MENT, a heterochromatin protein that mediates higher order chromatin folding, is a new serpin family member. (1/1699)

Terminal cell differentiation is correlated with the extensive sequestering of previously active genes into compact transcriptionally inert heterochromatin. In vertebrate blood cells, these changes can be traced to the accumulation of a developmentally regulated heterochromatin protein, MENT. Cryoelectron microscopy of chicken granulocyte chromatin, which is highly enriched with MENT, reveals exceptionally compact polynucleosomes, which maintain a level of higher order folding above that imposed by linker histones. The amino acid sequence of MENT reveals a close structural relationship with serpins, a large family of proteins known for their ability to undergo dramatic conformational transitions. Conservation of the "hinge region" consensus in MENT indicates that this ability is retained by the protein. MENT is distinguished from the other serpins by being a basic protein, containing several positively charged surface clusters, which are likely to be involved in ionic interactions with DNA. One of the positively charged domains bears a significant similarity to the chromatin binding region of nuclear lamina proteins and with the A.T-rich DNA-binding motif, which may account for the targeting of MENT to peripheral heterochromatin. MENT ectopically expressed in a mammalian cell line is transported into nuclei and is associated with intranuclear foci of condensed chromatin.  (+info)

The intracellular serpin proteinase inhibitor 6 is expressed in monocytes and granulocytes and is a potent inhibitor of the azurophilic granule protease, cathepsin G. (2/1699)

The monocyte and granulocyte azurophilic granule proteinases elastase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G are implicated in acute and chronic diseases thought to result from an imbalance between the secreted proteinase(s) and circulating serpins such as alpha1-proteinase inhibitor and alpha1-antichymotrypsin. We show here that the intracellular serpin, proteinase inhibitor 6 (PI-6), is present in monocytes, granulocytes, and myelomonocytic cell lines. In extracts from these cells, PI-6 bound an endogenous membrane-associated serine proteinase to form an sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-stable complex. Using antibodies to urokinase, elastase, proteinase 3, or cathepsin G, we demonstrated that the complex contains cathepsin G. Native cathepsin G and recombinant PI-6 formed an SDS-stable complex in vitro similar in size to that observed in the extracts. Further kinetic analysis demonstrated that cathepsin G and PI-6 rapidly form a tight 1:1 complex (ka = 6.8 +/- 0.2 x 10(6) mol/L-1s-1 at 17 degrees C; Ki = 9.2 +/- 0.04 x 10(-10) mol/L). We propose that PI-6 complements alpha1-proteinase inhibitor and alpha1-antichymotrypsin (which control extracellular proteolysis) by neutralizing cathepsin G that leaks into the cytoplasm of monocytes or granulocytes during biosynthesis or phagocytosis. Control of intracellular cathepsin G may be particularly important, because it has recently been shown to activate the proapoptotic proteinase, caspase-7.  (+info)

Role for caspase-mediated cleavage of Rad51 in induction of apoptosis by DNA damage. (3/1699)

We report here that the Rad51 recombinase is cleaved in mammalian cells during the induction of apoptosis by ionizing radiation (IR) exposure. The results demonstrate that IR induces Rad51 cleavage by a caspase-dependent mechanism. Further support for involvement of caspases is provided by the finding that IR-induced proteolysis of Rad51 is inhibited by Ac-DEVD-CHO. In vitro studies show that Rad51 is cleaved by caspase 3 at a DVLD/N site. Stable expression of a Rad51 mutant in which the aspartic acid residues were mutated to alanines (AVLA/N) confirmed that the DVLD/N site is responsible for the cleavage of Rad51 in IR-induced apoptosis. The functional significance of Rad51 proteolysis is supported by the finding that, unlike intact Rad51, the N- and C-terminal cleavage products fail to exhibit recombinase activity. In cells, overexpression of the Rad51(D-A) mutant had no effect on activation of caspase 3 but did abrogate in part the apoptotic response to IR exposure. We conclude that proteolytic inactivation of Rad51 by a caspase-mediated mechanism contributes to the cell death response induced by DNA damage.  (+info)

Bcl-xL blocks activation of related adhesion focal tyrosine kinase/proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 and stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase in the cellular response to methylmethane sulfonate. (4/1699)

The stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) is induced in response to ionizing radiation and other DNA-damaging agents. Recent studies indicate that activation of JNK is necessary for induction of apoptosis in response to diverse agents. Here we demonstrate that methylmethane sulfonate (MMS)-induced activation of JNK is inhibited by overexpression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL, but not by caspase inhibitors CrmA and p35. By contrast, UV-induced JNK activity is insensitive to Bcl-xL. The results demonstrate that treatment with MMS is associated with an increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of related adhesion focal tyrosine kinase (RAFTK)/proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2), an upstream effector of JNK and that this phosphorylation is inhibited by overexpression of Bcl-xL. Furthermore, overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant of RAFTK (RAFTK K-M) inhibits MMS-induced JNK activation. The results indicate that inhibition of RAFTK phosphorylation by MMS in Bcl-xL cells is attributed to an increase in tyrosine phosphatase activity in these cells. Hence, treatment of Bcl-xL cells with sodium vanadate, a tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, restores MMS-induced activation of RAFTK and JNK. These findings indicate that RAFTK-dependent induction of JNK in response to MMS is sensitive to Bcl-xL, but not to CrmA and p35, by a mechanism that inhibits tyrosine phosphorylation and thereby activation of RAFTK. Taken together, these findings support a novel role for Bcl-xL that is independent of the caspase cascade.  (+info)

Ligand binding properties of the very low density lipoprotein receptor. Absence of the third complement-type repeat encoded by exon 4 is associated with reduced binding of Mr 40,000 receptor-associated protein. (5/1699)

The very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) binds, among other ligands, the Mr 40,000 receptor-associated protein (RAP) and a variety of serine proteinase-serpin complexes, including complexes of the proteinase urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) with the serpins plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and protease nexin-1 (PN-1). We have analyzed the binding of RAP, uPA.PAI-1, and uPA.PN-1 to two naturally occurring VLDLR variants, VLDLR-I, containing all eight complement-type repeats, and VLDLR-III, lacking the third complement-type repeat, encoded by exon 4. VLDLR-III displayed approximately 4-fold lower binding of RAP than VLDLR-I and approximately 10-fold lower binding of the most C-terminal one of the three domains of RAP. In contrast, the binding of uPA.PAI-1 and uPA.PN-1 to the two VLDLR variants was indistinguishable. Surprisingly, uPA.PN-1, but not uPA.PAI-1, competed RAP binding to both VLDLR variants. These observations show that the third complement-type repeat plays a crucial role in maintaining the contact sites needed for optimal recognition of RAP, but does not affect the proteinase-serpin complex contact sites, and that two ligands can show full cross-competition without sharing the same contacts with the receptor. These results elucidate the mechanisms of molecular recognition of ligands by receptors of the low density lipoprotein receptor family.  (+info)

Suppression of breast cancer growth and metastasis by a serpin myoepithelium-derived serine proteinase inhibitor expressed in the mammary myoepithelial cells. (6/1699)

A serpin was identified in normal mammary gland by differential cDNA sequencing. In situ hybridization has detected this serpin exclusively in the myoepithelial cells on the normal and noninvasive mammary epithelial side of the basement membrane and thus was named myoepithelium-derived serine proteinase inhibitor (MEPI). No MEPI expression was detected in the malignant breast carcinomas. MEPI encodes a 405-aa precursor, including an 18-residue secretion signal with a calculated molecular mass of 46 kDa. The predicted sequence of the new protein shares 33% sequence identity and 58% sequence similarity to plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and PAI-2. To determine whether MEPI can modulate the in vivo growth and progression of human breast cancers, we transfected a full-length MEPI cDNA into human breast cancer cells and studied the orthotopic growth of MEPI-transfected vs. control clones in the mammary fat pad of athymic nude mice. Overexpression of MEPI inhibited the invasion of the cells in the in vitro invasion assay. When injected orthotopically into nude mice, the primary tumor volumes, axillary lymph node metastasis, and lung metastasis were significantly inhibited in MEPI-transfected clones as compared with controls. The expression of MEPI in myoepithelial cells may prevent breast cancer malignant progression leading to metastasis.  (+info)

Regulation of pro-apoptotic leucocyte granule serine proteinases by intracellular serpins. (7/1699)

Caspase activation and apoptosis can be initiated by the introduction of serine proteinases into the cytoplasm of a cell. Cytotoxic lymphocytes have evolved at least one serine proteinase with specific pro-apoptotic activity (granzyme B), as well as the mechanisms to deliver it into a target cell, and recent evidence suggests that other leucocyte granule proteinases may also have the capacity to kill if released into the interior of cells. For example, the monocyte/granulocyte proteinase cathepsin G can activate caspases in vitro, and will induce apoptosis if its entry into cells is mediated by a bacterial pore-forming protein. The potent pro-apoptotic activity of granzyme B and cathepsin G suggests that cells producing these (or other) proteinases would be at risk from self-induced death if the systems involved in packaging, degranulation or targeting fail and allow proteinases to enter the host cell cytoplasm. The purpose of the present review is to describe recent work on a group of intracellular serine proteinase inhibitors (serpins) which may function in leucocytes to prevent autolysis induced by the granule serine proteinases.  (+info)

Anti-viral strategies of cytotoxic T lymphocytes are manifested through a variety of granule-bound pathways of apoptosis induction. (8/1699)

Cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells together constitute a major defence against virus infection, through their ability to induce apoptotic death in infected cells. These cytolytic lymphocytes kill their targets through two principal mechanisms, and one of these, granule exocytosis, is essential for an effective in vivo immune response against many viruses. In recent years, the authors and other investigators have identified several distinct mechanisms that can induce death in a targeted cell. In the present article, it is postulated that the reason for this redundancy of lethal mechanisms is to deal with the array of anti-apoptotic molecules elaborated by viruses to extend the life of infected cells. The fate of such a cell therefore reflects the balance of pro-apoptotic (immune) and anti-apoptotic (viral) strategies that have developed over eons of evolutionary time.  (+info)