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Potassium starvation induces autophagy in yeast

By Nambirajan Rangarajan, Ishani Kapoor, Shuang Li, Peter Drossopoulos, Kristen K White, Victoria J Madden, Henrik G Dohlman

Posted 01 Jul 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.30.179085 (published DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.014687)

Autophagy is a conserved process that recycles cellular contents to promote survival. Although nitrogen starvation is the canonical inducer of autophagy, recent studies have revealed several other nutrients important to this process. In this study, we used a quantitative, high-throughput assay to identify potassium starvation as a new and potent inducer of autophagy. We found that potassium dependent autophagy requires the core pathway kinases Atg1, Atg5, Vps34, as well as other components of Phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase Complex I. Transmission electron microscopy revealed abundant autophagosome formation in response to both stimuli. RNA sequencing indicated distinct transcriptional responses: nitrogen affects transport of ions such as copper while potassium targets the organization of other cellular components. Thus, nitrogen and potassium share the ability to influence metabolic supply and demand but do so in different ways. Both inputs promote catabolism through bulk autophagy, but inhibit cellular anabolism through distinct mechanisms. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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