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1.  Autophagy induction by tetrahydrobiopterin deficiency 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1323-1334.
Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) deficiency is a genetic disorder associated with a variety of metabolic syndromes such as phenylketonuria (PKU). In this article, the signaling pathway by which BH4 deficiency inactivates mTORC1 leading to the activation of the autophagic pathway was studied utilizing BH4-deficient Spr-/- mice generated by the knockout of the gene encoding sepiapterin reductase (SR) catalyzing BH4 synthesis. We found that mTORC1 signaling was inactivated and autophagic pathway was activated in tissues from Spr-/- mice. This study demonstrates that tyrosine deficiency causes mTORC1 inactivation and subsequent activation of autophagic pathway in Spr-/- mice. Therapeutic tyrosine diet completely rescued dwarfism and mTORC1 inhibition but inactivated autophagic pathway in Spr-/- mice. Tyrosine-dependent inactivation of mTORC1 was further supported by mTORC1 inactivation in Pahenu2 mouse model lacking phenylalanine hydroxylase (Pah). NIH3T3 cells grown under the condition of tyrosine restriction exhibited autophagy induction. However, mTORC1 activation by RhebQ64L, a positive regulator of mTORC1, inactivated autophagic pathway in NIH3T3 cells under tyrosine-deficient conditions. In addition, this study first documents mTORC1 inactivation and autophagy induction in PKU patients with BH4 deficiency.
doi:10.4161/auto.7.11.16627
PMCID: PMC3242797  PMID: 21795851
tetrahydrobiopterin; autophagy; mTORC1; tyrosine; phenylalanine; phenylketonuria; Akt; AMPK
2.  Pseudomonas aeruginosa Eliminates Natural Killer Cells via Phagocytosis-Induced Apoptosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(8):e1000561.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is an opportunistic pathogen that causes the relapse of illness in immunocompromised patients, leading to prolonged hospitalization, increased medical expense, and death. In this report, we show that PA invades natural killer (NK) cells and induces phagocytosis-induced cell death (PICD) of lymphocytes. In vivo tumor metastasis was augmented by PA infection, with a significant reduction in NK cell number. Adoptive transfer of NK cells mitigated PA-induced metastasis. Internalization of PA into NK cells was observed by transmission electron microscopy. In addition, PA invaded NK cells via phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) activation, and the phagocytic event led to caspase 9-dependent apoptosis of NK cells. PA-mediated NK cell apoptosis was dependent on activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These data suggest that the phagocytosis of PA by NK cells is a critical event that affects the relapse of diseases in immunocompromised patients, such as those with cancer, and provides important insights into the interactions between PA and NK cells.
Author Summary
Phagocytic leukocytes, including neutrophils and macrophages, are critical for innate immunity against invading bacteria. Binding and internalization of bacteria by these immune cells stimulates a variety of anti-microbial activities. Although the immune cells are specialized for elimination of bacteria, cellular apoptosis by bacterial phagocytosis has emerged as an important mechanism of pathogenesis. NK cells are non-phagocytic lymphocytes that are responsible for innate immunity via elimination of virus or bacteria-infected cells, as well as transformed cells. We found that PA invades NK cells and that this phagocytic event results in the generation of ROS within the NK cells, leading to apoptosis. The elimination of NK cells, at least in part, may be responsible for the relapse in PA-infected cancer patients. Based on these findings, studies on the interactions between bacterial determinants and host receptors should provide further insight into the mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000561
PMCID: PMC2726936  PMID: 19714221

Results 1-2 (2)