The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) are mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) that play a pro-tumorigenic role in numerous cancers. ERK1/2 possess two protein-docking sites that are distinct from the active site: the D-recruitment site (DRS) and the F-recruitment site. These docking sites facilitate substrate recognition, intracellular localization, signaling specificity, and protein complex assembly. Targeting these sites on ERK in a therapeutic context may overcome many problems associated with traditional ATP-competitive inhibitors. Here, we identified a new class of inhibitors that target the ERK DRS by screening a synthetic combinatorial library of more than 30 million compounds. The screen detects the competitive displacement of a fluorescent peptide from the DRS of ERK2. The top molecular scaffold from the screen was optimized for structure-activity relationship by positional scanning of different functional groups. This resulted in 10 compounds with similar binding affinities and a shared core structure consisting of a tertiary amine hub with three functionalized cyclic guanidino branches. Compound 2507-1 inhibited ERK2 from phosphorylating a DRS-targeting substrate and prevented the phosphorylation of ERK2 by a constitutively active MEK1 (MAPK/ERK kinase 1) mutant. Interaction between an analogue, 2507-8, and the ERK2 DRS was confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography. 2507-8 forms critical interactions at the common docking domain residue Asp319 via an arginine-like moiety that is shared by all 10 hits, suggesting a common binding mode. The structural and biochemical insights reported here provide the basis for developing new ERK inhibitors that are not ATP-competitive but instead function by disrupting critical protein-protein interactions.
Scaffold proteins tether and orient components of a signaling cascade to facilitate signaling. Although much is known about how scaffolds colocalize signaling proteins, it is unclear whether scaffolds promote signal amplification. Here, we used arrestin-3, a scaffold of the ASK1-MKK4/7-JNK3 cascade, as a model to understand signal amplification by a scaffold protein. We found that arrestin-3 exhibited >15-fold higher affinity for inactive JNK3 than for active JNK3, and this change involved a shift in the binding site following JNK3 activation. We used systems biochemistry modeling and Bayesian inference to evaluate how the activation of upstream kinases contributed to JNK3 phosphorylation. Our combined experimental and computational approach suggested that the catalytic phosphorylation rate of JNK3 at Thr-221 by MKK7 is two orders of magnitude faster than the corresponding phosphorylation of Tyr-223 by MKK4 with or without arrestin-3. Finally, we showed that the release of activated JNK3 was critical for signal amplification. Collectively, our data suggest a "conveyor belt" mechanism for signal amplification by scaffold proteins. This mechanism informs on a long-standing mystery for how few upstream kinase molecules activate numerous downstream kinases to amplify signaling.
A unique aspect of arrestin-3 is its ability to support both receptor-dependent and receptor-independent signaling. Here, we show that inositol hexakisphosphate (IP) is a non-receptor activator of arrestin-3 and report the structure of IP-activated arrestin-3 at 2.4-Å resolution. IP-activated arrestin-3 exhibits an inter-domain twist and a displaced C-tail, hallmarks of active arrestin. IP binds to the arrestin phosphate sensor, and is stabilized by trimerization. Analysis of the trimerization surface, which is also the receptor-binding surface, suggests a feature called the finger loop as a key region of the activation sensor. We show that finger loop helicity and flexibility may underlie coupling to hundreds of diverse receptors and also promote arrestin-3 activation by IP. Importantly, we show that effector-binding sites on arrestins have distinct conformations in the basal and activated states, acting as switch regions. These switch regions may work with the inter-domain twist to initiate and direct arrestin-mediated signaling.
