bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒01‒10
thirty-two papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 01 04. 12(1): 16
      Autophagy contributes to the selective degradation of liquid droplets, including the P-Granule, Ape1-complex and p62/SQSTM1-body, although the molecular mechanisms and physiological relevance of selective degradation remain unclear. In this report, we describe the properties of endogenous p62-bodies, the effect of autophagosome biogenesis on these bodies, and the in vivo significance of their turnover. p62-bodies are low-liquidity gels containing ubiquitin and core autophagy-related proteins. Multiple autophagosomes form on the p62-gels, and the interaction of autophagosome-localizing Atg8-proteins with p62 directs autophagosome formation toward the p62-gel. Keap1 also reversibly translocates to the p62-gels in a p62-binding dependent fashion to activate the transcription factor Nrf2. Mice deficient for Atg8-interaction-dependent selective autophagy show that impaired turnover of p62-gels leads to Nrf2 hyperactivation in vivo. These results indicate that p62-gels are not simple substrates for autophagy but serve as platforms for both autophagosome formation and anti-oxidative stress.
  2. Autophagy. 2021 Jan 06.
      Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as "autophagy") is a lysosome-mediated degradation process that plays a complex role in cellular stress, either promoting survival or triggering death. Early studies suggest that ferroptosis, an iron-dependent form of regulated cell death, is not related to autophagy. Conversely, recent evidence indicates that the molecular machinery of autophagy facilitates ferroptosis through the selective degradation of anti-ferroptosis regulators. However, the mechanism of autophagy-dependent ferroptosis remains incompletely understood. Here, we examine the early dynamic change in protein expression of autophagic (e.g., MAP1LC3B and SQSTM1) or ferroptotic (e.g., SLC7A11 and GPX4) regulators in 60 human cancer cell lines in response to two classical ferroptosis activators (erastin and RSL3) in the absence or presence of the lysosomal inhibitor chloroquine. Compared to erastin, RSL3 exhibits wider and stronger activity in the upregulation of MAP1LC3B-II or downregulation of SQSTM1 in 80% (48/60) or 63% (38/60) of cell lines, respectively. Both RSL3 and erastin failed to affect SLC7A11 expression, but they led to GPX4 downregulation in 12% (7/60) and 3% (2/60) of cell lines, respectively. Additionally, the intracellular iron exporter SLC40A1 was identified as a new substrate for autophagic elimination, and its degradation by SQSTM1 promoted ferroptosis in vitro and in xenograft tumor mouse models. Together, these findings show tumor heterogeneity in autophagy-dependent ferroptosis, which might have different biological behaviors with regard to the dynamic characteristics of cell death.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cell death; ferroptosis; heterogeneity; tumor therapy
  3. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(1): 222-256
      Macroautophagy (hereafter called autophagy) is a highly conserved physiological process that degrades over-abundant or damaged organelles, large protein aggregates and invading pathogens via the lysosomal system (the vacuole in plants and yeast). Autophagy is generally induced by stress, such as oxygen-, energy- or amino acid-deprivation, irradiation, drugs, etc. In addition to non-selective bulk degradation, autophagy also occurs in a selective manner, recycling specific organelles, such as mitochondria, peroxisomes, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), lysosomes, nuclei, proteasomes and lipid droplets (LDs). This capability makes selective autophagy a major process in maintaining cellular homeostasis. The dysfunction of selective autophagy is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs), tumorigenesis, metabolic disorders, heart failure, etc. Considering the importance of selective autophagy in cell biology, we systemically review the recent advances in our understanding of this process and its regulatory mechanisms. We emphasize the 'cargo-ligand-receptor' model in selective autophagy for specific organelles or cellular components in yeast and mammals, with a focus on mitophagy and ER-phagy, which are finely described as types of selective autophagy. Additionally, we highlight unanswered questions in the field, helping readers focus on the research blind spots that need to be broken.
    Keywords:  ER-phagy; autophagy receptor; lipophagy; lysophagy; mitophagy; nucleophagy; pexophagy; proteaphagy; ribophagy; selective autophagy
  4. Life Sci. 2021 Jan 05. pii: S0024-3205(20)31738-0. [Epub ahead of print]267 118978
      AIMS: Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype shift is involved in the pathophysiology of vascular injury or platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced abnormal proliferation and migration of VSMCs. We aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism involved in PDGF-mediated signaling pathways and autophagy regulation followed by VSMC phenotype shift.MAIN METHODS: The proliferation, migration and apoptosis of cultured rat aortic VSMCs were measured, and cells undergoing phenotype shift and autophagy were examined. Specific inhibitors for target proteins in signaling pathways were applied to clarify their roles in regulating cell functions.
    KEY FINDINGS: PDGF-BB stimulation initiated autophagy activation and synthetic phenotype transition by decreasing α-smooth muscle-actin (SMA), calponin and myosin heavy chain (MHC) and increasing osteopontin (OPN) expression. However, U0126, a potent extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) inhibitor, decreased PDGF-BB-induced LC3 expression, while rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), increased it. Furthermore, U0126 decreased the expresseion of autophagy-related genes (Atgs) such as beclin-1, Atg7, Atg5, and Atg12-Atg5 complex, indicating that Erk1/2 is a regulator of PDGF-BB-induced VSMC autophagy. Regardless of autophagy inhibition by U0126 or activation by rapamycin, the PDGF-BB-induced decrease in SMA, calponin and MHC and increase in OPN expression were inhibited. Furthermore, PDGF-BB-stimulated VSMC proliferation, migration and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression were inhibited by U0126 and rapamycin.
    SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that PDGF-BB-induced autophagy is strongly regulated by Erk1/2, an mTOR-independent pathway, and any approach for targeting autophagy modulation is a potential therapeutic strategy for addressing abnormal VSMC proliferation and migration.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Erk1/2; PDGF-BB; Phenotype shift; VSMC; mTOR
  5. Autophagy. 2021 Jan 06.
      Retinal ganglion cell axons are heavily myelinated (98%) and myelin damage in the optic nerve (ON) severely affects vision. Understanding the molecular mechanism of oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes will be essential for developing new therapeutic approaches for ON demyelinating diseases. To this end, we developed a new method for isolation and culture of ON-derived oligodendrocyte lineage cells and used it to study OPC differentiation. A critical aspect of cellular differentiation is macroautophagy/autophagy, a catabolic process that allows for cell remodeling by degradation of excess or damaged cellular molecules and organelles. Knockdown of ATG9A and BECN1 (pro-autophagic proteins involved in the early stages of autophagosome formation) led to a significant reduction in proliferation and survival of OPCs. We also found that autophagy flux (a measure of autophagic degradation activity) is significantly increased during progression of oligodendrocyte differentiation. Additionally, we demonstrate a significant change in mitochondrial dynamics during oligodendrocyte differentiation, which is associated with a significant increase in programmed mitophagy (selective autophagic clearance of mitochondria). This process is mediated by the mitophagy receptor BNIP3L (BCL2/adenovirus E1B interacting protein 3-like). BNIP3L-mediated mitophagy plays a crucial role in the regulation of mitochondrial network formation, mitochondrial function and the viability of newly differentiated oligodendrocytes. Our studies provide novel evidence that proper mitochondrial dynamics is required for establishment of functional mitochondria in mature oligodendrocytes. These findings are significant because targeting BNIP3L-mediated programmed mitophagy may provide a novel therapeutic approach for stimulating myelin repair in ON demyelinating diseases.
    Keywords:  ATG9A; autophagy; autophagy flux; co-culture; demyelinating diseases; glial cells; mitochondrial dynamics; myelin; oligodendrocyte lineage cells; retinal ganglion cell axons
  6. J Biol Chem. 2020 Dec 23. pii: S0021-9258(20)00205-7. [Epub ahead of print] 100209
      The genetics and pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) strongly implicate mitochondria in disease aetiology. Elegant studies over the last two decades have elucidated complex molecular signalling governing the identification and removal of dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell, a process of mitochondrial quality control known as mitophagy. Mitochondrial deficits and specifically reduced mitophagy are evident in both sporadic and familial PD. Mendelian genetics attributes loss-of-function mutations in key mitophagy regulators PINK1 and Parkin to early-onset PD. Pharmacologically enhancing mitophagy and accelerating the removal of damaged mitochondria are of interest for developing a disease-modifying PD therapeutic. However, despite significant understanding of both PINK1/Parkin-dependent and -independent mitochondrial quality control pathways, the therapeutic potential of targeting mitophagy remains to be fully explored.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Parkinson’s disease; drug discovery; mitochondria; mitophagy
  7. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Jan 04. pii: gkaa1239. [Epub ahead of print]
      LARP1 is a key repressor of TOP mRNA translation. It binds the m7Gppp cap moiety and the adjacent 5'TOP motif of TOP mRNAs, thus impeding the assembly of the eIF4F complex on these transcripts. mTORC1 controls TOP mRNA translation via LARP1, but the details of the mechanism are unclear. Herein we elucidate the mechanism by which mTORC1 controls LARP1's translation repression activity. We demonstrate that mTORC1 phosphorylates LARP1 in vitro and in vivo, activities that are efficiently inhibited by rapamycin and torin1. We uncover 26 rapamycin-sensitive phospho-serine and -threonine residues on LARP1 that are distributed in 7 clusters. Our data show that phosphorylation of a cluster of residues located proximally to the m7Gppp cap-binding DM15 region is particularly sensitive to rapamycin and regulates both the RNA-binding and the translation inhibitory activities of LARP1. Our results unravel a new model of translation control in which the La module (LaMod) and DM15 region of LARP1, both of which can directly interact with TOP mRNA, are differentially regulated: the LaMod remains constitutively bound to PABP (irrespective of the activation status of mTORC1), while the C-terminal DM15 'pendular hook' engages the TOP mRNA 5'-end to repress translation, but only in conditions of mTORC1 inhibition.
