Rapid membrane expansion is the key to autophagosome formation during nutrient starvation. In this issue, Yamamoto et al. (2012. J. Cell Biol.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201202061) now provide a mechanism for vesicle-mediated initiation of autophagosome biogenesis. They show that Atg9 vesicles, produced de novo during starvation, are ∼30–60 nm in size and contain ∼30 molecules of Atg9. These vesicles assemble to form an autophagosome, and subsequently, the Atg9 embedded in the outer membrane is recycled to avoid degradation.
Many yeast and some mammalian multivesicular body (MVB) cargoes display modification by K63-linked ubiquitin chains (K63Ub), which are required for their efficient sorting. Yeast UBD-containing ESCRT proteins are modified by the ubiquitin ligase Rsp5—some likely by K63Ub. A failure to generate K63Ub in yeast leads to MVB ultrastructure alteration.
In yeast, the sorting of transmembrane proteins into the multivesicular body (MVB) internal vesicles requires their ubiquitylation by the ubiquitin ligase Rsp5. This allows their recognition by the ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs) of several endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) subunits. K63-linked ubiquitin (K63Ub) chains decorate several MVB cargoes, and accordingly we show that they localize prominently to the class E compartment, which accumulates ubiquitylated cargoes in cells lacking ESCRT components. Conversely, yeast cells unable to generate K63Ub chains displayed MVB sorting defects. These properties are conserved among eukaryotes, as the mammalian melanosomal MVB cargo MART-1 is modified by K63Ub chains and partly missorted when the genesis of these chains is inhibited. We show that all yeast UBD-containing ESCRT proteins undergo ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation, some being modified through the opposing activities of Rsp5 and the ubiquitin isopeptidase Ubp2, which are known to assemble and disassemble preferentially K63Ub chains, respectively. A failure to generate K63Ub chains in yeast leads to an MVB ultrastructure alteration. Our work thus unravels a double function of K63Ub chains in cargo sorting and MVB biogenesis.
Macroautophagy mediates the degradation of long-lived proteins and organelles via the de novo formation of double-membrane autophagosomes that sequester cytoplasm and deliver it to the vacuole/lysosome; however, relatively little is known about autophagosome biogenesis. Atg8, a phosphatidylethanolamine-conjugated protein, was previously proposed to function in autophagosome membrane expansion, based on the observation that it mediates liposome tethering and hemifusion in vitro. We show here that with physiological concentrations of phosphatidylethanolamine, Atg8 does not act as a fusogen. Rather, we provide evidence for the involvement of exocytic Q/t-SNAREs in autophagosome formation, acting in the recruitment of key autophagy components to the site of autophagosome formation, and in regulating the organization of Atg9 into tubulovesicular clusters. Additionally, we found that the endosomal Q/t-SNARE Tlg2 and the R/v-SNAREs Sec22 and Ykt6 interact with Sso1-Sec9, and are required for normal Atg9 transport. Thus, multiple SNARE-mediated fusion events are likely to be involved in autophagosome biogenesis.
Atg9; fusion; lysosome; membrane biogenesis; protein targeting; secretory pathway; stress; tubulovesicular clusters; vacuole; yeast
Autophagy is a catabolic pathway conserved among eukaryotes that allows cells to rapidly eliminate large unwanted structures such as aberrant protein aggregates, superfluous or damaged organelles, and invading pathogens. The hallmark of this transport pathway is the sequestration of the cargoes that have to be degraded in the lysosomes by double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes. The key actors mediating the biogenesis of these carriers are the autophagy-related genes (ATGs). For a long time, it was assumed that autophagy is a bulk process. Recent studies, however, have highlighted the capacity of this pathway to exclusively eliminate specific structures and thus better fulfil the catabolic necessities of the cell. We are just starting to unveil the regulation and mechanism of these selective types of autophagy, but what it is already clearly emerging is that structures targeted to destruction are accurately enwrapped by autophagosomes through the action of specific receptors and adaptors. In this paper, we will briefly discuss the impact that the selective types of autophagy have had on our understanding of autophagy.
