ABSTRACT: Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is one of the major degradation systems in eukaryotic cells, and its dysfunction may result in diseases ranging from neurodegeneration to cancer. Although most of the autophagy-related (Atg) proteins that function in this pathway were first identified in yeast, many were subsequently shown to have homologs in higher eukaryotes including humans, and the overall mechanism of autophagy is highly conserved. The most prominent feature of autophagy is the formation of a double-membrane sequestering compartment, the phagophore; this transient organelle surrounds part of the cytoplasm and matures into an autophagosome, which subsequently fuses with the vacuole or lysosome to allow degradation of the cargo. Much attention has focused on the process involved in phagophore nucleation and expansion, but many questions remain. Here, we identified the yeast protein Icy2, which we now name Atg41, as playing a role in autophagosome formation. Atg41 interacts with the transmembrane protein Atg9, a key component involved in autophagosome biogenesis, and both proteins display a similar localization profile. Under autophagy-inducing conditions the expression level of Atg41 increases dramatically and is regulated by the transcription factor Gcn4. This work provides further insight into the mechanism of Atg9 function and the dynamics of sequestering membrane formation during autophagy.
Project description:Autophagy is the degradation of a cell's own components within lysosomes (or the analogous yeast vacuole), and its malfunction contributes to a variety of human diseases. Atg9 is the sole integral membrane protein required in formation of the initial sequestering compartment, the phagophore, and is proposed to play a key role in membrane transport; the phagophore presumably expands by vesicular addition to form a complete autophagosome. It is not clear through what mechanism Atg9 functions at the phagophore assembly site (PAS). Here we report that Atg9 molecules self-associate independently of other known autophagy proteins in both nutrient-rich and starvation conditions. Mutational analyses reveal that self-interaction is critical for anterograde transport of Atg9 to the PAS. The ability of Atg9 to self-interact is required for both selective and nonselective autophagy at the step of phagophore expansion at the PAS. Our results support a model in which Atg9 multimerization facilitates membrane flow to the PAS for phagophore 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 eukaryotic cells, autophagy mediates the degradation of cytosolic contents in response to environmental change. Genetic analyses in fungi have identified over 30 autophagy-related (ATG) genes and provide substantial insight into the molecular mechanism of this process. However, one essential issue that has not been resolved is the origin of the lipids that form the autophagosome, the sequestering vesicle that is critical for autophagy. Here, we report that two post-Golgi proteins, Sec2 and Sec4, are required for autophagy. Sec4 is a Rab family GTPase, and Sec2 is its guanine nucleotide exchange factor. In sec2 and sec4 conditional mutant yeast, the anterograde movement of Atg9, a proposed membrane carrier, is impaired during starvation conditions. Similarly, in the sec2 mutant, Atg8 is inefficiently recruited to the phagophore assembly site, which is involved in autophagosome biogenesis, resulting in the generation of fewer autophagosomes. We propose that following autophagy induction the function of Sec2 and Sec4 are diverted to direct membrane flow to autophagosome formation.
Project description:Autophagy is a conserved pathway for bulk degradation of cytoplasmic material by a double-membrane structure named the autophagosome. The initiation of autophagosome formation requires the recruitment of autophagy-related protein 9 (ATG9) vesicles to the preautophagosomal structure. However, the functional relationship between ATG9 vesicles and the phagophore is controversial in different systems, and the molecular function of ATG9 remains unknown in plants. Here, we demonstrate that ATG9 is essential for endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived autophagosome formation in plants. Through a combination of genetic, in vivo imaging and electron tomography approaches, we show that Arabidopsis ATG9 deficiency leads to a drastic accumulation of autophagosome-related tubular structures in direct membrane continuity with the ER upon autophagic induction. Dynamic analyses demonstrate a transient membrane association between ATG9 vesicles and the autophagosomal membrane during autophagy. Furthermore, trafficking of ATG18a is compromised in atg9 mutants during autophagy by forming extended tubules in a phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate-dependent manner. Taken together, this study provides evidence for a pivotal role of ATG9 in regulating autophagosome progression from the ER membrane in Arabidopsis.
Project description:Macroautophagy/autophagy is a cellular degradation process that sequesters organelles or proteins into a double-membrane structure called the phagophore; this transient compartment matures into an autophagosome, which then fuses with the lysosome or vacuole to allow hydrolysis of the cargo. Factors that control membrane traffic are also essential for each step of autophagy. Here we demonstrate that 2 monomeric GTP-binding proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arl1 and Ypt6, which belong to the Arf/Arl/Sar protein family and the Rab family, respectively, and control endosome-trans-Golgi traffic, are also necessary for starvation-induced autophagy under high temperature stress. Using established autophagy-specific assays we found that cells lacking either ARL1 or YPT6, which exhibit synthetic lethality with one another, were unable to undergo autophagy at an elevated temperature, although autophagy proceeds normally at normal growth temperature; specifically, strains lacking one or the other of these genes are unable to construct the autophagosome because these 2 proteins are required for proper traffic of Atg9 to the phagophore assembly site (PAS) at the restrictive temperature. Using degron technology to construct an inducible arl1? ypt6? double mutant, we demonstrated that cells lacking both genes show defects in starvation-inducted autophagy at the permissive temperature. We also found Arl1 and Ypt6 participate in autophagy by targeting the Golgi-associated retrograde protein (GARP) complex to the PAS to regulate the anterograde trafficking of Atg9. Our data show that these 2 membrane traffic regulators have novel roles in autophagy.
