bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2020‒10‒04
twenty-nine papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Oct;22(10): 1170-1179
      SIRT1 (Sir2) is an NAD+-dependent deacetylase that plays critical roles in a broad range of biological events, including metabolism, the immune response and ageing1-5. Although there is strong interest in stimulating SIRT1 catalytic activity, the homeostasis of SIRT1 at the protein level is poorly understood. Here we report that macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy), a catabolic membrane trafficking pathway that degrades cellular components through autophagosomes and lysosomes, mediates the downregulation of mammalian SIRT1 protein during senescence and in vivo ageing. In senescence, nuclear SIRT1 is recognized as an autophagy substrate and is subjected to cytoplasmic autophagosome-lysosome degradation, via the autophagy protein LC3. Importantly, the autophagy-lysosome pathway contributes to the loss of SIRT1 during ageing of several tissues related to the immune and haematopoietic system in mice, including the spleen, thymus, and haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as in CD8+CD28- T cells from aged human donors. Our study reveals a mechanism in the regulation of the protein homeostasis of SIRT1 and suggests a potential strategy to stabilize SIRT1 to promote productive ageing.
  2. Autophagy. 2020 Sep 26.
      The recreational and medical use of cannabis is largely increasing worldwide. Cannabis use, however, can cause adverse side effects, so conducting innovative studies aimed to understand and potentially reduce cannabis-evoked harms is important. Previous research conducted on cultured neural cells had supported that CNR1/CB1R (cannabinoid receptor 1), the main molecular target of cannabis, affects macroautophagy/autophagy. However, it was not known whether CNR1 controls autophagy in the brain in vivo, and, eventually, what the functional consequences of a potential CNR1-autophagy connection could be. We have now found that Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major intoxicating constituent of cannabis, impairs autophagy in the mouse striatum. Administration of autophagy activators (specifically, the rapalog temsirolimus and the disaccharide trehalose) rescues THC-induced autophagy inhibition and motor dyscoordination. The combination of various genetic strategies in vivo supports the idea that CNR1 molecules located on neurons belonging to the direct (striatonigral) pathway are required for the autophagy- and motor-impairing activity of THC. By identifying autophagy as a mechanistic link between THC and motor performance, our findings may open a new conceptual view on how cannabis acts in the brain.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; MTOR; cannabinoid; drug abuse; motor behavior; striatum
  3. PLoS Genet. 2020 Sep 28. 16(9): e1009053
      Autophagy is a fundamental process responsible for degradation and recycling of intracellular contents. In the budding yeast, non-selective macroautophagy and microautophagy of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are caused by ER stress, the circumstance where aberrant proteins accumulate in the ER. The more recent study showed that protein aggregation in the ER initiates ER-selective macroautophagy, referred to as ER-phagy; however, the mechanisms by which ER stress induces ER-phagy have not been fully elucidated. Here, we show that the expression levels of ATG39, encoding an autophagy receptor specific for ER-phagy, are significantly increased under ER-stressed conditions. ATG39 upregulation in ER stress response is mediated by activation of its promoter, which is positively regulated by Snf1 AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and negatively by Mig1 and Mig2 transcriptional repressors. In response to ER stress, Snf1 promotes nuclear export of Mig1 and Mig2. Our results suggest that during ER stress response, Snf1 mediates activation of the ATG39 promoter and consequently facilitates ER-phagy by negatively regulating Mig1 and Mig2.
  4. Autophagy. 2020 Sep 26.
      RNF5 is implicated in ERAD and in negative regulation of macroautophagy/autophagy. To better understand the function of RNF-5 under ER-stress conditions, we studied the ability of Caenorhabditis elegans rnf-5(tm794) mutant animals to cope with stress in the background of impaired UPR machinery. We demonstrate that downregulation of RNF-5 decreased sensitivity to tunicamycin both in wild type and in an ire-1 mutant. Double-mutant rnf-5;ire-1 animals showed increased starvation resistance and extended lifespan when compared to the ire-1 mutant. This partial rescue of ire-1 required functional autophagy. Downregulation of RNF-5 rescued ER maturation defects and protein secretion of a DAF-28::GFP intestinal reporter in the ire-1 background. Proteomics and functional studies revealed an increase in lysosomal protease levels, in the frequency of intestinal lysosomes, and in lysosomal protease activity in rnf-5(tm794) animals. Together, these data suggest that RNF-5 is a negative regulator of ER stress, and that inactivation of RNF-5 promotes IRE-1-independent elevation of ER capacity.
    Keywords:  IRE1; RMA1; RNF5; autophagy, C. elegans ; endoplasmic reticulum; lysosome
  5. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Oct;22(10): 1252-1263
      Sensing and clearance of dysfunctional lysosomes is critical for cellular homeostasis. Here we show that transcription factor EB (TFEB)-a master transcriptional regulator of lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy-is activated during the lysosomal damage response, and its activation is dependent on the function of the ATG conjugation system, which mediates LC3 lipidation. In addition, lysosomal damage triggers LC3 recruitment on lysosomes, where lipidated LC3 interacts with the lysosomal calcium channel TRPML1, facilitating calcium efflux essential for TFEB activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate the presence and importance of this TFEB activation mechanism in kidneys in a mouse model of oxalate nephropathy accompanying lysosomal damage. A proximal tubule-specific TFEB-knockout mouse exhibited progression of kidney injury induced by oxalate crystals. Together, our results reveal unexpected mechanisms of TFEB activation by LC3 lipidation and their physiological relevance during the lysosomal damage response.
  6. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Oct 01. 11(9): 819
      Here we uncovered the involved subcellular mechanisms that sulforaphane-cysteine (SFN-Cys) inhibited invasion in human glioblastoma (GBM). SFN-Cys significantly upregulated 45 and downregulated 14 microtubule-, mitophagy-, and invasion-associated proteins in GBM cells via HPLC-MS/MS and GEO ontology analysis; SFN-Cys disrupted microtubule by ERK1/2 phosphorylation-mediated downregulation of α-tubulin and Stathmin-1 leading to the inhibition of cell migration and invasion; SFN-Cys downregulated invasion-associated Claudin-5 and S100A4, and decreased the interaction of α-tubulin to Claudin-5. Knockdown of Claudin-5 and S100A4 significantly reduced the migration and invasion. Besides, SFN-Cys lowered the expressions of α-tubulin-mediated mitophagy-associated proteins Bnip3 and Nix. Transmission electron microscopy showed more membrane-deficient mitochondria and accumulated mitophagosomes in GBM cells, and mitochondria fusion might be downregulated because that SFN-Cys downregulated mitochondrial fusion protein OPA1. SFN-Cys increased the colocalization and interplay of LC3 to lysosomal membrane-associated protein LAMP1, aggravating the fusion of mitophagosome to lysosome. Nevertheless, SFN-Cys inhibited the lysosomal proteolytic capacity causing LC3II/LC3I elevation but autophagy substrate SQSTM1/p62 was not changed, mitophagosome accumulation, and the inhibition of migration and invasion in GBM cells. These results will help us develop high-efficiency and low-toxicity anticancer drugs to inhibit migration and invasion in GBM.
  7. Front Mol Neurosci. 2020 ;13 162
      The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the chemical synapse connecting motor neurons and skeletal muscle fibers. NMJs allow all voluntary movements, and ensure vital functions like breathing. Changes in the structure and function of NMJs are hallmarks of numerous pathological conditions that affect muscle function including sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and function. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to the morphological and functional perturbations in the pre- and post-synaptic compartments of the NMJ remain poorly understood. Here, we discuss the role of the metabolic pathway associated to the kinase TOR (Target of Rapamycin) in the development, maintenance and alterations of the NMJ. This is of particular interest as the TOR pathway has been implicated in aging, but its role at the NMJ is still ill-defined. We highlight the respective functions of the two TOR-associated complexes, TORC1 and TORC2, and discuss the role of localized protein synthesis and autophagy regulation in motor neuron terminals and sub-synaptic regions of muscle fibers and their possible effects on NMJ maintenance.
    Keywords:  ALS; NMJ; TOR; aging; autophagy; mTORC1; mTORC2; sarcopenia
  8. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 1020
      Apoptosis plays a crucial role in maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier. Autophagy mediates injury to and repair of the intestinal epithelial barrier through multiple pathways in pathophysiological conditions. Our earlier study has found that cucurbitacin E (CuE) regulates the proliferation, migration, and permeability of human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs); however, its effects and mechanisms on apoptosis and autophagy are still unclear. This study reported CuE induced apoptosis and promoted autophagy of IECs in a concentration-dependent manner. The results showed that CuE could inhibit the expression of apoptosis-related protein Bcl-2 and drove activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of its substrate poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. CuE also facilitated the expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related proteins, CHOP and Grp78, and autophagy-related proteins, Beclin1 and LC3, while inhibiting the phosphorylation of AKT and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). An autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine, reduced CuE-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that CuE may induce apoptosis and autophagy in IECs via the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway and that autophagy following endoplasmic reticulum stress participates in the pro-apoptotic process induced by CuE.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; autophagy; cucurbitacin E; endoplasmic reticulum stress; intestinal epithelial cells
  9. Materials (Basel). 2020 Sep 29. pii: E4336. [Epub ahead of print]13(19):
      Propionic acid is a metabolite of the microbiome and can be transported to the brain. Previous data show that propionic acid changes mitochondrial biogenesis in SH-SY5Y cells and induces abnormal autophagy in primary hippocampal neurons. Maintaining mitochondrial function is key to homeostasis in neuronal cells, and mitophagy is the selective autophagy involved in regulating mitochondrial quality. Monitoring mitophagy though light microscopy or conventional transmission electron microscopy separately is insufficient because phases of mitophagy, including autophagosome and autolysosome in nano-resolution, are critical for studies of function. Therefore, we used correlative light and electron microscopy to investigate mitochondrial quality in SH-SY5Y cells after propionic acid treatment to use the advantages of both techniques. We showed, with this approach, that propionic acid induces mitophagy associated with mitochondrial quality.
    Keywords:  autophagy; correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM); mitophagy; propionic acid
  10. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Sep 30. 11(9): 817
      In eukaryotic cells, lysosomes are digestive centers where biological macromolecules are degraded by phagocytosis and autophagy, thereby maintaining cellular self-renewal capacity and energy supply. Lysosomes also serve as signaling hubs to monitor the intracellular levels of nutrients and energy by acting as platforms for the assembly of multiple signaling pathways, such as mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK). The structural integrity and functional balance of lysosomes are essential for cell function and viability. In fact, lysosomal damage not only disrupts intracellular clearance but also results in the leakage of multiple contents, which pose great threats to the cell by triggering cell death pathways, including apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, and ferroptosis. The collapse of lysosomal homeostasis is reportedly critical for the pathogenesis and development of various diseases, such as tumors, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and inflammatory diseases. Lysosomal quality control (LQC), comprising lysosomal repair, lysophagy, and lysosomal regeneration, is rapidly initiated in response to lysosomal damage to maintain lysosomal structural integrity and functional homeostasis. LQC may be a novel but pivotal target for disease treatment because of its indispensable role in maintaining intracellular homeostasis and cell fate.
  11. Mol Pain. 2020 Jan-Dec;16:16 1744806920960856
      Capsaicin is an agonist of transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1). Strong TRPV1 stimulation with capsaicin causes mitochondrial damage in primary sensory neurons. However, the effect of repetitive and moderate exposure to capsaicin on the integrity of neuronal mitochondria remains largely unknown. Our electron microscopic analysis revealed that repetitive stimulation of the facial skin of mice with 10 mM capsaicin induced short-term damage to the mitochondria in small-sized trigeminal ganglion neurons. Further, capsaicin-treated mice exhibited decreased sensitivity to noxious heat stimulation, indicating TRPV1 dysfunction, in parallel with the mitochondrial damage in the trigeminal ganglion neurons. To analyze the capsaicin-induced mitochondrial damage and its relevant cellular events in detail, we performed cell-based assays using TRPV1-expressing PC12 cells. Dose-dependent capsaicin-mediated mitochondrial toxicity was observed. High doses of capsaicin caused rapid destruction of mitochondrial internal structure, while low doses induced mitochondrial swelling. Further, capsaicin induced a dose-dependent loss of mitochondria and autophagy-mediated degradation of mitochondria (mitophagy). Concomitantly, transcriptional upregulation of mitochondrial proteins, cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV, Mic60/Mitofilin, and voltage-dependent anion channel 1 was observed, which implied induction of mitochondrial biogenesis to compensate for the loss of mitochondria. Collectively, although trigeminal ganglion neurons transiently exhibit mitochondrial damage and TRPV1 dysfunction following moderate capsaicin exposure, they appear to be resilient to such a challenge. Our in vitro data show a dose-response relationship in capsaicin-mediated mitochondrial toxicity. We postulate that induction of mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis in response to capsaicin stimulation play important roles in repairing the damaged mitochondrial system.
    Keywords:  Capsaicin; migraine; mitochondria; mitochondria biogenesis; mitophagy; transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1; trigeminal ganglion
  12. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Sep 29. pii: E932. [Epub ahead of print]9(10):
      Recently, nutritional interventions have received attention as promising approaches to promote human health during a lifespan. The Mediterranean and Okinawan diets have been associated with longevity and decreasing risk for age-related diseases in contrast to the Western diet. The effect might be due to several antioxidative bioactive compounds highly consumed in both diets, namely, resveratrol, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, curcumin, and spermidine. This review aims to address the underlying mechanisms of these compounds to enhance mental fitness throughout life with a focus on brain mitophagy. Mitophagy is the autophagic clearance of dysfunctional, redundant, and aged mitochondria. In aging and neurodegenerative disorders, mitophagy is crucial to preserve the autophagy mechanism of the whole cell, especially during oxidative stress. Growing evidence indicates that curcumin, astaxanthin, resveratrol, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and spermidine might exert protective functions via antioxidative properties and as well the enhanced induction of mitophagy mediators. The compounds seem to upregulate mitophagy and thereby alleviate the clearance of dysfunctional and aged mitochondria as well as mitogenesis. Thus, the Mediterranean or Okinawan diet could represent a feasible nutritional approach to reduce the risk of developing age-related cognitive impairment and corresponding disorders via the stimulation of mitophagy and thereby ensure a balanced redox state of brain cells.
    Keywords:  antioxidants; astaxanthin; brain aging; curcumin; diet; hydroxytyrosol; mitophagy; oleuropein; resveratrol; spermidine
  13. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Sep 26. 11(9): 810
      Autophagy is a highly conserved lysosome-dependent degradation system in eukaryotic cells. This process removes long-lived intracellular proteins, damaged organelles, and recycles biological material to maintain cellular homeostasis. Dysfunction of autophagy triggers a wide spectrum of human diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In the present study, we show that RNF115, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, regulates autophagosome-lysosome fusion and autophagic degradation under both nutrient-enriched and stress conditions. Depletion of the RNF115 gene caused the accumulation of autophagosomes by impairing fusion with lysosomes, which results in an accumulation of autophagic substrates. Further investigation suggests that RNF115 interacts with STX17 and enhances its stability, which is essential for autophagosome maturation. Importantly, we provide in vitro and in vivo evidence that RNF115 inactivation inhibits the tumorigenesis and metastasis of BGC823 gastric cancer cells. We additionally show that high expression levels of RNF115 mRNA correlate with poor prognosis in gastric cancer patients. These findings indicate that RNF115 may play an evolutionarily conserved role in the autophagy pathway, and may act to maintain protein homeostasis under physiological conditions. These data demonstrate the need to further evaluate the potential therapeutic implications of RNF115 in gastric cancer.
  14. PLoS Genet. 2020 Sep 28. 16(9): e1008704
      ER stress occurs in many physiological and pathological conditions. However, how chronic ER stress is alleviated in specific cells in an intact organism is an outstanding question. Here, overexpressing the gap junction protein UNC-9 (Uncoordinated) in C. elegans neurons triggers the Ire1-Xbp1-mediated stress response in an age-dependent and cell-autonomous manner. The p38 MAPK PMK-3 regulates the chronic stress through IRE-1 phosphorylation. Overexpressing gap junction protein also activates autophagy. The insulin pathway functions through autophagy, but not the transcription of genes encoding ER chaperones, to counteract the p38-Ire1-Xbp1-mediated stress response. Together, these results reveal an intricate cellular regulatory network in response to chronic stress in a subset of cells in multicellular organism.
  15. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 843
      F-box proteins, as substrates for S phase kinase-associated protein 1 (SKP1)-cullin 1 (CUL1)-F-box protein (SCF) ubiquitin ligase complexes, mediate the degradation of a large number of regulatory proteins involved in cancer processes. In this study, we found that F-box only protein 2 (FBXO2) was up-regulated in 21 endometrial carcinoma (EC) samples compared with five normal endometrium samples based on our Fudan cohort RNA-sequencing. The increased FBXO2 expression was associated with tumor stage, tumor grade, and histologic tumor type, and poor prognosis based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. FBXO2 knockdown inhibited EC cell proliferation, and FBXO2 overexpression promoted the parental cell phenotype in vivo and in vitro. Fibrillin1 (FBN1) was also identified as a substrate for FBXO2 using a ubiquitination-proteome approach. In addition, promotion of EC proliferation by FBXO2 was regulated by specific proteins of the cell cycle (CDK4, CyclinD1, CyclinD2, and CyclinA1) and the autophagy signaling pathway (ATG4A and ATG4D) based on RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). We concluded that FBXO2 acts as an E3 ligase that targets FBN1 for ubiquitin-dependent degradation, so as to promote EC proliferation by regulating the cell cycle and the autophagy signaling pathway. Targeting FBXO2 may represent a potential therapeutic target for EC.
    Keywords:  FBN1; FBXO2; autophagy; cell cycle; endometrial carcinoma; ubiquitination
  16. Lipids Health Dis. 2020 Sep 30. 19(1): 214
      The process of autophagy is integral to cellular function. In this process, proteins, organelles, and metabolites are engulfed in a lipid vesicle and trafficked to a lysosome for degradation. Its central role in protein and organelle homeostasis has piqued interest for autophagy dysfunction as a driver of pathology for a number of diseases including cancer, muscular disorders, neurological disorders, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. For much of its history, the study of autophagy has centered around proteins, however, due to advances in mass spectrometry and refined methodologies, the role of lipids in this essential cellular process has become more apparent. This review discusses the diverse endogenous lipid compounds shown to mediate autophagy. Downstream lipid signaling pathways are also reviewed in the context of autophagy regulation. Specific focus is placed upon the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor (PPAR) signaling pathways as integration hubs for lipid regulation of autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Fatty acids; Lipids; Mammalian target of rapamycin; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor; Phospholipids; Sphingolipids
  17. Elife. 2020 Sep 28. pii: e56006. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Cell migration is a dynamic process that entails extensive protein synthesis and recycling, structural remodeling, and considerable bioenergetic demand. Autophagy is one of the pathways that maintain cellular homeostasis. Time-lapse imaging of autophagosomes and ATP/ADP levels in migrating cells in the rostral migratory stream of mice revealed that decreases in ATP levels force cells into the stationary phase and induce autophagy. Pharmacological or genetic impairments of autophagy in neuroblasts using either bafilomycin, inducible conditional mice, or CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing decreased cell migration due to the longer duration of the stationary phase. Autophagy is modulated in response to migration-promoting and inhibiting molecular cues and is required for the recycling of focal adhesions. Our results show that autophagy and energy consumption act in concert in migrating cells to dynamically regulate the pace and periodicity of the migratory and stationary phases in order to sustain neuronal migration.
    Keywords:  mouse; neuroscience
  18. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Sep 29. pii: E7185. [Epub ahead of print]21(19):
      Renal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury leading to cell death is a major cause of acute kidney injury, contributing to morbidity and mortality. Autophagy counteracts cell death by removing damaged macromolecules and organelles, making it an interesting anchor point for treatment strategies. However, autophagy is also suggested to enhance cell death when the ischemic burden is too strong. To investigate whether the role of autophagy depends on the severity of ischemic stress, we analyzed the dynamics of autophagy and apoptosis in an IR rat model with mild (45 min) or severe (60 min) renal ischemia. Following mild IR, renal injury was associated with reduced autophagy, enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity, and apoptosis. Severe IR, on the other hand, was associated with a higher autophagic activity, independent of mTOR, and without affecting apoptosis. Autophagy stimulation by trehalose injected 24 and 48 h prior to onset of severe ischemia did not reduce renal injury markers nor function, but reduced apoptosis and restored tubular dilation 7 days post reperfusion. This suggests that trehalose-dependent autophagy stimulation enhances tissue repair following an IR injury. Our data show that autophagy dynamics are strongly dependent on the severity of IR and that trehalose shows the potential to trigger autophagy-dependent repair processes following renal IR injury.
    Keywords:  acute kidney injury; apoptosis; autophagy; ischemia-reperfusion injury; trehalose
  19. Nat Commun. 2020 10 01. 11(1): 4913
      Reprograming of proline metabolism is critical for tumor growth. Here we show that PINCH-1 is highly expressed in lung adenocarcinoma and promotes proline synthesis through regulation of mitochondrial dynamics. Knockout (KO) of PINCH-1 increases dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) expression and mitochondrial fragmentation, which suppresses kindlin-2 mitochondrial translocation and interaction with pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase 1 (PYCR1), resulting in inhibition of proline synthesis and cell proliferation. Depletion of DRP1 reverses PINCH-1 deficiency-induced defects on mitochondrial dynamics, proline synthesis and cell proliferation. Furthermore, overexpression of PYCR1 in PINCH-1 KO cells restores proline synthesis and cell proliferation, and suppresses DRP1 expression and mitochondrial fragmentation. Finally, ablation of PINCH-1 from lung adenocarcinoma in mouse increases DRP1 expression and inhibits PYCR1 expression, proline synthesis, fibrosis and tumor growth. Our results identify a signaling axis consisting of PINCH-1, DRP1 and PYCR1 that regulates mitochondrial dynamics and proline synthesis, and suggest an attractive strategy for alleviation of tumor growth.
  20. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Oct;22(10): 1159-1161
  21. Dev Comp Immunol. 2020 Sep 25. pii: S0145-305X(20)30431-6. [Epub ahead of print] 103876
      In mammals, cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) is a crucial cytosolic DNA sensor responsible for activating the interferon (IFN) response. A cGAS-like (cGASL) gene was previously identified from grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idellus, which is evolutionarily closest to cGAS but not a true ortholog of cGAS. Here, we found that grass carp cGASL targets mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) for autophagic degradation to negatively regulate fish IFN response. Firstly, the transcriptional level of cellular cgasl was upregulated by poly I:C stimulation, and overexpression of cGASL significantly decreased poly I:C- and MAVS-induced promoter activities and transcriptional levels of IFN and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In addition, cGASL associated with MAVS and prompted autophagic degradation of MAVS in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, overexpression of cGASL attenuated MAVS-mediated cellular antiviral response. These results collectively indicate that cGASL negatively regulates fish IFN response by triggering autophagic degradation of MAVS.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Grass carp; Interferon; MAVS; Negative regulator; cGAS-like
  22. Immunol Invest. 2020 Sep 29. 1-24
      Autophagy is a cellular housekeeping process that incorporates lysosomal-degradation to maintain cell survival and energy sources. In recent decades, the role of autophagy has implicated in the initiation and development of many diseases that affect humanity. Among these diseases are autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases, which connected with the lacking autophagy. Other diseases are connected with the increasing levels of autophagy such as cancers and infectious diseases. Therefore, controlling autophagy with sufficient regulators could represent an effective strategy to overcome such diseases. Interestingly, targeting autophagy can also provide a sufficient method to combat the current epidemic caused by the ongoing coronavirus. In this review, we aim to highlight the physiological function of the autophagic process to understand the circumstances surrounding its role in the cellular immunity associated with the development of human diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; apoptosis; cancer therapy; cellular immune disorder; infectious diseases
  23. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020 ;8 975
      Autophagy is a dynamic intracellular mechanism involved in protein and organelle turnover through lysosomal degradation. When properly regulated, autophagy supports normal cellular and developmental processes, whereas defects in autophagic degradation have been associated with several pathologies, including prion diseases. Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation of the pathological misfolded isoform (PrPSc) of the physiological cellular prion protein (PrPc) in the central nervous system. Autophagic vacuoles have been described in experimental models of TSE and in the natural disease in humans. The precise connection of this process with prion-related neuropathology, or even whether autophagy is completely beneficial or pathogenic during neurodegeneration, is poorly understood. Thus, the biological role of autophagy in these diseases is still open to debate. During the last years, researchers have used a wide range of morphological, genetic and biochemical methods to monitor and manipulate the autophagic pathway and thus determine the specific role of this process in TSE. It has been suggested that PrPc could play a crucial role in modulating the autophagic pathway in neuronal cells, and the presence of abnormal autophagic activity has been frequently observed in several models of TSE both in vitro and in vivo, as well as in human prion diseases. Altogether, these findings suggest that autophagy is implicated in prion neuropathology and points to an impairment or failure of the process, potentially contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease. Additionally, autophagy is now emerging as a host defense response in controlling prion infection that plays a protective role by facilitating the clearance of aggregation-prone proteins accumulated within neurons. Since autophagy is one of the pathways of PrPSc degradation, and drug-induced stimulation of autophagic flux (the dynamic process of autophagic degradation activity) produces anti-prion effects, new treatments based on its activation have been tested to develop therapeutic strategies for prion diseases. In this review, we summarize previous and recent findings concerning the role of autophagy in TSE.
