bims-ginsta Biomed News
on Genome instability
Issue of 2023‒09‒03
24 papers selected by
Jinrong Hu, National University of Singapore

  1. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2023 Aug 30. pii: S0959-440X(23)00168-9. [Epub ahead of print]82 102694
      Centromeres are chromosomal regions that provide the foundation for microtubule attachment during chromosome segregation. Centromeres are epigenetically defined by nucleosomes containing the histone H3 variant centromere protein A (CENP-A) and, in many organisms, are surrounded by transcriptionally repressed pericentromeric chromatin marked by trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3). Pericentromeric regions facilitate sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis, thereby supporting centromere function. Heterochromatin has a known propensity to spread into adjacent euchromatic domains unless it is properly bounded. Heterochromatin spreading into the centromere can disrupt kinetochore function, perturbing chromosome segregation and genome stability. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, tRNA genes provide barriers to heterochromatin spread at the centromere, the absence of which results in abnormal meiotic chromosome segregation. How heterochromatin-centromere boundaries are established in humans is not understood. We propose models for stable epigenetic inheritance of centromeric domains in humans and discuss advances that will enable the discovery of novel regulators of this process.
  2. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 18. pii: 2023.08.17.553729. [Epub ahead of print]
      In dividing cells, accurate chromosome segregation depends on sister chromatid cohesion, protein linkages that are established during DNA replication. Faithful chromosome segregation in oocytes requires that cohesion, first established in S phase, remain intact for days to decades, depending on the organism. Premature loss of meiotic cohesion in oocytes leads to the production of aneuploid gametes and contributes to the increased incidence of meiotic segregation errors as women age (maternal age effect). The prevailing model is that cohesive linkages do not turn over in mammalian oocytes. However, we have previously reported that cohesion-related defects arise in Drosophila oocytes when individual cohesin subunits or cohesin regulators are knocked down after meiotic S phase. Here we use two strategies to express a tagged cohesin subunit exclusively during mid-prophase in Drosophila oocytes and demonstrate that newly expressed cohesin is used to form de novo linkages after meiotic S phase. Moreover, nearly complete turnover of chromosome-associated cohesin occurs during meiotic prophase, with faster replacement on the arms than at the centromeres. Unlike S-phase cohesion establishment, the formation of new cohesive linkages during meiotic prophase does not require acetylation of conserved lysines within the Smc3 head. Our findings indicate that maintenance of cohesion between S phase and chromosome segregation in Drosophila oocytes requires an active cohesion rejuvenation program that generates new cohesive linkages during meiotic prophase.
  3. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 01. 14(1): 5317
      Accurate chromosome segregation in mitosis depends on multiprotein structures called kinetochores that are built on the centromeric region of sister chromatids and serve to capture mitotic spindle microtubules. In early mitosis, unattached kinetochores expand a crescent-shaped structure called fibrous corona whose function is to facilitate initial kinetochore-microtubule attachments and chromosome transport by microtubules. Subsequently, the fibrous corona must be timely disassembled to prevent segregation errors. Although recent studies provided new insights on the molecular content and mechanism of fibrous corona assembly, it remains unknown what triggers the disassembly of the outermost and dynamic layer of the kinetochore. Here, we show that Aurora A and B kinases phosphorylate CENP-E to release it from an autoinhibited state. At kinetochores, Aurora B phosphorylates CENP-E to prevent its premature removal together with other corona proteins by dynein. At the spindle poles, Aurora A phosphorylates CENP-E to promote chromosome congression and prevent accumulation of corona proteins at the centrosomes, allowing for their intracellular redistribution. Thus, we propose the Aurora A/B-CENP-E axis as a critical element of the long-sought-for mechanism of fibrous corona disassembly that is essential for accurate chromosome segregation.
