Groundbreaking research published by BIO5 scientists and their collaborators


PubMed Articles

Search form

In striated muscle the coupling of blood flow to changes in tissue metabolism is hypothesized to be dependent in part on release of vasodilating metabolic by-products generated when mitochondrial metabolism becomes O2 limited. Cytochrome oxidase, the terminal step in oxidative phosphorylation, is half-maximally saturated at < 1 mmHg PO2 in isolated mitochondria. However, blood flow is regulated at tissue PO2 of approximately 20 mmHg. If the affinity of mitochondrial respiration for O2 were higher in vivo than in vitro, O2 limitation of mitochondrial metabolism near mean tissue levels could occur. In the present study the PO2 at which mitochondrial metabolism becomes inhibited (critical PO2) was measured for cardiac myocytes in suspension (1.1 +/- 0.15 mmHg) and single cells (1.0 +/- 0.22 and 1.25 +/- 0.22 mmHg in cardiac myocytes and rat spinotrapezius cells, respectively). These measurements are consistent with those from isolated mitochondria, indicating that vasodilators produced when oxidative phosphorylation becomes inhibited may be important for regulating blood flow only in highly glycolytic muscles or under conditions of severe O2 limitation.

Antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) have been used to inhibit the function of a number of structurally defined neurotransmitter receptors in vivo by transiently disrupting their expression in the CNS. However, issues concerning the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these ODN often raise questions about the specificity of such ODN-mediated "knock-down" of target proteins. This study sought to extend our in vivo "knock-down" of the delta opioid receptor (DOR) by targeting this receptor in the NG 108-15 cells with an antisense ODN for the DOR and by using a polyclonal antibody raised against this receptor to determine the efficiency and selectivity of the antisense ODN in inhibiting expression of the DOR. By fluorescence tagging the ODN and immunofluorescence labeling the DOR, we monitored the uptake efficiency of the ODN and the DOR density in individual cells that had been treated with the antisense ODN or with a mismatch control. Quantitative fluorescence image analysis showed that the uptake of ODN by NG 108-15 cells was time- and concentration-dependent and that it was not uniform within a population. Treatment with the antisense ODN elicited an inverse correlation between DOR immunoreactivity and the ODN fluorescence in individual cells. No correlation was found in cells treated with the mismatch control. These findings suggest that the antisense ODN-mediated "knock-down" of the DOR is governed by the sequence specificity of the ODN and the efficiency of its uptake by the target cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. These data provide further evidence in support of the selectivity of antisense ODN targeting and the utility of these molecules as an effective tool in neuropharmacological studies.

The advent of fluorescent ion sensitive indicators has improved our understanding of the mechanisms involved in regulating pHi and [Ca2+]i homeostasis in living cells. However, changes in [Ca2+]i can alter pHi regulatory mechanisms and vice versa, making assignment of either ion to a particular physiological response complex. A further complication is that all fluorescent Ca2+ indicators are sensitive to protons. Therefore, techniques to simultaneously measure these two ions have been developed. Although several combinations of pH and Ca2+ probes have been used, few systematic studies have been performed to assess the validity of such measurements. In vitro analysis (i.e. free acid forms of dyes) indicated that significant quenching effects occurred when using specific dye combinations. Fura-2/SNARF-1 and MagFura-2/SNARF-1 probe combinations were found to provide the most accurate pH and [Ca2+] measurements relative to Fluo-3/SNARF-1, Ca2+-Green-1/SNARF-1, or BCECF/SNARF-1. Similar conclusions were reached when probes were calibrated after loading into cells. The magnitude of interactions between pH and Ca2+ probes could be a factor which may limit the use of certain specific combinations. Loading of probes that exhibit interactions into distinct intracellular compartments (i.e. separated by a biological membrane) abolished the quenching effects. These data indicate that interactions between the probes used to simultaneously monitor pH and Ca2+ must be considered whenever probe combinations are used.

