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Articles by Berge A. Minassian
Total Records ( 2 ) for Berge A. Minassian
  Runhua Liu , Lizhong Wang , Chong Chen , Yan Liu , Penghui Zhou , Yin Wang , Xirui Wang , Julie Turnbull , Berge A. Minassian , Yang Liu and Pan Zheng
  Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) represses cell cycle progression by directly phosphorylating cyclin D1 and indirectly regulating cyclin D1 transcription by inhibiting Wnt signaling. Recently, we reported that the Epm2a-encoded laforin is a GSK-3β phosphatase and a tumor suppressor. The cellular mechanism for its tumor suppression remains unknown. Using ex vivo thymocytes and primary embryonic fibroblasts from Epm2a/ mice, we show here a general function of laforin in the cell cycle regulation and repression of cyclin D1 expression. Moreover, targeted mutation of Epm2a increased the phosphorylation of Ser9 on GSK-3β while having no effect on the phosphorylation of Ser21 on GSK-3α. In the GSK-3β+/+ but not the GSK-3β–/– cells, Epm2a small interfering RNA significantly enhanced cell growth. Consistent with an increased level of cyclin D1, the phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (Rb) and the levels of Rb-E2F-regulated genes cyclin A, cyclin E, MCM3, and PCNA are also elevated. Inhibitors of GSK-3β selectively increased the cell growth of Epm2a+/+ but not of Epm2a/ cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that laforin is a selective phosphatase for GSK-3β and regulates cell cycle progression by GSK-3β-dependent mechanisms. These data provide a cellular basis for the tumor suppression activity of laforin.
  Vincent S. Tagliabracci , Jean Marie Girard , Dyann Segvich , Catalina Meyer , Julie Turnbull , Xiaochu Zhao , Berge A. Minassian , Anna A. DePaoli-Roach and Peter J. Roach
  Lafora disease is a progressive myoclonus epilepsy with onset in the teenage years followed by neurodegeneration and death within 10 years. A characteristic is the widespread formation of poorly branched, insoluble glycogen-like polymers (polyglucosan) known as Lafora bodies, which accumulate in neurons, muscle, liver, and other tissues. Approximately half of the cases of Lafora disease result from mutations in the EPM2A gene, which encodes laforin, a member of the dual specificity protein phosphatase family that is able to release the small amount of covalent phosphate normally present in glycogen. In studies of Epm2a–/– mice that lack laforin, we observed a progressive change in the properties and structure of glycogen that paralleled the formation of Lafora bodies. At three months, glycogen metabolism remained essentially normal, even though the phosphorylation of glycogen has increased 4-fold and causes altered physical properties of the polysaccharide. By 9 months, the glycogen has overaccumulated by 3-fold, has become somewhat more phosphorylated, but, more notably, is now poorly branched, is insoluble in water, and has acquired an abnormal morphology visible by electron microscopy. These glycogen molecules have a tendency to aggregate and can be recovered in the pellet after low speed centrifugation of tissue extracts. The aggregation requires the phosphorylation of glycogen. The aggregrated glycogen sequesters glycogen synthase but not other glycogen metabolizing enzymes. We propose that laforin functions to suppress excessive glycogen phosphorylation and is an essential component of the metabolism of normally structured glycogen.
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