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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Dec;23(24):4679-88. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-08-0620. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Tor1 regulates protein solubility in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA 94945, USA.


Accumulation of insoluble protein in cells is associated with aging and aging-related diseases; however, the roles of insoluble protein in these processes are uncertain. The nature and impact of changes to protein solubility during normal aging are less well understood. Using quantitative mass spectrometry, we identify 480 proteins that become insoluble during postmitotic aging in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and show that this ensemble of insoluble proteins is similar to those that accumulate in aging nematodes. SDS-insoluble protein is present exclusively in a nonquiescent subpopulation of postmitotic cells, indicating an asymmetrical distribution of this protein. In addition, we show that nitrogen starvation of young cells is sufficient to cause accumulation of a similar group of insoluble proteins. Although many of the insoluble proteins identified are known to be autophagic substrates, induction of macroautophagy is not required for insoluble protein formation. However, genetic or chemical inhibition of the Tor1 kinase is sufficient to promote accumulation of insoluble protein. We conclude that target of rapamycin complex 1 regulates accumulation of insoluble proteins via mechanisms acting upstream of macroautophagy. Our data indicate that the accumulation of proteins in an SDS-insoluble state in postmitotic cells represents a novel autophagic cargo preparation process that is regulated by the Tor1 kinase.

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