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J Cell Biol. 2010 Apr 19;189(2):303-10. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200909154. Epub 2010 Apr 12.

A yeast MAPK cascade regulates pexophagy but not other autophagy pathways.

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  • 1Section of Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Autophagy is important for many cellular processes such as innate immunity, neurodegeneration, aging, and cancer. Although the signaling events triggering autophagy have been studied, little is known regarding the signaling mechanisms by which autophagy is redirected to achieve selective removal of cellular components. We have used the degradation of a peroxisomal marker to investigate the role of protein kinases in selective autophagy of peroxisomes (pexophagy) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that the Slt2p mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and several upstream components of its signal transduction pathway are necessary for pexophagy but not for pexophagosome formation or other nonselective and selective forms of autophagy. Other extracellular signals that activate this pathway do not trigger pexophagy on their own, suggesting that this MAPK cascade is necessary but not sufficient to trigger pexophagy. We propose that pexophagy requires the simultaneous activation of this MAPK pathway and a hexose-sensing mechanism acting through protein kinase A and cyclic adenosine monophosphate.

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