Three consecutive cytosolic glycolysis enzymes modulate autophagic flux

Plant Physiol. 2023 Aug 4;kiad439. doi: 10.1093/plphys/kiad439. Online ahead of print.


Autophagy serves as an important recycling route for the growth and survival of eukaryotic organisms in nutrient-deficient conditions. Since starvation induces massive changes in metabolic flux that are coordinated by key metabolic enzymes, specific processing steps of autophagy may be linked with metabolic flux-monitoring enzymes. We attempted to identify carbon metabolic genes that modulate autophagy using VIGS screening of 45 glycolysis- and Calvin-Benson cycle-related genes in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Here, we report that three consecutive triose-phosphate-processing enzymes involved in cytosolic glycolysis, TPI (triose-phosphate-isomerase), GAPC (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), and PGK (phosphoglycerate kinase), designated TGP, negatively regulate autophagy. Depletion of TGP enzymes causes spontaneous autophagy induction and increases AUTOPHAGY-RELATED 1 (ATG1) kinase activity. TGP enzymes interact with ATG101, a regulatory component of the ATG1 kinase complex. Spontaneous autophagy induction and abnormal growth under insufficient sugar in the TGP mutants are suppressed by crossing with the atg101 mutant. Considering that triose-phosphates are photosynthates transported to the cytosol from active chloroplasts, the TGP enzymes would be strategically positioned to monitor the flow of photosynthetic sugars and modulate autophagy accordingly. Collectively, these results suggest that TGP enzymes negatively control autophagy acting upstream of the ATG1 complex, which is critical for seedling development.