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infection is the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea and is mediated by the actions of two toxins, TcdA and TcdB. The toxins perturb host cell function through a multistep process of receptor binding, endocytosis, low pH-induced pore formation, and the translocation and delivery of an N-terminal glucosyltransferase domain that inactivates host GTPases. Infection studies with isogenic strains having defined toxin deletions have established TcdB as an important target for therapeutic development. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize TcdB function have been shown to protect against infection in animal models and reduce recurrence in humans. Here, we report the mechanism of TcdB neutralization by PA41, a humanized monoclonal antibody capable of neutralizing TcdB from a diverse array of strains. Through a combination of structural, biochemical, and cell functional studies, involving X-ray crystallography and EM, we show that PA41 recognizes a single, highly conserved epitope on the TcdB glucosyltransferase domain and blocks productive translocation and delivery of the enzymatic cargo into the host cell. Our study reveals a unique mechanism of toxin neutralization by a monoclonal antibody, which involves targeting a process that is conserved across the large clostridial glucosylating toxins. The PA41 antibody described here provides a valuable tool for dissecting the mechanism of toxin pore formation and translocation across the endosomal membrane.
Arrestins recruit a variety of signaling proteins to active phosphorylated G protein-coupled receptors in the plasma membrane and to the cytoskeleton. Loss of arrestins leads to decreased cell migration, altered cell shape, and an increase in focal adhesions. Small GTPases of the Rho family are molecular switches that regulate actin cytoskeleton and affect a variety of dynamic cellular functions including cell migration and cell morphology. Here we show that non-visual arrestins differentially regulate RhoA and Rac1 activity to promote cell spreading via actin reorganization, and focal adhesion formation via two distinct mechanisms. Arrestins regulate these small GTPases independently of G-protein-coupled receptor activation.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Apicobasal polarity is known to affect epithelial morphogenesis and cell differentiation, but it remains unknown how these processes are mechanistically orchestrated. We find that ligand-specific EGFR signalling via PI(3)K and Rac1 autonomously modulates apicobasal polarity to enforce the sequential control of morphogenesis and cell differentiation. Initially, EGF controls pancreatic tubulogenesis by negatively regulating apical polarity induction. Subsequently, betacellulin, working via inhibition of atypical protein kinase C (aPKC), causes apical domain constriction within neurogenin3 endocrine progenitors, which results in reduced Notch signalling, increased neurogenin3 expression, and β-cell differentiation. Notably, the ligand-specific EGFR output is not driven at the ligand level, but seems to have evolved in response to stage-specific epithelial influences. The EGFR-mediated control of β-cell differentiation via apical polarity is also conserved in human neurogenin3 cells. We provide insight into how ligand-specific EGFR signalling coordinates epithelial morphogenesis and cell differentiation via apical polarity dynamics.
BACKGROUND - The importance of the mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) signaling complex in tumor progression is becoming increasingly recognized. HER2-amplified breast cancers use Rictor/mTORC2 signaling to drive tumor formation, tumor cell survival and resistance to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapy. Cell motility, a key step in the metastatic process, can be activated by mTORC2 in luminal and triple negative breast cancer cell lines, but its role in promoting metastases from HER2-amplified breast cancers is not yet clear.
METHODS - Because Rictor is an obligate cofactor of mTORC2, we genetically engineered Rictor ablation or overexpression in mouse and human HER2-amplified breast cancer models for modulation of mTORC2 activity. Signaling through mTORC2-dependent pathways was also manipulated using pharmacological inhibitors of mTOR, Akt, and Rac. Signaling was assessed by western analysis and biochemical pull-down assays specific for Rac-GTP and for active Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs). Metastases were assessed from spontaneous tumors and from intravenously delivered tumor cells. Motility and invasion of cells was assessed using Matrigel-coated transwell assays.
RESULTS - We found that Rictor ablation potently impaired, while Rictor overexpression increased, metastasis in spontaneous and intravenously seeded models of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers. Additionally, migration and invasion of HER2-amplified human breast cancer cells was diminished in the absence of Rictor, or upon pharmacological mTOR kinase inhibition. Active Rac1 was required for Rictor-dependent invasion and motility, which rescued invasion/motility in Rictor depleted cells. Rictor/mTORC2-dependent dampening of the endogenous Rac1 inhibitor RhoGDI2, a factor that correlated directly with increased overall survival in HER2-amplified breast cancer patients, promoted Rac1 activity and tumor cell invasion/migration. The mTORC2 substrate Akt did not affect RhoGDI2 dampening, but partially increased Rac1 activity through the Rac-GEF Tiam1, thus partially rescuing cell invasion/motility. The mTORC2 effector protein kinase C (PKC)α did rescue Rictor-mediated RhoGDI2 downregulation, partially rescuing Rac-guanosine triphosphate (GTP) and migration/motility.
CONCLUSION - These findings suggest that mTORC2 uses two coordinated pathways to activate cell invasion/motility, both of which converge on Rac1. Akt signaling activates Rac1 through the Rac-GEF Tiam1, while PKC signaling dampens expression of the endogenous Rac1 inhibitor, RhoGDI2.
Akt phosphorylation is a major driver of cell survival, motility, and proliferation in development and disease, causing increased interest in upstream regulators of Akt like mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). We used genetic disruption of Rictor to impair mTORC2 activity in mouse mammary epithelia, which decreased Akt phosphorylation, ductal length, secondary branching, cell motility, and cell survival. These effects were recapitulated with a pharmacological dual inhibitor of mTORC1/mTORC2, but not upon genetic disruption of mTORC1 function via Raptor deletion. Surprisingly, Akt re-activation was not sufficient to rescue cell survival or invasion, and modestly increased branching of mTORC2-impaired mammary epithelial cells (MECs) in culture and in vivo. However, another mTORC2 substrate, protein kinase C (PKC)-alpha, fully rescued mTORC2-impaired MEC branching, invasion, and survival, as well as branching morphogenesis in vivo. PKC-alpha-mediated signaling through the small GTPase Rac1 was necessary for mTORC2-dependent mammary epithelial development during puberty, revealing a novel role for Rictor/mTORC2 in MEC survival and motility during branching morphogenesis through a PKC-alpha/Rac1-dependent mechanism.
Macrophage apoptosis and efferocytosis are key determinants of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation and necrosis. Bone marrow transplantation studies in ApoE- and LDLR-deficient mice revealed that hematopoietic scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) deficiency results in severely defective efferocytosis in mouse atherosclerotic lesions, resulting in a 17-fold higher ratio of free to macrophage-associated dead cells in lesions containing SR-BI(-/-) cells, 5-fold more necrosis, 65.2% less lesional collagen content, nearly 7-fold higher dead cell accumulation, and 2-fold larger lesion area. Hematopoietic SR-BI deletion elicited a maladaptive inflammatory response [higher interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α lower IL-10 and transforming growth factor β]. Efferocytosis of apoptotic thymocytes was reduced by 64% in SR-BI(-/-) versus WT macrophages, both in vitro and in vivo. In response to apoptotic cells, macrophage SR-BI bound with phosphatidylserine and induced Src phosphorylation and cell membrane recruitment, which led to downstream activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) for engulfment and clearance of apoptotic cells, as inhibition of Src decreased PI3K, Rac1-GTP, and efferocytosis in WT cells. Pharmacological inhibition of Rac1 reduced macrophage efferocytosis in a SR-BI-dependent fashion, and activation of Rac1 corrected the defective efferocytosis in SR-BI(-/-) macrophages. Thus, deficiency of macrophage SR-BI promotes defective efferocytosis signaling via the Src/PI3K/Rac1 pathway, resulting in increased plaque size, necrosis, and inflammation.
Copyright © 2015 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Toxemia can develop in Clostridium difficile-infected animals, and correlates with severe and fulminant disease outcomes. Circumstantial evidence suggests that toxemia may occur in patients with C. difficile infection (CDI), but positive diagnosis is extremely rare. We analyzed the potential for C. difficile toxemia in patients, determined its characteristics, and assessed challenges. C. difficile toxins in serum from patients were tested using an ultrasensitive cell-based assay and further confirmed by Rac1 glucosylation assay. The factors that hinder a diagnosis of toxemia were assessed, including investigation of toxin stability, the level of toxins-specific neutralizing antibodies in sera and its effect on diagnosis limits. CDI patients develop detectable toxemia in some cases (2.3%). Toxins were relatively stable in stored sera. Neutralizing anti-toxin antibodies were present during infection and positively correlated with the diagnosis limits. Thus, the masking effect of toxin-specific neutralizing antibodies is the major obstacle in diagnosing C. difficile toxemia using cell-based bioassays.
