Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1539–1548 | Cite as

Ulk1/FUNDC1 Prevents Nerve Cells from Hypoxia-Induced Apoptosis by Promoting Cell Autophagy

  • Li Wang
  • Peng WangEmail author
  • He Dong
  • Shiduan Wang
  • Haichen Chu
  • Wei Yan
  • Xue Zhang
Original Paper


Cell autophagy and cell apoptosis are both observed in the process of hypoxia-induced ischemic cerebral infarction (ICI). Unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1 (Ulk1) and FUN14 Domain-containing Protein 1 (FUNDC1) are both involved in the regulation of cell autophagy. This study aimed to investigate the regulatory effects of Ulk1 and FUNDC1 on hypoxia-induced nerve cell autophagy and apoptosis. Cell viability was measured using cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. Cell apoptosis was detected using Annexin V-PE/7-ADD staining assay. qRT-PCR was used to quantify the mRNA levels of Ulk1 and FUNDC1 in PC-12 cells. Cell transfection was performed to up-regulate the expression of Ulk1. 3-Methyladenine (3-MA) was used as autophagy inhibitor and rapamycin was used as autophagy activator in our experiments. SP600125 was used as c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor. Western blotting was performed to analyze the expression levels of key factors that are related to cell autophagy, apoptosis and JNK pathway. We found that hypoxia simultaneously induced apoptosis and autophagy of PC-12 cells. The activation of Ulk1 and FUNDC1 were also found in PC-12 cells after hypoxia induction. Overexpression of Ulk1 promoted the activation of FUNDC1 and prevented PC-12 cells from hypoxia-induced apoptosis. Suppression of Ulk1 had opposite effects. Furthermore, we also found that JNK pathway participated in the effects of Ulk1 overexpression on PC-12 cell apoptosis reduction. To conclude, Ulk1/FUNDC1 played critical regulatory roles in hypoxia-induced nerve cell autophagy and apoptosis. Overexpression of Ulk1 prevented nerve cells from hypoxia-induced apoptosis by promoting cell autophagy.


Ischemic cerebral infarction Unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1 FUN14 Domain-containing Protein 1 Cell autophagy Cell apoptosis JNK pathway 



This work was supported by Youth Research Fund of The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Wang
    • 1
  • Peng Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • He Dong
    • 1
  • Shiduan Wang
    • 1
  • Haichen Chu
    • 1
  • Wei Yan
    • 1
  • Xue Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyThe Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao UniversityQingdaoChina

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