Browsing by Subject "Autophagy"

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  • McWilliams, Thomas G.; Prescott, Alan R.; Villarejo-Zori, Beatriz; Ball, Graeme; Boya, Patricia; Ganleya, Ian G. (2019)
    Photoreception is pivotal to our experience and perception of the natural world; hence the eye is of prime importance for most vertebrate animals to sense light. Central to visual health is mitochondrial homeostasis, and the selective autophagic turnover of mitochondria (mitophagy) is predicted to play a key role here. Despite studies that link aberrant mitophagy to ocular dysfunction, little is known about the prevalence of basal mitophagy, or its relationship to general autophagy, in the visual system. In this study, we utilize the mito-QC mouse and a closely related general macroautophagy reporter model to profile basal mitophagy and macroautophagy in the adult and developing eye. We report that ocular macroautophagy is widespread, but surprisingly mitophagy does not always follow the same pattern of occurrence. We observe low levels of mitophagy in the lens and ciliary body, in stark contrast to the high levels of general MAP1LC3-dependent macroautophagy in these regions. We uncover a striking reversal of this process in the adult retina, where mitophagy accounts for a larger degree of the macroautophagy taking place, specifically in the photoreceptor neurons of the outer nuclear layer. We also show the developmental regulation of autophagy in a variety of ocular tissues. In particular, mitophagy in the adult mouse retina is reversed in localization during the latter stages of development. Our work thus defines the landscape of mitochondrial homeostasis in the mammalian eye, and in doing so highlights the selective nature of autophagy in vivo and the specificity of the reporters used.
  • Hanemaaijer, Evelyn S.; Panahi, Mahmod; Swaddiwudhipong, Nol; Tikka, Saara; Winblad, Bengt; Viitanen, Matti; Piras, Antonio; Behbahani, Homira (2018)
    Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a familial progressive degenerative disorder and is caused by mutations in NOTCH3 gene. Previous study reported that mutant NOTCH3 is more prone to form aggregates than wild-type NOTCH3 and the mutant aggregates are resistant to degradation. We hypothesized that aggregation or accumulation of NOTCH3 could be due to impaired lysosomal-autophagy machinery in VSMC. Here, we investigated the possible cause of accumulation/aggregation of NOTCH3 in CADASIL using cerebral VSMCs derived from control and CADASIL patients carrying NOTCH3(RI33C) mutation. Thioflavin-S-staining confirmed the increased accumulation of aggregated NOTCH3 in VSMCR133C compared to VSMCWT. Increased levels of the lysosomal marker, Lamp2, were detected in VSMCR133C, which also showed co-localization with NOTCH3 using double-immunohistochemistry. Increased level of LC3-II/LC3-I ratio was observed in VSMCR133C suggesting an accumulation of autophagosomes. This was coupled with the decreased co-localization of NOTCH3 with LC3, and Lamp2 and, further, increase of p62/SQSTM1 levels in VSMCR133C compared to the VSMCWT. In addition, Western blot analysis indicated phosphorylation of p-ERK, p-S6RP, and p-P70 S6K. Altogether, these results suggested a dysfunction in the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in VSMCR133C. The present study provides an interesting avenue of the research investigating the molecular mechanism of CADASIL.
  • Munteanu, Iulia; Kalimo, Hannu; Saraste, Antti; Nishino, Ichizo; Minassian, Berge A. (2017)
    X-linked myopathy with excessive autophagy (XMEA), caused by mutations of the VMA21 gene, is a strictly skeletal muscle disease. Extensive studies in yeast established VMA21 as the master assembly chaperone of V-ATPase, the complex multisubunit proton pump that acidifies organelles and that is vital to all mammalian tissues. As such, skeletal muscle disease exclusivity in XMEA is highly surprising. We now show that the severest VMA21 mutation, c.164-6t>g, does result in XMEA-typical pathology with autophagic vacuolar changes outside skeletal muscle, namely in the heart. However, even patients with this mutation do not exhibit clinical extramuscular disease, including cardiac disease, despite extreme skeletal muscle wasting to the extent of ventilation dependence. Uncovering the unique skeletal muscle vulnerability to defective organellar acidification, and resultant tissue-destructive excessive autophagy, will be informative to the understanding of muscle physiology. Alternatively, understanding extramuscular resistance to VMA21 mutation might disclose heretofore unknown mammalian V-ATPase assembly chaperones other than VMA21. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Lindahl, Maria; Chalazonitis, Alcmene; Palm, Erik; Pakarinen, Emmi; Danilova, Tatiana; Pham, Tuan D.; Setlik, Wanda; Rao, Meenakshi; Voikar, Vootele; Huotari, Jatta; Kopra, Jaakko; Andressoo, Jaan-Olle; Piepponen, Petteri T.; Airavaara, Mikko; Panhelainen, Anne; Gershon, Michael D.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is neuroprotective for nigrostriatal dopamine neurons and restores dopaminergic function in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). To understand the role of CDNF in mammals, we generated CDNF knockout mice (Cdnf(-/-)), which are viable, fertile, and have a normal life-span. Surprisingly, an age-dependent loss of enteric neurons occurs selectively in the submucosal but not in the myenteric plexus. This neuronal loss is a consequence not of increased apoptosis but of neurodegeneration and autophagy. Quantitatively, the neurodegeneration and autophagy found in the submucosal plexus in duodenum, ileum and colon of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse are much greater than in those of Cdnf(+/+) mice. The selective vulnerability of submucosal neurons to the absence of CDNF is reminiscent of the tendency of pathological abnormalities to occur in the submucosal plexus in biopsies of patients with PD. In contrast, the number of substantia nigra dopamine neurons and dopamine and its metabolite concentrations in the striatum are unaltered in Cdnf(-/-) mice; however, there is an age-dependent deficit in the function of the dopamine system in Cdnf(-/-) male mice analyzed. This is observed as D-amphetamine-induced hyperactivity, aberrant dopamine transporter function, and as increased D-amphetamine-induced dopamine release demonstrating that dopaminergic axon terminal function in the striatum of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse brain is altered. The deficiencies of Cdnf(-/-) mice, therefore, are reminiscent of those seen in early stages of Parkinson's disease.
  • Sandell, Satu; Huovinen, Sanna; Palmio, Johanna; Raheem, Olayinka; Lindfors, Mikaela; Zhao, Fang; Haapasalo, Hannu; Udd, Bjarne (2016)
    Introduction: Limb girdle muscular dystrophies are a large group of both dominantly and recessively inherited muscle diseases. LGMD1D is caused by mutated DNAJB6 and the molecular pathogenesis is mediated by defective chaperonal function leading to impaired handling of misfolded proteins which normally would be degraded. Here we aim to clarify muscle pathology of LGMD1D in order to facilitate diagnostic accuracy. After following six Finnish LGMD1D families, we analysed 21 muscle biopsies obtained from 15 patients at different time points after the onset of symptoms. All biopsies were obtained from the lower limb muscles and processed for routine histochemistry, extensive immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Results: Histopathological findings were myopathic or dystrophic combined with rimmed vacuolar pathology, and small myofibrillar aggregates. These myofibrillar inclusions contained abnormal accumulation of a number of proteins such as myotilin, aB-crystallin and desmin on immunohistochemistry, and showed extensive myofibrillar disorganization with excess of Z-disk material on ultrastructure. Later in the disease process the rimmed vacuolar pathology dominated with rare cases of pronounced larger pleomorphic myofibrillar aggregates. The rimmed vacuoles were reactive for several markers of defect autophagy such as ubiquitin, TDP-43, p62 and SMI-31. Conclusions: Since DNAJB6 is known to interact with members of the chaperone assisted selective autophagy complex (CASA), including BAG3 - a known myofibrillar myopathy causing gene, the molecular muscle pathology is apparently mediated through impaired functions of CASA and possibly other complexes needed for the maintenance of the Z-disk and sarcomeric structures. The corresponding findings on histopathology offer clues for the diagnosis.
  • Kraft, Claudine; Boya, Patricia; Codogno, Patrice; Elazar, Zvulun; Eskelinen, Eeva-Liisa; Farres, Judith; Kirkin, Vladimir; Jungbluth, Heinz; Martinez, Ana; Pless, Ole; Primard, Charlotte; Proikas-Cezanne, Tassula; Simonsen, Anne; Reggiori, Fulvio (2019)
    The European autophagy consortium Driving next-generation autophagy researchers towards translation (DRIVE) held its kick-off meeting in Groningen on the 14(th) and 15(th) of June 2018. This Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Training Network was approved under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program and is funded for 4 years. Within DRIVE, 14 European research teams from academia and industry will train 15 PhD students through applied, cross-disciplinary and collaborative macroautophagy/autophagy research. The goal of DRIVE is to stimulate applied approaches in autophagy research and provide training towards translation, while advancing our knowledge on autophagy in specific physiological and pathological states. The strong focus on translation will prepare the PhD students to be at the forefront to exploit autophagy for the development of therapies directly benefitting patients. Thereby, DRIVE will contribute to filling the educational gap that currently exists between academia and industry, and will prepare its PhD students for alternative and highly flexible professional paths.
