bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2022‒01‒02
fifty-four papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 227-239
      Mitophagy, a process of selective elimination of mitochondria by autophagy, is a mechanism of mitochondrial quality control that maintains mitochondrial network functionality. The elimination of damaged mitochondria through autophagy requires two steps: induction of general autophagy and priming of damaged mitochondria for selective autophagic recognition. Mitophagy impairment is linked to various pathologies; thus, removal of malfunctioning or even harmful mitochondria is vital to cellular physiology. Here, we describe methods that can be applied to the investigation of mitophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Confocal microscopy; Flow cytometry; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Respiration
  2. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 99-115
      Autophagy and autophagy-associated genes are implicated in a growing list of cellular, physiological, and pathophysiological processes and conditions. Therefore, it is ever more important to be able to reliably monitor and quantify autophagic activity. Whereas autophagic markers, such as LC3 can provide general indications about autophagy, specific and accurate detection of autophagic activity requires assessment of autophagic cargo flux. Here, we provide protocols on how to monitor bulk and selective autophagy by the use of inducible expression of exogenous probes based on the fluorescent coral protein Keima. To exemplify and demonstrate the power of this system, we provide data obtained by analyses of cytosolic and mitochondrially targeted Keima probes in human retinal epithelial cells treated with the mTOR-inhibitor Torin1 or with the iron chelator deferiprone (DFP). Our data indicate that Torin1 induces autophagic flux of cytosol and mitochondria to a similar degree, that is, compatible with induction of bulk autophagy, whereas DFP induces a highly selective form of mitophagy that efficiently excludes cytosol.
    Keywords:  Autophagic cargo flux; Autophagy; Bulk autophagy; Deferiprone; LDHB-mKeima; Mito-mKeima; Mitophagy; Selective autophagy; Torin1; mKeima
  3. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 207-226
      Damaged, dysfunctional, or excess mitochondria are removed from cells via a selective form of macroautophagy termed mitophagy. The clearance of mitochondria during mitophagy is mediated by double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes, which encapsulate mitochondria that have been tagged for mitophagic removal before delivering them to lysosomes for degradation. A variety of different mitophagy pathways exist that differ in their mechanisms of initiation but share a common pathway of autophagosome formation. Autophagosome biogenesis is regulated by a number of autophagy factors which translocate from the cytosol to spatially defined focal points (foci) on the mitochondrial surface after mitophagy has been initiated. The functional analysis of autophagosome biogenesis requires the use of microscopy-based techniques which assess the recruitment of autophagy factors to mitophagic foci representing autophagosome formation sites. Here, we describe a routine method for the quantitative 3D analysis of mitophagic foci in PINK1/Parkin mitophagy immunofluorescence samples through the application of object-based image analysis (OBIA) to 3D confocal imaging datasets. The approach enables unbiased high-throughput characterisation of autophagosome biogenesis during mitophagy.
    Keywords:  ImageJ/FIJI; Object-based image analysis (OBIA); PINK1/Parkin mitophagy; Phagophore biogenesis; Regions of interest (ROI)
  4. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021 12 29.
      Selective autophagy of the mitochondria, known as mitophagy, is a major mitochondrial quality control pathway in the heart that is involved in removing unwanted or dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell. Baseline mitophagy is critical for maintaining the fitness of the mitochondrial population by continuous turnover of aged and less functional mitochondria. Mitophagy is also critical in adapting to stress associated with mitochondrial damage or dysfunction. The removal of damaged mitochondria prevents ROS-mediated damaged to proteins and DNA and suppresses activation of inflammation and cell death. Impairments in mitophagy are associated with the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cancers, inflammatory diseases, neurodegeneration, and cardiovascular disease. Mitophagy is a highly regulated and complex process that requires the coordination of labeling dysfunctional mitochondria for degradation while simultaneously promoting de novo autophagosome biogenesis adjacent to the cargo. In this review, we provide an update on our current understanding of these steps in mitophagy induction and discuss the physiological and pathophysiological consequences of altered mitophagy in the heart.
    Keywords:  Parkin; autophagy; heart; mitochondria; mitophagy
  5. Mol Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 28. pii: MOLPHARM-MR-2021-000302. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) senses upstream stimuli to regulate numerous cellular functions such as metabolism, growth, and autophagy. The activation of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) is typically observed in human disease and continues to be an important therapeutic target. Understanding the upstream regulators of mTORC1 will provide a crucial link to targeting mTORC1 hyperactivated diseases. In this review, we will discuss the regulation of mTORC1 by upstream stimuli, with a specific focus on G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling to mTORC1. Significance Statement mTORC1 is a master regulator of many cellular processes and is often hyperactivated in human disease. Therefore, understanding the molecular underpinnings of these pathways will undoubtedly be promising to the mTORC1 field and human disease.
    Keywords:  G protein coupled signaling; G proteins; Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); Protein Kinase A (PKA); g protein-coupled receptors (GPCRS)
  6. ACS Cent Sci. 2021 Dec 22. 7(12): 2009-2020
      The serine/threonine protein kinase Akt regulates a wide range of cellular functions via phosphorylation of various substrates distributed throughout the cell, including at the plasma membrane and endomembrane compartments. Disruption of compartmentalized Akt signaling underlies the pathology of many diseases such as cancer and diabetes. However, the specific spatial organization of Akt activity and the underlying regulatory mechanisms, particularly the mechanism controlling its activity at the lysosome, are not clearly understood. We developed a highly sensitive excitation-ratiometric Akt activity reporter (ExRai-AktAR2), enabling the capture of minute changes in Akt activity dynamics at subcellular compartments. In conjunction with super-resolution expansion microscopy, we found that growth factor stimulation leads to increased colocalization of Akt with lysosomes and accumulation of lysosomal Akt activity. We further showed that 3-phosphoinositides (3-PIs) accumulate on the lysosomal surface, in a manner dependent on dynamin-mediated endocytosis. Importantly, lysosomal 3-PIs are needed for growth-factor-induced activities of Akt and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) on the lysosomal surface, as targeted depletion of 3-PIs has detrimental effects. Thus, 3-PIs, a class of critical lipid second messengers that are typically found in the plasma membrane, unexpectedly accumulate on the lysosomal membrane in response to growth factor stimulation, to direct the multifaceted kinase Akt to organize lysosome-specific signaling.
  7. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-20
      By promoting anabolism, MTORC1 is critical for muscle growth and maintenance. However, genetic MTORC1 upregulation promotes muscle aging and produces age-associated myopathy. Whether MTORC1 activation is sufficient to produce myopathy or indirectly promotes it by accelerating tissue aging is elusive. Here we examined the effects of muscular MTORC1 hyperactivation, produced by simultaneous depletion of TSC1 and DEPDC5 (CKM-TD). CKM-TD mice produced myopathy, associated with loss of skeletal muscle mass and force, as well as cardiac failure and bradypnea. These pathologies were manifested at eight weeks of age, leading to a highly penetrant fatality at around twelve weeks of age. Transcriptome analysis indicated that genes mediating proteasomal and macroautophagic/autophagic pathways were highly upregulated in CKM-TD skeletal muscle, in addition to inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage signaling pathways. In CKM-TD muscle, autophagosome levels were increased, and the AMPK and ULK1 pathways were activated; in addition, autophagy induction was not completely blocked in CKM-TD myotubes. Despite the upregulation of autolysosomal markers, CKM-TD myofibers exhibited accumulation of autophagy substrates, such as SQSTM1/p62 and ubiquitinated proteins, suggesting that the autophagic activities were insufficient. Administration of a superoxide scavenger, tempol, normalized most of these molecular pathologies and subsequently restored muscle histology and force generation. However, CKM-TD autophagy alterations were not normalized by rapamycin or tempol, suggesting that they may involve non-canonical targets other than MTORC1. These results collectively indicate that the concomitant muscle deficiency of TSC1 and DEPDC5 can produce early-onset myopathy through accumulation of oxidative stress, which dysregulates myocellular homeostasis.Abbreviations: AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; CKM: creatine kinase, M-type; COX: cytochrome oxidase; DEPDC5: DEP domain containing 5, GATOR1 subcomplex subunit; DHE: dihydroethidium; EDL: extensor digitorum longus; EIF4EBP1: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1; GAP: GTPase-activating protein; GTN: gastrocnemius; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; PLA: plantaris; QUAD: quadriceps; RPS6KB/S6K: ribosomal protein S6 kinase beta; SDH: succinate dehydrogenase; SOL: soleus; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; TA: tibialis anterior; TSC1: TSC complex subunit 1; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  MTORC1; ULK1; myopathy; oxidative stress; tempol
  8. Front Neurosci. 2021 ;15 777347
      Autophagy is an important cellular self-digestion and recycling pathway that helps in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Dysregulation at various steps of the autophagic and endolysosomal pathway has been reported in several neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and Huntington disease (HD) and is cited as a critically important feature for central nervous system (CNS) proteostasis. Recently, another molecular target, namely transcription factor EB (TFEB) has been explored globally to treat neurodegenerative disorders. This TFEB, is a key regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis pathway. Multiple research studies suggested therapeutic potential by targeting TFEB to treat human diseases involving autophagy-lysosomal dysfunction, especially neurodegenerative disorders. A common observation involving all neurodegenerative disorders is their poor efficacy in clearing and recycle toxic aggregated proteins and damaged cellular organelles due to impairment in the autophagy pathway. This dysfunction in autophagy characterized by the accumulation of toxic protein aggregates leads to a progressive loss in structural integrity/functionality of neurons and may even result in neuronal death. In recent years TFEB, a key regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis, has received considerable attention. It has emerged as a potential therapeutic target in numerous neurodegenerative disorders like AD and PD. In various neurobiology studies involving animal models, TFEB has been found to ameliorate neurotoxicity and rescue neurodegeneration. Since TFEB is a master transcriptional regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis pathway and plays a crucial role in defining autophagy activation. Studies have been done to understand the mechanisms for TFEB dysfunction, which may yield insights into how TFEB might be targeted and used for the therapeutic strategy to develop a treatment process with extensive application to neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we explore the role of different transcription factor-based targeted therapy by some natural compounds for AD and PD with special emphasis on TFEB.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; NF-κB; Parkinson’s disease; TFEB; autophagy
  9. Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Dec;17 Suppl 2 e058299
      BACKGROUND: Intracellular accumulation of insoluble tau is an important hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies. We have previously identified in human tauopathy brain a truncated tau species (Tau35), comprising the C-terminal half with four microtubule-binding repeats. Minimal Tau35 expression in transgenic mice results in a progressive tauopathy phenotype including tau phosphorylation and aggregation, cognitive and behavioural abnormalities and impaired protein clearance. The autophagy-lysosomal pathway (ALP) plays a crucial role in the clearance of protein aggregates and defects in ALP are associated with the pathogenesis of AD. We sought to explore the effect of Tau35 expression on the ALP and whether autophagy is disrupted due to lysosomal dysfunction.METHOD: Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably expressing Tau35 (CHO-Tau35) or full-length human 2N4R tau (CHO-FL) were generated. Primary cortical neurons from Tau35 transgenic and wild-type mice were cultured for 14 days in vitro(DIV) and brain homogenates were prepared from mice aged 4 and 12 months. The effect of Tau35 on the ALP was examined using immunofluorescence and western blots.
