Regulation of ER-phagy by a Ypt/Rab GTPase module
journal contributionposted on 19.02.2014, 00:00 by Zhanna Lipatova, Ankur H. Shah, Jane J. Kim, Jonathan W. Mulholland, Nava Segev
Accumulation of misfolded proteins on intracellular membranes has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. One cellular pathway that clears such aggregates is endoplasmic reticulum autophagy (ER-phagy), a selective autophagy pathway that delivers excess ER to the lysosome for degradation. Not much is known about the regulation of ER-phagy. The conserved Ypt/Rab GTPases regulate all membrane trafficking events in eukaryotic cells. We recently showed that a Ypt module, consisting of Ypt1 and autophagy-specific upstream activator and downstream effector, regulates the onset of selective autophagy in yeast. Here we show that this module acts at the ER. Autophagy-specific mutations in its components cause accumulation of excess membrane proteins on aberrant ER structures and induction of ER stress. This accumulation is due to a block in transport of these membranes to the lysosome, where they are normally cleared. These findings establish a role for an autophagy-specific Ypt1 module in the regulation of ER-phagy. Moreover, because Ypt1 is a known key regulator of ER-to-Golgi transport, these findings establish a second role for Ypt1 at the ER. We therefore propose that individual Ypt/Rabs, in the context of distinct modules, can coordinate alternative trafficking steps from one cellular compartment to different destinations.