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Dynamical Modeling of the Interaction between Autophagy and Apoptosis in Mammalian Cells:A Systems Pharmacology Framework

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      Abstract

      Autophagy is a conserved biological stress response in mammalian cells that is responsible for clearing damaged proteins and organelles from the cytoplasm and recycling their contents via the lysosomal pathway. In cases where the stress is not too severe, autophagy acts as a survival mechanism. In cases of severe stress, may lead to programmed cell death. There is also a third alternative, autophagic cell death, which can occur when the apoptotic pathway is blocked. Autophagy is abnormally regulated in a wide-range of diseases, including cancer. To integrate the existing knowledge about this decision process into a rigorous, analytical framework, we built a mathematical model of cell fate decision mediated by autophagy. The model treats autophagy as a gradual response to stress that delays the initiation of apoptosis to give the cell an opportunity to survive. We show that our dynamical model is consistent with existing quantitative measurements of time courses of autophagic responses to cisplatin treatment.

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      Most cited references 48

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      The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The hallmarks constitute an organizing principle for rationalizing the complexities of neoplastic disease. They include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis. Underlying these hallmarks are genome instability, which generates the genetic diversity that expedites their acquisition, and inflammation, which fosters multiple hallmark functions. Conceptual progress in the last decade has added two emerging hallmarks of potential generality to this list-reprogramming of energy metabolism and evading immune destruction. In addition to cancer cells, tumors exhibit another dimension of complexity: they contain a repertoire of recruited, ostensibly normal cells that contribute to the acquisition of hallmark traits by creating the "tumor microenvironment." Recognition of the widespread applicability of these concepts will increasingly affect the development of new means to treat human cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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        Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy.

        In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
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          Calcium signalling: dynamics, homeostasis and remodelling.

          Ca2+ is a highly versatile intracellular signal that operates over a wide temporal range to regulate many different cellular processes. An extensive Ca2+-signalling toolkit is used to assemble signalling systems with very different spatial and temporal dynamics. Rapid highly localized Ca2+ spikes regulate fast responses, whereas slower responses are controlled by repetitive global Ca2+ transients or intracellular Ca2+ waves. Ca2+ has a direct role in controlling the expression patterns of its signalling systems that are constantly being remodelled in both health and disease.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            1312.7149

            Cell biology, Molecular biology

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