  8. Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 05. pii: S2211-1247(20)31583-7. [Epub ahead of print]34(1): 108594
      Skeletal muscle regeneration after injury is essential for maintaining muscle function throughout aging. ARHGEF3, a RhoA/B-specific GEF, negatively regulates myoblast differentiation through Akt signaling independently of its GEF activity in vitro. Here, we report ARHGEF3's role in skeletal muscle regeneration revealed by ARHGEF3-KO mice. These mice exhibit indiscernible phenotype under basal conditions. Upon acute injury, however, ARHGEF3 deficiency enhances the mass/fiber size and function of regenerating muscles in both young and regeneration-defective middle-aged mice. Surprisingly, these effects occur independently of Akt but via the GEF activity of ARHGEF3. Consistently, overexpression of ARHGEF3 inhibits muscle regeneration in a Rho-associated kinase-dependent manner. We further show that ARHGEF3 KO promotes muscle regeneration through activation of autophagy, a process that is also critical for maintaining muscle strength. Accordingly, ARHGEF3 depletion in old mice prevents muscle weakness by restoring autophagy. Taken together, our findings identify a link between ARHGEF3 and autophagy-related muscle pathophysiology.
    Keywords:  Skeletal muscle, Regeneration, Aging, Strength, Muscle quality, ARHGEF3, XPLN, Akt, RhoA, ROCK, Autophagy
  9. Metabolites. 2021 Jan 02. pii: E27. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      There is a growing body of evidence that metabolic reprogramming contributes to the acquisition and maintenance of robustness associated with malignancy. The fine regulation of expression levels of amino acid and monocarboxylate transporters enables cancer cells to exhibit the metabolic reprogramming that is responsible for therapeutic resistance. Amino acid transporters characterized by xCT (SLC7A11), ASCT2 (SLC1A5), and LAT1 (SLC7A5) function in the uptake and export of amino acids such as cystine and glutamine, thereby regulating glutathione synthesis, autophagy, and glutaminolysis. CD44 variant, a cancer stem-like cell marker, stabilizes the xCT antiporter at the cellular membrane, and tumor cells positive for xCT and/or ASCT2 are susceptible to sulfasalazine, a system Xc(-) inhibitor. Inhibiting the interaction between LAT1 and CD98 heavy chain prevents activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 by glutamine and leucine. mTOR signaling regulated by LAT1 is a sensor of dynamic alterations in the nutrient tumor microenvironment. LAT1 is overexpressed in various malignancies and positively correlated with poor clinical outcome. Metabolic reprogramming of glutamine occurs often in cancer cells and manifests as ASCT2-mediated glutamine addiction. Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) mediate metabolic symbiosis, by which lactate in cancer cells under hypoxia is exported through MCT4 and imported by MCT1 in less hypoxic regions, where it is used as an oxidative metabolite. Differential expression patterns of transporters cause functional intratumoral heterogeneity leading to the therapeutic resistance. Therefore, metabolic reprogramming based on these transporters may be a promising therapeutic target. This review highlights the pathological function and therapeutic targets of transporters including xCT, ASCT2, LAT1, and MCT.
    Keywords:  ASCT2 (SLC1A5); CD44 variant; LAT1 (SLC7A5); cancer stem-like cells; glutamine addiction; metabolic symbiosis; monocarboxylate transporter; redox stress; sulfasalazine; system Xc(-)
  10. Commun Biol. 2021 Jan 04. 4(1): 1
      Disorders of autophagy, a key regulator of cellular homeostasis, cause a number of human diseases. Due to the role of autophagy in metabolic dysregulation, there is a need to identify autophagy regulators as therapeutic targets. To address this need, we conducted an autophagy phenotype-based screen and identified the natural compound kaempferide (Kaem) as an autophagy enhancer. Kaem promoted autophagy through translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB) without MTOR perturbation, suggesting it is safe for administration. Moreover, Kaem accelerated lipid droplet degradation in a lysosomal activity-dependent manner in vitro and ameliorated metabolic dysregulation in a diet-induced obesity mouse model. To elucidate the mechanism underlying Kaem's biological activity, the target protein was identified via combined drug affinity responsive target stability and LC-MS/MS analyses. Kaem directly interacted with the mitochondrial elongation factor TUFM, and TUFM absence reversed Kaem-induced autophagy and lipid degradation. Kaem also induced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) to sequentially promote lysosomal Ca2+ efflux, TFEB translocation and autophagy induction, suggesting a role of TUFM in mtROS regulation. Collectively, these results demonstrate that Kaem is a potential therapeutic candidate/chemical tool for treating metabolic dysregulation and reveal a role for TUFM in autophagy for metabolic regulation with lipid overload.
  11. Mol Cell Biochem. 2021 Jan 03.
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), one of the degradation pathways of proteins, is highly selective to substrates that have KFERQ-like motif. In this process, the substrate proteins are first recognized by the chaperone protein, heat shock cognate protein 70 (Hsc70), then delivered to lysosomal membrane surface where the single-span lysosomal receptor, lysosome-associated membrane protein type 2A (LAMP2A) can bind to the substrate proteins to form a 700 kDa protein complex that allows them to translocate into the lysosome lumen to be degraded by the hydrolytic enzymes. This degradation pathway mediated by CMA plays an important role in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism, transcription, DNA reparation, cell cycle, cellular response to stress and consequently, regulating many aging-associated human diseases, such as neurodegeneration, cancer and metabolic disorders. In this review, we provide an overview of current research on the functional roles of CMA primarily from a perspective of understanding and treating human diseases and also discuss its potential applications for diseases.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; KFERQ-like motif; Metabolic disorder; Neurodegenerative diseases
  12. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 619730
      Autophagy is a conserved, multistep pathway that degrades and recycles dysfunctional organelles and macromolecules to maintain cellular homeostasis. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and adenosine-monophosphate activated-protein kinase (AMPK) are major negative and positive regulators of autophagy, respectively. In cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) or nephrotoxicity, autophagy is rapidly induced in renal tubular epithelial cells and acts as a cytoprotective mechanism for cell survival. Both mTOR and AMPK have been implicated in the regulation of autophagy in cisplatin-induced AKI. Targeting mTOR and/or AMPK may offer effective strategies for kidney protection during cisplatin-mediated chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  AMPK; acute kidney injury; autophagy; cisplatin; mTOR; nephrotoxicity
  13. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Jan 07.
      Neurodegenerative diseases are characterised by progressive damage to the nervous system including the selective loss of vulnerable populations of neurons leading to motor symptoms and cognitive decline. Despite millions of people being affected worldwide, there are still no drugs that block the neurodegenerative process to stop or slow disease progression. Neuronal death in these diseases is often linked to the misfolded proteins that aggregate within the brain (proteinopathies) as a result of disease-related gene mutations or abnormal protein homoeostasis. There are two major degradation pathways to rid a cell of unwanted or misfolded proteins to prevent their accumulation and to maintain the health of a cell: the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the autophagy-lysosomal pathway. Both of these degradative pathways depend on the modification of targets with ubiquitin. Aging is the primary risk factor of most neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. With aging there is a general reduction in proteasomal degradation and autophagy, and a consequent increase of potentially neurotoxic protein aggregates of β-amyloid, tau, α-synuclein, SOD1 and TDP-43. An often over-looked yet major component of these aggregates is ubiquitin, implicating these protein aggregates as either an adaptive response to toxic misfolded proteins or as evidence of dysregulated ubiquitin-mediated degradation driving toxic aggregation. In addition, non-degradative ubiquitin signalling is critical for homoeostatic mechanisms fundamental for neuronal function and survival, including mitochondrial homoeostasis, receptor trafficking and DNA damage responses, whilst also playing a role in inflammatory processes. This review will discuss the current understanding of the role of ubiquitin-dependent processes in the progressive loss of neurons and the emergence of ubiquitin signalling as a target for the development of much needed new drugs to treat neurodegenerative disease.
  14. Cells. 2021 Jan 06. pii: E79. [Epub ahead of print]10(1):
      The activity of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, mPTP, a highly regulated multi-component mega-channel, is enhanced in aging and in aging-driven degenerative diseases. mPTP activity accelerates aging by releasing large amounts of cell-damaging reactive oxygen species, Ca2+ and NAD+. The various pathways that control the channel activity, directly or indirectly, can therefore either inhibit or accelerate aging or retard or enhance the progression of aging-driven degenerative diseases and determine lifespan and healthspan. Autophagy, a catabolic process that removes and digests damaged proteins and organelles, protects the cell against aging and disease. However, the protective effect of autophagy depends on mTORC2/SKG1 inhibition of mPTP. Autophagy is inhibited in aging cells. Mitophagy, a specialized form of autophagy, which retards aging by removing mitochondrial fragments with activated mPTP, is also inhibited in aging cells, and this inhibition leads to increased mPTP activation, which is a major contributor to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The increased activity of mPTP in aging turns autophagy/mitophagy into a destructive process leading to cell aging and death. Several drugs and lifestyle modifications that enhance healthspan and lifespan enhance autophagy and inhibit the activation of mPTP. Therefore, elucidating the intricate connections between pathways that activate and inhibit mPTP, in the context of aging and degenerative diseases, could enhance the discovery of new drugs and lifestyle modifications that slow aging and degenerative disease.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; aging; aging-driven degenerative disease; autophagy; longevity; mitochondrial permeability transition; mitophagy; reactive oxygen species
  15. EMBO Rep. 2021 Jan 04. e50854
      Nrf2 signaling is vital for protecting cells against oxidative stress. However, its hyperactivation is frequently found in liver cancer through excessive build-up of p62/SQSTM1 bodies that sequester Keap1, an adaptor of the E3-ubiquitin ligase complex for Nrf2. Here, we report that the Bax-binding protein MOAP-1 regulates p62-Keap1-Nrf2 signaling through disruption of p62 bodies. Upon induction of cellular stresses that stimulate formation of p62 bodies, MOAP-1 is recruited to p62 bodies and reduces their levels independent of the autophagy pathway. MOAP-1 interacts with the PB1-ZZ domains of p62 and interferes with its self-oligomerization and liquid-liquid phase separation, thereby disassembling the p62 bodies. Loss of MOAP-1 can lead to marked upregulation of p62 bodies, enhanced sequestration of Keap1 by p62 and hyperactivation of Nrf2 antioxidant target genes. MOAP-1-deficient mice exhibit an elevated tumor burden with excessive levels of p62 bodies and Nrf2 signaling in a diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced hepatocarcinogenesis model. Together, our data define MOAP-1 as a negative regulator of Nrf2 signaling via dissociation of p62 bodies.
