bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2019‒04‒21
eleven papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Dev Cell. 2019 Apr 03. pii: S1534-5807(19)30224-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The clearance of damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria by selective autophagy (mitophagy) is important for cellular homeostasis and prevention of disease. Our understanding of the mitochondrial signals that trigger their recognition and targeting by mitophagy is limited. Here, we show that the mitochondrial matrix proteins 4-Nitrophenylphosphatase domain and non-neuronal SNAP25-like protein homolog 1 (NIPSNAP1) and NIPSNAP2 accumulate on the mitochondria surface upon mitochondrial depolarization. There, they recruit proteins involved in selective autophagy, including autophagy receptors and ATG8 proteins, thereby functioning as an "eat me" signal for mitophagy. NIPSNAP1 and NIPSNAP2 have a redundant function in mitophagy and are predominantly expressed in different tissues. Zebrafish lacking a functional Nipsnap1 display reduced mitophagy in the brain and parkinsonian phenotypes, including loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (Th1)-positive dopaminergic (DA) neurons, reduced motor activity, and increased oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  ALFY; NDP52; NIPSNAP1; NIPSNAP2; Parkin; TAX1BP1; autophagy; mitophagy; optineurin; p62/SQSTM1
  2. Autophagy. 2019 Apr 16.
      Short linear motifs, known as LC3-interacting regions (LIRs), interact with mactoautophagy/autophagy modifiers (Atg8/LC3/GABARAP proteins) via a conserved universal mechanism. Typically, this includes the occupancy of 2 hydrophobic pockets on the surface of Atg8-family proteins by 2 specific aromatic and hydrophobic residues within the LIR motifs. Here, we describe an alternative mechanism of Atg8-family protein interaction with the non-canonical UBA5 LIR, an E1-like enzyme of the ufmylation pathway that preferentially interacts with GABARAP but not LC3 proteins. By solving the structures of both GABARAP and GABARAPL2 in complex with the UBA5 LIR, we show that in addition to the binding to the 2 canonical hydrophobic pockets (HP1 and HP2), a conserved tryptophan residue N-terminal of the LIR core sequence binds into a novel hydrophobic pocket on the surface of GABARAP proteins, which we term HP0. This mode of action is unique for UBA5 and accompanied by large rearrangements of key residues including the side chains of the gate-keeping K46 and the adjacent K/R47 in GABARAP proteins. Swapping mutations in LC3B and GABARAPL2 revealed that K/R47 is the key residue in the specific binding of GABARAP proteins to UBA5, with synergetic contributions of the composition and dynamics of the loop L3. Finally, we elucidate the physiological relevance of the interaction and show that GABARAP proteins regulate the localization and function of UBA5 on the endoplasmic reticulum membrane in a lipidation-independent manner.
    Keywords:  GABARAP; LC3; LIR; UFM1; autophagy; complex structure; endoplasmic reticulum; peptide arrays; ufmylation
  3. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 ;13 115
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) Complex 1 (mTORC1) controls growth and proliferation of non-neuronal cells, while during neuronal development mTORC1 responds to glutamate and neurotrophins to promote neuronal migration and dendritic arborization. Recent studies reveal that mTORC1 signaling complexes are assembled on lysosomal membranes, but how mTORC1 membrane targeting is regulated is not fully clear. Our examination of palmitoyl-proteomic databases and additional bioinformatic analyses revealed that several mTORC1 proteins are predicted to undergo covalent modification with the lipid palmitate. This process, palmitoylation, can dynamically target proteins to specific membranes but its roles in mTORC1 signaling are not well described. Strikingly, we found that acute pharmacological inhibition of palmitoylation prevents amino acid-dependent mTORC1 activation in HEK293T cells and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-dependent mTORC1 activation in hippocampal neurons. We sought to define the molecular basis for this finding and found that the mTORC1 proteins LAMTOR1 and mTOR itself are directly palmitoylated, while several other mTORC1 proteins are not palmitoylated, despite strong bioinformatic prediction. Interestingly, palmitoylation of LAMTOR1, whose anchoring on lysosomal membranes is important for mTORC1 signaling, was rapidly increased prior to mTORC1 activation. In contrast, mTOR palmitoylation was decreased by stimuli that activate mTORC1. These findings reveal that specific key components of the mTOR pathway are dynamically palmitoylated, suggesting that palmitoylation is not merely permissive for mTOR activation but is instead actively involved in mTORC1-dependent signaling.
    Keywords:  BDNF; LAMTOR1; mTOR; mTORC1; neurotrophins; palmitoylation
  4. Autophagy. 2019 Apr 19. 1-17
      The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is central to proteostasis network (PN) functionality and proteome quality control. Yet, the functional implication of the UPP in tissue homeodynamics at the whole organism level and its potential cross-talk with other proteostatic or mitostatic modules are not well understood. We show here that knock down (KD) of proteasome subunits in Drosophila flies, induced, for most subunits, developmental lethality. Ubiquitous or tissue specific proteasome dysfunction triggered systemic proteome instability and activation of PN modules, including macroautophagy/autophagy, molecular chaperones and the antioxidant cncC (the fly ortholog of NFE2L2/Nrf2) pathway. Also, proteasome KD increased genomic instability, altered metabolic pathways and severely disrupted mitochondrial functionality, triggering a cncC-dependent upregulation of mitostatic genes and enhanced rates of mitophagy. Whereas, overexpression of key regulators of antioxidant responses (e.g., cncC or foxo) could not suppress the deleterious effects of proteasome dysfunction; these were alleviated in both larvae and adult flies by modulating mitochondrial dynamics towards increased fusion or by enhancing autophagy. Our findings reveal the extensive functional wiring of genomic, proteostatic and mitostatic modules in higher metazoans. Also, they support the notion that age-related increase of proteotoxic stress due to decreased UPP activity deregulates all aspects of cellular functionality being thus a driving force for most age-related diseases. Abbreviations: ALP: autophagy-lysosome pathway; ARE: antioxidant response element; Atg8a: autophagy-related 8a; ATPsynβ: ATP synthase, β subunit; C-L: caspase-like proteasomal activity; cncC: cap-n-collar isoform-C; CT-L: chymotrypsin-like proteasomal activity; Drp1: dynamin related protein 1; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; foxo: forkhead box, sub-group O; GLU: glucose; GFP: green fluorescent protein; GLY: glycogen; Hsf: heat shock factor; Hsp: Heat shock protein; Keap1: kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1; Marf: mitochondrial assembly regulatory factor; NFE2L2/Nrf2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; Opa1: optic atrophy 1; PN: proteostasis network; RNAi: RNA interference; ROS: reactive oxygen species; ref(2)P: refractory to sigma P; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; SdhA: succinate dehydrogenase, subunit A; T-L: trypsin-like proteasomal activity; TREH: trehalose; UAS: upstream activation sequence; Ub: ubiquitin; UPR: unfolded protein response; UPP: ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.
    Keywords:  ; Aging; autophagy; cncC; foxo; mitostasis; proteasome; proteostasis
  5. Protein Sci. 2019 Apr 16.
      The degradation of cytoplasmic components via autophagy is crucial for intracellular homeostasis. In the process of autophagy, a newly synthesized isolation membrane (IM) is developed to sequester degradation targets and eventually the IM seals, forming an autophagosome. One of the most poorly-understood autophagy-related proteins is Atg2, which is known to localize to a contact site between the edge of the expanding IM and the exit site of the endoplasmic reticulum (ERES). Recent advances in structural and biochemical analyses have been applied to Atg2 and have revealed it to be a novel multifunctional protein that tethers membranes and transfers phospholipids between them. Considering that Atg2 is essential for the expansion of the IM that requires phospholipids as building blocks, it is suggested that Atg2 transfers phospholipids from the ERES to the IM during the process of autophagosome formation, suggesting that lipid transfer proteins can mediate de novo organelle biogenesis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Atg2; ER exit site; autophagosome; autophagy; isolation membrane; lipid transfer protein
  6. Cell. 2019 Apr 18. pii: S0092-8674(19)30226-0. [Epub ahead of print]177(3): 697-710.e17
      Yeast ataxin-2, also known as Pbp1 (polyA binding protein-binding protein 1), is an intrinsically disordered protein implicated in stress granule formation, RNA biology, and neurodegenerative disease. To understand the endogenous function of this protein, we identify Pbp1 as a dedicated regulator of TORC1 signaling and autophagy under conditions that require mitochondrial respiration. Pbp1 binds to TORC1 specifically during respiratory growth, but utilizes an additional methionine-rich, low complexity (LC) region to inhibit TORC1. This LC region causes phase separation, forms reversible fibrils, and enables self-association into assemblies required for TORC1 inhibition. Mutants that weaken phase separation in vitro exhibit reduced capacity to inhibit TORC1 and induce autophagy. Loss of Pbp1 leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced fitness during nutritional stress. Thus, Pbp1 forms a condensate in response to respiratory status to regulate TORC1 signaling.
    Keywords:  Ataxin-2; Autophagy; Low-complexity sequence; Pbp1; TORC1; cross-β; gel; mitochondria; phase separation; polymer; respiration
  7. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2019 Apr 10. pii: S0006-291X(19)30662-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Recent studies suggest an alternative pathway of lipid breakdown called lipophagy, which delivers lipid droplets (LDs) to lysosomes for degradation of LDs. However, molecular mechanisms regulating lipophagy are still largely unknown. In this study, we evaluated the effect of oleic acid (OA) on lipophagy in cells. We found that OA treatment results in accumulation of p62 and LC3-II proteins and reduces red fluorescence in cells stably expressing mCherry-GFP-LC3. In addition, OA inhibits the co-localization of LC3 with LAMP1 under serum-deprived condition, suggesting that OA blocks autophagosome-lysosome fusion. In the cells with ATG5 or ULK1 gene deletion, LDs did not increase upon OA treatment more than in wild type cells. However, cell starvation following OA removal resulted in reduced lipid accumulation by lipophagy and recovery of autophagy flux, suggesting that the specific condition of OA treatment and cell starvation are important for lipophagy flux activity.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Lipid droplets; Lipophagy; Lysosome; Oleic acid
  8. Mol Cell Biol. 2019 Apr 15. pii: MCB.00586-18. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular senescence has emerged as a potent tumor-suppressor mechanism in numerous human neoplasias. Senescent cells secrete a distinct set of factors collectively termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which has been postulated to carry both pro- and anti-tumorigenic properties depending on tissue context. However, the in vivo effect of the SASP is poorly understood due to the difficulty of studying the SASP independently of other senescence-associated phenotypes. Here, we report that disruption of the IL-1 pathway completely uncouples the SASP from other senescence-associated phenotypes such as cell cycle exit. Transcriptome profiling of IL-1 receptor (IL-1R) - depleted senescent cells indicates that IL-1 controls the late arm of the senescence secretome, which consists of pro-inflammatory cytokines induced by NF-κB. Our data suggest that both interleukin (IL)-1α and IL-1β signal through IL-1R to upregulate the SASP in a cooperative manner. Finally, we show that IL-1α inactivation impairs tumor progression and immune cell infiltration without affecting cell cycle arrest in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, highlighting the pro-tumorigenic property of the IL-1-dependent SASP in this context. These findings provide novel insight into the therapeutic potential of targeting the IL-1 pathway in inflammatory cancers.
