Preconditioning with a mild stressor such as fasting is a promising way to reduce severe side effects from subsequent chemo- or radiotherapy. However, the underlying mechanisms have been largely unexplored. Here, we demonstrate that the TP53/p53-FBXO22-TFEB (transcription factor EB) axis plays an essential role in this process through upregulating basal macroautophagy/autophagy. Mild stress-activated TP53 transcriptionally induced FBXO22, which in turn ubiquitinated KDM4B (lysine-specific demethylase 4B) complexed with MYC-NCOR1 suppressors for degradation, leading to transcriptional induction of TFEB. Upregulation of autophagy-related genes by increased TFEB dramatically enhanced autophagic activity and cell survival upon following a severe stressor. Mitogen-induced AKT1 activation counteracted this process through the phosphorylation of KDM4B, which inhibited FBXO22-mediated ubiquitination. Additionally, fbxo22−/− mice died within 10 h of birth, and their mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) showed a lowered basal autophagy, whereas FBXO22-overexpressing mice were resistant to chemotherapy. Taken together, these results suggest that TP53 upregulates basal autophagy through the FBXO22-TFEB axis, which governs the hormetic effect in chemotherapy. Abbreviations: BBC3/PUMA: BCL2 binding component 3; CDKN1A/p21: cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1A; ChIP-seq: chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing; DDB2: damage specific DNA binding protein 2; DRAM: DNA damage regulated autophagy modulator; ESR/ER: estrogen receptor 1; FMD: fasting mimicking diet; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; KDM4B: lysine-specific demethylase 4B; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 alpha; MEFs: mouse embryonic fibroblasts; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NCOR1: nuclear receptor corepressor 1; SCF: SKP1-CUL-F-box protein; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; TFEB: transcription factor EB.