Autophagy is a cellular process for bulk degradation of cytoplasmic components. The attachment of Apg12p, a modifier with no significant similarity to ubiquitin, to Apg5p is crucial for autophagy in yeast. This reaction proceeds in a ubiquitination-like manner, and requires Apg7p and Apg10p. Apg7p exhibits a considerable similarity to ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1) and is found to activate Apg12p with ATP hydrolysis. Apg10p, on the other hand, shows no significant similarity to other proteins whose functions are known. Here, we show that after activation by Apg7p, Apg12p is transferred to the Cys-133 residue of Apg10p to form an Apg12p-Apg10p thioester. Cells expressing Apg10p(C133S) do not generate the Apg12p-Apg5p conjugate, which leads to defects in autophagy and cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting of aminopeptidase I. These findings indicate that Apg10p is a new type of protein-conjugating enzyme that functions in the Apg12p-Apg5p conjugation pathway.
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