Distinct autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion mechanism revealed by thapsigargin-induced autophagy arrest.
ABSTRACT: Autophagy, a catabolic pathway that delivers cellular components to lysosomes for degradation, can be activated by stressful conditions such as nutrient starvation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We report that thapsigargin, an ER stressor widely used to induce autophagy, in fact blocks autophagy. Thapsigargin does not affect autophagosome formation but leads to accumulation of mature autophagosomes by blocking autophagosome fusion with the endocytic system. Strikingly, thapsigargin has no effect on endocytosis-mediated degradation of epidermal growth factor receptor. Molecularly, while both Rab7 and Vps16 are essential regulatory components for endocytic fusion with lysosomes, we found that Rab7 but not Vps16 is required for complete autophagy flux, and that thapsigargin blocks recruitment of Rab7 to autophagosomes. Therefore, autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion must be governed by a distinct molecular mechanism compared to general endocytic fusion.
Project description:Autophagic and endocytic pathways are tightly regulated membrane rearrangement processes that are crucial for homeostasis, development and disease. Autophagic cargo is delivered from autophagosomes to lysosomes for degradation through a complex process that topologically resembles endosomal maturation. Here, we report that a Beclin1-binding autophagic tumour suppressor, UVRAG, interacts with the class C Vps complex, a key component of the endosomal fusion machinery. This interaction stimulates Rab7 GTPase activity and autophagosome fusion with late endosomes/lysosomes, thereby enhancing delivery and degradation of autophagic cargo. Furthermore, the UVRAG-class-C-Vps complex accelerates endosome-endosome fusion, resulting in rapid degradation of endocytic cargo. Remarkably, autophagosome/endosome maturation mediated by the UVRAG-class-C-Vps complex is genetically separable from UVRAG-Beclin1-mediated autophagosome formation. This result indicates that UVRAG functions as a multivalent trafficking effector that regulates not only two important steps of autophagy - autophagosome formation and maturation - but also endosomal fusion, which concomitantly promotes transport of autophagic and endocytic cargo to the degradative compartments.
Project description:The small GTPase Rab5 promotes recruitment of the Ccz1-Mon1 guanosine exchange complex to endosomes to activate Rab7, which facilitates endosome maturation and fusion with lysosomes. How these factors function during autophagy is incompletely understood. Here we show that autophagosomes accumulate due to impaired fusion with lysosomes upon loss of the Ccz1-Mon1-Rab7 module in starved Drosophila fat cells. In contrast, autophagosomes generated in Rab5-null mutant cells normally fuse with lysosomes during the starvation response. Consistent with that, Rab5 is dispensable for the Ccz1-Mon1-dependent recruitment of Rab7 to PI3P-positive autophagosomes, which are generated by the action of the Atg14-containing Vps34 PI3 kinase complex. Finally, we find that Rab5 is required for proper lysosomal function. Thus the Ccz1-Mon1-Rab7 module is required for autophagosome-lysosome fusion, whereas Rab5 loss interferes with a later step of autophagy: the breakdown of autophagic cargo within lysosomes.
Project description:During autophagy, a newly formed double membrane surrounds its cargo to generate the so-called autophagosome, which then fuses with a lysosome after closure. Previous work implicated that endosomal Rab7/Ypt7 associates to autophagosomes prior to their fusion with lysosomes. Here, we unravel how the Mon1-Ccz1 guanosine exchange factor (GEF) acting upstream of Ypt7 is specifically recruited to the pre-autophagosomal structure under starvation conditions. We find that Mon1-Ccz1 directly binds to Atg8, the yeast homolog of the members of the mammalian LC3 protein family. This requires at least one LIR motif in the Ccz1 C-terminus, which is essential for autophagy but not for endosomal transport. In agreement, only wild-type, but not LIR-mutated Mon1-Ccz1 promotes Atg8-dependent activation of Ypt7. Our data reveal how GEF targeting can specify the fate of a newly formed organelle and provide new insights into the regulation of autophagosome-lysosome fusion.
