Although Merlin’s function as a tumor suppressor and regulator of mitogenic signaling networks such as the Ras/rac, Akt, and Hippo pathways is well-documented, in mammals as well as in insects, its role during cell cycle progression remains unclear. In this study, using a combination of approaches, including FACS analysis, time-lapse imaging, immunofluorescence microscopy, and co-immunoprecipitation, we show that Ser-518 of Merlin is a substrate of the Aurora protein kinase A during mitosis and that its phosphorylation facilitates the phosphorylation of a newly discovered site, Thr-581. We found that the expression in HeLa cells of a Merlin variant that is phosphorylation-defective on both sites leads to a defect in centrosomes and mitotic spindles positioning during metaphase and delays the transition from metaphase to anaphase. We also show that the dual mitotic phosphorylation not only reduces Merlin binding to microtubules but also timely modulates ezrin interaction with the cytoskeleton. Finally, we identify several point mutants of Merlin associated with neurofibromatosis type 2 that display an aberrant phosphorylation profile along with defective α-tubulin-binding properties. Altogether, our findings of an Aurora A-mediated interaction of Merlin with α-tubulin and ezrin suggest a potential role for Merlin in cell cycle progression.
Clathrin function directly derives from its coat structure, and while endocytosis is mediated by clathrin-coated pits, large plaques contribute to cell adhesion. Here, we show that the alternative splicing of a single exon of the clathrin heavy chain gene (CLTC exon 31) helps determine the clathrin coat organization. Direct genetic control was demonstrated by forced CLTC exon 31 skipping in muscle cells that reverses the plasma membrane content from clathrin plaques to pits and by promoting exon inclusion that stimulated flat plaque assembly. Interestingly, mis-splicing of CLTC exon 31 found in the severe congenital form of myotonic dystrophy was associated with reduced plaques in patient myotubes. Moreover, forced exclusion of this exon in WT mice muscle induced structural disorganization and reduced force, highlighting the contribution of this splicing event for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. This genetic control on clathrin assembly should influence the way we consider how plasticity in clathrin-coated structures is involved in muscle development and maintenance.
Tumor cells exposed to a physiological matrix of type I collagen fibers form elongated collagenolytic invadopodia, which differ from dotty-like invadopodia forming on the gelatin substratum model. The related scaffold proteins, TKS5 and TKS4, are key components of the mechanism of invadopodia assembly. The molecular events through which TKS proteins direct collagenolytic invadopodia formation are poorly defined. Using coimmunoprecipitation experiments, identification of bound proteins by mass spectrometry, and in vitro pull-down experiments, we found an interaction between TKS5 and FGD1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the Rho-GTPase CDC42, which is known for its role in the assembly of invadopodial actin core structure. A novel cell polarity network is uncovered comprising TKS5, FGD1, and CDC42, directing invadopodia formation and the polarization of MT1-MMP recycling compartments, required for invadopodia activity and invasion in a 3D collagen matrix. Additionally, our data unveil distinct signaling pathways involved in collagenolytic invadopodia formation downstream of TKS4 or TKS5 in breast cancer cells.
Arterial cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death in patients with JAK2V617F myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). However, their mechanisms are poorly understood. The high prevalence of myocardial infarction without significant coronary stenosis or atherosclerosis in patients with MPNs suggests that vascular function is altered. The consequences of JAK2V617F mutation on vascular reactivity are unknown. We observe here increased responses to vasoconstrictors in arteries from Jak2V617F mice resulting from a disturbed endothelial NO pathway and increased endothelial oxidative stress. This response was reproduced in WT mice by circulating microvesicles isolated from patients carrying JAK2V617F and by erythrocyte-derived microvesicles from transgenic mice. Microvesicles of other cellular origins had no effect. This effect was observed ex vivo on isolated aortas, but also in vivo on femoral arteries. Proteomic analysis of microvesicles derived from JAK2V617F erythrocytes identified increased expression of myeloperoxidase as the likely mechanism accounting for their effect. Myeloperoxidase inhibition in microvesicles derived from JAK2V617F erythrocytes suppressed their effect on oxidative stress. Antioxidants such as simvastatin and N-acetyl cysteine improved arterial dysfunction in Jak2V617F mice. In conclusion, JAK2V617F MPNs are characterized by exacerbated vasoconstrictor responses resulting from increased endothelial oxidative stress caused by circulating erythrocyte-derived microvesicles. Simvastatin appears to be a promising therapeutic strategy in this setting.
