Accelerating the clearance of mutant huntingtin protein aggregates through autophagy induction by europium hydroxide nanorods

Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at The Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, 230027 Hefei, PR China.
Biomaterials (Impact Factor: 8.56). 10/2013; 35(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.10.024
Source: PubMed


Autophagy is one of the well-known pathways to accelerate the clearance of protein aggregates, which contributes to the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. Although there are numerous reports that demonstrate the induction of autophagy with small molecules including rapamycin, trehalose and lithium, however, there are few reports mentioning the clearance of aggregate-prone proteins through autophagy induction by nanoparticles. In the present article, we have demonstrated that europium hydroxide [Eu(III)(OH)3] nanorods can reduce huntingtin protein aggregation (EGFP-tagged huntingtin protein with 74 polyQ repeats), responsible for neurodegenerative diseases. Again, we have found that these nanorods induce authentic autophagy flux in different cell lines (Neuro 2a, PC12 and HeLa cells) through the expression of higher levels of characteristic autophagy marker protein LC3-II and degradation of selective autophagy substrate/cargo receptor p62/SQSTM1. Furthermore, depression of protein aggregation clearance through the autophagy blockade has also been observed by using specific inhibitors (wortmannin and chloroquine), indicating that autophagy is involved in the degradation of huntingtin protein aggregation. Since [Eu(III)(OH)3] nanorods can enhance the degradation of huntingtin protein aggregation via autophagy induction, we strongly believe that these nanorods would be useful for the development of therapeutic treatment strategies for various neurodegenerative diseases in near future using nanomedicine approach.

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Available from: Li Zhang, May 14, 2015
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    • "EHNs were fabricated according to our published literature using a hydrothermal technique by the interaction of aqueous europium (III) nitrate solution and aq.NH 4 OH [23]. The detailed synthesis and characterization of the nanorods have been described in Supplementary information. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accelerating the clearance of intracellular protein aggregates through elevation of autophagy represents a viable approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In our earlier report, we have demonstrated the enhanced degradation of mutant huntingtin protein aggregates through autophagy process induced by europium hydroxide nanorods [EHNs: Eu(III)(OH)3], but the underlying molecular mechanism of EHNs mediated autophagy was unclear. The present report reveals that EHNs induced autophagy does not follow the classical AKT-mTOR and AMPK signaling pathways. The inhibition of ERK1/2 phosphorylation using the specific MEK inhibitor U0126 partially abrogates the autophagy as well as the clearance of mutant huntingtin protein aggregates mediated by EHNs suggesting that nanorods stimulate the activation of MEK/ERK1/2 signaling pathway during autophagy process. In contrast, another mTOR-independent autophagy inducer trehalose has been found to induce autophagy without activating ERK1/2 signaling pathway. Interestingly, the combined treatment of EHNs and trehalose leads to more degradation of mutant huntingtin protein aggregates than that obtained with single treatment of either nanorods or trehalose. Our results demonstrate the rational that further enhanced clearance of intracellular protein aggregates, needed for diverse neurodegenerative diseases, may be achieved through the combined treatment of two or more autophagy inducers, which stimulate autophagy through different signaling pathways.
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