    RESULT: Nuclear translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB), a key mediator of lysosomal biogenesis, was significantly reduced in both CHO-FL and CHO-Tau35 cells. However, only CHO-Tau35 cells exhibited disrupted mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity and autophagic flux. Expression of ALP markers, including LC3-I/II, LAMP1, LAMP2 and cathepsin D, were also reduced in CHO-Tau35 cells.
    CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that N-terminally cleaved tau damages both lysosomal clearance of cellular proteins and lysosomal biogenesis. The Tau35-expressing cultured neurons will provide a useful tool to explore molecular mechanisms underlying tau-induced lysosomal dysfunction, which may lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for dementia.
  10. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 139-169
      Anticancer therapy is complicated by the ability of malignant cells to activate cytoprotective autophagy that rescues treated cells. This protocol describes methods for analysis of autophagic process in apoptosis-resistant tumor cells treated with damaging agents. Induction of autophagy in these cells can activate apoptotic death. Protocol provides methods for Western blotting, immunofluorescent analysis, and transfection of cells with fluorescent protein-tagged LC3-encoding plasmids to analyze autophagy. Different approaches to change autophagy in tumor cells are suggested. A special approach is connected with induction of cellular senescence. Senescent cells, which are resistant to apoptosis, are vulnerable to certain damaging agents, in particular, to kinase inhibitors. Methods to induce and analyze senescence are considered. They include detection of proliferation arrest by different ways, mTORC1 activity assay and fluorescent analysis of mTORC1 and lysosome localization as a novel senescence hallmark. Incapability of senescent cells to complete autophagy after damage allows to force them to apoptosis. To demonstrate apoptotic cell death, analysis of caspase activity, Annexin V-FITC binding, DNA fragmentation, and mitochondria and lysosome damage are suggested. The methods described can be applied in studies aimed on developing different strategies of tumor cell elimination through changing autophagy.
    Keywords:  Apoptotic cell death; Autophagic cell death; Autophagy; Cancer; Cytoplasmic compartmentalization; Senescence; mTORC1
  11. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 27-38
      Accurate isolation of functional and intact lysosomes enables the quantification and analyses of abundances, dynamic changes and enrichment levels of lysosomal content, allowing specific lysosomal investigations induced by autophagy. In this protocol chapter, we describe detailed practical instructions and advices for an efficacious lysosomal enrichment and isolation procedure by differential multilayered density gradient centrifugations using human cancer cell lines. By this method, intact and autophagy competent lysosomes can be isolated from cancer cells based on their distinct density and obtained fractions can further be analyzed for functional lysosomal assays, as well as for protein or metabolic loads to identify select spatiotemporal changes by comparative quantitative measurement. This method has been used to enrich lysosomes from a variety of cancer cells with activated chaperone-mediated autophagy, but can be optimized for other cell lines and tissues for multiple autophagy-induced conditions.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; LAMP-2A; Lysosomes
  12. Viruses. 2021 Dec 13. pii: 2494. [Epub ahead of print]13(12):
      Selective autophagy mediates the degradation of cytoplasmic cargos, such as damaged organelles, invading pathogens, and protein aggregates. However, whether it targets double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) of intracellular pathogens is still largely unknown. Here, we show that selective autophagy regulates the degradation of the infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) dsRNA genome. The amount of dsRNA decreased greatly in cells that overexpressed the autophagy-required protein VPS34 or autophagy cargo receptor SQSTM1, while it increased significantly in SQSTM1 or VPS34 knockout cells or by treating wild-type cells with the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine or wortmannin. Confocal microscopy and structured illumination microscopy showed SQSTM1 colocalized with dsRNA during IBDV infection. A pull-down assay further confirmed the direct binding of SQSTM1 to dsRNA through amino acid sites R139 and K141. Overexpression of SQSTM1 inhibited the replication of IBDV, while knockout of SQSTM1 promoted IBDV replication. Therefore, our findings reveal the role of SQSTM1 in clearing viral dsRNA through selective autophagy, highlighting the antiviral role of autophagy in the removal of the viral genome.
    Keywords:  SQSTM1; VPS34; autophagy; dsRNA; infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)
  13. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 39-50
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a highly specific lysosomal-dependent protein degradation pathway. A critical molecular component of CMA is the lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP) type 2A, which is required for substrate uptake by the lysosome. Defects in the CMA pathway have been associated with various human pathologies, including malignancies, increasing the overall interest in methods to monitor this selective autophagy process. Yet isogenic LAMP-2A knockout cancer cell models are still lacking. This is likely to depend on challenges related to that human LAMP-2 gene undergoes alternative splicing of its pre-mRNA, generating three isoform variants, LAMP-2A, LAMP-2B, and LAMP-2C. However, without assessment of the impact of LAMP-2A loss of function specifically in human cells, the involvement of CMA in human pathologies, including carcinogenesis remains speculative. Here, we describe the generation of isoform-specific CRISPR-Cas9 genomic editing of LAMP-2A in human cancer cells, without affecting the other two isoforms, allowing for experimental evaluation of LAMP-2A, thus CMA in human cancer models.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CRISPR-Cas9; Cancer; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; Gene editing; LAMP-2A
  14. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 75-98
      Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process that maintains the cellular homeostasis and it is regulated in multiple ways, both in health and disease. Assessment of autophagic flux in cells is an important approach for understanding the function of autophagy in biological contexts. Here, we describe a new tool for the qualitative and quantitative determination of autophagic flux using a dual lentiviral reporter system that generates a fusion HiBiT-GFP-LC3B protein suitable for generating stable cell lines.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; HiBiT-GFP-LC3; Lentivirus
  15. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 3-24
      Autophagy is an intracellular self-digestive process involved in catabolic degradation of damaged proteins, and organelles, and the elimination of cellular pathogens. Initially, autophagy was considered as a prosurvival mechanism, but the following insights shed light on its prodeath function. Nowadays, autophagy is established as a crucial player in the development of various diseases through interaction with other molecular pathways within a cell. Additionally, disturbance in autophagy is one of the main pathological alterations that lead to resistance of cancer cells to treatment. These autophagy-related pathologies gave rise to the development of new therapeutic drugs. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the autophagic role in disease pathogenesis, particularly in cancer, and the interplay between autophagy and other cell death modalities in order to combat cancer.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Autophagy-dependent cell death; Cancer; Necroptosis
  16. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-18
      The intestinal epithelial tight junctions (TJs) provide barrier against paracellular permeation of lumenal antigens. Defects in TJ barrier such as increased levels of pore-forming TJ protein CLDN2 (claudin-2) is associated with inflammatory bowel disease. We have previously reported that starvation-induced macroautophagy/autophagy enhances the TJ barrier by degrading pore-forming CLDN2. In this study, we examined the molecular mechanism underlying autophagy-induced CLDN2 degradation. CLDN2 degradation was persistent in multiple modes of autophagy induction. Immunolocalization, membrane fractionation, and pharmacological inhibition studies showed increased clathrin-mediated CLDN2 endocytosis upon starvation. Inhibition of clathrin-mediated endocytosis negated autophagy-induced CLDN2 degradation and enhancement of the TJ barrier. The co-immunoprecipitation studies showed increased association of CLDN2 with clathrin and adaptor protein AP2 (AP2A1 and AP2M1 subunits) as well as LC3 and lysosomes upon starvation, signifying the role of clathrin-mediated endocytosis in autophagy-induced CLDN2 degradation. The expression and phosphorylation of AP2M1 was increased upon starvation. In-vitro, in-vivo (mouse colon), and ex-vivo (human colon) inhibition of AP2M1 activation prevented CLDN2 degradation. AP2M1 knockout prevented autophagy-induced CLDN2 degradation via reduced CLDN2-LC3 interaction. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that AP2M1 binds to CLDN2 tyrosine motifs (YXXФ) (67-70 and 148-151). Increased baseline expression of CLDN2 and TJ permeability along with reduced CLDN2-AP2M1-LC3 interactions in ATG7 knockout cells validated the role of autophagy in modulation of CLDN2 levels. Acute deletion of Atg7 in mice increased CLDN2 levels and the susceptibility to experimental colitis. The autophagy-regulated molecular mechanisms linking CLDN2, AP2M1, and LC3 may provide therapeutic tools against intestinal inflammation.Abbreviations: Amil: amiloride; AP2: adaptor protein complex 2; AP2A1: adaptor related protein complex 2 subunit alpha 1; AP2M1: adaptor related protein complex 2 subunit mu 1; ATG7: autophagy related 7; CAL: calcitriol; Cas9: CRISPR-associated protein 9; Con: control; CPZ: chlorpromazine; DSS: dextran sodium sulfate; EBSS: Earle's balanced salt solution; IBD: inflammatory bowel disease; TER: trans-epithelial resistance; KD: knockdown; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MβCD: Methyl-β-cyclodextrin; MET: metformin; MG132: carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NT: non target; RAPA: rapamycin; RES: resveratrol; SMER: small-molecule enhancer 28; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; ST: starvation; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; WT: wild type.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CLDN2; inflammatory bowel disease; intestinal permeability; tight junction
  17. Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Dec;17 Suppl 2 e058600
      BACKGROUND: Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL), known as Batten disease, are the most common of the rare neurodegenerative disorders in children. To date, defects in thirteen different genes have been identified in NCL patients. Despite the genetic heterogeneity, Batten diseases are grouped together based on clinical similarities and broadly uniform neuropathological features, including accumulation of lipofuscin in lysosomes, as well as profound neurodegeneration and widespread gliosis. Amongst these, the incidence of Cln7 disease, caused by mutation in MFSD8 gene, is the highest in southern and Mediterranean Europe. CLN7/MFSD8 encodes a lysosomal membrane glycoprotein with unknown function. Lysosomes are the only organelles able to hydrolyse triacylglycerols, which fuels the mitochondria for energy generation. The autophagic machinery provides TGs to the lysosomes through a process known as lipophagy. Although defective autophagy has been related with Cln7 disease, Cln7 role in lipid metabolism is unknown, particularly in lipophagy. Here, we hypothesized that disruption of lipophagy links neuronal death and Cln7-mediated Batten disease.METHOD: To address this, we have studied lipophagy in Cln7 knockout (Cln7-KO) mice and investigated whether Cln7 loss in the hypothalamus disrupts liver lipophagy. We have obtained experimental data from different techniques in Cln7-KO mice fibroblasts, liver, brown fat and brain, to stablish a connection between the brain and the metabolism of the peripheral tissues.
    RESULT: Thus, our data show that Cln7 deficiency in the hypothalamus damages liver lipophagy resulting in fat accumulation. Ongoing work is being developed to validate these observations using robust metabolic and in vivo uncoupling approaches.
    CONCLUSION: Cln7 deficiency causes neuronal damages which seem to produce lipophagy impairment in the periphery tissues.
  18. Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 27. pii: S0006-2952(21)00525-6. [Epub ahead of print] 114899
      The accumulation of aggregated α-synuclein (α-syn) has been identified as the primary component of Lewy bodies that are the pathological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD). Several preclinical studies have shown α-syn aggregation, and particularly the intermediates formed during the aggregation process to be toxic to cells. Current PD treatments only provide symptomatic relief, and α-syn serves as a promising target to develop a disease-modifying therapy for PD. Our previous studies have revealed that a small-molecular inhibitor for prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP), KYP-2047, increases α-syn degradation by accelerating macroautophagy (MA) leading to disease-modifying effects in preclinical PD models. However, α-syn is also degraded by chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). In the present study, we tested the effects of PREP inhibition or deletion on CMA activation and α-syn degradation. HEK-293 cells were transfected with α-syn and incubated with 1 & 10 µM KYP-2047 for 24 h. Both 1 & 10 µM KYP-2047 increased LAMP-2A levels, induced α-syn degradation and reduced the expression of Hsc70, suggesting that the PREP inhibitor prevented α-syn aggregation by activating the CMA pathway. Similarly, KYP-2047 increased the LAMP-2A immunoreactivity and reduced the Hsc70 levels in mouse primary cortical neurons. When LAMP-2A was silenced by a siRNA, KYP-2047 increased the LC3BII/LC3BI ratio and accelerated the clearance of α-syn. Additionally, KYP-2047 induced CMA effectively also when MA was blocked by bafilomycin A1. Based on our results, we suggest that PREP might function as a core network node in MA-CMA crosstalk, and PREP inhibition can reduce α-syn levels via both main autophagy systems.
    Keywords:  Chaperone-mediated autophagy; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; Prolyl oligopeptidase inhibition; macroautophagy; α-synuclein
  19. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 243-253
      Autophagy of the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER-phagy, maintains the homeostasis of the secretory pathway. This is particularly prominent in specialized secretory cells such as the acinar cells of the exocrine pancreas. The role for such a homeostatic pathway during ageing of mammals is modelled best by in vivo genetic or pharmacologic intervention in mice. This is due to the paucity of cellular models that can maintain acinar identity outside of an animal. Here we present methods for isolation of soluble and insoluble protein fractions of ER luminal proteins from the pancreas, alongside RNA. Analysis of these macromolecules allows inference of changes in ER luminal proteostasis upon autophagy-targeted interventions. These methods will likely be more widely applicable, beyond autophagy research.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; ER stress; ER-phagy; Endoplasmic reticulum; Pancreas; UPR
  20. Cell Rep. 2021 Dec 28. pii: S2211-1247(21)01645-4. [Epub ahead of print]37(13): 110149
      The eukaryotic TORC1 kinase assimilates diverse environmental cues, including growth factors and nutrients, to control growth by tuning anabolic and catabolic processes. In yeast, TORC1 stimulates protein synthesis in response to abundant nutrients primarily through its proximal effector kinase Sch9. Conversely, TORC1 inhibition following nutrient limitation unlocks various distally controlled kinases (e.g., Atg1, Gcn2, Npr1, Rim15, Slt2/Mpk1, and Yak1), which cooperate through poorly defined circuits to orchestrate the quiescence program. To better define the signaling landscape of the latter kinases, we use in vivo quantitative phosphoproteomics. Through pinpointing known and uncharted Npr1, Rim15, Slt2/Mpk1, and Yak1 effectors, our study examines the architecture of the distally controlled TORC1 kinase network. Accordingly, this is built on a combination of discrete, convergent, and multilayered feedback regulatory mechanisms, which likely ensure homeostatic control of and/or robust responses by TORC1 and its effector kinases under fluctuating nutritional conditions.
    Keywords:  Atg9; Gis1; Npr1; Rim15; Slt2/Mpk1; TORC1; Yak1; autophagy; phosphoproteomics; quiescence program; target of rapamycin complex 1
  21. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 329-335
      Cancer cells possess an elevated demand for nutrients and metabolites due to their uncontrolled proliferation and need to survive in unfavorable conditions. Autophagy is a conservative degradation pathway that counters lack of nutrients and provides organelle and protein quality control, beyond maintenance of cellular metabolism.Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics is a powerful tool to study the metabolome of a cell. Such analysis requires proper sample preparation including the extraction of metabolites. Here, we provide a protocol for the extraction of metabolites from adherent cancer cells suitable for global metabolome profiling by mass spectrometry.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CE-MS; Cancer metabolism; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; GC-MS; LC-MS; Mass spectrometry; Metabolism; Methanol extraction
  22. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-18
      PSENEN/PEN2 is the smallest subunit of the γ-secretase complex, an intramembrane protease that cleaves proteins within their transmembrane domains. Mutations in components of the γ-secretase underlie familial Alzheimer disease. In addition to its proteolytic activity, supplementary, γ-secretase independent, functions in the macroautophagy/autophagy-lysosome system have been proposed. Here, we screened for PSENEN-interacting proteins and identified CLN3. Mutations in CLN3 are causative for juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, a rare lysosomal storage disorder considered the most common neurodegenerative disease in children. As mutations in the PSENEN and CLN3 genes cause different neurodegenerative diseases, understanding shared cellular functions of both proteins might be pertinent for understanding general cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. We hypothesized that CLN3 modulates γ-secretase activity and that PSENEN and CLN3 play associated roles in the autophagy-lysosome system. We applied CRISPR gene-editing and obtained independent isogenic HeLa knockout cell lines for PSENEN and CLN3. Following previous studies, we demonstrate that PSENEN is essential for forming a functional γ-secretase complex and is indispensable for γ-secretase activity. In contrast, CLN3 does not modulate γ-secretase activity to a significant degree. We observed in PSENEN- and CLN3-knockout cells corresponding alterations in the autophagy-lysosome system. These include reduced activity of lysosomal enzymes and lysosome number, an increased number of autophagosomes, increased lysosome-autophagosome fusion, and elevated levels of TFEB (transcription factor EB). Our study strongly suggests converging roles of PSENEN and CLN3 in the autophagy-lysosome system in a γ-secretase activity-independent manner, supporting the idea of common cytopathological processes underlying different neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; cln3 disease; knockout cells; neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis; transcription factor eb; γ-secretase
  23. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 183-203
      Maintenance of cellular homeostasis through regulated degradation of proteins and organelles is a defining feature of autophagy. This process itself is tightly regulated in a series of well-defined biochemical reactions governed largely by the highly conserved ATG protein family. Given its crucial role in regulating protein levels under both basal and stress conditions such as starvation and infection, genetic or pharmacological perturbation of autophagy results in massive changes in the cellular proteome and impacts nearly every biological process. Therefore, studying autophagy perturbations at a global scale assumes prime importance. In recent years, quantitative mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics has emerged as a powerful approach to explore biological processes through global proteome quantification analysis. Tandem mass tag (TMT)-based MS proteomics is one such robust quantitative technique that can examine relative protein abundances in multiple samples (parallel multiplexing). Investigating autophagy through TMT-based MS approach can give great insights into autophagy-regulated biological processes, protein-protein interaction networks, spatiotemporal protein dynamics, and identification of new autophagy substrates. This chapter provides a detailed protocol for studying the impact of a dysfunctional autophagy pathway on the cellular proteome and pathways in a healthy vs. disease (virus infection) condition using a 16-plex TMT-based quantitative proteomics approach. We also provide a pipeline on data processing and analysis using available web-based tools.
