Significance: Mechanical activation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) occurs in striated muscle and affects Ca2+ signaling and contractile function. ROS/RNS signaling is tightly controlled, spatially compartmentalized, and source specific. Recent Advances: Here, we review the evidence that within the contracting myocyte, the trans-membrane protein NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) is the primary source of ROS generated during contraction. We also review a newly characterized signaling cascade in cardiac and skeletal muscle in which the microtubule network acts as a mechanotransduction element that activates Nox2-dependent ROS generation during mechanical stretch, a pathway termed X-ROS signaling. Critical Issues: In the heart, X-ROS acts locally and affects the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ release channels (ryanodine receptors) and tunes Ca2+ signaling during physiological behavior, but excessive X-ROS can promote Ca2+-dependent arrhythmias in pathology. In skeletal muscle, X-ROS sensitizes Ca2+-permeable sarcolemmal “transient receptor potential” channels, a pathway that is critical for sustaining SR load during repetitive contractions, but when in excess, it is maladaptive in diseases such as Duchenne Musclar dystrophy. Future Directions: New advances in ROS/RNS detection as well as molecular manipulation of signaling pathways will provide critical new mechanistic insights into the details of X-ROS signaling. These efforts will undoubtedly reveal new avenues for therapeutic intervention in the numerous diseases of striated muscle in which altered mechanoactivation of ROS/RNS production has been identified. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 929–936.
Aims: We reported earlier that ischemia results in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) via the closure of a KATP channel which causes membrane depolarization and NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) activation. This study was undertaken to understand the role of ischemia-mediated ROS in signaling. Results: Angiogenic potential of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (PMVEC) was studied in vitro and in the hind limb in vivo. Flow adapted PMVEC injected into a Matrigel matrix showed significantly higher tube formation than cells grown under static conditions or cells from mice with knockout of KATP channels or the NOX2. Blocking of hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) accumulation completely abrogated the tube formation in wild-type (WT) PMVEC. With ischemia in vivo (femoral artery ligation), revascularization was high in WT mice and was significantly decreased in mice with knockout of KATP channel and in mice orally fed with a KATP channel agonist. In transgenic mice with endothelial-specific NOX2 expression, the revascularization observed was intermediate between that of WT and knockout of KATP channel or NOX2. Increased HIF-1α activation and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression was observed in ischemic tissue of WT mice but not in KATP channel and NOX2 null mice. Revascularization could be partially rescued in KATP channel null mice by delivering VEGF into the hind limb. Innovation: This is the first report of a mechanosensitive ion channel (KATP channel) initiating endothelial signaling that drives revascularization. Conclusion: The KATP channel responds to the stop of flow and activates signals for revascularization to restore the impeded blood flow. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 872–886.
The tight junction (TJ) marker occludin is a 4-transmembrane domain (TMD) protein with unclear physiological and pathological functions, interacting with other TJ proteins. It oligomerizes and is redox sensitive. However, oligomerization sites and mechanisms are unknown. Aims: To identify hypoxia-sensitive binding sites, we investigated the consequences of amino-acid substitutions of highly conserved cysteines in human occludin, under normal and hypoxic incubations. Results: (i) The extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) showed homophilic trans- and cis-association between opposing cells and along the cell membrane, respectively, caused by a loop properly folded via an intraloop disulfide bridge between the shielded C216 and C237. Hypoxia and reductants prevented the associations. (ii) C82 in TMD1 directly cis-associated without disulfide formation. (iii) C76 in TMD1 and C148 in TMD2 limited the trans-interaction; C76 also limited occludin-related paracellular tightness and changed the strand morphology of claudin-1. (iv) The diminished binding strength found after substituting C82, C216, or C237 was accompanied by increased occludin mobility in the cell membrane. Innovation: The data enable the first experimentally proven structural model of occludin and its homophilic interaction sites, in which the ECL2, via intraloop disulfide formation, has a central role in occludin's hypoxia-sensitive oligomerization and to regulate the structure of TJs. Conclusion: Our findings support the new concept that occludin acts as a hypoxiasensor and contributes toward regulating the TJ assembly redox dependently. This is of pathogenic relevance for tissue barrier injury with reducing conditions. The ECL2 disulfide might be a model for four TMD proteins in TJs with two conserved cysteines in an ECL. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 855–867.
