Autophagy is a conserved eukaryotic lysosomal degradation pathway that responds to environmental and cellular cues. Autophagy is essential for the meiotic exit and sporulation in budding yeast, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we show that autophagy is maintained during meiosis and stimulated in anaphase I and II. Cells with higher levels of autophagy complete meiosis faster, and genetically enhanced autophagy increases meiotic kinetics and sporulation efficiency. Strikingly, our data reveal that the conserved phosphatase Cdc14 regulates meiosis-specific autophagy. Cdc14 is activated in anaphase I and II, accompanying its subcellular relocation from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm, where it dephosphorylates Atg13 to stimulate Atg1 kinase activity and thus autophagy. Together, our findings reveal a meiosis-tailored mechanism that spatiotemporally controls meiotic autophagy activity to ensure meiosis progression, exit, and sporulation.

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