Expanded polyglutamine 72 repeat (polyQ72) aggregates induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated cell death with caspase-12 activation and vesicular formation (autophagy). We examined this relationship and the molecular mechanism of autophagy formation. Rapamycin, a stimulator of autophagy, inhibited the polyQ72-induced cell death with caspase-12 activation. PolyQ72, but not polyQ11, stimulated Atg5-Atg12-Atg16 complex-dependent microtubule-associated protein 1 (MAP1) light chain 3 (LC3) conversion from LC3-I to -II, which plays a key role in autophagy. The eucaryotic translation initiation factor 2 a (eIF2 alpha) A/A mutation, a knock-in to replace a phosphorylatable Ser(51) with Ala(51), and dominant-negative PERK inhibited polyQ72-induced LC3 conversion. PolyQ72 as well as ER stress stimulators upregulated Atg12 mRNA and proteins via eIF2 alpha phosphorylation. Furthermore, Atg5 deficiency as well as the eIF2 alpha A/A mutation increased the number of cells showing polyQ72 aggregates and polyQ72-induced caspase-12 activation. Thus, autophagy formation is a cellular defense mechanism against polyQ72-induced ER-stress-mediated cell death by degrading polyQ72 aggregates, with PERK/eIF2 alpha phosphorylation being involved in polyQ72-induced LC3 conversion.
PPAR gamma is the functioning receptor for the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of antidiabetes drugs including rosiglitazone and pioglitazone(1). These drugs are full classical agonists for this nuclear receptor, but recent data have shown that many PPAR gamma-based drugs have a separate biochemical activity, blocking the obesity-linked phosphorylation of PPAR gamma by Cdk5 (ref. 2). Here we describe novel synthetic compounds that have a unique mode of binding to PPAR gamma, completely lack classical transcriptional agonism and block the Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation in cultured adipocytes and in insulin-resistant mice. Moreover, one such compound, SR1664, has potent antidiabetic activity while not causing the fluid retention and weight gain that are serious side effects of many of the PPAR gamma drugs. Unlike TZDs, SR1664 also does not interfere with bone formation in culture. These data illustrate that new classes of antidiabetes drugs can be developed by specifically targeting the Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation of PPAR gamma.
Endothelial adherens junctions maintain vascular integrity. Arteries and veins differ in their permeability but whether organization and strength of their adherens junctions vary has not been demonstrated in vivo. Here we report that vascular endothelial cadherin, an endothelial specific adhesion protein located at adherens junctions, is phosphorylated in Y658 and Y685 in vivo in veins but not in arteries under resting conditions. This difference is due to shear stress-induced junctional Src activation in veins. Phosphorylated vascular endothelial-cadherin is internalized and ubiquitinated in response to permeability-increasing agents such as bradykinin and histamine. Inhibition of Src blocks vascular endothelial cadherin phosphorylation and bradykinin-induced permeability. Point mutation of Y658F and Y685F prevents vascular endothelial cadherin internalization, ubiquitination and an increase in permeability by bradykinin in vitro. Thus, phosphorylation of vascular endothelial cadherin contributes to a dynamic state of adherens junctions, but is not sufficient to increase vascular permeability in the absence of inflammatory agents.
The biguanide metformin is widely prescribed for Type II diabetes and has anti-neoplastic activity in laboratory models. Despite evidence that inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory complex I by metformin is the primary cause of its cell-lineage-specific actions and therapeutic effects, the molecular interaction(s) between metformin and complex I remain uncharacterized. In the present paper, we describe the effects of five pharmacologically relevant biguanides on oxidative phosphorylation in mammalian mitochondria. We report that biguanides inhibit complex I by inhibiting ubiquinone reduction (but not competitively) and, independently, stimulate reactive oxygen species production by the complex I flavin. Biguanides also inhibit mitochondrial ATP synthase, and two of them inhibit only ATP hydrolysis, not synthesis. Thus we identify biguanides as a new class of complex I and ATP synthase inhibitor. By comparing biguanide effects on isolated complex I and cultured cells, we distinguish three antidiabetic and potentially anti-neoplastic biguanides (metformin, buformin and phenformin) from two anti-malarial biguanides (cycloguanil and proguanil): the former are accumulated into mammalian mitochondria and affect oxidative phosphorylation, whereas the latter are excluded so act only on the parasite. Our mechanistic and pharmacokinetic insights are relevant to understanding and developing the role of biguanides in new and existing therapeutic applications, including cancer, diabetes and malaria.
