A Drosophila TNF-receptor-associated factor (TRAF) binds the ste20 kinase Misshapen and activates Jun kinase.
Two families of protein kinases that are closely related to Ste20 in their kinase domain have been identified - the p21-activated protein kinase (Pak) and SPS1 families [1-3]. In contrast to Pak family members, SPS1 family members do not bind and are not activated by GTP-bound p21Rac and Cdc42. We recently placed a member of the SPS1 family, called Misshapen (Msn), genetically upstream of the c-Jun amino-terminal (JNK) mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase module in Drosophila . The failure to activate JNK in Drosophila leads to embryonic lethality due to the failure of these embryos to stimulate dorsal closure [5-8]. Msn probably functions as a MAP kinase kinase kinase kinase in Drosophila, activating the JNK pathway via an, as yet, undefined MAP kinase kinase kinase. We have identified a Drosophila TNF-receptor-associated factor, DTRAF1, by screening for Msn-interacting proteins using the yeast two-hybrid system. In contrast to the mammalian TRAFs that have been shown to activate JNK, DTRAF1 lacks an amino-terminal 'Ring-finger' domain, and overexpression of a truncated DTRAF1, consisting of only its TRAF domain, activates JNK. We also identified another DTRAF, DTRAF2, that contains an amino-terminal Ring-finger domain. Msn specifically binds the TRAF domain of DTRAF1 but not that of DTRAF2. In Drosophila, DTRAF1 is thus a good candidate for an upstream molecule that regulates the JNK pathway by interacting with, and activating, Msn. Consistent with this idea, expression of a dominant-negative Msn mutant protein blocks the activation of JNK by DTRAF1. Furthermore, coexpression of Msn with DTRAF1 leads to the synergistic activation of JNK. We have extended some of these observations to the mammalian homolog of Msn, Nck-interacting kinase (NIK), suggesting that TRAFs also play a critical role in regulating Ste20 kinases in mammals. (+info
Telomeric repeats on small polydisperse circular DNA (spcDNA) and genomic instability.
Small polydisperse circular DNA (spcDNA) is a heterogeneous population of extrachromosomal circular molecules present in a large variety of eukaryotic cells. Elevated amounts of total spcDNA are related to endogenous and induced genomic instability in rodent and human cells. We suggested spcDNA as a novel marker for genomic instability, and speculated that spcDNA might serve as a mutator. In this study, we examine the presence of telomeric sequences on spcDNA. We report for the first time the appearance of telomeric repeats in spcDNA molecules (tel-spcDNA) in rodent and human cells. Restriction enzyme analysis indicates that tel-spcDNA molecules harbor mostly, if not exclusively, telomeric repeats. In rodent cells, tel-spcDNA levels are higher in transformed than in normal cells and are enhanced by treatment with carcinogen. Tel-spcDNA is also detected in some human tumors and cell lines, but not in others. We suggest, that its levels in human cells may be primarily related to the amount of the chromosomal telomeric sequences. Tel-spcDNA may serve as a unique mutator, through specific mechanisms related to the telomeric repeats, which distinguish it from the total heterogeneous spcDNA population. It may affect telomere dynamics and genomic instability by clastogenic events, alterations of telomere size and sequestration of telomeric proteins. (+info
Cot protooncoprotein activates the dual specificity kinases MEK-1 and SEK-1 and induces differentiation of PC12 cells.
Mitogenic signals initiated at the plasma membrane are transmitted to the nucleus through an intricate signalling network. We identified the protooncoprotein Cot as a new component of mitogenic signalling cascades, which activates both the classic cytoplasmic cascade and the SAPK stress pathway. Wildtype and activated Cot phosphorylate and activate MEK-1 and SEK-1 in vitro. These findings are consistent with the sequence homology between Cot and the rat gene Tpl-2. Expression of oncogenic Cot in 293, NIH3T3 and PC12 cells leads to in vivo phosphorylation of endogenous c-Jun and Erk-1/2 suggesting that the serine/threonine kinase Cot functions beside c-Raf-1 and Mos as a direct activator of MEK-1. Furthermore, we have examined the biological effects of Cot on the phenotype of fibroblastic and neuronal cells. In order to test a potential c-Raf-1 dependency of Cot transformation, the effect of oncogenic Cot on Raf revertant CHP25 cells was determined. Cot could restore the transformed phenotype indicating that Cot transformation is not dependent on active c-Raf-1 and that Cot is not a target for the putative Raf inhibitor, which is presumably active in the revertant cell line. Expression of oncogenic versions of Raf as well as v-Mos leads to differentiation of PC12 cells. Cot also induces neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells. These data are consistent with the role of Cot in the classic mitogenic cascade and suggest that the simultaneously activated JNK/SAPK stress pathway has no antagonistic effects in this context. (+info
Apoptosis inhibitory activity of cytoplasmic p21(Cip1/WAF1) in monocytic differentiation.
p21(Cip1/WAF1) inhibits cell-cycle progression by binding to G1 cyclin/CDK complexes and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) through its N- and C-terminal domains, respectively. The cell-cycle inhibitory activity of p21(Cip1/WAF1) is correlated with its nuclear localization. Here, we report a novel cytoplasmic localization of p21(Cip1/WAF1) in peripheral blood monocytes (PBMs) and in U937 cells undergoing monocytic differentiation by in vitro treatment with vitamin D3 or ectopic expression of p21(Cip1/WAF1), and analyze the biological consequences of this cytoplasmic expression. U937 cells which exhibit nuclear p21(Cip1/WAF1) demonstrated G1 cell-cycle arrest and subsequently differentiated into monocytes. The latter event was associated with a cytoplasmic expression of nuclear p21(Cip1/WAF1), concomitantly with a resistance to various apoptogenic stimuli. Biochemical analysis showed that cytoplasmic p21(Cip1/WAF1) forms a complex with the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and inhibits stress-activated MAP kinase cascade. Expression of a deletion mutant of p21(Cip1/WAF1) lacking the nuclear localization signal (DeltaNLS-p21) did not induce cell cycle arrest nor monocytic differentiation, but led to an apoptosis-resistant phenotype, mediated by binding to and inhibition of the stress-activated ASK1 activity. Thus, cytoplasmic p21(Cip1/WAF1) itself acted as an inhibitor of apoptosis. Our findings highlight the different functional roles of p21(Cip1/WAF1), which are determined by its intracellular distribution and are dependent on the stage of differentiation. (+info
The proto-oncogene Cot kinase participates in CD3/CD28 induction of NF-kappaB acting through the NF-kappaB-inducing kinase and IkappaB kinases.
The proto-oncogene Cot/Tpl-2 encodes a MAP3K-related serine-threonine kinase. Expression of wild type Cot activates the IkappaB kinases (IKK) leading to induction of NF-kappaB. Conversely, expression of kinase-deficient Cot inhibits CD3/CD28 but not TNF alpha induction of NF-kappaB. These findings suggest the selective involvement of Cot/Tpl-2 or a closely related kinase in the CD3/CD28 costimulatory pathway leading to induced nuclear expression of NF-kappaB. In contrast, a kinase-deficient mutant of the NF-kappaB-inducing kinase (NIK) inhibits both CD3/CD28 and TNF alpha signaling, indicating that these pathways converge at or prior to the action of NIK. Consistent with such a sequential function of these two kinases, Cot physically assembles with and phosphorylates NIK in vivo. (+info
Effect of inhibition of cholesterol synthetic pathway on the activation of Ras and MAP kinase in mesangial cells.
Intermediary metabolites of cholesterol synthetic pathway are involved in cell proliferation. Lovastatin, an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, blocks mevalonate synthesis, and has been shown to inhibit mesangial cell proliferation associated with diverse glomerular diseases. Since inhibition of farnesylation and plasma membrane anchorage of the Ras proteins is one suggested mechanism by which lovastatin prevents cellular proliferation, we investigated the effect of lovastatin and key mevalonate metabolites on the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase) and Ras in murine glomerular mesangial cells. The preincubation of mesangial cells with lovastatin inhibited the activation of MAP kinase stimulated by either FBS, PDGF, or EGF. Mevalonic acid and farnesyl-pyrophosphate, but not cholesterol or LDL, significantly prevented lovastatin-induced inhibition of agonist-stimulated MAP kinase. Lovastatin inhibited agonist-induced activation of Ras, and mevalonic acid and farnesylpyrophosphate antagonized this effect. Parallel to the MAP kinase and Ras data, lovastatin suppressed cell growth stimulated by serum, and mevalonic acid and farnesylpyrophosphate prevented lovastatin-mediated inhibition of cellular growth. These results suggest that lovastatin, by inhibiting the synthesis of farnesol, a key isoprenoid metabolite of mevalonate, modulates Ras-mediated cell signaling events associated with mesangial cell proliferation. (+info
ATF-2 is a common nuclear target of Smad and TAK1 pathways in transforming growth factor-beta signaling.
Upon transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) binding to its cognate receptor, Smad3 and Smad4 form heterodimers and transduce the TGF-beta signal to the nucleus. In addition to the Smad pathway, another pathway involving a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase family of kinases, TGF-beta-activated kinase-1 (TAK1), is required for TGF-beta signaling. However, it is unknown how these pathways function together to synergistically amplify TGF-beta signaling. Here we report that the transcription factor ATF-2 (also called CRE-BP1) is bound by a hetero-oligomer of Smad3 and Smad4 upon TGF-beta stimulation. ATF-2 is one member of the ATF/CREB family that binds to the cAMP response element, and its activity is enhanced after phosphorylation by stress-activated protein kinases such as c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38. The binding between ATF-2 and Smad3/4 is mediated via the MH1 region of the Smad proteins and the basic leucine zipper region of ATF-2. TGF-beta signaling also induces the phosphorylation of ATF-2 via TAK1 and p38. Both of these actions are shown to be responsible for the synergistic stimulation of ATF-2 trans-activating capacity. These results indicate that ATF-2 plays a central role in TGF-beta signaling by acting as a common nuclear target of both Smad and TAK1 pathways. (+info
TAKs, thylakoid membrane protein kinases associated with energy transduction.
The phosphorylation of proteins within the eukaryotic photosynthetic membrane is thought to regulate a number of photosynthetic processes in land plants and algae. Both light quality and intensity influence protein kinase activity via the levels of reductants produced by the thylakoid electron transport chain. We have isolated a family of proteins called TAKs, Arabidopsis thylakoid membrane threonine kinases that phosphorylate the light harvesting complex proteins. TAK activity is enhanced by reductant and is associated with the photosynthetic reaction center II and the cytochrome b6f complex. TAKs are encoded by a gene family that has striking similarity to transforming growth factor beta receptors of metazoans. Thus thylakoid protein phosphorylation may be regulated by a cascade of reductant-controlled membrane-bound protein kinases. (+info