bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2022‒11‒27
forty-nine papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk
Newcastle University

  1. Dev Cell. 2022 Nov 21. pii: S1534-5807(22)00760-2. [Epub ahead of print]57(22): 2584-2598.e11
      Autophagy is an essential catabolic process that promotes the clearance of surplus or damaged intracellular components. Loss of autophagy in age-related human pathologies contributes to tissue degeneration through a poorly understood mechanism. Here, we identify an evolutionarily conserved role of autophagy from yeast to humans in the preservation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels, which are critical for cell survival. In respiring mouse fibroblasts with autophagy deficiency, loss of mitochondrial quality control was found to trigger hyperactivation of stress responses mediated by NADases of PARP and Sirtuin families. Uncontrolled depletion of the NAD(H) pool by these enzymes ultimately contributed to mitochondrial membrane depolarization and cell death. Pharmacological and genetic interventions targeting several key elements of this cascade improved the survival of autophagy-deficient yeast, mouse fibroblasts, and human neurons. Our study provides a mechanistic link between autophagy and NAD metabolism and identifies targets for interventions in human diseases associated with autophagic, lysosomal, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; NAD; PARP; Sirtuins; ageing; autophagy; metabolism; mitochondria; mitophagy
  2. Cell Commun Signal. 2022 Nov 25. 20(1): 189
      BACKGROUND: Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process crucial for homeostasis. During autophagy, a double-membrane autophagosome fuses with lysosome through SNARE machinery STX17 to form autolysosome for degradation of damaged organelle. Whereas defective autophagy enhances cholesterol accumulation in the lysosome and impaired autophagic flux that results Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1) disease. However, exact interconnection between NPC1 and autophagic flux remain obscure due to the existence of controversial reports.RESULTS: This study aimed at a comparison of the effects of three autophagic inhibitor drugs, including chloroquine, U18666A, and bafilomycin A1, on the intracellular cholesterol transport and autophagy flux. Chloroquine, an autophagic flux inhibitor; U1866A, a NPC1 inhibitor, and bafilomycin A, a lysosomotropic agent are well known to inhibit autophagy by different mechanism. Here we showed that treatment with U1866A and bafilomycin A induces lysosomal cholesterol accumulation that prevented autophagic flux by decreasing autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We also demonstrated that accumulation of cholesterol within the lysosome did not affect lysosomal pH. Although the clearance of accumulated cholesterol by cyclodextrin restored the defective autophagosome-lysosome fusion, the autophagy flux restoration was possible only when lysosomal acidification was not altered. In addition, a failure of STX17 trafficking to autophagosomes plays a key role in prevention of autophagy flux caused by intracellular cholesterol transport inhibitors.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide a new insight that the impaired autophagy flux does not necessarily result in lysosomal cholesterol accumulation even though it prevents autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Video abstract.
    Keywords:  Autophagosomes; Autophagy flux; Bafilomycin A1; Chloroquine; Intracellular cholesterol transport; STX17; U18666A
  3. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 24.
      Autophagic degradation of mitochondria (known as mitophagy) is known to occur in all eukaryotes, and is important for the turnover of damaged mitochondria and recycling of nutrients during starvation. Targeting of mitochondria for autophagic degradation is regulated by recognition of mitochondrial-localized mitophagy receptors by the autophagy adaptor protein, ATG8, which regulates the formation of phagophore membranes to encapsulate mitochondrial cargo. Mitophagy receptor proteins have been well characterized in animals and yeast; however, proteins that function as mitophagy receptors in plants have not been discovered until now. We have recently characterized the plant TraB-family proteins AT1G05270/TRB1 and AT2G32340/TRB2, as novel mitophagy receptors, elucidating novel mechanisms of mitophagy in plants.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis; ER-mitochondrial contact sites; TraB-family proteins; VAP27; mitophagy; mitophagy receptor
  4. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 21. 1-18
      Lysosomes are the primary degradative compartment within cells and there have been significant advances over the past decade toward understanding how lysosome homeostasis is maintained. Lysosome repopulation ensures sustained autophagy function, a fundamental process that protects against disease. During macroautophagy/autophagy, cellular debris is sequestered into phagophores that mature into autophagosomes, which then fuse with lysosomes to generate autolysosomes in which contents are degraded. Autophagy cannot proceed without the sufficient generation of lysosomes, and this can be achieved via their de novo biogenesis. Alternatively, during autophagic lysosome reformation (ALR), lysosomes are generated via the recycling of autolysosome membranes. During this process, autolysosomes undergo significant membrane remodeling and scission to generate membrane fragments, that mature into functional lysosomes. By utilizing membranes already formed during autophagy, this facilitates an efficient pathway for re-deriving lysosomes, particularly under conditions of prolonged autophagic flux. ALR dysfunction is emerging as an important disease mechanism including for neurodegenerative disorders such as hereditary spastic paraplegia and Parkinson disease, neuropathies including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, lysosome storage disorders, muscular dystrophy, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory and liver disorders. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of ALR, including an overview of its dynamic spatiotemporal regulation by MTOR and phosphoinositides, and the role ALR dysfunction plays in many diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagic lysosome reformation; MTOR; PtdIns(4,5)P2; PtdIns4P; lysosome; phosphoinositide
  5. J Cell Sci. 2022 Nov 21. pii: jcs.260395. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitophagy, a type of selective autophagy, specifically targets damaged mitochondria. The ULK complex regulates Parkin-mediated mitophagy, but the mechanism through which the ULK complex initiates mitophagosome formation remains unknown. The Rab7 GTPase is a key initiator of mitophagosome formation, and Ser-72 phosphorylation of Rab7 is important for this process. We have previously identified LRRK1 as a protein kinase responsible for Rab7 Ser-72 phosphorylation. In this study, we investigated the role of LRRK1 in mitophagy. We showed that LRRK1 functions downstream of ULK1/ULK2 in Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ectopic targeting of active LRRK1 to mitochondria is sufficient to induce the Ser-72 phosphorylation of Rab7, circumventing the requirement for ATG13, a component of the ULK complex. Thus, the ULK complex recruits LRRK1 to mitochondria by interacting with ATG13 to initiate mitophagosome formation. This study highlights the crucial role of the ULK complex-LRRK1 axis in the regulation of Parkin-mediated mitophagy.
    Keywords:  LRRK1; Mitophagy; Rab7
  6. Cell Struct Funct. 2022 Nov 22.
      In macroautophagy, disk-shaped double-membrane structures called phagophores elongate to form cup-shaped structures, becoming autophagosomes upon closure. These autophagosomes then fuse with lysosomes to become autolysosomes and degrade engulfed material. Autophagosome formation is reported to involve other organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. Organelles are also taken up by autophagosomes as autophagy cargos. However, few studies have performed systematic spatiotemporal analysis of inter-organelle relationships during macroautophagy. Here, we investigated the organelles in contact with phagophores, autophagosomes, and autolysosomes by using three-dimensional correlative light and electron microscopy with array tomography in cells starved 30 min. As previously reported, all phagophores associate with the ER. The surface area of phagophores in contact with the ER decreases gradually as they mature into autophagosomes and autolysosomes. However, the ER still associates with 92% of autophagosomes and 79% of autolysosomes, suggesting that most autophagosomes remain on the ER after closure and even when they fuse with lysosomes. In addition, we found that phagophores form frequently near other autophagic structures, suggesting the presence of potential hot spots for autophagosome formation. We also analyzed the contents of phagophores and autophagosomes and found that the ER is the most frequently engulfed organelle (detected in 65% of total phagophores and autophagosomes). These quantitative three-dimensional ultrastructural data provide insights into autophagosome-organelle relationships during macroautophagy. Key words: 3D-CLEM, autophagosome, electron microscopy, endoplasmic reticulum, lysosome.
