bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒12‒12
fifty-five papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University


  1. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 06. 1-3
      SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1) is a macroautophagy/autophagy receptor protein that is degraded by selective autophagy. Intracellular accumulation of SQSTM1 activates multiple cell survival signaling pathways including NFΚB/NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa B), MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase) and NFE2L2/Nrf2 (nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2). Both SQSTM1 and NFE2L2 have been considered as oncogenic, and increased accumulation of SQSTM1 and NFE2L2 activation have been frequently observed in various cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma. In a recent study, we found that deletion of Sqstm1 improved hepatic metabolic reprogramming and cell repopulation resulting in the attenuation of liver injury in mice with liver-specific deletion of Atg5 and Tsc1 that have defective hepatic autophagy and persistent MTOR complex 1 (MTORC1) activation. To our surprise, hepatocytic deletion of Sqstm1 promotes liver tumorigenesis in liver-specific atg5 and tsc1 double-knockout mice. Overall, these findings reveal a complex interplay among autophagy, SQSTM1 and MTORC1 and their differential roles either as oncogenic or tumor suppressor in liver tumorigenesis depending on the disease stage and context.
    Keywords:  ATG5; MTOR; Nrf2; Tsc1; autophagy; hepatocellular carcinoma
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.2008693
  2. FEBS Open Bio. 2021 Dec 08.
      Age-related diseases represent some of largest unmet clinical needs of our time. While treatment of specific disease-related signs has had some success (for example the effect of statin drugs on slowing progression of atherosclerosis), slowing biological ageing itself represents a target that could significantly increase health-span and reduce the prevalence of multiple age-related diseases. Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is known to control fundamental processes in ageing: inhibiting this signalling complex slows biological ageing, reduces age-related disease pathology, and increases lifespan in model organisms. How mTORC1 inhibition achieves this is still subject to ongoing research. However, one mechanism by which mTORC1 inhibition is thought to slow ageing is by activating the autophagy-lysosome pathway. In this review we examine the special bi-directional relationship between mTORC1 and the lysosome. In cells, mTORC1 is located on lysosomes. From this advantageous position, it directly controls the autophagy-lysosome pathway. However, the lysosome also controls mTORC1 activity in numerous ways, creating a special two-way relationship. We then explore specific examples of how inhibition of mTORC1 and activation of the autophagy-lysosome pathway slow the molecular hallmarks of ageing. This body of literature demonstrates that the autophagy-lysosome pathway represents an excellent target for treatments that seek to slow biological ageing and increase health-span in humans.
    Keywords:  Lysosome; age-related disease; aging; autophagy; lysophagy; mTOR
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13347
  3. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Dec 07. pii: S0969-9961(21)00331-4. [Epub ahead of print] 105582
      Neurons are highly polarized and post-mitotic cells with the specific requirements of neurotransmission accompanied by high metabolic demands that create a unique challenge for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Thus, neurons rely heavily on autophagy that constitutes a key quality control system by which dysfunctional cytoplasmic components, protein aggregates, and damaged organelles are delivered to the lysosome for degradation. While mature lysosomes are predominantly located in the soma of neurons, the robust, constitutive biogenesis of autophagosomes occurs in the synaptic terminal via a conserved pathway that is required to maintain synaptic integrity and function. Following formation, autophagosomes fuse with late endosomes and then are rapidly and efficiently transported by the microtubule-based cytoplasmic dynein motor along the axon toward the soma for lysosomal clearance. In this review, we highlight the recent knowledge of the roles of autophagy in neuronal health and disease. We summarize the available evidence about the normal functions of autophagy as a protective factor against neurodegeneration and discuss the mechanism underlying neuronal autophagy regulation. Finally, we describe how autophagy function is affected in major neurodegenerative diseases with a special focus on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; Amphisome; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Autophagosome; Autophagy; Axonal transport; Lysosome; Mitophagy; Parkinson's disease; Synaptic autophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105582
  4. Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 10. 12(1): 7194
      Autophagosomes form at the endoplasmic reticulum in mammals, and between the vacuole and the endoplasmic reticulum in yeast. However, the roles of these sites and the mechanisms regulating autophagosome formation are incompletely understood. Vac8 is required for autophagy and recruits the Atg1 kinase complex to the vacuole. Here we show that Vac8 acts as a central hub to nucleate the phagophore assembly site at the vacuolar membrane during selective autophagy. Vac8 directly recruits the cargo complex via the Atg11 scaffold. In addition, Vac8 recruits the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complex independently of autophagy. Cargo-dependent clustering and Vac8-dependent sequestering of these early autophagy factors, along with local Atg1 activation, promote phagophore assembly site assembly at the vacuole. Importantly, ectopic Vac8 redirects autophagosome formation to the nuclear membrane, indicating that the vacuolar membrane is not specifically required. We propose that multiple avidity-driven interactions drive the initiation and progression of selective autophagy.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27420-3
  5. Neurochem Int. 2021 Dec 02. pii: S0197-0186(21)00299-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105253
      Mitophagy controls mitochondrial quality to maintain cellular homeostasis, while aberrations in this process are responsible for neurodegenerative diseases. Mitophagy is initiated through the recruitment of autophagosomes in a ubiquitin-dependent or ubiquitin-independent manner under different stress conditions. Although the detailed molecular mechanisms of how mitophagy processes influence neurodegeneration remain largely uncharacterized, there is mounting evidence indicating that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), a variety of endogenous regulators, including microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs, extensively participate in mitophagy processes and play pivotal roles in the aging process and neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we reviewed the major mitophagy pathways modulated by some classical and newly found ncRNAs and summarized the diverse mechanisms in a regulatory network. We also discussed the generalizability of ncRNAs in the development of common neurodegenerative diseases related to proteotoxicity and the importance of mitophagy in the pathogenesis of these diseases. In summary, we propose that ncRNAs act as linkers between mitophagy and neurodegeneration, showing the potential therapeutic application of mitophagy regulation mediated by ncRNAs in neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Long non-coding RNA; MicroRNA; Mitophagy; Neurodegenerative diseases; Non-coding RNA
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2021.105253
  6. IUBMB Life. 2021 Dec 07.
      Autophagy regulates cellular homeostasis by degrading and recycling cytosolic components and damaged organelles. Disruption of autophagic flux has been shown to induce or facilitate neurodegeneration and accumulation of autophagic vesicles is overt in neurodegenerative diseases. The fruit fly Drosophila has been used as a model system to identify new factors that regulate physiology and disease. Here we provide a historical perspective of how the fly models have offered mechanistic evidence to understand the role of autophagy in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy, and polyglutamine disorders. Autophagy also plays a pivotal role in maintaining tissue homeostasis and protecting organism health. The gastrointestinal tract regulates organism health by modulating food intake, energy balance, and immunity. Growing evidence is strengthening the link between autophagy and digestive tract health in recent years. Here, we also discuss how the fly models have advanced the understanding of digestive physiology regulated by autophagy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; digestive tract; drosophila; neurodegenerative diseases
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/iub.2583
  7. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 769184
      Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the aggregation of the mutant huntingtin (mHTT) protein in nerve cells. mHTT self-aggregates to form soluble oligomers and insoluble fibrils, which interfere in a number of key cellular functions. This leads to cell quiescence and ultimately cell death. There are currently still no treatments available for HD, but approaches targeting the HTT levels offer systematic, mechanism-driven routes towards curing HD and other neurodegenerative diseases. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the mRNA targeting approaches such as antisense oligonucleotides and RNAi system; and the novel methods targeting mHTT and aggregates for degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome or the autophagy-lysosomal systems. These methods include the proteolysis-targeting chimera, Trim-Away, autophagosome-tethering compound, autophagy-targeting chimera, lysosome-targeting chimera and approach targeting mHTT for chaperone-mediated autophagy. These molecular strategies provide a knowledge-based approach to target HD and other neurodegenerative diseases at the origin.
    Keywords:  aggregation; huntingtin (HTT); huntington’s disease; mRNA degradation; protein degradation; protein fibrils; protein quality control; proteostasis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2021.769184
  8. Nat Cell Biol. 2021 Dec 07.
      Circadian rhythms align physiological functions with the light-dark cycle through oscillatory changes in the abundance of proteins in the clock transcriptional programme. Timely removal of these proteins by different proteolytic systems is essential to circadian strength and adaptability. Here we show a functional interplay between the circadian clock and chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), whereby CMA contributes to the rhythmic removal of clock machinery proteins (selective chronophagy) and to the circadian remodelling of a subset of the cellular proteome. Disruption of this autophagic pathway in vivo leads to temporal shifts and amplitude changes of the clock-dependent transcriptional waves and fragmented circadian patterns, resembling those in sleep disorders and ageing. Conversely, loss of the circadian clock abolishes the rhythmicity of CMA, leading to pronounced changes in the CMA-dependent cellular proteome. Disruption of this circadian clock/CMA axis may be responsible for both pathways malfunctioning in ageing and for the subsequently pronounced proteostasis defect.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-021-00800-z
  9. Circ Res. 2021 Dec 10.
      Background: Impairment of cellular cholesterol trafficking is at the heart of atherosclerotic lesions formation. This involves egress of cholesterol from the lysosomes and two lysosomal proteins, the Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) and NPC2 that promotes cholesterol trafficking. However, movement of cholesterol out the lysosome and how disrupted cholesterol trafficking leads to atherosclerosis is unclear. As the Wnt ligand, Wnt5a inhibits the intracellular accumulation of cholesterol in multiple cell types, we tested whether Wnt5a interacts with the lysosomal cholesterol export machinery and studied its role in atherosclerotic lesions formation. Methods: We generated mice deleted for the Wnt5a gene in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). To establish whether Wnt5a also protects against cholesterol accumulation in human VSMCs, we used a CRISPR/Cas9 guided nuclease approach to generate human VSMCs knockout for Wnt5a. Results: We show that Wnt5a is a crucial component of the lysosomal cholesterol export machinery. By increasing lysosomal acid lipase expression, decreasing metabolic signaling by the mTORC1 kinase, and through binding to NPC1 and NPC2, Wnt5a senses changes in dietary cholesterol supply and promotes lysosomal cholesterol egress to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Consequently, loss of Wnt5a decoupled mTORC1 from variations in lysosomal sterol levels, disrupted lysosomal function, decreased cholesterol content in the ER, and promoted atherosclerosis. Conclusions: These results reveal an unexpected function of the Wnt5a pathway as essential for maintaining cholesterol homeostasis in vivo.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318881
  10. Nat Cell Biol. 2021 Dec 06.
      Mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) are implicated in diverse physiological processes-for example, mitochondrial quality control-and are linked to various neurodegenerative diseases. However, their specific cargo composition and complex molecular biogenesis are still unknown. Here we report the proteome and lipidome of steady-state TOMM20+ MDVs. We identified 107 high-confidence MDV cargoes, which include all β-barrel proteins and the TOM import complex. MDV cargoes are delivered as fully assembled complexes to lysosomes, thus representing a selective mitochondrial quality control mechanism for multi-subunit complexes, including the TOM machinery. Moreover, we define key biogenesis steps of phosphatidic acid-enriched MDVs starting with the MIRO1/2-dependent formation of thin membrane protrusions pulled along microtubule filaments, followed by MID49/MID51/MFF-dependent recruitment of the dynamin family GTPase DRP1 and finally DRP1-dependent scission. In summary, we define the function of MDVs in mitochondrial quality control and present a mechanistic model for global GTPase-driven MDV biogenesis.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-021-00798-4
  11. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 08. 1-23
      Compelling evidence has demonstrated that macroautophagy/autophagy plays an important role in regulating multiple steps of metastatic cascades; however, the precise role of autophagy in metastasis remains unclear. This study demonstrates that autophagy inhibition induced by MCOLN1/TRPML1 suppresses cancer metastasis by evoking the ROS-mediated TP53/p53 pathway. First, we found that MCOLN1-mediated autophagy inhibition not only profoundly inhibits both migration and invasion in malignant melanoma and glioma cell lines in vitro, but also suppresses melanoma metastasis in vivo. Second, our study reveals that autophagy inhibition induced by MCOLN1 leads to damaged mitochondria accumulation followed by large quantities of ROS release. Third, we demonstrate that the elevated ROS resulting from autophagy inhibition subsequently triggers TP53 activity, which in turn modulates expression of its downstream targets which are involved in a broad spectrum of the metastatic cascade to suppress metastasis including MMP members and TWIST. In summary, our findings have established a mechanism by which autophagy inhibition suppresses metastasis via the ROS-TP53 signaling pathway. More importantly, our study demonstrates that autophagy inhibition through stimulation of MCOLN1 could evidently be one of the therapeutic potentials for combating cancer metastasis.Abbreviations: 3-MA: 3-methyladenine; AA: amino acid; ATG5: autophagy related 5; ATG12: autophagy related 12; Baf-A1: bafilomycin A1; CCCP: carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone; CQ: chloroquine; DMEM: Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium; EMT: epithelial-mesenchymal transition; FBS: fetal bovine serum; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HEK: human embryonic kidney; LAMP1: lysosomal associated membrane protein 1; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MCOLN1/TRPML1: mucolipin TRP cation channel 1; MMP: matrix metallopeptidase; NC: negative control; NRK: normal rat kidney; PBS: phosphate-buffered saline; shRNA: short hairpin RNA; siRNA: short interfering RNA; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  Autophagic arrest; MCOLN1; ROS; TP53; metastasis; mitochondria turnover
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.2008752
  12. IUBMB Life. 2021 Dec 10.
      The clearance of damaged or unwanted mitochondria by autophagy (also known as mitophagy) is a mitochondrial quality control mechanism postulated to play an essential role in cellular homeostasis, metabolism, and development and confers protection against a wide range of diseases. Proper removal of damaged or unwanted mitochondria is essential for organismal health. Defects in mitophagy are associated with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and other degenerative disorders. Mitochondria regulate organismal fitness and longevity via multiple pathways, including cellular senescence, stem cell function, inflammation, mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mtUPR), and bioenergetics. Thus, mitophagy is postulated to be pivotal for maintaining organismal healthspan and lifespan and the protection against aged-related degeneration. In this review, we will summarize recent understanding of the mechanism of mitophagy and aspects of mitochondrial functions. We will focus on mitochondria-related cellular processes that are linked to aging and examine current genetic evidence that supports the hypothesis that mitophagy is a pro-longevity mechanism.
    Keywords:  aging; longevity; mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/iub.2585
  13. EMBO Rep. 2021 Dec 06. e53081
      Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) can self-renew indefinitely and maintain pluripotency. Inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) by the kinase inhibitor INK128 is known to induce paused pluripotency in mESCs cultured with traditional serum/LIF medium (SL), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) but not complex 2 (mTORC2) mediates mTOR inhibition-induced paused pluripotency in cells grown in both SL and 2iL medium (GSK3 and MEK inhibitors and LIF). We also show that mTORC1 regulates self-renewal in both conditions mainly through eIF4F-mediated translation initiation that targets mRNAs of both cytosolic and mitochondrial ribosome subunits. Moreover, inhibition of mitochondrial translation is sufficient to induce paused pluripotency. Interestingly, eIF4F also regulates maintenance of pluripotency in an mTORC1-independent but MEK/ERK-dependent manner in SL, indicating that translation of pluripotency genes is controlled differently in SL and 2iL. Our study reveals a detailed picture of how mTOR governs self-renewal in mESCs and uncovers a context-dependent function of eIF4F in pluripotency regulation.
    Keywords:  eIF4F; mTORC1; mitochondrial translation; pluripotency; self-renewal
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202153081
  14. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Dec 06. pii: 6142. [Epub ahead of print]13(23):
      Autophagy is an important survival mechanism that allows recycling of nutrients and removal of damaged organelles and has been shown to contribute to the proliferation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. However, little is known about the mechanism by which autophagy- dependent AML cells can overcome dysfunctional autophagy. In our study we identified autophagy related protein 3 (ATG3) as a crucial autophagy gene for AML cell proliferation by conducting a CRISPR/Cas9 dropout screen with a library targeting around 200 autophagy-related genes. shRNA-mediated loss of ATG3 impaired autophagy function in AML cells and increased their mitochondrial activity and energy metabolism, as shown by elevated mitochondrial ROS generation and mitochondrial respiration. Using tracer-based NMR metabolomics analysis we further demonstrate that the loss of ATG3 resulted in an upregulation of glycolysis, lactate production, and oxidative phosphorylation. Additionally, loss of ATG3 strongly sensitized AML cells to the inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism. These findings highlight the metabolic vulnerabilities that AML cells acquire from autophagy inhibition and support further exploration of combination therapies targeting autophagy and mitochondrial metabolism in AML.
    Keywords:  ATG3; acute myeloid leukemia; autophagy; autophagy inhibition; metabolic rewiring
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13236142
  15. FEBS J. 2021 Dec 09.
      p62/Sequestosome-1 (SQSTM1) is a selective autophagy receptor that recruits and delivers intracellular substrates for bulk clearance through the autophagy lysosomal pathway. Interestingly, p62 also serves as a signaling scaffold to participate in the regulation of multiple physiological processes, including oxidative stress response, metabolism, inflammation, and programmed cell death. Perturbation of p62 activity has been frequently found to associate with the pathogenesis of many liver diseases. p62 has been identified as a critical component of protein aggregates in the forms of Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) or intracellular hyaline bodies (IHBs), which are known to be frequently detected in biopsy samples from alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. Importantly, abundance of these p62 inclusion bodies is increasingly recognized as a biomarker for NASH and HCC. Although the level of p62 bodies seems to predict the progression and prognosis of these liver diseases, understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which p62 regulates and contributes to the development and progression of these diseases remains incomplete. In this review, we will focus on the function and regulation of p62, and its pathophysiological roles in the liver, by critically reviewing the findings from pre-clinical models that recapitulate the pathogenesis and manifestation of these liver diseases in human. In addition, we will also explore the suitability of p62 as a predictive biomarker and a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of liver diseases including NASH and HCC, as well as recent development of small molecule compounds for targeting the p62 signaling axis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Liver Cancer; MOAP-1; Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease; Nrf2; p62 bodies
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.16317
  16. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 ;11 745640
      ATG13 and FIP200 are two subunits of the ULK kinase complex, a key regulatory component of the autophagy machinery. We have previously found that the FIP200-ATG13 subcomplex controls picornavirus replication outside its role in the ULK kinase complex and autophagy. Here, we characterized HSBP1, a very small cytoplasmic coiled-coil protein, as a novel interactor of FIP200 and ATG13 that binds these two proteins via FIP200. HSBP1 is a novel pro-picornaviral host factor since its knockdown or knockout, inhibits the replication of various picornaviruses. The anti-picornaviral function of the FIP200-ATG13 subcomplex was abolished when HSBP1 was depleted, inferring that this subcomplex negatively regulates HSBP1's pro-picornaviral function during infections. HSBP1depletion also reduces the stability of ULK kinase complex subunits, resulting in an impairment in autophagy induction. Altogether, our data show that HSBP1 interaction with FIP200-ATG13-containing complexes is involved in the regulation of different cellular pathways.
    Keywords:  CVB3; EMCV; EV71; ULK kinase complex; autophagy; infection
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2021.745640
  17. Front Genet. 2021 ;12 714228
      A decline in mitochondrial function has long been associated with age-related health decline. Several lines of evidence suggest that interventions that stimulate mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) can slow aging and prolong healthy lifespan. Prohibitins (PHB1 and PHB2) assemble at the mitochondrial inner membrane and are critical for mitochondrial homeostasis. In addition, prohibitins (PHBs) have diverse roles in cell and organismal biology. Here, we will discuss the role of PHBs in mitophagy, oxidative phosphorylation, cellular senescence, and apoptosis. We will also discuss the role of PHBs in modulating lifespan. In addition, we will review the links between PHBs and diseases of aging. Finally, we will discuss the emerging concept that PHBs may represent an attractive therapeutic target to counteract aging and age-onset disease.
    Keywords:  PHB1; PHB2; age-related diseases; aging; prohibitin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.714228
  18. Cureus. 2021 Nov;13(11): e20042
      Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is expected to further increase as people continue to live even longer. Although the life span of the general population is increasing, the con of such a prolonged life span is that aging has certain detrimental effects on the molecular, structural, and functional elements of the cardiovascular system. This review will discuss various molecular pathways linked to longevity, most notably autophagy and its associated mechanisms, and how these pathways can be targeted to promote cardiovascular health through the process of aging. It is to be noted that the process of autophagy decreases with aging; hence, this review concludes that the promotion of autophagy, through implementation of caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and pharmacologic agents, has proven to be an efficacious means of stimulating cardiovascular health. Therefore, autophagy is an important target for prevention and procrastination of cardiovascular pathologies in the geriatric population.
    Keywords:  ampk; autophagy; caloric-restriction; cellular aging; igf-1 signalling; mtor; risk factors of cardiovascular diseases; sirtuins; therapeutic fasting
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.20042
  19. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 10. 1-19
      Mitophagy is a type of selective macroautophagy/autophagy that degrades dysfunctional or excessive mitochondria. Regulation of this process is critical for maintaining cellular homeostasis and has been closely implicated in acquired drug resistance. However, the regulatory mechanisms and influences of mitophagy in cancer are still unclear. Here, we reported that inhibition of CDK9 blocked PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitophagy in HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) by interrupting mitophagy initiation. We demonstrated that CDK9 inhibitors promoted dephosphorylation of SIRT1 and promoted FOXO3 protein degradation, which was regulated by its acetylation, leading to the transcriptional repression of FOXO3-driven BNIP3 and impairing the BNIP3-mediated stability of the PINK1 protein. Lysosomal degradation inhibitors could not rescue mitophagy flux blocked by CDK9 inhibitors. Thus, CDK9 inhibitors inactivated the SIRT1-FOXO3-BNIP3 axis and PINK1-PRKN pathway to subsequently block mitophagy initiation. Moreover, CDK9 inhibitors facilitated mitochondrial dysfunction. The dual effects of CDK9 inhibitors resulted in the destruction of mitochondrial homeostasis and cell death in HCC. Importantly, a novel CDK9 inhibitor, oroxylin A (OA), from Scutellaria baicalensis was investigated, and it showed strong therapeutic potential against HCC and a striking capacity to overcome drug resistance by downregulating PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitophagy. Additionally, because of the moderate and controlled inhibition of CDK9, OA not led to extreme repression of general transcription and appeared to overcome the inconsistent anti-HCC efficacy and high normal tissue toxicity that was associated with existing CDK9 inhibitors. All of the findings reveal that mitophagy disruption is a promising strategy for HCC treatment and OA is a potential candidate for the development of mitophagy inhibitors.Abbreviations: BNIP3: BCL2 interacting protein 3; CCCP: carbonyl cyanide p-trichloromethoxy-phenylhydrazone; CDK9: cyclin dependent kinase 9; CHX: cycloheximide; CQ, chloroquine; DFP: deferiprone; DOX: doxorubicin; EBSS: Earle's balanced salt solution; E64d: aloxistatin; FOXO3: forkhead box O3; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; HepG2/ADR: adriamycin-resistant HepG2 cells; MMP: mitochondrial membrane potential; mito-Keima: mitochondria-targeted and pH-sensitive fluorescent protein; MitoSOX: mitochondrial reactive oxygen species; OA: oroxylin A; PB: phosphate buffer; PDX: patient-derived tumor xenograft; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; POLR2A: RNA polymerase II subunit A; p-POLR2A-S2: Ser2 phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II subunit A; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; SIRT1: sirtuin 1.
    Keywords:  CDK9; PINK1-PRKN; drug resistance; hepatocellular carcinoma; mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.2007027
  20. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 742460
      Hypoxia is one of the main driving forces that results in poor outcomes and drug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). As the critical cellular oxygen sensor, mitochondria respond to hypoxic stress by sending retrograde signals to the nucleus that initiate adaptive metabolic responses and maintain the survival of HCC cells. Increasing evidence suggested autophagy contributes to sustain mitochondrial metabolic and quality control. Understanding how mitochondria communicate with the nucleus and alter transcription may provide promising targets for HCC treatment. In this study, we found mitochondrial undergoes selective degradation by autophagy under hypoxia. Furthermore, autophagy-activated HDAC6 not only promoted the nuclear translocation of β-catenin but also increased the affinity of β-catenin to the transcription repressor chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor 2 (COUP-TF II), which suppressed mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation-related genes transcription. Our data showed that autophagy served as a critical mediator of integrating mitochondrial energy metabolism and nuclear transcription. HDAC6 may be a potential target for reducing the survival of HCC cells by interrupting mitochondria-nucleus crosstalk.
    Keywords:  HDAC6; autophagy; hepatocellular carcinoma; hypoxia; mitochondrial energy metabolism; β-catenin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.742460
  21. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 775507
      The tumor suppressor p53 is activated upon multiple cellular stresses, including DNA damage, oncogene activation, ribosomal stress, and hypoxia, to induce cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and senescence. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine protein kinase, serves as a central regulator of cell growth, proliferation, and survival by coordinating nutrients, energy, growth factors, and oxygen levels. p53 dysfunction and mTOR pathway hyperactivation are hallmarks of human cancer. The balance between response to stresses or commitment to cell proliferation and survival is governed by various regulatory loops between the p53 and mTOR pathways. In this review, we first briefly introduce the tumor suppressor p53 and then describe the upstream regulators and downstream effectors of the mTOR pathway. Next, we discuss the role of p53 in regulating the mTOR pathway through its transcriptional and non-transcriptional effects. We further describe the complicated role of the mTOR pathway in modulating p53 activity. Finally, we discuss the current knowledge and future perspectives on the coordinated regulation of the p53 and mTOR pathways.
