When nerve injury occurs, the axon and myelin fragments distal to the injury site have to be cleared away before repair. In this issue, Gomez-Sanchez et al. (2015; J. Cell Biol. http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201503019) find that clearance of the damaged myelin within Schwann cells occurs not by phagocytosis but rather via selective autophagy, in a process they term “myelinophagy.”
We characterized phosphoinositide binding of the S. cerevisiae PROPPIN Hsv2 qualitatively with density flotation assays and quantitatively through isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) measurements using liposomes. We discuss the design of these experiments and show with liposome flotation assays that Hsv2 binds with high specificity to both PtdIns3P and PtdIns(3,5)P2. We propose liposome flotation assays as a more accurate alternative to the commonly used PIP strips for the characterization of phosphoinositide-binding specificities of proteins. We further quantitatively characterized PtdIns3P binding of Hsv2 with ITC measurements and determined a dissociation constant of 0.67 µM and a stoichiometry of 2:1 for PtdIns3P binding to Hsv2. PtdIns3P is crucial for the biogenesis of autophagosomes and their precursors. Besides the PROPPINs there are other PtdIns3P binding proteins with a link to autophagy, which includes the FYVE-domain containing proteins ZFYVE1/DFCP1 and WDFY3/ALFY and the PX-domain containing proteins Atg20 and Snx4/Atg24. The methods described could be useful tools for the characterization of these and other phosphoinositide-binding proteins.
isothermal titration calorimetry; liposome flotation assays; multi-angle laser light scattering; PROPPIN; small unilamellar vesicle
PROPPINs are a family of PtdIns3P and PtdIns(3,5)P2-binding proteins. The crystal structure now unravels the presence of two distinct phosphoinositide-binding sites at the circumference of the seven bladed β-propeller. Mutagenesis analysis of the binding sites shows that both are required for normal membrane association and autophagic activities. We identified a set of evolutionarily conserved basic and polar residues within both binding pockets, which are crucial for phosphoinositide binding. We expect that membrane association of PROPPINs is further stabilized by membrane insertions and interactions with other proteins.
autophagy; protein-lipid interactions; X-ray crystallography; S. cerevisiae
Autophagy is a rapidly expanding field in the sense that our knowledge about the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. Similarly, the vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. This fact makes it difficult for readers, even those who work in the field, to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors or chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, or the role of accessory machinery or structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; definitions; glossary; lexicon; terms
Perhaps the most complex step of macroautophagy is the formation of the double-membrane autophagosome. The majority of the autophagy-related (Atg) proteins are thought to participate in nucleation and expansion of the phagophore, and/or the completion of this compartment. Monitoring this part of the process is difficult, and typically involves electron microscopy analysis; however, unless three-dimensional tomography is performed, even this method cannot be used to easily determine if the phagophore is completely enclosed. Accordingly, a complementary approach is to examine the accessibility of sequestered cargo to exogenously added protease. This type of protease protection analysis has been used to monitor the formation of cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting (Cvt) vesicles and autophagosomes by examining the protease sensitivity of precursor aminopeptidase I (prApe1). For determining the status of autophagosomes formed during nonselective autophagy, however, prApe1 is not the best marker protein. Here, we describe an alternative method for examining autophagosome completion using GFP-Atg8 as a marker for protease protection.
autophagy; lysosome; stress; vacuole; yeast
The study of autophagy is rapidly expanding, and our knowledge of the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. The vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. In fact, it is difficult for readers—even those who work in the field—to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors and chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, and the roles of accessory components and structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; lysosome; mitophagy; pexophagy; stress; vacuole
autophagy; chaperone; deubiquitination; LC3; proteasome
Cdc48/p97/VCP plays a ubiquitin-independent role during autophagosome formation in S. cerevisiae.
