C. elegans Screen Identifies Autophagy Genes Specific to Multicellular Organisms

Ye Tian, Zhipeng Li, Wanqiu Hu, Haiyan Ren, E. Tian, Yu Zhao, Qun Lu, Xinxin Huang, Peiguo Yang, Xin Li, Xiaochen Wang, Attila L. Kovács, Li Yu, Hong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

250 Citations (Scopus)


The molecular understanding of autophagy has originated almost exclusively from yeast genetic studies. Little is known about essential autophagy components specific to higher eukaryotes. Here we perform genetic screens in C. elegans and identify four metazoan-specific autophagy genes, named epg-2, -3, -4, and -5. Genetic analysis reveals that epg-2, -3, -4, and -5 define discrete genetic steps of the autophagy pathway. epg-2 encodes a coiled-coil protein that functions in specific autophagic cargo recognition. Mammalian homologs of EPG-3/VMP1, EPG-4/EI24, and EPG-5/mEPG5 are essential for starvation-induced autophagy. VMP1 regulates autophagosome formation by controlling the duration of omegasomes. EI24 and mEPG5 are required for formation of degradative autolysosomes. This study establishes C. elegans as a multicellular genetic model to delineate the autophagy pathway and provides mechanistic insights into the metazoan-specific autophagic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1055
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2010



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'C. elegans Screen Identifies Autophagy Genes Specific to Multicellular Organisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Tian, Y., Li, Z., Hu, W., Ren, H., Tian, E., Zhao, Y., Lu, Q., Huang, X., Yang, P., Li, X., Wang, X., Kovács, A. L., Yu, L., & Zhang, H. (2010). C. elegans Screen Identifies Autophagy Genes Specific to Multicellular Organisms. Cell, 141(6), 1042-1055. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2010.04.034