bims-proarb Biomed News
on Proteostasis in Aging and Regenerative Biology
Issue of 2021‒06‒20
thirty-six papers selected by
Rich Giadone
Harvard University

  1. Neuron. 2021 Jun 05. pii: S0896-6273(21)00373-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      C9orf72 repeat expansions cause inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and result in both loss of C9orf72 protein expression and production of potentially toxic RNA and dipeptide repeat proteins. In addition to ALS/FTD, C9orf72 repeat expansions have been reported in a broad array of neurodegenerative syndromes, including Alzheimer's disease. Here we show that C9orf72 deficiency promotes a change in the homeostatic signature in microglia and a transition to an inflammatory state characterized by an enhanced type I IFN signature. Furthermore, C9orf72-depleted microglia trigger age-dependent neuronal defects, in particular enhanced cortical synaptic pruning, leading to altered learning and memory behaviors in mice. Interestingly, C9orf72-deficient microglia promote enhanced synapse loss and neuronal deficits in a mouse model of amyloid accumulation while paradoxically improving plaque clearance. These findings suggest that altered microglial function due to decreased C9orf72 expression directly contributes to neurodegeneration in repeat expansion carriers independent of gain-of-function toxicities.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; C9orf72; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; microglia; neurodegeneration
  2. Prion. 2021 Dec;15(1): 70-81
      Cellular Prion Protein (PrPC) is a well-studied protein as the substrate for various progressive untreatable neurodegenerative diseases. Normal functions of PrPC are poorly understood, though recent proteomic and transcriptomic approaches have begun to reveal common themes. We use our compound prp1 and prp2 knockout mutant zebrafish at three days post fertilization to take a transcriptomic approach to investigating potentially conserved PrPC functions during development. Gene ontology analysis shows the biological processes with the largest changes in gene expression include redox processing, transport and cell adhesion. Within these categories several different gene families were prevalent including the solute carrier proteins, cytochrome p450 enzymes and protocadherins. Continuing from previous studies identifying cell adhesion as an important function of PrPC we found that in addition to the protocadherins there was a significant reduction in transcript abundance of both ncam1a and st8sia2. These two genes are involved in the early development of vertebrates. The alterations in cell adhesion transcripts were consistent with past findings in zebrafish and mouse prion protein mutants; however E-cadherin processing after prion protein knockdown failed to reveal any differences compared with wild type in either our double prp1/prp2 mutant fish or after prp1 morpholino knockdown. Our data supports a cross species conserved role for PrPC in the development and maintenance of the central nervous system, particularly by regulating various and important cell adhesion processes.
    Keywords:  Prion knockout; RNA-sequencing; cell adhesion; scrapie; transcriptome
  3. Cell Rep. 2021 Jun 15. pii: S2211-1247(21)00623-9. [Epub ahead of print]35(11): 109259
      Dysfunction of the endolysosomal-autophagy network is emerging as an important pathogenic process in Alzheimer's disease. Mutations in the sorting receptor-encoding gene SORL1 cause autosomal-dominant Alzheimer's disease, and SORL1 variants increase risk for late-onset AD. To understand the contribution of SORL1 mutations to AD pathogenesis, we analyze the effects of a SORL1 truncating mutation on SORL1 protein levels and endolysosome function in human neurons. We find that truncating mutation results in SORL1 haploinsufficiency and enlarged endosomes in human neurons. Analysis of isogenic SORL1 wild-type, heterozygous, and homozygous null neurons demonstrates that, whereas SORL1 haploinsufficiency results in endosome dysfunction, complete loss of SORL1 leads to additional defects in lysosome function and autophagy. Neuronal endolysosomal dysfunction caused by loss of SORL1 is relieved by extracellular antisense oligonucleotide-mediated reduction of APP protein, demonstrating that PSEN1, APP, and SORL1 act in a common pathway regulating the endolysosome system, which becomes dysfunctional in AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; SORL1; amyloid precursor protein; autophagy; endosome; iPSC; lysosome
  4. Aging Cell. 2021 Jun 15. e13382
      Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in a quiescent niche to reserve their capacity of self-renewal. Upon hematopoietic injuries, HSCs enter the cell cycle and encounter protein homeostasis problems caused by accumulation of misfolded proteins. However, the mechanism by which protein homeostasis influences HSC function and maintenance remains poorly understood. Here, we show that C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), demonstrated previously to induces cell death upon unfolded protein response (UPR), plays an important role in HSCs regeneration. CHOP-/- mice showed normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell frequencies in steady state. However, when treated with 5-FU, CHOP deficiency resulted in higher survival rates, associated with an increased number of HSCs and reduced level of apoptosis. In serial competitive transplantation experiments, CHOP-/- HSCs showed a dramatic enhancement of repopulation ability and a reduction of protein aggresomes. Mechanistically, CHOP deletion causes reduced ATF3 expression and further leads to decreased protein aggregation and ROS. In addition, CHOP-/- HSCs exhibited an increased resistance to IR-induced DNA damage and improved HSCs homeostasis and function in telomere dysfunctional (G3Terc-/- ) mice. In summary, these findings disclose a new role of CHOP in the regulation of the HSCs function and homeostasis through reducing ATF3 and ROS signaling.
    Keywords:  ATF3; C/EBP homologous protein; ROS; apoptosis; hematopoietic stem cell function
  5. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 665622
      The accumulation of unfolded/misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes ER stress and induces the unfolded protein response (UPR) and other mechanisms to restore ER homeostasis, including translational shutdown, increased targeting of mRNAs for degradation by the IRE1-dependent decay pathway, selective translation of proteins that contribute to the protein folding capacity of the ER, and activation of the ER-associated degradation machinery. When ER stress is excessive or prolonged and these mechanisms fail to restore proteostasis, the UPR triggers the cell to undergo apoptosis. This review also examines the overlooked role of post-translational modifications and their roles in protein processing and effects on ER stress and the UPR. Finally, these effects are examined in the context of lung structure, function, and disease.
