bims-unfpre Biomed News
on Unfolded protein response
Issue of 2021‒08‒15
eight papers selected by
Susan Logue
University of Manitoba

  1. Biochem J. 2021 Aug 13. 478(15): 2953-2975
      The Unfolded Protein response is an adaptive pathway triggered upon alteration of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis. It is transduced by three major ER stress sensors, among which the Inositol Requiring Enzyme 1 (IRE1) is the most evolutionarily conserved. IRE1 is an ER-resident type I transmembrane protein exhibiting an ER luminal domain that senses the protein folding status and a catalytic kinase and RNase cytosolic domain. In recent years, IRE1 has emerged as a relevant therapeutic target in various diseases including degenerative, inflammatory and metabolic pathologies and cancer. As such several drugs altering IRE1 activity were developed that target either catalytic activity and showed some efficacy in preclinical pathological mouse models. In this review, we describe the different drugs identified to target IRE1 activity as well as their mode of action from a structural perspective, thereby identifying common and different modes of action. Based on this information we discuss on how new IRE1-targeting drugs could be developed that outperform the currently available molecules.
    Keywords:  ER stress; IRE1; structure activity relationship (SAR); structure-based drug design (SBDD); unfolded protein response
  2. Immunol Rev. 2021 Aug 08.
      The high rate of antibody production places considerable metabolic and folding stress on plasma cells (PC). Not surprisingly, they rely on the unfolded protein response (UPR), a universal signaling, and transcriptional network that monitors the health of the secretory pathway and mounts cellular responses to stress. Typically, the UPR utilizes three distinct stress sensors in the ER membrane, each regulating a subset of targets to re-establish homeostasis. PC use a specialized UPR scheme-they preemptively trigger the UPR via developmental signals and suppress two of the sensors, PERK and ATF6, relying on IRE1 alone. The specialized PC UPR program is tuned to the specific needs at every stage of development-from early biogenesis of secretory apparatus, to massive immunoglobulin expression later. Furthermore, the UPR in PC integrates with other pathways essential in a highly secretory cell-mTOR pathway that ensures efficient synthesis, autophagosomes that recycle components of the synthetic machinery, and apoptotic signaling that controls cell fate in the face of excessive folding stress. This specialized PC program is not shared with other secretory cells, for reasons yet to be defined. In this review, we give a perspective into how and why PC need such a unique UPR program.
    Keywords:  anticipatory unfolded protein response; autophagy; expansion of secretory apparatus; inactivation of sensors
  3. Leukemia. 2021 Aug 09.
      Sphingolipids and their metabolic pathways have been implicated in disease development and therapeutic response; however, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. Using a sphingolipid network focused CRISPR/Cas9 library screen, we identified an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) enzyme, 3-Ketodihydrosphingosine reductase (KDSR), to be essential for leukemia cell maintenance. Loss of KDSR led to apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and aberrant ER structure. Transcriptomic analysis revealed the indispensable role of KDSR in maintaining the unfolded protein response (UPR) in ER. High-density CRISPR tiling scan and sphingolipid mass spectrometry pinpointed the critical role of KDSR's catalytic function in leukemia. Mechanistically, depletion of KDSR resulted in accumulated 3-ketodihydrosphingosine (KDS) and dysregulated UPR checkpoint proteins PERK, ATF6, and ATF4. Finally, our study revealed the synergism between KDSR suppression and pharmacologically induced ER-stress, underscoring a therapeutic potential of combinatorial targeting sphingolipid metabolism and ER homeostasis in leukemia treatment.
  4. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021 08 11.
      Defined as the dysfunction and/or cell death caused by toxic lipids accumulation in hepatocytes, hepatic lipotoxicity plays a pathological role in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying lipotoxicity remain to be elucidated. In this study, using AML12 cells, a non-transformed murine hepatocyte cell line, exposed to palmitate (a 16-C saturated fatty acid) as an experimental model, we investigated the role and mechanisms of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT), a methyltransferase catalyzing nicotinamide methylation and degradation, in hepatic lipotoxicity. We initially identified activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) as a major transcription factor for hepatic NNMT expression. Here, we demonstrated that palmitate upregulates NNMT expression via activating ATF4 in a mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)-dependent mechanism in that mTORC1 inhibition by both Torin1 and rapamycin attenuated ATF4 activation and NNMT upregulation. We further demonstrated that the mTORC1-dependent ATF4 activation is an integral signaling event of unfolded protein response (UPR) as both ATF4 activation and NNMT upregulation by tunicamycin, a well-documented endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducer, are blunted when hepatocytes were pretreated with Torin1. Importantly, our data uncovered that NNMT upregulation contributes to palmitate-induced hepatotoxicity as NNMT inhibition, via either pharmacological (NNMT inhibitors) or genetic approach (siRNA transfection), provided protection against palmitate lipotoxicity. Our further mechanistic exploration identified protein kinase A (PKA) activation to contribute, at least, partially to the protective effect of NNMT inhibition against lipotoxicity. Collectively, our data demonstrated that NNMT upregulation by the mTORC1-ATF4 pathway activation contributes to the development of lipotoxicity in hepatocytes.
    Keywords:  ATF4; Lipotoxicity; NNMT; Palmitate; mTORC1
  5. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 708501
      Background: Unfolded protein response (UPR)-mediated tumor-promoting functions have been identified in multiple cancers, and this study focused on investigating the role and molecular mechanisms of UPR in modulating gastric cancer (GC) pathogenesis.Methods: The bioinformatics analysis was performed to examine the expression status of cancer associated genes in patients with stomach adenocarcinoma (STAD) and predict the targeting sites of miR-224-5p with LncRNA MIR503HG and TUSC3. Genes expressions were quantified by Real-Time qPCR, Western Blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cell proliferation, viability, apoptosis and mobility were evaluated by MTT assay, trypan blue staining assay, flow cytometer and transwell assay, respectively. The binding sites were validated by dual-luciferase reporter gene system assay.
    Results: LncRNA MIR503HG and TUSC3 were downregulated, but miR-224-5p was upregulated in GC tissues and cells, in contrast with their normal counterparts. Further gain- and loss-of-function experiments validated that the malignant phenotypes in GC cells, including cell proliferation, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tumorigenesis, were negatively regulated by LncRNA MIR503HG. Mechanistically, LncRNA MIR503HG upregulated TUSC3 in GC cells through sponging miR-224-5p, resulting in the repression of GC progression. Finally, we validated that knock-down of ATF6, but not other two branches of UPR (PERK1 and IRE1), partially rescued cell proliferation and EMT in the GC cells with LncRNA MIR503HG overexpression.
    Conclusions: Targeting the LncRNA MIR503HG/miR-224-5p/TUSC3 signaling cascade suppressed ATF6-mediated UPR, resulting in the blockage of GC development.
    Keywords:  LncRNA MIR503HG; TUSC3; gastric cancer; miR-224-5p; unfolded protein response
  6. Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 11. 11(1): 16356
      Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a blinding disease that arises from loss of rods and subsequently cones. The P23H rhodopsin knock-in (P23H-KI) mouse develops retinal degeneration that mirrors RP phenotype in patients carrying the orthologous variant. Previously, we found that the P23H rhodopsin protein was degraded in P23H-KI retinas, and the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) promoted P23H rhodopsin degradation in heterologous cells in vitro. Here, we investigated the role of a UPR regulator gene, activating transcription factor 6 (Atf6), in rhodopsin protein homeostasis in heterozygous P23H rhodopsin (Rho+/P23H) mice. Significantly increased rhodopsin protein levels were found in Atf6-/-Rho+/P23H retinas compared to Atf6+/-Rho+/P23H retinas at early ages (~ P12), while rhodopsin mRNA levels were not different. The IRE1 pathway of the UPR was hyper-activated in young Atf6-/-Rho+/P23H retinas, and photoreceptor layer thickness was unchanged at this early age in Rho+/P23H mice lacking Atf6. By contrast, older Atf6-/-Rho+/P23H mice developed significantly increased retinal degeneration in comparison to Atf6+/-Rho+/P23H mice in all retinal layers, accompanied by reduced rhodopsin protein levels. Our findings demonstrate that Atf6 is required for efficient clearance of rhodopsin protein in rod photoreceptors expressing P23H rhodopsin, and that loss of Atf6 ultimately accelerates retinal degeneration in P23H-KI mice.
  7. Nat Commun. 2021 08 12. 12(1): 4882
      Genetic variants of the interferon lambda (IFNL) gene locus are strongly associated with spontaneous and IFN treatment-induced clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Individuals with the ancestral IFNL4-dG allele are not able to clear HCV in the acute phase and have more than a 90% probability to develop chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Paradoxically, the IFNL4-dG allele encodes a fully functional IFNλ4 protein with antiviral activity against HCV. Here we describe an effect of IFNλ4 on HCV antigen presentation. Only minor amounts of IFNλ4 are secreted, because the protein is largely retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where it induces ER stress. Stressed cells are significantly weaker activators of HCV specific CD8+ T cells than unstressed cells. This is not due to reduced MHC I surface presentation or extracellular IFNλ4 effects, since T cell responses are restored by exogenous loading of MHC with HCV antigens. Rather, IFNλ4 induced ER stress impairs HCV antigen processing and/or loading onto the MHC I complex. Our results provide a potential explanation for the IFNλ4-HCV paradox.
  8. iScience. 2021 Aug 20. 24(8): 102819
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident transmembrane protein kinase/RNase Ire1 is a conserved sensor of the cellular unfolded protein response and has been implicated in lipid homeostasis, including lipid synthesis and transport, across species. Here we report a novel catabolic role of Ire1 in regulating lipid mobilization in Drosophila. We found that Ire1 is activated by nutrient deprivation, and, importantly, fat body-specific Ire1 deficiency leads to increased lipid mobilization and sensitizes flies to starvation, whereas fat body Ire1 overexpression results in the opposite phenotypes. Genetic interaction and biochemical analyses revealed that Ire1 regulates lipid mobilization by promoting Xbp1s-associated FoxO degradation and suppressing FoxO-dependent lipolytic programs. Our results demonstrate that Ire1 is a catabolic sensor and acts through the Xbp1s-FoxO axis to hamper the lipolytic response during chronic food deprivation. These findings offer new insights into the conserved Ire1 regulation of lipid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Lipid; Molecular biology