its function, even though each organelle has multiple functions. However, we are now facing conundrums that cannot be resolved so long as we regard organelles as functionally uniform units. For instance, how can cells control the diverse patterns of glycosylation of various secretory proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi in an orderly manner with high accuracy? Here, we introduce the novel concept of organelle zones as a solution; each organelle has functionally distinct zones, and zones in different organelles closely interact each other in order to perform complex cellular functions. This Copernican Revolution from organelle biology to organelle zone biology will drastically change and advance our thoughts about cells.
Key words: organelle zone, contact site, ER stress, Golgi stress, organelle autoregulation
KCBP is a microtubule (MT) minus-end-directed kinesin widely conserved in plants. It was shown in Arabidopsis that KCBP controls trichome cell shape by orchestrating MT and actin cytoskeletons using its tail and motor domains. In contrast, the KCBP knockout (KO) line in the moss Physcomitrella patens showed a defect in nuclear and organelle positioning in apical stem cells. Moss KCBP is postulated to transport the nucleus and chloroplast via direct binding to their membranes, since it binds to and transports liposomes composed of phospholipids in vitro. However, domains required for cargo transport in vivo have not been mapped. Here, we performed a structure-function analysis of moss KCBP. We found that the FERM domain in the tail region, which is known to bind to lipids as well as other proteins, is essential for both nuclear and chloroplast positioning, whereas the proximal MyTH4 domain plays a supporting role in chloroplast transport. After anaphase but prior to nuclear envelope re-formation, KCBP accumulates on the chromosomes, in particular at the centromeric region in a FERM-dependent manner. In the KCBP KO line, the rate of poleward chromosome movement in anaphase was reduced and lagging chromosomes occasionally appeared. These results suggest that KCBP binds to non-membranous naked chromosomes via an unidentified protein(s) for their transport. Finally, the liverwort orthologue of KCBP rescued the chromosome/chloroplast mis-positioning of the moss KCBP KO line, suggesting that the cargo transport function is conserved at least in bryophytes.
Key words: kinesin, mitosis, chromosome segregation, kinetochore, dynein
The coat protein complex II (COPII) generates transport carriers that deliver newly synthesized proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus. The small GTPase Sar1 is a well-known regulator of the assembly of the COPII coat. In the present study, we demonstrate that, besides its well-established role in ER-to-Golgi trafficking, the nuclear localization of Sar1 is essential for the viability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Inhibition of either the nuclear entry or retention of Sar1 leads to a severe growth defect. Additionally, in vivo deletion of Sar1, by using conditional genetic depletion, further demonstrates that the loss of nuclear localization of Sar1 results in an abnormal nuclear envelope shape. Our findings highlighted a possible novel role of Sar1 within the nucleus, which may relate to the proper formation of the nuclear envelope.
Key words: Sar1, COPII, small GTPase, nuclear envelope, membrane traffic
Every organism has a different set of genes essential for its viability. This indicates that an organism can become tolerant to the loss of an essential gene under certain circumstances during evolution, via the manifestation of ‘masked’ alternative mechanisms. In our quest to systematically uncover masked mechanisms in eukaryotic cells, we developed an extragenic suppressor screening method using haploid spores deleted of an essential gene in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We screened for the ‘bypass’ suppressors of lethality of 92 randomly selected genes that are essential for viability in standard laboratory culture conditions. Remarkably, extragenic mutations bypassed the essentiality of as many as 20 genes (22%), 15 of which have not been previously reported. Half of the bypass-suppressible genes were involved in mitochondria function; we also identified multiple genes regulating RNA processing. 18 suppressible genes were conserved in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but 13 of them were non-essential in that species. These trends suggest that essentiality bypass is not a rare event and that each organism may be endowed with secondary or backup mechanisms that can substitute for primary mechanisms in various biological processes. Furthermore, the robustness of our simple spore-based methodology paves the way for genome-scale screening.
Key words: Schizosaccharomyces pombe, extragenic suppressor screening, bypass of essentiality (BOE), cut7 (kinesin-5), hul5 (E3 ubiquitin ligase)
Drosophila Mxc protein is a component of the histone locus body (HLB), which is required for the expression of canonical histone genes, and severe mxc mutations generate tumors in larval hematopoietic tissues. A common characteristic of cancer cells is chromosomal instability (CIN), but whether mxc mutants exhibit this feature is unknown. Here, examination of post-meiotic spermatids created after male meiosis revealed that a fraction of the spermatids in hypomorphic mxcG46 mutants contained extra micronuclei or abnormally sized nuclei, corresponding to CIN. Moreover, we observed that the so-called lagging chromosomes retained between chromosomal masses separated toward spindle poles at telophase I. Time-lapse recordings show that micronuclei were generated from lagging chromosomes, and the abnormal chromosomes in mxcG46 mutants lacked centromeres. In normal spermatocyte nuclei, the HLB component FLASH colocalized with Mxc, whereas FLASH was dispersed in mxcG46 spermatocyte nuclei. Furthermore, we observed genetic interactions between Mxc and other HLB components in meiotic chromosome segregation, which suggests that inhibition of HLB formation is responsible for aberrant chromosome segregation in mxcG46. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that canonical histone mRNA levels were decreased in mxcG46. Lastly, similar meiotic phenotypes appeared in the spermatids of histone H4 mutants and in the spermatids in testes depleted for chromosome-construction factors. Considering these genetic data, we propose that abnormal chromosome segregation leading to CIN development results from a loss of chromosome integrity caused by diminished canonical histone levels in mxc mutants.
Key words: Chromosome instability, Drosophila, meiosis, tumor-suppressor gene
The Golgi apparatus is an organelle where membrane or secretory proteins receive post-translational modifications such as glycosylation and sulfation, after which the proteins are selectively transported to their final destinations through vesicular transport. When the synthesis of secretory or membrane proteins is increased and overwhelms the capacity of the Golgi (Golgi stress), eukaryotic cells activate a homeostatic mechanism called the Golgi stress response to augment the capacity of the Golgi. Four response pathways of the Golgi stress response have been identified, namely the TFE3, CREB3, HSP47, and proteoglycan pathways, which regulate the general function of the Golgi, apoptosis, cell survival, and proteoglycan glycosylation, respectively. Here, we identified a novel response pathway that augments the expression of glycosylation enzymes for mucins in response to insufficiency in mucin-type glycosylation in the Golgi (mucin-type Golgi stress), and we found that expression of glycosylation enzymes for mucins such as GALNT5, GALNT8, and GALNT18 was increased upon mucin-type-Golgi stress. We named this pathway the mucin pathway. Unexpectedly, mucin-type Golgi stress induced the expression and activation of TFE3, a key transcription factor regulating the TFE3 pathway, suggesting that the activated mucin pathway sends a crosstalk signal to the TFE3 pathway. We identified an enhancer element regulating transcriptional induction of TFE3 upon mucin-type Golgi stress, and named it the mucin-type Golgi stress response element, of which consensus was ACTTCC(N9)TCCCCA. These results suggested that crosstalk from the mucin pathway to the TFE3 pathway has an important role in the regulation of the mammalian Golgi stress response.
Key words: Golgi stress, mucin, TFE3, organelle autoregulation, organelle zone
Two decades have passed since the development of the first calcium indicator based on the green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the principle of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). During this period, researchers have advanced many novel ideas for the improvement of such genetically encoded FRET biosensors, which have allowed them to expand their targets from small molecules to signaling proteins and physicochemical properties. Although the merits of “genetically encoded” FRET biosensors became clear once various cell lines were established and several transgenic organisms were generated, the road to these developments was not necessarily a smooth one. Moreover, even today the development of new FRET biosensors remains a very labor-intensive, trial-and-error process. Therefore, at this junction, it may be worthwhile to summarize the progress of the FRET biosensor and discuss the future direction of its development and application.
Key words: FRET, biosensor, fluorescent protein
In yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, some aberrant multimembrane-spanning proteins are not transported to the cell surface but form and are accumulated in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived subcompartments, known as the ER-associated compartments (ERACs), which are observed as puncta under fluorescence microscopy. Here we show that a mutant of the cell surface protein Pma1, Pma1-2308, was accumulated in the ERACs, as well as the heterologously expressed mammalian cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), in yeast cells. Pma1-2308 and CFTR were located on the same ERACs. We also note that treatment of cells with 4-phenyl butyric acid (4-PBA) compromised the ERAC formation by Pma1-2308 and CFTR, suggesting that 4-PBA exerts a chaperone-like function in yeast cells. Intriguingly, unlike ER stress induced by the canonical ER stressor tunicamycin, ER stress that was induced by Pma1-2308 was aggravated by 4-PBA. We assume that this observation demonstrates a beneficial aspect of ERACs, and thus propose that the ERACs are formed through aggregation of aberrant transmembrane proteins and work as the accumulation sites of multiple ERAC-forming proteins for their sequestration.
Key words: protein aggregation, organelle, unfolded protein response, ER stress, 4-PBA
The discovery of fluorescent proteins (FPs) has revolutionized cell biology. The fusion of targeting sequences to FPs enables the investigation of cellular organelles and their dynamics; however, occasionally, such fluorescent fusion proteins (FFPs) exhibit behavior different from that of the native proteins. Here, we constructed a color pallet comprising different organelle markers and found that FFPs targeted to the mitochondria were mislocalized when fused to certain types of FPs. Such FPs included several variants of Aequorea victoria green FP (avGFP) and a monomeric variant of the red FP. Because the FFPs that are mislocalized include FPs with faster maturing or folding mutations, the increase in the maturation rate is likely to prevent their expected localization. Indeed, when we reintroduced amino acid substitutions so that the FP sequences were equivalent to that of wild-type avGFP, FFP localization to the mitochondria was significantly enhanced. Moreover, similar amino acid substitutions improved the localization of mitochondria-targeted pHluorin, which is a pH-sensitive variant of GFP, and its capability to monitor pH changes in the mitochondrial matrix. Our findings demonstrate the importance of selecting FPs that maximize FFP function.
Key words: fluorescent protein, organelle, fusion protein, mitochondria
The oncogenic tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL activates a variety of signaling pathways and plays a causative role in the pathogenesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML); however, the subcellular distribution of this chimeric protein remains controversial. Here, we report that BCR-ABL is localized to stress granules and that its granular localization contributes to BCR-ABL-dependent leukemogenesis. BCR-ABL-positive granules were not colocalized with any markers for membrane-bound organelles but were colocalized with HSP90a, a component of RNA granules. The number of such granules increased with thapsigargin treatment, confirming that the granules were stress granules. Given that treatment with the ABL kinase inhibitor imatinib and elimination of the N-terminal region of BCR-ABL abolished granule formation, kinase activity and the coiled-coil domain are required for granule formation. Whereas wild-type BCR-ABL rescued the growth defect in IL-3-depleted Ba/F3 cells, mutant BCR-ABL lacking the N-terminal region failed to do so. Moreover, forced tetramerization of the N-terminus-deleted mutant could not restore the growth defect, indicating that granule formation, but not tetramerization, through its N-terminus is critical for BCR-ABL-dependent oncogenicity. Our findings together provide new insights into the pathogenesis of CML by BCR-ABL and open a window for developing novel therapeutic strategies for this disease.
Key words: BCR-ABL, subcellular localization, stress granule