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EMBO J. 2009 Oct 7;28(19):3015-26. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.242. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Modulation of intracellular ROS levels by TIGAR controls autophagy.

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The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Garscube Estate, Bearsden, Glasgow, UK.


The p53-inducible TIGAR protein functions as a fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase, promoting the pentose phosphate pathway and helping to lower intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS functions in the regulation of many cellular responses, including autophagy--a response to stress conditions such as nutrient starvation and metabolic stress. In this study, we show that TIGAR can modulate ROS in response to nutrient starvation or metabolic stress, and functions to inhibit autophagy. The ability of TIGAR to limit autophagy correlates strongly with the suppression of ROS, with no clear effects on the mTOR pathway, and is p53 independent. The induction of autophagy in response to loss of TIGAR can function to moderate apoptotic response by restraining ROS levels. These results reveal a complex interplay in the regulation of ROS, autophagy and apoptosis in response to TIGAR expression, and shows that proteins similar to TIGAR that regulate glycolysis can have a profound effect on the autophagic response through ROS regulation.

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