bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒04‒18
fourteen papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba

  1. Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 12. 11(1): 7926
      Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays an important role in hepatocyte degeneration, especially in patients with chronic liver injury. Protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) is a key molecule in ER stress. PERK may contribute to apoptotic cell death in HCC, however the details of the mechanism are not clear. In this study, we identified PERK-associated molecules using transcriptome analysis. We modulated PERK expression using a plasmid, tunicamycin and siRNA against PERK, and then confirmed the target gene expression with real-time PCR and Northern blotting. We further analyzed the apoptotic function. Transcriptome analysis revealed that expression of the RNA component of mitochondrial RNA processing endoribonuclease (RMRP), which is a long noncoding RNA, was strongly correlated with the function of PERK. The expression of RMRP was correlated with the expression of PERK in experiments with the siRNA and PERK plasmid in both HCC cell lines and human HCC tissue. Furthermore, RMRP downregulation induced apoptotic cell death. RMRP is downregulated by PERK, which induces apoptosis in HCC. RMRP could be a new therapeutic target to regulate HCC in patients with chronic liver diseases associated with ER stress.
  2. Adv Cancer Res. 2021 ;pii: S0065-230X(21)00001-4. [Epub ahead of print]150 285-334
      Senescence is a cellular state which can be viewed as a stress response phenotype implicated in various physiological and pathological processes, including cancer. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to understand why and how a cell acquires and maintains a senescent phenotype. Direct evidence has pointed to the homeostasis of the endoplasmic reticulum whose control appears strikingly affected during senescence. The endoplasmic reticulum is one of the sensing organelles that transduce signals between different pathways in order to adapt a functional proteome upon intrinsic or extrinsic challenges. One of these signaling pathways is the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), which has been shown to be activated during senescence. Its exact contribution to senescence onset, maintenance, and escape, however, is still poorly understood. In this article, we review the mechanisms through which the UPR contributes to the appearance and maintenance of characteristic senescent features. We also discuss whether the perturbation of the endoplasmic reticulum proteostasis or accumulation of misfolded proteins could be possible causes of senescence, and-as a consequence-to what extent the UPR components could be considered as therapeutic targets allowing for the elimination of senescent cells or altering their secretome to prevent neoplastic transformation.
    Keywords:  Aging; Endoplasmic reticulum; Homeostasis; Secretome; Senescence; Unfolded protein response
  3. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 641194
      In the last decades, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) has emerged as a key coordinator of cellular homeostasis, thanks to its physical interconnection to almost all intracellular organelles. In particular, an intense and mutual crosstalk between the ER and mitochondria occurs at the mitochondria-ER contacts (MERCs). MERCs ensure a fine-tuned regulation of fundamental cellular processes, involving cell fate decision, mitochondria dynamics, metabolism, and proteostasis, which plays a pivotal role in the tumorigenesis and therapeutic response of cancer cells. Intriguingly, recent studies have shown that different components of the unfolded protein response (UPR) machinery, including PERK, IRE1α, and ER chaperones, localize at MERCs. These proteins appear to exhibit multifaceted roles that expand beyond protein folding and UPR transduction and are often related to the control of calcium fluxes to the mitochondria, thus acquiring relevance to cell survival and death. In this review, we highlight the novel functions played by PERK, IRE1α, and ER chaperones at MERCs focusing on their impact on tumor development.
