bims-auttor Biomed News
on Autophagy and mTOR
Issue of 2023‒09‒17
fifty-two papers selected by
Viktor Korolchuk, Newcastle University

  1. Sci Adv. 2023 Sep 15. 9(37): eadd9084
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is part of the amino acid sensing machinery that becomes activated on the endolysosomal surface in response to nutrient cues. Branched actin generated by WASH and Arp2/3 complexes defines endolysosomal microdomains. Here, we find mTORC1 components in close proximity to endolysosomal actin microdomains. We investigated for interactors of the mTORC1 lysosomal tether, RAGC, by proteomics and identified multiple actin filament capping proteins and their modulators. Perturbation of RAGC function affected the size of endolysosomal actin, consistent with a regulation of actin filament capping by RAGC. Reciprocally, the pharmacological inhibition of actin polymerization or alteration of endolysosomal actin obtained upon silencing of WASH or Arp2/3 complexes impaired mTORC1 activity. Mechanistically, we show that actin is required for proper association of RAGC and mTOR with endolysosomes. This study reveals an unprecedented interplay between actin and mTORC1 signaling on the endolysosomal system.
  2. Mol Cell. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S1097-2765(23)00656-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are central hubs of cellular metabolism that also play key roles in signaling and disease. It is therefore fundamentally important that mitochondrial quality and activity are tightly regulated. Mitochondrial degradation pathways contribute to quality control of mitochondrial networks and can also regulate the metabolic profile of mitochondria to ensure cellular homeostasis. Here, we cover the many and varied ways in which cells degrade or remove their unwanted mitochondria, ranging from mitophagy to mitochondrial extrusion. The molecular signals driving these varied pathways are discussed, including the cellular and physiological contexts under which the different degradation pathways are engaged.
    Keywords:  MDV; PINK1; Parkin; degradation; mitochondria; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; proteasome; selective autophagy; ubiquitin
  3. Proc Biol Sci. 2023 09 13. 290(2006): 20231305
      Mechanisms aimed at recovering from heat-induced damages are closely associated with the ability of ectotherms to survive exposure to stressful temperatures. Autophagy, a ubiquitous stress-responsive catabolic process, has recently gained renewed attention as one of these mechanisms. By increasing the turnover of cellular structures as well as the clearance of long-lived protein and protein aggregates, the induction of autophagy has been linked to increased tolerance to a range of abiotic stressors in diverse ectothermic organisms. However, whether a link between autophagy and heat-tolerance exists in insect models remains unclear despite broad ecophysiological implications thereof. Here, we explored the putative association between autophagy and heat-tolerance using Drosophila melanogaster as a model. We hypothesized that (i) heat-stress would cause an increase of autophagy in flies' tissues, and (ii) rapamycin exposure would trigger a detectable autophagic response in adults and increase their heat-tolerance. In line with our hypothesis, we report that flies exposed to heat-stress present signs of protein aggregation and appear to trigger an autophagy-related homoeostatic response as a result. We further show that rapamycin feeding causes the systemic effect associated with target of rapamycin (TOR) inhibition, induces autophagy locally in the fly gut, and increases the heat-stress tolerance of individuals. These results argue in favour of a substantial contribution of autophagy to the heat-stress tolerance mechanisms of insects.
    Keywords:  autophagy; heat-stress; heat-tolerance; insects; rapamycin
  4. Curr Biol. 2023 Sep 11. pii: S0960-9822(23)00820-5. [Epub ahead of print]33(17): R886-R888
      Contreras and Puertollano introduce TFEB, a transcription factor that orchestrates cellular responses to stress via mechanisms including upregulation of lysosome biogenesis and autophagy.
  5. Autophagy. 2023 Sep 12. 1-21
      ABBREVIATIONS: ACOX1: acyl-CoA oxidase 1; ADH5: alcohol dehydrogenase 5 (class III), chi polypeptide; ADIPOQ: adiponectin, C1Q and collagen domain containing; ATG: autophagy related; BECN1: beclin 1; CRTC2: CREB regulated transcription coactivator 2; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; F2RL1: F2R like trypsin receptor 1; FA: fatty acid; FOXO1: forkhead box O1; GLP1R: glucagon like peptide 1 receptor; GRK2: G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2; GTPase: guanosine triphosphatase; HFD: high-fat diet; HSCs: hepatic stellate cells; HTRA2: HtrA serine peptidase 2; IRGM: immunity related GTPase M; KD: knockdown; KDM6B: lysine demethylase 6B; KO: knockout; LAMP2: lysosomal associated membrane protein 2; LAP: LC3-associated phagocytosis; LDs: lipid droplets; Li KO: liver-specific knockout; LSECs: liver sinusoidal endothelial cells; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MAP3K5: mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 5; MED1: mediator complex subunit 1; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1; NAFLD: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; NASH: non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; NFE2L2: NFE2 like bZIP transcription factor 2; NOS3: nitric oxide synthase 3; NR1H3: nuclear receptor subfamily 1 group H member 3; OA: oleic acid; OE: overexpression; OSBPL8: oxysterol binding protein like 8; PA: palmitic acid; RUBCNL: rubicon like autophagy enhancer; PLIN2: perilipin 2; PLIN3: perilipin 3; PPARA: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha; PRKAA2/AMPK: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha 2; RAB: member RAS oncogene family; RPTOR: regulatory associated protein of MTOR complex 1; SCD: stearoyl-CoA desaturase; SIRT1: sirtuin 1; SIRT3: sirtuin 3; SNARE: soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SREBF1: sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1;SREBF2: sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 2; STING1: stimulator of interferon response cGAMP interactor 1; STX17: syntaxin 17; TAGs: triacylglycerols; TFEB: transcription factor EB; TP53/p53: tumor protein p53; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; VMP1: vacuole membrane protein 1.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; hepatocyte; high-fat diet; lipophagy; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; non-parenchymal cells
  6. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 28. pii: 2023.08.28.555095. [Epub ahead of print]
      The Ccr4-Not complex containing the Not4 ubiquitin ligase regulates gene transcription and mRNA decay, yet it also has poorly defined roles in translation, proteostasis, and endolysosomal-dependent nutrient signaling. To define how Ccr4-Not mediated ubiquitin signaling regulates these additional processes, we performed quantitative proteomics in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae lacking the Not4 ubiquitin ligase, and also in cells overexpressing either wild-type or functionally inactive ligase. Herein, we provide evidence that both increased and decreased Ccr4-Not ubiquitin signaling disrupts ribosomal protein (RP) homeostasis independently of reduced RP mRNA changes or reductions in known Not4 ribosomal substrates. Surprisingly, we also find that both Not4-mediated ubiquitin signaling, and the Ccr4 subunit, actively inhibit 40S ribosomal autophagy. This 40S autophagy is independent of canonical Atg7-dependent macroautophagy, thus indicating microautophagy activation is responsible. Furthermore, the Not4 ligase genetically interacts with endolysosomal pathway effectors to control both RP expression and 40S autophagy efficiency. Overall, we demonstrate that balanced Ccr4-Not ligase activity maintains RP homeostasis, and that Ccr4-Not ubiquitin signaling interacts with the endolysosomal pathway to both regulate RP expression and inhibit 40S ribosomal autophagy.
  7. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 31. pii: 2023.08.30.554643. [Epub ahead of print]
      The protein kinase mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is one of the primary triggers for initiating cap-dependent translation. Amongst its functions, mTORC1 phosphorylates eIF4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs), which prevents them from binding to eIF4E and thereby enables translation initiation. mTORC1 signaling is required for multiple forms of protein synthesis-dependent synaptic plasticity and various forms of long-term memory (LTM), including associative threat memory. However, the approaches used thus far to target mTORC1 and its effectors, such as pharmacological inhibitors or genetic knockouts, lack fine spatial and temporal control. The development of a conditional and inducible eIF4E knockdown mouse line partially solved the issue of spatial control, but still lacked optimal temporal control to study memory consolidation. Here, we have designed a novel optogenetic tool (Opto4E-BP) for cell type-specific, light-dependent regulation of eIF4E in the brain. We show that light-activation of Opto4E-BP decreases protein synthesis in HEK cells and primary mouse neurons. In situ , light-activation of Opto4E-BP in excitatory neurons decreased protein synthesis in acute amygdala slices. Finally, light activation of Opto4E-BP in principal excitatory neurons in the lateral amygdala (LA) of mice after training blocked the consolidation of LTM. The development of this novel optogenetic tool to modulate eIF4E-dependent translation with spatiotemporal precision will permit future studies to unravel the complex relationship between protein synthesis and the consolidation of LTM.
