Protein kinases have evolved diverse specificities to enable cellular information processing. To gain insight into the mechanisms underlying kinase diversification, we studied the CMGC protein kinases using ancestral reconstruction. Within this group, the cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) and mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs), require proline at the +1 position of their substrates, while Ime2 prefers arginine. The resurrected common ancestor of CDKs, MAPKs and Ime2 could phosphorylate substrates with +1 proline or arginine, with preference for proline. This specificity changed to a strong preference for +1 arginine in the lineage leading to Ime2 via an intermediate with equal specificity for proline and arginine. Mutant analysis revealed that a variable residue within the kinase catalytic cleft, DFGx, modulates +1 specificity. Expansion of Ime2 kinase specificity by mutation of this residue did not cause dominant deleterious effects in vivo. Tolerance of cells to new specificities likely enabled the evolutionary divergence of kinases.
- James Ferrell, Stanford University, United States
- Received: July 23, 2014
- Accepted: October 9, 2014
- Accepted Manuscript published: October 13, 2014 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: October 14, 2014 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: November 12, 2014 (version 3)
- Version of Record updated: April 29, 2016 (version 4)
- Version of Record updated: August 5, 2016 (version 5)
© 2014, Howard et al.
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Nitric oxide (NO), as a gaseous therapeutic agent, shows great potential for the treatment of many kinds of diseases. Although various NO delivery systems have emerged, the immunogenicity and long-term toxicity of artificial carriers hinder the potential clinical translation of these gas therapeutics. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), with the capacities of self-renewal, differentiation, and low immunogenicity, have been used as living carriers. However, MSCs as gaseous signaling molecule (GSM) carriers have not been reported. In this study, human MSCs were genetically modified to produce mutant β-galactosidase (β-GALH363A). Furthermore, a new NO prodrug, 6-methyl-galactose-benzyl-oxy NONOate (MGP), was designed. MGP can enter cells and selectively trigger NO release from genetically engineered MSCs (eMSCs) in the presence of β-GALH363A. Moreover, our results revealed that eMSCs can release NO when MGP is systemically administered in a mouse model of acute kidney injury (AKI), which can achieve NO release in a precise spatiotemporal manner and augment the therapeutic efficiency of MSCs. This eMSC and NO prodrug system provides a unique and tunable platform for GSM delivery and holds promise for regenerative therapy by enhancing the therapeutic efficiency of stem cells.
The ATPase p97 (also known as VCP, Cdc48) has crucial functions in a variety of important cellular processes such as protein quality control, organellar homeostasis, and DNA damage repair, and its de-regulation is linked to neuromuscular diseases and cancer. p97 is tightly controlled by numerous regulatory cofactors, but the full range and function of the p97–cofactor network is unknown. Here, we identify the hitherto uncharacterized FAM104 proteins as a conserved family of p97 interactors. The two human family members VCP nuclear cofactor family member 1 and 2 (VCF1/2) bind p97 directly via a novel, alpha-helical motif and associate with p97-UFD1-NPL4 and p97-UBXN2B complexes in cells. VCF1/2 localize to the nucleus and promote the nuclear import of p97. Loss of VCF1/2 results in reduced nuclear p97 levels, slow growth, and hypersensitivity to chemical inhibition of p97 in the absence and presence of DNA damage, suggesting that FAM104 proteins are critical regulators of nuclear p97 functions.