bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒04‒04
forty-six papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Mol Cell. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S1097-2765(21)00169-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      The sequestration of damaged mitochondria within double-membrane structures termed autophagosomes is a key step of PINK1/Parkin mitophagy. The ATG4 family of proteases are thought to regulate autophagosome formation exclusively by processing the ubiquitin-like ATG8 family (LC3/GABARAPs). We discover that human ATG4s promote autophagosome formation independently of their protease activity and of ATG8 family processing. ATG4 proximity networks reveal a role for ATG4s and their proximity partners, including the immune-disease protein LRBA, in ATG9A vesicle trafficking to mitochondria. Artificial intelligence-directed 3D electron microscopy of phagophores shows that ATG4s promote phagophore-ER contacts during the lipid-transfer phase of autophagosome formation. We also show that ATG8 removal during autophagosome maturation does not depend on ATG4 activity. Instead, ATG4s can disassemble ATG8-protein conjugates, revealing a role for ATG4s as deubiquitinating-like enzymes. These findings establish non-canonical roles of the ATG4 family beyond the ATG8 lipidation axis and provide an AI-driven framework for rapid 3D electron microscopy.
    Keywords:  ATG4; ATG9a; FIB-SEM; LRBA; PINK1; Parkin; autophagosome; autophagy; mitochondria; mitophagy
  2. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 28. 1-19
      Myotubularin (MTM) and myotubularin-related (MTMR) lipid phosphatases catalyze the removal of a phosphate group from certain phosphatidylinositol derivatives. Because some of these substrates are required for macroautophagy/autophagy, during which unwanted cytoplasmic constituents are delivered into lysosomes for degradation, MTM and MTMRs function as important regulators of the autophagic process. Despite its physiological and medical significance, the specific role of individual MTMR paralogs in autophagy control remains largely unexplored. Here we examined two Drosophila MTMRs, EDTP and Mtmr6, the fly orthologs of mammalian MTMR14 and MTMR6 to MTMR8, respectively, and found that these enzymes affect the autophagic process in a complex, condition-dependent way. EDTP inhibited basal autophagy, but did not influence stress-induced autophagy. In contrast, Mtmr6 promoted the process under nutrient-rich settings, but effectively blocked its hyperactivation in response to stress. Thus, Mtmr6 is the first identified MTMR phosphatase with dual, antagonistic roles in the regulation of autophagy, and shows conditional antagonism/synergism with EDTP in modulating autophagic breakdown. These results provide a deeper insight into the adjustment of autophagy.Abbreviations: Atg, autophagy-related; BDSC, Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center; DGRC, Drosophila Genetic Resource Center; EDTP, Egg-derived tyrosine phosphatase; FYVE, zinc finger domain from Fab1 (yeast ortholog of PIKfyve), YOTB, Vac1 (vesicle transport protein) and EEA1 cysteine-rich proteins; LTR, LysoTracker Red; MTM, myotubularin; MTMR, myotubularin-related; PI, phosphatidylinositol; Pi3K59F, Phosphotidylinositol 3 kinase 59F; PtdIns3P, phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; PtdIns(3,5)P2, phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate; PtdIns5P, phosphatidylinositol-5-phosphate; ref(2)P, refractory to sigma P; Syx17, Syntaxin 17; TEM, transmission electron microscopy; UAS, upstream activating sequence; Uvrag, UV-resistance associated gene; VDRC, Vienna Drosophila RNAi Center; Vps34, Vacuolar protein sorting 34.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; edtp; mtmr6; myotubularins; phosphoinositides
  3. Nat Commun. 2021 03 29. 12(1): 1955
      p62/SQSTM1 is known to act as a key mediator in the selective autophagy of protein aggregates, or aggrephagy, by steering ubiquitinated protein aggregates towards the autophagy pathway. Here, we use a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify the prefoldin-like chaperone UXT as an interacting protein of p62. We show that UXT can bind to protein aggregates as well as the LB domain of p62, and, possibly by forming an oligomer, increase p62 clustering for its efficient targeting to protein aggregates, thereby promoting the formation of the p62 body and clearance of its cargo via autophagy. We also find that ectopic expression of human UXT delays SOD1(A4V)-induced degeneration of motor neurons in a Xenopus model system, and that specific disruption of the interaction between UXT and p62 suppresses UXT-mediated protection. Together, these results indicate that UXT functions as an autophagy adaptor of p62-dependent aggrephagy. Furthermore, our study illustrates a cooperative relationship between molecular chaperones and the aggrephagy machinery that efficiently removes misfolded protein aggregates.
  4. Cells. 2021 Mar 21. pii: 694. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved degradation process maintaining cell homeostasis. Induction of autophagy is triggered as a response to a broad range of cellular stress conditions, such as nutrient deprivation, protein aggregation, organelle damage and pathogen invasion. Macroautophagy involves the sequestration of cytoplasmic contents in a double-membrane organelle referred to as the autophagosome with subsequent degradation of its contents upon delivery to lysosomes. Autophagy plays critical roles in development, maintenance and survival of distinct cell populations including neurons. Consequently, age-dependent decline in autophagy predisposes animals for age-related diseases including neurodegeneration and compromises healthspan and longevity. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the role of neuronal autophagy in ageing, focusing on studies in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; ageing; autophagy; macroautophagy; neurodegeneration; neuronal autophagy
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 06. pii: e2020215118. [Epub ahead of print]118(14):
      Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that provides self-nourishment and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Autophagy is a fundamental cell protection pathway through metabolic recycling of various intracellular cargos and supplying the breakdown products. Here, we report an autophagy function in governing cell protection during cellular response to energy crisis through cell metabolic rewiring. We observe a role of selective type of autophagy in direct activation of cyclic AMP protein kinase A (PKA) and rejuvenation of mitochondrial function. Mechanistically, autophagy selectively degrades the inhibitory subunit RI of PKA holoenzyme through A-kinase-anchoring protein (AKAP) 11. AKAP11 acts as an autophagy receptor that recruits RI to autophagosomes via LC3. Glucose starvation induces AKAP11-dependent degradation of RI, resulting in PKA activation that potentiates PKA-cAMP response element-binding signaling, mitochondria respiration, and ATP production in accordance with mitochondrial elongation. AKAP11 deficiency inhibits PKA activation and impairs cell survival upon glucose starvation. Our results thus expand the view of autophagy cytoprotection mechanism by demonstrating selective autophagy in RI degradation and PKA activation that fuels the mitochondrial metabolism and confers cell resistance to glucose deprivation implicated in tumor growth.
