The Atg1/ULK complex plays an essential role in the initiation of autophagy: receiving signals of cellular nutrient status, recruiting downstream Atg proteins to the autophagosome formation site, and governing autophagosome formation. Recent studies of mammalian Atg1 homologs (ULK1 and ULK2) have identified several novel interacting proteins, FIP200, mAtg13, and Atg101. FIP200 and Atg101 are not conserved in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, despite the high conservation rates of other downstream Atg proteins between the yeast and mammals. Furthermore, through studies of the Atg1/ULK1 complex, the molecular mechanism by which (m)TORC1 regulates autophagy is now being clarified in detail.
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