PDCD4 (programmed cell death 4) is a tumor suppressor that plays a crucial role in multiple cellular functions, such as the control of protein synthesis and transcriptional control of some genes, the inhibition of cancer invasion and metastasis. The expression of this protein is controlled by synthesis, such as via transcription and translation, and degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The mitogens, known as tumor promotors, EGF (epidermal growth factor) and TPA (12-O
-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate) stimulate the degradation of PDCD4 protein. However, the whole picture of PDCD4 degradation mechanisms is still unclear, we therefore investigated the relationship between PDCD4 and autophagy. The proteasome inhibitor MG132 and the autophagy inhibitor bafilomycin A1 were found to upregulate the PDCD4 levels. PDCD4 protein levels increased synergistically in the presence of both inhibitors. Knockdown of p62/SQSTM1 (sequestosome-1), a polyubiquitin binding partner, also upregulated the PDCD4 levels. P62 and LC3 (microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3)-II were co-immunoprecipitated by an anti-PDCD4 antibody. Colocalization particles of PDCD4, p62 and the autophagosome marker LC3 were observed and the colocalization areas increased in the presence of autophagy and/or proteasome inhibitor(s) in Huh7 cells. In ATG (autophagy related) 5-deficient Huh7 cells in which autophagy was impaired, the PDCD4 levels were increased at the basal levels and upregulated in the presence of autophagy inhibitors. Based on the above findings, we concluded that after phosphorylation in the degron and ubiquitination, PDCD4 is degraded by both the proteasome and autophagy systems.
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