Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    HiQuant: Rapid postquantification analysis of large-scale MS-generated proteomics data
    Recent advances in mass-spectrometry-based proteomics are now facilitating ambitious large-scale investigations of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the proteome; however, the increasing size and complexity of these data sets is overwhelming current downstream computational methods, specifically those that support the postquantification analysis pipeline. Here we present HiQuant, a novel application that enables the design and execution of a postquantification workflow, including common data-processing steps, such as assay normalization and grouping, and experimental replicate quality control and statistical analysis. HiQuant also enables the interpretation of results generated from large-scale data sets by supporting interactive heatmap analysis and also the direct export to Cytoscape and Gephi, two leading network analysis platforms. HiQuant may be run via a user-friendly graphical interface and also supports complete one-touch automation via a command-line mode. We evaluate HiQuant’s performance by analyzing a large-scale, complex interactome mapping data set and demonstrate a 200-fold improvement in the execution time over current methods. We also demonstrate HiQuant’s general utility by analyzing proteome-wide quantification data generated from both a large-scale public tyrosine kinase siRNA knock-down study and an in-house investigation into the temporal dynamics of the KSR1 and KSR2 interactomes. Download HiQuant, sample data sets, and supporting documentation at
      628Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Stabilization of C-RAF:KSR1 complex by DiRas3 reduces availability of C-RAF for dimerization with B-RAF
    RAF family kinases are central components of the Ras-RAF-MEK-ERK cascade. Dimerization is a key mechanism of RAF activation in response to physiological, pathological and pharmacological signals. It is mediated by a dimer interface region in the RAF kinase domain that is also conserved in KSR, a scaffolding protein that binds RAF, MEK and ERK. The regulation of RAF dimerization is incompletely understood. Especially little is known about the molecular mechanism involved in the selection of the dimerization partner. Previously, we reported that Ras-dependent binding of the tumour suppressor DiRas3 to C-RAF inhibits the C-RAF:B-RAF heterodimerization. Here we show that DiRas3 binds to KSR1 independently of its interaction with activated Ras and RAF. Our data also suggest that depending on the local stoichiometry between DiRas3 and oncogenic Ras, DiRas3 can either enhance homodimerization of KSR1 or recruit KSR1 to the Ras:C-RAF complex and thereby reduce the availability of C-RAF for binding to B-RAF. This mechanism, which is shared between A-RAF and C-RAF, may be involved in the regulation of Ras12V-induced cell transformation by DiRas3.
      547Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Emergence of bimodal cell population responses from the interplay between analog single-cell signaling and protein expression noise
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2012) ; ; ;
    Background: Cell-to-cell variability in protein expression can be large, and its propagation through signaling networks affects biological outcomes. Here, we apply deterministic and probabilistic models and biochemical measurements to study how network topologies and cell-to-cell protein abundance variations interact to shape signaling responses. Results: We observe bimodal distributions of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) responses to epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation, which are generally thought to indicate bistable or ultrasensitive signaling behavior in single cells. Surprisingly, we find that a simple MAPK/ERK-cascade model with negative feedback that displays graded, analog ERK responses at a single cell level can explain the experimentally observed bimodality at the cell population level. Model analysis suggests that a conversion of graded input–output responses in single cells to digital responses at the population level is caused by a broad distribution of ERK pathway activation thesholds brought about by cell-to-cell variability in protein expression. Conclusions: Our results show that bimodal signaling response distributions do not necessarily imply digital (ultrasensitive or bistable) single cell signaling, and the interplay between protein expression noise and network topologies can bring about digital population responses from analog single cell dose responses. Thus, cells can retain the benefits of robustness arising from negative feedback, while simultaneously generating population-level on/off responses that are thought to be critical for regulating cell fate decisions.
      475Scopus© Citations 63
  • Publication
    Differential localization of A-Raf regulates MST2-mediated Apoptosis during Epithelial Differentiation
    A-Raf belongs to the family of oncogenic Raf kinases that are involved in mitogenic signaling by activating the MEK-ERK pathway. Low kinase activity of A-Raf toward MEK suggested that A-Raf might have alternative functions. We recently identified A-Raf as a potent inhibitor of the proapoptotic mammalian sterile 20-like kinase (MST2) tumor suppressor pathway in several cancer entities including head and neck, colon, and breast. Independent of kinase activity, A-Raf binds to MST2 thereby efficiently inhibiting apoptosis. Here, we show that the interaction of A-Raf with the MST2 pathway is regulated by subcellular compartmentalization. Although in proliferating normal cells and tumor cells A-Raf localizes to the mitochondria, differentiated non-carcinogenic cells of head and neck epithelia, which express A-Raf at the plasma membrane. The constitutive or induced re-localization of A-Raf to the plasma membrane compromises its ability to efficiently sequester and inactivate MST2, thus rendering cells susceptible to apoptosis. Physiologically, A-Raf re-localizes to the plasma membrane upon epithelial differentiation in vivo. This re-distribution is regulated by the scaffold protein kinase suppressor of Ras 2 (KSR2). Downregulation of KSR2 during mammary epithelial cell differentiation or siRNA-mediated knockdown re-localizes A-Raf to the plasma membrane causing the release of MST2. By using the MCF7 cell differentiation system, we could demonstrate that overexpression of A-Raf in MCF7 cells, which induces differentiation. Our findings offer a new paradigm to understand how differential localization of Raf complexes affects diverse signaling functions in normal cells and carcinomas.
      394Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Dissecting RAF Inhibitor Resistance by Structure-based Modeling Reveals Ways to Overcome Oncogenic RAS Signaling
    Clinically used RAF inhibitors are ineffective in RAS-mutant tumors because they enhance homo- and heterodimerization of RAF kinases, leading to paradoxical activation of ERK signaling. Overcoming enhanced RAF dimerization and the resulting resistance is a challenge for drug design. Combining multiple inhibitors could be more effective, but it is unclear how the best combinations can be chosen. We built a next-generation mechanistic dynamic model to analyze combinations of structurally different RAF inhibitors, which can efficiently suppress MEK/ERK signaling. This rule-based model of the RAS/ERK pathway integrates thermodynamics and kinetics of drug-protein interactions, structural elements, post-translational modifications and cell mutational status as model rules to predict RAF inhibitor combinations for inhibiting ERK activity in oncogenic RAS and/or BRAFV600E backgrounds. Predicted synergistic inhibition of ERK signaling was corroborated by experiments in mutant NRAS, HRAS and BRAFV600E cells, and inhibition of oncogenic RAS signaling was associated with reduced cell proliferation and colony formation.
    Scopus© Citations 44  362
  • Publication
    HGF induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition by modulating the mammalian Hippo/MST2 and ISG15 pathways
    Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a fundamental cell differentiation/dedifferentiation process which is associated with dramatic morphological changes. Formerly polarized and immobile epithelial cells which form cell junctions and cobblestone-like cell sheets undergo a transition into highly motile, elongated, mesenchymal cells lacking cell-to-cell adhesions. To explore how the proteome is affected during EMT we profiled protein expression and tracked cell biological markers in Madin-Darby kidney epithelial cells undergoing hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induced EMT. We were able to identify and quantify over 4000 proteins by mass spectrometry. Enrichment analysis of this revealed that expression of proteins associated with the ubiquitination machinery was induced, whereas expression of proteins regulating apoptotic pathways was suppressed. We show that both the mammalian Hippo/MST2 and the ISG15 pathways are regulated at the protein level by ubiquitin ligases. Inhibition of the Hippo pathway by overexpression of either ITCH or A-Raf promotes HGF-induced EMT. Conversely, ISG15 overexpression is sufficient to induce cell scattering and an elongated morphology without external stimuli. Thus, we demonstrate for the first time that the Hippo/MST2 and ISG15 pathways are regulated during growth-factor induced EMT.
