A conserved domain in exon 2 coding for the human and murine ARF tumor suppressor protein is required for autophagy induction

 Abstract

The ARF tumor suppressor, encoded by the CDKN2A gene, has a well-defined role regulating TP53 stability; this activity maps to exon 1β of CDKN2A. In contrast, little is known about the function(s) of exon 2 of ARF, which contains the majority of mutations in human cancer. In addition to controlling TP53 stability, ARF also has a role in the induction of autophagy. However, whether the principal molecule involved is full-length ARF, or a small molecular weight variant called smARF, has been controversial. Additionally, whether tumor-derived mutations in exon 2 of CDKN2A affect ARF’s autophagy function is unknown. Finally, whereas it is known that silencing or inhibiting TP53 induces autophagy, the contribution of ARF to this induction is unknown. In this report we used multiple autophagy assays to map a region located in the highly conserved 5′ end of exon 2 of CDKN2A that is necessary for autophagy induction by both human and murine ARF. We showed that mutations in exon 2 of CDKN2A that affect the coding potential of ARF, but not p16INK4a, all impair the ability of ARF to induce autophagy. We showed that whereas full-length ARF can induce autophagy, our combined data suggest that smARF instead induces mitophagy (selective autophagy of mitochondria), thus potentially resolving some confusion regarding the role of these variants. Finally, we showed that silencing Tp53 induces autophagy in an ARF-dependent manner. Our data indicated that a conserved domain in ARF mediates autophagy, and for the first time they implicate autophagy in ARF’s tumor suppressor function.

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Pages
1553 - 1565
doi
10.4161/auto.25831
Type
Basic Research Paper
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A conserved domain in exon 2 coding for the human and murine ARF tumor suppressor protein is required for autophagy induction