  8. Sci Signal. 2023 Sep 12. 16(802): eadk7152
      The autophagic degradation of lipid droplets requires the protein spartin.
  9. Front Neurosci. 2023 ;17 1219441
      One of the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and associated dopamine depletion. Several mechanisms, previously considered in isolation, have been proposed to contribute to the pathophysiology of dopaminergic degeneration: dopamine oxidation-mediated neurotoxicity, high dopamine transporter (DAT) expression density per neuron, and autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) dysfunction. However, the interrelationships among these mechanisms remained unclear. Our recent research bridges this gap, recognizing autophagy as a novel dopamine homeostasis regulator, unifying these concepts. I propose that autophagy modulates dopamine reuptake by selectively degrading DAT. In PD, ALP dysfunction could increase DAT density per neuron, and enhance dopamine reuptake, oxidation, and neurotoxicity, potentially contributing to the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons. This integrated understanding may provide a more comprehensive view of aspects of PD pathophysiology and opens new avenues for therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; autophagy lysosome pathway; dopamine toxicity; dopamine transporter; nigral degeneration
  10. Autophagy. 2023 Sep 15.
      Cerebral ischemia induces massive mitochondrial damage, leading to neuronal death. The elimination of damaged mitochondria via mitophagy is critical for neuroprotection. Here we show that the level of PA2G4/EBP1 (proliferation-associated 2G4) was notably increased early during transient middle cerebral artery occlusion and prevented neuronal death by eliciting cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (IR)-induced mitophagy. Neuron-specific knockout of Pa2g4 increased infarct volume and aggravated neuron loss with impaired mitophagy and was rescued by introduction of adeno-associated virus serotype 2 expressing PA2G4/EBP1. We determined that PA2G4/EBP1 is ubiquitinated on lysine 376 by PRKN/PARKIN on the damaged mitochondria and interacts with receptor protein SQSTM1/p62 for mitophagy induction. Thus, our study suggests that PA2G4/EBP1 ubiquitination following cerebral IR-injury promotes mitophagy induction, which may be implicated in neuroprotection.
    Keywords:  Ischemia; PA2G4/EBP1; PRKN/PARKIN; SQSTM1/p62; mitophagy
  11. Protein Cell. 2023 Sep 14. 14(9): 653-667
      Lipophagy, the selective engulfment of lipid droplets (LDs) by autophagosomes for lysosomal degradation, is critical to lipid and energy homeostasis. Here we show that the lipid transfer protein ORP8 is located on LDs and mediates the encapsulation of LDs by autophagosomal membranes. This function of ORP8 is independent of its lipid transporter activity and is achieved through direct interaction with phagophore-anchored LC3/GABARAPs. Upon lipophagy induction, ORP8 has increased localization on LDs and is phosphorylated by AMPK, thereby enhancing its affinity for LC3/GABARAPs. Deletion of ORP8 or interruption of ORP8-LC3/GABARAP interaction results in accumulation of LDs and increased intracellular triglyceride. Overexpression of ORP8 alleviates LD and triglyceride deposition in the liver of ob/ob mice, and Osbpl8-/- mice exhibit liver lipid clearance defects. Our results suggest that ORP8 is a lipophagy receptor that plays a key role in cellular lipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  ORP8; autophagy; lipid; lipophagy
  12. Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Sep 12.
      Autophagy is a conservative self-degradation system, which includes the two major processes of enveloping abnormal proteins, organelles and other macromolecules, and transferring them into lysosomes for the subsequent degradation. It holds the stability of the intracellular environment under stress. So far, three types of autophagy have been found: microautophagy, chaperone-mediated autophagy and macroautophagy. Many diseases have the pathological process of autophagy dysfunction, such as nervous system diseases. Pyroptosis is one kind of programmed cell death mediated by gasdermin (GSDM). In this process of pyroptosis, the activated caspase-3, caspase-4/5/11, or caspase-1 cleaves GSDM into the N-terminal pore-forming domain (PFD). The oligomer of PFD combines with the cell membrane to form membrane holes, thus leading to pyroptosis. Pyroptosis plays a key role in multiple tissues and organs. Many studies have revealed that autophagy and pyroptosis participate in the nervous system, but the mechanisms need to be fully clarified. Here, we focused on the recent articles on the role and mechanism of pyroptosis and autophagy in the pathological processes of the nervous system.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; NLRP3 inflammasome; Nervous system; Pyroptosis; Traumatically injured spinal cord
  13. Autophagy. 2023 Sep 15.
      Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) due to an increase of abnormal peripherally auto-reactive T lymphocytes which elicit autoimmunity. The main pathophysiology of MS is myelin sheath damage by immune cells and a defect in the generation of myelin by oligodendrocytes. Macroautophagy/autophagy is a critical degradation process that eliminates dysfunctional or superfluous cellular components. Autophagy has the property of a double-edged sword in MS in that it may have both beneficial and detrimental effects on MS neuropathology. Therefore, this review illustrates the protective and harmful effects of autophagy with regard to this disease. Autophagy prevents the progression of MS by reducing oxidative stress and inflammatory disorders. In contrast, over-activated autophagy is associated with the progression of MS neuropathology and in this case the use of autophagy inhibitors may alleviate the pathogenesis of MS. Furthermore, autophagy provokes the activation of different immune and supporting cells that play an intricate role in the pathogenesis of MS. Autophagy functions in the modulation of MS neuropathology by regulating cell proliferation related to demyelination and remyelination. Autophagy enhances remyelination by increasing the activity of oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. However, autophagy induces demyelination by activating microglia and T cells. In conclusion, specific autophagic activators of oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes, and specific autophagic inhibitors of dendritic cells (DCs), microglia and T cells induce protective effects against the pathogenesis of MS.
    Keywords:  Astrocytes; autophagy; disease; multiple sclerosis; oligodendrocytes
  14. Front Plant Sci. 2023 ;14 1266982
    Keywords:  atg; autophagy; cellular degradation; plant-pathogen interaction; stress
  15. J Biol Chem. 2023 Sep 08. pii: S0021-9258(23)02267-6. [Epub ahead of print] 105239
      Hyperosmolarity of the ocular surface triggers inflammation and pathological damage in dry eye disease (DED). In addition to a reduction in quality of life, DED causes vision loss and when severe, blindness. Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs as a consequence of hyperosmolar stress. We have previously reported on a role for the insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) in the regulation of mitochondrial ultrastructure and metabolism in mucosal surface epithelial cells; however, this appears to be context specific. Due to the finding that IGFBP-3 expression is decreased in response to hyperosmolar stress in vitro and in an animal model of DED, we next sought to determine whether the hyperosmolar stress-mediated decrease in IGFBP-3 alters mitophagy, a key mitochondrial quality control mechanism. Here we show that hyperosmolar stress induces mitophagy through differential regulation of BNIP3L/NIX and PINK1-mediated pathways. In corneal epithelial cells, this was independent of p62. The addition of exogenous IGFBP-3 abrogated the increase in mitophagy. This occurred through regulation of mTOR, highlighting the existence of a new IGFBP-3-mTOR signaling pathway. Together, these findings support a novel role for IGFBP-3 in mediating mitochondrial quality control in DED and have broad implications for epithelial tissues subject to hyperosmolar stress and other mitochondrial diseases.
