Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency (MSD; OMIM 272200) is a rare autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism caused by mutations in the sulfatase modifying factor 1 gene, encoding the formylglycine-generating enzyme (FGE), and resulting in tissue accumulation of sulfatides, sulphated glycosaminoglycans, sphingolipids and steroid sulfates. Less than 50 cases have been published so far. We report a new case of MSD presenting in the newborn period with hypotonia, apnoea, cyanosis and rolling eyes, hepato-splenomegaly and deafness. This patient was compound heterozygous for two so far undescribed SUMF1 mutations (c.191C > A; p.S64X and c.818A > G; p.D273G).
Multiple sulfatase deficiency; MSD; SUMF1 gene
•Lipophagy is a transcriptionally regulated process.•The lysosome as a sensor of lipophagy induction.•Nuclear receptors link lipophagy to lipid catabolism.
Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that has a fundamental role in the adaptation to fasting and primarily relies on the activity of the endolysosomal system, to which the autophagosome targets substrates for degradation. Recent studies have revealed that the lysosomal–autophagic pathway plays an important part in the early steps of lipid degradation. In this review, we discuss the transcriptional mechanisms underlying co-regulation between lysosome, autophagy, and other steps of lipid catabolism, including the activity of nutrient-sensitive transcription factors (TFs) and of members of the nuclear receptor family. In addition, we discuss how the lysosome acts as a metabolic sensor and orchestrates the transcriptional response to fasting.
Autophagy; lipophagy; lysosome; transcription factors; nuclear receptors; TP53; FOXOs; TFEB; mTORC1
Hereditary spastic paraparesis type 15 is a recessive complicated form of the disease clinically characterized by slowly progressive spastic paraparesis and mental deterioration with onset between the first and second decade of life. Thinning of corpus callosum is the neuroradiological distinctive sign frequently associated with white matter abnormalities. The causative gene, ZFYVE26, encodes a large protein of 2539 amino acid residues, termed spastizin, containing three recognizable domains: a zinc finger, a leucine zipper and a FYVE domain. Spastizin protein has a diffuse cytoplasmic distribution and co-localizes partially with early endosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum, microtubules and vesicles involved in protein trafficking. In addition, spastizin localizes to the mid-body during the final step of mitosis and contributes to successful cytokinesis. Spastizin interacts with Beclin 1, a protein required for cytokinesis and autophagy, which is the major lysosome-mediated degradation process in the cell. In view of the Beclin 1–spastizin interaction, we investigated the possible role of spastizin in autophagy. We carried out this analysis by using lymphoblast and fibroblast cells derived from four different spastizin mutated patients (p.I508N, p.L243P, p.R1209fsX, p.S1312X) and from control subjects. Of note, the truncating p.R1209fsX and p.S1312X mutations lead to loss of spastizin protein. The results obtained indicate that spastizin interacts with the autophagy related Beclin 1–UVRAG–Rubicon multiprotein complex and is required for autophagosome maturation. In cells lacking spastizin or with mutated forms of the protein, spastizin interaction with Beclin 1 is lost although the formation of the Beclin 1–UVRAG–Rubicon complex can still be observed. However, in these cells we demonstrate an impairment of autophagosome maturation and an accumulation of immature autophagosomes. Autophagy defects with autophagosome accumulation can be observed also in neuronal cells upon spastizin silencing. These results indicate that autophagy is a central process in the pathogenesis of complicated forms of hereditary spastic paraparesis with thin corpus callosum.
spastizin; autophagy; Beclin 1; autophagosome maturation; SPG15
Accumulating evidence implicates impairment of the autophagy-lysosome pathway in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently discovered, transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a molecule shown to play central roles in cellular degradative processes. Here we investigate the role of TFEB in AD mouse models. In this study, we demonstrate that TFEB effectively reduces neurofibrillary tangle pathology and rescues behavioral and synaptic deficits and neurodegeneration in the rTg4510 mouse model of tauopathy with no detectable adverse effects when expressed in wild-type mice. TFEB specifically targets hyperphosphorylated and misfolded Tau species present in both soluble and aggregated fractions while leaving normal Tau intact. We provide in vitro evidence that this effect requires lysosomal activity and we identify phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) as a direct target of TFEB that is required for TFEB-dependent aberrant Tau clearance. The specificity and efficacy of TFEB in mediating the clearance of toxic Tau species makes it an attractive therapeutic target for treating diseases of tauopathy including AD.
