Posts Tagged ‘PKC’

Lesson 4 Cell Signaling And Motility: G Proteins, Signal Transduction: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Below please find the link to the Powerpoint presentation for lesson #4 for #TUBiol3373.  The lesson first competes the discussion on G Protein Coupled Receptors, including how cells terminate cell signals.  Included are mechanisms of receptor desensitization.  Please NOTE that desensitization mechanisms like B arrestin decoupling of G proteins and receptor endocytosis occur after REPEATED and HIGH exposures to agonist.  Hydrolysis of GTP of the alpha subunit of G proteins, removal of agonist, and the action of phosphodiesterase on the second messenger (cAMP or cGMP) is what results in the downslope of the effect curve, the termination of the signal after agonist-receptor interaction.


Click below for PowerPoint of lesson 4

Powerpoint for lesson 4


Please Click below for the papers for your Group presentations

paper 1: Membrane interactions of G proteins and other related proteins

paper 2: Macaluso_et_al-2002-Journal_of_Cellular_Physiology

paper 3: Interactions of Ras proteins with the plasma membrane

paper 4: Futosi_et_al-2016-Immunological_Reviews


Please find related article on G proteins and Receptor Tyrosine Kinases on this Open Access Online Journal

G Protein–Coupled Receptor and S-Nitrosylation in Cardiac Ischemia and Acute Coronary Syndrome

Action of Hormones on the Circulation

Newer Treatments for Depression: Monoamine, Neurotrophic Factor & Pharmacokinetic Hypotheses

VEGF activation and signaling, lysine methylation, and activation of receptor tyrosine kinase



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Curation, HealthCare System in the US, and Calcium Signaling Effects on Cardiac Contraction, Heart Failure, and Atrial Fibrillation, and the Relationship of Calcium Release at the Myoneural Junction to Beta Adrenergic Release

Curation, HealthCare System in the US, and Calcium Signaling Effects on Cardiac Contraction, Heart Failure, and Atrial Fibrillation, and the Relationship of Calcium Release at the Myoneural Junction to Beta Adrenergic Release

Curator and e-book Contributor: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Curator and BioMedicine e-Series Editor-in-Chief: Aviva Lev Ari, PhD, RN


Content Consultant to Six-Volume e-SERIES A: Cardiovascular Diseases: Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

This portion summarises what we have covered and is now familiar to the reader.  There are three related topics, and an extension of this embraces other volumes and chapters before and after this reading.  This approach to the document has advantages over the multiple authored textbooks that are and have been pervasive as a result of the traditional publication technology.  It has been stated by the founder of ScoopIt, that amount of time involved is considerably less than required for the original publications used, but the organization and construction is a separate creative process.  In these curations we amassed on average five articles in one curation, to which, two or three curators contributed their views.  There were surprises, and there were unfulfilled answers along the way.  The greatest problem that is being envisioned is the building a vision that bridges and unmasks the hidden “dark matter” between the now declared “OMICS”, to get a more real perspective on what is conjecture and what is actionable.  This is in some respects unavoidable because the genome is an alphabet that is matched to the mino acid sequences of proteins, which themselves are three dimensional drivers of sequences of metabolic reactions that can be altered by the accumulation of substrates in critical placements, and in addition, the proteome has functional proteins whose activity is a regulatory function and not easily identified.  In the end, we have to have a practical conception, recognizing the breadth of evolutionary change, and make sense of what we have, while searching for more.

We introduced the content as follows:

1. We introduce the concept of curation in the digital context, and it’s application to medicine and related scientific discovery.

Topics were chosen were used to illustrate this process in the form of a pattern, which is mostly curation, but is significantly creative, as it emerges in the context of this e-book.

  • Alternative solutions in Treatment of Heart Failure (HF), medical devices, biomarkers and agent efficacy is handled all in one chapter.
  • PCI for valves vs Open heart Valve replacement
  • PDA and Complications of Surgery — only curation could create the picture of this unique combination of debate, as exemplified of Endarterectomy (CEA) vs Stenting the Carotid Artery (CAS), ischemic leg, renal artery stenosis.

2. The etiology, or causes, of cardiovascular diseases consist of mechanistic explanations for dysfunction relating to the heart or vascular system. Every one of a long list of abnormalities has a path that explains the deviation from normal. With the completion of the analysis of the human genome, in principle all of the genetic basis for function and dysfunction are delineated. While all genes are identified, and the genes code for all the gene products that constitute body functions, there remains more unknown than known.

3. Human genome, and in combination with improved imaging methods, genomics offers great promise in changing the course of disease and aging.

4. If we tie together Part 1 and Part 2, there is ample room for considering clinical outcomes based on individual and organizational factors for best performance. This can really only be realized with considerable improvement in information infrastructure, which has miles to go.


Curation is an active filtering of the web’s  and peer reviewed literature found by such means – immense amount of relevant and irrelevant content. As a result content may be disruptive. However, in doing good curation, one does more than simply assign value by presentation of creative work in any category. Great curators comment and share experience across content, authors and themes.
Great curators may see patterns others don’t, or may challenge or debate complex and apparently conflicting points of view.  Answers to specifically focused questions comes from the hard work of many in laboratory settings creatively establishing answers to definitive questions, each a part of the larger knowledge-base of reference. There are those rare “Einstein’s” who imagine a whole universe, unlike the three blindmen of the Sufi tale.  One held the tail, the other the trunk, the other the ear, and they all said this is an elephant!
In my reading, I learn that the optimal ratio of curation to creation may be as high as 90% curation to 10% creation. Creating content is expensive. Curation, by comparison, is much less expensive.  The same source says “ is my content marketing testing “sandbox”. In sharing, he says that comments provide the framework for what and how content is shared.

Healthcare and Affordable Care Act

We enter year 2014 with the Affordable Care Act off to a slow start because of the implementation of the internet signup requiring a major repair, which is, unfortunately, as expected for such as complex job across the US, and with many states unwilling to participate.  But several states – California, Connecticut, and Kentucky – had very effective state designed signups, separate from the federal system.  There has been a very large rush and an extension to sign up. There are many features that we can take note of:

1. The healthcare system needed changes because we have the most costly system, are endowed with advanced technology, and we have inexcusable outcomes in several domains of care, including, infant mortality, and prenatal care – but not in cardiology.

2. These changes that are notable are:

  • The disparities in outcome are magnified by a large disparity in highest to lowest income bracket.
  • This is also reflected in educational status, and which plays out in childhood school lunches, and is also affected by larger class size and cutbacks in school programs.
  • This is not  helped by a large paralysis in the two party political system and the three legs of government unable to deal with work and distraction.
  • Unemployment is high, and the banking and home construction, home buying, and rental are in realignment, but interest rates are problematic.

3.  The  medical care system is affected by the issues above, but the complexity is not to be discounted.

  •  The medical schools are unable at this time to provide the influx of new physicians needed, so we depend on a major influx of physicians from other countries
  • The technology for laboratories, proteomic and genomic as well as applied medical research is rejuvenating the practice in cardiology more rapidly than any other field.
  • In fields that are imaging related the life cycle of instruments is shorter than the actual lifetime use of the instruments, which introduces a shortening of ROI.
  • Hospitals are consolidating into large consortia in order to maintain a more viable system for referral of specialty cases, and also is centralizing all terms of business related to billing.
  • There is reduction in independent physician practices that are being incorporated into the hospital enterprise with Part B billing under the Physician Organization – as in Partners in Greater Boston, with the exception of “concierge” medical practices.
  • There is consolidation of specialty laboratory services within state, with only the most specialized testing going out of state (Quest, LabCorp, etc.)
  • Medicaid is expanded substantially under the new ACA.
  • The federal government as provider of services is reducing the number of contractors for – medical devices, diabetes self-testing, etc.
  • The current rearrangements seeks to provide a balance between capital expenses and fixed labor costs that it can control, reduce variable costs (reagents, pharmaceutical), and to take in more patients with less delay and better performance – defined by outside agencies.

Cardiology, Genomics, and calcium ion signaling and ion-channels in cardiomyocyte function in health and disease – including heart failure, rhythm abnormalities, and the myoneural release of neurotransmitter at the vesicle junction.

This portion is outlined as follows:

2.1 Human Genome: Congenital Etiological Sources of Cardiovascular Disease

2.2 The Role of Calcium in Health and Disease

2.3 Vasculature and Myocardium: Diagnosing the Conditions of Disease

Genomics & Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease Diagnoses

actin cytoskeleton

wall stress, ventricular workload, contractile reserve

Genetic Base of Atherosclerosis and Loss of Arterial Elasticity with Aging

calcium and actin skeleton, signaling, cell motility

hypertension & vascular compliance

Genetics of Conduction Disease

Ca+ stimulated exostosis: calmodulin & PKC (neurotransmitter)

complications & MVR

disruption of Ca2+ homeostasis cardiac & vascular smooth muscle

synaptotagmin as Ca2+ sensor & vesicles

atherosclerosis & ion channels

It is increasingly clear that there are mutations that underlie many human diseases, and this is true of the cardiovascular system.  The mutations are mistakes in the insertion of a purine nucleotide, which may or may not have any consequence.  This is why the associations that are being discovered in research require careful validation, and even require demonstration in “models” before pursuing the design of pharmacological “target therapy”.  The genomics in cardiovascular disease involves very serious congenital disorders that are asserted early in life, but the effects of and development of atherosclerosis involving large and medium size arteries has a slow progression and is not dominated by genomic expression.  This is characterized by loss of arterial elasticity. In addition there is the development of heart failure, which involves the cardiomyocyte specifically.  The emergence of regenerative medical interventions, based on pleuripotent inducible stem cell therapy is developing rapidly as an intervention in this sector.

Finally, it is incumbent on me to call attention to the huge contribution that research on calcium (Ca2+) signaling has made toward the understanding of cardiac contraction and to the maintenance of the heart rhythm.  The heart is a syncytium, different than skeletal and smooth muscle, and the innervation is by the vagus nerve, which has terminal endings at vesicles which discharge at the myocyte junction.  The heart specifically has calmodulin kinase CaMK II, and it has been established that calmodulin is involved in the calcium spark that triggers contraction.  That is only part of the story.  Ion transport occurs into or out of the cell, the latter termed exostosis.  Exostosis involves CaMK II and pyruvate kinase (PKC), and they have independent roles.  This also involves K+-Na+-ATPase.  The cytoskeleton is also discussed, but the role of aquaporin in water transport appears elsewhere, as the transport of water between cells.  When we consider the Gibbs-Donnan equilibrium, which precedes the current work by a century, we recall that there is an essential balance between extracellular Na+ + Ca2+ and the intracellular K+ + Mg2+, and this has been superceded by an incompletely defined relationship between ions that are cytoplasmic and those that are mitochondrial.  The glass is half full!


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Ca2+-Stimulated Exocytosis:  The Role of Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C in Ca2+ Regulation of Hormone and Neurotransmitter

Writer and Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Curator and Content Editor: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

This article is Part V in a series of TWELVE articles, listed at the end of this article,  on the

  1. cytoskeleton,
  2. calcium calmodulin kinase signaling,
  3. muscle and nerve transduction, and
  4. calcium,
  5. Na+-K+-ATPase,
  6. neurohumoral activity and vesicles vital and essential for all functions related to
  • cell movement,
  • migration, and
  • contraction.

Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C Increase Ca–stimulated Secretion by Modulating
Membrane-attached Exocytic Machinery

YA Chen, V Duvvuri, H Schulmani, and RH.Scheller‡
From the ‡Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology,
and the Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

The molecular mechanisms underlying the Ca2+ regulation of hormone and neurotransmitter release
are largely unknown.

Using a reconstituted [3H]norepinephrine release assay in permeabilized PC12 cells, we found

  • essential proteins that support the triggering stage of Ca2+-stimulated exocytosis
  • are enriched in an EGTA extract of brain membranes.
Fractionation of this extract allowed purification of two factors that stimulate secretion
  • in the absence of any other cytosolic proteins.
These are calmodulin and protein kinase Ca (PKCa). Their effects on secretion were
  • confirmed using commercial and recombinant proteins.
Calmodulin enhances secretion

  • in the absence of ATP, whereas
  • PKC requires ATP to increase secretion, suggesting that
  • phosphorylation is involved in PKC-mediated stimulation
  • but not calmodulin mediated stimulation.
  • Both proteins modulate
    • The half-maximal increase was elicited by
      3 nM PKC and 75 nM calmodulin.
These results suggest that calmodulin and PKC increase Ca2+-activated exocytosis by
  • directly modulating the membrane- or cytoskeleton-attached exocytic machinery
    downstream of Ca2+ elevation.

The abbreviations used are:

NE, norepinephrine; PKC, protein kinase C; CaM, calmodulin; SNAP-25, synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa; CAPS, calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion; SNARE, SNAP (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment proteins) receptor; CaMK, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; PAGE, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; AMP-PNP, adenosine 59-(b,g- imido) triphosphate;  HA, hydroxyapatite

*This work was supported in part by Conte Center Grant MH48108. The costs of publication of
this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article has been marked
“advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734.

The molecular mechanisms of presynaptic vesicle release have been extensively examined
by a combination of

  • biochemical,
  • genetic, and
  • electrophysiological techniques.

A series of protein-protein interaction cascades have been proposed to lead to vesicle
docking and fusion
(1–3). The SNARE protein family, including

  • syntaxin, SNAP-25, and vesicle-associated membrane protein
    (VAMP, also called synaptobrevin),
  • plays an essential role in promoting membrane fusion, and
  • is thought to comprise the basic fusion machinery (4, 5).

In Ca2+-stimulated exocytosis, many additional proteins are important in the Ca2+ regulation
of the basic membrane trafficking apparatus.

  • not only triggers rapid fusion of release-competent vesicles, but is also involved in
  • earlier processes which replenish the pool of readily releasable vesicles (6).

Furthermore, it appears to be critical in initiating several forms of synaptic plasticity including

  • post-tetanic potentiation (7).

The molecular mechanisms by which Ca2+ regulates these processes is not well understood.

PC12 cells have often been utilized to study Ca2+-activated exocytosis
, as

  • they offer a homogeneous cell population that possesses the same basic exocytic machinery as neurons (8).

In this study, we used an established cracked cell assay, in which

  • [3H]norepinephrine (NE)1 labeled PC12 cells are
  • permeabilized by mechanical “cracking” and
  • then reconstituted for secretion of NE in the presence of test proteins (9).

Transmitter-filled vesicles and intracellular cytoskeletal structures

  • remain intact in these cells,
  • while cytosolic proteins leak out (10).

These cracked cells readily release NE upon addition of

  • ATP,
  • brain cytosol, and
  • 1 mM free Ca2+
    • at an elevated temperature.

We term this a “composite assay,” as

  • all essential components are added into one reaction mixture.

Alternatively, cracked cells can be

  • first primed with cytosol and ATP, washed, then
  • reconstituted for NE release with cytosol and Ca2+ (11).

This sequential priming-triggering protocol is useful

  • for determining whether a protein acts early or late in the exocytic pathway, and
  • whether its effect is dependent on Ca2+ or ATP.

This semi-intact cell system serves as

  • a bridge between an in vitro system comprised of purified components, and
  • electro-physiological systems that monitor release in vivo.
  • It provides information on protein functions in a cell with an intact membrane infrastructure while being easily manipulatable.

Ca2+ regulation by membrane depolarization is no longer a concern, as
intra-cellular Ca2+ concentration can be controlled by a buffered solution.

  • Indirect readout of neurotransmitter release using a postsynaptic cell is replaced by
  • direct readout of [3H]NE released into the buffer.

Complications associated with interpreting overlapping

  • exo- and endocytotic signals are also eliminated as only one round of exocytosis is measured.

Finally, concentration estimates are likely to be accurate, since

  • added compounds do not need to diffuse long distances along axons and dendrites to their sites of action.

Using this assay, several proteins required for NE release have been purified from rat brain cytosol, including

  • phosphatidyl-inositol transfer protein (12),
  • phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase (13), and
  • calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion (CAPS) (9).

The validity of the cracked cell system is confirmed by the finding that

  • phosphatidylinositol transfer protein and CAPS are mammalian homologues of
    • yeast SEC14p (12) and
    • nematode UNC31p, respectively (14),
  • both proteins involved in membrane trafficking (15, 16).

Calmodulin is the most ubiquitous calcium mediator in eukaryotic cells, yet its involvement in membrane trafficking has not been well established. Some early studies showed

  • that calmodulin inhibitors (17–19), anti-calmodulin antibodies (20,21),


  • calmodulin binding inhibitory peptides (22) inhibited Ca2+-activated exocytosis.

However, in other studies, calmodulin-binding peptides and an anti-calmodulin antibody led to the conclusion that

  • calmodulin is only involved in endocytosis,
  • not exocytosis (23).

More recently, it was reported that

  1. Ca2+/ calmodulin signals the completion of docking and
  2. triggers a late step of homotypic vacuole fusion in yeast,
  • thus suggesting an essential role for Ca2+/calmodulin in constitutive intracellular membrane fusion (24).

If calmodulin indeed plays an important role in exocytosis,

  • a likely target of calmodulin is
  • Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII),
    • a multifunctional kinase that is found on synaptic vesicles (25) and
    • has been shown to potentiate neurotransmitter release (26, 27).

Another Ca2+ signaling molecule, PKC, has also been implicated in regulated exocytosis.
In various cell systems, it has been shown that

  • the phorbol esters stimulate secretion (28, 29).

It is usually assumed that phorbol esters effect on exocytosis is

  • through activation of PKC,
  • but Munc13-1 was recently shown to be a presynaptic phorbol ester receptor that enhances neurotransmitter release (30, 31),

which complicates the interpretation of some earlier reports. The mode of action of PKC remains controversial. There is evidence

  • that PKC increases the intracellular Ca2+ levels by modulating plasma membrane Ca2+ channels (32, 33),
  • that it increases the size of the release competent vesicle pool (34, 35), or
  • that it increases the Ca2+ sensitivity of the membrane trafficking apparatus (36).

no consensus on these issues has been reached.

PKC substrates that have been implicated in exocytosis include

  1. SNAP-25 (37),
  2. synaptotagmin (28),
  3. CAPS (38), and
  4. nsec1 (39).

It is believed that upon phosphorylation, these PKC substrates might

  • interact differently with their binding partners, which, in turn,
  • leads to the enhancement of exocytosis.

In addition, evidence is accumulating that PKC and calmodulin interfere with each others actions, as

  • PKC phosphorylation sites are embedded in the calmodulin-binding domains of substrates such as
  • neuromodulin and
  • neurogranin (40).

It is therefore possible that PKC could modulate exocytosis via

  • a calmodulin-dependent pathway by synchronously releasing calmodulin from storage proteins.

In this study, we fractionated an EGTA extract of brain membranes in order to identify active components that could reconstitute release in the cracked cell assay system. We identified calmodulin and PKC as two active factors. Thus, we demonstrate that

  • calmodulin and PKC play a role in the Ca2+ regulation of exocytosis, and provide further insight into the mechanisms of their action.


 In this study, we first identified an EGTA extract of brain membranes as a protein source
  •  capable of reconstituting Ca2+- activated exocytosis in cracked PC12 cells.
EGTA only extracts a small pool of Ca2+-dependent membrane-associating proteins,
  • it served as an efficient initial purification step.
Further protein chromatography led to the identification of two active factors in the starting extract,
  • calmodulin and PKC,
  • which together accounted for about half of the starting activity.
Upon confirmation with commercially obtained proteins, this result unambiguously demonstrated
  • that calmodulin and PKC mediate aspects of Ca2+-dependent processes in exocytosis.
The finding that brain membrane EGTA extract alone is able
  • to replace cytosol in supporting Ca2+-triggered NE secretion
 in PC12 cells is somewhat surprising. We suggest that the likely explanation is 2-fold.
  1. some cytosolic proteins essential for exocytosis have a membrane-bound pool
    within permeabilized cells, whose activity might be sufficient for a normal level of exocytosis.
  2. although the 100,000 3 g membrane pellet was washed to remove as many cytosolic proteins as possible,
  • some cytosolic proteins that associate with membranes in a
    • Ca2+-independent manner are probably present in the membrane EGTA extract.
  • these proteins likely constitute only a small percentage of the proteins in the extract, as
    • the characteristics of the activity triggered by the membrane extract
    • are quite different to that of cytosol (Fig. 2).
 Using an unbiased biochemical purification method, we demonstrated that
  •  calmodulin and PKC directly modulate the exocytotic machinery downstream of Ca2+ entry
  • they signal through membrane-attached molecules to increase exocytosis.
 These targets include integral and peripheral membrane proteins, and cytosolic proteins that have a significant
membrane-bound pool.  The modest stimulation by calmodulin and PKC on secretion might suggest a regulatory
role. However, it is also possible that some intermediates in their signaling pathways are in limiting amounts in the
cell ghosts, so that their full effects were not observed. Half-maximal stimulation was obtained at
  • about 3 nM for PKC and
  • at about 75 nM for calmodulin.
This is consistent with an enzymatic role for PKC, and predicts a high-affinity interaction between
  • calmodulin and its substrate protein.
 Ca2+ regulates exocytosis at many different levels. Prior studies indicated that Ca2+ signaling occurs in

  • the priming steps as well
  • as in triggering steps (49, 50).
Our priming triggering protocol 
  1. does not allow Ca2+-dependent priming events to be assayed, as EGTA is present in the priming reaction.
  2. a different approach revealed the existence of both high and low Ca2+-dependent processes (Fig. 2).
  3. this analysis indicated that late triggering events require high [Ca2+], whereas
  4. early priming events require low [Ca2+]. If, as proposed, there is
a pronounced intracellular spatial and temporal [Ca2+] gradient from
  • the point of Ca2+ entry during depolarization (51),
  • perhaps triggered events occur closer to the point of Ca2+ entry,
  • while Ca2+-dependent priming events occur further away from the point of Ca2+ entry.
Fig 2A. measurements of range of [Ca2+]total - average [Ca2+]free values._page_004
Fig. 2B. measurements of range of [Ca2+] total - average [Ca2+]free values_edited-1
Distinct Ca2+ sensors at these stages might be appropriately tuned to different [Ca2+] to handle different tasks.
By analyzing the Ca2+ sensitivity of calmodulin-and PKC-stimulated release, we addressed the question of
  • whether calmodulin and PKC plays an early or a late role in vesicle release.
  •  they both require relatively high [Ca2+] (Fig. 8B),
  • implying that calmodulin and PKC both mediate late triggering events, consistent with some earlier reports
    (34, 52, 53).

In addition, it is interesting to note that PKC does not alter the calcium sensitivity of release in cracked cells, in contrast

to observations from the chick ciliary ganglion (36). Therefore, in contrast to previous electrophysiological studies (28),
we are able to limit the possible modes of PKC action in our system to an increase in the readily releasable vesicle pool or
release sites, or an enhancement of the probability of release of individual vesicles upon Ca2+ influx.
The experiments assaying the calcium sensitivity of release (Figs. 2, 5, and 8) demonstrated
  • a drop in release at very high [Ca2+].

FIG. 5 calmodulin action_page_005

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate... the late triggering reaction_page_006
This decline in release at high [Ca2+] has been previously reported (49, 51), and may represent
  • the true Ca2+ sensitivity of the Ca2+-sensing mechanism inside cells.

However, in our system, it could also be due to the activation of a variety of Ca2+ -activated proteases, as experiments are usually performed in the presence of crude extracts, which include unsequestered proteases.

What might the molecular targets of PKC and calmodulin be? An obvious calmodulin target molecule is CaMKII.
  • but calmodulin’s effect on exocytosis is ATP-independent, rendering the involvement of a kinase unlikely.
 Calmodulin has also been shown to associate with
  • synaptic vesicles in a Ca2+-dependent fashion through synaptotagmin (54),
  • probably by binding to its C-terminal tail (55), and to promote Rab3A dissociation from synaptic vesicles (56).
  • However, there was little calcium-dependent binding of calmodulin to synaptotagmin
    • either on synaptic vesicles, in a bead binding assay with recombinant proteins,
    • or in a calmodulin overlay (data not shown).

