Mono- or double-site phosphorylation distinctly regulates the proapoptotic function of Bax.
ABSTRACT: Bax is the major multidomain proapoptotic molecule that is required for apoptosis. It has been reported that phosphorylation of Bax at serine(S) 163 or S184 activates or inactivates its proapoptotic function, respectively. To uncover the mechanism(s) by which phosphorylation regulates the proapoptotic function of Bax, a series of serine (S)? alanine/glutamate (A/E) Bax mutants, including S163A, S184A, S163E, S184E, S163E/S184A (EA), S163A/S184E (AE), S163A/S184A (AA) and S163E/S184E (EE), were created to abrogate or mimic, respectively, either single or double-site phosphorylation. The compound Bax mutants (i.e. EA and AE) can flesh out the functional contribution of individual phosphorylation site(s). WT and each of these Bax mutants were overexpressed in Bax(-/-) MEF or lung cancer H157 cells and the proapoptotic activities were compared. Intriguingly, expression of any of Bax mutants containing the mutation S?A at S184 (i.e. S184A, EA or AA) represents more potent proapoptotic activity as compared to WT Bax in association with increased 6A7 epitope conformational change, mitochondrial localization/insertion and prolonged half-life. In contrast, all Bax mutants containing the mutation S?E at S184 (i.e. S184E, AE or EE) have a mobility-shift and fail to insert into mitochondrial membranes with decreased protein stability and less apoptotic activity. Unexpectedly, mutation either S?A or S?E at S163 site does not significantly affect the proapoptotic activity of Bax. These findings indicate that S184 but not S163 is the major phosphorylation site for functional regulation of Bax's activity. Therefore, manipulation of the phosphorylation status of Bax at S184 may represent a novel strategy for cancer treatment.
Project description:Bax, a central death regulator, is required at the decisional stage of apoptosis. We recently identified serine 184 (S184) of Bax as a critical functional switch controlling its proapoptotic activity. Here we used the structural pocket around S184 as a docking site to screen the NCI library of small molecules using the UCSF-DOCK programme suite. Three compounds, small-molecule Bax agonists SMBA1, SMBA2 and SMBA3, induce conformational changes in Bax by blocking S184 phosphorylation, facilitating Bax insertion into mitochondrial membranes and forming Bax oligomers. The latter leads to cytochrome c release and apoptosis in human lung cancer cells, which occurs in a Bax- but not Bak-dependent fashion. SMBA1 potently suppresses lung tumour growth via apoptosis by selectively activating Bax in vivo without significant normal tissue toxicity. Development of Bax agonists as a new class of anticancer drugs offers a strategy for the treatment of lung cancer and other Bax-expressing malignancies.
Project description:14-3-3 proteins are key regulators of cell survival. We have previously demonstrated that 14-3-3 levels are decreased in an alpha-synuclein (?syn) mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD), and that overexpression of certain 14-3-3 isoforms is protective in several PD models. Here we examine whether changes in 14-3-3 phosphorylation may contribute to the neurodegenerative process in PD. We examine three key 14-3-3 phosphorylation sites that normally regulate 14-3-3 function, including serine 58 (S58), serine 184 (S184), and serine/threonine 232 (S/T232), in several models of PD and in human PD brain. We observed that an increase in S232 phosphorylation is observed in rotenone-treated neuroblastoma cells, in cells overexpressing ?syn, and in human PD brains. Alterations in S58 phosphorylation were less consistent in these models, and we did not observe any phosphorylation changes at S184. Phosphorylation at S232 induced by rotenone is reduced by casein kinase inhibitors, and is not dependent on ?syn. Mutation of the S232 site affected 14-3-3?'s neuroprotective effects against rotenone and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)), with the S232D mutant lacking any protective effect compared to wildtype or S232A 14-3-3?. The S232D mutant partially reduced the ability of 14-3-3? to inhibit Bax activation in response to rotenone. Based on these findings, we propose that phosphorylation of 14-3-3s at serine 232 contributes to the neurodegenerative process in PD.
Project description:Akt is a pro-survival kinase frequently activated in human cancers and is associated with more aggressive tumors that resist therapy. Here, we connect Akt pathway activation to reduced sensitivity to chemotherapy via Akt phosphorylation of Bax at residue S184, one of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins required for cells to undergo apoptosis. We show that phosphorylation by Akt converts the pro-apoptotic protein Bax into an anti-apoptotic protein. Mechanistically, we show that phosphorylation (i) enables Bax binding to pro-apoptotic BH3 proteins in solution, and (ii) prevents Bax inserting into mitochondria. Together, these alterations promote resistance to apoptotic stimuli by sequestering pro-apoptotic activator BH3 proteins. Bax phosphorylation correlates with cellular resistance to BH3 mimetics in primary ovarian cancer cells. Further, analysis of the TCGA database reveals that 98% of cancer patients with increased BAX levels also have an upregulated Akt pathway, compared to 47% of patients with unchanged or decreased BAX levels. These results suggest that in patients, increased phosphorylated anti-apoptotic Bax promotes resistance of cancer cells to inherent and drug-induced apoptosis.
Project description:The "BH3-only" proapoptotic BCL-2 family members initiate the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. A small interfering RNA knockdown of BIM confirms this BH3-only member is important for the cytokine-mediated homeostasis of hematopoietic cells. We show here that the phosphorylation status of BIM controls its proapoptotic activity. IL-3, a hematopoietic survival factor, induces extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation of BIM on three serine sites (S55, S65, and S100). After IL-3 withdrawal, only nonphosphorylated BIM interacts with the multidomain proapoptotic effector BAX. Phosphorylation of BIM on exposure of cells to IL-3 dramatically reduces the BIM/BAX interaction. A nonphosphorylatable BIM molecule (S55A, S65A, and S100A) demonstrates enhanced interaction with BAX and enhanced proapoptotic activity. Thus, ERK/mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent phosphorylation of BIM in response to survival factor regulates BIM/BAX interaction and the pro-death activity of BIM.
Project description:The FXYD family, which contains seven members, are tissue specific regulators of the Na,K-ATPase. Increased expression of FXYD5, a cancer-cell-associated membrane glycoprotein, has been associated with increased cell motility and metastatic potential. To better understand how FXYD5 may modulate cell motility, we analyzed S163, a conserved residue in all FXYD family members located in the C-terminus. Ectopic expression of human FXYD5 S163 mutants in HEK 293 cells showed that negative charge at S163 (S163D) decreased membrane localization, assessed by immunofluorescence. Coimmunoprecipitation studies revealed decreased FXYD5/Na,K-ATPase interaction for S163D compared with wild-type or S163A mutants. Interestingly, FXYD5 overexpression induced expression of vimentin, a marker of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, in murine airway epithelial cells. Because Na,K-ATPase expression is decreased in some forms of cancer and is critical for establishing cell polarity and suppressing cell motility, we analyzed S163 mutants in an epithelial cell scratch-wound model as a measure of cell migration. Wild-type FXYD5 overexpression increased reepithelialization (p<0.0001), which was further increased in S163D mutants (p<0.005). However, S163A mutants inhibited epithelial cell migration compared with wild-type FXYD5 overexpression (p<0.0001). We conclude that negative charge at S163 regulates FXYD5/Na,K-ATPase interaction and that this interaction modulates cell migration across a wound in airway epithelial cells.
Project description:Endocardial (EE) and Aortic (AE) endothelial cells were isolated from the same two rats, pooled (EE and AE kept separately) and cultured for 2 passages. Culture conditions and confluence of EE and AE cell cultures were kept as identical as possible. RNA was isolated and the expression profile of both endothelial cell types was compared using the Affymetrix rat genome U34A array.
