bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒01‒03
twenty-nine papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University


  1. Hum Mol Genet. 2020 Nov 06. pii: ddaa243. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in the GDAP1 gene cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy. GDAP1 is an atypical glutathione S-transferase (GST) of the outer mitochondrial membrane and the mitochondrial membrane contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (MAMs). Here, we investigate the role of this GST in the autophagic flux and the membrane contact sites (MCSs) between mitochondria and lysosomes in the cellular pathophysiology of GDAP1 deficiency. We demonstrate that GDAP1 participates in basal autophagy and that its depletion affects LC3 and PI3P biology in autophagosome biogenesis and membrane trafficking from MAMs. GDAP1 also contributes to the maturation of lysosome by interacting with PYKfyve kinase, a pH-dependent master lysosomal regulator. GDAP1 deficiency causes giant lysosomes with hydrolytic activity, a delay in the autophagic lysosome reformation, and TFEB activation. Notably, we found that GDAP1 interacts with LAMP-1, which supports that GDAP1-LAMP-1 is a new tethering pair of mitochondria and lysosome membrane contacts. We observed mitochondria-lysosome MCSs in soma and axons of cultured mouse embryonic motor neurons and human neuroblastoma cells. GDAP1 deficiency reduces the MCSs between these organelles, causes mitochondrial network abnormalities, and decreases levels of cellular glutathione (GSH). The supply of GSH-MEE suffices to rescue the lysosome membranes and the defects of the mitochondrial network, but not the interorganelle MCSs nor early autophagic events. Overall, we show that GDAP1 enables the proper function of mitochondrial MCSs in both degradative and nondegradative pathways, which could explain primary insults in GDAP1-related CMT pathophysiology, and highlights new redox-sensitive targets in axonopathies where mitochondria and lysosomes are involved.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa243
  2. EMBO J. 2020 Dec 28. e105120
      Autophagy is a lysosome-dependent degradation pathway essential to maintain cellular homeostasis. Therefore, either defective or excessive autophagy may be detrimental for cells and tissues. The past decade was characterized by significant advances in molecular dissection of stimulatory autophagy inputs; however, our understanding of the mechanisms that restrain autophagy is far from complete. Here, we describe a negative feedback mechanism that limits autophagosome biogenesis based on the selective autophagy-mediated degradation of ATG13, a component of the ULK1 autophagy initiation complex. We demonstrate that the centrosomal protein OFD1 acts as bona fide autophagy receptor for ATG13 via direct interaction with the Atg8/LC3/GABARAP family of proteins. We also show that patients with Oral-Facial-Digital type I syndrome, caused by mutations in the OFD1 gene, display excessive autophagy and that genetic inhibition of autophagy in a mouse model of the disease, significantly ameliorates polycystic kidney, a clinical manifestation of the disorder. Collectively, our data report the discovery of an autophagy self-regulated mechanism and implicate dysregulated autophagy in the pathogenesis of renal cystic disease in mammals.
    Keywords:  OFD1; autophagy receptor; polycystic kidney; selective autophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embj.2020105120
  3. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 Dec 29. pii: S0925-4439(20)30401-4. [Epub ahead of print] 166053
      Mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD) is an autosomal recessive disorder in humans that causes systemic autoinflammatory problems to children. Previously, we used a yeast model to show that MKD results in mitochondrial malfunctioning that may finally induce mitophagy. Here, we proved that MKD indeed induced general autophagy as well as mitophagy in yeast, but these mechanisms did not go to completion. Therefore, the limitation of mevalonate kinase activity produces dysfunctional mitochondria that might not be recycled, causing metabolic dysfunctions in the cells. Understanding this mechanism may provide a piece in solving the nonspecific autoinflammatory response puzzle observed in MKD patients.
    Keywords:  Erg12; autoinflammatory disorders; autophagy; mevalonate kinase deficiency; mitochondrial disorder; mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.166053
  4. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 22. pii: E23. [Epub ahead of print]22(1):
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates signals from growth factors and nutrients to control biosynthetic processes, including protein, lipid, and nucleic acid synthesis. Dysregulation in the mTORC1 network underlies a wide array of pathological states, including metabolic diseases, neurological disorders, and cancer. Tumor cells are characterized by uncontrolled growth and proliferation due to a reduced dependency on exogenous growth factors. The genetic events underlying this property, such as mutations in the PI3K-Akt and Ras-Erk signaling networks, lead to constitutive activation of mTORC1 in nearly all human cancer lineages. Aberrant activation of mTORC1 has been shown to play a key role for both anabolic tumor growth and resistance to targeted therapeutics. While displaying a growth factor-independent mTORC1 activity and proliferation, tumors cells remain dependent on exogenous nutrients such as amino acids (AAs). AAs are an essential class of nutrients that are obligatory for the survival of any cell. Known as the building blocks of proteins, AAs also act as essential metabolites for numerous biosynthetic processes such as fatty acids, membrane lipids and nucleotides synthesis, as well as for maintaining redox homeostasis. In most tumor types, mTORC1 activity is particularly sensitive to intracellular AA levels. This dependency, therefore, creates a targetable vulnerability point as cancer cells become dependent on AA transporters to sustain their homeostasis. The following review will discuss the role of AA transporters for mTORC1 signaling in cancer cells and their potential as therapeutic drug targets.
