CoA synthase regulates mitotic fidelity via CBP-mediated acetylation.


The temporal activation of kinases and timely ubiquitin-mediated degradation is central to faithful mitosis. Here we present evidence that acetylation controlled by Coenzyme A synthase (COASY) and acetyltransferase CBP constitutes a novel mechanism that ensures faithful mitosis. We found that COASY knockdown triggers prolonged mitosis and multinucleation. Acetylome analysis reveals that COASY inactivation leads to hyper-acetylation of proteins associated with mitosis, including CBP and an Aurora A kinase activator, TPX2. During early mitosis, a transient CBP-mediated TPX2 acetylation is associated with TPX2 accumulation and Aurora A activation. The recruitment of COASY inhibits CBP-mediated TPX2 acetylation, promoting TPX2 degradation for mitotic exit. Consistently, we detected a stage-specific COASY-CBP-TPX2 association during mitosis. Remarkably, pharmacological and genetic inactivation of CBP effectively rescued the mitotic defects caused by COASY knockdown. Together, our findings uncover a novel mitotic regulation wherein COASY and CBP coordinate an acetylation network to enforce productive mitosis.





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J. Will Thompson

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Dr. Thompson's research focuses on the development and deployment of proteomics and metabolomics mass spectrometry techniques for the analysis of biological systems. He served as the Assistant Director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource in the Duke School of Medicine from 2007-2021. He currently maintains collaborations in metabolomics and proteomics research at Duke, and develops new tools for chemical analysis as a Principal Scientist at 908 Devices in Carrboro, NC.


Bernard Mathey-Prevot

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

The central focus of the lab is to understand how signaling pathway architecture and integration result in specific cell fates and how these properties have been hijacked in cancer cells. In particular, we are interested in assessing the extent to which cell-to-cell heterogeneity can affect the temporal dynamics and regulation of signaling pathways. We are focusing on the E2F/Rb network and have established a platform to follow in real time the activation and expression of E2F1 at the single cell level. In collaboration with the You lab (Duke Biomedical Engineering), which has developed mathematical approaches to model the behavior of the Rb/E2F network, we wish to identify functional characteristics in the signaling dynamics that may underlie disparate cell fates in response to a given external cue. Ultimately, our goal is to build an integrative understanding of the logic and structure in aberrant signaling network(s) known to drive tumor development and metastasis. 


Tso-Pang Yao

Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

My laboratory studies the regulatory functions of protein acetylation in cell signaling and human disease. We focus on a class of protein deacetylases, HDACs, which we have discovered versatile functions beyond gene transcription. We wish to use knowledge of HDAC biology to develop smart and rational clinical strategies for HDAC inhibitors, a growing class of compounds that show potent anti-tumor and other clinically relevant activities. Currently, there two major research major areas in the laboratory: aging/age-related disease, and mitochondrial biology/cancer metabolism. 

(1) Quality control (QC) autophagy in aging and neurodegenerative disease. The accumulation of damaged proteins and mitochondria is prominently linked to aging and age-associated disease, including neurodegeneration, metabolic disorders and cancer. Autophagy has emerged as specialized degradation machinery for the disposal of damaged protein aggregates and mitochondria, two common denominators in neurodegenerative diseases. We have discovered that this form of quality control (QC) autophagy is controlled by a ubiquitin-binding deacetylase, HDAC6.  Using both mouse and cell models, we are investigating how HDAC6 enforces QC autophagy and its importance in neurodegenerative disease and metabolic disorders. The potential of HDAC6 as a therapeutic target is being actively pursued.

(2) HDAC in mitochondria function and quality control. Acetyl-CoA is the donor of acetyl group for protein acetylation and numerous metabolic reactions. Remarkably, many mitochondrial enzymes and proteins are subject to acetylation. We are interested in characterizing the roles of HDAC in mitochondrial adaptation to changing metabolic demands and elucidating the intimate relationship between metabolism and protein acetylation. 

(3) HDAC, skeletal muscle remodeling, regeneration and neuromuscular disease. Skeletal muscle undergoes active remodeling in response to change in neural inputs or damage. Loss in neural input causes dramatic muscle dysfunction and disease, such as ALS. We have discovered that neural activity controls muscle phenotype through HDAC4, whose activity becomes deregulated in ALS patients. We have characterized this novel HDAC4-dependent signaling pathway and are evaluating modulators of this pathway for potential clinical utility in motor neuron disease.

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