Reduced endosomal microautophagy activity in aging associates with enhanced exocyst-mediated protein secretion

Gregory J. Krause, Antonio Diaz, Maryam Jafari, Rabia R. Khawaja, Esperanza Agullo-Pascual, Olaya Santiago-Fernández, Alicia L. Richards, Kuei Ho Chen, Phillip Dmitriev, Yan Sun, Stephanie K. See, Kotb Abdelmohsen, Krystyna Mazan-Mamczarz, Nevan J. Krogan, Myriam Gorospe, Danielle L. Swaney, Simone Sidoli, Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, Martin Kampmann, Ana Maria Cuervo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Autophagy is essential for protein quality control and regulation of the functional proteome. Failure of autophagy pathways with age contributes to loss of proteostasis in aged organisms and accelerates the progression of age-related diseases. In this work, we show that activity of endosomal microautophagy (eMI), a selective type of autophagy occurring in late endosomes, declines with age and identify the sub-proteome affected by this loss of function. Proteomics of late endosomes from old mice revealed an aberrant glycation signature for Hsc70, the chaperone responsible for substrate targeting to eMI. Age-related Hsc70 glycation reduces its stability in late endosomes by favoring its organization into high molecular weight protein complexes and promoting its internalization/degradation inside late endosomes. Reduction of eMI with age associates with an increase in protein secretion, as late endosomes can release protein-loaded exosomes upon plasma membrane fusion. Our search for molecular mediators of the eMI/secretion switch identified the exocyst-RalA complex, known for its role in exocytosis, as a novel physiological eMI inhibitor that interacts with Hsc70 and acts directly at the late endosome membrane. This inhibitory function along with the higher exocyst-RalA complex levels detected in late endosomes from old mice could explain, at least in part, reduced eMI activity with age. Interaction of Hsc70 with components of the exocyst-RalA complex places this chaperone in the switch from eMI to secretion. Reduced intracellular degradation in favor of extracellular release of undegraded material with age may be relevant to the spreading of proteotoxicity associated with aging and progression of proteinopathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13713
JournalAging cell
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • aging
  • autophagy
  • chaperones
  • endosomal microautophagy
  • exocyst complex
  • late endosomes
  • protein secretion
  • proteostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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