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12 Janelia Publications

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    12/18/19 | Phase separation of YAP reorganizes genome topology for long-term YAP target gene expression.
    Cai D, Feliciano D, Dong P, Flores E, Gruebele M, Porat-Shliom N, Sukenik S, Liu Z, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Nature Cell Biology. 2019 Dec;21(12):1578-1589. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0433-z

    Yes-associated protein (YAP) is a transcriptional co-activator that regulates cell proliferation and survival by binding to a select set of enhancers for target gene activation. How YAP coordinates these transcriptional responses is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that YAP forms liquid-like condensates in the nucleus. Formed within seconds of hyperosmotic stress, YAP condensates compartmentalized the YAP transcription factor TEAD1 and other YAP-related co-activators, including TAZ, and subsequently induced the transcription of YAP-specific proliferation genes. Super-resolution imaging using assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with photoactivated localization microscopy revealed that the YAP nuclear condensates were areas enriched in accessible chromatin domains organized as super-enhancers. Initially devoid of RNA polymerase II, the accessible chromatin domains later acquired RNA polymerase II, transcribing RNA. The removal of the intrinsically-disordered YAP transcription activation domain prevented the formation of YAP condensates and diminished downstream YAP signalling. Thus, dynamic changes in genome organization and gene activation during YAP reprogramming is mediated by liquid-liquid phase separation.

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    09/25/19 | Rational design of fluorogenic and spontaneously blinking labels for super-resolution imaging.
    Zheng Q, Ayala AX, Chung I, Weigel AV, Ranjan A, Falco N, Grimm JB, Tkachuk AN, Wu C, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Singer RH, Lavis LD
    ACS Central Science. 2019 Sep 25;5(9):1602-1613. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.9b00676

    Rhodamine dyes exist in equilibrium between a fluorescent zwitterion and a nonfluorescent lactone. Tuning this equilibrium toward the nonfluorescent lactone form can improve cell-permeability and allow creation of "fluorogenic" compounds-ligands that shift to the fluorescent zwitterion upon binding a biomolecular target. An archetype fluorogenic dye is the far-red tetramethyl-Si-rhodamine (SiR), which has been used to create exceptionally useful labels for advanced microscopy. Here, we develop a quantitative framework for the development of new fluorogenic dyes, determining that the lactone-zwitterion equilibrium constant () is sufficient to predict fluorogenicity. This rubric emerged from our analysis of known fluorophores and yielded new fluorescent and fluorogenic labels with improved performance in cellular imaging experiments. We then designed a novel fluorophore-Janelia Fluor 526 (JF)-with SiR-like properties but shorter fluorescence excitation and emission wavelengths. JF is a versatile scaffold for fluorogenic probes including ligands for self-labeling tags, stains for endogenous structures, and spontaneously blinking labels for super-resolution immunofluorescence. JF constitutes a new label for advanced microscopy experiments, and our quantitative framework will enable the rational design of other fluorogenic probes for bioimaging.

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    09/19/19 | RNA granules hitchhike on lysosomes for long-distance transport, Using annexin A11 as a molecular tether.
    Liao Y, Fernandopulle MS, Wang G, Choi H, Hao L, Drerup CM, Patel R, Qamar S, Nixon-Abell J, Shen Y, Meadows W, Vendruscolo M, Knowles TP, Nelson M, Czekalska MA, Musteikyte G, Gachechiladze MA, Stephens CA, Pasolli HA, Forrest LR, St George-Hyslop P, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Ward ME
    Cell. 2019 Sep 19;179(1):147-164.e20. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.08.050

    Long-distance RNA transport enables local protein synthesis at metabolically-active sites distant from the nucleus. This process ensures an appropriate spatial organization of proteins, vital to polarized cells such as neurons. Here, we present a mechanism for RNA transport in which RNA granules "hitchhike" on moving lysosomes. In vitro biophysical modeling, live-cell microscopy, and unbiased proximity labeling proteomics reveal that annexin A11 (ANXA11), an RNA granule-associated phosphoinositide-binding protein, acts as a molecular tether between RNA granules and lysosomes. ANXA11 possesses an N-terminal low complexity domain, facilitating its phase separation into membraneless RNA granules, and a C-terminal membrane binding domain, enabling interactions with lysosomes. RNA granule transport requires ANXA11, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated mutations in ANXA11 impair RNA granule transport by disrupting their interactions with lysosomes. Thus, ANXA11 mediates neuronal RNA transport by tethering RNA granules to actively-transported lysosomes, performing a critical cellular function that is disrupted in ALS.

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    09/01/19 | A neuron-glia Co-culture system for studying intercellular lipid transport.
    Ioannou MS, Liu Z, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2019 Sep 01;84(1):e95. doi: 10.1002/cpcb.95

    Neurons and glia operate in a highly coordinated fashion in the brain. Although glial cells have long been known to supply lipids to neurons via lipoprotein particles, new evidence reveals that lipid transport between neurons and glia is bidirectional. Here, we describe a co-culture system to study transfer of lipids and lipid-associated proteins from neurons to glia. The assay entails culturing neurons and glia on separate coverslips, pulsing the neurons with fluorescently labeled fatty acids, and then incubating the coverslips together. As astrocytes internalize and store neuron-derived fatty acids in lipid droplets, analyzing the number, size, and fluorescence intensity of lipid droplets containing the fluorescent fatty acids provides an easy and quantifiable measure of fatty acid transport. © 2019 The Authors.

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    06/21/19 | Spastin tethers lipid droplets to peroxisomes and directs fatty acid trafficking through ESCRT-III.
    Chang C, Weigel AV, Ioannou MS, Pasolli HA, Xu CS, Peale DR, Shtengel G, Freeman M, Hess HF, Blackstone C, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Journal of Cell Biology. 2019 Jun 21;218(8):2583-99. doi: 10.1101/544023

    Lipid droplets (LDs) are neutral lipid storage organelles that transfer lipids to various organelles including peroxisomes. Here, we show that the hereditary spastic paraplegia protein M1 Spastin, a membrane-bound AAA ATPase found on LDs, coordinates fatty acid (FA) trafficking from LDs to peroxisomes through two inter-related mechanisms. First, M1 Spastin forms a tethering complex with peroxisomal ABCD1 to promote LD-peroxisome contact formation. Second, M1 Spastin recruits the membrane-shaping ESCRT-III proteins IST1 and CHMP1B to LDs via its MIT domain to facilitate LD-to-peroxisome FA trafficking, possibly through IST1 and CHMP1B modifying LD membrane morphology. Furthermore, M1 Spastin, IST1 and CHMP1B are all required to relieve LDs of lipid peroxidation. The roles of M1 Spastin in tethering LDs to peroxisomes and in recruiting ESCRT-III components to LD-peroxisome contact sites for FA trafficking may help explain the pathogenesis of diseases associated with defective FA metabolism in LDs and peroxisomes.

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    06/14/19 | NDP52 tunes cortical actin interaction with astral microtubules for accurate spindle orientation.
    Yu H, Yang F, Dong P, Liao S, Liu WR, Zhao G, Qin B, Dou Z, Liu Z, Liu W, Zang J, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Liu X, Yao X
    Cell Research. 2019 Jun 14;29(8):666-79. doi: 10.1038/s41422-019-0189-9

    Oriented cell divisions are controlled by a conserved molecular cascade involving Gαi, LGN, and NuMA. Here, we show that NDP52 regulates spindle orientation via remodeling the polar cortical actin cytoskeleton. siRNA-mediated NDP52 suppression surprisingly revealed a ring-like compact subcortical F-actin architecture surrounding the spindle in prophase/prometaphase cells, which resulted in severe defects of astral microtubule growth and an aberrant spindle orientation. Remarkably, NDP52 recruited the actin assembly factor N-WASP and regulated the dynamics of the subcortical F-actin ring in mitotic cells. Mechanistically, NDP52 was found to bind to phosphatidic acid-containing vesicles, which absorbed cytoplasmic N-WASP to regulate local filamentous actin growth at the polar cortex. Our TIRFM analyses revealed that NDP52-containing vesicles anchored N-WASP and shortened the length of actin filaments in vitro. Based on these results we propose that NDP52-containing vesicles regulate cortical actin dynamics through N-WASP to accomplish a spatiotemporal regulation between astral microtubules and the actin network for proper spindle orientation and precise chromosome segregation. In this way, intracellular vesicles cooperate with microtubules and actin filaments to regulate proper mitotic progression. Since NDP52 is absent from yeast, we reason that metazoans have evolved an elaborate spindle positioning machinery to ensure accurate chromosome segregation in mitosis.

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    06/11/19 | Fate plasticity and reprogramming in genetically distinct populations of leucophores.
    Lewis VM, Saunders LM, Larson TA, Bain EJ, Sturiale SL, Gur D, Chowdhury S, Flynn JD, Allen MC, Deheyn DD, Lee JC, Simon JA, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Raible DW, Parichy DM
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019 Jun 11;116(24):11806-11. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1901021116

    Understanding genetic and cellular bases of adult form remains a fundamental goal at the intersection of developmental and evolutionary biology. The skin pigment cells of vertebrates, derived from embryonic neural crest, are a useful system for elucidating mechanisms of fate specification, pattern formation, and how particular phenotypes impact organismal behavior and ecology. In a survey of fishes, including the zebrafish , we identified two populations of white pigment cells-leucophores-one of which arises by transdifferentiation of adult melanophores and another of which develops from a yellow-orange xanthophore or xanthophore-like progenitor. Single-cell transcriptomic, mutational, chemical, and ultrastructural analyses of zebrafish leucophores revealed cell-type-specific chemical compositions, organelle configurations, and genetic requirements. At the organismal level, we identified distinct physiological responses of leucophores during environmental background matching, and we showed that leucophore complement influences behavior. Together, our studies reveal independently arisen pigment cell types and mechanisms of fate acquisition in zebrafish and illustrate how concerted analyses across hierarchical levels can provide insights into phenotypes and their evolution.

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    05/30/19 | Neuron-astrocyte metabolic coupling protects against activity-induced fatty acid toxicity.
    Ioannou MS, Jackson J, Sheu S, Chang C, Weigel AV, Liu H, Pasolli HA, Xu CS, Pang S, Matthies D, Hess HF, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Liu Z
    Cell. 2019 May 30;177(6):1522-1535.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.001

    Metabolic coordination between neurons and astrocytes is critical for the health of the brain. However, neuron-astrocyte coupling of lipid metabolism, particularly in response to neural activity, remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we demonstrate that toxic fatty acids (FAs) produced in hyperactive neurons are transferred to astrocytic lipid droplets by ApoE-positive lipid particles. Astrocytes consume the FAs stored in lipid droplets via mitochondrial β-oxidation in response to neuronal activity and turn on a detoxification gene expression program. Our findings reveal that FA metabolism is coupled in neurons and astrocytes to protect neurons from FA toxicity during periods of enhanced activity. This coordinated mechanism for metabolizing FAs could underlie both homeostasis and a variety of disease states of the brain.

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    05/17/19 | De novo design of tunable, pH-driven conformational changes.
    Boyken SE, Benhaim MA, Busch F, Jia M, Back MJ, Choi H, Klima JC, Chen Z, Walkey C, Mileant A, Sahasrabuddhe A, Wei KY, Hodge EA, Byron S, Quijano-Rubio A, Sankaran B, King NP, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Wysocki VH, et al
    Science. 2019 May 17;364(6441):658-64. doi: 10.1126/science.aav7897

    The ability of naturally occurring proteins to change conformation in response to environmental changes is critical to biological function. Although there have been advances in the de novo design of stable proteins with a single, deep free-energy minimum, the design of conformational switches remains challenging. We present a general strategy to design pH-responsive protein conformational changes by precisely preorganizing histidine residues in buried hydrogen-bond networks. We design homotrimers and heterodimers that are stable above pH 6.5 but undergo cooperative, large-scale conformational changes when the pH is lowered and electrostatic and steric repulsion builds up as the network histidine residues become protonated. The transition pH and cooperativity can be controlled through the number of histidine-containing networks and the strength of the surrounding hydrophobic interactions. Upon disassembly, the designed proteins disrupt lipid membranes both in vitro and after being endocytosed in mammalian cells. Our results demonstrate that environmentally triggered conformational changes can now be programmed by de novo protein design.

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    04/01/19 | A lipid-based partitioning mechanism for selective incorporation of proteins into membranes of HIV particles.
    Sengupta P, Seo AY, Pasolli HA, Song YE, Johnson M, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Nature Cell Biology. 2019 Apr;21(4):452-461. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0300-y

    Particles that bud off from the cell surface, including viruses and microvesicles, typically have a unique membrane protein composition distinct from that of the originating plasma membrane. This selective protein composition enables viruses to evade the immune response and infect other cells. But how membrane proteins sort into budding viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains unclear. Proteins could passively distribute into HIV-assembly-site membranes producing compositions resembling pre-existing plasma-membrane domains. Here, we demonstrate that proteins instead sort actively into HIV-assembly-site membranes, generating compositions enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids that undergo continuous remodelling. Proteins are recruited into and removed from the HIV assembly site through lipid-based partitioning, initiated by oligomerization of the HIV structural protein Gag. Changes in membrane curvature at the assembly site further amplify this sorting process. Thus, a lipid-based sorting mechanism, aided by increasing membrane curvature, generates the unique membrane composition of the HIV surface.

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