Mitophagy is a process that selectively degrades mitochondria. When mitophagy is induced in yeast, the mitochondrial outer membrane protein Atg32 is phosphorylated, interacts with the adaptor protein Atg11 and is recruited into the vacuole with mitochondria. We screened kinase-deleted yeast strains and found that CK2 is essential for Atg32 phosphorylation, Atg32-Atg11 interaction and mitophagy. Inhibition of CK2 specifically blocks mitophagy, but not macroautophagy, pexophagy or the Cvt pathway. In vitro, CK2 phosphorylates Atg32 at serine 114 and serine 119. We conclude that CK2 regulates mitophagy by directly phosphorylating Atg32.
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