Abstract: Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that transport their content to the lysosome for degradation. Based on this simple scheme, autophagy modulates cellular metabolism and cytoplasmic quality control to influence an unexpectedly wide range of normal mammalian physiology and pathophysiology. In this review, we summarise recent advancements in three broad areas of autophagy regulation. We discuss current models on how autophagosomes are initiated from endogenous membranes. We detail how the uncoordinated 51-like kinase (ULK) complex becomes activated downstream of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (MTORC1). Finally, we summarise the upstream signalling mechanisms that can sense amino acid availability leading to activation of MTORC1.
Abstract: Nuclear factor (NF)-κB has evolved as a latent, inducible family of transcription factors fundamental in the control of the inflammatory response. The transcription of hundreds of genes involved in inflammation and immune homeostasis require NF-κB, necessitating the need for its strict control. The inducible ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the cytoplasmic inhibitor of κB (IκB) proteins promotes the nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of NF-κB. More recently, an additional role for ubiquitination in the regulation of NF-κB activity has been identified. In this case, the ubiquitination and degradation of the NF-κB subunits themselves plays a critical role in the termination of NF-κB activity and the associated transcriptional response. While there is still much to discover, a number of NF-κB ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases have now been identified which coordinate to regulate the NF-κB transcriptional response. This review will focus the regulation of NF-κB subunits by ubiquitination, the key regulatory components and their impact on NF-κB directed transcription.
Abstract: The family of NF-κB transcription factors plays a key role in diverse biological processes, such as inflammatory and immune responses, cell survival and tumor development. Beyond the classical NF-κB activation pathway, a second NF-κB pathway has more recently been uncovered, the so-called alternative NF-κB activation pathway. It has been shown that this pathway mainly controls the activity of RelB, a member of the NF-κB family. Post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination and SUMOylation, have recently emerged as a strategy for the fine-tuned regulation of NF-κB. Our review discusses recent progress in the understanding of RelB regulation by post-translational modifications and the associated functions in normal and pathological conditions.
Abstract: Intermediate filaments are an important component of the cellular cytoskeleton. The first established role attributed to intermediate filaments was the mechanical support to cells. However, it is now clear that intermediate filaments have many different roles affecting a variety of other biological functions, such as the organization of microtubules and microfilaments, the regulation of nuclear structure and activity, the control of cell cycle and the regulation of signal transduction pathways. Furthermore, a number of intermediate filament proteins have been involved in the acquisition of tumorigenic properties. Over the last years, a strong involvement of intermediate filament proteins in the regulation of several aspects of intracellular trafficking has strongly emerged. Here, we review the functions of intermediate filaments proteins focusing mainly on the recent knowledge gained from the discovery that intermediate filaments associate with key proteins of the vesicular membrane transport machinery. In particular, we analyze the current understanding of the contribution of intermediate filaments to the endocytic pathway.
Abstract: ZMPSTE24 encodes the only metalloprotease, which transforms prelamin into mature lamin A. Up to now, mutations in ZMPSTE24 have been linked to Restrictive Dermopathy (RD), Progeria or Mandibulo-Acral Dysplasia (MAD). We report here the phenotype of a patient referred for severe metabolic syndrome and cardiomyopathy, carrying a mutation in ZMPSTE24. The patient presented with a partial lipodystrophic syndrome associating hypertriglyceridemia, early onset type 2 diabetes, and android obesity with truncal and abdominal fat accumulation but without subcutaneous lipoatrophy. Other clinical features included acanthosis nigricans, liver steatosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and high myocardial and hepatic triglycerides content. Mutated fibroblasts from the patient showed increased nuclear shape abnormalities and premature senescence as demonstrated by a decreased Population Doubling Level, an increased beta-galactosidase activity and a decreased BrdU incorporation rate. Reduced prelamin A expression by siRNA targeted toward LMNA transcripts resulted in decreased nuclear anomalies. We show here that a central obesity without subcutaneous lipoatrophy is associated with a laminopathy due to a heterozygous missense mutation in ZMPSTE24. Given the high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and android obesity in the general population, and in the absence of familial study, the causative link between mutation and phenotype cannot be formally established. Nevertheless, altered lamina architecture observed in mutated fibroblasts are responsible for premature cellular senescence and could contribute to the phenotype observed in this patient.
Abstract: Thoracic aortic dilation is the most common malformation of the proximal aorta and is responsible for 1%–2% of all deaths in industrialized countries. In approximately 50% of patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), dilation of any or all segments of the aorta occurs. BAV patients with aortic dilation show an increased incidence of cultured vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) loss. In this study, VSMC, isolated from the ascending aorta of BAV, was treated with Simian virus 40 to generate a BAV-originated VSMC cell line. To exclude any genomic DNA or cross-contamination, highly polymorphic short tandem repeats of the cells were profiled. The cells were then characterized using flow cytometry and karyotyping. The WG-59 cell line created is the first reported VSMC cell line isolated from a BAV patient. Using an RT2 Profiler PCR Array, genes within the TGFβ/BMP family that are dependent on losartan treatment were identified. Endoglin was found to be among the regulated genes and was downregulated in WG-59 cells following treatment with different losartan concentrations, when compared to untreated WG-59 cells.