The Journal of biological chemistry

Aup1-mediated regulation of Rtg3 during mitophagy.

PMID 19840933


Mitophagy is an autophagic process that degrades mitochondria by an intracellular engulfment that leads to their delivery into the lumen of the cell's hydrolytic compartment, such as the lysosome in animal cells or the vacuole in yeast. It is hypothesized that such processes serve a quality control function to prevent or slow the accumulation of malfunctioning mitochondria, which are thought in turn to underlie central aspects of the aging process in eukaryotic organisms. We recently identified a conserved mitochondrial protein phosphatase homolog, Aup1, which is required for efficient stationary phase mitophagy in yeast. In the present report, we demonstrate that the retrograde signaling pathway (RTG) is defective in aup1Delta mutants. In agreement with a role for Aup1 in the regulation of the RTG pathway, we find that deletion of RTG3, a transcription factor that mediates the RTG response, causes a defect in stationary phase mitophagy and that deletion of AUP1 leads to changes in Rtg3 phosphorylation patterns under these conditions. In addition, we find that mitophagic conditions lead to induction of RTG pathway target genes in an Aup1-dependent fashion. Thus, our results suggest that the function of Aup1 in mitophagy could be explained through its regulation of Rtg3-dependent transcription.