During autophagy, cytosol, protein aggregates, and organelles are sequestered into double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and delivered to the lysosome/vacuole for breakdown and recycling of their basic components. In all eukaryotes this pathway is important for adaptation to stress conditions such as nutrient deprivation, as well as to regulate intracellular homeostasis by adjusting organelle number and clearing damaged structures. For a long time, starvation-induced autophagy has been viewed as a nonselective transport pathway; however, recent studies have revealed that autophagy is able to selectively engulf specific structures, ranging from proteins to entire organelles. In this paper, we discuss recent findings on the mechanisms and physiological implications of two selective types of autophagy: ribophagy, the specific degradation of ribosomes, and reticulophagy, the selective elimination of portions of the ER.
Autophagy is one of the newest and fastest emerging research areas in biomedical life sciences. Autophagosomes, large double-membrane vesicles enclosing cytoplasmic components targeted for degradation, are the hallmark of this catabolic pathway. The origin of the lipid bilayers composing these transport carriers has been the central enigma of the field since the discovery of autophagy. A series of recent studies has implicated several cellular organelles as the possible source of the autophagosomal membranes, if anything further clouding our view. In this compendium, we will discuss these apparently contradictory results and briefly emphasize the relevance of determining the lipid source used for autophagy for future translational research, for example in drug discovery programs.
Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged mouse hepatitis coronavirus nonstructural protein 4 (nsp4) was shown to localize to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and to be recruited to the coronavirus replicative structures. Fluorescence loss in photobleaching and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments demonstrated that while the membranes of the ER are continuous with those harboring the replicative structures, the mobility of nsp4 at the latter structures is relatively restricted. In agreement with that observation, nsp4 was shown to be engaged in homotypic and heterotypic interactions, the latter with nsp3 and nsp6. In addition, the coexpression of nsp4 with nsp3 affected the subcellular localization of the two proteins.
Pathogens of bacterial and viral origin hijack pathways operating in eukaryotic cells in many ways in order to gain access into the host, to establish themselves and to eventually produce their progeny. The detailed molecular characterization of the subversion mechanisms devised by pathogens to infect host cells is crucial to generate targets for therapeutic intervention. Here we review recent data indicating that coronaviruses probably co-opt membranous carriers derived from the endoplasmic reticulum, which contain proteins that regulate disposal of misfolded polypeptides, for their replication. In addition, we also present models describing potential mechanisms that coronaviruses could employ for this hijacking.
coronaviruses; nidoviruses; double-membrane vesicles; MHV; SARS-coronavirus; autophagy; EDEMosomes; EDEM1; OS-9; ERAD; ER quality control
An AP-3–binding site required for vesicle–vacuole fusion is masked when Vps41 is associated with highly curved membranes, such as endosomes, but is exposed at membranes with lower curvature, such as vacuoles, because of phosphorylation of the membrane-binding motif.
Tethering factors are organelle-specific multisubunit protein complexes that identify, along with Rab guanosine triphosphatases, transport vesicles and trigger their SNARE-mediated fusion of specific transport vesicles with the target membranes. Little is known about how tethering factors discriminate between different trafficking pathways, which may converge at the same organelle. In this paper, we describe a phosphorylation-based switch mechanism, which allows the homotypic vacuole fusion protein sorting effector subunit Vps41 to operate in two distinct fusion events, namely endosome–vacuole and AP-3 vesicle–vacuole fusion. Vps41 contains an amphipathic lipid-packing sensor (ALPS) motif, which recognizes highly curved membranes. At endosomes, this motif is inserted into the lipid bilayer and masks the binding motif for the δ subunit of the AP-3 complex, Apl5, without affecting the Vps41 function in endosome–vacuole fusion. At the much less curved vacuole, the ALPS motif becomes available for phosphorylation by the resident casein kinase Yck3. As a result, the Apl5-binding site is exposed and allows AP-3 vesicles to bind to Vps41, followed by specific fusion with the vacuolar membrane. This multifunctional tethering factor thus discriminates between trafficking routes by switching from a curvature-sensing to a coat recognition mode upon phosphorylation.
The coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein is a virion structural protein. It also functions, however, in an unknown way in viral replication and localizes to the viral replication-transcription complexes (RTCs). Here we investigated, using recombinant murine coronaviruses expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged versions of the N protein, the dynamics of its interactions with the RTCs and the domain(s) involved. Using fluorescent recovery after photobleaching, we showed that the N protein, unlike the nonstructural protein 2, is dynamically associated with the RTCs. Recruitment of the N protein to the RTCs requires the C-terminal N2b domain, which interacts with other N proteins in an RNA-independent manner.
A reservoir of Atg9-containing vesicles and tubules provides the initial membranes necessary for autophagophore formation in yeast.
Eukaryotes use the process of autophagy, in which structures targeted for lysosomal/vacuolar degradation are sequestered into double-membrane autophagosomes, in numerous physiological and pathological situations. The key questions in the field relate to the origin of the membranes as well as the precise nature of the rearrangements that lead to the formation of autophagosomes. We found that yeast Atg9 concentrates in a novel compartment comprising clusters of vesicles and tubules, which are derived from the secretory pathway and are often adjacent to mitochondria. We show that these clusters translocate en bloc next to the vacuole to form the phagophore assembly site (PAS), where they become the autophagosome precursor, the phagophore. In addition, genetic analyses indicate that Atg1, Atg13, and phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate are involved in the further rearrangement of these initial membranes. Thus, our data reveal that the Atg9-positive compartments are important for the de novo formation of the PAS and the sequestering vesicle that are the hallmarks of autophagy.
The delivery of proteins and organelles to the vacuole by autophagy involves membrane rearrangements that result in the formation of autophagosomes. We have investigated the role of the Golgi in autophagy and found that, in yeast, this organelle plays a crucial role in supplying lipid bilayers necessary for autophagosome biogenesis.
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.
Coronaviruses induce in infected cells the formation of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) in which the replication-transcription complexes (RTCs) are anchored. To study the dynamics of these coronavirus replicative structures, we generated recombinant murine hepatitis coronaviruses that express tagged versions of the nonstructural protein nsp2. We demonstrated by using immunofluorescence assays and electron microscopy that this protein is recruited to the DMV-anchored RTCs, for which its C terminus is essential. Live-cell imaging of infected cells demonstrated that small nsp2-positive structures move through the cytoplasm in a microtubule-dependent manner. In contrast, large fluorescent structures are rather immobile. Microtubule-mediated transport of DMVs, however, is not required for efficient replication. Biochemical analyses indicated that the nsp2 protein is associated with the cytoplasmic side of the DMVs. Yet, no recovery of fluorescence was observed when (part of) the nsp2-positive foci were bleached. This result was confirmed by the observation that preexisting RTCs did not exchange fluorescence after fusion of cells expressing either a green or a red fluorescent nsp2. Apparently, nsp2, once recruited to the RTCs, is not exchanged with nsp2 present in the cytoplasm or at other DMVs. Our data show a remarkable resemblance to results obtained recently by others with hepatitis C virus. The observations point to intriguing and as yet unrecognized similarities between the RTC dynamics of different plus-strand RNA viruses.
Autophagy is involved in a wide range of physiological processes including cellular remodeling during development, immuno-protection against heterologous invaders and elimination of aberrant or obsolete cellular structures. This conserved degradation pathway also plays a key role in maintaining intracellular nutritional homeostasis and during starvation, for example, it is involved in the recycling of unnecessary cellular components to compensate for the limitation of nutrients. Autophagy is characterized by specific membrane rearrangements that culminate with the formation of large cytosolic double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes. Autophagosomes sequester cytoplasmic material that is destined for degradation. Once completed, these vesicles dock and fuse with endosomes and/or lysosomes to deliver their contents into the hydrolytically active lumen of the latter organelle where, together with their cargoes, they are broken down into their basic components. Specific structures destined for degradation via autophagy are in many cases selectively targeted and sequestered into autophagosomes.
A number of factors required for autophagy have been identified, but numerous questions about the molecular mechanism of this pathway remain unanswered. For instance, it is unclear how membranes are recruited and assembled into autophagosomes. In addition, once completed, these vesicles are transported to cellular locations where endosomes and lysosomes are concentrated. The mechanism employed for this directed movement is not well understood. The cellular cytoskeleton is a large, highly dynamic cellular scaffold that has a crucial role in multiple processes, several of which involve membrane rearrangements and vesicle-mediated events. Relatively little is known about the roles of the cytoskeleton network in autophagy. Nevertheless, some recent studies have revealed the importance of cytoskeletal elements such as actin microfilaments and microtubules in specific aspects of autophagy. In this review, we will highlight the results of this work and discuss their implications, providing possible working models. In particular, we will first describe the findings obtained with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for long the leading organism for the study of autophagy, and, successively, those attained in mammalian cells, to emphasize possible differences between eukaryotic organisms.
autophagy; autophagosome; Cvt pathway; actin; microtubules; cytoskeleton
Membrane tethering, the process of mediating the first contact between membranes destined for fusion, requires specialized multisubunit protein complexes and Rab GTPases. In the yeast endolysosomal system, the hexameric HOPS tethering complex cooperates with the Rab7 homolog Ypt7 to promote homotypic fusion at the vacuole, whereas the recently identified homologous CORVET complex acts at the level of late endosomes. Here, we have further functionally characterized the CORVET-specific subunit Vps8 and its relationship to the remaining subunits using an in vivo approach that allows the monitoring of late endosome biogenesis. In particular, our results indicate that Vps8 interacts and cooperates with the activated Rab5 homolog Vps21 to induce the clustering of late endosomal membranes, indicating that Vps8 is the effector subunit of the CORVET complex. This clustering, however, requires Vps3, Vps16, and Vps33 but not the remaining CORVET subunits. These data thus suggest that the CORVET complex is built of subunits with distinct activities and potentially, their sequential assembly could regulate tethering and successive fusion at the late endosomes.
Membrane fusion depends on multisubunit tethering factors such as the vacuolar HOPS complex. We previously showed that the vacuolar casein kinase Yck3 regulates vacuole biogenesis via phosphorylation of the HOPS subunit Vps41. Here, we link the identified Vps41 phosphorylation site to HOPS function at the endosome–vacuole fusion site. The nonphosphorylated Vps41 mutant (Vps41 S-A) accumulates together with other HOPS subunits on punctate structures proximal to the vacuole that expand in a class E mutant background and that correspond to in vivo fusion sites. Ultrastructural analysis of this mutant confirmed the presence of tubular endosomal structures close to the vacuole. In contrast, Vps41 with a phosphomimetic mutation (Vps41 S-D) is mislocalized and leads to multilobed vacuoles, indicative of a fusion defect. These two phenotypes can be rescued by overproduction of the vacuolar Rab Ypt7, revealing that both Ypt7 and Yck3-mediated phosphorylation modulate the Vps41 localization to the endosome–vacuole junction. Our data suggest that Vps41 phosphorylation fine-tunes the organization of vacuole fusion sites and provide evidence for a fusion “hot spot” on the vacuole limiting membrane.
Coronaviruses induce in infected cells the formation of double membrane vesicles, which are the sites of RNA replication. Not much is known about the formation of these vesicles, although recent observations indicate an important role for the endoplasmic reticulum in the formation of the mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV) replication complexes (RCs). We now show that MHV replication is sensitive to brefeldin A (BFA). Consistently, expression of a dominant-negative mutant of ARF1, known to mimic the action of the drug, inhibited MHV infection profoundly. Immunofluorescence analysis and quantitative electron microscopy demonstrated that BFA did not block the formation of RCs per se, but rather reduced their number. MHV RNA replication was not sensitive to BFA in MDCK cells, which are known to express the BFA-resistant guanine nucleotide exchange factor GBF1. Accordingly, individual knockdown of the Golgi-resident targets of BFA by transfection of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) showed that GBF1, but not BIG1 or BIG2, was critically involved in MHV RNA replication. ARF1, the cellular effector of GBF1, also appeared to be involved in MHV replication, as siRNAs targeting this small GTPase inhibited MHV infection significantly. Collectively, our results demonstrate that GBF1-mediated ARF1 activation is required for efficient MHV RNA replication and reveal that the early secretory pathway and MHV replication complex formation are closely connected.
