Secretory autophagy maintains proteostasis upon lysosome inhibition

J Cell Biol. 2022 Jun 6;221(6):e202110151. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202110151. Epub 2022 Apr 21.


The endolysosome system plays central roles in both autophagic degradation and secretory pathways, including the release of extracellular vesicles and particles (EVPs). Although previous work reveals important interconnections between autophagy and EVP-mediated secretion, our understanding of these secretory events during endolysosome inhibition remains incomplete. Here, we delineate a secretory autophagy pathway upregulated in response to endolysosomal inhibition, which mediates EVP-associated release of autophagic cargo receptors, including p62/SQSTM1. This secretion is highly regulated and dependent on multiple ATGs required for autophagosome formation, as well as the small GTPase Rab27a. Furthermore, disrupting autophagosome maturation, either via genetic inhibition of autophagosome-to-autolysosome fusion or expression of SARS-CoV-2 ORF3a, is sufficient to induce EVP secretion of autophagy cargo receptors. Finally, ATG-dependent EVP secretion buffers against the intracellular accumulation of autophagy cargo receptors when classical autophagic degradation is impaired. Thus, we propose secretory autophagy via EVPs functions as an alternate route to clear sequestered material and maintain proteostasis during endolysosomal dysfunction or impaired autophagosome maturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autophagosomes / metabolism
  • Autophagy*
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes* / metabolism
  • Proteostasis*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sequestosome-1 Protein
  • Viroporin Proteins
  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins


  • ORF3a protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • SQSTM1 protein, human
  • Sequestosome-1 Protein
  • Viroporin Proteins
  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • RAB27A protein, human