Ral GTPase and the exocyst regulate autophagy in a tissue-specific manner

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; UMass Metabolic Network

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Developmental Biology


Autophagy traffics cellular components to the lysosome for degradation. Ral GTPase and the exocyst have been implicated in the regulation of stress-induced autophagy, but it is unclear whether they are global regulators of this process. Here, we investigate Ral function in different cellular contexts in Drosophila and find that it is required for autophagy during developmentally regulated cell death in salivary glands, but does not affect starvation-induced autophagy in the fat body. Furthermore, knockdown of exocyst subunits has a similar effect, preventing autophagy in dying cells but not in cells of starved animals. Notch activity is elevated in dying salivary glands, this change in Notch signaling is influenced by Ral, and decreased Notch function influences autophagy. These data indicate that Ral and the exocyst regulate autophagy in a context-dependent manner, and that in dying salivary glands, Ral mediates autophagy, at least in part, by regulation of Notch.


Drosophila, Notch, Ral GTPase, autophagy, cell death, exocyst

DOI of Published Version



EMBO Rep. 2015 Nov 23. pii: e201541283. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

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EMBO reports

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