In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field
Over the past decade, the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death (NCCD) has formulated guidelines for the definition and interpretation of cell death from morphological, biochemical, and functional perspectives. Since the field continues to expand and novel mechanisms that orchestrate multiple cell death pathways are unveiled, we propose an updated classification of cell death subroutines focusing on mechanistic and essential (as opposed to correlative and dispensable) aspects of the process. As we provide molecularly oriented definitions of terms including intrinsic apoptosis, extrinsic apoptosis, mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT)-driven necrosis, necroptosis, ferroptosis, pyroptosis, parthanatos, entotic cell death, NETotic cell death, lysosome-dependent cell death, autophagy-dependent cell death, immunogenic cell death, cellular senescence, and mitotic catastrophe, we discuss the utility of neologisms that refer to highly specialized instances of these processes. The mission of the NCCD is to provide a widely accepted nomenclature on cell death in support of the continued development of the field.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinically approved, minimally invasive therapeutic procedure that can exert a selective cytotoxic activity toward malignant cells. The procedure involves administration of a photosensitizing agent followed by irradiation at a wavelength corresponding to an absorbance band of the sensitizer. In the presence of oxygen, a series of events lead to direct tumor cell death, damage to the microvasculature and induction of a local inflammatory reaction. Clinical studies revealed that PDT can be curative particularly in early-stage tumors. It can prolong survival in inoperable cancers and significantly improve quality of life. Minimal normal tissue toxicity, negligible systemic effects, greatly reduced long-term morbidity, lack of intrinsic or acquired resistance mechanisms, and excellent cosmetic as well as organ function-sparing effects of this treatment make it a valuable therapeutic option for combination treatments. With a number of recent technological improvements, PDT has the potential to become integrated into the mainstream of cancer treatment.
Research in autophagy continues to accelerate,(1) and as a result many new scientists are entering the field. Accordingly, it is important to establish a standard set of criteria for monitoring macroautophagy in different organisms. Recent reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose.(2,3) There are many useful and convenient methods that can be used to monitor macroautophagy in yeast, but relatively few in other model systems, and there is much confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure macroautophagy in higher eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers of autophagosomes versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway; thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from fully functional autophagy that includes delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of the methods that can be used by investigators who are attempting to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as by reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that investigate these processes. This set of guidelines is not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to verify an autophagic response.
Although it was thought that apoptotic cells, when rapidly phagocytosed, underwent a silent death that did not trigger an immune response, in recent years a new concept of immunogenic cell death (ICD) has emerged. The immunogenic characteristics of ICD are mainly mediated by damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which include surface-exposed calreticulin (CRT), secreted ATP and released high mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1). Most DAMPs can be recognized by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In this Review, we discuss the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in regulating the immunogenicity of dying cancer cells and the effect of therapy-resistant cancer microevolution on ICD.
Surface-exposed calreticulin (ecto-CRT) and secreted ATP are crucial damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) for immunogenic apoptosis. Inducers of immunogenic apoptosis rely on an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-based (reactive oxygen species (ROS)-regulated) pathway for ecto-CRT induction, but the ATP secretion pathway is unknown. We found that after photodynamic therapy (PDT), which generates ROS-mediated ER stress, dying cancer cells undergo immunogenic apoptosis characterized by phenotypic maturation (CD80 ) of dendritic cells as well as induction of a protective antitumour immune response. Intriguingly, early after PDT the cancer cells displayed ecto-CRT and secreted ATP before exhibiting biochemical signatures of apoptosis, through overlapping PERK-orchestrated pathways that require a functional secretory pathway and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-mediated plasma membrane/extracellular trafficking. Interestingly, eIF2a phosphorylation and caspase-8 signalling are dispensable for this ecto-CRT exposure. We also identified LRP1/CD91 as the surface docking site for ecto-CRT and found that depletion of PERK, PI3K p110a and LRP1 but not caspase-8 reduced the immunogenicity of the cancer cells. These results unravel a novel PERK-dependent subroutine for the early and simultaneous emission of two critical DAMPs following ROS-mediated ER stress.
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