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
autolysosome; autophagosome; chaperone-mediated autophagy; flux; LC3; lysosome; macroautophagy; phagophore; stress; vacuole
The endocytic Rab5 effectors Ccz1-Mon1 complex and Rab7 promote autophagosome-lysosome fusion independent of Rab5, which facilitates a later step of autophagy: degradation of cargo within lysosomes.
The small GTPase Rab5 promotes recruitment of the Ccz1-Mon1 guanosine exchange complex to endosomes to activate Rab7, which facilitates endosome maturation and fusion with lysosomes. How these factors function during autophagy is incompletely understood. Here we show that autophagosomes accumulate due to impaired fusion with lysosomes upon loss of the Ccz1-Mon1-Rab7 module in starved Drosophila fat cells. In contrast, autophagosomes generated in Rab5-null mutant cells normally fuse with lysosomes during the starvation response. Consistent with that, Rab5 is dispensable for the Ccz1-Mon1–dependent recruitment of Rab7 to PI3P-positive autophagosomes, which are generated by the action of the Atg14-containing Vps34 PI3 kinase complex. Finally, we find that Rab5 is required for proper lysosomal function. Thus the Ccz1-Mon1-Rab7 module is required for autophagosome-lysosome fusion, whereas Rab5 loss interferes with a later step of autophagy: the breakdown of autophagic cargo within lysosomes.
Understanding neural computation requires methods such as 3D acousto-optical (AO) scanning that can simultaneously read out neural activity on both the somatic and dendritic scales. AO point scanning can increase measurement speed and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by several orders of magnitude, but high optical resolution requires long point-to-point switching time, which limits imaging capability. Here we present a novel technology, 3D DRIFT AO scanning, which can extend each scanning point to small 3D lines, surfaces, or volume elements for flexible and fast imaging of complex structures simultaneously in multiple locations. Our method was demonstrated by fast 3D recording of over 150 dendritic spines with 3D lines, over 100 somata with squares and cubes, or multiple spiny dendritic segments with surface and volume elements, including in behaving animals. Finally, a 4-fold improvement in total excitation efficiency resulted in about 500 × 500 × 650 μm scanning volume with genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs).
•3D DRIFT AO scanning can extend each point to 3D lines, surfaces, or volume elements•Retained spatial information is used for post hoc movement correction of signals•Chessboard; snake; multi-cube; multi-3D line; and multi-layer, multi-frame scanning•Improved excitation efficiency for large 3D scanning volume with GECIs
3D DRIFT acousto-optical microscopy designed by Szalay et al. allows confined two-photon scanning of multiple 3D regions of interest. Activity of hundreds of neurons or multiple dendritic processes can be measured simultaneously in large cortical volumes of behaving animals.
Autophagy defects lead to the buildup of damaged proteins and organelles, reduced survival during starvation and infections, hypersensitivity to stress and toxic substances, and progressive neurodegeneration. Here we show that, surprisingly, Drosophila mutants lacking the core autophagy gene Atg16 are not only defective in autophagy but also exhibit increased resistance to the sedative effects of ethanol, unlike Atg7 or Atg3 null mutant flies. This mutant phenotype is rescued by the re-expression of Atg16 in Corazonin (Crz)-producing neurosecretory cells that are known to promote the sedation response during ethanol exposure, and RNAi knockdown of Atg16 specifically in these cells also delays the onset of ethanol-induced coma. We find that Atg16 and Crz colocalize within these neurosecretory cells, and both Crz protein and mRNA levels are decreased in Atg16 mutant flies. Thus, Atg16 promotes Crz production to ensure a proper organismal sedation response to ethanol.
Long‐range gamma band EEG oscillations mediate information transmission between distant brain regions. Gamma band‐based coupling may not be restricted to cortex‐to‐cortex communication but may include extracortical parts of the visual system. The retinogram and visual event‐related evoked potentials exhibit time‐locked, forward propagating oscillations that are candidates of gamma oscillatory coupling between the retina and the visual cortex. In this study, we tested if this gamma coupling is present as indicated by the coherence of gamma‐range (70–200 Hz) oscillatory potentials (OPs) recorded simultaneously from the retina and the primary visual cortex in freely moving, adult rats. We found significant retino‐cortical OP coherence in a wide range of stimulus duration (0.01–1000 msec), stimulus intensity (800–5000 mcd/mm2), interstimulus interval (10–400 msec), and stimulus frequency (0.25–25 Hz). However, at low stimulus frequencies, the OPs were time‐locked, flickering light at 25 Hz entrained continuous OP coherence (steady‐state response, SSR). Our results suggest that the retina and the visual cortex exhibit oscillatory coupling at high‐gamma frequency with precise time locking and synchronization of information transfer from the retina to the visual cortex, similar to cortico‐cortical gamma coupling. The temporal fusion of retino‐cortical gamma coherence at stimulus rates of theater movies may explain the mechanism of the visual illusion of continuity. How visual perception depends on early transformations of ascending sensory information is incompletely understood. By simultaneous measurement of flash‐evoked potentials in the retina and the visual cortex in awake, freely moving rats, we demonstrate for the first time that time‐locked gamma oscillatory potentials exhibit stable retino‐cortical synchrony across a wide range of stimulus parameters and that the temporal continuity of coherence changes with stimulus frequency according to the expected change in the visual illusion of continuity.
Oscillations; perception; synchrony
The HOPS tethering complex facilitates autophagosome-lysosome fusion by binding to Syx17 (Syntaxin 17), the autophagosomal SNARE. Here we show that loss of the core HOPS complex subunit Vps16A enhances autophagosome formation and slows down Drosophila development. Mechanistically, Tor kinase is less active in Vps16A mutants likely due to impaired endocytic and biosynthetic transport to the lysosome, a site of its activation. Tor reactivation by overexpression of Rheb suppresses autophagosome formation and restores growth and developmental timing in these animals. Thus, Vps16A reduces autophagosome numbers both by indirectly restricting their formation rate and by directly promoting their clearance. In contrast, the loss of Syx17 blocks autophagic flux without affecting the induction step in Drosophila.
autophagy; flux; HOPS; lysosome; Syntaxin 17; Tor; Vps16A
Autophagy is an essential process for eliminating ubiquitinated protein aggregates and dysfunctional organelles. Defective autophagy is associated with various degenerative diseases such as Parkinson disease. Through a genetic screening in Drosophila, we identified CG11148, whose product is orthologous to GIGYF1 (GRB10-interacting GYF protein 1) and GIGYF2 in mammals, as a new autophagy regulator; we hereafter refer to this gene as Gyf. Silencing of Gyf completely suppressed the effect of Atg1-Atg13 activation in stimulating autophagic flux and inducing autophagic eye degeneration. Although Gyf silencing did not affect Atg1-induced Atg13 phosphorylation or Atg6-Pi3K59F (class III PtdIns3K)-dependent Fyve puncta formation, it inhibited formation of Atg13 puncta, suggesting that Gyf controls autophagy through regulating subcellular localization of the Atg1-Atg13 complex. Gyf silencing also inhibited Atg1-Atg13-induced formation of Atg9 puncta, which is accumulated upon active membrane trafficking into autophagosomes. Gyf-null mutants also exhibited substantial defects in developmental or starvation-induced accumulation of autophagosomes and autolysosomes in the larval fat body. Furthermore, heads and thoraxes from Gyf-null adults exhibited strongly reduced expression of autophagosome-associated Atg8a-II compared to wild-type (WT) tissues. The decrease in Atg8a-II was directly correlated with an increased accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and dysfunctional mitochondria in neuron and muscle, which together led to severe locomotor defects and early mortality. These results suggest that Gyf-mediated autophagy regulation is important for maintaining neuromuscular homeostasis and preventing degenerative pathologies of the tissues. Since human mutations in the GIGYF2 locus were reported to be associated with a type of familial Parkinson disease, the homeostatic role of Gyf-family proteins is likely to be evolutionarily conserved.
