Determination of hierarchical relationship of Src and Rac at subcellular locations with FRET biosensors.
ABSTRACT: Genetically encoded biosensors based on FRET have enabled the visualization of signaling events in live cells with high spatiotemporal resolution. However, the limited sensitivity of these biosensors has hindered their broad application in biological studies. We have paired enhanced CFP (ECFP) with YPet, a variant of YFP. This ECFP/YPet FRET pair markedly enhanced the sensitivity of biosensors (several folds enhancement without the need of tailored optimization for each individual biosensor) for a variety of signaling molecules, including tyrosine kinase Src, small GTPase Rac, calcium, and a membrane-bound matrix metalloproteinase MT1-MMP. The application of these improved biosensors revealed that the activations of Src and Rac by PDGF displayed distinct subcellular patterns during directional cell migration on micropatterned surface. The activity of Rac is highly polarized and concentrated at the leading edge, whereas Src activity is relatively uniform. These FRET biosensors also led to the discovery that Src and Rac mutually regulate each other. Our findings indicate that molecules within the same signaling feedback loop can be differentially regulated at different subcellular locations. In summary, ECFP/YPet may serve as a general FRET pair for the development of highly sensitive biosensors to allow the determination of molecular hierarchies at subcellular locations in live cells.
Project description:Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors have advanced live cell imaging by dynamically visualizing molecular events with high temporal resolution. FRET-based biosensors with spectrally distinct fluorophore pairs provide clear contrast between cells during dual FRET live cell imaging. Here, we have developed a new FRET-based Ca2+ biosensor using EGFP and FusionRed fluorophores (FRET-GFPRed). Using different filter settings, the developed biosensor can be differentiated from a typical FRET-based Ca2+ biosensor with ECFP and YPet (YC3.6 FRET Ca2+ biosensor, FRET-CFPYPet). A high-frequency ultrasound (HFU) with a carrier frequency of 150 MHz can target a subcellular region due to its tight focus smaller than 10 µm. Therefore, HFU offers a new single cell stimulations approach for FRET live cell imaging with precise spatial resolution and repeated stimulation for longitudinal studies. Furthermore, the single cell level intracellular delivery of a desired FRET-based biosensor into target cells using HFU enables us to perform dual FRET imaging of a cell pair. We show that a cell pair is defined by sequential intracellular delivery of the developed FRET-GFPRed and FRET-CFPYPet into two target cells using HFU. We demonstrate that a FRET-GFPRed exhibits consistent 10-15% FRET response under typical ionomycin stimulation as well as under a new stimulation strategy with HFU.
Project description:We report what to our knowledge is a novel approach for simultaneous imaging of two different Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors in the same cell with minimal spectral cross talk. Previous methods based on spectral ratiometric imaging of the two FRET sensors have been limited by the availability of suitably bright acceptors for the second FRET pair and the spectral cross talk incurred when measuring in four spectral windows. In contrast to spectral ratiometric imaging, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) requires measurement of the donor fluorescence only and is independent of emission from the acceptor. By combining FLIM-FRET of the novel red-shifted TagRFP/mPlum FRET pair with spectral ratiometric imaging of an ECFP/Venus pair we were thus able to maximize the spectral separation between our chosen fluorophores while at the same time overcoming the low quantum yield of the far red acceptor mPlum. Using this technique, we could read out a TagRFP/mPlum intermolecular FRET sensor for reporting on small Ras GTP-ase activation in live cells after epidermal growth factor stimulation and an ECFP/Venus Cameleon FRET sensor for monitoring calcium transients within the same cells. The combination of spectral ratiometric imaging of ECFP/Venus and high-speed FLIM-FRET of TagRFP/mPlum can thus increase the spectral bandwidth available and provide robust imaging of multiple FRET sensors within the same cell. Furthermore, since FLIM does not require equal stoichiometries of donor and acceptor, this approach can be used to report on both unimolecular FRET biosensors and protein-protein interactions with the same cell.
Project description:Both Src kinase and membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) play critical roles in cancer invasion and metastasis. It is not clear, however, how the spatiotemporal activation of these two critical enzymes is coordinated in response to an oncogenic epithelial growth factor (EGF) stimulation. Here, we have visualized the activities of Src and MT1-MMP concurrently in a single live cell by combining two fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) pairs with distinct spectra: (a) cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) and yellow FP (YFP), and (b) orange FP (mOrange2) and red FP (mCherry). The new FRET pair, mOrange2 and mCherry, was first characterized in vitro and in cultured mammalian cells. When integrated with the CFP/YFP pair, this new pair allowed the revelation of an immediate, rapid, and relatively dispersed Src activity. In contrast, the MT1-MMP activity displayed a slow increase at the cell periphery, although Src was shown to play a role upstream to MT1-MMP globally. This difference in the activation patterns of MT1-MMP and Src in response to EGF is further confirmed using an optimized MT1-MMP biosensor capable of being rapidly cleaved by MT1-MMP. The results indicate that although Src and MT1-MMP act globally in the same signaling pathway, their activations differ in space and time upon EGF stimulation, possibly mediated by different sets of intermediates at different subcellular locations. Our results also showed the potential of mOrange2/mCherry as a new FRET pair, together with the popular variants of CFP and YFP, for the simultaneous visualization of multiple molecular activities in a single live cell.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Bacteria-triggered signaling events in infected host cells are key elements in shaping the host response to pathogens. Within the eukaryotic cell, signaling complexes are spatially organized. However, the investigation of protein-protein interactions triggered by bacterial infection in the cellular context is technically challenging. Here, we provide a methodological approach to exploit fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to visualize pathogen-initiated signaling events in human cells.<h4>Results</h4>Live-cell microscopy revealed the transient recruitment of the Src family tyrosine kinase Hck upon bacterial engagement of the receptor carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 3 (CEACAM3). In cells expressing a CEACAM3 variant lacking the cytoplasmic domain, the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain of Hck (Hck-SH2) was not recruited, even though bacteria still bound to the receptor. FRET measurements on the basis of whole cell lysates revealed intimate binding between Hck-SH2 (using enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (YPet)-Hck-SH2) and the tyrosine-phosphorylated enhanced cyan fluorescent protein-labeled cytoplasmic domain of wild-type CEACAM3 (CEACAM3 WT-CyPet) and a flow cytometry-based FRET approach verified this association in intact cells. Using confocal microscopy and acceptor photobleaching, FRET between Hck-SH2 and CEACAM3 was localized to the sites of bacteria-host cell contact.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These data demonstrate not only the intimate binding of the SH2 domain of Hck to the tyrosine-phosphorylated cytoplasmic domain of CEACAM3 in intact cells, but furthermore, FRET measurements allow the subcellular localization of this process during bacterial infection. FRET-based assays are valuable tools to resolve bacteria-induced protein-protein interactions in the context of the intact host cell.
Project description:FRET biosensors have proven very useful tools for studying the activation of specific signalling pathways in living cells. Most biosensors designed to date have been predicated on fluorescent protein pairs that were identified by, and for use in, intensity based measurements, however fluorescence lifetime provides a more reliable measurement of FRET. Both the technology and fluorescent proteins available for FRET have moved on dramatically in the last decade. Lifetime imaging systems have become increasingly accessible and user-friendly, and there is an entire field of biology dedicated to refining and adapting different characteristics of existing and novel fluorescent proteins. This growing pool of fluorescent proteins includes the long-lifetime green and cyan fluorescent proteins Clover and mTurquoise2, the red variant mRuby2, and the dark acceptor sREACh. Here, we have tested these donors and acceptors in appropriate combinations against the standard or recommended norms (EGFP and mTFP as donors, mCherry and either Ypet or Venus as acceptors) to determine if they could provide more reliable, reproducible and quantifiable FLIM-FRET data to improve on the dynamic range compared to other donors and breadth of application of biosensor technologies. These tests were performed for comparison on both a wide-field, frequency domain system and a multiphoton, TCSPC time domain FLIM system. Clover proved to be an excellent donor with extended dynamic range in combination with mCherry on both platforms, while mRuby2 showed a high degree of variability and poor FRET efficiencies in all cases. mTFP-Venus was the most consistent cyan-yellow pair between the two FLIM methodologies, but mTurquoise2 has better dynamic range and transfers energy consistently over time to the dark acceptor sRCh. Combination of mTFP- sRCh with Clover-mCherry would allow the simultaneous use of two FLIM-FRET biosensors within one sample by eliminating the crosstalk between the yellow acceptor and green donor emissions.
Project description:FRET biosensors have proven very useful tools for studying the activation of specific signalling pathways in living cells. Most biosensors designed to date have been predicated on fluorescent protein pairs that were identified by, and for use in, intensity based measurements, however fluorescence lifetime provides a more reliable measurement of FRET. Both the technology and fluorescent proteins available for FRET have moved on dramatically in the last decade. Lifetime imaging systems have become increasingly accessible and user-friendly, and there is an entire field of biology dedicated to refining and adapting different characteristics of existing and novel fluorescent proteins. This growing pool of fluorescent proteins includes the long-lifetime green and cyan fluorescent proteins Clover and mTurquoise2, the red variant mRuby2, and the dark acceptor sREACh. Here, we have tested these donors and acceptors in appropriate combinations against the standard or recommended norms (EGFP and mTFP as donors, mCherry and either Ypet or Venus as acceptors) to determine if they could provide more reliable, reproducible and quantifiable FLIM-FRET data to improve on the dynamic range compared to other donors and breadth of application of biosensor technologies. These tests were performed for comparison on both a wide-field, frequency domain system and a multiphoton, TCSPC time domain FLIM system. Clover proved to be an excellent donor with extended dynamic range in combination with mCherry on both platforms, while mRuby2 showed a high degree of variability and poor FRET efficiencies in all cases. mTFP-Venus was the most consistent cyan-yellow pair between the two FLIM methodologies, but mTurquoise2 has better dynamic range and transfers energy consistently over time to the dark acceptor sRCh. Combination of mTFP-sRCh with Clover-mCherry would allow the simultaneous use of two FLIM-FRET biosensors within one sample by eliminating the crosstalk between the yellow acceptor and green donor emissions.