Hexokinase isoform I binds to mitochondria of many cell types. It has been hypothesized that this association is regulated by changes in the concentrations of specific cellular metabolites. To study the distribution of hexokinase in living cells, fluorophore-labeled functional hexokinase I was prepared. After microinjection into A7r5 smooth muscle cells, hexokinase localized to distinct structures identified as mitochondria. The endogenous hexokinase demonstrated a similar distribution with the use of immunocytochemistry. 2-Deoxyglucose elicited an increase in glucose 6-phosphate (G-6-P) and a decrease in ATP levels and diminished hexokinase binding to mitochondria in single cells. 3-O-methylglucose elicited slowly developing decreases in all three parameters. In contrast, cyanide elicited a rapid decrease in both ATP and hexokinase binding. Analyses of changes in metabolite levels and hexokinase binding indicate a positive correlation between binding and cell energy state as monitored by ATP. On the other hand, only in the presence of 2-deoxyglucose was the predicted inverse correlation between binding and G-6-P observed. Unlike the relatively large changes in distribution observed with the fluorescent-injected hexokinase, cyanide caused only a small decrease in the localization of endogenous hexokinase with mitochondria. These findings suggest that changes in the concentrations of specific metabolites can alter the binding of hexokinase I to specific sites on mitochondria. Moreover, the apparent difference in sensitivity of injected and endogenous hexokinase to changes in metabolites may reflect the presence of at least two classes of binding mechanisms for hexokinase, with differential sensitivity to metabolites.

Described is a microscopic spectral imaging approach to monitor pH and Ca2+ simultaneously from combined spectra of multiple ion indicators. Emitted light from a cell is focused onto a grating spectrograph and spectra are imaged with a cooled charge-coupled device camera. The combined spectral output of fura 2 and SNARF-1 was analyzed to follow changes in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) and intracellular pH (pHi) simultaneously and to correct the Ca2+ signal for concurrent changes in pHi. Responses of individual hamster insulinoma (HIT-T15) cells to effectors of ion homeostasis were heterogeneous. Treatment with NH4Cl increased pHi and transiently increased [Ca2+]i. Removal of NH4Cl induced cytosolic acidification concomitant with either no change or sustained increases in [Ca2-]i. Glucose treatment generally resulted in rapid and sustained increases in both [Ca2+]i and pHi but also heterogeneous pHi and [Ca2+]i responses. Corrections of the fura 2 signal for pH were important for following Ca2+ transitions elicited by NH4Cl but were less important for glucose-induced responses. The spectral imaging microscope provides a sensitive method for simultaneous measurements of pHi and [Ca2+]i in single cells.

Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) is a conserved master regulator of centriole assembly. Previously, we found that Drosophila Plk4 protein levels are actively suppressed during interphase. Degradation of interphase Plk4 prevents centriole overduplication and is mediated by the ubiquitin-ligase complex SCF(Slimb/βTrCP). Since Plk4 stability depends on its activity, we studied the consequences of inactivating Plk4 or perturbing its phosphorylation state within its Slimb-recognition motif (SRM). Mass spectrometry of in-vitro-phosphorylated Plk4 and Plk4 purified from cells reveals that it is directly responsible for extensively autophosphorylating and generating its Slimb-binding phosphodegron. Phosphorylatable residues within this regulatory region were systematically mutated to determine their impact on Plk4 protein levels and centriole duplication when expressed in S2 cells. Notably, autophosphorylation of a single residue (Ser293) within the SRM is critical for Slimb binding and ubiquitination. Our data also demonstrate that autophosphorylation of numerous residues flanking S293 collectively contribute to establishing a high-affinity binding site for SCF(Slimb). Taken together, our findings suggest that Plk4 directly generates its own phosphodegron and can do so without the assistance of an additional kinase(s).

Dynamic regulation of chromosome structure and organization is critical for fundamental cellular processes such as gene expression and chromosome segregation. Condensins are conserved chromosome-associated proteins that regulate a variety of chromosome dynamics, including axial shortening, lateral compaction, and homolog pairing. However, how the in vivo activities of condensins are regulated and how functional interactors target condensins to chromatin are not well understood. To better understand how Drosophila melanogaster condensin is regulated, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen and identified the chromo-barrel domain protein Mrg15 to interact with the Cap-H2 condensin subunit. Genetic interactions demonstrate that Mrg15 function is required for Cap-H2-mediated unpairing of polytene chromosomes in ovarian nurse cells and salivary gland cells. In diploid tissues, transvection assays demonstrate that Mrg15 inhibits transvection at Ubx and cooperates with Cap-H2 to antagonize transvection at yellow. In cultured cells, we show that levels of chromatin-bound Cap-H2 protein are partially dependent on Mrg15 and that Cap-H2-mediated homolog unpairing is suppressed by RNA interference depletion of Mrg15. Thus, maintenance of interphase chromosome compaction and homolog pairing status requires both Mrg15 and Cap-H2. We propose a model where the Mrg15 and Cap-H2 protein-protein interaction may serve to recruit Cap-H2 to chromatin and facilitates compaction of interphase chromatin.

