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Plant Cell. 2014 Feb;26(2):788-807. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.120014. Epub 2014 Feb 21.

AUTOPHAGY-RELATED11 plays a critical role in general autophagy- and senescence-induced mitophagy in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


Autophagy-mediated turnover removes damaged organelles and unwanted cytoplasmic constituents and thus plays critical roles in cellular housekeeping and nutrient recycling. This "self eating" is tightly regulated by the AUTOPHAGY-RELATED1/13 (ATG1/13) kinase complex, which connects metabolic and environmental cues to the vacuolar delivery of autophagic vesicles. Here, we describe the Arabidopsis thaliana accessory proteins ATG11 and ATG101, which help link the ATG1/13 complex to autophagic membranes. ATG11 promotes vesicle delivery to the vacuole but is not essential for synthesizing the ATG12-ATG5 and ATG8-phosphatidylethanolamine adducts that are central to autophagic vesicle assembly. ATG11, ATG101, ATG1, and ATG13 colocalize with each other and with ATG8, with ATG1 tethered to ATG8 via a canonical ATG8-interacting motif. Also, the presence of ATG11 encourages starvation-induced phosphorylation of ATG1 and turnover of ATG1 and ATG13. Like other atg mutants, ATG11-deficient plants senesce prematurely and are hypersensitive to nitrogen and fixed-carbon limitations. Additionally, we discovered that the senescence-induced breakdown of mitochondria-resident proteins and mitochondrial vesicles occurs via an autophagic process requiring ATG11 and other ATG components. Together, our data indicate that ATG11 (and possibly ATG101) provides important scaffolds connecting the ATG1/13 complex to both general autophagy and selective mitophagy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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