      1002Scopus© Citations 64
  • Publication
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2010-04-06) ;
    A-Raf (v-raf murine sarcoma 3611 viral oncogene homolog) is a serine/threonine protein kinase of the Raf family that comprises A-Raf, B-Raf and C-Raf. Raf kinases are at the apex of the three-tiered Raf-MEK-ERK/MAPK pathway that features over 150 substrates and regulates many fundamental cellular functions, including proliferation, differentiation, transformation, apoptosis and metabolism. The only commonly accepted substrates for all three Raf kinases are MEK1/2, a pair of dual-specificity kinases that have ERK1/2 as substrates. A-Raf is the least studied member of the Raf family. A-Raf seems to be regulated similarly to C-Raf, with binding to activated Ras initiating the growth-factor-induced activation of A-Raf. In addition, A-Raf activity is regulated by phosphorylation, lipid interactions and protein-protein interactions. For instance, binding of the regulatory subunit of casein kinase II, CK2β, was shown to enhance A-Raf kinase activity. However, A-Raf is a poor MEK kinase with barely measurable catalytic activity, suggesting that A-Raf could have functions outside the MAPK cascade. A-Raf binding to mitochondrial membrane proteins suggests a potential role in mitochondrial transport and anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. Furthermore, the association of A-Raf with the pyruvate kinase M2, M2-PK, causing dimerization and inactivation of M2-PK, may link A-Raf signaling with energy metabolism and the Warburg effect in tumor cells. The generation of A-Raf knock-out mice revealed a role in neuronal migration and development. Recently, alternative A-Raf splice forms encoding truncated A-Raf proteins were identified. Owing to their ability to bind and block activated Ras, they function as physiological dominant-negative Ras inhibitors with roles in differentiation and transformation. A-Raf is expressed in most tissues, but expression levels differ dramatically. Elevated levels were reported in a number of malignancies, although no oncogenic mutations have been found.
  • Publication
    c-Myc Regulates RNA Splicing of the A-Raf Kinase and Its Activation of the ERK Pathway
    (American Association for Cancer Research, 2011-04-21) ; ; ;
    A-Raf kinase can inhibit apoptosis by binding to the proapoptotic mammalian sterile 20-like kinase (MST2). This function relies on expression of hnRNP H, which ensures the correct splicing of a-raf mRNA needed to produce full-length A-Raf protein. Here, we showed that expression of hnRNP H and production of full-length A-Raf is positively controlled by c-Myc. Low c-Myc reduces hnRNP H expression and switches a-raf splicing to produce A-Rafshort, a truncated protein. Importantly, A-Rafshort fails to regulate MST2 but retains the Ras-binding domain such that it functions as a dominant negative mutant suppressing Ras activation and transformation. Human colon and head and neck cancers exhibit high hnRNP H and high c-Myc levels resulting in enhanced A-Raf expression and reduced expression of A-Rafshort. Conversely, in normal cells and tissues in which c-Myc and hnRNP H are low, A-Rafshort suppresses extracellular signal regulated kinase activation such that it may act as a safeguard against oncogenic transformation. Our findings offered a new paradigm to understand how c-Myc coordinates diverse cell functions by directly affecting alternate splicing of key signaling components.
      495Scopus© Citations 49
  • Publication
    Cell Type-Specific Activation of AKT and ERK Signaling Pathways by Small Negatively-Charged Magnetic Nanoparticles
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2012-11-16) ; ;
    The interaction of nanoparticles (NPs) with living organisms has become a focus of public and scientific debate due to their potential wide applications in biomedicine, but also because of unwanted side effects. Here, we show that superparamagnetic iron oxide NPs (SPIONs) with different surface coatings can differentially affect signal transduction pathways. Using isogenic pairs of breast and colon derived cell lines we found that the stimulation of ERK and AKT signaling pathways by SPIONs is selectively dependent on the cell type and SPION type. In general, cells with Ras mutations respond better than their non-mutant counterparts. Small negatively charged SPIONs (snSPIONs) activated ERK to a similar extent as epidermal growth factor (EGF), and used the same upstream signaling components including activation of the EGF receptor. Importantly, snSPIONs stimulated the proliferation of Ras transformed breast epithelial cells as efficiently as EGF suggesting that NPs can mimic physiological growth factors.
      293Scopus© Citations 49
  • Publication
    The complexities and versatility of the RAS-to-ERK signalling system in normal and cancer cells
    The intricate dynamic control and plasticity of RAS to ERK mitogenic, survival and apoptotic signalling has mystified researches for more than 30 years. Therapeutics targeting the oncogenic aberrations within this pathway often yield unsatisfactory, even undesired results, as in the case of paradoxical ERK activation in response to RAF inhibition. A direct approach of inhibiting single oncogenic proteins misses the dynamic network context governing the network signal processing. In this review, we discuss the signalling behaviour of RAS and RAF proteins in normal and in cancer cells, and the emerging systems-level properties of the RAS-to-ERK signalling network. We argue that to understand the dynamic complexities of this control system, mathematical models including mechanistic detail are required. Looking into the future, these dynamic models will build the foundation upon which more effective, rational approaches to cancer therapy will be developed.
      687Scopus© Citations 54