  9. J Clin Invest. 2019 Apr 15. pii: 122560. [Epub ahead of print]130
      Aside from its catalytic function in protein synthesis, leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LRS) has a nontranslational function in regulating cell growth via the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway by sensing amino acid availability. mTOR also regulates skeletal myogenesis, but the signaling mechanism is distinct from that in cell growth regulation. A role of LRS in myogenesis has not been reported. Here we report that LRS negatively regulated myoblast differentiation in vitro. This function of LRS was independent of its regulation of protein synthesis, and it required leucine-binding but not tRNA charging activity of LRS. Local knock down of LRS accelerated muscle regeneration in a mouse injury model, and so did the knock down of Rag or Raptor. Further in vitro studies established a Rag-mTORC1 pathway, which inhibits the IRS1-PI3K-Akt pathway, to be the mediator of the nontranslational function of LRS in myogenesis. BC-LI-0186, an inhibitor reported to disrupt LRS-Rag interaction, promoted robust muscle regeneration with enhanced functional recovery, and this effect was abolished by cotreatment with an Akt inhibitor. Taken together, our findings revealed what we believe is a novel function for LRS in controlling the homeostasis of myogenesis, and suggested a potential therapeutic strategy to target a noncanonical function of a housekeeping protein.
    Keywords:  Muscle Biology; Skeletal muscle; Therapeutics
  10. Nature. 2019 Apr 17.
      Drosophila Lgl and its mammalian homologues, LLGL1 and LLGL2, are scaffolding proteins that regulate the establishment of apical-basal polarity in epithelial cells1,2. Whereas Lgl functions as a tumour suppressor in Drosophila1, the roles of mammalian LLGL1 and LLGL2 in cancer are unclear. The majority (about 75%) of breast cancers express oestrogen receptors (ERs)3, and patients with these tumours receive endocrine treatment4. However, the development of resistance to endocrine therapy and metastatic progression are leading causes of death for patients with ER+ disease4. Here we report that, unlike LLGL1, LLGL2 is overexpressed in ER+ breast cancer and promotes cell proliferation under nutrient stress. LLGL2 regulates cell surface levels of a leucine transporter, SLC7A5, by forming a trimeric complex with SLC7A5 and a regulator of membrane fusion, YKT6, to promote leucine uptake and cell proliferation. The oestrogen receptor targets LLGL2 expression. Resistance to endocrine treatment in breast cancer cells was associated with SLC7A5- and LLGL2-dependent adaption to nutrient stress. SLC7A5 was necessary and sufficient to confer resistance to tamoxifen treatment, identifying SLC7A5 as a potential therapeutic target for overcoming resistance to endocrine treatments in breast cancer. Thus, LLGL2 functions as a promoter of tumour growth and not as a tumour suppressor in ER+ breast cancer. Beyond breast cancer, adaptation to nutrient stress is critically important5, and our findings identify an unexpected role for LLGL2 in this process.
  11. EMBO Rep. 2019 Apr 15. pii: e47451. [Epub ahead of print]
      Oncogenic signals contribute to enhanced glycolysis and mTORC1 activity, leading to rapid cell proliferation in cancer. Regulation of glycolysis and mTORC1 by PI3K/Akt signaling is well established, but how KRAS-induced MEK signaling regulates these pathways remains poorly understood. Here, we report a role for MEK-driven lactate production in mTORC1 activation in KRAS-activated cells. KRAS/MEK-induced upregulation of the chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcriptional factor II (COUP-TFII) increases the expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), resulting in lactate production and mTORC1 activation. Further, lactate inhibits the interaction of TSC2 and Rheb, leading to the cellular activation of mTORC1 irrespective of growth factor stimulation. These findings suggest that COUP-TFII is a novel oncogenic mediator, connecting KRAS signaling and glycolysis, and leading to mTORC1 activation and cellular growth.
    Keywords:   KRAS ; COUP‐TFII; glycolysis; lactate; mTORC1