Research Highlights

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.