    Keywords:  AKAP11; PKA; autophagy; cell survival; mitochondrial metabolism
  6. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 28. 1-18
      Macroautophagy/autophagy and necroptosis represent two opposing cellular s tress responses. Whereas autophagy primarily fulfills a cyto-protective function, necroptosis is a form of regulated cell death induced via death receptors. Here, we aimed at investigating the molecular crosstalk between these two pathways. We observed that RIPK3 directly associates with AMPK and phosphorylates its catalytic subunit PRKAA1/2 at T183/T172. Activated AMPK then phosphorylates the autophagy-regulating proteins ULK1 and BECN1. However, the lysosomal degradation of autophagosomes is blocked by TNF-induced necroptosis. Specifically, we observed dysregulated SNARE complexes upon TNF treatment; e.g., reduced levels of full-length STX17. In summary, we identified RIPK3 as an AMPK-activating kinase and thus a direct link between autophagy- and necroptosis-regulating kinases.Abbreviations ACACA/ACC: acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATG: autophagy-related; BECN1: beclin 1; GFP: green fluorescent protein; EBSS: Earle's balanced salt solution; Hs: Homo sapiens; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MEF: mouse embryonic fibroblast; MLKL: mixed lineage kinase domain like pseudokinase; Mm: Mus musculus; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; MVB: multivesicular body; PIK3C3/VPS34: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3; PIK3R4/VPS15: phosphoinositide-3-kinase regulatory subunit 4; PLA: proximity ligation assay; PRKAA1: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 1; PRKAA2: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 2; PRKAB2: protein kinase AMP-activated non-catalytic subunit beta 2; PRKAG1: protein kinase AMP-activated non-catalytic subunit gamma 1; PtdIns3K: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; RIPK1: receptor interacting serine/threonine kinase 1; RIPK3: receptor interacting serine/threonine kinase 3; SNAP29: synaptosome associated protein 29; SNARE: soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; STK11/LKB1: serine/threonine kinase 11; STX7: syntaxin 7; STX17: syntaxin 17; TAX1BP1: Tax1 binding protein 1; TNF: tumor necrosis factor; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; VAMP8: vesicle associated membrane protein 8; WT: wild-type.
    Keywords:  AMPK; RIPK3; STX17; autophagy; necroptosis
  7. Neuropharmacology. 2021 Mar 29. pii: S0028-3908(21)00095-2. [Epub ahead of print] 108541
      Autophagy is a catabolic process that collects and degrades damaged or unwanted cellular materials such as protein aggregates. Defective brain autophagy has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Autophagy is regulated by the protein kinase mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin). Although already demonstrated in vitro, it remains contentious whether inhibiting mTOR can enhance autophagy in the brain. To address this, mice were intraperitoneally injected with the mTOR inhibitor AZD2014 for seven days. mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity was decreased in liver and brain. Autophagic activity was increased by AZD2014 in both organs, as measured by immunoblotting for LC3 (microtubule-associated proteins-1A/1B light chain 3B) and measurement of autophagic flux in the cerebral cortex of transgenic mice expressing the EGFP-mRFP-LC3B transgene. mTOR activity was shown to correlate with changes in LC3. Thus, we show it is possible to promote autophagy in the brain using AZD2014, which will be valuable in tackling conditions associated with defective autophagy, especially neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  AZD2014; Autophagy; HeLa cells; TF-LC3; Vistusertib; brain; lysosome; mTOR; mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase
  8. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 30.
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is a highly conserved process in eukaryotic cells. It plays a critical role in cellular homeostasis by delivering cytoplasmic cargos to lysosomes for selective degradation. OPTN (optineurin), a well-recognized autophagy receptor, has received considerable attention due to its multiple roles in the autophagic process. OPTN is associated with many human disorders that are closely related to autophagy, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and nephropathy. Here, we review the function of OPTN as an autophagy receptor at different stages of autophagy, focusing on cargo recognition, autophagosome formation, autophagosome maturation, and lysosomal quality control. OPTN tends to be protective in most autophagy associated diseases, though the molecular mechanism of OPTN regulation in these diseases is not well understood. A comprehensive review of the function of OPTN in autophagy provides valuable insight into the pathogenesis of human diseases related to OPTN and facilitates the discovery of potential key regulators and novel therapeutic targets for disease intervention in patients with autophagic diseases.
    Keywords:  autophagosome formation; autophagy; cargo recognition; diseases; lysosomal quality control; mitophagy; optineurin (OPTN)
  9. Autophagy. 2021 Apr 02.
      Defects in macroautophagy/autophagy are implicated in the pathogenesis of neuromuscular and heart diseases. To precisely define the roles of autophagy-related genes in skeletal and cardiac muscles, we generated muscle-specific rb1cc1- and atg14-conditional knockout (cKO) mice by using Ckm/Ckmm2-Cre and compared their phenotypes to those of ulk1 ulk2-conditional double-knockout (cDKO) mice. atg14-cKO mice developed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which was associated with abnormal accumulation of autophagic cargoes in the heart and early mortality. Skeletal muscles of both atg14-cKO and rb1cc1-cKO mice showed features of autophagic vacuolar myopathy with ubiquitin+ SQSTM1+ deposits, but only those of rb1cc1-cKO mice showed TARDBP/TDP-43+ pathology and other features of the inclusion body myopathy-like disease we previously described in ulk1 ulk2-cDKO mice. Herein, we highlight tissue-specific differences between skeletal and cardiac muscles in their reliance on core autophagy proteins and unique roles for ULK1-ULK2 and RB1CC1 among these proteins in the development of TARDBP+ pathology.
    Keywords:  ATG14; RB1CC1; RNA-binding protein; ULK1; ULK2; autophagic vacuolar myopathy; autophagy; cardiomyopathy; inclusion body myopathy
  10. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 30. 1-15
      MOAP1 (modulator of apoptosis 1) is a BAX-binding protein tightly regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Apoptotic stimuli stabilize MOAP1 protein and facilitate its interaction with BAX to promote apoptosis. Here we show that in contrast to being resistant to apoptotic stimuli, MOAP1-deficient cells are hypersensitive to cell death mediated by starvation rendered by EBSS treatment. MOAP1-deficient cells exhibited impairment in macroautophagy/autophagy signaling induced by EBSS. Mechanistic analysis revealed that MOAP1-deficient cells had no notable defect in the recruitment of the pre-autophagosomal phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PtdIns3P)-binding proteins, ZFYVE1/DFCP1 and WIPI2, nor in the LC3 lipidation mechanism regulated by the ATG12-ATG5-ATG16L1 complex upon EBSS treatment. Interestingly, MOAP1 is required for facilitating efficient closure of phagophore in the EBSS-treated cells. Analysis of LC3-positive membrane structures using Halo-tagged LC3 autophagosome completion assay showed that predominantly unclosed phagophore rather than closed autophagosome was present in the EBSS-treated MOAP1-deficient cells. The autophagy substrate SQSTM1/p62, which is normally contained within the enclosed autophagosome under EBSS condition, was also highly sensitive to degradation by proteinase K in the absence of MOAP1. MOAP1 binds LC3 and the binding is critically dependent on a LC3-interacting region (LIR) motif detected at its N-terminal region. Re-expression of MOAP1, but not its LC3-binding defective mutant, MOAP1-LIR, in the MOAP1-deficient cells, restored EBSS-induced autophagy. Together, these observations suggest that MOAP1 serves a distinct role in facilitating autophagy through interacting with LC3 to promote efficient phagophore closure during starvation.Abbreviations CQ: Chloroquine; EBSS: Earle's Balanced Salt Solution; GABARAP: Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid Receptor Associated Protein; IF: Immunofluorescence; IP: Immunoprecipitation; LAMP1: Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1; LIR: LC3-Interacting Region; MAP1LC3/LC3: Microtubule Associated Protein 1 Light Chain 3; MEF: Mouse Embryonic Fibroblast; MOAP1: Modulator of Apoptosis 1; PE: Phosphatidylethanolamine; PtdIns3K: class III PtdIns3K complex I; PtdIns3P: Phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; STX17: Syntaxin 17; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  Autophagosome formation; LC3-binding protein; LIR motif; autophagy; cell death; nutrient deprivation
  11. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24. pii: 3342. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Adult neurogenesis is a highly regulated process during which new neurons are generated from neural stem cells in two discrete regions of the adult brain: the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus. Defects of adult hippocampal neurogenesis have been linked to cognitive decline and dysfunction during natural aging and in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as psychological stress-induced mood disorders. Understanding the mechanisms and pathways that regulate adult neurogenesis is crucial to improving preventative measures and therapies for these conditions. Accumulating evidence shows that mitochondria directly regulate various steps and phases of adult neurogenesis. This review summarizes recent findings on how mitochondrial metabolism, dynamics, and reactive oxygen species control several aspects of adult neural stem cell function and their differentiation to newborn neurons. It also discusses the importance of autophagy for adult neurogenesis, and how mitochondrial and autophagic dysfunction may contribute to cognitive defects and stress-induced mood disorders by compromising adult neurogenesis. Finally, I suggest possible ways to target mitochondrial function as a strategy for stem cell-based interventions and treatments for cognitive and mood disorders.
