Autophagic protein degradation includes bulk protein turnover with dynamic membrane reorganization, in which formation of novel organelles autophagosomes play key roles. We have shown that Saccharomyces cerevisiae performs the autophagy in the vacuole, a lytic compartment of yeast, in response to various kinds of nutrient starvation. Here we show that the APG1 gene, involved in the autophagic process in yeast, encodes a novel type of Ser/Thr protein kinase. Our results provide direct evidence for involvement of protein phosphorylation in regulation of the autophagic process. We found overall homology of Apglp with C. elegans Unc-51 protein, suggesting that homologous molecular mechanisms, conserved from unicellular to multicellular organisms, are involved in dynamic membrane flow.