bims-apauto Biomed News
on Apoptosis and autophagy
Issue of 2021‒05‒23
ten papers selected by
Su Hyun Lee
Seoul National University

  1. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2021 May 13. pii: S0304-419X(21)00062-7. [Epub ahead of print]1876(1): 188565
      Autophagy is a highly conserved metabolic process involved in the degradation of intracellular components including proteins and organelles. Consequently, it plays a critical role in recycling metabolic energy for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis in response to various stressors. In cancer, autophagy either suppresses or promotes cancer progression depending on the stage and cancer type. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer metastasis are directly mediated by oncogenic signal proteins including SNAI1, SLUG, ZEB1/2, and NOTCH1, which are functionally correlated with autophagy. In this report, we discuss the crosstalk between oncogenic signaling pathways and autophagy followed by possible strategies for cancer treatment via regulation of autophagy. Although autophagy affects EMT and cancer metastasis, the overall signaling pathways connecting cancer progression and autophagy are still illusive. In general, autophagy plays a critical role in cancer cell survival by providing a minimum level of energy via self-digestion. Thus, cancer cells face nutrient limitations and challenges under stress during EMT and metastasis. Conversely, autophagy acts as a potential cancer suppressor by degrading oncogenic proteins, which are essential for cancer progression, and by removing damaged components such as mitochondria to enhance genomic stability. Therefore, autophagy activators or inhibitors represent possible cancer therapeutics. We further discuss the regulation of autophagy-dependent degradation of oncogenic proteins and its functional correlation with oncogenic signaling pathways, with potential applications in cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Anticancer therapy; Autophagy; Cancer metastasis; EMT; Oncogenic proteins
  2. Exp Ther Med. 2021 Jul;22(1): 710
      Autophagy is a self-digestion process in cells that can maintain energy homeostasis under normal circumstances. However, misfolded proteins, damaged mitochondria and other unwanted components in cells can be decomposed and reused via autophagy in some specific cases (including hypoxic stress, low energy states or nutrient deprivation). Therefore, autophagy serves a positive role in cell survival and growth. However, excessive autophagy may lead to apoptosis. Furthermore, abnormal autophagy may lead to carcinogenesis and promote tumorigenesis in normal cells. In tumor cells, autophagy may provide the energy required for excessive proliferation, promote the growth of cancer cells, and evade apoptosis caused by certain treatments, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, resulting in increased treatment resistance and drug resistance. On the other hand, autophagy leads to an insufficient nutrient supply in cancer cells and the destruction of energy homeostasis, thereby inducing cancer cell apoptosis. Therefore, understanding the mechanism of the double-edged sword of autophagy is crucial for the treatment of cancer. The present review summarizes the signaling pathways and key factors involved in autophagy and cancer to provide possible strategies for treating tumors.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; key factors; signal pathway
  3. Med Oncol. 2021 May 21. 38(6): 74
      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the most lethal malignancy of the gastrointestinal tract. The poor prognosis of patients with PC is primarily due to lack of effective treatments against its progressive and metastatic behavior. Hence, figuring out the mechanisms underlying PC development and putting up with effective targeted therapies are of great significance to improve the prognosis of patients with PC. Apoptosis and autophagy serve to maintain tissue homoeostasis. Escaping from apoptosis or autophagy is one of the features of malignancy. PC is seriously resistant to autophagy and apoptosis, which explains its invasiveness and resistance to conventional treatment. Recently, several biological activities and pharmacological functions found in natural product extracts have been reported to inhibit PC progression. The current review focuses on understanding natural product extracts and their derivatives as one kind of novel treatments through affecting the apoptosis or autophagy in PC.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Mechanism; Natural product extracts; Novel strategies; Pancreatic cancer
  4. J Cell Sci. 2020 Jan 01. pii: jcs.246868. [Epub ahead of print]
      In our previous report, we demonstrated that one of the catalytic subunits of the I-κB kinase (IKK) complex, IKKα, performs an NF-κB-independent cytoprotective role in human hepatoma cells under the treatment of the anti-tumor therapeutic reagent arsenite. IKKα triggers its own feedback degradation by activating p53-dependent autophagy and therefore contributes largely to hepatoma cell apoptosis induced by arsenite. Interestingly, IKKα is unable to interact with p53 directly but plays a critical role in mediating p53 phosphorylation (at Ser15) by promoting CHK1 activation and CHK1/p53 complex formation. In the current study, we found that p53 acetylation (at Lys373/382) was also critical for the induction of autophagy and the autophagic degradation of IKKα in the arsenite responses. Furthermore, IKKα was involved in p53 acetylation through interaction with the acetyltransferases for p53, p300 and CBP, inducing CHK1-dependent p300/CBP activation and promoting p300/p53 or CBP/p53 complex formation. Therefore, taken together with the previous report, we conclude that both IKKα- and CHK1-dependent p53 phosphorylation and acetylation contribute to mediating selective autophagy targeting feedback degradation of IKKα in arsenite-induced proapoptotic responses.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; IKKα; p300/CBP; p53 acetylation
  5. J Biol Chem. 2021 May 14. pii: S0021-9258(21)00573-1. [Epub ahead of print] 100780
      Macroautophagy (hereafter, autophagy) is a process that directs the degradation of cytoplasmic material in lysosomes. In addition to its homeostatic roles, autophagy undergoes dynamic positive and negative regulation in response to multiple forms of cellular stress, thus enabling the survival of cells. However, the precise mechanisms of autophagy regulation are not fully understood. To identify potential negative regulators of autophagy, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR screen using the quantitative autophagic flux reporter GFP-LC3-RFP. We identified phosphoribosylformylglycinamidine synthase (PFAS), a component of the de novo purine synthesis pathway, as one such negative regulator of autophagy. Autophagy was activated in cells lacking PFAS or phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate amidotransferase (PPAT), another de novo purine synthesis enzyme, or treated with methotrexate when exogenous levels of purines were insufficient. Purine starvation-induced autophagy activation was concomitant with mTORC1 suppression, and was profoundly suppressed in cells deficient for TSC2, which negatively regulates mTORC1 through inhibition of RHEB, suggesting that purines regulate autophagy through the TSC-RHEB-mTORC1 signaling axis. Moreover, depletion of the pyrimidine synthesis enzymes carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 2, aspartate transcarbamylase, and dihydroorotase (CAD) and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) activated autophagy as well, although mTORC1 activity was not altered by pyrimidine shortage. These results suggest a different mechanism of autophagy induction between purine and pyrimidine starvation. These findings provide novel insights into the regulation of autophagy by nucleotides and possibly the role of autophagy in nucleotide metabolism, leading to further developing anticancer strategies involving nucleotide synthesis and autophagy.
    Keywords:  CRISPR/Cas; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); nucleoside/nucleotide biosynthesis; nucleoside/nucleotide metabolism; nucleotide; phosphoribosylformylglycinamidine synthase (PFAS); tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)
  6. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2021 May 22. 55(3): 277-300
      The lysosome is a single ubiquitous membrane-enclosed intracellular organelle with an acidic pH present in all eukaryotic cells, which contains large numbers of hydrolytic enzymes with their maximal enzymatic activity at a low pH (pH ≤ 5) such as proteases, nucleases, and phosphatases that are able to degrade extracellular and intracellular components. It is well known that lysosomes act as a center for degradation and recycling of large numbers of macromolecules delivered by endocytosis, phagocytosis, and autophagy. Lysosomes are recognized as key organelles for cellular clearance and are involved in many cellular processes and maintain cellular homeostasis. Recently, it has been shown that lysosome function and its related pathways are of particular importance in vascular regulation and related diseases. In this review, we highlighted studies that have improved our understanding of the connection between lysosome function and vascular physiological and pathophysiological activities in arterial smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs). Sphingolipids-metabolizingenzymes in lysosomes play critical roles in intracellular signaling events that influence cellular behavior and function in SMCs and ECs. The focus of this review will be to define the mechanism by which the lysosome contributes to cardiovascular regulation and diseases. It is believed that exploring the role of lysosomal function and its sphingolipid metabolism in the initiation and progression of vascular disease and regulation may provide novel insights into the understanding of vascular pathobiology and helps develop more effective therapeutic strategies for vascular diseases.