Cancer cells from different origins exhibit various basal redox statuses and thus respond differently to intrinsic or extrinsic oxidative stress. These intricate characteristics condition the success of redox-based anticancer therapies that capitalize on the ability of reactive oxygen species to achieve selective and efficient cancer cell killing.
Leishmaniases are major vector-borne tropical diseases responsible for great human morbidity and mortality, caused by protozoan, trypanosomatid parasites of the genus Leishmania. In the mammalian host, parasites survive and multiply within mononuclear phagocytes, especially macrophages. However, the underlying mechanisms by which Leishmania spp. affect their host are not fully understood. Herein, proteomic alterations of primary, bone marrow-derived BALB/c macrophages are documented after 72 h of infection with Leishmania donovani insect-stage promastigotes, applying a SILAC-based, quantitative proteomics approach. The protocol was optimised by combining strong anion exchange and gel electrophoresis fractionation that displayed similar depth of analysis (combined total of 6189 mouse proteins). Our analyses revealed 86 differentially modulated proteins (35 showing increased and 51 decreased abundance) in response to Leishmania donovani infection. The proteomics results were validated by analysing the abundance of selected proteins. Intracellular Leishmania donovani infection led to changes in various host cell biological processes, including primary metabolism and catabolic process, with a significant enrichment in lysosomal organisation. Overall, our analysis establishes the first proteome of bona fide primary macrophages infected ex vivo with Leishmania donovani, revealing new mechanisms acting at the host/pathogen interface. SIGNIFICANCE: Little is known on proteome changes that occur in primary macrophages after Leishmania donovani infection. This study describes a SILAC-based quantitative proteomics approach to characterise changes of bone marrow-derived macrophages infected with L. donovani promastigotes for 72 h. With the application of SILAC and the use of SAX and GEL fractionation methods, we have tested new routes for proteome quantification of primary macrophages. The protocols developed here can be applicable to other diseases and pathologies. Moreover, this study sheds important new light on the « proteomic reprogramming » of infected macrophages in response to L. donovani promastigotes that affects primary metabolism, cellular catabolic processes, and lysosomal/vacuole organisation. Thus, our study reveals key molecules and processes that act at the host/pathogen interface that may inform on new immuno- or chemotherapeutic interventions to combat leishmaniasis.
Mutually exclusive expression of the var multigene family is key to immune evasion and pathogenesis in Plasmodium falciparum, but few factors have been shown to play a direct role. We adapted a CRISPR-based proteomics approach to identify novel factors associated with var genes in their natural chromatin context. Catalytically inactive Cas9 (« dCas9 ») was targeted to var gene regulatory elements, immunoprecipitated, and analyzed with mass spectrometry. Known and novel factors were enriched including structural proteins, DNA helicases, and chromatin remodelers. Functional characterization of PfISWI, an evolutionarily divergent putative chromatin remodeler enriched at the var gene promoter, revealed a role in transcriptional activation. Proteomics of PfISWI identified several proteins enriched at the var gene promoter such as acetyl-CoA synthetase, a putative MORC protein, and an ApiAP2 transcription factor. These findings validate the CRISPR/dCas9 proteomics method and define a new var gene-associated chromatin complex. This study establishes a tool for targeted chromatin purification of unaltered genomic loci and identifies novel chromatin-associated factors potentially involved in transcriptional control and/or chromatin organization of virulence genes in the human malaria parasite.
PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) promote fertility in many animals. However, whether this is due to their conserved role in repressing repetitive elements (REs) remains unclear. Here, we show that the progressive loss of fertility in Caenorhabditis elegans lacking piRNAs is not caused by derepression of REs or other piRNA targets but, rather, is mediated by epigenetic silencing of all of the replicative histone genes. In the absence of piRNAs, downstream components of the piRNA pathway relocalize from germ granules and piRNA targets to histone mRNAs to synthesize antisense small RNAs (sRNAs) and induce transgenerational silencing. Removal of the downstream components of the piRNA pathway restores histone mRNA expression and fertility in piRNA mutants, and the inheritance of histone sRNAs in wild-type worms adversely affects their fertility for multiple generations. We conclude that sRNA-mediated silencing of histone genes impairs the fertility of piRNA mutants and may serve to maintain piRNAs across evolution.