aging; autophagy; Drosophila; growth; neurodegeneration
Autophagy is a major molecular mechanism that eliminates cellular damage in eukaryotic organisms. Basal levels of autophagy are required for maintaining cellular homeostasis and functioning. Defects in the autophagic process are implicated in the development of various age-dependent pathologies including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in accelerated aging. Genetic activation of autophagy has been shown to retard the accumulation of damaged cytoplasmic constituents, delay the incidence of age-dependent diseases, and extend life span in genetic models. This implies that autophagy serves as a therapeutic target in treating such pathologies. Although several autophagy-inducing chemical agents have been identified, the majority of them operate upstream of the core autophagic process, thereby exerting undesired side effects. Here, we screened a small-molecule library for specific inhibitors of MTMR14, a myotubularin-related phosphatase antagonizing the formation of autophagic membrane structures, and isolated AUTEN-67 (autophagy enhancer-67) that significantly increases autophagic flux in cell lines and in vivo models. AUTEN-67 promotes longevity and protects neurons from undergoing stress-induced cell death. It also restores nesting behavior in a murine model of Alzheimer disease, without apparent side effects. Thus, AUTEN-67 is a potent drug candidate for treating autophagy-related diseases.
age-dependent diseases; aging; AUTEN-67; autophagy induction; drug candidate; EDTP; HeLa cells; LC3B-II; model organism; MTMR14/Jumpy; neuroprotection; SQSTM1/p62
Mitochondria are essential organelles of developing spermatids in Drosophila, which undergo dramatic changes in size and shape after meiotic division, where mitochondria localized in the cytoplasm, migrate near the nucleus, aggregate, fuse and create the Nebenkern. During spermatid elongation the two similar mitochondrial derivatives of the Nebenkern start to elongate parallel to the axoneme. One of the elongated mitochondrial derivatives starts to lose volume and becomes the minor mitochondrial derivative, while the other one accumulates paracrystalline and becomes the major mitochondrial derivative. Proteins and intracellular environment that are responsible for cyst elongation and paracrystalline formation in the major mitochondrial derivative need to be identified. In this work we investigate the function of the testis specific big bubble 8 (bb8) gene during spermatogenesis. We show that a Minos element insertion in bb8 gene, a predicted glutamate dehydrogenase, causes recessive male sterility. We demonstrate bb8 mRNA enrichment in spermatids and the mitochondrial localisation of Bb8 protein during spermatogenesis. We report that megamitochondria develop in the homozygous mutant testes, in elongating spermatids. Ultrastructural analysis of the cross section of elongated spermatids shows enlarged mitochondria and the production of paracrystalline in both major and minor mitochondrial derivatives. Our results suggest that the Bb8 protein and presumably glutamate metabolism has a crucial role in the normal development and establishment of the identity of the mitochondrial derivatives during spermatid elongation.
Yeast studies identified two heterohexameric tethering complexes, which consist of 4 shared (Vps11, Vps16, Vps18 and Vps33) and 2 specific subunits: Vps3 and Vps8 (CORVET) versus Vps39 and Vps41 (HOPS). CORVET is an early and HOPS is a late endosomal tether. The function of HOPS is well known in animal cells, while CORVET is poorly characterized. Here we show that Drosophila Vps8 is highly expressed in hemocytes and nephrocytes, and localizes to early endosomes despite the lack of a clear Vps3 homolog. We find that Vps8 forms a complex and acts together with Vps16A, Dor/Vps18 and Car/Vps33A, and loss of any of these proteins leads to fragmentation of endosomes. Surprisingly, Vps11 deletion causes enlargement of endosomes, similar to loss of the HOPS-specific subunits Vps39 and Lt/Vps41. We thus identify a 4 subunit-containing miniCORVET complex as an unconventional early endosomal tether in Drosophila.
