During apoptotic cell death, cellular stress signals converge at the mitochondria to induce mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) through BCL-2 family proteins and their effectors. BCL-2 proteins function through protein-protein interactions, the mechanisms and structural aspects of which are only just being uncovered. Recently, the elucidation of the dynamic features underlying their function has highlighted their structural plasticity and the consequent complex thermodynamic landscape governing their protein-protein interactions. These studies show that canonical interactions involve a conserved, hydrophobic groove, whereas noncanonical interactions function allosterically outside the groove. Here, we review the latest structural advances in understanding the interactions and functions of mammalian BCL-2 family members and discuss new opportunities to modulate these proteins in health and disease.
B cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) family proteins; mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP); mitochondrial apoptosis
Regulated necrosis; RIPK1; RIPK3; MLKL; Necrostatin-1; mitochondrial permeability transition; necrosome
Phagocytosis and degradation of photoreceptor outer segments (POS) by the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is fundamental to vision. Autophagy is also responsible for bulk degradation of cellular components but its role in POS degradation is not well understood. We report that the morning burst of RPE phagocytosis coincided with the enzymatic conversion of autophagy protein LC3 to its lipidated form. LC3 then associated with single membrane phagosomes containing engulfed POS in an Atg5 dependent manner that required Beclin1 but not the autophagy pre-initiation complex. The importance of this process was verified in mice with Atg5-deficient RPE cells that showed evidence of disrupted lysosomal processing. These mice also exhibited decreased photoreceptor responses to light stimuli and decreased chromophore levels that were restored with exogenous retinoid supplementation. These results establish that the interplay of phagocytosis and autophagy within the RPE are required for both POS degradation and the maintenance of retinoid levels to support vision.
Upon activation, quiescent naive T cells undergo a growth phase followed by massive clonal expansion and differentiation that are essential for appropriate immune defense and regulation. Accumulation of cell biomass during the initial growth and rapid proliferation during the expansion phase is associated with dramatically increased bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands. This not only requires a metabolic rewiring during the transition between resting and activation, but also ‘addicts’ active T cells to certain metabolic pathways in ways that naive and memory T cells are not. We consider such addiction in terms of the biological effects of deprivation of metabolic substrates or inhibition of specific pathways in T cells. In this review, we illustrate the relevant metabolic pathways revealed by recent metabolic flux analysis and discuss the consequences of metabolic intervention on specific metabolic pathways in T lymphocytes.
metabolism; T lymphocytes; T-cell activation
TLR2 promotes NLRP3 inflammasome activation via an early MyD88-IRAK1-dependent pathway that provides a priming signal (signal 1) necessary for activation of the inflammasome by a second potassium-depleting signal (signal 2). Here we show that TLR3 binding to dsRNA promotes post-translational inflammasome activation through intermediate and late TRIF/RIPK1/FADD-dependent pathways. Both pathways require the scaffolding but not the catalytic function of caspase-8 or RIPK1. Only the late pathway requires kinase competent RIPK3 and MLKL function. Mechanistically, FADD/caspase-8 scaffolding function provides a post-translational signal 1 in the intermediate pathway, whereas in the late pathway it helps the oligomerization of RIPK3, which together with MLKL provides both signal 1 and 2 for inflammasome assembly. Cytoplasmic dsRNA activates NLRP3 independent of TRIF, RIPK1, RIPK3 or mitochondrial DRP1, but requires FADD/caspase-8 in wildtype macrophages to remove RIPK3 inhibition. Our study provides a comprehensive analysis of pathways that lead to NLRP3 inflammasome activation in response to dsRNA.
Inflammasome activation requires a complex and incompletely understood network of signalling events. Here the authors characterize step-by-step contributions of TLR3, caspase-8, RIPK3 and MLKL to the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in response to double-stranded RNA.
BACKGROUND: The nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) family of transcriptional regulators are central mediators of the cellular inflammatory response. Although constitutive NF-kB signaling is present in most human tumours, mutations in pathway members are rare, complicating efforts to understand and block aberrant NF-kB activity in cancer. METHODS: To identify additional genetic alterations that drive ependymoma, we sequenced the whole genomes (WGS) of 41 tumours and matched normal blood, and the transcriptomes (RNAseq) of 77 tumours. The transforming significance of alterations were tested in mouse NSCs that we showed previously to be cells of origin of ependymoma. RESULTS: Here, we show that more than two thirds of supratentorial ependymomas contain oncogenic fusions between RELA, the principal effector of canonical NF-kB signalling, and an uncharacterized gene, C11orf95. In each case, C11orf95-RELA fusions resulted from chromothripsis involving chromosome 11q13.1. C11orf95-RELA fusion proteins translocated spontaneously to the nucleus to activate NF-kB target genes, and rapidly transformed neural stem cells—the cell of origin of ependymoma—to form these tumours in mice. CONCLUSIONS: Our data identify the first highly recurrent genetic alteration of RELA in human cancer, and the C11orf95-RELA fusion protein as a potential therapeutic target in supratentorial ependymoma. SECONDARY CATEGORY: Neuropathology & Tumor Biomarkers.