Vertebrates exhibit specific requirements for replicative H3 and non-replicative H3.3 variants during development. To disentangle whether this involves distinct modes of deposition or unique functions once incorporated into chromatin, we combined studies in Xenopus early development with chromatin assays. Here we investigate the extent to which H3.3 mutated at residues that differ from H3.2 rescue developmental defects caused by H3.3 depletion. Regardless of the deposition pathway, only variants at residue 31-a serine that can become phosphorylated-failed to rescue endogenous H3.3 depletion. Although an alanine substitution fails to rescue H3.3 depletion, a phospho-mimic aspartate residue at position 31 rescues H3.3 function. To explore mechanisms involving H3.3 S31 phosphorylation, we identified factors attracted or repulsed by the presence of aspartate at position 31, along with modifications on neighboring residues. We propose that serine 31-phosphorylated H3.3 acts as a signaling module that stimulates the acetylation of K27, providing a chromatin state permissive to the embryonic development program.
Fine orchestration of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic development is required for normal brain function, and alterations may cause neurodevelopmental disorders. Using sparse molecular manipulations in intact brain circuits, we show that the glutamate receptor delta-1 (GluD1), a member of ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), is a postsynaptic organizer of inhibitory synapses in cortical pyramidal neurons. GluD1 is selectively required for the formation of inhibitory synapses and regulates GABAergic synaptic transmission accordingly. At inhibitory synapses, GluD1 interacts with cerebellin-4, an extracellular scaffolding protein secreted by somatostatin-expressing interneurons, which bridges postsynaptic GluD1 and presynaptic neurexins. When binding to its agonist glycine or D-serine, GluD1 elicits non-ionotropic postsynaptic signaling involving the guanine nucleotide exchange factor ARHGEF12 and the regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 1 PPP1R12A. Thus, GluD1 defines a trans-synaptic interaction regulating postsynaptic signaling pathways for the proper establishment of cortical inhibitory connectivity and challenges the dichotomy between iGluRs and inhibitory synaptic molecules.
In multicellular organisms, Polycomb Repressive Complex2 (PRC2) is known to deposit tri-methylation of lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) to establish and maintain gene silencing, critical for developmentally regulated processes. The PRC2 complex is absent in both widely studied model yeasts, which initially suggested that PRC2 arose with the emergence of multicellularity. However, its discovery in several unicellular species including microalgae questions its role in unicellular eukaryotes. Here, we use Phaeodactylum tricornutum enhancer of zeste E(z) knockouts and show that P. tricornutum E(z) is responsible for di- and tri-methylation of lysine 27 of histone H3. H3K27me3 depletion abolishes cell morphology in P. tricornutum providing evidence for its role in cell differentiation. Genome-wide profiling of H3K27me3 in fusiform and triradiate cells further revealed genes that may specify cell identity. These results suggest a role for PRC2 and its associated mark in cell differentiation in unicellular species, and highlight their ancestral function in a broader evolutionary context than currently is appreciated.
Intracellular trafficking pathways in eukaryotic cells are essential to maintain organelle identity and structure, and to regulate cell communication with its environment. invades and subverts the human colonic epithelium by the injection of virulence factors through a type 3 secretion system (T3SS). In this work, we report the multiple effects of two effectors, IpaJ and VirA, which target small GTPases of the Arf and Rab families, consequently inhibiting several intracellular trafficking pathways. IpaJ and VirA induce large-scale impairment of host protein secretion and block the recycling of surface receptors. Moreover, these two effectors decrease clathrin-dependent and -independent endocytosis. Therefore, infection induces a global blockage of host cell intracellular transport, affecting the exchange between cells and their external environment. The combined action of these effectors disorganizes the epithelial cell polarity, disturbs epithelial barrier integrity, promotes multiple invasion events, and enhances the pathogen capacity to penetrate into the colonic tissue in vivo.
