Targeting autophagy in skin diseases

Abstract

Autophagy is a major intracellular degradative process by which cytoplasmic materials are sequestered in double-membraned vesicles and degraded upon fusion with lysosomes. Under normal circumstances, basal autophagy is necessary to maintain cellular homeostasis by scavenging dysfunctional or damaged organelles or proteins. In addition to its vital homeostatic role, this degradation pathway has been implicated in many different cellular processes such as cell apoptosis, inflammation, pathogen clearance, and antigen presentation and thereby has been linked to a variety of human disorders, including metabolic conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, and infectious diseases. The skin, the largest organ of the body, serves as the first line of defense against many different environmental insults; however, only a few studies have examined the effect of autophagy on the pathogenesis of skin diseases. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms of autophagy and highlights recent findings relevant to the role of autophagy in skin diseases and strategies for therapeutic modulation.

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Acknowledgments

We apologize to all the authors whose work was not cited or discussed because of space limitations.

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The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Jinchao Li.

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Yu, T., Zuber, J. & Li, J. Targeting autophagy in skin diseases. J Mol Med 93, 31–38 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00109-014-1225-3

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Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Psoriasis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Vitiligo
  • Infectious skin diseases
  • Cancer