Adaptation to nutrient scarcity involves an orchestrated response of metabolic and signaling pathways to maintain homeostasis. We find that in the fat body of fasting Drosophila, lysosomal export of cystine coordinates remobilization of internal nutrient stores with reactivation of the growth regulator target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1). Mechanistically, cystine was reduced to cysteine and metabolized to acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) by promoting CoA metabolism. In turn, acetyl-CoA retained carbons from alternative amino acids in the form of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates and restricted the availability of building blocks required for growth. This process limited TORC1 reactivation to maintain autophagy and allowed animals to cope with starvation periods. We propose that cysteine metabolism mediates a communication between lysosomes and mitochondria, highlighting how changes in diet divert the fate of an amino acid into a growth suppressive program.
Nutrient deprivation induces autophagy through inhibiting TORC1 activity. We describe a novel mechanism in Drosophila by which TORC1 regulates RNA processing of Atg transcripts and alters ATG protein levels and activities via the cleavage and polyadenylation (CPA) complex. We show that TORC1 signaling inhibits CDK8 and DOA kinases, which directly phosphorylate CPSF6, a component of the CPA complex. These phosphorylation events regulate CPSF6 localization, RNA binding, and starvation-induced alternative RNA processing of transcripts involved in autophagy, nutrient, and energy metabolism, thereby controlling autophagosome formation and metabolism. Similarly, we find that mammalian CDK8 and CLK2, a DOA ortholog, phosphorylate CPSF6 to regulate autophagy and metabolic changes upon starvation, revealing an evolutionarily conserved mechanism linking TORC1 signaling with RNA processing, autophagy, and metabolism.