12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15-LOX) is involved in organelle homeostasis by degrading mitochondria in maturing red blood cells and by eliminating excess peroxisomes in liver. Furthermore, 12/15-LOX contributes to diseases by exacerbating oxidative stress-related injury, notably in stroke. Nonetheless, it is unclear what the consequences are of abolishing 12/15-LOX activity. Mice in which the alox15 gene has been ablated do not show an obvious phenotype, and LOX enzyme inhibition is not overtly detrimental. We show here that liver histology is also unremarkable. However, electron microscopy demonstrated that 12/15-LOX knockout surprisingly leads to increased macroautophagy in the liver. Not only macroautophagy but also mitophagy and pexophagy were increased in hepatocytes, which otherwise showed unaltered fine structure and organelle morphology. These findings were substantiated by immunofluorescence showing significantly increased number of LC3 puncta and by Western blotting demonstrating a significant increase for LC3-II protein in both liver and brain homogenates of 12/15-LOX knockout mice. Inhibition of 12/15-LOX activity by treatment with four structurally different inhibitors had similar effects in cultured HepG2 hepatoma cells and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells with significantly increased autophagy discernable already after 2 hours. Hence, our study reveals a link between ablation or inhibition of 12/15-LOX and stimulation of macroautophagy. The enhanced macroautophagy may be related to the known tissue-protective effects of LOX ablation or inhibition under various diseased conditions caused by oxidative stress and ischemia. This could provide an important cleaning mechanism of cells and tissues to prevent accumulation of damaged mitochondria and other cellular components.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology