Ana Maria Cuervo

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

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Publications (177)1521.06 Total impact

  • 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.
  • 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.
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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. · 4.31 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; · 20.76 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 01/2014; · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitinated proteins aggregate upon proteasome failure, and the aggregates are transported to the aggresome. In aggresomes, protein aggregates are actively degraded by the autophagy-lysosome pathway, but why targeting to aggresome promotes degradation of aggregated species is currently unknown. Here we report that the important factor in this process is clustering of lysosomes around the aggresome via a novel mechanism. Proteasome inhibition causes formation of a zone around the centrosome where microtubular transport of lysosomes is suppressed, resulting in their entrapment and accumulation. Microtubule-dependent transport of other organelles, including autophagosomes, mitochondria and endosomes, is also blocked in this entrapment zone (E-zone), while movement of organelles at the cell periphery remains unaffected. Following the whole genome siRNA screen for proteins involved in aggresome formation, we defined the pathway that regulates formation of the E-zone, including the protein kinase Stk11, the deubiquitinating enzyme Usp9x, and their substrate kinase Mark4. Therefore, upon proteasome failure, targeting of aggregated proteins to aggresome is coordinated with lysosome positioning around this body to facilitate degradation of the abnormal species.
    Molecular and cellular biology 01/2014; · 6.06 Impact Factor
  • Ana Maria Cuervo, Fernando Macian
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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. 01/2014; 29:97–104.
  • 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. 01/2014;
  • Jaime L Schneider, Ana Maria Cuervo
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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. 01/2014; 26:16–23.
  • Source
  • Jaime L Schneider, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of cellular quality-control systems in the maintenance of neuronal homoeostasis and in the defence against neurodegeneration is well recognized. Chaperones and proteolytic systems, the main components of these cellular surveillance mechanisms, are key in the fight against the proteotoxicity that is often associated with severe neurodegenerative diseases. However, in recent years, a new theme has emerged which suggests that components of protein quality-control pathways are often targets of the toxic effects of pathogenic proteins and that their failure to function properly contributes to pathogenesis and disease progression. In the present mini-review, we describe this dual role as 'saviour' and 'victim' in the context of neurodegeneration for chaperone-mediated autophagy, a cellular pathway involved in the selective degradation of cytosolic proteins in lysosomes.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2013; 41(6):1483-1488. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    Ana Maria Cuervo, Esther Wong
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    ABSTRACT: This review focuses on chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), one of the proteolytic systems that contributes to degradation of intracellular proteins in lysosomes. CMA substrate proteins are selectively targeted to lysosomes and translocated into the lysosomal lumen through the coordinated action of chaperones located at both sides of the membrane and a dedicated protein translocation complex. The selectivity of CMA permits timed degradation of specific proteins with regulatory purposes supporting a modulatory role for CMA in enzymatic metabolic processes and subsets of the cellular transcriptional program. In addition, CMA contributes to cellular quality control through the removal of damaged or malfunctioning proteins. Here, we describe recent advances in the understanding of the molecular dynamics, regulation and physiology of CMA, and discuss the evidence in support of the contribution of CMA dysfunction to severe human disorders such as neurodegeneration and cancer.Cell Research advance online publication 26 November 2013; doi:10.1038/cr.2013.153.
    Cell Research 11/2013; · 10.53 Impact Factor
  • Jaime L Schneider, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: Studies performed in the liver in the 1960s led to the identification of lysosomes and the discovery of autophagy, the process by which intracellular proteins and organelles are degraded in lysosomes. Early studies in hepatocytes also uncovered how nutritional status regulates autophagy and how various circulating hormones modulate the activity of this catabolic process in the liver. The intensive characterization of hepatic autophagy over the years has revealed that lysosome-mediated degradation is important not only for maintaining liver homeostasis in normal physiological conditions, but also for an adequate response of this organ to stressors such as proteotoxicity, metabolic dysregulation, infection and carcinogenesis. Autophagic malfunction has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of common liver diseases, suggesting that chemical manipulation of this process might hold potential therapeutic value. In this Review-intended as an introduction to the topic of hepatic autophagy for clinical scientists-we describe the different types of hepatic autophagy, their role in maintaining homeostasis in a healthy liver and the contribution of autophagic malfunction to liver disease.
    Nature Reviews Gastroenterology &#38 Hepatology 11/2013; · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nutrient deprivation is a stimulus shared by both autophagy and the formation of primary cilia. The recently discovered role of primary cilia in nutrient sensing and signalling motivated us to explore the possible functional interactions between this signalling hub and autophagy. Here we show that part of the molecular machinery involved in ciliogenesis also participates in the early steps of the autophagic process. Signalling from the cilia, such as that from the Hedgehog pathway, induces autophagy by acting directly on essential autophagy-related proteins strategically located in the base of the cilium by ciliary trafficking proteins. Whereas abrogation of ciliogenesis partially inhibits autophagy, blockage of autophagy enhances primary cilia growth and cilia-associated signalling during normal nutritional conditions. We propose that basal autophagy regulates ciliary growth through the degradation of proteins required for intraflagellar transport. Compromised ability to activate the autophagic response may underlie some common ciliopathies.
