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Stall in Canonical Autophagy-Lysosome Pathways Prompts Nucleophagy-Based Nuclear Breakdown in Neurodegeneration

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Olga Baron, Adel Boudi, Catarina Dias, Michael Schilling, Anna Noelle, Gema Vizcay-Barrena, Ivan Rattray, Heinz Jungbluth, Scheper Wiep, Roland A. Fleck, Gillian B. Bates, Manolis Fanto

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3626-3642
JournalCurrent biology : CB
Issue number23
Early online date22 Nov 2017
Accepted/In press20 Oct 2017
E-pub ahead of print22 Nov 2017
Published4 Dec 2017


King's Authors


The terminal stages of neuronal degeneration and death in neurodegenerative diseases remain elusive. Autophagy is an essential catabolic process frequently failing in neurodegeneration. Selective autophagy routes have recently emerged, including nucleophagy, defined as degradation of nuclear components by autophagy. Here, we show that, in a mouse model for the polyglutamine disease dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA), progressive acquirement of an ataxic phenotype is linked to severe cerebellar cellular pathology, characterized by nuclear degeneration through nucleophagy-based LaminB1 degradation and excretion. We find that canonical autophagy is stalled in DRPLA mice and in human fibroblasts from patients of DRPLA. This is evidenced by accumulation of p62 and downregulation of LC3-I/II conversion as well as reduced Tfeb expression. Chronic autophagy blockage in several conditions, including DRPLA and Vici syndrome, an early-onset autolysosomal pathology, leads to the activation of alternative clearance pathways including Golgi membrane-associated and nucleophagy-based LaminB1 degradation and excretion. The combination of these alternative pathways and canonical autophagy blockade, results in dramatic nuclear pathology with disruption of the nuclear organization, bringing about terminal cell atrophy and degeneration. Thus, our findings identify a novel progressive mechanism for the terminal phases of neuronal cell degeneration and death in human neurodegenerative diseases and provide a link between autophagy block, activation of alternative pathways for degradation, and excretion of cellular components. Golgi-mediated degradation and excretion of LaminB1 promote cell atrophy and death. Baron et al. demonstrate that a block in canonical autophagy signaling leads to activation of alternative clearance routes. Golgi-mediated degradation and excretion of nuclear LaminB1 finally result in terminal nuclear breakdown, cell atrophy, and death.

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