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Kowalczyk K.M.,University of Manchester | Petersen J.,University of Manchester | Petersen J.,Flinders University | Petersen J.,South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2016

Target of Rapamycin (TOR) signalling allows eukaryotic cells to adjust cell growth in response to changes in their nutritional and environmental context. The two distinct TOR complexes (TORC1/2) localise to the cell’s internal membrane compartments; the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi apparatus and lysosomes/vacuoles. Here, we show that Ppk32, a SCYL family pseudo-kinase, is a novel regulator of TOR signalling. The absence of ppk32 expression confers resistance to TOR inhibition. Ppk32 inhibition of TORC1 is critical for cell survival following Brefeldin A (BFA) induced stress. Treatment of wild type cells with either the TORC1 specific inhibitor rapamycin or the general TOR inhibitor Torin1 confirmed that a reduction in TORC1 activity promoted recovery from BFA induced stress. Phosphorylation of Ppk32 on two residues that are conserved within the SCYL pseudo-kinase family are required for this TOR inhibition. Phosphorylation on these sites controls Ppk32 protein levels and sensitivity to BFA. BFA induced ER stress does not account for the response to BFA that we report here, however BFA is also known to induce Golgi stress and impair traffic to lysosomes. In summary, Ppk32 reduce TOR signalling in response to BFA induced stress to support cell survival. © 2016 Kowalczyk, Petersen.

Chen A.C.-H.,Materials Research University of Qld | Martin M.L.,Materials Adult Hospital | Lourie R.,Materials Research University of Qld | Rogers G.B.,South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Background: Non-cystic fibrosis (CF) bronchiectasis is characterised by chronic airway infection and neutrophilic inflammation, which we hypothesised would be associated with Th17 pathway activation. Methods: Th17 pathway cytokines were quantified in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and gene expression of IL-17A, IL-1β, IL-8 and IL-23 determined from endobronchial biopsies (EBx) in 41 stable bronchiectasis subjects and 20 healthy controls. Relationships between IL-17A levels and infection status, important clinical measures and subsequent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection were determined. Results: BALF levels of all Th17 cytokines (median (IQR) pg/mL) were significantly higher in bronchiectasis than control subjects, including IL-17A (1.73 (1.19, 3.23) vs. 0.27 (0.24, 0.35), 95% CI 1.05 to 2.21, p<0.0001) and IL-23 (9.48 (4.79, 15.75) vs. 0.70 (0.43, 1.79), 95% CI 4.68 to 11.21, p<0.0001). However, BALF IL-17A levels were not associated with clinical measures or airway microbiology, nor predictive of subsequent P. aeruginosa infection. Furthermore, gene expression of IL-17A in bronchiectasis EBx did not differ from control. In contrast, gene expression (relative to medians of controls) in bronchiectasis EBx was significantly higher than control for IL1β (4.12 (1.24, 8.05) vs 1 (0.13, 2.95), 95% CI 0.05 to 4.07, p = 0.04) and IL-8 (3.75 (1.64, 11.27) vs 1 (0.54, 3.89), 95% CI 0.32 to 4.87, p = 0.02) and BALF IL-8 and IL-1α levels showed significant relationships with clinical measures and airway microbiology. P. aeruginosa infection was associated with increased levels of IL-8 while Haemophilus influenzae was associated with increased IL-1α. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Established adult non-CF bronchiectasis is characterised by luminal Th17 pathway activation, however this pathway may be relatively less important than activation of non-antigens-pecific innate neutrophilic immunity. © 2015 Chen et al.

Wang X.,University of Southampton | da Mota S.R.,University of Southampton | Liu R.,University of Southampton | Moore C.E.,University of Southampton | And 9 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Biology | Year: 2014

Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), an atypical calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, phosphorylates and inhibits eEF2, slowing down translation elongation. eEF2K contains an N-terminal catalytic domain, a C-terminal α-helical region and a linker containing several regulatory phosphorylation sites. eEF2K is expressed at high levels in certain cancers, where it may act to help cell survival, e.g., during nutrient starvation. However, it is a negative regulator of protein synthesis and thus cell growth, suggesting that cancer cells may possess mechanisms to inhibit eEF2K under good growth conditions, to allow protein synthesis to proceed. We show here that the mTORC1 pathway and the oncogenic Ras/Raf/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway cooperate to restrict eEF2K activity. We identify multiple sites in eEF2K whose phosphorylation is regulated by mTORC1 and/or ERK, including new ones in the linker region. We demonstrate that certain sites are phosphorylated directly by mTOR or ERK. Our data reveal that glycogen synthase kinase 3 signaling also regulates eEF2 phosphorylation. In addition, we show that phosphorylation sites remote from the N-terminal calmodulin-binding motif regulate the phosphorylation of N-terminal sites that control CaM binding. Mutations in the former sites, which occur in cancer cells, cause the activation of eEF2K. eEF2K is thus regulated by a network of oncogenic signaling pathways. © 2014, American Society for Microbiology.

Gargett T.,University of Adelaide | Gargett T.,Hanson Institute | Grubor-Bauk B.,University of Adelaide | Garrod T.J.,University of Adelaide | And 6 more authors.
Immunology and Cell Biology | Year: 2014

The failure of traditional protein-based vaccines to prevent infection by viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C highlights the need for novel vaccine strategies. DNA vaccines have shown promise in small animal models, and are effective at generating anti-viral T cell-mediated immune responses; however, they have proved to be poorly immunogenic in clinical trials. We propose that the induction of necrosis will enhance the immune response to vaccine antigens encoded by DNA vaccines, as necrotic cells are known to release a range of intracellular factors that lead to dendritic cell (DC) activation and enhanced cross-presentation of antigen. Here we provide evidence that induction of cell death in DNA vaccine-targeted cells provides an adjuvant effect following intradermal vaccination of mice; however, this enhancement of the immune response is dependent on both the mechanism and timing of cell death after antigen expression. We report that a DNA vaccine encoding the cytolytic protein, perforin, resulted in DC activation, enhanced broad and multifunctional CD8 T-cell responses to the HIV-1 antigen GAG and reduced viral load following challenge with a chimeric virus, EcoHIV, compared with the canonical GAG DNA vaccine. This effect was not observed for a DNA vaccine encoding an apoptosis-inducing toxin, DTa, or when the level of perforin expression was increased to induce cell death sooner after vaccination. Thus, inducing lytic cell death following a threshold level of expression of a viral antigen can improve the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines, whereas apoptotic cell death has an inhibitory effect on the immune response. © 2014 Australasian Society for Immunology Inc. All rights reserved.

Chambers J.S.,Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine | Chambers J.S.,University of Leeds | Tanaka T.,University of Leeds | Tanaka T.,Dainippon SumitomoPharmaCo. Ltd. | And 13 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2014

The discovery of chromosomal translocations in leukemia/lymphoma and sarcomas presaged a widespread discovery in epithelial tumors. With the advent of new-generation whole-genome sequencing, many consistent chromosomal abnormalities have been described together with putative driver and passenger mutations. The multiple genetic changes required in mouse models to assess the interrelationship of abnormalities and other mutations are severe limitations. Here, we show that sequential gene targeting of embryonic stem cells can be used to yield progenitor cells to generate chimeric offspring carrying all the genetic changes needed for cellspecific cancer. Illustrating the technology, we show that MLL-ENL fusion is sufficient for lethal leukocytosis and proof of genome integrity comes from germline transmission of the sequentially targeted alleles. This accelerated technology leads to a reduction in mouse numbers (contributing significantly to the 3Rs), allows fluorescence tagging of cancer-initiating cells, and provides a flexible platform for interrogating the interaction of chromosomal abnormalities with mutations. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.

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