bims-lysosi Biomed News
on Lysosomes and signaling
Issue of 2021‒12‒26
forty papers selected by
Stephanie Fernandes
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

  1. J Cell Biol. 2022 Feb 07. pii: e202105060. [Epub ahead of print]221(2):
      We report here two genome-wide CRISPR screens performed to identify genes that, when knocked out, alter levels of lysosomal cholesterol or bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate. In addition, these screens were also performed under conditions of NPC1 inhibition to identify modifiers of NPC1 function in lysosomal cholesterol export. The screens confirm tight coregulation of cholesterol and bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate in cells and reveal an unexpected role for the ER-localized SNX13 protein as a negative regulator of lysosomal cholesterol export and contributor to ER-lysosome membrane contact sites. In the absence of NPC1 function, SNX13 knockdown redistributes lysosomal cholesterol and is accompanied by triacylglycerol-rich lipid droplet accumulation and increased lysosomal bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate. These experiments provide unexpected insight into the regulation of lysosomal lipids and modification of these processes by novel gene products.
  2. Cells. 2021 Dec 14. pii: 3537. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Autophagy, the process of cellular self-degradation, is intrinsically tied to the degradative function of the lysosome. Several diseases have been linked to lysosomal degradative defects, including rare lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Ion channels and pumps play a major regulatory role in autophagy. Importantly, calcium signaling produced by TRPML1 (transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily) has been shown to regulate autophagic progression through biogenesis of autophagic-lysosomal organelles, activation of mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) and degradation of autophagic cargo. ER calcium channels such as IP3Rs supply calcium for the lysosome, and lysosomal function is severely disrupted in the absence of lysosomal calcium replenishment by the ER. TRPML1 function is also regulated by LC3 (microtubule-associated protein light chain 3) and mTORC1, two critical components of the autophagic network. Here we provide an overview of the current knowledge about ion channels and pumps-including lysosomal V-ATPase (vacuolar proton-ATPase), which is required for acidification and hence proper enzymatic activity of lysosomal hydrolases-in the regulation of autophagy, and discuss how functional impairment of some of these leads to diseases.
    Keywords:  TRPML; V-ATPase; autophagy; calcium; ion channels
  3. Cell Calcium. 2021 Dec 14. pii: S0143-4160(21)00173-1. [Epub ahead of print]101 102519
      Calcium is one of the most important second messengers in cells. The uptake and release of calcium ions are conducted by channels and transporters. Inside a eukaryotic cell, calcium is stored in intracellular organelles including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mitochondrion, and lysosome. Lysosomes are acid membrane-bounded organelles serving as the crucial degradation and recycling center of the cell. Lysosomes involve in multiple important signaling events, including nutrient sensing, lipid metabolism, and trafficking. Hitherto, two lysosomal cation channel families have been suggested to function as calcium release channels, namely the Two-pore Channel (TPC) family, and the Transient Receptor Potential Channel Mucolipin (TRPML) family. Additionally, a few plasma membrane calcium channels have also been found in the lysosomal membrane under certain circumstances. In this review, we will discuss the structural mechanism of the cation channels that may be important for lysosomal calcium release, primarily focusing on the TPCs and TRPMLs.
  4. Biomolecules. 2021 Nov 26. pii: 1775. [Epub ahead of print]11(12):
      Lysosomal Storage Diseases are multisystemic disorders determined by genetic variants, which affect the proteins involved in lysosomal function and cellular metabolism. Different therapeutic approaches, which are based on the physiologic mechanisms that regulate lysosomal function, have been proposed for these diseases. Currently, enzyme replacement therapy, gene therapy, or small molecules have been approved or are under clinical development to treat lysosomal storage disorders. The present article reviews the main therapeutic strategies that have been proposed so far, highlighting possible limitations and future perspectives.
    Keywords:  autophagy; enzyme replacement therapy; gene therapy; lysosomal storage diseases; small molecules
  5. Cell Calcium. 2021 Dec 06. pii: S0143-4160(21)00170-6. [Epub ahead of print]101 102516
      Acidic organelles act as intracellular Ca2+ stores; they actively sequester Ca2+ in their lumina and release it to the cytosol upon activation of endo-lysosomal Ca2+ channels. Recent data suggest important roles of endo-lysosomal Ca2+ channels, the Two-Pore Channels (TPCs) and the TRPML channels (mucolipins), in different aspects of immune-cell function, particularly impacting membrane trafficking, vesicle fusion/fission and secretion. Remarkably, different channels on the same acidic vesicles can couple to different downstream physiology. Endo-lysosomal Ca2+ stores can act under different modalities, be they acting alone (via local Ca2+ nanodomains around TPCs/TRPMLs) or in conjunction with the ER Ca2+ store (to either promote or suppress global ER Ca2+ release). These different modalities impinge upon functions as broad as phagocytosis, cell-killing, anaphylaxis, immune memory, thrombostasis, and chemotaxis.
    Keywords:  Calcium; TPC; TRPML; endosomes; immune; lysosomes
  6. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Dec 18. 13(1): 7
      The regulation and homeostasis of autophagy are essential for maintaining organ morphology and function. As a lysosomal membrane protein, the effect of Sidt2 on kidney structure and renal autophagy is still unknown. In this study, we found that the kidneys of Sidt2-/- mice showed changes in basement membrane thickening, foot process fusion, and mitochondrial swelling, suggesting that the structure of the kidney was damaged. Increased urine protein at 24 h indicated that the kidney function was also damaged. At the same time, the absence of Sidt2 caused a decrease in the number of acidic lysosomes, a decrease in acid hydrolase activity and expression in the lysosome, and an increase of pH in the lysosome, suggesting that lysosomal function was impaired after Sidt2 deletion. The accumulation of autophagolysosomes, increased LC3-II and P62 protein levels, and decreased P62 mRNA levels indicated that the absence of the Sidt2 gene caused abnormal autophagy pathway flow. Chloroquine experiment, immunofluorescence autophagosome, and lysosome fusion assay, and Ad-mcherry-GFP-LC3B further indicated that, after Sidt2 deletion, the production of autophagosomes did not increase, but the fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes and the degradation of autophagolysosomes were impaired. When incubating Sidt2-/- cells with the autophagy activator rapamycin, we found that it could activate autophagy, which manifested as an increase in autophagosomes, but it could not improve autophagolysosome degradation. Meanwhile, it further illustrated that the Sidt2 gene plays an important role in the smooth progress of autophagolysosome processes. In summary, the absence of the Sidt2 gene caused impaired lysosome function and a decreased number of acidic lysosomes, leading to formation and degradation disorders of the autophagolysosomes, which eventually manifested as abnormal kidney structure and function. Sidt2 is essential in maintaining the normal function of the lysosomes and the physiological stability of the kidneys.
  7. Life Sci Alliance. 2022 Mar;pii: e202101185. [Epub ahead of print]5(3):
      The autophagy-lysosomal pathway is impaired in many neurodegenerative diseases characterized by protein aggregation, but the link between aggregation and lysosomal dysfunction remains poorly understood. Here, we combine cryo-electron tomography, proteomics, and cell biology studies to investigate the effects of protein aggregates in primary neurons. We use artificial amyloid-like β-sheet proteins (β proteins) to focus on the gain-of-function aspect of aggregation. These proteins form fibrillar aggregates and cause neurotoxicity. We show that late stages of autophagy are impaired by the aggregates, resulting in lysosomal alterations reminiscent of lysosomal storage disorders. Mechanistically, β proteins interact with and sequester AP-3 μ1, a subunit of the AP-3 adaptor complex involved in protein trafficking to lysosomal organelles. This leads to destabilization of the AP-3 complex, missorting of AP-3 cargo, and lysosomal defects. Restoring AP-3μ1 expression ameliorates neurotoxicity caused by β proteins. Altogether, our results highlight the link between protein aggregation, lysosomal impairments, and neurotoxicity.
  8. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2021 Dec 16. pii: S0925-4439(21)00256-8. [Epub ahead of print]1868(3): 166323
      AIMS: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and subsequent hyperphosphatemia causes vascular calcification (VC), a strong predictor of mortality. Dysregulation of the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) mediates hyperphosphatemia-dependent VC. However, the process through which lysosomes become dysfunctional remains unknown. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a master regulator of lysosome biogenesis. The present study examined the hypothesis that TFEB dysfunction causes VC progression.METHODS AND RESULTS: Inorganic phosphate (Pi) dose-dependently promoted VC in mouse aorta ex vivo, in rat VSMCs in vitro, and in human aortic smooth muscle cells in vitro, all accompanied by a decrease in TFEB protein. Lysosomal inhibitors or TFEB knockdown using small interfering RNA exacerbated Pi-induced VC in VSMCs. Conversely, TFEB downregulation was not observed in the hypercalcemia-sensitive VC model induced by excessive vitamin D dosages. Feeding rats an adenine-containing diet caused CKD and hyperphosphatemia. VC occurred in the adenine-fed rat aorta and regressed after adenine cessation. In this CKD model, aortic TFEB expression decreased at VC onset but recovered to average levels during recovery from VC after adenine cessation. The calcified area of the CKD rat aorta exhibited lysosomal damage and enhanced TFEB ubiquitination. Hyperphosphatemia in vitro increased insoluble TFEB and decreased soluble TFEB in VSMCs, both of which were abrogated by the proteasome inhibitor, MG-132.
    CONCLUSION: Hyperphosphatemia caused VC via TFEB downregulation in VSMCs. Under hyperphosphatemia, TFEB was insolubilized and degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Our results suggest a new mechanism for the pathogenesis of VC under CKD and hyperphosphatemia.
    Keywords:  Chronic kidney disease; Hyperphosphatemia; TFEB; Ubiquitin-proteasome system; Vascular smooth muscle cells
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 09. pii: 13256. [Epub ahead of print]22(24):
      Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by an accumulation of intracellular cholesterol within late endosomes and lysosomes due to NPC1 or NPC2 dysfunction. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that retromer impairment may be involved in the pathogenesis of NPC and may contribute to increased amyloidogenic processing of APP and enhanced BACE1-mediated proteolysis observed in NPC disease. Using NPC1-null cells, primary mouse NPC1-deficient neurons and NPC1-deficient mice (BALB/cNctr-Npc1m1N), we show that retromer function is impaired in NPC. This is manifested by altered transport of the retromer core components Vps26, Vps35 and/or retromer receptor sorLA and by retromer accumulation in neuronal processes, such as within axonal swellings. Changes in retromer distribution in NPC1 mouse brains were observed already at the presymptomatic stage (at 4-weeks of age), indicating that the retromer defect occurs early in the course of NPC disease and may contribute to downstream pathological processes. Furthermore, we show that cholesterol depletion in NPC1-null cells and in NPC1 mouse brains reverts retromer dysfunction, suggesting that retromer impairment in NPC is mechanistically dependent on cholesterol accumulation. Thus, we characterized retromer dysfunction in NPC and propose that the rescue of retromer impairment may represent a novel therapeutic approach against NPC.
    Keywords:  NPC1; cholesterol homeostasis; endolysosomal pathway; neurodegeneration; neurodegenerative diseases; rare diseases; retromer
  10. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Dec 16. pii: S1043-2760(21)00267-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Amino acids modulate glucose homeostasis. Cytosolic levels of amino acids are regulated by amino acid transporters, modulating insulin release, protein synthesis, cell proliferation, cell fate, and metabolism. In β-cells, amino acid transporters modulate incretin-stimulated insulin release. In the liver, amino acid transporters provide glutamine and alanine for gluconeogenesis. Intestinal amino acid transporters facilitate the intake of amino acids causing protein restriction when inactive. Adipocyte development is regulated by amino acid transporters through activation of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTORC1) and amino acid-related metabolites. The accumulation and metabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in muscle depends on transporters. The integration between amino acid metabolism and transport is critical for the maintenance and function of tissues and cells involved in glucose homeostasis.
    Keywords:  GCN2; adipocytes; gluconeogenesis; solute carrier; β-cell
  11. Metab Brain Dis. 2021 Dec 20.
      Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of diseases caused by mutations resulting in deficiencies of lysosomal enzymes which lead to the accumulation of partially undegraded glycosaminoglycans (GAG). This phenomenon causes severe and chronic disturbances in the functioning of the organism, and leads to premature death. The metabolic defects affect also functions of the brain in most MPS types (except types IV, VI, and IX). The variety of symptoms, as well as the ineffectiveness of GAG-lowering therapies, question the early theory that GAG storage is the only cause of these diseases. As disorders of ion homeostasis increasingly turn out to be co-causes of the pathogenesis of various human diseases, the aim of this work was to determine the perturbations related to the maintenance of the ion balance at both the transcriptome and cellular levels in MPS. Transcriptomic studies, performed with fibroblasts derived from patients with all types/subtypes of MPS, showed extensive changes in the expression of genes involved in processes related to ion binding, transport and homeostasis. Detailed analysis of these data indicated specific changes in the expression of genes coding for proteins participating in the metabolism of Ca2+, Fe2+ and Zn2+. The results of tests carried out with the mouse MPS I model (Idua-/-) showed reductions in concentrations of these 3 ions in the liver and spleen. The results of these studies indicate for the first time ionic concentration disorders as possible factors influencing the course of MPS and show them as hypothetical, additional therapeutic targets for this rare disease.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Ions homeostasis; Iron; Mucopolysaccharidosis; Transcriptomics; Zinc
  12. Biomedicines. 2021 Dec 08. pii: 1864. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a rare neurovisceral lipid storage disease with progressive neurodegeneration, leading to premature death. The disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations either in the NPC1 or NPC2 gene which results in lipid accumulation in the late endosomes and lysosomes. The involved disease mechanisms are still incompletely understood, making the design of a rational treatment very difficult. Since the disease is characterized by peripheral inflammation and neuroinflammation and it is shown that extracellular vesicles (EVs) obtained from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) provide immunomodulatory capacities, we tested the potential of MSC-EV preparations to alter NPC1 disease pathology. Here, we show that the administration of an MSC-EV preparation with in vitro and in vivo confirmed immune modulatory capabilities is able to reduce the inflammatory state of peripheral organs and different brain regions of NPC1-diseased mice almost to normal levels. Moreover, a reduction of foamy cells in different peripheral organs was observed upon MSC-EV treatment of NPC1-/- mice. Lastly, the treatment was able to decrease microgliosis and astrogliosis, typical features of NPC1 patients that lead to neurodegeneration. Altogether, our results reveal the therapeutic potential of MSC-EVs as treatment for the genetic neurovisceral lipid storage disease NPC, thereby counteracting both central and peripheral features.
    Keywords:  Niemann–Pick type C disease; extracellular vesicles; mesenchymal stem cell
  13. Biomolecules. 2021 Dec 02. pii: 1814. [Epub ahead of print]11(12):
      Diacylglycerol kinase β (DGKβ) is an enzyme that converts diacylglycerol to phosphatidic acid and is mainly expressed in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and striatum. We previously reported that DGKβ induces neurite outgrowth and spinogenesis, contributing to higher brain functions, including emotion and memory. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in neuronal development by DGKβ, we investigated the importance of DGKβ activity in the induction of neurite outgrowth using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Interestingly, both wild-type DGKβ and the kinase-negative (KN) mutant partially induced neurite outgrowth, and these functions shared a common pathway via the activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). In addition, we found that DGKβ interacted with the small GTPase RalA and that siRNA against RalA and phospholipase D (PLD) inhibitor treatments abolished DGKβKN-induced neurite outgrowth. These results indicate that binding of RalA and activation of PLD and mTORC1 are involved in DGKβKN-induced neurite outgrowth. Taken together with our previous reports, mTORC1 is a key molecule in both kinase-dependent and kinase-independent pathways of DGKβ-mediated neurite outgrowth, which is important for higher brain functions.
    Keywords:  RalA; diacylglycerol kinase; mammalian target of rapamycin; neurite; phosphatidic acid; phospholipase D (PLD)
  14. PLoS Genet. 2021 Dec 23. 17(12): e1009980
      The liver is a crucial center in the regulation of energy homeostasis under starvation. Although downregulation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) has been reported to play pivotal roles in the starvation responses, the underpinning mechanisms in particular upstream factors that downregulate mTORC1 remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants that cause liver energy disorders during starvation, we conduct a zebrafish forward genetic screen. We identify a liver hulk (lvh) mutant with normal liver under feeding, but exhibiting liver hypertrophy under fasting. The hepatomegaly in lvh is caused by enlarged hepatocyte size and leads to liver dysfunction as well as limited tolerance to starvation. Positional cloning reveals that lvh phenotypes are caused by mutation in the ftcd gene, which encodes the formimidoyltransferase cyclodeaminase (FTCD). Further studies show that in response to starvation, the phosphorylated ribosomal S6 protein (p-RS6), a downstream effector of mTORC1, becomes downregulated in the wild-type liver, but remains at high level in lvh. Inhibition of mTORC1 by rapamycin rescues the hepatomegaly and liver dysfunction of lvh. Thus, we characterize the roles of FTCD in starvation response, which acts as an important upstream factor to downregulate mTORC1, thus preventing liver hypertrophy and dysfunction.
  15. Exp Cell Res. 2021 Dec 20. pii: S0014-4827(21)00542-5. [Epub ahead of print] 112986
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a unique proteolytic pathway, in which cytoplasmic proteins recognized by heat shock cognate protein 70 (Hsc70/HSPA8) are transported into lysosomes for degradation. The substrate/chaperone complex binds to the cytosolic tail of the lysosomal-associated membrane protein type 2A (LAMP2A), but whether the interaction between Hsc70 and LAMP2A is direct or mediated by other molecules has remained to be elucidated. The structure of LAMP2A comprises a large lumenal domain composed of two domains, both with the β-prism fold, a transmembrane domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. We previously reported the structural basis for the homophilic interaction of the lumenal domains of LAMP2A, using site-specific photo-crosslinking and/or steric hindrance within cells. In the present study, we introduced a photo-crosslinker into the cytoplasmic tail of LAMP2A and successfully detected its crosslinking with Hsc70, revealing this direct interaction for the first time. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the truncation of the membrane-distal domain within the lumenal domain of LAMP2A reduced the amount of Hsc70 that coimmunoprecipitated with LAMP2A. Our present results suggested that the two-domain architecture of the lumenal domains of LAMP2A underlies the interaction with Hsc70 at the cytoplasmic surface of the lysosome.
    Keywords:  Chaperone-mediated autophagy; Expanded genetic codes; Lysosomes; Photo-crosslinking; Protein assembly
  16. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 15. pii: 13456. [Epub ahead of print]22(24):
      Mucopolysaccharidosis type VI, or Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome, is a rare, autosomal recessive genetic disease, mainly affecting the pediatric age group. The disease is due to pathogenic variants of the ARSB gene, coding for the lysosomal hydrolase N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfatase (arylsulfatase B, ASB). The enzyme deficit causes a pathological accumulation of the undegraded glycosaminoglycans dermatan-sulphate and chondroitin-sulphate, natural substrates of ASB activity. Intracellular and extracellular deposits progressively take to a pathological scenario, often severe, involving most organ-systems and generally starting from the osteoarticular apparatus. Neurocognitive and behavioral abilities, commonly described as maintained, have been actually investigated by few studies. The disease, first described in 1963, has a reported prevalence between 0.36 and 1.3 per 100,000 live births across the continents. With this paper, we wish to contribute an updated overview of the disease from the clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic sides. The numerous in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies conducted in the last 10-15 years to dissect the disease pathogenesis, the efficacy of the available therapeutic treatment (enzyme replacement therapy), as well as new therapies under study are here described. This review also highlights the need to identify new disease biomarkers, potentially speeding up the diagnostic process and the monitoring of therapeutic efficacy.
    Keywords:  ARSB; ASB; Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome; N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfatase; chondroitin 4-sulfate; dermatan sulfate; enzyme replacement therapy; lysosomal storage disorder; mucopolysaccharidosis type VI
  17. Cells. 2021 Nov 23. pii: 3273. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Cystinosis is an autosomal recessive metabolic disease that belongs to the family of lysosomal storage disorders. The gene involved is the CTNS gene that encodes cystinosin, a seven-transmembrane domain lysosomal protein, which is a proton-driven cystine transporter. Cystinosis is characterized by the lysosomal accumulation of cystine, a dimer of cysteine, in all the cells of the body leading to multi-organ failure, including the failure of the kidney, eye, thyroid, muscle, and pancreas, and eventually causing premature death in early adulthood. The current treatment is the drug cysteamine, which is onerous and expensive, and only delays the progression of the disease. Employing the mouse model of cystinosis, using Ctns-/- mice, we first showed that the transplantation of syngeneic wild-type murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) led to abundant tissue integration of bone marrow-derived cells, a significant decrease in tissue cystine accumulation, and long-term kidney, eye and thyroid preservation. To translate this result to a potential human therapeutic treatment, given the risks of mortality and morbidity associated with allogeneic HSPC transplantation, we developed an autologous transplantation approach of HSPCs modified ex vivo using a self-inactivated lentiviral vector to introduce a functional version of the CTNS cDNA, pCCL-CTNS, and showed its efficacy in Ctns-/- mice. Based on these promising results, we held a pre-IND meeting with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out the FDA agreed-upon pharmacological and toxicological studies for our therapeutic candidate, manufacturing development, production of the GMP lentiviral vector, design Phase 1/2 of the clinical trial, and filing of an IND application. Our IND was cleared by the FDA on 19 December 2018, to proceed to the clinical trial using CD34+ HSPCs from the G-CSF/plerixafor-mobilized peripheral blood stem cells of patients with cystinosis, modified by ex vivo transduction using the pCCL-CTNS vector (investigational product name: CTNS-RD-04). The clinical trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of CTNS-RD-04 and takes place at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and will include up to six patients affected with cystinosis. Following leukapheresis and cell manufacturing, the subjects undergo myeloablation before HSPC infusion. Patients also undergo comprehensive assessments before and after treatment to evaluate the impact of CTNS-RD-04 on the clinical outcomes and cystine and cystine crystal levels in the blood and tissues for 2 years. If successful, this treatment could be a one-time therapy that may eliminate or reduce renal deterioration as well as the long-term complications associated with cystinosis. In this review, we will describe the long path from bench-to-bedside for autologous HSPC gene therapy used to treat cystinosis.
    Keywords:  CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells; clinical trial; cystinosis; gene therapy; investigational new drug application; pre-clinical studies
  18. Biomedicines. 2021 Dec 01. pii: 1809. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a grade IV astrocytoma, is a lethal brain tumor with a poor prognosis. Despite recent advances in the molecular biology of GBM, neuro-oncologists have very limited treatment options available to improve the survival of GBM patients. A prominent signaling pathway implicated in GBM pathogenesis is that of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). Attempts to target the mTOR pathway with first-generation mTOR inhibitors appeared promising in the preclinical stage; however, results have been disappointing in clinical trials, owing to the heterogeneous nature of GBM, escape mechanisms against treatment, the blood-brain barrier, drug-related toxicities, and the imperfect design of clinical trials, among others. The development of next-generation mTOR inhibitors and their current evaluation in clinical trials have sparked new hope to realize the clinical potential of mTOR inhibitors in GBM. Meanwhile, studies are continuously furthering our understanding of mTOR signaling dysregulation, its downstream effects, and interplay with other signaling pathways in GBM tumors. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether targeting mTOR in GBM will eventually prove to be fruitful or futile.
    Keywords:  glioblastoma multiforme; mTOR inhibitors; mTOR signaling; mTORC1; mTORC2
  19. Biomolecules. 2021 Dec 10. pii: 1856. [Epub ahead of print]11(12):
      Fabry disease is an X-linked multisystemic disorder caused by the impairment of lysosomal α-Galactosidase A, which leads to the progressive accumulation of glycosphingolipids and to defective lysosomal metabolism. Currently, Fabry disease is treated by enzyme replacement therapy or the orally administrated pharmacological chaperone Migalastat. Both therapeutic strategies present limitations, since enzyme replacement therapy has shown low half-life and bioavailability, while Migalastat is only approved for patients with specific mutations. The aim of this work was to assess the efficacy of PBX galactose analogues to stabilize α-Galactosidase A and therefore evaluate their potential use in Fabry patients with mutations that are not amenable to the treatment with Migalastat. We demonstrated that PBX compounds are safe and effective concerning stabilization of α-Galactosidase A in relevant cellular models of the disease, as assessed by enzymatic activity measurements, molecular modelling, and cell viability assays. This experimental evidence suggests that PBX compounds are promising candidates for the treatment of Fabry disease caused by mutations which affect the folding of α-Galactosidase A, even for GLA variants that are not amenable to the treatment with Migalastat.
    Keywords:  Fabry disease; GLA variants; Migalastat; lysosomal storage diseases; pharmacological chaperones
  20. Cells. 2021 Dec 15. pii: 3547. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Cellular quality control systems have gained much attention in recent decades. Among these, autophagy is a natural self-preservation mechanism that continuously eliminates toxic cellular components and acts as an anti-ageing process. It is vital for cell survival and to preserve homeostasis. Several cell-type-dependent canonical or non-canonical autophagy pathways have been reported showing varying degrees of selectivity with regard to the substrates targeted. Here, we provide an updated review of the autophagy machinery and discuss the role of various forms of autophagy in neurodegenerative diseases, with a particular focus on Parkinson's disease. We describe recent findings that have led to the proposal of therapeutic strategies targeting autophagy to alter the course of Parkinson's disease progression.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; autoimmunity; autophagy; lysosomes; neurodegenerative disease
  21. Cells. 2021 Dec 15. pii: 3539. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Cystinosis is a rare inheritable lysosomal storage disorder characterized by cystine accumulation throughout the body, chronic kidney disease necessitating renal replacement therapy mostly during adolescence, and multiple extra-renal complications. The majority of male cystinosis patients are infertile due to azoospermia, in contrast to female patients who are fertile. Over recent decades, the fertility status of male patients has evolved from a primary hypogonadism in the era before the systematic treatment with cysteamine to azoospermia in the majority of cysteamine-treated infantile cystinosis patients. In this review, we provide a state-of-the-art overview on the available clinical, histopathological, animal, and in vitro data. We summarize current insights on both cystinosis males and females, and their clinical implications including the potential effect of cysteamine on fertility. In addition, we identify the remaining challenges and areas for future research.
    Keywords:  azoospermia; cysteamine; cystinosis; fertility; histopathology; hypogonadism; mouse model
  22. Brain. 2021 Dec 20. pii: awab467. [Epub ahead of print]
      Loss-of-function mutations in the X-linked endosomal Na+/H+ Exchanger 6 (NHE6) cause Christianson syndrome (CS) in males. CS involves endosome dysfunction leading to early cerebellar degeneration, as well as later-onset cortical and subcortical neurodegeneration, potentially including tau deposition as reported in postmortem studies. In addition, there is reported evidence of modulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) levels in experimental models wherein NHE6 expression was targeted. We have recently shown that loss of NHE6 causes defects in endosome maturation and trafficking underlying lysosome deficiency in primary mouse neurons in vitro. For in vivo studies, rat models may have an advantage over mouse models for the study of neurodegeneration, as rat brain can demonstrate robust deposition of endogenously-expressed Aβ and tau in certain pathological states. Mouse models generally do not show the accumulation of insoluble, endogenously-expressed (non-transgenic) tau or Aβ. Therefore, to study neurodegeneration in CS and the possibility of Aβ and tau pathology, we generated an NHE6-null rat model of CS using CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing. Here, we present the sequence of pathogenic events in neurodegenerating NHE6-null male rat brains across the lifespan. NHE6-null rats demonstrate an early and rapid loss of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, as well as a more protracted neurodegenerative course in the cerebrum. In both the cerebellum and cerebrum, lysosome deficiency is an early pathogenic event, preceding autophagic dysfunction. Microglial and astrocyte activation also occur early. In the hippocampus and cortex, lysosome defects precede loss of pyramidal cells. Importantly, we subsequently observe biochemical and in situ evidence of both Aβ and tau aggregation in the aged NHE6-null hippocampus and cortex (but not in the cerebellum). Tau deposition is widely distributed, including cortical and subcortical distributions. Interestingly, we observe tau deposition in both neurons and glia, as has been reported in CS postmortem studies previously. In summary, this experimental model is among very few examples of a genetically modified animal that exhibits neurodegeneration with deposition of endogenously-expressed Aβ and tau. This NHE6-null rat will serve as a new robust model for CS. Furthermore, these studies provide evidence for linkages between endo-lysosome dysfunction and neurodegeneration involving protein aggregations, including Aβ and tau. Therefore these studies may provide insight into mechanisms of more common neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias.
    Keywords:  amyloid beta; lysosomes; neurodegeneration; rat model; tau
  23. Cell Transplant. 2021 Jan-Dec;30:30 9636897211060269
      Cell transplantation is expected to be another strategy to treat lysosomal diseases, having several advantages compared to enzyme replacement therapy, such as continuous enzyme secretion and one-time treatment to cure diseases. However, cell transplantation for lysosomal diseases holds issues to be resolved for the clinical field. In this study, we developed a new ex vivo gene therapy platform using a transplant pack, which consists of a porous membrane made of ethylene-vinyl alcohol in the pack-type and spheroids with scaffolds. These membranes have countless pores of less than 0.1 µm2 capable of secreting proteins, including alpha-galactosidase enzyme, and segregating the contents from the host immune system. When the packs were subcutaneously transplanted into the backs of green fluorescent protein (GFP) mice, no GFP-positive cells migrated to the transplanted pack in either autogenic or allogenic mice. The transplanted cells in the pack survived for 28 days after transplantation. When cells overexpressing alpha-galactosidase were used as donor cells for the packs and implanted into Fabry disease model mice, the accumulation of the alpha-galactosidase enzyme was also observed in the livers. In this study, we reported a new ex vivo therapeutic strategy combining macroencapsulation and cellular spheroids with scaffolds. This pack, macroencapsulated spheroids with scaffolds, can also be applied to other types of lysosomal diseases by modifying genes of interest.
    Keywords:  alpha-galactosidase (aGLA in humans and aGla in mice); cell transplantation; ex vivo gene therapy; fabry disease; macroencapsulation
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 20. pii: 13633. [Epub ahead of print]22(24):
      Dysfunctions in the endo-lysosomal system have been hypothesized to underlie neurodegeneration in major neurocognitive disorders due to Alzheimer's disease (AD), Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), and Lewy body disease (DLB). The aim of this study is to investigate whether these diseases share genetic variability in the endo-lysosomal pathway. In AD, DLB, and FTLD patients and in controls (948 subjects), we performed a targeted sequencing of the top 50 genes belonging to the endo-lysosomal pathway. Genetic analyses revealed (i) four previously reported disease-associated variants in the SORL1 (p.N1246K, p.N371T, p.D2065V) and DNAJC6 genes (p.M133L) in AD, FTLD, and DLB, extending the previous knowledge attesting SORL1 and DNAJC6 as AD- and PD-related genes, respectively; (ii) three predicted null variants in AD patients in the SORL1 (p.R985X in early onset familial AD, p.R1207X) and PPT1 (p.R48X in early onset familial AD) genes, where loss of function is a known disease mechanism. A single variant and gene burden analysis revealed some nominally significant results of potential interest for SORL1 and DNAJC6 genes. Our data highlight that genes controlling key endo-lysosomal processes (i.e., protein sorting/transport, clathrin-coated vesicle uncoating, lysosomal enzymatic activity regulation) might be involved in AD, FTLD and DLB pathogenesis, thus suggesting an etiological link behind these diseases.
    Keywords:  DNAJC6; NGS; PPT1; SORL1; allele dose effect; cross-disease; endo-lysosomal genes; loss of function; multicarrier
  25. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Dec 03. pii: 1944. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex degenerative disease of the retina with multiple risk-modifying factors, including aging, genetics, and lifestyle choices. The combination of these factors leads to oxidative stress, inflammation, and metabolic failure in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) with subsequent degeneration of photoreceptors in the retina. The alternative complement pathway is tightly linked to AMD. In particular, the genetic variant in the complement factor H gene (CFH), which leads to the Y402H polymorphism in the factor H protein (FH), confers the second highest risk for the development and progression of AMD. Although the association between the FH Y402H variant and increased complement system activation is known, recent studies have uncovered novel FH functions not tied to this activity and highlighted functional relevance for intracellular FH. In our previous studies, we show that loss of CFH expression in RPE cells causes profound disturbances in cellular metabolism, increases the vulnerability towards oxidative stress, and modulates the activation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, most importantly the NF-kB pathway. Here, we silenced CFH in hTERT-RPE1 cells to investigate the mechanism by which intracellular FH regulates RPE cell homeostasis. We found that silencing of CFH results in hyperactivation of mTOR signaling along with decreased mitochondrial respiration and that mTOR inhibition via rapamycin can partially rescue these metabolic defects. To obtain mechanistic insight into the function of intracellular FH in hTERT-RPE1 cells, we analyzed the interactome of FH via immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry-based analysis. We found that FH interacts with essential components of the ubiquitin-proteasomal pathway (UPS) as well as with factors associated with RB1/E2F signalling in a complement-pathway independent manner. Moreover, we found that FH silencing affects mRNA levels of the E3 Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Parkin and PTEN induced putative kinase (Pink1), both of which are associated with UPS. As inhibition of mTORC1 was previously shown to result in increased overall protein degradation via UPS and as FH mRNA and protein levels were shown to be affected by inhibition of UPS, our data stress a potential regulatory link between endogenous FH activity and the UPS.
    Keywords:  age-related macular degeneration (AMD); complement factor H (CFH/FH); interactome; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); mitochondrial respiration; retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells; ubiquitin-proteasomal pathway
  26. JCI Insight. 2021 Dec 22. pii: e154215. [Epub ahead of print]6(24):
      Myosin heavy chain 7 (MYH7) is a major causative gene for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but the affected signaling pathways and therapeutics remain elusive. In this research, we identified ventricle myosin heavy chain like (vmhcl) as a zebrafish homolog of human MYH7, and we generated vmhcl frameshift mutants. We noted vmhcl-based embryonic cardiac dysfunction (VEC) in the vmhcl homozygous mutants and vmhcl-based adult cardiomyopathy (VAC) phenotypes in the vmhcl heterozygous mutants. Using the VEC model, we assessed 7 known cardiomyopathy signaling pathways pharmacologically and 11 candidate genes genetically via CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology based on microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ). Both studies converged on therapeutic benefits of mTOR or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibition of VEC. While mTOR inhibition rescued the enlarged nuclear size of cardiomyocytes, MAPK inhibition restored the prolonged cell shape in the VEC model. The therapeutic effects of mTOR and MAPK inhibition were later validated in the VAC model. Together, vmhcl/myh7 loss of function is sufficient to induce cardiomyopathy in zebrafish. The VEC and VAC models in zebrafish are amenable to both efficient genetic and chemical genetic tools, offering a rapid in vivo platform for discovering candidate signaling pathways of MYH7 cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  Cardiology; Cardiovascular disease; Genetic diseases; Genetics
  27. Protein Pept Lett. 2021 Jul 11.
      BACKGROUND: Metabolic and clinical disorders forming the complex of interrelated abnormalities is known as metabolic syndrome (METs).OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to assess the dependence of serum arylsulfatase (AS) and acid phosphatase (ACP) activities on anthropometric and biochemical parameters in patients with METs.
    METHODS: In 142 patients with METs (IDF criteria), consisting of different components in different sequences (hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders), and in 65 healthy participants, basic biochemical parameters were determined in laboratory tests. The activity of serum hydrolases was determined using Bessey's (ACP) and Roy's (AS) methods.
    RESULTS: The AS activity correlated with waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) (more strongly in women and in most advanced METs), BMI (in men), and triglycerides (TG) (in women, participants with I degree obesity, and those with three METs components). The ACP activity correlated with the WHR of patients with II degree obesity, with TG in those with III degrees of obesity, and with total cholesterol (TC) in those with four METs components.
    CONCLUSION: Increased AS activity in patients with METs compared with lower AS activity in the control group may be due to decreased lysosomal function and related to the amount of adipose tissue. Low activity of ACP in the blood serum of patients with METs compared with higher activity of ACP in the control group may indicate exhaustion of the lysosomal apparatus and loss of hydrolytic activity. The increase in TG and TC in groups with an increasing number of METs-defining components may be due to the abnormal lysosomal degradation of these compounds.
    Keywords:  Acid phosphatase; arylsulfatase; lysosomal enzymes; metabolic syndrome; triglycerides ; visceral obesity
  28. Membranes (Basel). 2021 Dec 09. pii: 971. [Epub ahead of print]11(12):
      Sphingolipids are the most diverse class of membrane lipids, in terms of their structure and function. Structurally simple sphingolipid precursors, such as ceramides, act as intracellular signaling molecules in various processes, including apoptosis, whereas mature and complex forms of sphingolipids are important structural components of the plasma membrane. Supplying complex sphingolipids to the plasma membrane, according to need, while keeping pro-apoptotic ceramides in check is an intricate task for the cell and requires mechanisms that tightly control sphingolipid synthesis, breakdown, and storage. As each of these processes takes place in different organelles, recent studies, using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, have investigated the role of membrane contact sites as hubs that integrate inter-organellar sphingolipid transport and regulation. In this review, we provide a detailed overview of the findings of these studies and put them into the context of established regulatory mechanisms of sphingolipid homeostasis. We have focused on the role of membrane contact sites in sphingolipid metabolism and ceramide transport, as well as the mechanisms that prevent toxic ceramide accumulation.
    Keywords:  Saccharomyces cerevisiae; ceramides; lipotoxicity; membrane contact sites; metabolism; non-vesicular transport; sphingolipids; yeast
  29. Cells. 2021 Nov 24. pii: 3294. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      Nephropathic cystinosis is a rare disease caused by mutations of the CTNS gene that encodes for cystinosin, a lysosomal cystine/H+ symporter. The disease is characterized by early-onset chronic kidney failure and progressive development of extra-renal complications related to cystine accumulation in all tissues. At the cellular level, several alterations have been demonstrated, including enhanced apoptosis, altered autophagy, defective intracellular trafficking, and cell oxidation, among others. Current therapy with cysteamine only partially reverts some of these changes, highlighting the need to develop additional treatments. Among compounds that were identified in a previous drug-repositioning study, disulfiram (DSF) was selected for in vivo studies. The cystine depleting and anti-apoptotic properties of DSF were confirmed by secondary in vitro assays and after treating Ctns-/- mice with 200 mg/kg/day of DSF for 3 months. However, at this dosage, growth impairment was observed. Long-term treatment with a lower dose (100 mg/kg/day) did not inhibit growth, but failed to reduce cystine accumulation, caused premature death, and did not prevent the development of renal lesions. In addition, DSF also caused adverse effects in cystinotic zebrafish larvae. DSF toxicity was significantly more pronounced in Ctns-/- mice and zebrafish compared to wild-type animals, suggesting higher cell toxicity of DSF in cystinotic cells.
    Keywords:  cystinosis; disulfiram; mice; zebrafish
  30. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Dec 20. pii: S0969-9961(21)00343-0. [Epub ahead of print]163 105594
      Genetic mitochondrial diseases are the most frequent cause of inherited metabolic disorders and one of the most prevalent causes of heritable neurological disease. Leigh syndrome is the most common clinical presentation of pediatric mitochondrial disease, typically appearing in the first few years of life, and involving severe multisystem pathologies. Clinical care for Leigh syndrome patients is difficult, complicated by the wide range of symptoms including characteristic progressive CNS lesion, metabolic sequelae, and epileptic seizures, which can be intractable to standard management. While no proven therapies yet exist for the underlying mitochondrial disease, a ketogenic diet has led to some reports of success in managing mitochondrial epilepsies, with ketosis reducing seizure risk and severity. The impact of ketosis on other aspects of disease progression in Leigh syndrome has not been studied, however, and a rigorous study of the impact of ketosis on seizures in mitochondrial disease is lacking. Conversely, preclinical efforts have identified the intracellular nutrient signaling regulator mTOR as a promising therapeutic target, with data suggesting the benefits are mediated by metabolic changes. mTOR inhibition alleviates epilepsies arising from defects in TSC, an mTOR regulator, but the therapeutic potential of mTOR inhibition in seizures related to primary mitochondrial dysfunction is unknown. Given that ketogenic diet is used clinically in the setting of mitochondrial disease, and mTOR inhibition is in clinical trials for intractable pediatric epilepsies of diverse causal origins, a direct experimental assessment of their effects is imperative. Here, we define the impact of dietary ketosis on survival and CNS disease in the Ndufs4(KO) mouse model of Leigh syndrome and the therapeutic potential of both dietary ketosis and mTOR inhibition on seizures in this model. These data provide timely insight into two important clinical interventions.
    Keywords:  Epilepsy; Ketogenic diet; Ketosis; Mitochondrial disease; Seizure; mTOR
  31. ACS Chem Biol. 2021 Dec 23.
      Akt is a Ser/Thr protein kinase that regulates cell growth and metabolism and is considered a therapeutic target for cancer. Regulation of Akt by membrane recruitment and post-translational modifications (PTMs) has been extensively studied. The most well-established mechanism for cellular Akt activation involves phosphorylation on its activation loop on Thr308 by PDK1 and on its C-terminal tail on Ser473 by mTORC2. In addition, dual phosphorylation on Ser477 and Thr479 has been shown to activate Akt. Other C-terminal tail PTMs have been identified, but their functional impacts have not been well-characterized. Here, we investigate the regulatory effects of phosphorylation of Tyr474 and O-GlcNAcylation of Ser473 on Akt. We use expressed protein ligation as a tool to produce semisynthetic Akt proteins containing phosphoTyr474 and O-GlcNAcSer473 to dissect the enzymatic functions of these PTMs. We find that O-GlcNAcylation at Ser473 and phosphorylation at Tyr474 can also partially increase Akt's kinase activity toward both peptide and protein substrates. Additionally, we performed kinase assays employing human protein microarrays to investigate global substrate specificity of Akt, comparing phosphorylated versus O-GlcNAcylated Ser473 forms. We observed a high similarity in the protein substrates phosphorylated by phosphoSer473 Akt and O-GlcNAcSer473 Akt. Two Akt substrates identified using microarrays, PPM1H, a protein phosphatase, and NEDD4L, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, were validated in solution-phase assays and cell transfection experiments.
  32. Bioorg Chem. 2021 Dec 13. pii: S0045-2068(21)00936-6. [Epub ahead of print]119 105558
      Cysteine (Cys), the only amino acid in the 20 natural amino acids that contains a reduced sulfhydryl group, plays important roles in the balance of redox homeostasis in biological systems. Lysosome is an important organelle containing a variety of hydrolases and has been proved to be the decomposition center of a variety of exogenous and endogenous macromolecular substances. In this research, a coumarin-based fluorescent probe MCA for the detection of Cys in lysosomes of living cells was developed. Due to the acrylate moiety, this probe exhibited high sensitivity (detection limit = 6.8 nM) and selectivity towards Cys superior to other analytes. Moreover, the probe was proved to be lysosome-targetable and showed good cell imaging ability and low cell toxicity.
    Keywords:  Acrylate; Cell imaging; Coumarin; Cysteine; Fluorescent probe; Lysosome-targetable
  33. Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 20. 12(1): 7342
    International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC)
      Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative movement disorder that currently has no disease-modifying treatment, partly owing to inefficiencies in drug target identification and validation. We use Mendelian randomization to investigate over 3,000 genes that encode druggable proteins and predict their efficacy as drug targets for Parkinson's disease. We use expression and protein quantitative trait loci to mimic exposure to medications, and we examine the causal effect on Parkinson's disease risk (in two large cohorts), age at onset and progression. We propose 23 drug-targeting mechanisms for Parkinson's disease, including four possible drug repurposing opportunities and two drugs which may increase Parkinson's disease risk. Of these, we put forward six drug targets with the strongest Mendelian randomization evidence. There is remarkably little overlap between our drug targets to reduce Parkinson's disease risk versus progression, suggesting different molecular mechanisms. Drugs with genetic support are considerably more likely to succeed in clinical trials, and we provide compelling genetic evidence and an analysis pipeline to prioritise Parkinson's disease drug development.
  34. Elife. 2021 Dec 23. pii: e72593. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle (TCA) cycle is arguably the most critical metabolic cycle in physiology and exists as an essential interface coordinating cellular metabolism, bioenergetics, and redox homeostasis. Despite decades of research, a comprehensive investigation into the consequences of TCA cycle dysfunction remains elusive. Here, we targeted two TCA cycle enzymes, fumarate hydratase (FH) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), and combined metabolomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics analyses to fully appraise the consequences of TCA cycle inhibition (TCAi) in murine kidney epithelial cells. Our comparative approach shows that TCAi elicits a convergent rewiring of redox and amino acid metabolism dependent on the activation of ATF4 and the integrated stress response (ISR). Furthermore, we also uncover a divergent metabolic response, whereby acute FHi, but not SDHi, can maintain asparagine levels via reductive carboxylation and maintenance of cytosolic aspartate synthesis. Our work highlights an important interplay between the TCA cycle, redox biology and amino acid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; cell biology; chemical biology; mouse
  35. Toxins (Basel). 2021 Dec 02. pii: 857. [Epub ahead of print]13(12):
      Cathepsin L (CatL) is a lysosomal cysteine protease primarily involved in the terminal degradation of intracellular and endocytosed proteins. More specifically, in humans, CatL has been implicated in cancer progression and metastasis, as well as coronary artery diseases and others. Given this, the search for potent CatL inhibitors is of great importance. In the search for new molecules to perform proteolytic activity regulation, salivary secretions from hematophagous animals have been an important source, as they present protease inhibitors that evolved to disable host proteases. Based on the transcriptome of the Haementeria vizzotoi leech, the cDNA of Cystatin-Hv was selected for this study. Cystatin-Hv was expressed in Pichia pastoris and purified by two chromatographic steps. The kinetic results using human CatL indicated that Cystatin-Hv, in its recombinant form, is a potent inhibitor of this protease, with a Ki value of 7.9 nM. Consequently, the present study describes, for the first time, the attainment and the biochemical characterization of a recombinant cystatin from leeches as a potent CatL inhibitor. While searching out for new molecules of therapeutic interest, this leech cystatin opens up possibilities for the future use of this molecule in studies involving cellular and in vivo models.
