Poxviral protein E3-altered cytokine production reveals that DExD/H-box helicase 9 controls Toll-like receptor-stimulated immune responses [Signal Transduction]

August 15th, 2018 by Alan Dempsey, Sinead E. Keating, Michael Carty, Andrew G. Bowie

Host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) detect viruses and other pathogens, inducing production of cytokines that cause inflammation and mobilize cells to control infection. Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes proteins that antagonize these host innate immune responses, and elucidating the mechanisms of action of these viral proteins helped shed light on PRR signalling mechanisms. The VACV virulence factor E3 is one of the most intensely studied VACV proteins and has multiple effects on host cells, many of which cannot be explained by the currently known cellular targets of E3. Here, we report that E3 expression in human monocytes alters TLR2- and TLR8-dependent cytokine induction, and particularly inhibits IL-6. Using MS, we identified DExD/H-box helicase 9 (DHX9) as an E3 target. Although DHX9 has previously been implicated as a PRR for sensing nucleic acid in dendritic cells, we found no role for DHX9 as a nucleic acid-sensing PRR in monocytes. Rather, DHX9 suppression in these cells phenocopied the effects of E3 expression on TLR2- and TLR8-dependent cytokine induction, in that DHX9 was required for all TLR8-dependent cytokines measured, and for TLR2-dependent IL-6. Further, DHX9 also had a cell- and stimulus-independent role in IL-6 promoter induction. DHX9 enhanced nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB)-dependent IL-6 promoter activation, which was directly antagonized by E3. These results indicate new roles for DHX9 in regulating cytokines in innate immunity and reveal that VACV E3 disrupts innate immune responses by targeting of DHX9.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
  • Comments Off on Poxviral protein E3-altered cytokine production reveals that DExD/H-box helicase 9 controls Toll-like receptor-stimulated immune responses [Signal Transduction]

The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Hrq1 and Pif1 DNA helicases synergistically modulate telomerase activity in vitro [Enzymology]

August 1st, 2018 by David G. Nickens, Cody M. Rogers, Matthew L. Bochman

Telomere length homeostasis is vital to maintaining genomic stability and is regulated by multiple factors, including telomerase activity and DNA helicases. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pif1 helicase was the first discovered catalytic inhibitor of telomerase, but recent experimental evidence suggests that Hrq1, the yeast homolog of the disease-linked human RecQ-like helicase 4 (RECQL4), plays a similar role via an undefined mechanism. Using yeast extracts enriched for telomerase activity and an in vitro primer extension assay, here we determined the effects of recombinant wild-type and inactive Hrq1 and Pif1 on total telomerase activity and telomerase processivity. We found that titrations of these helicases alone have equal-but-opposite biphasic effects on telomerase, with Hrq1 stimulating activity at high concentrations. When the helicases were combined in reactions, however, they synergistically inhibited or stimulated telomerase activity depending on which helicase was catalytically active. These results suggest that Hrq1 and Pif1 interact and that their concerted activities ensure proper telomere length homeostasis in vivo. We propose a model in which Hrq1 and Pif1 cooperatively contribute to telomere length homeostasis in yeast.

The molecular language of membraneless organelles [Cell Biology]

July 25th, 2018 by Edward Gomes, James Shorter

Eukaryotic cells organize their intracellular components into organelles that can be membrane-bound or membraneless. A large number of membraneless organelles, including nucleoli, Cajal bodies, P-bodies, and stress granules, exist as liquid droplets within the cell and arise from the condensation of cellular material in a process termed liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Beyond a mere organizational tool, concentrating cellular components into membraneless organelles tunes biochemical reactions and improves cellular fitness during stress. In this review, we provide an overview of the molecular underpinnings of the formation and regulation of these membraneless organelles. This molecular understanding explains emergent properties of these membraneless organelles and shines new light on neurodegenerative diseases, which may originate from disturbances in LLPS and membraneless organelles.

The RNA-binding complex ESCRT-II in Xenopus laevis eggs recognizes purine-rich sequences through its subunit Vps25 [Cell Biology]

