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J Cell Sci. 2000 Nov;113 ( Pt 22):4025-33.

The breakdown of autophagic vesicles inside the vacuole depends on Aut4p.

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Institut fuer Biochemie, Universitaet Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 55, 70569 Stuttgart.


Autophagy is a degradative transport pathway that delivers cytosolic proteins to the lysosome (vacuole). Cytosolic proteins appear inside the vacuole enclosed in autophagic vesicles. These autophagic vesicles are broken down in the vacuole together with their cytosolic content. The breakdown of vesicular transport intermediates is a unique feature of autophagy. We here identify Aut4p, a component essential for the disintegration of autophagic vesicles, inside the vacuole of S. cerevisiae cells. Aut4p is a putative integral membrane protein with limited homologies to permeases. Chromosomal deletion of AUT4 has no obvious influence on growth, vacuolar acidification and the activities of vacuolar proteinases. Like proteinase B-deficient cells, aut4-deleted cells show a partial reduction in total protein breakdown during nitrogen starvation. A biologically active fusion protein of Aut4p and the green fluorescent protein is visualized at the vacuolar membrane and in punctate structures attached to the vacuole.

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