bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒03‒28
thirteen papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba

  1. Elife. 2021 Mar 24. pii: e59687. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria form close physical associations to facilitate calcium transfer, thereby regulating mitochondrial function. Neurons with high metabolic demands, such as sensory hair cells, are especially dependent on precisely regulated ER-mitochondria associations. We previously showed that the secreted metalloprotease Pregnancy associated plasma protein-aa (Pappaa) regulates mitochondrial function in zebrafish lateral line hair cells (Alassaf et al., 2019). Here, we show that pappaa mutant hair cells exhibit excessive and abnormally close ER-mitochondria associations, suggesting increased ER-mitochondria calcium transfer. pappaa mutant hair cells are more vulnerable to pharmacological induction of ER-calcium transfer. Additionally, pappaa mutant hair cells display ER stress and dysfunctional downstream processes of the ER-mitochondria axis including altered mitochondrial morphology and reduced autophagy. We further show that Pappaa influences ER-calcium transfer and autophagy via its ability to stimulate insulin-like growth factor-1 bioavailability. Together our results identify Pappaa as a novel regulator of the ER-mitochondria axis.
    Keywords:  cell biology; neuroscience; zebrafish
  2. Dev Cell. 2021 Mar 19. pii: S1534-5807(21)00202-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      ER-phagy, literally endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-eating, defines the constitutive or regulated clearance of ER portions within metazoan endolysosomes or yeast and plant vacuoles. The advent of electron microscopy led to the first observations of ER-phagy over 60 years ago, but only recently, with the discovery of a set of regulatory proteins named ER-phagy receptors, has it been dissected mechanistically. ER-phagy receptors are activated by a variety of pleiotropic and ER-centric stimuli. They promote ER fragmentation and engage luminal, membrane-bound, and cytosolic factors, eventually driving lysosomal clearance of select ER domains along with their content. After short historical notes, this review introduces the concept of ER-phagy responses (ERPRs). ERPRs ensure lysosomal clearance of ER portions expendable during nutrient shortage, nonfunctional, present in excess, or containing misfolded proteins. They cooperate with unfolded protein responses (UPRs) and with ER-associated degradation (ERAD) in determining ER size, function, and homeostasis.
    Keywords:  ER-associated degradation (ERAD); ER-phagy; ER-phagy response (ERPR); ER-to-lysosome-associated; autophagosome; autophagy; degradation (ERLAD); endolysosome; lysosome; recov-ER-phagy; unfolded proteins response (UPR); vacuole
  3. J Transl Med. 2021 Mar 21. 19(1): 118
      Glucose-regulating protein 78 (GRP78) is a molecular chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that promotes folding and assembly of proteins, controls the quality of proteins, and regulates ER stress signaling through Ca2+ binding to the ER. In tumors, GRP78 is often upregulated, acting as a central stress sensor that senses and adapts to changes in the tumor microenvironment, mediating ER stress of cancer cells under various stimulations of the microenvironment to trigger the folding protein response. Increasing evidence has shown that GRP78 is closely associated with the progression and poor prognosis of lung cancer, and plays an important role in the treatment of lung cancer. Herein, we reviewed for the first time the functions and mechanisms of GRP78 in the pathological processes of lung cancer, including tumorigenesis, apoptosis, autophagy, progression, and drug resistance, giving a comprehensive understanding of the function of GRP78 in lung cancer. In addition, we also discussed the potential role of GRP78 as a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for lung cancer, which is conducive to improving the assessment of lung cancer and the development of new therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Endoplasmic reticulum; GRP78; Lung cancer; Unfolded protein response (UPR)
  4. J Virol. 2021 Mar 24. pii: JVI.00453-21. [Epub ahead of print]
