Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.534, 128-133, 2021
Autophagy-mediated cytoplasmic accumulation of p53 leads to apoptosis through DRAM-BAX in cadmium-exposed human proximal tubular cells
The tumor suppressor p53 is involved in cadmium (Cd)-induced apoptosis and autophagy. However, the regulatory mechanisms of p53 in Cd-induced kidney injury are not well established. Here, we report the role of autophagy in Cd-induced p53 induction in human proximal tubular cells (HK-2). HK-2 cells treated with Cd induced the expression of p53, DNA damage autophagy modulator (DRAM), and Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX), as well as caused poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase 1 (PARP-1) cleavage. Cd exposure also induced autophagy with the accumulation of monomeric p62 and multiple high molecular weight form (HMW)-p62. The expression levels of p53, p62, microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3)-1, and LC3-II were similar in the sense that they increased up to 12 h and then gradually decreased. DRAM and BAX levels began to increase post autophagy induction and continued to increase, indicating that autophagy preceded apoptosis. While the genetic knockdown of p53 downregulated HWM-p62, DRAM, and BAX, the expression levels of these proteins were upregulated by p53 overexpression. The genetic knockdown of p62 downregulated p53, autophagy, DRAM, and BAX. The inhibition of autophagy through pharmacological and genetic knockdown reduced p53 and inhibited Cd-induced apoptosis. Collectively, Cd induces apoptosis through p53-mediated DRAM-BAX signaling, which can be regulated by autophagy. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.