ULK1 belongs to the serine/threonine protein kinase family. It is involved in axon growth and plays an essential role in neurite branching during sensory axon outgrowth. Serine/threonine-protein kinase involved in autophagy in response to starvation. Acts upstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase PIK3C3 to regulate the formation of autophagophores, the precursors of autophagosomes. Part of regulatory feedback loops in autophagy: acts both as a downstream effector and negative regulator of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) via interaction with RPTOR. Activated via phosphorylation by AMPK and also acts as a regulator of AMPK by mediating phosphorylation of AMPK subunits PRKAA1, PRKAB2 and PRKAG1, leading to negatively regulate AMPK activity.