Condensin complexes play vital roles in chromosome condensation during mitosis and meiosis. Condensin II uniquely localizes to chromatin throughout the cell cycle and, in addition to its mitotic duties, modulates chromosome organization and gene expression during interphase. Mitotic condensin activity is regulated by phosphorylation, but mechanisms that regulate condensin II during interphase are unclear. Here, we report that condensin II is inactivated when its subunit Cap-H2 is targeted for degradation by the SCF(Slimb) ubiquitin ligase complex and that disruption of this process dramatically changed interphase chromatin organization. Inhibition of SCF(Slimb) function reorganized interphase chromosomes into dense, compact domains and disrupted homologue pairing in both cultured Drosophila cells and in vivo, but these effects were rescued by condensin II inactivation. Furthermore, Cap-H2 stabilization distorted nuclear envelopes and dispersed Cid/CENP-A on interphase chromosomes. Therefore, SCF(Slimb)-mediated down-regulation of condensin II is required to maintain proper organization and morphology of the interphase nucleus.

As the main microtubule-organizing centre in animal cells, the centrosome has a fundamental role in cell function. Surrounding the centrioles, the pericentriolar material (PCM) provides a dynamic platform for nucleating microtubules. Although the importance of the PCM is established, its amorphous electron-dense nature has made it refractory to structural investigation. By using SIM and STORM subdiffraction-resolution microscopies to visualize proteins critical for centrosome maturation, we demonstrate that the PCM is organized into two main structural domains: a layer juxtaposed to the centriole wall, and proteins extending farther away from the centriole organized in a matrix. Analysis of Pericentrin-like protein (PLP) reveals that its carboxy terminus is positioned at the centriole wall, it radiates outwards into the matrix and is organized in clusters having quasi-nine-fold symmetry. By RNA-mediated interference (RNAi), we show that PLP fibrils are required for interphase recruitment and proper mitotic assembly of the PCM matrix.

Centrioles are key microtubule polarity determinants. Centriole duplication is tightly controlled to prevent cells from developing multipolar spindles, a situation that promotes chromosomal instability. A conserved component in the duplication pathway is Plk4, a polo kinase family member that localizes to centrioles in M/G1. To limit centriole duplication, Plk4 levels are controlled through trans-autophosphorylation that primes ubiquitination. In contrast to Plks 1-3, Plk4 possesses a unique central region called the "cryptic polo box." Here, we present the crystal structure of this region at 2.3 Å resolution. Surprisingly, the structure reveals two tandem homodimerized polo boxes, PB1-PB2, that form a unique winged architecture. The full PB1-PB2 cassette is required for binding the centriolar protein Asterless as well as robust centriole targeting. Thus, with its C-terminal polo box (PB3), Plk4 has a triple polo box architecture that facilitates oligomerization, targeting, and promotes trans-autophosphorylation, limiting centriole duplication to once per cell cycle.

Centrosomes are organelles involved in generating and organizing the interphase microtubule cytoskeleton, mitotic spindles and cilia. At the centrosome core are a pair of centrioles, structures that act as the duplicating elements of this organelle. Centrioles function to recruit and organize pericentriolar material which nucleates microtubules. While centrioles are relatively simple in construction, the mechanics of centriole biogenesis remain an important yet poorly understood process. More mysterious still are the regulatory mechanisms that oversee centriole assembly. The fidelity of centriole duplication is critical as defects in either the assembly or number of centrioles promote aneuploidy, primary microcephaly, birth defects, ciliopathies and tumorigenesis. In addition, some pathogens employ mechanisms to promote centriole overduplication to the detriment of the host cell. This review summarizes our current understanding of this important topic, highlighting the need for further study if new therapeutics are to be developed to treat diseases arising from defects of centrosome duplication.

A subset of signaling pathways play exceptionally important roles in embryonic and post-embryonic development, and mis-regulation of these pathways occurs in most human cancers. One such pathway is the Wnt pathway. The primary mechanism keeping Wnt signaling off in the absence of ligand is regulated proteasomal destruction of the canonical Wnt effector ßcatenin (or its fly homolog Armadillo). A substantial body of evidence indicates that SCF(βTrCP) mediates βcat destruction, however, an essential role for Roc1 has not been demonstrated in this process, as would be predicted. In addition, other E3 ligases have also been proposed to destroy βcat, suggesting that βcat destruction may be regulated differently in different tissues.

