Showing 26 - 36 of 36 results
Optogenetic control of phosphoinositide metabolism.
Phosphoinositides (PIs) are lipid components of cell membranes that regulate a wide variety of cellular functions. Here we exploited the blue light-induced dimerization between two plant proteins, cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) and the transcription factor CIBN, to control plasma membrane PI levels rapidly, locally, and reversibly. The inositol 5-phosphatase domain of OCRL (5-ptase(OCRL)), which acts on PI(4,5)P(2) and PI(3,4,5)P(3), was fused to the photolyase homology region domain of CRY2, and the CRY2-binding domain, CIBN, was fused to plasma membrane-targeting motifs. Blue-light illumination (458-488 nm) of mammalian cells expressing these constructs resulted in nearly instantaneous recruitment of 5-ptase(OCRL) to the plasma membrane, where it caused rapid (within seconds) and reversible (within minutes) dephosphorylation of its targets as revealed by diverse cellular assays: dissociation of PI(4,5)P(2) and PI(3,4,5)P(3) biosensors, disappearance of endocytic clathrin-coated pits, nearly complete inhibition of KCNQ2/3 channel currents, and loss of membrane ruffling. Focal illumination resulted in local and transient 5-ptase(OCRL) recruitment and PI(4,5)P(2) dephosphorylation, causing not only local collapse and retraction of the cell edge or process but also compensatory accumulation of the PI(4,5)P(2) biosensor and membrane ruffling at the opposite side of the cells. Using the same approach for the recruitment of PI3K, local PI(3,4,5)P(3) synthesis and membrane ruffling could be induced, with corresponding loss of ruffling distally to the illuminated region. This technique provides a powerful tool for dissecting with high spatial-temporal kinetics the cellular functions of various PIs and reversibly controlling the functions of downstream effectors of these signaling lipids.
Photo-inducible cell ablation in Caenorhabditis elegans using the genetically encoded singlet oxygen generating protein miniSOG.
We describe a method for light-inducible and tissue-selective cell ablation using a genetically encoded photosensitizer, miniSOG (mini singlet oxygen generator). miniSOG is a newly engineered fluorescent protein of 106 amino acids that generates singlet oxygen in quantum yield upon blue-light illumination. We transgenically expressed mitochondrially targeted miniSOG (mito-miniSOG) in Caenorhabditis elegans neurons. Upon blue-light illumination, mito-miniSOG causes rapid and effective death of neurons in a cell-autonomous manner without detectable damages to surrounding tissues. Neuronal death induced by mito-miniSOG appears to be independent of the caspase CED-3, but the clearance of the damaged cells partially depends on the phagocytic receptor CED-1, a homolog of human CD91. We show that neurons can be killed at different developmental stages. We further use this method to investigate the role of the premotor interneurons in regulating the convulsive behavior caused by a gain-of-function mutation in the neuronal acetylcholine receptor acr-2. Our findings support an instructive role for the interneuron AVB in controlling motor neuron activity and reveal an inhibitory effect of the backward premotor interneurons on the forward interneurons. In summary, the simple inducible cell ablation method reported here allows temporal and spatial control and will prove to be a useful tool in studying the function of specific cells within complex cellular contexts.
Ca2+ signaling amplification by oligomerization of L-type Cav1.2 channels.
Ca(2+) influx via L-type Ca(v)1.2 channels is essential for multiple physiological processes, including gene expression, excitability, and contraction. Amplification of the Ca(2+) signals produced by the opening of these channels is a hallmark of many intracellular signaling cascades, including excitation-contraction coupling in heart. Using optogenetic approaches, we discovered that Ca(v)1.2 channels form clusters of varied sizes in ventricular myocytes. Physical interaction between these channels via their C-tails renders them capable of coordinating their gating, thereby amplifying Ca(2+) influx and excitation-contraction coupling. Light-induced fusion of WT Ca(v)1.2 channels with Ca(v)1.2 channels carrying a gain-of-function mutation that causes arrhythmias and autism in humans with Timothy syndrome (Ca(v)1.2-TS) increased Ca(2+) currents, diastolic and systolic Ca(2+) levels, contractility and the frequency of arrhythmogenic Ca(2+) fluctuations in ventricular myocytes. Our data indicate that these changes in Ca(2+) signaling resulted from Ca(v)1.2-TS increasing the activity of adjoining WT Ca(v)1.2 channels. Collectively, these data support the concept that oligomerization of Ca(v)1.2 channels via their C termini can result in the amplification of Ca(2+) influx into excitable cells.
Diverse two-cysteine photocycles in phytochromes and cyanobacteriochromes.
Phytochromes are well-known as photoactive red- and near IR-absorbing chromoproteins with cysteine-linked linear tetrapyrrole (bilin) prosthetic groups. Phytochrome photoswitching regulates adaptive responses to light in both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic organisms. Exclusively found in cyanobacteria, the related cyanobacteriochrome (CBCR) sensors extend the photosensory range of the phytochrome superfamily to shorter wavelengths of visible light. Blue/green light sensing by a well-studied subfamily of CBCRs proceeds via a photolabile thioether linkage to a second cysteine fully conserved in this subfamily. In the present study, we show that dual-cysteine photosensors have repeatedly evolved in cyanobacteria via insertion of a second cysteine at different positions within the bilin-binding GAF domain (cGMP-specific phosphodiesterases, cyanobacterial adenylate cyclases, and formate hydrogen lyase transcription activator FhlA) shared by CBCRs and phytochromes. Such sensors exhibit a diverse range of photocycles, yet all share ground-state absorbance of near-UV to blue light and a common mechanism of light perception: reversible photoisomerization of the bilin 15,16 double bond. Using site-directed mutagenesis, chemical modification and spectroscopy to characterize novel dual-cysteine photosensors from the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133, we establish that this spectral diversity can be tuned by varying the light-dependent stability of the second thioether linkage. We also show that such behavior can be engineered into the conventional phytochrome Cph1 from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. Dual-cysteine photosensors thus allow the phytochrome superfamily in cyanobacteria to sense the full solar spectrum at the earth surface from near infrared to near ultraviolet.
Near-UV cyanobacteriochrome signaling system elicits negative phototaxis in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.
Positive phototaxis systems have been well studied in bacteria; however, the photoreceptor(s) and their downstream signaling components that are responsible for negative phototaxis are poorly understood. Negative phototaxis sensory systems are important for cyanobacteria, oxygenic photosynthetic organisms that must contend with reactive oxygen species generated by an abundance of pigment photosensitizers. The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 exhibits type IV pilus-dependent negative phototaxis in response to unidirectional UV-A illumination. Using a reverse genetic approach, together with biochemical, molecular genetic, and RNA expression profiling analyses, we show that the cyanobacteriochrome locus (slr1212/uirS) of Synechocystis and two adjacent response regulator loci (slr1213/uirR and the PatA-type regulator slr1214/lsiR) encode a UV-A-activated signaling system that is required for negative phototaxis. We propose that UirS, which is membrane-associated via its ETR1 domain, functions as a UV-A photosensor directing expression of lsiR via release of bound UirR, which targets the lsiR promoter. Constitutive expression of LsiR induces negative phototaxis under conditions that normally promote positive phototaxis. Also induced by other stresses, LsiR thus integrates light inputs from multiple photosensors to determine the direction of movement.
Structural basis of photosensitivity in a bacterial light-oxygen-voltage/helix-turn-helix (LOV-HTH) DNA-binding protein.
Light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) domains are blue light-activated signaling modules integral to a wide range of photosensory proteins. Upon illumination, LOV domains form internal protein-flavin adducts that generate conformational changes which control effector function. Here we advance our understanding of LOV regulation with structural, biophysical, and biochemical studies of EL222, a light-regulated DNA-binding protein. The dark-state crystal structure reveals interactions between the EL222 LOV and helix-turn-helix domains that we show inhibit DNA binding. Solution biophysical data indicate that illumination breaks these interactions, freeing the LOV and helix-turn-helix domains of each other. This conformational change has a key functional effect, allowing EL222 to bind DNA in a light-dependent manner. Our data reveal a conserved signaling mechanism among diverse LOV-containing proteins, where light-induced conformational changes trigger activation via a conserved interaction surface.
Genetically encoded photoswitching of actin assembly through the Cdc42-WASP-Arp2/3 complex pathway.
General methods to engineer genetically encoded, reversible, light-mediated control over protein function would be useful in many areas of biomedical research and technology. We describe a system that yields such photo-control over actin assembly. We fused the Rho family GTPase Cdc42 in its GDP-bound form to the photosensory domain of phytochrome B (PhyB) and fused the Cdc42 effector, the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein (WASP), to the light-dependent PhyB-binding domain of phytochrome interacting factor 3 (Pif3). Upon red light illumination, the fusion proteins bind each other, activating WASP, and consequently stimulating actin assembly by the WASP target, the Arp2/3 complex. Binding and WASP activation are reversed by far-red illumination. Our approach, in which the biochemical specificity of the nucleotide switch in Cdc42 is overridden by the light-dependent PhyB-Pif3 interaction, should be generally applicable to other GTPase-effector pairs.
