bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒03‒07
thirty-one papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 03. 1-20
      Ion exchange between intracellular and extracellular spaces is the basic mechanism for controlling cell metabolism and signal transduction. This process is mediated by ion channels and transporters on the plasma membrane, or intracellular membranes that surround various organelles, in response to environmental stimuli. Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is one of the lysosomal-dependent degradation pathways that maintains homeostasis through the degradation and recycling of cellular components (e.g., dysfunctional proteins and damaged organelles). Although autophagy-related (ATG) proteins play a central role in regulating the formation of autophagy-related member structures (e.g., phagophores, autophagosomes, and autolysosomes), the autophagic process also involves changes in expression and function of ion channels and transporters. Here we discuss current knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate autophagy in mammalian cells, with special attention to the ion channels and transporters. We also highlight prospects for the development of drugs targeting ion channels and transporters in autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; channels; ion; lysosomes; mitochondria; transporters
  2. Elife. 2021 Mar 01. pii: e63326. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) stimulates a coordinated anabolic program in response to growth-promoting signals. Paradoxically, recent studies indicate that mTORC1 can activate the transcription factor ATF4 through mechanisms distinct from its canonical induction by the integrated stress response (ISR). However, its broader roles as a downstream target of mTORC1 are unknown. Therefore, we directly compared ATF4-dependent transcriptional changes induced upon insulin-stimulated mTORC1 signaling to those activated by the ISR. In multiple mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) and human cancer cell lines, the mTORC1-ATF4 pathway stimulated expression of only a subset of the ATF4 target genes induced by the ISR, including genes involved in amino acid uptake, synthesis, and tRNA charging. We demonstrate that ATF4 is a metabolic effector of mTORC1 involved in both its established role in promoting protein synthesis and in a previously unappreciated function for mTORC1 in stimulating cellular cystine uptake and glutathione synthesis.
    Keywords:  cancer biology; cell biology; human; mouse; rat
  3. Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 05. 4(1): 291
      Pivotal to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is an evolutionarily conserved degradation system that involves sequestration of cytoplasmic material into the double-membrane autophagosome and targeting of this transport vesicle to the lysosome/late endosome for degradation. EPG5 is a large-sized metazoan protein proposed to serve as a tethering factor to enforce autophagosome-lysosome/late endosome fusion specificity, and its deficiency causes a severe multisystem disorder known as Vici syndrome. Here, we show that human EPG5 (hEPG5) adopts an extended "shepherd's staff" architecture. We find that hEPG5 binds preferentially to members of the GABARAP subfamily of human ATG8 proteins critical to autophagosome-lysosome fusion. The hEPG5-GABARAPs interaction, which is mediated by tandem LIR motifs that exhibit differential affinities, is required for hEPG5 recruitment to mitochondria during PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy. Lastly, we find that the Vici syndrome mutation Gln336Arg does not affect the hEPG5's overall stability nor its ability to engage in interaction with the GABARAPs. Collectively, results from our studies reveal new insights into how hEPG5 recognizes mature autophagosome and establish a platform for examining the molecular effects of Vici syndrome disease mutations on hEPG5.
  4. J Clin Invest. 2021 Mar 01. pii: 146821. [Epub ahead of print]131(5):
      Lysosomal storage disorders (LSD) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases characterized by lysosomal enzyme deficiency. The cardiac phenotype includes cardiomyopathy with eventual heart failure. Lysosome-mediated degradation processes, such as autophagy, maintain cellular homeostasis by discarding cellular debris and damaged organelles. Under stress, the transcription factor EB (TFEB) moves into the nucleus to activate transcription of lysosome biogenesis and autophagic proteins. In this issue of the JCI, Ikeda et al. report on their exploration of the signaling pathway involved with regulating lysosomal proteins specifically in the heart. The researchers generated a mouse model for LSD that was restricted to cardiac tissue. Unexpectedly, modulation of TFEB alone was insufficient to fully rescue the underlying clearance defect in lysosomal-associated disorders. The authors identified the Yes-associated protein (YAP)/TFEB signaling pathway as a key regulator of autophagosomes. These findings suggest that undigested autophagosomes accumulate and result in the cell death and cardiac dysfunction observed with LSD.
  5. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 04.
