bims-ershed Biomed News
on ER Stress in Health and Diseases
Issue of 2022‒03‒27
five papers selected by
Matías Eduardo González Quiroz
Worker’s Hospital

  1. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1587
      The unfolded protein response (UPR) maintains homeostasis of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Residing in the ER membrane, the UPR mediator Ire1 deploys its cytoplasmic kinase-endoribonuclease domain to activate the key UPR transcription factor Xbp1 through non-conventional splicing of Xbp1 mRNA. Ire1 also degrades diverse ER-targeted mRNAs through regulated Ire1-dependent decay (RIDD), but how it spares Xbp1 mRNA from this decay is unknown. Here, we identify binding sites for the RNA-binding protein Pumilio in the 3'UTR Drosophila Xbp1. In the developing Drosophila eye, Pumilio binds both the Xbp1unspliced and Xbp1spliced mRNAs, but only Xbp1spliced is stabilized by Pumilio. Furthermore, Pumilio displays Ire1 kinase-dependent phosphorylation during ER stress, which is required for its stabilization of Xbp1spliced. hIRE1 can phosphorylate Pumilio directly, and phosphorylated Pumilio protects Xbp1spliced mRNA against RIDD. Thus, Ire1-mediated phosphorylation enables Pumilio to shield Xbp1spliced from RIDD. These results uncover an unexpected regulatory link between an RNA-binding protein and the UPR.
  2. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2022 Mar 26. e12816
      AIM: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease caused by Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN) deficiency that induces motor neuron (MN) degeneration and severe muscular atrophy. Gene therapies that increase SMN have proven their efficacy but not for all patients. Here, we explored the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) status in SMA pathology and explored whether UPR modulation could be beneficial for SMA patients.METHODS: We analysed the expression and activation of key UPR proteins by RT-qPCR and by western blots in SMA patient iPSC-derived MNs and one SMA cell line in which SMN expression was re-established (rescue). We complemented this approach by using myoblast and fibroblast SMA patient cells and SMA mouse models of varying severities. Finally, we tested in vitro and in vivo the effect of IRE1α/XBP1 pathway restoration on SMN expression and subsequent neuroprotection.
    RESULTS: We report that the IRE1α/XBP1 branch of the unfolded protein response is disrupted in SMA, with a depletion of XBP1s irrespective of IRE1α activation pattern. The overexpression of XBP1s in SMA fibroblasts proved to transcriptionally enhance SMN expression. Importantly, rebalancing XBP1s expression in severe SMA-like mice, induced SMN expression and spinal MN protection.
    CONCLUSIONS: We have identified XBP1s depletion as a contributing factor in SMA pathogenesis, and the modulation of this transcription factor proves to be a plausible therapeutic avenue in the context of pharmacological interventions for patients.
    Keywords:  IRE1α; Neuroprotection; SMN; Spinal Muscular Atrophy; Unfolded Protein Response; XBP1
  3. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 09. pii: 1401. [Epub ahead of print]14(6):
      Unfolded protein response (UPR) protects malignant cells from endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis. We report that Aurora kinase A (AURKA) promotes cancer cell survival by activating UPR in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). A strong positive correlation between AURKA and binding immunoglobulin protein (BIP) mRNA expression levels was found in EACs. The in vitro assays indicated that AURKA promoted IRE1α protein phosphorylation, activating prosurvival UPR in FLO-1 and OE33 cells. The use of acidic bile salts to mimic reflux conditions in patients induced high AURKA and IRE1α levels. This induction was abrogated by AURKA knockdown in EAC cells. AURKA and p-IRE1α protein colocalization was observed in neoplastic gastroesophageal lesions of the L2-IL1b mouse model of Barrett's esophageal neoplasia. The combined treatment using AURKA inhibitor and tunicamycin synergistically induced cancer cell death. The use of alisertib for AURKA inhibition in the EAC xenograft model led to a decrease in IRE1α phosphorylation with a significant reduction in tumor growth. These results indicate that AURKA activates UPR, promoting cancer cell survival during ER stress in EAC. Targeting AURKA can significantly reverse prosurvival UPR signaling mechanisms and decrease cancer cell survival, providing a promising approach for the treatment of EAC patients.
    Keywords:  AURKA; ER stress; drug resistance; esophageal adenocarcinoma
  4. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Mar 25. pii: ddac010. [Epub ahead of print]
      XBP1 variant 1 (Xv1) is the most abundant XBP1 variant and is highly enriched across cancer types but nearly none in normal tissues. Its expression is associated with poor patients survival and is specifically required for survival of malignant cells, but the underlying mechanism is not known. Here we report that Xv1 upregulates the polyglutamylase Tubulin Tyrosine Ligase-Like 6 (TTLL6) and promotes mitosis of cancer cells. Like the canonical XBP1, Xv1 mRNA undergoes unconventional splicing by IRE1α under ER stress, but it is also constitutively spliced by IRE1β. The spliced Xv1 mRNA encodes the active form of Xv1 protein (Xv1s). RNA-seq in HeLa cells revealed that Xv1s overexpression regulates expression of genes that are not involved in the canonical UPR, including TTLL6 as a highly upregulated gene. Gel shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that Xv1s binds to the TTLL6 promoter region. Knockdown of TTLL6 caused death of cancer cells but not benign and normal cells, similar to the effects of knocking down Xv1. Moreover, overexpression of TTLL6 partially rescued BT474 cells from apoptosis induced by either TTLL6 or Xv1 knockdown, supporting TTLL6 as an essential downstream effector of Xv1 in regulating cancer cell survival. TTLL6 is localized in the mitotic spindle of cancer cells. Xv1 or TTLL6 knockdown resulted in decreased spindle polyglutamylation and interpolar spindle, as well as congression failure, mitotic arrest, and cell death. These findings suggest that Xv1 is essential for cancer cell mitosis, which is mediated, at least in part, by increasing TTLL6 expression.
  5. Biomolecules. 2022 Mar 17. pii: 461. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      Nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NF-E2) p45-related factor 2 (NRF2) protein is the master regulator of oxidative stress, which is at the basis of various chronic diseases including cancer. Hyperactivation of NRF2 in already established cancers can promote cell proliferation and resistance to therapies, such as in colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most lethal and prevalent malignancies in industrialized countries with limited patient overall survival due to its escape mechanisms in both chemo- and targeted therapies. In this study, we generated stable NRF2 knockout colon cancer cells (NRF2-Cas9) to investigate the cell response to chemotherapeutic drugs with regard to p53 oncosuppressor, whose inhibition we previously showed to correlate with NRF2 pathway activation. Here, we found that NRF2 activation by sulforaphane (SFN) reduced cisplatin (CDDP)-induced cell death only in NRF2-proficient cells (NRF2-ctr) compared to NRF2-Cas9 cells. Mechanistically, we found that NRF2 activation protected NRF2-ctr cells from the drug-induced DNA damage and the apoptotic function of the unfolded protein response (UPR), in correlation with reduction of p53 activity, effects that were not observed in NRF2-Cas9 cells. Finally, we found that ZnCl2 supplementation rescued the cisplatin cytotoxic effects, as it impaired NRF2 activation, restoring p53 activity. These findings highlight NRF2's key role in neutralizing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapeutic drugs in correlation with reduced DNA damage and p53 activity. They also suggest that NRF2 inhibition could be a useful strategy for efficient anticancer chemotherapy and support the use of ZnCl2 to inhibit NRF2 pathway in combination therapies.
    Keywords:  CHOP; DNA damage; NRF2; TP53; ZnCl2 supplementation; apoptosis; colorectal carcinoma; sulforaphane; unfolded protein response (UPR)