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An Overview of the Molecular Mechanism of Autophagy

  • Zhifen Yang
  • Daniel J. Klionsky
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 335)

Abstract

Autophagy is a highly conserved cellular degradation process in which portions of cytosol and organelles are sequestered into a double-membrane vesicle, an autophagosome, and delivered into a degradative organelle, the vacuole/lysosome, for breakdown and eventual recycling of the resulting macromolecules. This process relieves the cell from various stress conditions. Autophagy plays a critical role during cellular development and differentiation, functions in tumor suppression, and may be linked to life span extension. Autophagy also has diverse roles in innate and adaptive immunity, such as resistance to pathogen invasion. Substantial progress has been made in the identification of many autophagy-related (ATG) genes that are essential to drive this cellular process, including both selective and nonselective types of autophagy. Identification of the ATG genes in yeast, and the finding of orthologs in other organisms, reveals the conservation of the autophagic machinery in all eukaryotes. Here, we summarize our current knowledge about the machinery and molecular mechanism of autophagy.

Keywords

Autophagosome Formation Autophagic Activity Selective Autophagy Active Cysteine Atg16 Complex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Public Health Service grant GM53396 to D.J.K.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Life Sciences Institute and Departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Biological ChemistryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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