ATG16L1 autophagy pathway regulates BAX protein levels and programmed cell death

Fenfen Chen, Dulguun Amgalan, Richard N. Kitsis, Jeffrey E. Pessin, Daorong Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Previously we reported that adipocyte SNAP23 (synaptosome-associated protein of 23 kDa) deficiency blocks the activation of macroautophagy, leading to an increased abundance of BAX, a pro-death Bcl-2 family member, and activation and adipocyte cell death both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we found that knockdown of SNAP23 inhibited the association of the autophagosome regulators ATG16L1 and ATG9 compartments by nutrient depletion and reduced the formation of ATG16L1 membrane puncta. ATG16L1 knockdown inhibited autophagy flux and increased BAX protein levels by suppressing BAX degradation. The elevation in BAX protein had no effect on BAX activation or cell death in the nutrient-replete state. However, following nutrient depletion, BAX was activated with a concomitant induction of cell death. Co-immunoprecipitation analyses demonstrated that SNAP23 and ATG16L1 proteins form a stable complex independent of nutrient condition, whereas in the nutrient-depleted state, BAX binds to SNAP23 to form a ternary BAX-SNAP23-ATG16L1 protein complex. Taken together, these data support a model in which SNAP23 plays a crucial function as a scaffold for ATG16L1 necessary for the suppression of BAX activation and induction of the intrinsic cell death program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15045-15053
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 30 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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