Thiostrepton degrades mutant p53 by eliciting an autophagic response in SW480 cells

Dhanya Kalathil, Manu Prasad, Maharrish Chelladurai, Samu John, Asha S. Nair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutations in p53 gene are one of the hallmarks of tumor development. Specific targeting of mutant p53 protein has a promising role in cancer therapeutics. Our preliminary observation showed destabilization of mutant p53 protein in SW480, MiaPaCa and MDAMB231 cell lines upon thiostrepton treatment. In order to elucidate the mechanism of thiostrepton triggered mutant p53 degradation, we explored the impact of proteasome inhibition on activation of autophagy. Combined treatment of thiostrepton and cycloheximide/chloroquine prevented the degradation of mutant p53 protein, reinforcing autophagy as the means of mutant p53 destabilization. Our initial studies suggested that mutant p53 degradation post THSP treatment was carried out by BAG3 mediated autophagy, based on the evidence of BAG1 to BAG3 switching. Subsequent interactome analysis performed post thiostrepton treatment revealed an association of p53 with autophagosome complex associated proteins such as BAG3, p62 and HSC70. Reaccumulation of p53 was seen in BAG3 silenced cells treated with thiostrepton, thereby confirming the role of BAG3 in destabilization of this molecule. Further, localization of p53 into the lysosome upon THSP treatment substantiated our findings that mutant p53 was degraded by an autopahgic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6938-6950
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BAG3
  • autophagy
  • lysosome
  • p53
  • p62
  • thiostrepton


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