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1.  The HOPS complex mediates autophagosome–lysosome fusion through interaction with syntaxin 17 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(8):1327-1337.
Autophagosome–lysosome fusion requires the autophagosomal SNARE syntaxin 17. Syntaxin 17 interacts with the HOPS-tethering complex. HOPS is required for syntaxin 17–dependent autophagosome–lysosome fusion, besides its function in endolysosomal fusion.
Membrane fusion is generally controlled by Rabs, soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs), and tethering complexes. Syntaxin 17 (STX17) was recently identified as the autophagosomal SNARE required for autophagosome–lysosome fusion in mammals and Drosophila. In this study, to better understand the mechanism of autophagosome–lysosome fusion, we searched for STX17-interacting proteins. Immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analysis identified vacuolar protein sorting 33A (VPS33A) and VPS16, which are components of the homotypic fusion and protein sorting (HOPS)–tethering complex. We further confirmed that all HOPS components were coprecipitated with STX17. Knockdown of VPS33A, VPS16, or VPS39 blocked autophagic flux and caused accumulation of STX17- and microtubule-associated protein light chain (LC3)–positive autophagosomes. The endocytic pathway was also affected by knockdown of VPS33A, as previously reported, but not by knockdown of STX17. By contrast, ultraviolet irradiation resistance–associated gene (UVRAG), a known HOPS-interacting protein, did not interact with the STX17–HOPS complex and may not be directly involved in autophagosome–lysosome fusion. Collectively these results suggest that, in addition to its well-established function in the endocytic pathway, HOPS promotes autophagosome–lysosome fusion through interaction with STX17.
PMCID: PMC3982997  PMID: 24554770
2.  Interaction of the HOPS complex with Syntaxin 17 mediates autophagosome clearance in Drosophila 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(8):1338-1354.
Interaction of the autophagosomal SNARE Syntaxin 17 (Syx17) with the homotypic fusion and vacuole protein–sorting (HOPS) tethering complex is necessary for the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. HOPS, but not Syx17, is also required for endocytic degradation and biosynthetic transport to lysosomes and eye pigment granules.
Homotypic fusion and vacuole protein sorting (HOPS) is a tethering complex required for trafficking to the vacuole/lysosome in yeast. Specific interaction of HOPS with certain SNARE (soluble NSF attachment protein receptor) proteins ensures the fusion of appropriate vesicles. HOPS function is less well characterized in metazoans. We show that all six HOPS subunits (Vps11 [vacuolar protein sorting 11]/CG32350, Vps18/Dor, Vps16A, Vps33A/Car, Vps39/CG7146, and Vps41/Lt) are required for fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes in Drosophila. Loss of these genes results in large-scale accumulation of autophagosomes and blocks autophagic degradation under basal, starvation-induced, and developmental conditions. We find that HOPS colocalizes and interacts with Syntaxin 17 (Syx17), the recently identified autophagosomal SNARE required for fusion in Drosophila and mammals, suggesting their association is critical during tethering and fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. HOPS, but not Syx17, is also required for endocytic down-regulation of Notch and Boss in developing eyes and for proper trafficking to lysosomes and eye pigment granules. We also show that the formation of autophagosomes and their fusion with lysosomes is largely unaffected in null mutants of Vps38/UVRAG (UV radiation resistance associated), a suggested binding partner of HOPS in mammals, while endocytic breakdown and lysosome biogenesis is perturbed. Our results establish the role of HOPS and its likely mechanism of action during autophagy in metazoans.
PMCID: PMC3982998  PMID: 24554766
3.  Functional genomic screen identifies novel mediators of collagen uptake 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(5):583-593.
Novel mediators of cell-mediated collagen turnover are identified through an RNAi screen targeting Drosophila genes with metazoan orthologues. Flotillin genes are key regulators of collagen turnover in mammalian cells and work by stabilizing expression of collagen endocytic receptors.
Tissue fibrosis occurs when matrix production outpaces matrix degradation. Degradation of collagen, the main component of fibrotic tissue, is mediated through an extracellular proteolytic pathway and intracellular pathway of cellular uptake and lysosomal digestion. Recent studies demonstrate that disruption of the intracellular pathways can exacerbate fibrosis. These pathways are poorly characterized. Here we identify novel mediators of the intracellular pathway of collagen turnover through a genome-wide RNA interference screen in Drosophila S2 cells. Screening of 7505 Drosophila genes conserved among metazoans identified 22 genes that were required for efficient internalization of type I collagen. These included proteins involved in vesicle transport, the actin cytoskeleton, and signal transduction. We show further that the flotillin genes have a conserved and central role in collagen uptake in Drosophila and human cells. Short hairpin RNA–mediated silencing of flotillins in human monocyte and fibroblasts impaired collagen uptake by promoting lysosomal degradation of the endocytic collagen receptors uPARAP/Endo180 and mannose receptor. These data provide an initial characterization of intracellular pathways of collagen turnover and identify the flotillin genes as critical regulators of this process. A better understanding of these pathways may lead to novel therapies that reduce fibrosis by increasing collagen turnover.
