Autophagic and endocytic pathways are tightly regulated membrane rearrangement processes that are crucial for homeostasis, development and disease. Autophagic cargo is delivered from autophagosomes to lysosomes for degradation through a complex process that topologically resembles endosomal maturation. Here, we report that a Beclin1-binding autophagic tumour suppressor, UVRAG, interacts with the class C Vps complex, a key component of the endosomal fusion machinery. This interaction stimulates Rab7 GTPase activity and autophagosome fusion with late endosomes/lysosomes, thereby enhancing delivery and degradation of autophagic cargo. Furthermore, the UVRAG-class-C-Vps complex accelerates endosome-endosome fusion, resulting in rapid degradation of endocytic cargo. Remarkably, autophagosome/endosome maturation mediated by the UVRAG-class-C-Vps complex is genetically separable from UVRAG-Beclin1-mediated autophagosome formation. This result indicates that UVRAG functions as a multivalent trafficking effector that regulates not only two important steps of autophagy - autophagosome formation and maturation - but also endosomal fusion, which concomitantly promotes transport of autophagic and endocytic cargo to the degradative compartments.
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