Alzheimer's disease; tauopathy; TFEB; PTEN; autophagy-lysosomal pathway
It is hard to find an area of biology in which autophagy is not involved. In fact, the topic extends beyond scientific research to stimulate intellectual exercise and entertainment—autophagy has found its way into a crossword puzzle (Klionsky, 2013). We have found yet another function of autophagy while searching for a better treatment for Pompe disease, a devastating metabolic myopathy resulting from excessive lysosomal glycogen storage. To relieve this glycogen burden, we stimulated lysosomal exocytosis through upregulation of transcription factor EB (TFEB). Overexpression of TFEB in Pompe muscle clears the cells of enlarged lysosomes, reduces glycogen levels, and alleviates autophagic buildup, the major secondary abnormality in Pompe disease. Unexpectedly, the process of exocytosis does not seem to be a purely lysosomal event; vesicles arranged along the plasma membrane are double-labeled with the lysosomal marker LAMP1 and the autophagosomal marker LC3, indicating that TFEB induces the exocytosis of autolysosomes. Furthermore, the effects of TFEB are almost abrogated in autophagy-deficient Pompe mice, suggesting a previously unrecognized role of autophagy in TFEB-mediated cellular clearance.
lysosomal exocytosis; TFEB; acid alpha-glucosidase; lysosomal storage; Pompe disease
Copper is an essential yet toxic metal and its overload causes Wilson disease, a disorder due to mutations in copper transporter ATP7B. To remove excess copper into the bile, ATP7B traffics toward canalicular area of hepatocytes. However, the trafficking mechanisms of ATP7B remain elusive. Here, we show that, in response to elevated copper, ATP7B moves from the Golgi to lysosomes and imports metal into their lumen. ATP7B enables lysosomes to undergo exocytosis through the interaction with p62 subunit of dynactin that allows lysosome translocation toward the canalicular pole of hepatocytes. Activation of lysosomal exocytosis stimulates copper clearance from the hepatocytes and rescues the most frequent Wilson-disease-causing ATP7B mutant to the appropriate functional site. Our findings indicate that lysosomes serve as an important intermediate in ATP7B trafficking, whereas lysosomal exocytosis operates as an integral process in copper excretion and hence can be targeted for therapeutic approaches to combat Wilson disease.
•ATP7B moves from the Golgi to lysosomes in response to elevated copper levels•ATP7B promotes storage of copper in lysosomal lumen•By interacting with p62/dynactin, ATP7B promotes polarized exocytosis of lysosomes•Lysosomal exocytosis allows hepatocytes to release excess copper into the bile
Mutations in the copper transporter ATP7B cause copper overload and toxicity in Wilson disease. Polishchuk et al. show that copper overload induces ATP7B transfer from the Golgi to lysosomes, where ATP7B sequesters excess metal in the lumen and, via interaction with dynactin, promotes copper exocytosis from hepatocytes into bile.
The lysosomal-autophagic pathway is activated by starvation and plays an important role in both cellular clearance and lipid catabolism. However, the transcriptional regulation of this pathway in response to metabolic cues is currently uncharacterized. Here we show that the transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy, is induced by starvation through an autoregulatory feedback loop and exerts a global transcriptional control on lipid catabolism via PGC1α and PPARα. Thus, during starvation a transcriptional mechanism links the autophagic pathway to cellular energy metabolism. The conservation of this mechanism in Caenorhabditis elegans suggests a fundamental role for TFEB in the evolution of the adaptive response to food deprivation. Viral delivery of TFEB to the liver prevented weight gain and metabolic syndrome in both diet-induced and genetic mouse models of obesity, suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy for disorders of lipid metabolism.
Neurodegeneration is a prominent feature of lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). Emerging data identify autophagy dysfunction in neurons as a major component of the phenotype. However, the autophagy pathway in the CNS has been studied predominantly in neurons, whereas in other cell types it has been largely unexplored. We studied the lysosome-autophagic pathway in astrocytes from a murine model of multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD), a severe form of LSD. Similar to what was observed in neurons, we found that lysosomal storage in astrocytes impairs autophagosome maturation and this, in turn, has an impact upon the survival of cortical neurons and accounts for some of the neurological features found in MSD. Thus, our data indicate that lysosomal/autophagic dysfunction in astrocytes is an important component of neurodegeneration in LSDs.
autophagy; neurodegeneration; lysosome; astrocyte; lysosomal storage disorders
lysosomal storage disorders; lysosome; osteoblast; osteoclast; skeleton
AIM: To investigate the clinical relevance and prognosis regarding survival according to the changes of the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) in gastric cancer patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively studied 347 consecutive subjects who underwent surgery for gastric adenocarcinoma at the Division of General Surgery, Hospital of Busto Arsizio, Busto Arsizio, Italy between June 1998 and December 2009. Patients who underwent surgery without curative intent, patients with tumors of the gastric stump and patients with tumors involving the esophagus were excluded for survival analysis. Patients were staged according to the 6th and 7th edition TNM criteria; 5-year overall survival rates were investigated, and the event was defined as death from any cause.
RESULTS: After exclusion, our study population included 241 resected patients with curative intent for gastric adenocarcinoma. The 5-year overall survival (5-year OS) rate of all the patients was 52.8%. The diagnosed stage differed in 32% of 241 patients based on the TNM edition used for the diagnosis. The patients in stage II according to the 6th edition who were reclassified as stage III had significantly worse prognosis than patients classified as stage II (5-year OS, 39% vs 71%). According to the 6th edition, 135 patients were classifed as T2, and 75% of these patients migrated to T3 and exhibited a significantly worse prognosis than those who remained T2, regardless of lymph node involvement (37% vs 71%). The new N1 patients exhibited a better prognosis than the previous N1 patients (67% vs 43%).
CONCLUSION: 7th TNM allows new T2 and N1 patients to be selected with better prognosis, which leads to different staging. New stratification is important in multimodal therapy.
Gastric cancer; Tumor-node-metastasis staging system; Survival analysis; Prognostic factor; Lymphadenectomy
Alveolar formation or alveolarization is orchestrated by a finely regulated and complex interaction between growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins. The lung parenchyma contains various extracellular matrix proteins including proteoglycans, which are composed of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) linked to a protein core. Although GAGs are known to regulate growth factor distribution and activity according to their degree of sulfation the role of sulfated GAG in the respiratory system is not well understood. The degree of sulfation of GAGs is regulated in part, by sulfatases that remove sulfate groups. In vertebrates, the enzyme Sulfatase-Modifying Factor 1 (Sumf1) activates all sulfatases. Here we utilized mice lacking Sumf1−/− to study the importance of proteoglycan desulfation in lung development. The Sumf1−/− mice have normal lungs up until the onset of alveolarization at post-natal day 5 (P5). We detected increased deposition of sulfated GAG throughout the lung parenchyma and a decrease in alveolar septa formation. Moreover, stereological analysis showed that the alveolar volume is 20% larger in Sumf1−/− as compared to wild type (WT) mice at P10 and P30. Additionally, pulmonary function test were consistent with increased alveolar volume. Genetic experiments demonstrate that in Sumf1−/− mice arrest of alveolarization is independent of fibroblast growth factor signaling. In turn, the Sumf1−/− mice have increased transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling and in vivo injection of TGFβ neutralizing antibody leads to normalization of alveolarization. Thus, absence of sulfatase activity increases sulfated GAG deposition in the lungs causing deregulation of TGFβ signaling and arrest of alveolarization.
Alveolarization; Sumf1; Glycosaminoglycans; Sulfatases; TGFβ
Mucopolysaccharidoses type IIIA (MPS-IIIA) is a neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) caused by inherited defects of the sulphamidase gene. Here, we used a systemic gene transfer approach to demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of a chimeric sulphamidase, which was engineered by adding the signal peptide (sp) from the highly secreted iduronate-2-sulphatase (IDS) and the blood-brain barrier (BBB)-binding domain (BD) from the Apolipoprotein B (ApoB-BD). A single intravascular administration of AAV2/8 carrying the modified sulphamidase was performed in adult MPS-IIIA mice in order to target the liver and convert it to a factory organ for sustained systemic release of the modified sulphamidase. We showed that while the IDS sp replacement results in increased enzyme secretion, the addition of the ApoB-BD allows efficient BBB transcytosis and restoration of sulphamidase activity in the brain of treated mice. This, in turn, resulted in an overall improvement of brain pathology and recovery of a normal behavioural phenotype. Our results provide a novel feasible strategy to develop minimally invasive therapies for the treatment of brain pathology in MPS-IIIA and other neurodegenerative LSDs.