    Keywords:  ASCT2; LAT1; SNAT2; amino acid transporters; cancer; growth factors; mTORC1; nutrients; xCT
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010023
  5. Front Mol Biosci. 2020 ;7 586483
      Unconventional protein secretion (UCPS) of leaderless proteins bypasses the conventional endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-Golgi route. The proportion of UCPS in the secretome varies tremendously across eukaryotes. Interestingly, macroautophagy, an intracellular recycling process that is generally involved in cargo degradation, also participates in UCPS. This emerging field of secretory mode of autophagy is underexplored and has several unanswered questions regarding the composition of players, cargo, and the mechanisms that drive it. As secretomes vary considerably across cell types and physiological conditions, the contribution of secretory autophagy in healthy and pathophysiological states remain to be elucidated. Recent studies have begun to shed light on this enigmatic process.
    Keywords:  GRASP; autophagy; exosome; multivesicular body; secretory autophagy; unconventional protein secretion
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2020.586483
  6. J Cell Physiol. 2020 Dec 24.
      Autophagy is a crucial cellular homeostatic process and an important part of the host defense system. Dysfunction in autophagy enhances tissue susceptibility to infection and multiple diseases. However, the role of nucleotide oligomerization domain 1 (NOD1) in autophagy in bovine hepatocytes is not well known. Therefore, our aim was to study the contribution of NOD1 to autophagy during inflammation in response to a specific ligand γ-d-glutamyl-meso-diaminopimelic acid (iE-DAP). To achieve this aim, hepatocytes separated from cows at ∼160 days in milk (DIM) were divided into six groups: the nontreated control (CON) group, the rapamycin-treated (RAP) group as a positive control, the iE-DAP-treated (DAP) group, the 3-MA-treated (MA) group, the rapamycin with 3-MA (RM) group, and the iE-DAP with 3-MA (DM) group. iE-DAP administration significantly increased the mRNA expression of NOD1, ATG16L1, RIPK2, ULK1, AMBRA1, DFCP1, WIPI1, ATG5, ATG7, ATG10, ATG4A, IκBα, NF-κB, CXCL1, IL-8, and STAT6 and significantly decreased PIK3C3. The protein expression of NOD1, p-IκBα, p-NF-κB/p-p65, LC3-II, ATG5, and beclin 1 were significantly upregulated and that of SQSTM1/p62, p-mTOR, and FOXA2 were significantly downregulated in response to iE-DAP. iE-DAP also induced the formation of LC3-GFP autophagic puncta in bovine hepatocytes. We also knocked down the NOD1 with siRNA. NOD1 silencing suppressed the autophagy and inflammation-related genes and proteins. The application of the autophagy inhibitor increased the expression of inflammatory molecules and alleviated autophagy-associated molecules. Taken together, these findings suggest that NOD1 is a key player for regulating both ATG16L1 and RIPK2-ULK1 directed autophagy during inflammation in response to iE-DAP in bovine hepatocytes.
    Keywords:  NOD1; autophagy; bovine hepatocytes; iE-DAP; inflammation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jcp.30227
  7. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 23. pii: E85. [Epub ahead of print]22(1):
      GABARAP (γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor-associated protein) and its paralogues GABARAPL1 and GABARAPL2 comprise a subfamily of autophagy-related Atg8 proteins. They are studied extensively regarding their roles during autophagy. Originally, however, especially GABARAPL2 was discovered to be involved in intra-Golgi transport and homotypic fusion of post-mitotic Golgi fragments. Recently, a broader function of mammalian Atg8s on membrane trafficking through interaction with various soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein receptors SNAREs was suggested. By immunostaining and microscopic analysis of the Golgi network, we demonstrate the importance of the presence of individual GABARAP-type proteins on Golgi morphology. Furthermore, triple knockout (TKO) cells lacking the whole GABARAP subfamily showed impaired Golgi-dependent vesicular trafficking as assessed by imaging of fluorescently labelled ceramide. With the Golgi apparatus being central within the secretory pathway, we sought to investigate the role of the GABARAP-type proteins for cell surface protein trafficking. By analysing the surfaceome compositionofTKOs, we identified a subset of cell surface proteins with altered plasma membrane localisation. Taken together, we provide novel insights into an underrated aspect of autophagy-independent functions of the GABARAP subfamily and recommend considering the potential impact of GABARAP subfamily proteins on a plethora of processes during experimental analysis of GABARAP-deficient cells not only in the autophagic context.
    Keywords:  Atg8; GABARAP; Golgi apparatus; surfaceome
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010085
  8. Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 29. pii: S2211-1247(20)31553-9. [Epub ahead of print]33(13): 108564
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) controls cell metabolism and survival in response to environmental inputs. Dysregulation of mTORC2 signaling has been linked to diverse human diseases, including cancer and metabolic disorders, highlighting the importance of a tightly controlled mTORC2. While mTORC2 assembly is a critical determinant of its activity, the factors regulating this event are not well understood, and it is unclear whether this process is regulated by growth factors. Here, we present data, from human cell lines and mice, describing a mechanism by which growth factors regulate ubiquitin-specific protease 9X (USP9X) deubiquitinase to stimulate mTORC2 assembly and activity. USP9X removes Lys63-linked ubiquitin from RICTOR to promote its interaction with mTOR, thereby facilitating mTORC2 signaling. As mTORC2 is central for cellular homeostasis, understanding the mechanisms regulating mTORC2 activation toward its downstream targets is vital for our understanding of physiological processes and for developing new therapeutic strategies in pathology.
    Keywords:  RICTOR; USP9X; growth factor signaling; mTORC2; mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2; posttranslational modification; ubiquitin-specific protease 9X
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108564
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 11. pii: E9446. [Epub ahead of print]21(24):
      Autophagy (cellular self-consumption) is a crucial adaptation mechanism during cellular stress conditions. This study aimed to examine how this important process is regulated in human periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts by mechanical and inflammatory stress conditions and whether the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is involved. Autophagy was quantified by flow cytometry. Qualitative protein phosphorylation profiling of the mTOR pathway was carried out. Effects of mTOR regulation were assessed by quantification of important synthesis product collagen 1, cell proliferation and cell death with real-time PCR and flow cytometry. Autophagy as a response to mechanical or inflammatory treatment in PDL fibroblasts was dose and time dependent. In general, autophagy was induced by stress stimulation. Phosphorylation analysis of mTOR showed regulatory influences of mechanical and inflammatory stimulation on crucial target proteins. Regulation of mTOR was also detectable via changes in protein synthesis and cell proliferation. Physiological pressure had cell-protective effects (p = 0.025), whereas overload increased cell death (p = 0.003), which was also promoted in long-term inflammatory treatment (p < 0.001). Our data provide novel insights about autophagy regulation by mechanical and inflammatory stress conditions in human PDL fibroblasts. Our results suggest some involvement of the mTOR pathway in autophagy and cell fate regulation under the named conditions.
    Keywords:  autophagy; inflammatory conditions; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway; mechanical stress; orthodontic tooth movement
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249446
  10. J Biol Chem. 2020 12 18. pii: jbc.REV120.014294. [Epub ahead of print]
      The genetics and pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) strongly implicate mitochondria in disease aetiology. Elegant studies over the last two decades have elucidated complex molecular signalling governing the identification and removal of dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell, a process of mitochondrial quality control known as mitophagy. Mitochondrial deficits and specifically reduced mitophagy are evident in both sporadic and familial PD. Mendelian genetics attributes loss-of-function mutations in key mitophagy regulators PINK1 and Parkin to early-onset PD. Pharmacologically enhancing mitophagy and accelerating the removal of damaged mitochondria are of interest for developing a disease-modifying PD therapeutic. However, despite significant understanding of both PINK1/Parkin-dependent and -independent mitochondrial quality control pathways, the therapeutic potential of targeting mitophagy remains to be fully explored. Here, we provide a summary of the genetic evidence supporting the role for mitophagy-failure as a pathogenic mechanism in PD. We assess the tractability of mitophagy pathways and prospects for drug discovery and consider intervention points for mitophagy enhancement. We explore the numerous hit molecules beginning to emerge from high-content/high-throughput screening as well as the biochemical and phenotypic assays that enabled these screens. The chemical and biological properties of these reference compounds suggest many could be used to interrogate and perturb mitochondrial biology to validate promising drug targets. Finally, we address key considerations and challenges in achieving pre-clinical proof-of-concept, including in vivo mitophagy reporter methodologies and disease models, as well as patient stratification and biomarker development for mitochondrial forms of the disease.
    Keywords:  PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1); Parkinson disease; biomarker; drug discovery; mitochondria; mitophagy; parkin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.REV120.014294
  11. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 602901
      Autophagy is a constitutive pathway that allows the lysosomal degradation of damaged components. This conserved process is essential for metabolic plasticity and tissue homeostasis and is crucial for mammalian post-mitotic cells. Autophagy also controls stem cell fate and defective autophagy is involved in many pathophysiological processes. In this review, we focus on established and recent breakthroughs aimed at elucidating the impact of autophagy in differentiation and homeostasis maintenance of endothelium, muscle, immune system, and brain providing a suitable framework of the emerging results and highlighting the pivotal role of autophagic response in tissue functions, stem cell dynamics and differentiation rates.
    Keywords:  autophagy; tissue differentiation; tissue homeostasis; tissue pathophysiology; tissue remodeling
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.602901
  12. Cells. 2020 Dec 24. pii: E17. [Epub ahead of print]10(1):
      Protein homeostasis is maintained by removing misfolded, damaged, or excess proteins and damaged organelles from the cell by three major pathways; the ubiquitin-proteasome system, the autophagy-lysosomal pathway, and the endo-lysosomal pathway. The requirement for ubiquitin provides a link between all three pathways. Sorting nexins are a highly conserved and diverse family of membrane-associated proteins that not only traffic proteins throughout the cells but also provide a second common thread between protein homeostasis pathways. In this review, we will discuss the connections between sorting nexins, ubiquitin, and the interconnected roles they play in maintaining protein quality control mechanisms. Underlying their importance, genetic defects in sorting nexins are linked with a variety of human diseases including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular diseases, viral infections, and cancer. This serves to emphasize the critical roles sorting nexins play in many aspects of cellular function.
    Keywords:  autophagy; endosome; lysosome; proteasome; retromer; sorting nexins; ubiquitin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10010017
  13. Plant Cell Physiol. 2020 Dec 23. pii: pcaa162. [Epub ahead of print]
      In autophagy, cytoplasmic components of eukaryotic cells are transported to lysosomes or the vacuole for degradation. Autophagy is involved in plant tolerance to the photooxidative stress caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, but its roles in plant adaptation to UVB damage have not been fully elucidated. Here, we characterized organellar behavior in UVB-damaged Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) leaves and observed the occurrence of autophagic elimination of dysfunctional mitochondria, a process termed mitophagy. Notably, Arabidopsis plants blocked in autophagy displayed increased leaf chlorosis after a 1-h UVB exposure compared to wild-type plants. We visualized autophagosomes by labeling with a fluorescent protein-tagged autophagosome marker, AUTOPHAGY8 (ATG8), and found that a 1-h UV-B treatment led to increased formation of autophagosomes and the active transport of mitochondria into the central vacuole. In atg mutant plants, the mitochondrial population increased in UVB-damaged leaves due to cytoplasmic accumulation of fragmented, depolarized mitochondria. Furthermore, we observed that autophagy was involved in the removal of depolarized mitochondria when mitochondrial function was disrupted by mutation of the FRIENDLY gene, which is required for proper mitochondrial distribution. Therefore, autophagy of mitochondria functions in response to mitochondrion-specific dysfunction as well as UVB damage. Together, these results indicate that autophagy is centrally involved in mitochondrial quality control in Arabidopsis leaves.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana); Autophagy; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Organelle quality control; ultraviolet-B
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcaa162
  14. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2020 Dec 28. pii: S0167-4889(20)30302-5. [Epub ahead of print] 118944
      To sustain their proliferative and metastatic capacity, tumor cells increase the activity of energy-producing pathways and lysosomal compartment, resorting to autophagolysosomal degradation when nutrients are scarce. Consequently, large fragile lysosomes and enhanced energy metabolism may serve as targets for anticancer therapy. A simultaneous induction of energy stress (by caloric restriction, serum deprivation, and inhibition of glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, Krebs cycle, or amino acid/fatty acid metabolism) and lysosomal stress (by lysosomotropic detergents, vacuolar ATPase inhibitors, or cationic amphiphilic drugs) is an efficient anti-cancer strategy demonstrated in a number of studies. However, the mechanisms of lysosomal/energy stress co-amplification, apart from the protective autophagy inhibition, are poorly understood. We here summarize the established and suggest potential mechanisms and candidates for anticancer therapy based on the dual targeting of lysosomes and energy metabolism.
    Keywords:  anticancer therapy; autophagy; energy metabolism; lysosomal membrane permeabilization; lysosomal stress
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118944
  15. J Clin Invest. 2020 Dec 29. pii: 143173. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lysosomal dysfunction caused by mutations in lysosomal genes results in lysosomal storage disorder (LSD), characterized by accumulation of damaged proteins and organelles in cells and functional abnormalities in major organs, including the heart, skeletal muscle and liver. In LSD, autophagy is inhibited at the lysosomal degradation step and accumulation of autophagosomes is observed. Enlargement of the left ventricle (LV) and contractile dysfunction were observed in RagA/B cardiac-specific knockout (cKO) mice, a mouse model of LSD in which lysosomal acidification is impaired irreversibly. YAP, a downstream effector of the Hippo pathway, was accumulated in RagA/B cKO mouse hearts. Inhibition of YAP ameliorated cardiac hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction and attenuated accumulation of autophagosomes without affecting lysosomal function, suggesting that YAP plays an important role in mediating cardiomyopathy in RagA/B cKO mice. Cardiomyopathy was also alleviated by downregulation of Atg7, an intervention to inhibit autophagy, whereas it was exacerbated by stimulation of autophagy. YAP physically interacted with transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master transcription factor that controls autophagic and lysosomal gene expression, thereby facilitating accumulation of autophagosomes without degradation. These results indicate that accumulation of YAP in the presence of LSD promotes cardiomyopathy by stimulating accumulation of autophagosomes through activation of TFEB.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cardiology; Signal transduction
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI143173
  16. Int J Cancer. 2020 Dec 24.
      Uncontrolled proliferation and altered metabolic reprogramming are hallmarks of cancer. Active glycolysis and glutaminolysis are characteristic features of these hallmarks and required for tumorigenesis. A fine balance between cancer metabolism and autophagy is a prerequisite of homeostasis within cancer cells. Here we show that glutamate pyruvate transaminase 2 (GPT2), which serves as a pivot between glycolysis and glutaminolysis, is highly upregulated in aggressive breast cancers, particularly the triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype. Abrogation of this enzyme results in decreased TCA cycle intermediates, which promotes the rewiring of glucose carbon atoms and alterations in nutrient levels. Concordantly, loss of GPT2 results in an impairment of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity as well as the induction of autophagy. Furthermore, in vivo xenografts studies have shown that autophagy induction correlates with decreased tumor growth and that markers of induced autophagy correlate with low GPT2 levels in patient samples. Taken together, these findings indicate that cancer cells have a close network between metabolic and nutrient sensing pathways necessary to sustain tumorigenesis, and that aminotransferase reactions play an important role in maintaining this balance.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Breast Cancer; Cancer metabolism; GPT2; mTORC1
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33456
  17. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(12): e0241576
      Mitophagy, the process that degrades mitochondria selectively through autophagy, is involved in the quality control of mitochondria in cells grown under respiratory conditions. In yeast, the presence of the Atg32 protein on the outer mitochondrial membrane allows for the recognition and targeting of superfluous or damaged mitochondria for degradation. Post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation are crucial for the execution of mitophagy. In our study we monitor the stability of Atg32 protein in the yeast S. cerevisiae and show that Atg32 is degraded under normal growth conditions, upon starvation or rapamycin treatment. The Atg32 turnover can be prevented by inhibition of the proteasome activity, suggesting that Atg32 is also ubiquitinated. Mass spectrometry analysis of purified Atg32 protein revealed that at least lysine residue in position 282 is ubiquitinated. Interestingly, the replacement of lysine 282 with alanine impaired Atg32 degradation only partially in the course of cell growth, suggesting that additional lysine residues on Atg32 might also be ubiquitinated. Our results provide the foundation to further elucidate the physiological significance of Atg32 turnover and the interplay between mitophagy and the proteasome.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241576
  18. Hypertension. 2020 Dec 28. HYPERTENSIONAHA12014708
      mTORC1 (Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) serves as a molecular hub and intracellular energy sensor that regulate various cellular processes. Emerging evidence points to mTORC1 signaling as a critical regulator of cardiovascular function with implications for cardiovascular disease. Here, we show that selective disruption of mTORC1, through conditional Raptor gene deletion, in endothelial or smooth muscle cells alter vascular function. Endothelial cell-specific Raptor deletion results in reduced relaxation responses evoked by acetylcholine in the aorta but not in the mesenteric artery. Of note, endothelial-specific Raptor deletion did not affect endothelial-independent vasorelaxation nor the contractile responses of the aorta or mesenteric artery. Interestingly, endothelial Raptor haploinsufficiency did not alter vascular endothelial function but attenuated the endothelial dysfunction evoked by angiotensin II. Smooth muscle cell-specific conditional deletion of Raptor reduces both endothelial- and smooth muscle-dependent relaxation responses as well as receptor-dependent and -independent contractility in the aorta. This was associated with activation of autophagy signaling. Notably, the changes in vascular function evoked by endothelial and smooth muscle Raptor deletion were independent of changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Together, these data suggest that vascular mTORC1 signaling is a critical regulator of vascular endothelial and smooth muscle function. mTORC1 signaling may represent a potential target for the treatment of vascular diseases associated with altered mTORC1 activity.
    Keywords:  acetylcholine; autophagy; blood pressure; cardiovascular diseases; heart rate
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.14708
  19. Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 22. pii: S2211-1247(20)31525-4. [Epub ahead of print]33(12): 108536
      VAMP7 is involved in autophagy and in exocytosis-mediated neurite growth, two yet unconnected cellular pathways. Here, we find that nutrient restriction and activation of autophagy stimulate axonal growth, while autophagy inhibition leads to loss of neuronal polarity. VAMP7 knockout (KO) neuronal cells show impaired neurite growth, whereas this process is increased in autophagy-null ATG5 KO cells. We find that endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-phagy-related LC3-interacting-region-containing proteins Atlastin 3 and Reticulon 3 (RTN3) are more abundant in autophagy-related protein ATG5 KO and less abundant in VAMP7 KO secretomes. Treatment of neuronal cells with ATG5 or VAMP7 KO conditioned medium does not recapitulate the effect of these KOs on neurite growth. A nanobody directed against VAMP7 inhibits axonal overgrowth induced by nutrient restriction. Furthermore, expression of the inhibitory Longin domain of VAMP7 impairs the subcellular localization of RTN3 in neurons. We propose that VAMP7-dependent secretion of RTN3 regulates neurite growth.
    Keywords:  autophagy, ER-phagy, secretion, neuron, development, SNARE, VAMP7, ATG5, RTN3, ATL3
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108536
  20. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Dec 26. pii: S0006-291X(20)32243-9. [Epub ahead of print]536 100-106
      In regulated cell death, genetically encoded molecular machinery destroys cells. This process is not only essential for organ development and homeostasis, but also leads to pathological diseases. One form of regulated cell death is ferroptosis, which is an iron-dependent oxidative cell death caused by lipid peroxidation. Although inducing ferroptosis is an emerging anticancer strategy, the molecular mechanism underlying tumor resistance to ferroptotic cell death is still unclear. Here, we show that pirin (PIR), an iron-binding nuclear protein, plays a previously unrecognized role in mediating ferroptosis resistance in human pancreatic cancer cells. The transcription factor NFE2L2 mediates the upregulation of PIR during ferroptosis caused by small-molecule compounds (e.g., erastin or RSL3). PIR is a nuclear redox sensor and regulator, and increasing it limits the oxidative damage of DNA and the subsequent cytoplasmic transport and extracellular release of HMGB1. In contrast, the depletion of PIR initiates HMGB1-dependent autophagy by binding to BECN1, and subsequently promotes ferroptosis by activating ACSL4. Consequently, in cell cultures and xenograft mouse models, blocking PIR signaling enhances ferroptosis-mediated tumor growth suppression. Together, these findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of autophagy-dependent ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; DNA damage; Ferroptosis; HMGB1; Nucleus; Pirin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.12.066
  21. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Dec 28. pii: E23. [Epub ahead of print]10(1):
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a decline in cognitive function and neuronal damage. Although the precise pathobiology of AD remains elusive, accumulating evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the underlying causes of AD. Mutations in mitochondrial or nuclear DNA that encode mitochondrial components may cause mitochondrial dysfunction. In particular, the dysfunction of electron transport chain complexes, along with the interactions of mitochondrial pathological proteins are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in AD. Mitochondrial dysfunction causes an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species, leading to oxidative stress (OS) and vice versa. Neuroinflammation is another potential contributory factor that induces mitochondrial dysfunction. Phytochemicals or other natural compounds have the potential to scavenge oxygen free radicals and enhance cellular antioxidant defense systems, thereby protecting against OS-mediated cellular damage. Phytochemicals can also modulate other cellular processes, including autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis. Therefore, pharmacological intervention via neuroprotective phytochemicals can be a potential strategy to combat mitochondrial dysfunction as well as AD. This review focuses on the role of phytochemicals in mitigating mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; autophagy; mitochondrial dysfunctions; phytochemicals; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10010023
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jan 05. pii: e2015632118. [Epub ahead of print]118(1):
      The balance between NLRP3 inflammasome activation and mitophagy is essential for homeostasis and cellular health, but this relationship remains poorly understood. Here we found that interleukin-1α (IL-1α)-deficient macrophages have reduced caspase-1 activity and diminished IL-1β release, concurrent with reduced mitochondrial damage, suggesting a role for IL-1α in regulating this balance. LPS priming of macrophages induced pro-IL-1α translocation to mitochondria, where it directly interacted with mitochondrial cardiolipin (CL). Computational modeling revealed a likely CL binding motif in pro-IL-1α, similar to that found in LC3b. Thus, binding of pro-IL-1α to CL in activated macrophages may interrupt CL-LC3b-dependent mitophagy, leading to enhanced Nlrp3 inflammasome activation and more robust IL-1β production. Mutation of pro-IL-1α residues predicted to be involved in CL binding resulted in reduced pro-IL-1α-CL interaction, a reduction in NLRP3 inflammasome activity, and increased mitophagy. These data identify a function for pro-IL-1α in regulating mitophagy and the potency of NLRP3 inflammasome activation.
    Keywords:  IL-1α; autophagy; cardiolipin; inflammasome; mitochondria
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2015632118
  23. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Dec 22.
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme for redox reactions, making it central to energy metabolism. NAD+ is also an essential cofactor for non-redox NAD+-dependent enzymes, including sirtuins, CD38 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases. NAD+ can directly and indirectly influence many key cellular functions, including metabolic pathways, DNA repair, chromatin remodelling, cellular senescence and immune cell function. These cellular processes and functions are critical for maintaining tissue and metabolic homeostasis and for healthy ageing. Remarkably, ageing is accompanied by a gradual decline in tissue and cellular NAD+ levels in multiple model organisms, including rodents and humans. This decline in NAD+ levels is linked causally to numerous ageing-associated diseases, including cognitive decline, cancer, metabolic disease, sarcopenia and frailty. Many of these ageing-associated diseases can be slowed down and even reversed by restoring NAD+ levels. Therefore, targeting NAD+ metabolism has emerged as a potential therapeutic approach to ameliorate ageing-related disease, and extend the human healthspan and lifespan. However, much remains to be learnt about how NAD+ influences human health and ageing biology. This includes a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate NAD+ levels, how to effectively restore NAD+ levels during ageing, whether doing so is safe and whether NAD+ repletion will have beneficial effects in ageing humans.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41580-020-00313-x
  24. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Dec 27. pii: S0022-2828(20)30353-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Obesity-driven cardiac lipid accumulation can progress to lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is the major enzyme that metabolizes epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which have biological activity of regulating lipid metabolism. The current study explores the unknown role of sEH deficiency in lipotoxic cardiomyopathy and its underlying mechanism. Wild-type and Ephx2 knock out (sEH KO) C57BL/6 J mice were fed with high-fat diet (HFD) for 24 weeks to induce lipotoxic cardiomyopathy animal models. Palmitic acid (PA) was utilized to induce lipotoxicity to cardiomyocytes for in vitro study. We found sEH KO, independent of plasma lipid and blood pressures, significantly attenuated HFD-induced myocardial lipid accumulation and cardiac dysfunction in vivo. HFD-induced lipotoxic cardiomyopathy and dysfunction of adenosine 5'-monophosphate-activated protein kinase-mammalian target of rapamycin complex (AMPK-mTORC) signaling mediated lipid autophagy in heart were restored by sEH KO. In primary neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes, both sEH KO and sEH substrate EETs plus sEH inhibitor AUDA treatments attenuated PA-induced lipid accumulation. These effects were blocked by inhibition of AMPK or autophagy. The outcomes were supported by the results that sEH KO and EETs plus AUDA rescued HFD- and PA-induced impairment of autophagy upstream signaling of AMPK-mTORC, respectively. These findings revealed that sEH deficiency played an important role in attenuating myocardial lipid accumulation and provided new insights into treating lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. Regulation of autophagy via AMPK-mTORC signaling pathway is one of the underlying mechanisms.
    Keywords:  AMPK-mTORC pathway; Autophagy; Cardiac lipid accumulation; Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy; Soluble epoxide hydrolase
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2020.12.013
  25. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 26. pii: E173. [Epub ahead of print]22(1):
      Breast cancer is a serious health problem worldwide, representing the second cause of death through malignancies among women in developed countries. Population, endogenous and exogenous hormones, and physiological, genetic and breast-related factors are involved in breast cancer pathogenesis. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a signaling pathway involved in cell proliferation, survival, invasion, migration, apoptosis, glucose metabolism and DNA repair. In breast tumors, PIK3CA somatic mutations have been reported, located in exon 9 and exon 20. Up to 40% of PIK3CA mutations are estrogen receptor (ER) positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -negative in primary and metastatic breast cancer. HER2 is overexpressed in 20-30% of breast cancers. HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4 are membrane receptor tyrosine kinases involved in HER signaling to which various ligands can be attached, leading to PI3K/AKT activation. Currently, clinical studies evaluate inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis. The main purpose of this review is to present general aspects of breast cancer, the components of the AKT signaling pathway, the factors that activate this protein kinase B, PI3K/AKT-breast cancer mutations, PI3K/AKT/mTOR-inhibitors, and the relationship between everolimus, temsirolimus and endocrine therapy.
    Keywords:  HER2; PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway; breast cancer; endocrine resistance; estrogen receptor-positive
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010173
  26. J Physiol. 2020 Dec 28.
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles, intricately designed to meet cellular energy requirements. To accommodate alterations in energy demand, mitochondria have a high degree of plasticity, changing in response to transient activation of numerous stress-related pathways. This adaptive response is particularly relevant in highly metabolic tissues such as skeletal muscle, where mitochondria support numerous biological processes related to metabolism, growth and regeneration. Aerobic exercise is a potent stimulus for skeletal muscle remodeling, leading to alterations in substrate utilisation, fibre-type composition and performance. Underlying these physiological responses is a change in mitochondrial quality control (MQC), a term encompassing the co-ordination of mitochondrial synthesis (biogenesis), remodeling (dynamics) and degradation (mitophagy) pathways. Understanding of MQC in skeletal muscle and the regulatory role of aerobic exercise of this process are rapidly advancing, as are the molecular techniques allowing the study of MQC in vivo. Given the emerging link between MQC and the onset of numerous non-communicable diseases, understanding the molecular regulation of MQC and the role of aerobic exercise in this process, will have substantial future impact on therapeutic approaches to manipulate MQC and maintain mitochondrial function across healthspan. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1113/JP279411
  27. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 598622
      RAB39B is located on the X chromosome and encodes the RAB39B protein that belongs to the RAB family. Mutations in RAB39B are known to be associated with X-linked intellectual disability (XLID), Parkinson's disease, and autism. However, the patho/physiological functions of RAB39B remain largely unknown. In the present study, we established Rab39b knockout (KO) mice, which exhibited overall normal birth rate and morphologies as wild type mice. However, Rab39b deficiency led to reduced anxiety and impaired learning and memory in 2 months old mice. Deletion of Rab39b resulted in impairments of synaptic structures and functions, with reductions in NMDA receptors in the postsynaptic density (PSD). RAB39B deficiency also compromised autophagic flux at basal level, which could be overridden by rapamycin-induced autophagy activation. Further, treatment with rapamycin partially rescued impaired memory and synaptic plasticity in Rab39b KO mice, without affecting the PSD distribution of NMDA receptors. Together, these results suggest that RAB39B plays an important role in regulating both autophagy and synapse formation, and that targeting autophagy may have potential for treating XLID caused by RAB39B loss-of-function mutations.
    Keywords:  NMDA receptors; RAB39B; autophagy; learning and memory; rapamycin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.598622
  28. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 26. pii: E179. [Epub ahead of print]22(1):
      Autophagy is a delicate intracellular degradation process that occurs due to diverse stressful conditions, including the accumulation of damaged proteins and organelles as well as nutrient deprivation. The mechanism of autophagy is initiated by the creation of autophagosomes, which capture and encapsulate abnormal components. Afterward, autophagosomes assemble with lysosomes to recycle or remove degradative cargo. The regulation of autophagy has bipolar roles in cancer suppression and promotion in diverse cancers. Furthermore, autophagy modulates the features of tumorigenesis, cancer metastasis, cancer stem cells, and drug resistance against anticancer agents. Some autophagy regulators are used to modulate autophagy for anticancer therapy but the dual roles of autophagy limit their application in anticancer therapy, and present as the main reason for therapy failure. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms of autophagy, tumorigenesis, metastasis, cancer stem cells, and resistance against anticancer agents. Finally, we discuss whether targeting autophagy is a promising and effective therapeutic strategy in anticancer therapy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; autophagy modulators; cancer; cancer stem cells; drug resistance; metastasis; tumorigenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010179
  29. J Neurochem. 2020 Dec 28.
      Neurons, because of their elaborate morphology and the long distances between distal axons and the soma as well as their longevity, pose special challenges to autophagy and to the endolysosomal system, two of the main degradative routes for turnover of defective proteins and organelles. Autophagosomes sequester cytoplasmic or organellar cargos by engulfing them into their lumen before fusion with degradative lysosomes enriched in neuronal somata and participate in retrograde signaling to the soma. Endosomes are mainly involved in the sorting, recycling, or lysosomal turnover of internalized or membrane-bound macromolecules to maintain axonal membrane homeostasis. Lysosomes and the multiple shades of lysosome-related organelles also serve non-degradative roles, for example in nutrient signaling and in synapse formation. Recent years have begun to shed light on the distinctive organization of the autophagy and endo-lysosomal systems in neurons, in particular their roles in axons. We review here our current understanding of the localization, distribution, and growing list of functions of these organelles in the axon in health and disease and outline perspectives for future research.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15287