BACKGROUND: Aggregation of peptide hormone precursors in the trans-Golgi network is an essential process in the biogenesis of secretory granules in endocrine cells. It has recently been proposed that this aggregation corresponds to the formation of functional amyloids. Our previous finding that dominant mutations in provasopressin, which cause cell degeneration and diabetes insipidus, prevent native folding and produce fibrillar aggregates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) might thus reflect mislocalized amyloid formation by sequences that evolved to mediate granule sorting. RESULTS: Here we identified two sequences responsible for fibrillar aggregation of mutant precursors in the ER: the N-terminal vasopressin nonapeptide and the C-terminal glycopeptide. To test their role in granule sorting, the glycopeptide was deleted and/or vasopressin mutated to inactivate ER aggregation while still permitting precursor folding and ER exit. These mutations strongly reduced sorting into granules and regulated secretion in endocrine AtT20 cells. CONCLUSION: The same sequences - vasopressin and the glycopeptide - mediate physiological aggregation of the wild-type hormone precursor into secretory granules and the pathological fibrillar aggregation of disease mutants in the ER. These findings support the amyloid hypothesis for secretory granule biogenesis.
The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology seeks to address growing concerns about reproducibility in scientific research by conducting replications of selected experiments from a number of high-profile papers in the field of cancer biology. The papers, which were published between 2010 and 2012, were selected on the basis of citations and Altmetric scores (Errington et al., 2014). This Registered Report describes the proposed replication plan of key experiments from "Kinase-dead BRAF and oncogenic RAS cooperate to drive tumor progression through CRAF" by Heidorn and colleagues, published in Cell in 2010 (Heidorn et al., 2010). The experiments to be replicated are those reported in Figures 1A, 1B, 3A, 3B, and 4D. Heidorn and colleagues report that paradoxical activation of the RAF-RAS-MEK-ERK pathway by BRAF inhibitors when applied to BRAF(WT) cells is a result of BRAF/CRAF heterodimer formation upon inactivation of BRAF kinase activity, and occurs only in the context of active RAS. The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is a collaboration between the Center for Open Science and Science Exchange, and the results of the replications will be published by eLife.