Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43, also known as TARDBP) is the major pathological protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Large TDP-43 aggregates that are decorated with degradation adaptor proteins are seen in the cytoplasm of remaining neurons in ALS and FTD patients post mortem. TDP-43 accumulation and ALS-linked mutations within degradation pathways implicate failed TDP-43 clearance as a primary disease mechanism. Here, we report the differing roles of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy in the clearance of TDP-43. We have investigated the effects of inhibitors of the UPS and autophagy on the degradation, localisation and mobility of soluble and insoluble TDP-43. We find that soluble TDP-43 is degraded primarily by the UPS, whereas the clearance of aggregated TDP-43 requires autophagy. Cellular macroaggregates, which recapitulate many of the pathological features of the aggregates in patients, are reversible when both the UPS and autophagy are functional. Their clearance involves the autophagic removal of oligomeric TDP-43. We speculate that, in addition to an age-related decline in pathway activity, a second hit in either the UPS or the autophagy pathway drives the accumulation of TDP-43 in ALS and FTD. Therapies for clearing excess TDP-43 should therefore target a combination of these pathways.
TDP-43; ALS; Autophagy; Proteasome; Aggrephagy; UPS
Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) are characterized by the progressive loss of neurons in the human brain. Although the majority of NDs are sporadic, evidence is accumulating that they have a strong genetic component. Therefore, significant efforts have been made in recent years to not only identify disease-causing genes but also genes that modify the severity of NDs, so-called genetic modifiers. To date there exists no compendium that lists and cross-links genetic modifiers of different NDs.
In order to address this need, we present NeuroGeM, the first comprehensive knowledgebase providing integrated information on genetic modifiers of nine different NDs in the model organisms D. melanogaster, C. elegans, and S. cerevisiae. NeuroGeM cross-links curated genetic modifier information from the different NDs and provides details on experimental conditions used for modifier identification, functional annotations, links to homologous proteins and color-coded protein-protein interaction networks to visualize modifier interactions. We demonstrate how this database can be used to generate new understanding through meta-analysis. For instance, we reveal that the Drosophila genes DnaJ-1, thread, Atx2, and mub are generic modifiers that affect multiple if not all NDs.
As the first compendium of genetic modifiers, NeuroGeM will assist experimental and computational scientists in their search for the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying NDs. http://chibi.ubc.ca/neurogem.
Neurodegenerative diseases; Genetic modifiers; Database; Knowledgebase; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Huntington’s disease
Autophagosomes may derive membrane from diverse sources, including the plasma membrane, Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. The plasma membrane contributes membrane to ATG12–ATG5-ATG16L1-positive phagophore precursor vesicles (LC3-negative) by both clathrin-dependent and -independent routes. We recently observed that ARF6 regulates autophagy and that this could be explained, at least in part, by its role in the generation of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2], which influences endocytic uptake of plasma membrane into autophagosome precursors. The subsequent maturation of these small phagophore precursors into phagophores (ATG12–ATG5-ATG16L1-positive and LC3-positive), is assisted by SNARE-mediated homotypic fusion that increase their size and enhance their ability to acquire LC3-II. It appears that a plasma membrane-derived pool of VAMP7 is a key mediator of these fusion events. Thus, events at the plasma membrane may regulate distinct steps in the biogenesis of phagophores.
Arf6; ATG16L1; autophagy; phagophore; plasma membrane; SNARE
Autophagic protein degradation is mediated by autophagosomes that fuse with lysosomes, where their contents are degraded. The membrane origins of autophagosomes may involve multiple sources. However, it is unclear if and where distinct membrane sources fuse during autophagosome biogenesis. Vesicles containing mATG9, the only transmembrane autophagy protein, are seen in many sites, and fusions with other autophagic compartments have not been visualized in mammalian cells. We observed that mATG9 traffics from the plasma membrane to recycling endosomes in carriers that appear to be routed differently from ATG16L1-containing vesicles, another source of autophagosome membrane. mATG9- and ATG16L1-containing vesicles traffic to recycling endosomes, where VAMP3-dependent heterotypic fusions occur. These fusions correlate with autophagosome formation, and both processes are enhanced by perturbing membrane egress from recycling endosomes. Starvation, a primordial autophagy activator, reduces membrane recycling from recycling endosomes and enhances mATG9-ATG16L1 vesicle fusion. Thus, this mechanism may fine-tune physiological autophagic responses.
•mATG9 traffics from the plasma membrane to recycling endosomes•mATG9 vesicles fuse with ATG16L1 vesicles in recycling endosomes•VAMP3, Rab11, myosin Vb, and starvation regulate mATG9-ATG16L1 vesicle fusion•mATG9-ATG16L1 vesicle fusions regulate autophagosome formation
Autophagosome membranes that originate in different cellular compartments follow distinct routes to recycling endosomes, where they fuse to form autophagosome precursors.
