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1.  Regulation of autophagy by cytoplasmic p53 
Nature cell biology  2008;10(6):676-687.
Multiple cellular stressors, including activation of the tumour suppressor p53, can stimulate autophagy. Here we show that knockout, knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of p53 can induce autophagy in human, mouse and nematode cells. Enhanced autophagy improved the survival of p53-deficient cancer cells under conditions of hypoxia and nutrient depletion, allowing them to maintain high ATP levels. Inhibition of p53 led to autophagy in enucleated cells, and cytoplasmic, not nuclear, p53 was able to repress the enhanced autophagy of p53-/- cells. Many different inducers of autophagy (for example, starvation, rapamycin and toxins affecting the endoplasmic reticulum) stimulated proteasome-mediated degradation of p53 through a pathway relying on the E3 ubiquitin ligase HDM2. Inhibition of p53 degradation prevented the activation of autophagy in several cell lines, in response to several distinct stimuli. These results provide evidence of a key signalling pathway that links autophagy to the cancer-associated dysregulation of p53.
doi:10.1038/ncb1730
PMCID: PMC2676564  PMID: 18454141
2.  Mitochondrial control of cell death induced by hyperosmotic stress 
Apoptosis  2006;12(1):3-18.
HeLa and HCT116 cells respond differentially to sorbitol, an osmolyte able to induce hypertonic stress. In these models, sorbitol promoted the phenotypic manifestations of early apoptosis followed by complete loss of viability in a time-, dose-, and cell type-specific fashion, by eliciting distinct yet partially overlapping molecular pathways. In HCT116 but not in HeLa cells, sorbitol caused the mitochondrial release of the caspase-independent death effector AIF, whereas in both cell lines cytochrome c was retained in mitochondria. Despite cytochrome c retention, HeLa cells exhibited the progressive activation of caspase-3, presumably due to the prior activation of caspase-8. Accordingly, caspase inhibition prevented sorbitol-induced killing in HeLa, but only partially in HCT116 cells. Both the knock-out of Bax in HCT116 cells and the knock-down of Bax in A549 cells by RNA interference reduced the AIF release and/or the mitochondrial alterations. While the knock-down of Bcl-2/Bcl-XL sensitized to sorbitol-induced killing, overexpression of a Bcl-2 variant that specifically localizes to mitochondria (but not of the wild-type nor of a endoplasmic reticulum-targeted form) strongly inhibited sorbitol effects. Thus, hyperosmotic stress kills cells by triggering different molecular pathways, which converge at mitochondria where pro- and anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family exert their control.
doi:10.1007/s10495-006-0328-x
PMCID: PMC2799004  PMID: 17080328
Apoptosis; Bax; Bcl-2; Hyperosmotic stress; Mitochondria; Sorbitol

Results 1-2 (2)