bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2022‒07‒31
seventy papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28.
      PINK1-PRKN/Parkin-mediated mitophagy represents an important mitochondrial quality control (MQC) pathway that clears damaged/dysfunctional mitochondria. Although the conjugation of mammalian Atg8-family proteins (mATG8s) to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is a defining step in autophagy, its role in mitophagy remains unclear. In our recent study, we found that the mATG8 conjugation system is not required for PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitochondria clearance. Instead, mATG8 conjugation system-independent mitochondria clearance relies on secretory autophagy, in a process we term as the autophagic secretion of mitochondria (ASM). As ASM results in the spurious activation of the CGAS-STING1 pathway, we propose that defects in mATG8 lipidation may promote inflammation through ASM.
    Keywords:  Extracellular vesicles; PINK1-PRKN; inflammation; mATG8 conjugation system; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; secretory autophagy
  2. Cells. 2022 Jul 20. pii: 2250. [Epub ahead of print]11(14):
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a protein degradation mechanism through lysosomes. By targeting the KFERQ motif of the substrate, CMA is responsible for the degradation of about 30% of cytosolic proteins, including a series of proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). The fact that decreased activity of CMA is observed in NDs, and ND-associated mutant proteins, including alpha-synuclein and Tau, directly impair CMA activity reveals a possible vicious cycle of CMA impairment and pathogenic protein accumulation in ND development. Given the intrinsic connection between CMA dysfunction and ND, enhancement of CMA has been regarded as a strategy to counteract ND. Indeed, genetic and pharmacological approaches to modulate CMA have been shown to promote the degradation of ND-associated proteins and alleviate ND phenotypes in multiple ND models. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the mechanism of CMA with a focus on its relationship with NDs and discusses the therapeutic potential of CMA modulation for ND.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; HSC70; Huntington’s disease; LAMP2A; Parkinson’s disease; autophagy; chaperone-mediated autophagy; neurodegenerative disease; small molecule; α-synuclein
  3. Biomolecules. 2022 Jun 21. pii: 866. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      Autophagy is a process conserved from yeast to humans. Since the discovery of autophagy, its physiological role in cell survival and cell death has been intensively investigated. The inherent ability of the autophagy machinery to sequester, deliver, and degrade cytoplasmic components enables autophagy to participate in cell survival and cell death in multiple ways. The primary role of autophagy is to send cytoplasmic components to the vacuole or lysosomes for degradation. By fine-tuning autophagy, the cell regulates the removal and recycling of cytoplasmic components in response to various stress or signals. Recent research has shown the implications of the autophagy machinery in other pathways independent of lysosomal degradation, expanding the pro-survival role of autophagy. Autophagy also facilitates certain forms of regulated cell death. In addition, there is complex crosstalk between autophagy and regulated cell death pathways, with a number of genes shared between them, further suggesting a deeper connection between autophagy and cell death. Finally, the mitochondrion presents an example where the cell utilizes autophagy to strike a balance between cell survival and cell death. In this review, we consider the current knowledge on the physiological role of autophagy as well as its regulation and discuss the multiple functions of autophagy in cell survival and cell death.
    Keywords:  cellular homeostasis; lysosome; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; stress
  4. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2022 Jul 26.
      Ca2+ is a universal second messenger that plays a wide variety of fundamental roles in cellular physiology. Thus, to warrant selective responses and to allow rapid mobilization upon specific stimuli, Ca2+ is accumulated in organelles to keep it at very low levels in the cytoplasm during resting conditions. Major Ca2+ storage organelles include the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the mitochondria, and as recently demonstrated, the lysosome (Xu and Ren, Annu Rev Physiol 77:57-80, 2015). The importance of Ca2+ signaling deregulation in human physiology is underscored by its involvement in several human diseases, including lysosomal storage disorders, neurodegenerative disease and cancer (Shen et al., Nat Commun 3:731, 2012; Bae et al., J Neurosci 34:11485-11503, 2014). Recent evidence strongly suggests that lysosomal Ca2+ plays a major role in the regulation of lysosomal adaptation to nutrient availability through a lysosomal signaling pathway involving the lysosomal Ca2+ channel TRPML1 and the transcription factor TFEB, a master regulator for lysosomal function and autophagy (Sardiello et al., Science 325:473-477, 2009; Settembre et al., Science 332:1429-1433, 2011; Medina et al., Nat Cell Biol 17:288-299, 2015; Di Paola et al., Cell Calcium 69:112-121, 2018). Due to the tight relationship of this lysosomal Ca2+ channel and TFEB, in this chapter, we will focus on the role of the TRPML1/TFEB pathway in the regulation of lysosomal function and autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Calcium signaling; Lysosome; TFEB; TRPML1
  5. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 27. 1-2
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is a conserved lysosome-dependent metabolic recycling pathway. ULK1 plays an essential role in autophagy initiation through a complex formed with ATG13, RB1CC1/FIP200, and ATG101 in mammalian cells. However, while autophagy is triggered by nutrient starvation where it is essential for cell survival, such conditions lead to the rapid degradation of ULK1, indicating that autophagy must be tightly controlled. Nevertheless, the precise mechanisms regulating the ULK1 complex are still largely unknown. Here we reveal the critical roles played by two novel ULK1 complex binding proteins in autophagy regulation, TRIM27 and STK38L. We show that basal autophagy is maintained through TRIM27-mediated ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of ULK1, whereas under starvation conditions, excessive autophagy is restrained by the combined actions of TRIM27 and STK38L. TRIM27 ubiquitinates and activates STK38L which in turn phosphorylates ULK1, delivering ULK1 in a permissive state for hyper-ubiquitination by TRIM27. Thus, TRIM27 and STK38L kinase act in concert as a rheostat to control ULK1 levels. We further demonstrate increased basal autophagy in trim27 knockout mice and establish physiological relevance in the context of breast cancer. Our study highlights the STK38L-TRIM27-ULK1 axis as a potential treatment avenue to explore for activating autophagy in various disease states.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; STK38L; TRIM27; ULK1; breast cancer; metastasis; tumorigenesis; ubiquitination
  6. Elife. 2022 Jul 26. pii: e75398. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The mTOR pathway is an essential regulator of cell growth and metabolism. Midbrain dopamine neurons are particularly sensitive to mTOR signaling status as activation or inhibition of mTOR alters their morphology and physiology. mTOR exists in two distinct multiprotein complexes termed mTORC1 and mTORC2. How each of these complexes affect dopamine neuron properties, and whether they have similar or distinct functions is unknown. Here, we investigated this in mice with dopamine neuron-specific deletion of Rptor or Rictor, which encode obligatory components of mTORC1 or mTORC2, respectively. We find that inhibition of mTORC1 strongly and broadly impacts dopamine neuron structure and function causing somatodendritic and axonal hypotrophy, increased intrinsic excitability, decreased dopamine production, and impaired dopamine release. In contrast, inhibition of mTORC2 has more subtle effects, with selective alterations to the output of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. Disruption of both mTOR complexes leads to pronounced deficits in dopamine release demonstrating the importance of balanced mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling for dopaminergic function.
    Keywords:  TSC; dopamine neurons; mTORC1; mTORC2; mouse; neuroscience; raptor; rictor
  7. Elife. 2022 Jul 29. pii: e80497. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The essential biometal manganese (Mn) serves as a cofactor for several enzymes that are crucial for the prevention of human diseases. Whether intracellular Mn levels may be sensed and modulate intracellular signaling events has so far remained largely unexplored. The highly conserved target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1, mTORC1 in mammals) protein kinase requires divalent metal cofactors such as magnesium (Mg2+) to phosphorylate effectors as part of a homeostatic process that coordinates cell growth and metabolism with nutrient and/or growth factor availability. Here, our genetic approaches reveal that TORC1 activity is stimulated in vivo by elevated cytoplasmic Mn levels, which can be induced by loss of the Golgi-resident Mn2+ transporter Pmr1 and which depend on the natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (NRAMP) metal ion transporters Smf1 and Smf2. Accordingly, genetic interventions that increase cytoplasmic Mn2+ levels antagonize the effects of rapamycin in triggering autophagy, mitophagy, and Rtg1-Rtg3-dependent mitochondrion-to-nucleus retrograde signaling. Surprisingly, our in vitro protein kinase assays uncovered that Mn2+ activates TORC1 substantially better than Mg2+, which is primarily due to its ability to lower the Km for ATP, thereby allowing more efficient ATP coordination in the catalytic cleft of TORC1. These findings, therefore, provide both a mechanism to explain our genetic observations in yeast and a rationale for how fluctuations in trace amounts of Mn can become physiologically relevant. Supporting this notion, TORC1 is also wired to feedback control mechanisms that impinge on Smf1 and Smf2. Finally, we also show that Mn2+-mediated control of TORC1 is evolutionarily conserved in mammals, which may prove relevant for our understanding of the role of Mn in human diseases.
    Keywords:  NRAMP transporter; S. cerevisiae; TORC1; autophagy; biochemistry; chemical biology; genetics; genomics; human; manganese; mitophagy
  8. Front Mol Neurosci. 2022 ;15 921908
      Mitochondria provide neurons not only energy as ATP to keep them growing, proliferating and developing, but they also control apoptosis. Due to their high bioenergetic demand, neurons which are highly specific terminally differentiated cells, essentially depend on mitochondria. Defective mitochondrial function is thus related to numerous age-linked neurodegenerative ailments like Alzheimer's disease (AD), in which the build-up of impaired and malfunctioning mitochondria has been identified as a primary sign, paying to disease development. Mitophagy, selective autophagy, is a key mitochondrial quality control system that helps neurons to stay healthy and functional by removing undesired and damaged mitochondria. Dysfunctional mitochondria and dysregulated mitophagy have been closely associated with the onset of ADs. Various proteins associated with mitophagy were found to be altered in AD. Therapeutic strategies focusing on the restoration of mitophagy capabilities could be utilized to strike the development of AD pathogenesis. We summarize the mechanism and role of mitophagy in the onset and advancement of AD, in the quality control mechanism of mitochondria, the consequences of dysfunctional mitophagy in AD, and potential therapeutic approaches involving mitophagy modulation in AD. To develop new therapeutic methods, a better knowledge of the function of mitophagy in the pathophysiology of AD is required.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; targeting mitophagy
  9. Metabolites. 2022 Jun 22. pii: 574. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients show a myriad of energetic abnormalities, such as weight loss, hypermetabolism, and dyslipidaemia. Evidence suggests that these indices correlate with and ultimately affect the duration of survival. This review aims to discuss ALS metabolic abnormalities in the context of autophagy, the primordial system acting at the cellular level for energy production during nutrient deficiency. As the primary pathway of protein degradation in eukaryotic cells, the fundamental role of cellular autophagy is the adaptation to metabolic demands. Therefore, autophagy is tightly coupled to cellular metabolism. We review evidence that the delicate balance between autophagy and metabolism is aberrant in ALS, giving rise to intracellular and systemic pathophysiology observations. Understanding the metabolism autophagy crosstalk can lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for ALS.
