DDRGK domain-containing protein 1 (DDRGK1) is an important component of the newly discovered ufmylation system and its absence has been reported to induce extensive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Recently, emerging evidence indicates that the ufmylation system is correlated with autophagy, although the exact mechanism remains largely unknown. To explore the regulation mechanism of DDRGK1 on autophagy, in this study, we established an immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines harvested from the DDRGK1F/F:ROSA26-CreERT2 mice, in which DDRGK1 depletion can be induced by 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) treatment. Here, we show that DDRGK1 deficiency in MEFs has a dual effect on autophagy, which leads to a significant accumulation of autophagosomes. On one hand, it promotes autophagy induction by impairing mTOR signaling; on the other hand, it blocks autophagy degradation by inhibiting autophagosome–lysosome fusion. This dual effect of DDRGK1 depletion on autophagy ultimately aggravates apoptosis in MEFs. Further studies reveal that DDRGK1 loss is correlated with suppressed lysosomal function, including impaired Cathepsin D (CTSD) expression, aberrant lysosomal pH, and v-ATPase accumulation, which might be a potential trigger for impairment in autophagy process. Hence, this study confirms a crucial role of DDRGK1 as an autophagy regulator by controlling lysosomal function. It may provide a theoretical basis for the treatment strategies of various physiological diseases caused by DDRGK1 deficiency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research