Ana Maria Cuervo

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York, United States

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Publications (191)1700.01 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence from genetic and biochemical studies implicates dysfunction of the autophagic-lysosomal pathway as a key feature in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Most studies have focused on accumulation of neurotoxic α-synuclein secondary to defects in autophagy as the cause of neurodegeneration, but abnormalities of the autophagic-lysosomal system likely mediate toxicity through multiple mechanisms. To further explore how endolysosomal dysfunction causes PD-related neurodegeneration, we generated a murine model of Kufor-Rakeb syndrome (KRS), characterized by early-onset Parkinsonism with additional neurological features. KRS is caused by recessive loss-of-function mutations in the ATP13A2 gene encoding the endolysosomal ATPase ATP13A2. We show that loss of ATP13A2 causes a specific protein trafficking defect, and that Atp13a2 null mice develop age-related motor dysfunction that is preceded by neuropathological changes, including gliosis, accumulation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates, lipofuscinosis, and endolysosomal abnormalities. Contrary to predictions from in vitro data, in vivo mouse genetic studies demonstrate that these phenotypes are α-synuclein independent. Our findings indicate that endolysosomal dysfunction and abnormalities of α-synuclein homeostasis are not synonymous, even in the context of an endolysosomal genetic defect linked to Parkinsonism, and highlight the presence of α-synuclein-independent neurotoxicity consequent to endolysosomal dysfunction. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/355724-19$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 04/2015; 35(14):5724-5742. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0632-14.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The P140 peptide, a 21-mer linear peptide (sequence 131 to 151) generated from the spliceosomal SNRNP70/U1-70K protein, contains a phosphoserine residue at position 140. It significantly ameliorates clinical manifestations in autoimmune patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and enhances survival in MRL/lpr lupus-prone mice. Previous studies showed that after P140 treatment, there is an accumulation of autophagy markers sequestosome 1/p62 and MAP1LC3-II in MRL/lpr B cells, consistent with a downregulation of autophagic flux. We now identify chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) as a target of P140 and demonstrate that its inhibitory effect on CMA is likely tied to its ability to alter the composition of HSPA8/HSC70 heterocomplexes. As in the case of HSPA8, expression of the limiting CMA component LAMP2A, which is increased in MRL/lpr B cells, is downregulated after P140 treatment. We also show that P140, but not the unphosphorylated peptide, uses the clathrin-dependent endo-lysosomal pathway to enter into MRL/lpr B lymphocytes and accumulates in the lysosomal lumen where it may directly hamper lysosomal HSPA8 chaperoning functions, and also destabilize LAMP2A in lysosomes as a result of its effect on HSP90AA1. This dual effect may interfere with the endogenous autoantigen processing and loading to major histocompatibility complex class II molecules and as a consequence, lead to lower activation of autoreactive T cells. These results shed light on mechanisms by which P140 can modulate lupus disease and exert its tolerogenic activity in patients. The unique selective inhibitory effect of the P140 peptide on CMA may be harnessed in other pathological conditions in which reduction of CMA activity would be desired.
    Autophagy 02/2015; DOI:10.1080/15548627.2015.1017179 · 11.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plasma membrane budding of Atg-16L-positive vesicles represents a very early event in the generation of the phagophore and in the process of macroautophagy. Here we show that the membrane curvature-inducing protein annexin A2 contributes to the formation of these vesicles and their fusion to form phagophores. Ultrastructural, proteomic and FACS analyses of Atg16L-positive vesicles reveal that 30% of Atg16L-positive vesicles are also annexin A2-positive. Lipidomic analysis of annexin A2-deficient mouse cells indicates that this protein plays a role in recruiting phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylinositides to Atg16L-positive vesicles. Absence of annexin A2 reduces both vesicle formation and homotypic Atg16L vesicle fusion. Ultimately, a reduction in LC3 flux and dampening of macroautophagy are observed in dendritic cells from Anxa2 À / À mice. Together, our analyses highlight the importance of annexin A2 in vesiculation of a population of Atg16L-positive structures from the plasma membrane, and in their homotypic fusion to form phagophore structures.
