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Reconstitution of cargo-induced LC3 lipidation in mammalian selective autophagy

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Selective autophagy of damaged mitochondria, protein aggregates, and other cargoes is essential for health. Cargo initiates phagophore biogenesis, which entails the conjugation of LC3 to phosphatidylethanolamine. Current models suggest that clustered ubiquitin chains on a cargo trigger a cascade from autophagic cargo receptors through the core complexes ULK1 and class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complex I, WIPI2, and the ATG7, ATG3, and ATG12ATG5-ATG16L1 machinery of LC3 lipidation. This was tested using giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs), GST-Ub4 as a model cargo, the cargo receptors NDP52, TAX1BP1, and OPTN, and the autophagy core complexes. All three cargo receptors potently stimulated LC3 lipidation on GUVs. NDP52- and TAX1BP1-induced LC3 lipidation required all components, but not ULK1 kinase activity. However, OPTN bypassed the ULK1 requirement. Thus, cargo-dependent stimulation of LC3 lipidation is common to multiple autophagic cargo receptors, yet the details of core complex engagement vary between the different receptors.

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