Kinases downstream of B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) represent attractive targets for therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). As clinical responses vary, improved knowledge regarding activation and regulation of BCR signaling in individual patients is needed. Here, using phosphospecific flow cytometry to obtain malignant B-cell signaling profiles from 95 patients representing 4 types of NHL revealed a striking contrast between chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) tumors. Lymphoma cells from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients had high basal phosphorylation levels of most measured signaling nodes, whereas follicular lymphoma cells represented the opposite pattern with no or very low basal levels. MCL showed large interpatient variability in basal levels, and elevated levels for the phosphorylated forms of AKT, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, STAT1, and STAT5 were associated with poor outcome. CLL tumors had elevated basal levels for the phosphorylated forms of BCR-signaling nodes (Src family tyrosine kinase, spleen tyrosine kinase [SYK], phospholipase Cγ), but had low α-BCR-induced signaling. This contrasted MCL tumors, where α-BCR-induced signaling was variable, but significantly potentiated as compared with the other types. Overexpression of CD79B, combined with a gating strategy whereby signaling output was directly quantified per cell as a function of CD79B levels, confirmed a direct relationship between surface CD79B, immunoglobulin M (IgM), and IgM-induced signaling levels. Furthermore, α-BCR-induced signaling strength was variable across patient samples and correlated with BCR subunit CD79B expression, but was inversely correlated with susceptibility to Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) and SYK inhibitors in MCL. These individual differences in BCR levels and signaling might relate to differences in therapy responses to BCR-pathway inhibitors.
© 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.
Three-kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades are present in virtually all eukaryotic cells. MAPK cascades are organized by scaffold proteins, which assemble cognate kinases into productive signaling complexes. Arrestin-3 facilitates JNK activation in cells, and a short 25-residue arrestin-3 peptide was identified as the critical JNK3-binding element. Here we demonstrate that this peptide also binds MKK4, MKK7, and ASK1, which are upstream JNK3-activating kinases. This peptide is sufficient to enhance JNK3 activity in cells. A homologous arrestin-2 peptide, which differs only in four positions, binds MKK4, but not MKK7 or JNK3, and is ineffective in cells at enhancing activation of JNK3. The arrestin-3 peptide is the smallest MAPK scaffold known. This peptide or its mimics can regulate MAPKs, affecting cellular decisions to live or die.
CacyBP/SIP [calcyclin-binding protein/Siah-1 [seven in absentia homolog 1 (Siah E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1)] interacting protein] is a multifunctional protein whose activity includes acting as an ERK1/2 phosphatase. We analyzed dimerization of mouse CacyBP/SIP in vitro and in mouse neuroblastoma cell line (NB2a) cells, as well as the structure of a full-length protein. Moreover, we searched for the CacyBP/SIP domain important for dimerization and dephosphorylation of ERK2, and we analyzed the role of dimerization in ERK1/2 signaling in NB2a cells. Cell-based assays showed that CacyBP/SIP forms a homodimer in NB2a cell lysate, and biophysical methods demonstrated that CacyBP/SIP forms a stable dimer in vitro. Data obtained using small-angle X-ray scattering supported a model in which CacyBP/SIP occupies an anti-parallel orientation mediated by the N-terminal dimerization domain. Site-directed mutagenesis established that the N-terminal domain is indispensable for full phosphatase activity of CacyBP/SIP. We also demonstrated that the oligomerization state of CacyBP/SIP as well as the level of post-translational modifications and subcellular distribution of CacyBP/SIP change after activation of the ERK1/2 pathway in NB2a cells due to oxidative stress. Together, our results suggest that dimerization is important for controlling phosphatase activity of CacyBP/SIP and for regulating the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is an effective treatment for obesity. Importantly, weight loss following RYGB is thought to result in part from changes in brain-mediated regulation of appetite and food intake. Dopamine (DA) within the dorsal striatum plays an important role in feeding behavior; we therefore hypothesized that RYGB alters DA homeostasis in this subcortical region. In the current study, obese RYGB-operated mice consumed significantly less of a high-fat diet, weighed less by the end of the study, and exhibited lower adiposity than obese sham-operated mice. Interestingly, both RYGB and caloric restriction (pair feeding) resulted in elevated DA and reduced norepinephrine (NE) tissue levels compared with ad libitum fed sham animals. Consequently, the ratio of NE to DA, a measure of DA turnover, was significantly reduced in both of these groups. The RYGB mice additionally exhibited a significant increase in phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase at position Ser31, a key regulatory site of DA synthesis. This increase was associated with augmented expression of extracellular-signal-regulated kinases ERK1/2, the kinase targeting Ser31. Additionally, RYGB has been shown in animal models and humans to improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. Curiously, we noted a significant increase in the expression of insulin receptor-β in RYGB animals in striatum (a glucosensing brain region) compared to sham ad libitum fed mice. These data demonstrate that RYGB surgery is associated with altered monoamine homeostasis at the level of the dorsal striatum, thus providing a critical foundation for future studies exploring central mechanisms of weight loss in RYGB.