June 14th, 2018 by Amy B Emerman, Michael Blower

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are critical regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have uncovered hundreds of mRNA-binding proteins that do not contain annotated RNA-binding domains and have well-established roles in other cellular processes. Investigation of these nonconventional RBPs is critical for revealing novel RNA-binding domains and may disclose connections between RNA regulation and other aspects of cell biology. Endosomal sorting complex required for transport II (ESCRT-II) is a nonconventional RNA-binding complex that has a canonical role in multivesicular body formation. ESCRT-II previously has been identified as an RNA-binding complex in Drosophila oocytes, but whether its RNA-binding properties extend beyond Drosophila is unknown. In this study, we found that the RNA-binding properties of ESCRT-II are conserved in Xenopus eggs, where ESCRT-II interacted with hundreds of mRNAs. Using a UV-crosslinking approach, we demonstrated that ESCRT-II binds directly to RNA through its subunit Vps25. UV-crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP)-Seq revealed that Vps25 specifically recognizes a polypurine (i.e. GA-rich) motif in RNA. Using purified components, we could reconstitute the selective Vps25-mediated binding of the polypurine motif in vitro. Our results provide insight into the mechanism by which ESCRT-II selectively binds to mRNAs and also suggest an unexpected link between endosome biology and RNA regulation.

ER-resident protein 46 (ERp46) triggers the mannose-trimming activity of ER degradation-enhancing {alpha}-mannosidase-like protein 3 (EDEM3) [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

May 21st, 2018 by Shangyu Yu, Shinji Ito, Ikuo Wada, Nobuko Hosokawa

Protein folding in the cell is regulated by several quality-control mechanisms. Correct folding of glycoproteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is tightly monitored by the recognition of glycan signals by lectins in the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. In mammals, mannose trimming from N-glycans is crucial for disposal of misfolded glycoproteins. The mannosidases responsible for this process are ER mannosidase I and ER degradation–enhancing α-mannosidase–like proteins (EDEMs). However, the molecular mechanism of mannose removal by EDEMs remains unclear, partly owing to the difficulty of reconstituting mannosidase activity in vitro. Here, our analysis of EDEM3-mediated mannose-trimming activity on a misfolded glycoprotein revealed that ERp46, an ER-resident oxidoreductase, associates stably with EDEM3. This interaction, which depended on the redox activity of ERp46, involved formation of a disulfide bond between the cysteine residues of the ERp46 redox-active sites and the EDEM3 α-mannosidase domain. In a defined in vitro system consisting of recombinant proteins purified from HEK293 cells, the mannose-trimming activity of EDEM3 toward the model misfolded substrate, the glycoprotein T-cell receptor alpha locus (TCRα), was reconstituted only when ERp46 had established a covalent interaction with EDEM3. On the basis of these findings, we propose that disposal of misfolded glycoproteins through mannose trimming is tightly connected to redox-mediated regulation in the ER.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
  • Comments Off on ER-resident protein 46 (ERp46) triggers the mannose-trimming activity of ER degradation-enhancing {alpha}-mannosidase-like protein 3 (EDEM3) [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

Arginine methylation of translocated in liposarcoma (TLS) inhibits its binding to long noncoding RNA, abrogating TLS-mediated repression of CBP/p300 activity [RNA]

May 21st, 2018 by Wei Cui, Ryoma Yoneda, Naomi Ueda, Riki Kurokawa

Translocated in liposarcoma (TLS) is an RNA-binding protein and a transcription-regulatory sensor of DNA damage. TLS binds promoter-associated noncoding RNA (pncRNA) and inhibits histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity of CREB-binding protein (CBP)/E1A-binding protein P300 (p300) on the cyclin D1 (CCND1) gene. Although post-translational modifications of TLS, such as arginine methylation, are known to regulate TLS’s nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and assembly in stress granules, its interactions with RNAs remain poorly characterized. Herein, using various biochemical assays, we confirmed the earlier observations that TLS is methylated by protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) in vitro. The arginine methylation of TLS disrupted binding to pncRNA and also prevented binding of TLS to and inhibition of CBP/p300. This result indicated that arginine methylation of TLS abrogates both binding to pncRNA and TLS-mediated inhibition of CBP/p300 HAT activities. We also report that an arginine residue within the Arg–Gly–Gly domain of TLS, Arg-476, serves as the major determinant for binding to pncRNA. Either methylation or mutation of Arg-476 of TLS significantly decreased pncRNA binding and thereby prevented a pncRNA-induced allosteric alteration in TLS that is required for its interaction with CBP/p300. Moreover, unlike wildtype TLS, an R476A TLS mutant did not inhibit CCND1 promoter activity in luciferase reporter assays. Taken together, we propose the hypothesis that arginine methylation of TLS regulates both TLS–nucleic acid and TLS–protein interactions and thereby participates in transcriptional regulation.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
  • Comments Off on Arginine methylation of translocated in liposarcoma (TLS) inhibits its binding to long noncoding RNA, abrogating TLS-mediated repression of CBP/p300 activity [RNA]

The ribosome: A hot spot for the identification of new types of protein methyltransferases [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

