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Science Signaling 08/20/2019 13:55
Semaphorins are a family of molecular signals that guide cell migration and are implicated in the regulation of cancer cells. In particular, transmembrane semaphorins are postulated to act as both ligands ("forward" mode) and signaling receptors ("reverse" mode); however, reverse semaphorin signaling in cancer is relatively less understood. Here, we identified a previously unknown function of transmembrane semaphorin 4C (Sema4C), acting in reverse mode, to elicit nonconventional TGF-β/BMP receptor activation and selective SMAD1/5 phosphorylation. Sema4C coimmunoprecipitated with TGFBRII and BMPR1, supporting its role as modifier of this pathway. Sema4C reverse signaling led to the increased abundance of ID1/3 transcriptional factors and to
Science Signaling 08/20/2019 13:55
Metastable phenotypic state transitions in cancer cells can lead to the development of transient adaptive resistance or tolerance to chemotherapy. Here, we report that the acquisition of a phenotype marked by increased abundance of CD44 (CD44 Hi ) by breast cancer cells as a tolerance response to routinely used cytotoxic drugs, such as taxanes, activated a metabolic switch that conferred tolerance against unrelated standard-of-care chemotherapeutic agents, such as anthracyclines. We characterized the sequence of molecular events that connected the induced CD44 Hi phenotype to increased activity of both the glycolytic and oxidative pathways and glucose flux through the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). When given in a specific order, a combin.
Science Signaling 08/13/2019 13:55
EML4 is a microtubule-associated protein that promotes microtubule stability. We investigated its regulation across the cell cycle and found that EML4 was distributed as punctate foci along the microtubule lattice in interphase but exhibited reduced association with spindle microtubules in mitosis. Microtubule sedimentation and cryo–electron microscopy with 3D reconstruction revealed that the basic N-terminal domain of EML4 mediated its binding to the acidic C-terminal tails of α- and β-tubulin on the microtubule surface. The mitotic kinases NEK6 and NEK7 phosphorylated the EML4 N-terminal domain at Ser 144 and Ser 146 in vitro, and depletion of these kinases in cells led to increased EML4 binding to microtubules in mitosis. An S144A-S146A
Science Signaling 08/13/2019 13:55
The 21st century is witnessing an explosive surge in our understanding of pseudoenzyme-driven regulatory mechanisms in biology. Pseudoenzymes are proteins that have sequence homology with enzyme families but that are proven or predicted to lack enzyme activity due to mutations in otherwise conserved catalytic amino acids. The best-studied pseudoenzymes are pseudokinases, although examples from other families are emerging at a rapid rate as experimental approaches catch up with an avalanche of freely available informatics data. Kingdom-wide analysis in prokaryotes, archaea and eukaryotes reveals that between 5 and 10% of proteins that make up enzyme families are pseudoenzymes, with notable expansions and contractions seemingly associated wit.
Science Signaling 08/06/2019 13:50
Cleft palate is a common craniofacial defect caused by a failure in palate fusion. The palatal shelves migrate toward one another and meet at the embryonic midline, creating a seam. Transforming growth factor–β3 (TGF-β3)–induced apoptosis of the medial edge epithelium (MEE), the cells located along the seam, is required for completion of palate fusion. The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) promotes TGF-β3–induced MEE cell apoptosis by stimulating the degradation of the transcription factor Np63 and promoting the expression of the gene encoding the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. Because homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) functions downstream of IRF6 in human cancer cells and is required for Np63.
Science Signaling 08/06/2019 13:50
Disruption of -aminobutyric acid (GABA)–ergic interneuron migration is implicated in various neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. The dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) promotes GABAergic interneuron migration, which is disrupted in various neurological disorders, some of which are also associated with mutations in the gene encoding synaptic Ras–guanosine triphosphatase–activating protein (SynGAP). Here, we explored the mechanisms underlying these associations and their possible connection. In prenatal mouse brain tissue, we found a previously unknown interaction between the D1R and SynGAP. This D1R-SynGAP interaction facilitated D1R localization to the plasma membrane and promoted D1R-mediated downstr.
Science Signaling 07/30/2019 13:55
Bacteria can withstand killing by bactericidal antibiotics through phenotypic changes mediated by their preexisting genetic repertoire. These changes can be exhibited transiently by a large fraction of the bacterial population, giving rise to tolerance, or displayed by a small subpopulation, giving rise to persistence. Apart from undermining the use of antibiotics, tolerant and persistent bacteria foster the emergence of antibiotic-resistant mutants. Persister formation has been attributed to alterations in the abundance of particular proteins, metabolites, and signaling molecules, including toxin-antitoxin modules, adenosine triphosphate, and guanosine (penta) tetraphosphate, respectively. Here, we report that persistent bacteria form as a.
Science Signaling 07/30/2019 13:55
Tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) is a central mediator of the inflammatory pathway and is associated with several autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. A revision to the canonical model of TNFR1 activation suggests that activation involves conformational rearrangements of preassembled receptor dimers. Here, we identified small-molecule allosteric inhibitors of TNFR1 activation and probed receptor dimerization and function. Specifically, we used a fluorescence lifetime–based high-throughput screen and biochemical, biophysical, and cellular assays to identify small molecules that noncompetitively inhibited the receptor without reducing ligand affinity or disrupting receptor dimerization. We also found that residues in the
Science Signaling 07/30/2019 13:55
Signaling by the ubiquitously expressed tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) after ligand binding plays an essential role in determining whether cells exhibit survival or death. TNFR1 forms distinct signaling complexes that initiate gene expression programs downstream of the transcriptional regulators NFB and AP-1 and promote different functional outcomes, such as inflammation, apoptosis, and necroptosis. Here, we investigated the ways in which TNFR1 was organized at the plasma membrane at the nanoscale level to elicit different signaling outcomes. We confirmed that TNFR1 forms preassembled clusters at the plasma membrane of adherent cells in the absence of ligand. After trimeric TNFα binding, TNFR1 clusters underwent a conformational c.
Science Signaling 07/23/2019 13:50
Transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) superfamily members are critical signals in tissue homeostasis and pathogenesis. Melanoma grows in the epidermis and invades the dermis before metastasizing. This disease progression is accompanied by increased sensitivity to microenvironmental TGF-β. Here, we found that skin fat cells (adipocytes) promoted metastatic initiation by sensitizing melanoma cells to TGF-β. Analysis of melanoma clinical samples revealed that adipocytes, usually located in the deeper hypodermis layer, were present in the upper dermis layer within proximity to in situ melanoma cells, an observation that correlated with disease aggressiveness. In a coculture system, adipocytes secreted the cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, which induced
Science Signaling 07/23/2019 13:50
T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation activates diverse kinase pathways, which include the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) ERK and p38, the phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks), and the kinase mTOR. Although TCR stimulation activates the p38 pathway through a "classical" MAPK cascade that is mediated by the adaptor protein LAT, it also stimulates an "alternative" pathway in which p38 is activated by the kinase ZAP70. Here, we used dual-parameter, phosphoflow cytometry and in silico computation to investigate how both classical and alternative p38 pathways contribute to T cell activation. We found that basal ZAP70 activation in resting T cell lines reduced the threshold ("primed") TCR-stimulated activation of the classical p38 pathway. C.
Science Signaling 07/16/2019 13:50
Stabilization of the MYC oncoprotein by KRAS signaling critically promotes the growth of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Thus, understanding how MYC protein stability is regulated may lead to effective therapies. Here, we used a previously developed, flow cytometry–based assay that screened a library of >800 protein kinase inhibitors and identified compounds that promoted either the stability or degradation of MYC in a KRAS-mutant PDAC cell line. We validated compounds that stabilized or destabilized MYC and then focused on one compound, UNC10112785, that induced the substantial loss of MYC protein in both two-dimensional (2D) and 3D cell cultures. We determined that this compound is a potent CDK9 inhibitor with a previously unchar.

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