Research Highlights

A conserved kinase-based body temperature sensor globally controls alternative splicing and gene expression

Tom Haltenhof, Ana Kotte, Francesca De Bortoli, Samira Schiefer, Stefan Meinke, Ann-Kathrin Emmerichs, Kristina Katrin Petermann, Bernd Timmermann, Petra Imhof, Andreas Franz, Bernhard Loll, Markus C. Wahl, Marco Preußner, Florian Heyd


Homeothermic organisms maintain their core body temperature in a narrow, tightly controlled range. Whether and how subtle circadian oscillations or disease-associated changes in core body temperature are sensed and integrated in gene expression programs remain elusive. Furthermore, a thermo-sensor capable of sensing the small temperature differentials leading to temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) in poikilothermic reptiles has not been identified. Here, we show that the activity of CDC-like kinases (CLKs) is highly responsive to physiological temperature changes, which is conferred by structural rearrangements within the kinase activation segment. Lower body temperature activates CLKs resulting in strongly increased phosphorylation of SR proteins in vitro and in vivo. This globally controls temperature-dependent alternative splicing and gene expression, with wide implications in circadian, tissue-specific, and disease-associated settings. This temperature sensor is conserved across evolution and adapted to growth temperatures of diverse poikilotherms. The dynamic temperature range of reptilian CLK homologs suggests a role in TSD.

Molecular Cell. 2020 Feb. 13

Single event visualization of unconventional secretion of FGF2

Dimou E, Cosentino K, Platonova E, Ros U, Sadeghi M, Kashyap P, Katsinelos T, Wegehingel S, Noé F, García-Sáez AJ, Ewers H,and Nickel W (2018)


FGF2 is exported from cells by an unconventional secretory mechanism. Here, we directly visualized individual FGF2 membrane translocation events at the plasma membrane using live cell TIRF microscopy. This process was dependent on both PI(4,5)P2–mediated recruitment of FGF2 at the inner leaflet and heparan sulfates capturing FGF2 at the outer plasma membrane leaflet. By simultaneous imaging of both FGF2 membrane recruitment and the appearance of FGF2 at the cell surface, we revealed the kinetics of FGF2 membrane translocation in living cells with an average duration of ∼200 ms. Furthermore, we directly demonstrated FGF2 oligomers at the inner leaflet of living cells with a FGF2 dimer being the most prominent species. We propose this dimer to represent a key intermediate in the formation of higher FGF2 oligomers that form membrane pores and put forward a kinetic model explaining the mechanism by which membrane-inserted FGF2 oligomers serve as dynamic translocation intermediates during unconventional secretion of FGF2.

J Cell Biol ( PMID:  30470711)

Key steps in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2 reconstituted with purified components.

Steringer JP, Lange S, Čujová S, Šachl R, Poojari C, Lolicato F, Beutel O, Müller HM, Unger S, Coskun Ü, Honigmann A, Vattulainen I, Hof M, Freund C, Nickel W.


FGF2 is secreted from cells by an unconventional secretory pathway. This process is mediated by direct translocation across the plasma membrane. Here, we define the minimal molecular machinery required for FGF2 membrane translocation in a fully reconstituted inside-out vesicle system. FGF2 membrane translocation is thermodynamically driven by PI(4,5)P2-induced membrane insertion of FGF2 oligomers. The latter serve as dynamic translocation intermediates of FGF2 with a subunit number in the range of 8-12 FGF2 molecules. Vectorial translocation of FGF2 across the membrane is governed by sequential and mutually exclusive interactions with PI(4,5)P2 and heparan sulfates on opposing sides of the membrane. Based on atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, we propose a mechanism that drives PI(4,5)P2 dependent oligomerization of FGF2. Our combined findings establish a novel type of self-sustained protein translocation across membranes revealing the molecular basis of the unconventional secretory pathway of FGF2.

Elife. 2017 Jul 19;6. pii: e28985. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28985

mTORC1 activity repression by late endosomal phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate.

Marat AL, Wallroth A, Lo WT, Müller R, Norata GD, Falasca M, Schultz C, Haucke V.


Nutrient sensing by mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) on lysosomes and late endosomes (LyLEs) regulates cell growth. Many factors stimulate mTORC1 activity, including the production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PI(3,4,5)P3] by class I phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks) at the plasma membrane. We investigated mechanisms that repress mTORC1 under conditions of growth factor deprivation. We identified phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate [PI(3,4)P2], synthesized by class II PI3K β (PI3KC2β) at LyLEs, as a negative regulator of mTORC1, whereas loss of PI3KC2β hyperactivated mTORC1. Growth factor deprivation induced the association of PI3KC2β with the Raptor subunit of mTORC1. Local PI(3,4)P2 synthesis triggered repression of mTORC1 activity through association of Raptor with inhibitory 14-3-3 proteins. These results unravel an unexpected function for local PI(3,4)P2 production in shutting off mTORC1.

Science. 2017 Jun 2;356(6341):968-972. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf8310.