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World J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 26;2(10):226-31. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v2.i10.226.

Survival and death of endoplasmic-reticulum-stressed cells: Role of autophagy.

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  • 1Yan Cheng, Jin-Ming Yang, Department of Pharmacology and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033-0850, United States.


Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) results in ER stress, which subsequently activates the unfolded protein response that induces a transcriptional program to alleviate the stress. Another cellular process that is activated during ER stress is autophagy, a mechanism of enclosing intracellular components in a double-membrane autophagosome, and then delivering it to the lysosome for degradation. Here, we discuss the role of autophagy in cellular response to ER stress, the signaling pathways linking ER stress to autophagy, and the possible implication of modulating autophagy in treatment of diseases such as cancer.


Apoptosis; Autophagy; Cell death; Cell survival; Endoplasmic reticulum stress

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