Research Papers:

Tumor suppressor Spred2 interaction with LC3 promotes autophagosome maturation and induces autophagy-dependent cell death

Ke Jiang, Min Liu, Guibin Lin, Beibei Mao, Wei Cheng, Han Liu, Jozsef Gal, Haining Zhu, Zengqiang Yuan, Wuguo Deng, Quentin Liu, Peng Gong, Xiaolin Bi and Songshu Meng _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:25652-25667. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8357

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Ke Jiang1,*, Min Liu1,*, Guibin Lin2, Beibei Mao3, Wei Cheng1, Han Liu1, Jozsef Gal4, Haining Zhu4, Zengqiang Yuan3, Wuguo Deng1, Quentin Liu1, Peng Gong2, Xiaolin Bi1, Songshu Meng1

1Institute of Cancer Stem Cell, Dalian Medical University Cancer Center, Dalian, China

2Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

3State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

4Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Songshu Meng, e-mail: [email protected]

Xiaolin Bi, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: Spred2, LC3, p62/SQSTM1, autophagy, tumor suppressor

Received: April 13, 2015     Accepted: March 12, 2016     Published: March 25, 2016


The tumor suppressor Spred2 (Sprouty-related EVH1 domain-2) induces cell death in a variety of cancers. However, the underlying mechanism remains to be elucidated. Here we show that Spred2 induces caspase-independent but autophagy-dependent cell death in human cervical carcinoma HeLa and lung cancer A549 cells. We demonstrate that ectopic Spred2 increased both the conversion of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), GFP-LC3 puncta formation and p62/SQSTM1 degradation in A549 and HeLa cells. Conversely, knockdown of Spred2 in tumor cells inhibited upregulation of autophagosome maturation induced by the autophagy inducer Rapamycin, which could be reversed by the rescue Spred2. These data suggest that Spred2 promotes autophagy in tumor cells. Mechanistically, Spred2 co-localized and interacted with LC3 via the LC3-interacting region (LIR) motifs in its SPR domain. Mutations in the LIR motifs or deletion of the SPR domain impaired Spred2-mediated autophagosome maturation and tumor cell death, indicating that functional LIR is required for Spred2 to trigger tumor cell death. Additionally, Spred2 interacted and co-localized with p62/SQSTM1 through its SPR domain. Furthermore, the co-localization of Spred2, p62 and LAMP2 in HeLa cells indicates that p62 may be involved in Spred2-mediated autophagosome maturation. Inhibition of autophagy using the lysosomal inhibitor chloroquine, reduced Spred2-mediated HeLa cell death. Silencing the expression of autophagy-related genes ATG5, LC3 or p62 in HeLa and A549 cells gave similar results, suggesting that autophagy is required for Spred2-induced tumor cell death. Collectively, these data indicate that Spred2 induces tumor cell death in an autophagy-dependent manner.

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