The lysosomal degradation pathway of autophagy plays a fundamental role in cellular, tissue, and organismal homeostasis and is mediated by evolutionarily conserved autophagy-related (ATG) genes. Definitive etiological links exist between mutations in genes that control autophagy and human disease, especially neurodegenerative, inflammatory disorders and cancer. Autophagy selectively targets dysfunctional organelles, intracellular microbes, and pathogenic proteins, and deficiencies in these processes may lead to disease. Moreover, ATG genes have diverse physiologically important roles in other membrane-trafficking and signaling pathways. This Review discusses the biological functions of autophagy genes from the perspective of understanding—and potentially reversing—the pathophysiology of human disease and aging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)