Mitochondrial depolarization accompanies cytochrome c release during apoptosis in PC6 cells.
Cytochrome c is released from mitochondria into the cytosol in cells undergoing apoptosis. The temporal relationship between cytochrome c release and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential was monitored by laser-scanning confocal microscopy in single living pheochromocytoma-6 cells undergoing apoptosis induced by staurosporine. Mitochondrial membrane potential monitored by tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester decreased abruptly in individual cells from 2 to 7 h after treatment with staurosporine. Depolarization was accompanied by cytochrome c release documented by release of transfected green fluorescent protein-tagged cytochrome c in these cells. The results show that mitochondrial depolarization accompanies cytochrome c release in pheochromocytoma-6 cells undergoing apoptosis. (+info
The dually acylated NH2-terminal domain of gi1alpha is sufficient to target a green fluorescent protein reporter to caveolin-enriched plasma membrane domains. Palmitoylation of caveolin-1 is required for the recognition of dually acylated g-protein alpha subunits in vivo.
Here we investigate the molecular mechanisms that govern the targeting of G-protein alpha subunits to the plasma membrane. For this purpose, we used Gi1alpha as a model dually acylated G-protein. We fused full-length Gi1alpha or its extreme NH2-terminal domain (residues 1-32 or 1-122) to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and analyzed the subcellular localization of these fusion proteins. We show that the first 32 amino acids of Gi1alpha are sufficient to target GFP to caveolin-enriched domains of the plasma membrane in vivo, as demonstrated by co-fractionation and co-immunoprecipitation with caveolin-1. Interestingly, when dual acylation of this 32-amino acid domain was blocked by specific point mutations (G2A or C3S), the resulting GFP fusion proteins were localized to the cytoplasm and excluded from caveolin-rich regions. The myristoylated but nonpalmitoylated (C3S) chimera only partially partitioned into caveolin-containing fractions. However, both nonacylated GFP fusions (G2A and C3S) no longer co-immunoprecipitated with caveolin-1. Taken together, these results indicate that lipid modification of the NH2-terminal of Gi1alpha is essential for targeting to its correct destination and interaction with caveolin-1. Also, a caveolin-1 mutant lacking all three palmitoylation sites (C133S, C143S, and C156S) was unable to co-immunoprecipitate these dually acylated GFP-G-protein fusions. Thus, dual acylation of the NH2-terminal domain of Gi1alpha and palmitoylation of caveolin-1 are both required to stabilize and perhaps regulate this reciprocal interaction at the plasma membrane in vivo. Our results provide the first demonstration of a functional role for caveolin-1 palmitoylation in its interaction with signaling molecules. (+info
Properties of filament-bound myosin light chain kinase.
Myosin light chain kinase binds to actin-containing filaments from cells with a greater affinity than to F-actin. However, it is not known if this binding in cells is regulated by Ca2+/calmodulin as it is with F-actin. Therefore, the binding properties of the kinase to stress fibers were examined in smooth muscle-derived A7r5 cells. Full-length myosin light chain kinase or a truncation mutant lacking residues 2-142 was expressed as chimeras containing green fluorescent protein at the C terminus. In intact cells, the full-length kinase bound to stress fibers, whereas the truncated kinase showed diffuse fluorescence in the cytoplasm. After permeabilization with saponin, the fluorescence from the truncated kinase disappeared, whereas the fluorescence of the full-length kinase was retained on stress fibers. Measurements of fluorescence intensities and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching of the full-length myosin light chain kinase in saponin-permeable cells showed that Ca2+/calmodulin did not dissociate the kinase from these filaments. However, the filament-bound kinase was sufficient for Ca2+-dependent phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain and contraction of stress fibers. Thus, dissociation of myosin light chain kinase from actin-containing thin filaments is not necessary for phosphorylation of myosin light chain in thick filaments. We note that the distance between the N terminus and the catalytic core of the kinase is sufficient to span the distance between thin and thick filaments. (+info
A fluorescent orthotopic bone metastasis model of human prostate cancer.
Here, we report a fluorescent spontaneous bone metastatic model of human prostate cancer developed by surgical orthotopic implantation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing prostate cancer tissue. Human prostate cancer PC-3 cells were transduced with the pLEIN expression retroviral vector containing the enhanced GFP and neomycin resistance genes. Stable GFP high-expression PC-3 clones were selected in vitro with G418, which were then combined and injected s.c. in nude mice. For metastasis studies, fragments of a single highly fluorescent s.c. growing tumor were implanted by surgical orthotopic implantation in the prostate of a series of nude mice. Subsequent micrometastases and metastases were visualized by GFP fluorescence throughout the skeleton, including the skull, rib, pelvis, femur, and tibia The central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, was also involved with tumor, as visualized by GFP fluorescence. Systemic organs, including the lung, plural membrane, liver, kidney, and adrenal gland, also had fluorescent metastases. The metastasis pattern in this model reflects the bone and other metastatic sites of human prostate cancer. Thus, this model should be very useful for the study and development of treatment for metastatic androgen-independent prostate cancer. (+info
Role of cytokine signaling molecules in erythroid differentiation of mouse fetal liver hematopoietic cells: functional analysis of signaling molecules by retrovirus-mediated expression.
