Macroautophagy or autophagy is a lysosome-dependent process in which enzymatic degradation and recycling of cytosolic components occur in stressful contexts. The mechanisms underlying the signaling from starvation to the regulation of autophagy are not fully understood. We previously showed that the Src family member p66Shc (focal adhesion-associated 66 kDa isoform of the Src homology and collagen) promotes anoikis and suppresses tumor metastasis via k-Ras-dependent control of proliferation and survival. However, the role of p66Shc in low-nutrient-induced autophagy-related pathways remains elusive. In this work, human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells were used to further investigate the biological effects of p66Shc on autophagy and apoptotic resistance. Here, we show that deficiency of p66Shc mitigates the low-nutrient-induced autophagy process in the levels of microtubule-associated protein 1A light chain protein 3B (LC3B) conversion, in the number of autophagic vacuoles and in p62/sequestosome 1 protein degradation. However, autophagy-related protein Beclin 1 was not significantly changed during low-nutrient treatment. Furthermore, we found that prolonged phosphorylation of extracellular signaling-regulated kinase (Erk)1/2, but not phosphorylation of Akt is significantly sustained when p66Shc expression is inhibited by shRNA. In addition, cleavage of caspase 7 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, but not caspase 6 and 9 are retarded with this effect compared to the shRNA control cells. Together, these findings suggest the possibility that p66Shc plays a pivotal role in coordinately regulating autophagy process and apoptotic resistance in A549 cells under nutrient-limited conditions.
The adaptor protein p66Shc mediates anoikis and prevents lung cancer metastasis. Loss of p66Shc mitigates baseline level of low-nutrient induced autophagy in Ras hyperactivated A549 cancer cells and enhances apoptosis resistance. Thus, p66Shc coordinately regulates autophagy and apoptosis resistance during nutrient deprivation. Understanding of p66Shc functions is expected to be used to characterize the autophagy process in lung cancers.