A novel autophagy-independent, oncosuppressive function of BECN1: Degradation of MCL1

Mohamed Elgendy, Saverio Minucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discovery that heterozygous disruption of Becn1 in mice leads to spontaneous tumor development was the first direct link arguing for a predominantly tumor-suppressor function of autophagy. However, the mechanisms by which BECN1 restrains tumorigenesis and whether autophagy-independent functions of BECN1 contribute to its tumor-restraining potential remained unexplored. We recently described a novel function of BECN1—regulation of oncogene MCL1 protein levels. Our results show that BECN1 regulates MCL1 levels in an inverse-reciprocal manner, whereby changes in the levels of one of the 2 proteins inversely affects the proteasomal degradation of the other. Importantly, this mechanism is independent of autophagy and of the physical interaction between BECN1 and MCL1. In vitro and in vivo analysis using several models, including patient-derived melanoma cells and tissue samples from patients with melanocytic lesions at different stages, showed that the identified mechanism of inverse coregulation between BECN1 and MCL1 significantly contributes to their opposing roles in tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-582
Number of pages2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • BECN1
  • MCL1
  • Melanoma
  • Proteasome
  • USP9X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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