A Mammalian Mitophagy Receptor, Bcl2-L-13, Recruits the ULK1 Complex to Induce Mitophagy

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Degradation of mitochondria by selective autophagy, termed mitophagy, contributes to the control of mitochondrial quality. Bcl2-L-13 is a mammalian homolog of Atg32, which is an essential mitophagy receptor in yeast. However, the molecular machinery involved in Bcl2-L-13-mediated mitophagy remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that the ULK1 (unc-51-like kinase) complex is required for Bcl2-L-13 to process mitophagy. Screening of a series of yeast Atg mutants revealed that a different set of ATG genes is used for Bcl2-L-13- and Atg32-mediated mitophagy in yeast. The components of the Atg1 complex essential for starvation-induced autophagy were indispensable in Bcl2-L-13-, but not Atg32-mediated, mitophagy. The ULK1 complex, a counterpart of the Atg1 complex, is necessary for Bcl2-L-13-mediated mitophagy in mammalian cells. We propose a model where, upon mitophagy induction, Bcl2-L-13 recruits the ULK1 complex to process mitophagy and the interaction of LC3B with ULK1, as well as Bcl2-L-13, is important for the mitophagy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-345.e6
JournalCell Reports
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019


  • Atg32
  • Bcl2-L-13
  • mitochondria
  • mitophagy


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