    Keywords:  disulfide bonds; endoplasmic reticulum; integrated stress response; lung disease; lung function; post-translational modifications; unfolded protein response
  6. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 670435
      The unfolded protein response (UPR) plays important roles in various cells that have a high demand for protein folding, which are involved in the process of cell differentiation and development. Here, we separately knocked down the three sensors of the UPR in myoblasts and found that PERK knockdown led to a marked transformation in myoblasts from a fusiform to a rounded morphology, which suggests that PERK is required for early myoblast differentiation. Interestingly, knocking down PERK induced reprogramming of C2C12 myoblasts into stem-like cells by altering the miRNA networks associated with differentiation and stemness maintenance, and the PERK-ATF4 signaling pathway transactivated muscle differentiation-associated miRNAs in the early stage of myoblast differentiation. Furthermore, we identified Ppp1cc as a direct target gene of miR-128 regulated by the PERK signaling pathway and showed that its repression is critical for a feedback loop that regulates the activity of UPR-associated signaling pathways, leading to cell migration, cell fusion, endoplasmic reticulum expansion, and myotube formation during myoblast differentiation. Subsequently, we found that the RNA-binding protein ARPP21, encoded by the host gene of miR-128-2, antagonized miR-128 activity by competing with it to bind to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of Ppp1cc to maintain the balance of the differentiation state. Together, these results reveal the crucial role of PERK signaling in myoblast maintenance and differentiation and identify the mechanism underlying the role of UPR signaling as a major regulator of miRNA networks during early differentiation of myoblasts.
    Keywords:  C2C12 (mouse skeletal myoblasts); PERK signaling; differentiation; microRNA network; myoblasts
  7. Life Sci Alliance. 2021 07;pii: e202101108. [Epub ahead of print]4(7):
      Aggregation and accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) is a defining feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology. To study microglial responses to Aβ, we applied exogenous Aβ peptide, in either oligomeric or fibrillar conformation, to primary mouse microglial cultures and evaluated system-level transcriptional changes and then compared these with transcriptomic changes in the brains of CRND8 APP mice. We find that primary microglial cultures have rapid and massive transcriptional change in response to Aβ. Transcriptomic responses to oligomeric or fibrillar Aβ in primary microglia, although partially overlapping, are distinct and are not recapitulated in vivo where Aβ progressively accumulates. Furthermore, although classic immune mediators show massive transcriptional changes in the primary microglial cultures, these changes are not observed in the mouse model. Together, these data extend previous studies which demonstrate that microglia responses ex vivo are poor proxies for in vivo responses. Finally, these data demonstrate the potential utility of using microglia as biosensors of different aggregate conformation, as the transcriptional responses to oligomeric and fibrillar Aβ can be distinguished.
  8. Neurochem Int. 2021 Jun 08. pii: S0197-0186(21)00141-8. [Epub ahead of print]148 105095
      Mitochondria are semi-autonomous organelle staging a crucial role in cellular stress response, energy metabolism and cell survival. Maintaining mitochondrial quality control is very important for its homeostasis. Pathological conditions such as oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, disrupt this quality control, and involvement of genetic and epigenetic materials in this disruption have been reported. These regulatory factors trigger mitochondrial imbalance, as seen in many neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Huntington's disease. The dynamic regulatory pathways i.e. mitophagy, biogenesis, permeability pore transitioning, fusion-fission are affected as a consequence and have been reviewed in this article. Moreover, several epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation and histone modulation participating in such neurological disorders have also been discussed. Apart from it, therapeutic approaches targeting mitochondrial quality control have been tremendously explored showing ameliorative effects for these diseases, and have been discussed here with a novel perspective.
    Keywords:  Biogenesis; DNA methylation; Histone acetylation; Mitochondrial quality control; Mitophagy; Neurodegeneration
  9. Neuroscientist. 2021 Jun 18. 10738584211024531
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating age-related neurodegenerative condition. Unbiased genetic studies have implicated a central role for microglia, the resident innate immune cells of the central nervous system, in AD pathogenesis. On-going efforts are clarifying the biology underlying these associations and the microglial pathways that are dysfunctional in AD. Several genetic risk factors converge to decrease the function of activating microglial receptors and increase the function of inhibitory receptors, resulting in a seemingly dampened microglial phenotype in AD. Moreover, many of these microglial proteins that are genetically associated with AD appear to interact and share pathways or regulatory mechanisms, presenting several points of convergence that may be strategic targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we review some of these studies and their implications for microglial participation in AD pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; CD33; HLA; SPI1; TREM2; genetics; microglia
  10. Nat Commun. 2021 06 17. 12(1): 3686
      Tumour hypoxia is associated with poor patient prognosis and therapy resistance. A unique transcriptional response is initiated by hypoxia which includes the rapid activation of numerous transcription factors in a background of reduced global transcription. Here, we show that the biological response to hypoxia includes the accumulation of R-loops and the induction of the RNA/DNA helicase SETX. In the absence of hypoxia-induced SETX, R-loop levels increase, DNA damage accumulates, and DNA replication rates decrease. Therefore, suggesting that, SETX plays a role in protecting cells from DNA damage induced during transcription in hypoxia. Importantly, we propose that the mechanism of SETX induction in hypoxia is reliant on the PERK/ATF4 arm of the unfolded protein response. These data not only highlight the unique cellular response to hypoxia, which includes both a replication stress-dependent DNA damage response and an unfolded protein response but uncover a novel link between these two distinct pathways.
  11. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 ;12 671724
      Aims/hypothesis: Recurrent hypoglycaemia (RH) is a major side-effect of intensive insulin therapy for people with diabetes. Changes in hypoglycaemia sensing by the brain contribute to the development of impaired counterregulatory responses to and awareness of hypoglycaemia. Little is known about the intrinsic changes in human astrocytes in response to acute and recurrent low glucose (RLG) exposure.Methods: Human primary astrocytes (HPA) were exposed to zero, one, three or four bouts of low glucose (0.1 mmol/l) for three hours per day for four days to mimic RH. On the fourth day, DNA and RNA were collected. Differential gene expression and ontology analyses were performed using DESeq2 and GOseq, respectively. DNA methylation was assessed using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip platform.
    Results: 24 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected (after correction for multiple comparisons). One bout of low glucose exposure had the largest effect on gene expression. Pathway analyses revealed that endoplasmic-reticulum (ER) stress-related genes such as HSPA5, XBP1, and MANF, involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR), were all significantly increased following low glucose (LG) exposure, which was diminished following RLG. There was little correlation between differentially methylated positions and changes in gene expression yet the number of bouts of LG exposure produced distinct methylation signatures.
    Conclusions/interpretation: These data suggest that exposure of human astrocytes to transient LG triggers activation of genes involved in the UPR linked to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Following RLG, the activation of UPR related genes was diminished, suggesting attenuated ER stress. This may be a consequence of a successful metabolic adaptation, as previously reported, that better preserves intracellular energy levels and a reduced necessity for the UPR.
    Keywords:  ER stress; human primary astrocytes; recurrent low glucose; transcriptome (RNA-seq); unfolded protein response
  12. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 674013
      Human aging is associated with a decline of physical and cognitive function and high susceptibility to chronic diseases, which is influenced by genetics, epigenetics, environmental, and socio-economic status. In order to identify the factors that modulate the aging process, established measures of aging mechanisms are required, that are both robust and feasible in humans. It is also necessary to connect these measures to the phenotypes of aging and their functional consequences. In this review, we focus on how this has been addressed from an epidemiologic perspective using proteomics. The key aspects of epidemiological models of aging can be incorporated into proteomics and other omics which can provide critical detailed information on the molecular and biological processes that change with age, thus unveiling underlying mechanisms that drive multiple chronic conditions and frailty, and ideally facilitating the identification of new effective approaches for prevention and treatment.
    Keywords:  aging models; biological pathways; epidemiological models; longitudinal cross-sectional; machine learning and artificial intelligence; phenotypes; proteomics; resilience
  13. Behav Brain Funct. 2021 Jun 12. 17(1): 6
      Aging is the leading risk factor for several age-associated diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases. Understanding the biology of aging mechanisms is essential to the pursuit of brain health. In this regard, brain aging is defined by a gradual decrease in neurophysiological functions, impaired adaptive neuroplasticity, dysregulation of neuronal Ca2+ homeostasis, neuroinflammation, and oxidatively modified molecules and organelles. Numerous pathways lead to brain aging, including increased oxidative stress, inflammation, disturbances in energy metabolism such as deregulated autophagy, mitochondrial dysfunction, and IGF-1, mTOR, ROS, AMPK, SIRTs, and p53 as central modulators of the metabolic control, connecting aging to the pathways, which lead to neurodegenerative disorders. Also, calorie restriction (CR), physical exercise, and mental activities can extend lifespan and increase nervous system resistance to age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. The neuroprotective effect of CR involves increased protection against ROS generation, maintenance of cellular Ca2+ homeostasis, and inhibition of apoptosis. The recent evidence about the modem molecular and cellular methods in neurobiology to brain aging is exhibiting a significant potential in brain cells for adaptation to aging and resistance to neurodegenerative disorders.
    Keywords:  Aging; Brain; Inflammation; Oxidative stress
  14. Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 17. 11(1): 12759
      Diabetes mellitus (DM) has profound effects on the female mammalian reproductive system, and early embryonic development, reducing female reproductive outcomes and inducing developmental programming in utero. However, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined. Accumulating evidence implicates endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress with maternal DM associated pathophysiology. Yet the direct pathologies and causal events leading to ovarian dysfunction and altered early embryonic development have not been determined. Here, using an in vivo mouse model of Type 1 DM and in vitro hyperglycaemia-exposure, we demonstrate the activation of ER-stress within adult ovarian tissue and pre-implantation embryos. In diabetic ovaries, we show that the unfolded protein response (UPR) triggers an apoptotic cascade by the co-activation of Caspase 12 and Cleaved Caspase 3 transducers. Whereas DM-exposed early embryos display differential ER-associated responses; by activating Chop in within embryonic precursors and Caspase 12 within placental precursors. Our results offer new insights for understanding the pathological effects of DM on mammalian ovarian function and early embryo development, providing new evidence of its mechanistic link with ER-stress in mice.
