DDRGK1, a crucial player of ufmylation system, is indispensable for autophagic degradation by regulating lysosomal function

Yan Cao, Rongyang Li, Ming Shen, Chengyu Li, Yan Zou, Qiang Jiang, Shuo Liu, Chunwan Lu, Honglin Li, Honglin Liu, Yafei Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


DDRGK domain-containing protein 1 (DDRGK1) is an important component of the newly discovered ufmylation system and its absence has been reported to induce extensive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Recently, emerging evidence indicates that the ufmylation system is correlated with autophagy, although the exact mechanism remains largely unknown. To explore the regulation mechanism of DDRGK1 on autophagy, in this study, we established an immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines harvested from the DDRGK1F/F:ROSA26-CreERT2 mice, in which DDRGK1 depletion can be induced by 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) treatment. Here, we show that DDRGK1 deficiency in MEFs has a dual effect on autophagy, which leads to a significant accumulation of autophagosomes. On one hand, it promotes autophagy induction by impairing mTOR signaling; on the other hand, it blocks autophagy degradation by inhibiting autophagosome–lysosome fusion. This dual effect of DDRGK1 depletion on autophagy ultimately aggravates apoptosis in MEFs. Further studies reveal that DDRGK1 loss is correlated with suppressed lysosomal function, including impaired Cathepsin D (CTSD) expression, aberrant lysosomal pH, and v-ATPase accumulation, which might be a potential trigger for impairment in autophagy process. Hence, this study confirms a crucial role of DDRGK1 as an autophagy regulator by controlling lysosomal function. It may provide a theoretical basis for the treatment strategies of various physiological diseases caused by DDRGK1 deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number416
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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