      Dysfunctional mitochondria characterise Parkinson's Disease (PD). Uncovering etiological molecules, which harm the homeostasis of mitochondria in response to pathological cues, is therefore pivotal to inform early diagnosis and therapy in the condition, especially in its idiopathic forms. This study proposes the 18 kDa Translocator Protein (TSPO) to be one of those. Both in vitro and in vivo data show that neurotoxins, which phenotypically mimic PD, increase TSPO to enhance cellular redox-stress, susceptibility to dopamine-induced cell death, and repression of ubiquitin-dependent mitophagy. TSPO amplifies the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) signalling, forming positive feedback, which represses the transcription factor EB (TFEB) and the controlled production of lysosomes. Finally, genetic variances in the transcriptome confirm that TSPO is required to alter the autophagy-lysosomal pathway during neurotoxicity.
  6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 09. pii: e2021945118. [Epub ahead of print]118(10):
      Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) is a central regulator of cell growth and metabolism that senses and integrates nutritional and environmental cues with cellular responses. Recent studies have revealed critical roles of mTORC1 in RNA biogenesis and processing. Here, we find that the m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC) is a downstream effector of mTORC1 during autophagy in Drosophila and human cells. Furthermore, we show that the Chaperonin Containing Tailless complex polypeptide 1 (CCT) complex, which facilitates protein folding, acts as a link between mTORC1 and MTC. The mTORC1 activates the chaperonin CCT complex to stabilize MTC, thereby increasing m6A levels on the messenger RNAs encoding autophagy-related genes, leading to their degradation and suppression of autophagy. Altogether, our study reveals an evolutionarily conserved mechanism linking mTORC1 signaling with m6A RNA methylation and demonstrates their roles in suppressing autophagy.
    Keywords:  autophagy; chaperonin containing Tailless complex polypeptide 1 (CCT); m6A RNA methylation; m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC); mTORC1
  7. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2021 Mar 03.
      Gaucher disease (GD) is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in GBA1, the gene that encodes lysosomal β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase). Mild mutations in GBA1 cause type 1 non-neuronopathic GD, whereas severe mutations cause types 2 and 3 neuronopathic GD (nGD). GCase deficiency results in the accumulation of glucosylceramide (GlcCer) and glucosylsphingosine (GlcSph). GlcSph is formed by deacylation of GlcCer by the lysosomal enzyme acid ceramidase. Brains from patients with nGD have high levels of GlcSph, a lipid believed to play an important role in nGD, but the mechanisms involved remain unclear. To identify these mechanisms, we used human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons from nGD patients. We found that elevated levels of GlcSph activate mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1), interfering with lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy, which were restored by incubation of nGD neurons with mTOR inhibitors. We also found that inhibition of acid ceramidase prevented both, mTOR hyperactivity and lysosomal dysfunction, suggesting that these alterations were caused by GlcSph accumulation in the mutant neurons. To directly determine whether GlcSph can cause mTOR hyperactivation, we incubated wild-type neurons with exogenous GlcSph. Remarkably, GlcSph treatment recapitulated the mTOR hyperactivation and lysosomal abnormalities in mutant neurons, which were prevented by coincubation of GlcSph with mTOR inhibitors. We conclude that elevated GlcSph activates an mTORC1-dependent pathogenic mechanism that is responsible for the lysosomal abnormalities of nGD neurons. We also identify acid ceramidase as essential to the pathogenesis of nGD, providing a new therapeutic target for treating GBA1-associated neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  drug target; experimental models; iPSCs; neural differentiation; neuropathy; signal transduction; stem/progenitor cell
  8. iScience. 2021 Mar 19. 24(3): 102146
      Stress-coupled NEDDylation potentially regulates the aggregation of nuclear proteins, which could protect the nuclear ubiquitin-proteasome system from proteotoxic stress. However, it remains unclear how NEDDylation controls protein-aggregation responses to diverse stress conditions. Here, we identified HDAC6 as a direct NEDD8-binding partner that regulates the formation of aggresome-like bodies (ALBs) containing NEDDylated cytosolic protein aggregates during ubiquitin stress. HDAC6 colocalizes with stress-induced ALBs, and HDAC6 inhibition suppresses ALBs formation, but not stress-induced NEDDylation, suggesting that HDAC6 carries NEDDylated-proteins to generate ALBs. Then, we monitored the ALBs-associated proteostasis network and found that p62 directly controls ALBs formation as an acceptor of NEDDylated cytosolic aggregates. Interestingly, we also observed that ALBs are highly condensed in chloroquine-treated cells with impaired autophagic flux, indicating that ALBs rely on autophagy. Collectively, our data suggest that NEDD8, HDAC6, and p62 are involved in the management of proteotoxic stress by forming cytosolic ALBs coupled to the aggresome-autophagy flux.