  • Nurmi, Katariina; Kareinen, Ilona; Virkanen, Juhani; Rajamaki, Kristiina; Kouri, Vesa-Petteri; Vaali, Kirsi; Levonen, Anna-Liisa; Fyhrquist, Nanna; Matikainen, Sampsa; Kovanen, Petri T.; Eklund, Kari K. (2017)
    Inflammasomes are intracellular protein platforms, which, upon activation, produce the highly proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1 beta and IL-18. Heme, hemin and their degradation products possess significant immunomodulatory functions. Here, we studied whether hemin regulates inflammasome function in macrophages. Both hemin and its derivative, cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP), significantly reduced IL-1 beta secretion by cultured human primary macrophages, the human monocytic leukemia cell line and also mouse bone marrow-derived and peritoneal macrophages. Intraperitoneal administration of CoPP to mice prior to urate crystal-induced peritonitis alleviated IL-1 beta secretion to the peritoneal cavity. In cultured macrophages, hemin and CoPP inhibited NLRP3 inflammasome assembly by reducing the amount of intracellular apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase-recruitment domain (ASC). The reduction of ASC was associated with enhanced autophagosome formation and autophagic flux. Inhibition of autophagy prevented the CoPP-induced depletion of ASC, implying that the depletion was caused by increased autophagy. Our data indicate that hemin functions as an endogenous negative regulator of the NLRP3 inflammasome. The inhibition is mediated via enhanced autophagy that results in increased degradation of ASC. This regulatory mechanism may provide a novel approach for the treatment of inflammasome-related diseases. (C) 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel
  • Felszeghy, Szabolcs; Viiri, Johanna; Paterno, Jussi J.; Hyttinen, Juha M. T.; Koskela, Ali; Chen, Mei; Leinonen, Henri; Tanila, Heikki; Kivinen, Niko; Koistinen, Arto; Toropainen, Elisa; Amadio, Marialaura; Smedowski, Adrian; Reinisalo, Mika; Winiarczyk, Mateusz; Mackiewicz, Jerzy; Mutikainen, Maija; Ruotsalainen, Anna-Kaisa; Kettunen, Mikko; Jokivarsi, Kimmo; Sinha, Debasish; Kinnunen, Kati; Petrovski, Goran; Blasiak, Janusz; Bjorkoy, Geir; Koskelainen, Ari; Skottman, Heli; Urtti, Arto; Salminen, Antero; Kannan, Ram; Ferrington, Deborah A.; Xu, Heping; Levonen, Anna-Liisa; Tavi, Pasi; Kauppinen, Anu; Kaarniranta, Kai (2019)
    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multi-factorial disease that is the leading cause of irreversible and severe vision loss in the developed countries. It has been suggested that the pathogenesis of dry AMD involves impaired protein degradation in retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). RPE cells are constantly exposed to oxidative stress that may lead to the accumulation of damaged cellular proteins, DNA and lipids and evoke tissue deterioration during the aging process. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and the lysosomal/autophagosomal pathway are the two major proteolytic systems in eukaryotic cells. NRF-2 (nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor-2) and PGC-1 alpha (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha) are master transcription factors in the regulation of cellular detoxification. We investigated the role of NRF-2 and PGC-1 alpha in the regulation of RPE cell structure and function by using global double knockout (dKO) mice. The NRF-2/PGC-1 alpha dKO mice exhibited significant age-dependent RPE degeneration, accumulation of the oxidative stress marker, 4-HNE (4-hydroxynonenal), the endoplasmic reticulum stress markers GRP78 (glucose-regulated protein 78) and ATF4 (activating transcription factor 4), and damaged mitochondria. Moreover, levels of protein ubiquitination and autophagy markers p62/SQSTM1 (sequestosome 1), Beclin-1 and LC3B (microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta) were significantly increased together with the Iba-1 (ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1) mononuclear phagocyte marker and an enlargement of RPE size. These histopathological changes of RPE were accompanied by photoreceptor dysmorphology and vision loss as revealed by electroretinography. Consequently, these novel findings suggest that the NRF-2/PGC-1 alpha dKO mouse is a valuable model for investigating the role of proteasomal and autophagy clearance in the RPE and in the development of dry AMD.
  • Long, Maeve; McWilliams, Thomas G. (2020)
    Autophagy refers to an essential mechanism that evolved to sustain eukaryotic homeostasis and metabolism during instances of nutrient deprivation. During autophagy, intracellular cargo is encapsulated and delivered to the lysosome for elimination. Loss of basal autophagy in vivo negatively impacts cellular proteostasis, metabolism and tissue integrity. Accordingly, many drug development strategies are focused on modulating autophagic capacity in various pathophysiological states, from cancer to neurodegenerative disease. The role of autophagy in cancer is particularly complicated, as either augmenting or attenuating this process can have variable outcomes on cellular survival, proliferation and transformation. This complexity is compounded by the emergence of several selective autophagy pathways, which act to eliminate damaged or superfluous cellular components in a targeted fashion. The advent of sensitive tools to monitor autophagy pathways in vivo holds promise to clarify their importance in cancer pathophysiology. In this review, we provide an overview of autophagy in cancer biology and outline how the development of tools to study autophagy in vivo could enhance our understanding of its function for translational benefit.
  • Li, Huini (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive types of glioma in adults. Autophagy allows degradation and recycling of cellular components such as damaged proteins and dysfunctional organelles to sustain the metabolism and homeostasis of rapidly growing cells. Recent reports suggest that autophagy may promote tumor cell survival under stress conditions and can be an emerging target for cancer therapy. Autophagy inhibitor combined with TMZ can induce glioblastoma cell death and improve the radiotherapy efficacy. The Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is 120 kDa-130 kDa type I integral transmembrane protein. It was originally identified as a co-receptor for the class 3 semaphorins (SEMA3) involved in axon guidance and found to interact with VEGF/VEGFR2 to promote angio-genesis. Recent studies have revealed its much broader roles on tumor progression. In various types of human cancers, NRP1 is often up-regulated and associated with aggressive clinical tumor behaviour. NRP1 overexpression is independently correlated with poor prognosis in human glioma and contributes to balance the glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival. In cancer cells, it interacts with diverse growth factor receptors including TGFR, c-Met, FGFR, EGFR as well as PDGFR to promote their signal-ling pathways in tumor cell survival, proliferation, migration and invasion. Although these functions of NRP1 mainly rely on its ectodomain, the cytoplasmic domain of NRP1 has been recently found to be essential for the internalization of NRP1-binding complex. In addition, the C-terminal SEA sequence on its cytoplasmic domain have potential to bind intracellular PDZ domain-containing molecules. Tyrosine phosphorylation of p130Cas has been identified to regulate the downstream pathways of NRP1, which is dependent on NRP1 intracellular domain. However, the downstream trafficking of NRP1 is poorly understood and its tumor-promoting function relevance remains ambiguous. The p62/Sequestosome 1, encoded by SQSTM1 gene, is an intracellular protein commonly found in inclusion bodies. It is asso-iated with protein aggregation diseases in liver and brain. Owing to its ability to interact with multiple important cellular intermediates, it works as a 'hub' adaptor linked to nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) activation, protein aggregates formation, selective autophagy, adipogenesis and tumorigenesis. The p62 has a critical role on autophagy via regulating the collection and delivery of ubiquitinylated cargos to the autophagosome via its PB1, UBA and LIR domains. On the other hand, recent study has revealed a new role of p62 as a negative regulator in the autophagy regulation. High level of p62 is able to suppress the autophagy by pro-moting mTORC1 activation. This route forms a feed-forward loop for increasing level of p62 due to the reduced autophagy. Thus, p62 plays a critical role in regulation of autophagy. Here we observed that suppression of NRP1 in glioblastoma cell clearly exhibits a defected autophagy accompanied by marked accumulation of p62, the autophagic adaptor. Overexpression of NRP1 by glioblastoma cells shows enhanced autophagy flux. These data suggests the role of NRP1 in autophagy promotion. In addition, we mapped out that p62 binds to the cytoplasmic domain of NRP1 mediating its pro-autophagy effects. PB1 domain of p62 overexpression enhances the p62-positive aggregates and NRP1/p62 interaction. Taken together, our results define a novel role of NRP1 in the regulation of autophagy through its association with p62. In summary, our present results provide novel insights into the molecular basis of the emerging interplay between NRP1 and autophagy, the identification of a new cytoplasmic protein that binding to intracellular domain of NRP1 and the implications of the p62-mediated signalling loop for NRP1-promoted autophagy in GBMs. Since efforts to inhibit autophagy to improve GBM therapy have thereby attracted great interest, our findings may provide valuable clues for future cancer therapeutic strategies.
  • Svarcbahs, Reinis; Julku, Ulrika; Kilpelainen, Tommi; Kyyrö, Mirva; Jäntti, Maria; Myohänen, Timo T. (2019)
    Changes in prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) expression levels, protein distribution, and activity correlate with aging and are reported in many neurodegenerative conditions. Together with decreased neuropeptide levels observed in aging and neurodegeneration, and PREP's ability to cleave only small peptides, PREP was identified as a druggable target. Known PREP non-enzymatic functions were disregarded or attributed to PREP enzymatic activity, and several potent small molecule PREP inhibitors were developed during early stages of PREP research. These showed a lot of potential but with variable results in experimental memory models, however, the initial excitement was short-lived and all of the clinical trials were discontinued in either Phase I or II clinical trials for unknown reasons. Recently, PREP's ability to form protein-protein interactions, alter cell proliferation and autophagy has gained more attention than earlier recognized catalytical activity. Of new findings, particularly the aggregation of alpha-synuclein (aSyn) that is seen in the presence of PREP is especially interesting because PREP inhibitors are capable of altering aSyn-PREP interaction in a manner that reduces the aSyn dimerization process. Therefore, it is possible that PREP inhibitors that are altering interactions could have different characteristics than those aimed for strong inhibition of catalytic activity. Moreover, PREP co-localization with aSyn, tau, and amyloid-beta hints to PREP's possible role not only in the synucleinopathies but in other neurodegenerative diseases as well. This commentary will focus on less well-acknowledged non-enzymatic functions of PREP that may provide a better approach for the development of PREP inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Rostami, Jinar; Jäntti, Maria; Cui, Hengjing; Rinne, Maiju K.; Kukkonen, Jyrki P.; Falk, Anna; Erlandsson, Anna; Myöhänen, Timo (2020)
    Growing evidence emphasizes insufficient clearance of pathological alpha-synuclein (alpha SYN) aggregates in the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). Consequently, cellular degradation pathways represent a potential therapeutic target. Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) is highly expressed in the brain and has been suggested to increase alpha SYN aggregation and negatively regulate the autophagy pathway. Inhibition of PREP with a small molecule inhibitor, KYP-2407, stimulates autophagy and reduces the oligomeric species of alpha SYN aggregates in PD mouse models. However, whether PREP inhibition has any effects on intracellular alpha SYN fibrils has not been studied before. In this study, the effect of KYP2407 on alpha SYN preformed fibrils (PFFs) was tested in SH-SY5Y cells and human astmcytes. Immunostaining analysis revealed that both cell types accumulated alpha SYN PFFs intracellularly but KYP-2047 decreased intracellular alpha SYN deposits only in SH-SY5Y cells, as astrocytes did not show any PREP activity. Western blot analysis confirmed the reduction of high molecular weight alpha SYN species in SH-SY5Y cell lysates, and secretion of aSYN from SH-SY5Y cells also decreased in the presence of KYP-2407. Accumulation of alpha SYN inside the SH-SY5Y cells resulted in an increase of the auto-lysosomal proteins p62 and LC3BII, as well as calpain 1 and 2, which have been shown to be associated with PD pathology. Notably, treatment with KYP-2407 significantly reduced p62 and LC3BII levels, indicating an increased autophagic flux, and calpain 1 and 2 levels returned to normal in the presence of KYP-2407. Our findings indicate that PREP inhibition can potentially be used as therapy to reduce the insoluble intracellular alpha SYN aggregates.
  • Arpalahti, Leena; Haglund, Caj; Holmberg, Carina I (Springer, 2020)
    Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
    The most common form of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), has a dismal 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. Radical surgical resection, in combination with adjuvant chemotherapy, provides the best option for long-term patient survival. However, only approximately 20% of patients are resectable at the time of diagnosis, due to locally advanced or metastatic disease. There is an urgent need for the identification of new, specific, and more sensitive biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction to improve the treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients. Dysregulation of proteostasis is linked to many pathophysiological conditions, including various types of cancer. In this review, we report on findings relating to the main cellular protein degradation systems, the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy, in pancreatic cancer. The expression of several components of the proteolytic network, including E3 ubiquitinligases and deubiquitinating enzymes, are dysregulated in PDAC, which accounts for approximately 90% of all pancreatic malignancies. In the future, a deeper understanding of the emerging role of proteostasis in pancreatic cancer has the potential to provide clinically relevant biomarkers and new strategies for combinatorial therapeutic options to better help treat the patients.
