13,860 research outputs found

    Studies of molecular mechanisms integrating carbon metabolism and growth in plants

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    Plants use light energy, carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars and other carbohydrates, which serve as stored energy reserves and as building blocks for biosynthetic reactions. Supply of light is variable and plants have evolved means to adjust their growth and development accordingly. An increasing body of evidence suggests that the basic mechanisms for sensing and signaling energy availability in eukaryotes are evolutionary conserved and thus shared between plants, animals and fungi. I have used different experimental approaches that take advantage of findings from other eukaryotes in studying carbon and energy metabolism in plants. In the first part, I developed a novel screening procedure in yeast aimed at isolating cDNAs from other organisms encoding proteins with a possible function in sugar sensing or signaling. The feasibility of the method was confirmed by the cloning of a cDNA from Arabidopsis thaliana encoding a new F-box protein named AtGrh1, which is related to the yeast Grr1 protein that is involved in glucose repression. In the second part of the study, plant homologues of key components in the yeast glucose repression pathway were cloned and characterized in the moss Physcomitrella patens, in which gene function can be studied by gene targeting. We first cloned PpHXK1 which was shown to encode a chloroplast localized hexokinase representing a previously overlooked class of plant hexokinases with an N-terminal chloroplast transit peptide. Significantly, PpHxk1 is the major hexokinase in Physcomitrella, accounting for 80% of the glucose phosphorylating activity. A knockout mutant deleted for PpHXK1 exhibits a complex phenotype affecting growth, development and sensitivities to plant hormones. I also cloned and characterized two closely related Physcomitrella genes, PpSNF1a and PpSNF1b, encoding type 1 Snf1-related kinases. A double knockout mutant for these genes was viable even though it lacks detectable Snf1-like kinase activity. The mutant suffers from pleiotropic phenotypes which may reflect a constitutive high energy growth mode. Significantly, the double mutant requires constant high light and is therefore unable to grow in a normal day/night light cycle. These findings are consistent with the proposed role of the Snf1-related kinases as energy gauges which are needed to recognize and respond to low energy conditions

    Regulation of Membrane Targeting of the G Protein-coupled Receptor Kinase 2 by Protein Kinase A and Its Anchoring Protein AKAP79

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    The beta 2 adrenergic receptor (beta 2AR) undergoes desensitization by a process involving its phosphorylation by both protein kinase A (PKA) and G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). The protein kinase A-anchoring protein AKAP79 influences beta 2AR phosphorylation by complexing PKA with the receptor at the membrane. Here we show that AKAP79 also regulates the ability of GRK2 to phosphorylate agonist-occupied receptors. In human embryonic kidney 293 cells, overexpression of AKAP79 enhances agonist-induced phosphorylation of both the beta 2AR and a mutant of the receptor that cannot be phosphorylated by PKA (beta 2AR/PKA-). Mutants of AKAP79 that do not bind PKA or target to the beta 2AR markedly inhibit phosphorylation of beta 2AR/PKA-. We show that PKA directly phosphorylates GRK2 on serine 685. This modification increases Gbeta gamma subunit binding to GRK2 and thus enhances the ability of the kinase to translocate to the membrane and phosphorylate the receptor. Abrogation of the phosphorylation of serine 685 on GRK2 by mutagenesis (S685A) or by expression of a dominant negative AKAP79 mutant reduces GRK2-mediated translocation to beta 2AR and phosphorylation of agonist-occupied beta 2AR, thus reducing subsequent receptor internalization. Agonist-stimulated PKA-mediated phosphorylation of GRK2 may represent a mechanism for enhancing receptor phosphorylation and desensitization

