bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒04‒11
eleven papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba

  1. FEBS J. 2021 Apr 09.
      Mitochondrial dysfunction mediated by CCCP (carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone), an inhibitor of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, evokes the integrated stress response (ISR), which is analyzed here by eIF2α phosphorylation and expression profiles of ATF4 and CHOP proteins. Our findings suggest that the CCCP-induced ISR pathway is mediated by activation of HRI kinase, but not by GCN2, PERK, or PKR. Also, CCCP activates AMPK, a cellular energy sensor, and AKT, a regulator implicated in cell survival, and suppresses phosphorylation of mTORC1 substrates eIF4E-BP1 and S6K. CCCP also downregulates translation and promotes autophagy, leading to non-caspase-mediated cell death in HepG2 cells. All these events are neutralized by NAC, an anti-ROS, suggesting that CCCP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction promotes oxidative stress. ISRIB, an inhibitor of the ISR pathway, mitigates CCCP-induced expression of ATF4 and CHOP, activation of AKT, and autophagy, similar to NAC. However, it fails to reverse CCCP-induced AMPK activation, suggesting that CCCP-induced autophagy is dependent on ISR and independent of AMPK activation. ISRIB restores partly, inhibition in eIF4E-BP1 phosphorylation, promotes eIF2α phosphorylation, albeit slowly, and mitigates suppression of translation accordingly, in CCCP-treated cells. These findings are consistent with the idea that CCCP-induced oxidative stress leading to eIF2α phosphorylation and ATF4 expression, which is known to stimulate genes involved in autophagy, play a pro-survival role together with AKT activation and regulate mTOR-mediated eIF4E-BP1 phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  AKT; AMPK; ISRIB; Mitochondrial dysfunction; UPR; eIF4E-BP1
  2. JCI Insight. 2021 Apr 08. pii: 137876. [Epub ahead of print]6(7):
      Lung cancer with oncogenic KRAS makes up a significant proportion of lung cancers and is accompanied by a poor prognosis. Recent advances in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer with oncogenic KRAS have enabled the development of drugs, yet mutated KRAS remains undruggable. We performed small-molecule library screening and identified verteporfin, a yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) inhibitor; verteporfin treatment markedly reduced cell viability in KRAS-mutant lung cancer cells in vitro and suppressed KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis in vivo. Comparative functional analysis of verteporfin treatment and YAP1 knockdown with siRNA revealed that the cytotoxic effect of verteporfin was at least partially independent of YAP1 inhibition. A whole-transcriptome approach revealed the distinct expression profiles in KRAS-mutant lung cancer cells between verteporfin treatment and YAP1 knockdown and identified the selective involvement of the ER stress pathway in the effects of verteporfin treatment in KRAS-mutant lung cancer, leading to apoptotic cell death. These data provide novel insight to uncover vulnerabilities in KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Drug screens; Lung cancer; Oncogenes; Oncology
  3. Semin Cancer Biol. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S1044-579X(21)00105-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Arsenic exposure in contaminated drinking water is a global health issue, as more than 200 million people are affected globally. Arsenic has been known to cause skin, liver, lung, bladder and prostate cancers. Accordingly, it has been categorized as a group I human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Various natural and anthropogenic activities lead to the release of arsenic in the environment, contaminating air, water and food sources. Traditionally, genetic mutations have been the center of cancer research. However, emerging studies have now focused on the importance of epigenetics, metabolism and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in cancer. Arsenic is highly capable of inducing stress in the cells via the generation of free radicals causing oxidative stress, epigenetic and genetic alterations, mitochondrial dysfunction, activation of intracellular signaling pathways, and impairment of autophagy and DNA repair systems. The cancer cells are able to utilize the unfolded protein response (UPR) to overcome these internal stresses in various stages of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis, from cancer growth to immune responses. The UPR is an evolutionarily conserved stress response that has both survival and apoptotic outcomes. PERK, IRE1α and ATF6α are the three ER stress sensors that are activated to maintain cellular proteostasis, which can also promote apoptosis on prolonged ER stress. The dual nature of UPR in different cancer types and stages is a challenge for researchers. We must investigate the role and the connections among ER stress-associated UPR, mitochondrial dysfunction and autophagy in arsenic malignancies to identify key targets for cancer prevention and therapeutics.
