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      Knock-in reconstitution studies reveal an unexpected role of Cys-65 in regulating APE1/Ref-1 subcellular trafficking and function


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          The multifunctional APE1 protein is required for tumor progression and is associated with cancer resistance. It is shown that APE1 presents structural elements that function in distinct cellular roles, highlighting the molecular determinants of the multifunctional nature of this protein and providing the basis for a new role of the C65 residue.


          Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/redox factor-1 (APE1) protects cells from oxidative stress via the base excision repair pathway and as a redox transcriptional coactivator. It is required for tumor progression/metastasis, and its up-regulation is associated with cancer resistance. Loss of APE1 expression causes cell growth arrest, mitochondrial impairment, apoptosis, and alterations of the intracellular redox state and cytoskeletal structure. A detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms regulating its different activities is required to understand the APE1 function associated with cancer development and for targeting this protein in cancer therapy. To dissect these activities, we performed reconstitution experiments by using wild-type and various APE1 mutants. Our results suggest that the redox function is responsible for cell proliferation through the involvement of Cys-65 in mediating APE1 localization within mitochondria. C65S behaves as a loss-of-function mutation by affecting the in vivo folding of the protein and by causing a reduced accumulation in the intermembrane space of mitochondria, where the import protein Mia40 specifically interacts with APE1. Treatment of cells with (E)-3-(2-[5,6-dimethoxy-3-methyl-1,4-benzoquinonyl])-2-nonyl propenoic acid, a specific inhibitor of APE1 redox function through increased Cys-65 oxidation, confirm that Cys-65 controls APE1 subcellular trafficking and provides the basis for a new role for this residue.

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          DNA-bound structures and mutants reveal abasic DNA binding by APE1 and DNA repair coordination [corrected].

          Non-coding apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites in DNA are continually created in cells both spontaneously and by damage-specific DNA glycosylases. The biologically critical human base excision repair enzyme APE1 cleaves the DNA sugar-phosphate backbone at a position 5' of AP sites to prime DNA repair synthesis. Here we report three co-crystal structures of human APE1 bound to abasic DNA which show that APE1 uses a rigid, pre-formed, positively charged surface to kink the DNA helix and engulf the AP-DNA strand. APE1 inserts loops into both the DNA major and minor grooves and binds a flipped-out AP site in a pocket that excludes DNA bases and racemized beta-anomer AP sites. Both the APE1 active-site geometry and a complex with cleaved AP-DNA and Mn2+ support a testable structure-based catalytic mechanism. Alanine substitutions of the residues that penetrate the DNA helix unexpectedly show that human APE1 is structurally optimized to retain the cleaved DNA product. These structural and mutational results show how APE1 probably displaces bound glycosylases and retains the nicked DNA product, suggesting that APE1 acts in vivo to coordinate the orderly transfer of unstable DNA damage intermediates between the excision and synthesis steps of DNA repair.
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            Proximity ligation assays: a recent addition to the proteomics toolbox.

            An essential skill for every researcher is to learn how to select and apply the most appropriate methods for the questions they are trying to answer. With the extensive variety of methods available, it is increasingly important to scrutinize the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques prior to making a decision on which to use. In this article, we describe an approach to evaluate methods by reducing them into subcomponents. This is exemplified by a brief description of some commonly used proteomics methods. The same approach can also be used in method development by rearranging subcomponents in order to create new methods, as demonstrated with the development of proximity ligation assays (PLAs). PLA is a method as designed in our laboratory for detection of proteins, protein-protein interactions and post-translational modifications. Fundamentally, protein-recognition events are converted into detectable DNA molecules. The technique uses protein-DNA conjugates as binders for the targets of interest. Binding of two or more conjugates to the target results in assembly of an assay-specific DNA molecule. Subsequent amplification of the DNA molecule generates a signal that can be detected using PCR, for detection of minute amounts of proteins in serum, or standard fluorescence microscopy for detection of protein-protein interactions in tissue sections. Lastly, we apply the approach of recombining subcomponents to develop a few novel hypothetical methods hoping this might stimulate the readers to utilize this approach themselves.
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              AP-1 transcriptional activity is regulated by a direct association between thioredoxin and Ref-1.

              Thioredoxin (TRX) is a pleiotropic cellular factor that has thiol-mediated redox activity and is important in regulation of cellular processes, including proliferation, apoptosis, and gene expression. The activity of several transcription factors is posttranslationally altered by redox modification(s) of specific cysteine residue(s). One such factor is nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B, whose DNA-binding activity is markedly augmented by TRX treatment in vitro. Similarly, the DNA-binding activity of activator protein 1 (AP-1) is modified by a DNA repair enzyme, redox factor 1 (Ref-1), which is identical to a DNA repair enzyme, AP endonuclease. Ref-1 activity is in turn modulated by various redox-active compounds, including TRX. We here report the molecular cascade of redox regulation of AP-1 mediated by TRX and Ref-1. Phorbol 12-myristate 13 acetate efficiently translocated TRX into the HeLa cell nucleus where Ref-1 preexists. This process seems to be essential for AP-1 activation by redox modification because co-overexpression of TRX and Ref-1 in COS-7 cells potentiated AP-1 activity only after TRX was transported into the nucleus by phorbol 12-myristate 13 acetate treatment. To prove the direct active site-mediated association between TRX and Ref-1, we generated a series of substitution-mutant cysteine residues of TRX. In both an in vitro diamide-induced cross-linking study and an in vivo mammalian two-hybrid assay we proved that TRX can associate directly with Ref-1 in the nucleus; also, we demonstrated the requirement of cysteine residues in the TRX catalytic center for the potentiation of AP-1 activity. This report presents an example of a cascade in cellular redox regulation.

                Author and article information

                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Mol Biol Cell
                Mol. Bio. Cell
                Molecular Biology of the Cell
                The American Society for Cell Biology
                15 October 2011
                : 22
                : 20
                : 3887-3901
                [1] aDepartment of Medical and Biological Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
                [2] bCancer Center of Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, 400042 Chongqing, China
                [3] cFaculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom
                [4] dProteomics and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Institute for Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment, National Research Council, 80147 Naples, Italy
                [5] eDepartment of Biochemical Sciences “A. Rossi Fanelli,” La Sapienza University, 00185 Rome, Italy
                [6] fDepartment of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202
                University of California, Berkeley
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to: Gianluca Tell ( gianluca.tell@ 123456uniud.it ).
                © 2011 Vascotto et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

                : 04 May 2011
                : 27 July 2011
                : 18 August 2011
                Nuclear Functions

                Molecular biology
                Molecular biology


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