    Keywords:  MDM2; mTOR; miRNA; p53; post-translation; transcription; tumorigenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.775507
  22. J Cell Biochem. 2021 Dec 10.
      Bovine Deltapapillomavirus genus (δPV), comprises four members that are highly pathogenic and are frequently associated with bladder tumors of adult cattle and water buffaloes. In particular, bovine δPV-2 and δPV-13 are commonly found in urinary bladder tumors in adult large ruminants reared fully or partially on hilly/mountain pasturelands rich in bracken fern (Pteridium spp.) as the urinary bladder of the herbivores is the specific target for bracken genotoxins such as ptaquiloside (PT). PT is a sesquiterpenoid responsible for alkylation of adenine of codon 61 of gene H-Ras, which results in Glutamine 61 substitution that is essential for guanosine triphosphate (GTP) hydrolysis. Glutamine substitution at position 61 impairs the intrinsic GTPase activity. Therefore, active GTP-bound conformations (Ras-GTP) accumulate in cells, thereby causing abnormal cell proliferation and differentiation. The aim of the present study is to stress how bovine δPVs upregulate different forms of selective autophagy, of which BAG3 is a key player. BAG3 plays a central role in autophagy and acts as a multifunctional hub for an interaction network at the cytosolic and mitochondrial level. BAG3 is a functional partner of bovine δPV E5 oncoprotein and forms a complex with molecular chaperones Hsc70/Hsp70/Hsp8B and with cochaperone CHIP. BAG3 interacts with Synpo2. It is believed that this interaction has a crucial role for autophagosome (mitophagosome) formation. Furthermore, in urothelial cells infected by bovine δPVs, BAG3 interacts with parkin and some receptors such as BNIP3/FUNDC1, which suggests that BAG3 is involved in both parkin-dependent and -independent mitophagy that appear upregulate in bladder carcinogenesis of cattle induced by bovine δPVs. Surprisingly, BAG3 interacts also with ERAS, a protein encoded by the ERas gene, a novel member of the RAS family. Unlike in humans, the ERas gene is a functional gene in the cells of adult cattle, and it appears to play a role in bovine BAG3-mediated selective autophagy, including mitophagy observed in urothelial cells spontaneously infected with bovine papillomavirus.
    Keywords:  BAG3; E5 oncoprotein; autophagy; bovine papillomavirus; cattle; mitophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jcb.30193
  23. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Nov 26. pii: S0006-291X(21)01613-2. [Epub ahead of print]589 29-34
      Autophagy is a highly conserved process of cellular self-digestion that involves the formation of autophagosomes for the delivery of intracellular components and dysfunctional organelles to lysosomes. This process is induced by different signals including starvation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and DNA damage. The molecular link between autophagy and DNA damage is not well understood yet. Importantly, tumor cells utilize the mechanism of autophagy to cope with genotoxic anti-cancer drug therapy. Another mechanism of drug resistance is provided to cancer cells via the execution of the EMT program. One of the critical transcription factors of EMT is Zeb1. Here we demonstrate that Zeb1 is involved in the regulation of autophagy in several breast cancer cell models. On the molecular level, Zeb1 likely facilitates autophagy through the regulation of autophagic genes, resulting in increased LC3-II levels, augmented staining with Lysotracker, and increased resistance to several genotoxic drugs. The attenuation of Zeb1 expression in TNBC cells led to the opposite effect. Consequently, we propose that Zeb1 augments the resistance of breast cancer cells to genotoxic drugs, at least partially, via autophagy. Collectively, we have uncovered a novel function of Zeb1 in the regulation of autophagy in breast cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Anticancer therapy; Autophagy; EMT; Zeb1; p53
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.11.088
  24. Biochimie. 2021 Dec 07. pii: S0300-9084(21)00273-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      The concept of oxidative distress had arisen from the assessment of cellular response to high concentrations of reactive species that result from an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants and cause biomolecular damage. The intracellular distribution and flux of reactive species dramatically change in time and space contributing to the remodeling of the redox landscape and sensitivity of protein residues to oxidants. Here, we hypothesize that compromised spatiotemporal control of generation, conversions, and removal of reactive species underlies protein damage and dysfunction of protein degradation machineries. This leads to the accumulation of oxidatively damaged proteins resulted in an age-dependent decline in the organismal adaptability to oxidative stress. We highlight recent data obtained with the use of various cell cultures, animal models, and patients on irreversible and non-repairable oxidation of key redox-sensitive residues. Multiple reaction products include peptidyl hydroperoxides, alcohols, carbonyls, and carbamoyl moieties as well as Tyr-Tyr, Trp-Tyr, Trp-Trp, Tyr-Cys, His-Lys, His-Arg, and Tyr-Lys cross-links. These lead to protein fragmentation, misfolding, covalent cross-linking, oligomerization, aggregation, and ultimately, causing impaired protein function and turnover. 20S proteasome and autophagy-lysosome pathways are two major types of machinery for the degradation and elimination of oxidatively damaged proteins. Spatiotemporal dysregulation of these pathways under oxidative distress conditions is implicated in aging and age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Future investigations in this field allow the discovery of new drugs to target components of dysregulated cell signaling and protein degradation machinery to combat aging and age-related chronic diseases.
    Keywords:  Aging and age-related diseases; Autophagy-lysosome; Oxidative stress; Proteasome; Protein oxidation and damage; Spatiotemporal regulation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2021.12.002
  25. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(12): e0255758
      3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol, found in the broccoli family. It induces apoptosis and autophagy in some types of human cancer. DIM extends lifespan in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The mechanisms by which DIM induces apoptosis and autophagy in humans and expands lifespan in fission yeasts are not fully understood. Here, we show that DIM induces apoptosis and autophagy in log-phase cells, which is dose-dependent in fission yeast. A high concentration of DIM disrupted the nuclear envelope (NE) structure and induced chromosome condensation at an early time point. In contrast, a low concentration of DIM induced autophagy but did not disrupt NE structure. The mutant defective in autophagy was more sensitive to a low concentration of DIM, demonstrating that the autophagic pathway contributes to the survival of cells against DIM. Moreover, our results showed that the lem2 mutant is more sensitive to DIM. NE in the lem2 mutant was disrupted even at the low concentration of DIM. Our results demonstrate that the autophagic pathway and NE integrity are important to maintain viability in the presence of a low concentration of DIM. The mechanism of apoptosis and autophagy induction by DIM might be conserved in fission yeast and humans. Further studies will contribute to the understanding of the mechanism of apoptosis and autophagy by DIM in fission yeast and humans.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255758
  26. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 29. pii: 12922. [Epub ahead of print]22(23):
      Amiodarone is a cationic amphiphilic drug used as an antiarrhythmic agent. It induces phospholipidosis, i.e., the accumulation of phospholipids within organelles of the endosomal-lysosomal system. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed structures released by any type of cell and retrieved in every fluid of the body. EVs have been initially identified as a system to dispose cell waste, but they are also considered to be an additional manner to transmit intercellular signals. To understand the role of EVs in drug-induced phospholipidosis, we investigated EVs release in amiodarone-treated HEK-293 cells engineered to produce fluorescently labelled EVs. We observed that amiodarone induces the release of a higher number of EVs, mostly of a large/medium size. EVs released upon amiodarone treatment do not display significant morphological changes or altered size distribution, but they show a dose-dependent increase in autophagy associated markers, indicating a higher release of EVs with an autophagosome-like phenotype. Large/medium EVs also show a higher content of phospholipids. Drugs inducing lysosomal impairment such as chloroquine and bafilomycin A1 similarly prompt a higher release of EVs enriched in autophagy markers. This result suggests a mechanism associated with amiodarone-induced lysosomal impairment more than a connection with the accumulation of specific undigested substrates. Moreover, the implementation of the lysosomal function by overexpressing TFEB, a master gene regulator of lysosomal biogenesis, prevents the amiodarone-induced release of EVs, suggesting that this could be a feasible target to attenuate drug-induced abnormalities.
    Keywords:  TFEB; amiodarone; bafilomycin A1; chloroquine; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; lysosomal storage disorders; microvesicles; phospholipidosis; secretory autophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312922
  27. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 773861
      Automatic quantification of image parameters is a powerful and necessary tool to explore and analyze crucial cell biological processes. This article describes two ImageJ/Fiji automated macros to approach the analysis of synaptic autophagy and exosome release from 2D confocal images. Emerging studies point out that exosome biogenesis and autophagy share molecular and organelle components. Indeed, the crosstalk between these two processes may be relevant for brain physiology, neuronal development, and the onset/progression of neurodegenerative disorders. In this context, we describe here the macros "Autophagoquant" and "Exoquant" to assess the quantification of autophagosomes and exosomes at the neuronal presynapse of the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ) in Drosophila melanogaster using confocal microscopy images. The Drosophila NMJ is a valuable model for the study of synapse biology, autophagy, and exosome release. By use of Autophagoquant and Exoquant, researchers can have an unbiased, standardized, and rapid tool to analyze autophagy and exosomal release in Drosophila NMJ. Code available at: https://github.com/IreneSaMi/Exoquant-Autophagoquant.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; autophagosome; autophagy; exosome release; neuromuscular junction; quantification; synapse
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.773861
  28. Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2021 Dec 01. pii: S1050-1738(21)00141-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      
    Keywords:  Autophagic vacuole; Autophagy; Cardiomyopathy; Danon disease; LAMP-2
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcm.2021.11.007
  29. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Dec 14. pii: e2107993118. [Epub ahead of print]118(50):
      Cellular homeostasis requires the sensing of and adaptation to intracellular oxygen (O2) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The Arg/N-degron pathway targets proteins that bear destabilizing N-terminal residues for degradation by the proteasome or via autophagy. Under normoxic conditions, the N-terminal Cys (Nt-Cys) residues of specific substrates can be oxidized by dioxygenases such as plant cysteine oxidases and cysteamine (2-aminoethanethiol) dioxygenases and arginylated by ATE1 R-transferases to generate Arg-CysO2(H) (R-CO2). Proteins bearing the R-CO2 N-degron are targeted via Lys48 (K48)-linked ubiquitylation by UBR1/UBR2 N-recognins for proteasomal degradation. During acute hypoxia, such proteins are partially stabilized, owing to decreased Nt-Cys oxidation. Here, we show that if hypoxia is prolonged, the Nt-Cys of regulatory proteins can be chemically oxidized by ROS to generate Arg-CysO3(H) (R-CO3), a lysosomal N-degron. The resulting R-CO3 is bound by KCMF1, a N-recognin that induces K63-linked ubiquitylation, followed by K27-linked ubiquitylation by the noncanonical N-recognin UBR4. Autophagic targeting of Cys/N-degron substrates is mediated by the autophagic N-recognin p62/SQTSM-1/Sequestosome-1 through recognition of K27/K63-linked ubiquitin (Ub) chains. This Cys/N-degron-dependent reprogramming in the proteolytic flux is important for cellular homeostasis under both chronic hypoxia and oxidative stress. A small-compound ligand of p62 is cytoprotective under oxidative stress through its ability to accelerate proteolytic flux of K27/K63-ubiquitylated Cys/N-degron substrates. Our results suggest that the Nt-Cys of conditional Cys/N-degron substrates acts as an acceptor of O2 to maintain both O2 and ROS homeostasis and modulates half-lives of substrates through either the proteasome or lysosome by reprogramming of their Ub codes.
    Keywords:  Arg/N-degron pathway; Cys/N-degron pathway; N-degron pathway; oxidative stress sensor; oxygen sensor
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2107993118
  30. Front Neurosci. 2021 ;15 746873
      Many lines of evidence have indicated the therapeutic potential of rescuing mitochondrial integrity by targeting specific mitochondrial quality control pathways in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to ATP synthesis, mitochondria are critical regulators of ROS production, lipid metabolism, calcium buffering, and cell death. The mitochondrial unfolded protein response, mitochondrial dynamics, and mitophagy are the three main quality control mechanisms responsible for maintaining mitochondrial proteostasis and bioenergetics. The proper functioning of these complex processes is necessary to surveil and restore mitochondrial homeostasis and the healthy pool of mitochondria in cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early and causally in disease pathogenesis. A significant accumulation of mitochondrial damage resulting from compromised quality control pathways leads to the development of neuropathology. Moreover, genetic or pharmaceutical manipulation targeting the mitochondrial quality control mechanisms can sufficiently rescue mitochondrial integrity and ameliorate disease progression. Thus, therapies that can improve mitochondrial quality control have great promise for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we summarize recent progress in the field that underscores the essential role of impaired mitochondrial quality control pathways in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. We also discuss the translational approaches targeting mitochondrial function, with a focus on the restoration of mitochondrial integrity, including mitochondrial dynamics, mitophagy, and mitochondrial proteostasis.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial proteostasis; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; neurodegenerative diseases
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.746873
  31. NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2021 Dec 10. 7(1): 113
      Pathogenic variants in PINK1 cause early-onset Parkinson's disease. Although many PINK1 variants have been reported, the clinical significance is uncertain for the majority of them. To gain insights into the consequences of PINK1 missense variants in a systematic manner, we selected 50 PINK1 missense variants from patient- and population-wide databases and systematically classified them using Sherloc, a comprehensive framework for variant interpretation based on ACMG-AMP guidelines. We then performed functional experiments, including mitophagy and Parkin recruitment assays, to assess the downstream consequences of PINK1 variants. Analysis of PINK1 missense variants based on Sherloc showed that the patient databases over-annotate variants as likely pathogenic. Furthermore, our study shows that pathogenic PINK1 variants are most often linked to a loss-of-function for mitophagy and Parkin recruitment, while this is not observed for variants of unknown significance. In addition to the Sherloc framework, the added layer of evidence of our functional tests suggests a reclassification of 9/50 missense variants. In conclusion, we suggest the assessment of multiple layers of evidence, including functional data on top of available clinical and population-based data, to support the clinical classification of a variant and show that the presence of a missense variant in PINK1 in a Parkinson's disease case does not automatically imply pathogenicity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41531-021-00258-8
  32. J Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 03. pii: e202111008. [Epub ahead of print]221(1):
      A recent study by Zheng et al. (2021. J. Cell Biol.https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.202103156) identifies the ubiquitin-protein ligase (E3) MARCH5 as a dual-organelle localized protein that not only targets to mitochondria but also to peroxisomes in a PEX19-mediated manner. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that the Torin1-dependent induction of pexophagy is executed by the MARCH5-catalyzed ubiquitination of the peroxisomal membrane protein PMP70.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.202111008
  33. Cell Biosci. 2021 Dec 07. 11(1): 201
      BACKGROUND: Fatty acids (FA) derived from adipose tissue and liver serve as the main fuel in thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue (BAT). Catalase, a peroxisomal enzyme, plays an important role in maintaining intracellular redox homeostasis by decomposing hydrogen peroxide to either water or oxygen that oxidize and provide fuel for cellular metabolism. Although the antioxidant enzymatic activity of catalase is well known, its role in the metabolism and maintenance of energy homeostasis has not yet been revealed. The present study investigated the role of catalase in lipid metabolism and thermogenesis during nutrient deprivation in catalase-knockout (KO) mice.RESULTS: We found that hepatic triglyceride accumulation in KO mice decreased during sustained fasting due to lipolysis through reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in adipocytes. Furthermore, the free FA released from lipolysis were shuttled to BAT through the activation of CD36 and catabolized by lipoprotein lipase in KO mice during sustained fasting. Although the exact mechanism for the activation of the FA receptor enzyme, CD36 in BAT is still unclear, we found that ROS generation in adipocytes mediated the shuttling of FA to BAT.
    CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings uncover the novel role of catalase in lipid metabolism and thermogenesis in BAT, which may be useful in understanding metabolic dysfunction.
    Keywords:  Catalase; Lipolysis; Reactive Oxygen species (ROS); Sustained fasting; Thermogenesis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13578-021-00710-5
  34. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 752825
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is highly prevalent worldwide, but there has been limited development of efficient and affordable treatment. Induced autophagy has recently been recognized as a novel therapeutic strategy in cancer treatment, and disulfiram (DSF), a well-known antialcohol drug, is also found to inhibit tumor growth in various malignancies. Recently, DSF has been reported to induce excessive autophagy in oral squamous cells; however, little is known about whether it can induce autophagy and suppress proliferation in CRC. In this study, we investigate the effect of DSF with copper (DSF/Cu) on CRC both in vitro and in vivo and find that the combination significantly inhibits CRC cell viability and mainly induces autophagy instead of apoptosis. Furthermore, we use whole genome CRISPR library screening and identify a new mechanism by which DSF triggers autophagy by ULK1. Overall, these findings provide a potential CRC treatment.
    Keywords:  CRISPR library; ULK1; autophagy; colorectal cancer; disulfiram
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.752825
  35. Mol Cell. 2021 Nov 26. pii: S1097-2765(21)00991-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in PINK1 cause autosomal-recessive Parkinson's disease. Mitochondrial damage results in PINK1 import arrest on the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) complex, resulting in the activation of its ubiquitin kinase activity by autophosphorylation and initiation of Parkin-dependent mitochondrial clearance. Herein, we report crystal structures of the entire cytosolic domain of insect PINK1. Our structures reveal a dimeric autophosphorylation complex targeting phosphorylation at the invariant Ser205 (human Ser228). The dimer interface requires insert 2, which is unique to PINK1. The structures also reveal how an N-terminal helix binds to the C-terminal extension and provide insights into stabilization of PINK1 on the core TOM complex.
    Keywords:  PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson; TOM; X-ray crystallography; kinase; mass spectrometry; mitochondria; phosphorylation; ubiquitin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2021.11.012
  36. Ageing Res Rev. 2021 Dec 07. pii: S1568-1637(21)00285-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101538
      p62 (also known as SQSTM1) is widely used as a predictor of autophagic flux, a process that allows the degradation of harmful and unnecessary components through lysosomes to maintain protein homeostasis in cells. p62 is also a stress-induced scaffold protein that resists oxidative stress. The multiple domains in its structure allow it to be connected with a variety of vital signalling pathways, autophagy and the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), allowing p62 to play important roles in cell proliferation, apoptosis and survival. Recent studies have shown that p62 is also directly or indirectly involved in the ageing process. In this review, we summarize in detail the process by which p62 regulates ageing from multiple ageing-related signs with the aim of providing new insight for the study of p62 in ageing.
