bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒08‒29
thirty-six papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Cells. 2021 Aug 05. pii: 1989. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      The selective targeting and disposal of solid protein aggregates are essential for cells to maintain protein homoeostasis. Autophagy receptors including p62, NBR1, Cue5/TOLLIP (CUET), and Tax1-binding protein 1 (TAX1BP1) proteins function in selective autophagy by targeting ubiquitinated aggregates through ubiquitin-binding domains. Here, we summarize previous beliefs and recent findings on selective receptors in aggregate autophagy. Since there are many reviews on selective autophagy receptors, we focus on their oligomerization, which enables receptors to function as pathway determinants and promotes phase separation.
    Keywords:  Cue5; Dsk2; TAX1BP1; autophagy; p62; proteasome; receptors; ubiquitin
  2. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 25. 1-12
      Depolarized mitochondria can be degraded via mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy. The RAB GTPase RAB7A was recently shown to play a key role in this process. RAB7A regulates late endocytic trafficking under normal growth conditions but is translocated to the mitochondrial surface following depolarization. However, how RAB7A activity is regulated during mitophagy is not understood. Here, using a proximity-dependent biotinylation approach (miniTurbo), we identified C5orf51 as a specific interactor of GDP-locked RAB7A. C5orf51 also interacts with the RAB7A guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) complex members MON1 and CCZ1. In the absence of C5orf51, localization of RAB7A on depolarized mitochondria is compromised and the protein is degraded by the proteasome. Furthermore, depletion of C5orf51 also inhibited ATG9A recruitment to depolarized mitochondria. Together, these results indicate that C5orf51 is a positive regulator of RAB7A in its shuttling between late endosomes and mitochondria to enable mitophagy.Abbreviations: ATG9A: autophagy related 9A; Baf A1: bafilomycin A1; BioID: proximity-dependent biotin identification; CCCP: carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone; CCZ1: CCZ1 homolog, vacuolar protein trafficking and biogenesis associated; DQ-BSA: dye quenched-bovine serum albumin; FYCO1: FYVE and coiled-coil domain autophagy adaptor 1; GAP: GTPase activating protein; GEF: guanine nucleotide exchange factor; KO: knockout; LRPPRC: leucine rich pentatricopeptide repeat containing; MG132: carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal; MON1: MON1 homolog, secretory trafficking associated; mtDNA: mitochondrial DNA; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; PRKN/PARKIN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RMC1: regulator of MON1-CCZ1; TBC1D15: TBC1 domain family member 15; TBC1D17: TBC1 domain family member 17; TOMM20: translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20; WDR91: WD repeat domain 91; WT: wild type.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; C5orf51; RAB7A; guanine nucleotide exchange factor; mitophagy
  3. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 23. 1-19
      The Mycobacterium ulcerans exotoxin, mycolactone, is responsible for the immunosuppression and tissue necrosis that characterizes Buruli ulcer. Mycolactone inhibits SEC61-dependent co-translational translocation of proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum and the resultant cytosolic translation triggers degradation of mislocalized proteins by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Inhibition of SEC61 by mycolactone also activates multiple EIF2S1/eIF2α kinases in the integrated stress response (ISR). Here we show mycolactone increased canonical markers of selective macroautophagy/autophagy LC3B-II, ubiquitin and SQSTM1/p62 in diverse disease-relevant primary cells and cell lines. Increased formation of puncta positive for the early autophagy markers WIPI2, RB1CC1/FIP200 and ATG16L1 indicates increased initiation of autophagy. The mycolactone response was SEC61A1-dependent and involved a pathway that required RB1CC1 but not ULK. Deletion of Sqstm1 reduced cell survival in the presence of mycolactone, suggesting this response protects against the increased cytosolic protein burden caused by the toxin. However, reconstitution of baseline SQSTM1 expression in cells lacking all autophagy receptor proteins could not rescue viability. Translational regulation by EIF2S1 in the ISR plays a key role in the autophagic response to mycolactone. Mycolactone-dependent induction of SQSTM1 was reduced in eif2ak3-/-/perk-/- cells while the p-EIF2S1 antagonist ISRIB reversed the upregulation of SQSTM1 and reduced RB1CC1, WIPI2 and LC3B puncta formation. Increased SQSTM1 staining could be seen in Buruli ulcer patient skin biopsy samples, reinforcing genetic data that suggests autophagy is relevant to disease pathology. Since selective autophagy and the ISR are both implicated in neurodegeneration, cancer and inflammation, the pathway uncovered here may have a broad relevance to human disease.Abbreviations: ATF4: activating transcription factor 4; ATG: autophagy related; BAF: bafilomycin A1; ATG16L1: autophagy related 16 like 1; BU: Buruli ulcer; CQ: chloroquine; EIF2AK3: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 3; CALCOCO2: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; EIF2S1: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; GFP: green fluorescent protein; HDMEC: human dermal microvascular endothelial cells; HFFF: human fetal foreskin fibroblasts; ISR: integrated stress response; ISRIB: integrated stress response inhibitor; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; MEF: mouse embryonic fibroblast; Myco: mycolactone; NBR1: NBR1 autophagy cargo receptor; NFE2L2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; OPTN: optineurin; PFA: paraformaldehyde; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate; RB1CC1: RB1-inducible coiled coil 1; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; TAX1BP1: Tax1 binding protein 1; ULK: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase; UPS: ubiquitin-proteasome system; WIPI: WD repeat domain, phosphoinositide interacting; WT: wild type.
    Keywords:  Buruli ulcer; RB1CC1/FIP200; SQSTM1/p62; eif2s1/eIF2α; integrated stress response; mislocalized proteins; mycolactone; translocation inhibitor; ulk1
  4. Cells. 2021 Aug 05. pii: 1987. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Autophagy is a conserved self-degradation process that is activated under a wide variety of stresses and physiological conditions [...].
  5. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 26. 1-3
      Targeted protein degradation (TPD) provides unprecedented drug discovery strategies, but it is incapable of degrading non-protein pathogenic biomolecules. We have previously developed the concept of autophagosome-targeting compounds (ATTEC), which can target pathogenic proteins to autophagic degradation. Since macroautophagy (autophagy hereafter) is capable of degrading a wide spectrum of substrates including non-protein biomolecules, ATTEC should also be capable of targeting those non-protein biomolecules for autophagic degradation. Here in our most recent study, we have demonstrated this possibility using lipid droplets (LDs) as an exemplar target. LDs are intracellular structures storing neutral lipids, which can be degraded by autophagy. Based on the concept of ATTEC, compounds binding with both the LDs and the key phagophore and autophagosome protein LC3 may target LDs to autophagic degradation. We designed and synthesized such compounds by connecting the identified LC3-binding molecules to known LD-binding probes via a chemical linker. At micromolar concentrations, these compounds drastically reduced LDs via autophagy through the predicted mechanism, and rescued LD-related phenotypes in cells and in two independent mouse models with hepatic lipidosis. Our proof-of-concept study demonstrates the possibility of harnessing autophagy to degrade non-protein biomolecules by ATTEC.
    Keywords:  ATTEC; NASH; autophagy; degrader; lipid droplets; obesity
  6. J Biol Chem. 2021 Aug 19. pii: S0021-9258(21)00906-6. [Epub ahead of print] 101103
      Heterodimeric Rag GTPases play a critical role in relaying fluctuating levels of cellular amino acids to the sensor mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1). Important mechanistic questions remain unresolved, however, regarding how guanine nucleotide binding enables Rag GTPases to transition dynamically between distinct Yoga-like structural poses that control activation state. Egri et al. identify a critical interdomain hydrogen bond within RagA and RagC that stabilizes their GDP-bound states. They demonstrate that this long-distance interaction controls Rag structure and function to confer appropriate amino acid sensing by mTORC1.
  7. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 23. 1-3
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is a multi-step process that leads to cargo degradation via the fusion of hydrolases-containing lysosomes with cargo-loaded autophagosomes. For this process to occur, autophagosomes are directionally transported by molecular motors toward the nucleus, where they fuse with lysosomes for cargo degradation. The molecular basis for this regulation, including the cell machinery required for this directional transport, has not been fully identified. Using a combination of proteomic and live-imaging approaches in mammalian cells, including primary neurons, we describe that the phosphorylation of the autophagosome protein Atg8/LC3B by the Hippo kinase STK4/MST1, an event we previously reported to be required for autophagy completion, reduces the binding of the transport-related protein FYCO1 to MAP1LC3B/LC3B. This event in turn allows the proficient microtubule-based transport of autophagosomes toward the perinuclear area, thus facilitating the contact of autophagosomes with lysosomes. In the absence of LC3B phosphorylation, autophagosomes undergo aberrant transport including increased movement toward the cell periphery resulting in reduced autophagosome-lysosome colocalization. Thus, LC3B phosphorylation modulates the directional transport of autophagosomes to meet with lysosomes in the perinuclear area, a crucial event in ensuring autophagic degradation of cargo.
    Keywords:  Atg8; FYCO1; LC3B; STK4; MST1; autophagosome transport; phosphorylation
  8. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 26. 1-18
      TBK1 (TANK-binding kinase 1) is an essential receptor protein required for the innate immune response, but the mechanisms underlying TBK1 stability, especially those regulated via autophagy, remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that USP19 (ubiquitin specific peptidase 19) interacts with and promotes TBK1 lysosomal degradation via chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). We observed that TBK1 had a canonical CMA motif, knocking down key proteins involved in CMA (HSPA8/HSC70 or LAMP2A) or inhibiting CMA-prevented USP19-mediated TBK1 degradation. Furthermore, USP19 deficiency in macrophages caused an elevation of TBK1 and the activation of the type-I interferon signaling pathway after vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection. Consistently, macrophage-specific usp19 knockout in mice resulted in attenuated VSV replication and resistance to VSV infection in vivo. Altogether, our results suggest that USP19 is a key regulator of TBK1 and uncovers a previously uncharacterized role for USP19 in CMA-mediated TBK1 degradation and infectious diseases.