    Keywords:  Biological Sciences; Cell Biology; Molecular Biology
  9. Exp Mol Med. 2021 Mar 02.
      Unc-51-like autophagy activating kinase 1 (ULK1), a mammalian homolog of the yeast kinase Atg1, has an essential role in autophagy induction. In nutrient and growth factor signaling, ULK1 activity is regulated by various posttranslational modifications, including phosphorylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination. We previously identified glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3B) as an upstream regulator of insulin withdrawal-induced autophagy in adult hippocampal neural stem cells. Here, we report that following insulin withdrawal, GSK3B directly interacted with and activated ULK1 via phosphorylation of S405 and S415 within the GABARAP-interacting region. Phosphorylation of these residues facilitated the interaction of ULK1 with MAP1LC3B and GABARAPL1, while phosphorylation-defective mutants of ULK1 failed to do so and could not induce autophagy flux. Furthermore, high phosphorylation levels of ULK1 at S405 and S415 were observed in human pancreatic cancer cell lines, all of which are known to exhibit high levels of autophagy. Our results reveal the importance of GSK3B-mediated phosphorylation for ULK1 regulation and autophagy induction and potentially for tumorigenesis.
  10. PLoS Genet. 2021 Mar;17(3): e1009383
      As both host and pathogen require iron for survival, iron is an important regulator of host-pathogen interactions. However, the molecular mechanism by which how the availability of iron modulates host innate immunity against bacterial infections remains largely unknown. Using the metazoan Caenorhabditis elegans as a model, we demonstrate that infection with a pathogenic bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium induces autophagy by inactivating the target of rapamycin (TOR). Although the transcripts of ftn-1 and ftn-2 encoding two H-ferritin subunits are upregulated upon S. Typhimurium infection, the ferritin protein is kept at a low level due to its degradation mediated by autophagy. Autophagy, but not ferritin, is required for defense against S. Typhimurium infection under normal circumstances. Increased abundance of iron suppresses autophagy by activating TOR, leading to an increase in the ferritin protein level. Iron sequestration, but not autophagy, becomes pivotal to protect the host from S. Typhimurium infection in the presence of exogenous iron. Our results show that TOR acts as a regulator linking iron availability with host defense against bacterial infection.
  11. J Biol Chem. 2021 Feb 24. pii: S0021-9258(21)00241-6. [Epub ahead of print] 100468
      The proteasome selectively degrades proteins. It consists of a core particle (CP) which contains proteolytic active sites that can associate with different regulators to form various complexes. How these different complexes are regulated and affected by changing physiological conditions, however, remains poorly understood. In this study, we focused on the activator Blm10 and the regulatory particle (RP). In yeast, increased expression of Blm10 outcompeted RP for CP binding, which suggests that controlling the cellular levels of Blm10 can affect the relative amounts of RP-bound CP. While strong overexpression of BLM10 almost eliminated the presence of RP-CP complexes, the phenotypes this should induce were not observed. Our results show this was due to the induction of Blm10-CP autophagy under prolonged growth in YPD. Similarly, under conditions of endogenous BLM10 expression, Blm10 was degraded through autophagy as well. This suggests that reducing the levels of Blm10 allows for more CP binding surfaces and the formation of RP-CP complexes under nutrient stress. This work provides important insights into maintaining the proteasome landscape and how protein expression levels affect proteasome function.