In addition, using immobilized calmodulin, we did not see

  • significant Ca2+-dependent pull-down of synaptotagmin or Rab3A from rat brain extract (data not shown).
Recent work has suggested three other candidate targets for calmodulin, Munc13, Pollux, and CRAG (57).
  • Pollux has similarity to a portion of a yeast Rab GTPase-activating protein, while
  • CRAG is related to Rab3 GTPase exchange proteins.
Further work is required to investigate the role of their interactions with calmodulin in vivo.
The recent report that calmodulin mediates yeast vacuole fusion (24) is intriguing, as it raises the possibility that
  • calmodulin, a highly conserved ubiquitous molecule,
    • may mediate many membrane trafficking events.

It is not yet known if

  • the effector molecule of calmodulin is conserved or variable across species and different trafficking steps.

It is enticing to propose a model for Ca2+ sensing whereby

  • calmodulin is a high affinity Ca2+ sensor for both constitutive and regulated membrane fusion.
  1. In the case of constitutive fusion, calmodulin may be the predominant Ca2+ sensor.
  2. In the case of slow, non-local exocytosis of large dense core granules, an additional requirement for
  3. the concerted actions of other molecule(s) that are better tuned to intermediate rises in [Ca2+] might exist.
At the highly localized sites of fast exocytosis of small clear vesicles where high [Ca2+] is reached,
  • specialized low affinity sensor(s) are likely required
  • in addition to calmodulin to achieve membrane fusion.

Therefore, although calmodulin participates in multiple types of vesicle fusion,

  • the impact of Ca2+ sensing by calmodulin on vesicle release likely varies.
Due to the fact that calmodulin binding to some proteins can be modulated by PKC phosphorylation, one might suspect
  • PKC action on exocytosis proceeds through a calmodulin-dependent pathway.
  • but the effects of calmodulin and PKC are additive within our system,
    • suggesting that PKC does not act by releasing calmodulin from a substrate
      • that functions as a calmodulin storage protein.
How Ca2+ regulates presynaptic vesicle release has been an open question for many years. By

  • identifying calmodulin and PKC as modulators of Ca21-regulated exocytosis and clarifying their functions,
  • we have extended our knowledge of the release process.

While the basic machinery of membrane fusion is becoming better understood,

  • the multiple effects of Ca2+ on exocytosis remain to be elucidated at the molecular level.

In addition, the ways that Ca2+ regulation may be important to

  • the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system


Rat Brain Cytosol Preparation
Membrane EGTA Extract Preparation

Cracked Cell Assay

PC12 cells were maintained and [3H]NE labeled as described previously (11). Labeled cells were harvested by pipetting with ice-cold potassium glutamate buffer (50 mM Hepes, pH 7.2, 105 mM potassium glutamate, 20 mM potassium acetate, 2 mM EGTA) containing 0.1% bovine serum albumin. Subsequent manipulations were carried out at 0–4 °C. Labeled cells (1–1.5 ml/dish) were mechanically permeabilized passage through a stainless steel homogenizer. The cracked cells were adjusted to 11 mM EGTA and

  • incubated on ice for 0.5–3 h, followed by three washes in which
  • the cells were centrifuged at 800 3 g for 5 min and
  • resuspended in potassium glutamate buffer containing 0.1% bovine serum albumin.

Composite Assay 

Each release reaction contains 0.5–1 million cracked cells, 1.5 mM free Ca2+, 2 mM MgATP,
and the protein solution to be tested in potassium glutamate buffer. Release reactions were initiated
by incubation at 30 °C and terminated by returning to ice. The supernatant of each reaction was
isolated by centrifugation at 2,500 3 g for 30 min at 4 °C, and the

  • released [3H]NE was quantified by scintillation counting (Beckman LS6000IC).

Cell pellets were dissolved in 1% Triton X-100, 0.02% azide and similarly counted. NE release

  • was calculated as a percentage of total [3H] in the supernatant.

Priming Assay

A priming reaction contains about

  • 1–2 million cracked cells,
  • 2 mM MgATP, and
  • the protein solution to be tested.
  • Ca2+ is omitted.

The primed cells were spun down, washed once with fresh potassium glutamate buffer, and

  • distributed into two triggering reactions, each containing
  • rat brain cytosol and free Ca2+
  • The triggering reaction was performed at 30 °C for 3 min, and
  • the NE release was measured
    • as in a composite assay.

Triggering Assay

Cracked cells were primed …, centrifuged, washed …, and

distributed into triggering reactions containing

  • 1.5 mM free Ca2+ and the protein solution 

To inhibit any ATP dependent activity in the triggering reaction,  an

  • ATP depletion system of
    1. hexokinase
    2. MgCl2,
    3. glucose or
  • a non-hydrolyzable ATP analogue AMPPNP

was added into the triggering reaction. NE release was measured as above.

Free Ca2+ Concentration Determination

The range of Ca2+free in the release reaction (Fig. 2B) was achieved

  • by adding Ca2+ into potassium glutamate buffer to reach final [Ca2+] total values of
    • 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, and 2.0 mM.
  • The pH of the reaction was 7.24 when no Ca2+ was added and
  • 7.04 when 2.0 mM Ca2+ was added
    • in the absence of protein extracts or cracked cells.
Fig. 2B. measurements of range of [Ca2+] total - average [Ca2+]free values_edited-1
Fig. 2B.   The range of [Ca21]free in the release reaction (Fig. 2B)
Free Ca2+ concentrations were determined using video microscopic
measurements of fura-2 fluorescence
 (41). [Ca2+]free was calculated from the equation
  • [Ca2+]free 5 Kd*3 (R 2 Rmin)/(Rmax 2 R) (42).
The values of Rmin, Rmax, and Kd* were determined in the following solutions: 
potassium glutamate buffer (PGB) containing
  • 8 x 3 10^6 cracked cells/ml, 2 mM MgATP (PGB+CC)
1) Rmin:  PGB+CC and 10 mM additional EGTA;
2) Rmax: PBG+CC, and 10 mM total Ca2+;
3) Kd*: PGB+CC, 28 mM additional EGTA, and 18 mM total Ca2+, pH 7.2
([Ca2+]free 5 = 169 nM, determined in the absence of cells and MgATP
  • based on fura-2 calibration in cell-free solutions).
These solutions were
  1. incubated at 37 °C ,
  2. mixed with fura-2 pentapotassium salt
    (100 mM; Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR), and
  3. imaged.
This procedure allowed us to take into account
  • changes in fura-2 properties
  • caused by the presence of
    • permeabilized cells.
Duplicate measurements of the above range of [Ca2+] total gave
  • the following average [Ca2+] free values:
  • 106, 146, 277, 462, 971, 1468, 1847, and 2484 nM.

Purification of Active Proteins

All procedures were carried out at 4 °C or on ice. Membrane
EGTA extract of one or two bovine brain(s) was

  1. filtered through cheesecloth and
  2. loaded overnight onto a column packed with DEAE-Sepharose
    CL-6B beads (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).

The column was then

  1. washed with
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 0.25 mM sucrose, 2 mM EGTA, 1 mM dithiothreitol) and 
  2. step eluted with 10 column volumes of elution buffer
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 2 mM EGTA, 400 mM KCl, 1 mM dithiothreitol).
    100 ml of every other fraction was
  3. dialyzed overnight into PGB, and
  4. tested in a composite release assay for activity.
  • The active fractions were pooled and dialyzed into zero salt buffer
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 2 mM EGTA) and
  • batch bound to 10 ml of Affi-Gel Blue beads (Bio-Rad) or DyeMatrex-Green A beads (Amicon)

Blue beads were used in earlier experiments, and Green beads were used later to

  • specifically deplete CAPS, which was known to bind to Green beads (9).

The unbound material was

  1. collected,
  2. concentrated to about 2 ml using a Centriprep-10 (Amicon), and
  3. loaded onto a 120-ml HiPrep Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration column
    (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).
Samples were run on the S-200 column in PGB at a flow rate of 7 ml/h.
  • 10–50 ml of every other fraction was tested for
    • activity in the cracked cell composite assay, and
  • two peaks of activity were observed (Fig. 3).

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory_page_004

The first peak of activity had a predicted molecular mass of 85 kDa.
The corresponding material was

  • adjusted to 10 mM potassium phosphate concentration (pH 7.2) and
  • loaded onto a 1-ml column packed with hydroxyapatite Bio-Gel HT

The bound material was

  • eluted with a linear K-PO4 gradient from 10 to 500 mM (pH 7.2)
  •  at a flow rate of about 0.1 ml/min, and
  • 0.4–0.5-ml fractions were collected.
  •  each fraction was dialyzed into PGB and
  • tested for activity.

The fractions were also analyzed by

  • SDS-PAGE and silver staining (Sigma silver stain kit).

The active material was concentrated and resolved

  • on an 8% poly-acrylamide gel.

Two Coomassie-stained protein bands that matched the activity profile (Fig. 6)

  • were excised from the gel,
  • sequenced by the Stanford PAN facility.

FIG. 6. Purification of the high molecular weight active factor_page_001

The two polypeptide sequences obtained from the upper band were:


The only bovine protein that contains both polypeptides is PKCa.
The four polypeptide sequences obtained from the lower band were:


Based on these sequences, the protein band was

  • unambiguously identified to be bovine annexin VI.

The second S-200 peak has a predicted molecular mass of 25 kDa.
The corresponding material was

  • dialyzed into zero salt buffer
    (20 mM Tris, pH 7.5, 1 mM EGTA) and
  • injected onto a Mono-Q HR 5/5 FPLC column

The FPLC run was performed at 18 °C at 1 ml/min and

  • 1-ml fractions were collected
  • with a linear salt gradient from 0 to 1 M KCl over 71 ml.

The fractions containing proteins (determined by A280) were

  • dialyzed into PGB and
  • tested in the cracked cell assay.

Western Blot

Anti-calmodulin antibody and anti-PKC antibody were used, and

  • ECL (Amersham) was used for detection.


A Membrane EGTA Extract Supports NE Release 

Brain cytosol, prepared as the supernatant of the brain homogenate,

  • effectively stimulates NE release
  • in the cracked cell assay (Fig. 1)
    as previously shown (9). 

Fig. 1 EGTA extract can support NE release_page_003_edited-2

We wondered whether crude extracts other than cytosol
  • could support NE release, and we focused on
  • extractable peripheral membrane proteins.
We found that a salt or EGTA extract of brain membranes,
membranes defined as the
  • 100,000 3 g pellet of the crude homogenate,
  • reconstituted secretion in the absence of cytosol.
  • the salt extract only slightly enhanced NE release
    above background (data not shown), the 
EGTA extract not only stimulated NE release to a high level,
  • similar to that supported by cytosol, but also
  • had a higher specific activity than cytosol (Fig. 1). 
Fig. 1 EGTA extract can support NE release_page_003_edited-3
FIG. 1. The EGTA extract of brain membranes can support NE release in the absence of cytosol. Rat brain membrane EGTA extract (closed triangles) and rat brain cytosol (closed squares) were prepared as described under “Experimental Procedures.” NE release was measured in a composite reaction mixture of cracked cells, MgATP, Ca2+, and the indicated amount of crude extracts.
The ability of the membrane EGTA extract to support secretion is consistent with the fact that
  • following cracking, the cells are immediately extracted with EGTA, and are presumably
  • devoid of most membrane EGTA-extractable factors.

This also suggests that these factors, some of which are probably

  • Ca2+-dependent membrane-associating proteins,
  • participate in Ca2+- triggered exocytosis.

The Membrane EGTA Extract Is Enriched in Triggering Fators

NE release in cracked cells can be resolved into two sequential stages,
  • an ATP-dependent priming stage and
  • an ATP-independent Ca21-dependent triggering stage (11), and
  • proteins can be tested for activity in either stage.
An effect in priming indicates
  1. an early role for the protein, and
  2. an effect in triggering a late ATP-independent role.
Since the protein composition of the
  • membrane EGTA extract and cytosol are different,
we tested whether they had different activities
  • in the priming stage versus the triggering stage.
We found that the membrane EGTA extract is enriched in factors that
  • act during triggering stage of NE releaseas
  • the same amount of protein from the membrane EGTA extract as cytosol
  • gave a higher stimulation in the triggering assay, but
  • not in the priming assay (Fig. 2A). 

Fig 2A. measurements of range of [Ca2+]total - average [Ca2+]free values._page_004

Regular cytosol is prepared in a buffer containing 2 mM EGTA, and thus

  • presumably contains some of the proteins present in the membrane EGTA extract.
Cytosol prepared in the absence of EGTA showed an even lower specific activity
  • in the triggering assay compared with regular cytosol (Fig. 2A).

Identification of Calmodulin as an Active Triggering Factor in the EGTA Extract

Biochemical fractionation of the bovine brain membrane EGTA extract was carried out

  • to identify the active components capable of reconstituting NE release.

Activity was assayed in a composite reaction mixture containing

  • cracked cells,
  • ATP,
  • Ca2+, and
  • the test protein(s).

Except for the presence of bovine serum albumin in the basal buffer,

  • no other proteins were added to the cell ghosts except for the test protein(s).

Initial tests indicated that at least

  1. part of the activity in the membrane EGTA extract binds to and
  2. can be efficiently eluted from an anion exchanger and hydroxyapatite resin,
  3. but does not bind to Amicon color resins.

The starting material was, therefore, sequentially purified using

  • DEAE, Affi-Gel Blue (or Matrex Green-A), and gel filtration chromotography.

Gel filtration fractionation indicated the presence of two peaks of activity with

  • predicted molecular masses of 25 and 85 kDa, respectively (Fig. 3).

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory_page_004

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory factors in the membrane EGTA extract.

In order to purify the active component(s) in the membrane EGTA extract, the crude extract from one bovine brain was fractionated chromatographically (see Experimental Procedures” for details). Fractions from a Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration column were tested for their activity in stimulating NE release in the composite assay. The two activity peaks have predicted molecular masses of 85 and 25 kDa, respectively. The arrows indicate the retention volume of standard proteins run on the same column.

The low molecular weight active factor was purified to homogeneity, as judged by a

  • Coomassie-stained SDS-PAGE gel, after a subsequent Mono-Q fractionation (Fig. 4).

FIG. 4. The low molecular weight active factor is calmodulin_page_004

FIG. 4. The low molecular wen.ight active factor is calmodulin

A, the  membrane EGTA extract from one bovine brain (Start) was subjected to sequential fractionation on DEAE, Blue A, and
Sephacryl S-200 columns. The pooled material containing the activity after each chromotographic step was analyzed by SDS-
PAGE and Coomassie staining. The arrowheads indicate the presence of calmodulin in all the lanes. Calmodulin shows a
mobility shift depending on whether or not Ca2+ is present during electrophoresis (see panel C).
B, the active material  pooled from Sephacryl S-200 was fractionated on a Mono-Q FPLC column and the fractions
(5 ml/fraction) were tested for activity in a composite assay. The activity peak is shown.
C, the active Mono-Q fractions (5 ml/fraction) were subjected to SDS-PAGE in the presence of 1 mM EGTA or 0.1 mM Ca2+,
and the gels stained with Coomassie Blue.
D, fraction 47 (1 ml) was probed by Western blotting with a monoclonal anti-calmodulin antibody. No Ca2+ or EGTA was
added during SDS-PAGE.

We reasoned that the protein might be calmodulin (43) based on the following:

1) It is a relatively small protein (14–18 kDa) that is abundant in the
starting extract (Fig. 4A).
2) It elutes at a very high salt concentration (0.41 M KCl) on the
Mono-Q column.
3) It stains negatively in silver stain (data not shown).
4) Its electrophoretic mobility shifts depending on the presence or
absence of Ca21 (Fig. 4C).

A Western blot with an anti-calmodulin monoclonal antibody gave a
positive signal (Fig. 4D), confirming our prediction.

Properties of Calmodulin-stimulated Exocytosis

We used commercial calmodulin or bacterially expressed recombinant calmodulin to confirm our purification result; both sources of authentic calmodulin stimulated NE release as expected. Moreover, we found that calmodulin stimulates secretion in a triggering assay as well as in a composite assay (Fig. 5A).

FIG. 5A calmodulin action_page 5

The half-maximal increase was at 75 nM (250 ng/200 ml) final calmodulin concentration. This is within the broad
range of affinities between calmodulin and its various targets and suggests that the interaction between
calmodulin and its target molecule in exocytosis is in the physiological range. When the triggering reaction was
performed at different Ca2+ concentrations, calmodulin increased NE release only at high [Ca2+] (0.4 – 2 mM)
similar to the crude EGTA extract (Fig. 5B),

FIG. 5B calmodulin action_page_5

suggesting that calmodulin contributes to the triggering activity of the membrane EGTA extract.  Calmodulin’s affinity for Ca2+ has
been  reported to be around 1 mM (25),

  • consistent with the Ca2+ requirement for
  • calmodulin-stimulated secretion that we observed.

FIG. 5 calmodulin action_page_005

FIG. 5. Calmodulin stimulates NE release in the triggering stage.
A, calmodulin (obtained from Sigma) increased NE release in the
triggering assay in a dose-dependent fashion, in the absence of ATP
or any other cytosolic proteins. In this particular experiment, the
maximal release achieved by addition of rat brain cytosol was 46.5%.

B, the triggering assay was performed with different concentrations
of free Ca2+. Calmodulin (3 mg bacterially expressed recombinant
protein; closed squares) increased NE release with a similar Ca2+
sensitivity to rat brain membrane EGTA extract (10 mg; closed
triangles), as compared with conditions in which no protein was
added (open squares).

Western analysis with commercial protein as standards indicated that calmodulin 

  •  constitutes about 5% of total proteins in the rat brain membrane EGTA extract
  • and about 2% of total proteins in the rat brain cytosol (data not shown).

In addition, a significant amount of calmodulin appears to be left

  • in the washed cell ghosts (data not shown).

Based on the activity of saturating levels of

  • pure calmodulin (releasing 6–10% of total [3H]NE)
  • and crude EGTA extract (releasing ;45% of total [3H]NE),

we estimated that

  • calmodulin accounts for 13–22% of total activity of the extract.

Consistent with this,

  • a high affinity calmodulin-binding peptide
    (CaMKIIa(291–312) (44), used at 5 mM) and
  • an anti-calmodulin antibody (2 mg/200 ml)
  • inhibited about 20% of the membrane EGTA extract-stimulated release
    (6.7 mg of extract added; data not shown).

We showed that calmodulin increased NE release

  • in the triggering stage.

Since regular triggering reactions were performed

  • in the absence of any added ATP,

this suggests that

  • calmodulin enhanced secretion in an ATP-independent fashion.

Furthermore, residual ATP in the cell ghosts did not play a role, since

  •  addition of a hexokinase ATP depletion system that
  • can deplete millimolar concentrations of ATP
    • within a few minutes (11) had little effect, as did
    • addition of 5 mM AMPPNP,
  • which blocks ATP-dependent enzymatic activity (Fig.8A).

Therefore, we ruled out the possibility that a kinase mediates calmodulin’s effect.

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate... the late triggering reaction_page_006

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate the late triggering reaction in
an ATP-dependent and ATP-independent manner respectively.
A, triggering assays were performed to test the activity of calmodulin
(recombinant; black bars) and PKC (purified rat brain PKC from
Calbiochem; shaded bars) in the absence of ATP. A regular triggering
assay is done in the absence of ATP (2ATP). To deplete residual ATP
in the cells, hexokinase-based ATP depletion was employed (1Hexo).
Alternatively, 5 mM AMP-PNP (1AMP-PNP) was added in the triggering
reaction. Under all three conditions, calmodulin increased release
as compared with the background (buffer only; white bars), whereas
PKC did not.
B, NE release in a composite assay was measured with varying
concentrations of free Ca2+ in the presence of 10 mg of calmodulin
(recombinant; closed triangles), 70 ng of PKC  (purified rat brain PKC
from Calbiochem; closed squares), or buffer only (open squares).

A series of calmodulin mutants from Paramecium and chicken were tested

  • for their ability to enhance Ca2+-stimulated secretion, and
  • none of the mutations abolished the calmodulin effect (data not shown).

These mutations include

  • S101F, M145V, E54K, G40E/D50N, V35I/D50N within Paramecium
  • calmodulin (45), and M124Q, M51A/V55A, and M51A/V55A/L32A
    within chicken calmodulin (46, 47).

The Paramecium calmodulin mutants are the result of

  • naturally occurring mutations that result in aberrations in their behavior.

These mutants can be grouped into two categories according to their
behavior, reflecting their loss of either

  1. a Ca2+-dependent Na1 current
     (calmodulin N-terminal lobe mutants: E54K, G40E/D50N, and
     V35I/D50N) or
  2. a Ca21-dependent K1 current
    (calmodulin C-terminal lobe mutants: S101F and M145V) (45).

The chicken calmodulin mutants have been shown to

  • differentially activate myosin light chain kinase
    (M124Q, M51A/V55A, and M51A/V55A/L32A),
    CaMKII (M124Q),  
    and CaMKIV (M124Q),

and the mutated residues are thought to be important in

  • defining calmodulin’s binding specificity (46, 47).

Our finding that these mutant calmodulins can stimulate exocytosis suggests that

  • calmodulin-binding domains similar to those of Paramecium Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent
    ion channels, myosin light chain kinase, CaMKII, and CaMKIV,
  • are unlikely to mediate release utilizing the conserved SNARE fusion machinery, as they
  • could be completely abolished by addition of exogenous syntaxin H3 domains (data not shown).
  • the same molecular pathway was not activated, since their effects were additive (data not shown).


We thank Diana Bautista and Dr. Richard S.Lewis for generous help
with [Ca21]free determination; Dr. Ching Kung for providing the Paramecium calmodulin
mutants, and Dr. Anthony R. Means for providing the chicken calmodulin mutants. We also
thank Dr. Jesse C. Hay for the initial setup of the cracked cell assay, and Dr. Suzie J.
Scales for helpful comments on the manuscript.


1. Calakos, N., and Scheller, R. H. (1996) Physiol. Rev. 76, 1–29
2. Su¨ dhof, T. C. (1995) Nature 375, 645–653
3. Zucker, R. S. (1996) Neuron 17, 1049–1055
4. Hanson, P. I., Heuser, J. E., and Jahn, R. (1997) Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 7, 310–315
5. Chen, Y. A., Scales, S. J., Patel, S. M., Doung, Y.-C., and Scheller, R. H. (1999) Cell 97, 165–174
6. Neher, E., and Zucker, R. S. (1993) Neuron 10, 21–30
7. Kamiya, H., and Zucker, R. S. (1994) Nature 371, 603–606

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Author: Larry H. Bernstein, MD

Author: Stephen Williams, PhD


Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

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Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part VI: Calcium Cycling (ATPase Pump) in Cardiac Gene Therapy: Inhalable Gene Therapy for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and Percutaneous Intra-coronary Artery Infusion for Heart Failure: Contributions by Roger J. Hajjar, MD

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part VII: Cardiac Contractility & Myocardium Performance: Ventricular Arrhythmias and Non-ischemic Heart Failure – Therapeutic Implications for Cardiomyocyte Ryanopathy (Calcium Release-related Contractile Dysfunction) and Catecholamine Responses

Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part VIII: Disruption of Calcium Homeostasis: Cardiomyocytes and Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells: The Cardiac and Cardiovascular Calcium Signaling Mechanism

Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part IX: Calcium-Channel Blockers, Calcium Release-related Contractile Dysfunction (Ryanopathy) and Calcium as Neurotransmitter Sensor

Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part X: Synaptotagmin functions as a Calcium Sensor: How Calcium Ions Regulate the fusion of vesicles with cell membranes during Neurotransmission

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part XI: Sensors and Signaling in Oxidative Stress

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Part XII: Atherosclerosis Independence: Genetic Polymorphisms of Ion Channels Role in the Pathogenesis of Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction and Myocardial Ischemia (Coronary Artery Disease (CAD))

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


This article, constitute, Part II, it is a broad, but not complete review of the emerging discoveries of the critical role of calcium signaling on cell motility and by extension, embryonic development, cancer metastasis, changes in vascular compliance at the junction between the endothelium and the underlying interstitial layer.  The effect of calcium signaling on the heart in arrhtmogenesis and heart failure will be a third in this series, while the binding of calcium to troponin C in the synchronous contraction of the myocardium had been discussed by Dr. Lev-Ari in Part I.

