GAK and PRKCD kinases regulate basal mitophagy

Autophagy. 2022 Jan 9;1-3. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2021.2015154. Online ahead of print.


The removal of mitochondria in a programmed or stress-induced manner is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis. To date, much research has focused upon stress-induced mitophagy that is largely regulated by the E3 ligase PRKN, with limited insight into the mechanisms regulating basal "housekeeping" mitophagy levels in different model organisms. Using iron chelation as an inducer of PRKN-independent mitophagy, we recently screened an siRNA library of lipid-binding proteins and determined that two kinases, GAK and PRKCD, act as positive regulators of PRKN-independent mitophagy. We demonstrate that PRKCD is localized to mitochondria and regulates recruitment of ULK1-ATG13 upon induction of mitophagy. GAK activity, by contrast, modifies the mitochondrial network and lysosomal morphology that compromise efficient transport of mitochondria for degradation. Impairment of either kinase in vivo blocks basal mitophagy, demonstrating the biological relevance of our findings.Abbreviations: CCCP: carbonyl cyanide-m-chlorophenyl hydrazone; DFP: deferiprone; GAK: cyclin G associated kinase; HIF1A: hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha; PRKC/PKC: protein kinase C; PRKCD: protein kinase C delta; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase.

Keywords: Cyclin-G-associated kinase; GAK; PKC; PRKCD; PRKN; mitophagy; protein kinase C.