Aup1p, a yeast mitochondrial protein phosphatase homolog, is required for efficient stationary phase mitophagy and cell survival

Ruth Tal, Gal Winter, Nitai Ecker, Daniel J. Klionsky, Hagai Abeliovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autophagy is a catabolic membrane-trafficking process that occurs in all eukaryotic cells and leads to the hydrolytic degradation of cytosolic material in the vacuolar or lysosomal lumen. Mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy targeting mitochondria, is poorly understood at present. Several recent reports suggest that mitophagy is a selective process that targets damaged mitochondria, whereas other studies imply a role for mitophagy in cell death processes. In a screen for protein phosphatase homologs that functionally interact with the autophagy-dedicated protein kinase Atg1p in yeast, we have identified Aup1p, encoded by Saccharomyces cerevisiae reading frame YCR079w. Aup1p is highly similar to a family of protein phosphatase homologs in animal cells that are predicted to localize to mitochondria based on sequence analysis. Interestingly, we found that Aup1p localizes to the mitochondrial intermembrane space and is required for efficient mitophagy in stationary phase cells. Viability studies demonstrate that Aup1p is required for efficient survival of cells in prolonged stationary phase cultures, implying a pro-survival role for mitophagy under our working conditions. Our data suggest that Aup1p may be part of a signal transduction mechanism that marks mitochondria for sequestration into autophagosomes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5617-5624
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume282
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2007

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