Lysosome acidification by photoactivated nanoparticles restores autophagy under lipotoxicity

Kyle M. Trudeau, Aaron H. Colby, Jialiu Zeng, Guy Las, Jiazuo H. Feng, Mark W. Grinstaff, Orian S. Shirihai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In pancreatic β-cells, liver hepatocytes, and cardiomyocytes, chronic exposure to high levels of fatty acids (lipotoxicity) inhibits autophagic flux and concomitantly decreases lysosomal acidity. Whether impaired lysosomal acidification is causally inhibiting autophagic flux and cellular functions could not, up to the present, be determined because of the lack of an approach to modify lysosomal acidity. To address this question, lysosome-localizing nanoparticles are described that, upon UV photoactivation, enable controlled acidification of impaired lysosomes. The photoactivatable, acidifying nanoparticles (paNPs) demonstrate lysosomal uptake in INS1 and mouse β-cells. Photoactivation of paNPs in fatty acid- treated INS1 cells enhances lysosomal acidity and function while decreasing p62 and LC3-II levels, indicating rescue of autophagic flux upon acute lysosomal acidification. Furthermore, paNPs improve glucose-stimulated insulin secretion that is reduced under lipotoxicity in INS1 cells and mouse islets. These results establish a causative role for impaired lysosomal acidification in the deregulation of autophagy and β-cell function under lipotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


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