Advances in autophagy regulatory mechanisms

Gallagher, Laura E. and Williamson, Leon E. and Chan, Edmond Y. W. (2016) Advances in autophagy regulatory mechanisms. Cells, 5 (2). 24. ISSN 2073-4409

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    Abstract

    Autophagy plays a critical role in cell metabolism by degrading and recycling internal components when challenged with limited nutrients. This fundamental and conserved mechanism is based on a membrane trafficking pathway in which nascent autophagosomes engulf cytoplasmic cargo to form vesicles that transport their content to the lysosome for degradation. Based on this simple scheme, autophagy modulates cellular metabolism and cytoplasmic quality control to influence an unexpectedly wide range of normal mammalian physiology and pathophysiology. In this review, we summarise recent advancements in three broad areas of autophagy regulation. We discuss current models on how autophagosomes are initiated from endogenous membranes. We detail how the uncoordinated 51-like kinase (ULK) complex becomes activated downstream of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (MTORC1). Finally, we summarise the upstream signalling mechanisms that can sense amino acid availability leading to activation of MTORC1.