      Influenza A viruses (IAVs) utilize host shutoff mechanisms to limit antiviral gene expression and redirect translation machinery to the synthesis of viral proteins. Previously, we showed that IAV replication is sensitive to protein synthesis inhibitors that block translation initiation and induce formation of cytoplasmic condensates of untranslated messenger ribonucleoprotein complexes called stress granules (SGs). In this study, using an image-based high-content screen, we identified two thiopurines, 6-thioguanine (6-TG) and 6-thioguanosine (6-TGo), that triggered SG formation in IAV-infected cells and blocked IAV replication in a dose-dependent manner without eliciting SG formation in uninfected cells. 6-TG and 6-TGo selectively disrupted the synthesis and maturation of IAV glycoproteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) without affecting the levels of the viral RNAs that encode them. By contrast, these thiopurines had minimal effect on other IAV proteins or the global host protein synthesis. Disruption of IAV glycoprotein accumulation by 6-TG and 6-TGo correlated with activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) sensors activating transcription factor-6 (ATF6), inositol requiring enzyme-1 (IRE1) and PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), leading to downstream UPR gene expression. Treatment of infected cells with the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid diminished thiopurine-induced UPR activation and partially restored the processing and accumulation of HA and NA. By contrast, chemical inhibition of the integrated stress response downstream of PERK restored accumulation of NA monomers but did not restore processing of viral glycoproteins. Genetic deletion of PERK enhanced the antiviral effect of 6-TG without causing overt cytotoxicity, suggesting that while UPR activation correlates with diminished viral glycoprotein accumulation, PERK could limit the antiviral effects of drug-induced ER stress. Taken together, these data indicate that 6-TG and 6-TGo are effective host-targeted antivirals that trigger the UPR and selectively disrupt accumulation of viral glycoproteins.IMPORTANCESecreted and transmembrane proteins are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where they are folded and modified prior to transport. Many viruses rely on the ER for the synthesis and processing of viral glycoproteins that will ultimately be incorporated into viral envelopes. Viral burden on the ER can trigger the unfolded protein response (UPR). Much remains to be learned about how viruses co-opt the UPR to ensure efficient synthesis of viral glycoproteins. Here, we show that two FDA-approved thiopurine drugs, 6-TG and 6-TGo, induce the UPR, which represents a previously unrecognized effect of these drugs on cell physiology. This thiopurine-mediated UPR activation blocks influenza virus replication by impeding viral glycoprotein accumulation. Our findings suggest that 6-TG and 6-TGo may have broad antiviral effect against enveloped viruses that require precise tuning of the UPR to support viral glycoprotein synthesis.
  5. Int J Mol Med. 2021 May;pii: 81. [Epub ahead of print]47(5):
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is an important reaction of airway epithelial cells in response to various stimuli, and may also be involved in the mucin secretion process. In the present study, the effect of ER stress on neutrophil elastase (NE)‑induced mucin (MUC)5AC production in human airway epithelial cells was explored. 16HBE14o‑airway epithelial cells were cultured and pre‑treated with the reactive oxygen species (ROS) inhibitor, N‑acetylcysteine (NAC), or the ER stress chemical inhibitor, 4‑phenylbutyric acid (4‑PBA), or the cells were transfected with inositol‑requiring kinase 1α (IRE1α) small interfering RNA (siRNA) or X‑box‑binding protein 1 (XBP1) siRNA, respectively, and subsequently incubated with NE. The results obtained revealed that NE increased ROS production in the 16HBE14o‑cells, with marked increases in the levels of ER stress‑associated proteins, such as glucose‑regulated protein 78 (GRP78), activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), phosphorylated protein kinase R‑like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (pPERK) and phosphorylated (p)IRE1α. The protein and mRNA levels of spliced XBP1 were also increased, and the level of MUC5AC protein was notably increased. The ROS scavenger NAC and ER stress inhibitor 4‑PBA were found to reduce ER stress‑associated protein expression and MUC5AC production and secretion. Further analyses revealed that MUC5AC secretion was also attenuated by IRE1α and XBP1 siRNAs, accompanied by a decreased mRNA expression of spliced XBP1. Taken together, these results demonstrate that NE induces ER stress by promoting ROS production in 16HBE14o‑airway epithelial cells, leading to increases in MUC5AC protein production and secretion via the IRE1α and XBP1 signaling pathways.
  6. Curr Obes Rep. 2021 Mar 22.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease with rising prevalence worldwide. Herein, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current knowledge supporting the role of ER stress and autophagy processes in NAFLD pathogenesis and progression. We also highlight the interrelation between these two pathways and the impact of ER stress and autophagy modulators on NAFLD treatment.RECENT FINDINGS: The pathophysiological mechanisms involved in NAFLD progression are currently under investigation. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the concomitant unfolded protein response (UPR) seem to contribute to its pathogenesis mainly due to high ER content in the liver which exerts significant metabolic functions and can be dysregulated. Furthermore, disruption of autophagy processes has also been identified in NAFLD. The crucial role of these two pathways in NAFLD is underlined by the fact that they have recently emerged as promising targets of therapeutic interventions. There is a greater need for finding the natural/chemical compounds and drugs which can modulate the ER stress pathway and autophagy for the treatment of NAFLD. Clarifying the inter-relation between these two pathways and their interaction with inflammatory and apoptotic mechanisms will allow the development of additional therapeutic options which can better target and reprogram the underlying pathophysiological pathways, aiming to attenuate NAFLD progression.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; ER stress; HCC; NAFLD; NASH; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  7. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2021 Mar 25. pii: fuab016. [Epub ahead of print]
      Viruses elicit cell and organismic stress, and offset homeostasis. They trigger intrinsic, innate and adaptive immune responses, which limit infection. Viruses restore homeostasis by harnessing evolutionary conserved stress responses, such as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) unfolded protein response (UPRER). The canonical UPRER restores homeostasis based on a cell-autonomous signalling network modulating transcriptional and translational output. The UPRER remedies cell damage, but upon severe and chronic stress leads to cell death. Signals from the UPRER flow along three branches with distinct stress sensors, the inositol requiring enzyme (Ire) 1, protein kinase R (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK), and the activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6). This review shows how both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses use the UPRER to control cell stress and metabolic pathways, and thereby enhance infection and progeny formation, or undergo cell death. We highlight how the Ire1 axis bypasses apoptosis, boosts viral transcription and maintains dormant viral genomes during latency and persistence periods concurrent with long term survival of infected cells. These considerations open new options for oncolytic virus therapies against cancer cells where the UPRER is frequently upregulated. We conclude with a discussion of the evolutionary impact that viruses, in particular retroviruses, and anti-viral defense has on the UPRER.
    Keywords:  Endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response; cell death; evolution; homeostasis; stress response; virus-induced cell stress
  8. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Mar 22. 12(4): 304
      While germline recessive loss-of-function mutations in SEC23B in humans cause a rare form of anaemia, heterozygous change-of-function mutations result in increased predisposition to cancer. SEC23B encodes SEC23 homologue B, a component of coat protein complex II (COPII), which canonically transports proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi. Despite the association of SEC23B with anaemia and cancer, the precise pathophysiology of these phenotypic outcomes remains unknown. Recently, we reported that mutant SEC23B has non-canonical COPII-independent function, particularly within the ER stress and ribosome biogenesis pathways, and that may contribute to the pathobiology of cancer predisposition. In this study, we hypothesized that wild-type SEC23B has a baseline function within such cellular stress response pathways, with the mutant protein reflecting exaggerated effects. Here, we show that the wild-type SEC23B protein localizes to the nucleus in addition to classical distribution at the ER/Golgi interface and identify multiple putative nuclear localization and export signals regulating nuclear-cytoplasmic transport. Unexpectedly, we show that, independently of COPII, wild-type SEC23B can also localize to cell nucleoli under proteasome inhibition conditions, with distinct distribution patterns compared to mutant cells. Unbiased proteomic analyses through mass spectrometry further revealed that wild-type SEC23B interacts with a subset of nuclear proteins, in addition to central proteins in the ER stress, protein ubiquitination, and EIF2 signalling pathways. We validate the genotype-specific differential SEC23B-UBA52 (ribosomal protein RPL40) interaction. Finally, utilizing patient-derived lymphoblastoid cell lines harbouring either wild-type or mutant SEC23B, we show that SEC23B levels increase in response to ER stress, further corroborating its role as a cellular stress response sensor and/or effector. Overall, these observations suggest that SEC23B, irrespective of mutation status, has unexplored roles in the cellular stress response pathway, with implications relevant to cancer and beyond that, CDAII and normal cell biology.
  9. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 629798
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress may contribute to the pathogenesis and perpetuation of ulcerative colitis (UC). Previous studies have shown artesuante (ARS) has the protective effect on experimental UC. Therefore, it can be assumed that ARS can regulate ER stress and its related reactions. Dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) induced UC model in mice was used to testify this hypothesis. The results clearly showed that DSS exposure caused excessive ER stress evidenced by a markedly increase of GRP78 and CHOP expression, and then activated the ER stress sensors PERK, IRE1, ATF6 and their respective signaling pathways, followed by upregulated caspases12 and lowered Bcl-2/Bax ratio. However, ARS treatment significantly inhibited the occurrence of ER stress via preventing the activation of PERK-eIF2α-ATF4-CHOP and IRE1α-XBP1 signaling pathways, concurrently ER-stress-associated apoptosis in colon tissues. Moreover, ARS treatment remarkably inhibited the activation of NF-κB and the expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, improved the clinical and histopathological alterations as well as maintained the expression of claudin-1 and Muc2 in mucosal layer of colon. Notably, the classic ER stress inhibitor 4-phenyhlbutyric acid enhanced the beneficial effects of ARS; in contrast, the ER stress inducer 2-deoxy-d-glucose substantially abrogated the above-mentioned effects, uncovering the involvement of ER stress in the response. These findings indicated the protection of ARS on UC is associated with its suppressing excessive ER stress mediated intestinal barrier damage and inflammatory response. This study provides a novel aspect to understand the mechanism of ARS against UC.
    Keywords:  Intestinal barrier; artesunate; colitis; endoplasmic reticulum stress; inflammation; ulcerative colitis
  10. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Mar 22. pii: ddab078. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutations in CHCHD10, coding for a mitochondrial intermembrane space protein, are a rare cause of autosomal dominant amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mutation-specific toxic gain of function or haploinsufficiency models have been proposed to explain pathogenicity. To decipher the metabolic dysfunction associated with the haploinsufficient p.R15L variant we integrated transcriptomic, metabolomic and proteomic data sets in patient cells subjected to an energetic stress that forces the cells to rely on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP production. Patient cells had a complex I deficiency that resulted in an increased NADH/NAD+ ratio, diminished TCA cycle activity, a reorganization of one carbon metabolism, and an increased AMP/ATP ratio leading to phosphorylation of AMPK and inhibition of mTORC1. These metabolic changes activated the unfolded protein response (UPR) in the ER through the IRE1/XBP1 pathway, upregulating downstream targets including ATF3, ATF4, CHOP and EGLN3, and two cytokine markers of mitochondrial disease, GDF15 and FGF21. Activation of the mitochondrial UPR was mediated through an upregulation of the transcription factors ATF4 and ATF5, leading to increased expression of mitochondrial proteases and heat shock proteins. There was a striking transcriptional up regulation of at least seven dual specific phosphatases, associated with an almost complete dephosphorylation of JNK isoforms, suggesting a concerted deactivation of MAP kinase pathways. This study demonstrates that loss of CHCHD10 function elicits an energy deficit that activates unique responses to nutrient stress in both the mitochondria and ER, which may contribute to the selective vulnerability of motor neurons.
  11. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Mar 24. 12(4): 314
      Chemotherapeutic agents have been linked to immunogenic cell death (ICD) induction that is capable of augmenting anti-tumor immune surveillance. The cardiac glycoside oleandrin, which inhibits Na+/K+-ATPase pump (NKP), has been shown to suppress breast cancer growth via inducing apoptosis. In the present study, we showed that oleandrin treatment triggered breast cancer cell ICD by inducing calreticulin (CRT) exposure on cell surface and the release of high-mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1), heat shock protein 70/90 (HSP70/90), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The maturation and activation of dendritic cells (DCs) were increased by co-culturing with the oleandrin-treated cancer cells, which subsequently enhanced CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity. Murine breast cancer cell line EMT6 was engrafted into BALB/c mice, and tumor-bearing mice were administered with oleandrin intraperitoneally every day. Oleandrin inhibited tumor growth and increased tumor infiltrating lymphocytes including DCs and T cells. Furthermore, the differential mRNA expression incurred by oleandrin was investigated by mRNA sequencing and subsequently confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blotting. Mechanistically, oleandrin induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated, caspase-independent ICD mainly through PERK/elF2α/ATF4/CHOP pathway. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK) suppressed oleandrin-triggered ICD. Taken together, our findings showed that oleandrin triggered ER stress and induced ICD-mediated immune destruction of breast cancer cells. Oleandrin combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors might improve the efficacy of immunotherapy.
  12. Mediators Inflamm. 2021 ;2021 6655417
      G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent a large family of transmembrane proteins that transduce an external stimulus into a variety of cellular responses. They play a critical role in various pathological conditions in humans, including cancer, by regulating a number of key processes involved in tumor formation and progression. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a fundamental process in promoting cancer cell invasion and tumor dissemination leading to metastasis, an often intractable state of the disease. Uncontrolled proliferation and persistent metabolism of cancer cells also induce oxidative stress, hypoxia, and depletion of growth factors and nutrients. These disturbances lead to the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and induce a cellular condition called ER stress (ERS) which is counteracted by activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Many GPCRs modulate ERS and UPR signaling via ERS sensors, IRE1α, PERK, and ATF6, to support cancer cell survival and inhibit cell death. By regulating downstream signaling pathways such as NF-κB, MAPK/ERK, PI3K/AKT, TGF-β, and Wnt/β-catenin, GPCRs also upregulate mesenchymal transcription factors including Snail, ZEB, and Twist superfamilies which regulate cell polarity, cytoskeleton remodeling, migration, and invasion. Likewise, ERS-induced UPR upregulates gene transcription and expression of proteins related to EMT enhancing tumor aggressiveness. Though GPCRs are attractive therapeutic targets in cancer biology, much less is known about their roles in regulating ERS and EMT. Here, we will discuss the interplay in GPCR-ERS linked to the EMT process of cancer cells, with a particular focus on oncogenes and molecular signaling pathways.
  13. iScience. 2021 Mar 19. 24(3): 102238
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive type of brain tumor with poor survival rate. Temozolomide (TMZ) is used as standard chemotherapy to treat GBM, but a large number of patients either respond poorly and/or develop resistance after long-term use, emphasizing the need to develop potent drugs with novel mechanisms of action. Here, using high-throughput compound screening (HTS), we found that azathioprine, an immunosuppressant, is a promising therapeutic agent to treat TMZ-resistant GBM. Through integrative genome-wide analysis and global proteomic analysis, we found that elevated lipid metabolism likely due to hyperactive EGFR/AKT/SREBP-1 signaling was inhibited by azathioprine. Azathioprine also promoted ER stress-induced apoptosis. Analysis of orthotopic xenograft models injected with patient-derived GBM cells revealed reduced tumor volume and increased apoptosis after azathioprine and TMZ co-treatment. These data indicate that azathioprine could be a powerful therapeutic option for TMZ-resistant GBM patients.
    Keywords:  Biological Sciences; Cancer; Cancer Systems Biology; Cell Biology; Proteomics