bims-apauto Biomed News
on Apoptosis and autophagy
Issue of 2021‒09‒19
nine papers selected by
Su Hyun Lee
Seoul National University

  1. Autophagy. 2021 Sep 15. 1-19
      Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that exposure to particulate matter (PM) is associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer and metastasis. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated the central role of PM-induced neutrophil recruitment in promoting lung cancer metastasis. We found that reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated alveolar epithelial macroautophagy/autophagy was essential for initiating neutrophil chemotaxis and pre-metastatic niche formation in the lungs in response to PM exposure. During PM-induced autophagy, the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM37 was degraded and protected TRAF6 from proteasomal degradation in lung epithelial cells, which promoted the NFKB-dependent production of chemokines to recruit neutrophils. Importantly, ROS blockade, autophagy inhibition or TRAF6 knockdown abolished PM-induced neutrophil recruitment and lung metastasis enhancement. Our study indicates that host lung epithelial cells and neutrophils coordinate to promote cancer metastasis to the lungs in response to PM exposure and provides ideal therapeutic targets for metastatic progression.Abbreviations: ACTA2/α-SMA: actin alpha 2, smooth muscle, aorta; ATII: alveolar type II; Cho-Traf6 siRNA: 5'-cholesterol-Traf6 siRNA; EMT: epithelial-mesenchymal transition; HBE: human bronchial epithelial; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; MAPK: mitogen-activated protein kinase; NAC: N-acetyl-L-cysteine; NFKB: nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells; NS: normal saline; PM: particulate matter; ROS: reactive oxygen species; TRAF6: TNF receptor-associated factor 6; TRIM37: tripartite motif-containing 37.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; NFKB; ROS; TRAF6; TRIM37; lung metastasis; neutrophils; particulate matter
  2. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Sep 17. 12(10): 854
      Dopaminergic (DA) cell death in Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with the gradual appearance of neuronal protein aggregates termed Lewy bodies (LBs) that are comprised of vesicular membrane structures and dysmorphic organelles in conjunction with the protein alpha-Synuclein (α-Syn). Although the exact mechanism of neuronal aggregate formation and death remains elusive, recent research suggests α-Syn-mediated alterations in the lysosomal degradation of aggregated proteins and organelles - a process termed autophagy. Here, we used a combination of molecular biology and immunochemistry to investigate the effect of α-Syn on autophagy turnover in cultured human DA neurons and in human post-mortem brain tissue. We found α-Syn overexpression to reduce autophagy turnover by compromising the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes, thus leading to a decrease in the formation of autolysosomes. In accord with a compensatory increase in the plasma membrane fusion of autophagosomes, α-Syn enhanced the number of extracellular vesicles (EV) and the abundance of autophagy-associated proteins in these EVs. Mechanistically, α-Syn decreased the abundance of the v-SNARE protein SNAP29, a member of the SNARE complex mediating autophagolysosome fusion. In line, SNAP29 knockdown mimicked the effect of α-Syn on autophagy whereas SNAP29 co-expression reversed the α-Syn-induced changes on autophagy turnover and EV release and ameliorated DA neuronal cell death. In accord with our results from cultured neurons, we found a stage-dependent reduction of SNAP29 in SNc DA neurons from human post-mortem brain tissue of Lewy body pathology (LBP) cases. In summary, our results thus demonstrate a previously unknown effect of α-Syn on intracellular autophagy-associated SNARE proteins and, as a consequence, a reduced autolysosome fusion. As such, our findings will therefore support the investigation of autophagy-associated pathological changes in PD.
  3. Autophagy. 2021 Sep 14. 1-3
      The mammalian ULK kinase complex is the most upstream component in the macroautophagy/autophagy signaling pathway. ULK1 and homolog ULK2, the sole serine/threonine kinases in autophagy, transduce an array of autophagy-inducing stimuli to downstream autophagic machinery, regulating autophagy from autophagosome initiation to fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. ULK signaling is also implicated in a diverse array of non-canonical processes from necroptosis to ER-Golgi trafficking to stress granule clearance. However, the exact mechanisms by which ULK regulates these diverse processes remain largely unknown. Most notably, the number of validated ULK substrates is surprisingly low. Our study identifies new ULK substrates from a wide array of protein families and signaling pathways and supports an expanded range of physiological roles for the ULKs. We further characterize several new substrates, including the PIK3C3/VPS34-containing complex subunit PIK3R4/VPS15 and the AMPK component PRKAG2. Finally, by analyzing PIK3R4/VPS15-deficient models we discover novel aspects of ULK signaling with potential relevance in selective autophagy.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PIK3R4; PRKAG2; VPS15; VPS34; p150
  4. Autophagy. 2021 Sep 14. 1-13
      We recently identified FAM134B2, which is an N-terminal truncated reticulophagy receptor highly induced by starvation such as fasting of mice and treatment of mammalian cells with a starvation medium that does not contain amino acids, glucose and growth factors. However, which starvation signal mediates the induction of FAM134B2 is still obscure. In this study, we found that amino acid deficiency (AAD) could mimic the starvation condition to induce FAM134B2 expression. Unexpectedly, EIF2AK4/GCN2-mediated integrated signal response (ISR) and MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase) signals, which constitute two major signaling pathways that respond to AAD, did not contribute to AAD-induced FAM134B2 induction. mRNA-seq and siRNA screenings identified two ISR-independent transcription factors, MEF2D (myocyte enhancer factor 2D) and NR4A1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 4 group A member 1), involved in AAD-induced FAM134B2 expression. AAD induces MEF2D, resulting in the induction of NR4A1, which in turn induces FAM134B2-mediated reticulophagy to maintain intracellular amino acid levels. In conclusion, the MEF2D-NR4A1-FAM134B2 cascade is a critical signal in amino acid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Amino acid deficiency; FAM134B2; MEF2D; NR4A1; reticulophagy
  5. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 15. 12(1): 5156
      R-loops are by-products of transcription that must be tightly regulated to maintain genomic stability and gene expression. Here, we describe a mechanism for the regulation of the R-loop-specific helicase, senataxin (SETX), and identify the ubiquitin specific peptidase 11 (USP11) as an R-loop regulator. USP11 de-ubiquitinates SETX and its depletion increases SETX K48-ubiquitination and protein turnover. Loss of USP11 decreases SETX steady-state levels and reduces R-loop dissolution. Ageing of USP11 knockout cells restores SETX levels via compensatory transcriptional downregulation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase, KEAP1. Loss of USP11 reduces SETX enrichment at KEAP1 promoter, leading to R-loop accumulation, enrichment of the endonuclease XPF and formation of double-strand breaks. Overexpression of KEAP1 increases SETX K48-ubiquitination, promotes its degradation and R-loop accumulation. These data define a ubiquitination-dependent mechanism for SETX regulation, which is controlled by the opposing activities of USP11 and KEAP1 with broad applications for cancer and neurological disease.
  6. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Sep 12.
      Mitochondria support multiple cell functions, but an accumulation of dysfunctional or excessive mitochondria is detrimental to cells. We previously demonstrated that a defect in the autophagic removal of mitochondria, termed mitophagy, leads to the acceleration of apoptosis induced by herpesvirus productive infection. However, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying activation of mitophagy and regulation of apoptosis remain poorly understood despite the identification of various mitophagy-associated proteins. Here, we report that the mitochondrial translation elongation factor Tu, a mitophagy-associated protein encoded by the TUFM gene, locates in part on the outer membrane of mitochondria (OMM) where it acts as an inhibitor of altered mitochondria-induced apoptosis through its autophagic function. Inducible depletion of TUFM potentiated caspase-8-mediated apoptosis in virus-infected cells with accumulation of altered mitochondria. In addition, TUFM depletion promoted caspase-8 activation induced by treatment with TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand in cancer cells, potentially via dysregulation of mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy. Importantly, we revealed the existence of and structural requirements for autophagy-competent TUFM on the OMM; the GxxxG motif within the N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequences of TUFM was required for self-dimerization and mitophagy. Furthermore, we found that autophagy-competent TUFM was subject to ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated degradation but stabilized upon mitophagy or autophagy activation. Moreover, overexpression of autophagy-competent TUFM could inhibit caspase-8 activation. These studies extend our knowledge of mitophagy regulation of apoptosis and could provide a novel strategic basis for targeted therapy of cancer and viral diseases.
  7. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 13. 12(1): 5401
      Fast-replicating neurotropic herpesviruses exemplified by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) naturally infect the central nervous system (CNS). However, most individuals intrinsically suppress the virus during a primary infection and preclude it from significantly damaging the CNS. Optineurin (OPTN) is a conserved autophagy receptor with little understanding of its role in neurotropic viral infections. We show that OPTN selectively targets HSV-1 tegument protein, VP16, and the fusion glycoprotein, gB, to degradation by autophagy. OPTN-deficient mice challenged with HSV-1 show significant cognitive decline and susceptibility to lethal CNS infection. OPTN deficiency unveils severe consequences for recruitment of adaptive immunity and suppression of neuronal necroptosis. Ocular HSV-1 infection is lethal without OPTN and is rescued using a necroptosis inhibitor. These results place OPTN at the crux of neuronal survival from potentially lethal CNS viral infections.
  8. Mol Cell. 2021 Sep 10. pii: S1097-2765(21)00691-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Of the eight distinct polyubiquitin (polyUb) linkages that can be assembled, the roles of K48-linked polyUb (K48-polyUb) are the most established, with K48-polyUb modified proteins being targeted for degradation. MINDY1 and MINDY2 are members of the MINDY family of deubiquitinases (DUBs) that have exquisite specificity for cleaving K48-polyUb, yet we have a poor understanding of their catalytic mechanism. Here, we analyze the crystal structures of MINDY1 and MINDY2 alone and in complex with monoUb, di-, and penta-K48-polyUb, identifying 5 distinct Ub binding sites in the catalytic domain that explain how these DUBs sense both Ub chain length and linkage type to cleave K48-polyUb chains. The activity of MINDY1/2 is inhibited by the Cys-loop, and we find that substrate interaction relieves autoinhibition to activate these DUBs. We also find that MINDY1/2 use a non-canonical catalytic triad composed of Cys-His-Thr. Our findings highlight multiple layers of regulation modulating DUB activity in MINDY1 and MINDY2.
    Keywords:  autoinhibition; conformational change; crystal structure; deubiquitinase; enzyme mechanism; polyubiquitin; protease; proteasome; protein degradation; ubiquitylation
  9. Cancer Discov. 2021 Sep 13.
      The WNT signaling pathway is a critical regulator of development and adult tissue homeostasis and becomes dysregulated in many cancer types. Although hyperactivation of WNT signaling is common, the type and frequency of genetic WNT pathway alterations can vary dramatically between different cancers, highlighting possible cancer-specific mechanisms for WNT-driven disease. In this review, we discuss how WNT pathway disruption contributes to tumorigenesis in different organs and how WNT affects the tumor cell and immune microenvironment. Finally, we describe recent and ongoing efforts to target oncogenic WNT signaling as a therapeutic strategy. SIGNIFICANCE: WNT signaling is a fundamental regulator of tissue homeostasis and oncogenic driver in many cancer types. In this review, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of WNT signaling in cancer, particularly the complexities of WNT activation in distinct cancer types, its role in immune evasion, and the challenge of targeting the WNT pathway as a therapeutic strategy.