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1.  Tracker Dyes to Probe Mitochondrial Autophagy (Mitophagy) in Rat Hepatocytes 
Autophagy  2006;2(1):39-46.
Mitochondria become targets for autophagic degradation after nutrient deprivation, a process also termed mitophagy. In this study, we used LysoTracker Red (LTR) and MitoTracker Green to characterize the kinetics of autophagosomal proliferation and mitophagy in cultured rat hepatocytes. Autophagy induced by nutrient deprivation plus glucagon increased LTR uptake assessed with a fluorescence plate reader and the number of LTR-labeled acidic organelles assessed with confocal microscopy in individual hepatocytes both by 4- to 6-fold. Serial imaging of hepatocytes coloaded with MitoTracker Green (MTG) revealed an average mitochondrial digestion time of 7.5 min after autophagic induction. In the presence of protease inhibitors, digestion time more than doubled, and the total number of LTR-labeled organelles increased about 40%, but the proportion of the LTR-labeled acidic organelles containing MTG fluorescence remained constant at about 75%. Autophagy inhibitors, 3-methyladenine, wortmannin and LY204002, suppressed the increase of LTR uptake after nutrient deprivation by up to 85%, confirming that increased LTR uptake reflected autophagy induction. Cyclosporin A and NIM811, specific inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), also decreased LTR uptake, whereas tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive reagent that does not inhibit the MPT, was without effect. In addition, the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitors, SCP25041 and SP600125, blocked LTR uptake by 47% and 61%, respectively, but ERK1, p38 and caspase inhibitors had no effect. The results show that mitochondria once selected for mitophagy are rapidly digested and support the concept that mitochondrial autophagy involves the MPT and signaling through PI3 kinase and possibly JNK.
PMCID: PMC4007489  PMID: 16874071
autophagy; fluorescence multiwell plate reader; Lyso Tracker Red; Mito Tracker Green; mitochondrial permeability transition; mitophagy
2.  Initiation of Apoptosis and Autophagy by Photodynamic Therapy 
Autophagy  2006;2(4):289-290.
This study was designed to examine modes of cell death after photodynamic therapy (PDT). Murine leukemia L1210 cells and human prostate Bax-deficient DU-145 cells were examined after PDT-induced photodamage to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Previous studies indicated that this treatment resulted in a substantial loss of Bcl-2 function. Both apoptosis and autophagy occurred in L1210 cells after ER photodamage with the latter predominating after 24 hr. These processes were characterized by altered cellular morphology, chromatin condensation, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and formation of vacuoles containing cytosolic components. Western blots demonstrated processing of LC3-I to LC3-II, a marker for autophagy. In DU145 cells, PDT initiated only autophagy. Phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitors suppressed autophagy in both cell lines as indicated by inhibition of vacuolization and LC3 processing. Inhibitors of apoptosis and/or autophagy were then used to delineate the contributions of the two pathways to the effects of PDT. Given the ability of autophagy to upregulate MHC-11 peptide presentation, autophagy may play a role in the ability of photodynamic therapy to stimulate immunologic recognition of target cells.
PMCID: PMC2747798  PMID: 16921269
apoptosis; autophagy; photodynamic therapy
3.  Mouse infection by Legionella, a model to analyze autophagy 
Autophagy  2006;2(3):179-182.
Autophagy is a conserved membrane traffic pathway that equips eukaryotic cells to capture cytoplasmic components within a double-membrane vacuole, or autophagosome, for delivery to lysosomes. Although best known as a mechanism to survive starvation, autophagy is now recognized to combat infection by a variety of microbes.1–3 Not surprisingly, to establish a replication niche in host cells, some intracellular pathogens have acquired mechanisms either to evade or subvert the autophagic pathway. Because they are amenable to genetic manipulation, these microbes can be exploited as experimental tools to investigate the contribution of autophagy to immunity. Here we discuss the mouse macrophage response to L. pneumophila, the facultative intracellular bacterium responsible for an acute form of pneumonia, Legionnaire’s disease.
PMCID: PMC1774947  PMID: 16874080

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