The importance of autophagy in memory CD8 T cell differentiation in vivo is not well defined. We show here that autophagy is dynamically regulated in virus-specific CD8 T cells during acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection. Autophagy decreased in activated proliferating T cells, and was then upregulated at the peak of the effector T cell response. Consistent with this model, deletion of the key autophagy genes Atg7 or Atg5 in virus-specific CD8 T cells had minimal effect on generating effector cells but greatly enhanced their death during the contraction phase resulting in compromised memory formation. These findings provide insight into when autophagy is needed during effector and memory T cell differentiation in vivo and also warrant a re-examination of our current concepts about the relationship between T cell activation and autophagy.
Receptor interacting protein kinase (RIPK)-1 is involved in RIPK3-dependent and independent signaling pathways leading to cell death and/or inflammation. Genetic ablation of RIPK1 causes postnatal lethality, which was not prevented by deletion of RIPK3, caspase-8 or FADD. However, animals that lack RIPK1, RIPK3, and either caspase-8 or FADD survived weaning and matured normally. RIPK1 functions in vitro to limit caspase-8-dependent, TNFR-induced apoptosis and animals lacking RIPK1, RIPK3, and TNFR1 survive to adulthood. The role of RIPK3 in promoting lethality in ripk1−/− mice suggests that RIPK3 activation is inhibited by RIPK1 post-birth. While TNFR-induced RIPK3-dependent necroptosis requires RIPK1, cells lacking RIPK1 were sensitized to necroptosis triggered by poly I:C or interferons. Disruption of TLR (TRIF) or type I interferon (IFNAR) signaling delayed lethality in ripk1−/−
tnfr1−/− mice. These results clarify the complex roles for RIPK1 in postnatal life and provide insights into the regulation of FADD-caspase-8 and RIPK3-MLKL signaling by RIPK1.
To fulfill the bioenergetic and biosynthetic demand of proliferation, T cells reprogram their metabolic pathways from fatty acid β-oxidation and pyruvate oxidation via the TCA cycle to the glycolytic, pentose-phosphate, and glutaminolytic pathways. Two of the top-ranked candidate transcription factors potentially responsible for the activation-induced T cell metabolic transcriptome, HIF1α and Myc, were induced upon T cell activation, but only the acute deletion of Myc markedly inhibited activation-induced glycolysis and glutaminolysis in T cells. Glutamine deprivation compromised activation-induced T cell growth and proliferation, and this was partially replaced by nucleotides and polyamines, implicating glutamine as an important source for biosynthetic precursors in active T cells. Metabolic tracer analysis revealed a Myc-dependent metabolic pathway linking glutaminolysis to the biosynthesis of polyamines. Therefore, a Myc-dependent global metabolic transcriptome drives metabolic reprogramming in activated, primary T lymphocytes. This may represent a general mechanism for metabolic reprogramming under patho-physiological conditions.
B cell activation leads to proliferation and antibody production that can protect from pathogens or promote autoimmunity. Regulation of cell metabolism is essential to support the demands of lymphocyte growth and effector function and may regulate tolerance. Here, we tested the regulation and role of glucose uptake and metabolism in the proliferation and antibody production of control, anergic, and autoimmune-prone B cells. Control B cells had a balanced increase in lactate production and oxygen consumption following activation, with proportionally increased glucose transporter Glut1 expression and mitochondrial mass upon either LPS or BCR stimulation. This contrasted with metabolic reprogramming of T cells, which had lower glycolytic flux when resting but disproportionately increased this pathway upon activation. Importantly, tolerance greatly affected B cell metabolic reprogramming. Anergic B cells remained metabolically quiescent, with only a modest increase in glycolysis and oxygen consumption with LPS stimulation. B cells chronically stimulated with elevated B cell Activating Factor (BAFF), however, rapidly increased glycolysis and antibody production upon stimulation. Induction of glycolysis was critical for antibody production, as glycolytic inhibition with the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDHK) inhibitor dichloroacetate (DCA) sharply suppressed B cell proliferation and antibody secretion in vitro and in vivo. Further, B cell-specific deletion of Glut1 led to reduced B cell numbers and impaired antibody production in vivo. Together, these data show that activated B cells require Glut1-dependent metabolic reprogramming to support proliferation and antibody production that is distinct from T cells and that this glycolytic reprogramming is regulated in tolerance.
