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Autophagy. 2012 Jul 1;8(7):1159-62. doi: 10.4161/auto.20527. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Autophagy across the eukaryotes: is S. cerevisiae the odd one out?

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  • 1Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Garscube Estate, Bearsden, Glasgow, UK.


Autophagy is conserved throughout the eukaryotes and for many years, work in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been at the forefront of autophagy research. However as our knowledge of the autophagic machinery has increased, differences between S. cerevisiae and mammalian cells have become apparent. Recent work in other organisms, such as the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, indicate an autophagic pathway much more similar to mammalian cells than S. cerevisiae, despite its earlier evolutionary divergence. S. cerevisiae therefore appear to have significantly specialized, and the autophagic pathway in mammals is much more ancient than previously appreciated, which has implications for how we interpret data from organisms throughout the eukaryotic tree.


Dictyostelium; S. cerevisiae; Saccharomyces; autophagy; evolution; omegasomes

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