Significance: Changes in shear stress associated with alterations in blood flow initiate a signaling cascade that modulates the vascular phenotype. Shear stress is “sensed” by the endothelium via a mechanosensitive complex on the endothelial cell (EC) membrane that has been characterized as a “mechanosome” consisting of caveolae, platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), vascular endothelial (VE)–cadherin, and possibly other elements. This shear signal is transduced by cell membrane ion channels and various kinases and results in the activation of NADPH oxidase (type 2) with the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Recent Advances: The signaling cascade associated with stop of shear, as would occur in vivo with various obstructive pathologies, leads to cell proliferation and eventual revascularization. Critical Issues and Future Directions: Although several elements of mechanosensing such as the sensing event, the transduction, transmission, and reception of the mechanosignal are now reasonably well understood, the links among these discrete steps in the pathway are not clear. Thus, identifying the mechanisms for the interaction of the KATP channel, the kinases, and ROS to drive long-term adaptive responses in ECs is necessary. A critical re-examination of the signaling events associated with complex flow patterns (turbulent, oscillatory) under physiological conditions is also essential for the progress in the field. Since these complex shear patterns may be associated with an atherosclerosis susceptible phenotype, a specific challenge will be the pharmacological modulation of the responses to altered signaling events that occur at specific sites of disturbed or obstructed flow. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 899–913.
Significance: Three signaling systems, chemical, electrical, and mechanical, ubiquitously contribute to cellular activities. There is limited information on the mechanical signaling system because of a lack of tools to measure stress in specific proteins. Although significant advances in methodologies such as atomic force microscopy and laser tweezers have achieved great success in single molecules and measuring the mean properties of cells and tissues, they cannot deal with specific proteins in live cells. Recent Advances: To remedy the situation, we developed a family of genetically encoded optical force sensors to measure the stress in structural proteins in living cells. The sensors can be incorporated into specific proteins and are not harmful in transgenic animals. The chimeric proteins distribute and function as their wild-type counterparts, and local stress can be read out from changes in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Critical Issues: Our original sensor used two mutant green fluorescence proteins linked by an alpha helix that served as a linking spring. Ever since, we have improved the probe design in a number of ways. For example, we replaced the helical linker with more common elastic protein domains to better match the compliance of the wild-type hosts. We greatly improved sensitivity by using the angular dependence of FRET rather than the distance dependence as the transduction mechanism, because that has nearly 100% efficiency at rest and nearly zero when stretched. Future Directions: These probes enable researchers to investigate the roles of mechanical force in cellular activities at the level of single molecules, cells, tissues, and whole animals. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 986–999.
Mechanotransduction describes the molecular mechanisms by which cells response to changes in their physical environment by translating mechanical stimuli into biochemical signals. It is now clear that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and redox signaling play a crucial role in mechanotransduction analogous to their role in chemotransduction. This Forum has particular emphasis on ROS generation with altered mechanical stress, the upstream signal transduction pathways that initiate ROS production, and the downstream effectors that lead to physiological responses. There is particular emphasis on the role of ion channels in the initial response and the role of NADPH oxidases as the major source of ROS. The latter enzyme serves as the fulcrum of the mechanotransduction cascade. Although it seems likely that all cells are mechanosensitive to some degree, we have highlighted the responses of unicellular organisms (bacteria), bone cells, and particularly cells of the vasculature (endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells). These cell types have been useful for studying the responses to altered osmotic pressure, hemodynamic pressure, shear stress, and compressive forces while exploring the link between signal transduction and physiological/pathophysiological responses. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 868–871.
Significance: Mechanosignaling is vital for maintaining the structural integrity of bone under physiologic conditions. These signals activate and suppress multiple signaling cascades regulating bone formation and resorption. Understanding these pathways is of prime importance to exploit their therapeutic potential in disorders associated with bone loss due to disuse, trauma, or disruption of homeostatic mechanisms. Recent Advances: In the case of cells of the bone, an impressive amount of data has been generated that provides evidence of a complex mechanism by which mechanical signals can maintain or disrupt cellular homeostasis by driving transcriptional regulation of growth factors, matrix proteins and inflammatory mediators in health and inflammation. Mechanical signals act on cells in a magnitude dependent manner to induce bone deposition or resorption. During health, physiological levels of these signals are essential for maintaining bone strength and architecture, whereas during inflammation, similar signals can curb inflammation by suppressing the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling cascade, while upregulating matrix synthesis via mothers against decapentaplegic homolog and/or Wnt signaling cascades. Contrarily, excessive mechanical forces can induce inflammation via activation of the NF-κB signaling cascade. Critical Issues: Given the osteogenic potential of mechanical signals, it is imperative to exploit their therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of bone disorders. Here we review select signaling pathways and mediators stimulated by mechanical signals to modulate the strength and integrity of the bone. Future Directions: Understanding the mechanisms of mechanotransduction and its effects on bone lay the groundwork for development of nonpharmacologic mechanostimulatory approaches for osteodegenerative diseases and optimal bone health. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 970–985.
Significance: Ion channels control membrane potential, cellular excitability, and Ca++ signaling, all of which play essential roles in cellular functions. The regulation of ion channels enables cells to respond to changing environments, and post-translational modification (PTM) is one major regulation mechanism. Recent Advances: Many PTMs (e.g., S-glutathionylation, S-nitrosylation, S-palmitoylation, S-sulfhydration, etc.) targeting the thiol group of cysteine residues have emerged to be essential for ion channels regulation under physiological and pathological conditions. Critical Issues: Under oxidative stress, S-glutathionylation could be a critical PTM that regulates many molecules. In this review, we discuss S-glutathionylation-mediated structural and functional changes of ion channels. Criteria for testing S-glutathionylation, methods and reagents used in ion channel S-glutathionylation studies, and thiol modification crosstalk, are also covered. Mechanotransduction, and S-glutathionylation of the mechanosensitive KATP channel, are discussed. Future Directions: Further investigation of the ion channel S-glutathionylation, especially the physiological significance of S-glutathionylation and thiol modification crosstalk, could lead to a better understanding of the thiol modifications in general and the ramifications of such modifications on cellular functions and related diseases. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 937–951.
Significance: Arterial blood vessels functionally and structurally adapt to altering hemodynamic forces in order to accommodate changing needs and to provide stress homeostasis. This ability is achieved at the cellular level by converting mechanical stimulation into biochemical signals (i.e., mechanotransduction). Physiological mechanical stress helps maintain vascular structure and function, whereas pathologic or aberrant stress may impair cellular mechano-signaling, and initiate or augment cellular processes that drive disease. Recent Advances: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) may represent an intriguing class of mechanically regulated second messengers. Chronically enhanced ROS generation may be induced by adverse mechanical stresses, and is associated with a multitude of vascular diseases. Although a causal relationship has clearly been demonstrated in large numbers of animal studies, an effective ROS-modulating therapy still remains to be established by clinical studies. Critical Issues and Future Directions: This review article focuses on the role of various mechanical forces (in the form of laminar shear stress, oscillatory shear stress, or cyclic stretch) as modulators of ROS-driven signaling, and their subsequent effects on vascular biology and homeostasis, as well as on specific diseases such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Specifically, it highlights the significance of the various NADPH oxidase (NOX) isoforms as critical ROS generators in the vasculature. Directed targeting of defined components in the complex network of ROS (mechano-)signaling may represent a key for successful translation of experimental findings into clinical practice. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 914–928.
Significance: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), produced by the desulfuration of cysteine or homocysteine, functions as a signaling molecule in an array of physiological processes including regulation of vascular tone, the cellular stress response, apoptosis, and inflammation. Recent Advances: The low steady-state levels of H2S in mammalian cells have been recently shown to reflect a balance between its synthesis and its clearance. The subversion of enzymes in the cytoplasmic trans-sulfuration pathway for producing H2S from cysteine and/or homocysteine versus producing cysteine from homocysteine, presents an interesting regulatory problem. Critical Issues: It is not known under what conditions the enzymes operate in the canonical trans-sulfuration pathway and how their specificity is switched to catalyze the alternative H2S-producing reactions. Similarly, it is not known if and whether the mitochondrial enzymes, which oxidize sulfide and persulfide (or sulfane sulfur), are regulated to increase or decrease H2S or sulfane-sulfur pools. Future Directions: In this review, we focus on the enzymology of H2S homeostasis and discuss H2S-based signaling via persulfidation and thionitrous acid. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 770–782.
Significance: The current literature regarding the effects of the gaseous signal molecule hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the gastrointestinal system is reviewed. Bacterial, host and pharmaceutical-derived H2S are all considered and presented according to the physiological or pathophysiological effects of the gaseous signal molecule. These subjects include the toxicology of intestinal H2S with emphasis on bacterial-derived H2S, especially from sulfate-reducing bacteria, the role of endogenous and exogenous H2S in intestinal inflammation, and the roles of H2S in gastrointestinal motility, secretion and nociception. Recent Advances: While its pro- and anti-inflammatory, smooth muscle relaxant, prosecretory, and pro- and antinociceptive actions continue to remain the major effects of H2S in this system; recent findings have expanded the potential molecular targets for H2S in the gastrointestinal tract. Critical Issues: Numerous discrepancies remain in the literature, and definitive molecular targets in this system have not been supported by the use of competitive antagonism. Future Directions: Future work will hopefully resolve discrepancies in the literature and identify molecular targets and mechanisms of action for H2S. It is clear from the current literature that the long-appreciated relationship between H2S and the gastrointestinal tract continues to be strong as we endeavor to unravel its mysteries. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 818–830.
Significance: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is likely to join nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) as the third gaseous transmitter, influencing an array of intracellular signaling cascades. Thus, H2S is implicated in numerous physiological processes and in the pathology of various diseases. Recent Advances: H2S-donating agents that liberate H2S slowly either alone or in combination with NO, the so-called NOSH compounds, are being synthesized, and these have been shown to have great potential against cancer. Critical Issues: An accurate determination of H2S levels is challenging. H2S and NO share many similar actions; do these similarities act to potentiate each other? Since many actions of H2S appear to be mediated through inhibition of inflammation and Nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells is a central player in this scenario, does S-nitrosylation of this transcription factor by NO affect its S-sulfhydration by H2S and vice versa? Future Directions: Deciphering the molecular targets of these novel hybrid agents and having genetically engineered animals should help us move toward targeted therapeutic applications. Human safety data with these new hybrids is essential. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 831–846.
Little is known about the association between iodine and human milk composition. In this study, we investigated the association between iodine and different markers of oxidative stress and obesity-related hormones in human breast milk. This work is composed of two cross-sectional studies (in lactating women and in the general population), one prospective and one in vitro. In the cross-sectional study in lactating women, the breast milk iodine correlated negatively with superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities, and with adiponectin levels. An in vitro culture of human adipocytes with 1 μM potassium iodide (KI, dose similar to the human breast milk iodine concentration) produced a significant decrease in adiponectin, GSH-Px, SOD1, and SOD2 mRNA expression. However, after 2 months of treatment with KI in the prospective study, a positive correlation was found between 24-h urinary iodine and serum adiponectin. Our observations lead to the hypothesis that iodine may be a factor directly involved in the regulation of oxidative stress and adiponectin levels in human breast milk. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 847–853.
Significance: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been recognized as a physiological mediator with a variety of functions. It regulates synaptic transmission, vascular tone, inflammation, transcription, and angiogenesis; protects cells from oxidative stress and ischemia-reperfusion injury; and promotes healing of ulcers. Recent Advances: In addition to cystathionine β-synthase and cystathionine γ-lyase, 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase along with cysteine aminotransferase was recently demonstrated to produce H2S. Even in bacteria, H2S produced by these enzymes functions as a defense against antibiotics, suggesting that the cytoprotective effect of H2S is a universal defense mechanism in organisms from bacteria to mammals. Critical Issues: The functional form of H2S—undissociated H2S gas, dissociated HS ion, or some other form of sulfur—has not been identified. Future Directions: The regulation of H2S production by three enzymes may lead to the identification of the physiological signals that are required to release H2S. The identification of the physiological functions of other forms of sulfur may also help understand the biological significance of H2S. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 783–793.
Aims: Cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step in the two-step trans-sulfuration pathway that converts homocysteine to cysteine. It is also one of three major enzymes responsible for the biogenesis of H2S, a signaling molecule. We have previously demonstrated that CBS is activated in cells challenged by oxidative stress, but the underlying molecular mechanism of this regulation has remained unclear. Results: Here, we demonstrate that S-glutathionylation of CBS enhances its activity ∼2-fold in vitro. Loss of this post-translational modification in the presence of dithiothreitol results in reversal to basal activity. Cys346 was identified as the site for S-glutathionylation by a combination of mass spectrometric, mutagenesis, and activity analyses. To test the physiological relevance of S-glutathionylation-dependent regulation of CBS, HEK293 cells were oxidatively challenged with peroxide, which is known to enhance the trans-sulfuration flux. Under these conditions, CBS glutathionylation levels increased and were correlated with a ∼3-fold increase in CBS activity. Innovation: Collectively, our results reveal a novel post-translational modification of CBS, that is, glutathionylation, which functions as an allosteric activator under oxidative stress conditions permitting enhanced synthesis of both cysteine and H2S. Conclusions: Our study elucidates a molecular mechanism for increased cysteine and therefore glutathione, synthesis via glutathionylation of CBS. They also demonstrate the potential for increased H2S production under oxidative stress conditions, particularly in tissues where CBS is a major source of H2S. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 350–361.
Significance: Cancer represents a major socioeconomic problem; there is a significant need for novel therapeutic approaches targeting tumor-specific pathways. Recent Advances: In colorectal and ovarian cancers, an increase in the intratumor production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) plays an important role in promoting the cellular bioenergetics, proliferation, and migration of cancer cells. It also stimulates peritumor angiogenesis inhibition or genetic silencing of CBS exerts antitumor effects both in vitro and in vivo, and potentiates the antitumor efficacy of anticancer therapeutics. Critical Issues: Recently published studies are reviewed, implicating CBS overexpression and H2S overproduction in tumor cells as a tumor-growth promoting “bioenergetic fuel” and “survival factor,” followed by an overview of the experimental evidence demonstrating the anticancer effect of CBS inhibition. Next, the current state of the art of pharmacological CBS inhibitors is reviewed, with special reference to the complex pharmacological actions of aminooxyacetic acid. Finally, new experimental evidence is presented to reconcile a controversy in the literature regarding the effects of H2S donor on cancer cell proliferation and survival. Future Directions: From a basic science standpoint, future directions in the field include the delineation of the molecular mechanism of CBS up-regulation of cancer cells and the delineation of the interactions of H2S with other intracellular pathways of cancer cell metabolism and proliferation. From the translational science standpoint, future directions include the translation of the recently emerging roles of H2S in cancer into human diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 424–448.
