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Nat Cell Biol. 2014 May;16(5):425-433. doi: 10.1038/ncb2935. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

Cargo binding to Atg19 unmasks additional Atg8 binding sites to mediate membrane-cargo apposition during selective autophagy.

Author information

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, Vienna Biocenter, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 9/3, 1030 Vienna, Austria.
Contributed equally


Autophagy protects cells from harmful substances such as protein aggregates, damaged mitochondria and intracellular pathogens, and has been implicated in a variety of diseases. Selectivity of autophagic processes is mediated by cargo receptors that link cargo to Atg8 family proteins on the developing autophagosomal membrane. To avoid collateral degradation during constitutive autophagic pathways, the autophagic machinery must not only select cargo but also exclude non-cargo material. Here we show that cargo directly activates the cargo receptor Atg19 by exposing multiple Atg8 binding sites. Furthermore, Atg19 mediates tight apposition of the cargo and Atg8-coated membranes in a fully reconstituted system. These properties are essential for the function of Atg19 during selective autophagy in vivo. Our results suggest that cargo receptors contribute to tight membrane bending of the isolation membrane around the cargo.

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