Autosis is a unique form of cell death with characteristic morphological and biochemical features caused by dysregulated autophagy. Autosis is observed in the heart during the late phase of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), when marked accumulation of autophagosomes is induced. We previously showed that the excessive accumulation of autophagosomes promotes autosis in cardiomyocytes. Although the inhibition of autophagic flux via the upregulation of Rubicon induces the accumulation of autophagosomes during I/R, it appears that additional mechanisms exacerbating autophagosome accumulation are required for the induction of autosis. Here, we show that Tfeb contributes to the induction of autosis during the late phase of I/R in the heart. During myocardial reperfusion, Tfeb is activated and translocated into the nucleus, which in turn upregulates genes involved in autophagy and lysosomal function. The overexpression of Tfeb enhanced cardiomyocyte death induced by a high dose of TAT-Beclin 1, an effect that was inhibited by the downregulation of Atg7. Conversely, the knockdown of Tfeb attenuated high-dose TAT-Beclin1-induced death in cardiomyocytes. Although the downregulation of Tfeb in the heart significantly decreased the number of autophagic vacuoles and inhibited autosis during I/R, the activation of Tfeb activity via 3,4-dimethoxychalcone, an activator of Tfeb, aggravated myocardial injury during I/R. These findings suggest that Tfeb promotes cardiomyocyte autosis during the late phase of reperfusion in the heart.
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