During microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis, two endonucleolytic reactions convert stem-loop-structured precursors into mature miRNAs. These processing steps can be posttranscriptionally regulated by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Here, we have used a proteomics-based pull-down approach to map and characterize the interactome of a multitude of pre-miRNAs. We identify ∼180 RBPs that interact specifically with distinct pre-miRNAs. For functional validation, we combined RNAi and CRISPR/Cas-mediated knockout experiments to analyze RBP-dependent changes in miRNA levels. Indeed, a large number of the investigated candidates, including splicing factors and other mRNA processing proteins, have effects on miRNA processing. As an example, we show that TRIM71/LIN41 is a potent regulator of miR-29a processing and its inactivation directly affects miR-29a targets. We provide an extended database of RBPs that interact with pre-miRNAs in extracts of different cell types, highlighting a widespread layer of co- and posttranscriptional regulation of miRNA biogenesis.
Blockade of lysosomal calcium release due to lysosomal lipid accumulation has been shown to inhibit mTORC1 signaling. However, the mechanism by which lysosomal calcium regulates mTORC1 has remained undefined. Herein we report that proper lysosomal calcium release through the calcium channel TRPML1 is required for mTORC1 activation. TRPML1 depletion inhibits mTORC1 activity, while overexpression or pharmacologic activation of TRPML1 has the opposite effect. Lysosomal calcium activates mTORC1 by inducing association of calmodulin (CaM) with mTOR. Blocking the interaction between mTOR and CaM by antagonists of CaM significantly inhibits mTORC1 activity. Moreover, CaM is capable of stimulating the kinase activity of mTORC1 in a calcium-dependent manner in vitro. These results reveal that mTOR is a new type of CaM-dependent kinase, and TRPML1, lysosomal calcium and CaM play essential regulatory roles in the mTORC1 signaling pathway.
p27Kip1 (p27) is a cyclin-CDK inhibitor and negative regulator of cell proliferation. p27 also controls other cellular processes including migration and cytoplasmic p27 can act as an oncogene. Furthermore, cytoplasmic p27 promotes invasion and metastasis, in part by promoting epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Herein, we find that p27 promotes cell invasion by binding to and regulating the activity of Cortactin, a critical regulator of invadopodia formation. p27 localizes to invadopodia and limits their number and activity. p27 promotes the interaction of Cortactin with PAK1. In turn, PAK1 promotes invadopodia turnover by phosphorylating Cortactin, and expression of Cortactin mutants for PAK-targeted sites abolishes p27's effect on invadopodia dynamics. Thus, in absence of p27, cells exhibit increased invadopodia stability due to impaired PAK1-Cortactin interaction, but their invasive capacity is reduced compared to wild-type cells. Overall, we find that p27 directly promotes cell invasion by facilitating invadopodia turnover via the Rac1/PAK1/Cortactin pathway.
Pharmacological ascorbate has been proposed as a potential anti-cancer agent when combined with radiation and chemotherapy. The anti-cancer effects of ascorbate are hypothesized to involve the autoxidation of ascorbate leading to increased steady-state levels of H2O2; however, the mechanism(s) for cancer cell-selective toxicity remain unknown. The current study shows that alterations in cancer cell mitochondrial oxidative metabolism resulting in increased levels of O2⋅- and H2O2 are capable of disrupting intracellular iron metabolism, thereby selectively sensitizing non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and glioblastoma (GBM) cells to ascorbate through pro-oxidant chemistry involving redox-active labile iron and H2O2. In addition, preclinical studies and clinical trials demonstrate the feasibility, selective toxicity, tolerability, and potential efficacy of pharmacological ascorbate in GBM and NSCLC therapy.
TP53 truncating mutations are common in human tumors and are thought to give rise to p53-null alleles. Here, we show that TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations occur at higher than expected frequencies and produce proteins that lack canonical p53 tumor suppressor activities but promote cancer cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis. Functionally and molecularly, these p53 mutants resemble the naturally occurring alternative p53 splice variant, p53-psi. Accordingly, these mutants can localize to the mitochondria where they promote tumor phenotypes by binding and activating the mitochondria inner pore permeability regulator, Cyclophilin D (CypD). Together, our studies reveal that TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations, contrary to current beliefs, act beyond p53 loss to promote tumorigenesis, and could inform the development of strategies to target cancers driven by these prevalent mutations.
Increasing evidence highlights the important roles of microRNAs in mediating p53's tumor suppression functions. Here, we report miR-139-5p as another new p53 microRNA target. p53 induced the transcription of miR-139-5p, which in turn suppressed the protein levels of phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D), an oncogenic protein involved in multiple tumor promoting processes. Knockdown of p53 reversed these effects. Also, overexpression of miR-139-5p decreased PDE4D levels and increased cellular cAMP levels, leading to BIM-mediated cell growth arrest. Furthermore, our analysis of human colorectal tumor specimens revealed significant inverse correlation between the expression of miR-139-5p and that of PDE4D. Finally, overexpression of miR-139-5p suppressed the growth of xenograft tumors, accompanied by decrease in PDE4D and increase in BIM. These results demonstrate that p53 inactivates oncogenic PDE4D by inducing the expression of miR-139-5p.
