The EMBO journal

XIAP inhibits autophagy via XIAP-Mdm2-p53 signalling.

PMID 23749209


The primary role of autophagy is adaption to starvation. However, increasing evidence suggests that autophagy inhibition also plays an important role in tumorigenesis. Upregulation of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) has been associated to a variety of human cancers, yet the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here, we report that XIAP suppresses autophagy by exerting a previously unidentified ubiquitin E3 ligase activity towards Mdm2, which is a negative regulator of p53. XIAP controls serum starvation-induced autophagy downstream of the PI3K/Akt pathway. In mouse models, inhibition of autophagy by XIAP promotes tumorigenecity of HCT116 cells. XIAP-mediated autophagy inhibition is also largely validated in clinical tumour samples. These findings reveal a novel XIAP-Mdm2-p53 pathway that mediates the inhibition of autophagy, by which XIAP may contribute to tumorigenesis.