Bcl-2 regulates amplification of caspase activation by cytochrome c.
Caspases, a family of specific proteases, have central roles in apoptosis . Caspase activation in response to diverse apoptotic stimuli involves the relocalisation of cytochrome c from mitochondria to the cytoplasm where it stimulates the proteolytic processing of caspase precursors. Cytochrome c release is controlled by members of the Bcl-2 family of apoptosis regulators  . The anti-apoptotic members Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL may also control caspase activation independently of cytochrome c relocalisation or may inhibit a positive feedback mechanism    . Here, we investigate the role of Bcl-2 family proteins in the regulation of caspase activation using a model cell-free system. We found that Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL set a threshold in the amount of cytochrome c required to activate caspases, even in soluble extracts lacking mitochondria. Addition of dATP (which stimulates the procaspase-processing factor Apaf-1  ) overcame inhibition of caspase activation by Bcl-2, but did not prevent the control of cytochrome c release from mitochondria by Bcl-2. Cytochrome c release was accelerated by active caspase-3 and this positive feedback was negatively regulated by Bcl-2. These results provide evidence for a mechanism to amplify caspase activation that is suppressed at several distinct steps by Bcl-2, even after cytochrome c is released from mitochondria. (+info)
C/EBPalpha regulates generation of C/EBPbeta isoforms through activation of specific proteolytic cleavage.
C/EBPalpha and C/EBPbeta are intronless genes that can produce several N-terminally truncated isoforms through the process of alternative translation initiation at downstream AUG codons. C/EBPbeta has been reported to produce four isoforms: full-length 38-kDa C/EBPbeta, 35-kDa LAP (liver-enriched transcriptional activator protein), 21-kDa LIP (liver-enriched transcriptional inhibitory protein), and a 14-kDa isoform. In this report, we investigated the mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms are generated in the liver and in cultured cells. Using an in vitro translation system, we found that LIP can be generated by two mechanisms: alternative translation and a novel mechanism-specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. Studies of mice in which the C/EBPalpha gene had been deleted (C/EBPalpha-/-) showed that the regulation of C/EBPbeta proteolysis is dependent on C/EBPalpha. The induction of C/EBPalpha in cultured cells leads to induced cleavage of C/EBPbeta to generate the LIP isoform. We characterized the cleavage activity in mouse liver extracts and found that the proteolytic cleavage activity is specific to prenatal and newborn livers, is sensitive to chymostatin, and is completely abolished in C/EBPalpha-/- animals. The lack of cleavage activity in the livers of C/EBPalpha-/- mice correlates with the decreased levels of LIP in the livers of these animals. Analysis of LIP production during liver regeneration showed that, in this system, the transient induction of LIP is dependent on the third AUG codon and most likely involves translational control. We propose that there are two mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms might be generated in the liver and in cultured cells: one that is determined by translation and a second that involves C/EBPalpha-dependent, specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. The latter mechanism implicates C/EBPalpha in the regulation of posttranslational generation of the dominant negative C/EBPbeta isoform, LIP. (+info)
Interaction of inflammatory cells and oral microorganisms. II. Modulation of rabbit polymorphonuclear leukocyte hydrolase release by polysaccharides in response to Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguis.
The release of lysosomal hydrolases from polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) has been postulated in the pathogenesis of tissue injury in periodontal disease. In the present study, lysosomal enzyme release was monitored from rabbit peritoneal exudate PMNs exposed to Streptocccus mutans or Streptococcus sanguis. S. mutans grown in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth failed to promote significant PMN enzyme release. S. sanguis grown in BHI broth, although more effective than S. mutants, was a weak stimulus for promotion of PMN hydrolase release. Preincubation of washed, viable S. mutans in sucrose or in different-molecular-weight dextrans resulted in the ability of the organisms to provoke PMN release reactions. This effect could bot be demonstrated with boiled or trypsinized S. mutans or with viable S. sanguis. However, when grown in BHI broth supplemented with sucrose, but not with glucose, both S. mutans and S. sanguis triggered discharge of PMN enzymes. The mechanism(s) whereby dextran or sucrose modulates PMN-bacterial interaction may in some manner be related to promotion of microbial adhesiveness or aggregation by dextran and by bacterial synthesis of glucans from sucrose. (+info)
Acetyl-CoA:1-O-alkyl-2-lyso-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine acetyltransferase is directly activated by p38 kinase.
