bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2020‒11‒29
35 papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. EMBO J. 2020 Nov 23. e104948
      Autophagosome formation requires multiple autophagy-related (ATG) factors. However, we find that a subset of autophagy substrates remains robustly targeted to the lysosome in the absence of several core ATGs, including the LC3 lipidation machinery. To address this unexpected result, we performed genome-wide CRISPR screens identifying genes required for NBR1 flux in ATG7KO cells. We find that ATG7-independent autophagy still requires canonical ATG factors including FIP200. However, in the absence of LC3 lipidation, additional factors are required including TAX1BP1 and TBK1. TAX1BP1's ability to cluster FIP200 around NBR1 cargo and induce local autophagosome formation enforces cargo specificity and replaces the requirement for lipidated LC3. In support of this model, we define a ubiquitin-independent mode of TAX1BP1 recruitment to NBR1 puncta, highlighting that TAX1BP1 recruitment and clustering, rather than ubiquitin binding per se, is critical for function. Collectively, our data provide a mechanistic basis for reports of selective autophagy in cells lacking the lipidation machinery, wherein receptor-mediated clustering of upstream autophagy factors drives continued autophagosome formation.
    Keywords:  ATG7; NBR1; TAX1BP1; autophagosome; selective autophagy
  2. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2020 Nov 21. pii: S0003-9861(20)30697-4. [Epub ahead of print]697 108688
      Coptisine is isoquinoline alkaloid derived from Coptidis Rhizoma and is known to have potential anti-cancer activity toward various carcinomas. Targeting autophagy is one of the main approaches for cancer therapy, but whether the anti-cancer efficacy of coptisine involves autophagy is still unclear. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of coptisine on autophagy in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Hep3B cells, and identified the underlying mechanism. Our results showed that coptisine increased cytotoxicity and autophagic vacuoles in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, the expressions of light chain 3 (LC3)-I/II, Beclin-1 and autophagy genes were markedly increased by coptisine, while the expression of p62 decreased. In addition, we found that pretreatment with bafilomycin A1, an inhibitor of autophagosome-lysosome fusion, markedly reduced coptisine-mediated autophagic cell death, but 3-methyladenine, an inhibitor for autophagosome formation did not. Moreover, our results showed that although coptisine up-regulated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that partially induced LC3-I/II, coptisine-mediated AMPK signaling did not directly regulate autophagic cell death. Additionally, we found that coptisine suppressed the phosphorylation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/Akt/mTOR), and this effect was notably enhanced by PI3K inhibitor LY294002. Meanwhile, coptisine significantly increased both the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the recruitment of mitophagy-regulated proteins to mitochondria. Furthermore, N-acetylcysteine, a potential ROS scavenger, substantially suppressed the expression of mitophagy-regulated proteins and LC3 puncta by coptisine. Overall, our results demonstrate that coptisine-mediated autophagic cell death was regulated by PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling and mitochondrial ROS production associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Taken together, these findings suggest that coptisine exerts its anti-cancer effects through induction of autophagy in HCC Hep3B cells.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Coptisine; Hepatocellular carcinoma; PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway; ROS
  3. EMBO J. 2020 Nov 23. e106990
      LC3/GABARAP (hereafter ATG8) conjugation machineries have long been thought to play an essential role in autophagy by driving ATG8 lipidation on autophagosomal membranes. In this issue, Ohnstad et al (2020) describe an ATG8 lipidation bypass pathway which governs autophagy-dependent turnover of NBR1, highlighting that there is more than one road to autophagic degradation.
  4. Mol Oncol. 2020 Nov 23.
      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most common human malignancies worldwide and remains a major clinical challenge. Here, we found that Benproperine phosphate (BPP), a cough suppressant, showed significant anti-cancer effect on PC both in vitro and in vivo via induction of autophagy-mediated cell death. Mechanistical studies revealed that BPP triggered AMPK/mTOR-mediated autophagy initiation and disturbed RAB11A-mediated autophagosome-lysosome fusion, resulting in excessive accumulation of autophagosomes. Inhibition of autophagy or overexpression of RAB11A partially reversed BPP-induced growth inhibition in PC cells, suggesting that BPP might induce lethal autophagy arrest in PC cells. Together, our study identifies BPP as a potent anti-tumor agent for PC by inducing autophagy arrest, providing a new potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PC.
  5. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Nov 26. 11(11): 1015
      A number of natural plant products have a long-standing history in both traditional and modern medical applications. Some secondary metabolites induce autophagy and mediate autophagy-dependent healthspan- and lifespan-extending effects in suitable mouse models. Here, we identified isobacachalcone (ISO) as a non-toxic inducer of autophagic flux that acts on human and mouse cells in vitro, as well as mouse organs in vivo. Mechanistically, ISO inhibits AKT as well as, downstream of AKT, the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), coupled to the activation of the pro-autophagic transcription factors EB (TFEB) and E3 (TFE3). Cells equipped with a constitutively active AKT mutant failed to activate autophagy. ISO also stimulated the AKT-repressible activation of all three arms of the unfolded stress response (UPR), including the PERK-dependent phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α). Knockout of TFEB and/or TFE3 blunted the UPR, while knockout of PERK or replacement of eIF2α by a non-phosphorylable mutant reduced TFEB/TFE3 activation and autophagy induced by ISO. This points to crosstalk between the UPR and autophagy. Of note, the administration of ISO to mice improved the efficacy of immunogenic anticancer chemotherapy. This effect relied on an improved T lymphocyte-dependent anticancer immune response and was lost upon constitutive AKT activation in, or deletion of the essential autophagy gene Atg5 from, the malignant cells. In conclusion, ISO is a bioavailable autophagy inducer that warrants further preclinical characterization.