    Keywords:  3D-CLEM; autophagosome; electron microscopy; endoplasmic reticulum; lysosome
  7. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Dec;pii: S0753-3322(22)01356-7. [Epub ahead of print]156 113967
      Cardiac hypertrophy is an adaptive response to increased overload, which is induced by various physiological or pathological stimuli. It is a common pathological process of a variety of cardiovascular diseases, which eventually leads to heart failure. The development of cardiac hypertrophy is accompanied by anomalous expression of genes such as autophagy-related (Atg) genes and abnormal activation of a series of signaling pathways. Autophagy, with a typical feature of double-membrane vesicle called the autophagosome, is a highly conserved lysosomal degradation process. Autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic components and deliver them to lysosomes, which degrade cytoplasmic components such as damaged organelles, misfolded proteins to maintain cellular homeostasis and energy supply. Several lines of evidence suggested that autophagy as a double-edged sword was not only involved in physiological cardiac hypertrophy, but played a crucial role in pathological cardiac hypertrophy. However, the exact mechanism underlying the role of autophagy in regulating cardiac hypertrophy remains largely unknown. Here, we comprehensively characterize the dual effects of autophagy in promoting or inhibiting cardiac hypertrophy under a variety of physiological or pathological conditions. Moreover, we summarize the potential therapeutic effects of autophagic modulators on pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Finally, we discuss the advantages and challenges of autophagic modulators for the therapy of pathological cardiac hypertrophy.
    Keywords:  Autophagic modulator; Autophagy; Cardiac hypertrophy; Therapeutic target
  8. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2022 Nov 24.
      Nutrients such as glucose, amino acids and lipids are fundamental sources for the maintenance of essential cellular processes and homeostasis in all organisms. The nutrient-sensing kinases mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) are expressed in many cell types and have key roles in the control of cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, metabolism and survival, ultimately contributing to the physiological development and functions of various organs, including the kidney. Dysregulation of these kinases leads to many human health problems, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders and kidney diseases. In the kidney, physiological levels of mTOR and AMPK activity are required to support kidney cell growth and differentiation and to maintain kidney cell integrity and normal nephron function, including transport of electrolytes, water and glucose. mTOR forms two functional multi-protein kinase complexes, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). Hyperactivation of mTORC1 leads to podocyte and tubular cell dysfunction and vulnerability to injury, thereby contributing to the development of chronic kidney diseases, including diabetic kidney disease, obesity-related kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease. Emerging evidence suggests that targeting mTOR and/or AMPK could be an effective therapeutic approach to controlling or preventing these diseases.
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2581 135-147
      Autophagy is a key process for degradation and recycling of proteins or organelles in eukaryotes. Autophagy in plants has been shown to function in stress responses, pathogen immunity, and senescence, while a basal level of autophagy plays a housekeeping role in cells. Upon activation of autophagy, vesicles termed autophagosomes are formed to deliver proteins or organelles to the vacuole for degradation. The number of autophagosomes can thus be used to indicate the level of autophagy. Here we describe two common methods used for detection of autophagosomes, staining of autophagosomes with the fluorescent dye monodansylcadaverine and expression of a fusion between GFP and the autophagosomal membrane protein ATG8.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis thaliana; Autophagosome; Autophagy; GFP-ATG8; Monodansylcadaverine; Vacuole
  10. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 23.
      Autophagosome isolation enables the thorough investigation of structural components and engulfed materials. Recently, we introduced a novel antibody-based FACS-mediated method for isolation of native macroautophagic/autophagic vesicles and confirmed the quality of the preparations. We performed phospholipidomic and proteomic analyses to characterize autophagic vesicle-associated phospholipids and protein cargoes under different autophagy conditions. Lipidomic analyses identified phosphoglycerides and sphingomyelins within autophagic vesicles and revealed that the lipid composition was unaffected by different rates of autophagosome formation. Proteomic analyses identified more than 4500 potential autophagy substrates and showed that in comparison to autophagic vesicles isolated under basal autophagy conditions, starvation only marginally affected the cargo profile. Proteasome inhibition, however, resulted in the enhanced degradation of ubiquitin-proteasome system components. Taken together, the novel isolation method enriched large quantities of autophagic vesicles and enabled detailed analyses of their lipid and cargo composition.
    Keywords:  autophagic vesicles; autophagy; cargo profiling; lipid profiling; vesicle isolation
  11. Methods Mol Biol. 2023 ;2581 123-134
      Autophagy is a catabolic process by which eukaryotic cells degrade and recycle unnecessary or damaged intracellular components to maintain cellular homeostasis and to cope with stress. The development of specific tools to monitor autophagy in microalgae and plants has been fundamental to investigate this catabolic pathway in photosynthetic organisms. The protein ATG8 is a widely used molecular marker of autophagy in all eukaryotes, including the model microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The drug concanamycin A, a specific inhibitor of vacuolar ATPase, has also been extensively used to block autophagic flux in the green lineage. In Chlamydomonas, inhibition of autophagic flux by concanamycin A has been shown to prevent the degradation of ribosomal proteins and the formation of lipid bodies under nitrogen or phosphorous starvation. Here, we detail how the abundance and lipidation state of ATG8 can be used to monitor autophagic flux in Chlamydomonas by western blot analysis.
    Keywords:  ATG8; Autophagic flux; Autophagy; Chlamydomonas; Microalga; Western blot
  12. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 21. 1-2
      Extracellular pathogens utilize secreted virulence factors to regulate host cell function. Recently we characterized the molecular mechanism behind host macroautophagy/autophagy regulation by the Vibrio cholerae toxin MakA. Cholesterol binding at the plasma membrane induces MakA endocytosis and pH-dependent pore assembly. Membrane perforation of late endosomal membranes induces cellular membrane repair pathways and V-ATPase-dependent unconventional LC3 lipidation on damaged membranes.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol; MakA; Vibrio cholerae; non-canonical autophagy; pore-forming toxin
  13. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 25.
      Acute pancreatitis (AP) is an abdominal inflammatory disease initiated by damaged pancreatic acinar cells and developed by systemic inflammation. SQSTM1 (sequestosome 1) has an intracellular function in mediating substrate degradation during macroautophagy/autophagy, and it can be released by macrophages and monocytes to trigger lethal inflammation during bacterial infection. Here, we report that extracellular SQSTM1 acts as a mediator of AP by enhancing the sensitivity to autophagy-dependent ferroptotic cell death. Serum SQSTM1 is elevated in AP patients as well as in mice that have cerulein-induced AP. The administration of SQSTM1-neutralizing antibodies protects against experimental AP in mice. Mechanistically, recombinant SQSTM1 protein (rSQSTM1) increases AGER (advanced glycosylation end-product specific receptor)-dependent ACSL4 (acyl-CoA synthetase long chain family member 4) expression, leading to polyunsaturated fatty acid production for autophagosome formation and subsequent ferroptosis. The rSQSTM1-elicited pathological responses during AP are attenuated in mice with the conditional deletion of Ager in the pancreas. These findings may provide not only new insights into the mechanism of autophagy-dependent cell death, but also suggest that targeting the extracellular SQSTM1 pathway is a potential strategy for the treatment of AP.
    Keywords:  SQSTM1; autophagy; ferroptosis; inflammation; lipid peroxidation; pancreatitis
  14. JMA J. 2022 Oct 17. 5(4): 407-415
      One of the major complications of diabetes mellitus is diabetic cardiomyopathy. One of the mechanisms that initiates the irreversible deterioration of cardiac function in diabetic cardiomyopathy is mitochondrial dysfunction. Functionally impaired mitochondria result in greater levels of oxidative stress and lipotoxicity, both of which exacerbate mitochondrial damage. Mitochondrial health is constantly monitored by mitochondrial quality control mechanisms. Mitophagy selectively degrades damaged mitochondria, thereby maintaining the healthy pool of mitochondria and preserving myocardial function. Mitophagy in diabetic cardiomyopathy is mediated by multiple mechanisms in a time-dependent manner. Potential targets for the treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy include increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial dynamics, and mitochondrial clearance. Thus, stimulation of mitophagy represents a promising strategy for the alleviation of diabetic cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Diabetes Mellitus; Diabetic Cardiomyopathy; Heart Failure; Mitochondria; Mitophagy
  15. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Nov 19. pii: S0962-8924(22)00235-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular quiescence - reversible exit from the cell cycle - is an important feature of many cell types important for organismal health. Aging and cellular dysfunction compromise the survival and reactivation of quiescent cells over time. Studies suggest that autophagic processes and lysosomal function are critical to maintaining the function of quiescent cells, especially adult stem cells, throughout life. Findings also point to both pro-senescence and anti-senescence functions for macroautophagy depending on context. In this review, we will discuss these findings, unanswered questions on the role of macroautophagy and lysosomal function in quiescent and senescent cells, and the possibility for interventions that stimulate macroautophagy and lysosomes to promote quiescent cell function and tissue regeneration.
