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Journal ArticleDOI

Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition)

Daniel J. Klionsky1, Kotb Abdelmohsen2, Akihisa Abe3, Joynal Abedin4  +2519 moreInstitutions (695)
21 Jan 2016-Autophagy (Landes Bioscience)-Vol. 12, Iss: 1, pp 1-222
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macro-autophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes.
Abstract: 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. For example, 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 versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process including the amount and rate of cargo sequestered and degraded). In particular, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation must be differentiated from stimuli that increase 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. It is worth emphasizing here that lysosomal digestion is a stage of autophagy and evaluating its competence is a crucial part of the evaluation of autophagic flux, or complete autophagy. 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. Along these lines, because of the potential for pleiotropic effects due to blocking autophagy through genetic manipulation, it is imperative to target by gene knockout or RNA interference more than one autophagy-related protein. In addition, some individual Atg proteins, or groups of proteins, are involved in other cellular pathways implying that not all Atg proteins can be used as a specific marker for an autophagic process. 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 assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.

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Journal ArticleDOI
Lorenzo Galluzzi1, Lorenzo Galluzzi2, Ilio Vitale3, Stuart A. Aaronson4  +183 moreInstitutions (111)
TL;DR: The Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death (NCCD) has formulated guidelines for the definition and interpretation of cell death from morphological, biochemical, and functional perspectives.
Abstract: 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.

3,301 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A functional classification of cell death subroutines is proposed that applies to both in vitro and in vivo settings and includes extrinsic apoptosis, caspase-dependent or -independent intrinsic programmed cell death, regulated necrosis, autophagic cell death and mitotic catastrophe.
Abstract: In 2009, the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death (NCCD) proposed a set of recommendations for the definition of distinct cell death morphologies and for the appropriate use of cell death-related terminology, including 'apoptosis', 'necrosis' and 'mitotic catastrophe'. In view of the substantial progress in the biochemical and genetic exploration of cell death, time has come to switch from morphological to molecular definitions of cell death modalities. Here we propose a functional classification of cell death subroutines that applies to both in vitro and in vivo settings and includes extrinsic apoptosis, caspase-dependent or -independent intrinsic apoptosis, regulated necrosis, autophagic cell death and mitotic catastrophe. Moreover, we discuss the utility of expressions indicating additional cell death modalities. On the basis of the new, revised NCCD classification, cell death subroutines are defined by a series of precise, measurable biochemical features.

2,238 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A way forward is suggested for the effective targeting of autophagy by understanding the context-dependent roles of autophile and by capitalizing on modern approaches to clinical trial design.
Abstract: Autophagy is a mechanism by which cellular material is delivered to lysosomes for degradation, leading to the basal turnover of cell components and providing energy and macromolecular precursors. Autophagy has opposing, context-dependent roles in cancer, and interventions to both stimulate and inhibit autophagy have been proposed as cancer therapies. This has led to the therapeutic targeting of autophagy in cancer to be sometimes viewed as controversial. In this Review, we suggest a way forwards for the effective targeting of autophagy by understanding the context-dependent roles of autophagy and by capitalizing on modern approaches to clinical trial design.

1,606 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that CQ mainly inhibits autophagy by impairing autophagosome fusion with lysosomes rather than by affecting the acidity and/or degradative activity of this organelle.
Abstract: Macroautophagy/autophagy is a conserved transport pathway where targeted structures are sequestered by phagophores, which mature into autophagosomes, and then delivered into lysosomes for degradati...

1,178 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a set of guidelines for investigators to select and interpret methods to examine autophagy and related processes, and for reviewers to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of reports that are focused on these processes.
Abstract: In 2008, we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, this topic has received increasing attention, and many scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Thus, it is important to formulate on a regular basis updated guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Despite numerous reviews, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to evaluate autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. Here, we present a set of guidelines for investigators to select and interpret methods to examine autophagy and related processes, and for reviewers to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of reports that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a dogmatic set of rules, because the appropriateness of any assay largely depends on the question being asked and the system being used. Moreover, no individual assay is perfect for every situation, calling for the use of multiple techniques to properly monitor autophagy in each experimental setting. Finally, several core components of the autophagy machinery have been implicated in distinct autophagic processes (canonical and noncanonical autophagy), implying that genetic approaches to block autophagy should rely on targeting two or more autophagy-related genes that ideally participate in distinct steps of the pathway. Along similar lines, because multiple proteins involved in autophagy also regulate other cellular pathways including apoptosis, not all of them can be used as a specific marker for bona fide autophagic responses. Here, we critically discuss current methods of assessing autophagy and the information they can, or cannot, provide. Our ultimate goal is to encourage intellectual and technical innovation in the field.

1,129 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A new criterion for triggering the extension of word hits, combined with a new heuristic for generating gapped alignments, yields a gapped BLAST program that runs at approximately three times the speed of the original.
Abstract: The BLAST programs are widely used tools for searching protein and DNA databases for sequence similarities. For protein comparisons, a variety of definitional, algorithmic and statistical refinements described here permits the execution time of the BLAST programs to be decreased substantially while enhancing their sensitivity to weak similarities. A new criterion for triggering the extension of word hits, combined with a new heuristic for generating gapped alignments, yields a gapped BLAST program that runs at approximately three times the speed of the original. In addition, a method is introduced for automatically combining statistically significant alignments produced by BLAST into a position-specific score matrix, and searching the database using this matrix. The resulting Position-Specific Iterated BLAST (PSIBLAST) program runs at approximately the same speed per iteration as gapped BLAST, but in many cases is much more sensitive to weak but biologically relevant sequence similarities. PSI-BLAST is used to uncover several new and interesting members of the BRCT superfamily.

