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Autophagy is a process by which cellular material is degraded by lysosomes or vacuoles and recycled. Several autophagy pathways operate within a cell, including macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy.
This Review discusses the importance of autophagy in controlling immune cell differentiation and homeostasis. The authors consider the diverse mechanisms through which autophagy functions to shape the immune system, highlighting its role in the dynamic regulation of metabolism.
In this Review, Leidal et al. discuss the role and regulation of autophagy in aging. They cover how autophagy promotes longevity and restricts cellular damage, and discuss autophagy modulators for the potential treatment of age-related diseases.
Increased levels of the Yap oncoprotein stimulate liver growth and promote hepatocarcinogenesis. Here the authors show that hepatocyte-specific loss of Atg7 in mice leads to decreased autophagic degradation of Yap and liver overgrowth, and further establish this association in human liver cancer tissues.
It is now clear that key autophagy proteins possess alternative functions, distinct from their conventional roles in autophagy. Adding to this emerging field, a new study shows how ATG16L1 acts to promote plasma membrane repair following damage by pore-forming bacteria.
Cellular components can be digested in the vacuole by autophagy, a critical process for homeostasis and stress tolerance. Functions of this recycling pathway in maize have now been defined, including lipid degradation, control of secondary metabolism and remodelling of the proteome.
How the immune system handles the relentless presence of commensal bacteria is an area of great interest. Here, researchers describe a role for autophagy in mediating tolerance to the microbiota, the absence of which can impart beneficial resistance to infection but also possible detriment in the form of autoimmunity.
Anne Simonsen is a Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences of the University of Oslo, Norway. Her work focuses on lipid-binding proteins in membrane trafficking and autophagy, and their links to disease.
Maho Hamasaki is an associate professor at Osaka University, Japan. Maho’s laboratory focuses on investigating the mechanistic underpinnings of autophagy and the role of the autophagic process in disease.