  6. Autophagy. 2020 Nov 24.
      Selective autophagy is a specific elimination of certain intracellular substrates by autophagic pathways. The most studied macroautophagy pathway involves tagging and recognition of a specific cargo by the autophagic membrane (phagophore) followed by the complete sequestration of targeted cargo from the cytosol by the double-membrane vesicle, autophagosome. Until recently, the knowledge about selective macroautophagy was minimal, but now there is a panoply of links elucidating how phagophores engulf their substrates selectively. The studies of selective autophagy processes have further stressed the importance of using the in vivo models to validate new in vitro findings and discover the physiologically relevant mechanisms. However, dissecting how the selective autophagy occurs yet remains difficult in living organisms, because most of the organelles are relatively inaccessible to observation and experimental manipulation in mammals. In recent years, zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely recognized as an excellent model for studying autophagic processes in vivo because of its optical accessibility, genetic manipulability and translational potential. Several selective autophagy pathways, such as mitophagy, xenophagy, lipophagy and aggrephagy, have been investigated using zebrafish and still need to be studied further, while other selective autophagy pathways, such as pexophagy or reticulophagy, could also benefit from the use of the zebrafish model. In this review, we shed light on how zebrafish contributed to our understanding of these selective autophagy processes by providing the in vivo platform to study them at the organismal level and highlighted the versatility of zebrafish model in the selective autophagy field.
    Keywords:  aggrephagy; lipophagy; mitophagy; selective autophagy; xenophagy; zebrafish
  7. Autophagy. 2020 Nov 23. 1-14
      A key mediator of macroautophagy/autophagy induction is the class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complex I (PtdIns3K-C1) consisting of PIK3C3/VPS34, PIK3R4/VPS15, BECN1, and ATG14. Although several proteins are known to enhance or decrease PtdIns3K-C1 activity, our understanding of the molecular regulation of PtdIns3K-C1 is still incomplete. Previously, we identified a Golgi-associated protein, GLIPR2, in a screen for proteins that interact with amino acids 267-284 of BECN1, a region of BECN1 sufficient to induce autophagy when fused to a cell penetrating leader sequence. In this study, we used CRISPR-Cas9-mediated depletion of GLIPR2 in cells and mice to investigate the role of GLIPR2 in the regulation of autophagy and PtdIns3K-C1 activity. Depletion of GLIPR2 in HeLa cells increased autophagic flux and generation of phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PtdIns3P). GLIPR2 knockout resulted in less compact Golgi structures, which was also observed in autophagy-inducing conditions such as amino acid starvation or Tat-BECN1 peptide treatment. Importantly, the binding of GLIPR2 to purified PtdIns3K-C1 inhibited the in vitro lipid kinase activity of PtdIns3K-C1. Moreover, the tissues of glipr2 knockout mice had increased basal autophagic flux as well as increased recruitment of the PtdIns3P-binding protein, WIPI2. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that GLIPR2 is a negative regulator of PtdIns3K-C1 activity and basal autophagy. Abbreviations: ATG14: autophagy related 14; Baf A1: bafilomycin A1; BARA: β-α repeated, autophagy-specific; CQ: chloroquine; GFP: green fluorescent protein; GLIPR2: GLI pathogenesis related 2; HBSS: Hanks' balanced salt solution; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; PBS: phosphate-buffered saline; PtdIns3K-C1: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complex I; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; SEM: standard error of the mean; WIPI2: WD repeat domain, phosphoinositide interacting 2.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; BECN1; GLIPR2; Golgi; PtdIns3k-C1 complex; Tat-BECN1 peptide
  8. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2020 Nov 23.
      Cerebral ischemia is accompanied by mitochondrial integrity destruction. Thus, reversion of mitochondrial damage holds great potential for cerebral ischemia therapy. As a crucial Bcl-2 family member, pro-apoptotic Bax protein is a main effector of mitochondrial permeabilization and plays an important role in mitochondrial homeostasis. However, there is still a lack of an effective cerebral protective strategy through selectively targeting Bax. In this study, we reported that natural small-molecule protosappanin A (PTA) showed a significant mitochondrial protective effect on oxygen-glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R)-induced PC12 cells injury through increasing ATP production and maintaining mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content. The mechanism study revealed that PTA selectively induced pro-apoptotic protein Bax degradation, without affecting other Bcl-2 family members such as Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, Bad, Puma, Bid, Bim, and Bik. In addition, we found that PTA promoted the association of autophagosomal marker LC3B to Bax for its degradation via an autophagy-dependent manner but not the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Collectively, our findings offered a new pharmacological strategy for maintaining mitochondrial function by inducing autophagic degradation of Bax and also provided a novel drug candidate against ischemic neuronal injury.
    Keywords:  Bax; Ischemic neuronal injury; autophagic degradation; mitochondrial homeostasis; protosappanin A (PTA)
  9. EMBO Rep. 2020 Nov 23. e50640
      Novel functional coding sequences (altORFs) are camouflaged within annotated ones (CDS) in a different reading frame. We show here that an altORF is nested in the FUS CDS, encoding a conserved 170 amino acid protein, altFUS. AltFUS is endogenously expressed in human tissues, notably in the motor cortex and motor neurons. Over-expression of wild-type FUS and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-linked FUS mutants is known to trigger toxic mechanisms in different models. These include inhibition of autophagy, loss of mitochondrial potential and accumulation of cytoplasmic aggregates. We find that altFUS, not FUS, is responsible for the inhibition of autophagy, and pivotal in mitochondrial potential loss and accumulation of cytoplasmic aggregates. Suppression of altFUS expression in a Drosophila model of FUS-related toxicity protects against neurodegeneration. Some mutations found in ALS patients are overlooked because of their synonymous effect on the FUS protein. Yet, we show they exert a deleterious effect causing missense mutations in the overlapping altFUS protein. These findings demonstrate that FUS is a bicistronic gene and suggests that both proteins, FUS and altFUS, cooperate in toxic mechanisms.
