Replacing limit learners with equally powerful one-shot query learners Steffen Lange1 and Sandra Zilles2 1 Fachhochschule Darmstadt, FB Informatik, Haardtring 100, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany, 2 Technische Universit¨at Kaiserslautern, FB Informatik, Postfach 3049, 67653 Kaiserslautern, Germany, Abstract. Different formal learning models address different aspectsof human learning. Below we compare Gold-style learning —interpretinglearning as a limiting process in which the learner may change its mindarbitrarily often before converging to a correct hypothesis—to learningvia queries—interpreting learning as a one-shot process in which thelearner is required to identify the target concept with just one hypothesis.Although these two approaches seem rather unrelated at first glance,we provide characterizations of different models of Gold-style learning(learning in the limit, conservative inference, and behaviourally correctlearning) in terms of query learning. Thus we describe the circumstanceswhich are necessary to replace limit learners by equally powerful one-shot learners. Our results are valid in the general context of learningindexable classes of recursive languages.In order to achieve the learning capability of Gold-style learners, thecrucial parameters of the query learning model are the type of queries(membership, restricted superset, or restricted disjointness queries) andthe underlying hypothesis space (uniformly recursive, uniformly r. e., oruniformly 2-r. e. families). The characterizations of Gold-style languagelearning are formulated in dependence of these parameters.
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Doi:10.1530/jme-13-024A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine Autophagy in the endocrine glands Andrea Weckman, Antonio Di Ieva, Fabio Rotondo1, Luis V Syro2, Leon D Ortiz3, Kalman Kovacs1 and Michael D Cusimano Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario,Canada 1Division of Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, should be addressed 2Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe and Clinica Medellin, Medellin, Colombia 3Division of Neurooncology, Instituto de Cancerologia, Clinic Las Americas, Medellin, Colombia Autophagy is an important cellular process involving the degradation of intracellular components. Its regulation is complex and while there are many methods available, there is currently no single effective way of detecting and monitoring autophagy. It has several " endocrine glands cellular functions that are conserved throughout the body, as well as a variety of different physiological roles depending on the context of its occurrence in the body. Autophagy is also " endocrine diseases involved in the pathology of a wide range of diseases. Within the endocrine system, autophagy has both its traditional conserved functions and specific functions. In the endocrine glands, autophagy plays a critical role in controlling intracellular hormone levels.
In peptide-secreting cells of glands such as the pituitary gland, crinophagy, a specific form of autophagy, targets the secretory granules to control the levels of stored hormone.
In steroid-secreting cells of glands such as the testes and adrenal gland, autophagy targets the steroid-producing organelles. The dysregulation of autophagy in the endocrine glands leads to several different endocrine diseases such as diabetes and infertility. This review aims to clarify the known roles of autophagy in the physiology of the endocrine system, as well as Journal of Molecular in various endocrine diseases.
Endocrinology(2014) 52, R151–R163 Autophagy, self-eating, or self-cannabalism is a genetically autophagy, such as crinophagy, lipophagy, mitophagy programmed and evolutionarily conserved intracellular and zymophagy among others which involve the catabolic pathway. The word ‘autophagy' derives from deliberate degradation of specific substrates. Unless the Greek ‘auto', meaning oneself, and ‘phagy', to eat otherwise indicated, from this point forward, the term (Under normal physiological autophagy will be indicative of macroautophagy.
conditions, autophagy aims to maintain cellular homeo- Although the existence of autophagy was discovered stasis via the degradation and recycling of long-lived or many years ago, it only recently became a rapidly growing damaged proteins and organelles. The three main types area of research. Along with its basal physiological roles, of autophagy, macroautophagy, microautophagy and autophagy is crucially involved in the development chaperone-mediated autophagy (have different and advancement of various diseases such as neurode- functions and proceed by means of different mechanisms, generation, cardiac, pulmonary, muscle and liver diseases, with the common end result of lysosomal degradation infection, immunity and cancer (). There are also various specific forms of , ). Although a large Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine Types of autophagy Schema of types of autophagy.
amount of research has been done on autophagy, in both chain 3 (LC3) conjugation systems physiological and pathological states of the endocrine Even this ‘core' set is composed of several system, it has never been consolidated. The present paper different groups within each subgroup, revealing a reviews the function and regulation of autophagy, and complex system of regulation in which each component its role in the activity of the endocrine glands.
plays a different role vital to the proper functioning ofautophagy as a whole. All of these proteins act down-stream of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, Autophagy: regulation and function the master negative regulator of autophagy, which is itself The term autophagy denotes the degradation of regulated by the stimulation of the class 1 PI3-K complex various cytoplasmic components via lysosomal delivery.
by extracellular activation of growth factor receptors.
Cytoplasmic components include long-lived or damaged Autophagy is also regulated by AMP-activated protein organelles and macromolecules, intracellular pathogens kinase (AMPK) which reacts to energy stress (low energy), and, acting alongside the ubiquitin-proteosome system, nuclear and cytosolic p53 tumour suppressor proteins, build-ups of protein aggregates ( which respond to oncogenic or genotoxic stress, the Bcl2 Autophagy involves several steps beginning with protein family, eIF2alpha, which is activated under induction – it is most commonly triggered by nutrient conditions of nutrient deprivation and endoplasmic deprivation (– and continuing with the reticulum (ER) stress, the Ras pathway and several other engulfment of the aforementioned cytoplasmic consti- tuents by a double-membraned phagophore or isolation membrane to form an autophagosome. The auto- ). When the cell has sufficient phagosome then fuses with the lysosome, exposing its nutrients, mTOR kinase inhibits the ULK1 protein complex, contents to lysosomal degradation. The products of thereby suppressing autophagy. Under conditions of this breakdown are recycled and reused as nutrients nutrient starvation, mTOR kinase is inactivated, disinhibit- to help the cell to survive. There are already extensive ing ULK1 and activating the intricate, multi-step process of reviews that explore each of these steps in detail ( autophagy (Although the molecular players in mammalian autophagy are slowly being clarified relatively recent discovery of 31 autophagy-related (ATG) and confirmed, there is still much to be discovered.
genes in yeast, and the subsequent discovery that many A complete understanding of the external and internal are evolutionarily conserved between yeast and higher signalling regulation, as well as the downstream effectors eukaryotes such as mammals, has led to huge advance- that are involved in the process of autophagy, has important ments in the detailed understanding of the molecular implications for the development of future therapeutic machinery and mechanisms involved in mammalian interventions in a variety of pathological conditions.
Autophagy has numerous physiological functions.
The ‘core' Atg proteins have been divided into During periods of metabolic stress, such as nutrient various subgroups: the ULK protein complexes, the deprivation, hypoxic conditions and/or lack of growth class III PI3-K/Vps34 complex, the Atg9/mAtg9-WIPI-1 factors, autophagy degrades proteins to provide the amino transmembrane protein complex and the Atg12 and light acids necessary for survival. These amino acids are used to Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine synthesiseAUTHOR COPY ONLY proteins critical for cell adaptation to stress.
monitoring of autophagy, a highly dynamic process, They can also be used by the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) remains a challenge in the field. An important distinction to produce ATP for cellular energy ( must be made between the measurement of number ). Autophagy also serves as a and volume of autophagic components at a certain point type of quality control mechanism, clearing the cell of in the process, vs the measurement of autophagic flux.
damaged or very old proteins and organelles, protein The former represents a static quantification of a dynamic aggregates and foreign pathogens process. For example, the number of autophagosomes is Recently, it has been proposed that autophagy often used as a direct quantification of autophagic activity.
acts as a ‘guardian of the genome' ( It is possible, however, that a build-up of autophagosomes, preventing genomic instability and DNA mutations instead of representing an increase in autophagic activity, that eventually lead to tumour development ( could represent a blockage of their fusion with lysosomes, Along with its basal physiological level of and thus an inhibition of autophagic activity as a whole.
action, autophagy is involved in specific processes such as Thus, purely monitoring autophagosomes cannot be used ageing, where it is proposed to have a potential anti-ageing as a reliable indicator of autophagic activity. The latter, effect, cellular differentiation and various aspects of which involves monitoring the progression of autophagy developmental progression ( from autophagosome formation through to lysosomal Focus on autophagy in physiology and pathology has degradation, represents a dynamic measurement of a rapidly increased because it became apparent that there dynamic process and as such provides more precise are many diseases in which autophagy probably plays information on the true state of autophagic activity.
an important pathogenic role ( The most long-established method of detecting autophagy uses the electron microscope to ultrastructu- Clarifying the pathways and mechanisms rally detect the presence of autophagic structures in of autophagy under normal conditions is essential to both selective and non-selective autophagy. Electron explaining its dysregulation in the development of microscopy remains one of the most widely used disease. Moreover, to uncover the exact mechanisms and techniques for autophagy detection. It is, however, pathways of autophagy under normal conditions in a particularly vulnerable to misinterpretation and bias, and specific system, first requires knowledge of where and in its use in concert with other methods has been strongly what capacity autophagy is acting within that system.
Thus, the present paper aims to provide the foundation for microscopy is another approach that is often applied to understanding the complete picture of autophagy in the assess autophagic activity. Microtubule-associated protein endocrine glands (Autophagy has been impli- LC3 is the only known mammalian autophagosome cated in endocrine conditions such as infertility, and marker (and it exists within the endocrine diseases such as diabetes. Providing a basisfor the involvement of autophagy in the normal endo- cell in a cytosolic form (LC3-I), which is converted into crine system and under pathological conditions is the first an autophagosomal membrane-bound form (LC3-II) upon step in elucidating its specific mechanisms and pathways induction of autophagy. As LC3-II is concentrated on in the system. Ultimately, a more systematic approach the autophagosome membrane, counting the number to our understanding of autophagy in the endocrine of GFP-LC3 punctae per cell is a common means of system will enable efficient development of novel quantifying autophagosomes in vivo ( therapies for various endocrine diseases.
A third methodof measuring autophagic activation involves the separ-ation and quantification of relative levels of LC3-I and Methods of monitoring autophagy LC3-II via western blot. Immunodetection of other ATG The reliable assessment and study of a phenomenon are proteins (i.e. BECN1) has also been used as a general only as good as the techniques used to detect and monitor indicator of autophagy in the prognosis of various human it. Thus, in order to fully consider the impact of autophagy cancers; however, more research is necessary to establish research, the various techniques for its detection must be a solid correlation between immunodetection of ATG briefly discussed. Although there have been several recent proteins and autophagic activity ( comprehensive reviews on the topic ( Generally, static quantification of LC3 has been deemed ), the proper detection and to be a useful marker for autophagy; however, these Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine Overview of autophagy in endocrine glands Autophagya function as currently known Location: both crinophagy and macroautophagy demonstrated in all secretory cell types of the anterior pituitaryRole: crinophagy is both a mechanism for normal turnover of secretory material and a means to deal with production of excess secretory material Regulates/maintains proper intracellular levels of secretory protein Control: suggested modulation of crinophagy by steroidsRole: macroautophagy appears to be responsible for the turnover of peptide-synthesising machinery (ER, ribosomes) rather than secretory granules Note: lack of recent research; mechanism and role remains poorly understood Location: macroautophagy demonstrated in ovaries of various mammals including humansRole: required for germ cell survival during ovary development, involved also in granulosa cell survival and cell death, follicular atresia and CL regression Control: oxLDL-dependent LOX1 autophagic activation in follicular atresia also induced by nutrient deprivation and cigarette smoke in animal models Note: thought that macroautophagy may be involved in both obesity-related infertility and age-related infertility Location: macroautophagy demonstrated in rat Leydig cells, role not known in human testesRole: steroid-producing organelles (mitochondria, smooth endoplasmic reticulum) targeted in autophagosomes, implying that macroautophagy plays a role in regulation of steroid production in Leydig cells Control: in Leydig cells, rate of macroautophagic activity fluctuates in tandem with steroid secretion (increased in inhibited cells and vice versa) Note: macroautophagic deficiency implicated in reduction of testosterone production in aged rat Leydig cells Location: macroautophagy demonstrated in both adrenal medulla and adrenal cortexRole: macroautophagic activity demonstrated in adrenal medulla cells; however, no publications on role; possible role of crinophagy similar to that of other peptide-secreting endocrine cells Role: macroautophagy in adrenal cortical cells same role as in Leydig cells (control of intracellular steroid levels via organelle degradation) Thyroid: limited data on autophagy in thyroid gland under physiological or non-cancerous pathological Thyroid hormone levels do not appear to be regulated by autophagy Note: secretory granules containing calcitonin in parafollicular cells of thyroid may be regulated by crinophagy similarly to other endocrine cells Parathyroid: in bovine parathyroid, crinophagy functions to eliminate excess hormone; no human data Location: both macroautophagy and crinophagy demonstrated in pancreatic islet B-cells; endocrine organ most extensively studied in terms of autophagy Role: levels of B-granules storing insulin are kept constant by crinophagy; correlation between rates of insulin synthesis and secretion and rate of crinophagy Crinophagy activated in islets during periods of hormone overproduction or suppression of hormone secretion; thus, regulates secretory granule levels Control: corticosterone and progesterone activity on glucocorticoid receptors modulates crinophagy in pancreatic islets; prostaglandin level may also be involved in crinophagy regulation Role: macroautophagy protects B-cells from ER and oxidative stress by eliminating protein aggregates and digesting damaged mitochondria Note: Deficient macroautophagy is thought to play a major role in pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes N.B. macroautophagy vs crinophagy: 1) both macroautophagy and crinophagy appear to regulate intracellular hormone levels in the endocrine system viadifferent mechanisms – the former via degradation of hormone-producing machinery, the latter via direct fusion of secretory granules with lysosomes;2) as steroids are not stored in secretory granules, in steroid-secreting endocrine cells, crinophagy does not exist and macroautophagy is the predominantcontrol mechanism of intracellular hormone levels.
aHere, autophagy refers to autophagy in general; crinophagy and macroautophagy are differentiated within the table.
methods are not perfect and each has specific caveats the cell is ultimately reduced during prolonged auto- required to maximise accuracy and reliability.
phagy, the observed decrease in LC3 is inversely correlated LC3 is also useful in autophagic flux assays. As LC3-II to autophagic flux and can be measured using flow itself is degraded in autolysosomes, monitoring LC3-II cytometry or fluorescence microscopy turnover gives an idea of autophagic flux. This is Other cellular components that are selectively accomplished by using western blot to compare the taken up by autophagosomes for degradation, such as amounts of LC3-II in the presence or absence of a p62 (), can be monitored in a similar lysosomal inhibitor. The difference in the amounts of manner. An mRFP–GFP–LC3 construct takes advantage of LC3-II represents the amount that has been degraded and the fact that GFP loses its fluorescence in the low pH of the thus the autophagic flux. Furthermore, as total LC3 within lysosome to depict autophagic flux ( Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine cellular components, to the lysosome for degradation, or anchored to autophagosomes, LC3 will fluoresce the direct fusion of secretory granule to lysosome yellow. Autolysosomes containing LC3, however, will be (crinophagy) presumably spares the granule membrane labelled red, as GFP is quenched. Thus, the progression from degradation and allows it to be recycled ( from autophagosome formation to its fusion with a lysosome can be monitored using this tandem construct.
appears to be a more energy efficient method of autophagy The classic technique to monitor autophagic flux for the specific regulation of normal fluctuations in involves the measurement of long-lived protein degra- secretory material. The most common method of crino- dation. Incubating cells with radiolabelled amino acids phagic detection was, and currently remains, electron followed by a shorter incubation without radiolabelled microscopy. Evidence of crinophagy has been uncovered amino acids allows for the proteosomal degradation of in most of the endocrine glands, and is generally accepted labelled short-lived proteins and results in only long-lived as the main way that peptide-secreting endocrine cells proteins with radioactive labels. As long-lived proteins degrade excess secretory material (It are predominantly degraded via autophagy, the release has been established that crinophagy is upregulated in of acid-soluble radioactivity resulting from the degra- response to an inhibition of secretion or an overproduc- dation of the proteins is measured to indicate autophagic tion of secretory material, but the mechanism of flux. To account for any non-autophagic degradation induction and regulation remains largely unknown.
of radiolabelled proteins, the results are compared with Modulation by steroids has been suggested in the those from a condition in which an autophagic inhibitor pituitary, where oestrogen positively and progesterone is applied to the culture negatively correlated with crinophagy of prolactin secretory granules ( This brief summary of several techniques for detecting and the pancreas, where progesterone upregulated and monitoring autophagy represents only the most and corticosterone downregulated crinophagy in B-cells common methods. A more comprehensive look at the (As progesterone had an opposite existing techniques and their limitations has been effect on crinophagy in the pituitary compared with the described in detail elsewhere pancreatic islets, there appears to be no universal relation- ). It must be emphasised that each ship between progesterone and crinophagy. In the technique has its limitations and the strongest and pancreatic islet B-cells, changes in crinophagy levels due most reliable experimental approaches are ones that use to progesterone and corticosterone were blocked with several techniques to create a multi-faceted assessment mifepristone, a receptor antagonist for both corticoster- of autophagy.
one and progesterone receptors (Furthermore, crinophagy levels positively correlated withincreased production of prostaglandin E2 via progesterone Autophagy in the endocrine glands stimulation and its decreased production via corticoster-one stimulation. This suggests that in pancreatic B-cells, corticosterone and progesterone stimulation may directly Crinophagy, discovered in pituitary mammotrophs by modulate crinophagy through their regulation of prosta- and so named by Christian glandin E2 ). In the pituitary, derives from the Greek word ‘crin', which however, where oestrogen is known to induce the synthesis means ‘to secrete' It describes the and secretion of prolactin, the correlation between process whereby secretory granules containing cell- oestrogen and crinophagy may be an indirect one; the specific proteins for secretion from endocrine glands fuse increase in crinophagy triggered by the overproduction of directly with lysosomes for degradation prolactin rather than by oestrogen stimulation directly It should be noted that as steroids are not stored in (). More research is required to granules, crinophagy does not occur in steroid-secreting confirm the mechanism(s) of steroid-dependent crino- cells of the endocrine glands. There is a notable phagy modulation. Inhibition of negative regulators has functional/structural difference between the elimination also been suggested as a method of inducing crinophagy of secretory granules by crinophagy and by macroauto- and autophagy when hormone secretion is inhibited.
phagy. Whereas autophagy engulfs the secretory granule In secretory-deficient pancreatic B-cells, LAMP2, a negative in its entirety and delivers it, along with many other regulator of autophagy, was significantly downregulated Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine in which crinophagy and autophagy had been Although the complete mechanism and regulation of upregulated This suggests that the crinophagy in the pituitary gland remains poorly under- inability to secrete hormones somehow activates an stood, as discussed above, several studies have correlated intracellular signalling cascade that induces crinophagy rates of crinophagy in mammotrophs to levels of steroid and autophagic degradation of secretory granules. Regard- hormones such as oestradiol or progesterone, whereby less of the mechanism and whether the initiating event is oestrogen seems to induce crinophagy and progesterone specific to each cell type, as many other aspects of crino- seems to decrease it, indicating that crinophagy in the phagy are conserved between endocrine cells, it is likely pituitary gland may be modulated by steroids ( that the final downstream effectors are the same in all peptide-secreting cells. In the remainder of this section, the In addition to the direct fusion of secretory granules presently known specifics of crinophagy (and autophagy) with lysosomes (i.e. crinophagy), autophagic vacuoles in the context of each endocrine gland will be described.
encompassing protein-synthesising machinery such asrough ER and ribosomes, but rarely secretory granules,were also found in mammotrophs of the anterior pituitary gland (). Thus, it seems that the The discovery of autophagy, and more specifically, autophagic system accounts mainly for the turnover of crinophagy, in the anterior pituitary gland began with secretory protein synthesising machinery, rather than the investigation of mammotrophs, lactotrophs or pro- the secretory granules themselves After lactin-secreting cells of the hypophysis. In secretory cells adrenalectomy, hypersecretion from corticotrophs caused such as those of the anterior pituitary, crinophagy a corresponding increase in autophagy of non-granule functions as both a normal physiological mechanism for cellular constituents, establishing a logical link between the regular turnover of secretory material, as well as a high rates of secretory activity and increased rates of means of dealing with the induced production of excess organelle turnover (). Although the volume secretory material. During the natural oestrous cycle of the of mammotrophic autophagic vacuoles fluctuated with rat, if pregnancy does not occur and prolactin is not the natural oestrous cycle of the rat, remaining low during required, the excess prolactin granules fuse with lyso- the proestrous phase, beginning to rise in early oestrous somes to be degraded and their amino acid components to and peaking near the end of the oestrous phase ( be recycled (During lactation, mammo- it was mostly crinophagy that controlled standard trophs increase the synthesis and secretion of prolactin, secretory granule levels. Within the oestrous cycle, which decreases after weaning, while crinophagic bodies autophagic vacuoles increased as the surface area of the degrading excess prolactin-filled secretory granules rough ER and Golgi apparatus decreased, further support- increase after weaning (Crinophagy ing the proposition that autophagy is mostly involved can also be induced. After premature removal of suckling with controlling hormone synthesising machinery young from lactating mother rats, the secretory activity rather than secretory granule levels of mammotrophs is inhibited, and the resulting excess In addition, autophagy was found to be most active during secretory granules are eliminated via crinophagy ( externally induced cellular involution in the mammary ). Although research regarding crino- phagy in the pituitary gland has predominantly focused The lack of recent research is a severe limitation to on mammotrophs, crinophagy has also been confirmed our understanding of autophagy in the pituitary gland.
in other cell types of the rat pituitary such as cortico- With modern tools and techniques, the precise role and troph, somatotroph, gonadotroph and thyrotroph cells mechanisms of regulation of autophagy and crinophagy in the pituitary could be more thoroughly elucidated. This discovered that crinophagy increased in the lack of research most likely stems from a lack of demand corticotrophs during states of both hypersecretion due to for increased knowledge concerning autophagy in the adrenalectomy and hyposecretion induced by admini- pituitary gland. As with all scientific endeavours; however, stration of dexamethasone. Thus, in the pituitary gland, it must be considered that there remain untouched roles crinophagy acts in tandem with natural and induced for autophagy in the normal pituitary, or in its patho- fluctuations in secretory activity to continuously regulate logies, that could be revealed using modern technology.
and maintain proper intracellular levels of secretory These discoveries could help to explain the patho- physiology of pituitary diseases such as hypo- and Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine hyperpituitarism, or even provide a better understanding the CL regresses at the end of the menstrual cycle. Electron of autophagy that could be translatable to other human microscopic studies revealed the presence of autophago- endocrine glands and tissues.
somes in many cells during CL regression (At the molecular level, there is a specific endocrinevoltage-activated sodium channel in the human ovary Ovaries and testes from which downstream signalling induces autophagy The discovery of autophagy in the ovaries of a wide range in CL regression ). Conversely, there is of animals including Drosophila, fish, quail, nonhuman increased beclin-1 expression in CL cells during pregnancy primates, mice and other small mammals, suggests a as well as in pathological conditions when the CL survives highly conserved role of autophagy in various ovarian longer than normal, implicating autophagy in granulosa processes, such as follicular atresia and corpus luteum (CL) cell survival as well ). True to the regression. Autophagy is also an important mechanism in double-edged reputation of autophagy, these findings human physiological ovarian function. During develop- suggest opposing roles for autophagy in CL dynamics.
ment, before the formation of the primordial follicle pool, This collection of animal and human studies provides autophagy appears to be required for germ cell survival convincing evidence for the occurrence and importance of (). Later, in each menstrual cycle, autophagy in ovarian function.
ovarian follicles not chosen as the preovulatory follicle To our knowledge, there are no English-language undergo follicular atresia. Originally, follicular atresia was papers exploring the role of autophagy in the human thought to occur entirely by apoptosis. The discovery of testes. In rats, however, autophagy occurs more in granulosa cell death via oxidised LDL (oxLDL)-dependent normally functioning, testosterone-secreting Leydig cells lectin-type oxLDL receptor (LOX1)-activated autophagy, than in many other cell types In Leydig cells, however, suggests that autophagic forms of programmed cell death are also involved producing organelles such as mitochondria and smooth ). As obese women have increased levels of ER, implying that autophagy has a role in the process of and consequently a steroid production. Furthermore, the rate of autophagic higher incidence of autophagic granulosa cell death, this activity fluctuates in tandem with steroid secretion – pathway could account for a higher rate of infertility in autophagy is increased in inhibited cells and decreased in obese women (LOX1 stimu- stimulated cells (This pattern of lation by oxLDL has also been associated with an increased activation and inhibition of autophagy closely resembles level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to oxidative that of crinophagy in the peptide-secreting cells of the stress and apoptotic cell death. In younger, normal weight pituitary. As steroids are not stored in secretory granules women, reparative autophagy is induced in response to within the cells, steroid-secreting cells deal with excess low levels of ROS in order to avoid apoptosis and promote secretory material via degradation of steroid-producing cell survival An increase in ROS levels, organelles (Thus, in rat Leydig cells, as well as a decline in autophagic markers (LC3-II) in traditional autophagy appears to be involved in the human granulosa cells of older women suggests that there regulation of steroid secretion in a manner analogous to is a decline in reparative autophagy with age leading crinophagy in peptide-secreting endocrine cells. This to granulosa cell apoptosis (, process is most likely upheld in steroid-producing cells ). This result is in concordance with the of the ovary and adrenal gland as well.
