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Ivanova, Saska; Polajnar, Mira; Jesus Narbona-Perez, Alvaro; Isabel Hernandez-Alvarez, Maria; Frager, Petra; Slobodnyuk, Konstantin; Plana, Natalia; Nebreda, Angel R.; Palacin, Manuel; Gomis, Roger R.; Behrends, Christian and Zorzano, Antonio (2019): Regulation of death receptor signaling by the autophagy protein TP53INP2. In: EMBO Journal, Vol. 38, No. 10, e99300

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Abstract

TP53INP2 positively regulates autophagy by binding to Atg8 proteins. Here, we uncover a novel role of TP53INP2 in death-receptor signaling. TP53INP2 sensitizes cells to apoptosis induced by death receptor ligands. In keeping with this, TP53INP2 deficiency in cultured cells or mouse livers protects against death receptor-induced apoptosis. TP53INP2 binds caspase-8 and the ubiquitin ligase TRAF6, thereby promoting the ubiquitination and activation of caspase-8 by TRAF6. We have defined a TRAF6-interacting motif (TIM) and a ubiquitin-interacting motif in TP53INP2, enabling it to function as a scaffold bridging already ubiquitinated caspase-8 to TRAF6 for further polyubiquitination of caspase-8. Mutations of key TIM residues in TP53INP2 abrogate its interaction with TRAF6 and caspase-8, and subsequently reduce levels of death receptor-induced apoptosis. A screen of cancer cell lines showed that those with higher protein levels of TP53INP2 are more prone to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, making TP53INP2 a potential predictive marker of cancer cell responsiveness to TRAIL treatment. These findings uncover a novel mechanism for the regulation of caspase-8 ubiquitination and reveal TP53INP2 as an important regulator of the death receptor pathway.

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