    Keywords:  Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; LC3; autophagy; neurodegenerative diseases; p62; prion diseases; scrapie; therapies
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Sep 29. pii: E7179. [Epub ahead of print]21(19):
      Attributed to the tropism for host microvascular endothelium lining the blood vessels, vascular inflammation and dysfunction represent salient features of rickettsial pathogenesis, yet the details of fundamentally important pathogen interactions with host endothelial cells (ECs) as the primary targets of infection remain poorly appreciated. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), a serine/threonine protein kinase of the phosphatidylinositol kinase-related kinase family, assembles into two functionally distinct complexes, namely mTORC1 (Raptor) and mTORC2 (Rictor), implicated in the determination of innate immune responses to intracellular pathogens via transcriptional regulation. In the present study, we investigated activation status of mTOR and its potential contributions to host EC responses during Rickettsia rickettsii and R. conorii infection. Protein lysates from infected ECs were analyzed for threonine 421/serine 424 phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase (p70 S6K) and that of serine 2448 on mTOR itself as established markers of mTORC1 activation. For mTORC2, we assessed phosphorylation of protein kinase B (PKB or Akt) and protein kinase C (PKC), respectively, on serine 473 and serine 657. The results suggest increased phosphorylation of p70 S6K and mTOR during Rickettsia infection of ECs as early as 3 h and persisting for up to 24 h post-infection. The steady-state levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-PKC were also increased. Infection with pathogenic rickettsiae also resulted in the formation of microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3-II) puncta and increased lipidation of LC3-II, a response significantly inhibited by introduction of siRNA targeting mTORC1 into ECs. These findings thus yield first evidence for the activation of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 during EC infection in vitro with Rickettsia species and suggest that early induction of autophagy in response to intracellular infection might be regulated by this important pathway known to function as a central integrator of cellular immunity and inflammation.
    Keywords:  Akt (protein kinase B); Rickettsia; endothelial cells; mTOR; protein kinase C
  25. Front Cell Neurosci. 2020 ;14 555591
      Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a destructive neurological disorder that is characterized by impaired sensory and motor function. Inhibition of bromodomain protein 4 (Brd4) has been shown to promote the maintenance of cell homeostasis by activating autophagy. However, the role of Brd4 inhibition in SCI and the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Thus, the goal of the present study was to evaluate the effects of sustained Brd4 inhibition using the bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) inhibitor JQ1 on the regulation of apoptosis, oxidative stress and autophagy in a mouse model of SCI. First, we observed that Brd4 expression at the lesion sites of mouse spinal cords increased after SCI. Treatment with JQ1 significantly decreased the expression of Brd4 and improved functional recovery for up to 28 day after SCI. In addition, JQ1-mediated inhibition of Brd4 reduced oxidative stress and inhibited the expression of apoptotic proteins to promote neural survival. Our results also revealed that JQ1 treatment activated autophagy and restored autophagic flux, while the positive effects of JQ1 were abrogated by autophagy inhibitor 3-MA intervention, indicating that autophagy plays a crucial role in therapeutic effects Brd4 induced by inhibition of the functional recovery SCI. In the mechanistic analysis, we observed that modulation of the AMPK-mTOR-ULK1 pathway is involved in the activation of autophagy mediated by Brd4 inhibition. Taken together, the results of our investigation provides compelling evidence that Brd4 inhibition by JQ1 promotes functional recovery after SCI and that Brd4 may serve as a potential target for SCI treatment.
    Keywords:  BRD4; JQ1; autophagy; functional recovery; spinal cord injury
  26. Transl Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 02. 10(1): 336
      The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase protein complex (mTORC1 or mTORC2) that orchestrates diverse functions ranging from embryonic development to aging. However, its brain tissue-specific roles remain less explored. Here, we have identified that the depletion of the mTOR gene in the mice striatum completely prevented the extrapyramidal motor side effects (catalepsy) induced by the dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) antagonist haloperidol, which is the most widely used typical antipsychotic drug. Conversely, a lack of striatal mTOR in mice did not affect catalepsy triggered by the dopamine 1 receptor (D1R) antagonist SCH23390. Along with the lack of cataleptic effects, the administration of haloperidol in mTOR mutants failed to increase striatal phosphorylation levels of ribosomal protein pS6 (S235/236) as seen in control animals. To confirm the observations of the genetic approach, we used a pharmacological method and determined that the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin has a profound influence upon post-synaptic D2R-dependent functions. We consistently found that pretreatment with rapamycin entirely prevented (in a time-dependent manner) the haloperidol-induced catalepsy, and pS6K (T389) and pS6 (S235/236) signaling upregulation, in wild-type mice. Collectively, our data indicate that striatal mTORC1 blockade may offer therapeutic benefits with regard to the prevention of D2R-dependent extrapyramidal motor side effects of haloperidol in psychiatric illness.
  27. DNA Repair (Amst). 2020 Sep 11. pii: S1568-7864(20)30220-2. [Epub ahead of print]96 102971
      How a cell determines a given phenotype upon damaged DNA is an open problem. Cell fate decisions happen at cell cycle checkpoints and it is becoming clearer that the p53 pathway is a major regulator of cell fate decisions involving apoptosis or senescence upon DNA damage, especially at G1/S. However, recent results suggest that this pathway is also involved in autophagy induction upon DNA damage. To our knowledge, in this work we propose the first model of the DNA damage-induced G1/S checkpoint contemplating the decision between three phenotypes: apoptosis, senescence, and autophagy. The Boolean model is proposed based on experiments with U87 glioblastoma cells using the transfection of miR-16 that can induce a DNA damage response. The wild-type case of the model shows that DNA damage induces the checkpoint and the coexistence of the three phenotypes (tristable dynamics), each with a different probability. We also predict that the positive feedback involving ATM, miR-16, and Wip1 has an influence on the tristable state. The model predictions were compared to experiments of gain and loss of function in other three different cell lines (MCF-7, A549, and U2OS) presenting agreement. For p53-deficient cell lines such as HeLa, H1299, and PC-3, our model contemplates the experimental observation that the alternative AMPK pathway can compensate this deficiency. We conclude that at the G1/S checkpoint the p53 pathway (or, in its absence, the AMPK pathway) can regulate the induction of different phenotypes in a stochastic manner in the U87 cell line and others.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Boolean model; DNA damage; G1/S Checkpoint; U87; miR-16; p53
  28. Neural Regen Res. 2021 Mar;16(3): 448-455
      The global increase in lifespan noted not only in developed nations, but also in large developing countries parallels an observed increase in a significant number of non-communicable diseases, most notable neurodegenerative disorders. Neurodegenerative disorders present a number of challenges for treatment options that do not resolve disease progression. Furthermore, it is believed by the year 2030, the services required to treat cognitive disorders in the United States alone will exceed $2 trillion annually. Mammalian forkhead transcription factors, silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog 1 (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), the mechanistic target of rapamycin, and the pathways of autophagy and apoptosis offer exciting avenues to address these challenges by focusing upon core cellular mechanisms that may significantly impact nervous system disease. These pathways are intimately linked such as through cell signaling pathways involving protein kinase B and can foster, sometimes in conjunction with trophic factors, enhanced neuronal survival, reduction in toxic intracellular accumulations, and mitochondrial stability. Feedback mechanisms among these pathways also exist that can oversee reparative processes in the nervous system. However, mammalian forkhead transcription factors, silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog 1, mechanistic target of rapamycin, and autophagy can lead to cellular demise under some scenarios that may be dependent upon the precise cellular environment, warranting future studies to effectively translate these core pathways into successful clinical treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; FoxO; apoptosis; autophagy; erythropoietin; forkhead; mechanistic target of rapamycin; silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog 1
  29. Science. 2020 Oct 02. 370(6512): 56-60
      Over the past decade, phase transitions have emerged as a fundamental mechanism of cellular organization. In parallel, a wealth of evidence has accrued indicating that aberrations in phase transitions are early events in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases. We review the key evidence of defects at multiple levels, from phase transition of individual proteins to the dynamic behavior of complex, multicomponent condensates in neurodegeneration. We also highlight two concepts, dynamical arrest and heterotypic buffering, that are key to understanding how pathological phase transitions relate to pleiotropic defects in cellular functions and the accrual of proteinaceous deposits at end-stage disease. These insights not only illuminate disease etiology but also are likely to guide the development of therapeutic interventions to restore homeostasis.