    Keywords:  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; autophagy; energy homeostasis; lipids; metabolism; protein degradation; superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)
  10. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 921314
      Macroautophagy, an evolutionary conserved catabolic process in the eukaryotic cell, regulates cellular homeostasis and plays a decisive role in self-engulfing proteins, protein aggregates, dysfunctional or damaged organelles, and invading pathogens. Growing evidence from in vivo and in vitro models shows that autophagy dysfunction plays decisive role in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD). PD is an incurable and second most common neurodegenerative disease characterised by neurological and motor dysfunction accompanied of non-motor symptoms that can also reduce the life quality of patients. Despite the investment in research, the aetiology of the disease is still unknown and the therapies available are aimed mostly at ameliorating motor symptoms. Hence, therapeutics regulating the autophagy pathway might play an important role controlling the disease progression, reducing neuronal loss and even ameliorating non-motor symptoms. In this review, we highlight potential therapeutic opportunities involved in different targeting options like an initiation of autophagy, Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) inhibition, mitophagy, lysosomes, lipid metabolism, immune system, gene expression, biomarkers, and also non-pharmacological interventions. Thus, strategies to identify therapeutics targeting the pathways modulating autophagy might hold a future for therapy development against PD.
    Keywords:  PD causative proteins; Parkinson’s disease; autophagy; autophagy modulators; potential therapeutic avenues
  11. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 954536
      PINK1 has been characterized as a mitochondrial kinase that can target to damaged mitochondria to initiate mitophagy, a process to remove unhealthy mitochondria for protecting neuronal cells. Mutations of the human PINK1 gene are also found to cause early onset Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder with the pathological feature of mitochondrial dysfunction. Despite compelling evidence from in vitro studies to support the role of PINK1 in regulation of mitochondrial function, there is still lack of strong in vivo evidence to validate PINK1-mediated mitophagy in the brain. In addition, growing evidence indicates that PINK1 also executes function independent of mitochondria. In this review, we discuss the mitochondrial dependent and independent functions of PINK1, aiming at elucidating how PINK1 functions differentially under different circumstances.
    Keywords:  PINK1; Parkinson’s disease (PD); mitochondria; mitophagy; parkin (PARK2)
  12. Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Jul 28.
      Mitochondrial quality control is a key element of neuronal health and viability. When left untouched, defective mitochondria can initiate neuronal degeneration. Cytosolic proteins PINK1 and Parkin comprise one key pathway responsible for clearing damaged mitochondria. Neurons, however, pose a unique challenge to this process because proteins need to be abundantly available at locations distant from the cell body. Recent study has confirmed that local translation of PINK1 in axons and dendrites is the solution. Pink1 transcripts are tethered to mitochondria via SYNJ2a and active translation, then subsequently co-transported to distal locations. Once arriving in the neuron's periphery, local translation of PINK1 can facilitate mitophagy and ultimately sustain mitochondrial health.
    Keywords:  Local translation; Mitochondrial quality control; Mitophagy; PINK1; Parkinson; Protein quality control
  13. Cells. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 2262. [Epub ahead of print]11(15):
      Autophagy is a highly conserved lysosomal degradation pathway active at basal levels in all cells. However, under stress conditions, such as a lack of nutrients or trophic factors, it works as a survival mechanism that allows the generation of metabolic precursors for the proper functioning of the cells until the nutrients are available. Neurons, as post-mitotic cells, depend largely on autophagy to maintain cell homeostasis to get rid of damaged and/or old organelles and misfolded or aggregated proteins. Therefore, the dysfunction of this process contributes to the pathologies of many human diseases. Furthermore, autophagy is highly active during differentiation and development. In this review, we describe the current knowledge of the different pathways, molecular mechanisms, factors that induce it, and the regulation of mammalian autophagy. We also discuss its relevant role in development and disease. Finally, here we summarize several investigations demonstrating that autophagic abnormalities have been considered the underlying reasons for many human diseases, including liver disease, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, neoplastic diseases, cancers, and, more recently, infectious diseases, such as SARS-CoV-2 caused COVID-19 disease.
    Keywords:  autophagy; development; diseases; modulators; molecular mechanisms; morphogenesis
  14. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul;4(7): 944-959
      The intake of dietary protein regulates growth, metabolism, fecundity and lifespan across various species, which makes amino acid (AA)-sensing vital for adaptation to the nutritional environment. The general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2)-activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) pathway and the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway are involved in AA-sensing. However, it is not fully understood which AAs regulate these two pathways in living animals and how they coordinate responses to protein restriction. Here we show in Drosophila that the non-essential AA tyrosine (Tyr) is a nutritional cue in the fat body necessary and sufficient for promoting adaptive responses to a low-protein diet, which entails reduction of protein synthesis and mTORC1 activity and increased food intake. This adaptation is regulated by dietary Tyr through GCN2-independent induction of ATF4 target genes in the fat body. This study identifies the Tyr-ATF4 axis as a regulator of the physiological response to a low-protein diet and sheds light on the essential function of a non-essential nutrient.
  15. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 28. 13(1): 4385
      Autophagy is an intracellular degradation mechanism critical for plant acclimation to environmental stresses. Central to autophagy is the formation of specialized vesicles, the autophagosomes, which target and deliver cargo to the lytic vacuole. How autophagosomes form in plant cells remains poorly understood. Here, we uncover the importance of the lipid phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate in autophagy using pharmacological and genetical approaches. Combining biochemical and live-microscopy analyses, we show that PI4K activity is required for early stages of autophagosome formation. Further, our results show that the plasma membrane-localized PI4Kα1 is involved in autophagy and that a substantial portion of autophagy structures are found in proximity to the PI4P-enriched plasma membrane. Together, our study unravels critical insights into the molecular determinants of autophagy, proposing a model whereby the plasma membrane provides PI4P to support the proper assembly and expansion of the phagophore thus governing autophagosome formation in Arabidopsis.
  16. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28. 1-2
      Upon entering host cells, β-coronaviruses specifically induce generation of replication organelles (ROs) from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through their nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3) and nsp4 for viral genome transcription and replication. The most predominant ROs are double-membrane vesicles (DMVs). The ER-resident proteins VMP1 and TMEM41B, which form a complex to regulate autophagosome and lipid droplet (LD) formation, were recently shown to be essential for β-coronavirus infection. Here we report that VMP1 and TMEM41B contribute to DMV generation but function at different steps. TMEM41B facilitates nsp3-nsp4 interaction and ER zippering, while VMP1 is required for subsequent closing of the paired ER into DMVs. Additionally, inhibition of phosphatidylserine (PS) formation by siPTDSS1 partially reverses the DMV and LD defects in VMP1 KO cells, suggesting that appropriate PS levels also contribute to DMV formation. This work provides clues to the mechanism of how host proteins collaborate with viral proteins for endomembrane reshaping to promote viral infection.
    Keywords:  DMV; TMEM41B; VMP1; nsp3; nsp4; Β-coronavirus
  17. Cell Adh Migr. 2022 Dec;16(1): 94-106
      Fluid shear stress (FSS) regulates the metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the role of the RhoA-YAP1-autophagy pathway in HCC remains unclear. Due to the core role of liver cancer stem cells (LCSCs) in HCC metastasis and recurrence, we explored the RhoA-YAP1-autophagy pathway in LCSCs under FSS. Our results indicate that LCSCs have stronger proliferation and cell spheroidization abilities. FSS (1 dyn/cm2) upregulated the migration of LCSCs and autophagy protein markers, inducing LC3B aggregation and autophagosome formation in LCSCs. Mechanistically, FSS promoted YAP1 dephosphorylation and transport to the nucleus, which is mediated by RhoA, inducing autophagy. Finally, inhibition of autophagy suppressed cell migration in LCSCs under FSS. In conclusion, FSS promoted the migration of LCSCs via the RhoA-YAP1-autophagy pathway.
    Keywords:  Fluid shear stress; LCSCs; autophagy; migration
  18. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jul 19. pii: 1398. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      KEAP1 is a cytoplasmic protein that functions as an adaptor for the Cullin-3-based ubiquitin E3 ligase system, which regulates the degradation of many proteins, including NFE2L2/NRF2 and p62/SQSTM1. Loss of KEAP1 leads to an accumulation of protein ubiquitin aggregates and defective autophagy. To better understand the role of KEAP1 in the degradation machinery, we investigated whether Keap1 deficiency affects the endosome-lysosomal pathway. We used KEAP1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and combined Western blot analysis and fluorescence microscopy with fluorometric and pulse chase assays to analyze the levels of lysosomal-endosomal proteins, lysosomal function, and autophagy activity. We found that the loss of keap1 downregulated the protein levels and activity of the cathepsin D enzyme. Moreover, KEAP1 deficiency caused lysosomal alterations accompanied by an accumulation of autophagosomes. Our study demonstrates that KEAP1 deficiency increases nondegradative lysosomes and identifies a new role for KEAP1 in lysosomal function that may have therapeutic implications.
    Keywords:  KEAP1; LAMP1; autophagy; cathepsin D; endosomes; lysosomes
  19. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 27. 1-26
      The challenge of rapid macromolecular synthesis enforces the energy-hungry cancer cell mitochondria to switch their metabolic phenotypes, accomplished by activation of oncogenic tyrosine kinases. Precisely how kinase activity is directly exploited by cancer cell mitochondria to meet high-energy demand, remains to be deciphered. Here we show that a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, TNK2/ACK1 (tyrosine kinase non receptor 2), phosphorylated ATP5F1A (ATP synthase F1 subunit alpha) at Tyr243 and Tyr246 (Tyr200 and 203 in the mature protein, respectively) that not only increased the stability of complex V, but also increased mitochondrial energy output in cancer cells. Further, phospho-ATP5F1A (p-Y-ATP5F1A) prevented its binding to its physiological inhibitor, ATP5IF1 (ATP synthase inhibitory factor subunit 1), causing sustained mitochondrial activity to promote cancer cell growth. TNK2 inhibitor, (R)-9b reversed this process and induced mitophagy-based autophagy to mitigate prostate tumor growth while sparing normal prostate cells. Further, depletion of p-Y-ATP5F1A was needed for (R)-9b-mediated mitophagic response and tumor growth. Moreover, Tnk2 transgenic mice displayed increased p-Y-ATP5F1A and loss of mitophagy and exhibited formation of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PINs). Consistent with these data, a marked increase in p-Y-ATP5F1A was seen as prostate cancer progressed to the malignant stage. Overall, this study uncovered the molecular intricacy of tyrosine kinase-mediated mitochondrial energy regulation as a distinct cancer cell mitochondrial vulnerability and provided evidence that TNK2 inhibitors can act as "mitocans" to induce cancer-specific mitophagy.AbbreviationsATP5F1A: ATP synthase F1 subunit alpha; ATP5IF1: ATP synthase inhibitory factor subunit 1; CRPC: castration-resistant prostate cancer; DNM1L: dynamin 1 like; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; Mdivi-1: mitochondrial division inhibitor 1; Mut-ATP5F1A: Y243,246A mutant of ATP5F1A; OXPHOS: oxidative phosphorylation; PC: prostate cancer; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; p-Y-ATP5F1A: phosphorylated tyrosine 243 and 246 on ATP5F1A; TNK2/ACK1: tyrosine kinase non receptor 2; Ub: ubiquitin; WT: wild type.