    Keywords:  Lysosome; Smooth Muscle Cells; Exosomes; Sphingolipids; Vascular Calcification
  7. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 ;11 668034
      The ability to sense and adequately respond to variable environmental conditions is central for cellular and organismal homeostasis. Eukaryotic cells are equipped with highly conserved stress-response mechanisms that support cellular function when homeostasis is compromised, promoting survival. Two such mechanisms - the unfolded protein response (UPR) and autophagy - are involved in the cellular response to perturbations in the endoplasmic reticulum, in calcium homeostasis, in cellular energy or redox status. Each of them operates through conserved signaling pathways to promote cellular adaptations that include re-programming transcription of genes and translation of new proteins and degradation of cellular components. In addition to their specific functions, it is becoming increasingly clear that these pathways intersect in many ways in different contexts of cellular stress. Viral infections are a major cause of cellular stress as many cellular functions are coopted to support viral replication. Both UPR and autophagy are induced upon infection with many different viruses with varying outcomes - in some instances controlling infection while in others supporting viral replication and infection. The role of UPR and autophagy in response to coronavirus infection has been a matter of debate in the last decade. It has been suggested that CoV exploit components of autophagy machinery and UPR to generate double-membrane vesicles where it establishes its replicative niche and to control the balance between cell death and survival during infection. Even though the molecular mechanisms are not fully elucidated, it is clear that UPR and autophagy are intimately associated during CoV infections. The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has brought renewed interest to this topic as several drugs known to modulate autophagy - including chloroquine, niclosamide, valinomycin, and spermine - were proposed as therapeutic options. Their efficacy is still debatable, highlighting the need to better understand the molecular interactions between CoV, UPR and autophagy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; coronavirus; host-pathogen interaction; integrated stress response; unfolded protein response
  8. Autophagy. 2021 May 19. 1-16
      Relatively quiescent tissues like salivary glands (SGs) respond to stimuli such as injury to expand, replace and regenerate. Resident stem/progenitor cells are key in this process because, upon activation, they possess the ability to self-renew. Macroautophagy/autophagy contributes to and regulates differentiation in adult tissues, but an important question is whether this pathway promotes stem cell self-renewal in tissues. We took advantage of a 3D organoid system that allows assessing the self-renewal of mouse SGs stem cells (SGSCs). We found that autophagy in dormant SGSCs has slower flux than self-renewing SGSCs. Importantly, autophagy enhancement upon SGSCs activation is a self-renewal feature in 3D organoid cultures and SGs regenerating in vivo. Accordingly, autophagy ablation in SGSCs inhibits self-renewal whereas pharmacological stimulation promotes self-renewal of mouse and human SGSCs. Thus, autophagy is a key pathway for self-renewal activation in low proliferative adult tissues, and its pharmacological manipulation has the potential to promote tissue regeneration.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; maintenance; salivary glands; self-renewal; stem cells
  9. Autophagy. 2021 May 19. 1-3
      In eukaryotes, ATG4/Atg4 is a critical regulator of macroautophagy/autophagy. The protease activity of Atg4/ATG4, involved in conjugation and deconjugation of Atg8-family proteins, was so far regarded as its sole functional contribution. However, the role of individual ATG4-family proteins during mammalian autophagy had previously not been examined in vivo. During their recent investigation, Nguyen et al. discovered a hitherto unexplored role for mammalian ATG4s during mitophagy - the recruitment of ATG9A-containing vesicles. Their article, highlighted here, discusses the finding, which uses a novel artificial intelligence (AI)-directed analysis technique for focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) imaging to demonstrate the role of ATG4s in promoting phagophore growth and establishing phagophore-ER contacts.
    Keywords:  ATG9; autophagosome; autophagy; deconjugation; mitophagy
  10. Autophagy. 2021 May 16. 1-11
      S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (SAH), an amino acid derivative, is a key intermediate metabolite in methionine metabolism, which is normally considered as a harmful by-product and hydrolyzed quickly once formed. AHCY (adenosylhomocysteinase) converts SAH into homocysteine and adenosine. There are two other members in the AHCY family, AHCYL1 (adenosylhomocysteinase like 1) and AHCYL2 (adenosylhomocysteinase like 2). Here we define AHCYL1 function as a SAH sensor to inhibit macroautophagy/autophagy through PIK3C3. The C terminus of AHCYL1 interacts with SAH specifically and the interaction with SAH promotes the binding of the N terminus to the catalytic domain of PIK3C3, resulting in inhibition of PIK3C3. More importantly, this observation was further validated in vivo, indicating that SAH functions as a signaling molecule. Our study uncovers a new axis of SAH-AHCYL1-PIK3C3, which senses the intracellular level of SAH to inhibit autophagy in an MTORC1-independent manner.Abbreviations: ADOX: adenosine dialdehyde; AHCY: adenosylhomocysteinase; AHCYL1: adenosylhomocysteinase like 1; cLEU: cycloleucine; PIK3C3: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; SAH: S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine; SAM: S-adenosyl-l-methionine.
    Keywords:  Metabolite; metabolite sensing; methionine cycle; methyltransferase; one-carbon metabolism; signaling molecule