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    Zinc is an essential nutrient for all forms of life. Within cells, most zinc is bound to protein. Because zinc serves as a catalytic or structural cofactor for many proteins, cells must maintain zinc homeostasis under severely zinc-deficient conditions. In yeast, the transcription factor Zap1 controls the expression of genes required for uptake and mobilization of zinc, but to date the fate of existing zinc-binding proteins under zinc starvation remains poorly understood. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved cellular degradation/recycling process in which cytoplasmic proteins and organelles are sequestered for degradation in the vacuole/lysosome. In this study, we investigated how autophagy functions under zinc starvation. Zinc depletion induced non-selective autophagy, which is important for zinc-limited growth. Induction of autophagy by zinc starvation was not directly related to transcriptional activation of Zap1. Instead, TORC1 inactivation directed zinc starvation-induced autophagy. Abundant zinc proteins, such as Adh1, Fba1, and ribosomal protein Rpl37, were degraded in an autophagy-dependent manner. But the targets of autophagy were not restricted to zinc-binding proteins. When cellular zinc is severely depleted, this non-selective autophagy plays a role in releasing zinc from the degraded proteins and recycling zinc for other essential purposes. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


    Tomoko Kawamata, Tetsuro Horie, Miou Matsunami, Michiko Sasaki, Yoshinori Ohsumi. Zinc starvation induces autophagy in yeast. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 May 19;292(20):8520-8530

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    PMID: 28264932

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