  4. J Cell Biol. 2023 11 06. pii: e202303123. [Epub ahead of print]222(11):
      In response to chromatin bridges, the abscission checkpoint delays completion of cytokinesis to prevent chromosome breakage or tetraploidization. Here, we show that spontaneous or replication stress-induced chromatin bridges exhibit "knots" of catenated and overtwisted DNA next to the midbody. Topoisomerase IIα (Top2α) forms abortive Top2-DNA cleavage complexes (Top2ccs) on DNA knots; furthermore, impaired Top2α-DNA cleavage activity correlates with chromatin bridge breakage in cytokinesis. Proteasomal degradation of Top2ccs is required for Rad17 localization to Top2-generated double-strand DNA ends on DNA knots; in turn, Rad17 promotes local recruitment of the MRN complex and downstream ATM-Chk2-INCENP signaling to delay abscission and prevent chromatin breakage. In contrast, dicentric chromosomes that do not exhibit knotted DNA fail to activate the abscission checkpoint in human cells. These findings are the first to describe a mechanism by which the abscission checkpoint detects chromatin bridges, through generation of abortive Top2ccs on DNA knots, to preserve genome integrity.
  5. Transcription. 2023 Sep 01. 1-21
      The preservation of gene expression patterns that define cellular identity throughout the cell division cycle is essential to perpetuate cellular lineages. However, the progression of cells through different phases of the cell cycle severely disrupts chromatin accessibility, epigenetic marks, and the recruitment of transcriptional regulators. Notably, chromatin is transiently disassembled during S-phase and undergoes drastic condensation during mitosis, which is a significant challenge to the preservation of gene expression patterns between cell generations. This article delves into the specific gene expression and chromatin regulatory mechanisms that facilitate the preservation of transcriptional identity during replication and mitosis. Furthermore, we emphasize our recent findings revealing the unconventional role of yeast centromeres and mitotic chromosomes in maintaining transcriptional fidelity beyond mitosis.
    Keywords:  Cell Fate; Cell cycle; centromere; chromatin; mitosis; replication; transcription memory
  6. Cell Rep. 2023 Aug 31. pii: S2211-1247(23)01069-0. [Epub ahead of print]42(9): 113058
      Neuropeptides and peptide hormones are ancient, widespread signaling molecules that underpin almost all brain functions. They constitute a broad ligand-receptor network, mainly by binding to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). However, the organization of the peptidergic network and roles of many peptides remain elusive, as our insight into peptide-receptor interactions is limited and many peptide GPCRs are still orphan receptors. Here we report a genome-wide peptide-GPCR interaction map in Caenorhabditis elegans. By reverse pharmacology screening of over 55,384 possible interactions, we identify 461 cognate peptide-GPCR couples that uncover a broad signaling network with specific and complex combinatorial interactions encoded across and within single peptidergic genes. These interactions provide insights into peptide functions and evolution. Combining our dataset with phylogenetic analysis supports peptide-receptor co-evolution and conservation of at least 14 bilaterian peptidergic systems in C. elegans. This resource lays a foundation for system-wide analysis of the peptidergic network.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; CP: Cell biology; CP: Neuroscience; GPCR; interactome; neuropeptide; reverse pharmacology
  7. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 Aug 31.
      Ribosome assembly is orchestrated by many assembly factors, including ribosomal RNA methyltransferases, whose precise role is poorly understood. Here, we leverage the power of cryo-EM and machine learning to discover that the E. coli methyltransferase KsgA performs a 'proofreading' function in the assembly of the small ribosomal subunit by recognizing and partially disassembling particles that have matured but are not competent for translation. We propose that this activity allows inactive particles an opportunity to reassemble into an active state, thereby increasing overall assembly fidelity. Detailed structural quantifications in our datasets additionally enabled the expansion of the Nomura assembly map to highlight rRNA helix and r-protein interdependencies, detailing how the binding and docking of these elements are tightly coupled. These results have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of the quality-control mechanisms governing ribosome biogenesis and showcase the power of heterogeneity analysis in cryo-EM to unveil functionally relevant information in biological systems.