    Keywords:  aging; autophagy; lysosomes; quiescence; senescence
  16. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 16. pii: 14149. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      Dieckol is a natural brown algal-derived polyphenol and its cytotoxic potential against various types of cancer cells has been studied. However, the effects of dieckol on autophagy in cancer cells remain unknown. Here, we show that dieckol inhibits the growth of A375 human melanoma cells by inducing apoptotic cell death, which is associated with lysosomal dysfunction and the inhibition of autophagic flux. Dieckol induces autophagosome accumulation by inhibiting autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Moreover, dieckol not only triggers lysosomal membrane permeabilization, followed by an increase in lysosomal pH and the inactivation of cathepsin B and D, but also causes the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. Importantly, a cathepsin D inhibitor partially relieved dieckol-induced mitochondrial membrane impairment and caspase-mediated apoptosis. Collectively, our findings indicate that dieckol is a novel autophagy inhibitor that induces apoptosis-mediated cell death via lysosomal dysfunction and mitochondrial membrane impairment in A375 human melanoma cells. This suggests the novel potential value of dieckol as a chemotherapeutic drug candidate for melanoma treatment.
    Keywords:  antitumor activity; apoptosis; autophagy; cell death; dieckol; melanoma
  17. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 10. pii: 13823. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major regulator of skeletal myocyte viability. The signaling pathways triggered by mTOR vary according to the type of endogenous and exogenous factors (e.g., redox balance, nutrient availability, physical activity) as well as organismal age. Here, we provide an overview of mTOR signaling in skeletal muscle, with a special focus on the role played by mTOR in the development of sarcopenia. Intervention strategies targeting mTOR in sarcopenia (e.g., supplementation of plant extracts, hormones, inorganic ions, calorie restriction, and exercise) have also been discussed.
    Keywords:  aging; atrogenes; autophagy; calorie restriction; mitophagy; neuromuscular junction; protein degradation; protein synthesis; rapalogs; skeletal muscle
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 10. pii: 5520. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a highly conserved serine/threonine-protein kinase, which regulates many biological processes related to metabolism, cancer, immune function, and aging. It is an essential protein kinase that belongs to the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) family and has two known signaling complexes, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). Even though mTOR signaling plays a critical role in promoting mitochondria-related protein synthesis, suppressing the catabolic process of autophagy, contributing to lipid metabolism, engaging in ribosome formation, and acting as a critical regulator of mRNA translation, it remains one of the significant signaling systems involved in the tumor process, particularly in apoptosis, cell cycle, and cancer cell proliferation. Therefore, the mTOR signaling system could be suggested as a cancer biomarker, and its targeting is important in anti-tumor therapy research. Indeed, its dysregulation is involved in different types of cancers such as colon, neck, cervical, head, lung, breast, reproductive, and bone cancers, as well as nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Moreover, recent investigations showed that targeting mTOR could be considered as cancer therapy. Accordingly, this review presents an overview of recent developments associated with the mTOR signaling pathway and its molecular involvement in various human cancer types. It also summarizes the research progress of different mTOR inhibitors, including natural and synthetised compounds and their main mechanisms, as well as the rational combinations with immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  cancer; immunotherapy; mTOR; mTOR inhibitors; natural drugs
  19. EMBO J. 2022 Nov 21. e112677
      Lysosome integrity is essential for cell viability, and lesions in lysosome membranes are repaired by the ESCRT machinery. Here, we describe an additional mechanism for lysosome repair that is activated independently of ESCRT recruitment. Lipidomic analyses showed increases in lysosomal phosphatidylserine and cholesterol after damage. Electron microscopy demonstrated that lysosomal membrane damage is rapidly followed by the formation of contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which depends on the ER proteins VAPA/B. The cholesterol-binding protein ORP1L was recruited to damaged lysosomes, accompanied by cholesterol accumulation by a mechanism that required VAP-ORP1L interactions. The PtdIns 4-kinase PI4K2A rapidly produced PtdIns4P on lysosomes upon damage, and knockout of PI4K2A inhibited damage-induced accumulation of ORP1L and cholesterol and led to the failure of lysosomal membrane repair. The cholesterol-PtdIns4P transporter OSBP was also recruited upon damage, and its depletion caused lysosomal accumulation of PtdIns4P and resulted in cell death. We conclude that ER contacts are activated on damaged lysosomes in parallel to ESCRTs to provide lipids for membrane repair, and that PtdIns4P generation and removal are central in this response.
    Keywords:  cholesterol; lysosome; membrane contact site; membrane repair; phosphoinositide
  20. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 21.
      Mitophagy is a form of autophagy that selectively removes damaged mitochondria and attenuates mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis during viral infection, but how arboviruses balance mitophagy and apoptosis to facilitate persistent viral infection in insect vectors without causing evident fitness cost remains elusive. Here, we identified mitochondrial VDAC1 (voltage-dependent anion channel 1) that could be hijacked by nonstructural protein Pns11 of rice gall dwarf virus (RGDV), a plant nonenveloped double-stranded RNA virus, to synergistically activate pro-viral extensive mitophagy and limited apoptosis in leafhopper vectors. The direct target of fibrillar structures constructed by Pns11 with VDAC1 induced mitochondrial degeneration. Moreover, the degenerated mitochondria were recruited into Pns11-induced phagophores to initiate mitophagy via interaction of VDAC1 with Pns11 and an autophagy protein, ATG8. Such mitophagy mediated by Pns11 and VDAC1 required the classical PRKN/Parkin-PINK1 pathway. VDAC1 regulates apoptosis by controlling the release of apoptotic signaling molecules through its pore, while the anti-apoptotic protein GSN (gelsolin) could bind to VDAC1 pore. We demonstrated that the interaction of Pns11 with VDAC1 and gelsolin decreased VDAC1 expression but increased GSN expression, which prevented the extensive apoptotic response in virus-infected regions. Meanwhile, virus-induced mitophagy also effectively prevented extensive apoptotic response to decrease apoptosis-caused insect fitness cost. The subsequent fusion of virus-loaded mitophagosomes with lysosomes is prevented, and thus such mitophagosomes are exploited for persistent spread of virions within insect bodies. Our results reveal a new strategy for arboviruses to balance and exploit mitophagy and apoptosis, resulting in an optimal intracellular environment for persistent viral propagation in insect vectors.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; mitophagy; nonstructural protein Pns11; rice gall dwarf virus; voltage-dependent anion channel 1
  21. Front Mol Neurosci. 2022 ;15 1078804
    Keywords:  Krabbe disease; TFEB; animal models; mTORC1; neuronopathic Gaucher disease; umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT)
  22. Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 19. 12(1): 19948
      Severe malnutrition accounts for half-a-million deaths annually in children under the age of five. Despite improved WHO guidelines, inpatient mortality remains high and is associated with metabolic dysfunction. Previous studies suggest a correlation between hepatic metabolic dysfunction and impaired autophagy. We aimed to determine the role of mTORC1 inhibition in a murine model of malnutrition-induced hepatic dysfunction. Wild type weanling C57/B6 mice were fed a 18 or 1% protein diet for two weeks. A third low-protein group received daily rapamycin injections, an mTORC1 inhibitor. Hepatic metabolic function was assessed by histology, immunofluorescence, gene expression, metabolomics and protein levels. Low protein-fed mice manifested characteristics of severe malnutrition, including weight loss, hypoalbuminemia, hypoglycemia, hepatic steatosis and cholestasis. Low protein-fed mice had fewer mitochondria and showed signs of impaired mitochondrial function. Rapamycin prevented hepatic steatosis, restored ATP levels and fasted plasma glucose levels compared to untreated mice. This correlated with increased content of LC3-II, and decreased content mitochondrial damage marker, PINK1. We demonstrate that hepatic steatosis and disturbed mitochondrial function in a murine model of severe malnutrition can be partially prevented through inhibition of mTORC1. These findings suggest that stimulation of autophagy could be a novel approach to improve metabolic function in severely malnourished children.
  23. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 ;12 959029
      Zika virus (ZIKV) is a globally transmitted mosquito-borne pathogen, and no effective treatment or vaccine is available yet. Lipophagy, a selective autophagy targeting lipid droplets (LDs), is an emerging subject in cellular lipid metabolism and energy homeostasis. However, the regulatory mechanism of lipid metabolism and the role of lipophagy in Zika virus infection remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrated that ZIKV induced lipophagy by activating unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) through activation of 5' adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in Huh7 cells. Upon ZIKV infection, the average size and triglyceride content of LDs significantly decreased. Moreover, ZIKV infection significantly increased lysosomal biosynthesis and LD-lysosome fusion. The activities of AMPK at Thr-172 and ULK1 at Ser-556 were increased in ZIKV-infected cells and closely correlated with lipophagy induction. Silencing of AMPK expression inhibited ZIKV infection, autophagy induction, and LD-lysosome fusion and decreased the triglyceride content of the cells. The activities of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) at Ser-2448 and ULK1 at Ser-757 were suppressed independently of AMPK during ZIKV infection. Therefore, ZIKV infection triggers AMPK-mediated lipophagy, and the LD-related lipid metabolism during ZIKV infection is mainly regulated via the AMPK-ULK1 signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  AMPK; ULK1; Zika virus; lipid metabolism; lipophagy; mTOR
  24. J Immunol. 2022 Nov 16. pii: ji2200477. [Epub ahead of print]
      Fish possess a powerful IFN system to defend against aquatic virus infections. Nevertheless, spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV) causes large-scale mortality in common carp and significant economic losses to aquaculture. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the strategies used by SVCV to escape the IFN response. In this study, we show that the SVCV nucleoprotein (N protein) negatively regulates cellular IFN production by degrading stimulator of IFN genes (STING) via the autophagy-lysosome-dependent pathway. First, overexpression of N protein inhibited the IFN promoter activation induced by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid and STING. Second, the N protein associated with STING and experiments using a dominant-negative STING mutant demonstrated that the N-terminal transmembrane domains of STING were indispensable for this interaction. Then, the N protein degraded STING in a dose-dependent and autophagy-lysosome-dependent manner. Intriguingly, in the absence of STING, individual N proteins could not elicit host autophagic flow. Furthermore, the autophagy factor Beclin1 was found to interact with the N protein to attenuate N protein-mediated STING degradation after beclin1 knockdown. Finally, the N protein remarkably weakened STING-enhanced cellular antiviral responses. These findings reveal that SVCV uses the host autophagic process to achieve immune escape, thus broadening our understanding of aquatic virus pathogenesis.
  25. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 25. 13(1): 7252
      Formation of branched organs requires sequential differentiation of stem cells. In this work, we find that the conducting airways derived from SOX2+ progenitors in the murine lungs fail to form without mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling and are replaced by lung cysts. Proximal-distal patterning through transitioning of distal SOX9+ progenitors to proximal SOX2+ cells is disrupted. Mitochondria number and ATP production are reduced. Compromised mitochondrial capacity results in a similar defect as that in mTORC1-deficient lungs. This suggests that mTORC1 promotes differentiation of SOX9+ progenitors to form the conducting airways by modulating mitochondrial capacity. Surprisingly, in all mutants, saccules are produced from lung cysts at the proper developmental time despite defective branching. SOX9+ progenitors also differentiate into alveolar epithelial type I and type II cells within saccules. These findings highlight selective utilization of energy and regulatory programs during stem cell differentiation to produce distinct structures of the mammalian lungs.
  26. Toxicol Lett. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0378-4274(22)01781-7. [Epub ahead of print]373 41-52
      The indolizidine alkaloid, swainsonine (SW), is the main toxic component of locoweed, which can cause locoism in animals with characteristic neurological dysfunction. Pathological manifestations at cellular level include extensive vacuolar degeneration. Studies have shown that SW can induces autophagy, but the role and mechanism of autophagy in SW-induced vacuolar degeneration is unclear. In this study, we analyzed the role of autophagy in SW-induced cell injury in mouse hippocampal neurons cell line (HT22) using western blotting, qRT-PCR, transmission electron microscopy and immunofluorescence microscopy. The results showed that the expressions of LC3-II, ATG5, Beclin1 and p62 proteins and their mRNAs in HT22 cells were induced by SW treatment. The SW treatment increased the number of autophagosomes with enhanced fluorescence intensity of monodansylcadaverine (MDC) and LC3-II in a time-dose dependent manner. The results of lysosome staining showed that SW could increase the number of lysosomes, increase the intraluminal pH. Transmission electron microscopy results indicate that SW induced autophagosomes, and Baf A1 could effectively alleviate SW-induced vacuolar degeneration. At the molecular level, SW treatment inhibited the expression of p-PI3K, p-AKT, p-ERK, p-AMPK, p-mTOR, p-p70S6K and p-4EBP1 and promoted the expression of p53. Our results collectively suggest, PI3K/AKT/mTOR, ERK/mTOR and p53/mTOR signaling pathways are involved in the regulation of SW-induced autophagy in HT22 cells, while the AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway is not involved in this regulation. Inhibition of autophagic degradation can effectively alleviate SW-induced vacuolar degeneration.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Lysosome; MTOR signaling pathway; Mouse hippocampal neurons; Swainsonine; Vacuolar degeneration
  27. Fish Shellfish Immunol Rep. 2022 Dec;3 100047
      Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process of degradation in eukaryotes, which can form double-membrane vesicles for delivering the trapped cargo to lysosome for degradation, also facilitate host cells against the invasion of foreign pathogens. Recently, autophagy was reported to participate in viral infection in crustaceans. White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is the most severely viral pathogen for farmed crustaceans, particularly in crayfish and shrimp. In this review, we summarized and discussed the current findings of autophagy involved in WSSV infection in crustaceans, particularly focusing on the identified autophagy-related molecules and their effects on viral infection. We hope this summary will provide us a better understanding of autophagy and its contribution to antiviral immunity in crustaceans.
    Keywords:  Antiviral immunity; Autophagy; Crustacean; Innate immunity; White spot syndrome virus
  28. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Nov 29. 119(48): e2119824119
      Fatty acids are vital for the survival of eukaryotes, but when present in excess can have deleterious consequences. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an important regulator of multiple branches of metabolism. Studies in purified enzyme preparations and cultured cells have shown that AMPK is allosterically activated by small molecules as well as fatty acyl-CoAs through a mechanism involving Ser108 within the regulatory AMPK β1 isoform. However, the in vivo physiological significance of this residue has not been evaluated. In the current study, we generated mice with a targeted germline knock-in (KI) mutation of AMPKβ1 Ser108 to Ala (S108A-KI), which renders the site phospho-deficient. S108A-KI mice had reduced AMPK activity (50 to 75%) in the liver but not in the skeletal muscle. On a chow diet, S108A-KI mice had impairments in exogenous lipid-induced fatty acid oxidation. Studies in mice fed a high-fat diet found that S108A-KI mice had a tendency for greater glucose intolerance and elevated liver triglycerides. Consistent with increased liver triglycerides, livers of S108A-KI mice had reductions in mitochondrial content and respiration that were accompanied by enlarged mitochondria, suggestive of impairments in mitophagy. Subsequent studies in primary hepatocytes found that S108A-KI mice had reductions in palmitate- stimulated Cpt1a and Ppargc1a mRNA, ULK1 phosphorylation and autophagic/mitophagic flux. These data demonstrate an important physiological role of AMPKβ1 Ser108 phosphorylation in promoting fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy under conditions of high lipid availability. As both ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting increase circulating free fatty acid levels, AMPK activity, mitochondrial biogenesis, and mitophagy, these data suggest a potential unifying mechanism which may be important in mediating these effects.
