The Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family member, Baculoviral IAP Repeat Containing 6 (BIRC6)/BRUCE is a ubiquitin conjugating E2 enzyme and a well-established anti-apoptosis regulator. However, its role in mammalian autophagy has not been shown. We identified BIRC6 as an important positive regulator of macroautophagy/autophagy by performing an siRNA screen targeting enzymes in the ubiquitin pathway. Compared to wild-type cells, BIRC6-deficient cells show accumulation of lipidated LC3B both at basal and starved conditions. Furthermore, BIRC6 deficiency blocks starvation-induced autophagic flux monitored by a tandem fluorescent autophagy sensor, mCherry-GFP-LC3B. Most strikingly, fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes is blocked in BIRC6-deficient cells. BIRC6 colocalizes with the lysosomal protein LAMP2 in cells, and biochemically interacts with STX17 (syntaxin 17), which is a marker for completed autophagosomes. These data collectively suggest that BIRC6 bridges lysosomes and autophagosomes by interacting with these proteins. Because a deletion mutant of BIRC6 lacking the UBC domain partially rescues the autophagosome-lysosome fusion defect in BIRC6-deficient cells, a role of BIRC6 in this event is independent of its E2 catalytic activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology