ABSTRACT: Septins are GTP-binding proteins that are evolutionarily and structurally related to the RAS oncogenes. Septin expression levels are altered in many cancers and new advances point to how abnormal septin expression may contribute to the progression of cancer. In contrast to the RAS GTPases, which are frequently mutated and actively promote tumorigenesis, little is known about the occurrence and role of septin mutations in human cancers. Here, we review septin missense mutations that are currently in the Catalog of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database. The majority of septin mutations occur in tumors of the large intestine, skin, endometrium and stomach. Over 25% of the annotated mutations in SEPT2, SEPT4, and SEPT9 belong to large intestine tumors. From all septins, SEPT9 and SEPT14 exhibit the highest mutation frequencies in skin, stomach and large intestine cancers. While septin mutations occur with frequencies lower than 3%, recurring mutations in several invariant and highly conserved amino acids are found across different septin paralogs and tumor types. Interestingly, a significant number of these mutations occur in the GTP-binding pocket and septin dimerization interfaces. Future studies may determine how these somatic mutations affect septin structure and function, whether they contribute to the progression of specific cancers and if they could serve as tumor-specific biomarkers.
Project description:Septins are highly conserved filamentous proteins first characterized in budding yeast and subsequently identified in must eukaryotes. Septins can bind and hydrolyze GTP, which is intrinsically related to their formation of septin hexamers and functional protein interactions. The human septin family is composed of 14 loci, SEPT1-SEPT14, which encode dozens of different septin proteins. Their central GTPase and polybasic domain regions are highly conserved but they diverge in their N-terminus and/or C-terminus. The mechanism by which the different isoforms are generated is not yet well understood, but one can hypothesize that the use of different promoters and/or alternative splicing could give rise to these variants. Septins perform diverse cellular functions according to tissue expression and their interacting partners. Functions identified to date include cell division, chromosome segregation, protein scaffolding, cellular polarity, motility, membrane dynamics, vesicle trafficking, exocytosis, apoptosis, and DNA damage response. Their expression is tightly regulated to maintain proper filament assembly and normal cellular functions. Alterations of these proteins, by mutation or expression changes, have been associated with a variety of cancers and neurological diseases. The association of septins with cancer results from alterations of expression in solid tumors or translocations in leukemias [mixed lineage leukemia (MLL)]. Expression changes in septins have also been associated with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, as well as retinopathies, hepatitis C, spermatogenesis and Listeria infection. Pathogenic mutations of SEPT9 were identified in the autosomal dominant neurological disorder hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (HNA). Human septin research over the past decade has established their importance in cell biology and human disease. Further functional characterization of septins is crucial to our understanding of their possible diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic applications.
Project description:Septins are conserved GTP-binding proteins that assemble into lateral diffusion barriers and molecular scaffolds. Vertebrate genomes contain 9-17 septin genes that encode both ubiquitous and tissue-specific septins. Expressed septins may assemble in various combinations through both heterotypic and homotypic G-domain interactions. However, little is known regarding assembly states of mammalian septins and mechanisms directing ordered assembly of individual septins into heteromeric units, which is the focus of this study. Our analysis of the septin system in cells lacking or overexpressing selected septins reveals interdependencies coinciding with previously described homology subgroups. Hydrodynamic and single-particle data show that individual septins exist solely in the context of stable six- to eight-subunit core heteromers, all of which contain SEPT2 and SEPT6 subgroup members and SEPT7, while heteromers comprising more than six subunits also contain SEPT9. The combined data suggest a generic model for how the temporal order of septin assembly is homology subgroup-directed, which in turn determines the subunit arrangement of native heteromers. Because mammalian cells normally express multiple members and/or isoforms of some septin subgroups, our data also suggest that only a minor fraction of native heteromers are arranged as perfect palindromes.