Project description:Autophagy, a unique intracellular membrane-trafficking pathway, is initiated by the formation of an isolation membrane (phagophore) that engulfs cytoplasmic constituents, leading to generation of the autophagosome, a double-membrane vesicle, which is targeted to the lysosome. The outer autophagosomal membrane consequently fuses with the lysosomal membrane. Multiple membrane-fusion events mediated by SNARE molecules have been postulated to promote autophagy. ?SNAP, the adaptor molecule for the SNARE-priming enzyme N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) is known to be crucial for intracellular membrane fusion processes, but its role in autophagy remains unclear. Here we demonstrated that knockdown of ?SNAP leads to inhibition of autophagy, manifested by an accumulation of sealed autophagosomes located in close proximity to lysosomes but not fused with them. Under these conditions, moreover, association of both Atg9 and the autophagy-related SNARE protein syntaxin17 with the autophagosome remained unaffected. Finally, our results suggested that under starvation conditions, the levels of ?SNAP, although low, are nevertheless sufficient to partially promote the SNARE priming required for autophagy. Taken together, these findings indicate that while autophagosomal-lysosomal membrane fusion is sensitive to inhibition of SNARE priming, the initial stages of autophagosome biogenesis and autophagosome expansion remain resistant to its loss.
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:Autophagy is a physiological process for the recycling and degradation of cellular materials. Forming the autophagosome from the phagophore, a cup-shaped double-membrane vesicle, is a critical step in autophagy. The origin of the cup shape of the phagophore is poorly understood. In yeast, fusion of a small number of Atg9-containing vesicles is considered a key step in autophagosome biogenesis, aided by Atg1 complexes (ULK1 in mammals) localized at the preautophagosomal structure (PAS). In particular, the S-shaped Atg17-Atg31-Atg29 subcomplex of Atg1 is critical for phagophore nucleation at the PAS. To study this process, we simulated membrane remodeling processes in the presence and absence of membrane associated Atg17. We show that at least three vesicles need to fuse to induce the phagophore shape, consistent with experimental observations. However, fusion alone is not sufficient. Interactions with 34-nm long, S-shaped Atg17 complexes are required to overcome a substantial kinetic barrier in the transition to the cup-shaped phagophore. Our finding rationalizes the recruitment of Atg17 complexes to the yeast PAS, and their unusual shape. In control simulations without Atg17, with weakly binding Atg17, or with straight instead of S-shaped Atg17, the membrane shape transition did not occur. We confirm the critical role of Atg17-membrane interactions experimentally by showing that mutations of putative membrane interaction sites result in reduction or loss of autophagic activity in yeast. Fusion of a small number of vesicles followed by Atg17-guided membrane shape-remodeling thus emerges as a viable route to phagophore formation.
Project description:Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process, which is highly conserved in eukaryotes. During this process, unwanted cytosolic constituents are sequestered and delivered into the vacuole/lysosome by a double-membrane organelle known as an autophagosome. The autophagosome initiates from a membrane sac named the phagophore, and after phagophore expansion and closure, the outer membrane fuses with the vacuole/lysosome to release the autophagic body into the vacuole. Membrane sources derived from the endomembrane system (e.g., Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi and endosome) have been implicated to contribute to autophagosome in different steps (initiation, expansion or maturation). Therefore, coordination between the autophagy-related (ATG) proteins and membrane tethers from the endomembrane system is required during autophagosome biogenesis. In this review, we will update recent findings with a focus on comparing the selected core ATG complexes and the endomembrane tethering machineries for shaping the autophagosome membrane in yeast, mammal, and plant systems.
Project description:While many of the proteins required for autophagy have been identified, the source of the membrane of the autophagosome is still unresolved with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), endosomes, and mitochondria all having been evoked. The integral membrane protein Atg9 is delivered to the autophagosome during starvation and in the related cytoplasm-to-vacuole (Cvt) pathway that occurs constitutively in yeast. We have examined the requirements for delivery of Atg9-containing membrane to the yeast autophagosome. Atg9 does not appear to originate from mitochondria, and Atg9 cannot reach the forming autophagosome directly from the ER or early Golgi. Components of traffic between Golgi and endosomes are known to be required for the Cvt pathway but do not appear required for autophagy in starved cells. However, we find that pairwise combinations of mutations in Golgi-endosomal traffic components apparently only required for the Cvt pathway can cause profound defects in Atg9 delivery and autophagy in starved cells. Thus it appears that membrane that contains Atg9 is delivered to the autophagosome from the Golgi-endosomal system rather than from the ER or mitochondria. This is underestimated by examination of single mutants, providing a possible explanation for discrepancies between yeast and mammalian studies on Atg9 localization and autophagosome formation.