The physiological role of autophagy in metabolism of the body involves both protein synthesis and degradation. The autophagy-lysosome and the ubiquitin-proteasome systems are the two major intracellular proteolytic mechanisms. Autophagy in hepatocytes is known to be quite active and contribute to its normal functions and the pathogenesis of liver diseases. The role of autophagy in liver diseases has been widely studied, and growing evidence has now shown that autophagy is involved in the pathogenesis of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the role of autophagy in the progression of liver fibrosis and prognosis of human HCC is not well known. Recent studies have demonstrated that tissue factor (TF) combined with coagulation factor VII (FVII) has a pathological role by activating a protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) for tumor growth. Autophagy-related LC3A/B-II formation induced by the inhibition of TF/FVII/PAR2 coagulation axis, particularly by FVII knockdown, was selectively mediated by the Atg7 induction. These results are consistent with clinical observations that indicate the important role of FVII activation in regulating autophagy in HCC. In this chapter, we discuss our findings in which FVII promotes growth and progression in HCC through ERK-TSC/mTOR signaling to repress autophagy and may play a pivotal role in conferring cirrhosis and other liver diseases.
Part of the book: Autophagy in Current Trends in Cellular Physiology and Pathology