Manu Prakash, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
H-ABC- and dystonia-causing TUBB4A mutations show distinct pathogenic effects.
2022; 8 (10): eabj9229
Mutations in the brain-specific beta-tubulin 4A (TUBB4A) gene cause a broad spectrum of diseases, ranging from dystonia (DYT-TUBB4A) to hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum (H-ABC). Currently, the mechanisms of how TUBB4A variants lead to this pleiotropic manifestation remain elusive. Here, we investigated whether TUBB4A mutations causing either DYT-TUBB4A (p.R2G and p.Q424H) or H-ABC (p.R2W and p.D249N) exhibit differential effects at the molecular and cellular levels. Using live-cell imaging of disease-relevant oligodendrocytes and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy of whole-cell lysates, we observed divergent impact on microtubule polymerization and microtubule integration, partially reflecting the observed pleiotropy. Moreover, in silico simulations demonstrated that the mutants rarely adopted a straight heterodimer conformation in contrast to wild type. In conclusion, for most of the examined variants, we deciphered potential molecular disease mechanisms that may lead to the diverse clinical manifestations and phenotype severity across and within each TUBB4A-related disease.
View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abj9229
View details for PubMedID 35275727
Lysate-based pipeline to characterize microtubule-associated proteins uncovers unique microtubule behaviours.
Nature cell biology
The microtubule cytoskeleton forms complex macromolecular assemblies with a range of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) that have fundamental roles in cell architecture, division and motility. Determining how an individual MAP modulates microtubule behaviour is an important step in understanding the physiological roles of various microtubule assemblies. To characterize how MAPs control microtubule properties and functions, we developed an approach allowing for medium-throughput analyses of MAPs in cell-free conditions using lysates of mammalian cells. Our pipeline allows for quantitative as well as ultrastructural analyses of microtubule-MAP assemblies. Analysing 45 bona fide and potential mammalian MAPs, we uncovered previously unknown activities that lead to distinct and unique microtubule behaviours such as microtubule coiling or hook formation, or liquid-liquid phase separation along the microtubule lattice that initiates microtubule branching. We have thus established a powerful tool for a thorough characterization of a wide range of MAPs and MAP variants, thus opening avenues for the determination of mechanisms underlying their physiological roles and pathological implications.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41556-021-00825-4
View details for PubMedID 35102268
Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy for Studying Microtubules and Microtubule-Associated Proteins
STRUCTURAL PROTEOMICS, 3 EDITION
2021; 2305: 193-201
In this chapter, we describe the preparatory and spectroscopic procedures for conducting solid-state NMR experiments on microtubules (MTs) obtained from human cells and their complexes with microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs). Next to labeling and functional assembly of MTs and MT-MAP complexes, we discuss solid-state NMR approaches, including fast MAS and hyperpolarization methods that can be used to examine these systems. Such studies can provide novel insight into the dynamic properties of MTs and MT-MAP complexes.
View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-0716-1406-8_10
View details for Web of Science ID 000691017300011
View details for PubMedID 33950391
Purification of Tubulin with Controlled Posttranslational Modifications and Isotypes from Limited Sources by Polymerization-Depolymerization Cycles.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
One important aspect of studies of the microtubule cytoskeleton is the investigation of microtubule behavior in in vitro reconstitution experiments. They allow the analysis of the intrinsic properties of microtubules, such as dynamics, and their interactions with microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs). The "tubulin code" is an emerging concept that points to different tubulin isotypes and various posttranslational modifications (PTMs) as regulators of microtubule properties and functions. To explore the molecular mechanisms of the tubulin code, it is crucial to perform in vitro reconstitution experiments using purified tubulin with specific isotypes and PTMs. To date, this was technically challenging as brain tubulin, which is widely used in in vitro experiments, harbors many PTMs and has a defined isotype composition. Hence, we developed this protocol to purify tubulin from different sources and with different isotype compositions and controlled PTMs, using the classical approach of polymerization and depolymerization cycles. Compared to existing methods based on affinity purification, this approach yields pure, polymerization-competent tubulin, as tubulin resistant to polymerization or depolymerization is discarded during the successive purification steps. We describe the purification of tubulin from cell lines, grown either in suspension or as adherent cultures, and from single mouse brains. The method first describes the generation of cell mass in both suspension and adherent settings, the lysis step, followed by the successive stages of tubulin purification by polymerization-depolymerization cycles. Our method yields tubulin that can be used in experiments addressing the impact of the tubulin code on the intrinsic properties of microtubules and microtubule interactions with associated proteins.
View details for DOI 10.3791/61826
View details for PubMedID 33226030
Genetically encoded live-cell sensor for tyrosinated microtubules.
The Journal of cell biology
2020; 219 (10)
Microtubule cytoskeleton exists in various biochemical forms in different cells due to tubulin posttranslational modifications (PTMs). Tubulin PTMs are known to affect microtubule stability, dynamics, and interaction with MAPs and motors in a specific manner, widely known as tubulin code hypothesis. At present, there exists no tool that can specifically mark tubulin PTMs in living cells, thus severely limiting our understanding of their dynamics and cellular functions. Using a yeast display library, we identified a binder against terminal tyrosine of α-tubulin, a unique PTM site. Extensive characterization validates the robustness and nonperturbing nature of our binder as tyrosination sensor, a live-cell tubulin nanobody specific towards tyrosinated microtubules. Using this sensor, we followed nocodazole-, colchicine-, and vincristine-induced depolymerization events of tyrosinated microtubules in real time and found each distinctly perturbs the microtubule polymer. Together, our work describes a novel tyrosination sensor and its potential applications to study the dynamics of microtubule and their PTM processes in living cells.
View details for DOI 10.1083/jcb.201912107
View details for PubMedID 32886100
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7659708
ATAT1-enriched vesicles promote microtubule acetylation via axonal transport.
2019; 5 (12): eaax2705
Microtubules are polymerized dimers of α- and β-tubulin that underlie a broad range of cellular activities. Acetylation of α-tubulin by the acetyltransferase ATAT1 modulates microtubule dynamics and functions in neurons. However, it remains unclear how this enzyme acetylates microtubules over long distances in axons. Here, we show that loss of ATAT1 impairs axonal transport in neurons in vivo, and cell-free motility assays confirm a requirement of α-tubulin acetylation for proper bidirectional vesicular transport. Moreover, we demonstrate that the main cellular pool of ATAT1 is transported at the cytosolic side of neuronal vesicles that are moving along axons. Together, our data suggest that axonal transport of ATAT1-enriched vesicles is the predominant driver of α-tubulin acetylation in axons.
View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aax2705
View details for PubMedID 31897425
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6920029
Microtubule-Associated Proteins: Structuring the Cytoskeleton.
Trends in cell biology
2019; 29 (10): 804-819
Microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) were initially discovered as proteins that bind to and stabilize microtubules. Today, an ever-growing number of MAPs reveals a more complex picture of these proteins as organizers of the microtubule cytoskeleton that have a large variety of functions. MAPs enable microtubules to participate in a plethora of cellular processes such as the assembly of mitotic and meiotic spindles, neuronal development, and the formation of the ciliary axoneme. Although some subgroups of MAPs have been exhaustively characterized, a strikingly large number of MAPs remain barely characterized other than their interactions with microtubules. We provide a comprehensive view on the currently known MAPs in mammals. We discuss their molecular mechanisms and functions, as well as their physiological role and links to pathologies.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tcb.2019.07.004
View details for PubMedID 31416684
Presence of actin binding motif in VgrG-1 toxin of Vibrio cholerae reveals the molecular mechanism of actin cross-linking.
International journal of biological macromolecules
2019; 133: 775-785
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) plays a crucial role in Vibrio cholerae mediated pathogenicity. Tip of T6SS is homologous to gp27/gp5 complex or tail spike of T4 bacteriophage. VgrG-1 of V. cholerae T6SS is unusual among other VgrG because its effector domain is trans-located into the cytosol of eukaryotic cells with an additional actin cross-linking domain (ACD) at its C terminal end. ACD of VgrG-1 (VgrG-1-ACD) causes T6SS dependent host cell cytotoxicity through actin cytoskeleton disruption to prevent bacterial engulfment by macrophages. ACD mediated actin cross-linking promotes survival of the bacteria in the small intestine of humans, along with other virulence factors; establishes successful infection with the onset of diarrhoea in humans. Our studies demonstrated VgrG-1-ACD can bind to actin besides actin cross-linking activity. Computational analysis of ACD revealed the presence of actin binding motif (ABM). Mutations in ABM lead to loss of actin binding in vitro. VgrG-1-ACD having the mutated ABM cannot cross-link actin efficiently in vitro and manifests less actin cytoskeleton disruption when transfected in HeLa cells.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.04.026
View details for PubMedID 31002899
Purification of tubulin with controlled post-translational modifications by polymerization-depolymerization cycles.
2019; 14 (5): 1634-1660
In vitro reconstitutions of microtubule assemblies have provided essential mechanistic insights into the molecular bases of microtubule dynamics and their interactions with associated proteins. The tubulin code has emerged as a regulatory mechanism for microtubule functions, which suggests that tubulin isotypes and post-translational modifications (PTMs) play important roles in controlling microtubule functions. To investigate the tubulin code mechanism, it is essential to analyze different tubulin variants in vitro. Until now, this has been difficult, as most reconstitution experiments have used heavily post-translationally modified tubulin purified from brain tissue. Therefore, we developed a protocol that allows purification of tubulin with controlled PTMs from limited sources through cycles of polymerization and depolymerization. Although alternative protocols using affinity purification of tubulin also yield very pure tubulin, our protocol has the unique advantage of selecting for fully functional tubulin, as non-polymerizable tubulin is excluded in the successive polymerization cycles. It thus provides a novel procedure for obtaining tubulin with controlled PTMs for in vitro reconstitution experiments. We describe specific procedures for tubulin purification from adherent cells, cells grown in suspension cultures and single mouse brains. The protocol can be combined with drug treatment, transfection of cells before tubulin purification or enzymatic treatment during the purification process. The amplification of cells and their growth in spinner bottles takes ~13 d; the tubulin purification takes 6-7 h. The tubulin can be used in total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF)-microscopy-based experiments or pelleting assays for the investigation of intrinsic properties of microtubules and their interactions with associated proteins.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41596-019-0153-7
View details for PubMedID 30996262
- Identifying regions for conservation of sloth bears through occupancy modelling in north-eastern Karnataka, India URSUS 2014; 25 (2): 111-120