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Giant Cellular Vacuoles Induced by Rare Earth Oxide Nanoparticles are Abnormally Enlarged Endo/Lysosomes and Promote mTOR-Dependent TFEB Nucleus Translocation
Small 12(41):5759-5768 Nov 2016

Lin, Jun; Shi, Shan-Shan; Zhang, Ji-qian; Zhang, Yun-jiao; Zhang, Li; Liu, Yun; Jin, Pei-pei; Wei, Peng-Fei; Shi, Rong-hua; Zhou, Wei; Wen, Long-ping

Many nanomaterials are reported to disrupt lysosomal function and homeostasis, but how cells sense and then respond to nanomaterial-elicited lysosome stress is poorly understood. Nucleus translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB) plays critical roles in lysosome biogenesis following lysosome stress induced by starvation. The authors previously reported massive cellular vacuolization, along with autophagy induction, in cells treated with rare earth oxide (REO) nanoparticles. Here, the authors identify these giant cellular vacuoles as abnormally enlarged and alkalinized endo/lysosomes whose formation is dependent on macropinocytosis. This vacuolization causes deactivation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a TFEB-interacting kinase that resides on the lysosome membrane. Subsequently, TFEB is dephosphorylated at serine 142 and translocated into cell nucleus. This nucleus translocation of TFEB is observed only in vacuolated cells and it is critical for maintaining lysosome homeostasis after REO nanoparticle treatment, as knock-down of TFEB gene significantly compromises lysosome function and enhances cell death in nanoparticle-treated cells. Our results reveal that cellular vacuolization, which is commonly observed in cells treated with REOs and other nanomaterials, represents a condition of profound lysosome stress, and cells sense and respond to this stress by facilitating mTOR-dependent TFEB nucleus translocation in an effort to restore lysosome homeostasis.

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