bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2019‒07‒28
eight papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Cell Rep. 2019 Jul 23. pii: S2211-1247(19)30850-2. [Epub ahead of print]28(4): 1029-1040.e5
      Autophagy, a lysosomal degradation pathway, plays crucial roles in health and disease. p62/SQSTM1 (hereafter p62) is an autophagy adaptor protein that can shuttle ubiquitinated cargo for autophagic degradation. Here, we show that upregulating the Drosophila p62 homolog ref(2)P/dp62, starting in midlife, delays the onset of pathology and prolongs healthy lifespan. Midlife induction of dp62 improves proteostasis, in aged flies, in an autophagy-dependent manner. Previous studies have reported that p62 plays a role in mediating the clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria via mitophagy. However, the causal relationships between p62 expression, mitochondrial homeostasis, and aging remain largely unexplored. We show that upregulating dp62, in midlife, promotes mitochondrial fission, facilitates mitophagy, and improves mitochondrial function in aged flies. Finally, we show that mitochondrial fission is required for the anti-aging effects of midlife dp62 induction. Our findings indicate that p62 represents a potential therapeutic target to counteract aging and prolong health in aged mammals.
    Keywords:  aging; autophagy; longevity; midlife; mitophagy; p62
  2. Autophagy. 2019 Jul 24. 1-7
      The ubiquitination of mitochondrial proteins labels damaged mitochondria for degradation through mitophagy. We recently developed an in vivo system in which mitophagy is slowed by inhibiting mitochondrial division through knockout of Dnm1l/Drp1, a dynamin related GTPase that mediates mitochondrial division. Using this system, we revealed that the ubiquitination of mitochondrial proteins required SQSTM1/p62, but not the ubiquitin E3 ligase PRKN/parkin, during mitophagy. Here, we tested the role of PINK1, a mitochondrial protein kinase that activates mitophagy by phosphorylating ubiquitin, in mitochondrial ubiquitination by knocking out Pink1 in dnm1l-knockout liver. We found mitochondrial ubiquitination did not decrease in the absence of PINK1; instead, PINK1 was required for the degradation of MFN1 (mitofusin 1) and MFN2, two homologous outer membrane proteins that mediate mitochondrial fusion in dnm1l-knockout hepatocytes. These data suggest that mitochondrial ubiquitination is promoted by SQSTM1 independently of PINK1 and PRKN during mitophagy. PINK1 and PRKN appear to control the balance between mitochondrial division and fusion in vivo. Abbreviations: DNM1L/DRP1: dynamin 1-like; KEAP1: kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MFN1/2: mitofusin 1/2; OPA1: OPA1, mitochondrial dynamin like GTPase; PDH: pyruvate dehydrogenase E1; PINK1: PTEN induced putative kinase 1; PRKN/parkin: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase.
    Keywords:  Dnm1l/Drp1; PINK1; PRKN/parkin; mitochondria; mitochondrial division; mitophagy
  3. EMBO Rep. 2019 Jul 25. e46238
      The protein p62/Sequestosome 1 (p62) has been described as a selective autophagy receptor and independently as a platform for pro-inflammatory and other intracellular signaling. How these seemingly disparate functional roles of p62 are coordinated has not been resolved. Here, we show that TAK1, a kinase involved in immune signaling, negatively regulates p62 action in autophagy. TAK1 reduces p62 localization to autophagosomes, dampening the autophagic degradation of both p62 and p62-directed autophagy substrates. TAK1 also relocalizes p62 into dynamic cytoplasmic bodies, a phenomenon that accompanies the stabilization of TAK1 complex components. On the other hand, p62 facilitates the assembly and activation of TAK1 complexes, suggesting a connection between p62's signaling functions and p62 body formation. Thus, TAK1 governs p62 action, switching it from an autophagy receptor to a signaling platform. This ability of TAK1 to disable p62 as an autophagy receptor may allow certain autophagic substrates to accumulate when needed for cellular functions.
    Keywords:  HIV-1; TLR3; TRIM5α; anti-inflammatory; tripartite motif
  4. Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 19. 10(1): 3194
      Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mechanistic Target Of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1), extends lifespan and shows strong potential for the treatment of age-related diseases. However, rapamycin exerts metabolic and immunological side effects mediated by off-target inhibition of a second mTOR-containing complex, mTOR complex 2. Here, we report the identification of DL001, a FKBP12-dependent rapamycin analog 40x more selective for mTORC1 than rapamycin. DL001 inhibits mTORC1 in cell culture lines and in vivo in C57BL/6J mice, in which DL001 inhibits mTORC1 signaling without impairing glucose homeostasis and with substantially reduced or no side effects on lipid metabolism and the immune system. In cells, DL001 efficiently represses elevated mTORC1 activity and restores normal gene expression to cells lacking a functional tuberous sclerosis complex. Our results demonstrate that highly selective pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 can be achieved in vivo, and that selective inhibition of mTORC1 significantly reduces the side effects associated with conventional rapalogs.
  5. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2019 Jul 22.
      Etoposide-induced protein 2.4 (EI24), located on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane, has been proposed to be an essential autophagy protein. Specific ablation of EI24 in neuronal and liver tissues causes deficiency of autophagy flux. However, the molecular mechanism of the EI24-mediated autophagy process is still poorly understood. Like neurons and hepatic cells, pancreatic β cells are also secretory cells. Pancreatic β cells contain large amounts of ER and continuously synthesize and secrete insulin to maintain blood glucose homeostasis. Yet, the effect of EI24 on autophagy of pancreatic β cells has not been reported. Here, we show that the autophagy process is inhibited in EI24-deficient primary pancreatic β cells. Further mechanistic studies demonstrate that EI24 is enriched at the ER-mitochondria interface and that the C-terminal domain of EI24 is important for the integrity of the mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM) and autophagy flux. Overexpression of EI24, but not the EI24-ΔC mutant, can rescue MAM integrity and decrease the aggregation of p62 and LC3II in the EI24-deficient group. By mass spectrometry-based proteomics following immunoprecipitation, EI24 was found to interact with voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R), and the outer mitochondrial membrane chaperone GRP75. Knockout of EI24 impairs the interaction of IP3R with VDAC1, indicating that these proteins may form a quaternary complex to regulate MAM integrity and the autophagy process.
    Keywords:  Autophagy initiation; Mitochondria-associated membrane; Phagophore; VDAC–IP3R complex
  6. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2019 Jul 18. pii: S0167-4889(19)30122-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chaperone-assisted selective autophagy (CASA) initiated by the cochaperone Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) represents an important mechanism for the disposal of misfolded and damaged proteins in mammalian cells. Under mechanical stress, the cochaperone cooperates with the small heat shock protein HSPB8 and the cytoskeleton-associated protein SYNPO2 to degrade force-unfolded forms of the actin-crosslinking protein filamin. This is essential for muscle maintenance in flies, fish, mice and men. Here, we identify the serine/threonine protein kinase 38 (STK38), which is part of the Hippo signaling network, as a novel interactor of BAG3. STK38 was previously shown to facilitate cytoskeleton assembly and to promote mitophagy as well as starvation and detachment induced autophagy. Significantly, our study reveals that STK38 exerts an inhibitory activity on BAG3-mediated autophagy. Inhibition relies on a disruption of the functional interplay of BAG3 with HSPB8 and SYNPO2 upon binding of STK38 to the cochaperone. Of note, STK38 attenuates CASA independently of its kinase activity, whereas previously established regulatory functions of STK38 involve target phosphorylation. The ability to exert different modes of regulation on central protein homeostasis (proteostasis) machineries apparently allows STK38 to coordinate the execution of diverse macroautophagy pathways and to balance cytoskeleton assembly and degradation.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Chaperone; Cytoskeleton; Hippo signaling; NDR1; Proteostasis
  7. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2019 Jul 23.
      Autophagy is the major cellular pathway to degrade dysfunctional organelles and protein aggregates. Autophagy is particularly important in neurons, which are terminally differentiated cells that must last the lifetime of the organism. There are both constitutive and stress-induced pathways for autophagy in neurons, which catalyze the turnover of aged or damaged mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, other cellular organelles, and aggregated proteins. These pathways are required in neurodevelopment as well as in the maintenance of neuronal homeostasis. Here we review the core components of the pathway for autophagosome biogenesis, as well as the cell biology of bulk and selective autophagy in neurons. Finally, we discuss the role of autophagy in neuronal development, homeostasis, and aging and the links between deficits in autophagy and neurodegeneration. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology Volume 35 is October 7, 2019. Please see for revised estimates.
  8. Cell Chem Biol. 2019 Jul 16. pii: S2451-9456(19)30210-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The proteolytic arm of the protein homeostasis network is maintained by both the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy. A well-balanced crosstalk between the two catabolic pathways ensures energy-efficient maintenance of cellular function. Our current understanding of the crosstalk between the UPS and autophagy is centered around substrate ubiquitination. Herein we report an additional method of crosstalk involving ubiquitin-independent 20S proteasome regulation of autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We found that enhancement of 20S proteasome activity increased the degradation of the disordered soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor activating protein receptor proteins, synaptosomal-associated protein 29 (SNAP29), and syntaxin 17 (STX17), but not vesicle-associated membrane protein 8. This resulted in a reduction of autophagosome-lysosome fusion, which was ameliorated upon overexpression of both SNAP29 and STX17. In all, we herein present a mechanism of crosstalk between the proteasome and autophagy pathway that is regulated by ubiquitin-independent 20S proteasome-mediated degradation of SNAP29 and STX17.
    Keywords:  20S proteasome; SNAP29; SNARE proteins; Syntaxin17; UPS; autophagosome-lysosome fusion; autophagy; proteasome; proteasome activation; ubiquitin-independent