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Regulation of the innate immune system by autophagy: neutrophils, eosinophils, mast cells, NK cells

Cell Death & Differentiation (2019) | Download Citation


Autophagy is an evolutionally conserved, highly regulated catabolic process that combines cellular functions required for the regulation of metabolic balance under conditions of stress with those needed for the degradation of damaged cell organelles via the lysosomal machinery. The importance of autophagy for cell homeostasis and survival has long been appreciated. Recent data suggest that autophagy is also involved in non-metabolic functions that impact the immune system. Here, we reflect in two review articles the recent literature pointing to an important role for autophagy in innate immune cells. In this article, we focus on neutrophils, eosinophils, mast cells, and natural killer cells. We mainly discuss the influence of autophagy on functional cellular responses and its importance for overall host defense. In the companion review, we present the role of autophagy in the functions performed by monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells.

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The authors apologize to investigators whose contributions may not have been cited because of space limitations. The original work of the authors described here was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (31003A_173215 to S.Y. and 310030_166473 to H.U.S.) and the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program (Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant no. 642295; MEL-PLEX). N.G. and Z.F. are PhD students of the Graduate School of Cellular and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Bern.

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  1. Institute of Pharmacology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

    • Nina Germic
    • , Ziva Frangez
    • , Shida Yousefi
    •  & Hans-Uwe Simon
  2. Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergology, Sechenov University, Moscow, Russia

    • Hans-Uwe Simon


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Hans-Uwe Simon.

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