LC3 and STRAP regulate actin filament assembly by JMY during autophagosome formation

During autophagy, actin filament networks move and remodel cellular membranes to form autophagosomes that enclose and metabolize cytoplasmic contents. Two actin regulators, WHAMM and JMY, participate in autophagosome formation, but the signals linking autophagy to actin assembly are poorly understood. We show that, in nonstarved cells, cytoplasmic JMY colocalizes with STRAP, a regulator of JMY’s nuclear functions, on nonmotile vesicles with no associated actin networks. Upon starvation, JMY shifts to motile, LC3-containing membranes that move on actin comet tails. LC3 enhances JMY’s de novo actin nucleation activity via a cryptic actin-binding sequence near JMY’s N terminus, and STRAP inhibits JMY’s ability to nucleate actin and activate the Arp2/3 complex. Cytoplasmic STRAP negatively regulates autophagy. Finally, we use purified proteins to reconstitute LC3- and JMY-dependent actin network formation on membranes and inhibition of network formation by STRAP. We conclude that LC3 and STRAP regulate JMY’s actin assembly activities in trans during autophagy.

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