Resveratrol prevents rapamycin-induced upregulation of autophagy and selectively induces apoptosis in TSC2-deficient cells

Alayev A, Sun Y, Snyder RB, Berger SM, Yu JJ, Holz MK
Source: Cell Cycle.
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 13(3): 371-82
Research Area:
Gene Expression
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Epithelial, bronchial (NHBE), human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: lung
The mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway is hyperactivated in a variety of cancers and disorders, including lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), which are characterized by mutations in tumor suppressors TSC1 or TSC2. The concern with the use of mTORC1 inhibitors, such as rapamycin or its analogs (rapalogs), is that they cause upregulation of autophagy and suppress the negative feedback loop to Akt, which promotes cell survival, causing the therapy to be only partially effective, and relapse occurs upon cessation of treatment. In this study, we investigate the use of rapamycin in combination with resveratrol, a naturally occurring polyphenol, in TSC2-deficient cells. We tested whether such combination would prevent rapamycin-induced upregulation of autophagy and shift the cell fate toward apoptosis. We found that this combination treatment blocked rapamycin-induced upregulation of autophagy and restored inhibition of Akt. Interestingly, the combination of rapamycin and resveratrol selectively promoted apoptosis of TSC2-deficient cells. Thus, the addition of resveratrol to rapamycin treatment may be a promising option for selective and targeted therapy for diseases with TSC loss and mTORC1 hyperactivation.