The ER Contact Proteins VAPA/B Interact with Multiple Autophagy Proteins to Modulate Autophagosome Biogenesis

Yan G. Zhao, Nan Liu, Guangyan Miao, Yong Chen, Hongyu Zhao, Hong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the site of biogenesis of the isolation membrane (IM, autophagosome precursor) and forms extensive contacts with IMs during their expansion into double-membrane autophagosomes. Little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying the formation and/or maintenance of the ER/IM contact. The integral ER proteins VAPA and VAPB (VAPs) participate in establishing ER contacts with multiple membranes by interacting with different tethers. Here, we demonstrate that VAPs also modulate ER/IM contact formation. Depletion of VAPs impairs progression of IMs into autophagosomes. Upon autophagy induction, VAPs are recruited to autophagosome formation sites on the ER, a process mediated by their interactions with FIP200 and PI(3)P. VAPs directly interact with FIP200 and ULK1 through their conserved FFAT motifs and stabilize the ULK1/FIP200 complex at the autophagosome formation sites on the ER. The formation of ULK1 puncta is significantly reduced by VAPA/B depletion. VAPs also interact with WIPI2 and enhance the formation of the WIPI2/FIP200 ER/IM tethering complex. Depletion of VMP1, which increases the ER/IM contact, greatly elevates the interaction of VAPs with these autophagy proteins. The VAPB P56S mutation, which is associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, reduces the ULK1/FIP200 interaction and impairs autophagy at an early step, similar to the effect seen in VAPA/B-depleted cells. Our study reveals that VAPs directly interact with multiple ATG proteins, thereby contributing to ER/IM contact formation for autophagosome biogenesis. Zhao et al. demonstrate that the ER-localized proteins VAPA and VAPB participate in ER/isolation membrane contact formation for autophagosome biogenesis. VAPA/B interact with FIP200 and ULK1 through their FFAT motifs to facilitate assembly of the autophagy initiation complex on the ER.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1234-1245.e4
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume28
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 23 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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