(1/57141) Membrane-tethered Drosophila Armadillo cannot transduce Wingless signal on its own.

Drosophila Armadillo and its vertebrate homolog beta-catenin are key effectors of Wingless/Wnt signaling. In the current model, Wingless/Wnt signal stabilizes Armadillo/beta-catenin, which then accumulates in nuclei and binds TCF/LEF family proteins, forming bipartite transcription factors which activate transcription of Wingless/Wnt responsive genes. This model was recently challenged. Overexpression in Xenopus of membrane-tethered beta-catenin or its paralog plakoglobin activates Wnt signaling, suggesting that nuclear localization of Armadillo/beta-catenin is not essential for signaling. Tethered plakoglobin or beta-catenin might signal on their own or might act indirectly by elevating levels of endogenous beta-catenin. We tested these hypotheses in Drosophila by removing endogenous Armadillo. We generated a series of mutant Armadillo proteins with altered intracellular localizations, and expressed these in wild-type and armadillo mutant backgrounds. We found that membrane-tethered Armadillo cannot signal on its own; however it can function in adherens junctions. We also created mutant forms of Armadillo carrying heterologous nuclear localization or nuclear export signals. Although these signals alter the subcellular localization of Arm when overexpressed in Xenopus, in Drosophila they have little effect on localization and only subtle effects on signaling. This supports a model in which Armadillo's nuclear localization is key for signaling, but in which Armadillo intracellular localization is controlled by the availability and affinity of its binding partners.  (+info)

(2/57141) Membrane fusion: structure snared at last.

The structure of the core of the neuronal 'SNARE complex', involved in neurotransmitter release, has been determined recently. Its topological similarity to viral fusion proteins suggests how the SNARE complex might facilitate membrane fusion.  (+info)

(3/57141) The hematopoietic-specific adaptor protein gads functions in T-cell signaling via interactions with the SLP-76 and LAT adaptors.

BACKGROUND: The adaptor protein Gads is a Grb2-related protein originally identified on the basis of its interaction with the tyrosine-phosphorylated form of the docking protein Shc. Gads protein expression is restricted to hematopoietic tissues and cell lines. Gads contains a Src homology 2 (SH2) domain, which has previously been shown to have a similar binding specificity to that of Grb2. Gads also possesses two SH3 domains, but these have a distinct binding specificity to those of Grb2, as Gads does not bind to known Grb2 SH3 domain targets. Here, we investigated whether Gads is involved in T-cell signaling. RESULTS: We found that Gads is highly expressed in T cells and that the SLP-76 adaptor protein is a major Gads-associated protein in vivo. The constitutive interaction between Gads and SLP-76 was mediated by the carboxy-terminal SH3 domain of Gads and a 20 amino-acid proline-rich region in SLP-76. Gads also coimmunoprecipitated the tyrosine-phosphorylated form of the linker for activated T cells (LAT) adaptor protein following cross-linking of the T-cell receptor; this interaction was mediated by the Gads SH2 domain. Overexpression of Gads and SLP-76 resulted in a synergistic augmentation of T-cell signaling, as measured by activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), and this cooperation required a functional Gads SH2 domain. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that Gads plays an important role in T-cell signaling via its association with SLP-76 and LAT. Gads may promote cross-talk between the LAT and SLP-76 signaling complexes, thereby coupling membrane-proximal events to downstream signaling pathways.  (+info)

(4/57141) Sonic hedgehog signaling by the patched-smoothened receptor complex.

BACKGROUND: The Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted proteins is involved in a number of developmental processes as well as in cancer. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) receptor is composed of at least two proteins: the tumor suppressor protein Patched (Ptc) and the seven-transmembrane protein Smoothened (Smo). RESULTS: Using a biochemical assay for activation of the transcription factor Gli, a downstream component of the Hh pathway, we show here that Smo functions as the signaling component of the Shh receptor, and that this activity can be blocked by Ptc. The inhibition of Smo by Ptc can be relieved by the addition of Shh. Furthermore, oncogenic forms of Smo are insensitive to Ptc repression in this assay. Mapping of the Smo domains required for binding to Ptc and for signaling revealed that the Smo-Ptc interaction involves mainly the amino terminus of Smo, and that the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain are required for signaling. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that Smo is the signaling component of a multicomponent Hh receptor complex and that Ptc is a ligand-regulated inhibitor of Smo. Different domains of Smo are involved in Ptc binding and activation of a Gli reporter construct. The latter requires the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain of Smo, regions often involved in coupling to G proteins. No changes in the levels of cyclic AMP or calcium associated with such pathways could be detected following receptor activation, however.  (+info)

(5/57141) Alzheimer's disease: clues from flies and worms.

Presenilin mutations give rise to familial Alzheimer's disease and result in elevated production of amyloid beta peptide. Recent evidence that presenilins act in developmental signalling pathways may be the key to understanding how senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and apoptosis are all biochemically linked.  (+info)

(6/57141) Vac1p coordinates Rab and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling in Vps45p-dependent vesicle docking/fusion at the endosome.

The vacuolar protein sorting (VPS) pathway of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mediates transport of vacuolar protein precursors from the late Golgi to the lysosome-like vacuole. Sorting of some vacuolar proteins occurs via a prevacuolar endosomal compartment and mutations in a subset of VPS genes (the class D VPS genes) interfere with the Golgi-to-endosome transport step. Several of the encoded proteins, including Pep12p/Vps6p (an endosomal target (t) SNARE) and Vps45p (a Sec1p homologue), bind each other directly [1]. Another of these proteins, Vac1p/Pep7p/Vps19p, associates with Pep12p and binds phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI(3)P), the product of the Vps34 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) [1] [2]. Here, we demonstrate that Vac1p genetically and physically interacts with the activated, GTP-bound form of Vps21p, a Rab GTPase that functions in Golgi-to-endosome transport, and with Vps45p. These results implicate Vac1p as an effector of Vps21p and as a novel Sec1p-family-binding protein. We suggest that Vac1p functions as a multivalent adaptor protein that ensures the high fidelity of vesicle docking and fusion by integrating both phosphoinositide (Vps34p) and GTPase (Vps21p) signals, which are essential for Pep12p- and Vps45p-dependent targeting of Golgi-derived vesicles to the prevacuolar endosome.  (+info)

(7/57141) Role of alphavbeta3 integrin in the activation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2.

Interaction between integrin alphavbeta3 and extracellular matrix is crucial for endothelial cells sprouting from capillaries and for angiogenesis. Furthermore, integrin-mediated outside-in signals co-operate with growth factor receptors to promote cell proliferation and motility. To determine a potential regulation of angiogenic inducer receptors by the integrin system, we investigated the interaction between alphavbeta3 integrin and tyrosine kinase vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) in human endothelial cells. We report that tyrosine-phosphorylated VEGFR-2 co-immunoprecipitated with beta3 integrin subunit, but not with beta1 or beta5, from cells stimulated with VEGF-A165. VEGFR-2 phosphorylation and mitogenicity induced by VEGF-A165 were enhanced in cells plated on the alphavbeta3 ligand, vitronectin, compared with cells plated on the alpha5beta1 ligand, fibronectin or the alpha2beta1 ligand, collagen. BV4 anti-beta3 integrin mAb, which does not interfere with endothelial cell adhesion to vitronectin, reduced (i) the tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGFR-2; (ii) the activation of downstream transductor phosphoinositide 3-OH kinase; and (iii) biological effects triggered by VEGF-A165. These results indicate a new role for alphavbeta3 integrin in the activation of an in vitro angiogenic program in endothelial cells. Besides being the most important survival system for nascent vessels by regulating cell adhesion to matrix, alphavbeta3 integrin participates in the full activation of VEGFR-2 triggered by VEGF-A, which is an important angiogenic inducer in tumors, inflammation and tissue regeneration.  (+info)

(8/57141) Cell growth inhibition by farnesyltransferase inhibitors is mediated by gain of geranylgeranylated RhoB.

Recent results have shown that the ability of farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) to inhibit malignant cell transformation and Ras prenylation can be separated. We proposed previously that farnesylated Rho proteins are important targets for alternation by FTIs, based on studies of RhoB (the FTI-Rho hypothesis). Cells treated with FTIs exhibit a loss of farnesylated RhoB but a gain of geranylgeranylated RhoB (RhoB-GG), which is associated with loss of growth-promoting activity. In this study, we tested whether the gain of RhoB-GG elicited by FTI treatment was sufficient to mediate FTI-induced cell growth inhibition. In support of this hypothesis, when expressed in Ras-transformed cells RhoB-GG induced phenotypic reversion, cell growth inhibition, and activation of the cell cycle kinase inhibitor p21WAF1. RhoB-GG did not affect the phenotype or growth of normal cells. These effects were similar to FTI treatment insofar as they were all induced in transformed cells but not in normal cells. RhoB-GG did not promote anoikis of Ras-transformed cells, implying that this response to FTIs involves loss-of-function effects. Our findings corroborate the FTI-Rho hypothesis and demonstrate that gain-of-function effects on Rho are part of the drug mechanism. Gain of RhoB-GG may explain how FTIs inhibit the growth of human tumor cells that lack Ras mutations.  (+info)