Autophagy 11: 2167 (2016)
Peng Y1, Miao H1, Wu S1, Yang W1, Zhang Y1, Xie G1, Xie X1, Li J1, Shi C2, Ye L3, Sun W4, Wang L4, Liang H1, Ou J1
Autophagy critically contributes to metabolic reprogramming and chromosomal stability. It has been reported that monoallelic loss of the essential autophagy gene BECN1 (encoding BECN1/Beclin 1) promotes cancer development and progression. However, the mechanism by which BECN1 is inactivated in malignancy remains largely elusive. We have previously reported a tumor suppressor role of ABHD5 (abhydrolase domain containing 5), a co-activator of PNPLA2 (patatin like phospholipase domain containing 2) in colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Here we report a noncanonical role of ABHD5 in regulating autophagy and CRC tumorigenesis. ABHD5 directly competes with CASP3 for binding to the cleavage sites of BECN1, and consequently prevents BECN1 from being cleaved by CASP3. ABHD5 deficiency provides CASP3 an advantage to cleave and inactivate BECN1, thus impairing BECN1-induced autophagic flux and augmenting genomic instability, which subsequently promotes tumorigenesis. Notably, clinical data also confirm that ABHD5 proficiency is significantly correlated with the expression levels of BECN1, LC3-II and CASP3 in human CRC tissues. Our findings suggest that ABHD5 possesses a PNPLA2-independent function in regulating autophagy and tumorigenesis, further establishing the tumor suppressor role of ABHD5, and offering an opportunity to develop new approaches aimed at preventing CRC carcinogenesis.