ABSTRACT: The superfamily of small monomeric GTPases originated in a common ancestor of eukaryotic multicellular organisms and, since then, it has evolved independently in each lineage to cope with the environmental challenges imposed by their different life styles. Members of the small GTPase family function in the control of vesicle trafficking, cytoskeleton rearrangements and signaling during crucial biological processes, such as cell growth and responses to environmental cues. In this review, we discuss the emerging roles of these small GTPases in the pathogenic and symbiotic interactions established by plants with microorganisms present in their nearest environment, in which membrane trafficking is crucial along the different steps of the interaction, from recognition and signal transduction to nutrient exchange.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Small monomeric GTPases act as molecular switches in several processes that involve polar cell growth, participating mainly in vesicle trafficking and cytoskeleton rearrangements. This gene superfamily has largely expanded in plants through evolution as compared with other Kingdoms, leading to the suggestion that members of each subfamily might have acquired new functions associated to plant-specific processes. Legume plants engage in a nitrogen-fixing symbiotic interaction with rhizobia in a process that involves polar growth processes associated with the infection throughout the root hair. To get insight into the evolution of small GTPases associated with this process, we use a comparative genomic approach to establish differences in the Ras GTPase superfamily between legume and non-legume plants. RESULTS:Phylogenetic analyses did not show clear differences in the organization of the different subfamilies of small GTPases between plants that engage or not in nodule symbiosis. Protein alignments revealed a strong conservation at the sequence level of small GTPases previously linked to nodulation by functional genetics. Interestingly, one Rab and three Rop proteins showed conserved amino acid substitutions in legumes, but these changes do not alter the predicted conformational structure of these proteins. Although the steady-state levels of most small GTPases do not change in response to rhizobia, we identified a subset of Rab, Rop and Arf genes whose transcript levels are modulated during the symbiotic interaction, including their spatial distribution along the indeterminate nodule. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides a comprehensive study of the small GTPase superfamily in several plant species. The genetic program associated to root nodule symbiosis includes small GTPases to fulfill specific functions during infection and formation of the symbiosomes. These GTPases seems to have been recruited from members that were already present in common ancestors with plants as distant as monocots since we failed to detect asymmetric evolution in any of the subfamily trees. Expression analyses identified a number of legume members that can have undergone neo- or sub-functionalization associated to the spatio-temporal transcriptional control during the onset of the symbiotic interaction.
Project description:The small GTPases from the Ras superfamily play crucial roles in basic cellular processes during practically the entire process of neurodevelopment, including neurogenesis, differentiation, gene expression, membrane and protein traffic, vesicular trafficking, and synaptic plasticity. Small GTPases are key signal transducing enzymes that link extracellular cues to the neuronal responses required for the construction of neuronal networks, as well as for synaptic function and plasticity. Different subfamilies of small GTPases have been linked to a number of non-neoplastic cerebral diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), intellectual disability, epilepsy, drug addiction, Huntington's disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and a large number of idiopathic cerebral diseases. Here, we attempted to make a clearer illustration of the relationship between Ras superfamily GTPases and non-neoplastic cerebral diseases, as well as their roles in the neural system. In future studies, potential treatments for non-neoplastic cerebral diseases which are based on small GTPase related signaling pathways should be explored further. In this paper, we review all the available literature in support of this possibility.
Project description:Development of tamoxifen resistance remains a tremendous challenge for the treatment of estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. Small GTPases of the Ras superfamily play crucial roles in intracellular trafficking and cell signaling, and aberrant small-GTPase signaling is implicated in many types of cancer. In this study, we employed a targeted, quantitative proteomic approach that relies on stable-isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC), gel fractionation, and scheduled multiple-reaction-monitoring (MRM) analysis, to assess the differential expression of small GTPases in MCF-7 and the paired tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. The method displayed superior sensitivity and reproducibility over the shotgun-proteomic approach, and it facilitated the quantification of 96 small GTPases. Among them, 13 and 10 proteins were significantly down- and up-regulated (with >1.5-fold change), respectively, in the tamoxifen-resistant line relative to in the parental line. In particular, we observed a significant down-regulation of RAB31 in tamoxifen-resistant cells, which, in combination with bioinformatic analysis and downstream validation experiments, supported a role for RAB31 in tamoxifen resistance in ER-positive breast-cancer cells. Together, our results demonstrated that the targeted proteomic method constituted a powerful approach for revealing the role of small GTPases in therapeutic resistance.
Project description:The Rab family of small GTPases regulates intracellular membrane trafficking by orchestrating the biogenesis, transport, tethering, and fusion of membrane-bound organelles and vesicles. Like other small GTPases, Rabs cycle between two states, an active (GTP-loaded) state and an inactive (GDP-loaded) state, and their cycling is catalyzed by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Because an active form of each Rab localizes on a specific organelle (or vesicle) and recruits various effector proteins to facilitate each step of membrane trafficking, knowing when and where Rabs are activated and what effectors Rabs recruit is crucial to understand their functions. Since the discovery of Rabs, they have been regarded as one of the central hubs for membrane trafficking, and numerous biochemical and genetic studies have revealed the mechanisms of Rab functions in recent years. The results of these studies have included the identification and characterization of novel GEFs, GAPs, and effectors, as well as post-translational modifications, for example, phosphorylation, of Rabs. Rab functions beyond the simple effector-recruiting model are also emerging. Furthermore, the recently developed CRISPR/Cas technology has enabled acceleration of knockout analyses in both animals and cultured cells and revealed previously unknown physiological roles of many Rabs. In this review article, we provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive lists of GEFs, GAPs, effectors, and knockout phenotypes of mammalian Rabs and discuss recent findings in regard to their regulation and functions.
Project description:Members of the large superclass of P-loop GTPases share a core domain with a conserved three-dimensional structure. In eukaryotes, these proteins are implicated in various crucial cellular processes, including translation, membrane trafficking, cell cycle progression, and membrane signaling. As targets of mutation and toxins, GTPases are involved in the pathogenesis of cancer and infectious diseases. In prokaryotes also, it is hard to overestimate the importance of GTPases in cell physiology. Numerous papers have shed new light on the role of bacterial GTPases in cell cycle regulation, ribosome assembly, the stress response, and other cellular processes. Moreover, bacterial GTPases have been identified as high-potential drug targets. A key paper published over 2 decades ago stated that, "It may never again be possible to capture [GTPases] in a family portrait" (H. R. Bourne, D. A. Sanders, and F. McCormick, Nature 348:125-132, 1990) and indeed, the last 20 years have seen a tremendous increase in publications on the subject. Sequence analysis identified 13 bacterial GTPases that are conserved in at least 75% of all bacterial species. We here provide an overview of these 13 protein subfamilies, covering their cellular functions as well as cellular localization and expression levels, three-dimensional structures, biochemical properties, and gene organization. Conserved roles in eukaryotic homologs will be discussed as well. A comprehensive overview summarizing current knowledge on prokaryotic GTPases will aid in further elucidating the function of these important proteins.
Project description:A complex endomembrane system is one of the hallmarks of Eukaryotes. Vesicle trafficking between compartments is controlled by a diverse protein repertoire, including Rab GTPases. These small GTP-binding proteins contribute identity and specificity to the system, and by working as molecular switches, trigger multiple events in vesicle budding, transport, and fusion. A diverse collection of Rab GTPases already existed in the ancestral Eukaryote, yet, it is unclear how such elaborate repertoire emerged. A novel archaeal phylum, the Lokiarchaeota, revealed that several eukaryotic-like protein systems, including small GTPases, are present in Archaea. Here, we test the hypothesis that the Rab family of small GTPases predates the origin of Eukaryotes. Our bioinformatic pipeline detected multiple putative Rab-like proteins in several archaeal species. Our analyses revealed the presence and strict conservation of sequence features that distinguish eukaryotic Rabs from other small GTPases (Rab family motifs), mapping to the same regions in the structure as in eukaryotic Rabs. These mediate Rab-specific interactions with regulators of the REP/GDI (Rab Escort Protein/GDP dissociation Inhibitor) family. Sensitive structure-based methods further revealed the existence of REP/GDI-like genes in Archaea, involved in isoprenyl metabolism. Our analysis supports a scenario where Rabs differentiated into an independent family in Archaea, interacting with proteins involved in membrane biogenesis. These results further support the archaeal nature of the eukaryotic ancestor and provide a new insight into the intermediate stages and the evolutionary path toward the complex membrane-associated signaling circuits that characterize the Ras superfamily of small GTPases, and specifically Rab proteins.
Project description:The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key cell growth regulator, which forms two distinct functional complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2). mTORC1, which is directly inhibited by rapamycin, promotes cell growth by stimulating protein synthesis and inhibiting autophagy. mTORC1 is regulated by a wide range of extra- and intracellular signals, including growth factors, nutrients, and energy levels. Precise regulation of mTORC1 is important for normal cellular physiology and development, and dysregulation of mTORC1 contributes to hypertrophy and tumorigenesis. In this study, we screened Drosophila small GTPases for their function in TORC1 regulation and found that TORC1 activity is regulated by members of the Rab and Arf family GTPases, which are key regulators of intracellular vesicle trafficking. In mammalian cells, uncontrolled activation of Rab5 and Arf1 strongly inhibit mTORC1 activity. Interestingly, the effect of Rab5 and Arf1 on mTORC1 is specific to amino acid stimulation, whereas glucose-induced mTORC1 activation is not blocked by Rab5 or Arf1. Similarly, active Rab5 selectively inhibits mTORC1 activation by Rag GTPases, which are involved in amino acid signaling, but does not inhibit the effect of Rheb, which directly binds and activates mTORC1. Our data demonstrate a key role of Rab and Arf family small GTPases and intracellular trafficking in mTORC1 activation, particularly in response to amino acids.
Project description:Osteoclasts (OCs) are bone-resorbing cells that maintain bone homeostasis. OC differentiation, survival, and activity are regulated by numerous small GTPases, including those of the Rab family, which are involved in plasma membrane delivery and lysosomal and autophagic degradation pathways. In resorbing OCs, polarized vesicular trafficking pathways also result in formation of the ruffled membrane, the resorbing organelle, and in transcytosis.
Project description:Neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), are prevalent among the elderly. Small GTPases of the Ras superfamily are essential regulators of intracellular trafficking and signal transduction. In this study, we develop a targeted quantification method for small GTPase proteins, where the method involves scheduled multiple-reaction monitoring analysis and the use of synthetic stable isotope-labeled peptides as internal standards or surrogate standards. We further applied this method to examine the altered expression of small GTPase proteins in post-mortem frontal cortex tissues from AD patients with different degrees of disease severity. We were able to achieve sensitive and reproducible quantifications of 80 small GTPases in brain tissue samples from 15 patients. Our results revealed substantial up-regulations of several synaptic GTPases, i.e., RAB3A/C, RAB4A/B, and RAB27B, in tissues from patients with higher degrees of AD pathology, suggesting that aberrant synaptic trafficking may modulate the progression of AD. The method should be generally applicable for high-throughput targeted quantification of small GTPase proteins in other tissue and cellular samples.
Project description:Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are important physiological means to regulate the activities and structures of central regulatory proteins in health and disease. Small GTPases have been recognized as important molecules that are targeted by PTMs during infections of mammalian cells by bacterial pathogens. The enzymes DrrA/SidM and AnkX from Legionella pneumophila AMPylate and phosphocholinate Rab1b during infection, respectively. Cdc42 is AMPylated by IbpA from Histophilus somni at tyrosine 32 or by VopS from Vibrio parahaemolyticus at threonine 35. These modifications take place in the important regulatory switch I or switch II regions of the GTPases. Since Rab1b and Cdc42 are central regulators of intracellular vesicular trafficking and of the actin cytoskeleton, their modifications by bacterial pathogens have a profound impact on the course of infection. Here, we addressed the biochemical and structural consequences of GTPase AMPylation and phosphocholination. By combining biochemical experiments and NMR analysis, we demonstrate that AMPylation can overrule the activity state of Rab1b that is commonly dictated by binding to guanosine diphosphate or guanosine triphosphate. Thus, PTMs may exert conformational control over small GTPases and may add another previously unrecognized layer of activity control to this important regulatory protein family.