The association of cortactin with profilin-1 is critical for smooth muscle contraction.
ABSTRACT: Profilin-1 (Pfn-1) is an actin-regulatory protein that has a role in modulating smooth muscle contraction. However, the mechanisms that regulate Pfn-1 in smooth muscle are not fully understood. Here, stimulation with acetylcholine induced an increase in the association of the adapter protein cortactin with Pfn-1 in smooth muscle cells/tissues. Furthermore, disruption of the protein/protein interaction by a cell-permeable peptide (CTTN-I peptide) attenuated actin polymerization and smooth muscle contraction without affecting myosin light chain phosphorylation at Ser-19. Knockdown of cortactin by lentivirus-mediated RNAi also diminished actin polymerization and smooth muscle force development. However, cortactin knockdown did not affect myosin activation. In addition, cortactin phosphorylation has been implicated in nonmuscle cell migration. In this study, acetylcholine stimulation induced cortactin phosphorylation at Tyr-421 in smooth muscle cells. Phenylalanine substitution at this position impaired cortactin/Pfn-1 interaction in response to contractile activation. c-Abl is a tyrosine kinase that is necessary for actin dynamics and contraction in smooth muscle. Here, c-Abl silencing inhibited the agonist-induced cortactin phosphorylation and the association of cortactin with Pfn-1. Finally, treatment with CTTN-I peptide reduced airway resistance and smooth muscle hyperreactivity in a murine model of asthma. These results suggest that the interaction of cortactin with Pfn-1 plays a pivotal role in regulating actin dynamics, smooth muscle contraction, and airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. The association of cortactin with Pfn-1 is regulated by c-Abl-mediated cortactin phosphorylation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Airway smooth muscle contraction is critical for maintenance of appropriate airway tone, and has been implicated in asthma pathogenesis. Smooth muscle contraction requires an "engine" (myosin activation) and a "transmission system" (actin cytoskeletal remodeling). However, the mechanisms that control actin remodeling in smooth muscle are not fully elucidated. The adapter protein Crk-associated substrate (CAS) regulates actin dynamics and the contraction in smooth muscle. In addition, profilin-1 (Pfn-1) and Abelson tyrosine kinase (c-Abl) are also involved in smooth muscle contraction. The interplays among CAS, Pfn-1 and c-Abl in smooth muscle have not been previously investigated. METHODS:The association of CAS with Pfn-1 in mouse tracheal rings was evaluated by co-immunoprecipitation. Tracheal rings from c-Abl conditional knockout mice were used to assess the roles of c-Abl in the protein-protein interaction and smooth muscle contraction. Decoy peptides were utilized to evaluate the importance of CAS/Pfn-1 coupling in smooth muscle contraction. RESULTS:Stimulation with acetylcholine (ACh) increased the interaction of CAS with Pfn-1 in smooth muscle, which was regulated by CAS tyrosine phosphorylation and c-Abl. The CAS/Pfn-1 coupling was also modified by the phosphorylation of cortactin (a protein implicated in Pfn-1 activation). In addition, ACh activation promoted the spatial redistribution of CAS and Pfn-1 in smooth muscle cells, which was reduced by c-Abl knockdown. Inhibition of CAS/Pfn-1 interaction by a decoy peptide attenuated the ACh-induced actin polymerization and contraction without affecting myosin light chain phosphorylation. Furthermore, treatment with the Src inhibitor PP2 and the actin polymerization inhibitor latrunculin A attenuated the ACh-induced c-Abl tyrosine phosphorylation (an indication of c-Abl activation). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest a novel activation loop in airway smooth muscle: c-Abl promotes the CAS/Pfn-1 coupling and actin polymerization, which conversely facilitates c-Abl activation. The positive feedback may render c-Abl in active state after contractile stimulation.
Project description:c-Abl is a nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinase that has a role in regulating smooth muscle cell proliferation and contraction. The role of c-Abl in smooth muscle cell migration has not been investigated. In the present study, c-Abl was found in the leading edge of smooth muscle cells. Knockdown of c-Abl by RNA interference attenuated smooth muscle cell motility as evidenced by time-lapse microscopy. Furthermore, the actin-associated proteins cortactin and profilin-1 (Pfn-1) have been implicated in cell migration. In this study, cell adhesion induced cortactin phosphorylation at Tyr-421, an indication of cortactin activation. Phospho-cortactin and Pfn-1 were also found in the cell edge. Pfn-1 directly interacted with cortactin in vitro. Silencing of c-Abl attenuated adhesion-induced cortactin phosphorylation and Pfn-1 localization in the cell edge. To assess the role of cortactin/Pfn-1 coupling, we developed a cell-permeable peptide. Treatment with the peptide inhibited the interaction of cortactin with Pfn-1 without affecting cortactin phosphorylation. Moreover, treatment with the peptide impaired the recruitment of Pfn-1 to the leading edge and cell migration. Finally, β1-integrin was required for the recruitment of c-Abl to the cell edge. Inhibition of actin dynamics impaired the spatial distribution of c-Abl. These results suggest that β1-integrin may recruit c-Abl to the leading cell edge, which may regulate cortactin phosphorylation in response to cell adhesion. Phosphorylated cortactin may facilitate the recruitment of Pfn-1 to the cell edge, which promotes localized actin polymerization, leading edge formation, and cell movement. Conversely, actin dynamics may strengthen the recruitment of c-Abl to the leading edge.
Project description:Smooth muscle cell migration is essential for many diverse biological processes such as pulmonary/cardiovascular development and homeostasis. Abi1 (Abelson interactor 1) is an adapter protein that has been implicated in nonmuscle cell migration. However, the role and mechanism of Abi1 in smooth muscle migration are largely unknown. Here, Abi1 knockdown by shRNA reduced human airway smooth muscle cell migration, which was restored by Abi1 rescue. Abi1 localized at the tip of lamellipodia and its protrusion coordinated with F-actin at the leading cell edge of live cells. In addition, we identified profilin-1 (Pfn-1), a G-actin transporter, as a new partner for Abi1. Abi1 knockdown reduced the recruitment of Pfn-1 to the leading cell edge. Moreover, Abi1 knockdown reduced the localization of the actin-regulatory proteins c-Abl (Abelson tyrosine kinase) and N-WASP (neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein) at the cell edge without affecting other migration-related proteins including pVASP (phosphorylated vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein), cortactin and vinculin. Furthermore, we found that c-Abl and integrin ?1 regulated the positioning of Abi1 at the leading edge. Taken together, the results suggest that Abi1 regulates cell migration by affecting Pfn-1 and N-WASP, but not pVASP, cortactin and focal adhesions. Integrin ?1 and c-Abl are important for the recruitment of Abi1 to the leading edge.
Project description:Actin dynamics plays an essential role in regulating airway smooth muscle contraction. The mechanisms that regulate actin dynamics in smooth muscle are not completely understood. Glia maturation factor (GMF) is a protein that has been reported to inhibit actin nucleation and to induce actin network debranching in vitro. The role of GMF in human smooth muscle cells and tissues has not been investigated. In this study, knockdown of GMF-? by RNA interference enhanced actin polymerization and contraction in human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells and tissues without affecting myosin phosphorylation (another important biochemical change during contractile activation). Activation of HASM cells and tissues with acetylcholine induced dissociation of GMF-? from Arp2 of the Arp2/3 complex. Acetylcholine stimulation also increased GMF-? phosphorylation at Tyr-104. GMF-? phosphorylation at this residue was mediated by c-Abl tyrosine kinase. The GMF-? mutant Y104F (phenylalanine substitution at Tyr-104) had higher association with Arp2 in HASM cells upon contractile activation. Furthermore, expression of mutant Y104F GMF-? attenuated actin polymerization and contraction in smooth muscle. Thus, we propose a novel mechanism for the regulation of actin dynamics and smooth muscle contraction. In unstimulated smooth muscle, GMF-? binds to the Arp2/3 complex, which induces actin disassembly and retains lower levels of F-actin. Upon contractile stimulation, phosphorylation at Tyr-104 mediated by c-Abl tyrosine kinase leads to the dissociation of GMF-? from Arp2/3, by which GMF-? no longer induces actin disassembly. Reduced actin disassembly renders F-actin in higher level, which facilitates smooth muscle contraction.
Project description:Actin filament polymerization plays a critical role in the regulation of smooth muscle contraction. However, our knowledge regarding modulation of the actin cytoskeleton in smooth muscle just begins to accumulate. In this study, stimulation with acetylcholine (ACh) induced an increase in the association of the adapter protein c-Abl interactor 1 (Abi1) with neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) (an actin-regulatory protein) in smooth muscle cells/tissues. Furthermore, contractile stimulation activated N-WASP in live smooth muscle cells as evidenced by changes in fluorescence resonance energy transfer efficiency of an N-WASP sensor. Abi1 knockdown by lentivirus-mediated RNAi inhibited N-WASP activation, actin polymerization, and contraction in smooth muscle. However, Abi1 silencing did not affect myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation at Ser-19 in smooth muscle. In addition, c-Abl tyrosine kinase and Crk-associated substrate (CAS) have been shown to regulate smooth muscle contraction. The interaction of Abi1 with c-Abl and CAS has not been investigated. Here, contractile activation induced formation of a multiprotein complex including c-Abl, CAS, and Abi1. Knockdown of c-Abl and CAS attenuated the activation of Abi1 during contractile activation. More importantly, Abi1 knockdown inhibited c-Abl phosphorylation at Tyr-412 and the interaction of c-Abl with CAS. These results suggest that Abi1 is an important component of the cellular process that regulates N-WASP activation, actin dynamics, and contraction in smooth muscle. Abi1 is activated by the c-Abl-CAS pathway, and Abi1 reciprocally controls the activation of its upstream regulator c-Abl.
Project description:Abl is a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that is required for smooth muscle contraction. However, the mechanism by which Abl regulates smooth muscle contraction is not completely understood. In the present study, Abl underwent phosphorylation at Tyr412 (an index of Abl activation) in smooth muscle in response to contractile activation. Treatment with a cell-permeable decoy peptide, but not the control peptide, attenuated Abl phosphorylation during contractile stimulation. Treatment with the decoy peptide did not affect the association of Abl with the cytoskeletal protein vinculin and the spatial location of vinculin in smooth muscle. Inhibition of Abl phosphorylation by the decoy peptide attenuated the agonist-induced phosphorylation of Crk-associated substrate (CAS), an adapter protein participating in the signaling processes that regulate force development in smooth muscle. Additionally, previous studies have shown that contractile stimulation triggers the dissociation of CAS from the vimentin network, which is important for cytoskeletal signaling and contraction in smooth muscle. In this report, the decrease in the amount of CAS in cytoskeletal vimentin in response to contractile activation was reversed by the Abl inhibition with the decoy peptide. Moreover, force development and the enhancement of F-actin-to-G-actin ratios (an indication of actin polymerization) upon contractile activation were also attenuated by the Abl inhibition. However, myosin phosphorylation induced by contractile activation was not affected by the inhibition of Abl. These results suggest that Abl regulates the dissociation of CAS from the vimentin network, actin polymerization, and contraction by modulating CAS phosphorylation in smooth muscle.
Project description:Abl is a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that has a role in regulating migration and adhesion of nonmuscle cells as well as smooth muscle contraction. The role of Abl in smooth muscle cell proliferation has not been investigated. In this study, treatment with endothelin-1 (ET-1) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) increased Abl phosphorylation at Tyr(412) (an indication of Abl activation) in vascular smooth muscle cells. To assess the role of Abl in smooth muscle cell proliferation, we generated stable Abl knockdown cells by using lentivirus-mediated RNA interference. ET-1- and PDGF-induced cell proliferation was attenuated in Abl knockdown cells compared with cells expressing control shRNA and uninfected cells. Abl silencing also arrested cell cycle progression from G(0)/G(1) to S phase. Furthermore, activation of smooth muscle cells with ET-1 and PDGF induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt. Abl knockdown attenuated ERK1/2 phosphorylation in smooth muscle cells stimulated with ET-1 and PDGF. However, Akt phosphorylation upon stimulation with ET-1 and PDGF was not reduced. Because Abl is known to regulate actin polymerization in smooth muscle, we also evaluated the effects of inhibition of actin polymerization on phosphorylation of ERK1/2. Pretreatment with the actin polymerization inhibitor latrunculin-A also blocked ERK1/2 phosphorylation during activation with ET-1 and PDGF. The results suggest that Abl may regulate smooth muscle cell proliferation by modulating actin dynamics and ERK1/2 phosphorylation during mitogenic activation.
Project description:Nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase (nmMLCK), a multi-functional cytoskeletal protein critical to vascular homeostasis, is highly regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation. We identified multiple novel c-Abl-mediated nmMLCK phosphorylation sites by mass spectroscopy analysis (including Y231, Y464, Y556, Y846) and examined their influence on nmMLCK function and human lung endothelial cell (EC) barrier regulation. Tyrosine phosphorylation of nmMLCK increased kinase activity, reversed nmMLCK-mediated inhibition of Arp2/3-mediated actin polymerization, and enhanced binding to the critical actin-binding phosphotyrosine protein, cortactin. EC challenge with sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), a potent barrier-enhancing agonist, resulted in c-Abl and phosphorylated nmMLCK recruitment into caveolin-enriched microdomains, rapid increases in Abl kinase activity, and spatial targeting of c-Abl to barrier-promoting cortical actin structures. Conversely, reduced c-Abl expression in EC (siRNA) markedly attenuated S1P-mediated cortical actin formation, reduced the EC modulus of elasticity (assessed by atomic force microscopy), reduced nmMLCK and cortactin tyrosine phosphorylation, and attenuated S1P-mediated barrier enhancement. These studies indicate an essential role for Abl kinase in vascular barrier regulation via posttranslational modification of nmMLCK and strongly support c-Abl-cortactin-nmMLCK interaction as a novel determinant of cortical actin-based cytoskeletal rearrangement critical to S1P-mediated EC barrier enhancement.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Postsynaptic enrichment of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) at the vertebrate neuromuscular junction (NMJ) depends on the activation of the muscle receptor tyrosine MuSK by neural agrin. Agrin-stimulation of MuSK is known to initiate an intracellular signaling cascade that leads to the clustering of AChRs in an actin polymerization-dependent manner, but the molecular steps which link MuSK activation to AChR aggregation remain incompletely defined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In this study we used biochemical, cell biological and molecular assays to investigate a possible role in AChR clustering of cortactin, a protein which is a tyrosine kinase substrate and a regulator of F-actin assembly and which has also been previously localized at AChR clustering sites. We report that cortactin was co-enriched at AChR clusters in situ with its target the Arp2/3 complex, which is a key stimulator of actin polymerization in cells. Cortactin was further preferentially tyrosine phosphorylated at AChR clustering sites and treatment of myotubes with agrin significantly enhanced the tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin. Importantly, forced expression in myotubes of a tyrosine phosphorylation-defective cortactin mutant (but not wild-type cortactin) suppressed agrin-dependent AChR clustering, as did the reduction of endogenous cortactin levels using RNA interference, and introduction of the mutant cortactin into muscle cells potently inhibited synaptic AChR aggregation in response to innervation. CONCLUSION:Our results suggest a novel function of phosphorylation-dependent cortactin signaling downstream from agrin/MuSK in facilitating AChR clustering at the developing NMJ.
Project description:A dynamic, properly organised actin cytoskeleton is critical for the production and haemostatic function of platelets. The Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp) and Actin-Related Proteins 2 & 3 Complex (Arp2/3 complex) are critical mediators of actin polymerisation and organisation in many cell types. In platelets and megakaryocytes, these proteins have been shown to be important for proper platelet production and function. The cortactin family of proteins (Cttn & HS1) are known to regulate WASp-Arp2/3-mediated actin polymerisation in other cell types and so here we address the role of these proteins in platelets using knockout mouse models. We generated mice lacking Cttn and HS1 in the megakaryocyte/platelet lineage. These mice had normal platelet production, with platelet number, size and surface receptor profile comparable to controls. Platelet function was also unaffected by loss of Cttn/HS1 with no differences observed in a range of platelet function assays including aggregation, secretion, spreading, clot retraction or tyrosine phosphorylation. No effect on tail bleeding time or in thrombosis models was observed. In addition, platelet actin nodules, and megakaryocyte podosomes, actin-based structures known to be dependent on WASp and the Arp2/3 complex, formed normally. We conclude that despite the importance of WASp and the Arp2/3 complex in regulating F-actin dynamics in many cells types, the role of cortactin in their regulation appears to be fulfilled by other proteins in platelets.