    Keywords:  FUS; alternative ORF; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; dual coding; polycistronic
  10. Elife. 2020 Nov 25. pii: e62377. [Epub ahead of print]9
      Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1), also known as serine/threonine kinase 11 (STK11) is the major energy sensor for cells to respond to metabolic stress. Autophagy degrades and recycles proteins, macromolecules, and organelles for cells to survive starvation. To access the role and cross-talk between autophagy and Lkb1 in normal tissue homeostasis, we generated genetically engineered mouse models where we can conditionally delete Stk11 and autophagy essential gene, Atg7, respectively or simultaneously, throughout the adult mice. We found that Lkb1 was essential for the survival of adult mice, and autophagy activation could temporarily compensate for the acute loss of Lkb1 and extend mouse life span. We further found that acute deletion of Lkb1 in adult mice led to impaired intestinal barrier function, hypoglycemia, and abnormal serum metabolism, which was partly rescued by the Lkb1 loss-induced autophagy upregulation via inhibiting p53 induction. Taken together, we demonstrated that autophagy and Lkb1 work synergistically to maintain adult mouse homeostasis and survival.
    Keywords:  cell biology; infectious disease; microbiology; mouse
  11. Cell Mol Immunol. 2020 Nov 24.
      The PIK3C3/VPS34 subunit of the class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns3K) complex plays a role in both canonical and noncanonical autophagy, key processes that control immune-cell responsiveness to a variety of stimuli. Our previous studies found that PIK3C3 is a critical regulator that controls the development, homeostasis, and function of dendritic and T cells. In this study, we investigated the role of PIK3C3 in myeloid cell biology using myeloid cell-specific Pik3c3-deficient mice. We found that Pik3c3-deficient macrophages express increased surface levels of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II molecules. In addition, myeloid cell-specific Pik3c3 ablation in mice caused a partial impairment in the homeostatic maintenance of macrophages expressing the apoptotic cell uptake receptor TIM-4. Pik3c3 deficiency caused phenotypic changes in myeloid cells that were dependent on the early machinery (initiation/nucleation) of the classical autophagy pathway. Consequently, myeloid cell-specific Pik3c3-deficient animals showed significantly reduced severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a primarily CD4+ T-cell-mediated mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease protection was associated with reduced accumulation of myelin-specific CD4+ T cells in the central nervous system and decreased myeloid cell IL-1β production. Further, administration of SAR405, a selective PIK3C3 inhibitor, delayed disease progression. Collectively, our studies establish PIK3C3 as an important regulator of macrophage functions and myeloid cell-mediated regulation of EAE. Our findings also have important implications for the development of small-molecule inhibitors of PIK3C3 as therapeutic modulators of MS and other autoimmune diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; IL-1β; Myeloid cells; PIK3C3
  12. Cell Rep. 2020 Nov 24. pii: S2211-1247(20)31413-3. [Epub ahead of print]33(8): 108424
      Various processes induce and maintain immune tolerance, but effector T cells still arise under minimal perturbations of homeostasis through unclear mechanisms. We report that, contrary to the model postulating primarily tolerogenic mechanisms initiated under homeostatic conditions, effector programming is an integral part of T cell fate determination induced by antigenic activation in the steady state. This effector programming depends on a two-step process starting with induction of effector precursors that express Hopx and are imprinted with multiple instructions for their subsequent terminal effector differentiation. Such molecular circuits advancing specific terminal effector differentiation upon re-stimulation include programmed expression of interferon-γ, whose production then promotes expression of T-bet in the precursors. We further show that effector programming coincides with regulatory conversion among T cells sharing the same antigen specificity. However, conventional type 2 dendritic cells (cDC2) and T cell functions of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) increase effector precursor induction while decreasing the proportion of T cells that can become peripheral Foxp3+ regulatory T (pTreg) cells.
    Keywords:  EAE; Hopx; IFN-γ; T cells; autoimmune; dendritic cells; effector programming; mTORC1; steady state; tolerance
  13. EMBO Rep. 2020 Nov 27. e50500
      The denitrosylase S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) has been suggested to sustain mitochondrial removal by autophagy (mitophagy), functionally linking S-nitrosylation to cell senescence and aging. In this study, we provide evidence that GSNOR is induced at the translational level in response to hydrogen peroxide and mitochondrial ROS. The use of selective pharmacological inhibitors and siRNA demonstrates that GSNOR induction is an event downstream of the redox-mediated activation of ATM, which in turn phosphorylates and activates CHK2 and p53 as intermediate players of this signaling cascade. The modulation of ATM/GSNOR axis, or the expression of a redox-insensitive ATM mutant influences cell sensitivity to nitrosative and oxidative stress, impairs mitophagy and affects cell survival. Remarkably, this interplay modulates T-cell activation, supporting the conclusion that GSNOR is a key molecular effector of the antioxidant function of ATM and providing new clues to comprehend the pleiotropic effects of ATM in the context of immune function.
    Keywords:  ATM; GSNOR; ROS; T cell; mitophagy
  14. J Periodontal Res. 2020 Nov 27.
      Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process essential for cellular homeostasis and human health. As a lysosome-dependent degradation pathway, autophagy acts as a modulator of the pathogenesis of diverse diseases. The relationship between autophagy and oral diseases has been explored in recent years, and there is increasing interest in the role of autophagy in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a prevalent chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by the destruction of periodontal tissues. It is initiated through pathogenic bacterial infection and interacts with the host immune defense, leading to inflammation and alveolar bone resorption. In this review, we outline the machinery of autophagy and present an overview of work on the significance of autophagy in regulating pathogen invasion, the immune response, inflammation, and alveolar bone homeostasis of periodontal disease. Existing data provide support for the importance of autophagy as a multi-dimensional regulator in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease and demonstrate the importance of future research on the potential roles of autophagy in periodontal disease.
    Keywords:  alveolar bone resorption; autophagy; inflammation; periodontal disease; periodontal pathogens; the immune response
  15. Mol Oncol. 2020 Nov 23.
      Leptin, a hormone predominantly derived from adipose tissue, is well known to induce growth of breast cancer cells. However, its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we examined the role of reprogramming of lipid metabolism and autophagy in leptin-induced growth of breast cancer cells. Herein, leptin induced significant increase in fatty-acid-oxidation (FAO)-dependent ATP production in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells. Furthermore, leptin induced both free fatty acid (FFA) release and intracellular lipid accumulation, indicating a multi-faceted effect of leptin in fatty acid metabolism. These findings were further validated in an MCF-7 tumor xenograft mouse model. Importantly, all the aforementioned metabolic effects of leptin were mediated via autophagy activation. In addition, SREBP-1 induction driven by autophagy and fatty acid synthase induction, which is mediated by SREBP-1, play crucial roles in leptin-stimulated metabolic reprogramming and are required for growth of breast cancer cell, suggesting a pivotal contribution of fatty acid metabolic reprogramming to tumor growth by leptin. Taken together, these results highlighted a crucial role of autophagy in leptin-induced cancer cell-specific metabolism, which is mediated, at least in part, via SREBP-1 induction.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Breast cancer; Leptin; Metabolic reprogramming; SREBP-1
  16. Exp Mol Med. 2020 Nov 25.
      Targeting cancer metabolism has emerged as an important cancer therapeutic strategy. Here, we describe the synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel class of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α inhibitors, disubstituted adamantyl derivatives. One such compound, LW1564, significantly suppressed HIF-1α accumulation and inhibited the growth of various cancer cell lines, including HepG2, A549, and HCT116. Measurements of the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and ATP production rate revealed that LW1564 suppressed mitochondrial respiration, thereby increasing the intracellular oxygen concentration to stimulate HIF-1α degradation. LW1564 also significantly decreased overall ATP levels by inhibiting mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complex I and downregulated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling by increasing the AMP/ATP ratio, which increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation. Consequently, LW1564 promoted the phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, which inhibited lipid synthesis. In addition, LW1564 significantly inhibited tumor growth in a HepG2 mouse xenograft model. Taken together, the results indicate that LW1564 inhibits the growth of cancer cells by targeting mitochondrial ETC complex I and impairing cancer cell metabolism. We, therefore, suggest that LW1564 may be a potent therapeutic agent for a subset of cancers that rely on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP generation.
  17. Nat Commun. 2020 Nov 27. 11(1): 6049
      Senescence is a state of stable proliferative arrest, generally accompanied by the senescence-associated secretory phenotype, which modulates tissue homeostasis. Enhancer-promoter interactions, facilitated by chromatin loops, play a key role in gene regulation but their relevance in senescence remains elusive. Here, we use Hi-C to show that oncogenic RAS-induced senescence in human diploid fibroblasts is accompanied by extensive enhancer-promoter rewiring, which is closely connected with dynamic cohesin binding to the genome. We find de novo cohesin peaks often at the 3' end of a subset of active genes. RAS-induced de novo cohesin peaks are transcription-dependent and enriched for senescence-associated genes, exemplified by IL1B, where de novo cohesin binding is involved in new loop formation. Similar IL1B induction with de novo cohesin appearance and new loop formation are observed in terminally differentiated macrophages, but not TNFα-treated cells. These results suggest that RAS-induced senescence represents a cell fate determination-like process characterised by a unique gene expression profile and 3D genome folding signature, mediated in part through cohesin redistribution on chromatin.
  18. Mol Biol Cell. 2020 Nov 25. mbcE20030191
      Phosphoinositide signaling lipids are essential for several cellular processes. The requirement for a phosphoinositide is conventionally studied by depleting the corresponding lipid kinase. However, there are very few reports on the impact of elevating phosphoinositides. That phosphoinositides are dynamically elevated in response to stimuli suggests that, in addition to being required, phosphoinositides drive downstream pathways. To test this hypothesis, we elevated the levels of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI3P) by generating hyperactive alleles of the yeast phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, Vps34. We find that hyperactive Vps34 drives certain pathways, including PI(3,5)P2 synthesis and retrograde transport from the vacuole. This demonstrates that PI3P is rate limiting in some pathways. Interestingly, hyperactive Vps34 does not affect ESCRT function. Thus, elevating PI3P does not always increase the rate of PI3P-dependent pathways. Elevating PI3P can also delay a pathway. Elevating PI3P slowed late steps in autophagy, in part by delaying the disassembly of autophagy proteins from mature autophagosomes as well as delaying fusion of autophagosomes with the vacuole. This latter defect is likely due to a more general defect in vacuole fusion, as assessed by changes in vacuole morphology. These studies suggest that stimulus-induced elevation of phosphoinositides provides a way for these stimuli to selectively regulate downstream processes.
  19. iScience. 2020 Nov 20. 23(11): 101708
      AMFR/gp78 and USP13 are a pair of ubiquitin ligase and deubiquitinase that ensure the accuracy of endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Depletion of USP13 leads to caspase activation and cleavage of the ERAD chaperone BAG6, which is reversed by knockdown of AMFR. However, the mechanism and physiological relevance of this regulation are still unclear. Here, by using the NEDDylator system, we screened out TXN as a substrate of AMFR and USP13 and showed its involvement in regulating CASP3 activation and BAG6 cleavage. Furthermore, we showed that the cleaved N-terminal BAG6 is located in the cytosol and interacts with both LC3B-I and unprocessed form of LC3B (Pro-LC3B) through the LIR1 motif to suppress autophagy. An NMR approach verified the direct interaction between BAG6 LIR1 and LC3B-I or Pro-LC3B. Collectively, our findings uncover a mechanism that converts BAG6 from an ERAD regulator to an autophagy tuner and apoptosis inducer during ER stress.
