Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.395, No.2, 190-195, 2010
Mitochondrial autophagy protects against heat shock-induced apoptosis through reducing cytosolic cytochrome c release and downstream caspase-3 activation
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process for bulk degradation of cytoplasmic components, including large molecules and organelles. It can either help to enhance or to resist apoptosis, depending on the circumstances. The mechanism of how autophagy impacts apoptosis and the subsequent cellular events upon heat shock remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that mitochondrial membrane permeability transition (MPT)-sensitive mitochondrial autophagy can protect against heat-induced apoptosis through reduction of cytosolic cytochrome c release and downstream caspase-3 activation. With confocal microscopy, it was revealed that as autophagosomes increased, mitochondrial content was mass decreased after heat shock. Detailed analysis shows that a single swelling mitochondrion could be entrapped into autophagosome. The depolarization of mitochondria preceded the mitochondrial loss, and both could be abolished by MPT inhibitor cyclosporine (CsA). In addition, along with the decrease of mitochondrial content, the level of total cytochrome c was also reduced, resulting in a reduction of its release to cytoplasm. When heat shock was combined with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), an inhibitor of autophagy, the mitochondrial loss and the reduction of total cytochrome c were both inhibited, and then caspase-3 activation and cell apoptosis were increased. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that, heat shock-induced cellular events can be modulated by controlling autophagy, and this may represent a novel approach to enhance the efficacy of hyperthermia. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.