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Closing the Gap: Membrane Contact Sites in the Regulation of Autophagy

1
Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(5), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9051184
Received: 17 April 2020 / Revised: 29 April 2020 / Accepted: 7 May 2020 / Published: 9 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipids and Lipid Metabolism in Autophagy)
In all eukaryotic cells, intracellular organization and spatial separation of incompatible biochemical processes is established by individual cellular subcompartments in form of membrane-bound organelles. Virtually all of these organelles are physically connected via membrane contact sites (MCS), allowing interorganellar communication and a functional integration of cellular processes. These MCS coordinate the exchange of diverse metabolites and serve as hubs for lipid synthesis and trafficking. While this of course indirectly impacts on a plethora of biological functions, including autophagy, accumulating evidence shows that MCS can also directly regulate autophagic processes. Here, we focus on the nexus between interorganellar contacts and autophagy in yeast and mammalian cells, highlighting similarities and differences. We discuss MCS connecting the ER to mitochondria or the plasma membrane, crucial for early steps of both selective and non-selective autophagy, the yeast-specific nuclear–vacuolar tethering system and its role in microautophagy, the emerging function of distinct autophagy-related proteins in organellar tethering as well as novel MCS transiently emanating from the growing phagophore and mature autophagosome. View Full-Text
Keywords: autophagy; ER–mitochondria encounter structure; ERMES; lipophagy; membrane contact sites; mitochondria-associated membranes; MAMs; mitophagy; nucleus–vacuole junction; pexophagy; piecemeal microautophagy of the nucleus autophagy; ER–mitochondria encounter structure; ERMES; lipophagy; membrane contact sites; mitochondria-associated membranes; MAMs; mitophagy; nucleus–vacuole junction; pexophagy; piecemeal microautophagy of the nucleus
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Kohler, V.; Aufschnaiter, A.; Büttner, S. Closing the Gap: Membrane Contact Sites in the Regulation of Autophagy. Cells 2020, 9, 1184.

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