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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Sep;1793(9):1461-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.12.023. Epub 2009 Jan 10.

Autophagy in cells of the blood.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacology, University of Bern, Friedb├╝hlstrasse 49, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland.


Autophagy is a conserved proteolytic mechanism that degrades cytoplasmic material including cell organelles. The importance of autophagy for cell homeostasis and survival has long been appreciated. Recent data suggest that autophagy is also involved in non-metabolic functions that particularly concern blood cells. Here, we review these findings, which point to an important role of autophagy in several cellular functions related to host defense.

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