Mechanisms regulating the surveillance and clearance of synaptic proteins are not well understood. Intriguingly, the loss of the presynaptic active zone proteins Piccolo and Bassoon triggers the loss of synaptic vesicles (SVs) and compromises synaptic integrity. Here we report that the destruction of SVs in boutons lacking Piccolo and Bassoon was associated with the induction of presynaptic autophagy, a process that depended on poly-ubiquitination, but not the E3 ubiquitin ligase Siah1. Surprisingly, gain or loss of function (LOF) of Bassoon alone suppressed or enhanced presynaptic autophagy, respectively, implying a fundamental role for Bassoon in the local regulation of presynaptic autophagy. Mechanistically, Bassoon was found to interact with Atg5, an E3-like ligase essential for autophagy, and to inhibit the induction of autophagy in heterologous cells. Importantly, Atg5 LOF as well as targeting an Atg5-binding peptide derived from Bassoon inhibited presynaptic autophagy in boutons lacking Piccolo and Bassoon, providing insights into the molecular mechanisms regulating presynaptic autophagy.
Reimer, R. J., Schneider, K., Leal-Ortiz, S., Montenegro-Venegas, C., Kim, S. A., Garner, L. C., … Garner, C. C. (2017). Bassoon Controls Presynaptic Autophagy through Atg5. Neuron, 93(4), 897-913.e7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.01.026