Universal MOTIFs essential to skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, cardiac syncytial muscle, endothelium, neovascularization, atherosclerosis and hypertension, cell division, embryogenesis, and cancer metastasis. The discussion will be presented in several parts:
1.  Biochemical and signaling cascades in cell motility
2.  Extracellular matrix and cell-ECM adhesions
3.  Actin dynamics in cell-cell adhesion
4.  Effect of intracellular Ca++ action on cell motility
5.  Regulation of the cytoskeleton
6.  Role of thymosin in actin-sequestration
7.  T-lymphocyte signaling and the actin cytoskeleton

Part 1.  Biochemical and Signaling Cascades in Cell Motility


Song Li, Jun-Lin Guan, and Shu Chien
Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng. 2005. 7:105–50   [doi:10.1146/annurev.bioeng.7.060804.100340]
Cell motility or migration is an essential cellular process for a variety of biological events. In embryonic development, cells migrate to appropriate locations for the morphogenesis of tissues and organs. Cells need to migrate to heal the wound in repairing damaged tissue. Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) migrate to form new capillaries during angiogenesis. White blood cells migrate to the sites of inflammation to kill bacteria. Cancer cell metastasis involves their migration through the blood vessel wall to invade surrounding tissues.

Variety of important roles for cell migration:

1. Embryogenesis
2. Wound healing (secondary extension)
3. Inflammatory infiltrate (chemotaxis)
4. Angiogenesis
5. Cancer metastasis
6. Arterial compliance
7. Myocardial and skeletal muscle contraction
8. Cell division

Portrait of Cell in Migration:

1. protrusion of leading edge
2. Formation of new adhesions at front
3. Cell contraction
4. Release of adhesions at rear
Microenvironmental factor:
1. Concentration gradient of chemoattractants
2. Gradient of immobilized ECM proteins
3. Gradient of matrix rigidity
4. Mechanotaxis
Extracellular signals are sensed by receptors or mechanosensors on cell surface or in cell interior to initiate migration. Actin polymerization is the key event leading to protrusion at the leading edge and new focal adhesions anchor the actin filaments and the cell to the underlying surface.  This is followed by contraction of the actin filaments.  The contraction of actomyosin filaments pulls the elongate body forward and at the same time the tail retracts.

Part 2.  Cell-ECM Adhesions

Cytoskeleton and cell-ECM adhesions are two major molecular machineries involved in mechano-chemical signal transduction during cell migration. Although all three types of cytoskeleton (actin microfilaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments) contribute to cell motility, actin cytoskeleton plays the central role. The polymerization of actin filaments provides the driving force for the protrusion of the leading edge as lamellipodia (sheet-like protrusions) or filopodia (spike-like protrusions), and actomyosin contraction generates the traction force at (focal adhesions) FAs and induces the retraction at the rear. It is generally accepted that actin filaments interact with the double-headed myosin to generate the force for cell motility and that actomyosin contraction/relaxation involves the modulation of myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation.  Rho family GTPases, including Cdc42, Rac, and Rho, are the key regulators of actin polymerization, actomyosin contraction, and cell motility.  Cdc42 activation induces the formation of filopodia; Rac activation induces lamellipodia; and Rho activation increases actin polymerization, stress fiber formation, and actomyosin contractility. All three types of Rho GTPases stimulate new FA formation.
Integrins are the major receptors for ECM proteins. The integrin family includes more than 20  transmembrane heterodimers composed of α and β subunits with noncovalent association. The extracellular domain of integrin binds to specific ligands, e.g., ECM proteins such as fibronectin (FN), vitronectin, collagen, and laminin. The cytoplasmic domain interacts with cytoskeletal proteins (e.g., paxillin, talin, vinculin, and actin) and signaling molecules in the focal adhesion (FA) sites. The unique structural features of integrins enable them to mediate outside-in signaling, in which extracellular stimuli induce the intracellular signaling cascade via integrin activation, and inside-out signaling, in which intracellular signals modulate integrin activation and force generation through FAs.

Part 3. Actin Dynamics in Cell-cell Adhesion

Actin filaments are linked to the focal adhesions (Fas) between cell and ECM through a protein complex that includes talin, vinculin, α-actinin, and filamin. Such a complex couples the actomyosin contractile apparatus to FAs, and plays an important role in the force transmission between ECM and the cell.

3a. Actin dynamics and cell–cell adhesion in epithelia

Valeri Vasioukhin and Elaine Fuchs
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Current Opinion in Cell Biology 2001, 13:76–84
Recent advances in the field of intercellular adhesion highlight the importance of adherens junction association with the underlying actin cytoskeleton. In skin epithelial cells a dynamic feature of adherens junction formation involves filopodia, which physically project into the membrane of adjacent cells, catalyzing the clustering of adherens junction protein complexes at their tips. In turn, actin polymerization is stimulated at the cytoplasmic interface of these complexes. Although the mechanism remains unclear, the VASP/Mena family of proteins seems to be involved in organizing actin polymerization at these sites. In vivo, adherens junction formation appears to rely upon filopodia in processes where epithelial sheets must be physically moved closer to form stable intercellular connections, for example, in ventral closure in embryonic development or wound healing in the postnatal animal.
Located at cell–cell borders, adherens junctions are electron dense transmembrane structures that associate with the actin cytoskeleton. In their absence, the formation of other cell–cell adhesion structures is dramatically reduced. The transmembrane core of adherens junctions consists of cadherins, of which E-cadherin is the epithelial prototype. Its extracellular domain is responsible for homotypic, calcium-dependent, adhesive interactions with E-cadherins on the surface of opposing cells. Its cytoplasmic domain is important for associations with other intracellular proteins involved in the clustering of surface cadherins to form a junctional structure.
The extracellular domain of the transmembrane E-cadherin dimerizes and interacts in a calcium-dependent manner with similar molecules on neighboring cells. The intracellular juxtamembrane part of E-cadherin binds to p120ctn, an armadillo repeat protein capable of modulating E-cadherin clustering. The distal segment of E-cadherin’s cytoplasmic domain can interact with β-catenin or plakoglobin, armadillo repeat proteins which in turn bind to α-catenin. The carboxyl end of α-catenin binds directly to f-actin, and, through a direct mechanism, α-catenin can link the membrane-bound cadherin–catenin complex to the actin cytoskeleton. Additionally, α-catenin can bind to either vinculin or ZO1, and it is required for junctional localization of zyxin. Vinculin and zyxin can recruit VASP (and related family members), which in turn can associate with the actin cytoskeleton, providing the indirect mechanism to link the actin cytoskeleton to adherens junctions. ZO1 is also a member of tight junctions family, providing a means to link these junctions with adherens junctions.
Through a site near its transmembrane domain, cadherins bind directly to the catenin p120ctn, and through a more central site within the cytoplasmic domain, cadherins bind preferentially to β-catenin. Cell migration appears to be promoted by p120ctn through recruiting and activating small GTPases. β-catenin is normally involved in adherens junction formation through its ability to bind to β-catenin and link cadherins to the actin cytoskeleton. However, β-catenin leads a dual life in that it can also act as a transcriptional cofactor when stimulated by the Wnt signal transduction pathway

α-Catenin: More than just a Bridge between Adherens Junctions and the Actin Cytoskeleton

α-catenin was initially discovered as a member of the E-cadherin–catenin complex.  It is related to vinculin, an actin-binding protein that is found at integrin-based focal contacts. The amino-terminal domain of α-catenin is involved in α-catenin/plakoglobin binding and is also important for dimerization. Its central segment can bind to α-actinin and to vinculin, and it partially encompasses the region of the protein necessary for cell adhesion (which is the adhesion-modulation domain; amino acids 509–643). The carboxy-terminal domain of both vinculin and α-catenin is involved in filamentous actin (f-actin) binding, and for α-catenin, this domain is also involved in binding to ZO1.  VH1, VH2 and VH3 are three regions sharing homology to vinculin. The percentage amino acid identity and the numbers correspond to the amino acid residues of the α-catenin polypeptide.
α-catenin is the only catenin that can directly bind to actin filaments , and E-cadherin–catenin complexes do not associate with the actin cytoskeleton after α-catenin is removed by extraction with detergent. Cancer cell lines lacking α-catenin still express E-cadherin and β-catenin, but do not show proper cell–cell adhesion unless the wild-type gene is reintroduced into the cancer cell. This provides strong evidence that clustering of the E-cadherin–catenin complex and cell–cell adhesion requires the presence of α-catenin.
Although intercellular adhesion is dependent upon association of the E-cadherin–β-catenin protein complex with α-catenin and the actin cytoskeleton, it is unclear whether α-catenin’s role goes beyond linking the two structures. Fusion of a nonfunctional tailless E-cadherin (E C71) with α-catenin resulted in a chimeric protein able to confer cell–cell adhesion on mouse fibroblasts in vitro, and generation of additional chimeric proteins enabled delineation of the region of α-catenin that is important for cell aggregation. Not surprisingly, the essential domain of α-catenin was its carboxy-terminal domain (~amino acids 510–906), containing the actin-binding site, which encompasses residues 630–906 of this domain.
The binding of α-catenin to the actin cytoskeleton is required for cell–cell adhesion,  but α-catenin appears to have additional function(s) beyond its ability to link E-cadherin–β-catenin complexes to actin filaments.  The domain encompassing residues 509–643 of α-catenin has been referred to as an adhesion-modulation domain to reflect this added, and as yet unidentified, function.  Besides its association with β-catenin and f-actin, α-catenin binds to a number of additional proteins, some of which are actin binding proteins themselves.  Additionally, the localization of vinculin to cell–cell borders is dependent upon the presence of α-catenin. α-catenin can also bind to the MAGUK (membrane-associated guanylate kinase) family members ZO1 and ZO2.  Thus, the role for α-catenin might not simply be to link E-cadherin–catenin complexes to the actin cytoskeleton but rather to organize a multiprotein complex with multiple actin-binding, bundling and polymerization activities.
The decisive requirement for α-catenin’s actin-binding domain in adherens junction formation underscores the importance of the actin cytoskeleton in intercellular adhesion. Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority of f-actin in epithelial cells localizes to cell–cell junctions.  When epidermal cells are incubated in vitro in culture media with calcium concentrations below 0.08 mM they are unable to form adherens junctions. However, when the calcium concentrations are raised to the levels naturally occurring in skin (1.5–1.8 mM), intercellular adhesion is initiated.
This switch in part promotes a calcium-dependent conformational change in the extracellular domain of E-cadherin that is necessary for homotypic interactions to take place.  It appears that the actin cytoskeleton has a role in facilitating the process that brings opposing membranes together and stabilizing them once junction formation has been initiated. In this regard, the formation of cell–cell adhesion can be divided into two categories:
  • active adhesion, a process that utilizes the actin cytoskeleton to generate the force necessary to bring opposing membranes together, and
  • passive adhesion, a process which may not require actin if the membranes are already closely juxtaposed and stabilized by the deposition of cadherin–catenin complexes.
Upon a switch from low to high calcium, cadherin-mediated intercellular adhesion is activated. Passive adhesion: in cells whose actin cytoskeleton has been largely disrupted by cytochalasin D, cadherin–catenin complexes occur at sites where membranes of neighboring cells directly contact each other. Active adhesion: neighboring cells with functional actin cytoskeletons can draw their membranes together, forming a continuous epithelial sheet.  Upon initial membrane contact, E-cadherin forms punctate aggregates or puncta along regions where opposing membranes are in contact with one another. Each of these puncta is contacted by a bundle of actin filaments that branch off from the cortical belt of actin filaments underlying the cell membrane. At later stages in the process, those segments of the circumferential actin cables that reside along the zone of cell–cell contacts disappear, and the resulting semi-circles of cortical actin align to form a seemingly single circumferential cable around the perimeter of the two cells. At the edges of the zone of cell–cell contact, plaques of E-cadherin–catenin complexes connect the cortical belt of actin to the line of adhesion. At the center of the developing zone of adhesion, E-cadherin puncta associate with small bundles of actin filaments oriented perpendicular to the zone.
Multiple E-cadherin-containing puncta that form along the developing contact rapidly associate with small bundles of actin filaments. As the contact between cells lengthens, puncta continue to develop at a constant average density, with new puncta at the edges of the contact. The segment of the circumferential actin cable that underlies the developing contact gradually ‘dissolves’, and merges into a large cable, encompassing both cells. This is made possible through cable-mediated connections to the E-cadherin plaques at the edges of the contact. As contact propagates, E-cadherin is deposited along the junction as a continuous line. The actin cytoskeleton reorganizes and is now oriented along the cell–cell contact. In primary keratinocytes, two neighboring cells send out filopodia, which, upon contact, slide along each other and project into the opposing cell’s membrane. Filopodia are rich in f-actin. Embedded tips of filopodia are stabilized by puncta, which are transmembrane clusters of adherens junction proteins.
This process draws regions of the two cell surfaces together, which are then clamped by desmosomes. Radial actin fibers reorganize at filopodia tips in a zyxin-, vinculin-, VASP-, and Mena-dependent fashion.  Actin polymerization is initiated at stabilized puncta, creating the directed reverse force needed to push and merge puncta into a single line as new puncta form at the edges. The actin-based movement physically brings remaining regions of opposing membranes together and seals them into epithelial sheets. As filopodia contain actin rather than keratin intermediate filaments, they become natural zones of adherens junctions, whereas the cell surface flanking filopodia becomes fertile ground for desmosome formation, alternating adherens junctions and desmosomes.

