We have been studying protein components that function in the cytoplasm to vacuole targeting (Cvt) pathway and the overlapping process of macroautophagy. The Vac8 and Apg13 proteins are required for the import of aminopeptidase I (API) through the Cvt pathway. We have identified a protein-protein interaction between Vac8p and Apg13p by both two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation analysis. Subcellular fractionation of API indicates that Vac8p and Apg13p are involved in the vesicle formation step of the Cvt pathway. Kinetic analysis of the Cvt pathway and autophagy indicates that, although Vac8p is essential for Cvt transport, it is less important for autophagy. In vivo phosphorylation experiments demonstrate that both Vac8p and Apg13p are phosphorylated proteins, and Apg13p phosphorylation is regulated by changing nutrient conditions. Although Apg13p interacts with the serine/threonine kinase Apg1p, this protein is not required for phosphorylation of either Vac8p or Apg13p. Subcellular fractionation experiments indicate that Apg13p and a fraction of Apg1p are membrane-associated. Vac8p and Apg13p may be part of a larger protein complex that includes Apg1p and additional interacting proteins. Together, these components may form a protein complex that regulates the conversion between Cvt transport and autophagy in response to changing nutrient conditions.
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