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Autophagy. 2006 Jul-Sep;2(3):175-8. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Autophagy in immune defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Cell Biology and Physiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-001, USA.


Autophagy is a newly recognized innate and adaptive immunity defense against intracellular pathogens, in keeping with its role as a cytoplasmic maintenance pathway. Induction of autophagy by physiological, pharmacological or immunological means can eliminate intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis, providing one of the first examples of the immunological role of autophagy. Under normal circumstances, M. Tuberculosis survives in macrophages by inhibiting phagolysosome biogenesis. Induction of autophagy overcomes the mycobacterial phagosome maturation block, and delivers the tubercle bacilli to degradative compartments where they are eliminated.

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