Hantaan virus (HTNV) causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Previous studies have identified interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) as an interferon-stimulated gene family. However, the role of IFITMs in HTNV infection is unclear. In this study, we observed that IFITM3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) rs12252 C allele and CC genotype associated with the disease severity and HTNV load in the plasma of HFRS patients. In vitro experiments showed that the truncated protein produced by the rs12252 C allele exhibited an impaired anti-HTNV activity. We also proved that IFITM3 was able to inhibit HTNV infection in both HUVEC and A549 cells by overexpression and RNAi assays, likely via a mechanism of inhibiting virus entry demonstrated by binding and entry assay. Localization of IFITM3 in late endosomes was also observed. In addition, we demonstrated that the transcription of IFITM3 is negatively regulated by an lncRNA negative regulator of interferon response (NRIR). Taken together, we conclude that IFITM3, negatively regulated by NRIR, inhibits HTNV infection, and its SNP rs12252 correlates with the plasma HTNV load and the disease severity of patients with HFRS.
The 2013-2016 outbreak of Ebola virus (EBOV) in West Africa was the largest recorded. It began following the cross-species transmission of EBOV from an animal reservoir, most likely bats, into humans, with phylogenetic analysis revealing the co-circulation of several viral lineages. We hypothesized that this prolonged human circulation led to genomic changes that increased viral transmissibility in humans. We generated a synthetic glycoprotein (GP) construct based on the earliest reported isolate and introduced amino acid substitutions that defined viral lineages. Mutant GPs were used to generate a panel of pseudoviruses, which were used to infect different human and bat cell lines. These data revealed that specific amino acid substitutions in the EBOV GP have increased tropism for human cells, while reducing tropism for bat cells. Such increased infectivity may have enhanced the ability of EBOV to transmit among humans and contributed to the wide geographic distribution of some viral lineages.
Many lines of evidence have indicated that both genetic and non-genetic determinants can contribute to intra-tumor heterogeneity and influence cancer outcomes. Among the best described sub-population of cancer cells generated by non-genetic mechanisms are cells characterized by a CD44+/CD24- cell surface marker profile. Here, we report that human CD44+/CD24- cancer cells are genetically highly unstable because of intrinsic defects in their DNA-repair capabilities. In fact, in CD44+/CD24- cells, constitutive activation of the TGF-beta axis was both necessary and sufficient to reduce the expression of genes that are crucial in coordinating DNA damage repair mechanisms. Consequently, we observed that cancer cells that reside in a CD44+/CD24- state are characterized by increased accumulation of DNA copy number alterations, greater genetic diversity and improved adaptability to drug treatment. Together, these data suggest that the transition into a CD44+/CD24- cell state can promote intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity, spur tumor evolution and increase tumor fitness.
Cytotoxic compounds are important drugs and research tools. Here, we introduce a method, scalable time-lapse analysis of cell death kinetics (STACK), to quantify the kinetics of compound-induced cell death in mammalian cells at the population level. STACK uses live and dead cell markers, high-throughput time-lapse imaging, and mathematical modeling to determine the kinetics of population cell death over time. We used STACK to profile the effects of over 1,800 bioactive compounds on cell death in two human cancer cell lines, resulting in a large and freely available dataset. 79 potent lethal compounds common to both cell lines caused cell death with widely divergent kinetics. 13 compounds triggered cell death within hours, including the metallophore zinc pyrithione. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that this rapid onset lethal phenotype was caused in human cancer cells by metabolic disruption and ATP depletion. These results provide the first comprehensive survey of cell death kinetics and analysis of rapid-onset lethal compounds.
The mammalian sex chromosomes have undergone profound changes during their evolution from an ancestral pair of autosomes [1-4]. Specifically, the X chromosome has acquired a paradoxical sex-biased function by redistributing gene contents [5, 6] and has generated a disproportionately high number of retrogenes that are located on autosomes and exhibit male-biased expression patterns . Several selection-based models have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, including a model of sexual antagonism driving X inactivation (SAXI) [6-8] and a compensatory mechanism based on meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) [6, 8-11]. However, experimental evidence correlating the function of X-chromosome-derived autosomal retrogenes with evolutionary forces remains limited [12-17]. Here, we show that the deficiency of Rpl10l, a murine autosomal retrogene of Rpl10 with testis-specific expression, disturbs ribosome biogenesis in late-prophase spermatocytes and prohibits the transition from prophase into metaphase of the first meiotic division, resulting in male infertility. Rpl10l expression compensates for the lack of Rpl10, which exhibits a broad expression pattern but is subject to MSCI during spermatogenesis. Importantly, ectopic expression of RPL10L prevents the death of cultured RPL10-deficient somatic cells, and Rpl10l-promoter-driven transgenic expression of Rpl10 in spermatocytes restores spermatogenesis and fertility in Rpl10l-deficient mice. Our results demonstrate that Rpl10l plays an essential role during the meiotic stage of spermatogenesis by compensating for MSCI-mediated transcriptional silencing of Rpl10. These data provide direct evidence for the compensatory hypothesis and add novel insight into the evolution of X-chromosome-derived autosomal retrogenes and their role in male fertility.
The nuclear RNA exosome is an essential multi-subunit complex that controls RNA homeostasis. Congenital mutations in RNA exosome genes are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Little is known about the role of the RNA exosome in the cellular response to pathogens. Here, using NGS and human and mouse genetics, we show that influenza A virus (IAV) ribogenesis and growth are suppressed by impaired RNA exosome activity. Mechanistically, the nuclear RNA exosome coordinates the initial steps of viral transcription with RNAPII at host promoters. The viral polymerase complex co-opts the nuclear RNA exosome complex and cellular RNAs en route to 3' end degradation. Exosome deficiency uncouples chromatin targeting of the viral polymerase complex and the formation of cellular:viral RNA hybrids, which are essential RNA intermediates that license transcription of antisense genomic viral RNAs. Our results suggest that evolutionary arms races have shaped the cellular RNA quality control machinery.