PixE promotes dark oligomerization of the BLUF photoreceptor PixD.
Cyanobacteria perceive and move (phototax) in response to blue light. In this study, we demonstrate that the PixD blue light-sensing using FAD (BLUF) photoreceptor that governs this response undergoes changes in oligomerization state upon illumination. Under dark conditions we observed that PixD forms a large molecular weight complex with another protein called PixE. Stoicheometric analyses, coupled with sedimentation equilibrium and size exclusion chromatography, demonstrates that PixE drives aggregation of PixD dimers into a stable PixD(10)-PixE(5) complex under dark conditions. Illumination of a flavin chromophore in PixD destabilizes the PixD(10)-PixE(5) complex into monomers of PixE and dimers of PixD. A crystallographic structure of PixD, coupled with Gibbs free energy calculation between interacting faces of PixD, lends to a model in which a light induces a conformational change in a critical PixD-interfacing loop that results in destabilization of the PixD(10)-PixE(5) complex.
Light-activated DNA binding in a designed allosteric protein.
An understanding of how allostery, the conformational coupling of distant functional sites, arises in highly evolvable systems is of considerable interest in areas ranging from cell biology to protein design and signaling networks. We reasoned that the rigidity and defined geometry of an alpha-helical domain linker would make it effective as a conduit for allosteric signals. To test this idea, we rationally designed 12 fusions between the naturally photoactive LOV2 domain from Avena sativa phototropin 1 and the Escherichia coli trp repressor. When illuminated, one of the fusions selectively binds operator DNA and protects it from nuclease digestion. The ready success of our rational design strategy suggests that the helical "allosteric lever arm" is a general scheme for coupling the function of two proteins.
Cyanobacteriochrome CcaS is the green light receptor that induces the expression of phycobilisome linker protein.
Cyanobacteriochromes are a newly recognized group of photoreceptors that are distinct relatives of phytochromes but are found only in cyanobacteria. A putative cyanobacteriochrome, CcaS, is known to chromatically regulate the expression of the phycobilisome linker gene (cpcG2) in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. In this study, we isolated the chromophore-binding domain of CcaS from Synechocystis as well as from phycocyanobilin-producing Escherichia coli. Both preparations showed the same reversible photoconversion between a green-absorbing form (Pg, lambda(max) = 535 nm) and a red-absorbing form (Pr, lambda(max) = 672 nm). Mass spectrometry and denaturation analyses suggested that Pg and Pr bind phycocyanobilin in a double-bond configuration of C15-Z and C15-E, respectively. Autophosphorylation activity of the histidine kinase domain in nearly full-length CcaS was up-regulated by preirradiation with green light. Similarly, phosphotransfer to the cognate response regulator, CcaR, was higher in Pr than in Pg. From these results, we conclude that CcaS phosphorylates CcaR under green light and induces expression of cpcG2, leading to accumulation of CpcG2-phycobilisome as a chromatic acclimation system. CcaS is the first recognized green light receptor in the expanded phytochrome superfamily, which includes phytochromes and cyanobacteriochromes.
Phytochrome B binds with greater apparent affinity than phytochrome A to the basic helix-loop-helix factor PIF3 in a reaction requiring the PAS domain of PIF3.
The signaling pathways by which the phytochrome (phy) family of photoreceptors transmits sensory information to light-regulated genes remain to be fully defined. Evidence for a relatively direct pathway has been provided by the binding of one member of the family, phyB, to a promoter-element-bound, basic helix-loop-helix protein, PIF3, specifically upon light-induced conversion of the photoreceptor molecule to its biologically active conformer (Pfr). Here, we show that phyA also binds selectively and reversibly to PIF3 upon photoconversion to Pfr, but that the apparent affinity of PIF3 for phyA is 10-fold lower than for phyB. This result is consistent with previous in vivo data from PIF3-deficient Arabidopsis, indicating that PIF3 has a major role in phyB signaling, but a more minor role in phyA signaling. We also show that phyB binds stoichiometrically to PIF3 at an equimolar ratio, suggesting that the resultant complex is the unit active in transcriptional regulation at target promoters. Deletion mapping suggests that a 37-aa segment present at the N terminus of phyB, but absent from phyA, contributes strongly to the high binding affinity of phyB for PIF3. Conversely, deletion mapping and point mutation analysis of PIF3 for determinants involved in recognition of phyB indicates that the PAS domain of PIF3 is a major contributor to this interaction, but that a second determinant in the C-terminal domain is also necessary.