Mitochondria are targeted for degradation by mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mitophagy is dependent on the autophagy receptor, Atg32, an outer mitochondrial membrane protein. Once activated, Atg32 recruits the autophagy machinery to mitochondria, facilitating mitochondrial capture in phagophores, the precursors to autophagosomes. However, the mechanism of Atg32 activation remains poorly understood. To investigate this crucial step in mitophagy regulation, we examined the structure of Atg32. We have identified a structured domain in Atg32 that is essential for the initiation of mitophagy, as it is required for the proteolysis of the C-terminal domain of Atg32 and the subsequent recruitment of Atg11. The solution structure of this domain was determined by NMR spectroscopy, revealing that Atg32 contains a previously undescribed pseudo-receiver (PsR) domain. Our data suggests that the PsR domain of Atg32 regulates Atg32 activation and the initiation of mitophagy.
Abbreviations: AIM: Atg8-interacting motif; GFP: green fluorescent protein; LIR: LC3-interacting region; NMR: nuclear magnetic resonance; NOESY: nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy; PDB: protein data bank; PsR: pseudo-receiver; RMSD: root-mean-square deviation.
Keywords: Atg32; NMR spectroscopy; mitophagy; solution structure; yeast.