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  • mTORC1-independent autophagy regulates receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylation in colorectal cancer cells via an mTORC2-mediated mechanism.

mTORC1-independent autophagy regulates receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylation in colorectal cancer cells via an mTORC2-mediated mechanism.

Cell death and differentiation (2017-05-06)
Aikaterini Lampada, James O'Prey, Gyorgy Szabadkai, Kevin M Ryan, Daniel Hochhauser, Paolo Salomoni
ABSTRACT

The intracellular autophagic degradative pathway can have a tumour suppressive or tumour-promoting role depending on the stage of tumour development. Upon starvation or targeting of oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), autophagy is activated owing to the inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 signalling pathway and promotes survival, suggesting that autophagy is a relevant therapeutic target in these settings. However, the role of autophagy in cancer cells where the PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 pathway is constitutively active remains partially understood. Here we report a role for mTORC1-independent basal autophagy in regulation of RTK activation and cell migration in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. PI3K and RAS-mutant CRC cells display basal autophagy levels despite constitutive mTORC1 signalling, but fail to increase autophagic flux upon RTK inhibition. Inhibition of basal autophagy via knockdown of ATG7 or ATG5 leads to decreased phosphorylation of several RTKs, in particular c-MET. Internalised c-MET colocalised with LAMP1-negative, LC3-positive vesicles. Finally, autophagy regulates c-MET phosphorylation via an mTORC2-dependent mechanism. Overall, our findings reveal a previously unappreciated role of autophagy and mTORC2 in regulation of oncogenic RTK activation, with implications for understanding of cancer cell signalling.

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