Leishmania parasites are thought to control protein activity at the post-translational level, e.g. by protein phosphorylation. In the pathogenic amastigote, the mammalian stage of Leishmania parasites, heat shock proteins show increased phosphorylation, indicating a role in stage-specific signal transduction. Here we investigate the impact of phosphosites in the L. donovani heat shock protein 90. Using a chemical knock-down/genetic complementation approach, we mutated 11 confirmed or presumed phosphorylation sites and assessed the impact on overall fitness, morphology and in vitro infectivity. Most phosphosite mutations affected the growth and morphology of promastigotes in vitro, but with one exception, none of the phosphorylation site mutants had a selective impact on the in vitro infection of macrophages. Surprisingly, aspartate replacements mimicking the negative charge of phosphorylated serines or threonines had mostly negative impacts on viability and infectivity. HSP90 is a substrate for casein kinase 1.2-catalysed phosphorylation in vitro. While several putative phosphosite mutations abrogated casein kinase 1.2 activity on HSP90, only Ser could be identified as casein kinase target by mass spectrometry. In summary, our data show HSP90 as a downstream client of phosphorylation-mediated signalling in an organism that depends on post-transcriptional gene regulation.
The current consensus recognizes four main medulloblastoma subgroups (wingless, Sonic hedgehog, group 3 and group 4). While medulloblastoma subgroups have been characterized extensively at the (epi-)genomic and transcriptomic levels, the proteome and phosphoproteome landscape remain to be comprehensively elucidated. Using quantitative (phospho)-proteomics in primary human medulloblastomas, we unravel distinct posttranscriptional regulation leading to highly divergent oncogenic signaling and kinase activity profiles in groups 3 and 4 medulloblastomas. Specifically, proteomic and phosphoproteomic analyses identify aberrant ERBB4-SRC signaling in group 4. Hence, enforced expression of an activated SRC combined with p53 inactivation induces murine tumors that resemble group 4 medulloblastoma. Therefore, our integrative proteogenomics approach unveils an oncogenic pathway and potential therapeutic vulnerability in the most common medulloblastoma subgroup.
Institut Curie comprises a hospital and a world-class multidisciplinary research center combining
research in cell biology, genetics, epigenetics, immunology, soft matter physics, organic and medicinal
chemistry. It includes over 3,300 researchers, physicians, clinicians, technicians and administrative staff
working on three sites: Paris, Orsay and Saint-Cloud. Its core facilities include advanced imaging, high
throughput sequencing, bioinformatics, reverse phase protein array, proteomics and mass spectrometry,
antibody technologies, cytometry, and animal housing ((https://science.institut-curie.org/platforms). In
addition, the hospital proximity allows access to large clinical databases and sample collections. The
Institute is engaged in international partnerships, including the EU-Life alliance (https://eu-life.eu/) and
the LifeTime initiative (https://lifetime-initiative.eu/).
Institut Curie is supporting the recruitment of a Junior Group Leader in the « Genome Integrity, RNA
and Cancer » Unit, located on its research site of Orsay (south Paris), in an exceptional scientific
environment within the campus of the Paris Saclay University.
The « Genome Integrity, RNA and Cancer » Unit is broadly interested in genome integrity and gene
expression. This Unit is in a unique position to describe molecular/cellular mechanisms that
underlie genome biology at unprecedented levels thanks to in-house complementary expertise in DNA
replication, recombination and repair, RNA biology, cytoskeleton, control of cell division and
cancer biology. Website of the Unit.
The newly recruited group leader will benefit from state-of-the-art research equipment. Appropriate
laboratory space for 6-7 people and a start-up package will be available.
Please send a personal statement explaining why you are interested in joining the « Genome Integrity,
RNA and Cancer » Unit, a 3-page research plan, a full CV detailing publication, patents, invited
conferences, awards, grants, training, teaching experience and contact details of at least 3 individuals
who can be contacted for recommendation letters. Successful candidates should meet criteria to compete
for national and international funding, and for French institutional research positions (CNRS, INSERM
or University). Short listed candidates will be invited to present their past achievements and future
research program in May 2021.
Applications to be sent at: – Deadline: April 25th, 2021
For information, please contact: Stéphan Vagner ()
Institut Curie is an inclusive, equal opportunities employer and is dedicated to the highest standards of research integrity.