  16. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2023 Sep 14. e202312170
      Regulating autophagy to control the homeostatic recycling process of cancer cells is a promising anticancer strategy. Golgi apparatus is a substrate of autophagy but Golgi-autophagy (Golgiphagy) mediated antitumor pathway is rarely reported. Herein, we have developed a novel Golgi-targeted platinum (II) complex Pt3, which is ca. 20 times more cytotoxic to lung carcinoma than cisplatin and can completely eliminate tumors after intratumoral administration in vivo. Its nano-encapsulated system for tail vein administration also features a good anti-tumor effect. Mechanism studies indicate that Pt3 induces substantial Golgi stress, indicated by the fragmentation of Golgi structure, down-regulation of Golgi proteins (GM130, GRASP65/55), loss of Golgi-dependent transport and glycosylation. This triggers Golgiphagy but blocks the subsequent fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes, that is a dual role in autophagy regulation, resulting in loss of proteostasis and apoptotic cell death. As far as we know, Pt3 is the first Golgi-targeted Pt complex that can trigger Golgi stress-mediated dual-regulation of autophagic flux and autophagy-apoptosis crosstalk for highly efficient cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Golgi apparatus targeting; anti-tumor; autophagy regulation; platinum drug
  17. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2023 Aug 31. 69(8): 57-67
      Parkin is a member of the mitochondrial quality control system that plays a major role in mitophagy. Although the loss of function mutations in the Parkin gene has been associated with the Familial Parkinson's phenotype, research in recent years points out that Parkin's function is not limited to neurodegenerative diseases. Parkin's function impressing key cellular quality control mechanisms, including the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome systems, makes it an important player in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. In this study, we investigated whether Parkin affects cell viability and ER stress responses under lipotoxic conditions in INS-1E cells. Our results may suggest that silencing Parkin may affect autophagy in addition to apoptosis.  We also showed that Parkin may have a protective effect against lipo-toxic effects in INS-1E cells. Consistent with previous studies, we observed that stress responses were different for high and low palmitic acid doses. The Parkin being inhibited under high-dose PA treatment and active under low-dose PA treatment indicate that regulation of stress responses is controlled by environmental conditions. Our preliminary findings may suggest that in low lipotoxic conditions, Parkin affects the ER stress response by modulating Chop activity and Ca2+ release from the ER to the cytoplasm.
  18. Redox Biol. 2023 Sep 05. pii: S2213-2317(23)00273-2. [Epub ahead of print]67 102872
      The mechanistic target of the rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, which participates in the regulation of cellular growth and metabolism, is aberrantly regulated in various cancer types. The mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2), which consists of the core components mTOR, Rictor, mSin1, and mLST8, primarily responds to growth signals. However, the coordination between mTORC2 assembly and activity remains poorly understood. Keap1, a major sensor of oxidative stress in cells, functions as a substrate adaptor for Cullin 3-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase (CRL3) to promote proteasomal degradation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (NRF2), which is a transcription factor that protects cells against oxidative and electrophilic stress. In the present study, we demonstrate that Keap1 binds to mLST8 via a conserved ETGE motif. The CRL3Keap1 ubiquitin ligase complex promotes non-degradative ubiquitination of mLST8, thus reducing mTORC2 complex integrity and mTORC2-AKT activation. However, this effect can be prevented by oxidative/electrophilic stresses and growth factor signaling-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst. Cancer-derived Keap1 or mLST8 mutations disrupt the Keap1-mLST8 interaction and allow mLST8 to evade Keap1-mediated ubiquitination, thereby enhancing mTORC2-AKT activation and promoting cell malignancy and remodeling cell metabolism. Our findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of Keap1/mLST8 mutation-driven tumorigenesis by promoting mTORC2-AKT activation, which is independent of the canonical NRF2 pathway.
    Keywords:  AKT; Keap1; Lung cancer; ROS; Ubiquitination; mTORC2
  19. Elife. 2023 Sep 12. pii: e74903. [Epub ahead of print]12
      mTORC1 senses nutrients and growth factors and phosphorylates downstream targets, including the transcription factor TFEB, to coordinate metabolic supply and demand. These functions position mTORC1 as a central controller of cellular homeostasis, but the behavior of this system in individual cells has not been well characterized. Here, we provide measurements necessary to refine quantitative models for mTORC1 as a metabolic controller. We developed a series of fluorescent protein-TFEB fusions and a multiplexed immunofluorescence approach to investigate how combinations of stimuli jointly regulate mTORC1 signaling at the single-cell level. Live imaging of individual MCF10A cells confirmed that mTORC1-TFEB signaling responds continuously to individual, sequential, or simultaneous treatment with amino acids and the growth factor insulin. Under physiologically relevant concentrations of amino acids, we observe correlated fluctuations in TFEB, AMPK, and AKT signaling that indicate continuous activity adjustments to nutrient availability. Using partial least squares regression modeling, we show that these continuous gradations are connected to protein synthesis rate via a distributed network of mTORC1 effectors, providing quantitative support for the qualitative model of mTORC1 as a homeostatic controller and clarifying its functional behavior within individual cells.
    Keywords:  cell biology; computational biology; human; systems biology
  20. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2023 Sep 12. pii: S0166-6851(23)00051-8. [Epub ahead of print]256 111593
      Cell death in unicellular protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica is not yet reported though it displays several features of autophagic cell death. Autophagic cell death was reported to take place in ancient protozoans under several stresses. Here we report the occurrence of autophagic cell death in the Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites under oxidative stress as well as by the treatment with metronidazole, the most-widely-used drug for amoebiasis treatment and was shown to generate oxidative stress in the trophozoites. The autophagic flux increases during nutrient deprivation and metronidazole treatment and decreases upon oxidative stress. During oxidative stress the autophagy leads to nucleophagy that is ultimately destined to be digested within the lysosomal chamber. The formation of nucleophagosome depends on the apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) that translocates to the nucleus from cytoplasm upon oxidative stress. It was experimentally proved that ATG8 (Autophagy-related protein 8) binds with the AIF in the nucleus of the trophozoites and helps in ATG8 recruitment and autophagy initiation overall suggesting that oxidative stress-driven AIF translocation to nucleus results in binding with ATG8 and initiates nucleophagy leading to cell death.
    Keywords:  AIF; Autophagy; Entamoeba; Metronidazole; Nucleophagy
  21. Reproduction. 2023 Sep 01. pii: REP-23-0224. [Epub ahead of print]
      The autophagy of trophoblasts is necessary for developing and maintaining of a healthy pregnancy. Autophagy dysfunction in trophoblast cells is linked to recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). However, the mechanism underlying trophoblast autophagy is unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression of autophagy-related genes in both normal and RSA villi. We also examined the production of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and lysophosphatidic acid receptor1 (LPAR1) in trophoblast cells during early pregnancy. We found that the activation of the LPA-LPAR1 axis triggered the autophagy of trophoblast cells and increased the expression of sodium/hydrogen exchanger 1 (NHE1). Inhibition of NHE1 suppressed the autophagy in trophoblast cells and we confirmed that NHE1 regulates LPA production in trophoblast cells. Additionally, we found decreased expression of autophagy-related genes and LPAR1 in villi from RSA patients. These observations indicate that the LPA/LPAR1-NHE1 axis regulates the autophagy of trophoblast cells during pregnancy. Insufficient autophagy and poor expression of LPAR1 in trophoblast cells may result in dysfunction of the trophoblasts and increased risk of spontaneous abortion. Overall, our research elucidated that a positive LPA/LPAR1-NHE1 axis can promote the autophagy of trophoblast cells and the abnormal axis leads to the autophagy deficiency of trophoblast cells in recurrent spontaneous abortion.
  22. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Sep 11. pii: S0753-3322(23)01266-0. [Epub ahead of print]167 115468
      Mitochondria fulfill vital functions in energy production, maintaining ion balance, and facilitating material metabolism. Mitochondria are sacrificed to protect cells or induce apoptosis when the body is under stress. The regulatory pathways of mitophagy include both ubiquitin-dependent and non-dependent pathways. The involvement of mitophagy has been demonstrated in the onset and progression of numerous diseases, highlighting its significant role. Endocrine hormones are chemical substances secreted by endocrine organs or endocrine cells, which participate in the regulation of physiological functions and internal environmental homeostasis of the body. Imbalances in endocrine hormones contribute to the development of various diseases. However, the precise impact of mitophagy on the physiological and pathological processes involving endocrine hormones remains unclear. This article aims to comprehensively overview recent advancements in understanding the mechanisms through which mitophagy regulates endocrine hormones.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Endocrine; Hormones; Mitophagy
  23. ACS Nano. 2023 Sep 15.
      Diabetic nephropathy (DN), associated with high mobility and disability, is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease worldwide. Dysfunction of the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and reactive oxygen species (ROS) activation in the glomeruli is the main hypnosis for DN progression. However, the use of mTOR inhibitors for DN treatment remains controversial. In this study, we built a multifunctional selective mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibiting nanoplatform (naming as ESC-HCM-B) that targets the release of mTOR and ROS inhibitors near podocytes, aiming to confirm whether combination therapy is an alternative method for DN treatment. The results showed that ESC-HCM-B achieved high drug loading because of the core mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs), and the enhanced biohomogeneous composite membrane endowed ESC-HCM-B with the characteristics of avoiding immune phagocytosis, automatic valve-type slow-release drug, and high stability. In vitro, the nanoplatform showed high efficiency in podocyte targeting but no significant cytotoxicity or apoptotic promotion. In particular, the quantum dots carried by ESC-HCM-B further amplified the effect of "nanoenzyme"; this mechanism reduced the ROS level in podocytes induced by high glucose, protected mitochondrial damage, and restored mitochondrial energy metabolism. In vivo, the nanoplatform specifically targeted the glomerular and podocyte regions of the kidney. After treatment, the nanoplatform significantly reduced urinary protein levels and delayed glomerulosclerosis in DN rats. This nanoplatform provides a safe and effective strategy for DN treatment.
    Keywords:  diabetic nephropathy; glomerulosclerosis; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); nano enzyme; podocyte targeting; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  24. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Sep 14. e0277423
      Chlamydia trachomatis infection can be regulated by autophagy-related (ATG) genes. Here, we found that the depletion of ATG9A, one of the core ATG genes, in HeLa cells suppressed C. trachomatis growth in the inclusion. The growth was restored by re-expressing ATG9A or an ATG9A mutant impairing lipid scramblase activity in ATG9A-knockout (KO) cells. Moreover, the depletion of lipid transfer proteins ATG2A/B, responsible for isolation membrane expansion together with ATG9A, did not significantly alter the growth, suggesting that the non-autophagic function of ATG9A supports C. trachomatis infection. ATG9A-KO cells showed no infection-induced redistribution of the Golgi from the perinuclear region to inclusion, which was restored by re-expressing the mutant but not the ATG9A mutant lacking an N-terminal adapter protein-binding domain. Re-expression of the N-terminal deletion mutant in ATG9A-KO cells did not rescue C. trachomatis growth, suggesting the importance of this domain for its growth. Although ATG9A-KO cells showed enhanced TBK1 activation, interferon (IFN)-β was not significantly increased, excluding the possibility that upregulation of stimulator of IFN genes (STING) signaling suppressed bacterial growth. Taken together, these findings suggest that the proper trafficking, rather than the isolation membrane expansion function, of ATG9A assists C. trachomatis growth in the inclusion. IMPORTANCE ATG9A is an autophagy-related gene that functions during the isolation membrane expansion process to form autophagosomes, but it also has other functions independent of autophagy. In this study, we employed ATG9A-deficient HeLa cells and found that the absence of ATG9A negatively impacted proliferation of Chlamydia trachomatis in inclusions. Furthermore, rescue experiments using ATG9A mutants revealed that this action was mediated not by its autophagic function but by its binding ability to clathrin adapter proteins. These findings suggest that the proper trafficking of ATG9A assists C. trachomatis growth in the inclusion.
    Keywords:  ATG9A; Chlamydia trachomatis; autophagy; clathrin adapter protein
  25. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S0041-008X(23)00318-6. [Epub ahead of print] 116679
      Autophagy is a fundamental recycling pathway that enhances cellular resilience, promoting survival. However, this survival mechanism can impede anti-cancer treatment strategies designed to induce cell death. In this study, we identified a novel autophagy inhibitor, Fangchinoline (Fan) isolated from the traditional Chinese medicine Stephania tetrandra. We speculated that when Fan blocks autophagy, cancer cells lose substantial self-preservation abilities during treatment. Firstly, we examined in detail the mechanism through which Fan inhibits autophagy. Specifically, Fan induced a significant increase in autophagosomes, as indicated by GFP-LC3 labeling, confirmed by the up-regulation of LC3-II. The autophagy receptor protein p62 was also up-regulated, suggesting a potential inhibition of autophagy flux. We further ruled out the possibility of fusion barriers between lysosomes and autophagosomes, as confirmed by their co-localization in double fluorescence staining. However, the lysosomal acid environment might be compromised, as suggested by the diminished fluorescence of acidity-sensitive dyes in the lysosomes and the corresponding decrease in mature forms of lysosomal cathepsin. To test the anti-cancer potential of Fan, we combined it with Cisplatin (Cis) or Paclitaxel (PTX) for lung cancer cell treatment. This combined treatment demonstrated a synergistically enhanced killing effect. These promising anti-tumor results were also replicated in a xenografted tumor model. The significance of this research lies in the identification of Fan as a potent autophagy inhibitor and its potential to enhance the efficacy of existing anti-cancer drugs. By unraveling the mechanisms of Fan's action on autophagy and demonstrating its synergistic effect in combination therapies, our study provides valuable insights for developing novel strategies to overcome autophagy-mediated resistance in cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Chemotherapy; Cisplatin; Fangchinoline; Paclitaxel
  26. MicroPubl Biol. 2023 ;2023
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is an essential catabolic process for maintaining homeostasis and cell survival under stressful conditions. We previously characterized the metabolic transcription factor Stb5 as a negative modulator of autophagy through its regulation of genes involved in NADPH production. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating STB5 expression are not fully characterized. Here, we identify the yeast Pho23-Rpd3 histone deacetylase complex as a transcriptional regulator of STB5 . Our work provides insight into the mechanisms modulating the metabolic transcription factor Stb5 and expands on the repertoire of genes targeted by the Pho23-Rpd3 complex.
  27. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2023 Sep 09. pii: S0928-0987(23)00211-7. [Epub ahead of print]190 106581
      Cancer immunotherapy has been recognized as a revolutionary breakthrough and has yielded impressive results. However, a major challenge facing immunotherapy is its limited efficacy, which may be largely due to the inadequate infiltration of immune cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME). Autophagy inhibition has been identified to enhance the recruitment of immune cells into the tumor by upregulating the expression and secretion of chemokines. Here, we verified a novel autophagy inhibitor tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) from natural products using a mCherry-GFP-LC3 probe-based autophagy flux reporter system. We then devised a liposomal system capable of co-delivering DOX and TMP using the thin-film dispersion method and modified the liposome with PD-L1 binding peptide JY4 (DOX-TMP-JY4LIPO). We found that DOX-TMP-JY4LIPO exhibited potent antitumor efficacy in vitro. In addition, DOX-TMP-JY4LIPO could effectively inhibit the autophagic flux to enhance the recruitment of immune cells into the tumor by upregulating CCL5 and CXCL10. The liposome exhibited favorable biocompatibility and safety while facilitating the accumulation of therapeutic drugs in tumors. DOX-TMP-JY4LIPO significantly inhibited tumor growth in LLC xenograft mice, accompanied by increased granzymes- and perforin-mediated cytotoxic immune responses. Our findings demonstrate that the TMP-loaded and PD-L1-targeting liposomal nanoparticles can significantly boost antitumor immunity by inhibiting autophagy, suggesting a novel natural product-based nanomedicine for immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Antitumor immunity; Autophagy; Liposome; PD-L1; Tetramethylpyrazine
  28. EMBO J. 2023 Sep 15. e113928
      To fulfill their function, pancreatic beta cells require precise nutrient-sensing mechanisms that control insulin production. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) and its homolog TFE3 have emerged as crucial regulators of the adaptive response of cell metabolism to environmental cues. Here, we show that TFEB and TFE3 regulate beta-cell function and insulin gene expression in response to variations in nutrient availability. We found that nutrient deprivation in beta cells promoted TFEB/TFE3 activation, which resulted in suppression of insulin gene expression. TFEB overexpression was sufficient to inhibit insulin transcription, whereas beta cells depleted of both TFEB and TFE3 failed to suppress insulin gene expression in response to amino acid deprivation. Interestingly, ChIP-seq analysis showed binding of TFEB to super-enhancer regions that regulate insulin transcription. Conditional, beta-cell-specific, Tfeb-overexpressing, and Tfeb/Tfe3 double-KO mice showed severe alteration of insulin transcription, secretion, and glucose tolerance, indicating that TFEB and TFE3 are important physiological mediators of pancreatic function. Our findings reveal a nutrient-controlled transcriptional mechanism that regulates insulin production, thus playing a key role in glucose homeostasis at both cellular and organismal levels.
    Keywords:  TFEB; beta cells; glucose homeostasis; insulin; mTORC1
  29. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 28. pii: 2023.08.28.555157. [Epub ahead of print]
      The prion-like spread of protein aggregates is a leading hypothesis for the propagation of neurofibrillary lesions in the brain, including the spread of tau inclusions associated with Alzheimer's disease. The mechanisms of cellular uptake of tau seeds and subsequent nucleated polymerization of cytosolic tau are major questions in the field, and the potential for coupling between the entry and nucleation mechanisms has been little explored. We found that in primary astrocytes, endocytosis of tau seeds leads to their accumulation in lysosomes. This in turn leads to lysosomal swelling, deacidification and recruitment of ESCRT proteins, but not Galectin-3, to the lysosomal membrane. These observations are consistent with nanoscale damage of the lysosomal membrane. Using live cell and STORM, imaging, nucleation of cytosolic tau occurs primarily at the lysosome membrane under these conditions. These data suggest that tau seeds escape from lysosomes via nanoscale damage rather than wholesale rupture, and that nucleation of cytosolic tau commences as soon as tau fibril ends emerge from the lysosomal membrane.
  30. PLoS Biol. 2023 Sep;21(9): e3002284
      During aging, proteostasis capacity declines and distinct proteins become unstable and can accumulate as protein aggregates inside and outside of cells. Both in disease and during aging, proteins selectively aggregate in certain tissues and not others. Yet, tissue-specific regulation of cytoplasmic protein aggregation remains poorly understood. Surprisingly, we found that the inhibition of 3 core protein quality control systems, namely chaperones, the proteasome, and macroautophagy, leads to lower levels of age-dependent protein aggregation in Caenorhabditis elegans pharyngeal muscles, but higher levels in body-wall muscles. We describe a novel safety mechanism that selectively targets newly synthesized proteins to suppress their aggregation and associated proteotoxicity. The safety mechanism relies on macroautophagy-independent lysosomal degradation and involves several previously uncharacterized components of the intracellular pathogen response (IPR). We propose that this protective mechanism engages an anti-aggregation machinery targeting aggregating proteins for lysosomal degradation.
  31. Adv Cancer Res. 2023 ;pii: S0065-230X(23)00026-X. [Epub ahead of print]160 133-203
      Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) comprise a diverse class of RNA molecules that regulate various physiological processes and have been reported to be involved in several human pathologies ranging from neurodegenerative disease to cancer. Therapeutic resistance is a major hurdle for cancer treatment. Over the past decade, several studies has emerged on the role of lncRNAs in cancer drug resistance and many trials have been conducted employing them. LncRNAs also regulate different cell death pathways thereby maintaining a fine balance of cell survival and death. Autophagy is a complex cell-killing mechanism that has both cytoprotective and cytotoxic roles. Similarly, autophagy can lead to the induction of both chemosensitization and chemoresistance in cancer cells upon therapeutic intervention. Recently the role of lncRNAs in the regulation of autophagy has also surfaced. Thus, lncRNAs can be used in cancer therapeutics to alleviate the challenges of chemoresistance by targeting the autophagosomal axis. In this chapter, we discuss about the role of lncRNAs in autophagy-mediated cancer drug resistance and its implication in targeted cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  ATG; Autophagy; Cancer therapy; Chemoresistance; LC3; LncRNA
  32. Neuromolecular Med. 2023 Sep 12.
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease that is mainly in middle-aged people and elderly people, and the pathogenesis of PD is complex and diverse. The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a master regulator of neural development and the maintenance of brain structure and function. Dysfunction of components and substrates of this UPS has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, UPS can regulate α-synuclein misfolding and aggregation, mitophagy, neuroinflammation and oxidative stress to affect the development of PD. In the present study, we review the role of several related E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) on the pathogenesis of PD such as Parkin, CHIP, USP8, etc. On this basis, we summarize the connections and differences of different E3 ubiquitin ligases in the pathogenesis, and elaborate on the regulatory progress of different DUBs on the pathogenesis of PD. Therefore, we can better understand their relationships and provide feasible and valuable therapeutic clues for UPS-related PD treatment research.
    Keywords:  Mitophagy; Parkinson's disease; Ubiquitin proteasome system
  33. Genes Cells. 2023 Sep 12.
      Tor complex 1 (TORC1), a master regulator of cell growth, is an evolutionarily conserved protein kinase within eukaryotic organisms. To control cell growth, TORC1 governs translational processes by phosphorylating its substrate proteins in response to cellular nutritional cues. Mammalian TORC1 (mTORC1) assumes the responsibility of phosphorylating the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) to regulate its interaction with eIF4E. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae possesses a pair of 4E-BP genes, CAF20 and EAP1. However, the extent to which the TORC1-4E-BP axis regulates translational initiation in yeast remains uncertain. In this study, we demonstrated the influence of TORC1 on the phosphorylation status of Caf20 in vivo, as well as the direct phosphorylation of Caf20 by TORC1 in vitro. Furthermore, we found the TORC1-dependent recruitment of Caf20 to the 80S ribosome. Consequently, our study proposes a plausible involvement of yeast's 4E-BP in the efficacy of translation initiation, an aspect under the control of TORC1.
    Keywords:  4E-BP; TORC1; Tor; signal transduction; translation initiation; yeast
  34. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2023 Sep 12. pii: S0003-9861(23)00253-9. [Epub ahead of print] 109754
      Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) is a group of inherited disorders, caused by mutations in the genes coding for proteins involved (directly or indirectly) in glycosaminoglycan (GAG) degradation. A lack or drastically decreased residual activity of a GAG-degrading enzyme leads to the storage of these compounds, thus damaging proper functions of different cells, including neurons. The disease leads to serious psycho-motor dysfunctions and death before reaching the adulthood. Until now, induction of the autophagy process was considered as one of the therapeutic strategies for treatment of diseases caused by protein aggregation (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases). However, this strategy has only been recently suggested as a potential therapy for MPS. In this work, we show that the pharmacological stimulation of autophagy, by using valproic acid and lithium chloride, led to accelerated degradation of accumulated GAGs. Cytotoxicity tests indicated the safety of the use of the investigated compounds. We observed an increased number of lysosomes and enhanced degradation of heparan sulfate (one of GAGs). Induction of the autophagy process was confirmed by measuring abundance of the marker proteins, including LC3-II. Moreover, inhibition of this process resulted in abolition of the valproic acid- and LiCl-mediated reduction in GAG levels. This is the first report on the possibility of using valproic acid and lithium chloride for reducing levels of GAGs in neuronopathic forms of MPS.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Glycosaminoglycan degradation; Mucopolysaccharidosis; Neuropathic forms of mucopolysaccharidoses
  35. Semin Immunol. 2023 Sep 12. pii: S1044-5323(23)00129-X. [Epub ahead of print]70 101838
      Aging leads to a decline in immune cell function, which leaves the organism vulnerable to infections and age-related multimorbidities. One major player of the adaptive immune response are T cells, and recent studies argue for a major role of disturbed proteostasis contributing to reduced function of these cells upon aging. Proteostasis refers to the state of a healthy, balanced proteome in the cell and is influenced by synthesis (translation), maintenance and quality control of proteins, as well as degradation of damaged or unwanted proteins by the proteasome, autophagy, lysosome and cytoplasmic enzymes. This review focuses on molecular processes impacting on proteostasis in T cells, and specifically functional or quantitative changes of each of these upon aging. Importantly, we describe the biological consequences of compromised proteostasis in T cells, which range from impaired T cell activation and function to enhancement of inflamm-aging by aged T cells. Finally, approaches to improve proteostasis and thus rejuvenate aged T cells through pharmacological or physical interventions are discussed.
    Keywords:  Aging; Degradation; Inflamm-aging; Proteostasis; T cell; Translation
  36. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 13. pii: S2211-1247(23)01141-5. [Epub ahead of print]42(9): 113129
      Lee et al.1 report that loss of the Alzheimer's disease risk factor SORL1 results in neuron-specific reduction in APOE and CLU, altered lipid homeostasis, and increased Aβ levels and phosphorylated Tau, both rescued by stabilizing retromer or enhancing autophagy.
    Keywords:  CP: Neuroscience
  37. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 06. pii: S2211-1247(23)01092-6. [Epub ahead of print] 113081
      Sphingolipids have key functions in membrane structure and cellular signaling. Ceramide is the central molecule of the sphingolipid metabolism and is generated by ceramide synthases (CerS) in the de novo pathway. Despite their critical function, mechanisms regulating CerS remain largely unknown. Using an unbiased proteomics approach, we find that the small heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) interacts specifically with CerS1 but not other CerS. Functionally, our data show that Hsp27 acts as an endogenous inhibitor of CerS1. Wild-type Hsp27, but not a mutant deficient in CerS1 binding, inhibits CerS1 activity. Additionally, silencing of Hsp27 enhances CerS1-generated ceramide accumulation in cells. Moreover, phosphorylation of Hsp27 modulates Hsp27-CerS1 interaction and CerS1 activity in acute stress-response conditions. Biologically, we show that Hsp27 knockdown impedes mitochondrial function and induces lethal mitophagy in a CerS1-dependent manner. Overall, we identify an important mode of CerS1 regulation and CerS1-mediated mitophagy through protein-protein interaction with Hsp27.
    Keywords:  C18-ceramide; CP: Molecular biology; CerS1; Hsp27; ceramide; ceramide synthase; mitophagy; sphingolipids
  38. Transl Oncol. 2023 Sep 13. pii: S1936-5233(23)00171-7. [Epub ahead of print]38 101785
      BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. To test preclinical NPC drugs, we established two patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models, EBV-positive PDX-B13 and EBV-negative PDX-Li41, for drug screening.METHODS: Based on next generation sequencing (NGS) studies, PDX-B13 had CCND1 copy number (CN) gain but CDKN2A CN loss, whereas PDX-Li41 had CDKN2A and RB1 CN loss, TSC1 (negative regulator of mTOR) frameshift deletion mutation, and increased activation of mTOR, a serine/threonine kinase that governs metabolism, autophagy, and apoptosis. Increased mTOR was also associated with poor NPC prognosis.
    RESULTS: Everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, suppressed tumor growth in the two PDX NPC models and had an additive antitumor effect with palbociclib, a CDK4/6 inhibitor. PDX tumors treated with various drugs or untreated were subjected to RNA sequencing, transcriptome profile analysis, and selective Western blotting to understand the interactions between these drugs and gene expression profiles. Palbociclib also suppressed EB viral nuclear antigen (EBNA1) expression in PDX-B13. Everolimus together with autophagy inhibitor, hydroxychloroquine, had additive anti-tumor effect on PDX-B13 tumor. Immunohistochemistry revealed that high mTOR levels were correlated with poor overall survival in patients with metastatic NPC (N = 90).
    CONCLUSIONS: High mTOR levels are a poor prognostic factor in NPC, and cell cycle, mTOR and autophagy pathways may serve as therapeutic targets in NPC. In addition, PDX models can be used for efficiently testing potential NPC drugs.
    Keywords:  Cell cycle; EBV; NPC; PDX; mTOR
  39. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 28. pii: 2023.08.28.555098. [Epub ahead of print]
      Integrins are essential surface receptors that sense extracellular changes to initiate various intracellular signaling cascades. The rapid activation of the epithelial-intrinsic β6 integrin during influenza A virus (IAV) infection has been linked to innate immune impairments. Yet, how β6 regulates epithelial immunity remains undefined. Here, we identify the role of β6 in mediating the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) through the regulation of intracellular trafficking. We demonstrate that deletion of the β6 integrin in lung epithelial cells significantly enhances the TLR7-mediated activation of the type I interferon (IFN) response during homeostasis and respiratory infection. IAV-induced β6 facilitates TLR7 trafficking to lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP2a) components, leading to a reduction in endosomal compartments and associated TLR7 signaling. Our findings reveal an unappreciated role of β6-induced autophagy in influencing epithelial immune responses during influenza virus infection.
  40. IMA Fungus. 2023 Sep 15. 14(1): 19
      Leafcutter ants farm a fungal cultivar (Leucoagaricus gongylophorus) that converts inedible vegetation into food that sustains colonies with up to millions of workers. Analogous to edible fruits of crops domesticated by humans, L. gongylophorus has evolved specialized nutritional rewards-swollen hyphal cells called gongylidia that package metabolites and are consumed by ant farmers. Yet, little is known about how gongylidia form, and thus how fungal physiology and ant provisioning collectively govern farming performance. We explored the process of gongylidium formation using advanced microscopy to image the cultivar at scales of nanometers, and both in vitro experiments and in silico analyses to examine the mechanisms of gongylidia formation when isolated from ant farmers. We first used transmission electron, fluorescence, and confocal microscopy imaging to see inside hyphal cells. This imaging showed that the cultivar uses a process called autophagy to recycle its own cellular material (e.g. cytosol, mitochondria) and then shuttles the resulting metabolites into a vacuole whose continual expansion displaces other organelles and causes the gongylidium cell's bulging bulb-like appearance. We next used scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy to link this intracellular rearrangement to the external branching patterns of gongylidium cells as they clump together into edible bundles called staphyla. We next confirmed that autophagy plays a critical role in gongylidium formation both: (1) in vitro as gongylidium suppression occurred when isolated fungal cultures were grown on media with autophagy inhibitors, and (2) in silico as differential transcript expression (RNA-seq) analyses showed upregulation of multiple autophagy gene isoforms in gongylidia relative to undifferentiated hyphae. While autophagy is a ubiquitous and often highly derived process across the tree of life, our study reveals a new role for autophagy as a mechanism of functional integration between ant farmers and their fungal crop, and potentially as a signifier of higher-level homeostasis between uniquely life-time committed ectosymbionts.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Fungus; Gongylidia; Leafcutter ant; Leucoagaricus gongylophorus; Symbiosis
  41. Int Immunopharmacol. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S1567-5769(23)01220-1. [Epub ahead of print]124(Pt A): 110895
      In bone healing, earlier bone formation benefits bone repair. The first process of repair following bone injury involves the interaction between macrophage polarization and osteogenic activation of osteoblast linage cells, but the radical difference between the contributions of classically-activated M1 macrophages and alternatively-activated M2 macrophages to osteogenesis remains obscure. To test our hypothesis that M1 macrophages promote bone healing, we generated transgenic mice with myeloid lineage-specific TSC1 deletion (TSC1KO) to investigate the functional roles of M1 macrophages in the process of bone defect healing. We demonstrated that constitutive activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) enhances M1 macrophage polarization during bone healing. By creating tibial bone defect as a model of bone repair in TSC1KO mice and their littermates, we surprisingly found osteogenic responses in the defective bone region of TSC1KO mice, where repair occurred by intramembranous ossification (IO) in the mice was promoted due to the enhanced M1-polarized macrophage polarization. We propose that Oncostatin M (OSM) secreted by M1-polarized macrophages but not M2 macrophages likely functions as a paracrine factor in this promoted repair process, as verified by the induction of osteoblastic differentiation and matrix mineralization. Interestingly, the expression level of the OSM receptor (OSMR) was continually upregulated in osteoblast linage cells with M1 medium. Additionally, OSMR activated the signaling transduction system of JAK/STAT/RUNX2 in MSCs, which in turn stimulates the recruitment of osteoblast lineage cells and activates IO. These results indicate that TSC1 targeted depletion in macrophages promotes bone healing by inducing secretion of OSM. This study highlights that regulation of M1 macrophage polarization is a novel basis for the improvement of bone regeneration and that regulation of macrophage polarization can be a potential therapeutic strategy to treat defects in the repair phase of bone healing.
    Keywords:  Bone healing; M1 macrophage; OSM signaling; Osteogenesis; TSC1
  42. Drug Discov Today. 2023 Sep 12. pii: S1359-6446(23)00283-0. [Epub ahead of print] 103767
      Recently, targeted protein degradation technologies based on lysosomal pathways have been developed. Lysosome-based targeted protein degradation technology has a broad range of substrates and the potential to degrade intracellular and extracellular proteins, protein aggregates, damaged organelles and non-protein molecules. Thus, they hold great promise for drug R&D. This study has focused on the biogenesis of lysosomes, their basic functions, lysosome-associated diseases and targeted protein degradation technologies through the lysosomal pathway. In addition, we thoroughly examine the potential applications and limitations of this technology and engage in insightful discussions on potential avenues for future research. Our primary objective is to foster preclinical research on this technology and facilitate its successful clinical implementation.
    Keywords:  Lysosome; damaged organelles; extracellular proteins; protein aggregates; protein degradation technology
  43. Eur J Cell Biol. 2023 Aug 30. pii: S0171-9335(23)00073-0. [Epub ahead of print]102(4): 151358
      Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium manipulates cellular Rho GTPases for host cell invasion by effector protein translocation via the Type III Secretion System (T3SS). The two Guanine nucleotide exchange (GEF) mimicking factors SopE and -E2 and the inositol phosphate phosphatase (PiPase) SopB activate the Rho GTPases Rac1, Cdc42 and RhoA, thereby mediating bacterial invasion. S. Typhimurium lacking these three effector proteins are largely invasion-defective. Type III secretion is crucial for both early and later phases of the intracellular life of S. Typhimurium. Here we investigated whether and how the small GTPase RhoB, known to localize on endomembrane vesicles and at the invasion site of S. Typhimurium, contributes to bacterial invasion and to subsequent steps relevant for S. Typhimurium lifestyle. We show that RhoB is significantly upregulated within hours of Salmonella infection. This effect depends on the presence of the bacterial effector SopB, but does not require its phosphatase activity. Our data reveal that SopB and RhoB bind to each other, and that RhoB localizes on early phagosomes of intracellular S. Typhimurium. Whereas both SopB and RhoB promote intracellular survival of Salmonella, RhoB is specifically required for Salmonella-induced upregulation of autophagy. Finally, in the absence of RhoB, vacuolar escape and cytosolic hyper-replication of S. Typhimurium is diminished. Our findings thus uncover a role for RhoB in Salmonella-induced autophagy, which supports intracellular survival of the bacterium and is promoted through a positive feedback loop by the Salmonella effector SopB.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; CRISPR/Cas9; Rho GTPases; RhoB; Salmonella Typhimurium; SopB
  44. mBio. 2023 Sep 15. e0061123
      Many viruses activate cellular autophagy in infected cells to facilitate their replication. Recently, we identified an interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene (ISG) Tudor domain containing 7 (TDRD7), which inhibits viral replication by blocking autophagy pathway. Here, we present a molecular mechanism for TDRD7 action and its relative contribution to protection against viral pathogenesis. TDRD7 inhibited the activation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a kinase required for initiating autophagy. Mechanistically, TDRD7 interacted directly with AMPK in the cytosolic compartment. Domain-mapping analyses revealed C-terminal Tudor domain of TDRD7 interacted with auto-inhibitory domain of AMPK. Deletion of Tudor domains abolished anti-AMPK and antiviral activities of TDRD7. We evaluated physiological relevance of TDRD7 function against viral replication using newly engineered TDRD7 knockout mice and the derived primary cells. TDRD7 knockout primary cells displayed increased AMPK activation, which led to a higher viral load. Subsequently, TDRD7 knockout mice showed enhanced susceptibility upon intranasal Sendai virus infection. Therefore, our study revealed a new antiviral function of IFN, mediated by TDRD7-AMPK, inhibiting viral replication and pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Virus infection triggers induction of interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes (ISGs), which ironically inhibit viruses themselves. We identified Tudor domain-containing 7 (TDRD7) as a novel antiviral ISG, which inhibits viral replication by interfering with autophagy pathway. Here, we present a molecular basis for autophagy inhibitory function of TDRD7. TDRD7 interacted with adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the kinase that initiates autophagy, to inhibit its activation. We identified domains required for the interaction; deleting AMPK-interacting domain blocked antiAMPK and antiviral activities of TDRD7. We used primary cells and mice to evaluate the TDRD7-AMPK antiviral pathway. TDRD7-deficient primary mouse cells exhibited enhanced AMPK activation and viral replication. Finally, TDRD7 knockout mice showed increased susceptibility to respiratory virus infection. Therefore, our study revealed a new antiviral pathway of IFN and its contribution to host response. Our results have therapeutic potential; a TDRD7-derived peptide may be an effective AMPK inhibitor with application as antiviral agent.
    Keywords:  AMPK; ISGs; Innate immunity; TDRD7; autophagy; herpesvirus; interferon; paramyxovirus
  45. Brain. 2023 Sep 13. pii: awad313. [Epub ahead of print]
      The unfolded protein response (UPR) is rapidly gaining momentum as a therapeutic target for protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases, in which its overactivation results in sustained translational repression leading to synapse loss and neurodegeneration. In mouse models of these disorders, from Alzheimer's to prion disease, modulation of the pathway - including by the licensed drug, trazodone - restores global protein synthesis rates with profound neuroprotective effects. However, the precise nature of the translational impairment, in particular the specific proteins affected in disease, and their response to therapeutic UPR modulation are poorly understood. We used non-canonical amino acid tagging (NCAT) to measure de novo protein synthesis in the brains of prion-diseased mice with and without trazodone treatment, in both whole hippocampus and cell-specifically. During disease the predominant nascent proteome changes occur in synaptic, cytoskeletal and mitochondrial proteins in both hippocampal neurons and astrocytes. Remarkably, trazodone treatment for just two weeks largely restored the whole disease nascent proteome in the hippocampus to that of healthy, uninfected mice, predominantly with recovery of proteins involved in synaptic and mitochondrial function. In parallel, trazodone treatment restored the disease-associated decline in synapses and mitochondria and their function to wildtype levels. In conclusion, this study increases our understanding of how translational repression contributes to neurodegeneration through synaptic and mitochondrial toxicity via depletion of key proteins essential for their function. Further, it provides new insights into the neuroprotective mechanisms of trazodone through reversal of this toxicity, relevant for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases via translational modulation.
    Keywords:  UPR/ISR; mitochondria; nascent proteome; neurodegeneration; synapses; translational repression; trazodone
  46. Nutr Neurosci. 2023 Sep 13. 1-14
      ABSTRACTKetamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, produces rapid antidepressant effects in patients with treatment-resistant depression. However, owing to the undesirable adverse effects of ketamine, there is an urgent need for developing safer and more effective prophylactic and therapeutic interventions for depression. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) mediates the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine. The steroidal alkaloid tomatidine and its glycoside α-tomatine (tomatine) can activate mTORC1 signaling in peripheral tissues/cells. We examined whether tomatidine and tomatine exerted prophylactic and therapeutic antidepressant-like actions via mPFC mTORC1 activation using a mouse model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced depression. Male mice were intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered tomatidine/tomatine before and after the LPS challenge to test their prophylactic and therapeutic effects, respectively. LPS-induced depression-like behaviors in the tail suspension test (TST) and forced swim test (FST) were significantly reversed by prophylactic and therapeutic tomatidine/tomatine administration. LPS-induced anhedonia in the female urine sniffing test was reversed by prophylactic, but not therapeutic, injection of tomatidine, and by prophylactic and therapeutic administration of tomatine. Intra-mPFC infusion of rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor, blocked the prophylactic and therapeutic antidepressant-like effects of tomatidine/tomatine in TST and FST. Moreover, both tomatidine and tomatine produced antidepressant-like effects in ovariectomized female mice, a model of menopause-associated depression. These results indicate that tomatidine and tomatine exert prophylactic and therapeutic antidepressant-like effects via mTORC1 activation in the mPFC and suggest these compounds as promising candidates for novel prophylactic and therapeutic agents for depression.
    Keywords:  Antidepressant; depression; mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1; medial prefrontal cortex; steroidal alkaloid; tomatidine; tomatine; tomato
  47. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Sep 13. e0041723
      Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a widespread contagious pathogen, mostly causing mild symptoms on the mucosal entry side. However, systemic distribution, in particular upon reactivation of the virus in immunocompromised patients, may trigger an innate immune response and induce damage of organs. In these conditions, HSV-1 may infect vascular endothelial cells, but little is known about the regulation of HSV-1 replication and possible defense mechanisms in these cells. The current study addresses the question of whether the host cell protein AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an important metabolic sensor, can control HSV-1 replication in endothelial cells. We show that downregulation of the catalytic subunits AMPKα1 and/or AMPKα2 increased HSV-1 replication as monitored by TCID50 titrations, while a potent AMPK agonist, MK-8722, strongly inhibited it. MK-8722 induced a persistent phosphorylation of the AMPK downstream targets acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and the rapamycin-sensitive adaptor protein of mTOR (Raptor) and, related to this, impairment of ACC1-mediated lipid synthesis and the mechanistic target of the rapamycin complex-1 (mTORC1) pathway. Since blockade of mTOR by Torin-2 as well as downregulation of ACC1 by siRNA also decreased HSV-1 replication, MK-8722 is likely to exert its anti-viral effect via mTORC1 and ACC1 inhibition. Importantly, MK-8722 was able to reduce virus replication even when added after HSV-1. Together, our data highlight the importance of endothelial cells as host cells for HSV-1 replication upon systemic infection and identify AMPK, a metabolic host cell protein, as a potential target for antiviral strategies against HSV-1 infection and its severe consequences. IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a common pathogen that causes blisters or cold sores in humans. It remains latent in infected individuals and can be reactivated multiple times. In adverse conditions, for instance, in immunocompromised patients, HSV-1 can lead to serious complications such as encephalitis, meningitis, or blindness. In these situations, infection of endothelial cells lining the surface of blood vessels may contribute to the manifestation of disease. Here, we describe the role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a potent regulator of cellular energy metabolism, in HSV-1 replication in endothelial cells. While downregulation of AMPK potentiates HSV-1 replication, pharmacological AMPK activation inhibits it by limiting the availability of required host cell macromolecules such as proteins or fatty acids. These data highlight the role of metabolic host cell proteins as antiviral targets and reveal activation of endothelial AMPK as a potential strategy to protect from severe consequences of HSV-1 infection.
    Keywords:  ACC; AMPK; HSV-1; MK-8722; antiviral strategies; endothelial cells; mTORC
  48. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1234204
      USP14 is a deubiquitinating enzyme involved in protein degradation by interacting with the proteasome and removal of poly-ubiquitin chains on target proteins. USP14 can influence cellular processes such as cell survival, DNA repair, ER stress, endocytosis, and the inflammatory response. USP14 further plays a role in tumor growth, and the inhibition of USP14 by compounds such as IU1 may affect cancer cell migration and invasion. Here we have studied the mechanisms for the action of IU1 in ML1 follicular thyroid cancer cells, comparing them with control, primary thyroid cells. Treatment with IU1 reduced proliferation of ML1 cells in a concentration-dependent manner, and more prominently than in control cells. IU1 decreased basal migration of ML1 cells, and after stimulation of cells with the bioactive compound, sphingosine-1-phosphate. The sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 3 was increased in ML1 cells as compared with control thyroid cells, but this was not influenced by IU1. Further studies on the mechanism, revealed that IU1 enhanced the proteasome activity as well as LC3B-dependent autophagy flux in ML1 cells with an opposite effect on control thyroid cells. This indicates that IU1 elicits a cell-type dependent autophagy response, increasing it in ML1 cancer cells. The IU1-mediated stimulation of autophagy and proteasomes can likely contribute to the reduced cell proliferation and migration observed in ML1 cells. The precise set of proteins affected by IU1 in ML1 thyroid and other cancer cells warrant further investigations.
    Keywords:  USP14; autophagy; cell migration; cell proliferation; proteasome; thyroid cancer
  49. Science. 2023 Sep 15. 381(6663): 1182-1189
      Lysosomes critically rely on bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP) to stimulate lipid catabolism, cholesterol homeostasis, and lysosomal function. Alterations in BMP levels in monogenic and complex neurodegeneration suggest an essential function in human health. However, the site and mechanism responsible for BMP synthesis have been subject to debate for decades. Here, we report that the Batten disease gene product CLN5 is the elusive BMP synthase (BMPS). BMPS-deficient cells exhibited a massive accumulation of the BMP synthesis precursor lysophosphatidylglycerol (LPG), depletion of BMP species, and dysfunctional lipid metabolism. Mechanistically, we found that BMPS mediated synthesis through an energy-independent base exchange reaction between two LPG molecules with increased activity on BMP-laden vesicles. Our study elucidates BMP biosynthesis and reveals an anabolic function of late endosomes/lysosomes.
  50. iScience. 2023 Sep 15. 26(9): 107687
      mTOR broadly controls cell growth, but little is known about the role of mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) in the inner ear. To investigate the role of mTORC2 in sensory hair cells (HCs), we generated HC-specific Rictor knockout (HC-RicKO) mice. HC-RicKO mice exhibited early-onset, progressive, and profound hearing loss. Increased DPOAE thresholds indicated outer HC dysfunction. HCs are lost, but this occurs after hearing loss. Ultrastructural analysis revealed stunted and absent stereocilia in outer HCs. In inner HCs, the number of synapses was significantly decreased and the remaining synapses displayed a disrupted actin cytoskeleton and disorganized Ca2+ channels. Thus, the mTORC2 signaling pathway plays an important role in regulating auditory HC structure and function via regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. These results provide molecular insights on a central regulator of cochlear HCs and thus hearing.
    Keywords:  Cell biology; Molecular biology
  51. Free Radic Biol Med. 2023 Sep 13. pii: S0891-5849(23)00627-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is the principal determinant of the cellular redox homeostasis, contributing to mitochondrial function, integrity and bioenergetics. The main negative regulator of Nrf2 is Kelch-like ECH associated protein 1 (Keap1), a substrate adaptor for Cul3/Rbx1 ubiquitin ligase, which continuously targets Nrf2 for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Loss-of-function mutations in Keap1 occur frequently in lung cancer, leading to constitutive Nrf2 activation. We used the human lung cancer cell line A549 and its CRISPR/Cas9-generated homozygous Nrf2-knockout (Nrf2-KO) counterpart to assess the role of Nrf2 on mitochondrial health. To confirm that the observed effects of Nrf2 deficiency are not due to clonal selection or long-term adaptation to the absence of Nrf2, we also depleted Nrf2 by siRNA (siNFE2L2), thus creating populations of Nrf2-knockdown (Nrf2-KD) A549 cells. Nrf2 deficiency decreased mitochondrial respiration, but increased the mitochondrial membrane potential, mass, DNA content, and the number of mitolysosomes. The proportion of ATG7 and ATG3 within their respective LC3B conjugates was increased in Nrf2-deficient cells with mutant Keap1, whereas the formation of new autophagosomes was not affected. Thus, in lung cancer cells with loss-of-function Keap1, Nrf2 facilitates mitolysosome degradation thereby ensuring timely clearance of damaged mitochondria.