Wenyi Wei, Ph.D.,Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Boston, MA

Current Site Of Practice:
Hospital Affiliation: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Focus of Research: Pathology
Fellowship Year: 2009 – 2010
Attended: Harvard Medical School

Contact Wenyi Wei

Publications

Cdh1 regulates cell cycle through modulating the Claspin/Chk1 and the Rb/E2F1 pathways.

Monitoring Editor: Mark J. Solomon APC/Cdh1 is a major cell cycle regulator and its function has been implicated in DNA damage repair; however, its exact role remains unclear. Using affinity purification coupled with mass spectrometry, we identified Claspin as a novel Cdh1 interacting protein and further demonstrated that Claspin is a novel Cdh1 ubiquitin substrate. As a result, inactivation of Cdh1 leads to activation of the Claspin/Chk1 pathway. Previously, we demonstrated that Rb interacts with Cdh1 to influence its ability to degrade Skp2. Here, we report that Cdh1 reciprocally regulates the Rb pathway through competing with E2F1 to bind the hypophosphorylated form of Rb. Whereas inactivation of Cdh1 in HeLa cells, with defective p53/Rb pathways, led to premature S phase entry, acute depletion of Cdh1 in primary human fibroblasts resulted in premature senescence. Acute loss of many other major tumor suppressors, including PTEN and VHL, also induces premature senescence in a p53 or Rb dependent manner. Similarly, we showed that inactivation of the p53/Rb pathways by overexpression of SV40 LT-antigen partially reversed Cdh1 depletion-induced growth arrest. Therefore, loss of Cdh1 is only beneficial to cells with abnormal p53 and Rb pathways, which helps explain why Cdh1 loss is not frequently found in many tumors.

Molecular Biology of the Cell (2009) In Press

Phosphorylation by Akt1 promotes Skp2 cytoplasmic localization and impairs APC/Cdh1-medaited Skp2 destruction.

Deregulated Skp2 function promotes cell transformation, and this is consistent with observations of Skp2 overexpression in many human cancers. However, the mechanisms underlying elevated Skp2 expression are still unknown. Here we show that the serine/threonine protein kinase Akt1, but not Akt2, directly controls Skp2 stability by a mechanism that involves degradation by the APC-Cdh1 ubiquitin ligase complex. We show further that Akt1 phosphorylates Skp2 at Ser 72, which is required to disrupt the interaction between Cdh1 and Skp2. In addition, we show that Ser 72 is localized within a putative nuclear localization sequence and that phosphorylation of Ser 72 by Akt leads to cytoplasmic translocation of Skp2. This finding expands our knowledge of how specific signalling kinase cascades influence proteolysis governed by APC-Cdh1 complexes, and provides evidence that elevated Akt activity and cytoplasmic Skp2 expression may be causative for cancer progression.

Nature Cell Biology 11(4): 397-408