Inhibition of a main regulator of cell metabolism, the protein kinase mTOR, induces autophagy and inhibits cell proliferation. However, the molecular pathways involved in the cross-talk between these two mTOR-dependent cell processes are largely unknown. Here we show that the scaffold protein AMBRA1, a member of the autophagy signalling network and a downstream target of mTOR, regulates cell proliferation by facilitating the dephosphorylation and degradation of the proto-oncogene c-Myc. We found that AMBRA1 favours the interaction between c-Myc and its phosphatase PP2A and that, when mTOR is inhibited, it enhances PP2A activity on this specific target, thereby reducing the cell division rate. As expected, such a de-regulation of c-Myc correlates with increased tumorigenesis in AMBRA1-defective systems, thus supporting a role for AMBRA1 as a haploinsufficient tumour suppressor gene.
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