The Regulation and Function of Drosophila Acinus




Tyra, Lauren Katherine

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Autophagy and growth control are two processes critical to organisms that mutually antagonize and regulate on each other. Several well known connections between these processes have been described, but here I describe a new link. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, my thesis research has identified Acinus and Atg1, already known for their functions in autophagy, as growth suppressors. Further, my data show that this suppression is, at least in part, mediated by Atg1 phosphorylating and thereby inhibiting the pro-growth transcriptional co-activator Yorkie. Genetic gain- and loss-of function experiments indicate that this Atg1 function depends on Acinus. This work provides a new role for Atg1 in inhibition of growth and thereby adding a new regulatory pressure on Yorkie. Furthermore, my data indicate that Acinus’ function in promoting basal autophagy is based on its starvation-independent activation of the Atg1 kinase.

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