A yeast two-hybrid system reconstituting substrate recognition of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein.
ABSTRACT: The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) is inactivated in the hereditary cancer syndrome von Hippel-Lindau disease and in the majority of sporadic renal carcinomas. pVHL is the substrate-binding subunit of the CBC(VHL) ubiquitin ligase complex that negatively regulates cell growth by promoting the degradation of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor subunits (HIF1/2alpha). Proteomics-based identification of novel pVHL substrates is hampered by their short half-life and low abundancy in mammalian cells. The usefulness of yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) approaches, on the other hand, has been limited by the failure of pVHL to adopt its native structure and by the absence of prolylhydroxylase activity critical for pVHL substrate recognition. Therefore, we modified the Y2H system to faithfully reconstitute the physical interaction between pVHL and its substrates. Our approach relies on the coexpression of pVHL with the cofactors Elongin B and Elongin C and with HIF1/2alpha prolylhydroxylases. In a proof-of-principle Y2H screen, we identified the known substrates HIF1/2alpha and new candidate substrates including diacylglycerol kinase iota, demonstrating that our strategy allows detection of stable interactions between pVHL and otherwise elusive cellular targets. Additional future applications may include structure/function analyses of pVHL-HIF1/2alpha binding and screens for therapeutically relevant compounds that either stabilize or disrupt this interaction.
Project description:pVHL (von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein) is the substrate recognition subunit of the CBC(VHL) ubiquitin ligase complex promoting the degradation of hypoxia-inducible factor subunits, HIF-1/2alpha. Mutational inactivation of pVHL causes the hereditary von Hippel-Lindau tumor syndrome, which predisposes affected individuals to hemangioblastomas, renal cell carcinomas, and pheochromocytomas. Whereas the development of hemangioblastomas and renal cell carcinomas has been attributed to impaired HIF-1/2alpha down-regulation by pVHL mutant proteins, the molecular defects underlying the development of pheochromocytomas are still unknown. Here, we present a detailed biochemical analysis of pVHL mutant proteins linked to type 2C (pheochromocytoma only) von Hippel-Lindau disease. Type 2C-associated mutations caused extensive structural perturbations of pVHL, as revealed by the reduced stability, increased proteolytic susceptibility, and dramatically altered NMR spectrum of recombinant, mutant pVHL-ElonginC-ElonginB complexes in vitro. In human cell lines, type 2C-linked mutations destabilized the CBC(VHL) ubiquitin ligase complex and resulted in reduced cellular pVHL levels. Together, our data reveal unexpectedly strong structural defects of type 2C-associated pVHL mutant proteins that are likely to affect both HIF-1/2alpha-related and -unrelated pVHL functions in the pathogenesis of pheochromocytomas.
Project description:Many multifunctional tumor suppressor proteins have low stability, a property linked to cancer development. The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) is one of these proteins. pVHL forms part of the E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that regulates the degradation of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). Under native conditions, free pVHL is a molten globule, but it is stabilized in the E3 complex. By using molecular dynamics simulations, we observed that the interface between the two pVHL domains is the least stable region in unbound pVHL. We designed five stable mutants: one with a mutation at the interdomain interface and the others in the alpha- or beta-domains. Experimentally, type 2B pVHL disease mutant Y98N at the HIF binding site was shown to destabilize pVHL and decrease its binding affinity to HIF. Our simulations showed that the decrease in pVHL stability and binding affinity are allosterically regulated. The mutations designed to stabilize unbound wild-type pVHL, which are away from the elongin C and HIF binding sites, successfully stabilized the Y98N pVHL-elongin C complex and lowered the binding free energy of pVHL with HIF. Our results indicated both the enthalpic and dynamic allosteric components between the elongin C and HIF binding sites in pVHL, in the alpha- and beta-domains, respectively, mediated by the interdomain interface and linker. Drugs mimicking the allosteric effects of these mutants may rescue pVHL function in von Hippel-Lindau disease.
Project description:The VHL (von Hippel-Lindau) tumour-suppressor protein forms a multi-protein complex [VCB (pVHL-elongin C-elongin B)-Cul-2 (Cullin-2)] with elongin C, elongin B, Cul-2 and Rbx1, acting as a ubiquitin-ligase (E3) and directing proteasome-dependent degradation of targeted proteins. The alpha-subunit of Hif1alpha (hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha) is the principal substrate for the VCB-Cul-2 complex; however, other substrates such as aPKC (atypical protein kinase C) have been reported. In the present study, we show with FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) analysis measured by FLIM (fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy) that PKCdelta and pVHL (VHL protein) interact directly in cells. This occurs through the catalytic domain of PKCdelta (residues 432-508), which appears to interact with two regions of pVHL, residues 113-122 and 130-154. Despite this robust interaction, analysis of the PMA-induced proteasome-dependent degradation of PKCdelta in different RCC (renal cell carcinoma) lines (RCC4, UMRC2 and 786 O) shows that there is no correlation between the degradation of PKCdelta and the presence of active pVHL. Thus, in contrast with aPKC, PKCdelta is not a conventional substrate of the ubiquitin-ligase complex, VCB-Cul-2, and the observed interaction between these two proteins must underlie a distinct signalling output.
Project description:Loss of primary cilia is a key feature of von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor (VHL)-associated pathology. Although VHL-deficiency predisposes cells to precipitous cilia disassembly in response to growth factor cues, it does not affect ciliogenesis. Here, using a siRNA-based screen to find genes that are essential for ciliogenesis only in the presence of the VHL tumor suppressor gene product pVHL, we identify ubiquitin-specific protease (USP)8. The pVHL-dependency of USP8 for ciliogenesis is directly linked to its function as a HIF1? deubiquitinating enzyme. By counteracting pVHL-mediated ubiquitination of HIF1?, USP8 maintains a basal expression of HIF1? and HIF transcriptional output in normoxia, including the repression of Rabaptin5, which is essential for endosome trafficking-mediated ciliogenesis.
Project description:von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor loss results in hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIF-alpha) stabilization and occurs in 70% of sporadic clear cell renal carcinomas (ccRCCs). To determine whether opposing influences of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha on c-Myc activity regulate human ccRCC progression, we analyzed VHL genotype and HIF-alpha expression in 160 primary tumors, which segregated into three groups with distinct molecular characteristics. Interestingly, ccRCCs with intact VHL, as well as pVHL-deficient HIF-1alpha/HIF-2alpha-expressing ccRCCs, exhibited enhanced Akt/mTOR and ERK/MAPK signaling. In contrast, pVHL-deficient ccRCCs expressing only HIF-2alpha displayed elevated c-Myc activity, resulting in enhanced proliferation and resistance to replication stress. These reproducible distinctions in ccRCC behavior delineate HIF-alpha effects on c-Myc in vivo and suggest molecular criteria for selecting targeted therapies.
Project description:The inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene predisposes affected individuals to VHL syndrome and is an early genetic event associated with sporadic renal cell carcinoma and CNS hemangioblastomas. The VHL protein (pVHL) has been shown to form a stable complex with elongin B and elongin C, two factors that stabilize and activate the transcription elongation factor elongin A. Here, Hs-CUL-2, a member of the recently identified multigene family, the cullins, is shown to specifically associate with the trimeric pVHL-elongin B-C (VBC) complex in vitro and in vivo. Nearly 70% of naturally occurring cancer-predisposing mutations of VHL disrupt this interaction. The pVHL-Hs-CUL-2 association is strictly dependent on the integrity of the trimeric VBC complex. Immunofluorescence studies show Hs-CUL-2 to be a cytosolic protein that can be translocated to the nucleus by pVHL. Recently it has been shown that a yeast Hs-CUL-2 homolog, Cdc53, is part of a ubiquitin protein ligase complex that targets cell cycle proteins for degradation by the ubiquitin proteolytic pathway. In Caenorhabditis elegans, a null mutation of another Hs-cul-2 homolog, Ce-cul-1, results in hyperplasia in all tissues and is required for cell cycle exit. Hence, Hs-cul-2 may be required for VHL function and, therefore, may be a candidate human tumor-suppressor gene.