PMCID: PMC3937085  PMID: 24403604
4.  Rab11 facilitates cross-talk between autophagy and endosomal pathway through regulation of Hook localization 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(4):522-531.
This study shows that the small GTPase Rab11 is required for both autophagosome and endosome maturation. The authors demonstrate a novel cross-talk mechanism through which autophagy can orchestrate endosomal maturation events to ensure the required endolysosomal input for autophagosome maturation.
During autophagy, double-membrane autophagosomes deliver sequestered cytoplasmic content to late endosomes and lysosomes for degradation. The molecular mechanism of autophagosome maturation is still poorly characterized. The small GTPase Rab11 regulates endosomal traffic and is thought to function at the level of recycling endosomes. We show that loss of Rab11 leads to accumulation of autophagosomes and late endosomes in Drosophila melanogaster. Rab11 translocates from recycling endosomes to autophagosomes in response to autophagy induction and physically interacts with Hook, a negative regulator of endosome maturation. Hook anchors endosomes to microtubules, and we show that Rab11 facilitates the fusion of endosomes and autophagosomes by removing Hook from mature late endosomes and inhibiting its homodimerization. Thus induction of autophagy appears to promote autophagic flux by increased convergence with the endosomal pathway.
PMCID: PMC3923643  PMID: 24356450
5.  Recruitment of the autophagic machinery to endosomes during infection is mediated by ubiquitin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;203(1):115-128.
After bacterial invasion, ubiquitin is conjugated to host endosomal proteins and recognized by the autophagic machinery independent of LC3.
Although ubiquitin is thought to be important for the autophagic sequestration of invading bacteria (also called xenophagy), its precise role remains largely enigmatic. Here we determined how ubiquitin is involved in this process. After invasion, ubiquitin is conjugated to host cellular proteins in endosomes that contain Salmonella or transfection reagent–coated latex (polystyrene) beads, which mimic invading bacteria. Ubiquitin is recognized by the autophagic machinery independently of the LC3–ubiquitin interaction through adaptor proteins, including a direct interaction between ubiquitin and Atg16L1. To ensure that invading pathogens are captured and degraded, Atg16L1 targeting is secured by two backup systems that anchor Atg16L1 to ubiquitin-decorated endosomes. Thus, we reveal that ubiquitin is a pivotal molecule that connects bacteria-containing endosomes with the autophagic machinery upstream of LC3.
PMCID: PMC3798248  PMID: 24100292
6.  Impaired autophagy by soluble endoglin, under physiological hypoxia in early pregnant period, is involved in poor placentation in preeclampsia 
Autophagy  2013;9(3):303-316.
In early pregnancy, trophoblasts and the fetus experience hypoxic and low-nutrient conditions; nevertheless, trophoblasts invade the uterine myometrium up to one third of its depth and migrate along the lumina of spiral arterioles, replacing the maternal endothelial lining. Here, we showed that autophagy, an intracellular bulk degradation system, occurred in extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells under hypoxia in vitro and in vivo. An enhancement of autophagy was observed in EVTs in early placental tissues, which suffer from physiological hypoxia. The invasion and vascular remodeling under hypoxia were significantly reduced in autophagy-deficient EVT cells compared with wild-type EVT cells. Interestingly, soluble endoglin (sENG), which increased in sera in preeclamptic cases, suppressed EVT invasion by inhibiting autophagy. The sENG-inhibited EVT invasion was recovered by TGFB1 treatment in a dose-dependent manner. A high dose of sENG inhibited the vascular construction by EVT cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), meanwhile a low dose of sENG inhibited the replacement of HUVECs by EVT cells. A protein selectively degraded by autophagy, SQSTM1, accumulated in EVT cells in preeclamptic placental biopsy samples showing impaired autophagy. This is the first report showing that impaired autophagy in EVT contributes to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3590252  PMID: 23321791
autophagy; extravillous trophoblast; hypoxia; invasion; preeclampsia; SQSTM1; soluble endoglin
7.  Autophagy Induced by HIF1α Overexpression Supports Trophoblast Invasion by Supplying Cellular Energy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76605.
Extravillous trophoblasts (EVTs) characterize the invasion of the maternal decidua under low oxygen and poor nutrition at the early feto-maternal interface to establish a successful pregnancy. We previously reported that autophagy in EVTs was activated under 2% O2 in vitro, and autophagy activation was also observed in EVTs at the early feto-maternal interface in vivo. Here, we show that autophagy is an energy source for the invasion of EVTs. Cobalt chloride (CoCl2), which induces hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) overexpression, activated autophagy in HTR8/SVneo cells, an EVT cell line. The number of invading HTR8-ATG4BC74A cells, an autophagy-deficient EVT cell line, was markedly reduced by 81 percent with the CoCl2 treatment through the suppression of MMP9 level, although CoCl2 did not affect the cellular invasion of HTR8-mStrawberry cells, a control cell line. HTR8-ATG4BC74A cells treated with CoCl2 showed a decrease in cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and a compensatory increase in the expression of purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 7 (P2RX7), which is stimulated with ATP, whereas HTR8-mStrawberry cells maintained cellular ATP levels and did not affect P2RX7 expression. Furthermore, the decreased invasiveness of HTR8-ATG4BC74A cells treated with CoCl2 was neutralized by ATP supplementation to the level of HTR8-ATG4BC74A cells treated without CoCl2. These results suggest that autophagy plays a role in maintaining homeostasis by countervailing HIF1α-mediated cellular energy consumption in EVTs.
PMCID: PMC3789701  PMID: 24098539
8.  Arl8/ARL-8 functions in apoptotic cell removal by mediating phagolysosome formation in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(10):1584-1592.
The engulfment and clearance of apoptotic cells by neighboring cells or professional phagocytes is crucial to tissue homeostasis and the regulation of immune responses. The Arf-like GTPase Arl8, which localizes primarily to lysosomes, mediates phagolysosome formation to promote the efficient degradation of apoptotic germ cells in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Efficient clearance of apoptotic cells by phagocytes is important for development, tissue homeostasis, and the prevention of autoimmune responses. Phagosomes containing apoptotic cells undergo acidification and mature from Rab5-positive early to Rab7-positive late stages. Phagosomes finally fuse with lysosomes to form phagolysosomes, which degrade apoptotic cells; however, the molecular mechanism underlying phagosome–lysosome fusion is not fully understood. Here we show that the Caenorhabditis elegans Arf-like small GTPase Arl8 (ARL-8) is involved in phagolysosome formation and is required for the efficient removal of apoptotic cells. Loss of function of arl-8 results in the accumulation of apoptotic germ cells. Both the engulfment of the apoptotic cells by surrounding somatic sheath cells and the phagosomal maturation from RAB-5- to RAB-7-positive stages occur in arl-8 mutants. However, the phagosomes fail to fuse with lysosomes in the arl-8 mutants, leading to the accumulation of RAB-7-positive phagosomes and the delayed degradation of apoptotic cells. ARL-8 localizes primarily to lysosomes and physically interacts with the homotypic fusion and protein sorting complex component VPS-41. Collectively our findings reveal that ARL-8 facilitates apoptotic cell removal in vivo by mediating phagosome–lysosome fusion during phagocytosis.
PMCID: PMC3655818  PMID: 23485564
9.  Critical Roles for Lipomannan and Lipoarabinomannan in Cell Wall Integrity of Mycobacteria and Pathogenesis of Tuberculosis 
mBio  2013;4(1):e00472-12.
Lipomannan (LM) and lipoarabinomannan (LAM) are mycobacterial glycolipids containing a long mannose polymer. While they are implicated in immune modulations, the significance of LM and LAM as structural components of the mycobacterial cell wall remains unknown. We have previously reported that a branch-forming mannosyltransferase plays a critical role in controlling the sizes of LM and LAM and that deletion or overexpression of this enzyme results in gross changes in LM/LAM structures. Here, we show that such changes in LM/LAM structures have a significant impact on the cell wall integrity of mycobacteria. In Mycobacterium smegmatis, structural defects in LM and LAM resulted in loss of acid-fast staining, increased sensitivity to β-lactam antibiotics, and faster killing by THP-1 macrophages. Furthermore, equivalent Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutants became more sensitive to β-lactams, and one mutant showed attenuated virulence in mice. Our results revealed previously unknown structural roles for LM and LAM and further demonstrated that they are important for the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global burden, affecting millions of people worldwide. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a causative agent of TB, and understanding the biology of M. tuberculosis is essential for tackling this devastating disease. The cell wall of M. tuberculosis is highly impermeable and plays a protective role in establishing infection. Among the cell wall components, LM and LAM are major glycolipids found in all Mycobacterium species, show various immunomodulatory activities, and have been thought to play roles in TB pathogenesis. However, the roles of LM and LAM as integral parts of the cell wall structure have not been elucidated. Here we show that LM and LAM play critical roles in the integrity of mycobacterial cell wall and the pathogenesis of TB. These findings will now allow us to seek the possibility that the LM/LAM biosynthetic pathway is a chemotherapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3573661  PMID: 23422411
10.  Atg16L2, a novel isoform of mammalian Atg16L that is not essential for canonical autophagy despite forming an Atg12–5-16L2 complex 
Autophagy  2011;7(12):1500-1513.
A large protein complex consisting of Atg5, Atg12 and Atg16L1 has recently been shown to be essential for the elongation of isolation membranes (also called phagophores) during mammalian autophagy. However, the precise function and regulation of the Atg12–5-16L1 complex has largely remained unknown. In this study we identified a novel isoform of mammalian Atg16L, termed Atg16L2, that consists of the same domain structures as Atg16L1. Biochemical analysis revealed that Atg16L2 interacts with Atg5 and self-oligomerizes to form an ~800-kDa complex, the same as Atg16L1 does. A subcellular distribution analysis indicated that, despite forming the Atg12–5-16L2 complex, Atg16L2 is not recruited to phagophores and is mostly present in the cytosol. The results also showed that Atg16L2 is unable to compensate for the function of Atg16L1 in autophagosome formation, and knockdown of endogenous Atg16L2 did not affect autophagosome formation, indicating that Atg16L2 does not possess the ability to mediate canonical autophagy. Moreover, a chimeric analysis between Atg16L1 and Atg16L2 revealed that their difference in function in regard to autophagy is entirely attributable to the difference between their middle regions that contain a coiled-coil domain. Based on the above findings, we propose that formation of the Atg12–5-16L complex is necessary but insufficient to mediate mammalian autophagy and that an additional function of the middle region (especially around amino acid residues 229–242) of Atg16L1 (e.g., interaction with an unidentified binding partner on phagophores) is required for autophagosome formation.
PMCID: PMC3288023  PMID: 22082872
autophagy; Atg16L; autophagosome; coiled-coil domain; LC3; Rab33-binding protein; Rab effector
11.  cis-Golgi proteins accumulate near the ER exit sites and act as the scaffold for Golgi regeneration after brefeldin A treatment in tobacco BY-2 cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(16):3203-3214.
Particular cis-Golgi proteins accumulate in novel punctate structures close to ERES by BFA treatment in tobacco BY-2 cells. These structures reassemble first to form cis-Golgi after BFA removal, and the Golgi stacks regenerate in the cis-to-trans order. This indicates that the punctate structures act as the scaffold for Golgi regeneration.
The Golgi apparatus forms stacks of cisternae in many eukaryotic cells. However, little is known about how such a stacked structure is formed and maintained. To address this question, plant cells provide a system suitable for live-imaging approaches because individual Golgi stacks are well separated in the cytoplasm. We established tobacco BY-2 cell lines expressing multiple Golgi markers tagged by different fluorescent proteins and observed their responses to brefeldin A (BFA) treatment and BFA removal. BFA treatment disrupted cis, medial, and trans cisternae but caused distinct relocalization patterns depending on the proteins examined. Medial- and trans-Golgi proteins, as well as one cis-Golgi protein, were absorbed into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), but two other cis-Golgi proteins formed small punctate structures. After BFA removal, these puncta coalesced first, and then the Golgi stacks regenerated from them in the cis-to-trans order. We suggest that these structures have a property similar to the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment and function as the scaffold of Golgi regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3418314  PMID: 22740633
12.  Autophagy Creates a CTL Epitope That Mimics Tumor-Associated Antigens 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47126.
The detailed mechanisms responsible for processing tumor-associated antigens and presenting them to CTLs remain to be fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate a unique CTL epitope generated from the ubiquitous protein puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, which is presented via HLA-A24 on leukemic and pancreatic cancer cells but not on normal fibroblasts or EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid cells. The generation of this epitope requires proteasomal digestion and transportation from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus and is sensitive to chloroquine-induced inhibition of acidification inside the endosome/lysosome. Epitope liberation depends on constitutively active autophagy, as confirmed with immunocytochemistry for the autophagosome marker LC3 as well as RNA interference targeting two different autophagy-related genes. Therefore, ubiquitously expressed proteins may be sources of specific tumor-associated antigens when processed through a unique mechanism involving autophagy.
PMCID: PMC3469533  PMID: 23071732
13.  The inositol 5-phosphatase SHIP2 is an effector of RhoA and is involved in cell polarity and migration 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(13):2593-2604.
Polarization in motile cells requires the coordination of several key signaling molecules, including RhoA small GTPases and phosphoinositides. It is found that SHIP2 interacts with RhoA in a GTP-dependent manner and this interaction is required for proper localization of PI(3,4,5)P3 and regulation of cell polarization and migration.
Cell migration is essential for various physiological and pathological processes. Polarization in motile cells requires the coordination of several key signaling molecules, including RhoA small GTPases and phosphoinositides. Although RhoA participates in a front–rear polarization in migrating cells, little is known about the functional interaction between RhoA and lipid turnover. We find here that src-homology 2–containing inositol-5-phosphatase 2 (SHIP2) interacts with RhoA in a GTP-dependent manner. The association between SHIP2 and RhoA is observed in spreading and migrating U251 glioma cells. The depletion of SHIP2 attenuates cell polarization and migration, which is rescued by wild-type SHIP2 but not by a mutant defective in RhoA binding. In addition, the depletion of SHIP2 impairs the proper localization of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate, which is not restored by a mutant defective in RhoA binding. These results suggest that RhoA associates with SHIP2 to regulate cell polarization and migration.
PMCID: PMC3386222  PMID: 22593208
14.  Autophagy modulates dynamics of connexins at the plasma membrane in a ubiquitin-dependent manner 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(11):2156-2169.
Connexins modulate intercellular communication when assembled in gap junctions. Compromised macroautophagy increases cellular communication due to failure to degrade connexins at gap junctions. Nedd4-mediated ubiquitinylation of the connexin molecule is required to trigger its autophagy-dependent internalization and degradation.
Different pathways contribute to the turnover of connexins, the main structural components of gap junctions (GJs). The cellular pool of connexins targeted to each pathway and the functional consequences of degradation through these degradative pathways are unknown. In this work, we focused on the contribution of macroautophagy to connexin degradation. Using pharmacological and genetic blockage of macroautophagy both in vitro and in vivo, we found that the cellular pool targeted by this autophagic system is primarily the one organized into GJs. Interruption of connexins' macroautophagy resulted in their retention at the plasma membrane in the form of functional GJs and subsequent increased GJ-mediated intercellular diffusion. Up-regulation of macroautophagy alone is not sufficient to induce connexin internalization and degradation. To better understand what factors determine the autophagic degradation of GJ connexins, we analyzed the changes undergone by the fraction of plasma membrane connexin 43 targeted for macroautophagy and the sequence of events that trigger this process. We found that Nedd4-mediated ubiquitinylation of the connexin molecule is required to recruit the adaptor protein Eps15 to the GJ and to initiate the autophagy-dependent internalization and degradation of connexin 43. This study reveals a novel regulatory role for macroautophagy in GJ function that is directly dependent on the ubiquitinylation of plasma membrane connexins.
PMCID: PMC3364179  PMID: 22496425
15.  Dysfunction of Autophagy Participates in Vacuole Formation and Cell Death in Cells Replicating Hepatitis C Virus ▿ §  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(24):13185-13194.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver diseases. A high risk of chronicity is the major concern of HCV infection, since chronic HCV infection often leads to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Infection with the HCV genotype 1 in particular is considered a clinical risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, although the molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis are largely unknown. Autophagy is involved in the degradation of cellular organelles and the elimination of invasive microorganisms. In addition, disruption of autophagy often leads to several protein deposition diseases. Although recent reports suggest that HCV exploits the autophagy pathway for viral propagation, the biological significance of the autophagy to the life cycle of HCV is still uncertain. Here, we show that replication of HCV RNA induces autophagy to inhibit cell death. Cells harboring an HCV replicon RNA of genotype 1b strain Con1 but not of genotype 2a strain JFH1 exhibited an incomplete acidification of the autolysosome due to a lysosomal defect, leading to the enhanced secretion of immature cathepsin B. The suppression of autophagy in the Con1 HCV replicon cells induced severe cytoplasmic vacuolation and cell death. These results suggest that HCV harnesses autophagy to circumvent the harmful vacuole formation and to maintain a persistent infection. These findings reveal a unique survival strategy of HCV and provide new insights into the genotype-specific pathogenicity of HCV.
PMCID: PMC3233170  PMID: 21994453
16.  Mammalian Atg2 proteins are essential for autophagosome formation and important for regulation of size and distribution of lipid droplets 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(5):896-909.
Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process that is mediated by autophagosomes. Mammalian Atg2 proteins Atg2A and Atg2B are identified and characterized as essential for autophagy. They are also present on lipid droplets and are involved in regulation of lipid droplet volume and distribution.
Macroautophagy is an intracellular degradation system by which cytoplasmic materials are enclosed by the autophagosome and delivered to the lysosome. Autophagosome formation is considered to take place on the endoplasmic reticulum and involves functions of autophagy-related (Atg) proteins. Here, we report the identification and characterization of mammalian Atg2 homologues Atg2A and Atg2B. Simultaneous silencing of Atg2A and Atg2B causes a block in autophagic flux and accumulation of unclosed autophagic structures containing most Atg proteins. Atg2A localizes on the autophagic membrane, as well as on the surface of lipid droplets. The Atg2A region containing amino acids 1723–1829, which shows relatively high conservation among species, is required for localization to both the autophagic membrane and lipid droplet and is also essential for autophagy. Depletion of both Atg2A and Atg2B causes clustering of enlarged lipid droplets in an autophagy-independent manner. These data suggest that mammalian Atg2 proteins function both in autophagosome formation and regulation of lipid droplet morphology and dispersion.
PMCID: PMC3290647  PMID: 22219374
17.  Autophagy and bacterial infectious diseases 
Autophagy is a housekeeping process that maintains cellular homeostasis through recycling of nutrients and degradation of damaged or aged cytoplasmic constituents. Over the past several years, accumulating evidence has suggested that autophagy can function as an intracellular innate defense pathway in response to infection with a variety of bacteria and viruses. Autophagy plays a role as a specialized immunologic effector and regulates innate immunity to exert antimicrobial defense mechanisms. Numerous bacterial pathogens have developed the ability to invade host cells or to subvert host autophagy to establish a persistent infection. In this review, we have summarized the recent advances in our understanding of the interaction between antibacterial autophagy (xenophagy) and different bacterial pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3296818  PMID: 22257885
autophagy; cytokines; immunity, Innate; infection; reactive oxygen species
18.  Three-Axis Model for Atg Recruitment in Autophagy against Salmonella 
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium enter epithelial cells and take up residence there. Within epithelial cells, a portion of the bacteria are surrounded by an autophagosome-like double-membrane structure, and they are still residing within the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). In this paper, we will discuss how the autophagy machinery is recruited in proximity to Salmonella. The formation of this double membrane requires Atg9L1 and FIP200; these proteins are important for autophagy-specific recruitment of the PI3-kinase complex. In the absence of Atg9L1, FIP200, and PI3-kinase activity, LC3 is still recruited to the vicinity of Salmonella. We propose a novel model in which the mechanism of LC3 recruitment is separate from the generation of the isolation membrane. There exist at least three axes in Atg recruitment: ULK1 complex, Atg9L1, and Atg16L complex.
PMCID: PMC3299270  PMID: 22505927
19.  Numb controls E-cadherin endocytosis through p120 catenin with aPKC 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(17):3103-3119.
We found that Numb directly binds to p120. Numb depletion impaired E-cadherin internalization. aPKC phosphorylated Numb and inhibited its association with p120. In the Numb-depleted cells, the phosphomimetic Numb mutant failed to restore E-cadherin internalization. We propose the mode of action of Numb for intercellular adhesion downstream of aPKC.
Cadherin trafficking controls tissue morphogenesis and cell polarity. The endocytic adaptor Numb participates in apicobasal polarity by acting on intercellular adhesions in epithelial cells. However, it remains largely unknown how Numb controls cadherin-based adhesion. Here, we found that Numb directly interacted with p120 catenin (p120), which is known to interact with E-cadherin and prevent its internalization. Numb accumulated at intercellular adhesion sites and the apical membrane in epithelial cells. Depletion of Numb impaired E-cadherin internalization, whereas depletion of p120 accelerated internalization. Expression of the Numb-binding fragment of p120 inhibited E-cadherin internalization in a dominant-negative fashion, indicating that Numb interacts with the E-cadherin/p120 complex and promotes E-cadherin endocytosis. Impairment of Numb induced mislocalization of E-cadherin from the lateral membrane to the apical membrane. Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC), a member of the PAR complex, phosphorylated Numb and inhibited its association with p120 and α-adaptin. Depletion or inhibition of aPKC accelerated E-cadherin internalization. Wild-type Numb restored E-cadherin internalization in the Numb-depleted cells, whereas a phosphomimetic mutant or a mutant with defective α-adaptin-binding ability did not restore the internalization. Thus, we propose that aPKC phosphorylates Numb to prevent its binding to p120 and α-adaptin, thereby attenuating E-cadherin endocytosis to maintain apicobasal polarity.
