bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2021‒11‒14
fifty-six papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Biol Direct. 2021 Nov 07. 16(1): 22
      BACKGROUND: Rab32 is a small GTPase associated with multiple organelles but is particularly enriched at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Here, it controls targeting to mitochondria-ER contacts (MERCs), thus influencing composition of the mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM). Moreover, Rab32 regulates mitochondrial membrane dynamics via its effector dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). Rab32 has also been reported to induce autophagy, an essential pathway targeting intracellular components for their degradation. However, no autophagy-specific effectors have been identified for Rab32. Similarly, the identity of the intracellular membrane targeted by this small GTPase and the type of autophagy it induces are not known yet.RESULTS: To investigate the target of autophagic degradation mediated by Rab32, we tested a large panel of organellar proteins. We found that a subset of MERC proteins, including the thioredoxin-related transmembrane protein TMX1, are specifically targeted for degradation in a Rab32-dependent manner. We also identified the long isoform of reticulon-3 (RTN3L), a known ER-phagy receptor, as a Rab32 effector.
    CONCLUSIONS: Rab32 promotes degradation of mitochondrial-proximal ER membranes through autophagy with the help of RTN3L. We propose to call this type of selective autophagy "MAM-phagy".
    Keywords:  Autophagy; ER-phagy; Mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM); Rab32
  2. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 22. pii: 11427. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Functional amino acids provide great potential for treating autophagy-related diseases by regulating autophagy. The purpose of the autophagy process is to remove unwanted cellular contents and to recycle nutrients, which is controlled by many factors. Disordered autophagy has been reported to be associated with various diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration, aging, and obesity. Autophagy cannot be directly controlled and dynamic amino acid levels are sufficient to regulate autophagy. To date, arginine, leucine, glutamine, and methionine are widely reported functional amino acids that regulate autophagy. As a signal relay station, mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) turns various amino acid signals into autophagy signaling pathways for functional amino acids. Deficiency or supplementation of functional amino acids can immediately regulate autophagy and is associated with autophagy-related disease. This review summarizes the mechanisms currently involved in autophagy and amino acid sensing, diverse signal transduction among functional amino acids and autophagy, and the therapeutic appeal of amino acids to autophagy-related diseases. We aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the mechanisms of amino acid regulation of autophagy and the role of functional amino acids in clinical autophagy-related diseases and to further convert these mechanisms into feasible therapeutic applications.
    Keywords:  autophagy; autophagy-related diseases; functional amino acids; mTORC1; signal transduction
  3. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 08. pii: 12083. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      The autophagy-lysosome pathway is a major protein degradation pathway stimulated by multiple cellular stresses, including nutrient or growth factor deprivation, hypoxia, misfolded proteins, damaged organelles, and intracellular pathogens. Recent studies have revealed that transcription factor EB (TFEB) and transcription factor E3 (TFE3) play a pivotal role in the biogenesis and functions of autophagosome and lysosome. Here we report that three translation inhibitors (cycloheximide, lactimidomycin, and rocaglamide A) can facilitate the nuclear translocation of TFEB/TFE3 via dephosphorylation and 14-3-3 dissociation. In addition, the inhibitor-mediated TFEB/TFE3 nuclear translocation significantly increases the transcriptional expression of their downstream genes involved in the biogenesis and function of autophagosome and lysosome. Furthermore, we demonstrated that translation inhibition increased autophagosome biogenesis but impaired the degradative autolysosome formation because of lysosomal dysfunction. These results highlight the previously unrecognized function of the translation inhibitors as activators of TFEB/TFE3, suggesting a novel biological role of translation inhibition in autophagy regulation.
    Keywords:  TFEB; TFEB nuclear translocation; autophagy-lysosome pathway; calcineurin; eIF4A helicase; mTOR; ribosome; translation inhibitor
  4. Autophagy. 2021 Nov 06. 1-14
      Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) is an emerging negatively stranded enveloped RNA bunyavirus that causes SFTS with a high case fatality rate of up to 30%. Macroautophagy/autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process involved in the maintenance of host homeostasis, which exhibits anti-viral or pro-viral responses in reaction to different viral challenges. However, the interaction between the bunyavirus SFTSV and the autophagic process is still largely unclear. By establishing various autophagy-deficient cell lines, we found that SFTSV triggered RB1CC1/FIP200-BECN1-ATG5-dependent classical autophagy flux. SFTSV nucleoprotein induced BECN1-dependent autophagy by disrupting the BECN1-BCL2 association. Importantly, SFTSV utilized autophagy for the viral life cycle, which not only assembled in autophagosomes derived from the ERGIC and Golgi complex, but also utilized autophagic vesicles for exocytosis. Taken together, our results suggest a novel virus-autophagy interaction model in which bunyavirus SFTSV induces classical autophagy flux for viral assembly and egress processes, suggesting that autophagy inhibition may be a novel therapy for treating or releasing SFTS.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; bunyavirus; sftsv; viral assembly; viral egress
  5. FASEB J. 2021 Dec;35(12): e22031
      Loss of skeletal muscle mass and force is of critical importance in numerous pathologies, like age-related sarcopenia or cancer. It has been shown that the Akt-mTORC1 pathway is critical for stimulating adult muscle mass and function, however, it is unknown if mTORC1 is the only mediator downstream of Akt and which intracellular processes are required for functional muscle growth. Here, we show that loss of Raptor reduces muscle hypertrophy after Akt activation and completely prevents increases in muscle force. Interestingly, the residual hypertrophy after Raptor deletion can be completely prevented by administration of the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin. Using a quantitative proteomics approach we find that loss of Raptor affects the increases in mitochondrial proteins, while rapamycin mainly affects ribosomal proteins. Taken together, these results suggest that mTORC1 is the key mediator of Akt-dependent muscle growth and its regulation of the mitochondrial proteome is critical for increasing muscle force.
    Keywords:  Raptor; hypertrophy; mTOR; mitochondria; rapamycin; skeletal muscle
  6. Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Nov 08. pii: BST20210810. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mechanical forces, such as compression, shear stress and stretching, play major roles during development, tissue homeostasis and immune processes. These forces are translated into a wide panel of biological responses, ranging from changes in cell morphology, membrane transport, metabolism, energy production and gene expression. Recent studies demonstrate the role of autophagy in the integration of these physical constraints. Here we focus on the role of autophagy in the integration of shear stress induced by blood and urine flows in the circulatory system and the kidney, respectively. Many studies highlight the involvement of the primary cilium, a microtubule-based antenna present at the surface of many cell types, in the integration of extracellular stimuli. The cross-talk between the molecular machinery of autophagy and that of the primary cilium in the context of shear stress is revealed to be an important dialog in cell biology.
    Keywords:  macfroautophagy; primary cilium; shear stress
  7. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Nov 10. 12(11): 1070
      Uncontrolled overactivation of autophagy may lead to autophagic cell death, suppression of which is a pro-survival strategy for tumors. However, mechanisms involving key regulators in modulating autophagic cell death remain poorly defined. Here, we report a novel long noncoding RNA, p53 upregulated regulator of p53 levels (PURPL), functions as an oncogene to promote cell proliferation, colony formation, migration, invasiveness, and inhibits cell death in melanoma cells. Mechanistic studies showed that PURPL promoted mTOR-mediated ULK1 phosphorylation at Ser757 by physical interacting with mTOR and ULK1 to constrain autophagic response to avoid cell death. Loss of PURPL led to AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of ULK1 at Ser555 and Ser317 to over-activate autophagy and induce autophagic cell death. Our results identify PURPL as a key regulator to modulate the activity of autophagy initiation factor ULK1 to repress autophagic cell death in melanoma and may represent a potential intervention target for melanoma therapy.
  8. Cell. 2021 Nov 04. pii: S0092-8674(21)01233-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The biogenesis of mammalian autophagosomes remains to be fully defined. Here, we used cellular and in vitro membrane fusion analyses to show that autophagosomes are formed from a hitherto unappreciated hybrid membrane compartment. The autophagic precursors emerge through fusion of FIP200 vesicles, derived from the cis-Golgi, with endosomally derived ATG16L1 membranes to generate a hybrid pre-autophagosomal structure, HyPAS. A previously unrecognized apparatus defined here controls HyPAS biogenesis and mammalian autophagosomal precursor membranes. HyPAS can be modulated by pharmacological agents whereas its formation is inhibited upon severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or by expression of SARS-CoV-2 nsp6. These findings reveal the origin of mammalian autophagosomal membranes, which emerge via convergence of secretory and endosomal pathways, and show that this process is targeted by microbial factors such as coronaviral membrane-modulating proteins.
    Keywords:  ATG16L1; Atg8ylation; COVID-19; FIP200; Golgi; SARS-CoV-2; Syntaxin 17; autophagy; coronavirus; endosome
  9. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 712124
      The mechanism(s) in which transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ) modulates autophagy in cancer remain unclear. Here, we characterized the TGFβ signaling pathways that induce autophagy in non-small cell lung cancer cells, using cells lines stably expressing GFP-LC3-RFP-LC3ΔG constructs that measure autophagic flux. We demonstrated that TGFβ1 increases Unc 51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) protein levels, 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent ULK1 phosphorylation at serine (S) 555 and ULK1 complex formation but decreases mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity on ULK1. Further analysis revealed that the canonical Smad4 pathway and the non-canonical TGFβ activated kinase 1/tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6/P38 mitogen activated protein kinase (TAK1-TRAF6-P38 MAPK) pathway are important for TGFβ1-induced autophagy. The TAK1-TRAF6-P38 MAPK pathway was essential for downregulating mTOR S2448 phosphorylation, ULK1 S555 phosphorylation and autophagosome formation. Furthermore, although siRNA-mediated Smad4 silencing did not alter mTOR-dependent ULK1 S757 phosphorylation, it did reduce AMPK-dependent ULK1 S555 phosphorylation and autophagosome formation. Additionally, Smad4 silencing and inhibiting the TAK1-TRAF6-P38 MAPK pathway decreased autophagosome-lysosome co-localization in the presence of TGFβ. Our results suggest that the Smad4 and TAK1-TRAF6-P38 MAPK signaling pathways are essential for TGFβ-induced autophagy and provide specific targets for the inhibition of TGFβ in tumor cells that utilize autophagy in their epithelial-mesenchymal transition program.
    Keywords:  LC3B; ULK1; autophagic flux; lung cancer; mTOR; macroautophagy; tumorigenesis
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Nov 08. pii: 5575. [Epub ahead of print]13(21):
      Autophagy is a crucial general survival tactic of mammalian cells. It describes the capability of cells to disassemble and partially recycle cellular components (e.g., mitochondria) in case they are damaged and pose a risk to cell survival or simply if their resources are urgently needed elsewhere at the time. Autophagy-associated pathomechanisms have been increasingly recognized as important disease mechanisms in non-malignant (neurodegeneration, diffuse parenchymal lung disease) and malignant conditions alike. However, the overall consequences of autophagy for the organism depend particularly on the greater context in which autophagy occurs, such as the cell type or whether the cell is proliferating. In cancer, autophagy sustains cancer cell survival under challenging, i.e., resource-depleted, conditions. However, this leads to situations in which cancer cells are completely dependent on autophagy. Accordingly, autophagy represents a promising yet complex target in cancer treatment with therapeutically induced increase and decrease of autophagic flux as important therapeutic principles.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; glutamine; hydroxychloroquine; mitophagy; reverse Warburg effect
  11. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Nov 10. 21(1): 280
      BACKGROUND: Garcinia subelliptica Merr. is a multipurpose coastal tree, the potential medicinal effects of which have been studied, including cancer suppression. Here, we present evidence that the ethanol extract of G. subelliptica Merr. (eGSM) induces autophagy in human lung adenocarcinoma cells.METHODS: Two different human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines, A549 and SNU2292, were treated with varying amounts of eGSM. Cytotoxicity elicited by eGSM was assessed by MTT assay and PARP degradation. Autophagy in A549 and SNU2292 was determined by western blotting for AMPK, mTOR, ULK1, and LC3. Genetic deletion of AMPKα in HEK293 cells was carried out by CRISPR.
    RESULTS: eGSM elicited cytotoxicity, but not apoptosis, in A549 and SNU2292 cells. eGSM increased LC3-II production in both A549 and, more extensively, SNU2292, suggesting that eGSM induces autophagy. In A549, eGSM activated AMPK, an essential autophagy activator, but not suppressed mTOR, an autophagy blocker, suggesting that eGSM induces autophagy by primarily activating the AMPK pathway in A549. By contrast, eGSM suppressed mTOR activity without activating AMPK in SNU2292, suggesting that eGSM induces autophagy by mainly suppressing mTOR in SNU2292. In HEK293 cells lacking AMPKα expression, eGSM increased LC3-II production, confirming that the autophagy induced by eGSM can occur without the AMPK pathway.
    CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that eGSM induces autophagy by activating AMPK or suppressing mTOR pathways, depending on cell types.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Autophagy; Garcinia subelliptica Merr.; Human lung carcinoma cells; mTOR
  12. J Virol. 2021 Nov 10. JVI0155021
      Seneca Valley virus (SVV), a member of the Picornaviridae family, can activate autophagy via the PERK and ATF6 unfolded protein response pathways and facilitate viral replication; however, the precise molecular mechanism that regulates SVV-induced autophagy remains unclear. Here, we revealed that SVV infection inhibited the phosphorylation of mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase (MTOR) and activated phosphorylation of the serine/threonine kinase AKT. We observed that activating adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and p38 MAPK signaling by SVV infection promoted autophagy induction and viral replication; additionally, the SVV-induced autophagy was independent of the ULK1 complex. We further evaluated the role of viral protein(s) in the AKT-AMPK-MAPK-MTOR pathway during SVV-induced autophagy and found that VP1 induced autophagy, as evidenced by puncta colocalization with microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) in the cytoplasm and enhanced LC3-II levels. This might be associated with the interaction of VP1 with sequestosome 1 and promoting its degradation. In addition, the expression of VP1 enhanced AKT phosphorylation and AMPK phosphorylation, while MTOR phosphorylation was inhibited. These results indicate that VP1 induces autophagy by the AKT-AMPK-MTOR pathway. Additionally, expression of VP3 and 3C was found to activate autophagy induction via the ERK1/2 MAPK-MTOR and p38 MAPK-MTOR pathway. Taken together, our data suggest that SVV-induced autophagy has finely-tuned molecular mechanisms in which VP1, VP3, and 3C contribute synergistically to the AKT-AMPK-MAPK-MTOR pathway. IMPORTANCE Autophagy is an essential cellular catabolic process to sustain normal physiological processes that modulated by a variety of signaling pathways. Invading virus is a stimulus to induce autophagy that regulates viral replication. It has been demonstrated that Seneca Valley virus (SVV) induced autophagy via the PERK and ATF6 unfolded protein response pathways. However, the precise signaling pathway involved in autophagy is still poorly understood. In this study, our results demonstrated that viral proteins VP1, VP3, and 3C contribute synergistically to activation of the AKT-AMPK-MAPK-MTOR signaling pathway for SVV-induced autophagy. These findings reveal systemically the finely-tuned mocleular mechanism of SVV-induced autophagy, thereby facilitating to deeper insight into the development of potential control strategies against SVV infection.
  13. Cancer Lett. 2021 Nov 06. pii: S0304-3835(21)00559-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The transient receptor potential melastatin-subfamily member 7 (TRPM7) is a ubiquitous cation channel possessing kinase activity. TRPM7 mediates a variety of physiological responses by conducting flow of cations such as Ca2+, Mg2+, and Zn2+. Here, we show that the activation of TRPM7 channel stimulated by chemical agonists of TRPM7, Clozapine or Naltriben, inhibited autophagy via mediating Zn2+ release to the cytosol, presumably from the intracellular Zn2+-accumulating vesicles where TRPM7 localizes. Zn2+ release following the activation of TRPM7 disrupted the fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes by disturbing the interaction between Sxt17 and VAMP8 which determines fusion status of autophagosomes and lysosomes. Ultimately, the disrupted fusion resulting from stimulation of TRPM7 channels arrested autophagy. Functionally, we demonstrate that the autophagy inhibition mediated by TRPM7 triggered cell death and suppressed metastasis of cancer cells in vitro, more importantly, restricted tumor growth and metastasis in vivo, by evoking apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) elevation. These findings represent a strategy for stimulating TRPM7 to combat cancer.
    Keywords:  Autophagic arrest; TRPM7; Tumorigenesis; Zinc homeostasis
  14. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2021 Nov 08.
      INTRODUCTION: : Ubiquitin specific peptidase 30 (USP30) is a mitochondrial deubiquitinase that antagonizes ubiquitination-mediated mitophagy of damaged or impaired mitochondria driven by the activity of PARK2/Parkin ubiquitin ligase and PINK1 protein kinase. Researchers have related low levels of USP30 to enhanced mitophagy and therefore have been pursuing mitophagy activation utilizing USP30 inhibitors as an alternative approach to target neurodegenerative disorders and other human diseases associated with defective mitophagy.AREAS COVERED: : This review covers the research and patent literature on the discovery and development of USP30 inhibitors since 2013.
    EXPERT OPINION: : Strategies towards mitophagy activation utilizing small-molecule inhibitors of USP30 have emerged as alternative pathways for the potential treatment of many human diseases. Research efforts have led to identifying good potent and selective small-molecule USP30 inhibitors. Most small-molecule USP30 inhibitors share a common N-cyano motif that binds covalently to the target. Non-covalently binding inhibitors have recently been disclosed as well. Lead compounds exhibit satisfactory inhibitory activities and are currently in preclinical development. Regrettably, complete pharmacological characterization and in vivo evaluation to validate and prove the therapeutic potential is lacking. Target validation could pave the way for discovering and developing USP30 inhibitors that could ultimately lead to marketed drugs.