Project description:An elevated level of nucleophosmin (NPM) is often found in actively proliferative cells including human tumors. To identify the regulatory role for NPM phosphorylation in proliferation and cell cycle control, a series of mutants targeting the consensus cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation sites was created to mimic or abrogate either single-site or multi-site phosphorylation. Simultaneous inactivation of two CDK phosphorylation sites at Ser10 and Ser70 (NPM-AA) induced G(2)/M cell cycle arrest, phosphorylation of Cdk1 at Tyr15 (Cdc2(Tyr15)) and increased cytoplasmic accumulation of Cdc25C. Strikingly, stress-induced Cdk1(Tyr15) and Cdc25C sequestration was suppressed by expression of a phosphomimetic NPM mutant created on the same CDK sites (S10E/S70E, NPM-EE). Further analysis revealed that phosphorylation of NPM at both Ser10 and Ser70 was required for proper interaction between Cdk1 and Cdc25C. Moreover, NPM-EE directly bound to Cdc25C and prevented phosphorylation of Cdc25C at Ser216 during mitosis. Finally, NPM-EE overrided stress-induced G(2)/M arrest and increased leukemia blasts in a NOD/SCID xenograft model. Thus, these findings reveal a novel function of NPM on regulation of cell cycle progression, in which phosphorylation of NPM controls cell cycle progression at G(2)/M transition through modulation of Cdk1 and Cdc25C activities.
Project description:Vinblastine and other microtubule inhibitors used as antimitotic cancer drugs characteristically promote the phosphorylation of the key anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-xL. However, putative sites of phosphorylation have been inferred based on potential recognition by JNK, and no direct biochemical analysis has been performed. In this study we used protein purification and mass spectrometry to identify Ser-62 as a single major site in vivo. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed Ser-62 to be the site of Bcl-xL phosphorylation induced by several microtubule inhibitors tested. Vinblastine-treated cells overexpressing a Ser-62 --> Ala mutant showed highly significantly reduced apoptosis compared with cells expressing wild-type Bcl-xL. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed that phosphorylation caused wild-type Bcl-xL to release bound Bax, whereas phospho-defective Bcl-xL retained the ability to bind Bax. In contrast, phospho-mimic (Ser-62 --> Asp) Bcl-xL exhibited a reduced capacity to bind Bax. Functional tests were performed by transiently co-transfecting Bax in the context of different Bcl-xL mutants. Co-expression of wild-type or phospho-defective Bcl-xL counteracted the adverse effects of Bax expression on cell viability, whereas phospho-mimic Bcl-xL failed to provide the same level of protection against Bax. These studies suggest that Bcl-xL phosphorylation induced by microtubule inhibitors plays a key pro-apoptotic role at least in part by disabling the ability of Bcl-xL to bind Bax.
Project description:p53 mediates DNA damage-induced cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, or senescence, and it is controlled by Mdm2, which mainly ubiquitinates p53 in the nucleus and promotes p53 nuclear export and degradation. By searching for the kinases responsible for Mdm2 S163 phosphorylation under genotoxic stress, we identified S6K1 as a multifaceted regulator of Mdm2. DNA damage activates mTOR-S6K1 through p38alpha MAPK. The activated S6K1 forms a tighter complex with Mdm2, inhibits Mdm2-mediated p53 ubiquitination, and promotes p53 induction, in addition to phosphorylating Mdm2 on S163. Deactivation of mTOR-S6K1 signalling leads to Mdm2 nuclear translocation, which is facilitated by S163 phosphorylation, a reduction in p53 induction, and an alteration in p53-dependent cell death. These findings thus establish mTOR-S6K1 as a novel regulator of p53 in DNA damage response and likely in tumorigenesis. S6K1-Mdm2 interaction presents a route for cells to incorporate the metabolic/energy cues into DNA damage response and links the aging-controlling Mdm2-p53 and mTOR-S6K pathways.