PMCID: PMC3164458  PMID: 21775625
20.  The LC3 recruitment mechanism is separate from Atg9L1-dependent membrane formation in the autophagic response against Salmonella 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(13):2290-2300.
When Salmonella invade mammalian epithelial cells, some populations are surrounded by the autophagy protein LC3. We found that LC3 was recruited in proximity to Salmonella independently of both Atg9L1 and FIP200, which are required for formation of autophagosomes. The dynamics of the ULK1 complex and Atg9L1 were dependent on one another.
Salmonella develops into resident bacteria in epithelial cells, and the autophagic machinery (Atg) is thought to play an important role in this process. In this paper, we show that an autophagosome-like double-membrane structure surrounds the Salmonella still residing within the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). This double membrane is defective in Atg9L1- and FAK family-interacting protein of 200 kDa (FIP200)-deficient cells. Atg9L1 and FIP200 are important for autophagy-specific recruitment of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) complex. However, in the absence of Atg9L1, FIP200, and the PI3K complex, LC3 and its E3-like enzyme, the Atg16L complex, are still recruited to Salmonella. We propose that the LC3 system is recruited through a mechanism that is independent of isolation membrane generation.
PMCID: PMC3128531  PMID: 21525242
21.  A GDI (AGS3) and a GEF (GIV) regulate autophagy by balancing G protein activity and growth factor signals 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(5):673-686.
This work introduces a nonreceptor GEF for Gαi subunits as a regulator of autophagy. The authors reveal how growth factors reversibly regulate autophagy by a unique mechanism that involves reversible regulation of Gαi3 activity by AGS3, a GDI, and GIV, a GEF, during initiation and reversal of autophagy, respectively.
Autophagy is the major catabolic process responsible for the removal of aggregated proteins and damaged organelles. Autophagy is regulated by both G proteins and growth factors, but the underlying mechanism of how they are coordinated during initiation and reversal of autophagy is unknown. Using protein–protein interaction assays, G protein enzymology, and morphological analysis, we demonstrate here that Gα-interacting, vesicle-associated protein (GIV, a. k. a. Girdin), a nonreceptor guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Gαi3, plays a key role in regulating autophagy and that dynamic interplay between Gαi3, activator of G-protein signaling 3 (AGS3, its guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor), and GIV determines whether autophagy is promoted or inhibited. We found that AGS3 directly binds light chain 3 (LC3), recruits Gαi3 to LC3-positive membranes upon starvation, and promotes autophagy by inhibiting the G protein. Upon growth factor stimulation, GIV disrupts the Gαi3–AGS3 complex, releases Gαi3 from LC3-positive membranes, enhances anti-autophagic signaling pathways, and inhibits autophagy by activating the G protein. These results provide mechanistic insights into how reversible modulation of Gαi3 activity by AGS3 and GIV maintains the delicate equilibrium between promotion and inhibition of autophagy.
PMCID: PMC3046063  PMID: 21209316
22.  Autophagy facilitates glycolysis during Ras-mediated oncogenic transformation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(2):165-178.
The protumor functions for autophagy are largely attributed to its ability to promote cancer cell survival in response to stress. This study demonstrates an unexpected connection between autophagy and glucose metabolism that facilitates adhesion-independent growth driven by a strong oncogenic insult—mutationally active Ras.
The protumorigenic functions for autophagy are largely attributed to its ability to promote cancer cell survival in response to diverse stresses. Here we demonstrate an unexpected connection between autophagy and glucose metabolism that facilitates adhesion-independent transformation driven by a strong oncogenic insult—mutationally active Ras. In cells ectopically expressing oncogenic H-Ras as well as human cancer cell lines harboring endogenous K-Ras mutations, autophagy is induced following extracellular matrix detachment. Inhibiting autophagy due to the genetic deletion or RNA interference–mediated depletion of multiple autophagy regulators attenuates Ras-mediated adhesion-independent transformation and proliferation as well as reduces glycolytic capacity. Furthermore, in contrast to autophagy-competent cells, both proliferation and transformation in autophagy-deficient cells expressing oncogenic Ras are insensitive to reductions in glucose availability. Overall, increased glycolysis in autophagy-competent cells facilitates Ras-mediated adhesion-independent transformation, suggesting a unique mechanism by which autophagy may promote Ras-driven tumor growth in specific metabolic contexts.
PMCID: PMC3020913  PMID: 21119005
23.  Autophagy requires endoplasmic reticulum targeting of the PI3-kinase complex via Atg14L 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;190(4):511-521.