During embryogenesis, the epicardium undergoes proliferation, migration, and differentiation into several cardiac cell types which contribute to the coronary vessels. This process requires epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and directed cellular invasion. The Type III Transforming Growth Factor-beta Receptor (TGFβR3) is required for epicardial cell invasion and coronary vessel development. Using primary epicardial cells derived from Tgfbr3(+/+) and Tgfbr3(-/-) mouse embryos, high-molecular weight hyaluronan (HMWHA) stimulated cellular invasion and filamentous (f-actin) polymerization are detected in Tgfbr3(+/+) cells, but not in Tgfbr3(-/-) cells. Furthermore, HMWHA-stimulated cellular invasion and f-actin polymerization in Tgfbr3(+/+) epicardial cells are dependent on Src kinase. Src activation in HMWHA-stimulated Tgfbr3(-/-) epicardial cells is not detected in response to HMWHA. RhoA and Rac1 also fail to activate in response to HMWHA in Tgfbr3(-/-) cells. These events coincide with defective f-actin formation and deficient cellular invasion. Finally, a T841A activating substitution in TGFβR3 drives ligand-independent Src activation. Collectively, these data define a TGFβR3-Src-RhoA/Rac1 pathway that is essential for hyaluronan-directed cell invasion in epicardial cells.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Disruption of epithelial organization and loss of growth control are universal features of carcinomas, yet how these features are linked during cancer progression remains poorly understood. Cell polarity proteins control cellular and tissue organization and are emerging as important mediators of cancer progression. The Par3 polarity protein is a molecular scaffold that functions to recruit and spatially organize signaling factors, and was recently identified as a suppressor of breast cancer invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that loss of Par3 in mammary epithelial cells promotes apoptosis, and that oncogenic Notch overcomes the apoptotic signal to reveal an unexpected pro-proliferative role for loss of Par3 in mammary tumors. In this context, loss of Par3 deregulates Rac1 activity to activate Jun N-terminal Kinase-dependent proliferation and tumor growth. Thus, we demonstrate a mechanism by which loss of Par3 promotes proliferation and tumorigenesis, which supports a tumor-suppressive function for Par3 in the mammary epithelium.
Serine/threonine protein phosphatase 5 (PP5, PPP5C) is known to interact with the chaperonin heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and is involved in the regulation of multiple cellular signaling cascades that control diverse cellular processes, such as cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, motility, and apoptosis. Here, we identify PP5 in stable complexes with extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs). Studies using mutant proteins reveal that the formation of PP5·ERK1 and PP5·ERK2 complexes partially depends on HSP90 binding to PP5 but does not require PP5 or ERK1/2 activity. However, PP5 and ERK activity regulates the phosphorylation state of Raf1 kinase, an upstream activator of ERK signaling. Whereas expression of constitutively active Rac1 promotes the assembly of PP5·ERK1/2 complexes, acute activation of ERK1/2 fails to influence the phosphatase-kinase interaction. Introduction of oncogenic HRas (HRas(V12)) has no effect on PP5-ERK1 binding but selectively decreases the interaction of PP5 with ERK2, in a manner that is independent of PP5 and MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK) activity, yet paradoxically requires ERK2 activity. Additional studies conducted with oncogenic variants of KRas4B reveal that KRas(L61), but not KRas(V12), also decreases the PP5-ERK2 interaction. The expression of wild type HRas or KRas proteins fails to reduce PP5-ERK2 binding, indicating that the effect is specific to HRas(V12) and KRas(L61) gain-of-function mutations. These findings reveal a novel, differential responsiveness of PP5-ERK1 and PP5-ERK2 interactions to select oncogenic Ras variants and also support a role for PP5·ERK complexes in regulating the feedback phosphorylation of PP5-associated Raf1.