Autophagy, a major clearance route for many long-lived proteins and organelles, has long been implicated in cancer development. Myc is a proto-oncogene often found to be deregulated in many cancers, and thus is an attractive target for design of cancer therapy. Therefore, understanding the relationship between anti-Myc strategies and autophagy will be important for development of effective therapy. Here, we show that Myc depletion inhibits autophagosome formation and impairs clearance of autophagy substrates. Myc suppression has an inhibitory effect on autophagy via reduction of c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2) phosphorylation. Additionally, the decrease in JNK1 phosphorylation observed with Myc knockdown is associated with a reduction in ROS production. Our data suggest that targeting Myc in cancer therapy might have the additional benefit of inhibiting autophagy in the case of therapy resistance associated with chemotherapy-induced autophagy.
In response to toxic stimuli, BCL2L11 (also known as BIM), a BH3-only protein, is released from its interaction with dynein light chain 1 (DYNLL1 also known as LC8) and can induce apoptosis by inactivating anti-apoptotic BCL2 proteins and by activating BAX-BAK1. Recently, we discovered that BCL2L11 interacts with BECN1 (Beclin 1), and that this interaction is facilitated by DYNLL1. BCL2L11 recruits BECN1 to microtubules by bridging BECN1 and DYNLL1, thereby inhibiting autophagy. In starvation conditions, BCL2L11 is phosphorylated by MAPK8/JNK and this phosphorylation abolishes the BCL2L11-DYNLL1 interaction, allowing dissociation of BCL2L11 and BECN1, thereby ameliorating autophagy inhibition. This finding demonstrates a novel function of BIM beyond its roles in apoptosis, highlighting the crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis, and suggests that BCL2L11’s dual effects in inhibiting autophagy and promoting apoptosis may have important roles in disease pathogenesis.
BIM; autophagy; apoptosis; BH-3 domain; BECN1
Inhibition of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling pathway increases
lifespan and protects against neurodegeneration in model organisms, and has been
considered as a potential therapeutic target. This pathway is upstream of mTORC1, a
negative regulator of autophagy. Thus, we expected autophagy to be activated by
insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) inhibition, which could account for many of its
beneficial effects. Paradoxically, we found that IGF-1 inhibition attenuates autophagosome
formation. The reduced amount of autophagosomes present in IGF-1R depleted cells can be,
at least in part, explained by a reduced formation of autophagosomal precursors at the
plasma membrane. In particular, IGF-1R depletion inhibits mTORC2, which, in turn, reduces
the activity of protein kinase C (PKCα/β). This perturbs the actin
cytoskeleton dynamics and decreases the rate of clathrin-dependent endocytosis, which
impacts autophagosome precursor formation. Finally, with important implications for human
diseases, we demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of the IGF-1R signalling cascade
reduces autophagy also in zebrafish and mice models. The novel link we describe here has
important consequences for the interpretation of genetic experiments in mammalian systems
and for evaluating the potential of targeting the IGF-1R receptor or modulating its
signalling through the downstream pathway for therapeutic purposes under clinically
relevant conditions, such as neurodegenerative diseases, where autophagy stimulation is
Arf6 positively regulates autophagosome membrane biogenesis by inducing PIP2 generation and PLD activation, which together may influence endocytic uptake of plasma membrane into autophagosome precursors.
Macroautophagy (in this paper referred to as autophagy) and the ubiquitin–proteasome system are the two major catabolic systems in cells. Autophagy involves sequestration of cytosolic contents in double membrane–bounded vesicles called autophagosomes. The membrane source for autophagosomes has received much attention, and diverse sources, such as the plasma membrane, Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria, have been implicated. These may not be mutually exclusive, but the exact sources and mechanism involved in the formation of autophagosomes are still unclear. In this paper, we identify a positive role for the small G protein Arf6 in autophagosome formation. The effect of Arf6 on autophagy is mediated by its role in the generation of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and in inducing phospholipase D (PLD) activity. PIP2 and PLD may themselves promote autophagosome biogenesis by influencing endocytic uptake of plasma membrane into autophagosome precursors. However, Arf6 may also influence autophagy by indirect effects, such as either by regulating membrane flow from other compartments or by modulating PLD activity independently of the mammalian target of rapamycin.
Autophagy is a rapidly expanding field in the sense that our knowledge about the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. Similarly, the vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. This fact makes it difficult for readers, even those who work in the field, to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors or chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, or the role of accessory machinery or structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; definitions; glossary; lexicon; terms
Azithromycin is a potent macrolide antibiotic with poorly understood antiinflammatory properties. Long-term use of azithromycin in patients with chronic inflammatory lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), results in improved outcomes. Paradoxically, a recent study reported that azithromycin use in patients with CF is associated with increased infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Here, we confirm that long-term azithromycin use by adults with CF is associated with the development of infection with NTM, particularly the multi-drug-resistant species Mycobacterium abscessus, and identify an underlying mechanism. We found that in primary human macrophages, concentrations of azithromycin achieved during therapeutic dosing blocked autophagosome clearance by preventing lysosomal acidification, thereby impairing autophagic and phagosomal degradation. As a consequence, azithromycin treatment inhibited intracellular killing of mycobacteria within macrophages and resulted in chronic infection with NTM in mice. Our findings emphasize the essential role for autophagy in the host response to infection with NTM, reveal why chronic use of azithromycin may predispose to mycobacterial disease, and highlight the dangers of inadvertent pharmacological blockade of autophagy in patients at risk of infection with drug-resistant pathogens.
α-Synuclein and mutant huntingtin are the major constituents of the intracellular aggregates that characterize the pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD), respectively. α-Synuclein is likely to be a major contributor to PD, since overexpression of this protein resulting from genetic triplication is sufficient to cause human forms of PD. We have previously demonstrated that wild-type α-synuclein overexpression impairs macroautophagy in mammalian cells and in transgenic mice. Overexpression of human wild-type α-synuclein in cells and Drosophila models of HD worsens the disease phenotype. Here, we examined whether α-synuclein overexpression also worsens the HD phenotype in a mammalian system using two widely used N-terminal HD mouse models (R6/1 and N171-82Q). We also tested the effects of α-synuclein deletion in the same N-terminal HD mouse models, as well as assessed the effects of α-synuclein deletion on macroautophagy in mouse brains. We show that overexpression of wild-type α-synuclein in both mouse models of HD enhances the onset of tremors and has some influence on the rate of weight loss. On the other hand, α-synuclein deletion in both HD models increases autophagosome numbers and this is associated with a delayed onset of tremors and weight loss, two of the most prominent endophenotypes of the HD-like disease in mice. We have therefore established a functional link between these two aggregate-prone proteins in mammals and provide further support for the model that wild-type α-synuclein negatively regulates autophagy even at physiological levels.
Autophagy is an essential, conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that controls the quality of the cytoplasm by eliminating protein aggregates and damaged organelles. It begins when double-membraned autophagosomes engulf portions of the cytoplasm, which is followed by fusion of these vesicles with lysosomes and degradation of the autophagic contents. In addition to its vital homeostatic role, this degradation pathway is involved in various human disorders, including metabolic conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, cancers and infectious diseases. This article provides an overview of the mechanisms and regulation of autophagy, the role of this pathway in disease and strategies for therapeutic modulation.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling and macroautophagy (henceforth autophagy) regulate numerous pathological and physiological processes including cellular responses to altered nutrient levels. However, the mechanisms regulating mTOR and autophagy remain incompletely understood. Lysosomes are dynamic intracellular organelles 1, 2 intimately involved both in the activation of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signalling and in degrading autophagic substrates 3-8. Here we report that lysosomal positioning coordinates anabolic and catabolic responses to changes in nutrient availability by orchestrating early plasma membrane signalling events, mTORC1 signalling and autophagy. Activation of mTORC1 by nutrients correlates with its presence on peripheral lysosomes that are physically close to the upstream signalling modules, while starvation causes perinuclear clustering of lysosomes, driven by changes in intracellular pH (pHi). Lysosomal positioning regulates mTORC1 signalling, which, in turn, influences autophagosome formation. Lysosome positioning also influences autophagosome-lysosome fusion rates, and thus controls autophagic flux by acting both at the initiation and termination stages of the process. Our findings provide a fundamental physiological role for the dynamic state of lysosomal positioning in cells as a coordinator of mTORC1 signalling with autophagic flux.
The study of autophagy is rapidly expanding, and our knowledge of the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. The vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. In fact, it is difficult for readers—even those who work in the field—to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors and chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, and the roles of accessory components and structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; lysosome; mitophagy; pexophagy; stress; vacuole
The accumulation of misfolded proteins in insoluble aggregates within the neuronal cytoplasm is one of the common pathological hallmarks of most adult-onset human neurodegenerative diseases. The clearance of these misfolded proteins may represent a promising therapeutic strategy in these diseases. The two main routes for intracellular protein degradation are the ubiquitin–proteasome and the autophagy–lysosome pathways. In this review, we will focus on the autophagic pathway, by providing some examples of how impairment at different steps in this degradation pathway is related to different neurodegenerative diseases. We will also consider that upregulating autophagy may be useful in the treatment of some of these diseases. Finally, we discuss how antioxidants, which have been considered to be beneficial in neurodegenerative diseases, can block autophagy, thus potentially compromising their therapeutic potential.
►Autophagy compromise occurs in different neurodegenerative diseases. ►Upregulating autophagy may be useful in the treatment of some neurodegenerative diseases. ►Many different reactive oxygen species scavengers impair autophagy
Autophagy; Neurodegeneration; Huntington's disease
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a well-conserved negative regulator of autophagy. Here we review our recent data describing how lysosomal positioning influences and coordinates mTOR activity, autophagosome biogenesis and autophagosome-lysosome fusion. In this way, lysosomal positioning regulates many diverse cellular responses to starvation and subsequent nutrient replenishment.
autophagy; lysosome; mTOR; intracellular pH; ARL8; kinesin
Although several studies have described an association between Alzheimer disease (AD) and genetic variation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), each has implicated different mtDNA variants, so the role of mtDNA in the etiology of AD remains uncertain.
We tested 138 mtDNA variants for association with AD in a powerful sample of 4,133 AD case patients and 1,602 matched controls from 3 Caucasian populations. Of the total population, 3,250 case patients and 1,221 elderly controls met the quality control criteria and were included in the analysis.
In the largest study to date, we failed to replicate the published findings. Meta-analysis of the available data showed no evidence of an association with AD.
The current evidence linking common mtDNA variations with AD is not compelling.
Parkinson disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder affecting people. It is characterized by the accumulation of the protein α-synuclein in Lewy body inclusions in vulnerable neurons. α-Synuclein overexpression caused by gene multiplications is sufficient to cause this disease, suggesting that α-synuclein accumulation is toxic. Here we review our recent study showing that α-synuclein inhibits autophagy. We discuss our mechanistic understanding of this phenomenon and also speculate how a deficiency in autophagy may contribute to a range of pleiotropic features of PD biology.
Parkinson disease; alpha-synuclein; autophagy; Rab1a; Atg9
α-Synuclein impairs autophagosome formation and mislocalizes Atg9 by inhibiting Rab1a.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized pathologically by intraneuronal inclusions called Lewy bodies, largely comprised of α-synuclein. Multiplication of the α-synuclein gene locus increases α-synuclein expression and causes PD. Thus, overexpression of wild-type α-synuclein is toxic. In this study, we demonstrate that α-synuclein overexpression impairs macroautophagy in mammalian cells and in transgenic mice. Our data show that α-synuclein compromises autophagy via Rab1a inhibition and Rab1a overexpression rescues the autophagy defect caused by α-synuclein. Inhibition of autophagy by α-synuclein overexpression or Rab1a knockdown causes mislocalization of the autophagy protein, Atg9, and decreases omegasome formation. Rab1a, α-synuclein, and Atg9 all regulate formation of the omegasome, which marks autophagosome precursors.
Bim is a proapoptotic BH3-only Bcl-2 family member. In response to death stimuli, Bim dissociates from the dynein light chain 1 (DYNLL1/LC8), where it is inactive, and can then initiate Bax/Bak-mediated mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. We found that Bim depletion increases autophagosome synthesis in cells and in vivo, and this effect is inhibited by overexpression of cell death-deficient Bim. Bim inhibits autophagy by interacting with Beclin 1, an autophagy regulator, and this interaction is facilitated by LC8. Bim bridges the Beclin 1-LC8 interaction and thereby inhibits autophagy by mislocalizing Beclin 1 to the dynein motor complex. Starvation, an autophagic stimulus, induces Bim phosphorylation, which abrogates LC8 binding to Bim, leading to dissociation of Bim and Beclin 1. Our data suggest that Bim switches locations between apoptosis-inactive/autophagy-inhibitory and apoptosis-active/autophagy-permissive sites.
► Bim negatively regulates autophagy in cell culture and in vivo ► Bim inhibits autophagosome formation by interacting with Beclin 1 ► Bim inhibits autophagy by mislocalizing Beclin 1 from the ER to microtubules ► Starvation induces autophagy and dissociates the Bim-Beclin1 interaction
The membrane origin of autophagosomes has long been a mystery and it may involve multiple sources. In this punctum, we discuss our recent finding that the plasma membrane contributes to the formation of pre-autophagic structures via clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Our study suggests that Atg16L1 interacts with clathrin heavy-chain/AP2 and is also localized on vesicles (positive for clathrin or cholera toxin B) close to the plasma membrane. Live-cell imaging studies revealed that the plasma membrane contributes to Atg16L1-positive structures and that this process and autophagosome formation are impaired by knockdowns of genes regulating clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
autophagy; plasma membrane; endocytosis; phagophore; origin