May 9th, 2018 by Steven G. Clarke

Cellular physiology depends on the alteration of protein structures by covalent modification reactions. Using a combination of bioinformatic, genetic, biochemical, and mass spectrometric approaches, it has been possible to probe ribosomal proteins from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for posttranslationally methylated amino acid residues and for the enzymes that catalyze these modifications. These efforts have resulted in the identification and characterization of the first protein histidine methyltransferase, the first N-terminal protein methyltransferase, two unusual types of protein arginine methyltransferases, and a new type of cysteine methylation. Two of these enzymes may modify their substrates during ribosomal assembly because the final methylated histidine and arginine residues are buried deep within the ribosome with contacts only with RNA. Two of these modifications occur broadly in eukaryotes, including humans, while the others demonstrate a more limited phylogenetic range. Analysis of strains where the methyltransferase genes are deleted has given insight into the physiological roles of these modifications. These reactions described here add diversity to the modifications that generate the typical methylated lysine and arginine residues previously described in histones and other proteins.

Lessons from my undergraduate research students [Computational Biology]

May 9th, 2018 by Paul A Craig

From very early on, my personal/professional life has been shaped by teachers in many different settings. Teaching and learning form a two-way street. In the process of teaching undergraduate students, particularly in the research lab, I have learned some profound lessons about the importance of listening to them, challenging them, giving them autonomy, and allowing them to enjoy success and risk failure. I am now working with a team of faculty members to implement these lessons in a course-based undergraduate research experience in the biochemistry teaching lab. Our goal is to seek answers to the question, "How do students become scientists?" and to implement those answers with our future students.

NMDA receptor-dependent dephosphorylation of serine 387 in Argonaute 2 increases its degradation and affects dendritic spine density and maturation. [Neurobiology]

May 7th, 2018 by Nicolas Paradis-Isler, Jannic Boehm

Argonaute (AGO) proteins are essential components of the microRNA (miRNA) pathway. AGO proteins are loaded with miRNAs to target mRNAs and thereby regulate mRNA stability and protein translation. As such, AGO proteins are important actors in controlling local protein synthesis, for instance, at dendritic spines and synapses. Although miRNA-mediated regulation of dendritic mRNAs has become a focus of intense interest over the past years, the mechanisms regulating neuronal AGO proteins remain largely unknown. Here, using rat hippocampal neurons, we report that dendritic Ago2 is downregulated by the proteasome upon NMDA receptor activation. We found that Ser-387 in Ago2 is dephosphorylated upon NMDA treatment and that this dephosphorylation precedes Ago2 degradation. Expressing Ser-387 phosphorylation-deficient or phosphomimetic Ago2 in neurons, we observed that this phosphorylation site is involved in modulating dendritic spine morphology and postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95) expression in spines. Collectively, our results point toward a signaling pathway linking NMDA receptor-dependent Ago2 dephosphorylation and turnover to postsynaptic structural changes. They support a model in which NMDA receptor-mediated dephosphorylation of Ago2 and Ago2 turnover contribute to the de-repression of mRNAs involved in spine growth and maturation.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
  • Comments Off on NMDA receptor-dependent dephosphorylation of serine 387 in Argonaute 2 increases its degradation and affects dendritic spine density and maturation. [Neurobiology]

A critical role for nucleoporin 358 (Nup358) in transposon silencing and piRNA biogenesis in Drosophila [RNA]

May 7th, 2018 by Rasesh Y. Parikh, Haifan Lin, Vamsi K. Gangaraju

Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that bind Piwi proteins to silence transposons and to regulate gene expression. In Drosophila germ cells, the Aubergine (Aub)-Argonaute 3 (Ago3)-dependent ping-pong cycle generates most germline piRNAs. Loading of anti-sense piRNAs amplified by this cycle enables Piwi to enter the nucleus and silence transposons. Nuclear localization is crucial for Piwi function in transposon silencing, but how this process is regulated remains unknown. It is also not known whether any of the components of the nuclear pore complex (NPC) directly function in the piRNA pathway. Here, we show that nucleoporin 358 (Nup358) and Piwi interact with each other and that a germline knockdown (GLKD) of Nup358 with short hairpin RNA prevents Piwi entry into the nucleus. The Nup358 GLKD also activated transposons, increased genomic instability, and derailed piRNA biogenesis because of a combination of decreased piRNA precursor transcription and a collapse of the ping-pong cycle. Our results point to a critical role for Nup358 in the piRNA pathway, laying the foundation for future studies to fully elucidate the mechanisms by which Nup358 contributes to piRNA biogenesis and transposon silencing.