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    Nrf2 and HIF1α converge to arsenic-induced metabolic reprogramming and the formation of the cancer stem-like cells. Bi Zhuoyue,Zhang Qian,Fu Yao,Wadgaonkar Priya,Zhang Wenxuan,Almutairy Bandar,Xu Liping,Rice M'Kya,Qiu Yiran,Thakur Chitra,Chen Fei Theranostics In this report, we demonstrated that inorganic arsenic (iAs) induces generation of the cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) through Nrf2-dependent HIF1α activation, and the subsequent metabolic reprogramming from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis in epithelial cells. : Genome-wide ChIP-seq analysis was performed to investigate the global binding of Nrf2 and/or HIF1α on the genome in the cells treated with iAs. Both untargeted metabolomics and UDP-C-glucose flux were applied to determine metabolic reprogramming in the iAs-induced CSCs. The role of Nrf2 on iAs-induced HIF1α and other stemness gene expression was validated by lentiviral transfection of Nrf2 inhibitor Keap1 and CRISPR-Cas9-mediated Nrf2 gene knockout, respectively. : The CSCs induced by iAs exhibit a diminished mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and an enhanced glycolysis that is actively shunted to the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP) and serine/glycine pathway. ChIP-seq data revealed that treatment of the cells with iAs amplified Nrf2 enrichment peaks in intergenic region, promoter and gene body. In contrast, a shift of the HIF1α peaks from distal intergenic region to gene promoter and the first exon was noted. Both Nrf2 and HIF1α are responsible for the iAs-induced expression of the glycolytic genes and the genes important for the stemness of the CSCs. Intriguingly, we also discovered a mutual transcriptional regulation between Nrf2 and HIF1α. Inhibition of Nrf2 by lentiviral infection of Keap1, or knockout of Nrf2 by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, not only blocked iAs-induced HIF1α activation, but reduced the expression of the key stemness genes for the formation of CSCs also. : We demonstrated that Nrf2 activation is an initiating signal for iAs-induced HIF1α activation, and Nrf2 and HIF1α played a concerted role on inducing metabolic reprogramming and the CSCs. 10.7150/thno.42903
    Targeting NRF2 to treat cancer. Sivinski Jared,Zhang Donna D,Chapman Eli Seminars in cancer biology NRF2 is a basic leucine zipper (bZip) transcription factor that is the master regulator of redox homeostasis. Under basal conditions, the cellular level of NRF2 is low due to a posttranslational regulation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). But, when an organism is challenged with oxidative or xenobiotic stress, the NRF2 pathway is activated by inhibition of the E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that normally marks NRF2 for destruction. For several decades, researchers have searched for molecules that can intentionally activate NRF2, as this was shown to be a means to prevent certain diseases, at least in animal models. In the present era, there are many compounds known to activate the NRF2 pathway including natural products and synthetic compounds, covalent and non-covalent compounds, and others. However, it was also revealed that like many protective pathways, the NRF2 pathway has a dark side. Just as NRF2 can protect normal cells from damage, it can protect malignant cells from damage. As cells transform, they are exposed to many stressors and aberrant upregulation of NRF2 can facilitate transformation and it can help cancer cells to grow, to spread, and to resist treatment. For this reason, researchers are also interested in the discovery and development of NRF2 inhibitors. In the present review, we will begin with a general discussion of NRF2 structure and function, we will discuss the latest in NRF2 non-covalent activators, and we will discuss the current state of NRF2 inhibitors. 10.1016/j.semcancer.2021.06.003
    TRIM44 links the UPS to SQSTM1/p62-dependent aggrephagy and removing misfolded proteins. Autophagy Until recently, the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and macroautophagy/autophagy were considered to be two independent systems that target proteins for degradation by proteasomes or via lysosomes, respectively. Here, we report that TRIM44 (tripartite motif containing 44) is a novel link that connects the UPS system with the autophagy degradation pathway. Suppressing the UPS degradation pathway leads to TRIM44 upregulation, which further promotes aggregated protein clearance through the binding of K48 ubiquitin chains on proteins. TRIM44 expression activates autophagy via promoting SQSTM1/p62 oligomerization, which rapidly increases the rate of aggregate protein removal. Overall, our data reveal that TRIM44 is a newly identified link between the UPS system and the autophagy pathway. Delineating the cross-talk between these two degradation pathways may reveal new mechanisms of targeting aggregate-prone diseases, such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease.: 3-MA: 3-methyladenine; ACTB: actin beta; ATG5: autophagy related 5; BB: B-box domain; BECN1: beclin1; BM: bone marrow; CC: coiled-coil domain; CFTR: cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator; CON: control; CQ: chloroquine; DOX: doxycycline; DSP: dithiobis(succinimidly propionate); ER: endoplasmic reticulum; FI: fluorescence intensity; FL: full length; HIF1A/HIF-1#x3B1;: hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha; HSC: hematopoietic stem cells; HTT: huntingtin; KD: knockdown; KD-CON: knockdown construct control; MM: multiple myeloma; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NP-40: nonidet P-40; NFE2L2/NRF2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; OE: overexpression; OE-CON: overexpression construct control; PARP: poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase; SDS: sodium dodecyl sulfate; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; Tet-on: tetracycline; TRIM44: tripartite motif containing 44; UPS: ubiquitin-proteasome system; ZF: zinc-finger. 10.1080/15548627.2021.1956105
    TRIM16 governs the biogenesis and disposal of stress-induced protein aggregates to evade cytotoxicity: implication for neurodegeneration and cancer. Jena Kautilya Kumar,Mehto Subhash,Kolapalli Srinivasa Prasad,Nath Parej,Sahu Rinku,Chauhan Nishant Ranjan,Sahoo Pradyumna Kumar,Dhar Kollori,Das Saroj Kumar,Chauhan Swati,Chauhan Santosh Autophagy The formation of protein aggregates is linked to several diseases collectively called proteinopathies. The mechanisms and the molecular players that control the turnover of protein aggregates are not well defined. We recently showed that TRIM16 acts as a key regulatory protein to control the biogenesis and degradation of protein aggregates. We show that TRIM16 interacts with, enhances K63-linked ubiquitination of, and stabilizes NFE2L2/NRF2 leading to its activation. The activated NFE2L2 upregulates the SQSTM1/p62 and ubiquitin pathway proteins, which interact with and ubiquitinate the misfolded proteins resulting in protein aggregate formation. TRIM16 is physically present around the protein aggregates and acts as a scaffold protein to recruit SQSTM1 and macroautophagy/autophagy initiation proteins for sequestration of the protein aggregates within autophagosomes, leading to their degradation. Hence, TRIM16 utilizes a two-pronged approach to safely dispose of the stress-induced misfolded proteins and protein aggregates, and protect cells from oxidative and proteotoxic stresses. This study could provide a framework for understanding the mechanisms of protein aggregate formation in neurodegeneration. The enhancement of TRIM16 activity could be a beneficial therapeutic approach in proteinopathies. On the flip side, cancer cells appear to hijack this machinery for their survival under stress conditions; hence, depleting TRIM16 could be a beneficial therapeutic strategy for treating cancer. 10.1080/15548627.2019.1586251
    Dual roles of ULK1 (unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1) in cytoprotection against lipotoxicity. Park Jeong Su,Lee Da Hyun,Lee Yu Seol,Oh Eunji,Bae Kwang-Hee,Oh Kyoung-Jin,Kim Hyunmi,Bae Soo Han Autophagy Saturated fatty acid (SFA)-induced lipotoxicity is caused by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is associated with damaged mitochondria. Moreover, lipotoxicity is crucial for the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Autophagy is required for the clearance of protein aggregates or damaged mitochondria to maintain cellular metabolic homeostasis. The NFE2L2/NRF2 (nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2)-KEAP1 (kelch like ECH associated protein 1) pathway is essential for the elimination of ROS. ULK1 (unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; yeast Atg1) is involved in the initiation of autophagy; however, its role in lipotoxicity-induced cell death in hepatocytes and mouse liver has not been elucidated. We now show that ULK1 potentiates the interaction between KEAP1 and the autophagy adaptor protein SQSTM1/p62, thereby mediating NFE2L2 activation in a manner requiring SQSTM1-dependent autophagic KEAP1 degradation. Furthermore, ULK1 is required for the autophagic removal of damaged mitochondria and to enhance binding between SQSTM1 and PINK1 (PTEN induced kinase 1). This study demonstrates the molecular mechanisms underlying the cytoprotective role of ULK1 against lipotoxicity. Thus, ULK1 could represent a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of NASH.: ACTB: actin beta; CM-HDCFDA:5-(and-6)-chloromethyl-2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate; CQ: chloroquine; CUL3: cullin 3; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; GSTA1: glutathione S-transferase A1; HA: hemagglutinin; Hepa1c1c7: mouse hepatoma cells; HMOX1/HO-1: heme oxygenase 1; KEAP1: kelch like ECH associated protein 1; LPS: lipopolysaccharides; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MAPK8/JNK: mitogen-activated protein kinase 8; MEF: mouse embryonic fibroblast; MFN1: mitofusin 1; MTT: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; NFE2L2/NRF2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; NQO1: NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1; PA: palmitic acid; PARP: poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; PRKAA1/2: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunits alpha1/2; PRKN/PARK2: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; PRKC/PKC: protein kinase C; RBX1: ring-box 1; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SFA: saturated fatty acid; siRNA: small interfering RNA; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; TOMM20: translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20; TUBA: tubulin alpha; TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1. 10.1080/15548627.2019.1598751
    ALS-FTLD-linked mutations of SQSTM1/p62 disrupt selective autophagy and NFE2L2/NRF2 anti-oxidative stress pathway. Deng Zhiqiang,Lim Junghyun,Wang Qian,Purtell Kerry,Wu Shuai,Palomo Gloria M,Tan Haiyan,Manfredi Giovanni,Zhao Yanxiang,Peng Junmin,Hu Bo,Chen Shi,Yue Zhenyu Autophagy Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a key catabolic pathway for the maintenance of proteostasis through constant digestion of selective cargoes. The selectivity of autophagy is mediated by autophagy receptors that recognize and recruit cargoes to autophagosomes. SQSTM1/p62 is a prototype autophagy receptor, which is commonly found in protein aggregates associated with major neurodegenerative diseases. While accumulation of SQSTM1 implicates a disturbance of selective autophagy pathway, the pathogenic mechanism that contributes to impaired autophagy degradation remains poorly characterized. Herein we show that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-linked mutations of and disrupt selective autophagy and cause neurotoxicity. Our data demonstrates that proteotoxic stress activates serine/threonine kinase TBK1, which coordinates with autophagy kinase ULK1 to promote concerted phosphorylation of autophagy receptor SQSTM1 at the UBA domain and activation of selective autophagy. In contrast, ALS-FTLD-linked mutations of or reduce SQSTM1 phosphorylation and compromise ubiquitinated cargo binding and clearance. Moreover, disease mutation SQSTM1 abolishes phosphorylation of Ser351 and impairs KEAP1-SQSTM1 interaction, thus diminishing NFE2L2/Nrf2-targeted gene expression and increasing TARDBP/TDP-43 associated stress granule formation under oxidative stress. Furthermore, expression of SQSTM1 in neurons impairs dendrite morphology and KEAP1-NFE2L2 signaling. Therefore, our results reveal a mechanism whereby pathogenic SQSTM1 mutants inhibit selective autophagy and disrupt NFE2L2 anti-oxidative stress response underlying the neurotoxicity in ALS-FTLD. ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; FTLD: frontotemporal lobar degeneration; G3BP1: GTPase-activating protein (SH3 domain) binding protein 1; GSTM1: glutathione S-transferase, mu 1; HMOX/HO-1: Heme oxygenase 1; IP: immunoprecipitation; KEAP1: kelch-like ECH associated protein 1; KI: kinase inactive; KIR: KEAP1 interaction region; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MBP: maltose binding protein; NBR1: NBR1, autophagy cargo receptor; NFE2L2/Nrf2: nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2; NQO1: NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SOD1: superoxide dismutase 1, soluble; S.S.: serum starvation; TARDBP/TDP-43: TAR DNA binding protein; TBK1: TANK binding kinase 1; UBA: iquitin ssociation; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; WT: wild type. 10.1080/15548627.2019.1644076
    Cytoplasmic DAXX drives SQSTM1/p62 phase condensation to activate Nrf2-mediated stress response. Yang Yi,Willis Thea L,Button Robert W,Strang Conor J,Fu Yuhua,Wen Xue,Grayson Portia R C,Evans Tracey,Sipthorpe Rebecca J,Roberts Sheridan L,Hu Bing,Zhang Jianke,Lu Boxun,Luo Shouqing Nature communications Autophagy cargo recognition and clearance are essential for intracellular protein quality control. SQSTM1/p62 sequesters intracellular aberrant proteins and mediates cargo delivery for their selective autophagic degradation. The formation of p62 non-membrane-bound liquid compartments is critical for its function as a cargo receptor. The regulation of p62 phase separation/condensation has yet been poorly characterised. Using an unbiased yeast two-hybrid screening and complementary approaches, we found that DAXX physically interacts with p62. Cytoplasmic DAXX promotes p62 puncta formation. We further elucidate that DAXX drives p62 liquid phase condensation by inducing p62 oligomerisation. This effect promotes p62 recruitment of Keap1 and subsequent Nrf2-mediated stress response. The present study suggests a mechanism of p62 phase condensation by a protein interaction, and indicates that DAXX regulates redox homoeostasis, providing a mechanistic insight into the prosurvival function of DAXX. 10.1038/s41467-019-11671-2
    Histone H3F3/H3.3 chaperone DAXX converts to modulate SQSTM1 phase condensation for NFE2L2 activation. Yang Yi,Valionyte Evelina,Kelly Jack,Luo Shouqing Autophagy Macroautophagy/autophagy cargo receptor SQSTM1/p62 puncta or clustering formation is critical for its function in cargo recognition and LC3 interaction. Evidence suggests that SQSTM1 puncta formation is a process of liquid-liquid phase separation. It is poorly understood how SQSTM1 liquid-liquid phase separation is regulated. We found that cytoplasmic DAXX enhances SQSTM1 puncta formation, and further demonstrated that DAXX drives SQSTM1 liquid phase condensation through increasing SQSTM1 oligomerization. DAXX promotes SQSTM1 recruitment of KEAP1, subsequently activating an NFE2L2/NRF2-mediated stress response. This study suggests a new mechanism of SQSTM1 phase condensation by a protein-protein interaction, and indicates that cytoplasmic DAXX can play a role to regulate redox homeostasis. 10.1080/15548627.2019.1677323
    SQSTM1/p62 activates NFE2L2/NRF2 via ULK1-mediated autophagic KEAP1 degradation and protects mouse liver from lipotoxicity. Lee Da Hyun,Park Jeong Su,Lee Yu Seol,Han Jisu,Lee Dong-Kyu,Kwon Sung Won,Han Dai Hoon,Lee Yong-Ho,Bae Soo Han Autophagy Lipotoxicity, induced by saturated fatty acid (SFA)-mediated cell death, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The KEAP1 (kelch like ECH associated protein 1)-NFE2L2/NRF2 (nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2) pathway is a pivotal defense mechanism against lipotoxicity. We previously reported that SQSTM1/p62 has a cytoprotective role against lipotoxicity through activation of the noncanonical KEAP1- NFE2L2 pathway in hepatocytes. However, the underlying mechanisms and physiological relevance of this pathway have not been clearly defined. Here, we demonstrate that NFE2L2-mediated induction of SQSTM1 activates the noncanonical KEAP1-NFE2L2 pathway under lipotoxic conditions. Furthermore, we identified that SQSTM1 induces ULK1 (unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1) phosphorylation by facilitating the interaction between AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) and ULK1, leading to macroautophagy/autophagy induction, followed by KEAP1 degradation and NFE2L2 activation. Accordingly, the activity of this SQSTM1-mediated noncanonical KEAP1-NFE2L2 pathway conferred hepatoprotection against lipotoxicity in the livers of conventional - and liver-specific -knockout mice. Moreover, this pathway activity was evident in the livers of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver. This axis could thus represent a novel target for NAFLD treatment. ACACA: acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha; ACTB: actin beta; BafA1: bafilomycin A; CM-H2DCFDA:5-(and-6)-chloromethyl-2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate; CQ: chloroquine; CUL3: cullin 3; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; FASN: fatty acid synthase; GSTA1: glutathione S-transferase A1; HA: hemagglutinin; Hepa1c1c7: mouse hepatoma cells; HMOX1/HO-1: heme oxygenase 1; KEAP1: kelch like ECH associated protein 1; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MEF: mouse embryonic fibroblast; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; MTT: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; NAC: N-acetyl-L-cysteine; NAFLD: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; NFE2L2/NRF2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; NQO1: NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1; PA: palmitic acid; PARP: poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1; PRKAA1/2: protein kinase AMP-activated catalytic subunits alpha1/2; RBX1: ring-box 1; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SESN2: sestrin 2; SFA: saturated fatty acid; siRNA: small interfering RNA; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SREBF1: sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1; TBK1: TANK binding kinase 1; TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase. 10.1080/15548627.2020.1712108
    Tsg101 positively regulates P62-Keap1-Nrf2 pathway to protect hearts against oxidative damage. Redox biology Currently, most antioxidants do not show any favorable clinical outcomes in reducing myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, suggesting an urgent need for exploring a new regulator of redox homeostasis in I/R hearts. Here, using heart-specific transgenic (TG) and knockdown (KD) mouse models, tumor susceptibility gene 101 (Tsg101) is defined as a novel cardiac-protector against I/R-triggered oxidative stress. RNA sequencing and bioinformatics data surprisingly reveal that most upregulated genes in Tsg101-TG hearts are transcribed by Nrf2. Accordingly, pharmacological inhibition of Nrf2 offsets Tsg101-elicited cardio-protection. Mechanistically, Tsg101 interacts with SQSTM1/p62 through its PRR domain, and promotes p62 aggregation, leading to recruitment of Keap1 for degradation by autophagosomes and release of Nrf2 to the nucleus. Furthermore, knockout of p62 abrogates Tsg101-induced cardio-protective effects during I/R. Hence, our findings uncover a previously unrecognized role of Tsg101 in the regulation of p62/Keap1/Nrf2 signaling cascades and provide a new strategy for the treatment of ischemic heart disease. 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101453
    The interplay between PRKCI/PKCλ/ι, SQSTM1/p62, and autophagy orchestrates the oxidative metabolic response that drives liver cancer. Moscat Jorge,Diaz-Meco Maria T Autophagy Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the consequence of chronic liver damage caused by the excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To mitigate the deleterious effects of ROS, cells activate the transcription factor NFE2L2/NRF2, which is constitutively degraded through its partner KEAP1. The inactivation of KEAP1 by ROS results in the upregulation of NFE2L2, which leads to the upregulation of critical detoxifying molecules that serve to keep ROS at tolerable levels in order to maintain cell viability. It is thought that this mechanism allows cells to accumulate mutations, which together with the additional pro-tumorigenic and pro-survival effects of NFE2L2 activation, promote cancer initiation and progression. Germane to this phenomenon is macroautophagy/autophagy, which under homeostatic conditions has also been proposed to serve as a detoxifying mechanism by clearing up toxic aggregates and damaged organelles. Our recent data establish a new paradigm for the role that autophagy plays in HCC development. 10.1080/15548627.2020.1797290
    An unexpected tumor suppressor role of SQSTM1/p62 in liver tumorigenesis. Autophagy SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1) is a macroautophagy/autophagy receptor protein that is degraded by selective autophagy. Intracellular accumulation of SQSTM1 activates multiple cell survival signaling pathways including NFΚB/NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa B), MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase) and NFE2L2/Nrf2 (nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2). Both SQSTM1 and NFE2L2 have been considered as oncogenic, and increased accumulation of SQSTM1 and NFE2L2 activation have been frequently observed in various cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma. In a recent study, we found that deletion of improved hepatic metabolic reprogramming and cell repopulation resulting in the attenuation of liver injury in mice with liver-specific deletion of and that have defective hepatic autophagy and persistent MTOR complex 1 (MTORC1) activation. To our surprise, hepatocytic deletion of promotes liver tumorigenesis in liver-specific and double-knockout mice. Overall, these findings reveal a complex interplay among autophagy, SQSTM1 and MTORC1 and their differential roles either as oncogenic or tumor suppressor in liver tumorigenesis depending on the disease stage and context. 10.1080/15548627.2021.2008693
    The deubiquitinase USP15 modulates cellular redox and is a therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 15 (USP15) is a deubiquitinating enzyme implicated in critical cellular and oncogenic processes. We report that USP15 mRNA and protein are overexpressed in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as compared to normal hematopoietic progenitor cells. This high expression of USP15 in AML correlates with KEAP1 protein and suppression of NRF2. Knockdown or deletion of USP15 in human and mouse AML models significantly impairs leukemic progenitor function and viability and de-represses an antioxidant response through the KEAP1-NRF2 axis. Inhibition of USP15 and subsequent activation of NRF2 leads to redox perturbations in AML cells, coincident with impaired leukemic cell function. In contrast, USP15 is dispensable for human and mouse normal hematopoietic cells in vitro and in vivo. A preclinical small-molecule inhibitor of USP15 induced the KEAP1-NRF2 axis and impaired AML cell function, suggesting that targeting USP15 catalytic function can suppress AML. Based on these findings, we report that USP15 drives AML cell function, in part, by suppressing a critical oxidative stress sensor mechanism and permitting an aberrant redox state. Furthermore, we postulate that inhibition of USP15 activity with small molecule inhibitors will selectively impair leukemic progenitor cells by re-engaging homeostatic redox responses while sparing normal hematopoiesis. 10.1038/s41375-021-01394-z
    Fibroblast growth factor 21 attenuates iron overload-induced liver injury and fibrosis by inhibiting ferroptosis. Wu Aimin,Feng Bin,Yu Jie,Yan Lijun,Che Lianqiang,Zhuo Yong,Luo Yuheng,Yu Bing,Wu De,Chen Daiwen Redox biology Ferroptosis plays a role in several diseases such as iron overload-induced liver diseases. Manipulation of ferroptosis has been explored as a potential therapeutic strategy to treat related diseases. Numerous antioxidants have been identified to control ferroptosis but the cell-autonomous mechanisms responsible for regulating ferroptosis remain elusive. In the present study, we found that iron overload promoted ferroptosis in hepatocytes by excessively inducing HO-1 expression, which contributed to the progression of liver injury and fibrosis, accompanied by the upregulation of the FGF21 protein level in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, both recombinant FGF21 and Fgf21 overexpression significantly protected against iron overload-induced hepatocytes mitochondria damage, liver injury and fibrosis by inhibiting ferroptosis. In contrast, the loss of FGF21 aggravated iron overload-induced ferroptosis. Notably, FGF21-induced HO-1 inhibition (via the promotion of HO-1 ubiquitination and degradation) and NRF2 activation provide a mechanistic explanation for this phenomenon. Taken together, we identified FGF21 as a novel ferroptosis suppressor. Thus, FGF21 activation may provide an effective strategy for the potential treatment of iron overload-induced ferroptosis-related diseases, such as hereditary haemochromatosis (HH). 10.1016/j.redox.2021.102131
    CRL2-KLHDC3 E3 ubiquitin ligase complex suppresses ferroptosis through promoting p14 degradation. Cell death and differentiation The cystine/glutamate antiporter SLC7A11 (commonly known as xCT) functions to import cystine for glutathione biosynthesis, thereby protecting cells from oxidative stress and ferroptosis, a regulated form of non-apoptotic cell death driven by the accumulation of lipid-based reactive oxygen species (ROS). p14, a well-established tumor suppressor, promotes ferroptosis by inhibiting NRF2-mediated SLC7A11 transcription. Here, we demonstrate the crucial role of Cullin 2 RING E3 ligase (CRL2)-KLHDC3 E3 ubiquitin ligase complex in regulating p14 protein stability. KLHDC3 acts as a CRL2 adaptor that specifically recognizes a C-terminal degron in p14 and triggers p14 for ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation. This regulation mode is absent in the murine p14 homolog, p19 which lacks the C-terminal degron. We also show that KLHDC3 suppresses ferroptosis in vitro and supports tumor growth in vivo by relieving p14-mediated suppression of SLC7A11 transcription. Overall, these findings reveal that the protein stability and pro-ferroptotic function of p14 are controlled by a CRL2 E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, and suggest that suppression of the p14NRF2-SLC7A11 regulatory pathway by KLHDC3 overexpression likely contributes to cancer progression. 10.1038/s41418-021-00890-0
    HACE1-mediated NRF2 activation causes enhanced malignant phenotypes and decreased radiosensitivity of glioma cells. Da Chenxing,Pu Jun,Liu Zhe,Wei Jing,Qu Yiping,Wu Yongxing,Shi Bingyin,Yang Jian,He Nongyue,Hou Peng Signal transduction and targeted therapy HACE1, an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase, is frequently inactivated and has been evidenced as a putative tumor suppressor in different types of cancer. However, its role in glioma remains elusive. Here, we observed increased expression of HACE1 in gliomas related to control subjects, and found a strong correlation of high HACE1 expression with poor prognosis in patients with WHO grade III and IV as well as low-grade glioma (LGG) patients receiving radiotherapy. HACE1 knockdown obviously suppressed malignant behaviors of glioma cells, while ectopic expression of HACE1 enhanced cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Further studies revealed that HACE1 enhanced protein stability of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) by competitively binding to NRF2 with another E3 ligase KEAP1. Besides, HACE1 also promoted internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated mRNA translation of NRF2. These effects did not depend on its E3 ligase activity. Finally, we demonstrated that HACE1 dramatically reduced cellular ROS levels by activating NRF2, thereby decreasing the response of glioma cells to radiation. Altogether, our data demonstrate that HACE1 causes enhanced malignant phenotypes and decreased radiosensitivity of glioma cells by activating NRF2, and indicate that it may act as the role of prognostic factor and potential therapeutic target in glioma. 10.1038/s41392-021-00793-z
    SPOP mutations promote p62/SQSTM1-dependent autophagy and Nrf2 activation in prostate cancer. Cell death and differentiation p62/SQSTM1 is a selective autophagy receptor that drives ubiquitinated cargos towards autophagic degradation. This receptor is also a stress-induced scaffold protein that helps cells to cope with oxidative stress through activation of the Nrf2 pathway. Functional disorders of p62 are closely associated with multiple neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The gene encoding the E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate-binding adapter SPOP is frequently mutated in prostate cancer (PCa), but the molecular mechanisms underlying how SPOP mutations contribute to PCa tumorigenesis remain poorly understood. Here, we report that cytoplasmic SPOP binds and induces the non-degradative ubiquitination of p62 at residue K420 within the UBA domain. This protein modification decreases p62 puncta formation, liquid phase condensation, dimerization, and ubiquitin-binding capacity, thereby suppressing p62-dependent autophagy. Moreover, we show that SPOP relieves p62-mediated Keap1 sequestration, which ultimately decreases Nrf2-mediated transcriptional activation of antioxidant genes. We further show that PCa-associated SPOP mutants lose the capacity to ubiquitinate p62 and instead promote autophagy and the redox response in a dominant-negative manner. Thus, our findings indicate oncogenic roles of autophagy and Nrf2 activation in the tumorigenesis of SPOP-mutated PCa. 10.1038/s41418-021-00913-w
    p62/SQSTM1 by Binding to Vitamin D Receptor Inhibits Hepatic Stellate Cell Activity, Fibrosis, and Liver Cancer. Duran Angeles,Hernandez Eloy D,Reina-Campos Miguel,Castilla Elias A,Subramaniam Shankar,Raghunandan Sindhu,Roberts Lewis R,Kisseleva Tatiana,Karin Michael,Diaz-Meco Maria T,Moscat Jorge Cancer cell Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) play critical roles in liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Vitamin D receptor (VDR) activation in HSCs inhibits liver inflammation and fibrosis. We found that p62/SQSTM1, a protein upregulated in liver parenchymal cells but downregulated in HCC-associated HSCs, negatively controls HSC activation. Total body or HSC-specific p62 ablation potentiates HSCs and enhances inflammation, fibrosis, and HCC progression. p62 directly interacts with VDR and RXR promoting their heterodimerization, which is critical for VDR:RXR target gene recruitment. Loss of p62 in HSCs impairs the repression of fibrosis and inflammation by VDR agonists. This demonstrates that p62 is a negative regulator of liver inflammation and fibrosis through its ability to promote VDR signaling in HSCs, whose activation supports HCC. 10.1016/j.ccell.2016.09.004
    p62, Upregulated during Preneoplasia, Induces Hepatocellular Carcinogenesis by Maintaining Survival of Stressed HCC-Initiating Cells. Umemura Atsushi,He Feng,Taniguchi Koji,Nakagawa Hayato,Yamachika Shinichiro,Font-Burgada Joan,Zhong Zhenyu,Subramaniam Shankar,Raghunandan Sindhu,Duran Angeles,Linares Juan F,Reina-Campos Miguel,Umemura Shiori,Valasek Mark A,Seki Ekihiro,Yamaguchi Kanji,Koike Kazuhiko,Itoh Yoshito,Diaz-Meco Maria T,Moscat Jorge,Karin Michael Cancer cell p62 is a ubiquitin-binding autophagy receptor and signaling protein that accumulates in premalignant liver diseases and most hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Although p62 was proposed to participate in the formation of benign adenomas in autophagy-deficient livers, its role in HCC initiation was not explored. Here we show that p62 is necessary and sufficient for HCC induction in mice and that its high expression in non-tumor human liver predicts rapid HCC recurrence after curative ablation. High p62 expression is needed for activation of NRF2 and mTORC1, induction of c-Myc, and protection of HCC-initiating cells from oxidative stress-induced death. 10.1016/j.ccell.2016.04.006
    Liver-specific loss of Atg5 causes persistent activation of Nrf2 and protects against acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Ni Hong-Min,Boggess Nikki,McGill Mitchell R,Lebofsky Margitta,Borude Prachi,Apte Udayan,Jaeschke Hartmut,Ding Wen-Xing Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved biological process that degrades intracellular proteins and organelles including damaged mitochondria through the formation of autophagosome. We have previously demonstrated that pharmacological induction of autophagy by rapamycin protects against acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver injury in mice. In contrast, in the present study, we found that mice with the liver-specific loss of Atg5, an essential autophagy gene, were resistant to APAP-induced liver injury. Hepatocyte-specific deletion of Atg5 resulted in mild liver injury characterized by increased apoptosis and compensatory hepatocyte proliferation. The lack of autophagy in the Atg5-deficient mouse livers was confirmed by increased p62 protein levels and the absence of LC3-lipidation as well as autophagosome formation. Analysis of histological and clinical chemistry parameters indicated that the Atg5 liver-specific knockout mice are resistant to APAP overdose (500 mg/kg). Further investigations revealed that the bioactivation of APAP is normal in Atg5 liver-specific knockout mice although they had lower CYP2E1 expression. There was an increased basal hepatic glutathione (GSH) content and a faster recovery of GSH after APAP treatment due to persistent activation of Nrf2, a transcriptional factor regulating drug detoxification and GSH synthesis gene expression. In addition, we found significantly higher hepatocyte proliferation in the livers of Atg5 liver-specific knockout mice. Taken together, our data suggest that persistent activation of Nrf2 and increased hepatocyte proliferation protect against APAP-induced liver injury in Atg5 liver-specific knockout mice. 10.1093/toxsci/kfs133
    Persistent activation of Nrf2 through p62 in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Inami Yoshihiro,Waguri Satoshi,Sakamoto Ayako,Kouno Tsuguka,Nakada Kazuto,Hino Okio,Watanabe Sumio,Ando Jin,Iwadate Manabu,Yamamoto Masayuki,Lee Myung-Shik,Tanaka Keiji,Komatsu Masaaki The Journal of cell biology Suppression of autophagy is always accompanied by marked accumulation of p62, a selective autophagy substrate. Because p62 interacts with the Nrf2-binding site on Keap1, which is a Cullin 3-based ubiquitin ligase adapter protein, autophagy deficiency causes competitive inhibition of the Nrf2-Keap1 interaction, resulting in stabilization of Nrf2 followed by transcriptional activation of Nrf2 target genes. Herein, we show that liver-specific autophagy-deficient mice harbor adenomas linked to both the formation of p62- and Keap1-positive cellular aggregates and induction of Nrf2 targets. Importantly, similar aggregates were identified in more than 25% of human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC), and induction of Nrf2 target genes was recognized in most of these tumors. Gene targeting of p62 in an HCC cell line markedly abrogates the anchorage-independent growth, whereas forced expression of p62, but not a Keap1 interaction-defective mutant, resulted in recovery of the growth defect. These results indicate the involvement of persistent activation of Nrf2 through the accumulation of p62 in hepatoma development. 10.1083/jcb.201102031
    The selective autophagy substrate p62 activates the stress responsive transcription factor Nrf2 through inactivation of Keap1. Komatsu Masaaki,Kurokawa Hirofumi,Waguri Satoshi,Taguchi Keiko,Kobayashi Akira,Ichimura Yoshinobu,Sou Yu-Shin,Ueno Izumi,Sakamoto Ayako,Tong Kit I,Kim Mihee,Nishito Yasumasa,Iemura Shun-ichiro,Natsume Tohru,Ueno Takashi,Kominami Eiki,Motohashi Hozumi,Tanaka Keiji,Yamamoto Masayuki Nature cell biology Impaired selective turnover of p62 by autophagy causes severe liver injury accompanied by the formation of p62-positive inclusions and upregulation of detoxifying enzymes. These phenotypes correspond closely to the pathological conditions seen in human liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the molecular mechanisms and pathophysiological processes in these events are still unknown. Here we report the identification of a novel regulatory mechanism by p62 of the transcription factor Nrf2, whose target genes include antioxidant proteins and detoxification enzymes. p62 interacts with the Nrf2-binding site on Keap1, a component of Cullin-3-type ubiquitin ligase for Nrf2. Thus, an overproduction of p62 or a deficiency in autophagy competes with the interaction between Nrf2 and Keap1, resulting in stabilization of Nrf2 and transcriptional activation of Nrf2 target genes. Our findings indicate that the pathological process associated with p62 accumulation results in hyperactivation of Nrf2 and delineates unexpected roles of selective autophagy in controlling the transcription of cellular defence enzyme genes. 10.1038/ncb2021
    Nrf2-p62 autophagy pathway and its response to oxidative stress in hepatocellular carcinoma. Bartolini Desirée,Dallaglio Katiuscia,Torquato Pierangelo,Piroddi Marta,Galli Francesco Translational research : the journal of laboratory and clinical medicine Deregulation of autophagy is proposed to play a key pathogenic role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common primary malignancy of the liver and the third leading cause of cancer death. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process activated to degrade and recycle cell's components. Under stress conditions, such as oxidative stress and nutrient deprivation, autophagy is an essential survival pathway that operates in harmony with other stress response pathways. These include the redox-sensitive transcription complex Nrf2-Keap1 that controls groups of genes with roles in detoxification and antioxidant processes, intermediary metabolism, and cell cycle regulation. Recently, a functional association between a dysfunctional autophagy and Nrf2 pathway activation has been identified in HCC. This appears to occur through the physical interaction of the autophagy adaptor p62 with the Nrf2 inhibitor Keap1, thus leading to increased stabilization and transcriptional activity of Nrf2, a key event in reprogramming metabolic and stress response pathways of proliferating hepatocarcinoma cells. These emerging molecular mechanisms and the therapeutic perspective of targeting Nrf2-p62 interaction in HCC are discussed in this paper along with the prognostic value of autophagy in this type of cancer. 10.1016/j.trsl.2017.11.007
    MAFG-driven astrocytes promote CNS inflammation. Nature Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS. Astrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, but little is known about the heterogeneity of astrocytes and its regulation. Here we report the analysis of astrocytes in multiple sclerosis and its preclinical model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by single-cell RNA sequencing in combination with cell-specific Ribotag RNA profiling, assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq), chromatin immunoprecipitation with sequencing (ChIP-seq), genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and in vivo CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic perturbations. We identified astrocytes in EAE and multiple sclerosis that were characterized by decreased expression of NRF2 and increased expression of MAFG, which cooperates with MAT2α to promote DNA methylation and represses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory transcriptional programs. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) signalling in astrocytes drives the expression of MAFG and MAT2α and pro-inflammatory transcriptional modules, contributing to CNS pathology in EAE and, potentially, multiple sclerosis. Our results identify candidate therapeutic targets in multiple sclerosis. 10.1038/s41586-020-1999-0
    Type I Interferon Response Dysregulates Host Iron Homeostasis and Enhances Candida glabrata Infection. Riedelberger Michael,Penninger Philipp,Tscherner Michael,Seifert Markus,Jenull Sabrina,Brunnhofer Carina,Scheidl Bernhard,Tsymala Irina,Bourgeois Christelle,Petryshyn Andriy,Glaser Walter,Limbeck Andreas,Strobl Birgit,Weiss Guenter,Kuchler Karl Cell host & microbe Type I interferons (IFNs-I) fulfil multiple protective functions during pathogenic infections, but they can also cause detrimental effects and enhance immunopathology. Here, we report that IFNs-I promote the dysregulation of iron homeostasis in macrophages during systemic infections with the intracellular pathogen Candida glabrata, leading to fungal survival and persistence. By engaging JAK1, IFNs-I disturb the balance of the transcriptional activator NRF2 and repressor BACH1 to induce downregulation of the key iron exporter Fpn1 in macrophages. This leads to enhanced iron accumulation in the phagolysosome and failure to restrict fungal access to iron pools. As a result, C. glabrata acquires iron via the Sit1/Ftr1 iron transporter system, facilitating fungal intracellular replication and immune evasion. Thus, IFNs-I are central regulators of iron homeostasis, which can impact infection, and restricting iron bioavailability may offer therapeutic strategies to combat invasive fungal infections. 10.1016/j.chom.2020.01.023
    Liver macrophages inhibit the endogenous antioxidant response in obesity-associated insulin resistance. Science translational medicine Obesity and insulin resistance are risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common chronic liver disease worldwide. Because no approved medication nor an accurate and noninvasive diagnosis is currently available for NAFLD, there is a clear need to better understand the link between obesity and NAFLD. Lipid accumulation during obesity is known to be associated with oxidative stress and inflammatory activation of liver macrophages (LMs). However, we show that although LMs do not become proinflammatory during obesity, they display signs of oxidative stress. In livers of both humans and mice, antioxidant nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) was down-regulated with obesity and insulin resistance, yielding an impaired response to lipid accumulation. At the molecular level, a microRNA-targeting NRF2 protein, , was elevated in the livers of obese insulin-resistant humans and mice, and specific silencing of in murine and human LMs was sufficient to restore NRF2 protein expression and the antioxidant response. These results highlight the pathological role of LMs and their therapeutic potential to restore the impaired endogenous antioxidant response in obesity-associated NAFLD. 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw9709
    NRF2 activates growth factor genes and downstream AKT signaling to induce mouse and human hepatomegaly. He Feng,Antonucci Laura,Yamachika Shinichiro,Zhang Zechuan,Taniguchi Koji,Umemura Atsushi,Hatzivassiliou Georgia,Roose-Girma Merone,Reina-Campos Miguel,Duran Angeles,Diaz-Meco Maria T,Moscat Jorge,Sun Beicheng,Karin Michael Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatomegaly can be triggered by insulin and insulin-unrelated etiologies. Insulin acts via AKT, but how other challenges cause hepatomegaly is unknown. METHODS:Since many hepatomegaly-inducing toxicants and stressors activate NRF2, we examined the effect of NRF2 activation on liver size and metabolism using a conditional allele encoding a constitutively active NRF2 variant to generate Nrf2 mice in which NRF2 is selectively activated in hepatocytes. We also used adenoviruses encoding variants of the autophagy adaptor p62/SQSTM1, which activates liver NRF2, as well as liver-specific ATG7-deficient mice (Atg7) and liver specimens from patients with hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (HSOS) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). RNA sequencing and cell signaling analyses were used to determine cellular consequences of NRF2 activation and diverse histological analyses were used to study effects of the different manipulations on liver and systemic pathophysiology. RESULTS:Hepatocyte-specific NRF2 activation, due to p62 accumulation or inhibition of KEAP1 binding, led to hepatomegaly associated with enhanced glycogenosis, steatosis and G2/M cell cycle arrest, fostering hyperplasia without cell division. Surprisingly, all manipulations that led to NRF2 activation also activated AKT, whose inhibition blocked NRF2-induced hepatomegaly and glycogenosis, but not NRF2-dependent antioxidant gene induction. AKT activation was linked to NRF2-mediated transcriptional induction of PDGF and EGF receptor ligands that signaled through their cognate receptors in an autocrine manner. Insulin and insulin-like growth factors were not involved. The NRF2-AKT signaling axis was also activated in human HSOS- and AIH-related hepatomegaly. CONCLUSIONS:NRF2, a transcription factor readily activated by xenobiotics, oxidative stress and autophagy disruptors, may be a common mediator of hepatomegaly; its effects on hepatic metabolism can be reversed by AKT/tyrosine kinase inhibitors. LAY SUMMARY:Hepatomegaly can be triggered by numerous etiological factors, including infections, liver cancer, metabolic disturbances, toxicant exposure, as well as alcohol abuse or drug-induced hepatitis. This study identified the oxidative stress response transcription factor NRF2 as a common mediator of hepatomegaly. NRF2 activation results in elevated expression of several growth factors. These growth factors are made by hepatocytes and activate their receptors in an autocrine fashion to stimulate the accumulation of glycogen and lipids that lead to hepatocyte and liver enlargement. The protein kinase AKT plays a key role in this process and its inhibition leads to reversal of hepatomegaly. 10.1016/j.jhep.2020.01.023
    An open-source drug discovery platform enables ultra-large virtual screens. Nature On average, an approved drug currently costs US$2-3 billion and takes more than 10 years to develop. In part, this is due to expensive and time-consuming wet-laboratory experiments, poor initial hit compounds and the high attrition rates in the (pre-)clinical phases. Structure-based virtual screening has the potential to mitigate these problems. With structure-based virtual screening, the quality of the hits improves with the number of compounds screened. However, despite the fact that large databases of compounds exist, the ability to carry out large-scale structure-based virtual screening on computer clusters in an accessible, efficient and flexible manner has remained difficult. Here we describe VirtualFlow, a highly automated and versatile open-source platform with perfect scaling behaviour that is able to prepare and efficiently screen ultra-large libraries of compounds. VirtualFlow is able to use a variety of the most powerful docking programs. Using VirtualFlow, we prepared one of the largest and freely available ready-to-dock ligand libraries, with more than 1.4 billion commercially available molecules. To demonstrate the power of VirtualFlow, we screened more than 1 billion compounds and identified a set of structurally diverse molecules that bind to KEAP1 with submicromolar affinity. One of the lead inhibitors (iKeap1) engages KEAP1 with nanomolar affinity (dissociation constant (K) = 114 nM) and disrupts the interaction between KEAP1 and the transcription factor NRF2. This illustrates the potential of VirtualFlow to access vast regions of the chemical space and identify molecules that bind with high affinity to target proteins. 10.1038/s41586-020-2117-z
    Gut-Resident Lactobacilli Activate Hepatic Nrf2 and Protect Against Oxidative Liver Injury. Saeedi Bejan J,Liu Ken H,Owens Joshua A,Hunter-Chang Sarah,Camacho Mary C,Eboka Richard U,Chandrasekharan Bindu,Baker Nusaiba F,Darby Trevor M,Robinson Brian S,Jones Rheinallt M,Jones Dean P,Neish Andrew S Cell metabolism Many studies have suggested a role for gut-resident microbes (the "gut microbiome") in modulating host health; however, the mechanisms by which they impact systemic physiology remain largely unknown. In this study, metabolomic and transcriptional profiling of germ-free and conventionalized mouse liver revealed an upregulation of the Nrf2 antioxidant and xenobiotic response in microbiome-replete animals. Using a Drosophila-based screening assay, we identified members of the genus Lactobacillus capable of stimulating Nrf2. Indeed, the human commensal Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) potently activated Nrf2 in the Drosophila liver analog and the murine liver. This activation was sufficient to protect against two models of oxidative liver injury, acetaminophen overdose and acute ethanol toxicity. Characterization of the portal circulation of LGG-treated mice by tandem mass spectrometry identified a small molecule activator of Nrf2, 5-methoxyindoleacetic acid, produced by LGG. Taken together, these data demonstrate a mechanism by which intestinal microbes modulate hepatic susceptibility to oxidative injury. 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.03.006
    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) as pleiotropic physiological signalling agents. Sies Helmut,Jones Dean P Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology 'Reactive oxygen species' (ROS) is an umbrella term for an array of derivatives of molecular oxygen that occur as a normal attribute of aerobic life. Elevated formation of the different ROS leads to molecular damage, denoted as 'oxidative distress'. Here we focus on ROS at physiological levels and their central role in redox signalling via different post-translational modifications, denoted as 'oxidative eustress'. Two species, hydrogen peroxide (HO) and the superoxide anion radical (O), are key redox signalling agents generated under the control of growth factors and cytokines by more than 40 enzymes, prominently including NADPH oxidases and the mitochondrial electron transport chain. At the low physiological levels in the nanomolar range, HO is the major agent signalling through specific protein targets, which engage in metabolic regulation and stress responses to support cellular adaptation to a changing environment and stress. In addition, several other reactive species are involved in redox signalling, for instance nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and oxidized lipids. Recent methodological advances permit the assessment of molecular interactions of specific ROS molecules with specific targets in redox signalling pathways. Accordingly, major advances have occurred in understanding the role of these oxidants in physiology and disease, including the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems, skeletal muscle and metabolic regulation as well as ageing and cancer. In the past, unspecific elimination of ROS by use of low molecular mass antioxidant compounds was not successful in counteracting disease initiation and progression in clinical trials. However, controlling specific ROS-mediated signalling pathways by selective targeting offers a perspective for a future of more refined redox medicine. This includes enzymatic defence systems such as those controlled by the stress-response transcription factors NRF2 and nuclear factor-κB, the role of trace elements such as selenium, the use of redox drugs and the modulation of environmental factors collectively known as the exposome (for example, nutrition, lifestyle and irradiation). 10.1038/s41580-020-0230-3
    Reducing Stress PERKs up Anti-tumor Immunity. Charbonneau Marie-Eve,O'Riordan Mary X D Immunity Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) can promote tumor progression. In this issue of Immunity, Mohamed et al. show that the unfolded protein response sensor, PERK, enhances MDSC-mediated immunosuppression through the NRF2 transcription factor, preventing oxidative damage, mitochondrial DNA release, and DNA sensor-STING-dependent type I interferon production. 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.03.012
    The Unfolded Protein Response Mediator PERK Governs Myeloid Cell-Driven Immunosuppression in Tumors through Inhibition of STING Signaling. Mohamed Eslam,Sierra Rosa A,Trillo-Tinoco Jimena,Cao Yu,Innamarato Patrick,Payne Kyle K,de Mingo Pulido Alvaro,Mandula Jessica,Zhang Shuzhong,Thevenot Paul,Biswas Subir,Abdalla Sarah K,Costich Tara Lee,Hänggi Kay,Anadon Carmen M,Flores Elsa R,Haura Eric B,Mehrotra Shikhar,Pilon-Thomas Shari,Ruffell Brian,Munn David H,Cubillos-Ruiz Juan R,Conejo-Garcia Jose R,Rodriguez Paulo C Immunity The primary mechanisms supporting immunoregulatory polarization of myeloid cells upon infiltration into tumors remain largely unexplored. Elucidation of these signals could enable better strategies to restore protective anti-tumor immunity. Here, we investigated the role of the intrinsic activation of the PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase (PERK) in the immunoinhibitory actions of tumor-associated myeloid-derived suppressor cells (tumor-MDSCs). PERK signaling increased in tumor-MDSCs, and its deletion transformed MDSCs into myeloid cells that activated CD8 T cell-mediated immunity against cancer. Tumor-MDSCs lacking PERK exhibited disrupted NRF2-driven antioxidant capacity and impaired mitochondrial respiratory homeostasis. Moreover, reduced NRF2 signaling in PERK-deficient MDSCs elicited cytosolic mitochondrial DNA elevation and, consequently, STING-dependent expression of anti-tumor type I interferon. Reactivation of NRF2 signaling, conditional deletion of STING, or blockade of type I interferon receptor I restored the immunoinhibitory potential of PERK-ablated MDSCs. Our findings demonstrate the pivotal role of PERK in tumor-MDSC functionality and unveil strategies to reprogram immunosuppressive myelopoiesis in tumors to boost cancer immunotherapy. 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.03.004
    The Complex Interplay between Antioxidants and ROS in Cancer. Harris Isaac S,DeNicola Gina M Trends in cell biology Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play important roles in tissue homeostasis, cellular signaling, differentiation, and survival. In this review, we discuss the types ofROS, their impact on cellular processes, and their pro- and antitumorigenic effects. Further, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of both endogenous and exogenous antioxidants in tumorigenic processes. Finally, wediscuss how aberrant activation of antioxidant programs by the transcription factor NFE2-related factor 2 (NRF2) influences tumorigenesis and metastasis, and where the current gaps in our knowledge remain. 10.1016/j.tcb.2020.03.002
    Melatonin prevents neuroinflammation and relieves depression by attenuating autophagy impairment through FOXO3a regulation. Ali Tahir,Rahman Shafiq Ur,Hao Qiang,Li Weifen,Liu Zizhen,Ali Shah Fawad,Murtaza Iram,Zhang Zaijun,Yang Xifei,Liu Gongping,Li Shupeng Journal of pineal research Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a life-threatening illness characterized by mood changes and high rates of suicide. Although the role of neuroinflammation in MMD has been studied, the mechanistic interplay between antidepressants, neuroinflammation, and autophagy is yet to be investigated. The present study investigated the effect of melatonin on LPS-induced neuroinflammation, depression, and autophagy impairment. Our results showed that in mice, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment induced depressive-like behaviors and caused autophagy impairment by dysregulating ATG genes. Moreover, LPS treatment significantly increased the levels of cytokines (TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6), enhanced NF-ᴋB phosphorylation, caused glial (astrocytes and microglia) cell activation, dysregulated FOXO3a expression, increased the levels of redox signaling molecules such as ROS/TBARs, and altered expression of Nrf2, SOD2, and HO-1. Melatonin treatment significantly abolished the effects of LPS, as demonstrated by improved depressive-like behaviors, normalized autophagy-related gene expression, and reduced levels of cytokines. Further, we investigated the role of autophagy in LPS-induced depressive-like behavior and neuroinflammation using autophagy inhibitors 3-MA and Ly294002. Interestingly, inhibitor treatment significantly abolished and reversed the anti-depressive, pro-autophagy, and anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin. The present study concludes that the anti-depressive effects of melatonin in LPS-induced depression might be mediated via autophagy modulation through FOXO3a signaling. 10.1111/jpi.12667
    PKCλ/ι Loss Induces Autophagy, Oxidative Phosphorylation, and NRF2 to Promote Liver Cancer Progression. Kudo Yotaro,Sugimoto Masayuki,Arias Esperanza,Kasashima Hiroaki,Cordes Thekla,Linares Juan F,Duran Angeles,Nakanishi Yuki,Nakanishi Naoko,L'Hermitte Antoine,Campos Alex,Senni Nadia,Rooslid Tarmo,Roberts Lewis R,Cuervo Ana Maria,Metallo Christian M,Karin Michael,Diaz-Meco Maria T,Moscat Jorge Cancer cell Oxidative stress plays a critical role in liver tissue damage and in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) initiation and progression. However, the mechanisms that regulate autophagy and metabolic reprogramming during reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and how ROS promote tumorigenesis, still need to be fully understood. We show that protein kinase C (PKC) λ/ι loss in hepatocytes promotes autophagy and oxidative phosphorylation. This results in ROS generation, which through NRF2 drives HCC through cell-autonomous and non-autonomous mechanisms. Although PKCλ/ι promotes tumorigenesis in oncogene-driven cancer models, emerging evidence demonstrate that it is a tumor suppressor in more complex carcinogenic processes. Consistently, PKCλ/ι levels negatively correlate with HCC histological tumor grade, establishing this kinase as a tumor suppressor in liver cancer. 10.1016/j.ccell.2020.05.018
    Tumor-initiating cells establish an IL-33-TGF-β niche signaling loop to promote cancer progression. Taniguchi Sachiko,Elhance Ajit,Van Duzer Avery,Kumar Sushil,Leitenberger Justin J,Oshimori Naoki Science (New York, N.Y.) Targeting the cross-talk between tumor-initiating cells (TICs) and the niche microenvironment is an attractive avenue for cancer therapy. We show here, using a mouse model of squamous cell carcinoma, that TICs play a crucial role in creating a niche microenvironment that is required for tumor progression and drug resistance. Antioxidant activity in TICs, mediated by the transcription factor NRF2, facilitates the release of a nuclear cytokine, interleukin-33 (IL-33). This cytokine promotes differentiation of macrophages that express the high-affinity immunoglobulin E receptor FcεRIα and are in close proximity to TICs. In turn, these IL-33-responding FcεRIα macrophages send paracrine transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signals to TICs, inducing invasive and drug-resistant properties and further upregulating IL-33 expression. This TIC-driven, IL-33-TGF-β feedforward loop could potentially be exploited for cancer treatment. 10.1126/science.aay1813
    Activation of NRF2 ameliorates oxidative stress and cystogenesis in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Science translational medicine Oxidative stress is emerging as a crucial contributor to the pathogenesis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), but the molecular mechanisms underlying the disturbed redox homeostasis in cystic cells remain elusive. Here, we identified the impaired activity of the NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) antioxidant pathway as a driver of oxidative damage and ADPKD progression. Using a quantitative proteomic approach, together with biochemical analyses, we found that increased degradation of NRF2 protein suppressed the NRF2 antioxidant pathway in ADPKD mouse kidneys. In a cohort of patients with ADPKD, reactive oxygen species (ROS) frequently accumulated, and their production correlated negatively with NRF2 abundance and positively with disease severity. In an orthologous ADPKD mouse model, genetic deletion of further increased ROS generation and promoted cyst growth, whereas pharmacological induction of NRF2 reduced ROS production and slowed cystogenesis and disease progression. Mechanistically, pharmacological induction of NRF2 remodeled enhancer landscapes and activated NRF2-bound enhancer-associated genes in ADPKD cells. The activation domain of NRF2 formed phase-separated condensates with MEDIATOR complex subunit MED16 in vitro, and optimal Mediator recruitment to genomic loci depended on NRF2 in vivo. Together, these findings indicate that NRF2 remodels enhancer landscapes and activates its target genes through a phase separation mechanism and that activation of NRF2 represents a promising strategy for restoring redox homeostasis and combatting ADPKD. 10.1126/scitranslmed.aba3613
    PKCλ/ι Loss Induces Metabolic Reprogramming in Liver Cancer: Hitting Two Birds with One Stone? Ramadori Pierluigi,Li Xin,Heikenwalder Mathias Cancer cell In this issue of Cancer Cell, Kudo et al. identify a novel tumor suppressor role for PKCλ/ι in hepatocellular carcinoma. Loss of PKCλ/ι in obesity-driven liver cancer results in cellular metabolic reprogramming that induces two reciprocally sustainable processes, oxidative phosphorylation and autophagy, which promote liver-tumor aggressiveness in an NRF2-dependent manner. 10.1016/j.ccell.2020.07.003
    Environmental pollutants and the immune response. Suzuki Takafumi,Hidaka Takanori,Kumagai Yoshito,Yamamoto Masayuki Nature immunology Environmental pollution is one of the most serious challenges to health in the modern world. Pollutants alter immune responses and can provoke immunotoxicity. In this Review, we summarize the major environmental pollutants that are attracting wide-ranging concern and the molecular basis underlying their effects on the immune system. Xenobiotic receptors, including the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), sense and respond to a subset of environmental pollutants by activating the expression of detoxification enzymes to protect the body. However, chronic activation of the AHR leads to immunotoxicity. KEAP1-NRF2 is another important system that protects the body against environmental pollutants. KEAP1 is a sensor protein that detects environmental pollutants, leading to activation of the transcription factor NRF2. NRF2 protects the body from immunotoxicity by inducing the expression of genes involved in detoxification, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Intervening in these sensor-response systems could protect the body from the devastating immunotoxicity that can be induced by environmental pollutants. 10.1038/s41590-020-0802-6
    Klotho Deficiency Causes Heart Aging via Impairing the Nrf2-GR Pathway. Chen Kai,Wang Shirley,Sun Qiwei Wilton,Zhang Bo,Ullah Mujib,Sun Zhongjie Circulation research RATIONALE:Cardiac aging is an important contributing factor for heart failure, which affects a large population but remains poorly understood. OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study is to investigate whether Klotho plays a role in cardiac aging. METHODS AND RESULTS:Heart function declined in old mice (24 months), as evidenced by decreases in fractional shortening, ejection fraction, and cardiac output. Heart size and weight, cardiomyocyte size, and cardiac fibrosis were increased in old mice, indicating that aging causes cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling. Circulating Klotho levels were dramatically decreased in old mice, which prompted us to investigate whether the Klotho decline may cause heart aging. We found that gene mutation (KL-/-) largely decreased serum klotho levels and impaired heart function. Interestingly, supplement of exogenous secreted Klotho prevented heart failure, hypertrophy, and remodeling in both old mice and KL (-/-) mice. Secreted Klotho treatment inhibited excessive cardiac oxidative stress, senescence and apoptosis in old mice and KL (-/-) mice. Serum phosphate levels in KL (-/-) mice were kept in the normal range, suggesting that Klotho deficiency-induced heart aging is independent of phosphate metabolism. Mechanistically, Klotho deficiency suppressed GR (glutathione reductase) expression and activity in the heart via inhibition of transcription factor Nrf2 (nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2). Furthermore, cardiac-specific overexpression of GR prevented excessive oxidative stress, apoptosis, and heart failure in both old and KL (-/-) mice. CONCLUSIONS:Klotho deficiency causes cardiac aging via impairing the Nrf2-GR pathway. Supplement of exogenous secreted Klotho represents a promising therapeutic strategy for aging-associated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317348
    Redox regulation of immunometabolism. Muri Jonathan,Kopf Manfred Nature reviews. Immunology Metabolic pathways and redox reactions are at the core of life. In the past decade(s), numerous discoveries have shed light on how metabolic pathways determine the cellular fate and function of lymphoid and myeloid cells, giving rise to an area of research referred to as immunometabolism. Upon activation, however, immune cells not only engage specific metabolic pathways but also rearrange their oxidation-reduction (redox) system, which in turn supports metabolic reprogramming. In fact, studies addressing the redox metabolism of immune cells are an emerging field in immunology. Here, we summarize recent insights revealing the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the differential requirement of the main cellular antioxidant pathways, including the components of the thioredoxin (TRX) and glutathione (GSH) pathways, as well as their transcriptional regulator NF-E2-related factor 2 (NRF2), for proliferation, survival and function of T cells, B cells and macrophages. 10.1038/s41577-020-00478-8
    Hepatocyte-specific NRF2 activation controls fibrogenesis and carcinogenesis in steatohepatitis. Mohs Antje,Otto Tobias,Schneider Kai Markus,Peltzer Mona,Boekschoten Mark,Holland Christian H,Hudert Christian A,Kalveram Laura,Wiegand Susanna,Saez-Rodriguez Julio,Longerich Thomas,Hengstler Jan G,Trautwein Christian Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:In chronic liver diseases, inflammation induces oxidative stress and thus may contribute to the progression of liver injury, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. The KEAP1/NRF2 axis is a major regulator of cellular redox balance. In the present study, we investigated whether the KEAP1/NRF2 system is involved in liver disease progression in humans and mice. METHODS:The clinical relevance of oxidative stress was investigated by liver RNA sequencing in a well-characterized cohort of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (n = 63) and correlated with histological and clinical parameters. For functional analysis, hepatocyte-specific Nemo knockout (NEMO) mice were crossed with hepatocyte-specific Keap1 knockout (KEAP1) mice. RESULTS:Immunohistochemical analysis of human liver sections showed increased oxidative stress and high NRF2 expression in patients with chronic liver disease. RNA sequencing of liver samples in a human pediatric NAFLD cohort revealed a significant increase of NRF2 activation correlating with the grade of inflammation, but not with the grade of steatosis, which could be confirmed in a second adult NASH cohort. In mice, microarray analysis revealed that Keap1 deletion induces NRF2 target genes involved in glutathione metabolism and xenobiotic stress (e.g., Nqo1). Furthermore, deficiency of one of the most important antioxidants, glutathione (GSH), in NEMO livers was rescued after deleting Keap1. As a consequence, NEMO/KEAP1 livers showed reduced apoptosis compared to NEMO livers as well as a dramatic downregulation of genes involved in cell cycle regulation and DNA replication. Consequently, NEMO/KEAP1 compared to NEMO livers displayed decreased fibrogenesis, lower tumor incidence, reduced tumor number, and decreased tumor size. CONCLUSIONS:NRF2 activation in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis correlates with the grade of inflammation, but not steatosis. Functional analysis in mice demonstrated that NRF2 activation in chronic liver disease is protective by ameliorating fibrogenesis, initiation and progression of hepatocellular carcinogenesis. LAY SUMMARY:The KEAP1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1)/NRF2 (erythroid 2-related factor 2) axis has a major role in regulating cellular redox balance. Herein, we show that NRF2 activity correlates with the grade of inflammation in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Functional studies in mice actually show that NRF2 activation, resulting from KEAP1 deletion, protects against fibrosis and cancer. 10.1016/j.jhep.2020.09.037
