Autophagy is required for the homeostasis of cellular material and is proposed to be involved in many aspects of health. Defects in the autophagy pathway have been observed in neurodegenerative disorders; however, no genetically-inherited pathogenic mutations in any of the core autophagy-related (ATG) genes have been reported in human patients to date. We identified a homozygous missense mutation, changing a conserved amino acid, in ATG5 in two siblings with congenital ataxia, mental retardation, and developmental delay. The subjects' cells display a decrease in autophagy flux and defects in conjugation of ATG12 to ATG5. The homologous mutation in yeast demonstrates a 30-50% reduction of induced autophagy. Flies in which Atg5 is substituted with the mutant human ATG5 exhibit severe movement disorder, in contrast to flies expressing the wild-type human protein. Our results demonstrate the critical role of autophagy in preventing neurological diseases and maintaining neuronal health.
Human subjects: Study protocols including written informed consents have been approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board and the Boğaziçi University Institutional Review Board for Research with Human Participants.
- Noboru Mizushima, The University of Tokyo, Japan
© 2016, Kim et al.
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Plasmids enable the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in common Enterobacterales pathogens, representing a major public health challenge. However, the extent of plasmid sharing and evolution between Enterobacterales causing human infections and other niches remains unclear, including the emergence of resistance plasmids. Dense, unselected sampling is essential to developing our understanding of plasmid epidemiology and designing appropriate interventions to limit the emergence and dissemination of plasmid-associated AMR. We established a geographically and temporally restricted collection of human bloodstream infection (BSI)-associated, livestock-associated (cattle, pig, poultry, and sheep faeces, farm soils) and wastewater treatment work (WwTW)-associated (influent, effluent, waterways upstream/downstream of effluent outlets) Enterobacterales. Isolates were collected between 2008 and 2020 from sites <60 km apart in Oxfordshire, UK. Pangenome analysis of plasmid clusters revealed shared ‘backbones’, with phylogenies suggesting an intertwined ecology where well-conserved plasmid backbones carry diverse accessory functions, including AMR genes. Many plasmid ‘backbones’ were seen across species and niches, raising the possibility that plasmid movement between these followed by rapid accessory gene change could be relatively common. Overall, the signature of identical plasmid sharing is likely to be a highly transient one, implying that plasmid movement might be occurring at greater rates than previously estimated, raising a challenge for future genomic One Health studies.
In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, gustatory sensory neurons express taste receptors that are tuned to distinct groups of chemicals, thereby activating neural ensembles that elicit either feeding or avoidance behavior. Members of a family of ligand -gated receptor channels, the Gustatory receptors (Grs), play a central role in these behaviors. In general, closely related, evolutionarily conserved Gr proteins are co-expressed in the same type of taste neurons, tuned to chemically related compounds, and therefore triggering the same behavioral response. Here, we report that members of the Gr28 subfamily are expressed in largely non-overlapping sets of taste neurons in Drosophila larvae, detect chemicals of different valence, and trigger opposing feeding behaviors. We determined the intrinsic properties of Gr28 neurons by expressing the mammalian Vanilloid Receptor 1 (VR1), which is activated by capsaicin, a chemical to which wild-type Drosophila larvae do not respond. When VR1 is expressed in Gr28a neurons, larvae become attracted to capsaicin, consistent with reports showing that Gr28a itself encodes a receptor for nutritious RNA. In contrast, expression of VR1 in two pairs of Gr28b.c neurons triggers avoidance to capsaicin. Moreover, neuronal inactivation experiments show that the Gr28b.c neurons are necessary for avoidance of several bitter compounds. Lastly, behavioral experiments of Gr28 deficient larvae and live Ca2+ imaging studies of Gr28b.c neurons revealed that denatonium benzoate, a synthetic bitter compound that shares structural similarities with natural bitter chemicals, is a ligand for a receptor complex containing a Gr28b.c or Gr28b.a subunit. Thus, the Gr28 proteins, which have been evolutionarily conserved over 260 million years in insects, represent the first taste receptor subfamily in which specific members mediate behavior with opposite valence.