Defects in autophagy lead to selective in vivo changes in turnover of cytosolic and organelle proteins in Arabidopsis

Lei Li, Chun Pong Lee, Xinxin Ding, Yu Qin, Akila Wijerathna-Yapa, Martyna Broda, Marisa S. Otegui, A. Harvey Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Protein cargo of autophagy in plants can be discovered by identifying proteins that increase in abundance and decrease in degradation rate in mutants deficient in autophagy machinery.

Identification of autophagic protein cargo in plants in autophagy-related genes (ATG) mutants is complicated by changes in protein synthesis and protein degradation. To detect autophagic cargo, we measured protein degradation rate in shoots and roots of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) atg5 and atg11 mutants. These data show that less than a quarter of proteins changing in abundance are probable cargo and revealed roles of ATG11 and ATG5 in degradation of specific glycolytic enzymes and of other cytosol, chloroplast, and ER-resident proteins, and a specialized role for ATG11 in degradation of proteins from mitochondria and chloroplasts. Protein localization in transformed protoplasts and degradation assays in the presence of inhibitors confirm a role for autophagy in degrading glycolytic enzymes. Autophagy induction by phosphate (Pi) limitation changed metabolic profiles and the protein synthesis and degradation rates of atg5 and atg11 plants. A general decrease in the abundance of amino acids and increase in secondary metabolites in autophagy mutants was consistent with altered catabolism and changes in energy conversion caused by reduced degradation rate of specific proteins. Combining measures of changes in protein abundance and degradation rates, we also identify ATG11 and ATG5-associated protein cargo of low Pi-induced autophagy in chloroplasts and ER-resident proteins involved in secondary metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3936-3960
Number of pages25
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number10
Early online date29 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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