When cells are growing (top), the E3 ligase FBXW5, which is associated with Cul1 and SKP1, tags Sec23B (pink circle) with ubiquitin (Ub). This labels Sec23B for destruction by the cell. Starvation kick-starts autophagy, whereby the cell recycles certain components in order to obtain amino acids and nutrients. It also activates ULK1, a kinase that phosphorylates Sec23B (red circle) on Serine 186, thus preventing FBXW5 from tagging it for destruction. Instead, Sec23B-P associates with Sec24AB (green) to form a complex that is not recruited to the endoplasmic reticulum exit sites (ERES; gray line), but to the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC; black line). Another COPII protein, Sec12 (light blue), has also been relocated to this structure. This creates special COPII vesicles (dark blue) that bud to fuel the growth of the phagophore (violet structure) and autophagic activity.