  15. Mol Aspects Med. 2021 Jun 12. pii: S0098-2997(21)00032-7. [Epub ahead of print] 100972
      Autophagy is the process by which cells can selectively or non-selectively remove damaged proteins and organelles. As the cell's main means of sequestering damaged mitochondria for removal, mitophagy is central to cellular function and survival. Research on autophagy and mitochondrial quality control has increased exponentially in relation to the pathogenesis of numerous disease conditions, from cancer and immune diseases to chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease (PD). Understanding how components of the autophagic/mitophagic machinery are affected during disease, as well as the contextual relationship of autophagy with determining neuronal health and function, is essential to the goal of designing therapies for human disease. In this review, we will summarize key signaling molecules that consign damaged mitochondria for autophagic degradation, describe the relationship of genes linked to PD to autophagy/mitophagy dysfunction, and discuss additional roles of both mitochondrial and cytosolic pools of PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) in mitochondrial homeostasis, dendritic morphogenesis and inflammation.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Neurodegeneration; PINK1; Parkinson's disease
  16. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Jun 15. 10(12): e020216
      Background Ischemia/reperfusion injury impairs proteostasis, and triggers adaptive cellular responses, such as the unfolded protein response (UPR), which functions to restore endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis. After cardiac arrest (CA) and resuscitation, the UPR is activated in various organs including the brain. However, the role of the UPR in CA has remained largely unknown. Here we aimed to investigate effects of activation of the ATF6 (activating transcription factor 6) UPR branch in CA. Methods and Results Conditional and inducible sATF6-KI (short-form ATF6 knock-in) mice and a selective ATF6 pathway activator 147 were used. CA was induced in mice by KCl injection, followed by cardiopulmonary resuscitation. We first found that neurologic function was significantly improved, and neuronal damage was mitigated after the ATF6 pathway was activated in neurons of sATF6-KI mice subjected to CA/cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Further RNA sequencing analysis indicated that such beneficial effects were likely attributable to increased expression of pro-proteostatic genes regulated by ATF6. Especially, key components of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation process, which clears potentially toxic unfolded/misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum, were upregulated in the sATF6-KI brain. Accordingly, the CA-induced increase in K48-linked polyubiquitin in the brain was higher in sATF6-KI mice relative to control mice. Finally, CA outcome, including the survival rate, was significantly improved in mice treated with compound 147. Conclusions This is the first experimental study to determine the role of the ATF6 UPR branch in CA outcome. Our data indicate that the ATF6 UPR branch is a prosurvival pathway and may be considered as a therapeutic target for CA.
    Keywords:  ER stress; ER‐associated degradation; RNA‐Seq; brain ischemia; neuroprotection; transgenic mice
  17. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 ;13 679688
      Biological aging is a complex process featured by declined function of cells and tissues, including those of the immune system. As a consequence, aging affects the expression and development of autoantibodies and autoreactive T cells, which can be seen in their sum as the autoimmunome of an individual. In this study we analyzed whether sets of autoimmune features are associated with specific phenotypes which form autoimmunomic signatures related to age and neurodegenerative diseases. The autoantibody profile data of healthy subjects and patients from the GEO database was used to explore autoimmunomic signatures of aging and three neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Our results demonstrate that the autoimmunomic signature of aging is featured by an undulated increase of IgG autoantibodies associated with learning and behavior and a consistent increase of IgG autoantibodies related to ribosome and translation, and the autoimmunomic signature of aging are also associated with age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Intriguingly, Differential Expression-Sliding Window Analysis (DE-SWAN) identified three waves of changes of autoantibodies during aging at an age of 30, 50, and 62 years, respectively. Furthermore, IgG autoantibodies, in particular those against ribosomal proteins, could be used as prediction markers for aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, this study for the first time uncovers comprehensive autoimmunomic signatures for aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; Parkinson's disease; age-related diseases; aging; autoantibodies; autoimmunome; autoimmunomic signature; multiple sclerosis
  18. Commun Biol. 2021 Jun 14. 4(1): 736
      Aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau protein are a pathological hallmark of more than 20 distinct neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and frontotemporal dementia. While the exact mechanism of tau aggregation is unknown, the accumulation of aggregates correlates with disease progression. Here we report a genome-wide CRISPR screen to identify modulators of endogenous tau protein for the first time. Primary screens performed in SH-SY5Y cells, identified positive and negative regulators of tau protein levels. Hit validation of the top 43 candidate genes was performed using Ngn2-induced human cortical excitatory neurons. Using this approach, genes and pathways involved in modulation of endogenous tau levels were identified, including chromatin modifying enzymes, neddylation and ubiquitin pathway members, and components of the mTOR pathway. TSC1, a critical component of the mTOR pathway, was further validated in vivo, demonstrating the relevance of this screening strategy. These findings may have implications for treating neurodegenerative diseases in the future.
  19. Aging Cell. 2021 Jun;20(6): e13385
      Although it is known that aging affects neural stem progenitor cell (NSPC) biology in fundamental ways, the underlying dynamics of this process are not fully understood. Our previous work identified a specific critical period (CP) of decline in NSPC activity and function during middle age (13-15 months), and revealed the reduced expression of the redox-sensitive transcription factor, NRF2, as a key mediator of this process. Here, we investigated whether augmenting NRF2 expression could potentially mitigate the NSPC decline across the identified CP. NRF2 expression in subventricular zone (SVZ) NSPCs was upregulated via GFP tagged recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV-NRF2-eGFP), and its cellular and behavioral effects compared to animals that received control vectors (AAV-eGFP). The vectors were administered into the SVZs of aging rats, at time points either before or after the CP. Results indicate that animals that had received AAV-NRF2-eGFP, prior to the CP (11 months of age), exhibited substantially improved behavioral function (fine olfactory discrimination and motor tasks) in comparison to those receiving control viruses. Further analysis revealed that NSPC proliferation, self-renewal, neurogenesis, and migration to the olfactory bulb had significantly increased upon NRF2 upregulation. On the other hand, increasing NRF2 after the CP (at 20 months of age) produced no notable changes in NSPC activity at either cellular or behavioral levels. These results, for the first time, indicate NRF2 pathway modulation as a means to support NSPC function with age and highlight a critical time-dependency for activating NRF2 to enhance NSPC function.
    Keywords:  NRF2; aging; neural stem cells; redox; subventricular zone
  20. Chemosphere. 2021 Jun 08. pii: S0045-6535(21)01502-2. [Epub ahead of print] 131030
      In current times of global change, several sources of stress such as contaminants and high temperatures may act synergistically. The extent to which organisms persist in stressful conditions will depend on the fitness consequences of multiple simultaneously acting stressors and the genetic basis of compensatory genetic responses. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug used in livestock that is excreted in dung of treated cattle, causing severe negative consequences on non-target fauna. We evaluated the effect of a combination of heat stress and exposure to ivermectin in the yellow dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae). In a first experiment we investigated the effects of high rearing temperature on susceptibility to ivermectin, and in a second experiment we assayed flies from a latitudinal gradient to assess potential effects of local thermal adaptation on ivermectin sensitivity. The combination of heat and ivermectin synergistically reduced offspring survival, revealing severe effects of the two stressors when combined. However, latitudinal populations did not systematically vary in how ivermectin affected offspring survival, body size, development time, cold and heat tolerance. We also found very low narrow-sense heritability of ivermectin sensitivity, suggesting evolutionary constraints for responses to the combination of these stressors beyond immediate maternal or plastic effects. If the revealed patterns hold also for other invertebrates, the combination of increasing climate warming and ivermectin stress may thus have severe consequences for biodiversity. More generally, our study underlines the need for quantitative genetic analyses in understanding wildlife responses to interacting stressors that act synergistically and threat biodiversity.
    Keywords:  Cold shock; Genetic variation; GxE interactions; Heat shock; Latitude; Macrocyclic lactone
  21. Ann Anat. 2021 Jun 15. pii: S0940-9602(21)00107-2. [Epub ahead of print] 151781
      BACKGROUND: Autophagy is classified as a form of programmed cell death. Nevertheless, besides the death-inducing function, autophagy enables removal of damaged organelles, energy savings, and thus cell survival. This applies in particular to cells with poor renewal capabilities, such as chondroblasts. Autophagy is regulated by a complex molecular network, including proteases and their substrates. In autopodium, autophagy-related proteases have been examined particularly within the context of the elimination of the interdigital tissue. However, the death-inducing effects of their expression/activation have not been specified yet. This work focuses on autophagy-associated proteases (cathepsins, matrix metalloproteinases, and caspases) involved in phalangeal cartilage of the mouse autopodium.METHODS: PCR Array, Real Time PCR, and immunohistochemistry were used to follow the expression of autophagy-associated genesin vivo at two developmental stages prenatal/embryonic (E)12 vs. E14. Real Time PCR was then applied to investigate the influence of rapamycin (an inductor of autophagy) on the expression of autophagy-associated proteases in chondroblasts in vitro using micromass culture.
    RESULTS: Several proteases showed increased expression levels during the transition of pre-chondrogenic cells into chondroblastsin vivo. The most significant increases were observed for Ctsb (fold regulation 2.22), Ctsd (fold regulation 2.37), Ctss (fold regulation 2.92), Mmp9 (up to 445%), and Casp8 (up to 250%). The transition was associated also with high expression of crucial autophagic inducers, such as Atgs. The in vitro treatment of chondroblasts by autophagy inductor rapamycin showed significantly decreased expression of cathepsins, a mild increase in expression of metalloproteinases, and no effect in caspase expression.
    CONCLUSIONS: The present data provide a screening of autophagy-associated proteases accompanying the formation of cartilage in vivo and specify their expression under rapamycin treatment in vitro. Notably, the selected proteases are assigned to osteoarthritis, therefore their regulation might be used in clinically oriented studies.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cartilage; caspases; cathepsins; chondrogenesis; metalloproteinases; proteases
  22. Life Sci. 2021 Jun 15. pii: S0024-3205(21)00705-0. [Epub ahead of print] 119719
      AIMS: In an effort to gain further insight into the underlying mechanisms tied to disease onset and progression of Gulf War Illness (GWI), our team evaluated GWI patient response to stress utilizing RNA-Seq.MAIN METHODS: The protocol included blood collection before exercise challenge (baseline), at maximal exertion, and after exercise challenge (recovery - four hours post-exercise challenge). Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) transcriptomics data were analyzed to understand why GWI patients process stressors differently from their healthy counterparts.
    KEY FINDINGS: Our findings validate previously identified dysregulation of immune and inflammatory pathways among GWI patients as well as highlight novel immune and inflammatory markers of disease activity. These results provide a foundation for future research efforts in understanding GWI pathophysiology and creating targeted treatments.
    SIGNIFICANCE: Gulf War Illness is a complex, chronic, and debilitating multi-system illness impacting 25%-30% of the U.S. troops deployed to the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The condition is characterized by medically unexplained fatigue and affects multiple organ systems. Because the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown, patients receive symptom-based treatment, rather than targeting fundamental biological processes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that applies RNA-Seq to analyze the effect of GWI, and the response to stressors in GWI, on the transcriptomic changes in circulating immune cells.
    Keywords:  Exercise challenge; Gulf War Illness; RNA-seq; Transcriptomics
  23. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 684430
      Microglia, the innate immune cells of the brain, are essential for maintaining homeostasis by their ramified, highly motile processes and for orchestrating the immune response to pathological stimuli. They are implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. One commonality of these diseases is their strong correlation with aging as the highest risk factor and studying age-related alterations in microglia physiology and associated signaling mechanism is indispensable for a better understanding of age-related pathomechanisms. CD22 has been identified as a modifier of microglia phagocytosis in a recent study, but not much is known about the function of CD22 in microglia. Here we show that CD22 surface levels are upregulated in aged versus adult microglia. Furthermore, in the amyloid mouse model PS2APP, Aβ-containing microglia also exhibit increased CD22 signal. To assess the impact of CD22 blockage on microglia morphology and dynamics, we have established a protocol to image microglia process motility in acutely prepared brain slices from CX3CR1-GFP reporter mice. We observed a significant reduction of microglial ramification and surveillance capacity in brain slices from aged versus adult mice. The age-related decrease in surveillance can be restored by antibody-mediated CD22 blockage in aged mice, whereas surveillance in adult mice is not affected by CD22 inhibition. Moreover to complement the results obtained in mice, we show that human iPSC-derived macrophages exhibit an increased phagocytic capacity upon CD22 blockage. Downstream analysis of antibody-mediated CD22 inhibition revealed an influence on BMP and TGFβ associated gene networks. Our results demonstrate CD22 as a broad age-associated modulator of microglia functionality with potential implications for neurodegenerative disorders.
    Keywords:  AD (Alzheimer’s disease); CD22; aging; iPSC macrophages; microglia; phagocytosis; surveillance; two-photon imaging
  24. Eur Heart J. 2021 Jun 16. pii: ehab222. [Epub ahead of print]
      AIMS: Assessment of endothelial function in humans by measuring flow-mediated dilation (FMD) risk-stratifies individuals with established cardiovascular disease, whereas its predictive value is limited in primary prevention. We therefore aimed to establish and evaluate novel markers of FMD at the population level.METHODS AND RESULTS: In order to identify novel targets that were negatively correlated with FMD and investigate their contribution to vascular function, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 4175 participants of the population based Gutenberg Health Study. Subsequently, conditional knockout mouse models deleting the gene of interest were generated and characterized. GWAS analysis revealed that single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the tubulin-folding cofactor E (TBCE) gene were negatively correlated with endothelial function and TBCE expression. Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC)-targeted TBCE deficiency was associated with endothelial dysfunction, aortic wall hypertrophy, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated VSMC hyperproliferation in mice, paralleled by calnexin up-regulation and exacerbated by the blood pressure hormone angiotensin II. Treating SMMHC-ERT2-Cre+/-TBCEfl/fl mice with the ER stress modulator tauroursodeoxycholic acid amplified Raptor/Beclin-1-dependent autophagy and reversed vascular dysfunction.
    CONCLUSION: TBCE and tubulin homeostasis seem to be novel predictors of vascular function and offer a new drug target to ameliorate ER stress-dependent vascular dysfunction.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Endothelial function; Flow-mediated dilation; Genome-wide association study; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Tubulin-folding cofactor E; Vascular inflammation
  25. Cortex. 2021 May 25. pii: S0010-9452(21)00176-3. [Epub ahead of print]141 403-420
      Even within healthy aging, vascular risk factors can detrimentally influence cognition, with executive functions (EF) particularly vulnerable. Fronto-parietal white matter (WM) connectivity in part, supports EF and may be particularly sensitive to vascular risk. Here, we utilized structural equation modeling in 184 healthy adults (aged 20-94 years of age) to test the hypotheses that: 1) fronto-parietal WM microstructure mediates age effects on EF; 2) higher blood pressure (BP) and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden influences this association. All participants underwent comprehensive cognitive and neuropsychological testing including tests of processing speed, executive function (with a focus on tasks that require switching and inhibition) and completed an MRI scanning session that included FLAIR imaging for semi-automated quantification of white matter hyperintensity burden and diffusion-weighted imaging for tractography. Structural equation models were specified with age (as a continuous variable) and blood pressure predicting within-tract WMH burden and fractional anisotropy predicting executive function and processing speed. Results indicated that fronto-parietal white matter of the genu of the corpus collosum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and the inferior frontal occipital fasciculus (but not cortico-spinal tract) mediated the association between age and EF. Additionally, increased systolic blood pressure and white matter hyperintensity burden within these white matter tracts contribute to worsening white matter health and are important factors underlying age-brain-behavior associations. These findings suggest that aging brings about increases in both BP and WMH burden, which may be involved in the degradation of white matter connectivity and in turn, negatively impact executive functions as we age.
    Keywords:  Aging; Diffusion weighted imaging; Executive function; Structural equation modeling; Vascular risk factors; White matter hyperintensities
  26. Exp Eye Res. 2021 Jun 10. pii: S0014-4835(21)00229-3. [Epub ahead of print] 108663
      Age is a major risk factor for cataract (ARC). However, the influence of aging on the lens transcriptome is under studied. Lens epithelial (LEC) and fiber cells (LFC) were isolated from young (3 month) and aged (24 month) old C57BL/6J mice, and the transcriptome elucidated via RNAseq. EdgeR estimated differential gene expression in pairwise contrasts, and Advaita's Ipathway guide and custom R scripts were used to evaluate the potential biological significance of differentially expressed genes (DEGs). This analysis revealed age-dependent decreases in lens differentiation marker expression in both LECs and LFCs, with gamma crystallin transcripts downregulating nearly 50 fold in aged LFCs. The expression of the transcription factors Hsf4 and Maf, which are known to activate lens fiber cell preferred genes, are downregulated, while FoxE3, which represses gamma crystallin expression, is upregulated in aged fibers. Aged LECs upregulate genes controlling the immune response, complement pathways, and cellular stress responses, including glutathione peroxidase 3 (Gpx3). Aged LFCs exhibit broad changes in the expression of genes regulating cell communication, and upregulate genes involved in antigen processing/presentation and cholesterol metabolism, while changes in the expression of mitochondrial respiratory chain genes are consistent with mitochondrial stress, including upregulation of NDufa4l2, which encodes an alternate electron transport chain protein. However, age did not profoundly affect the response of LECs to injury as both young and aged LECs upregulate inflammatory gene signatures at 24 h post injury to similar extents. These RNAseq profiles provide a rich data set that can be mined to understand the genetic regulation of lens aging and how this impinges on the pathophysiology of age related cataract.
    Keywords:  Aging; Cholestero; Complement pathways; Lens; Metabolism; Posterior capsular opacification; Senescence; Transcriptome
  27. Front Microbiol. 2021 ;12 670874
      Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) can be induced when cellular protein homeostasis is damaged, and cells can activate the unfolded protein response (UPR) to restore protein homeostasis or induce cell death to facilitate the survival of the whole system. Globally, parasites are a constant threat to human health and are therefore considered a serious public health problem. Parasitic infection can cause ER stress in host cells, and parasites also possess part or all of the UPR under ER stress conditions. In this review, we aim to clarify the role of ER stress pathways and related molecules in parasites for their survival and development, the pathogenesis of parasitosis in hosts, and the artemisinin resistance of Plasmodium, which provides some potential drug design targets to inhibit survival of parasites, relieves pathological damage of parasitosis, and solves the problem of artemisinin resistance.
    Keywords:  drug resistance; drug targets; endoplasmic reticulum stress; parasite; parasitosis
  28. Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 24. pii: S0006-3223(21)01178-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Obstructive sleep apnea, characterized by sleep fragmentation and chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression. Recent epidemiological studies point to CIH as the best predictor of developing cognitive decline and AD in older adults with obstructive sleep apnea. However, the precise underlying mechanisms remain unknown. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of CIH on pathological human tau seeding, propagation, and accumulation; cognition; synaptic plasticity; neuronal network excitability; and gene expression profiles in a P301S human mutant tau mouse model of AD and related tauopathies.METHODS: We exposed 4- to 4.5-month-old male P301S and wild-type mice to an 8-week CIH protocol (6-min cycle: 21% O2 to 8% O2 to 21% O2, 80 cycles per 8 hours during daytime) and assessed its effect on tau pathology and various AD-related phenotypic and molecular signatures. Age- and sex-matched P301S and wild-type mice were reared in normoxia (21% O2) as experimental controls.
    RESULTS: CIH significantly enhanced pathological human tau seeding and spread across connected brain circuitry in P301S mice; it also increased phosphorylated tau load. CIH also exacerbated memory and synaptic plasticity deficits in P301S mice. However, CIH had no effect on seizure susceptibility and network hyperexcitability in these mice. Finally, CIH exacerbated AD-related pathogenic molecular signaling in P301S mice.
    CONCLUSIONS: CIH-induced increase in pathologic human tau seeding and spread and exacerbation of other AD-related impairments provide new insights into the role of CIH and obstructive sleep apnea in AD pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Chronic intermittent hypoxia; Cognition; Molecular signatures; Synaptic plasticity; Tau
  29. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jun 22. pii: e2104944118. [Epub ahead of print]118(25):
      Wnt5a-Ror signaling is a conserved pathway that regulates morphogenetic processes during vertebrate development [R. T. Moon et al, Development 119, 97-111 (1993); I. Oishi et al, Genes Cells 8, 645-654 (2003)], but its downstream signaling events remain poorly understood. Through a large-scale proteomic screen in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase Pdzrn3 as a regulatory target of the Wnt5a-Ror pathway. Upon pathway activation, Pdzrn3 is degraded in a β-catenin-independent, ubiquitin-proteasome system-dependent manner. We developed a flow cytometry-based reporter to monitor Pdzrn3 abundance and delineated a signaling cascade involving Frizzled, Dishevelled, Casein kinase 1, and Glycogen synthase kinase 3 that regulates Pdzrn3 stability. Epistatically, Pdzrn3 is regulated independently of Kif26b, another Wnt5a-Ror effector. Wnt5a-dependent degradation of Pdzrn3 requires phosphorylation of three conserved amino acids within its C-terminal LNX3H domain [M. Flynn, O. Saha, P. Young, BMC Evol. Biol. 11, 235 (2011)], which acts as a bona fide Wnt5a-responsive element. Importantly, this phospho-dependent degradation is essential for Wnt5a-Ror modulation of cell migration. Collectively, this work establishes a Wnt5a-Ror cell morphogenetic cascade involving Pdzrn3 phosphorylation and degradation.
    Keywords:  Pdzrn3; Ror1; Ror2; Wnt5a
  30. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Jun 15. pii: S0969-9961(21)00175-3. [Epub ahead of print] 105426
      LRRK2 is a highly phosphorylated multidomain protein and mutations in the gene encoding LRRK2 are a major genetic determinant of Parkinson's disease (PD). Dephosphorylation at LRRK2's S910/S935/S955/S973 phosphosite cluster is observed in several conditions including in sporadic PD brain, in several disease mutant forms of LRRK2 and after pharmacological LRRK2 kinase inhibition. However, the mechanism of LRRK2 dephosphorylation is poorly understood. We performed a phosphatome-wide reverse genetics screen to identify phosphatases involved in the dephosphorylation of the LRRK2 phosphosite S935. Candidate phosphatases selected from the primary screen were tested in mammalian cells, Xenopus oocytes and in vitro. Effects of PP2A on endogenous LRRK2 phosphorylation were examined via expression modulation with CRISPR/dCas9. Our screening revealed LRRK2 phosphorylation regulators linked to the PP1 and PP2A holoenzyme complexes as well as CDC25 phosphatases. We showed that dephosphorylation induced by different kinase inhibitor triggered relocalisation of phosphatases PP1 and PP2A in LRRK2 subcellular compartments in HEK-293 T cells. We also demonstrated that LRRK2 is an authentic substrate of PP2A both in vitro and in Xenopus oocytes. We singled out the PP2A holoenzyme PPP2CA:PPP2R2 as a powerful phosphoregulator of pS935-LRRK2. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this specific PP2A holoenzyme induces LRRK2 relocalization and triggers LRRK2 ubiquitination, suggesting its involvement in LRRK2 clearance. The identification of the PPP2CA:PPP2R2 complex regulating LRRK2 S910/S935/S955/S973 phosphorylation paves the way for studies refining PD therapeutic strategies that impact LRRK2 phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  CRISPRi; LRRK2; PP2A; Parkinson's disease; Phosphatases; Phosphorylation; Ubiquitination
  31. Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 15. 11(1): 12574
      Human neutrophils constitutively express high amounts of arginase-1, which depletes arginine from the surrounding medium and downregulates T-cell activation. Here, we have found that neutrophil arginase-1, released from activated human neutrophils or dead cells, induced apoptosis in cancer cells through an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway. Silencing of PERK in cancer cells prevented the induction of ER stress and apoptosis. Arginase inhibitor Nω-hydroxy-nor-arginine inhibited apoptosis and ER stress response induced by conditioned medium from activated neutrophils. A number of tumor cell lines, derived from different tissues, were sensitive to neutrophil arginase-1, with pancreatic, breast, ovarian and lung cancer cells showing the highest sensitivity. Neutrophil-released arginase-1 and arginine deprivation potentiated the antitumor action against pancreatic cancer cells of the ER-targeted antitumor alkylphospholipid analog edelfosine. Our study demonstrates the involvement of neutrophil arginase-1 in cancer cell killing and highlights the importance and complex role of neutrophils in tumor surveillance and biology.
  32. Elife. 2021 Jun 18. pii: e61407. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Caveolae-associated protein 3 (cavin3) is inactivated in most cancers. We characterized how cavin3 affects the cellular proteome using genome-edited cells together with label-free quantitative proteomics. These studies revealed a prominent role for cavin3 in DNA repair, with BRCA1 and BRCA1 A-complex components being downregulated on cavin3 deletion. Cellular and cell-free expression assays revealed a direct interaction between BRCA1 and cavin3 that occurs when cavin3 is released from caveolae that are disassembled in response to UV and mechanical stress. Overexpression and RNAi-depletion revealed that cavin3 sensitized various cancer cells to UV-induced apoptosis. Supporting a role in DNA repair, cavin3-deficient cells were sensitive to PARP inhibition, where concomitant depletion of 53BP1 restored BRCA1-dependent sensitivity to PARP inhibition. We conclude that cavin3 functions together with BRCA1 in multiple cancer-related pathways. The loss of cavin3 function may provide tumor cell survival by attenuating apoptotic sensitivity and hindering DNA repair under chronic stress conditions.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; cell biology
  33. Front Plant Sci. 2021 ;12 660446
      Recent weather fluctuations imposing heat stress at the time of wheat grain filling cause frequent losses in grain yield and quality. Field-based studies for understanding the effect of terminal heat stress on wheat are complicated by the effect of multiple confounding variables. In the present study, the effect of day and day-night combined heat stresses during the grain-filling stage was studied using gene expression and proteomics approaches. The gene expression analysis was performed by using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). The expression of genes related to the starch biosynthetic pathway, starch transporters, transcription factors, and stress-responsive and storage proteins, at four different grain developmental stages, indicated the involvement of multiple pathways. Under the controlled conditions, their expression was observed until 28 days after anthesis (DAA). However, under the day stress and day-night stress, the expression of genes was initiated earlier and was observed until 14 DAA and 7 DAA, respectively. The protein profiles generated using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS/MS) showed a differential expression of the proteins belonging to multiple pathways that included the upregulation of proteins related to the translation, gliadins, and low-molecular-weight (LMW) glutenins and the downregulation of proteins related to the glycolysis, photosynthesis, defense, and high-molecular-weight (HMW) glutenins. Overall, the defense response to the day heat stress caused early gene expression and day-night heat stress caused suppression of gene expression by activating multiple pathways, which ultimately led to the reduction in grain-filling duration, grain weight, yield, and processing quality.
    Keywords:  2D-PAGE; MALDI–TOF; gene expression; heat stress; wheat grain
  34. Nat Commun. 2021 06 17. 12(1): 3679
      Following implantation, the human embryo undergoes major morphogenetic transformations that establish the future body plan. While the molecular events underpinning this process are established in mice, they remain unknown in humans. Here we characterise key events of human embryo morphogenesis, in the period between implantation and gastrulation, using single-cell analyses and functional studies. First, the embryonic epiblast cells transition through different pluripotent states and act as a source of FGF signals that ensure proliferation of both embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues. In a subset of embryos, we identify a group of asymmetrically positioned extra-embryonic hypoblast cells expressing inhibitors of BMP, NODAL and WNT signalling pathways. We suggest that this group of cells can act as the anterior singalling centre to pattern the epiblast. These results provide insights into pluripotency state transitions, the role of FGF signalling and the specification of anterior-posterior axis during human embryo development.
  35. J Mol Biol. 2021 Jun 14. pii: S0022-2836(21)00327-2. [Epub ahead of print] 167103
      The synthesis, folding, and function of membrane transport proteins are critical factors for defining cellular physiology. Since the stability of these proteins evolved amidst the lipid bilayer, it is no surprise that we are finding that many of these membrane proteins demonstrate coupling of their structure or activity in some way to the membrane. More and more transporter structures are being determined with some information about the surrounding membrane, and computational modeling is providing further molecular details about these solvation structures. Thus, the field is moving towards identifying which molecular mechanisms - lipid interactions, membrane perturbations, differential solvation, and bulk membrane effects, are involved in linking membrane energetics to transporter stability and function. In this review, we present an overview of these mechanisms and the growing evidence that the lipid bilayer is a major determinant of the fold, form, and function of membrane transport proteins in membranes.
    Keywords:  folding; function; lipid bilayer; membrane; oligomerization; transporter
  36. Med Hypotheses. 2021 Jun 15. pii: S0306-9877(21)00142-0. [Epub ahead of print]153 110623
    Keywords:  Abnormal protein; Alzheimer; Neurodegenerative disease; Regenerative medicine; Stem cell