blood-brain barrier; CNS therapy; lysosomal storage disorders; MPS-IIIA; sulphamidase
A recently proposed therapeutic approach for lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) relies upon the ability of transcription factor EB (TFEB) to stimulate autophagy and induce lysosomal exocytosis leading to cellular clearance. This approach is particularly attractive in glycogen storage disease type II [a severe metabolic myopathy, Pompe disease (PD)] as the currently available therapy, replacement of the missing enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase, fails to reverse skeletal muscle pathology. PD, a paradigm for LSDs, is characterized by both lysosomal abnormality and dysfunctional autophagy. Here, we show that TFEB is a viable therapeutic target in PD: overexpression of TFEB in a new muscle cell culture system and in mouse models of the disease reduced glycogen load and lysosomal size, improved autophagosome processing, and alleviated excessive accumulation of autophagic vacuoles. Unexpectedly, the exocytosed vesicles were labelled with lysosomal and autophagosomal membrane markers, suggesting that TFEB induces exocytosis of autophagolysosomes. Furthermore, the effects of TFEB were almost abrogated in the setting of genetically suppressed autophagy, supporting the role of autophagy in TFEB-mediated cellular clearance.
acid alpha-glucosidase; autophagy; lysosomal storage; Pompe disease; TFEB
Deficiency of SERPINA1/AAT [serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade A (α-1 antiproteinase, antitrypsin), member 1/α 1-antitrypsin] results in polymerization and aggregation of mutant SERPINA1 molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes, triggering liver injury. SERPINA1 deficiency is the most common genetic cause of hepatic disease in children and is frequently responsible for chronic liver disease in adults. Liver transplantation is currently the only available treatment for the severe form of the disease. We found that liver-directed gene transfer of transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis, results in marked reduction of toxic mutant SERPINA1 polymer, apoptosis and fibrosis in the liver of a mouse model of SERPINA1 deficiency. TFEB-mediated correction of hepatic disease is dependent upon increased degradation of SERPINA1 polymer in autolysosomes and decreased expression of SERPINA1 monomer. In conclusion, TFEB gene transfer is a novel strategy for treatment of liver disease in SERPINA1 deficiency. Moreover, this study suggests that TFEB-mediated cellular clearance may have broad applications for therapy of human disorders due to intracellular accumulation of toxic proteins.
TFEB; autophagy; gene transfer; lysosome; α-1-antitrypsin deficiency
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
A lysosome-to-nucleus signalling mechanism senses and regulates the lysosome via mTOR and TFEB
Under basal conditions TFEB, a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis, is sequestered in the cytosol due to mTORC1-dependent phosphorylation at the lysosomal membrane. Nutrient starvation or lysosomal dysfunction inhibit mTORC1 activity and induce nuclear translocation of TFEB inducing target gene expression.
The lysosome plays a key role in cellular homeostasis by controlling both cellular clearance and energy production to respond to environmental cues. However, the mechanisms mediating lysosomal adaptation are largely unknown. Here, we show that the Transcription Factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis, colocalizes with master growth regulator mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) on the lysosomal membrane. When nutrients are present, phosphorylation of TFEB by mTORC1 inhibits TFEB activity. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1, as well as starvation and lysosomal disruption, activates TFEB by promoting its nuclear translocation. In addition, the transcriptional response of lysosomal and autophagic genes to either lysosomal dysfunction or pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 is suppressed in TFEB−/− cells. Interestingly, the Rag GTPase complex, which senses lysosomal amino acids and activates mTORC1, is both necessary and sufficient to regulate starvation- and stress-induced nuclear translocation of TFEB. These data indicate that the lysosome senses its content and regulates its own biogenesis by a lysosome-to-nucleus signalling mechanism that involves TFEB and mTOR.
autophagy; cellular clearance; endocytosis; starvation
Alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children and liver transplantation is currently the only available treatment. Enhancement of liver autophagy increases degradation of mutant, hepatotoxic alpha-1-anti-trypsin (ATZ). We investigated the therapeutic potential of liver-directed gene transfer of transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master gene that regulates lysosomal function and autophagy, in PiZ transgenic mice, recapitulating the human hepatic disease. Hepatocyte TFEB gene transfer resulted in dramatic reduction of hepatic ATZ, liver apoptosis and fibrosis, which are key features of alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency. Correction of the liver phenotype resulted from increased ATZ polymer degradation mediated by enhancement of autophagy flux and reduced ATZ monomer by decreased hepatic NFκB activation and IL-6 that drives ATZ gene expression. In conclusion, TFEB gene transfer is a novel strategy for treatment of liver disease of alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency. This study may pave the way towards applications of TFEB gene transfer for treatment of a wide spectrum of human disorders due to intracellular accumulation of toxic proteins.
