A unique AtSar1D-AtRabD2a nexus modulates autophagosome biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Yonglun Zeng*, Baiying Li, Changyang Ji, Lei Feng, Fangfang Niu, Cesi Deng, Shuai Chen, Youshun Lin, Kenneth C.P. Cheung, Jinbo Shen, Kam-Bo Wong, Liwen Jiang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In eukaryotes, secretory proteins traffic from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus via coat protein complex II (COPII) vesicles. Intriguingly, during nutrient starvation, the COPII machinery acts constructively as a membrane source for autophagosomes during autophagy to maintain cellular homeostasis by recycling intermediate metabolites. In higher plants, essential roles of autophagy have been implicated in plant development and stress responses. Nonetheless, the membrane sources of autophagosomes, especially the participation of the COPII machinery in the autophagic pathway and autophagosome biogenesis, remains elusive in plants. Here, we provided evidence in support of a novel role of a specific Sar1 homolog AtSar1d in plant autophagy in concert with a unique Rab1/Ypt1 homolog AtRabD2a. First, proteomic analysis of the plant ATG (autophagy-related gene) interactome uncovered the mechanistic connections between ATG machinery and specific COPII components including AtSar1d and Sec23s, while a dominant negative mutant of AtSar1d exhibited distinct inhibition on YFP-ATG8 vacuolar degradation upon autophagic induction. Second, a transfer DNA insertion mutant of AtSar1d displayed starvation-related phenotypes. Third, AtSar1d regulated autophagosome progression through specific recognition of ATG8e by a noncanonical motif. Fourth, we demonstrated that a plant-unique Rab1/Ypt1 homolog AtRabD2a coordinates with AtSar1d to function as the molecular switch in mediating the COPII functions in the autophagy pathway. AtRabD2a appears to be essential for bridging the specific AtSar1d-positive COPII vesicles to the autophagy initiation complex and therefore contributes to autophagosome formation in plants. Taken together, we identified a plant-specific nexus of AtSar1d-AtRabD2a in regulating autophagosome biogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021293118
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General

User-Defined Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Coat protein complex II
  • Plant stress
  • Rab GTPase
  • Sar1


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