The ATG conjugation systems are important for degradation of the inner autophagosomal membrane

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Science  20 Oct 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6136

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In macroautophagy, cytoplasmic contents are sequestered into the double-membrane autophagosome, which fuses with the lysosome to become the autolysosome. It has been thought that the autophagy-related (ATG) conjugation systems are required for autophagosome formation. Here, we found that autophagosomal SNARE syntaxin17-positive autophagosome-like structures could be generated even in the absence of the ATG conjugation systems, although at a reduced rate. These syntaxin17-positive structures could further fuse with lysosomes, but degradation of the inner autophagosomal membrane was significantly delayed. Accordingly, autophagic activity in ATG conjugation-deficient cells was strongly suppressed. We suggest that the ATG conjugation systems, which are likely required for the closure (i.e., fission) of the autophagosomal edge, are not absolutely essential for autolysosome formation but important for efficient degradation of the inner autophagosomal membrane.

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