In chronologically aging yeast, longevity can be extended by administering a caloric restriction (CR) diet or some small molecules. These life-extending interventions target the adaptable target of rapamycin (TOR) and cAMP/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) signaling pathways that are under the stringent control of calorie availability. We designed a chemical genetic screen for small molecules that increase the chronological life span of yeast under CR by targeting lipid metabolism and modulating housekeeping longevity pathways that regulate longevity irrespective of the number of available calories. Our screen identifies lithocholic acid (LCA) as one of such molecules. We reveal two mechanisms underlying the life-extending effect of LCA in chronologically aging yeast. One mechanism operates in a calorie availability-independent fashion and involves the LCA-governed modulation of housekeeping longevity assurance pathways that do not overlap with the adaptable TOR and cAMP/PKA pathways. The other mechanism extends yeast longevity under non-CR conditions and consists in LCA-driven unmasking of the previously unknown anti-aging potential of PKA. We provide evidence that LCA modulates housekeeping longevity assurance pathways by suppressing lipid-induced necrosis, attenuating mitochondrial fragmentation, altering oxidation-reduction processes in mitochondria, enhancing resistance to oxidative and thermal stresses, suppressing mitochondria-controlled apoptosis, and enhancing stability of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
Our studies revealed that lithocholic acid (LCA), a bile acid, is a potent anti-aging natural compound that in yeast cultured under longevity-extending caloric restriction (CR) conditions acts in synergy with CR to enable a significant further increase in chronological lifespan. Here, we investigate a mechanism underlying this robust longevity-extending effect of LCA under CR. We found that exogenously added LCA enters yeast cells, is sorted to mitochondria, resides mainly in the inner mitochondrial membrane, and also associates with the outer mitochondrial membrane. LCA elicits an age-related remodeling of glycerophospholipid synthesis and movement within both mitochondrial membranes, thereby causing substantial changes in mitochondrial membrane lipidome and triggering major changes in mitochondrial size, number and morphology. In synergy, these changes in the membrane lipidome and morphology of mitochondria alter the age-related chronology of mitochondrial respiration, membrane potential, ATP synthesis and reactive oxygen species homeostasis. The LCA-driven alterations in the age-related dynamics of these vital mitochondrial processes extend yeast longevity. In sum, our findings suggest a mechanism underlying the ability of LCA to delay chronological aging in yeast by accumulating in both mitochondrial membranes and altering their glycerophospholipid compositions. We concluded that mitochondrial membrane lipidome plays an essential role in defining yeast longevity.
Lipid droplets (LDs) are neutral lipid-rich organelles involved in many cellular processes. A well-known example is their accumulation in leukocytes upon activation by pro-inflammatory stimuli such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) derived from gram-negative bacteria. A role of LDs and LD-associated proteins during inflammation in the brain is unknown, however. We have now studied their dynamics and regulation in microglia, the resident immune cells in the brain. We find that LPS treatment of microglia leads to the accumulation in them of LDs, and enhancement of the size of LDs. This induction of LDs was abolished by triacsin C, an inhibitor of triglyceride biosynthesis. LPS strongly activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK stress signaling pathways and increased the expression of LD-associated protein perilipin-2 (ADRP) in a time-dependent manner. Immunostaining showed that perilipin-2 in LPS-treated microglia predominantly colocalized with LDs. Inhibitors of p38 α/β (SB203580) and PI3K/Akt pathway (LY294002), but not that of JNK (SP600125), reduced LPS-induced LD accumulation and eliminated the activating effect of LPS on perilipin-2. In addition, cytosolic phospholipase A 2 (cPLA 2 -α), a key enzyme for arachidonic acid release, colocalized with LPS-induced LDs. These observations suggest that LDs may play an important role in eicosanoid synthesis in activated microglia; they provide a novel insight into the regulation of LDs in inflammatory cells of the brain and point to a potential role of p38 α/β in LPS-induced LD accumulation. Collectively, our findings imply that LD formation and perilipin-2 induction could be microglial biomarkers of inflammation in the central nervous system.
We identified a form of cell death called "liponecrosis." It can be elicited by an exposure of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to exogenous palmitoleic acid (POA). Our data imply that liponecrosis is: (1) a programmed, regulated form of cell death rather than an accidental, unregulated cellular process and (2) an age-related form of cell death. Cells committed to liponecrotic death: (1) do not exhibit features characteristic of apoptotic cell death; (2) do not display plasma membrane rupture, a hallmark of programmed necrotic cell death; (3) akin to cells committed to necrotic cell death, exhibit an increased permeability of the plasma membrane for propidium iodide; (4) do not display excessive cytoplasmic vacuolization, a hallmark of autophagic cell death; (5) akin to cells committed to autophagic death, exhibit a non-selective en masse degradation of cellular organelles and require the cytosolic serine/threonine protein kinase Atg1p for executing the death program; and (6) display a hallmark feature that has not been reported for any of the currently known cell death modalities-namely, an excessive accumulation of lipid droplets where non-esterified fatty acids (including POA) are deposited in the form of neutral lipids. We therefore concluded that liponecrotic cell death subroutine differs from the currently known subroutines of programmed cell death. Our data suggest a hypothesis that liponecrosis is a cell death module dynamically integrated into a so-called programmed cell death network, which also includes the apoptotic, necrotic, and autophagic modules of programmed cell death. Based on our findings, we propose a mechanism underlying liponecrosis.
The peroxisome is an organelle that has long been known for its essential roles in oxidation of fatty acids, maintenance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis and anaplerotic replenishment of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates destined for mitochondria. Growing evidence supports the view that these peroxisome-confined metabolic processes play an essential role in defining the replicative and chronological age of a eukaryotic cell. Much progress has recently been made in defining molecular mechanisms that link cellular aging to fatty acid oxidation, ROS turnover, and anaplerotic metabolism in peroxisomes. Emergent studies have revealed that these organelles not only house longevity-defining metabolic reactions but can also regulate cellular aging via their dynamic communication with other cellular compartments. Peroxisomes communicate with other organelles by establishing extensive physical contact with lipid bodies, maintaining an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to peroxisome connectivity system, exchanging certain metabolites, and being involved in the bidirectional flow of some of their protein and lipid constituents. The scope of this review is to summarize the evidence that peroxisomes are dynamically integrated into an endomembrane system that governs cellular aging. We discuss recent progress in understanding how communications between peroxisomes and other cellular compartments within this system influence the development of a pro- or anti-aging cellular pattern. We also propose a model for the integration of peroxisomes into the endomembrane system governing cellular aging and critically evaluate several molecular mechanisms underlying such integration.
Macromitophagy controls mitochondrial quality and quantity. It involves the sequestration of dysfunctional or excessive mitochondria within double-membrane autophagosomes, which then fuse with the vacuole/lysosome to deliver these mitochondria for degradation. To investigate a physiological role of macromitophagy in yeast, we examined how the atg32Δ-dependent mutational block of this process influences the chronological lifespan of cells grown in a nutrient-rich medium containing low (0.2%) concentration of glucose. Under these longevity-extending conditions of caloric restriction (CR) yeast cells are not starving. We also assessed a role of macromitophagy in lifespan extension by lithocholic acid (LCA), a bile acid that prolongs yeast longevity under CR conditions. Our findings imply that macromitophagy is a longevity assurance process underlying the synergistic beneficial effects of CR and LCA on yeast lifespan. Our analysis of how the atg32Δ mutation influences mitochondrial morphology, composition and function revealed that macromitophagy is required to maintain a network of healthy mitochondria. Our comparative analysis of the membrane lipidomes of organelles purified from wild-type and atg32Δ cells revealed that macromitophagy is required for maintaining cellular lipid homeostasis. We concluded that macromitophagy defines yeast longevity by modulating vital cellular processes inside and outside of mitochondria.
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