iASPP is a novel autophagy inhibitor in keratinocytes

Anissa Chikh, Paolo Sanzà, Claudio Raimondi, Olufolake Akinduro, Gary Warnes, Giovanna Chiorino, Carolyn Byrne, Catherine A. Harwood, Daniele Bergamaschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The protein iASPP (encoded by PPP1R13L) is an evolutionarily conserved p53 inhibitor, the expression of which is often upregulated in human cancers. We have recently shown that iASPP is a crucial regulator of epidermal homeostasis. Here, we report that iASPP also acts as autophagy inhibitor in keratinocytes. Our data show that depletion of iASPP protects keratinocytes from apoptosis by modulating the expression of Noxa (also known as PMAIP1). In our model, iASPP expression can affect the fission-fusion cycle, mass and shape of mitochondria. iASPP-silenced keratinocytes display disorganization of cytosolic compartments and increased metabolic stress caused by deregulation of mTORC1 signaling. Moreover, increased levels of lipidated LC3 protein confirmed the activation of autophagy in iASPP-depleted cells. We have identified a novel mechanism modulating autophagy in keratinocytes that relies upon iASPP expression specifically reducing the interaction of Atg5-Atg12 with Atg16L1, an interaction that is essential for autophagosome formation or maturation. Using organotypic culture, we further explored the link between autophagy and differentiation, and we showed that impairing autophagy affects epidermal terminal differentiation. Our data provide an alternative mechanism to explain how epithelial integrity is maintained against environmental stressors and might also improve the understanding of the etiology of skin diseases that are characterized by defects in differentiation and DNA damage responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3079-3093
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • iASPP
  • apoptosis
  • autophagy
  • mitochondria
  • epidermis
  • keratinocytes


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