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1.  Spermidine and resveratrol induce autophagy by distinct pathways converging on the acetylproteome 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;192(4):615-629.
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.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201008167
PMCID: PMC3044119  PMID: 21339330
2.  Autophagy mediates pharmacological lifespan extension by spermidine and resveratrol 
Aging (Albany NY)  2009;1(12):961-970.
Although autophagy has widely been conceived as a self-destructive mechanism that causes cell death, accumulating evidence suggests that autophagy usually mediates cytoprotection, thereby avoiding the apoptotic or necrotic demise of stressed cells. Recent evidence produced by our groups demonstrates that autophagy is also involved in pharmacological manipulations that increase longevity. Exogenous supply of the polyamine spermidine can prolong the lifespan of (while inducing autophagy in) yeast, nematodes and flies. Similarly, resveratrol can trigger autophagy in cells from different organisms, extend lifespan in nematodes, and ameliorate the fitness of human cells undergoing metabolic stress. These beneficial effects are lost when essential autophagy modulators are genetically or pharmacologically inactivated, indicating that autophagy is required for the cytoprotective and/or anti-aging effects of spermidine and resveratrol. Genetic and functional studies indicate that spermidine inhibits histone acetylases, while resveratrol activates the histone deacetylase Sirtuin 1 to confer cytoprotection/longevity. Although it remains elusive whether the same histones (or perhaps other nuclear or cytoplasmic proteins) act as the downstream targets of spermidine and resveratrol, these results point to an essential role of protein hypoacetylation in autophagy control and in the regulation of longevity.
PMCID: PMC2815753  PMID: 20157579
AMPK; Caenorhabditis elegans; IKK; mTOR; p53; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
3.  Regulation of autophagy by cytoplasmic p53 
Nature cell biology  2008;10(6):676-687.
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.
doi:10.1038/ncb1730
PMCID: PMC2676564  PMID: 18454141
4.  Viral Control of Mitochondrial Apoptosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(5):e1000018.
Throughout the process of pathogen–host co-evolution, viruses have developed a battery of distinct strategies to overcome biochemical and immunological defenses of the host. Thus, viruses have acquired the capacity to subvert host cell apoptosis, control inflammatory responses, and evade immune reactions. Since the elimination of infected cells via programmed cell death is one of the most ancestral defense mechanisms against infection, disabling host cell apoptosis might represent an almost obligate step in the viral life cycle. Conversely, viruses may take advantage of stimulating apoptosis, either to kill uninfected cells from the immune system, or to induce the breakdown of infected cells, thereby favoring viral dissemination. Several viral polypeptides are homologs of host-derived apoptosis-regulatory proteins, such as members of the Bcl-2 family. Moreover, viral factors with no homology to host proteins specifically target key components of the apoptotic machinery. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the viral modulation of mitochondrial apoptosis, by focusing in particular on the mechanisms by which viral proteins control the host cell death apparatus.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000018
PMCID: PMC2376094  PMID: 18516228

Results 1-4 (4)