Publication by Graduate Student Shreya Goyal
Publication by graduate student Shreya Goyal along with co-authors Verónica A. Segarra, Nitik., Aaron M. Stecher, Andrew W. Truman, Adam M. Reitzel, and Richard J. Chi is featured on the cover of Traffic. The team’s publication is Vps501, a novel vacuolar SNX-BAR protein cooperates with the SEA complex to regulate TORC1 signaling. The sorting nexins (SNXs), constitute a diverse family of molecules that play varied roles in membrane trafficking, cell signaling, membrane remodeling, organelle motility and autophagy. In particular, the SNX-Bin-Amphiphysin-Rvs (BAR) proteins, a SNX subfamily characterized by a C-terminal dimeric BAR lipid curvature domain and a conserved Phox-homology domain, are of great interest. In budding yeast, many SNX-BAR proteins have well-characterized endo-vacuolar trafficking roles. Phylogenetic analyses allowed us to identify an additional SNX-BAR protein, Vps501, with a novel endo-vacuolar role. We report that Vps501 uniquely localizes to the vacuolar membrane and has physical and genetic interactions with the SEA complex to regulate TORC1 inactivation. We found cells displayed a severe deficiency in starvation-induced/nonselective autophagy only when SEA complex subunits are ablated in combination with Vps501, indicating a cooperative role with the SEA complex during TORC1 signaling during autophagy induction. Additionally, we found the SEACIT complex becomes destabilized in vps501Δsea1Δ cells, which resulted in aberrant endosomal TORC1 activity and subsequent Atg13 hyperphosphorylation. We have also discovered that the vacuolar localization of Vps501 is dependent upon a direct interaction with Sea1 and a unique lipid binding specificity that is also required for its function.