Indexed on: 19 Oct '17Published on: 19 Oct '17Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
Autophagy is a conserved process in which cytoplasmic components are sequestered for degradation in the vacuole/lysosomes in eukaryotic cells. Autophagy is induced under a variety of starvation conditions, such as the depletion of nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, zinc and others. However, apart from nitrogen starvation, it remains unclear how these stimuli induce autophagy. In yeast, for example, it remains contentious whether autophagy is induced under carbon starvation conditions, with reports variously suggesting both induction and lack of induction upon depletion of carbon. We therefore undertook an analysis to account for these inconsistencies, concluding that autophagy is induced in response to abrupt carbon starvation when cells are grown with glycerol but not glucose as the carbon source. We found that autophagy under these conditions is mediated by nonselective degradation that is highly dependent on the autophagosome associated scaffold proteins Atg11 and Atg17. We also found that the extent of carbon starvation induced autophagy is positively correlated with cells oxygen consumption rate, drawing a link between autophagy induction and respiratory metabolism. Further biochemical analyses indicated that maintenance of intracellular ATP levels is also required for carbon starvation-induced autophagy, and that autophagy plays an important role in cell viability during prolonged carbon starvation. Our findings suggest that carbon starvation induced autophagy is negatively regulated by carbon catabolite repression.