, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 285-292
Date: 03 Jan 2014

Sorting Through the Roles of Beclin 1 in Microglia and Neurodegeneration

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Abstract

Beclin 1 has a well-established role in regulating autophagy, a cellular degradation pathway. Although the yeast ortholog of beclin 1 (Atg6/Vps30) was discovered to also regulate vacuolar protein sorting nearly 30 years ago, the varied functions of beclin 1 in mammalian cells are only beginning to be sorted out. We recently described a role for beclin 1 in regulating recycling of phagocytic receptors in microglia, a function analogous to that of its yeast ortholog. Microglia lacking beclin 1 have a reduced phagocytic capacity, which impairs clearance of amyloid β (Aβ) in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Here we summarize these findings and discuss the implications for beclin 1-regulated receptor recycling in neurodegenerative disease.