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0 Q&A 744 Views Mar 5, 2024

Autophagy is a conserved homeostatic mechanism involved in cellular homeostasis and many disease processes. Although it was first described in yeast cells undergoing starvation, we have learned over the years that autophagy gets activated in many stress conditions and during development and aging in mammalian cells. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying autophagy effects can bring us closer to better insights into the pathogenesis of many disease conditions (e.g., cardiac muscle necrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic lung injury). Due to the complex and dynamic nature of the autophagic processes, many different techniques (e.g., western blotting, fluorescent labeling, and genetic modifications of key autophagy proteins) have been developed to delineate autophagy effects. Although these methods are valid, they are not well suited for the assessment of time-dependent autophagy kinetics. Here, we describe a novel approach: the use of DAPRed for autophagic flux measurement via live cell imaging, utilizing A549 cells, that can visualize and quantify autophagic flux in real time in single live cells. This approach is relatively straightforward in comparison to other experimental procedures and should be applicable to any in vitro cell/tissue models.


Key features

• Allows real-time qualitative imaging of autophagic flux at single-cell level.

• Primary cells and cell lines can also be utilized with this technique.

• Use of confocal microscopy allows visualization of autophagy without disturbing cellular functions.

0 Q&A 1177 Views Jan 20, 2023

Targeted protein degradation (TPD) facilitates the selective elimination of unwanted and pathological cellular cargoes via the proteasome or the lysosome, ranging from proteins to organelles and pathogens, both within and outside the cell. Currently, there are several in vitro and in vivo protocols that assess the degradative potency of a given degrader towards a myriad of targets, most notably soluble, monomeric oncoproteins. However, there is a clear deficiency of methodologies to assess the degradative potency of heterobifunctional chimeric degraders, especially those in the autophagy space, against pathological, mutant tau species, such as detergent-insoluble oligomers and high-molecular aggregates. The protocol below describes both in vitro and in vivo biochemical assays to induce tau aggregation, as well as to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the degradative potency of a given degrader towards said aggregates, with specific applications of the AUTOTAC (AUTOphagy-TArgeting Chimera) platform provided as an example. A well-defined set of methodologies to assess TPD-mediated degradation of pathological tau species will help expand the scope of the TPD technology to neurodegeneration and other proteinopathies, in both the lab and the clinic.


Graphical abstract



Overview of assays observing elimination of tauP301L aggregates with AUTOTAC. (A) Description of the biological working mechanism of heterobifunctional chimeric AUTOTAC degraders. (B) Schematic illustration of assays described in this paper.

0 Q&A 9490 Views May 5, 2018
Autophagy is a key player in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis in eukaryotes, and numerous diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, are associated with alterations in autophagy. The interest for studying autophagy has grown intensely in the last two decades, and so has the arsenal of methods utilised to study this highly dynamic and complex process. Changes in the expression and/or localisation of autophagy-related proteins are frequently assessed by Western blot and various microscopy techniques. Such analyses may be indicative of alterations in autophagy-related processes and informative about the specific marker being investigated. However, since these proteins are part of the autophagic machinery, and not autophagic cargo, they cannot be used to draw conclusions regarding autophagic cargo flux. Here, we provide a protocol to quantitatively assess bulk autophagic flux by employing the long-lived protein degradation assay. Our procedure, which traces the degradation of 14C valine-labelled proteins, is simple and quick, allows for processing of a relatively large number of samples in parallel, and can in principle be used with any adherent cell line. Most importantly, it enables quantitative measurements of endogenous cargo flux through the autophagic pathway. As such, it is one of the gold standards for studying autophagic activity.



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