New stop along the cellular journey of recycling organelles in plants

A “hub and spoke” system enables plant cells to efficiently coordinate cellular trafficking, particularly for cellular recycling, the so-called autophagy process. Specialized vesicles, the autophagosomes, engulf harmful molecules and carry them to the vacuole, where they are degraded. During this journey, the autophagosomes mature using molecular mechanisms about which little is known in plants. Now, researchers from the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (GMI) characterize the mechanism by which autophagy uses the hub and spoke model in plant cells. The findings are published in the Journal of Cell Biology.

The plant autophagy adaptor CFS1 localizes at the outer autophagosome membrane. Confocal microscopy images of Arabidopsis root epidermal cells expressing the autophagosome marker ATG8E (left), the autophagy receptor marker NBR1 (middle), or the newly identified autophagy adaptor CFS1 (right). The vacuoles are shown in gray. NBR1 localizes inside of the autophagosome, whereas ATG8 can localize at both the inner and outer membranes of the autophagosome. The right panel shows that CFS1 is an autophagy adaptor that mainly localizes at the outer autophagosome membrane. ©Dagdas/JCB/GMI.

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