Acetyl-CoA:1-O-alkyl-2-lyso-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine acetyltransferase, along with phospholipase A2, is a key regulator of platelet-activating factor biosynthesis via the remodeling pathway. We have now obtained evidence in human neutrophils indicating that this enzyme is regulated by a specific member of the mitogen-activated protein kinases, namely the p38 kinase. We earlier demonstrated that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) as well as N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine treatment leads to increased phosphorylation and activation of p38 kinase in human neutrophils. Strikingly, in the present study these stimuli increased the catalytic activity of acetyltransferase up to 3-fold, whereas 4-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, which activates the extracellular-regulated kinases (ERKs) but not p38 kinase, had no effect. Furthermore, a selective inhibitor of p38 kinase, SB 203580, was able to abolish the TNF-alpha- and N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine-induced activation of acetyltransferase. The same effect was not observed in the presence of an inhibitor that blocked ERK activation (PD 98059). Complementing the findings in intact cells, we have shown that recombinant, activated p38 kinase added to microsomes in the presence of Mg2+ and ATP increased acetyltransferase activity to the same degree as in microsomes obtained from TNF-alpha-stimulated cells. No activation of acetyltransferase occurred upon treatment of microsomes with either recombinant, activated ERK-1 or ERK-2. Finally, the increases in acetyltransferase activity induced by TNF-alpha could be ablated by treating the microsomes with alkaline phosphatase. Thus acetyltransferase appears to be a downstream target for p38 kinase but not ERKs. These data from whole cells as well as cell-free systems fit a model wherein stimulus-induced acetyltransferase activation is mediated by a phosphorylation event catalyzed directly by p38 kinase. (+info)
Terreic acid, a quinone epoxide inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase.
Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) plays pivotal roles in mast cell activation as well as in B cell development. Btk mutations lead to severe impairments in proinflammatory cytokine production induced by cross-linking of high-affinity IgE receptor on mast cells. By using an in vitro assay to measure the activity that blocks the interaction between protein kinase C and the pleckstrin homology domain of Btk, terreic acid (TA) was identified and characterized in this study. This quinone epoxide specifically inhibited the enzymatic activity of Btk in mast cells and cell-free assays. TA faithfully recapitulated the phenotypic defects of btk mutant mast cells in high-affinity IgE receptor-stimulated wild-type mast cells without affecting the enzymatic activities and expressions of many other signaling molecules, including those of protein kinase C. Therefore, this study confirmed the important roles of Btk in mast cell functions and showed the usefulness of TA in probing into the functions of Btk in mast cells and other immune cell systems. Another insight obtained from this study is that the screening method used to identify TA is a useful approach to finding more efficacious Btk inhibitors. (+info)
A multisubunit acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase from soybean.