    Interleukin-20 exacerbates acute hepatitis and bacterial infection by downregulating IκBζ target genes in hepatocytes. He Yong,Feng Dechun,Hwang Seonghwan,Mackowiak Bryan,Wang Xiaolin,Xiang Xiaogang,Rodrigues Robim M,Fu Yaojie,Ma Jing,Ren Tianyi,Ait-Ahmed Yeni,Xu Mingjiang,Liangpunsakul Suthat,Gao Bin Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Interleukin (IL)-20 and IL-22 belong to the IL-10 family. IL-10 is a well-documented anti-inflammatory cytokine while IL-22 is well known for epithelial protection and its antibacterial function, showing great therapeutic potential for organ damage; however, the function of IL-20 remains largely unknown. METHODS:Il20 knockout (Il20) mice and wild-type littermates were generated and injected with Concanavalin A (ConA) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (K.P.) to induce acute hepatitis and bacterial infection, respectively. RESULTS:Il20 mice were resistant to acute hepatitis and exhibited selectively elevated levels of the hepatoprotective cytokine IL-6. Such selective inhibition of IL-6 by IL-20 was due to IL-20 targeting hepatocytes that produce high levels of IL-6 but a limited number of other cytokines. Mechanistically, IL-20 upregulated NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) expression and subsequently promoted the protein degradation of transcription factor IκBζ, resulting in selective downregulation of the IκBζ-dependent gene Il6 as well several other IκBζ-dependent genes including lipocalin-2 (Lcn2). Given the important role of IL-6 and LCN2 in limiting bacterial infection, we examined the effect of IL-20 on bacterial infection and found Il20 mice were resistant to K.P. infection and exhibited elevated levels of hepatic IκBζ-dependent antibacterial genes. Moreover, IL-20 upregulated hepatic NQO1 by binding to IL-22R1/IL-20R2 and activating ERK/p38MAPK/NRF2 signaling pathways. Finally, the levels of hepatic IL1B, IL20, and IκBζ target genes were elevated, and correlated with each other, in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis. CONCLUSIONS:IL-20 selectively inhibits hepatic IL-6 production rather than exerting IL-10-like broad anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike IL-22, IL-20 aggravates acute hepatitis and bacterial infection. Thus, anti-IL-20 therapy could be a promising option to control acute hepatitis and bacterial infection. LAY SUMMARY:Several interleukin (IL)-20 family cytokines have been shown to play important roles in controllimg inflammatory responses, infection and tissue damage, but the role of IL-20 remains unclear. Herein, we elucidated the role of IL-20 in liver disease and bacterial infection. We show that IL-20 can aggravate hepatitis and bacterial infection; thus, targeting IL-20 holds promise for the treatment of patients with liver disease. 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.02.004
    Characterizing the molecular regulation of inhibitory immune checkpoints with multimodal single-cell screens. Papalexi Efthymia,Mimitou Eleni P,Butler Andrew W,Foster Samantha,Bracken Bernadette,Mauck William M,Wessels Hans-Hermann,Hao Yuhan,Yeung Bertrand Z,Smibert Peter,Satija Rahul Nature genetics The expression of inhibitory immune checkpoint molecules, such as programmed death-ligand (PD-L)1, is frequently observed in human cancers and can lead to the suppression of T cell-mediated immune responses. Here, we apply expanded CRISPR-compatible (EC)CITE-seq, a technology that combines pooled CRISPR screens with single-cell mRNA and surface protein measurements, to explore the molecular networks that regulate PD-L1 expression. We also develop a computational framework, mixscape, that substantially improves the signal-to-noise ratio in single-cell perturbation screens by identifying and removing confounding sources of variation. Applying these tools, we identify and validate regulators of PD-L1 and leverage our multimodal data to identify both transcriptional and post-transcriptional modes of regulation. Specifically, we discover that the Kelch-like protein KEAP1 and the transcriptional activator NRF2 mediate the upregulation of PD-L1 after interferon (IFN)-γ stimulation. Our results identify a new mechanism for the regulation of immune checkpoints and present a powerful analytical framework for the analysis of multimodal single-cell perturbation screens. 10.1038/s41588-021-00778-2
    Cancer cells escape autophagy inhibition via NRF2-induced macropinocytosis. Cancer cell Many cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), depend on autophagy-mediated scavenging and recycling of intracellular macromolecules, suggesting that autophagy blockade should cause tumor starvation and regression. However, until now autophagy-inhibiting monotherapies have not demonstrated potent anti-cancer activity. We now show that autophagy blockade prompts established PDAC to upregulate and utilize an alternative nutrient procurement pathway: macropinocytosis (MP) that allows tumor cells to extract nutrients from extracellular sources and use them for energy generation. The autophagy to MP switch, which may be evolutionarily conserved and not cancer cell restricted, depends on activation of transcription factor NRF2 by the autophagy adaptor p62/SQSTM1. NRF2 activation by oncogenic mutations, hypoxia, and oxidative stress also results in MP upregulation. Inhibition of MP in autophagy-compromised PDAC elicits dramatic metabolic decline and regression of transplanted and autochthonous tumors, suggesting the therapeutic promise of combining autophagy and MP inhibitors in the clinic. 10.1016/j.ccell.2021.02.016
    Autophagy-Deficient Pancreatic Cancer Cells Depend on Macropinocytosis. Cancer discovery Blocking autophagy in cancer cells triggered transcription factor NRF2 to induce macropinocytosis. 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-RW2021-045
    Metabolic flexibility determines human NK cell functional fate in the tumor microenvironment. Poznanski Sophie M,Singh Kanwaldeep,Ritchie Tyrah M,Aguiar Jennifer A,Fan Isabella Y,Portillo Ana L,Rojas Eduardo A,Vahedi Fatemeh,El-Sayes Abdullah,Xing Sansi,Butcher Martin,Lu Yu,Doxey Andrew C,Schertzer Jonathan D,Hirte Hal W,Ashkar Ali A Cell metabolism NK cells are central to anti-tumor immunity and recently showed efficacy for treating hematologic malignancies. However, their dysfunction in the hostile tumor microenvironment remains a pivotal barrier for cancer immunotherapies against solid tumors. Using cancer patient samples and proteomics, we found that human NK cell dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment is due to suppression of glucose metabolism via lipid peroxidation-associated oxidative stress. Activation of the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway restored NK cell metabolism and function and resulted in greater anti-tumor activity in vivo. Strikingly, expanded NK cells reprogrammed with complete metabolic substrate flexibility not only sustained metabolic fitness but paradoxically augmented their tumor killing in the tumor microenvironment and in response to nutrient deprivation. Our results uncover that metabolic flexibility enables a cytotoxic immune cell to exploit the metabolic hostility of tumors for their advantage, addressing a critical hurdle for cancer immunotherapy. 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.03.023
    Heme catabolism by tumor-associated macrophages controls metastasis formation. Consonni Francesca Maria,Bleve Augusto,Totaro Maria Grazia,Storto Mariangela,Kunderfranco Paolo,Termanini Alberto,Pasqualini Fabio,Alì Chiara,Pandolfo Chiara,Sgambelluri Francesco,Grazia Giulia,Santinami Mario,Maurichi Andrea,Milione Massimo,Erreni Marco,Doni Andrea,Fabbri Marco,Gribaldo Laura,Rulli Eliana,Soares Miguel Parreira,Torri Valter,Mortarini Roberta,Anichini Andrea,Sica Antonio Nature immunology Although the pathological significance of tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) heterogeneity is still poorly understood, TAM reprogramming is viewed as a promising anticancer therapy. Here we show that a distinct subset of TAMs (F4/80CD115C3aRCD88), endowed with high rates of heme catabolism by the stress-responsive enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), plays a critical role in shaping a prometastatic tumor microenvironment favoring immunosuppression, angiogenesis and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. This population originates from F4/80HO-1 bone marrow (BM) precursors, accumulates in the blood of tumor bearers and preferentially localizes at the invasive margin through a mechanism dependent on the activation of Nrf2 and coordinated by the NF-κB1-CSF1R-C3aR axis. Inhibition of F4/80HO-1 TAM recruitment or myeloid-specific deletion of HO-1 blocks metastasis formation and improves anticancer immunotherapy. Relative expression of HO-1 in peripheral monocyte subsets, as well as in tumor lesions, discriminates survival among metastatic melanoma patients. Overall, these results identify a distinct cancer-induced HO-1 myeloid subgroup as a new antimetastatic target and prognostic blood marker. 10.1038/s41590-021-00921-5
    NRF2 activates macropinocytosis upon autophagy inhibition. Mondal Gourish,Debnath Jayanta Cancer cell Su et al. demonstrate that upon inhibiting autophagy, an intracellular nutrient recycling pathway, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells upregulate NRF2-mediated transcription of macropinocytosis pathway components, thereby triggering an alternate route for tumors to scavenge nutrients from extracellular sources. Accordingly, the combined inhibition of autophagy and macropinocytosis may improve cancer treatment. 10.1016/j.ccell.2021.03.011
    Signals of pseudo-starvation unveil the amino acid transporter SLC7A11 as key determinant in the control of Treg cell proliferative potential. Procaccini Claudio,Garavelli Silvia,Carbone Fortunata,Di Silvestre Dario,La Rocca Claudia,Greco Dario,Colamatteo Alessandra,Lepore Maria Teresa,Russo Claudia,De Rosa Giusy,Faicchia Deriggio,Prattichizzo Francesco,Grossi Sarah,Campomenosi Paola,Buttari Fabio,Mauri Pierluigi,Uccelli Antonio,Salvetti Marco,Brescia Morra Vincenzo,Vella Danila,Galgani Mario,Mottola Maria,Zuccarelli Bruno,Lanzillo Roberta,Maniscalco Giorgia Teresa,Centonze Diego,de Candia Paola,Matarese Giuseppe Immunity Human CD4CD25FOXP3 regulatory T (Treg) cells are key players in the control of immunological self-tolerance and homeostasis. Here, we report that signals of pseudo-starvation reversed human Treg cell in vitro anergy through an integrated transcriptional response, pertaining to proliferation, metabolism, and transmembrane solute carrier transport. At the molecular level, the Treg cell proliferative response was dependent on the induction of the cystine/glutamate antiporter solute carrier (SLC)7A11, whose expression was controlled by the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2). SLC7A11 induction in Treg cells was impaired in subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), an autoimmune disorder associated with reduced Treg cell proliferative capacity. Treatment of RRMS subjects with dimethyl fumarate (DMF) rescued SLC7A11 induction and fully recovered Treg cell expansion. These results suggest a previously unrecognized mechanism that may account for the progressive loss of Treg cells in autoimmunity and unveil SLC7A11 as major target for the rescue of Treg cell proliferation. 10.1016/j.immuni.2021.04.014
    Aldo-Keto Reductases and Cancer Drug Resistance. Penning Trevor M,Jonnalagadda Sravan,Trippier Paul C,Rižner Tea Lanišnik Pharmacological reviews Human aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) catalyze the NADPH-dependent reduction of carbonyl groups to alcohols for conjugation reactions to proceed. They are implicated in resistance to cancer chemotherapeutic agents either because they are directly involved in their metabolism or help eradicate the cellular stress created by these agents (e.g., reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxides). Furthermore, this cellular stress activates the Nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (NRF2)-Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 pathway. As many human genes are upregulated by the NRF2 transcription factor, this leads to a feed-forward mechanism to enhance drug resistance. Resistance to major classes of chemotherapeutic agents (anthracyclines, mitomycin, platin, antitubulin agents, vinca alkaloids, and cyclophosphamide) occurs by this mechanism. Human AKRs also catalyze the synthesis of androgens and estrogens and the elimination of progestogens and are involved in hormonal-dependent malignancies. They are upregulated by antihormonal therapy providing a second mechanism for cancer drug resistance. Inhibitors of the NRF2 system or pan-AKR1C inhibitors offer promise to surmount cancer drug resistance and/or synergize the effects of existing drugs. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Aldo-keto  reductases (AKRs) are overexpressed in a large number of human tumors and mediate resistance to cancer chemotherapeutics and antihormonal therapies. Existing drugs and new agents in development may surmount this resistance by acting as specific AKR isoforms or AKR pan-inhibitors to improve clinical outcome. 10.1124/pharmrev.120.000122
    Hepatic miR-144 Drives Fumarase Activity Preventing NRF2 Activation During Obesity. Gastroenterology BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of metabolic complications associated with obesity, including insulin resistance and the most common chronic liver disease worldwide, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. We have recently discovered that the microRNA miR-144 regulates protein levels of the master mediator of the antioxidant response, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2). On miR-144 silencing, the expression of NRF2 target genes was significantly upregulated, suggesting that miR-144 controls NRF2 at the level of both protein expression and activity. Here we explored a mechanism whereby hepatic miR-144 inhibited NRF2 activity upon obesity via the regulation of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) metabolite, fumarate, a potent activator of NRF2. METHODS:We performed transcriptomic analysis in liver macrophages (LMs) of obese mice and identified the immuno-responsive gene 1 (Irg1) as a target of miR-144. IRG1 catalyzes the production of a TCA derivative, itaconate, an inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH). TCA enzyme activities and kinetics were analyzed after miR-144 silencing in obese mice and human liver organoids using single-cell activity assays in situ and molecular dynamic simulations. RESULTS:Increased levels of miR-144 in obesity were associated with reduced expression of Irg1, which was restored on miR-144 silencing in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, miR-144 overexpression reduces Irg1 expression and the production of itaconate in vitro. In alignment with the reduction in IRG1 levels and itaconate production, we observed an upregulation of SDH activity during obesity. Surprisingly, however, fumarate hydratase (FH) activity was also upregulated in obese livers, leading to the depletion of its substrate fumarate. miR-144 silencing selectively reduced the activities of both SDH and FH resulting in the accumulation of their related substrates succinate and fumarate. Moreover, molecular dynamics analyses revealed the potential role of itaconate as a competitive inhibitor of not only SDH but also FH. Combined, these results demonstrate that silencing of miR-144 inhibits the activity of NRF2 through decreased fumarate production in obesity. CONCLUSIONS:Herein we unravel a novel mechanism whereby miR-144 inhibits NRF2 activity through the consumption of fumarate by activation of FH. Our study demonstrates that hepatic miR-144 triggers a hyperactive FH in the TCA cycle leading to an impaired antioxidant response in obesity. 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.08.030
    Extracellular vesicles derived from melatonin-preconditioned mesenchymal stem cells containing USP29 repair traumatic spinal cord injury by stabilizing NRF2. Journal of pineal research Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating trauma that leads to irreversible motor and sensory dysfunction and is, so far, without effective treatment. Recently, however, nano-sized extracellular vesicles derived from preconditioned mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown great promise in treating various diseases, including SCI. In this study, we investigated whether extracellular vesicles (MEVs) derived from MSCs pretreated with melatonin (MT), which is well recognized to be useful in treating diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, non-small cell lung cancer, acute ischemia-reperfusion liver injury, chronic kidney disease, and SCI, are better able to promote functional recovery in mice after SCI than extracellular vesicles derived from MSCs without preconditioning (EVs). MEVs were found to facilitate motor behavioral recovery more than EVs and to increase microglia/macrophages polarization from M1-like to M2-like in mice. Experiments in BV2 microglia and RAW264.7 macrophages confirmed that MEVs facilitate M2-like polarization and also showed that they reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and regulate mitochondrial function. Proteomics analysis revealed that ubiquitin-specific protease 29 (USP29) was markedly increased in MEVs, and knockdown of USP29 in MEVs (shUSP29-MEVs) abolished MEVs-mediated benefits in vitro and in vivo. We then showed that USP29 interacts with, deubiquitinates and therefore stabilizes nuclear factor-like 2 (NRF2), thereby regulating microglia/macrophages polarization. In NRF2 knockout mice, MEVs failed to promote functional recovery and M2-like microglia/macrophages polarization. We also showed that MT reduced global N6-methyladenosine (m A) modification and levels of the m A "writer" methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3). The stability of USP29 mRNA in MSCs was enhanced by treatment with MT, but inhibited by overexpression of METTL3. This study describes a very promising extracellular vesicle-based approach for treating SCI. 10.1111/jpi.12769
    Hepatocytic p62 suppresses ductular reaction and tumorigenesis in mouse livers with mTORC1 activation and defective autophagy. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Either activation of mTORC1 due to loss of Tsc1 (tuberous sclerosis complex 1) or defective hepatic autophagy due to loss of Atg5 leads to spontaneous liver tumorigenesis in mice. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which autophagy contributes to the hepatic metabolic changes and tumorigenesis mediated by mTORC1 activation. METHODS:Atg5 Flox/Flox (Atg5) and Tsc1 mice were crossed with albumin-Cre mice to generate liver-specific Atg5 knockout (L-Atg5 KO), L-Tsc1 KO and L-Atg5/Tsc1 double KO (DKO) mice. These mice were crossed with p62/Sqstm1 (p62) and whole body Nrf2 KO mice to generate L-Atg5/Tsc1/p62 and L-Atg5/Tsc1-Nrf2 triple KO mice. These mice were housed for various periods up to 12 months, and blood and liver tissues were harvested for biochemical and histological analysis RESULTS: Deletion of Atg5 in L-Tsc1 KO mice inhibited liver tumorigenesis but increased mortality and was accompanied by drastically enhanced hepatic ductular reaction (DR), hepatocyte degeneration and metabolic reprogramming. Deletion of p62 reversed DR, hepatocyte degeneration and metabolic reprogramming as well as the mortality of L-Atg5/Tsc1 DKO mice, but unexpectedly promoted liver tumorigenesis via activation of a group of oncogenic signaling pathways. Nrf2 ablation markedly improved DR with increased hepatocyte population and improved metabolic reprogramming and survival of the L-Atg5/Tsc1 DKO mice without tumor formation. Decreased p62 and increased mTOR activity were also observed in a subset of human hepatocellular carcinomas. CONCLUSIONS:These results reveal previously undescribed functions of hepatic p62 in suppressing tumorigenesis and regulating liver cell repopulation and metabolic reprogramming resulting from persistent mTORC1 activation and defective autophagy. LAY SUMMARY:Metabolic liver disease and viral hepatitis are common chronic liver diseases and risk factors of hepatocellular carcinoma, which are often associated with impaired hepatic autophagy and increased mTOR activation. Using multiple genetically engineered mouse models of defective hepatic autophagy and persistent mTOR activation, we dissected the complex mechanisms behind this observation. Our results uncovered an unexpected novel tumor suppressor function of p62/Sqstm1, which regulated liver cell repopulation, ductular reaction and metabolic reprogramming in liver tumorigenesis. 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.10.014
    Inhibition of p53 Sulfoconjugation Prevents Oxidative Hepatotoxicity and Acute Liver Failure. Gastroenterology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Sulfoconjugation of small molecules or protein peptides is a key mechanism to ensure biochemical and functional homeostasis in mammals. The PAPS synthase 2 (PAPSS2) is the primary enzyme to synthesize the universal sulfonate donor 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS). Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure (ALF), in which oxidative stress is a key pathogenic event, whereas sulfation of APAP contributes to its detoxification. The goal of this study was to determine whether and how PAPSS2 plays a role in APAP-induced ALF. METHODS:Gene expression was analyzed in APAP-induced ALF in patients and mice. Liver-specific Papss2-knockout mice using Alb-Cre (Papss2) or AAV8-TBG-Cre (Papss2) were created and subjected to APAP-induced ALF. Primary human and mouse hepatocytes were used for in vitro mechanistic analysis. RESULTS:The hepatic expression of PAPSS2 was decreased in APAP-induced ALF in patients and mice. Surprisingly, Papss2 mice were protected from APAP-induced hepatotoxicity despite having a decreased APAP sulfation, which was accompanied by increased hepatic antioxidative capacity through the activation of the p53-p2-Nrf2 axis. Treatment with a sulfation inhibitor also ameliorated APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Gene knockdown experiments showed that the hepatoprotective effect of Papss2 was Nrf2, p53, and p21 dependent. Mechanistically, we identified p53 as a novel substrate of sulfation. Papss2 ablation led to p53 protein accumulation by preventing p53 sulfation, which disrupts p53-MDM2 interaction and p53 ubiquitination and increases p53 protein stability. CONCLUSIONS:We have uncovered a previously unrecognized and p53-mediated role of PAPSS2 in controlling oxidative response. Inhibition of p53 sulfation may be explored for the clinical management of APAP overdose. 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.12.260