Autophagy is an important catabolic process with roles in cell survival and cell death. It sequesters cytosol and organelles within double-membrane autophagosomes that deliver their contents to lysosomes for degradation. Autophagosome biogenesis is coordinated by the autophagy-related protein 4 (Atg4) family of C54 endopeptidases (Atg4A-Atg4D). These enzymes prime and then later delipidate the autophagosome marker, Atg8. Here, we show that one family member, Atg4D, is cleaved by caspase-3 in vitro and in apoptotic cells. Atg4D is a poor priming and delipidation enzyme in vitro, but truncated N63 Atg4D displays increased activity against the Atg8 paralogue, -aminobutyric acid receptor-associated protein-like 1 (GABARAP-L1). In living cells, N63 Atg4D stimulates the delipidation of GABARAP-L1, whereas siRNA silencing of the gene expressing Atg4D abrogates GABARAP-L1 autophagosome formation and sensitises cells to starvation and staurosporine-induced cell death. Interestingly, Atg4D overexpression induces apoptosis, which is preceded by the caspase-independent recruitment of Atg4D to mitochondria and is facilitated by a putative C-terminal Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3) domain. Atg4D also acquires affinity for damaged mitochondria in cells treated with hydrogen peroxide. These data suggest that Atg4D is an autophagy regulator that links mitochondrial dysfunction with apoptosis.
|Translated title of the contribution||Caspase cleavage of Atg4D stimulates GABARAP-L1 processing and triggers mitochondiral targetting and apoptosis|
|Pages (from-to)||2554 - 2566|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Cell Science|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2009|