56 research outputs found

    Cubic membranes: a legend beyond the Flatland* of cell membrane organization

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    Cubic membranes represent highly curved, three-dimensional nanoperiodic structures that correspond to mathematically well defined triply periodic minimal surfaces. Although they have been observed in numerous cell types and under different conditions, particularly in stressed, diseased, or virally infected cells, knowledge about the formation and function of nonlamellar, cubic structures in biological systems is scarce, and research so far is restricted to the descriptive level. We show that the “organized smooth endoplasmic reticulum” (OSER; Snapp, E.L., R.S. Hegde, M. Francolini, F. Lombardo, S. Colombo, E. Pedrazzini, N. Borgese, and J. Lippincott-Schwartz. 2003. J. Cell Biol. 163:257–269), which is formed in response to elevated levels of specific membrane-resident proteins, is actually the two-dimensional representation of two subtypes of cubic membrane morphology. Controlled OSER induction may thus provide, for the first time, a valuable tool to study cubic membrane formation and function at the molecular level

    Enhanced membrane protein expression by engineering increased intracellular membrane production

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    Background: Membrane protein research is frequently hampered by the low natural abundance of these proteins in cells and typically relies on recombinant gene expression. Different expression systems, like mammalian cells, insect cells, bacteria and yeast are being used, but very few research efforts have been directed towards specific host cell customization for enhanced expression of membrane proteins. Here we show that by increasing the intracellular membrane production by interfering with a key enzymatic step of lipid synthesis, enhanced expression of membrane proteins in yeast is achieved. Results: We engineered the oleotrophic yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, by deleting the phosphatidic acid phosphatase, PAH1, which led to massive proliferation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes. For all eight tested representatives of different integral membrane protein families, we obtained enhanced protein accumulation levels and in some cases enhanced proteolytic integrity in the Delta pah1 strain. We analysed the adenosine A2AR G-protein coupled receptor case in more detail and found that concomitant induction of the unfolded protein response in the Delta pah1 strain enhanced the specific ligand binding activity of the receptor. These data indicate an improved quality control mechanism for membrane proteins accumulating in yeast cells with proliferated ER. Conclusions: We conclude that redirecting the metabolic flux of fatty acids away from triacylglycerol-and sterylester-storage towards membrane phospholipid synthesis by PAH1 gene inactivation, provides a valuable approach to enhance eukaryotic membrane protein production. Complementary to this improvement in membrane protein quantity, UPR co-induction further enhances the quality of the membrane protein in terms of its proper folding and biological activity. Importantly, since these pathways are conserved in all eukaryotes, it will be of interest to investigate similar engineering approaches in other cell types of biotechnological interest, such as insect cells and mammalian cells

    Yeast oxidosqualene cyclase (Erg7p) is a major component of lipid particles.

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    Oxidosqualene cyclase of the yeast encoded by the ERG7 gene converts oxidosqualene to lanosterol, the first cyclic component of sterol biosynthesis. In a previous study (Athenstaedt, K., Zweytick, D., Jandrositz, A, Kohlwein, S. D., and Daum, G. (1999) J. Bacteriol. 181, 6441–6448), Erg7p was identified as a component of yeast lipid particles. Here, we present evidence that Erg7p is almost exclusively associated with this compartment as shown by analysis of enzymatic activity, Western blot analysis, and in vivo localization of Erg7p-GFP. Occurrence of oxidosqualene cyclase in other organelles including the endoplasmic reticulum is negligible. In an erg7 deletion strain or in wild-type cells treated with an inhibitor of oxidosqualene cyclase, the substrate of Erg7p, oxidosqualene, accumulated mostly in lipid particles. Storage in lipid particles of this intermediate produced in excess may provide a possibility to exclude this membrane-perturbing component from other organelles. Thus, our data provide evidence that lipid particles are not only a depot for neutral lipids, but also participate in coordinate sterol metabolism and trafficking and serve as a storage site for compounds that may negatively affect membrane integrity

    Diacylglycerol triggers Rim101 pathway dependent necrosis in yeast: a model for lipotoxicity

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    The loss of lipid homeostasis can lead to lipid overload and is associated with a variety of disease states. However, little is known as to how the disruption of lipid regulation or lipid overload affects cell survival. In this study we investigated how excess diacylglycerol (DG), a cardinal metabolite suspected to mediate lipotoxicity, compromises the survival of yeast cells. We reveal that increased DG achieved by either genetic manipulation or pharmacological administration of 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol (DOG) triggers necrotic cell death. The toxic effects of DG are linked to glucose metabolism and require a functional Rim101 signaling cascade involving the Rim21 dependent sensing complex and activation of a calpain-like protease. The Rim101 cascade is an established pathway that triggers a transcriptional response to alkaline or lipid stress. We propose that the Rim101 pathway senses DG-induced lipid perturbation and conducts a signaling response that either facilitates cellular adaptation or triggers lipotoxic cell death. Using established models of lipotoxicity i.e. high fat diet in Drosophila and palmitic acid administration in cultured human endothelial cells, we present evidence that the core mechanism underlying this calpain-dependent lipotoxic cell death pathway is phylogenetically conserved

    Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition)

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    In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. For example, a key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process versus those that measure fl ux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process including the amount and rate of cargo sequestered and degraded). In particular, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation must be differentiated from stimuli that increase autophagic activity, defi ned as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (inmost higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium ) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the fi eld understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. It is worth emphasizing here that lysosomal digestion is a stage of autophagy and evaluating its competence is a crucial part of the evaluation of autophagic flux, or complete autophagy. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. Along these lines, because of the potential for pleiotropic effects due to blocking autophagy through genetic manipulation it is imperative to delete or knock down more than one autophagy-related gene. In addition, some individual Atg proteins, or groups of proteins, are involved in other cellular pathways so not all Atg proteins can be used as a specific marker for an autophagic process. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field

    Analyzing and Understanding Lipids of Yeast: A Challenging Endeavor

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    Identification of a novel, Ca2+-dependent phospholipase D with preference for phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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    AbstractA membrane-bound phospholipase D (PLD) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae was solubilized from mitochondrial and plasma membranes and partially purified. The enzyme has an apparent molecular weight of approximately 60 kDa, is strictly Ca2+-dependent and preferentially hydrolyses phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine. Enzyme activity is significantly increased in membranes from cells grown on a non-fermentable carbon source. The Ca2+-dependent PLD is distinct from PLD encoded by the SPO14/PLD1 gene. The 195 kDa SPO14/PLD1 gene product is specific for PtdCho, Ca2+-independent and is activated by PIP2. Furthermore, Pld1p has transphosphatidylation activity in the presence of ethanol and thus resembles the prototypic PLD activity found in mammalian cells and plants. In contrast, the Ca2+-dependent PLD described here is not affected by PIP2 and does not catalyze transphosphatidylation. Thus, the Ca2+-dependent PLD characterized in this study appears to be a member of a novel family of phospholipases D
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