Atg8 controls phagophore expansion during autophagosome formation.
ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a potent intracellular degradation process with pivotal roles in health and disease. Atg8, a lipid-conjugated ubiquitin-like protein, is required for the formation of autophagosomes, double-membrane vesicles responsible for the delivery of cytoplasmic material to lysosomes. How and when Atg8 functions in this process, however, is not clear. Here we show that Atg8 controls the expansion of the autophagosome precursor, the phagophore, and give the first real-time, observation-based temporal dissection of the autophagosome formation process. We demonstrate that the amount of Atg8 determines the size of autophagosomes. During autophagosome biogenesis, Atg8 forms an expanding structure and later dissociates from the site of vesicle formation. On the basis of the dynamics of Atg8, we present a multistage model of autophagosome formation. This model provides a foundation for future analyses of the functions and dynamics of known autophagy-related proteins and for screening new genes.
Project description:Formation of the autophagosome is likely the most complex step of macroautophagy, and indeed it is the morphological and functional hallmark of this process; accordingly, it is critical to understand the corresponding molecular mechanism. Atg8 is the only known autophagy-related (Atg) protein required for autophagosome formation that remains associated with the completed sequestering vesicle. Approximately one-fourth of all of the characterized Atg proteins that participate in autophagosome biogenesis affect Atg8, regulating its conjugation to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), localization to the phagophore assembly site and/or subsequent deconjugation. An unanswered question in the field regards the physiological role of the deconjugation of Atg8-PE. Using an Atg8 mutant that bypasses the initial Atg4-dependent processing, we demonstrate that Atg8 deconjugation is an important step required to facilitate multiple events during macroautophagy. The inability to deconjugate Atg8-PE results in the mislocalization of this protein to the vacuolar membrane. We also show that the deconjugation of Atg8-PE is required for efficient autophagosome biogenesis, the assembly of Atg9-containing tubulovesicular clusters into phagophores/autophagosomes, and for the disassembly of PAS-associated Atg components.
Project description:Atg8 is a ubiquitin-like protein that controls the expansion of the phagophore during autophagosome formation. It is recruited to the phagophore during the expansion stage and released upon the completion of the autophagosome. One possible model explaining the function of Atg8 is that it acts as an adaptor of a coat complex. Here, we tested the coat-adaptor model by estimating the area density of Atg8 molecules on the phagophore. We developed a computational process to simulate the random sectioning of vesicles heterogeneous in size. This method can be applied to estimate the original sizes of intracellular vesicles from sizes of their random sections obtained through transmission electron microscopy. Using this method, we found that the estimated area density of Atg8 is comparable with that of proteins that form the COPII coat.
Project description:Members of the Atg8 family of proteins are conjugated to autophagosomal membranes, where they have been proposed to drive autophagosome formation and selective sequestration of cargo. In mammals, the Atg8 family consists of six members divided into the LC3 and GABARAP subfamilies. To define Atg8 function, we used genome editing to generate knockouts of the LC3 and GABARAP subfamilies as well as all six Atg8 family members in HeLa cells. We show that Atg8s are dispensable for autophagosome formation and selective engulfment of mitochondria, but essential for autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We find that the GABARAP subfamily promotes PLEKHM1 recruitment and governs autophagosome-lysosome fusion, whereas the LC3 subfamily plays a less prominent role in these processes. Although neither GABARAPs nor LC3s are required for autophagosome biogenesis, loss of all Atg8s yields smaller autophagosomes and a slowed initial rate of autophagosome formation. Our results clarify the essential function of the Atg8 family and identify GABARAP subfamily members as primary contributors to PINK1/Parkin mitophagy and starvation autophagy.
Project description:Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is a conserved intracellular degradation mechanism required for cell survival. A double-membrane structure, the phagophore, is generated to sequester cytosolic cargos destined for degradation in the vacuole. The mechanism involved in the biogenesis of the phagophore is still an open question. We focused on 4 autophagy-related (Atg) proteins (Atg2, Atg9, Atg14, and Atg18), which are involved in the formation of the phagophore in order to gain a more complete understanding of the membrane dynamics that occur during formation of the autophagosome. The corresponding mutants, while defective in autophagy, nonetheless generate the membrane-bound form of Atg8, allowing us to use this protein as a marker for the nascent autophagosome precursor membrane. Using electron microscopy (EM), we discovered in these atg mutants a novel single-membrane structure (~120 to 150 nm in size). Electron tomography revealed that this structure originates from a part of the nuclear membrane, and we have named it the alphasome. Our data suggest that the alphasome is associated with Atg8, and sequesters selective cargo, the Cvt complex, during autophagy. Abbreviations: 3D: three-dimensional; AB: autophagic body; AP: autophagosome; Atg: autophagy-related; Cvt: cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting; EM: electron microscopy; IEM: immunoelectron microscopy; L: lipid droplet; N: nucleus; NM: nuclear membrane; PAS: phagophore assembly site; PE: phosphatidylethanolamine; prApe1: precursor aminopeptidase I; rER: rough endoplasmic reticulum; TEM: transmission electron microscopy; V: vacuole; VLP: virus-like particle.
Project description:Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved bulk-protein degradation pathway in which isolation membranes engulf the cytoplasmic constituents, and the resulting autophagosomes transport them to lysosomes. Two ubiquitin-like conjugation systems, termed Atg12 and Atg8 systems, are essential for autophagosomal formation. In addition to the pathophysiological roles of autophagy in mammals, recent mouse genetic studies have shown that the Atg8 system is predominantly under the control of the Atg12 system. To clarify the roles of the Atg8 system in mammalian autophagosome formation, we generated mice deficient in Atg3 gene encoding specific E2 enzyme for Atg8. Atg3-deficient mice were born but died within 1 d after birth. Conjugate formation of mammalian Atg8 homologues was completely defective in the mutant mice. Intriguingly, Atg12-Atg5 conjugation was markedly decreased in Atg3-deficient mice, and its dissociation from isolation membranes was significantly delayed. Furthermore, loss of Atg3 was associated with defective process of autophagosome formation, including the elongation and complete closure of the isolation membranes, resulting in malformation of the autophagosomes. The results indicate the essential role of the Atg8 system in the proper development of autophagic isolation membranes in mice.
