Role for autophagy-derived serine in mitochondrial activation revealed

Role for autophagy-derived serine in mitochondrial activation revealed

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  (Cell Biology Center / Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi and Dr. Alexander I. May)

“Autophagy facilitates adaptation of budding yeast to respiratory growth by recycling serine for one-carbon metabolism”

Nature Communications (DOI:10.1038/s41467-020-18805-x

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The mechanism and function of autophagy as a highly-conserved bulk degradation pathway are well studied, but the physiological role of autophagy remains poorly understood. We show that autophagy is involved in the adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to respiratory growth through its recycling of serine. On respiratory media, growth onset, mitochondrial initiator tRNA modification and mitochondrial protein expression are delayed in autophagy defective cells, suggesting that mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism is perturbed in these cells. The supplementation of serine, which is a key one-carbon metabolite, is able to restore mitochondrial protein expression and alleviate delayed respiratory growth. These results indicate that autophagy-derived serine feeds into mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism, supporting the initiation of mitochondrial protein synthesis and allowing rapid adaptation to respiratory growth.