    Keywords:  Antiviral immunity; autophagic degradation; hspa8/hsc70; lamp2a; type i interferon
  9. J Biol Chem. 2021 Aug 18. pii: S0021-9258(21)00903-0. [Epub ahead of print] 101100
      mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) signaling controls cell metabolism, promotes cell survival, and contributes to tumorigenesis, yet its upstream regulation remains poorly defined. While considerable evidence supports the prevailing view that amino acids activate mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) but not mTORC2, several studies reported paradoxical activation of mTORC2 signaling by amino acids. We noted that after amino acid starvation of cells in culture, addition of an amino acid solution increased mTORC2 signaling. Interestingly, we found the pH of the amino acid solution to be alkaline, ∼pH 10. These observations led us to discover and demonstrate here that alkaline intracellular pH (pHi) represents a previously unknown activator of mTORC2. Using a fluorescent pH-sensitive dye (cSNARF1-AM) coupled with live-cell imaging, we demonstrate that culturing cells in media at alkaline pH induces a rapid rise in pHi, which increases mTORC2 catalytic activity and downstream signaling to the pro-growth and -survival kinase Akt. Alkaline pHi also activates AMPK, a canonical sensor of energetic stress. Functionally, alkaline pHi attenuates mTOR- and AMPK-mediated apoptosis caused by growth factor withdrawal. Collectively, these findings reveal that alkaline pHi increases mTORC2- and AMPK-mediated signaling to promote cell survival during conditions of growth factor limitation, analogous to the demonstrated ability of energetic stress to activate AMPK-mTORC2 and promote cell survival. As elevated pHi represents an under-appreciated hallmark of cancer cells, we propose that alkaline pHi stress sensing by AMPK-mTORC2 may contribute to tumorigenesis by enabling cancer cells at the core of a growing tumor to evade apoptosis and survive.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Akt; intracellular pH (pHi); mTORC2
  10. J Cell Sci. 2021 Aug 27. pii: jcs.258824. [Epub ahead of print]
      Degradation of aggregates by selective autophagy is important as damaged proteins may impose a threat to cellular homeostasis. Although the core components of the autophagy machinery are well-characterized, the spatiotemporal regulation of many selective autophagy processes, including aggrephagy, remains largely unexplored. Furthermore, because most live-cell imaging studies have so far focused on starvation-induced autophagy, little is known about the dynamics of aggrephagy. Here, we describe the development and application of the mKeima-PIM assay, which enables live-cell observation of autophagic turnover and degradation of inducible protein aggregates in conjunction with key autophagy players. This allowed us to quantify the relative timing and duration of different steps of aggrephagy and revealed the short-lived nature of the autophagosome. The assay furthermore showed the spatial distribution of omegasome formation, highlighting that autophagy initiation is directly instructed by the cargo. Moreover, we found that nascent autophagosomes mostly remain immobile until acidification occurs. Thus, our assay provides new insights into the spatiotemporal regulation and dynamics of aggrephagy.
    Keywords:  Aggregates; Autophagy; Live-cell imaging
  11. J Cell Sci. 2021 Jan 15. pii: jcs247056. [Epub ahead of print]134(2):
      Autophagy is deregulated in many cancers and represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. However, the precise contributions of autophagy to metastatic progression, the principle cause of cancer-related mortality, is only now being uncovered. While autophagy promotes primary tumor growth, metabolic adaptation and resistance to therapy, recent studies have unexpectedly revealed that autophagy suppresses the proliferative outgrowth of disseminated tumor cells into overt and lethal macrometastases. These studies suggest autophagy plays unexpected and complex roles in the initiation and progression of metastases, which will undoubtedly impact therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment. Here, we discuss the intricacies of autophagy in metastatic progression, highlighting and integrating the pleiotropic roles of autophagy on diverse cell biological processes involved in metastasis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Metastasis; Selective Autophagy
  12. Cells. 2021 Jul 24. pii: 1876. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Mitochondria play an essential role in supplying energy for the health and survival of neurons. Mitophagy is a metabolic process that removes dysfunctional or redundant mitochondria. This process preserves mitochondrial health. However, defective mitophagy triggers the accumulation of damaged mitochondria, causing major neurodegenerative disorders. This review introduces molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways behind mitophagy regulation. Furthermore, we focus on the recent advances in understanding the potential role of mitophagy in the pathogenesis of major neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, etc.) and aging. The findings will help identify the potential interventions of mitophagy regulation and treatment strategies of neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Huntington’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; mitophagy; neurodegenerative diseases
  13. STAR Protoc. 2021 Sep 17. 2(3): 100730
      Isolation of autophagosomes, autolysosomes, and lysosomes allows mechanistic studies into the pathophysiology of autophagy-a lysosomal quality control pathway. Here, we outline a Nycodenz density gradient ultracentrifugation approach for high-yield isolation of autophagic fractions from mouse liver. These fractions can be used for immunoblotting, transmission electron microscopy, and proteomic and lipidomic analyses. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Toledo et al. (2018).
    Keywords:  cell biology; cell separation/fractionation; metabolism
  14. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 6682336
      Brain aging is characterized by dysfunctional autophagy and cellular senescence, among other features. While autophagy can either promote or suppress cellular senescence in proliferating cells, in postmitotic cells, such as neurons, autophagy impairment promotes cellular senescence. CRM1 (exportin-1/XPO1) exports hundreds of nuclear proteins into the cytoplasm, including the transcription factors TFEB (the main inducer of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis genes) and STAT3, another autophagy modulator. It appears that CRM1 is a modulator of aging-associated senescence and autophagy, because pharmacological inhibition of CRM1 improved autophagic degradation in flies, by increasing nuclear TFEB levels, and because enhanced CRM1 activity is mechanistically linked to senescence in fibroblasts from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome patients and old healthy individuals; furthermore, the exogenous overexpression of CRM1 induced senescence in normal fibroblasts. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that impaired autophagic flux during brain aging occurs due to CRM1 accumulation in the brain. We found that CRM1 levels and activity increased in the hippocampus and cortex during physiological aging, which resulted in a decrease of nuclear TFEB and STAT3. Consistent with an autophagic flux impairment, we observed accumulation of the autophagic receptor p62/SQSTM1 in neurons of old mice, which correlated with increased neuronal senescence. Using an in vitro model of neuronal senescence, we demonstrate that CRM1 inhibition improved autophagy flux and reduced SA-β-gal activity by restoring TFEB nuclear localization. Collectively, our data suggest that enhanced CRM1-mediated export of proteins during brain aging perturbs neuronal homeostasis, contributing to autophagy impairment, and neuronal senescence.
  15. Dev Cell. 2021 Aug 23. pii: S1534-5807(21)00598-0. [Epub ahead of print]56(16): 2313-2328.e7
      How autophagy initiation is regulated and what the functional significance of this regulation is are unknown. Here, we characterized the role of yeast Vac8 in autophagy initiation through recruitment of PIK3C3-C1 to the phagophore assembly site (PAS). This recruitment is dependent on the palmitoylation of Vac8 and on its middle ARM domains for binding PIK3C3-C1. Vac8-mediated anchoring of PIK3C3-C1 promotes PtdIns3P generation at the PAS and recruitment of the PtdIns3P binding protein Atg18-Atg2. The mouse homolog of Vac8, ARMC3, is conserved and functions in autophagy in mouse testes. Mice lacking ARMC3 have normal viability but show complete male infertility. Proteomic analysis indicated that the autophagic degradation of cytosolic ribosomes was blocked in ARMC3-deficient spermatids, which caused low energy levels of mitochondria and motionless flagella. These studies uncovered a function of Vac8/ARMC3 in PtdIns3-kinase anchoring at the PAS and its physical significance in mammalian spermatogenesis with a germ tissue-specific autophagic function.
    Keywords:  ARM; ARMC3; PIK3C3-C1; PtdIns3P; Vac8; autophagy; flagellum motility; mitochondria; palmitoylation; ribosome; spermatogenesis
  16. J Mol Med (Berl). 2021 Aug 27.
      Progranulin (PGRN) is a key regulator of lysosomes, and its deficiency has been linked to various lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs), including Gaucher disease (GD), one of the most common LSD. Here, we report that PGRN plays a previously unrecognized role in autophagy within the context of GD. PGRN deficiency is associated with the accumulation of LC3-II and p62 in autophagosomes of GD animal model and patient fibroblasts, resulting from the impaired fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes. PGRN physically interacted with Rab2, a critical molecule in autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Additionally, a fragment of PGRN containing the Grn E domain was required and sufficient for binding to Rab2. Furthermore, this fragment significantly ameliorated PGRN deficiency-associated impairment of autophagosome-lysosome fusion and autophagic flux. These findings not only demonstrate that PGRN is a crucial mediator of autophagosome-lysosome fusion but also provide new evidence indicating PGRN's candidacy as a molecular target for modulating autophagy in GD and other LSDs in general. KEY MESSAGES : PGRN acts as a crucial factor involved in autophagosome-lysosome fusion in GD. PGRN physically interacts with Rab2, a molecule in autophagosome-lysosome fusion. A 15-kDa C-terminal fragment of PGRN is required and sufficient for binding to Rab2. This PGRN derivative ameliorates PGRN deficiency-associated impairment of autophagy. This study provides new insights into autophagy and may develop novel therapy for GD.
    Keywords:  Autophagosome-lysosome fusion; Autophagy; Gaucher disease; Progranulin; Rab2
  17. Genes (Basel). 2021 Jul 31. pii: 1196. [Epub ahead of print]12(8):
      Autophagy is a widely studied self-renewal pathway that is essential for degrading damaged cellular organelles or recycling biomolecules to maintain cellular homeostasis, particularly under cellular stress. This pathway initiates with formation of an autophagosome, which is a double-membrane structure that envelopes cytosolic components and fuses with a lysosome to facilitate degradation of the contents. The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) proteins play an integral role in controlling autophagosome fusion events and disruption to this machinery leads to autophagosome accumulation. Given the central role of autophagy in maintaining cellular health, it is unsurprising that dysfunction of this process is associated with many human maladies including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The cell can also rapidly respond to cellular stress through alternative pre-mRNA splicing that enables adaptive changes to the cell's proteome in response to stress. Thus, alternative pre-mRNA splicing of genes that are involved in autophagy adds another layer of complexity to the cell's stress response. Consequently, the dysregulation of alternative splicing of genes associated with autophagy and ESCRT may also precipitate disease states by either reducing the ability of the cell to respond to stress or triggering a maladaptive response that is pathogenic. In this review, we summarize the diverse roles of the ESCRT machinery and alternative splicing in regulating autophagy and how their dysfunction can have implications for human disease.
    Keywords:  ESCRT; alternative splicing; autophagy; cancer; neurodegenerative and eye disease
  18. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Aug 19. pii: S0969-9961(21)00236-9. [Epub ahead of print] 105487
      Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are associated with Parkinson's disease. LRRK2 modulates the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP), a clearance process subserving the quality control of cellular proteins and organelles. Since dysfunctional ALP might lead to α-synuclein accumulation and, hence, Parkinson's disease, LRRK2 kinase modulation of ALP, its age-dependence and relation with pSer129 α-synuclein inclusions were investigated in vivo. Striatal ALP markers were analyzed by Western blotting in 3, 12 and 20-month-old LRRK2 G2019S knock-in mice (bearing enhanced kinase activity), LRRK2 knock-out mice, LRRK2 D1994S knock-in (kinase-dead) mice and wild-type controls. The lysosomotropic agent chloroquine was used to investigate the autophagic flux in vivo. Quantitative Real-time PCR was used to quantify the transcript levels of key ALP genes. The activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase was measured using enzymatic assay. Immunohistochemistry was used to co-localize LC3B puncta with pSer129 α-synuclein inclusion in striatal and nigral neurons. No genotype differences in ALP markers were observed at 3 months. Conversely, increase of LC3-I, p62, LAMP2 and GAPDH levels, decrease of p-mTOR levels and downregulation of mTOR and TFEB expression was observed in 12-month-old kinase-dead mice. The LC3-II/LC3-I ratio was reduced following administration of chloroquine, suggesting a defective autophagic flux. G2019S knock-in mice showed LAMP2 accumulation and downregulation of ALP key genes MAP1LC3B, LAMP2, mTOR, TFEB and GBA1. Subacute administration of the LRRK2 kinase inhibitor MLi-2 in wild-type and G2019S knock-in mice did not replicate the pattern of kinase-dead mice. Lysosomal glucocerebrosidase activity was increased in 3 and 12-month-old knock-out and kinase-dead mice. LC3B puncta accumulation and pSer129 α-synuclein inclusions were dissociated in striatal neurons of kinase-dead and G2019S knock-in mice. We conclude that constitutive LRRK2 kinase silencing results in early deregulation of GCase activity followed by late impairment of macroautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Chaperone-mediated autophagy; Chloroquine; G2019S LRRK2; Glucocerebrosidase; LC3; MLi-2; Parkinson's disease; TFEB; pSer129 α-synuclein
  19. Mol Biol Cell. 2021 Aug 25. mbcE21060295
      Autophagy-related protein 9 (ATG9) is a transmembrane protein component of the autophagy machinery that cycles between the trans-Golgi network (TGN) in the perinuclear area and other compartments in the peripheral area of the cell. In mammalian cells, export of the ATG9A isoform from the TGN into ATG9A-containing vesicles is mediated by the adaptor protein 4 (AP-4) complex. However, the mechanisms responsible for the subsequent distribution of these vesicles to the cell periphery is unclear. Herein we show that the AP-4-accessory protein RUSC2 couples ATG9A-containing vesicles to the plus-end-directed microtubule motor kinesin-1 via an interaction between a disordered region of RUSC2 and the kinesin-1 light chain (KLC). This interaction is counteracted by the microtubule-associated WD40-repeat domain 47 protein (WDR47). These findings uncover a mechanism for the peripheral distribution of ATG9A-containing vesicles, involving the function of RUSC2 as a kinesin-1 adaptor and WDR47 as a negative regulator of this function.
