Autophagy is an intracellular system for the bulk degradation of cytoplasmic components enclosed within double-membrane structures known as autophagosomes. To date, many autophagy-related (Atg) genes have been identified by independent genetic screens for autophagy-defective mutants in yeast; however, the molecular machinery required for the biogenesis of autophagosomes in mammalian systems has yet to be determined.1,2 Recently, we have reported that Bif-1 interacts with Beclin 1 through UVRAG and promotes the activation of class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3KC3) and the formation of autophagosomes.3 Moreover, we have found that loss of Bif-1 promotes starvation-induced caspase activation, but prolongs cell survival by suppressing autophagy-dependent cell death, and enhances spontaneous tumorigenesis in mice. Bif-1 is a member of the endophilin family, which possesses membrane binding and liposome tubulation activities.4 During nutrient deprivation, Bif-1 accumulates in punctate foci where it co-localizes with LC3, Atg5 and Atg9. Time-lapse microscopy analyses reveal that Bif-1-positive small vesicles expand by recruiting and fusing with Atg9-positive small membranes to form autophagosomes. Taken together, our findings highlight Bif-1 as a potential regulator of autophagosome biogenesis and as a tumor suppressor.
Addendum to: Takahashi Y, Coppola D, Matsushita N, Cualing HD, Sun M, Sato Y, Liang C, Jung JU, Cheng JQ, Mulé JJ, Pledger WJ, Wang H.-G. Bif-1 interacts with Beclin 1 through UVRAG and regulates autophagy and tumorigenesis. Nature Cell Biol 2007; 9:1142-51.Full Text Options