    Keywords:  MOAP-1; Nrf2; antioxidant signaling; liver cancer; p62/SQSTM1
  16. Cell Biol Int. 2021 Jan 07.
      Aggrephagy is a selective autophagic degradation intracellular mechanism that clears toxic misfolded protein aggregates such as α-synuclein. Here we identify and demonstrate that the small molecule, XCT 790 alleviates α-synuclein mediated adverse effects in a yeast model of proteotoxicity. XCT 790 induced general autophagy and also enhanced starvation-induced autophagy. Mechanistically, we showed that XCT 790 clears toxic α-synuclein aggregates in an autophagy dependent manner. Interestingly, XCT 790 did not demonstrate a synergistic effect on autophagy induction in presence of another autophagy inducer such as 6-Bio. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  XCT 790; aggrephagy; synucleopathies; toxic protein aggregates
  17. Autophagy. 2021 Jan 06.
      We investigated in larval and adult Drosophila models whether loss of the mitochondrial chaperone Hsc70-5 is sufficient to cause pathological alterations commonly observed in Parkinson disease. At affected larval neuromuscular junctions, no effects on terminal size, bouton size or number, synapse size, or number were observed, suggesting that we studied an early stage of pathogenesis. At this stage, we noted a loss of synaptic vesicle proteins and active zone components, delayed synapse maturation, reduced evoked and spontaneous excitatory junctional potentials, increased synaptic fatigue, and cytoskeleton rearrangements. The adult model displayed ATP depletion, altered body posture, and susceptibility to heat-induced paralysis. Adult phenotypes could be suppressed by knockdown of dj-1β, Lrrk, DCTN2-p50, DCTN1-p150, Atg1, Atg101, Atg5, Atg7, and Atg12. The knockdown of components of the macroautophagy/autophagy machinery or overexpression of human HSPA9 broadly rescued larval and adult phenotypes, while disease-associated HSPA9 variants did not. Overexpression of Pink1 or promotion of autophagy exacerbated defects.
    Keywords:   Atg1 ; Hsc70-5 ; microtubule; mitochondria; mitophagy; rapamycin; synapse
  18. Turk J Biol. 2020 ;44(6): 417-426
      Epibrassinolide (EBR), a plant-derived polyhydroxylated derivative of 5α-cholestane, structurally shows similarities to animal steroid hormones. According to the present study, EBR treatment triggered a significant stress response via activating ER stress, autophagy, and apoptosis in cancer cells. EBR could also increase Akt phosphorylation in vitro. While the activation of Akt resulted in cellular metabolic activation in normal cells to proceed with cell survival, a rapid stress response was induced in cancer cells to reduce survival. Therefore, Akt as a mediator of cellular survival and death decision pathways is a crucial target in cancer cells. In this study, we determined that EBR induces stress responses through activating Akt, which reduced the mTOR complex I (mTORC1) activation in SW480 and DLD-1 colon cancer cells. As a consequence, EBR triggered macroautophagy and led to lipidation of LC3 most efficiently in SW480 cells. The cotreatment of spermidine (Spd) with EBR increased lipidation of LC3 synergistically in both cell lines. We also found that EBR promoted polyamine catabolism in SW480 cells. The retention of polyamine biosynthesis was remarkable following EBR treatment. We suggested that EBR-mediated Akt activation might determine the downstream cellular stress responses to induce autophagy related to polyamines.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; LC3; epibrassinolide; polyamines; spermidine
  19. Ann Geriatr Med Res. 2020 Dec;24(4): 232-242
      Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to extend the lifespan of many species. Research to identify compounds that imitate the results of CR has shown extensions of both lifespan and healthspan via different mechanisms. For example, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors such as rapamycin, phenols, and flavonoids show antioxidant characteristics, while spermidine induces autophagy. Herein, we summarize research progress and proposed mechanisms for the most well-known compounds showing lifespan-extending potential for anti-aging characteristics.
