Autophagy allows cells to adapt to changes in their environment by coordinating the degradation and recycling of cellular components and organelles to maintain homeostasis. Lysosomes are organelles critical for terminating autophagy via their fusion with mature autophagosomes to generate autolysosomes that degrade autophagic materials; therefore, maintenance of the lysosomal population is essential for autophagy-dependent cellular clearance. Here, we have demonstrated that the two most common autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia gene products, the SPG15 protein spastizin and the SPG11 protein spatacsin, are pivotal for autophagic lysosome reformation (ALR), a pathway that generates new lysosomes. Lysosomal targeting of spastizin required an intact FYVE domain, which binds phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate. Loss of spastizin or spatacsin resulted in depletion of free lysosomes, which are competent to fuse with autophagosomes, and an accumulation of autolysosomes, reflecting a failure in ALR. Moreover, spastizin and spatacsin were essential components for the initiation of lysosomal tubulation. Together, these results link dysfunction of the autophagy/lysosomal biogenesis machinery to neurodegeneration.
Jaerak Chang, Seongju Lee, Craig Blackstone