a WD40 protein that regulates autophagy and development of the nervous system. A highly conserved vertebrate protein whose expression is mostly confined to the neuroepithelium during early neurogenesis. Involved in autophagy in controlling protein turnover during neuronal development, and in regulating normal cell survival and proliferation. Interacts with ATG6. Forms a complex with ATG6 and PIK3C3. Its functional inactivation in mouse is lethal in utero (starting from embryonic day 14.5), leading to severe neural tube defects associated with autophagy impairment, accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, and excessive apoptosis. Hyperproliferation followed by a wave of caspase-dependent cell death was the earliest detectable abnormality in the developing neuroepithelium. Five isoforms of the human protein are produced by alternative splicing. Note: This description may include information from UniProtKB.