The study of pathophysiological mechanisms in human liver disease has been constrained by the inability to expand primary hepatocytes in vitro while maintaining proliferative capacity and metabolic function. We and others have previously shown that mouse mature hepatocytes can be converted to liver progenitor-like cells in vitro with defined chemical factors. Here we describe a protocol achieving efficient conversion of human primary hepatocytes into liver progenitor-like cells (HepLPCs) through delivery of developmentally relevant cues, including NAD(+) -dependent deacetylase SIRT1 signaling. These HepLPCs could be expanded significantly during in vitro passage. The expanded cells can readily be converted back into metabolically functional hepatocytes in vitro and upon transplantation in vivo. Under three-dimensional culture conditions, differentiated cells generated from HepLPCs regained the ability to support infection or reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Our work demonstrates the utility of the conversion between hepatocyte and liver progenitor-like cells for studying HBV biology and antiviral therapies. These findings will facilitate the study of liver diseases and regenerative medicine.
Cells may die from accidental cell death (ACD) or regulated cell death (RCD). ACD is a biologically uncontrolled process, whereas RCD involves tightly structured signaling cascades and molecularly defined effector mechanisms. A growing number of novel non-apoptotic forms of RCD have been identified and are increasingly being implicated in various human pathologies. Here, we critically review the current state of the art regarding non-apoptotic types of RCD, including necroptosis, pyroptosis, ferroptosis, entotic cell death, netotic cell death, parthanatos, lysosome-dependent cell death, autophagy-dependent cell death, alkaliptosis and oxeiptosis. The in-depth comprehension of each of these lethal subroutines and their intercellular consequences may uncover novel therapeutic targets for the avoidance of pathogenic cell loss.
Mutations in RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) localized in ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules, such as hnRNP A1 and TDP-43, promote aberrant protein aggregation, which is a pathological hallmark of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Protein posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are known to regulate RNP granules. In this study, we investigate the function of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation (PARylation), an important PTM involved in DNA damage repair and cell death, in RNP granule-related neurodegeneration. We reveal that PARylation levels are a major regulator of the assembly-disassembly dynamics of RNP granules containing disease-related RBPs, hnRNP A1 and TDP-43. We find that hnRNP A1 can both be PARylated and bind to PARylated proteins or poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR). We further uncover that PARylation of hnRNP A1 at K298 controls its nucleocytoplasmic transport, whereas PAR-binding via the PAR-binding motif (PBM) of hnRNP A1 regulates its association with stress granules. Moreover, we reveal that PAR not only dramatically enhances the liquid-liquid phase separation of hnRNP A1, but also promotes the co-phase separation of hnRNP A1 and TDP-43 in vitro and their interaction in vivo. Finally, both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of PARP mitigates hnRNP A1- and TDP-43-mediated neurotoxicity in cell and Drosophila models of ALS. Together, our findings suggest a novel and crucial role for PARylation in regulating the dynamics of RNP granules, and that dysregulation in PARylation and PAR levels may contribute to ALS disease pathogenesis by promoting protein aggregation.
Despite the structural conservation of PTEN with dual-specificity phosphatases, there have been no reports regarding the regulatory mechanisms that underlie this potential dual-phosphatase activity. Here, we report that K27-linked polyubiquitination of PTEN at lysines 66 and 80 switches its phosphoinositide/protein tyrosine phosphatase activity to protein serine/threonine phosphatase activity. Mechanistically, high glucose, TGF-beta, CTGF, SHH, and IL-6 induce the expression of a long non-coding RNA, GAEA (Glucose Aroused for EMT Activation), which associates with an RNA-binding E3 ligase, MEX3C, and enhances its enzymatic activity, leading to the K27-linked polyubiquitination of PTEN. The MEX3C-catalyzed PTENK27-polyUb activates its protein serine/threonine phosphatase activity and inhibits its phosphatidylinositol/protein tyrosine phosphatase activity. With this altered enzymatic activity, PTENK27-polyUb dephosphorylates the phosphoserine/threonine residues of TWIST1, SNAI1, and YAP1, leading to accumulation of these master regulators of EMT. Animals with genetic inhibition of PTENK27-polyUb, by a single nucleotide mutation generated using CRISPR/Cas9 (Pten(K80R)(/)(K80R)) exhibit inhibition of EMT markers during mammary gland morphogenesis in pregnancy/lactation and during cutaneous wound healing processes. Our findings illustrate an unexpected paradigm in which the IncRNA-dependent switch in PTEN protein serine/threonine phosphatase activity is important for physiological homeostasis and disease development.
