CD4+ T cells are pivotal cells playing roles in the orchestration of humoral and cytotoxic immune responses. It is known that CD4+ T cell proliferation relies on autophagy, but identification of the autophagosomal cargo involved is missing. Here we create a transgenic mouse model, to enable direct mapping of the proteinaceous content of autophagosomes in primary cells by LC3 proximity labelling. Interleukin-7 receptor-α, a cytokine receptor mostly found in naïve and memory T cells, is reproducibly detected in autophagosomes of activated CD4+ T cells. Consistently, CD4+ T cells lacking autophagy show increased interleukin-7 receptor-α surface expression, while no defect in internalisation is observed. Mechanistically, excessive surface interleukin-7 receptor-α sequestrates the common gamma chain, impairing the interleukin-2 receptor assembly and downstream signalling crucial for T cell proliferation. This study shows that key autophagy substrates can be reliably identified in this mouse model and help mechanistically unravel autophagy's contribution to healthy physiology and disease.