TGF-{beta}1 protects against mesangial cell apoptosis via induction of autophagy.

Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 09/2010; 285(48):37909-19. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.093724
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autophagy can lead to cell death in response to stress, but it can also act as a protective mechanism for cell survival. We show that TGF-β1 induces autophagy and protects glomerular mesangial cells from undergoing apoptosis during serum deprivation. Serum withdrawal rapidly induced autophagy within 1 h in mouse mesangial cells (MMC) as determined by increased microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) levels and punctate distribution of the autophagic vesicle-associated-form LC3-II. We demonstrate that after 1 h there was a time-dependent decrease in LC3 levels that was accompanied by induction of apoptosis, evidenced by increases in cleaved caspase 3. However, treatment with TGF-β1 resulted in induction of the autophagy protein LC3 while suppressing caspase 3 activation. TGF-β1 failed to rescue MMC from serum deprivation-induced apoptosis upon knockdown of LC3 by siRNA and in MMC from LC3 null (LC3(-/-)) mice. We show that TGF-β1 induced autophagy through TAK1 and Akt activation, and inhibition of PI3K-Akt pathway by LY294002 or dominant-negative Akt suppressed LC3 levels and enhanced caspase 3 activation. TGF-β1 also up-regulated cyclin D1 and E protein levels while down-regulating p27, thus stimulating cell cycle progression. Bafilomycin A1, but not MG132, blocked TGF-β1 down-regulation of p27, suggesting that p27 levels were regulated through autophagy. Taken together, our data indicate that TGF-β1 rescues MMC from serum deprivation-induced apoptosis via induction of autophagy through activation of the Akt pathway. The autophagic process may constitute an adaptive mechanism to glomerular injury by inhibiting apoptosis and promoting mesangial cell survival.

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