Coronaviruses are the causative agents of many respiratory and enteric infections in humans and animals. As with all viruses, virtually all of the steps of their infection cycle depend on host cellular factors. As the first and most crucial step after their entry into cells, coronaviruses assemble their replication complexes (RCs) in association with characteristic, newly induced membranous structures. The cellular pathways hijacked by these plus-strand RNA viruses to create these “factories” have not been elucidated. Here, we study the involvement of the secretory pathway in mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV) replication by using the drug brefeldin A (BFA), which is known to interfere with ER–Golgi membrane traffic by inhibiting the activation of ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) small GTPases. Our observations show that MHV RNA replication is sensitive to BFA. In agreement herewith we demonstrate, by using various techniques, that the BFA-sensitive guanidine nucleotide exchange factor GBF1 and its downstream effector ARF1 are of critical importance for coronavirus replication. From our results we conclude that MHV RNA replication depends on GBF1-mediated ARF1 activation. Our study provides new insights into the close connection between MHV replication and the early secretory pathway.
Autophagy is a degradative process conserved among eukaryotic cells. It allows the elimination of cytoplasm including aberrant protein aggregates and damaged organelles. Accordingly, it is implicated in normal developmental processes and also serves a protective role in tumor suppression and elimination of invading pathogens, whereas defects in autophagy are associated with various human diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. Atg proteins mediate the sequestration event that occurs at the preautophagosomal structure (PAS) by catalyzing the formation of double-membrane vesicles, termed autophagosomes. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the integral membrane protein Atg9 that is required for autophagy cycles through the PAS. Here, we demonstrate that Atg9 shuttles between this location and mitochondria. These data support a new model where mitochondria may provide at least part of the autophagosomal lipids and suggest a novel cellular function for this well-studied organelle.
autophagy; cytoplasm to vacuole targeting; endoplasmic reticulum; lysosome
In eukaryotic cells, the turnover of long-lived proteins and large cytoplasmic structures is mediated by autophagy. Components that have to be eliminated are sequestered into double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and delivered into the lysosome or vacuole where they are destroyed by resident hydrolases. The integral membrane protein Atg9 is essential for both autophagy and the cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting pathway, a selective biosynthetic process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is mechanistically and morphologically similar to autophagy. Atg9 cycles between the pre-autophagosomal structure, the putative site of double-membrane vesicle biogenesis and mitochondria. To understand the function of Atg9, and also its trafficking mode between these two locations, we identified mutants that affect specific Atg9 transport steps. We recently reported that five Atg proteins and phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate regulate Atg9 recycling from the pre-autophagosomal structure. Here, we describe a different category of mutants that blocks Atg9 sorting from mitochondria. All mutants have been previously shown to be required for the normal progression of both the Cvt pathway and autophagy, but their precise role in these transport routes was unknown.
Actin; Autophagy; Cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting; Endoplasmic reticulum; Yeast
When faced with nutrient deprivation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells enter into a nondividing resting state, known as stationary phase. The Ras/PKA (cAMP-dependent protein kinase) signaling pathway plays an important role in regulating the entry into this resting state and the subsequent survival of stationary phase cells. The survival of these resting cells is also dependent upon autophagy, a membrane trafficking pathway that is induced upon nutrient deprivation. Autophagy is responsible for targeting bulk protein and other cytoplasmic constituents to the vacuolar compartment for their ultimate degradation. The data presented here demonstrate that the Ras/PKA signaling pathway inhibits an early step in autophagy because mutants with elevated levels of Ras/PKA activity fail to accumulate transport intermediates normally associated with this process. Quantitative assays indicate that these increased levels of Ras/PKA signaling activity result in an essentially complete block to autophagy. Interestingly, Ras/PKA activity also inhibited a related process, the cytoplasm to vacuole targeting (Cvt) pathway that is responsible for the delivery of a subset of vacuolar proteins in growing cells. These data therefore indicate that the Ras/PKA signaling pathway is not regulating a switch between the autophagy and Cvt modes of transport. Instead, it is more likely that this signaling pathway is controlling an activity that is required during the early stages of both of these membrane trafficking pathways. Finally, the data suggest that at least a portion of the Ras/PKA effects on stationary phase survival are the result of the regulation of autophagy activity by this signaling pathway.
Autophagy, pexophagy, and the Cvt pathway are processes that deliver hydrolytic enzymes and substrates to the yeast vacuole/lysosome via double-membrane cytosolic vesicles. Whereas these pathways operate under different nutritional conditions, they all employ common machinery with only a few specific factors assisting in the choice of the delivery program and the membrane source for the sequestering vesicle. We found that the YKR020w gene product is essential for Cvt vesicle formation but not for pexophagy or induction of autophagy. Autophagosomes in the ykr020wΔ mutant, however, have a reduced size. We demonstrate that Ykr020 is a subunit of the Vps fifty-three tethering complex, composed of Vps52, Vps53, and Vps54, which is required for retrograde traffic from the early endosome back to the late Golgi, and for this reason we named it Vps51. This complex participates in a fusion event together with Tlg1 and Tlg2, two SNAREs also shown to be necessary for Cvt vesicle assembly. In particular, those factors are essential to correctly target the prApe1-Cvt19-Cvt9 complex to the preautophagosomal structure, the site of Cvt vesicle formation.
Cells must regulate both biosynthesis and degradation to ensure proper homeostasis of cellular organelles and proteins. This balance is demonstrated in a unique way in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which possesses two distinct, yet mechanistically related trafficking routes mediating the delivery of proteins from the cytoplasm to the vacuole: the biosynthetic cytoplasm to vacuole targeting (Cvt) and the degradative autophagy pathways. Several components employed by these two transport routes have been identified, but their mechanistic interactions remain largely unknown. Here we report a novel gene involved in these pathways, which we have named ATG23. Atg23 localizes to the pre-autophagosomal structure but also to other cytosolic punctate compartments. Our characterization of the Atg23 protein indicates that it is required for the Cvt pathway and efficient autophagy but not pexophagy. In the absence of Atg23, cargo molecules such as prApe1 are correctly recruited to a pre-autophagosomal structure that is unable to give rise to Cvt vesicles. We also demonstrate that Atg23 is a peripheral membrane protein that requires the presence of Atg9/Apg9 to be specifically targeted to lipid bilayers. Atg9 transiently interacts with Atg23 suggesting that it participates in the recruitment of this protein.
Trehalose serves as a storage source of carbon and plays important roles under various stress conditions. For example, in many organisms trehalose has a critical function in preserving membrane structure and fluidity during dehydration/rehydration. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, trehalose accumulates in the cell when the nutrient supply is limited but is rapidly degraded when the supply of nutrients is renewed. Hydrolysis of trehalose in yeast depends on neutral trehalase and acid trehalase (Ath1). Ath1 resides and functions in the vacuole; however, it appears to catalyze the hydrolysis of extracellular trehalose. Little is known about the transport route of Ath1 to the vacuole or how it encounters its substrate. Here, through the use of various trafficking mutants we showed that this hydrolase reaches its final destination through the multivesicular body (MVB) pathway. In contrast to the vast majority of proteins sorted into this pathway, Ath1 does not require ubiquitination for proper localization. Mutagenesis analyses aimed at identifying the unknown targeting signal revealed that the transmembrane domain of Ath1 contains the information sufficient for its selective sequestration into MVB internal vesicles.
Autophagy is a catabolic multitask transport route that takes place in all eukaryotic cells. During starvation, cytoplasmic components are randomly sequestered into huge double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and delivered into the lysosome/vacuole where they are destroyed. Cells are able to modulate autophagy in response to their needs, and under certain circumstances, cargoes such as aberrant protein aggregates, organelles and bacteria can be selectively and exclusively incorporated into autophagosomes. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for example, double-membrane vesicles are used to transport the Ape1 protease into the vacuole, or for the elimination of superfluous peroxisomes. In the present study we reveal that in this organism, actin plays a role in these two types of selective autophagy but not in the nonselective, bulk process. In particular, we show that precursor Ape1 is not correctly recruited to the PAS, the putative site of double-membrane vesicle biogenesis, and superfluous peroxisomes are not degraded in a conditional actin mutant. These phenomena correlate with a defect in Atg9 trafficking from the mitochondria to the PAS.