well-documented, age-related decline in female fertility Autophagic deficiency was also recently implicated in the reduction of testosterone production in aged rat Leydig Various other factors, such as nutrient deprivation cells. It is generally established that autophagy decreases and, more recently, cigarette smoke, have also been shown to induce autophagic programmed cell death in granulosa case of aged Leydig cells, decreased autophagy, particularly cells of animal models (These mitophagy or the selective degradation of damaged findings offer a promising explanation for the reported mitochondria, leads to a decrease in the clearance of correlation between smoking and infertility in female dysfunctional mitochondria and consequently, an accumulation of ROS. As ROS are detrimental to Leydig After ovulation, a progesterone-producing endocrine cell steroidogenesis organ, the CL, is formed in the ovary. Without pregnancy, this accumulation leads to a decrease in testosterone Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine ultimately resulting in conditions such as late-onset regenerating liver (suggested that inhibiting autophagic degradation is a pro-growth mechanism in There is evidence of autophagy in Sertoli cells of rat fast-growing organs such as the regenerating liver and testes, as well. Increased mitochondrial-mediated germ ACTH-stimulated adrenal cortex cell apoptosis has been observed in ethanol-treated rats A more recent study has mentioned that Atg5K/K mice (Electron microscopy and immuno- exhibited ubiquitin-positive protein aggregate formation histochemistry of autophagy genes (i.e. Lc3) also exposed in the liver, the anterior pituitary lobe and the adrenal the presence of autophagy in the Sertoli cells of ethanol- cortex In contrast, only a small number exposed rats. Of most importance was the discovery of of protein aggregates were displayed in the skeletal muscle increased mitophagy, leading to the hypothesis that and the heart (This data seems mitophagy may be acting in an anti-apoptotic capacity to stress the importance of autophagy in the endocrine against ethanol toxicity in Sertoli cells by clearing glands in particular. Perhaps the increased incidence of damaged mitochondria and preventing their release of misfolded and aggregated proteins in autophagy-deficient pro-apoptotic factors endocrine cells such as pituitary and adrenocortical cells The collection of research investigating autophagy is a direct consequence of their increased rate of hormone in the ovaries and testes of humans and animals reveals, production and turnover. The connection between not surprisingly, a diverse set of confirmed and proposed increased vulnerability to toxic protein aggregation in functions for autophagy within the reproductive system.
endocrine cells and autophagy certainly merits further The relative lack of human data, however, leaves the research, with the potential for shedding light on impression that much remains to be discovered.
underlying mechanisms in endocrine diseases.
Thyroid and parathyroid glands In the adrenal medulla, adrenaline and noradrenaline are Very little research has been performed regarding auto- stored in secretory granules similar to those of other phagy in the thyroid gland under physiological or non- peptide-secreting endocrine cells, and a cytochemical cancerous pathological conditions. Although the thyroid study of adrenal medulla cells revealed evidence of hormone precursor thyroglobulin is proteolytically clea- autophagy within those cells ( ved into the active thyroid hormones tri-iodothyronine . Although to our knowledge no (T3) and thyroxine (T4) by lysosomes, it is stored in the recent research has been published on autophagy in the extracellular follicular colloid, rather than in intracellular adrenal medulla, it is highly probable that the roles of granules (Thus, thyroid hormone levels do crinophagy and autophagy in other peptide-secreting not appear to be regulated by crinophagy or autophagy.
endocrine cells are translatable to the secretory cells of It is likely, however, that secretory granules containing the adrenal medulla.
calcitonin in the parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland As the adrenal cortex is composed of steroid-secreting are regulated by crinophagy in a similar fashion to the cells similar to Leydig cells of the testes, it is likely that majority of endocrine cells.
autophagy has a comparable function in both. In fact, a Recently, it was discovered that thyroid hormones, study looking at both Leydig and adrenocortical fascicu- in particular T3, induce autophagy in in vitro human liver lata cells in rats showed that autophagy in steroid- cells and in vivo mouse liver cells ( secreting cells plays a hormone-producing modulatory In particular, T3 induces selective autophagy of lipids, role similar to that of crinophagy in peptide-secreting otherwise called lipophagy, an important mechanism for endocrine cells (In addition, there is a lipid homeostasis, metabolism and mobilisation of lipids unique role for autophagy in the growth regulation of in hepatic cells ( parenchymal cells in the adrenal zona fasciculate ( Similarly, there is very little to be found about By measuring autophagic vacuole fractional autophagy in the parathyroid gland. In the bovine volume in adrenocortical zona fasciculata cells in rats parathyroid gland, crinophagy occurs in response to the exposed to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), suppression of parathyroid hormone secretion; in this showed that autophagy was strongly inhibited case, secretion is suppressed by high concentrations during ACTH-induced hyperplasia. This finding, along with the discovery of the same phenomenon in the Crinophagy in the bovine parathyroid gland thus Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine functions AUTHOR COPY ONLY as a means to eliminate excess hormone, Traditional autophagy also plays its traditional role in analogous to the mechanism in other endocrine cells.