  20. Cells. 2021 Aug 06. pii: 2003. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      The Hedgehog (Hh) receptor PTCH1 and the integral membrane protein 2A (ITM2A) inhibit autophagy by reducing autolysosome formation. In this study, we demonstrate that ITM2A physically interacts with PTCH1; however, the two proteins inhibit autophagic flux independently, since silencing of ITM2A did not prevent the accumulation of LC3BII and p62 in PTCH1-overexpressing cells, suggesting that they provide alternative modes to limit autophagy. Knockdown of ITM2A potentiated PTCH1-induced autophagic flux blockade and increased PTCH1 expression, while ITM2A overexpression reduced PTCH1 protein levels, indicating that it is a negative regulator of PTCH1 non-canonical signalling. Our study also revealed that endogenous ITM2A is necessary for timely induction of myogenic differentiation markers in C2C12 cells since partial knockdown delays the timing of differentiation. We also found that basal autophagic flux decreases during myogenic differentiation at the same time that ITM2A expression increases. Given that canonical Hh signalling prevents myogenic differentiation, we investigated the effect of ITM2A on canonical Hh signalling using GLI-luciferase assays. Our findings demonstrate that ITM2A is a strong negative regulator of GLI transcriptional activity and of GLI1 stability. In summary, ITM2A negatively regulates canonical and non-canonical Hh signalling.
    Keywords:  GLI; ITM2A; autophagy; hedgehog; patched1; skeletal muscle
  21. Cancer Res. 2021 Aug 24. pii: canres.0206.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes control accessibility of chromatin to transcriptional and co-regulatory machineries. Chromatin remodeling plays important roles in normal physiology and diseases, particularly cancer. The ARID1A-containing SWI/SNF complex is commonly mutated and thought to be a key tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its regulation in response to oncogenic signals remains poorly understood. mTOR is a conserved central controller of cell growth and an oncogenic driver of HCC. Remarkably, cancer mutations in mTOR and SWI/SNF complex are mutually exclusive in human HCC tumors, suggesting that they share a common oncogenic function. Here we report that mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) interact with ARID1A and regulates ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of ARID1A protein. The mTORC1-ARID1A axis promoted oncogenic chromatin remodeling and YAP-dependent transcription, thereby enhancing liver cancer cell growth in vitro and tumor development in vivo. Conversely, excessive ARID1A expression counteracted AKT-driven liver tumorigenesis in vivo. Moreover, dysregulation of this axis conferred resistance to mTOR-targeted therapies. These findings demonstrate that the ARID1A-SWI/SNF complex is a regulatory target for oncogenic mTOR signaling, which is important for mTORC1-driven hepatocarcinogenesis with implications for therapeutic interventions in HCC.
  22. Cells. 2021 Aug 17. pii: 2114. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Dysregulation of autophagy is an important underlying cause in the onset and progression of many metabolic diseases, including diabetes. Studies in animal models and humans show that impairment in the removal and the recycling of organelles, in particular, contributes to cellular damage, functional failure, and the onset of metabolic diseases. Interestingly, in certain contexts, inhibition of autophagy can be protective. While the inability to upregulate autophagy can play a critical role in the development of diseases, excessive autophagy can also be detrimental, making autophagy an intricately regulated process, the altering of which can adversely affect organismal health. Autophagy is indispensable for maintaining normal cardiac and vascular structure and function. Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing and dying from vascular complications. Autophagy dysregulation is associated with the development of heart failure, many forms of cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and microvascular complications in diabetic patients. Here, we review the recent findings on selective autophagy in hyperglycemia and diabetes-associated microvascular and macrovascular complications.
    Keywords:  ER-phagy; autophagy; cardiovascular; diabetes; endoplasmic reticulum; lysosome; mitochondria; mitophagy; pexophagy; pexoxisome; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  23. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2021 Aug 19. pii: S1471-4892(21)00105-3. [Epub ahead of print]60 149-157
      Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway and the main clearance route of many toxic protein aggregates. The molecular pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) manifests in the form of protein aggregates-extracellular amyloid-β depositions and intracellular tau neurofibrillary tangles. Perturbations at different steps of the autophagy pathway observed in cellular and animal models of AD might contribute to amyloid-β and tau accumulation. Increased levels of autophagosomes detected in patients' brains suggest an alteration of autophagy in human disease. Autophagy is also involved in the fine-tuning of inflammation, which increases in the early stages of AD and possibly drives its pathogenesis. Mounting evidence of a causal link between impaired autophagy and AD pathology uncovers an exciting opportunity for the development of autophagy-based therapeutics.
  24. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 25. 1-22
      Excessive macroautophagy/autophagy is one of the causes of cardiomyocyte death induced by cardiovascular diseases or cancer therapy, yet the underlying mechanism remains unknown. We and other groups previously reported that autophagy might contribute to cardiomyocyte death caused by sunitinib, a tumor angiogenesis inhibitor that is widely used in clinic, which may help to understand the mechanism of autophagy-induced cardiomyocyte death. Here, we found that sunitinib-induced autophagy leads to apoptosis of cardiomyocyte and cardiac dysfunction as the cardiomyocyte-specific Atg7-/+ heterozygous mice are resistant to sunitinib. Sunitinib-induced maladaptive autophagy selectively degrades the cardiomyocyte survival mediator CCN2 (cellular communication network factor 2) through the TOLLIP (toll interacting protein)-mediated endosome-related pathway and cardiomyocyte-specific knockdown of Ccn2 through adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) mimics sunitinib-induced cardiac dysfunction in vivo, suggesting that the autophagic degradation of CCN2 is one of the causes of sunitinib-induced cardiotoxicity and death of cardiomyocytes. Remarkably, deletion of Hmgb1 (high mobility group box 1) inhibited sunitinib-induced cardiomyocyte autophagy and apoptosis, and the HMGB1-specific inhibitor glycyrrhizic acid (GA) significantly mitigated sunitinib-induced autophagy, cardiomyocyte death and cardiotoxicity. Our study reveals a novel target protein of autophagic degradation in the regulation of cardiomyocyte death and highlights the pharmacological inhibitor of HMGB1 as an attractive approach for improving the safety of sunitinib-based cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CCN2 degradation; HMGB1; TOLLIP; cardiac dysfunction; glycyrrhizic acid; sunitinib
  25. Autophagy. 2021 Aug 25. 1-2
      Abnormalities of the neuronal endolysosome and macroautophagy/autophagy system are an early and prominent feature of Alzheimer disease (AD). SORL1 is notable as a gene in which mutations are causal for a rare, autosomal dominant form of AD, and also variants that increase the risk of developing the common form of late-onset AD. In our recent study, we used patient-derived stem cells and CRISPR engineering to study the effects of SORL1 mutations on the endolysosome and autophagy system in human forebrain neurons. SORL1 mutations causal for monogenic AD are typically truncating mutations, and we found, using stem cells generated from an individual with dementia due to a heterozygous SORL1 truncation mutation, that this class of mutation results in SORL1 haploinsufficiency. Reducing SORL1 protein by half results in disrupted endosomal trafficking in patient-derived neurons, which we confirmed by studying the endolysosomal system in isogenic CRISPR-engineered SORL1 heterozygous null neurons. We also found that SORL1 homozygous null neurons develop more severe phenotypes, with endosome abnormalities, lysosome dysfunction and defects in the degradative phase of autophagy. Endolysosome and autophagy defects in SORL1 mutant neurons are dependent on APP, a key AD gene, as they are rescued by extracellular antisense oligonucleotides that reduce APP protein.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; autophagy; endosome; live-cell imaging; lysosome
  26. Bioorg Chem. 2021 Aug 13. pii: S0045-2068(21)00618-0. [Epub ahead of print]115 105241
      Cellular autophagy is an intracellular degradation pathway, which transports damaged, deformed, senescent or non-functional proteins and organelles to lysosome for digestion and degradation. Cellular autophagy is deeply evolutionarily conservedfromyeasttomammaliancells, and many homologous proteins of the autophahgy regulators are found in several species. This physiological process maintains the steady state of cells. Furtheremore, autophagy dysfunction is closely related to various diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation-related diseases, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, etc. The LC3 and p62 protein protein interaction (PPI) promotes the formation of autophagosomes and delivers polyubiquitinated "cargoes" to autophagic degradation. Therefore, LC3-p62 PPI plays an integral role in the formation of autophagosomes and effectively inhibits autophagy. However, there are still few studies on the LC3-p62 PPI inhibitors for its unclear molecular mechanism. Furthermore, most of these inhibitors are macromolecules with poorly active, and small molecules are particularly scarce. In this article, the computation method was used to identify the hot spot and design peptides as the binder of LC3-p62 PPI. Findings from this work provide a reference for the follow-up research of discovering small molecule inhibitors targeting LC3-p62 PPI.
    Keywords:  LC3-p62; Molecular dynamics; Protein-protein interaction inhibitors
  27. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 20. pii: 9017. [Epub ahead of print]22(16):
      Lipid droplets (LDs) are ubiquitous organelles that fulfill essential roles in response to metabolic cues. The identification of several neutral lipid synthesizing and regulatory protein complexes have propelled significant advance on the mechanisms of LD biogenesis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, our understanding of signaling networks, especially transcriptional mechanisms, regulating membrane biogenesis is very limited. Here, we show that the nutrient-sensing Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (TORC1) regulates LD formation at a transcriptional level, by targeting DGA1 expression, in a Sit4-, Mks1-, and Sfp1-dependent manner. We show that cytosolic pH (pHc), co-regulated by the plasma membrane H+-ATPase Pma1 and the vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase), acts as a second messenger, upstream of protein kinase A (PKA), to adjust the localization and activity of the major transcription factor repressor Opi1, which in turn controls the metabolic switch between phospholipid metabolism and lipid storage. Together, this work delineates hitherto unknown molecular mechanisms that couple nutrient availability and pHc to LD formation through a transcriptional circuit regulated by major signaling transduction pathways.
    Keywords:  cell signaling; lipid droplet; membrane biogenesis; nutrient; transcription
  28. FEBS Open Bio. 2021 Aug 27.
      Cell senescence is closely related to autophagy. In this article, we identified a natural nucleoside analogue, cordycepin, that has the ability to significantly improve lysosomal function, enhance the activity of the lysosomal representative protease cathepsin B (CTSB), and promote the expression of the functional protein lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2 (LAMP2) on the lysosomal membrane. Cordycepin then restores the damaged autophagy level of aging cells by activating the classic AMPK and mTOR-p70S6K signaling pathways, thus inhibiting cell senescence in an H2 O2 -induced stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS) cell model. This study provides new theoretical support for the further development of cordycepin and clinical antiaging drugs to inhibit cell senescence and suggests that the regulatory mechanisms of lysosomes in senescent cells should be considered when treating age-related diseases.
    Keywords:  AMPK signaling pathways; autophagy; cell senescence; cordycepin; lysosomal function; lysosomal protease
  29. Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2021 Aug 19. pii: S0005-2736(21)00179-6. [Epub ahead of print] 183731
      Autophagy is an essential process in cell self-repair and survival. The centre of the autophagic event is the generation of the so-called autophagosome (AP), a vesicle surrounded by a double membrane (two bilayers). The AP delivers its cargo to a lysosome, for degradation and re-use of the hydrolysis products as new building blocks. AP formation is a very complex event, requiring dozens of specific proteins, and involving numerous instances of membrane biogenesis and architecture, including membrane fusion and fission. Many stages of AP generation can be rationalised in terms of curvature, both the molecular geometry of lipids interpreted in terms of 'intrinsic curvature', and the overall mesoscopic curvature of the whole membrane, as observed with microscopy techniques. The present contribution intends to bring together the worlds of biophysics and cell biology of autophagy, in the hope that the resulting cross-pollination will generate abundant fruit.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Lipid geometry; Lipid intrinsic curvature; Membrane curvature; Membrane fusion and fission; Mesoscopic physics; Proteins and membrane curvature
  30. Elife. 2021 Aug 23. pii: e65285. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Eukaryotic cells deploy autophagy to eliminate invading microbes. In turn, pathogens have evolved effector proteins to counteract antimicrobial autophagy. How adapted pathogens co-opt autophagy for their own benefit is poorly understood. The Irish famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans secretes the effector protein PexRD54 that selectively activates an unknown plant autophagy pathway that antagonizes antimicrobial autophagy at the pathogen interface. Here, we show that PexRD54 induces autophagosome formation by bridging vesicles decorated by the small GTPase Rab8a with autophagic compartments labeled by the core autophagy protein ATG8CL. Rab8a is required for pathogen-triggered and starvation-induced but not antimicrobial autophagy, revealing specific trafficking pathways underpin selective autophagy. By subverting Rab8a-mediated vesicle trafficking, PexRD54 utilizes lipid droplets to facilitate biogenesis of autophagosomes diverted to pathogen feeding sites. Altogether, we show that PexRD54 mimics starvation-induced autophagy to subvert endomembrane trafficking at the host-pathogen interface, revealing how effectors bridge distinct host compartments to expedite colonization.
    Keywords:  Phytophthora infestans; autophagy; autophagy inhibition; haustorium; nicotiana benthamiana; plant biology
  31. Cells. 2021 Aug 07. pii: 2022. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by a new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has instantaneously emerged as a worldwide pandemic. However, humans encountered other coronaviruses in the past, and they caused a broad range of symptoms, from mild to life-threatening, depending on the virus and immunocompetence of the host. Most human coronaviruses interact with the proteins and/or double-membrane vesicles of autophagy, the membrane trafficking pathway that degrades and recycles the intracellular protein aggregates, organelles, and pathogens, including viruses. However, coronaviruses often neutralize and hijack this pathway to complete their life cycle. In this review, we discuss the interactions of human coronaviruses and autophagy, including recent data from SARS-CoV-2-related studies. Some of these interactions (for example, viral block of the autophagosome-lysosome fusion), while being conserved across multiple coronaviruses, are accomplished via different molecular mechanisms. Therefore, it is important to understand the molecular interplay between human coronaviruses and autophagy for developing efficient therapies against coronaviral diseases.
    Keywords:  HCoV-NL63; HCoV-OC43; MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; autolysosome; autophagosome; autophagy; coronavirus; lysosome
  32. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2021 Aug 27.
      Autophagy is a conserved intracellular catabolic pathway that removes cytoplasmic components to contribute to neuronal homeostasis. Accumulating evidence has increasingly shown that the induction of autophagy improves neuronal health and extends longevity in several animal models. Therefore, there is a great interest in the identification of effective autophagy enhancers with potential nutraceutical or pharmaceutical properties to ameliorate age-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders, and/or promote longevity. Queen bee acid (QBA, 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid) is the major fatty acid component of, and is found exclusively in, royal jelly, which has beneficial properties for human health. It is reported that QBA has antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activities and promotes neurogenesis and neuronal health; however, the mechanism by which QBA exerts these effects has not been fully elucidated. The present study investigated the role of the autophagic process in the protective effect of QBA. We found that QBA is a novel autophagy inducer that triggers autophagy in various neuronal cell lines and mouse and fly models. The beclin-1 (BECN1) and mTOR pathways participate in the regulation of QBA-induced autophagy. Moreover, our results showed that QBA stimulates sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), which promotes autophagy by the deacetylation of critical ATG proteins. Finally, QBA-mediated autophagy promotes neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease in vitro and in a mouse model and extends the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster. This study provides detailed evidences showing that autophagy induction plays a critical role in the beneficial health effects of QBA.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Longevity; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; QBA; SIRT1
  33. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Jul 29. pii: 1217. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Tartary buckwheat is used as an ingredient in flour and tea, as well as in traditional Chinese medicine for its antioxidant effects. Here, we found that an ethanol extract of tartary buckwheat (TBE) potently induced autophagy flux in HeLa cells by suppressing mTORC1 activity, as revealed by dephosphorylation of the mTORC1 substrates Ulk1, S6K, and 4EBP, as well as by the nuclear translocation of transcriptional factor EB. In addition to non-selective bulk autophagy, TBE also induced aggrephagy, which is defined as autophagy against aggregated proteins. Quercetin is a flavonol found at high levels in TBE. We showed that quercetin induced both non-selective bulk autophagy and aggrephagy. These effects were also observed in Huh-7 cells derived from hepatocytes. Thus, aggrephagy induction by TBE and quercetin may relieve alcoholic hepatitis, which is closely linked to the accumulation of protein aggregations called Mallory-Denk bodies.
    Keywords:  aggrephagy; mTORC1; tartary buckwheat
  34. EMBO J. 2021 Aug 25. e107204
      Lysosomes are key organelles maintaining cellular homeostasis in health and disease. Here, we report the identification of N-deacetylase and N-sulfotransferase 3 (NDST3) as a potent regulator of lysosomal functions through an unbiased genetic screen. NDST3 constitutes a new member of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) family and catalyzes the deacetylation of α-tubulin. Loss of NDST3 promotes assembly of the V-ATPase holoenzyme on the lysosomal membrane and thereby increases the acidification of the organelle. NDST3 is downregulated in tissues and cells from patients carrying the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion linked to the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Deficiency in C9orf72 decreases the level of NDST3, and downregulation of NDST3 exacerbates the proteotoxicity of poly-dipeptides generated from the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeats. These results demonstrate a previously unknown regulatory mechanism through which microtubule acetylation regulates lysosomal activities and suggest that NDST3 could be targeted to modulate microtubule and lysosomal functions in relevant diseases.
    Keywords:  N-deacetylase and N-sulfotransferase 3; V-ATPase assembly; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; lysosomal acidification; microtubule acetylation
  35. Cells. 2021 Aug 05. pii: 1995. [Epub ahead of print]10(8):
      Sarcoidosis is a multisystem disease characterized by the development and accumulation of granulomas, the hallmark of an inflammatory process induced by environmental and/or infectious and or genetic factors. This auto-inflammatory disease mainly affects the lungs, the gateway to environmental aggressions and viral infections. We have shown previously that genetic predisposition to sarcoidosis occurring in familial cases is related to a large spectrum of pathogenic variants with, however, a clustering around mTOR (mammalian Target Of Rapamycin)-related pathways and autophagy regulation. The context of the COVID-19 pandemic led us to evaluate whether such genetic defects may increase the risk of a severe course of SARS-CoV2 infection in patients with sarcoidosis. We extended a whole exome screening to 13 families predisposed to sarcoidosis and crossed the genes sharing mutations with the list of genes involved in the SARS-CoV2 host-pathogen protein-protein interactome. A similar analysis protocol was applied to a series of 100 healthy individuals. Using ENRICH.R, a comprehensive gene set enrichment web server, we identified the functional pathways represented in the set of genes carrying deleterious mutations and confirmed the overrepresentation of autophagy- and mitophagy-related functions in familial cases of sarcoidosis. The same protocol was applied to the set of genes common to sarcoidosis and the SARS-CoV2-host interactome and found a significant enrichment of genes related to mitochondrial factors involved in autophagy, mitophagy, and RIG-I-like (Retinoic Acid Inducible Gene 1) Receptor antiviral response signaling. From these results, we discuss the hypothesis according to which sarcoidosis is a model for studying genetic abnormalities associated with host response to viral infections as a consequence of defects in autophagy and mitophagy processes.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; TANK Binding Kinase 1; autophagy; genetics; mitophagy; sarcoidosis
  36. Metabolites. 2021 Jul 27. pii: 481. [Epub ahead of print]11(8):
      Autophagy is an essential protective mechanism that allows mammalian cells to cope with a variety of stressors and contributes to maintaining cellular and tissue homeostasis. Due to these crucial roles and also to the fact that autophagy malfunction has been described in a wide range of pathologies, an increasing number of in vivo studies involving animal models targeting autophagy genes have been developed. In mammals, total autophagy inactivation is lethal, and constitutive knockout models lacking effectors of this route are not viable, which has hindered so far the analysis of the consequences of a systemic autophagy decline. Here, we take advantage of atg4b-/- mice, an autophagy-deficient model with only partial disruption of the process, to assess the effects of systemic reduction of autophagy on the metabolome. We describe for the first time the metabolic footprint of systemic autophagy decline, showing that impaired autophagy results in highly tissue-dependent alterations that are more accentuated in the skeletal muscle and plasma. These changes, which include changes in the levels of amino-acids, lipids, or nucleosides, sometimes resemble those that are frequently described in conditions like aging, obesity, or cardiac damage. We also discuss different hypotheses on how impaired autophagy may affect the metabolism of several tissues in mammals.
    Keywords:  ATG4; ATG8; GABARAP; LC3; aging; autophagin; autophagosome; autophagy; metabolome