As a major intracellular degradation pathway, autophagy is tightly regulated to prevent cellular dysfunction in all eukaryotic cells. The rapamycin-sensitive Tor kinase complex 1 is a major regulator of autophagy. Several other nutrient-sensory kinases also play critical roles to precisely modulate autophagy; however, the network of regulatory mechanisms remains largely elusive. We used genetic analyses to elucidate the mechanism by which the stress-responsive, cyclin-dependent kinase Pho85 and its corresponding cyclin complexes antagonistically modulate autophagy in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When complexed with cyclins Pho80 and Pcl5, Pho85 negatively regulates autophagy through downregulating the protein kinase Rim15 and the transcription factors Pho4 and Gcn4. The cyclins Clg1, Pcl1, and Pho80, in concert with Pho85, positively regulate autophagy through promoting the degradation of Sic1, a negative regulator of autophagy that targets Rim15. Our results suggest a model in which Pho85 and its cyclin complexes have opposing roles in autophagy regulation.
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