the functioning of pancreatic B-cells by degrading andrecycling macromolecules and old or damaged organelles( Pancreatic islets ER's protein-folding capabilities cannot keep up with the Autophagy in the endocrine system has been most demands (e.g. during chronic hyperglycemia), the cell extensively studied in the pancreas. Pancreatic B-cells are enters a state of ER stress. ER stress leads to a build-up of the sole source of insulin in circulation and, as such, are misfolded proteins, which, if not immediately degraded, critical for the regulation of blood glucose levels ( become protein aggregates and ultimately result in cellular Elevated glucose levels stimulate insulin toxicity and apoptosis , secretion from B-cells. Insulin then acts at fat, liver and It has been suggested that autophagy is generally muscle cells to induce absorption of glucose from the required to eliminate protein aggregates, while the bloodstream or to stop hepatic glucose production. As in ubiquitin-proteasome system degrades soluble misfolded other endocrine cells, once insulin is synthesised, it is proteins that have not yet formed aggregates ( packaged into secretory granules, termed B-granules, ready for secretion via exocytosis. As B-granules have a dysfunction caused by stressors such as chronic hyper- half-life of only 3–5 days, a basal level of crinophagy glycaemia induces the accumulation of ROS within the ensures that the number of B-granules stays relatively cells, resulting in oxidative stress. Autophagy protectsB-cells from oxidative stress by digesting the damaged constant and the ‘old' B-granules are continuously turned- mitochondria (Due to the high level of over Several landmark studies investigated protein synthesis that occurs in pancreatic B-cells, they are the relationship between glucose, B-cell stimulation and especially susceptible to ER and oxidative stress ( intracellular insulin degradation ( . Autophagy plays an indispensable role in the maintenance of B-cell per- at varying levels of glucose stimulation, a corresponding formance during adverse conditions.
imbalance between rates of insulin synthesis and insulin From a pathological standpoint, type 2 diabetes is the secretion influenced the rate of crinophagy in isolated most researched disorder involving pancreatic B-cells and pancreatic islet cells. It was only at intermediate levels of autophagy. Type 2 diabetes is characterised by insulin glucose, where there was sufficient stimulation to increase resistance in peripheral tissues (i.e. fat, muscle, liver), as insulin synthesis but not to trigger insulin secretion, that well as impaired insulin secretion resulting in chronically B-granules accumulated and crinophagy was upregulated elevated blood glucose levels, and subsequent death of (Furthermore, in Rab3AK/K (secretion- pancreatic B-cells. With the intent of uncovering a deficient) mice, B-cells responded to insulin overproduc- definitive role for autophagy in the pancreas, several tion by increasing both crinophagic and autophagic studies have focused on a conditional (B-cell specific) degradative processes to keep B-granule levels stable knockout of Atg7, an autophagy-related gene, in the (Thus, similar to the rest of the pancreatic B-cells of mice endocrine system, crinophagy is activated in pancreatic These mice demonstrated the hallmark dysfunc- islets during periods of hormone overproduction or tions of type 2 diabetes: defective insulin tolerance, suppression of hormone secretion, to digest and ulti- decreased insulin blood levels (and secretion), and decre- mately recycle excess secretory granules.
ased B-cell mass due to increased cell death and decreased The specifics of crinophagy induction and modulation B-cell proliferation. In addition, Atg7-deficient mice in the pancreas are complex and incompletely known.
exhibited accumulation of ubiquitinated protein aggre- Along with the ability of glucose to modulate crinophagy gates and damaged organelles (i.e. mitochondria, ER), the levels, showed that corticosterone presence of which most likely caused the increase in cell and progesterone acting on glucocorticoid receptors death and resulting decreased B-cell mass ( affected intracellular degradation of insulin, potentially A human study of type 2 diabetic by affecting the production of prostaglandins within the patients revealed an accumulation of autophagosomes in B-cells. This finding represents the first mention of a B-cells, most likely due to impaired removal of the possible downstream molecule that could be involved in autophagosomes, and a corresponding increase in B-cell the regulation of crinophagy.
death ). Together, these findings Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine implicate AUTHOR COPY ONLY deficient autophagy as a major player in the all peptide-hormone-producing cells, it is likely that pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.
crinophagy plays the same role as in the other peptide- One of the proposed causes for the onset of B-cell secreting cells discussed above.
deterioration in type 2 diabetes is diet-induced nutrient(free fatty acids (FFA), glucose or both) surplus ( Future implications For example, chronic glucose overload leads to anunsustainable increase in insulin demand, eventually The topic of autophagy has garnered increasing attention resulting in toxic ER and oxidative stress within the with the discovery of its role in a wide range of B-cells. Chronic exposure of isolated mouse, rat and physiopathological processes. In several glands, notably human pancreatic B-cells to FFAs also impaired insulin the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands, there is a major lack of recent research about autophagy/crinophagy, or and induced autophagy, in the former case, research at all. Although the gold especially an increase in autophagosome formation ( standard for detecting crinophagy (i.e. electron microscopy) ). If autophagy were dysfunc- has not changed since its discovery ( tional, as hypothesised in type 2 diabetes, the build-up of , reassessing these glands based on misfolded proteins and ER/oxidative stress products recent research would most likely be enlightening. For caused by hyperglycemia and lipotoxicity would invari- example, understanding the basis of crinophagy as a tool ably lead to B-cell damage and death. As obesity, to modulate intracellular hormone content, it is plausible characterised by high levels of FFAs in the circulation, is to extrapolate that dysfunctional or overactive crinophagy the primary cause of type 2 diabetes, these findings created may play a role in those cases of hypo- or hyper-endocrine a strong link between glucolipotoxicity, type 2 diabetes activity that have no other visible explanation. Knowing and autophagy. strengthened this that autophagy already has a known involvement in connection using Atg7-deficient mice. Although control endocrine diseases such as type 2 diabetes and infertility is mice exposed to a high-fat, diet-induced autophagy in sufficient evidence to warrant renewed investigation into the pancreatic B-cells protect themselves from the FFA- autophagy in the pathologies of the other endocrine glands.
induced B-cell dysfunction, oxidative stress and resulting For research concerning autophagy and crinophagy to apoptosis, Atg7-deficient mice exposed to a high-fat diet progress, the detection techniques must necessarily could not induce autophagy and experienced extensive progress as well. As autophagy has been implicated in a B-cell death, along with other classic features of type 2 wide range of diseases and its potential as a therapeutic diabetes (Thus, it appears that target appears extremely promising, the proper inter- autophagic deficiency in pancreatic B-cells plays an pretation of autophagic activity is critical to our under- important role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.
standing of its involvement and our ability to act Although various studies have suggested potential mole- accordingly. Currently, the best approach to monitoring cular mechanisms to describe the pathway surrounding autophagy involves the use of several moderately reliable the contribution of autophagy in B-cells and diabetes Continued research into the specific players and markers none have been definitively proven or of autophagy will allow us to develop increasingly reliable reproduced. As more evidence concerning the general detection and monitoring techniques. As autophagy involvement of autophagic deficiency in type 2 diabetes has the potential to be both activated and inhibited accumulates, its precise delineation will be critical in in different stages of the same disease, being able to taking advantage of the discovery. The current state of this accurately monitor its progression is critical in maximis- research provides the basis for an interesting new avenue ing the potential for appropriate therapeutic intervention.
of investigation that could focus on therapeutically Furthermore, there is little or no information on targeting the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic B-cell the mechanisms and pathways that lead to the activation autophagy in patients with type 2 diabetes.
or inhibition of crinophagy specifically. Everything There has been no research focused on autophagy or from the extracellular initiating event to the intracellular crinophagy in the other endocrine cells of the pancreas signalling cascade currently remains a black box.
(i.e. alpha, delta, gamma or epsilon cells), although Thus, future research should attempt to uncover this did show that autophagy in alpha and delta signalling mechanism and perhaps even attempt to com- cells was not affected in humans with diabetes. As they are pare it with what is known about autophagy signalling.
Ñ 2014 Society for Endocrinology Published by Bioscientifica Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain A WECKMAN and others Autophagy in the endocrine considerably more known about the mechanism the precise molecular mechanisms must be elucidated.
and regulation of autophagy – our understanding is still There is a large gap in current research on the topic. With not complete, however, and perhaps there is new modern technologies and techniques, the scientific com- information to be gained from further exploring crino- munity has much to gain from a renewed interest in the phagy. Another interesting avenue of future research molecular mechanisms of autophagy in the endocrine would be to determine how much of the crinophagic system, especially under pathological conditions.
and autophagic pathways are conserved between eachendocrine gland. As the overall function of both processesis conserved between the glands, it is likely that the Declaration of interest intracellular signalling pathways downstream of the initial The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be signalling event are also similar. Knowing which aspects perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the review.
of crinophagy and autophagy are conserved betweenglands and which aspects are specific would be important for therapeutically targeting them in gland- or even cell- This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in specific diseases such as diabetes.
the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.
In addition to the traditional role for autophagy in cellular The authors are grateful to the Jarislowsky and Lloyd Carr-Harris homeostasis, stress survival and general cellular ‘house- foundations for their generous support.
keeping', there is a major theme that underlies the roleof autophagy in the endocrine system specifically. In each gland, autophagy is involved in the regulation of intra- cellular hormone levels and thus indirectly involved in Bernabe´ A, Go´mez MA, Seva J, Serrano J, Sa´nchez J & Navarro JA 2001 Light controlling hormone levels throughout the body.
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Liver International ISSN 1478-3223 A£atoxin genotoxicity is associated with a defective DNA damageresponse bypassing p53 activation Ozge Gursoy-Yuzugullu1,2, Haluk Yuzugullu1,2, Mustafa Yilmaz2 and Mehmet Ozturk1,2 1 Centre de Recherche INSERM, Institut Albert Bonniot, Universit ´e Joseph Fourier U823, Grenoble, France2 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, BilGen Genetics and Biotechnology Research Center, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey