bims-apauto Biomed News
on Apoptosis and autophagy
Issue of 2022‒06‒26
seven papers selected by
Su Hyun Lee
Seoul National University

  1. Mol Cell. 2022 Jun 21. pii: S1097-2765(22)00492-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tolerance of amino acid starvation is fundamental to robust cellular fitness. Asparagine depletion is lethal to some cancer cells, a vulnerability that can be exploited clinically. We report that resistance to asparagine starvation is uniquely dependent on an N-terminal low-complexity domain of GSK3α, which its paralog GSK3β lacks. In response to depletion of specific amino acids, including asparagine, leucine, and valine, this domain mediates supramolecular assembly of GSK3α with ubiquitin-proteasome system components in spatially sequestered cytoplasmic bodies. This effect is independent of mTORC1 or GCN2. In normal cells, GSK3α promotes survival during essential amino acid starvation. In human leukemia, GSK3α body formation predicts asparaginase resistance, and sensitivity to asparaginase combined with a GSK3α inhibitor. We propose that GSK3α body formation provides a cellular mechanism to maximize the catalytic efficiency of proteasomal protein degradation in response to amino acid starvation, an adaptive response co-opted by cancer cells for asparaginase resistance.
    Keywords:  GSK3; Wnt; asparaginase; protein degradation; ubiquitin-proteasome system
  2. Autophagy. 2022 Jun 19.
      Targeted protein degradation allows targeting undruggable proteins for therapeutic applications as well as eliminating proteins of interest for research purposes. While several types of degraders that harness the proteasome or the lysosome have been developed, a technology that simultaneously degrades targets and accelerates cellular autophagic flux remains unavailable. In this study, we developed a general chemical tool by which given intracellular proteins are targeted to macroautophagy for lysosomal degradation. This platform technology, termed AUTOTAC (AUTOphagy-TArgeting Chimera), employs bifunctional molecules composed of target-binding ligands (TBLs) linked to autophagy-targeting ligands (ATLs). Upon binding to targets via the TBL, the ATL binds the ZZ domain of the otherwise dormant autophagy receptor SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1), which activates SQSTM1 associated with targets and sequesters them into oligomeric species for autophagic targeting and lysosomal degradation. AUTOTACs were used to degrade various oncoproteins or aggregation-prone proteins in neurodegeneration both in vitro and/or in vivo. We suggest that AUTOTAC provides a platform for selective proteolysis as a research tool and in drug development.
    Keywords:  N-degron pathway; N-terminal arginylation; SQSTM1/p62; chemical tools; neurodegeneration; protein quality control; proteinopathy; proteolysis; selective autophagy; targeted protein degradation (TPD)
  3. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2022 Jun 22. 1-12
      BACKGROUND: Colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC) is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, particularly in developing countries. It accounts for the second and third-highest reason for cancer-induced lethality in women and men respectively. CRC involves genetic and epigenetic modifications in colonic epithelium, leading to colon adenocarcinoma. The current review highlights the pathogenic mechanisms and multifactorial etiology of CRC, influenced by apoptosis, inflammation, and autophagy pathways.METHODS: We have carried out a selective literature review on mechanisms contributing to the pathogenesis of CRC.
    RESULTS: Resistance to senescence and apoptosis of the mesenchymal cells, which play a key role in intestinal organogenesis, morphogenesis and homeostasis, appears important for sporadic CRC. Additionally, inflammation-associated tumorigenesis is a key incident in CRC, supported by immune disruptors, adaptive and innate immune traits, environmental factors, etc. involving oxidative stress, DNA damage and epigenetic modulations. The self-digesting mechanism, autophagy, also plays a twin role in CRC through the participation of LC3/LC3-II, Beclin-1, ATG5, other autophagy proteins, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) susceptibility genes. It facilitates the promotion of effective surveillance pathways and stimulates the generation of malignant tumor cells. The autophagy and apoptotic pathways undergo synergistic or antagonistic interactions in CRC and bear a critical association with IBD that results from the pro-neoplastic effects of persistent intestinal inflammation. Conversely, pro-inflammatory factors stimulate tumor growth and angiogenesis and inhibit apoptosis, suppressing anti-tumor activities.
    CONCLUSION: Hence, research attempts for the development of potential therapies for CRC are in progress, primarily based on combinatorial approaches targeting apoptosis, inflammation, and autophagy.
    Keywords:  LC3; Tumor growth; adenomatous polyp; caspase; colon; cytokine
  4. J Gastroenterol. 2022 Jun 21.
      Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is a catabolic process through which cytosolic components are captured in the autophagosome and degraded in the lysosome. Autophagy plays two major roles: nutrient recycling under starvation or stress conditions and maintenance of cellular homeostasis by removing the damaged organelles or protein aggregates. In established cancer cells, autophagy-mediated nutrient recycling promotes tumor progression, whereas in normal/premalignant cells, autophagy suppresses tumor initiation by eliminating the oncogenic/harmful molecules. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a deadly disease that is refractory to most currently available treatment modalities, including immune checkpoint blockade and molecular-targeted therapy. One prominent feature of PDAC is its constitutively active and elevated autophagy-lysosome function, which enables PDAC to thrive in its nutrient-scarce tumor microenvironment. In addition to metabolic support, autophagy promotes PDAC progression in a metabolism-independent manner by conferring resistance to therapeutic treatment or facilitating immune evasion. Besides to cell-autonomous autophagy in cancer cells, host autophagy (autophagy in non-cancer cells) supports PDAC progression, further highlighting autophagy as a promising therapeutic target in PDAC. Based on a growing list of compelling preclinical evidence, there are numerous ongoing clinical trials targeting the autophagy-lysosome pathway in PDAC. Given the multifaceted and context-dependent roles of autophagy in both cancer cells and normal host cells, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying the tumor-promoting roles of autophagy as well as of the consequences of autophagy inhibition is necessary for the development of autophagy inhibition-based therapies against PDAC.
    Keywords:  Anti-tumor immunity; Autophagy; Host autophagy; Lysosome; PDAC
  5. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jun 23. 13(6): 566
      The availability of asparagine is the limitation of cell growth and metastasis. Asparagine synthetase (ASNS) was an essential enzyme for endogenous asparagine products. In our study, ASNS-induced asparagine products were essential to maintain tumor growth and colony formations in vitro. But mutated ASNS which defected endogenous asparagine products still upregulated cell invasiveness, which indicated that ASNS promoted invasiveness by alternative pathways. Mechanically, ASNS modulated Wnt signal transduction by promoting GSK3β phosphorylation on ser9 and stabilizing the β-catenin complex, as result, ASNS could promote more β-catenin translocation into nucleus independent of endogenous asparagine. At the same time, ASNS modulated mitochondrial response to Wnt stimuli with increased mitochondrial potential and membrane fusion. In summary, ASNS promoted metastasis depending on Wnt pathway and mitochondrial functions even without endogenous asparagine products.
  6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 28. 119(26): e2111506119
      Macroautophagy promotes cellular homeostasis by delivering cytoplasmic constituents to lysosomes for degradation [Mizushima, Nat. Cell Biol. 20, 521-527 (2018)]. However, while most studies have focused on the mechanisms of protein degradation during this process, we report here that macroautophagy also depends on glycan degradation via the glycosidase, α-l-fucosidase 1 (FUCA1), which removes fucose from glycans. We show that cells lacking FUCA1 accumulate lysosomal glycans, which is associated with impaired autophagic flux. Moreover, in a mouse model of fucosidosis-a disease characterized by inactivating mutations in FUCA1 [Stepien et al., Genes (Basel) 11, E1383 (2020)]-glycan and autophagosome/autolysosome accumulation accompanies tissue destruction. Mechanistically, using lectin capture and mass spectrometry, we identified several lysosomal enzymes with altered fucosylation in FUCA1-null cells. Moreover, we show that the activity of some of these enzymes in the absence of FUCA1 can no longer be induced upon autophagy stimulation, causing retardation of autophagic flux, which involves impaired autophagosome-lysosome fusion. These findings therefore show that dysregulated glycan degradation leads to defective autophagy, which is likely a contributing factor in the etiology of fucosidosis.
    Keywords:  fucosidosis; lysosomes; macroautophagy; α-l-fucosidase 1
  7. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 ;12 878136
      SUMOylation is one of the post-translational modifications that have recently been described as a key regulator of various cellular, nuclear, metabolic, and immunological processes. The process of SUMOylation involves the modification of one or more lysine residues of target proteins by conjugation of a ubiquitin-like, small polypeptide known as SUMO for their degradation, stability, transcriptional regulation, cellular localization, and transport. Herein, for the first time, we report the involvement of the host SUMOylation pathway in the process of infection of Leishmania donovani, a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis. Our data revealed that infection of L. donovani to the host macrophages leads to upregulation of SUMOylation pathway genes and downregulation of a deSUMOylating gene, SENP1. Further, to confirm the effect of the host SUMOylation on the growth of Leishmania, the genes associated with the SUMOylation pathway were silenced and parasite load was analyzed. The knockdown of the SUMOylation pathway led to a reduction in parasitic load, suggesting the role of the host SUMOylation pathway in the disease progression and parasite survival. Owing to the effect of the SUMOylation pathway in autophagy, we further investigated the status of host autophagy to gain mechanistic insights into how SUMOylation mediates the regulation of growth of L. donovani. Knockdown of genes of host SUMOylation pathway led to the reduction of the expression levels of host autophagy markers while promoting autophagosome-lysosome fusion, suggesting SUMOylation-mediated autophagy in terms of autophagy initiation and autophagy maturation during parasite survival. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, nitric oxide (NO) production, and pro-inflammatory cytokines were also elevated upon the knockdown of genes of the host SUMOylation pathway during L. donovani infection. This indicates the involvement of the SUMOylation pathway in the modulation of protective immune responses and thus favoring parasite survival. Taken together, the results of this study indicate the hijacking of the host SUMOylation pathway by L. donovani toward the suppression of host immune responses and facilitation of host autophagy to potentially facilitate its survival. Targeting of SUMOylation pathway can provide a starting point for the design and development of novel therapeutic interventions to combat leishmaniasis.
    Keywords:  Leishmania donavani; SUMOylation; SUMOylation mediated immune responses; autophagy; autophagy maturation; host–pathogen interaction