bims-apauto Biomed News
on Apoptosis and autophagy
Issue of 2021‒02‒14
fourteen papers selected by
Su Hyun Lee
Seoul National University


  1. Cells. 2021 Feb 10. pii: 365. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
    Pierzynowska K, Rintz E, Gaffke L, Węgrzyn G.
      Ferroptosis is one of the recently described types of cell death which is dependent on many factors, including the accumulation of iron and lipid peroxidation. Its induction requires various signaling pathways. Recent discovery of ferroptosis induction pathways stimulated by autophagy, so called autophagy-dependent ferroptosis, put our attention on the role of ferroptosis in lysosomal storage diseases (LSD). Lysosome dysfunction, observed in these diseases, may influence ferroptosis efficiency, with as yet unknown consequences for the function of cells, tissues, and organisms, due to the effects of ferroptosis on physiological and pathological metabolic processes. Modulation of levels of ferrous ions and enhanced oxidative stress, which are primary markers of ferroptosis, are often described as processes associated with the pathology of LSD. Inhibition of autophagy flux and resultant accumulation of autophagosomes in neuronopathic LSD may induce autophagy-dependent ferroptosis, indicating a considerable contribution of this process in neurodegeneration. In this review article, we describe molecular mechanisms of ferroptosis in light of LSD, underlining the modulation of levels of ferroptosis markers in these diseases. Furthermore, we propose a hypothesis about the possible involvement of autophagy-dependent ferroptosis in these disorders.
    Keywords:  autophagy-dependent ferroptosis; ferroptosis; lysosomal storage diseases; programmed cell death
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10020365
  2. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Feb 08. 12(2): 161
    Bishnu A, Phadte P, Dhadve A, Sakpal A, Rekhi B, Ray P.
      Alterations in key kinases and signaling pathways can fine-tune autophagic flux to promote the development of chemoresistance. Despite empirical evidences of strong association between enhanced autophagic flux with acquired chemoresistance, it is still not understood whether an ongoing autophagic flux is required for both initiation, as well as maintenance of chemoresistance, or is sufficient for one of the either steps. Utilizing indigenously developed cisplatin-paclitaxel-resistant models of ovarian cancer cells, we report an intriguing oscillation in chemotherapy-induced autophagic flux across stages of resistance, which was found to be specifically elevated at the early stages or onset of chemoresistance. Conversely, the sensitive cells and cells at late stages of resistance showed stalled and reduced autophagic flux. This increased flux at early stages of resistance was found to be dictated by a hyperactive ERK1/2 signaling, which when inhibited either pharmacologically (U0126/Trametinib) or genetically, reduced p62 degradation, number of LC3+veLAMP1+ve puncta, autophagolysosome formation, and led to chemo-sensitization and apoptosis. Inhibition of ERK1/2 activation also altered the level of UVRAG and Rab7, the two key proteins involved in autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Noninvasive imaging of autophagic flux using a novel autophagy sensor (mtFL-p62 fusion reporter) showed that combinatorial treatment of platinum-taxol along with Trametinib/chloroquine blocked autophagic flux in live cells and tumor xenografts. Interestingly, Trametinib was found to be equally effective in blocking autophagic flux as chloroquine both in live cells and tumor xenografts. Combinatorial treatment of Trametinib and platinum-taxol significantly reduced tumor growth. This is probably the first report of real-time monitoring of chemotherapy-induced autophagy kinetics through noninvasive bioluminescence imaging in preclinical mouse model. Altogether our data suggest that an activated ERK1/2 supports proper completion of autophagic flux at the onset of chemoresistance to endure initial chemotherapeutic insult and foster the development of a highly chemoresistant phenotype, where autophagy becomes dispensable.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03451-y
  3. Autophagy. 2021 Feb 08. 1-3
    Vats S, Galli T.
      Together with the proteasome, macroautophagy is a main pathway for the degradation of intracellular elements. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-autophagy i.e. reticulophagy/ER-phagy leads to the encapsulation of pieces of the ER in forming autophagosomes. This is generally followed by fusion with lysosomes and degradation of these ER components by lysosomal hydrolases. Recent work by our group shows that ER elements could also be incorporated into late endosomes and later be released by a secretory mechanism which we will herein refer to as secretory reticulophagy/ER-phagy (SERP). In the absence of macroautophagy, such as by knocking out Atg5, SERP is more efficient, leading to an increased secretion of MAP1LC3B-II and LC3-interacting region (LIR)-containing proteins of the ER, reticulons and atlastins. In this scenario, neurites grow longer and neuronal polarity is altered. In the absence of SERP, such as by knocking out Vamp7, secretion of MAP1LC3B-II, ER-LIR containing proteins and neurite growth are severely inhibited. We argue that SERP might be a main secretory mechanism bypassing the Golgi apparatus, and that it is particularly active and important in neurite growth.
    Keywords:  ATG5; ER-phagy; VAMP7; atlastins; autophagy; extracellular vesicles; late-endosome; reticulons; secretion
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.1883886
  4. Autophagy. 2021 Feb 11.
    Terešak P, Lapao A, Subic N, Boya P, Elazar Z, Simonsen A.
      Mitochondria are dynamic, multifunctional cellular organelles that play a fundamental role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Keeping the quality of mitochondria in check is of essential importance for functioning and survival of the cells. Selective autophagic clearance of flawed mitochondria, a process termed mitophagy, is one of the most prominent mechanisms through which cells maintain a healthy mitochondrial pool. The best-studied pathway through which mitophagy is exerted is the PINK1-PRKN pathway. However, an increasing number of studies have shown an existence of alternative pathways, where different proteins and lipids are able to recruit autophagic machinery independently of PINK1 and PRKN. The significance of PRKN-independent mitophagy pathways is reflected in various physiological and pathophysiological processes, but many questions regarding the regulation and the interplay between these pathways remain open. Here we review the current knowledge and recent progress made in the field of PRKN-independent mitophagy. Particularly we focus on the regulation of various receptors that participate in targeting impaired mitochondria to autophagosomes independently of PRKN.
    Keywords:  autophagy receptors; mitochondria; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy; selective autophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.1888244
  5. J Drug Target. 2021 Feb 08. 1-16
    Qiu YH, Zhang TS, Wang XW, Wang MY, Zhao WX, Zhou HM, Zhang CH, Cai ML, Chen XF, Zhao WL, Shao RG.
      Mitophagy is a selective form of macroautophagy in which dysfunctional and damaged mitochondria can be efficiently degraded, removed and recycled through autophagy. Selective removal of damaged or fragmented mitochondria is critical to the functional integrity of the entire mitochondrial network and cells. In past decades, numerous studies have shown that mitophagy is involved in various diseases; however, since the dual role of mitophagy in tumour development, mitophagy role in tumour is controversial, and further elucidation is needed. That is, although mitophagy has been demonstrated to contribute to carcinogenesis, cell migration, ferroptosis inhibition, cancer stemness maintenance, tumour immune escape, drug resistance, etc. during cancer progression, many research also shows that to promote cancer cell death, mitophagy can be induced physiologically or pharmacologically to maintain normal cellular metabolism and prevent cell stress responses and genome damage by diminishing mitochondrial damage, thus suppressing tumour development accompanying these changes. Signalling pathway-specific molecular mechanisms are currently of great biological significance in the identification of potential therapeutic targets. Here, we review recent progress of molecular pathways mediating mitophagy including both canonical pathways (Parkin/PINK1- and FUNDC1-mediated mitophagy) and noncanonical pathways (FKBP8-, Nrf2-, and DRP1-mediated mitophagy); and the regulation of these pathways, and abovementioned pro-cancer and pro-death roles of mitophagy. Finally, we summarise the role of mitophagy in cancer therapy. Mitophagy can potentially be acted as the target for cancer therapy by promotion or inhibition.
    Keywords:  LC3; Mitophagy; PINK1; cancer; parkin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/1061186X.2020.1867992
  6. Cell Discov. 2020 Feb 11. 6(1): 6
    Yim WW, Mizushima N.
      Autophagy is a major intracellular degradation system that derives its degradative abilities from the lysosome. The most well-studied form of autophagy is macroautophagy, which delivers cytoplasmic material to lysosomes via the double-membraned autophagosome. Other forms of autophagy, namely chaperone-mediated autophagy and microautophagy, occur directly on the lysosome. Besides providing the means for degradation, lysosomes are also involved in autophagy regulation and can become substrates of autophagy when damaged. During autophagy, they exhibit notable changes, including increased acidification, enhanced enzymatic activity, and perinuclear localization. Despite their importance to autophagy, details on autophagy-specific regulation of lysosomes remain relatively scarce. This review aims to provide a summary of current understanding on the behaviour of lysosomes during autophagy and outline unexplored areas of autophagy-specific lysosome research.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41421-020-0141-7
  7. Cell Death Discov. 2020 Apr 22. 6(1): 27
    Leprivier G, Rotblat B.
      Glucose is a major requirement for biological life. Its concentration is constantly sensed at the cellular level, allowing for adequate responses to any changes of glucose availability. Such responses are mediated by key sensors and signaling pathway components that adapt cellular metabolism to glucose levels. One of the major hubs of these responses is mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, which forms the mTORC1 and mTORC2 protein complexes. Under physiological glucose concentrations, mTORC1 is activated and stimulates a number of proteins and enzymes involved in anabolic processes, while restricting the autophagic process. Conversely, when glucose levels are low, mTORC1 is inhibited, in turn leading to the repression of numerous anabolic processes, sparing ATP and antioxidants. Understanding how mTORC1 activity is regulated by glucose is not only important to better delineate the biological function of mTOR, but also to highlight potential therapeutic strategies for treating diseases characterized by deregulated glucose availability, as is the case of cancer. In this perspective, we depict the different sensors and upstream proteins responsible of controlling mTORC1 activity in response to changes in glucose concentration. This includes the major energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), as well as other independent players. The impact of such modes of regulation of mTORC1 on cellular processes is also discussed.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41420-020-0260-9
  8. Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Feb 05. pii: S0968-0004(21)00006-2. [Epub ahead of print]
    Nieto-Torres JL, Leidal AM, Debnath J, Hansen M.
      The ATG8 family proteins are critical players in autophagy, a cytoprotective process that mediates degradation of cytosolic cargo. During autophagy, ATG8s conjugate to autophagosome membranes to facilitate cargo recruitment, autophagosome biogenesis, transport, and fusion with lysosomes, for cargo degradation. In addition to these canonical functions, recent reports demonstrate that ATG8s are also delivered to single-membrane organelles, which leads to highly divergent degradative or secretory fates, vesicle maturation, and cargo specification. The association of ATG8s with different vesicles involves complex regulatory mechanisms still to be fully elucidated. Whether individual ATG8 family members play unique canonical or non-canonical roles, also remains unclear. This review summarizes the many open molecular questions regarding ATG8s that are only beginning to be unraveled.
    Keywords:  GABARAP; LC3; LC3-associated phagocytosis; multivesicular bodies; non-canonical autophagy; unconventional secretion
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibs.2021.01.004
  9. J Biochem. 2021 Feb 12. pii: mvab017. [Epub ahead of print]
    Matoba K, Noda NN.
      Autophagy, which is an evolutionarily conserved intracellular degradation system, involves de novo generation of autophagosomes that sequester and deliver diverse cytoplasmic materials to the lysosome for degradation. Autophagosome formation is mediated by approximately 20 core autophagy-related (Atg) proteins, which collaborate to mediate complicated membrane dynamics during autophagy. To elucidate the molecular functions of these Atg proteins in autophagosome formation, many researchers have tried to determine the structures of Atg proteins by using various structural biological methods. Although not sufficient, the basic structural catalog of all core Atg proteins was established. In this review article, we summarize structural biological studies of core Atg proteins, with an emphasis on recently unveiled structures, and describe the mechanistic breakthroughs in autophagy research that have derived from new structural information.
    Keywords:  Atg proteins; autophagosome; autophagy; phase separation; structural biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/jb/mvab017
  10. Cell Death Discov. 2020 May 01. 6(1): 31
    Qiao Z, Xu Z, Xiao Q, Yang Y, Ying J, Xiang L, Zhang C.
      Autophagy is a process involving the self-digestion of components that participates in anti-oxidative stress responses and protects cells against oxidative damage. However, the role of autophagy in the anti-oxidative stress responses of melanocytes remains unclear. To investigate the role of autophagy in human epidermal melanocytes, we knocked down and overexpressed ATG7, the critical gene of autophagy, in normal human epidermal melanocytes. We demonstrated that ATG7-dependent autophagy could affect melanin content of melanocytes by regulating melanogenesis. Moreover, suppression of ATG7-dependent autophagy inhibits proliferation and promotes oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of melanocytes, whereas enhancement of ATG7-dependent autophagy protects melanocytes from oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Meanwhile, deficiency of ATG7-dependent autophagy results in premature senescence of melanocytes under oxidative stress. Notably, we verified that ATG7-dependent autophagy could alter oxidative stress homeostasis by regulating reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) antioxidant pathway, and the activity of several antioxidant enzymes in melanocytes. In conclusion, our study suggested that ATG7-dependent autophagy is indispensable for redox homeostasis and the biological functions of melanocytes, such as melanogenesis, proliferation, apoptosis, and senescence, especially under oxidative stress.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41420-020-0266-3
  11. Autophagy. 2021 Feb 10.
    Bao Y, Qian C, Liu MY, Jiang F, Jiang X, Liu H, Zhang Z, Sun F, Fu N, Hou Z, Ke Y, Li Y, Qian ZM.
      RASAL2 (RAS protein activator like 2), a RASGTPase activating protein, can catalyze the hydrolysis of RAS-GTP into RAS-GDP to inactivate the RAS pathway in various types of cancer cells. However, the cellular function of RASAL2 remains elusive. Here we showed that RASAL2 can attenuate PRKAA/AMPKα phosphorylation by recruiting phosphatase PPM1B/pp2cβ, thus inhibiting the initiation of basal autophagy under normal conditions. In addition, we found that glucose starvation could induce dissociation of PPM1B from RASAL2 and then RASAL2 at S351 be phosphorylated by PRKAA, followed by the binding of phosphorylated-RASAL2 with to PIK3C3/VPS34-ATG14-BECN1/Beclin1 complex to increase PIK3C3 activity and autophagy. Furthermore, RASAL2 S351 phosphorylation facilitated breast tumor growth and correlated to poor clinical outcomes in breast cancer patients. Our study demonstrated that the phosphorylation status of RASAL2 S351 can function as a molecular switch to either suppress or promote AMPK-mediated autophagy. Inhibition of RASAL2 S351 phosphorylation might be a potential therapeutic strategy to overcome the resistance of AMPK-activation agents.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; PP1MB; PRKAA; RASAL2; breast cancer
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.1886767
  12. Cell Death Discov. 2020 Aug 05. 6(1): 70
    Huang R, Gao S, Han Y, Ning H, Zhou Y, Guan H, Liu X, Yan S, Zhou PK.
      Authophagy and G2/M arrest are two important mechanistic responses of cells to ionizing radiation (IR), in particular the IR-induced fibrosis. However, what interplayer and how it links the autophagy and the G2/M arrest remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the autophagy-related protein BECN1 plays a critical role in ionizing radiation-induced G2/M arrest. The treatment of cells with autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) at 0-12 h but not 12 h postirradiation significantly sensitized them to IR, indicating a radio-protective role of autophagy in the early response of cells to radiation. 3-MA and BECN1 disruption inactivated the G2/M checkpoint following IR by abrogating the IR-induced phosphorylation of phosphatase CDC25C and its target CDK1, a key mediator of the G2/M transition in coordination with CCNB1. Irradiation increased the nuclear translocation of BECN1, and this process was inhibited by 3-MA. We confirmed that BECN1 interacts with CDC25C and CHK2, and which is mediated the amino acids 89-155 and 151-224 of BECN1, respectively. Importantly, BECN1 deficiency disrupted the interaction of CHK2 with CDC25C and the dissociation of CDC25C from CDK1 in response to irradiation, resulting in the dephosphorylation of CDK1 and overexpression of CDK1. In summary, IR induces the translocation of BECN1 to the nucleus, where it mediates the interaction between CDC25C and CHK2, resulting in the phosphorylation of CDC25C and its dissociation from CDK1. Consequently, the mitosis-promoting complex CDK1/CCNB1 is inactivated, resulting in the arrest of cells at the G2/M transition. Our findings demonstrated that BECN1 plays a role in promotion of radiation-induced G2/M arrest through regulation of CDK1 activity. Whether such functions of BECN1 in G2/M arrest is dependent or independent on its autophagy-related roles is necessary to further identify.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41420-020-00301-2
  13. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 586498
    Tsai CF, Su HH, Chen KM, Liao JM, Yao YT, Chen YH, Wang M, Chu YC, Wang YH, Huang SS.
      Many studies have shown that crosstalk exists between apoptosis and autophagy, despite differences in mechanisms between these processes. Paeonol, a major phenolic compound isolated from Moutan Cortex Radicis, the root bark of Paeonia × suffruticosa Andrews (Paeoniaceae), is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine as an antipyretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. In this study, we investigated the detailed molecular mechanisms of the crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy underlying the cardioprotective effects of paeonol in rats subjected to myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Myocardial I/R injury was induced by occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) for 1 h followed by 3 h of reperfusion. Paeonol was intravenously administered 15 min before LAD ligation. We found that paeonol significantly improved cardiac function after myocardial I/R injury and significantly decreased myocardial I/R-induced arrhythmia and mortality. Paeonol also significantly decreased myocardial infarction and plasma LDH activity and Troponin-I levels in carotid blood after I/R. Compared with vehicle treatment, paeonol significantly upregulated Bcl-2 protein expression and significantly downregulated the cleaved forms of caspase-8, caspase-9, caspase-3 and PARP protein expression in the I/R injured myocardium. Myocardial I/R-induced autophagy, including the increase of Beclin-1, p62, LC3-I, and LC3-II protein expression in the myocardium was significantly reversed by paeonol treatment. Paeonol also significantly increased the Bcl-2/Bax and Bcl-2/Beclin-1 ratios in the myocardium after I/R injury. The cardioprotective role of paeonol during I/R injury may be due to its mediation of crosstalk between apoptotic and autophagic signaling pathways, which inhibits apoptosis and autophagic cell death.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; autophagy; crosstalk; myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury; paeonol
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.586498
  14. Antivir Chem Chemother. 2021 Jan-Dec;29:29 2040206620980888
    Zhang G, Huang X.
      Dysfunction of CD4+ T cells by HIV infection can cause serious immune defects. Recently, Campbell and colleagues described an intriguing and simple therapeutic method for HIV-infected resting central memory CD4+ T cells (HIV-TCM), dependently on inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family proteins-targeted and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (SMAC) mimetics-mediated apoptosis, which is only triggered in HIV-TCM and not uninfected ones. Autophagy induction and subsequent formation of a ripoptosome-like death signaling complex were observed after such treatment, which may partially explain the potential mechanism. However, the direct intracellular inhibitory effects of IAPs on autophagy, as well as the critical roles of autophagy in activating extracellular anti-infection immune responses, warrant further investigation. Thus, this pointer aims to provide potential alternative mechanisms and to suggest important avenues for follow-up study.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CD4+ T cell; HIV; SMAC mimic; immune signature; inhibitor of apoptosis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/2040206620980888