Janus-faced autophagy

A dual role of cellular self-eating in neurodegeneration?

T. Vellai, Márton L. Tóth, A. Kovács

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autophagy is a highly regulated cellular pathway used by eukaryotic cells to consume parts of their constituents during development or starvation. It is associated with extensive rearrangements of intracellular membranes, and involves the cooperation of many gene products in the regulation and execution phase by largely unknown mechanisms. Recent results strongly indicate the role of autophagy in the degradation of damaged macromolecules, in particular misfolded, aberrant proteins, and in organelle turnover; in mutant mice with reduced autophagy, accumulation of abnormal cytosolic proteins as inclusion bodies and massive cell loss occur similarly to human neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, autophagy seems to prevent neurons from undergoing protein aggregation-induced degeneration. In contrast, we have shown that inactivation of genes involved in autophagosome formation suppresses neuronal demise induced by various hyperactivoting ion channel mutations or by neurotoxins in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. These results raise the possibility that autophagy may also contribute to excitotoxic necrotic-like cell death. This way, autophagic degradation of cytoplasmic materials might have a dual role in the survival of neurons. Depending on the actual cellular milieu and insulting factor, it can act both as a protector and contributor to neuronal damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-463
Number of pages3
JournalAutophagy
Volume3
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

Fingerprint

Autophagy
Eating
Neurons
Intracellular Membranes
Proteins
Inclusion Bodies
Caenorhabditis elegans
Neurotoxins
Gene Silencing
Eukaryotic Cells
Starvation
Ion Channels
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Organelles
Cell Death
Mutation
Genes

Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Ceanorhabditis elegans
  • Hyperactive ion-channel mutations
  • Lysosome
  • Membrane remodeling
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Janus-faced autophagy : A dual role of cellular self-eating in neurodegeneration? / Vellai, T.; Tóth, Márton L.; Kovács, A.

In: Autophagy, Vol. 3, No. 5, 09.2007, p. 461-463.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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