Lysine-specific demethylase LSD1 regulates autophagy in neuroblastoma through SESN2-dependent pathway

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Autophagy is a physiological process, important for recycling of macromolecules and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Defective autophagy is associated with tumorigenesis and has a causative role in chemotherapy resistance in leukemia and in solid cancers. Here, we report that autophagy is regulated by the lysine-specific demethylase LSD1/KDM1A, an epigenetic marker whose overexpression is a feature of malignant neoplasia with an instrumental role in cancer development. In the present study, we determine that two different LSD1 inhibitors (TCP and SP2509) as well as selective ablation of LSD1 expression promote autophagy in neuroblastoma cells. At a mechanistic level, we show that LSD1 binds to the promoter region of Sestrin2 (SESN2), a critical regulator of mTORC1 activity. Pharmacological inhibition of LSD1 triggers SESN2 expression that hampers mTORC1 activity, leading to enhanced autophagy. SESN2 overexpression suffices to promote autophagy in neuroblastoma cells, while loss of SESN2 expression reduces autophagy induced by LSD1 inhibition. Our findings elucidate a mechanism whereby LSD1 controls autophagy in neuroblastoma cells through SESN2 transcription regulation, and we suggest that pharmacological targeting of LSD1 may have effective therapeutic relevance in the control of autophagy in neuroblastoma.

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