MITF-MIR211 axis is a novel autophagy amplifier system during cellular stress
Öztürk, Deniz Gülfem and Koçak, Muhammed and Akçay, Arzu and Kınoğlu, Kubilay and Kara, Erdoğan and Büyük, Yalçın and Kazan, Hilal and Gözüaçık, Devrim (2019) MITF-MIR211 axis is a novel autophagy amplifier system during cellular stress. Autophagy, 15 (3). pp. 375-390. ISSN 1554-8627 (Print) 1554-8635 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2018.1531197
Macroautophagy (autophagy) is an evolutionarily conserved recycling and stress response mechanism. Active at basal levels in eukaryotes, autophagy is upregulated under stress providing cells with building blocks such as amino acids. A lysosome-integrated sensor system composed of RRAG GTPases and MTOR complex 1 (MTORC1) regulates lysosome biogenesis and autophagy in response to amino acid availability. Stress-mediated inhibition of MTORC1 results in the dephosphorylation and nuclear translocation of the TFE/MITF family of transcriptional factors, and triggers an autophagy- and lysosomal-related gene transcription program. The role of family members TFEB and TFE3 have been studied in detail, but the importance of MITF proteins in autophagy regulation is not clear so far. Here we introduce for the first time a specific role for MITF in autophagy control that involves upregulation of MIR211. We show that, under stress conditions including starvation and MTOR inhibition, a MITF-MIR211 axis constitutes a novel feed-forward loop that controls autophagic activity in cells. Direct targeting of the MTORC2 component RICTOR by MIR211 led to the inhibition of the MTORC1 pathway, further stimulating MITF translocation to the nucleus and completing an autophagy amplification loop. In line with a ubiquitous function, MITF and MIR211 were co-expressed in all tested cell lines and human tissues, and the effects on autophagy were observed in a cell-type independent manner. Thus, our study provides direct evidence that MITF has rate-limiting and specific functions in autophagy regulation. Collectively, the MITF-MIR211 axis constitutes a novel and universal autophagy amplification system that sustains autophagic activity under stress conditions.
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