Macroautophagy is a physiological cellular response to nutrient stress, which leads to the engulfment of cytosolic contents by a double-walled membrane structure, the phagophore. Phagophores seal to become autophagosomes, which then fuse with lysosomes to deliver their contents for degradation. Macroautophagy is regulated by numerous cellular factors, including the Class III PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) Vps34 (vacuolar protein sorting 34). The autophagic functions of Vps34 require its recruitment to a complex that includes Vps15, Beclin-1 and Atg14L (autophagy-related 14-like protein) and is known as Vps34 Complex I. We have now identified NRBF2 (nuclear receptor-binding factor 2) as a new member of Vps34 Complex I. NRBF2 binds to complexes that include Vps34, Vps15, Beclin-1 and ATG-14L, but not the Vps34 Complex II component UVRAG (UV radiation resistance-associated gene). NRBF2 directly interacts with Vps15 via the Vps15 WD40 domain as well as other regions of Vps15. The formation of GFP–LC3 (light chain 3) punctae and PE (phosphatidylethanolamine)-conjugated LC3 (LC3-II) in serum-starved cells was inhibited by NRBF2 knockdown in the absence and presence of lysosomal inhibitors, and p62 levels were increased. Thus NRBF2 plays a critical role in the induction of starvation-induced autophagy as a specific member of Vps34 Complex I.

You do not currently have access to this content.