The Intrinsically Disordered Protein Atg13 Mediates Supramolecular Assembly of Autophagy Initiation Complexes

Journal: Developmental Cell

Published: 2016-07-11

DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.06.015

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 11

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Research Highlight

How yeast cells begin self-destruction

© Bill McVety Photography/Moment Open/Getty

© Bill McVety Photography/Moment Open/Getty

A Japanese team has shown that two key protein regions are needed to initiate controlled cell death – or autophagy – in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, more commonly known as baker’s yeast. Plants and animals also depend on autophagy to stay healthy and adapt to new environments, so the findings could have broad implications.

The team, including researchers at Kanazawa University, studied a group of proteins that must assemble to start autophagy when yeast cells are starved of nutrients. One of these proteins, Atg13, has a region without a fixed three-dimensional structure that contains two smaller regions that bind to Atg17 proteins. They found that without these regions, the protein complexes do not assemble properly and autophagy cannot start.

Autophagy occurs in very similar ways in a wide range of species. Determining how this process takes place could help understand how some autophagy defects cause disease in humans.

Supported content

  1. Developmental Cell 38,86–99 (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.06.015
Institutions Share
Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan 0.36
Institute of Microbial Chemistry (IMC), Japan 0.27
Kanazawa University (KU), Japan 0.18
Yokohama City University (YCU), Japan 0.18