Caloric restriction and autophagy-inducing pharmacological agents can prolong lifespan in model organisms including mice, flies, and nematodes. In this study, we show that transgenic expression of Sirtuin-1 induces autophagy in human cells in vitro and in Caenorhabditis elegans in vivo. The knockdown or knockout of Sirtuin-1 prevented the induction of autophagy by resveratrol and by nutrient deprivation in human cells as well as by dietary restriction in C. elegans. Conversely, Sirtuin-1 was not required for the induction of autophagy by rapamycin or p53 inhibition, neither in human cells nor in C. elegans. The knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of Sirtuin-1 enhanced the vulnerability of human cells to metabolic stress, unless they were stimulated to undergo autophagy by treatment with rapamycin or p53 inhibition. Along similar lines, resveratrol and dietary restriction only prolonged the lifespan of autophagy-proficient nematodes, whereas these beneficial effects on longevity were abolished by the knockdown of the essential autophagic modulator Beclin-1. We conclude that autophagy is universally required for the lifespan-prolonging effects of caloric restriction and pharmacological Sirtuin-1 activators.
ATG7; Caenorhabditis elegans; HCT 116; mTOR; rapamycin; senescence
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that eliminates cytosolic proteins, macromolecules, organelles, and protein aggregates. Activation of autophagy may function as a tumor suppressor by degrading defective organelles and other cellular components. However, this pathway may also be exploited by cancer cells to generate nutrients and energy during periods of starvation, hypoxia, and stress induced by chemotherapy. Therefore, induction of autophagy has emerged as a drug resistance mechanism that promotes cancer cell survival via self-digestion. Numerous preclinical studies have demonstrated that inhibition of autophagy enhances the activity of a broad array of anticancer agents. Thus, targeting autophagy may be a global anticancer strategy that may improve the efficacy of many standard of care agents. These results have led to multiple clinical trials to evaluate autophagy inhibition in combination with conventional chemotherapy. In this review, we summarize the anticancer agents that have been reported to modulate autophagy and discuss new developments in autophagy inhibition as an anticancer strategy.
autophagy; chloroquine; lucanthone; cancer; apoptosis
Autophagy, or “self eating,” refers to a regulated cellular process for the lysosomal-dependent turnover of organelles and proteins. During starvation or nutrient deficiency, autophagy promotes survival through the replenishment of metabolic precursors derived from the degradation of endogenous cellular components. Autophagy represents a general homeostatic and inducible adaptive response to environmental stress, including endoplasmic reticulum stress, hypoxia, oxidative stress, and exposure to pharmaceuticals and xenobiotics. Whereas elevated autophagy can be observed in dying cells, the functional relationships between autophagy and programmed cell death pathways remain incompletely understood. Preclinical studies have identified autophagy as a process that can be activated during vascular disorders, including ischemia–reperfusion injury of the heart and other organs, cardiomyopathy, myocardial injury, and atherosclerosis. The functional significance of autophagy in human cardiovascular disease pathogenesis remains incompletely understood, and potentially involves both adaptive and maladaptive outcomes, depending on model system. Although relatively few studies have been performed in the lung, our recent studies also implicate a role for autophagy in chronic lung disease. Manipulation of the signaling pathways that regulate autophagy could potentially provide a novel therapeutic strategy in the prevention or treatment of human disease.