    Keywords:  AMPK; NAFLD; autophagy; fat oxidation; mitochondria
  29. Gastroenterology. 2022 Nov 15. pii: S0016-5085(22)01273-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: CRC is a devastating disease highly modulated by dietary nutrients. mTORC1 contributes to tumor growth and limits therapy responses. Growth factor signaling is a major mechanism of mTORC1 activation. However, compensatory pathways exist to sustain mTORC1 activity following therapies that target oncogenic growth factor signaling. Amino acids potently activate mTORC1 via amino acid sensing GTPase activity towards Rags complexes (GATOR). The role of amino acid sensing pathways in CRC is unclear.METHODS: Human colon cancer cell lines, preclinical intestinal epithelial specific GATOR1 and GATOR2 knockout mouse subjected to colitis induced or sporadic colon tumor models, siRNA screening targeting regulators of mTORC1, and CRC patient tissues were used to assess the role of amino acid sensing in CRC.
    RESULTS: We identified loss-of-function mutations of the GATOR1 complex in CRC and show that altered expression of amino acid sensing pathways predict poor patient outcomes. We show that dysregulated amino acid sensing induced mTORC1 activation drives colon tumorigenesis in multiple mouse models. We found amino acid sensing pathways to be essential in the cellular reprogramming of chemoresistance, and chemotherapeutic resistant colon cancer patients exhibited deregulated amino acid sensing. Limiting amino acids in in vitro and in vivo model (low protein diet) reverted drug resistance revealing a metabolic vulnerability.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a critical role of amino acid sensing pathways in driving CRC and highlights translational implications of dietary protein intervention in CRC.
    Keywords:  5-Fluorouracil; Depdc5; Sestrin 2; Wdr24; mTORC1
  30. Aging Cell. 2022 Nov 23. e13741
      Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a conserved master transcriptional activator of autophagy and lysosomal genes that modulates organismal lifespan regulation and stress resistance. As neurons can coordinate organism-wide processes, we investigated the role of neuronal TFEB in stress resistance and longevity. To this end, the Caenorhabditis elegans TFEB ortholog, hlh-30, was rescued panneuronally in hlh-30 loss of function mutants. While important in the long lifespan of daf-2 animals, neuronal HLH-30/TFEB was not sufficient to restore normal lifespan in short-lived hlh-30 mutants. However, neuronal HLH-30/TFEB rescue mediated robust improvements in the heat stress resistance of wildtype but not daf-2 animals. Notably, these mechanisms can be uncoupled, as neuronal HLH-30/TFEB requires DAF-16/FOXO to regulate longevity but not thermoresistance. Through further transcriptomics profiling and functional analysis, we discovered that neuronal HLH-30/TFEB modulates neurotransmission through the hitherto uncharacterized protein W06A11.1 by inducing peripheral mitochondrial fragmentation and organismal heat stress resistance in a non-cell autonomous manner. Taken together, this study uncovers a novel mechanism of heat stress protection mediated by neuronal HLH-30/TFEB.
    Keywords:   Caenorhabditis elegans ; HLH-30/TFEB; mitochondrial dynamics; neuronal signaling; thermoresistance
  31. Cells. 2022 Nov 21. pii: 3691. [Epub ahead of print]11(22):
      Autophagy is a ubiquitous degradation mechanism, which plays a critical role in cellular homeostasis. To test whether autophagy suppresses or supports the growth of tumors in the epidermis of the skin, we inactivated the essential autophagy gene Atg7 specifically in the epidermal keratinocytes of mice (Atg7∆ep) and subjected such mutant mice and fully autophagy-competent mice to tumorigenesis. The lack of epithelial Atg7 did not prevent tumor formation in response to 7, 12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) as the initiator and 12-O tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) as the promoter of tumor growth. However, the number of tumors per mouse was reduced in mice with epithelial Atg7 deficiency. In the K5-SOS EGFRwa2/wa2 mouse model, epithelial tumors were initiated by Son of sevenless (SOS) in response to wounding. Within 12 weeks after tumor initiation, 60% of the autophagy-competent K5-SOS EGFRwa2/wa2 mice had tumors of 1 cm diameter and had to be sacrificed, whereas none of the Atg7∆ep K5-SOS EGFRwa2/wa2 mice formed tumors of this size. In summary, the deletion of Atg7 reduced the growth of epithelial tumors in these two mouse models of skin cancer. Thus, our data show that the inhibition of autophagy limits the growth of epithelial skin tumors.
    Keywords:  autophagy; carcinogenesis; epidermal growth factor; epidermis; epithelium; keratinocytes; squamous cell carcinoma; tumor
  32. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Nov 18. pii: S1043-6618(22)00509-6. [Epub ahead of print] 106563
      Ferroptosis has been implicated in the pathophysiological progression of a variety of diseases. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key regulator of cellular antioxidant response and can counteract ferroptosis by inducing autophagy and targeting genes involved in iron metabolism and glutathione (GSH) synthesis/metabolism. This study investigated how Nrf2 and autophagy interact to prevent ferroptosis in acute liver injury under sulforaphane (SFN) intervention. The results showed that SFN could activate Nrf2 signaling pathway and its downstream target genes, promote cell autophagy, and then combat ferroptosis to alleviate liver injury. After inhibiting Nrf2, the autophagy activated by SFN almost disappeared, and the anti-ferroptosis effect was greatly weakened. After inhibiting autophagy, SFN can still activate Nrf2 and its downstream target gene, but solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11) membrane transfer and its cystine transport ability are significantly weakened, thus ultimately attenuating the anti-ferroptosis effect of SFN. Further studies showed that Nrf2-dependent autophagy activation disrupted SLC7A11 binding to S93-phosphorylated coiled-coil myosin-like BCL2-interacting protein (BECN1) and increased SLC7A11 membrane transfer to combat ferroptosis. In conclusion, Nrf2-dependent autophagy activation is essential for promoting SLC7A11 membrane localization to inhibit ferroptosis. Activation of Nrf2 not only upregulates the expression of SLC7A11, glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX-4) and autophagy-related proteins, but also destroys the binding of SLC7A11 and BECN1 by inducing autophagy, thereby promoting SLC7A11 membrane transfer and GSH synthesis, and finally suppressing ferroptosis. However, inhibition of autophagy had no significant effect on the expression of Nrf2 and downstream genes during SFN anti-liver injury intervention.
    Keywords:  Acute liver injury; Autophagy; Ferroptosis; Nrf2; SLC7A11
  33. Autophagy. 2022 Nov 21. 1-3
      In recent years, the contribution of exosomes to immunity, inflammation and host-pathogen interaction have been appreciated. Exosomes are small secreted extracellular vesicles from endosomal origin that contain a myriad of cellular molecules (protein, nucleic acids), including surface receptors. We have reported a pathogen-induced and macroautophagy/autophagy-dependent class of exosomes coined as "defensosomes", which protect the host from membrane-targeting toxins. In a recent study, we found that defensosomes decorated with ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 cellular receptor, are produced in the lungs of patients with COVID-19, and that increased concentration of ACE2-loaded defensosomes is associated with decreased hospitalization length. Mechanistically, SARS-CoV-2 induces the production of ACE2-coated defensosomes, a process requiring the autophagy machinery, which in turn binds and neutralizes the virus. We propose that defensosomes represent a new form of autophagy-mediated innate immunity that contributes to the host's armamentarium against pathogens.
    Keywords:  ATG16L1; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; defensosomes; extracellular vesicles; innate immunity; staphylococcus aureus; toll-like receptor
  34. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2023 Feb 28. 11(1): 45-57
      Background and Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common chronic liver disease caused by over-nutrition. Impaired autophagy is closely related to NAFLD progression. Recently, ubiquitin-specific peptidase-10 (USP10) was reported to ameliorate hepatic steatosis, but the underlying mechanism is still unclear. In view of the potential effects of USP10 on autophagy, we investigated whether USP10 alleviated steatosis through autophagy.Methods: HepG2 cells were treated with palmitic acid (PA) to model NAFLD in vitro. Lentivirus was used to regulate USP10 level in cells. Autophagic regulators were used to autophagic progression in cells. Western blotting, real-time fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction, lipid drop staining and immunofluorescent staining were performed to determine the effect of USP10 on lipid autophagy. Student's t-test and Tukey's post hoc test were used to compare the means among groups.
