Epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of autophagy

Hi Jai R. Shin, Hyunkyung Kim, Keun Il Kim, Sung Hee Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is an essential self-digestion process to maintain homeostasis and promote survival in response to starvation. Although the components of autophagy in the cytoplasm have been well studied, little has been known about the fine-tuning mechanism of autophagy through epigenetic regulations. Recently, we identified the histone arginine methyltransferase CARM1 as a new component and followed histone H3R17 dimethylation as a critical epigenetic mark in starvation-induced autophagy. Upon nutrient starvation, CARM1 is stabilized in the nucleus, but not in the cytoplasm, whereas it is constantly degraded under nutrient-rich conditions by the SKP2-containing SCF (SKP1-CUL1-F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligase. We further showed that nutrient starvation induces the protein levels and activity of AMPK in the nucleus. Activated AMPK then phosphorylates FOXO3, leading to SKP2 downregulation and increased CARM1 protein levels in the nucleus. Stabilized CARM1 in turn functions as an essential co-activator of TFEB and regulates the expression of autophagy and lysosomal genes. Our findings provide a conceptual advance that activation of specific epigenetic programs is indispensable for a sustained autophagic response, and shed light on a potential therapeutic targeting of the newly identified AMPK-SKP2-CARM1 signaling axis in autophagy-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2248-2249
Number of pages2
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


  • AMPK
  • CARM1
  • FOXO
  • SKP2
  • TFEB
  • arginine methylation
  • ellagic acid
  • epigenetic regulation
  • starvation
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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