Autophagy is a bulk degradation system conserved among most eukaryotes. Recently, autophagy has been shown to mediate selective degradation of various targets such as aggregated proteins and damaged or superfluous organelles. Structural studies have uncovered the conserved specific interactions between autophagic receptors and Atg8-family proteins through WXXL-like sequences, which we term the Atg8-family interacting motif (AIM). AIM functions in various autophagic receptors such as Atg19 in the cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting pathway, p62 and neighbor of BRCA1 gene 1 (NBR1) in autophagic degradation of protein aggregates, and Atg32 and Nix in mitophagy, and may link the target-receptor complex to autophagic membranes and/or their forming machineries.
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