    Keywords:  ATP5F1A; ATP5IF1; TNK2/ACK1; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial vulnerability; mitophagy; tyrosine phosphorylation
  20. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jul 25. 13(7): 646
      As a substrate and major effector of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), the biological functions of ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K) have been canonically assigned for cell size control by facilitating mRNA transcription, splicing, and protein synthesis. However, accumulating evidence implies that diverse stimuli and upstream regulators modulate S6K kinase activity, leading to the activation of a plethora of downstream substrates for distinct pathobiological functions. Beyond controlling cell size, S6K simultaneously plays crucial roles in directing cell apoptosis, metabolism, and feedback regulation of its upstream signals. Thus, we comprehensively summarize the emerging upstream regulators, downstream substrates, mouse models, clinical relevance, and candidate inhibitors for S6K and shed light on S6K as a potential therapeutic target for cancers.
  21. Biomolecules. 2022 Jul 21. pii: 1010. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      Pyroptosis is a process of programmed cell death mediated by gasdermin (GSDM) found in recent years. In the process of pyroptosis, caspase-1 or caspase-11/4/5 is activated, which cleaves gasdermin D and separates its N-terminal pore-forming domain (PFD). The oligomers of PFD bind to the cell membrane and form macropores on the membrane, resulting in cell swelling and membrane rupture. Increasing evidence indicates that pyroptosis is involved in many diseases, including ischemia reperfusion injury. Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process in eukaryotic cells. It plays an important role in the survival and maintenance of cells by degrading organelles, proteins, and macromolecules in the cytoplasm and recycling degradation products. Increasing evidence shows that dysfunctional autophagy participates in many diseases. Recently, autophagy and pyroptosis have been reported to play a vital role in the process of ischemia/reperfusion injury, but the related mechanisms are not completely clear. Therefore, this article reviews the role of autophagy and pyroptosis in ischemia-reperfusion injury and analyzes the related mechanisms to provide a basis for future research.
    Keywords:  NLRP3; apoptosis; autophagy; ischemia/reperfusion injury; pyroptosis
  22. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022 ;16 874258
      Chronic hyperglycemia in type II diabetes results in impaired autophagy function, accumulation of protein aggregates, and neurodegeneration. However, little is known about how to preserve autophagy function under hyperglycemic conditions. In this study, we tested whether progranulin (PGRN), a neurotrophic factor required for proper lysosome function, can restore autophagy function in neurons under high-glucose stress. We cultured primary cortical neurons derived from E18 Sprague-Dawley rat pups to maturity at 10 days in vitro (DIV) before incubation in high glucose medium and PGRN for 24-72 h before testing for autophagy flux, protein turnover, and mitochondrial function. We found that although PGRN by itself did not upregulate autophagy, it attenuated impairments in autophagy seen under high-glucose conditions. Additionally, buildup of the autophagosome marker light chain 3B (LC3B) and lysosome marker lysosome-associated membrane protein 2A (LAMP2A) changed in both neurons and astrocytes, indicating a possible role for glia in autophagy flux. Protein turnover, assessed by remaining advanced glycation end-product levels after a 6-h incubation, was preserved with PGRN treatment. Mitochondrial activity differed by complex, although PGRN appeared to increase overall activity in high glucose. We also found that activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), kinases implicated in autophagy function, increased with PGRN treatment under stress. Together, our data suggest that PGRN prevents hyperglycemia-induced decreases in autophagy by increasing autophagy flux via increased ERK1/2 kinase activity in primary rat cortical neurons.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cortical neurons; diabetes; hyperglycemia; neurodegeneration; progranulin
  23. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 26. pii: S2211-1247(22)00949-4. [Epub ahead of print]40(4): 111140
      The mTOR-dependent nutrient-sensing and response machinery is the central hub for animals to regulate their cellular and developmental programs. However, equivalently pivotal nutrient and metabolite signals upstream of mTOR and developmental-regulatory signals downstream of mTOR are not clear, especially at the organism level. We previously showed glucosylceramide (GlcCer) acts as a critical nutrient and metabolite signal for overall amino acid levels to promote development by activating the intestinal mTORC1 signaling pathway. Here, through a large-scale genetic screen, we find that the intestinal peroxisome is critical for antagonizing the GlcCer-mTORC1-mediated nutrient signal. Mechanistically, GlcCer deficiency, inactive mTORC1, or prolonged starvation relocates intestinal peroxisomes closer to the apical region in a kinesin- and microtubule-dependent manner. Those apical accumulated peroxisomes further release peroxisomal-β-oxidation-derived glycolipid hormones that target chemosensory neurons and downstream nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12 to arrest the animal development. Our data illustrate a sophisticated gut-brain axis that predominantly orchestrates nutrient-sensing-dependent development in animals.
    Keywords:  C.elegans; CP: Cell biology; ascaroside; diapause; glucosylceramide; gut-brain axis; hormone; mTOR pathway; metabolism; nutrient sensing; peroxisome repositioning
  24. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022 ;16 861202
      Background: Protein aggregates are degraded via the autophagy-lysosome pathway and alterations in the lysosomal system leading to the accumulation of pathogenic proteins, including aggregates of α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease (PD). The importance of the endolysosomal transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily 1 (TRPML1) for the lysosomal function is highlighted by the fact that TRPML1 mutations cause the lysosomal storage disease mucolipidosis type IV. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which activation of TRPML1 affects the degradation of α-synuclein. Methods: As a model of α-synuclein pathology, we expressed the pathogenic A53Tα-synuclein mutant in HEK293T cells. These cells were treated with the synthetic TRPML1 agonist ML-SA1. The amount of α-synuclein protein was determined by immunoblots. The abundance of aggregates and autolysosomal vesicles was determined by fluorescence microscopy and immunocytochemistry. Findings were confirmed by life-cell imaging and by application of ML-SA1 and the TRPML1 antagonist ML-SI3 to human dopaminergic neurons and human stem cell-derived neurons. Results: ML-SA1 reduced the percentage of HEK293T cells with α-synuclein aggregates and the amount of α-synuclein protein. The effect of ML-SA1 was blocked by pharmacological and genetic inhibition of autophagy. Consistent with TRPML function, it required the membrane lipid PI(3,5)P2, and cytosolic calcium. ML-SA1 shifted the composition of autophagosomes towards a higher fraction of mature autolysosomes, also in presence of α-synuclein. In neurons, inhibition of TRPML1 by its antagonist ML-SI3 blocked autophagosomal clearance, whereas the agonist ML-SA1 shifted the composition of a-synuclein particles towards a higher fraction of acidified particles. ML-SA1 was able to override the effect of Bafilomycin A1, which blocks the fusion of the autophagosome and lysosome and its acidification. Conclusion: These findings suggest, that activating TRPML1 with ML-SA1 facilitates clearance of α-synuclein aggregates primarily by affecting the late steps of the autophagy, i.e., by promoting autophagosome maturation. In agreement with recent work by others, our findings indicate that TRPML1 might constitute a plausible therapeutic target for PD, that warrants further validation in rodent models of α-synuclein pathology.
    Keywords:  ML-SA1; Parkinson’s disease; TRPML1; acidification; autolysosome maturation; autophagy; mucolipin-1; synuclein
  25. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jul 20. pii: 3528. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      Pancreatic cancer is known to have the lowest survival outcomes among all major cancers, and unfortunately, this has only been marginally improved over last four decades. The innate characteristics of pancreatic cancer include an aggressive and fast-growing nature from powerful driver mutations, a highly defensive tumor microenvironment and the upregulation of advantageous survival pathways such as autophagy. Autophagy involves targeted degradation of proteins and organelles to provide a secondary source of cellular supplies to maintain cell growth. Elevated autophagic activity in pancreatic cancer is recognized as a major survival pathway as it provides a plethora of support for tumors by supplying vital resources, maintaining tumour survival under the stressful microenvironment and promoting other pathways involved in tumour progression and metastasis. The combination of these features is unique to pancreatic cancer and present significant resistance to chemotherapeutic strategies, thus, indicating a need for further investigation into therapies targeting this crucial pathway. This review will outline the autophagy pathway and its regulation, in addition to the genetic landscape and tumor microenvironment that contribute to pancreatic cancer severity. Moreover, this review will also discuss the mechanisms of novel therapeutic strategies that inhibit autophagy and how they could be used to suppress tumor progression.
    Keywords:  autophagy; autophagy inhibitors; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; stress; tumor microenvironment
  26. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jun 30. pii: 1308. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      The intestinal epithelium is continuously exposed to abundant stress stimuli, which relies on an evolutionarily conserved process, autophagy, to maintain its homeostasis by degrading and recycling unwanted and damaged intracellular substances. Otherwise, disruption of this balance will result in the development of a wide range of disorders, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Dysregulated autophagy is implicated in the regulation of cellular responses to stress during the development, progression, and treatment of CRC. However, experimental investigations addressing the impact of autophagy in different phases of CRC have generated conflicting results, showing that autophagy is context-dependently related to CRC. Thus, both inhibition and activation of autophagy have been proposed as therapeutic strategies against CRC. Here, we will discuss the multifaceted role of autophagy in intestinal homeostasis and CRC, which may provide insights for future research directions.
    Keywords:  autophagy; colorectal cancer; intestinal homeostasis; stress response
  27. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 24. 1-21
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is a key process in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. The age-dependent decline in retinal autophagy has been associated with photoreceptor degeneration. Retinal dysfunction can also result from damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), as the RPE-retina constitutes an important metabolic ecosystem that must be finely tuned to preserve visual function. While studies of mice lacking essential autophagy genes have revealed a predisposition to retinal degeneration, the consequences of a moderate reduction in autophagy, similar to that which occurs during physiological aging, remain unclear. Here, we described a retinal phenotype consistent with accelerated aging in mice carrying a haploinsufficiency for Ambra1, a pro-autophagic gene. These mice showed protein aggregation in the retina and RPE, metabolic underperformance, and premature vision loss. Moreover, Ambra1+/gt mice were more prone to retinal degeneration after RPE stress. These findings indicate that autophagy provides crucial support to RPE-retinal metabolism and protects the retina against stress and physiological aging.Abbreviations : 4-HNE: 4-hydroxynonenal; AMBRA1: autophagy and beclin 1 regulator 1, AMD: age-related macular degeneration;; GCL: ganglion cell layer; GFAP: glial fibrillary acidic protein; GLUL: glutamine synthetase/glutamate-ammonia ligase; HCL: hierarchical clustering; INL: inner nuclear layer; IPL: inner plexiform layer; LC/GC-MS: liquid chromatography/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; MA: middle-aged; MTDR: MitoTracker Deep Red; MFI: mean fluorescence intensity; NL: NH4Cl and leupeptin; Nqo: NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase; ONL: outer nuclear layer; OPL: outer plexiform layer; OP: oscillatory potentials; OXPHOS: oxidative phosphorylation; PCR: polymerase chain reaction; PRKC/PKCα: protein kinase C; POS: photoreceptor outer segment; RGC: retinal ganglion cells; RPE: retinal pigment epithelium; SI: sodium iodate; TCA: tricarboxylic acid.