    Keywords:  Blm10; Proteasome; Proteasome Storage Granule; autophagy; protein degradation; stress response; ubiquitin; yeast
  12. Front Med (Lausanne). 2020 ;7 591736
      Autophagy is a highly conserved process by which superfluous or harmful components in eukaryotic cells are degraded by autophagosomes. This cytoprotective mechanism is strongly related to various human diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. DEAH-box helicase 15 (DHX15), a member of the DEAH box family, is mainly involved in RNA splicing and ribosome maturation. Recently, DHX15 was identified as a tumor-related factor. Although both autophagy and DHX15 are involved in cellular metabolism and cancer progression, their exact relationship and mechanism remain elusive. In this study, we discovered a non-classic function of DHX15 and identified DHX15 as a suppressive protein in autophagy for the first time. We further found that mTORC1 is involved in DHX15-mediated regulation of autophagy and that DHX15 inhibits proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells by suppressing autophagy. In conclusion, our study demonstrates a non-classical function of DHX15 as a negative regulator of autophagy related to the mTORC1 pathway and reveals that DHX15-related autophagy dysfunction promotes HCC cell proliferation, indicating that DHX15 may be a target for liver cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  DEAH-box helicase 15; HCC cells; RNA helicase; autophagy; mTORC1
  13. Dev Cell. 2021 Feb 24. pii: S1534-5807(21)00120-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are essential organelles that execute and coordinate various metabolic processes in the cell. Mitochondrial dysfunction severely affects cell fitness and contributes to disease. Proper organellar function depends on the biogenesis and maintenance of mitochondria and its >1,000 proteins. As a result, the cell has evolved mechanisms to coordinate protein and organellar quality control, such as the turnover of proteins via mitochondria-associated degradation, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and mitoproteases, as well as the elimination of mitochondria through mitophagy. Specific quality control mechanisms are engaged depending upon the nature and severity of mitochondrial dysfunction, which can also feed back to elicit transcriptional or proteomic remodeling by the cell. Here, we will discuss the current understanding of how these different quality control mechanisms are integrated and overlap to maintain protein and organellar quality and how they may be relevant for cellular and organismal health.
    Keywords:  ISR; MDVs; UPRmt; UPS; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; mitoproteases
  14. Bio Protoc. 2019 Dec 20. 9(24): e3455
      The process of autophagy is an essential cellular mechanism, required to maintain general cell health through the removal of dysfunctional organelles, such as the ER, peroxisomes and mitochondria, as well as protein aggregates, and bacteria. Autophagy is an extremely dynamic process, and tools are constantly being developed to study the various steps of this process. This protocol details a method to study the end steps of autophagy-lysosomal fusion and the formation of the autolysosome. Many techniques have been used to study the various steps of the autophagy process. Here we describe the RedGreen-assay (RG-assay), an immunofluorescence-based technique used to visualize the targeting of substrates to the autolysosome in live cells. This technique takes advantage of the low lysosomal pH and over-expression of a tandem GFP-mCherry tagged protein targeted to an organelle of interest. While in the neutral cytosol or autophagosome, both GFP and RFP will fluoresce. However, within the autolysosome, the GFP signal is quenched due to the low pH environment and the RFP emission signal will predominate. This technique is readily quantifiable and amenable to high throughput experiments. Additionally, by tagging the GFP-RFP tandem fluorescent protein with organelle specific targeting sequences, it can be used to measure a wide range of substrates of autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autolysosome; Autophagy; Live-cell imaging; Lysosome; Microscopy; Mitophagy; Pexophagy
  15. Vet Microbiol. 2021 Feb 17. pii: S0378-1135(21)00038-9. [Epub ahead of print]255 109015
      Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV) displays neurotropism and induces atypical autophagy. However, the exact mechanisms mediating autophagy induced by PHEV remains uncharacterized. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a master transcriptional regulator playing a key role in autophagy and its activity is regulated by MTORC1 kinase on the surface of lysosomes. We first found that PHEV infection decreases TFEB expression, while it activates TFEB by inhibiting MTORC1 activation, indicating that TFEB plays a complex role in the process of PHEV-induced autophagy through opposite regulation of its expression and activity. Furthermore, this study preliminarily demonstrated that PHEV replication is dependent on TFEB expression.
    Keywords:  MTORC1 kinase; Opposite regulation; Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus; Transcription factor EB
  16. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 11. pii: 1784. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a master regulator of cell growth, proliferation, and metabolism by integrating various environmental inputs including growth factors, nutrients, and energy, among others. mTOR signaling has been demonstrated to control almost all fundamental cellular processes, such as nucleotide, protein and lipid synthesis, autophagy, and apoptosis. Over the past fifteen years, mapping the network of the mTOR pathway has dramatically advanced our understanding of its upstream and downstream signaling. Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway is frequently associated with a variety of human diseases, such as cancers, metabolic diseases, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Besides genetic alterations, aberrancies in post-translational modifications (PTMs) of the mTOR components are the major causes of the aberrant mTOR signaling in a number of pathologies. In this review, we summarize current understanding of PTMs-mediated regulation of mTOR signaling, and also update the progress on targeting the mTOR pathway and PTM-related enzymes for treatment of human diseases.