Possible Roles of Myosin in Cell–cell Adhesion.

[a] A hypothetical ‘purse string’ model for myosin-driven epithelial sheet closure at a large circular wound site in the cornea of an adult mouse. At the edge of wound site epithelial cables of actin appear to extend from cell to cell, forming a ring around the wound circumference. Contraction of actin cables  driven by myosin can lead to wound closure.
[b] Inside out ‘purse string’ model for contact propagation (compaction) in MDCK cells. During contact formation in MDCK cells, circumferential actin cables contact cadherin–catenin plaques at the edges of the contact. Contraction of actin cables driven by myosin can lead to the contact expansion.

What Regulates the Actin Dynamics that are Important for Cell–cell Adhesion?

The answer to this remains uncertain, but the small GTPases of the Rho family seem to be likely candidates, given that Rho, Rac1 and Cdc42 promote stress fiber, lamellipodia and filopodia formation, respectively.
In vivo mutagenesis studies in Drosophila reveal a role for Rac1 and Rho in dorsal closure and/or in head involution, processes that involve complex and well orchestrated rearrangements of cells. In contrast, Cdc42 appears to be involved in regulating polarized cell shape changes. In vitro, keratinocytes microinjected with dominant negative Rac1 or with C3 toxin, a specific inhibitor of Rho, are unable to form cadherin-based cell–cell contacts.  Similarly, overexpression of a constitutively active form of Rac1 or Cdc42 in MDCK cells increases junctional localization of E-cadherin–catenin complexes, whereas the dominant negative forms of Rac1 and Cdc42, or C3 microinjection, have the opposite effect. The finding that Tiam1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rac1, increases E-cadherin mediated cell–cell adhesion, inhibits hepatocyte growth-factor-induced cell scattering and reverses the loss of adhesion in Ras-transformed cells is consistent with the above.  Together, these findings provide compelling evidence that activation of the Rho family of small GTPases plays a key role in the actin dynamics that are necessary for adherens junction formation.
We found that E-cadherin–catenin-enriched puncta, which assemble during the first stages of epithelial sheet formation, are sites of de novo actin polymerization. This led us to postulate that actin polymerization might provide the force that is subsequently necessary to merge the double role of puncta into a single row and ultimately into an epithelial sheet. Knowledge of how actin polymerization might generate movement comes largely from studies of the mechanism by which the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes pirates actin polymerization and utilizes it for intracellular propulsion. For this endeavor, these bacteria recruit two types of cellular components, the VASP family of proteins and the Arp2/3 complex. The Arp2/3 protein complex is required for de novo nucleation of actin filament polymerization, whereas VASP appears to accelerate bacterial movement by about 10 fold.
Although most studies have revealed positive roles for VASP and its cousins in actin reorganization/ polymerization, recent experiments have shown that in certain instances these proteins act negatively in directing cell movement. A further complication is the finding that VASP family proteins can be phosphorylated, thereby inhibiting their actin nucleation and f-actin binding ability. A  role for VASP may be in the actin polymerization necessary for filopodia  extensions. In this regard, VASP family proteins localize to the tips of filopodia during neural growth and in calcium-stimulated keratinocytes. VASP family proteins in this process might provide directionality to the process of actin polymerization, reshaping f-actin into parallel bundles to produce and extend filopodia-like structures from branched lamellipodial networks.

The Might of Myosins

Although actin polymerization seems to be important in generating the cellular movement necessary for intercellular adhesion, this does not rule out the possibility that the myosin family of actin motor proteins may also play a role.  It is known, for instance, that cells can use myosin–actin contractile forces to alter cell shape, and myosin II is a ubiquitously expressed protein involved in such diverse processes as cell spreading, cytokinesis, cell migration, generation of tension within actin stress fiber networks and retrograde flow of actin filaments at the leading edge of moving cells. Interestingly, mouse corneal cells at a wound edge assemble cables of actin filaments anchored to E-cadherin–catenin complexes. The cells surrounding the wound site display myosin-II-associated actin filaments that are aligned in a structure resembling a purse string. It has been postulated that closure of the wound may be achieved through myosin-directed contraction of the actin filaments, in a mechanism similar to that of pulling on a purse string.
Overall, through guilt by association, myosins have been implicated in cell–cell adhesion and in adherens junction formation and although the models proposed are attractive, direct experimental evidence is still lacking. BDM (2,3-butanedione monoxime), a general inhibitor of myosin function, had no obvious effect on intercellular junction formation in our keratinocyte adhesion assays (V Vasioukhin, E Fuchs, unpublished data). However, the role of myosins clearly deserves a more detailed investigation, and this awaits the development of new and improved inhibitors and activators of myosin action.

 Key references:

1. Imamura Y, Itoh M, Maeno Y, Tsukita S, Nagafuchi A: Functional  domains of α-catenin required for the strong state of cadherin based cell adhesion. J Cell Biol 1999, 144:1311-1322.
Three distinct functional domains for α-catenin were identified: a vinculin binding domain, a ZO-1-binding domain and an adhesion modulation domain. Both ZO1-binding (also actin binding) and adhesion modulation domains are necessary for strong adhesion.
2. Vasioukhin V, Bauer C, Yin M, Fuchs E: Directed actin polymerization is the driving force for epithelial cell–cell adhesion. Cell 2000, 100:209-219.
A dynamic filopodia-driven process of cell–cell adhesion is described in primary mouse keratinocyte cultures. Newly forming adherens junctions were identified as sites of actin polymerization and/or reorganization, involving VASP/Mena family members.
3. Raich WB, Agbunag C, Hardin J: Rapid epithelial-sheet sealing in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo requires cadherin-dependent filopodial priming. Curr Biol 1999, 9:1139-1146.
An elegant in vivo analysis of filopodia-based cell–cell junction formation during epithelial-sheet closure in embryonic development of C. elegans.
4. Loisel TP, Boujemaa R, Pantaloni D, Carlier MF: Reconstitution of actin-based motility of Listeria and Shigella using pure proteins.  Nature 1999, 401:613-616.
Using an in vitro reconstitution approach, the authors show that Arp2/3, actin, cofilin and capping proteins are required for motility of Listeria, in contrast VASP seems to act by increasing the speed of movement by about 10 fold.

3b.  Role for Gelsolin in Actuating Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-mediated Cell Motility

Philip Chen,  Joanne E. Murphy-Ullrich, and Alan Wells
Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
J Cell Biology Aug 1996; 134(3): 689-698
Phospholipase C-~/(PLC~/) is required for EGF-induced motility (Chen, P., H. Xie, M.C. Sekar, K.B. Gupta, and A. Wells. J. Cell Biol. 1994. 127:847-857); however, the molecular basis of how PLC~/modulates the actin filament network underlying cell motility remains undetermined. One connection to the actin cytoskeleton may be direct hydrolysis of PIP 2 with subsequent mobilization of membrane-associated actin modifying proteins. We used signaling restricted EGFR mutants expressed in receptor-devoid NR6 fibroblast cells to investigate whether EGFR activation of PLC causes gelsolin mobilization from the cell membrane in vivo and whether this translocation facilitates cell movement. Gelsolin anti-sense  oligonucleotide (20 p,M) treatment of NR6 ceils expressing the motogenic full-length (WT) and  truncated c’ 1000 EGFR decreased endogenous gelsolin by 30–60%; this resulted in preferential reduction of EGF (25 nM)-induced cell movement by >50% with little effect on the basal motility. As 14 h of EGF stimulation of cells did not increase total cell gelsolin content, we determined whether EGF induced redistribution of gelsolin from the membrane fraction. EGF treatment decreased the gelsolin mass associated with the membrane fraction in motogenic WT and c’1000 EGFR NR6 cells but not in cells expressing the fully mitogenic, but nonmotogenic c’973 EGFR. Blocking PLC activity with the pharmacologic agent U73122 (1 ~M) diminished both this mobilization of gelsolin and EGF-induced motility, suggesting that gelsolin mobilization is downstream of PLC. Concomitantly observed was reorganization of submembranous actin filaments correlating directly with PLC activation and gelsolin mobilization. In vivo expression of a peptide that is reported to compete in vitro with gelsolin in binding to PIP2 dramatically increased basal cell motility in NR6 cells expressing either motogenic (WT and c’1000) or nonmotogenic (c’973) EGFR; EGF did not further augment cell motility and gelsolin mobilization. Cells expressing this peptide demonstrated actin reorganization similar to that observed in EGF-treated control cells; the peptide-induced changes were unaffected by U73122. These data suggest that much of the EGF induced motility and cytoskeletal alterations can be reproduced by displacement of select actin-modifying proteins from a PIP2-bound state. This provides a signaling mechanism for translating cell surface receptor mediated biochemical reactions to the cell movement machinery.

3c.  Actomyosin Contraction at the Cell Rear Drives Nuclear Translocation in Migrating Cortical Interneurons

Francisco J. Martini and Miguel Valdeolmillos
Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Alacant, Spain
Journal of Neuroscience 2010 • 30(25):8660–8670
Neuronal migration is a complex process requiring the coordinated interaction of cytoskeletal components and regulated by calcium signaling among other factors. Migratory neurons are polarized cells in which the largest intracellular organelle, the nucleus, has to move repeatedly. Current views support a central role for pulling forces that drive nuclear movement. By analyzing interneurons migrating in cortical slices of mouse brains, we have found that nucleokinesis is associated with a precise pattern of actin dynamics characterized by the initial formation of a cup-like actin structure at the rear nuclear pole. Time-lapse experiments show that progressive actomyosin contraction drives the nucleus forward. Nucleokinesis concludes with the complete contraction of the cup-like structure, resulting in an actin spot at the base of the retracting trailing process. Our results demonstrate that this actin remodeling requires a threshold calcium level provided by low-frequency spontaneous fast intracellular calcium transients. Microtubule stabilization with taxol treatment prevents actin remodeling and nucleokinesis, whereas cells with a collapsed microtubule cytoskeleton induced by nocodazole treatment, display nearly normal actin dynamics and nucleokinesis. In summary, the results presented here demonstrate that actomyosin forces acting at the rear side of the nucleus drives nucleokinesis in tangentially migrating interneurons in a process that requires calcium and a dynamic cytoskeleton of microtubules.

3d. Migration of Zebrafish Primordial Germ Cells: A Role for Myosin Contraction and Cytoplasmic Flow

H Blaser, M Reichman-Fried, I Castanon, K Dumstrei, F L Marlow, et al.
Max Planck Institute, Gottingen & Dresden, Germany;  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn; National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
Developmental Cell 2006; 11: 613–627 [DOI 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.09.023]
The molecular and cellular mechanisms governing cell motility and directed migration in response to the chemokine SDF-1 are largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that zebrafish primordial germ cells whose migration is guided by SDF-1 generate bleb-like protrusions that are powered by cytoplasmic flow. Protrusions are formed at sites of higher levels of free calcium where activation of myosin contraction occurs. Separation of the acto-myosin cortex from the plasma membrane at these sites is followed by a flow of cytoplasm into the forming bleb. We propose that polarized activation of the receptor CXCR4 leads to a rise in free calcium that in turn activates myosin contraction in the part of the cell responding to higher levels of the ligand SDF-1. The biased formation of new protrusions in a particular region of the cell in response to SDF-1 defines the leading edge and the direction of cell migration.

