Genetic interactions of the E3 ubiquitin ligase component FbxA with cyclic AMP metabolism and a histidine kinase signaling pathway during Dictyostelium discoideum development.
ABSTRACT: Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae with an altered fbxA gene, which is thought to encode a component of an SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase, have defective regulation of cell type proportionality. In chimeras with wild-type cells, the mutant amoebae form mainly spores, leaving the construction of stalks to wild-type cells. To examine the role of fbxA and regulated proteolysis, we have recovered the promoter of fbxA and shown that it is expressed in a pattern resembling that of a prestalk-specific gene until late in development, when it is also expressed in developing spore cells. Because fbxA cells are developmentally deficient in pure culture, we were able to select suppressor mutations that promote sporulation of the original mutant. One suppressor mutation resides within the gene regA, which encodes a cyclic AMP (cAMP) phosphodiesterase linked to an activating response regulator domain. In another suppressor, there has been a disruption of dhkA, a gene encoding a two-component histidine kinase known to influence Dictyostelium development. RegA appears precociously and in greater amounts in the fbxA mutant than in the wild type, but in an fbxA/dhkA double mutant, RegA is restored to wild-type levels. Because the basis of regA suppression might involve alterations in cAMP levels during development, the concentrations of cAMP in all strains were determined. The levels of cAMP are relatively constant during multicellular development in all strains except the dhkA mutant, in which it is reduced at least sixfold. The level of cAMP in the double mutant dhkA/fbxA is relatively normal. The levels of cAMP in the various mutants do not correlate with spore formation, as would be expected on the basis of our present understanding of the signaling pathway leading to the induction of spores. Altered amounts of RegA and cAMP early in the development of the mutants suggest that both fbxA and dhkA genes act earlier than previously thought.
Project description:Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is an important intracellular signaling molecule for many G protein-mediated signaling pathways but the specificity of cAMP signaling in cells with multiple signaling pathways is not well-understood. In Dictyostelium, at least two different G protein signaling pathways, mediated by the G?2 and G?4 subunits, are involved with cAMP accumulation, spore production, and chemotaxis and the stimulation of these pathways results in the activation of ERK2, a mitogen-activated protein kinase that can down regulate the cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase RegA. The regA gene was disrupted in g?2(?) and g?4(?) cells to determine if the absence of this phosphodiesterase rescues the development of these G protein mutants as it does for erk2(?) mutants. There gA(?) mutation had no major effects on developmental morphology but enriched the distribution of the G? mutant cells to the prespore/prestalk border in chimeric aggregates. The loss of RegA function had no effect on G?4- mediated folate chemotaxis. However, the regA gene disruption in g?4(?) cells, but not in g?2(?) cells, resulted in a substantial rescue and acceleration of spore production. This rescue in sporulation required cell autonomous signaling because the precocious sporulation could not be induced through intercellular signaling in chimeric aggregates. However, intercellular signals from regA(?) strains increased the expression of the prestalk gene ecmB and accelerated the vacuolization of stalk cells. Intercellular signaling from the g?4(?)regA(?) strain did not induce ecmA gene expression indicating cell-type specificity in the promotion of prestalk cell development. regA gene disruption in a G?4(HC) (G?4 overexpression) strain did not result in precocious sporulation or stalk cell development indicating that elevated G?4 subunit expression can mask regA(?) associated phenotypes even when provided with wild-type intercellular signaling. These findings indicate that the G?2 and G?4-mediated pathways provide different contributions to the development of spores and stalk cells and that the absence of RegA function can bypass some but not all defects in G protein regulated spore development.
Project description:Terminal differentiation of both stalk and spore cells in Dictyostelium can be triggered by activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). A screen for mutants where stalk and spore cells mature in isolation produced three genes which may act as negative regulators of PKA: rdeC (encoding the PKA regulatory subunit), regA and rdeA. The biochemical properties of RegA were studied in detail. One domain is a cAMP phosphodiesterase (Km approximately 5 microM); the other is homologous to response regulators (RRs) of two-component signal transduction systems. It can accept phosphate from acetyl phosphate in a reaction typical of RRs, with transfer dependent on Asp212, the predicted phosphoacceptor. RegA phosphodiesterase activity is stimulated up to 8-fold by the phosphodonor phosphoramidate, with stimulation again dependent on Asp212. This indicates that phosphorylation of the RR domain activates the phosphodiesterase domain. Overexpression of the RR domain in wild-type cells phenocopies a regA null. We interpret this dominant-negative effect as due to a diversion of the normal flow of phosphates from RegA, thus preventing its activation. Mutation of rdeA is known to produce elevated cAMP levels. We propose that cAMP breakdown is controlled by a phosphorelay system which activates RegA, and may include RdeA. Cell maturation should be triggered when this system is inhibited.
Project description:Cyclic AMP has a crucial role during the entire developmental program of the social amoebae Dictyostelium, acting both as an intracellular second messenger and, when secreted, as a directional cue that is relayed to neighboring cells during chemotaxis. Although significant knowledge about cAMP production in chemotaxing cells has been derived from studies performed on cell populations, cAMP dynamics at the single cell level have not been investigated. To examine this, we used a FRET-based cAMP sensor that possesses high cAMP sensitivity and great temporal resolution. We show the transient profile of cAMP accumulation in live Dictyostelium cells and establish that chemoattractants control intracellular cAMP dynamics by regulating synthesis via the adenylyl cyclase ACA. aca(-) cells show no significant change in FRET response following chemoattractant addition. Furthermore, cells lacking ACB, the other adenylyl cyclase expressed in chemotaxing cells, behave similarly to wild-type cells. We also establish that the RegA is the major phosphodiesterase that degrades intracellular cAMP in chemotaxis-competent cells. Interestingly, we failed to measure intracellular cAMP compartmentalization in actively chemotaxing cells. We conclude that cytosolic cAMP, which is destined to activate PKA, is regulated by ACA and RegA and does not compartmentalize during chemotaxis.
Project description:Dictyostelium strains in which the gene encoding the cytoplasmic cAMP phosphodiesterase RegA is inactivated form small aggregates. This defect was corrected by introducing copies of the wild-type regA gene, indicating that the defect was solely the consequence of the loss of the phosphodiesterase. Using a computer-assisted motion analysis system, regA(-) mutant cells were found to show little sense of direction during aggregation. When labeled wild-type cells were followed in a field of aggregating regA(-) cells, they also failed to move in an orderly direction, indicating that signaling was impaired in mutant cell cultures. However, when labeled regA(-) cells were followed in a field of aggregating wild-type cells, they again failed to move in an orderly manner, primarily in the deduced fronts of waves, indicating that the chemotactic response was also impaired. Since wild-type cells must assess both the increasing spatial gradient and the increasing temporal gradient of cAMP in the front of a natural wave, the behavior of regA(-) cells was motion analyzed first in simulated temporal waves in the absence of spatial gradients and then was analyzed in spatial gradients in the absence of temporal waves. Our results demonstrate that RegA is involved neither in assessing the direction of a spatial gradient of cAMP nor in distinguishing between increasing and decreasing temporal gradients of cAMP. However, RegA is essential for specifically suppressing lateral pseudopod formation during the response to an increasing temporal gradient of cAMP, a necessary component of natural chemotaxis. We discuss the possibility that RegA functions in a network that regulates myosin phosphorylation by controlling internal cAMP levels, and, in support of that hypothesis, we demonstrate that myosin II does not localize in a normal manner to the cortex of regA(-) cells in an increasing temporal gradient of cAMP.
Project description:Starvation induces Dictyostelium amoebae to secrete cAMP, toward which other amoebae stream, forming multicellular mounds that differentiate and develop into fruiting bodies containing spores. We find that the double deletion of cortexillin (ctx) I and II alters the actin cytoskeleton and substantially inhibits all molecular responses to extracellular cAMP. Synthesis of cAMP receptor and adenylyl cyclase A (ACA) is inhibited, and activation of ACA, RasC, and RasG, phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase 2, activation of TORC2, and stimulation of actin polymerization and myosin assembly are greatly reduced. As a consequence, cell streaming and development are completely blocked. Expression of ACA-yellow fluorescent protein in the ctxI/ctxII-null cells significantly rescues the wild-type phenotype, indicating that the primary chemotaxis and development defect is the inhibition of ACA synthesis and cAMP production. These results demonstrate the critical importance of a properly organized actin cytoskeleton for cAMP-signaling pathways, chemotaxis, and development in Dictyostelium.
Project description:Amoebas survive environmental stress by differentiating into encapsulated cysts. As cysts, pathogenic amoebas resist antibiotics, which particularly counteracts treatment of vision-destroying Acanthamoeba keratitis. Limited genetic tractability of amoeba pathogens has left their encystation mechanisms unexplored. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum forms spores in multicellular fruiting bodies to survive starvation, while other dictyostelids, such as Polysphondylium pallidum can additionally encyst as single cells. Sporulation is induced by cAMP acting on PKA, with the cAMP phosphodiesterase RegA critically regulating cAMP levels. We show here that RegA is deeply conserved in social and pathogenic amoebas and that deletion of the RegA gene in P. pallidum causes precocious encystation and prevents cyst germination. We heterologously expressed and characterized Acanthamoeba RegA and performed a compound screen to identify RegA inhibitors. Two effective inhibitors increased cAMP levels and triggered Acanthamoeba encystation. Our results show that RegA critically regulates Amoebozoan encystation and that components of the cAMP signalling pathway could be effective targets for therapeutic intervention with encystation.
Project description:Histidine kinases are receptors for sensing cellular and environmental signals, and in response to the appropriate cue they initiate phosphorelays that regulate the activity of response regulators. The Dictyostelium discoideum genome encodes 15 histidine kinases that function to regulate several processes during the multicellular developmental program, including the slug to culmination transition, osmoregulation, and spore differentiation. While there are many histidine kinases, there is only a single response regulator, RegA. Not surprisingly given the ubiquitous involvement of cAMP in numerous processes of development in Dictyostelium, RegA is a cAMP phosphodiesterase that is activated upon receiving phosphates through a phosphorelay. Hence, all of the histidine kinases characterized to date regulate developmental processes through modulating cAMP production. Here we investigate the function of the histidine kinase DhkD.The dhkD gene was disrupted, and the resulting cells when developed gave a novel phenotype. Upon aggregation, which occurred without streaming, the mounds were motile, a phenotype termed the pollywog stage. The pollywog phenotype was dependent on a functional RegA. After a period of random migration, the pollywogs attempted to form fingers but mostly generated aberrant structures with no tips. While prestalk and prespore cell differentiation occurred with normal timing, proper patterning did not occur. In contrast, wild type mounds are not motile, and the cAMP chemotactic movement of cells within the mound facilitates proper prestalk and prespore patterning, tip formation, and the vertical elongation of the mound into a finger.We postulate that DhkD functions to ensure the proper cAMP distribution within mounds that in turn results in patterning, tip formation and the transition of mounds to fingers. In the absence of DhkD, aberrant cell movements in response to an altered cAMP distribution result in mound migration, a lack of proper patterning, and an inability to generate normal finger morphology.
Project description:Using a selection for Dictyostelium mutants that preferentially form spores, we have recovered a mutant called CheaterA. In chimeras with isogenic wild-type cells, the CheaterA mutant preferentially forms viable spores rather than inviable stalk cells. The mutant causes wild-type cells that have begun to express spore-specific genes to accumulate in the prestalk compartment of the developing organism. In the wild-type cells, the chtA transcript is absent in growing cells and appears early in development. No transcript was detected in the mutant by Northern blot. The chtA gene codes for a protein with an F-box and WD40 domains. This class of protein usually forms part of an Skp1, cullin, F-box (SCF) complex that targets specific protein substrates for ubiquitination and degradation.
Project description:Cullins function as scaffolds that, along with F-box/WD40-repeat-containing proteins, mediate the ubiquitination of proteins to target them for degradation by the proteasome. We have identified a cullin CulA that is required at several stages during Dictyostelium development. culA null cells are defective in inducing cell-type-specific gene expression and exhibit defects during aggregation, including reduced chemotaxis. PKA is an important regulator of Dictyostelium development. The levels of intracellular cAMP and PKA activity are controlled by the rate of synthesis of cAMP and its degradation by the cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase RegA. We show that overexpression of the PKA catalytic subunit (PKAcat) rescues many of the culA null defects and those of cells lacking FbxA/ChtA, a previously described F-box/WD40-repeat-containing protein, suggesting CulA and FbxA proteins are involved in regulating PKA function. Whereas RegA protein levels drop as the multicellular organism forms in the wild-type strain, they remain high in culA null and fbxA null cells. Although PKA can suppress the culA and fbxA null developmental phenotypes, it does not suppress the altered RegA degradation, suggesting that PKA lies downstream of RegA, CulA, and FbxA. Finally, we show that CulA, FbxA, and RegA are found in a complex in vivo, and formation of this complex is dependent on the MAP kinase ERK2, which is also required for PKA function. We propose that CulA and FbxA regulate multicellular development by targeting RegA for degradation via a pathway that requires ERK2 function, leading to an increase in cAMP and PKA activity.
Project description:The cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) is a highly conserved transcription factor that integrates signaling through the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) in many eukaryotes. PKA plays a critical role in Dictyostelium development but no CREB homologue has been identified in this system. Here we show that Dictyostelium utilizes a CREB-like protein, BzpF, to integrate PKA signaling during late development. bzpF(-) mutants produce compromised spores, which are extremely unstable and germination defective. Previously, we have found that BzpF binds the canonical CRE motif in vitro. In this paper, we determined the DNA binding specificity of BzpF using protein binding microarray (PBM) and showed that the motif with the highest specificity is a CRE-like sequence. BzpF is necessary to activate the transcription of at least 15 PKA-regulated, late-developmental target genes whose promoters contain BzpF binding motifs. BzpF is sufficient to activate two of these genes. The comparison of RNA sequencing data between wild type and bzpF(-) mutant revealed that the mutant fails to express 205 genes, many of which encode cellulose-binding and sugar-binding proteins. We propose that BzpF is a CREB-like transcription factor that regulates spore maturation and stability in a PKA-related manner.