    Results: PA induced cellular steatosis with dependance on autophagy. USP10 overexpression alleviated PA-induced steatosis, restored autophagic activity, promoted autophagic flux, including synthesis and degradation of autophagosomes, and lipid-targeted autophagy. In the presence of autophagy inhibitors, the protective effectiveness of USP10 on steatosis decreased. Furthermore, the specific inhibitor to C-jun N-terminal protein kinase-1 (JNK1), DB07268, abolished USP10-induced autophagy. However, during early stage inhibition of JNK1, compensatory expression of tuberous sclerosis complex-2 (TSC2) maintained autophagy. The degree of TSC2-to-JNK1 compensation was positively associated with USP10 level. Functionally, JNK1 and TSC2 were involved in the lipid-lowering effect of USP10.
    Conclusions: USP10 alleviated hepatocellular steatosis in autophagy-dependent manner. JNK1/TSC2 signaling pathways were required for USP10-induced autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; C-jun N-terminal protein kinase-1; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatosis; Tuberous sclerosis complex-2; Ubiquitin-specific peptidase-10
  35. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Nov 19. pii: 2514. [Epub ahead of print]14(11):
      Impaired mitophagy is one of the hallmarks of the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, which highlights the importance of the proper functioning of mitochondria, as well as the processes of mitochondrial dynamics for the functioning of dopaminergic neurons. At the same time, the main factors leading to disruption of mitophagy in Parkinson's disease are mutations in the Pink1 and Parkin enzymes. Based on the characterized mutant forms, the marked cellular localization, and the level of expression in neurons, these proteins can be considered promising targets for the development of drugs for Parkinson's therapy. This review will consider such class of drug compounds as mitophagy activators and these drugs in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; mitochondria; mitophagy
  36. Hua Xi Kou Qiang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2022 Dec 01. pii: 1000-1182(2022)06-0645-09. [Epub ahead of print]40(6): 645-653
      OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explore the specific mechanism, mediated by the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and PINK1/Parkin pathway, of the mitochondrial autophagy of human periodontal ligament cells (hPDLCs) under starvation conditions.METHODS: hPDLCs were isolated and cultured from normal periodontal tissues. Earle's balanced salt solution (EBSS) was used to simulated a starvation environment and thus stimulate hPDLCs mitochondrial autophagy. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) was used to inhibit ROS production to explore the role of ROS in hPDLC mitochondrial autophagy. Cyclosporin A was used to inhibit the PINK1/Parkin pathway to study the role of ROS and the PINK1/Parkin pathway in hPDLCs activation under starvation. The mitochondrial membrane potential was detected by flow cytometry with a JC-1 mitochondrial membrane potential detection kit. The morphological structure of mitochondria and the formation of mitochondrial autophagosome were observed by transmission electron microscopy. Mito tracker red cmxros and lyso tracker green staining were used to observe the localization of mitochondria and lysosomes. The formation intensity of ROS was detected with a DCFH-DA ROS fluorescent probe. The expression levels of mitochondrial autophagy genes (Tomm20 and Timm23) and the PINK1/Parkin pathway were detected by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The expression levels of mitochondrial autophagy proteins (Tomm20 and Timm23) and PINK1/Parkin protein were detected by Western blot.
    RESULTS: EBSS starvation for 30 min induced the strongest activation of hPDLCs mitochondrial autophagy, increased the expression of ROS, downregulated the expression of mitochondrial autophagy-related genes (Tomm20 and Timm23) (P<0.001), and upregulated the PINK1/Parkin pathway (P<0.001). After NACinhibited ROS production, mitochondrial autophagy was also inhibited. Meanwhile, the expression of Tomm20 and Timm23 was upregulated (P<0.001 and P<0.05), and the expression of the PINK1/parkin pathway (P<0.001 and P<0.05) was down regulated. When cyclosporin A inhibited the expression of the PINK1/Parkin pathway (P<0.05 and P<0.05), it reversed the mitochondrial autophagy of hPDLCs (P<0.001 and P<0.01) and also upregulated the expression of Tomm20 and Timm23 (P<0.001 and P<0.01).
    CONCLUSIONS: ROS enhanced the mitochondrial autophagy of hPDLCs primarily through the PINK1/Parkin pathway under starvation conditions.
    Keywords:  Earle’s balanced salt solution; PINK1/Parkin pathway; human periodontal ligament cell; mitophagy; reactive oxygen species
  37. J Cell Physiol. 2022 Nov 21.
      Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are global health concerns with increasing rates in morbidity and mortality. Transition from AKI-to-CKD is common and requires awareness in the management of AKI survivors. AKI-to-CKD transition is a main risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and progression to end-stage kidney disease. The mechanisms driving AKI-to-CKD transition are being explored to identify potential molecular and cellular targets for renoprotective drug interventions. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy are involved in the process of AKI-to-CKD transition. Excessive ER stress results in the persistent activation of unfolded protein response, which is an underneath cause of kidney cell death. Moreover, ER stress modulates autophagy and vice-versa. Autophagy is a degradation defensive mechanism protecting cells from malfunction. However, the underlying pathological mechanism involved in this interplay in the context of AKI-to-CKD transition is still unclear. In this review, we discuss the crosstalk between ER stress and autophagy in AKI, AKI-to-CKD transition, and CKD progression. In addition, we explore possible therapeutic targets that can regulate ER stress and autophagy to prevent AKI-to-CKD transition to improve the long-term prognosis of AKI survivors.
    Keywords:  AKI-to-CKD transition; ER stress; acute kidney injury; autophagy; chronic kidney disease
  38. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 1045459
      GZ17-6.02 is undergoing clinical evaluation in solid tumors and lymphoma. We defined the biology of GZ17-6.02 in prostate cancer cells and determined whether it interacted with the PARP1 inhibitor olaparib to enhance tumor cell killing. GZ17-6.02 interacted in a greater than additive fashion with olaparib to kill prostate cancer cells, regardless of androgen receptor expression or loss of PTEN function. Mechanistically, GZ17-6.02 initially caused peri-nuclear activation of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) that was followed after several hours by activation of nuclear ATM, and which at this time point was associated with increased levels of DNA damage. Directly downstream of ATM, GZ17-6.02 and olaparib cooperated to activate the AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK) which then activated the kinase ULK1, resulting in autophagosome formation that was followed by autophagic flux. Knock down of ATM, AMPKα or the autophagy-regulatory proteins Beclin1 or ATG5 significantly reduced tumor cell killing. GZ17-6.02 and olaparib cooperated to activate protein kinase R which phosphorylated and inactivated eIF2α, i.e., enhanced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signaling. Knock down of eIF2α also significantly reduced autophagosome formation and tumor cell killing. We conclude that GZ17-6.02 and olaparib interact to kill prostate cancer cells in vitro by increasing autophagy and by enhancing ER stress signaling. In vivo, GZ17-6.02 as a single agent profoundly reduced tumor growth and significantly prolonged animal survival. GZ17-6.02 interacted with olaparib to further suppress the growth of LNCaP tumors without ultimately enhancing animal survival. Our data support the consideration of GZ17-6.02 as a possible therapeutic agent in patients with AR+ prostate cancer.
    Keywords:  ATM; ER stress; GZ17-6.02; PARP1; autophagy; olaparib
  39. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 19. pii: 14397. [Epub ahead of print]23(22):
      A long noncoding RNA, nuclear paraspeckle assembly transcript 1 (NEAT1) variant 1 (NEAT1v1), confers radioresistance to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells by inducing autophagy via γ-aminobutyric acid A receptor-associated protein (GABARAP). Radiation induces oxidative stress to damage cellular components and organelles, but it remains unclear how NEAT1v1 protects HCC cells from radiation-induced oxidative stress via autophagy. To address this, we precisely investigated NEAT1v1-induced autophagy in irradiated HCC cell lines. X-ray irradiation significantly increased cellular and mitochondrial oxidative stress and mitochondrial DNA content in HCC cells while NEAT1v1 suppressed them. NEAT1v1 concomitantly induced the phosphatase and tensin homolog-induced kinase 1 (PINK1)/parkin-mediated mitophagy. Interestingly, parkin expression was constitutively upregulated in NEAT1v1-overexpressing HCC cells, leading to increased mitochondrial parkin levels. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) was also upregulated by NEAT1v1, and GABARAP or SOD2 knockdown in NEAT1v1-overexpressing cells increased mitochondrial oxidative stress and mitochondrial DNA content after irradiation. Moreover, it was suggested that SOD2 was involved in NEAT1v1-induced parkin expression, and that GABARAP promoted parkin degradation via mitophagy. This study highlights the unprecedented roles of NEAT1v1 in connecting radioresistance and mitophagy in HCC.
