Autophagosome targeting and membrane curvature sensing by Barkor/Atg14(L)

Weiliang Fan, Ashley Nassiri, Qing Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3KC3) is crucial for autophagosome biogenesis. It has been long speculated to nucleate the autophagosome membrane, but the biochemical mechanism of such nucleation activity remains unsolved. We recently identified Barkor/Atg14(L) as the targeting factor for PI3KC3 to autophagosome membrane. Here, we show that we have characterized the region of Barkor/Atg14(L) required for autophagosome targeting and identified the BATS [Barkor/Atg14(L) autophagosome targeting sequence] domain at the carboxyl terminus of Barkor. Bioinformatics and mutagenesis analyses revealed that the BATS domain binds to autophagosome membrane via the hydrophobic surface of an intrinsic amphipathic alpha helix. BATS puncta overlap with Atg16 and LC3, and partially with DFCP1, in a stress-inducible manner. Ectopically expressed BATS accumulates on highly curved tubules that likely represent intermediate autophagic structures. PI3KC3 recruitment and autophagy stimulation by Barkor/Atg14(L) require the BATS domain. Furthermore, our biochemical analyses indicate that the BATS domain directly binds to the membrane, and it favors membrane composed of phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate [PtdIns(3)P] and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2]. By binding preferentially to curved membranes incorporated with PtdIns(3)P but not PtdIns(4,5)P2, the BATS domain is capable of sensing membrane curvature. Thus, we propose a novel model of PI3KC3 autophagosome membrane nucleation in which its autophagosome-specific adaptor, Barkor, accumulates on highly curved PtdIns(3)P enriched autophagic membrane via its BATS domain to sense and maintain membrane curvature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7769-7774
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 10 2011


  • Endocytosis
  • Lysosome
  • Membrane trafficking
  • Omegasome
  • Phagophore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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