Kinesin-1 and mitochondrial motility control by discrimination of structurally equivalent but distinct subdomains in Ran-GTP-binding domains of Ran-binding protein 2.

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The pleckstrin homology (PH) domain is a versatile fold that mediates a variety of protein-protein and protein-phosphatidylinositol lipid interactions. The Ran-binding protein 2 (RanBP2) contains four interspersed Ran GTPase-binding domains (RBD(n = 1-4)) with close structural homology to the PH domain of Bruton's tyrosine kinase. The RBD2, kinesin-binding domain (KBD) and RBD3 comprise a tripartite domain (R2KR3) of RanBP2 that causes the unfolding, microtubule binding and biphasic activation of kinesin-1, a crucial anterograde motor of mitochondrial motility. However, the interplay between Ran GTPase and R2KR3 of RanBP2 in kinesin-1 activation and mitochondrial motility is elusive. We use structure-function, biochemical, kinetic and cell-based assays with time-lapse live-cell microscopy of over 260,000 mitochondrial-motility-related events to find mutually exclusive subdomains in RBD2 and RBD3 towards Ran GTPase binding, kinesin-1 activation and mitochondrial motility regulation. The RBD2 and RBD3 exhibit Ran-GTP-independent, subdomain and stereochemical-dependent discrimination on the biphasic kinetics of kinesin-1 activation or regulation of mitochondrial motility. Further, KBD alone and R2KR3 stimulate and suppress, respectively, multiple biophysical parameters of mitochondrial motility. The regulation of the bidirectional transport of mitochondria by either KBD or R2KR3 is highly coordinated, because their kinetic effects are accompanied always by changes in mitochondrial motile events of either transport polarity. These studies uncover novel roles in Ran GTPase-independent subdomains of RBD2 and RBD3, and KBD of RanBP2, that confer antagonizing and multi-modal mechanisms of kinesin-1 activation and regulation of mitochondrial motility. These findings open new venues towards the pharmacological harnessing of cooperative and competitive mechanisms regulating kinesins, RanBP2 or mitochondrial motility in disparate human disorders.





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Patil, Hemangi, Kyoung-in Cho, James Lee, Yi Yang, Andrew Orry and Paulo A Ferreira (2013). Kinesin-1 and mitochondrial motility control by discrimination of structurally equivalent but distinct subdomains in Ran-GTP-binding domains of Ran-binding protein 2. Open Biol, 3(3). p. 120183. 10.1098/rsob.120183 Retrieved from

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Paulo Alexandre Ferreira

Associate Professor in Ophthalmology

The long-term goal of our research program is twofold. The first is to understand the interplay between intracellular signaling, intracellular trafficking and proteostasis in health and disease; the second is to uncover molecular players and mechanisms partaking in such processes that are amenable to therapeutic intervention in a variety of disease states. Presently, our research efforts are centered on dissecting the roles of two disease-associated protein interactomes assembled by the Ran-binding protein 2 (RanBP2) and the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator-interacting protein 1 (RPGRIP1) in several neuronal cell types of the retina and brain that often undergo neurodegeneration upon a multiplicity of diseases with distinct etiologies.

The RanBP2 is a large and modular 358 kDa protein scaffold, which assembles a large multifunctional complex and acts a signal integrator of molecular and subcellular signaling and trafficking pathways critical to neuronal survival or function. Mutations or deficits in RanBP2 are linked to a variety of diseases processes ranging from neurodegeneration and necrosis to stress signaling and cancer. RanBP2 modulates the assembly or disassembly of several protein complexes with apparent disparate functions and implicated in molecular processes, such as nucleocytoplasmic and microtubule-based intracellular trafficking of proteins or organelles, protein homeostasis and biogenesis, modulation of protein-protein interactions (e.g. sumoylation), and control of cell division. Interdisciplinary approaches ranging from single molecule analysis to cell-based assays and genetically modified mouse models are employed to dissect selective cell type-dependent roles of proteins modulated dynamically by RanBP2 and underlying mechanisms in healthy and disease states.

The RPGRIP1 is also a modular protein, which associates directly with molecular partners, such as the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) and nephrocystin-4 (NPHP4). Human mutations in the genes encoding RPGRIP1, RPGR and NPHP4 lead to severe ocular-renal, syndromic and non-syndromic retinal or renal diseases. These lead ultimately to blindness, loss of kidney function or both. Emerging data from our laboratory implicate the RPGRIP1 interactome in the regulation of the tethering, targeting, exiting and/or transport of selective retinal-renal and pre-ciliary components from the endoplasmic reticulum compartment to cilia. These processes serve as molecular determinants to the formation of subcellular structures/compartments that are critical to photoreceptor or tubular kidney cell functions . Current work is directed at dissecting: i) the biological and pathological roles of components of the RPGRIP1 interactome in retinal and kidney functions; ii) the molecular, cellular and pathophysiological bases of allelic-specific mutations and genetic heterogeneity affecting components of the RPGRIP1 interactome; iii) the identification of therapeutic targets and mechanisms dependent on the functions of the RPGRIP1 assembly complex and therapeutic approaches to delay the onset or progression of degeneration of photoreceptor, tubular kidney cells or both.

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