Ana Maria Cuervo

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

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Publications (165)1516.69 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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; · 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.
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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;
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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; · 7.55 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 (San Diego, Calif.). 01/2015;
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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. · 7.78 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; · 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; · 24.97 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. · 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. · 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. · 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; · 20.06 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; · 3.87 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; · 5.04 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. 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
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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. 01/2014; 26:16–23.
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    ABSTRACT: Research in autophagy continues to accelerate,(1) and as a result many new scientists are entering the field. Accordingly, it is important to establish a standard set of criteria for monitoring macroautophagy in different organisms. Recent reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose.(2,3) There are many useful and convenient methods that can be used to monitor macroautophagy in yeast, but relatively few in other model systems, and there is much confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure macroautophagy in higher eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers of autophagosomes versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway; thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from fully functional autophagy that includes delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of the methods that can be used by investigators who are attempting to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as by reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that investigate these processes. This set of guidelines is not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to verify an autophagic response.
  • 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; · 11.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

14k Citations
1,516.69 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
  • 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
      Georgia, United States