Accumulating evidence indicates that senescent cells play an important role in many age-associated diseases. The pharmacological depletion of senescent cells (SCs) with a “senolytic agent”, a small molecule that selectively kills SCs, is a potential novel therapeutic approach for these diseases. Recently, we discovered ABT-263, a potent and highly selective senolytic agent, by screening a library of rationally-selected compounds. With this screening approach, we also identified a second senolytic agent called piperlongumine (PL). PL is a natural product that is reported to have many pharmacological effects, including anti-tumor activity. We show here that PL preferentially killed senescent human WI-38 fibroblasts when senescence was induced by ionizing radiation, replicative exhaustion, or ectopic expression of the oncogene Ras. PL killed SCs by inducing apoptosis, and this process did not require the induction of reactive oxygen species. In addition, we found that PL synergistically killed SCs in combination with ABT-263, and initial structural modifications to PL identified analogs with improved potency and/or selectivity in inducing SC death. Overall, our studies demonstrate that PL is a novel lead for developing senolytic agents.
ABSTRACTmechanism or have tumor suppressive functions, depending on the context. In addition, autophagy is involved in other important aspects of blood cancers as it promotes immune competence and anticancer immunity, and may even help to enhance patients' tolerance to standard treatments.
SummaryThe selective depletion of senescent cells (SCs) by small molecules, termed senolytic agents, is a promising therapeutic approach for treating age‐related diseases and chemotherapy‐ and radiotherapy‐induced side effects. Piperlongumine (PL) was recently identified as a novel senolytic agent. However, its mechanism of action and molecular targets in SCs was unknown and thus was investigated. Specifically, we used a PL‐based chemical probe to pull‐down PL‐binding proteins from live cells and then mass spectrometry‐based proteomic analysis to identify potential molecular targets of PL in SCs. One prominent target was oxidation resistance 1 (OXR1), an important antioxidant protein that regulates the expression of a variety of antioxidant enzymes. We found that OXR1 was upregulated in senescent human WI38 fibroblasts. PL bound to OXR1 directly and induced its degradation through the ubiquitin‐proteasome system in an SC‐specific manner. The knockdown of OXR1 expression by RNA interference significantly increased the production of reactive oxygen species in SCs in conjunction with the downregulation of antioxidant enzymes such as heme oxygenase 1, glutathione peroxidase 2, and catalase, but these effects were much less significant when OXR1 was knocked down in non‐SCs. More importantly, knocking down OXR1 selectively induced apoptosis in SCs and sensitized the cells to oxidative stress caused by hydrogen peroxide. These findings provide new insights into the mechanism by which SCs are highly resistant to oxidative stress and suggest that OXR1 is a novel senolytic target that can be further exploited for the development of new senolytic agents.
Beclin 1 is a well-established core mammalian autophagy protein that is embryonically indispensable and has been presumed to suppress oncogenesis via an autophagy-mediated mechanism. Here, we show that Beclin 1 is a prenatal primary cytoplasmic protein but rapidly relocated into the nucleus during postnatal development in mice. Surprisingly, deletion of beclin1 in in vitro human cells did not block an autophagy response, but attenuated the expression of several DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair proteins and formation of repair complexes, and reduced an ability to repair DNA in the cells exposed to ionizing radiation (IR). Overexpressing Beclin 1 improved the repair of IR-induced DSB, but did not restore an autophagy response in cells lacking autophagy gene Atg7, suggesting that Beclin 1 may regulate DSB repair independent of autophagy in the cells exposed to IR. Indeed, we found that Beclin 1 could directly interact with DNA topoisomerase IIβ and was recruited to the DSB sites by the interaction. These findings reveal a novel function of Beclin 1 in regulation of DNA damage repair independent of its role in autophagy particularly when the cells are under radiation insult.
Autophagy is essentially a metabolic process, but its in vivo role in nuclear radioprotection remains unexplored. We observed that ex vivo autophagy activation reversed the proliferation inhibition, apoptosis, and DNA damage in irradiated hematopoietic cells. In vivo autophagy activation improved bone marrow cellularity following nuclear radiation exposure. In contrast, defective autophagy in the hematopoietic conditional mouse model worsened the hematopoietic injury, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and DNA damage caused by nuclear radiation exposure. Strikingly, in vivo defective autophagy caused an absence or reduction in regulatory proteins critical to both homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA damage repair pathways, as well as a failure to induce these proteins in response to nuclear radiation. In contrast, in vivo autophagy activation increased most of these proteins in hematopoietic cells. DNA damage assays confirmed the role of in vivo autophagy in the resolution of double-stranded DNA breaks in total bone marrow cells as well as bone marrow stem and progenitor cells upon whole body irradiation. Hence, autophagy protects the hematopoietic system against nuclear radiation injury by conferring and intensifying the HR and NHEJ DNA damage repair pathways and by removing ROS and inhibiting apoptosis.
Despite its dual role in determining cell fate in a wide array of solid cancer cell lines, autophagy has been robustly shown to suppress or kill acute myeloid leukemia cells via degradation of the oncogenic fusion protein that drives leukemogenesis. However, autophagy also induces the demise of acute leukemia cells that do not express the known fusion protein, though the molecular mechanism remains elusive. Nevertheless, since it can induce cooperation with apoptosis and differentiation in response to autophagic signals, autophagy can be manipulated for a better therapy on acute myeloid leukemia.
Background: Autophagy is required in hematopoiesis and protects against leukemogenesis. Results: When ATG7-dependent canonical autophagy is impaired, ATG7-independent alternative autophagy engages in myeloid cells but not in hematopoietic stem cells.
Conclusion:The integrity of hematopoietic stem cells is jeopardized by a lack of alternative autophagy. Significance: Learning autophagy organization in hematopoietic system is crucial for understanding hematopoietic stem cell transformation.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.