    Keywords:  Ageing; Autophagy; Oxidative; SQSTM1; UPS; p62
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101538
  37. Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2021 Dec 07. 26(1): 50
      BACKGROUND: Esterase D (ESD) is a nonspecific esterase that detoxifies formaldehyde. Many reports have stated that ESD activity is associated with a variety of physiological and pathological processes. However, the detailed signaling pathway of ESD remains poorly understood.METHODS: Considering the advantages of the small chemical molecule, our recent work demonstrated that 4-chloro-2-(5-phenyl-1-(pyridin-2-yl)-4,5-dihydro-1H-pyrazol-3-yl) phenol (FPD5) activates ESD, and will be a good tool for studying ESD further. Firstly, we determined the interaction between ESD and FK506 binding protein 25 (FKBP25) by yeast two-hybrid assay and co-immunoprecipitation (CO-IP) and analyzed the phosphorylation levels of mTORC1, P70S6K and 4EBP1 by western blot. Furthermore, we used the sulforhodamine B (SRB) and chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay to analyze cell viability in vitro and in vivo after treatment with ESD activator FPD5.
    RESULTS: We screened FKBP25 as a candidate protein to interact with ESD by yeast two-hybrid assay. Then we verified the interaction between ESD and endogenous FKBP25 or ectopically expressed GFP-FKBP25 by CO-IP. Moreover, the N-terminus (1-90 aa) domain of FKBP25 served as the crucial element for their interaction. More importantly, ESD reduced the K48-linked poly-ubiquitin chains of FKBP25 and thus stabilized cytoplasmic FKBP25. ESD also promoted FKBP25 to bind more mTORC1, suppressing the activity of mTORC1. In addition, ESD suppressed tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo through autophagy.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide novel evidence for elucidating the molecular mechanism of ESD and ubiquitination of FKBP25 to regulate autophagy and cancer cell growth. The ESD/FKBP25/mTORC1 signaling pathway is involved in inhibiting tumor cell growth via regulating autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Esterase D; FKBP25; Ubiquitination; mTORC1
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s11658-021-00297-2
  38. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2021 Nov 27. pii: S0927-7765(21)00692-5. [Epub ahead of print]210 112246
      Although it has been demonstrated that implant surfaces treated with strontium (Sr) promote osseointegration, the underlying intracellular mechanism remains unknown. Autophagy is a vital intracellular degradation mechanism that plays an essential role in maintaining bone homeostasis. Therefore, while designing implant biomaterials, it is critical to consider the autophagy mechanism. In this study, we fabricated Sr-doped micro/nano rough titanium implant surface by hydrothermal treatment (SLA+Sr). The in vitro results revealed that the SLA+Sr surface promoted osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) via autophagy activation. The SLA+Sr surface, on the other hand, inhibited osteoclast differentiation by downregulating autophagy. Additionally, in vivo, the SLA+Sr implant improved osseointegration, inhibited osteoclastogenesis, and upregulated autophagy levels in surrounding bone tissue cells. Our findings established a novel centralized mechanism by which SLA+Sr regulated osteogenesis and osteoclastogenesis during the osseointegration process through autophagy regulation. Moreover, endowing implants with the ability to modulate autophagy may be a promising strategy for enhancing implant osseointegration in the future translational medicine field.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Implant; Osseointegration; Osteoclastogenesis; Strontium
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2021.112246
  39. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 06. 1-19
      Acquired chemotherapy resistance is one of the main culprits in the relapse of breast cancer. But the underlying mechanism of chemotherapy resistance remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that a small adaptor protein, SH3BGRL, is not only elevated in the majority of breast cancer patients but also has relevance with the relapse and poor prognosis of breast cancer patients. Functionally, SH3BGRL upregulation enhances the chemoresistance of breast cancer cells to the first-line doxorubicin treatment through macroautophagic/autophagic protection. Mechanistically, SH3BGRL can unexpectedly bind to ribosomal subunits to enhance PIK3C3 translation efficiency and sustain ATG12 stability. Therefore, inhibition of autophagy or silence of PIK3C3 or ATG12 can effectively block the driving effect of SH3BGRL on doxorubicin resistance of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. We also validate that SH3BGRL expression is positively correlated with that of PIK3C3 or ATG12, as well as the constitutive occurrence of autophagy in clinical breast cancer tissues. Taken together, our data reveal that SH3BGRL upregulation would be a key driver to the acquired chemotherapy resistance through autophagy enhancement in breast cancer while targeting SH3BGRL could be a potential therapeutic strategy against breast cancer.
    Keywords:  ATG12; PIK3C3; SH3BGRL; autophagy; breast cancer; doxorubicin chemoresistance; polyribosome profile; protein stability; ribosome-binding protein
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2021.2002108
  40. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 749559
      Profilins (PFNs) are key regulatory proteins for the actin polymerization in cells and are encoded in mouse and humans by four Pfn genes. PFNs are involved in cell mobility, cell growth, neurogenesis, and metastasis of tumor cells. The testes-specific PFN3 is localized in the acroplaxome-manchette complex of developing spermatozoa. We demonstrate that PFN3 further localizes in the Golgi complex and proacrosomal vesicles during spermiogenesis, suggesting a role in vesicle transport for acrosome formation. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we generated mice deficient for Pfn3. Pfn3-/- males are subfertile, displaying a type II globozoospermia. We revealed that Pfn3-/- sperm display abnormal manchette development leading to an amorphous sperm head shape. Additionally, Pfn3-/- sperm showed reduced sperm motility resulting from flagellum deformities. We show that acrosome biogenesis is impaired starting from the Golgi phase, and mature sperm seems to suffer from a cytoplasm removal defect. An RNA-seq analysis revealed an upregulation of Trim27 and downregulation of Atg2a. As a consequence, mTOR was activated and AMPK was suppressed, resulting in the inhibition of autophagy. This dysregulation of AMPK/mTOR affected the autophagic flux, which is hallmarked by LC3B accumulation and increased SQSTM1 protein levels. Autophagy is involved in proacrosomal vesicle fusion and transport to form the acrosome. We conclude that this disruption leads to the observed malformation of the acrosome. TRIM27 is associated with PFN3 as determined by co-immunoprecipitation from testis extracts. Further, actin-related protein ARPM1 was absent in the nuclear fraction of Pfn3-/- testes and sperm. This suggests that lack of PFN3 leads to destabilization of the PFN3-ARPM1 complex, resulting in the degradation of ARPM1. Interestingly, in the Pfn3-/- testes, we detected increased protein levels of essential actin regulatory proteins, cofilin-1 (CFL1), cofilin-2 (CFL2), and actin depolymerizing factor (ADF). Taken together, our results reveal the importance for PFN3 in male fertility and implicate this protein as a candidate for male factor infertility in humans.
    Keywords:  acrosome biogenesis; autophagy; globozoospermia; male fertility; profilin 3; sperm biology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.749559
  41. Biomaterials. 2021 Nov 29. pii: S0142-9612(21)00644-X. [Epub ahead of print]280 121287
      Radio-resistance of glioblastoma (GBM) remains a leading cause of radiotherapy failure because of the protective autophagy induced by X-Ray irradiation and tumor cells' strong capability of repairing damaged DNA. It is of great importance to overcome the radio-resistance for improving the efficacy of radiotherapy. Herein, we report the novel mechanism of core-shell copper selenide coated gold nanoparticles (Au@Cu2-xSe NPs) inhibiting the protective autophagy and DNA repair of tumor cells to drastically boost the radiotherapy efficacy of glioblastoma. We reveal that the core-shell Au@Cu2-xSe NPs can inhibit the autophagy flux by effectively alkalizing lysosomes. They can increase the SQSTM1/p62 protein levels of tumor cells without influencing their mRNA. We also reveal that Au@Cu2-xSe NPs can increase the ubiquitination of DNA repair protein Rad51, and promote the degradation of Rad51 by proteasomes to prevent the DNA repair. The simultaneous inhibition of protective autophagy and DNA repair significantly suppress the growth of orthotopic GBM by using radiotherapy and our novel Au@Cu2-xSe NPs. Our work provides a new insight and paradigm to significantly improve the efficacy of radiotherapy by rationally designing theranostic nano-agents to simultaneously inhibit protective autophagy and DNA repair of tumor cells.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; DNA repair; Glioblastoma; Radio-resistance; Radiotherapy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.121287
  42. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 739220
      Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive fatal disease characterized by interstitial remodeling, with high lethality and a lack of effective medical therapies. Tetrandrine has been proposed to present anti-fibrotic effects, but the efficacy and mechanisms have not been systematically evaluated. We sought to study the potential therapeutic effects and mechanisms of tetrandrine against lung fibrosis. The anti-fibrotic effects of tetrandrine were evaluated in bleomycin-induced mouse models and TGF-β1-stimulated murine lung fibroblasts. We performed Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP), Immunoprecipitation (IP), and mRFP-GFP-MAP1LC3B adenovirus construct to investigate the novel mechanisms of tetrandrine-induced autophagy. Tetrandrine decreased TGF-β1-induced expression of α-smooth muscle actin, fibronectin, vimentin, and type 1 collagen and proliferation in fibroblasts. Tetrandrine restored TGF-β1-induced impaired autophagy flux, accompanied by enhanced interaction of SQSTM1 and MAP1LC3-Ⅱ. ChIP studies revealed that tetrandrine induced autophagy via increasing binding of NRF2 and SQSTM1 promoter. Furthermore, tetrandrine inhibited TGF-β1-induced phosphorylation of mTOR by reducing activation of Rheb. In vivo tetrandrine suppressed the bleomycin-induced expression of fibrotic markers and improved pulmonary function. Our data suggest that protective effect of tetrandrine against lung fibrosis might be through promoting Rheb-mTOR and NRF2-SQSTM1 mediated autophagy. Tetrandrine may thus be potentially employed as a novel therapeutic medicine against IPF.
