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PLoS One. 2009 Sep 29;4(9):e7099. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007099.

Lysosomal-associated protein multispanning transmembrane 5 gene (LAPTM5) is associated with spontaneous regression of neuroblastomas.

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Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Medical Research Institute and School of Biomedical Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.



Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most frequently occurring solid tumor in children, and shows heterogeneous clinical behavior. Favorable tumors, which are usually detected by mass screening based on increased levels of catecholamines in urine, regress spontaneously via programmed cell death (PCD) or mature through differentiation into benign ganglioneuroma (GN). In contrast, advanced-type NB tumors often grow aggressively, despite intensive chemotherapy. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of PCD during spontaneous regression in favorable NB tumors, as well as identifying genes with a pro-death role, is a matter of urgency for developing novel approaches to the treatment of advanced-type NB tumors.


We found that the expression of lysosomal associated protein multispanning transmembrane 5 (LAPTM5) was usually down-regulated due to DNA methylation in an NB cell-specific manner, but up-regulated in degenerating NB cells within locally regressing areas of favorable tumors detected by mass-screening. Experiments in vitro showed that not only a restoration of its expression but also the accumulation of LAPTM5 protein, was required to induce non-apoptotic cell death with autophagic vacuoles and lysosomal destabilization with lysosomal-membrane permeabilization (LMP) in a caspase-independent manner. While autophagy is a membrane-trafficking pathway to degrade the proteins in lysosomes, the LAPTM5-mediated lysosomal destabilization with LMP leads to an interruption of autophagic flux, resulting in the accumulation of immature autophagic vacuoles, p62/SQSTM1, and ubiqitinated proteins as substrates of autophagic degradation. In addition, ubiquitin-positive inclusion bodies appeared in degenerating NB cells.


We propose a novel molecular mechanism for PCD with the accumulation of autophagic vacuoles due to LAPTM5-mediated lysosomal destabilization. LAPTM5-induced cell death is lysosomal cell death with impaired autophagy, not cell death by autophagy, so-called autophagic cell death. Thus LAPTM5-mediated PCD is closely associated with the spontaneous regression of NBs and opens new avenues for exploring innovative clinical interventions for this tumor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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