bims-apauto Biomed News
on Apoptosis and autophagy
Issue of 2021‒03‒07
nine papers selected by
Su Hyun Lee
Seoul National University

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 19. pii: 2078. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an interconnected organelle that plays fundamental roles in the biosynthesis, folding, stabilization, maturation, and trafficking of secretory and transmembrane proteins. It is the largest organelle and critically modulates nearly all aspects of life. Therefore, in the endoplasmic reticulum, an enormous investment of resources, including chaperones and protein folding facilitators, is dedicated to adequate protein maturation and delivery to final destinations. Unfortunately, the folding and assembly of proteins can be quite error-prone, which leads to the generation of misfolded proteins. Notably, protein homeostasis, referred to as proteostasis, is constantly exposed to danger by flows of misfolded proteins and subsequent protein aggregates. To maintain proteostasis, the ER triages and eliminates terminally misfolded proteins by delivering substrates to the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) or to the lysosome, which is termed ER-associated degradation (ERAD) or ER-phagy, respectively. ERAD not only eliminates misfolded or unassembled proteins via protein quality control but also fine-tunes correctly folded proteins via protein quantity control. Intriguingly, the diversity and distinctive nature of E3 ubiquitin ligases determine efficiency, complexity, and specificity of ubiquitination during ERAD. ER-phagy utilizes the core autophagy machinery and eliminates ERAD-resistant misfolded proteins. Here, we conceptually outline not only ubiquitination machinery but also catalytic mechanisms of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Further, we discuss the mechanistic insights into E3 ubiquitin ligases involved in the two guardian pathways in the ER, ERAD and ER-phagy. Finally, we provide the molecular mechanisms by which ERAD and ER-phagy conduct not only protein quality control but also protein quantity control to ensure proteostasis and subsequent organismal homeostasis.
    Keywords:  E3 ubiquitin ligase; ER-associated degradation (ERAD); ER-phagy; endoplasmic reticulum (ER); protein quality control; protein quantity control; ubiquitin
  2. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 01.
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are characterized by robust self-renewal and tumorigenesis and are responsible for metastasis, drug resistance, and angiogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms for the regulation of CSC homeostasis are incompletely understood. This study demonstrated that the interleukin-17 (IL-17)B/IL-17RB signaling cascade promotes the self-renewal and tumorigenesis of CSCs by inducing Beclin-1 ubiquitination. We found that IL-17RB expression was significantly upregulated in spheroid cells and Lgr5-positive cells from the same tumor tissues of patients with gastric cancer (GC), which was closely correlated with the degree of cancer cell differentiation. Recombinant IL-17B (rIL-17B) promoted the sphere-formation ability of CSCs in vitro and enhanced tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Interestingly, IL-17B induced autophagosome formation and cleavage-mediated transformation of LC3 in CSCs and 293T cells. Furthermore, inhibition of autophagy activation by ATG7 knockdown reversed rIL-17B-induced self-renewal of GC cells. In addition, we showed that IL-17B also promoted K63-mediated ubiquitination of Beclin-1 by mediating the binding of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 to Beclin-1. Silencing IL-17RB expression abrogated the effects of IL-17B on Beclin-1 ubiquitination and autophagy activation in GC cells. Finally, we showed that IL-17B level in the serum of GC patients was positively correlated with IL-17RB expression in GC tissues, and IL-17B could induce IL-17RB expression in GC cells. Overall, the results elucidate the novel functions of IL-17B for CSCs and suggest that the intervention of the IL-17B/IL-17RB signaling pathway may provide new therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer.