    Keywords:  COL-I; autophagy; lung fibrosis; mTOR; tetrandrine
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.739220
  43. Commun Biol. 2021 12 07. 4(1): 1369
      The binding of the major stress-inducible human 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) to the anionic phospholipid bis-(monoacylglycero)-phosphate (BMP) in the lysosomal membrane is crucial for its impact on cellular pathology in lysosomal storage disorders. However, the conformational features of this protein-lipid complex remain unclear. Here, we apply hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) to describe the dynamics of the full-length Hsp70 in the cytosol and its conformational changes upon translocation into lysosomes. Using wild-type and W90F mutant proteins, we also map and discriminate the interaction of Hsp70 with BMP and other lipid components of the lysosomal membrane. We identify the N-terminal of the nucleotide binding domain (residues 87-118) as the primary orchestrator of BMP interaction. We show that the conformation of this domain is significantly reorganized in the W90F mutant, explaining its inability to stabilize lysosomal membranes. Overall, our results reveal important new molecular details of the protective effect of Hsp70 in lysosomal storage diseases, which, in turn, could guide future drug development.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02892-7
  44. Mol Cancer Res. 2021 Dec 08. pii: molcanres.0652.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      DNA damaging therapy is the basis for treatment of most cancers, including B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL, hereafter ALL). We have previously shown that cAMP-activating factors present in the bone marrow render ALL cells less sensitive to DNA damage-induced apoptosis, by enhancing autophagy and suppressing p53. To sensitize ALL cells to DNA damaging therapy, we have searched for novel targets that may counteract the effects induced by cAMP-signaling. In the present study, we have identified poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) as a potential target. We show that the PARP1-inhibitors olaparib or PJ34 inhibit cAMP-mediated autophagy and thereby potentiate the DNA damaging treatment. Furthermore, we reveal that cAMP-mediated PARP1-activation is preceded by induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and results in depletion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), both of which are autophagy-promoting events. Accordingly, we demonstrate that scavenging ROS by N-acetylcysteine and repleting NAD independently reduce DNA damage-induced autophagy. In addition, olaparib augmented the effect of DNA damaging treatment in a human xenograft model of ALL in NOD-scidIL2Rgammanull mice. Based on the current findings, we suggest that PARP1 inhibitors may enhance the efficiency of conventional genotoxic therapies and thereby provide a novel treatment strategy for pediatric ALL patients. Implications: PARP1 inhibitors augment the DNA damage-induced killing of ALL cells by limiting the opposing effects of cAMP-mediated autophagy, which involves ROS-induced PARP1-activation and depletion of cellular NAD-levels.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-21-0652
  45. Curr Eye Res. 2021 Dec 06. 1-10
      PURPOSE: Autophagy plays a crucial role in intracellular quality control of crystalline lens and AMPK has regulatory effect on autophagy. However, whether AMPK regulated autophagy is involved in diabetic cataract (DC) progression remains unknown. This study aims to investigate the AMPK-FOXO3 and AMPK-TFEB induced autophagy activity in DC patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: First, anterior capsule specimens from DC and age-related cataract (ARC) patients were obtained to compare the expression difference of autophagy-related genes. The phosphorylation levels of AMPK, AKT, and mTOR and the expression of FOXO3 and TFEB were measured. Then, human lens epithelial cells (LECs, SRA 01/04) were cultured with 30 mM or 5.5 mM glucose, and AMPK activator (AICAR) and inhibitor (Compound C) were applied to further investigate the regulatory role of AMPK on autophagy.
    RESULTS: Compared with ARC patients, the expression of autophagy-related genes ATG5, FYCO1, ATG8, ATG12, Beclin1, and ULK1 in anterior capsules LECs of DC patients were significantly down-regulated. Meanwhile, AMPK and AMPK-dependent transcription factors, FOXO3 and TFEB were also inhibited. Similar results were found in high glucose (HG) treated SRA 01/04 model. Notably, this down-regulation of autophagy activity was rescued by AICAR in vitro, which was manifested by inhibition of AKT and mTOR phosphorylation and up-regulation of FOXO3, TFEB, Beclin1 and LC3B-II expression.
    CONCLUSIONS: Down-regulation of AMPK-FOXO3 and AMPK-TFEB induced autophagy activity was found in both LECs of anterior capsule from DC patients and SRA 01/04 cells under HG condition, which may be the underlying mechanism of DC formation. Thus, targeting AMPK-induced autophagy may be a potential therapeutic approach for diabetic cataract.
    Keywords:  AMPK signaling pathway; Diabetic cataract; FOXO3; TFEB; autophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/02713683.2021.2009516
  46. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2021 Dec 08.
      Mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT) is a phenomenon that abruptly causes the flux of low molecular weight solutes (molecular weight up to 1,500) across the generally impermeable inner mitochondrial membrane. The mPT is mediated by the so-called mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), a supramolecular entity assembled at the interface of the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes. In contrast to mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, which mostly activates apoptosis, mPT can trigger different cellular responses, from the physiological regulation of mitophagy to the activation of apoptosis or necrosis. Although there are several molecular candidates for the mPTP, its molecular nature remains contentious. This lack of molecular data was a significant setback that prevented mechanistic insight into the mPTP, pharmacological targeting and the generation of informative animal models. In recent years, experimental evidence has highlighted mitochondrial F1Fo ATP synthase as a participant in mPTP formation, although a molecular model for its transition to the mPTP is still lacking. Recently, the resolution of the F1Fo ATP synthase structure by cryogenic electron microscopy led to a model for mPTP gating. The elusive molecular nature of the mPTP is now being clarified, marking a turning point for understanding mitochondrial biology and its pathophysiological ramifications. This Review provides an up-to-date reference for the understanding of the mammalian mPTP and its cellular functions. We review current insights into the molecular mechanisms of mPT and validated observations - from studies in vivo or in artificial membranes - on mPTP activity and functions. We end with a discussion of the contribution of the mPTP to human disease. Throughout the Review, we highlight the multiple unanswered questions and, when applicable, we also provide alternative interpretations of the recent discoveries.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41580-021-00433-y
  47. ACS Omega. 2021 Nov 30. 6(47): 31447-31456
      Many organelles, such as lysosomes and mitochondria, maintain a pH that is different from the cytoplasmic pH. These pH differences have important functional ramifications for those organelles. Many cellular events depend upon a well-compartmentalized distribution of H+ ions spanning the membrane for the optimal function. Cells have developed a variety of mechanisms that enable the regulation of organelle pH. However, the measurement of organellar acidity/alkalinity in living cells has remained a challenge. Currently, most existing probes for the estimation of intracellular pH show a single -organelle targeting capacity. Such probes provide data that fails to comprehensively reveal the pathological and physiological roles and connections between mitochondria and lysosomes in different species. Mitochondrial and lysosomal functions are closely related and important for regulating cellular homeostasis. Accordingly, the design of a single fluorescent probe that can simultaneously target mitochondria and lysosomes is highly desirable, enabling a better understanding of the crosstalk between these organelles. We report the development of a novel fluorescent sensor, rhodamine-coumarin pH probe (RCPP), for detection of organellar acidity/alkalinity. RCPP simultaneously moves between mitochondrion and lysosome subcellular locations, facilitating the simultaneous monitoring of pH alterations in mitochondria and lysosomes.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.1c03087
  48. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 25. pii: 12766. [Epub ahead of print]22(23):
      Autophagy is a highly conserved process of the eukaryotic cell cycle. It plays an important role in the survival and maintenance of cells by degrading organelles, proteins, and macromolecules in the cytoplasm and the circulation of degraded products. The dysfunction of autophagy can lead to the pathology of many human diseases. The nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome belongs to the family of nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain-like receptors (NLRs) and can induce caspase-1 activation, thus leading to the maturation and secretion of interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) and IL-18. It has been reported that the interplay between autophagy and NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in many diseases, including renal diseases. In this review, the interplay between autophagy and the NLRP3 inflammasome and the mechanisms in renal diseases are explored to provide ideas for relevant basic research in the future.