Amyloid-β 1–42 (Aβ42) oligomers are synaptotoxic for excitatory cortical and hippocampal neurons and might play a role in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression. Recent results suggested that Aβ42 oligomers trigger activation of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK), and its activation is increased in the brain of patients with AD. We show that increased intracellular calcium [Ca ] induced by NMDA receptor activation or membrane depolarization activates AMPK in a CAMKK2-dependent manner. CAMKK2 or AMPK overactivation is sufficient to induce dendritic spine loss. Conversely, inhibiting their activity protects hippocampal neurons against synaptotoxic effects of Aβ42 oligomers in vitro and against the loss of dendritic spines observed in the human APP -expressing transgenic mouse model in vivo. AMPK phosphorylates Tau on KxGS motif S262, and expression of Tau S262A inhibits the synaptotoxic effects of Aβ42 oligomers. Our results identify a CAMKK2-AMPK-Tau pathway as a critical mediator of the synaptotoxic effects of Aβ42 oligomers. ► Aβ oligomers activate AMPK in a CAMKK2-dependent manner ► Blocking CAMKK2 and AMPK function protects neurons from synaptotoxic effects of Aβ ► AMPK phosphorylates Tau on S262 ► Expression of Tau S262A protects neurons from synaptotoxic effects of Aβ Mairet-Coello et al. demonstrate that the CAMKK2-AMPK kinase pathway mediates the synaptotoxic effects of Ab42 oligomers in hippocampal neurons. These effects are mediated through the ability of AMPK to phosphorylate Tau on Serine 262.
Stomatal movements in response to environmental stimuli critically control the plant water status. Although these movements are governed by osmotically driven changes in guard cell volume, the role of membrane water channels (aquaporins) has remained hypothetical. Assays in epidermal peels showed that knockout plants lacking the Plasma membrane Intrinsic Protein 2;1 (PIP2;1) aquaporin have a defect in stomatal closure, specifically in response to abscisic acid (ABA). ABA induced a 2-fold increase in osmotic water permeability ( ) of guard cell protoplasts and an accumulation of reactive oxygen species in guard cells, which were both abrogated in plants. Open stomata 1 (OST1)/Snf1-related protein kinase 2.6 (SnRK2.6), a protein kinase involved in guard cell ABA signaling, was able to phosphorylate a cytosolic PIP2;1 peptide at Ser-121. OST1 enhanced PIP2;1 water transport activity when coexpressed in oocytes. Upon expression in plants, a phosphomimetic form (Ser121Asp) but not a phosphodeficient form (Ser121Ala) of PIP2;1 constitutively enhanced the of guard cell protoplasts while suppressing its ABA-dependent activation and was able to restore ABA-dependent stomatal closure in . This work supports a model whereby ABA-triggered stomatal closure requires an increase in guard cell permeability to water and possibly hydrogen peroxide, through OST1-dependent phosphorylation of PIP2;1 at Ser-121.
