Selective and non-selective autophagic degradation of mitochondria in yeast

Ingrid Kissová, Bénédicte Salin, Jacques Schaeffer, Sapan Bhatia, Stéphen Manon, Nadine Camougrand
Autophagy 2007, 3 (4): 329-36
Mitochondria are essential to oxidative energy production in aerobic eukaryotic cells, where they are also required for multiple biosynthetic pathways to take place. Mitochondrial homeostasis also plays a crucial role in ageing and programmed cell death, and recent data have suggested that mitochondria degradation is a strictly regulated process. Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved mechanism that provides cells with a mechanism for the continuous turnover of damaged and obsolete macromolecules and organelles. In this work, we investigated mitochondria degradation by autophagy. Electron microscopy observations of yeast cells submitted to nitrogen starvation after growth on different carbon sources provided evidence that microautophagy, rather than macroautophagy, preferentially occurred in cells grown under nonfermentable conditions. The observation of mitochondria degradation showed that both a selective process and a nonselective process of mitochondria autophagy occurred successively. In a yeast strain inactivated for the gene UTH1, the selective process was not observed.

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