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Autophagy. 2009 Feb;5(2):273-6. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

To die or to live: the dual role of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 in autophagy and necrosis under oxidative stress and DNA damage.

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Department of Community, Occupational & Family Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), activated by DNA strand breaks, participates in the DNA repair process physiologically. Excessive activation of PARP-1 mediates necrotic cell death under the status of oxidative stress and DNA damage. However, it remains elusive whether and how PARP-1 activation is involved in autophagy and what is the function of PARP-1-mediated autophagy under oxidative stress and DNA damage. We recently demonstrated that hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) induces autophagy through a novel autophagy signaling mechanism linking PARP-1 activation to the LKB1-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Furthermore, PARP-1-mediated autophagy plays a cytoprotective role in H(2)O(2)-induced necrotic cell death as suppression of autophagy greatly sensitizes H2O2- induced cell death. Our study thus identifies a novel function of PARP-1 in mediating autophagy and it appears that PAPR-1 possesses a dual role in modulating necrosis and autophagy under oxidative stress and DNA damage: on the one hand, overactivation of PARP-1 leads to ATP depletion and necrotic cell death; on the other hand, PARP-1 activation promotes autophagy via the LKB1- AMPK-mTOR pathway to enhance cell survival. The cellular decision of life or death depends on the balance between autophagy and necrosis mediated by these two distinct pathways.

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