bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2022‒01‒30
forty-seven papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Biochem Soc Trans. 2022 Jan 25. pii: BST20210819. [Epub ahead of print]
      Macroautophagy, hereafter autophagy, is a degradative process conserved among eukaryotes, which is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis. Defects in autophagy lead to numerous human diseases, including various types of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. The hallmark of autophagy is the de novo formation of autophagosomes, which are double-membrane vesicles that sequester and deliver cytoplasmic materials to lysosomes/vacuoles for degradation. The mechanism of autophagosome biogenesis entered a molecular era with the identification of autophagy-related (ATG) proteins. Although there are many unanswered questions and aspects that have raised some controversies, enormous advances have been done in our understanding of the process of autophagy in recent years. In this review, we describe the current knowledge about the molecular regulation of autophagosome formation, with a particular focus on budding yeast and mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  ATG proteins; autophagy; degradation; lysosomes; phagophore; sequestration
  2. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2022 Jan 20. pii: S0925-4439(22)00017-5. [Epub ahead of print]1868(4): 166354
      Autophagy is a vital cellular mechanism that controls the removal of damaged or dysfunctional cellular components. Autophagy allows the degradation and recycling of damaged proteins and organelles into their basic constituents of amino acids and fatty acids for cellular energy production. Under basal conditions, autophagy is essential for the maintenance of cell homeostasis and function. However, during cell stress, excessive activation of autophagy can be destructive and lead to cell death. Autophagy plays a crucial role in the cardiovascular system and helps to maintain normal cardiac function. During ischemia- reperfusion, autophagy can be adaptive or maladaptive depending on the timing and extent of activation. In this review, we highlight the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that underlie autophagy in response to cardiac stress and therapeutic approaches to modulate autophagy by pharmacological interventions. Finally, we also discuss the intersection between autophagy and circadian regulation in the heart. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie autophagy following cardiac injury can be translated to clinical cardiology use toward improved patient treatment and outcomes.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cardiovascular disease; Circadian rhythm; Mitochondria; mTOR
  3. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 816829
      Autophagy is a conserved cellular degradation system that maintains intracellular homeostasis. Cytoplasmic components are engulfed into double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes, which fuse with lysosomes, and resulting in the degradation of sequestered materials. Recently, a close association between autophagy and the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and ageing has become apparent: autophagy is dysregulated during metabolic diseases and ageing; dysregulation of autophagy is intimately associated with the pathophysiology. Rubicon (Run domain Beclin-1 interacting and cysteine-rich containing protein) has been identified as a Beclin-1 associated protein. Notably, Rubicon is one of few negative regulators of autophagy whereas many autophagy-related genes are positive regulators of autophagy. Rubicon also has autophagy-independent functions including phagocytosis and endocytosis. In this mini-review, we focus on the various roles of Rubicon in different organs in the settings of metabolic diseases and ageing, and discuss its potential role as a promising therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  LAP; Rubicon; ageing; autophagy; longevity; metabolic disease
  4. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 25. pii: S2211-1247(21)01801-5. [Epub ahead of print]38(4): 110286
      Selective autophagy is a catabolic route that turns over specific cellular material for degradation by lysosomes, and whose role in the regulation of innate immunity is largely unexplored. Here, we show that the apical kinase of the Drosophila immune deficiency (IMD) pathway Tak1, as well as its co-activator Tab2, are both selective autophagy substrates that interact with the autophagy protein Atg8a. We also present a role for the Atg8a-interacting protein Sh3px1 in the downregulation of the IMD pathway, by facilitating targeting of the Tak1/Tab2 complex to the autophagy platform through its interaction with Tab2. Our findings show the Tak1/Tab2/Sh3px1 interactions with Atg8a mediate the removal of the Tak1/Tab2 signaling complex by selective autophagy. This in turn prevents constitutive activation of the IMD pathway in Drosophila. This study provides mechanistic insight on the regulation of innate immune responses by selective autophagy.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; IMD; Sh3px1; Tab2; Tak1; autophagy; chronic inflammation; innate immunity
  5. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Jan 23.
      The innate immune system, as the first line of cellular defense, triggers a protective response called inflammation when encountered with invading pathogens. Inflammasome is a multi-protein cytosolic signaling complex that induces inflammation and is critical for inflammation-induced pyroptotic cell death. Inflammasome activation has been found associated with neurodegenerative disorders (NDs), inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Autophagy is a crucial intracellular quality control and homeostasis process which removes the dysfunctional organelles, damaged proteins, and pathogens by sequestering the cytosolic components in a double-membrane vesicle, which eventually fuses with lysosome resulting in cargo degradation. Autophagy disruption has been observed in many NDs presented with persistent neuroinflammation and excessive inflammasome activation. An interplay between inflammation activation and the autophagy process has been realized over the last decade. In the case of NDs, autophagy regulates neuroinflammation load and cellular damage either by engulfing the misfolded protein deposits, dysfunctional mitochondria, or the inflammasome complex itself. A healthy two-way regulation between both cellular processes has been realized for cell survival and cell defense during inflammatory conditions. Therefore, clinical interest in the modulation of inflammasome activation by autophagy inducers is rapidly growing. In this review, we discuss the structural basis of inflammasome activation and the mechanistic ideas of the autophagy process in NDs. Along with comments on multiple ways of neuroinflammation regulation by microglial autophagy, we also present a perspective on pharmacological opportunities in this molecular interplay pertaining to NDs.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Autophagy; Inflammasome; NLRP3; Neurodegeneration
  6. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 20. pii: S0962-8924(21)00267-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Eukaryotic cells have evolved different modes of autophagy, including macroautophagy and microautophagy, to deliver their own components to lysosomes or vacuoles for degradation. While an increasing body of research has established that autophagy plays pivotal roles for the maintenance and regulation of various cellular constituents, recent studies have begun to reveal that parts of the nucleus, for example, nucleus-derived vesicles and nuclear proteins, also become targets of autophagic degradation in different physiological or pathological contexts, including nutrient deprivation, defective nuclear pore complex (NPC) assembly, DNA damage, cellular senescence, and oncogenic insults. Here, we overview our current knowledge on the mechanisms and physiological roles of these 'nucleophagy' pathways and discuss their possible interplays and remaining issues.
    Keywords:  autophagy; intracellular degradation; lysosomes; nuclear pore complexes; nucleus; vacuoles
  7. Curr Med Chem. 2022 Jan 17.
      All cells and intracellular components are remodeled and recycled in order to replace the old and damaged cells. Autophagy is a process by which damaged and unwanted cells are degraded in the lysosomes. There are three different types of autophagy, and these include macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperonemediated autophagy. Autophagy has an effect on adaptive and innate immunity, suppression of any tumour and the elimination of various microbial pathogens. The process of autophagy has both positive and negative effects and this pertains to any specific disease or its stage of progression. Autophagy involves various processes which are controlled by various signaling pathways, such as Jun N-terminal kinase, GSK3, ERK1, Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, and PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 and parkin RBR E3. Protein kinases are also important for the regulation of autophagy as they regulate the process of autophagy either by activation or inhibition. In the present review, we discuss the kinase catalyzed phosphorylated reactions, the kinase inhibitors, types of protein kinase inhibitors and their binding properties to protein kinase domains, the structures of active and inactive kinases, and the hydrophobic spine structures in active and inactive protein kinase domains. The intervention of autophagy by targeting specific kinases may form the mainstay of treatment of many diseases and lead the road to future drug discovery.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; cellular degradation; drug delivery; kinase inhibitors; signaling pathways
  8. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 25. pii: S2211-1247(21)01699-5. [Epub ahead of print]38(4): 110195
      How mutations in FUS lead to neuronal dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients remains unclear. To examine mechanisms underlying ALS FUS dysfunction, we generate C. elegans knockin models using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing, creating R524S and P525L ALS FUS models. Although FUS inclusions are not detected, ALS FUS animals show defective neuromuscular function and locomotion under stress. Unlike animals lacking the endogenous FUS ortholog, ALS FUS animals have impaired neuronal autophagy and increased SQST-1 accumulation in motor neurons. Loss of sqst-1, the C. elegans ortholog for ALS-linked, autophagy adaptor protein SQSTM1/p62, suppresses both neuromuscular and stress-induced locomotion defects in ALS FUS animals, but does not suppress neuronal autophagy defects. Therefore, autophagy dysfunction is upstream of, and not dependent on, SQSTM1 function in ALS FUS pathogenesis. Combined, our findings demonstrate that autophagy dysfunction likely contributes to protein homeostasis and neuromuscular defects in ALS FUS knockin animals.
    Keywords:  ALS; C. elegans; FUS; autophagy
  9. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 Jan 26. 79(2): 95
      Autophagy is a lysosome-mediated degradative process that removes damaged proteins and organelles, during which autophagosome-lysosome fusion is a key step of the autophagic flux. Based on our observation that intermediate cytofilament keratin 8 (KRT8) enhances autophagic clearance in cells under oxidative stress condition, we investigated whether KRT8 supports the cytoplasmic architectural networks to facilitate the vesicular fusion entailing trafficking onto filamentous tracks. We found that KRT8 interacts with actin filaments via the cytolinker, plectin (PLEC) during trafficking of autophagosome. When PLEC was knocked down or KRT8 structure was collapsed by phosphorylation, autophagosome-lysosome fusion was attenuated. Inhibition of actin polymerization resulted in accumulation of autophagosomes owing to a decrease in autophagosome and lysosome fusion. Furthermore, myosin motor protein was found to be responsible for vesicular trafficking along the actin filaments to entail autolysosome formation. Thus, the autophagosome-lysosome fusion is aided by PLEC-stabilized actin filaments as well as intermediate cytofilament KRT8 that supports the structural integrity of actin filaments during macroautophagic process under oxidative stress condition.
    Keywords:  Actin filaments; Autophagosome–lysosome fusion; Autophagy; Keratin 8 (KRT8); Plectin (PLEC)
  10. J Physiol. 2022 Jan 24.
      KEY POINTS: Denervation is an experimental model of peripheral neuropathies as well as muscle disuse, and it helps us understand some aspects of the sarcopenia of aging. Muscle disuse is associated with reduced mitochondrial content and function, leading to metabolic impairments within the tissue. Although the processes that regulate mitochondrial biogenesis are understood, those that govern mitochondrial breakdown (i.e., mitophagy) are not well characterized in this context. Autophagy and mitophagy flux, measured up to the point of the lysosome (pre-lysosomal flux rates), were increased in the early stages of denervation, along with mitochondrial dysfunction, but were reduced at later time points when the degree of muscle atrophy was highest. Denervation led to progressive increases in lysosomal proteins to accommodate mitophagy flux, yet evidence for lysosomal impairment at later stages may limit the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria, stimulate reactive oxygen species signaling, and reduce muscle health as denervation time progresses.ABSTRACT: Deficits in skeletal muscle mitochondrial content and quality are observed following denervation-atrophy. This is due to alterations in the biogenesis of new mitochondria as well as their degradation via mitophagy. The regulation of autophagy and mitophagy over the course of denervation (Den) remains unknown. Further, the time-dependent changes in lysosome content, the end-stage organelle for mitophagy, remains unexplored. Here, we studied autophagic as well as mitophagic pre-lysosomal flux in subsarcolemmal (SS) and intermyofibrillar (IMF) mitochondria from rat muscle subjected to Den for 1, 3, or 7 days. We also assessed flux at 1-day post-denervation in transgenic mt-keima mice. Markers of mitochondrial content were reduced at 7 days following Den, and Den further resulted in rapid decrements in mitochondrial respiration, along with increased ROS emission. Pre-lysosomal autophagy flux was upregulated at 1- and 3-days post-Den but was reduced compared to time-matched sham-operated controls at 7-days post-Den. Similarly, pre-lysosomal mitophagy flux was enhanced in SS mitochondria as early as 1- and 3-days of Den but decreased in both SS and IMF subfractions following 7 days of Den. Lysosome protein content and transcriptional regulators TFEB and TFE3 were progressively enhanced with Den, an adaptation designed to enhance autophagic capacity. However, evidence for lysosome dysfunction was apparent by 7 days, which may limit degradation capacity. This may contribute to an inability to clear dysfunctional mitochondria and increased ROS signaling, thereby accelerating muscle atrophy. Thus, therapeutic targeting of lysosome function may help to maintain autophagy and muscle health during conditions of muscle disuse or denervation. Abstract figure legend This study investigates the temporal regulation of the autophagy-lysosome system in rat skeletal muscle following neuromuscular denervation (Den) with a focus on mitochondrial decay through mitophagy. We show that mitochondrial dysfunction is time-dependant, with elevations at 3-days post-Den and further at 7 days, preceding decrements in mitochondrial protein content. Deficits in mitochondrial content may be explained by prior elevations in mitophagy as early as 1- and 3-days post-Den, but these elevations were bi-phasic, returning to lower values by 7-days post-Den. To meet the demands of increased autophagy, lysosome protein content was progressively upregulated with 3- and 7-day of Den, but evidence of lysosome dysfunction was evident, and this could impede the removal of poor-quality mitochondria. Overall, these changes in the autophagy-lysosome system following neuromuscular denervation and provide insight into the processes that contribute to Den-induced muscle atrophy. Representative graphs are Den/Sham, with the dotted line representing sham-operated control values. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  TFEB; atrophy; lysosome dysfunction; mitochondrial dysfunction; reactive oxygen species
  11. Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Jan 27.
      BACKGROUND: The autophagy pathway is used by eukaryotic cells to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Autophagy has two functions in cancerous cells which could inhibit tumorigenesis or lead to cancer progression by increasing cell survival and proliferation.METHODS AND RESULTS: In this review article, Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus,  and Google Scholar were searched and summarized published studies to explore the relationship between DAPK1 and mTORC1 signaling association on autophagy in cancer. Autophagy is managed through various proteins including the mTOR, which is two separated structural and functional complexes known as mTORC1 and mTORC2. MTORC1 is an important component of the regulatory pathway affecting numerous cellular functions including proliferation, migration, invasion, and survival. This protein plays a key role in human cancers. The activity level of mTORC1 is regulated by the death-associated protein kinases (DAPks) family, especially DAPK1. In many cancers, DAPK1 acts as a tumor suppressor which can be attributed to its ability to suppress cellular transformation and to inhibit metastasis.
    CONCLUSIONS: A deep investigation not only will reveal more about the function of DAPK1 but also might provide insights into novel therapies aimed to modulate the autophagy pathway in cancer and to achieve better cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; DAPK1; mTORC1
  12. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Jan 25. 8(1): 37
      Autophagy plays important role in the intracellular protein quality control system by degrading abnormal organelles and proteins, including large protein complexes such as ribosomes. The eukaryotic chaperonin tailless complex polypeptide 1 (TCP1) ring complex (TRiC), also called chaperonin-containing TCP1 (CCT), is a 1-MDa hetero-oligomer complex comprising 16 subunits that facilitates the folding of ~10% of the cellular proteome that contains actin. However, the quality control mechanism of TRiC remains unclear. To monitor the autophagic degradation of TRiC, we generated TCP1α-RFP-GFP knock-in HeLa cells using a CRISPR/Cas9-knock-in system with an RFP-GFP donor vector. We analyzed the autophagic degradation of TRiC under several stress conditions and found that treatment with actin (de)polymerization inhibitors increased the lysosomal degradation of TRiC, which was localized in lysosomes and suppressed by deficiency of autophagy-related genes. Furthermore, we found that treatment with actin (de)polymerization inhibitors increased the association between TRiC and unfolded actin, suggesting that TRiC was inactivated. Moreover, unfolded actin mutants were degraded by autophagy. Taken together, our results indicate that autophagy eliminates inactivated TRiC, serving as a quality control system.
  13. Autophagy. 2022 Jan 24. 1-16
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved intracellular degradation pathway that maintains cellular homeostasis. Over the past two decades, a series of scientific breakthroughs have helped explain autophagy-related molecular mechanisms and physiological functions. This tremendous progress continues to depend largely on powerful research methods, specifically, various autophagy marker Atg8-PE protein-based methods for studying membrane dynamics and monitoring autophagic activity. Recently, several biochemical approaches have been successfully developed to produce the lipidated protein Atg8-PE or its mimics in vitro, including enzyme-mediated reconstitution systems, chemically defined reconstitution systems, cell-free lipidation systems and protein chemical synthesis. These approaches have contributed important insights into the mechanisms underlying Atg8-mediated membrane dynamics and protein-protein interactions, creating a new perspective in autophagy studies. In this review, we comprehensively summarize Atg8-PE protein-based in vitro biochemical approaches and recent advances to facilitate a better understanding of autophagy mechanisms. In addition, we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of various Atg8-PE protein-based approaches to provide general guidance for their use in studying autophagy.
    Keywords:  Atg8–PE; LC3–PE; autophagy; biochemical approaches; cell-free lipidation system; chemically defined reconstitution systems; enzyme-mediated reconstitution system; protein chemical synthesis
  14. Cell Death Differ. 2022 Jan 22.
      The nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain protein 2 (NOD2) senses bacterial peptidoglycan to induce proinflammatory and antimicrobial responses. Dysregulation of NOD2 signaling is involved in multiple inflammatory disorders. Recently, S-palmitoylation, a novel type of post-translational modification, is reported to play a crucial role in membrane association and ligand-induced signaling of NOD2, yet its influence on the stability of NOD2 is unclear. Here we show that inhibition of S-palmitoylation facilitates the SQSTM1/p62-mediated autophagic degradation of NOD2, while S-palmitoylation of NOD2 by ZDHHC5 promotes the stability of NOD2. Furthermore, we identify a gain-of-function R444C variant of NOD2 short isoform (NOD2s-R444C) in autoinflammatory disease, which induces excessive inflammation through its high S-palmitoylation level. Mechanistically, the NOD2s-R444C variant possesses a stronger binding ability to ZDHHC5, which promotes its S-palmitoylation, and restricts its autophagic degradation by reducing its interaction with SQSTM1/p62. Taken together, our study reveals the regulatory role of S-palmitoylation in controlling NOD2 stability through the crosstalk with autophagy, and provides insights into the association between dysfunctional S-palmitoylation and the occurrence of inflammatory diseases.
  15. BMC Cancer. 2022 Jan 25. 22(1): 105
      BACKGROUND: Nutrient acquisition and metabolism pathways are altered in cancer cells to meet bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands. A major regulator of cellular metabolism and energy homeostasis, in normal and cancer cells, is AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK influences cell growth via its modulation of the mechanistic target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, specifically, by inhibiting mTOR complex mTORC1, which facilitates cell proliferation, and by activating mTORC2 and cell survival. Given its conflicting roles, the effects of AMPK activation in cancer can be counter intuitive. Prior to the establishment of cancer, AMPK acts as a tumor suppressor. However, following the onset of cancer, AMPK has been shown to either suppress or promote cancer, depending on cell type or state.METHODS: To unravel the controversial roles of AMPK in cancer, we developed a computational model to simulate the effects of pharmacological maneuvers that target key metabolic signalling nodes, with a specific focus on AMPK, mTORC, and their modulators. Specifically, we constructed an ordinary differential equation-based mechanistic model of AMPK-mTORC signaling, and parametrized the model based on existing experimental data.
    RESULTS: Model simulations were conducted to yield the following predictions: (i) increasing AMPK activity has opposite effects on mTORC depending on the nutrient availability; (ii) indirect inhibition of AMPK activity through inhibition of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) only has an effect on mTORC activity under conditions of low nutrient availability; (iii) the balance between cell proliferation and survival exhibits an intricate dependence on DEP domain-containing mTOR-interacting protein (DEPTOR) abundance and AMPK activity; (iv) simultaneous direct inhibition of mTORC2 and activation of AMPK is a potential strategy for suppressing both cell survival and proliferation.
    CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, model simulations clarify the competing effects and the roles of key metabolic signalling pathways in tumorigenesis, which may yield insights on innovative therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Cancer; Dynamical system; Metabolism; mTORC
  16. Front Microbiol. 2021 ;12 780768
      Mitochondria, which is essential for adequate innate immune response, energy metabolism and mitochondria reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, might be in the cross fire of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and host cell defense. However, little is known about interactions between mitochondria and SARS-CoV-2. We performed fluorescent microscopy and found an enrichment of SARS-CoV-2 replication products double stranded RNA (dsRNA) within mitochondria. The entry process of dsRNA might be mediated by Tom20 as observed by reduced mitochondrial localization of SARS-CoV-2 dsRNA in Tom20 knockdown cells. Importantly, decreased mitochondrial localization of dsRNA, as well as mitochondrial membrane stabilizers mdivi-1 and cyclosporin A, inhibited viral load in cells. Next, we detected mitochondrial dysfunction caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, including mitochondrial membrane depolarization, mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening and increased ROS release. In response to mitochondrial damage, we observed an increase in expression and mitochondrial accumulation of Pink1 and Parkin proteins, as well as Pink-1-mediated recruitment of P62 to mitochondria, suggesting initiated mitophagy for mitochondrial quality control and virus clearance. Nevertheless, we observed that mitophagy was inhibited and stayed in early stage with an unchanged Hsp60 expression post SARS-CoV-2 infection. This might be one of the anti-autophagy strategies of SARS-CoV-2 and we used co-immunoprecipitation to found that SARS-CoV-2 infection inhibited P62 and LC3 binding which plays a critical role in selective envelopment of substrates into autophagosomes. Our results suggest that mitochondria are closely involved in SARS-CoV-2 replication and mitochondrial homeostasis is disrupted by SARS-CoV-2 in the virus-cell confrontation.
    Keywords:  SARS-CoV-2; Tom20; mitochondria; mitophagy; viral RNA localization
  17. Gut Microbes. 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1):14(1): 2004798
      Candida albicans (C. albicans) is an opportunistic pathogen causing infections ranging from superficial to life-threatening disseminated infections. In a susceptible host, C. albicans is able to translocate through the gut barrier, promoting its dissemination into deeper organs. C. albicans hyphae can invade human epithelial cells by two well-documented mechanisms: epithelial-driven endocytosis and C. albicans-driven active penetration. One mechanism by which host cells protect themselves against intracellular C. albicans is termed autophagy. The protective role of autophagy during C. albicans infection has been investigated in myeloid cells; however, far less is known regarding the role of this process during the infection of epithelial cells. In the present study, we investigated the role of autophagy-related proteins during the infection of epithelial cells, including intestinal epithelial cells and gut explants, by C. albicans. Using cell imaging, we show that key molecular players of the autophagy machinery (LC3-II, PI3P, ATG16L1, and WIPI2) were recruited at Candida invasion sites. We deepened these observations by electron microscopy analyses that reveal the presence of autophagosomes in the vicinity of invading hyphae. Importantly, these events occur during active penetration of C. albicans into host cells and are associated with plasma membrane damage. In this context, we show that the autophagy-related key proteins ATG5 and ATG16L1 contribute to plasma membrane repair mediated by lysosomal exocytosis and participate in protecting epithelial cells against C. albicans-induced cell death. Our findings provide a novel mechanism by which epithelial cells, forming the first line of defense against C. albicans in the gut, can react to limit C. albicans invasion.
    Keywords:  Candida albicans; autophagy; epithelial cells; lysosomal exocytosis; plasma membrane damage
  18. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Feb 01. pii: e2107187119. [Epub ahead of print]119(5):
      The CAG expansion of huntingtin (mHTT) associated with Huntington disease (HD) is a ubiquitously expressed gene, yet it prominently damages the striatum and cortex, followed by widespread peripheral defects as the disease progresses. However, the underlying mechanisms of neuronal vulnerability are unclear. Previous studies have shown that SUMO1 (small ubiquitin-like modifier-1) modification of mHtt promotes cellular toxicity, but the in vivo role and functions of SUMO1 in HD pathogenesis are unclear. Here, we report that SUMO1 deletion in Q175DN HD-het knockin mice (HD mice) prevented age-dependent HD-like motor and neurological impairments and suppressed the striatal atrophy and inflammatory response. SUMO1 deletion caused a drastic reduction in soluble mHtt levels and nuclear and extracellular mHtt inclusions while increasing cytoplasmic mHtt inclusions in the striatum of HD mice. SUMO1 deletion promoted autophagic activity, characterized by augmented interactions between mHtt inclusions and a lysosomal marker (LAMP1), increased LC3B- and LAMP1 interaction, and decreased interaction of sequestosome-1 (p62) and LAMP1 in DARPP-32-positive medium spiny neurons in HD mice. Depletion of SUMO1 in an HD cell model also diminished the mHtt levels and enhanced autophagy flux. In addition, the SUMOylation inhibitor ginkgolic acid strongly enhanced autophagy and diminished mHTT levels in human HD fibroblasts. These results indicate that SUMO is a critical therapeutic target in HD and that blocking SUMO may ameliorate HD pathogenesis by regulating autophagy activities.
    Keywords:  gene expression; motor abnormality; neurodegeneration; posttranslational modification; striatal vulnerability
  19. J Neurosci. 2022 Jan 06. pii: JN-RM-1116-21. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tau protein accumulation drives toxicity in several neurodegenerative disorders. To better understand the pathways regulating tau homeostasis in disease, we investigated the role of ubiquilins (UBQLNs)-a class of proteins linked to ubiquitin-mediated protein quality control (PQC) and various neurodegenerative diseases-in regulating tau. Cell-based assays identified UBQLN2 as the primary brain-expressed UBQLN to regulate tau. UBQLN2 efficiently lowered wild-type tau levels irrespective of aggregation, suggesting that UBQLN2 interacts with and regulates tau protein under normal conditions or early in disease. Moreover, UBQLN2 itself proved to be prone to accumulation as insoluble protein in male and female tau transgenic mice and the human tauopathy progressive supranuclear palsy. Genetic manipulation of UBQLN2 in a tauopathy mouse model demonstrated that a physiological UBQLN2 balance is required for tau homeostasis. UBQLN2 overexpression exacerbated phosphorylated tau pathology and toxicity in mice expressing P301S mutant tau, whereas P301S mice lacking UBQLN2 showed significantly reduced phosphorylated tau. Further studies support the view that an imbalance of UBQLN2 perturbs ubiquitin-dependent PQC and autophagy. We conclude that changes in UBQLN2 levels, whether due to pathogenic mutations or secondary to disease states such as tauopathy, contribute to proteostatic imbalances that exacerbate neurodegeneration.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We defined a role for the protein quality control protein, Ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2), in age-related neurodegenerative tauopathies. This group of disorders is characterized by the accumulation of tau protein aggregates, which differ when UBQLN2 levels are altered. Given the lack of effective disease-modifying therapies for tauopathies and UBQLN2's function in handling various disease-linked proteins, we explored the role of UBQLN2 in regulating tau. We found that UBQLN2 reduced tau levels in cell models but behaved differently in mouse brain, where it accelerated mutant tau pathology and tau-mediated toxicity. A better understanding of the diverse functions of regulatory proteins like UBQLN2 can elucidate some of the causative factors in neurodegenerative disease and outline new routes to therapeutic intervention.
  20. iScience. 2022 Jan 21. 25(1): 103715
      Mitochondrial dysfunction causes muscle wasting in many diseases and probably also during aging. The underlying mechanism is poorly understood. We generated transgenic mice with unbalanced mitochondrial protein loading and import, by moderately overexpressing the nuclear-encoded adenine nucleotide translocase, Ant1. We found that these mice progressively lose skeletal muscle. Ant1-overloading reduces mitochondrial respiration. Interestingly, it also induces small heat shock proteins and aggresome-like structures in the cytosol, suggesting increased proteostatic burden due to accumulation of unimported mitochondrial preproteins. The transcriptome of Ant1-transgenic muscles is drastically remodeled to counteract proteostatic stress, by repressing protein synthesis and promoting proteasomal function, autophagy, and lysosomal amplification. These proteostatic adaptations collectively reduce protein content thereby reducing myofiber size and muscle mass. Thus, muscle wasting can occur as a trade-off of adaptation to mitochondria-induced proteostatic stress. This finding could have implications for understanding the mechanism of muscle wasting, especially in diseases associated with Ant1 overexpression, including facioscapulohumeral dystrophy.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Cell biology; Cellular physiology; Functional aspects of cell biology
  21. Neuron. 2022 Jan 20. pii: S0896-6273(21)01076-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy is a cellular degradation pathway essential for neuronal health and function. Autophagosome biogenesis occurs at synapses, is locally regulated, and increases in response to neuronal activity. The mechanisms that couple autophagosome biogenesis to synaptic activity remain unknown. In this study, we determine that trafficking of ATG-9, the only transmembrane protein in the core autophagy pathway, links the synaptic vesicle cycle with autophagy. ATG-9-positive vesicles in C. elegans are generated from the trans-Golgi network via AP-3-dependent budding and delivered to presynaptic sites. At presynaptic sites, ATG-9 undergoes exo-endocytosis in an activity-dependent manner. Mutations that disrupt endocytosis, including a lesion in synaptojanin 1 associated with Parkinson's disease, result in abnormal ATG-9 accumulation at clathrin-rich synaptic foci and defects in activity-induced presynaptic autophagy. Our findings uncover regulated key steps of ATG-9 trafficking at presynaptic sites and provide evidence that ATG-9 exo-endocytosis couples autophagosome biogenesis at presynaptic sites with the activity-dependent synaptic vesicle cycle.
    Keywords:  AP-3; ATG-9; Golgi apparatus; Parkinson’s disease; autophagy; clathrin; endocytosis; neuronal activity; synaptic vesicle cycle; synaptojanin 1/unc-26
  22. Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 27. 13(1): 536
      CLN7 neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is an inherited lysosomal storage neurodegenerative disease highly prevalent in children. CLN7/MFSD8 gene encodes a lysosomal membrane glycoprotein, but the biochemical processes affected by CLN7-loss of function are unexplored thus preventing development of potential treatments. Here, we found, in the Cln7∆ex2 mouse model of CLN7 disease, that failure in autophagy causes accumulation of structurally and bioenergetically impaired neuronal mitochondria. In vivo genetic approach reveals elevated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) in Cln7∆ex2 neurons that mediates glycolytic enzyme PFKFB3 activation and contributes to CLN7 pathogenesis. Mechanistically, mROS sustains a signaling cascade leading to protein stabilization of PFKFB3, normally unstable in healthy neurons. Administration of the highly selective PFKFB3 inhibitor AZ67 in Cln7∆ex2 mouse brain in vivo and in CLN7 patients-derived cells rectifies key disease hallmarks. Thus, aberrant upregulation of the glycolytic enzyme PFKFB3 in neurons may contribute to CLN7 pathogenesis and targeting PFKFB3 could alleviate this and other lysosomal storage diseases.
  23. Methods Appl Fluoresc. 2022 Jan 24.
      Since the intracellular pH plays an important role in the physiological and pathological processes, however, the probes that can be used for monitoring pH fluctuation under extreme acidic conditions are currently rare, so it is necessary to construct fluorescent probes for sensing pH less than 4. In this work, we developed a new near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent probe Cy-SNN for sensing pH fluctuation under extremely acidic conditions. For the preparation of this probe, benzothiozolium moiety was chosen as lysosomal targeting unit and NIR fluorophore, and barbituric acid moiety was fused in the polymethine chain of probe to introduce protonation center. Surprisingly, on the basis of the balance of quaternary ammonium salts and free amines, the pKa value of Cy-SNN was calculated as low as 2.96, implying that Cy-SNN can be used in acidic conditions with pH < 4. Moreover, Cy-SNN exhibited highly selective response to H+ over diverse analytes in real-time with dependable reversibility. Importantly, Cy-SNN can be used to specifically target lysosome, providing potential tools for monitoring the function of lysosome in autophagy process.
    Keywords:  Cell imaging; Extreme acidity; Fluorescent probe; Lysosom; Near-infrared
  24. Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 27. 13(1): 531
      Autophagy has been linked to a wide range of functions, including a degradative process that defends host cells against pathogens. Although the involvement of autophagy in HBV infection has become apparent, it remains unknown whether selective autophagy plays a critical role in HBV restriction. Here, we report that a member of the galectin family, GAL9, directs the autophagic degradation of HBV HBc. BRET screening revealed that GAL9 interacts with HBc in living cells. Ectopic expression of GAL9 induces the formation of HBc-containing cytoplasmic puncta through interaction with another antiviral factor viperin, which co-localized with the autophagosome marker LC3. Mechanistically, GAL9 associates with HBc via viperin at the cytoplasmic puncta and enhanced the auto-ubiquitination of RNF13, resulting in p62 recruitment to form LC3-positive autophagosomes. Notably, both GAL9 and viperin are type I IFN-stimulated genes that act synergistically for the IFN-dependent proteolysis of HBc in HBV-infected hepatocytes. Collectively, these results reveal a previously undescribed antiviral mechanism against HBV in infected cells and a form of crosstalk between the innate immune system and selective autophagy in viral infection.
  25. Vet Microbiol. 2022 Jan 21. pii: S0378-1135(22)00020-7. [Epub ahead of print]266 109350
      Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED), caused by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), has arisen huge economic losses to the swine industry worldwide. The Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp (DEAD)-box polypeptide 6 (DDX6), a DEAD-box RNA helicase family member, acts as a suppressor of autophagy, however, whether it participates in PEDV-induced autophagy remains unclear. Here, we aimed to investigate the potential role of DDX6 during PEDV infection. We found that DDX6 protein expression was down-regulated and mRNA expression was up-regulated in PEDV-infected cells. Overexpression of DDX6 effectively impaired PEDV replication, while knockdown of DDX6 facilitated viral replication. Overexpression of DDX6 facilitated the degradation of autophagy-related gene (ATG) mRNA and partially rescued the dephosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) by PEDV infection. We also found that PEDV-triggered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress reduced the protein level of DDX6, and conversely, silencing of DDX6 is necessary and sufficient to alleviate ER stress and cell apoptosis. In addition, the loss of RNA helicase activity on DDX6 lost the ability to suppress autophagy and failed to restrict PEDV replication. Taken together, these findings indicated a DDX6-based mechanism that associates ER stress with autophagy activation during PEDV infection. PEDV-triggered ER stress down-regulated the expression of DDX6 to induce autophagy by inhibiting degradation of ATGs and phosphorylation of mTOR signaling, which alleviates ER stress and Promotes cell survival rather than apoptosis. These findings provided new insight into the function of DDX6 in autophagy during PEDV infection and may serve as a therapeutic strategy for controlling PEDV infection.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; DDX6; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; PEDV; mTOR
  26. Life Sci. 2022 Jan 19. pii: S0024-3205(22)00038-8. [Epub ahead of print] 120338
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Ischemic reperfusion (I/R) injury causes a wide array of functional and structure alternations of mitochondria, associated with oxidative stress and increased the severity of injury. Despite the previous evidence for N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) provide neuroprotection after I/R injury, it is unknown to evaluate the effect of NAC on altered mitochondrial autophagy forms an essential axis to impaired mitochondrial quality control in cerebral I/R injury.METHODS: Male wistar rats subjected to I/R injury were used as transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion (tMCAO) model. After I/R injury, the degree of cerebral tissue injury was detected by infarct volume, H&E staining and behavioral assessment. We also performed mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial membrane potential by flow cytometry and mitochondrial respiratory complexes to evaluate the mitochondrial dysfunction. Finally, we performed the western blotting analysis to measure the apoptotic and autophagic marker.
    RESULTS: We found that NAC administration significantly ameliorates brain injury, improves neurobehavioral outcome, decreases neuroinflammation and mitochondrial mediated oxidative stress. We evaluated the neuroprotective effect of NAC against neuronal apoptosis by assessing its ability to sustained mitochondrial integrity and function. Further studies revealed that beneficial effects of NAC is through targeting the mitochondrial autophagy via regulating the GSK-3β/Drp1mediated mitochondrial fission and inhibiting the expression of beclin-1 and conversion of LC3, as well as activating the p-Akt pro-survival pathway.
    CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that NAC exerts neuroprotective effects to inhibit the altered mitochondrial changes and cell death in I/R injury via regulation of p-GSK-3β mediated Drp-1 translocation to the mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Drp-1; Ischemic-stroke; Mitochondria
  27. F1000Res. 2021 ;10 1259
      The energy sensor AMP kinase (AMPK) and the master scaffolding protein, AXIN, are two major regulators of biological processes in metazoans. AXIN-dependent regulation of AMPK activation plays a crucial role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis during glucose-deprived and energy-stressed conditions. The two proteins are also required for muscle function. While studies have refined our knowledge of various cellular events that promote the formation of AXIN-AMPK complexes and the involvement of effector proteins, more work is needed to understand precisely how the pathway is regulated in response to various forms of stress. In this review, we discuss recent data on AXIN and AMPK interaction and its role in physiological changes leading to improved muscle health and an extension of lifespan. We argue that AXIN-AMPK signaling plays an essential role in maintaining muscle function and manipulating the pathway in a tissue-specific manner could delay muscle aging. Therefore, research on understanding the factors that regulate AXIN-AMPK signaling holds the potential for developing novel therapeutics to slow down or revert the age-associated decline in muscle function, thereby extending the healthspan of animals.
    Keywords:  AAK-2; AMPK; Axin; C. elegans; LKB1; PRY-1; aging; muscle
  28. Blood. 2022 Jan 26. pii: blood.2021013477. [Epub ahead of print]
      Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NP-C1) is a rare lysosomal storage disorder resulting from mutations in an endo-lysosomal cholesterol transporter, NPC1. Despite typically presenting with pronounced neurological manifestations, NP-C1 also resembles long-term congenital immunodeficiencies that arise due to impairment of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) effector function. CTLs kill their targets through exocytosis of the contents of lysosome-like secretory cytotoxic granules (CGs) that store, and ultimately release the essential pore-forming protein perforin and pro-apoptotic serine proteases, granzymes, into the synapse formed between the CTL and a target cell. We have discovered that NPC1 deficiency increases CG lipid burden, impairs autophagic flux due to stalled trafficking of the transcription factor EB (TFEB), and dramatically reduces CTL cytotoxicity. Using a variety of immunological and cell biology techniques, we show that the cytotoxic defect arises specifically due to impaired perforin pore-formation. We demonstrated defects of CTL function of varying severity in NP-C1 patients, with the greatest loss of function associated with the most florid and/or earliest disease presentations. Remarkably, perforin function and CTL cytotoxicity were restored in vitro by promoting lipid clearance with therapeutic 2-hydroxypropyl-b-cyclodextrin (HPbCD), whereas restoring autophagy through TFEB over-expression was ineffective. Overall, our study revealed that NPC1 deficiency has a deleterious impact on CTL (but not natural killer cell) cytotoxicity that, in the long term, may predispose NP-C1 patients to atypical infections and impaired immune surveillance more generally.
  29. Front Neurosci. 2021 ;15 762439
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are secreted vesicles of diverse size and cargo that are implicated in the cell-to-cell transmission of disease-causing-proteins in several neurodegenerative diseases. Mutant huntingtin, the disease-causing entity in Huntington's disease, has an expanded polyglutamine track at the N terminus that causes the protein to misfold and form toxic intracellular aggregates. In Huntington's disease, mutant huntingtin aggregates are transferred between cells by several routes. We have previously identified a cellular pathway that is responsible for the export of mutant huntingtin via extracellular vesicles. Identifying the EV sub-populations that carry misfolded huntingtin cargo is critical to understanding disease progression. In this work we expressed a form of polyglutamine expanded huntingtin (GFP-tagged 72Qhuntingtinexon1) in cells to assess the EVs involved in cellular export. We demonstrate that the molecular chaperone, cysteine string protein (CSPα; DnaJC5), facilitates export of disease-causing-polyglutamine-expanded huntingtin cargo in 180-240 nm vesicles as well as larger 10-30 μm vesicles.
    Keywords:  DnaJ; Huntington’s disease; JDP; export; microflow cytometry; molecular chaperone
  30. Mol Biol Cell. 2022 Jan 26. mbcE21040163
      Cell surface protein trafficking is regulated in response to nutrient availability, with multiple pathways directing surface membrane proteins to the lysosome for degradation in response to suboptimal extracellular nutrients. Internalised protein and lipid cargoes recycle back to the surface efficiently in glucose replete conditions, but this trafficking is attenuated following glucose starvation. We find cells with either reduced or hyperactive phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity are defective for recycling. Furthermore, we find the yeast Gα subunit Gpa1, an endosomal PI3K effector, is required for surface recycling of cargoes. Following glucose starvation, mRNA and protein levels of a distinct Gα subunit Gpa2 are elevated following nuclear translocation of Mig1, which inhibits recycling of various cargoes. As Gpa1 and Gpa2 interact at the surface where Gpa2 concentrates during glucose starvation, we propose this disrupts PI3K activity required for recycling, potentially diverting Gpa1 to the surface and interfering with its endosomal role in recycling. In support of this model, glucose starvation and over-expression of Gpa2 alters PI3K endosomal phosphoinositide production. Glucose deprivation therefore triggers a survival mechanism to increase retention of surface cargoes in endosomes and promote their lysosomal degradation.
  31. Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Jan 24.
      BACKGROUND: Intestinal ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) causes severe injury to the intestine, leading to systemic inflammation and multiple organ failure. Autophagy is a stress-response mechanism that can protect against I/R injury by removing damaged organelles and toxic protein aggregates. Recent evidence has identified JAK-STAT signaling pathway as a new regulator of autophagy process, however, their regulatory relationship in intestinal I/R remains unknown.METHODS AND RESULTS: We systematically analyzed intestinal transcriptome data and found that JAK-STAT pathway was largely activated in response to I/R with most significant upregulation observed for JAK2 and STAT3. ChIP-Seq and luciferase assays in an in vitro oxygen-glucose deprivation and reoxygenation model revealed that activated JAK2/STAT3 signaling directly inhibited the transcription of autophagy regulator Beclin-1, leading to the suppression of autophagy and the activation of intestinal cell death. These findings were further confirmed in an in vivo mouse model, in which, intestinal I/R injury was associated with the activation of JAK2/STAT3 pathway and the deactivation of Beclin-1-mediated autophagy, while inhibiting JAK2/STAT3 with AG490 reactivated autophagy and improved survival after intestinal I/R injury.
    CONCLUSIONS: JAK2/STAT3 signaling suppresses autophagy process during intestinal I/R, while inhibiting JAK-STAT can be protective against intestinal I/R injury by activating autophagy. These findings expand our knowledge on intestinal I/R injury and provide therapeutic targets for clinical treatment.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Beclin-1; Intestinal ischemia–reperfusion injury; JAK-STAT; JAK2/STAT3
  32. J Control Release. 2022 Jan 24. pii: S0168-3659(22)00023-2. [Epub ahead of print]343 66-77
      The inhibition of autophagy is a feasible clinical strategy in tumor therapy. Traditional autophagy inhibitors are limited in clinical tumor therapy due to nonspecific biodistribution, systemic toxicity and limited antitumor effect. Herein, the autophagy inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)-loaded nanodroplets (NDs) are synthesized to overcome these drawbacks. HCQ-NDs are endowed with endogenous pH- and exogenous ultrasound-responsive drug release and contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging performance. The combined application of ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) and HCQ-NDs can severely break the homeostasis of tumor cells, simultaneously releasing HCQ rapidly to block autophagic flux and thus abolish the cytoprotective function. This strategy presents strong synergistic antitumor efficacy with the tumor growth inhibition value of 80.02% and synchronously inhibits tumor lung metastasis by inhibition of MMP2 and MMP9 production, eventually leading to tumor suppression. In addition, HCQ-NDs show excellent tumor-targeting, biocompatibility, biosafety and contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging properties. Based on the above findings, this combined strategy rationally regulates the autophagic process of tumor cells and could be instructive for the design of clinical treatment modalities.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Charge conversion; Theranostics; Tumor metastasis; Ultrasound
  33. Ann Transl Med. 2021 Dec;9(24): 1794
      Background: It has previously been suggested that Alzheimer's disease (AD) and osteoporosis (OP) were related. However, the connection between these 2 disorders is poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between amyloid β peptide (Aβ) and the osteoporotic deficit observed in AD patients.Methods: We used the APP/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mouse model of AD for in vivo study and extracted bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) for in vitro studies. For in vivo experiments, mice femurs were put through a μ-computer tomography (μ-CT) scanning and after which, sliced for hematoxylin/eosin (HE), Masson and Goldner staining for detection of bone changes. For in vitro experiments, BMSCs were placed in an osteogenic inducing medium with or without rapamycin. After induction, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining, alizarin red staining, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and western-blot were used to identify osteogenic differentiation, calcium deposition and protein expression differences respectively.
    Results: We observed that pathological changes characteristic of AD and OP occurred in vivo in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice. In BMSCs producing endogenous Aβ, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation and subsequent inhibition of autophagy suppressed bone formation. Further, the addition of the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin into the inducing medium reversed the inhibition of osteogenesis.
    Conclusions: Our results suggested that endogenous Aβ might have induced osteoporosis through an mTOR-dependent inhibition of autophagy in BMSCs, which may explain the OP changes observed in AD patients.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Amyloid β (Aβ); bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs); mTOR; osteoporosis
  34. FEBS Open Bio. 2022 Jan 23.
      Lysosomal peptidases are hydrolytic enzymes capable of digesting waste proteins that are targeted to lysosomes via endocytosis and autophagy. Besides intracellular protein catabolism, they play more specific roles in several other cellular processes and pathologies, either within lysosomes, upon secretion into the cell cytoplasm or extracellular space, or bound to the plasma membrane. In cancer, lysosomal peptidases are generally associated with disease progression, as they participate in crucial processes leading to changes in cell morphology, signaling, migration, and invasion, and finally metastasis. However, they can also enhance the mechanisms resulting in cancer regression, such as apoptosis of tumor cells or antitumor immune responses. Lysosomal peptidases have also been identified as hallmarks of aging and neurodegeneration, playing roles in oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal intercellular communication, dysregulated trafficking, and the deposition of protein aggregates in neuronal cells. Furthermore, deficiencies in lysosomal peptidases may result in other pathological states, such as lysosomal storage disease. The aim of this review is to highlight the role of lysosomal peptidases in particular pathological processes of cancer and neurodegeneration and to address the potential of lysosomal peptidases in diagnosing and treating patients.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cathepsins; Lysosomes; Neurodegeneration; Peptidases
  35. Biophys J. 2022 Jan 22. pii: S0006-3495(22)00047-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      IQGAP1 is a multi-domain scaffold protein that coordinates the direction and impact of multiple signaling pathways by scaffolding its various binding partners. However, the spatial and temporal resolution of IQGAP1 scaffolding remains unclear. Here, we use fluorescence imaging and correlation methods that allow for real time live cell changes in IQGAP1 localization and complex formation during signaling. We find that IQGAP1 and PIPKIγ interact on both the plasma membrane and in cytosol. EGF stimulation, which can initiate cytoskeletal changes, drives the movement of the cytosolic pool towards the plasma membrane to promote cytoskeletal changes. We also observe that a significant population of cytosolic IQGAP1-PIPKIγ complexes localize to early endosomes, and in some instances, form aggregated clusters which become highly mobile upon EGF stimulation. Our imaging studies show that PIPKIγ and PI3K bind simultaneously to IQGAP1 which may accelerate conversion of PI4P to PI(3,4,5)P3 that is required for cytoskeletal changes. Additionally, we find that IQGAP1 is responsible for PIPKIγ association with two proteins associated with cytoskeletal changes, talin and Cdc42, during EGF stimulation. These results directly show that IQGAP1 provides a physical link between phosphoinositides (through PIPKIγ), focal adhesion formation (through talin) and cytoskeletal reorganization (through Cdc42) upon EGF stimulation. Taken together, our results support the importance of IQGAP1 in regulating cell migration by linking phosphoinositide lipid signaling with cytoskeletal reorganization.
  36. Mol Cancer. 2022 Jan 24. 21(1): 29
      BACKGROUND: Metastasis causes the majority of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Increasing studies have revealed that circRNAs are associated with the carcinogenesis and metastasis of many cancers. Nevertheless, the biological mechanisms of circRNAs in breast cancer (BC) liver metastasis remain extremely ambiguous.METHODS: In this study, we identified circROBO1 from three pairs of primary BC and metastatic liver sites by RNA sequencing. FISH assays and RT-qPCR were conducted to validate the existence and expression of circROBO1. The oncogenic role of circROBO1 was demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. Western blot, ChIP, RIP, RNA pull-down, and dual-luciferase reporter assays were used to confirm the interaction of the feedback loop among circROBO1, miR-217-5p, KLF5, and FUS. Meanwhile, the regulation of selective autophagy was investigated by immunofluorescence, CoIP, and western blot.
    RESULTS: In this study, upregulated expression of circROBO1 was found in BC-derived liver metastases and was correlated with poor prognosis. Knockdown of circROBO1 strikingly inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of BC cells, whereas overexpression of circROBO1 showed the opposite effects. Moreover, overexpression of circROBO1 promoted tumor growth and liver metastasis in vivo. Further research revealed that circROBO1 could upregulate KLF5 by sponging miR-217-5p, allowing KLF5 to activate the transcription of FUS, which would promote the back splicing of circROBO1. Therefore, a positive feedback loop comprising circROBO1/KLF5/FUS was formed. More importantly, we found that circROBO1 inhibited selective autophagy of afadin by upregulating KLF5.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that circROBO1 facilitates the carcinogenesis and liver metastasis of BC through the circROBO1/KLF5/FUS feedback loop, which inhibits the selective autophagy of afadin by suppressing the transcription of BECN1. Therefore, circROBO1 could be used not only as a potential prognostic marker but also as a therapeutic target in BC.
    Keywords:  Afadin; Autophagy; BC; BECN1; FUS; KLF5; Metastasis; circROBO1; miR-217
  37. Mech Ageing Dev. 2022 Jan 20. pii: S0047-6374(22)00015-X. [Epub ahead of print]202 111633
      Aging is a process involving physiological changes that lead to the decline of biological functions of various tissues and organs of the body. Therefore, it is crucial to find anti-aging drugs that can intervene with the changes induced because of aging and slow down the degeneration of the biological functions. Among many signaling pathways linked with aging and aging-related diseases, PI3K-AKT signaling pathway has attracted major attention in aging biology. In this research paper, we have demonstrated that AKT inhibitor GSK690693 can extend lifespan in Drosophila irrespective of start of the treatment from the beginning of life or the mid-life. Effect of GSK690693 for lifespan extension has been primarily related to the improvements in oxidative resistance, intestinal integrity and increased autophagy, but not in physical activity or starvation resistance. Furthermore, GSK690693 treatment reduced the activation of AKT and ERK, consequently activating FOXO, GSK-3β and apoptosis to modulate longevity of flies. Remarkably, GSK690693 did not induce hyperglycemia after treatment. The results indicate that GSK690693 may become an effective compound for anti-aging intervention.
    Keywords:  AKT; Anti-aging; Autophagy; Drosophila; GSK690693
  38. Neuropharmacology. 2022 Jan 19. pii: S0028-3908(22)00023-5. [Epub ahead of print]207 108964
      The lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GCase), encoded by the GBA1 gene, is a membrane-associated protein catalyzing the cleavage of glucosylceramide (GlcCer) and glucosylsphingosine (GlcSph). Homologous GBA1 mutations cause Gaucher disease (GD) and heterologous mutations cause Parkinson's disease (PD). Importantly, heterologous GBA1 mutations are recognized as the second risk factor of PD. The pathological features of PD are Lewy neurites (LNs) and Lewy bodies (LBs) composed of pathological α-synuclein. Oxidative stress, inflammatory response, autophagic impairment, and α-synuclein accumulation play critical roles in PD pathogenic cascades, but the pathogenesis of PD has not yet been fully elucidated. What's more, PD treatment drugs can only relieve symptoms to a certain extent, but cannot alleviate neurodegenerative progression. Therefore, it's urgent to explore new targets that can alleviate the neurodegenerative process. Deficient GCase can cause lysosomal dysfunction, obstructing the metabolism of α-synuclein. Meanwhile, GCase dysfunction causes accumulation of its substrates, leading to lipid metabolism disorders. Subsequently, astrocytes and microglia are activated, releasing amounts of pro-inflammatory mediators and causing extensive neuroinflammation. All these cascades can induce neuron damage and death, eventually promoting PD pathology. This review aims to summarize these points and the potential of GCase as an original target to provide some ideas for elucidating the pathogenesis of PD.
    Keywords:  Glucocerebrosidase; Neuroinflammation; Parkinson's disease; Targeting therapies
  39. Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 26. 13(1): 516
      Protein aggregation is a hallmark of neurodegeneration. Here, we find that Huntington's disease-related HTT-polyQ aggregation induces a cellular proteotoxic stress response, while ALS-related mutant FUS (mutFUS) aggregation leads to deteriorated proteostasis. Further exploring chaperone function as potential modifiers of pathological aggregation in these contexts, we reveal divergent effects of naturally-occurring chaperone isoforms on different aggregate types. We identify a complex of the full-length (FL) DNAJB14 and DNAJB12, that substantially protects from mutFUS aggregation, in an HSP70-dependent manner. Their naturally-occurring short isoforms, however, do not form a complex, and lose their ability to preclude mutFUS aggregation. In contrast, DNAJB12-short alleviates, while DNAJB12-FL aggravates, HTT-polyQ aggregation. DNAJB14-FL expression increases the mobility of mutFUS aggregates, and restores the deteriorated proteostasis in mutFUS aggregate-containing cells and primary neurons. Our results highlight a maladaptive cellular response to pathological aggregation, and reveal a layer of chaperone network complexity conferred by DNAJ isoforms, in regulation of different aggregate types.
  40. Cell Reprogram. 2022 Jan 26.
      Autophagy could promote the generation of induced pluripotency stem cells (iPSCs) in humans and mice. However, little was known whether it had similar effects in other species, the detailed mechanism and the features of formed iPSC colonies were also not clear. In this study, we first established the doxycycline (DOX)-inducible tetO lentiviral vector system suitable for the generation of rabbit iPSCs. Rapamycin, a mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, was added during rabbit embryonic fibroblasts induction to improve the autophagy level. The colony formation efficiency and the expression of autophagy- and pluripotent-related genes were detected. The results showed that the established DOX-inducible tetO lentiviral system was successfully used to induce rabbit iPS-like cells. Compared with the untreated group, the number of alkaline phosphatase (AP)-positive colonies was increased 5.5-fold, when 0.5 nM rapamycin was added on days 1-3 after transduction, the colony morphology was improved and the iPS-like cells could be passaged >10 generations. The expression of autophagy-related genes (ATG), ATG5, ATG7, LC3, and ULK1 was increased with different patterns during the induction process, expression of OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4 significantly increased (p < 0.05). The mentioned results indicate that rapamycin treatment is beneficial for the generation of rabbit iPSCs by regulating autophagy and pluripotency-related gene expression.
    Keywords:  autophagy; gene expression; induction efficiency; rabbit iPS-like cells; rapamycin
  41. J Innate Immun. 2022 Jan 25. 1-16
      Aroylated phenylenediamines (APDs) are novel modulators of innate immunity with respect to enhancing the expression of antimicrobial peptides and maintaining epithelial barrier integrity. Here, we present a new study on induction of autophagy in human lung epithelial cells by the APD HO53. Interestingly, HO53 affected autophagy in a dose-dependent manner, demonstrated by increased microtubule-associated proteins 1A/1B light-chain 3B (LC3B) processing in mature polarized bronchial epithelial cells. The quantification of LC3B puncta showed increased autophagy flux and formation of autophagosomes visualized by transmission electron microscopy. The phenotypic changes indicated that autophagy induction was associated with activation of 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), nuclear translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB), and changes in expression of autophagy-related genes. The kinetics of the explored signaling pathways indicated on activation of AMPK followed by the nuclear translocation of TFEB. Moreover, our data suggest that HO53 modulates epigenetic changes related to induction of autophagy manifested by transcriptional regulation of histone-modifying enzymes. These changes were reflected by decreased ubiquitination of histone 2B at the lysine 120 residue that is associated with autophagy induction. Taken together, HO53 modulates autophagy, a part of the host defense system, through a complex mechanism involving several pathways and epigenetic events.
    Keywords:  Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase; Aroylated phenylenediamine; Bronchial epithelium; Epigenetics; Transcription factor EB
  42. EMBO Rep. 2022 Jan 26. e51932
      Expression of the deubiquitinase USP17 is induced by multiple stimuli, including cytokines (IL-4/6), chemokines (IL-8, SDF1), and growth factors (EGF), and several studies indicate it is required for cell proliferation and migration. However, the mechanisms via which USP17 impacts upon these cellular functions are unclear. Here, we demonstrate that USP17 depletion prevents peripheral lysosome positioning, as well as trafficking of lysosomes to the cell periphery in response to EGF stimulation. Overexpression of USP17 also increases secretion of the lysosomal protease cathepsin D. In addition, USP17 depletion impairs plasma membrane repair in cells treated with the pore-forming toxin streptolysin O, further indicating that USP17 is required for lysosome trafficking to the plasma membrane. Finally, we demonstrate that USP17 can deubiquitinate p62, and we propose that USP17 can facilitate peripheral lysosome trafficking by opposing the E3 ligase RNF26 to untether lysosomes from the ER and facilitate lysosome peripheral trafficking, lysosome protease secretion, and plasma membrane repair.
    Keywords:  EGF; USP17; exocytosis; lysosome
  43. FEBS Lett. 2022 Jan 28.
      Mitochondria are associated with various cellular activities critical to homeostasis, particularly in the nervous system. The plastic architecture of the mitochondrial network and its dynamic structure play crucial roles in ensuring that varying energetic demands are rapidly met to maintain neuronal and axonal energy homeostasis. Recent evidence associates ageing and neurodegeneration with anomalous neuronal metabolism, as age-dependent alterations of neuronal metabolism are now believed to occur prior to neurodegeneration. The brain has a high energy demand, which makes it particularly sensitive to mitochondrial dysfunction. Distinct cellular events causing oxidative stress or disruption of metabolism and mitochondrial homeostasis can trigger a neuropathology. This review explores the bioenergetic hypothesis for the neurodegenerative pathomechanisms, discussing factors leading to age-related brain hypometabolism and its contribution to cognitive decline. Recent research on the mitochondrial network in healthy nervous system cells, its response to stress and how it is affected by pathology, as well as current contributions to novel therapeutic approaches will be highlighted.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer; Huntington; Parkinson; ROS; ageing; axon; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuron
  44. World J Gastroenterol. 2021 Dec 28. 27(48): 8283-8301
      A symbiotic relationship has set up between the gut microbiota and its host in the course of evolution, forming an interkingdom consortium. The gut offers a favorable ecological niche for microbial communities, with the whole body and external factors (e.g., diet or medications) contributing to modulating this microenvironment. Reciprocally, the gut microbiota is important for maintaining health by acting not only on the gut mucosa but also on other organs. However, failure in one or another of these two partners can lead to the breakdown in their symbiotic equilibrium and contribute to disease onset and/or progression. Several microbial and host processes are devoted to facing up the stress that could alter the symbiosis, ensuring the resilience of the ecosystem. Among these processes, autophagy is a host catabolic process integrating a wide range of stress in order to maintain cell survival and homeostasis. This cytoprotective mechanism, which is ubiquitous and operates at basal level in all tissues, can be rapidly down- or up-regulated at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, or post-translational levels, to respond to various stress conditions. Because of its sensitivity to all, metabolic-, immune-, and microbial-derived stimuli, autophagy is at the crossroad of the dialogue between changes occurring in the gut microbiota and the host responses. In this review, we first delineate the modulation of host autophagy by the gut microbiota locally in the gut and in peripheral organs. Then, we describe the autophagy-related mechanisms affecting the gut microbiota. We conclude this review with the current challenges and an outlook toward the future interventions aiming at modulating host autophagy by targeting the gut microbiota.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Brain; Gut microbiota; Liver; Muscle; Probiotic
  45. JBMR Plus. 2022 Jan;6(1): e10572
      The relationship between the active form of vitamin D3 (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), two integral signaling molecules of the cell, is poorly understood. This is striking, given that both factors are involved in cancer cell regulation and metabolism. Mitochondria (mt) dysfunction is one of the main drivers of cancer, producing more mitochondria, higher cellular energy, and ROS that can enhance oxidative stress and stress tolerance responses. To study the effects of 1,25(OH)2D on metabolic and mt dysfunction, we used the vitamin D receptor (VDR)-sensitive MG-63 osteosarcoma cell model. Using biochemical approaches, 1,25(OH)2D decreased mt ROS levels, membrane potential (ΔΨmt), biogenesis, and translation, while enforcing endoplasmic reticulum/mitohormetic stress adaptive responses. Using a mitochondria-focused transcriptomic approach, gene set enrichment and pathway analyses show that 1,25(OH)2D lowered mt fusion/fission and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). By contrast, mitophagy, ROS defense, and epigenetic gene regulation were enhanced after 1,25(OH)2D treatment, as well as key metabolic enzymes that regulate fluxes of substrates for cellular architecture and a shift toward non-oxidative energy metabolism. ATACseq revealed putative oxi-sensitive and tumor-suppressing transcription factors that may regulate important mt functional genes such as the mTORC1 inhibitor, DDIT4/REDD1. DDIT4/REDD1 was predominantly localized to the outer mt membrane in untreated MG-63 cells yet sequestered in the cytoplasm after 1,25(OH)2D and rotenone treatments, suggesting a level of control by membrane depolarization to facilitate its cytoplasmic mTORC1 inhibitory function. The results show that 1,25(OH)2D activates distinct adaptive metabolic responses involving mitochondria to regain redox balance and control the growth of osteosarcoma cells. © 2021 The Authors. JBMR Plus published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
  46. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 801328
      Ubiquitin-specific protease 14 (USP14), a deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB), is associated with proteasomes and exerts a dual function in regulating protein degradation. USP14 protects protein substrates from degradation by removing ubiquitin chains from proteasome-bound substrates, whereas promotes protein degradation by activating the proteasome. Increasing evidence have shown that USP14 is involved in several canonical signaling pathways, correlating with cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, autophagy, immune responses, and viral infections. The activity of USP14 is tightly regulated to ensure its function in various cellular processes. Structural studies have demonstrated that free USP14 exists in an autoinhibited state with two surface loops, BL1 and BL2, partially hovering above and blocking the active site cleft binding to the C-terminus of ubiquitin. Hence, both proteasome-bound and phosphorylated forms of USP14 require the induction of conformational changes in the BL2 loop to activate its deubiquitinating function. Due to its intriguing roles in the stabilization of disease-causing proteins and oncology targets, USP14 has garnered widespread interest as a therapeutic target. In recent years, significant progress has been made on identifying inhibitors targeting USP14, despite the complexity and challenges in improving their selectivity and affinity for USP14. In particular, the crystal structures of USP14 complexed with IU1-series inhibitors revealed the underlying allosteric regulatory mechanism and enabled the further design of potent inhibitors. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding the structure, regulation, pathophysiological function, and selective inhibition of USP14, including disease associations and inhibitor development.
    Keywords:  disease; pathophysiological function; regulation; signaling pathway; structure; target inhibition; ubiquitin-specific protease 14
  47. Hum Cell. 2022 Jan 24.
      Acid-sensitive ion channel 1a (ASIC1a), which is abundant in chondrocytes, can sense changes in extracellular acidification. Our previous data demonstrated that ASIC1a is involved in acid-induced rat articular chondrocyte damage in osteoarthritis; however, its specific mechanisms remain unclear. The present study aims to explore the role of ASIC1a in rat articular chondrocyte senescence. RNA-seq transcriptome analysis identified senescence-associated secretory phenotype and matrix metalloproteinases genes were overexpressed by extracellular acidification (pH 6.0) in rat articular chondrocytes. An increase in senescence-associated β-galactosidase and senescence-related markers p16, p21 and p53 was observed in the pH 6.0-treated group compared with the control group. Acid-induced senescence-related markers could be blocked by the ASIC1a-specific inhibitor psalmotoxin-1 in rat articular chondrocytes and human immortalized C28/I2 chondrocyte cell lines. Moreover, our results showed that extracellular acidification increased autophagosomes and the autophagy-related proteins LC3B-II and Beclin-1; these effects could also be reversed by psalmotoxin-1 treatment, indicating ASIC1a participated in acid-induced chondrocyte autophagy. Blocking ASIC1a-mediated autophagy with chloroquine also inhibited senescence-related markers, decreased ROS expression, and restored cell membrane potential induced by pH 6.0 treatment. Taken together, these findings suggested that ASIC1a may be involved in acid-induced rat articular chondrocyte senescence by activating autophagy, which provides a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
    Keywords:  ASIC1a; Autophagy; Chondrocyte; Extracellular acidification; Senescence