Hibernating mammals survive hypothermia (<10°C) without injury, a remarkable feat of cellular preservation that bears significance for potential medical applications. However, mechanisms imparting cold resistance, such as cytoskeleton stability, remain elusive. Using the first iPSC line from a hibernating mammal (13-lined ground squirrel), we uncovered cellular pathways critical for cold tolerance. Comparison between human and ground squirrel iPSC-derived neurons revealed differential mitochondrial and protein quality control responses to cold. In human iPSC-neurons, cold triggered mitochondrial stress, resulting in reactive oxygen species overproduction and lysosomal membrane permeabilization, contributing to microtubule destruction. Manipulations of these pathways endowed microtubule cold stability upon human iPSC-neurons and rat (a non-hibernator) retina, preserving its light responsiveness after prolonged cold exposure. Furthermore, these treatments significantly improved microtubule integrity in cold-stored kidneys, demonstrating the potential for prolonging shelf-life of organ transplants. Thus, ground squirrel iPSCs offer a unique platform for bringing cold-adaptive strategies from hibernators to humans in clinical applications. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Expression of many disease-related aggregation-prone proteins results in cytotoxicity and the formation of large intracellular inclusion bodies. To gain insight into the role of inclusions in pathology and the in situ structure of protein aggregates inside cells, we employ advanced cryo-electron tomography methods to analyze the structure of inclusions formed by polyglutamine (polyQ)-expanded huntingtin exon 1 within their intact cellular context. In primary mouse neurons and immortalized human cells, polyQ inclusions consist of amyloid-like fibrils that interact with cellular endomembranes, particularly of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Interactions with these fibrils lead to membrane deformation, the local impairment of ER organization, and profound alterations in ER membrane dynamics at the inclusion periphery. These results suggest that aberrant interactions between fibrils and endomembranes contribute to the deleterious cellular effects of protein aggregation. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
The ubiquitin ligase TRAF6 is a key regulator of canonical IκB kinase (IKK)/NF-κB signaling in response to interleukin-1 (IL-1) stimulation. Here, we identified the deubiquitinating enzyme YOD1 (OTUD2) as a novel interactor of TRAF6 in human cells. YOD1 binds to the C-terminal TRAF homology domain of TRAF6 that also serves as the interaction surface for the adaptor p62/Sequestosome-1, which is required for IL-1 signaling to NF-κB. We show that YOD1 competes with p62 for TRAF6 association and abolishes the sequestration of TRAF6 to cytosolic p62 aggregates by a non-catalytic mechanism. YOD1 associates with TRAF6 in unstimulated cells but is released upon IL-1β stimulation, thereby facilitating TRAF6 auto-ubiquitination as well as NEMO/IKKγ substrate ubiquitination. Further, IL-1 triggered IKK/NF-κB signaling and induction of target genes is decreased by YOD1 overexpression and augmented after YOD1 depletion. Hence, our data define that YOD1 antagonizes TRAF6/p62-dependent IL-1 signaling to NF-κB.