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Biochemistry - Biotechnology - Hematology


Overexpression of the Catalytically Impaired Taspase1T234V or Taspase1D233A Variants Does Not Have a Dominant Negative Effect in T(4;11) Leukemia Cells
Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Author: Carolin Bier et al.

by Carolin Bier, Rouven Hecht, Lena Kunst, Sabine Scheiding, Désirée Wünsch, Dorothée Goesswein, Günter Schneider, Oliver H. Krämer, Shirley K. Knauer, Roland H. Stauber

Background

The chromosomal translocation t(4;11)(q21;q23) is associated with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia of infants. The resulting AF4•MLL oncoprotein becomes activated by Taspase1 hydrolysis and is considered to promote oncogenic transcriptional activation. Hence, Taspase1’s proteolytic activity is a critical step in AF4•MLL pathophysiology. The Taspase1 proenzyme is autoproteolytically processed in its subunits and is assumed to assemble into an aßßa-heterodimer, the active protease. Therefore, we investigated here whether overexpression of catalytically inactive Taspase1 variants are able to interfere with the proteolytic activity of the wild type enzyme in AF4•MLL model systems.

Methodology/Findings

The consequences of overexpressing the catalytically dead Taspase1 mutant, Taspase1T234V, or the highly attenuated variant, Taspase1D233A, on Taspase1’s processing of AF4•MLL and of other Taspase1 targets was analyzed in living cancer cells employing an optimized cell-based assay. Notably, even a nine-fold overexpression of the respective Taspase1 mutants neither inhibited Taspase1’s cis- nor trans-cleavage activity in vivo. Likewise, enforced expression of the a- or ß-subunits showed no trans-dominant effect against the ectopically or endogenously expressed enzyme. Notably, co-expression of the individual a- and ß-subunits did not result in their assembly into an enzymatically active protease complex. Probing Taspase1 multimerization in living cells by a translocation-based protein interaction assay as well as by biochemical methods indicated that the inactive Taspase1 failed to assemble into stable heterocomplexes with the wild type enzyme.

Conclusions

Collectively, our results demonstrate that inefficient heterodimerization appears to be the mechanism by which inactive Taspase1 variants fail to inhibit wild type Taspase1’s activity in trans. Our work favours strategies targeting Taspase1’s catalytic activity rather than attempts to block the formation of active Taspase1 dimers to interfere with the pathobiological function of AF4•MLL.

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