Autophagosome-lysosome fusion and autolysosome acidification constitute late steps in the autophagic process necessary to maintain functional autophagic flux and cellular homeostasis. Both of these steps are disrupted by the V-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A1, but the mechanisms potentially linking them are unclear. We recently revisited the role of lysosomal acidification in autophagosome-lysosome fusion, using an in vivo approach in Drosophila. By genetically depleting individual subunits of the V-ATPase, we confirmed its role in lysosomal acidification and autophagic cargo degradation. Surprisingly, vesicle fusion remained active in V-ATPase-depleted cells, indicating that autophagosome-lysosome fusion and autolysosome acidification are 2 separable processes. In contrast, bafilomycin A1 inhibited both acidification and fusion, consistent with its effects in mammalian cells. Together, these results imply that this drug inhibits fusion independently of its effect on V-ATPase-mediated acidification. We identified the ER-calcium ATPase Ca-P60A/dSERCA as a novel target of bafilomycin A1. Autophagosome-lysosome fusion was defective in Ca-P60A/dSERCA-depleted cells, and bafilomycin A1 induced a significant increase in cytosolic calcium concentration and disrupted Ca-P60A/SERCA-mediated fusion. Thus, bafilomycin A1 disrupts autophagic flux by independently inhibiting V-ATPase-dependent acidification and Ca-P60A/SERCA-dependent autophagosome-lysosome fusion.
Keywords: Drosophila, SERCA; V-ATPase; autophagosome-lysosome fusion; bafilomycin A1.