    Keywords:  adult neurogenesis; autophagy/mitophagy; cognitive dysfunction; hippocampus; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial metabolism; mood disorders; neurodegeneration; psychological stress; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  12. Autophagy. 2021 Apr 02. 1-24
      Autophagic pathways cross with lipid homeostasis and thus provide energy and essential building blocks that are indispensable for liver functions. Energy deficiencies are compensated by breaking down lipid droplets (LDs), intracellular organelles that store neutral lipids, in part by a selective type of autophagy, referred to as lipophagy. The process of lipophagy does not appear to be properly regulated in fatty liver diseases (FLDs), an important risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Here we provide an overview on our current knowledge of the biogenesis and functions of LDs, and the mechanisms underlying their lysosomal turnover by autophagic processes. This review also focuses on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a specific type of FLD characterized by steatosis, chronic inflammation and cell death. Particular attention is paid to the role of macroautophagy and macrolipophagy in relation to the parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells of the liver in NASH, as this disease has been associated with inappropriate lipophagy in various cell types of the liver.Abbreviations: ACAT: acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase; ACAC/ACC: acetyl-CoA carboxylase; AKT: AKT serine/threonine kinase; ATG: autophagy related; AUP1: AUP1 lipid droplet regulating VLDL assembly factor; BECN1/Vps30/Atg6: beclin 1; BSCL2/seipin: BSCL2 lipid droplet biogenesis associated, seipin; CMA: chaperone-mediated autophagy; CREB1/CREB: cAMP responsive element binding protein 1; CXCR3: C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 3; DAGs: diacylglycerols; DAMPs: danger/damage-associated molecular patterns; DEN: diethylnitrosamine; DGAT: diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase; DNL: de novo lipogenesis; EHBP1/NACSIN (EH domain binding protein 1); EHD2/PAST2: EH domain containing 2; CoA: coenzyme A; CCL/chemokines: chemokine ligands; CCl4: carbon tetrachloride; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; ESCRT: endosomal sorting complexes required for transport; FA: fatty acid; FFAs: free fatty acids; FFC: high saturated fats, fructose and cholesterol; FGF21: fibroblast growth factor 21; FITM/FIT: fat storage inducing transmembrane protein; FLD: fatty liver diseases; FOXO: forkhead box O; GABARAP: GABA type A receptor-associated protein; GPAT: glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; HDAC6: histone deacetylase 6; HECT: homologous to E6-AP C-terminus; HFCD: high fat, choline deficient; HFD: high-fat diet; HSCs: hepatic stellate cells; HSPA8/HSC70: heat shock protein family A (Hsp70) member 8; ITCH/AIP4: itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; KCs: Kupffer cells; LAMP2A: lysosomal associated membrane protein 2A; LDs: lipid droplets; LDL: low density lipoprotein; LEP/OB: leptin; LEPR/OBR: leptin receptor; LIPA/LAL: lipase A, lysosomal acid type; LIPE/HSL: lipase E, hormone sensitive type; LIR: LC3-interacting region; LPS: lipopolysaccharide; LSECs: liver sinusoidal endothelial cells; MAGs: monoacylglycerols; MAPK: mitogen-activated protein kinase; MAP3K5/ASK1: mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 5; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MCD: methionine-choline deficient; MGLL/MGL: monoglyceride lipase; MLXIPL/ChREBP: MLX interacting protein like; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; NAFLD: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; NAS: NAFLD activity score; NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; NPC: NPC intracellular cholesterol transporter; NR1H3/LXRα: nuclear receptor subfamily 1 group H member 3; NR1H4/FXR: nuclear receptor subfamily 1 group H member 4; PDGF: platelet derived growth factor; PIK3C3/VPS34: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3; PLIN: perilipin; PNPLA: patatin like phospholipase domain containing; PNPLA2/ATGL: patatin like phospholipase domain containing 2; PNPLA3/adiponutrin: patatin like phospholipase domain containing 3; PPAR: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor; PPARA/PPARα: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha; PPARD/PPARδ: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor delta; PPARG/PPARγ: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma; PPARGC1A/PGC1α: PPARG coactivator 1 alpha; PRKAA/AMPK: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit; PtdIns3K: class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; PTEN: phosphatase and tensin homolog; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SE: sterol esters; SIRT1: sirtuin 1; SPART/SPG20: spartin; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SREBF1/SREBP1c: sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1; TAGs: triacylglycerols; TFE3: transcription factor binding to IGHM enhancer 3; TFEB: transcription factor EB; TGFB1/TGFβ: transforming growth factor beta 1; Ub: ubiquitin; UBE2G2/UBC7: ubiquitin conjugating enzyme E2 G2; ULK1/Atg1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; USF1: upstream transcription factor 1; VLDL: very-low density lipoprotein; VPS: vacuolar protein sorting; WIPI: WD-repeat domain, phosphoinositide interacting; WDR: WD repeat domain.
    Keywords:  Chaperone-mediated autophagy; fibrosis; hepatocellular carcinoma; macroautophagy; macrolipophagy; microautophagy; microlipophagy; nafld; nash; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  13. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 09. pii: 2776. [Epub ahead of print]22(5):
      Historically, studies of intracellular membrane trafficking have focused on the secretory and endocytic pathways and their major organelles. However, these pathways are also directly implicated in the biogenesis and function of other important intracellular organelles, the best studied of which are peroxisomes and lipid droplets. There is a large recent body of work on these organelles, which have resulted in the introduction of new paradigms regarding the roles of membrane trafficking organelles. In this review, we discuss the roles of membrane trafficking in the life cycle of lipid droplets. This includes the complementary roles of lipid phase separation and proteins in the biogenesis of lipid droplets from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes, and the attachment of mature lipid droplets to membranes by lipidic bridges and by more conventional protein tethers. We also discuss the catabolism of neutral lipids, which in part results from the interaction of lipid droplets with cytosolic molecules, but with important roles for both macroautophagy and microautophagy. Finally, we address their eventual demise, which involves interactions with the autophagocytotic machinery. We pay particular attention to the roles of small GTPases, particularly Rab18, in these processes.
    Keywords:  autophagy; biogenesis; endoplasmic reticulum; lipid droplet; microautophagy; mitochondria
  14. Chem. 2019 Aug 08. 5(8): 2079-2098
      Recently, we showed that synthetic anion transporters DSC4P-1 and SA-3 had activity related to cancer cell death. They were found to increase intracellular chloride and sodium ion concentrations. They were also found to induce apoptosis (DSC4P-1) and both induce apoptosis and inhibit autophagy (SA-3). However, determinants underlying these phenomenological findings were not elucidated. The absence of mechanistic understanding has limited the development of yet-improved systems. Here, we show that three synthetic anion transporters, DSC4P-1, SA-3, and 8FC4P, induce osmotic stress in cells by increasing intracellular ion concentrations. This triggers the generation of reactive oxygen species via a sequential process and promotes caspase-dependent apoptosis. In addition, two of the transporters, SA-3 and 8FC4P, induce autophagy by increasing the cytosolic calcium ion concentration promoted by osmotic stress. However, they eventually inhibit the autophagy process as a result of their ability to disrupt lysosome function through a transporter-mediated decrease in a lysosomal chloride ion concentration and an increase in the lysosomal pH.