    Keywords:  Arsenic; Autophagy; Cancer stem cells; ER stress; UPR
  4. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 6492879
      Inflammation plays a key role in intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). The association between inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been observed in many diseases. However, whether ER stress plays an important role in IDD remains unclear. Therefore, this study is aimed at investigating the expression of ER stress in IDD and at exploring the underlying mechanisms of IDD, ER stress, and inflammation. The expression of ER stress was activated in nucleus pulposus cells from patients who had IDD (D-NPCs) compared with patients without IDD (N-NPCs); and both the proliferation and synthesis capacity were decreased by inducer tunicamycin (Tm) and proinflammatory cytokines. Pretreatment of NPCs with 4-phenyl butyric acid (4-PBA) prevented the inflammatory cytokine-induced upregulation of unfolded protein response- (UPR-) related proteins and recovered cell synthetic ability. Furthermore, proinflammatory cytokine treatment significantly upregulated the expression of inositol-requiring protein 1 (IRE1-α) and protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK), but not activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6). Finally, knockdown of IRE1-α and PERK also restored the biological activity of NPCs. Our findings identified that IRE1-α and PERK might be the potential targets for IDD treatment, which may help illustrate the underlying mechanism of ER stress in IDD.
  5. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 646723
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a kind of organelle with multiple functions including protein synthesis, modification and folding, calcium storage, and lipid synthesis. Under stress conditions, ER homeostasis is disrupted, which is defined as ER stress (ERS). The accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER triggers a stable signaling network named unfolded protein response (UPR). Hydrogen sulfide is an important signal molecule regulating various physiological and pathological processes. Recent studies have shown that H2S plays an important role in many diseases by affecting ERS, but its mechanism, especially the signaling pathways, is not fully understood. Therefore, in this review, we summarize the recent studies about the signaling pathways involved in the effects of H2S on ERS in diseases to provide theoretical reference for the related in-depth researches.
    Keywords:  disease treatment; endoplasmic reticulum stress; hydrogen sulfide; signaling pathway; unfolded protein response
  6. Microb Cell. 2021 Mar 31. 8(4): 77-86
      Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a facultative anaerobic organism that grows well under both aerobic and hypoxic conditions in media containing abundant fermentable nutrients such as glucose. In order to deeply understand the physiological dependence of S. cerevisiae on aeration, we checked endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress status by monitoring the splicing of HAC1 mRNA, which is promoted by the ER stress-sensor protein, Ire1. HAC1-mRNA splicing that was caused by conventional ER-stressing agents, including low concentrations of dithiothreitol (DTT), was more potent in hypoxic cultures than in aerated cultures. Moreover, growth retardation was observed by adding low-dose DTT into hypoxic cultures of ire1Δ cells. Unexpectedly, aeration mitigated ER stress and DTT-induced impairment of ER oxidative protein folding even when mitochondrial respiration was halted by the ρo mutation. An ER-located protein Ero1 is known to directly consume molecular oxygen to initiate the ER protein oxidation cascade, which promotes oxidative protein folding of ER client proteins. Our further study using ero1-mutant strains suggested that, in addition to mitochondrial respiration, this Ero1-medaited reaction contributes to mitigation of ER stress by molecular oxygen. Taken together, here we demonstrate a scenario in which aeration acts beneficially on S. cerevisiae cells even under fermentative conditions.
    Keywords:  endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; respiration; stress; unfolded protein response; yeast
  7. Mol Brain. 2021 04 06. 14(1): 65
      Palmitate is a saturated fatty acid that is well known to induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy. A high-fat diet increases the palmitate level in the hypothalamus, the main region of the brain regulating energy metabolism. Interestingly, hypothalamic palmitate level is also increased under starvation, urging the study to distinguish the effects of elevated hypothalamic palmitate level under different nutrient conditions. Herein, we show that ER-phagy (ER-targeted selective autophagy) is required for progress of ER stress and that palmitate decreases ER stress by inhibiting ER-phagy in hypothalamic cells under starvation. Palmitate inhibited starvation-induced ER-phagy by increasing the level of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) protein, which inhibits autophagy initiation. These findings suggest that, unlike the induction of ER stress under nutrient-rich conditions, palmitate protects hypothalamic cells from starvation-induced stress by inhibiting ER-phagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; ER stress; ER-phagy; Hypothalamic cells; Palmitate; Starvation
  8. FEBS Lett. 2021 Apr 08.
      We have previously shown evidence that α-syntrophin plays an important role in myoblast differentiation. In this study, we focused on abnormal myotube formation of the α-syntrophin-knockdown C2 cell line (SNKD). The overall amount of intracellular protein as well as muscle-specific proteins in SNKD cells were significantly lower than those in the control. Akt-mTOR signaling, an important pathway for protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy, was downregulated. In addition, the levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers increased in SNKD cells. The decrease in intracellular protein synthesis and reduction of the myotube diameter in SNKD cells were restored by 4-phenylbutyric acid, a chemical chaperone, or overexpression of α-syntrophin. These results suggest a novel role for α-syntrophin in protein homeostasis during myoblast differentiation.
    Keywords:  Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Muscle differentiation; Protein homeostasis; Protein synthesis; α-Syntrophin
  9. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Apr 08.
      Macrophages play a key role in silicosis, and exosomes are potent mediators of intercellular communication. This suggests that macrophage-derived exosomes have a potential contribution to the pathogenesis of silicosis. To investigate whether macrophage-derived exosomes promote or inhibit lung fibrosis, in vitro, silica-exposed macrophage-derived exosomes (SiO2 -Exos) were collected and cocultured with fibroblasts. The expression of collagen I and α-SMA was evaluated. Furthermore, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers BIP, XBP1s and P-eIF2α were assessed after treatment with or without the ER stress inhibitor 4-PBA. In vivo, mice were pre-treated with the exosome secretion inhibitor GW4869 prior to silica exposure. After sacrifice, lung tissues were histologically examined, and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was measured. The results showed that the expression of collagen I and α-SMA was up-regulated after treatment with SiO2 -Exos, accompanied by increased expression of BIP, XBP1s and P-eIF2α. Pre-treatment with 4-PBA reversed this effect. More importantly, an in vivo study demonstrated that pre-treatment with GW4869 decreased lung fibrosis and the expression of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in BALF. These results suggested that SiO2 -Exos are profibrogenic and that the facilitating effect is dependent on ER stress.
    Keywords:  ER stress; exosomes; fibroblasts; macrophages; silicosis
  10. Blood Adv. 2021 Apr 13. 5(7): 1933-1946
      Resistance to the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (BTZ) represents a major obstacle in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). The contribution of lipid metabolism in the resistance of MM cells to BTZ is mostly unknown. Here we report that levels of fatty acid elongase 6 (ELOVL6) were lower in MM cells from BTZ-nonresponsive vs BTZ-responsive patients and in cultured MM cells selected for BTZ resistance compared with parental counterparts. Accordingly, depletion of ELOVL6 in parental MM cells suppressed BTZ-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and cytotoxicity, whereas restoration of ELOVL6 levels in BTZ-resistant MM cells sensitized them to BTZ in tissue culture settings and, as xenografts, in a plasmacytoma mouse model. Furthermore, for the first time, we identified changes in the BTZ-induced lipidome between parental and BTZ-resistant MM cell lines underlying a functional difference in their response to BTZ. We demonstrated that restoration of ELOVL6 levels in BTZ-resistant MM cells resensitized them to BTZ largely via upregulation of ELOVL6-dependent ceramide species, which was a prerequisite for BTZ-induced ER stress and cell death in these cells. Our data characterize ELOVL6 as a major clinically relevant regulator of MM cell resistance to BTZ, which can emerge from the impaired ability of these cells to alter ceramide composition in response to BTZ.
  11. Cell Death Discov. 2019 Aug 05. 5(1): 124
      Calcium crystal internalization into proximal tubular (PT) cells results in acute kidney injury, nephrocalcinosis, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and kidney-stone formation. Ca2+ supersaturation in PT luminal fluid induces calcium crystal formation, leading to aberrant crystal internalization into PT cells. While such crystal internalization produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), cell membrane damage, and apoptosis; the upstream signaling events involving dysregulation of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and ER stress, remain largely unknown. We have recently described a transepithelial Ca2+ transport pathway regulated by receptor-operated Ca2+ entry (ROCE) in PT cells. Therefore, we examined the pathophysiological consequence of internalization of stone-forming calcium crystals such as calcium phosphate (CaP), calcium oxalate (CaOx), and CaP + CaOx (mixed) crystals on the regulation of intracellular Ca2+ signaling by measuring dynamic changes in Ca2+ transients in HK2, human PT cells, using pharmacological and siRNA inhibitors. The subsequent effect on ER stress was measured by changes in ER morphology, ER stress-related gene expression, endogenous ROS production, apoptosis, and necrosis. Interestingly, our data show that crystal internalization induced G-protein-coupled receptor-mediated sustained rise in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) via store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE); suggesting that the mode of Ca2+ entry switches from ROCE to SOCE following crystal internalization. We found that SOCE components-stromal interacting molecules 1 and 2 (STIM1, STIM2) and ORAI3 (SOCE) channel were upregulated in these crystal-internalized cells, which induced ER stress, ROS production, and cell death. Finally, silencing those SOCE genes protected crystal-internalized cells from prolonged [Ca2+]i rise and ER stress. Our data provide insight into the molecular mechanism of crystal-induced Ca2+ dysregulation, ER stress, and PT cell death and thus could have a translational role in treating crystal nephropathies including kidney stones. Taken together, modulation of Ca2+ signaling can be used as a tool to reverse the pathological consequence of crystal-induced conditions including cardiovascular calcification.