Novel compartment-specific biosensors reveal a complementary subcellular distribution of bioactive Furin and PC7

Proprotein Convertases (PCs) constitute a family of serine proteases that activate various hormones, growth factors and cell adhesion molecules by mediating endoproteolytic cleavage of their secreted inactive precursors during their transit in the secretory pathway. Their physiological roles in most tissues, in cancer and other diseases have remained nowadays poorly defined, partly because of technical hurdles in clearly distinguishing functionally overlapping PC activities from each other. Related to this, a major unsolved question is where, among the different subcellular compartments of the secretory pathway, substrate cleavage takes place. To address these questions, we mapped intracellular PC activities of two unrelated cell lines (HEK293T and B16F1 melanoma) by ratiometric and Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based imaging of the PC-specific biosensors, called cell-linked indicator of proteolysis (CLIP)v3 and CLIPv4 respectively, which are sorted to different subcellular compartments by specific trafficking signals. Until now, PCs have been thought to cleave the majority of the substrates in the trans-Golgi network (TGN). By contrast, our analysis of compartment-specific CLIPv3 and CLIPv4 variants in cultured cells suggested that PC activities are much higher in post-exocytic compartments. Furthermore, imaging in B16F1 Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)-edited clones for endogenously expressed Furin or PC7, revealed an enrichment of Furin activity in endosomes compared to TGN, whereas PC7 activity was confined to a distinct compartment resistant to the pan-PC inhibitor CMK, demonstrating that endogenous Furin and PC7 are biologically active in distinct compartments. In addition, we also demonstrated that substrate and protease localization are rate-limiting of how efficiently a given substrate is processed. PC inhibition represses human primary melanoma cells motility and migration in vitro and proliferation in other skin cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. To elucidate the roles of PC activities in melanoma progression and differentiation, we evaluated relative contribution of Furin and PC7 in B16F1 tumor grafts. Both proteins were required for tumor pigmentation, whereas Furin deletion reduced tumor growth, but its loss may be rescued by PC7 deletion. Altogether, these findings will be important to inform future therapeutic approaches and strategies for targeting PCs to preferentially block oncogenic activities.

    Keywords: Proprotein Convertase ; Furin ; PC7 ; Trafficking ; FRET ; melanoma

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 8319 (2018)
    Programme doctoral Approches moléculaires du vivant
    Faculté des sciences de la vie
    Institut suisse de Recherche Expérimentale sur le Cancer
    Unité du Prof. Constam
    Jury: professeure Cathrin Brisken (présidente) ; Prof. Daniel Constam (directeur de thèse) ; Prof. Brian McCabe, Prof. Stefan Kunz, Prof. Rainer Pepperkok (rapporteurs)

    Public defense: 2018-1-19


    Record created on 2018-01-09, modified on 2018-01-16


  • Thesis submitted - Forthcoming publication

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