Project description:The delivery of proteins and organelles to the vacuole by autophagy involves membrane rearrangements that result in the formation of large vesicles called autophagosomes. The mechanism underlying autophagosome biogenesis and the origin of the membranes composing these vesicles remains largely unclear. We have investigated the role of the Golgi complex in autophagy and have determined that in yeast, activation of ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf)1 and Arf2 GTPases by Sec7, Gea1, and Gea2 is essential for this catabolic process. The two main events catalyzed by these components, the biogenesis of COPI- and clathrin-coated vesicles, do not play a critical role in autophagy. Analysis of the sec7 strain under starvation conditions revealed that the autophagy machinery is correctly assembled and the precursor membrane cisterna of autophagosomes, the phagophore, is normally formed. However, the expansion of the phagophore into an autophagosome is severely impaired. Our data show that the Golgi complex plays a crucial role in supplying the lipid bilayers necessary for the biogenesis of double-membrane vesicles possibly through a new class of transport carriers or a new mechanism.
Project description:Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is a ubiquitous process in eukaryotic cells that is integrally involved in various aspects of cellular and organismal physiology. The morphological hallmark of autophagy is the formation of double-membrane cytosolic vesicles, autophagosomes, which sequester cytoplasmic cargo and deliver it to the lysosome or vacuole. Thus, autophagy involves dynamic membrane mobilization, yet the source of the lipid that forms the autophagosomes and the mechanism of membrane delivery are poorly characterized. The TRAPP complexes are multimeric guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that activate the Rab GTPase Ypt1, which is required for secretion. Here we describe another form of this complex (TRAPPIII) that acts as an autophagy-specific GEF for Ypt1. The Trs85 subunit of the TRAPPIII complex directs this Ypt1 GEF to the phagophore assembly site (PAS) that is involved in autophagosome formation. Consistent with the observation that a Ypt1 GEF is directed to the PAS, we find that Ypt1 is essential for autophagy. This is an example of a Rab GEF that is specifically targeted for canonical autophagosome formation.
Project description:Macroautophagy is primarily a degradative process that cells use to break down their own components to recycle macromolecules and provide energy under stress conditions, and defects in macroautophagy lead to a wide range of diseases. Atg9, conserved from yeast to mammals, is the only identified transmembrane protein in the yeast core macroautophagy machinery required for formation of the sequestering compartment termed the autophagosome. This protein undergoes dynamic movement between the phagophore assembly site (PAS), where the autophagosome precursor is nucleated, and peripheral sites that may provide donor membrane for expansion of the phagophore. Atg9 is a phosphoprotein that is regulated by the Atg1 kinase. We used stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) to identify phosphorylation sites on this protein and identified an Atg1-independent phosphorylation site at serine 122. A nonphosphorylatable Atg9 mutant showed decreased autophagy activity, whereas the phosphomimetic mutant enhanced activity. Electron microscopy analysis suggests that the different levels of autophagy activity reflect differences in autophagosome formation, correlating with the delivery of Atg9 to the PAS. Finally, this phosphorylation regulates Atg9 interaction with Atg23 and Atg27.
Project description:In autophagy, a cup-shaped membrane called the isolation membrane is formed, expanded, and sealed to complete a double membrane-bound vesicle called the autophagosome that encapsulates cellular constituents to be transported to and degraded in the lysosome/vacuole. The formation of the autophagosome requires autophagy-related (Atg) proteins. Atg8 is a ubiquitin-like protein that localizes to the isolation membrane; a subpopulation of this protein remains inside the autophagosome and is transported to the lysosome/vacuole. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Atg1 is a serine/threonine kinase that functions in the initial step of autophagosome formation and is also efficiently transported to the vacuole via autophagy. Here, we explore the mechanism and significance of this autophagic transport of Atg1. In selective types of autophagy, receptor proteins recognize degradation targets and also interact with Atg8, via the Atg8 family interacting motif (AIM), to link the targets to the isolation membrane. We find that Atg1 contains an AIM and directly interacts with Atg8. Mutations in the AIM disrupt this interaction and abolish vacuolar transport of Atg1. These results suggest that Atg1 associates with the isolation membrane by binding to Atg8, resulting in its incorporation into the autophagosome. We also show that mutations in the Atg1 AIM cause a significant defect in autophagy, without affecting the functions of Atg1 implicated in triggering autophagosome formation. We propose that in addition to its essential function in the initial stage, Atg1 also associates with the isolation membrane to promote its maturation into the autophagosome.
Project description:ATG8 family proteins are evolutionary conserved ubiquitin-like modifiers, which become attached to the headgroup of the membrane lipid phosphatidylethanolamine in a process referred to as lipidation. This reaction is carried out analogous to the conjugation of ubiquitin to its target proteins, involving the E1-like ATG7, the E2-like ATG3 and the E3-like ATG12-ATG5-ATG16 complex, which determines the site of lipidation. ATG8 lipidation is a hallmark of autophagy where these proteins are involved in autophagosome formation, the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes and cargo selection. However, it has become evident that ATG8 lipidation also occurs in processes that are not directly related to autophagy. Here we discuss recent insights into the targeting of ATG8 lipidation in autophagy and other pathways with special emphasis on the recruitment and activation of the E3-like complex.