    Keywords:  ATG5; Autophagy; Mass spectrometry; Quantitative proteomics; TMT
  24. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 255-272
      Autophagy is a dynamic process that can be monitored in multiple ways, both in vitro and in vivo. Studies in mice are a widely used tool to understand multiple diseases and conditions where autophagy plays a role, and therefore autophagic flux measurement in tissues of rodent models are of utmost importance. Here, we present some assays successfully used in determining the autophagy status in the mice mammary gland as well as in xenografts.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Electron microscopy; GFP-LC3; Immunohistochemistry; Immunoprecipitation; Mammary gland; RNAseq; Western blot; Xenografts
  25. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 53-64
      Since the discovery of autophagy genes and proteins in the early1990s, numerous previously unknown physiological and pathological functions have been discovered for autophagy. At the same time, precise monitoring of autophagy has become important, and western blotting and fluorescence microscopy of the marker protein LC3 is widely used for this purpose. Here, we describe a modification of the widely used method, number of LC3 dots per cell. This protocol provides the proportion of vesicular LC3 staining over the total LC3 staining in the same cell. The approach is well suitable for quantification of endogenous LC3.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cell profiler; Fluorescence microscopy; Image analysis; Immunofluorescence; LC3
  26. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 127-137
      The detection of autophagic vesicles in interphase cells is well characterized with markers such as LC3, SQSTM1 (also known as p62) and LAMP2, which are commonly used in immunofluorescence and biochemistry assays to evaluate the status of autophagy in adherent cells. During mitosis, cells undergo important morphological changes which alter the position of the central plane, therefore the imaging of dividing cells has to be specifically designed. Here, we describe a method to label and image autophagic vesicles in mitotic cells to systematically analyze their number, morphology and distribution.
    Keywords:  Adherent cells; Autophagy; Image analysis; Immunofluorescence; Lysosomes; Mitosis; Radial plot
  27. Hum Reprod Update. 2021 Dec 30. pii: dmab043. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic process of degrading and recycling proteins and organelles to modulate various physiological and pathological events, including cell differentiation and development. Emerging data indicate that autophagy is closely associated with male reproduction, especially the biosynthetic and catabolic processes of sperm. Throughout the fate of sperm, a series of highly specialized cellular events occur, involving pre-testicular, testicular and post-testicular events. Nonetheless, the most fundamental question of whether autophagy plays a protective or harmful role in male reproduction, especially in sperm, remains unclear.OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: We summarize the functional roles of autophagy in the pre-testicular (hypothalamic-pituitary-testis (HPG) axis), testicular (spermatocytogenesis, spermatidogenesis, spermiogenesis, spermiation) and post-testicular (sperm maturation and fertilization) processes according to the timeline of sperm fate. Additionally, critical mechanisms of the action and clinical impacts of autophagy on sperm are identified, laying the foundation for the treatment of male infertility.
    SEARCH METHODS: In this narrative review, the PubMed database was used to search peer-reviewed publications for summarizing the functional roles of autophagy in the fate of sperm using the following terms: 'autophagy', 'sperm', 'hypothalamic-pituitary-testis axis', 'spermatogenesis', 'spermatocytogenesis', 'spermatidogenesis', 'spermiogenesis', 'spermiation', 'sperm maturation', 'fertilization', 'capacitation' and 'acrosome' in combination with autophagy-related proteins. We also performed a bibliographic search for the clinical impact of the autophagy process using the keywords of autophagy inhibitors such as 'bafilomycin A1', 'chloroquine', 'hydroxychloroquine', '3-Methyl Adenine (3-MA)', 'lucanthone', 'wortmannin' and autophagy activators such as 'rapamycin', 'perifosine', 'metformin' in combination with 'disease', 'treatment', 'therapy', 'male infertility' and equivalent terms. In addition, reference lists of primary and review articles were reviewed for additional relevant publications. All relevant publications until August 2021 were critically evaluated and discussed on the basis of relevance, quality and timelines.
    OUTCOMES: (i) In pre-testicular processes, autophagy-related genes are involved in the regulation of the HPG axis; and (ii) in testicular processes, mTORC1, the main gate to autophagy, is crucial for spermatogonia stem cell (SCCs) proliferation, differentiation, meiotic progression, inactivation of sex chromosomes and spermiogenesis. During spermatidogenesis, autophagy maintains haploid round spermatid chromatoid body homeostasis for differentiation. During spermiogenesis, autophagy participates in acrosome biogenesis, flagella assembly, head shaping and the removal of cytoplasm from elongating spermatid. After spermatogenesis, through PDLIM1, autophagy orchestrates apical ectoplasmic specialization and basal ectoplasmic specialization to handle cytoskeleton assembly, governing spermatid movement and release during spermiation. In post-testicular processes, there is no direct evidence that autophagy participates in the process of capacitation. However, autophagy modulates the acrosome reaction, paternal mitochondria elimination and clearance of membranous organelles during fertilization.
    WIDER IMPLICATIONS: Deciphering the roles of autophagy in the entire fate of sperm will provide valuable insights into therapies for diseases, especially male infertility.
    Keywords:  acrosome biogenesis; acrosome reaction; autophagy; ectoplasmic specialisation; erectile dysfunction; fertilisation; hypothalamic-pituitary-testis axis; paternal mitochondria elimination; sperm maturation; spermatogenesis
  28. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2445 65-74
      Autophagy is deregulated in cancer cells and often activated as a cellular stress response to anticancer therapies. Flow cytometry-based assays enable detection and quantification of various cellular markers in live or fixed cells. Here, a flow cytometry-based assay to characterize autophagy across the cell cycle is described. This method is based on selective plasma membrane permeabilization with digitonin and extraction of membrane-unbound LC3 protein followed by staining of the autophagosome-bound LC3 protein with antibody and labeling of DNA with propidium iodide. Staining with the LC3 antibody described here can be also combined with the staining of other cellular markers, allowing to quantitatively assess autophagy in relation to different cellular processes by flow cytometry.
    Keywords:  Autophagic flux; Autophagosome formation; Autophagy; Cell cycle; Cell permeabilization; DNA staining; Flow cytometry; LC3; Quantification
  29. Viruses. 2021 12 09. pii: 2467. [Epub ahead of print]13(12):
      In the past year and a half, SARS-CoV-2 has caused 240 million confirmed cases and 5 million deaths worldwide. Autophagy is a conserved process that either promotes or inhibits viral infections. Although coronaviruses are known to utilize the transport of autophagy-dependent vesicles for the viral life cycle, the underlying autophagy-inducing mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Using several autophagy-deficient cell lines and autophagy inhibitors, we demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 ORF3a was able to induce incomplete autophagy in a FIP200/Beclin-1-dependent manner. Moreover, ORF3a was involved in the induction of the UPR (unfolded protein response), while the IRE1 and ATF6 pathways, but not the PERK pathway, were responsible for mediating the ORF3a-induced autophagy. These results identify the role of the UPR pathway in the ORF3a-induced classical autophagy process, which may provide us with a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest new therapeutic modalities in the treatment of COVID-19.
    Keywords:  ORF3a; SARS-CoV-2; UPR; autophagy; coronavirus
  30. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 790568
      Lipid-related disorders, which primarily affect metabolic tissues, including adipose tissue and the liver are associated with alterations in lysosome homeostasis. Obesity is one of the more prevalent diseases, which results in energy imbalance within metabolic tissues and lysosome dysfunction. Less frequent diseases include Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) and Gaucher diseases, both of which are known as Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSDs), where lysosomal dysfunction within metabolic tissues remains to be fully characterized. Adipocytes and hepatocytes share common pathways involved in the lysosome-autophagic axis, which are regulated by the function of cathepsins and CD36, an immuno-metabolic receptor and display alterations in lipid diseases, and thereby impacting metabolic functions. In addition to intrinsic defects observed in metabolic tissues, cells of the immune system, such as B cells can infiltrate adipose and liver tissues, during metabolic imbalance favoring inflammation. Moreover, B cells rely on lysosomes to promote the processing and presentation of extracellular antigens and thus could also present lysosome dysfunction, consequently affecting such functions. On the other hand, growing evidence suggests that cells accumulating lipids display defective inter-organelle membrane contact sites (MCSs) established by lysosomes and other compartments, which contribute to metabolic dysfunctions at the cellular level. Overall, in this review we will discuss recent findings addressing common mechanisms that are involved in lysosome dysregulation in adipocytes and hepatocytes during obesity, NPC, and Gaucher diseases. We will discuss whether these mechanisms may modulate the function of B cells and how inter-organelle contacts, emerging as relevant cellular mechanisms in the control of lipid homeostasis, have an impact on these diseases.
