Browsing by Subject "molekyyli- ja solubiologia"

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  • von Schantz-Fant, Carina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a family of inherited pediatric neurodegenerative disorders, leading to retinal degeneration, death of selective neuronal populations and accumulation of autofluorscent ceroid-lipopigments. The clinical manifestations are generally similar in all forms. The Finnish variant late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (vLINCLFin) is a form of NCL, especially enriched in the Finnish population. The aim of this thesis was to analyse the brain pathology of vLINCLFin utilising the novel Cln5-/- mouse model. Gene expression profiling of the brains of already symptomatic Cln5-/- mice revealed that inflammation, neurodegeneration and defects in myelinization are the major characteristics of the later stages of the disease. Histological characterization of the brain pathology confirmed that the thalamocortical system is affected in Cln5-/- mice, similarly to the other NCL mouse models. However, whereas the brain pathology in all other analyzed NCL mice initiate in the thalamus and spread only months later to the cortex, we observed that the sequence of events is uniquely reversed in Cln5-/- mice; beginning in the cortex and spreading to the thalamus only months later. We could also show that even though neurodegeneration is inititated in the cortex, reactive gliosis and loss of myelin are evident in specific nuclei of the thalamus already in the 1 month old brain. To obtain a deeper insight into the disturbed metabolic pathways, we performed gene expression profiling of presymptomatic mouse brains. We validated these findings with immunohistological analyses, and could show that cytoskeleton and myelin were affected in Cln5-/- mice. Comparison of gene expression profiling results of Cln5-/- and Cln1-/- mice, further highlighted that these two NCL models share a common defective pathway, leading to disturbances in the neuronal growth cone and cytoskeleton. Encouraged by the evidence of this defected pathway, we analyzed the molecular interactions of NCL-proteins and observed that Cln5 and Cln1/Ppt1 proteins interact with each other. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Cln5 and Cln1/Ppt1 share an interaction partner, the F1-ATP synthase, potentially linking both vLINCLFIN and INCL diseases to disturbed lipid metabolism. In addition, Cln5 was shown to interact with other NCL proteins; Cln2, Cln3, Cln6 and Cln8, implicating a central role for Cln5 in the NCL pathophysiology. This study is the first to describe the brain pathology and gene expression changes in the Cln5-/- mouse. Together the findings presented in this thesis represent novel information of the disease processes and the molecular mechanisms behind vLINCLFin and have highlighted that vLINCLFin forms a very important model to analyze the pathophysiology of NCL diseases.
  • Kanerva, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Polyamines are organic polycations that participate in various physiological functions, including cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Cellular polyamines originate from endogenous biosynthesis and exogenous sources. Their subcellular pool is under strict control, achieved by regulating their uptake and metabolism. Polyamine-induced proteins called antizymes (AZ) act as key regulators of intracellular polyamine concentration. They regulate both the transport of polyamines and the activity and degradation of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. AZs themselves are negatively regulated by antizyme inhibitor (AZIN). AZIN functions as a positive regulator of cellular polyamine homeostasis, which by binding to AZs reactivates ODC and induces the uptake of polyamines. In various pathological conditions, including cancer, polyamine levels are misregulated. Polyamine homeostasis has therefore become an attractive target for therapeutic interventions and it is thus crucial to characterize the molecular basis underlying the homeostatic regulation. A novel human AZIN-resembling protein was previously identified in our group. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the function and distribution of this protein, termed as an antizyme inhibitor 2 (AZIN2). According to my results, AZIN2 functions as a novel regulator of polyamine homeostasis. It shows no enzymatic activity, but instead it binds AZs and negates their activity, which subsequently leads to reactivation of ODC and inhibition of its degradation. Expression of AZIN2 is restricted to terminally differentiated cells, such as mast cells (MC) and neurosecretory cells. In these actively secreting cell types, AZIN2 localizes to subcellular vesicles or granules where its function is important for the vesicle-mediated secretion. In MCs, AZIN2 localizes to the serotonin-containing subset of MC granules, and its expression is coupled to MC activation. The functional role of polyamines as potential mediators of MC activity was also investigated, and it was observed that the secretion of serotonin is selectively dependent on activation of ODC. In neurosecretory cells, AZIN2-positive vesicles localize mainly to the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Depletion of AZIN2 or cellular polyamines causes selective fragmentation of the TGN and retards secretion of proteins. Since addition of exogenous polyamines reverses these effects, the data indicate that AZIN2 and its downstream effectors, polyamines, are functionally implicated in the regulation of secretory vesicle transport. My studies therefore reveal a novel function for polyamines as modulators of both constitutive and regulated secretion. Based on the results, I propose that the role of AZIN2 is to act as a local in situ activator of polyamine biosynthesis.
  • Lehtimäki, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The motor protein myosin binding to filamentous actin and dislocating it, forms the basis for all eukaryotic cells and tissues to undergo higher order transformations such as cell division, migration and differentiation. Whereas e.g. fine motor skills and rhythmic contractions of the heart depend on highly organized sarcomeres, each undergoing similar degree of shortening through thin actin filaments sliding in-between the myosin filaments, the non-muscle cells exhibit much more dynamic actomyosin structures: the stress fibers. Although the composition, function and regulation of stress fibers have been studied quite extensively, we do not have a comprehensive understanding of how they are generated and maintained in various cells and tissues displaying diverse morphology and notable plasticity in the means of utilizing these contractile structures. In this thesis work, I studied the formation, maintenance and recycling of stress fiber structures in human osteosarcoma (U2OS), mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) as well as in canine kidney epithelial (MDCK) cells. First, I revealed that stress fiber assembly does not always need pre-existing stress fiber precursors as previously documented, but they can also coalesce directly from the actin cortex driven by non-muscle myosin II (NMII) pulses. Secondly, in-depth analysis of NMII assembly and its recruitment to stress fibers unraveled the role of a chaperone UNC-45a in regulating both of these events, and further extended its chaperone activity to assist the cortical myosin 1C assembly. Thirdly, we uncovered that stress fiber precursors are reorganized and packed into peripheral thin bundles upon epithelial cell-cell contact formation and this can be reversed by inhibiting AMPK-VASP pathway. Lastly, we demonstrated that actin stress fibers have an intimate and reciprocal, plectin-mediated relationship with vimentin intermediate filaments that extends to controlling the morphogenesis and nucleus positioning in migrating cells. Taken together, these studies bring forth the principal protein controlling the NMII-filament assembly and stability, broaden our understanding on the versatility in generating contractile actomyosin structures in different cell types and demonstrate how interconnected stress fibers are to other cytoskeletal elements.
  • Palgi, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Among neurotrophic factors MANF/CDNF family is unique as their protein sequences are evolutionarily conserved between multicellular organisms. Still, little is known about their mechanism of action and interacting molecules. At the time of initiation of this study there were no known neurotrophic factors in invertebrates. According to the protein sequence homology there was an uncharacterized homologue to the novel neurotrophic factor MANF in Drosophila melanogaster. We found that Drosophila Manf (DmManf) is an essential gene in a fruit fly development. DmManf represents a true orthologue to mammalian MANF as its mutant lethality is rescued by human MANF. We have generated DmManf deletion mutant surviving to second instar larval stage with maternal contribution. When the maternal contribution of DmManf is abolished, the mutants die at the end of embryogenesis before hatching. In DmManf mutant the dopaminergic neurites degenerate and the dopamine level is extremely low. Ultrastructural analysis reveals nonapoptotic cell death in the embryonic ventral nerve cord and neuropile decomposition together with cell body glia activation taking place. In secretory cells like gastric caeca or fat body the visible loss of rough endoplasmic reticulum and drastic accumulation of vesicles, some filled with cellular debris, occur. According to microarray expression analysis data, expression of genes involved in vesicular transport and metabolism were altered in DmManf mutants. The expression of several genes implicated in pathology of Parkinson s disease (PD) was also altered. The degeneration of dopaminergic neurons is the hallmark for PD and this thesis work makes an effort to enlighten the mechanisms how the neurotrophic factor MANF protects these degenerating neurons.
  • Westerling, Thomas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Understanding the process of cell division is crucial for modern cancer medicine due to the central role of uncontrolled cell division in this disease. Cancer involves unrestrained proliferation as a result of cells loosing normal control and being driven through the cell cycle, where they normally would be non-dividing or quiescent. Progression through the cell cycle is thought to be dependent on the sequential activation of cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks). The full activation of Cdks requires the phosphorylation of a conserved residue (threonine-160 on human Cdk2) on the T-loop of the kinase domain. In metazoan species, a trimeric complex consisting of Cdk7, cyclin H and Mat1 has been suggested to be the T-loop kinase of several Cdks. In addition, Cdk7 have also been implicated in the regulation of transcription. Cdk7, cyclin H, and Mat1 can be found as subunits of general transcription factor TFIIH. Cdk7, in this context, phosphorylates the Carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II), specifically on serine-5 residues of the CTD repeat. The regulation of Cdk7 in these and other functions is not well known and the unambiguous characterization of the in vivo role of Cdk7 in both T-loop activation and CTD serine-5 phosphorylation has proved challenging. In this study, the fission yeast Cdk7-cyclin H homologous complex, Mcs6-Mcs2, is identified as the in vivo T-loop kinase of Cdk1(Cdc2). It also identifies multiple levels of regulation of Mcs6 kinase activity, i.e. association with Pmh1, a novel fission yeast protein that is the apparent homolog of metazoan Mat1, and T-loop phosphorylation of Mcs6, mediated by Csk1, a monomeric T-loop kinase with similarity to Cak1 of budding yeast. In addition, Skp1, a component of the SCF (Skp1-Cullin-F box protein) ubiquitin ligase is identified by its interactions with Mcs2 and Pmh1. The Skp1 association with Mcs2 and Pmh1 is however SCF independent and does not involve proteolytic degradation but may reflect a novel mechanism to modulate the activity or complex assembly of Mcs6. In addition to Cdk7, also Cdk8 has been shown to have CTD serine-5 kinase activity in vitro. Cdk8 is not essential in yeast but has been shown to function as a transcriptional regulator. The function of Cdk8 is unknown in flies and mammals. This prompted the investigation of murine Cdk8 and its potential role as a redundant CTD serine-5 kinase. We find that Cdk8 is required for development prior to implantation, at a time that is co-incident with a burst of Cdk8 expression during normal development. The results does not support a role of Cdk8 as a serine-5 CTD kinase in vivo but rather shows an unexpected requirement for Cdk8, early in mammalian development. The results presented in this thesis extends our current knowledge of the regulation of the cell cycle by characterizing the function of two distinct cell cycle regulating T-loop kinases, including the unambiguous identification of Mcs6, the fission yeast Cdk7 homolog, as the T-loop kinase of Cdk1. The results also indicate that the function of Mcs6 is conserved from fission yeast to human Cdk7 and suggests novel mechanisms by which the distinct functions of Cdk7 and Mcs6 could be regulated. These findings are important for our understanding of how progression of the cell cycle and proper transcription is controlled, during normal development and tissue homeostasis but also under condition where cells have escaped these control mechanisms e.g. cancer.
  • Pykäläinen, Anette (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Biological membranes are tightly linked to the evolution of life, because they provide a way to concentrate molecules into partially closed compartments. The dynamic shaping of cellular membranes is essential for many physiological processes, including cell morphogenesis, motility, cytokinesis, endocytosis, and secretion. It is therefore essential to understand the structure of the membrane and recognize the players that directly sculpt the membrane and enable it to adopt different shapes. The actin cytoskeleton provides the force to push eukaryotic plasma membrane in order to form different protrusions or/and invaginations. It has now became evident that actin directly co-operates with many membrane sculptors, including BAR domain proteins, in these important events. However, the molecular mechanisms behind BAR domain function and the differences between the members of this large protein family remain largely unresolved. In this thesis, the structure and functions of the I-BAR domain family members IRSp53 and MIM were thoroughly analyzed. By using several methods such as electron microscopy and systematic mutagenesis, we showed that these I-BAR domain proteins bind to PI(4,5)P2-rich membranes, generate negative membrane curvature and are involved in the formation of plasma membrane protrusions in cells e.g. filopodia. Importantly, we characterized a novel member of the BAR-domain superfamily which we named Pinkbar. We revealed that Pinkbar is specifically expressed in kidney and epithelial cells, and it localizes to Rab13-positive vesicles in intestinal epithelial cells. Remarkably, we learned that the I-BAR domain of Pinkbar does not generate membrane curvature but instead stabilizes planar membranes. Based on structural, mutagenesis and biochemical work we present a model for the mechanism of the novel membrane deforming activity of Pinkbar. Collectively, this work describes the mechanism by which I-BAR domain proteins deform membranes and provides new information about the biological roles of these proteins. Intriguingly, this work also gives evidence that significant functional plasticity exists within the I-BAR domain family. I-BAR proteins can either generate negative membrane curvature or stabilize planar membrane sheets, depending on the specific structural properties of their I-BAR domains. The results presented in this thesis expand our knowledge on membrane sculpting mechanisms and shows for the first time how flat membranes can be generated in cells.
  • Helenius, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    All protein-encoding genes in eukaryotes are transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) by RNA Polymerase II (RNAP II), whose activity therefore needs to be tightly controlled. An important and only partially understood level of regulation is the multiple phosphorylations of RNAP II large subunit C-terminal domain (CTD). Sequential phosphorylations regulate transcription initiation and elongation, and recruit factors involved in co-transcriptional processing of mRNA. Based largely on studies in yeast models and in vitro, the kinase activity responsible for the phosphorylation of the serine-5 (Ser5) residues of RNAP II CTD has been attributed to the Mat1/Cdk7/CycH trimer as part of Transcription Factor IIH. However, due to the lack of good mammalian genetic models, the roles of both RNAP II Ser5 phosphorylation as well as TFIIH kinase in transcription have provided ambiguous results and the in vivo kinase of Ser5 has remained elusive. The primary objective of this study was to elucidate the role of mammalian TFIIH, and specifically the Mat1 subunit in CTD phosphorylation and general RNAP II-mediated transcription. The approach utilized the Cre-LoxP system to conditionally delete murine Mat1 in cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes in vivo and and in cell culture models. The results identify the TFIIH kinase as the major mammalian Ser5 kinase and demonstrate its requirement for general transcription, noted by the use of nascent mRNA labeling. Also a role for Mat1 in regulating general mRNA turnover was identified, providing a possible rationale for earlier negative findings. A secondary objective was to identify potential gene- and tissue-specific roles of Mat1 and the TFIIH kinase through the use of tissue-specific Mat1 deletion. Mat1 was found to be required for the transcriptional function of PGC-1 in cardiomyocytes. Transriptional activation of lipogenic SREBP1 target genes following Mat1 deletion in hepatocytes revealed a repressive role for Mat1apparently mediated via co-repressor DMAP1 and the DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1. Finally, Mat1 and Cdk7 were also identified as a negative regulators of adipocyte differentiation through the inhibitory phosphorylation of Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ. Together, these results demonstrate gene- and tissue-specific roles for the Mat1 subunit of TFIIH and open up new therapeutic possibilities in the treatment of diseases such as type II diabetes, hepatosteatosis and obesity.