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Autophagy. 2011 Aug;7(8):907-9. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Slimming down fat makes neuropathic hippo: the Fat/Hippo tumor suppressor pathway protects adult neurons through regulation of autophagy.

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  • 1MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London, UK.


Polyglutamine diseases are accompanied by large-scale alterations of transcription that may be responsible for neurodegeneration. We have monitored early transcriptional alterations in a Drosophila model for dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) and reported the critical downregulation of the fat tumor suppressor gene. We show that, besides partially mediating neurodegeneration in the Drosophila model for DRPLA, fat and the downstream hippo pathway are essential for adult neuronal homeostasis. This function of the Fat/Hippo pathway is independent of the well-established actions on proliferation and cell polarity; rather it has an impact upon autophagy, which is blocked and ineffective in fat/hippo mutants. These findings reveal the unexpected role in postmitotic neuronal homeostasis of a tumor suppressor pathway and hint at a new player involved directly or indirectly in the regulation of autophagy.

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