    Nature 10/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent discoveries indicate that disorders of protein folding and degradation play a particularly important role in the development of lung diseases and their associated complications. The overarching purpose of the NHLBI workshop on "Malformed Protein Structure and Proteostasis in Lung Diseases" was to identify mechanistic and clinical research opportunities indicated by these and other recent discoveries in proteostasis science that will advance our molecular understanding of lung pathobiology and facilitate the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of lung disease. The workshop discussion focused on identifying gaps in scientific knowledge with respect to proteostasis and lung disease, discussing new research advances and opportunities in protein folding science, and highlighting novel technologies with potential therapeutic applications for diagnosis and treatment.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 09/2013; · 11.04 Impact Factor
  • Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy contributes to lipid catabolism through direct mobilization and breakdown of cellular lipid stores. Two recent studies reveal the regulatory mechanisms activated by cells during starvation to ensure that the cellular compartments involved in autophagic lipid catabolism are ready to receive, process and use these lipids. The regulators represent attractive therapeutic targets to help fight lipid-excess-associated diseases.
    Nature Cell Biology 06/2013; 15(6):565-567. · 20.76 Impact Factor
  • Caroline Park, Ana Maria Cuervo
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    ABSTRACT: Far from now are the days when investigators raced to identify the proteolytic system responsible for the degradation of their favorite protein. Nowadays, it is well accepted that a given protein can be degraded by different systems depending on factors such as cell type, cellular conditions, or functionality of each proteolytic pathway. The realization of this sharing of substrates among pathways has also helped to unveil deeper levels of communication among the different proteolytic systems. Thus, cells often respond to blockage of one degradative mechanism by upregulating any of the other available pathways. In addition, effectors and regulators of one proteolytic system can be degraded by a different proteolytic pathway that exerts, in this way, a regulatory function. In this mini review, we describe the different levels of cross-talk among autophagic pathways and the ubiquitin/proteasome system. We also provide examples of how this proteolytic communication is used for compensatory purposes in different pathological conditions and discuss the possible therapeutic potential of targeting the modulators of the cross-talk among proteolytic pathways.
    Cell biochemistry and biophysics 05/2013; · 3.34 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. A decrease in CMA activity occurs in aging and in age-related disorders (for example, neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes). Although prevention of this age-dependent decline through genetic manipulation in mice has proven beneficial, chemical modulation of CMA is not currently possible, owing in part to the lack of information on the signaling mechanisms that modulate this pathway. In this work, we report that signaling through retinoic acid receptor α (RARα) inhibits CMA and apply structure-based chemical design to develop synthetic derivatives of all-trans-retinoic acid to specifically neutralize this inhibitory effect. We demonstrate that chemical enhancement of CMA protects cells from oxidative stress and from proteotoxicity, supporting a potential therapeutic opportunity when reduced CMA contributes to cellular dysfunction and disease.
    Nature Chemical Biology 04/2013; · 12.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aging contributes to the appearance of several retinopathies and is the largest risk factor for aged-related macular degeneration, major cause of blindness in the elderly population. Accumulation of undegraded material as lipofuscin represents a hallmark in many pathologies of the aged eye. Autophagy is a highly conserved intracellular degradative pathway that plays a critical role in the removal of damaged cell components to maintain the cellular homeostasis. A decrease in autophagic activity with age observed in many tissues has been proposed to contribute to the aggravation of age-related diseases. However, the participation of different autophagic pathways to the retina physiopathology remains unknown. Here we describe a marked reduction in macroautophagic activity in the retina with age, which coincides with an increase in chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). This increase in CMA is also observed during retinal neurodegeneration in the Atg5(flox/flox) ; nestin-Cre mice, a mouse model with downregulation of macroautophagy in neuronal precursors. In contrast to other cell types, this autophagic cross-talk in retinal cells is not bi-directional and CMA inhibition renders cone photoreceptor very sensitive to stress. Temporal and cell-type specific differences in the balance between autophagic pathways may be responsible for the specific pattern of visual loss that occurs with aging. Our results show for the first time a cross-talk of different lysosomal proteolytic systems in the retina during normal aging and may help the development of new therapeutic intervention for age-dependent retinal diseases. © 2013 The Authors Aging Cell © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
    Aging cell 03/2013; · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common cause of familial Parkinson's disease. We found LRRK2 to be degraded in lysosomes by chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), whereas the most common pathogenic mutant form of LRRK2, G2019S, was poorly degraded by this pathway. In contrast to the behavior of typical CMA substrates, lysosomal binding of both wild-type and several pathogenic mutant LRRK2 proteins was enhanced in the presence of other CMA substrates, which interfered with the organization of the CMA translocation complex, resulting in defective CMA. Cells responded to such LRRK2-mediated CMA compromise by increasing levels of the CMA lysosomal receptor, as seen in neuronal cultures and brains of LRRK2 transgenic mice, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons and brains of Parkinson's disease patients with LRRK2 mutations. This newly described LRRK2 self-perpetuating inhibitory effect on CMA could underlie toxicity in Parkinson's disease by compromising the degradation of α-synuclein, another Parkinson's disease-related protein degraded by this pathway.
    Nature Neuroscience 03/2013; · 15.25 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

14k Citations
1,521.06 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • • Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology
      • • Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology
      New York City, New York, 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
  • 1996–2002
    • Tufts University
      • • Neuroscience Research Laboratory
      • • Department of Medicine
      Boston, GA, United States
  • 1994
    • Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain