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The COPII coat complex, which mediates secretory cargo trafficking from the endoplasmic reticulum, is a key control point for subcellular protein targeting. Because misdirected proteins cannot function, protein sorting by COPII is critical for establishing and maintaining normal cell and tissue homeostasis. Indeed, mutations in COPII genes cause a range of human pathologies, including cranio-lenticulo-sutural dysplasia (CLSD), which is characterized by collagen trafficking defects, craniofacial abnormalities, and skeletal dysmorphology. Detailed knowledge of the COPII pathway is required to understand its role in normal cell physiology and to devise new treatments for disorders in which it is disrupted. However, little is known about how vertebrates dynamically regulate COPII activity in response to developmental, metabolic, or pathological cues. Several COPII proteins are modified by O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc), a dynamic form of intracellular protein glycosylation, but the biochemical and functional effects of these modifications remain unclear. Here, we use a combination of chemical, biochemical, cellular, and genetic approaches to demonstrate that site-specific O-GlcNAcylation of COPII proteins mediates their protein-protein interactions and modulates cargo secretion. In particular, we show that individual O-GlcNAcylation sites of SEC23A, an essential COPII component, are required for its function in human cells and vertebrate development, because mutation of these sites impairs SEC23A-dependent in vivo collagen trafficking and skeletogenesis in a zebrafish model of CLSD. Our results indicate that O-GlcNAc is a conserved and critical regulatory modification in the vertebrate COPII-dependent trafficking pathway.
Craniofacial and skeletal dysmorphologies account for the majority of birth defects. A number of the disease phenotypes have been attributed to abnormal synthesis, maintenance and composition of extracellular matrix (ECM), yet the molecular and cellular mechanisms causing these ECM defects remain poorly understood. The zebrafish feelgood mutant manifests a severely malformed head skeleton and shortened body length due to defects in the maturation stage of chondrocyte development. In vivo analyses reveal a backlog of type II and type IV collagens in rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) similar to those found in coat protein II complex (COPII)-deficient cells. The feelgood mutation hinders collagen deposition in the ECM, but trafficking of small cargos and other large ECM proteins such as laminin to the extracellular space is unaffected. We demonstrate that the zebrafish feelgood mutation causes a single amino acid substitution within the DNA-binding domain of transcription factor Creb3l2. We show that Creb3l2 selectively regulates the expression of genes encoding distinct COPII proteins (sec23a, sec23b and sec24d) but find no evidence for its regulation of sec24c expression. Moreover, we did not detect activation of ER stress response genes despite intracellular accumulation of collagen and prominent skeletal defects. Promoter trans-activation assays show that the Creb3l2 feelgood variant is a hypomorphic allele that retains approximately 50% of its transcriptional activity. Transgenic rescue experiments of the feelgood phenotype restore craniofacial development, illustrating that a precise level of Creb3l2 transcriptional activity is essential for skeletogenesis. Our results indicate that Creb3l2 modulates the availability of COPII machinery in a tissue- and cargo-specific manner. These findings could lead to a better understanding of the etiology of human craniofacial and skeletal birth defects as well as adult-onset diseases that are linked to dysregulated ECM deposition, such as arthritis, fibrosis or osteoporosis.
Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, cell adhesion molecules, cytokines, morphogens and membrane receptors are synthesized in the ER and transported through the Golgi complex to the cell surface and the extracellular space. The first leg in this journey from the ER to Golgi is facilitated by the Coat Protein II (COPII) vesicular carriers. Genetic defects in genes encoding various COPII components cause a broad spectrum of human diseases, from anemia to skeletal deformities. Here, we summarize our findings in zebrafish and discuss how mutations in COPII elements may cause specific cellular and developmental defects.
Protein transport from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi is primarily conducted by coated vesicular carriers such as COPII. Here, we describe zebrafish bulldog mutations that disrupt the function of the cargo adaptor Sec24D, an integral component of the COPII complex. We show that Sec24D is essential for secretion of cartilage matrix proteins, whereas the preceding development of craniofacial primordia and pre-chondrogenic condensations does not depend on this isoform. Bulldog chondrocytes fail to secrete type II collagen and matrilin to extracellular matrix (ECM), but membrane bound receptor beta1-Integrin and Cadherins appear to leave ER in Sec24D-independent fashion. Consequently, Sec24D-deficient cells accumulate proteins in the distended ER, although a subset of ER compartments and Golgi complexes as visualized by electron microscopy and NBD C(6)-ceramide staining appear functional. Consistent with the backlog of proteins in the ER, chondrocytes activate the ER stress response machinery and significantly upregulate BiP transcription. Failure of ECM secretion hinders chondroblast intercalations thus resulting in small and malformed cartilages and severe craniofacial dysmorphology. This defect is specific to Sec24D mutants since knockdown of Sec24C, a close paralog of Sec24D, does not result in craniofacial cartilage dysmorphology. However, craniofacial development in double Sec24C/Sec24D-deficient animals is arrested earlier than in bulldog/sec24d, suggesting that Sec24C can compensate for loss of Sec24D at initial stages of chondrogenesis, but Sec24D is indispensable for chondrocyte maturation. Our study presents the first developmental perspective on Sec24D function and establishes Sec24D as a strong candidate for cartilage maintenance diseases and craniofacial birth defects.
An increasing number of human disorders have been linked to mutations in genes of the secretory pathway. The chemically induced zebrafish crusher variant results in malformed craniofacial skeleton, kinked pectoral fins and a short body length. By positional cloning, we identified a nonsense mutation converting leucine to a stop codon (L402X) in the sec23a gene, an integral component of the COPII complex, which is critical for anterograde protein trafficking between endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Zebrafish crusher mutants develop normally until the onset of craniofacial chondrogenesis. crusher chondrocytes accumulate proteins in a distended endoplasmic reticulum, resulting in severe reduction of cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) deposits, including type II collagen. We demonstrate that the paralogous gene sec23b is also an essential component of the ECM secretory pathway in chondrocytes. In contrast, knockdown of the COPI complex does not hinder craniofacial morphogenesis. As SEC23A lesions cause the cranio-lenticulo-sutural dysplasia syndrome, crusher provides the first vertebrate model system that links the biology of endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi trafficking with a clinically relevant dysmorphology.
Neo1p from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an essential P-type ATPase and potential aminophospholipid translocase (flippase) in the Drs2p family. We have previously implicated Drs2p in protein transport steps in the late secretory pathway requiring ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) and clathrin. Here, we present evidence that epitope-tagged Neo1p localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi complex and is required for a retrograde transport pathway between these organelles. Using conditional alleles of NEO1, we find that loss of Neo1p function causes cargo-specific defects in anterograde protein transport early in the secretory pathway and perturbs glycosylation in the Golgi complex. Rer1-GFP, a protein that cycles between the ER and Golgi complex in COPI and COPII vesicles, is mislocalized to the vacuole in neo1-ts at the nonpermissive temperature. These phenotypes suggest that the anterograde protein transport defect is a secondary consequence of a defect in a COPI-dependent retrograde pathway. We propose that loss of lipid asymmetry in the cis Golgi perturbs retrograde protein transport to the ER.