Here we used cultured Drosophila cells, human colon cancer cells, and Drosophila embryos and larvae to explore the machinery that targets Armadillo for destruction. Using RNAi in Drosophila S2 cells to examine which SCF components are essential for Armadillo destruction, we find that Roc1/Roc1a is essential for regulating Armadillo stability, and that in these cells the only F-box protein playing a detectable role is Slimb. Second, we find that while embryonic and larval Drosophila tissues use the same destruction complex proteins, the response of these tissues to destruction complex inactivation differs, with Armadillo levels more elevated in embryos. We provide evidence consistent with the possibility that this is due to differences in armadillo mRNA levels. Third, we find that there is no correlation between the ability of different APC2 mutant proteins to negatively regulate Armadillo levels, and their recently described function in positively-regulating Wnt signaling. Finally, we demonstrate that APC proteins lacking the N-terminal Armadillo-repeat domain cannot restore Armadillo destruction but retain residual function in negatively-regulating Wnt signaling.

We use these data to refine our model for how Wnt signaling is regulated during normal development.

Centriole duplication is a tightly regulated process that must occur only once per cell cycle; otherwise, supernumerary centrioles can induce aneuploidy and tumorigenesis. Plk4 (Polo-like kinase 4) activity initiates centriole duplication and is regulated by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Throughout interphase, Plk4 autophosphorylation triggers its degradation, thus preventing centriole amplification. However, Plk4 activity is required during mitosis for proper centriole duplication, but the mechanism stabilizing mitotic Plk4 is unknown. In this paper, we show that PP2A (Protein Phosphatase 2A(Twins)) counteracts Plk4 autophosphorylation, thus stabilizing Plk4 and promoting centriole duplication. Like Plk4, the protein level of PP2A's regulatory subunit, Twins (Tws), peaks during mitosis and is required for centriole duplication. However, untimely Tws expression stabilizes Plk4 inappropriately, inducing centriole amplification. Paradoxically, expression of tumor-promoting simian virus 40 small tumor antigen (ST), a reported PP2A inhibitor, promotes centrosome amplification by an unknown mechanism. We demonstrate that ST actually mimics Tws function in stabilizing Plk4 and inducing centriole amplification.

Do actin dynamics play an active role in mitotic spindle assembly? A new study demonstrates that cortical actin polymerization assists with the earliest phase of spindle pole migration.

Chromosome movements are linked to the active depolymerization of spindle microtubule (MT) ends. Here we identify the kinesin-13 family member, KLP59D, as a novel and uniquely important regulator of spindle MT dynamics and chromosome motility in Drosophila somatic cells. During prometaphase and metaphase, depletion of KLP59D, which targets to centrosomes and outer kinetochores, suppresses the depolymerization of spindle pole-associated MT minus ends, thereby inhibiting poleward tubulin Flux. Subsequently, during anaphase, loss of KLP59D strongly attenuates chromatid-to-pole motion by suppressing the depolymerization of both minus and plus ends of kinetochore-associated MTs. The mechanism of KLP59D's impact on spindle MT plus and minus ends appears to differ. Our data support a model in which KLP59D directly depolymerizes kinetochore-associated plus ends during anaphase, but influences minus ends indirectly by localizing the pole-associated MT depolymerase KLP10A. Finally, electron microscopy indicates that, unlike the other Drosophila kinesin-13s, KLP59D is largely incapable of oligomerizing into MT-associated rings in vitro, suggesting that such structures are not a requisite feature of kinetochore-based MT disassembly and chromosome movements.

Restricting centriole duplication to once per cell cycle is critical for chromosome segregation and genomic stability, but the mechanisms underlying this block to reduplication are unclear. Genetic analyses have suggested an involvement for Skp/Cullin/F box (SCF)-class ubiquitin ligases in this process. In this study, we describe a mechanism to prevent centriole reduplication in Drosophila melanogaster whereby the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase in complex with the F-box protein Slimb mediates proteolytic degradation of the centrosomal regulatory kinase Plk4. We identified SCF(Slimb) as a regulator of centriole duplication via an RNA interference (RNAi) screen of Cullin-based ubiquitin ligases. We found that Plk4 binds to Slimb and is an SCF(Slimb) target. Both Slimb and Plk4 localize to centrioles, with Plk4 levels highest at mitosis and absent during S phase. Using a Plk4 Slimb-binding mutant and Slimb RNAi, we show that Slimb regulates Plk4 localization to centrioles during interphase, thus regulating centriole number and ensuring the block to centriole reduplication.

