We previously reported that recruitment of the type IIA phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4K2A) to autophagosomes by GABARAP, a member of the Atg8 family of autophagy-related proteins, is important for autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Because both PI4K2A and GABARAP have also been implicated in the intracellular trafficking of plasma membrane receptors in the secretory/endocytic pathway, we characterized their interaction in cells under nonautophagic conditions. Fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy measurements revealed that GABARAP exists predominantly as a cytosolic monomer in live cells, but is recruited to small cytoplasmic vesicles upon overexpression of PI4K2A. C-Terminal lipidation of GABARAP, which is essential for its autophagic activities, is not necessary for its recruitment to these PI4K2A-containing transport vesicles. However, a GABARAP truncation mutant lacking C-terminal residues 103-117 fails to bind to PI4K2A, is not recruited to cytoplasmic vesicles, and does not codistribute with PI4K2A on subcellular organelles. These observations suggest that the PI4K2A-GABARAP interaction plays a role in membrane trafficking both under autophagic and nonautophagic conditions.
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