Jean Wilson

Jean Wilson, PhD, focuses on understanding how polarized cells such as epithelial cells and neurons establish and maintain the membrane domains that enable them to carry out their specialized functions. For example, epithelial cells that line the intestines must transport nutrients into the body while preventing pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, from invading across the epithelium. This cellular balancing act is mediated in part by tight junctions between the cells. Current projects in the laboratory include studying the molecular machinery that regulates the assembly and maintenance of tight junctions between cells.

Membrane movement in epithelial cells performs at least two functions: 1) generation and maintenance of cell polarity, and 2) selective transport of molecules across cells. During development of cell polarity in the intestine, for example, sorting of newly synthesized proteins to the appropriate plasma membrane domain (either apical or basolateral) may occur by direct targeting from the trans-Golgi network or sorting in endosomes. In selective transepithelial transport, molecules bind to their receptors on one membrane domain, are internalized and delivered to endosomes where they are sorted into vesicles that carry them across the cell. All substances taken up by endocytosis must first traverse endosomes before being targeted to their ultimate destinations. Therefore, central to the sorting process for both cell polarity and transepithelial transport is the endosomal complex.

To study the structure and dynamics of endosomes, Dr. Wilson and her lab have screened for monoclonal antibodies against endosomal antigens and have obtained an antibody against a glycoprotein that is found in apical endosomes of the developing intestine in several species and is also present in an intestinal cell line. They are using this antibody to study the molecular structure and dynamics of endosomes.


