Qiao S, Dennis M, Song X, Vadysirisack DD, Salunke D, Nash Z, Yang Z, Liesa M, Yoshioka J, Matsuzawa S, Shirihai OS, Lee RT, Reed JC, Ellisen LW. 2015. A REDD1/TXNIP pro-oxidant complex regulates ATG4B activity to control stress-induced autophagy and sustain exercise capacity. Nature communications. 6:7014. Pubmed: 25916556 DOI:10.1038/ncomms8014


Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a critical cellular stress response; however, the signal transduction pathways controlling autophagy induction in response to stress are poorly understood. Here we reveal a new mechanism of autophagy control whose deregulation disrupts mitochondrial integrity and energy homeostasis in vivo. Stress conditions including hypoxia and exercise induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) through upregulation of a protein complex involving REDD1, an mTORC1 inhibitor and the pro-oxidant protein TXNIP. Decreased ROS in cells and tissues lacking either REDD1 or TXNIP increases catalytic activity of the redox-sensitive ATG4B cysteine endopeptidase, leading to enhanced LC3B delipidation and failed autophagy. Conversely, REDD1/TXNIP complex expression is sufficient to induce ROS, suppress ATG4B activity and activate autophagy. In Redd1(-/-) mice, deregulated ATG4B activity and disabled autophagic flux cause accumulation of defective mitochondria, leading to impaired oxidative phosphorylation, muscle ATP depletion and poor exercise capacity. Thus, ROS regulation through REDD1/TXNIP is physiological rheostat controlling stress-induced autophagy.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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