bims-ershed Biomed News
on ER Stress in Health and Diseases
Issue of 2022‒07‒10
three papers selected by
Matías Eduardo González Quiroz
Worker’s Hospital

  1. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 906651
      Astrocytes are one of the most numerous glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and provide essential support to neurons to ensure CNS health and function. During a neuropathological challenge, such as during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection or (METH)amphetamine exposure, astrocytes shift their neuroprotective functions and can become neurotoxic. Identifying cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying astrocyte dysfunction are of heightened importance to optimize the coupling between astrocytes and neurons and ensure neuronal fitness against CNS pathology, including HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and METH use disorder. Mitochondria are essential organelles for regulating metabolic, antioxidant, and inflammatory profiles. Moreover, endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated signaling pathways, such as calcium and the unfolded protein response (UPR), are important messengers for cellular fate and function, including inflammation and mitochondrial homeostasis. Increasing evidence supports that the three arms of the UPR are involved in the direct contact and communication between ER and mitochondria through mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAMs). The current study investigated the effects of HIV-1 infection and chronic METH exposure on astrocyte ER and mitochondrial homeostasis and then examined the three UPR messengers as potential regulators of astrocyte mitochondrial dysfunction. Using primary human astrocytes infected with pseudotyped HIV-1 or exposed to low doses of METH for 7 days, astrocytes had increased mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (OCR), cytosolic calcium flux and protein expression of UPR mediators. Notably, inositol-requiring protein 1α (IRE1α) was most prominently upregulated following both HIV-1 infection and chronic METH exposure. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of the three UPR arms highlighted IRE1α as a key regulator of astrocyte metabolic function. To further explore the regulatory role of astrocyte IRE1α, astrocytes were transfected with an IRE1α overexpression vector followed by activation with the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1β. Overall, our findings confirm IRE1α modulates astrocyte mitochondrial respiration, glycolytic function, morphological activation, inflammation, and glutamate uptake, highlighting a novel potential target for regulating astrocyte dysfunction. Finally, these findings suggest both canonical and non-canonical UPR mechanisms of astrocyte IRE1α. Thus, additional studies are needed to determine how to best balance astrocyte IRE1α functions to both promote astrocyte neuroprotective properties while preventing neurotoxic properties during CNS pathologies.
    Keywords:  astrogliosis; metabolic function; mitochondria-associated ER membranes; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation; unfolded protein response
  2. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022 ;16 900725
      Stroke is a devastating medical condition with no treatment to hasten recovery. Its abrupt nature results in cataclysmic changes in the affected tissues. Resident cells fail to cope with the cellular stress resulting in massive cell death, which cannot be endogenously repaired. A potential strategy to improve stroke outcomes is to boost endogenous pro-survival pathways. The unfolded protein response (UPR), an evolutionarily conserved stress response, provides a promising opportunity to ameliorate the survival of stressed cells. Recent studies from us and others have pointed toward mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) being a UPR responsive gene with an active role in maintaining proteostasis. Its pro-survival effects have been demonstrated in several disease models such as diabetes, neurodegeneration, and stroke. MANF has an ER-signal peptide and an ER-retention signal; it is secreted by ER calcium depletion and exits cells upon cell death. Although its functions remain elusive, conducted experiments suggest that the endogenous MANF in the ER lumen and exogenously administered MANF protein have different mechanisms of action. Here, we will revisit recent and older bodies of literature aiming to delineate the expression profile of MANF. We will focus on its neuroprotective roles in regulating neurogenesis and inflammation upon post-stroke administration. At the same time, we will investigate commonalities and differences with another UPR responsive gene, X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1), which has recently been associated with MANF's function. This will be the first systematic comparison of these two UPR responsive genes aiming at revealing previously uncovered associations between them. Overall, understanding the mode of action of these UPR responsive genes could provide novel approaches to promote cell survival.
    Keywords:  ARMET; CDNF; ER stress; IRE1; XBP1; mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor; unfolded protein response
  3. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jun 29. pii: 7204. [Epub ahead of print]23(13):
      The first aim of cell division is to pass the genetic material, intact and unchanged, to the next generation [...].