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Autophagy in Health, Aging and Disease 4.0

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 3225

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy
Interests: visual system; retinal degeneration; neuroprotection; electrophysiology; macular degeneration
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved intracellular catabolic process. It has an essential role in cellular homeostasis, facilitating lysosomal degradation and the recycling of harmful and damaged cytoplasmic components. Autophagy was first discovered as a survival mechanism in yeasts subjected to nutrient deprivation, and since then, studies in several different organisms have established its critical roles in a variety of biological processes ranging from development to aging. Interestingly, autophagy is often found perturbed in age-related disorders such as cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and sarcopenia. Accordingly, autophagy is important for the maintenance of organismal health, which prominently declines with aging.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, “Autophagy in Health, Aging and Disease 4.0”, will include a selection of original articles and reviews aimed at expanding our understanding of this multifaceted process and providing support for further investigations on the role of autophagy in cellular homeostasis, aging, and disease. In particular, it will contribute to better explaining the complex machinery of autophagy and lead to further investigations on physiological and pathological fields in which the study of this process is still in its infancy. Moreover, studies on the role of autophagy in age-related processes to open new avenues for the development of novel potential anti-aging therapeutic approaches are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Mirko Pesce
Prof. Dr. Antonia Patruno
Dr. Maccarone Rita
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • autophagy
  • aging
  • aging diseases
  • cell survival
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress
  • signaling pathway
  • target identification

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 6873 KiB  
Article
Cisplatin Nephrotoxicity Is Critically Mediated by the Availability of BECLIN1
by Tillmann Bork, Camila Hernando-Erhard, Wei Liang, Zhejia Tian, Kosuke Yamahara and Tobias B. Huber
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(5), 2560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25052560 - 22 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Cisplatin nephrotoxicity is a critical limitation of solid cancer treatment. Until now, the complex interplay of various pathophysiological mechanisms leading to proximal tubular cell apoptosis after cisplatin exposure has not been fully understood. In our study, we assessed the role of the autophagy-related [...] Read more.
Cisplatin nephrotoxicity is a critical limitation of solid cancer treatment. Until now, the complex interplay of various pathophysiological mechanisms leading to proximal tubular cell apoptosis after cisplatin exposure has not been fully understood. In our study, we assessed the role of the autophagy-related protein BECLIN1 (ATG6) in cisplatin-induced acute renal injury (AKI)—a candidate protein involved in autophagy and with putative impact on apoptosis by harboring a B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) interaction site of unknown significance. By using mice with heterozygous deletion of Becn1, we demonstrate that reduced intracellular content of BECLIN1 does not impact renal function or autophagy within 12 months. However, these mice were significantly sensitized towards cisplatin-induced AKI, and by using Becn1+/−;Sglt2-Cre;Tomato/EGFP mice with subsequent primary cell analysis, we confirmed that nephrotoxicity depends on proximal tubular BECLIN1 content. Mechanistically, BECLIN1 did not impact autophagy or primarily the apoptotic pathway. In fact, a lack of BECLIN1 sensitized mice towards cisplatin-induced ER stress. Accordingly, the ER stress inhibitor tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) blunted cisplatin-induced cell death in Becn1 heterozygosity. In conclusion, our data first highlight a novel role of BECLIN1 in protecting against cellular ER stress independent from autophagy. These novel findings open new therapeutic avenues to intervene in this important intracellular stress response pathway with a promising impact on future AKI management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy in Health, Aging and Disease 4.0)
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13 pages, 2497 KiB  
Article
THSD1 Suppresses Autophagy-Mediated Focal Adhesion Turnover by Modulating the FAK-Beclin 1 Pathway
by Zhen Xu, Jiayi Lu, Song Gao and Yan-Ning Rui
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(4), 2139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042139 - 10 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Focal adhesions (FAs) play a crucial role in cell spreading and adhesion, and their autophagic degradation is an emerging area of interest. This study investigates the role of Thrombospondin Type 1 Domain-Containing Protein 1 (THSD1) in regulating autophagy and FA stability in brain [...] Read more.
Focal adhesions (FAs) play a crucial role in cell spreading and adhesion, and their autophagic degradation is an emerging area of interest. This study investigates the role of Thrombospondin Type 1 Domain-Containing Protein 1 (THSD1) in regulating autophagy and FA stability in brain endothelial cells, shedding light on its potential implications for cerebrovascular diseases. Our research reveals a physical interaction between THSD1 and FAs. Depletion of THSD1 significantly reduces FA numbers, impairing cell spreading and adhesion. The loss of THSD1 also induces autophagy independently of changes in mTOR and AMPK activation, implying that THSD1 primarily governs FA dynamics rather than serving as a global regulator of nutrient and energy status. Mechanistically, THSD1 negatively regulates Beclin 1, a central autophagy regulator, at FAs through interactions with focal adhesion kinase (FAK). THSD1 inactivation diminishes FAK activity and relieves its inhibitory phosphorylation on Beclin 1. This, in turn, promotes the complex formation between Beclin 1 and ATG14, a critical event for the activation of the autophagy cascade. In summary, our findings identify THSD1 as a novel regulator of autophagy that degrades FAs in brain endothelial cells. This underscores the distinctive nature of THSD1-mediated, cargo-directed autophagy and its potential relevance to vascular diseases due to the loss of endothelial FAs. Investigating the underlying mechanisms of THSD1-mediated pathways holds promise for discovering novel therapeutic targets in vascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy in Health, Aging and Disease 4.0)
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17 pages, 10681 KiB  
Article
Altered Expression of Autophagy Biomarkers in Hippocampal Neurons in a Multiple Sclerosis Animal Model
by Sabrina Ceccariglia, Diego Sibilia, Ornella Parolini, Fabrizio Michetti and Gabriele Di Sante
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(17), 13225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241713225 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation, demyelination, synaptic alteration, and neuronal loss are hallmarks detectable in MS. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model widely used to study pathogenic aspects of MS. [...] Read more.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation, demyelination, synaptic alteration, and neuronal loss are hallmarks detectable in MS. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model widely used to study pathogenic aspects of MS. Autophagy is a process that maintains cell homeostasis by removing abnormal organelles and damaged proteins and is involved both in protective and detrimental effects that have been seen in a variety of human diseases, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. This study is aimed at investigating the autophagy signaling pathway through the analysis of the main autophagic proteins including Beclin-1, microtubule-associated protein light chain (LC3, autophagosome marker), and p62 also called sequestosome1 (SQSTM1, substrate of autophagy-mediated degradation) in the hippocampus of EAE-affected mice. The expression levels of Beclin-1, LC3, and p62 and the Akt/mTOR pathway were examined by Western blot experiments. In EAE mice, compared to control animals, significant reductions of expression levels were detectable for Beclin-1 and LC3 II (indicating the reduction of autophagosomes), and p62 (suggesting that autophagic flux increased). In parallel, molecular analysis detected the deregulation of the Akt/mTOR signaling. Immunofluorescence double-labeling images showed co-localization of NeuN (neuronal nuclear marker) and Beclin-1, LC3, and p62 throughout the CA1 and CA3 hippocampal subfields. Taken together, these data demonstrate that activation of autophagy occurs in the neurons of the hippocampus in this experimental model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy in Health, Aging and Disease 4.0)
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