Autophagic impairment is implicated in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but the molecular mechanism is unclear. We found that autophagic flux was significantly inhibited in 3 murine models of NAFLD. Interestingly, the number of acidic organelles and the level of mature cathepsin D were reduced, suggesting defective lysosome acidification. Asparagine synthetase (ASNS) was induced by endoplasmic reticulum stress, leading to the generation of asparagine, which inhibited lysosome acidification. Both steatotic- and asparagine-treated hepatocytes showed reduced lysosomal acidity and retention of lysosomal calcium. Knockdown of ASNS in steatotic hepatocytes restored autophagic flux. As a potential biomarker, increased serum p62/sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) level was an independent risk factor for patients with steatosis and lobular inflammation. Impaired autophagy in NAFLD is elicited by defective lysosome acidification, which is caused by ASNS-induced asparagine synthesis under endoplasmic reticulum stress and subsequent retention of lysosomal calcium. p62/SQSTM1 could be used as a noninvasive biomarker in the diagnosis of NAFLD patients.
Xiaojuan Wang Xiang Zhang Eagle Chu Chen Xiaoting Wei Kang Wu Feng Kafai To Wong Vincent W.S. Henry lik yuen Chan Matthew Chan 沈祖堯 William ka kei Wu Jun Yu