Optogenetically engineered calcium oscillations promote autophagy-mediated cell death via AMPK activation


Open Biol. 2024 Apr;14(4):240001. doi: 10.1098/rsob.240001. Epub 2024 Apr 24.


Autophagy is a double-edged sword for cells; it can lead to both cell survival and death. Calcium (Ca2+) signalling plays a crucial role in regulating various cellular behaviours, including cell migration, proliferation and death. In this study, we investigated the effects of modulating cytosolic Ca2+ levels on autophagy using chemical and optogenetic methods. Our findings revealed that ionomycin and thapsigargin induce Ca2+ influx to promote autophagy, whereas the Ca2+ chelator BAPTA-AM induces Ca2+ depletion and inhibits autophagy. Furthermore, the optogenetic platform allows the manipulation of illumination parameters, including density, frequency, duty cycle and duration, to create different patterns of Ca2+ oscillations. We used the optogenetic tool Ca2+-translocating channelrhodopsin, which is activated and opened by 470 nm blue light to induce Ca2+ influx. These results demonstrated that high-frequency Ca2+ oscillations induce autophagy. In addition, autophagy induction may involve Ca2+-activated adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinases. In conclusion, high-frequency optogenetic Ca2+ oscillations led to cell death mediated by AMP-activated protein kinase-induced autophagy.

PMID:38653331 | DOI:10.1098/rsob.240001