    Keywords:  Biochemistry; Biological Sciences; Cell Biology; Molecular Biology
  20. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Nov 20. 12
      Ubiquitination-mediated protein degradation is the selective degradation of diverse forms of damaged proteins that are tagged with ubiquitin, while deubiquitinating enzymes reverse ubiquitination-mediated protein degradation by removing the ubiquitin chain from the target protein. The interactions of ubiquitinating and deubiquitinating enzymes are required to maintain protein homeostasis. The ubiquitin-specific protease USP7 is a deubiquitinating enzyme that indirectly plays a role in repairing DNA damage and development. However, the mechanism of its participation in aging has not been fully explored. Regarding this issue, we found that USP7 was necessary to maintain the normal lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster, and knockdown of dusp7 shortened the lifespan and reduced the ability of Drosophila to cope with starvation, oxidative stress and heat stress. Furthermore, we showed that the ability of USP7 to regulate aging depends on the autophagy and ubiquitin signaling pathways. Furthermore, 2,5-dimethyl-celecoxib (DMC), a derivative of celecoxib, can partially restore the shortened lifespan and aberrant phenotypes caused by dusp7 knockdown. Our results suggest that USP7 is an important factor involved in the regulation of aging, and related components in this regulatory pathway may become new targets for anti-aging treatments.
    Keywords:  DMC; Drosophila; USP7; aging; autophagy
  21. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2020 Nov 24.
      AIM: Cardiac aging, which causes cardiac diastolic dysfunction, frequently occurs in older people. The role of autophagy in cardiac aging is the subject of intensive research. Autophagy comprises steps called the autophagosome formation and autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Caloric restriction (CR) is the gold standard used to induce autophagosome formation, and autophagosome-lysosome fusion is reduced by aging. However, few studies are available that survey and compare signaling during CR (autophagosome formation induced status) and old (potentially autophagosome-lysosome fusion-reduced status). Here we aimed to identify the rate-limiting step of autophagic disorders during cardiac aging.METHODS: We employed bioinformatics to analyze publicly available DNA microarray datasets. The first dataset compared the hearts of young and old C57BL6 mice (OLD). The second dataset compared the hearts of young C57BL6 mice fed a normal diet with those of young C57BL6 mice subjected to CR.
    RESULTS: We analyzed OLD-upregulated genes that were significantly associated with the Gene Ontogeny term "Autophagy," indicating that autophagic genes were upregulated in OLD mice. The autophagy-related gene Atg5 and Atg5-related genes were upregulated in OLD and CR mice. The identified hub and bottleneck genes are autophagic autophagosome formation suppressors such as Sirt2, Ilk and Islr, as well as the autophagosome-lysosome fusion inducer Snapin.
    CONCLUSIONS: Autophagosome formation genes were upregulated in aging mice subjected to CR, indicating that an upregulated autophagosome formation is not a change specific to cardiac aging. However, autophagosome-lysosome fusion genes, particularly the lysosome transportation-related gene Snapin, were downregulated in aging, indicating that autophagosome-lysosome fusion may cause autophagic disorders in cardiac aging. Geriatr Gerontol Int ••; ••: ••-•• Geriatr Gerontol Int 2020; ••: ••-••.
    Keywords:  aging; autophagy; cardiology; computational biologyly; sosomes
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Nov 23. pii: 202017152. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ferroptosis, a form of regulated necrosis driven by iron-dependent peroxidation of phospholipids, is regulated by cellular metabolism, redox homeostasis, and various signaling pathways related to cancer. In this study, we found that activating mutation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) or loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) function, highly frequent events in human cancer, confers ferroptosis resistance in cancer cells, and that inhibition of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling axis sensitizes cancer cells to ferroptosis induction. Mechanistically, this resistance requires sustained activation of mTORC1 and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)C1-dependent induction of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1), a central transcription factor regulating lipid metabolism. Furthermore, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), a transcriptional target of SREBP1, mediates the ferroptosis-suppressing activity of SREBP1 by producing monounsaturated fatty acids. Genetic or pharmacologic ablation of SREBP1 or SCD1 sensitized ferroptosis in cancer cells with PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway mutation. Conversely, ectopic expression of SREPB1 or SCD1 restored ferroptosis resistance in these cells, even when mTORC1 was inhibited. In xenograft mouse models for PI3K-mutated breast cancer and PTEN-defective prostate cancer, the combination of mTORC1 inhibition with ferroptosis induction resulted in near-complete tumor regression. In conclusion, hyperactive mutation of PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling protects cancer cells from oxidative stress and ferroptotic death through SREBP1/SCD1-mediated lipogenesis, and combination of mTORC1 inhibition with ferroptosis induction shows therapeutic promise in preclinical models.
    Keywords:  SREBP1; cancer; ferroptosis; lipogenesis; mTOR
  23. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 566090
      The mechanistic target of Rapamycin (mTOR) is essential for multiple cellular processes. The unique roles of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) or mTOR2 in regulating immune functions are emerging. NK cells are the major lymphocyte subset of innate immunity, and their development and effector functions require metabolic reprogramming. Recent studies demonstrate that in NK cells, conditionally disrupting the formation of mTORC1 or mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) alters their development significantly. Transcriptomic profiling of NK cells at the single-cell level demonstrates that mTORC1 was critical for the early developmental progression, while mTORC2 regulated the terminal maturation. In this review, we summarize the essential roles of mTOR complexes in NK development and functions.
    Keywords:  NK cell development; mTORC1; mTORC2; raptor; rictor
  24. Oncogene. 2020 Nov 23.
      Despite significant progression in the study of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the role of the proteasome in regulating cross talk between mTOR signaling and glycolysis in liver cancer progression is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that deficiency of REGγ, a proteasome activator, in mice significantly attenuates DEN-induced liver tumor formation. Ablation of REGγ increases the stability of PP2Ac (protein phosphatase 2 catalytic subunit) in vitro and in vivo, which dephosphorylates PRAS40 (AKT1 substrate 1) and stabilizes the interaction between PRAS40 and Raptor to inactive mTORC1-mediated hyper-glycolytic metabolism. In the DEN-induced animal model and clinical hepato-carcinoma samples, high levels of REGγ in HCC tumor regions contribute to reduced expression of PP2Ac, leading to accumulation of phosphorylated PRAS40 and mTORC1-mediated activation of HIF1α. Interestingly, mTORC1 enhances REGγ activity in HCC, forming a positive feedback regulatory loop. In conclusion, our study identifies REGγ-PP2Ac-PRAS40 axis as a new layer in regulating mTORC1 activity and downstream glycolytic alterations during HCC development, highlighting the REGγ-proteasome as a potential target for personalized HCC therapy.
  25. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 Nov 23. pii: S0925-4439(20)30365-3. [Epub ahead of print] 166017
      Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway in which the cell self-digests its own components providing nutrients in harsh environmental conditions. It also represents an opportunity to rid the cell of superfluous and damaged organelles, misfolded proteins or invaded microorganisms. Liver autophagy contributes to basic hepatic functions such as lipid, glycogen and protein turnover. Deregulated hepatic autophagy has been linked to many liver diseases including alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, hepatitis B and C infections, liver fibrosis as well as liver cancer. Recently, bile acids and the bile acid receptor FXR have been implicated in the regulation of hepatic autophagy, which implies a role of autophagy also for cholestatic liver diseases. This review summarizes the current evidence of bile acid mediated effects on autophagy and how this affects cholestatic liver diseases. Although detailed studies are lacking, we suggest a concept that the activity of autophagy in cholestasis depends on the disease stage, where autophagy may be induced at early stages ("cholestophagy") but may be impaired in prolonged cholestatic states ("cholestopagy").
    Keywords:  FXR; UDCA; autophagy; bile acids; cholestasis
  26. Cell Signal. 2020 Nov 22. pii: S0898-6568(20)30319-3. [Epub ahead of print] 109842
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a central modulator of inflammation and tumorigenesis in the gastrointestinal tract. Growth factors upregulate mTORC1 via the PI3K/AKT and/or Ras/MAPK signal pathways. Curcumin (CUR), a polyphenol found in turmeric roots (Curcuma longa) can repress mTORC1 kinase activity in colon cancer cell lines; however, key aspects of CUR mechanism of action remain to be elucidated including its primary cellular target. We investigated the molecular effects of physiologically attainable concentration of CUR (20 μM) in the intestinal lumen on mTORC1 signaling in Caco-2 cells. CUR markedly inhibited mTORC1 kinase activity as determined by the decreased phosphorylation of p70S6K (Thr389, -99%, P < 0.0001) and S6 (Ser235/236, -92%, P < 0.0001). Mechanistically, CUR decreased IRS-1 protein abundance (-80%, P < 0.0001) thereby downregulating AKT phosphorylation (Ser473, -94%, P < 0.0001) and in turn PRAS40 phosphorylation (Thr246, -99%, P < 0.0001) while total PRAS40 abundance was unchanged. The use of proteasome inhibitor MG132 showed that CUR-mediated loss of IRS-1 involved proteasomal degradation. CUR lowered Raptor protein abundance, which combined with PRAS40 hypophosphorylation, suggests CUR repressed mTORC1 activity by inducing compositional changes that hinder the complex assembly. In addition, CUR activated AMPK (Thr172 phosphorylation, P < 0.0001), a recognized repressor of mTORC1, and AMPK upstream regulator LKB1. Although cargo adapter protein p62 was decreased by CUR (-49%, P < 0.004), CUR did not significantly induce autophagy. Inhibition of AKT/mTORC1 signaling by CUR may have lifted the cross-inhibition onto MAPK signaling, which became induced; p-ERK1/2 (+670%, P < 0.0001), p-p38 (+1433%, P < 0.0001). By concomitantly targeting IRS-1 and AMPK, CUR's mechanism of mTORC1 inhibition is distinct from that of rapamycin.
    Keywords:  ERK; Nutrient signaling; PRAS40; Raptor; Turmeric; p38
  27. Biomedicines. 2020 Nov 19. pii: E517. [Epub ahead of print]8(11):
      Autophagy is a vacuolar, lysosomal degradation pathway for injured and damaged protein molecules and organelles in eukaryotic cells, which is controlled by nutrients and stress responses. Dysregulation of cellular autophagy may lead to various diseases such as neurodegenerative disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and malignancies. Recently, natural compounds have come to attention for being able to modulate the autophagy pathway in cancer prevention, although the prospective role of autophagy in cancer treatment is very complex and not yet clearly elucidated. Numerous synthetic chemicals have been identified that modulate autophagy and are favorable candidates for cancer treatment, but they have adverse side effects. Therefore, different phytochemicals, which include natural compounds and their derivatives, have attracted significant attention for use as autophagy modulators in cancer treatment with minimal side effects. In the current review, we discuss the promising role of natural compounds in modulating the autophagy pathway to control and prevent cancer, and provide possible therapeutic options.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; natural compound; phytochemical; treatment
  28. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2020 Nov 27.
