Autophagy and endocytosis are dynamic and tightly regulated processes that contribute to many fundamental aspects of biology including survival, longevity and development. However, the molecular links between autophagy and endocytosis are not well understood. Here, we report that BEC -1, the C. elegans ortholog of Atg6/Vps30/Beclin 1, a key regulator of the autophagic machinery, also contributes to endosome function. In particular we identified a defect in retrograde transport from endosomes to the Golgi in bec-1 mutants. MIG-14/Wntless is normally recycled from endosomes to the Golgi through the action of the retromer complex and its associated factor RME-8. Lack of retromer or RME-8 activity results in the aberrant transport of MIG-14/Wntless to the lysosome where it is degraded. Similarly, we found that lack of bec-1 also results in mislocalization and degradation of MIG-14::GFP, reduced levels of RME-8 on endosomal membranes, and the accumulation of morphologically abnormal endosomes. A similar phenotype was observed in animals treated with dsRNA against vps-34. We further identified a requirement for BEC-1 in the clearance of apoptotic corpses in the hermaphrodite gonad, suggesting a role for BEC-1 in phagosome maturation, a process that appears to depend upon retrograde transport. In addition, autophagy genes may also be required for cell corpse clearance, as we found that RNAi against atg-18 or unc-51 also results in a lack of cell corpse clearance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- C. elegans