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Regulation of the innate immune system by autophagy: monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells and antigen presentation

Cell Death & Differentiation (2019) | Download Citation


Autophagy is well equipped functionally to isolate microbial pathogens in autophagosomes and to carry out their clearance by dismemberment in the course of catabolic processes in the lysosome. Clearly, this is a non-metabolic function of autophagy that impacts strongly on the immune system. While in a preceding article on neutrophils, eosinophils, mast cells, and natural killer cells our focus was on the role of autophagy in regulating innate immune cell differentiation, degranulation, phagocytosis and extracellular trap formation, here we discuss monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells, specifically, the influence of autophagy on functional cellular responses, such as phagocytosis, antigen presentation, cytokine production, control of inflammasome activation, tolerance and the consequences for overall host defense.

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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 a PhD students of the Graduate School of Cellular and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Bern.

Author information


  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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