    Keywords:  cancer; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria–ER contacts; molecular chaperones; unfolded protein response
  4. FASEB J. 2021 May;35(5): e21569
      Aberrant accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) in brain is the major trigger for pathogenesis in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is imperative to understand how Aβ attains such toxic levels in the brain parenchyma. We detected that a subtle and tolerable amount of DNA damage, related to aging, increased intraneuronal Aβ1-42 production both in cultured neuron and in cortex of rodent brain. Strikingly, we also observed elevated levels of mitochondrial fusion and of its major driver protein, MFN2. Hyperfusion of mitochondria may be seen as an adaptive stress response resulting from the induction of ER stress since we detected the activation of both PERK and IRE1α arms of unfolded protein response of ER stress. We found increased phosphorylation of PERK substrate eukaryotic initiation factor 2 α (eIF2α), and upregulation of the downstream effector proteins, ATF4 and CHOP. Concomitantly, increased XBP1 level, the direct effecter protein of IRE-1α, was observed. Reports suggest that eIF2α phosphorylation can increase BACE1 activity, the rate limiting enzyme in Aβ production. Here, we show that inhibiting PERK, decreased Aβ1-42 level while direct BACE1 inhibition, reduced the mitochondrial fusion. We found increased MFN2 expression in young 5xFAD mice when Aβ plaques and neurodegeneration were absent. Thus, our study indicates that mild DNA damage leads to increased Aβ1-42 production almost as a consequence of an initial ER stress-directed protective mitochondrial fusion in brain. We propose that an age-related subtle genomic DNA damage may trigger enhanced intraneuronal Aβ1-42 production in an apparently healthy neuron way before the appearance of clinical symptoms in AD.
    Keywords:  5xFAD; BACE1; DNA damage; MFN2; PERK; amyloid-β; eIF2α
  5. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 5529810
      Impaired function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is followed by evolutionarily conserved cell stress responses, which are employed by cells, including cardiomyocytes, to maintain and/or restore ER homeostasis. ER stress activates the unfolded protein response (UPR) to degrade and remove abnormal proteins from the ER lumen. Although the UPR is an intracellular defense mechanism to sustain cardiomyocyte viability and heart function, excessive activation initiates ER-dependent cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is a pathological process occurring during or after revascularization of ischemic myocardium. Several molecular mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiac I/R injury. Due to the dual protective/degradative effects of ER stress on cardiomyocyte viability and function, it is of interest to understand the basic concepts, regulatory signals, and molecular processes involved in ER stress following myocardial I/R injury. In this review, therefore, we present recent findings related to the novel components of ER stress activation. The complex effects of ER stress and whether they mitigate or exacerbate myocardial I/R injury are summarized to serve as the basis for research into potential therapies for cardioprotection through control of ER homeostasis.
  6. Autophagy. 2021 Apr 14. 1-16
      We propose that beyond its role in WNT secretion, WLS/GPR177 (wntless, WNT ligand secretion mediator) acts as an essential regulator controlling protein glycosylation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis, and dendritic cell (DC)-mediated immunity. WLS deficiency in bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) resulted in poor growth and an inability to mount cytokine and T-cell responses in vitro, phenotypes that were irreversible by the addition of exogenous WNTs. In fact, WLS was discovered to integrate a protein complex in N-glycan-dependent and WLS domain-selective manners, comprising ER stress sensors and lectin chaperones. WLS deficiency in BMDCs led to increased ER stress response and macroautophagy/autophagy, decreased calcium efflux from the ER, and the loss of CALR (calreticulin)-CANX (calnexin) cycle, and hence protein hypo-glycosylation. Consequently, DC-specific wls-null mice were unable to develop both Th1-, Th2- and Th17-associated responses in the respective autoimmune and allergic disease models. These results suggest that WLS is a critical chaperone in maintaining ER homeostasis, glycoprotein quality control and calcium dynamics in DCs.Abbreviations: ATF6: activating transcription factor 6; ATG5: autophagy related 5; ATG12: autophagy related 12; ATG16L1: autophagy related 16 like 1; ATP2A1/SERCA1: ATPase sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ transporting 1; BALF: bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; BFA: brefeldin A; BMDC: bone marrow-derived dendritic cell; CALR: calreticulin; CANX: calnexin; CCL2/MCP-1: C-C motif chemokine ligand 2; CNS: central nervous system; CT: C-terminal domain; DTT: dithiothreitol; DNAJB9/ERDJ4: DnaJ heat shock protein family (Hsp40) member B9; EAE: experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; EIF2A/eIF2α: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2A; EIF2AK3/PERK: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 3; ERN1/IRE1: endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to nucleus signaling 1; GFP: green fluorescent protein; HSPA5/GRP78/BiP: heat shock protein A5; IFNA: interferon alpha; IFNAR1: interferon alpha and beta receptor subunit 1; IFNB: interferon beta; IFNG/INFγ: interferon gamma; IFNGR2: interferon gamma receptor 2; IL6: interleukin 6; IL10: interleukin 10; IL12A: interleukin 12A; IL23A: interleukin 23 subunit alpha; ITGAX/CD11c: integrin subunit alpha X; ITPR1/InsP3R1: inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; OVA: ovalbumin; PIK3C3/VPS34: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3; PLF: predicted lipocalin fold; PPP1R15A/GADD34: protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 15A; RYR1/RyanR1: ryanodine receptor 1, skeletal muscle; SD: signal domain; TGFB/TGF-β: transforming growth factor beta family; Th1: T helper cell type 1; Th17: T helper cell type 17; TM: tunicamycin; TNF/TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor; UPR: unfolded protein response; WLS/wntless: WNT ligand secretion mediator.
    Keywords:  Dendritic cells; er stress; gpr177; protein glycosylation; unfold protein response
  7. Mol Biol Rep. 2021 Apr 15.
      Atherosclerosis and related cardiovascular diseases are among the most common causes of death worldwide. Unfolded protein response, also known as Endoplasmic reticulum stress, has a critical role in many diseases including atherosclerosis. Small non-coding microRNAs (miRNA), which generally suppress gene expression, regulate UPR signalling and they may also be involved in the progression of atherosclerosis. We aim to investigate the expression levels of miR-17, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-106b, miR-222 and CHOP gene in circulation of atherosclerosis patients compared to healthy controls to establish a link between ER stress and atherosclerosis. miRNA containing whole RNA was isolated from blood samples of 25 patients with atherosclerosis and 26 healthy controls. Expression levels of miRNAs and CHOP were measured via Real Time PCR method. miR-17 and miR-106b were significantly increased while miR-21, miR-27a, and miR-222 were significantly decreased in patients compared to controls. CHOP gene was also dramatically and significantly induced in patient samples. miR-17, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-106b, miR-222 and CHOP were significantly differentially expressed in patients with atherosclerosis. Each miRNA and CHOP might regulate atherosclerotic plaque progression and they can be used as a biomarker in the diagnosis and follow-up of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular diseases.
    Keywords:  Atherosclerosis; CHOP; ER-Stress; MiR-17; MiR-21; MicroRNA
  8. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Apr 15. 12(4): 407
      In this study, we report a novel function of FCN3 (Ficolin 3), a secreted lectin capable of activating the complement pathway, as a tumor suppressor of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). First, the expression of FCN3 was strongly down-regulated in cancer tissues compared to matched normal lung tissues, and down-regulation of FCN3 was shown to be significantly correlated with increased mortality among LUAD patients. Interestingly, while ectopic expression of FCN3 led to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in A549 and H23 cells derived from LUAD, the secreted form of the protein had no effect on the cells. Rather, we found evidence indicating that activation of the unfolded protein response from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is induced by ectopic expression of FCN3. Consistently, inhibition of ER stress response led to enhanced survival of the LUAD cells. Of note, the fibrinogen domain, which is not secreted, turned out to be both necessary and sufficient for induction of apoptosis when localized to ER, consistent with our proposed mechanism. Collectively, our data indicate that FCN3 is a tumor suppressor gene functioning through induction of ER stress.
  9. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 641836
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly aggressive cancer with poor patient prognosis. A cellular stress response mechanism called the unfolded protein response (UPR) has been implicated in PDAC progression. More recently, nucleobindin 1 (NUCB1), a calcium-binding protein, has been shown to control the UPR but its precise role in PDAC has not been explored. Here, we found that downregulation of NUCB1 was associated with poor prognosis in patients with PDAC. Functionally, NUCB1 overexpression suppressed pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and showed additive effects with gemcitabine (GEM) in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, by controlling ATF6 activity, NUCB1 overexpression suppressed GEM-induced UPR and autophagy. Last but not least, we uncovered METTL3-mediated m6A modification on NUCB1 5'UTR via the reader YTHDF2 as a mechanism for NUCB1 downregulation in PDAC. Taken together, our study revealed crucial functions of NUCB1 in suppressing proliferation and enhancing the effects of gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer cells and identified METTL3-mediated m6A modification as a mechanism for NUCB1 downregulation in PDAC.
    Keywords:  NUCB1; autophagy; m6A modification; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; unfolded protein response
  10. Plant Cell Environ. 2021 Apr 10.
      The Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in plants is elicited by endoplasmic reticulum stress which can be brought about by adverse environmental conditions. The response is mediated by a conserved signaling network composed of two branches - one branch involving INOSITOL REQUIRING ENZYME1- BASIC LEUCINE ZIPPER60 (IRE1-bZIP60) signaling pathway and another branch involving the membrane transcription factors, bZIP17 and - 28. The UPR has been reported in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular green alga, which lacks some canonical UPR signaling components found in vascular plants, raising the question whether C. reinhardtii uses other means such as oxidative signaling or Regulated IRE1-Dependent Decay to activate the UPR. In vascular plants IRE1 splices bZIP60 mRNA in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress by cutting at a site in the RNA that is highly conserved in structure and sequence. Monocots have a single IRE1 gene required for viability in rice, while dicots have two IRE1 genes, IRE1a and -b. Brassicas have a third IRE1 gene, IRE1c, which lacks a lumenal domain, but is required in combination with IRE1b for gametogenesis. Vascular and non-vascular plants upregulate a similar set of genes in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress despite differences in the complexity of their UPR signaling networks. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  INOSITOL REQUIRING ENZYME (IRE1); Regulated IRE1-Dependent Decay (RIDD); Regulated Intradomain Proteolysis (RIP); endoplasmic reticulum membrane-associated transcription factors; endoplasmic reticulum stress; membrane-associated protein endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK)
  11. Cancer Res. 2021 Apr 16. pii: canres.2694.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Schlafen11 (SLFN11) inactivation occurs in approximately 50% of cancer cell lines and in a large fraction of patient tumor samples, which leads to chemoresistance. Therefore, new therapeutic approaches are needed to target SLFN11-deficient cancers. To that effect, we conducted a drug screen with the NCATS mechanistic drug library of 1978 compounds in isogenic SLFN11-knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) leukemia cell lines. Here we report that TAK-243, a first-in-class ubiquitin activating enzyme UBA1 inhibitor in clinical development, causes preferential cytotoxicity in SLFN11-KO cells; this effect is associated with claspin-mediated DNA replication inhibition by CHK1 independently of ATR. Additional analyses showed that SLFN11-KO cells exhibit consistently enhanced global protein ubiquitylation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, unfolded protein response (UPR), and protein aggregation. TAK-243 suppressed global protein ubiquitylation and activated the UPR transducers PERK, phosphorylated eIF2alpha, phosphorylated IRE1, and ATF6 more effectively in SLFN11-KO cells than WT cells. Proteomic analysis using biotinylated mass spectrometry and RNAi screening also showed physical and functional interactions of SLFN11 with translation initiation complexes and protein folding machinery. These findings uncover a previously unknown function of SLFN11 as a regulator of protein quality control and attenuator of ER stress and UPR. Moreover, they suggest the potential value of TAK-243 in SLFN11-deficient tumors.
