Cigarette smoke (CS) induces accumulation of misfolded proteins with concomitantly enhanced unfolded protein response (UPR). Increased apoptosis linked to UPR has been demonstrated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis. Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a type of selective autophagy for lysosomal degradation of proteins with the KFERQ peptide motif. CMA has been implicated in not only maintaining nutritional homeostasis but also adapting the cell to stressed conditions. Although recent papers have shown functional cross-talk between UPRand CMA,mechanistic implications for CMA in COPD pathogenesis, especially in association with CS-evoked UPR, remain obscure. In this study, we sought to examine the role of CMA in regulating CS-induced apoptosis linked to UPR during COPD pathogenesis using human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC) and lung tissues. CS extract (CSE) induced LAMP2A expression and CMA activation through a Nrf2-dependent manner in HBEC. LAMP2A knockdown and the subsequent CMA inhibition enhanced UPR, including CHOP expression, and was accompanied by increased apoptosis during CSE exposure, which was reversed by LAMP2A overexpression. Immunohistochemistry showed that Nrf2 and LAMP2A levels were reduced in small airway epithelial cells in COPD compared with non-COPD lungs. Both Nrf2 and LAMP2A levels were significantly reduced in HBEC isolated from COPD, whereas LAMP2A levels in HBEC were positively correlated with pulmonary function tests. These findings suggest the existence of functional cross-talk between CMA and UPR during CSE exposure and also that impaired CMA may be causally associated with COPD pathogenesis through enhanced UPR-mediated apoptosis in epithelial cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy