Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Ambra1 modulates starvation-induced autophagy through AMPK signaling pathway in cardiomyocytes.

PMID 25117440


Recent research has revealed a role for Ambra1, an autophagy-related gene-related (ATG) protein, in the autophagic pro-survival response, and Ambra1 has been shown to regulate Beclin1 and Beclin1-dependent autophagy in embryonic stem cells and cancer cells. However, whether Ambra1 plays an important role in the autophagy pathway in cardiomyocytes is unknown. In this study, we hypothesized that Ambra1 is an important regulator of autophagy and apoptosis in cardiomyocytes. To test this hypothesis, we confirmed autophagic activity in serum-starved cardiomyocytes by assessing endogenous microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) localization, the presence of autophagosomes and LC3 protein levels. Cell apoptosis and viability were measured by annexin-V and PI staining and MTT assays. We determined that serum deprivation-induced autophagy was associated with Ambra1 upregulation in cardiomyocytes. When Ambra1 expression was reduced by siRNA, the cardiomyocytes were more sensitive to staurosporine-induced apoptosis. In addition, co-immunoprecipitation of Ambra1 and Beclin1 demonstrated that Ambra1 and Beclin1 interact in serum-starved or rapamycin-treated cardiomyocytes, suggesting that Ambra1 regulates autophagy in cardiomyocytes by interacting with Beclin1. Finally, we determined that starvation stress-induced activation of Ambra1 contributes to the attenuation of adaptive AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling. In conclusion, Ambra1 is a crucial regulator of autophagy and apoptosis through AMPK signaling pathway in cardiomyocytes that maintains the balance between autophagy and apoptosis.