Beclin 2 plays a critical role in metabolic regulation and obesity, but its functions in innate immune signaling and cancer development remain largely unknown. Here, we identified Beclin 2 as a critical negative regulator of inflammation and lymphoma development. Mice with homozygous ablation of BCL2-interacting protein 2 (Becn2) developed splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy and markedly increased ERK1/2 and NF-κB signaling for proinflammatory cytokine production. Beclin 2 targeted the key signaling kinases MEKK3 and TAK1 for degradation through an ATG9A-dependent, but ATG16L/Beclin 1/LC3–independent, autophagic pathway. Mechanistically, Beclin 2 recruited MEKK3 or TAK1 through ATG9A to form a complex (Beclin 2-ATG9A-MEKK3) on ATG9A+ vesicles upon ULK1 activation. Beclin 2 further interacted with STX5 and STX6 to promote the fusion of MEKK3- or TAK1-associated ATG9A+ vesicles to phagophores for subsequent degradation. Importantly, Becn2-deficient mice had a markedly increased incidence of lymphoma development, with persistent STAT3 activation. Myeloid-specific ablation of MEKK3 (Map3k3) completely rescued the phenotypes (splenomegaly, higher amounts of proinflammatory cytokines, and cancer incidence) of Becn2-deficient mice. Hence, our findings have identified an important role of Beclin 2 in the negative regulation of innate immune signaling and tumor development through an ATG9A-dependent, but ATG16L/Beclin 1/LC3–independent, autophagic pathway, thus providing a potential target for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Motao Zhu, Guangtong Deng, Peng Tan, Changsheng Xing, Cuiping Guan, Chongming Jiang, Yinlong Zhang, Bo Ning, Chaoran Li, Bingnan Yin, Kaifu Chen, Yuliang Zhao, Helen Y. Wang, Beth Levine, Guangjun Nie, Rong-Fu Wang
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.