Send to

Choose Destination
Autophagy. 2019 Oct;15(10):1719-1737. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2019.1589257. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Retinoic acid worsens ATG10-dependent autophagy impairment in TBK1-mutant hiPSC-derived motoneurons through SQSTM1/p62 accumulation.

Author information

Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Ulm University , Ulm , DE , Germany.
International Graduate School, Ulm University , Ulm , DE , Germany.
Deptartment of Neurology, Ulm University , Ulm , DE , Germany.
Institute of Experimental Tumor Research, Ulm University , Ulm , DE , Germany.
Institute for Human Genetics, Ulm University , Ulm , DE , Germany.


Mutations in the TBK1 (TANK binding kinase 1) gene are causally linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). TBK1 phosphorylates the cargo receptors OPTN and SQSTM1 regulating a critical step in macroautophagy/autophagy. Disruption of the autophagic flux leads to accumulation of cytosolic protein aggregates, which are a hallmark of ALS. hiPSC-derived TBK1-mutant motoneurons (MNs) showed reduced TBK1 levels and accumulation of cytosolic SQSTM1-positive aggresomes. By screening a library of nuclear-receptor-agonists for modifiers of the SQSTM1 aggregates, we identified 4-hydroxy(phenyl)retinamide (4HPR) as a potent modifier exerting detrimental effects on mutant-TBK1 motoneurons fitness exacerbating the autophagy overload. We have shown by TEM that TBK1-mutant motoneurons accumulate immature phagophores due a failure in the elongation phase, and 4HPR further worsens the burden of dysfunctional phagophores. 4HPR-increased toxicity was associated with the upregulation of SQSTM1 in a context of strongly reduced ATG10, while rescue of ATG10 levels abolished 4HPR toxicity. Finally, we showed that 4HPR leads to a downregulation of ATG10 and to an accumulation of SQSTM1+ aggresomes also in hiPSC-derived C9orf72-mutant motoneurons. Our data show that cultured human motoneurons harboring mutations in TBK1 gene display typical ALS features, like decreased viability and accumulation of cytosolic SQSTM1-positive aggresomes. The retinoid 4HPR appears a strong negative modifier of the fitness of TBK1 and C9orf72-mutant MNs, through a pathway converging on the mismatch of initiated autophagy and ATG10 levels. Thus, autophagy induction appears not to be a therapeutic strategy for ALS unless the specific underlying pathway alterations are properly addressed. Abbreviations: 4HPR: 4-hydroxy(phenyl)retinamide; AKT: AKT1 serine/threonine kinase 1; ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ATG: autophagy related; AVs: autophagic vesicle; C9orf72: chromosome 9 open reading frame 72; CASP3: caspase 3; CHAT: choline O-acetyltransferase; CYCS: cytochrome c, somatic; DIV: day in vitro; FTD: frontotemporal dementia; FUS: FUS RNA binding protein; GFP: green fluorescent protein; hiPSCs: human induced pluripotent stem cells; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MNs: motoneurons; mRFP: monomeric red fluorescent protein; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NFE2L2/NRF2: nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2; RARA: retinoic acid receptor alpha; SLC18A3/VACHT: solute carrier family 18 (vesicular acetylcholine transporter), member 3; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; TBK1: TANK binding kinase 1; TEM: transmission electron microscopy.


ALS; TBK1; autophagy; hiPSC; motoneurons

[Available on 2020-04-02]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center