Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection induces several metabolic activities that have been found to be important for viral replication. The cellular AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a metabolic stress response kinase that regulates both energy-producing catabolic processes and energy-consuming anabolic processes. Here we explore the role AMPK plays in generating an environment conducive to HCMV replication. We find that HCMV infection induces AMPK activity, resulting in the phosphorylation and increased abundance of several targets downstream of activated AMPK. Pharmacological and RNA-based inhibition of AMPK blocked the glycolytic activation induced by HCMV-infection, but had little impact on the glycolytic pathway of uninfected cells. Furthermore, inhibition of AMPK severely attenuated HCMV replication suggesting that AMPK is an important cellular factor for HCMV replication. Inhibition of AMPK attenuated early and late gene expression as well as viral DNA synthesis, but had no detectable impact on immediate-early gene expression, suggesting that AMPK activity is important at the immediate early to early transition of viral gene expression. Lastly, we find that inhibition of the Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase (CaMKK), a kinase known to activate AMPK, blocks HCMV-mediated AMPK activation. The combined data suggest a model in which HCMV activates AMPK through CaMKK, and depends on their activation for high titer replication, likely through induction of a metabolic environment conducive to viral replication.
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous human pathogen that is a major cause of birth defects. HCMV can also cause severe disease in immunocompromised individuals including transplant recipients, leukemia patients and those infected with HIV. It is clear that upon infection, HCMV takes control of numerous cellular processes that are important for the virus to generate the next round of infectious virions. We have previously found that upon infection, HCMV reprograms the metabolic activity of the host-cell. Here, we find that this metabolic reprogramming largely depends on the viral activation of a cellular protein called the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is a central regulator of cellular energy production that is typically only activated when cellular energy stores are very low. Our results indicate that HCMV-mediated activation of AMPK is necessary to flip the metabolic switch thereby driving host-cell metabolic activation and viral replication. As inhibition of AMPK blocked viral replication, and had little impact on uninfected host-cell metabolism, targeting AMPK could have therapeutic potential to treat HCMV-associated disease.
Adenosine Monophosphate-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK), a serine/threonine kinase and a member of the Snf1/AMPK protein kinase family, consists of three protein subunits that together make a functional enzyme. AMPK, which is expressed in a number of tissues, including the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle, is allosterically activated by a rise in the AMP: ATP ratio (ie in a low ATP or energy depleted state). The net effect of AMPK activation is to halt energy consuming (anabolic) pathways but to promote energy conserving (catabolic) cellular pathways. AMPK has therefore often been dubbed the “metabolic master switch”. AMPK also plays a critical physiological role in the cardiovascular system. Increasing evidence suggest that AMPK might also function as a sensor by responding to oxidative stress. Mostly importantly, AMPK modulates endogenous antioxidant gene expression and/or suppress the production of oxidants. AMPK promotes cardiovascular homeostasis by ensuring an optimum redox balance on the heart and vascular tissues. Dysfunctional AMPK is thought to underlie several cardiovascular pathologies. Here we review this kinase from its structure and discovery to current knowledge of its adaptive and maladaptive role in the cardiovascular system.
AMPK; cardiovascular physiology; cardiovascular system; oxidative stress; atherosclerosis
The adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK) has a crucial role in maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. This study shows that human and mouse T lymphocytes express AMPKα1 and that this is rapidly activated in response to triggering of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR). TCR stimulation of AMPK was dependent on the adaptors LAT and SLP76 and could be mimicked by the elevation of intracellular Ca2+ with Ca2+ ionophores or thapsigargin. AMPK activation was also induced by energy stress and depletion of cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP). However, TCR and Ca2+ stimulation of AMPK required the activity of Ca2+–calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinases (CaMKKs), whereas AMPK activation induced by increased AMP/ATP ratios did not. These experiments reveal two distinct pathways for the regulation of AMPK in T lymphocytes. The role of AMPK is to promote ATP conservation and production. The rapid activation of AMPK in response to Ca2+ signaling in T lymphocytes thus reveals that TCR triggering is linked to an evolutionally conserved serine kinase that regulates energy metabolism. Moreover, AMPK does not just react to cellular energy depletion but also anticipates it.
The degradation of proteins by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is required for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis in the heart. An important regulator of metabolic homeostasis is AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK activation inhibits protein synthesis and activates autophagy, but whether AMPK plays a role in regulating protein breakdown through the UPS in the heart is not known.
To determine whether AMPK enhances UPS-mediated protein degradation by directly regulating the ubiquitin ligases Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 in the heart.
Methods and Results
Nutrient deprivation, pharmacologic or genetic activation of AMPK increased mRNA expression and protein levels of Atrogin-1 and MuRF1, and consequently enhanced protein degradation in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Inhibition of AMPK abrogated these effects. Using gene reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays we found that AMPK regulates MuRF1 expression by acting through the transcription factor MEF2. We further validated these findings in vivo using MEF2-LacZ reporter mice. Furthermore, we demonstrated in adult cardiomoycytes that MuRF1 is necessary for AMPK-mediated proteolysis through the UPS in the heart. Consequently, MuRF1 knockout mice were protected from severe cardiac dysfunction during fasting.
AMPK regulates the transcription of Atrogin-1 and MuRF1 and enhances UPS-mediated protein degradation in heart. Specifically, AMPK regulates MuRF1 through the transcription factor MEF2. The absence of MuRF1 in the heart preserves cardiac function during fasting. The results strengthen the hypothesis that AMPK serves as a modulator of intracellular protein degradation in the heart.
AMPK; protein degradation; ubiquitin ligases; transcriptional regulation
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
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a known physiological cellular energy sensor and becomes phosphorylated at Thr-172 in response to changes in cellular ATP levels. Activated AMPK acts as either an inducer or suppressor of apoptosis depending on the severity of energy stress and the presence or absence of certain functional tumor suppressor genes.
Here we show that energy stress differentially affects AMPK phosphorylation and cell-death in brain tumor tissue and in tissue from contra-lateral normal brain. We compared TSC2 deficient CT-2A mouse astrocytoma cells with syngeneic normal astrocytes that were grown under identical condition in vitro. Energy stress induced by glucose withdrawal or addition of 2-deoxyglucose caused more ATP depletion, AMPK phosphorylation and apoptosis in CT-2A cells than in the normal astrocytes. Under normal energy conditions pharmacological stimulation of AMPK caused apoptosis in CT-2A cells but not in astrocytes. TSC2 siRNA treated astrocytes are hypersensitive to apoptosis induced by energy stress compared to control cells. AMPK phosphorylation and apoptosis were also greater in the CT-2A tumor tissue than in the normal brain tissue following implementation of dietary energy restriction. Inefficient mTOR and TSC2 signaling, downstream of AMPK, is responsible for CT-2A cell-death, while functional LKB1 may protect normal brain cells under energy stress.
Together these data demonstrates that AMPK phosphorylation induces apoptosis in mouse astrocytoma but may protect normal brain cells from apoptosis under similar energy stress condition. Therefore, using activator of AMPK along with glycolysis inhibitor could be a potential therapeutic approach for TSC2 deficient human malignant astrocytoma.
All living organisms depend on dynamic mechanisms that repeatedly reassess the status of amassed energy, in order to adapt energy supply to demand. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) αβγ heterotrimer has emerged as an important integrator of signals managing energy balance. Control of AMPK activity involves allosteric AMP and ATP regulation, auto-inhibitory features and phosphorylation of its catalytic (α) and regulatory (β and γ) subunits. AMPK has a prominent role not only as a peripheral sensor but also in the central nervous system as a multifunctional metabolic regulator. AMPK represents an ideal second messenger for reporting cellular energy state. For this reason, activated AMPK acts as a protective response to energy stress in numerous systems. However, AMPK inhibition also actively participates in the control of whole body energy homeostasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings that support the role and function of AMPK inhibition under physiological and pathological states.
AMP-Activated Protein Kinases; chemistry; metabolism; Animals; Down-Regulation; Energy Metabolism; Enzyme Activation; Humans; Energy balance; metabolism; inhibition; AMPK; metabolic diseases
The ability to adapt and respond to nutrients is an ancient cellular function, conserved from unicellular to the most complex multicellular organisms, including mammals. Mammals adapt to changes in nutritional status through the modulation of tissue-specific metabolic pathways so as to maintain energy homeostasis. At least two proteins are activated in response to reduced nutrient availability: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and NAD+-dependent deacetylase SIRT1. AMPK functions as a sensor of cellular energy status and as a master regulator of metabolism. When ATP levels decrease, AMPK is activated to boost ATP production and to inhibit ATP usage, thus restoring energy balance. Similarly, SIRT1 is activated in response to changes in the energy status to promote transcription of genes that mediate the metabolic response to stress, starvation, or calorie restriction. Several observations support a model where, in response to stress and reduced nutrients, a metabolic pathway is activated within which AMPK and SIRT1 concordantly function to ensure an appropriate cellular response and adaptation to environmental modifications. In this perspective, we compare and contrast the roles of SIRT1 and AMPK in several metabolic tissues and propose a working model of how the AMPK-SIRT1 axis may be regulated to control functions relevant to organismal physiology and pathophysiology.
SIRT1; AMPK; Nampt; PGC1-α; Calorie Restriction; Starvation; Gluconeogenesis; Insulin
Accumulating evidence indicates that therapies designed to trigger apoptosis in tumor cells cause mitochondrial depolarization, nuclear damage, and the accumulation of misfolded protein aggregates, resulting in the activation of selective forms of autophagy. These selective forms of autophagy, including mitophagy, nucleophagy, and ubiquitin-mediated autophagy, counteract apoptotic signals by removing damaged cellular structures and by reprogramming cellular energy metabolism to cope with therapeutic stress. As a result, the efficacies of numerous current cancer therapies may be improved by combining them with adjuvant treatments that exploit or disrupt key metabolic processes induced by selective forms of autophagy. Targeting these metabolic irregularities represents a promising approach to improve clinical responsiveness to cancer treatments given the inherently elevated metabolic demands of many tumor types. To what extent anticancer treatments promote selective forms of autophagy and the degree to which they influence metabolism are currently under intense scrutiny. Understanding how the activation of selective forms of autophagy influences cellular metabolism and survival provides an opportunity to target metabolic irregularities induced by these pathways as a means of augmenting current approaches for treating cancer.
Autophagy is a cellular self-digestion process activated in response to stresses such as energy deprivation and oxidative stress. However, the mechanisms by which energy deprivation and oxidative stress trigger autophagy remain undefined. Here, we report that activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) is required for autophagy in cultured endothelial cells. AMPK activity, ROS levels, and the markers of autophagy were monitored in confluent bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC) treated with the glycolysis blocker 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG). Treatment of BAEC with 2-DG (5 mM) for 24 hours or with low concentrations of H2O2 (100 µM) induced autophagy, including increased conversion of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3)-I to LC3-II, accumulation of GFP-tagged LC3 positive intracellular vacuoles, and increased fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. 2-DG-treatment also induced AMPK phosphorylation, which was blocked by either co-administration of two potent anti-oxidants (Tempol and N-Acetyl-L-cysteine) or overexpression of superoxide dismutase 1 or catalase in BAEC. Further, 2-DG-induced autophagy in BAEC was blocked by overexpressing catalase or siRNA-mediated knockdown of AMPK. Finally, pretreatment of BAEC with 2-DG increased endothelial cell viability after exposure to hypoxic stress. Thus, AMPK is required for ROS-triggered autophagy in endothelial cells, which increases endothelial cell survival in response to cell stress.
Autophagy is a crucial component of the cellular stress adaptation response that maintains mammalian homeostasis. Autophagy protects against neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions, aging, and cancer. This is accomplished by the degradation and intracellular recycling of cellular components to maintain energy metabolism and by damage mitigation through the elimination of damaged proteins and organelles. How autophagy modulates oncogenesis is gradually emerging. Tumor cells induce autophagy in response to metabolic stress to promote survival, suggesting deployment of therapeutic strategies to block autophagy for cancer therapy. By contrast, defects in autophagy lead to cell death, chronic inflammation, and genetic instability. Thus, stimulating autophagy may be a powerful approach for chemoprevention. Analogous to infection or toxins that create persistent tissue damage and chronic inflammation that increases the incidence of cancer, defective autophagy represents a cell-intrinsic mechanism to create the damaging, inflammatory environment that predisposes to cancer. Thus, cellular damage mitigation through autophagy is a novel mechanism of tumor suppression.