Part 4.  Calcium Signaling

4a. Indirect Association of Ezrin with F-Actin: Isoform Specificity and Calcium Sensitivity

Charles B. Shuster and Ira M. Herman
Tufts University Health Science Schools, Boston, MA
J Cell Biology Mar 1995; 128(5): 837-848
Muscle and nonmuscle isoactins are segregated into distinct cytoplasmic domains,  but the mechanism regulating subcellular sorting is unknown (Herman, 1993a). To reveal whether isoform-specific actin-binding proteins function to coordinate these events, cell extracts derived from motile (Era) versus stationary (Es) cytoplasm were selectively and sequentially fractionated over filamentous isoactin affinity columns prior to elution with a KC1 step gradient.  A polypeptide of interest, which binds specifically to/3-actin filament columns, but not to muscle actin columns has been conclusively identified as the ERM family member, ezrin. We studied ezrin-/3 interactions in vitro by passing extracts (Era) over isoactin affinity matrices in the presence of Ca2+-containing versus Ca2+-free buffers, with or without cytochalasin D. Ezrin binds and can be released from/3-actin Sepharose-4B in the presence of Mg2+/EGTA and 100 mM NaC1 (at 4°C and room temperature), but not when affinity fractionation of Em is carried out in the presence of 0.2 mM CaC12 or 2/~M cytochalasin D. N-acetyl-(leucyl)2-norleucinal and E64, two specific inhibitors of the calcium-activated protease, calpain I, protect ezrin binding to β-actin in the presence of calcium. Biochemical analysis of endothelial lysates reveals that a calpain I cleavage product of ezrin emerges when cell locomotion is stimulated in response to monolayer injury. Immunofluorescence analysis shows that anti-ezrin and anti-β-actin IgGs can be simultaneously co-localized, extending the results of isoactin affinity fractionation of Em-derived extracts and suggesting that ezrin and β-actin interact in vivo. To test the hypothesis that ezrin binds directly to β-actin, we performed three sets of studies under a wide range of physiological conditions (pH 7.0-8.5) using purified pericyte ezrin and either α- or β-actin. Results of these experiments reveal that purified ezrin does not directly bind to β-actin filaments. We mapped cellular free calcium in endothelial monolayers crawling in response to injury. Confocal imaging of fluo-3 fluorescence followed by simultaneous double antibody staining reveals a transient rise of free calcium within ezrin-/3-actin-enriched domains in the majority of motile cells bordering the wound edge. These results support the notion that calcium and calpain I modulate ezrin and β-actin interactions during forward protrusion formation.

4b.  Calcium channel and glutamate receptor activities regulate actin organization in salamander retinal neurons

Massimiliano Cristofanilli and Abram Akopian
New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
J Physiol 575.2 (2006) pp 543–554
Intracellular Ca2+ regulates a variety of neuronal functions, including neurotransmitter release, protein phosphorylation, gene expression and synaptic plasticity. In a variety of cell types, including neurons, Ca2+ is involved in actin reorganization, resulting in either actin polymerization or depolymerization. Very little, however, is known about the relationship between Ca2+ and the actin cytoskeleton organization in retinal neurons. We studied the effect of high-K+-induced depolarization on F-actin organization in salamander retina and found that Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated L-type channels causes F-actin disruption, as assessed by 53±5% (n=23, P <0.001) reduction in the intensity of staining with Alexa-Fluor488-phalloidin, a compound that permits visualization and quantification of polymerized actin. Calcium-induced F-actin depolymerization was attenuated in the presence of protein kinase C antagonists, chelerythrine or bis-indolylmaleimide hydrochloride (GF 109203X). In addition, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), but not 4α-PMA, mimicked the effect of Ca2+ influx on F-actin. Activation of ionotropic AMPA and NMDA glutamate receptors also caused a reduction in F-actin. No effect on F-actin was exerted by caffeine or thapsigargin, agents that stimulate Ca2+ release from internal stores. In whole-cell recording from a slice preparation, light-evoked ‘off’ but not ‘on’ EPSCs in ‘on–off’ ganglion cells were reduced by 60±8% (n=8, P <0.01) by cytochalasin D. These data suggest that elevation of intracellular Ca2+ during excitatory synaptic activity initiates a cascade for activity-dependent  actin remodelling, which in turn may serve as a feedback mechanism to attenuate excite-toxic Ca2+ accumulation induced by synaptic depolarization.

4c.  Electric Field-directed Cell Shape Changes, Displacement, and Cytoskeletal Reorganization Are Calcium Dependent

Edward K. Onuma and Sek-Wen Hui
Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, New York
J Cell Biology 1988; 106: 2067-2075

C3H/10T1/2 mouse embryo fibroblasts were stimulated by a steady electric field ranging up to 10 V/cm. Some cells elongated and aligned perpendicular to the field direction. A preferential positional shift toward the cathode was observed which was inhibited by the calcium channel blocker D-600 and the calmodulin antagonist trifluoperazine. Rhodaminephalloidin labeling of actin filaments revealed a field induced disorganization of the stress fiber pattern, which was reduced when stimulation was conducted in calcium-depleted buffer or in buffer containing calcium antagonist CoC12, calcium channel blocker D-600, or calmodulin antagonist trifluoperazine. Treatment with calcium ionophore A23187 had similar effects, except that the presence of D-600 did not reduce the stress fiber disruption. The calcium-sensitive photoprotein aequorin was used to monitor changes in intracellular-free calcium. Electric stimulation caused an increase of calcium to the micromolar range. This increase was inhibited by calcium-depleted buffer or by CoC12, and was reduced by D-600. A calcium-dependent mechanism is proposed to explain the observed field-directed cell shape changes, preferential orientation, and displacement.

4d. Local Calcium Elevation and Cell Elongation Initiate Guided Motility in Electrically Stimulated osteoblast-Like Cells

N Ozkucur, TK Monsees, S Perike, H Quynh Do, RHW Funk.
Carl Gustav Carus, TU-Dresden, Dresden, Germany; University of the Western Cape, SAfrica.
Plos ONE 2009; 4 (7): e6131

Investigation of the mechanisms of guided cell migration can contribute to our understanding of many crucial biological processes, such as development and regeneration. Endogenous and exogenous direct current electric fields (dcEF) are known to induce directional cell migration, however the initial cellular responses to electrical stimulation are poorly understood. Ion fluxes, besides regulating intracellular homeostasis, have been implicated in many biological events, including regeneration. Therefore understanding intracellular ion kinetics during EF-directed cell migration can provide useful information for development and regeneration.
We analyzed the initial events during migration of two osteogenic cell types, rat calvarial and human SaOS-2 cells, exposed to strong (10–15 V/cm) and weak (#5 V/cm) dcEFs. Cell elongation and perpendicular orientation to the EF vector occurred in a time- and voltage-dependent manner. Calvarial osteoblasts migrated to the cathode as they formed new filopodia or lamellipodia and reorganized their cytoskeleton on the cathodal side. SaOS-2 cells showed similar responses except towards the anode. Strong dcEFs triggered a rapid increase in intracellular calcium levels, whereas a steady state level of intracellular calcium was observed in weaker fields. Interestingly, we found that dcEF induced intracellular calcium elevation was initiated with a local rise on opposite sides in calvarial and SaOS-2 cells, which may explain their preferred directionality. In calcium-free conditions, dcEFs induced neither intracellular calcium elevation nor directed migration, indicating an important role for calcium ions. Blocking studies using cadmium chloride revealed that voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) are involved in dcEF-induced intracellular calcium elevation. Taken together, these data form a time scale of the morphological and physiological rearrangements underlying EF-guided migration of osteoblast-like cell types and reveal a requirement for calcium in these reactions. We show for the first time here that dcEFs trigger different patterns of intracellular calcium elevation and positional shifting in osteogenic cell types that migrate in opposite directions.

4e. TRPM4 Regulates Migration of Mast Cells in Mice

T Shimizua, G Owsianik, M Freichelb, V Flockerzi, et al.
Laboratory of Ion Channel Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Universität des Saarlandes, Homburg, Germany; National Institute for Physiological Sciences,Okazaki, Japan
Cell Calcium 2008; xxx–xxx

We demonstrate here that the transient receptor potential melastatin subfamily channel, TRPM4, controls migration of bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs), triggered by dinitrophenylated human serum albumin (DNP-HSA) or stem cell factor (SCF). Wild-type BMMCs migrate after stimulation with DNPHSA or SCF whereas both stimuli do not induce migration in BMMCs derived from TRPM4 knockout mice (trpm4−/−). Mast cell migration is a Ca2+-dependent process, and TRPM4 likely controls this process by setting the intracellular Ca2+ level upon cell stimulation. Cell migration depends on filamentous actin (F-actin) rearrangement, since pretreatment with cytochalasin B, an inhibitor of F-actin formation, prevented both DNP-HSA- and SCF-induced migration in wild-type BMMC. Immunocytochemical experiments using fluorescence-conjugated phalloidin demonstrate a reduced level of F-actin formation in DNP-HSA-stimulated BMMCs from trpm4−/− mice. Thus, our results suggest that TRPM4 is critically involved in migration of BMMCs by regulation of Ca2+-dependent actin cytoskeleton rearrangements.
4f. Nuclear and cytoplasmic free calcium level changes induced by elastin peptides in human endothelial cells
Institut Albert Bonniot, Universite´ J. Fourier, Grenoble, Fr; and Universite´ Paris, Paris, Fr
PNAS: Cell Biology 1998; 95: pp. 2967–2972.

The extracellular matrix protein ‘‘elastin’’ is the major component of elastic fibers present in the arterial wall. Physiological degradation of elastic fibers, enhanced in vascular pathologies, leads to the presence of circulating elastin peptides (EP). EP have been demonstrated to influence cell migration and proliferation. EP also induce, at circulating pathophysiological concentrations (and not below), an endothelium-and NO- dependent vasorelaxation mediated by the 67-kDa subunit of the elastin-laminin receptor. Here, by using the techniques of patch-clamp, spectrofluorimetry and confocal microscopy, we demonstrate that circulating concentrations of EP activate low specificity calcium channels on human umbilical venous endothelial cells, resulting in increase in cytoplasmic and nuclear free calcium concentrations. This action is independent of phosphoinositide metabolism. Furthermore, these effects are inhibited by lactose, an antagonist of the elastin-laminin receptor, and by cytochalasin D, an actin microfilament depolymerizer. These observations suggest that EP-induced signal transduction is mediated by the elastin-laminin receptor via coupling of cytoskeletal actin microfilaments to membrane channels and to the nucleus. Because vascular remodeling and carcinogenesis are accompanied by extracellular matrix modifications involving elastin, the processes here described could play a role in the elastin-laminin receptor-mediated cellular migration, differentiation, proliferation, as in atherogenesis, and metastasis formation.

Part 5. Regulation of the Cytoskeleton

5a Regulation of the Actin Cytoskeleton by PIP2 in Cytokinesis

MR Logan and CA Mandato
McGill University, Montreal, Ca
Biol. Cell (2006) 98, 377–388 [doi:10.1042/BC20050081]

Cytokinesis is a sequential process that occurs in three phases:

  • assembly of the cytokinetic apparatus, 
  • furrow progression and 
  • fission (abscission) of the newly formed daughter cells.

The ingression of the cleavage furrow is dependent on the constriction of an equatorial actomyosin ring in many cell types. Recent studies have demonstrated that this structure is highly dynamic and undergoes active polymerization and depolymerization throughout the furrowing process. Despite much progress in the identification of contractile ring components, little is known regarding the mechanism of its assembly and structural rearrangements. PIP2 (phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate) is a critical regulator of actin dynamics and plays an essential role in cell motility and adhesion. Recent studies have indicated that an elevation of PIP2 at the cleavage furrow is a critical event for furrow stability. We discuss the role of PIP2-mediated signaling in the structural maintenance of the contractile ring and furrow progression. In addition, we address the role of other phosphoinositides, PI(4)P (phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate) and PIP3 (phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate) in these processes.

Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton by PIPKs (phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinases) and PIP2 (phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate)

PIP2 is generated by the activity of type I (PIPKIs) or type II (PIPKII) kinase isoforms (α, β, γ) which utilize PI(4)P (phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate) and PI(5)P (phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate) as substrates respectively. PIPKIs are localized to the plasma membrane and are thought to account for the majority of PIP2 synthesis, whereas PIPKIIs are predominantly localized to intracellular sites. PIP2 plays a key role in re-structuring the actin cytoskeleton in several ways. In general, high levels of PIP2 are associated with actin polymerization, whereas low levels block assembly or promote actin severing activity. PIP2 facilitates actin polymerization in multiple ways such as:

(i) activating N-WASp (neuronal Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome protein)- and Arp2/3 (actin-related protein 2/3)-mediated actin branching, 
(ii) binding and impairing the activity of actin-severing proteins, such as gelsolin and cofilin/ADF (actin depolymerizing factor); and
(iii) uncapping actin filaments for the addition on new actin monomers

This polymerization signal is counteracted by the generation of IP3 (inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate) and DAG (diacylglycerol), following PLC (phospholipase C)-mediated hydrolysis of PIP2. IP3-mediated activation of Ca2+/CaM (calmodulin) promotes the activation of severing proteins such as gelsolins and cofilin, which lead to solubilization of the actin network (Figure 1). In addition to influencing actin polymerization, PIP2 modulates the function of several actin cross-linking and regulatory proteins which are critical for the assembly of stress fibres, gel meshworks and membrane attachment. For example, PIP2 negatively regulates cross-linking mediated by filamin and the actin-bundling activity of α-actinin. In contrast, PIP2 induces conformational changes in vinculin, talin and ERM (ezrin/radixin/moesin) family proteins to promote anchoring of the actin cytoskeleton to the plasma membrane. PLC-mediated hydrolysis of PIP2 and the downstream activation of Ca2+/CaM and PKC (protein kinase C) also influences actin-myosin based contractility. Ca2+/CaM activates MLCK (myosin regulatory light chain kinase), leading to phosphorylation of the MLC (myosin regulatory light chain). Similarly, PKC has been shown to phosphorylate and activate MLC (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Summary of PIP2-mediated regulation of the actin cytoskeleton

Role of PIP2-mediated signaling in cell division

Prior to cell division cells undergo a global cell rounding which is a prerequisite step for the initiation of the cleavage furrow. In frog, sea urchin and newt eggs these shape changes correlate with an increase in cortical tension that precedes or occurs near the onset of the cleavage furrow.  Precise mapping of the changes in cortical tension have shown that peaks of tension are propagated in waves that occur in front of and at the same time as furrow initiation. These tension waves are generated by actomyosin-based contractility and subside after the furrow has passed. Experiments in Xenopus eggs, zebrafish and  Xenopus embryos indicated that site-specific Ca2+ waves were generated within the cleavage furrow that would be predicted to coincide with peaks of cortical tension. The injection of heparin, a competitive inhibitor of IP3 receptors, or Ca2+ chelators were both demonstrated to significantly delay or arrest furrowing , and a similar inhibitory effect was observed of microinjected PIP2 antibodies that caused a depletion of the intracellular pool of DAG and Ca2+ in Xenopus blastomeres. In addition, the increase in cortical contractility of Xenopus oocytes has been shown to occur via a PKC-dependent pathway. Together, these studies demonstrate a role for PIP2-mediated signaling at the early stages of cytokinesis.
Recent studies have supported that PIP2-mediated signaling also plays a critical role in ingression of the cleavage furrow, although significant differences have been shown in the localization of PIP2 and the role of PLC. Lithium and the PLC inhibitor, U73122, caused a rapid (within minutes) regression of cleavage furrows in crane fly spermatocytes, but did not block their initial formation. PIP2 may become concentrated within the cleavage furrow and could facilitate anchoring of the plasma membrane to structural components of the actomyosin ring. A PIPKI homologue, its3, and PIP2 were reported at the septum of dividing fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. A temperature sensitive mutant of its3 exhibited disrupted actin patches, following a shift to the restrictive temperature, and also impaired cytokinesis. Although a contractile ring was still evident in these cells, abnormalities, such as an extra ring, were found. Two recent studies demonstrated an increase in PIP2-specific GFP-labeled PH domains within the cleavage furrow of mammalian cells. Both of these reports suggested de novo synthesis of PIP2 occurs within the furrow. Another study found that endogenous and over-expressed PIPKIβ, but not PIPKIγ, concentrated in the cleavage furrow of CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cells. The expression of a kinase-dead mutant of this isoform and microinjection of PIP2-specific antibodies both caused a significant increase in the number of multinucleated cells. A multinucleated phenotype was, similarly, observed in multiple cell lines (CHO, HeLa, NIH 3T3 and 293T) transfected with high levels of PIP2-specific PH domains, synaptojanin [which dephosphorylates PIP2 to PI(4)P], or a kinase-dead mutant of PIPKIα. In addition, a small percentage of CHO and HeLa cells expressing high levels of PIP2-specific PH domains or synaptojanin showed signs of F-actin dissociation from the plasma membrane.  CHO cells transfected with PIP2 PH domains, but not PH domains specific for PI(3,4)P2 (phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate) and PIP3, also exhibited impaired furrow expansion induced by the application of hypotonic buffer. This suggests one of the primary roles of PIP2 is to promote cytoskeleton–membrane anchoring at the furrow.
Role of PI3Ks (phosphoinositide 3-kinases) and PI4Ks (phosphoinositide 4-kinases) in cytokinesis PI4Ks generate the PIPKI substrate, PI(4)P, and play a critical role in PIP2 generation.  Studies in lower organisms support  the requirement of PI4Ks for cytokinesis. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae two PI4Ks, STT4 and PIK1, have non-overlapping functions in Golgi-tomembrane trafficking and cell-wall integrity respectively.  Both genes are also required for cell division. Conditional mutants of Pik1p exhibited a cytokinesis defect: cells arrest with large buds and fully divided nuclei. In addition, STT4 was identified as a gene implicated in reorientation of the mitotic spindle prior to cytokinesis.  Spermatocytes derived from fwd mutant males had unstable furrows that failed to ingress and abnormal contractile rings with dissociated myosin II and F-actin, fwd has homology with yeast PIK1 and human PI4KIIIβ. Although PIK1 is an essential gene in yeast, the deletion of fwd was not lethal and female flies were fertile.  A study in fission yeast suggests that PI4Ks may be recruited to the furrow, as reported for PIPKs. Desautels et al. (2001) identified a PI4K as a binding partner of Cdc4p, a contractile ring protein with homology to the myosin essential light chain. A Cdc4p mutant, G107S, abolished the interaction with PI4K and induced the formation of multinucleated cells with defects in septum formation. This finding suggests that, at least for fission yeast, anchoring of PI4K to the contractile ring may concentrate PI(4)P substrate within the furrow for subsequent PIP2 generation.
An increased synthesis of PIP2 by PIPKIs at the cleavage furrow is anticipated to promote both actin polymerization and structural support to the contractile ring. Structural proteins of the contractile ring regulated by PIP2 include anillin, septin and ERM proteins. The concentration of PIP2 at the cleavage furrow is postulated to be a critical molecule in the recruitment of these proteins and their integration with the actomyosin ring. Anillin exhibits actin-bundling activity and is required at the terminal stages of cytokinesis in Drosophila and human cells.  The depletion of anillin in Drosophila and human cells causes cytokinesis failure, which is correlated with uncoordinated actomyosin contraction of the medial ring. Anillin also functions as a cofactor to promote the recruitment of septins to actin bundles. Mutations within the PH domain of anillin were recently demonstrated to impair septin localization to both the furrow canal and the contractile ring in Drosophila cells, blocking cellularization and furrow progression. Septins have also been shown to bind to phosphoinositides and this interaction regulates their subcellular localization. The mammalian septin, H5, bound PIP2 and PIP3 liposomes at its N-terminal basic region, which is conserved in most septin proteins. The over-expression of synaptojanin and treatment with neomycin (which depletes cellular PIP2) both caused disruption of actin stress fibres and dissociation of H5 from filamentous structures in Swiss 3T3 cells. Septins are co-localized with actin at the cleavage furrow and form ring structures that are postulated to structurally support  the contractile ring.
Studies suggest that PLC-mediated hydrolysis of PIP2 and the subsequent release of intracellular Ca2+ stores is a necessary event for furrow stability and ingression.  A role for Ca2+ is similarly supported by previous findings that Ca2+ waves were localized to the cleavage furrow in frog embryos, eggs and fish. PLC second messengers have also been implicated in cytokinesis. For example, CaM was localized to mitotic spindles of HeLa cells and the inhibition of its activity was reported to cause cytokinesis defects. A recent RNAi (RNA interference) screen also identified PI4Ks and PIPKs, but not PLC genes, as critical proteins for cytokinesis in Drosophila.  This may indicate PLC is required for completion of furrowing, rather than its initiation.
It is hypothesized that PLC activity may promote actin filament severing through the activation of Ca2+-dependent actin-severing proteins, such as gelsolin and cofilin. Depending on the localization of PLC, this could either drive disassembly of actin filaments of the medial ring or the cortical actin network. Furthermore, the activation of PKC and CaM would activate actomyosin contraction via the phosphorylation of MLCK. At the furrow, PKC and CaM could act in concert with the Rho effectors ROCK and Citron kinase, which also phosphorylate and activate MLC.
The activation of CaM and/or PKC may also provide positive feedback for the recruitment of PIP2 effectors and regulate GTPase-mediated actin polymerization. Both PKC and CaM have been shown to promote the dissociation of MARCKS (myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrates) family proteins from PIP2. MARCKS are postulated to play a major regulatory role in phosphoinositide signalling by sequestering PIP2 at the membrane. Thus the activation of PKC and CaM promotes PIP2 availability for the recruitment of PH-domain-containing effector proteins. Studies in yeast and mammalian cells have supported that CaM and PKC can mediate positive feedback for PIP2 synthesis by activating PIPKs.

Signaling Crosstalk: Role of GTPases and Phosphoinositides

On the basis of the present available data, PIP2 has been shown to be a critical molecule for structural integrity of the contractile ring and furrow stability. However, the observation that furrows are initiated in cells treated with agents that either sequester PIP2 or prevent its hydrolysis suggests PIP2 does not provide the originating signal for furrow formation. Recent studies suggest that the recruitment and activation of RhoA may provide this early signal.

Figure 2 Proposed model of PIP2 and GTPase signaling at the cleavage furrow

Ect2, is recruited to the cleavage furrow via its interaction withMgcRacGAP at the central spindle. Ect2 and MgcRacGAP regulate the activities of Rho GTPases (RhoA, Cdc42 and Rac) and are functionally implicated in the assembly of the contractile ring. Active RhoA and Cdc42 are increased at the furrow, whereas Rac is suppressed (grey). Furrow-recruited GTPases (RhoA, ARF6 and Cdc42) are predicted to activate PIPKI, leading to the generation of PIP2. PI3K activity is suppressed at the furrow (grey), which may be due to MgcRacGAP-mediated inhibition of Rac and/or the activity of the PIP3 phosphatase, PTEN. Cycles of PIP2 synthesis and hydrolysis by PLC are thought to play a critical role in re-structuring the contractile ring throughout the duration of furrowing. PIP2-mediated activation of anillin, septins and ERM proteins promotes cross-linking and membrane anchoring of the contractile ring. PLC-mediated activation of PKC and CaM can facilitate the contraction of the actomyosin ring, similar to RhoA effectors, ROCK and Citron kinase. CaM may also regulate IQGAP–Cdc42 interactions, and thereby modulate actin organization. It is hypothesized that Cdc42-mediated actin polymerization via effectors, such as N-WASp (neuronalWiskott–Aldrich syndrome protein) and Arp2/3 (actin-related protein 2/3), may reduce membrane tension outside the inner region of RhoA-mediated contractility.
Actin core bundle fimbrin

Actin core bundle fimbrin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Diagram showing Actin-Myosin filament...

English: Diagram showing Actin-Myosin filaments in Smooth muscle. The actin fibers attach to the cell wall and to dense bodies in the cytoplasm. When activated the slide over the myosin bundles causing shortening of the cell walls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Figure 2: The matrix can play into ot...

English: Figure 2: The matrix can play into other pathways inside the cell even through just its physical state. Matrix immobilization inhibits the formation of fibrillar adhesions and matrix reorganization. Likewise, players of other signaling pathways inside the cell can affect the structure of the cytoskeleton and thereby the cell’s interaction with the ECM. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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