bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒01‒10
twelve papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba


  1. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Jan 04.
    Moncan M, Mnich K, Blomme A, Almanza A, Samali A, Gorman AM.
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the site of protein folding and secretion, Ca2+ storage and lipid synthesis in eukaryotic cells. Disruption to protein folding or Ca2+ homeostasis in the ER leads to the accumulation of unfolded proteins, a condition known as ER stress. This leads to activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway in order to restore protein homeostasis. Three ER membrane proteins, namely inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1), protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK) and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), sense the accumulation of unfolded/misfolded proteins and are activated, initiating an integrated transcriptional programme. Recent literature demonstrates that activation of these sensors can alter lipid enzymes, thus implicating the UPR in the regulation of lipid metabolism. Given the presence of ER stress and UPR activation in several diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as the growing recognition of altered lipid metabolism in disease, it is timely to consider the role of the UPR in the regulation of lipid metabolism. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge on the impact of the three arms of the UPR on the synthesis, function and regulation of fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids and cholesterol.
    Keywords:  PRKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase; activating transcription factor 6; cholesterol; endoplasmic reticulum; fatty acid; inositol-requiring enzyme 1; lipid metabolism; phospholipid; triglyceride; unfolded protein response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.16255
  2. FEBS J. 2021 Jan 06.
    Borrello MT, Santofimia-Castaño P, Bocchio M, Listi A, Fraunhoffer N, Soubeyran P, Chevet E, Pin C, Iovanna J.
      NUPR1 is a stress response protein overexpressed upon cell injury in virtually all organs including the exocrine pancreas. Despite NUPR1's well established role in the response to cell stress, the molecular and structural machineries triggered by NUPR1 activation remain largely debated. In this study, we uncover a new role for NUPR1, participating in the unfolded protein response (UPR) and the integrated stress response (ISR). Biochemical results and ultrastructural morphological observations revealed alterations in the UPR of acinar cells of germline-deleted NUPR1 murine models, consistent with the inability to restore general protein synthesis after stress induction. Bioinformatic analysis of NUPR1-interacting partners showed significant enrichment in translation initiation factors, including eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 2α. Co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays confirmed interaction between NUPR1 and eIF2α and its phosphorylated form (p-eIF2α). Furthermore, our data suggests loss of NUPR1 in cells results in maintained eIF2α phosphorylation and evaluation of nascent proteins by click chemistry revealed that NUPR1-depleted PANC-1 cells displayed a slower post stress protein synthesis recovery when compared to wild-type. Combined, this data proposes a novel role for NUPR1 in the integrated stress response pathway, at least partially through promoting efficient PERK-branch activity and resolution through a unique interaction with eIF2α.
    Keywords:  ER-stress; NUPR1; Unfolded Protein Response; eIF2α; protein translation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.15700
  3. Cell Microbiol. 2021 Jan 05.
    Sircaik S, Román E, Bapat P, Lee KK, Andes DR, Gow NAR, Nobile CJ, Pla J, Panwar SL.
      The unfolded protein response (UPR), crucial for the maintenance of ER homeostasis, is tied to the regulation of multiple cellular processes in pathogenic fungi. Here we show that C. albicans relies on an ER-resident protein, inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (Ire1) for sensing ER stress and activating the UPR. Compromised Ire1 function impacts cellular processes that are dependent on functional secretory homeostasis, as inferred from transcriptional profiling. Concordantly, an Ire1 mutant strain exhibits pleiotropic roles in ER stress response, antifungal tolerance, cell wall regulation and virulence-related traits. Hac1 is the downstream target of C. albicans Ire1 as it initiates the unconventional splicing of the 19 bp intron from HAC1 mRNA during tunicamycin-induced ER stress. Ire1 also activates the UPR in response to perturbations in cell wall integrity and cell membrane homeostasis in a manner that does not necessitate the splicing of HAC1 mRNA. Furthermore, the Ire1 mutant strain was severely defective in hyphal morphogenesis and biofilm formation as well as in establishing a successful infection in vivo. Together, these findings demonstrate that C. albicans Ire1 functions to regulate traits that are essential for virulence and suggests its importance in responding to multiple stresses, thus integrating various stress signals to maintain ER homeostasis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/cmi.13307
  4. Life (Basel). 2021 Jan 06. pii: E30. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
    Read DE, Gupta A, Cawley K, Fontana L, Agostinis P, Samali A, Gupta S.
