mTOR-mediated phosphorylation of VAMP8 and SCFD1 regulates autophagosome maturation.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1) has been shown to regulate autophagy at different steps. However, how mTORC1 regulates the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive protein receptor (SNARE) complex remains elusive. Here we show that mTORC1 inhibits formation of the SNARE complex (STX17-SNAP29-VAMP8) by phosphorylating VAMP8, thereby blocking autophagosome-lysosome fusion. A VAMP8 phosphorylation mimic mutant is unable to promote autophagosome-lysosome fusion in vitro. Furthermore, we identify SCFD1, a Sec1/Munc18-like protein, that localizes to the autolysosome and is required for SNARE complex formation and autophagosome-lysosome fusion. VAMP8 promotes SCFD1 recruitment to autolysosomes when dephosphorylated. Consistently, phosphorylated VAMP8 or SCFD1 depletion inhibits autophagosome-lysosome fusion, and expression of phosphomimic VAMP8 leads to increased lipid droplet accumulation when expressed in mouse liver. Thus, our study supports that mTORC1-mediated phosphorylation of VAMP8 blocks SCFD1 recruitment, thereby inhibiting STX17-SNAP29-VAMP8 complex formation and autophagosome-lysosome fusion.