Article

The Beclin 1 network regulates autophagy and apoptosis

Department of Surgery, Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Cell death and differentiation (Impact Factor: 8.39). 02/2011; 18(4):571-80. DOI: 10.1038/cdd.2010.191
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Beclin 1, the mammalian orthologue of yeast Atg6, has a central role in autophagy, a process of programmed cell survival, which is increased during periods of cell stress and extinguished during the cell cycle. It interacts with several cofactors (Atg14L, UVRAG, Bif-1, Rubicon, Ambra1, HMGB1, nPIST, VMP1, SLAM, IP(3)R, PINK and survivin) to regulate the lipid kinase Vps-34 protein and promote formation of Beclin 1-Vps34-Vps15 core complexes, thereby inducing autophagy. In contrast, the BH3 domain of Beclin 1 is bound to, and inhibited by Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL. This interaction can be disrupted by phosphorylation of Bcl-2 and Beclin 1, or ubiquitination of Beclin 1. Interestingly, caspase-mediated cleavage of Beclin 1 promotes crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy. Beclin 1 dysfunction has been implicated in many disorders, including cancer and neurodegeneration. Here, we summarize new findings regarding the organization and function of the Beclin 1 network in cellular homeostasis, focusing on the cross-regulation between apoptosis and autophagy.

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