Contrary to dogma, autophagy is also highly selective. A ubiquitin-like protein called ATG8 labels autophagosomes and interacts with autophagy receptors that decode autophagy signals and, overall, ensure specificity. So far, most studies have ascribed the process of selectivity to the cargo receptors. It remains to be seen whether different ATG8 isoforms also contribute to selective autophagy. Plants provide a great platform to mechanistically study selective autophagy because the ATG8 gene family is rapidly evolving and expanded.
In this talk, I will (i) share our recent results demonstrating the structural and biochemical basis of ATG8 specialization, (ii) show how we discover novel selective autophagy receptors and adaptors by exploiting ATG8 specialization, and (iii) discuss how we plan to dissect selective autophagy at a cell type specific resolution in future.