Neuronal health depends on quality control functions of autophagy, but mechanisms regulating neuronal autophagy are poorly understood. Previously, we showed that in Drosophila starvation-independent quality control autophagy is regulated by acinus (acn) and the Cdk5-dependent phosphorylation of its serine437 (Nandi et al., 2017). Here, we identify the phosphatase that counterbalances this activity and provides for the dynamic nature of acinus-serine437 (acn-S437) phosphorylation. A genetic screen identified six phosphatases that genetically interacted with an acn gain-of-function model. Among these, loss of function of only one, the PPM-type phosphatase Nil (CG6036), enhanced pS437-acn levels. Cdk5-dependent phosphorylation of acn-S437 in nil1 animals elevates neuronal autophagy and reduces the accumulation of polyQ proteins in a Drosophila Huntington’s disease model. Consistent with previous findings that Cd2+ inhibits PPM-type phospha-tases, Cd2+ exposure elevated acn-S437 phosphorylation which was necessary for increased neuronal autophagy and protection against Cd2+-induced cytotoxicity. Together, our data establish the acn-S437 phosphoswitch as critical integrator of multiple stress signals regulating neuronal autophagy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)