    Keywords:  GAPARAP; NEAT1; PINK1; SOD2; mitophagy; parkin; radiation resistance
  40. Neurochem Int. 2022 Nov 17. pii: S0197-0186(22)00178-4. [Epub ahead of print]162 105453
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common chronic neurodegenerative disease, and the heat shock proteins (HSPs) are proved to be of great value for PD. In addition, HSPs can maintain protein homeostasis, degrade and inhibit protein aggregation by properly folding and activating intracellular proteins in PD. This study mainly summarizes the important roles of HSPs in PD and explores their feasibility as targets. We introduced the structural and functional characteristics of HSPs and the physiological functions of HSPs in PD. HSPs can protect neurons from damage by degrading aggregates with three mechanisms, including the aggregation and removing α-Synuclein (α-Syn) aggregates, promotion the autophagy of abnormal proteins, and inhibition the apoptosis of degenerated neurons. This study underscores the importance of HSPs as targets in PD and helps to expand new mechanisms in PD treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  Heat shock proteins; Oxidative stress; PROTAC; Parkinson's disease; α-Synuclein
  41. EMBO Rep. 2022 Nov 23. e54006
      While previous studies have identified cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) as a crucial driver for chemoresistance and tumor recurrence, the underlying mechanisms for populating the CSC pool remain unclear. Here, we identify hypermitophagy as a feature of human lung CSCs, promoting metabolic adaption via the Notch1-AMPK axis to drive CSC expansion. Specifically, mitophagy is highly active in CSCs, resulting in increased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content in the lysosome. Lysosomal mtDNA acts as an endogenous ligand for Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) that promotes Notch1 activity. Notch1 interacts with AMPK to drive lysosomal AMPK activation by inducing metabolic stress and LKB1 phosphorylation. This TLR9-Notch1-AMPK axis supports mitochondrial metabolism to fuel CSC expansion. In patient-derived xenograft chimeras, targeting mitophagy and TLR9-dependent Notch1-AMPK pathway restricts tumor growth and CSC expansion. Taken together, mitochondrial hemostasis is interlinked with innate immune sensing and Notch1-AMPK activity to increase the CSC pool of human lung cancer.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Notch1; TLR9; cancer stem-like cell; mitophagy
  42. J Neurosci. 2022 Oct 12. 42(41): 7848-7860
      Mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) contribute to autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease with cognitive and neuropsychiatric comorbidities. Disturbances in dendritic and spine architecture are hallmarks of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions, but little is known of the impact of PINK1 on these structures. We used Pink1 -/- mice to study the role of endogenous PINK1 in regulating dendritic architecture, spine density, and spine maturation. Pink1 -/- cortical neurons of unknown sex showed decreased dendritic arborization, affecting both apical and basal arbors. Dendritic simplification in Pink1 -/- neurons was primarily driven by diminished branching with smaller effects on branch lengths. Pink1 -/- neurons showed reduced spine density with a shift in morphology to favor filopodia at the expense of mushroom spines. Electrophysiology revealed significant reductions in miniature EPSC (mEPSC) frequency in Pink1 -/- neurons, consistent with the observation of decreased spine numbers. Transfecting with human PINK1 rescued changes in dendritic architecture, in thin, stubby, and mushroom spine densities, and in mEPSC frequency. Diminished spine density was also observed in Golgi-Cox stained adult male Pink1 -/- brains. Western blot study of Pink1 -/- brains of either sex revealed reduced phosphorylation of NSFL1 cofactor p47, an indirect target of PINK1. Transfection of Pink1 -/- neurons with a phosphomimetic p47 plasmid rescued dendritic branching and thin/stubby spine density with a partial rescue of mushroom spines, implicating a role for PINK1-regulated p47 phosphorylation in dendrite and spine development. These findings suggest that PINK1-dependent synaptodendritic alterations may contribute to the risk of cognitive and/or neuropsychiatric pathologies observed in PINK1-mutated families.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Loss of PINK1 function has been implicated in both familial and sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. Yet surprisingly little is known of the impact of PINK1 loss on the fine structure of neurons. Neurons receive excitatory synaptic signals along a complex network of projections that form the dendritic tree, largely at tiny protrusions called dendritic spines. We studied cortical neurons and brain tissues from mice lacking PINK1. We discovered that PINK1 deficiency causes striking simplification of dendritic architecture associated with reduced synaptic input and decreased spine density and maturation. These changes are reversed by reintroducing human PINK1 or one of its downstream mediators into PINK1-deficient mouse neurons, indicating a conserved function, whose loss may contribute to neurodegenerative processes.
    Keywords:  NSFL1C; PTEN-induced kinase 1; cortical neuron; dementia; dendritic architecture; dendritic spines
  43. Vet Sci. 2022 Nov 21. pii: 649. [Epub ahead of print]9(11):
      Trophoblast cells synthesize and secrete prostaglandins (PGs), which are essential for ruminants in early gestation to recognize pregnancy. Hormones in the intrauterine environment play an important role in regulating PGs synthesis during implantation, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In this study, co-treatment of sheep trophoblast cells (STCs) with progesterone (P4), estradiol (E2), and interferon-tau (IFN-τ) increased the ratio of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) and upregulated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) expression, while inhibiting the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and activating cellular autophagy. Under hormone treatment, inhibition of PPARγ activity decreased the ratio of PGE2/PGF2α and cellular activity, while activating expression of the mTOR downstream marker-the phosphorylation of p70S6K (p-p70S6K). We also found that the PPARγ/mTOR pathway played an important role in regulating trophoblast cell function. Inhibition of the mTOR pathway by rapamycin increased the ratio of PGE2/PGF2α and decreased the expression of apoptosis-related proteins after inhibiting PPARγ activity. In conclusion, our findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of prostaglandin regulation of trophoblast cells in sheep during early pregnancy, indicating that the PPARγ/mTOR pathway plays an important role in PGs secretion and cell viability.
    Keywords:  PGE2/PGF2α; PPARγ; mTOR; prostaglandins; trophoblast cells
  44. iScience. 2022 Dec 22. 25(12): 105476
      Some Parkinson's disease (PD)-causative/risk genes, including the PD-associated kinase leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), are involved in membrane dynamics. Although LRRK2 and other PD-associated genes are believed to regulate synaptic functions, axonal transport, and endolysosomal activity, it remains unclear whether a common pathological pathway exists. Here, we report that the loss of Lrrk, an ortholog of human LRRK2, leads to the accumulation of the lysosome-related organelle regulator, Arl8 along with dense core vesicles at the most distal boutons of the neuron terminals in Drosophila. Moreover, the inactivation of a small GTPase Rab3 and altered Auxilin activity phenocopied Arl8 accumulation. The accumulation of Arl8-positive vesicles is UNC-104-dependent and modulated by PD-associated genes, Auxilin, VPS35, RME-8, and INPP5F, indicating that VPS35, RME-8, and INPP5F are upstream regulators of Lrrk. These results indicate that certain PD-related genes, along with LRRK2, drive precise neuroaxonal transport of dense core vesicles.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Cell biology; Genetics; Neuroscience
  45. Front Pharmacol. 2022 ;13 1000377
      Sodium cantharidate (SCA) is a derivative of cantharidin obtained by its reaction with alkali. Studies have shown that it inhibits the occurrence and progression of several cancers. However, therapeutic effects of SCA on breast cancer are less well studied. This study aimed to clarify the effect of SCA on breast cancer cells and its mechanism, and to provide a scientific basis for the clinical use of SCA for the treatment of breast cancer. The results of cell counting kit-8, colony formation assay, and 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine staining showed that SCA inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation. Wound-healing and transwell assays demonstrated that SCA inhibited the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that SCA induced autophagy in breast cancer cells. RNA sequencing technology showed that SCA significantly regulated the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K-Akt-mTOR) pathway, which was further verified using western blotting. The inducing effect of SCA on breast cancer autophagy was reversed by the mTOR activator MHY1485. In addition, subcutaneous xenograft experiments confirmed that SCA significantly inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Hematoxylin-eosin, TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling, and immunohistochemical staining indicated that SCA induced tumor cell autophagy and apoptosis in nude mice without causing organ damage. In summary, we found that SCA promoted breast cancer cell apoptosis by inhibiting the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway and inducing autophagy.
