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J Cell Biol. 2008 Aug 25;182(4):703-13. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200801035.

In vivo reconstitution of autophagy in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Life Sciences Institute, , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Autophagy is a major intracellular degradative pathway that is involved in various human diseases. The role of autophagy, however, is complex; although the process is generally considered to be cytoprotective, it can also contribute to cellular dysfunction and disease progression. Much progress has been made in our understanding of autophagy, aided in large part by the identification of the autophagy-related (ATG) genes. Nonetheless, our understanding of the molecular mechanism remains limited. In this study, we generated a Saccharomyces cerevisiae multiple-knockout strain with 24 ATG genes deleted, and we used it to carry out an in vivo reconstitution of the autophagy pathway. We determined minimum requirements for different aspects of autophagy and studied the initial protein assembly steps at the phagophore assembly site. In vivo reconstitution enables the study of autophagy within the context of the complex regulatory networks that control this process, an analysis that is not possible with an in vitro system.

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