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Nat Commun. 2019 Feb 15;10(1):780. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08331-w.

Gigaxonin E3 ligase governs ATG16L1 turnover to control autophagosome production.

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Avenir-Atip team, INM, INSERM, Université Montpellier, 34091, Montpellier, France.
Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 10461, New York, NY, USA.
Institut Necker-Enfants Malades (INEM), INSERM U1151-CNRS UMR8253, 75993, Paris, France.
Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité, 75006, Paris, France.
Avenir-Atip team, INM, INSERM, Université Montpellier, 34091, Montpellier, France.


Autophagy is an essential self-digestion machinery for cell survival and homoeostasis. Membrane elongation is fundamental, as it drives the formation of the double-membrane vesicles that engulf cytosolic material. LC3-lipidation, the signature of autophagosome formation, results from a complex ubiquitin-conjugating cascade orchestrated by the ATG16L1 protein, whose regulation is unknown. Here, we identify the Gigaxonin-E3 ligase as the first regulator of ATG16L1 turn-over and autophagosome production. Gigaxonin interacts with the WD40 domain of ATG16L1 to drive its ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. Gigaxonin depletion induces the formation of ATG16L1 aggregates and impairs LC3 lipidation, hence altering lysosomal fusion and degradation of the main autophagy receptor p62. Altogether, we demonstrate that the Gigaxonin-E3 ligase controls the production of autophagosomes by a reversible, ubiquitin-dependent process selective for ATG16L1. Our findings unveil the fundamental mechanisms of the control of autophagosome formation, and provide a molecular switch to fine-tune the activation of autophagy.

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