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Cell Death Differ. 2007 Sep;14(9):1576-82. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

Connecting endoplasmic reticulum stress to autophagy by unfolded protein response and calcium.

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Apoptosis Department and Centre for Genotoxic Stress Response, Institute for Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Eukaryotic cells respond to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) either by unfolded protein response that leads to an increase in the capacity of the ER to fold its client proteins or by apoptosis when the function of ER cannot be restored. Emerging data now indicate that ER stress is also a potent inducer of macroautophagy, a process whereby eukaryotic cells recycle their macromolecules and organelles. Depending on the context, autophagy counterbalances ER stress-induced ER expansion, enhances cell survival or commits the cell to non-apoptotic death. Here, we discuss the signaling pathways linking ER stress to autophagy and possibilities for their clinical exploitation.

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