The strict regulation of energy metabolism and cell proliferation is critical for the normal function of all eukaryotic life. Improper regulation of thse fundamental cellular processes is associated with multiple disease states, including heart disease and cancer. Examples include shifting the sources of ATP in cells as a result of the Warburg effect or hypoxia, resulting from solid tumor growth exceeding vascularization or cardiac insufficiency. ADP-ribosylation factor like-2 (Arl2), a member of the Arf family of regulatory GTPases, is an ancient and ubiquitous eukaryotic cell regulator that is involved in the maintenance of cellular ATP levels, the progression of cell division and the regulation of transcriptional activators involved in cell proliferation. Maintaining the necessary levels of activated Arl2 within a cell is crucial for the proper regulation of these essential processes. However, the biological mechanisms controlling Arl2 activity are unknown. The majority of cellular Arl2 is in a cytosolic complex with the tubulin-specific co-chaperone, cofactor D (TBCD). We will perform in vitro biochemical analyses to test the hypothesis that dissociation from TBCD is a critical, regulated step in Arl2 function in cells. Additionally, we will test the model that Arl2/TBCD is also an active complex required for proper regulation of centrosomal functions and microtubule dynamics.
In specific aim 1, we will utilize recombinant preparations of Arl2 and TBCD to identify the mechanisms regulating assembly/disassembly of the Arl2/TBCD complex.
In specific aim 2, we will use cell-based assays to determine the importance of Arl2 and TBCD interaction in regulating centrosomal and microtubule functions. The results of this study will provide fundamental groundwork in our long-term goal of explaining the mechanistic roles of Arl2 as a ubiquitous regulator that is indispensable to the regulation of several essential cellula processes. Further insight into the mechanisms underlying Arl2 regulation will ultimately lead to a better understanding of fundamental eukaryotic functions, such as energy metabolism and cell proliferation.

Public Health Relevance

The strict regulation of cellular growth and energy maintenance is critical for the health and survival of all cells. The results of this investigationwill provide insight into how cells regulate these fundamental processes, and will have implications in several disease states, including cancer (particularly its development and progression in pancreatic and breast tissues), heart disease, and retinal degeneration.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Korczak, Jeannette F
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Emory University
Schools of Medicine
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Francis, Joshua W; Newman, Laura E; Cunningham, Leslie A et al. (2017) A Trimer Consisting of the Tubulin-specific Chaperone D (TBCD), Regulatory GTPase ARL2, and ?-Tubulin Is Required for Maintaining the Microtubule Network. J Biol Chem 292:4336-4349
Francis, Joshua W; Goswami, Devrishi; Novick, Scott J et al. (2017) Nucleotide Binding to ARL2 in the TBCD?ARL2??-Tubulin Complex Drives Conformational Changes in ?-Tubulin. J Mol Biol 429:3696-3716
Flex, Elisabetta; Niceta, Marcello; Cecchetti, Serena et al. (2016) Biallelic Mutations in TBCD, Encoding the Tubulin Folding Cofactor D, Perturb Microtubule Dynamics and Cause Early-Onset Encephalopathy. Am J Hum Genet 99:962-973