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Molecular mechanisms of membrane remodeling and fusion during selective and bulk autophagy


In this project, we aim at dissecting the mechanisms of autophagosome formation and fusion with the lytic compartment at a molecular level. In particular we are interested to understand how these mechanisms differ between defined selective and bulk autophagy pathways. Using analyses in whole cells as well as in vitro reconstitutions, we will investigate how membrane remodeling regulates autophagosome formation and fusion. We will initially use budding yeast as a model system and then expand the analysis also to mammalian cells and C. elegans.



Working model. Small selective autophagosomes are formed under nutrient-rich conditions. For formation of larger bulk autophagosomes, the upregulation of Atg1 kinase activity, bulk-specific components and/or the increase of such components is required. Once an autophagosome is sealed, fusion promoting factors such as SNARE proteins need to associate with the autophagosome and fusion-inhibitory factors need to be removed, potentially also regulated by Atg1 kinase activity. Together, these events regulate the faithful formation of the right autophagosomes at the right time, and prevent their premature fusion with the lytic compartment.

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Claudine Kraft

Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Stefan-Meier-Straße 17
D-79104 Freiburg
Office: +49 761-203-5221

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