70,111 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that the rat microtubule‐associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), a homologue of Apg8p essential for autophagy in yeast, is associated to the autophagosome membranes after processing.
Abstract: Little is known about the protein constituents of autophagosome membranes in mammalian cells. Here we demonstrate that the rat microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), a homologue of Apg8p essential for autophagy in yeast, is associated to the autophagosome membranes after processing. Two forms of LC3, called LC3-I and -II, were produced post-translationally in various cells. LC3-I is cytosolic, whereas LC3-II is membrane bound. The autophagic vacuole fraction prepared from starved rat liver was enriched with LC3-II. Immunoelectron microscopy on LC3 revealed specific labelling of autophagosome membranes in addition to the cytoplasmic labelling. LC3-II was present both inside and outside of autophagosomes. Mutational analyses suggest that LC3-I is formed by the removal of the C-terminal 22 amino acids from newly synthesized LC3, followed by the conversion of a fraction of LC3-I into LC3-II. The amount of LC3-II is correlated with the extent of autophagosome formation. LC3-II is the first mammalian protein identified that specifically associates with autophagosome membranes.

6,244 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A molecular mechanism for regulation of the mammalian autophagy-initiating kinase Ulk1, a homologue of yeast ATG1, is demonstrated and a signalling mechanism for UlK1 regulation and autophagic induction in response to nutrient signalling is revealed.
Abstract: Autophagy is a process by which components of the cell are degraded to maintain essential activity and viability in response to nutrient limitation. Extensive genetic studies have shown that the yeast ATG1 kinase has an essential role in autophagy induction. Furthermore, autophagy is promoted by AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is a key energy sensor and regulates cellular metabolism to maintain energy homeostasis. Conversely, autophagy is inhibited by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a central cell-growth regulator that integrates growth factor and nutrient signals. Here we demonstrate a molecular mechanism for regulation of the mammalian autophagy-initiating kinase Ulk1, a homologue of yeast ATG1. Under glucose starvation, AMPK promotes autophagy by directly activating Ulk1 through phosphorylation of Ser 317 and Ser 777. Under nutrient sufficiency, high mTOR activity prevents Ulk1 activation by phosphorylating Ulk1 Ser 757 and disrupting the interaction between Ulk1 and AMPK. This coordinated phosphorylation is important for Ulk1 in autophagy induction. Our study has revealed a signalling mechanism for Ulk1 regulation and autophagy induction in response to nutrient signalling.

5,314 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is reported that metformin activates AMPK in hepatocytes; as a result, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) activity is reduced, fatty acid oxidation is induced, and expression of lipogenic enzymes is suppressed.
Abstract: Metformin is a widely used drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes with no defined cellular mechanism of action. Its glucose-lowering effect results from decreased hepatic glucose production and increased glucose utilization. Metformin's beneficial effects on circulating lipids have been linked to reduced fatty liver. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a major cellular regulator of lipid and glucose metabolism. Here we report that metformin activates AMPK in hepatocytes; as a result, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) activity is reduced, fatty acid oxidation is induced, and expression of lipogenic enzymes is suppressed. Activation of AMPK by metformin or an adenosine analogue suppresses expression of SREBP-1, a key lipogenic transcription factor. In metformin-treated rats, hepatic expression of SREBP-1 (and other lipogenic) mRNAs and protein is reduced; activity of the AMPK target, ACC, is also reduced. Using a novel AMPK inhibitor, we find that AMPK activation is required for metformin's inhibitory effect on glucose production by hepatocytes. In isolated rat skeletal muscles, metformin stimulates glucose uptake coincident with AMPK activation. Activation of AMPK provides a unified explanation for the pleiotropic beneficial effects of this drug; these results also suggest that alternative means of modulating AMPK should be useful for the treatment of metabolic disorders.

5,146 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The latest red version matures more completely, is more tolerant of N-terminal fusions and is over tenfold more photostable than mRFP1, and three monomers with distinguishable hues from yellow-orange to red-orange have higher quantum efficiencies.
Abstract: Fluorescent proteins are genetically encoded, easily imaged reporters crucial in biology and biotechnology. When a protein is tagged by fusion to a fluorescent protein, interactions between fluorescent proteins can undesirably disturb targeting or function. Unfortunately, all wild-type yellow-to-red fluorescent proteins reported so far are obligately tetrameric and often toxic or disruptive. The first true monomer was mRFP1, derived from the Discosoma sp. fluorescent protein "DsRed" by directed evolution first to increase the speed of maturation, then to break each subunit interface while restoring fluorescence, which cumulatively required 33 substitutions. Although mRFP1 has already proven widely useful, several properties could bear improvement and more colors would be welcome. We report the next generation of monomers. The latest red version matures more completely, is more tolerant of N-terminal fusions and is over tenfold more photostable than mRFP1. Three monomers with distinguishable hues from yellow-orange to red-orange have higher quantum efficiencies.

4,607 citations