Nature cell biology

ATG12-ATG3 interacts with Alix to promote basal autophagic flux and late endosome function.

PMID 25686249


The ubiquitin-like molecule ATG12 is required for the early steps of autophagy. Recently, we identified ATG3, the E2-like enzyme required for LC3 lipidation during autophagy, as an ATG12 conjugation target. Here, we demonstrate that cells lacking ATG12-ATG3 have impaired basal autophagic flux, accumulation of perinuclear late endosomes, and impaired endolysosomal trafficking. Furthermore, we identify an interaction between ATG12-ATG3 and the ESCRT-associated protein Alix (also known as PDCD6IP) and demonstrate that ATG12-ATG3 controls multiple Alix-dependent processes including late endosome distribution, exosome biogenesis and viral budding. Similar to ATG12-ATG3, Alix is functionally required for efficient basal, but not starvation-induced, autophagy. Overall, these results identify a link between the core autophagy and ESCRT machineries and uncover a role for ATG12-ATG3 in late endosome function that is distinct from the canonical role of either ATG in autophagosome formation.

Related Materials