    Keywords:  Haementeria vizottoi; cathepsin L; cysteine proteases inhibitor; leech; recombinant cystatin
  36. Nature. 2021 Dec 22.
      Although deregulation of transfer RNA (tRNA) biogenesis promotes the translation of pro-tumorigenic mRNAs in cancers1,2, the mechanisms and consequences of tRNA deregulation in tumorigenesis are poorly understood. Here we use a CRISPR-Cas9 screen to focus on genes that have been implicated in tRNA biogenesis, and identify a mechanism by which altered valine tRNA biogenesis enhances mitochondrial bioenergetics in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). Expression of valine aminoacyl tRNA synthetase is transcriptionally upregulated by NOTCH1, a key oncogene in T-ALL, underlining a role for oncogenic transcriptional programs in coordinating tRNA supply and demand. Limiting valine bioavailability through restriction of dietary valine intake disrupted this balance in mice, resulting in decreased leukaemic burden and increased survival in vivo. Mechanistically, valine restriction reduced translation rates of mRNAs that encode subunits of mitochondrial complex I, leading to defective assembly of complex I and impaired oxidative phosphorylation. Finally, a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function screen in differential valine conditions identified several genes, including SLC7A5 and BCL2, whose genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition synergized with valine restriction to reduce T-ALL growth. Our findings identify tRNA deregulation as a critical adaptation in the pathogenesis of T-ALL and provide a molecular basis for the use of dietary approaches to target tRNA biogenesis in blood malignancies.
  37. Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 24. 11(1): 24442
      Therapeutic interventions targeting viral infections remain a significant challenge for both the medical and scientific communities. While specific antiviral agents have shown success as therapeutics, viral resistance inevitably develops, making many of these approaches ineffective. This inescapable obstacle warrants alternative approaches, such as the targeting of host cellular factors. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the major respiratory pathogen of infants and children worldwide, causes respiratory tract infection ranging from mild upper respiratory tract symptoms to severe life-threatening lower respiratory tract disease. Despite the fact that the molecular biology of the virus, which was originally discovered in 1956, is well described, there is no vaccine or effective antiviral treatment against RSV infection. Here, we demonstrate that targeting host factors, specifically, mTOR signaling, reduces RSV protein production and generation of infectious progeny virus. Further, we show that this approach can be generalizable as inhibition of mTOR kinases reduces coronavirus gene expression, mRNA transcription and protein production. Overall, defining virus replication-dependent host functions may be an effective means to combat viral infections, particularly in the absence of antiviral drugs.
  38. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Dec 20.
      Multi-enzyme assemblies composed of metabolic enzymes catalyzing sequential reactions are being increasingly studied. Here, we report the discovery of a 1.6 megadalton multi-enzyme complex from Bacillus subtilis composed of two enzymes catalyzing opposite ('counter-enzymes') rather than sequential reactions: glutamate synthase (GltAB) and glutamate dehydrogenase (GudB), which make and break glutamate, respectively. In vivo and in vitro studies show that the primary role of complex formation is to inhibit the activity of GudB. Using cryo-electron microscopy, we elucidated the structure of the complex and the molecular basis of inhibition of GudB by GltAB. The complex exhibits unusual oscillatory progress curves and is necessary for both planktonic growth, in glutamate-limiting conditions, and for biofilm growth, in glutamate-rich media. The regulation of a key metabolic enzyme by complexing with its counter enzyme may thus enable cell growth under fluctuating glutamate concentrations.
  39. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2021 Dec 20.
      Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common psychiatric disorder characterized by persistent mood despondency and loss of motivation. Although numerous hypotheses have been proposed, the possible pathogenesis of MDD remains unclear. Several recent studies show that a classic transporter protein, sortilin, is closely associated with depression. In the present study, we investigated the role of sortilin in MDD using a well-established rodent model of depression. Mice were subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) for 6 weeks. We showed that the expression levels of sortilin were significantly increased in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of CUMS mice. The depressive-like behaviors induced by CUMS were alleviated by specific knockdown of sortilin in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. We revealed that sortilin facilitated acid sphingomyelinase (ASM)/ceramide signaling, which activated RhoA/ROCK2 signaling, ultimately causing the transformation of dendritic spine dynamics. Specific overexpression of sortilin in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus induced depressive-like behaviors, which was mitigated by injection of ASM inhibitor SR33557 (4 µg/μL) into the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. In conclusion, sortilin knockdown in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus plays an important role in ameliorating depressive-like behavior induced by CUMS, which is mainly evidenced by decreasing the trafficking of ASM from the trans-Golgi network to the lysosome and reducing the ceramide levels. Our results provide a new insight into the pathology of depression, and demonstrate that sortilin may be a potential therapeutic target for MDD.
    Keywords:  ASM/ceramide; RhoA/ROCK2; SR33557; cofilin; dendritic spines; depression; hippocampus; prefrontal cortex; sortilin
  40. Biomedicines. 2021 Nov 24. pii: 1760. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) dysregulation is implicated in several diseases, given their involvement in extracellular matrix degradation and cell motility. In lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a pulmonary rare disease, MMP-2 and MMP-9 have been detected at high levels in serum and urine. LAM cells, characterized by a mutation in the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)1 or TSC2, promote cystic lung destruction. The role of MMPs in invasive and destructive LAM cell capability has not yet been fully understood. We evaluated MMP-2 and MMP-7 expression, secretion, and activity in primary LAM/TSC cells that bear a TSC2 germline mutation and an epigenetic modification and depend on epidermal growth factor (EGF) for survival. 5-azacytidine restored tuberin expression with a reduction of MMP-2 and MMP-7 levels and inhibits motility, similarly to rapamycin and anti-EGFR antibody. Both drugs reduced MMP-2 and MMP-7 secretion and activity during wound healing and decreased their expression in lung nodules of a LAM mouse model. In LAM/TSC cells, MMP-2 and MMP-7 are dependent on tuberin expression, cellular adhesion, and migration. MMPs appears sensitive to rapamycin and anti-EGFR antibody only during cellular migration. Our data indicate a complex and differential modulation of MMP-2 and MMP-7 in LAM/TSC cells, likely critical for lung parenchyma remodeling during LAM progression.
    Keywords:  LAM; MMP-2; MMP-7; TSC; cell motility