Most forms of chemotherapy employ mechanisms involving induction of oxidative stress, a strategy that can be effective due to the elevated oxidative state commonly observed in cancer cells. However, recent studies have shown that relative redox levels in primary tumors can be heterogeneous, suggesting that regimens dependent on differential oxidative state may not be uniformly effective. To investigate this issue in hematological malignancies, we evaluated mechanisms controlling oxidative state in primary specimens derived from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients. Our studies demonstrate three striking findings. First, the majority of functionally defined leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are characterized by relatively low levels of reactive oxygen species (termed “ROS-low”). Second, ROS-low LSCs aberrantly overexpress BCL-2. Third, BCL-2 inhibition reduced oxidative phosphorylation and selectively eradicated quiescent LSCs. Based on these findings, we propose a model wherein the unique physiology of ROS-low LSCs provides an opportunity for selective targeting via disruption of BCL-2-dependent oxidative phosphorylation. ► LSC are prospectively isolated from the bulk tumor on the basis of low ROS levels ► Metabolic dependencies discriminating LSCs, bulk tumor, and normal HSCs are described ► BCL-2 is identified as a regulator of LSC mitochondrial respiration ► BCL-2 pharmacologic inhibitors demonstrate LSC-specific targeting Human leukemia stem cells upregulate BCL-2 expression as a result of relying on oxidative phosphorylation to produce energy and can therefore be targeted with BCL-2 inhibitors.
Pluripotent stem cells self-renew indefinitely and possess characteristic protein-protein networks that remodel during differentiation. How this occurs is poorly understood. Using quantitative mass spectrometry, we analyzed the (phospho)proteome of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) during differentiation induced by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and removal of hESC growth factors. Of 5222 proteins identified, 1399 were phosphorylated on 3067 residues. Approximately 50% of these phosphosites were regulated within 1 hr of differentiation induction, revealing a complex interplay of phosphorylation networks spanning different signaling pathways and kinase activities. Among the phosphorylated proteins was the pluripotency-associated protein SOX2, which was SUMOylated as a result of phosphorylation. Using the data to predict kinase-substrate relationships, we reconstructed the hESC kinome; CDK1/2 emerged as central in controlling self-renewal and lineage specification. The findings provide new insights into how hESCs exit the pluripotent state and present the hESC (phospho)proteome resource as a complement to existing pluripotency network databases.
Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have emerged as promising therapeutics for many diseases, including cancer, in clinical trials'. One PARP inhibitor, olaparib (Lynparza, AstraZeneca), was recently approved by the FDA to treat ovarian cancer with mutations in BRCA genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 have essential roles in repairing DNA double-strand breaks, and a deficiency of BRCA proteins sensitizes cancer cells to PARP inhibition(2,3). Here we show that the receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met associates with and phosphorylates PARP1 at Tyr907 (PARP1 pTyr907 or pY907). PARP1 pY907 increases PARP1 enzymatic activity and reduces binding to a PARP inhibitor, thereby rendering cancer cells resistant to PARP inhibition. The combination of c-Met and PARP1 inhibitors synergized to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro and xenograft tumor models, and we observed similar synergistic effects in a lung cancer xenograft tumor model. These results suggest that the abundance of PARP1 pY907 may predict tumor resistance to PARP inhibitors, and that treatment with a combination of c-Met and PARP inhibitors may benefit patients whose tumors show high c-Met expression and who do not respond to PARP inhibition alone.
Treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) with imatinib mesylate and other second-and/or third-generation c-Abl-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has substantially extended patient survival(1). However, TKIs primarily target differentiated cells and do not eliminate leukemic stem cells (LSCs)(2-4). Therefore, targeting minimal residual disease to prevent acquired resistance and/or disease relapse requires identification of new LSC-selective target(s) that can be exploited therapeutically(5,6). Considering that malignant transformation involves cellular metabolic changes, which may in turn render the transformed cells susceptible to specific assaults in a selective manner(7), we searched for such vulnerabilities in CML LSCs. We performed metabolic analyses on both stem cell-enriched (CD34(+) and CD34(+)CD38(-)) and differentiated (CD34(-)) cells derived from individuals with CML, and we compared the signature of these cells with that of their normal counterparts. Through combination of stable isotope-assisted metabolomics with functional assays, we demonstrate that primitive CML cells rely on upregulated oxidative metabolism for their survival. We also show that combination treatment with imatinib and tigecycline, an antibiotic that inhibits mitochondrial protein translation, selectively eradicates CML LSCs both in vitro and in a xenotransplantation model of human CML. Our findings provide a strong rationale for investigation of the use of TKIs in combination with tigecycline to treat patients with CML with minimal residual disease.