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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Selective sorting of microRNAs into exosomes by phase-separated YBX1 condensates.

Selective sorting of microRNAs into exosomes by phase-separated YBX1 condensates.

(2021)

Exosomes may mediate cell-to-cell communication by transporting various proteins and nucleic acids to neighboring cells. Some protein and RNA cargoes are significantly enriched in exosomes. How cells efficiently and selectively sort them into exosomes remains incompletely explored. Previously, we reported that YBX1 is required in sorting of miR-223 into exosomes. Here, we show that YBX1 undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in vitro and in cells. YBX1 condensates selectively recruit miR-223 in vitro and into exosomes secreted by cultured cells. Point mutations that inhibit YBX1 phase separation impair the incorporation of YBX1 protein into biomolecular condensates formed in cells, and perturb miR-233 sorting into exosomes. We propose that phase separation-mediated local enrichment of cytosolic RNA-binding proteins and their cognate RNAs enables their targeting and packaging by vesicles that bud into multivesicular bodies. This provides a possible mechanism for efficient and selective engulfment of cytosolic proteins and RNAs into intraluminal vesicles which are then secreted as exosomes from cells.

Cover page of Low-bias ncRNA libraries using ordered two-template relay: Serial template jumping by a modified retroelement reverse transcriptase.

Low-bias ncRNA libraries using ordered two-template relay: Serial template jumping by a modified retroelement reverse transcriptase.

(2021)

Selfish, non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retroelements and mobile group II introns encode reverse transcriptases (RTs) that can initiate DNA synthesis without substantial base pairing of primer and template. Biochemical characterization of these enzymes has been limited by recombinant expression challenges, hampering understanding of their properties and the possible exploitation of their properties for research and biotechnology. We investigated the activities of representative RTs using a modified non-LTR RT from Bombyx mori and a group II intron RT from Eubacterium rectale Only the non-LTR RT supported robust and serial template jumping, producing one complementary DNA (cDNA) from several templates each copied end to end. We also discovered an unexpected terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase activity of the RTs that adds nucleotide(s) of choice to 3' ends of single- and/or double-stranded RNA or DNA. Combining these two types of activity with additional insights about nontemplated nucleotide additions to duplexed cDNA product, we developed a streamlined protocol for fusion of next-generation sequencing adaptors to both cDNA ends in a single RT reaction. When benchmarked using a reference pool of microRNAs (miRNAs), library production by Ordered Two-Template Relay (OTTR) using recombinant non-LTR retroelement RT outperformed all commercially available kits and rivaled the low bias of technically demanding home-brew protocols. We applied OTTR to inventory RNAs purified from extracellular vesicles, identifying miRNAs as well as myriad other noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and ncRNA fragments. Our results establish the utility of OTTR for automation-friendly, low-bias, end-to-end RNA sequence inventories of complex ncRNA samples.

Cover page of Assembly of γ-secretase occurs through stable dimers after exit from the endoplasmic reticulum.

Assembly of γ-secretase occurs through stable dimers after exit from the endoplasmic reticulum.

(2021)

γ-Secretase affects many physiological processes through targeting >100 substrates; malfunctioning links γ-secretase to cancer and Alzheimers disease. The spatiotemporal regulation of its stoichiometric assembly remains unresolved. Fractionation, biochemical assays, and imaging support prior formation of stable dimers in the ER, which, after ER exit, assemble into full complexes. In vitro ER budding shows that none of the subunits is required for the exit of others. However, knockout of any subunit leads to the accumulation of incomplete subcomplexes in COPII vesicles. Mutating a DPE motif in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) abrogates ER exit of PSEN1 and PEN-2 but not nicastrin. We explain this by the preferential sorting of PSEN1 and nicastrin through Sec24A and Sec24C/D, respectively, arguing against full assembly before ER exit. Thus, dimeric subcomplexes aided by Sec24 paralog selectivity support a stepwise assembly of γ-secretase, controlling final levels in post-Golgi compartments.

Cover page of Extracellular vesicles from neurons promote neural induction of stem cells through cyclin D1.

Extracellular vesicles from neurons promote neural induction of stem cells through cyclin D1.

(2021)

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are thought to mediate the transport of proteins and RNAs involved in intercellular communication. Here, we show dynamic changes in the buoyant density and abundance of EVs that are secreted by PC12 cells stimulated with nerve growth factor (NGF), N2A cells treated with retinoic acid to induce neural differentiation, and mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) differentiated into neuronal cells. EVs secreted from in vitro differentiated cells promote neural induction of mESCs. Cyclin D1 enriched within the EVs derived from differentiated neuronal cells contributes to this induction. EVs purified from cells overexpressing cyclin D1 are more potent in neural induction of mESC cells. Depletion of cyclin D1 from the EVs reduced the neural induction effect. Our results suggest that EVs regulate neural development through sorting of cyclin D1.

Cover page of Open science takes on Parkinson's disease.

Open science takes on Parkinson's disease.

(2021)

The Aligning Science Across Parkinson's (ASAP) initiative was set up to improve understanding of the biology underlying the onset and progression of Parkinson's disease. With an emphasis on open science and collaboration, we have assembled a research network led by nearly 100 investigators to explore the pathology of Parkinson's disease, and this network will soon expand to include researchers working on relevant (dys)-functional neural circuits. We have also contributed to large-scale genetics and patient cohort initiatives related to the disease. We hope that these actions, and others planned for the future, will deepen our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the origin and evolution of Parkinson's disease and, ultimately, contribute to the development of novel therapies.

Cover page of Small sequence variations between two mammalian paralogs of the small GTPase SAR1 underlie functional differences in coat protein complex II assembly.

Small sequence variations between two mammalian paralogs of the small GTPase SAR1 underlie functional differences in coat protein complex II assembly.

(2020)

Vesicles that are coated by coat protein complex II (COPII) are the primary mediators of vesicular traffic from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. Secretion-associated Ras-related GTPase 1 (SAR1) is a small GTPase that is part of COPII and, upon GTP binding, recruits the other COPII proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. Mammals have two SAR1 paralogs that genetic data suggest may have distinct physiological roles, e.g. in lipoprotein secretion in the case of SAR1B. Here we identified two amino acid clusters that have conserved SAR1 paralog-specific sequences. We observed that one cluster is adjacent to the SAR1 GTP-binding pocket and alters the kinetics of GTP exchange. The other cluster is adjacent to the binding site for two COPII components, SEC31 homolog A COPII coat complex component (SEC31) and SEC23. We found that the latter cluster confers to SAR1B a binding preference for SEC23A that is stronger than that of SAR1A for SEC23A. Unlike SAR1B, SAR1A was prone to oligomerize on a membrane surface. SAR1B knockdown caused loss of lipoprotein secretion, overexpression of SAR1B but not of SAR1A could restore secretion, and a divergent cluster adjacent to the SEC31/SEC23-binding site was critical for this SAR1B function. These results highlight that small primary sequence differences between the two mammalian SAR1 paralogs lead to pronounced biochemical differences that significantly affect COPII assembly and identify a specific function for SAR1B in lipoprotein secretion, providing insights into the mechanisms of large cargo secretion that may be relevant for COPII-related diseases.

Cover page of New factors for protein transport identified by a genome-wide CRISPRi screen in mammalian cells.

New factors for protein transport identified by a genome-wide CRISPRi screen in mammalian cells.

(2019)

Protein and membrane trafficking pathways are critical for cell and tissue homeostasis. Traditional genetic and biochemical approaches have shed light on basic principles underlying these processes. However, the list of factors required for secretory pathway function remains incomplete, and mechanisms involved in their adaptation poorly understood. Here, we present a powerful strategy based on a pooled genome-wide CRISPRi screen that allowed the identification of new factors involved in protein transport. Two newly identified factors, TTC17 and CCDC157, localized along the secretory pathway and were found to interact with resident proteins of ER-Golgi membranes. In addition, we uncovered that upon TTC17 knockdown, the polarized organization of Golgi cisternae was altered, creating glycosylation defects, and that CCDC157 is an important factor for the fusion of transport carriers to Golgi membranes. In conclusion, our work identified and characterized new actors in the mechanisms of protein transport and secretion and opens stimulating perspectives for the use of our platform in physiological and pathological contexts.

Cover page of Coordinating a new approach to basic research into Parkinson's disease.

Coordinating a new approach to basic research into Parkinson's disease.

(2019)

The Aligning Science Across Parkinson's (ASAP) initiative is building an international network of researchers to improve our understanding of the biology underlying Parkinson's disease. Developing a better understanding of how the disease originates and progresses will, we hope, lead to new therapies. The ASAP initiative will incentivize collaboration between the existing PD research community and other researchers and will be committed to open-science practices.

Cover page of Distinct mechanisms of microRNA sorting into cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicle subtypes.

Distinct mechanisms of microRNA sorting into cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicle subtypes.

(2019)

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) encompass a variety of vesicles secreted into the extracellular space. EVs have been implicated in promoting tumor metastasis, but the molecular composition of tumor-derived EV sub-types and the mechanisms by which molecules are sorted into EVs remain mostly unknown. We report the separation of two small EV sub-populations from a metastatic breast cancer cell line, with biochemical features consistent with different sub-cellular origins. These EV sub-types use different mechanisms of miRNA sorting (selective and non-selective), suggesting that sorting occurs via fundamentally distinct processes, possibly dependent on EV origin. Using biochemical and genetic tools, we identified the Lupus La protein as mediating sorting of selectively packaged miRNAs. We found that two motifs embedded in miR-122 are responsible for high-affinity binding to Lupus La and sorting into vesicles formed in a cell-free reaction. Thus, tumor cells can simultaneously deploy multiple EV species using distinct sorting mechanisms that may enable diverse functions in normal and cancer biology.

Regulation of LC3 lipidation by the autophagy-specific class III phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase complex.

(2019)

Autophagy is a conserved eukaryotic pathway critical for cellular adaptation to changes in nutrition levels and stress. The class III phosphatidylinositol (PI)3-kinase complexes I and II (PI3KC3-C1 and -C2) are essential for autophagosome initiation and maturation, respectively, from highly curved vesicles. We used a cell-free reaction that reproduces a key autophagy initiation step, LC3 lipidation, as a biochemical readout to probe the role of autophagy-related gene (ATG)14, a PI3KC3-C1-specific subunit implicated in targeting the complex to autophagy initiation sites. We reconstituted LC3 lipidation with recombinant PI3KC3-C1, -C2, or various mutant derivatives added to extracts derived from a CRISPR/Cas9-generated ATG14-knockout cell line. Both complexes C1 and C2 require the C-terminal helix of VPS34 for activity on highly curved membranes. However, only complex C1 supports LC3 lipidation through the curvature-targeting amphipathic lipid packing sensor (ALPS) motif of ATG14. Furthermore, the ALPS motif and VPS34 catalytic activity are required for downstream recruitment of WD-repeat domain phosphoinositide-interacting protein (WIPI)2, a protein that binds phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate and its product phosphatidylinositol 3, 5-bisphosphate, and a WIPI-binding protein, ATG2A, but do not affect membrane association of ATG3 and ATG16L1, enzymes contributing directly to LC3 lipidation. These data reveal the nuanced role of the ATG14 ALPS in membrane curvature sensing, suggesting that the ALPS has additional roles in supporting LC3 lipidation.