  15. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 656201
      Human life expectancy continues to grow globally, and so does the prevalence of age-related chronic diseases, causing a huge medical and economic burden on society. Effective therapeutic options for these disorders are scarce, and even if available, are typically limited to a single comorbidity in a multifaceted dysfunction that inevitably affects all organ systems. Thus, novel therapies that target fundamental processes of aging itself are desperately needed. In this article, we summarize current strategies that successfully delay aging and related diseases by targeting mitochondria and protein homeostasis. In particular, we focus on autophagy, as a fundamental proteostatic process that is intimately linked to mitochondrial quality control. We present genetic and pharmacological interventions that effectively extend health- and life-span by acting on specific mitochondrial and pro-autophagic molecular targets. In the end, we delve into the crosstalk between autophagy and mitochondria, in what we refer to as the mitochondria-proteostasis axis, and explore the prospect of targeting this crosstalk to harness maximal therapeutic potential of anti-aging interventions.
    Keywords:  aging; anti-aging targets; autophagy; mitochondria; proteostasis
  16. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 30.
      Selective recognition and elimination of misfolded polypeptides are crucial for protein homeostasis. When the ubiquitin-proteasome system is impaired, misfolded polypeptides tend to form small cytosolic aggregates and are transported to the aggresome and eventually eliminated by the autophagy pathway. Despite the importance of this process, the regulation of aggresome formation remains poorly understood. Here, we identify TRIM28/TIF1β/KAP1 (tripartite motif containing 28) as a negative regulator of aggresome formation. Direct interaction between TRIM28 and CTIF (cap binding complex dependent translation initiation factor) leads to inefficient aggresomal targeting of misfolded polypeptides. We also find that either treatment of cells with poly I:C or infection of the cells by influenza A viruses triggers the phosphorylation of TRIM28 at S473 in a way that depends on double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase. The phosphorylation promotes association of TRIM28 with CTIF, inhibits aggresome formation, and consequently suppresses viral proliferation. Collectively, our data provide compelling evidence that TRIM28 is a negative regulator of aggresome formation.
    Keywords:  CTIF; DCTN1; EEF1A1; EIF2AK2; aggrephagy; influenza A virus
  17. SLAS Discov. 2021 Mar 30. 24725552211000679
      Macroautophagy is a catabolic process wherein cytosolic cargo is engulfed in an autophagosome that fuses with a lysosome to degrade the cargo for recycling. Autophagy maintains cellular homeostasis and is involved in a myriad of illnesses ranging from cancer to neurodegenerative diseases, but its therapeutic potential remains elusive due to a lack of potent and specific autophagy modulators. To identify specific inhibitors of early autophagy, a target-based, compound-multiplexed, fluorescence polarization, high-throughput screen that targets the ATG5-ATG16L1 protein-protein interaction was developed. This interaction is critical for the formation of LC3-II, which is involved in phagophore maturation, and its disruption should inhibit autophagy. This assay is based on the polarization of light emitted by a fluorescent rhodamine tag conjugated to a peptide corresponding to the N-terminal region of ATG16L1 (ATG16L1-N). It was confirmed that this peptide binds specifically to ATG5, and the assay was validated by rapidly screening 4800 molecules through compound multiplexing. Through these initial screening efforts, a molecule was identified that disrupts the ATG5-ATG16L1 protein-protein interaction with micromolar potency, and this molecule will serve as a starting point for chemical optimization as an autophagy inhibitor.
    Keywords:  ATG5–ATG16L1 protein–protein interaction; assay development; autophagy; fluorescence polarization; inhibition
  18. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Mar 30. pii: S0969-9961(21)00108-X. [Epub ahead of print] 105359
      Autophagy, which mediates delivery of cytoplasmic substrates to the lysosome for degradation, is essential for maintaining proper cell homeostasis in physiology, ageing and disease. There is increasing evidence that autophagy is defective in neurodegenerative disorders, including motor neurons affected in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Restoring impaired autophagy in motor neurons may therefore represent a rational approach for ALS. Here, we demonstrate autophagy impairment in spinal cords of mice expressing mutant TDP-43Q331K or co-expressing TDP-43WTxQ331K transgenes. The clinically approved anti-hypertensive drug rilmenidine was used to stimulate mTOR-independent autophagy in double transgenic TDP-43WTxQ331K mice to alleviate impaired autophagy. Although rilmenidine treatment induced robust autophagy in spinal cords, this exacerbated the phenotype of TDP-43WTxQ331K mice shown by truncated lifespan, accelerated motor neuron loss and pronounced nuclear TDP-43 clearance. Importantly, rilmenidine significantly promoted mitophagy in spinal cords TDP-43WTxQ331K mice, evidenced by reduced mitochondrial markers and load in spinal motor neurons. These results suggest that autophagy induction accelerates the phenotype of this TDP-43 mouse model of ALS, most likely through excessive mitochondrial clearance in motor neurons. These findings also emphasise the importance of balancing autophagy stimulation with the potential negative consequences of hyperactive mitophagy in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  ALS; Autophagy; Motor neuron; Rilmenidine; TDP-43
  19. Cells. 2021 Mar 30. pii: 757. [Epub ahead of print]10(4):
      Mitochondrial F1Fo-ATP-synthase dimers play a critical role in shaping and maintenance of mitochondrial ultrastructure. Previous studies have revealed that ablation of the F1Fo-ATP-synthase assembly factor PaATPE of the ascomycete Podospora anserina strongly affects cristae formation, increases hydrogen peroxide levels, impairs mitochondrial function and leads to premature cell death. In the present study, we investigated the underlying mechanistic basis. Compared to the wild type, we observed a slight increase in non-selective and a pronounced increase in mitophagy, the selective vacuolar degradation of mitochondria. This effect depends on the availability of functional cyclophilin D (PaCYPD), the regulator of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Simultaneous deletion of PaAtpe and PaAtg1, encoding a key component of the autophagy machinery or of PaCypD, led to a reduction of mitophagy and a partial restoration of the wild-type specific lifespan. The same effect was observed in the PaAtpe deletion strain after inhibition of PaCYPD by its specific inhibitor, cyclosporin A. Overall, our data identify autophagy-dependent cell death (ADCD) as part of the cellular response to impaired F1Fo-ATP-synthase dimerization, and emphasize the crucial role of functional mitochondria in aging.
    Keywords:  ADCD; F1Fo-ATP-synthase; Podospora anserina; mPTP; mitophagy
  20. J Cell Biol. 2021 Jun 07. pii: e202002084. [Epub ahead of print]220(6):
      Macroautophagy (hereafter "autophagy") is a lysosomal degradation pathway that is important for learning and memory, suggesting critical roles for autophagy at the neuronal synapse. Little is known, however, about the molecular details of how autophagy is regulated with synaptic activity. Here, we used live-cell confocal microscopy to define the autophagy pathway in primary hippocampal neurons under various paradigms of synaptic activity. We found that synaptic activity regulates the motility of autophagic vacuoles (AVs) in dendrites. Stimulation of synaptic activity dampens AV motility, whereas silencing synaptic activity induces AV motility. Activity-dependent effects on dendritic AV motility are local and reversible. Importantly, these effects are compartment specific, occurring in dendrites and not in axons. Most strikingly, synaptic activity increases the presence of degradative autolysosomes in dendrites and not in axons. On the basis of our findings, we propose a model whereby synaptic activity locally controls AV dynamics and function within dendrites that may regulate the synaptic proteome.