      An important event in the unfolded protein response (UPR) is activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase PERK. The PERK signalling branch initially mediates a prosurvival response, which progresses to a proapoptotic response upon prolonged ER stress. However, the molecular mechanisms of PERK-mediated cell death are not well understood. Here we show that expression of the primary miR-17-92 transcript and mature miRNAs belonging to the miR-17-92 cluster are decreased during UPR. We found that miR-17-92 promoter reporter activity was reduced during UPR in a PERK-dependent manner. Furthermore, we show that activity of the miR-17-92 promoter is repressed by ectopic expression of ATF4 and NRF2. Promoter deletion analysis mapped the region responding to UPR-mediated repression to a site in the proximal region of the miR-17-92 promoter. Hypericin-mediated photo-oxidative ER damage reduced the expression of miRNAs belonging to the miR-17-92 cluster in wild-type but not in PERK-deficient cells. Importantly, ER stress-induced apoptosis was inhibited upon miR-17-92 overexpression in SH-SY5Y and H9c2 cells. Our results reveal a novel function for ATF4 and NRF2, where repression of the miR-17-92 cluster plays an important role in ER stress-mediated apoptosis. Mechanistic details are provided for the potentiation of cell death via sustained PERK signalling mediated repression of the miR-17-92 cluster.
    Keywords:  ATF4; CHOP; ER stress; NRF2; apoptosis; miR-17-92; microRNAs; unfolded protein response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010030
  5. Mol Hum Reprod. 2021 Jan 07. pii: gaaa088. [Epub ahead of print]
    Harada M, Takahashi N, Azhary JMK, Kunitomi C, Fujii T, Osuga Y.
      Intra-ovarian local factors regulate the follicular microenvironment in coordination with gonadotrophins, thus playing a crucial role in ovarian physiology as well as pathological states such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). One recently recognized local factor is endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which involves the accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the ER related to various physiological and pathological conditions that increase the demand for protein folding or attenuate the protein-folding capacity of the organelle. ER stress results in activation of several signal transduction cascades, collectively termed the unfolded protein response (UPR), which affect a wide variety of cellular functions. Recent studies have revealed diverse roles of ER stress in physiological and pathological conditions in the ovary. In this review, we summarize the most current knowledge of the regulatory roles of ER stress in the ovary, in the context of reproduction. The physiological roles of ER stress and the UPR in the ovary remain largely undetermined. On the other hand, activation of ER stress is known to impair follicular and oocyte health in various pathological conditions; moreover, ER stress also contributes to the pathogenesis of several ovarian diseases, including PCOS. Finally, we discuss the potential of ER stress as a novel therapeutic target. Inhibition of ER stress or UPR activation, by treatment with existing chemical chaperones, lifestyle intervention, or the development of small molecules that target the UPR, represents a promising therapeutic strategy.
    Keywords:  endometriosis; endoplasmic reticulum stress; follicular microenvironment; granulosa cell; inflammation; oocyte; ovary; oxidative stress; polycystic ovary syndrome; unfolded protein response
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gaaa088
  6. J Mol Med (Berl). 2021 Jan 07.
    Huang H, Zhu X, Cheng H, Kuang X, Long C, Deng X, Zou Y, Zhang H, Xing Y, Ling X, Wang R, Tang H, Du H, Shi K, Wang L, Yan J, Shen H.
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a common threat to photoreceptors during the pathogenesis of chronic retinopathies and often results in irreversible visual impairment. 2,3,5,6-Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP), which possesses many beneficial pharmacological activities, is a potential drug that could be used to protect photoreceptors. In the present study, we found that the cellular growth rate of 661 W cells cultured under low glucose conditions was lower than that of control cells, while the G2/M phase of the cell cycle was longer. We further found that the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) was lower and that ER stress factor expression was increased in 661 W cells cultured under low glucose conditions. TMP reversed these trends. Visual function and cell counts in the outer nuclear layer (ONL) were low and the TUNEL-positive rate in the ONL was high in a C3H mouse model of spontaneous retinal degeneration. Similarly, visual function was decreased, and the TUNEL-positive rate in the ONL was increased in fasted C57/BL6j mice compared with control mice. On the other hand, ER stress factor expression was found to be increased in the retinas of both mouse models, as shown by reverse transcription real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) and western blotting. TMP reversed the physiological and molecular biological variations observed in both mouse models, and ATF4 expression was enhanced again. Further investigation by using western blotting illustrated that the proportion of insoluble prion protein (PRP) versus soluble PRP was reduced both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these results suggest that TMP increased the functions of photoreceptors by alleviating ER stress in vitro and in vivo, and the intrinsic mechanism was the ATF4-mediated inhibition of PRP aggregation. TMP may potentially be used clinically as a therapeutic agent to attenuate the functional loss of photoreceptors during the pathogenesis of chronic retinopathies. KEY MESSAGES: • Already known: TMP is a beneficial drug mainly used in clinic to enhance organ functions, and the intrinsic mechanism is still worthy of exploring. • New in the study: We discovered that TMP ameliorated retinal photoreceptors function via ER stress alleviation, which was promoted by ATF4-mediated inhibition of PRP aggregation. • Application prospect: In prospective clinical practices, TMP may potentially be used in the clinic as a therapeutic agent to attenuate the photoreceptors functional reduction in chronic retinopathies.
    Keywords:  2,3,5,6-Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP); Activating transcription factor-4 (ATF4); Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress; Prion protein (PRP) aggregation; Retinal photoreceptors
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00109-020-02017-3
  7. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Jan 03.
    Zheng Y, Zhou Q, Zhao C, Li J, Yu Z, Zhu Q.
      ATP citrate lyase (ACLY), a key enzyme in the metabolic reprogramming of many cancers, is widely expressed in various mammalian tissues. This study aimed to evaluate the effects and mechanisms of ACLY and its inhibitor BMS-303141 on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, ACLY was highly expressed in HCC tissues, especially in HepG2 and Huh7 cells, but was down-regulated in Hep3B and HCC-LM3 cells. Besides, ACLY knockdown inhibited HepG2 proliferation and clone formation, while opposite result was noticed in HCC-LM3 cells with ACLY overexpression. Moreover, ACLY knockdown impeded the migration and invasion abilities of HepG2 cells. Similarly, BMS-303141 suppressed HepG2 and Huh-7 cell proliferation. The p-eIF2α, ATF4, CHOP p-IRE1α, sXBP1 and p-PERK were activated in HepG2 cells stimulated by BMS-303141. In cells where ER stress was induced, ATF4 was involved in BMS-303141-mediated cell death procession, and ATF4 knockdown reduced HCC cell apoptosis stimulated by BMS-303141. In a mouse xenograft model, combined treatment with BMS-303141 and sorafenib reduced HepG2 tumour volume and weight. In addition, ACLY expression was associated with HCC metastasis and tumour-node-metastases staging. Survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression model showed that overall survival was lower in HCC patients with high ACLY expression; AFP level, TNM staging, tumour size and ACLY expression level were independent risk factors affecting their overall survival. In conclusion, ACLY might represent a promising target in which BMS-303141 could induce ER stress and activate p-eIF2α/ATF4/CHOP axis to promote apoptosis of HCC cells, and synergized with sorafenib to enhance the efficacy of HCC treatment.
    Keywords:  ACLY inhibitor BMS-303141; ATP citrate lyase; endoplasmic reticulum stress; hepatocellular carcinoma; sorafenib
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.16235
  8. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 602307
    Zhou R, Ma Y, Tao Z, Qiu S, Gong Z, Tao L, Zhu Y.
      Osteoporosis is a common disease resulting in deteriorated microarchitecture and decreased bone mass. In type 2 diabetes patients, the incidence of osteoporosis is significantly higher accompanied by increased apoptosis of osteoblasts. In this study, using the osteoblastic cell line MC3T3-E1, we show that high glucose reduces cell viability and induces apoptosis. Also, high glucose leads to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (ERS) via an increase in calcium flux and upregulation of the ER chaperone binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP). Moreover, it induces post-translational activation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α) which functions downstream of PKR-like ER kinase (PERK). This subsequently leads to post-translational activation of the transcription factor 4 (ATF4) and upregulation of C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP) which is an ER stress-induced regulator of apoptosis, as well as downstream effectors DNAJC3, HYOU1, and CALR. Interestingly, melatonin treatment significantly alleviates the high-glucose induced changes in cell growth, apoptosis, and calcium influx by inhibiting the PERK-eIF2α-ATF4-CHOP signaling pathway. Additionally, the MC3T3-E1 cells engineered to express a phosphodead eIF2α mutant did not show high glucose induced ER stress, confirming that melatonin protects osteoblasts against high-glucose induced changes by decreasing ER-stress induced apoptosis by impacting the PERK-eIF2α-ATF4-CHOP signaling pathway. The protective of melatonin against high glucose-induced ER stress and apoptosis was attenuated when the cells were pre-treated with a melatonin receptor antagonist, indicating that the effect of melatonin was mediated via the melatonin receptors in this context. These findings lay the provide mechanistic insights of melatonin's protective action on osteoblasts and will be potentially be useful in ongoing pre-clinical and clinical studies to evaluate melatonin as a therapeutic option for diabetic osteoporosis.
    Keywords:  PERK-eIF2a-ATF4; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum stress; melatonin; osteoblast
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.602307
  9. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Jan 06. pii: E62. [Epub ahead of print]10(1):
    An MY, Lee SR, Hwang HJ, Yoon JG, Lee HJ, Cho JA.
      The excessive release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can result in the development of chronic inflammation. The mechanisms involved in inflammation are various, with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress known to be among them. We have previously shown that black ginseng (BG) reduced lipid accumulation in and enhanced the antioxidant function of the liver in vitro and in vivo mostly due to ginsenoside Rb1, Rg3 and Rk1 components. Therefore, this study investigated the antioxidant effect of BG on the intestines and its possible mechanistic pathway through ER stress. The results showed that BG extract decreased ROS and nitric oxide (NO) production and reduced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression levels in vitro, and these results were confirmed by zebrafish embryos in vivo. However, this phenotype was abolished in the absence of inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1α) but not in the absence of protein kinase RNA (PKR)-like ER-resistant kinase (PERK) or X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) in the mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) knockout (KO) cells, suggesting that BG elicits an antioxidant effect in an IRE1α-dependent manner. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects were assessed in the liver and intestines of the mouse model affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which was induced by a high-fat/high-fructose diet. In the liver, BG treatment rescued NAFLD-induced glutathione (GSH), catalase (CAT), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL)-6 expression. In the intestines, BG also rescued NAFLD-induced shortened villi, inflammatory immune cell infiltration, upregulated IL-6, cytosine-cytosine-adenosine-adenosine-thymidine (CCAAT)/enhancer-binding homologous protein (CHOP) and binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP) expression. In conclusion, our results show that BG reduces ROS and NO production followed by inflammation in an IRE1α-dependent and XBP1-independent manner. The results suggest that BG provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects through an ER stress mechanism.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Korean black ginseng; anti-inflammatory; antioxidant
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10010062
  10. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Jan 08.
    Thomson S, Waters KA, Machaalani R.
      Low orexin levels in the hypothalamus, and abnormal brainstem expression levels of many neurotransmitter and receptor systems in infants who died suddenly during a sleep period and diagnosed as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), may be linked to abnormal protein unfolding. We studied neuronal expression of the three unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways in the human infant brainstem, hypothalamus, and cerebellum: activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), phosphorylated inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1), and phosphorylated protein-kinase (PKR)-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase (pPERK). Percentages of positively stained neurons were examined via immunohistochemistry and compared between SIDS (n = 28) and non-SIDS (n = 12) infant deaths. Further analysis determined the effects of the SIDS risk factors including cigarette smoke exposure, bed-sharing, prone sleeping, and an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Compared to non-SIDS, SIDS infants had higher ATF6 in the inferior olivary and hypoglossal nuclei of the medulla, higher pIRE1 in the dentate nucleus of the cerebellum, and higher pPERK in the cuneate nucleus and hypothalamus. Infants who were found prone had higher ATF6 in the hypoglossal and the locus coeruleus of the pons. Infants exposed to cigarette smoke had higher ATF6 in the vestibular and cuneate nuclei of the medulla. Infants who were bed-sharing had higher pPERK in the dorsal raphe nuclei of the pons and the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. This study indicates that subgroups of SIDS infants, defined by risk exposure, had activation of the UPR in several nuclei relating to proprioception and motor control, suggesting that the UPR underlies the neuroreceptor system changes responsible for these physiological functions, leading to compromise in the pathogenesis of SIDS.
    Keywords:  ATF6; Arousal; Brainstem; ER stress; IRE1; PPERK
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-020-02244-2
  11. BMC Cancer. 2021 Jan 07. 21(1): 33
    Hong X, Li ZX, Hou J, Zhang HY, Zhang CY, Zhang J, Sun H, Pang LH, Wang T, Deng ZH.
      BACKGROUND: Anterior gradient-2 (AGR2) is a proto-oncogene involved in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. AGR2, predominantly localized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is also a secreted protein detected in the extracellular compartment in multiple cancers. However, the biological functions of intracellular and extracellular AGR2 remain to be elucidated.METHODS: Based on the biochemical structure of AGR2 protein, PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells stably expressing ER-resident or secreted AGR2 were generated by a lentivirus-mediated stable overexpression system. The capacities of cell proliferation, migration, invasion and survival were assessed in PANC-1 stable cells. Moreover, EGFR expression and activation were determined to explore the possible mechanism of AGR2 roles in pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis.
    RESULTS: It was discovered that secreted AGR2, but not ER-resident AGR2, promotes cell proliferation, migration and invasion of PANC-1 cells. Moreover, the data indicated that both the ER-resident and the secreted AGR2 enhance the survival capacity of PANC-1 cells after tunicamycin-induced ER stress and gemcitabine treatment. However, EGFR expression and activation were not found to be involved in AGR2-dependent oncogenic phenotypes in PANC-1 cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Secreted AGR2 is predominantly involved in cell proliferation, migration and invasion in PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells. Both secreted and ER-resident AGR2 contribute to the survival of PANC-1 cells under the challenging conditions. These findings provide insight into how different localizations of AGR2 have contributed to pancreatic cancer growth, metastasis, and drug sensitivity.
    Keywords:  AGR2; Drug sensitivity; ER stress; Pancreatic cancer
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-07743-y
  12. Anticancer Res. 2021 Jan;41(1): 91-99
    Kawabata S, Connis N, Gills JJ, Hann CL, Dennis PA.
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is aggressive and confers poor prognosis. Although SCLC shows more response to chemotherapy than other types of lung cancer, it is difficult to cure because of its frequent recurrence. New drugs and molecular targets need to be identified.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated the effect of nelfinavir, an HIV protease inhibitor, on SCLC cells and in preclinical treatment studies using SCLC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models.
    RESULTS: Nelfinavir inhibited SCLC cell proliferation and induced cell death in vitro, which was caused by induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR), inhibition of mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation, and reduction in the expression of SCLC-related molecules such as achaete-scute homolog 1 (ASCL1). In vivo, nelfinavir inhibited the growth of SCLC PDX tumors, which correlated with the induction of UPR and reduced expression of ASCL1.
    CONCLUSION: Nelfinavir is highly effective in SCLC in vitro and in vivo, suggesting possible incorporation of nelfinavir into clinical trials for patients with SCLC.
    Keywords:  Small-cell lung cancer; nelfinavir; patient-derived xenograft tumors
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.21873/anticanres.14754