Autophagy has multiple physiological functions, including protein degradation, organelle turnover and the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy. Because autophagy is implicated in a number of diseases, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of autophagy is needed for therapeutic purposes, including rational design of drugs. Autophagy is a process that occurs in several steps as follows: formation of phagophores, formation of mature autophagosomes, targeting and trafficking of autophagosomes to lysosomes, formation of autolysosomes by fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes, and finally, degradation of the autophagic bodies within the lysosomes. It has been suggested that autophagosome formation is driven by molecular motor machineries, and, once formed, autophagosomes need to reach lysosomes, enriched perinuclearly around the microtubule-organizing centre. While it is recognized that all these steps require the cytoskeletal network, little is known about the mechanisms involved. Here we assessed the role of cytoplasmic dynein in the autophagic process of human glioma cells to determine the part played by dynein in autophagy. We observed that chemical interference with dynein function led to an accumulation of autophagosomes, suggesting impaired autophagosome-lysosome fusion. In contrast, we found that overexpression of dynamitin, which disrupts the dynein complex, reduced the number of autophagosomes, suggesting the requirement of the dynein-dynactin interaction in the early membrane trafficking step in autophagosome formation. These results suggest that dynein plays a variety of crucial roles during the autophagic process in glioma cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology