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Autophagy. 2008 Aug;4(6):838-40. Epub 2008 Jul 14.

Is the Rsp5 ubiquitin ligase involved in the regulation of ribophagy?

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Institute of Biochemistry, HPM, ETH Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland.


Under nutrient limiting conditions, cytoplasmic components are randomly sequestered into double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and delivered to the lysosome/vacuole for degradation and recycling. In the last few years, however, it has been observed that several cytoplasmic components such as organelles, pathogens or specific protein complexes can also be selectively targeted for degradation by autophagy-related pathways (reviewed in ref. 1). We have recently shown that in S. cerevisiae, mature ribosomes are subject to such selective degradation by autophagy under starvation conditions, in a process that we termed 'ribophagy.'(2) By genetic screening, we found that selective degradation of 60S large ribosomal subunits depends on the ubiquitin protease Ubp3 and its cofactor Bre5, implying that ribophagy is regulated by ubiquitin-dependent steps. Interestingly, several ubiquitinated proteins accumulate in ribosome fractions isolated from ubp3Delta cells, suggesting that the regulation of ribophagy by ubiquitin may be direct. Here we present data on a potential role of the ubiquitin ligase Rsp5 as a positive regulator of ribophagy, and discuss the possible involvement of ubiquitin as a signaling molecule in this process.

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