MAPK15 is part of the ULK complex and controls its activity to regulate early phases of the autophagic process
JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY
Authors: Colecchia, David; Dapporto, Francesca; Tronnolone, Serena; Salvini, Laura; Chiariello, Mario
Autophagy, a pathway for bulk protein degradation and removal of damaged organelles, represents one of the major responses of cells to stress, thereby exerting a strict control on their correct functioning. Consequently, this process has been involved in the pathogenesis and therapeutic responses of several human diseases. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase 15 (MAPK15) is an atypical member of the MAP kinase family that recently emerged as a key modulator of autophagy and, through this, of cell transformation. Still, no information is available about signaling pathways mediating the effect of MAPK15 on this process, nor is it known which phase of autophagosome biogenesis is affected by this MAP kinase. Here, we demonstrate that MAPK15 stimulated 5-AMP-activated protein kinase-dependent activity of UNC-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1), the only protein kinase among the ATG-related proteins, toward downstream substrates and signaling intermediates. Importantly, MAPK15 directly interacted with the ULK1 complex and mediated ULK1 activation induced by starvation, a classical stimulus for the autophagic process. In turn, ULK1 and its highly homologous protein ULK2 are able to transduce MAPK15 signals stimulating early phases of autophagosomal biogenesis in a multikinase cascade that offers numerous potential targets for future therapeutic intervention in cancer and other autophagy-related human diseases.
Retinal expression and localization of Mef2c support its important role in photoreceptor gene expression
BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS
Authors: Wolf, Anne; Aslanidis, Alexander; Langmann, Thomas
Photoreceptor-specific gene expression is controlled by a hierarchical network of transcription factors, including the master regulators cone-rod homeobox (Crx) and neural retina leucine zipper (Nrl). Myocyte-enhancer factor 2c (Mef2c) is an ubiquitously expressed transcription factor with important functions in the cardiovascular system. Here, we performed a detailed analysis of Mef2c expression, localization and function in the retina to further elucidate its potential role for photoreceptor gene regulation. We showed that murine retinal Mef2c mRNA expression was high at birth and peaked at late postnatal developmental stages. Using immunohistochemistry and Western blot, Mef2c protein was detected in the outer nuclear layer of adult mouse and human retinas and localized to the nucleus of 661W photoreceptor-like cells. Mef2c knock-down in 661W cells reduced the expression of arrestin 3 (Arr3) and medium-wave-sensitive cone opsin (Opn1mw) but increased transcript levels of mitogen-activated protein kinase 15 (Mapk15) and phosphodiesterase 6h (Pde6h). In conclusion, Mef2c is highly expressed in the retina where it modulates photoreceptor-specific gene expression. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.