    Nature Communications 02/2015; 6. DOI:10.1038/ncomms6856 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Selective macroautophagy is an important protective mechanism against diverse cellular stresses. In contrast to the well-characterized starvation-induced autophagy, the regulation of selective autophagy is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Huntingtin, the Huntington disease gene product, functions as a scaffold protein for selective macroautophagy but it is dispensable for non-selective macroautophagy. In Drosophila, Huntingtin genetically interacts with autophagy pathway components. In mammalian cells, Huntingtin physically interacts with the autophagy cargo receptor p62 to facilitate its association with the integral autophagosome component LC3 and with Lys-63-linked ubiquitin-modified substrates. Maximal activation of selective autophagy during stress is attained by the ability of Huntingtin to bind ULK1, a kinase that initiates autophagy, which releases ULK1 from negative regulation by mTOR. Our data uncover an important physiological function of Huntingtin and provide a missing link in the activation of selective macroautophagy in metazoans.
    Nature Cell Biology 02/2015; DOI:10.1038/ncb3101 · 20.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a cellular process that contributes to protein quality control through targeting of a subset of cytosolic proteins to lysosomes for degradation, undergoes a functional decline with age. We have used a mouse model with liver-specific defective CMA to identify changes in proteostasis attributable to reduced CMA activity in this organ with age. We have found that other proteolytic systems compensate for CMA loss in young mice which helps to preserve proteostasis. However, these compensatory responses are not sufficient for protection against proteotoxicity induced by stress (oxidative stress, lipid challenges) or associated with aging. Livers from old mice with CMA blockage exhibit altered protein homeostasis, enhanced susceptibility to oxidative stress and hepatic dysfunction manifested by a diminished ability to metabolize drugs, and a worsening of the metabolic dysregulation identified in young mice. Our study reveals that while the regulatory function of CMA cannot be compensated for in young organisms, its contribution to protein homeostasis can be handled by other proteolytic systems. However, the decline in the compensatory ability identified with age explains the more severe consequences of CMA impairment in older organisms and the contribution of CMA malfunction to the gradual decline in proteostasis and stress resistance observed during aging.
    Aging cell 01/2015; 14(2). DOI:10.1111/acel.12310 · 5.94 Impact Factor
  • Bindi Patel, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a multistep process that involves selective degradation and digestion of a pool of soluble cytosolic proteins in lysosomes. Cytosolic substrates are selectively identified and targeted by chaperones to lysosomes where they are subsequently translocated into the organelle lumen through a dedicated CMA-associated lysosomal membrane receptor/translocation complex. CMA contributes to maintaining a functional proteome, through elimination of altered proteins, and participates in the cellular energetic balance through amino acid recycling. Defective or dysfunctional CMA has been associated with human pathologies such as neurodegeneration, cancer, immunodeficiency or diabetes, increasing the overall interest in methods to monitor this selective autophagic pathway. Here, we describe approaches used to study CMA in different experimental models. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Methods 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.01.003 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    01/2015; 2015:480508. DOI:10.1155/2015/480508
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    ABSTRACT: Herein we describe a protocol that uses hollow-fiber flow field-flow fractionation (FFF) coupled with multiangle light scattering (MALS) for hydrodynamic size-based separation and characterization of complex protein aggregates. The fractionation method, which requires 1.5 h to run, was successfully modified from the analysis of protein aggregates, as found in simple protein mixtures, to complex aggregates, as found in total cell lysates. In contrast to other related methods (filter assay, analytical ultracentrifugation, gel electrophoresis and size-exclusion chromatography), hollow-fiber flow FFF coupled with MALS allows a flow-based fractionation of highly purified protein aggregates and simultaneous measurement of their molecular weight, r.m.s. radius and molecular conformation (e.g., round, rod-shaped, compact or relaxed). The polyethersulfone hollow fibers used, which have a 0.8-mm inner diameter, allow separation of as little as 20 μg of total cell lysates. In addition, the ability to run the samples in different denaturing and nondenaturing buffer allows defining true aggregates from artifacts, which can form during sample preparation. The protocol was set up using Paraquat-induced carbonylation, a model that induces protein aggregation in cultured cells. This technique will advance the biochemical, proteomic and biophysical characterization of molecular-weight aggregates associated with protein mutations, as found in many CNS degenerative diseases, or chronic oxidative stress, as found in aging, and chronic metabolic and inflammatory conditions.
    Nature Protocols 01/2015; 10(1):134-148. DOI:10.1038/nprot.2015.009 · 7.78 Impact Factor
  • Ref. No: US appl. No. 14/566762, Year: 12/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Motile and primary cilia (PC) are microtubule-based structures located at the cell surface of many cell types. Cilia govern cellular functions ranging from motility to integration of mechanical and chemical signaling from the environment. Recent studies highlight the interplay between cilia and autophagy, a conserved cellular process responsible for intracellular degradation. Signaling from the PC recruits the autophagic machinery to trigger autophagosome formation. Conversely, autophagy regulates ciliogenesis by controlling the levels of ciliary proteins. The cross talk between autophagy and ciliated structures is a novel aspect of cell biology with major implications in development, physiology and human pathologies related to defects in cilium function.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 31 October 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.171.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 10/2014; 22(3). DOI:10.1038/cdd.2014.171 · 8.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PED/PEA-15 is a death effector domain (DED) family member with a variety of effects on cell growth and metabolism. To get further insight into the role of PED in cancer, we aimed to find new PED interactors. Using tandem affinity purification, we identified HSC70 (Heat Shock Cognate Protein of 70 kDa)-which, among other processes, is involved in chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA)-as a PED-interacting protein. We found that PED has two CMA-like motifs (i.e., KFERQ), one of which is located within a phosphorylation site, and demonstrate that PED is a bona fide CMA substrate and the first example in which phosphorylation modifies the ability of HSC70 to access KFERQ-like motifs and target the protein for lysosomal degradation. Phosphorylation of PED switches its function from tumor suppression to tumor promotion, and we show that HSC70 preferentially targets the unphosphorylated form of PED to CMA. Therefore, we propose that the up-regulated CMA activity characteristic of most types of cancer cell enhances oncogenesis by shifting the balance of PED function toward tumor promotion. This mechanism is consistent with the notion of a therapeutic potential for targeting CMA in cancer, as inhibition of this autophagic pathway may help restore a physiological ratio of PED forms. J. Cell. Physiol. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 10/2014; 229(10). DOI:10.1002/jcp.24569 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy, the major lysosomal pathway for the turnover of intracellular organelles is markedly impaired in neurons in Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer mouse models. We have previously reported that severe lysosomal and amyloid neuropathology and associated cognitive deficits in the TgCRND8 Alzheimer mouse model can be ameliorated by restoring lysosomal proteolytic capacity and autophagy flux via genetic deletion of the lysosomal protease inhibitor, cystatin B. Here we present evidence that macroautophagy is a significant pathway for lipid turnover, which is defective in TgCRND8 brain where lipids accumulate as membranous structures and lipid droplets within giant neuronal autolysosomes. Levels of multiple lipid species including several sphingolipids (ceramide, ganglioside GM3, GM2, GM1, GD3 and GD1a), cardiolipin, cholesterol and cholesteryl esters are elevated in autophagic vacuole fractions and lysosomes isolated from TgCRND8 brain. Lipids are localized in autophagosomes and autolysosomes by double immunofluorescence analyses in wild-type mice and colocalization is increased in TgCRND8 mice where abnormally abundant GM2 ganglioside-positive granules are detected in neuronal lysosomes. Cystatin B deletion in TgCRND8 significantly reduces the number of GM2-positive granules and lowers the levels of GM2 and GM3 in lysosomes, decreases lipofuscin-related autofluorescence, and eliminates giant lipid-containing autolysosomes while increasing numbers of normal-sized autolysosomes/lysosomes with reduced content of undigested components. These findings have identified macroautophagy as a previously unappreciated route for delivering membrane lipids to lysosomes for turnover, a function that has so far been considered to be mediated exclusively through the endocytic pathway, and revealed that autophagic-lysosomal dysfunction in TgCRND8 brain impedes lysosomal turnover of lipids as well as proteins. The amelioration of lipid accumulation in TgCRND8 by removing cystatin B inhibition on lysosomal proteases suggests that enhancing lysosomal proteolysis improves the overall environment of the lysosome and its clearance functions, which may be possibly relevant to a broader range of lysosomal disorders beyond Alzheimer's disease.