    Reciprocal regulation of PKA and rac signaling

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    Activated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and receptor tyrosine kinases relay extracellular signals through spatial and temporal controlled kinase and GTPase entities. These enzymes are coordinated by multifunctional scaffolding proteins for precise intracellular signal processing. The cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) is the prime example for compartmentalized signal transmission downstream of distinct GPCRs. A-kinase anchoring proteins tether PKA to specific intracellular sites to ensure precision and directionality of PKA phosphorylation events. Here, we show that the Rho-GTPase Rac contains A-kinase anchoring protein properties and forms a dynamic cellular protein complex with PKA. The formation of this transient core complex depends on binary interactions with PKA subunits, cAMP levels and cellular GTP-loading accounting for bidirectional consequences on PKA and Rac downstream signaling. We show that GTP-Rac stabilizes the inactive PKA holoenzyme. However, Ī²-adrenergic receptor-mediated activation of GTP-Racā€“bound PKA routes signals to the Raf-Mek-Erk cascade, which is critically implicated in cell proliferation. We describe a further mechanism of how cAMP enhances nuclear Erk1/2 signaling: It emanates from transphosphorylation of p21-activated kinases in their evolutionary conserved kinase-activation loop through GTP-Rac compartmentalized PKA activities. Sole transphosphorylation of p21-activated kinases is not sufficient to activate Erk1/2. It requires complex formation of both kinases with GTP-Rac1 to unleash cAMP-PKAā€“boosted activation of Raf-Mek-Erk. Consequently GTP-Rac functions as a dual kinase-tuning scaffold that favors the PKA holoenzyme and contributes to potentiate Erk1/2 signaling. Our findings offer additional mechanistic insights how Ī²-adrenergic receptor-controlled PKA activities enhance GTP-Racā€“mediated activation of nuclear Erk1/2 signaling

    Preparation of Neurospora crassa mitochondria

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    The fungus Neurospora crassa represents a eukaryotic cell with high biosynthetic activities. Cell mass doubles in 2-4 hr during expone ntial growth , even in simple salt media with sucrose as the sole carbon source. The microorgani sm forms a mycelium of long hyphae durlng vegetative growth . The mitochondria can be isolated under relatively gentle condi tions since a few breaks in the threadlike hyphae are sufficient to cause the outflow of the organelles. This article describes two methods for the physical disruption of the hyphae : (I) The cell s are opened in a grind mill between two rotating corundum di sks. This is a continuous and fast procedure and allows large- and small-scale preparations of mitochondria. (2) Hyphae are ground with sand in a mortar and pestle. This procedure can be applied to microscale preparations of mitochondria starting with minute amounts of cells. Other procedures for the isolation of Neurospora mitochondria after the physical di sruption or the enzymatic degradation of the cell wall have been described elsewher

    Protein phosphorylation in yeast mitochondria

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    We describe the identification and submitochondrial localization of four protein kinases and of their target proteins in derepressed yeast mitochondria. The activity of one of the kinases depends on the presence of cyclic AMP (cAMP). It is soluble and localized in the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Its natural target is a polypeptide of 40 kDa molecular mass, which is bound to the inner membrane. Besides this natural target this kinase phosphorylates acidic heterologous proteins, like casein, with high efficiency. The other protein kinases identified so far are cAMP-independent. At least one is localized in the matrix having its natural substrates (49 and 24 kDa) in the same compartment. Two others are firmly bound to the inner membrane phosphorylating target proteins in the inner membrane (52Ā·5 kDa) and in the intermembrane space (17Ā·5 kDa), respectively

    Distinct forebrain and cerebellar isozymes of type II Ca^(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase associate differently with the postsynaptic density fraction

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    Forebrain and cerebellar Type II Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases have different subunit compositions. The forebrain holoenzyme, characterized in our laboratory, is a 650-kDa holoenzyme composed of 50-kDa alpha-subunits and 60-kDa beta-subunits assembled in approximately a 3:1 ratio (Bennett, M. K., Erondu, N. E., and Kennedy, M. B. (1983) J. Biol. Chem. 258, 12735-12744). The cerebellar isozyme is a 500-kDa holoenzyme composed of alpha-subunits and beta-subunits assembled in almost the converse ratio, approximately four beta-subunits for each alpha-subunit. When compared by tryptic peptide mapping and by immunochemical techniques, the beta-subunits from the two brain regions are indistinguishable and the alpha-subunits appear closely related. The specific activities, substrate specificities, and catalytic constants of the cerebellar and forebrain isozymes are similar, suggesting that the alpha- and beta-subunits contain similar catalytic sites. However, two differences in the properties of the isozymes may result in functional differences between them in vivo. First, the apparent affinity of the cerebellar kinase for Ca2+/calmodulin is 2-fold higher than that of the forebrain kinase. Second, the two isozymes appear to associate differently with subcellular structures. Approximately 85% of the cerebellar kinase and 50% of the forebrain kinase remain in the particulate fraction after homogenization under standard conditions. However, they are present in different amounts in postsynaptic density fractions. Postsynaptic densities prepared from forebrain contain the forebrain isozyme. Immunochemical measurements show that it comprises approximately 16% of their total protein. In contrast, postsynaptic densities prepared from cerebellum contain the cerebellar isozyme, but it comprises only approximately 1-2% of their total protein. Thus, the alpha-subunit may play a role in anchoring Type II Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase to postsynaptic densities

