bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2022‒06‒19
thirty-two papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Neurotox Res. 2022 Jun 14.
      An inherent challenge that mitochondria face is the continuous exposure to diverse stresses which increase their likelihood of dysregulation. In response, human cells have evolved sophisticated quality control mechanisms to identify and eliminate abnormal dysfunctional mitochondria. One pivotal mitochondrial quality control pathway is PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy which mediates the selective removal of the dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell by autophagy. PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) is a mitochondrial Ser/Thr kinase that was originally identified as a gene responsible for autosomal recessive early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). Notably, upon failure of mitochondrial import, Parkin, another autosomal-recessive PD gene, is recruited to mitochondria and mediates the autophagic clearance of deregulated mitochondria. Importantly, recruitment of Parkin to damaged mitochondria hinges on the accumulation of PINK1 on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). Normally, PINK1 is imported from the cytosol through the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) complex, a large multimeric channel responsible for the import of most mitochondrial proteins. After import, PINK1 is rapidly degraded. Thus, at steady-state, PINK1 levels are kept low. However, upon mitochondrial import failure, PINK1 accumulates and forms a high-molecular weight > 700 kDa complex with TOM on the OMM. Thus, PINK1 functions as sensor, tagging dysfunctional mitochondria for Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Although much has been learned about the function of PINK1 in mitophagy, the biochemical and structural basis of negative regulation of PINK1 operation and functions is far from clear. Recent work unveiled new players as PTEN-l as negative regulator of PINK1 function. Herein, we review key aspects of mitophagy and PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy with highlighting the role of negative regulation of PINK1 function and presenting some of the key future directions in PD cell biology.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial quality control; Mitophagy; Neurodegeneration; PINK1; PTEN-L; Parkin; Protein degradation; Protein quality control
  2. J Cell Biol. 2022 Jul 04. pii: e202203083. [Epub ahead of print]221(7):
      The process of membrane atg8ylation, defined herein as the conjugation of the ATG8 family of ubiquitin-like proteins to membrane lipids, is beginning to be appreciated in its broader manifestations, mechanisms, and functions. Classically, membrane atg8ylation with LC3B, one of six mammalian ATG8 family proteins, has been viewed as the hallmark of canonical autophagy, entailing the formation of characteristic double membranes in the cytoplasm. However, ATG8s are now well described as being conjugated to single membranes and, most recently, proteins. Here we propose that the atg8ylation is coopted by multiple downstream processes, one of which is canonical autophagy. We elaborate on these biological outputs, which impact metabolism, quality control, and immunity, emphasizing the context of inflammation and immunological effects. In conclusion, we propose that atg8ylation is a modification akin to ubiquitylation, and that it is utilized by different systems participating in membrane stress responses and membrane remodeling activities encompassing autophagy and beyond.
  3. Autophagy. 2022 Jun 16.
      Macroautophagy/autophagy defects are a risk factor for intestinal bowel disease (IBD), but the mechanism remains unclear. We previously demonstrated that conditional whole-body deletion of the essential Atg7 (autophagy related 7) gene in adult mice (atg7Δ/Δ) causes specific tissue damage and shortens lifespan to three months primarily due to neurodegeneration with surprisingly no disturbing effects on the intestine. In contrast, we recently found that conditional whole-body deletion of other essential autophagy genes, Atg5 or Rb1cc1/Fip200 (atg5Δ/Δ or rb1cc1Δ/Δ), cause death within five days due to rapid inhibition of autophagy, elimination of intestinal stem cells, and loss of barrier function in the ileum. atg5Δ/Δ mice lose PDGFRA/PDGFRα+ mesenchymal cells (PMCs) and WNT signaling essential for stem cell renewal. Depletion of aspartate and nucleotides in atg5Δ/Δ ileum was revealed by novel mass-spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI), consistent with metabolic insufficiency underlying PMCs loss. The difference in the autophagy gene knockout phenotypes is likely due to distinct kinetics of autophagy loss because gradual whole-body atg5 deletion extends lifespan, phenocopying deletion of Atg7 or Atg12. Therefore, we established that autophagy is required for ileum PMC metabolism, stem cell maintenance and mammalian survival. PMC loss caused by autophagy deficiency may therefore contribute to IBD.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; IBD; PDGFRα+ mesenchymal cells; WNT signaling; intestinal stem cells
  4. J Mol Neurosci. 2022 Jun 16.
      Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). Since the identification of the first ALS mutation in 1993, more than 40 genes have been associated with the disorder. The most frequent genetic causes of ALS are represented by mutated genes whose products challenge proteostasis, becoming unable to properly fold and consequently aggregating into inclusions that impose proteotoxic stress on affected cells. In this context, increasing evidence supports the central role played by autophagy dysfunctions in the pathogenesis of ALS. Indeed, in early stages of disease, high levels of proteins involved in autophagy are present in ALS MNs; but at the same time, with neurodegeneration progression, autophagy-mediated degradation decreases, often as a result of the accumulation of toxic protein aggregates in affected cells. Autophagy is a complex multistep pathway that has a central role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Several proteins are involved in its tight regulation, and importantly a relevant fraction of ALS-related genes encodes products that directly take part in autophagy, further underlining the relevance of this key protein degradation system in disease onset and progression. In this review, we report the most relevant findings concerning ALS genes whose products are involved in the several steps of the autophagic pathway, from phagophore formation to autophagosome maturation and transport and finally to substrate degradation.
    Keywords:  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Animal models; Autophagy; Mutations
  5. Autophagy. 2022 Jun 14. 1-3
      Protein aggregates have a strong correlation with the pathogenesis of multiple human pathologies represented by neurodegenerative diseases. One type of selective autophagy, known as aggrephagy, can selectively degrade protein aggregates. A recent study from Ge lab reported the TRiC subunit CCT2 (chaperonin containing TCP1 subunit 2) as the first identified specific aggrephagy receptor in mammals. The switch of CCT2's role from a chaperonin to a specific aggrephagy receptor is achieved by CCT2 monomer formation. CCT2 functions independently of ubiquitin and the TRiC complex to facilitate the autophagic clearance of solid protein aggregates. This study provides the intriguing possibility that CCT2, as a specific aggrephagy receptor, might be an important target for the treatment of various diseases associated with protein aggregation.
    Keywords:  Aggrephagy; CCT2; autophagy; chaperonin TRiC subunit; protein aggregation; solid protein aggregates
  6. Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Jun 14.
      Synuclein aggregation in neuronal cells is the primary underlying cause of synucleinopathies. Changes in gene expression patterns, structural modifications, and altered interactions with other cellular proteins often trigger aggregation of α-synuclein, which accumulates as oligomers or fibrils in Lewy bodies. Although fibrillar forms of α-synuclein are primarily considered pathological, recent studies have revealed that even the intermediate states of aggregates are neurotoxic, complicating the development of therapeutic interventions. Autophagy and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways play a significant role in maintaining the soluble levels of α-synuclein inside cells; however, the heterogeneous nature of the aggregates presents a significant bottleneck to its degradation by these cellular pathways. With studies focused on identifying the proteins that modulate synuclein aggregation and clearance, detailed mechanistic insights are emerging about the individual and synergistic effects of these degradation pathways in regulating soluble α-synuclein levels. In this article, we discuss the impact of α-synuclein aggregation on autophagy-lysosome and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways and the therapeutic strategies that target various aspects of synuclein aggregation or degradation via these pathways. Additionally, we also highlight the natural and synthetic compounds that have shown promise in alleviating the cellular damage caused due to synuclein aggregation.
    Keywords:  Aggregate clearance; Autophagy; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; Neurodegenerative diseases; Oligomers; Parkinson’s disease; Proteasome; Small molecules; Synucleinopathies; Ubiquitin; α-Synuclein
  7. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 14. pii: S2211-1247(22)00761-6. [Epub ahead of print]39(11): 110975
      Mitochondria change their morphology in response to developmental and environmental cues. During sexual reproduction, bryophytes produce spermatozoids with two mitochondria in the cell body. Although intensive morphological analyses have been conducted, how this fixed number of mitochondria is realized remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate how mitochondria are reorganized during spermiogenesis in Marchantia polymorpha. We find that the mitochondrial number is reduced to one through fission followed by autophagic degradation during early spermiogenesis, and then the posterior mitochondrion arises by fission of the anterior mitochondrion. Autophagy is also responsible for the removal of other organelles, including peroxisomes, but these other organelles are removed at distinct developmental stages from mitochondrial degradation. We also find that spermiogenesis involves nonautophagic organelle degradation. Our findings highlight the dynamic reorganization of mitochondria, which is regulated distinctly from that of other organelles, and multiple degradation mechanisms operate in organelle remodeling during spermiogenesis in M. polymorpha.
    Keywords:  CP: Plants; Marchantia polymorpha; autophagy; dynamin-related protein; mitochondria; mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; nonautophagic degradation; organelle reorganization; peroxisome; spermiogenesis
  8. Skelet Muscle. 2022 Jun 11. 12(1): 13
      BACKGROUND: Aging decreases skeletal muscle mass and quality. Maintenance of healthy muscle is regulated by a balance between protein and organellar synthesis and their degradation. The autophagy-lysosome system is responsible for the selective degradation of protein aggregates and organelles, such as mitochondria (i.e., mitophagy). Little data exist on the independent and combined influence of age, biological sex, and exercise on the autophagy system and lysosome biogenesis. The purpose of this study was to characterize sex differences in autophagy and lysosome biogenesis in young and aged muscle and to determine if acute exercise influences these processes.METHODS: Young (4-6 months) and aged (22-24 months) male and female mice were assigned to a sedentary or an acute exercise group. Mitochondrial content, the autophagy-lysosome system, and mitophagy were measured via protein analysis. A TFEB-promoter-construct was utilized to examine Tfeb transcription, and nuclear-cytosolic fractions allowed us to examine TFEB localization in sedentary and exercised muscle with age and sex.
    RESULTS: Our results indicate that female mice, both young and old, had more mitochondrial protein than age-matched males. However, mitochondria in the muscle of females had a reduced respiratory capacity. Mitochondrial content was only reduced with age in the male cohort. Young female mice had a greater abundance of autophagy, mitophagy, and lysosome proteins than young males; however, increases were evident with age irrespective of sex. Young sedentary female mice had indices of greater autophagosomal turnover than male counterparts. Exhaustive exercise was able to stimulate autophagic clearance solely in young male mice. Similarly, nuclear TFEB protein was enhanced to a greater extent in young male, compared to young female mice following exercise, but no changes were observed in aged mice. Finally, TFEB-promoter activity was upregulated following exercise in both young and aged muscle.
    CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that biological sex influences mitochondrial homeostasis, the autophagy-lysosome system, and mitophagy in skeletal muscle with age. Furthermore, our data suggest that young male mice have a more profound ability to activate these processes with exercise than in the other groups. Ultimately, this may contribute to a greater remodeling of muscle in response to exercise training in males.
    Keywords:  Aging; Autophagy; Lysosomes; Mitophagy; Muscle; Sex differences; TFEB
  9. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 14. pii: S2211-1247(22)00725-2. [Epub ahead of print]39(11): 110943
      The suppressive function of regulatory T (Treg) cells is tightly controlled by nutrient-fueled mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activation, yet its dynamics and negative regulation remain unclear. Here we show that Treg-specific depletion of vacuolar protein sorting 33B (Vps33B) in mice results in defective Treg cell suppressive function and acquisition of effector phenotype, which in turn leads to disturbed T cell homeostasis and boosted antitumor immunity. Mechanistically, Vps33B binds with lysosomal nutrient-sensing complex (LYNUS) and promotes late endosome and lysosome fusion and clearance of the LYNUS-containing late endosome/lysosome, and therefore suppresses mTORC1 activation. Vps33B deficiency in Treg cells results in disordered endosome lysosome fusion, which leads to accumulation of LYNUS that causes elevated mTORC1 activation and hyper-glycolytic metabolism. Taken together, our study reveals that Vps33B maintains Treg cell suppressive function through sustaining endolysosomal homeostasis and therefore restricting amino acid-licensed mTORC1 activation and metabolism.
    Keywords:  CP: Immunology; CP: Metabolism; Foxp3; Treg; Vps33B; endolysosomal system; mTORC1
  10. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2022 Jun 15.
      Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 are highly expressed in multiple conditions of skeletal muscle atrophy. The PI3K/Akt/FoxO signaling pathway is well known to regulate Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 gene expressions. However, Akt activation also activates the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) which induces skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Whether mTORC1-dependent signaling has a role in regulating Atrogin-1 and/or MuRF1 gene and protein expression is currently unclear. In this study, we showed that activation of insulin-mediated Akt signaling suppresses both Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 protein contents and that inhibition of Akt increases both Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 protein contents in C2C12 myotubes. Interestingly, inhibition of mTORC1 using a specific mTORC1 inhibitor, rapamycin, increased Atrogin-1, but not MuRF1, protein content. Furthermore, activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a negative regulator of the mTORC1 signaling pathway, also showed distinct time-dependent changes between Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 protein contents, suggesting differential regulatory mechanisms between Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 protein content. To further explore the downstream of mTORC1 signaling, we employed a specific S6K1 inhibitor, PF-4708671. We found that Atrogin-1 protein content was dose-dependently increased with PF-4708671 treatment, whereas MuRF1 protein content was decreased at 50 μM of PF-4708671 treatment. However, MuRF1 protein content was unexpectedly increased when treated with PF-4708671 for a longer period. Overall, our results indicate that Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 protein contents are regulated by different mechanisms, the downstream of Akt, and that Atrogin-1 protein content can be regulated by rapamycin-sensitive mTOR-S6K1 dependent signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  Skeletal muscle; The ubiquitin proteasome system; mTORC1
  11. J Mater Chem B. 2022 Jun 17.
      Lysosomes, as the main degradative organelles, play an important role in a variety of cellular metabolic activities including autophagy and apoptosis, catabolism and transporting substances. Lysosomal autophagy is an important physiological process and causes a slight change in the intra-lysosomal pH to facilitate the breakdown of macromolecular proteins. Therefore, detecting the fluctuation of intra-lysosomal pH is of great significance in monitoring physiological and pathological activities in living organisms. However, few probes have enabled the ratiometric monitoring of lysosomal pH and lysosomal autophagy in dual channels. Fortunately, spiropyrans, as compounds with multistimuli-responsive discoloration properties, form two different isomers under acid induction and ultraviolet induction. To fill this gap, in this work, two novel multistimuli-responsive fluorescent probes with lysosomal targeting in dual channels based on spiropyrans were rationally designed and synthesized. Notably, the two probes exhibited different absorption wavelengths in their UV-responsive and pH-responsive moieties due to their different electron-donating groups. Moreover, bioimaging experiments clearly demonstrate that the probes Lyso-SP and Lyso-SQ monitor lysosomal autophagy by facilitating the visualization of fluctuations in intra-lysosomal pH. Meanwhile, their potential applications in the field of dual-anticounterfeiting were explored based on their photoluminescence ability. We expect that more multistimuli-responsive fluorescent probes can be developed by this design approach.
  12. Inflamm Res. 2022 Jun 14.
      The human immunity-related GTPase M (IRGM) is a GTP-binding protein that regulates selective autophagy including xenophagy and mitophagy. IRGM impacts autophagy by (1) affecting mitochondrial fusion and fission, (2) promoting the co-assembly of ULK1 and Beclin 1, (3) enhancing Beclin 1 interacting partners (AMBRA1, ATG14L1, and UVRAG), (4) interacting with other key proteins (ATG16L1, p62, NOD2, cGAS, TLR3, and RIG-I), and (5) regulating lysosomal biogenesis. IRGM also negatively regulates NLRP3 inflammasome formation and therefore, maturation of the important pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β, impacting inflammation and pyroptosis. Ultimately, this affords protection against chronic inflammatory diseases. Importantly, ten IRGM polymorphisms (rs4859843, rs4859846, rs4958842, rs4958847, rs1000113, rs10051924, rs10065172, rs11747270, rs13361189, and rs72553867) have been associated with human inflammatory disorders including cancer, which suggests that these genetic variants are functionally relevant to the autophagic and inflammatory responses. The current review contextualizes IRGM, its modulation of autophagy, and inflammation, and emphasizes the role of IRGM as a cross point of immunity and tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; IRGM; Immunity; Inflammation; Xenophagy
  13. Autoimmun Rev. 2022 Jun 08. pii: S1568-9972(22)00102-1. [Epub ahead of print] 103132
      Autophagy is a highly regulated process wherein an unwanted cargo of damaged and dysfunctional cytoplasmic components is removed, delivered to lysosomes for degradation, and released back into the cytoplasm. Accumulating evidence suggests an important role of autophagy in the pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus, with profound effects on both innate and adaptive immunity. Autophagy downregulation results in the inhibition of antigen presenting cells, reduced release of neutrophil extracellular traps and decreased activation of effector T and B cells, leading to reduced autoantibody production and attenuated type 1 interferon signaling. However, defective autophagy may accelerate the production of other inflammatory cytokines and reduce the clearance of apoptotic cells, promoting lupus development. In addition, autophagy dysfunction can concur to the pathogenesis of kidney injury in lupus nephritis. Autophagy is a pivotal mechanism to maintain podocyte integrity and endothelial cell survival. Several animal models have demonstrated that defective autophagy leads to podocyte injury and can promote an endothelial pro-inflammatory and atherogenic phenotype. Moreover, autophagy is a key homeostatic regulator of renal tubular cells, and recent evidence has pointed out that chronic autophagy deficiency may accelerate kidney fibrosis. Targeting autophagy may theoretically improve lupus nephritis outcomes, but novel, non-invasive methods to measure and monitor autophagic activity are urgently needed. In addition, the extent and timing of autophagy inhibition still require additional studies before clinical translation may be attempted. In this review, we will also discuss the effect of several clinically available drugs that can regulate the autophagic flux and their effect in lupus nephritis patients.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Kidney; Lupus
  14. J Nephrol. 2022 Jun 15.
      Podocytes are terminally differentiated epithelial cells of the renal glomerular tuft and these highly specialized cells are essential for the integrity of the slit diaphragm. The biological function of podocytes is primarily based on a complex ramified structure that requires sufficient nutrients and a large supply of energy in support of their unique structure and function in the glomeruli. Of note, the dysregulation of nutrient signaling and energy metabolic pathways in podocytes has been associated with a range of kidney diseases i.e., diabetic nephropathy. Therefore, nutrient-related and energy metabolic signaling pathways are critical to maintaining podocyte homeostasis and the pathogenesis of podocyte injury. Recently, a growing body of evidence has indicated that nutrient starvation induces autophagy, which suggests crosstalk between nutritional signaling with the modulation of autophagy for podocytes to adapt to nutrient deprivation. In this review, the current knowledge and advancement in the understanding of nutrient sensing, signaling, and autophagy in the podocyte biology, injury, and pathogenesis of kidney diseases is summarized. Based on the existing findings, the implications and perspective to target these signaling pathways and autophagy in podocytes during the development of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies in patients with podocyte injury-associated kidney diseases are discussed.
    Keywords:  Angiotensin II; Autophagy; Insulin signaling; Nutritional signaling pathway; Podocyte; mTOR
  15. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jun 09. pii: S0021-9258(22)00559-2. [Epub ahead of print] 102118
      Sphingolipids are a class of bioactive complex lipids that have been closely associated with aging and aging-related diseases. However, the mechanism through which sphingolipids control aging has long been a mystery. Emerging studies reveal that sphingolipids exert tight control over lysosomal homeostasis and function, as evidenced by sphingolipid-related diseases, including but not limited to lysosomal storage disorders. These diseases are defined by primary lysosomal defects and a few secondary defects such as mitochondrial dysfunction. Intriguingly, recent research indicates that the majority of these defects are also associated with aging, implying that sphingolipid-related diseases and aging may share common mechanisms. We propose that the lysosome is a pivotal hub for sphingolipid-mediated aging regulation. This review discusses the critical roles of sphingolipid metabolism in regulating various lysosomal functions, with an emphasis on how such regulation may contribute to aging and aging-related diseases.
    Keywords:  aging; lifespan; lysosomal calcium; lysosomal cell death; lysosome; lysosome-mitochondria communication; mTOR; sphingolipid
  16. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 918732
      Autophagy, a highly conserved catabolic pathway in eukaryotic cells, contributes to the maintenance of the homeostasis and function of the kidney. Upon acute kidney injury (AKI), autophagy is activated in renal tubular cells to act as an intrinsic protective mechanism. However, the role of autophagy in the development of chronic kidney pathologies including renal fibrosis after AKI remains unclear. In this study, we detected a persistent autophagy activation in mouse kidneys after nephrotoxicity of repeated low dose cisplatin (RLDC) treatment. 3-methyladenine (3-MA) and chloroquine (CQ), respective inhibitors of autophagy at the initiation and degradation stages, blocked autophagic flux and improved kidney repair in post-RLDC mice, as indicated by kidney weight, renal function, and less interstitial fibrosis. In vitro, RLDC induced a pro-fibrotic phenotype in renal tubular cells, including the production and secretion of pro-fibrotic cytokines. Notably, autophagy inhibitors blocked RLDC-induced secretion of pro-fibrotic cytokines in these cells. Together, the results indicate that persistent autophagy after AKI induces pro-fibrotic cytokines in renal tubular cells, promoting renal fibrosis and chronic kidney disease.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cisplatin; kidney injury and repair; profibrotic growth factor; renal fibrosis
  17. Yeast. 2022 Jun 16.
      Autophagy-related gene (Atg) proteins are key players in autophagy. Some proteins that function in vesicle trafficking and lipid metabolism are also involved in autophagy. The SPO14 in yeast, which encodes phospholipase D (PLD), is involved in membrane trafficking and plays a vital role in sporulation during meiosis. Crosstalk has been identified between autophagy and sporulation. Although the PLD is required for macroautophagy in mammals, its role in yeast macroautophagy remains unclear. We observed that Spo14 is not required for macroautophagy in yeast and that it is dispensable for Atg8 lipidation, which plays an important role in phagophore extension. Our results also revealed that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Atg8 degradation is not completely blocked in atg1Δ/atg1Δ cells under sporulation condition. Therefore, Spo14 is not required for macroautophagy in yeast. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Atg1; Atg8-PE; Autophagy; Macroautophagy; PLD1; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Spo14; Sporulation
  18. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jun 17. 13(1): 260
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, a deeper understanding is required to determine the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) to RPE damage and AMD pathobiology. In this study, we model the impact of a prototypical systemic mitochondrial defect, mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), in RPE health and homeostasis as an in vitro model for impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics.METHODS: We used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from skin biopsies of MELAS patients (m.3243A > G tRNA leu mutation) with different levels of mtDNA heteroplasmy and differentiated them into RPE cells. Mitochondrial depletion of ARPE-19 cells (p0 cells) was also performed using 50 ng/mL ethidium bromide (EtBr) and 50 mg/ml uridine. Cell fusion of the human platelets with the p0 cells performed using polyethylene glycol (PEG)/suspension essential medium (SMEM) mixture to generate platelet/RPE "cybrids." Confocal microscopy, FLowSight Imaging cytometry, and Seahorse XF Mito Stress test were used to analyze mitochondrial function. Western Blotting was used to analyze expression of autophagy and mitophagy proteins.
    RESULTS: We found that MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells exhibited key characteristics of native RPE. We observed heteroplasmy-dependent impairment of mitochondrial bioenergetics and reliance on glycolysis for generating energy in the MELAS iPSC-derived RPE. The degree of heteroplasmy was directly associated with increased activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), reduced adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) activation, and decreased autophagic activity. In addition, impaired autophagy was associated with aberrant lysosomal function, and failure of mitochondrial recycling. The mitochondria-depleted p0 cells replicated the effects on autophagy impairment and aberrant STAT3/AMPKα signaling and showed reduced mitochondrial respiration, demonstrating phenotypic similarities between p0 and MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our studies demonstrate that the MELAS iPSC-derived disease models are powerful tools for dissecting the molecular mechanisms by which mitochondrial DNA alterations influence RPE function in aging and macular degeneration, and for testing novel therapeutics in patients harboring the MELAS genotype.
    Keywords:  AMPKα; Age-related macular degeneration; Autophagy flux; MELAS; Mitochondrial heteroplasmy; Mitophagy; PGC-1α; Prom1/CD133; Regenerative medicine; iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium
  19. Mol Biol Cell. 2022 Jun 15. mbcE21100505
      We report on how the ER-associated-autophagy pathway (ERAA) delivers P23H-rhodopsin (P23H-R) to the lysosome. P23H-R accumulates in an ERAD-resistant conformation that is stabilized in a detergent-soluble state by DNAJB12 and Hsp70. P23H-R, DNAJB12, and FIP200 colocalize in discrete foci that punctuate the rim of omegasome rings coated by WIPI1. Loss of DNAJB12 function prevents the association of P23H-R containing ER-tubules with omegasomes. P23H-R tubules thread through the wall of WIPI1 rings into their central cavity. Transfer of P23H-R from ER-connected phagophores to lysosomes requires GABARAP, and is associated with the transient docking of lysosomes to WIPI1 rings. After departure from WIPI1 rings, new patches of P23H-R are seen in the membranes of lysosomes. The absence of GABARAP prevents transfer of P23H-R from phagophores to lysosomes without interfering with docking. These data identify lysosome docking to omegasomes as an important step in the DNAJB12 and GABARAP-dependent autophagic disposal of dominantly toxic P23H-R.
  20. Mol Brain. 2022 Jun 14. 15(1): 54
      Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by the loss of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. FBXO7 (F-box protein only 7) (PARK15) mutations cause early-onset Parkinson's disease. FBXO7 is a subunit of the SCF (SKP1/cullin-1/F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, but its neuronal relevance and function have not been elucidated. To determine its function in neurons, we generated neuronal cell-specific FBXO7 conditional knockout mice (FBXO7flox/flox: Nestin-Cre) by crossing previously characterized FBXO7 floxed mice (FBXO7flox/flox) with Nestin-Cre mice (Nestin-Cre). The resultant Fbxo7flox/flox: Nestin-Cre mice showed juvenile motor dysfunction, including hindlimb defects and decreased numbers of dopaminergic neurons. Fragmented mitochondria were observed in dopaminergic and cortical neurons. Furthermore, p62- and synuclein-positive Lewy body-like aggregates were identified in neurons. Our findings highlight the unexpected role of the homeostatic level of p62, which is regulated by a non-autophagic system that includes the ubiquitin-proteasome system, in controlling intracellular inclusion body formation. These data indicate that the pathologic processes associated with the proteolytic and mitochondrial degradation systems play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PD.
    Keywords:  Dopaminergic neuron; FBXO7; Mitochondria; Parkinson’s disease; Synuclein; p62
  21. Exp Cell Res. 2022 Jun 10. pii: S0014-4827(22)00239-7. [Epub ahead of print] 113246
      Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) phosphorylates and inhibits eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1). This leads to the release of eIF4E from 4E-BP1 and the initiation of eIF4E-dependent mRNA translation. In this study, we examined the expression of a 4E-BP1-based reporter (mTORC1 activity reporter; TORCAR) with various localization signal tags to clarify the relationship between the localization of 4E-BP1 and its phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 at threonine 37/46 and serine 65 was efficient at lysosomes and the plasma membrane, whereas it was significantly decreased in the nucleus. In addition, the localization of endogenous eIF4E shifted from the cytoplasm to the nucleus only when nuclear-localized TORCAR was expressed. Nuclear-localized TORCAR decreased cyclin D1 protein levels and altered cell cycle distribution. These data provide an experimental tool to manipulate the localization of endogenous eIF4E without affecting mTORC1 and highlight the important role of nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of eIF4E.
    Keywords:  4E-BP1; NLS; TORCAR; Translation; eIF4E
  22. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2022 Jun 13. pii: S1044-7431(22)00057-4. [Epub ahead of print] 103751
      Polygenic Risk Scores (PRS), which allow assessing an individuals' genetic risk for a complex disease, are calculated as the weighted number of genetic risk alleles in an individual's genome, with the risk alleles and their weights typically derived from the results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Among a wide range of applications, PRS can be used to identify at-risk individuals and select them for further clinical follow-up. Pathway PRS are genetic scores based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) assigned to genes involved in major disease pathways. The aim of this study is to assess the predictive utility of PRS models constructed based on SNPs corresponding to two cardinal pathways in Parkinson's disease (PD) including mitochondrial PRS (Mito PRS) and autophagy-lysosomal PRS (ALP PRS). PRS models were constructed using the clumping-and-thresholding method in a German population as prediction dataset that included 371 cases and 249 controls, using SNPs discovered by the most recent PD-GWAS. We showed that these pathway PRS significantly predict the PD status. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Mito PRS are significantly associated with later age of onset in PD patients. Our results may add to the accumulating evidence for the contribution of mitochondrial and autophagy-lysosomal pathways to PD risk and facilitate biologically relevant risk stratification of PD patients.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Lysosomal pathway; Mitochondrial pathway; Parkinson's disease; Polygenic risk scores
  23. J Physiol. 2022 Jun 12.
      Parkin is an E3 ubiquitin ligase mostly known for its role in regulating the removal of defective mitochondria via mitophagy. However, increasing experimental evidence that Parkin regulates several other aspects of mitochondrial biology in addition to its role in mitophagy has emerged over the past two decades. Indeed, Parkin has been shown to regulate mitochondrial biogenesis and dynamics and mitochondrial-derived vesicle formation, suggesting that Parkin plays key roles in maintaining healthy mitochondria. While Parkin is commonly described as a cytosolic E3 ubiquitin ligase, Parkin was also detected in other cellular compartments, including the nucleus, where it regulates transcription factors and acts as a transcription factor itself. New evidence also suggests that Parkin overexpression can be leveraged to delay aging. In D. melanogaster, for example, Parkin overexpression extends lifespan. In mammals, Parkin overexpression delays hallmarks of aging in several tissues and cell types. Parkin overexpression also confers protection in various models of cellular senescence and neurological disorders closely associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Recently, Parkin overexpression has also been shown to suppress tumor growth. In this review, we discuss newly emerging biological roles of Parkin as a modulator of cellular homeostasis, survival, and healthy aging, and we explore potential mechanisms through which Parkin exerts its beneficial effects on cellular health. Abstract figure legend Parkin: A potential target to promote healthy aging Illustration of key aspects of Parkin biology, including Parkin function and cellular localization and key roles in the regulation of mitochondrial quality control. The organs and systems in which Parkin overexpression was shown to exert protective effects relevant to the promotion of healthy aging are highlighted in the black rectangle at the bottom of the Figure. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Parkin; aging-related disorders; health span; healthy aging; lifespan; mitochondrial quality control; senescence
  24. Mol Brain. 2022 Jun 17. 15(1): 56
      Hippocampal CA1 parvalbumin-expressing interneurons (PV INs) play a central role in controlling principal cell activity and orchestrating network oscillations. PV INs receive excitatory inputs from CA3 Schaffer collaterals and local CA1 pyramidal cells, and they provide perisomatic inhibition. Schaffer collateral excitatory synapses onto PV INs express Hebbian and anti-Hebbian types of long-term potentiation (LTP), as well as elicit LTP of intrinsic excitability (LTPIE). LTPIE requires the activation of type 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR5) and is mediated by downregulation of potassium channels Kv1.1. It is sensitive to rapamycin and thus may involve activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). LTPIE facilitates PV INs recruitment in CA1 and maintains an excitatory-inhibitory balance. Impaired CA1 PV INs activity or LTP affects network oscillations and memory. However, whether LTPIE in PV INs plays a role in hippocampus-dependent memory remains unknown. Here, we used conditional deletion of the obligatory component of mTORC1, the Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR (Raptor), to directly manipulate mTORC1 in PV INs. We found that homozygous, but not heterozygous, conditional knock-out of Rptor resulted in a decrease in CA1 PV INs of mTORC1 signaling via its downstream effector S6 phosphorylation assessed by immunofluorescence. In whole-cell recordings from hippocampal slices, repetitive firing of CA1 PV INs was impaired in mice with either homozygous or heterozygous conditional knock-out of Rptor. High frequency stimulation of Schaffer collateral inputs that induce LTPIE in PV INs of control mice failed to do so in mice with either heterozygous or homozygous conditional knock-out of Rptor in PV INs. At the behavioral level, mice with homozygous or heterozygous conditional knock-out of Rptor showed similar long-term contextual fear memory or contextual fear memory discrimination relative to control mice. Thus, mTORC1 activity in CA1 PV INs regulates repetitive firing and LTPIE but not consolidation of long-term contextual fear memory and context discrimination. Our results indicate that mTORC1 plays cell-specific roles in synaptic plasticity of hippocampal inhibitory interneurons that are differentially involved in hippocampus-dependent learning and memory.
    Keywords:  CA1 hippocampus; Contextual fear conditioning; GABA interneurons; Raptor conditional knock-out mice; Whole-cell recordings
  25. J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Jun 09. pii: S0955-2863(22)00158-9. [Epub ahead of print] 109087
      Although the role of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in lipid metabolism has been the subject of previous research, its function in chylomicron production is not known. In this study, we created three stable human colorectal adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cell lines exhibiting normal, low or high mTORC1 kinase activity, and used these cells to investigate the consequences of manipulating mTORC1 activity on enterocyte differentiation and chylomicron-like particle production. Constitutively active mTORC1 induced Caco-2 cell proliferation and differentiation (as judged by alkaline phosphatase activity) but weakened transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER). Repressed mTORC1 activity due to the knockdown of RPTOR significantly decreased the expression of lipogenic genes FASN, DGAT1 and DGAT2, lipoprotein assembly genes APOB and MTTP, reduced protein expression of APOB, MTTP and FASN, downregulated the gene expression of very long-chain fatty acyl-CoA ligase (FATP2), acyl-CoA binding protein (DBI), and prechylomicron transport vesicle-associated proteins VAMP7 (vesicle-associated membrane protein 7) and SAR1B (secretion associated Ras related GTPase 1B) resulting in the repression of apoB-containing triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein secretion. Exposure of Caco-2 cells harboring a constitutively active mTORC1 to short-chain fatty acid derivatives, R-α-lipoic acid and 4-phenylbutyric acid, downregulated chylomicron-like particle secretion by interfering with the lipidation and assembly of the particles, and concomitantly repressed mTORC1 activity with no change to Raptor abundance or PRAS40 (Thr246) phosphorylation. R-α-lipoic acid and 4-phenylbutyric acid may be useful to mitigate intestinal lipoprotein overproduction and associated postprandial inflammation.
    Keywords:  apolipoprotein B; dietary fat; lacteal; lipogenesis; mTORC1; triacylglycerol
  26. J Exp Bot. 2022 Jun 17. pii: erac264. [Epub ahead of print]
      Microalgae constitute a highly diverse group of photosynthetic microorganisms that are widely distributed on Earth. The rich diversity of microalgae arose from endosymbiotic events that took place early in the evolution of eukaryotes and gave rise to multiple lineages including green algae, the ancestors of land plants. In addition to their fundamental role as the primary source of marine and freshwater food chains, microalgae are essential producers of oxygen in the planet and a major biotechnological target for sustainable biofuel production and CO2 mitigation. Microalgae integrate light and nutrient signals to regulate cell growth. Recent studies identified the target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase as central regulator of cell growth and nutrient sensor in microalgae. TOR promotes protein synthesis and regulates processes that are induced under nutrient stress such as autophagy and the accumulation of triacylglycerol and starch. A detailed analysis of representative genomes from the entire microalgal lineage revealed the high conservation of central components of the TOR pathway likely present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor and the loss of specific TOR signaling elements at an early stage in the evolution of microalgae. Here we examine the evolutionary conservation of TOR signaling components in diverse microalgae and discuss recent progress on the study of this signaling pathway in these organisms.
    Keywords:  Chlamydomonas; Microalgae; TOR kinase; nutrient; red algae
  27. FASEB J. 2022 07;36(7): e22396
      Dietary removal of an essential amino acid (EAA) triggers the integrated stress response (ISR) in liver. Herein, we explored the mechanisms that activate the ISR and execute changes in transcription and translation according to the missing EAA. Wild-type mice and mice lacking general control nonderepressible 2 (Gcn2) were fed an amino acid complete diet or a diet devoid of either leucine or sulfur amino acids (methionine and cysteine). Serum and liver leucine concentrations were significantly reduced within the first 6 h of feeding a diet lacking leucine, corresponding with modest, GCN2-dependent increases in Atf4 mRNA translation and induction of selected ISR target genes (Fgf21, Slc7a5, Slc7a11). In contrast, dietary removal of the sulfur amino acids lowered serum methionine, but not intracellular methionine, and yet hepatic mRNA abundance of Atf4, Fgf21, Slc7a5, Slc7a11 substantially increased regardless of GCN2 status. Liver tRNA charging levels did not correlate with intracellular EAA concentrations or GCN2 status and remained similar to mice fed a complete diet. Furthermore, loss of Gcn2 increased the occurrence of ribosome collisions in liver and derepressed mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 signal transduction, but these changes did not influence execution of the ISR. We conclude that ISR activation is directed by intracellular EAA concentrations, but ISR execution is not. Furthermore, a diet devoid of sulfur amino acids does not require GCN2 for the ISR to execute changes to the transcriptome.
    Keywords:  dietary restriction; feeding; mammalian; polysomes; postprandial period; protein synthesis
  28. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 915931
      Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are two major neurodegenerative diseases. FTD is the second most common cause of dementia and ALS is the most common form of motor neuron disease. These diseases are now known to be linked. There are no cures or effective treatments for FTD or ALS and so new targets for therapeutic intervention are required but this is hampered by the large number of physiological processes that are damaged in FTD/ALS. Many of these damaged functions are now known to be regulated by signaling between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. This signaling is mediated by "tethering" proteins that serve to recruit ER to mitochondria. One tether strongly associated with FTD/ALS involves an interaction between the ER protein VAPB and the mitochondrial protein PTPIP51. Recent studies have shown that ER-mitochondria signaling is damaged in FTD/ALS and that this involves breaking of the VAPB-PTPIP51 tethers. Correcting disrupted tethering may therefore correct many other downstream damaged features of FTD/ALS. Here, we review progress on this topic with particular emphasis on targeting of the VAPB-PTPIP51 tethers as a new drug target.
    Keywords:  ER-mitochondria contact; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); endoplasmic reticulum; frontotemporal dementia (FTD); mitochondria; therapeutic targets
  29. Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 16. 12(1): 10092
      The most accepted hypothesis in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the amyloid cascade which establishes that Aβ accumulation may induce the disease development. This accumulation may occur years before the clinical symptoms but it has not been elucidated if this accumulation is the cause or the consequence of AD. It is however, clear that Aβ accumulation exerts toxic effects in the cerebral cells. It is important then to investigate all possible associated events that may help to design new therapeutic strategies to defeat or ameliorate the symptoms in AD. Alterations in the mitochondrial physiology have been found in AD but it is not still clear if they could be an early event in the disease progression associated to amyloidosis or other conditions. Using APP/PS1 mice, our results support published evidence and show imbalances in the mitochondrial dynamics in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of these mice representing very early events in the disease progression. We demonstrate in cellular models that these imbalances are consequence of Aβ accumulation that ultimately induce increased mitophagy, a mechanism which selectively removes damaged mitochondria by autophagy. Along with increased mitophagy, we also found that Aβ independently increases autophagy in APP/PS1 mice. Therefore, mitochondrial dysfunction could be an early feature in AD, associated with amyloid overload.
  30. Sci Adv. 2022 Jun 17. 8(24): eabo4271
      Infection is one of the major causes of mortality in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We previously found that CD38, an ectoenzyme that regulates the production of NAD+, is up-regulated in CD8+ T cells of SLE patients and correlates with the risk of infection. Here, we report that CD38 reduces CD8+ T cell function by negatively affecting mitochondrial fitness through the inhibition of multiple steps of mitophagy, a process that is critical for mitochondria quality control. Using a murine lupus model, we found that administration of a CD38 inhibitor in a CD8+ T cell-targeted manner reinvigorated their effector function, reversed the defects in autophagy and mitochondria, and improved viral clearance. We conclude that CD38 represents a target to mitigate infection rates in people with SLE.
  31. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2022 Jun 16.
      AIMS: Noise damage to auditory hair cells is associated with oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. This study was aimed to investigate the possible effect of sestrin 2 (SESN2), an endogenous antioxidant protein, on noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the underlying mechanisms.RESULTS: We identified SESN2 as a protective factor against oxidative stress in NIHL via activation of Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Consistently, SESN2 expression was increased and mitophagy was induced during the early stage after a temporary threshold shift (TTS) due to noise exposure or H2O2 stimulation; conversely, SESN2 deficiency blocked mitophagy and exacerbated acoustic trauma. Mechanistically, SESN2 interacted with Unc-51-like protein kinase 1 (ULK1), promoting ULK1 pro-tein level stabilization by interfering with its proteasomal degradation. This stabili-zation is essential for mitophagy initiation, since restoring ULK1 expression in SESN2-silenced cells rescued mitophagy defects. Innovation & Conclusion: Our results provide novel insights regarding SESN2 as a therapeutic target against noise-induced cochlear injury, possibly through improved mitophagy.
  32. Ageing Res Rev. 2022 Jun 14. pii: S1568-1637(22)00109-X. [Epub ahead of print] 101667
      Mitochondria have been largely described as the powerhouse of the cell and recent findings demonstrate that this organelle is fundamental for neurogenesis. The mechanisms underlying neural stem cells (NSCs) maintenance and differentiation are highly regulated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Mitochondrial-mediated switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation, accompanied by mitochondrial remodeling and dynamics are vital to NSCs fate. Deregulation of mitochondrial proteins, mitochondrial DNA, function, fission/fusion and metabolism underly several neurodegenerative diseases; data show that these impairments are already present in early developmental stages and NSC fate decisions. However, little is known about mitochondrial role in neurogenesis. In this Review, we describe the recent evidence covering mitochondrial role in neurogenesis, its impact in selected neurodegenerative diseases, for which aging is the major risk factor, and the recent advances in stem cell-based therapies that may alleviate neurodegenerative disorders-related neuronal deregulation through improvement of mitochondrial function and dynamics.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Neural Stem Cells; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Neurogenesis