During autophagosome formation, ATG3, an E2-like enzyme, catalyzes the transfer of LC3-family proteins (including Atg8 in yeast and LC3- and GABARAP-subfamily members in more complex eukaryotes) from the covalent conjugated ATG3–LC3 intermediate to PE lipids in targeted membranes. A recent study has shown that the catalytically important regions of human ATG3 (hereafter referred to as ATG3), including residues 262 to 277 and 291 to 300, in cooperation with its N-terminal curvature-sensing amphipathic helix (NAH), directly interact with the membrane. These membrane interactions are functionally necessary for in vitro conjugation and in vivo cellular assays. They provide a molecular mechanism for how the membrane curvature-sensitive interaction of the NAH of ATG3 is closely coupled to its conjugase activity. Together, the data are consistent with a model in which the highly curved phagophore rims facilitate the recruitment of the ATG3–LC3 complex and promote the conjugation of LC3 to PE lipids. Mechanistically, the highly curved membranes of the phagophore rims act in much the same manner as classical E3 enzymes in the sumo/ubiquitin system, bringing substrates into proximity and rearranging the catalytic center of ATG3. Future studies will investigate how this multifaceted membrane interaction of ATG3 works with the putative E3 complex, ATG12–ATG5-ATG16L1, to promote LC3–PE conjugation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-711
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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