Maintenance of energy homeostasis depends on the highly regulated storage and release of triacylglycerol primarily in adipose tissue and excessive storage is a feature of common metabolic disorders. CIDEA is a lipid droplet (LD)-protein enriched in brown adipocytes promoting the enlargement of LDs which are dynamic, ubiquitous organelles specialized for storing neutral lipids. We demonstrate an essential role in this process for an amphipathic helix in CIDEA, which facilitates embedding in the LD phospholipid monolayer and binds phosphatidic acid (PA). LD pairs are docked by CIDEA trans-complexes through contributions of the N-terminal domain and a C-terminal dimerization region. These complexes, enriched at the LD-LD contact site, interact with the cone-shaped phospholipid PA and likely increase phospholipid barrier permeability, promoting LD fusion by transference of lipids. This physiological process is essential in adipocyte differentiation as well as serving to facilitate the tight coupling of lipolysis and lipogenesis in activated brown fat.
- Stephen G Young, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
© 2015, Barneda et al.
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Carotenoid (Car) pigments perform central roles in photosynthesis-related light harvesting (LH), photoprotection, and assembly of functional pigment-protein complexes. However, the relationships between Car depletion in the LH, assembly of the prokaryotic reaction center (RC)-LH complex, and quinone exchange are not fully understood. Here, we analyzed native RC-LH (nRC-LH) and Car-depleted RC-LH (dRC-LH) complexes in Roseiflexus castenholzii, a chlorosome-less filamentous anoxygenic phototroph that forms the deepest branch of photosynthetic bacteria. Newly identified exterior Cars functioned with the bacteriochlorophyll B800 to block the proposed quinone channel between LHαβ subunits in the nRC-LH, forming a sealed LH ring that was disrupted by transmembrane helices from cytochrome c and subunit X to allow quinone shuttling. dRC-LH lacked subunit X, leading to an exposed LH ring with a larger opening, which together accelerated the quinone exchange rate. We also assigned amino acid sequences of subunit X and two hypothetical proteins Y and Z that functioned in forming the quinone channel and stabilizing the RC-LH interactions. This study reveals the structural basis by which Cars assembly regulates the architecture and quinone exchange of bacterial RC-LH complexes. These findings mark an important step forward in understanding the evolution and diversity of prokaryotic photosynthetic apparatus.
Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is essential for long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses that is linked to learning and memory. In this study, we focused on understanding how interactions between CaMKIIα and the actin-crosslinking protein α-actinin-2 underlie long-lasting changes in dendritic spine architecture. We found that association of the two proteins was unexpectedly elevated within 2 minutes of NMDA receptor stimulation that triggers structural LTP in primary hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, disruption of interactions between the two proteins prevented the accumulation of enlarged mushroom-type dendritic spines following NMDA receptor activation. α-Actinin-2 binds to the regulatory segment of CaMKII. Calorimetry experiments, and a crystal structure of α-actinin-2 EF hands 3 and 4 in complex with the CaMKII regulatory segment, indicate that the regulatory segment of autoinhibited CaMKII is not fully accessible to α-actinin-2. Pull-down experiments show that occupation of the CaMKII substrate-binding groove by GluN2B markedly increases α-actinin-2 access to the CaMKII regulatory segment. Furthermore, in situ labelling experiments are consistent with the notion that recruitment of CaMKII to NMDA receptors contributes to elevated interactions between the kinase and α-actinin-2 during structural LTP. Overall, our study provides new mechanistic insight into the molecular basis of structural LTP and reveals an added layer of sophistication to the function of CaMKII.