Generation of PI3P in the normally PI3P-deficient ER membrane makes the organelle a platform for autophagosome formation.
Autophagy is a catabolic process that allows cells to digest their cytoplasmic constituents via autophagosome formation and lysosomal degradation. Recently, an autophagy-specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) complex, consisting of hVps34, hVps15, Beclin-1, and Atg14L, has been identified in mammalian cells. Atg14L is specific to this autophagy complex and localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Knockdown of Atg14L leads to the disappearance of the DFCP1-positive omegasome, which is a membranous structure closely associated with both the autophagosome and the ER. A point mutation in Atg14L resulting in defective ER localization was also defective in the induction of autophagy. The addition of the ER-targeting motif of DFCP1 to this mutant fully complemented the autophagic defect in Atg14L knockout embryonic stem cells. Thus, Atg14L recruits a subset of class III PI3-kinase to the ER, where otherwise phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) is essentially absent. The Atg14L-dependent appearance of PI3P in the ER makes this organelle the platform for autophagosome formation.
PMCID: PMC2928018  PMID: 20713597
24.  Rubicon and PLEKHM1 Negatively Regulate the Endocytic/Autophagic Pathway via a Novel Rab7-binding Domain 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(23):4162-4172.
Rubicon, a subunit of the Beclin 1-PI3-kinase complex and its homologue, PLEKHM1, negatively regulate endocytic pathway through the interaction with Rab7. Synchronous association with the Beclin 1–PI3-kinase complex and Rab7 is necessary for the function of Rubicon, but not PLEKHM1.
The endocytic and autophagic pathways are involved in the membrane trafficking of exogenous and endogenous materials to lysosomes. However, the mechanisms that regulate these pathways are largely unknown. We previously reported that Rubicon, a Beclin 1–binding protein, negatively regulates both the autophagic and endocytic pathways by unidentified mechanisms. In this study, we performed database searches to identify potential Rubicon homologues that share the common C-terminal domain, termed the RH domain. One of them, PLEKHM1, the causative gene of osteopetrosis, also suppresses endocytic transport but not autophagosome maturation. Rubicon and PLEKHM1 specifically and directly interact with Rab7 via their RH domain, and this interaction is critical for their function. Furthermore, we show that Rubicon but not PLEKHM1 uniquely regulates membrane trafficking via simultaneously binding both Rab7 and PI3-kinase.
PMCID: PMC2993745  PMID: 20943950
25.  Combinational Soluble N-Ethylmaleimide-sensitive Factor Attachment Protein Receptor Proteins VAMP8 and Vti1b Mediate Fusion of Antimicrobial and Canonical Autophagosomes with Lysosomes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(6):1001-1010.
Autophagy (xenophagy) degrades intracellular bacteria. The cargoes are degraded after the fusion of xenophagosomes with lysosomes. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the fusion remains unclear. Here we show that combinational SNARE proteins VAMP8 and Vti1b mediate fusion of antimicrobial and canonical autophagosomes with lysosomes.
Autophagy plays a crucial role in host defense, termed antimicrobial autophagy (xenophagy), as it functions to degrade intracellular foreign microbial invaders such as group A Streptococcus (GAS). Xenophagosomes undergo a stepwise maturation process consisting of a fusion event with lysosomes, after which the cargoes are degraded. However, the molecular mechanism underlying xenophagosome/lysosome fusion remains unclear. We examined the involvement of endocytic soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) in xenophagosome/lysosome fusion. Confocal microscopic analysis showed that SNAREs, including vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP)7, VAMP8, and vesicle transport through interaction with t-SNAREs homologue 1B (Vti1b), colocalized with green fluorescent protein-LC3 in xenophagosomes. Knockdown of Vti1b and VAMP8 with small interfering RNAs disturbed the colocalization of LC3 with lysosomal membrane protein (LAMP)1. The invasive efficiency of GAS into cells was not altered by knockdown of VAMP8 or Vti1b, whereas cellular bactericidal efficiency was significantly diminished, indicating that antimicrobial autophagy was functionally impaired. Knockdown of Vti1b and VAMP8 also disturbed colocalization of LC3 with LAMP1 in canonical autophagy, in which LC3-II proteins were negligibly degraded. In contrast, knockdown of Syntaxin 7 and Syntaxin 8 showed little effect on the autophagic fusion event. These findings strongly suggest that the combinational SNARE proteins VAMP8 and Vti1b mediate the fusion of antimicrobial and canonical autophagosomes with lysosomes, an essential event for autophagic degradation.
PMCID: PMC2836953  PMID: 20089838

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