    Mechanism of regulation of Raf-1 by Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II

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    The calcium-calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaMKII) is an ubiquitous serine/threonine protein kinase involved in multiple signalings and biological functions. It has been demonstrated that in epithelial and mesenchimal cells CaMKII participates with Ras to Raf-1 activation and that it is necessary for ERK activation by diverse factors. Raf-1 activation is complex. Maximal Raf-1 activation is reached by phosphorylation at Y341 by Src and at S338. Although early data proposed the involvement of p21-activated kinase 3 (Pak3), the kinase phosphorylating S338 is not definitively identified. Aim of my thesis is to go more insight into the molecular mechanisms of CaMKII/Raf-1 interaction and to verify the hypothesis that CaMKII phosphorylates Raf-1 at Ser338. To this purpose, I investigated the role of CaMKII in Raf-1 and ERK activation by oncogenic Ras and other factors, in COS-7 and NIH3T3 cells. Serum, SrcY527 and RasV12 activated CaMKII. CaMKII was necessary for Raf-1 and ERK activation by all these factors. CaMKII was necessary to the phosphorylation of S338 Raf-1 by serum, fibronectin or oncogenic Ras. Conversely, the inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, which in turn activates Pak3, was ineffective. The direct kinase activity of CaMKII on the serine 338 residue, was demonstrated in vitro by interaction of purified kinases. These results demonstrate that CaMKII phosphorylates Raf-1 at S338 and partecipates to ERK activation upon different physiologic and pathologic stimuli in the MAPK cascade. This kinase, might have a role in cancers harbouring oncogenic Ras and could represent a new therapeutic target for pharmacological intervention in these tumors

    PKCĪ± and CPI-17 expression and spatial-temporal distribution with activation in pig stomach antrum and fundus

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    Smooth muscle contraction is a complicated process coordinated by contractile, regulatory and cytoskeletal proteins. The force generation depends on the phosphorylation of Myosin Regulatory Light Chain (MLC20). Myosin Light Chain Kinase (MLCK) and Myosin Light Chain Phosphatase (MLCP) are the two main regulators of the MLC20 phosphorylation level. MLCP is further controlled by two known pathways including the G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs)/ phospholipase C (PLC)/ diacylglycerol (DAG)/ protein kinase C (PKC)/ PKC-potentiated inhibitory protein for heterotrimeric myosin light chain phosphatase of 17 kDa (CPI-17) pathway. While messengers involved in this pathway have been proposed, studies on the details of the pathway are still controversial. This study explored the spatial-temporal regulation and distribution of PKCĪ± and CPI-17 in intact animal tissues. Immunohistochemical results show that the distribution of PKCĪ± in the longitudinal and circular layers of the fundus and antrum under relaxed conditions was predominantly localized at or near the periphery of the smooth muscle cell. Stimulation of the tissues with 1Ī¼M phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu) for 10 or 30 minutes or 1Ī¼M carbachol (CCh) for 3 minutes does not alter the distribution pattern of PKCĪ±. Different from PKCĪ±, CPI-17 appeared to be uniformly distributed throughout the smooth muscle cells under relaxed conditions. Stimulation of the tissues with 1Ī¼M PDBu or 1Ī¼M CCh for 30 minutes led to a significant distribution shift of CPI-17 from throughout the cytosol to primarily at the cell periphery. Results from double labeling of PKCĪ± and vinculin/talin under relaxed condition or CPI-17 and vinculin/talin under stimulated condition suggested that PKCĪ± and CPI-17 were not associated with the adherens junction. It is likely that PKCĪ± and CPI-17 are localized at the caveolae on the plasma membrane. This study also revealed that the force generated in tonic fundus smooth muscle is much greater than that in phasic antrum tissue upon PDBu stimulation. Immunoblot analyses demonstrated that this difference was not caused by a difference in the expression of PKCĪ± or CPI-17 between these two tissues
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