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Cell. 2012 Dec 21;151(7):1501-1512. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.11.028. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

Architecture of the Atg17 complex as a scaffold for autophagosome biogenesis.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.
Contributed equally


Macroautophagy is a bulk clearance mechanism in which the double-membraned phagophore grows and engulfs cytosolic material. In yeast, the phagophore nucleates from a cluster of 20-30 nm diameter Atg9-containing vesicles located at a multiprotein assembly known as the preautophagosomal structure (PAS). The crystal structure of a 2:2:2 complex of the earliest acting PAS proteins, Atg17, Atg29, and Atg31, was solved at 3.05 Å resolution. Atg17 is crescent shaped with a 10 nm radius of curvature. Dimerization of the Atg17-Atg31-Atg29 complex is critical for both PAS formation and autophagy, and each dimer contains two separate and complete crescents. Upon induction of autophagy, Atg17-Atg31-Atg29 assembles with Atg1 and Atg13, which in turn initiates the formation of the phagophore. The C-terminal EAT domain of Atg1 was shown to sense membrane curvature, dimerize, and tether lipid vesicles. These data suggest a structural mechanism for the organization of Atg9 vesicles into the early phagophore.

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