While there can be detrimental consequences of nitric oxide production at pathological concentrations, eukaryotic cells have evolved protective mechanisms to defend themselves against this damage. The unfolded-protein response (UPR), activated by misfolded proteins and oxidative stress, is one adaptive mechanism that is employed to protect cells from stress. Nitric oxide is a potent activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and AMPK participates in the cellular defense against nitric oxide-mediated damage in pancreatic β-cells. In this study, the mechanism of AMPK activation by nitric oxide was explored. The known AMPK kinases LKB1, CaMKK, and TAK1 are not required for the activation of AMPK by nitric oxide. Instead, this activation is dependent on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-activated protein IRE1. Nitric oxide-induced AMPK phosphorylation and subsequent signaling to AMPK substrates, including Raptor, acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase, and PGC-1α, is attenuated in IRE1α-deficient cells. The endoribonuclease activity of IRE1 appears to be required for AMPK activation in response to nitric oxide. In addition to nitric oxide, stimulation of IRE1 endoribonuclease activity with the flavonol quercetin leads to IRE1-dependent AMPK activation. These findings indicate that the RNase activity of IRE1 participates in AMPK activation and subsequent signaling through multiple AMPK-dependent pathways in response to nitrosative stress.
Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a lysosomal degradation pathway for the breakdown of intracellular proteins and organelles. Although, constitutive autophagy is a homeostatic mechanism for intracellular recycling and metabolic regulation, autophagy is also stress responsive where it is important for the removal of damaged proteins and organelles. Autophagy thereby confers stress tolerance, limits damage and sustains viability under adverse conditions. Autophagy is a tumor suppression mechanism yet it enables tumor cell survival in stress. Reconciling how loss of a prosurvival function can promote tumorigenesis, emerging evidence suggests that preservation of cellular fitness by autophagy may be key to tumor suppression. As autophagy is such a fundamental process, establishing how the functional status of autophagy influences tumorigenesis and treatment response is important. This is especially critical as many current cancer therapeutics activate autophagy. Therefore, efforts to understand and modulate the autophagy pathway will provide new approaches to cancer therapy and prevention.
The goal of the study is to examine the relationship between the sensor molecules, Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1), AMP activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) and mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) in chondrocyte survival and autophagy. We showed that chondrocytes expressed the energy sensor AMPK-1 and that activation increased with maturation. In addition, we showed that thapsigargin treatment activated AMPK and autophagy in a HIF-1 dependent manner. Using serum-starved AMPK-silenced cells, we demonstrated that AMPK was required for the induction of the autophagic response. We also noted a change in chondrocyte sensitivity to apoptogens, due to activation of caspase-8 and cleavage and activation of the pro-apoptotic protein, BID. To test the hypothesis that AMPK signaling directly promoted autophagy, we inhibited AMPK activity in mTOR silenced cells and showed that while mTOR suppression induced autophagy, AMPK inhibition did not block this activity. Based on these findings, it is concluded that due to the micro-environmental changes experienced by the chondrocyte, autophagy is activated by AMPK in a HIF-1 dependent manner.