    Keywords:  B cell activation and membrane contact sites (MCSs); CD36; cathepsins; gaucher disease (GD); lysosomal dysfunction; niemann-pick type C (NPC); obesity
  31. Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 27. pii: S0006-2952(21)00511-6. [Epub ahead of print] 114885
      As a highly prevalent neuropsychiatric disorder worldwide, the pathophysiology of depression is not yet fully understood and based on multiple factors among which chronic stress is critical. Numerous previous studies have shown the role of central mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling in depression. However, so far it remains elusive by which way chronic stress down-regulates the activity of central mTORC1. Liver kinase b1 (LKB1) has been demonstrated to regulate the activity of the mTORC1 signaling cascade by phosphorylating AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK). Here, this study aimed to explore whether LKB1 participates in depression by regulating the downstream AMPK-mTORC1 signaling, and various methods including mouse models of depression, western blotting and immunofluorescence were used together. Our results showed that chronic stress significantly enhanced the expression of both phosphorylated LKB1 and total LKB1 in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) but not the hippocampus. Furthermore, genetic knockdown of LKB1 in the mPFC fully reversed not only the depressive-like behaviors induced by chronic stress in mice but also the effects of chronic stress on the activity of AMPK and the mTORC1 system. Taken together, this study preliminarily suggests that LKB1 in the mPFC could be a feasible target for antidepressants. This study also provides support for the potential use of LKB1 inhibition strategies against the chronic stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
    Keywords:  AMP activated protein kinase; Chronic stress; Depression; Liver kinase b1; mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1; medial prefrontal cortex
  32. Mol Immunol. 2021 Dec 26. pii: S0161-5890(21)00351-5. [Epub ahead of print]142 63-75
      Severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) is complicated by systemic inflammatory response syndrome and multiple organ dysfunction, the disease will eventually result in death in almost half of the case. The spleen, as the largest immune organ adjacent to the pancreas, is prone to damage in SAP, thereby aggravating the damage of other organs and increasing mortality. However, to date, the research on the mechanism and treatment of spleen injury caused by SAP is still in its infancy. Herein, we investigated the mechanism of spleen injury, and explored the application potential of tuftsin for relieving spleen damage in SAP mice. Firstly, SAP mice model was constructed via the retrograde infusion of 3.5 % sodium taurocholate into the biliopancreatic duct. Then, we proved that the up-regulation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in spleen would lead to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial dysfunction under SAP conditions. The splenic ROS and mitochondrial dysfunction could be improved by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment or knocking out TLR4 in SAP mice. Meanwhile, we found that NAC treatment could also improve the autophagy of spleen tissue, suggesting that splenic ROS may affect impaired autophagy, causing the accumulation of damaged mitochondria, aggravating spleen damage. Furthermore, we verified the mechanism of spleen injury is caused by splenic ROS affecting PI3K/p-AKT/mTOR pathway-mediated autophagy. In addition, we detected the spleen injury caused by SAP could decrease the concentration of tuftsin in the serum of mice. Whereas, exogenous supplementation of tuftsin ameliorated the pathological damage, ROS accumulation, impaired autophagy, inflammation expression and apoptosis in damaged spleen. In summary, we verified the new mechanism of SAP-caused spleen damage that TLR4-induced ROS provoked mitophagy impairment and mitochondrial dysfunction in spleen via PI3K/p-AKT mTOR signaling, and the application potential of tuftsin in treating spleen injury, which might expand novel ideas and methods for the treatment of pancreatitis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling; ROS; Severe acute pancreatitis; Spleen injury; TLR4
  33. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 29. pii: 4317. [Epub ahead of print]13(12):
      Declines in physiological functions are the predominant risk factors for age-related diseases, such as cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, delaying the aging process is believed to be beneficial in preventing the onset of age-related diseases. Previous studies have demonstrated that Graptopetalum paraguayense (GP) extract inhibits liver cancer cell growth and reduces the pathological phenotypes of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in patient IPS-derived neurons. Here, we show that GP extract suppresses β-amyloid pathology in SH-SYS5Y-APP695 cells and APP/PS1 mice. Moreover, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity is enhanced by GP extract in U87 cells and APP/PS1 mice. Intriguingly, GP extract enhances autophagy in SH-SYS5Y-APP695 cells, U87 cells, and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, suggesting a conserved molecular mechanism by which GP extract might regulate autophagy. In agreement with its role as an autophagy activator, GP extract markedly diminishes mobility decline in polyglutamine Q35 mutants and aged wild-type N2 animals in C. elegans. Furthermore, GP extract significantly extends lifespan in C. elegans.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; GP extract; amyloid-β; autophagy; longevity; neurodegenerative disease
  34. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-14
      Ferroptosis is a form of inflammatory cell death for which key mediators remain obscure. Here, we report that the proteoglycan decorin (DCN) is released by cells that are dying from ferroptosis and then acts as an alarm signal to trigger innate and adaptive immune responses. The early release of DCN during ferroptosis is an active process that involves secretory macroautophagy/autophagy and lysosomal exocytosis. Once released, extracellular DCN binds to the receptor advanced glycosylation end-product-specific receptor (AGER) on macrophages to trigger the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in an NFKB/NF-κB-dependent manner. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of the DCN-AGER axis protects against ferroptotic death-related acute pancreatitis and limits the capacity of ferroptotic cancer cells to induce a tumor-protective immune response. Thus, DCN is an essential mediator of the inflammatory and immune consequences of ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  DAMP; Ferroptosis; autophagy; inflammation; macrophages
  35. J Biol Chem. 2021 Dec 24. pii: S0021-9258(21)01350-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101540
      Persistent inactivity promotes skeletal muscle atrophy, marked by mitochondrial aberrations that affect strength, mobility, and metabolic health leading to the advancement of disease. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC) pathways include biogenesis (synthesis), mitophagy/lysosomal turnover, and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) which serve to maintain an optimal organelle network. Tumor suppressor p53 has been implicated in regulating muscle mitochondria in response to cellular stress; however, its role in the context of muscle disuse has yet to be explored, and whether p53 is necessary for MQC remains unclear. To address this, we subjected p53 muscle-specific knockout (mKO) and wild-type (WT) mice to unilateral denervation. Transcriptomic and pathway analyses revealed dysregulation of pathways pertaining to mitochondrial function, and especially turnover, in mKO muscle following denervation. Protein and mRNA data of the MQC pathways indicated activation of the UPRmt and mitophagy-lysosome systems along with reductions in mitochondrial biogenesis and content in WT and mKO tissue following chronic denervation. However, p53 ablation also attenuated the expression of autophagy/mitophagy machinery, reduced autophagic flux, and enhanced lysosomal dysfunction. While similar reductions in mitochondrial biogenesis and content were observed between genotypes, MQC dysregulation exacerbated mitochondrial dysfunction in mKO fibers, evidenced by elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS). Moreover, acute experiments indicate that p53 mediates the expression of transcriptional regulators of MQC pathways as early as 1 day following denervation. Together, our data illustrate exacerbated mitochondrial dysregulation with denervation stress in p53 mKO tissue, thus indicating that p53 contributes to organellar maintenance via regulation of MQC pathways during muscle atrophy.
    Keywords:  lysosome; mitochondria; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; muscle atrophy; p53; skeletal muscle; transcriptomics; unfolded protein response (UPR)
  36. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 Dec 28.
      Non-invasive dynamic tracking of lysosomes and their interactions with other organelles is important for the study of lysosomal function and related diseases. However, many fluorescent dyes developed so far to target lysosomes cannot be used to monitor these processes due to the high concentrations required for imaging, long cell penetration times, and non-ideal photostability. In this regard, we synthesized three lysosomal targeting probes with large Stokes shifts, good stability, and high brightness. The Q-P-ARh , developed by us for the first time, can stain lysosomes at ultra-low concentrations (1.0 nM) without affecting the physiological functions of the lysosomes. More importantly, its excellent anti-interference ability and ultrafast lysosomal staining ability (within 1.0 min) clearly monitored the entire dynamic process of lipophagy. Ultimately, this method can greatly contribute to the study of autophagy pathways. This novel fluorescence platform shows great promise for the development of biological probes for application in pathological environments.
