Tuning Cytokine Receptor Signaling by Re-orienting Dimer Geometry with Surrogate Ligands
2015; 160 (6): 1196-1208
Identification and Specification of the Mouse Skeletal Stem Cell
2015; 160 (1-2): 285-298
Most cell-surface receptors for cytokines and growth factors signal as dimers, but it is unclear whether remodeling receptor dimer topology is a viable strategy to "tune" signaling output. We utilized diabodies (DA) as surrogate ligands in a prototypical dimeric receptor-ligand system, the cytokine Erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EpoR), to dimerize EpoR ectodomains in non-native architectures. Diabody-induced signaling amplitudes varied from full to minimal agonism, and structures of these DA/EpoR complexes differed in EpoR dimer orientation and proximity. Diabodies also elicited biased or differential activation of signaling pathways and gene expression profiles compared to EPO. Non-signaling diabodies inhibited proliferation of erythroid precursors from patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm due to a constitutively active JAK2V617F mutation. Thus, intracellular oncogenic mutations causing ligand-independent receptor activation can be counteracted by extracellular ligands that re-orient receptors into inactive dimer topologies. This approach has broad applications for tuning signaling output for many dimeric receptor systems.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.011
View details for Web of Science ID 000351951800018
Identification of a colonial chordate histocompatibility gene.
2013; 341 (6144): 384-387
How are skeletal tissues derived from skeletal stem cells? Here, we map bone, cartilage, and stromal development from a population of highly pure, postnatal skeletal stem cells (mouse skeletal stem cells, mSSCs) to their downstream progenitors of bone, cartilage, and stromal tissue. We then investigated the transcriptome of the stem/progenitor cells for unique gene-expression patterns that would indicate potential regulators of mSSC lineage commitment. We demonstrate that mSSC niche factors can be potent inducers of osteogenesis, and several specific combinations of recombinant mSSC niche factors can activate mSSC genetic programs in situ, even in nonskeletal tissues, resulting in de novo formation of cartilage or bone and bone marrow stroma. Inducing mSSC formation with soluble factors and subsequently regulating the mSSC niche to specify its differentiation toward bone, cartilage, or stromal cells could represent a paradigm shift in the therapeutic regeneration of skeletal tissues.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.002
View details for Web of Science ID 000347923200025
View details for PubMedID 25594184
Isolated pseudo-RNA-recognition motifs of SR proteins can regulate splicing using a noncanonical mode of RNA recognition
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2013; 110 (30): E2802-E2811
Histocompatibility is the basis by which multicellular organisms of the same species distinguish self from nonself. Relatively little is known about the mechanisms underlying histocompatibility reactions in lower organisms. Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial urochordate, a sister group of vertebrates, that exhibits a genetically determined natural transplantation reaction, whereby self-recognition between colonies leads to formation of parabionts with a common vasculature, whereas rejection occurs between incompatible colonies. Using genetically defined lines, whole-transcriptome sequencing, and genomics, we identified a single gene that encodes self-nonself and determines "graft" outcomes in this organism. This gene is significantly up-regulated in colonies poised to undergo fusion and/or rejection, is highly expressed in the vasculature, and is functionally linked to histocompatibility outcomes. These findings establish a platform for advancing the science of allorecognition.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1238036
View details for PubMedID 23888037
Molecular phylogeny of OVOL genes illustrates a conserved C2H2 zinc finger domain coupled by hypervariable unstructured regions.
2012; 7 (6)
Serine/arginine (SR) proteins, one of the major families of alternative-splicing regulators in Eukarya, have two types of RNA-recognition motifs (RRMs): a canonical RRM and a pseudo-RRM. Although pseudo-RRMs are crucial for activity of SR proteins, their mode of action was unknown. By solving the structure of the human SRSF1 pseudo-RRM bound to RNA, we discovered a very unusual and sequence-specific RNA-binding mode that is centered on one α-helix and does not involve the β-sheet surface, which typically mediates RNA binding by RRMs. Remarkably, this mode of binding is conserved in all pseudo-RRMs tested. Furthermore, the isolated pseudo-RRM is sufficient to regulate splicing of about half of the SRSF1 target genes tested, and the bound α-helix is a pivotal element for this function. Our results strongly suggest that SR proteins with a pseudo-RRM frequently regulate splicing by competing with, rather than recruiting, spliceosome components, using solely this unusual RRM.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1303445110
View details for Web of Science ID 000322112300010
View details for PubMedID 23836656
Spliceosomal Intron Insertions in Genome Compacted Ray-Finned Fishes as Evident from Phylogeny of MC Receptors, Also Supported by a Few Other GPCRs
2011; 6 (8)
OVO-like proteins (OVOL) are members of the zinc finger protein family and serve as transcription factors to regulate gene expression in various differentiation processes. Recent studies have shown that OVOL genes are involved in epithelial development and differentiation in a wide variety of organisms; yet there is a lack of comprehensive studies that describe OVOL proteins from an evolutionary perspective. Using comparative genomic analysis, we traced three different OVOL genes (OVOL1-3) in vertebrates. One gene, OVOL3, was duplicated during a whole-genome-duplication event in fish, but only the copy (OVOL3b) was retained. From early-branching metazoa to humans, we found that a core domain, comprising a tetrad of C2H2 zinc fingers, is conserved. By domain comparison of the OVOL proteins, we found that they evolved in different metazoan lineages by attaching intrinsically-disordered (ID) segments of N/C-terminal extensions of 100 to 1000 amino acids to this conserved core. These ID regions originated independently across different animal lineages giving rise to different types of OVOL genes over the course of metazoan evolution. We illustrated the molecular evolution of metazoan OVOL genes over a period of 700 million years (MY). This study both extends our current understanding of the structure/function relationship of metazoan OVOL genes, and assembles a good platform for further characterization of OVOL genes from diverged organisms.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0039399
View details for PubMedID 22737237
Interaction between the RNA binding domains of Ser-Arg splicing factor 1 and U1-70K snRNP protein determines early spliceosome assembly
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2011; 108 (20): 8233-8238
Insertions of spliceosomal introns are very rare events during evolution of vertebrates and the mechanisms governing creation of novel intron(s) remain obscure. Largely, gene structures of melanocortin (MC) receptors are characterized by intron-less architecture. However, recently a few exceptions have been reported in some fishes. This warrants a systematic survey of MC receptors for understanding intron insertion events during vertebrate evolution.We have compiled an extended list of MC receptors from different vertebrate genomes with variations in fishes. Notably, the closely linked MC2Rs and MC5Rs from a group of ray-finned fishes have three and one intron insertion(s), respectively, with conserved positions and intron phase. In both genes, one novel insertion was in the highly conserved DRY motif at the end of helix TM3. Further, the proto-splice site MAG↑R is maintained at intron insertion sites in these two genes. However, the orthologs of these receptors from zebrafish and tetrapods are intron-less, suggesting these introns are simultaneously created in selected fishes. Surprisingly, these novel introns are traceable only in four fish genomes. We found that these fish genomes are severely compacted after the separation from zebrafish. Furthermore, we also report novel intron insertions in P2Y receptors and in CHRM3. Finally, we report ultrasmall introns in MC2R genes from selected fishes.The current repository of MC receptors illustrates that fishes have no MC3R ortholog. MC2R, MC5R, P2Y receptors and CHRM3 have novel intron insertions only in ray-finned fishes that underwent genome compaction. These receptors share one intron at an identical position suggestive of being inserted contemporaneously. In addition to repetitive elements, genome compaction is now believed to be a new hallmark that promotes intron insertions, as it requires rapid DNA breakage and subsequent repair processes to gain back normal functionality.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0022046
View details for Web of Science ID 000293563300003
View details for PubMedID 21850219
Arginine Methylation Controls the Subcellular Localization and Functions of the Oncoprotein Splicing Factor SF2/ASF
MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY
2010; 30 (11): 2762-2774
It has been widely accepted that the early spliceosome assembly begins with U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) binding to the 5' splice site (5'SS), which is assisted by the Ser/Arg (SR)-rich proteins in mammalian cells. In this process, the RS domain of SR proteins is thought to directly interact with the RS motif of U1-70K, which is subject to regulation by RS domain phosphorylation. Here we report that the early spliceosome assembly event is mediated by the RNA recognition domains (RRM) of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1), which bridges the RRM of U1-70K to pre-mRNA by using the surface opposite to the RNA binding site. Specific mutation in the RRM of SRSF1 that disrupted the RRM-RRM interaction also inhibits the formation of spliceosomal E complex and splicing. We further demonstrate that the hypo-phosphorylated RS domain of SRSF1 interacts with its own RRM, thus competing with U1-70K binding, whereas the hyper-phosphorylated RS domain permits the formation of a ternary complex containing ESE, an SR protein, and U1 snRNP. Therefore, phosphorylation of the RS domain in SRSF1 appears to induce a key molecular switch from intra- to intermolecular interactions, suggesting a plausible mechanism for the documented requirement for the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cycle during pre-mRNA splicing.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1017700108
View details for Web of Science ID 000290719600036
View details for PubMedID 21536904
SF2/ASF autoregulation involves multiple layers of post-transcriptional and translational control
NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
2010; 17 (3): 306-U70
Alternative splicing and posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are major sources of protein diversity in eukaryotic proteomes. The SR protein SF2/ASF is an oncoprotein that functions in pre-mRNA splicing, with additional roles in other posttranscriptional and translational events. Functional studies of SR protein PTMs have focused exclusively on the reversible phosphorylation of Ser residues in the C-terminal RS domain. We confirmed that human SF2/ASF is methylated at residues R93, R97, and R109, which were identified in a global proteomic analysis of Arg methylation, and further investigated whether these methylated residues regulate the properties of SF2/ASF. We show that the three arginines additively control the subcellular localization of SF2/ASF and that both the positive charge and the methylation state are important. Mutations that block methylation and remove the positive charge result in the cytoplasmic accumulation of SF2/ASF. The consequent decrease in nuclear SF2/ASF levels prevents it from modulating the alternative splicing of target genes, results in higher translation stimulation, and abrogates the enhancement of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. This study addresses the mechanisms by which Arg methylation and the associated positive charge regulate the activities of SF2/ASF and emphasizes the significance of localization control for an oncoprotein with multiple functions in different cellular compartments.
View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.01270-09
View details for Web of Science ID 000277558300015
View details for PubMedID 20308322
The gene encoding the splicing factor SF2/ASF is a proto-oncogene
NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
2007; 14 (3): 185-193
SF2/ASF is a prototypical serine- and arginine-rich protein, with important roles in splicing and other aspects of mRNA metabolism. Splicing factor, arginine/serine-rich 1 (SFRS1), the gene encoding SF2/ASF, is a potent proto-oncogene with abnormal expression in many tumors. We found that SF2/ASF negatively autoregulates its expression to maintain homeostatic levels. We characterized six alternatively spliced SF2/ASF mRNA isoforms: the major isoform encodes full-length protein, whereas the others are either retained in the nucleus or degraded by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Unproductive splicing accounts for only part of the autoregulation, which occurs primarily at the translational level. The effect is specific to SF2/ASF and requires RNA recognition motif 2 (RRM2). The ultraconserved 3' untranslated region (UTR) is necessary and sufficient for downregulation. SF2/ASF overexpression shifts the distribution of target mRNA toward monoribosomes, and translational repression is partly independent of Dicer and a 5' cap. Thus, multiple post-transcriptional and translational mechanisms are involved in fine-tuning the expression of SF2/ASF.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nsmb.1750
View details for Web of Science ID 000275182700010
View details for PubMedID 20139984
Alternative splicing modulates the expression of many oncogene and tumor-suppressor isoforms. We have tested whether some alternative splicing factors are involved in cancer. We found that the splicing factor SF2/ASF is upregulated in various human tumors, in part due to amplification of its gene, SFRS1. Moreover, slight overexpression of SF2/ASF is sufficient to transform immortal rodent fibroblasts, which form sarcomas in nude mice. We further show that SF2/ASF controls alternative splicing of the tumor suppressor BIN1 and the kinases MNK2 and S6K1. The resulting BIN1 isoforms lack tumor-suppressor activity; an isoform of MNK2 promotes MAP kinase-independent eIF4E phosphorylation; and an unusual oncogenic isoform of S6K1 recapitulates the transforming activity of SF2/ASF. Knockdown of either SF2/ASF or isoform-2 of S6K1 is sufficient to reverse transformation caused by the overexpression of SF2/ASF in vitro and in vivo. Thus, SF2/ASF can act as an oncoprotein and is a potential target for cancer therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nmb1209
View details for Web of Science ID 000244715200006
View details for PubMedID 17310252