Structural basis for ATG9A recruitment to the ULK1 complex in mitophagy initiation

Xuefeng Ren, Thanh N. Nguyen, Wai Kit Lam, Cosmo Z. Buffalo, Michael Lazarou, Adam L. Yokom, James H. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The assembly of the autophagy initiation machinery nucleates autophagosome biogenesis, including in the PINK1- and Parkin-dependent mitophagy pathway implicated in Parkinson’s disease. The structural interaction between the sole transmembrane autophagy protein, autophagy-related protein 9A (ATG9A), and components of the Unc-51–like autophagy activating kinase (ULK1) complex is one of the major missing links needed to complete a structural map of autophagy initiation. We determined the 2.4-Å x-ray crystallographic structure of the ternary structure of ATG9A carboxyl-terminal tail bound to the ATG13:ATG101 Hop1/Rev7/Mad2 (HORMA) dimer, which is part of the ULK1 complex. We term the interacting portion of the extreme carboxyl-terminal part of the ATG9A tail the “HORMA dimer–interacting region” (HDIR). This structure shows that the HDIR binds to the HORMA domain of ATG101 by β sheet complementation such that the ATG9A tail resides in a deep cleft at the ATG13:ATG101 interface. Disruption of this complex in cells impairs damage-induced PINK1/Parkin mitophagy mediated by the cargo receptor NDP52.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadg2997
Number of pages11
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

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