B cells; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Cytokines; Glut1; metabolism
Macroautophagy is thought to protect against apoptosis, however underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We examined how autophagy affects canonical death receptor-induced mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) and apoptosis. MOMP occurs at variable times in a population of cells and this is delayed by autophagy. Additionally, autophagy leads to inefficient MOMP after which some cells die through a slower process than typical apoptosis and, surprisingly, can recover and divide afterwards. These effects are associated with p62/SQSTM1-dependent selective autophagy causing PUMA levels to be kept low through an indirect mechanism whereby autophagy affects constitutive levels of PUMA mRNA. PUMA depletion is sufficient to prevent the sensitization to apoptosis that occurs when autophagy is blocked. Autophagy can therefore control apoptosis via a key regulator that makes MOMP faster and more efficient thus ensuring rapid completion of apoptosis. This identifies a molecular mechanism whereby cell fate decisions can be determined by autophagy.
The health of metazoan organisms requires an effective response to organellar and cellular damage – either by repair of such damage and/or by elimination of the damaged parts of the cells or the damaged cell in its entirety. Here we consider the progress that has been made in the last two decades in determining the fates of damaged organelles and damaged cells, through discrete, but genetically overlapping, pathways involving the selective autophagy and cell death machinery. We further discuss the ways in which the autophagy machinery may impact the clearance and consequences of dying cells for host physiology. Failure in the proper removal of damaged organelles and/or damaged cells by selective autophagy and cell death processes is likely to contribute to developmental abnormalities, cancer, aging, inflammation, and other diseases.
Beyond their contribution to basic metabolism, the major cellular organelles, in particular mitochondria, can determine whether cells respond to stress in an adaptive or suicidal manner. Thus, mitochondria can continuously adapt their shape to changing bioenergetic demands as they are subjected to quality control by autophagy, or they can undergo a lethal permeabilization process that initiates apoptosis. Along similar lines, multiple proteins involved in metabolic circuitries including oxidative phosphorylation and transport of metabolites across membranes may participate in the regulated or catastrophic dismantling of organelles. Many factors that were initially characterized as cell death regulators are now known to physically or functionally interact with metabolic enzymes. Thus, several metabolic cues regulate the propensity of cells to activate self-destructive programs, in part by acting on nutrient sensors. This suggests the existence of “metabolic checkpoints” that dictate cell fate in response to metabolic fluctuations. Here, we discuss recent insights into the intersection between metabolism and cell death regulation that have major implications for the comprehension and manipulation of unwarranted cell loss.
apoptosis; ATP synthasome; BCL-2; caspases; cyclophilin D; regulated necrosis
The accumulation of improperly folded proteins within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) generates perturbations known as ER stress that engage the unfolded protein response (UPR). ER stress is involved in many inflammatory pathologies that are also associated with the production of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Here we demonstrate that macrophages undergoing ER stress are able to drive the production and processing of pro-IL-1β in response to LPS stimulation in vitro. Interestingly, the classical NLRP3 inflammasome is dispensable, since maturation of pro-IL-1β occurs normally in the absence of the adaptor protein ASC. In contrast, processing of pro-IL-1β is fully dependent on caspase-8. Intriguingly, we found that neither the UPR proteins XBP1 and CHOP or the TLR4 adaptor molecule MyD88 are necessary for caspase-8 activation. Instead, both caspase activation and IL-1β production require the alternative TLR4 adaptor TRIF. This pathway may contribute to IL-1-driven tissue pathology in certain disease settings.
HIF1α induction by mTOR represents a metabolic checkpoint for the differentiation of TH17 and Treg cells.
Upon antigen stimulation, the bioenergetic demands of T cells increase dramatically over the resting state. Although a role for the metabolic switch to glycolysis has been suggested to support increased anabolic activities and facilitate T cell growth and proliferation, whether cellular metabolism controls T cell lineage choices remains poorly understood. We report that the glycolytic pathway is actively regulated during the differentiation of inflammatory TH17 and Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells (Treg cells) and controls cell fate determination. TH17 but not Treg cell–inducing conditions resulted in strong up-regulation of the glycolytic activity and induction of glycolytic enzymes. Blocking glycolysis inhibited TH17 development while promoting Treg cell generation. Moreover, the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) was selectively expressed in TH17 cells and its induction required signaling through mTOR, a central regulator of cellular metabolism. HIF1α–dependent transcriptional program was important for mediating glycolytic activity, thereby contributing to the lineage choices between TH17 and Treg cells. Lack of HIF1α resulted in diminished TH17 development but enhanced Treg cell differentiation and protected mice from autoimmune neuroinflammation. Our studies demonstrate that HIF1α–dependent glycolytic pathway orchestrates a metabolic checkpoint for the differentiation of TH17 and Treg cells.
The Nlrp3 inflammasome is critical for host immunity, but the mechanisms controlling its activation are enigmatic. Here, we show that loss of FADD or caspase-8 in a RIP3-deficient background - but not RIP3-deficiency alone - hampered transcriptional priming and post-translational activation of the canonical and non-canonical Nlrp3 inflammasome. Deletion of caspase-8 in the presence or absence of RIP3 inhibited caspase-1 and caspase-11 activation by Nlrp3 stimuli, but not the Nlrc4 inflammasome. FADD deletion in addition prevented caspase-8 maturation, positioning FADD upstream of caspase-8. Consequently, FADD- and caspase-8-deficient mice had impaired IL-1β production when challenged with LPS or infected with the enteropathogen C. rodentium. Thus, our results reveal FADD and caspase-8 as apical mediators of canonical and non-canonical Nlrp3 inflammasome priming and activation.
inflammasome; caspase-8; FADD; NLRP3; caspase-1; caspase-11; NLR
The BCL-2 family of proteins regulates apoptosis by controlling mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). Within the family there are numerous protein-protein interactions that influence MOMP; however, defining the ultimate signal that commits a cell to apoptosis remains controversial. We chose to examine the function of the BH3-only protein, p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA), to define its contribution to MOMP and cooperation with the direct activator proteins. PUMA is a potent regulator of MOMP and our data suggest that this function is attributed to two distinct mechanisms which both rely on PUMA binding to the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins: de-repression and sensitization. Here we will define these interactions and discuss our experiments that suggest PUMA cooperates with direct activator proteins to efficiently induce MOMP and apoptosis.
apoptosis; BCL-2 family; cytochrome c release; MOMP; PUMA
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a single layer of nonregenerating cells essential to homeostasis in the retina and the preservation of vision. While the RPE perform a number of important functions, 2 essential processes are phagocytosis, which removes the most distal tips of the photoreceptors to support disk renewal, and the visual cycle, which maintains the supply of chromophore for regeneration of photo-bleached visual pigments. We recently reported that these processes are linked by a noncanonical form of autophagy termed LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP) in which components of the autophagy pathway are co-opted by phagocytosis to recover vitamin A in support of optimal vision. Here we summarize these findings.
autophagy; phagocytosis; vision; visual cycle; 11-cis retinal; vitamin A; all-trans retinol; ATG5; LC3; retinal pigment epithelium; photoreceptors
The type I interferon (IFN) response represents the first line of defence to invading pathogens. Internalized viral ribonucleoproteins (vRNPs) of negative-strand RNA viruses induce an early IFN response by interacting with retinoic acid inducible gene I (RIG-I) and its recruitment to mitochondria. Here we employ three-dimensional stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) to visualize incoming influenza A virus (IAV) vRNPs as helical-like structures associated with mitochondria. Unexpectedly, an early IFN induction in response to vRNPs is not detected. A distinct amino-acid motif in the viral polymerases, PB1/PA, suppresses early IFN induction. Mutation of this motif leads to reduced pathogenicity in vivo, whereas restoration increases it. Evolutionary dynamics in these sequences suggest that completion of the motif, combined with viral reassortment can contribute to pandemic risks. In summary, inhibition of the immediate anti-viral response is ‘pre-packaged’ in IAV in the sequences of vRNP-associated polymerase proteins.
It is unclear how incoming influenza viruses counteract the cells’ first line of defence, the interferon (IFN) response. Here Liedmann et al. show that a distinct amino-acid motif in polymerases PB1 and PA, which are packaged in the viral particles, inhibit early IFN induction.
Under conditions of genotoxic stress, human p53 activates the apoptotic effectors BAX or BAK, resulting in mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization and apoptosis. Anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family member BCL-xL opposes this activity by sequestering cytosolic p53 via association with its DNA-binding domain, an interaction that is enhanced by p53 tetramerization. Here we characterized the BCL-xL – p53 complex using NMR spectroscopy and modulated it through mutagenesis to determine the relative contributions of BCL-xL’s interactions with p53, or with other BCL-2 family proteins, to BCL-xL-dependent inhibition of UV irradiation-induced apoptosis. Under our experimental conditions, one third of the anti-apoptotic activity of BCL-xL was mediated by p53 sequestration and the remaining two thirds through sequestration of pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members. Our studies define the contributions of cytosolic p53 to UV irradiation-induced apoptosis and provide opportunities to explore its contributions to other, p53-dependent apoptotic signaling pathways.
Severe sepsis remains a poorly understood systemic inflammatory condition with high mortality rates and limited therapeutic options in addition to organ support measures. Here we show that the clinically approved group of anthracyclines acts therapeutically at a low dose regimen to confer robust protection against severe sepsis in mice. This salutary effect is strictly dependent on the activation of DNA damage response and autophagy pathways in the lung, as demonstrated by deletion of the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (Atm) or the autophagy-related protein 7 (Atg7) specifically in this organ. The protective effect of anthracyclines occurs irrespectively of pathogen burden, conferring disease tolerance to severe sepsis. These findings demonstrate that DNA damage responses, including the ATM and Fancony Anemia pathways, are important modulators of immune responses and might be exploited to confer protection to inflammation-driven conditions, including severe sepsis.
Sepsis; ATM; Autophagy; Anthracyclines
Active metabolism regulates oocyte cell death via calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) mediated phosphorylation of caspase-2, but the link between metabolic activity and CaMKII is poorly understood. Here we identify coenzyme A (CoA) as the key metabolic signal that inhibits Xenopus laevis oocyte apoptosis, in a novel mechanism of CaMKII activation. We found that CoA directly binds to the CaMKII regulatory domain in the absence of Ca2+ to activate CaMKII in a calmodulin-dependent manner. Furthermore, we show that CoA inhibits apoptosis not only in X. laevis oocytes, but also in Murine oocytes. These findings uncover a novel mechanism of CaMKII regulation by metabolism and further highlight the importance of metabolism in preserving oocyte viability.
Caspase-8 or cFLIP deficiency leads to embryonic lethality in mice due to defects in endothelial tissues. Caspase-8−/−, RIPK3−/−, but not cFLIP−/−, RIPK3−/−, double-knockout animals develop normally, indicating that caspase-8 antagonizes the lethal effects of RIPK3 during development. Here we show that the acute deletion of caspase-8 in the gut of adult mice induces enterocyte death, disruption of tissue homeostasis and inflammation, resulting in sepsis and mortality. Likewise, acute deletion of caspase-8 in a focal region of the skin induces local keratinocyte death, tissue disruption and inflammation. Strikingly, RIPK3 ablation rescues both phenotypes. Acute loss of cFLIP in the skin produces a similar phenotype, which, however, is not rescued by RIPK3 ablation. TNF neutralization protects from either acute loss of caspase-8 or cFLIP. These results demonstrate that caspase-8-mediated suppression of RIPK3-induced death is required not only during development, but also for adult homeostasis. Furthermore, RIPK3-dependent inflammation is dispensable for the skin phenotype.
The principal tumor suppressor protein, p53, accumulates in cells in response to DNA damage, oncogene activation, and other stresses. It acts as a nuclear transcription factor that transactivates genes involved in apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, and numerous other processes. An emerging area of research unravels additional activities of p53 in the cytoplasm, where it triggers apoptosis and inhibits autophagy. These novel functions contribute to p53’s mission as a tumor suppressor.
Apoptosis is dependent upon caspase activation leading to substrate cleavage and, ultimately, cell death. Although required for the apoptotic phenotype, it has become apparent that cells frequently die even when caspase function is blocked. This process, termed caspase independent cell death (CICD), occurs in response to most intrinsic apoptotic cues provided that mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation has occurred. Death receptor ligation can also trigger a form of CICD termed necroptosis. In this review we will examine the molecular mechanisms governing CICD, highlight recent findings demonstrating recovery from conditions of CICD and discuss potential pathophysiological roles for these processes.
caspases; mitochondria; caspase independent cell death; mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation; cancer