Autophagy contributes to the selective degradation of liquid droplets, including the P-Granule, Ape1-complex and p62/SQSTM1-body, although the molecular mechanisms and physiological relevance of selective degradation remain unclear. In this report, we describe the properties of endogenous p62-bodies, the effect of autophagosome biogenesis on these bodies, and the in vivo significance of their turnover. p62-bodies are low-liquidity gels containing ubiquitin and core autophagy-related proteins. Multiple autophagosomes form on the p62-gels, and the interaction of autophagosome-localizing Atg8-proteins with p62 directs autophagosome formation toward the p62-gel. Keap1 also reversibly translocates to the p62-gels in a p62-binding dependent fashion to activate the transcription factor Nrf2. Mice deficient for Atg8-interaction-dependent selective autophagy show that impaired turnover of p62-gels leads to Nrf2 hyperactivation in vivo. These results indicate that p62-gels are not simple substrates for autophagy but serve as platforms for both autophagosome formation and anti-oxidative stress.
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