Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a key catabolic pathway for the maintenance of proteostasis through constant digestion of selective cargoes. The selectivity of autophagy is mediated by autophagy receptors that recognize and recruit cargoes to autophagosomes. SQSTM1/p62 is a prototype autophagy receptor, which is commonly found in protein aggregates associated with major neurodegenerative diseases. While accumulation of SQSTM1 implicates a disturbance of selective autophagy pathway, the pathogenic mechanism that contributes to impaired autophagy degradation remains poorly characterized. Herein we show that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-linked mutations of TBK1 and SQSTM1 disrupt selective autophagy and cause neurotoxicity. Our data demonstrates that proteotoxic stress activates serine/threonine kinase TBK1, which coordinates with autophagy kinase ULK1 to promote concerted phosphorylation of autophagy receptor SQSTM1 at the UBA domain and activation of selective autophagy. In contrast, ALS-FTLD-linked mutations of TBK1 or SQSTM1 reduce SQSTM1 phosphorylation and compromise ubiquitinated cargo binding and clearance. Moreover, disease mutation SQSTM1G427R abolishes phosphorylation of Ser351 and impairs KEAP1-SQSTM1 interaction, thus diminishing NFE2L2/Nrf2-targeted gene expression and increasing TARDBP/TDP-43 associated stress granule formation under oxidative stress. Furthermore, expression of SQSTM1G427R in neurons impairs dendrite morphology and KEAP1-NFE2L2 signaling. Therefore, our results reveal a mechanism whereby pathogenic SQSTM1 mutants inhibit selective autophagy and disrupt NFE2L2 anti-oxidative stress response underlying the neurotoxicity in ALS-FTLD.
- selective autophagy