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Cell Cycle. 2010 Jan 15;9(2):398-407. Epub 2010 Jan 2.

The EphB2 tumor suppressor induces autophagic cell death via concomitant activation of the ERK1/2 and PI3K pathways.

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Montréal Centre for Experimental Therapeutics in Cancer, Segal Cancer Centre, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada.


EphB2 is a tyrosine kinase receptor that has been shown to be a tumor suppressor gene in various cancers. However the mechanisms of this function are unknown. We report that EphB2 induces a form of cell death that does not involve the formation of apoptotic bodies or nuclear fragmentation and is instead accompanied by extensive vacuolization. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrates cytoplasmic vacuoles in EphB2-overexpressing cells that resembled autophagosomes. Using an EYFP-LC3 fusion protein and immunoblotting, we detected LC3 aggregation and conversion from form I to form II, both hallmarks of autophagy, in EphB2-transfected cells. Silencing of the autophagy regulating genes ATG5 or ATG7 using shRNAs, strongly prevented EphB2-induced cell death, further confirming its autophagic nature. EphB2 expression results in mitochondrial depolarization and translocation of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol. Mapping of signaling pathways revealed novel information about the mechanisms of action of EphB2. We demonstrated that the MAPK pathway is important in the pro-death action of EphB2, through ERK1/2 phosphorylation and inhibition of this pathway using PD98059 counters EphB2-driven cell death. In addition, we found that inhibition of class III PI3K pathway, using the autophagy inhibitor 3MA, but not class I PI3K inhibition using LY294002, also effectively blocks EphB2- induced cell death. Finally, EphB2 expression inactivates Akt, which is a known inhibitor of autophagy. In conclusion, the EphB2 receptor induces an autophagic cell death that is mediated through the ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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