Project description:Septins are GTP-binding proteins that associate with the microtubule (MT) and actin cytoskeleton. Septins affect MT organization and posttranslational modifications, but their role in MT dynamics is less understood. Here, we reconstituted MT dynamics in the presence of the MT-binding septin (SEPT9) using an in vitro cell-free assay, which images the polymerization of tubulin from guanosine-5'-[(?,?)-methyleno]triphosphate (GMPCPP)-stabilized MT seeds. We found that submicromolar concentrations of SEPT9 suppress MT catastrophe and enhance the growth of MT plus ends to great lengths, while low micromolar concentrations of SEPT9 stabilize MTs by inhibiting dynamic instability. We show that SEPT9 associates preferentially with the lattice of GMPCPP-stabilized MT seeds and surprisingly recruits soluble tubulin to the MT lattice. Notably, the effects of SEPT9 on MT dynamics are dependent on its G-G dimerization interface, which is formed by the pockets of the GTP-binding domains. A mutation (H530D) that disrupts G-G dimerization abrogates the effects of SEPT9 on MT dynamics and diminishes its ability to recruit tubulin to the MT lattice. Taken together, these results suggest that SEPT9 promotes the formation and maintenance of long stable MTs through a mechanism that may involve recruitment of unpolymerized tubulin to the MT lattice.
Project description:Septins are a family of conserved guanosine triphosphate/guanosine diphosphate-binding proteins implicated in a variety of cellular functions such as cell cycle control and cytokinesis. Although several members of septin family, including Septin 14 (Sept14), are abundantly expressed in nervous tissues, little is known about their physiological functions, especially in neuronal development. Here, we report that Sept14 is strongly expressed in the cortical plate of developing cerebral cortex. Knockdown experiments by using the method of in utero electroporation showed that reduction of Sept14 caused inhibition of cortical neuronal migration. Whereas cDNA encoding RNA interference-resistant Sept14 rescued the migration defect, the C-terminal deletion mutant of Sept14 did not. Biochemical analyses revealed that C-terminal coiled-coil region of Sept14 interacts with Septin 4 (Sept4). Knockdown experiments showed that Sept4 is also involved in cortical neuronal migration in vivo. In addition, knockdown of Sept14 or Sept4 inhibited leading process formation in migrating cortical neurons. These results suggest that Sept14 is involved in neuronal migration in cerebral cortex via interaction with Sept4.
Project description:Septins are known to play key roles in supporting cytoskeletal stability, vesicular transport, endo-/exocytosis, stabilizing cellular membranes and forming diffusion barriers. Their function in mammalian cells is poorly investigated. The osteoclast offers an interesting tool to investigate septins because all cellular activities septins were reported to be involved in are critical for osteoclasts. However, the existence of septins in osteoclasts has not even been reported. Here we show that the SEPT9 gene and Septin 9 (SEPT9) protein are expressed and synthesized during differentiation of human osteoclasts. Pharmacological stabilization of septin filaments dose dependently inhibits bone resorption of human osteoclasts in vitro suggesting a role for septins in bone resorption. Attesting to this, conditional deletion of Sept9 in mice leads to elevated levels of trabecular bone and diminished femoral growth in vivo. Finally, systematic interrogation of the spatial organization of SEPT9 by confocal microscopy reveals that SEPT9 is closely associated to the structures known to be critical for osteoclast activity. We propose that septins in general and SEPT9 in particular play a previously unappreciated role in osteoclastic bone resorption.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Septins are involved in a number of cellular processes including cytokinesis and organization of the cytoskeleton. Alterations in human septin-9 (SEPT9) levels have been linked to multiple cancers, whereas mutations in SEPT9 cause the episodic neuropathy, hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (HNA). Despite its important function in human health, the in vivo role of SEPT9 is unknown.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Here we utilize zebrafish to study the role of SEPT9 in early development. We show that zebrafish possess two genes, sept9a and sept9b that, like humans, express multiple transcripts. Knockdown or overexpression of sept9a transcripts results in specific developmental alterations including circulation defects and aberrant epidermal development.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Our work demonstrates that sept9 plays an important role in zebrafish development, and establishes zebrafish as a valuable model organism for the study of SEPT9.
Project description:Septin proteins bind GTP and heterooligomerize into filaments with conserved functions across a wide range of eukaryotes. Most septins hydrolyze GTP, altering the oligomerization interfaces; yet mutations designed to abolish nucleotide binding or hydrolysis by yeast septins perturb function only at high temperatures. Here, we apply an unbiased mutational approach to this problem. Mutations causing defects at high temperature mapped exclusively to the oligomerization interface encompassing the GTP-binding pocket, or to the pocket itself. Strikingly, cold-sensitive defects arise when certain of these same mutations are coexpressed with a wild-type allele, suggestive of a novel mode of dominance involving incompatibility between mutant and wild-type molecules at the septin-septin interfaces that mediate filament polymerization. A different cold-sensitive mutant harbors a substitution in an unstudied but highly conserved region of the septin Cdc12. A homologous domain in the small GTPase Ran allosterically regulates GTP-binding domain conformations, pointing to a possible new functional domain in some septins. Finally, we identify a mutation in septin Cdc3 that restores the high-temperature assembly competence of a mutant allele of septin Cdc10, likely by adopting a conformation more compatible with nucleotide-free Cdc10. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that GTP binding and hydrolysis promote, but are not required for, one-time events--presumably oligomerization-associated conformational changes--during assembly of the building blocks of septin filaments. Restrictive temperatures impose conformational constraints on mutant septin proteins, preventing new assembly and in certain cases destabilizing existing assemblies. These insights from yeast relate directly to disease-causing mutations in human septins.
Project description:Septins are a conserved family of eukaryotic GTP-binding, filament-forming proteins. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, five septins (Cdc3p, Cdc10p, Cdc11p, Cdc12p, and Shs1p) form a complex and colocalize to the incipient bud site and as a collar of filaments at the neck of budded cells. Septins serve as a scaffold to localize septin-associated proteins involved in diverse processes and as a barrier to diffusion of membrane-associated proteins. Little is known about the role of nucleotide binding in septin function. Here, we show that Cdc3p, Cdc10p, Cdc11p, and Cdc12p all bind GTP and that P-loop and G4 motif mutations affect nucleotide binding and result in temperature-sensitive defects in septin localization and function. Two-hybrid, in vitro, and in vivo analyses show that for all four septins nucleotide binding is important in septin-septin interactions and complex formation. In the absence of complete complexes, septins do not localize to the cortex, suggesting septin localization factors interact only with complete complexes. When both complete and partial complexes are present, septins localize to the cortex but do not form a collar, perhaps because of an inability to form filaments. We find no evidence that nucleotide binding is specifically involved in the interaction of septins with septin-associated proteins.
Project description:Organogenesis and tumor metastasis involve the transformation of epithelia to highly motile mesenchymal-like cells. Septins are filamentous G proteins, which are overexpressed in metastatic carcinomas, but their functions in epithelial motility are unknown. Here, we show that a novel network of septin filaments underlies the organization of the transverse arc and radial (dorsal) stress fibers at the leading lamella of migrating renal epithelia. Surprisingly, septin depletion resulted in smaller and more transient and peripheral focal adhesions. This phenotype was accompanied by a highly disorganized lamellar actin network and rescued by the actin bundling protein ?-actinin-1. We show that preassembled actin filaments are cross-linked directly by Septin 9 (SEPT9), whose expression is increased after induction of renal epithelial motility with the hepatocyte growth factor. Significantly, SEPT9 overexpression enhanced renal cell migration in 2D and 3D matrices, whereas SEPT9 knockdown decreased migration. These results suggest that septins promote epithelial motility by reinforcing the cross-linking of lamellar stress fibers and the stability of nascent focal adhesions.
Project description:Septin-family proteins assemble into rod-shaped heteromeric complexes that form higher-order arrangements at the cell cortex, where they serve apparently conserved functions as diffusion barriers and molecular scaffolds. There are 13 confirmed septin paralogues in mammals, which may be ubiquitous or tissue specific. Septin hetero-oligomerization appears homology subgroup directed, which in turn determines the subunit arrangement of six- to eight-subunit core heteromers. Here we address functional properties of human SEPT9, which, due to variable mRNA splicing, exists as multiple isoforms that differ between tissues. Myeloid K562 cells express three SEPT9 isoforms, all of which have an equal propensity to hetero-oligomerize with SEPT7-containing hexamers to generate octameric heteromers. However, due to limiting amounts of SEPT9, K562 cells contain both hexameric and octameric heteromers. To generate cell lines with controllable hexamer-to-octamer ratios and that express single SEPT9 isoforms, we developed a gene product replacement strategy. By this means we identified SEPT9 isoform-specific properties that either facilitate septin heteromer polymerization along microtubules or modulate the size range of submembranous septin disks-a prevalent septin structure in nonadhered cells. Our findings show that the SEPT9 expression level directs the hexamer-to-octamer ratio, and that the isoform composition and expression level together determine higher-order arrangements of septins.