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Special Issue: Autophagy in Physiology and Disease
This Cell Death & Differentiation special issue on Autophagy brings together a series of commissioned reviews dedicated to the rapidly expanding autophagy field. Outstanding experts discuss how autophagy emerged as a key process in most organismal developmental stages, from fertilization throughout adult life and regeneration; how the removal of cellular organelles and infectious agents needs to be carefully controlled, impacting on the immune response and on an expanding list of diseases; what are the best strategies to modulate autophagy for the treatment of cancer and other pathologies? The readers will be challenged by this and other thought-provoking questions which we hope will help them charting innovative paths toward our thorough understanding of this fundamental process and its therapeutic applications.
Vascular homeostasis relies on the proper behavior of endothelial cells (ECs). Emerging evidence indicate a critical role of autophagy, a vesicular process for lysosomal degradation of cytoplasmic content, in EC biology. While EC-intrinsic autophagy promotes EC function and quiescent state through redox homeostasis and possibly metabolic control, a role for EC-associated autophagy in cancer seems more complex.
The induction and inhibition of autophagy may provide new strategies for intervening on major and specific diseases, respectively. The scheme provides an overview on pathologies that might be targeted by the manipulation of autophagy.
Autophagy and mitophagy are deregulated in many types of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Although there is yet to be discovered, both autophagy and mitophagy are able to regulate different steps of CSCs physiology such as metabolism, stemness, migration and chemo-resistance.