Competing Molecular Interactions Of A Pkc Isoforms Regulate Neuronal Polarity. Source: Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America
August 12th, 2013 PMID: 23940317 Jean Wilson
Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) isoforms ζ and λ interact with polarity complex protein Par3 and are evolutionarily conserved regulators of cell polarity. Prkcz encodes aPKC-ζ and PKM-ζ, a truncated, neuron-specific alternative transcript, and Prkcl encodes aPKC-λ. Here we show that, in embryonic hippocampal neurons, two aPKC isoforms, aPKC-λ and PKM-ζ, are expressed. The localization of these isoforms is spatially distinct in a polarized neuron. aPKC-λ, as well as Par3, localizes at the presumptive axon, whereas PKM-ζ and Par3 are distributed at non-axon-forming neurites. PKM-ζ competes with aPKC-λ for binding to Par3 and disrupts the aPKC-λ-Par3 complex. Silencing of PKM-ζ or overexpression of aPKC-λ in hippocampal neurons alters neuronal polarity, resulting in neurons with supernumerary axons. In contrast, the overexpression of PKM-ζ prevents axon specification. Our studies suggest a molecular model wherein mutually antagonistic intermolecular competition between aPKC isoforms directs the establishment of neuronal polarity.<br /><br />
Regulation Of Tight Junction Assembly And Epithelial Polarity By A Resident Protein Of Apical Endosomes. Source: Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)
February 27th, 2010 PMID: 20214753 Jean Wilson
The establishment of tight junctions and cell polarity is an essential process in all epithelia. Endotubin is an integral membrane protein found in apical endosomes of developing epithelia when tight junctions and epithelial polarity first arise. We found that the disruption of endotubin function in cells in culture by siRNA or overexpression of the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain of endotubin causes defects in organization and function of tight junctions. We observe defects in localization of tight junction proteins, reduced transepithelial resistance, increased lanthanum penetration between cells and reduced ability of cells to form cysts in three-dimensional culture. In addition, in cells overexpressing the C-terminal domain of endotubin, we observe a delay in re-establishing the normal distribution of endosomes after calcium switch. These results suggest that endotubin regulates trafficking of polarity proteins and tight junction components out of the endosomal compartment, thereby providing a critical link between a resident protein of apical endosomes and tight junctions.<br /><br />
Rab14 Regulates Apical Targeting In Polarized Epithelial Cells. Source: Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)
April 21st, 2008 PMID: 18429929 Jean Wilson
Epithelial cells display distinct apical and basolateral membrane domains, and maintenance of this asymmetry is essential to the function of epithelial tissues. Polarized delivery of apical and basolateral membrane proteins from the trans Golgi network (TGN) and/or endosomes to the correct domain requires specific cytoplasmic machinery to control the sorting, budding and fission of vesicles. However, the molecular machinery that regulates polarized delivery of apical proteins remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that the small guanosine triphosphatase Rab14 is involved in the apical targeting pathway. Using yeast two-hybrid analysis and glutathione S-transferase pull down, we show that Rab14 interacts with apical membrane proteins and localizes to the TGN and apical endosomes. Overexpression of the GDP mutant form of Rab14 (S25N) induces an enlargement of the TGN and vesicle accumulation around Golgi membranes. Moreover, expression of Rab14-S25N results in mislocalization of the apical raft-associated protein vasoactive intestinal peptide/MAL to the basolateral domain but does not disrupt basolateral targeting or recycling. These data suggest that Rab14 specifically regulates delivery of cargo from the TGN to the apical domain.<br /><br />
A Role For Arf6 And Arno In The Regulation Of Endosomal Dynamics In Neurons. Source: Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)
September 26th, 2007 PMID: 17897316 Jean Wilson
During development, neuronal processes extend, branch and navigate to ultimately synapse with target tissue. We have shown a regulatory role for ARNO and ARF6 in dendritic branching and axonal elongation and branching during neuritogenesis, particularly with respect to cytoskeletal dynamics. Here, we have examined the role of ARF6 and the ARF GEF ARNO in endosomal dynamics during neurite elongation in hippocampal neurons. Axonal and dendritic endosomes were labeled by expression of the endosomal marker, endotubin. Expression of endotubin-green fluorescent protein resulted in targeting to tubular-vesicular structures throughout the somatodendritic and axonal domains. These endosomal structures did not colocalize with conventional early or late endosomal markers or with the synaptic vesicle marker, SV2. However, they did label with internalized lectin, indicating that they are endosomal structures. Expression of catalytically inactive ARNO (ARNO-E156K) or inactive ARF6 (ARF6-T27N) caused a redistribution of endotubin to the cell surface of the axons and dendrites. In contrast, expression of these constructs had no effect upon the distribution of SV2-positive structures. Furthermore, expression of inactive ARF1 (ARF1-T31N) did not change endotubin distribution. These results suggest that endotubin labels a distinct endosomal structure in neurons and that ARNO and ARF6 mediate neurite extension through the regulation of this compartment.<br /><br />
Arno And Arf6 Regulate Axonal Elongation And Branching Through Downstream Activation Of Phosphatidylinositol 4 Phosphate 5 Kinase Alpha. Source: Molecular Biology Of The Cell
October 17th, 2003 PMID: 14565977 Jean Wilson
In the developing nervous system, controlled neurite extension and branching are critical for the establishment of connections between neurons and their targets. Although much is known about the regulation of axonal development, many of the molecular events that regulate axonal extension remain unknown. ADP-ribosylation factor nucleotide-binding site opener (ARNO) and ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF)6 have important roles in the regulation of the cytoskeleton as well as membrane trafficking. To investigate the role of these molecules in axonogenesis, we expressed ARNO and ARF6 in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Expression of catalytically inactive ARNO or dominant negative ARF6 resulted in enhanced axonal extension and branching and this effect was abrogated by coexpression of constitutively active ARF6. We sought to identify the downstream effectors of ARF6 during neurite extension by coexpressing phosphatidyl-inositol-4-phosphate 5-Kinase alpha [PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha] with catalytically inactive ARNO and dominant negative ARF6. We found that PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha plays a role in neurite extension and branching downstream of ARF6. Also, expression of inactive ARNO/ARF6 depleted the actin binding protein mammalian ena (Mena) from the growth cone leading edge, indicating that these effects on axonogenesis may be mediated by changes in cytoskeletal dynamics. These results suggest that ARNO and ARF6, through PI(4)P 5-Kinase alpha, regulate axonal elongation and branching during neuronal development.<br /><br />
Regulation Of Dendritic Development By The Arf Exchange Factor Arno. Source: Nature Neuroscience
June 26th, 2002 PMID: 12032543 Jean Wilson
Here we analyzed the role of ARF6, a member of the ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) family of small GTPases, in dendritic arbor development in rat hippocampal neurons in culture. Overexpression of the inactive form of the GTP exchange factor ARNO (ARF nucleotide binding site opener) or inactive ARF6 enhanced dendritic branching, whereas coexpression of either Rac1 (a member of the Rho family of small GTPases known to control dendritic dynamics and growth) or active ARF6 with inactive ARNO eliminated the enhanced branching effect. These results indicate that the ARF family of small GTPases contributes to the regulation of dendritic branching, and that ARF6 activation turns on two independent pathways that suppress dendritic branching in vivo: one through Rac1 and the other through ARF6.<br /><br />
Eea1, A Tethering Protein Of The Early Sorting Endosome, Shows A Polarized Distribution In Hippocampal Neurons, Epithelial Cells, And Fibroblasts. Source: Molecular Biology Of The Cell
September 5th, 2000 PMID: 10930461 Jean Wilson
EEA1 is an early endosomal Rab5 effector protein that has been implicated in the docking of incoming endocytic vesicles before fusion with early endosomes. Because of the presence of complex endosomal pathways in polarized and nonpolarized cells, we have examined the distribution of EEA1 in diverse cell types. Ultrastructural analysis demonstrates that EEA1 is present on a subdomain of the early sorting endosome but not on clathrin-coated vesicles, consistent with a role in providing directionality to early endosomal fusion. Furthermore, EEA1 is associated with filamentous material that extends from the cytoplasmic surface of the endosomal domain, which is also consistent with a tethering/docking role for EEA1. In polarized cells (Madin-Darby canine kidney cells and hippocampal neurons), EEA1 is present on a subset of "basolateral-type" endosomal compartments, suggesting that EEA1 regulates specific endocytic pathways. In both epithelial cells and fibroblastic cells, EEA1 and a transfected apical endosomal marker, endotubin, label distinct endosomal populations. Hence, there are at least two distinct sets of early endosomes in polarized and nonpolarized mammalian cells. EEA1 could provide specificity and directionality to fusion events occurring in a subset of these endosomes in polarized and nonpolarized cells.<br /><br />
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