Project description:A variety of different signals induce specific responses through a common, extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent cascade. It has been suggested that signaling specificity can be achieved through precise temporal regulation of ERK activity. Given the wide distrubtion of ERK susbtrates across different subcellular compartments, it is important to understand how ERK activity is temporally regulated at specific subcellular locations. To address this question, we have expanded the toolbox of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based ERK biosensors by creating a series of improved biosensors targeted to various subcellular regions via sequence specific motifs to measure spatiotemporal changes in ERK activity. Using these sensors, we showed that EGF induces sustained ERK activity near the plasma membrane in sharp contrast to the transient activity observed in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Furthermore, EGF-induced plasma membrane ERK activity involves Rap1, a noncanonical activator, and controls cell morphology and EGF-induced membrane protrusion dynamics. Our work strongly supports that spatial and temporal regulation of ERK activity is integrated to control signaling specificity from a single extracellular signal to multiple cellular processes.
Project description:Invadosomes are actin-rich membrane protrusions that degrade the extracellular matrix to drive tumor cell invasion. Key players in invadosome formation are c-Src and Rho family GTPases. Invadosomes can reassemble into circular rosette-like superstructures, but the underlying signaling mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show that Src-induced invadosomes in human melanoma cells (A375M and MDA-MB-435) undergo rapid remodeling into dynamic extracellular matrix-degrading rosettes by distinct G protein-coupled receptor agonists, notably lysophosphatidic acid (LPA; acting through the LPA1 receptor) and endothelin. Agonist-induced rosette formation is blocked by pertussis toxin, dependent on PI3K activity and accompanied by localized production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate, whereas MAPK and Ca(2+) signaling are dispensable. Using FRET-based biosensors, we show that LPA and endothelin transiently activate Cdc42 through Gi, concurrent with a biphasic decrease in Rac activity and differential effects on RhoA. Cdc42 activity is essential for rosette formation, whereas G12/13-mediated RhoA-ROCK signaling suppresses the remodeling process. Our results reveal a Gi-mediated Cdc42 signaling axis by which G protein-coupled receptors trigger invadosome remodeling, the degree of which is dictated by the Cdc42-RhoA activity balance.
Project description:The dynamic activation of oncogenic kinases and regulation of focal adhesions (FAs) are crucial molecular events modulating cell adhesion in cancer metastasis. However, it remains unclear how these events are temporally coordinated at single FA sites. Therefore, we targeted fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors toward subcellular FAs to report local molecular events during cancer cell adhesion. Employing single FA tracking and cross-correlation analysis, we quantified the dynamic coupling characteristics between biochemical kinase activities and structural FA within single FAs. We show that kinase activations and FA assembly are strongly and sequentially correlated, with the concurrent FA assembly and Src activation leading focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activation by 42.6 ± 12.6 sec. Strikingly, the temporal coupling between kinase activation and individual FA assembly reflects the fate of FAs at later stages. The FAs with a tight coupling tend to grow and mature, while the less coupled FAs likely disassemble. During FA disassembly, however, kinase activations lead the disassembly, with FAK being activated earlier than Src. Therefore, by integrating subcellularly targeted FRET biosensors and computational analysis, our study reveals intricate interplays between Src and FAK in regulating the dynamic life of single FAs in cancer cells.
Project description:Focal adhesions (FAs) are dynamic subcellular structures crucial for cell adhesion, migration and differentiation. It remains an enigma how enzymatic activities in these local complexes regulate their structural remodeling in live cells. Utilizing biosensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), we developed a correlative FRET imaging microscopy (CFIM) approach to quantitatively analyze the subcellular coordination between the enzymatic Src activation and the structural FA disassembly. CFIM reveals that the Src kinase activity only within the microdomain of lipid rafts at the plasma membrane is coupled with FA dynamics. FA disassembly at cell periphery was linearly dependent on this raft-localized Src activity, although cells displayed heterogeneous levels of response to stimulation. Within lipid rafts, the time delay between Src activation and FA disassembly was 1.2 min in cells seeded on low fibronectin concentration ([FN]) and 4.3 min in cells on high [FN]. CFIM further showed that the level of Src-FA coupling, as well as the time delay, was regulated by cell-matrix interactions, as a tight enzyme-structure coupling occurred in FA populations mediated by integrin αvβ₃, but not in those by integrin α₅β₁. Therefore, different FA subpopulations have distinctive regulation mechanisms between their local kinase activity and structural FA dynamics.