  21. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S0167-4889(21)00075-6. [Epub ahead of print] 119021
      C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) is the major genetic cause underpinning frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FLTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). C9orf72 HRE-associated pathogenesis involves both loss-of-function, through reduced C9orf72 levels, and gain-of-function mechanisms, including formation of RNA foci and generation of dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins. In addition, dysfunctional protein degradation pathways, i.e. autophagy and ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), are suggested. Our aim was to study the gain-of-function mechanisms in the context of the function of protein degradation pathways as well as the regulation of the DPR proteins through these pathways. To this end, we expressed the pathological HRE in neuronal N2a cells and mouse primary cortical neurons. Protein degradation pathways were modulated to induce or block autophagy or to inhibit UPS. In addition, proteasomal activity was assessed. The C9orf72 HRE-expressing N2a cells and neurons were confirmed to produce RNA foci and DPR proteins, predominantly the Poly-GP proteins. However, the presence of these pathological hallmarks did not result in alterations in autophagy or proteasomal activity in either of the studied cell types. In N2a cells, Poly-GP proteins appeared in soluble forms and Lactacystin-mediated UPS inhibition increased their levels, indicating proteasomal regulation. Similar effects were not observed in cortical neurons, where the Poly-GP proteins formed also higher molecular weight forms. These results suggest a cell type-specific morphology and regulation of the DPR proteins. Further studies in other model systems may shed additional light onto the effects of the C9orf72 HRE on cellular protein degradation pathways and the regulation of the DPR protein levels.
    Keywords:  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Autophagy; C9orf72; DPR proteins; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Proteasome
  22. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 28.
      Selective autophagy receptors have been implicated in the degradation of cellular constituents of various size and rigidity. However, the identity of protein cargo have largely remained elusive. In our recent study, we combined limited proteolysis-enhanced proximity biotinylation and organelle enrichment with quantitative proteomics to map the inventory of autophagosomes in a manner dependent on six different selective autophagy receptors, namely SQSTM1/p62, NBR1, CALCOCO2/NDP52, OPTN, TAX1BP1 and TOLLIP. Conducting this approach under basal and proteostasis-challenged conditions in mammalian cells led to the identification of various new autophagy substrates of which some were degraded through endosomal microautophagy rather than canonical autophagy dependent on the receptors TOLLIP and SQSTM1, respectively.
    Keywords:  (5-6): Selective autophagy receptors; APEX2; TOLLIP; endosomal microautophagy; proteostasis challenges; proximity proteomics
  23. Cell Mol Immunol. 2021 Mar 30.
      The function of lymphocytes is dependent on their plasticity, particularly their adaptation to energy availability and environmental stress, and their protein synthesis machinery. Lymphocytes are constantly under metabolic stress, and macroautophagy/autophagy is the primary metabolic pathway that helps cells overcome stressors. The intrinsic role of autophagy in regulating the metabolism of adaptive immune cells has recently gained increasing attention. In this review, we summarize and discuss the versatile roles of autophagy in regulating cellular metabolism and the implications of autophagy for immune cell function and fate, especially for T and B lymphocytes.
    Keywords:  Immunology; Lysosome; Macroautophagy; Stress
  24. Front Cell Neurosci. 2021 ;15 645244
      Microglial cells regulate neural homeostasis by coordinating both immune responses and clearance of debris, and the P2X7 receptor for extracellular ATP plays a central role in both functions. The P2X7 receptor is primarily known in microglial cells for its immune signaling and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. However, the receptor also affects the clearance of extracellular and intracellular debris through modifications of lysosomal function, phagocytosis, and autophagy. In the absence of an agonist, the P2X7 receptor acts as a scavenger receptor to phagocytose material. Transient receptor stimulation induces autophagy and increases LC3-II levels, likely through calcium-dependent phosphorylation of AMPK, and activates microglia to an M1 or mixed M1/M2 state. We show an increased expression of Nos2 and Tnfa and a decreased expression of Chil3 (YM1) from primary cultures of brain microglia exposed to high levels of ATP. Sustained stimulation can reduce lysosomal function in microglia by increasing lysosomal pH and slowing autophagosome-lysosome fusion. P2X7 receptor stimulation can also cause lysosomal leakage, and the subsequent rise in cytoplasmic cathepsin B activates the NLRP3 inflammasome leading to caspase-1 cleavage and IL-1β maturation and release. Support for P2X7 receptor activation of the inflammasome following lysosomal leakage comes from data on primary microglia showing IL-1β release following receptor stimulation is inhibited by cathepsin B blocker CA-074. This pathway bridges endolysosomal and inflammatory roles and may provide a key mechanism for the increased inflammation found in age-dependent neurodegenerations characterized by excessive lysosomal accumulations. Regardless of whether the inflammasome is activated via this lysosomal leakage or the better-known K+-efflux pathway, the inflammatory impact of P2X7 receptor stimulation is balanced between the autophagic reduction of inflammasome components and their increase following P2X7-mediated priming. In summary, the P2X7 receptor modulates clearance of extracellular debris by microglial cells and mediates lysosomal damage that can activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. A better understanding of how the P2X7 receptor alters phagocytosis, lysosomal health, inflammation, and autophagy can lead to therapies that balance the inflammatory and clearance roles of microglial cells.
    Keywords:  NLRP3; P2X7; autophagy; cathepsin B; lysosomes; microglia; neuroinflammation; phagocytosis
  25. Mol Biol Rep. 2021 Apr 02.
      Vital for growth, proliferation, subsistence, and thermogenesis, autophagy is the biological cascade, which confers defence against aging and various pathologies. Current research has demonstrated de novo activity of autophagy in stimulation of biological events. There exists a significant association between autophagy activation and obesity, encompassing expansion of adipocytes which facilitates β cell activity. The main objective of the manuscript is to enumerate intrinsic role of autophagy in obesity and associated complications. The peer review articles published till date were searched using medical databases like PubMed and MEDLINE for research, primarily in English language. Obesity is characterized by adipocytic hypertrophy and hyperplasia, which leads to imbalance of lipid absorption, free fatty acid release, and mitochondrial activity. Detailed evaluation of obesity progression is necessary for its treatment and related comorbidities. Data collected in regard to etiological sustaining of obesity, has revealed hypothesized energy misbalance and neuro-humoral dysfunction, which is stimulated by autophagy. Autophagy regulates chief salvaging events for protein clustering, excessive triglycerides, and impaired mitochondria which is accompanied by oxidative and genotoxic stress in mammals. Autophagy is a homeostatic event, which regulates biological process by eliminating lethal cells and reprocessing physiological constituents, comprising of proteins and fat. Unquestionably, autophagy impairment is involved in metabolic syndromes, like obesity. According to an individual's metabolic outline, autophagy activation is essential for metabolism and activity of the adipose tissue and to retard metabolic syndrome i.e. obesity. The manuscript summarizes the perception of current knowledge on autophagy stimulation and its effect on the obesity.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cardiac autophagy; Insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity
  26. J Proteome Res. 2021 Apr 02.
      The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) functions as a critical regulator of cell cycle progression. However, the underlying mechanism by which mTOR regulates cell cycle progression remains elusive. In this study, we used stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture with a two-step strategy for phosphopeptide enrichment and high-throughput quantitative mass spectrometry to perform a global phosphoproteome analysis of mTOR inhibition by rapamycin. By monitoring the phosphoproteome alterations upon rapamycin treatment, downregulation of mTOR signaling pathway was detected and enriched. Further functional analysis of phosphoproteome revealed the involvement of cell cycle events. Specifically, the elevated profile of cell cycle-related substrates was observed, and the activation of CDK1, MAPK1, and MAPK3 kinases was determined. Second, pathway interrogation using kinase inhibitor treatment confirmed that CDK1 activation operated downstream from mTOR inhibition to further regulate cell cycle progression. Third, we found that the activation of CDK1 following 4-12 h of mTOR inhibition was accompanied by the activation of the Greatwall-endosulfine complex. In conclusion, we presented a high-confidence phosphoproteome map inside the cells upon mTOR inhibition by rapamycin. Our data implied that mTOR inhibition could contribute to CDK1 activation for further regulating cell cycle progression, which was mediated by the Greatwall-endosulfine complex.
