Liu K, Jian Y, Sun X, Yang C, Gao Z, Zhang Z, Liu X, Li Y, Xu J, Jing Y, Mitani S, He S, Yang C.
Phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PtdIns3P) plays a central role in endosome fusion, recycling, sorting, and early-to-late endosome conversion, but the mechanisms that determine how the correct endosomal PtdIns3P level is achieved remain largely elusive. Here we identify two new factors, SORF-1 and SORF-2, as essential PtdIns3P regulators in Caenorhabditis elegans. Loss of sorf-1 or sorf-2 leads to greatly elevated endosomal PtdIns3P, which drives excessive fusion of early endosomes. sorf-1 and sorf-2 function coordinately with Rab switching genes to inhibit synthesis of PtdIns3P, allowing its turnover for endosome conversion. SORF-1 and SORF-2 act in a complex with BEC-1/Beclin1, and their loss causes elevated activity of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) complex. In mammalian cells, inactivation of WDR91 and WDR81, the homologs of SORF-1 and SORF-2, induces Beclin1-dependent enlargement of PtdIns3P-enriched endosomes and defective degradation of epidermal growth factor receptor. WDR91 and WDR81 interact with Beclin1 and inhibit PI3K complex activity. These findings reveal a conserved mechanism that controls appropriate PtdIns3P levels in early-to-late endosome conversion.