Tight regulation of centrosome duplication is critical to ensure that centrosome number doubles once and only once per cell cycle. Superimposed onto this centrosome duplication cycle is a functional centrosome cycle in which they alternate between phases of quiescence and robust microtubule (MT) nucleation and MT-anchoring activities. In vertebrate cycling cells, interphase centrioles accumulate less pericentriolar material (PCM), reducing their MT nucleation capacity. In mitosis, centrosomes mature, accumulating more PCM to increase their nucleation and anchoring capacities to form robust MT asters. Interestingly, functional cycles of centrosomes can be altered to suit the cell's needs. Some interphase centrosomes function as a microtubule-organizing center by increasing their ability to anchor MTs to form centrosomal radial arrays. Other interphase centrosomes maintain their MT nucleation capacity but reduce/eliminate their MT-anchoring capacity. Recent work demonstrates that Drosophila cells take this to the extreme, whereby centrioles lose all detectable PCM during interphase, offering an explanation as to how centrosome-deficient flies develop to adulthood. Drosophila stem cells further modify the functional cycle by differentially regulating their two centrioles - a situation that seems important for stem cell asymmetric divisions, as misregulation of centrosome duplication in stem/progenitor cells can promote tumor formation. Here, we review recent findings that describe variations in the functional cycle of centrosomes.

The replication factors Cdt1 and Cdc6 are essential for origin licensing, a prerequisite for DNA replication initiation. Mechanisms to ensure that metazoan origins initiate once per cell cycle include degradation of Cdt1 during S phase and inhibition of Cdt1 by the geminin protein. Geminin depletion or overexpression of Cdt1 or Cdc6 in human cells causes rereplication, a form of endogenous DNA damage. Rereplication induced by these manipulations is however uneven and incomplete, suggesting that one or more mechanisms restrain rereplication once it begins. We find that both Cdt1 and Cdc6 are degraded in geminin-depleted cells. We further show that Cdt1 degradation in cells that have rereplicated requires the PCNA binding site of Cdt1 and the Cul4(DDB1) ubiquitin ligase, and Cdt1 can induce its own degradation when overproduced. Cdc6 degradation in geminin-depleted cells requires Huwe1, the ubiquitin ligase that regulates Cdc6 after DNA damage. Moreover, perturbations that specifically disrupt Cdt1 and Cdc6 degradation in response to DNA damage exacerbate rereplication when combined with geminin depletion, and this enhanced rereplication occurs in both human cells and in Drosophila melanogaster cells. We conclude that rereplication-associated DNA damage triggers Cdt1 and Cdc6 ubiquitination and destruction, and propose that this pathway represents an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that minimizes the extent of rereplication.

In animal cells, centrosomes nucleate microtubules that form polarized arrays to organize the cytoplasm. Drosophila presents an interesting paradox however, as centrosome-deficient mutant animals develop into viable adults. To understand this discrepancy, we analyzed behaviors of centrosomes and microtubules in Drosophila cells, in culture and in vivo, using a combination of live-cell imaging, electron microscopy, and RNAi. The canonical model of the cycle of centrosome function in animal cells states that centrosomes act as microtubule-organizing centers throughout the cell cycle. Unexpectedly, we found that many Drosophila cell-types display an altered cycle, in which functional centrosomes are only present during cell division. On mitotic exit, centrosomes disassemble producing interphase cells containing centrioles that lack microtubule-nucleating activity. Furthermore, steady-state interphase microtubule levels are not changed by codepleting both gamma-tubulins. However, gamma-tubulin RNAi delays microtubule regrowth after depolymerization, suggesting that it may function partially redundantly with another pathway. Therefore, we examined additional microtubule nucleating factors and found that Mini-spindles, CLIP-190, EB1, or dynein RNAi also delayed microtubule regrowth; surprisingly, this was not further prolonged when we codepleted gamma-tubulins. Taken together, these results modify our view of the cycle of centrosome function and reveal a multi-component acentrosomal microtubule assembly pathway to establish interphase microtubule arrays in Drosophila.

Cultured Drosophila cell lines have become an increasingly popular model system for cell biological and functional genomic studies. One of the most commonly used lines, S2 cells, is particularly useful as it is easy to grow and maintain in the lab, is highly susceptible to gene inhibition using RNAi and is well suited to high-resolution light microscopic assays. Here, we provide protocols for the routine culture and RNAi treatment of S2 cells and methods to prepare these cells for fluorescence microscopy. Using these techniques, loss-of-function experiments may be performed after 4-7 d of RNAi-mediated protein depletion.