Protein N-terminal Acetylation by NatA Is Critical for Selective Mitochondria Degradation [Membrane Biology]

August 21st, 2015 by Eiyama, A., Okamoto, K.

Mitophagy is an evolutionarily conserved autophagy pathway that selectively degrades mitochondria. Although it is well established that this degradation system contributes to mitochondrial quality and quantity control, mechanisms underlying mitophagy remain largely unknown. Here we report that protein N-terminal acetyltransferase A (NatA), an enzymatic complex composed of the catalytic subunit Ard1 and the adaptor subunit Nat1, is crucial for mitophagy in yeast. NatA is associated with the ribosome via Nat1 and acetylates the second amino acid residues of nascent polypeptides. Mitophagy, but not bulk autophagy, is strongly suppressed in cells lacking Ard1, Nat1, or both proteins. In addition, loss of NatA enzymatic activity causes impairment of mitochondrial degradation, suggesting that protein N-terminal acetylation by NatA is important for mitophagy. Ard1 and Nat1 mutants exhibited defects in induction of Atg32, a protein essential for mitophagy, and formation of mitochondria-specific autophagosomes. Notably, overexpression of Atg32 partially recovered mitophagy in NatA-null cells, implying that this acetyltransferase participates in mitophagy at least in part via Atg32 induction. Together, our data implicate NatA-mediated protein modification as an early regulatory step crucial for efficient mitophagy.