endocytosis; fusion; tether; CORVET; HOPS; Vps8; D. melanogaster
UV radiation resistance-associated gene (UVRAG) is a tumor suppressor involved in autophagy, endocytosis and DNA damage repair, but how its loss contributes to colorectal cancer is poorly understood. Here, we show that UVRAG deficiency in Drosophila intestinal stem cells leads to uncontrolled proliferation and impaired differentiation without preventing autophagy. As a result, affected animals suffer from gut dysfunction and short lifespan. Dysplasia upon loss of UVRAG is characterized by the accumulation of endocytosed ligands and sustained activation of STAT and JNK signaling, and attenuation of these pathways suppresses stem cell hyperproliferation. Importantly, the inhibition of early (dynamin-dependent) or late (Rab7-dependent) steps of endocytosis in intestinal stem cells also induces hyperproliferation and dysplasia. Our data raise the possibility that endocytic, but not autophagic, defects contribute to UVRAG-deficient colorectal cancer development in humans.
Drosophila Collection: Intestinal-stem-cell-specific loss of the Drosophila ortholog of the tumor suppressor UVRAG, which is implicated in colorectal cancer, leads to endocytic defects and dysplasia.
Autophagy; Drosophila; Endocytosis; UVRAG
Drosophila spermatogenesis is an ideal system to study the effects of changes in lipid composition, because spermatid elongation and individualization requires extensive membrane biosynthesis and remodelling. The bulk of transcriptional activity is completed with the entry of cysts into meiotic division, which makes post-meiotic stages of spermatogenesis very sensitive to even a small reduction in gene products. In this study, we describe the effect of changes in lipid composition during spermatogenesis using a hypomorphic male sterile allele of the Drosophila CDP-DAG synthase (CdsA) gene. We find that the CdsA mutant shows defects in spermatid individualization and enlargement of mitochondria and the axonemal sheath of the spermatids. Furthermore, we could genetically rescue the male sterile phenotype by overexpressing Phosphatidylinositol synthase (dPIS) in a CdsA mutant background. The results of lipidomic and genetic analyses of the CdsA mutant highlight the importance of correct lipid composition during sperm development and show that phosphatidic acid levels are crucial in late stages of spermatogenesis.
Drosophila; spermatogenesis; lipid
The ATP-dependent proton pump V-ATPase ensures low intralysosomal pH, which is essential for lysosomal hydrolase activity. Based on studies with the V-ATPase inhibitor BafilomycinA1, lysosomal acidification is also thought to be required for fusion with incoming vesicles from the autophagic and endocytic pathways. Here we show that loss of V-ATPase subunits in the Drosophila fat body causes an accumulation of nonfunctional lysosomes, leading to a block in autophagic flux. However, V-ATPase-deficient lysosomes remain competent to fuse with autophagosomes and endosomes, resulting in a time-dependent formation of giant autolysosomes. In contrast, BafilomycinA1 prevents autophagosome-lysosome fusion in these cells, and this defect is phenocopied by depletion of the Ca2+ pump SERCA, a secondary target of this drug. Moreover, activation of SERCA promotes fusion in a BafilomycinA1-sensitive manner. Collectively, our results indicate that lysosomal acidification is not a prerequisite for fusion, and that BafilomycinA1 inhibits fusion independent of its effect on lysosomal pH.
The ATP-dependent proton pump V-ATPase ensures low intralysosomal pH, which is essential for lysosomal hydrolase activity. Based on studies with the V-ATPase inhibitor BafilomycinA1, lysosomal acidification is also thought to be required for fusion with incoming vesicles from the autophagic and endocytic pathways. Here we show that loss of V-ATPase subunits in the Drosophila fat body causes an accumulation of non-functional lysosomes, leading to a block in autophagic flux. However, V-ATPase-deficient lysosomes remain competent to fuse with autophagosomes and endosomes, resulting in a time-dependent formation of giant autolysosomes. In contrast, BafilomycinA1 prevents autophagosome–lysosome fusion in these cells, and this defect is phenocopied by depletion of the Ca2+ pump SERCA, a secondary target of this drug. Moreover, activation of SERCA promotes fusion in a BafilomycinA1-sensitive manner. Collectively, our results indicate that lysosomal acidification is not a prerequisite for fusion, and that BafilomycinA1 inhibits fusion independent of its effect on lysosomal pH.
BafilomycinA1 is an autophagy inhibitor, presumably owing to its blocking effect on the lysosomal proton pump V-ATPase. Here the authors show that V-ATPase-deficient lysosomes can still fuse with autophagosomes, showing that lysosomal acidification and fusion are two separable, independent events.
During the catabolic process of autophagy, cytoplasmic material is transported to the lysosome for degradation and recycling. This way, autophagy contributes to the homeodynamic turnover of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, glycogen, and even whole organelles. Autophagic activity is increased by adverse conditions such as nutrient limitation, growth factor withdrawal and oxidative stress, and it generally protects cells and organisms to promote their survival. Misregulation of autophagy is likely involved in numerous human pathologies including aging, cancer, infections and neurodegeneration, so its biomedical relevance explains the still growing interest in this field. Here we discuss the different microscopy-based, biochemical and genetic methods currently available to study autophagy in various tissues of the popular model Drosophila. We show examples for results obtained in different assays, explain how to interpret these with regard to autophagic activity, and how to find out which step of autophagy a given gene product is involved in.
Atg8; Autophagy; Autophagosome; Drosophila; Flux; p62/Ref(2)P
Neuronal hyperexcitability is a phenomenon associated with early Alzheimer's disease. The underlying mechanism is considered to involve excessive activation of glutamate receptors; however, the exact molecular pathway remains to be determined. Extracellular recording from the CA1 of hippocampal slices is a long-standing standard for a range of studies both in basic research and in neuropharmacology. Evoked field potentials (fEPSPs) are regarded as the input, while spiking rate is regarded as the output of the neuronal network; however, the relationship between these two phenomena is not fully clear. We investigated the relationship between spontaneous spiking and evoked fEPSPs using mouse hippocampal slices. Blocking AMPA receptors (AMPARs) with CNQX abolished fEPSPs, but left firing rate unchanged. NMDA receptor (NMDAR) blockade with MK801 decreased neuronal spiking dose dependently without altering fEPSPs. Activating NMDARs by small concentration of NMDA induced a trend of increased firing. These results suggest that fEPSPs are mediated by synaptic activation of AMPARs, while spontaneous firing is regulated by the activation of extrasynaptic NMDARs. Synaptotoxic Abeta(1-42) increased firing activity without modifying evoked fEPSPs. This hyperexcitation was prevented by ifenprodil, an antagonist of the NR2B NMDARs. Overall, these results suggest that Abeta(1-42) induced neuronal overactivity is not dependent on AMPARs but requires NR2B.
Yeast studies identified the evolutionarily conserved core ATG genes responsible for autophagosome formation. However, the SNARE-dependent machinery involved in autophagosome fusion with the vacuole in yeast is not conserved. We recently reported that the SNARE complex consisting of Syx17 (Syntaxin 17), ubisnap (SNAP-29) and Vamp7 is required for the fusion of autophagosomes with late endosomes and lysosomes in Drosophila. Syx17 mutant flies are viable but exhibit neuronal dysfunction, locomotion defects and premature death. These data point to the critical role of autophagosome clearance in organismal homeodynamics.
autophagy; autophagosome; Drosophila; lysosome; neurodegeneration; SNARE; Syntaxin 17; ubisnap/SNAP-29; Vamp7
Interaction of the autophagosomal SNARE Syntaxin 17 (Syx17) with the homotypic fusion and vacuole protein–sorting (HOPS) tethering complex is necessary for the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. HOPS, but not Syx17, is also required for endocytic degradation and biosynthetic transport to lysosomes and eye pigment granules.
Homotypic fusion and vacuole protein sorting (HOPS) is a tethering complex required for trafficking to the vacuole/lysosome in yeast. Specific interaction of HOPS with certain SNARE (soluble NSF attachment protein receptor) proteins ensures the fusion of appropriate vesicles. HOPS function is less well characterized in metazoans. We show that all six HOPS subunits (Vps11 [vacuolar protein sorting 11]/CG32350, Vps18/Dor, Vps16A, Vps33A/Car, Vps39/CG7146, and Vps41/Lt) are required for fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes in Drosophila. Loss of these genes results in large-scale accumulation of autophagosomes and blocks autophagic degradation under basal, starvation-induced, and developmental conditions. We find that HOPS colocalizes and interacts with Syntaxin 17 (Syx17), the recently identified autophagosomal SNARE required for fusion in Drosophila and mammals, suggesting their association is critical during tethering and fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. HOPS, but not Syx17, is also required for endocytic down-regulation of Notch and Boss in developing eyes and for proper trafficking to lysosomes and eye pigment granules. We also show that the formation of autophagosomes and their fusion with lysosomes is largely unaffected in null mutants of Vps38/UVRAG (UV radiation resistance associated), a suggested binding partner of HOPS in mammals, while endocytic breakdown and lysosome biogenesis is perturbed. Our results establish the role of HOPS and its likely mechanism of action during autophagy in metazoans.
The discovery of evolutionarily conserved Atg genes required for autophagy in yeast truly revolutionized this research field and made it possible to carry out functional studies on model organisms. Insects including Drosophila are classical and still popular models to study autophagy, starting from the 1960s. This review aims to summarize past achievements and our current knowledge about the role and regulation of autophagy in Drosophila, with an outlook to yeast and mammals. The basic mechanisms of autophagy in fruit fly cells appear to be quite similar to other eukaryotes, and the role that this lysosomal self-degradation process plays in Drosophila models of various diseases already made it possible to recognize certain aspects of human pathologies. Future studies in this complete animal hold great promise for the better understanding of such processes and may also help finding new research avenues for the treatment of disorders with misregulated autophagy.
The large-scale turnover of intracellular material including organelles is achieved by autophagy-mediated degradation in lysosomes. Initiation of autophagy is controlled by a protein kinase complex consisting of an Atg1-family kinase, Atg13, FIP200/Atg17, and the metazoan-specific subunit Atg101. Here we show that loss of Atg101 impairs both starvation-induced and basal autophagy in Drosophila. This leads to accumulation of protein aggregates containing the selective autophagy cargo ref(2)P/p62. Mapping experiments suggest that Atg101 binds to the N-terminal HORMA domain of Atg13 and may also interact with two unstructured regions of Atg1. Another HORMA domain-containing protein, Mad2, forms a conformational homodimer. We show that Drosophila Atg101 also dimerizes, and it is predicted to fold into a HORMA domain. Atg101 interacts with ref(2)P as well, similar to Atg13, Atg8a, Atg16, Atg18, Keap1, and RagC, a known regulator of Tor kinase which coordinates cell growth and autophagy. These results raise the possibility that the interactions and dimerization of the putative HORMA domain protein Atg101 play critical roles in starvation-induced autophagy and proteostasis, by promoting the formation of protein aggregate-containing autophagosomes.
Hsp27 belongs to the small heat shock protein family, which are ATP-independent chaperones. The most important function of Hsp27 is based on its ability to bind non-native proteins and inhibit the aggregation of incorrectly folded proteins maintaining them in a refolding-competent state. Additionally, it has anti-apoptotic and antioxidant activities. To study the effect of Hsp27 on memory and synaptic functions, amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation, and neurodegeneration, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing human Hsp27 protein and crossed with APPswe/PS1dE9 mouse strain, a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using different behavioral tests, we found that spatial learning was impaired in AD model mice and was rescued by Hsp27 overexpression. Electrophysiological recordings have revealed that excitability of neurons was significantly increased, and long-term potentiation (LTP) was impaired in AD model mice, whereas they were normalized in Hsp27 overexpressing AD model mice. Using anti-amyloid antibody, we counted significantly less amyloid plaques in the brain of APPswe/PS1dE9/Hsp27 animals compared to AD model mice. These results suggest that overexpression of Hsp27 protein might ameliorate certain symptoms of AD.
Heat shock proteins; Transgenic mice; Mouse model; Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid plaques; Behavior tests; Electrophysiological recordings; Real-time Q-PCR
This study shows that the small GTPase Rab11 is required for both autophagosome and endosome maturation. The authors demonstrate a novel cross-talk mechanism through which autophagy can orchestrate endosomal maturation events to ensure the required endolysosomal input for autophagosome maturation.
During autophagy, double-membrane autophagosomes deliver sequestered cytoplasmic content to late endosomes and lysosomes for degradation. The molecular mechanism of autophagosome maturation is still poorly characterized. The small GTPase Rab11 regulates endosomal traffic and is thought to function at the level of recycling endosomes. We show that loss of Rab11 leads to accumulation of autophagosomes and late endosomes in Drosophila melanogaster. Rab11 translocates from recycling endosomes to autophagosomes in response to autophagy induction and physically interacts with Hook, a negative regulator of endosome maturation. Hook anchors endosomes to microtubules, and we show that Rab11 facilitates the fusion of endosomes and autophagosomes by removing Hook from mature late endosomes and inhibiting its homodimerization. Thus induction of autophagy appears to promote autophagic flux by increased convergence with the endosomal pathway.
During muscle development, myosin and actin containing filaments assemble into the highly organized sarcomeric structure critical for muscle function. Although sarcomerogenesis clearly involves the de novo formation of actin filaments, this process remained poorly understood. Here we show that mouse and Drosophila members of the DAAM formin family are sarcomere-associated actin assembly factors enriched at the Z-disc and M-band. Analysis of dDAAM mutants revealed a pivotal role in myofibrillogenesis of larval somatic muscles, indirect flight muscles and the heart. We found that loss of dDAAM function results in multiple defects in sarcomere development including thin and thick filament disorganization, Z-disc and M-band formation, and a near complete absence of the myofibrillar lattice. Collectively, our data suggest that dDAAM is required for the initial assembly of thin filaments, and subsequently it promotes filament elongation by assembling short actin polymers that anneal to the pointed end of the growing filaments, and by antagonizing the capping protein Tropomodulin.
Sarcomeres, the smallest contractile units of muscle, are formed by two major filament systems, the myosin containing thick and the actin containing thin filaments. Although it is well established that sarcomerogenesis involves the formation of novel actin filaments, so far it remained largely unclear how these filaments form. In this study, we show that the Drosophila and mouse members of the DAAM formin subfamily are sarcomere associated actin assembly factors. Genetic analysis revealed that dDAAM plays an essential role in thin filament formation and sarcomere organization. In addition, we demonstrate that mDaam1 is an early determinant of myofibrillogenesis. Our data suggest that besides a role at the barbed end of the thin filaments, dDAAM also functions at the pointed end where it antagonizes the capping protein Tropomodulin. Based on these observations, we propose that DAAM family formins are very good candidates for being the long sought-after muscle actin nucleators, that also promote filament elongation by assembling short actin polymers that anneal to the Z-disc anchored growing filament. Given that cardiomyopathies, muscular dystrophies and the cardiovascular disease related heart muscle degenerations belong to the major health problems worldwide, understanding the mechanism of how muscles normally form is of immense biomedical relevance.