alpha-1-anti-trypsin; autophagy; gene therapy; helper-dependent adenoviral vector; TFEB
Lysosomes are ubiquitous intracellular organelles that have an acidic internal pH, and play crucial roles in cellular clearance. Numerous functions depend on normal lysosomes, including the turnover of cellular constituents, cholesterol homeostasis, downregulation of surface receptors, inactivation of pathogenic organisms, repair of the plasma membrane and bone remodeling. Lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) are characterized by progressive accumulation of undigested macromolecules within the cell due to lysosomal dysfunction. As a consequence, many tissues and organ systems are affected, including brain, viscera, bone and cartilage. The progressive nature of phenotype development is one of the hallmarks of LSDs. In recent years biochemical and cell biology studies of LSDs have revealed an ample spectrum of abnormalities in a variety of cellular functions. These include defects in signaling pathways, calcium homeostasis, lipid biosynthesis and degradation and intracellular trafficking. Lysosomes also play a fundamental role in the autophagic pathway by fusing with autophagosomes and digesting their content. Considering the highly integrated function of lysosomes and autophagosomes it was reasonable to expect that lysosomal storage in LSDs would have an impact upon autophagy. The goal of this review is to provide readers with an overview of recent findings that have been obtained through analysis of the autophagic pathway in several types of LSDs, supporting the idea that LSDs could be seen primarily as “autophagy disorders.”
Mucolipidosis Type IV; autophagy; glycogenosis; lysosomal storage disorders; lysosomes; mucopolysaccharidoses; sphingolipidoses
Dysfunctional mitochondria are a well-known disease hallmark. The accumulation of aberrant mitochondria can alter cell homeostasis, thus resulting in tissue degeneration. Lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) are a group of inherited diseases characterized by the buildup of undegraded material inside the lysosomes that leads to autophagic-lysosomal dysfunction. In LSDs, autophagic stress has been associated to mitochondrial accumulation and dysfunction. However, the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial aberrations and how these are involved in tissue pathogenesis remain largely unexplored. In normal conditions, mitochondrial clearance occurs by mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy, which relies on a parkin-mediated mitochondrial priming and subsequent sequestration by autophagosomes. Here, we performed a detailed analysis of key steps of mitophagy in a mouse model of multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD), a severe type of LSD characterized by both neurological and systemic involvement. We demonstrated that in MSD liver reduced parkin levels resulted in inefficient mitochondrial priming, thus contributing to the accumulation of giant mitochondria that are located outside autophagic vesicles ultimately leading to cytochrome c release and apoptotic cell death. Morphological and functional changes were also observed in mitochondria from MSD brain but these were not directly associated with neuronal cell loss, suggesting a secondary contribution of mitochondria to neurodegeneration. Together, these data shed new light on the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dysfunction in LSDs and on their tissue-specific differential contribution to the pathogenesis of this group of metabolic disorders.
Lysosomes are cellular organelles primarily involved in degradation and recycling processes. During lysosomal exocytosis, a Ca2+-regulated process, lysosomes are docked to the cell surface and fuse with the plasma membrane (PM), emptying their content outside the cell. This process has an important role in secretion and PM repair. Here we show that the transcription factor EB (TFEB) regulates lysosomal exocytosis. TFEB increases the pool of lysosomes in the proximity of the PM and promotes their fusion with PM by raising intracellular Ca2+ levels through the activation of the lysosomal Ca2+ channel MCOLN1. Induction of lysosomal exocytosis by TFEB overexpression rescued pathologic storage and restored normal cellular morphology both in vitro and in vivo in lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs). Our data indicate that lysosomal exocytosis may directly modulate cellular clearance and suggest an alternative therapeutic strategy for disorders associated with intracellular storage.
► TFEB-regulated transcription induces lysosomal docking to the plasma membrane (PM) ► TFEB promotes lysosomal fusion with the PM by raising Ca2+ levels through MCOLN1 ► TFEB can thus rescue pathological storage in lysosomal storage disease (LSD) cells ► In vivo TFEB gene delivery rescues storage, inflammation, and apoptosis in LSD mice
We propose an innovative, integrated, cost-effective health system to combat major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, metabolic, rheumatologic and neurologic disorders and cancers, which together are the predominant health problem of the 21st century. This proposed holistic strategy involves comprehensive patient-centered integrated care and multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-level systems approaches to tackle NCDs as a common group of diseases. Rather than studying each disease individually, it will take into account their intertwined gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. It will implement a road map for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine based on a robust and extensive knowledge management infrastructure that contains individual patient information. It will be supported by strategic partnerships involving all stakeholders, including general practitioners associated with patient-centered care. This systems medicine strategy, which will take a holistic approach to disease, is designed to allow the results to be used globally, taking into account the needs and specificities of local economies and health systems.
