The intracellular Ca2+ channel TRPML3 is a PI3P effector that regulates autophagosome biogenesis

So Woon Kim, Mi Kyung Kim, Seokwoo Hong, Areum Choi, Jee Hye Choi, Shmuel Muallem, Insuk So, Dongki Yang, Hyun Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a multiple fusion event, initiating with autophagosome formation and culminating with fusion with endo-lysosomes in a Ca2+-dependent manner. The source of Ca2+ and the molecular mechanism by which Ca2+ is provided for this process are not known. The intracellular Ca2+ permeable channel transient receptor potential mucolipin 3 (TRPML3) localizes in the autophagosome and interacts with the mammalian autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) homolog GATE16. Here, we show that lipid-regulated TRPML3 is the Ca2+ release channel in the phagophore that provides the Ca2+ necessary for autophagy progress. We generated a TRPML3-GCaMP6 fusion protein as a targeted reporter of TRPML3 compartment localization and channel function. Notably, TRPML3-GCaMP6 localized in the phagophores, the level of which increased in response to nutrient starvation. Importantly, phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI3P), an essential lipid for autophagosome formation, is a selective regulator of TRPML3. TRPML3 interacted with PI3P, which is a direct activator of TRPML3 current and Ca2+ release from the phagophore, to promote and increase autophagy. Inhibition of TRPML3 suppressed autophagy even in the presence of excess PI3P, while activation of TRPML3 reversed the autophagy inhibition caused by blocking PI3P. Moreover, disruption of the TRPML3–PI3P interaction abolished both TRPML3 activation by PI3P and the increase in autophagy. Taken together, these results reveal that TRPML3 is a downstream effector of PI3P and a key regulator of autophagy. Activation of TRPML3 by PI3P is the critical step providing Ca2+ from the phagophore for the fusion process, which is essential for autophagosome biogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2200085119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2022


  • Ca channel
  • GCaMP6
  • PI3P
  • TRPML3
  • autophagy


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