    Keywords:  USP30 inhibitors; deubiquitination; mitophagy; neurodegenerative diseases
  15. iScience. 2021 Nov 19. 24(11): 103296
      Autophagy is a conserved biological process that maintains cell homeostasis by targeting macromolecules for lysosome-mediated degradation. The levels of autophagy are relatively lower under normal conditions than under stress conditions (e.g., starvation), as autophagy is usually stimulated after multiple stresses. However, many autophagy-related regulators are still expressed under normal conditions. Although these regulators have been studied deeply in autophagy regulation, the nonautophagic roles of these regulators under normal conditions remain incompletely understood. Here, we found that autophagy-related 5 (ATG5), which is a key regulator of autophagy, regulates c-Myc protein degradation under normal conditions through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. We also found that ATG5 binds c-Myc and recruits the E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase FBW7 to promote c-Myc degradation. Moreover, ATG5-mediated degradation of c-Myc limits cell growth under normal conditions and is essential for embryonic stem cell differentiation. Therefore, this study reveals a nonautophagic role of ATG5 in regulating of c-Myc protein degradation.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Functional aspects of cell biology
  16. Eur J Clin Invest. 2021 Nov 09. e13707
      BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal stem cells' (MSC) therapeutic potential has been investigated for the treatment of several neurodegenerative diseases. The fact that these cells can mediate a beneficial effect in different neurodegenerative contexts strenghens their competence to target diverse mechanisms. On the other hand, distinct disorders may share similar mechanisms despite having singular neuropathological characteristics.METHODS: We have previously shown that MSC can be beneficial for two disorders, one belonging to the groups of Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs) - the Krabbe Disease or Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy, and the other to the family of Polyglutamine diseases (PolyQs) - the Machado-Joseph Disease or Spinocerebellar ataxia type-3. We gave also input into disease characterization since neuropathology and MSC's effects are intrinsically associated. This review aims at describing MSC's multimode of action in these disorders, while emphasizing to possible mechanistic alterations they must share due to the accumulation of cellular toxic products.
    RESULTS: LSDs and PolyQs have different aetiology and associated symptoms, but both result from the accumulation of undegradable products inside neuronal cells due to inefficient clearance by the endosomal/lysosomal pathway. Moreover, numerous cellular mechanisms that become compromised latter are also shared by these two disease groups.
    CONCLUSIONS: Here we emphasise MSC's effect in improving proteostasis and autophagy cycling turnover, neuronal survival, synaptic activity, and axonal transport. LSDs and PolyQs, though rare in their predominance, collectively affect many people and require our utmost dedication and efforts to get successful therapies due to their tremendous impact on patient's lives and society.
    Keywords:  Axonal survival; Endosomal/lysosomal pathway; Immunomodulation; Lysosomal storage disorders (LSD); Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC); Polyglutamine diseases (PolyQ)
  17. J Cell Sci. 2021 Nov 08. pii: jcs.259306. [Epub ahead of print]
      LncRNAs are long RNA transcripts that do not code for proteins and that have been shown to play a major role in cellular processes through diverse mechanisms. DRAIC, a lncRNA which is downregulated in castration-resistant advanced prostate cancer, inhibits the NF-kB pathway by inhibiting the IκB kinase. Decreased DRAIC expression predicted poor patient outcome in gliomas and seven other cancers. We now report that DRAIC suppresses invasion, migration, colony formation and xenograft growth of glioblastoma derived cell lines. DRAIC activates AMPK by downregulating the NF-κB target gene GLUT1, and thus represses mTOR, leading to downstream effects such as decrease in protein translation and increase in autophagy. DRAIC, therefore, has an effect on multiple signal transduction pathways that are important for oncogenesis: the NF-κB pathway and AMPK-mTOR-S6K/ULK1 pathway. The regulation of NF-κB, protein translation and autophagy by the same lncRNA explains the tumor suppressive role of DRAIC in different cancers and reinforces the importance of lncRNAs as emerging regulators of signal transduction pathways.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Autophagy; DRAIC lncRNA; MTORC1; Protein-translation
  18. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 716919
      Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to the death of upper and lower motor neurons. While most cases of ALS are sporadic, some of the familial forms of the disease are caused by mutations in the gene encoding for the RNA-binding protein FUS. Under physiological conditions, FUS readily phase separates into liquid-like droplets in vivo and in vitro. ALS-associated mutations interfere with this process and often result in solid-like aggregates rather than fluid condensates. Yet, whether cells recognize and triage aberrant condensates remains poorly understood, posing a major barrier to the development of novel ALS treatments. Using a combination of ALS-associated FUS mutations, optogenetic manipulation of FUS condensation, chemically induced stress, and pH-sensitive reporters of organelle acidity, we systematically characterized the cause-effect relationship between the material state of FUS condensates and the sequestering of lysosomes. From our data, we can derive three conclusions. First, regardless of whether we use wild-type or mutant FUS, expression levels (i.e., high concentrations) play a dominant role in determining the fraction of cells having soluble or aggregated FUS. Second, chemically induced FUS aggregates recruit LAMP1-positive structures. Third, mature, acidic lysosomes accumulate only at FUS aggregates but not at liquid-condensates. Together, our data suggest that lysosome-degradation machinery actively distinguishes between fluid and solid condensates. Unraveling these aberrant interactions and testing strategies to manipulate the autophagosome-lysosome axis provides valuable clues for disease intervention.
    Keywords:  ALS; FUS; lyso-pHluorin; lysosomes; optodroplets; phase separation
  19. FASEB J. 2021 Dec;35(12): e21991
      Mitochondria are intimately connected to cell fate and function. Here, we review how these intracellular organelles participate in the induction and maintenance of the senescent state. In particular, we discuss how alterations in mitochondrial metabolism, quality control and dynamics are all involved in various aspects of cellular senescence. Together, these observations suggest that mitochondria are active participants and are mechanistically linked to the unique biology of senescence. We further describe how these insights can be potentially exploited for therapeutic benefit.
    Keywords:  aging; metabolism; mitophagy; reactive oxygen species; senolytic
  20. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(11): e0259903
      Mutations in the PINK1 and PRKN genes are the most common cause of early-onset familial Parkinson disease. These genes code for the PINK1 and Parkin proteins, respectively, which are involved in the degradation of dysfunctional mitochondria through mitophagy. An early step in PINK1 -Parkin mediated mitophagy is the ubiquitination of the mitofusin proteins MFN1 and -2. The ubiquitination of MFN1 and -2 in patient samples may therefore serve as a biomarker to determine the functional effects of PINK1 and PRKN mutations, and to screen idiopathic patients for potential mitophagy defects. We aimed to characterise the expression of the PINK1 -Parkin mitophagy machinery in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and assess if these cells could serve as a platform to evaluate mitophagy via analysis of MFN1 and -2 ubiquitination. Mitophagy was induced through mitochondrial depolarisation by treatment with the protonophore CCCP and ubiquitinated MFN proteins were analysed by western blotting. In addition, PINK1 and PRKN mRNA and protein expression levels were characterised with reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR and western blotting, respectively. Whilst CCCP treatment led to MFN ubiquitination in primary fibroblasts, SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and Jurkat leukaemic cells, treatment of PBMCs did not induce ubiquitination of MFN. PRKN mRNA and protein was readily detectable in PBMCs at comparable levels to those observed in Jurkat and fibroblast cells. In contrast, PINK1 protein was undetectable and PINK1 mRNA levels were remarkably low in control PBMCs. Our findings suggest that the PINK1 -Parkin mitophagy signalling pathway is not functional in PBMCs. Therefore, PBMCs are not a suitable biosample for analysis of mitophagy function in Parkinson disease patients.
  21. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2021 Nov 09. 22(1): 70
      BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer is a common gastrointestinal cancer and currently has the third-highest mortality rate. Research shows that the natural compound narciclasine has a variety of biological activities. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of narciclasine on gastric cancer cells and its molecular mechanisms and determine whether this compound could be a novel therapy for gastric cancer.METHODS: MTT and clone assays were employed to detect the proliferation of gastric cancer cells. The cell apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry. The formation of autophagosomes and autophagosomal lysosomes was observed by transmission electron microscopy and laser confocal scanning microscopy. Western blotting was used to detect the expression of apoptosis, autophagy and Akt/mTOR pathway-related proteins.
    RESULTS: In this study, we found that narciclasine could inhibit the proliferation of gastric cancer cells and promote apoptosis in gastric cancer cells. Further experiments showed that narciclasine promoted the levels of autophagy proteins LC3-II, Atg-5 and Beclin-1, reduced the expression of the autophagy transporter p62, and increased autophagic flux. By using the autophagy inhibitors 3-MA and CQ, it was shown that narciclasine could induce autophagy-mediated apoptosis in gastric cancer cells. Finally, we found that narciclasine had no significant effects on the total content of Akt and mTOR in gastric cancer cells, and it involved autophagy in gastric cancer cells by reducing the phosphorylation level of p-Akt and p-mTOR.
    CONCLUSIONS: Narciclasine can induce autophagy-dependent apoptosis in gastric cancer cells by inhibiting the phosphorylation level of Akt/mTOR and thus reduce the proliferation of gastric cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Akt/mTOR pathway; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Gastric cancer; Narciclasine
  22. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2021 Nov 09.
      BACKGROUND: Skeletomuscular diseases result in significant muscle loss and decreased performance, paralleled by a loss in mitochondrial and oxidative capacity. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are two potent anabolic hormones that activate a host of signalling intermediates including the serine/threonine kinase AKT to influence skeletal muscle physiology. Defective AKT signalling is associated with muscle pathology, including cachexia, sarcopenia, and disuse; however, the mechanistic underpinnings remain unresolved.METHODS: To elucidate the role of AKT signalling in muscle mass and physiology, we generated both congenital and inducible mouse models of skeletal muscle-specific AKT deficiency. To understand the downstream mechanisms mediating AKT's effects on muscle biology, we generated mice lacking AKT1/2 and FOXO1 (M-AKTFOXO1TKO and M-indAKTFOXO1TKO) to inhibit downstream FOXO1 signalling, AKT1/2 and TSC1 (M-AKTTSCTKO and M-indAKTTSCTKO) to activate mTORC1, and AKT1/2, FOXO1, and TSC1 (M-QKO and M-indQKO) to simultaneously activate mTORC1 and inhibit FOXO1 in AKT-deficient skeletal muscle. Muscle proteostasis and physiology were assessed using multiple assays including metabolic labelling, mitochondrial function, fibre typing, ex vivo physiology, and exercise performance.
    RESULTS: Here, we show that genetic ablation of skeletal muscle AKT signalling resulted in decreased muscle mass and a loss of oxidative metabolism and muscle performance. Specifically, deletion of muscle AKT activity during development or in adult mice resulted in a significant reduction in muscle growth by 30-40% (P  < 0.0001; n = 12-20) and 15% (P < 0.01 and P < 0.0001; n = 20-30), respectively. Interestingly, this reduction in muscle mass was primarily due to an ~40% reduction in protein synthesis in both M-AKTDKO and M-indAKTDKO muscles (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01; n = 12-20) without significant changes in proteolysis or autophagy. Moreover, a significant reduction in oxidative capacity was observed in both M-AKTDKO (P < 0.05, P < 0.01 and P < 0.001; n = 5-12) and M-indAKTDKO (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01; n = 4). Mechanistically, activation and inhibition of mTORC1/FOXO1, respectively, but neither alone, were sufficient to restore protein synthesis, muscle oxidative capacity, and muscle function in the absence of AKT in vivo. In a mouse model of disuse-induced muscle loss, simultaneous activation of mTORC1 and inhibition of FOXO1 preserved muscle mass following immobilization (~5-10% reduction in casted M-indFOXO1TSCDKO muscles vs. ~30-40% casted M-indControl muscles, P < 0.05 and P < 0.0001; n = 8-16).
    CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, this study provides novel insights into the AKT-dependent mechanisms that underlie muscle protein homeostasis, function, and metabolism in both normal physiology and disuse-induced muscle wasting.
    Keywords:  AKT signalling; Disuse-induced muscle wasting; Fibre specification; Insulin action
  23. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 761842
      Several large clinical trials have shown renal and cardioprotective effects of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors in diabetes patients, and the protective mechanisms need to be elucidated. There have been accumulating studies which report that SGLT2 inhibitors ameliorate autophagy deficiency of multiple organs. In overnutrition diseases, SGLT2 inhibitors affect the autophagy via various signaling pathways, including mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathways. Recently, it turned out that not only stagnation but also overactivation of autophagy causes cellular damages, indicating that therapeutic interventions which simply enhance or stagnate autophagy activity might be a "double-edged sword" in some situations. A small number of studies suggest that SGLT2 inhibitors not only activate but also suppress the autophagy flux depending on the situation, indicating that SGLT2 inhibitors can "regulate" autophagic activity and help achieve the appropriate autophagy flux in each organ. Considering the complicated control and bilateral characteristics of autophagy, the potential of SGLT2 inhibitors as the regulator of autophagic activity would be beneficial in the treatment of autophagy deficiency.
    Keywords:  HIFs; SGLT2 inhibitor; SIRT1; autophagic cell death; autophagy; diabetic kidney disease; mTOR; secretory autophagy
  24. Biochem Biophys Rep. 2021 Dec;28 101158
      Autophagy is considered an indispensable process that scavenges toxins, recycles complex macromolecules, and sustains the essential cellular functions. In addition to its housekeeping role, autophagy plays a substantial role in many pathophysiological processes such as cancer. Certainly, it adapts cancer cells to thrive in the stress conditions such as hypoxia and starvation. Cancer cells indeed have also evolved by exploiting the autophagy process to fulfill energy requirements through the production of metabolic fuel sources and fundamentally altered metabolic pathways. Occasionally autophagy as a foe impedes tumorigenesis and promotes cell death. The complex role of autophagy in cancer makes it a potent therapeutic target and has been actively tested in clinical trials. Moreover, the versatility of autophagy has opened new avenues of effective combinatorial therapeutic strategies. Thereby, it is imperative to comprehend the specificity of autophagy in cancer-metabolism. This review summarizes the recent research and conceptual framework on the regulation of autophagy by various metabolic pathways, enzymes, and their cross-talk in the cancer milieu, including the implementation of altered metabolism and autophagy in clinically approved and experimental therapeutics.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Hypoxia; Metabolism; Starvation; Therapeutics
  25. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 28. pii: 11650. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Iron overload in the brain, defined as excess stores of iron, is known to be associated with neurological disorders. In neurodegeneration accompanied by brain iron accumulation, we reported a specific point mutation, c.974-1G>A in WD Repeat Domain 45 (WDR45), showing iron accumulation in the brain, and autophagy defects in the fibroblasts. In this study, we investigated whether fibroblasts with mutated WDR45 accumulated iron, and other effects on cellular organelles. We first identified the main location of iron accumulation in the mutant fibroblasts and then investigated the effects of this accumulation on cellular organelles, including lipid droplets, mitochondria and lysosomes. Ultrastructure analysis using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and confocal microscopy showed structural changes in the organelles. Increased numbers of lipid droplets, fragmented mitochondria and increased numbers of lysosomal vesicles with functional disorder due to WDR45 deficiency were observed. Based on correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) findings, most of the iron accumulation was noted in the lysosomal vesicles. These changes were associated with defects in autophagy and defective protein and organelle turnover. Gene expression profiling analysis also showed remarkable changes in lipid metabolism, mitochondrial function, and autophagy-related genes. These data suggested that functional and structural changes resulted in impaired lipid metabolism, mitochondrial disorder, and unbalanced autophagy fluxes, caused by iron overload.
    Keywords:  CLEM; WDR45; autophagy; iron overload; lipid metabolism; lysosome; mitochondria
  26. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Nov 09. 13(undefined):
      Tauopathies are a group of progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the presence of insoluble intracellular tau filaments in the brain. Evidence suggests that there is a tight connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. However, whether mitochondrial dysfunction occurs prior to the detection of tau aggregates in tauopathies remains elusive. Here, we utilized transgenic nematodes expressing the full length of wild type tau in neuronal cells and monitored mitochondrial morphology alterations over time. Although tau-expressing nematodes did not accumulate detectable levels of tau aggregates during larval stages, they displayed increased mitochondrial damage and locomotion defects compared to the control worms. Chelating calcium restored mitochondrial activity and improved motility in the tau-expressing larvae suggesting a link between mitochondrial damage, calcium homeostasis and neuronal impairment in these animals. Our findings suggest that defective mitochondrial function is an early pathogenic event of tauopathies, taking place before tau aggregation and undermining neuronal homeostasis and organismal fitness. Understanding the molecular mechanisms causing mitochondrial dysfunction early in tauopathy will be of significant clinical and therapeutic value and merits further investigation.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; C. elegans; aging; energy metabolism; mitochondria; tau; tauopathy
  27. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2021 Oct;11(10): 3134-3149
      Programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)/programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) cascade is an effective therapeutic target for immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy. Targeting PD-L1/PD-1 axis by small-molecule drug is an attractive approach to enhance antitumor immunity. Using flow cytometry-based assay, we identify tubeimoside-1 (TBM-1) as a promising antitumor immune modulator that negatively regulates PD-L1 level. TBM-1 disrupts PD-1/PD-L1 interaction and enhances the cytotoxicity of T cells toward cancer cells through decreasing the abundance of PD-L1. Furthermore, TBM-1 exerts its antitumor effect in mice bearing Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) and B16 melanoma tumor xenograft via activating tumor-infiltrating T-cell immunity. Mechanistically, TBM-1 triggers PD-L1 lysosomal degradation in a TFEB-dependent, autophagy-independent pathway. TBM-1 selectively binds to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase and suppresses the activation of mTORC1, leading to the nuclear translocation of TFEB and lysosome biogenesis. Moreover, the combination of TBM-1 and anti-CTLA-4 effectively enhances antitumor T-cell immunity and reduces immunosuppressive infiltration of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T (Treg) cells. Our findings reveal a previously unrecognized antitumor mechanism of TBM-1 and represent an alternative ICB therapeutic strategy to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  4EBP1, eIF4E-binding protein 1; Baf, bafilomycin A1; CETSA, cellular thermal shift assay; CHX, cycloheximide; CQ, chloroquine; IB, immunoblotting; ICB, immune checkpoint blockade; IHC, immunohistochemistry; Immune checkpoint blockade; LLC, Lewis lung carcinoma; Lysosome; MDSCs, myeloid-derived suppressor cells; NAG, β-N-acetylglucosaminidase; NSCLC, non-small cell lung cancer; PD-1, programmed cell death-1; PD-L1; PD-L1, programmed cell death ligand- 1; SPR, surface plasmon resonance; TBM-1, tubeimoside-1; TFEB, nuclear transcriptional factor EB; TILs, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes; Transcription factor EB; Tregs, regulatory T-lymphocytes; mTOR; mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin; p70S6K, phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase; qRT-PCR, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction
  28. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Nov 11.
      Copper is an essential nutrient whose redox properties make it both beneficial and toxic to the cell. Recent progress in studying transition metal signalling has forged new links between researchers of different disciplines that can help translate basic research in the chemistry and biology of copper into clinical therapies and diagnostics to exploit copper-dependent disease vulnerabilities. This concept is particularly relevant in cancer, as tumour growth and metastasis have a heightened requirement for this metal nutrient. Indeed, the traditional view of copper as solely an active site metabolic cofactor has been challenged by emerging evidence that copper is also a dynamic signalling metal and metalloallosteric regulator, such as for copper-dependent phosphodiesterase 3B (PDE3B) in lipolysis, mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK1) and MEK2 in cell growth and proliferation and the kinases ULK1 and ULK2 in autophagy. In this Perspective, we summarize our current understanding of the connection between copper and cancer and explore how challenges in the field could be addressed by using the framework of cuproplasia, which is defined as regulated copper-dependent cell proliferation and is a representative example of a broad range of metalloplasias. Cuproplasia is linked to a diverse array of cellular processes, including mitochondrial respiration, antioxidant defence, redox signalling, kinase signalling, autophagy and protein quality control. Identifying and characterizing new modes of copper-dependent signalling offers translational opportunities that leverage disease vulnerabilities to this metal nutrient.
  29. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 23. pii: 11444. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Many neurodegenerative and inherited metabolic diseases frequently compromise nervous system function, and mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress have been implicated as key events leading to neurodegeneration. Mitochondria are essential for neuronal function; however, these organelles are major sources of endogenous reactive oxygen species and are vulnerable targets for oxidative stress-induced damage. The brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high metabolic demand and low antioxidant defence systems, therefore minimal imbalances in the redox state can result in an oxidative environment that favours tissue damage and activates neuroinflammatory processes. Mitochondrial-associated molecular pathways are often compromised in the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration, including the parkin/PINK1, Nrf2, PGC1α, and PPARγ pathways. Impairments to these signalling pathways consequently effect the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria, which has been suggested as contributing to the development of neurodegeneration. Mitochondrial dysfunction prevention has become an attractive therapeutic target, and there are several molecular pathways that can be pharmacologically targeted to remove damaged mitochondria by inducing mitochondrial biogenesis or mitophagy, as well as increasing the antioxidant capacity of the brain, in order to alleviate mitochondrial dysfunction and prevent the development and progression of neurodegeneration in these disorders. Compounds such as natural polyphenolic compounds, bioactive quinones, and Nrf2 activators have been reported in the literature as novel therapeutic candidates capable of targeting defective mitochondrial pathways in order to improve mitochondrial function and reduce the severity of neurodegeneration in these disorders.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; antioxidant defenses; lysosomal storage disorders; methylmalonic acidaemia; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; oxidative stress; therapeutics
  30. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Nov 06.
      Autophagy and apoptosis are two crucial self-destructive processes that maintain cellular homeostasis, which are characterized by their morphology and regulated through signal transduction mechanisms. These pathways determine the fate of cellular organelle and protein involved in human health and disease such as neurodegeneration, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Cell death pathways share common molecular mechanisms, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, calcium ion concentration, reactive oxygen species, and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Some key signaling molecules such as p53 and VEGF mediated angiogenic pathway exhibit cellular and molecular responses resulting in the triggering of apoptotic and autophagic pathways. Herein, based on previous studies, we describe the intricate relation between cell death pathways through their common genes and the role of various stress-causing agents. Further, extensive research on autophagy and apoptotic machinery excavates the implementation of selective biomarkers, for instance, mTOR, Bcl-2, BH3 family members, caspases, AMPK, PI3K/Akt/GSK3β, and p38/JNK/MAPK, in the pathogenesis and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. This molecular phenomenon will lead to the discovery of possible therapeutic biomolecules as a pharmacological intervention that are involved in the modulation of apoptosis and autophagy pathways. Moreover, we describe the potential role of micro-RNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and biomolecules as therapeutic agents that regulate cell death machinery to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Mounting evidence demonstrated that under stress conditions, such as calcium efflux, endoplasmic reticulum stress, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and oxidative stress intermediate molecules, namely p53 and VEGF, activate and cause cell death. Further, activation of p53 and VEGF cause alteration in gene expression and dysregulated signaling pathways through the involvement of signaling molecules, namely mTOR, Bcl-2, BH3, AMPK, MAPK, JNK, and PI3K/Akt, and caspases. Alteration in gene expression and signaling cascades cause neurotoxicity and misfolded protein aggregates, which are characteristics features of neurodegenerative diseases. Excessive neurotoxicity and misfolded protein aggregates lead to neuronal cell death by activating death pathways like autophagy and apoptosis. However, autophagy has a dual role in the apoptosis pathways, i.e., activation and inhibition of the apoptosis signaling. Further, micro-RNAs and LncRNAs act as pharmacological regulators of autophagy and apoptosis cascade, whereas, natural compounds and chemical compounds act as pharmacological inhibitors that rescue neuronal cell death through inhibition of apoptosis and autophagic cell death.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Flavanones; Flavones; Flavonoid; Long non-coding RNAs; Micro RNAs; NF-κB; Neuroinflammation; Neurological diseases; Neurotoxicity; Ubiquitin proteasome system; VEGFR2
  31. Autophagy. 2021 Nov 06. 1-16
      Cerebral malaria is a neuroinflammatory disease induced by P. falciparum infection. In animal models, the neuro-pathophysiology of cerebral malaria results from the sequestration of infected red blood cells (iRBCs) in microvessels that promotes the activation of glial cells in the brain. This activation provokes an exacerbated inflammatory response characterized by the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, leading to brain infiltration by pathogenic CD8+ T lymphocytes. Astrocytes are a major subtype of brain glial cells that play an important role in maintaining the homeostasis of the central nervous system, the integrity of the brain-blood barrier and in mounting local innate immune responses. We have previously shown that parasitic microvesicles (PbA-MVs) are transferred from iRBCs to astrocytes. The present study shows that an unconventional LC3-mediated autophagy pathway independent of ULK1 is involved in the transfer and degradation of PbA-MVs inside the astrocytes. We further demonstrate that inhibition of the autophagy process by treatment with 3-methyladenine blocks the transfer of PbA-MVs, which remain localized in the astrocytic cell membrane and are not internalized. Moreover, bafilomycin A1, another drug against autophagy promotes the accumulation of PbA-MVs inside the astrocytes by inhibiting the fusion with lysosomes, and prevents ECM in mice infected with PbA. Finally, we establish that RUBCN/rubicon or ATG5 silencing impede astrocyte production in CCL2 and CXCL10 chemokines induced by PbA stimulation. Altogether, our data suggest that a non-canonical autophagy-lysosomal pathway may play a key role in cerebral malaria through regulation of brain neuro-inflammation by astrocytes.
    Keywords:  Astrocyte; autophagy; cerebral malaria; inflammation; parasite microvesicles
  32. MedComm (Beijing). 2021 Mar;2(1): 91-100
      Increasing evidence has accrued indicating that autophagy is associated with hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). This report demonstrates that interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) was upregulated in response to hepatic IRI and was associated with autophagic activation. As a result of these processes, there is an aggravation of liver damage, effects that can be offset by IRF-1 depletion. In addition, these effects of IRF-1 are associated with JNK pathway activation followed by increases in Beclin1 protein levels. This JNK-induced autophagic cell death then leads to cell failure, and plays an important role in liver function damage. We conclude that IRF-1 activates autophagy through JNK-mediated autophagy. Accordingly, these findings indicating that the IRF-1/JNK pathway activates autophagy to exacerbate liver IRI in this mouse model may provide new insights into novel protective therapies for hepatic IRI.
    Keywords:  IRF‐1; JNK; autophagy; hepatic ischemia–reperfusion injury
  33. Phytother Res. 2021 Nov 08.
      Autophagy is usually considered as a protective mechanism against cell death, and in the meantime, leads to cell injury even apoptosis. Apoptosis and autophagy are very closely connected and may cooperate, coexist, or antagonize each other on progressive occurrence of cell death triggered by natural compounds. Therefore, the interplay between the two modes of death is essential for the overall fate of cancer cells. Our previous study revealed that curcumol induced apoptosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells. Recently, curcumol was found to induce autophagy in cancer cells. However, whether curcumol can induce NPC cells autophagy and the effects of autophagy on apoptosis remain elusive. In this study, we found that curcumol induced autophagy through AMPK/mTOR pathway in CNE-2 cells. Moreover, inhibiting autophagy by autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or apoptosis inhibitor z-VAD-fmk significantly increased proliferation while attenuated apoptosis and autophagy compared with the curcumol 212 μM group. In contrast, combining curcumol with autophagy agonist rapamycin and apoptosis inducer MG132 synergized the apoptotic and autophagic effect of curcumol. Taken together, our study demonstrates that curcumol promotes autophagy in NPC via AMPK/mTOR pathway, induces autophagy enhances the activity of curcumol in NPC cells; the combination of autophagy inducer and curcumol can be a new therapeutic strategy for NPC.
    Keywords:  AMPK/mTOR; apoptosis; autophagy; curcumol; nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  34. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 28. pii: 11675. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Mitochondrial biogenesis is a highly controlled process that depends on diverse signalling pathways responding to cellular and environmental signals. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a critical metabolic enzyme that acts at a central control point in cellular energy homeostasis. Numerous studies have revealed the crucial roles of AMPK in the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis; however, molecular mechanisms underlying this process are still largely unknown. Previously, we have shown that, in cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum, the overexpression of the catalytic α subunit of AMPK led to enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis, which was accompanied by reduced cell growth and aberrant development. Here, we applied mass spectrometry-based proteomics of Dictyostelium mitochondria to determine the impact of chronically active AMPKα on the phosphorylation state and abundance of mitochondrial proteins and to identify potential protein targets leading to the biogenesis of mitochondria. Our results demonstrate that enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis is associated with variations in the phosphorylation levels and abundance of proteins related to energy metabolism, protein synthesis, transport, inner membrane biogenesis, and cellular signalling. The observed changes are accompanied by elevated mitochondrial respiratory activity in the AMPK overexpression strain. Our work is the first study reporting on the global phosphoproteome profiling of D. discoideum mitochondria and its changes as a response to constitutively active AMPK. We also propose an interplay between the AMPK and mTORC1 signalling pathways in controlling the cellular growth and biogenesis of mitochondria in Dictyostelium as a model organism.
    Keywords:  AMP-activated protein kinase; AMPK; Dictyostelium discoideum; mTORC1; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial phosphoproteome; phosphoproteomics
  35. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 08. pii: 12079. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Activating molecule in Beclin-1-regulated autophagy (AMBRA1), a negative regulator of tumorigenesis, is a substrate receptor of the ubiquitin conjugation system. ALDH1B1, an aldehyde dehydrogenase, is a cancer stem cell (CSC) marker that is required for carcinogenesis via upregulation of the β-catenin pathway. Although accumulating evidence suggests a role for ubiquitination in the regulation of CSC markers, the ubiquitination-mediated regulation of ALDH1B1 has not been unraveled. While proteome analysis has suggested that AMBRA1 and ALDH1B1 can interact, their interaction has not been validated. Here, we show that AMBRA1 is a negative regulator of ALDH1B1. The expression of ALDH1B1-regulated genes, including PTEN, CTNNB1 (β-catenin), and CSC-related β-catenin target genes, is inversely regulated by AMBRA1, suggesting a negative regulatory role of AMBRA1 in the expression of ALDH1B1-regulated genes. We found that the K27- and K33-linked ubiquitination of ALDH1B1 is mediated via the cooperation of AMBRA1 with other E3 ligases, such as TRAF6. Importantly, ubiquitination site mapping revealed that K506, K511, and K515 are important for the K27-linked ubiquitination of ALDH1B1, while K33-linked ubiquitination occurs at K506. A ubiquitination-defective mutant of ALDH1B1 increased the self-association ability of ALDH1B1, suggesting a negative correlation between the ubiquitination and self-association of ALDH1B1. Together, our findings indicate that ALDH1B1 is negatively regulated by AMBRA1-mediated noncanonical ubiquitination.
    Keywords:  E3 ubiquitin ligase; aldehyde dehydrogenase 1B1; colorectal cancer stem cell; noncanonical ubiquitination; substrate receptor
  36. Med Oncol. 2021 Nov 10. 39(1): 10
      Numerous studies have shown that 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase isoform 3 (PFKFB3), a pivotal enzyme in modulating glycolysis, plays vital roles in various physiological processes. PFKFB3 activity could be regulated by several factors, such as hypoxia and AMPK signaling; however, it could also function as upstream of AMPK signaling. Here, we showed that PFKFB3 inhibitor PFK-15 induced cell viability loss and apoptosis. Deprivation of PFKFB3 inhibited autophagy, while enhanced the ubiquitin-proteasome degradation pathway. Furthermore, PFK-15 reduced both the AMPK and AKT-mTORC1 signaling pathways, as the attenuated phosphorylation level of kinases themselves and their substrates. The addition of AICAR rescued the AMPK activity and autophagy, but enhanced PFK-15-induced cell viability loss. In fact, AICAR promoted the cytotoxicity of PFK-15 even in the AMPKα1/2-silenced cells, indicating AICAR might function in an AMPK-independent manner. Nevertheless, AICAR further reduced the AKT-mTORC1 activity down-regulated by PFK-15. Moreover, it failed to enhance PFK-15's cytotoxicity in the AKT1/2-silenced cells, indicating AKT-mTORC1 participated during these processes. Collectively, the presented data demonstrated that PFK-15 inhibited cell viability, AMPK, and AKT-mTORC1 signaling, and AICAR probably enhanced the cell viability loss aroused by PFK-15 in an AKT-dependent and AMPK-independent manner, thereby revealing a more intimate relationship among PFKFB3, AMPK, and AKT-mTORC1 signaling pathways.
    Keywords:  AICAR; AMPK signaling; Cell viability; Colorectal cancer; PFKFB3
  37. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 05. pii: 11998. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable diseases of the nervous system that lead to a progressive loss of brain areas and neuronal subtypes, which is associated with an increase in symptoms that can be linked to the affected brain areas. The key findings that appear in many neurodegenerative diseases are deposits of proteins and the damage of mitochondria, which mainly affect energy production and mitophagy. Several causative gene mutations have been identified in various neurodegenerative diseases; however, a large proportion are considered sporadic. In the last decade, studies linking lipids, and in particular sphingolipids, to neurodegenerative diseases have shown the importance of these sphingolipids in the underlying pathogenesis. Sphingolipids are bioactive lipids consisting of a sphingoid base linked to a fatty acid and a hydrophilic head group. They are involved in various cellular processes, such as cell growth, apoptosis, and autophagy, and are an essential component of the brain. In this review, we will cover key findings that demonstrate the relevance of sphingolipids in neurodegenerative diseases and will focus on neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation and Parkinson's disease.
    Keywords:  NBIA; Parkinson’s disease; ceramide; neurodegeneration; sphingolipids
  38. Glycoconj J. 2021 Nov 10.
      It is well established that lysosomal glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA) variants are a risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD), with increasing evidence suggesting a loss of function mechanism. One question raised by this genetic association is whether variants of genes involved in other aspects of sphingolipid metabolism are also associated with PD. Recent studies in sporadic PD have identified variants in multiple genes linked to diseases of glycosphingolipid (GSL) metabolism to be associated with PD. GSL biosynthesis is a complex pathway involving the coordinated action of multiple enzymes in the Golgi apparatus. GSL catabolism takes place in the lysosome and is dependent on the action of multiple acid hydrolases specific for certain substrates and glycan linkages. The finding that variants in multiple GSL catabolic genes are over-represented in PD in a heterozygous state highlights the importance of GSLs in the healthy brain and how lipid imbalances and lysosomal dysfunction are associated with normal ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. In this article we will explore the link between lysosomal storage disorders and PD, the GSL changes seen in both normal ageing, lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) and PD and the mechanisms by which these changes can affect neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  Ageing; GBA; Gangliosides; Glycosphingolipid (GSL); Lysosomal storage disease (LSD); Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  39. Nat Commun. 2021 Nov 12. 12(1): 6579
      Despite the strong evidence linking the aggregation of the Huntingtin protein (Htt) to the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease (HD), the mechanisms underlying Htt aggregation and neurodegeneration remain poorly understood. Herein, we investigated the ultrastructural properties and protein composition of Htt cytoplasmic and nuclear inclusions in mammalian cells and primary neurons overexpressing mutant exon1 of the Htt protein. Our findings provide unique insight into the ultrastructural properties of cytoplasmic and nuclear Htt inclusions and their mechanisms of formation. We show that Htt inclusion formation and maturation are complex processes that, although initially driven by polyQ-dependent Htt aggregation, also involve the polyQ and PRD domain-dependent sequestration of lipids and cytoplasmic and cytoskeletal proteins related to HD dysregulated pathways; the recruitment and accumulation of remodeled or dysfunctional membranous organelles, and the impairment of the protein quality control and degradation machinery. We also show that nuclear and cytoplasmic Htt inclusions exhibit distinct biochemical compositions and ultrastructural properties, suggesting different mechanisms of aggregation and toxicity.
  40. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 ;11 766590
      Pathogenic infections have badly affected public health and the development of the breeding industry. Billions of dollars are spent every year fighting against these pathogens. The immune cells of a host produce reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species which promote the clearance of these microbes. In addition, autophagy, which is considered an effective method to promote the destruction of pathogens, is involved in pathological processes. As research continues, the interplay between autophagy and nitroxidative stress has become apparent. Autophagy is always intertwined with nitroxidative stress. Autophagy regulates nitroxidative stress to maintain homeostasis within an appropriate range. Intracellular oxidation, in turn, is a strong inducer of autophagy. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a pattern recognition receptor mainly involved in the regulation of inflammation during infectious diseases. Several studies have suggested that TLR4 is also a key regulator of autophagy and nitroxidative stress. In this review, we describe the role of TLR4 in autophagy and oxidation, and focus on its function in influencing autophagy-nitroxidative stress interactions.
    Keywords:  TLR4; autophagy; homeostasis; interaction; nitroxidative stress
  41. STAR Protoc. 2021 Dec 17. 2(4): 100918
      We present a protocol for measuring the activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in ex vivo isolated mouse primary hepatocytes. It can be used as a tool for genetic, pharmacological, metabolomic, and signal transduction procedures. We discuss critical aspects for improving yield, viability, and modulation of the mTOR pathway. This protocol can be adapted to other signaling cascades and is compatible with multiple readouts. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Ortega-Molina et al. (2021).
    Keywords:  Cell culture; Cell isolation; Cell-based Assays; Metabolism; Metabolomics; Signal Transduction
  42. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Nov 09. 13(undefined):
      UBB+1 is a mutated version of ubiquitin B peptide caused by a transcriptional frameshift due to the RNA polymerase II "slippage". The accumulation of UBB+1 has been linked to ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is defined as a progressive neurodegeneration and aggregation of amyloid-β peptides (Aβ) is a prominent neuropathological feature of AD. In our previous study, we found that yeast cells expressing UBB+1 at lower level display an increased resistance to cellular stresses under conditions of chronological aging. In order to examine the molecular mechanisms behind, here we performed genome-wide transcriptional analyses and molecular/cellular biology assays. We found that low UBB+1 expression activated the autophagy pathway, increased vacuolar activity, and promoted transport of autophagic marker ATG8p into vacuole. Furthermore, we introduced low UBB+1 expression to our humanized yeast AD models, that constitutively express Aβ42 and Aβ40 peptide, respectively. The co-expression of UBB+1 with Aβ42 or Aβ40 peptide led to reduced intracellular Aβ levels, ameliorated viability, and increased chronological life span. In an autophagy deficient background strain (atg1Δ), intracellular Aβ levels were not affected by UBB+1 expression. Our findings offer insights for reducing intracellular Aβ toxicity via autophagy-dependent cellular pathways under low level of UBB+1 expression.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; UBB+1; amyloid-β; autophagy; yeast
  43. Curr Res Physiol. 2021 ;4 202-208
      Calorie restriction (CR) involves a reductions of calorie intake without altering the nutritional balance, and has many beneficial effects, such as improving oxidative metabolism and extending lifespan. However, CR decreases in skeletal muscle mass and fat mass in correlation with the reduction in food intake. Lactate is known to have potential as a signaling molecule rather than a metabolite during exercise. In this study, we examined the effects of the combination of caloric restriction and lactate administration on skeletal muscle adaptation in order to elucidate a novel role of lactate. We first demonstrated that daily lactate administration (equivalent to 1 g/kg of body weight) for 2 weeks suppressed CR-induced muscle atrophy by activating mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, a muscle protein synthesis pathway, and inhibited autophagy-induced muscle degradation. Next, we found that lactate administration under calorie restriction enhanced mitochondrial enzyme activity (citrate synthase and succinate dehydrogenase) and the expression of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) protein expression. Our results suggest that lactate administration under caloric restriction not only suppresses muscle atrophy but also improves mitochondrial function.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Calorie restriction; Keywards; Lactate; Skeletal muscle; mTOR signaling
  44. J Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 03. pii: e202103156. [Epub ahead of print]221(1):
      Mitochondria and peroxisomes are independent but functionally closely related organelles. A few proteins have been characterized as dual-organelle locating proteins with distinct or similar roles on mitochondria and peroxisomes. MARCH5 is a mitochondria-associated ubiquitin ligase best known for its regulatory role in mitochondria quality control, fission, and fusion. Here, we used a proximity tagging system, PUP-IT, and identified new interacting proteins of MARCH5. Our data uncover that MARCH5 is a dual-organelle locating protein that interacts with several peroxisomal proteins. PEX19 binds the transmembrane region on MARCH5 and targets it to peroxisomes. On peroxisomes, MARCH5 binds and mediates the ubiquitination of PMP70. Furthermore, we find PMP70 ubiquitination and pexophagy induced by mTOR inhibition are blocked in the absence of MARCH5. Our study suggests novel roles of MARCH5 on peroxisomes.
  45. Cell Signal. 2021 Nov 06. pii: S0898-6568(21)00275-8. [Epub ahead of print] 110186
      Rare gain of function mutations in the gene encoding Dyrk1b, a key regulator of skeletal muscle differentiation, have been associated with sarcopenic obesity (SO) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in humans. So far, the global gene networks regulated by Dyrk1b during myofiber differentiation have remained elusive. Here, we have performed untargeted proteomics to determine Dyrk1b-dependent gene-network in differentiated C2C12 myofibers. This analysis led to identification of translational inhibitor, 4e-bp1 as a post-transcriptional target of Dyrk1b in C2C12 cells. Accordingly, CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockout of Dyrk1b in zebrafish identified 4e-bp1 as a downstream target of Dyrk1b in-vivo. The Dyrk1b knockout zebrafish embryos exhibited markedly reduced myosin heavy chain 1 expression in poorly developed myotomes and were embryonic lethal. Using knockdown and overexpression approaches in C2C12 cells, we found that 4e-bp1 enhances autophagy and mediates the effects of Dyrk1b on skeletal muscle differentiation. Dyrk1bR102C, the human sarcopenic obesity-associated mutation impaired muscle differentiation via excessive activation of 4e-bp1/autophagy axis in C2C12 cells. Strikingly, the defective muscle differentiation in Dyrk1bR102C cells was rescued by reduction of autophagic flux. The identification of Dyrk1b-4e-bp1-autophagy axis provides significant insight into pathways that are relevant to human skeletal muscle development and disorders.
    Keywords:  4e-bp1; Myogenesis; Sarcopenic obesity; dyrk1b
  46. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Nov 09. pii: S0969-9961(21)00309-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105560
      Emerging studies implicate energy dysregulation as an underlying trigger for Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting that a better understanding of the molecular pathways governing energy homeostasis could help elucidate therapeutic targets for the disease. A critical cellular energy regulator is AMP kinase (AMPK), which we have previously shown to be protective in PD models. However, precisely how AMPK function impacts on dopaminergic neuronal survival and disease pathogenesis remains elusive. Here, we showed that Drosophila deficient in AMPK function exhibits PD-like features, including dopaminergic neuronal loss and climbing impairment that progress with age. We also created a tissue-specific AMPK-knockout mouse model where the catalytic subunits of AMPK are ablated in nigral dopaminergic neurons. Using this model, we demonstrated that loss of AMPK function promotes dopaminergic neurodegeneration and associated locomotor aberrations. Accompanying this is an apparent reduction in the number of mitochondria in the surviving AMPK-deficient nigral dopaminergic neurons, suggesting that an impairment in mitochondrial biogenesis may underlie the observed PD-associated phenotypes. Importantly, the loss of AMPK function enhances the susceptibility of nigral dopaminergic neurons in these mice to 6-hydroxydopamine-induced toxicity. Notably, we also found that AMPK activation is reduced in post-mortem PD brain samples. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of neuronal energy homeostasis by AMPK in PD and position AMPK pathway as an attractive target for future therapeutic exploitation.
    Keywords:  AMPK; Mitochondria; Parkinson's disease
  47. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2021 Nov 09. pii: S1063-4584(21)00964-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVES: Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is an important disease with no efficient biological therapy identified. Autophagy, a wildly known therapeutic target for human disease, has been demonstrated to be activated under hypoxia, with underlying mechanism remains elusive. Thus, this study aims to specify the role of autophagy in IVD degeneration, the regulating mechanism of hypoxia-inducing autophagy, and the therapeutic value of autophagy for IVD degeneration.METHODS: RNA-seq was used to screen the primary pathway affected in NP cells under hypoxia, the specific link between hypoxia and autophagy were investigated using ChIP-seq and dual luciferase reporter assay. Conditional ATG7 knockout mice (ATG7-/-) were constructed for assessing the effect of autophagy on IVD degeneration, and puncture induced mice model of IVD degeneration were used for intradiscal injection to evaluate the therapeutic value of autophagy.
    RESULTS: We demonstrated that hypoxia induces autophagy by transcriptional activation of autophagic gene LC3B and ATG7, which is controlled by PERK signaling. Then, we observed that inhibiting autophagy or PERK signaling leads to impaired NP cell viability and function, furthermore, using ATG7 knockout (ATG7-/-) mice, we identified the protective role of autophagy in IVD. Furthermore, we found that intradiscal injection of PERK signaling agonist, CCT020312, significantly restores the degeneration level of needle punctured mice IVD.
    CONCLUSION: We showed that the activation of PERK signaling upon hypoxia serves as a vital mechanism to induce autophagy and identified the therapeutic value of PERK signaling agonist for IVD degeneration treatment.
    Keywords:  ATF4; PERK; autophagy; intervertebral disc degeneration; nucleus pulposus
  48. Arch Pharm Res. 2021 Nov 09.
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common tumor types globally. Despite the progress made in surgical procedures and therapeutic options, HCC remains a considerable cause of cancer-related mortality. In this study, we investigated the antitumor effects of sanguinarine (Sang) on HCC and its potential mechanisms. Our findings showed that Sang impairs the acidic environment of lysosomes by inhibiting cathepsin D maturation. In addition, Sang inhibited the formation of autolysosomes in RFP-GFP-LC3 transfected cells, subsequently suppressing late mitophagy. Sang also induced reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent autophagy and apoptosis in HCC cells, which was significantly attenuated following treatment with a ROS scavenger. Further investigation using autophagy inhibitors revealed that sanguinarine-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy led to mitochondrial apoptosis in HCC cells. Immunohistochemical staining of sanguinarine-treated xenograft samples revealed that it initiated and blocked autophagy. In summary, our findings suggest that in HCC cells, Sang impairs lysosomal function and induces ROS-dependent mitophagy and apoptosis.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lysosomal function; Mitophagy; Reactive oxygen species; Sanguinarine
  49. Brain Res. 2021 Dec 15. pii: S0006-8993(21)00560-6. [Epub ahead of print]1773 147703
      Exercise can improve cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the underlying mechanisms are not clear, and the optimal exercise modes for cognitive benefits are controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity interval training (MICT) on cognitive function and the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway as well as autophagy in T2DM mice. The results showed that 8 weeks of HIIT and MICT intervention could improve the spatial learning and memory ability of T2DM mice, as determined by the Morris water maze (MWM) test. Both HIIT and MICT similarly improved autophagy, as evidenced by increased Beclin1 and LC3 II/I ratios and decreased p62. Meanwhile, HIIT and MICT inhibited excessive activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in the hippocampus. HIIT induced a larger reduction in mTOR activity than MICT. This study suggests that both HIIT and MICT can alleviate cognitive decline induced by T2DM, improve autophagy in the hippocampus, and downregulate the excessive activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, with similar effects.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cognition; High-intensity interval training; PI3K/Akt/mTOR; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  50. Pharmacol Res. 2021 Nov 08. pii: S1043-6618(21)00557-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105973
      The purpose of our study is to determine the protective effects of mitophagy enhancers against phosphorylated tau (P-tau)-induced mitochondrial and synaptic toxicities in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Mitochondrial abnormalities, including defective mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis, axonal transport and impaired clearance of dead mitochondria are linked to P-tau in AD. Mitophagy enhancers are potential therapeutic candidates to clear dead mitochondria and improve synaptic and cognitive functions in AD. We recently optimized the doses of mitophagy enhancers urolithin A, actinonin, tomatidine, nicotinamide riboside in immortalized mouse primary hippocampal (HT22) neurons. In the current study, we treated mutant Tau expressed in HT22 (mTau-HT22) cells with mitophagy enhancers and assessed mRNA and protein levels of mitochondrial/synaptic genes, cell survival and mitochondrial respiration. We also assessed mitochondrial morphology in mTau-HT22 cells treated and untreated with mitophagy enhancers. Mutant Tau-HT22 cells showed increased fission, decreased fusion, synaptic & mitophagy genes, reduced cell survival and defective mitochondrial respiration. However, these events were reversed in mitophagy enhancers treated mTau-HT22 cells. Cell survival was increased, mRNA and protein levels of mitochondrial fusion, synaptic and mitophagy genes were increased, and mitochondrial fragmentation is reduced in mitophagy enhancers treated mTau-HT22 cells. Further, urolithin A showed strongest protective effects among all enhancers tested in AD. Our combination treatments of urolithin A + EGCG, addition to urolithin A and EGCG individual treatment revealed that combination treatments approach is even stronger than urolithin A treatment. Based on these findings, we cautiously propose that mitophagy enhancers are promising therapeutic drugs to treat mitophagy in patients with AD.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria: Synaptic activity; Mitochondrial fragmentation; Mitophagy enhancers; Urolithin A
  51. J Biol Chem. 2021 Oct 28. pii: S0021-9258(21)01164-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101358
      Preserving optimal mitochondrial function is critical in the heart, which is the most ATP-avid organ in the body. Recently, we showed that global deficiency of the nuclear receptor RORα in the "staggerer" (RORαsg/sg) mouse exacerbates angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and compromises cardiomyocyte mitochondrial function. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations have not been defined previously. Here we used pharmacological and genetic gain- and loss-of-function tools to demonstrate that RORα regulates cardiomyocyte mitophagy to preserve mitochondrial abundance and function. We found that RORαsg/sg cardiomyocyte mitochondria were less numerous and exhibited fewer mitophagy events than wild type (WT) controls. The hearts of our novel cardiomyocyte-specific RORα knockout (CMKO) mouse line demonstrated impaired contractile function, enhanced oxidative stress, increased apoptosis and reduced autophagic flux relative to Cre(-) littermates. We found that cardiomyocyte RORα was upregulated by hypoxia, a classical inducer of mitophagy. The loss of RORα blunted mitophagy and broadly compromised mitochondrial function in normoxic and hypoxic conditions in vivo and in vitro. We also show that RORα is a direct transcriptional regulator of the mitophagy mediator caveolin-3 in cardiomyocytes and that enhanced expression of RORα increases caveolin-3 abundance and enhances mitophagy. Finally, knockdown of RORα impairs cardiomyocyte mitophagy, compromises mitochondrial function, and induces apoptosis, but these defects could be rescued by caveolin-3 overexpression. Collectively, these findings reveal a novel role for RORα in regulating mitophagy through caveolin-3 and expand our currently limited understanding of the mechanisms underlying RORα-mediated cardioprotection.
  52. Anal Chim Acta. 2021 Dec 01. pii: S0003-2670(21)00972-7. [Epub ahead of print]1187 339146
      Mitophagy, a specialized form of autophagy, holds the key to cellular metabolism and physiology. Viscosity is a significant marker for visualization of the mitophagy process in real-time. Hence, development of well-performing viscosity probe is beneficial to study mitophagy-related dynamic physiological and pathological processes. Here, a new strategy was proposed by combination of AIE property and molecular rotors to design novel viscosity probe. The probe named TPA-Py was obtained by Knoevenagel condensation reaction of AIE unit and pyridine salt, which giving the probe excellent near-infrared emission, good water-solubility and mitochondrial targeting ability. Most importantly, TPA-Py owns two rotatable parts of triphenylamine and double bond, enabling the probe to equip with AIE property and sensitive recognition units for viscosity. With the environmental viscosity increasing, the rotation of the molecular rotor and the AIE unit is restricted effectively, the probe displayed strong fluorescence. Then, TPA-Py was successfully employed for monitoring the mitophagy process in A549 cells by imaging viscosity alterations. As mitophagy constitutes an important consideration in the pathogenesis of drug-induced liver injury, TPA-Py was also applied to explore the variation of viscosity in production and remediation pathways of APAP-induced liver injury. These results demonstrated that TPA-Py was a highly sensitive viscosity probe which holds great potential of biological applications.
    Keywords:  AIE; Liver injury; Mitophagy; Viscosity
  53. Molecules. 2021 Nov 08. pii: 6741. [Epub ahead of print]26(21):
      The treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a huge challenge, because pro-survival signaling pathways-such as the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway-are overexpressed in PDAC cells. Moreover, PDAC cells are highly resistant to chemotherapeutic agents because of autophagy induction. Therefore, autophagy and its modulated signaling pathways are attractive targets for developing novel therapeutic strategies for PDAC. Pterostilbene is a stilbenoid chemically related to resveratrol, and has potential for the treatment of cancers. Accordingly, we investigated whether the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine could potentiate the anticancer effect of pterostilbene in the PDAC cell lines MIA PaCa-2 and BxPC-3, as well as in an orthotopic animal model. The results indicated that pterostilbene combined with chloroquine significantly inhibited autophagy, decreased cell viability, and sensitized the cells to pterostilbene-induced apoptosis via downregulation of the RAGE/STAT3 and protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways in PDAC cells. The results of the orthotopic animal model showed that pterostilbene combined with chloroquine significantly inhibited pancreatic cancer growth, delayed tumor quadrupling times, and inhibited autophagy and STAT3 in pancreatic tumors. In summary, the present study suggested the novel therapeutic strategy of pterostilbene combined with chloroquine against the growth of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma by inhibiting autophagy and downregulating the RAGE/STAT3 signaling pathways.
    Keywords:  RAGE/STAT3; apoptosis; autophagy; chloroquine; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; pterostilbene
  54. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 743780
      Autophagy is a self-degradative process important for balancing cellular homeostasis at critical times in development and/or in response to nutrient stress. This is particularly relevant in tumor model in which autophagy has been demonstrated to have an important impact on tumor behavior. In one hand, autophagy limits tumor transformation of precancerous cells in early stage, and in the other hand, it favors the survival, proliferation, metastasis, and resistance to antitumor therapies in more advanced tumors. This catabolic machinery can be induced by an important variety of extra- and intracellular stimuli. For instance, viral infection has often been associated to autophagic modulation, and the role of autophagy in virus replication differs according to the virus studied. In the context of tumor development, virus-modulated autophagy can have an important impact on tumor cells' fate. Extensive analyses have shed light on the molecular and/or functional complex mechanisms by which virus-modulated autophagy influences precancerous or tumor cell development. This review includes an overview of discoveries describing the repercussions of an autophagy perturbation during viral infections on tumor behavior.
    Keywords:  autophagy; immunity; oncogenic virus; oncolytic virus; tumor development and progression; tumor resistance; tumorigenesis; viral infection
  55. Cell Metab. 2021 Nov 06. pii: S1550-4131(21)00528-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nutrient sensing pathways influence metabolic health and aging, offering the possibility that diet might be used therapeutically, alone or with drugs targeting these pathways. We used the Geometric Framework for Nutrition to study interactive and comparative effects of diet and drugs on the hepatic proteome in mice across 40 dietary treatments differing in macronutrient ratios, energy density, and drug treatment (metformin, rapamycin, resveratrol). There was a strong negative correlation between dietary energy and the spliceosome and a strong positive correlation between dietary protein and mitochondria, generating oxidative stress at high protein intake. Metformin, rapamycin, and resveratrol had lesser effects than and dampened responses to diet. Rapamycin and metformin reduced mitochondrial responses to dietary protein while the effects of carbohydrates and fat were downregulated by resveratrol. Dietary composition has a powerful impact on the hepatic proteome, not just on metabolic pathways but fundamental processes such as mitochondrial function and RNA splicing.
    Keywords:  Geometric Framework; Nutrition; caloric restriction; liver; macronutrients; metformin; mitochondria; proteome; rapamycin; resveratrol; spliceosome