8-Hydroxyquinoline-based inhibitors of the Rce1 protease disrupt Ras membrane localization in human cells.
ABSTRACT: Ras converting enzyme 1 (Rce1) is an endoprotease that catalyzes processing of the C-terminus of Ras protein by removing -aaX from the CaaX motif. The activity of Rce1 is crucial for proper localization of Ras to the plasma membrane where it functions. Ras is responsible for transmitting signals related to cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, and apoptosis. The disregulation of these pathways due to constitutively active oncogenic Ras can ultimately lead to cancer. Ras, its effectors and regulators, and the enzymes that are involved in its maturation process are all targets for anti-cancer therapeutics. Key enzymes required for Ras maturation and localization are the farnesyltransferase (FTase), Rce1, and isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase (ICMT). Among these proteins, the physiological role of Rce1 in regulating Ras and other CaaX proteins has not been fully explored. Small-molecule inhibitors of Rce1 could be useful as chemical biology tools to understand further the downstream impact of Rce1 on Ras function and serve as potential leads for cancer therapeutics. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis of a previously reported Rce1 inhibitor, NSC1011, has been performed to generate a new library of Rce1 inhibitors. The new inhibitors caused a reduction in Rce1 in vitro activity, exhibited low cell toxicity, and induced mislocalization of EGFP-Ras from the plasma membrane in human colon carcinoma cells giving rise to a phenotype similar to that observed with siRNA knockdowns of Rce1 expression. Several of the new inhibitors were more effective at mislocalizing K-Ras compared to a potent farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI), which is significant because of the preponderance of K-Ras mutations in cancer.
Project description:The RAS proteins undergo farnesylation of a carboxyl-terminal cysteine (the "C" of the carboxyl-terminal CaaX motif). After farnesylation, the 3 amino acids downstream from the farnesyl cysteine (the -aaX of the CaaX motif) are released by RAS-converting enzyme 1 (RCE1). We previously showed that inactivation of Rce1 in mouse fibroblasts mislocalizes RAS proteins away from the plasma membrane and inhibits RAS transformation. Therefore, we hypothesized that the inactivation of Rce1 might inhibit RAS transformation in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we used Cre/loxP recombination techniques to simultaneously inactivate Rce1 and activate a latent oncogenic K-RAS allele in hematopoietic cells in mice. Normally, activation of the oncogenic K-RAS allele in hematopoietic cells leads to rapidly progressing and lethal myeloproliferative disease. Contrary to our hypothesis, the inactivation of Rce1 actually increased peripheral leukocytosis, increased the release of immature hematopoietic cells into the circulation and the infiltration of cells into liver and spleen, and caused mice to die more rapidly. Moreover, in the absence of Rce1, splenocytes and bone marrow cells expressing oncogenic K-RAS yielded more and larger colonies when grown in methylcellulose. We conclude that the inactivation of Rce1 worsens the myeloproliferative disease caused by oncogenic K-RAS.
Project description:Ras converting enzyme 1 (Rce1) is an integral membrane endoprotease localized to the endoplasmic reticulum that mediates the cleavage of the carboxyl-terminal three amino acids from CaaX proteins, whose members play important roles in cell signaling processes. Examples include the Ras family of small GTPases, the ?-subunit of heterotrimeric GTPases, nuclear lamins, and protein kinases and phosphatases. CaaX proteins, especially Ras, have been implicated in cancer, and understanding the post-translational modifications of CaaX proteins would provide insight into their biological function and regulation. Many proteolytic mechanisms have been proposed for Rce1, but sequence alignment, mutational studies, topology, and recent crystallographic data point to a novel mechanism involving a glutamate-activated water and an oxyanion hole. Studies using in vivo and in vitro reporters of Rce1 activity have revealed that the enzyme cleaves only prenylated substrates and the identity of the a2 amino residue in the Ca1a2X sequence is most critical for recognition, preferring Ile, Leu, or Val. Substrate mimetics can be somewhat effective inhibitors of Rce1 in vitro. Small-molecule inhibitor discovery is currently limited by the lack of structural information on a eukaryotic enzyme, but a set of 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives has demonstrated an ability to mislocalize all three mammalian Ras isoforms, giving optimism that potent, selective inhibitors might be developed. Much remains to be discovered regarding cleavage specificity, the impact of chemical inhibition, and the potential of Rce1 as a therapeutic target, not only for cancer, but also for other diseases.
Project description:CAAX proteins have essential roles in multiple signalling pathways, controlling processes such as proliferation, differentiation and carcinogenesis. The ?120 mammalian CAAX proteins function at cellular membranes and include the Ras superfamily of small GTPases, nuclear lamins, the ?-subunit of heterotrimeric GTPases, and several protein kinases and phosphatases. The proper localization of CAAX proteins to cell membranes is orchestrated by a series of post-translational modifications of the carboxy-terminal CAAX motifs (where C is cysteine, A is an aliphatic amino acid and X is any amino acid). These reactions involve prenylation of the cysteine residue, cleavage at the AAX tripeptide and methylation of the carboxyl-prenylated cysteine residue. The major CAAX protease activity is mediated by Rce1 (Ras and a-factor converting enzyme 1), an intramembrane protease (IMP) of the endoplasmic reticulum. Information on the architecture and proteolytic mechanism of Rce1 has been lacking. Here we report the crystal structure of a Methanococcus maripaludis homologue of Rce1, whose endopeptidase specificity for farnesylated peptides mimics that of eukaryotic Rce1. Its structure, comprising eight transmembrane ?-helices, and catalytic site are distinct from those of other IMPs. The catalytic residues are located ?10?Å into the membrane and are exposed to the cytoplasm and membrane through a conical cavity that accommodates the prenylated CAAX substrate. We propose that the farnesyl lipid binds to a site at the opening of two transmembrane ?-helices, which results in the scissile bond being positioned adjacent to a glutamate-activated nucleophilic water molecule. This study suggests that Rce1 is the founding member of a novel IMP family, the glutamate IMPs.
Project description:The Rheb1 and Rheb2 small GTPases and their effector mTOR are aberrantly activated in human cancer and are attractive targets for anti-cancer drug discovery. Rheb is targeted to endomembranes via its C-terminal CAAX (C=cysteine, A=aliphatic, X=terminal amino acid) motif, a substrate for posttranslational modification by a farnesyl isoprenoid. After farnesylation, Rheb undergoes two additional CAAX-signaled processing steps, Ras converting enzyme 1 (Rce1)-catalyzed cleavage of the AAX residues and isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase (Icmt)-mediated carboxylmethylation of the farnesylated cysteine. However, whether these postprenylation processing steps are required for Rheb signaling through mTOR is not known. We found that Rheb1 and Rheb2 localize primarily to the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. We determined that Icmt and Rce1 processing is required for Rheb localization, but is dispensable for Rheb-induced activation of the mTOR substrate p70 S6 kinase (S6K). Finally, we evaluated whether farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS) blocks Rheb localization and function. Surprisingly, FTS prevented S6K activation induced by a constitutively active mTOR mutant, indicating that FTS inhibits mTOR at a level downstream of Rheb. We conclude that inhibitors of Icmt and Rce1 will not block Rheb function, but FTS could be a promising treatment for Rheb- and mTOR-dependent cancers.
Project description:The proto-oncogene Ras undergoes a series of post-translational modifications at its carboxyl-terminal CAAX motif that are essential for its proper membrane localization and function. One step in this process is the cleavage of the CAAX motif by the enzyme Ras-converting enzyme 1 (RCE1). Here we show that the deubiquitinating enzyme USP17 negatively regulates the activity of RCE1. We demonstrate that USP17 expression blocks Ras membrane localization and activation, thereby inhibiting phosphorylation of the downstream kinases MEK and ERK. Furthermore, we show that this effect is caused by the loss of RCE1 catalytic activity as a result of its deubiquitination by USP17. We also show that USP17 and RCE1 co-localize at the endoplasmic reticulum and that USP17 cannot block proliferation or Ras membrane localization in RCE1 null cells. These studies demonstrate that USP17 modulates Ras processing and activation, at least in part, by regulating RCE1 activity.
Project description:Organelle stress and Liver injuries often occur in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients under anti-HIV therapies, yet few molecular off-targets of anti-HIV drugs have been identified in the liver. Here, we found through total RNA sequencing that the transcription of a host protease Ras converting CAAX endopeptidase 1 (RCE1) was altered in HepG2 cells treated with anti-HIV protease inhibitors, ritonavir and lopinavir. Levels of RCE1 protein were inhibited in HepG2 and primary mouse hepatocytes and in the liver of mice treated with the anti-HIV drugs, which were accompanied with inhibition of two potential substrates of RCE1, small GTP binding protein Rab13 and Rab18, which are with a common CAAX motif and known to regulate the ER-Golgi traffic or lipogenesis. Neither Rce1 transcription nor RCE1 protein level was inhibited by Brefeldin A, which is known to interfere with the ER-Golgi traffic causing Golgi stress. Knocking down Rce1 with RNA interference increased ritonavir and lopinavir-induced cell death as well as expression of Golgi stress response markers, TFE3, HSP47 and GCP60, in both primary mouse hepatocytes and mouse liver, and deteriorated alcohol-induced alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and fatty liver injury in mice. In addition, overexpressing Rab13 or Rab18 in primary human hepatocytes reduced partially the anti-HIV drugs and alcohol-induced Golgi fragmentation, Golgi stress response, and cell death injury. Conclusion: We identified a mechanism linking a host protease and its substrates, small guanosine triphosphate-binding proteins, to the anti-HIV drug-induced Golgi dysfunction, organelle stress response, and fatty liver injury.
Project description:As an end-proteolytic enzyme that cleaves the last three residues of proteins with a terminal CAAX, Ras-converting enzyme 1 (RCE1) has an essential role in multiple signaling pathways and take part in the process of differentiation, proliferation and carcinogenesis. The aim of the study is to investigate expression pattern of RCE1 and its prognosis in colorectal carcinoma (CRC).The expression of RCE1 and phospho-MAPK family members was confirmed by immunohistochemical staining of CRC tissues. miR-RCE1 lentiviral vectors were transduced into HCT116 and SW489 cells. Reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and western blot were conducted to measure the transfection efficiency. Transwell assays were used to detect the invasiveness of CRC cells.In the present study, we assessed RCE1 expression in 244 CRC specimens and matching adjacent, non-tumorous tissues by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Compared with the matched adjacent non-tumor tissue samples, the RCE1 reduced in the tumor tissue samples (p < 0.001). RCE1 expression was significantly decreased in 106 of 244 (43.4%) CRC cases. In univariate and multivariate analyses, Decreasing expression of RCE1 independently predicts poor prognosis for patients in both overall survival and disease-free survival. Further study indicated that RCE1 influenced tumor invasion through the p38 pathway. Knockdown of RCE1 reduced phosphorylation and significantly increased the invasive capacity of CRC cells.Taken together, the outcomes of this study indicate that RCE1 acts as a tumor suppressor in CRC, as its reduced expression may increase CRC cell invasion and independently predict an unsatisfactory prognosis in CRC patients.
Project description:Over a hundred proteins in eukaryotic cells carry a C-terminal CaaX box sequence, which targets them for posttranslational isoprenylation of the cysteine residue. This modification, catalyzed by either farnesyl or geranylgeranyl transferase, converts them into peripheral membrane proteins. Isoprenylation is usually followed by proteolytic cleavage of the aaX tripeptide and methylation of the carboxyl group of the newly exposed isoprenylcysteine. The C-terminal modification regulates the cellular localization and biological activity of isoprenylated proteins. We have established a strategy to produce and purify recombinant farnesylated guanylate-binding protein 1 (hGBP1), a dynamin-related large GTPase. Our system is based on the coexpression of hGBP1 with the two subunits of human farnesyltransferase in Escherichia coli and a chromatographic separation of farnesylated and unmodified protein. Farnesylated hGBP1 displays altered GTPase activity and is able to interact with liposomes in the activated state.
Project description:The maturation of RAS GTPases and approximately 200 other cellular CAAX proteins involves three enzymatic steps: addition of a farnesyl or geranylgeranyl prenyl lipid to the cysteine (C) in the C-terminal CAAX motif, proteolytic cleavage of the AAX residues and methylation of the exposed prenylcysteine residue at its terminal carboxylate. This final step is catalysed by isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase (ICMT), a eukaryote-specific integral membrane enzyme that resides in the endoplasmic reticulum. ICMT is the only cellular enzyme that is known to methylate prenylcysteine substrates; methylation is important for the biological functions of these substrates, such as the membrane localization and subsequent activity of RAS, prelamin A and RAB. Inhibition of ICMT has potential for combating progeria and cancer. Here we present an X-ray structure of ICMT, in complex with its cofactor, an ordered lipid molecule and a monobody inhibitor, at 2.3?Å resolution. The active site spans cytosolic and membrane-exposed regions, indicating distinct entry routes for the cytosolic methyl donor, S-adenosyl-l-methionine, and for prenylcysteine substrates, which are associated with the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. The structure suggests how ICMT overcomes the topographical challenge and unfavourable energetics of bringing two reactants that have different cellular localizations together in a membrane environment-a relatively uncharacterized but defining feature of many integral membrane enzymes.
Project description:Proteins possessing a C-terminal CaaX motif, such as the Ras GTPases, undergo extensive post-translational modification that includes attachment of an isoprenoid lipid, proteolytic processing and carboxylmethylation. Inhibition of the enzymes involved in these processes is considered a cancer-therapeutic strategy. We previously identified nine in vitro inhibitors of the yeast CaaX protease Rce1p in a chemical library screen (Manandhar et al., 2007). Here, we demonstrate that these agents disrupt the normal plasma membrane distribution of yeast GFP-Ras reporters in a manner that pharmacologically phenocopies effects observed upon genetic loss of CaaX protease function. Consistent with Rce1p being the in vivo target of the inhibitors, we observe that compound-induced delocalization is suppressed by increasing the gene dosage of RCE1. Moreover, we observe that Rce1p biochemical activity associated with inhibitor-treated cells is inversely correlated with compound dose. Genetic loss of CaaX proteolysis results in mistargeting of GFP-Ras2p to subcellular foci that are positive for the endoplasmic reticulum marker Sec63p. Pharmacological inhibition of CaaX protease activity also delocalizes GFP-Ras2p to foci, but these foci are not as strongly positive for Sec63p. Lastly, we demonstrate that heterologously expressed human Rce1p can mediate proper targeting of yeast Ras and that its activity can also be perturbed by some of the above inhibitors. Together, these results indicate that disrupting the proteolytic modification of Ras GTPases impacts their in vivo trafficking.