The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) transcriptional program is characterized by repression of E-cadherin (CDH1) and induction of N-cadherin (CDH2), and mesenchymal genes like vimentin (VIM). Placenta-specific 8 (PLAC8) has been implicated in colon cancer; however, how PLAC8 contributes to disease is unknown, and endogenous PLAC8 protein has not been studied. We analyzed zebrafish and human tissues and found that endogenous PLAC8 localizes to the apical domain of differentiated intestinal epithelium. Colon cancer cells with elevated PLAC8 levels exhibited EMT features, including increased expression of VIM and zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), aberrant cell motility, and increased invasiveness. In contrast to classical EMT, PLAC8 overexpression reduced cell surface CDH1 and upregulated P-cadherin (CDH3) without affecting CDH2 expression. PLAC8-induced EMT was linked to increased phosphorylated ERK2 (p-ERK2), and ERK2 knockdown restored cell surface CDH1 and suppressed CDH3, VIM, and ZEB1 upregulation. In vitro, PLAC8 directly bound and inactivated the ERK2 phosphatase DUSP6, thereby increasing p-ERK2. In a murine xenograft model, knockdown of endogenous PLAC8 in colon cancer cells resulted in smaller tumors, reduced local invasion, and decreased p-ERK2. Using MultiOmyx, a multiplex immunofluorescence-based methodology, we observed coexpression of cytosolic PLAC8, CDH3, and VIM at the leading edge of a human colorectal tumor, supporting a role for PLAC8 in cancer invasion in vivo.
Although arrestins bind dozens of non-receptor partners, the interaction sites for most signaling proteins remain unknown. Here we report the identification of arrestin-3 elements involved in binding MAP kinase JNK3α2. Using purified JNK3α2 and MBP fusions containing separated arrestin-3 domains and peptides exposed on the non-receptor-binding surface of arrestin-3 we showed that both domains bind JNK3α2 and identified one element on the N-domain and two on the C-domain that directly interact with JNK3α2. Using in vitro competition we confirmed that JNK3α2 engages identified N-domain element and one of the C-domain peptides in the full-length arrestin-3. The 25-amino acid N-domain element has the highest affinity for JNK3α2, suggesting that it is the key site for JNK3α2 docking. The identification of elements involved in protein-protein interactions paves the way to targeted redesign of signaling proteins to modulate cell signaling in desired ways. The tools and methods developed here to elucidate the molecular mechanism of arrestin-3 interactions with JNK3α2 are suitable for mapping of arrestin-3 sites involved in interactions with other partners.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The activity of all mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) is stimulated via phosphorylation by upstream MAPK kinases (MAPKK), which are in their turn activated via phosphorylation by MAPKK kinases (MAPKKKs). The cells ensure the specificity of signaling in these cascades by employing a variety of scaffolding proteins that bind matching MAPKKKs, MAPKKs, and MAPKs. All four vertebrate arrestin subtypes bind JNK3, but only arrestin-3 serves as a scaffold, promoting JNK3 activation in intact cells. Arrestin-3-mediated JNK3 activation does not depend on arrestin-3 interaction with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), as demonstrated by the ability of some arrestin mutants that cannot bind receptors to activate JNK3, whereas certain mutants with enhanced GPCR binding fail to promote JNK3 activation. Recent findings suggest that arrestin-3 directly binds both MAPKKs necessary for JNK activation and facilitates JNK3 phosphorylation at both Thr (by MKK4) and Tyr (by MKK7). JNK3 is expressed in a limited set of cell types, whereas JNK1 and JNK2 isoforms are as ubiquitous as arrestin-3. Recent study showed that arrestin-3 facilitates the activation of JNK1 and JNK2, scaffolding MKK4/7-JNK1/2/3 signaling complexes. In all cases, arrestin-3 acts by bringing the kinases together: JNK phosphorylation shows biphasic dependence on arrestin-3, being enhanced at lower and suppressed at supraoptimal concentrations. Thus, arrestin-3 regulates the activity of multiple JNK isoforms, suggesting that it might play a role in survival and apoptosis of all cell types.