Cell migration is dependent on a series of integrated cellular events including the membrane recycling of the extracellular matrix receptor integrins. In this paper, we investigate the role of autophagy in regulating cell migration. In a wound-healing assay, we observed that autophagy was reduced in cells at the leading edge than in cells located rearward. These differences in autophagy were correlated with the robustness of MTOR activity. The spatial difference in the accumulation of autophagic structures was not detected in rapamycin-treated cells, which had less migration capacity than untreated cells. In contrast, the knockdown of the autophagic protein ATG7 stimulated cell migration of HeLa cells. Accordingly, atg3−/− and atg5−/− MEFs have greater cell migration properties than their wild-type counterparts. Stimulation of autophagy increased the co-localization of β1 integrin-containing vesicles with LC3-stained autophagic vacuoles. Moreover, inhibition of autophagy slowed down the lysosomal degradation of internalized β1 integrins and promoted its membrane recycling. From these findings, we conclude that autophagy regulates cell migration, a central mechanism in cell development, angiogenesis, and tumor progression, by mitigating the cell surface expression of β1 integrins.
macroautophagy; cell migration; endocytosis; integrins; MTOR; lysosomes
Liver fibrosis is a common wound healing response to chronic liver injury of all causes, and its end-stage cirrhosis is responsible for high morbidity and mortality worldwide. Fibrosis results from prolonged parenchymal cell apoptosis and necrosis associated with an inflammatory reaction that leads to recruitment of immune cells, activation and accumulation of fibrogenic cells, and extracellular matrix accumulation. The fibrogenic process is driven by hepatic myofibroblasts, that mainly derive from hepatic stellate cells undergoing a transdifferentiation from a quiescent, lipid-rich into a fibrogenic myofibroblastic phenotype, in response to paracrine/autocrine signals produced by neighbouring inflammatory and parenchymal cells. Autophagy is an important regulator of liver homeostasis under physiological and pathological conditions. This review focuses on recent findings showing that autophagy is a novel, but complex, regulatory pathway in liver fibrosis, with profibrogenic effects relying on its direct contribution to the process of hepatic stellate cell activation, but with antifibrogenic properties via indirect hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, cell-specific delivery of drugs that exploit autophagic pathways is a prerequisite to further consider autophagy as a potential target for antifibrotic therapy.
The lysosome is a key subcellular organelle that receives and degrades macromolecules from endocytic, secretory and autophagic pathways. Lysosomal function is thus critical for an efficient autophagic process. However, the molecular mechanisms mediating lysosomal function upon autophagic induction are largely unknown. Our laboratory recently discovered that upon autophagy activation, the lysosome is activated, and this functional activation is dependent on MTORC1 suppression, suggesting that MTORC1 exerts a suppressive effect on lysosomal function. Therefore, data from our study demonstrate that MTORC1 exerts a dual inhibitory effect on autophagy, blocking autophagy not only at the initiation stage via suppression of the ULK1 complex, but also at the degradation stage via inhibition of lysosomal function. We think that understanding the negative regulatory effect of MTORC1 on lysosomal function expands the functional scope of MTORC1 in autophagy regulation, and offers new clues for developing novel interventional strategies in autophagy- and lysosome-related diseases.
autophagy; lysosome; MTORC1; autophagosome; fusion
Breast cancer tissue contains a small population of cells that have the ability to self-renew; these cells are known as cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). We have recently shown that autophagy is essential for the tumorigenicity of these CSCs. Salinomycin (Sal), a K+/H+ ionophore, has recently been shown to be at least 100 times more effective than paclitaxel in reducing the proportion of breast CSCs. However, its mechanisms of action are still unclear. We show here that Sal blocked both autophagy flux and lysosomal proteolytic activity in both CSCs and non-CSCs derived from breast cancer cells. GFP-LC3 staining combined with fluorescent dextran uptake and LysoTracker-Red staining showed that autophagosome/lysosome fusion was not altered by Sal treatment. Acridine orange staining provided evidence that lysosomes display the characteristics of acidic compartments in Sal-treated cells. However, tandem mCherry-GFP-LC3 assay indicated that the degradation of mCherry-GFP-LC3 is blocked by Sal. Furthermore, the protein degradation activity of lysosomes was inhibited, as demonstrated by the rate of long-lived protein degradation, DQ-BSA assay and measurement of cathepsin activity. Our data indicated that Sal has a relatively greater suppressant effect on autophagic flux in the ALDH+ population in HMLER cells than in the ALDH− population; moreover, this differential effect on autophagic flux correlated with an increase in apoptosis in the ALDH+ population. ATG7 depletion accelerated the proapoptotic capacity of Sal in the ALDH+ population. Our findings provide new insights into how the autophagy-lysosomal pathway contributes to the ability of Sal to target CSCs in vitro.