  12. Pharmacol Res. 2021 Apr 07. pii: S1043-6618(21)00187-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105603
      Mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mitoUPR) is a mitochondria stress response to maintain mitochondrial proteostasis during stress. Increasing evidence suggests that mitoUPR participates in diverse physiological processes especially metabolism and immunity. Although mitoUPR regulates metabolism in many aspects, it is mainly reflected in the regulation of energy metabolism. During stress, mitoUPR alters energy metabolism via suppressing oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) or increasing glycolysis. MitoUPR also alters energy metabolism and regulates diverse metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cancers, fatty liver and obesity. In addition, mitoUPR also participates in immune process during stress. MitoUPR can induce innate immune response during various infections and may regulate inflammatory response during diverse inflammations. Considering the pleiotropic actions of mitoUPR, mitoUPR may supply diverse therapeutic targets for metabolic diseases and immune diseases.
    Keywords:  diseases; immunity; metabolism; mitoUPR
  13. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Apr 10. 40(1): 127
      BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant cancers worldwide, and liver cancer has increased in mortality due to liver cancer because it was detected at an advanced stages in patients with liver dysfunction, making HCC a lethal cancer. Accordingly, we aim to new targets for HCC drug discovery using HCC tumor spheroids.METHODS: Our comparative proteomic analysis of HCC cells grown in culture as monolayers (2D) and spheroids (3D) revealed that argininosuccinate synthase 1 (ASS1) expression was higher in 3D cells than in 2D cells due to upregulated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress responses. We investigated the clinical value of ASS1 in Korean patients with HCC. The mechanism underlying ASS1-mediated tumor suppression was investigated in HCC spheroids. ASS1-mediated improvement of chemotherapy efficiency was observed using high content screening in an HCC xenograft mouse model.
    RESULTS: Studies of tumor tissue from Korean HCC patients showed that, although ASS1 expression was low in most samples, high levels of ASS1 were associated with favorable overall survival of patients. Here, we found that bidirectional interactions between ASS1 ER stress responses in HCC-derived multicellular tumor spheroids can limit HCC progression. ASS1 overexpression effectively inhibited tumor growth and enhanced the efficacy of in vitro and in vivo anti-HCC combination chemotherapy via activation of the PERK/eIF2α/ATF4/CHOP axis, but was not dependent on the status of p53 and arginine metabolism.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the critical functional roles for the arginine metabolism-independent tumor suppressor activity of ASS1 in HCC and suggest that upregulating ASS1 in these tumors is a potential strategy in HCC cells with low ASS1 expression.
    Keywords:  Argininosuccinate synthase 1(ASS1); C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP); Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress; Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); Spheroids
  14. Oncogene. 2021 Apr 16.
      The unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated in pancreatic pathologies and suggested as a target for therapeutic intervention. In this study, we examined activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), a mediator of the UPR that promotes acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) in response to pancreatic injury. Since ADM is an initial step in the progression to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), we hypothesized that ATF3 is required for initiation and progression of PDAC. We generated mice carrying a germline mutation of Atf3 (Atf3-/-) combined with acinar-specific induction of oncogenic KRAS (Ptf1acreERT/+KrasG12D/+). Atf3-/- mice with (termed APK) and without KRASG12D were exposed to cerulein-induced pancreatitis. In response to recurrent pancreatitis, Atf3-/- mice showed decreased ADM and enhanced regeneration based on morphological and biochemical analysis. Similarly, an absence of ATF3 reduced spontaneous pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) formation and PDAC in Ptf1acreERT/+KrasG12D/+ mice. In response to injury, KRASG12D bypassed the requirement for ATF3 with a dramatic loss in acinar tissue and PanIN formation observed regardless of ATF3 status. Compared to Ptf1acreERT/+KrasG12D/+ mice, APK mice exhibited a significant decrease in pancreatic and total body weight, did not progress through to PDAC, and showed altered pancreatic fibrosis and immune cell infiltration. These findings suggest a complex, multifaceted role for ATF3 in pancreatic cancer pathology.