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      NBR1-Mediated Selective Autophagy Targets Insoluble Ubiquitinated Protein Aggregates in Plant Stress Responses

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Plant autophagy plays an important role in delaying senescence, nutrient recycling, and stress responses. Functional analysis of plant autophagy has almost exclusively focused on the proteins required for the core process of autophagosome assembly, but little is known about the proteins involved in other important processes of autophagy, including autophagy cargo recognition and sequestration. In this study, we report functional genetic analysis of Arabidopsis NBR1, a homolog of mammalian autophagy cargo adaptors P62 and NBR1. We isolated two nbr1 knockout mutants and discovered that they displayed some but not all of the phenotypes of autophagy-deficient atg5 and atg7 mutants. Like ATG5 and ATG7, NBR1 is important for plant tolerance to heat, oxidative, salt, and drought stresses. The role of NBR1 in plant tolerance to these abiotic stresses is dependent on its interaction with ATG8. Unlike ATG5 and ATG7, however, NBR1 is dispensable in age- and darkness-induced senescence and in resistance to a necrotrophic pathogen. A selective role of NBR1 in plant responses to specific abiotic stresses suggest that plant autophagy in diverse biological processes operates through multiple cargo recognition and delivery systems. The compromised heat tolerance of atg5, atg7, and nbr1 mutants was associated with increased accumulation of insoluble, detergent-resistant proteins that were highly ubiquitinated under heat stress. NBR1, which contains an ubiquitin-binding domain, also accumulated to high levels with an increasing enrichment in the insoluble protein fraction in the autophagy-deficient mutants under heat stress. These results suggest that NBR1-mediated autophagy targets ubiquitinated protein aggregates most likely derived from denatured or otherwise damaged nonnative proteins generated under stress conditions.

          Author Summary

          Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process that sequestrates and delivers cytoplasmic macromolecules and organelles to the vacuoles or lysosomes for degradation. In plants, autophagy is involved in supplying internal nutrients during starvation and in promoting cell survival during senescence and during biotic and abiotic stresses. Arabidopsis NBR1 is a homolog of mammalian autophagy cargo adaptors P62 and NBR1. Disruption of Arabidopsis NBR1 caused increased sensitivity to a spectrum of abiotic stresses but had no significant effect on plant senescence, responses to carbon starvation, or resistance to a necrotrophic pathogen. NBR1 contains an ubiquitin-binding domain, and the compromised stress tolerance of autophagy mutants was associated with increased accumulation of NBR1 and ubiquitin-positive cellular protein aggregates in the insoluble protein fraction under stress conditions. Based on these results, we propose that NBR1 targets ubiquitinated protein aggregates most likely derived from denatured and otherwise damaged nonnative proteins for autophagic clearance under stress conditions.

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          Most cited references 45

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          Autophagosome formation: core machinery and adaptations.

          Eukaryotic cells employ autophagy to degrade damaged or obsolete organelles and proteins. Central to this process is the formation of autophagosomes, double-membrane vesicles responsible for delivering cytoplasmic material to lysosomes. In the past decade many autophagy-related genes, ATG, have been identified that are required for selective and/or nonselective autophagic functions. In all types of autophagy, a core molecular machinery has a critical role in forming sequestering vesicles, the autophagosome, which is the hallmark morphological feature of this dynamic process. Additional components allow autophagy to adapt to the changing needs of the cell.
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            Autophagy in cell death: an innocent convict?

            The visualization of autophagosomes in dying cells has led to the belief that autophagy is a nonapoptotic form of programmed cell death. This concept has now been evaluated using cells and organisms deficient in autophagy genes. Most evidence indicates that, at least in cells with intact apoptotic machinery, autophagy is primarily a pro-survival rather than a pro-death mechanism. This review summarizes the evidence linking autophagy to cell survival and cell death, the complex interplay between autophagy and apoptosis pathways, and the role of autophagy-dependent survival and death pathways in clinical diseases.
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              Selective autophagy mediated by autophagic adapter proteins.

              Mounting evidence suggests that autophagy is a more selective process than originally anticipated. The discovery and characterization of autophagic adapters, like p62 and NBR1, has provided mechanistic insight into this process. p62 and NBR1 are both selectively degraded by autophagy and able to act as cargo receptors for degradation of ubiquitinated substrates. A direct interaction between these autophagic adapters and the autophagosomal marker protein LC3, mediated by a so-called LIR (LC3-interacting region) motif, their inherent ability to polymerize or aggregate as well as their ability to specifically recognize substrates are required for efficient selective autophagy. These three required features of autophagic cargo receptors are evolutionarily conserved and also employed in the yeast cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting (Cvt) pathway and in the degradation of P granules in C. elegans. Here, we review the mechanistic basis of selective autophagy in mammalian cells discussing the degradation of misfolded proteins, p62 bodies, aggresomes, mitochondria and invading bacteria. The emerging picture of selective autophagy affecting the regulation of cell signaling with consequences for oxidative stress responses, tumorigenesis and innate immunity is also addressed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genet
                plos
                plosgen
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1553-7390
                1553-7404
                January 2013
                January 2013
                17 January 2013
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Horticulture, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
                [2 ]Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America
                University of Missouri, United States of America
                Author notes

                The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: ZC JZ JW J-QY. Performed the experiments: JZ JW YC Y-JC BF. Analyzed the data: ZC JZ JW. Wrote the paper: ZC JZ.

                Article
                PGENETICS-D-12-01740
                10.1371/journal.pgen.1003196
                3547818
                23341779

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 19
                Funding
                This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant 2013C150203 to ZC), the National Basic Research Program of China (grant 2009CB119000 to J-QY), and the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant IOS–0958066 to ZC). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Agriculture
                Biology
                Genetics
                Molecular Cell Biology
                Plant Science

                Genetics

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