Erythropoietin (EPO) and its cell surface receptor (EPOR) play a central role in proliferation, differentiation, and survival of erythroid progenitors. Signals induced by EPO have been studied extensively by using erythroid as well as nonerythroid cell lines, and various controversial results have been reported as to the role of signaling molecules in erythroid differentiation. Here we describe a novel approach to analyze the EPO signaling by using primary mouse fetal liver hematopoietic cells to avoid possible artifacts due to established cell lines. Our strategy is based on high-titer retrovirus vectors with a bicistronic expression system consisting of an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) and green fluorescent protein (GFP). By placing the cDNA for a signaling molecule in front of IRES-GFP, virus-infected cells can be viably sorted by fluorescence-activated cell sorter, and the effect of expression of the signaling molecule can be assessed. By using this system, expression of cell-survival genes such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL was found to enhance erythroid colony formation from colony-forming unit-erythroid (CFU-E) in response to EPO. However, their expression was not sufficient for erythroid colony formation from CFU-E alone, indicating that EPO induces signals for erythroid differentiation. To examine the role of EPOR tyrosine residues in erythroid differentiation, we introduced a chimeric EGFR-EPOR receptor, which has the extracellular domain of the EGF receptor and the intracellular domain of the EPOR, as well as a mutant EGFR-EPOR in which all the cytoplasmic tyrosine residues are replaced with phenylalanine, and found that tyrosine residues of EPOR are essential for erythroid colony formation from CFU-E. We further analyzed the function of the downstream signaling molecules by expressing modified signaling molecules and found that both JAK2/STAT5 and Ras, two major signaling pathways activated by EPOR, are involved in full erythroid differentiation. (+info
Nuclear translocation of green fluorescent protein-nuclear factor kappaB with a distinct lag time in living cells.
A highly fluorescent mutant form of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been fused to the human nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) p50 and p105 (p50/IkappaB gamma), a precursor protein of NF-kappaB p50. GFP-p50 and GFP-p105 were expressed in monkey COS-7 cells and human HeLa cells. Translocation of these chimeric proteins was observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. GFP-p50 (without IkappaB gamma) in the transfected cells resided in the nucleus. On the other hand, GFP-p105 (GFP-p50 with IkappaB gamma) localized only in the cytoplasm before stimulation and translocated to the nucleus with stimulant specificity similar to that of native NF-kappaB/IkappaB. In addition, the translocation of NF-kappaB to the nucleus had a distinct lag time (a quiescent time) in the target cells. The lag time lasted 10-20 min after stimulation with hydrogen peroxide or tumor necrosis factor alpha. It was suggested that this might be due to the existence of a limiting step where NF-kappaB is released from NF-kappaB/IkappaB by the proteasome. (+info
Microtubule-dependent plus- and minus end-directed motilities are competing processes for nuclear targeting of adenovirus.
Adenovirus (Ad) enters target cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis, escapes to the cytosol, and then delivers its DNA genome into the nucleus. Here we analyzed the trafficking of fluorophore-tagged viruses in HeLa and TC7 cells by time-lapse microscopy. Our results show that native or taxol-stabilized microtubules (MTs) support alternating minus- and plus end-directed movements of cytosolic virus with elementary speeds up to 2.6 micrometer/s. No directed movement was observed in nocodazole-treated cells. Switching between plus- and minus end-directed elementary speeds at frequencies up to 1 Hz was observed in the periphery and near the MT organizing center (MTOC) after recovery from nocodazole treatment. MT-dependent motilities allowed virus accumulation near the MTOC at population speeds of 1-10 micrometer/min, depending on the cell type. Overexpression of p50/dynamitin, which is known to affect dynein-dependent minus end-directed vesicular transport, significantly reduced the extent and the frequency of minus end-directed migration of cytosolic virus, and increased the frequency, but not the extent of plus end-directed motility. The data imply that a single cytosolic Ad particle engages with two types of MT-dependent motor activities, the minus end- directed cytoplasmic dynein and an unknown plus end- directed activity. (+info
Estimation of the number of alpha-helical and beta-strand segments in proteins using circular dichroism spectroscopy.
A simple approach to estimate the number of alpha-helical and beta-strand segments from protein circular dichroism spectra is described. The alpha-helix and beta-sheet conformations in globular protein structures, assigned by DSSP and STRIDE algorithms, were divided into regular and distorted fractions by considering a certain number of terminal residues in a given alpha-helix or beta-strand segment to be distorted. The resulting secondary structure fractions for 29 reference proteins were used in the analyses of circular dichroism spectra by the SELCON method. From the performance indices of the analyses, we determined that, on an average, four residues per alpha-helix and two residues per beta-strand may be considered distorted in proteins. The number of alpha-helical and beta-strand segments and their average length in a given protein were estimated from the fraction of distorted alpha-helix and beta-strand conformations determined from the analysis of circular dichroism spectra. The statistical test for the reference protein set shows the high reliability of such a classification of protein secondary structure. The method was used to analyze the circular dichroism spectra of four additional proteins and the predicted structural characteristics agree with the crystal structure data. (+info