GSK3-TIP60-ULK1 Signaling Pathway Links Growth Factor Deprivation to Autophagy

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Science  27 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6080, pp. 477-481
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217032

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In metazoans, cells depend on extracellular growth factors for energy homeostasis. We found that glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3), when deinhibited by default in cells deprived of growth factors, activates acetyltransferase TIP60 through phosphorylating TIP60-Ser86, which directly acetylates and stimulates the protein kinase ULK1, which is required for autophagy. Cells engineered to express TIP60S86A that cannot be phosphorylated by GSK3 could not undergo serum deprivation–induced autophagy. An acetylation-defective mutant of ULK1 failed to rescue autophagy in ULK1−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Cells used signaling from GSK3 to TIP60 and ULK1 to regulate autophagy when deprived of serum but not glucose. These findings uncover an activating pathway that integrates protein phosphorylation and acetylation to connect growth factor deprivation to autophagy.

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