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1.  PKM2 Regulates the Warburg Effect and Promotes HMGB1 Release in Sepsis 
Nature communications  2014;5:4436.
Increasing evidence suggests the important role of metabolic reprogramming in the regulation of the innate inflammatory response, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence to support a novel role for the pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2)-mediated Warburg effect, namely aerobic glycolysis, in the regulation of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release. PKM2 interacts with hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) and activates the HIF-1α-dependent transcription of enzymes necessary for aerobic glycolysis in macrophages. Knockdown of PKM2, HIF1α, and glycolysis-related genes uniformly decreases lactate production and HMGB1 release. Similarly, a potential PKM2 inhibitor, shikonin, reduces serum lactate and HMGB1 levels and protects mice from lethal endotoxemia and sepsis. Collectively, these findings shed light on a novel mechanism for metabolic control of inflammation by regulating HMGB1 release and highlight the importance of targeting aerobic glycolysis in the treatment of sepsis and other inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC4104986  PMID: 25019241
2.  Chloroquine Inhibits HMGB1 Inflammatory Signaling and Protects Mice from Lethal Sepsis 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;86(3):410-418.
Sepsis is caused by an overwhelming immune response to bacterial infection. The discovery of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) as a late mediator of lethal sepsis has prompted investigation into the development of new therapeutics which specifically target this protein. Here, we show that chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, prevents lethality in mice with established endotoxemia or sepsis. This effect is still observed even if administration of chloroquine is delayed. The protective effects of chloroquine were mediated through inhibition of HMGB1 release in macrophages, monocytes, and endothelial cells, thereby preventing its cytokine-like activities. As an inhibitor of autophagy, chloroquine specifically inhibited HMGB1-induced Iκ-B degradation and NF-κB activation. These findings define a novel mechanism for the anti-inflammatory effects of chloroquine and also suggest a new potential clinical use for this drug in the setting of sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3713089  PMID: 23707973
HMGB1; chloroquine; sepsis; autophagy; NF-κB; Beclin 1
3.  S100A8 Contributes to Drug Resistance by Promoting Autophagy in Leukemia Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97242.
Autophagy is a double-edged sword in tumorigenesis and plays an important role in the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapy. S100A8 is a member of the S100 calcium-binding protein family and plays an important role in the drug resistance of leukemia cells, with the mechanisms largely unknown. Here we report that S100A8 contributes to drug resistance in leukemia by promoting autophagy. S100A8 level was elevated in drug resistance leukemia cell lines relative to the nondrug resistant cell lines. Adriamycin and vincristine increased S100A8 in human leukemia cells, accompanied with upregulation of autophagy. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of S100A8 restored the chemosensitivity of leukemia cells, while overexpression of S100A8 enhanced drug resistance and increased autophagy. S100A8 physically interacted with the autophagy regulator BECN1 and was required for the formation of the BECN1-PI3KC3 complex. In addition, interaction between S100A8 and BECN1 relied upon the autophagic complex ULK1-mAtg13. Furthermore, we discovered that exogenous S100A8 induced autophagy, and RAGE was involved in exogenous S100A8-regulated autophagy. Our data demonstrated that S100A8 is involved in the development of chemoresistance in leukemia cells by regulating autophagy, and suggest that S100A8 may be a novel target for improving leukemia therapy.
PMCID: PMC4018274  PMID: 24820971
4.  Inhibiting autophagy potentiates the anticancer activity of IFN1@/IFNα in chronic myeloid leukemia cells 
Autophagy  2013;9(3):317-327.
IFN1@ (interferon, type 1, cluster, also called IFNα) has been extensively studied as a treatment for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The mechanism of anticancer activity of IFN1@ is complex and not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that autophagy, a mechanism of cellular homeostasis for the removal of dysfunctional organelles and proteins, regulates IFN1@-mediated cell death. IFN1@ activated the cellular autophagic machinery in immortalized or primary CML cells. Activation of JAK1-STAT1 and RELA signaling were required for IFN1@-induced expression of BECN1, a key regulator of autophagy. Moreover, pharmacological and genetic inhibition of autophagy enhanced IFN1@-induced apoptosis by activation of the CASP8-BID pathway. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for an important mechanism that links autophagy to immunotherapy in leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3590253  PMID: 23242206
IFN1@; autophagy; apoptosis; immunotherapy; chronic myeloid leukemia
5.  microRNA 30A promotes autophagy in response to cancer therapy 
Autophagy  2012;8(5):853-855.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. miRNAs play important roles in the regulation of development, growth, and metastasis of cancer, and in determining the response of tumor cells to anticancer therapy. In recent years, they have also emerged as important regulators of autophagy, a lysosomal-mediated pathway that contributes to degradation of a cell's own components. Imatinib, a targeted competitive inhibitor of the BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase, has revolutionized the clinical treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). We demonstrate that MIR30A-mediated autophagy enhances imatinib resistance against CML including primary stem and progenitor cells. MIR30A, but not MIR101, is a potent inhibitor of autophagy by selectively downregulating BECN1 and ATG5 expression in CML cells. MIR30A mimics, as well as knockdown of BECN1 and ATG5, increases intrinsic apoptotic pathways. In contrast, the antagomir-30A increases autophagy and inhibits intrinsic apoptotic pathways, confirming that autophagy serves to protect against apoptosis. Taken together, these data clarify some of the underlying molecular mechanisms of tyrosine kinase inhibitor-induced autophagy.
PMCID: PMC3378424  PMID: 22617440
Atg5; autophagy; BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase; Beclin 1; chronic myelogenous leukemia; microRNA

Results 1-5 (5)