    Keywords:  PI3K- Akt-mTOR pathway; apoptosis; autophagy; breast cancer; sodium cantharidate
  46. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 24. 13(1): 7215
      Tumour cell metabolic plasticity is essential for tumour progression and therapeutic responses, yet the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we identify Prospero-related homeobox 1 (PROX1) as a crucial factor for tumour metabolic plasticity. Notably, PROX1 is reduced by glucose starvation or AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation and is elevated in liver kinase B1 (LKB1)-deficient tumours. Furthermore, the Ser79 phosphorylation of PROX1 by AMPK enhances the recruitment of CUL4-DDB1 ubiquitin ligase to promote PROX1 degradation. Downregulation of PROX1 activates branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) degradation through mediating epigenetic modifications and inhibits mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) signalling. Importantly, PROX1 deficiency or Ser79 phosphorylation in liver tumour shows therapeutic resistance to metformin. Clinically, the AMPK-PROX1 axis in human cancers is important for patient clinical outcomes. Collectively, our results demonstrate that deficiency of the LKB1-AMPK axis in cancers reactivates PROX1 to sustain intracellular BCAA pools, resulting in enhanced mTOR signalling, and facilitating tumourigenesis and aggressiveness.
  47. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2022 Nov 22.
      Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common and complex problems in today's society and is responsible for many socio-economic problems. Type 1 diabetes is due to a defect in insulin secretion caused by a destruction of pancreatic β cells. In contrast, the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes is associated with the development of insulin resistance in the liver and peripheral tissues, a decrease in β-cell mass, and a defect in insulin secretion. Various factors such as inflammation, stress, obesity, and lifestyle are involved in diabetes. Long-term or chronic increase in glucose in these patients is the leading causes of secondary disorders such as micro- and macro-angiopathy, weakness of the antioxidant defense system as well as metabolic disorders and altered lipid profile. The above conditions lead to short-term and long-term complications. These complications cause damage to the physical and physiological function of diverse organs of the body and threaten human health. Late complications of diabetes, including nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiovascular complications, neuropathy, hypertension, and weight gain are common and more research has been done on them. Numerous drugs such as Meglitinides, Biguanides, and Thiazolidinedione have been proposed to reduce high blood sugar, but due to the lack of complete cure of this disease with the use of existing drugs, the tendency to use alternative and traditional therapies has increased. In the meantime, the role of herbs with hypoglycemic properties in the treatment of diabetic patients cannot be ignored. The consumption of herbs by people with diabetes has become widespread even in Western countries. The use of herbs could be considered when conventional therapies cannot control the disease, and the patient needs to be prescribed insulin. The mammalian target of rapamycin, mTOR, plays a significant role in regulating cell growth, cellular metabolic status in response to nutrients, many extracellular cues and growth factors. Impaired insulin secretion can lead to altered mTOR signaling. The mTOR pathway has shown different behaviors depending on the situation. It has been shown that mTOR can regulate the adaptation of β cells to blood sugar but also chronic inhibition of the mTOR pathway can also induce diabetes. Here, we have reviewed recent findings on the role of mTOR in major metabolic organs, such as the liver, pancreas, brain, and adipose tissue and muscle, and discussed its potential as a diabetes-related drug target.
    Keywords:  Diabetes mellitus; Glucose; mTOR; natural products
  48. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 9233749
      Mitophagy and oxidative stress play important roles in Parkinson's disease (PD). Dysregulated mitophagy exacerbates mitochondrial oxidative damage; however, the regulatory mechanism of mitophagy is unclear. Here, we provide a potential mechanistic link between c-Abl, a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase, and mitophagy in PD progression. We found that c-Abl activation reduces the interaction of prohibitin 2 (PHB2) and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) and decreases the expressive level of antioxidative stress proteins, including nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), NADPH quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO-1), and the antioxidant enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium- (MPP+-) lesioned SH-SY5Y cells. Importantly, we found that MPP+ can increase the expression of phosphorylated proteins at the tyrosine site of PHB2 and the interaction of c-Abl with PHB2. We showed for the first time that PHB2 by changing tyrosine (Y) to aspartate (D) at site 121 resulted in impaired binding of PHB2 and LC3 in vitro. Moreover, silencing of PHB2 can decrease the interaction of PHB2 and LC3 and exacerbate the loss of dopaminergic neurons. We also found that STI 571, a c-Abl family kinase inhibitor, can decrease dopaminergic neuron damage and ameliorate MPTP-induced behavioral deficits in PD mice. Taken together, our findings highlight a novel molecular mechanism for aberrant PHB2 phosphorylation as an inhibitor of c-Abl activity and suggest that c-Abl and PHB2 are potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of individuals with PD. However, these results need to be further validated in PHB2 Y121D mice.
  49. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 20. pii: 4910. [Epub ahead of print]14(22):
      Lipid droplet is a dynamic organelle that undergoes periods of biogenesis and degradation under environmental stimuli. The excessive accumulation of lipid droplets is the major characteristic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Moderate aerobic exercise is a powerful intervention protecting against the progress of NAFLD. However, its impact on lipid droplet dynamics remains ambiguous. Mice were fed with 15 weeks of high-fat diet in order to induce NAFLD. Meanwhile, the mice performed 15 weeks of treadmill exercise. Our results showed that 15 weeks of regular moderate treadmill exercise alleviated obesity, insulin intolerance, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia induced by HFD. Importantly, exercise improved histological phenotypes of NAFLD, including hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and locular ballooning, as well as prevented liver fat deposition and liver injury induced by HFD. Exercise reduced hepatic lipid droplet size, and moreover, it reduced PLIN2 protein level and increased PLIN3 protein level in the liver of HFD mice. Interestingly, our results showed that exercise did not significantly affect the gene expressions of DGAT1, DGAT2, or SEIPIN, which were involved in TG synthesis. However, it did reduce the expressions of FITM2, CIDEA, and FSP27, which were major involved in lipid droplet growth and budding, and lipid droplet expansion. In addition, exercise reduced ATGL protein level in HFD mice, and regulated lipophagy-related markers, including increasing ATG5, LAMP1, LAMP2, LAL, and CTSD, decreasing LC3II/I and p62, and promoting colocalization of LAMP1 with LDs. In summary, our data suggested that 15 weeks of moderate treadmill exercise was beneficial for regulating liver lipid droplet dynamics in HFD mice by inhibiting abnormal lipid droplets expansion and enhancing clearance of lipid droplets by lysosomes during the lipophagic process, which might provide highly flexible turnover for lipid mobilization and metabolism. Abbreviations: β-actin: actin beta; ATG5: autophagy related 5; LAMP2: lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2; LAMP1: lysosomal-associated membrane protein 1; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; ATGL: adipose triglyceride lipase; CSTD: cathepsin D; LAL: lysosomal acid lipase; DGAT1: diacylglycerol-o-acyltransferase 1; DGAT2: diacylglycerol-o-acyltransferase 2; CIDEA: cell death inducing dffa-like effector a; CIDEC/FSP27: cell death inducing dffa-like effector c; FITM2: fat storage-inducing transmembrane protein 2; PLIN2: adipose differentiation related protein; PLN3: tail-interacting protein 47; HSP90: heat shock protein 90; SREBP1c: sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c; chREBP: carbohydrate response element binding protein.
    Keywords:  NAFLD; exercise; lipid droplet; lipid droplet biogenesis; lipid droplet expansion; lipophagy