AMPK; mTOR; HIF-1; autophagy; chondrocyte
Autophagy plays a critical protective role maintaining energy homeostasis and protein and organelle quality control. These functions are particularly important in times of metabolic stress and in cells with high energy demand such as cancer cells. In emerging cancer cells, autophagy defect may cause failure of energy homeostasis and protein and organelle quality control, leading to the accumulation of cellular damage in metabolic stress. Some manifestations of this damage, such as activation of the DNA damage response and generation of genome instability may promote tumor initiation and drive cell-autonomous tumor progression. In addition, in solid tumors, autophagy localizes to regions that are metabolically stressed. Defects in autophagy impair the survival of tumor cells in these areas, which is associated with increased cell death and inflammation. The cytokine response from inflammation may promote tumor growth and accelerate cell non-autonomous tumor progression. The overreaching theme is that autophagy protects cells from damage accumulation under conditions of metabolic stress allowing efficient tolerance and recovery from stress, and that this is a critical and novel tumor suppression mechanism. The challenge now is to define the precise aspects of autophagy, including energy homeostasis and protein and organelle turnover, that are required for the proper management of metabolic stress that suppress tumorigenesis. Furthermore, we need to be able to identify human tumors with deficient autophagy, and to develop rational cancer therapies that take advantage of the altered metabolic state and stress responses inherent to this autophagy defect.
autophagy; beclin1; cancer
1. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a serine/threonine protein kinase involved in the regulation of cellular and organismal metabolism. AMPK has a heterotrimeric structure, consisting of a catalytic α-subunit and regulatory β- and γ-subunits, each of which has two or more isoforms that are differentially expressed in various tissues and that arise from distinct genes. The AMPK system acts as a sensor of cellular energy status that is conserved in all eukaryotic cells. In addition, AMPK is activated by physiological stimuli and oxidants.
2. The importance of AMPK in cardiovascular functions is best demonstrated by recent studies showing that widely used drugs, including statins, metformin and rosiglitazone, execute cardiovascular protective effects at least partly through the activation of AMPK. As a consequence, AMPK has been proposed as a candidate target for therapeutic intervention in the treatment of both Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome owing to its central role in the regulation of energy balance; it may also have a role in weight control.
3. In the present brief review, we summarize the recent progress of AMPK signalling and regulation focusing on vascular endothelial cells. We further hypothesize that AMPK is a dual sensor for energy and redox status within a cell and AMPK may be a therapeutic target for protecting vascular endothelial function.
AMP-activated kinase; atherosclerosis; diabetes mellitus; endothelium; energy metabolism; hypertension; nitric oxide; oxidative stress; peroxynitrite; superoxide anions
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) represents a key energy-sensing molecule in many cell types. Because astrocytes are key mediators of metabolic signaling in the brain, we have initiated studies on the expression and activation of AMPK in these cells. Treatment of cultured rat cortical astrocytes with a pharmacological AMPK activator, AICA-riboside (AICAR) resulted in a time- and concentration-dependent increase in phosphorylation of AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), a direct substrate. AICAR treatment also induced a transition from epithelioid to stellate morphology in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. As stellation is indicative of actin cytoskeletal reorganization, the formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions in response to AICAR was assessed. AICAR-induced stellation correlated with F-actin disassembly and focal adhesion dispersal. Furthermore, transient transfection of an activated RhoA construct prevented AICAR-induced stellation, indicating a mechanism upstream of RhoA. Use of pharmacological inhibitor compound C prevented AICAR-induced stellation demonstrating necessity of AMPK activity for the response. Our findings suggest that AMPK mediates morphological alterations of astrocytes in response to energy depletion.
AMPK; AICAR; astrocyte; stellation
Autophagy is a fundamental salvage pathway that encapsulates damaged cellular components and delivers them to the lysosome for degradation and recycling. This pathway usually conducts a protective cellular response to nutrient deprivation and various stresses. Tumor cells live with metabolic stress and use autophagy for their survival during tumor progression and metastasis. Genomic instability in tumor cells may result in amplification of crucial gene(s) for autophagy and upregulate the autophagic pathway. We demonstrate that a cancer-associated gene, LAPTM4B, plays an important role in lysosomal functions and is critical for autophagic maturation. Its amplification and overexpression promote autophagy, which renders tumor cells resistant to metabolic and genotoxic stress and results in more rapid tumor growth.
LAPTM4b; breast cancer; autophagy; lysosome-mediated death; metabolic stress
Autophagy is a survival mechanism activated in response to metabolic stress. In normal tissues autophagy plays a major role in energy homeostasis through catabolic self-digestion of damaged proteins and organelles. Contrary to its survival function, autophagy defects are implicated in tumorigenesis suggesting that autophagy is a tumor suppression mechanism. Although the exact mechanism of this tumor suppressor function is not known, it likely involves mitigation of cellular damage leading to chromosomal instability. The complex role of functional autophagy in tumors calls for model systems that allow the assessment of autophagy status, stress management and the impact on oncogenesis both in vitro as well as in vivo. We developed model systems that involve generation of genetically defined, isogenic and immortal epithelial cells from different tissue types that are applicable to both wild-type and mutant mice. This permits the study of tissue- as well as gene-specific tumor promoting functions. We successfully employed this strategy to generate isogenic, immortal epithelial cell lines from wild-type and mutant mice deficient in essential autophagy genes such as beclin 1 (beclin 1+/-) and atg5 (atg 5-/-). As these cell lines are amenable to further genetic manipulation, they allowed us to generate cell lines with apoptosis defects and stable expression of the autophagy marker EGFP-LC3 that facilitate in vitro and in vivo assessment of stress-mediated autophagy induction. We applied this model system to directly monitor autophagy in cells and 3D-morphogenesis in vitro as well as in tumor allografts in vivo. Using this model system we demonstrated that autophagy is a survival response in solid tumors that co-localizes with hypoxic regions, allowing tolerance to metabolic stress. Furthermore, our studies have established that autophagy also protects tumor cells from genome damage and limits cell death and inflammation as possible means to tumor suppression. Additionally these cell lines provide an efficient way to perform biochemical analyses, and high throughput screening for modulators of autophagy for potential use in cancer therapy and prevention.
Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a conserved sensor of intracellular energy activated in response to low nutrient availability and environmental stress. In a screen for conserved substrates of AMPK, we identified ULK1 and ULK2, mammalian orthologs of the yeast protein kinase Atg1, which is required for autophagy. Genetic analysis of AMPK or ULK1 in mammalian liver and C. elegans revealed a requirement for these kinases in autophagy. In mammals, loss of AMPK or ULK1 resulted in aberrant accumulation of the autophagy adaptor p62 and defective mitophagy. Reconstitution of ULK1-deficient cells with a mutant ULK1 that cannot be phosphorylated by AMPK revealed that such phosphorylation is required for mitochondrial homeostasis and cell survival following starvation. These findings uncover a conserved biochemical mechanism coupling nutrient status with autophagy and cell survival.
Autophagy is a highly regulated intracellular process involved in the turnover of most cellular constituents and in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. In this study, we show that the activity of autophagy increases in H2O2 or RasV12-induced senescent fibroblasts. Inhibiting autophagy promotes cell apoptosis in senescent cells, suggesting that autophagy activation plays a cytoprotective role. Furthermore, our data indicate that the increase of autophagy in senescent cells is linked to the activation of transcription factor FoxO3A, which blocks ATP generation by transcriptionally up-regulating the expression of PDK4, an inhibitor of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, thus leading to AMPK activation and mTOR inhibition. These findings suggest a novel mechanism by which FoxO3A factors can activate autophagy via metabolic alteration.
autophagy; senescent cells; apoptosis; FoxO3A; AMPK; fibroblasts
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process whereby cytoplasm and cellular organelles are degraded in lysosomes for amino acid and energy recycling. Autophagy is a survival pathway activated in response to nutrient deprivation and other stressful stimuli, such as metabolic stress and exposure to anticancer drugs. However, autophagy may also result in cell death, if it proceeds to completion. Defective autophagy is implicated in tumorigenesis, as the essential autophagy regulator beclin 1 is monoallelically deleted in human breast, ovarian and prostate cancers, and beclin 1+/− mice are tumor-prone. How autophagy suppresses tumorigenesis is under intense investigation. Cell-autonomous mechanisms, involving protection of genome integrity and stability, and a non-cell-autonomous mechanism, involving suppression of necrosis and inflammation, have been discovered so far. The role of autophagy in treatment responsiveness is also complex. Autophagy inhibition concurrently with chemotherapy or radiotherapy has emerged as a novel approach in cancer treatment, as autophagy-competent tumor cells depend on autophagy for survival under drug- and radiation-induced stress. Alternatively, autophagy stimulation and preservation of cellular fitness bymaintenance of protein and organelle quality control, suppression of DNA damage and genomic instability, and limitation of necrosis-associated inflammation may play a critical role in cancer prevention.
Autophagy; Tumorigenesis; Tumor suppression; Autophagy regulation; Cancer therapy; Autophagy modulation
Autophagy is a homeostatic, catabolic degradation process whereby cellular proteins and organelles are engulfed into autophagosomes, digested in lysosomes and recycled to sustain cellular metabolism. Autophagy has dual roles in cancer, acting as both a tumor suppressor by preventing the accumulation of damaged proteins and organelles and as a mechanism of cell survival that can promote the growth of established tumors. Tumor cells activate autophagy in response to cellular stress including hypoxia and increased metabolic demands related to rapid cell proliferation. Autophagy-related stress tolerance can enable cell survival by maintaining energy production that can lead to tumor growth and therapeutic resistance, as shown in preclinical models where the inhibition of autophagy can restore chemosensitivity and enhance tumor cell death. These results established autophagy as a therapeutic target and have led to multiple early phase clinical trials in humans evaluating autophagy inhibition using hydroxychloroquine in combination with chemotherapy or targeted agents. Targeting autophagy in cancer provides new opportunities for drug development since more potent and specific inhibitors of autophagy are needed. The role of autophagy and its regulation in cancer cells continues to emerge and studies aim to define optimal strategies to modulate autophagy for therapeutic advantage.
AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) is one of the key players in maintaining intracellular homoeostasis. AMPK is well known as an energy sensor and can be activated by increased intracellular AMP levels. Generally, the activation of AMPK turns on catabolic pathways that generate ATP, while inhibiting cell proliferation and biosynthetic processes that consume ATP. In recent years, intensive investigations on the regulation and the function of AMPK indicates that AMPK not only functions as an intracellular energy sensor and regulator, but is also a general stress sensor that is important in maintaining intracellular homoeostasis during many kinds of stress challenges. In the present paper, we will review recent literature showing that AMPK functions far beyond its proposed energy sensor and regulator function. AMPK regulates ROS (reactive oxygen species)/redox balance, autophagy, cell proliferation, cell apoptosis, cellular polarity, mitochondrial function and genotoxic response, either directly or indirectly via numerous downstream pathways under physiological and pathological conditions.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); autophagy; cardiovascular disease; energy sensor; metformin; stress
Adenosine monophosphate – activated kinase (AMPK) plays a key role in the coordination of the heart’s anabolic and catabolic pathways. It induces a cellular cascade at the center of maintaining energy homeostasis in the cardiomyocytes.. The activated AMPK is a heterotrimeric protein, separated into a catalytic α - subunit (63kDa), a regulating β - subunit (38kDa) and a γ - subunit (38kDa), which is allosterically adjusted by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). The actual binding of AMP to the γ – subunit is the step which activates AMPK.
AMPK serves also as a protein kinase in several metabolic pathways of the heart, including cellular energy sensoring or cardiovascular protection. The AMPK cascade represents a sensitive system, activated by cellular stresses that deplete ATP and acts as an indicator of intracellular ATP/AMP. In the context of cellular stressors (i.e. hypoxia, pressure overload, hypertrophy or ATP deficiency) the increasing levels of AMP promote allosteric activation and phosphorylation of AMPK. As the concentration of AMP begins to increase, ATP competitively inhibits further phosphorylation of AMPK. The increase of AMP may also be induced either from an iatrogenic emboli, percutaneous coronary intervention, or from atherosclerotic plaque rupture leading to an ischemia in the microcirculation. To modulate energy metabolism by phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is vital in terms of ATP usage, maintaining transmembrane transporters and preserving membrane potential.
In this article, we review AMPK and its role as an important regulatory enzyme during periods of myocardial stress, regulating energy metabolism, protein synthesis and cardiovascular protection.
Adenosine monophosphate - activated protein kinase; AMPK; heart failure; cardiac energy metabolism.