  3. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 03. 1-20
      Ion exchange between intracellular and extracellular spaces is the basic mechanism for controlling cell metabolism and signal transduction. This process is mediated by ion channels and transporters on the plasma membrane, or intracellular membranes that surround various organelles, in response to environmental stimuli. Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is one of the lysosomal-dependent degradation pathways that maintains homeostasis through the degradation and recycling of cellular components (e.g., dysfunctional proteins and damaged organelles). Although autophagy-related (ATG) proteins play a central role in regulating the formation of autophagy-related member structures (e.g., phagophores, autophagosomes, and autolysosomes), the autophagic process also involves changes in expression and function of ion channels and transporters. Here we discuss current knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate autophagy in mammalian cells, with special attention to the ion channels and transporters. We also highlight prospects for the development of drugs targeting ion channels and transporters in autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; channels; ion; lysosomes; mitochondria; transporters
  4. J Clin Invest. 2021 Mar 01. pii: 146821. [Epub ahead of print]131(5):
      Lysosomal storage disorders (LSD) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases characterized by lysosomal enzyme deficiency. The cardiac phenotype includes cardiomyopathy with eventual heart failure. Lysosome-mediated degradation processes, such as autophagy, maintain cellular homeostasis by discarding cellular debris and damaged organelles. Under stress, the transcription factor EB (TFEB) moves into the nucleus to activate transcription of lysosome biogenesis and autophagic proteins. In this issue of the JCI, Ikeda et al. report on their exploration of the signaling pathway involved with regulating lysosomal proteins specifically in the heart. The researchers generated a mouse model for LSD that was restricted to cardiac tissue. Unexpectedly, modulation of TFEB alone was insufficient to fully rescue the underlying clearance defect in lysosomal-associated disorders. The authors identified the Yes-associated protein (YAP)/TFEB signaling pathway as a key regulator of autophagosomes. These findings suggest that undigested autophagosomes accumulate and result in the cell death and cardiac dysfunction observed with LSD.
  5. Viruses. 2021 Feb 18. pii: 315. [Epub ahead of print]13(2):
      Host response to a viral infection includes the production of type I interferon (IFN) and the induction of interferon-stimulated genes that have broad antiviral effects. One of the key antiviral effectors is the IFN-inducible oligoadenylate synthetase/ribonuclease L (OAS/RNase L) pathway, which is activated by double-stranded RNA to synthesize unique oligoadenylates, 2-5A, to activate RNase L. RNase L exerts an antiviral effect by cleaving diverse RNA substrates, limiting viral replication; many viruses have evolved mechanisms to counteract the OAS/RNase L pathway. Here, we show that the ATP-binding cassette E1 (ABCE1) transporter, identified as an inhibitor of RNase L, regulates RNase L activity and RNase L-induced autophagy during viral infections. ABCE1 knockdown cells show increased RNase L activity when activated by 2-5A. Compared to parental cells, the autophagy-inducing activity of RNase L in ABCE1-depleted cells is enhanced with early onset. RNase L activation in ABCE1-depleted cells inhibits cellular proliferation and sensitizes cells to apoptosis. Increased activity of caspase-3 causes premature cleavage of autophagy protein, Beclin-1, promoting a switch from autophagy to apoptosis. ABCE1 regulates autophagy during EMCV infection, and enhanced autophagy in ABCE1 knockdown cells promotes EMCV replication. We identify ABCE1 as a host protein that inhibits the OAS/RNase L pathway by regulating RNase L activity, potentially affecting antiviral effects.
    Keywords:  ABCE1; RLI; RNase L; apoptosis; autophagy; interferon
  6. Thorac Cancer. 2021 Mar 03.
      BACKGROUND: Emerging studies showed curcumin can inhibit glioblastoma and breast cancer cells via regulating ferroptosis. However, the role of ferroptosis in the inhibitory effect of curcumin on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains unclear.METHODS: Cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay was used to measure the viability of A549 and H1299 cells under different conditions. Cell proliferation was examined by Ki67 immunofluorescence. The morphological changes of cells and tumor tissues were observed by optical microscope and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH), and iron contents were determined by corresponding assay kit. The related protein expression levels were detected by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Transmission electron microscope was used to observe ultrastructure changes of A549 and H1299 cells.