Aims: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels inversely correlate with cardiovascular events due to the protective effects on vascular wall and stem cells, which are susceptible to oxidative modifications and then lead to potential pro-atherosclerotic effects. We proposed that oxidized HDL (ox-HDL) might lead to endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) dysfunction and investigated underlying mechanisms. Results: ox-HDL was shown to increase apoptosis and intracellular reactive oxygen species levels, but to reduce migration, angiogenesis, and cholesterol efflux of EPCs in a dose-dependent manner. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-κB were activated after ox-HDL stimulation, which also upregulated thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) expression without affecting vascular endothelial growth factor. Effects caused by ox-HDL could be significantly attenuated by pretreatment with short hairpin RNA-mediated CD36 knockdown or probucol. Data of in vivo experiments and the inverse correlation of ox-HDL and circulating EPC numbers among patients with coronary artery diseases (CAD) or CAD and type 2 diabetes also supported it. Meanwhile, HDL separated from such patients could significantly increase cultured EPC's caspase 3 activity, further supporting our proposal. Innovation: This is the most complete study to date of how ox-HDL would impair EPCs function, which was involved with activation of CD36-p38 MAPK-TSP-1 pathways and proved by not only the inverse relationship between ox-HDL and circulating EPCs in clinic but also pro-apoptotic effects of HDL separated from patients' serum. Conclusion: Activation of CD36-p38 MAPK-TSP-1 pathways contributes to the pathological effects of ox-HDL on EPCs' dysfunction, which might be one of the potential etiological factors responsible for the disturbed neovascularization in chronic ischemic disease. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 308–324.
Aims: Nrf2 is a master transcription factor for antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated cytoprotective gene induction. A protective role for pulmonary Nrf2 was determined in model oxidative disorders, including hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury (ALI). To obtain additional insights into the function and genetic regulation of Nrf2, we assessed functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of Nrf2 in inbred mouse strains and tested whether sequence variation is associated with hyperoxia susceptibility. Results:
Nrf2 SNPs were compiled from publicly available databases and by re-sequencing DNA from inbred strains. Hierarchical clustering of Nrf2 SNPs categorized the strains into three major haplotypes. Hyperoxia susceptibility was greater in haplotypes 2 and 3 strains than in haplotype 1 strains. A promoter SNP −103 T/C adding an Sp1 binding site in haplotype 2 diminished promoter activation basally and under hyperoxia. Haplotype 3 mice bearing nonsynonymous coding SNPs located in (1862 A/T, His543Gln) and adjacent to (1417 T/C, Thr395Ile) the Neh1 domain showed suppressed nuclear transactivation of pulmonary Nrf2 relative to other strains, and overexpression of haplotype 3 Nrf2 showed lower ARE responsiveness than overexpression of haplotype 1 Nrf2 in airway cells. Importantly, we found a significant correlation of Nrf2 haplotypes and hyperoxic lung injury phenotypes. Innovation and Conclusion: The results indicate significant influence of Nrf2 polymorphisms and haplotypes on gene function and hyperoxia susceptibility. Our findings further support Nrf2 as a genetic determinant in ALI pathogenesis and provide useful tools for investigators who use mouse strains classified by Nrf2 haplotypes to elucidate the role for Nrf2 in oxidative disorders. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 325–338.
Significance: Autophagy is a highly conserved eukaryotic cellular recycling process. Through the degradation of cytoplasmic organelles, proteins, and macromolecules, and the recycling of the breakdown products, autophagy plays important roles in cell survival and maintenance. Accordingly, dysfunction of this process contributes to the pathologies of many human diseases. Recent Advances: Extensive research is currently being done to better understand the process of autophagy. In this review, we describe current knowledge of the morphology, molecular mechanism, and regulation of mammalian autophagy. Critical Issues: At the mechanistic and regulatory levels, there are still many unanswered questions and points of confusion that have yet to be resolved. Future Directions: Through further research, a more complete and accurate picture of the molecular mechanism and regulation of autophagy will not only strengthen our understanding of this significant cellular process, but will aid in the development of new treatments for human diseases in which autophagy is not functioning properly. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 460–473.
Significance: Autophagy is an evolutionarily ancient process of intracellular protein and organelle recycling required to maintain cellular homeostasis in the face of a wide variety of stresses. Dysregulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) leads to oxidative damage. Both autophagy and ROS/RNS serve pathological or adaptive roles within cardiomyocytes, depending on the context. Recent Advances: ROS/RNS and autophagy communicate with each other via both transcriptional and post-translational events. This cross talk, in turn, regulates the structural integrity of cardiomyocytes, promotes proteostasis, and reduces inflammation, events critical to disease pathogenesis. Critical Issues: Dysregulation of either autophagy or redox state has been implicated in many cardiovascular diseases. Cardiomyocytes are rich in mitochondria, which make them particularly sensitive to oxidative damage. Maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis and elimination of defective mitochondria are each critical to the maintenance of redox homeostasis. Future Directions: The complex interplay between autophagy and oxidative stress underlies a wide range of physiological and pathological events and its elucidation holds promise of potential clinical applicability. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 507–518.
Significance: The autophagy and inflammasome pathways are ancient innate immune mechanisms for controlling invading pathogens that are linked by mutual regulation. In addition to controlling the metabolic homeostasis of the cell through nutrient recycling, the “self-eating” process of autophagy is also responsible for the degradation of damaged organelles, cells, and pathogens to protect the integrity of the organism. As a cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor (PRR) complex, the inflammasome both induces and is induced by autophagy through direct interactions with autophagy proteins or through the effects of secondary molecules, such as mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial DNA. Recent Advances: While the molecular mechanisms of inflammasome activation and regulation are largely unknown, much of the current knowledge has been established through investigation of the role of autophagy in innate immunity. Likewise, regulatory proteins in the NOD-like receptor family, which includes inflammasome PRRs, are able to stimulate autophagy in response to the presence of a pathogen. Critical Issues: Many of the newly uncovered links between autophagy and inflammasomes have raised new questions about the mechanisms controlling inflammasome function, which are highlighted in this review. Future Directions: Our basic understanding of the mutual regulation of inflammasomes and autophagy will be essential for designing therapeutics for chronic inflammatory diseases, especially those for which autophagy and inflammasome genes have already been linked. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 495–506.
Significance: Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process that functions in the turnover of subcellular organelles and protein. Activation of autophagy may represent a cellular defense against oxidative stress, or related conditions that cause accumulation of damaged proteins or organelles. Selective forms of autophagy can maintain organelle populations or remove aggregated proteins. Autophagy can increase survival during nutrient deficiency and play a multifunctional role in host defense, by promoting pathogen clearance and modulating innate and adaptive immune responses. Recent Advances: Autophagy has been described as an inducible response to oxidative stress. Once believed to represent a random process, recent studies have defined selective mechanisms for cargo assimilation into autophagosomes. Such mechanisms may provide for protein aggregate detoxification and mitochondrial homeostasis during oxidative stress. Although long studied as a cellular phenomenon, recent advances implicate autophagy as a component of human diseases. Altered autophagy phenotypes have been observed in various human diseases, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive lung disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Critical Issues: Although autophagy can represent a pro-survival process, in particular, during nutrient starvation, its role in disease pathogenesis may be multifunctional and complex. The relationship of autophagy to programmed cell death pathways is incompletely defined and varies with model system. Future Directions: Activation or inhibition of autophagy may be used to alter the progression of human diseases. Further resolution of the mechanisms by which autophagy impacts the initiation and progression of diseases may lead to the development of therapeutics specifically targeting this pathway. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 474–494.