Project description:The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) cancer syndrome is associated with mutations in the VHL gene. The pVHL protein is involved in response to changes in oxygen availability as part of an E3-ligase that targets the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor for degradation. pVHL has a molten globule configuration with marginal thermodynamic stability. The cancer-associated mutations further destabilize it. The Drosophila homolog, dVHL, has relatively low sequence similarity to pVHL, and is also involved in regulating HIF1-?. Using in silico, in vitro and in vivo approaches we demonstrate high similarity between the structure and function of dVHL and pVHL. These proteins have a similar fold, secondary and tertiary structures, as well as thermodynamic stability. Key functional residues in dVHL are evolutionary conserved. This structural homology underlies functional similarity of both proteins, evident by their ability to bind their reciprocal partner proteins, and by the observation that transgenic pVHL can fully maintain normal dVHL-HIF1-? downstream pathways in flies. This novel transgenic Drosophila model is thus useful for studying the VHL syndrome, and for testing drug candidates to treat it.
Project description:Mutations in the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene are pathogenic in VHL disease, congenital polycythaemia and clear cell renal carcinoma (ccRCC). pVHL forms a ternary complex with elongin C and elongin B, critical for pVHL stability and function, which interacts with Cullin-2 and RING-box protein 1 to target hypoxia-inducible factor for polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. We describe a comprehensive database of missense VHL mutations linked to experimental and clinical data. We use predictions from in silico tools to link the functional effects of missense VHL mutations to phenotype. The risk of ccRCC in VHL disease is linked to the degree of destabilization resulting from missense mutations. An optimized binary classification system (symphony), which integrates predictions from five in silico methods, can predict the risk of ccRCC associated with VHL missense mutations with high sensitivity and specificity. We use symphony to generate predictions for risk of ccRCC for all possible VHL missense mutations and present these predictions, in association with clinical and experimental data, in a publically available, searchable web server.
Project description:The ?-subunits of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF1? and HIF2?) promote transcription of genes that regulate glycolysis and cell survival and growth. Sprouty2 (Spry2) is a modulator of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and inhibits cell proliferation by a number of different mechanisms. Because of the seemingly opposite actions of HIF? subunits and Spry2 on cellular processes, we investigated whether Spry2 regulates the levels of HIF1? and HIF2? proteins. In cell lines from different types of tumors in which the decreased protein levels of Spry2 have been associated with poor prognosis, silencing of Spry2 elevated HIF1? protein levels. Increases in HIF1? and HIF2? protein levels due to silencing of Spry2 also up-regulated HIF? target genes. Using HIF1? as a prototype, we show that Spry2 decreases HIF1? stability and enhances the ubiquitylation of HIF1? by a von Hippel-Lindau protein (pVHL)-dependent mechanism. Spry2 also exists in a complex with HIF1?. Because Spry2 can also associate with pVHL, using a mutant form of Spry2 (3P/3A-Spry2) that binds HIF1?, but not pVHL, we show that WT-Spry2, but not the 3P/3A-Spry2 decreases HIF1? protein levels. In accordance, expression of WT-Spry2, but not 3P/3A-Spry2 results in a decrease in HIF1?-sensitive glucose uptake. Together our data suggest that Spry2 acts as a scaffold to bring more pVHL/associated E3 ligase in proximity of HIF1? and increase its ubiquitylation and degradation. This represents a novel action for Spry2 in modulating biological processes regulated by HIF? subunits.
Project description:Inactivation of von Hippel-Lindau tumor-suppressor protein (pVHL) is associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease, an inherited cancer syndrome, as well as the majority of patients with sporadic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Although the involvement of pVHL in oxygen sensing through targeting hypoxia-inducible factor-? subunits to ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis has been well documented, less is known about pVHL regulation under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. We found that pVHL levels decreased in hypoxia and that hypoxia-induced cell cycle arrest is associated with pVHL expression in RCC cells. pVHL levels fluctuate during the cell cycle, paralleling cyclin B1 levels, with decreased levels in mitosis and G1. pVHL contains consensus destruction (D) box sequences, and pVHL associates with Cdh1, an activator of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) E3 ubiquitin ligase. We show that pVHL has a decreased half-life in G1, Cdh1 downregulation results in increased pVHL expression, whereas Cdh1 overexpression results in decreased pVHL expression. Taken together, these results suggest that pVHL is a novel substrate of APC/C(Cdh1). D box-independent pVHL degradation was also detected, indicating that other ubiquitin ligases are also activated for pVHL degradation.