autophagy; apoptosis; vascular disease
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal pathway for degrading cytoplasmic proteins, macromolecules, and organelles. While autophagy has become one of the most attractive topics in cancer research, the current autophagy literature is often viewed as confusing, because of its association with apparently contradictory roles, such as survival and cell death. Autophagy can serve as a tumor suppressor, as a partial reduction in autophagic capacity or defective autophagy (e.g., heterozygous knockdown BECN1 (+/−) in mice) provides an oncogenic stimulus, causing malignant transformation and spontaneous tumors. In addition, autophagy seems to function as a protective cell survival mechanism against environmental and cellular stress (e.g., nutrient deprivation, hypoxia and therapeutic stress) and causes resistance to antineoplastic therapies. Recent studies have demonstrated that the inhibition of autophagy in cancer cells may be therapeutically beneficial in some circumstances, as it can sensitize cancer cells to different therapies, including DNA-damaging agents, antihormone therapies (e.g., tamoxifen), and radiation therapy. This supports the hypothesis that inhibiting autophagy can negatively influence cancer cell survival and increase cell death when combined with anticancer agents, providing a therapeutic advantage against cancer. On the other hand, the induction of autophagy by the inhibition of anti-autophagic proteins, such as Bcl-2, PKCδ, and tissue transglutaminase 2 (TG2), may lead to autophagic cell death in some apoptosis-resistant cancers (i.e., breast and pancreatic cancers), indicating that the induction of autophagy alone may also be used as a potential therapy. Overall, the data suggest that, depending on the cellular features, either the induction or the inhibition of autophagy can provide therapeutic benefits to patients and that the design and synthesis of the first-generation modulators of autophagy may provide the tools for proof of concept experiments and the impetus for translational studies that may ultimately lead to new therapeutic strategies in cancer.
autophagy; programmed cell death; apoptosis; Bcl-2; Beclin 1; siRNA; small-molecule inhibitors; cancer
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process to catabolize cytoplasmic proteins and organelles1, 2. During starvation, the target of rapamycin (TOR), a nutrient-responsive kinase, is inhibited, thereby inducing autophagy. In autophagy, double-membrane autophagosomes envelop and sequester intracellular components and then fuse with lysosomes to form autolysosomes which degrade their contents to regenerate nutrients. Current models of autophagy terminate with the degradation of autophagosome cargo in autolysosomes3-5, but the regulation of autophagy in response to nutrients and the subsequent fate of the autolysosome are poorly defined. Here we show that mTOR signaling is inhibited during autophagy initiation, but reactivated with prolonged starvation. mTOR reactivation is autophagy-dependent, and requires the degradation of autolysosomal products. Increased mTOR activity attenuates autophagy and generates proto-lysosomal tubules and vesicles that extrude from autolysosomes and ultimately mature into functional lysosomes, thereby restoring the full complement of lysosomes in the cell – a process we identify in multiple animal species. Thus, an evolutionarily-conserved cycle in autophagy governs nutrient sensing and lysosome homeostasis during starvation.
Autophagy is a homeostatic and catabolic process that enables the sequestration and lysosomal degradation of cytoplasmic organelles and proteins that is important for the maintenance of genomic stability and cell survival. Beclin 1+/− gene knockout mice are tumor prone, indicating a tumor suppressor role for autophagy. Autophagy is also a mechanism of stress tolerance that maintains cell viability and can lead to tumor dormancy, progression and therapeutic resistance. Many anticancer drugs induce cytotoxic stress that can activate pro-survival autophagy. In some contexts, excessive or prolonged autophagy can lead to tumor cell death. Inhibition of cytoprotective autophagy by genetic or pharmacological means has been shown to enhance anticancer drug-induced cell death, suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy. Studies are ongoing to define optimal strategies to modulate autophagy for cancer prevention and therapy, and to exploit it as a target for anticancer drug discovery.
autophagy; beclin 1; cell death; cancer treatment
Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway important for cellular homeostasis and survival. Inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is the best known trigger for autophagy stimulation. In addition, intracellular Ca2+ regulates autophagy, but its exact role remains ambiguous. Here, we report that the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, while enhancing autophagy, also remodeled the intracellular Ca2+-signaling machinery. These alterations include a) an increase in the endoplasmic-reticulum (ER) Ca2+-store content, b) a decrease in the ER Ca2+-leak rate, and c) an increased Ca2+ release through the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs), the main ER-resident Ca2+-release channels. Importantly, buffering cytosolic Ca2+ with BAPTA impeded rapamycin-induced autophagy. These results reveal intracellular Ca2+ signaling as a crucial component in the canonical mTOR-dependent autophagy pathway.
Type I collagen is a major component of the extracellular matrix, and mutations in the collagen gene cause several matrix-associated diseases. These mutant procollagens are misfolded and often aggregated in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although the misfolded procollagens are potentially toxic to the cell, little is known about how they are eliminated from the ER. Here, we show that procollagen that can initially trimerize but then aggregates in the ER are eliminated by an autophagy-lysosome pathway, but not by the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. Inhibition of autophagy by specific inhibitors or RNAi-mediated knockdown of an autophagy-related gene significantly stimulated accumulation of aggregated procollagen trimers in the ER, and activation of autophagy with rapamycin resulted in reduced amount of aggregates. In contrast, a mutant procollagen which has a compromised ability to form trimers was degraded by ERAD. Moreover, we found that autophagy plays an essential role in protecting cells against the toxicity of the ERAD-inefficient procollagen aggregates. The autophagic elimination of aggregated procollagen occurs independently of the ERAD system. These results indicate that autophagy is a final cell protection strategy deployed against ER-accumulated cytotoxic aggregates that are not able to be removed by ERAD.
Autophagy is a cellular process leading to the degradation of cytoplasmic components such as organelles and intracellular pathogens. It has been shown that HIV-1 relies on several components of the autophagy pathway for its replication, but the virus also blocks late steps of autophagy to prevent its degradation. We generated stable knockdown T cell lines for 12 autophagy factors and analyzed the impact on HIV-1 replication. RNAi-mediated knockdown of 5 autophagy factors resulted in inhibition of HIV-1 replication. Autophagy analysis confirmed a specific defect in the autophagy pathway for 4 of these 5 factors. We also scored the impact on cell viability, but no gross effects were observed. Upon simultaneous knockdown of 2 autophagy factors (Atg16 and Atg5), an additive inhibitory effect was scored on HIV-1 replication. Stable knockdown of several autophagy factors inhibit HIV-1 replication without any apparent cytotoxicity. We therefore propose that targeting of the autophagy pathway can be a novel therapeutic approach against HIV-1
HIV-1; Autophagy; RNAi; Antiviral
Autophagy is a membrane-trafficking mechanism that delivers cytoplasmic constituents into the lysosome/vacuole for bulk protein degradation. This mechanism is involved in the preservation of nutrients under starvation condition as well as the normal turnover of cytoplasmic component. Aberrant autophagy has been reported in several neurodegenerative disorders, hepatitis, and myopathies. Here, we generated conditional knockout mice of Atg7, an essential gene for autophagy in yeast. Atg7 was essential for ATG conjugation systems and autophagosome formation, amino acid supply in neonates, and starvation-induced bulk degradation of proteins and organelles in mice. Furthermore, Atg7 deficiency led to multiple cellular abnormalities, such as appearance of concentric membranous structure and deformed mitochondria, and accumulation of ubiquitin-positive aggregates. Our results indicate the important role of autophagy in starvation response and the quality control of proteins and organelles in quiescent cells.
Autophagy, the starvation-induced degradation of bulky cytosolic components, is up-regulated in mammalian cells when nutrient supplies are limited. Although mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is known as the key regulator of autophagy induction, the mechanism by which mTOR regulates autophagy has remained elusive. Here, we identify that mTOR phosphorylates a mammalian homologue of Atg13 and the mammalian Atg1 homologues ULK1 and ULK2. The mammalian Atg13 binds both ULK1 and ULK2 and mediates the interaction of the ULK proteins with FIP200. The binding of Atg13 stabilizes and activates ULK and facilitates the phosphorylation of FIP200 by ULK, whereas knockdown of Atg13 inhibits autophagosome formation. Inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin or leucine deprivation, the conditions that induce autophagy, leads to dephosphorylation of ULK1, ULK2, and Atg13 and activates ULK to phosphorylate FIP200. These findings demonstrate that the ULK-Atg13-FIP200 complexes are direct targets of mTOR and important regulators of autophagy in response to mTOR signaling.
Autophagy is a cellular process for the disposal of damaged organelles or denatured proteins through a lysosomal degradation pathway. By reducing endogenous macromolecules to their basic components (i.e., amino acids, lipids), autophagy serves a homeostatic function by ensuring cell survival during starvation. Increased autophagy can be found in dying cells, although the relationships between autophagy and programmed cell death remain unclear. To date, few studies have examined the regulation and functional significance of autophagy in human lung disease. The lung, a complex organ that functions primarily in gas exchange, consists of diverse cell types (i.e., endothelial, epithelial, mesenchymal, inflammatory). In lung cells, autophagy may represent a general inducible adaptive response to injury resulting from exposure to stress agents, including hypoxia, oxidants, inflammation, ischemia–reperfusion, endoplasmic reticulum stress, pharmaceuticals, or inhaled xenobiotics (i.e., air pollution, cigarette smoke). In recent studies, we have observed increased autophagy in mouse lungs subjected to chronic cigarette smoke exposure, and in pulmonary epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract. Knockdown of autophagic proteins inhibited apoptosis in response to cigarette smoke exposure in vitro, suggesting that increased autophagy was associated with epithelial cell death. We have also observed increased morphological and biochemical markers of autophagy in human lung specimens from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesize that increased autophagy contributes to COPD pathogenesis by promoting epithelial cell death. Further research will examine whether autophagy plays a homeostatic or maladaptive role in COPD and other human lung diseases.
autophagy; apoptosis; pulmonary disease
Celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, can elicit anti-tumor effects in various malignancies. Here, we sought to clarify the role of autophagy in celecoxib-induced cytotoxicity in human urothelial carcinoma (UC) cells. The results shows celecoxib induced cellular stress response such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, phosopho-SAPK/JNK, and phosopho-c-Jun as well as autophagosome formation in UC cells. Inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine (3-MA), bafilomycin A1 or ATG7 knockdown potentiated celecoxib-induced apoptosis. Up-regulation of autophagy by rapamycin or GFP-LC3B-transfection alleviated celecoxib-induced cytotoxicity in UC cells. Taken together, the inhibition of autophagy enhances therapeutic efficacy of celecoxib in UC cells, suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy against UC.
Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a bulk cytoplasmic degradation process that is conserved from yeast to mammals. Autophagy is an important cellular response to starvation and stress, and plays important roles in development, cell death, aging, immunity, and cancer. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster provides an excellent model system to study autophagy in vivo, in the context of a developing organism. Autophagy (atg) genes and their regulators are conserved in Drosophila, and autophagy is induced in response to nutrient starvation and hormones during development. In this review we provide an overview of how Drosophila research has contributed to our understanding of the role and regulation of autophagy in cell survival, growth, nutrient utilization, and cell death. Recent Drosophila research has also provided important mechanistic information about the role of autophagy in protein aggregation disorders, neurodegeneration, aging, and innate immunity. Differences in the role of autophagy in specific contexts and/or cell types suggest that there may be cell-context-specific regulators of autophagy, and studies in Drosophila are well-suited to yield discoveries about this specificity.
Eukaryotic cells have evolved strategies to respond to stress conditions. For example, autophagy in yeast is primarily a response to the stress of nutrient limitation. Autophagy is a catabolic process for the degradation and recycling of cytosolic, long lived, or aggregated proteins and excess or defective organelles. In this study, we demonstrate a new pathway for the induction of autophagy. In the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), accumulation of misfolded proteins causes stress and activates the unfolded protein response to induce the expression of chaperones and proteins involved in the recovery process. ER stress stimulated the assembly of the pre-autophagosomal structure. In addition, autophagosome formation and transport to the vacuole were stimulated in an Atg protein-dependent manner. Finally, Atg1 kinase activity reflects both the nutritional status and autophagic state of the cell; starvation-induced autophagy results in increased Atg1 kinase activity. We found that Atg1 had high kinase activity during ER stress-induced autophagy. Together, these results indicate that ER stress can induce an autophagic response.
Autophagy is a catabolic process that degrades long-lived proteins, pathogens and damaged organelles. Autophagy is active in the heart at baseline and is further stimulated by stresses, such as nutrient starvation, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) and heart failure. Baseline autophagy plays an adaptive role in the heart, and contributes to the maintenance of cardiac structure and function and the inhibition of age-associated abnormalities, by achieving quality control of proteins and organelles. Activation of autophagy during ischemia is beneficial because it improves cell survival and cardiac function. However, excessive autophagy with robust upregulation of BECN1 during reperfusion appears to enhance cell death, which is detrimental to the heart. We have shown recently that autophagy during prolonged ischemia and I/R is critically regulated by glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase, in a phase-dependent manner. Here we discuss the role of GSK-3β in mediating autophagy in the heart.
GSK-3β; mTOR; autophagy; ischemia; reperfusion; heart
Autophagy is a catabolic process which degrades long-lived proteins and damaged organelles through sequestration into double membrane structures termed autophagosomes and fusion with lysosomes. Autophagy is active in the heart at baseline and further stimulated under stress conditions, including starvation, ischemia/reperfusion and heart failure. Autophagy plays an adaptive role in the heart at baseline, thereby maintaining cardiac structure and function and inhibiting age-related cardiac abnormalities. Autophagy is activated by ischemia and nutrient starvation in the heart through Sirt1-FoxO and AMPK-dependent mechanisms, respectively. Activation of autophagy during ischemia is essential for cell survival and maintenance of cardiac function. Autophagy is strongly activated in the heart during reperfusion after ischemia. Activation of autophagy during reperfusion could be either protective or detrimental, depending upon the experimental model. However, strong induction of autophagy accompanied by robust upregulation of Beclin1 could cause autophagic cell death, thereby being detrimental. This review provides an overview regarding both protective and detrimental functions of autophagy in the heart and discusses possible applications of current knowledge to the treatment of heart disease.
Unicellular eukaryotic organisms must be capable of rapid adaptation to changing environments. While such changes do not normally occur in the tissues of multicellular organisms, developmental and pathological changes in the environment of cells often require adaptation mechanisms not dissimilar from those found in simpler cells. Autophagy is a catabolic membrane-trafficking phenomenon that occurs in response to dramatic changes in the nutrients available to yeast cells, for example during starvation or after challenge with rapamycin, a macrolide antibiotic whose effects mimic starvation. Autophagy also occurs in animal cells that are serum starved or challenged with specific hormonal stimuli. In macroautophagy, the form of autophagy commonly observed, cytoplasmic material is sequestered in double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and is then delivered to a lytic compartment such as the yeast vacuole or mammalian lysosome. In this fashion, autophagy allows the degradation and recycling of a wide spectrum of biological macromolecules. While autophagy is induced only under specific conditions, salient mechanistic aspects of autophagy are functional in a constitutive fashion. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, induction of autophagy subverts a constitutive membrane-trafficking mechanism called the cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting pathway from a specific mode, in which it carries the resident vacuolar hydrolase, aminopeptidase I, to a nonspecific bulk mode in which significant amounts of cytoplasmic material are also sequestered and recycled in the vacuole. The general aim of this review is to focus on insights gained into the mechanism of autophagy in yeast and also to review our understanding of the physiological significance of autophagy in both yeast and higher organisms.
Autophagy is a highly conserved cellular process responsible for the degradation of long-lived proteins and organelles. Autophagy occurs at low levels under normal conditions, but is upregulated in response to stress such as nutrient deprivation, hypoxia, mitochondrial dysfunction, and infection. Upregulation of autophagy may be beneficial to the cell by recycling of proteins to generate free amino acids and fatty acids needed to maintain energy production, by removing damaged organelles, and by preventing accumulation of protein aggragates. In contrast, there is evidence that enhanced autophagy can contribute to cell death, possibly through excessive self-digestion. In the heart, autophagy is essential role for maintaining cellular homeostasis under normal conditions and increased autophagy can be seen in conditions of starvation, ischemia/reperfusion, and heart failure. However, the functional significance of autophagy in heart disease is unclear and controversial. Here, we review the literature and discuss the evidence that autophagy can have both beneficial and detrimental roles in the myocardium depending on the level of autophagy, and discuss potential mechanisms by which autophagy provides protection in cells.
autophagy; cell death; mitochondria; Beclin 1; ischemia/reperfusion; heart failure
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process of cellular self-digestion that serves as a mechanism to clear damaged organelles and recycle nutrients. Since autophagy can promote cell survival as well as cell death, it has been linked to different human pathologies, including cancer. Although mono-allelic deletion of autophagy-related gene BECN1 in breast tumors originally indicated a tumor suppressive role for autophagy in breast cancer, the intense research during the last decade suggests a role for autophagy in tumor progression. It is now recognized that tumor cells often utilize autophagy to survive various stresses, such as oncogene-induced transformation, hypoxia, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and extracellular matrix detachment. Induction of autophagy by tumor cells may also contribute to tumor dormancy and resistance to anticancer therapies, thus making autophagy inhibitors promising drug candidates for breast cancer treatment. The scientific endeavors continue to define a precise role for autophagy in breast cancer. In this article, we review the current literature on the role of autophagy during the development and progression of breast cancer, and discuss the potential of autophagy modulators for breast cancer treatment.
Autophagy; breast cancer; transformation; hypoxia; ER stress; tumor microenvironment; metabolism; metastasis; apoptosis; cancer therapy
The acetylase inhibitor spermidine and the sirtuin-1 activator resveratrol disrupt the antagonistic network of acetylases and deacetylases that regulate autophagy.
Autophagy protects organelles, cells, and organisms against several stress conditions. Induction of autophagy by resveratrol requires the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide–dependent deacetylase sirtuin 1 (SIRT1). In this paper, we show that the acetylase inhibitor spermidine stimulates autophagy independent of SIRT1 in human and yeast cells as well as in nematodes. Although resveratrol and spermidine ignite autophagy through distinct mechanisms, these compounds stimulate convergent pathways that culminate in concordant modifications of the acetylproteome. Both agents favor convergent deacetylation and acetylation reactions in the cytosol and in the nucleus, respectively. Both resveratrol and spermidine were able to induce autophagy in cytoplasts (enucleated cells). Moreover, a cytoplasm-restricted mutant of SIRT1 could stimulate autophagy, suggesting that cytoplasmic deacetylation reactions dictate the autophagic cascade. At doses at which neither resveratrol nor spermidine stimulated autophagy alone, these agents synergistically induced autophagy. Altogether, these data underscore the importance of an autophagy regulatory network of antagonistic deacetylases and acetylases that can be pharmacologically manipulated.
Autophagy is a regulated catabolic process triggered in cells deprived of nutrients or growth factors that govern nutrient uptake. Here we report that autophagy is induced by cetuximab, a therapeutic antibody that blocks EGFR function. Cancer cell treatment with cetuximab triggered autophagosome formation, conversion of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 from its cytoplasmic to membrane-associated form, and increased acidic vesicular organelle formation. Autophagy occurred when cetuximab inhibited the class I PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, but not when it inhibited only the MEK/Erk pathway, and it was accompanied by decreased levels of hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) and Bcl-2. Stable overexpression of a HIF-1α mutant prevented cetuximab-induced autophagy and decrease in Bcl-2 levels. Knockdown of autophagy regulator beclin 1 or cell treatment with autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine, a class III PI3K (hVps34) inhibitor, also inhibited cetuximab-induced autophagy. Furthermore, knockdown of beclin 1 or Atg7 or treatment with the lysosome inhibitor chloroquine sensitized cancer cells to cetuximab-induced apoptosis. Mechanistic analysis argued that cetuximab acted by promoting an association between beclin 1 and hVps34, which was inhibited by overexpression of Bcl-2. Our findings suggest that the autophagy protects cancer cells from the pro-apoptotic effects of cetuximab.
cetuximab; autophagy; EGFR
Autophagy is a cellular catabolic process by which long-lived proteins and damaged organelles are degradated by lysosomes. Activation of autophagy is an important survival mechanism that protects cancer cells from various stresses, including anticancer agents. Recent studies indicate that pyrvinium pamoate, an FDA-approved antihelminthic drug, exhibits wide-ranging anticancer activity. Here we demonstrate that pyrvinium inhibits autophagy both in vitro and in vivo. We further demonstrate that the inhibition of autophagy is mammalian target of rapamycin independent but depends on the transcriptional inhibition of autophagy genes. Moreover, the combination of pyrvinium with autophagy stimuli improves its toxicity against cancer cells, and pretreatment of cells with 3-MA or siBeclin1 partially protects cells from pyrvinium-induced cell death under glucose starvation, suggesting that targeted autophagy addiction is involved in pyrvinium-mediated cytotoxicity. Finally, in vivo studies show that the combination therapy of pyrvinium with the anticancer and autophagy stimulus agent, 2-deoxy-𝒟-glucose (2-DG), is significantly more effective in inhibiting tumor growth than pyrvinium or 2-DG alone. This study supports a novel cancer therapeutic strategy based on targeting autophagy addiction and implicates using pyrvinium as an autophagy inhibitor in combination with chemotherapeutic agents to improve their therapeutic efficacy.
pyrvinium pamoate; autophagy addiction; apoptosis; 2-deoxy-𝒟-glucose
Autophagy is a well-known degradation system, induced by nutrient starvation, in which cytoplasmic components and organelles are digested via vacuoles/lysosomes. Recently, it was reported that autophagy is involved in the turnover of cellular components, development, differentiation, immune responses, protection against pathogens, and cell death. In this study, we isolated the ATG8 gene homologue Aoatg8 from the filamentous fungus Aspergillus oryzae and visualized autophagy by the expression of DsRed2-AoAtg8 and enhanced green fluorescent protein-AoAtg8 fusion proteins in this fungus. While the fusion proteins were localized in dot structures which are preautophagosomal structure-like structures under normal growth conditions, starvation or rapamycin treatment caused their accumulation in vacuoles. DsRed2 expressed in the cytoplasm was also taken up into vacuoles under starvation conditions or during the differentiation of conidiophores and conidial germination. Deletion mutants of Aoatg8 did not form aerial hyphae and conidia, and DsRed2 was not localized in vacuoles under starvation conditions, indicating that Aoatg8 is essential for autophagy. Furthermore, Aoatg8 conditional mutants showed delayed conidial germination in the absence of nitrogen sources. These results suggest that autophagy functions in both the differentiation of aerial hyphae and in conidial germination in A. oryzae.
Autophagy is a tightly regulated pathway involving the lysosomal degradation of cytoplasmic organelles or cytosolic components. This pathway can be stimulated by multiple forms of cellular stress, including nutrient or growth factor deprivation, hypoxia, reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, protein aggregates, damaged organelles or intracellular pathogens. Both specific, stimulus-dependent and more general stimulus-independent signaling pathways are activated to coordinate different phases of autophagy. Autophagy can be integrated with other cellular stress responses through parallel stimulation of autophagy and other stress responses by specific stress stimuli, through dual regulation of autophagy and other stress responses by multi-functional stress signaling molecules, and/or through mutual control of autophagy and other stress responses. Thus, autophagy is a cell biological process that is a central component of the integrated stress response.