bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2023‒01‒01
fifty papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 27. 12(1): 22452
      Autophagy results in the degradation of cytosolic components via two major membrane deformations. First, the isolation membrane sequesters components from the cytosol and forms autophagosomes, by which open structures become closed compartments. Second, the outer membrane of the autophagosomes fuses with lysosomes to degrade the inner membrane and its contents. The efficiency of the latter degradation process, namely autophagic flux, can be easily evaluated using lysosomal inhibitors, whereas the dynamics of the former process is difficult to analyze because of the challenges in identifying closed compartments of autophagy (autophagosomes and autolysosomes). To resolve this problem, we here developed a method to detect closed autophagic compartments by applying the FLIP technique, and named it FLIP-based Autophagy Detection (FLAD). This technique visualizes closed autophagic compartments and enables differentiation of open autophagic structures and closed autophagic compartments in live cells. In addition, FLAD analysis detects not only starvation-induced canonical autophagy but also genotoxic stress-induced alternative autophagy. By the combinational use of FLAD and LC3, we were able to distinguish the structures of canonical autophagy from those of alternative autophagy in a single cell.
  2. Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Mar;pii: e202201652. [Epub ahead of print]6(3):
      Nutrient deprivation ("starvation") is a major catabolic stress faced by mammalian cells in both pathological and physiological situations. Starvation induces autophagosome biogenesis in the immediate vicinity of ER and leads to lysosome spatial repositioning, but little is known about the consequences of nutritional stress on endosomes. Here, we report that starvation induces tethering of endosomal tubules to ER subregions, fostering autophagosome assembly. We show that this endosomal membrane generation is regulated by sorting nexin 1 (SNX1) protein and is important for the autophagic response. These newly formed SNX1 endosomal tubules establish connections with ER subdomains engaged in early autophagic machinery mobilization. Such endosome-ER transient tethers are regulated by a local dialog between SNX2, an endosomal partner of SNX1, and VAPB, an ER protein associated with autophagy initiation stage regulation. We propose that in a very early response to starvation, SNX1 and SNX2 cooperation induces and regulates endosomal membrane tubulation towards VAPB-positive ER subdomains involved in autophagosome biogenesis, highlighting the contribution of early endosomes in the cellular response to nutritional stress.
  3. J Cell Biol. 2023 Feb 06. pii: e202108144. [Epub ahead of print]222(2):
      Limitation of excessive inflammation due to selective degradation of pro-inflammatory proteins is one of the cytoprotective functions attributed to autophagy. In the current study, we highlight that selective autophagy also plays a vital role in promoting the establishment of a robust inflammatory response. Under inflammatory conditions, here TLR3-activation by poly(I:C) treatment, the inflammation repressor TNIP1 (TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1) is phosphorylated by Tank-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) activating an LIR motif that leads to the selective autophagy-dependent degradation of TNIP1, supporting the expression of pro-inflammatory genes and proteins. This selective autophagy efficiently reduces TNIP1 protein levels early (0-4 h) upon poly(I:C) treatment to allow efficient initiation of the inflammatory response. At 6 h, TNIP1 levels are restored due to increased transcription avoiding sustained inflammation. Thus, similarly as in cancer, autophagy may play a dual role in controlling inflammation depending on the exact state and timing of the inflammatory response.
  4. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Dec 29. 8(1): 502
      Lysosomes are single-membraned organelles that mediate the intracellular degradation of macromolecules. Various stress can induce lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP), translocating intralysosomal components, such as cathepsins, to the cytoplasm, which induces lysosomal-dependent cell death (LDCD). This study reports that p53 regulates LMP in response to DNA-damaging drugs. Treating wild-type TP53 A549 cells with DNA-damaging drugs (namely, doxorubicin, carboplatin, and etoposide) induced LMP and accelerated cell death more rapidly than treating TP53-knockout (KO) A549 cells. This suggested p53-dependent LMP and LDCD induction in response to DNA damage. LMP was induced by p53-dependent BID upregulation and activation, followed by translocation of truncated BID to lysosomes. Simultaneously, autophagy for damaged lysosome elimination (lysophagy) was activated via the p53-mTOR-TEFB/TFE3 pathways in response to DNA damage. These data suggested the dichotomous nature of p53 for LMP regulation; LMP induction and repression via the p53-BID axis and p53-mTOR-TFEB/TFE3 pathway, respectively. Blocking autophagy with hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin as well as ATG5 KO enhanced LMP and LDCD induction after exposure to DNA-damaging drugs. Furthermore, lysosomal membrane stabilization using U18666A, a cholesterol transporter Niemann-Pick disease C1 (NPC1) inhibitor, suppressed LMP as well as LDCD in wild-type TP53, but not in TP53-KO, A549 cells. Thus, LMP is finely regulated by TP53 after exposure to DNA-damaging drugs.
  5. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Dec 21. pii: S1043-6618(22)00573-4. [Epub ahead of print] 106627
      The development and application of traditional drugs represented by small molecule chemical drugs and biological agents, especially inhibitors, have become the mainstream drug development. In recent years, targeted protein degradation (TPD) technology has become one of the most promising methods to remove specific disease-related proteins using cell self-destruction mechanisms. Many different TPD strategies are emerging based on the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and the autophagy-lysosomal pathway (ALP), including but not limited to proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTAC), molecular glues (MG), lysosome targeting chimeras (LYTAC), chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA)-targeting chimeras, autophagy-targeting chimera (AUTAC), autophagosome-tethering compound (ATTEC), and autophagy-targeting chimera (AUTOTAC). The advent of targeted degradation technology can change most protein targets in human cells from undruggable to druggable, greatly expanding the therapeutic prospect of refractory diseases such as metabolic syndrome. Here, we summarize the latest progress of major TPD technologies, especially in metabolic syndrome and look forward to providing new insights for drug discovery.
    Keywords:  ATTEC; MG; PROTACs; metabolic syndrome; target protein degradation
  6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2212330120
      Target of Rapamycin Complex I (TORC1) is a central regulator of metabolism in eukaryotes that responds to a wide array of negative and positive inputs. The GTPase-activating protein toward Rags (GATOR) signaling pathway acts upstream of TORC1 and is comprised of two subcomplexes. The trimeric GATOR1 complex inhibits TORC1 activity in response to amino acid limitation by serving as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for the TORC1 activator RagA/B, a component of the lysosomally located Rag GTPase. The multi-protein GATOR2 complex inhibits the activity of GATOR1 and thus promotes TORC1 activation. Here we report that Wdr59, originally assigned to the GATOR2 complex based on studies performed in tissue culture cells, unexpectedly has a dual function in TORC1 regulation in Drosophila. We find that in the ovary and the eye imaginal disc brain complex, Wdr59 inhibits TORC1 activity by opposing the GATOR2-dependent inhibition of GATOR1. Conversely, in the Drosophila fat body, Wdr59 promotes the accumulation of the GATOR2 component Mio and is required for TORC1 activation. Similarly, in mammalian HeLa cells, Wdr59 prevents the proteolytic destruction of GATOR2 proteins Mio and Wdr24. Consistent with the reduced levels of the TORC1-activating GATOR2 complex, Wdr59KOs HeLa cells have reduced TORC1 activity which is restored along with GATOR2 protein levels upon proteasome inhibition. Taken together, our data support the model that the Wdr59 component of the GATOR2 complex functions to promote or inhibit TORC1 activity depending on cellular context.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; GATOR1; GATOR2; TORC1; Wdr59
  7. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 26. 1-2
      Mitochondria, often called "the powerhouse" of the cell due to their role as the main energy supplier, regulate numerous complex processes including intracellular calcium homeostasis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, regulation of immune responses, and apoptosis. So, mitochondria are a fundamental metabolic hub that also control cell survival and cell death. However, they are not unique in all these functions. Indeed, peroxisomes are small cytoplasmic organelles that also ensure metabolic functions such as fatty acid oxidation and ROS production. This common relationship also extends beyond function as peroxisomes themselves can form from mitochondrial-derived precursors. Given this interconnection between mitochondria and peroxisomes involving biogenesis and function, in our recent work we determined if their turnover was also linked.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; BNIP3L; NIX; mitophagy; pexophagy
  8. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 29. 1-2
      Macroautophagy/autophagy, a cellular process that sequesters and breaks down cellular components in the lysosome/vacuole, is important in various events where cell composition undergoes changes. Broadly, autophagy is involved in T cell regulation including maintaining cell homeostasis. One process where a cell alters its composition is in the activation of helper T cells in the immune system. When helper (CD4+) T cells are activated by antigens, they both grow and alter their cellular components to become effector T cells. Autophagy is the process that facilitates the breakdown of these cellular components and is therefore hypothesized to have a role in CD4+ T cell activation. Previous research has concluded that CD4+ T cell activation induces autophagy, providing an avenue for further research aimed at examining the ways in which this induced autophagy affects CD4+ T cell proliferation and function. Toward this end, Zhou et al. researched the autophagosomal cargo present within CD4+ T cells and the impact this cargo has on CD4+ T cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; T cells; cargo; mass spectrometry; proliferation; purification
  9. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2023 Jan 01. 31(1): 1-15
      Autophagy is a process of eliminating damaged or unnecessary proteins and organelles, thereby maintaining intracellular homeostasis. Deregulation of autophagy is associated with several diseases including cancer. Contradictory dual roles of autophagy have been well established in cancer. Cytoprotective mechanism of autophagy has been extensively investigated for overcoming resistance to cancer therapies including radiotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Selective autophagy inhibitors that directly target autophagic process have been developed for cancer treatment. Efficacies of autophagy inhibitors have been tested in various pre-clinical cancer animal models. Combination therapies of autophagy inhibitors with chemotherapeutics are being evaluated in clinal trials. In this review, we will focus on genetical and pharmacological perturbations of autophagy-related proteins in different steps of autophagic process and their therapeutic benefits. We will also summarize combination therapies of autophagy inhibitors with chemotherapies and their outcomes in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Understanding of current knowledge of development, progress, and application of cytoprotective autophagy inhibitors in combination therapies will open new possibilities for overcoming drug resistance and improving clinical outcomes.
    Keywords:  Anticancer agent; Autophagy; Autophagy inhibitor; Combination therapy; Resistance
  10. Theriogenology. 2022 Dec 24. pii: S0093-691X(22)00553-2. [Epub ahead of print]198 114-122
      Autophagy of ovarian granulosa cells is one of the reasons which results in follicular atresia. PHB2 regulates many fundamental biological processes and is pivotal in the mitophagy of cells; nevertheless, the autophagy in the bovine ovary and how PHB2 regulates the follicular cells are unknown. Here we report a protein complex that induces autophagy in bovine granulosa cells (BGCs) through the direct interaction of ERβ and PHB2. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the autophagy and the role of PHB2 in bovine ovaries using bovine primary ovarian granulosa cells (BGCs). The results showed that PHB2 induces BGCs autophagy because of the change in related genes and protein expression levels. In addition, the results of Co-IP and the distribution of the combination of PHB2 and ERβ showed that this complex is also indicated as an essential role of PHB2 in BGCs autophagy. Based on our results, it can be concluded that PHB2 combined with ERβ induces BGCs autophagy by targeting the mTOR pathway. This study pinpoints a novel regulatory mechanism of autophagy and demonstrates the existence of a protein complex that may underlie its roles in autophagy in BGCs.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Bovine; ERβ; Ovary; Prohibitin 2
  11. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Dec 27. pii: S0753-3322(22)01528-1. [Epub ahead of print]158 114139
      BACKGROUND: Although autophagy is a recognized contributor to the pathogenesis of human diseases, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are the only two FDA-approved autophagy inhibitors to date. Emerging evidence has revealed the potential therapeutic benefits of various extracts and active compounds isolated from ginseng, especially ginsenosides and their derivatives, by mediating autophagy. Mechanistically, active components from ginseng mediate key regulators in the multistep processes of autophagy, namely, initiation, autophagosome biogenesis and cargo degradation.AIM OF REVIEW: To date, a review that systematically described the relationship between ginseng and autophagy is still lacking. Breakthroughs in finding the key players in ginseng-autophagy regulation will be a promising research area, and will provide positive insights into the development of new drugs based on ginseng and autophagy.
    KEY SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS OF REVIEW: Here, we comprehensively summarized the critical roles of ginseng-regulated autophagy in treating diseases, including cancers, neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, and neurotoxicity. The dual effects of the autophagy response in certain diseases are worthy of note; thus, we highlight the complex impacts of both ginseng-induced and ginseng-inhibited autophagy. Moreover, autophagy and apoptosis are controlled by multiple common upstream signals, cross-regulate each other and affect certain diseases, especially cancers. Therefore, this review also discusses the cross-signal transduction pathways underlying the molecular mechanisms and interaction between ginseng-regulated autophagy and apoptosis.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Diseases; Ginseng; Ginsenoside
  12. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2215126120
      Mec1 is a DNA damage sensor, which performs an essential role in the DNA damage response pathway and glucose starvation-induced autophagy. However, the functions of Mec1 in autophagy remain unclear. In response to glucose starvation, Mec1 forms puncta, which are recruited to mitochondria through the adaptor protein Ggc1. Here, we show that Mec1 puncta also contact the phagophore assembly site (PAS) via direct binding with Atg13. Functional analysis of the Atg13-Mec1 interaction revealed two previously unrecognized protein regions, the Mec1-Binding Region (MBR) on Atg13 and the Atg13-Binding Region (ABR) on Mec1, which mediate their mutual association under glucose starvation conditions. Disruption of the MBR or ABR impairs the recruitment of Mec1 puncta and Atg13 to the PAS, consequently blocking glucose starvation-induced autophagy. Additionally, the MBR and ABR regions are also crucial for DNA damage-induced autophagy. We thus propose that Mec1 regulates glucose starvation-induced autophagy by controlling Atg13 recruitment to the PAS.
    Keywords:  Atg13; Mec1; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; glucose starvation-induced autophagy
  13. Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Mar;pii: e202201614. [Epub ahead of print]6(3):
      Telomeres contain compacted heterochromatin, and genes adjacent to telomeres are subjected to transcription silencing. Maintaining telomere structure integrity and transcription silencing is important to prevent the occurrence of premature aging and aging-related diseases. How telomere silencing is regulated during aging is not well understood. Here, we find that the four core histones are reduced during yeast chronological aging, leading to compromised telomere silencing. Mechanistically, histone loss promotes the nuclear export of Sir2 and its degradation by autophagy. Meanwhile, reducing core histones enhances the autophagy pathway, which further accelerates autophagy-mediated Sir2 degradation. By screening the histone mutant library, we identify eight histone mutants and one histone modification (histone methyltransferase Set1-catalyzed H3K4 trimethylation) that regulate telomere silencing by modulating the core histones-autophagy-Sir2 axis. Overall, our findings reveal core histones and autophagy as causes of aging-coupled loss of telomere silencing and shed light on dynamic regulation of telomere structure during aging.
  14. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 26.
      SUMMARYThe precursors to mammalian autophagosomes originate from pre-existing membranes contributed by a number of sources, and subsequently enlarge through intermembrane lipid transfer, then close to sequester the cargo, and merge with lysosomes to degrade the cargo. Using cellular and in vitro membrane fusion analyses coupled with proteomic and biochemical studies we show that autophagosomes are formed from a hybrid membrane compartment referred to as a prophagophore or HyPAS (hybrid preautophagosomal structure). HyPAS is initially LC3-negative and subsequently becomes an LC3-positive phagophore. The prophagophore emerges through fusion of RB1CC1/FIP200-containing vesicles, derived from the cis-Golgi, with endosomally derived ATG16L1 membranes. A specialized Ca2+-responsive apparatus controls prophagophore biogenesis and can be modulated by pharmacological agents such as SIGMAR1 agonists and antagonists including chloroquine. Autophagic prophagophore formation is inhibited during SARS-CoV-2 infection and is recapitulated by expression of SARS-CoV-2 nsp6. These findings show that mammalian autophagosomal prophagophores emerge via the convergence of secretory and endosomal pathways in a process that is targeted by microbial factors including coronaviral membrane proteins.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; COVID19; Golgi; HyPAS prophagophore; LC3; calcium; endoplasmic reticulum; endosome; syntaxin
  15. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2023 Feb;11(1): e1041
      Glioma is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults with high morbidity and mortality. Rapid proliferation and diffuse migration are the main obstacles to successful glioma treatment. Xanthatin, a sesquiterpene lactone purified from Xanthium strumarium L., possesses a significant antitumor role in several malignant tumors. In this study, we report that xanthatin suppressed glioma cells proliferation and induced apoptosis in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, and was accompanied by autophagy inhibition displaying a significantly reduced LC3 punctate fluorescence and LC3II/I ratio, decreased level of Beclin 1, while increased accumulation of p62. Notably, treating glioma cells with xanthatin resulted in obvious activation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling pathway, as indicated by increased mTOR and Akt phosphorylation, decreased ULK1 phosphorylation, which is important in modulating autophagy. Furthermore, xanthatin-mediated pro-apoptosis in glioma cells was significantly reversed by autophagy inducers (rapamycin or Torin1), or PI3K-mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235. Taken together, these findings indicate that anti-proliferation and pro-apoptosis effects of xanthatin in glioma are most likely by inhibiting autophagy via activation of PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy against glioma.
    Keywords:  autophagy; glioma; mTOR; tumorigenicity; xanthatin
  16. J Mol Biol. 2022 Dec 23. pii: S0022-2836(22)00559-9. [Epub ahead of print] 167932
      Lysosomes are specialized organelles with an acidic pH that act as recycling hubs for intracellular and extracellular components. They harbour numerous different hydrolytic enzymes to degrade substrates like proteins, peptides, and glycolipids. Reduced catalytic activity of lysosomal enzymes can cause the accumulation of these substrates and loss of lysosomal integrity, resulting in lysosomal dysfunction and lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). Post-mitotic cells, such as neurons, seem to be highly sensitive to damages induced by lysosomal dysfunction, thus LSDs often manifest with neurological symptoms. Interestingly, some LSDs and Parkinson's disease (PD) share common cellular pathomechanisms, suggesting convergence of aetiology of the two disease types. This is further underlined by genetic associations of several lysosomal genes involved in LSDs with PD. The increasing number of lysosome-associated genetic risk factors for PD makes it necessary to understand functions and interactions of lysosomal proteins/enzymes both in healthy and disease states, thereby holding the potential to identify new therapeutic targets. In this review, we highlight genetic and mechanistic interactions between the complex lysosomal network, LSDs and PD, and elaborate on methodical challenges in lysosomal research.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; lysosomal enzymes; lysosomal storage disorder; lysosome; neurodegeneration
  17. Nucleic Acid Ther. 2022 Dec 19.
      Phosphorothioate (PS)-modified antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) drugs enter cells through endocytic pathways where a majority are entrapped within membrane-bound endosomes and lysosomes, representing a limiting step for antisense activity. While late endosomes have been identified as a major site for productive PS-ASO release, how lysosomes regulate PS-ASO activity beyond macromolecule degradation remains not fully understood. In this study, we reported that SID1 transmembrane family, member 2 (SIDT2), a lysosome transmembrane protein, can robustly regulate PS-ASO activity. We showed that SIDT2 is required for the proper colocalization between PS-ASO and lysosomes, suggesting an important role of SIDT2 in the entrapment of PS-ASOs in lysosomes. Mechanistically, we revealed that SIDT2 regulates lysosome cellular location. Lysosome location is largely determined by its movement along microtubules. Interestingly, we also observed an enrichment of proteins involved in microtubule function among SIDT2-binding proteins, suggesting that SIDT2 regulates lysosome location via its interaction with microtubule-related proteins. Overall, our data suggest that lysosome protein SIDT2 inhibits PS-ASO activity potentially through its interaction with microtubule-related proteins to place lysosomes at perinuclear regions, thus, facilitating PS-ASO's localization to lysosomes for degradation.
    Keywords:  PS-ASO; SIDT2; lysosome; microtubule
  18. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 24. pii: S0021-9258(22)01273-X. [Epub ahead of print] 102830
      Lipid droplets (LDs) are transient lipid storage organelles that can be readily tapped to resupply cells with energy or lipid building blocks, and therefore play a central role in cellular metabolism. However, the molecular factors and underlying mechanisms that regulate the growth and degradation of LDs are poorly understood. It has emerged that proteins that establish contacts between LDs and the ER play a critical role in regulating LD metabolism. Recently, the autophagy related protein, Double FYVE Domain Containing Protein 1 (DFCP1/ZFYV1) was shown to reside at the interface of the ER and LDs, however, little is known about the involvement of DFCP1 in autophagy and LD metabolism. Here, we show that DFCP1 is a novel NTPase that regulates free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism. Specifically, we show that DFPC1-knockdown, particularly during starvation, increases cellular FFAs and decreases the levels of cellular TAGs, resulting in accumulated small LDs. Using selective truncations, we show that DFCP1 accumulation on LDs in cells and in vitro is regulated by a previously unknown NTPase domain. Using spectroscopic approaches, we show that this NTPase domain can dimerize and can hydrolyze both ATP and GTP. Furthermore, mutations in DFCP1 that either impact nucleotide hydrolysis or dimerization result in changes in the accumulation of DFCP1 on LDs, changes in LD density and size, and colocalization of LDs to autophagosomes. Collectively, our findings suggest that DFCP1 is an NTPase that modulates the metabolism of LDs in cells.
  19. Nat Commun. 2022 12 24. 13(1): 7929
      Phagocytic clearance of dying cells, termed efferocytosis, is essential for maintaining tissue homeostasis, yet our understanding of efferocytosis regulation remains incomplete. Here we perform a FACS-based, genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen in primary mouse macrophages to search for novel regulators of efferocytosis. The results show that Wdfy3 knockout in macrophages specifically impairs uptake, but not binding, of apoptotic cells due to defective actin disassembly. Additionally, WDFY3 interacts with GABARAP, thus facilitating LC3 lipidation and subsequent lysosomal acidification to permit the degradation of apoptotic cell components. Mechanistically, while the C-terminus of WDFY3 is sufficient to rescue the impaired degradation induced by Wdfy3 knockout, full-length WDFY3 is required to reconstitute the uptake of apoptotic cells. Finally, WDFY3 is also required for efficient efferocytosis in vivo in mice and in vitro in primary human macrophages. This work thus expands our knowledge of the mechanisms of macrophage efferocytosis, as well as supports genome-wide CRISPR screen as a platform for interrogating complex functional phenotypes in primary macrophages.
  20. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 29. 1-2
      Resistance to anti-cancer therapy is a major challenge for cancer treatment. Many studies revealed that macroautophagy/autophagy inhibition can overcome autophagy-mediated therapy resistance, but these efforts have not yet led to the success of clinical applications. In a recent paper, we established a 37-gene autophagy signature to estimate the autophagy status of approximately 10,000 tumor samples across 33 cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas, and muti-omics characterization reveals that autophagy induction may also sensitize cancer cells to anti-cancer drugs. These findings provide a comprehensive resource of molecular alterations associated with autophagy and highlight the potential to utilize drug sensitivity induced by autophagy to overcome the resistance of cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; drug sensitivity; gene signature; multi-omics; therapy
  21. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 1068611
      Hearing loss has become a common sensory defect in humans. Because of the limited regenerative ability of mammalian cochlear hair cells (HCs), HC damage (caused by ototoxic drugs, aging, and noise) is the main risk factor of hearing loss. However, how HCs can be protected from these risk factors remains to be investigated. Autophagy is a process by which damaged cytoplasmic components are sequestered into lysosomes for degradation. Ferroptosis is a novel form of non-apoptotic regulated cell death involving intracellular iron overloading and iron-dependent lipid peroxide accumulation. Recent studies have confirmed that autophagy is associated with ferroptosis, and their crosstalk may be the potential therapeutic target for hearing loss. In this review, we provide an overview of the mechanisms of ferroptosis and autophagy as well as their relationship with HC damage, which may provide insights for a new future in the protection of HCs.
    Keywords:  autophagy; ferritinophagy; ferroptosis; hair cell; sensorineural hearing loss
  22. Life Sci. 2022 Dec 24. pii: S0024-3205(22)01023-2. [Epub ahead of print] 121323
      AIMS: The small Heat Shock Protein B8 (HSPB8) is the core component of the chaperone-assisted selective autophagy (CASA) complex. This complex selectively targets, transports, and tags misfolded proteins for their recognition by autophagic receptors and insertion into autophagosome for clearance. CASA is essential to maintain intracellular proteostasis, especially in heart, muscle, and brain often exposed to various types of cell stresses. In neurons, HSPB8 protects against neurotoxicity caused by misfolded proteins in several models of neurodegenerative diseases; by facilitating autophagy, HSPB8 assists misfolded protein degradation also counteracting proteasome overwhelming and inhibition.MATERIALS AND METHODS: To enhance HSPB8 protective activity, we screened a library of approximately 120,000 small molecules to identify compounds capable of increasing HSPB8 gene transcription, translation, or protein stability. We found 83 compounds active in preliminary dose-response assays and further classified them in 19 chemical classes by medicinal chemists' visual inspection. Of these 19 prototypes, 14 induced HSPB8 mRNA and protein levels in SH-SY5Y cells.
    KEY FINDINGS: Out of these 14, 3 successfully reduced the aggregation propensity of a disease-associated mutant misfolded Superoxide Dismutase 1 (SOD1) protein in a flow cytometry-based "aggregation assay" [Flow cytometric analysis of Inclusions and Trafficking" (FloIT)] and induced the expression (mRNA and protein) of some autophagy receptors. Notably, the 3 hits were inactive in HSPB8-depleted cells, confirming that their protective activity is mediated by and requires HSPB8.
    SIGNIFICANCE: Thus, these compounds may be highly relevant for a therapeutic approach in several human disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, in which enhancement of CASA exerts beneficial activities.
    Keywords:  Chaperone-assisted selective autophagy; HSPB8; Neurodegenerative disorders; Neuromuscular disorders; Proteasome; cancer
  23. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 1075141
      The human brain has high energetic expenses and consumes over 20% of total oxygen metabolism. Abnormal brain energy homeostasis leads to various brain diseases. Among multiple factors that contribute to these diseases, mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the most common causes. Maintenance of mitochondrial integrity and functionality is of pivotal importance to brain energy generation. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC), employing the coordination of multiple mechanisms, is evolved to overcome many mitochondrial defects. Thus, not surprisingly, aberrant mitochondrial quality control results in a wide range of brain disorders. Targeting MQC to preserve and restore mitochondrial function has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for the prevention and treatment of brain diseases. Here, we set out to summarize the current understanding of mitochondrial quality control in brain homeostasis. We also evaluate potential pharmaceutically and clinically relevant targets in MQC-associated brain disorders.
    Keywords:  brain disorders; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial homeostasis; mitochondrial quality control; therapeutic target
  24. Biol Cell. 2022 Dec 26.
      BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Various types of stress initially induce a state of cardiac hypertrophy (CH) in the heart. But, persistent escalation of cardiac stress leads to progression from an adaptive physiological to a maladaptive pathological state. So, elucidating molecular mechanisms that can attenuate CH is imperative in developing cardiac therapies. Previously, we showed that Prohibitin1 (PHB1) has a protective role in CH-induced oxidative stress. Nevertheless, it is unclear how PHB1, a mitochondrial protein, has a protective role in CH. Therefore, we hypothesized that PHB1 maintains mitochondrial quality in CH. To test this hypothesis, we used Isoproterenol (ISO) to induce CH in H9C2 cells overexpressing PHB1 and elucidated mitochondrial quality control pathways.RESULTS: We found that overexpressing PHB1 attenuates ISO-induced CH and restores mitochondrial morphology in H9C2 cells. In addition, PHB1 blocks the pro-hypertrophic IGF1R/AKT pathway and restores the mitochondrial membrane polarization in ISO-treated cells. We observed that overexpressing PHB1 promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, improves mitochondrial respiratory capacity, and triggers mitophagy.
    CONCLUSION: We conclude that PHB1 maintains mitochondrial quality in ISO-induced CH in H9C2 cells.
    Keywords:  atresia; autophagy; cell death; oocyte; ovary
  25. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 29. 1-4
      DBI/ACBP (diazepam binding inhibitor, acyl-CoA binding protein) is a phylogenetically conserved paracrine inhibitor of macroautophagy/autophagy. As such, DBI/ACBP acts as a pro-aging molecule. Indeed, we observed that the knockout of ACB1 (the yeast equivalent of human DBI/ACBP) induces autophagy and prolongs lifespan in an autophagy-dependent fashion in chronological lifespan experiments. Intriguingly, circulating DBI/ACBP protein augments with age in humans, and this increase occurs independently from the known correlation of DBI/ACBP with body mass index (BMI). A supraphysiological DBI/ACBP level announces future cardiovascular disease (such as heart surgery, myocardial infarction and stroke) in still healthy individuals, suggesting that, beyond its correlation with chronological age, DBI/ACBP is a biomarker of biological age. Plasma DBI/ACBP concentrations correlate with triglycerides and anticorrelate with high-density lipoprotein. Of note, these associations with cardiovascular risk factors are independent from age and BMI in a multivariate regression model. In mice, we found that antibody-mediated neutralization of DBI/ACBP reduces signs of anthracycline-accelerated cardiac aging including the upregulation of the senescence marker CDKN2A/p16 (cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 2A) and the functional decline of the heart. In conclusion, it appears that extracellular DBI/ACBP can be targeted to combat age-associated cardiovascular disease.Abbreviations: BMI: body mass index; CDKN2A/p16: cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 2A; CVD: cardiovascular disease; DBI/ACBP: diazepam binding inhibitor, acyl-CoA binding protein; ELISA: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; GABA: gamma-aminobutyric acid; GABR: gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor.
    Keywords:  Autophagy checkpoint; cardioprotection; heart failure; inflammation; metabolism
  26. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2210442120
      Mutations in GBA1, encoding glucocerebrosidase (GCase), cause Gaucher disease (GD) and are also genetic risks in developing Parkinson's disease (PD). Currently, the approved therapies are only effective for directly treating visceral symptoms, but not for primary neuronopathic involvement in GD (nGD). Progranulin (PGRN), encoded by GRN, is a novel modifier of GCase, but the impact of PGRN in GBA1 mutation-associated pathologies in vivo remains unknown. Herein, Grn-/- mice crossed into Gba9v/9v mice, a Gba1 mutant line homozygous for the Gba1 D409V mutation, generating Grn-/-Gba9v/9v (PG9V) mice. PG9V mice exhibited neurobehavioral deficits, early onset, and more severe GD phenotypes compared to Grn-/- and Gba9v/9v mice. Moreover, PG9V mice also displayed PD-like phenotype. Mechanistic analysis revealed that PGRN deficiency caused severe neuroinflammation with microgliosis and astrogliosis, along with impaired autophagy associated with the Gba1 mutation. A PGRN-derived peptide, termed ND7, ameliorated the disease phenotype in GD patient fibroblasts ex vivo. Unexpectedly, ND7 penetrated the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and effectively ameliorated the nGD manifestations and PD pathology in Gba9v/null and PG9V mice. Collectively, this study not only provides the first line of in vivo but also ex vivo evidence demonstrating the crucial role of PGRN in GBA1/Gba1 mutation-related pathologies, as well as a clinically relevant mouse model for mechanistic and potential therapeutics studies for nGD and PD. Importantly, a BBB penetrant PGRN-derived biologic was developed that may provide treatment for rare lysosomal storage diseases and common neurodegenerative disorders, particularly nGD and PD.
    Keywords:  GBA1 mutation; Gaucher disease; Parkinson’s disease; progranulin; progranulin-derived biologic
  27. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2022 Dec 23. pii: S0006-291X(22)01715-6. [Epub ahead of print]642 167-174
      The Golgi apparatus is vital for protein modification and molecular trafficking. It is essential for nerve development and activity, and damage thereof is implicated in many neurological diseases. Primary familial brain calcification (PFBC) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disease characterized by multiple brain calcifications. SLC20A2, which encodes the inorganic phosphate transporter 2 (PiT-2) protein, is the main pathogenic gene in PFBC. The PiT-2 protein is a sodium-dependent phosphate type III transporter, and dysfunction leads to a deficit in the cellular intake of inorganic phosphate (Pi) and calcium deposits. Whether the impaired Golgi apparatus is involved in the PFBC procession requires elucidation. In this study, we constructed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from two PFBC patients with different SLC20A2 gene mutations (c.613G > A or del exon10) and two healthy volunteers as dependable cell models for research on pathogenic mechanism. To study the mechanism, we differentiated iPSCs into neurons and astrocytes in vitro. Our study found disruptive Golgi structure and damaged autophagy in PFBC neurons with increased activity of mTOR. We also found damaged mitochondria and increased apoptosis in the PFBC dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes. In this study, we prove that dysfunctional PiT-2 leads to an imbalance of cellular Pi, which may disrupt the Golgi apparatus with impaired autophagy, mitochondria and apoptosis in PFBC. Our study provides a new avenue for understanding nerve damage and pathogenic mechanism in brain calcifications.
    Keywords:  Calcification; Golgi apparatus; PiT-2; Primary familial brain calcification; SLC20A2
  28. Neural Regen Res. 2023 Jul;18(7): 1463-1471
      Evidence from genetics and from analyzing cellular and animal models have converged to suggest links between neurodegenerative disorders of early and late life. Here, we summarize emerging links between the most common late life neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer's disease, and the most common early life neurodegenerative diseases, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Genetic studies reported an overlap of clinically diagnosed Alzheimer's disease and mutations in genes known to cause neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Accumulating data strongly suggest dysfunction of intracellular trafficking mechanisms and the autophagy-endolysosome system in both types of neurodegenerative disorders. This suggests shared cytopathological processes underlying these different types of neurodegenerative diseases. A better understanding of the common mechanisms underlying the different diseases is important as this might lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic concepts, the transfer of therapeutic strategies from one disease to the other and therapeutic approaches tailored to patients with specific mutations. Here, we review dysfunctions of the endolysosomal autophagy pathway in Alzheimer's disease and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses and summarize emerging etiologic and genetic overlaps.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Batten disease; CLN3 disease; autophagy; dementia; endosome; lysosome; neurodegeneration; neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis; presenilin
  29. FASEB J. 2023 Feb;37(2): e22723
      Autophagy is a highly conserved cellular process that profoundly impacts the efficacy of genotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs. TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that activates several signaling pathways involved in inducing autophagy and suppressing cell death. Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) is a rate-limiting enzyme that converts hypoxanthine to xanthine, and xanthine to uric acid and hydrogen peroxide in the purine catabolism pathway. Recent studies showed that uric acid can bind to TAK1 and prolong its activation. We hypothesized that genotoxic drugs may induce autophagy and apoptosis resistance by activating TAK1 through XOR-generated uric acid. Here, we report that gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), two genotoxic drugs, induced autophagy in HeLa and HT-29 cells by activating TAK1 and its two downstream kinases, AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) and c-Jun terminal kinase (JNK). XOR knockdown and the XOR inhibitor allopurinol blocked gemcitabine-induced TAK1, JNK, AMPK, and Unc51-like kinase 1 (ULK1)S555 phosphorylation and gemcitabine-induced autophagy. Inhibition of the ATM-Chk pathway, which inhibits genotoxic drug-induced uric acid production, blocked gemcitabine-induced autophagy by inhibiting TAK1 activation. Exogenous uric acid in its salt form, monosodium urate (MSU), induced autophagy by activating TAK1 and its downstream kinases JNK and AMPK. Gene knockdown or the inhibitors of these kinases blocked gemcitabine- and MSU-induced autophagy. Inhibition of autophagy by allopurinol, chloroquine, and 5Z-7-oxozeaenol (5Z), a TAK1-specific inhibitor, enhanced gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. Our study uncovers a previously unrecognized role of XOR in regulating genotoxic drug-induced autophagy and apoptosis and has implications for designing novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  TAK1; XOR; apoptosis; autophagy; genotoxic drugs; uric acid
  30. Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 24. 12(1): 22297
      Mast cells are one of major players in allergic responses. Mast cell activation via the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) causes degranulation and release of de novo synthesized proinflammatory cytokines in a process that involves vesicle trafficking. Considering that the GTPase ADP-ribosylation factor 1 (Arf1) orchestrates and maintains membrane traffic and organelle structure, it seems likely that Arf1 contributes to mast cell activation. Actually, it has been reported that pharmaceutical blockade of the Arf1 pathway suppresses cytokine secretion and mast cell degranulation. However, physiological roles of Arf1 in mast cells remain elusive. Here, by using a genetic approach, we demonstrate that Arf1 is required for optimal mTORC1 activation upon IL-3 and facilitates mast cell proliferation. On the other hand, contrary to our expectation, Arf1-deficiency had little impact on FcεRI-induced degranulation nor cytokine secretion. Our findings reveal an unexpected role of Arf1 in mast cell expansion and its potential as a therapeutic target in the mast cell proliferative disorders.
  31. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2214874120
      Adequate mass and function of adipose tissues (ATs) play essential roles in preventing metabolic perturbations. The pathological reduction of ATs in lipodystrophy leads to an array of metabolic diseases. Understanding the underlying mechanisms may benefit the development of effective therapies. Several cellular processes, including autophagy and vesicle trafficking, function collectively to maintain AT homeostasis. Here, we investigated the impact of adipocyte-specific deletion of the lipid kinase phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3 (PIK3C3) on AT homeostasis and systemic metabolism in mice. We report that PIK3C3 functions in all ATs and that its absence disturbs adipocyte autophagy and hinders adipocyte differentiation, survival, and function with differential effects on brown and white ATs. These abnormalities cause loss of white ATs, whitening followed by loss of brown ATs, and impaired "browning" of white ATs. Consequently, mice exhibit compromised thermogenic capacity and develop dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. While these effects of PIK3C3 largely contrast previous findings with the autophagy-related (ATG) protein ATG7 in adipocytes, mice with a combined deficiency in both factors reveal a dominant role of the PIK3C3-deficient phenotype. We have also found that dietary lipid excess exacerbates AT pathologies caused by PIK3C3 deficiency. Surprisingly, glucose tolerance is spared in adipocyte-specific PIK3C3-deficient mice, a phenotype that is more evident during dietary lipid excess. These findings reveal a crucial yet complex role for PIK3C3 in ATs, with potential therapeutic implications.
    Keywords:  PIK3C3/VPS34; adipocyte; autophagy; lipodystrophy; metabolic disease
  32. PLoS One. 2022 ;17(12): e0279573
      A queueing theory based model of mTOR complexes impact on Akt-mediated cell response to insulin is presented in this paper. The model includes several aspects including the effect of insulin on the transport of glucose from the blood into the adipocytes with the participation of GLUT4, and the role of the GAPDH enzyme as a regulator of mTORC1 activity. A genetic algorithm was used to optimize the model parameters. It can be observed that mTORC1 activity is related to the amount of GLUT4 involved in glucose transport. The results show the relationship between the amount of GAPDH in the cell and mTORC1 activity. Moreover, obtained results suggest that mTORC1 inhibitors may be an effective agent in the fight against type 2 diabetes. However, these results are based on theoretical knowledge and appropriate experimental tests should be performed before making firm conclusions.
  33. Free Radic Biol Med. 2022 Dec 22. pii: S0891-5849(22)01108-X. [Epub ahead of print]195 47-57
      Doxorubicin (Dox), an anthracycline antibiotic, is an anticancer drug that inhibits DNA replication and cellular metabolic processes in cancer cells with high proliferative potential. However, Dox causes severe side effects, including myocardial damage and heart failure, but the molecular mechanism underlying Dox-induced myocardial injury remains uncertain. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of Dox on the mitochondrial quality control system and regulation of mitochondrial respiration and autophagy in an in vitro rat myoblast H9c2 cell culture model using western blotting, immunohistochemistry, the Seahorse XF24 system, and flow cytometry. Our results showed that Dox did not impair the initiation of autophagic flux or the functions of lysosomes; however, Dox affected the mitochondrial quality control system, leading to a fission-dominant morphology and impaired regulation of mitochondrial respiration, thereby increasing oxidative stress and inhibited progression of autophagy, particularly the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. This inhibition caused a significant decrease in the formation of autolysosomes and was responsible for the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and subsequent increase in oxidative stress, eventually leading to increased myocardial cell death.
    Keywords:  Autophagosome; Autophagy; Doxorubicin; Mitochondria; Syntaxin 17; Vesicle-associated membrane protein 8
  34. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Dec 30. 8(1): 503
      Among the five members of the dual-specificity tyrosine-phosphorylation-regulated kinase (DYRK) family, the cellular functions of DYRK3 have not been fully elucidated. Some studies have indicated limited physiological roles and substrates of DYRK3, including promotion of glioblastoma, requirement in influenza virus replication, and coupling of stress granule condensation with mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling. Here, we demonstrate that serum deprivation causes a decrease in intracellular DYRK3 levels via the proteolytic autophagy pathway, as well as the suppression of DYRK3 gene expression. To further demonstrate how DYRK3 affects cell viability, especially in neurons, we used a yeast two-hybrid assay and identified multiple DYRK3-binding proteins, including SNAPIN, a SNARE-associated protein implicated in synaptic transmission. We also found that DYRK3 directly phosphorylates SNAPIN at the threonine (Thr) 14 residue, increasing the interaction of SNAPIN with other proteins such as dynein and synaptotagmin-1. In central nervous system neurons, SNAPIN is associated with and mediate the retrograde axonal transport of diverse cellular products from the distal axon terminal to the soma and the synaptic release of neurotransmitters, respectively. Moreover, phosphorylation of SNAPIN at Thr-14 was found to positively modulate mitochondrial retrograde transport in mouse cortical neurons and the recycling pool size of synaptic vesicles, contributing to neuronal viability. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that DYRK3 phosphorylates SNAPIN, positively regulating the dynein-mediated retrograde transport of mitochondria and SNARE complex-mediated exocytosis of synaptic vesicles within the neurons. This finding further suggests that DYRK3 affects cell viability and provides a novel neuroprotective mechanism.
  35. Curr Res Pharmacol Drug Discov. 2022 ;3 100127
      4-Hydroxyisoleucine(4-HIL)is a non-protein amino acid that is able to reduce obesity and improve insulin sensitivity in mice, and recently emerged as a drug candidate against hypoglycemia. For the first time, we found that 4-HIL exhibits a potent anti-tumor activity in various cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Most importantly, 4-HIL has no cytotoxic effect on normal or non-malignant cells. Proteomic data analysis revealed changes in endoplasmic reticulum stress(ERS)related protein and autophagy related protein. Western blot revealed that molecular components of the ERS pathway were activated, including phosphorylation of perk and EIF2a increased, while levels of GRP78 reduced, the cellular process of ERS potentially contributed to the activation of autophagy, Transmission electron microscopy revealed the formation of autophagic vesicles under 4-HIL treatment, and LC3B was increased. Meanwhile, activation of ERS inhibits intracellular protein synthesis rate, our results suggest that 4-HIL exhibits anti-tumor activity in various cancer cell lines by increasing ERS and triggering autophagy responses without causing damage to normal cells.
    Keywords:  4-Hydroxyisoleucine; Autophagy; E; Protein synthesis; ndoplasmic reticulum stress
  36. Genes Genomics. 2022 Dec 30.
      BACKGROUND: The pathological mechanism of intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is an unanswered question that we are committed to exploring. A20 is an anti-inflammatory protein of nucleus pulposus (NP) cells and plays a protective role in intervertebral disc degeneration.OBJECTIVE: This study aims to investigate the molecular mechanism by which A20 attenuates disc degeneration.
    METHODS: The proteins of interest were measured by immunoblotting, immunofluorescence, ELISA assay, and immunohistochemical technique to conduct related experiments. Immunofluorescence assays and mitochondrial membrane potential (JC-1) were used to assess mitophagy and mitochondrial fitness, respectively.
    RESULTS: Here, we demonstrated that A20 promoted mitophagy, attenuated pyroptosis, and inhibited the degradation of the extracellular matrix, consequently significantly ameliorating disc degeneration. Mechanistically, A20 reduces pyroptosis and further suppresses cellular mTOR activity. On the one hand, A20-induced mTOR inhibition triggers BNIP3-mediated mitophagy to ensure mitochondrial fitness under LPS stimulation, as a result of mitigating mitochondrial dysfunction induced by LPS. On the other hand, A20-induced mTOR inhibition reduces the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and the generation of Mitochondrial ROS.
    CONCLUSION: The study revealed that A20 promotes BNIP3-mediated mitophagy by suppressing mTOR pathway activation against LPS-induced pyroptosis.
    Keywords:  A20; BNIP3; Mitophagy; NLRP3; mTOR
  37. J Transl Med. 2022 Dec 27. 20(1): 622
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial autophagy maintains mitochondrial function and cellular homeostasis and plays a critical role in the pathological process of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury (CIRI). Whether Gypenoside XVII (GP17) has regulatory effects on mitochondrial autophagy against CIRI remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the pharmacodynamic effects and mechanisms of GP17 on mitochondrial autophagy after CIRI.METHODS: A rat middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (MCAO/R) model was used to assess the effects of GP17 against CIRI and to explore the underlying mechanisms. An oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) cell model was used to verify the ameliorative effects on mitochondrial damage and to probe the autophagy pathways involved in combating neural injuries.
    RESULTS: The in vivo results showed that GP17 significantly improved mitochondrial metabolic functions and suppressed cerebral ischemic injury, possibly via the autophagy pathway. Further research revealed that GP17 maintains moderate activation of autophagy under ischemic and OGD conditions, producing neuroprotective effects against CIRI, and that the regulation of mitochondrial autophagy is associated with crosstalk between the SIRT1-FOXO3A and Hif1a-BNIP3 signalling pathway that is partially eliminated by the specific inhibitors AGK-7 and 2-ME.
    CONCLUSION: Overall, this work offers new insights into the mechanisms by which GP17 protects against CIRI and highlights the potential of therapy with Notoginseng leaf triterpene compounds as a novel clinical strategy in humans.
    Keywords:  BNIP3; Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury; FOXO3A; Gypenoside XVII; Mitochondrial autophagy
  38. Mol Ther. 2022 Dec 24. pii: S1525-0016(22)00718-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are ubiquitous multipotent cells that exhibit significant therapeutic potentials in a variety of disorders. Nevertheless, their clinical efficacy is limited owing to poor survival, low rate of engraftment, and impaired potency upon transplantation. Spheroidal three-dimensional (3D) culture of MSCs (MSC3D) has been proved to better preserve their in vivo functional properties. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the improvement in MSC function by spheroid formation are not clearly understood. NLRP3 inflammasomes, a key component of the innate immune system, have recently been shown to play a role in cell fate decision of MSCs. The present study examined the role of NLRP3 inflammasomes in the survival and potency of MSC spheroids. We found that MSC3D led to decreased activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes through alleviation of ER stress in an autophagy-dependent manner. Importantly, downregulation of NLRP3 inflammasomes signaling critically contributes to the enhanced survival rate in MSC3D through modulation of pyroptosis and apoptosis. The critical role of NLRP3 inflammasomes suppression in the enhanced therapeutic efficacy of MSC spheroids was further confirmed in an in vivo mouse model of DSS-induced colitis. These findings suggest that 3D culture confers survival and functional advantages to MSCs by suppressing NLRP3 inflammasomes activation.
  39. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Dec 29. 41(1): 363
      BACKGROUND: Sushi domain-containing protein 4 (SUSD4) is a recently discovered protein with unknown cellular functions. We previously revealed that SUSD4 can act as complement inhibitor and as a potential tumor suppressor.METHODS: In a syngeneic mouse model of breast cancer, tumors expressing SUSD4 had a smaller volume compared with the corresponding mock control tumors. Additionally, data from three different expression databases and online analysis tools confirm that for breast cancer patients, high mRNA expression of SUSD4 in the tumor tissue correlates with a better prognosis. In vitro experiments utilized triple-negative breast cancer cell lines (BT-20 and MDA-MB-468) stably expressing SUSD4. Moreover, we established a cell line based on BT-20 in which the gene for EGFR was knocked out with the CRISPR-Cas9 method.
    RESULTS: We discovered that the Epithelial Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) interacts with SUSD4. Furthermore, triple-negative breast cancer cell lines stably expressing SUSD4 had higher autophagic flux. The initiation of autophagy required the expression of EGFR but not phosphorylation of the receptor. Expression of SUSD4 in the breast cancer cells led to activation of the tumor suppressor LKB1 and consequently to the activation of AMPKα1. Finally, autophagy was initiated after stimulation of the ULK1, Atg14 and Beclin-1 axis in SUSD4 expressing cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: In this study we provide novel insight into the molecular mechanism of action whereby SUSD4 acts as an EGFR inhibitor without affecting the phosphorylation of the receptor and may potentially influence the recycling of EGFR to the plasma membrane.
    Keywords:  AMPKα1; Autophagy; EGFR; SUSD4
  40. Autophagy. 2022 Dec 28.
      L. monocytogenes is a widely used infection model for the research on pathogenesis and host defense against gram-positive intracellular bacteria. Emerging evidence indicates that posttranslational modifications play a critical role in the regulation of macroautophagy/autophagy. However, little is known about the posttranslational modifications of ATG7, the essential protein in the autophagy process. In this study, we demonstrated that the RING-type E3 ligase TRIM7/RNF90 positively regulated autophagosome accumulation by promoting the ubiquitination of ATG7 at K413, thereby affecting L. monocytogenes infection. TRIM7 expression was induced by a variety range of conditions, including starvation, rapamycin stimulation, and L. monocytogenes infection. TRIM7 deficiency in mice or cells resulted in elevated innate immune responses and increased L. monocytogenes infection. ATG7 was associated with TRIM7 and the positive regulatory role of TRIM7 in L. monocytogenes infection-, starvation- or rapamycin-induced autophagosome accumulation was suggested by TRIM7 deficiency, TRIM7 overexpression, and TRIM7 knockdown. Further mechanistic investigation indicated that TRIM7 promoted the K63-linked ubiquitination of ATG7 at K413 and ubiquitination at this site was required for the function of ATG7 in autophagy and L. monocytogenes infection. Thus, our findings suggested a new regulator in intracellular bacterial infection and autophagy, with a novel posttranslational modification targeting ATG7. This research may expand our understanding of host anti-bacterial defense and the role of autophagy in intracellular bacterial infection.
    Keywords:  E3 ligase; autophagosome accumulation; autophagy-related genes; intracellular bacteria; posttranslational modification; ring finger proteins
  41. Mol Med Rep. 2023 Feb;pii: 37. [Epub ahead of print]27(2):
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading cause of cancer‑associated death in the world. Chemotherapy remains the primary treatment method for HCC. Despite advances in chemotherapy and modalities, recurrence and resistance limit therapeutic success. Salidroside (Sal), a bioactive component extracted from the rhizome of Rhodiola rosea L, exhibits a spectrum of biological activities including antitumor effects. In the present study, it was demonstrated that Sal could induce apoptosis and autophagy of 97H cells by using CCK‑8 assay, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Hoechst33342 staining, MDC staining, western blotting. Pretreatment with Sal enhanced apoptosis and autophagy via upregulation of expression levels of Bax, Caspase‑3, Caspase‑9, light chain (LC)3‑II and Beclin‑1 proteins and downregulation of expression levels of Bcl‑2, LC3‑I and p62 protein in 97H cells. Furthermore, Sal was demonstrated to inhibit activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway and, when combined with autophagy inhibitor chloroquine diphosphate (CQ), increased phosphorylation of PI3K, Akt and mTOR proteins. The combined treatment with Sal and CQ not only decreased Sal‑induced autophagy, but also accelerated Sal‑induced apoptosis. Therefore, Sal‑induced autophagy might serve a role as a defense mechanism in human liver cancer cells and its inhibition may be a promising strategy for the adjuvant chemotherapy of liver cancer.
    Keywords:  PI3K/Akt/mTOR; apoptosis; autophagy; chloroquine diphosphate; liver cancer; salidroside
  42. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2022 Dec 22. pii: S0925-4439(22)00304-0. [Epub ahead of print]1869(3): 166633
      Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) result from a temporary blockage in blood circulation in the brain. As TIAs cause disabilities and often precede full-scale strokes, the effects of TIA are investigated to develop neuroprotective therapies. We analyzed changes in mitochondrial network dynamics, mitophagy and biogenesis in sections of gerbil hippocampus characterized by a different neuronal survival rate after 5-minute ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) insult. Our research revealed a significantly greater mtDNA/nDNA ratio in CA2-3, DG hippocampal regions (5.8 ± 1.4 vs 3.6 ± 0.8 in CA1) that corresponded to a neuronal resistance to I/R. During reperfusion, an increase of pro-fission (phospho-Ser616-Drp1/Drp1) and pro-fusion proteins (1.6 ± 0.5 and 1.4 ± 0.3 for Mfn2 and Opa1, respectively) was observed in CA2-3, DG. Selective autophagy markers, PINK1 and SQSTM1/p62, were elevated 24-96 h after I/R and accompanied by significant elevation of transcription factors proteins PGC-1α and Nrf1 (1.2 ± 0.4, 1.78 ± 0.6, respectively) and increased respiratory chain proteins (e.g., 1.5 ± 0.3 for complex IV at I/R 96 h). Contrastingly, decreased enzymatic activity of citrate synthase, reduced Hsp60 protein level and electron transport chain subunits (0.88 ± 0.03, 0.74 ± 0.1 and 0.71 ± 0.1 for complex IV at I/R 96 h, respectively) were observed in I/R-vulnerable CA1. The phospho-Ser616-Drp1/Drp1 was increased while Mfn2 and total Opa1 reduced to 0.88 ± 0.1 and 0.77 ± 0.17, respectively. General autophagy, measured as LC3-II/I ratio, was activated 3 h after reperfusion reaching 2.37 ± 0.9 of control. This study demonstrated that enhanced mitochondrial fusion, followed by late and selective mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis might together contribute to reduced susceptibility to TIA.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Electron transport chain; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitophagy; Transient brain ischemia; hippocampus; mtDNA
  43. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2022 Dec 27. 15353702221139186
      Autophagy plays works by degrading misfolded proteins and dysfunctional organelles and maintains intracellular homeostasis. Apelin-13 has been investigated as an agent that might protect the blood-brain barrier (BBB) from cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In this study, we examined whether apelin-13 protects cerebral microvascular endothelial cells, important components of the BBB, from I/R injury by regulating autophagy. To mimic I/R injury, the mouse cerebral microvascular endothelia l cell line bEnd 3 undergoes the process of oxygen and glucose deprivation and re feeding in the process of culture. Cell viability was detected using a commercial kit, and cell migration was monitored by in vitro scratch assay. The tight junction (TJ) proteins ZO-1 and occludin; the autophagy markers LC3 II, beclin 1, and p62; and components of the AKT-mTOR signaling pathway were detected by Western blotting and immunofluorescence. To confirm the role of autophagy in OGD/R and the protective effect of apelin-13, we treated the cells with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), a pharmacological inhibitor of autophagy. Our results demonstrated that OGD/R increased autophagic activity but decreased viability, abundance of TJs, and migration. Viability and TJ abundance were further reduced when the OGD/R group was treated with 3-MA. These results indicated that bEnd.3 upregulates autophagy to ameliorate the effects of OGD/R injury on viability and TJs, but that the autophagy induced by OGD/R alone is not sufficient to protect against the effect on cell migration. Treatment of OGD/R samples with apelin-13 markedly increased viability, TJ abundance, and migration, as well as autophagic activity, whereas 3-MA inhibited this increase, suggesting that apelin-13 exerted its protective effects by upregulating autophagy.
    Keywords:  Apelin-13; autophagy; blood–brain barrier; cell migration; ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury; pathway
  44. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 03. 120(1): e2209990120
      Microglia play a critical role in the clearance of myelin debris, thereby ensuring functional recovery from neural injury. Here, using mouse model of demyelination following two-point LPC injection, we show that the microglial autophagic-lysosomal pathway becomes overactivated in response to severe demyelination, leading to lipid droplet accumulation and a dysfunctional and pro-inflammatory microglial state, and finally failed myelin debris clearance and spatial learning deficits. Data from genetic approaches and pharmacological modulations, via microglial Atg5 deficient mice and intraventricular BAF A1 administration, respectively, demonstrate that staged suppression of excessive autophagic-lysosomal activation in microglia, but not sustained inhibition, results in better myelin debris degradation and exerts protective effects against demyelination. Combined multi-omics results in vitro further showed that enhanced lipid metabolism, especially the activation of the linoleic acid pathway, underlies this protective effect. Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), both in vivo and in vitro, could mimic these effects, including attenuating inflammation and restoring microglial pro-regenerative properties, finally resulting in better recovery from demyelination injuries and improved spatial learning function, by activating the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR-γ) pathway. Therefore, we propose that pharmacological inhibition targeting microglial autophagic-lysosomal overactivation or supplementation with CLA could represent a potential therapeutic strategy in demyelinated disorders.
    Keywords:  autophagic–lysosomal pathway; conjugated linoleic acid; demyelination; lipid metabolism; microglia
  45. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 7965433
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disorder that manifests as motor and nonmotor symptoms due to the selective loss of midbrain DArgic (DA) neurons. More and more studies have shown that pathological reactions initiated by autoimmune cells play an essential role in the progression of PD. Autoimmune cells exist in the brain parenchyma, cerebrospinal fluid, and meninges; they are considered inducers of neuroinflammation and regulate the immune in the human brain in PD. For example, T cells can recognize α-synuclein presented by antigen-presenting cells to promote neuroinflammation. In addition, B cells will accelerate the apoptosis of DA neurons in the case of PD-related gene mutations. Activation of microglia and damage of DA neurons even form the self-degeneration cycle to deteriorate PD. Numerous autoimmune cells have been considered regulators of apoptosis, α-synuclein misfolding and aggregation, mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy, and neuroinflammation of DA neurons in PD. The evidence is mounting that autoimmune cells promote DA neuron apoptosis. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge regarding the regulation and function of B cell, T cell, and microglia as well as NK cell in PD pathogenesis, focusing on DA neuron apoptosis to understand the disease better and propose potential target identification for the treatment in the early stages of PD. However, there are still some limitations in our work, for example, the specific mechanism of PD progression caused by autoimmune cells in mitochondrial dysfunction, ferroptosis, and autophagy has not been clarified in detail, which needs to be summarized in further work.
  46. J Biol Chem. 2022 Dec 26. pii: S0021-9258(22)01285-6. [Epub ahead of print] 102842
      The small GTPase KRAS is frequently mutated in pancreatic cancer and its cooperation with the transcription factor MYC is essential for malignant transformation. The key to oncogenic KRAS and MYC working together is the stabilization of MYC expression due to KRAS activating the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), which phosphorylates MYC at serine 62 (Ser 62). This prevents the proteasomal degradation of MYC while enhancing its transcriptional activity. Here, we identify how this essential signaling connection between oncogenic KRAS and MYC expression is mediated by the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family member Survivin. This discovery stemmed from our finding that Survivin expression is downregulated upon treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with the KRASG12C inhibitor Sotorasib. We went on to show that oncogenic KRAS increases Survivin expression by activating ERK1/2 in pancreatic cancer cells, and that treating the cells either with siRNAs targeting Survivin or with YM155, a small molecule that potently blocks Survivin expression, downregulates MYC and strongly inhibited their growth. We further determined that Survivin protects MYC from degradation by blocking autophagy, which then prevents cellular inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) from undergoing autophagic degradation. CIP2A, by inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), helps to maintain MYC phosphorylation at Ser 62, thereby ensuring its cooperation with oncogenic KRAS in driving cancer progression. Overall, these findings highlight a novel role for Survivin in mediating the cooperative actions of KRAS and MYC during malignant transformation and raise the possibility that targeting Survivin may offer therapeutic benefits against KRAS-driven cancers.
    Keywords:  CIP2A; KRAS; MYC; Pancreatic Cancer; Survivin; and Autophagy
  47. Ageing Res Rev. 2022 Dec 22. pii: S1568-1637(22)00275-6. [Epub ahead of print]84 101833
      With the aging of global population, the incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has surged in recent decades. NAFLD is a multifactorial disease that follows a progressive course, ranging from simple fatty liver, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is well established that aging induces pathological changes in liver and potentiates the occurrence and progression of NAFLD, HCC and other age-related liver diseases. Studies of senescent cells also indicate a pivotal engagement in the development of NAFLD via diverse mechanisms. Moreover, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), silence information regulator protein family (sirtuins), and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) are three vital and broadly studied targets involved in aging process and NAFLD. Nevertheless, the crucial role of these aging-associated factors in aging-related NAFLD remains underestimated. Here, we reviewed the current research on the roles of aging, cellular senescence and three aging-related factors in the evolution of NAFLD to HCC, aiming at inspiring promising therapeutic targets for aging-related NAFLD and its progression.
    Keywords:  Aging; HCC; MTOR; NAD(+); NAFLD; Sirtuins
  48. Biochem Biophys Rep. 2023 Mar;33 101412
      Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for approximately 90% of primary liver cancer cases and ranks as the second leading cause of cancer related death. Multiple receptor tyrosine kinases such as EGFR, FGFR and c-MET have been shown to drive tumorigenesis and progression of HCC. However, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that target these kinases, including the FDA-approved sorafenib, only offer limited clinical success. Resistance to sorafenib and other TKIs also readily emerge in HCC patients, further limiting the usage of these drugs. Novel therapeutic strategies are needed to address the urgent unmet medical need for HCC patients.Results: Autophagy is an evolutionally conserved lysosome-dependent degradation process that is also functionally implicated in HCC. We previously developed an autophagy-inducing stapled peptide (Tat-SP4) that induced autophagy and endolysosomal degradation of EGFR in lung cancer and breast cancer cells. Here we present data to show that Tat-SP4 also induced significant autophagic response in multiple HCC cell lines and promoted the endolysosomal degradation of c-MET to attenuate its downstream signaling activities although it didn't affect the intrinsically fast turnover of EGFR. Tat-SP4 also overrode adaptive resistance to sorafenib in c-MET+ HCC cells but employed the distinct mechanism of inducing non-apoptotic cell death.
    Conclusion: With its distinct mechanism of promoting autophagy and endolysosomal degradation of c-MET, Tat-SP4 may serve as a novel therapeutic agent that complement and synergize with sorafenib to enhance its clinical efficacy in HCC patients.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; EGFR; Endolysosomal degradation; HCC; c-MET
  49. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2022 ;16 4385-4397
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is responsible for structural transformation or folding of de novo proteins for transport to the Golgi. When the folding capacity of the ER is exceeded or excessive accumulation of misfolded proteins occurs, the ER enters a stressed condition (ER stress) and unfolded protein responses (UPR) are triggered in order to rescue cells from the stress. Recovery of ER proceeds toward either survival or cell apoptosis. ER stress is implicated in many pathologies, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, neurodegeneration, and lysosomal storage diseases. As a survival or adaptation mechanism, chaperone molecules are upregulated to manage ER stress. Chemical versions of chaperone have been developed in search of drug candidates for ER stress-related diseases. In this review, synthetic or semi-synthetic chemical chaperones are categorized according to potential therapeutic area and listed along with their chemical structure and activity. Although only a few chemical chaperones have been approved as pharmaceutical drugs, a dramatic increase in literatures over the recent decades indicates enormous amount of efforts paid by many researchers. The efforts warrant clearer understanding of ER stress and the related diseases and consequently will offer a promising drug discovery platform with chaperone activity.
    Keywords:  cardiovascular disease; chemical chaperone; diabetes; drug discovery; endoplasmic reticulum stress; lysosomal storage disease; neurodegeneration; unfolded protein response
  50. Geroscience. 2022 Dec 28.
      In the present study, we investigated the effects of urolithin A (UA), a metabolite generated from ellagic acid via its metabolism by gut bacteria, as an autophagy activator with potential neuroprotective activity. WT and 3xTg-AD mice were administered long-term intermittent dietary supplementation with UA. UA was found to prevent deficits in spatial memory, cued fear response, and exploratory behavior in this model. It also decreased the Aβ plaque burden in areas of the hippocampus where these protein deposits are prominent in the model. Interestingly, correlation analyses demonstrate that Aβ plaque burden positively correlates with enhanced spatial memory in 3xTg-AD mice on a control diet but not in those supplemented with UA. In contrast, Aβ42 abundance in cortical and hippocampal homogenates negatively correlate with spatial memory in UA-fed mice. Our data suggest that plaque formation may be a protective mechanism against neurodegeneration and cognitive decline and that targeting the generation of proteotoxic Aβ species might be a more successful approach in halting disease progression. UA was also found to extend lifespan in normal aging mice. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that UA is able to induce autophagy and to increase Aβ clearance in neuronal cell lines. In summary, our studies reveal UA, likely via its actions as a autophagy inducer, is capable of removing Aβ from neurons and its dietary administration prevents the onset of cognitive deficits associated with pathological Aβ deposition in the 3xTg-AD mouse model as well as extending lifespan in normal aging mice.
    Keywords:  AD; Autophagy; Aβ; Cognition; Lifespan; Urolithin A