    Keywords:  lipophagy * lysosomes * near-infrared * large stokes shift
  37. Virulence. 2022 Dec;13(1): 46-59
      Influenza A virus (IAV) is an infectious pathogen, threatening the population and public safety with its epidemics. Therefore, it is essential to better understand influenza virus biology to develop efficient strategies against its pathogenicity. Autophagy is an important cellular process to maintain cellular homeostasis by cleaning up the hazardous substrates in lysosome. Accumulating research has also suggested that autophagy is a critical mechanism in host defense responses against IAV infection by degrading viral particles and activating innate or acquired immunity to induce viral clearance. However, IAV has conversely hijacked autophagy to strengthen virus infection by blocking autophagy maturation and further interfering host antiviral signalling to promote viral replication. Therefore, how the battle for autophagy between host and IAV is carried out need to be known. In this review, we describe the role of autophagy in host defence and IAV survival, and summarize the role of influenza proteins in subverting the autophagic process as well as then concentrate on how host utilize antiviral function of autophagy to prevent IAV infection.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; antiviral response; drug; host; influenza virus proteins
  38. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(12): e0262180
      Trichoderma atroviride (Ascomycota, Sordariomycetes) is a well-known mycoparasite applied for protecting plants against fungal pathogens. Its mycoparasitic activity involves processes shared with plant and human pathogenic fungi such as the production of cell wall degrading enzymes and secondary metabolites and is tightly regulated by environmental cues. In eukaryotes, the conserved Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase serves as a central regulator of cellular growth in response to nutrient availability. Here we describe how alteration of the activity of TOR1, the single and essential TOR kinase of T. atroviride, by treatment with chemical TOR inhibitors or by genetic manipulation of selected TOR pathway components affected various cellular functions. Loss of TSC1 and TSC2, that are negative regulators of TOR complex 1 (TORC1) in mammalian cells, resulted in altered nitrogen source-dependent growth of T. atroviride, reduced mycoparasitic overgrowth and, in the case of Δtsc1, a diminished production of numerous secondary metabolites. Deletion of the gene encoding the GTPase RHE2, whose mammalian orthologue activates mTORC1, led to rapamycin hypersensitivity and altered secondary metabolism, but had an only minor effect on vegetative growth and mycoparasitic overgrowth. The latter also applied to mutants missing the npr1-1 gene that encodes a fungus-specific kinase known as TOR target in yeast. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis confirmed TOR1 as a regulatory hub that governs T. atroviride metabolism and processes associated to ribosome biogenesis, gene expression and translation. In addition, mycoparasitism-relevant genes encoding terpenoid and polyketide synthases, peptidases, glycoside hydrolases, small secreted cysteine-rich proteins, and G protein coupled receptors emerged as TOR1 targets. Our results provide the first in-depth insights into TOR signaling in a fungal mycoparasite and emphasize its importance in the regulation of processes that critically contribute to the antagonistic activity of T. atroviride.
  39. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 768100
      The kidney is an energy-consuming organ, and cellular metabolism plays an indispensable role in kidney-related diseases. Caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a multifunctional membrane protein, is the main component of caveolae on the plasma membrane. Caveolae are represented by tiny invaginations that are abundant on the plasma membrane and that serve as a platform to regulate cellular endocytosis, stress responses, and signal transduction. However, caveolae have received increasing attention as a metabolic platform that mediates the endocytosis of albumin, cholesterol, and glucose, participates in cellular metabolic reprogramming and is involved in the progression of kidney disease. It is worth noting that caveolae mainly depend on Cav-1 to perform the abovementioned cellular functions. Furthermore, the mechanism by which Cav-1 regulates cellular metabolism and participates in the pathophysiology of kidney diseases has not been completely elucidated. In this review, we introduce the structure and function of Cav-1 and its functions in regulating cellular metabolism, autophagy, and oxidative stress, focusing on the relationship between Cav-1 in cellular metabolism and kidney disease; in addition, Cav-1 that serves as a potential therapeutic target for treatment of kidney disease is also described.
    Keywords:  autophagy; caveolin-1 (Cav-1); cellular metabolism; kidney disease; oxidative stress
  40. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-13
      Senecavirus A (SVA), an important emerging porcine virus, has outbreaks in different regions and countries each year, becoming a virus with global prevalence. SVA infection has been reported to induce macroautophagy/autophagy; however, the molecular mechanisms of autophagy induction and the effect of SVA on autophagy remain unknown. This study showed that SVA infection induced the autophagy process in the early stage of SVA infection, and the rapamycin-induced autophagy inhibited SVA replication by degrading virus 3 C protein. To counteract this, SVA utilized 2AB protein inhibiting the autophagy process from promoting viral replication in the late stage of SVA infection. Further study showed that SVA 2AB protein interacted with MARCHF8/MARCH8 and LC3 to degrade the latter and inhibit the autophagy process. In addition, we found that MARCHF8 was a positive regulator of type I IFN (IFN-I) signaling. During the autophagy process, the SVA 2AB protein targeted MARCHF8 and MAVS forming a large complex for degradation to deactivate IFN-I signaling. Together, our study reveals the molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy in the host against viruses and reveals potential viral strategies to evade the autophagic process and IFN-I signaling for successful pathogenesis.Abbreviations: Baf A1: bafilomycin A1; Co-IP: co-immunoprecipitation; CQ: chloroquine; DAPI: 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; hpi: hours post-infection; IFN: interferon; ISG: IFN-stimulated gene; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MARCHF8/MARCH8: membrane associated ring-CH-type finger 8; MAVS: mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein; MOI: multiplicity of infection; Rapa: rapamycin; RT: room temperature; siRNA: small interfering RNA; SVA: Senecavirus A; TCID50: 50% tissue culture infectious doses.
    Keywords:  IFN-i; lc3; marchf8; mavs; selective autophagy; sva
  41. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Dec 28.
      Lafora disease (LD) is a fatal childhood-onset dementia characterized by the extensive accumulation of glycogen aggregates-the so-called Lafora Bodies (LBs)-in several organs. The accumulation of LBs in the brain underlies the neurological phenotype of the disease. LBs are composed of abnormal glycogen and various associated proteins, including p62, an autophagy adaptor that participates in the aggregation and clearance of misfolded proteins. To study the role of p62 in the formation of LBs and its participation in the pathology of LD, we generated a mouse model of the disease (malinKO) lacking p62. Deletion of p62 prevented LB accumulation in skeletal muscle and cardiac tissue. In the brain, the absence of p62 altered LB morphology and increased susceptibility to epilepsy. These results demonstrate that p62 participates in the formation of LBs and suggest that the sequestration of abnormal glycogen into LBs is a protective mechanism through which it reduces the deleterious consequences of its accumulation in the brain.
    Keywords:  Epilepsy; Glycogen; Lafora bodies; Lafora disease; Malin; Neuroinflammation; p62
  42. Am J Transl Res. 2021 ;13(11): 12626-12637
      BACKGROUND: Psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease characterized by epidermal hyperplasia and skin inflammatory infiltrates. Inactivation of AMPK has been shown to decrease autophagy, thereby inhibiting elimination of inflammatory factors and harmful substances, and aggravating psoriasis. However, the molecular mechanism through which AMPK affects psoriasis remains to be further explored. In this study, we investigated whether AMPK regulates autophagy through the ULK1/Atg7 signaling pathway and regulates mitochondrial autophagy through the PINK1/Parkin signaling pathway, thereby affecting a mouse model of psoriasis.METHODS: Imiquimod was used to induce psoriasis-like lesions on the backs of mice. The severity of skin lesions in psoriatic mice was evaluated with the skin inflammation severity score, and epidermal thickness was measured on the basis of H&E staining. RT-PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence staining were used to detect indicators of autophagy and mitochondrial autophagy.
    RESULTS: AMPK activity was inhibited in the psoriasis mouse model, the autophagy-associated proteins ULK1/Atg7 were inhibited, and the mitochondrial autophagy proteins PINK1/Parkin were also decreased. Results indicated that autophagy and mitochondrial autophagy were inhibited in the mouse model. When AMPK signaling was upregulated, ULK1/Atg7 and PINK1/Parkin were upregulated, autophagy and mitochondrial autophagy increased, and skin lesions in the mouse model were alleviated. ULK1/Atg7 and PINK1/Parkin were down-regulated when AMPK signaling was downregulated, and psoriasis-like skin lesions were aggravated in mice. These results indicated that AMPK regulates autophagy through the ULK1/Atg7 signaling pathway and regulates mitochondrial autophagy through the PINK1/Parkin signaling pathway, thus affecting the prognosis of psoriasis in the mouse model.
    CONCLUSION: AMPK affects the prognosis of psoriasis in a mouse model by regulating autophagy and mitochondrial autophagy.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PINK1; ULK1; autophagy; mitochondrial autophagy; psoriasis
  43. Cancer Res. 2021 Dec 29. pii: canres.2342.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Dormant cancer cells that survive anti-cancer therapy can lead to cancer recurrence and disseminated metastases that prove fatal in most cases. Recently, specific dormant polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCC) have drawn our attention because of their association with the clinical risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) recurrence, as demonstrated by previous clinical data. In this study, we report the biological properties of PGCC, including mitochondrial alterations, and reveal that autophagy is a critical mechanism of PGCC induction. Moreover, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of autophagy greatly impaired PGCC formation, significantly suppressing metastasis and improving survival in a mouse model. Mechanistically, chemotherapeutic drugs partly damaged mitochondria, which then produced low ATP levels and activated autophagy via the AMPK-mTOR pathway to promote PGCC formation. Analysis of the transcriptional and epigenetic landscape of PGCC revealed overexpression of RIPK1, and the scaffolding function of RIPK1 was required for AMPK-mTOR pathway-induced PGCC survival. High numbers of PGCCs correlated with shorter recurrence time and worse survival outcomes in NPC patients. Collectively, these findings suggest a therapeutic approach of targeting dormant PGCCs in cancer.
  44. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Dec 22. pii: S0891-5849(21)01156-4. [Epub ahead of print]179 119-132
      Mitochondria are key organelles involved in cellular survival, differentiation, and death induction. In this regard, mitochondrial morphology and/or function alterations are involved in stress-induced adaptive pathways, priming mitochondria for mitophagy or apoptosis induction. We have previously shown that the mitochondriotropic antioxidant AntiOxCIN4 (100 μM; 48 h) presented significant cytoprotective effect without affecting the viability of human hepatoma-derived (HepG2) cells. Moreover, AntiOxCIN4 (12.5 μM; 72 h) caused a mild increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels without toxicity to primary human skin fibroblasts (PHSF). As Nrf2 is a master regulator of the oxidative stress response inducing antioxidant-encoding gene expression, we hypothesized that AntiOxCIN4 could increase the resistance of human hepatoma-derived HepG2 to oxidative stress by Nrf2-dependent mechanisms, in a process mediated by mitochondrial ROS (mtROS). Here we showed that after an initial decrease in oxygen consumption paralleled by a moderate increase in superoxide anion levels, AntiOxCIN4 led to a time-dependent Nrf2 translocation to the nucleus. This was followed later by a 1.5-fold increase in basal respiration and a 1.2-fold increase in extracellular acidification. AntiOxCIN4 treatment enhanced mitochondrial quality by triggering the clearance of defective organelles by autophagy and/or mitophagy, coupled with increased mitochondrial biogenesis. AntiOxCIN4 also up-regulated the cellular antioxidant defense system. AntiOxCIN4 seems to have the ability to maintain hepatocyte redox homeostasis, regulating the electrophilic/nucleophilic tone, and preserve cellular physiological functions. The obtained data open a new avenue to explore the effects of AntiOxCIN4 in the context of preserving hepatic mitochondrial function in disorders, such as NASH/NAFLD and type II diabetes.
    Keywords:  Antioxidant defenses; Autophagy; Caffeic acid; Dietary antioxidants; Mitochondria; Mitochondria-targeted antioxidants; Nrf2
  45. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Nov 20. pii: ddab337. [Epub ahead of print]
      The most frequent genetic cause of focal epilepsies is variations in the GAP activity toward RAGs 1 complex genes DEP domain containing 5 (DEPDC5), nitrogen permease regulator 2-like protein (NPRL2) and nitrogen permease regulator 3-like protein (NPRL3). Because these variations are frequent and associated with a broad spectrum of focal epilepsies, a unique pathology categorized as GATORopathy can be conceptualized. Animal models recapitulating the clinical features of patients are essential to decipher GATORopathy. Although several genetically modified animal models recapitulate DEPDC5-related epilepsy, no models have been reported for NPRL2- or NPRL3-related epilepsies. Here, we conditionally deleted Nprl2 and Nprl3 from the dorsal telencephalon in mice [Emx1cre/+; Nprl2f/f (Nprl2-cKO) and Emx1cre/+; Nprl3f/f (Nprl3-cKO)] and compared their phenotypes with Nprl2+/-, Nprl3+/- and Emx1cre/+; Depdc5f/f (Depdc5-cKO) mice. Nprl2-cKO and Nprl3-cKO mice recapitulated the major abnormal features of patients-spontaneous seizures, and dysmorphic enlarged neuronal cells with increased mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling-similar to Depdc5-cKO mice. Chronic postnatal rapamycin administration dramatically prolonged the survival period and inhibited seizure occurrence but not enlarged neuronal cells in Nprl2-cKO and Nprl3-cKO mice. However, the benefit of rapamycin after withdrawal was less durable in Nprl2- and Nprl3-cKO mice compared with Depdc5-cKO mice. Further studies using these conditional knockout mice will be useful for understanding GATORopathy and for the identification of novel therapeutic targets.
  46. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2021 Dec 23. pii: S0147-6513(21)01231-8. [Epub ahead of print]230 113119
      Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely environmental endocrine disruptor. The accumulated BPA in humans is toxic to osteoblasts and osteoclasts, but few studies focused on the effects of BPA on osteocytes, the most abundant bone cell type, contributing to the development and metabolism of bone. Here, we reported that BPA (50, 100, 200 μmol/L) inhibited the cell viability of osteocytes MLO-Y4, promoted G0/G1 phase arrest and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. BPA treatment significantly increased the levels of autophagy-regulated proteins including Beclin-1 and LC3-II along with the decrease of p62, accompanied by the elevation of autophagy flux and the accumulation of acidic vacuoles, which was blocked by the autophagy inhibitor bafilomycin A1 (BafA1). Furthermore, BPA significantly inhibited the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and activated Unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1 (ULK1) signaling, leading to the decreased p-mTOR/mTOR ratio and the increased p-ULK1/ULK1 ratio. The mTOR activator MHY1485 (MHY) or the ULK1 inhibitor SBI-0206965 (SBI) prevented autophagy and enhanced apoptosis caused by BPA, respectively. In addition, BPA increased the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) and decreased antioxidant enzymes nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) levels, resulting in oxidative stress. The ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) attenuated BPA-induced the mTOR/ULK1 pathway activation, apoptosis and autophagy. Collectively, ROS-mediated mTOR/ULK1 signaling is involved in BPA-induced apoptosis and autophagy in osteocytes MLO-Y4. Our data first provide in vitro evidence that apoptosis and autophagy as cellular mechanisms for the toxic effect of BPA on osteocytes, thereby advancing our understanding of the potential role of osteocytes in the adverse effect of BPA on bone health.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; BPA; Osteocytes; ROS; mTOR/ULK1 pathway
  47. Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 28. pii: S0006-2952(21)00530-X. [Epub ahead of print] 114904
      Cisplatin is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of various tumors, but its side effects limit its application. Ototoxicity, a major adverse effect of cisplatin, causes irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. Unfortunately, there are no effective approaches to protect against this damage. Autophagy has been shown to exert beneficial effects in various diseases models. However, the role of autophagy in cisplatin-induced ototoxicity has been not well elucidated. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether the novel autophagy activator trehalose could prevent cisplatin-induced damage in the auditory cell line HEI-OC1 and mouse cochlear explants and to further explore its mechanisms. Our data demonstrated that trehalose alleviated cisplatin-induced hair cell (HC) damage by inhibiting apoptosis, attenuating oxidative stress and rescuing mitochondrial dysfunction. Additionally, trehalose significantly enhanced autophagy levels in HCs, and inhibiting autophagy with 3-methyladenine (3-MA) abolished these protective effects. Mechanistically, we showed that the effect of trehalose was attributed to increased nuclear translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB), and this effect could be mimicked by TFEB overexpression and inhibited by TFEB gene silencing or treatment with cyclosporin A (CsA), a calcineurin inhibitor. Taken together, our findings suggest that trehalose and autophagy play a role in protecting against cisplatin-induced ototoxicity and that pharmacological enhancement of TFEB-mediated autophagy is a potential treatment for cisplatin-induced damage in cochlear HCs and HEI-OC1 cells.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cisplatin; ototoxicity; transcription factor EB (TFEB); trehalose
  48. FASEB J. 2022 Jan;36(1): e22120
      The mineralization capability of cementoblasts is the foundation for repairing orthodontic treatment-induced root resorption. It is essential to investigate the regulatory mechanism of mineralization in cementoblasts under mechanical compression to improve orthodontic therapy. Autophagy has a protective role in maintaining cell homeostasis under environmental stress and was reported to be involved in the mineralization process. Long noncoding RNAs are important regulators of biological processes, but their functions in compressed cementoblasts during orthodontic tooth movement remain unclear. In this study, we showed that compressive force downregulated the expression of mineralization-related markers. LincRNA-p21 was strongly enhanced by compressive force. Overexpression of lincRNA-p21 downregulated the expression of mineralization-related markers, while knockdown of lincRNA-p21 reversed the compressive force-induced decrease in mineralization. Furthermore, we found that autophagy was impeded in compressed cementoblasts. Then, overexpression of lincRNA-p21 decreased autophagic activity, while knockdown of lincRNA-p21 reversed the autophagic process decreased by mechanical compression. However, the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine abolished the lincRNA-p21 knockdown-promoted mineralization, and the autophagy activator rapamycin rescued the mineralization inhibited by lincRNA-p21 overexpression. Mechanistically, the direct binding between lincRNA-p21 and FoxO3 blocked the expression of autophagy-related genes. In a mouse orthodontic tooth movement model, knockdown of lincRNA-p21 rescued the impeded autophagic process in cementoblasts, enhanced cementogenesis, and alleviated orthodontic force-induced root resorption. Overall, compressive force-induced lincRNA-p21 inhibits the mineralization capability of cementoblasts by impeding the autophagic process.
    Keywords:  RNA, long noncoding; autophagy; biomechanical phenomena; cementogenesis; root resorption
  49. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021 Dec 22.
      BACKGROUND: Growing evidence has demonstrated that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is characterized by sustained mitochondrial dysfunction, inevitable memory loss, and cognitive decline. However, the potential function of lncRNAs MIR600 Host Gene (MIR600HG) in AD remains unanswered.OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to investigate the role of MIR600HG and its related molecular mechanism in AD.
    METHODS: The expression of MIR600HG was examined by qRT-PCR. The MIR600HG interacting proteins were identified by RNA pull-down assay and mass spectrometry and verified by RNA immunoprecipitation. Immunofluorescence staining was applied to examine the colocalization of PINK1 and NEDD4L. The PINK1 level and the activation of autophagy were detected by immunoblotting. Morris water maze test was performed to evaluate cognitive decline in AD mice model.