Project description:Autophagy disruption leads to neuronal damage in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Rab7, a member of the Rab GTPase superfamily, has a unique role in the regulation of autophagy. Hypoxic preconditioning (HPC) provides neuroprotection against transient global cerebral ischemia (tGCI). However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Thus, the current study explored the potential molecular mechanism of the neuroprotective effect of HPC by investigating how Rab7 mediates autophagosome (AP) maturation after tGCI in adult rats. We found that HPC attenuated AP accumulation in the hippocampal CA1 region after tGCI via restoration of autophagic flux. We also confirmed that this HPC-induced neuroprotection was not caused by the increase in lysosomes or the improvement of lysosomal function after tGCI. Electron microscopic analysis then revealed an increase in autolysosomes in CA1 neurons of HPC rats. Moreover, the inhibition of autophagosome-lysosome fusion by chloroquine significantly aggravated neuronal death in CA1, indicating that AP maturation contributes to HPC-induced neuroprotection against neuronal injury after tGCI. Furthermore, the activation of Rab7 was found to be involved in the neuroprotective effect of AP maturation after HPC. At last, the knockdown of ultraviolet radiation resistance-associated gene (UVRAG) in vivo disrupted the interaction between Vps16 and Rab7, attenuated the activation of Rab7, interrupted autophagic flux, and ultimately abrogated the HPC-induced neuroprotection against tGCI. Our results indicated that AP maturation was enhanced by the activation of Rab7 via UVRAG-Vps16 interaction, which further demonstrated the potential neuroprotective role of Rab7 in HPC against tGCI-induced neuronal injury in adult rats.
Project description:Autophagy targets pathogens, damaged organelles and protein aggregates for lysosomal degradation. These ubiquitylated cargoes are recognized by specific autophagy receptors, which recruit LC3-positive membranes to form autophagosomes. Subsequently, autophagosomes fuse with endosomes and lysosomes, thus facilitating degradation of their content; however, the machinery that targets and mediates fusion of these organelles with autophagosomes remains to be established. Here we demonstrate that myosin VI, in concert with its adaptor proteins NDP52, optineurin, T6BP and Tom1, plays a crucial role in autophagy. We identify Tom1 as a myosin VI binding partner on endosomes, and demonstrate that loss of myosin VI and Tom1 reduces autophagosomal delivery of endocytic cargo and causes a block in autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We propose that myosin VI delivers endosomal membranes containing Tom1 to autophagosomes by docking to NDP52, T6BP and optineurin, thereby promoting autophagosome maturation and thus driving fusion with lysosomes.
Project description:Autophagy is the main homeostatic pathway guiding cytosolic materials for degradation by the lysosome. Maturation of autophagosomes requires their transport towards the perinuclear region of the cell, with key factors underlying both processes still poorly understood. Here we show that transport and positioning of late autophagosomes depends on cholesterol by way of the cholesterol-sensing Rab7 effector ORP1L. ORP1L localizes to late autophagosomes and-under low-cholesterol conditions-contacts the ER protein VAP-A, forming ER-autophagosome contact sites, which prevent minus-end transport by the Rab7-RILP-dynein complex. ORP1L-mediated contact sites also inhibit localization of PLEKHM1 to Rab7. PLEKHM1, together with RILP, then recruits the homotypic fusion and vacuole protein-sorting (HOPS) complex for fusion of autophagosomes with late endosomes and lysosomes. Thus, ORP1L, via its liganding by lipids and the formation of contacts between autophagic vacuoles and the ER, governs the last steps in autophagy that lead to the lysosomal degradation of cytosolic material.
Project description:Rab7 promotes fusion of autophagosomes and late endosomes with lysosomes in yeast and metazoan cells, acting together with its effector, the tethering complex HOPS. Here we show that another small GTPase, Rab2, is also required for autophagosome and endosome maturation and proper lysosome function in Drosophila melanogaster We demonstrate that Rab2 binds to HOPS, and that its active, GTP-locked form associates with autolysosomes. Importantly, expression of active Rab2 promotes autolysosomal fusions unlike that of GTP-locked Rab7, suggesting that its amount is normally rate limiting. We also demonstrate that RAB2A is required for autophagosome clearance in human breast cancer cells. In conclusion, we identify Rab2 as a key factor for autophagic and endocytic cargo delivery to and degradation in lysosomes.
Project description:Autophagy is a catabolic process in which lysosomes degrade intracytoplasmic contents transported in double-membraned autophagosomes. Autophagosomes are formed by the elongation and fusion of phagophores, which derive from pre-autophagosomal structures. The membrane origins of autophagosomes are unclear and may involve multiple sources, including the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Here we show in mammalian cells that the heavy chain of clathrin interacts with Atg16L1 and is involved in the formation of Atg16L1-positive early autophagosome precursors. Atg16L1 associated with clathrin-coated structures, and inhibition of clathrin-mediated internalization decreased the formation of both Atg16L1-positive precursors and mature autophagosomes. We tested and demonstrated that the plasma membrane contributes directly to the formation of early Atg16L1-positive autophagosome precursors. This may be particularly important during periods of increased autophagosome formation, because the plasma membrane may serve as a large membrane reservoir that allows cells periods of autophagosome synthesis at levels many-fold higher than under basal conditions, without compromising other processes.
Project description:During autophagy, phagophores capture portions of cytoplasm and form double-membrane autophagosomes to deliver cargo for lysosomal degradation. How autophagosomes gain competence to fuse with late endosomes and lysosomes is not known. In this paper, we show that Syntaxin17 is recruited to the outer membrane of autophagosomes to mediate fusion through its interactions with ubisnap (SNAP-29) and VAMP7 in Drosophila melanogaster. Loss of these genes results in accumulation of autophagosomes and a block of autolysosomal degradation during basal, starvation-induced, and developmental autophagy. Viable Syntaxin17 mutant adults show large-scale accumulation of autophagosomes in neurons, severe locomotion defects, and premature death. These mutant phenotypes cannot be rescued by neuron-specific inhibition of caspases, suggesting that caspase activation and cell death do not play a major role in brain dysfunction. Our findings reveal the molecular mechanism underlying autophagosomal fusion events and show that lysosomal degradation and recycling of sequestered autophagosome content is crucial to maintain proper functioning of the nervous system.
Project description:The HOPS (homotypic fusion and protein sorting) complex functions in endocytic and autophagic pathways in both lower eukaryotes and mammalian cells through its involvement in fusion events between endosomes and lysosomes or autophagosomes and lysosomes. However, the differential molecular mechanisms underlying these fusion processes are largely unknown. Buff (bf) is a mouse mutant that carries an Asp251-to-Glu point mutation (D251E) in the VPS33A protein, a tethering protein and a core subunit of the HOPS complex. Bf mice showed impaired spontaneous locomotor activity, motor learning, and autophagic activity. Although the gross anatomy of the brain was apparently normal, the number of Purkinje cells was significantly reduced. Furthermore, we found that fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes was defective in bf cells without compromising the endocytic pathway. The direct association of mutant VPS33A(D251E) with the autophagic SNARE complex, STX17 (syntaxin 17)-VAMP8-SNAP29, was enhanced. In addition, the VPS33A(D251E) mutation enhanced interactions with other HOPS subunits, namely VPS41, VPS39, VPS18, and VPS11, except for VPS16. Reduction of the interactions between VPS33A(Y440D) and several other HOPS subunits led to decreased association with STX17. These results suggest that the VPS33A(D251E) mutation plays dual roles by increasing the HOPS complex assembly and its association with the autophagic SNARE complex, which selectively affects the autophagosome-lysosome fusion that impairs basal autophagic activity and induces Purkinje cell loss.