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Concept: Golgi apparatus


Proteins endogenously secreted by human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and those present in hESC culture medium are critical regulators of hESC self-renewal and differentiation. Current MS-based approaches for identifying secreted proteins rely predominantly on MS analysis of cell culture supernatants. Here we show that targeted proteomics of secretory pathway organelles is a powerful alternate approach for interrogating the cellular secretome. We have developed procedures to obtain subcellular fractions from mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and hESCs that are enriched in secretory pathway organelles while ensuring retention of the secretory cargo. MS analysis of these fractions from hESCs cultured in MEF conditioned medium (MEF-CM) or MEFs exposed to hESC medium revealed 99 and 129 proteins putatively secreted by hESCs and MEFs, respectively. Of these, 53 and 62 proteins have been previously identified in cell culture supernatants of MEFs and hESCs, respectively, thus establishing the validity of our approach. Furthermore, 76 and 37 putatively secreted proteins identified in this study in MEFs and hESCs, respectively, have not been reported in previous MS analyses. The identification of low abundance secreted proteins via MS analysis of cell culture supernatants typically necessitates the use of altered culture conditions such as serum-free medium. However, an altered medium formulation might directly influence the cellular secretome. Indeed, we observed significant differences between the abundances of several secreted proteins in subcellular fractions isolated from hESCs cultured in MEF-CM and those exposed to unconditioned hESC medium for 24 h. In contrast, targeted proteomics of secretory pathway organelles does not require the use of customized media. We expect that our approach will be particularly valuable in two contexts highly relevant to hESC biology: obtaining a temporal snapshot of proteins secreted in response to a differentiation trigger, and identifying proteins secreted by cells that are isolated from a heterogeneous population.

Concepts: Cell, Golgi apparatus, Stem cell, Endoplasmic reticulum, Cell biology, Cellular differentiation, Cell culture, Embryonic stem cell


COPI mediates retrograde trafficking from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and within the Golgi stack, sorting transmembrane proteins bearing C-terminal KKxx or KxKxx motifs. The structure of KxKxx motifs bound to the N-terminal WD-repeat domain of β'-COP identifies electrostatic contacts between the motif and complementary patches at the center of the β'-COP propeller. An absolute requirement of a two-residue spacing between the terminal carboxylate group and first lysine residue results from interactions of carbonyl groups in the motif backbone with basic side chains of β'-COP. Similar interactions are proposed to mediate binding of KKxx motifs by the homologous α-COP domain. Mutation of key interacting residues in either domain or in their cognate motifs abolishes in vitro binding and results in mistrafficking of dilysine-containing cargo in yeast without compromising cell viability. Flexibility between β'-COP WD-repeat domains and the location of cargo binding have implications for COPI coat assembly.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Glycosylation, Lysosome


We have used a peptide-based targeting system to improve lysosomal delivery of acid α-glucosidase (GAA), the enzyme deficient in patients with Pompe disease. Human GAA was fused to the Glycosylation-Independent Lysosomal Targeting (GILT) tag, which contains a portion of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II), to create an active, chimeric enzyme with high affinity for the cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor (CI-MPR). GILT-tagged GAA was taken up by L6 myoblasts about 25-fold more efficiently than was recombinant human GAA (rhGAA). Once delivered to the lysosome, the mature form of GILT-tagged GAA was indistinguishable from rhGAA and persisted with a half-life indistinguishable from rhGAA. GILT-tagged GAA was significantly more effective than rhGAA in clearing glycogen from numerous skeletal muscle tissues in the Pompe mouse model. The GILT-tagged GAA enzyme may provide an improved enzyme replacement therapy for Pompe disease patients.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Golgi apparatus, Muscle, Therapy, Glycogen, Glycogen storage disease, Insulin-like growth factor 2


Since the discovery that proteins mutated in different forms of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) are tightly associated with primary cilia, strong efforts have been made to define the role of this organelle in the pathogenesis of cyst formation. Cilia are filiform microtubular structures, anchored in the basal body and extending from the apical membrane into the tubular lumen. Early work established that cilia act as flow sensors, eliciting calcium transients in response to bending, which involve the two proteins mutated in autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD), polycystin-1 and -2. Loss of cilia alone is insufficient to cause cyst formation. Nevertheless, a large body of evidence links flow sensing by cilia to aspects relevant for cyst formation such as cell polarity, Stat6- and mammalian target of rapamycin signalling. This review summarizes the current literature on cilia and flow sensing with respect to PKD and discusses how these findings intercalate with different aspects of cyst formation.

Concepts: Immune system, Kidney, Cell, Genetic disorder, Golgi apparatus, Cytoskeleton, Polycystic kidney disease, Cilium


The Golgi apparatus has attracted intense attentions due to its fascinating morphology and vital role as the pivot of cellular secretory pathway since its discovery. However, its complex structure at the molecular level remains elusive due to limited approaches. In this study, the structure of Golgi apparatus, including the Golgi stack, cisternal structure, relevant tubules and vesicles, were directly visualized by high-resolution atomic force microscope. We imaged both sides of Golgi apparatus membranes and revealed that the outer leaflet of Golgi membranes is relatively smooth while the inner membrane leaflet is rough and covered by dense proteins. With the treatment of methyl-β-cyclodextrin and Triton X-100, we confirmed the existence of lipid rafts in Golgi apparatus membrane, which are mostly in the size of 20 nm -200 nm and appear irregular in shape. Our results may be of significance to reveal the structure-function relationship of the Golgi complex and pave the way for visualizing the endomembrane system in mammalian cells at the molecular level.

Concepts: Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Organelle, Endoplasmic reticulum, Protein targeting, Endomembrane system, Secretory pathway


JNJ-26854165 (serdemetan) has previously been reported to inhibit the function of the E3 ligase human double minute-2, and we initially sought to characterize its activity in models of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and multiple myeloma (MM). Serdemetan induced a dose dependent inhibition of proliferation in both wild-type (wt) and mutant (mut) p53 cell lines, with IC50’s from 0.25 μ/L to 3 μ/L, in association with an S phase cell cycle arrest. Caspase-3 activation was primarily seen in wtp53 bearing cells, but also occurred in mutp53 bearing cells, albeit to a lesser extent. 293T cells treated with JNJ-26854165, and serdemetan-resistant fibroblasts displayed accumulation of cholesterol within endosomes, a phenotype reminiscent of that seen in the ATP-binding cassette sub-family A member-1 (ABCA1) cholesterol transport disorder, Tangiers disease. MM and MCL cells had decreased cholesterol efflux and electron microscopy demonstrated the accumulation of lipid whorls, confirming the lysosomal storage disease phenotype. JNJ-26854165 induced induction of cholesterol regulatory genes sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor-1 and -2, liver X receptors α and β, along with increased expression of Niemann-Pick disease type-C1 and -C2. However, JNJ-26854165 induced enhanced ABCA1 turnover despite enhancing transcription. Finally, ABCA1 depletion resulted in enhanced sensitivity to JNJ-26854165. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that serdemetan functions in part by inhibiting cholesterol transport, and that this pathway is a potential new target for the treatment of MCL and MM.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Golgi apparatus, Chromosome, Cell cycle, Proteasome, Mantle cell lymphoma


The Golgi apparatus lies at the heart of the secretory pathway where it is required for secretory trafficking and cargo modification. Disruption of Golgi architecture and function has been widely observed in neurodegenerative disease, but whether Golgi dysfunction is causal with regard to the neurodegenerative process, or is simply a manifestation of neuronal death, remains unclear. Here we report that targeted loss of the golgin GM130 leads to a profound neurological phenotype in mice. Global KO of mouse GM130 results in developmental delay, severe ataxia, and postnatal death. We further show that selective deletion of GM130 in neurons causes fragmentation and defective positioning of the Golgi apparatus, impaired secretory trafficking, and dendritic atrophy in Purkinje cells. These cellular defects manifest as reduced cerebellar size and Purkinje cell number, leading to ataxia. Purkinje cell loss and ataxia first appear during postnatal development but progressively worsen with age. Our data therefore indicate that targeted disruption of the mammalian Golgi apparatus and secretory traffic results in neuronal degeneration in vivo, supporting the view that Golgi dysfunction can play a causative role in neurodegeneration.

Concepts: Neuron, Golgi apparatus, Cerebellum, Dendrite, Neurons, Purkinje cell, Parallel fiber, Dendritic spine


Tumour cells can use strategies that make them resistant to nutrient deprivation to outcompete their neighbours. A key integrator of the cell’s responses to starvation and other stresses is amino-acid-dependent mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Activation of mTORC1 on late endosomes and lysosomes is facilitated by amino-acid transporters within the solute-linked carrier 36 (SLC36) and SLC38 families. Here, we analyse the functions of SLC36 family member, SLC36A4, otherwise known as proton-assisted amino-acid transporter 4 (PAT4), in colorectal cancer. We show that independent of other major pathological factors, high PAT4 expression is associated with reduced relapse-free survival after colorectal cancer surgery. Consistent with this, PAT4 promotes HCT116 human colorectal cancer cell proliferation in culture and tumour growth in xenograft models. Inducible knockdown in HCT116 cells reveals that PAT4 regulates a form of mTORC1 with two distinct properties: first, it preferentially targets eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), and second, it is resistant to rapamycin treatment. Furthermore, in HCT116 cells two non-essential amino acids, glutamine and serine, which are often rapidly metabolised by tumour cells, regulate rapamycin-resistant mTORC1 in a PAT4-dependent manner. Overexpressed PAT4 is also able to promote rapamycin resistance in human embryonic kidney-293 cells. PAT4 is predominantly associated with the Golgi apparatus in a range of cell types, and in situ proximity ligation analysis shows that PAT4 interacts with both mTORC1 and its regulator Rab1A on the Golgi. These findings, together with other studies, suggest that differentially localised intracellular amino-acid transporters contribute to the activation of alternate forms of mTORC1. Furthermore, our data predict that colorectal cancer cells with high PAT4 expression will be more resistant to depletion of serine and glutamine, allowing them to survive and outgrow neighbouring normal and tumorigenic cells, and potentially providing a new route for pharmacological intervention.Oncogene advance online publication, 5 October 2015; doi:10.1038/onc.2015.363.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cell, Cancer, Oncology, Golgi apparatus, Cell division, Colorectal cancer, Neoplasm


Fungal infections are on the rise, with mortality above 30% in patients with septic Candida infections. Mutants lacking V-ATPase activity are avirulent and fail to acidify endomembrane compartments, exhibiting pleiotropic defects in secretory, endosomal and vacuolar pathways. However, the individual contribution of organellar acidification to virulence and its associated traits is not known. To dissect their separate roles in C. albicans pathogenicity we generated knockout strains for the V0 subunit a genes VPH1 and STV1, which target the vacuole and secretory pathway respectively. While the two subunits were redundant in many vma phenotypes, such as alkaline pH sensitivity, calcium homeostasis, respiratory defects and cell wall integrity, we observed a unique contribution of VPH1. Specifically, vph1Δ was defective in acidification of the vacuole and its dependent functions, such as metal ion sequestration as evidenced by hypersensitivity to Zn2+ toxicity, whereas stv1Δ resembled wild type. In growth conditions that elicit morphogenic switching, vph1Δ was defective in forming hyphae whereas stv1Δ was normal or only modestly impaired. Host cell interactions were evaluated in vitro using the Caco-2 model of intestinal epithelial cells, and murine macrophages. Like wild type, stv1Δ was able to inflict cellular damage in Caco-2 and macrophage cells, as assayed by LDH release, and escape by filamentation. In contrast, vph1Δ resembled a vma7Δ mutant, with significant attenuation in host cell damage. Finally, we show that VPH1 is required for fungal virulence in a murine model of systemic infection. Our results suggest that vacuolar acidification has an essential function in the ability of C. albicans to form hyphae and establish infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Cell, Bacteria, Golgi apparatus, Fungus, Yeast, Candida albicans


To be secreted or transported to their target compartments, newly synthesized proteins leave the endoplasmic reticulum to reach the Golgi apparatus, where they are processed and sorted toward their final destinations along the secretory pathway. It is now clear that many Golgi-intersecting and non-intersecting pathways exist in cells to carry out proper transport, modification, and addressing. To analyze and visualize the intracellular trafficking of any secretory protein, we developed the retention using selective hooks (RUSH) system. This assay allows the simultaneous release of a pool of particular secretory proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum and the monitoring of their anterograde trafficking. The use of the RUSH system is detailed in these protocols, from sub-cloning the sequence coding for the protein of interest into RUSH plasmids to visualization of its trafficking. Curr. Protoc. Cell Biol. 57:15.19.1-15.19.16. © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell, Golgi apparatus, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Cell biology, Protein targeting