    Keywords:  AMBRA1; Aging; autophagy; metabolic alterations; neurodegeneration; retina; retinal pigment epithelium
  28. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2022 Jun 29. 44(7): 2856-2867
      In this study, we investigated the depigmentation effect of Amorpha fruticosa L. root extract (RE), an herbal medicine. A. fruticosa RE significantly induced depigmentation in α-MSH-treated B16F10 cells at noncytotoxic concentrations. Further, the RE decreased the protein levels of the melanosomal proteins Tyr and Pmel without decreasing their transcript levels. We found that MG132, a proteasome complex inhibitor, was unable to rescue the protein levels, but PepA/E-64D (a lysosomal enzyme inhibitor), 3-MA (a representative autophagy inhibitor), and ATG5 knockdown effectively rescued the protein levels and inhibited the depigmentation effect following RE treatment. Among rotenoids, amorphigenin composed in the RE was identified as a functional chemical that could induce depigmentation; whereas rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor and a nonselective autophagy inducer, could not induce depigmentation, and amorphigenin effectively induced depigmentation through the degradation of melanosomal proteins. Amorphigenin activated AMPK without affecting mTOR, and knockdown of AMPK offset the whitening effect through degradation of melanosome proteins by amorphigenin. Results from this study suggested that amorphigenin can induce degradation of the melanosome through an AMPK-dependent autophagy process, and has the potential to be used as a depigmentation agent for the treatment of hyperpigmentation.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Amorpha fruticosa L.; amorphigenin; autophagy; depigmentation
  29. Int J Biol Macromol. 2022 Jul 22. pii: S0141-8130(22)01583-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy, a conserved cellular degradative process, plays a crucial role in innate immunity during viral infections. Nervous necrosis virus (NNV), a leading cause of fish diseases with morbidity and mortality, triggers cell autophagy to promote viral replication; however, the details of how NNV utilises autophagy to facilitate its own replication remain largely unexplored. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which the sea perch Nectin4 (LjNectin4), a receptor of NNV, regulates autophagy and the innate immune system by targeting TNFR-associated factor 3 (TRAF3). Our data demonstrated that LjNectin4 directly binds to the NNV capsid protein and facilitates NNV entry, indicating that LjNectin4 functions as an NNV receptor. Moreover, LjNectin4 promoted NNV replication by inhibiting key elements of the RLR signalling pathway (MDA5, MAVS, TRAF3, TBK1, and IRF3)-induced IFN response. Mechanistically, LjNectin4 directly interacted with TRAF3 and promoted its autophagy-mediated lysosomal degradation. Domain mapping of the interaction between TRAF3 and LjNectin4 or TBK1 showed that both LjNectin4 and TBK1 interacted with the ZF2 and TRAF-C domains of TRAF3, suggesting that LjNectin4 blocked TRAF3-TBK1 complex formation. Collectively, our study revealed that NNV utilises LjNectin4 to suppress IFN production by mediating TRAF3 autophagic degradation and disrupting the TRAF3-TBK1 complex, thereby promoting NNV replication.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Interferon; Nectin4; Nervous necrosis virus; TNF receptor-associated factor 3
  30. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 13. pii: 7734. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      Autophagy, a cellular self-digestion process, involves the degradation of targeted cell components such as damaged organelles, unfolded proteins, and intracellular pathogens by lysosomes. It is a major quality control system of the cell and plays an important role in cell differentiation, survival, development, and homeostasis. Alterations in the cell autophagic machinery have been implicated in several disease conditions, including neurodegeneration, autoimmunity, cancer, infection, inflammatory diseases, and aging. In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, including its inflammatory form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a decrease in cell autophagic activity, has been implicated in the initial development and progression of steatosis to NASH and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We present an overview of autophagy as it occurs in mammalian cells with an insight into the emerging understanding of the role of autophagy in NASH and NASH-related HCC.
    Keywords:  NASH; NASH-related HCC; cell autophagy
  31. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jul 11. pii: 3374. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      The PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 pathway is a major therapeutic target for many cancers, particularly breast cancer. Everolimus is an mTORC1 inhibitor used in metastatic estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer. However, mTORC1 inhibitors have limited efficacy in other breast cancer subtypes. We sought to discover collateral sensitivities to mTORC1 inhibition that could be exploited to improve therapeutic response. Using a mouse model of breast cancer that is intrinsically resistant to mTORC1 inhibition, we found that rapamycin alters the expression of numerous extracellular matrix genes, suggesting a potential role for integrins/FAK in controlling mTORC1-inhibitor efficacy. FAK activation was also inversely correlated with rapamycin response in breast cancer cell lines. Supporting its potential utility in patients, FAK activation was observed in >50% of human breast cancers. While blocking FAK in mouse models of breast cancer that are highly responsive to rapamycin had no impact on tumor growth, FAK inhibition sensitized rapamycin-resistant tumors to mTORC1 inhibition. These data reveal an innate dependency on FAK when mTORC1 signaling is lost in tumors that are resistant to mTORC1 inhibitors. They also suggest a precision medicine approach to improving mTORC1 inhibitor efficacy in resistant cancers by suppressing FAK signaling.
    Keywords:  FAK; TNBC; collateral sensitivity; defactinib; focal adhesion kinase; intrinsic resistance; mTORC1; rapamycin; triple negative breast cancer
  32. Biomed Res Int. 2022 ;2022 4246086
      Dysregulated hepatic steatosis may lead to chronic liver inflammation and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Recent studies have suggested that exendin-4, a glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist, may be a promising therapeutic for hepatic steatosis and NASH. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the antihepatic steatosis actions of exendin-4 are not fully clear. Here, we demonstrate that autophagy is activated by either palmitic acid (PA) or oleic acid (OA) in HepG2 cells, and exendin-4 further enhances the autophagy-lysosomal pathway. We show that inhibition of autophagy by shLC3 attenuates exendin-4-mediated antisteatotic activity. Furthermore, expression of a key lysosomal marker, lysosome associated membrane protein 1 (LAMP1), is upregulated in OA + exendin-4-treated cells. The colocalization of LAMP1 and LC3 puncta further suggests that autophagic flux was enhanced by the cotreatment. Based on these findings, we conclude that autophagic flux might play an important role in the antisteatotic action of exendin-4.
  33. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28.
      Although it is admitted that secondary infection can complicate viral diseases, the consequences of viral infection on cell susceptibility to other infections remain underexplored at the cellular level. We though to examine whether the sustained macroautophagy/autophagy associated with measles virus (MeV) infection could help cells oppose invasion by Salmonella Typhimurium, a bacterium sensitive to autophagic restriction. We report here the unexpected finding that Salmonella markedly replicated in MeV-infected cultures due to selective growth within multinucleated cells. Hyper-replicating Salmonella localized outside of LAMP1-positive compartments to an extent that equaled that of the predominantly cytosolic sifA mutant Salmonella. Bacteria were subjected to effective ubiquitination but failed to be targeted by LC3 despite an ongoing productive autophagy. Such a phenotype could not be further aggravated upon silencing of the selective autophagy regulator TBK1 or core autophagy factors ATG5 or ATG7. MeV infection also conditioned primary human epithelial cells for augmented Salmonella replication. The analysis of selective autophagy receptors able to target Salmonella revealed that a lowered expression level of SQSTM1/p62 and TAX1BP1/T6BP autophagy receptors prevented effective anti-Salmonella autophagy in MeV-induced syncytia. Conversely, as SQSTM1/p62 is promoting the cytosolic growth of Shigella flexneri, MeV infection led to reduced Shigella replication. The results indicate that the rarefaction of dedicated autophagy receptors associated with MeV infection differentially affects the outcome of bacterial coinfection depending on the nature of the functional relationship between bacteria and such receptors. Thus, virus-imposed reconfiguration of the autophagy machinery can be instrumental in determining the fate of bacterial coinfection.
    Keywords:  autophagy; bacteria; co-infection; syncytia; virus
  34. J Extracell Vesicles. 2022 Jul;11(7): e12244
      We characterized the in vivo interstitial fluid (IF) content of extracellular vesicles (EVs) using the GFP-4T1 syngeneic murine cancer model to study EVs in-transit to the draining lymph node. GFP labelling confirmed the IF EV tumour cell origin. Molecular analysis revealed an abundance of IF EV-associated proteins specifically involved in mitophagy and secretory autophagy. A set of proteins required for sequential steps of fission-induced mitophagy preferentially populated the CD81+/PD-L1+ IF EVs; PINK1, TOM20, and ARIH1 E3 ubiquitin ligase (required for Parkin-independent mitophagy), DRP1 and FIS1 (mitochondrial peripheral fission), VDAC-1 (ubiquitination state triggers mitophagy away from apoptosis), VPS35, SEC22b, and Rab33b (vacuolar sorting). Comparing in vivo IF EVs to in vitro EVs revealed 40% concordance, with an elevation of mitophagy proteins in the CD81+ EVs for both murine and human cell lines subjected to metabolic stress. The export of cellular mitochondria proteins to CD81+ EVs was confirmed by density gradient isolation from the bulk EV isolate followed by anti-CD81 immunoprecipitation, molecular sieve chromatography, and MitoTracker export into CD81+ EVs. We propose the 4T1 in vivo model as a versatile tool to functionally characterize IF EVs. IF EV export of fission mitophagy proteins has broad implications for mitochondrial function and cellular immunology.
    Keywords:  autophagosome; autophagy; breast cancer; extracellular vesicle; mitochondria; mitophagy
  35. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 8077. [Epub ahead of print]23(15):
      This article recapitulates the evidence on the role of mammalian targets of rapamycin (mTOR) complex pathways in multiple sclerosis (MS). Key biological processes that intersect with mTOR signaling cascades include autophagy, inflammasome activation, innate (e.g., microglial) and adaptive (B and T cell) immune responses, and axonal and neuronal toxicity/degeneration. There is robust evidence that mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin, ameliorate the clinical course of the animal model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). New, evolving data unravel mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effect on EAE, which include balance among T-effector and T-regulatory cells, and mTOR effects on myeloid cell function, polarization, and antigen presentation, with relevance to MS pathogenesis. Radiologic and preliminary clinical data from a phase 2 randomized, controlled trial of temsirolimus (a rapamycin analogue) in MS show moderate efficacy, with significant adverse effects. Large clinical trials of indirect mTOR inhibitors (metformin) in MS are lacking; however, a smaller prospective, non-randomized study shows some potentially promising radiological results in combination with ex vivo beneficial effects on immune cells that might warrant further investigation. Importantly, the study of mTOR pathway contributions to autoimmune inflammatory demyelination and multiple sclerosis illustrates the difficulties in the clinical application of animal model results. Nevertheless, it is not inconceivable that targeting metabolism in the future with cell-selective mTOR inhibitors (compared to the broad inhibitors tried to date) could be developed to improve efficacy and reduce side effects.
    Keywords:  mTOR; metformin; multiple sclerosis; rapamycin
  36. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 903438
      Antibiotic treatment plays an essential role in preventing Shigella infection. However, incidences of global rise in antibiotic resistance create a major challenge to treat bacterial infection. In this context, there is an urgent need for newer approaches to reduce S. flexneri burden. This study largely focuses on the role of the herbal compound capsaicin (Caps) in inhibiting S. flexneri growth and evaluating the molecular mechanism behind bacterial clearance. Here, we show for the first time that Caps inhibits intracellular S. flexneri growth by inducing autophagy. Activation of autophagy by Caps is mediated through transcription factor TFEB, a master regulator of autophagosome biogenesis. Caps induced the nuclear localization of TFEB. Activation of TFEB further induces the gene transcription of autophagosomal genes. Our findings revealed that the inhibition of autophagy by silencing TFEB and Atg5 induces bacterial growth. Hence, Caps-induced autophagy is one of the key factors responsible for bacterial clearance. Moreover, Caps restricted the intracellular proliferation of S. flexneri-resistant strain. The efficacy of Caps in reducing S. flexneri growth was confirmed by an animal model. This study showed for the first time that S. flexneri infection can be inhibited by inducing autophagy. Overall observations suggest that Caps activates TFEB to induce autophagy and thereby combat S. flexneri infection.
    Keywords:  Shigella flexneri; TFEB; autophagy; capsaicin; gene transcription
  37. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 3022. [Epub ahead of print]14(15):
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic beta cells regulate bioenergetics efficiency and secret insulin in response to glucose and nutrient availability. The mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) network orchestrates pancreatic progenitor cell growth and metabolism by nucleating two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2.OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibition on amino acid metabolism in mouse pancreatic beta cells (Beta-TC-6 cells, ATCC-CRL-11506) using high-resolution metabolomics (HRM) and live-mitochondrial functions.
    METHODS: Pancreatic beta TC-6 cells were incubated for 24 h with either: RapaLink-1 (RL); Torin-2 (T); rapamycin (R); metformin (M); a combination of RapaLink-1 and metformin (RLM); Torin-2 and metformin (TM); compared to the control. We applied high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) LC-MS/MS untargeted metabolomics to compare the twenty natural amino acid profiles to the control. In addition, we quantified the bioenergetics dynamics and cellular metabolism by live-cell imaging and the MitoStress Test XF24 (Agilent, Seahorse). The real-time, live-cell approach simultaneously measures the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) to determine cellular respiration and metabolism. Statistical significance was assessed using ANOVA on Ranks and post-hoc Welch t-Tests.
    RESULTS: RapaLink-1, Torin-2, and rapamycin decreased L-aspartate levels compared to the control (p = 0.006). Metformin alone did not affect L-aspartate levels. However, L-asparagine levels decreased with all treatment groups compared to the control (p = 0.03). On the contrary, L-glutamate and glycine levels were reduced only by mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibitors RapaLink-1 and Torin-2, but not by rapamycin or metformin. The metabolic activity network model predicted that L-aspartate and AMP interact within the same activity network. Live-cell bioenergetics revealed that ATP production was significantly reduced in RapaLink-1 (122.23 + 33.19), Torin-2 (72.37 + 17.33) treated cells, compared to rapamycin (250.45 + 9.41) and the vehicle control (274.23 + 38.17), p < 0.01. However, non-mitochondrial oxygen consumption was not statistically different between RapaLink-1 (67.17 + 3.52), Torin-2 (55.93 + 8.76), or rapamycin (80.01 + 4.36, p = 0.006).
    CONCLUSIONS: Dual mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibition by RapaLink-1 and Torin-2 differentially altered the amino acid profile and decreased mitochondrial respiration compared to rapamycin treatment which only blocks the FRB domain on mTOR. Third-generation mTOR inhibitors may alter the mitochondrial dynamics and reveal a bioenergetics profile that could be targeted to reduce mitochondrial stress.
    Keywords:  extra cellular acidification rate (ECAR); high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS); mTORC1; mTORC2; mitochondrial stress; oxygen consumption rmassbates (OCR); the internal exposome
  38. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28.
      The NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in a diverse range of inflammatory diseases. The activation of inflammasomes must be tightly regulated to prevent excessive inflammation, and the protein ubiquitination system is reported to be one of the ways in which inflammasome activation is regulated. However, the deubiquitination regulatory mechanisms of inflammasome activation remain elusive. Here, we demonstrated that USP22 (ubiquitin specific peptidase 22) promotes NLRP3 degradation and inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation. USP22 deficiency or in vivo silencing significantly increases alum-induced peritonitis and lipopolysaccharide-induced systemic inflammation. Mechanistically, USP22 inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation via the promotion of ATG5-mediated macroautophagy/autophagy. USP22 stabilizes ATG5 via decreasing K27- and K48-linked ubiquitination of ATG5 at the Lys118 site. Taken together, these findings reveal the role USP22 plays in the regulation of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and suggest a potential therapeutic target to treat NLRP3 inflammasome-related diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; NLRP3; autophagy related 5; inflammasome; ubiquitin specific peptidase 22
  39. Biomedicines. 2022 Jul 07. pii: 1632. [Epub ahead of print]10(7):
      Microtubule poisons, as is the case with other antitumor drugs, routinely promote autophagy in tumor cells. However, the nature and function of the autophagy, in terms of whether it is cytoprotective, cytotoxic or nonprotective, cannot be predicted; this likely depends on both the type of drug studied as well as the tumor cell under investigation. In this article, we explore the literature relating to the spectrum of microtubule poisons and the nature of the autophagy induced. We further speculate as to whether autophagy inhibition could be a practical strategy for improving the response to cancer therapy involving these drugs that have microtubule function as a primary target.
    Keywords:  autophagy; chemosensitization; cytoprotective; cytotoxic; microtubule poison; nonprotective
  40. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 20. pii: 8002. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      Autophagy is a regulated mechanism of degradation of misfolded proteins and organelles in the cell. Neurons are highly differentiated cells with extended projections, and therefore, their functioning largely depends on the mechanisms of autophagy. For the first time in an animal model using immunohistochemistry, dot analysis, and qRT-PCR, the autophagy (macroautophagy) activity in neurons of two brain regions (hippocampus and neocortex) under normoxia and after exposure to hypoxia was studied. It was found that under normoxia, the autophagic activity was higher in the hippocampal neurons than in the neocortex of rats. In the hippocampus, the exposure of rats to hypoxia resulted in a decrease in the content of autophagy markers LC3 and p62, which was followed by activation of the autophagy-related gene expression. In the neocortex, no changes in these marker proteins were observed after the exposure to hypoxia. These data indicate that the neurons in the hippocampus and neocortex differ in the autophagy response to hypoxia, which may reflect the physiological and functional differences of the pyramidal cells of these brain regions and may to some extent account for the extreme vulnerability of the CA1 hippocampal neurons and relatively high resistance of the neocortical neurons to hypoxia.
    Keywords:  autophagy; hippocampus; hypoxia; neocortex; neurons
  41. MicroPubl Biol. 2022 ;2022
      The C. elegans WDFY-3 protein is important for cargo selection during selective autophagy and for regulating axon termination. The C-terminal region of WDFY-3 contains BEACH, WD repeats, and FYVE-like domains, all of which are required for selective autophagy. WDFY-3 also contains a large N-terminal region that is relatively uncharacterized. Currently, wdfy-3(ok912) is the only mutant allele that has been characterized for this gene. This allele features a small deletion that is predicted to disrupt the C-terminal region of the protein. Here, we used CRISPR Cas9 to produce a new wdfy-3(cue30) allele that is a near complete deletion of the coding region. We report that, unlike the existing wdfy-3(ok912) allele, this new wdfy-3(cue30) null allele causes a weak overextension phenotype in the PLM axon. Like the existing wdfy-3(ok912) allele, the new wdfy-3(cue30) null allele can suppress PLM axon termination defects caused by an fsn-1 null allele. Creating and characterizing new wdfy-3 alleles will increase our understanding of this gene and could help elucidate more of the gene's conserved functions.
  42. Comput Intell Neurosci. 2022 ;2022 3564871
      A variety of internal and external lung diseases may eventually lead to pulmonary fibrosis, and insufficient autophagy is closely related to pulmonary fibrosis. This research is aimed to explore the mechanism of autophagy to alleviate pulmonary fibrosis. Then, a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by boromycin and histopathological lesions of the lungs of mice were observed by HE staining, which Masson staining assessed the degree of fibrosis in the lung tissue by detecting the expression of hydroxyproline in the tissue. RT-qPCR and western blotting were used to detect the levels of autophagy and Keap1/Nrf2 signaling pathway-related proteins. It was proved that autophagy-related proteins MAP1LC3(LC3) and Beclin 1 were decreased in mice with pulmonary fibrosis, while the expression of p62 was increased. Mice with pulmonary fibrosis worsened after injection of a 3-MA autophagy inhibitor, while injection of autophagy activation of rapamycin agent promoted Nrf2 nuclear mobilization. In a word, autophagy relieves pulmonary fibrosis through the activation of the Keap1/Nrf2 signaling pathway.
  43. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 ;2022 2990843
      Oxidative stress and impaired autophagy are the hallmarks of cardiac aging. However, there are no specific drugs available to prevent cardiac aging. Curcumin is a natural polyphenolic drug with antioxidant, antiaging, and autophagy-promoting effects. Here, we describe the preventive role of Curcumin in cardiac aging through the induction of autophagy and the restoration of autophagy via the SIRT1/AMPK/mTOR pathway. The number of cells positive for senescence-associated β-galactosidase, P53, P16, and intracellular ROS increased significantly in senescent cardiomyocytes, stimulated using D-galactose. Curcumin reversed this effect in a dose-dependent manner. Curcumin-induced autophagy increased the expression of SIRT1and phosphorylated AMPK and decreased phosphorylated mTOR in a dose-dependent manner. SIRT1-siRNA-mediated knockdown inhibited the antioxidation, antiaging, the promotion of autophagy, and the SIRT1/AMPK/mTOR pathway activation effect of curcumin. Therefore, curcumin could be an effective anticardiac aging drug.
  44. Gene. 2022 Jul 26. pii: S0378-1119(22)00591-1. [Epub ahead of print] 146772
      The expression of ULK1, a core protein of autophagy, is closely related to autophagic activity. Numerous studies have shown that pathological abnormal expression of ULK1 is associated with various human diseases such as neurological disorders, infections, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases and cancers. In addition, new advances in the regulation of ULK1 have been identified. Furthermore, targeting ULK1 as a therapeutic strategy for diseases is gaining attention as new corresponding activators or inhibitors are being developed. In this review, we describe the structure and regulation of ULK1 as well as the current targeted activators and inhibitors. Moreover, we highlight the pathological disorders of ULK1 expression and its critical role in human diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Cell and molecular biology; Kinase; Post-translational modification; ULK1
  45. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 24. 1-3
      The recurrence of zoonotic transmission events highlights the need for novel treatment strategies against emerging coronaviruses (CoVs), namely SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and most notably SARS-CoV-2. Our recently performed genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen revealed a list of conserved pan-coronavirus as well as MERS-CoV or HCoV-229E-specific host dependency factors (HDF) essential during the viral life cycle. Intriguingly, we identified the macroautophagy/autophagy pathway-regulating immunophilins FKBP8, TMEM41B, and MINAR1 as conserved MERS-CoV, HCoV-229E, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 host factors, which further constitute potential targets for therapeutic intervention by clinically approved drugs.
