[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: (Macro)Autophagy is a phylogenetically conserved membrane-trafficking process that functions to deliver cytoplasmic cargoes to lysosomes for digestion. The process is a major mechanism for turnover of cellular constituents and is therefore critical for maintaining cellular homeostasis. Macroautophagy is characteristically distinct from other forms of autophagy due to the formation of double-membraned vesicles termed autophagosomes which encapsulate cargoes prior to fusion with lysosomes. Autophagosomes contain an integral membrane-bound form (LC3-II) of the microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 β (MAP1LC3B), which has become a gold-standard marker to detect accumulation of autophagosomes and thereby changes in macroautophagy. Due to the role played by macroautophagy in various diseases, the detection of autophagosomes in tissue sections is frequently desired. To date, however, the detection of endogenous LC3-II on paraffin-embedded tissue sections has proved problematic. We report here a simple, optimized and validated method for the detection of LC3-II by immunohistochemistry in human and mouse tissue samples that we believe will be a useful resource for those wishing to study macroautophagy ex vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic pathway that has multiple roles in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. It can inhibit the initiation of tumorigenesis through limiting cytoplasmic damage, genomic instability and inflammation, and the loss of certain autophagy genes can lead to cancer. Conversely, autophagy can also assist cells in dealing with stressful metabolic environments, thereby promoting cancer cell survival. In fact, some cancers rely on autophagy to survive and progress. Furthermore, tumour cells can exploit autophagy to cope with the cytotoxicity of certain anticancer drugs. By contrast, it appears that certain therapeutics require autophagy for the effective killing of cancer cells. Despite these dichotomies, it is clear that autophagy has an important, if complex, role in cancer. This is further exemplified by the fact that autophagy is connected with major cancer networks, including those driven by p53, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), RAS and glutamine metabolism. In this Commentary, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the role that autophagy has in cancer and discuss current strategies for targeting autophagy for therapeutic gain.