ALS-FTLD-linked mutations of SQSTM1/p62 disrupt selective autophagy and NFE2L2/NRF2 anti-oxidative stress pathway

Zhiqiang Deng, Junghyun Lim, Qian Wang, Kerry Purtell, Shuai Wu, Gloria M. Palomo, Haiyan Tan, Giovanni Manfredi, Yanxiang Zhao, Junmin Peng, Bo Hu, Shi Chen, Zhenyu Yue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a key catabolic pathway for the maintenance of proteostasis through constant digestion of selective cargoes. The selectivity of autophagy is mediated by autophagy receptors that recognize and recruit cargoes to autophagosomes. SQSTM1/p62 is a prototype autophagy receptor, which is commonly found in protein aggregates associated with major neurodegenerative diseases. While accumulation of SQSTM1 implicates a disturbance of selective autophagy pathway, the pathogenic mechanism that contributes to impaired autophagy degradation remains poorly characterized. Herein we show that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-linked mutations of TBK1 and SQSTM1 disrupt selective autophagy and cause neurotoxicity. Our data demonstrates that proteotoxic stress activates serine/threonine kinase TBK1, which coordinates with autophagy kinase ULK1 to promote concerted phosphorylation of autophagy receptor SQSTM1 at the UBA domain and activation of selective autophagy. In contrast, ALS-FTLD-linked mutations of TBK1 or SQSTM1 reduce SQSTM1 phosphorylation and compromise ubiquitinated cargo binding and clearance. Moreover, disease mutation SQSTM1G427R abolishes phosphorylation of Ser351 and impairs KEAP1-SQSTM1 interaction, thus diminishing NFE2L2/Nrf2-targeted gene expression and increasing TARDBP/TDP-43 associated stress granule formation under oxidative stress. Furthermore, expression of SQSTM1G427R in neurons impairs dendrite morphology and KEAP1-NFE2L2 signaling. Therefore, our results reveal a mechanism whereby pathogenic SQSTM1 mutants inhibit selective autophagy and disrupt NFE2L2 anti-oxidative stress response underlying the neurotoxicity in ALS-FTLD. Abbreviations: ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; FTLD: frontotemporal lobar degeneration; G3BP1: GTPase-activating protein (SH3 domain) binding protein 1; GSTM1: glutathione S-transferase, mu 1; HMOX/HO-1: Heme oxygenase 1; IP: immunoprecipitation; KEAP1: kelch-like ECH associated protein 1; KI: kinase inactive; KIR: KEAP1 interaction region; KO: knockout; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MBP: maltose binding protein; NBR1: NBR1, autophagy cargo receptor; NFE2L2/Nrf2: nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2; NQO1: NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; SOD1: superoxide dismutase 1, soluble; S.S.: serum starvation; TARDBP/TDP-43: TAR DNA binding protein; TBK1: TANK binding kinase 1; UBA: ubiquitin association; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; WT: wild type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-931
Number of pages15
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 May 2020


  • SQSTM1/p62
  • TBK1
  • phosphorylation
  • selective autophagy


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