ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a cellular response to starvation that generates autophagosomes to carry long-lived proteins and cellular organelles to lysosomes for degradation. Activation of autophagy by viruses can provide an innate defense against infection, and for (+) strand RNA viruses autophagosomes can facilitate assembly of replicase proteins. We demonstrated that nonstructural protein (NSP) 6 of the avian coronavirus, infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), generates autophagosomes from the ER. A statistical analysis of MAP1LC3B puncta showed that NSP6 induced greater numbers of autophagosomes per cell compared with starvation, but the autophagosomes induced by NSP6 had smaller diameters compared with starvation controls. Small diameter autophagosomes were also induced by infection of cells with IBV, and by NSP6 proteins of MHV and SARS and NSP5, NSP6, and NSP7 of arterivirus PRRSV. Analysis of WIPI2 puncta induced by NSP6 suggests that NSP6 limits autophagosome diameter at the point of omegasome formation. IBV NSP6 also limited autophagosome and omegasome expansion in response to starvation and Torin1 and could therefore limit the size of autophagosomes induced following inhibition of MTOR signaling, as well as those induced independently by the NSP6 protein itself. MAP1LC3B-puncta induced by NSP6 contained SQSTM1, which suggests they can incorporate autophagy cargos. However, NSP6 inhibited the autophagosome/lysosome expansion normally seen following starvation. Taken together the results show that coronavirus NSP6 proteins limit autophagosome expansion, whether they are induced directly by the NSP6 protein, or indirectly by starvation or chemical inhibition of MTOR signaling. This may favor coronavirus infection by compromising the ability of autophagosomes to deliver viral components to lysosomes for degradation.
Project description:Autophagy is a cellular response to starvation which generates autophagosomes to carry cellular organelles and long-lived proteins to lysosomes for degradation. Degradation through autophagy can provide an innate defence against virus infection, or conversely autophagosomes can promote infection by facilitating assembly of replicase proteins. We demonstrate that the avian coronavirus, Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) activates autophagy. A screen of individual IBV non-structural proteins (nsps) showed that autophagy was activated by IBV nsp6. This property was shared with nsp6 of mammalian coronaviruses Mouse Hepatitis Virus, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus, and the equivalent nsp5-7 of the arterivirus Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus. These multiple-spanning transmembrane proteins located to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where they generated Atg5 and LC3II-positive vesicles, and vesicle formation was dependent on Atg5 and class III PI3 kinase. The vesicles recruited double FYVE-domain containing protein (DFCP) indicating localised concentration of phosphatidylinositol 3 phosphate, and therefore shared many features with omegasomes formed from the ER in response to starvation. Omegasomes induced by viral nsp6 matured into autophagosomes that delivered LC3 to lysosomes and therefore recruited and recycled the proteins needed for autophagosome nucleation, expansion, cellular trafficking and delivery of cargo to lysosomes. The coronavirus nsp6 proteins activated omegasome and autophagosome formation independently of starvation, but activation did not involve direct inhibition of mTOR signalling, activation of sirtuin1 or induction of ER stress.
Project description:BECN1/Beclin 1 is regarded as a critical component in the class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns3K) complex to trigger autophagy in mammalian cells. Despite its significant role in a number of cellular and physiological processes, the exact function of BECN1 in autophagy remains controversial. Here we created a BECN1 knockout human cell line using the TALEN technique. Surprisingly, the complete loss of BECN1 had little effect on LC3 (MAP1LC3B/LC3B) lipidation, and LC3B puncta resembling autophagosomes by fluorescence microscopy were still evident albeit significantly smaller than those in the wild-type cells. Electron microscopy (EM) analysis revealed that BECN1 deficiency led to malformed autophagosome-like structures containing multiple layers of membranes under amino acid starvation. We further confirmed that the PtdIns3K complex activity and autophagy flux were disrupted in BECN1(-/-) cells. Our results demonstrate the essential role of BECN1 in the functional formation of autophagosomes, but not in LC3B lipidation.
Project description:Autophagy is a cellular bulk degradation system for long-lived proteins and organelles that operates during nutrient starvation and is thus a type of recycling system. In recent years, a series of mammalian orthologs of yeast autophagy-related (ATG) genes have been identified; however, the importance of the transcriptional regulation of ATG genes underlying autophagosome formation is poorly understood. In this study, we identified several ATG genes, including the genes ULK1, MAP1LC3B, GABARAPL1, ATG13, WIPI1, and WDR45/WIPI4, with elevated mRNA levels in thapsigargin-, C2-ceramide-, and rapamycin-treated as well as amino acid-depleted HeLa cells except for MAP1LC3B mRNA in rapamycin-treated HeLa cells. Rapamycin had a weaker effect on the expressions of ATG genes. The increase in WIPI1 and MAP1LC3B mRNA was induced prior to the accumulation of the autophagy marker protein MAP1LC3 in the thapsigargin- and C2-ceramide-treated A549 cells. By counting the puncta marked with MAP1LC3B in HeLa cells treated with different autophagy inducers, we revealed that the time-dependent mRNA elevation of a specific set of ATG genes was similar to that of autophagosome accumulation. The transcriptional attenuation of WIPI1 mRNA using RNA interference inhibited the puncta number in thapsigargin-treated HeLa cells. Remarkably, increases in the abundance of WIPI1 mRNA were also manifested in thapsigargin- and C2-ceramide-treated human fibroblasts (WI-38 and TIG-1), human cancer cells (U-2 OS, Saos-2, and MCF7), and rodent fibroblasts (Rat-1). Taken together, these results suggest that the detection of WIPI1 mRNA is likely to be a convenient method of monitoring autophagosome formation in a wide range of cell types.
Project description:We exploited the amenability of the fungus Aspergillus nidulans to genetics and live-cell microscopy to investigate autophagy. Upon nitrogen starvation, GFP-Atg8-containing pre-autophagosomal puncta give rise to cup-shaped phagophores and circular (0.9-?m diameter) autophagosomes that disappear in the vicinity of the vacuoles after their shape becomes irregular and their GFP-Atg8 fluorescence decays. This 'autophagosome cycle' gives rise to characteristic cone-shaped traces in kymographs. Autophagy does not require endosome maturation or ESCRTs, as autophagosomes fuse with vacuoles directly in a RabS (homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ypt7 and mammalian RAB7; written hereafter as RabS(RAB7))-HOPS-(homotypic fusion and vacuole protein sorting complex)-dependent manner. However, by removing RabS(RAB7) or Vps41 (a component of the HOPS complex), we show that autophagosomes may still fuse, albeit inefficiently, with the endovacuolar system in a process almost certainly mediated by RabA(RAB5)/RabB(RAB5) (yeast Vps21 homologs)-CORVET (class C core vacuole/endosome tethering complex), because acute inactivation of HbrA/Vps33, a key component of HOPS and CORVET, completely precludes access of GFP-Atg8 to vacuoles without affecting autophagosome biogenesis. Using a FYVE 2-GFP probe and endosomal PtdIns3P-depleted cells, we imaged PtdIns3P on autophagic membranes. PtdIns3P present on autophagosomes decays at late stages of the cycle, preceding fusion with the vacuole. Autophagy does not require Golgi traffic, but it is crucially dependent on RabO(RAB1). TRAPPIII-specific factor AN7311 (yeast Trs85) localizes to the phagophore assembly site (PAS) and RabO(RAB1) localizes to phagophores and autophagosomes. The Golgi and autophagy roles of RabO(RAB1) are dissociable by mutation: rabO(A136D) hyphae show relatively normal secretion at 28°C but are completely blocked in autophagy. This finding and the lack of Golgi traffic involvement pointed to the ER as one potential source of membranes for autophagy. In agreement, autophagosomes form in close association with ring-shaped omegasome-like ER structures resembling those described in mammalian cells.
Project description:Autophagy is a process by which cytoplasmic material is sequestered in a double-membrane vesicle destined for degradation. Nutrient deprivation stimulates the pathway and the number of autophagosomes in the cell increases in response to such stimulus. In the current report we have demonstrated that actin is necessary for starvation-mediated autophagy. When the actin cytoskeleton is depolymerized, the increase in autophagic vacuoles in response to the starvation stimulus was abolished without affecting maturation of remaining autophagosomes. In addition, actin filaments colocalized with ATG14, BECN1/Beclin1 and PtdIns3P-rich structures, and some of them have a typical omegasome shape stained with the double FYVE domain or ZFYVE1/DFCP1. In contrast, no major colocalization between actin and ULK1, ULK2, ATG5 or MAP1LC3/LC3 was observed. Taken together, our data indicate that actin has a role at very early stages of autophagosome formation linked to the PtdIns3P generation step. In addition, we have found that two members of the Rho family of proteins, RHOA and RAC1 have a regulatory function on starvation-mediated autophagy, but with opposite roles. Indeed, RHOA has an activatory role whereas Rac has an inhibitory one. We have also found that inhibition of the RHOA effector ROCK impaired the starvation-mediated autophagic response. We propose that actin participates in the initial membrane remodeling stage when cells require an enhanced rate of autophagosome formation, and this actin function would be tightly regulated by different members of the Rho family.
Project description:Autophagy is a quality-control mechanism that helps to maintain cellular homeostasis by removing damaged proteins and organelles through lysosomal degradation. During autophagy, signaling events lead to the formation of a cup-shaped structure called the phagophore that matures into the autophagosome. Recruitment of the autophagy-associated Atg12-5-16L1 complex to Wipi2-positive phagophores is crucial for producing microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3-II (LC3-II), which is required for autophagosome formation. Here, we explored the role of the autophagy receptor optineurin (Optn) in autophagosome formation. Fibroblasts from Optn knock-out mouse showed reduced LC3-II formation and a lower number of autophagosomes and autolysosomes during both basal and starvation-induced autophagy. However, the number of Wipi2-positive phagophores was not decreased in Optn-deficient cells. We also found that the number of Atg12/16L1-positive puncta and recruitment of the Atg12-5-16L1 complex to Wipi2-positive puncta are reduced in Optn-deficient cells. Of note, Optn was recruited to Atg12-5-16L1-positive puncta, and interacted with Atg5 and also with Atg12-5 conjugate. A disease-associated Optn mutant, E478G, defective in ubiquitin binding, was also defective in autophagosome formation and recruitment to the Atg12-5-16L1-positive puncta. Moreover, we noted that Optn phosphorylation at Ser-177 was required for autophagosome formation but not for Optn recruitment to the phagophore. These results suggest that Optn potentiates LC3-II production and maturation of the phagophore into the autophagosome, by facilitating the recruitment of the Atg12-5-16L1 complex to Wipi2-positive phagophores.
Project description:Atg9 is a transmembrane protein essential for autophagy which cycles between the Golgi network, late endosomes and LC3-positive autophagosomes in mammalian cells during starvation through a mechanism that is dependent on ULK1 and requires the activity of the class III phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3KC3). In this study, we demonstrate that the N-BAR-containing protein, Bif-1, is required for Atg9 trafficking and the fission of Golgi membranes during the induction of autophagy. Upon starvation, Atg9-positive membranes undergo continuous tubulation and fragmentation to produce cytoplasmic punctate structures that are positive for Rab5, Atg16L and LC3. Loss of Bif-1 or inhibition of the PI3KC3 complex II suppresses starvation-induced fission of Golgi membranes and peripheral cytoplasmic redistribution of Atg9. Moreover, Bif-1 mutants, which lack the functional regions of the N-BAR domain that are responsible for membrane binding and/or bending activity, fail to restore the fission of Golgi membranes as well as the formation of Atg9 foci and autophagosomes in Bif-1-deficient cells starved of nutrients. Taken together, these findings suggest that Bif-1 acts as a critical regulator of Atg9 puncta formation presumably by mediating Golgi fission for autophagosome biogenesis during starvation.
Project description:The membrane source for autophagosome biogenesis is an unsolved mystery in the study of autophagy. ATG16L1 forms a complex with ATG12-ATG5 (the ATG16L1 complex). The ATG16L1 complex is recruited to autophagic membranes to convert MAP1LC3B-I to MAP1LC3B-II. The ATG16L1 complex dissociates from the phagophore before autophagosome membrane closure. Thus, ATG16L1 can be used as an early event marker for the study of autophagosome biogenesis. We found that among 3 proteins in the ATG16L1 complex, only ATG16L1 formed puncta-like structures when transiently overexpressed. ATG16L1+ puncta formed by transient expression could represent autophagic membrane structures. We thoroughly characterized the transiently expressed ATG16L1 in several mammalian cell lines. We found that transient expression of ATG16L1 not only inhibited autophagosome biogenesis, but also aberrantly targeted RAB11-positive recycling endosomes, resulting in recycling endosome aggregates. We conclude that transient expression of ATG16L1 is not a physiological model for the study of autophagy. Caution is warranted when reviewing findings derived from a transient expression model of ATG16L1.
Project description:Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process, through which cytosolic materials are delivered to the lysosome.Despite recent identification of many autophagy-related genes, how autophagosomes are generated remains unclear.Here, we examined the hierarchical relationships among mammalian Atg proteins. Under starvation conditions, ULK1,Atg14, WIPI-1, LC3 and Atg16L1 target to the same compartment, whereas DFCP1 localizes adjacently to these Atgproteins. In terms of puncta formation, the protein complex including ULK1 and FIP200 is the most upstream unit and is required for puncta formation of the Atg14-containing PI3-kinase complex. Puncta formation of both DFCP1 and WIPI-1 requires FIP200 and Atg14. The Atg12-Atg5-Atg16L1 complex and LC3 are downstream units among these factors. The punctate structures containing upstream Atg proteins such as ULK1 and Atg14 tightly associate with the ER, where the ER protein vacuole membrane protein 1 (VMP1) also transiently localizes. These structures are formed even when cells are treated with wortmannin to suppress autophagosome formation. These hierarchical analyses suggest that ULK1, Atg14 and VMP1 localize to the ER-associated autophagosome formation sites in a PI3-kinase activity-independent manner.
Project description:We generated a new transgenic mouse model that expresses a pHluorin-mKate2 fluorescent protein fused with human LC3B (PK-LC3 mice) for monitoring autophagy activity in neurons of the central nervous system. Histological analysis revealed fluorescent puncta in neurons of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, cerebellar Purkinje cells, and anterior spinal regions. Using CLEM analysis, we confirmed that PK-LC3-positive puncta in the perikarya of Purkinje cells correspond to autophagic structures. To validate the usability of PK-LC3 mice, we quantified PK-LC3 puncta in Purkinje cells of mice kept in normal feeding conditions and of mice starved for 24?hours. Our results showed a significant increase in autophagosome number and in individual puncta areal size following starvation. To confirm these results, we used morphometry at the electron microscopic level to analyze the volume densities of autophagosomes and lysosomes/autolysosomes in Purkinje cells of PK-LC3 mice. The results revealed that the volume densities of autophagic structures increase significantly after starvation. Together, our data show that PK-LC3 mice are suitable for monitoring autophagy flux in Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, and potentially other areas in the central nervous system.