Aims: Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, represents the leading cause of death in critically ill patients. However, the pathogenesis of sepsis remains incompletely understood. Carbon monoxide (CO), when administered at low physiologic doses, can modulate cell proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation in pre-clinical tissue injury models, though its mechanism of action in sepsis remains unclear. Results: CO (250 ppm) inhalation increased the survival of C57BL/6J mice injured by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) through the induction of autophagy, the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and by decreasing the levels of bacteria in blood and vital organs, such as the lung and liver. Mice deficient in the autophagic protein, Beclin 1 (Becn1+/−) were more susceptible to CLP-induced sepsis, and unresponsive to CO therapy, relative to their corresponding wild-type (Becn1+/+) littermate mice. In contrast, mice deficient in autophagic protein microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain 3B (LC3B) (Map1lc3b−/−) and their corresponding wild-type (Map1lc3b+/+) mice showed no differences in survival or response to CO, during CLP-induced sepsis. CO enhanced bacterial phagocytosis in Becn1+/+ but not Becn1+/− mice in vivo and in corresponding cultured macrophages. CO also enhanced Beclin 1-dependent induction of macrophage protein signaling lymphocyte-activation molecule, a regulator of phagocytosis. Innovation: Our findings demonstrate a novel protective effect of CO in sepsis, dependent on autophagy protein Beclin 1, in a murine model of CLP-induced polymicrobial sepsis. Conclusion: CO increases the survival of mice injured by CLP through systemic enhancement of autophagy and phagocytosis. Taken together, we suggest that CO gas may represent a novel therapy for patients with sepsis. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 432–442.
Significance: Autophagy is emerging as an important pathway in many biological processes and diseases. This review summarizes the current progress on the role of autophagy in renal physiology and pathology. Recent Advances: Studies from renal cells in culture, human kidney tissues, and experimental animal models implicate that autophagy regulates many critical aspects of normal and disease conditions in the kidney, such as diabetic nephropathy and other glomerular diseases, tubular injuries, kidney development and aging, cancer, and genetic diseases associated with the kidney. Critical Issues: The importance of autophagy in the kidney has just started to be elucidated. How the process of autophagy is altered in the pathogenesis of kidney diseases and how this alteration is beneficial or detrimental to kidney functions still need to be fully understood. Future Directions: Investigations that uncover the precise mechanism and regulation of autophagy in various kidney diseases may lead to new strategies for therapeutic modulation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 519–537.
Aims: Myocardial infarction (MI) is a leading cause of death globally. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as a novel class of MI injury regulators. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gaseous signaling molecule that regulates cardiovascular function. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of the miR-30 family in protecting against MI injury by regulating H2S production. Results: The expression of miR-30 family was upregulated in the murine MI model as well as in the primary cardiomyocyte hypoxic model. However, the cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE) expression was significantly decreased. The overexpression of miR-30 family decreased CSE expression, reduced H2S production, and then aggravated hypoxic cardiomyocyte injury. In contrast, silencing the whole miR-30 family can protect against hypoxic cell injury by elevating CSE and H2S level. Nonetheless, the protective effect was abolished by cotransfecting with CSE-siRNA. Systemic delivery of a locked nucleic acid (LNA)-miR-30 family inhibitor correspondingly increased CSE and H2S level, then reduced infarct size, decreased apoptotic cell number in the peri-infarct region, and improved cardiac function in response to MI. However, these cardioprotective effects were absent in CSE knockout mice. MiR-30b overexpression in vivo aggravated MI injury because of H2S reduction, and this could be rescued by S-propargyl-cysteine (SPRC), which is a novel modulator of CSE, or further exacerbated by propargylglycine (PAG), which is a selective inhibitor of CSE. Innovation and Conclusion: Our findings reveal a novel molecular mechanism for endogenous H2S production in the heart at the miRNA level and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of miR-30 family inhibition for ischemic heart diseases by increasing H2S production. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 22, 224–240.