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Beclin-1 is a key regulator of autophagy that functions in the context of two phase-specific complexes in the initiation and maturation of autophagosomes. Its known interacting proteins include autophagy effectors, Bcl-2 family members, and organelle membrane anchor proteins. Here we report a newly identified interaction between Beclin-1 and the protein tyrosine kinase receptor Her2. We demonstrate that in Her2-expressing breast carcinoma cells that do not succumb to lapatinib, this Her1/2 inhibitor disrupts the cell surface interaction between Her2 and Beclin-1. The data suggest that the ensuing autophagic response is correlatively associated with the release of Beclin-1 from its complex with Her2 and with the subsequent increase in cytosolic Beclin-1. Upon its interaction with Her2, Beclin-1 up-regulates the phosphorylation levels of Her2 and Akt. The Beclin-1 evolutionarily conserved domain is required both for the interaction of Beclin-1 with Her2 and for the increased Her2 and Akt phosphorylation. These findings shed new light on mechanisms involved in lapatinib-mediated autophagy in Her2-expressing breast carcinoma cell lines and in Beclin-1 signaling in these cells.


Jie Han, Wen Hou, Caisheng Lu, Leslie A Goldstein, Donna B Stolz, Simon C Watkins, Hannah Rabinowich. Interaction between Her2 and Beclin-1 proteins underlies a new mechanism of reciprocal regulation. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2013 Jul 12;288(28):20315-25

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PMID: 23703612

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