[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes.
For example, a key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process including the amount and rate of cargo sequestered and degraded). In particular, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation must be differentiated from stimuli that increase autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. It is worth emphasizing here that lysosomal digestion is a stage of autophagy and evaluating its competence is a crucial part of the evaluation of autophagic flux, or complete autophagy.
Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are 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 monitor autophagy. Along these lines, because of the potential for pleiotropic effects due to blocking autophagy through genetic manipulation, it is imperative to target by gene knockout or RNA interference more than one autophagy-related protein. In addition, some individual Atg proteins, or groups of proteins, are involved in other cellular pathways implying that not all Atg proteins can be used as a specific marker for an autophagic process. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by selective loss of motor neurons in brain and spinal cord. TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) was identified as a major component of disease pathogenesis in ALS, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and other neurodegenerative disease. Despite the fact that TDP-43 is a multi-functional protein involved in RNA processing and a large number of TDP-43 RNA targets have been discovered, the initial toxic effect and the pathogenic mechanism underlying TDP-43-linked neurodegeneration remain elusive. In this study, we found that loss of TDP-43 strongly induced a nuclear translocation of TFEB, the master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy, through targeting the mTORC1 key component raptor. This regulation in turn enhanced global gene expressions in the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) and increased autophagosomal and lysosomal biogenesis. However, loss of TDP-43 also impaired the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes through dynactin 1 downregulation, leading to accumulation of immature autophagic vesicles and overwhelmed ALP function. Importantly, inhibition of mTORC1 signaling by rapamycin treatment aggravated the neurodegenerative phenotype in a TDP-43-depleted Drosophila model, whereas activation of mTORC1 signaling by PA treatment ameliorated the neurodegenerative phenotype. Taken together, our data indicate that impaired mTORC1 signaling and influenced ALP may contribute to TDP-43-mediated neurodegeneration.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The EMBO Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TDP-43 was identified as the major component of ubiquitin and autophagosome-positive cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons in
the large majority of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD) patients. It has been shown
that a loss of nuclear TDP-43 in combination with enhanced cytoplasmic mislocalization of TDP-43, which is associated with
accumulation of TDP-43 aggregates in the cytosol, is an early and key event in TDP-43-mediated neurodegeneration. However,
the mechanism underlying TDP-43 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling is still not clear. Here, we show that the tumor suppressor folliculin
(FLCN) is a novel positive regulator of TDP-43 cytoplasmic translocation. FLCN directly interacts with TDP-43. The amino acids
202–299 of FLCN and RNA-recognition motif domains of TDP-43 are necessary for their interaction. In addition, both exogenous
and endogenous FLCNs are required for TDP-43 cytoplasmic accumulation, protein aggregation and stress granule formation. Overall,
our study suggests that FLCN may play an important role in the regulation of TDP-43 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and TDP-43-mediated
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a major degradation system which processes substrates through the steps of autophagosome formation, autophagosome-lysosome fusion, and substrate degradation. Aberrant autophagic flux is present in many pathological conditions including neurodegeneration and tumors. CHIP/STUB1, an E3 ligase, plays an important role in neurodegeneration. In this study, we identified the regulation of autophagic flux by CHIP (carboxy-terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein). Knockdown of CHIP induced autophagosome formation through increasing the PTEN protein level and decreasing the AKT/mTOR activity as well as decreasing phosphorylation of ULK1 on Ser757. However, degradation of the autophagic substrate p62 was disturbed by knockdown of CHIP, suggesting an abnormality of autophagic flux. Furthermore, knockdown of CHIP increased the susceptibility of cells to autophagic cell death induced by bafilomycin A1. Thus, our data suggest that CHIP plays roles in the regulation of autophagic flux.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Neuroscience Bulletin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In previous studies, we showed that TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) protects neurons against ischemic brain injury. In the present study, we investigated the developmental changes of TIGAR level in mouse brain and the correlation of TIGAR expression with the vulnerability of neurons to ischemic injury. We found that the TIGAR level was high in the embryonic stage, dropped at birth, partially recovered in the early postnatal period, and then continued to decline to a lower level in early adult and aged mice. The TIGAR expression was higher after ischemia/reperfusion in mouse brain 8 and 12 weeks after birth. Four-week-old mice had smaller infarct volumes, lower neurological scores, and lower mortality rates after ischemia than 8- and 12-week-old mice. TIGAR expression also increased in response to oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD)/reoxygenation insult or H2O2 treatment in cultured primary neurons from different embryonic stages (E16 and E20). The neurons cultured from the early embryonic period had a greater resistance to OGD and oxidative insult. Higher TIGAR levels correlated with higher pentose phosphate pathway activity and less oxidative stress. Older mice and more mature neurons had more severe DNA and mitochondrial damage than younger mice and less mature neurons in response to ischemia/reperfusion or OGD/reoxygenation insult. Supplementation of cultured neurons with nicotinamide adenine dinuclectide phosphate (NADPH) significantly reduced ischemic injury. These results suggest that TIGAR expression changes during development and its expression level may be correlated with the vulnerability of neurons to ischemic injury.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Neuroscience Bulletin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dystrobrevin-binding protein 1 (DTNBP1), a gene encoding dysbindin-1, has been identified as a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia. Functioning with partners in synapses or the cytoplasm, this gene regulates neurite outgrowth and neurotransmitter release. Loss of dysbindin-1 affects schizophrenia pathology. Dysbindin-1 is also found in the nucleus, however, the characteristics of dysbindin in the nucleus are not fully understood. Here, we found that dysbindin-1A is degraded in the nucleus via the ubiquitin-proteasome system and that amino acids 2-41 at the N-terminus are required for this process. By interacting with p65, dysbindin-1A promotes the transcriptional activity of NF-kappa B in the nucleus and positively regulates MMP-9 expression. Taken together, the data obtained in this study demonstrate that dysbindin-1A protein levels are highly regulated in the nucleus and that dysbindin-1A regulates transcription factor NF-kappa B activity to promote the expression of MMP-9 and TNF-α.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Application of orthodox sigma-1 receptor agonists as anti-seizure drugs is dampened for the uncertainty in efficacy and potential adverse effects. In this study, we investigated the anti-seizure effects of the novel and potent allosteric modulator of the sigma-1 receptor SKF83959 and its derivative SOMCL-668 (3-methyl-phenyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-benzo[d]azepin-7-ol).
The anti-seizure effects of SKF83959 were investigated in the maximal electroshock seizure model, pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsive model, and kainic acid -induced "status epilepticus" model. Besides, the cortical epileptiform activity was induced by topical application of picrotoxin and recorded by electrocorticogram. The effect of the drug on the high potassium-evoked epileptiform local field potentials in rat hippocampal brain slices was studied. Lastly, the anti-seizure activities of SOMCL-668, a newly developed sigma-1 receptor selective allosteric modulator, were investigated.
SKF83959 (20, 40mg.kg(-1) ) effectively ameliorates a variety of seizures in mice induced by electrical stimulation, pentylenetetrazol, kainic acid, and the cortical epileptiform activity without alteration of spontaneous motor activity and motor coordination. The effect was blocked by the sigma-1 receptor antagonist BD1047, but not the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390. SKF83959 alone did not directly inhibit the epileptiform firing of CA3 neurons induced by high potassium in hippocampal slices, while potentiated the inhibition of sigma-1 receptor agonist SKF10047. Lastly, a selective sigma-1 receptor allosteric modulator SOMCL-668, without dopamine receptors' binding activities, produced the similar anti-seizure activities.
SKF83959 and SOMCL-668 displayed anti-seizure activities, indicating that allosteric modulation of sigma-1 receptors may provide a novel approach for discovering new anti-seizure drugs.
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Full-text · Article · May 2015 · British Journal of Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal, adult-onset, and progressive neurodegenerative disorder with no cure. Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) was the first identified protein associated with familial ALS; and aggresome formation of misfolded SOD1 is closely associated with ALS pathogenesis. HDAC6, one of the histone deacetylase family members, has already been demonstrated to play an important role in regulating aggresome formation of misfolded proteins and protecting cells against the toxicity induced by misfolded proteins. In this study, we found that in a cellular model with impaired proteasome activity, the TAR DNA-binding protein 43, which is closely linked with ALS and associated with various neurodegenerative disorders such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, can regulate mutant SOD1 aggresome formation through an HDAC6-dependent manner. TDP-43 deficiency did not affect poly-ubiquitination of mutant SOD1, whereas it greatly decreased the expression level of HDAC6, which is required for aggresome formation of ALS-linked mutant SOD1. Moreover, overexpression of siRNA-resistant HDAC6 restored mutant SOD1 aggresome formation in TDP-43-knockdown cells. Thus, our data provide evidence that TDP-43 plays an important role in mutant SOD1 aggresome formation through its regulation of HDAC6.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naja naja atra venom (NNAV) displays diverse pharmacological actions including analgesia, anti-inflammation and immune regulation.In this study, we investigated the effects of NNAV on pulmonary fibrosis and its mechanisms of action.
To determine if Naja naja atra venom (NNAV) can produce beneficial effects on pulmonary fibrosis, two marine models of pulmonary fibrosis were produced with bleomycin (BLM) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). NNAV (30, 90, 270 μg/kg) was orally administered once a day started five days before BLM and LPS until to the end of experiment. The effects of NNAV treatment on pulmonary injury were evaluated with arterial blood gas analysis, hydroxyproline (HYP) content assessment and HE/Masson staining. The effects of NNAV treatment on inflammatory related cytokines, fibrosis related TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway and oxidative stress were examined.
The results showed that NNAV improved the lung gas-exchange function and attenuated the fibrotic lesions in lung. NNAV decreased IL-1β and TNF-α levels in serum in both pulmonary fibrosis models. NNAV inhibited the activation of NF-κB in LPS-induced and TGF-β/Smad pathway in BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Additionally, NNAV also increased the levels of SOD and GSH and reduced the levels of MDA in BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis model.
The present study indicates that NNAV attenuates LPS- and BLM-induced lung fibrosis. Its mechanisms of action are associated with inhibiting inflammatory response and oxidative stress. The study suggests that NNAV might be a potential therapeutic drug for treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Poly-ubiquitinated protein aggregate formation is the most striking hallmark of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and prion disease. Mutations of many ubiquitin-associated proteins involved in the regulation of protein aggregation, such as SQSTM1/p62 (p62), parkin, and VCP, are closely linked to neurodegeneration. B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) is a key regulator in autophagy, apoptosis, and mitochondria quality control in many cell types including neurons, and it plays important roles in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases mentioned above. Our previous work showed that Bcl-2 can directly bind to p62, and here we report that Bcl-2 directly interacts with the N-terminus of p62, but not the C-terminus (UBA domain). Interestingly and importantly, Bcl-2 affects the affinity of p62 to poly-ubiquitin chains and suppresses the aggregation of poly-ubiquitinated proteins such as mutant huntingtin associated with Huntington's disease. Our study reveals a role of Bcl-2 that involves in the regulation of misfolded proteins.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Molecular Neurobiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Phosphodiesterase (PDE) 10A is selectively expressed in medium spiny neurons of the striatum. Nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a key region that mediates drug reward and addiction-related behaviors. To investigate the potential role of PDE10A in the reinforcement properties of morphine, we tested the effect of MP-10, a selective inhibitor of PDE10A, on acquisition, expression, and extinction of morphine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP).ResultsThe results show that 2.5 mg/kg MP-10, administered subcutaneously, significantly inhibited the acquisition of morphine-induced CPP. The same dose of MP-10 alone did not result in the CPP. Moreover, MP-10 did not alter the expression of morphine-induced CPP, but did accelerate the extinction of morphine-induced CPP. Additionally, chronic treatment with 2.5 mg/kg MP-10 decreased expression of phosphorylated CREB (pCREB), activated cAMP response element binding protein, in dorsomedial striatum, in shell of NAc, and in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as well as decreased expression of ¿FosB in the shell of NAc and ACC.Conclusion
The results suggest that inhibition of PDE10A may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of opioid addiction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular protein quality control system in association with aggresome formation contributes to protecting cells against aggregation-prone protein-induced toxicity. p62/Sequestosome 1 (p62) is a multifunctional protein which plays an important role in protein degradation and aggregation. Although poly-ubiquitination is usually required for p62-mediated protein degradation and aggresome formation, several p62 substrates are processed to form aggregate in an ubiquitination-independent manner. In this study we demonstrate that p62 directly interacts with pathogenic Machado Joseph Disease (MJD)-associated protein ataxin-3 with polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion. Moreover, p62 could regulate the aggresome formation of pathogenic ataxin-3 and protect cells against pathogenic ataxin-3-induced cell death.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · International Journal of Molecular Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract The expansion of a polyglutamine domain in the protein ataxin3 causes spinocerebellar ataxia type-3 (SCA3). However, there is little information to date about the upstream proteins in the ubiquitin-proteasome system of pathogenic ataxin3-80Q. Here, we report that BAG2 (Bcl-2 associated athanogene family protein 2) and BAG5 (Bcl-2-associated athanogene family protein 5) stabilise pathogenic ataxin3-80Q by inhibiting its ubiquitination as determined based on western blotting and co-immunofluorescence experiments. The association of the BAG2 and BAG5 proteins with pathogenic ataxin3-80Q strengthens the important roles of the BAG family in neurodegenerative diseases.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · International Journal of Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of the histamine H3 receptor (H3R) in cerebral ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury remains unknown. Here we show that H3R expression is upregulated after I/R in two mouse models. H3R antagonists and H3R knockout attenuate I/R injury, which is reversed by an H3R-selective agonist. Interestingly, H1R and H2R antagonists, a histidine decarboxylase (HDC) inhibitor and HDC knockout all fail to compromise the protection by H3R blockade. H3R blockade inhibits mTOR phosphorylation and reinforces autophagy. The neuroprotection by H3R antagonism is reversed by 3-methyladenine and siRNA for Atg7, and is diminished in Atg5⁻/⁻ mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Furthermore, the peptide Tat-H3R(CT414-436), which blocks CLIC4 binding with H3Rs, or siRNA for CLIC4, further increases I/R-induced autophagy and protects against I/R injury. Therefore, H3R promotes I/R injury while its antagonism protects against ischaemic injury via histamine-independent mechanisms that involve suppressing H3R/CLIC4 binding-activated autophagy, suggesting that H3R inhibition is a therapeutic target for cerebral ischaemia.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) gene cause PARK6 familial Parkinsonism, and loss of the stability of PINK1 may also contribute to sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). Degradation of PINK1 occurs predominantly through the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), however, to date, few of the proteins have been found to regulate the degradation of PINK1. Using the yeast two-hybrid system and pull-down methods, we identified bcl-2-associated athanogene 5 (BAG5), a BAG family member, directly interacted with PINK1. We showed that BAG5 stabilized PINK1 by decreasing the ubiquitination of PINK1. Interestingly, BAG5 rescued MPP(+)- and rotenone-induced mitochondria dysfunction by up-regulating PINK1 in vitro. In PINK1-null mice and MPTP-treated mice, BAG5 significantly increased in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) although PINK1 was decreased. Our findings indicated that BAG5, as a key protein to stabilize PINK1, is a promising therapeutic tool for preventing mitochondrial dysfunction following oxidative stress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxias are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that are characterized by complex clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Although more than 20 disease-causing genes have been identified, many patients are still currently without a molecular diagnosis. In a two-generation autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia family, we mapped a linkage to a minimal candidate region on chromosome 16p13.3 flanked by single-nucleotide polymorphism markers rs11248850 and rs1218762. By combining the defined linkage region with the whole-exome sequencing results, we identified a homozygous mutation (c.493CT) in CHIP (NM_005861) in this family. Using Sanger sequencing, we also identified two compound heterozygous mutations (c.389AT/c.441GT; c.621C>G/c.707GC) in CHIP gene in two additional kindreds. These mutations co-segregated exactly with the disease in these families and were not observed in 500 control subjects with matched ancestry. CHIP colocalized with NR2A, a subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, in the cerebellum, pons, medulla oblongata, hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Wild-type, but not disease-associated mutant CHIPs promoted the degradation of NR2A, which may underlie the pathogenesis of ataxia. In conclusion, using a combination of whole-exome sequencing and linkage analysis, we identified CHIP, encoding a U-box containing ubiquitin E3 ligase, as a novel causative gene for autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) gene cause an autosomal recessive form of Parkinson disease (PD). Thus far, little is known about what can regulate the ubiquitin proteasome pathway of PINK1. Here, we report BAG2 (Bcl-2-associated athanogene family protein 2), a member of the BAG family, which directly binds with and stabilises PINK1 by decreasing its ubiquitination. Moreover, we found that BAG2 also binds with the pathogenic R492X PINK1 mutation directly and more tightly. Moreover, BAG2 stabilises the R492X PINK1 mutation by decreasing its ubiquitination to a greater extent than the wild-type species. Our data correlate BAG2 to PINK1 for the first time, strengthening the important role of BAG2 in PD-related neurodegeneration.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Although its pathogenesis is still unclear, increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction induced by environmental toxins, such as mitochondrial complex I inhibitors, plays a significant role in the disease process. The microglia in PD brains are highly activated, and inflammation is also an essential element in PD pathogenesis. However, the means by which these toxins activate microglia is still unclear. In the present study, we found that rotenone, a mitochondrial complex I inhibitor, could directly activate microglia via the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway, thereby inducing significantly increased expression of inflammatory cytokines. We further observed that rotenone induced caspase-1 activation and mature IL-1β release, both of which are strictly dependent on p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). The activation of p38 is associated with the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by rotenone. Removal of these ROS abrogated the activation of the microglia. Therefore, our data suggest that the environmental toxin rotenone can directly activate microglia through the p38 MAPK pathway.