    Keywords:  Antiviral target; CRISPR screen; autophagy; coronavirus; host factor
  46. Int J Biol Sci. 2022 ;18(12): 4690-4703
      There is increasing amount of evidence indicating the close interplays between the replication cycle of SARS-CoV-2 and the autophagy-lysosome pathway in the host cells. While autophagy machinery is known to either assist or inhibit the viral replication process, the reciprocal effects of the SARS-CoV-2 on the autophagy-lysosome pathway have also been increasingly appreciated. More importantly, despite the disappointing results from the clinical trials of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treatment of COVID-19, there is still ongoing effort in discovering new therapeutics targeting the autophagy-lysosome pathway. In this review, we provide an update-to-date summary of the interplays between the autophagy-lysosome pathway in the host cells and the pathogen SARS-CoV-2 at the molecular level, to highlight the prognostic value of autophagy markers in COVID-19 patients and to discuss the potential of developing novel therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 by targeting the autophagy-lysosome pathway. Thus, understanding the nature of such interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and the autophagy-lysosome pathway in the host cells is expected to provide novel strategies in battling against this global pandemic.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; autophagy; clinical trials; lysosome; therapeutics
  47. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 8061. [Epub ahead of print]23(15):
      In the atria, the rapid delayed rectifier channel (IKr) is a critical contributor to repolarization. In lipotoxic atria, increased activity of the serine/threonine mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) may remodel IKr and predispose patients to arrhythmias. To investigate whether mTOR produced defects in IKr channel function (protein expression and gating mechanisms), electrophysiology and biochemical assays in HEK293 cells stably expressing hERG1a/1b, and adult guinea pig atrial myocytes were used. Feeding with the saturated fatty acid palmitic acid high-fat diet (HFD) was used to induce lipotoxicity. Lipotoxicity-challenged HEK293 cells displayed an increased density of hERG1a/1b currents due to a targeted and significant increase in hERG1b protein expression. Furthermore, lipotoxicity significantly slowed the hERG1a/1b inactivation kinetics, while the activation and deactivation remained essentially unchanged. mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibition with rapamycin (RAP) reversed the increase in hERG1a/1b density and inactivation. Compared to lipotoxic myocytes, RAP-treated cells displayed action potential durations (APDs) and IKr densities similar to those of controls. HFD feeding triggered arrhythmogenic changes (increased the IKr density and shortened the APD) in the atria, but this was not observed in low-fat-fed controls. The data are the first to show the modulation of IKr by mTORC1, possibly through the remodeling of hERG1b, in lipotoxic atrial myocytes. These results offer mechanistic insights with implications for targeted therapeutic options for the therapy of acquired supraventricular arrhythmias in obesity and associated pathologies.
    Keywords:  IKr; atrial myocytes; guinea pig; hERG1a/1b; lipotoxicity; mTOR
  48. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 25. 13(1): 4303
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles whose fragmentation by fission is critical to their functional integrity and cellular homeostasis. Here, we develop a method via optogenetic control of mitochondria-lysosome contacts (MLCs) to induce mitochondrial fission with spatiotemporal accuracy. MLCs can be achieved by blue-light-induced association of mitochondria and lysosomes through various photoactivatable dimerizers. Real-time optogenetic induction of mitochondrial fission is tracked in living cells to measure the fission rate. The optogenetic method partially restores the mitochondrial functions of SLC25A46-/- cells, which display defects in mitochondrial fission and hyperfused mitochondria. The optogenetic MLCs system thus provides a platform for studying mitochondrial fission and treating mitochondrial diseases.
  49. Biomedicines. 2022 Jul 27. pii: 1800. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      One of the most striking hallmarks shared by various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), is microglia-mediated neuroinflammation. The main pathological features of AD are extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and intracellular tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide and tau protein are the primary components of the plaques and tangles. The crosstalk between microglia and neurons helps maintain brain homeostasis, and the metabolic phenotype of microglia determines its polarizing phenotype. There are currently many research and development efforts to provide disease-modifying therapies for AD treatment. The main targets are Aβ and tau, but whether there is a causal relationship between neurodegenerative proteins, including Aβ oligomer and tau oligomer, and regulation of microglia metabolism in neuroinflammation is still controversial. Currently, the accumulation of Aβ and tau by exosomes or other means of propagation is proposed as a regulator in neurological disorders, leading to metabolic disorders of microglia that can play a key role in the regulation of immune cells. In this review, we propose that the accumulation of Aβ oligomer and tau oligomer can propagate to adjacent microglia through exosomes and change the neuroinflammatory microenvironment by microglia metabolic reprogramming. Clarifying the relationship between harmful proteins and microglia metabolism will help people to better understand the mechanism of crosstalk between neurons and microglia, and provide new ideas for the development of AD drugs.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; microglia; tau
  50. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 16. pii: 7847. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      Rab7 is a GTPase that controls late endosome and lysosome trafficking. Recent studies have demonstrated that Rab7 is ubiquitinated, a post-translational modification mediated by an enzymatic cascade. To date, only one ubiquitin E3 ligase and one deubiquitinase have been identified in regulating Rab7 ubiquitination. Here, we report that RNF167, a transmembrane endolysosomal ubiquitin ligase, can ubiquitinate Rab7. Using immunoprecipitation and in vitro ubiquitination assays, we demonstrate that Rab7 is a direct substrate of RNF167. Subcellular fractionation indicates that RNF167 activity maintains Rab7's membrane localization. Epifluorescence microscopy in HeLa cells shows that Rab7-positive vesicles are larger under conditions enabling Rab7 ubiquitination by RNF167. Characterization of its ubiquitination reveals that Rab7 must be in its GTP-bound active form for membrane anchoring and, thus, accessible for RNF167-mediated ubiquitin attachment. Cellular distribution analyses of lysosome marker Lamp1 show that vesicle positioning is independent of Rab7 and RNF167 expression and that Rab7 endosomal localization is not affected by RNF167 knockdown. However, both Rab7 and RNF167 depletion affect each other's lysosomal localization. Finally, this study demonstrates that the RNF167-mediated ubiquitination of Rab7 GTPase is impaired by variants of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2B disease. This study identified RNF167 as a new ubiquitin ligase for Rab7 while expanding our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the ubiquitination of Rab7.
    Keywords:  Charcot–Marie–Tooth Type 2B Rab7 variant; RNF167; Rab7; endosome; ubiquitination
  51. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 931034
      Malaria represents a significant public health burden to populations living in developing countries. The disease takes a relevant toll on pregnant women, who are more prone to developing severe clinical manifestations. Inflammation triggered in response to P. falciparum sequestration inside the placenta leads to physiological and structural changes in the organ, reflecting locally disrupted homeostasis. Altogether, these events have been associated with poor gestational outcomes, such as intrauterine growth restriction and premature delivery, contributing to the parturition of thousands of African children with low birth weight. Despite significant advances in the field, the molecular mechanisms that govern these outcomes are still poorly understood. Herein, we discuss the idea of how some housekeeping molecular mechanisms, such as those related to autophagy, might be intertwined with the outcomes of malaria in pregnancy. We contextualize previous findings suggesting that placental autophagy is dysregulated in P. falciparum-infected pregnant women with complementary research describing the importance of autophagy in healthy pregnancies. Since the functional role of autophagy in pregnancy outcomes is still unclear, we hypothesize that autophagy might be essential for circumventing inflammation-induced stress in the placenta, acting as a cytoprotective mechanism that attempts to ensure local homeostasis and better gestational prognosis in women with malaria in pregnancy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Inflammation; Malaria; Placenta; Plasmodium; Pregnancy
  52. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jul 12. pii: 3387. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      Overcoming resistance is one of the most challenging features in current anticancer therapy. Autophagy is a cellular process that confers resistance in some advanced tumors, since it enables cancer cells to adapt to stressful situations, such as anticancer treatments. Hence, the inhibition of this cytoprotective autophagy leads to tumor cells sensitization and death. In this regard, we designed a novel potent anionophore compound that specifically targets lysosomes, called LAI-1 (late-stage autophagy inhibitor-1), and evaluated its role in blocking autophagy and its potential anticancer effects in three lung cancer cell lines from different histological subtypes. Compared to other autophagy inhibitors, such as chloroquine and 3-Methyladenine, the LAI-1 treatment induced more potent anticancer effects in all tested cancer cells. LAI-1 was able to efficiently target and deacidify lysosomes, while acidifying cytoplasmic pH. Consequently, LAI-1 efficiently blocked autophagy, indicated by the increased LC3-II/I ratio and p62/SQSTM1 levels. Moreover, no colocalization was observed between autophagosomes, marked with LC3 or p62/SQSTM1, and lysosomes, stained with LAMP-1, after the LAI-1 treatment, indicating the blockage of autophagolysosome formation. Furthermore, LAI-1 induced cell death by activating apoptosis (enhancing the cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP) or necrosis, depending on the cancer cell line. Finally, LAI-1 sensitized cancer cells to the first-line chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin. Altogether, LAI-1 is a new late-stage autophagy inhibitor that causes lysosomal dysfunction and the blockage of autophagolysosome formation, as well as potently induces cancer cell death and sensitization to conventional treatments at lower concentrations than other known autophagy inhibitors, appearing as a potential new therapeutic approach to overcome cancer resistance.
    Keywords:  anionophore; autophagy; autophagy inhibitor; lung cancer; lysosomal dysfunction; treatment resistance; treatment sensitization
  53. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Jul 25.
      Mutations in Ras family proteins are implicated in 33% of human cancers, but direct pharmacological inhibition of Ras mutants remains challenging. As an alternative to direct inhibition, we screened for sensitivities in Ras-mutant cells and discovered 249C as a Ras-mutant selective cytotoxic agent with nanomolar potency against a spectrum of Ras-mutant cancers. 249C binds to vacuolar (V)-ATPase with nanomolar affinity and inhibits its activity, preventing lysosomal acidification and inhibiting autophagy and macropinocytosis pathways that several Ras-driven cancers rely on for survival. Unexpectedly, potency of 249C varies with the identity of the Ras driver mutation, with the highest potency for KRASG13D and G12V both in vitro and in vivo, highlighting a mutant-specific dependence on macropinocytosis and lysosomal pH. Indeed, 249C potently inhibits tumor growth without adverse side effects in mouse xenografts of KRAS-driven lung and colon cancers. A comparison of isogenic SW48 xenografts with different KRAS mutations confirmed that KRASG13D/+ (followed by G12V/+) mutations are especially sensitive to 249C treatment. These data establish proof-of-concept for targeting V-ATPase in cancers driven by specific KRAS mutations such as KRASG13D and G12V.
  54. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Jun 29. pii: 1379. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Autophagy is a fundamental housekeeping process by which cells degrade their components to maintain homeostasis. Defects in autophagy have been associated with aging, neurodegeneration and metabolic diseases. Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLDs) are characterized by hepatic fat accumulation with or without inflammation. No treatment for NAFLDs is currently available, but autophagy induction has been proposed as a promising therapeutic strategy. Here, we aimed to design autophagy-inducing particles, using the autophagy-inducing peptide (Tat-Beclin), and achieve liver targeting in vivo, taking NAFLD as a model disease. Polylactic acid (PLA) particles were prepared by nanoprecipitation without any surfactant, followed by surface peptide adsorption. The ability of Tat-Beclin nanoparticles (NP T-B) to modulate autophagy and to decrease intracellular lipid was evaluated in vitro by LC3 immunoblot and using a cellular model of steatosis, respectively. The intracellular localization of particles was evaluated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Finally, biodistribution of fluorescent NP T-B was evaluated in vivo using tomography in normal and obese mice. The results showed that NP T-B induce autophagy with a long-lasting and enhanced effect compared to the soluble peptide, and at a ten times lower dose. Intracellular lipid also decreased in a cellular model of NAFLD after treatment with T-B and NP T-B under the same dose conditions. Ultrastructural studies revealed that NP T-B are internalized and located in endosomal, endolysosomal and autolysosomal compartments, while in healthy and obese mice, NP T-B could accumulate for several days in the liver. Given the beneficial effects of autophagy-inducing particles in vitro, and their capacity to target the liver of normal and obese mice, NP T-B could be a promising therapeutic tool for NAFLDs, warranting further in vivo investigation.
    Keywords:  Tat-Beclin peptide; autophagy; liver targeting; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; polylactic acid; polymeric nanoparticles
  55. Cells. 2022 Jul 18. pii: 2227. [Epub ahead of print]11(14):
      The production of goat meat is determined by the growth speed of muscle fibers, and the autophagy and apoptosis of myoblast cells is a crucial process in the growth of muscle fibers. The rapid growth of muscle fibers occurs from one month old to nine months old in goats; however, the mechanisms of myoblast cells' autophagy and apoptosis in this process are still unknown. To identify candidate genes and signaling pathway mechanisms involved in myoblast apoptosis and autophagy, we compared the expression characteristics of longissimus dorsi tissues from Wu'an goats-a native goat breed of China-at 1 month old (mon1 group) and 9 months old (mon9 group). Herein, a total of 182 differentially expressed mRNAs (DEGs) in the mon1 vs. mon9 comparison, along with the KEGG enrichments, showed that the PI3K-Akt pathway associated with autophagy and apoptosis was significantly enriched. Among these DEGs, expression of vacuole membrane protein 1 (VMP1)-a key gene for the PI3K-Akt pathway-was significantly upregulated in the older goats relative to the 1-month-old goats. We demonstrated that VMP1 promotes the proliferation and autophagy of myoblasts, and inhibits their apoptosis. The integration analysis of miRNA-mRNA showed that miR-124a was a regulator of VMP1 in muscle tissue, and overexpression and inhibition of miR-124a suppressed the proliferation and autophagy of myoblasts. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway was an important pathway for cell autophagy. Additionally, the activator of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, the expression of VMP1, and ULK1 were higher than the negative control, and the expression of mTOR was depressed. The expression of VMP1, ULK1, and mTOR was the opposite when the inhibitor was added to the myoblasts. These results show that the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway promoted the expression of VMP1 and ULK1. By using adenovirus-mediated apoptosis and proliferation assays, we found that that miR-124a inhibits myoblast proliferation and autophagy, and promotes their apoptosis by targeting VMP1. In conclusion, our results indicated that VMP1 was highly expressed in the LD muscle tissues of nine-month-old goats, and that it was regulated by miR-124a to inhibit myoblast cells' apoptosis through the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, and to promote proliferation and autophagy. These findings contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in myoblast proliferation, autophagy, and apoptosis.
    Keywords:  VMP1; apoptosis; autophagy; goat; longissimus dorsi tissue; miR-124a
  56. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jul 18. pii: 1385. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Antioxidant systems play key roles in many elderly diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Oxidative stress, autophagy impairment and inflammation are well-described in AMD, especially in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. The master regulator of antioxidant defense Nrf2 has been linked to AMD, autophagy and inflammation. In this study, in human ARPE-19 cells, some nature-inspired hybrids (NIH1-3) previously shown to induce Nrf2-mediated protection against oxidative stress were further investigated for their potential against cellular stress caused by dysfunction of protein homeostasis. NIH1-3 compounds increased the expression of two Nrf2-target genes coding defense proteins, HO-1 and SQSTM1/p62, in turn exerting beneficial effects on intracellular redox balance without modification of the autophagy flux. NIH1-3 treatments predisposed ARPE-19 cells to a better response to following exposure to proteasome and autophagy inhibitors, as revealed by the increase in cell survival and decreased secretion of the pro-inflammatory IL-8 compared to NIH-untreated cells. Interestingly, NIH4 compound, through an Nrf2-independent pathway, also increased cell viability and decreased IL-8 secretion, although to a lesser extent than NIH1-3, suggesting that all NIHs are worthy of further investigation into their cytoprotective properties. This study confirms Nrf2 as a valuable pharmacological target in contexts characterized by oxidative stress, such as AMD.
    Keywords:  Nrf2; SQSTM1/p62; age-related macular degeneration (AMD); autophagy; cytoprotection; oxidative stress; pharmacological modulation; retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)
  57. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 09. pii: 7602. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      The development and prevalence of diseases associated with aging presents a global health burden on society. One hallmark of aging is the loss of proteostasis which is caused in part by alterations to the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and lysosome-autophagy system leading to impaired function and maintenance of mass in tissues such as skeletal muscle. In the instance of skeletal muscle, the impairment of function occurs early in the aging process and is dependent on proteostatic mechanisms. The UPS plays a pivotal role in degradation of misfolded and aggregated proteins. For the purpose of this review, we will discuss the role of the UPS system in the context of age-related loss of muscle mass and function. We highlight the significant role that E3 ubiquitin ligases play in the turnover of key components (e.g., mitochondria and neuromuscular junction) essential to skeletal muscle function and the influence of aging. In addition, we will briefly discuss the contribution of the UPS system to lifespan. By understanding the UPS system as part of the proteostasis network in age-related diseases and disorders such as sarcopenia, new discoveries can be made and new interventions can be developed which will preserve muscle function and maintain quality of life with advancing age.
    Keywords:  E3 ubiquitin ligase; healthspan; protein degradation; proteostasis; sarcopenia
  58. Trends Mol Med. 2022 Jul 22. pii: S1471-4914(22)00176-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      With the growing prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), there is an urgent need to explore non-conventional therapeutic measures to alleviate the burden of CVD on global healthcare. Mitochondrial injury plays a cardinal role in the pathogenesis of CVD. Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy are essential machineries that govern mitochondrial health in cardiomyocytes in physiological and pathophysiological settings. However, with the onset and progression of CVD, homeostasis of mitophagy is disturbed through largely unknown pathological mechanisms, causing mitochondrial damage and ultimately cardiomyocyte death. In this review we decipher the dual regulatory role of mitophagy in CVD pathogenesis, summarize controversies in mitophagy, and highlight recently identified compounds capable of modulating mitophagy. We share our perspectives on future mitophagy research directions in the context of CVD.
    Keywords:  cardiovascular disease; heart failure; mitophagy; mitophagy inducers; myocardial infarction; therapeutics
  59. Pharmacol Rep. 2022 Jul 26.
      Movement disorders are neurological conditions characterized by involuntary motor movements, such as dystonia, ataxia, chorea myoclonus, tremors, Huntington's disease (HD), and Parkinson's disease (PD). It is classified into two categories: hypokinetic and hyperkinetic movements. Globally, movement disorders are a major cause of death. The pathophysiological process is initiated by excessive ROS generation, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation, and neurotransmitters imbalance that lead to motor dysfunction in PD and HD patients. Several endogenous targets including Nrf2 maintain oxidative balance in the body. Activation of Nrf2 signaling is regulated by the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3β). In the cytoplasm, inhibition of GSK-3β regulates cellular proliferation, homeostasis, and apoptotic process by stimulating the nuclear factor erythroid 2 (Nrf2) pathway which is involved in the elevation of the cellular antioxidant enzymes which controls the ROS generation. The activation of Nrf2 increases the expression of antioxidant response elements (ARE), such as (Hemeoxygenase-1) HO-1, which decreases excessive cellular stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, and neuronal degeneration, which is the major cause of motor dysfunction. The present review explores the GSK-3β-mediated neuroprotection in various movement disorders through the Nrf2/HO-1 antioxidant pathway. This review provides a link between GSK-3β and the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway in the treatment of PD and HD. In addition to that it highlights various GSK-3β inhibitors and the Nrf2/HO-1 activators, which exert robust neuroprotection against motor disorders. Therefore, the present review will help in the discovery of new therapy for PD and HD patients.
    Keywords:  GSK-3β; Huntington’s disease; Movement disorders; Neuroprotection; Nrf2/HO-1; Parkinson’s disease
  60. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jun 29. pii: 1304. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Recent advances in the research of the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway demonstrated that mTOR is a robust therapeutic target for ocular degenerative diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and glaucoma. Although the exact mechanisms of individual ocular degenerative diseases are unclear, they share several common pathological processes, increased and prolonged oxidative stress in particular, which leads to functional and morphological impairment in photoreceptors, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), or retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). mTOR not only modulates oxidative stress but is also affected by reactive oxygen species (ROS) activation. It is essential to understand the complicated relationship between the mTOR pathway and oxidative stress before its application in the treatment of retinal degeneration. Indeed, the substantial role of mTOR-mediated autophagy in the pathogenies of ocular degenerative diseases should be noted. In reviewing the latest studies, this article summarised the application of rapamycin, an mTOR signalling pathway inhibitor, in different retinal disease models, providing insight into the mechanism of rapamycin in the treatment of retinal neurodegeneration under oxidative stress. Besides basic research, this review also summarised and updated the results of the latest clinical trials of rapamycin in ocular neurodegenerative diseases. In combining the current basic and clinical research results, we provided a more complete picture of mTOR as a potential therapeutic target for ocular neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  AMD; DR; ROS; clinical trial; glaucoma; hypoxia; inflammation; mTOR; oxidative stress; rapamycin
  61. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 09. pii: 2824. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      Cancer cachexia (CC) is a complex syndrome of bodily wasting and progressive functional decline. Unlike starvation, cachexia cannot be reversed by increased energy intake alone. Nonetheless, targeted nutritional support is a necessary component in multimodal syndrome management. Due to the highly catabolic nature of cancer cachexia, amino acid supplementation has been proposed. Interestingly, leucine has been found to increase protein synthesis and decrease protein degradation via mTORC1 pathway activation. Multiple pre-clinical studies have explored the impact of leucine supplementation in cachectic tumor-bearing hosts. Here, we provide an overview of leucine's proposed modes of action to preserve lean mass in cachexia and review the current pre-clinical literature related to leucine supplementation during CC. Current research indicates that a leucine-rich diet may attenuate CC symptomology; however, these works are difficult to compare due to methodological differences. There is need for further pre-clinical work exploring leucine's potential ability to modulate protein turnover and immune response during CC, as well as the impact of additive leucine on tumor growth.
    Keywords:  amino acids; atrophy; inflammation; mTOR; pre-clinical; skeletal muscle
  62. Biomedicines. 2022 Jul 05. pii: 1596. [Epub ahead of print]10(7):
      Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved and tightly regulated process that plays an important role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. It involves regulation of various genes that function to degrade unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components, and to recycle metabolic substrates. Autophagy is modulated by many factors, such as nutritional status, energy level, hypoxic conditions, endoplasmic reticulum stress, hormonal stimulation and drugs, and these factors can regulate autophagy both upstream and downstream of the pathway. In cancer, autophagy acts as a double-edged sword depending on the tissue type and stage of tumorigenesis. On the one hand, autophagy promotes tumor progression in advanced stages by stimulating tumor growth. On the other hand, autophagy inhibits tumor development in the early stages by enhancing its tumor suppressor activity. Moreover, autophagy drives resistance to anticancer therapy, even though in some tumor types, its activation induces lethal effects on cancer cells. In this review, we summarize the biological mechanisms of autophagy and its dual role in cancer. In addition, we report the current understanding of autophagy in some cancer types with markedly high incidence and/or lethality, and the existing therapeutic strategies targeting autophagy for the treatment of cancer.
