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A defect of the vacuolar putative lipase Atg15 accelerates degradation of lipid droplets through lipolysis.

Autophagy (2015-06-11)
Yuichiro Maeda, Masahide Oku, Yasuyoshi Sakai
ABSTRACT

Lipid droplets (LDs) are the conserved organelles for the deposit of neutral lipids, and function as reservoirs of membrane and energy sources. To date, functional links between autophagy and LD dynamics have not been fully elucidated. Here, we report that a vacuolar putative lipase, Atg15, required for degradation of autophagic bodies, is crucial for the maintenance of LD amount in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the stationary phase. Mutant analyses revealed that the putative lipase motif and vacuolar localization of Atg15 are important for the maintenance of LD amount. Loss of autophagosome formation by simultaneous deletion of core ATG genes cancelled the reduction in the LD amount in ATG15-deleted cells, indicating that degradation of autophagic bodies accounts for the functional involvement of Atg15 in LD dynamics. The reduced level of LDs in the mutant strain was dependent on Tgl3 and Tgl4, major lipases for lipolysis in S. cerevisiae. An altered phosphorylation status of Tgl3, higher accumulation of Tgl4, and closer associations of Tgl3 and Tgl4 with LDs were detected in the ATG15-deleted cells. Furthermore, increased levels of downstream metabolites of lipolysis in the mutant strain strongly suggested enhanced lipolytic activity caused by loss of ATG15. Our data provide evidence for a novel link between autophagic flux and LD dynamics integrated with Atg15 activity.

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