  • Ylä-Anttila, Päivi Helena; Mikkonen, Elisa; Happonen, Kaisa E.; Holland, Petter; Ueno, Takashi; Simonsen, Anne; Eskelinen, Eeva-Liisa (2015)
    RAB24 belongs to a family of membrane traffic controlling RAB proteins and has been implicated to function in autophagy. Here we confirm the intracellular localization of RAB24 to autophagic vacuoles with immuno electron microscopy and cell fractionation, and show that prenylation and guanine nucleotide binding are necessary for the targeting of RAB24 to autophagic compartments. Further, we show that RAB24 plays a role in the maturation and/or clearance of autophagic compartments under nutrient-rich conditions, but not during short amino acid starvation. Quantitative electron microscopy showed an increase in the numbers of late autophagic compartments in cells silenced for RAB24, and mRFP-GFP-LC3 probe and autophagy flux experiments indicated that this was due to a hindrance in their clearance. Formation of autophagosomes was shown to be unaffected by RAB24 silencing with siRNA. A defect in aggregate clearance in the absence of RAB24 was also shown in cells forming polyglutamine aggregates. This study places RAB24 function in the termination of the autophagic process under nutrient-rich conditions.
  • Dyczynski, Matheus; Yu, Yasmin; Otrocka, Magdalena; Parpal, Santiago; Braga, Tiago; Henley, Aine Brigette; Zazzi, Henric; Lerner, Mikael; Wennerberg, Krister; Viklund, Jenny; Martinsson, Jessica; Grandér, Dan; De Milito, Angelo; Pokrovskaja Tamm, Katja (2018)
    Resistance to chemotherapy is a challenging problem for treatment of cancer patients and autophagy has been shown to mediate development of resistance. In this study we systematically screened a library of 306 known anti-cancer drugs for their ability to induce autophagy using a cell-based assay. 114 of the drugs were classified as autophagy inducers; for 16 drugs, the cytotoxicity was potentiated by siRNA-mediated knock-down of Atg7 and Vps34. These drugs were further evaluated in breast cancer cell lines for autophagy induction, and two tyrosine kinase inhibitors, Sunitinib and Erlotinib, were selected for further studies. For the pharmacological inhibition of autophagy, we have characterized here a novel highly potent selective inhibitor of Vps34, SB02024. SB02024 blocked autophagy in vitro and reduced xenograft growth of two breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, in vivo. Vps34 inhibitor significantly potentiated cytotoxicity of Sunitinib and Erlotinib in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 in vitro in monolayer cultures and when grown as multicellular spheroids. Our data suggests that inhibition of autophagy significantly improves sensitivity to Sunitinib and Erlotinib and that Vps34 is a promising therapeutic target for combination strategies in breast cancer.
  • Kilpeläinen, Tommi P.; Hellinen, Laura; Vrijdag, Johannes; Yan, Xu; Svarcbahs, Reinis; Vellonen, Kati-Sisko; Lambeir, Anne-Marie; Huttunen, Henri; Urtti, Arto; Wallen, Erik A. A.; Myohanen, Timo T. (2020)
    Previous studies have shown that prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) negatively regulates autophagy and increases the aggregation of alpha-synuclein (alpha Syn), linking it to the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease. Our earlier results have revealed that the potent small molecular PREP inhibitor KYP-2047 is able to increase autophagy and decrease dimerization of alpha Syn but other PREP inhibitors have not been systematically studied for these two protein-protein interaction mediated biological functions of PREP. In this study, we characterized these effects for 12 known PREP inhibitors with IC50-values ranging from 0.2 nM to 1010 nM. We used protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA) to assess alpha Syn dimerization and Western Blot of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3B II (LC3B-II) and a GFP-LC3-RFP expressing cell line to study autophagy. In addition, we tested selected compounds in a cell-free alpha Syn aggregation assay, native gel electrophoresis, and determined the compound concentration inside the cell by LC-MS. We found that inhibition of the proteolytic activity of PREP did not predict decreased alpha Syn dimerization or increased autophagy, and we also confirmed that this result did not simply reflect concentration differences of the compounds inside the cell. Thus, PREP ligands regulate the effect of PREP on autophagy and alpha Syn aggregation through a conformational stabilization of the enzyme that is not equivalent to inhibiting its proteolytic activity.