Autophagy is a starvation response in eukaryotes by which the cell delivers cytoplasmic components to the vacuole for degradation, and is mediated by a double membrane structure called the autophagosome. We have previously proposed that the specific combination of COPII like components, including Sec24p, is required for autophagy (Ishihara, N. et al. (2001) Mol. Biol. Cell, 12: 3690-3702). The autophagic defect in sec24 deleted mutant cells was, however, suppressed upon the recovery of its secretory flow by the overexpression of its homologue, Sfb2p. We have also reported that the autophagic defect is not observed in sec13 and sec31 mutants, a phenomenon that can be explained by the fact that starvation stress suppresses the secretory defect of these mutants. These observations indicate that the active flow in the early secretory pathway plays an important role in autophagy; that is, autophagy proceeds in the presence, but not in the absence of the early secretory flow. Both autophagy and its closely related cytoplasm to vacuole-targeting (Cvt) pathway occur through a pre-autophagosomal structure (PAS), and since the PAS and the functional Cvt pathway exist in all sec mutants, the early secretory pathway must be involved specifically in autophagy, subsequent to PAS formation.
2003 by Japan Society for Cell Biology