breast cancer stem-like/progenitor cell; salinomycin; autophagy; cell death; lysosome
Nutrient deprivation is a stimulus shared by both autophagy and the formation of primary cilia. The recently discovered role of primary cilia in nutrient sensing and signaling motivated us to explore the possible functional interactions between this signaling hub and autophagy. Here we show that part of the molecular machinery involved in ciliogenesis also participates in the early steps of the autophagic process. Signaling from the cilia, such as that from the Hedgehog pathway, induces autophagy by acting directly on essential autophagy-related proteins strategically located in the base of the cilium by ciliary trafficking proteins. While abrogation of ciliogenesis partially inhibits autophagy, blockage of autophagy enhances primary cilia growth and cilia-associated signaling during normal nutritional conditions. We propose that basal autophagy regulates ciliary growth through the degradation of proteins required for intraflagellar transport. Compromised ability to activate the autophagic response may underlie the basis of some common ciliopathies.
primary cilia; intraflagellar transport proteins; lysosomes; autophagosomes; vesicular trafficking
Lysosome is a key subcellular organelle in the execution of the autophagic process and at present little is known whether lysosomal function is controlled in the process of autophagy. In this study, we first found that suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity by starvation or two mTOR catalytic inhibitors (PP242 and Torin1), but not by an allosteric inhibitor (rapamycin), leads to activation of lysosomal function. Second, we provided evidence that activation of lysosomal function is associated with the suppression of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), but not mTORC2, and the mTORC1 localization to lysosomes is not directly correlated to its regulatory role in lysosomal function. Third, we examined the involvement of transcription factor EB (TFEB) and demonstrated that TFEB activation following mTORC1 suppression is necessary but not sufficient for lysosomal activation. Finally, Atg5 or Atg7 deletion or blockage of the autophagosome-lysosome fusion process effectively diminished lysosomal activation, suggesting that lysosomal activation occurring in the course of autophagy is dependent on autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Taken together, this study demonstrates that in the course of autophagy, lysosomal function is upregulated via a dual mechanism involving mTORC1 suppression and autophagosome-lysosome fusion.
autophagy; lysosome; mTORC1; autophagosome
Malignant tissue contains a rare population of multi-potent cells known as cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). Autophagy is an important mechanism in cancer cell survival and tumor growth; it can both suppress malignant transformation and promote the growth of established cancers. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the tumor-promoting and tumor-suppressing functions of autophagy in CSCs are not understood. Our work demonstrates that a prosurvival autophagic pathway is critical for breast CSC maintenance. Notably, we provide new evidence for the existence of two separate, context-dependent, autophagic programs that are regulated in opposite ways by BECN1.
breast cancer; autophagy; cancer stem-like/progenitor cell; Beclin 1
Autophagy is now known to be an essential component of host innate and adaptive immunity. Several herpesviruses have developed various strategies to evade this antiviral host defense. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) blocks autophagy in fibroblasts and in neurons, and the ICP34.5 protein is important for the resistance of HSV-1 to autophagy because of its interaction with the autophagy machinery protein Beclin 1. ICP34.5 also counteracts the shutoff of protein synthesis mediated by the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase PKR by inhibiting phosphorylation of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) in the PKR/eIF2α signaling pathway. Us11 is a late gene product of HSV-1, which is also able to preclude the host shutoff by direct inhibition of PKR. In the present study, we unveil a previously uncharacterized function of Us11 by demonstrating its antiautophagic activity. We show that the expression of Us11 is able to block autophagy and autophagosome formation in both HeLa cells and fibroblasts. Furthermore, immediate-early expression of Us11 by an ICP34.5 deletion mutant virus is sufficient to render the cells resistant to PKR-induced and virus-induced autophagy. PKR expression and the PKR binding domain of Us11 are required for the antiautophagic activity of Us11. However, unlike ICP34.5, Us11 did not interact with Beclin 1. We suggest that the inhibition of autophagy observed in cells infected with HSV-1 results from the activity of not only ICP34.5 on Beclin 1 but also Us11 by direct interaction with PKR.
Autophagy is a rapidly expanding field in the sense that our knowledge about the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. Similarly, the vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. This fact makes it difficult for readers, even those who work in the field, to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors or chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, or the role of accessory machinery or structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; definitions; glossary; lexicon; terms
Amino acids, leucine in particular, are known to inhibit autophagy, at least in part by their ability to stimulate MTOR-mediated signaling. Evidence is presented showing that glutamate dehydrogenase, the central enzyme in amino acid catabolism, contributes to leucine sensing in the regulation of autophagy. The data suggest a dual mechanism by which glutamate dehydrogenase activity modulates autophagy, i.e., by activating MTORC1 and by limiting the formation of reactive oxygen species.
reactive oxygen species; NADPH; amino acids; signaling; mitochondria; MTOR; AMPK; transhydrogenase
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. 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 vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased 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. 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. 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 autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
LC3; autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
Autophagy is an essential, conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that controls the quality of the cytoplasm by eliminating protein aggregates and damaged organelles. It begins when double-membraned autophagosomes engulf portions of the cytoplasm, which is followed by fusion of these vesicles with lysosomes and degradation of the autophagic contents. In addition to its vital homeostatic role, this degradation pathway is involved in various human disorders, including metabolic conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, cancers and infectious diseases. This article provides an overview of the mechanisms and regulation of autophagy, the role of this pathway in disease and strategies for therapeutic modulation.
Canonical autophagy is positively regulated by the Beclin 1/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase class III (PtdIns3KC3) complex that generates an essential phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PtdIns(3)P), for the formation of autophagosomes. Previously, we identified the human WIPI protein family and found that WIPI-1 specifically binds PtdIns(3)P, accumulates at the phagophore and becomes a membrane protein of generated autophagosomes. Combining siRNA-mediated protein downregulation with automated high through-put analysis of PtdIns(3)P-dependent autophagosomal membrane localization of WIPI-1, we found that WIPI-1 functions upstream of both Atg7 and Atg5, and stimulates an increase of LC3-II upon nutrient starvation. Resveratrol-mediated autophagy was shown to enter autophagic degradation in a noncanonical manner, independent of Beclin 1 but dependent on Atg7 and Atg5. By using electron microscopy, LC3 lipidation and GFP-LC3 puncta-formation assays we confirmed these results and found that this effect is partially wortmannin-insensitive. In line with this, resveratrol did not promote phagophore localization of WIPI-1, WIPI-2 or the Atg16L complex above basal level. In fact, the presence of resveratrol in nutrient-free conditions inhibited phagophore localization of WIPI-1. Nevertheless, we found that resveratrol-mediated autophagy functionally depends on canonical-driven LC3-II production, as shown by siRNA-mediated downregulation of WIPI-1 or WIPI-2. From this it is tempting to speculate that resveratrol promotes noncanonical autophagic degradation downstream of the PtdIns(3)P-WIPI-Atg7-Atg5 pathway, by engaging a distinct subset of LC3-II that might be generated at membrane origins apart from canonical phagophore structures.
WIPI-1; Atg18; PtdIns(3)P; LC3; resveratrol; noncanonical autophagy
Ceramide is a sphingolipid bioactive molecule that induces apoptosis and other forms of cell death, and triggers macroautophagy (referred to below as autophagy). Like amino acid starvation, ceramide triggers autophagy by interfering with the mTOR-signaling pathway, and by dissociating the Beclin 1:Bcl-2 complex in a c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1)-mediated Bcl-2 phosphorylation-dependent manner. Dissociation of the Beclin 1:Bcl-2 complex, and the subsequent stimulation of autophagy have been observed in various contexts in which the cellular level of long-chain ceramides was increased. It is notable that the conversion of short-chain ceramides (C2-ceramide and C6-ceramide) into long-chain ceramide via the activity of ceramide synthase is required to trigger autophagy. The dissociation of the Beclin 1:Bcl-2 complex has also been observed in response to tamoxifen and PDMP (an inhibitor of the enzyme that converts ceramide to glucosylceramide), drugs that increase the intracellular level of long-chain ceramides. However, and in contrast to starvation, over-expression of Bcl-2 does not blunt ceramide-induced autophagy. Whether this autophagy that is unchecked by forced dissociation of the Beclin 1:Bcl-2 complex is related to the ability of ceramide to trigger cell death remains an open question. More generally, the question of whether ceramide-induced autophagy is a dedicated cell death mechanism deserves closer scrutiny.
macroautophagy; Bcl-2; Beclin 1; c-Jun N-terminal kinase; cell death; sphingolipids
The study of autophagy is rapidly expanding, and our knowledge of the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. The vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. In fact, it is difficult for readers—even those who work in the field—to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors and chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, and the roles of accessory components and structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; lysosome; mitophagy; pexophagy; stress; vacuole
Human cytomegalovirus modulates macroautophagy in two opposite directions. First, HCMV stimulates autophagy during the early stages of infection, as evident by an increase in the number of autophagosomes and a rise in the autophagic flux. This stimulation occurs independently of de novo viral protein synthesis since UV-inactivated HCMV recapitulates the stimulatory effect on macroautophagy. At later time points of infection, HCMV blocks autophagy (M. Chaumorcel, S. Souquere, G. Pierron, P. Codogno, and A. Esclatine, Autophagy 4:1–8, 2008) by a mechanism that requires de novo viral protein expression. Exploration of the mechanisms used by HCMV to block autophagy unveiled a robust increase of the cellular form of Bcl-2 expression. Although this protein has an anti-autophagy effect via its interaction with Beclin 1, it is not responsible for the inhibition induced by HCMV, probably because of its phosphorylation by c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Here we showed that the HCMV TRS1 protein blocks autophagosome biogenesis and that a TRS1 deletion mutant is defective in autophagy inhibition. TRS1 has previously been shown to neutralize the PKR antiviral effector molecule. Although phosphorylation of eIF2α by PKR has been described as a stimulatory signal to induce autophagy, the PKR-binding domain of TRS1 is dispensable to its inhibitory effect. Our results show that TRS1 interacts with Beclin 1 to inhibit autophagy. We mapped the interaction with Beclin 1 to the N-terminal region of TRS1, and we demonstrated that the Beclin 1-binding domain of TRS1 is essential to inhibit autophagy.
Multiple cellular stressors, including activation of the tumour suppressor p53, can stimulate autophagy. Here we show that knockout, knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of p53 can induce autophagy in human, mouse and nematode cells. Enhanced autophagy improved the survival of p53-deficient cancer cells under conditions of hypoxia and nutrient depletion, allowing them to maintain high ATP levels. Inhibition of p53 led to autophagy in enucleated cells, and cytoplasmic, not nuclear, p53 was able to repress the enhanced autophagy of p53-/- cells. Many different inducers of autophagy (for example, starvation, rapamycin and toxins affecting the endoplasmic reticulum) stimulated proteasome-mediated degradation of p53 through a pathway relying on the E3 ubiquitin ligase HDM2. Inhibition of p53 degradation prevented the activation of autophagy in several cell lines, in response to several distinct stimuli. These results provide evidence of a key signalling pathway that links autophagy to the cancer-associated dysregulation of p53.
