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)
Intracellular signalling: PDK1--a kinase at the hub of things.
Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) is at the hub of many signalling pathways, activating PKB and PKC isoenzymes, as well as p70 S6 kinase and perhaps PKA. PDK1 action is determined by colocalization with substrate and by target site availability, features that may enable it to operate in both resting and stimulated cells. (+info)
Transformation mediated by RhoA requires activity of ROCK kinases.
BACKGROUND: The Ras-related GTPase RhoA controls signalling processes required for cytoskeletal reorganisation, transcriptional regulation, and transformation. The ability of RhoA mutants to transform cells correlates not with transcription but with their ability to bind ROCK-I, an effector kinase involved in cytoskeletal reorganisation. We used a recently developed specific ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, and ROCK truncation mutants to investigate the role of ROCK kinases in transcriptional activation and transformation. RESULTS: In NIH3T3 cells, Y-27632 did not prevent the activation of serum response factor, transcription of c-fos or cell cycle re-entry following serum stimulation. Repeated treatment of NIH3T3 cells with Y-27632, however, substantially disrupted their actin fibre network but did not affect their growth rate. Y-27632 blocked focus formation by RhoA and its guanine-nucleotide exchange factors Dbl and mNET1. It did not affect the growth rate of cells transformed by Dbl and mNET1, but restored normal growth control at confluence and prevented their growth in soft agar. Y-27632 also significantly inhibited focus formation by Ras, but had no effect on the establishment or maintenance of transformation by Src. Furthermore, it significantly inhibited anchorage-independent growth of two out of four colorectal tumour cell lines. Consistent with these data, a truncated ROCK derivative exhibited weak ability to cooperate with activated Raf in focus formation assays. CONCLUSIONS: ROCK signalling is required for both the establishment and maintenance of transformation by constitutive activation of RhoA, and contributes to the Ras-transformed phenotype. These observations provide a potential explanation for the requirement for Rho in Ras-mediated transformation. Moreover, the inhibition of ROCK kinases may be of therapeutic use. (+info)
DMPK dosage alterations result in atrioventricular conduction abnormalities in a mouse myotonic dystrophy model.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common form of muscular dystrophy and is caused by expansion of a CTG trinucleotide repeat on human chromosome 19. Patients with DM develop atrioventricular conduction disturbances, the principal cardiac manifestation of this disease. The etiology of the pathophysiological changes observed in DM has yet to be resolved. Haploinsufficiency of myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK), DM locus-associated homeodomain protein (DMAHP) and/or titration of RNA-binding proteins by expanded CUG sequences have been hypothesized to underlie the multi-system defects observed in DM. Using an in vivo murine electrophysiology study, we show that cardiac conduction is exquisitely sensitive to DMPK gene dosage. DMPK-/- mice develop cardiac conduction defects which include first-, second-, and third-degree atrioventricular (A-V) block. Our results demonstrate that the A-V node and the His-Purkinje regions of the conduction system are specifically compromised by DMPK loss. Importantly, DMPK+/- mice develop first-degree heart block, a conduction defect strikingly similar to that observed in DM patients. These results demonstrate that DMPK dosage is a critical element modulating cardiac conduction integrity and conclusively link haploinsufficiency of DMPK with cardiac disease in myotonic dystrophy. (+info)
Differential stability of the DNA-activated protein kinase catalytic subunit mRNA in human glioma cells.
DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) functions in double-strand break repair and immunoglobulin [V(D)J] recombination. We previously established a radiation-sensitive human cell line, M059J, derived from a malignant glioma, which lacks the catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) of the DNA-PK multiprotein complex. Although previous Northern blot analysis failed to detect the DNA-PKcs transcript in these cells, we show here through quantitative studies that the transcript is present, albeit at greatly reduced (approximately 20x) levels. Sequencing revealed no genetic alteration in either the promoter region, the kinase domain, or the 3' untranslated region of the DNA-PKcs gene to account for the reduced transcript levels. Nuclear run-on transcription assays indicated that the rate of DNA-PKcs transcription in M059J and DNA-PKcs proficient cell lines was similar, but the stability of the DNA-PKcs message in the M059J cell line was drastically (approximately 20x) reduced. Furthermore, M059J cells lack an alternately spliced DNA-PKcs transcript that accounts for a minor (5-20%) proportion of the DNA-PKcs message in all other cell lines tested. Thus, alterations in DNA-PKcs mRNA stability and/or the lack of the alternate mRNA may result in the loss of DNA-PKcs activity. This finding has important implications as DNA-PKcs activity is essential to cells repairing damage induced by radiation or radiomimetric agents. (+info)
Cyclin D-CDK subunit arrangement is dependent on the availability of competing INK4 and p21 class inhibitors.
The D-type cyclins and their major kinase partners CDK4 and CDK6 regulate G0-G1-S progression by contributing to the phosphorylation and inactivation of the retinoblastoma gene product, pRB. Assembly of active cyclin D-CDK complexes in response to mitogenic signals is negatively regulated by INK4 family members. Here we show that although all four INK4 proteins associate with CDK4 and CDK6 in vitro, only p16(INK4a) can form stable, binary complexes with both CDK4 and CDK6 in proliferating cells. The other INK4 family members form stable complexes with CDK6 but associate only transiently with CDK4. Conversely, CDK4 stably associates with both p21(CIP1) and p27(KIP1) in cyclin-containing complexes, suggesting that CDK4 is in equilibrium between INK4 and p21(CIP1)- or p27(KIP1)-bound states. In agreement with this hypothesis, overexpression of p21(CIP1) in 293 cells, where CDK4 is bound to p16(INK4a), stimulates the formation of ternary cyclin D-CDK4-p21(CIP1) complexes. These data suggest that members of the p21 family of proteins promote the association of D-type cyclins with CDKs by counteracting the effects of INK4 molecules. (+info)
Phosphorylation of the cap-binding protein eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E by protein kinase Mnk1 in vivo.
Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binds to the mRNA 5' cap and brings the mRNA into a complex with other protein synthesis initiation factors and ribosomes. The activity of mammalian eIF4E is important for the translation of capped mRNAs and is thought to be regulated by two mechanisms. First, eIF4E is sequestered by binding proteins, such as 4EBP1, in quiescent cells. Mitogens induce the release of eIF4E by stimulating the phosphorylation of 4EBP1. Second, mitogens and stresses induce the phosphorylation of eIF4E at Ser 209, increasing the affinity of eIF4E for capped mRNA and for an associated scaffolding protein, eIF4G. We previously showed that a mitogen- and stress-activated kinase, Mnk1, phosphorylates eIF4E in vitro at the physiological site. Here we show that Mnk1 regulates eIF4E phosphorylation in vivo. Mnk1 binds directly to eIF4G and copurifies with eIF4G and eIF4E. We identified activating phosphorylation sites in Mnk1 and developed dominant-negative and activated mutants. Expression of dominant-negative Mnk1 reduces mitogen-induced eIF4E phosphorylation, while expression of activated Mnk1 increases basal eIF4E phosphorylation. Activated mutant Mnk1 also induces extensive phosphorylation of eIF4E in cells overexpressing 4EBP1. This suggests that phosphorylation of eIF4E is catalyzed by Mnk1 or a very similar kinase in cells and is independent of other mitogenic signals that release eIF4E from 4EBP1. (+info)
Signals from the Ras, Rac, and Rho GTPases converge on the Pak protein kinase in Rat-1 fibroblasts.
Ras plays a key role in regulating cellular proliferation, differentiation, and transformation. Raf is the major effector of Ras in the Ras > Raf > Mek > extracellular signal-activated kinase (ERK) cascade. A second effector is phosphoinositide 3-OH kinase (PI 3-kinase), which, in turn, activates the small G protein Rac. Rac also has multiple effectors, one of which is the serine threonine kinase Pak (p65(Pak)). Here we show that Ras, but not Raf, activates Pak1 in cotransfection assays of Rat-1 cells but not NIH 3T3 cells. We tested agents that activate or block specific components downstream of Ras and demonstrate a Ras > PI 3-kinase > Rac/Cdc42 > Pak signal. Although these studies suggest that the signal from Ras through PI 3-kinase is sufficient to activate Pak, additional studies suggested that other effectors contribute to Pak activation. RasV12S35 and RasV12G37, two effector mutant proteins which fail to activate PI 3-kinase, did not activate Pak when tested alone but activated Pak when they were cotransfected. Similarly, RacV12H40, an effector mutant that does not bind Pak, and Rho both cooperated with Raf to activate Pak. A dominant negative Rho mutant also inhibited Ras activation of Pak. All combinations of Rac/Raf and Ras/Raf and Rho/Raf effector mutants that transform cells cooperatively stimulated ERK. Cooperation was Pak dependent, since all combinations were inhibited by kinase-deficient Pak mutants in both transformation assays and ERK activation assays. These data suggest that other Ras effectors can collaborate with PI 3-kinase and with each other to activate Pak. Furthermore, the strong correlation between Pak activation and cooperative transformation suggests that Pak activation is necessary, although not sufficient, for cooperative transformation of Rat-1 fibroblasts by Ras, Rac, and Rho. (+info)