    Brain 09/2014; DOI:10.1093/brain/awu278 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) targets soluble proteins for lysosomal degradation. Here we found that CMA was activated in T cells in response to engagement of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), which induced expression of the CMA-related lysosomal receptor LAMP-2A. In activated T cells, CMA targeted the ubiquitin ligase Itch and the calcineurin inhibitor RCAN1 for degradation to maintain activation-induced responses. Consequently, deletion of the gene encoding LAMP-2A in T cells caused deficient in vivo responses to immunization or infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Impaired CMA activity also occurred in T cells with age, which negatively affected their function. Restoration of LAMP-2A in T cells from old mice resulted in enhancement of activation-induced responses. Our findings define a role for CMA in regulating T cell activation through the targeted degradation of negative regulators of T cell activation.
    Nature Immunology 09/2014; 15(11). DOI:10.1038/ni.3003 · 24.97 Impact Factor
  • Jaime L. Schneider, Yousin Suh, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a catabolic pathway for selective degradation of cytosolic proteins in lysosomes, decreases with age, but the consequences of this functional decline in vivo remain unknown. In this work, we have generated a conditional knockout mouse to selectively block CMA in liver. We have found that blockage of CMA causes hepatic glycogen depletion and hepatosteatosis. The liver phenotype is accompanied by reduced peripheral adiposity, increased energy expenditure, and altered glucose homeostasis. Comparative lysosomal proteomics revealed that key enzymes in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism are normally degraded by CMA and that impairment of their regulated degradation contributes to the metabolic abnormalities observed in CMA-defective animals. These findings highlight the involvement of CMA in regulating hepatic metabolism and suggest that the age-related decline in CMA may have a negative impact on the energetic balance in old organisms.
    Cell Metabolism 09/2014; 20(3). DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2014.06.009 · 16.75 Impact Factor
  • Ana Maria Cuervo, Fernando Macian
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    ABSTRACT: Just when you thought that you had heard it all about autophagy-the conserved cellular process that mediates turnover of cellular constituents in the lysosomes-studies keep coming out highlighting new types of autophagy, new functions for autophagy or even new autophagy-independent roles for the proteins associated with this process. The field of immunology has been riding the autophagic wave since the beginning of its revival; first due to its role in the host defense against pathogens, and more recently through the better understanding of the unique characteristics and functions of different autophagic pathways in immune cells. Here, we describe some of these new functions that are tightening the connection between autophagy and acquired or innate immunity and their malfunctioning with age.
    Current Opinion in Immunology 06/2014; 29C:97-104. DOI:10.1016/j.coi.2014.05.006 · 7.87 Impact Factor
  • Jaime L Schneider, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: Malfunction of autophagy, the process that mediates breakdown and recycling of intracellular components in lysosomes, has been linked to a variety of human diseases. As the number of pathologies associated with defective autophagy increases, emphasis has switched from the mere description of the status of autophagy in these conditions to a more mechanistic dissection of the autophagic changes. Understanding the reasons behind the autophagic defect, the immediate consequences of the autophagic compromise and how autophagy changes with the evolution of the disease has become a 'must,' especially now that manipulation of autophagy is being considered as a therapeutic strategy. Here, we comment on some of the common themes that have emerged from such detailed analyses of the interplay between autophagy and disease conditions.
    Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 06/2014; 26C:16-23. DOI:10.1016/j.gde.2014.04.003 · 8.57 Impact Factor
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    Richard I Morimoto, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: The maintenance of the proteome is essential to preserve cell functionality and the ability to respond and adapt to the changing environment. This is regulated by the proteostasis network, a dedicated set of molecular components comprised of molecular chaperones and protein clearance mechanisms, regulated by cell stress signaling pathways, that prevents the toxicity associated with protein misfolding and accumulation of toxic aggregates in different subcellular compartments and tissues. The efficiency of the proteostasis network declines with age and this failure in protein homeostasis has been proposed to underlie the basis of common age-related human disorders. The current advances in the understanding of the mechanisms and regulation of proteostasis and of the different types of digressions in this process in aging have turned the attention toward the therapeutic opportunities offered by the restoration of proteostasis in age-associated degenerative diseases. Here, we discuss some of the unresolved questions on proteostasis that need to be addressed to enhance healthspan and to diminish the pathology associated with persistent protein damage.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 06/2014; 69 Suppl 1:S33-8. DOI:10.1093/gerona/glu049 · 4.98 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 05/2014; 146(5):S-952. DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(14)63461-2 · 13.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The plasma membrane contributes to the formation of autophagosomes, the double-membrane vesicles that sequester cytosolic cargo and deliver it to lysosomes for degradation during autophagy. In this study, we have identified a regulatory role for connexins (Cx), the main components of plasma membrane gap junctions, in autophagosome formation. We have found that plasma-membrane-localized Cx proteins constitutively downregulate autophagy through a direct interaction with several autophagy-related proteins involved in the initial steps of autophagosome formation, such as Atg16 and components of the PI(3)K autophagy initiation complex (Vps34, Beclin-1 and Vps15). On nutrient starvation, this inhibitory effect is released by the arrival of Atg14 to the Cx-Atg complex. This promotes the internalization of Cx-Atg along with Atg9, which is also recruited to the plasma membrane in response to starvation. Maturation of the Cx-containing pre-autophagosomes into autophagosomes leads to degradation of these endogenous inhibitors, allowing for sustained activation of autophagy.
    Nature Cell Biology 04/2014; DOI:10.1038/ncb2934 · 20.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) contributes to cellular quality control and the cellular response to stress through the selective degradation of cytosolic proteins in lysosomes. Pathogenic proteins of common neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease or frontotemporal dementia have been shown to undergo degradation via CMA. A decrease in CMA occurs in ageing and therefore may contribute to accelerate the course of this age related disorders. There are very limited options for the chemical modulation of CMA. We have previously found that CMA is inhibited by signaling from the nuclear retinoic acid receptor α (RARα), and have developed a novel type of RARα antagonists (AR7, GR1 and GR2) that can selectively activate CMA without affecting other cellular clearance pathways. We have now applied structure-based drug design and medicinal chemistry, based on the AR7 scaffold, to increase the CMA activation potency. Using a photoactivatable fluorescent CMA reporter we have determined the CMA activation potency of these new compounds in cultured cells. Compared with AR7, most of the new compounds showed similar to better activity. Compound AR39 showed 2-3 fold higher potency than AR7, and in contrast to the parent molecule that only activated basal CMA, compound AR39 activated both basal and stress-induced CMA. We have further confirmed the effect of these compounds in protein degradation using metabolic labeling in cultured cells. We found that several of our new compounds demonstrated better stimulatory effect on lysosomal degradation. Current efforts target to compare the protective effect of these novel molecules against the oxidative stress and proteotoxicity that characterizes the majority of neurodegenerative disorders. Therefore, we demonstrate that structure-activity relationships of AR compounds provide us with new information that will direct our lead optimization for CMA activation, towards the development of prototype therapeutics against neurodegeneration.
    8th ANNUAL DRUG DISCOVERY FOR NEURODEGENERATION CONFERENCE: An Intensive Course on Translating Research into Drugs, Miami, FL, US; 02/2014

Publication Stats

18k Citations
1,700.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2015
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • • Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology
      • • Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2014
    • Northwestern University
      Evanston, Illinois, United States
  • 2013
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Michigan
      • Life Sciences Institute
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2005–2011
    • Nathan Kline Institute
      Orangeburg, New York, United States
  • 2008
    • Yeshiva University
      • Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Helsinki
      • Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
      Helsinki, Province of Southern Finland, Finland
  • 1996–1999
    • Tufts University
      • Department of Medicine
      Бостон, Georgia, United States
  • 1994
    • Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain