Impaired autophagy due to constitutive mTOR activation sensitizes TSC2-null cells to cell death under stress.
ABSTRACT It has been well documented that cells deficient in either TSC1 or TSC2 are highly sensitive to various cell death stimuli. In this study, we utilized the TSC2 (-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to study the involvement of autophagy in the enhanced susceptibility of TSC2-null cells to cell death. We first confirmed that both TSC1-null and TSC2-null MEFs are more sensitive to apoptosis in response to amino acid starvation (EBSS) and hypoxia. Second, we found that both the basal and inducible autophagy in TSC2 (-/-) MEFs is impaired, mainly due to constitutive activation of mTORC1. Third, suppression of autophagy by chloroquine and Atg7 knockdown sensitizes TSC2 (+/+) cells, but not TSC2 (-/-) cells, to EBSS-induced cell death. Conversely, the inhibition of mTORC1 by raptor knockdown and rapamycin activates autophagy and subsequently rescues TSC2 (-/-) cells. Finally, in starved cells, nutrient supplementations (insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and leucine) enhanced cell death in TSC2 (-/-) cells, but reduced cell death in TSC2 (+/+) cells. Taken together, these data indicate that constitutive activation of mTORC1 in TSC2 (-/-) cells leads to suppression of autophagy and enhanced susceptibility to stress-mediated cell death. Our findings thus provide new insights into the complex relationships among mTOR, autophagy and cell death, and support the possible autophagy-targeted intervention strategies for the treatment of TSC-related pathologies.
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ABSTRACT: Cancer cells show a metabolic shift that makes them overproduce protons; this has the potential to disturb the cellular acid-base homeostasis. However, these cells show cytoplasmic alkalinisation, increased acid extrusion and endosome-dependent drug resistance. Vacuolar type ATPases (V-ATPases), together with other transporters, are responsible to a great extent for these symptoms. These multi-subunit proton pumps are involved in the control of cytosolic pH and the generation of proton gradients (positive inside) across endocellular membrane systems like Golgi, endosomes or lysosomes. In addition, in tumours, they have been shown to play an important role in the acidification of the intercellular medium. This importance makes them an attractive target to control tumour cell proliferation. In the present review we present the major characteristics of this kind of proton pumps and we provide some recent insights on their in vivo regulation. Also, we review some of the consequences that V-ATPase inhibition carries for the tumour cell, such as cell cycle arrest or cell death, and provide a brief summary of the studies related to cancer made recently with commercially available inhibitors. In the light of recent knowledge on the regulation of this proton pump, some new approaches to impair V-ATPase function are also suggested.Current pharmaceutical design 02/2012; 18(10):1383-94. · 4.41 Impact Factor