    Keywords:  CDK1; cell cycle; mTOR; phosphoproteome; rapamycin
  27. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 12. pii: 1252. [Epub ahead of print]13(6):
      Endocrine resistance is a major complication during treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Although autophagy has recently gained increasing consideration among the causative factors, the link between autophagy and endocrine resistance remains elusive. Here, we investigate the autophagy-based mechanisms of tamoxifen resistance in MCF7 cells. Tamoxifen (Tam) triggers autophagy and affects the lysosomal compartment of MCF7 cells, such that activated autophagy supports disposal of tamoxifen-damaged lysosomes by lysophagy. MCF7 cells resistant to 5 µM tamoxifen (MCF7-TamR) have a higher autophagic flux and an enhanced resistance to Tam-induced lysosomal alterations compared to parental cells, which suggests a correlation between the two events. MCF7-TamR cells overexpress messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for metallothionein 2A and ferritin heavy chain, and they are re-sensitized to Tam by inhibition of autophagy. Overexpressing these proteins in parental MCF7 cells protects lysosomes from Tam-induced damage and preserves viability, while inhibiting autophagy abrogates lysosome protection. Consistently, we also demonstrate that other breast cancer cells that overexpress selected mRNAs encoding iron-binding proteins are less sensitive to Tam-induced lysosomal damage when autophagy is activated. Collectively, our data demonstrate that autophagy triggers Tam resistance in breast cancer cells by favoring the lysosomal relocation of overexpressed factors that restrain tamoxifen-induced lysosomal damage.
    Keywords:  autophagy; breast cancer; endocrine resistance; iron-binding proteins; lysophagy; lysosomal membrane permeabilization
  28. J Mol Biol. 2021 Mar 26. pii: S0022-2836(21)00166-2. [Epub ahead of print] 166965
      Proper functioning of the precisely controlled endolysosomal system is essential for maintaining the homeostasis of the entire cell. Tethering factors play pivotal roles in mediating the fusion of different transport vesicles, such as endosomes or autophagosomes with each other or with lysosomes. In this work, we uncover several new interactions between the endolysosomal tethering factors Rabenosyn-5 (Rbsn) and the HOPS and CORVET complexes. We find that Rbsn binds to the HOPS/CORVET complexes mainly via their shared subunit Vps18 and we mapped this interaction to the 773-854 region of Vps18. Based on genetic rescue experiments, the binding between Rbsn and Vps18 is required for endosomal transport and is dispensable for autophagy. Moreover, Vps18 seems to be important for β1 integrin recycling by binding to Rbsn and its known partner Vps45.
    Keywords:  CORVET; HOPS; Rabenosyn-5; Vps18; Vps45
  29. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 02. pii: 1038. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family member erb-b2 receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (ERBB2) is overexpressed in many types of cancers leading to (radio- and chemotherapy) treatment resistance, whereas the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Autophagy is known to contribute to cancer treatment resistance. In this study, we demonstrate that ERBB2 increases the expression of different autophagy genes including ATG12 (autophagy-related 12) and promotes ATG12-dependent autophagy. We clarify that lapatinib, a dual inhibitor for EGFR and ERBB2, promoted autophagy in cells expressing only EGFR but inhibited autophagy in cells expressing only ERBB2. Furthermore, breast cancer database analysis of 35 genes in the canonical autophagy pathway shows that the upregulation of ATG12 and MAP1LC3B is associated with a low relapse-free survival probability of patients with ERBB2-positive breast tumors following treatments. Downregulation of ERBB2 or ATG12 increased cell death induced by chemotherapy drugs in ERBB2-positive breast cancer cells, whereas upregulation of ERBB2 or ATG12 decreased the cell death in ERBB2-negative breast cancer cells. Finally, ERBB2 antibody treatment led to reduced expression of ATG12 and autophagy inhibition increasing drug or starvation-induced cell death in ERBB2-positive breast cancer cells. Taken together, this study provides a novel approach for the treatment of ERBB2-positive breast cancer by targeting ATG12-dependent autophagy.
    Keywords:  ATG12; ERBB2/HER2/Neu; Taxol/paclitaxel; breast cancer; lapatinib
  30. Mol Cancer Res. 2021 Apr 02. pii: molcanres.0743.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Epigenetic regulators can modulate the effects of cancer therapeutics. To further these observations, we discovered that the bromodomain PHD finger transcription factor subunit (BPTF) of the nucleosome remodeling factor (NURF) promotes resistance to doxorubicin, etoposide and paclitaxel in the 4T1 breast tumor cell line. BPTF functions in promoting resistance to doxorubicin and etoposide, but not paclitaxel, and may be selective to cancer cells, as a similar effect was not observed in embryonic stem cells. Sensitization to doxorubicin and etoposide with BPTF knockdown (KD) was associated with increased DNA damage, topoisomerase II (Top2) crosslinking and autophagy; however, there was only a modest increase in apoptosis and no increase in senescence. Sensitization to doxorubicin was confirmed in vivo with the syngeneic 4T1 breast tumor model using both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of BPTF. The effects of BPTF inhibition in vivo are autophagy dependent, based on genetic autophagy inhibition. Finally, treatment of 4T1, 66cl4, 4T07, MDA-MB-231 but not ER positive 67NR and MCF7 breast cancer cells with the selective BPTF bromodomain inhibitor, AU1, recapitulates genetic BPTF inhibition, including in vitro sensitization to doxorubicin, increased Top2-DNA crosslinks and DNA damage. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that BPTF provides resistance to the antitumor activity of Top2 poisons, preventing the resolution of Top2 crosslinking and associated autophagy. These studies suggest that BPTF can be targeted with small molecule inhibitors to enhance the effectiveness of Top2-targeted cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. Implications: These studies suggest NURF can be inhibited pharmacologically as a viable strategy to improve chemotherapy effectiveness.
  31. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2021 Mar 29. 1-12
      Background: Signal transduction of Angiotensin II (Ang II) induced autophagy and its role in Ang II-induced dysfunction of HUVECs are still unclear.Methods: HUVECs are stimulated with different doses of Ang II (10-9-10-5 mol/L) for different time (6-48 hours). Autophagy-related protein markers: LC3, Beclin-1 and SQSTM1/p62 are measured by western blot.Results: Incubation with Ang II increases autophagic flux (Beclin-1, autophagosomes formation, and degradation of SQSTM1/p62, LC3-I). Increased autophagic levels are inhibited by pretreatment with Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1) blocker (Candesartan), NADPH Oxidase inhibitor (apocycin), mitochondrial KATP channels inhibitor (5-hydroxydecanoate, 5HD). 3-Methyladenine (inhibitors of autophagy) and rapamycin (activator of autophagy) respectively inhibits or activates Ang II-induced autophagy levels. Ang II decreases phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NO production in HUVECs. L-NAME (NOS inhibitor) totally mimics the actions of Ang II on eNOS, NO production and autophagy levels. Rapamycin further decreases NO production combined with Ang II. Silence Atg5 completely reverses Ang II-activated autophagy levels.Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that Ang II stimulation increases autophagy levels via AT1 receptor, NADPH oxidase, mitochondrial KATP channel, eNOS, Atg5 signal pathway in HUVECs, and activation of autophagy contributes to Ang II induced dysfunction of HUVECs.
    Keywords:  Angiotensin ii (ang ii); autophagy; endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS); mitochondrial katp channel; oxidative stress
  32. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 24. pii: 508. [Epub ahead of print]10(4):
      Hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-mediated signaling pathways regulate many physiological and pathophysiological processes in mammalian and plant systems. The molecular mechanism by which hydrogen sulfide exerts its action involves the posttranslational modification of cysteine residues to form a persulfidated thiol motif. We developed a comparative and label-free quantitative proteomic analysis approach for the detection of endogenous persulfidated proteins in N-starved Arabidopsis thaliana roots by using the tag-switch method. In this work, we identified 5214 unique proteins from root tissue that were persulfidated, 1674 of which were quantitatively analyzed and found to show altered persulfidation levels in vivo under N deprivation. These proteins represented almost 13% of the entire annotated proteome in Arabidopsis. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that persulfidated proteins were involved in a wide range of biological functions, regulating important processes such as primary metabolism, plant responses to stresses, growth and development, RNA translation and protein degradation. Quantitative mass spectrometry analysis allowed us to obtain a comprehensive view of hydrogen sulfide signaling via changes in the persulfidation levels of key protein targets involved in ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation and autophagy, among others.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis; autophagy; cysteine; hydrogen sulfide; persulfidation; proteomic
  33. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 28. 1-2
      ENDOG (endonuclease G), a mitochondrial endonuclease, is known to participate in apoptosis and paternal mitochondria elimination. However, the role and underlying mechanism of ENDOG in regulating macroautophagy remain unclear. We recently reported that ENDOG released from mitochondria promotes autophagy during starvation, which we demonstrated is evolutionarily conserved across species by performing experiments in human cell lines, mice, Drosophila, and C. elegans. This study demonstrates that ENDOG can be phosphorylated by GSK3B, which enhances the interaction between ENDOG with YWHAG and leads to the release of TSC2 and PIK3C3 from YWHAG, followed by MTOR pathway suppression and autophagy initiation. Additionally, the endonuclease activity of ENDOG is essential for activating the DNA damage response and thus inducing autophagy. Consequently, this study uncovered an exciting new role for ENDOG as a crucial regulator of autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; DNA damage response; ENDOG; MTOR; YWHAG
  34. Cells. 2021 Mar 16. pii: 660. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Aging is a fundamental biological process accompanied by a general decline in tissue function. Indeed, as the lifespan increases, age-related dysfunction, such as cognitive impairment or dementia, will become a growing public health issue. Aging is also a great risk factor for many age-related diseases. Nowadays, people want not only to live longer but also healthier. Therefore, there is a critical need in understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating aging that will allow us to modify the aging process for healthy aging and alleviate age-related disease. Here, we reviewed the recent breakthroughs in the mechanistic understanding of biological aging, focusing on the adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK), Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways, which are currently considered critical for aging. We also discussed how these proteins and pathways may potentially interact with each other to regulate aging. We further described how the knowledge of these pathways may lead to new interventions for antiaging and against age-related disease.
    Keywords:  AMPK; SIRT1; aging; health span; intervention; mTOR; senescence; signaling
  35. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24. pii: 3330. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating neurological disorder, and currently, there is no cure for it. Several pathologic alterations have been described in the brain of AD patients, but the ultimate causative mechanisms of AD are still elusive. The classic hallmarks of AD, including amyloid plaques (Aβ) and tau tangles (tau), are the most studied features of AD. Unfortunately, all the efforts targeting these pathologies have failed to show the desired efficacy in AD patients so far. Neuroinflammation and impaired autophagy are two other main known pathologies in AD. It has been reported that these pathologies exist in AD brain long before the emergence of any clinical manifestation of AD. Microglia are the main inflammatory cells in the brain and are considered by many researchers as the next hope for finding a viable therapeutic target in AD. Interestingly, it appears that the autophagy and mitophagy are also changed in these cells in AD. Inside the cells, autophagy and inflammation interact in a bidirectional manner. In the current review, we briefly discussed an overview on autophagy and mitophagy in AD and then provided a comprehensive discussion on the role of these pathways in microglia and their involvement in AD pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s; autophagy; inflammation; microglia; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation
  36. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 30. 1-18
      Dysregulation of mitochondrial homeostasis and accumulation of damaged mitochondria cause degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We studied the effects of the intermediate cytofilament KRT8 (keratin 8) on mitochondrial homeostasis in relation to the morphology and function of mitochondria in retinal pigment epithelial cells under oxidative stress. When the mitochondria were damaged owing to oxidative stress, the damaged mitochondria were readily disposed of via mitophagy following mitochondrial fission. During this process, KRT8 was found to physically interact with the mitochondria through PLEC (plectin) and facilitate the mitochondrial fission-mediated mitophagy. However, the association between PLEC-anchoring mitochondria and KRT8 was dwindled by KRT8 phosphorylation under oxidative stress. The efficient KRT8-facilitated mitophagy flux suppressed the accumulation of damaged mitochondria and consequently diminished necrotic cell death under oxidative stress. Thus, by facilitating mitophagy, KRT8 protects RPE cells against necrotic cell death due to oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Plectin (PLEC); autophagy; keratin 8 (KRT8); mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; necrosis
  37. J Huntingtons Dis. 2021 Mar 23.
      Although Huntington's disease (HD) is classically considered from the perspective of the motor syndrome, the cognitive changes in HD are prominent and often an early manifestation of disease. As such, investigating the underlying pathophysiology of cognitive changes may give insight into important and early neurodegenerative events. In this review, we first discuss evidence from both HD patients and animal models that cognitive changes correlate with early pathological changes at the synapse, an observation that is similarly made in other neurodegenerative conditions that primarily affect cognition. We then describe how autophagy plays a critical role supporting synaptic maintenance in the healthy brain, and how autophagy dysfunction in HD may thereby lead to impaired synaptic maintenance and thus early manifestations of disease.
    Keywords:  Huntington’s disease; autophagy; cognition; synapse; synaptic dysfunction
  38. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 15. pii: 2981. [Epub ahead of print]22(6):
      Autophagy can play a double role in cancerogenesis: it can either inhibit further development of the disease or protect cells, causing stimulation of tumour growth. This phenomenon is called "autophagy paradox", and is characterised by the features that the autophagy process provides the necessary substrates for biosynthesis to meet the cell's energy needs, and that the over-programmed activity of this process can lead to cell death through apoptosis. The fight against cancer is a difficult process due to high levels of resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. More and more research is indicating that autophagy may play a very important role in the development of resistance by protecting cancer cells, which is why autophagy in cancer therapy can act as a "double-edged sword". This paper attempts to analyse the influence of autophagy and cancer stem cells on tumour development, and to compare new therapeutic strategies based on the modulation of these processes.
    Keywords:  anticancer therapies; apoptosis; autophagy modulation; cancer stem cells; cell death
  39. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 02. pii: 1039. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      Autophagy is a homeostatic process involved in the degradation of disabled proteins and organelles using lysosomes. This mechanism requires the recruitment of specialized proteins for vesicle trafficking, that may also be involved in other types of machinery such as the biogenesis and secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs), and particularly small EVs called exosomes. Among these proteins, Rab-GTPases may operate in both pathways, thus representing an interesting avenue for further study regarding the interaction between autophagy and extracellular vesicle machinery. Both mechanisms are involved in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC), particularly in cancer stem cell (CSC) survival and communication, although they are not specific to CRC or CSCs. This highlights the importance of studying the crosstalk between autophagy and EVs biogenesis and release.
    Keywords:  autophagy; colorectal cancer; extracellular vesicles; rab-GTPases; secretory autophagy
  40. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 31. 1-2
      VCP, a conserved ATPase, is involved in several cellular processes, and mutations in this protein are associated with various diseases. VCP also plays a role in autophagosome maturation. However, because a deficiency in autophagosome maturation presents a readily observable phenotype, other roles of VCP in autophagy regulation, in particular in the initial steps of autophagosome formation, may have been overlooked. In a recently published paper, using small-molecule inhibitors, Hill et al. showed that VCP regulates autophagy initiation through both stabilization of BECN1 and enhancement of phosphati-dylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns3K) complex assembly.
    Keywords:  ATXN3; BECN1; Ptdins3K; VCP; autophagy initiation
  41. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 30. 12(1): 1971
      Most cells constitutively secrete mitochondrial DNA and proteins in extracellular vesicles (EVs). While EVs are small vesicles that transfer material between cells, Mitochondria-Derived Vesicles (MDVs) carry material specifically between mitochondria and other organelles. Mitochondrial content can enhance inflammation under pro-inflammatory conditions, though its role in the absence of inflammation remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that cells actively prevent the packaging of pro-inflammatory, oxidized mitochondrial proteins that would act as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) into EVs. Importantly, we find that the distinction between material to be included into EVs and damaged mitochondrial content to be excluded is dependent on selective targeting to one of two distinct MDV pathways. We show that Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1) and sorting nexin 9 (Snx9)-dependent MDVs are required to target mitochondrial proteins to EVs, while the Parkinson's disease-related protein Parkin blocks this process by directing damaged mitochondrial content to lysosomes. Our results provide insight into the interplay between mitochondrial quality control mechanisms and mitochondria-driven immune responses.
  42. J Clin Med. 2021 Mar 12. pii: 1184. [Epub ahead of print]10(6):
      Autophagy is a protective mechanism that removes dysfunctional components and provides nutrition for cells. Podocytes are terminally differentiated specialized epithelial cells that wrap around the capillaries of the glomerular filtration barrier and show high autophagy level at the baseline. Here, we provide an overview of cellular autophagy and its regulation in homeostasis with specific reference to podocytes. We discuss recent data that have focused on the functional role and regulation of autophagy during podocyte injury in experimental and clinical glomerular diseases. A thorough understanding of podocyte autophagy could shed novel insights into podocyte survival mechanisms with injury and offer potential targets for novel therapeutics for glomerular disease.
    Keywords:  autophagy; glomerular disease; homeostasis; podocyte; signaling pathway
  43. Bioact Mater. 2021 Oct;6(10): 3074-3084
      Osteoporosis is a widely distributed disease that may cause complications such as accelerated tooth movement, bone resorption, and tooth loss during orthodontic treatment. Promoting bone formation and reducing bone resorption are strategies for controlling these complications. For several decades, the autophagy inducer lithium chloride (LiCl) has been explored for bipolar . In this study, we investigated the autophagy-promoting effect of LiCl on bone remodeling under osteoporotic conditions during tooth movement. Ovariectomy was used to induce osteoporosis status in vivo. The results showed that LiCl rejuvenated autophagy, decreased apoptosis, and promoted bone formation, thus protecting tooth movement in osteoporotic mice. Furthermore, in vitro experiments showed that LiCl reversed the effects of ovariectomy on bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) extracted from ovariectomized mice, promoting osteogenesis and suppressing apoptosis by positively regulating autophagy. These findings suggest that LiCl can significantly decrease adverse effects of osteoporosis on bone remodeling, and that it has great potential significance in the field of bone formation during tooth movement in osteoporosis patients.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Lithium chloride; Orthodontic tooth movement; Osteogenesis
  44. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 634118
      Autophagy is an important and conserved cellular pathway in which cells transmit cytoplasmic contents to lysosomes for degradation. It plays an important role in maintaining the balance of cell composition synthesis, decomposition and reuse, and participates in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. The nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome can induce the maturation and secretion of Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and IL-18 by activating caspase-1. It is involved in many diseases. In recent years, the interplay between autophagy and NLRP3 inflammasome has been reported to contribute to many diseases including metabolic disorders related diseases. In this review, we summarized the recent studies on the interplay between autophagy and NLRP3 inflammasome in metabolic disorders to provide ideas for the relevant basic research in the future.
    Keywords:  NLRP3 inflammasome; autophagy; glucose metabolic disorders; inflammation-related metabolic disorders; uric acid metabolic disorders
  45. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Mar 29.
      Mitochondria are organelles central to myriad cellular processes. To maintain mitochondrial health, various processes co-operate at both the molecular and organelle level. At the molecular level, mitochondria can sense imbalances in their homeostasis and adapt to these by signaling to the nucleus. This mito-nuclear communication leads to the expression of nuclear stress response genes. Upon external stimuli, mitochondria can also alter their morphology accordingly, by inducing fission or fusion. In an extreme situation, mitochondria are degraded by mitophagy. Adequate function and regulation of these mitochondrial quality control pathways are crucial for cellular homeostasis. As we discuss, alterations in these processes have been linked to several pathologies including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
    Keywords:  ISR; Mitochondrial diseases; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial fission; Mitochondrial fusion; Mitophagy; PINK1; Parkin; UPRmt
  46. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Apr 01. 12(4): 343
      Transcription factor EB (TFEB), a well-known master regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis, is a member of the microphthalmia family of transcription factors (MiT family). Over the years, TFEB has been shown to have diverse roles in various physiological processes such as clearance for intracellular pathogenic factors and having developmental functions such as dendritic maturation, as well as osteoclast, and endoderm differentiation. However, in the present study, we propose a novel mechanism for TFEB governing pluripotency of mouse ESCs (mESCs) by regulating the pluripotency transcriptional network (PTN) in these cells. We observed high levels of TFEB mRNA and protein levels in undifferentiated mESCs. Interestingly, we found a reduction of Nanog and Sox2 levels in TFEB knockout (KO) mESCs while pluripotency was maintained as there was an upregulation of TFE3, a potent stem cell maintenance factor. In consistent, double knockout of TFEB/TFE3 (TFEB/3 DKO) reduced mESC pluripotency, as indicated by the loss of ESC morphology, reduction of ESC markers, and the emergence of differentiation markers. We further discovered that Nanog was a TFEB target gene in undifferentiated mESCs. TFEB also promoted sex-determining region Y-box2 (Sox2) transcription by forming a heterodimer with Sox2 in mESCs. Notably, Sox2, Oct4, and Nanog were also binding to the TFEB promoter and thus generating a feed-forward loop in relation to TFEB. Although high levels of nuclear TFEB are expected to enhance autophagy-lysosomal activity, undifferentiated mESC remarkably displayed low basal autophagy-lysosomal activity. Overexpression or knockout of TFEB did not affect the expression of TFEB lysosomal-autophagy target genes and TFEB also had a lesser binding affinity to its own lysosomal promoter-target genes in mESCs compared to differentiated cells. Collectively, these findings define a newly incorporative, moonlighting function for TFEB in regulating PTN, independent of its autophagy-lysosomal biogenesis roles.