Direct molecular interactions between Beclin 1 and the canonical NFκB activation pathway
General (macro)autophagy and the activation of NFκB constitute prominent responses to a large array of intracellular and extracellular stress conditions. The depletion of any of the three subunits of the inhibitor of NFκB (IκB) kinase (IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ/NEMO), each of which is essential for the canonical NFκB activation pathway, limits autophagy induction by physiological or pharmacological triggers, while constitutive active IKK subunits suffice to stimulate autophagy. The activation of IKK usually relies on TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), which is also necessary for the optimal induction of autophagy in multiple settings. TAK1 interacts with two structurally similar co-activators, TAK1-binding proteins 2 and 3 (TAB2 and TAB3). Importantly, in resting conditions both TAB2 and TAB3 bind the essential autophagic factor Beclin 1, but not TAK1. In response to pro-autophagic stimuli, TAB2 and TAB3 dissociate from Beclin 1 and engage in stimulatory interactions with TAK1. The inhibitory interaction between TABs and Beclin 1 is mediated by their coiled-coil domains (CCDs). Accordingly, the overexpression of either TAB2 or TAB3 CCD stimulates Beclin 1- and TAK1-dependent autophagy. These results point to the existence of a direct molecular crosstalk between the canonical NFκB activation pathway and the autophagic core machinery that guarantees the coordinated induction of these processes in response to stress.