    Keywords:   Anti-aging; Lifespan extension; Caloric restriction mimetics
  20. Autophagy. 2021 Jan 06.
      It has been well established that Atg11 plays a critical role in selective macroautophagy/autophagy, but not in non-selective autophagy in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, its mammalian ortholog RB1CC1/FIP200 is indispensable for both types of autophagy, and the molecular mechanism behind its function is a mystery. Recently, Pan et al. showed that in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Atg11 could also promote non-selective autophagy via activation of Atg1 kinase. These results prompt an interesting idea that Atg11 might have gained an additional ability to mediate non-selective autophagy through evolution.
    Keywords:  Lysosome; macroautophagy; stress; vacuole; yeast
  21. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2021 Jan 05. 1-28
      Following outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2002 and 2012, respectively, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the third highly pathogenic emerging human coronavirus (hCoV). SARS-CoV-2 is currently causing the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. CoV infections in target cells may stimulate the formation of numerous double-membrane autophagosomes and induce autophagy. Several studies provided evidence that hCoV infections are closely related to various cellular aspects associated with autophagy. Autophagy may even promote hCoV infection and replication. However, so far it is unclear how hCoV infections induce autophagy and whether the autophagic machinery is necessary for viral propagation. Here, we summarize the most recent advances concerning the mutual interplay between the autophagic machinery and the three emerging hCoVs, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 and the model system mouse hepatitis virus. We also discuss the applicability of approved and well-tolerated drugs targeting autophagy as potential treatment against COVID-19.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; MERS-CoV; MHV; SARS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus
  22. J Life Sci (Westlake Village). 2020 Dec;2(4): 25-37
      Lysosomes, membrane-bound organelles, play important roles in cellular processes including endocytosis, phagocytosis, and autophagy. Lysosomes maintain cellular homeostasis by generating a highly acidic environment of pH 4.5 - 5.0 and by housing hydrolytic enzymes that degrade engulfed biomolecules. Impairment of lysosomal function, especially in its acidification, is a driving force in the pathogenesis of diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer, metabolic disorders, and infectious diseases. Therefore, lysosomal pH is an attractive and targetable site for therapeutic intervention. Currently, there is a dearth of strategies or materials available to specifically modulate lysosomal acidification. This review focuses on the key aspects of how lysosomal pH is implicated in various diseases and discusses design strategies and molecular or nanoscale agents for lysosomal pH modulation, with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapeutic solutions.
  23. Nat Commun. 2021 01 04. 12(1): 57
      Autophagy catabolizes cellular constituents to promote survival during nutrient deprivation. Yet, a metabolic comprehension of this recycling operation, despite its crucial importance, remains incomplete. Here, we uncover a specific metabolic function of autophagy that exquisitely adjusts cellular metabolism according to nitrogen availability in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Autophagy enables metabolic plasticity to promote glutamate and aspartate synthesis, which empowers nitrogen-starved cells to replenish their nitrogen currency and sustain macromolecule synthesis. Our findings provide critical insights into the metabolic basis by which autophagy recycles cellular components and may also have important implications in understanding the role of autophagy in diseases such as cancer.
  24. Cell Death Differ. 2021 Jan 04.
      Perturbation of metabolism elicits cellular stress which profoundly modulates the cellular proteome and thus protein homeostasis (proteostasis). Consequently, changes in the cellular proteome due to metabolic shift require adaptive mechanisms by molecular protein quality control. The mechanisms vitally controlling proteostasis embrace the entire life cycle of a protein involving translational control at the ribosome, chaperone-assisted native folding, and subcellular sorting as well as proteolysis by the proteasome or autophagy. While metabolic imbalance and proteostasis decline have been recognized as hallmarks of aging and age-associated diseases, both processes are largely considered independently. Here, we delineate how proteome stability is governed by insulin/IGF1 signaling (IIS), mechanistic target of Rapamycin (TOR), 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and NAD-dependent deacetylases (Sir2-like proteins known as sirtuins). This comprehensive overview is emphasizing the regulatory interconnection between central metabolic pathways and proteostasis, indicating the relevance of shared signaling nodes as targets for future therapeutic interventions.
  25. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Jan 07.
      Cocaine exerts its stimulant effect by inhibiting dopamine reuptake leading to increased dopamine signaling. This action is thought to reflect binding of cocaine to the dopamine transporter (DAT) to inhibit its function. However, cocaine is a relatively weak inhibitor of DAT, and many DAT inhibitors do not share the behavioral actions of cocaine. We previously showed that toxic levels of cocaine induce autophagic neuronal cell death. Here, we show that subnanomolar concentrations of cocaine elicit neural autophagy in vitro and in vivo. Autophagy inhibitors reduce the locomotor stimulant effect of cocaine in mice. Cocaine-induced autophagy degrades transporters for dopamine but not serotonin in the nucleus accumbens. Autophagy inhibition impairs cocaine conditioned place preference in mice. Our findings indicate that autophagic degradation of DAT modulates behavioral actions of cocaine.
  26. Mitochondrion. 2021 Jan 04. pii: S1567-7249(20)30244-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Endothelial mitochondria play important signaling roles critical for the regulation of various cellular processes, including calcium signaling, ROS generation, NO synthesis or inflammatory response. Mitochondrial stress or disturbances in mitochondrial function may participate in the development and/or progression of endothelial dysfunction and could precede vascular diseases. Vascular functions are also strictly regulated by properly functioning degradation machinery, including autophagy and mitophagy, and tightly coordinated by mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum responses to stress. Within this review, current knowledge related to the development of cardiovascular disorders and the importance of mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and degradation mechanisms in vascular endothelial functions are summarized.
    Keywords:  ER stress; autophagy; endothelium; inflammation; mitochondria; mitochondrial stress; mitophagy
  27. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 08. 11(1): 96
      Maintenance of cellular proteostasis is vital for post-mitotic cells like neurons to sustain normal physiological function and homeostasis, defects in which are established hallmarks of several age-related conditions like AD, PD, HD, and ALS. The Spatio-temporal accumulation of aggregated proteins in the form of inclusion bodies/plaques is one of the major characteristics of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington's disease (HD). Toxic accumulation of HUNTINGTIN (HTT) aggregates in neurons bring about the aberrant phenotypes of HD, including severe motor dysfunction, dementia, and cognitive impairment at the organismal level, in an age-dependent manner. In several cellular and animal models, aggrephagy induction has been shown to clear aggregate-prone proteins like HTT and ameliorate disease pathology by conferring neuroprotection. In this study, we used the mouse model of HD, R6/2, to understand the pathogenicity of mHTT aggregates, primarily focusing on autophagy dysfunction. We report that basal autophagy is not altered in R6/2 mice, whilst being functional at a steady-state level in neurons. Moreover, we tested the efficacy of a known autophagy modulator, Nilotinib (Tasigna™), presently in clinical trials for PD, and HD, in curbing mHTT aggregate growth and their potential clearance, which was ineffective in both inducing autophagy and rescuing the pathological phenotypes in R6/2 mice.
  28. Biosci Rep. 2021 Jan 04. pii: BSR20200842. [Epub ahead of print]
      The curative effect for patients with advanced gastric cancer is still unsatisfactory. Proton pump inhibitors could be a promising treatment strategy which could sensitize gastric cancer cells to antitumor drugs further, however, the underlying molecular mechanism remains to be further elucidated. In this research. it was found that omeprazole pretreatment could enhance the inhibitory effect of 5-Fu, DDP and TAX on gastric cancer cells. Interestingly, omeprazole pretreatment enhanced the total m6A level of cells due to the decreased FTO. TCGA analysis showed that FTO expression is upregulated in GC tissues and is negatively correlated with disease free survival of GC patients. It was also found that FTO inhibition induced by omeprazole enhanced the activation of mTORC1 signal pathway which inhibited the pro-survival autophagy so as to improve the antitumor efficiency of chemotherapeutic drugs on GC cells. Meanwhile, transcript level of DDIT3, which is an apoptosis-related tumor suppressor gene downstream of mTORC1 was regulated by omeprazole induced FTO silence through an m6A-dependent mechanism. This study, for the first time, found that m6A modification and its eraser FTO may play a role in the improvement of chemosensitivity mediated by proton pump inhibitor omeprazole.
    Keywords:  DDIT3; FTO; Omeprazole; autophagy; gastric cancer; m6A modification
  29. Dev Cell. 2020 Dec 30. pii: S1534-5807(20)30982-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Homeostasis of intestinal epithelia is maintained by coordination of the proper rate of regeneration by stem cell division with the rate of cell loss. Regeneration of host epithelia is normally quiescent upon colonization of commensal bacteria; however, the epithelia often develop dysplasia in a context-dependent manner, the cause and underlying mechanism of which remain unclear. Here, we show that in Drosophila intestine, autophagy lowers the sensitivity of differentiated enterocytes to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are produced in response to commensal bacteria. We find that autophagy deficiency provokes ROS-dependent excessive regeneration and subsequent epithelial dysplasia and barrier dysfunction. Mechanistically, autophagic substrate Ref(2)P/p62, which co-localizes and physically interacts with Dachs, a Hippo signaling regulator, accumulates upon autophagy deficiency and thus inactivates Hippo signaling, resulting in stem cell over-proliferation non-cell autonomously. Our findings uncover a mechanism whereby suppression of undesirable regeneration by autophagy maintains long-term homeostasis of intestinal epithelia.
    Keywords:  Dachs; Drosophila; Hippo pathway; ROS autophagy; Ref(2)P/p62; commensal bacteria; host-microbe interaction; intestinal barrier; regenerative responses
  30. Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 05. pii: S2211-1247(20)31568-0. [Epub ahead of print]34(1): 108579
      O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) transferase (OGT) is a unique enzyme introducing O-GlcNAc moiety on target proteins, and it critically regulates various cellular processes in diverse cell types. However, its roles in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) remain elusive. Here, using Ogt conditional knockout mice, we show that OGT is essential for HSPCs. Ogt is highly expressed in HSPCs, and its disruption induces rapid loss of HSPCs with increased reactive oxygen species and apoptosis. In particular, Ogt-deficient hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) lose quiescence, cannot be maintained in vivo, and become vulnerable to regenerative and competitive stress. Interestingly, Ogt-deficient HSCs accumulate defective mitochondria due to impaired mitophagy with decreased key mitophagy regulator, Pink1, through dysregulation of H3K4me3. Furthermore, overexpression of PINK1 restores mitophagy and the number of Ogt-deficient HSCs. Collectively, our results reveal that OGT critically regulates maintenance and stress response of HSCs by ensuring mitochondrial quality through PINK1-dependent mitophagy.
    Keywords:  O-GlcNAcylation; O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase; OGT; PINK1; hematopoietic progenitor cell; hematopoietic stem cell; mitochondria; mitophagy
  31. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2021 Jan 04.
      BACKGROUND: Autophagic Vacuolar Myopathies (AVMs) are an emerging group of heterogeneous myopathies sharing histopathological features on muscle pathology, in which autophagic vacuoles are the pathognomonic morphologic hallmarks. Glycogen storage disease type II (GSDII) caused by lysosomal acid α-glucosidase (GAA) deficiency, is the best-characterized AVM.AIMS: This study aimed to investigate the mutational profiling of seven neuromuscular outpatients sharing clinical, myopathological and biochemical findings with AVMs.
    METHODS: We applied a diagnostic protocol, recently published by our research group for suspected late onset GSDII (LO-GSDII), including counting PAS-positive lymphocytes on blood smears, dried blood spot (DBS)-GAA, muscle biopsy histological and immunofluorescence studies, GAA activity assay and expression studies on muscle homogenate, GAA sequencing, GAA multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) and whole exome sequencing (WES).
    RESULTS: The patients had a limb girdle-like muscular pattern with persistent hyperCKaemia; vacuolated PAS-positive lymphocytes, glycogen accumulation and impaired autophagy at muscle biopsy. Decreased GAA activity was also measured. While GAA sequencing identified no pathogenic mutations, WES approach allowed us to identify for each patient an unexpected mutational pattern in genes cooperating in lysosomal-autophagic machinery, some of which have never been linked to human diseases.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that reduced GAA activity may occur in any condition of impaired autophagy and that WES approach is advisable in all genetically undefined cases of autophagic myopathy. Therefore, deficiency of GAA activity and PAS-positive lymphocytes should be considered as AVM markers together with LC3/p62-positive autophagic vacuoles.
    Keywords:  AVM condition; GAA activity; autophagic myopathies; complex genetic profiling; genetic heterogeneity; muscle biopsy; vacuolated PAS-positive lymphocytes; whole exome sequencing
  32. J Cell Commun Signal. 2021 Jan 04.
      The role of autophagy and lysosomal degradation pathway in the regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism was previously studied. However, underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. L-lactate which is utilized as an energetic substrate by skeletal muscle can also augment genes expression related to metabolism and up-regulate those being responsive to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since ROS is the most important regulator of autophagy in skeletal muscle, we tested if there is a link between cellular lactate metabolism and autophagy in differentiated C2C12 myotubes and the gastrocnemius muscle of male wistar rats. C2C12 mouse skeletal muscle was exposed to 2, 6, 10, and 20 mM lactate and evaluated for lactate autophagic effects. Lactate dose-dependently increased autophagy and augmented ROS generation in differentiated C2C12 myotubes. The autophagic effect of lactate deterred in N-acetylcysteine presence (NAC, a ROS scavenger) indicated lactate regulates autophagy with ROS participation. Lactate-induced up-regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) through ROS was required to regulate the autophagy by lactate. Further analysis about ERK1/2 up- and downstream indicated that lactate regulates autophagy through ROS-mediated the activation of ERK1/2/mTOR/p70S6K pathway in skeletal muscle. The in vitro effects of lactate on autophagy also occurred in the gastrocnemius muscle of male Wistar rats. In conclusion, we provided the lactate-associated regulation evidence of autophagy in skeletal muscle by activating ROS-mediated ERK1/2/mTOR/p70S6K pathway. Since the increase in cellular lactate concentration is a hallmark of energy deficiency, the results provide insight into a skeletal muscle mechanism to fulfill its enhanced energy requirement.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Differentiated C2C12 myotubes; Extracellular signal-regulated kinase ½; Lactate; Skeletal muscle