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Cell death & disease

A novel autophagy inhibitor berbamine blocks SNARE-mediated autophagosome-lysosome fusion through upregulation of BNIP3.


PMID 29445175

Abstract

Increasing evidences reveal that autophagy inhibitor could enhance the effect of chemotherapy to cancer. However, few autophagy inhibitors are currently approved for clinical application in humans. Berbamine (BBM) is a natural compound extracted from traditional Chinese medicine that is widely used for treatment of a variety of diseases without any obvious side effects. Here we found that BBM is a novel auophagy inhibitor, which potently induced the accumulation of autophagosomes by inhibiting autophagosome-lysosome fusion in human breast cancer cells. Mechanistically, we found that BBM blocked autophagosome-lysosome fusion by inhibiting the interaction of SNAP29 and VAMP8. Furthermore, BBM induced upregulation of BNIP3 and the interaction between SNAP29 and BNIP3. BNIP3 depletion or SNAP29 overexpression abrogated BBM-mediated blockade of autophagosome-lysosome fusion through the interaction between SNAP29 and VAMP8, whereas BNIP3 overexpression blocked autophagosome-lysosome fusion through inhibition of the interaction between SNAP29 and VAMP8. These findings suggest that upregulation of BNIP3 and interaction between BNIP3 and SNAP29 could be involved in BBM-mediated blockade of autophagosome-lysosome fusion through inhibition of the interaction between SNAP29 and VAMP8. Our findings identify the critical role of BNIP3 in blockade of autophagosome-lysosome fusion mediated by BBM, and suggest that BBM could potentially be further developed as a novel autophagy inhibitor, which could enhance the effect of chemotherapy to cancer.