      Autophagy is responsible for degradation of non-essential or damaged cellular constituents and damaged organelles. The autophagy pathway maintains efficient cellular metabolism and reduces cellular stress by removing additional and pathogenic components. Dysfunctional autophagy underlies several diseases. Thus, several research groups have worked toward elucidating key steps in this pathway. Autophagy can be studied by animal modeling, chemical modulators, and in vitro disease modeling with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as a loss-of-function platform. The introduction of iPSC technology, which has the capability to maintain the genetic background, has facilitated in vitro modeling of some diseases. Furthermore, iPSC technology can be used as a platform to study defective cellular and molecular pathways during development and unravel novel steps in signaling pathways of health and disease. Different studies have used iPSC technology to explore the role of autophagy in disease pathogenesis which could not have been addressed by animal modeling or chemical inducers/inhibitors. In this review, we discuss iPSC models of autophagy-associated disorders where the disease is caused due to mutations in autophagy-related genes. We classified this group as "primary autophagy induced defects (PAID)". There are iPSC models of diseases in which the primary cause is not dysfunctional autophagy, but autophagy is impaired secondary to disease phenotypes. We call this group "secondary autophagy induced defects (SAID)" and discuss them. Graphical abstract.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Primary autophagy induced defects; Secondary autophagy induced defects; iPSC
  29. Mol Biol Cell. 2020 Nov 25. mbcE20060383
      Many lysosome functions are determined by a lumenal pH of ∼5.0, including the activity of resident acid-activated hydrolases. Lysosome pH (pHlys) is often increased in neurodegenerative disorders and predicted to be decreased in cancers, making it a potential target for therapeutics to limit the progression of these diseases. Accurately measuring pHlys, however, is limited by currently used dyes that accumulate in multiple intracellular compartments and cannot be propagated in clonal cells for longitudinal studies or used for in vivo determinations. To resolve this limitation, we developed a genetically encoded ratiometric pHlys biosensor, pHLARE (pHLysosomal Activity REporter), which localizes predominantly in lysosomes, has a dynamic range of pH 4.0 to 6.5, and can be stably expressed in cells. Using pHLARE we show decreased pHlys with inhibiting activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), in breast, pancreatic, colon, and glioblastoma cancer cells compared with untransformed cells, and with the activated oncogenes H-RasV12 and R-RasV12. pHLARE is a new tool to accurately measure pHlys, for improved understanding of lysosome dynamics that could be a promising therapeutic target.
  30. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2020 Nov 21. pii: S0003-9861(20)30703-7. [Epub ahead of print] 108694
      Excessive ethanol consumption causes cellular damage, leading to fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol liver diseases, which are frequently seen with vitamin D (VD) deficiency. A great deal of progress has been achieved in the mechanisms of ethanol-induced hepatocyte damage. However, there are limited intervention means to reduce or rescue hepatocytes damage caused by ethanol. On the basis of our preliminary limited screen process, calcitriol showed a positive effect on protecting hepatocyte viability. Therefore, the molecular basis is worth elucidating. We found that calcitriol pretreatment markedly improved the cell viability, decreased cell apoptosis and oxidative stress and alleviated the abnormal mitochondrial morphology and membrane potential of hepatocytes induced by ethanol. Notably, autophagy was significantly enhanced by calcitriol, as evident by the increasing number of autophagosomes and autolysosomes, upregulated LC3B-Ⅱ and ATG5 levels, and promotion of p62 degradation. Furthermore, calcitriol pretreatment increased the colocalization of GFP-LC3-labeled autophagosomes with mitochondria, suggesting that calcitriol effectively promoted ethanol-induced mitophagy in hepatocytes. In addition, the inhibition of autophagy attenuated the protective and preventive effect of calcitriol. Furthermore, the effect of calcitriol on autophagy was regulated by AMPK/mTOR signaling, and signaling transduction was dependent on the Vitamin D receptor (VDR). In conclusion, calcitriol ameliorates ethanol-induced hepatocyte damage by enhancing autophagy. It may offer a convenient preventive and hepatoprotective mean for people on occasional social drink.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Calcitriol; Ethanol; Mitochondria damage; Mitophagy
  31. Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Nov 24. pii: S0163-7258(20)30279-5. [Epub ahead of print] 107748
      Mammalian cells use a specialized and complex machinery for the removal of altered proteins or dysfunctional organelles. Such machinery is part of a mechanism called autophagy. Moreover, when autophagy is specifically employed for the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria, it is called mitophagy. Autophagy and mitophagy have important physiological implications and roles associated with cellular differentiation, resistance to stresses such as starvation, metabolic control and adaptation to the changing microenvironment. Unfortunately, transformed cancer cells often exploit autophagy and mitophagy for sustaining their metabolic reprogramming and growth to a point that autophagy and mitophagy are recognized as promising targets for ongoing and future antitumoral therapies. Sirtuins are NAD+ dependent deacylases with a fundamental role in sensing and modulating cellular response to external stresses such as nutrients availability and therefore involved in aging, oxidative stress control, inflammation, differentiation and cancer. It is clear, therefore, that autophagy, mitophagy and sirtuins share many common aspects to a point that, recently, sirtuins have been linked to the control of autophagy and mitophagy. In the context of cancer, such a control is obtained by modulating transcription of autophagy and mitophagy genes, by post translational modification of proteins belonging to the autophagy and mitophagy machinery, by controlling ROS production or major metabolic pathways such as Krebs cycle or glutamine metabolism. The present review details current knowledge on the role of sirtuins, autophagy and mitophagy in cancer to then proceed to discuss how sirtuins can control autophagy and mitophagy in cancer cells. Finally, we discuss sirtuins role in the context of tumor progression and metastasis indicating glutamine metabolism as an example of how a concerted activation and/or inhibition of sirtuins in cancer cells can control autophagy and mitophagy by impinging on the metabolism of this fundamental amino acid.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Cancer stem cells; Glutamine metabolism; Mitophagy; Sirtuins
  32. Cell Rep. 2020 Nov 24. pii: S2211-1247(20)31416-9. [Epub ahead of print]33(8): 108427
      The activation of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) leads to the activation of mTORC2 in cell migration and metabolism. However, the mechanism that links GPCRs to mTORC2 remains unknown. Here, using Dictyostelium cells, we show that GPCR-mediated chemotactic stimulation induces hetero-oligomerization of phosphorylated GDP-bound Rho GTPase and GTP-bound Ras GTPase in directed cell migration. The Rho-Ras hetero-oligomers directly and specifically stimulate mTORC2 activity toward AKT in cells and after biochemical reconstitution using purified proteins in vitro. The Rho-Ras hetero-oligomers do not activate ERK/MAPK, another kinase that functions downstream of GPCRs and Ras. Human KRas4B functionally replace Dictyostelium Ras in mTORC2 activation. In contrast to GDP-Rho, GTP-Rho antagonizes mTORC2-AKT signaling by inhibiting the oligomerization of GDP-Rho with GTP-Ras. These data reveal that GPCR-stimulated hetero-oligomerization of Rho and Ras provides a critical regulatory step that controls mTORC2-AKT signaling.
    Keywords:  AKT; Dictyostelium; G protein-coupled receptors; KRas; Rho; cell migration; mTORC2; small GTPases
  33. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Nov 22. pii: S0006-291X(20)32088-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a mutant huntingtin (mHtt) protein that contains abnormally extended polyglutamine (polyQ) repeats. The process of autophagy has been implicated in clearing mHtt aggregates, and microRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported as new players to regulate autophagy. However, the autophagy-associated target molecule of let7b miRNA remains unclear in HD. The present study showed that extended polyQ in mouse striatal neurons increased lysosomal membrane-associated protein 2A (LAMP2A) levels and influenced the inflammatory conditions, and these augmented levels correlated to the let7b miRNA expression level. The upregulated let7b increased LAMP2A and reduced the extended polyQ in mouse striatal cells. The let7b level was highly expressed in the striatum of pre-onset HD mice, whereas it was significantly reduced in the post-onset HD striatum. Considering the level changing pattern of let7b, LAMP2A protein levels were increased in the striatum of pre-onset HD mice, but decreased in the striatum of post-onset HD mice. These results suggest that LAMP2A related to chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) capacity might play an important role in HD symptom onset and progression.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Huntingtin; LAMP2A; let7b; miRNA
  34. Mol Neurobiol. 2020 Nov 26.
      Recently, it was reported that mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity during memory retrieval is required for normal expression of aversive and non-aversive long-term memories. Here we used inhibitory-avoidance task to evaluate the potential mechanisms by which mTORC1 signaling pathway participates in memory retrieval. First, we studied the role of GluA-subunit trafficking during memory recall and its relationship with mTORC1 pathway. We found that pretest intrahippocampal infusion of GluR23ɣ, a peptide that selectively blocks GluA2-containing AMPA receptor (AMPAR) endocytosis, prevented the amnesia induced by the inhibition of mTORC1 during retrieval. Additionally, we found that GluA1 levels decreased and GluA2 levels increased at the hippocampal postsynaptic density subcellular fraction of rapamycin-infused animals during memory retrieval. GluA2 levels remained intact while GluA1 decreased at the synaptic plasma membrane fraction. Then, we evaluated the requirement of AMPAR subunit expression during memory retrieval. Intrahippocampal infusion of GluA1 or GluA2 antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) 3 h before testing impaired memory retention. The memory impairment induced by GluA2 ASO before retrieval was reverted by GluA23ɣ infusion 1 h before testing. However, AMPAR endocytosis blockade was not sufficient to compensate GluA1 synthesis inhibition. Our work indicates that de novo GluA1 and GluA2 AMPAR subunit expression is required for memory retrieval with potential different roles for each subunit and suggests that mTORC1 might regulate AMPAR trafficking during retrieval. Our present results highlight the role of mTORC1 as a key determinant of memory retrieval that impacts the recruitment of different AMPAR subunits.
    Keywords:  AMPA receptor trafficking; AMPA receptor-hippocampus; mTORC1-memory retrieval; protein synthesis
  35. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 583478
      Exercise training is one of the most effective interventional strategies for sarcopenia in aged people. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms are not well recognized. Increasing studies have reported abnormal regulation of autophagy in aged skeletal muscle. Our current study aims to explore the efficiency of exercise interventions, including treadmill exercise, resistance exercise, alternating exercise with treadmill running and resistance exercise, and voluntary wheel running, on 21-month-old rats with sarcopenia and to detect the underlying mechanisms. Results showed the declined mass of gastrocnemius muscle with deficient autophagy and excessive apoptosis as a result of up-regulated Atrogin-1 and MuRF1, declined Beclin1 level and LC3-II/LC3-I ratio, accumulated p62, increased Bax, and reduced Bcl-2 levels, and also exhibited a defective mitochondrial quality control due to declined PGC-1α, Mfn2, Drp1, and PINK1 levels. However, 12-week exercise interventions suppressed the decline in mass loss of skeletal muscle, accompanied by down-regulated Atrogin-1 and MuRF1, increased Beclin1 level, improved LC3-II/LC3-I ratio, declined p62 level, and reduced Bax and increased Bcl-2 level, as well as enhanced mitochondrial function due to the increased PGC-1α, Mfn2, Drp1, and PINK1 levels. Moreover, exercise interventions also down-regulated the phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and FoxO3a, and up-regulated phosphorylated AMPK to regulate the functional status of autophagy and mitochondrial quality control. Therefore, exercise-induced autophagy is beneficial for remedying sarcopenia by modulating Akt/mTOR and Akt/FoxO3a signal pathways and AMPK-mediated mitochondrial quality control, and resistance exercise exhibits the best interventional efficiency.
    Keywords:  Akt/FoxO3a signal pathway; Akt/mTOR signal pathway; autophagy; exercise intervention; mitochondrial quality control; sarcopenia