Sorting Through the Roles of Beclin 1 in Microglia and Neurodegeneration
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- O’Brien, C.E. & Wyss-Coray, T. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol (2014) 9: 285. doi:10.1007/s11481-013-9519-8
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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.