Akt1-3 (Akt) are a subset of the AGC protein Ser/Thr kinase family and play important roles in cell growth, metabolic regulation, cancer, and other diseases. We describe some of the roles of Akt in cell signaling and the biochemical and structural mechanisms of the regulation of Akt catalysis by the phospholipid PIP3 and by phosphorylation. Recent findings highlight a diverse set of strategies to control Akt catalytic activity to ensure its normal biological functions.
The activity and localization of PTEN, a tumor suppressor lipid phosphatase that converts the phospholipid PIP3 to PIP2, is governed in part by phosphorylation on a cluster of four Ser and Thr residues near the C-terminus. Prior enzymatic characterization of the four mono-phosphorylated (1p) PTENs using classical expressed protein ligation (EPL) was complicated by the inclusion of a non-native Cys at the ligation junction (aa379), which may alter the properties of the semisynthetic protein. Here we apply subtiligase-mediated EPL to create wt 1p-PTENs. These PTENs are more autoinhibited than previously appreciated, consistent with Tyr379's role in driving autoinhibition. Alkaline phosphatase sensitivity analysis revealed that these autoinhibited 1p conformations are kinetically labile. In contrast to the Cys mutant 1p-PTENs, which are poorly recognized by an anti-phospho-PTEN Ab, three of the four wt 1p-PTENs are recognized by a commonly used anti-phospho-PTEN Ab.
p300 and CBP are highly related histone acetyltransferase (HAT) enzymes that regulate gene expression, and their dysregulation has been linked to cancer and other diseases. p300/CBP is composed of a number of domains including a HAT domain, which is inhibited by the small molecule A-485, and an acetyl-lysine binding bromodomain, which was recently found to be selectively antagonized by the small molecule I-CBP112. Here we show that the combination of I-CBP112 and A-485 can synergize to inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation. We find that the combination confers a dramatic reduction in p300 chromatin occupancy compared to the individual effects of blocking either domain alone. Accompanying this loss of p300 on chromatin, combination treatment leads to the reduction of specific mRNAs including androgen-dependent and pro-oncogenic prostate genes such as KLK3 (PSA) and c-Myc. Consistent with p300 directly affecting gene expression, mRNAs that are significantly reduced by combination treatment also exhibit a strong reduction in p300 chromatin occupancy at their gene promoters. The relatively few mRNAs that are up-regulated upon combination treatment show no correlation with p300 occupancy. These studies provide support for the pharmacologic advantage of concurrent targeting of two domains within one key epigenetic modification enzyme.
Functions of the GCN5-related N-acetyltransferase (GNAT) family of histone/protein acetyltransferases (HATs) in Foxp3+ T-regulatory (Treg) cells are unexplored, despite the general importance of these enzymes in cell biology. We now show that two prototypical GNAT family members, GCN5 (general control nonrepressed-protein 5, lysine acetyltransferase (KAT)2a) and p300/CBP-associated factor (p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF), Kat2b) contribute to Treg functions through partially distinct and partially overlapping mechanisms. Deletion of Gcn5 or PCAF did not affect Treg development or suppressive function in vitro, but did affect inducible Treg (iTreg) development, and in vivo, abrogated Treg-dependent allograft survival. Contrasting effects were seen upon targeting of each HAT in all T cells; mice lacking GCN5 showed prolonged allograft survival, suggesting this HAT might be a target for epigenetic therapy in allograft recipients, whereas transplants in mice lacking PCAF underwent acute allograft rejection. PCAF deletion also enhanced anti-tumor immunity in immunocompetent mice. Dual deletion of GCN5 and PCAF led to decreased Treg stability and numbers in peripheral lymphoid tissues, and mice succumbed to severe autoimmunity by 3-4 weeks of life. These data indicate that HATs of the GNAT family have contributions to Treg function that cannot be replaced by the functions of previously characterized Treg HATs (CBP, p300, and Tip60), and may be useful targets in immuno-oncology.
CREB mediates effects of cyclic AMP on cellular gene expression. Ubiquitous CREB target genes are induced following recruitment of CREB and its coactivators to promoter proximal binding sites. We found that CREB stimulates the expression of pancreatic beta cell-specific genes by targeting CBP/p300 to promoter-distal enhancer regions. Subsequent increases in histone acetylation facilitate recruitment of the coactivators CRTC2 and BRD4, leading to release of RNA polymerase II over the target gene body. Indeed, CREB-induced hyperacetylation of chromatin over superenhancers promoted beta cell-restricted gene expression, which is sensitive to inhibitors of CBP/p300 and BRD4 activity. Neurod1 appears critical in establishing nucleosome-free regions for recruitment of CREB to beta cell-specific enhancers. Deletion of a CREB-Neurod1-bound enhancer within the superenhancer disrupted the expression of both genes and decreased beta cell function. Our results demonstrate how cross talk between signal-dependent and lineage-determining factors promotes the expression of cell-type-specific gene programs in response to extracellular cues.
Advances in synchrotron technology are changing the landscape of macromolecular crystallography. The two recently opened beamlines at NSLS-II-AMX and FMX-deliver high-flux microfocus beams that open new possibilities for crystallographic data collection. They are equipped with state-of-the-art experimental stations and automation to allow data collection on previously intractable crystals. Optimized data collection strategies allow users to tailor crystal positioning to optimally distribute the X-ray dose over its volume. Vector data collection allows the user to define a linear trajectory along a well diffracting volume of the crystal and perform rotational data collection while moving along the vector. This is particularly well suited to long, thin crystals. We describe vector data collection of three proteins-Akt1, PI3Kα, and CDP-Chase-to demonstrate its application and utility. For smaller crystals, we describe two methods for multicrystal data collection in a single loop, either manually selecting multiple centers (using H108A-PHM as an example), or "raster-collect", a more automated approach for a larger number of crystals (using CDP-Chase as an example).
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas are a common form of highly mutated keratinocyte skin cancers that are of particular concern in immunocompromised patients. Here we report on the efficacy of topically applied MS-275, a clinically used histone deacetylase inhibitor, for the treatment and management of this disease. At 2 mg/kg, MS-275 significantly decreased tumor burden in an SKH-1 hairless mouse model of UVB radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis. MS-275 was cell permeable as a topical formulation and induced histone acetylation changes in mouse tumor tissue. MS-275 was also effective at inhibiting the proliferation of patient derived cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma lines and was particularly potent toward cells isolated from a regional metastasis on an immunocompromised individual. Our findings support the use of alternative routes of administration for histone deacetylase inhibitors in the treatment of high-risk squamous cell carcinoma which may ultimately lead to more precise delivery and reduced systemic toxicity.
Histone modifications, largely regulated by histone acetyltransferases (HAT) and histone deacetylases, have been recognized as major regulatory mechanisms governing human diseases, including cancer. Despite significant effort and recent advances, the mechanism by which the HAT and transcriptional coactivator p300 mediates tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here, we use a genetic and chemical approach to identify the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) as a critical downstream target of p300 driving human melanoma growth. Direct transcriptional control of MITF by p300-dependent histone acetylation within proximal gene regulatory regions was coupled to cellular proliferation, suggesting a significant growth regulatory axis. Further analysis revealed forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) as a key effector of the p300-MITF axis driving cell growth that is selectively activated in human melanomas. Targeted chemical inhibition of p300 acetyltransferase activity using a potent and selective catalytic p300/CBP inhibitor demonstrated significant growth inhibitory effects in melanoma cells expressing high levels of MITF. Collectively, these data confirm the critical role of the p300-MITF-FOXM1 axis in melanoma and support p300 as a promising novel epigenetic therapeutic target in human melanoma. SIGNIFICANCE: These results show that MITF is a major downstream target of p300 in human melanoma whose expression is predictive of melanoma response to small-molecule inhibition of p300 HAT activity.
Identifying direct substrates targeted by protein kinases is important in understanding cellular physiology and intracellular signal transduction. Mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics provides a powerful tool for comprehensively characterizing the downstream substrates of protein kinases. This approach is efficiently applied to receptor kinases that can be precisely, directly, and rapidly activated by some agent, such as a growth factor. However, nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Abl lacks the experimental advantage of extracellular growth factors as immediate and direct stimuli. To circumvent this limitation, we combine a chemical rescue approach with quantitative phosphoproteomics to identify targets of Abl and their phosphorylation sites with enhanced temporal resolution. Both known and novel putative substrates are identified, presenting opportunities for studying unanticipated functions of Abl under physiological and pathological conditions.
Loren M Lasko, Clarissa G Jakob, Rohinton P Edalji, Wei Qiu, Debra Montgomery, Enrico L Digiammarino, Matt T Hansen, Roberto M Risi, Robin Frey, Vlasios Manaves, Bailin Shaw, Mikkel Algire, Paul Hessler, Lloyd T Lam, Tamar Uziel, Emily Faivre, Debra Ferguson, Fritz G Buchanan, Ruth L Martin, Maricel Torrent, Gary G Chiang, Kannan Karukurichi, William J Langston, Brian T Weinert, Chunaram Choudhary, Peter de Vries, Arthur F Kluge, Michael A Patane, John H Van Drie, Ce Wang, David McElligott, Edward A Kesicki, Ronen Marmorstein, Chaohong Sun, Philip A Cole, Saul H Rosenberg, Michael R Michaelides, Albert Lai, and Kenneth D Bromberg. 2018. “Author Correction: Discovery of a selective catalytic p300/CBP inhibitor that targets lineage-specific tumours.” Nature, 558, 7710, Pp. E1.Abstract
In the originally published version of this Letter, the authors Arthur F. Kluge, Michael A. Patane and Ce Wang were inadvertently omitted from the author list. Their affiliations are: I-to-D, Inc., PO Box 6177, Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773, USA (A.F.K.); Mitobridge, Inc. 1030 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA (M.A.P.); and China Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, No. 4218 Jinke Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong District, Shanghai 201203, China (C.W.). These authors contributed to the interpretation of results and design of compounds. In addition, author 'Edward A. Kesicki' was misspelled as 'Ed Kesicki'. These errors have been corrected online.
p300 and its paralog CBP can acetylate histones and other proteins and have been implicated in a number of diseases characterized by aberrant gene activation, such as cancer. A novel, highly selective, orally bioavailable histone acetyltransferase (HAT) domain inhibitor has been identified through virtual ligand screening and subsequent optimization of a unique hydantoin screening hit. Conformational restraint in the form of a spirocyclization followed by substitution with a urea led to a significant improvement in potency. Replacement of the hydantoin moiety with an oxazolidinedione followed by fluoro substitution led to A-485, which exhibits potent cell activity, low clearance, and high oral bioavailability.
A range of acyl-lysine (acyl-Lys) modifications on histones and other proteins have been mapped over the past decade but for most, their functional and structural significance remains poorly characterized. One limitation in the study of acyl-Lys containing proteins is the challenge of producing them or their mimics in site-specifically modified forms. We describe a cysteine alkylation-based method to install hydrazide mimics of acyl-Lys post-translational modifications (PTMs) on proteins. We have applied this method to install mimics of acetyl-Lys, 2-hydroxyisobutyryl-Lys, and ubiquityl-Lys that could be recognized selectively by relevant acyl-Lys modification antibodies. The acyl-Lys modified histone H3 proteins were reconstituted into nucleosomes to study nucleosome dynamics and stability as a function of modification type and site. We also installed a ubiquityl-Lys mimic in histone H2B and generated a diubiquitin analog, both of which could be cleaved by deubiquitinating enzymes. Nucleosomes containing the H2B ubiquityl-Lys mimic were used to study the SAGA deubiquitinating module's molecular recognition. These results suggest that acyl-Lys mimics offer a relatively simple and promising strategy to study the role of acyl-Lys modifications in the function, structure, and regulation of proteins and protein complexes.