  8. PLoS Genet. 2023 Aug 28. 19(8): e1010854
      Transcription of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) by RNA Polymerase (Pol) I in the nucleolus is necessary for ribosome biogenesis, which is intimately tied to cell growth and proliferation. Perturbation of ribosome biogenesis results in tissue specific disorders termed ribosomopathies in association with alterations in nucleolar structure. However, how rRNA transcription and ribosome biogenesis regulate nucleolar structure during normal development and in the pathogenesis of disease remains poorly understood. Here we show that homozygous null mutations in Pol I subunits required for rRNA transcription and ribosome biogenesis lead to preimplantation lethality. Moreover, we discovered that Polr1a-/-, Polr1b-/-, Polr1c-/- and Polr1d-/- mutants exhibit defects in the structure of their nucleoli, as evidenced by a decrease in number of nucleolar precursor bodies and a concomitant increase in nucleolar volume, which results in a single condensed nucleolus. Pharmacological inhibition of Pol I in preimplantation and midgestation embryos, as well as in hiPSCs, similarly results in a single condensed nucleolus or fragmented nucleoli. We find that when Pol I function and rRNA transcription is inhibited, the viscosity of the granular compartment of the nucleolus increases, which disrupts its phase separation properties, leading to a single condensed nucleolus. However, if a cell progresses through mitosis, the absence of rRNA transcription prevents reassembly of the nucleolus and manifests as fragmented nucleoli. Taken together, our data suggests that Pol I function and rRNA transcription are required for maintaining nucleolar structure and integrity during development and in the pathogenesis of disease.
  9. J Cell Biol. 2023 Nov 06. pii: e202211029. [Epub ahead of print]222(11):
      Asymmetric meiotic divisions in oocytes rely on spindle positioning in close vicinity to the cortex. In metaphase II mouse oocytes, eccentric spindle positioning triggers cortical polarization, including the build-up of an actin cap surrounded by a ring of activated myosin II. While the role of the actin cap in promoting polar body formation is established, ring myosin II activation mechanisms and functions have remained elusive. Here, we show that ring myosin II activation requires myotonic dystrophy kinase-related Cdc42-binding kinase (MRCK), downstream of polarized Cdc42. MRCK inhibition resulted in spindle rotation defects during anaphase II, precluding polar body extrusion. Remarkably, disengagement of segregated chromatids from the anaphase spindle could rescue rotation. We further show that the MRCK/myosin II pathway is activated in the fertilization cone and is required for male pronucleus migration toward the center of the zygote. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanism of myosin II activation in oocytes and its role in orchestrating asymmetric division and pronucleus centration.
  10. Mol Biol Cell. 2023 Aug 30. mbcE23050164
      Most eukaryotic cells utilize clathrin-mediated endocytosis as well as multiple clathrin-independent pathways to internalize proteins and membranes. Although clathrin-mediated endocytosis has been studied extensively and many machinery proteins have been identified, clathrin-independent pathways remain poorly characterized by comparison. We previously identified the first known yeast clathrin-independent endocytic pathway, which relies on the actin-modulating GTPase Rho1, the formin Bni1 and unbranched actin filaments, but does not require the clathrin coat or core clathrin machinery proteins. In this study, we sought to better understand clathrin-independent endocytosis in yeast by exploring the role of myosins as actin-based motors, since actin is required for endocytosis in yeast. We find that Myo2, which transports secretory vesicles, organelles and microtubules along actin cables to sites of polarized growth, participates in clathrin-independent endocytosis. Unexpectedly, the ability of Myo2 to transport microtubule plus ends to the cell cortex appears to be required for its role in clathrin-independent endocytosis. In addition, dynein, dynactin and proteins involved in cortical microtubule capture are also required. Thus, our results suggest that interplay between actin and microtubules contributes to clathrin-independent internalization in yeast.
  11. Dev Cell. 2023 Aug 23. pii: S1534-5807(23)00399-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a thermogenic organ that protects animals against hypothermia and obesity. BAT derives from the multipotent paraxial mesoderm; however, the identity of embryonic brown fat progenitor cells and regulators of adipogenic commitment are unclear. Here, we performed single-cell gene expression analyses of mesenchymal cells during mouse embryogenesis with a focus on BAT development. We identified cell populations associated with the development of BAT, including Dpp4+ cells that emerge at the onset of adipogenic commitment. Immunostaining and lineage-tracing studies show that Dpp4+ cells constitute the BAT fascia and contribute minorly as adipocyte progenitors. Additionally, we identified the transcription factor GATA6 as a marker of brown adipogenic progenitor cells. Deletion of Gata6 in the brown fat lineage resulted in a striking loss of BAT. Together, these results identify progenitor and transitional cells in the brown adipose lineage and define a crucial role for GATA6 in BAT development.
    Keywords:  DPP4; EBF2; GATA6; UCP1; adipose tissue; brown adipocyte; brown adipocyte development; brown adipogenesis; progenitor
  12. Development. 2023 08 15. pii: dev200271. [Epub ahead of print]150(16):
      The vasculature consists of vessels of different sizes that are arranged in a hierarchical pattern. Two cell populations work in concert to establish this pattern during embryonic development and adopt it to changes in blood flow demand later in life: endothelial cells that line the inner surface of blood vessels, and adjacent vascular mural cells, including smooth muscle cells and pericytes. Despite recent progress in elucidating the signalling pathways controlling their crosstalk, much debate remains with regard to how mural cells influence endothelial cell biology and thereby contribute to the regulation of blood vessel formation and diameters. In this Review, I discuss mural cell functions and their interactions with endothelial cells, focusing on how these interactions ensure optimal blood flow patterns. Subsequently, I introduce the signalling pathways controlling mural cell development followed by an overview of mural cell ontogeny with an emphasis on the distinguishing features of mural cells located on different types of blood vessels. Ultimately, I explore therapeutic strategies involving mural cells to alleviate tissue ischemia and improve vascular efficiency in a variety of diseases.
    Keywords:  Pericytes; Smooth muscle cell; Vascular mural cell
  13. Angiogenesis. 2023 Aug 28.
      Following the process of vasculogenesis during development, angiogenesis generates new vascular structures through a variety of different mechanisms or modes. These different modes of angiogenesis involve, for example, increasing microvasculature density by sprouting of endothelial cells, splitting of vessels to increase vascular surface area by intussusceptive angiogenesis, fusion of capillaries to increase blood flow by coalescent angiogenesis, and the recruitment of non-endothelial cells by vasculogenic mimicry. The recent reporting on coalescent angiogenesis as a new mode of vessel formation warrants a brief overview of angiogenesis mechanisms to provide a more complete picture. The journal Angiogenesis is devoted to the delineation of the different modes and mechanisms that collectively dictate blood vessel formation, inhibition, and function in health and disease.
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 05. 120(36): e2300305120
      The vanilloid receptor TRPV1 is an exquisite nociceptive sensor of noxious heat, but its temperature-sensing mechanism is yet to define. Thermodynamics dictate that this channel must undergo an unusually energetic allosteric transition. Thus, it is of fundamental importance to measure directly the energetics of this transition in order to properly decipher its temperature-sensing mechanism. Previously, using submillisecond temperature jumps and patch-clamp recording, we estimated that the heat activation for TRPV1 opening incurs an enthalpy change on the order of 100 kcal/mol. Although this energy is on a scale unparalleled by other known biological receptors, the generally imperfect allosteric coupling in proteins implies that the actual amount of heat uptake driving the TRPV1 transition could be much larger. In this paper, we apply differential scanning calorimetry to directly monitor the heat flow in TRPV1 that accompanies its temperature-induced conformational transition. Our measurements show that heat invokes robust, complex thermal transitions in TRPV1 that include both channel opening and a partial protein unfolding transition and that these two processes are inherently coupled. Our findings support that irreversible protein unfolding, which is generally thought to be destructive to physiological function, is essential to TRPV1 thermal transduction and, possibly, to other strongly temperature-dependent processes in biology.
    Keywords:  Vanilloid receptor; ion channel gating; nociceptor; protein denaturation; temperature receptor
  15. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 Aug 31.
      Translation affects messenger RNA stability and, in yeast, this is mediated by the Ccr4-Not deadenylation complex. The details of this process in mammals remain unclear. Here, we use cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and crosslinking mass spectrometry to show that mammalian CCR4-NOT specifically recognizes ribosomes that are stalled during translation elongation in an in vitro reconstituted system with rabbit and human components. Similar to yeast, mammalian CCR4-NOT inserts a helical bundle of its CNOT3 subunit into the empty E site of the ribosome. Our cryo-EM structure shows that CNOT3 also locks the L1 stalk in an open conformation to inhibit further translation. CCR4-NOT is required for stable association of the nonconstitutive subunit CNOT4, which ubiquitinates the ribosome, likely to signal stalled translation elongation. Overall, our work shows that human CCR4-NOT not only detects but also enforces ribosomal stalling to couple translation and mRNA decay.
  16. Sci Adv. 2023 Sep;9(35): eadh2154
      Biological systems are inherently noisy; however, they produce highly stereotyped tissue morphology. Drosophila pupal wings show a highly stereotypic folding through uniform expansion and subsequent buckling of wing epithelium within a surrounding cuticle sac. The folding pattern produced by buckling is generally stochastic; it is thus unclear how buckling leads to stereotypic tissue folding of the wings. We found that the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein, Dumpy, guides the position and direction of buckling-induced folds. Dumpy anchors the wing epithelium to the overlying cuticle at specific tissue positions. Tissue-wide alterations of Dumpy deposition and degradation yielded different buckling patterns. In summary, we propose that spatiotemporal ECM remodeling shapes stereotyped tissue folding through dynamic interactions between the epithelium and its external structures.
  17. Nat Metab. 2023 Aug 28.
      Amino acid homeostasis is critical for many cellular processes. It is well established that amino acids are compartmentalized using pH gradients generated between organelles and the cytoplasm; however, the dynamics of this partitioning has not been explored. Here we develop a highly sensitive pH reporter and find that the major amino acid storage compartment in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the lysosome-like vacuole, alkalinizes before cell division and re-acidifies as cells divide. The vacuolar pH dynamics require the uptake of extracellular amino acids and activity of TORC1, the v-ATPase and the cycling of the vacuolar specific lipid phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate, which is regulated by the cyclin-dependent kinase Pho85 (CDK5 in mammals). Vacuolar pH regulation enables amino acid sequestration and mobilization from the organelle, which is important for mitochondrial function, ribosome homeostasis and cell size control. Collectively, our data provide a new paradigm for the use of dynamic pH-dependent amino acid compartmentalization during cell growth/division.
  18. Genome Res. 2023 Aug 31.
      Copy number variants (CNVs), duplications and deletions of genomic sequences, contribute to evolutionary adaptation but can also confer deleterious effects and cause disease. Whereas the effects of amplifying individual genes or whole chromosomes (i.e., aneuploidy) have been studied extensively, much less is known about the genetic and functional effects of CNVs of differing sizes and structures. Here, we investigated Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) strains that acquired adaptive CNVs of variable structures and copy numbers following experimental evolution in glutamine-limited chemostats. Although beneficial in the selective environment, CNVs result in decreased fitness compared with the euploid ancestor in rich media. We used transposon mutagenesis to investigate mutational tolerance and genome-wide genetic interactions in CNV strains. We find that CNVs increase mutational target size, confer increased mutational tolerance in amplified essential genes, and result in novel genetic interactions with unlinked genes. We validated a novel genetic interaction between different CNVs and BMH1 that was common to multiple strains. We also analyzed global gene expression and found that transcriptional dosage compensation does not affect most genes amplified by CNVs, although gene-specific transcriptional dosage compensation does occur for ∼12% of amplified genes. Furthermore, we find that CNV strains do not show previously described transcriptional signatures of aneuploidy. Our study reveals the extent to which local and global mutational tolerance is modified by CNVs with implications for genome evolution and CNV-associated diseases, such as cancer.
  19. Autophagy. 2023 Aug 31. 1-2
      Reticulophagy is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism essential to maintain the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis. A series of studies identified a panel of reticulophagy receptors. However, it remains unclear how these receptors sense upstream signals for spatiotemporal control of reticulophagy and how ER is fragmented into small pieces for sequestration into phagophores. Recently, we and others showed that the oligomerization of RETREG1/FAM134B (reticulophagy regulator 1), an reticulophagy receptor, triggers the scission of ER membrane to facilitate reticulophagy. Furthermore, we demonstrated that upstream signals are transduced by sequential phosphorylation and acetylation of RETREG1, which stimulate its oligomerization, ER fragmentation and reticulophagy. Our work provides further mechanistic insights into how reticulophagy receptor conveys cellular signals to fine-tune of ER homeostasis.Abbreviations: ER, endoplasmic reticulum; MAP1LC3, microtubule-associated protein light chain 3; RETREG1, reticulophagy regulator 1; RHD, reticulon-homology domain.
    Keywords:  RETREG1; acetylation; membrane fragmentation; phosphorylation; reticulophagy
  20. PLoS Biol. 2023 Aug 31. 21(8): e3002276
      Interorgan communication is crucial for multicellular organismal growth, development, and homeostasis. Cell nonautonomous inhibitory cues, which limit tissue-specific growth alterations, are not well characterized due to cell ablation approach limitations. In this study, we employed the auxin-inducible degradation system in C. elegans to temporally and spatially modulate ribosome biogenesis, through depletion of essential factors (RPOA-2, GRWD-1, or TSR-2). Our findings reveal that embryo-wide inhibition of ribosome biogenesis induces a reversible early larval growth quiescence, distinguished by a unique gene expression signature that is different from starvation or dauer stages. When ribosome biogenesis is inhibited in volumetrically similar tissues, including body wall muscle, epidermis, pharynx, intestine, or germ line, it results in proportionally stunted growth across the organism to different degrees. We show that specifically inhibiting ribosome biogenesis in the epidermis is sufficient to trigger an organism-wide growth quiescence. Epidermis-specific ribosome depletion led to larval growth quiescence at the L3 stage, reduced organism-wide protein synthesis, and induced cell nonautonomous gene expression alterations. Further molecular analysis reveals overexpression of secreted proteins, suggesting an organism-wide regulatory mechanism. We find that UNC-31, a dense-core vesicle (DCV) pathway component, plays a significant role in epidermal ribosome biogenesis-mediated growth quiescence. Our tissue-specific knockdown experiments reveal that the organism-wide growth quiescence induced by epidermal-specific ribosome biogenesis inhibition is suppressed by reducing unc-31 expression in the epidermis, but not in neurons or body wall muscles. Similarly, IDA-1, a membrane-associated protein of the DCV, is overexpressed, and its knockdown in epidermis suppresses the organism-wide growth quiescence in response to epidermal ribosome biogenesis inhibition. Finally, we observe an overall increase in DCV puncta labeled by IDA-1 when epidermal ribosome biogenesis is inhibited, and these puncta are present in or near epidermal cells. In conclusion, these findings suggest a novel mechanism of nutrition-independent multicellular growth coordination initiated from the epidermis tissue upon ribosome biogenesis inhibition.
  21. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 17. pii: 2023.08.16.553618. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mechanotransduction is the process by which a mechanical force, such as touch, is converted into an electrical signal. Transmembrane channel-like (TMC) proteins are an evolutionarily-conserved family of ion channels whose function has been linked to a variety of mechanosensory processes, including hearing and balance sensation in vertebrates and locomotion in Drosophila . The molecular features that tune homologous TMC ion channel complexes to diverse mechanical stimuli are unknown. Caenorhabditis elegans express two TMC homologs, TMC-1 and TMC-2, both of which are the likely pore-forming subunits of mechanosensitive ion channels but differ in their expression pattern and functional role in the worm. Here we present the single particle cryo-electron microscopy structure of the native TMC-2 complex isolated from C. elegans . The complex is composed of two copies each of the pore-forming TMC-2 subunit, the calcium and integrin binding protein CALM-1 and the transmembrane inner ear protein TMIE. Comparison of the TMC-2 complex to the recently published cryo-EM structure of the C. elegans TMC-1 complex reveals differences in subunit composition and highlights conserved protein-lipid interactions, as well as other structural features, that together suggest a mechanism for TMC-mediated mechanosensory transduction.Significance Statement: One mechanism by which organisms sense their environment is through the perception of mechanical stimuli such as sound, touch, and vibration. Transmembrane channel-like (TMC) proteins are ion channels whose function has been linked to a variety of mechanosensitive processes, including hearing and balance in vertebrates and touch sensation in worms. The molecular mechanisms by which TMCs respond to mechanical stimuli are unknown. Here we present the structure of the TMC-2 complex isolated from worms. Comparison of the TMC-2 complex to the recently solved structure of the worm TMC-1 complex highlights common structural features that are likely important for sensing mechanical stimuli yet also illuminates key differences that may explain the distinct functional roles of TMC-1 and TMC-2 in the worm.
  22. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 01. 14(1): 5328
      Protein homeostasis (proteostasis) is crucial for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Impairment of proteostasis activates proteotoxic and unfolded protein response pathways to resolve cellular stress or induce apoptosis in damaged cells. However, the responses of individual tissues to proteotoxic stress and evoking cell death program have not been extensively explored in vivo. Here, we show that a reduction in Nascent polypeptide-associated complex protein alpha subunit (Nacα) specifically and progressively induces cell death in Drosophila fat body cells. Nacα mutants disrupt both ER integrity and the proteasomal degradation system, resulting in caspase activation through JNK and p53. Although forced activation of the JNK and p53 pathways was insufficient to induce cell death in the fat body, the reduction of Nacα sensitized fat body cells to intrinsic and environmental stresses. Reducing overall protein synthesis by mTor inhibition or Minute mutants alleviated the cell death phenotype in Nacα mutant fat body cells. Our work revealed that Nacα is crucial for protecting the fat body from cell death by maintaining cellular proteostasis, thus demonstrating the coexistence of a unique vulnerability and cell death resistance in the fat body.
  23. Development. 2023 Sep 01. pii: dev202046. [Epub ahead of print]150(17):
      Male germ cells undergo a complex sequence of developmental events throughout fetal and postnatal life that culminate in the formation of haploid gametes: the spermatozoa. Errors in these processes result in infertility and congenital abnormalities in offspring. Male germ cell development starts when pluripotent cells undergo specification to sexually uncommitted primordial germ cells, which act as precursors of both oocytes and spermatozoa. Male-specific development subsequently occurs in the fetal testes, resulting in the formation of spermatogonial stem cells: the foundational stem cells responsible for lifelong generation of spermatozoa. Although deciphering such developmental processes is challenging in humans, recent studies using various models and single-cell sequencing approaches have shed new insight into human male germ cell development. Here, we provide an overview of cellular, signaling and epigenetic cascades of events accompanying male gametogenesis, highlighting conserved features and the differences between humans and other model organisms.
    Keywords:   In vitro gametogenesis; Human germline; Primordial germ cells; Pro-spermatogonia
  24. Dev Cell. 2023 Aug 22. pii: S1534-5807(23)00403-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      In multicellular lives, the differentiation of stem cells and progenitor cells is often accompanied by a transition from glycolysis to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). However, the underlying mechanism of this metabolic transition remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigate the role of mechanical stress in activating OXPHOS during differentiation of the female germline cyst in Drosophila. We demonstrate that the surrounding somatic cells flatten the 16-cell differentiating cyst, resulting in an increase of the membrane tension of germ cells inside the cyst. This mechanical stress is necessary to maintain cytosolic Ca2+ concentration in germ cells through a mechanically activated channel, transmembrane channel-like. The sustained cytosolic Ca2+ triggers a CaMKI-Fray-JNK signaling relay, leading to the transcriptional activation of OXPHOS in differentiating cysts. Our findings demonstrate a molecular link between cell mechanics and mitochondrial energy metabolism, with implications for other developmentally orchestrated metabolic transitions in mammals.
    Keywords:  CaMKI; Fray; JNK; Myc; TMC; calcium; mechanotransduction; mitochondria; oogenesis; oxidative phosphorylation