Atg32 is a mitochondrial protein that confers selectivity during mitophagy

Tomotake Kanki, Ke Wang, Yang Cao, Misuzu Baba, Daniel J Klionsky
Developmental Cell 2009, 17 (1): 98-109
Mitochondrial quality control is important in maintaining proper cellular homeostasis. Although selective mitochondrial degradation by autophagy (mitophagy) is suggested to have an important role in quality control, and though there is evidence for a direct relation between mitophagy and neurodegenerative diseases, the molecular mechanism of mitophagy is poorly understood. Using a screen for mitophagy-deficient mutants, we found that YIL146C/ECM37 is essential for mitophagy. This gene is not required for other types of selective autophagy or for nonspecific macroautophagy. We designated this autophagy-related (ATG) gene as ATG32. The Atg32 protein localizes on mitochondria. Following the induction of mitophagy, Atg32 binds Atg11, an adaptor protein for selective types of autophagy, and is then recruited to and imported into the vacuole along with mitochondria. Therefore, Atg32 confers selectivity for mitochondrial sequestration as a cargo and is necessary for recruitment of this organelle by the autophagy machinery for mitophagy.

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