Kamber, Roarke A., Christopher J. Shoemaker, and Vladimir Denic. 2015. “Receptor-Bound Targets of Selective Autophagy Use a Scaffold Protein to Activate the Atg1 Kinase.” Molecular Cell 59 (3) (August): 372–381. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2015.06.009.
Selective autophagy eliminates protein aggregates, damaged organelles, and other targets that otherwise accumulate and cause disease. Autophagy receptors mediate selectivity by connecting targets to the autophagosome membrane. It has remained unknown whether receptors perform additional functions. Here, we show that in yeast certain receptor-bound targets activate Atg1, the kinase that controls autophagosome formation. Specifically, we found that in nutrient-rich conditions, Atg1 is active only in a multi-subunit complex comprising constitutive protein aggregates, their autophagy receptor, and a scaffold protein Atg11. Development of a cell-free assay for Atg1-mediated phosphorylation enabled us to activate Atg1 with purified receptorbound aggregates and Atg11. Another target, damaged peroxisomes, also activated Atg1 using Atg11 with a distinct receptor. Our work reveals that receptor-target complexes activate Atg1 to drive formation of selective autophagosomes. This regulatory logic is a key similarity between selective autophagy and bulk autophagy, which is initiated by a distinct Atg1 activation mechanism during starvation.
Funding: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE1144152 (to R.A.K.), a postdoctoral
fellowship from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation under Grant No. DRG2130-12
(to C.J.S.), and Harvard University.