Theses Doctoral

Physiological and Pathological Roles of Rab-Dynein-Dynactin Binding Adaptors

Quintremil, Sebastian

Transport of different organelles along the Microtubule cytoskeleton is carried out mainly by motor proteins Dynein and Kinesin. The tubulin monomers in Microtubules are organized in such a way that the generate polarity (a minus and a plus end) that is recognized by Motor proteins. Dynein usually acts with a binding partner, Dynactin, and is in charge of moving cargoes to the minus end of microtubules (mainly towards the center of the cell). There are different kinesins, the most studied is Kinesin-1, which moves cargoes towards the plus end of microtubules. In order to fulfil their function Motors usually bind to their cargoes indirectly through adaptor proteins. Chapter 1 explains the general concepts related to a group of Adaptors that recognize the small GTP-ases, Rabs, in cargoes that need to be transported under certain physiological circumstances and help recruiting the Dynein/Dynactin complexes to them so they can move in the minus end direction. This family of Adaptors is called Rab-Dynein-Dynactin (RDD) adaptors and in this project I focused on two of them: BicD2 and RILP.

In chapter 2, I will focus on BicD2 and its role in Golgi morphology. BicD2 is an RDD adaptor that mediates binding of Dynein/Dynactin to Rab6-positive vesicles. Some mutations in BicD2 have been associated to Golgi apparatus morphology disruption, but the mechanism is unclear. It has been suggested that mutated BicD2 abnormally binds Dynein/Dynactin, sequestering this motor complex, producing Golgi disruption indirectly since this organelle depends heavily on minus-directed transport to maintain its localization and structure. I test this hypothesis and conclude that even when most pathological mutations disrupt the Golgi, a Dynein/Dynactin-mediated mechanisms is probably true only to some of them, proposing alternatives mechanisms such as Rab6 abnormal accumulation and non-Golgi related mechanisms of pathogenesis.

In chapter 3, I will focus on RILP and its role in autophagosome movement. RILP is an RDD adaptor that mediates binding of Dynein/Dynactin to Rab7-positive vesicles such as Lysosomes. During autophagy, autophagosomes (which are LC3-positive) are formed mainly in the ER and mature to finally fuse with the Late Endosomes or Lysosomes (both acidic) in the center of the cell. It has been described by our lab that RILP can transport LC3-vesicles in axons.

Nevertheless, these vesicles are acidic, which suggest these LC3-vesicles are already fused with either Lysosomes or Late endosomes. I will work under the Hypothesis that RILP can move autophagosomes in early stages (before fusion with Lysosomes or Late endosomes) in non-neuronal cells. I show that RILP can move autophagosomes to the center and FYCO1 (a Kinesin-1 adaptor) can move them to the periphery. RILP-mediated movement of autophagosomes depends on Rab7 activation status and seems to be controlled by PKA. I proposed a phosphorylation in Rab7 as a control mechanism. Finally, the discovery of 3 LC3 interacting regions (LIRs) in the RILP molecule is discussed and their contribution to autophagosome movement is analyzed.
My results highlight the relevance of RDD proteins in physiological and pathological context.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies
Thesis Advisors
Vallee, Richard
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 18, 2023