    RESULTS: MIR600HG expression was elevated during aging in two different types of AD transgenic mouse models. Next, we found that increased MIR600HG directly interact with NEDD4L, which promoted PINK1 ubiquitination and degradation, and as well as autophagy activation. Additionally, MIR600HG promoted Aβ production and suppressed Cytochrome C Oxidase activity. Administration of AAV-shMIR600HG restored the Cytochrome C Oxidase activity and inhibited Aβ production. Furthermore, PINK1 overexpression or MIR600HG knockdown significantly ameliorated the cognitive impairment in APP/PS1 mice. PINK1 depletion recovered the spatial memory defect in the AAV-shMIR600HG injected APP/PS1 mice.
    CONCLUSION: MIR600HG was increased in AD and promoted AD pathogenesis. Targeting MIR600HG significantly improved cognitive function in AD mice, which could pave the way for exciting new avenues in AD therapeutic strategy research.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; PINK1; autophagy; lncRNAs MIR600HG; mitochondrial dysfunction
  50. Eur J Immunol. 2021 Dec 27.
      Alterations in cell metabolism can shift the differentiation of immune cells towards a regulatory or inflammatory phenotype, thus opening up new therapeutic opportunities for immune-related diseases. Indeed, growing knowledge on T cell metabolism has revealed differences in the metabolic programs of suppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) as compared to inflammatory Th1 and Th17 cells. In addition to Tregs, IL-10-producing regulatory B cells are crucial for maintaining tolerance, inhibiting inflammation and autoimmunity. Yet, the metabolic networks regulating diverse B lymphocyte responses are not well known. Here, we show that glutaminase blockade decreased downstream mTOR activation and attenuated IL-10 secretion. Direct suppression of mTOR activity by rapamycin selectively impaired IL-10 production by B cells whereas secretion was restored upon GSK3 inhibition. Mechanistically, we found mTORC1 activation leads to GSK3 inhibition, identifying a key signalling pathway regulating IL-10 secretion by B lymphocytes. Thus, our results identify glutaminolysis and the mTOR/GSK3 signalling axis, as critical regulators of the generation of IL-10 producing B cells with regulatory functions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  B10; GSK3; IL-10; glutamine; immunotherapy; mTOR; metabolism; regulatory B cells
  51. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-17
      Deficient bone regeneration causes bone defects or nonunion in a substantial proportion of trauma patients that urges for novel therapies. To develop a reliable therapy, we investigated the effect of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) on bone regeneration in vivo in a rat calvarial defect model. Negative pressure (NP) treatment in vitro was mimicked to test its effect on osteoblast differentiation in rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and MC3T3-E1 cells. Transcriptomic analyses, pharmaceutical interventions, and shRNA knockdowns were conducted to explore the underlying mechanism and their clinical relevance was investigated in samples from patients with nonunion. The potential application of a combined therapy of MSCs in hydrogels with negative pressure was tested in the rat critical-size calvarial defect model. We found that NPWT promoted bone regeneration in vivo and NP treatment induced osteoblast differentiation in vitro. NP induced osteogenesis via activating macroautophagy/autophagy by AMPK-ULK1 signaling that was impaired in clinical samples from patients with nonunion. More importantly, the combined therapy involving MSCs in hydrogels with negative pressure significantly improved bone regeneration in rat critical-size calvarial defect model. Thus, our study identifies a novel AMPK-ULK1-autophagy axis by which negative pressure promotes osteoblast differentiation of MSCs and bone regeneration. NPWT treatment can potentially be adopted for therapy of bone defects.Abbreviations: ADP, adenosine diphosphate; AICAR/Aic, acadesine; ALP, alkaline phosphatase; ALPL, alkaline phosphatase, biomineralization associated; AMP, adenosine monophosphate; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; ARS, alizarin red S staining; ATG7, autophagy related 7; ATP, adenosine triphosphate; BA1, bafilomycin A1; BGLAP/OCN, bone gamma-carboxyglutamate protein; BL, BL-918; BS, bone surface; BS/TV, bone surface per tissue volume; BV/TV, bone volume per tissue volume; C.C, compound C; CCN1, cellular communication network factor 1; COL1A1, collagen type I alpha 1 chain; COL4A3, collagen type IV alpha 3 chain; COL4A4, collagen type IV alpha 4 chain; COL18A1, collagen type XVIII alpha 1 chain; CQ, chloroquine; GelMA, gelatin methacryloyl hydrogel; GO, Gene Ontology; GSEA, gene set enrichment analysis; HIF1A, hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha; HPLC, high-performance liquid chromatography; ITGAM/CD11B, integrin subunit alpha M; ITGAX/CD11C, integrin subunit alpha X; ITGB1/CdD9, integrin subunit beta 1; KEGG, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes; MAP1LC3B/LC3B, microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; micro-CT, microcomputed tomography; MSCs, mesenchymal stem cells; MTOR, mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NP, negative pressure; NPWT, negative pressure wound therapy; PRKAA1/AMPKα1, protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 1; PRKAA2, protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 2; PTPRC/CD45, protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type C; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RUNX2, RUNX family transcription factor 2; SBI, SBI-0206965; SPP1/OPN, secreted phosphoprotein 1; THY1/CD90, Thy-1 cell surface antigen; SQSTM1, sequestosome 1; TGFB3, transforming growth factor beta 3; ULK1/Atg1, unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  AMPK; ULK1; bone nonunion; bone regeneration; macroautophagy/autophagy; mesenchymal stem cells; negative pressure wound therapy; osteoblast differentiation
  52. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 29. 1-11
      The polymorphism L412F in TLR3 has been associated with several infectious diseases. However, the mechanism underlying this association is still unexplored. Here, we show that the L412F polymorphism in TLR3 is a marker of severity in COVID-19. This association increases in the sub-cohort of males. Impaired macroautophagy/autophagy and reduced TNF/TNFα production was demonstrated in HEK293 cells transfected with TLR3L412F-encoding plasmid and stimulated with specific agonist poly(I:C). A statistically significant reduced survival at 28 days was shown in L412F COVID-19 patients treated with the autophagy-inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (p = 0.038). An increased frequency of autoimmune disorders such as co-morbidity was found in L412F COVID-19 males with specific class II HLA haplotypes prone to autoantigen presentation. Our analyses indicate that L412F polymorphism makes males at risk of severe COVID-19 and provides a rationale for reinterpreting clinical trials considering autophagy pathways.Abbreviations: AP: autophagosome; AUC: area under the curve; BafA1: bafilomycin A1; COVID-19: coronavirus disease-2019; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; RAP: rapamycin; ROC: receiver operating characteristic; SARS-CoV-2: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; TLR: toll like receptor; TNF/TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; COVID-19; HLA; L412F; TLR3
  53. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2021 Dec 28.
      Aging is characterized by inevitable organ function decline over time, with consequent body deterioration and increased susceptibility to death. Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) has been reported to have anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. We investigated the potential protective effects of APS on hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) induced hepatocyte senescence and identified related mechanisms in L02, Huh7, and LM3 cell lines. Aged female C57BL/6 mice were given APS for 1 week by intraperitoneal injection, and APS provided the strongest protective effect against H2 O2 -induced damage at 100 μM. APS reduced the expression of cell senescence markers and alleviated pathological damage in aged mouse liver. APS treatment decreased oxidative stress, apoptosis, NOD-like receptor protein-3-mediated pyroptosis, and maintained mitochondrial homeostasis. Notably, the protective effect of APS was weakened in the presence of chloroquine. APS might enrich autophagy by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inhibiting mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In conclusion, APS reduced reactive oxygen species levels, inhibited apoptosis and pyroptosis, and promoted mitophagy via AMPK/mTOR pathway to alleviate hepatocyte senescence in vitro and in vivo.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Astragalus polysaccharide; autophagy; cell death; hepatocyte senescence
  54. Brain Res Bull. 2021 Dec 22. pii: S0361-9230(21)00353-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Studies have found that Platonin has neuroprotective effect, but its molecular mechanism needs further study. We found that at the early stage of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury, Platonin treatment significantly reduced cerebral infarct lesions, improved neurological scores, and exerted neuroprotective effects. Our group has shown that NLRP3 inflammasomes activation is required to mediate neuronal injury during cerebral ischemia /reperfusion injury. The brain protective effect of Platonin is related to its ability to effectively regulate autophagy and NLRP3 inflammasomes-derived inflammation. Platonin treatment effectively induced autophagy (LC3II/I, p62) and reduced NLRP3 inflammasomes activation(NLRP3, cleaved-IL-1β,cleaved-IL-18, cleaved-caspase1). However, 3-MA (15mg/kg) treatment downregulated the inhibitory effect of Platonin on NLRP3 inflammasomes. We also studied the location of BNIP3 in Platonin-mediated neuroprotection and found that Platonin induced the expression of autophagic protein BNIP3 and enhanced the co-immunoprecipitation of BNIP3 with LC3, and double-labeled immunofluorescence also showed enhanced co-localization of BNIP3 with LC3. Finally, si-BNIP3 transfection attenuated the co localization of BNIP3 with LC3, decreased the autophagy activity to a certain extent and blocked the inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasomes-derived inflammation by Platonin. This study demonstrated that Platonin may play a neuroprotection role in cerebral I / R injury by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasomes activation through upregulating autophagy via BNIP3 / LC3 pathway.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; BNIP3; Cerebral I/R Injury; Inflammation; LC3; NLRP3 Inflammasomes; Neuroprotection; Platonin