Structural Basis of Autophagy Regulatory Proteins
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosome-dependent intracellular degradation process that is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and adaptation to cellular stresses in eukaryotic cells. The most well-characterized type of autophagy, the macroautophagy, involves the progressive sequestration of cytoplasmic components into dedicated double-membraned vesicles called autophagosomes, which ultimately fuse with lysosomes to initiate the autophagic degradation of the sequestered cargo. In the past decade, our understanding of the molecular mechanism of macroautophagy has significantly evolved, with particular contributions from the biochemical and structural characterizations of autophagy-related proteins. In this chapter, we focus on some autophagy regulatory proteins involved in the macroautophagy pathway, summarize their currently known structures, and discuss their relevant molecular mechanisms from a perspective of structural biology.