The core CoREST complex (LHC) contains histone deacetylase HDAC1 and histone demethylase LSD1 held together by the scaffold protein CoREST. Here, we analyze the purified LHC with modified peptide and reconstituted semisynthetic mononucleosome substrates. LHC demethylase activity toward methyl-Lys4 in histone H3 is strongly inhibited by H3 Lys14 acetylation, and this appears to be an intrinsic property of the LSD1 subunit. Moreover, the deacetylase selectivity of LHC unexpectedly shows a marked preference for H3 acetyl-Lys9 versus acetyl-Lys14 in nucleosome substrates but this selectivity is lost with isolated acetyl-Lys H3 protein. This diminished activity of LHC to Lys-14 deacetylation in nucleosomes is not merely due to steric accessibility based on the pattern of sensitivity of the LHC enzymatic complex to hydroxamic acid-mediated inhibition. Overall, these studies have revealed how a single Lys modification can confer a composite of resistance in chromatin to a key epigenetic enzyme complex involved in gene silencing.
The N-terminal domain (NTD) of nuclear human uracil DNA glycosylase (hUNG2) assists in targeting hUNG2 to replication forks through specific interactions with replication protein A (RPA). Here, we explored hUNG2 activity in the presence and absence of RPA using substrates with ssDNA-dsDNA junctions that mimic structural features of the replication fork and transcriptional R-loops. We find that when RPA is tightly bound to the ssDNA overhang of junction DNA substrates, base excision by hUNG2 is strongly biased toward uracils located 21 bp or less from the ssDNA-dsDNA junction. In the absence of RPA, hUNG2 still showed an 8-fold excision bias for uracil located <10 bp from the junction, but only when the overhang had a 5' end. Biased targeting required the NTD and was not observed with the hUNG2 catalytic domain alone. Consistent with this requirement, the isolated NTD was found to bind weakly to ssDNA. These findings indicate that the NTD of hUNG2 targets the enzyme to ssDNA-dsDNA junctions using RPA-dependent and RPA-independent mechanisms. This structure-based specificity may promote efficient removal of uracils that arise from dUTP incorporation during DNA replication, or additionally, uracils that arise from DNA cytidine deamination at transcriptional R-loops during immunoglobulin class-switch recombination.
Since the discovery of C-tail phosphorylation of PTEN almost 20 years ago, much progress has been made in understanding its regulatory influences on the cellular function of PTEN. Phosphorylation of Ser380, Thr382, Thr383, and Ser385 drives a PTEN conformational change from an open to closed state where catalytic function is impaired, plasma membrane binding is reduced, and cellular stability is enhanced. Despite these advances, a detailed structural and mechanistic model of how these phosphorylations impact PTEN function is lacking. We discuss here several recent approaches to analyzing PTEN phosphorylation and highlight several insights that have come from this work. We also discuss remaining challenges for the PTEN regulation field and potential directions for future research.
N-Hydroxysuccinimide (NHS)-esters are widely used to label proteins nonselectively on free amino groups. Such broad labeling can be disadvantageous because it can interfere with protein structure or function and because stoichiometry is poorly controlled. Here we describe a simple method to transform NHS-esters into site-specific protein labeling on N-terminal Cys residues. MESNA addition converts NHS-esters to chemoselective thioesters for N-Cys modification. This labeling strategy was applied to clarify mechanistic features of the ubiquitin E3 ligase WWP2 including its interaction with one of its substrates, the tumor suppressor PTEN, as well as its autoubiquitination molecularity. We propose that this convenient protein labeling strategy will allow for an expanded application of NHS-esters in biochemical investigation.