    Keywords:  NLRP3 inflammasome; autophagy; diabetic nephropathy; lupus nephritis; renal fibrosis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312766
  49. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Dec 06.
      In mice, exercise is suggested to activate the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) in skeletal muscle, and mTORC2 is required for normal muscle glucose uptake during exercise. Whether this translates to human skeletal muscle and what signaling pathways facilitate the exercise-induced mTORC2 activation is unknown but important to determine given the important role of mTORC2 in metabolism. We herein tested the hypothesis that exercise increases mTORC2 activity in human skeletal muscle and investigated if β2-adrenergic receptor (AR) activation mediates exercise-induced mTORC2 activation. We examined several mTORC2 activity readouts (p-NDRG1 Thr346, p-Akt Ser473, p-mTOR S2481, and p-Akt Thr450) in human skeletal muscle biopsies after uphill walking or cycling exercise. In mouse muscles, we assessed mTORC2 activity readouts following acute activation of muscle β2-adrenergic or Gs signaling and during in vivo and ex vivo muscle contractions. Exercise increased phosphorylation of NDRG1 Thr346 in human soleus, gastrocnemius, and vastus lateralis muscle, without changing p-Akt Ser473, p-Akt Thr450, and p-mTOR Ser2481. In mouse muscle, stimulation of β2-adrenergic or Gs signaling and ex vivo contractions failed to increase p-NDRG1 Thr346, while in vivo contractions were sufficient to induce p-NDRG1 Thr346. In conclusion, the mTORC2 activity readout p-NDRG1 Thr346 is a novel exercise-responsive signaling protein in human skeletal muscle. Notably, contraction-induced p-NDRG1 Thr346 appears to require a systemic factor. Unlike exercise, and in contrast to published data obtained in cultured muscles cells, stimulation of β2-adrenergic signaling is not sufficient to trigger NDRG1 phosphorylation in mature mouse skeletal muscle.
    Keywords:  Exercise; Humans; Skeletal muscle; mTORC2; β-adrenergic signaling
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00389.2021
  50. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 30. pii: 12960. [Epub ahead of print]22(23):
      The adipokine Neuregulin 4 (Nrg4) protects against obesity-induced insulin resistance. Here, we analyze how the downregulation of Nrg4 influences insulin action and the underlying mechanisms in adipocytes. Validated shRNA lentiviral vectors were used to generate scramble (Scr) and Nrg4 knockdown (KD) 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Adipogenesis was unaffected in Nrg4 KD adipocytes, but there was a complete impairment of the insulin-induced 2-deoxyglucose uptake, which was likely the result of reduced insulin receptor and Glut4 protein. Downregulation of Nrg4 enhanced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Anti-inflammatory agents recovered the insulin receptor, but not Glut4, content. Proteins enriched in Glut4 storage vesicles such as the insulin-responsive aminopeptidase (IRAP) and Syntaxin-6 as well as TBC1D4, a protein involved in the intracellular retention of Glut4 vesicles, also decreased by Nrg4 KD. Insulin failed to reduce autophagy in Nrg4 KD adipocytes, observed by a minor effect on mTOR phosphorylation, at the time that proteins involved in autophagy such as LC3-II, Rab11, and Clathrin were markedly upregulated. The lysosomal activity inhibitor bafilomycin A1 restored Glut4, IRAP, Syntaxin-6, and TBC1D4 content to those found in control adipocytes. Our study reveals that Nrg4 preserves the insulin responsiveness by preventing inflammation and, in turn, benefits the insulin regulation of autophagy.
    Keywords:  Glut4; adipocytes; autophagy; inflammation; insulin receptor; insulin resistance; neuregulin 4
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312960
  51. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 ;2021 9950499
      Qingjie Fuzheng granule (QFG) is a traditional Chinese medicinal formula used extensively as an alternative medicine for cancer treatment, including colorectal cancer (CRC). But its pathological mechanism in CRC is unclear. To study antitumor treatment effects and mechanisms of QFG, we established a CRC HCT-116 xenograft mouse model and assessed QFG on EMT and autophagy progression in vivo. The mice were randomly divided into 2 groups (n = 10 each group) and treated with intragastric administration of 1 g/kg of QFG or saline 6 days a week for 28 days (4 weeks). Body weight was measured every other day with electronic balance. At the end of the treatment, the tumor weight was measured. Immunohistochemical (IHC) and western blot (WB) assay were used to detect the expression level of E-cadherin, N-cadherin, vimentin, and TWIST1 to evaluate the effect of QFG on tumor cell EMT progression. IHC and WB assay were also used to detect the expression level of beclin-1, LC3-II, and p62 to evaluate the effect of QFG on tumor cell autophagy progression. Furthermore, the expression level of relative proteins in mTOR pathway was detected by WB assay to investigate the mechanism of QFG effect on CRC. We discovered that QFG inhibited the rise of tumor weight while it had no effect on mice body weight, which proved that QFG could inhibit CRC growth progression without significant side effects in vivo. In addition, QFG treatment inhibited EMT and induced autophagy progression in CRC tumor cells, including that QFG upregulated the expression of E-cadherin, beclin-1, and LC3-II, but downregulated the expression of N-cadherin, vimentin, TWIST1, and p62. And, QFG decreased the ratio of p-PI3K/PI3K, p-AKT/AKT, and p-mTOR/mTOR, but increased the ratio of p-AMPK/AMPK. All findings from this research proved that QFG can induce autophagy and inhibit EMT progression in CRC via regulating the mTOR signaling pathway.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9950499
  52. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 25. pii: 12740. [Epub ahead of print]22(23):
      Parkinson's Disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder, and the strongest genetic risk factor for PD is mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA). Mutations in GBA also lead to the development of Gaucher Disease (GD), the most common type of lysosomal storage disorder. Current therapeutic approaches fail to address neurological GD symptoms. Therefore, identifying therapeutic strategies that improve the phenotypic traits associated with GD/PD in animal models may provide an opportunity for treating neurological manifestations of GD/PD. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs, also called glitazones) are a class of compounds targeted for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and have also shown promise for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, including PD. Here, we tested the efficacy of glitazone administration during development in a fly GD model with deletions in the GBA homolog, dGBA1b (GBA1ΔTT/ΔTT). We observed an optimal dose of pioglitazone (PGZ) at a concentration of 1 μM that reduced sleep deficits, locomotor impairments, climbing defects, and restoration of normal protein levels of Ref(2)P, a marker of autophagic flux, in GBA1ΔTT/ΔTT mutant flies, compared to GBA1+/+ control flies. These data suggest that PGZ may represent a potential compound with which to treat GD/PD by improving function of lysosomal-autophagy pathways, a cellular process that removes misfolded or aggregated proteins.
    Keywords:  Lewy body; autophagy; dementia; neurodegeneration; p62; β-acid glucosidase 1
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312740
  53. Mol Microbiol. 2021 Dec 07.
      Anti-bacterial autophagy, known as xenophagy, is a host innate immune response that targets invading pathogens for degradation. Some intracellular bacteria, such as the enteric pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), utilise effector proteins to interfere with autophagy. One such S. Typhimurium effector, SopF, inhibits recruitment of ATG16L1 to damaged Salmonella-containing vacuoles (SCVs), thereby inhibiting the host xenophagic response. SopF is also required to maintain the integrity of the SCV during the early stages of infection. Here we show disruption of the SopF-ATG16L1 interaction leads to an increased proportion of cytosolic S. Typhimurium. Furthermore, SopF was utilized as a molecular tool to examine the requirement for ATG16L1 in the intracellular lifestyle of Coxiella burnetii, a bacterium that requires a functional autophagy pathway to replicate efficiently and form a single, spacious vacuole called the Coxiella-containing vacuole (CCV). ATG16L1 is required for CCV expansion and fusion but does not influence C. burnetii replication. In contrast, SopF did not affect CCV formation or replication, demonstrating that the contribution of ATG16L1 to CCV biogenesis is via its role in autophagy, not xenophagy. This study highlights the diverse capabilities of bacterial effector proteins to dissect the molecular details of host-pathogen interactions.
    Keywords:   Coxiella burnetii ; Salmonella enterica ; autophagy; bacterial pathogenesis; host-pathogen interactions; type III effector; xenophagy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/mmi.14858