Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic mechanism that targets intracellular molecules and damaged organelles to lysosomes. Autophagy is achieved by a series of membrane trafficking events, but their regulatory mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we report small GTPase Rab12 as a new type of autophagic regulator that controls the degradation of an amino-acid transporter. Knockdown of Rab12 results in inhibition of autophagy and in increased activity of mTORC1 (mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1), an upstream regulator of autophagy. We also found that Rab12 promotes constitutive degradation of PAT4 (proton-coupled amino-acid transporter 4), whose accumulation in Rab12-knockdown cells modulates mTORC1 activity and autophagy. Our findings reveal a new mechanism of regulation of mTORC1 signalling and autophagy, that is, quality control of PAT4 by Rab12.
- amino-acid transporter
- recycling endosome