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Autophagy. 2006 Jul-Sep;2(3):200-8. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Effects of RNA interference of Atg4B on the limited proteolysis of LC3 in PC12 cells and expression of Atg4B in various rat tissues.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


Atg4B, a mammalian homologue of yeast Atg4, has been shown to play an important role in the processing of LC3, a mammalian homologue of yeast Atg8, but the tissue distribution of Atg4B remains unknown. To better understand the role of Atg4B in rat tissue cells, we prepared antibodies against Atg4B, and PC12 cells in which the expression of Atg4B was knocked down by RNA interference. In the RNA interference-treated PC12 cells, for which the expression of Atg4B was 10% of wild-type PC12 cells, the expression of cytosolic LC3-I was similar to that in wild-type cells. Knockdown cell lysates, however, suppressed the cleavage of recombinant proLC3 to LC3-I. Moreover, the expression of Atg4B protein and mRNA was ubiquitous in rat tissues; however, the expression levels were not identical, but were dependent on the tissue, with the expression high in brain and testicular tissue, and low in muscular and heart tissue. In brain tissue, the expression of Atg4B protein and mRNA was higher in neurons, especially in the cerebellum and olfactory bulb, as evidenced by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. These lines of evidence suggest that Atg4B plays a major role in the processing of LC3 and is widely distributed in rat tissues. In particular, in brain tissues, autophagy may be deeply associated with the metabolism of neurons, especially in the cerebellum.

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