Mutation research. Genetic toxicology and environmental mutagenesis

Autophagy promotes DNA-protein crosslink clearance.

PMID 26921017


Toxic DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) can result from exposure to radiation or chemotherapeutic agents. DPCs can also accumulate during aging or stress. However, the cellular mechanisms underlying clearance of DPCs remain largely unknown. Here, we have identified an important role of autophagy in the processing of DPCs induced by three representative agents: formaldehyde, a chemical used widely in industry; UV light; and camptothecin, a cytotoxic anticancer drug. Autophagy inhibitors, 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or chloroquine (CQ), promoted the accumulation of DPCs in damaged cells and injured organs. siRNA-mediated silencing of Atg5 or Atg7, two essential components for the formation of the autophagosome, gave similar results. In contrast, the autophagy inducer rapamycin (RAP) attenuated DPCs in vitro and in vivo. Our findings reveal the importance of autophagy in controlling the level of DPCs, and may open up a new avenue for understanding the formation and clearance of this detrimental DNA adduct.