Review Article | Published:

Autophagy and autophagy-related proteins in the immune system

Nature Immunology volume 16, pages 10141024 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Autophagy is an intracellular bulk degradation system that is highly conserved in eukaryotes. The discovery of autophagy-related ('ATG') proteins in the 1990s greatly advanced the mechanistic understanding of autophagy and clarified the fact that autophagy serves important roles in various biological processes. In addition, studies have revealed other roles for the autophagic machinery beyond autophagy. In this Review, we introduce advances in the knowledge of the roles of autophagy and its components in immunity, including innate immunity, inflammatory responses and adaptive immunity.

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Acknowledgements

Supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (S.T.S., T.S. and Y.T.), the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development CREST (S.T.S., T.S. and Y.T.), Cancer Research Switzerland (KFS-3234-08-2013 for H.N. and C.M.), Worldwide Cancer Research (14-1033 for H.N. and C.M.), the clinical research programs KFSPMS and KFSPHHLD of the University of Zurich (H.N. and C.M.), the Baugarten Foundation (H.N. and C.M.), the Sobek Foundation (H.N. and C.M.), Fondation Acteria (H.N. and C.M.), the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (H.N. and C.M.) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (310030_143979 and CRSII3_136241 for H.N. and C.M.).

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Author notes

    • Shusaku T Shibutani

    Present address: Laboratory of Veterinary Hygiene, Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi Japan.

Affiliations

  1. Laboratory of Intracellular Membrane Dynamics, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.

    • Shusaku T Shibutani
    •  & Tamotsu Yoshimori
  2. Department of Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.

    • Shusaku T Shibutani
    •  & Tamotsu Yoshimori
  3. Division of Molecular Genetics, Institute for Enzyme Research, Tokushima University, Tokushima, Japan.

    • Tatsuya Saitoh
  4. Viral Immunobiology, Institute of Experimental Immunology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

    • Heike Nowag
    •  & Christian Münz

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tamotsu Yoshimori.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.3273

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