    Keywords:  human diseases; inhibitors; mTOR; post-translational modifications
  17. Physiol Rep. 2021 Mar;9(5): e14789
      Mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central factor of protein synthesis signaling and plays an important role in the resistance training-induced increase in skeletal muscle mass and subsequent skeletal muscle hypertrophy response. In particular, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) promotes protein synthesis in ribosomes by activating the downstream effectors, p70S6K and 4EBP1, in skeletal muscle and is highly sensitive to rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor. Recently, resistance training has also been shown to affect mitochondrial dynamics, which is coupled with mitochondrial function. In skeletal muscle, mitochondria dynamically change their morphology through repeated fusion and fission, which may be key for controlling the quality of skeletal muscle. However, how the mechanisms of mitochondrial dynamics function during hypertrophy in skeletal muscle remains unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of mTOR inhibition on mitochondrial dynamics during skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Consistent with previous studies, functional overload by synergist (gastrocnemius and soleus) ablation-induced progressive hypertrophy (increase in protein synthesis and fiber cross-sectional area) of the plantaris muscle was observed in mice. Moreover, these hypertrophic responses were significantly inhibited by rapamycin administration. Fourteen days of functional overload increased levels of MFN2 and OPA1, which regulate mitochondrial fusion, whereas this enhancement was inhibited by rapamycin administration. Additionally, overload decreased the levels of DRP1, which regulates mitochondrial fission and oxidative phosphorylation, regardless of rapamycin administration. These observations suggest that the relative reduction in mitochondrial function or content is complemented by enhancement of mitochondrial fusion and that this complementary response may be regulated by mTORC1.
    Keywords:  mTOR signaling; mitochondrial dynamics; skeletal muscle hypertrophy
  18. Cell Biosci. 2021 Mar 04. 11(1): 49
      Autophagy is a prominent mechanism to preserve homeostasis and the response to intracellular or extracellular stress. Autophagic degradation can be selectively targeted to dysfunctional subcellular compartments. Centrosome homeostasis is pivotal for healthy proliferating cells, but centrosome aberration is a hallmark of diverse human disorders. Recently, a process called centrosome-phagy has been identified. The process involves a panel of centrosomal proteins and centrosome-related pathways that mediate the specific degradation of centrosomal components via the autophagic machinery. Although autophagy normally mediates centrosome homeostasis, autophagy defects facilitate ageing and multiple human diseases, such as ciliopathies and cancer, which benefit from centrosome aberration. Here, we discuss the molecular systems that trigger centrosome-phagy and its role in human disorders.
    Keywords:  Aging; Autophagy; Cancer; Centrosome; Ciliopathies
  19. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2021 Mar 02. 1535370221995207
      Intestinal tissue is highly susceptible to ischemia/reperfusion injury in many hazardous health conditions. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant glycoprotein fetuin-A showed efficacy in cerebral ischemic injury; however, its protective role against intestinal ischemia/reperfusion remains elusive. Therefore, this study investigated the protective role of fetuin-A supplementation against intestinal structural changes and dysfunction in a rat model of intestinal ischemia/reperfusion. We equally divided 72 male rats into control, sham, ischemia/reperfusion, and fetuin-A-pretreated ischemia/reperfusion (100 mg/kg/day fetuin-A intraperitoneally for three days prior to surgery and a third dose 1 h prior to the experiment) groups. After 2 h of reperfusion, the jejunum was dissected and examined for spontaneous contractility. A jejunal homogenate was used to assess inflammatory and oxidative stress enzymes. Staining of histological sections was carried out with hematoxylin, eosin and Masson's trichrome stain for evaluation. Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect autophagy proteins beclin-1, LC3, and p62. This study found that fetuin-A significantly improved ischemia/reperfusion-induced mucosal injury by reducing the percentage of areas of collagen deposition, increasing the amplitude of spontaneous contraction, decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress, and upregulating p62 expression, which was accompanied by beclin-1 and LC3 downregulation. Our findings suggest that fetuin-A treatment can prevent ischemia/reperfusion-induced jejunal structural and functional changes by increasing antioxidant activity and regulating autophagy disturbances observed in the ischemia/reperfusion rat model. Furthermore, fetuin-A may provide a protective influence against intestinal ischemia/reperfusion complications.
    Keywords:  Ischemia/reperfusion; antioxidant; autophagy; fetuin-A; inflammation; jejunum
  20. Life (Basel). 2021 Feb 27. pii: 189. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Autophagy is a catabolic process that ensures homeostasis in the cells of our organism. It plays a crucial role in protecting eye cells against oxidative damage and external stress factors. Ocular pathologies of high incidence, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are of multifactorial origin and are associated with genetic, environmental factors, age, and oxidative stress, among others; the latter factor is one of the most influential in ocular diseases, directly affecting the processes of autophagy activity. Alteration of the normal functioning of autophagy processes can interrupt organelle turnover, leading to the accumulation of cellular debris and causing physiological dysfunction of the eye. The aim of this study is to review research on the role of autophagy processes in the main ocular pathologies, which have a high incidence and result in high costs for the health system. Considering the role of autophagy processes in cell homeostasis and cell viability, the control and modulation of autophagy processes in ocular pathologies could constitute a new therapeutic approach.
    Keywords:  AMD; autophagy; cataract; diabetic retinopathy; glaucoma; ocular pathology
  21. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 518225
      Autophagy is a process that degrades and recycles superfluous organelles or damaged cellular contents. It has been found to have dual functions in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Many autophagy-related proteins are regarded as prognostic markers of RCC. Researchers have attempted to explore synthetic and phytochemical drugs for RCC therapy that target autophagy. In this review, we highlight the importance of autophagy in RCC and potential treatments related to autophagy.
    Keywords:  AMPK/mTOR; PI3K/AKT/mTOR; autophagy; inducers; inhibitor; rcc
  22. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Mar 04. 17(3): e1009320
      Humans are frequently exposed to bacterial genotoxins of the gut microbiota, such as colibactin and cytolethal distending toxin (CDT). In the present study, whole genome microarray-based identification of differentially expressed genes was performed in vitro on HT29 intestinal cells while following the ectopic expression of the active CdtB subunit of Helicobacter hepaticus CDT. Microarray data showed a CdtB-dependent upregulation of transcripts involved in positive regulation of autophagy concomitant with the downregulation of transcripts involved in negative regulation of autophagy. CdtB promotes the activation of autophagy in intestinal and hepatic cell lines. Experiments with cells lacking autophagy related genes, ATG5 and ATG7 infected with CDT- and colibactin-producing bacteria revealed that autophagy protects cells against the genotoxin-induced apoptotic cell death. Autophagy induction is associated with nucleoplasmic reticulum (NR) formation following DNA damage induced by these bacterial genotoxins. In addition, both genotoxins promote the accumulation of the autophagic receptor P62/SQSTM1 aggregates, which colocalized with foci concentrating the RNA binding protein UNR/CSDE1. Some of these aggregates were deeply invaginated in NR in distended nuclei together or in the vicinity of UNR-rich foci. Interestingly, micronuclei-like structures and some vesicles containing chromatin and γH2AX foci were found surrounded with P62/SQSTM1 and/or the autophagosome marker LC3. This study suggests that autophagy and P62/SQSTM1 regulate the abundance of micronuclei-like structures and are involved in cell survival following the DNA damage induced by CDT and colibactin. Similar effects were observed in response to DNA damaging chemotherapeutic agents, offering new insights into the context of resistance of cancer cells to therapies inducing DNA damage.
  23. Cells. 2021 Feb 17. pii: 420. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Lysosomal storage disease (LSD) is an inherited metabolic disorder caused by enzyme deficiency in lysosomes. Some treatments for LSD can slow progression, but there are no effective treatments to restore the pathological phenotype to normal levels. Lysosomes and mitochondria interact with each other, and this crosstalk plays a role in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Deficiency of lysosome enzymes in LSD impairs the turnover of mitochondrial defects, leading to deterioration of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC). Cells with MRC impairment are associated with reduced lysosomal calcium homeostasis, resulting in impaired autophagic and endolysosomal function. This malicious feedback loop between lysosomes and mitochondria exacerbates LSD. In this review, we assess the interactions between mitochondria and lysosomes and propose the mitochondrial-lysosomal axis as a research target to treat LSD. The importance of the mitochondrial-lysosomal axis has been systematically characterized in several studies, suggesting that proper regulation of this axis represents an important investigative guide for the development of therapeutics for LSD. Therefore, studying the mitochondrial-lysosomal axis will not only add knowledge of the essential physiological processes of LSD, but also provide new strategies for treatment of LSD.
    Keywords:  lysosomal storage disease; lysosome; mitochondria; mitochondrial–lysosomal axis
  24. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 23. pii: 2217. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a catabolic pathway fundamental for cell homeostasis, by which specific damaged or non-essential proteins are degraded. CMA activity has three main levels of regulation. The first regulatory level is based on the targetability of specific proteins possessing a KFERQ-like domain, which can be recognized by specific chaperones and delivered to the lysosomes. Target protein unfolding and translocation into the lysosomal lumen constitutes the second level of CMA regulation and is based on the modulation of Lamp2A multimerization. Finally, the activity of some accessory proteins represents the third regulatory level of CMA activity. CMA's role in oncology has not been fully clarified covering both pro-survival and pro-death roles in different contexts. Taking all this into account, it is possible to comprehend the actual complexity of both CMA regulation and the cellular consequences of its activity allowing it to be elected as a modulatory and not only catabolic machinery. In this review, the role covered by CMA in oncology is discussed with a focus on its relevance in glioma. Molecular correlates of CMA importance in glioma responsiveness to treatment are described to identify new early efficacy biomarkers and new therapeutic targets to overcome resistance.
    Keywords:  Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α (HIF-1α); PHLPP1; Temozolomide (TMZ); autophagy; chaperone proteins; oxidative stress; therapeutic target
  25. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Feb 23. pii: 333. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the causes of end-stage renal failure, featuring renal fibrosis. However, autophagy, a vital process for intracellular homeostasis, can counteract renal fibrosis. Moreover, NAD(P)H: quinone dehydrogenase 1 (NQO1) modulates the ratios of reduced/oxidized nicotinamide nucleotides, exerting a cytoprotective function. Here, to examine the role of NQO1 genes in DN progression, the levels of autophagy-related proteins and pro-fibrotic markers were assessed in silencing or overexpression of NQO1 in human proximal tubular cells (HK2), and C57BL/6 (wild-type) and Nqo1 knockout (KO) mice injected to streptozotocin (50 mg/kg). NQO1 deficiency impaired the autophagy process by suppressing basal expression of ClassⅢ PI 3-kinase (Vps34) and autophagy-related (ATG)14L and inducing the expressions of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β1), Smad3, and matrix metallopeptidase9 (MMP9) in high-glucose (HG) -treated HK2 cells. Meanwhile, NQO1 overexpression increased the expression of Vps34 and ATG14L, while, reducing TGF-β1, Smad3 and MMP9 expression. In vivo, the expression of Vps34 and ATG14L were suppressed in Nqo1 KO mice indicating aggravated glomerular changes and interstitial fibrosis. Therefore, NQO1 deficiency dysregulated autophagy initiation in HK2 cells, with consequent worsened renal cell damage under HG condition. Moreover, STZ-treated Nqo1 KO mice showed that NQO1 deficiency aggravated renal fibrosis by dysregulating autophagy.
    Keywords:  NQO1; autophagy; diabetic nephropathy; renal injury
  26. Cells. 2021 Feb 19. pii: 443. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the greatest health problems affecting people worldwide. Atherosclerosis, in turn, is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease. Due to the high mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases, prevention and treatment at the earliest stages become especially important. This requires developing a deep understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of atherosclerosis. It is well-known that atherogenesis is a complex multi-component process that includes lipid metabolism disorders, inflammation, oxidative stress, autophagy disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction. Autophagy is a cellular control mechanism that is critical to maintaining health and survival. One of the specific forms of autophagy is mitophagy, which aims to control and remove defective mitochondria from the cell. Particularly defective mitophagy has been shown to be associated with atherogenesis. In this review, we consider the role of autophagy, focusing on a special type of it-mitophagy-in the context of its role in the development of atherosclerosis.
    Keywords:  atherosclerosis; autophagy; cardiovascular disease; mitochondria; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy
  27. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Feb 22. pii: 321. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease and the number of patients affected is increasing worldwide. Thus, there is a need to establish a new treatment for DKD to improve the renal prognosis of diabetic patients. Recently, it has shown that intracellular metabolic abnormalities are involved in the pathogenesis of DKD. In particular, the activity of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a nutrient-sensing signaling molecule, is hyperactivated in various organs of diabetic patients, which suggests the involvement of excessive mTORC1 activation in the pathogenesis of diabetes. In DKD, hyperactivated mTORC1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of podocyte damage, which causes proteinuria, and tubular cell injury that decreases renal function. Therefore, elucidating the role of mTORC1 in DKD and developing new therapeutic agents that suppress mTORC1 hyperactivity may shed new light on DKD treatments in the future.
    Keywords:  diabetic kidney disease; mTORC1; oxidative stress; podocyte; proximal tubular cell
  28. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Mar 05. 12(3): 248
      Many surgical models are used to study kidney and other diseases in mice, yet the effects of the surgical procedure itself on the kidney and other tissues have not been elucidated. In the present study, we found that both sham surgery and unilateral nephrectomy (UNX), which is used as a model of renal compensatory hypertrophy, in mice resulted in increased mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1/2 (mTORC1/2) in the remaining kidney. mTORC1 is known to regulate lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy. Genes associated with lysosomal biogenesis and function were decreased in sham surgery and UNX kidneys. In both sham surgery and UNX, there was suppressed autophagic flux in the kidney as indicated by the lack of an increase in LC3-II or autophagosomes seen on immunoblot, IF and EM after bafilomycin A1 administration and a concomitant increase in p62, a marker of autophagic cargo. There was a massive increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are known to activate ERK1/2, in the serum after sham surgery and UNX. There was a large increase in ERK1/2 in sham surgery and UNX kidneys, which was blocked by the MEK1/2 inhibitor, trametinib. Trametinib also resulted in a significant decrease in p62. In summary, there was an intense systemic inflammatory response, an ERK-mediated increase in p62 and suppressed autophagic flux in the kidney after sham surgery and UNX. It is important that researchers are aware that changes in systemic pro-inflammatory cytokines, ERK1/2 and autophagy can be caused by sham surgery as well as the kidney injury/disease itself.
  29. Cell Biol Int. 2021 Mar 06.
      Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a well-known injury to the myocardium, but the mechanism involved remains elusive. In addition to the well-accepted apoptosis theory, autophagy was recently found to be involved in the process, exerting a dual role as protection in ischemia and detriment in reperfusion. Activation of autophagy is mediated by mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening during reperfusion. In our previous study, we showed that MPTP opening is regulated by VDAC1, a channel protein located in the outer membrane of mitochondria. Thus, up-regulation of VDAC1 expression is a possible trigger to cardiomyocyte autophagy via an unclear pathway. Here, we established an anoxia/reoxygenation (A/R) model in vitro to simulate the I/R process in vivo. At the end of A/R treatment, VDAC1, Beclin 1 and LC3-II/I were up-regulated, and autophagic vacuoles were increased in cardiomyocytes, which showed a connection of VDAC1 and autophagy development. These variation also led to ROS burst, mitochondrial dysfunction and aggravated apoptosis. Knockdown of VDAC1 by RNAi could alleviate the above-mentioned cellular damages. Additionally, the expression of PINK1 and Parkin were enhanced after A/R injury. Furthermore, Parkin was recruited to mitochondria from the cytosol, which suggested that the PINK1/Parkin autophagic pathway was activated during A/R. Nevertheless, the PINK1/Parkin pathway was effectively inhibited when VDAC1 was knocked-down. Taken together, the A/R-induced cardiomyocyte injury was mediated by VDAC1 up-regulation, which led to cell autophagy via the PINK1/Parkin pathway, and finally aggravated apoptosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  PINK1/Parkin pathway; anoxia/reoxygenation; autophagy; cardiomyocytes; voltage-dependent anion channel 1
  30. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 21. pii: 2144. [Epub ahead of print]22(4):
      Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease without a cure. The exact pathogenic mechanisms of PAH are complex and poorly understood, yet a number of abnormally expressed genes and regulatory pathways contribute to sustained vasoconstriction and vascular remodeling of the distal pulmonary arteries. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is one of the major signaling pathways implicated in regulating cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and protein synthesis. Here we will describe the canonical mTOR pathway, structural and functional differences between mTOR complexes 1 and 2, as well as the crosstalk with other important signaling cascades in the development of PAH. The pathogenic role of mTOR in pulmonary vascular remodeling and sustained vasoconstriction due to its contribution to proliferation, migration, phenotypic transition, and gene regulation in pulmonary artery smooth muscle and endothelial cells will be discussed. Despite the progress in our elucidation of the etiology and pathogenesis of PAH over the two last decades, there is a lack of effective therapeutic agents to treat PAH patients representing a significant unmet clinical need. In this review, we will explore the possibility and therapeutic potential to use inhibitors of mTOR signaling cascade to treat PAH.
    Keywords:  EndMT; RTK/PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway; Raptor; Rictor; SMC transition