A multisubunit form of acetyl coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase (ACCase) from soybean (Glycine max) was characterized. The enzyme catalyzes the formation of malonyl CoA from acetyl CoA, a rate-limiting step in fatty acid biosynthesis. The four known components that constitute plastid ACCase are biotin carboxylase (BC), biotin carboxyl carrier protein (BCCP), and the alpha- and beta-subunits of carboxyltransferase (alpha- and beta-CT). At least three different cDNAs were isolated from germinating soybean seeds that encode BC, two that encode BCCP, and four that encode alpha-CT. Whereas BC, BCCP, and alpha-CT are products of nuclear genes, the DNA that encodes soybean beta-CT is located in chloroplasts. Translation products from cDNAs for BC, BCCP, and alpha-CT were imported into isolated pea (Pisum sativum) chloroplasts and became integrated into ACCase. Edman microsequence analysis of the subunits after import permitted the identification of the amino-terminal sequence of the mature protein after removal of the transit sequences. Antibodies specific for each of the chloroplast ACCase subunits were generated against products from the cDNAs expressed in bacteria. The antibodies permitted components of ACCase to be followed during fractionation of the chloroplast stroma. Even in the presence of 0.5 M KCl, a complex that contained BC plus BCCP emerged from Sephacryl 400 with an apparent molecular mass greater than about 800 kD. A second complex, which contained alpha- and beta-CT, was also recovered from the column, and it had an apparent molecular mass of greater than about 600 kD. By mixing the two complexes together at appropriate ratios, ACCase enzymatic activity was restored. Even higher ACCase activities were recovered by mixing complexes from pea and soybean. The results demonstrate that the active form of ACCase can be reassembled and that it could form a high-molecular-mass complex. (+info)
Mos positively regulates Xe-Wee1 to lengthen the first mitotic cell cycle of Xenopus.
Several key developmental events occur in the first mitotic cell cycle of Xenopus; consequently this cycle has two gap phases and is approximately 60-75 min in length. In contrast, embryonic cycles 2-12 consist only of S and M phases and are 30 min in length. Xe-Wee1 and Mos are translated and degraded in a developmentally regulated manner. Significantly, both proteins are present in the first cell cycle. We showed previously that the expression of nondegradable Mos, during early interphase, delays the onset of M phase in the early embryonic cell cycles. Here we report that Xe-Wee1 is required for the Mos-mediated M-phase delay. We find that Xe-Wee1 tyrosine autophosphorylation positively regulates Xe-Wee1 and is only detected in the first 30 min of the first cell cycle. The level and duration of Xe-Wee1 tyrosine phosphorylation is elevated significantly when the first cell cycle is elongated with nondegradable Mos. Importantly, we show that the tyrosine phosphorylation of Xe-Wee1 is required for the Mos-mediated M-phase delay. These findings indicate that Mos positively regulates Xe-Wee1 to generate the G2 phase in the first cell cycle and establish a direct link between the MAPK signal transduction pathway and Wee1 in vertebrates. (+info)
The retinoblastoma protein alters the phosphorylation state of polyomavirus large T antigen in murine cell extracts and inhibits polyomavirus origin DNA replication.
The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (pRb) can associate with the transforming proteins of several DNA tumor viruses, including the large T antigen encoded by polyomavirus (Py T Ag). Although pRb function is critical for regulating progression from G1 to S phase, a role for pRb in S phase has not been demonstrated or excluded. To identify a potential effect of pRb on DNA replication, pRb protein was added to reaction mixtures containing Py T Ag, Py origin-containing DNA (Py ori-DNA), and murine FM3A cell extracts. We found that pRb strongly represses Py ori-DNA replication in vitro. Unexpectedly, however, this inhibition only partially depends on the interaction of pRb with Py T Ag, since a mutant Py T Ag (dl141) lacking the pRb interaction region was also significantly inhibited by pRb. This result suggests that pRb interferes with or alters one or more components of the murine cell replication extract. Furthermore, the ability of Py T Ag to be phosphorylated in such extracts is markedly reduced in the presence of pRb. Since cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation of Py T Ag is required for its replication function, we hypothesize that pRb interferes with this phosphorylation event. Indeed, the S-phase CDK complex (cyclin A-CDK2), which phosphorylates both pRb and Py T Ag, alleviates inhibition caused by pRb. Moreover, hyperphosphorylated pRb is incapable of inhibiting replication of Py ori-DNA in vitro. We propose a new requirement for maintaining pRb phosphorylation in S phase, namely, to prevent deleterious effects on the cellular replication machinery. (+info)