Volume 36 Issue 3
May  2015
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Si-Wei ZHANG, Jiang-Nan FENG, Yi CAO, Li-Ping MENG, Shu-Lin WANG. Autophagy prevents autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena in response to oxidative stress. Zoological Research, 2015, 36(3): 167-173.
Citation: Si-Wei ZHANG, Jiang-Nan FENG, Yi CAO, Li-Ping MENG, Shu-Lin WANG. Autophagy prevents autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena in response to oxidative stress. Zoological Research, 2015, 36(3): 167-173.

Autophagy prevents autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena in response to oxidative stress

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  • Corresponding author: Shu-Lin WANG
  • Received Date: 2015-03-16
  • Rev Recd Date: 2015-05-07
  • Publish Date: 2015-05-08
  • Autophagy is a major cellular pathway used to degrade long-lived proteins or organelles that may be damaged due to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by cellular stress. Autophagy typically enhances cell survival, but it may also act to promote cell death under certain conditions. The mechanism underlying this paradox, however, remains unclear. We showed that Tetrahymena cells exerted increased membrane-bound vacuoles characteristic of autophagy followed by autophagic cell death (referred to as cell death with autophagy) after exposure to hydrogen peroxide. Inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine or 3-methyladenine significantly augmented autophagic cell death induced by hydrogen peroxide. Blockage of the mitochondrial electron transport chain or starvation triggered activation of autophagy followed by cell death by inducing the production of ROS due to the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. This indicated a regulatory role of mitochondrial ROS in programming autophagy and autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena. Importantly, suppression of autophagy enhanced autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena in response to elevated ROS production from starvation, and this was reversed by antioxidants. Therefore, our results suggest that autophagy was activated upon oxidative stress to prevent the initiation of autophagic cell death in Tetrahymena until the accumulation of ROS passed the point of no return, leading to delayed cell death in Tetrahymena.
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