Advance online publication:

This section includes articles accepted for publication in Cell Stress, which have not been released in a regular issue, yet. Please note that the PDF versions of advance publication articles are generally paginated starting with page 1. This does not correspond to the final pagination upon release of the issue it will appear in.

 

Targeting FBXO44/SUV39H1 elicits tumor cell-specific DNA replication stress and viral mimicry

Jia Z. Shen and Charles Spruck

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Repetitive elements (REs) are normally transcriptionally silenced in somatic cells by repressive epigenetic modifications, which are thought to include DNA methylation and histone modifications such as deacetylation, H3K9me3, and H4K20me3. Although, it is unclear how RE silencing is maintained through DNA replication cycles in rapidly growing cancer cells. On the other hand, the reactivation of endogenous retroelements beyond a threshold level of tolerance in cancer cells, such as by treatment with DNA demethylating agents or HDAC or LSD1 inhibitors, can induce viral mimicry responses that augment certain cancer therapies, including immunotherapy. However, these agents can also affect normal cells presenting obvious side effects. Therefore, uncovering cancer cell-specific RE silencing mechanisms could provide a basis for the development of a new generation of cancer immunotherapy drugs. In our study (Shen et al. (2020), Cell, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.042), through a high-content RNAi screen we identified FBXO44 as a key regulator of H3K9me3-mediated transcriptional silencing of REs in cancer cells. Inhibition of FBXO44 or its co-factor SUV39H1 stimulated antiviral pathways and interferon (IFN) signaling and induced replication stress and DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in cancer cells, leading to restricted tumor growth and synergy with anti-PD-1 therapy (Figure 1).

PDF | Published online: 18/02/2021 | In press

The OFD1 protein is a novel player in selective autophagy: another tile to the cilia/autophagy puzzle

Manuela Morleo and Brunella Franco

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The autophagy-lysosomal pathway is one of the main degradative routes which cells use to balance sources of energy. A number of proteins orchestrate the formation of autophagosomes, membranous organelles instrumental in autophagy. Selective autophagy, involving the recognition and removal of specific targets, is mediated by autophagy receptors, which recognize cargos and the autophagosomal membrane protein LC3 for lysosomal degradation. Recently, bidirectional crosstalk has emerged between autophagy and primary cilia, microtubule-based sensory organelles extending from cells and anchored by the basal body, derived from the mother centriole of the centrosome. The molecular mechanisms underlying the direct role of autophagic proteins in cilia biology and, conversely, the impact of this organelle in autophagy remains elusive. Recently, we uncovered the molecular mechanism by which the centrosomal/basal body protein OFD1 controls the LC3-mediated autophagic cascade. In particular, we demonstrated that OFD1 acts as a selective autophagy receptor by regulating the turnover of unc-51-like kinase (ULK1) complex, which plays a crucial role in the initiation steps of autophagosome biogenesis. Moreover, we showed that patients with a genetic condition caused by mutations in OFD1 and associated with cilia dysfunction, display excessive autophagy and we demonstrated that autophagy inhibition significantly ameliorates the renal cystic phenotype in a conditional mouse model recapitulating the features of the disease (Morleo et al. 2020, EMBO J, doi: 10.15252/embj.2020105120). We speculate that abnormal autophagy may underlie some of the clinical manifestations observed in the disorders ascribed to cilia dysfunction.

PDF | Published online: 17/02/2021 | In press

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