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Autophagy. 2010 Jul;6(5):575-88. doi: 10.4161/auto.6.5.11962. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Autophagy and its physiological relevance in arthropods: current knowledge and perspectives.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


Autophagic process is one of the best examples of a conserved mechanism of survival in eukaryotes. At the molecular level there are impressive similarities between unicellular and multicellular organisms, but there is increasing evidence that the same process may be used for different ends, i.e., survival or death, at least at cellular levels. Arthropods encompass a wide variety of invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans and spiders, and thus represent the taxon in which most of the investigations on autophagy in non-mammalian models are performed. The present review is focused on the genetic basis and the physiological meaning of the autophagic process on key models of arthropods. The involvement of autophagy in programmed cell death, especially during oogenesis and development, is also discussed.

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