CALCOCO1 is a soluble reticulophagy receptor
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the largest membrane-bound organelle in eukaryotic cells and plays critical roles in diverse processes in metabolism, signaling and intracellular organization. In response to stress stimuli such as nutrient deprivation, accumulation of misfolded proteins or exposure to chemicals, the ER increases in size through upregulated synthesis of its components to counteract the stress. To restore physiological size, the excess ER components are continuously dismantled and degraded by reticulophagy, a form of autophagy that targets, via adaptor molecules called reticulophagy receptors, specific ER portions to the lysosome for degradation. Previous studies have identified several ER resident proteins as reticulophagy receptors. In a recent study, we identified CALCOCO1 as a soluble reticulophagy receptor for the degradation of tubular ER in response to proteotoxic and starvation-induced stress. On the ER membrane, CALCOCO1 interacts with VAPA and VAPB via a FFAT-like motif and recruits autophagy machinery by binding directly to Atg8-family proteins via LIR and UDS interacting region (UIR) motifs acting co-dependently. Depletion of CALCOCO1 in cultured cells led to an impaired ER degradation during stress.