Autophagosomes are double-membrane intracellular vesicles that degrade protein aggregates, intracellular organelles, and other cellular components. During the development of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, many somatic and germ cells undergo apoptosis. These cells are engulfed and degraded by their neighboring cells. We discovered a novel role of autophagosomes in facilitating the degradation of apoptotic cells using a real-time imaging technique. Specifically, the double-membrane autophagosomes in engulfing cells are recruited to the surfaces of phagosomes containing apoptotic cells and subsequently fuse to phagosomes, allowing the inner vesicle to enter the phagosomal lumen. Mutants defective in the production of autophagosomes display significant defects in the degradation of apoptotic cells, demonstrating the importance of autophagosomes to this process. The signaling pathway led by the phagocytic receptor CED-1, the adaptor protein CED-6, and the large GTPase dynamin (DYN-1) promotes the recruitment of autophagosomes to phagosomes. Moreover, the subsequent fusion of autophagosomes with phagosomes requires the functions of the small GTPase RAB-7 and the HOPS complex components. Further observations suggest that autophagosomes provide apoptotic cell-degradation activities in addition to and in parallel of lysosomes. Our findings reveal that, unlike the single-membrane, LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP) vesicles reported for mammalian phagocytes, the canonical double-membrane autophagosomes facilitate the clearance of C. elegans apoptotic cells. These findings add autophagosomes to the collection of intracellular organelles that contribute to phagosome maturation, identify novel crosstalk between the autophagy and phagosome maturation pathways, and discover the upstream signaling molecules that initiate this crosstalk.
We provide the numerical data for the figures: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 , and S6
- Zheng Zhou
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Shai Shaham, The Rockefeller University, United States
© 2022, Peña-Ramos et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Age-dependent loss of body wall muscle function and impaired locomotion occur within 2 weeks in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans); however, the underlying mechanism has not been fully elucidated. In humans, age-dependent loss of muscle function occurs at about 80 years of age and has been linked to dysfunction of ryanodine receptor (RyR)/intracellular calcium (Ca2+) release channels on the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Mammalian skeletal muscle RyR1 channels undergo age-related remodeling due to oxidative overload, leading to loss of the stabilizing subunit calstabin1 (FKBP12) from the channel macromolecular complex. This destabilizes the closed state of the channel resulting in intracellular Ca2+ leak, reduced muscle function, and impaired exercise capacity. We now show that the C. elegans RyR homolog, UNC-68, exhibits a remarkable degree of evolutionary conservation with mammalian RyR channels and similar age-dependent dysfunction. Like RyR1 in mammals, UNC-68 encodes a protein that comprises a macromolecular complex which includes the calstabin1 homolog FKB-2 and is immunoreactive with antibodies raised against the RyR1 complex. Furthermore, as in aged mammals, UNC-68 is oxidized and depleted of FKB-2 in an age-dependent manner, resulting in ‘leaky’ channels, depleted SR Ca2+ stores, reduced body wall muscle Ca2+ transients, and age-dependent muscle weakness. FKB-2 (ok3007)-deficient worms exhibit reduced exercise capacity. Pharmacologically induced oxidization of UNC-68 and depletion of FKB-2 from the channel independently caused reduced body wall muscle Ca2+ transients. Preventing FKB-2 depletion from the UNC-68 macromolecular complex using the Rycal drug S107 improved muscle Ca2+ transients and function. Taken together, these data suggest that UNC-68 oxidation plays a role in age-dependent loss of muscle function. Remarkably, this age-dependent loss of muscle function induced by oxidative overload, which takes ~2 years in mice and ~80 years in humans, occurs in less than 2–3 weeks in C. elegans, suggesting that reduced antioxidant capacity may contribute to the differences in lifespan among species.
Proliferating cells undergo metabolic changes in synchrony with cell cycle progression and cell division. Mitochondria provide fuel, metabolites, and ATP during different phases of the cell cycle, however it is not completely understood how mitochondrial function and the cell cycle are coordinated. CLUH is a post-transcriptional regulator of mRNAs encoding mitochondrial proteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation and several metabolic pathways. Here, we show a role of CLUH in regulating the expression of astrin, which is involved in metaphase to anaphase progression, centrosome integrity, and mTORC1 inhibition. We find that CLUH binds both the SPAG5 mRNA and its product astrin, and controls the synthesis and the stability of the full-length astrin-1 isoform. We show that CLUH interacts with astrin-1 specifically during interphase. Astrin-depleted cells show mTORC1 hyperactivation and enhanced anabolism. On the other hand, cells lacking CLUH show decreased astrin levels and increased mTORC1 signaling, but cannot sustain anaplerotic and anabolic pathways. In absence of CLUH, cells fail to grow during G1, and progress faster through the cell cycle, indicating dysregulated matching of growth, metabolism and cell cycling. Our data reveal a role of CLUH in coupling growth signaling pathways and mitochondrial metabolism with cell cycle progression.