The molecular details of the biogenesis of double-membraned autophagosomes are poorly understood. We identify the Saccharomyces cerevisiae AAA–adenosine triphosphatase Cdc48 and its substrate-recruiting cofactor Shp1/Ubx1 as novel components needed for autophagosome biogenesis. In mammals, the Cdc48 homologue p97/VCP and the Shp1 homologue p47 mediate Golgi reassembly by extracting an unknown monoubiquitinated fusion regulator from a complex. We find no requirement of ubiquitination or the proteasome system for autophagosome biogenesis but detect interaction of Shp1 with the ubiquitin-fold autophagy protein Atg8. Atg8 coupled to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is crucial for autophagosome elongation and, in vitro, mediates tethering and hemifusion. Interaction with Shp1 requires an FK motif within the N-terminal non–ubiquitin-like Atg8 domain. Based on our data, we speculate that autophagosome formation, in contrast to Golgi reassembly, requires a complex in which Atg8 functionally substitutes ubiquitin. This, for the first time, would give a rationale for use of the ubiquitin-like Atg8 during macroautophagy and would explain why Atg8-PE delipidation is necessary for efficient macroautophagy.
Efficient detection and removal of superfluous or damaged organelles are crucial to maintain cellular homeostasis and to assure cell survival. Growing evidence shows that organelles or parts of them can be removed by selective subtypes of otherwise unselective macro- and microautophagy. This requires both the adaptation of the core autophagic machinery and sophisticated mechanisms to recognize organelles destined for turnover. We review the current knowledge on autophagic removal of peroxisomes, mitochondria, ER and parts of the nucleus with an emphasis on yeasts as a model eukaryote.
Research in autophagy continues to accelerate,1 and as a result many new scientists are entering the field. Accordingly, it is important to establish a standard set of criteria for monitoring macroautophagy in different organisms. Recent reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose.2,3 There are many useful and convenient methods that can be used to monitor macroautophagy in yeast, but relatively few in other model systems, and there is much confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure macroautophagy in higher eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers of autophagosomes versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway; thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from fully functional autophagy that includes delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of the methods that can be used by investigators who are attempting to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as by reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that investigate these processes. This set of guidelines is not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to verify an autophagic response.
autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
Glucose-dependent regulation of carbon metabolism is a subject of intensive studies. We have previously shown that the switch from gluconeogenesis to glycolysis is associated with ubiquitin-proteasome linked elimination of the key enzyme fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. Seven glucose induced degradation deficient (Gid)-proteins found previously in a genomic screen were shown to form a complex that binds FBPase. One of the subunits, Gid2/Rmd5, contains a degenerated RING finger domain. In an in vitro assay, heterologous expression of GST-Gid2 leads to polyubiquitination of proteins. In addition, we show that a mutation in the degenerated RING domain of Gid2/Rmd5 abolishes fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase polyubiquitination and elimination in vivo. Six Gid proteins are present in gluconeogenic cells. A seventh protein, Gid4/Vid24, occurs upon glucose addition to gluconeogenic cells and is afterwards eliminated. Forcing abnormal expression of Gid4/Vid24 in gluconeogenic cells leads to fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase degradation. This suggests that Gid4/Vid24 initiates fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase polyubiquitination by the Gid complex and its subsequent elimination by the proteasome. We also show that an additional gluconeogenic enzyme, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, is subject to Gid complex-dependent degradation. Our study uncovers a new type of ubiquitin ligase complex composed of novel subunits involved in carbohydrate metabolism and identifies Gid4/Vid24 as a major regulator of this E3.
The genome of the cytopathogenic (cp) bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) JaCP contains a cellular insertion coding for light chain 3 (LC3) of microtubule-associated proteins, the mammalian homologue of yeast Aut7p/Apg8p. The cellular insertion induces cp BVDV-specific processing of the viral polyprotein by a cellular cysteine protease homologous to the known yeast protease Aut2p/Apg4p. Three candidate bovine protease genes were identified on the basis of the sequence similarity of their products with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae enzyme. The search for a system for functional testing of these putative LC3-specific proteases revealed that the components involved in this processing have been highly conserved during evolution, so that the substrate derived from a mammalian virus is processed in cells of mammalian, avian, fish, and insect origin, as well as in rabbit reticulocyte lysate, but not in wheat germ extracts. Moreover, two of these proteases and a homologous protein from chickens were able to rescue the defect of a yeast AUT2 deletion mutant. In coexpression experiments with yeast and wheat germ extracts one of the bovine proteases and the corresponding enzyme from chickens were able to process the viral polyprotein containing LC3. Northern blots showed that bovine viral diarrhea virus infection of cells has no significant influence on the expression of either LC3 or its protease, bAut2B2. However, LC3-specific processing of the viral polyprotein containing the cellular insertion is essential for replication of the virus since mutants with changes in the LC3 insertion significantly affecting processing at the LC3/NS3 site were not viable.
Metabolic adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells from a nonfermentable carbon source to glucose induces selective, rapid breakdown of the gluconeogenetic key enzyme fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase), a process called catabolite degradation. Herein, we identify eight novel GID genes required for proteasome-dependent catabolite degradation of FBPase. Four yeast proteins contain the CTLH domain of unknown function. All of them are Gid proteins. The site of catabolite degradation has been controversial until now. Two FBPase degradation pathways have been described, one dependent on the cytosolic ubiquitin-proteasome machinery, and the other dependent on vacuolar proteolysis. Interestingly, three of the novel Gid proteins involved in ubiquitin-proteasome–dependent degradation have also been reported by others to affect the vacuolar degradation pathway. As shown herein, additional genes suggested to be essential for vacuolar degradation are unnecessary for proteasome-dependent degradation. These data raise the question as to whether two FBPase degradation pathways exist that share components. Detailed characterization of Gid2p demonstrates that it is part of a soluble, cytosolic protein complex of at least 600 kDa. Gid2p is necessary for FBPase ubiquitination. Our studies have not revealed any involvement of vesicular intermediates in proteasome-dependent FBPase degradation. The influence of Ubp14p, a deubiquitinating enzyme, on proteasome-dependent catabolite degradation was further uncovered.
Selective disintegration of membrane-enclosed autophagic bodies is a feature of eukaryotic cells not studied in detail. Using a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant defective in autophagic-body breakdown, we identified and characterized Aut5p, a glycosylated integral membrane protein. Site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated the relevance of its putative lipase active-site motif for autophagic-body breakdown. aut5Δ cells show reduced protein turnover during starvation and are defective in maturation of proaminopeptidase I. Most recently, by means of the latter phenotype, Aut5p was independently identified as Cvt17p. In this study we additionally checked for effects on vacuolar acidification and detected mature vacuolar proteases, both of which are prerequisites for autophagic-body lysis. Furthermore, biologically active hemagglutinin-tagged Aut5p (Aut5-Ha) localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (nuclear envelope) and is targeted to the vacuolar lumen independent of autophagy. In pep4Δ cells immunogold electron microscopy located Aut5-Ha at ∼50-nm-diameter intravacuolar vesicles. Characteristic missorting in vps class E and fab1Δ cells, which affects the multivesicular body (MVB) pathway, suggests vacuolar targeting of Aut5-Ha similar to that of the MVB pathway. In agreement with localization of Aut5-Ha at intravacuolar vesicles in pep4Δ cells and the lack of vacuolar Aut5-Ha in wild-type cells, our pulse-chase experiments clearly indicated that Aut5-Ha degradation with 50 to 70 min of half-life is dependent on vacuolar proteinase A.
In growing cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, proaminopeptidase I reaches the vacuole via the selective cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting (cvt) pathway. During nutrient limitation, autophagy is also responsible for the transport of proaminopeptidase I. These two nonclassical protein transport pathways to the vacuole are distinct in their characteristics but in large part use identical components. We expanded our initial screen for aut− mutants and isolated aut9-1 cells, which show a defect in both pathways, the vacuolar targeting of proaminopeptidase I and autophagy. By complementation of the sporulation defect of homocygous diploid aut9-1 mutant cells with a genomic library, in this study we identified and characterized the AUT9 gene, which is allelic with CVT7. aut9-deficient cells have no obvious defects in growth on rich media, vacuolar biogenesis, and acidification, but like other mutant cells with a defect in autophagy, they exhibit a reduced survival rate and reduced total protein turnover during starvation. Aut9p is the first putative integral membrane protein essential for autophagy. A biologically active green fluorescent protein-Aut9 fusion protein was visualized at punctate structures in the cytosol of growing cells.
We have identified LB-AUT7, a gene differentially expressed 6 h after ectomycorrhizal interaction between Laccaria bicolor and Pinus resinosa. LB-Aut7p can functionally complement its Saccharomyces cerevisiae homolog, which is involved in the attachment of autophagosomes to microtubules. Our findings suggest the induction of an autophagocytosis-like vesicular transport process during ectomycorrhizal interaction.