SPATA33 functions as a mitophagy receptor in mammalian germline

Autophagy. 2021 May;17(5):1284-1286. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2021.1909836. Epub 2021 Apr 5.


Mitophagy is an essential mechanism in maintaining cellular homeostasis, in which damaged and superfluous mitochondria are selectively degraded by the autophagy-lysosome pathway. Our recent study revealed that SPATA33 functions as a novel receptor for mitophagy in the priming of mitochondria for degradation in male germline cells. SPATA33 directly mediates the interaction of the outer mitochondrial membrane protein VDAC2 with the autophagy machinery component ATG16L1 during mitophagy. Upon starvation induction, SPATA33 can promote mitophagy as an autophagy receptor. Thus, SPATA33 confers cargo selectivity during mitophagy in germline cells. These findings provide new insights into selective autophagy and mitochondrial homeostasis.

Keywords: Autophagy; SPATA33; mammals; mitochondria; spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Germ Cells
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Mitophagy*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [31771487, 31771370, and 31970539].