Characterization of unusual families of ATG8-like proteins and ATG12 in the protozoan parasite Leishmania major

Roderick Williams, K.L. Woods, L. Juliano, J.C. Mottram, G.H. Coombs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Leishmania major possesses, apparently uniquely, four families of ATG8-like genes, designated ATG8, ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C, and 25 genes in total. L. major ATG8 and examples from the ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C families are able to complement a Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATG8-deficient strain, indicating functional conservation. Whereas ATG8 has been shown to form putative autophagosomes during differentiation and starvation of L. major, ATG8A primarily form puncta in response to starvation-suggesting a role for ATG8A in starvation-induced autophagy. Recombinant ATG8A was processed at the scissile glycine by recombinant ATG4.2 but not ATG4.1 cysteine peptidases of L. major and, consistent with this, ATG4.2-deficient L. major mutants were unable to process ATG8A and were less able to withstand starvation than wild-type cells. GFP-ATG8-containing puncta were less abundant in ATG4.2 overexpression lines, in which unlipidated ATG8 predominated, which is consistent with ATG4.2 being an ATG8-deconjugating enzyme as well as an ATG8A-processing enzyme. In contrast, recombinant ATG8, ATG8B and ATG8C were all processed by ATG4.1, but not by ATG4.2. ATG8B and ATG8C both have a distinct subcellular location close to the flagellar pocket, but the occurrence of the GFP-labeled puncta suggest that they do not have a role in autophagy. L. major genes encoding possible ATG5, ATG10 and ATG12 homologues were found to complement their respective S. cerevisiae mutants, and ATG12 localized in part to ATG8-containing puncta, suggestive of a functional ATG5-ATG12 conjugation pathway in the parasite. L. major ATG12 is unusual as it requires C-terminal processing by an as yet unidentified peptidase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages13
JournalAutophagy
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2009

Fingerprint

Leishmania major
Parasites
Starvation
Autophagy
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Peptide Hydrolases
Genes
Enzymes
Autophagy-Related Protein 8 Family
Glycine
Cysteine

Keywords

  • autophagy
  • leishmania
  • protozoan parasite
  • ATG4
  • ATG8
  • ATG12

Cite this

Williams, Roderick ; Woods, K.L. ; Juliano, L. ; Mottram, J.C. ; Coombs, G.H. / Characterization of unusual families of ATG8-like proteins and ATG12 in the protozoan parasite Leishmania major. In: Autophagy. 2009 ; Vol. 5, No. 2. pp. 159-172.
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Characterization of unusual families of ATG8-like proteins and ATG12 in the protozoan parasite Leishmania major. / Williams, Roderick; Woods, K.L.; Juliano, L.; Mottram, J.C.; Coombs, G.H.

In: Autophagy, Vol. 5, No. 2, 16.02.2009, p. 159-172.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Characterization of unusual families of ATG8-like proteins and ATG12 in the protozoan parasite Leishmania major

AU - Williams, Roderick

AU - Woods, K.L.

AU - Juliano, L.

AU - Mottram, J.C.

AU - Coombs, G.H.

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N2 - Leishmania major possesses, apparently uniquely, four families of ATG8-like genes, designated ATG8, ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C, and 25 genes in total. L. major ATG8 and examples from the ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C families are able to complement a Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATG8-deficient strain, indicating functional conservation. Whereas ATG8 has been shown to form putative autophagosomes during differentiation and starvation of L. major, ATG8A primarily form puncta in response to starvation-suggesting a role for ATG8A in starvation-induced autophagy. Recombinant ATG8A was processed at the scissile glycine by recombinant ATG4.2 but not ATG4.1 cysteine peptidases of L. major and, consistent with this, ATG4.2-deficient L. major mutants were unable to process ATG8A and were less able to withstand starvation than wild-type cells. GFP-ATG8-containing puncta were less abundant in ATG4.2 overexpression lines, in which unlipidated ATG8 predominated, which is consistent with ATG4.2 being an ATG8-deconjugating enzyme as well as an ATG8A-processing enzyme. In contrast, recombinant ATG8, ATG8B and ATG8C were all processed by ATG4.1, but not by ATG4.2. ATG8B and ATG8C both have a distinct subcellular location close to the flagellar pocket, but the occurrence of the GFP-labeled puncta suggest that they do not have a role in autophagy. L. major genes encoding possible ATG5, ATG10 and ATG12 homologues were found to complement their respective S. cerevisiae mutants, and ATG12 localized in part to ATG8-containing puncta, suggestive of a functional ATG5-ATG12 conjugation pathway in the parasite. L. major ATG12 is unusual as it requires C-terminal processing by an as yet unidentified peptidase.

AB - Leishmania major possesses, apparently uniquely, four families of ATG8-like genes, designated ATG8, ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C, and 25 genes in total. L. major ATG8 and examples from the ATG8A, ATG8B and ATG8C families are able to complement a Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATG8-deficient strain, indicating functional conservation. Whereas ATG8 has been shown to form putative autophagosomes during differentiation and starvation of L. major, ATG8A primarily form puncta in response to starvation-suggesting a role for ATG8A in starvation-induced autophagy. Recombinant ATG8A was processed at the scissile glycine by recombinant ATG4.2 but not ATG4.1 cysteine peptidases of L. major and, consistent with this, ATG4.2-deficient L. major mutants were unable to process ATG8A and were less able to withstand starvation than wild-type cells. GFP-ATG8-containing puncta were less abundant in ATG4.2 overexpression lines, in which unlipidated ATG8 predominated, which is consistent with ATG4.2 being an ATG8-deconjugating enzyme as well as an ATG8A-processing enzyme. In contrast, recombinant ATG8, ATG8B and ATG8C were all processed by ATG4.1, but not by ATG4.2. ATG8B and ATG8C both have a distinct subcellular location close to the flagellar pocket, but the occurrence of the GFP-labeled puncta suggest that they do not have a role in autophagy. L. major genes encoding possible ATG5, ATG10 and ATG12 homologues were found to complement their respective S. cerevisiae mutants, and ATG12 localized in part to ATG8-containing puncta, suggestive of a functional ATG5-ATG12 conjugation pathway in the parasite. L. major ATG12 is unusual as it requires C-terminal processing by an as yet unidentified peptidase.

KW - autophagy

KW - leishmania

KW - protozoan parasite

KW - ATG4

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KW - ATG12

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