    Keywords:  anoikis; autophagy; cancer; therapy; tumor promotion; tumor suppression
  63. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 921209
      Number 2 Feibi Recipe (N2FBR) is a traditional Chinese medicine formula for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. N2FBR inhibits H2O2-mediated oxidative stress damage in alveolar epithelial cells by increasing autophagy, as we previously demonstrated. However, it is unknown if similar mechanisms occur in vivo. We established a pulmonary fibrosis model by instilling bleomycin (BLM) from the airway to examine the effects of N2FBR on pulmonary fibrosis and investigate its probable mechanism in this work. We discovered that N2FBR treatment effectively alleviated interstitial fibrosis as well as collagen deposition, primarily in upregulating SOD, GSH-Px, T-AOC and downregulating MDA content. N2FBR also increased the expression of LC3B, Beclin-1, LAMP1, TFEB and downregulated the expression of p62, legumain. N2FBR treatment boosted the production of autophagosomes, according to the results of the TEM observation. Furthermore, we explored that N2FBR exerted its anti-oxidative stress and pro-autophagy effects via GSK-3β/mTOR signalling pathway. Therefore, these results provide further evidence for the protective effect of N2FBR in pulmonary fibrosis. Our findings could have ramifications for the development of antifibrosis therapies.
    Keywords:  Chinese medicine; autophagy; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; number 2 Feibi Recipe; oxidative stress
  64. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022 ;16 927682
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. PARK9 (also known as ATP13A2) is recognized as one of the key genes that cause PD, and a mutation in this gene was first discovered in a rare case of PD in an adolescent. Lewy bodies (LBs) formed by abnormal aggregation of α-synuclein, which is encoded by the SNCA gene, are one of the pathological diagnostic criteria for PD. LBs are also recognized as one of the most important features of PD pathogenesis. In this article, we first summarize the types of mutations in the ATP13A2 gene and their effects on ATP13A2 mRNA and protein structure; then, we discuss lysosomal autophagy inhibition and the molecular mechanism of abnormal α-synuclein accumulation caused by decreased levels and dysfunction of the ATP13A2 protein in lysosomes. Finally, this article provides a new direction for future research on the pathogenesis and therapeutic targets for ATP13A2 gene-related PD from the perspective of ATP13A2 gene mutations and abnormal aggregation of α-synuclein.
    Keywords:  ATP13A2; Parkinson’s disease; autophagy; lysosome; α-synuclein
  65. Exp Mol Pathol. 2022 Jul 22. pii: S0014-4800(22)00077-6. [Epub ahead of print]127 104814
      Phloretin is a type of dihydrochalcone that is primarily found in apples and has been reported to possess various potent biological activities, such as anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Our previous study has shown that phloretin induces apoptosis in human glioblastoma. In this study, we found that phloretin induced autophagy in SH-SY5Y cells by decreasing p-AKT and p-mTOR levels in the AKT/mTOR pathway and increasing the activation of JNK, the phosphorylation of c-Jun and the expression of Beclin-1. Moreover, the upregulation of Beclin-1 was decreased by SP600125 or a siRNA against c-Jun. Furthermore, SP600125 and siRNAs against c-Jun and Beclin-1 inhibited phloretin-induced autophagy. In addition, inhibition of phloretin-induced autophagy by cotreatment with phloretin and 3-MA decreased phloretin-induced cytotoxicity to SH-SY5Y cells. In conclusion, our results suggest that the AKT/mTOR pathway and JNK-mediated Beclin-1 expression are involved in phloretin-induced autophagy. Phloretin can be used to protect neurons during phloretin treatment of glioblastoma.
    Keywords:  AKT; Autophagy; Beclin-1; JNK; Phloretin
  66. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jul 11. pii: 1352. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Physalis peruviana-derived physapruin A (PHA) is a potent compound that selectively generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) and induces cancer cell death. Autophagy, a cellular self-clearance pathway, can be induced by ROS and plays a dual role in cancer cell death. However, the role of autophagy in PHA-treated cancer cells is not understood. Our study initially showed that autophagy inhibitors such as bafilomycin A1 enhanced the cytotoxic effects of PHA in breast cancer cell lines, including MCF7 and MDA-MB-231. PHA treatment decreased the p62 protein level and increased LC3-II flux. PHA increased the fluorescence intensity of DAPGreen and DALGreen, which are used to reflect the formation of autophagosome/autolysosome and autolysosome, respectively. ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) decreased PHA-elevated autophagy activity, implying that PHA-induced ROS may be required for autophagy induction in breast cancer cells. Moreover, the autophagy inhibitor increased ROS levels and enhanced PHA-elevated ROS levels, while NAC scavenges the produced ROS resulting from PHA and autophagy inhibitor. In addition, the autophagy inhibitor elevated the PHA-induced proportion of annexin V/7-aminoactinmycin D and cleavage of caspase-3/8/9 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. In contrast, NAC and apoptosis inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK blocked the proportion of annexin V/7-aminoactinmycin D and the activation of caspases. Taken together, PHA induced ROS to promote autophagy, which might play an antioxidant and anti-apoptotic role in breast cancer cells.
    Keywords:  autophagy; breast cancer; oxidative stress; withanolides
  67. Genes (Basel). 2022 Jul 26. pii: 1338. [Epub ahead of print]13(8):
      Atherosclerosis is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease that causes severe cardiovascular events. B cell lymphoma 2-associated athanogene (BAG3) was proven to participate in the regulation of tumor angiogenesis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiac diseases, but its role in atherosclerosis remains unclear. Here, we aim to investigate the role of BAG3 in atherosclerosis and elucidate the potential molecular mechanism. In this study, ApoE-/- mice were given a tail-vein injection of BAG3-overexpressing lentivirus and fed a 12-week high-fat diet (HFD) to investigate the role of BAG3 in atherosclerosis. The overexpression of BAG3 reduced plaque areas and improved atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice. Our research proves that BAG3 promotes autophagy in vitro, contributing to the suppression of EndMT in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Mechanically, autophagy activation is mediated by BAG3 via the interaction between BAG3 and its chaperones HSP70 and HSPB8. In conclusion, BAG3 facilitates autophagy activation via the formation of the chaperone-assisted selective autophagy (CASA) complex interacting with HSP70 and HSPB8, leading to the inhibition of EndMT during the progression of atherosclerosis and indicating that BAG3 is a potential therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.
    Keywords:  BAG3; CASA complex; EndMT; atherosclerosis; autophagy
  68. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jul 18. pii: 3491. [Epub ahead of print]14(14):
      Chromobox 2 (CBX2) is a chromatin-binding component of polycomb repressive complex 1, which causes gene silencing. CBX2 expression is elevated in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), for which there are few therapeutic options. Here, we aimed to investigate the functional role of CBX2 in TNBC. CBX2 knockdown in TNBC models reduced cell numbers, which was rescued by ectopic expression of wild-type CBX2 but not a chromatin binding-deficient mutant. Blocking CBX2 chromatin interactions using the inhibitor SW2_152F also reduced cell growth, suggesting CBX2 chromatin binding is crucial for TNBC progression. RNA sequencing and gene set enrichment analysis of CBX2-depleted cells identified downregulation of oncogenic signalling pathways, including mTORC1 and E2F signalling. Subsequent analysis identified that CBX2 represses the expression of mTORC1 inhibitors and the tumour suppressor RBL2. RBL2 repression, in turn, inhibits DREAM complex activity. The DREAM complex inhibits E2F signalling, causing cell senescence; therefore, inhibition of the DREAM complex via CBX2 may be a key oncogenic driver. We observed similar effects in oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, and analysis of patient datasets suggested CBX2 inhibits RBL2 activity in other cancer types. Therapeutic inhibition of CBX2 could therefore repress mTORC1 activation and promote DREAM complex-mediated senescence in TNBC and could have similar effects in other cancer types.
    Keywords:  CBX2; PRC1; RBL2; TNBC; breast cancer; epigenetics; mTORC1; polycomb
  69. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jul 28. 13(7): 659
      Palmitic acid (PA) is significantly increased in the hypothalamus of mice, when fed chronically with a high-fat diet (HFD). PA impairs insulin signaling in hypothalamic neurons, by a mechanism dependent on autophagy, a process of lysosomal-mediated degradation of cytoplasmic material. In addition, previous work shows a crosstalk between autophagy and the primary cilium (hereafter cilium), an antenna-like structure on the cell surface that acts as a signaling platform for the cell. Ciliopathies, human diseases characterized by cilia dysfunction, manifest, type 2 diabetes, among other features, suggesting a role of the cilium in insulin signaling. Cilium depletion in hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons triggers obesity and insulin resistance in mice, the same phenotype as mice deficient in autophagy in POMC neurons. Here we investigated the effect of chronic consumption of HFD on cilia; and our results indicate that chronic feeding with HFD reduces the percentage of cilia in hypothalamic POMC neurons. This effect may be due to an increased amount of PA, as treatment with this saturated fatty acid in vitro reduces the percentage of ciliated cells and cilia length in hypothalamic neurons. Importantly, the same effect of cilia depletion was obtained following chemical and genetic inhibition of autophagy, indicating autophagy is required for ciliogenesis. We further demonstrate a role for the cilium in insulin sensitivity, as cilium loss in hypothalamic neuronal cells disrupts insulin signaling and insulin-dependent glucose uptake, an effect that correlates with the ciliary localization of the insulin receptor (IR). Consistently, increased percentage of ciliated hypothalamic neuronal cells promotes insulin signaling, even when cells are exposed to PA. Altogether, our results indicate that, in hypothalamic neurons, impairment of autophagy, either by PA exposure, chemical or genetic manipulation, cause cilia loss that impairs insulin sensitivity.
  70. Molecules. 2022 Jul 08. pii: 4396. [Epub ahead of print]27(14):
      Aging is a natural biological process that manifests as the progressive loss of function in cells, tissues, and organs. Because mechanisms that are meant to promote cellular longevity tend to decrease in effectiveness with age, it is no surprise that aging presents as a major risk factor for many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and diabetes. Oxidative stress, an imbalance between the intracellular antioxidant and overproduction of reactive oxygen species, is known to promote the aging process. Autophagy, a major pathway for protein turnover, is considered as one of the hallmarks of aging. Given the progressive physiologic degeneration and increased risk for disease that accompanies aging, many studies have attempted to discover new compounds that may aid in the reversal of the aging process. Here, we summarize the antiaging mechanism of natural or naturally derived synthetic compounds involving oxidative stress and autophagy. These compounds include: 2-cyano-3,12-dioxoolean-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO) derivatives (synthetic triterpenoids derived from naturally occurring oleanolic acid), caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE, the active ingredient in honey bee propolis), xanthohumol (a prenylated flavonoid identified in the hops plant), guggulsterone (a plant steroid found in the resin of the guggul plant), resveratrol (a natural phenol abundantly found in grape), and sulforaphane (a sulfur-containing compound found in cruciferous vegetables).
    Keywords:  CAPE; CDDO derivatives; aging; autophagy; guggulsterone; oxidative stress; resveratrol; sulforaphane; xanthohumol