Macroautophagy (a.k.a. autophagy) is a cellular process aimed at the recycling of proteins and organelles that is achieved when autophagosomes fuse with lysosomes. Accordingly, lysosomal dysfunctions are often associated with impaired autophagy. We demonstrated that inactivation of the sulfatase modifying factor 1 gene (Sumf1), a gene mutated in multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD), causes glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) to accumulate in lysosomes, which in turn disrupts autophagy. We utilized a murine model of MSD to study how impairment of this process affects chondrocyte viability and thus skeletal development.
chondrocytes; macroautophagy; lysosomes; LSD; skeletal abnormalities
The manuscript describes the “digital transcriptome atlas” of the developing mouse embryo, a powerful resource to determine co-expression of genes, to identify cell populations and lineages and to identify functional associations between genes relevant to development and disease.
Ascertaining when and where genes are expressed is of crucial importance to understanding or predicting the physiological role of genes and proteins and how they interact to form the complex networks that underlie organ development and function. It is, therefore, crucial to determine on a genome-wide level, the spatio-temporal gene expression profiles at cellular resolution. This information is provided by colorimetric RNA in situ hybridization that can elucidate expression of genes in their native context and does so at cellular resolution. We generated what is to our knowledge the first genome-wide transcriptome atlas by RNA in situ hybridization of an entire mammalian organism, the developing mouse at embryonic day 14.5. This digital transcriptome atlas, the Eurexpress atlas (http://www.eurexpress.org), consists of a searchable database of annotated images that can be interactively viewed. We generated anatomy-based expression profiles for over 18,000 coding genes and over 400 microRNAs. We identified 1,002 tissue-specific genes that are a source of novel tissue-specific markers for 37 different anatomical structures. The quality and the resolution of the data revealed novel molecular domains for several developing structures, such as the telencephalon, a novel organization for the hypothalamus, and insight on the Wnt network involved in renal epithelial differentiation during kidney development. The digital transcriptome atlas is a powerful resource to determine co-expression of genes, to identify cell populations and lineages, and to identify functional associations between genes relevant to development and disease.
In situ hybridization (ISH) can be used to visualize gene expression in cells and tissues in their native context. High-throughput ISH using nonradioactive RNA probes allowed the Eurexpress consortium to generate a comprehensive, interactive, and freely accessible digital gene expression atlas, the Eurexpress transcriptome atlas (http://www.eurexpress.org), of the E14.5 mouse embryo. Expression data for over 15,000 genes were annotated for hundreds of anatomical structures, thus allowing us to systematically identify tissue-specific and tissue-overlapping gene networks. We illustrate the value of the Eurexpress atlas by finding novel regional subdivisions in the developing brain. We also use the transcriptome atlas to allocate specific components of the complex Wnt signaling pathway to kidney development, and we identify regionally expressed genes in liver that may be markers of hematopoietic stem cell differentiation.
Dosage imbalance is responsible for several genetic diseases, among which Down syndrome is caused by the trisomy of human chromosome 21.
To elucidate the extent to which the dosage imbalance of specific human chromosome 21 genes perturb distinct molecular pathways, we developed the first mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell bank of human chromosome 21 genes. The human chromosome 21-mouse ES cell bank includes, in triplicate clones, 32 human chromosome 21 genes, which can be overexpressed in an inducible manner. Each clone was transcriptionally profiled in inducing versus non-inducing conditions. Analysis of the transcriptional response yielded results that were consistent with the perturbed gene's known function. Comparison between mouse ES cells containing the whole human chromosome 21 (trisomic mouse ES cells) and mouse ES cells overexpressing single human chromosome 21 genes allowed us to evaluate the contribution of single genes to the trisomic mouse ES cell transcriptome. In addition, for the clones overexpressing the Runx1 gene, we compared the transcriptome changes with the corresponding protein changes by mass spectroscopy analysis.
We determined that only a subset of genes produces a strong transcriptional response when overexpressed in mouse ES cells and that this effect can be predicted taking into account the basal gene expression level and the protein secondary structure. We showed that the human chromosome 21-mouse ES cell bank is an important resource, which may be instrumental towards a better understanding of Down syndrome and other human aneuploidy disorders.