Research in autophagy continues to accelerate,1 and as a result many new scientists are entering the field. Accordingly, it is important to establish a standard set of criteria for monitoring macroautophagy in different organisms. Recent reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose.2,3 There are many useful and convenient methods that can be used to monitor macroautophagy in yeast, but relatively few in other model systems, and there is much confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure macroautophagy in higher eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers of autophagosomes versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway; thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from fully functional autophagy that includes delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of the methods that can be used by investigators who are attempting to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as by reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that investigate these processes. This set of guidelines is not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to verify an autophagic response.
autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env), expressed at the cell surface, induce apoptosis of uninfected CD4+ T cells, contributing to the development of AIDS. Here we demonstrate that, independently of HIV replication, transfected or HIV-infected cells that express Env induced autophagy and accumulation of Beclin 1 in uninfected CD4+ T lymphocytes via CXCR4. The same phenomena occurred in a T cell line and in transfected HEK.293 cells that expressed both wild-type CXCR4 and a truncated form of CD4 that is unable to bind the lymphocyte-specific protein kinase Lck. Env-mediated autophagy is required to trigger CD4+ T cell apoptosis since blockade of autophagy at different steps, by either drugs (3-methyladenine and bafilomycin A1) or siRNAs specific for Beclin 1/Atg6 and Atg7 genes, totally inhibited the apoptotic process. Furthermore, CD4+ T cells still underwent Env-mediated cell death with autophagic features when apoptosis was inhibited. These results suggest that HIV-infected cells can induce autophagy in bystander CD4+ T lymphocytes through contact of Env with CXCR4, leading to apoptotic cell death, a mechanism most likely contributing to immunodeficiency.
Mammalian cells were observed to die under conditions in which nutrients were depleted and, simultaneously, macroautophagy was inhibited either genetically (by a small interfering RNA targeting Atg5, Atg6/Beclin 1-1, Atg10, or Atg12) or pharmacologically (by 3-methyladenine, hydroxychloroquine, bafilomycin A1, or monensin). Cell death occurred through apoptosis (type 1 cell death), since it was reduced by stabilization of mitochondrial membranes (with Bcl-2 or vMIA, a cytomegalovirus-derived gene) or by caspase inhibition. Under conditions in which the fusion between lysosomes and autophagosomes was inhibited, the formation of autophagic vacuoles was enhanced at a preapoptotic stage, as indicated by accumulation of LC3-II protein, ultrastructural studies, and an increase in the acidic vacuolar compartment. Cells exhibiting a morphology reminiscent of (autophagic) type 2 cell death, however, recovered, and only cells with a disrupted mitochondrial transmembrane potential were beyond the point of no return and inexorably died even under optimal culture conditions. All together, these data indicate that autophagy may be cytoprotective, at least under conditions of nutrient depletion, and point to an important cross talk between type 1 and type 2 cell death pathways.
Large, free polymannose oligosaccharides generated during glycoprotein biosynthesis rapidly appear in the cytosol of HepG2 cells where they undergo processing by a cytosolic endo H–like enzyme and a mannosidase to yield the linear isomer of Man5GlcNAc (Man[α1-2]Man[α1-2]Man[α1-3][Man α1-6]Man[β14]GlcNAc). Here we have examined the fate of these partially trimmed oligosaccharides in intact HepG2 cells. Subsequent to pulse–chase incubations with d-[2- 3H]mannose followed by permeabilization of cells with streptolysin O free oligosaccharides were isolated from the resulting cytosolic and membrane-bound compartments. Control pulse–chase experiments revealed that total cellular free oligosaccharides are lost from HepG2 cells with a half-life of 3–4 h. In contrast use of the vacuolar H+/ATPase inhibitor, concanamycin A, stabilized total cellular free oligosaccharides and enabled us to demonstrate a translocation of partially trimmed oligosaccharides from the cytosol into a membrane-bound compartment. This translocation process was unaffected by inhibitors of autophagy but inhibited if cells were treated with either 100 μM swainsonine, which provokes a cytosolic accumulation of large free oligosaccharides bearing 8-9 residues of mannose, or agents known to reduce cellular ATP levels which lead to the accumulation of the linear isomer of Man5GlcNAc in the cytosol. Subcellular fractionation studies on Percoll density gradients revealed that the cytosol-generated linear isomer of Man5GlcNAc is degraded in a membrane-bound compartment that cosediments with lysosomes.