Error-free mitosis depends on accurate chromosome attachment to spindle microtubules, powered congression of those chromosomes, their segregation in anaphase, and assembly of a spindle midzone at mitotic exit. The centromere-associated kinesin motor CENP-E, whose binding partner is BubR1, has been implicated in congression of misaligned chromosomes and the transition from lateral kinetochore-microtubule association to end-on capture. Although previously proposed to be a pseudokinase, here we report the structure of the kinase domain of Drosophila melanogaster BubR1, revealing its folding into a conformation predicted to be catalytically active. BubR1 is shown to be a bona fide kinase whose phosphorylation of CENP-E switches it from a laterally attached microtubule motor to a plus-end microtubule tip tracker. Computational modeling is used to identify bubristatin as a selective BubR1 kinase antagonist that targets the alpha N1 helix of N-terminal extension and alpha C helix of the BubR1 kinase domain. Inhibition of CENP-E phosphorylation is shown to prevent proper microtubule capture at kinetochores and, surprisingly, proper assembly of the central spindle at mitotic exit. Thus, BubR1-mediated CENP-E phosphorylation produces a temporal switch that enables transition from lateral to end-on microtubule capture and organization of microtubules into stable midzone arrays.
Pre-mRNA splicing is executed by the spliceosome, which has eight major functional states each with distinct composition. Five of these eight human spliceosomal complexes, all preceding exon ligation, have been structurally characterized. In this study, we report the cryo-electron microscopy structures of the human post-catalytic spliceosome (P complex) and intron lariat spliceosome (ILS) at average resolutions of 3.0 and 2.9 angstrom, respectively. In the P complex, the ligated exon remains anchored to loop I of U5 small nuclear RNA, and the 3'-splice site is recognized by the junction between the 5'-splice site and the branch point sequence. The ATPase/helicase Prp22, along with the ligated exon and eight other proteins, are dissociated in the P-to-ILS transition. Intriguingly, the ILS complex exists in two distinct conformations, one with the ATPase/helicase Prp43 and one without. Comparison of these three late-stage human spliceosomes reveals mechanistic insights into exon release and spliceosome disassembly.
While N -methyladenosine (m A), the most abundant internal modification in eukaryotic mRNA, is linked to cell differentiation and tissue development, the biological significance of m A modification in mammalian glial development remains unknown. Here, we identify a novel m A reader, Prrc2a (Proline rich coiled-coil 2 A), which controls oligodendrocyte specification and myelination. Nestin-Cre-mediated knockout of Prrc2a induces significant hypomyelination, decreased lifespan, as well as locomotive and cognitive defects in a mouse model. Further analyses reveal that Prrc2a is involved in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) proliferation and oligodendrocyte fate determination. Accordingly, oligodendroglial-lineage specific deletion of Prrc2a causes a similar phenotype of Nestin-Cre-mediated deletion. Combining transcriptome-wide RNA-seq, m A-RIP-seq and Prrc2a RIP-seq analysis, we find that Olig2 is a critical downstream target gene of Prrc2a in oligodendrocyte development. Furthermore, Prrc2a stabilizes Olig2 mRNA through binding to a consensus GGACU motif in the Olig2 CDS (coding sequence) in an m A-dependent manner. Interestingly, we also find that the m A demethylase, Fto, erases the m A modification of Olig2 mRNA and promotes its degradation. Together, our results indicate that Prrc2a plays an important role in oligodendrocyte specification through functioning as a novel m A reader. These findings suggest a new avenue for the development of therapeutic strategies for hypomyelination-related neurological diseases.
While N-6-methyladenosine (m(6)A), the most abundant internal modification in eukaryotic mRNA, is linked to cell differentiation and tissue development, the biological significance of m(6)A modification in mammalian glial development remains unknown. Here, we identify a novel m(6)A reader, Prrc2a (Proline rich coiled-coil 2 A), which controls oligodendrocyte specification and myelination. Nestin-Cre-mediated knockout of Prrc2a induces significant hypomyelination, decreased lifespan, as well as locomotive and cognitive defects in a mouse model. Further analyses reveal that Prrc2a is involved in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) proliferation and oligodendrocyte fate determination. Accordingly, oligodendroglial-lineage specific deletion of Prrc2a causes a similar phenotype of Nestin-Cre-mediated deletion. Combining transcriptome-wide RNA-seq, m(6)A-RIP-seq and Prrc2a RIP-seq analysis, we find that Olig2 is a critical downstream target gene of Prrc2a in oligodendrocyte development. Furthermore, Prrc2a stabilizes Olig2 mRNA through binding to a consensus GGACU motif in the 0142 CDS (coding sequence) in an m(6)A-dependent manner. Interestingly, we also find that the m 6 A demethylase, Fto, erases the m(6)A modification of Olig2 mRNA and promotes its degradation. Together, our results indicate that Prrc2a plays an important role in oligodendrocyte specification through functioning as a novel m(6)A reader. These findings suggest a new avenue for the development of therapeutic strategies for hypomyelinationrelated neurological diseases.
alpha-Tubulin detyrosination, largely catalyzed by vasohibins, is involved in many microtubule (MT)-related cellular events. In this study, we identified a core heterodimeric complex of human small vasohibin-binding protein (SVBP) and vasohibin 1 (VASH1) (hereafter denoted as SVBP-VASH1) that catalyzes the detyrosination of a peptide derived from C-terminus of alpha-tubulin. We further solved the crystal structures of the SVBP-VASH1 heterodimer alone and in complex with either an inhibitor or a mutant substrate peptide. Our structural research, complemented by biochemical and mutagenesis experiments, resulted in identification of the key residues for VASH1 binding to SVBP and alpha-tubulin substrate. Our in vivo experiments reveal that MT detyrosination in general, as well as the interactions between SVBP, VASH1, and alpha-tubulin, are critical for spindle function and accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. Furthermore, we found that the phenotypes caused by the depletion of vasohibins were largely rescued upon co-depletion of kinesin13/MCAK, suggesting the coordination between the MT depolymerase and MT detyrosination during mitosis. Thus our work not only provides structural insights into the molecular mechanism of alpha-tubulin detyrosination catalyzed by SVBP-bound vasohibins, but also uncovers the key role of vasohibins-mediated MT detyrosination in spindle morphology and chromosome segregation during mitosis.
Cancer is a major and still increasing cause of death in humans. Most cancer cells have a fundamentally different metabolic profile from that of normal tissue. This shift away from mitochondrial ATP synthesis via oxidative phosphorylation towards a high rate of glycolysis, termed Warburg effect, has long been recognized as a paradigmatic hallmark of cancer, supporting the increased biosynthetic demands of tumor cells. Here we show that deletion of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) in a Kras(G12D)-driven mouse lung cancer model resulted in a marked survival advantage, with delayed tumor onset and decreased malignant progression. Mechanistically, Aif deletion leads to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) deficiency and a switch in cellular metabolism towards glycolysis in non-transformed pneumocytes and at early stages of tumor development. Paradoxically, although Aif-deficient cells exhibited a metabolic Warburg profile, this bioenergetic change resulted in a growth disadvantage of Kras(G12D)-driven as well as Kras wild-type lung cancer cells. Cell-autonomous re-expression of both wild-type and mutant AIF (displaying an intact mitochondrial, but abrogated apoptotic function) in Aif-knockout Kras(G12D) mice restored OXPHOS and reduced animal survival to the same level as AIF wild-type mice. In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, high AIF expression was associated with poor prognosis. These data show that AIF-regulated mitochondrial respiration and OXPHOS drive the progression of lung cancer.
AMPK, a master regulator of metabolic homeostasis, is activated by both AMP-dependent and AMP-independent mechanisms. The conditions under which these different mechanisms operate, and their biological implications are unclear. Here, we show that, depending on the degree of elevation of cellular AMP, distinct compartmentalized pools of AMPK are activated, phosphorylating different sets of targets. Low glucose activates AMPK exclusively through the AMP-independent, AXIN-based pathway in lysosomes to phosphorylate targets such as ACC1 and SREBP1c, exerting early anti-anabolic and pro-catabolic roles. Moderate increases in AMP expand this to activate cytosolic AMPK also in an AXIN-dependent manner. In contrast, high concentrations of AMP, arising from severe nutrient stress, activate all pools of AMPK independently of AXIN. Surprisingly, mitochondrion-localized AMPK is activated to phosphorylate ACC2 and mitochondrial fission factor (MFF) only during severe nutrient stress. Our findings reveal a spatiotemporal basis for hierarchical activation of different pools of AMPK during differing degrees of stress severity.
Heterochromatin Protein 1 (HP1) recognizes histone H3 lysine 9 methylation (H3K9me) through its conserved chromodomain and maintains heterochromatin from fission yeast to mammals. However, in Arabidopsis, Like Heterochromatin Protein 1 (LHP1) recognizes and colocalizes genome-wide with H3K27me3, and is the functional homolog of Polycomb protein. This raises the question whether genuine HP1 homologs exist in plants. Here, we report on the discovery of ADCP1, a plant-specific triple tandem Agenet protein, as a multivalent H3K9me reader in Arabidopsis, and establish that ADCP1 is essential for heterochromatin formation and transposon silencing through modulating H3K9 and DNA methylation levels. Structural studies revealed the molecular basis underlying H3K9me-specific recognition by tandem Agenet of ADCP1. Similar to human HP1 alpha and fly HP1a, ADCP1 mediates heterochromatin phase separation. Our results demonstrate that despite its distinct domain compositions, ADCP1 convergently evolves as an HP1-equivalent protein in plants to regulate heterochromatin formation.
Type I interferon (IFN-I) production is efficiently induced to ensure a potent innate immune response to viral infection. How this response can be enhanced, however, remains to be explored. Here, we identify a new cytoplasmic long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), lncLrrc55-AS, that drives a positive feedback loop to promote interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) signaling and IFN-I production. We show that lncLrrc55-AS is virus-induced in multiple cell types via the IFN-JAK-STAT pathway. LncLrrc55-AS-deficient mice display a weakened antiviral immune response and are more susceptible to viral challenge. Mechanistically, lncLrrc55-AS binds phosphatase methylesterase 1 (PME-1), and promotes the interaction between PME-1 and the phosphatase PP2A, an inhibitor of IRF3 signaling. LncLrrc55-AS supports PME-1-mediated demethylation and inactivation of PP2A, thereby enhancing IRF3 phosphorylation and signaling. Loss of PME-1 phenocopies lncLrrc55-AS deficiency, leading to diminished IRF3 phosphorylation and IFN-I production. We have identified an IFN-induced lncRNA as a positive regulator of IFN-I production, adding mechanistic insight into lncRNA-mediated regulation of signaling in innate immunity and inflammation.