Autophagy is required to maintain muscle mass.
ABSTRACT The ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome pathways are the two major routes for protein and organelle clearance. In skeletal muscle, both systems are under FoxO regulation and their excessive activation induces severe muscle loss. Although altered autophagy has been observed in various myopathies, the specific role of autophagy in skeletal muscle has not been determined by loss-of-function approaches. Here, we report that muscle-specific deletion of a crucial autophagy gene, Atg7, resulted in profound muscle atrophy and age-dependent decrease in force. Atg7 null muscles showed accumulation of abnormal mitochondria, sarcoplasmic reticulum distension, disorganization of sarcomere, and formation of aberrant concentric membranous structures. Autophagy inhibition exacerbated muscle loss during denervation and fasting. Thus, autophagy flux is important to preserve muscle mass and to maintain myofiber integrity. Our results suggest that inhibition/alteration of autophagy can contribute to myofiber degeneration and weakness in muscle disorders characterized by accumulation of abnormal mitochondria and inclusions.
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ABSTRACT: Allelic loss of the essential autophagy gene beclin1 occurs in human cancers and renders mice tumor-prone suggesting that autophagy is a tumor-suppression mechanism. While tumor cells utilize autophagy to survive metabolic stress, autophagy also mitigates the resulting cellular damage that may limit tumorigenesis. In response to stress, autophagy-defective tumor cells preferentially accumulated p62/SQSTM1 (p62), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones, damaged mitochondria, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and genome damage. Moreover, suppressing ROS or p62 accumulation prevented damage resulting from autophagy defects indicating that failure to regulate p62 caused oxidative stress. Importantly, sustained p62 expression resulting from autophagy defects was sufficient to alter NF-kappaB regulation and gene expression and to promote tumorigenesis. Thus, defective autophagy is a mechanism for p62 upregulation commonly observed in human tumors that contributes directly to tumorigenesis likely by perturbing the signal transduction adaptor function of p62-controlling pathways critical for oncogenesis.Cell 07/2009; 137(6):1062-75. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy and Bethlem myopathy are skeletal muscle diseases that are due to mutations in the genes encoding collagen VI, an extracellular matrix protein forming a microfibrillar network that is particularly prominent in the endomysium of skeletal muscle. Myoblasts from patients affected by Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy display functional and ultrastructural mitochondrial alterations and increased apoptosis due to inappropriate opening of the permeability transition pore, a mitochondrial inner membrane channel. These alterations could be normalized by treatment with cyclosporin A, a widely used immunosuppressant that desensitizes the permeability transition pore independently of calcineurin inhibition. Here, we report the results of an open pilot trial with cyclosporin A in five patients with collagen VI myopathies. Before treatment, all patients displayed mitochondrial dysfunction and increased frequency of apoptosis, as determined in muscle biopsies. Both of these pathologic signs were largely normalized after 1 month of oral cyclosporin A administration, which also increased muscle regeneration. These findings demonstrate that collagen VI myopathies can be effectively treated with drugs acting on the pathogenic mechanism downstream of the genetic lesion, and they represent an important proof of principle for the potential therapy of genetic diseases.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2008; 105(13):5225-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that is essential for survival, differentiation, development, and homeostasis. Autophagy principally serves an adaptive role to protect organisms against diverse pathologies, including infections, cancer, neurodegeneration, aging, and heart disease. However, in certain experimental disease settings, the self-cannibalistic or, paradoxically, even the prosurvival functions of autophagy may be deleterious. This Review summarizes recent advances in understanding the physiological functions of autophagy and its possible roles in the causation and prevention of human diseases.Cell 02/2008; 132(1):27-42. · 31.96 Impact Factor