Jay H Kalin, Muzhou Wu, Andrea V Gomez, Yun Song, Jayanta Das, Dawn Hayward, Nkosi Adejola, Mingxuan Wu, Izabela Panova, Hye Jin Chung, Edward Kim, Holly J Roberts, Justin M Roberts, Polina Prusevich, Jeliazko R Jeliazkov, Shourya S Roy Burman, Louise Fairall, Charles Milano, Abdulkerim Eroglu, Charlotte M Proby, Albena T Dinkova-Kostova, Wayne W Hancock, Jeffrey J Gray, James E Bradner, Sergio Valente, Antonello Mai, Nicole M Anders, Michelle A Rudek, Yong Hu, Byungwoo Ryu, John WR Schwabe, Andrea Mattevi, Rhoda M Alani, and Philip A Cole. 2018. “Targeting the CoREST complex with dual histone deacetylase and demethylase inhibitors.” Nat Commun, 9, 1, Pp. 53.Abstract
Here we report corin, a synthetic hybrid agent derived from the class I HDAC inhibitor (entinostat) and an LSD1 inhibitor (tranylcypromine analog). Enzymologic analysis reveals that corin potently targets the CoREST complex and shows more sustained inhibition of CoREST complex HDAC activity compared with entinostat. Cell-based experiments demonstrate that corin exhibits a superior anti-proliferative profile against several melanoma lines and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma lines compared to its parent monofunctional inhibitors but is less toxic to melanocytes and keratinocytes. CoREST knockdown, gene expression, and ChIP studies suggest that corin's favorable pharmacologic effects may rely on an intact CoREST complex. Corin was also effective in slowing tumor growth in a melanoma mouse xenograft model. These studies highlight the promise of a new class of two-pronged hybrid agents that may show preferential targeting of particular epigenetic regulatory complexes and offer unique therapeutic opportunities.
The acetyltransferases CBP and p300 are multifunctional transcriptional co-activators. Here, we combined quantitative proteomics with CBP/p300-specific catalytic inhibitors, bromodomain inhibitor, and gene knockout to reveal a comprehensive map of regulated acetylation sites and their dynamic turnover rates. CBP/p300 acetylates thousands of sites, including signature histone sites and a multitude of sites on signaling effectors and enhancer-associated transcriptional regulators. Time-resolved acetylome analyses identified a subset of CBP/p300-regulated sites with very rapid (<30 min) acetylation turnover, revealing a dynamic balance between acetylation and deacetylation. Quantification of acetylation, mRNA, and protein abundance after CBP/p300 inhibition reveals a kinetically competent network of gene expression that strictly depends on CBP/p300-catalyzed rapid acetylation. Collectively, our in-depth acetylome analyses reveal systems attributes of CBP/p300 targets, and the resource dataset provides a framework for investigating CBP/p300 functions and for understanding the impact of small-molecule inhibitors targeting its catalytic and bromodomain activities.
Akt is a critical protein kinase that drives cancer proliferation, modulates metabolism, and is activated by C-terminal phosphorylation. The current structural model for Akt activation by C-terminal phosphorylation has centered on intramolecular interactions between the C-terminal tail and the N lobe of the kinase domain. Here, we employ expressed protein ligation to produce site-specifically phosphorylated forms of purified Akt1 that are well suited for mechanistic analysis. Using biochemical, crystallographic, and cellular approaches, we determine that pSer473-Akt activation is driven by an intramolecular interaction between the C-tail and the pleckstrin homology (PH)-kinase domain linker that relieves PH domain-mediated Akt1 autoinhibition. Moreover, dual phosphorylation at Ser477/Thr479 activates Akt1 through a different allosteric mechanism via an apparent activation loop interaction that reduces autoinhibition by the PH domain and weakens PIP3 affinity. These results provide a new framework for understanding how Akt is controlled in cell signaling and suggest distinct functions for differentially modified Akt forms.
Epigenetic enzymes including histone modifying enzymes are key regulators of gene expression in normal and disease processes. Many drug development strategies to target histone modifying enzymes have focused on ligands that bind to enzyme active sites, but allosteric pockets offer potentially attractive opportunities for therapeutic development. Recent biochemical studies have revealed roles for small molecule and peptide ligands binding outside of the active sites in modulating the catalytic activities of histone modifying enzymes. Here we highlight several examples of allosteric regulation of epigenetic enzymes and discuss the biological significance of these findings.