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1.  Rotenone Inhibits Autophagic Flux Prior to Inducing Cell Death 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2012;3(12):1063-1072.
Rotenone, which selectively inhibits mitochondrial complex I, induces oxidative stress, α-synuclein accumulation, and dopaminergic neuron death, principal pathological features of Parkinson's disease. The autophagy–lysosome pathway degrades damaged proteins and organelles for the intracellular maintenance of nutrient and energy balance. While it is known that rotenone causes autophagic vacuole accumulation, the mechanism by which this effect occurs has not been thoroughly investigated. Treatment of differentiated SH-SY5Y cells with rotenone (10 μM) induced the accumulation of autophagic vacuoles at 6 h and 24 h as indicated by Western blot analysis for microtubule associated protein-light chain 3-II (MAP-LC3-II). Assessment of autophagic flux at these time points indicated that autophagic vacuole accumulation resulted from a decrease in their effective lysosomal degradation, which was substantiated by increased levels of autophagy substrates p62 and α-synuclein. Inhibition of lysosomal degradation may be explained by the observed decrease in cellular ATP levels, which in turn may have caused the observed concomitant increase in acidic vesicle pH. The early (6 h) effects of rotenone on cellular energetics and autophagy–lysosome pathway function preceded the induction of cell death and apoptosis. These findings indicate that the classical mitochondrial toxin rotenone has a pronounced effect on macroautophagy completion that may contribute to its neurotoxic potential.
PMCID: PMC3526971  PMID: 23259041
Rotenone; autophagy; lysosome; cell death; Parkinson's disease; SH-SY5Y
2.  Low-Dose Bafilomycin Attenuates Neuronal Cell Death Associated with Autophagy-Lysosome Pathway Dysfunction 
Journal of neurochemistry  2010;114(4):1193-1204.
We have shown previously that the plecomacrolide antibiotics bafilomycin A1 and B1 significantly attenuate cerebellar granule neuron death resulting from agents that disrupt lysosome function. To further characterize bafilomycin-mediated cytoprotection, we examined its ability to attenuate the death of naïve and differentiated neuronal SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells from agents that induce lysosome dysfunction in vitro, and from in vivo dopaminergic neuron death in C. elegans. Low-dose bafilomycin significantly attenuated SH-SY5Y cell death resulting from treatment with chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine amodiaquine and staurosporine. Bafilomycin also attenuated the chloroquine-induced reduction in processing of cathepsin D, the principal lysosomal aspartic acid protease, to its mature “active” form. Chloroquine induced autophagic vacuole accumulation and inhibited autophagic flux, effects that were attenuated upon treatment with bafilomycin and were associated with a significant decrease in chloroquine-induced accumulation of detergent-insoluble α-synuclein oligomers. In addition, bafilomycin significantly and dose-dependently attenuated dopaminergic neuron death in C. elegans resulting from in vivo over-expression of human wild-type α-synuclein. Together, our findings suggest that low-dose bafilomycin is cytoprotective in part through its maintenance of the autophagy-lysosome pathway, and underscores its therapeutic potential for treating Parkinson Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases that exhibit disruption of protein degradation pathways and accumulation of toxic protein species.
PMCID: PMC2910188  PMID: 20534000
bafilomycin; autophagy; lysosome; cathepsin D; Parkinson Disease; α-synuclein
3.  Reactive Oxygen Species Production by Forward and Reverse Electron Fluxes in the Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(3):e1001115.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced in the mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) are primary signals that modulate cellular adaptation to environment, and are also destructive factors that damage cells under the conditions of hypoxia/reoxygenation relevant for various systemic diseases or transplantation. The important role of ROS in cell survival requires detailed investigation of mechanism and determinants of ROS production. To perform such an investigation we extended our rule-based model of complex III in order to account for electron transport in the whole RC coupled to proton translocation, transmembrane electrochemical potential generation, TCA cycle reactions, and substrate transport to mitochondria. It fits respiratory electron fluxes measured in rat brain mitochondria fueled by succinate or pyruvate and malate, and the dynamics of NAD+ reduction by reverse electron transport from succinate through complex I. The fitting of measured characteristics gave an insight into the mechanism of underlying processes governing the formation of free radicals that can transfer an unpaired electron to oxygen-producing superoxide and thus can initiate the generation of ROS. Our analysis revealed an association of ROS production with levels of specific radicals of individual electron transporters and their combinations in species of complexes I and III. It was found that the phenomenon of bistability, revealed previously as a property of complex III, remains valid for the whole RC. The conditions for switching to a state with a high content of free radicals in complex III were predicted based on theoretical analysis and were confirmed experimentally. These findings provide a new insight into the mechanisms of ROS production in RC.
Author Summary
Respiration at the level of mitochondria is considered as delivery of electrons and protons from NADH or succinate to oxygen through a set of transporters constituting the respiratory chain (RC). Mitochondrial respiration, dealing with transfer of unpaired electrons, may produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as O2− and subsequently H2O2 as side products. ROS are chemically very active and can cause oxidative damage to cellular components. The production of ROS, normally low, can increase under stress to the levels incompatible with cell survival; thus, understanding the ways of ROS production in the RC represents a vital task in research. We used mathematical modeling to analyze experiments with isolated brain mitochondria aimed to study relations between electron transport and ROS production. Elsewhere we reported that mitochondrial complex III can operate in two distinct steady states at the same microenvironmental conditions, producing either low or high levels of ROS. Here, this property of bistability was confirmed for the whole RC. The associations between measured ROS production and computed individual free radical levels in complexes I and III were established. The discovered phenomenon of bistability is important as a basis for new strategies in organ transplantation and therapy.
PMCID: PMC3068929  PMID: 21483483
4.  Oxidative Stress and Autophagy in the Regulation of Lysosome-Dependent Neuron Death 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2009;11(3):481-496.
Lysosomes critically regulate the pH-dependent catabolism of extracellular and intracellular macromolecules delivered from the endocytic/heterophagy and autophagy pathways, respectively. The importance of lysosomes to cell survival is underscored not only by their unique ability effectively to degrade metalloproteins and oxidatively damaged macromolecules, but also by the distinct potential for induction of both caspase-dependent and -independent cell death with a compromise in the integrity of lysosome function. Oxidative stress and free radical damage play a principal role in cell death induced by lysosome dysfunction and may be linked to several upstream and downstream stimuli, including alterations in the autophagy degradation pathway, inhibition of lysosome enzyme function, and lysosome membrane damage. Neurons are sensitive to lysosome dysfunction, and the contribution of oxidative stress and free radical damage to lysosome dysfunction may contribute to the etiology of neurodegenerative disease. This review provides a broad overview of lysosome function and explores the contribution of oxidative stress and autophagy to lysosome dysfunction–induced neuron death. Putative signaling pathways that either induce lysosome dysfunction or result from lysosome dysfunction or both, and the role of oxidative stress, free radical damage, and lysosome dysfunction in pediatric lysosomal storage disorders (neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses or NCL/Batten disease) and in Alzheimer's disease are emphasized. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 481–496.
PMCID: PMC2933567  PMID: 18764739

Results 1-4 (4)