    RESULTS: Curcumin inhibited tumor growth and cell proliferation, but promoted cell death. Characteristic changes of ferroptosis were observed in curcumin group, including iron overload, GSH depletion and lipid peroxidation. Meanwhile, the protein level of ACSL4 was higher and the levels of SLC7A11 and GPX4 were lower in curcumin group than that in control group. Incubation of ferroptosis inhibitors ferrostatin-1 (Fer-1) or knockdown of iron-responsive element-binding protein 2 (IREB2) notably weakened curcumin-induced anti-tumor effect and ferroptosis in A549 and H1299 cells. Further investigation suggested that curcumin induced mitochondrial membrane rupture and mitochondrial cristae decrease, increased autolysosome, increased the level of Beclin1 and LC3, and decreased the level of P62. Curcumin-induced autophagy and subsequent ferroptosis were both alleviated with autophagy inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) or siBeclin1.
    CONCLUSION: Curcumin induced ferroptosis via activating autophagy in NSCLC, which enhanced the therapeutic effect of NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; curcumin; ferroptosis; non-small-cell lung cancer
  7. Cells. 2021 Feb 19. pii: 443. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the greatest health problems affecting people worldwide. Atherosclerosis, in turn, is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease. Due to the high mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases, prevention and treatment at the earliest stages become especially important. This requires developing a deep understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of atherosclerosis. It is well-known that atherogenesis is a complex multi-component process that includes lipid metabolism disorders, inflammation, oxidative stress, autophagy disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction. Autophagy is a cellular control mechanism that is critical to maintaining health and survival. One of the specific forms of autophagy is mitophagy, which aims to control and remove defective mitochondria from the cell. Particularly defective mitophagy has been shown to be associated with atherogenesis. In this review, we consider the role of autophagy, focusing on a special type of it-mitophagy-in the context of its role in the development of atherosclerosis.
    Keywords:  atherosclerosis; autophagy; cardiovascular disease; mitochondria; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy
  8. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 05.
      Although it has been reported that some autophagy-related proteins could regulate the cell cycle, the function of ULK1-ATG13, the only protein kinase complex in macroautophagy/autophagy, remains unclear. We recently found that mitotic ULK1 and ATG13 are both substrates of the key cell cycle regulator CDK1-CCNB/cyclin B. CDK1-induced ULK1-ATG13 phosphorylation promotes mitotic autophagy and cell cycle progression. Moreover, ULK1 and ATG13 double-knockout significantly inhibits cell cycle progression and tumor cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. These findings bridge the mutual regulation between autophagic and mitotic key kinases and provide a theoretical basis for autophagy- and cell division-related diseases based on combination therapy.
  9. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Mar 05. 12(3): 250
      Tumors are composed of subpopulations of cancer cells with functionally distinct features. Intratumoral heterogeneity limits the therapeutic effectiveness of cancer drugs. To address this issue, it is important to understand the regulatory mechanisms driving a subclonal variety within a therapy-resistant tumor. We identified tumor subclones of HN9 head and neck cancer cells showing distinct responses to radiation with different levels of p62 expression. Genetically identical grounds but epigenetic heterogeneity of the p62 promoter regions revealed that radioresistant HN9-R clones displayed low p62 expression via the creation of repressive chromatin architecture, in which cooperation between DNMT1 (DNA methyltransferases 1) and HDAC1 (histone deacetylases 1) resulted in DNA methylation and repressive H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 marks in the p62 promoter. Combined inhibition of DNMT1 and HDAC1 by genetic depletion or inhibitors enhanced the suppressive effects on proliferative capacity and in vivo tumorigenesis following irradiation. Importantly, ectopically p62-overexpressed HN9-R clones increased the induction of senescence along with p62-dependent autophagy activation. These results demonstrate the heterogeneous expression of p62 as the key component of clonal variation within a tumor against irradiation. Understanding the epigenetic diversity of p62 heterogeneity among subclones allows for improved identification of the functional state of subclones and provides a novel treatment option to resolve resistance to current therapies.